A Monarch…The Weight of my Wings…

Hello Butterflies! It has been a whirlwind week, and quite honestly, I am not sure why. It has been a week of me feeling like Spring has SPRUNG, yet there is still a Winter chill. Feeling like the world is out here, just mine for the taking, yet stagnancy is trying to keep me tied up and weighted down. Off and on and on and off. Feeling like I am flying with the lightest of butterfly wings… and yet, the wings feel heavy. And it’s funny how people will see things moving ahead for you, like the little engine that could, and yet, they don’t know that the more things move ahead, the heavier the weight of wanting to succeed, of having to succeed of needing to succeed seems to almost lay itself on your wings. And every Butterfly doesn’t make it, every Butterfly can’t fly with weight, because every Butterfly isn’t the same. And sometimes, this Butterfly wonders if will she able to carry the gift of her wings, wings that bare the weight of her gift.

As I was thinking about this, I decided to do some research about the culture of the Butterfly. And I learned four things about Butterflies that I need to keep in mind when fighting the “good fight of faith” in this life…

1-Scientists have proven that Monarch Butterflies are the strongest with a range that is worldwide.
Monarchs are the only Butterflies that perform an annual migration across North America which has been called “one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world.” Starting in September and October, eastern/northeastern populations migrate from southern Canada and the United States to overwintering sites in central Mexico where they arrive around November. They start the return trip in March, arriving around July. No individual butterfly completes the entire round trip; female monarchs lay eggs for the next generation during the northward migration and at least four generations are involved in the annual cycle. Something interesting to note is not all monarchs migrate BUT migrating populations and non-migrating populations coexist in many areas.

After learning all of that, I made up in my mind that I was indeed born to be a Monarch. But with being a Monarch came great responsibility. See it’s not just about being strong for myself, but I have to be strong enough to go the distance to make sure that the generation after me is birthed in a place that will nurture them and allow them to pick up the Mantle of the Monarchs and continue the journey, just like with actual Butterflies. And I had to understand that there are other Monarchs who, although they possess the same strength, and serve the same GOD as me, we may not have the same gifts. Their Kingdom assignment may not be to make the global trip nor carry the responsibility of birthing the next generation, but it is ok, because we all carry the Monarch name and therefore should be able to dwell together peacefully. 1st Corinthians 12 vs. 4-6 NIV reads, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”
I am a Monarch.

2-The gifts that I have been given will attract prey, but it is the gifts that I have been given that will be my way of escape.
Most butterflies are brightly colored, which would seem to counter their evasiveness by making them easier to spot and track. A report in the October 28 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences done by Biologist Thomas Eisner and Benjamin Jantzen states, “a butterfly’s ability to evade AND its blatant pigmentation may go hand in hand. Daytime butterflies are large and visible to birds. Since they are going to be spotted in any case, being showy about it isn’t a drawback, but is potentially a defensive maneuver—to advertise that they are difficult to catch. Butterflies, “have giant wings that are just so brightly colored,” says Jantzen, “and those are exactly what make it hard to get hold of them.”

I have been told that I have a bright and colorful personality. And at times, I have felt that, because of my colors, I became the prey, just like the Butterfly. I became an easy target to hunt and hang out to dry, BECAUSE my color was so noticeable. Times I felt like something was wrong with me because I couldn’t tone down who I was, my coat had too many colors. I noticed it was ok when people wanted to be entertained, but to continuously be colorful…that was just too much. I remember back in 2011, I was told by a Vice President that people’s perception of me, was reality. In other words, whatever someone thought about me, was true. And that shook me up, because there was a point when she told me that I was too social (even though I got the work done and helped some of her managers as well) and another time when she said I was basically not social enough, always in my office space (even though I got the work done and helped some of her managers as well.) So, what perception should I fight to change??? None…I decided to dilute my colors and shorten my wingspan. But then GOD reminded me how far I had come in him and how it was his power at work in me that people needed to see. He reminded me by way of Matthew 15 vs. 14-16 NIV. “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” And by totally and completely surrending myself over to GOD and his will for my life, and allowing my life to reflect HIM, no matter how many times my colors alerted the enemy that I was on the move, light cancels out darkness, so as long as I kept shining, no predator devil in hell would be able to get ahold of me!
 I am a Monarch.

3- I can still fly with clipped or broken wings, albeit a bit slower, but I will still get to my destination.
A Butterfly has 4 wings, two front wings and 2 hind-wings. The front wings in butterflies are the ones driven by the insect’s muscles; the hind wings are passively coupled to the front ones. A biologist, Thomas Eisner (the same Thomas Eisner I write about above under number 2,) decided to investigate just what the back wings were doing by trimming them away bit by bit and found that if he removed the entire hind wing, the insects could still fly the same trajectory path but they tend to fly a little slower.  He also realized that wing breakage is very common in natural circumstances.

When I read that the Butterfly could still make it to its destination with wings that were imperfect, wings that may be deformed, I took a hard look at my own wings and some of the traumas they have suffered at the hands of others and also at my own hands. I looked at my wings in their weakened state, feeling heavy under the weight of life, and it became even clearer to me that I had no excuse not to move forward in what it was that GOD was calling me to do. See, even when my wings weren’t perfect, and even when people wanted to see if I could really survive and fly by clipping away the thing they THOUGHT I needed, I still had to trust GOD in the ability to be able still move forward. I needed to make sure that I had the strength to power forward through my journey and SURVIVE. And the only way to do that was to keep my Hope in the LORD. Isaiah 40 vs. 29-31 NIV tells me, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
I fly with the strength of Monarchs.

4-I need to be aware of who I let touch my wings…if not, it could kill me.
Inside of a Butterflies wings are vessels of fluid. Because of these vessels, if the wings are touched, the butterfly will know because the pressure will transfer to their bodies where the wings are attached. On the outside of the wings are colored scales so small, they appear as powder. These colored scales regulate the heat in a Butterflies body, and any contact with another creature that rubs off these scales, can quite easily kill the Butterfly, since they are cold-blooded and need that thermostat function of the scales.

I remember training for my first half marathon (13.1 miles) and someone told me, “Oh you will never be able to do that.” And I have RAN two since that first one. I remember wanting to start a Facebook page for my Tales from A Butterfly blog and podcast, and I myself said, “No one will probably like it” and someone else said, “you’re probably right” and yet it is growing little by little. I have many more times like these when people (myself included, because sometimes we are our own silent killers) have almost mishandled my wings and could have contaminated my scales and caused death to kill my future and destiny. Proverbs 18 vs. 21 KJV reads, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” If I was to move forward into the life I was truly supposed to live, I could not allow the wrong words or actions of people to touch me. I couldn’t allow other people to be the thermostat I used to regulate the temperature of the call GOD placed on my life. And while I know there will be times when I will have to go through life situations that seem to weaken me and forcibly drag down my wings while I’m trying to dodge the predator that has come to kill, steal and destroy, I can take comfort that I WILL not fall into the enemy’s hands. 2 Thessalonians 3 vs. 3 NIV tells me, “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”

I want to encourage all of you, Butterflies to keep moving, keep flying and keep believing that the same GOD who created you and gifted you is the same GOD that will uphold you and protect you. And he won’t let ANYONE take your strength and dull your colors!
I love you guys…and thanks for Reading!

 

40 Things I learned by 40…and I think you should know…pt. 2

Hi guys! Well here we are, part 2 of my blog post from last week, 40 Things I learned by 40…and I think you should know… sooooo here we go:

22-Unless I have expressed that I feel like I am in a style rut, I will not be changing my hair, make up, clothes, etc…to suit what someone else wants to see on me. I know what makes me feel good, so if I want to wear straight hair, straight hair it is or curly hair, curly hair it is. Whatever makes ME feel good.
23-If the Lord speaks to me in regard to praying with or for someone, I need to do it, regardless of what I am personally feeling.
24-
I do not like seafood and I mean NO seafood! It does not matter how it’s cooked.
25-
I don’t like watermelon or bananas either… yuck!
26-S
ometimes I may be a little harder on my kids in certain things than I should, because I see a little bit of me in them… but I want them to be better than me.
27-If you’re taking a test with multiple choice, when in doubt, choose C. “:)
28-S
ometimes the reason I don’t necessarily like to hang out, is because I feel like I have to be “ON.” When people think you are funny, sometimes, they want you to entertain them and that takes a lot of work. And believe it or not, sometimes I just want to be quiet and enjoy the atmosphere.
29-
I no longer hate running.
30-It now irritates me when people discredit Kim Kardashian’s CURRENT legitimate businesses based on the fact that she put out a sex tape years ago. And I think what is especially irritating is that some of these people that do this are Christians and yet they are THE FIRST ones to say, “That’s in my past or God has forgiven me,” when they want you to stay out of their past! So why can’t that be in her past and they stay out of it! And although she may post selfies that people consider to be naked, to my knowledge she has not put out a sex tape recently…She’s moved on…so, why don’t you???
31-
I give myself permission to be excited about my hearts desires and dreams and goals coming to pass. I give myself permission to celebrate them, without the fear of someone else feeling bad about themselves, because they’ve yet to achieve theirs. And I do not mean in a bragging or insensitive way. But I will NO LONGER shrink to make others comfortable. That is an issue that they need to work on within themselves.
32-W
hen in Rome… I’m doing something different!
33-W
hen I wake up every morning, I wake up thinking that today is the day that everything I’ve asked for, prayed for, sowed a seed for in terms of career and family, that will be the day that it all comes together. And that’s what keeps me going every day.
34-I watch reality TV…and some of it, I like!
35-While I do want to know what others’ think of me, as it relates to business, I will not WEAR the opinions that others have of me, as a burden. As Michele Thornton said in her book Stratechic, “…
we’ve been told over and over again that you shouldn’t care what other people think. That’s partially true. You can’t win unless you know what others think— not knowing puts you at a disadvantage. The winner of the game understands that you can’t give energy to the process. I don’t own what people think of me; I own having the knowledge so I can leverage that knowledge to my benefit. Knowledge is definitely power!”
36-I am really, really, really content with being by myself and I am loving my own company.
37-There are going to be times as I am going through life that I going to ask, OUT LOUD, “Are you THERE GOD?!”  Times that I will FEEL alone, that I will FEEL like GOD is not hearing or answering my prayers, that I will FEEL like the one who created me and GAVE me a purpose, has left me alone. But then I have to look back over my life and think on his word and his promises to me and remember that HE IS right there with me. And that all though I may FALL down, GOD will not let me STAY down.
38-That to live in REAL transparency, it takes strength, courage and honesty about yourself and your own mess you may be in. It is not just talking about being honest about what other people have done to you or how you think other people have hurt you.
39-I love who Taria is now…
40-I love where Taria is going…

Until next week Butterflies…Please know that even with a BROKEN wing…Butterflies can still fly forward!

Love you guys, and thanks for listening!

 

40 Things I learned by 40…and I think you should know…

Hi guys! WOW! It has been a minute since I last did a blog post. I have been so focused on my podcast, “Tales from A Butterfly” that I let the blog fall off a little…BUT I’m back! 🙂 And I have “come back” if you will at a significant time for me…I started this blog post right after my 39th birthday last year…and as of April 4th, 2017, I am now 40! So much has happened before 40, including the blog and the podcast, that I am SUPER excited to see what is going to happen from here on out. Because I believe it will ONLY get better!

40 is a pretty big number and there are so many things that I have learned in life, about myself, so many times that I had denied myself THE RIGHT to live and enjoy the things that I had learned about myself, just so I wouldn’t offend other people. But I have truly decided to live my life ON PURPOSE and not according to someone else’s purpose, no matter how big or small. I decided to embrace the things that I have learned about myself, and to let you guys in on some too. Some are pretty simple and some are pretty complex, but they all make up who I am. So here we go…

1-To say no, just because I don’t want to go. Because sometimes, I just don’t feel like it. There is no rhyme or reason and I don’t owe anyone an explanation.
2-When people want to remind me of what I “used” to do, with a negative connotation…I need to let them know that I am no longer there. And would no longer take that trip with them. If they want to remain in the past…that is there business…not mine.
3-To take the support that I am offered, even if it is not in the way that I expected or wanted. People will text and call me to tell me that they are proud of me for starting the podcast and blog and have yet to listen to an episode, read a blog post or subscribe to either one. I need to take the support I am given and be ok with that from those people.
4-I am allowed to redefine my relationship with someone who has betrayed me, lied on me or is simply not being a friend to me. Being Christ like means I forgive the person, that does not mean that I have to put myself in the same situation. GOD created Adam and gave him dominion over everything. And Adam lived in paradise, in the Garden of Eden, naked and unashamed before GOD. However, as soon as he betrayed GOD by eating the forbidden fruit, although GOD still loved him, he had to put him out of the Garden, causing them to never walk the same together again.
5-When in a relationship with people, whether husband or friends, I need to give what the other person needs, not what I need, because it may not be the same thing.
6-I will share my life story with you, and don’t mind being transparent, but I DO NOT want to share a bathroom with you when getting ready to go out, whether it be my husband or friends.
7-It is OK to not like surprises, (most times I do not), however it is NOT OK for me to ruin it for the person that is trying to give me the surprise.
8-Being a Christian and serving God does not mean that I no longer have a voice. As a matter of fact, it means that not only do I have a voice but I have a responsibility to speak the truth, no matter who it offends.
9-I expect my children to conduct themselves and to control themselves when they are confronted with ignorance. For instance, if their teacher said something to them out of the way, I always tell them they need to text or call me immediately and I will handle it. What they are not to do is to go off because they need to learn self-control. Even, at times, with friends. So how in the world can I, as a 40-year-old woman, allow myself to get out of control when someone approaches me with ignorance? And then I want to justify cursing someone out or throwing things or having an attitude based on the excuse “GOD is not through with me.” But if my children tried to use the same excuse to justify certain behaviors, I would not except that. (Proverbs 25 vs.28 reads “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”)
10-If I am not getting something positive from the people I am around, I need to rethink who I am around… because those around you, influence you…
11-I am learning to freely accept love from others and not feel pressure because of the love I get from others.
12-I have more than adapted to the text message society. The phone ringing seems almost aggressive. But I wish I hadn’t…
13-The Golden Rule never goes out of style…Do unto others…
14-My kids don’t have to be the best at everything… just the best at being them.
15-It is ok to treat myself…as long as it is a real treat.
16-I use a mouse with my computer…and I am ok with that. I don’t like the laptop pad thingy…
17-Time is not my enemy…so I decided to make it my advocate and my friend by learning to use it wisely.
18-When I go to a restaurant, there is no need to announce to the table, “I shouldn’t be eating this cause of my work out or my diet….and it annoys me when others do it…either eat it…or shut up…
19-Sometimes I cry when I am happy and sometimes I cry when I am sad. Crying can be a physical relief to me at times.
20-I don’t owe anyone an explanation on my parenting.
21-In terms of my hair, I may not stay natural…and that’s OK… there is no right or wrong. People need to stop bullying other people for getting a perm or going natural. PERIOD!

Ok! WHEW! Those are just some of the things I learned about myself…and have come to accept about me. I’ll give you the other 19…in my next blog post!

 I hope this has encouraged you to learn some things about yourself and to accept yourself and love yourself for who you are, and if changes need to be made, make them for YOU… to be a better YOU… and no one else!
Love you guys! And don’t be afraid to take flight! Just trust your wings and fly on Butterflies…