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.

 

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.

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

15, 16 and 17

Let me warn you now, any good you see in me is really Christ because there is no good in me except for Him.

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15. I did not set out to do this, but as I looked back on it, I have to say I am impressed with God.  I did stuff for others and required nothing in return.  Atleast once a quarter I donated blood or platelets. It may have been more because sometimes  went when they called. But atleast once a quarter I gave so someone else could benefit.  This year I also reached out to my friends and we raised money for a family that adopted 4 children into their family of five.

16.  I learned to do new things on social media.  I started sharing my art on Instagram. It challenges me to see the world differently and use the things I learn. It makes me tell a story in a few shots.

I.love.twitter. There are some of the most wittiest and clever people I have never met. But there are also some of the most stupidiest. I have found hope and joy in the words of others. I have found laughter that almost stops my breathing. And I relish the moments I can join the fight.  There is absolutely nothing like when twitter goes in on a person. ( If they ever go in on you, shut up. Do not respond you will only feed the fire.) i.love.twitter.

 

17. I took some great photos this year and surpassed my goal. There was a good combination of families, individuals and events.  They all made me look good. Thank you.

Doing 17 things that I had not done before was not easy. Sometimes it was really hard to do things differently or step out of my comfort zone. I had to think about what I was doing because it is easy to do the same things you are comfortable with, but what does that really get you.  What new thing are you learning? How are you stretching your current skill set? Since next year ends in 18, there will be 18 different things on my list. I look forward to what the year brings.

I challenge you to look for 18 new things to do next year. As you accomplish these things, take a photo and share it with us.

Peace and Hairgrease.

Clanging Cymbals

You want to know why American Christianity is ineffective in this country? Because when millions of women around the world march to make a statement, the Christian establishment is silent. I have watched them carry on as if nothing happened. They had a world wide audience and chose to say nothing. It speaks volumes about their love.

What’s Your End Game?

I saw this tree all day, but it wasn’t until the end of the day that I actually looked at it. Then I saw the one leaf hanging on for dear life. It is funny how you can see something all day and not really see it. How you can work at a job for many years and wonder what the heck you are doing there? How many of you are hanging on to something that is not for you?  Like this leaf, you think you are going to make this work.

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Many of you are in places you were not supposed to be. Maybe God had you there for a little while and you got comfortable and stayed.  You figure the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. But it is slowly killing you, physically, mentally and spiritually.  You have lost hope because you have your hope in the wrong things, like a job, a child, a marriage, location, a president.

The Creator of the universe created you for something special. When He called you into being, He specially designed you with a purpose and a plan.  He knew He could bring something beautiful out of darkness.

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And like the sun that sets everyday, He has a purpose and plan for you. It is time for you to start operating in your purpose.  I remember seeing this sunset and thinking wow. I need a picture of it, but sun was setting faster than I could get my camera ready.  If you don’t start operating in the purpose He has for you, you are going to miss those amazing moments God has planned for your life.  It is possible to miss the blessing.

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But it is never to late to catch a glimpse of His glory as long as you are on this side (in the land of the living). It is not as spectacular as the original blessing, but still worth it.  In 2017, ask God what is your end game? What are you working towards? What were you created to do?