Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sweet Tooth...

So, today I've had a sweet tooth...ALL DAY! Early this morning, one of my roommates politely offered me a Ferrero Rocher Candy. You know, the heavenly mix of chocolate and hazelnut, creamy and crisp, yeah that Ferrero Rocher. Well, at 8:30am, I said no, but the three candies that sat on the dining room table taunted me all day. As I read through pages upon pages of material about domestic violence, coercive control, militarized border rape, and feminicide the candies teased me. I kept looking over hoping they'd be gone, but since I was the only one in the house and I didn't eat them, well, they were still there.

Instead of lunch, I had 400 calories worth of cookies--some all natural treats I got from Whole Foods yesterday. Needless to say, they somewhat satisfied my sweet tooth, but left me hungry. (Four hundred calories of cookies is no way to get full.) But, since I'm watching my girlish figure, I waited until dinner time to eat again. My homemade chicken noodle soup hit the spot. Shortly after dinner I headed out to the radio station for my first HoneyComb Hideout of the 2010 season. Well, when I returned, the Rochers were still there and my sweet tooth had returned with a vengeance. I hear you asking, "What did you do?" I wish I could say I fled from the temptation. Actually, no I don't. I got a napkin, loaded it up with some cookies (chocolate chip and peanut butter creme) and savored every bite. You know what, I'm satisfied. And I'm ready to run extra hard tomorrow.

All this is to say that as much as watching my girlish figure is important to me, I know that being happy and enjoying food is also important to me. So, every once in a while, I will let my sweet tooth have its way and I will enjoy every minute of it (and every minute of running it off). There's that balance thing again...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Checking In...

I don't have much time to write, but I just wanted to stop by and check in. This has been a wonder-filled, event-filled week.

The week started with an awesome worship experience at the Union Baptist Church in Morristown. Even before the welcome to visitors I had been bathed in the presence of the Holy Spirit who was obviously uninterested in the fact that I had on very black mascara.

On Tuesday I started classes and I'm pretty darned excited about the semester.I have some heavy hitting professors: Morris Davis for Church History 2 (who's got intellectual swag like none other), Traci West (ethicist par excellence), Althea Spencer Miller (ill Bible scholar with a West Indian flair), Gary Simpson (preacher's preacher), and Maxine Beach (the dopest Dean I've ever had).

I've run five (yes, one, two, three, four, five) times in between classes and work. I've made pro status in Wii bowling. And, since the scales don't lie, I've lost five (yes, one, two, three, four, five) pounds since the beginning of the year.

I've also chatted with friends, cooked and eaten foods made with the freshest of ingredients, slept, fought off a cold, and watched a few episodes of Law and Order SVU. In many ways, I feel like I'm living the balance I talked about at the beginning of the summer. It feels good. And when I look in the mirror I see my glow. It's coming from the inside. I don't know about you, but for me, when I take care of myself, my whole self, I tend to glow. In all honesty, I had lost it. Thanks be to God I'm getting it back, more resplendent than ever, as I wrap things up at Drew.

Well, that's all for now. I've got to go stir my homemade chicken and shells soup before getting into my homework for the week. Until next time, be well!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Think on These Things...

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see...& sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith."

Hebrews 11:1 NIV
Margaret Shepherd
Image taken from

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I Just Can't Find the Words...

In case you think I've neglected talking about the devastating effects of the earthquake in Haiti, in some ways I have. I have been hoping and praying for Haiti, with Haiti, but right now, I don't have the words to write. So I will leave you with an image (A woman prays to a statue of Jesus outside the cathedral on Sunday morning) and the Communities of Shalom Litany (Written for the first Shalom Training Program, Los Angeles, CA 1992). It is my prayer that God's Shalom will be on the loose in Haiti, both now and forever, Amen.

Leader: A Shalom Zone is a Mission Field.

ALL: It is the visible witness of the Gospel in the midst of a broken humanity.

L: A Shalom Zone involves transformation

A: It is the movement from charity to economic justice.

L: A Shalom Zone is rooted in Self-Determination.

A: It assures community participation in all decision making.

L: A Shalom Zone releases Local Resources.

A: It builds self-sustaining economic development.

L: A Shalom Zone generates New Models Development.

A: It tests programs which can be replicated in other communities.

L: A Shalom Zone is catalyzed by Local Congregations.

A: It is supported by the church with resources, volunteers, appointments, gifts, and prayers.

ALL: Out of the first of destruction, the ashes of despair, and the chaos of these times will rise new communities of faith and hope, new communities of courage and daring, resurrected communities of God’s Shalom!

(image taken from

Think on these things...

So, as I was ironing my clothes yesterday, I noticed the writing on the label sewn into the dress I was about to put on. Even though I opted to put on another outfit, I was affirmed; I was reminded. In the words of the songwriter, "I believed it, I received it, I claimed it, It's mine..." Let it be yours too...

Perfectly Coifed Hair? Healthy Body? about both? For years I put my hair above my health...trying to adapt my workout schedule around hairdos. Well, no more! Some might think this a frivolous post, but truth is there are lots of things that perfectly coifed hair hinders Black women from doing--working out, swimming, and sometimes (so I've heard) having sex. Black women are also disproportionately suffering from disease—hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol, breast cancer, stress, depression, etc., etc.—most of which could be abated with regular exercise. So, hair I go...

Thanks and praise be to God, I found a way to work out my body (hard) and have not-so-perfectly coifed hair (that still looks great). The secret is a good cut. Many people associate long hair with beauty. Thankfully, I have never been that woman. I associate healthy hair with beauty. So, whether it is long or short, relaxed or natural, etc., etc., as long as it is healthy and it makes you look and feel good, then I think it is beautiful!

Admittedly, the most hair ease I felt when working out was when my hair was locked and when I used to wear it short and natural. I would be in the gym and on the track getting it in. When I relaxed my hair, my gym routine suffered. For a while, when I started running three years ago, I became the ponytail woman. For one, ponytails, especially when working out, put unnecessary tension on the hair. Secondly, and more important to me, ponytails—daily ponytails—are boooooring. And, well, I am far from boring (especially as it concerns my appearance).

When I entered Seminary I felt the pounds packing on, so I braided it up and hit the gym. Well, the reality of homework set in and my routine got jacked up. Fast forward 2 years and 40 pounds later... I made a commitment to my health, whether my hair liked it or not (btw, I'm 20 pounds lighter than I was in September). I also wanted to maintain my relaxed style, not because I have a hang-up about straight hair and beauty, but because right now I'm feeling it. In early October I went to a new stylist on a friends recommendation. This stylist is known for her wisdom, her insistence on healthy hair, and her skills with a pair of scissors. I told her I wanted my hair to be able to work while I work out. Away she went. What emerged was a cut that looks good when I do nothing to it, looks better when I do something to it, and still manages to look great when I work out.

When my workout consisted of walking only, I would wrap my hair at night, comb it down in the morning, pop on a headband, and hit the pavement. When I returned home I would let it air dry as I got ready for the day and roll out. These days, I've taken to pin curling it. Talk about a gift from God; Five days and three intense workouts after getting my hair done I have yet to use a curling iron or any other "tool of destruction" (a term my friend Shanee Yvette coined).

Here are some pics...before (aka when the hair was perfect), pin curled (my style of choice during a run), and after (letting the pin curl loose):

(Before before...aka after leaving the salon...Tuesday)

( curled and ready to hit the pavement...Saturday)

(After...Post working out, air drying, and taking the curls out...Saturday, again)

(After after...wrapped overnight, ready to go to praise God...Sunday)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Think on These Things...In Honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

O God, I Need Thee was written in 1951 by the late pastor/preacher/teacher/mystic/theologian Rev. Howard Thurman. Rev. Thurman was a great influence in the life and ministry of Dr. King. So, in honor of Dr. King, I also honor one who taught and shaped and molded him into the man that he was.

Here is a snippet of Thurman's prayer O God, I Need Thee:

I Need Thy Sense of the Future

Teach me to know that life is ever

On the side of the future

Keep alive in me the forward look, the high hope

The onward surge

Let me not be frozen

Either by the past or the present

Grant me, O patient Father, Thy sense of the future

Without which all life would sicken and die.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Think on these things...

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus

They say you wept

must’ve laughed, too.

Can’t have one with without the other...

Belly laughed with friends

(Peter had to be a hoot)

Snicker laughed at religious leaders

(They think they're so serious. They can’t be serious.)

Heart laughed with children

(Maybe that's why you wanted them to come)

So you could get a good laugh,

Authentic laugh,

Healing laugh.

You give me permission to laugh...


Because you live I can face tomorrow

And because you laugh

I can laugh, too…

At home/in class/from pulpit

Jesus, I get joy just thinking about what you’ve done for me.

So you must get joy, too.

Just like Sarah begat Isaac,

Joy begets smiles

And smiles are laughter waiting to explode.

Michelangeo and them saw you


I’m glad to know you also

Chuckled/snorted/head high/arms flailing/body shaking

Let laughter overtake you

‘Til you fell from your recliner.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus

They say you wept

Must’ve laughed, too.

Can’t have one with without the other.

Poem: Donna Olivia Powell (January 2010)

Image: "Jesus at the Bethany Home" by Hanna Cheriyan Varghese

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ahhhh, Paradise...

I am at the Stella Maris Retreat Center in Long Branch, NJ enjoying a slice of Paradise (while working as the Resident Artist for the Ministry and Imagination Course). I woke up and watched the sun rise over the ocean from my window. (Tomorrow I will venture out.) I went for a walk on the beach (in my Uggs) and climbed on rocks that still had remnants of last week's deep freeze. (Contrary to popular belief there is beautiful blue water in New Jersey.) I called up my most sensuous self—the woman who breathes deeply, moves slowly, eats slowly, savors life, glides as she walks, sings often, looks closely, listens carefully, and responds thoughtfully—and invited her to show her face more often. And now, yes now, I am going to take a nap until dinner time.

In the midst of being in Paradise, I am sending up prayers for the people of Haiti and their family members and friends in all parts of the world who are hurting in the wake of yesterday's earthquake.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunset Walks...

Today I was running around preparing for Paradise (more to come after the class ends) and by the time I was ready to go to the track for my walk/run it was too late. The Drew Athletic Center hosts some track competition for high school students in January and by the time I was ready to walk they had taken over the parking lots and the building. So, I layered up and made my way outside. I'm glad I went out. I'm used to walking at the crack of dawn or midday. Dusk was different.

Sunset walks produce new sights and new smells. I kind of like it. For example, instead of fresh cut grass, I was met with the smells of logs burning in the fireplace and fresh baked cookies. These smells warmed my soul in the midst of the cold, cold evening air. The sky was the most amazing shade of blue for the majority of my walk--some mixture of cobalt and navy that only God could achieve. There were fewer people out and about--a couple of folks walking dogs. It was just me and God, or at least that's what it felt like. In a weird way, it felt like the world had stopped so I could do my thing. Yeah, I definitely like evening walks...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Victory! Victory! Victory!

I had two, no three, revelations while I was out for my walk/run today. It is amazing what you hear when you take the headphones off and listen to your own breath, your feet hitting the pavement, the whir and sometimes roar of cars passing by, and the squawking encouragment from birds along the way. In the midst of those sounds and other really random thoughts, here are the thoughts that penetrated my soul:

1)I am VICTORIOUS in Christ! I had a moment when I was stuck jogging in place at a traffic light. I looked at my hands and noticed the Nike gloves. I looked at my feet and noticed the Nike sneakers. I quickly glanced at myself up and down: Nike watch, Nike jacket, Nike cell phone arm pouch, Nike water bottle. At first I chalked it up to being a label whore. But then I realized it was bigger than that. Nike is one of the Greek words for victory, conquest, triumph. (Somebody shout glory!!!) In that moment I realized that more than the gear that I was donned in, I was clothed in victory that come from being a child of God! I, like Paul, am ready to declare, "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the VICTORY through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Co 15:57).

2)Along the lines of giving thanks, it was revealed to me that to truly "thank God for the movement and activity of my limbs" (classic African-American testimony and prayer language) that I should actually move my limbs and be active. It is not enough to say "Thank-You," but we as believers should live our thank you! I'm not saying everybody needs to be out running, but everybody who has the movement of their body should be moving it to God's glory! It is not enough to be spiritual folk and intellectual folk, but we must recognize and give God glory because we are embodied spirits and embodied minds. To ignore and to mistreat our bodies is the same as dishonoring God.

3)Lastly, as I walked and ran in the 35 degree weather, I realized that it is not the cold of winter that makes me "blue" but rather the dark of winter. To rid myself of the winter blues all I need to do is take full advantage of the sunlight. As long as I have time in the sun, I'm good. Not profound, but a truth that makes me know that maybe Chicago is a place that I could settle for a while.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Welcome! I'm looking forward to making your acquaintance. I've got a feeling we are going to do BIG things together to the glory of God!