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DAILY READ: Covenant Relationships

But I will establish My covenant with you, and you will enter the ark - you and your sons and your wife and your sons' wives with y...

Friday, October 28, 2005

Do Overs, or, I Did It!


I did it!

Yes I did.

What did I do,

you ask?



Picture it:

7:55 a.m. Friday, October 28, 2005

I ran/walked down the hallway of my apartment building, my nose scrunched as I held my breath to avoid inhaling the stale fish smell of the paint primer, which had been bothering my breathing all week.

As I arrived in the foyer, I saw the glorious yellow that signals, “Cab Company” of the car idling there and I smiled and said, Yes, to myself as I pictured my triumphant arrival at 8:20 a.m. instead of 9:05 a.m. had I waited for the bus. I’m supposed to be at work by 8:00.

A minute later, as I clambered into the back seat of the cab, I actually saw the identity of the driver and my jubilation evaporated and I silently screamed, “Nooooooooooooo!”
That scream was followed by the broken pieces of the picture in my mind’s eye, falling like shards of glass from a broken mirror.

This driver was the same driver who had brought my mom and I home from the grocery on Saturday. She’d driven way too slow, stopped at yellow, green and red lights and smoked the nastiest smelling cigar or cheroot with the windows closed.

You may ask, what’s the big deal? Why didn't I just tell the female cow to step on the gas, ask her to put out the cigarette and/or open the windows and threaten to withhold a tip as the last resort?

Well…if you know me at all, that’s not my style. I will run 20 kilos to avoid an argument or confrontation of any kind. As for speaking up for myself in uncomfortable situations? Naaahhh. Suffer in silence has always been my motto; I can’t stand being cussed out. So I normally am defeated by the situation and waaay after the moment is past and probably long forgetten by the perpetrator, I come up with comebacks or witticisms that would have suited the situation perfectly…ohh for a “Do Over” button.

But, this morning, you would have been soooo proud!

We were driving along, talking. (Well, I was talking and she was nodding and grunting. I had decided to let bygones be bygones from Saturday and was my usual ebullient self.)

“How are you today?” I asked,

“Looks like it’s going to be a cold winter…” I said, when I saw her hand disappear from sight and reappear—with—the cigarette.

All conversation paused, and in what seemed like an hour, but was probably a minute, I watched as she lit it and placed it to her lips. She took a puff, exhaled and I watched as the white cloud of smoke came towards me. I don’t know if I could distinguish, which hit me first, the smell or the fumes.

I just knew it wasn’t happening this morning.

So I quietly asked, “Would you please not smoke? It affects my breathing.” There was no response, and ordinarily, like the former shy person that I was, I would have let it go and console myself with the thought that at least, I did try.

But I knew she heard me. Maybe it was the slight tilt of her head, or the straightening of her spine…but I knew, she’d heard me. So I again said quietly, “Excuse me…EX-cuse meee?” She had to acknowledge me that time, “I asked, would you please not smoke? It affects my breathing.”

She tried the old window opening, trick, but I was ready for her. I slid my hands into my bag and pulled out my inhaler. I shook it with more vigor than was warranted so it made a nice healthy rattle. In an Academy Award winning performance, I then uncorked it and with more audible sound effects, took two puffs and returned the inhaler to my bag.

When I saw her pitch the still lit cigarette out of the window, I took that as a sign of defeat on her part, so I then graciously pointed out that she’d forgotten to turn on the meter.

Did I feel guilty about not mentioning her oversight? About as guilty as she felt running up the tab on Saturday and overcharging me. She tried to run the meter up by driving slowly, but it was a no go. As I arrived at my office, she tried to get twenty-five dollars out of me. I gave her twenty-three dollars, wished her a wonderful day and stepped out of her cab doing a mental praise dance.

It’s rare, that I have the opportunity for a “Do Over.” I thought I handled it pretty well…don’t you?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Exciting Opportunity!

TV SERIES SEEKING MOMS FOR AN AFRICAN ADVENTURE!

I've always wanted to visit Africa. After all, despite the opinion of the "real" Africans, I too, am African and it is part of my heritage. Initially, I was very excited about this. I don't know why, because there's no way I could drop everything to go. But were it possible for me to do so, I wonder if it would really be something I longed to do, or something that just sounded good to the ear, but never intended to be followed up?

How many times have I deliberately grabbed at the impossible and consoled myself wih thoughts like, I'm sure that if things were different...

One of my goals for the year 2005 is to give up the "if onlys," and to live in the here and now. Sure dreams are grand, great even...but not to be used as an excuse to avoid or blind myself to the exciting possibilities that are within my reach...while I put life on hold--to await materialization of the dream.

Because of my adherence to the above-mentioned goal, I've begun to actually live the Scripture which states,


"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all its righteousness and all other
things will be added unto you."

As a result of my seeking diligently after God, He has restored to me, that which I allowed to fall under the control of the devil: My joy, my selfworth, my creativity, my health, my family, my sanity and my piece of mind. God has opened my eyes to the fact that it's not who man says I am that matters, but who He says I am.

And He says,

  • I am beautifully and wonderfully made;
  • I am heir to a royal priesthood; and
  • As a descendant of Adam and Eve, I am a spoken Word and as such I cannot return to Him void, I must, I will accomplish that which He has purposed in me.

Seeing myself through God's eyes placed me in a position to begin realizing the following dreams:

  • I'm working on three books; (one of which will be finished by December);
  • I'm working on lyrics and melodies for my CD; (one song has already been completed and is part of a soundtrack for a Christian Direct to DVD series); and
  • I'm in Bible School working towards my Minister's License (well as you've read previously this one really wasn't a dream...lol).

Like the baton in a relay race, I'm passing on to you, the above-mentioned information. Maybe you'll be able to go for it or forward it to someone else who can. I, on the other hand, may get to Africa one day, but if not--I'm reaching for dreams right here in good old U S of A.

So, what reachable dreams have you been overlooking?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Rosa Parks


Civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks holds the hand of a well-wisher at a ceremony honoring the 46th anniversary of her arrest for civil disobedience Saturday, Dec. 1, 2001, at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. Parks, whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man sparked the modern civil rights movement, died Monday Oct. 24, 2005. She was 92. (AP Photo/Paul Warner)


Civil Rights Pioneer Rosa Parks Dies at 92
By Associated Press

DETROIT - Rosa Lee Parks, whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man sparked the modern civil rights movement, died Monday. She was 92.

Mrs. Parks died at her home of natural causes, said Karen Morgan, a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich.

Mrs. Parks was 42 when she committed an act of defiance in 1955 that was to change the course of American history and earn her the title "mother of the civil rights movement."

At that time, Jim Crow laws in place since the post-Civil War Reconstruction required separation of the races in buses, restaurants and public accommodations throughout the South, while legally sanctioned racial discrimination kept blacks out of many jobs and neighborhoods in the North.

The Montgomery, Ala., seamstress, an active member of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was riding on a city bus Dec. 1, 1955, when a white man demanded her seat.

Mrs. Parks refused, despite rules requiring blacks to yield their seats to whites. Two black Montgomery women had been arrested earlier that year on the same charge, but Mrs. Parks was jailed. She also was fined $14.

Speaking in 1992, she said history too often maintains "that my feet were hurting and I didn't know why I refused to stand up when they told me. But the real reason of my not standing up was I felt that I had a right to be treated as any other passenger. We had endured that kind of treatment for too long."

Her arrest triggered a 381-day boycott of the bus system organized by a then little-known Baptist minister, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who later earned the Nobel Peace Prize for his work.

"At the time I was arrested I had no idea it would turn into this," Mrs. Parks said 30 years later. "It was just a day like any other day. The only thing that made it significant was that the masses of the people joined in."

The Montgomery bus boycott, which came one year after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark declaration that separate schools for blacks and whites were "inherently unequal," marked the start of the modern civil rights movement.

The movement culminated in the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act, which banned racial discrimination in public accommodations.

After taking her public stand for civil rights, Mrs. Parks had trouble finding work in Alabama. Amid threats and harassment, she and her husband Raymond moved to Detroit in 1957. She worked as an aide in Conyers' Detroit office from 1965 until retiring Sept. 30, 1988. Raymond Parks died in 1977.

Mrs. Parks became a revered figure in Detroit, where a street and middle school were named for her and a papier-mache likeness of her was featured in the city's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Mrs. Parks said upon retiring from her job with Conyers that she wanted to devote more time to the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. The institute, incorporated in 1987, is devoted to developing leadership among Detroit's young people and initiating them into the struggle for civil rights.

"Rosa Parks: My Story" was published in February 1992. In 1994 she brought out "Quiet Strength: The Faith, the Hope and the Heart of a Woman Who Changed a Nation," and in 1996 a collection of letters called "Dear Mrs. Parks: A Dialogue With Today's Youth."

She was among the civil rights leaders who addressed the Million Man March in October 1995.

In 1996, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, awarded to civilians making outstanding contributions to American life. In 1999, she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian honor.

Mrs. Parks received dozens of other awards, ranging from induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor to an NAACP Image Award for her 1999 appearance on CBS' "Touched by an Angel."

The Rosa Parks Library and Museum opened in November 2000 in Montgomery. The museum features a 1955-era bus and a video that recreates the conversation that preceded Parks' arrest.

"Are you going to stand up?" the bus driver asked.

"No," Parks answered.

"Well, by God, I'm going to have you arrested," the driver said.

"You may do that," Parks responded.

Mrs. Parks' later years were not without difficult moments.

In 1994, Mrs. Parks' home was invaded by a 28-year-old man who beat her and took $53. She was treated at a hospital and released. The man, Joseph Skipper, pleaded guilty, blaming the crime on his drug problem.

The Parks Institute struggled financially since its inception. The charity's principal activity _ the annual Pathways to Freedom bus tour taking students to the sites of key events in the civil rights movement _ routinely cost more money than the institute could raise.

Mrs. Parks lost a 1999 lawsuit that sought to prevent the hip-hop duo OutKast from using her name as the title of a Grammy-nominated song. In 2000, she threatened legal action against an Oklahoma man who planned to auction Internet domain name rights to http://www.rosaparks.com.

After losing the OutKast lawsuit, attorney Gregory Reed, who represented Mrs. Parks, said his client "has once again suffered the pains of exploitation." A later suit against OutKast's record company was settled out of court.

She was born Rosa Louise McCauley on Feb. 4, 1913, in Tuskegee, Ala. Family illness interrupted her high school education, but after she married Raymond Parks in 1932, he encouraged her and she earned a diploma in 1934. He also inspired her to become involved in the NAACP.

Looking back in 1988, Mrs. Parks said she worried that black young people took legal equality for granted.

Older blacks, she said "have tried to shield young people from what we have suffered. And in so doing, we seem to have a more complacent attitude.

"We must double and redouble our efforts to try to say to our youth, to try to give them an inspiration, an incentive and the will to study our heritage and to know what it means to be black in America today."

At a celebration in her honor that same year, she said: "I am leaving this legacy to all of you ... to bring peace, justice, equality, love and a fulfillment of what our lives should be. Without vision, the people will perish, and without courage and inspiration, dreams will die _ the dream of freedom and peace."

Monday, October 17, 2005

I Just Want to Know...





Is it just me or does

anyone else have issues

with multiple stall

bathrooms?

(ALERT: If you're finicky and believe that women do not make use of the facilities, or should not speak about usage of same in public, please click that nice little red X on the upper right corner of your screen--now.)

Okay, now for the rest of you for-real folk:

I am, and have been for some years, an irregular defecator. However, since moving from New York to PA, it has gotten even worse; so much so that I even remembered to mention it to my doctor at my last visit.

Her opinion, "It might just be the water here in the valley." (Lehigh Valley, that is, home to some of the nastiest tasting water you ever wanna sample.)

Anyway, back to the multiple stalls issue.

Maybe, I spoke up too soon, or started drinking too much water and just jinxed myself? Because in the last two months, I have been quite prolific in my bowel movements. Yay! Almost regular. Downside? It's always at work! I have tried holding it till off hours, you know...before 12 noon and after 2:30 pm, but 3 out of 5 times, just as I am mid-movement, so to speak, what do I hear? Footsteps!

Oh nooooo. Please not the stall next to me, please, please, please? Too late, here she/they come(s)! Should I hold my breath? Pull my feet up? But somehow, I know that even if I do one or the other, or even both, she/they'll still know I'm here. (No, not via green fumes escaping under the door, I am the only African American person in my building...but that's another story)

So I grit my teeth, hold my breath and do everything but click my red heels, as I try to stop the action of my bowels...not possible. So once again I am defeated by the timing of my bodily function.

After that last embarrassing episode, I thought about it and I figure there ought to be some rules to avoid such embarrassment and they'd go like this:

  • The first person in should use the very first stall so that their feet will be visible, thereby cluing in the next person to skip a stall (which is the next rule)

  • People please skip a stall, there's no need for all that bonding if there are three other free stalls.

  • All sound effects should be kept to a minimum (see next bullet)

  • Before usage, place a goodly amount of toilet tissue in the toilet bowl, thereby avoiding that plop…without the fizz sound effect. (Just got that tip from my sister on the two hour ride home from church in New York yesterday).

    (DISCLAIMER: Now if y’all can’t tell the difference between goodly and too much and your bathroom clogs up…my name is Bess and I ain’t in this mess!)


  • Wipe that sprinkle after you tinkle

  • Have air freshener will travel

  • Hand washing is mandatory!

That's my little curiosity (read: sharing and caring) moment for today.

Peace,
Dee

P.S. As I concluded this piece, another curiousity moment came to me...when Pastor says that we should always be ready to share a testimony...I wonder if that includes moments like this?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Unchurched Black Men - Introduction or Where the Men At?

The following post begins a series of posts taken from the message board of one of my groups and is used with full permission of Ken Aveirls, Sr. a/k/a Saukrates.

UnChurched Black Men - Introduction
Posted: 10 Jul 2005, 9:43pm

I promised Longdrive, that I would comment on his post. It's late. . sigh. . .however, I need to break this down over a period of time. It will take longer than a blurb here or there, because there are more than one possible scenario.

The Prophet Amos, sheepherder and sycamore tree tender penned these words - "Woe to those at ease in Zion." This eighth-century prophet of Israel was condemning the leisure class of his nation for living well, eating the choicest cuts of meat, drinking the best wines, living in luxurious homes, and anointing themselves with the most expensive fragrances. All this they do "but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph"

It's hard, very hard, for a "brother", to go up in a church house, making ends barely meet, and the "Passa" is wearing a Presidential Rolex, driving an E or S-Class (or Bentley), has a private jet, and lives in a palatial palace. . . . While he has a watch from WalMart, a car that has 3 good tires, and he's rolling on a doughnut, hasn't had a vacation outside of the state in 5 years, and lives in an apartment! Also, as he looks around his community, it's crumbling down. . . .in every aspect of life.

Dr. James Cone (AME Professor. . . tee hee), in an essay in "The Pastor as Servant", quotes from a statement that circulated at a poor people's rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

I was hungry
and you formed a humanities club
and you discussed my hunger.
Thank you.

I was imprisoned
and you crept off quietly
to your chapel in the cellar
and prayed for my release.

I was naked
and in your mind
you debated the morality of my appearance.

I was sick
and you knelt and thanked God
for your health.

I was homeless
and you preached to me
of the spiritual shelter of the love of God.

I was lonely
and you left me alone
to pray for me.
You seem so holy;
so close to God.

But I'm still very hungry
and lonely
and cold.

So where have your prayers gone?
What have they done?
What does it profit a man
to page through his book of prayers
when the rest of the world is crying for his help?

"Think About It. . . ."

Saukratees~

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

One Nation, "Under God" or Argument For Prayer in School


II Corinthians 5:7 "For we walk by faith, not by sight"
One day, a 6 year old girl was sitting in a classroom. The Teacher was explaining evolution to the children. The Teacher asked a little boy: Tommy do you see the tree outside?

TOMMY: Yes.

TEACHER: Tommy, do you see the grass outside?

TOMMY: Yes.

TEACHER: Go outside and look up and see if you can see the sky.

TOMMY: Okay. (He returned a few minutes later) Yes, I saw the sky.

TEACHER: Did you see GOD?

TOMMY: No.

TEACHER: That's my point. We can't see GOD because HE isn't there. HE just doesn't exist.

A little girl spoke up wanting to ask the boy some questions. The Teacher agreed. The little girl asked the boy: Tommy, do you see the tree outside?

TOMMY: Yes.

LITTLE GIRL: Tommy do you see the grass outside?

TOMMY: Yessssss!

LITTLE GIRL: Did you see the sky?

TOMMY: Yessssss!

LITTLE GIRL: Tommy, do you see the Teacher?

TOMMY: Yes

LITTLE GIRL: Do you see her brain?

TOMMY: No

LITTLE GIRL: Then according to what we were taught today, she doesn't have one...........

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Can We Talk?

No, I'm not blonde nor has the skin on my face been vertically challenged.

But I did think those three little words would a) Catch your attention, b) Give you an inkling of the type of post and c) Set the tone for the rest of the post.

So there I was, stuck in the house yesterday because of the rain. What was a girl to do but surf till she dropped?

My search of plugins for my blog turned up (drumroll please...ta da rum rum) A forum!

Okay, so it's not exactly a plugin, but who's going to call me on it? Anyway, it's now all set up so that we can discuss some of the topics I've touched upon indepth. We can discuss sensitive issues on password protected boards or unprotected boards, it's all up to you.

Isn't technology grand? Oh and did I mention the best part? It's FREE! (One of my favorite words).

And in case you missed it, to your right on the sidebar is my new yahoo group created about a week ago. It's primary purpose is, and I quote, "...to provide a supportive and loving atmosphere that promotes healing."

So, if that sounds like you. Can we...talk?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Call or "Before the Surrender"

"When

are you

going to

start

preaching?"

The morning of Good Friday in April, 2002 began just like any other:--

I rolled over in my bed eyelashes fluttering rapidly as I peered myopically at the alarm clock. Satisfied that once again I'd beaten the alarm, I returned to my previous position and contemplated the ceiling as I prayed in my mind, good morning God! Then without interrupting the flow of my prayer, I reached over, beat the alarming clock into submission, and continued, I thank you for waking me up this morning...

My prayer complete, I jumped out of bed, (actually more of a sideways shuffle) and headed for the bathroom. It was a day I anticipated with glee, a day devoted to God. My only complaint, why did it have to begin so early?

Our family had begun a tradition of attending three services on Good Friday. One at 7 a.m. featuring all women preachers, another at 12 noon in a Senior Center; and the grand daddy of them all at 6 p.m. featuring seven heavy hitting preachers from the New York and New Jersey areas accompanied by seven bumping choirs (the equivalent of the Christian "Drop it Like it's Hot")

After a rousing round of women who brought new revelation to the seven last words of Jesus on the Cross. One which stuck in my mind was delivered by Rev. Jackie McCullough who had the word "It is Finished!" -- In her exposition, she posed the theory that becoming a Christian, finishes our lives as sinners, but our lives in Christ has just begun. This theory relegates the stagnancy of many believers and stuff and nonsense and points to the fact that mustard seed faith will get you into heaven, but great faith is what gets you through, here on earth.

This was followed by a song entitled "Lord I'm Available to You" that talks about dedicating all the gifts we receive from God, back to use in His service, to reach His people who are brokenhearted and in need of freedom from whatever vices hold them down.

I was in tears after that and pretty pensive as we traveled from the morning service to the noon service. Since it was located in a Senior Center, the church wasn't as grand as the structure of the church hosting the morning service, but where there presence of the Lord is, there is reverence.

With the high from the previous service still in full force, I sang more heartily than usual, I listened more attentively to each preacher, with the first preacher getting my attention, because his sermon was geared towards encouraging the youth, and as a former youth choir director and an overgrown kid myself, you say the word youth and you've got my attention.

So after his sermon, I smiled in acknowledgment (kinda that "Good word sir!" thing we do) whenever our eyes met. Which seemed to be quite often, now that I think about it, but being used to folks staring at me, I didn't really take it on.

When it was my Pastor's turn to render the word, I sang the song he'd requested entitled, "I Believe, So Why Should I Worry or Fret."

Upon resuming my seat, Minister no. 1 was still nodding and smiling at me, but since it wasn't a lechorous look or smile, I continued smiling then refocused my attention to the word.

###

Having congratulated all the ministers and schmoozed with their wives or choir members, I made a beeline for the most important section of the room. Nope, not the bathroom, the food table! I was almost there when I was intercepted by Minister no. 1 who shook my hand, smiled beatifically at me then asked,

“When are you going to start preaching?”

Stunned, I looked around to see if someone else had silently eased up behind me, but there was no one there. Even as I thought, he really must be short on conversational material, singing is my thing, I replied.

“Me? Preaching? Where’d you get that idea? That’s not me, you saw what I do…I sing, that’s what I do.”

Throwing up his hands in “I surrender” mode he said,

“Don’t get mad at me, I’m just the messenger. I’m just telling you what God told me to tell you--that’s what I do.”

I politely smiled, shook his hand again and hightailed it away from him and proceeded to avoid what I considered the “crazy” man till we departed. Later that afternoon, on our break before attending the 6 p.m. Good Friday service, I told my sister and her husband of my conversation with the elderly minister concluding with,

“If people don’t’ have anything to say, they really should just be quiet.” With that grand assessment I walked upstairs to my apartment, congratulating myself on having nipped that nonsense in the bud.

A month later, the nagging thought occurred. What if he wasn’t just making conversation?Again I thoroughly and ruthlessly squelched the idea of entertaining such a thought. Not me! Why would God…choose me I mean, I’ve been here for 37 years, I think I would have known by now of any leanings in that direction. Plus I’ve heard many extraordinary and captivating testimonies of “the call” and so I just know that were I to be chosen, I would be alone not in a crowded room so I could say that God was probably talking to my neighbor and I overheard and I should expect nothing less than the halleluiah chorus to be played accompanied by a ray of light shining through a fluffy white cloud that would illuminate just me.

Can you say wrong? I received “the call” during one of the lowest periods of my life…