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’.

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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.

 

I Knew What I Wanted To Be When I Was 10

I knew what I wanted to be when I was 15. I knew what I wanted to be when I was 21. I knew what I wanted to be when I was 25.

None of those things were the same thing.  I ended up doing those things and many more.  Let me be honest. I have had a great deal of fun, but seldom have found satisfaction.  Many times we do things in hope that it will satisfy us, but usually end up void. After many years of struggling and finding new things to do, I found the remedy for it all.  One of the most powerful thing I learned is Psalms 32:8.

I often think about Abraham leaving his family and going with God. I am sure it was a frightening proposition to go face the unknown. Some of the places God has taken me have been cooler than anything I could imagine, and some of the places have been “What the heck?” One of the first things I learned about God was He is more interested in my character than my comfort. I mean I started to learn that if I was too comfortable,  what I was doing wasn’t from God.

When God is your guide, He often takes you along the scenic route.  I don’t ever remember getting anywhere quick or in my timing.  I mean somethings have taken decades to get to, but He is faithful.  There are also detours along the way.  If you do not stay connected to God these detours will slay you. You will think God has lost his mind or doesn’t plan to do good for you.  Sometimes we get in our own way, like Sarah giving her handmaid to her husband to make a child.  I got in my own way so many times, God stopped telling me what was going to happen. He just led me. I learned to shut up and follow.

You have to trust Him that the path He takes you on is the best path for you.  I admit there were times I would ask “What are you doing? This is crazy, God!” I have had some of the craziest jobs, but I can see how each experience has taught me more about the Creator of the Universe.  Sometimes people get stuck because they have not learned what God needs them to learn.   I am reminded that David spent 16 years learning how to shepherd all the crazy odd people before he became king over the entire nation. I have to remind myself that God created me and knows me well. This means He knows what I need and when I am able to learn it.

Another thing I learned about the Father is that He always puts me in a situation where I need Him. I can’t do it without Him. But the beautiful thing about this is that it will stretch you beyond your limits.  You will learn about yourself and the God who created you.  It will take you in new directions. He turned one of my deepest fears into something I love dearly.  Only a God who knows you well can do that.

I hope you will stop faking it and focus on what seed God has placed in your heart. Allow Him to take you on an adventure that will make your life satisfying.  As my sister says,  You only have a few moments left on earth, use them on your mission. Stop wasting time trying to buy a new home, car or vacation. Connect with your purpose for life and that will be more than you can even imagine.  Trust the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

If You Scared Take A Tiny Step,

if you are not, take a BIG step. Pursue the dream God has placed in your heart. You were created for a purpose, so you need to live in it while there is still time. Nothing is more fulfilling than doing the thing you were created to do.

When I see folks pursuing their dream it gives me energy. There is great joy in seeing people do what they were created to do. It inspires me to do more. You know iron sharpens iron. (Proverbs 27:17)

A few weeks ago, I got to learn about ceramics from a person who loves ceramics. She has more than 30 years experience and continues to grow. It was fun. It was inspiring. It made me think 3D instead of 2D. I mean I won’t be a master in ceramics but it was good to develop my  ideas around sculpture.

 

I understand that it is very scary to take a step toward something that probably makes your heart beat faster. It is worth it. Once you get use to taking those steps you will find it easier to venture beyond your initial plan.

I love to tell a story. I am learning a new way to do that. I am currently working a musical. I am excited and scared at the same time. But I am in love with the notion of telling the story of love and redemption through music. I have never done anything like it before, but I am going to put everything I got into it.

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Whatever it is you are supposed to do. Do it with everything you got. Stop waiting for the right time. Now is the right time. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be done.

 

Public Worship Personal Praise

This morning I was more late than usual. I arrived in time to sit on one of the back rows and hear the praise team rehearse the last song. I didn’t play with my phone or talk to the person sitting close to me. I just listened to them rehearse.  Soon I started singing with them cause I liked the song.

As I listened to the words of the song, I got into it.  The words resonated with my spirit. I sat in the dark sanctuary having my own worship session. Then the Holy Spirit nudged me to stand up, throw my arms up and praise Him.  Now the room was empty except for a dozen or so people preparing for the service. I mean I would be the only one physically worshipping during the rehearsal.  Pretty sure I would catch some strange looks.

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But I did it anyway! (I mean David’s praise when they brought the ark back has always been my model. He didn’t care who watched. His praise was meant for God. ) I loved it. My private praise and worship session was now public.  Everyone would know that the love of God could slay me at any moment in time. I did not look around to see if anyone watched me, I just looked up to the one I was praising.

After the rehearsal, the worship leader said to me “You were getting into that.”  I told him, he lead that thang! Always appreciate someone who can lead you to the throne of God. I have learned that not all people who lead worship know God.

During the services, when we sang the song in community, it took the worship to a whole nother level for me. The Holy Spirit’s sweet sweet nature filled the room.  I saw Him (The Holy Spirit) in the singers and band on the stage. I saw Him in the uplifted hands of the audience. I felt Him in me. My tears fell with every word.

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I pray that each of you will invite the Holy Spirit to fill your worship so you may experience His sweetness beyond description. I want you to have that indescribable moment with God that fills your spirit, stretches you beyond your flesh and mind. It will transcend time and space and let you know that God loves you very much.

There should come a moment in your life when you realize that even if you gave the Lord every ounce of your being, it wouldn’t be enough to make up for all He has given you.  And He doesn’t hold it against you. When you accept His grace, it will lead you to worship in spirit and truth.

There is nothing like it.

Asked For

In the current bible study I am doing, Beth Moore has taught us that the name Saul meant “Asked For” He was a king they asked for. It reminds me that some of the things that I ask for look good on the outside, but woe the trouble it brings. This drawing is based on James C Lewis’ photograph Saul. Lewis created a series of images with People of Color in the role of Bible characters.

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Watching Passion Blossom

Art to me is like a new boyfriend. I am enjoying the time getting to know it, staying up late, and learning its secrets.  It is sexy, funny and surprising. It strengthens, encourages and challenges me. I like capturing an image that tells a story. Each one will speak to you.

One of the things I found as I looked around was few artists showed People of Color. As I glean from other artist, I will add my perspective as an African-American woman. One of the things my work brings to the table are People of Color. God created us to be equal, but made us so different in many ways.  We have a passion for life. There is a strength in People of Color that will endure.

All of the work below started as something someone else created. I was able to look at it and see new possibilities. My work will always be a celebration of People of Color. Thus far my work has been fun and playful.  It has been colorful and over the top.  I love the opportunity to show the beauty in color. It represents taking life and all it has to offer.

Enjoy