Fascinating Places

2019 will be a fascinating journey for me. It has started with a bang.  I have spent the first part of January reading books that take me deep into the jungles of the African continent. I read the story of one of the last people brought to the United States on a slave ship. He spoke of what his life was like before being captured. He spoke of his family and their customs, the rituals to become a man and get married.

More important, he spoke of the process of being captured to be a slave and what it was like watching everyone he loved being murdered. Like the author of the book, for many years I thought that the Europeans had seized the Africans from their native homes. But in Barracoon by Zora Neal Hurston, the old African man told a different story.

He spoke of other African tribes who ruthlessly killed entire villages just to capture the young and strong people to sell to the Europeans.  These killers left their regular way of life, which was farming, to become slavers. Motivated by greed, they created soldiers that could terrorize and take out a whole village. These soldiers were paid by the number of heads they brought back. The skulls were collected as a prize by their king.

It made me think. As these greedy people sold off all of their strength for material wealth, they were not prepared to fight the colonization that would overtake and suppress them. It reminds me that the greedy people today won’t get away with their evil deeds. They are just getting prepared to be undone by something more evil than themselves.

Another book took me into a different part of the continent. I loved reading how Nelson Mandela’s father was the family historian. He could recount the family’s history for hundreds of years, yet he could read or write.  Our history was repeated by word of mouth through the generations.

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It reminded me of my own family who would sit and tell stories of the way it used to be.  Even today I question older relatives to the point of annoyance because I want to know more. I want to know what it was like and what they did. But I am finding that some of the secrets older people tried to keep, are coming to light.

But this part of the journey makes me appreciate a history told orally and through art, like masks and other sculpture. It tells us what is beautiful. What is powerful. What is important. The thing I appreciate about African Art is that it finds beauty in the work. It is not an exact replica of someone or something. It just is.

We need to do the same. We need to tell our children the stories orally of our family. We need to create art that represents what legacy we leave behind. Many of the previous generations of my family were poor and undereducated. They did not think they were leaving much behind, but the truth is they left a lot.

I love the story Nelson tells of the first pair of pants he wore. They were not a brand new pair fresh from the tailor. They were an old pair of his father’s pants. His father cut them off so they would fit, and used a rope around the waist to hold them up. Nelson said it was one of the proudest moments of his life.

Think about what legacy you are leaving your family. What kind of objects are you making to represent it? Do your children know your family’s story? Do you? Remember when you carve out your part of your family history, it does not have to look like someone else’s. Like the African mask, it only represents what you want it to.

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You Have Been Given The Opportunity

to make a moment.  How you decide to spend this moment in time, will determine how you remember it. For me, it is the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas reminds me that God thought I was so important He came to earth in the form of a baby.  The Creator came down to be with the created.  He loves an undeserving humanity.

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Holidays give us the opportunity to spend time with that humanity, which in most cases look like our family. I know for some this sounds hard, but it will be some of the best time you ever spend.  It will give you insight into yourself and your family.  In our immediate family, the littles are all teenagers now. Opening presents aren’t near as fun as when they were younger and more excited. We realize time is growing short with them as they start to leave for college and start their own lives.

My sister started playing games with them so that it would be a chance to connect with them. At first, it was a competition with prizes.  These kids are too competitive. We discovered after a rough game of musical chairs, physical contact needed to be limited.  This year there were no prizes, but the trash talk was still as powerful as an old school game of spades because the competition was part of their DNA.

We laughed and played for hours. (And of course, I videoed some of the best moments) Our kids will have memories of a time when we were all together focused on the same thing and remembering it brought joy and laughter.  They may not remember the presents or the food. They will remember the fun.

My crazy sister decided to try it with the extended family. (I thought she was nuts) I was thoroughly surprised when the older members of the family did it.  We taught the games, they, of course, changed them some to adapt to them. It was a blast. Again, the joy and the laughter is what we are going to remember. (And my favorite memory will be when my aunt excused herself for a moment, my sister traded her to the other team. But because she is OUR aunt, she played for whatever team felt like. Sometimes she played for my sister’s team. Sometimes she played for the other team. It was great.)

Here is where the opportunity comes in. You can do what you always do when you get together with family or you can break old habits and experience new things together.  Playing games with the young and the old was such a crazy experience. I would have never thought of it myself, but I was willing to listen to others.

Go into 2019 with great memories of your family and friends. Spend time with each other and enjoy the world around you.

 

 

 

 

 

I Still Love Christmas, But I Have Just Been Busy

It is still my favorite time of the year. I love what it stands for and what it does for other people. I love the season where people shop for each other and try to come up with gifts that are better than the last ones. It is a season filled with music and lights and lots of parties.

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I am always reminded of the greatest gift given, Jesus. The current sermon series at my church reminds us of the awestruck power of this whole thing. A powerful God so in love with his creation, he came to save them.  He humbled himself and became like us. I don’t think we will ever understand the greatness of this gift.

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And one of the great things I heard the other day that has stuck to my heart: we are on the sunset of this ride so it is time we pour into the younger generation. I believe it is important for 2019 to take a good look at where you are and what you have to offer the younger generation.

God has given us great gifts. We need to share them and help the folks coming along behind us. In 2019 let’s resolve to make someone else’s life better because we poured into them.

I wish you the Merriest of Christmas’.

He is Still The God of the Oppressed

This week I have spent wading through women who are experiencing outcries since the Kavanaugh hearing. For many, it was traumatic watching Dr. Christine Blasey Ford give testimony. It brought to mind abuses they had suffered in the past.

They spoke about it on Facebook. They spoke about it on Twitter. When I walked down the street, I heard women talking about it. When I sat on the subway, I heard women talking about it. When I stood in the elevator, I heard women talking about it talk.

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I saw the pain on their faces. I saw the hopelessness in their eyes. I saw a desperation that is slowly building up. The worst part of this is that there are people in power who give no consideration to the damage done or the damage still being done to millions of people.

Oppressed is defined as when someone is subject to harsh and authoritarian treatment.  Today feels like harsh and authoritarian.  But I know these people will have their day.

I have a word for those feeling oppressed.

He is still the God of the Oppressed even though it might not feel like it right now. I am sad that these women are being ignored, but I know that God will vindicate them.

His word will not return void. Trust Him in this desert.

Part of Moving To Something New

is leaving something behind. I think about the things I am going to miss, like pulling up to the Sonic drive-thru or working the camera at church. These things have become part of who I am, and the good news is God is still writing that story.  This gives Him the right to edit.

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I think about the people I won’t see every day and the fact that some of you are moving out of my life for good. We assume we have an eternity with each other. We don’t so we should make the most of the time we do have.

I have learned that God isn’t going to fill up something that is already full. So. He takes things away

Moments like this give me the opportunity to really value the people and activities which make an impact in my life. Some of these things will be hard to let go of, but I look forward to how they are replaced. And one of the really cool things about God is He always sends little snippets of what I can expect.

As I am on my way to the table to meet a good friend today for lunch, I ran into someone else.   This woman is on my A List of people. Here daughter Amy is one of the biggest cheerleaders in my life. God sent Barbara Love by today to give me a hug and encouragement.  It was so sweet running into her today. God keeps confirming those strong BSF foundations in my life.

Today I got to have lunch with a person who was my hero in college. I remember watching her as an undergrad and thinking I want to be like her when I grow up.  And the cool thing about today is we spent the time talking about the future instead of reminiscing about the past. We acknowledged the challenges that are ahead of us but see more of the adventure that is to come.

We talked about the skills we have picked up over the last couple of decades and how we can use them more wisely.  We knew the world had changed drastically since we were in college.  We discussed how we as older women find ourselves in a place where we have a lot of knowledge but need to create new paths to distribute it. We encouraged each other.

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God knew who I needed to meet with before I started this new journey and He knew what would be the outcome.  When a sister is on her way up the ladder, she has to stop and take inventory of where she is.  Knowing where I am, helps me know what I need to let go of, and what I need to keep.

 

Book of The Month: Destiny’s Dilemma

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An African American woman moved home to take care of her dying mother giving up the opportunity to experience a world beyond segregation. Zoraida Hughes Williams finds that some things have changed about her hometown of Fort Worth, Texas while some have stayed the same, like Hell’s Half Acre, an area where saloons, prostitution and gambling runs wild. Like most of the residents, she wants to keep her head down and stay away from trouble, but it comes in the unlikely form of an Anglo Baptist preacher. He messes up everything and almost gets them killed.

 

Destiny’s Dilemma is available on Amazon and Books to Read

 

https://www.books2read.com/b/3kZazW

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For One Reason

you go into a business but figure out later that something different was planned.  Artist go into entertainment to entertain people, but later see that their messages impact peoples lives. Artist like Sammy Davis Jr have carved out legacies that impact generations.  They did more than entertained.  They asked the questions we all needed to ask.

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