Chicago Departure-When A Poet Can’t Find A Verse

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Poetry Slam

(Please excuse any and all typos-Conference starts in 30 minutes and I am still in PJ’s across the street!-more to come)

I only had 24 hours left before I needed to get on the plane. Unbeknown to me God had two lessons to teach me before touching down in Chi-Town.

And I still needed to get back home to properly say “good-bye” before leaving Brown Sugar Inc. Our last supper together ended up being the sharing a carton of our absolute favorite ice cream at 9:45pm. I already know, way too late on a school night. But I needed to look my people in their eye and hear about their “highs” and “lows” before take off.

Some kinda way instead of checking things off my list I kept adding addendum’s to each item. They looked something like this:

Clean The (Whole) House.  I only got to my living room and bedroom-family room and kitchen looked a hot mess when I left and most likely will be a hot mess when I get back

Cook Meals and Pantry Snacks In my  domestic imagination I dreamed I had cooked up and froze five healthy and delicious meals for each day I would be gone-instead Chef Costco did the job-spent way too much money-you’d thought I was stocking up for the return of another Y2K or something. Lol!

Finish Braiding Baby Girls Hair  It took me 10 hours over the last 4 days to complete her singles-and I still had 1/4 of her hair still unfinished. This is only my second time teaching myself through YouTube how to braid with extension and it looks like! Lol. I also bought the wrong kinda hair extension. (Sally’s Beauty Supply I really appreciate that you are you trying to reach the African-American market in the Pacific Northwest-but you gotta do better.)

√  Finish All MUST DO’s At Work. Well unfortunately everything feels like a “MUST DO” when you are a small non-profit, so that didn’t happen, I still left work too late and had to bring work on the plane anyways.

Record my first Whole Mama Video. I’ll share more about that goodness later- but here’s a little bit about this new, fun project from my girl Esther Emery-check it out. http://www.estheremery.com/wholemama/

Call Parents and In-Loves (Laws). And act like you have all the time in the world as you answer all their questions and catch them up on each of their grandchildren -because that’s just what you do in a Black family before you go out of town. You just gotta make sure everything is right

Grab A New Outfit At The Mall. I wanted some thing a little fun-not frumpy and overstretched. My mid-life, mid-section keeps spreading like butter and this Momma here  got plenty of bread she can’t get in her  back pockets these days.

Finish Justice Conference Poetry Slam Poem. Half of it was already done. I just needed to broaden and clarify a few themes, tighten what was loose and memorize each verse. No problem right? Wrong! Oh so very wrong…

1. You can have both

Instead of the mall I settled on JC Penny’s, the closest department store from my house. I was trying to keep it simple but had to text a few of My Girls to decide on a final selection. I found two shrugs on the clearance rack. I sent them the picture below. with the message- “Shrug 1. Shrug 2?”

Shrug

While their votes were coming in, I waited, perplexed in front of a long mirror. I was starting to unravel a bit. I hadn’t finished most of the things on the list above and a subtle anxiety attack was beginning to grow. I started sweating and I could hear my heart beating loud.

A nice woman smiled at me and locked eyes. I loved her curly blonde hair-it kinda reminded me of my own golden locks. Before you knew it we were exchanging Momma and blogging journey. We ended up talking about embracing our natural curly hair and empowering our girls in this flat-iron-straight-hair-only-culture to do the same. We also ended up sharing about the same God we both love and serve.

“I knew you were a Christian!” My new friend Angela, smiled with ease and a deep knowing.

We were chatting away like reunited school mates until the guilt of taking away time to have this conversation hit me.

“It was so nice meeting you, I gotta get home to My Babies-you know I feel so guilty for leaving them.”

With a big warm smile she said. “Well, you shouldn’t. Our children need to see us modeling our calling before them. They need to know that we have our own faith walk to honor and that it is full of adventure and beauty. Go have fun. They will be fine.”

JCPENNYANGEL

The tears started dripping and all I could say was, “Thank you, Sis.”

Just like my two shrugs-God was not making me chose one over the other-I could have both.

2. But you can do neither well without abiding in Me

I made it to the airport in one piece-but still with no finished poem. After getting through security and the Coffee People line it finally hit me-I’m actually going to Chicago! Unfortunate my seat was the middle-but my neighbors were chill. A family man going to visit his parents in Turkey on my left and a native Chicagoan wife and mother to my right .

I got nested in quickly with laptop, journal and pen.

Pulling out my last draft I pray and waited.

Prayed and waited again.

Prayed and waited again-again.

An hour had already breezed by. All I had to show for it were four verses-but I had three pages of scribbled down half thoughts and half truths.

Come on Jesus, don’t leave me hanging like this. I prayed desperately.

Still nothing.

Poetry has always come quickly to me. My soul takes a snapshot of an issue-a burden-an emotion and my heart and mind race to see who will get there first. But. Not. This. Time.

Come on God, don’t go quiet on me.I begged with abandon.

Still nothing.

Completely undone I turned to my scripture of the day.

The Vine and the Branches

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Never has this ever happened to me. I always have something to pull up. I always a verse, a song, a word in my heart to share. It may not be prophetic or always deep-but there is always something to start with. I tried for the three whole hours for a jump-start and still nothing.

Bowed down head, humble heart I stepped off the plane with no poem to slam.

Instead God gave me His verses from John 15 to recite and a few lines  to recall.

Abide.

Prune.

Nothing.  (without Me)

Abide

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The Night Jesus Played A Bass And Rocked An Afro

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BlackGold

Hey Fam!

It’s been a minute. Actually it’s been a month! LOL!!

The last time I pushed “published” in this here little space was to share with you a piece I had shared in The Mudroom. The Mudroom is my new place, my new community, my new coming of wanting to live a more transparent, brave, authentic journey.

Well I’m up again and I would love for you to stop by.

http://mudroomblog.com/the-night-jesus-played-a-bass-and-rocked-an-afro/

I’m still determined to connect with you more right here at Quenched. I just gotta find a better way to carve out that precious space to GET HERE. 

In the meantime, I just want you to know that I’m still alive, still writing, still loving, still stretching and still living.

Be back soon(er). 🙂

Love ya,

V

Surviving Racial Disasters

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Surviving Racial Storms

Searching for humanity, hope and clean water in The Mudroom today.Would love your company there-stop by.

Love y’all,

V

http://mudroomblog.com/surviving-racial-disasters/

When You Have A Case of Creative Constipation 

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It’s quite painful to keep holding your truth inside.

“I think I have emotional and creative constipation.” Laughingly, I told my Twin Cuzin Alisha last night.

As a loud chuckle rolled out deep from my belly a piece of my heart sank.

You see for the past 3 weeks I have been storing up beauty, trauma and unfinished thoughts. I haven’t written down one single word to process it all. I am bloated with imagery, poetry, brutal and real conversations.

Why?

Because something keeps telling me it’s a luxury. That only “real” authors, bloggers, and established creatives get to write.

This voice also keeps saying that you must have the “privilege” of time to write. In my more less committed seasons I did write. Wrote everyday! But that ain’t my testimony right now. 

I am a full-time working, wife and Momma of three-there ain’t no time Honey!

 So instead of starting somewhere, I’ve been storing up mason jars of self-pity, hater-ade and anger. 

And let’s just say it ain’t pretty. 

So this morning I’m choosing to scribble down a bit of what’s been locked up in my soul and mind-despite the fact I have no time.

Because there is a story and a dream burning deep inside that just won’t let me go. And it is causing a serious case of “creative constipation.”

It’s time to uncork. Lol!

Love yall.

Ascension

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( Reflection of Palm Sunday)

New shoots of green life

I wave at His feet

Pushing past the dirt of my own humanity

I lift high my hands to worship.

New hope of redemption

I plea for your Majesty

Just one more touch?

As you pass my way

The robe of your Glory

Wraps me tightly in your light.

I ascend.

New Beginnings in the Mudroom

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God’s up to something new. I think that’s what happens when we let go of what’s not working and grab hold of what it is we really want. Acting out on faith gives God more room to show up and show out. It just may be -we have to get a little messy first.

Dirt makes things grow. You know those underground-where-nobody-else-can-see-places? Yea, that’s where transformation really begins.

Buds of truth, community and creativity are springing up for me in the difficult places.

Just when life was getting a little dull and dusty with discouragement a few new beginnings came my way.

Here’s one.

It’s called, The Mudroom.

Here’s an excerpt from our home page…

“The Mudroom is a place for the stories emerging in the midst of the mess.”

Our vision is simple: make room for people.

“Sometimes we feel like there’s no room at the table, or we don’t belong at the table, but what if we sidestep the table entirely and just meet in the mudroom? Sometimes the formality of the table can be intimidating and we find ourselves wishing we were under the table.”

“Sometimes we need the smaller space, the comforting place, with the people who will shove the cast off sweatshirts and baseball gloves and skateboards out of the way and slide to the floor with us. What if we just didn’t go in, and stayed in the mudroom instead?”

Come by The Mudroom where we are getting messy about the things that really matter most in our lives.Today my first post is being featured. Stop by if you get a minute and say “hey”. We are honoring Women’s History Month. Meet Ms. Ida B. Wells-the Princess of the Press.

http://mudroomblog.com/meet-the-princess-of-the-press/

Day 15ish-So Why Lent?

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So folks keep asking me- why do you observe Lent?

And two and a half weeks into this journey, I’m asking myself the same question.

Tweeking For Crutches

Social media, sugar and success are what I am seriously salivating for right now. These three crutches-I’ve known for awhile-are my “go to’s”. 

Quick fixes that give me fast highs and fill in lonely moments (FaceBook strolling), deep cravings (salty, dark chocolate with carmel-now please) and unmet dreams (am I totally living the life I imagined-yet?).

But maybe instead of feeling the need to start over-I am really hitting the stride of what this Lent thing is suppose to really be about-drawing closer to God.

Time Away

Before beginning his ministry Jesus went away. In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus was sent into the wilderness by the Spirit, where he fasted and prayed for 40 days. During His time away He was tempted by Satan -yet found clarity and strength to resist every temptation. 

It is only in the quiet, undestracted places do we truly hear from God. Not in the copy-paste-regurgitated-verbiage of others.

Don’t get me wrong -I am a quote connoisseur. LOL! I know how to pick the best of them.

I love finding that perfect quote. It’s like finally discovering, the missing 1000th piece, to the jigsaw puzzle to life’s most pressing need.

But there are times in my life when I am desperate to hear only His words, be close to His single heartbeat, serenaded alone by His sweet melodies

Total Revelation 

After time alone Jesus was ready to begin His ministry. Can you imagine the intimacy and revelation Jesus must have received by himself from His Heavenly Father?

I’ve had my share of can’t-stop-ugly-cry-praise-moments. Those times when you’re so grateful nobody is home or looking in your car to witness your breakdown to get to your breakthrough. Ummhmmm. Ever had one?

There are places in our lives  when we need to work out bad habits, lost dreams, broken promises in order to move on to the next step or new season God is desiring for us. Places to just let it go. All. Go.

Are you longing to complete a work or calling that is bigger than you? 

For me right now that is finishing strong with the Love of My Life and in the raising up of our three children as a 42-year old woman (mid-life is no joke y’all). 

It is also the finishing up of a memoir eight years in the making. Loving my circles of community and friendships with intention and deep care. 

The creating of voice, beauty and healing through words, the arts, acts of service and a souled-out-broken-life poured out to God. 

But more than anything I just want to hear Jesus say, “You did it Baby Girl. Job well done. Come on up and rest awhile.”

That reality and satisfaction will not come if I am not close enough to hear Him giving me the inside scoop to my own life. The secret map to hidden treasures of truth and wisdom only come from the guiding motions of His hands.

I must unnumb, detox and stop being my own solution to truly find God. 

I gotta pump the breaks. Slow the pace. Cease the grind. Say no to my “go to” instant gratifications to live a fulfilled life totally committed to my Savior. 

This is why I Lent.