Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Think on These Things...

would you turn off that faucet, I shout to my husband
but to You I say: never turn it off
-Alicia Ostriker (from the volcano sequence)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Think on These Things...

Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there.
(Clarence W. Hall)

Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.
(Luke 24:1-11)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Think on These Things...

We praise Thee, O God!
For the Son of Thy love,
For Jesus Who died,
And is now gone above.

Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Hallelujah! Amen.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Revive us again.

We praise Thee, O God!
For Thy Spirit of light,
Who hath shown us our Savior,
And scattered our night.

All glory and praise
To the Lamb that was slain,
Who hath borne all our sins,
And hath cleansed every stain.

All glory and praise
To the God of all grace,
Who hast brought us, and sought us,
And guided our ways.

Revive us again;
Fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled
With fire from above.

"Revive Us Again" lyrics by William P. Mackay (1863)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Seven Signs that Spring has Sprung

My sister, in all of her silliness and profundity, wrote this poem a few years ago:

Spring has sprung,
The grass is green.
I know you wonderin'
Where I been.

In mid-March, my sister calls (usually with my niece on speakerphone) for her annual poetry recital. This poem reminds me, when the weather isn't doing such a great job, that Spring is coming. There is a certain rhythm with which she recites it. There is a lilt in her cadence that isn't normally present when she speaks. And when she is done, without fail, laughter erupts on the line. We laugh until our bellies shake and tears come out of our eyes. We laugh so hard that we have to catch our breath from laughing, which usually makes us laugh again. That is the silliness.

The profundity, you ask? Well, in yet another act of silliness, during the 2011 recital, as the resident scholar in the family, I provided a narration to the poem that caused me to think (and us to laugh). I don't remember my words verbatim, but I recall highlighting the way in which the poem speaks of the blooming and bursting forth of Spring, the rich verdancy of the season, and the way in which Spring calls us out of winter's hibernation.

That being the first sign of Spring, here are six other signs that let me know that Spring has sprung:
2. Even the weeping willow trees have a certain air of joy about them....
3. Forsythia blooms outside of my window signal that something beautiful is about to happen...
4. My toes rejoiced at the thought (and practice) of being free to soak in the rays of the sun...
5. Dawn and dusk deer sightings...
6. I could sermonate from a park bench, instead of cooped in my office or at Panera Bread...
7. Hearing the varied sounds kids playing cricket/soccer/basketball at the field across from our bedroom window...

What signs let you know that Spring has sprung?

- Posted using BlogPress on the fiercest device ever...the iPad!!!

iPad App of the Week

This week's app of the week isn't an app, but rather is an invitation to unplug from time to time and live life disconnected from technology, reconnected with God, family, friends, and self. This post was inspired by my friend in my head and one of my conversation partners in the blogosphere Rev. James Ellis III.

In his latest blog posting about social media, Ellis writes, "We are becoming too technological for our own good. Not that the technology is bad, per se. It is simply a tool that can serve us well if we make good choices. Just like students who can't solve math problems without a calculator or adults who can't function without spell-check, we need to get back to the basics. We must learn to value real people and real relationships more than the technology that gives us access to everyone and everything at all times."

His posting made me think about a commercial on the USA Network that aired last year that caught my attention. The commercial lifted up the dinner table—with real, live people passing the peas—as the ultimate and most effective social networking site. How often are our eyes fixed on a screen—television, laptop, iPad, Blackberry—and not into the eyes of those we love?

I experienced the joy of connectivity this weekend in ways I hadn't in a while: at the park jogging with hubby as he encouraged me to keep pressing on; at breakfast with my folks after early morning worship on Sunday, and through the laying on of hands by my sisters in the ministry when I wasn't feeling well during morning worship. I took this connectivity to the next level when on my outing to the park today to sermonate and people watch. Instead of toting my iPad, I carried a paper-bound Bible, a good old-fashioned notebook and an ink pen. Can you imagine? Between journaling and working on my sermon for Good Friday, my hand couldn't get enough of connecting pen to paper. In all honesty, I did update my Facebook status via Blackberry when I saw signs of Spring before my very eyes (see next blog posting). In hindsight, I wish I had lived the status updates to the fullest—breathing in every ounce of them—instead of taking/wasting time to let my 428 "Friends" know what I was experiencing.

As much as I like my iPad and enjoy the productivity it has afforded me, I am more stimulated by conversations (and kisses) with my hubby, hugs from my mother, smiles from my father, and laughter with my girlfriends. This doesn't mean that this feature is dead; Far from it. Nor does it mean I've exhausted my apps; Far from it. However, it does mean that I am keenly aware that the best application of life is to live it, in relationship with God, self, and each other.

All that said, the iPad App of the Week is a life well lived in relationship. It doesn't cost anything and is well worth the time and energy invested!

- Posted using BlogPress on the fiercest device ever...the iPad!!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Response to Spring Things...

This was sent to me by my dear friend Shanee' Yvette. Like Mary, I am pondering these things in my heart. I invite you to do the same...

This is Shanee'

Your use of the world camouflage to describe dresses and your thighs was very striking.

Camouflage is a method of crypsis (hiding). It allows an otherwise visible organism or object to remain unnoticed, by blending with its environment (according to wikipedia---I Know Not a Great Source).

I thought about what camouflage means when I read your post about dresses. Hiding? Blending? Trying to maintain a certain level of safety? Survival. What about compliment? complement (a thing that completes or brings to perfection)? I know the word camouflage, personally. As someone who is struggling to love ALL of myself I read your post and thought about how I speak about myself using language that doesn't exactly benefit my "Body Loving" cause. How did I learn to speak in these ways about myself. How did a word describing a evoluntionary mechanism animals use to avoid violence and destruction become an appropriate way to describe the ways in which beautiful fabric adorns my precious body? Beautiful fabric which I choose in accordance with my own creativity and aesthetic. Beautiful fabric that makes me smile and happy to be alive. Beautiful fabric that tells the story of me: tragedies, dramas, romances, and comedies. How did violence become a part of my description of the adornment process? Who taught me to hate/hide myself? How can I unlearn that? Hiding. Hiding and fear hold each other's timid hands. What am I afraid of? Someone seeing me? Others beholding parts of me that the world has convinced me are unsightly? The truth of me is I have big chunky thighs that will never not rub when I walk and a heart shaped butt with fanny pack-like pockets at top but rather than camouflage these parts of me I'd rather learn to drape them with fabrics so that they feel safe, safe in that they are loved and protected by me and not subject to my vicious critiques and scathing looks of dis-appreciation. These are my great-grandmother's thighs and my grandmother's booty; my mother shares these gifts with me. Would I look at the three of these women and say "Hide yourself woman, be thee concealed for your are repulsive!". Absolutely Not! Then why do I disgrace them each time I shimmy into some garment that wasn't made with me in mind all the while damning the reflection of the women who made me. Camouflage, eh?

I'm curious. I assume short skirts are out due to modesty issues and insuring credibility and comfort(personal and public) in your ministry but what about you and how you feel about you. Is camouflage the right word? Am I making too much of the verb? Perhaps. Am I calling you out? No stones over here. Did something you said you call out to me? Yes, the sound of my own voice.Thank you for sparking my reflection today. I love you.

- Posted using BlogPress on the fiercest device ever...the iPad!!!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Things...

On my morning walk today, I realized that as much as Spring is a time of spiritual renewal for me, it is also a time of physical newness. As the sun peeked through the clouds, it was clear to me that hibernation time is over. It is time to shed the bulky layers for lighter wares. It is time to pack away the grays and black for yellows, greens, blues, and pinks. It is time to buff, polish, and slather away the ash to reveal glowing skin. It is time...

I am keenly aware of the trends, but the older I get the less interested I am in trends. These days, I am interesting in things that work well for me. With that in mind, check out just a few of my Spring Things...

Spring Thing #1: A Fresh Face
At thirty, many women will experience adult acne. No one warned me before this happened. It was crazy. But thanks be to God, almost five years later, I have adjusted. I have learned to find new products that work when my skin gets too used to a product (when it stops working). These days, I am using Burt's Bees Radiance Day Cream to moisturize and Acne Solutions cleanser, scrub, and blemish stick.

As far as make-up goes, I am loving a pop of color on my eyes with nude lips. Hence I am using Bobbi Brown's Creamy Lip Color in Heather Buff and Sunset Nude and Lancome's Color Design Shadow Palette in Amethyst Glam and Bronze Amour.

In addition to the product on the outside, the key to a fresh face is drinking lots of water!

Spring Thing #2: Supple Skin
I don't know about you, but the "ash monster" visits me during the winter. In fact, he moves into my house without invitation, never pays rent, and reluctantly leaves in the Spring. This year, to move him out of the way, I am bringing in heavy artillery: Brown Sugar Body Polish and Nivea Body Cream.

Spring Thing #3: Jewel-Toned Dresses and Nails
With supple skin ready, it is time to throw on a pretty dress! Dresses work for me. Not only do they camoflauge my thighs, they make me feel beautiful. My latest snag is this floral number from Target. And we all know that a pretty dress is not complete without manicured nails. This season I am shelving my Essie Chinchilly for OPI Strawberry Margarita!

Spring Thing #4: Healthy Hair
So, this is not just a Spring thing for me, but an all year round thing! This Spring, I have made the decision to keep my hair short and sassy. To maximize the shine, I rinsed my hair black and I use Elasta QP Mango Butter.

- Posted using BlogPress on the fiercest device ever...the iPad!!!

iPad App of the Week

I know, I know...

I hear you: Thursday came and went...no iPad App of the Week. Friday came and went...still no iPad App of the Week. For crying out loud, it's Monday already and you haven't blessed/annoyed us with a new iPad App! What gives?

Well, since you asked, the truth is that I've been so caught up playing Scrabble that my other gaming apps are probably jealous. UNO doesn't stand a chance. Mancala doesn't do it for me like it used to. And who wants to play Solitaire by yourself when you can play Scrabble with Facebook friends? Huh? Huh? Huh?

So, as an act of transparency and authenticity, the iPad App if the week is Scrabble. Again. It really is that good!

- Posted using BlogPress on the fiercest device ever...the iPad!!!

Hovering Over the Deep...

This morning during my time of prayer, I became overwhelmed by the Presence of God in a way that I've never been before. Everything was filling up: the air in the room, my mind, my heart, and the recesses of my eyes where the tears well. The Presence of God was palpable; I knew that I was not alone. And not only was I not alone, but I could sense, without a shadow of a doubt, that God was doing something.

At first I could not name it; The atmosphere was, at once, extremely heavy and awesomely beautiful. I sat with Him, exchanging my usual stirrings to be still in the Presence of God. After all, we are admonished to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:1). And in our knowing, which can also be understood as acknowledging Him, our paths will be directed (Proverbs 3:6). More than anything, I want to walk in a God directed path. Donna directed paths usually lead me straight into ditches, dead-ends, going the wrong way on a one way street, or circling the block too many times to count.

After a period of stillness, I started writing. As the words began to pour out of me, I was able to name what I was feeling. It was a brooding. It was as if the Spirit of God was hovering over me and we were at the brink of God bringing forth newness in my life. And all of a sudden I knew that today was the beginning of something new. I was reminded of the foundations of the world:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

The formlessness in my life is about to be shaped and fashioned into something beautiful. The emptiness and void in my life is about to be filled so that I am fully satisfied. The chaos in my life is about to be ordered. The darkness in my life is making way for the light of God.

I do not know exactly what, "Let there be's" God spoke over me today. But I do know that, that just as God looked at His work in creation and declared it to be good, I know that whatever was spoken into my life today will be good, and even very good...

- Posted using BlogPress on the fiercest device ever...the iPad!!!