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#bloglikecrazy: Day 20 – Proof of Life

A short stop for your day –

In a world where mutual human respect seems to be a dying artform, I needed proof after the presidential election. I needed resuscitation that all was not for naught and that there was good in the world to override the poison I had heard around me. I was also seeking the truth that I wasn’t just aimlessly helping people as they stomped on top of me on the way to their destination. I needed a beep on the heart monitor, a waveform on the EKG to give me some hope to press forward that day.

It came the night that my performing arts troupe was recording a creative piece. I’ve been on a kick lately of pushing us toward the unfamiliar and questioning our systemic practices. This particular evening, we would be taping in my church’s sanctuary and utilizing their colorful lighting amenities. It was exciting to see how it would look, but I was spiritually exhausted.

The blip that I needed arrived in the form of a White pastor of an ethnically diverse church saying yes to a predominately Black troupe and authentically caring about our creative goals. Not once was race a factor. Not once was time an issue. All we cared about was Jesus and making an excellent product to encourage others.

At one point of the 2-hour session, I was overwhelmed. I got so full that tears welled up in my eyes. The lighting, the sound, the attire, the laughter… it all hit me. Here we were, defying everything that society says we should hate about each other and working with sincerity and passion. Let me be clear – prejudice exists and I am not oblivious to it. But there was proof of life available and all I had to do was look around. Proof that the same blood pumps within us all and that everyone isn’t trampling over the other in shameless indignation. The heart of people are walking evidence that proof of God’s life exists. That beep was all I needed to keep going.

What has been your proof of life lately? Have you overlooked your blip?

Peace & Thanks for listening!

Photo courtesy of Open Clipart

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#bloglikecrazy: Day 13 – The SisterGood

Maybe it’s the holiday spirit, but I’ve been in my feelings lately…the good ones.

Sisters come in so many shades of goodness. Some enter our lives through the crossing of life paths and others by the blood in our veins.

Recently, I’ve been recharged through some amazing women. Scoping out the different types of goodness that I have the honor of experiencing. The sheer fact that our energies can buzz around each other and create new perspectives is a phenomenon science can not touch.

Politics. Culture. Music. Relationships. Work. Passion. You name it, we’ve talked about it. We’ve gotten angry together and laughed until we’ve cried. We’ve danced together in the joy of hip-hop classics and prayed together in mind-altering faith. We have overcome tragedies and digested injustice while holding hands. Feeling each other’s pain is normal. Hearing each other’s cries from miles away is a regular occurrence. We are bonded.

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Photo Courtesy of Medical News Today

It reminds me of something I tell my students – We weren’t designed to do life alone. I’m not talking about marriage; I’m talking about spiritually. You need a tribe. A confidant. A plant. A dog. Something. Even the meanest person can experience solace through a fish tank. It’s a part of our DNA. We were designed to reach out, be heard, and love fiercely. That’s why it hurts physically when our hearts our broken. We were not created for eternal solitude, but for perpetual connection.

So this leads me back to my sistergood. Do you have people of the same gender that you can be verbally naked with? I’m not talking about acquaintances, associates, or even friends. I’m talking about family that may or may not include blood lines. Sisters or brothers that you have unadulterated honesty with and no one leaves permanently angry. People that you don’t have to worry about being manipulative with your words or deeds. It’s rare, but possible. My sistergood is a small circle, but fiercely loyal and safe. My sisterly connections span a little larger, but are just as awesome. I love them all, and I’m grateful for them too. The older I get, the more I realize how important this goodness is to my soul. Starting with my mother and going outward, I am blessed beyond measure to have the opportunity to love and be loved by them.

I pray that you find your sisters and brothers in this world. My world is definitely better with them in it. Yours will be too. Don’t be afraid to do life together.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

#bloglikecrazy: Day 4 – Intimacy is IN

After reading Psalm 139

Wow.

You know everything.

Sometimes, I forget that.

In all of my humanity, I try to remind you of things I deem important. The urgency of replaying the days’ events and life’s intolerable moments weighs heavier than your grace at that time. It’s sad, actually… how I discredit your omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. I know you don’t mind my questions and misunderstandings of your commands, but Your ways are still far above mine.

I cannot compare my thoughts with Yours.

You knew everything before it was everything. You know every detail of my life… every artery near my heart, every exhale I release. You don’t need a notice. You created it. You created me. Even the parts I don’t like. They serve a purpose too.

So, search all of me since You know it all. Search the dark places I try to hide from You. Clear out the cobwebs and scrub the hardened layers around my scars. You are and will always be the perfect lover of my soul and I need to trust You more. I need to let you IN.

Intimacy is what we crave from others, but rarely give to You. There’s no way to relinquish control to someone else in a romantic relationship without allowing You in first. It’s the opposite of how You made us. Inside of our hearts is where You belong and where You long to be. You don’t need us; You want us. You want in…and being intimate with You starts within me.

Peace & Thanks for listening.

Resting in the Delta

After listening to a sermon by Pastor Larry Paige at Zion Church (Landover, MD).

Humor me as we tiptoe through the land of psychology for a minute. God spoke to me through a reminder about the sleep cycle.

Most agree that are 5 stages of sleep – 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM (rapid-eye movement). The higher the stage number, the deeper the sleep. For example, it is more difficult to wake someone in stage 4 than in stage 1. As you slip deeper into the sleep cycle, your muscles relax, heart rate slows down, and your body temperature decreases. The autonomic nervous system is in parasympathetic mode, otherwise known as rest and digest. Still with me so far? Great! Let’s keep going!

Your brain makes the trek as well. An electroencephalograph (EEG) tracks its activity through a range of waves. Generally speaking, your brain activity transitions from small beta (β) and alpha (α) waves to elongated high-peaked delta waves (δ). Delta waves appear on the EEG before REM sleep, which is also known as paradoxical sleep because brain waves show up that resemble wakefulness. This is the stage of dreaming and while the body is predominantly paralyzed, the mind is active and the sympathetic mode of your nervous system (fight or flight) can activate during nightmares. Ever  woke up to a rapid heart beat and the sweats? There you have it.

sleep-cycle-psychology-today
Courtesy of Psychology Today

Here’s the LATSOL moment:

You would think death was the next step after slipping into Stage 4 attributes. After all, sleep is also referred to as being as half-dead. Regardless of what it looks like, the cycle is far from over. A mixture of alpha and theta waves pop up because we’re dreaming. God can give you strength and dreams in the midst of darkness. The internal organs are awake while the body is paralyzed, just like the Holy Spirit is yet alive in you despite what is happening to you. Your situation is not the end of you.

“Rest in distress.” – Pastor Larry Paige

Sleep. What a beautiful thing. Through the eyes of children, naps are viewed as a waste of time or form of punishment when the truth is they need it to recharge and repair. Our bodies were designed to reset after a certain number of hours, and too often we press the snooze button on our circadian alarm clock and cram more into the day. Sometimes the dark times force us to rest…and to dream.

“God does addition by subtraction sometimes.” – Pastor Larry Paige

According to Dictionary.com, the delta is a nearly flat plain of alluvial deposit between diverging branches of the mouth of a river, often,though not necessarily, triangular. Nearly flat and often flooded, but soil enriched for growth. Your seemingly dead places are ideal for growth. Ideal for the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the almighty God to show up and flood your flat plain with vibrant activity. Dreams you thought were dead can sprout in the dark.

We can rest in the delta instead of stressing in it. There is more life there than meets the eye. I am so grateful for that lesson.

Peace & Thanks for listening!

 

Dance Your Heart IN: Part 2 – We Got SOLed

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You need a session. Trust me.

After an invigorating dance-in-the-dark party in February, I was all about having my private party on the night before my August 20th birthday. What better way to celebrate my fresh wind of feminism than with other Wonder Women? I hand-picked a few close friends that I thought would appreciate the unique experience and invited them to dance their heart in with me. When the dust settled, seven ladies were confirmed and I was elated to rock with them.

Related Sidebar: I’m an Olympics fanatic. Seriously. I try to watch everything. You know how the U. S. Women’s Gymnastics Team is usually earmarked with a nickname? We’ve witnessed the Magnificent Seven (Atlanta 1996), the Fierce Five (London 2012), and recently in Rio, the Final Five to commemorate the retirement of legendary gymnastics coach Martha Karolyi. Epic.

I decided to jump on board and nickname these seven sisters + our beautiful host Shannon. They were the Exceptional Eight and this new band of supersheroes were about to embark my birthday SOL ship voyage. Sidebar complete.

I’m a thinker, so I reviewed the dynamics. Three of the attendees were my sorority sisters. Two of the eight ladies I knew since grade school. The remaining two women, I met in college. And Shannon? She was a sister on-site. Our kindred spirits kindled a positive energy that burned over emails and spilled over into our face-to-face encounter. I loved how she fit right into our type of crazy. I even had an icebreaker planned just in case my multiple circles needed some communicative coaxing, but as Shannon pointed out, they already had something in common…me. Each one of them represented a part of me that identified with them, so why wouldn’t they blend? I must admit. I was nervous because I wasn’t sure how the session would turnout for them, but it resulted in an explosion of laughter mixed with bursting sounds of pure joy and freedom. I couldn’t have asked for more. It was a beautiful blend.

Soon, it was lights out and we danced the night away to a perfect mix of my favorite jams (Did I mention perfect?). We ate until our sweet tooths were satisfied. We shared words of love and humor and you could see the strings of sisterhood weaving among us. We were SOL-tied, a band of professional women that had worked hard during the day, but needed the unique forge of fortitude that night. One of my sisters even had to get up for work at 3:00 AM the next day, but was still energized when she woke up. It was that electric. I saw their faces relax and for a moment, we weren’t wives, mothers, students, caregivers…we were an assembly of queens drinking from the pool of cooling strength and being fitted in new armor for the world that awaited us. The shattered stress from our daily roles lie on pieces of pink paper around us and no one walked out in the same manner in which they entered. Everyone returned to the lobby a little taller, brighter, and ready to obliterate any obstacle in her path.

We were walking with sunlight in our pockets and positivity in our hearts.
Our steps had rays of sunshine beaming underneath as we matriculated to our night-kissed cars.

To say that those dance steps charged our feminine energy packs would be an understatement. We may have put on the same shoes, but they didn’t feel the same.

We got SOLed.

So can you.
Sole definition google Thank you, Google.

Peace, thanks for listening, and Happy Birthday to all of the August babies! We ROCK!

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
– Proverbs 13:12

Hope deferred… That pair of words reminds me of Harlem, the famous Langston Hughes poem. It was one of my favorite reads in high school.

What truly happens to a dream deferred? That question has been a mystery for years, but the truth hasn’t changed in that the dream only dies when we allow it to cease. When you stop feeding it, it will starve and die within you. Then, you carry dead dreams, dead hope in desperate need of resuscitation. It’s hard to carry broken promises, shredded heart tissue, and withered hope. They’re like cannon balls in your chest, holding you down from flying past your present potential. This is where faith comes in from Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things HOPED for and the evidence of things not seen. Faith kicks in and stands at the door when hope runs out and fear circulates the perimeter of your heart in wait of your paralysis.

IMG_20160809_232315You can also think of this as a monetary transaction. Faith is the check written to you, while hope is the construction of belief that you’ll receive the cash. You can hold on to faith because it supersedes hope. Hope deferred will make your heart ill in longing to fulfill your purpose on Earth. Now this is where the 2nd part of the proverb makes its impact and where I get excited.

Desire fulfilled is a tree of life. Trees are designed to bear seeds. They can’t control where these seeds go, but they produce them out of obedience to their Maker. It has one job… to produce.  The tree stands tall and bears seeds and that’s how forests are formed. When your desires line up with God’s will, not fulfilling that desire/dream will make you feel seedless, unfruitful. The key word is here is FEEL. You are not a sterile spiritual being. You weren’t created to be that.

Once you tap into that TRUTH, you’ll see a tree of life inside of you, not a death sentence. Then, like a tree, the life cycle of your dream will continue well after you’re gone and growth will be inevitable. Your purpose-filled dream will touch many lives after your hands (or “branches”) have aged and produced seeds of great service. Your hope and dream(s) can not afford you to be lazy, discouraged, or spiritually sick. When something is deferred, it is not canceled… so your hope can still be resuscitated.

Keep your hope alive and intimately near  so that your rich, customized life can be the gift that keeps on giving to the soil and air around you.

Have you ever felt like your hope was petrified?

Your dream is a gift, so what are you giving?

What can you do this week to oxygenate your hope and aerate your dreams?

Feel free to comment below.

Peace & Thanks for listening. ✌

Water Proof

Caution: Let’s go swimming in our thoughts for a bit…. 622 words deep to be exact.

I don’t know how to swim (effectively), but I love the beach. I see a swimming pool and I want to jump in like an Olympic diver and scuba diving is on my LTD (life-to-do) List. With all of this enchantment over water, such a simple necessity, it would make sense as to why God would use it to get His points across.

THE LATSOL MOMENT

One morning while I was walking my dog Sammy, I noticed the dew on the grass. My dog loves to slurp it off the grass in order to prolong his morning ritual. It was nothing new, but the temperature had been consistently 90 degrees or more in Alabama for a week and even the evenings felt like a cough of heat from the daytime. On this particular morning, the dew arrested my attention. How was there dew on the grass in the midst of heat? I know the scientific answer, but that wasn’t satisfying at that moment. Then I heard God say gently…

“No matter how hot it gets, there’s always dew on the grass in the morning.
That alone should be proof that I will take care of you.”

Wow. That was my water proof.  Finally. See a few years ago, I asked for God to help me understand him more… to make himself tangible to my curiosity and satisfy my itch to learn Him in a deeper way. So in order to understand my excitement about this “theorem,” you must hear my “proof.” (Hey, math teachers… two points?) 

Although there are contrary beliefs, these is mine.

HERE WE GO…

Proof:
God is like water.
It is a representation of His deity and awesomeness and is not bound by circumstances. 

Lastly and personally…

To say that water fascinates me would be an understatement. The shower is my thinking place and a warm bath is a cozy envelope for my questions and feelings of frustration. I leave them there, in the envelope, to go down the drain forevermore. When I step out of the shower, I am new. I’m ready for the day or evening and mentally prepared for what’s ahead.

So, when I saw the blades of grass with dew and Sammy was enjoying the natural refreshment in spite of the heat, I felt like God gave my proof some recognition. More like I finally listened to what He had been saying all along. I am God. I will provide. I am not affected by your changes. I am always here. 

I took a deep breath that morning and my soul agreed… and I felt amazing.

Peace & Thanks for listening.

Super Woman

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I know… it’s the Wonder Woman logo. It still fits.

Sometimes, having an “S” on my chest is absolutely exhilarating.

I can soar above buildings of negativity and slip between slimy cracks of simplemindedness.

I can side with truth on a sunny day while catching raindrops between my fingers… I am one bad mother-

“SHUT YO’ MOUTH!”

Who me? Be silent?

Not a chance.

I samba on Friday, make salsa on Saturday, and sit with the Supreme on Sunday.

I do marvelous things.

Serendipity doesn’t bother me.

I sop tears with my shirt.

I solidify liquidity, scoff at stupidity, select fabric meticulously, smile at evil beings, and sing seismic waves into eternity.

I am one bad mother of creative prowess.

Until…

My wounds start leaking…

My throat needs to be cleared.

My vision is blurry.

My vest gets weakened and I’m weary from flying so high that oxygen can’t get me.

The wind is beating against my chest and my face winces at the pressure of the altitude AND the valley.

Warlords and warlocks laugh at me and I use my weapons skillfully although my “W” is peeking.

I’m femininely human with splashes of wisdom lighting my pathway like lightning flashes on a hot summer night.

I bat my lashes and wisps of freedom ripple from my eyes, whip across my shoulders, wrap around my loins, and graze my ankles.

As I wade through debris of destruction, it does not infect me. I am Super Woman.

I am She.

I am over the woes of man; I am your slice of heaven and always in demand.

I am needed when I’m not wanted.

I am valued more than flaunted.

I am satisfied and exemplified.

My simmer is uncompromised.

I am She.

She is Me

and We

are Super. Woman.

For a more inspiration, take a listen to one of my anthems Superwoman – courtesy of Queen Alicia Keys.

Open, Mopin’, Chopin

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Photo Credit: 31 Days of Food Creativity by Hong Yi

In response to The Daily Post’s One Word Prompt: Open

When we leave food uncovered, it becomes susceptible to anything surrounding it.

Gnats. Fruit flies. Ants. Bacteria. Grubby little hands. Grown man fingers. Just to name a few.

I’ve noticed that when hearts and minds are open, we experience the same challenges. Good things can come out of us when the walls of our hearts are open enough to let them out. Sometimes a crack is all it takes for a beam of light to shine on a dark situation. Also, the mind can be exposed to great intellectual seeds just waiting to burrow into our soul’s innermost concerns and germinate into solutions for our problems. When our being is open, fruitful results flow out of us and attract others. Like a beautiful cuisine on display, it is pretty to behold and smells deliciously divine, so it draws in the likes of those who wish to partake in its expected excellence.

On the other hand, this can pose an issue when it comes to matters of the heart and the fragility of the mind. Whenever the opportunity arises to expose greatness, there is also opportunity for disgrace and contamination.

We shine in hopes of receiving confirmation that we are authentically exceptional in our strengths and talents.

We spill our gifts and let them run freely to open hands in the audience; however, it comes with a price. The ants come to feast. The hands seek to devour and the bacteria is just along for the ride. Suddenly, the greatness becomes emptiness. The shine is dulled. The once beautiful cuisine appears in the imagination as the eyes see the crumbs. Being open sucks sometimes, and there’s not much we can do to prevent this ravishing to be brave in our openness.

Polish-French Pianist Chopin (Szopen in Polish) had his share of this phenomenon. In addition to his musical brilliance, his performance style wasn’t well received at larger concert spaces in the earlier stages of his career; nevertheless, he continued to pour his passion into his composition and flourished as a well-known as an artist. One fact most do not know about Chopin is that his body is buried in France (his creative home), but his heart was interred in Poland (his birthplace).  Interesting.

There’s something to be said about the emphasis we place upon our giving. We can’t afford to mope around, focusing on the empty vessel we could become over time. Somehow the more we give, the more we obtain to give. The mere fact that we’re a vessel at all should be a graceful honor.

The world depends on our open door to greatness, but there’s nothing wrong with a gate to maintain its luster.

We have the opportunity each day to affect the lives of others in a positive magnitude that could send shockwaves into their future. Could you be abused and misused? Possibly… but those boundaries are up to you to uphold. Do what it takes to continue the flow.

No more moping. No more loathing.

Be open. Live open. Live free.

Peace & Thanks for listening.

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