Monday, March 19, 2012

Peace, Be Still...

On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mark 4:35-37)

Sometimes sermons are preached. And sometimes there are sung...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ayo, Here's the Situation...

As a follow-up to my last post, here are the lyrics to Heavy D's verse on Self-Destruction:

Ayo here's the situation: Idiodicy
Nonsense, violence, not a good policy
Therefore we must ignore, fightin and fussin
Hev is at the door so there'll be no bum-rushin
Let's get together or we'll be fallin apart
I heard a brother shot another. It broke my heart
I don't understand the difficulty, people
Love your brother, treat him as an equal
They call us animals mmm mmm I don't agree with them
I'll prove them wrong, but right is what your proving them
Take heed before I lead to what I'm sayin
Or we'll all be on our knees, prayin'

His words are as powerful and true today as they were when first uttered.

Leave the Guns and the Crack and the Knives Alone...

It is no secret that I was born and raised in Mount Vernon, NY.

Thanks to the Overweight Lover, Heavy D, we were once known as Money Earnin' Mount Vernon. These days we are known by the moniker Murdaville. My, how things have changed.

And changed they have. I can remember my block being full of boundless energy of young people. We had a pool in our complex. It was on and poppin' there during the summer. Hartley Park was at the end of my block. The youngest chocolate children played on the swings and the big-slide, the oldest Italian men played bocci ball, and all ages in between gathered there to play basketball, ride bikes, and sneak kisses in The White House. Although my parents didn't let me, you could stay out all night in our neighborhood. It may have gotten loud—with arguments about Michael Jordan or EMPD wafting through the air—but it was always peaceful. I remember the parties at the Church of the Ascension on Friday nights when I was in high-school. Young people gathered from all around. We partied hard—gyrating bodies, sweat dripping, funky teenaged boys, choreographed moves like we were filming House Party II—hard. The church was around the corner from my building and my mother could see it from her friends window. In 1992 there was a party that I begged my mother to let me go to. She said no until a good guy friend of mine assured her that he would keep his eye on me. She let me go and at some point before 11:00 p.m. shots rang out. No one was hurt, but when I got outside, Lois was there with a head full of hard pink rollers to get her daughter. That was bad, but it seemed like an isolated incident. (The shots, not my mother's rollers.) And then things changed. In 1996 a friend of mine—Warren—was shot and killed across the street from my parents building. This was not the first shooting in Mount Vernon, but it was the first act of violence that—literally and figuratively— hit close to home.

Like dominos falling, things haven't been the same since then. I woke up on Monday to pleas on Facebook for the violence to end in Mount Vernon. I looked at the local online newspaper for Mount Vernon and learned that there were three separate shootings in a five hour period in the city on Sunday. Three shootings? Five hours? Four square miles? My how things have changed.

According to, the murder rate peaked in 2008 and 2009, with ten murders committed in each year. Assaults, robberies, and thefts also hit a high point around that time. When I was growing up, we were a village in the truest sense of the word. If children were caught behaving badly, any adult could chastise them. And trust me, when I was doing something I had no business doing, in places I had no business being, Lois knew about it well before I got home. And now, grown people are silent in the face of children for fear of altercation with their parents, or worse yet, fear of being killed by a child with a gun. My how things have changed.

And in the midst of all of this change, an old song is stirring in my spirit. With that, I leave you with Self-Destruction from the Stop the Violence Movement. A timeless message for such a time as this...

image taken from

Adventures of a Pregnant Woman #480

I must admit, I have become that woman. You know the pregnant woman whose life and conversation revolves around being pregnant. I imagine I'll be that mother who always talks about her children. In any case, I don't mind...

On Friday I went to Target to get a prescription filled for my anti-nausea medication. When I dropped off the script at the pharmacy counter, the pharmacist told me to come back in 15 minutes.

15 minutes.

That is an eternity, in a good way, for a first-time expectant mom.

Usually I stroll through Target picking up everything from fabric softener, cutesy dresses, and thank-you cards. I troll around the sale rack finding six-dollar dresses that make my mom envious. But this time I made a bee-line for the baby section. In 15-minutes I managed to pick up the tiniest, most beautiful, pink and brown leather boots for baby girl next winter. I wish I could say I stopped there, but I didn't. I got onsies and layettes and jeans and socks and two outfits for our little lady to leave the hospital in. (I know, I know, she's only leaving the hospital once. Perhaps she'll have an outfit change before she gets home like they do at the awards shows. Just kidding!) I got outfits with flowers and stripes and giraffes that tout her love for mom, dad's love for her, and grandma's affection. (Target is clearly biased. I saw no outfits proclaiming grandpa's affection. I'm still on the hunt. For some reason I well up with tears thinking about my dad holding our baby girl.)

Three shopping bags and 15 minutes later, I went to pick up my prescription. Thank God I have auto-refill. Otherwise we'd all be in trouble...Target is now carrying Gwen Stefani's Harajuku line for newborns!

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

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dancin' Machine...

It seems every time my mother calls our house phone, I either have just finished climbing the stairs from the living room to our bedroom or I have to make a mad dash from the kitchen to where the phone is charging in the living room. In either case, I answer the telephone in this breathy—I just finished a three-hour long kickboxing class—kind of voice. From time to time—ok, maybe all the time—hubby laughs at me because I get winded quite easily. He often asks me after walking from the car to _______________ (fill in the blank with any and every destination possible), "Are you really out of breath?" In fact, when I finally mustered up the strength to do my Christmas shopping (three days before Christmas), I took full advantage of every single lounge chair located in the Menlo Park Mall. They were like rest stops for my weary traveling body.

All that is to say is that I am feeling the effects of a growing uterus, cramped lungs, and a baby girl that likes to press against my already cramped lungs. Imagine the surprise, excitement, and tinge of jealousy that I felt when another mother-to-be sent me the link to this video...

Maybe I'll dance like my second pregnancy. For now, I'm scoping out the nearest lounge chair in sight!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Adventures of a Pregnant Woman #379

Let me preface this post by letting you know that today has been a long day. What that means is that I have been going since I woke up early this morning and have not had my daily nap. I also haven't cried since worship on Sunday and with today being Tuesday I was long overdue.

Around 5:00p.m. I made my way to the grocery store to pick up a few things. Since I am Lois' child, I must admit that a few things at the grocery store is more like a shopping cart full, but that is neither here nor there. Anyway, after double backing my way to the condiment aisle for some Hellman's mayo, my trip was done. I made my way to the checkout counter, bypassing the express lane. In the middle of the floor, between my aisle and the next, was an abandoned shopping cart. I noticed it, got in my line, and began to unpack my cart. The woman in front of me looked at me, smiled, watched the clerk scan her seventeen bottles of ginger-ale (I wonder if she, too, was expecting), and never said a word. About four items in to my unpacking, a super-skinny blond woman comes over looks at brown me and my big ole belly and says, "I was behind that woman. I am next.." I gave her the look. She stared me down. I told her that the woman never mentioned that someone was behind her, but that she could go ahead. I thought it was the good Christian thing to do, even though I questioned her lack of consideration for me. She scooted past me and began slowly unloading her cart. What she didn't know was that I was tired and in some pain. I imagine she didn't care. She was clearly younger than I am. She was clearly in better shape than I am, and not just because I am with child. And she was clearly out of the store before I was.

Though boiling inside, I told myself to move on. My pain had subsided and it wasn't the end of the world. Until I got to my car, of course. The person who pulled into the space on my left had pulled so close it left me no room to get in. (These days, when I park at home, I practically skim my side-view mirror against the right garage wall just to leave myself room to get in and out of my car.) I loaded my groceries into the trunk while plotting how I was going to get into my car. Getting into the passenger seat and climbing over wasn't an option. I mean really, I can barely get a pair of shoes/boots on without hubby's help. With cart unloaded, I started to get anxious. There was no one in sight.

And then he appeared. A thin Indian man walking towards me. I didn't know where he came from, whether he had even gotten out of a car or not. I didn't know if I could trust him, but I was desperate. "Excuse me sir, can I ask a favor?" Blank stare. "I am pregnant and the person next to me parked really close. I cannot get into my car. Would you mind pulling my car out so I can get into it?" Hesitant, he walked toward me, took my keys, and squeezed into my car. "Thank you," I said as images of him pulling out and driving to California raced through my heard. He pulled up, got out of the car and handed me my keys. "Thank you again. God bless you." Head nod. During the exchange the man never said a word.

With my car pulled out and plenty of room for me to get in, I got into the driver's seat and began to cry. It was ugly. I couldn't control my tears. Thank God I hadn't put mascara on this morning. I cried because in just five minutes I had experienced the worst and best of humanity. I cried because, well, that's what pregnant women sometimes do. I cried because I hadn't cried since Sunday. And I'm sure it won't be the last time I cry in the next two months. Some other day I'll write about the day early in my pregnancy when I cried—a more accurate word might be boo-hoo'd—watching a movie. Did I mention it was a comedy?

image taken from