That’s Right Neighborly of You

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

What was right neighborly?

  • Taking our laundry off the clothes line before it rained?
  • Mowing my lawn because my mower is kaput?
  • Walking my kids home from school because I was running late?
  • Cooking a meal for my family because we were ill or had death in the family?
  • Inviting my sons to play ball with you and your sons?
  • Asking me to carpool with you so we both save money?
  • Stopping by to check on me?
  • Checking our mail while we were on vacation?
  • Bringing us a Welcome to the Neighborhood basket?
  • Helping us pack and load the truck when we moved? Well this might have been because you were glad to see us go. Smile with a wink

This is how I grew up; with neighbors who became friends, then became family.

Do you remember the neighborhood block parties?  When we lived in the city limits our house was the block party house.  My Parents invited the neighbors over for food, good old school music and plenty of board games or outdoor sport activities.  We all got to know each other, which made it easier for us to check on one another.

If there was bullying, the parents addressed it with each another, then with the kids and stopped it in its tracks.  Communication was key.  We were not afraid to talk to, laugh with or even disagree with each other.  It seems this is a distant memory.  Is “neighbor” a bad word now?  Seriously, is it?

I know things have changed, but I believe the heart of communities is still the love neighbors have for one another.  Help me disprove this fleeting thought of mine by sharing your BEST NEIGHBOR story in the comments below.

 

Gratitude

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

Each year as we get closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas, our hearts soften, and we become aware of how grateful we should be.  However, throughout these past couple of years I’ve noticed how we have encouraged one another, provided a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand, finances, a story, a smile, a hug, our homes, our vehicles, donated our blood, shared a laugh and so much more all while going through our own challenges.  We’ve shown we don’t need to wait for the last 2 months of each year to look beyond our own circumstances and provide support and strength to our fellow human being.

Our world continues to show how we are . . .

Grateful for our journey, the good and bad experiences which fray and mend many areas of our lives,

Recognize our similarities, and

Appreciate our differences.  We are

Thankful for the little things in life, as well as

Identify the sometimes valley flowing emotions that

Transcends the core of our being.  We yield to

Understanding, compassion, love, laughter, generosity and forgiveness; as we

Discover the

Enjoyment of being the hands and feet for our neighbors, when in need.

 

 

 

But…

You see, we never actually filled the world with our dreams and ideas;

Expressed by:  Cassandra Dennis

My dreams are beyond images, because I’ve made them tangible.

My inventions are no longer day dreams, because I now hold the patents.

The characters in my head are no longer invisible playmates, because they are now vital roles in my books, plays, movies and television shows.

The rhythm in my head is now noted on paper and being expressed through various instruments.

The body movement and flow I see has danced its way out of my conscious and is now a choreographed number for a major musical.

The good I see in others I’ve now transformed into a movement of #humanitylovinghumanity.

I’m surrounded by so many who are living an imagery of dreams and success, but, yet we have one regret.  You see, we never actually filled the world with our dreams and ideas; but we had good reasons…

  • But I don’t have enough time.
  • But I don’t know how.
  • But I’m afraid.
  • But what if I fail.
  • But it costs too much.

Along the way, the events of life brought us together, and some of us had people to mourn us, but they mourned the wrong thing.  They mourned the loss of the physical body, instead they should have mourned what was loss long ago; dreams not fulfilled, paths not taken, voids we left, stories untold and journeys cut short.

We took time for granted, allowed fear, selfishness, laziness and lack of knowledge to stop us in our tracks, long before death did.  So, our message to you from our final resting place: “The end of your dream is already woven into a beautiful ending, but it can’t happen until you take a step and put in the work to obtain the result you envision. Don’t let that dash between your birth and death become a mournful “but” for those you leave behind.”

Was it as exciting for you, as it was for me?

He climbed, flipped and rolled…

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

What an AMAZING and ENTERTAINING NIGHT!!

We learned so much about ourselves and received refreshing reminders about this journey called life.

  1. We learned to laugh at ourselves again.
  2. We realized perfection is overrated; it’s the love for what we are passionate about, love of people and perseverance that reflects a good part of our character.
  3. Wow, how the theme of the night flowed, U n i t y.  The theme spotlighted how it is our similarities AND our differences that bond us uniquely as one, one human race.  It is that bond that drives us to stand as ONE against division.
  4. We were reminded to appreciate the view from where we are sitting or standing in life, but know that we have the ability to change our view.
  5. We saw first-hand that no one knows our journey better than us, so it is up to us to share our matchless story through the eyes of our essential reality.
  6. And please let us not forget The Arts and Music is a common thread that unites us.  It is our commitment to express our journey and the journey of others that lead to well written stories, monologues, lyrics, layered and intertwined musical instruments and beats, fictional and biographical characters brought to life on stage or on the small and large screen.  It is this bond, which embraces collaborative efforts, because we never really walk alone.
    • It’s our collaborative movement that encourages us when we want to quit.
    • It’s our collaborative movement that sincerely appreciates the gifts and contributions of others.
    • It’s our collaborative movement that reminds us to stand tall on the shoulders of those who stood and sacrificed for us.
    • It’s our collaborative movement that empowers us to continue to strengthen and build upon those shoulders we stand on for our future generations.
    • It’s our collaborative movement that celebrates the amount of room there is for all of us to be shining stars.
    • It’s our collaborative movement that is always in forward motion to continue the journey of inclusiveness.
    • It’s our collaborative movement that creates and innovates all that’s relational and binds us to grace, mercy, forgiveness and love.  Our collaborative movement says we each are here to establish our portion of heaven on earth, that our Father has already predestined in our hearts.

Still haven’t caught on, okay, I will tell you, I’m talking about the Grammy Awards.  James Corden climbed, flipped and rolled onto the Grammy stage to begin an extraordinary night with powerful messages.  Watching the Grammy’s is big for me because I don’t normally watch award shows, but I felt compelled to watch last night’s show; and as you can see it left an impression beyond measure.  Change is brought about with humanity standing strong and being a consistent force against division and unjust actions.  I’ve realized what I’m passionate about and have to contribute to humanity, what about you?

 

Getting beyond the surface..

We begin to easily judge and form an opinion…

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

https://getting2therootofit.wordpress.com

Root:  a base or support; a primary source; an origin; an essential part or element.

When we see a tree that’s been uprooted for whatever reason, the many roots that were securing the tree in the ground are exposed. The roots unlike the trunk, branches and foliage of the tree aren’t pretty or uniquely designed; they are caked with mud, soil, insects and even the roots or vines of other nearby trees may have intertwined with that tree, but they serve a great purpose.  It is the roots of a tree that invades nearby areas to create a strong foundation for the trunk of a tree that may grow to over 100 feet tall and support the weight of several branches and foliage.  The roots are also responsible for feeding the tree with the nutrients from the surrounding environment.

Our lives as humans are like the tree.  How we were raised, our environment as a child and our experiences are our roots.  It is those roots that feed how we perceive or understand the words or actions of another human being.  It is those roots that mold who we are, how we respond verbally, physically and emotionally.

Sometimes the many details and distractions of life overwhelm us to the point that we bluntly address the surface issues of ourselves and others. We begin to easily judge and form an opinion (we all have and socially share one these days) about the actions or words of others, because we don’t want to take the time or energy it requires to address what’s below the surface; the beautiful or beastly ideas, disjointed, intertwined, unsubstantiated information, traditions and fears that fuel our thoughts, decisions, words and actions.

At some point in order to bring about continuous healing, growth and a renewed mindset to humanity as a whole we must:

  • decide to be transparent with each other
  • refocus our words, time, energy and love to find out what’s feeding our behavior
  • expose and address the root of the behavior
  • ask questions that helps us to evaluate and redirect the unhealthy behavior to a more positive mindset that will lead to productive behavior.

What’s below your surface that may be hindering you from healthy, productive, joyful relationships or from obtaining the goals you seek each year?  Get to the root of it with productive help from others.

 

It wasn’t clear, until…

…there was a season in my life that devastated me…

Expressed by:  Cassandra Dennis

As I have discussions with people, scroll through social media and read various articles and books I realize I am not the only one struggling with quitting.  I sit down in November or December of each year and I evaluate what I want to accomplish in the upcoming new year and kind of ignore what I didn’t put forth the effort to accomplish in the current year.  I have my list of goals, usually a duplicate of years gone by and become excited about the new me I will see in the mirror at the end of the next year.  On my list I have:

  • a better relationship with God goal,
  • of course I have my lose weight goal,
  • be debt free goal,
  • save money goal,
  • grow my business goal,
  • be a better wife goal,
  • travel goal, etc, etc.

For some of those goals I had a well thought out plan and some I kind of wing it.  So, are you able to guess how many goals I was able to accomplish in 2016?  I accomplished, 3 out of 10 of my goals.  Why?  Because I only put actual work and obtained knowledge and understanding behind the plans I laid out for  3 of my goals.  The others were my, I’ll wing it goals; so I gave up on many of those goals throughout 2016.

So as I sat down to evaluate where I am in my life, I realize somewhere along the way I began quitting many things I set out to do.  When and why did I become a quitter?  My inner core relationships know me as the “come back kid.”  No matter what life throws my way, I keep coming without hesitation.  However, there was a season in my life that devastated me, my divorce.   Maybe not the divorce (2009) by itself but the events (2007-2009) that led up to the divorce.  It really rocked my world and I let go of so many parts of my character that made me, me and helped me to function and accomplish my goals in my life.  Those around me could no longer count on me when I gave my word, heck, I couldn’t count on me.  For nine years, I began a cycle of quitting.  Other than working and focusing my attention on my grandbabies, I was not dependable for anything else.

This year in 2016, I got tired of being sick and tired and fearful, being a spectator of other peoples lives; so I made the decision to change my direction.  I stopped isolating myself, I began to step outside of my comfort zone, I purged some relationships, I surrounded myself with people who were seeking out their passions and acting upon them.  I incorporated new ways of doing things, took classes, served others, and leaned on my husband (marriage restored); all of this was through being obedient to the direction from the Holy Spirit and pushing past easy.

Out of the nine years of my quitting journey I learned:

  • Change requires decisions, sound decisions and actions.
  • I can desire the best out of life, but if I don’t plan and work the plan no matter how hard it gets to have the best, then I never truly desired the best.
  • Know me, know my gifts, seek to know and understand my passions.
  • Don’t compare my journey to someone else and don’t be distracted by the words or actions of others.
  • I must know what I want to achieve. I should not be vague, but be specific enough without being anal retentive in order to create and work a plan.  Does it involve training, a mentor, volunteers, a business plan, what’s the cost, etc?
  • I must be flexible, in case plan A doesn’t work or needs adjusting I need to have plans B, C, D, E & F already laid out to prevent me from entertaining the idea of quitting.
  • I must be willing to purge some unhealthy relationships.
  • Have inspirational quotes, stories, music and like minded people around me to encourage me to persevere no matter the challenge.
  • Most of all, by implementing the above items I have tools to combat the fear of failure.

My life during that time wasn’t clear until I made the decision to get to the root of why I became a quitter and became tired of existing.   This part of my journey led me to a path of truth and transparency.  It is that path that is unfolding opportunities and elevating a restored marriage.  Want to know more?  Keep checking in.

Truth and Transparency…

Man, I was a single parent with two boys to feed and clothe, I wasn’t trying to hear, “Cassandra, we’re going to have to let you go.”

 

Expressed by: Cassandra Dennis

Freedom…. free mindset, free thinking, freedom in the way I speak, free in how I raised my sons.  I even got fired a couple of times from a job, but I went back to work the next day like nothing happened.  Man, I was a single parent with two boys to feed and clothe, I wasn’t trying to hear, “Cassandra, we’re going to have to let you go.”  “Yeah, ok, see you tomorrow.”  I came and clocked in the next day and went on with my shift.  WOW, as I think back to the way I was in my early twenties and thirties, I have a longing for that younger me.  I was bold in my thinking, I lived in motion, there was no such thing as procrastination; if I thought it, I moved forward in accomplishing whatever “it” was.  Lack of sleep, lack of knowledge and lack of money did not hinder me in whatever I wanted to do. I didn’t dwell upon anyone’s opinion, nor did I seek it.  Why, because another persons opinion was irrelevant to the process of me accomplishing what was at hand.  Sooooo….. what happened?

Somewhere along the way my focus changed, I lost my way and I began seeking the opinion of others, and their opinions became the gospel for me.  Why?  At first I didn’t know.  However, as I began to reflect on my life during a period of several years I realized once my sons became young men and I had equipped them to seek God and care for themselves my focus and my drive was gone.  Everything I was previously doing I was doing for them.  So now the question I asked myself was, “Cassandra, who are you, what do you truly like, do you remember your dreams and do you have the unction to accomplish them for yourself?”  The answer was, “no!”

Even though I had not been married long, being married became a chore, so I made it into a project for me.  I began to mimic my parents marriage, tv show marriages and layered in the information from marriage ministry, where we served.  BIG BIG BIG mistake.  I taught myself to wear masks.  I sought the opinions of others and took their opinion of me and dissected myself down to a person I didn’t know and didn’t like.  So I created a walk-in closet of masks; and depending upon the occasion I wore the mask that allowed me to blend in and to become apart of the crowd. What a mess.

Well needless to say, my husband and I began having challenges in our marriage, infidelity, control issues, and so much more.  I spiraled into depression and fear became a big part of my life.  From that time up until this point, approximately 7 years, I’ve allowed fear to paralyze me from living in my purpose, including even seeking my purpose for living.  For the past three years I have slowly begun a sincere relationship with God and an honest relationship with myself.  I’ve gone through a purging of relationships, masks and emotional bondage, PAINFULLLL!!  But it is what it is, it’s life and life is a journey of good and bad experiences.  It’s how I decide to live out and share those experiences that allows me to empower others as I am empowered.

Is fear still there?  Of course, but I have made the decision to live a life of kinetic energy, in motion regardless what’s over the horizon.  This renewed me has new inspiration, bold dreams and the excitement to accomplish it all, with my husband and our family.  Keep your eyes open, some of what’s to be revealed may inspire you to inspire others.  PEACE…