Self-Cleaning: Getting Ready for 2016

WasherCleaning Last Year’s Debris

Washing machines have several wash cycles, from normal to gentle, and from delicate to self-cleaning. I recently put a large area rug in my washer; I wasn’t sure I should have, but I did it anyway. The result, it left a good deal of debris in my washer. It was quite a mess, but at least my rug was clean.

As the year comes to an end I’d like to share two observations; usually washing machines clean other things, but one Thanksgiving I set mine to clean itself. As the machine was self-cleaning, I begin to think about the upcoming holidays, and maybe our self-cleaning is part of releasing stuff taken on last year.

God is allowing us to take debris from the old year, cleaning out the internal trash and garbage collected in our minds and spirits in 2015 and putting it all behind us. Like the washing machine, we need to clean out our interior, so we can have room to accept the new bundles for 2016. By self-cleaning, we are getting ready for the supernatural coming our way.

Whatchalookingfor?

The second thing pertains to the upcoming new year, and how Thanksgiving and Christmas is a time God has set aside to prepare or introduced us our upcoming future. Beginning with Thanksgiving preparations, God knows we need time to reflect on things which occurred last year, perhaps a new job or career, perhaps a move, perhaps a divorce, perhaps a new love or a new life.

Many things were introduced and experienced in 2015, and our wise and gracious Father gives us a moment to introduce us or get us ready for 2016. I feel some of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are about looking forward.

Sixty, Sexy, and Getting Better—Aging Gracefully Beyond Sixty

Oops-you’re Sixty!

Where exactly did those forties and fifties go? Aging can sometimes sneak up on you, especially when you’re having fun, are productive, and just plain busy. You paused for a brief moment and realized you’re beyond what’s considered middle-aged. It’s a high probability that marriage, children, grandchildren, and other wonderful events have resulted in more years behind you than likely before you. Relax, it’s quite alright. Aging gracefully beyond sixty is attainable and actually a pretty awesome place to be.

This is the age where you can put regrets behind you, develop fully your inner beautiful, and teach others life lessons that proved to be important to you.

No Regrets 6489623615_a330c191fb_z

Why bother with past regrets? The fact is, the past remains unchangeable, and regrets may ultimately bring you into a negative space, which can be emotionally unsafe. When reconciliation, forgiveness or making things right is a possibility and if your inner spirit pushes you towards this, then by all means move forward. However, if these things aren’t a reality for you, then you must forgive yourself, resolve yourself, and free yourself so that you can move peacefully forward to an emotionally healthy place as you age. Then you are helping yourself and others in a positive and holistic way.

Being Beautiful

5437070898_cee17ac7df_mAging gracefully involves nurturing an inner beauty that will radiate in your smile, personality, and the way you interact with people. Beauty is truly what lies within your heart. A beautiful soul shines through.

Facing the reality of becoming a physically mature person will ease the gradual transition of an aging face and body. If you’re fortunate enough to migrate into your 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond, take into consideration that reduced energy, wrinkles, lines, and gray hairs are generally inevitable.

Of course, you don’t have to take these changes lying down. Stay active, engaged, at your best weight, and eat appropriately, but also understand outward youthfulness at some point will mature and reach refinement. Retaining the beauty that lies within, the beauty that relates to attitude, character, spirituality, and graceful maturity is the one that truly matters.

Teaching Others

Whether you like it or not, you are someone’s mentor. A young person’s eyes are on you. They are examining how you respond in certain situations. How many times have you heard someone make a remark about how a mother, aunt or grandmother influenced a specific area or idea about something? So make the best of life’s lessons and pass down positive tidbits. Be aware of what you say and do, and how it will impact those paying attention to you. Aging is about taking responsibility for future generations and understanding that your life matters in so many ways to others.

The great thing about being 60 is even though you’re leaving a great deal behind you, it’s also an entryway to some wonderful experiences yet to be realized in front of you. Regrets and forgiveness are reconciled. You are more decisive, thereby making decisions and choices that are healthier, emotionally and physically. The word grace refers to elegance and refined movement; it refers to the free and unmerited favor of God; it refers to honor by one’s presence. Therefore, embrace aging gracefully beyond 60; it’s an awesome mantle to carry.

Image via Flickr by Jason Howle; Image via Flickr by Justin Vidamo;

Stay In Focus–No Matter What!

Understanding the importance of “firsts” 

We hear this so many times, but it is really critical to keep first things first. Determine your true priorities. These are the things that will make a difference in your life. If you leave these goals, dreams or everyday responsibilities unattended, nothing happens, nothing changes, and nothing is accomplished. Change will be unrealized unless you take action; unless you pick up the pieces and put them back together.

Losing Focus

When you lose focus, stuff falls apart, it can’t fix itself without you, without your intervention. Listen to the small voice which gently, and sometimes not so gently, prods you to take action and move onward and forward.

Don’t allow a new path to overwhelm you.

Claim who you are! God made you incredible, even if only among your circle of friends and acquaintances. Just because the world doesn’t know your name, only means this is not your direction. What are your life’s priorities? Don’t get busy with insignificant tasks so that you become distracted and forget on purpose what you really need to do. Only you can reach inside to determine your firsts. When you leave them neglected, it influences everything else in your life.

 

Move from your so-called comfort zone

Because you are miserable in that space anyway. Take authority over your priorities. Stay focused – examine where you are spending your time and energies and how this aligns with your destiny.

God Made you Carefully – He made you uniquely you! Focus on that!

 

A Saint from the Other Side

One thing I thought I would never do is talk to dead people. I often, not to anyone’s face of course, thought when relatives, co-workers and friends said someone from the other side had spoken or visited with them, that they were exaggerating or simply not telling the truth. After all, what sane person talks to dead people? But now I have another take on the entire matter. Having lost a dear friend, to me—a sister, a few months ago, every now and then I find myself out loud having a conversation with her. And, despite how crazy it sounds, it is very therapeutic. Now, I will say, while I was talking, I went between talking with her and Jesus—we were having a three-way! Now, when someone says they were visiting with a saint from the other side, who am I to say they aren’t.

Happy New Year!

Yes, I realize that my greeting is late; past the first quarter, past my birthday, past the crucifixion, past the resurrection, past winter and hopefully now spring. But it is a new year-already bursting with joy, happiness, and pain and lost. I am glad to be here, nevertheless the lost of love ones leave a void which cannot be filled. What became real to me this year is the scripture, though the outward man perishes, the inward man is being renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16). Only those of a certain age, and that are at peace with their age, can readily admit this.
Recently, my friend Pat Gray went home to be with Jesus. My soul and spirit felt the blow of this sudden and unexpected loss. To me in a sense this also embodies the outward man perishing. I miss Pat! I regret that I could not say goodbye. Pat was such a private person; and few people, ones we mutually knew, were allowed into her real secret chamber. Losing Pat makes me look at death in the eye, and that is okay. I know that only God and time will make the heart ache less.
Today, I must love more. I must be more patient. Compassion should be my best friend. Peace should be my amour bearer; listening should be my default; bearing other’s burdens should be my life.
We will talk later.

So-Long

There are some friends, relationships and experiences, which are sometimes intended for only brief moments, and are not necessarily for a lifetime: but some of them are sorely missed, especially relationships that for one reason or other shined as a bright lights in dark places. One must glean from these experiences the treasures that God wants them to have. And be joyful and glad that these relationships were placed before them and are special to them. And whether lost through death, divorce, distance; or just mere busyness, greater responsibilities and priorities; or just end (never understanding why); just know that they are–and you are–richer for having experienced each another. So please, no sadness, no remorse; God is merely making room in your life for unexpected, unusual and greater blessings; received them with an open heart and mind. Bring forth the light. Hallelujah!

I am a songwriter, not an artist….really?

I have never considered myself a singer. A writer yes. An actress – perhaps – but a singer – unh-unh. Nevertheless, by default this is exactly where I am finding myself. Who would have known? Who could have known, save Jesus? As an artist there is so much more to consider, because you cannot hide behind anyone, you are out there on your own. I feel as though I really don’t want to be here, but if I leave then I will regret that I never tried. And I feel so awkward, uncomfortable, but that is how I understand success sometimes feel. However, I am asking myself, well aren’t you a little dated to be just getting started with  this? And all I can say is yes, but…I can do all things through Christ. Don’t you think you will appear a bit foolish for trying this now, but… God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise. I decided if a song is never purchased or listened to, at least I did it. I left a legacy for my children, and my children’s children. I feel that somewhere down the line, after I am long gone, one of my daughters or sons will say, “Look what grandma Mat-Mat did.” And they will treasure it in their heart, and that will be very, very good!

I am quite geeked though because someone in UK purchased an MP3 of God’s song – Like You Jesus – WOW!!!!!!

Check it out! http://cdbaby.com/cd/madelynbanks

OMG!!!

I have not been here in a minute!

We can make a decision to think upward versus downward. It is totally up to us. We can choose coping mechanisms for life difficulties and hiccups, that are positive versus negative. We can choose to accept that life is not necessarily fair, but God is. We can yell and scream and holla because the past threw us a few curve balls. But I believe that the suffering of the this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that one day shall be revealed in us. Isn’t God cool?

I cannot see tomorrow, only God can, but I proceed with great expectation by His grace!

Wow it has been a minute!

A lot has been going on. Well it seems like a lot! I am in school full time now, I have full time mom responsibilities, and all the other stuff! I have not written a term paper in like – what thirty years or something. So having three in front of me is a daunting task. Like give me a boring subject and expect me to write 3000 words? It’s been difficult, but I am getting it done.

I have been a little down and out, maybe it’s the dang Chicago weather! I need a little sunshine in my life. I am working to make life a little more interesting but it has been a challenge for me lately. I feel like I am a triangle lately, trying to fit into a square. I have been in back in Chicago for 5 plus years, and I am getting an itch to move someplace! Not back to LA, just someplace. Hummmmm

I had to put my book on hold, until I can get these term papers done – whew. But please folks hold me to getting it completed before the year ends. School is out in about 4 weeks, so I will get it done.

I cannot believe it is almost Christmas!!!! I purchased my first gift last week. So it’s real! It is after midnight so I gotta to.

Smooches!

OMG

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I have been here!

All that I can really say is this: After all that I have been through…I still have…

It’s been rough this last month. So many changes and responsibilities, and blessings! After each one I preached to myself and noted – After all that I have been through…I still have peace of mind, patience, endurance, long suffering…JOY!!!!!!!

I am happy to say the 2nd edition of my book “Just me…Discovering Life through Creative Expressions” will be ready soon! I will be looking for your support!

Friendship is so important. Do not take it lightly – real friends are hard to find. If you find them – keep them! Do not expect perfection in friendship, it is unrealistic and unavailable. Please take friends as they are, because they have to put up with you too! Me included. People tell me I say what I think and that it’s a little much.  So I am trying to speak little as not to offend anyone….pray my strength in the Lord. At least you will always know where I am at. I wear my heart on my sleeve, my face tells the whole story. I am not adept at hiding my feelings…the good thing is that I do not mean anyone harm…only good.

Let God be praised brothers and sisters.