Miracles

Miracle: An extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency.

1.1 A remarkable event or development that brings very welcome consequences.

1.2 An exceptional product or achievement, or an outstanding example of something.
All of these definitions are from the Oxford Living Dictionary. While I agree with them, I think something was left out. A miracle in my humble opinion can also be something as “simple” as a flower blooming or the birth of a child.
Why am I talking about all of this, you may ask? Because, in my own way, I experienced a miracle. I had been praying for one for a few years but, God didn’t answer. At least, not in the way I wanted Him too.
Before any of the religious crew start screaming blasphemy at me, please hold your insults and criticisms until I’ve finished.
A little over two years ago, I started experiencing heavier than usual blood loss during my menstrual cycle. Something you should know about me, I’m the worst when it comes to going to the doctor. I don’t do regular check-ups, and until 2 years ago I hadn’t been to a gynecologist since I was a teenager.
Again, please hold your criticisms until the end.
I had chalked my heavier flow to gaining weight. I had done research and I knew that could be a possibility. But then my cycle started lasting longer than normal. It eventually got to be 2 weeks long when I finally decided to find a doctor and have myself checked.
I know, I know it was very stupid to wait so long.
At the end of May 2015, I was diagnosed with a Uterine Fibroid. For those who don’t know, a Uterine Fibroid is basically a non-cancerous growth that usually feeds off of a large supply of blood and for women the largest area is the uterus. While they aren’t deadly, they can cause a lot of issues.
In my case, I had developed anemia due to the excessive and extended blood loss during my menstrual cycles. Which in turn caused me to become lethargic and to have issues with concentration and to some extent cause issues with depression.
Gasp, a Christian being depressed!?! Yes, a relationship with God doesn’t make us above everyone else. The difference is that we have God to help us with our problems and love us even when we mess up.
But I digress. During that appointment the doctor mentioned that it could be removed surgically but that I might have to lose my uterus. I had never felt so alone in my life as I had in that moment. I was 36 and a single woman who dearly loves children and have been patiently waiting (well most of the time) for my husband to come so we could start a family.
The last thing you want to hear with dreams like that is that you may not be able to have kids before you’ve even had the chance to try! The second option she gave me was to be injected with an expensive drug called Lupron. Basically, works like birth control to stop your cycle but it can give you the physical effects of menopause. Which can shrink the Fibroid but I’d be on it for life in order to keep it small.
Neither option was the most palatable for me. I went home to think about what I should do. During my researching and getting council from trusted friends and family I started my cycle again after having just ended about a week ago (that one had lasted nearly a month!). I had a serious dizzy spell and ended up going to the emergency room. Since it was an extremely hot summer day in Georgia, I just thought I was dehydrated.
Turns out my anemia had gotten so bad, that I had to get a blood transfusion. So on the Saturday before Fathers Day of 2015, I was admitted into the hospital for a very long, sleepless night strapped to a machine receiving blood.
Everything went well and I was released the next afternoon.  I did feel better and went back to my gynecologist where I decided to take the Lupron shot to at least give me some time to finish thinking about what I wanted to do with the rest of my reproductive life.
Not too long after that I lost my health coverage and I couldn’t afford to go back to the doctor. So I did what a lot of people do when faced with this type of situation, I started praying for God to make it disappear. Now admittedly, I should have been talking to Him about this all along but I’m a human being. Sometimes we think we need to do everything on our own and only “bother” God when we think it’s big enough for him to handle. (For the most part I think I’ve learned this lesson.)
So from July of 2015 until April of 2016 I didn’t have a cycle and I was believing for  miraculous disapperance of this growth that had sucked the life from my body. Since I couldn’t afford the doctor I of course couldn’t afford the Lupron shot so my cycle started up again.
At first, everything was ok. I was still a little heavy but it was a normal length (around five days). So I figured maybe God had worked a miracle. Then month by month things started going back to the way it had been before the shot.
In March of this year I was able to get health insurance again and after things slowed down a bit at work a few months later, I called for an appointment with my gynecologist.
My appointment was again towards the end of May where the doctor confirmed that the Fibroid was still there and that it was about the size of a newborn’s head. Basically, I looked like I was about three or four months pregnant. This time when surgery was mentioned, I felt at peace with it. Don’t get me wrong, by this time I’m two years older still single and still want a family but, I just knew that everything was going to be ok. Maybe my faith was a little bit stronger? Or maybe I had finally gotten it into my head that no matter what happened, God was still in control.
So I was signed up to have surgery on June 16th, 2017. My dear sainted mother picked me up at my house drove me to the day surgery for my surgical appointment that was supposed to start at 11am. Due to a couple of surgeries lasting longer than expected I was actually not taken back until around 3pm. That was definitely an interesting experience. I of course had my trusted circle of friends and family praying for me and some of my kids from church were praying as well.
All I remember from that day is that I was out cold before I made it to the operating room and woke up three hours later in recovery. I was admitted into a room where my mom was waiting and we spent the night there.  I tried to tell her to go home but I knew that wasn’t going to happen.
The next day, they unhooked me from some of the equipment and I was allowed to walk around some and try to function as close to normal as possible. Wait, let me back up for a quick second. While in recovery, they fitted me with a self managing pain medication pump. Which I hardly used!!! I’m telling you this detail because I am a total pain wimp! I don’t like feeling any kind of discomfort physically. The reason I barely used the pump was because I didn’t really feel any pain. That alone is a miracle!
The doctor came to see me on that Saturday morning and told me I could be released as soon as I passed gas. Lol… I never in my life knew that flatulence would become the most important thing in my life as it did that day! 😂😂😂 By the way, shout out to my circle of friends in the text group who made my day with the gas jokes and to my brother, who drove in from Atlanta to help make sure I was ok.
Unfortunately, I didn’t pass gas until Sunday morning at 3am. But much rejoicing was made over it!
When I was released, which happened to be Fathers Day of this year, my mom took me to her house to recuperate. I’m telling you my mother is a saint y’all!!! Because I’m not the best patient. I was blessed by several people bringing food, and sending flowers a couple of my students even came with their mom to see me. I felt the love 😍😍
After my first post op appointment about a week after surgery, I was allowed to walk up stairs and a few days later my mom allowed me to go back to my house. I jokingly called her my warden.
So for three more weeks I stayed at home recovering from surgery all the while feeling more energetic and loving life.  I had my second follow-up the week after the Fourth of July. Where the doctor gave me more details about my surgery. I had no idea of what all I had been through on that day. It seems the surgery was only supposed to last an hour. But because of the size and placement of the Fibroid it took three hours. The Fibroid itself actually was almost the size of a volleyball and weighed about two pounds according to her and it was located at the top of my uterus. Not only that but they had to give me another blood transfusion while I was being operated on!  During that appointment I was allowed to take on some of my regular duties and I started back to work the next week.
Now I’m sure many of you are asking what is the point of this long story with all of its side notes and rabbit trails?
Well, congratulations for sticking with me this long and your patience is about to be rewarded.
My point is this, after my surgery, transfusion, and recovery I have energy again, I’m able to concentrate better, and my appearance and mental health has improved. I feel like a totally different woman!!
God answered my prayer. Just not in the way I wanted Him to. I wanted a miraculous disappearance. While I know He is more than capable of making that happen, I got a lot more out of this situation than if it had gone that way. I got peace that went beyond all understanding. I got closer to him in spending time in prayer and really talking and listening to Him. I got to see just how much people really love me. Best of all, I got a new outlook and perspective on my life and my calling. As well as I got to keep my uterus.
In short, I got my miracle plus so much more!!!

Romans 8:28 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
I love you dear readers and I pray that you always see the miracles that God is working out in your life everyday, big or small, conventional or extraordinary.
Until next post.
Smooches,
Shineka

Best Day Ever!!!!!

So guess what I got to do today?

Wait this is a blog, so you can’t guess.  I went and played with kids!

Today was so in my comfort zone you would have thought that it was tailor made for me. 🙌🙌🙌

Our first stop was, the Blossom Orphanage. These are kids that might be orphans but they also may have parents but they were taken away because the parents weren’t capable of caring for their children.

The age range was from about 3months old to about 3 or 4 years old. The older kids were being taught lessons so that meant we got to love on the babies and toddlers. I fell in love with the sweetest little boy. He had to have been around 1 and half to maybe 2 years old. He was in a jumper by himself and no one was playing with him. A woman from another mission team who had been there yesterday told me that he doesn’t like to be taken out of the jumper or he screams. So I left him in there and I played, talked, and prayed over him.

Then one of the workers brought me a cup of apple sauce to feed him. I’m telling you his little personality came through while he ate. He would dance when he liked it or try and get me to feed him faster. This was definitely a child after my own heart. 💞💞💞

After bonding over food, we played a little more and I sang to him while he clapped along. Then I kept hearing the name Solomon. I didn’t know the babies name but I prayed over him that he would be a man of wisdom and would walk before the Lord uprightly all the days of his life. Then, I took the bold step of taking him out the jumper and he let me hold him without any fuss. Oh be still my beating heart.

I thought about putting him in my back pack and running away with him but, I’m not willing to go to jail here in a third world country. So my little love stayed behind while I had to leave. 😭😭😭

We ate lunch on the bus as we travelled to a preschool. Ages 3 to 5.

I haven’t taught kids that young in a long time but I couldn’t wait to get in the classrooms. We broke up the team into two units and went to different classrooms. We taught them songs and they taught us a song. We told them about Jesus and several of them decided to make Jesus their best friend. 🙌🙌🙌

The service we were supposed to go to tonight was cancelled so we came back to the hotel prepared for the next two days and had a mini service for ourselves here.

It was really great. It was like a smaller scale Supernatural Service on the roof top of the hotel.

Tomorrow is going to be a long day. We are going to Runaway Bay. It’s an hour long trip to get there from where we are. We’ll be going to a school then doing some street ministry. Then we’ll have a night service at Bill Zorn’s church.

Pray for us that we will have many salvations, miracles, signs, and wonders. Also pray that I’m able to get through this stretching I’ll be under going. Street evangelism isn’t my strong suit.

Blessings!

Shineka

So this Stretching thing…

Yesterday, I talked about being ready in and out of season and about being stretched.

Today was a mixed bag of absolute fun and some crazy shaking up of my comfort zone. We went to the Women’s Center, which in actuality is a school for girls who have gotten pregnant while in school. This place gives the girls an opportunity to continue their education and still take care of their babies.

We only had 30 minutes to speak to the girls, due to a mix up in scheduling. Several of us shared with the girls for about 5 minutes about our lives, the choices we made, and how God loves us and He is the only one who can supply the Love that we are searching for. I was one of the speakers, I believe my little 5 minutes went well. At the end Alison led the girls in a salvation prayer and 12 girls gave their lives over to God! Before we got started on the presentation we had given out a few devotionals and some candy to the girls. While we were speaking, I saw a young lady who walked in late. She was standing in the hallway so she wouldn’t disturb the room and I just kept looking at her and believing that she needed a special touch today. When I was packing to come on this trip I went to my stash of books and pulled out a devotional I had never read and thought this would be a great opportunity to read it. I stuck it in my bookbag thinking I was going to read it on the bus. Once I saw the young lady in the hallway I knew the book was meant for her.

After we were done praying with the girls, I went to her and told her that God loves her and He wanted her to have this book. By the way the book is called Made for More. I pray that she allows the book to show her she is made for more than her present situation.

I was also given the opportunity to pray for a young lady who is 8 months pregnant and her yet to be born son.

Once we were done with the girls we were given the opportunity to visit with their children in the preschool next door! That made my day in so many ways. Getting to look over the sleeping babies and pray over them was so much fun. Then we went to the classrooms with the older kids 2-4 year olds. That was a blast! We got to play and talk with them. They seemed fascinated by my Bath and Body Works hand sanitizer. So I let them try it. You would have thought it was the most amazing thing in the world when they kept trying to “attack” me to get some more.😂😂😂

That visit filled my love tank!!!😍😍😍

We then had a picnic lunch at a park near the beach. While there we shared Jesus with a couple of gentlemen who let us share their gazebo. One of whom rededicated his life to God.

After, lunch we went to St. James Infirmary. That was where I was stretched out of my comfort zone. This is a place where basically people go in but don’t come out unless it’s to be taken to their final resting place.

Most of the people there don’t have any relatives so they are placed there because there is no one take care of them. We started in the men’s quarter and went around visiting with them. Reading scripture, singing songs and praying for them. One of them did get a little fresh with me. He wanted me to take him with me to the states I told him I couldn’t and he asked why and I told him that I wasn’t sure that immigration would let him without paperwork and he told me that the real reason was because my husband would beat me and him if I brought him home. I just went with it. I wasn’t going to correct him about me being single at this time.

We left the men’s quarters and travelled down the hill to women’s rooms. The first house we walked into there was a precious little lady in a chair on the porch. She saw our Bibles in our hands an asked if we had an extra she could have. We told her we didn’t but one of our team members offered to read whatever scripture she wanted to here. While she did that I went further into the building. I kept thinking about the woman and her simple request and I couldn’t ignore it. So I cleaned out my Bible of any notes and gave it to her. She looked at me and her eyes were so full of gratitude. She told me to make sure I go to church and sing in the choir as well as to make sure I give my mom and dad a kiss when I get home. I told her that whenever she has someone read the Bible to her she has to make sure she prays for me. She promised that she would. She also said that the next time I come to see her she would sing for me. She’s a woman who has walked with the Lord for a long time and she misses not being able to go to church.

After that, I told her she was my new best friend in Jamaica and that I would praise the Lord for her every time I went to church.

After the Infirmary we went back to the hotel to freshen up for evening service and eat a wonderful dinner of jerk chicken, rice and beans, rolls, and steamed veggies.

Evening went well but started late because of the interesting phenomenon called Jamaica time. You say service starts at 7 and you’ll probably start at 7:30/7:45. We had 3 salvations and a few people come up for healing after a message by one our team members.

Oh…I almost forgot! So during praise and worship, the pastor’s husband comes up to me and sticks a microphone in my hand to help with singing. What is it with people randomly putting microphones in my hand and putting me on the spot!?!😨😱😲

I’m not appreciating this trend Jesus. 😒

Tomorrow we go to the Orphanage!!!! I get to play with babies tomorrow all the way up to age 5! I CAN’T WAIT!!!

Has God been stretching you in anyway. Please comment below and share your experiences.

Blessings,

Shineka

2nd Timothy 4:2

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season and of season  Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching. 2 Timothy 4:2 NKJV

So the first day of ministering and I had to be ready and I was definitely out of season!

In my post yesterday, I talked about being an altar worker today. I was definitely ready for that. Had a few verses for a variety of situations and I was ready to pray and speak into people’s lives. The part I wasn’t ready for was being asked to give an impromptu testimony!

After we had gone through the service; praise & worship, tithes and offerings, announcements, welcoming visitors, the host pastor stands up and introduces the mission team then she says the words that brings instant dread into my life. They will each come up and give a testimony before our speaker comes forward.

This is the conversation I had in a 2 minute span of time.

Flesh: Is this woman for real?

Spirit: Of course she is. Didn’t you asked to be stretched on this trip?

Flesh: Umm…Yeah but I hate being put on the spot. I never know what to say!!!!

Spirit: That’s why I’m here. Just say what I tell you to say.

Flesh: But I’m going to look like an idiot in front of these strangers. Can’t I just go and do a lesson with the kids and call it a day?

Spirit: And that would be stretching you how? You already do well with kids time to branch out. Just Trust Me.

Flesh: Ok I’ll trust you but if this goes south I’m blaming you.

(That last line is just me being silly. I mean you can never go wrong when you follow God.)

So, with my heart beating a mile a minute I go up the steps to the podium, take the microphone from the host pastor and take a long breath. Then I say exactly what I believe God wants them to know. That He loves them, that they are here for a reason, and that I pray that they leave changed. That took me maybe a whole minute and a half to say I think.

Then, I ran down the stairs and sat down. Well…Maybe I didn’t run down the stairs but I did move rather quickly. 😊

From there our team member gave a great message and I and the rest of the team went up to work the altar. I was honored to speak and pray over some precious young ladies. Then service was over.

Then tonight, there was an evening service where our fearless leader gave a wonderful message and again we all came up to the altar to pray for people. This time a young man came up wanting prayer for guidance. I prayed over him and sent him back to his seat but as soon as I did I was prompted to find him after service. God gave me a Word of knowledge for him and because I wasn’t about to disobey God I had to track him down after service and talk to him. While talking to him a lot of what I was hearing from God confirmed some things that he had been praying about.

This situation was definitely a ready out of season experience for me.

So, my dear friends, when asking God to stretch you, be sure that’s what you really want. Because He just might answer your prayer.

Tomorrow we are going to the Women’s Center, a place for unwed mothers and St. James infirmary. Pray for us all that we will continue to show the love of God these precious ones. Also, pray for me because I’m sharing at the Women’s Center. This in season and out thing is starting to get out of hand!?! 😱😨😉

What have you asked God for that you’re not sure if you’re ready for it or not?

Blessings,

Shineka

I’m in Jamaica!

So it’s been forever since I’ve blogged but I’m on a journey this week and I wanted to share it with you.

First, let me start with how I got here in the first place.

In December of 2016, I received an email from Crosspoint Ministries asking me to consider going on a mission trip to Jamaica. I had just gotten a new position at my company and I didn’t think I would get permission to go. Then the trip cost $2300 and I knew I couldn’t pay for the whole thing on my own. Lastly, while my heart’s desire is to go out into the world and teach I didn’t know if I was ready.

One by one God started knocking my reservations down. I went to my supervisor with a plan to pretty much beg for the time off. Before I got even half of my case out she said yes. I had gotten a Christmas bonus so I was able to pay my $200 deposit with that. Lastly, I received a Word of Knowledge that confirmed with what I believed God was telling me to do. Go to Jamaica and love on the kids there.

Then, donations slowly but surely started trickling in from my Facebook campaign. While I had many who gave, $1750 was due in by January 20th and I was still $1000 short. My birthday is January 22nd and I was praying for some people to give me cash for my birthday so I could use it towards my trip. While a few did give me cash, it wasn’t enough to cover the $1000 I needed.

Then on Monday, my dad texted me and said that he wanted to sow $1000 to my trip!!! I was dumbfounded. While I was still believing for the money I wasn’t expecting it to come in this way.

After that donation, the rest of the money just came rolling in and the trip was paid in full the week of Valentine’s Day. Not only that, but I then had people who sowed candy, bubbles, toys, coloring books, Easter eggs, balloons and other things to bring to the kids in Jamaica.  While I watched all this, I had a memory of a prophecy given to me at a women’s conference a few years back. That God would take care of whatever costs associated with mission trips I wanted to go on. All I had to do was ask.

So now I’m here, March 11th-18th, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us. A small but mighty band of 8 people going out to love on the people of Jamaica.

Tomorrow is day one of the work. We’re splitting into 2 groups and going to a couple of churches. Someone will preach and then the rest of us will be altar workers. I’m an altar worker by the way. I’m not quite ready to preach in a pulpit. 😉

So for who ever might be reading this, I ask that you pray for miracles, signs, and wonders to run rampant through this week as well as the people, both the Jamaicans and the missionaries, to experience God’s love like never before.

I believe that’s the theme of the week. God’s Love.

Comment and tell me what God’s Love means to you.

Happy Daylight Savings Day!!!

Blessings to you all,

Shineka

Unemployment Transition.

Hello Readers!

I hope you all have been doing well.  I know I’ve been enjoying my time the last few weeks.

Since I don’t officially start working again until June 16th, I’ve been treating these last few weeks as an extended vacation.  I’ve been to Carowinds, which is an amusement park near Charlotte, NC.  I had a dear friend who had bought a ticket to Joyfest and at the last-minute she wasn’t able to make it so she gave her ticket to me.

OMG People!!!!!!!  For those of you who are asking, “What the heck is  Joyfest?” Let me try to explain it to you.  Joyfest is an all the way live Gospel concert series that features some of the best artists of our day. This years acts included: the talented Tamela Mann,

Lecrae,

and my personal favorite Kirk Franklin!!!!

I was blessed to go with some of the greatest ladies I know. How can you beat great company, rollercoasters, and awesome gospel music!

Roadtrip to Carowinds
Roadtrip to Carowinds

We had so much fun and can I say Kirk Franklin knows how to do a show.  He actually started his part of the concert in the middle of the audience and we got this close to him as he made his way to the stage.

Believe it or not, that blur is Kirk Franklin running past us.
Believe it or not, that blur is Kirk Franklin running past us.

I was so exhausted after that Saturday excursion I don’t know how I even made it to church early Sunday morning but I did!  This particular Sunday was Kids Service Sunday in our 1st-5th grade class. That’s where the wonderful kids in our church get to take over and run the service!  The kids we had this month did an exceptional job.

On Monday, my besties and I went to Folly Beach in Charleston, SC!

Charleston is the city that I would love to live in one day.  It has history, wonderful food, two great beaches, and divine shopping.  Basically, it has everything I look for in a vacation spot.  The best part is that it is only a few hours away from where I live. God is good. 🙂

My Besties and Me!
My Besties and Me!
Folly Beach!
Folly Beach!

So we chilled at the beautiful beach for a few hours, ate at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co. for dinner , and for dessert we went to Paolo’s for my favorite Gelato. (Gelato was very important to my life that day.)

The best part of my winding down to stable employment again is that I can look back on some really great memories to sustain me when I get back to the 9-5 grind.

If I’ve learned anything from this whole experience is that I have to definitely enjoy everyday to its fullest. Even when I start back to work, I want to make sure that I’m living and not just existing.

Smooches,

Shineka

Unemployment weeks 5-7

Hello Readers!

So much to convey from the last three weeks!

So I went on a couple of interviews. One was via telephone for a merchandiser position. Another was face to face. but let me back up just a tad bit before I get into those and their results.

In my last post, I told you about my miraculous mailbox that kept producing free books each week.  Well, for weeks five and six , I again received a free book a week.

One was a book from the wonderful Sandra D. Bricker. It was the latest copy of her Contemporary Fairy Tale Rise and Shine. A great read that would be perfect for the summer.  The second book, was one I won in an online contest.

The Wednesday before Mother’s Day, I had a telephone interview with a company hiring for a part-time merchandiser.  The interview went well and I was told I should be getting a second telephone interview from the supervisor in the next couple of days. Unfortunately, I never received that phone call. (C’est la vie.)

The Thursday before Mother’s Day, I and a new friend of mine, went to a local job fair.  That is where I met the contacts for my face to face interview.  I came to the fair armed with resumes, a cute business dress and hopefully a winning smile and attitude.  The fair was small but we hit most of the tables.  We filled out several applications, networked and we both walked away with appointments for interviews at a local company looking for customer service representatives.

The Saturday before Mother’s Day, I became a mother. (No I never was nor have I ever been pregnant.) My church had a Mother/Daughter Brunch on that Saturday.  Since my mother lives in another state and I don’t have any children of my own, I wasn’t planning on going.

However, a few weeks before the event I was asked to participate in the fashion show they were going to do during the brunch.  The coordinator asked me because she wanted to express the importance of the Spiritual Mother/Daughter relationship.

I personally am without a spiritual mother and even though I work with the youth and kids at my church I never really considered myself a spiritual mother.  I mean, am I even old enough to do that? (Don’t answer that question! It was strictly rhetorical.)  I naturally assumed that any of the girls I work with would probably be doing the event with their mothers but I put the question out there anyway.

Majority of the girls were planning on being out-of-town or were already going with their moms but I did have one young lady who volunteered to do the event with me. I was honored that not only did the young lady in question considered me mother material but that her own mother trusted me with one of her precious daughters.

My Daughter and I

My Daughter and I

Mother’s Day Sunday, I went to church, helped out with a bake sale fundraiser to help send some of our youth to camp and then I spent the afternoon with one of my besties after service.  We went out to a fun Mexican restaurant called Poblano’s then we went to see God’s Not Dead.  The movie was great. A tiny bit slow on the setup of the plot but I definitely enjoyed it.

The Monday after Mother’s Day, I had a visit with my dad, one of my aunts, her husband and one of their sons whom I haven’t seen in years.  (My cousin is the one I hadn’t seen in years, just for clarification sake.)

Imagine my surprise when I saw this tall handsome young man come striding through my door. Let’s just say I definitely felt old. The last time I remember seeing him I was still taller than he was!

My long lost cousin.
My long-lost cousin.

Last Wednesday, was my interview with the company who was looking for Customer Service Representatives.  I arrived early and said a little prayer as I walked through the door.  After signing in, I took a typing skills test, took a written test about basic computer knowledge and then sat in the reception room and waited for my first interview.  While waiting, I read some and also talked with some of the other candidates who were waiting to be interviewed.  I enjoyed talking with the others so much I forgot to be nervous about the impending interview.

When my turn came around, I was so relaxed and at ease I just went in and had a lovely conversation with the Human Resources Manager.  She and I hit it off very well.  So well that she asked me to stay for a second interview with one of the supervisors I would potentially be working under.  (Yay!!!)  So, I went back to the reception room and waited for my second round interview.

The supervisor, who interviewed me, was quite a lovely woman as well.  In fact, it was more like a get to know you conversation than a run of the mill interview.  After the interview, I went to the reception area to await their final decision.

After about twenty minutes or so, I was offered a job!!!!!!!!

Yes, Dear Readers, I am no longer considered unemployed!!!!!!!  My first day isn’t until the middle of next month, but I have a job. (I am employable! I was starting to wonder for a minute there.)

Last Friday, I spent the afternoon being a tourist in my little town of Augusta, Georgia.  I was treated to lunch by another one of my besties at a local restaurant called Boll Weevil’s Cafe. They have some of the most amazing food on the planet and their desserts are simply fabulous!

After lunch, we walked along the Riverwalk.  Then enjoyed some culture at the Morris Museum of Art. Later that evening, My church had a marriage conference and I volunteered to work in the HUB, 1st-5th graders,  that night and the next morning. Everything went well.  We played with hula hoops and jump ropes, watched a movie, then went and played in a bouncy house.  Of course, we also had tons of snacks.

Last Saturday, after the morning session of the conference, I went shopping at my favorite Goodwill location to look for some deals.  I found a dress, three pairs of pants, a shirt, and a pair of shorts.  I was going to call it a day when I decided to look at their purses. I looked through several purses looking for stains and seeing how intact they were, when I found a $20 bill in the pocket of one of the purses!  (Glory, Hallelujah!) So, not only did I find some pieces to flesh out my new work wardrobe, but I also found a little money to help pay for them and a new purse.

That’s my God, readers.  He has always been a God of more than enough. During this short time of unemployment, I haven’t had to ask for a loan, miss a rent or car payment, or worry where my next meal was going to come from.  I had my moments of doubt but, in spite of my lack of faith, He proved Himself faithful and will continue to do so.

I’m not out of the woods just yet, dear readers.  While I am now employed, there will still be some testing. I will be making less money an hour than my last job but, I know my God has a plan and a purpose for me and I will try my best to continue down this road one step at a time.

Smooches,

Shineka

Unemployment Weeks Three and Four

Hi Dear Reader!!

Because I didn’t post last week and since the details are starting to get a little fuzzy for me I’ve decided to combine the last two weeks into one post so you can get an idea of what I’ve been up to.

So in week three, not a lot happened. However, I am noticing a trend with my mailbox. On Tuesday of week three, I got a free book in the mail!

It seems I entered a contest a few months ago and thought nothing else about it.  Imagine my surprise when I opened my mail box and found a new book sitting inside!

free book

Later on that day, my water heater decided to leak. (Not a great thing.) However, I caught the leak early enough that I was able to keep it from doing too much damage and called Maintenance person in charge of my apartment complex.

On Wednesday, the maintenance crew showed up and instead of fixing the existing heater they installed a brand new water heater!

On Thursday, I went to a prayer meeting.

Friday,  I met up with my beautiful sister.

Selena

We had breakfast  and lunch together. She also gave me a makeover. (Helping me polish my image for interviews and the like.)

MY After Photo

MY After Photo

Saturday, I and my besties decided to go on an adventure and check out a Christian Dance for Singles: Augusta Christian Singles.

We had seen and heard advertisement for the group for a few years now and we had decided that we were finally going to check it out.

To start of with, the four of us were the youngest ones in the room.  I’d say most of the patrons were 50 or older.  There were also quite a few more women than men at this little shindig as well.

I  will say ,that even though the women out numbered the men my friends and I did get our fair share of partners. (Mostly, I think that’s just because we were new and they wanted to make sure we came back.)

For myself, I definitely think I’m going back. For $10 I got a dance lesson, a wonderful devotional given by a local pastor, a tasty dinner, and met some nice people.

Week Four held Resurrection Sunday!

On that Sunday I tried to duplicate my makeover and went off to church.

Allie and I
Allie and I

Now sometime during this lovely week, I opened my mailbox to find yet another free book!  I’m not even sure why I got this one but I’m not going to argue with free books appearing in my mailbox.

Thursday night, I went to see a couple of the youth from my church in a production of the Wiz! The show was a lot of fun and I enjoyed every bit of it.

Friday night, I had bible study with my beautiful Middle/High School girls. I made them dinner which consisted of Veggie lettuce wraps, wild rice, mini egg rolls, and for dessert a German Chocolate Cake.  We finished the book Battlefield of the Mind: For Teens by Joyce Meyers and had a great discussion session.

Saturday, I spent the afternoon prepping for class on Sunday.  I was scheduled to teach the 1st-5th graders during our 11 am service and I wasn’t quite prepared.  Spent a few hours at Starbucks getting that accomplished but I was happy with the results.

So that’s my last two weeks Readers!

Smooches,

Shineka

Week Two of Unemployment

Hello Readers!

Well last week was actually quite interesting. I live in Augusta, GA so last week was the famous Master’s Golf Tournament. So we had a large influx of tourists in our fair city from all over the world but that wasn’t what made last week interesting for me. Here’s last week’s story.

Monday: Woke up and checked my email to find…an invite to an interview! Yay, yippee, Yahoo!!!!!! There were two possible dates. I could either come in Wednesday @ 9 am or come in Thursday @ 3 pm. Trying to be strategic I chose Wednesday. My thought process was if I did exceptionally well that the people who came Thursday would have to live up to the example I set the day before. After Sending my reply I started doing some major planning. First of all, I needed to check over my clothes, shoes, hair, and my overall image. After evaluating everything I decided to do something about my hair.

If you can’t tell from my picture I’m of African-American descent. I also happen to have natural hair. Basic translation, I don’t put chemicals in my hair to straighten it. Now, Monday was rainy and I wasn’t sure what Tuesday or Wednesday would be like so I couldn’t flat-iron my hair and because I was interviewing for a position as the personal assistant to the CEO of the company I wanted to be as conservative as possible my only plausible option seemed to be to cut my large afro back to something much smaller. Which really wasn’t a problem. I actually like my hair that way but I was trying to grow it out during the colder months.

So after running and getting a haircut I then went to my WI-FI spot, Starbucks, and filled out more online paperwork for unemployment. While there I searched for more jobs to apply to, wrote a couple of blog posts, and people watched.

Tuesday: Was errand and laundry day. Everything I could think to get done before my interview I did. Including buying pantyhose, doing laundry (got to have clean underwear when going to an interview.), and printing out extra copies of my resume. I also did research on the company so I could have an idea of what they did as well as come prepared with a few possible ideas of things they may want to implement.

Wednesday: The Big day had arrived! I woke up super early. Showered and prepared for my big interview. Including putting on pantyhose. I know I’ve mentioned this twice and some of you are probably wondering why I keep harping on this. Here’s the deal. I detest pantyhose. I haven’t worn the things in 10 years!!!! They are uncomfortable and when your legs rub together they announce everywhere you go. I left super early and was at the location about 45 minutes before the interview. Because I was so early I decided to sit in my car for a while. Ten minutes before the start of the interview I walked into the building and inquired about who I needed to talk to for the interview.

That’s when I found out that this was going to be a group interview. I and another five of six candidates were being interviewed at the same time. That was a game changer for me. When I’m not completely comfortable in a situation I have a tendency to be much quieter than usual. In fact, I can totally disappear into the background and just observe others. This is not a good thing if you are trying to apply for a job. So now I’m trying to scramble mentally and figure out how to get myself to shine amongst all the other candidates and make a great impression.

After all the candidates arrived they took us into a small conference room and had us take a personality test. According to the test I’m dependable. (Always good to know.) Then they had us fill out an application. While we filled out the application they left the room. After, ten minutes or so they came back took our applications and told us that we would get a call later for a second interview.

So I went to Starbucks and applied for more jobs.

Later that night a couple of us decided to go to Bone Fish for dinner. That was interesting with all the tourists there, it was fun to people watch and see who all had come to our fair city.

Thursday: I stayed home! It was my recovery day from all the stress and preparation for my interview.

Friday: I got a call from Department of Labor telling me that I forgot to do something for certification so I had to go to Starbucks and go to their website. Since I’m a believer of always being prepared, I took my time and made sure I looked extra cute. 😉

Which turned out to be a good thing because there were a lot of cute guys that came through my closest Starbucks. None of them talked to me but it could have happened. You never know. I filled out the online form then decided to check on a few bills that I knew would be coming up soon. One of those bills was my car insurance. I saw there was a way of lowering my bill if I took an online defensive driver course. The course was $20 dollars and the discount was $30. I figured a net of $10 savings on my bill was worth it so I stayed in Starbucks and proceeded to take a 5 or 6 hour-long course on defensive driving. While I was there, one of my besties called and we made plans to hang out that night. After a few more hours of hanging out at Starbucks and taking the course I, and two other friends got together and had dinner at another friends house.

While there, we decided to go to the lake the next day and enjoy ourselves.

Saturday: Everyone met at my house and we took off towards Clark Hill Lake. We got a little lost on the way there but we made it there and had a glorious relaxing afternoon!

Lake entrance

Beach at the lake

gazebo at the lake

It was while we were soaking up this beautiful environment that we decided to look into other fun things for us to do and broaden our horizons. Amongst us we decided that we love our church and love how they do conferences and retreats for our married couples but we wanted to go to a singles conference. Something that was geared totally to us and a way for us to network and get to know singles who had similar views.  So we were searching a few large churches near Atlanta that usually have such conferences and found that they weren’t offering anything this year.  However, at one of the churches, Free Chapel in Gainesville, Ga, was having Israel Houghton lead their praise and worship service the next day!

Now I own a lot of his cd’s and whenever I’m going through some tough times, he is one of my go to worship leaders. Seeing as I love his work so much you’d think I would have seen him live at least once. The sad truth is I hadn’t.  If he was ever in the area in concert I was either at work or didn’t have the money for a concert ticket.

Here was an opportunity that I couldn’t let pass me by! Not only was the man 2 and a half hours away but this was a regular worship service which meant that there wouldn’t be a fee to get in.  So I grabbed one of my friends and told her we were getting on the road early Sunday morning so we could go to the 11 am service at Free Chapel.

Isreal close up

The service was AMAZING!!!!!! I’ve always loved his worship in a recording but in real life it was whole different experience.  The man is truly gifted! I think I may have regressed to the maturity of a star-struck teenager for a little bit. I’m almost certain I might have squealed when I saw him step out onto the stage. My poor friend may even have a sore leg as well because I’m almost certain I hit her leg several times in my excitement! (I’m sure she’ll forgive me…eventually)

On the way home, we came through Atlanta and stopped to visit with one of my brothers.  We had a lovely lunch at Wendy’s and just caught up on each other’s lives.

After that my friend and I hit the road and headed for home.

That was my week. Some triumphs, some fellowship, and a kiss from God. Palm Sunday being led into worship by one of my favorite worship leaders.

Smooches,

Shineka

Week one of Unemployment

Hola Readers!

So last week was my first full week of unemployment and I had my ups and downs emotionally speaking.

On Monday, I picked up my separation paperwork from my employer and went to the Department of Labor. I remember going there when I first moved into this area a little over fifteen years ago but at the time I was a high school graduate trying to find my first job to help pay for college tuition and books.

I was a tiny bit nervous because I had no idea what to expect. I think the nice woman at the welcome desk could tell I had no idea what I was doing so she quickly walked me through the process and sent me on to the next line.

Once my turn came around I was given a booklet that told me all about unemployment insurance (Still have to finish that stimulating read.), given some paperwork to fill out and sent to a room where I was to watch a seven minute video about filing for Unemployment and all the different things I was expected to do on a weekly basis.

After the video, I was sent to a computer to start the claim process. I actually finished in record time compared to most of the other people in the room.  I think that’s mostly because I’m used to using computers and their quirks and foibles.  It seems most of the people there with me had a few issues with their computers and I was asked a few times by my neighbors how to get around on the site.

Georgia Department of Labor
Georgia Department of Labor

 

Tuesday, I went to a prayer meeting at my church and then went to my local Starbucks to use their wi-fi and apply to some positions as well as work on a couple of volunteer projects.

Wednesday, I went to a meeting at my bank to plan on what to do with my 401K from my former employer then went back to Starbucks for a few hours. Later that evening, I went to church for mid-week services.

Thursday, I made the mistake of staying at home all day. That is when depression started to kick in.  I started berating myself for leaving my job and not applying for another position there. I got upset because I was starting to think I had to be a fool for letting myself get into this situation. I also couldn’t understand why God would be putting me through this. I mean didn’t He know I should’ve had a job before my last day at work!

Then I had to have a come to Jesus meeting that night. I had to remind myself of all the things God had done for me in the past and how he hasn’t failed me yet. He also sent one of my best friends along to make sure I got out of the house on Friday.

Friday, I spent the day helping one of my besties shop for a vacation she was about to go on in a few days.  We went to almost every Wal-Mart in the Augusta/Evans area, Target, Bath and Body Works, Brusters Ice Cream, and we also got some lovely pedicures!  Then that night, we met up with a few of my other besties and saw the glorious Chris Evans in Captain America 2: the Winter Soldier.

Love a great pedicure. Blue Toes!
Love a great pedicure. Blue Toes!

Saturday, I again stayed home but this time I just reveled in the fact that I wasn’t at work on a Saturday.

So that is a summation of my week. Like I said some ups and downs but I’m determined to keep my focus strong.  I maybe unemployed but my rent is paid, I have plenty of food, gas in my car, good friends, and a great God!

God Bless you my dear Readers!

Smooches,

Shineka