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Sunday, December 18, 2016

GIMA again...




Nearly two years ago, I wrote a blog/rant called GIMA. At the time I said....

"Rants are cathartic, and I believe they can be good for the soul IF:
a)they are directed at things, NOT at people,
b) you are able to let what frustrates you come up, come out, and then let it go, and
c) they’re occasional. Curmudgeons may enjoy a certain charm, but nobody wants to be around one all the time."

As I articulated then, the title came from Bobby McFerrin’s classic album Medicine Music, which was essentially the soundtrack for our wedding (Sweet in the Morning, Common Threads, the 23rd Psalm). I said it then and I'm saying it now....you should listen to it. In fact, you should listen to the entire album. It always makes me smile, and after my curmudgeon fit, I probably need to...

 At the time, I blamed the rant on my age. 
Looking back, Imma politely hafta disagree with myself. 
It's not my age. I am embracing it as a season.
...and I am only getting started. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Friday, December 9, 2016

Honoring God with our bodies; Meditations on Restoration -On Purpose

Image found at
Sarah Jane Studios
http://www.sarahjanestudios.com/
Good morning, dear ones. Accept my humble apologies for my humanity and the resulting 
lack of diligence. I was consumed by my own circumstances and not faithful to my task. I 
accept responsibility for my lack, and I am back. I am living and acting on purpose, and that’s 
what we’re sharing today. 

When our children were little, they weren’t allowed to say “the devil made me do it.” They 
were taught that one of the gifts of life is free will, and that we choose. We carefully 
articulated that we are called to live our entire lives on purpose, making active 
choices, and sometimes facing the consequences thereof, for better or for worse. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Honoring God with our bodies: Meditations on Restoration. Do You Believe You Deserve Better?

Do you believe you deserve better? Combing through old magazines, consolidating by pulling pages I want and dumping everything else, I read that question, and smiled, deep down. Minimizing the junk in my life, trying to manage my clutter is a process …it’s one of my burdens. 
 
I genuinely believe wise counsel may come from anywhere, remember Balaam’s Ass? so when I read a column by Dr. Phil (NO ENDORSEMENT) asking “Do You Believe You Deserve Better?” something resonated. It confirmed in a beautiful and holy way a lesson I learned last year and one I’m trying to teach. It’s his contention that achieving weight loss and a healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life is not about diet and exercise, but rather about believing that you deserve to be healthy. 

Do you believe you deserve better?
As women created in the image of an All-Wise and All-Loving God, don’t we deserve the best we can achieve for ourselves? Isn’t it an act of worship to honor those temples by treating ourselves well? Shouldn’t we testify to Grace by intentionally living fully and at our best? That doesn’t mean a particular size or a particular look. Remember, each of us is made both uniquely AND in His Image. He never taught that a particular size, or color, race, or political persuasion was THE IMAGE, rather reminding us in Colossians 3:11, 

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. 

This week’s challenge (homework) to Restore The Temple is about committing to some decisions.
1. Decide what you are good at and what is good about you.
2. Observe yourself exhibiting those qualities or characteristics.
3. Acknowledge that you are living up to your potential and having some mastery in your life. If not, select ONE thing you’ll work on and commit to it. Plan for your success. Once your homework is complete, pray over it. You may share it here so we can pray over it with you, if that will help you be accountable. 

I am reminded of the old spiritual, “Walk together children, don’t get weary.” Remember, when we are not alone, when we are accountable to one another, our burdens are lightened and the way forward seems less bleak. Together we can do this. Even a full year away from my Today Show adventure, I still weight myself daily, for accountability. I am still deliberate and mindful about what I eat and when, appreciating the additional joy I receive from a temple able to do and experience more. Remembering my own transformation, I offer thanks and praise daily, in ways I never had before. I want that for you if that is what you desire as an act of worship. Together we can do this. 

Prayer: Lord, for the marvelous and miraculous temples in which we reside, we thank You. We thank You right now that we were able to rise from beds, move our limbs, and seek Your Face. Forgive us when we have not exhibited sufficient gratitude for the gifts in our lives. We humbly repent our callous and unintended disregard and pledge to do better. Be our soul’s inspiration and our joy, our strength when we are weary, our constant companion. Let us encourage and support one another in Your Name, to Your Greater Glory, in Jesus’ Name, Selah and let it be so.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Honoring God with our Bodies: Meditations on Restoration-Accountability


According to author Luke Gilkerson writing online at Covenant Eyes, “Behavioral accountability is choosing to be honest with another person or group of people about our obvious habits or tendencies.”

There is nothing like seeing your weight broadcast live on national TV to make you accountable...trust me, I know. There was no way I was going to fail; my ego simply would not let that happen. Thinking back, I wonder about spiritual accountability...are we as careful about the covenants we make with and before God?

In the last month, the women of The Consilium have embarked upon a life commitment to honor God with the temples He granted us, and I asked them to begin by apologizing for what they might not have done well AND committing to what they could change.

Let’s all be accountable....do you honor your commitments? I asked that we commit to ONE CHANGE in creating new, healthier, long-term habits. I wonder...how’s that going? No condemnation...we all fail daily, but let’s talk accountability. Do we manage our spiritual lives the way we are careful about other areas?



Saturday, August 27, 2016

Honoring God with Our Bodies…Prayerful Meditations on Restoration Free your mind, and the rest will follow



As you read this, I will be returning my daughter to Philadelphia, PA to begin her second year of college. It’s only 2 hours away, but she’s gone. Her room is quiet, I do not hear her laughter echoing off the walls, nor do I hear the dance of her footsteps upon the starts. I have to adjust to a new mindset. And that is the way of transformational change.

Ephesians 4:22-24 teaches us 

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

As the mom of a college student, I am putting on a new self. I am parenting a fledgling adult, and together we are learning new rhythms. The same thing happened with my relationship to food, fitness, health and wellness. Today, sisters, I want you to begin by freeing your minds.

"put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness"
One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Let’s begin by letting go of the expectations and habits that brought each of us to the realization that we desired to treat our temples differently. Let’s begin there. Did you write your apology to your temple? Did you apologize for not consistently being a goodly, Godly steward? Keep that document close to your heart; let it be your accountability partner. When you remember what you don’t want to return to, you are more likely to move away from it than returning to it. Make peace with what was, but firmly, assuredly, close that door. It’s time to free your mind.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Honoring God with Our Bodies…Prayerful Meditations on Restoration-YIELD



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This is about to hurt your feelings, BAD. S’okay, this realization hurt mine first. Get over it. 

I am not your “eat ice cream by the tub while watching chick-flicks girlfriend,”
although I can recommend someone if that’s what you need. I don’t particularly care to braid your hair, although I know how. I am your late-night, Thelma & Louise-type, Ride-or-Die, lovingly truth-telling like I need you to tell it back to me. Feel free to excuse yourself if you’re not ready. This is intended to leave a mark. We’re about to go deep. 

God’s got jokes, at least with me. So deep in the midst of an end-to-end life changing transformation, one that insists upon gaining steam every time I expect it to slow down, He blows up my sense of security in a new way. I have no choice but to suck it up. In so many areas of our lives, we claim to desire change. We think we do, but it is my testimony that change occurs in our lives ONLY when we’re prepared; when remaining where you are is so miserable that the pain and fear of trying something new is less onerous than continuing to do what you have been doing….which by the way clearly ain’t yielding desired results. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Honoring God with our bodies-Prayerful Meditation on Restoration

Yesterday was Wednesday again. No “last chance workout,” no insistence that I get in all my steps, no alarm set for 5:00 am. Upon awakening yesterday morning, I failed to hurry. There was no black sedan standing by, I hadn’t packed my show bag. I rose, stretched, and got back between the sheets. I slept in.

Thursday mornings are no longer a show day for me. It’s Thursday. This is my life. This is #AfterShow. For 16 weeks I wondered what Thursdays would feel like once I left the TV bubble. I occasionally watch the set where I would ordinarily be on Thursday mornings, sipping coffee without concern for my lipstick or carefully, professionally coiffed hair (once the stylists got brave enough to play in my dreads), planning my day.

My days feel good, like well-made garments. I feel confident. I feel equipped to live a life transformed by an extraordinary accident, although those who know the Lord know there are no such things... I say Yes to God, trusting Him in everything because, and I can say this with confidence, He has been good to me. 




The lesson in Luke 12:48 (NIV) is clear...
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

Oprah Winfrey has declared 2016 as the year of our best bodies. I agree, but I’m taking it one step further. 2016 is going to be the best year of my life, and the first year of the rest of my best life. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit,

Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who comes from God and dwells inside of you? You do not own yourself. You have been purchased at a great price, so use your body to bring glory to God! 1 Corinthians 6:19-20The Voice (VOICE)

...and we have not treated them well. I received a wake-up call along with the opportunity AND the vehicle to change my direction and restore my life. This is a charge, a calling, a sacred obligation, and I dare not clutch it too closely to my bosom as it does not belong to me.

What is the value of my blessing if I cannot scatter the seed and multiply the harvest? What a hollow, shallow, selfish victory if I do not shout from the highest places all that I learned? Self-care and temple restoration are not vain pursuits. They are humble, grateful acts of worship and stewardship, honoring God for His Goodness by celebrating the lives he gave us and living them well. 

Here and now, I challenge everyone I know, everyone who sees me to take up the mantle of King David in restoring our temples. It is our sacred obligation, and an opportunity to live and demonstrate our faith. I am being restored; my walls are being rebuilt. Everything I endured before this time in my life including that period I saw as my time in the crucible serves me well. It’s time to shout new victories. Lord, You are doing new things in me and I am surrendered. I am all in and saying Yes. I am broken from my willfulness, held still so that You may work in me, trusting that what comes of Your Hands is beautiful beyond my imagining.

This is my life #AfterShow. This is my lifelong commitment to #RestoreTheTemple. I am changed, and offering up my best vessel to be used by God. Who’s with me?





Tuesday, July 12, 2016

What happens to a dream deferred? originally published at www.godsizeddreams.com

Be Gentle StoryPeople by Brian Andreas
For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him:


What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?



Emmett Till is ancient history, right? Surely they don’t lynch black boys in America anymore, at least not like they used to. In post-racial America, in the final year of the Obama Presidency, they let them believe they are proud, worthy, beautiful, and free. And then they kill them.

In all the years since the senseless murder of Trayvon Martin, I continue to endure numerous painful conversations with people who love the Lord AND who love me, but insist upon believing that things are not the way they are. People with every good intention need to believe that #BlackLivesMatter is more charged and divisive than relevant, that racism is no longer dangerous, is no longer omnipresent in our lives, that everything in America is okay. Everything is certainly NOT okay.

One year ago writing at TheGuardian.com, Rebecca Carroll declared,
Walter Scott’s death – and Trayvon’s, Michael’s, Tamir’s and Eric’s, all of whom became so familiar to us in death that we refer to them by first name only – is the end of the promise of America. It’s the decay of whatever moral infrastructure we have left as a nation; it’s confirmation of the ugly truth that a nation, conceived in slavery and once dedicated to the proposition that not all men are created equal, will allow that divide to long endure.
Among my dear friends are Christian women, mothers to young and not-so-young Black men. In the wake of such madness, one lamented on social media, "#‎OurExterminationContinues.”

From another, this…
I don't need a brutal video, picture, reporter or sympathizer to *finally* verify what I've known to be true my whole life. What I need - what WE need is far-reaching, purposeful systemic reforms and continuous, consistent JUSTICE. Where can I see *that* on video??? #‎TooManyNamesToHashtag #‎BlackLivesAlwaysMatteredToMe

#TooManyNamesToHashtag…she’s right, and I’m left wiping my tears and shaking my head. We thought that greater oversight would elevate the need for change. We thought that policemen with body cameras might add accountability, but just last week we watched Philando Castile die of a gunshot wound on Facebook Live.

"Dear God, we need You. When will this madness end?"

I hear choked sobs and the bitter words of my friends, Black mothers of sons who like me love God and Justice, nurtured on the same American dream we were all sold like a Bill of Goods, or a Lot of Slaves (yeah, it hurts like that). Too many names to call out, as our ancestors taught us, keeping them alive as we remember them by name. We call out the names of those beloved and fallen, known and unknown to us, experiencing a searing new hurt representing a centuries-old pain.

I ask God daily, “How long, oh Lord, how long?”

I have NOT lost my faith but my spirit grows ever weary. It’s no longer safe to dream that education, access, affluence, or exposure will be enough to see African-American young men out of the toddler phase and into the grandfathering years and beyond…cradle to grave like we imagined.

Like Hannah in 1 Samuel, we prayed, and God granted our petitions in the form of sons to raise and love. We played by the rules, stumbling but ever intending to do our best and then this…it’s not safe to raise a Black Boy in America.

Harder still is struggling to make even Christian friends understand our pain; bridging chasms borne of privilege, guilt, and shame that tell them ignoring or denying race makes it better, or at least more comfortable. I inquire earnestly of those friends, "more comfortable for whom?" What needs erasing is Racism, not race. I do not diminish me so you can feel better; in making your peace you cause me greater pain.

"Colorblind means you choose NOT to see me – Made in the unique and precise image of an All Wise and All Powerful God, I deserve to be seen."

My whole life matters; all of it.
At three, our daughter announced the birth of her baby brother to our tribe and to the world. At sixteen she wept silently beside his bed watching him sleep in heavenly peace on the night the world heard the jury verdict in the murder of Trayvon Martin. It’s not just a mother’s grieving. These are the collected terrors and tears of multiple generations.

All Lives Matter, as they always have. HOWEVER, and I won't let this go, I'm not regularly clutching my heart and my head because law enforcement officers (who are NOT a horrible, racist monolith and among whom I count dear family and friends) are killing All boys at an alarming rate. I live in a constant state of unease because Black men (and women, young and old) are beaten, assaulted, and murdered by policemen at an unprecedented rate. #HandsUpDontShoot is a catchphrase in our home for taking it down a notch, but it's a real thing AND I don't think it's a real thing in white homes. 

Have you ever begun a sentence to a loved one with the words "If I die in police custody..."

I say to my son, "I am afraid for your life." It is at those times when I cry out to God.

In Black homes, regardless of region and socio-economics occur several iterations of "The Talk" (ask ANY black parent and they'll knowingly smile and nod). To do anything less would be irresponsible parenting given the current state of affairs.

Saying something matters does not mean anything at all about anything else.
I do not believe in zero sum reckoning. Nothing is ever wasted in God’s economy, so it is never either/or. Some things, actually many things ARE NOT connected. If I say I'm good, I'm not saying anything at all about whether you or anyone else is good or not and therein lies part of our (Black folks, Black women's) frustration. It's not about you (meaning anyone except the Black Girls, or the Black Lives). It can become frustrating when it feels as though someone is consistently co-opting your position, like you can't have a perspective without considering everyone else.

The deepest part of me immediately reacts by saying, "This ain't about you, in fact this has nothing to do with you." But that is incorrect. As Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ, it has everything to do with us all. Quoting Russell Moore, President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention,

If we believe that every person will stand before a Judgment Seat, we cannot then stand silently when we see injustice.

Does that make any sense? For me, it's kind of like everyone needing to get a trophy so no one's feelings get hurt. Yes, All Lives Matter. But is that really what you want to say to Trayvon Martin's parents, to Tamir Rice's parents (he was 12), to Eric Garner's wife and family, to the family of Michael Brown, of Walter Scott, of Freddie Gray, of Alton Sterling, and now to Philando Castile. If you're choking me, guess what, everyone needs to breathe, but I'm the only one about to pass out.
Beyond outrage, what is to be done?
  • We must actively seek God, and one another.
  • We must undertake the hard conversations.
  • We need to listen, not to respond. Frankly, I have NO frame of reference for white privilege, but if my intention is to understand, and then to act, I must listen and learn, as must you, in order to move beyond our own anger and disappointment.
  • I must be patient and open to receive as I expect patient understanding from those with whom I dialogue.
  • My anger, both righteous and justified, is not enough. And praise God, I am not alone.
Writer, mother and friend Lori Harris recent gave voice to a collective frustration existing among members of the Body of Christ. In a Facebook post, she says in part,

Until the {white} Church in America chooses to acknowledge its hand in heaping judgment or prejudice on our black neighbors who already carry on their backs a thousand reasons why our country deems their plight in this life as justified or even deserved, we will continue to deny the very existence of Jesus who made us guiltless while we were yet guilty of every imaginable sin.
May Jesus have mercy on us.

It’s not safe to be a black boy in America. It’s not safe to be a Black Man. But if we want to change the world, and I do, it’s time. My dreams can no longer be deferred.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Blues.... ‪#‎TooManyNamesToHashtag‬

It's a brown liquor and blues kind of day. A day after which, like an exhausted toddler, I will collapse in a heap on the floor. Tantrumed out. Bereft of tears. BOF.

Being a Black Girl Who Rocks is my superpower, but my cape hangs limp today. Precious Lord, I am tired. I am weak. I am worn. I am a dream deferred to the point of explosion, sagging under a heaviness centuries old. Who knew there were so many ways to be lynched?

Tomorrow I can be hopeful again. Tomorrow I will see through Grace-filled eyes. Tomorrow my laughter will fill the room rather than stifling in my throat...

But tonight, there will be tears, and anguished albeit silent screams. Tonight there will be desperate hugs, lingering caresses, hands that hold a little longer. Tomorrow, it'll be alright, but today? Tonight? 

It's a brown liquor and blues kind of day.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Week 2 of TheEnternship, or JK Rowling and the girls from SheWinks may be onto something



The Universe encourages us in wonderfully mysterious ways. My Gayle’s Uncle Robert would say that God’s fingerprints were all over something when there is no good reason why things should fall together as remarkably as they do, and that is the theme for Week 2.

In Week 1, I did the thing I (initially thought) could not do, identify companies that might undertake a conversation about engaging the PR agency on whose behalf I was contacting them without neither any prior experience nor quite a complete idea what a PR firm does, although I was learning. A few days later I received interested responses...now what? I guess I’ll learn that in Week 3.
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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Week 1 of #TheEnternship, or life is a series of tiny miracles...

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“Life is a series of tiny little miracles. Notice them.” It’s that beauty of the aerial view again…the appreciation that you cannot, nor are you supposed to understand or appreciate how everything you’ve been up against throughout your entire life prepares you for the next moment. Welcome to week 1 of The Enternship


Monday, Day 1 of The Enternship was a lovefest, including coaching with author Cara Alwill Leyba, author of Girl Code and creator of www.thechampagnediet.com. I’m a fan and I’ll be staying close to her as she inspires me in ways she cannot know. Buy her book. Read it, and then give your copy away, and buy another. You’ll be better, The recipient will be better. Karma. Grace.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Day 1….Exhilarated and Exhausted (I wasn’t prepared, but that is the way of Grace)



I rose at zero-dark-thirty like always, walked the dog, communed with the Universe and prepared to meet the day. THE DAY. Day 1 of #TheEnternship. Having arrived at my location way too early, I cooled my heels at Starbucks and Café 28, reminding myself to breathe and trust the Universe. Just a few days ago, I lectured a friend about fighting the Will of God. Turns out I needed the lesson myself. Gravity, I told myself. Gravity.

Somehow I find myself in the company of phenomenal women (yes, like Mother Maya meant it); women who have lived and learned and made things out of no things and aren’t ready to be told that they can’t do it again.
Meet TheEnterns

We sat casually in a beautifully soothing office as innovative entrepreneurs Gwen Wunderlich-Smith and Dara Kaplan told their stories. Their pluck, drive, and tenacity inspired us to be brave. The day was filled with challenges, information, and opportunity.

Gwen and Dara are remarkable; young, smart, driven, and consumed by a desire for success, joy, and achieving balance in life. They are the embodiment of so much I wanted out of life…but wasn’t ready to receive, it wasn’t my time. That is chief among my lessons. I was never supposed to manage on my own, to have any plan proceed without flaw.  I am appreciating to a greater and broader extent that bit of wisdom I have carried for so long….



Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. 
Soren Kierkegaard

Looking back, I am deeply grateful.  Had life proceeded according to my plan, I’d have thought I did it on my own.  Divine Grace is sufficient without my assistance. With that understanding, I celebrate my beautifully human frailty, my foolish anger and fear, and all the times I intended to, but never quite got it right.  It is time when it’s time.

So, once again I am on the ride of my life. Once again I hold fast to my faith believing that while I haven’t a clue how this works out, there is, as always, the beauty of the aerial view. What is that view? Every now and then, when the puzzle of your life or your circumstances is nearly complete, God allows you to see the way that numerous threads, seemingly disconnected strands, decisions we made or things that happened or didn’t, sometimes entirely beyond your control, align in that “all things work together for good to them who love the Lord” kind of way. This I know. And with that….I’m off to do my Enternship homework, because I’m back in the office tomorrow. And only The Universe knows what that day holds in store.





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