Mother Dearest

Yesterday as I sat in church clapping and cheering my heart out for Mother Cymbala, who was celebrating her 103rd birthday. Pastor Cymbala, myself along with the entire church we were celebrating his mother’s 103rd birthday, while I was silently remembering the mother I had lost 41 years ago that very same day.

As the lights were dimmed and the television screens throughout the Tabernacle brightened with a beautiful visual photo story of Mrs Cymbala’s life during her younger years. As I sat there with the rest of the congregation admiring the story that was being displayed before my eyes.

As I sat there watching those pictures I couldn’t help but think of my own mother. After all, it was the anniversary of her death. My heart ached as the tears welled up in my eyes that had been hidden in my heart from early that morning. Slowly they began to roll down my cheek as I quickly wiped them away before the video presentation was over, and the lights came back up.

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I would go on to enjoy the rest of the wonderful Sunday service as I thanked GOD for Mother Cymbala’s life, as well as my own life. I had outlived my mother by 12 years. I was the last of her personal bloodline creation left. I was still here despite everything that I had experienced. I realized that GOD did indeed have a plan for my life. I had outlived both my mother and my brother.

Many days I wish I had grown up with my mother. I wish she was still here. I often wondered what type of relationship I would have had with my mother. Would things in my life had been different. Would I have walked down the same dangerous paths that I did in the past. I had so many questions running through my mind and no answers.

Even though I was only four years old when my mother died. I still have some of the most beautiful memories growing up with her.  I remember my mother teaching me how to pray. She would make me pray over every meal before I ate it, and I would have to pray every night before I went to sleep. Those are the memories I cherish and carry with me throughout my life. My time spent with her as short as it was, are some of the most beautiful and precious times of my life.

I Miss You Dearly Mother

 

 

Plans: When You Make Them And GOD Changes Them (Pt 2)

Like I wrote in my previous post (Pt 1), my plan was to finish college with my Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting with hopes of getting a job with one of the top accounting firms. That plan also included me later on taking the C.P.A. Examination, and after a few years I wanted to open my own Accounting firm.

1GOD came in and took full control when I didn’t even realize what was happening. I went from one day wanting and working towards being an Accountant/CPA who wanted a high rise condo, black Lincoln Navigator and nice lifestyle, to a regular girl who became suddenly highly more interested in cooking, baking, making soaps, candles and body products with my own two hands with the help of GOD.

1I was able to sit back and finally realize how much I had been changing. I was always someone who was a great cook. However, I was more of a Corporate America kind of girl.  Here I had went from being a Corporate America girl to a Handmade Domestic Engineer.

I had to ask myself what was really going on. Here I was thousands of miles away from Corporate America where I had last worked for a fortune 500 insurance company as an Associate Accountant. After the LORD had spoken to me about giving up my job and going back to the Caribbean. Here I was back in the Caribbean without a job, a position, much less a title and a paycheck.

1It was a long hard and very difficult journey. By the time I had moved back to the Caribbean, I was already in full force back-slidden mode in my walk with the LORD. The high position corporate job in America had about taken over my entire life. I barely had time for myself, let alone did I have any time to spend with the LORD. I was constantly working. Despite my broken relationship with the LORD. HE wasn’t done with me just yet.

I remember thinking to myself this must be GOD. There was no way that this was my doing. I would have never up and traded my corporate job for being a regular Handmade Soap maker without any money, a business or any prospects. Despite all of the difficult challenges that I faced while there, GOD still had a plan for my life. I really couldn’t see it at the time.  A lot of my best strength came out of the hardships that I had endured while living there.

Fast forward to 2014, by then I had already returned back to the LORD. GOD began speaking to me through HIS word. One Sunday while I was on my way to church, I was reading the Word when GOD began to speak to me. HE began to show me that it was time for me to leave the place where I was living. It was also time for me to let some things, places and people go.

1In between all of that, I always dreamt of doing radio in the Caribbean where I lived.  I wanted to be able to give a lot of the Artist who contributed and sang those good ole wholesome songs that I grew up listening to a chance to have their music played on the air. I wanted them to get their rightful dues, respect and recognition. I wanted those artist and their work to be acknowledged properly and rightfully. Quite frankly, I wanted this generation to hear what real music sounded like.

Besides wanting to work in radio, I also wanted to write Christian Fiction and be a Motivational Speaker one day. I always enjoyed encouraging and motivating others, especially when it came to the things of the LORD. However, went it came time to encourage myself, I truly struggled with this. I was the girl who could encourage others, but couldn’t find a lick of encouragement for herself when it came to getting my dreams off the ground.

1 I slowly began preparing for where GOD was leading me. In 2016 GOD started speaking to me about starting a Podcast. It really wasn’t something that I was interested in doing. Nonetheless, I was obedient and began to do a lot research about starting a podcast. I spent countless hours, days and months doing research through reading books, articles and watching YouTube videos.

As I started doing the research on the type of equipment that would be needed, I realized a had a few pieces in my film production kit that I could use. On a bare bones budget I was able to acquire a few more pieces. I had no idea what the name or content of what the podcast was going to be.

I began praying and seeking GOD’s face daily for direction. On August of this year, GOD had given me the name and the format for the podcast. The Words of Encouragement Podcast was born. I remember GOD saying to me, “You always wanted to be a motivational speaker. Here is your chance. Now is the time.”

I couldn’t believe it. I had been praying regarding becoming a Motivational Speaker more and more. However, in my mind I pictured myself in a big place on stage motivating other people. That’s when GOD once again spoke to me and said, “You get to motivate people from wherever you are.” I didn’t have to get dressed up, I didn’t have to pack a suitcase. I didn’t have to stand anywhere. All I had to do is seek HIS face in prayer and through HIS Word. I just had to lean on HIM and trust HIM.

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I would have never thought of this in a million years. GOD came up with such a brilliant plan and idea. There are times when I just sit back and smile with great joy as I think about where GOD has brought me from. I am so happy that GOD exchanged my own worldly and fleshly plans for HIS plans.

I am so thankful and grateful. Most importantly, I am so humbled to know that GOD would use a broken vessel like me for HIS Kingdom and HIS Glory. As I prepare each week for every Podcast episode, I seek GOD’s face for direction. After all, without HIM I could never do it. Today I am able to encourage myself with the help of the Holy Spirit as I listen back to some of my very own episodes. It took me encouraging others on a broader platform in me being able to now encourage myself in the LORD.

It’s not about numbers, statistics or likes. It’s about reaching people for CHRIST one play, one like, one follow and one download at a time.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you for your tender mercies. Thank you for not giving up on me during my darkest and most stubborn period of my life. Oh, how I thank YOU each day for exchanging my dreams and plans for Your plans instead. I am forever grateful. Amen. 

For more information on my Podcast you can click the links below.

I-Tunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/words-of-encouragement/id1278809297

Spreaker.com  https://www.spreaker.com/show/words-of-encouragement_1

Podocmatic.com: https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/cocoabrownflanders

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plans: When You Make Them And GOD Changes Them (Part 1)

Nothing like having your favorite homemade sandwich (2 slices of Oatbran/Multigrain Bread with sliced Cheddar Cheese and Genoa Salami) with a piping-hot cup of coffee with my favorite coffee creamer (Hazelnut) as a smile creeps across my face deep down into my heart. I then realize how far that GOD has brought me from.
It seems like the older I get the least interested I am in the worldly materials of life, although I could use some of them. I remember when I first started college in 1998 at the The College of Staten Island (CUNY). I had big dreams and even bigger plans for my life. I wanted to become a CPA and work for one of the Big 6 Accounting firms, eventually opening my own private office in the future.

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I can’t even drive. However, back then I saw myself blazing across the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in my brand new shiny black Lincoln Navigator (Those SUV were hot at the time) on my way home from a hard and ambitious day a the office Auditing or Balancing accounts. Driving home to my newly purchased Condo in one of those expensive high-rise buildings in Manhattan.
In in the Spring of 2000 I moved to Los Angeles a place that I had always dreamed of moving to since I was a child. I always wanted to meet those singers who sang some of those beautiful songs that I grew up hearing as a kid while still living in the U.S. After 4 years of living in Los Angeles, I had enough. I wasn’t interested in becoming a star, so there was need for me to be there any longer. I was beginning to miss the Caribbean (Sint Maarten). Even though I missed the island I wasn’t ready to move home as yet. I was starting to miss the simplicity of certain things like eating a Chicken Leg and Baked/Fried Johnny Cakes, Conchs and Dumpling, or just some good ole Saltfish (codfish), Cornmeal Dumplings with Provisions. Let’s not forget the good ole Coconut Tart and Sweet Potato Pudding during Christmas time.
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While living in Los Angeles in between working full-time during the day and attending school part-time during the evening in pursuit of completing my Associate’s Degree in Accounting with the hopes of transferring back to the University of my choice to complete my Bachelor Degree and then sitting for the CPA Examination. I came across a little Extension Catalog from my college offering Continuing Education and Extension Courses. It was there that I stumbled upon a class titled “Making Your Own Body Products”
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I never heard or seen such a thing before. As far as I knew people didn’t make their own Body products, companies such as Revlon, Jergens and Colgate made these items in huge industrial factories in large steel kettles. My curiosity was piqued, I paid the fee and took the class one bright and beautiful sunny Saturday morning as I watched and listened to the Plain clothed teacher talk about Making Your Own Body Products and Soaps. As she talked about the various carrier and essential oils, top middle and bottom notes. I was amazed. I was definitely stirred. By the end of that class we had each made a batch of our very own bath salts to take home in a nice shiny packaging.