Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Same Black Dress... NEW Shoes!

I was there for one reason, but it quickly turned into another when she asked...

What size shoe do you wear?
and my answer, sufficing her, sent her running frantically into the next room

Here, try these on..

They look good on you...
I want you to have them...
I've been waiting for the right person to give them to...

and by the time that I walked out of there I had 22 new pairs!


The last time something like this happened was right before a transition when

my cousin brought me several large bags
filled with clothing
given to me by someone whom I had never even met

Even then we laughed and marveled as I declared...

"I may not know where I am going,
but I know what I will be wearing once I get there!"

And so here I am again...

blessed beyond measure and patiently waiting to see where He leads me next

and

I don't mind wearing the same dress each week
I don't mind receiving items previously worn by others
I don't mind shopping from other people's closets

because

even though I may not always know

what my next step should be
what my next step will be

I always know that He is ahead of me

leading the way




So I'll put on my "new shoes" and my "same black dress"

and walk humbly
and confidently

while still praying...

"Walk with me, Lord"

sharing this lesson today

Monday, February 24, 2014

Music Monday... We Bless Your Name


"We Bless Your Name"
by Tondra Denise

Bless the Lord, Oh my soul
for He is holy

All the honor, all the praise
and all the glory

So we bow before you Lord
humbly adore thee

And with one accord
one praise
yes, one refrain

We bless your Name
 
 
 
Click each title below to hear a snippet...
 
(extended version)
(short version)

Friday, February 21, 2014

"That N-gga"

I took a seat to wait for my lunch order...

I had 25 minutes until my next appointment

A group of young men (whom I presume were college students from the University next door)
walked in and sat at the table next to me

Man #1:  Did that n-gga say what he wanted? 
Man #2:  No, I forgot to ask him
Man #1:  Well I'll just get that n-gga the lunch special

I pulled out my phone and checked the time...

23 minutes

Man #2:  So how did you meet that n-gga?
Man #1:  Man, I've know that n-gga for years, since Jr. High
Man #3:  (laughing)
Man #1:  That n-gga hasn't changed either.  He's always been like that
Man #2:  That n-gga is cool though
Man #1:  Yeah, that's my n-gga!

I lifted my eyes from the phone screen and turned to look at the young men

Man #1 spoke again and I got a closer look at him

He was...

young
clean cut
nicely dressed

He was obviously...

somebody's
baby boy

22 minutes

The other two were also young
and I was shocked to realize that Man # 3

who sat

quietly
unassumingly
with his back turned to me

was actually white!

I looked down at my phone and sat thinking about how
they sat at lunch counters

black and white alike
together

and

endured
boycotted
marched

so that I could sit here today and not have to hear "that n-gger"

But we've become so desensitized that we make

excuses
provisions
explanations

for our "recreational use" of the word

we've changed the letters
adopted it as our own
and passed it along to our children

And as I sat
still
barely breathing

I wondered

if I should say something to the young men
and
how I should say it

There's a rich history here
and I only had

20 minutes and 17 seconds

so I sat...

But they sat at lunch counters to take a stand
I had only 19 minutes remaining until my next appointment

and my order was up

so I quickly grabbed my food and left
without saying a word

because

I did not know how to
speak up
make a difference
matter

I did not know how to
take a seat
or
take a stand

Monday, February 17, 2014

"APFLH" Children's Art Studio- The Art of Love

My children were excited when I told them we were hosting a special
Valentine's Crafts and Kid's Movie Night



We moved the couches, brought in tables and chairs from the Children's Art Studio, and
gave the children materials to create cards and crafts to share with the people they love... 

Heart Art 
 
 

We watched a movie about believing in the impossible
and just as the movie was ending
 
my mother called to inform me that my younger cousin was visiting from Texas,
and my aunt was on her way to my house so that she could say "hello"

As I waited for them, I began to think about...

my cousins
my family
my children

and all of the moments we have shared in this house

I remembered that
she was actually one of my first "child care students"

when I babysat her and her older sisters the summer of 1990

and NOW she travels with a company performing stage plays for children 
because she says it combines two of her greatest loves... art and children

It was the perfect full circle moment!

The next day another one of my former students and her mom came by for...

Marble Painting
Plastic Pencil Box w/ lid
Marbles
Paper
Paint
 
 

Step 1:  Put paper in the box...
Step 2:  Put paint covered marbles in the box...
Step 3:  Shake the box...
 
and discover a new way to create a "Jackson Pollock" inspired look
 


The perfect culminating moment to this weekend experience came when
the mom asked her 4 yr. old daughter if she was ready to leave my house 
 
and
 
without looking up
without blinking 
without hesitation
 
she calmly answered...
 
"NEVER!"

I smiled
realizing that my life's

work
passion
purpose

is still
and will always be
right here


(Next month we say... "Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss")

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Lesson in Love... Don't Miss the Bus

He ran with a limp

It looked
quite painful to be honest
quite odd

until I actually saw the object of his affection...

the city bus

And he would have to cross two lanes of traffic to get there
with no guarantee that the bus driver would even wait for him

but he was

willing to risk it
willing to run

with arms waving and a noticeable limp, not caring who saw his desperation because...

his purpose was greater than his pride

And amazingly enough the world around him stopped moving
as drivers and street pedestrians alike paused

silently cheering
watching
praying

"C'mon, you can make it.  You can make it"

and when he finally did
there was a collective sigh of relief because

he had conquered what so many of us often

avoid
fear

and that is allowing others to see

our limp
our vulnerability
our weakness

We would much rather just wait for the next bus
than to put ourselves out there like that

But in life we must be willing to... 

say it
show it
give it
live it

BECAUSE... 

we cannot truly live, unless we are willing to love, and
we cannot truly love, unless we are willing to run

across lanes of traffic during the middle of the day

arms waving
limping awkwardly toward our goal

eyes filled with desperation...

and hope

as others stop to

watch
cheer

(or maybe even laugh and point)

We cannot truly celebrate love
unless we are willing to put ourselves out there like that, but

today I was reminded by a total stranger that...

It is okay to run with a limp
as long as you also run with a purpose!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

About Love... It's Our Anniversary

If you've been reading along, then you already know that in our home we celebrate love by...

10.  Remembering the good, the bad, and the in-between
 9.  Using our hands
 8.  Being our best selves
 7.  Seeing the best in others
 6.  Singing and laughing together

We're halfway through the countdown and we've just come to my favorite way to celebrate!

5.  Spending Time Together
As a couple...
We traveled to Bali, Indonesia the summer of the year we were married



and even though we traveled with 14 other married couples
we still managed to find time to get away...

as a quiet walk along a path
led down 182 steps
to a private beach

where we

sat and observed
talked and listened

to sounds of the crashing ocean waves

The attendant (the only other person there)
played soft music and burned incense as an offering...

It was just the two of us spending time together and it was absolutely beautiful

But now that we have two children...
(getting away is not always an option)
so last year my hubby surprised me with special time together right at home! 
I arrived from work to find all of the lights out and as I struggled to unlock the door it suddenly opened from the inside.  My children stood at the door, greeting me, dressed in their Sunday Best

The girl took my things and put them away
The boy took my arm and led me into the kitchen

where the table was set for a candlelit dinner complete with

freshly prepared food
sparkling grape and apple cider
and our favorite songs playing quietly in the background

After I was seated...

my hubby stepped in quietly from the other room
dressed in his Sunday best
with flowers

and a "Happy Anniversary" that took my breath away!

-------------------------
Click here for the countdown finale!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

About Love... Ten Ways To Celebrate

February is the "Month of Love"

and in addition to Valentine's Day in our home we also celebrate...

my hubby's birthday
my mother's birthday
our wedding anniversary

all within a matter of two weeks!

So follow along as we countdown the top 10 ways in which we celebrate love...

10.  By Remembering: The Good, the Bad, and the In-Between

Yes, we celebrate all of that...

we take pictures
we document
we talk about

and revisit

the moments that have made us

laugh
cry
scream

and everything else in-between because

We celebrate by remembering...

that our greatest lessons in love
have come from learning to see the beauty within these everyday moments



My hubby created this chocolate surprise for our anniversary a few years ago and we loved it so much that the following year I decided to bring out the fountain again for his birthday...

Only problem?

I didn't watch the fountain

and...

the chocolate exploded

and...

splattered all over

the table
the tray
the floor

the curtains
the wall
the door

(almost sounds like a Dr. Seuss story)

But then...

as we were cleaning "the mess", the children pointed out the design that had been created

so we decided to set the tray out as it was,
and some of the guests thought that the chocolate drizzle was intentional...

a "Jackson Pollock" art inspired dessert tray!



Their reaction taught me that sometimes mistakes can be beautiful

and that we

honor our love
celebrate our love
share our love

when we remember to tell

the true story...
the full story...
the entire story...

which includes

the good
the bad

and even
everything else

in-between

(click here to continue with the countdown)