Day 25-Reasons For Winter-SITTING WITH STILLNESS

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Stillness

Officially the first day of winter is not until December 21st ya’ll, but tell that to my face. LOL!

It’s cold!

I’ve already pulled out the knitted scarves, fuzzy socks, thick blankets and big mugs. The heater stays on high and the crockpot has been working on overtime.

Unlike most November’s in the Pacific Northwest, the sun has been shining almost everyday -and we are loving it.

But winter is coming.

Stripped trees stand bare for all to see every branch exposing it’s true identity. Frosted dew, hold captive green blades that just a few weeks ago gave soft grounding and perfectly croppable lawns.

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This morning on my walk,  I went to grab for my headsets in my purse, but instead heard…

“Not today. It’s time to get quiet.”

I have to admit, I got a bit of an attitude. I was ready to “turn up” (as my kids say) my favorite Pandora station and get my, “Walk-Sing-Praise Party” on.

Being quiet seemed a little boring for my sunny mood. But I listened and dropped the earphones back in my purse because I am trying harder to listen.  I knew if I didn’t I was going to miss out on the very thing I had been asking God for all month long.

For the past 25 days, (whew!!! I’m almost there) I have asked God to give me that little tap on my soul. I’ve been calling them, “my quenched moments”. Moments when God shows me something about myself  and or in others-something I need to take notice of, or get right.

There have also been times this month, when these “moments” were much more than a tap. I’m telling you, Jesus has in a few instances, just walked straight in the room. Up close and personal- blued ray, 3-D ,-television ain’t got nothing on this.

And in these moments of deep reflection, correction or celebration I am understanding the fullness- blessings and calling this little journey of mine is offering. I am becoming more and more satisfied with the One who loves me and the life I’ve been given.

Sitting on the bench that seemed to magically appear on my walk (seriously, LOL!, it kinda felt like God was putting me on a little time out)

I looked up at this tree.

It was bold in it’s vulnerability. The sun beaming bright on every single branch.

It stood alone. Didn’t chose to, it’s just where the sower decided to plant it.

It’s in transition. I’m old enough to know that in six months this little tree will have awaken from it’s winter slumber with new life and regenerated purpose.

So what does this tree have to do with you and with me?

1. Winter allows us to become more intimate. Cold days draw us home. We are called to go inward ,giving us the opportunity to stand open, transparent, exposed to less activities and preoccupation with sunny days and clear skies.

Who in your life do you need to draw closer to? Who’s cold heart needs the warmth of genuine love?

2. Winter allows us to stand alone. Maybe you are in a season where it just you, you and you. Instead of seeing this temporary situation as a life sentence-allow the sower to show you what new dream, purpose, or lesson he is growing inside.

And if the “why me’s” keep blocking your faith, look for the “who He says He is” and the “who He has already been” in your life to break you out!

3.Winter allows for transformation. Real change takes time.  (I know you have heard that line before.) But it’s true and as I’m looking at all the fallen leaves around me, I’m grieving the loss of their beauty (like I ‘m grieving my once upon a time youthful frame) but I’m honoring the process (cause I love being a grown woman!). Every season must change and each season has a needed purpose. I believe the purpose of winter is to rest, reflect and restore.

This winter where do you need rest, what would you like to change, and what in you needs to be restored?

My cozy socks and fuzzy robe are calling me y’all-it’s time to get still-real still. 🙂

Until our next quenched moment.

 

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Day 24-Sunday’s Best means FEASTING ON FELLOWSHIP

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We use to sing this song every Sunday at the end of church service

when I was a little girl.

The entire congregation held hands in a circle.

Funny thing, I didn’t realize until now, how hip the elders really where in my little baptist church

this was a Diana Ross song y’all!!!!

Potlluck dinners followed, piled high with each family’s signature dishes.

Extended hour-long parking lot conversations had all us children begging to go home.

Emergency prayer meetings in the Ladies restroom claiming healing, hope and

deliverence-my people stopped and took the time to pray you through till you got to the other side of your situation.

These are just a few of the  images and experiences

I have had with my church family in the past and now in the present.

It’s really true…

this world is such a better place because of your touch.

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BONUS QUESTION

(Just for fun)

What was the best potluck food you ever tasted?

(Sister Warren’s peach cobbler was mine!!!)

What is your favorite potluck dish to share?

(I’m known for my famous chocolate cake and yummy chicken salads.)

When was the last time you opened up your home for fellowship?

(hmmm…Had a little harvest dinner with family and friends just last month but before then it had been awhile.)

Let’s make an effort to reach out more and to 

keep feasting on the fellowship God prepares, plates and purposes us to have in the

family of God- it truly is food for the soul. 

Day 23-Alone In My Nest-MOTHER BREAKS

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It’s one of those rare Saturday night’s when I am home alone.

Hubby and son are driving back from a basketball game in  Seattle.

The girls each mapped out and scheduled full, what they too would do in the absence of the boys-resulting in an all day play date and a sleepover with friends.

After daily chores, reaching my writing goals for the week, five meetings, cooking 15 meals, job hunting, a funeral, and a three hour Yada Yada Girlfriend session I’m exhausted-but I want to go somewhere too-just like everybody else.

But I didn’t make plans and I’m sad I didn’t-but I’m too tired to think up something now.

It’s really quiet.

The house feels empty and very, very big.

Hmmmm. So this is what an empty nest feels like. I don’t know if I like this?

I’m lonely.

I’m surprised by my thoughts, it’s the first time a mothering break for me has come with a hovering sadness.

When the kids where smaller I relished over any type of alone time. Quick Starbucks breaks or long beached weekends when my husband gave me the green light to go-it was nothing but freeway baby!!! Those breaks gave me strength, clarity and a deepened appreciation of what I had waiting for me back at home.

But lately it seems, that these days with my children keep speeding up and I can’t hold on to them for very long before the sun is coming up again. And I want it to slow down a bit, so I don’t keep missing stuff or missing out on what they need.

The people in my house give me a plan.

They are my living to do list and Google schedules. They keep my life filled up to the brim whether I want it to be or not.  I am needed alone by them. I am their only Momma.

The people in my house give me a purpose.

The goal of parenting is simple wings and roots. Our goal is to successfully send each child into full flight with healthy, whole and eager wings-at the same time anchor down, deep roots in God, family and faith.

The people in my house ALSO give me endless housework, stress, anxiety, responsibility, drama, humor, entertainment, bills,victories, challenges, and discoveries in some form or another, each and every day.

And the truth is I am blessed to have it ALL.

To be given the privilege to be a LIFE and LOVE-GIVER is an awesome calling.

Motherhood has, is, and will continue to take ALL OF ME-and that’s what is making it so meaningful, so rich and so depleting. Parenting ain’t no joke y’all. RIGHT???!!!

So what happens when the people in our house leave us ? When our role is different?

And their play dates, performances, projects, personal struggles and play-off’s leave with them?

And we are alone?

(Sure I know they will visit, call, maybe even have to return home for a season or two, but I am fully aware that my life will never be this full of their details. They will one day soon become the parent).

I think I know what I will do…

After I cry a lot (and then some more), Hubby and I move to a cute condo and I throw myself a party…

I will rest, reflect and record the grit, gift and glorious journey that took place-in my one and only nest.

And fill my days and weekends full of my own plans. 😉

Day 22-FrEEstYLE Friday-Where I’m From NOW

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Unknown     NOW

I am from crisp frosted mornings and rain storms dumped straight out of Noah’s Ark

From fresh dark cups of Pikes place brewing on my kitchen counter

I am from sacred printed words that unfold my Holy Horoscope

From Smokie Norfolk’s Psalms and Beth Moore’s DVD sermons

I am from picture perfect views of Mt. Hoods peak on the freeway

To orangish-pink sunsets floating over the Columbia River

From family-snuggled-tight,brown leather movie nights watching Netflix

And once a month dates from Portlandia’s favorite picks by

Eric’s love that keeps rekindled flames burning sparks in each new season

I am from a quarterly-rotated-Sistah-Girl-Well, that I dip from on track bleachers, vineyards

trains to Seattle and airplanes that whisk us to Manhattan

Leaving eyes blood-red from crying and laughing  too hard

and restored spirits, refreshed and youthful again

making mundane washin’ and planned meals shoppin’ a calling instead of duty

Weekly  Three-Cords and Redeemed writing that critique each life through

 Faith and Culture around local cafe’s

I am from family reunions of later seasoned Frazier and Dixon’s who now whisper

“It’s your turn now.” to “Don’t live a life you regret.” and “Blaze your own trail Babygirl.”

Community now held together by Facebook, smart phones and gas-tanks bleeding, but not willing

to give up congregating in survived gentrified-marked territories

Forcing us to pen the stories once lived in Vanport and on Vancouver Avenue

So our children’s children will reflect in mirrors- life, soul and heritage

Beaming proudly

this is where I’m from“.

Day 21-Throwback Thursday-Where I’m From

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Where I'm From

(I wrote this poem a couple of years ago with my Elevate students. Using the framework of George Ella Lyon’s, Where I’m from, poem each student (including myself) dug deep in search of our roots . Students cried, become angry, laughed, mourned and celebrated both the pain and beauty that came out as we reached back into the past).

I didn’t realized until tonight what a gift our journey together in poetry would hold.

I’m missing my students. I’m missing home.

I’m missing the way NE Portland use to be.

I’m missing the people that use to be there.

But

I have the memories

I have their lessons

I have this poem.

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I’m from records

Crying out love songs through Aretha’s melodies

From Afro-sheen to Listerine, golden medallions and collars that spread like butterfly wings

I ‘m from Soul Train lines and church pews rocking, big hats wearing and peacocks walking down aisles

From cousins dancing on Granddaddy’s porch to chinese jumpropes in Meek Elementary’s school yard

I’m from kitchens baking bubbling peach cobblers and buttered crusted poundcakes

From foggy windows from chicken frying to BBQ ribs so good they had you begging

For one more….please

From soft round lips pressed on my forehead and wide hips

That sit in cadillacs driving down Martin Luther King Boulevard

I’m from Frazier and Dixon branches

That whisper “Suck it up-Don’t you cry and shouted Hallelujah-Lord don’t pass us by”

Secrets tucked in folded letters, bills not paid and pass notes due

Old Spice, Jean Nate’ and Dippity-Do

Hot metal comb sizzling straight my thick kinky curls

I am the dream of Mommy’s high-heels, that mastered insurance claims floating on a GED

And  Daddy’s broken-in black, Stacy Adams that stood to fed hungry souls from a pulpit

Families raised on the Jefferson’s moving on up to finally arriving at Cosby’s doorsteps

I am the child of community, soul and spirit housed in the corners of Prescott and Fremont street

Because I flew on top of wings that kept me lifted until now I create a breeze that will carry our

legacy of passing down

LOVE

one story

one memory

one word

one moment

at a time

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Day 19- It’s time to live dangerously-DO YOU

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Live-dangerously-and-you-live-right.

What would happen if you became the person you always wanted to be?

What if you stopped living, growing and doing for everybody else and finally took a moment to (like my cousin Nee Nee says ) “DO YOU?”

What would that look like?

It seems selfish-a little dangerous too, huh?

Why?

Because we have gotten use to playing life safe. Because somewhere along our journey we began to care, love and give more to others than ourselves. And that’s not a bad thing. There are places and spaces that this is required, that this is necessary for the development of a child, the leadership of a team, the lifeline for a close friend or family member-to be that missing piece (the only piece) that only you can fill.

And it feels good to be depended on- to be needed in such a significant way.

But often times many of us are hiding behind our roles because we can’t find our selves?

Have you ever lost yourself?

Lost the dream of that young man or young woman you aspired to be. I keep losing and finding the dream of myself. Lately I’ve been gripping tighter, clinging closer to the God-sized dreams he has for me.

I’ve always wanted and still desire to write-to speak life.

I’ve always wanted and still desire to use the power of words to inspire-to transform.

I’ve always wanted and still desire  to love on people-all people.

I’ve always wanted and still desire  to live in a constant space of learning, growing and changing the world-leaving it better than I found it.

I’ve dreamed of breaking chains of poverty, racism and abuse-setting people free.

This is what “doing me” would look like in my perfect world.

I’m not talking about that “self-indulgent-gotta- have-more me.”

I don’t need stuff, my nails done or a new outfit to “feel good” any more.

I use to – had to have all those things to feel worth and to show proof that, “I had made it.”

And to be honest many days my ego and my appetite ,miss and crave that season of more than enough.

But today, I’m talking about re-discovering that “what-was-I-created-to-do-with-my-life me.”

Tough times give the gift of being stripped of extra- to see the richness in what is freely given. With less you are force to make peace with the staples of life, the simplicity of self.

Like joy, purpose and love-like the sparkle in my children’s eyes or the smell of fresh rain.

To live dangerously to me would be to stay in this place of contentment. To dare to dream that my God and the measure of talent and treasure he has given me is enough to sustain, satisfy and supplement the needs of myself, my family and my own little corner of the world.

It’s time to live dangerously!!!

Lynne Hybels wrote the prayer below that was my inspiration for this blog. Read more about living dangerously at http://www.lynnehybels.com I can’t tell you what a gift her journey has been to me as I admire her daughter, Shauna Niequist from a far and witness the  impartation that only a mother can give a daughter. Lynne gave her daughter the license to pursue first who God made her to be and to pour out that overflow second to others. Shauna shares about this gift of impartation on her blog at http://www.shaunaniequist.com.

Dangerous Women (and Men) Creed

Dear God, please make us dangerous .

May we be women who acknowledge our power to change, and grow,

and be radically alive for God.

May we be healers of wounds and righters of wrongs.

May we weep with those who weep and speak for those who cannot

speak for themselves.

May we cherish children, embrace the elderly, and empower the poor.

May we pray deeply and teach wisely.

May we be strong and gentle leaders.

May we sing songs of joy and talk down fear.

May we never hesitate to let passion push us, conviction compel us,

and righteous anger energize us.

May we strike fear into all that is unjust and evil in the world.

May we dismantle abusive systems and silence lies with truth.

May we shine like stars in a darkened generation.

May we overflow with goodness in the name of God and by the power of Jesus.

And in that name and by that power, may we change the world.

Dear God, please make us dangerous women. Amen.

Day 18- Singing Away the Gray-SPEAK LIFE

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Public Praise

Ever been tired of being tired of yourself?

Tired of having your same hang-ups and habits hold you back.

Y’all I’m getting to old to keep doing the same things over and over again.

Like having a bedroom that looks like my teenagers, or constantly worrying about bills and the lack of money, (and the biggest one) doubting the truth about what God says about me.

My taped, recorded track of negative thoughts had already started playing before my morning routines had a chance to hum the day in.

Not today.” I told myself.

Looking outside, nothing but gray clouds framed my window pane and a steady paced rainfall.

A little rain won’t hurt.

My body was begging to be walked and my mind needed some release.

Hoody? Check.

Phone? Check.

Ear plugs? Grab them.

Pandora. Check.

My legs were wobbly and rusty, hadn’t walked in a while. But the words, in each of the songs I’m listening to, are refreshing and realigning  my weak steps.

Before long,I’m looking like one if those people you catch dancing and singing to themselves in public-and they don’t even care.

They’re the, happy-I’m-alive-waving-their-hands-in-the-air- kinda folks. They also usually have very colorful, coordinated, jogging suits on too.

I get it-it’s a choice to chose life.

And before long each negative thought that was lingering in my heart and in my mind had a tailor-made message to drown it out.

I was singing right at my circumstances-speaking life into those gray places. 

Proverbs 18:21

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

The alarm is set on Pandora now.

Gray clouds and rainfall are in tomorrows’ forecast. I’m doing a little forecasting of my own-I’ve decided to speak life.