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Chaos, Social Justice, and Facing Fear in order to Seek God's Face

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.  Isaiah 26:3 A warning in advance-in...

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Grounded...(feet)

For in him we live and move and have our being. As some of your own poets have said,  We are his offspring.
Acts 17:28 (NIV)



( I only have 3 more days. Would you please vote for my stories at #CausePub? click here and here. thanks.)

I had the oddest conversation about feet last night. I realized that some people love ‘em, some people tolerate ‘em, and for other people, I guess they’re just there. 

There's my dancin' feet!
Barefoot, I honor the literal gift
of grounding, and meditate on
how and whether I am fully
grounded in The Word...

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As a dancer, I have tremendous reverence for my feet as my principle instrument. Yes, dancers speak with our bodies, but it is our feet that support us, convey us, allowing us to run, leap, and shout through movement. Thinking back to a liturgical dance seminar I attended earlier this year, the facilitator (a spirit-filled dancer and dance educator) talked about preparing the vessel for an infilling. More than spiritual advice, for dancers, this is practical information. You must be physically prepared for what you need to do.  The very first thing we did physically, after prayer and the lesson, was an act of consecration through alignment. Alignment begins with the foundation. We start at the feet.

As a dancer, I move most effectively when grounded and aligned. The connections between grounding, alignment, and surrender were never even things that occurred to me until recently (why weren't these obvious connections obvious to me before?? Another incidence of recognizing something obvious only at the precise moment you’re ready to receive it…). Physics teaches that grounding means lowering your weight center in order for the body to realize greater stability. It is achieved largely through relaxation (surrender). Through grounding, where we connect through and draw stability from a foundation, we achieve greater awareness of balance. My body has been surrendering for years in obedience to dance discipline. It took my mind and spirit a little while longer.

The floor is a foundation, and when we connect to it, movement is powerful. There is more strength, more balance, more lift, and for me, more joy. It’s not something I think about…it is something I am hardwired to do.  Can I re-hardwire for surrender? Spiritually, this is more than a metaphor. The Word is our foundation. Connected to it, grounded firmly, we have power. He is the Vine, and separate from The Vine, we are cast aside and wither; picked up, we are thrown into the fire and burned (John 15:6, paraphrased).

Because of last night’s conversation about feet, I am intentional about being without shoes today. (It does not hurt that I am sporting a fierce lavender pedicure…) I am honoring the literal gift of my grounding, and meditating on how and whether I am fully grounded in The Word. Walking my dog this morning (in flip flops), I worshipped in the morning breezes amid the caress of gentle summer sunrise, moving through meditative prayer and the dance prayer forms I’ve learned. I’m helping my soul achieve what my body learned long ago…surrender (and it’s really not so bad).


Lord, I’m off to praise you through dance prayer all today. Among other things, I am grateful that You are patient though I can be dense. While I may not be the sharpest tool in the box, I am tenacious, and in this, failure is not an option. Tenacity in seeking Him…another reason I’ll never stop chasing Grace and Peace. 

On Wednesdays, I pray and and play with friends here...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Surrendering to Sabbath (where everything is an act of worship)


Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in Him and He will do this:
 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
    your vindication like the noonday sun.
Psalms 37:5 (NIV)
When the heart is ready to be given away, everything we offer is an act of worship. And it’s beautiful. 

Her words crossed my mind yesterday as my daughter and I walked two and a half leisurely miles through the park yesterday morning, just being together.

Raising teens isn’t easy…motherhood ain’t for sissies, and it is my prayer that we will get it right. I believe my parents got it right. My in-laws got it right, and we seek God’s face in prayer that with His help, my husband and I will get it right. Our walk was worship. Our conversation, choosing to exhibit grace towards one another instead of impatience; listening, really listening to one another in joy and love, were acts of worship, and yes, it was beautiful.

Please Shelly’s advice…begin where you are. Take time. It is all worship. Commit it all to Him, and your vindication, your blessings, will shine like the noonday sun.


Never ever stop chasing Grace and Peace.

This weekend I'm at  Still SaturdayBarbie's Freshly BrewedLife, fellowshipping with  Salina, the crew at Spiritual Sundays and Deirdra at the Sunday Community 


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

10Q (keep reading…)

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
James 1:6 (NIV)

Author Anne Lamott, whose words regularly bring me to tears, writes that the first two of the three essential prayers are “Help” and “Thanks.” Interesting. The hospital chapel again. We’ve spent more than our fair share of time there lately. We are no strangers to praying together, this family. When we walk, when we play, in the car, before we rest, we pray together.

I used tears as my prayer language for a while, but it’s better now.  Wanna know what I’m talking about?  Join me at Circles of Faith 
where I’m featured today. go, now. GO!!!


Monday, July 15, 2013

please leave your message at the beep....

because I'm not here today. I've had the good fortune to be invited to guest post here at Christine's, so please leave your message at the beep and join me at the party over there.


I Am One of Them {So Are You} - Rebuilding the Walls Series

Photo Credit: www.mandymianecki.com
We have an awesome guest post today for today's Rebuilding the Walls Series!  I have the great pleasure of introducing my friend, Chelle Wilson, from Treat Me to a Feast.  Chelle is a wife and mama and blogger and knows the struggle it is to rebuild the broken walls.  We met on Holley Gerth's God-sized dream team where we quickly became like two girls who couldn't stop passing notes and making each other giggle.  Chelle has a depth you don't find often - she has seen her share of heartache - and shares what she's learned there.  Thank you, Chelle for inviting us to your table today...


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Right now, there are no words…

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
Ecclesiastes 3:4 (ESV)


I have known the story of the Four Little Girls my entire life but it didn’t reduce me to weeping until I walked through the sanctuary of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL with my husband, our daughter and our son. That could have been our church. Those could have been our girls. I didn’t fully understand it until I birthed black babies in America. 

I didn’t expect a guilty verdict in the Zimmerman trial though I was weaned on justice. The prosecution failed to meet its burden; I fully understand the law, but I hoped nonetheless. Salty tears fell bitterly on my lap as I heard the verdict read. His sister gasped at my side; dad silent, I considered the sleeping man/boy upstairs in his bed; safe; secure; entitled; abundantly covered in Grace; so deeply and so desperately loved. Sometimes mothering takes my breath away.

It is said that love, endless and relentless, redeems all wrong.  Just how much time does that take?  All we can do in tribute to the memory of a fallen prince (all God’s children belong to the royal priesthood) is pledge our voices through tears to the cause of Justice; offer prayers for all who weep; and assert that though there is a time to mourn, a time to dance will come. 


May God cover us copiously in patience and peace.


video-Jill Scott singing My Petition from the album Beautifully Human
I am spending the Sabbath in Reflection with  Deidra and The Sunday Community

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fix me, Jesus

This is a reprint (my washing machine is fine, thank God), but my heart is weary and I've been singing this song the last couple days. It's okay to cry out when you're weary. Know that you are never alone.

Then one of the elders asked me, These in white robeswho are they, and where did they come from? I answered, Sir, you know. And he said, These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  Therefore,  they are before the throne of God 
   and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
   will shelter them with his presence.
Never again will they hunger;
   never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd
;
he will lead them to springs of living water.
   And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
Revelations 7:13-17 (NIV)


It looked like my washing machine was dead.  It was behaving like it was on its last legs, though I didn’t think that this time was its time.  I actually thought I could fix it.

It must be this way with Jesus.  No matter what our failing, no matter how far we’ve fallen, He intercedes for us with the Father, and we are made whole.  We get fixed.  Can you imagine being one of those, released from the great tribulation, who would serve day and night in the temple? No to-do lists, no chores, no afterschool activities, no LAUNDRY, just praise while we are sheltered in His presence.  

My washing machine kept stopping, mid-cycle, with a basin full of water.  It wouldn’t drain.  It flashed an error code F-21, so I went to the Internet to do some research.  Who knew I could reliably solve the problem myself? I got my DH to buy in to my being a little adventurous….I really felt I could solve the problem, and I did.  I joyfully called my husband and immediately reported that he owed me about $350 (hey, I didn’t go into NYC to get my hair colored and styled, AND I repaired our Kenmore HE front loader).  Laughing, he said whatever it cost, it was worth it.

What would you pay to get it all fixed? Not the stuff, but your stuff.  What would you pay for joy, for blessed assurance, for the knowing, deep down, that you are redeemed and free?

Today’s lesson comes from the appliance section.  Just as I knew (or hoped, against hope) that it wasn’t my washer’s time yet, we are assured that we are always redeemable by the blood of the lamb.  Like my washer, after days of being water-logged, not working properly, stopping mid-cycle, we are still not beyond His love.  Whew…


What, or who, have you written off lately? Did you do so prematurely? What if you had the power to fix it?  You do…we all do…because no matter what has happened, no matter what you said, or did, or didn’t do, there is abundance in you, just like the abundance I continually discover in my continually amusing life.  And therein lay my daily blessing...my day's evidence that God is Good.
On Mondays, I pray and play with friends here...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

She wrote…

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.
Ephesians 5:1 (ESV)
(for Nasreen and Shelly)

on my beautiful mess of a day,
God insisted on reminding me
that He knew;
that He cared;
that He’d seen;
that He’s got it covered.
TWEET SOME ENCOURAGEMENT
Jesus isn’t as concerned about what we give as much as how we choose to do it. Our readiness in giving ourselves away to the world is in direct proportion to our ability to surrender. When the heart is ready to be given away, everything we offer is an act of worship. And it’s beautiful. 

Today was a beautiful mess of a day. Not in what happened, or didn’t but in what I brought to it (or didn’t). Today I struggled. Today I tried to find happy but always seemed to be just two steps behind. A smarter person would’ve given up. But on my beautiful mess of a day, God insisted on reminding me that He knew; that He cared; that He’d seen; that He’s got it covered. 

You see, she wrote,
It is in the valley, that place, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, when the wadi and flash floods seems so quick to consume, that is when we need our feet to be lifted and our spirits set aflight.
So don’t shirk the I’m sorrys.
Don’t run from the tough conversations.
Don’t let the image of where you are define your character.
Don’t refuse to ask others to help.
Don’t allow the yesterdays to keep you from today.
You don’t have to stay in the valley forever, but you also don’t have to keep your feet in the quicksand of the black night while you are there.
Hope.
Chase it.
Find others who chase it too.
You may just run into that gust of wind that causes you to soar.

My Father put words in the hearts of my sisters so I would find them like the North Star in the night sky…steadily guiding me through sadness and fears directly to the Throne, directly to the King. I believed I’d never see on this beautiful mess of a day, and I couldn’t; I didn’t have my own light. I didn’t need my own light. God sent my sisters’ words to be my candles in the dark, writing me out of a gloom they didn’t know and I couldn’t shake. I’d never have had any faith in this kind of community had I not been fed by its Grace…Like faith, I cannot see it, but I know it’s there, infusing my beautiful mess of a day with the love of God.


Thank God she wrote.

Epilogue…sleeping puppy at my feet, Terence Blanchard on the stereo, about to snuggle with my Beloved. Two sleepy happy children and an abundance of peace. What began as a beautiful mess of a day is now just beautiful. Thank God for Grace, that I continue to look up instead of choosing to look down, and that I am not now, nor have I ever been truly alone. keep chasing Grace and Peace, y'all...

On Thursdays, I pray and and play with friends here...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Seek peace, agree to disagree, dislike confusion.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah 6:8 (NIV)

I observed interactions in a recent meeting; learned some useful lessons; was probably even convicted, and am grateful for the cautionary tale the experience provided in living what  we believe.

I don’t believe in random. I don’t believe in coincidence.
I believe in free will,
knowing that the Perfect Will of God
leads us to and through things
in order to bring us to the places we need to be.
TWEET WHAT YOU KNOW
There are times when I talk (or write) a lot. I do go on. Equally, particularly in new environments, I people-watch, more comfortable observing the verbal and non-verbal interactions between people. I love communication.

The meeting opened prayerfully with an invitation for all to be on one accord. We agreed to disagree without contention, there was laughter, a sweet spirit in the room. I was hopeful.

Things went well until stuff got real. In moments, people shifted in their seats, turning towards those with whom they were aligned and away from those with whom they obviously disagreed. Nobody’d said a word at this point, but when I tell you the air changed, became charged? It was like an additional presence in the room.

The meeting facilitator wisely chose NOT to step in and inhibit the natural progression. Beautifully, collectively, we journeyed through the storm and out to clear blue skies. It was evidence of God. Almost absentmindedly, I’d made note of one of several scriptures the read facilitator at the opening of the meeting, and read it silently once again…

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 (NIV)

The prophet Micah reminds us that we know better, and that owing to our Covenant with God, we are obligated to do better.  I observed the journey from knowing to doing.

As the clouds began to lift, my eyes wandered to a document presented by one of the speakers at the meeting. I’d only scanned the pages, but three elements of the guidelines listed caught my eye. They were,
·         Seek peace in all situations
·         Agree to disagree in situations where there is a difference of opinion…
·         Dislike confusion (that was my favorite)

I don’t believe that the authors of the guidelines collaborated with the facilitator to align the scriptures for the meeting with their presentation. That was a God thing.

I don’t believe that anyone anticipated that tensions would escalate as rapidly or as intensely as they did, as quickly as they did. That was a God thing.

I wonder that anyone anticipated the rapid return of peace, clarity, and accountability for next steps, although we should have, because that meeting, that gathering, that we were there in that place at that time, was a God thing. It was a God-incidence. Knowing me at all, you know I don’t believe in random. I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe in free will, knowing that the Perfect Will of God leads us to and through things in order to bring us to the places we need to be. Like beyond the storm. Like into the beginnings of understanding. Like through the tension and into Grace. Towards acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with The One. Seeking Peace.


See what happens when you attend a meeting?


On Wednesdays, I pray and and play with friends here...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A sincere offer of friendship…

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart,
    and the pleasantness of a friend
    springs from their heartfelt advice.
Proverbs 27:9 (NIV)


Her soul loved mine enough to say something; I found that extraordinary.

I was on a rant. I don’t think I meant to be, but there are a few issues that really get me going. In the midst of my explaining the power of language and how it all matters, I said something careless and stupid. Right on the heels of my “if you love words you are responsible for their weight, blah, blah, blah…” and then I opened my yap.

Sometimes the very lesson you are intending
to teach is the one you most desperately need to learn. 
Her soul touched mine and convicted me in love.
I received her rebuke as a blessing. 
It didn’t happen immediately. We continued to talk, got to know one another, became really comfortable. We were leaving, looking forward to the next opportunity, and then there it was. She told me that words tossed off casually had offended.

She had the courage to be honest. She’d presented herself openly, candidly, beautifully. She took a chance, made a choice to be honest because she said she’d felt trust, and she convicted me on my careless speech. And though I am broken, her words did not crush me. Instead, they were a sincere offer of friendship which I humbly, gratefully, happily accepted.

God sent me a remarkable a new friend. Over iced tea, prayer and fellowship, amidst the building of a dream, her soul reached out to mine and convicted me in love. I received her rebuke as a blessing.  Proverbs 27:9 teaches us that the heartfelt advice of a friend is sweet perfume.  

 the wise and cordial counsel of a man's friend, rejoice his heart; he takes it well, he is highly delighted with it; he receives it kindly, and pursues it to advantage…


Sometimes the very lesson you are intending to teach is the one you most desperately need to learn. Thanks, Susan. Thank you, friend.




On Tuesdays, I pray and and play with friends here...


OneWord 2015

OneWord 2015

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