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It's All About Perception....

If a customer came inside to my boutique, Blue Skies & Sunshine (my haven of happiness) and asked me, if the past month has been rough for Kayci Brazell, I answer yes with two hands waving! I CAN answer this question with 100 percent, truth, guarantee that the information is factual, no one needs to speculate the accuracy of the answer given because I am Kayci Brazell. However, if you were to ask Fancy Nancy or Sue Blue (totally made up names) the same question, they may have another perspective and feel I've had the most wonderful month in the world based on what they have observed from conversations, seeing me, social media, etc. Their observations, however, are OPINIONS, not FACTS....the reason is because these fictional characters don't know everything that has happened in my life. They haven't experienced the mountains and valleys, the twists, turns, and finally the straight, meandering roads of my life, or the outcomes and consequences these roads have led.

I don't like to be negative, but back to the bad month. The reason I have had a rough month are a myraid of minor catastrophes,some minute, some enomorous. I've also had countless blessings occur over the past month as well. Let's begin with some family health issues .....in the past month in my family, counting grandparents, 4 people have been hospatilized, two being Russell and myself (times two for me). I, unfortunately, was not able to be with the other family and the feeling of just helplessness, In the middle of all this ,the five of us,along with my sister, Kayli, embarked on the Brazell Family European Vacation (yes, we've already done the Wally World version complete with shirts). Sadly, we wore no berets, but had a stay at a hostel, that I would consider to be right up there with the Royal Winsdor Arms for all you National Lampoon's movie fans.

Our first stop was Ireland, where we stayed at a hostel (the explanation is so outlandish as all the hotels were booked bc of a Garth Brooks concert.....go figure) and literally by the third night, I would have rather slept on a couch in the lobby as the room was so hot and claustrophobic. RIGHT HERE , I catch myself. I am COMPLAINING about my accomodations on a vacation to Europe when there are countless people that have not even shelter from the rain. Their are countless amounts of Ukaranian refugees that had to flee their homes, families, ways of life, and I'm whining about a hostel. PERCEPTION.....some would have loved the accomodations, I was choosing negativity. Next, we traveled to Inverness,Scotland. Oh, how we thought we had landed in paradise. Beautiful country, nice people, the feeling of the wild open AND ......no luggage for Merritt nor Russell. Their luggage was lost and they took it like pros, and let me just say, Merritt lost a graduation gift and several really nice things, but they were calm and collected, and I'm transparent so very honest when I say, if it had have been my luggage lost I would have lost it! While the rest of the crew stayed at our beautiful, luxurious VRBO, Merritt and Russell took off to get some "New looks" just as the Griswold's did in Italy. They came home with kilts, blazers, plaid pants, felt hats, etc. It was a sight to behold. We had a MARVELOUS time in Scotland and hope to return again for a lengther stay! Next, we headed to London, my favorite part of the trip especially seeing the Crown Jewels, and after a few days in London we took the Chunnel trip to Paris to finish the trip. The weather was getting hotter, tempers were rising , and things just started to kind of feel like they were headed south fast. By the time we arrived in Paris, we were squeezed like sardines into another VRBO ,definitely in my PERCEPTION, not ideale, and we were now on one another's last nerves. Let's face it we were DONE.....and we are in PARIS. I don't even want to think about or fathom the amount of people that have not been to Paris that would dream to be there, and I was THERE!!!! How on Earth could I, or my family, possibly be whining about being cramped and hot when we are vacationing in Paris?

Departure day, back to America. I don't know if this thought ever crosses your mind, but sometimes when I watch the national media and see scenes, I always wonder if this is the PERCEPTION the media is placing on major events or catastrophe, or if this is really the way it looks? I am not there to witness first hand so don't know for sure. Well, I DO know for sure about one of these stories. It is 100 PERCENT TRUTH that the airports in Europe look as they do on the news. We were dropped off for a flight that was originally suppossed to leave early in the morning, and thank goodness, it did not. It took our family 4 1/2 hours to get from drop off, to the gate of our plane.

When we finally touched down in the low country of South Carolina, after being awake for 30 hours, Paris to Detroit, Detroit to Charleston, I was so happy I could cry. After a long wait for the luggage, as it was close to midnight, we walked outside and was immediately enveloped in a hug from our home's air that felt like a thick, sweltering, and humid skin of the South Carolina low country. We were off to the cars running with TONS of luggage. No time for elevators, we had to get in our cars and get to Edisto Island in time to celebrate Independence Day! I celebrated by pulling ....no let me correct...by my LUGGAGE PULLING ME... down a flight of stairs and came to a stop with the big pop of my foot, and I went down. Yes, now I had a broken foot, I had been awake 30 hours, I felt I was in a furnace, and some family members were extremely disappointed that this put a huge snag in the plan of getting to Edisto to relax. AGAIN PERCEPTION!!

The wonderful paramedics of Charleston County, made me feel so comfortable and were so kind. They saw to my needs and treated me with empathy and made me feel like I wasn't alone and in pain. I was treated at MUSC Trauma I , diagnosed with my broken bones, casted, treated with such tenderness and care by all the staff and then sent home to rest. TO REST.......those that know me, know, I'm not about REST. I'm about FUN, LAUGHTER, PEOPLE, PLACES, TRAVELS, EMBRACING LIFE......WHY?? Why now? I had WAY too much planned; I had a concert, the market,and college orientation to attend in the next week. I KNEW God had this plan for me for a reason, but boy , I was NOT happy about it. Time to stop and take a look at WHY??? What's the PROBLEM? WHY DO I HAVE TO REST? There is a reason and a lesson and I knew that, but that didn't mean I had to be happy about it.

I could not attend the Market in Atlanta, which as a new business owner and it being the first time I could go to pick out Christmas items was a huge bummer. Now, I also had to miss the New Kids on the Block concert, one of my favorite, annual events, but most of all, now I couldn't accompany, Merritt, to his college orientation at UVA. I had been looking so forward to this.; the right of passage, digging in to the information, seeing the dream my son is achieving come alive, and now it wasn't me that was going to be there, it was Russell that got to go.

We can make plans, fill our calendars with appointments, meetings, dates, and we can make perceptions about ourselves and our loved ones. However, only GOD has the ability to make sure the perfect plan is carried out. What happens in our lives I firmly believe will be exactly how it should be. Now, I have two men in love with the University of Virginia, and am so happy Russell had this time on the trip and orientation because I don't feel he was certain about it being just SO PERFECT for Merrritt until he made that trip. Russell had a PERCEPTION of UVA , but now he has experienced it , and that made all the difference. We ALL have SO many different types of perceptions: things, people, views, associations, symbols, etc. , but NONE OF US really carry any validity or truthfulness in these perceptions unless we have EXPERIENCED them.

I also planned to share about this past week, where I have been hospitalized with a bacterial infection and hernia, AND the two family members' from earlier have had second trips back to the hospital, but instead, I am inspired to encourage each of you to really consider the way you perceive things and PERCEPTIONS can change your whole view of a situation......

  1. terrible accommodations in Ireland vs. Wow, I am actually getting the chance to explore Ireland.

  2. lost luggage vs. Hey, I get a chance to go get clothing that we don't see regularly in the U.S. (Ask Russell to wear his kilt.)

  3. long delay at airport vs. Our flight wasn't cancelled, and we and made it home.

  4. a broken foot vs. I could've EASILY broken my back, both legs, hit my head, etc.!

  5. missed orientation vs. wonderful bonding time for Russell and Merritt AND another LOVER of the University of Virginia. This is most important because now I know that Russell feels so much more comfortable knowing more about Merritt's choice of college.

There are perceptions we carry, others carry, establishments carry, etc. , but the bottom line is the truth comes from YOUR BELIEF of WHAT YOU have witnessed and truth may not be truth for ALL. The one and only thing that is 100 percent definitive truth is that if you believe that Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins, and you submit and give yourself and life to serve HIM, that is the ONLY TRUTH, perception, call it whatever that you need!! May all your skies be blue and filled with sunshine!!! Much Love and Pura Vida,

Kayci





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