The Light Is On But Ain’t Nobody Here

By Danielle N. Hall

08/27/2017

(Title inspired by a conversation with a friend)


About a month ago, on July 23rd to be exact, I was conversing with a faithful friend who was making an early morning run to the grocery store to grab a few items. When she had finished selecting her items, she approached the register…as any other normal shopper would. However, what she said next arrested my attention. She said “Man, what’s going on?! The light is on, but ain’t nobody here?” I immediately said: “That’s a message…as a matter of fact, I’ll make it the title of a blog post!” So here we are…at the moment of arrival.

When I first heard the words I thought about how 35 years ago the O’Jays so harmoniously sang “You know your body’s here with me, but your mind is on the other side of town.” The thing about light, it represents presence. When many of us arrive at home, we are flipping light switches on. However, I’ve intentionally left a light on in our absence to give the impression that someone was home. I’m sure the person assigned to the register wasn’t trying to give a false signal, but the truth is, he/she sent mixed signals.

How many of us show up physically, but our minds are on the other side of town? How many of us give the impression that we are present, when we are as absent as Ferris Bueller was from school? Maybe I shouldn’t say “us” and “we”…let me just speak for myself. With being inundated with life’s pressures, especially as of late, I can certainly attest to being present and absent simultaneously. It’s become a bit of a coping mechanism.

How do we avoid this type of paradoxical existence? What I’m about to share is something I’ve experienced historically as being effective, but I have not recently employed as much as I should. Sometimes we have to:

1) Communicate the need to preserve energy.

Verbal communication is a great tool to help minimize misunderstandings and to help banish assumptions. Again, if one sees the light on he/she will assume you are present and available. Too often we assume people understand our needs, but expressing them verbally helps to take away frustration on both ends.

2) Turn the light switch off.

If we are giving the impression that we are present, but we know we aren’t truly available, it can make people question our reliability and/or trustworthiness. However, if the light switch is off, the expectation is different: it clearly communicates that we are not available. 

3) Even when you shut down, remember to stay connected.

When cell phones are being charged, the device tends to charge quicker when it is powered off. We can turn the light switch off, but we need to stay connected to the power source to get recharged more quickly. 

4) Light it up!

There is a need for the light, and the quicker we recharge, the sooner we are available to meet the needs of those who seek and await the light.

Matthew 5:16 (KJV) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

 Ephesians 3:16-19 (AMP) May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality], so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply rooted and securely] grounded in love, be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love]; and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself]. 

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From the Waters…

by Danielle N. Hall

7/29/2017

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Are you sick and tired of drowning in the seas of others’ opinions of what you should be doing or how you should be? I know I am, but I’ve got news…I’m coming from the waters:

Like Roger Waters: “The Tide is Turning”

Like Muddy Waters: “I Love the Life I Live”
Like Crystal Waters: “From the back to the middle and around again…”

Like Maxine Waters: I’m “Reclaiming my time!”


I’ve learned that allowing people to try to plot out your life’s course, worrying about people trying to determine your salvation, giving people free rent in your head space, doubting who you know you are, and hesitating in doing what God told you to do is a waste of time. It’s official: I’m #reclaimingmytime. I’ve wasted years swimming around in the troubled waters of doubt, fear, and limited thinking. What I’m not gonna do is dwell on how much further I could be if I hadn’t squandered time and opportunity, but what I am gonna do is resolve to move forward…and I’ll do so with great faith and perseverance. 

The tide is turning, I love the life I live…from the back to the middle and around again…I’m reclaiming my time! I’m coming from the “Waters”!!!

2 Samuel 22:17 (NASB) He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. 

Up Against the Wall

by Danielle N. Hall

7/4/2017

Have you ever had one of those seasons where so much was coming at you and you either just got your throwing hand ready to hurl the towel or you simply said: “What’s next?!” Last summer was certainly one of those seasons for me! There was trouble with my health, in my home, and with my home…I must admit: I felt a bit defeated for a second…I felt like my back was against the wall and I didn’t have fight in me. Waving the white flag of surrender sounded like a really great idea, BUT I’ve got that true Brock-Smith blood in me…the kind that doesn’t know anything but determination.

As I am recounting this experience, a familiar inspirational song comes to mind: Made a Way by Travis Greene. 

You made a way

When our backs were against the wall

And it looked as if it was over

You made a way

And we’re standing here

Only because You made a way

You made a way

I must say that these lyrics echo the sentiments of my heart. As I mentioned before: I faced health challenges and home challenges. The combination of all things was somewhat overwhelming. Allow me to elaborate…

Last July, I endured one of the longest bouts of vertigo I’d ever had since my first attack over 20 years ago. Just before the 4th of July, I’d attended a family/church fellowship at Solomons Island. Ain’t nothing like good family, good food, and good fellowship! However, my enjoyable time was brief…that horrible party pooper, aka vertigo, showed up on the scene.

“They” say: “When it rains, it pours!”. Well, vertigo rained on my parade and I was pouring with sweat! Fortunately, it only lasted for a couple of days. However, it had soon returned. The timing was less than ideal. The tension measurement in the household had been thicker than a McDonalds milkshake. (Side Note: they need to serve those milkshakes with spoons and not straws, but I digress). Perhaps this truth perpetuated the longer than usual recovery time. Things were a bit bleak on the homefront and we were at the point of making a life altering decision. Though I thought I was prepared to handle the change, thoughts of the change were stressful. 

Anyhow, after having been essentially bed ridden for about a week, I peeled myself out of the bed and walked gingerly over to our leasing office. I was blindsided by the surprise news that I received. When the words parted the lips of the property manager, I pretty much was speechless, but in my mind I was like: “Nooooo, I wasn’t ready!!!”. “It couldn’t be that bad” you might say, but trust me…given the timing and the circumstances, it def was a BFD to me. So on July 15th, as I sat in the chair in the office of the property manager, Mrs. S, I heard these words: “Oh, you’re set for ABSOLUTE eviction on August 2nd.” I was informed that these were irreversible plans of the Sherriff. I inquired about our options and she informed me there was no amount of money or anything else that would change what we were facing…It was a decision set by the sheriff. The last thing I was trying to hear, while dealing with both vertigo and a strained home situation, was that in a very short time we were going to be without a home. The thought of having to share that info with my three little ones was heartbreaking.

I will say that was one of a very few times where I felt defeated. I was sick and tired, literally. You have to understand how debilitating vertigo is to fully appreciate these circumstances. Quitting is not in my makeup…I’m a Brock-Smith, we are too determined, but in the above described moment, I didn’t feel like fighting anymore and I was ok with letting the chips fall how they may. 

On the evening of Sunday, July 17th, I had a conversation with my longtime spiritual advisor: my first grade teacher. In said conversation, she reminded me of who I am in Christ and she fervently prayed. After a major ugly cry, I suddenly no longer felt defeated and I also felt an immediate turn around physically.  I’d done some research and had made some appointments to view a few rental homes. We checked the places out and hadn’t really found “the one” yet. 

Our backs were up against the wall. Time was running out and we had none to waste because the 2nd of August was approaching. While at my desk at work one afternoon, the Lord spoke to me and said: “Call and ask again”. This was in reference to the leasing office and our options. I heeded His voice and called. To my pleasant surprise, the property manager had a different response. She said if you bring $xxxx.xx before we close today it will cancel the eviction. By the grace of God, we were able to combine resources and I darted off from the office to make sure we did our part to get the requested amount turned in. CLEARLY THIS WAS THE LORD’S DOING! He made a way, when our backs were against the wall and it looked as if it was over.

What I want you to get most from this particular post is that it doesn’t matter how grim or impossible a situation may be, God is sovereign and He is able. HE has the final say. As a matter of fact, in the midst of that trying season, at church I had to lead the song “Sovereign God” by Maurette Brown Clark. In that moment, the message in the song was very personal to me. Before ministering in song, the Lord nudged me to share my testimony about the situation I was in at that moment. I was apprehensive because it was embarrassing, but I know better than to not heed His voice. I did as He said, and I was the recipient of a check for $1500 from an anonymous source who followed the voice of God! 

This type of experience is not happenstance and is the reason I have great faith. God is faithful and has proven Himself to be so…over and over and over. He is not a tyrant, but He IS a good, good Father. Who wouldn’t want to serve a God like that?! 

Below are the links to the two songs mentioned in this post. I hope they bless you…especially when you feel like you’re up against the wall!

“Made A Way” https://g.co/kgs/fgQuA9

“Sovereign God” https://g.co/kgs/NDHniv

 

Hot Sauce In My Bag

by Danielle N. Hall

6/9/2017

If you’ve been coherent and have had the ability to hear any time since the Super Bowl last year, chances are you’ve heard one of Beyoncé’s most catchy tunes: Formation. In said song, she makes a reference to what an unknowing listener may think is a condiment. “I got hot sauce in my bag, swag.” Let me make this very clear for the ones who may be unaware: she wasn’t talking about staying ready to douse Texas Pete, Frank’s Red Hot, Tabasco®, or Cholula on a nice, fried piece of catfish. I can show you better than I can tell you: here’s the “hot sauce” Bey was talking about she stays ready with.


Apparently, she wanted to let the people know to not be fooled by the fame and fortune…she’s still “country”, yet fierce and she’s not here for the foolishness. She wanted to let you know that you can get it.

I, too, have “hot sauce in my bag” and a message for the people. 


You can get THIS “hot sauce“, too! I recently had to make a pit stop at one of my favorite artillery shops to get one of my most useful weapons: “hot sauce” is what they call it. 

When I tell you that the past 6 weeks have been quite an exhausting adventure, please believe me! From my father’s next to death experience, to the Mr’s requirement of 3 procedures under anesthesia in a 10 day span, to the eldest child being faced with potentially repeating 12th grade, to the middle child being provoked and engaging in physical altercations, to dealing with vertigo…this has been a season to remember. It had been wearing me out and I knew exactly where I needed to go and what I needed to get. 

Turning Natural© is an establishment on a mission to create healthier lives by way of education opportunities and the products they offer. The line of juices includes my favs: Bromelionaire (pineapple, apple, and ginger), Beta Bomb (carrots, apple, oranges, ginger, and a hint of lemon), and 50 Shades of Green (chlorophyll, mint, pineapple, apple, and coconut water). There’s both a variety of smoothie options that don’t include any dairy products and a selection of vegan edibles that are tasty…the black bean burger is outstanding! 

All of that is great, but let me tell you about this hot sauce that’s in my bag: it’s a liquid vitamin blend of vitamins A-K.  Vitamins A-K are essential to keeping the body healthy and the mind alert. Lack of these vitamins can lead to fatigue, impaired vision, weak teeth and bones, and even serious illness. When we are constantly on the go and are constantly pouring out, we can get drained and fail to give our body what it needs for proper functioning. When it feels like life has been getting the best of me and has been wearing my body and mind out, I almost always think of stopping by my artillery shop aka Turning Natural© and loading up on weapons. “Hot Sauce” is one. It is served in a syringe, is refrigerated, and looks like the Cholula brand hot sauce you see atop many restaurant tables.

Your artillery shop might not be Turning Natural©. You may not identify “Hot Sauce” as your choice weapon like both Beyoncé and I have. My question is: what IS in your bag?

For more information on Turning Natural© visit http://www.turningnatural.com

V.O.I.C.E.

by Danielle N. Hall

6/2/2017


Ladies, you may have been violated and experienced #sexualassault or #sexualabuse, but be encouraged by His Word that tells us:

“But no matter what comes, we will always taste victory through Him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37 

#WeWin

Join V.O.I.C.E. for our next Winning Wednesday gathering. You can register here for #FREE

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/voice-winning-wednesdays-tickets-34997574688

If Loving You Is Right, I Don’t Wanna Be Wrong

by Danielle N. Hall

4/9/2017

Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJV)

Lately I’ve been thinking of the beginning lyrics to Kirk Franklin’s Song “Love”: 

“Love, a word that comes and goes, but few people really know what it means to really love somebody.”

As I ponder these lyrics, I’d have to admit that there may be some validity to that statement. In my opinion, what some believe is love just isn’t. Real love is not self-serving. As a matter fact, one of the ways Merriam-Webster defines love is as follows: “unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another“. There are many who say they love, but their love only extends as far as your last deed towards them. In other words, their love begs the question: “What have you done for me lately?” Moreover, some who say that they love you may have an uncanny way of keeping track of offenses. I’m so grateful that God’s love doesn’t resemble that. According to His Word, this is what love looks like:

“Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (VOICE)

This is what real love is! Ask yourself these questions:

-When was the last time you told someone “I love you”? 

-When was the last time you showed someone that you love him/her? 

-Is the love that you have unconditional?

Prayerfully, the answer to the last question is “yes”, but for many of us the truth is that we do attach conditions to our love. With that being the case, can we honestly call it “love“? God commands us in His word to love our neighbor, but He didn’t say to do so only when our fellow brothers and sisters are being neighborly. His word says that “love bears all things regardless of what comes, believes all things looking for the best in each one, hopes all things remaining steadfast during difficult times, endures all things without weakening.” 

I know there are times when I disappoint God and there are times when I may have broken His heart, yet He still has the capacity to love me…in spite of me. He saw the best in me, when everyone else around could only see the worst in me. His love is steadfast and unmatched, He gave His only begotten Son just to show how sacrificial and unselfish His love is. What an example! The least I can do as an expression of my gratitude for this extreme act of loving kindness is to do as He has commanded. If loving you is right, I don’t want to be wrong! Just as He loves me, flaws and all, I extend the same to my fellow brothers and sisters.

Angels Watching Over Me

by Danielle N. Hall

3/30/2017


Two weeks ago from today, I’d had what I would consider a good day. The work day had come to an end and I prepared to leave to head to praise team/choir rehearsal: as is custom every Thursday. What I did not know is I’d be walking outside to a not so good discovery on what had been a good day.  I walked towards my car and discovered that the rear driver’s side tire had gone flat. I had a few thoughts, but my primary thoughts were that this is something that’s gonna cost me both money and time that I don’t have. I called my husband to inform him of my situation and he did offer to come to the rescue. I told him to just hold on and let me think for a minute because it would be quite a distance to travel from where he was to where I was.

My next phone call was one that I’d reluctantly make to the insurance company. You see, the way my insurance is set up, I’d be responsible for fees up front and would have to submit the necessary info to get reimbursement. Before I placed that call, though, I did make one other call and it was  quite short in duration. It kinda went like this: “Lord, please just send somebody to help.” That was my request and I had faith that He’d favorably respond to my call. Yet, in the back of my mind, I knew time was of the essence. 

Just as I’d dialed the number to Allstate, a gentleman appeared and was walking on the service road that leads up to our office building. I blew my horn and waved him over and asked if he knew how to change a tire. He answered affirmatively and asked me to pop the trunk so he could get what he needed to handle the task at hand. It turns out it was tougher than what I thought. 

When I solicited his assistance it was 6:20pm. As he was taking care of the tire, I asked him where he was headed and if I could give him a ride. He declined and said that it was just a 5 minute walk. Oh, did I mention this was a 20 degree day?! He informed me that he was heading to the early bird special at Bingo which started at 6:30pm. I again offered a ride and even a couple of dollars. He respectfully declined. He finally said to me: “This could be me one day.” 

While having the tire issue addressed was certainly a blessing, I was more blessed by this man’s extreme kindness, to the point of inconvenience, with nothing expected in return. I thank God for immediately answering my call, for being a present help in the time of trouble, and for His angels who are so busy watching over me because my tire could’ve gone flat while driving on the highway. I was even able to catch the tail end of praise team rehearsal and all of choir rehearsal, while this man opted to both walk in the frigid air and to be late for what he had planned just so he could assist me. Indeed, he was an angel. 

“For He will order His angels to protect you wherever you go.” – Psalm 91:11 (NLT)

For a closing thought ponder the following: Are you willing to be inconvenienced for the benefit of someone else?