Thursday, December 5, 2013

Portals Into God's Presence: I Am Thine O, Lord

(I wrote this two weeks ago. Instead of creating a new post, I've decided to share this with you and get back on my blogging wagon next week. By the way, I have a draft started from the conference. It's coming. It's coming...)

I owe you, my beloved readers, a post from the How Shall They Hear Conference that I attended over the weekend. I promise, that post is coming. But for now, in a word, I can say that the conference was AMAZING! I was nourished and nurtured as a preacher and religious leader and nudged to preach in a way that impacts the church so that the church can impact the world (my paraphrase of the conference mission). There were so many highlights, but in particular, my soul was stirred on Friday night, after Dr. Ralph Douglas West preached a powerful word: The Strenuous Life, we sang "I am Thine, O, Lord" as the invitational hymn.

I am thine, O Lord, I have heard thy voice, 
and it told thy love to me; 
but I long to rise in the arms of faith 
and be closer drawn to thee. 

Refrain:
Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, 
to the cross where thou hast died. 
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, 
to thy precious, bleeding side. 

Consecrate me now to thy service, Lord, 
by the power of grace divine; 
let my soul look up with a steadfast hope, 
and my will be lost in thine. 

O the pure delight of a single hour 
that before thy throne I spend, 
when I kneel in prayer, and with thee, my God, 
I commune as friend with friend! 

There are depths of love that I cannot know 
till I cross the narrow sea; 
there are heights of joy that I may not reach 
till I rest in peace with thee. 

In all that we do as believers, and especially for me as a preacher os the Gospel, our proximity to God is of paramount importance. The nearer we are to God, as the hymn writer says, the more our wills get enveloped in the will of God. It is then that we can be assured that we a living out the Gospel with the authenticity in which Jesus lived the Gospel. As I think about it, Jesus—embodied/enfleshed God with us—modeled this very song to the point where with Calvary in his purview, He could say, "nevertheless not my will, but Thy will be done." Beloved, but I want to be that close to God, how about you?


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Portals Into God's Presence: All Hail the Power

On Sunday, at the New Hope Baptist Church of Metuchen, the choir sang me happy. For as much as I love contemporary Gospel music and anthems, I love a good hymn. I just do. And there is something about "All Hail the Power" that reminds me of God's majesty and sovereignty in the midst of life's messiness. This song also has a way of transporting me into the heavenly realm, alongside angels, as we worship God, who is worthy of our worship and praise. Beloved, beyond our singing, let us crown God Lord of all...

All hail the power of Jesus' name!
Let angels prostrate fall;
bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem,
and crown Him Lord of all.

Ye chosen seed of Israel's race,
ye ransomed from the Fall,
hail Him who saves you by His grace,
and crown Him Lord of all.
Hail Him who saves you by His grace,
and crown Him Lord of all.

Let every kindred, every tribe
on this terrestrial ball,
to Him all majesty ascribe,
and crown Him Lord of all.
To Him all majesty ascribe,
and crown Him Lord of all.

O that with yonder sacred throng
we at His feet may fall!
We'll join the everlasting song,
and crown Him Lord of all.
We'll join the everlasting song,
and crown Him Lord of all.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Reflections from the Trenton Half Marathon and 10K

To God be the glory, running the 10K portion of the Trenton Half Marathon and 10K was exhilarating! I was proud to complete the race, without stopping to walk, in 1:32:47. More than that, I was proud to be part of the Black Girls Run! Trenton Takeover. To be part of that movement was exciting; There were sisters of all shades, shapes, and sizes doing their thang on the pavement! When I was ready to walk, I would focus on a BGR! in front of me and use her as my motivation to keep on running. In fact, after crossing the finish line, I thanked a few of those sisters. The best, and hardest, part of the race was seeing the smile on my hubby's face and snuggling with Baby Girl post race (snuggling was hard because this running momma was as sore as sore could be!). Below are a few pictures of the experience. Enjoy!

Baby Girl and I with the founders of BGR!

Race bib and jacket prepped for an early morning rise...

BGR! in full effect...

One of my sisters in ministry and our North/Central Jersey BGR! Sisters...

Edison BGR! representing at Trenton...

Staying close to keep warm...

BGR! Group Picture... (From BGR! Official Facebook Page)

Go! Go! Go! (From Trenton Half's Official Facebook Page)

The email I received shortly after crossing the finish line...

Me and my future BGR!...

Momma, Baby Girl! Check out the race bling!


Edison BGR! Blinging!

Post-Race lunch with hubby...Baby Girl was asleep like she had run 10K!


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Vulnerability, Anonymity, and Parenting: A Response

Yesterday I received a comment on my blog. I've chosen not to publish it, but I do want to address it. I will not address the specifics of the woman's issue with my post, rather I want to write about the spirit of the post. (and, should anyone choose to leave a comment—ahem, mom—please address the spirit of the post. I know that I am a good mother to Baby Girl and I do not need to use this space to argue that fact.)


First, let me give thanks for each and every person who reads my blog, whether posted here on on Project Eve. I am grateful for my readers, and I am especially grateful when folks engage the material by either sharing it with others or leaving a comment. I recognize that by posting my words in such a public space that I open myself up to criticism. Surely, not everyone will agree with my beliefs, questions, ideas, methods, and lipstick choices however, I do believe that there is a way that we can engage in healthy dialogue, even in the blogosphere. Which leads me to my first issue with the comment...

Ma'am, you chose to leave an anonymous comment. No name. No pseudonym. No Twitter handle. No email address. Just Anonymous. I don't know what to call you. And because of that, you have closed the door on what could have been a beautiful dialogue. You had an issue with one post, "The Benefits of Daycare," but interrupted another post, "Portals Into God's Presence: I Need Thee" with your comment. It's as if you ran into the room, grabbed the microphone from me, shouted your thoughts, dropped the mic, and ran out of the room. It's easy to make such remarks when you are Anonymous, unknown and unsourced. And while our socially connected world has provided tremendous opportunity for conversations that previously were unavailable to us, it has also opened the door to many Internet thugs hiding behind keyboards making assumptions and spouting their stuff, without taking the time to engage the writers or other folks leaving comments. I am disgusted when I read articles online where writers choose to be vulnerable—whether I agree with them or not—only to read through the comment section and some Anonymous person leave harmful and/or hateful words. Ms. Anonymous, if you really wanted to add something to the discussion you would have left your name, something for me to address you with dignity and respect, so we could talk.

Secondly, even though it has taken some time, I am quite confident in my parenting and in the decisions that hubby and I have made for our family. That said, if there is anything I have learned in 18 months of parenting is that it is vital to respect, and support when possible, whatever parenting decisions other mothers make—especially first-time and new mothers whose insecurities and hormone surges render us vulnerable. Short of neglect and abuse, I no longer judge how another mother chooses to feed, diaper, clothe, discipline, or put her baby to sleep. Ms. Anonymous, you initially read my piece on Project Eve, a website for inspiring women. To inspire means to breathe life into and, for a moment, your comment left me breathless. Your comment did the opposite of what that community is about. Your comment did the opposite of what I am about. In fact, when I slept on your words, I was reminded of a passage I read in Brené Brown's book Daring Greatly:
Interestingly, in terms of shame triggers for women, motherhood is a close second...Society views womanhood and motherhood as inextricably bound; therefore our value as women is often determined by where we are in relations to our roles as mothers or potential mothers...If you're working outside the home, the first questions is "What about the children?" If you're not working, the first question is "What kind of example are you setting for your daughters?" Mother shame is ubiquitous—it's a birthright for girls and women. (Daring Greatly, 86-87).
You tried to shame me and my decision. Your Anonymous position was steeped in self-righteousness.  But what you said was not about me or my Baby Girl. I would have to agree with Brené Brown (again), in her chapter on Wholehearted Parenting where she asserts:
After all, we rarely engage in self-righteous judgement when we feel confident about our decisions...if doubt lurks beneath my choices, that self-righteous critic will spring to life in not-so-subtle parenting moments that happen because my underlying fear of not being the perfect parent is driving my need to confirm that, at the very least, I am better than you. (Daring Greatly, 216)
Ms. Anonymous, while you are feeling sorry for my Baby Girl, I pray that you become so comfortable in who you are and the decisions that you have made that you don't need to critique me and mine, or anyone else, from behind the shadows.

Portals Into God's Presence: Lift Him Up

I must admit, I have been watching the Oxygen series "Preachers of LA." I was curious; I wanted to see these six preachers live the God life as their show tagline says. Never mind that there are no women preachers featured. Never mind the opulent cars and clothes and homes, which are diametrically opposed to the life of Jesus, who had no place to lay his head (Matthew 8:20).

As I watch, I try not to cast judgment, but—for me, as a preacher of the Gospel who takes her ordination vows very seriously—the show raises the question: "Is God being glorified?" Further, I wonder—since the preachers featured have publicly said that they are on the show to lead souls to Christ—is Jesus being lifted up on the Preachers of LA?

As a preacher, I know how easy it is to get caught in the hype of your own self. I've even noticed myself in the sermon preparation process writing to move the crowd in the pews, instead of writing to  move the congregation into the presence of our glorious God. This call to ministry requires a system of checks and balances, both internal and in the form of a mentor/friend/deacon/mother who will call you out on your stuff if self is being glorified more than God.  As preachers—in LA or any other city—our refrain in life, especially when people want to make rockstars of us, should be, "to God be the glory." When we do our work preaching, teaching, and serving we should measure our success, if you want to call it that, by whether or not Jesus has been lifted up. Lifting Jesus is our part. Drawing souls is God's part. Which leads us to our hymn of the week: Lift Him Up.

How to reach the masses, men of every birth,
For an answer, Jesus gave the key:
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,
Will draw all men unto Me.”

Refrain:
Lift Him up, lift Him up;
Still He speaks from eternity:
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth,
Will draw all men unto Me.”

Oh! the world is hungry for the Living Bread,
Lift the Savior up for them to see;
Trust Him, and do not doubt the words that He said,
“I’ll draw all men unto Me.”

Don’t exalt the preacher, don’t exalt the pew,
Preach the Gospel simple, full, and free;
Prove Him and you will find that promise is true,
“I’ll draw all men unto Me.”

Lift Him up by living as a Christian ought,
Let the world in you the Savior see;
Then men will gladly follow Him Who once taught,
“I’ll draw all men unto Me.”

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

From Time to Time Top Ten: I Knew I was a Runner When...

Welcome to a new feature on From Time to Time, the Top Ten list. I am not a big fan of the David Letterman show, but I love, love, love his top ten lists. They are hilariously informative at times, and sometimes just hilarious. And to be honest, a Top Ten list is the perfect way to blog with the option of writing a lot or a little. So, for the first installment of the From Time to Time Top Ten and in honor of my first 10K run in two days (cue Eye of the Tiger), I present the "Top Ten Reasons I Knew I was a Runner…"

10. Each and every person who ran the ING New York Marathon, and most especially my friend Nikki G., are all my heroes. Now that I’ve logged a few miles, I admire folks who can run for 26.2 miles. I admire their endurance. I admire their discipline. I admire their courage. 

9. I now have three piles of clothes in my laundry bin: Darks, Whites and Running Gear. And while I may mix my darks and whites from time to time, I keep my running gear separate and I follow the care instructions to a tee.

8. I am serious of about my Black Girls Run! (BGR!). I reactivated my Facebook page mostly so I could connect with my New Jersey BGR! group. I use the official BGR! members page to RSVP for runs, but I find great encouragement from the posts in the North/Central Jersey BGR! Facebook group. I also find great joy in sharing my success with the group. (I’m sure I’ll be posting this entry to the group page.) I wear all pink and black running gear all the time. I purchased new pink lipgloss for Trenton, after all, BGR! is about preserving the sexy. And after I finish this post, I'm going to get a pink and black mani/pedi for the weekend. 



7. I read articles and watch You Tube videos about proper running form. Then I practice. I must tell you, it has made a huge difference. I used to heave and haw through a 5K and now I am running 3.1 miles with relative ease. I also now have the endurance to run 6+ miles.


6. I have the Nike+ customer support in my favorites list on my iPhone. I call them at least once a week. Especially when my runs don’t register on the leaderboard in my home screen. I call them so much I’m sure they have a picture of me posted in their call center.


5. In September I went to Road Runner Sports and got fit for running shoes. I now have a fancy insole that is customized for my stride, arch, etc. Its so fancy I’m sure it will do the laundry for me if I ask. At my fitting I learned that my perfect shoe is a neutral plus. Thankfully, I found a pair of pink and black Nikes that fit well and were on sale. And I’m so serious about my running shoes that I only wear them for running. They aren’t sneakers. They aren’t tennis shoes. They aren’t errand shoes. They are running shoes.


4. Instead of sleeping in on Saturday mornings (which I now have the option of doing, since Baby Girl is sleeping longer) I get up, get dressed, and hit the pavement with my local BGR! Group. This is from a woman who really, really, really loves her sleep. 

3. I bought running underwear. Yes, running underwear. Before becoming a runner, I didn’t even know running underwear existed. But now, I’m all about Dri-Fit. In fact, I wonder if anyone has though about a Dri-Fit clergy robe. That. Would. Be. Hot. 

2. I am super-duper excited and ready to run the 10K in the Trenton Half-Marathon and 10K. I’m so excited, my running gear is already packed. I'm so excited, my hubby is excited. Trenton, here I come...

1. Even before I hit the pavement on Saturday, I’m already thinking about running a Half-Marathon in the Spring. Nike Women’s Half Marathon here I come…






Thursday, October 31, 2013

Portals Into God's Presence: I Need Thee

In the midst of Bible Study last night, the Holy Spirit whispered something into my soul: We—as a society and in the body of Christ —are suffering from an over reliance of self. We take pride in being independent, not needing anybody, not even God. We may not express this in words, but our actions—my actions—speak this fact. And this "I can do it all by myself" behavior is hampering our relationship with God.  But the mark of a Christian, and at the core of our salvation, is a public proclamation that we need God. To love God, to serve God, to trust God, to have faith in God, we must surrender our need to be in control of everything. We must proclaim and live out our hymn of the day. I don't know about you, but I need God in ministry. I need God in my marriage. I need God in my parenting. I need God when I'm on the running trail. I need God in my sermon preparation. I need God when I'm preaching. I need God when I'm balancing my checkbook. I need God in my decision making. I need God in everything that I do.

Beloved, won't you sing with me—and dare to live out—the fiercely radical statement, "I need thee..."
I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord; 
no tender voice like thine can peace afford. 

I need thee, O I need thee; 
every hour I need thee; 
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.

I need thee every hour; stay thou nearby; 
temptations lose their power when thou art nigh. 

I need thee every hour, in joy or pain; 
come quickly and abide, or life is vain. 

I need thee every hour; teach me thy will; 
and thy rich promises in me fulfill. 

I need thee every hour, most Holy One; 
O make me thine indeed, thou blessed Son. 

Here is Bishop Paul Morton singing a rendition of the song, the stanzas are his own, but the sentiment  (and the refrain) is the same as the original song. Let it minister to your soul...


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sharing Our Stories, Imago Dei & Being the Church

I was looking for something to write today. I am committed to posting twice a week, but this morning I found myself unsure about what I would write. There were no burning questions, no pressing issues, no challenges. There are joys, of course, but I'm not the woman who takes to my blog to brag about my wonderful hubby and blossoming baby girl. My life is in a business as usual kind of flow (a good thing). The same cannot be said for everyone.

After eating breakfast, when I should have been blogging, I logged on to Facebook and saw a post from a friend. Her post touched my soul, and immediately I shared it on my timeline. Upon sharing it, she messaged me to say express her appreciation. It was then that I realized that today is the day to share her story. God wants me to share her story.

Tejai Beulah is a doctoral student at the Theological School at Drew University. Our paths did not cross while I was at Drew, but God used my best friend, a doctoral student at Vanderbuilt University, to connect us. Our encounters have been few, but full. Tejai has a way of making you laugh, recognizing your gifts, engaging your intellect, and nurturing your soul. In essence, Tejai participates in God's presence and engaged me as Imago Dei, even when I was in my new mother fog and not feeling like I was remotely created in the image of God.

As Imago Dei, those created in the image and likeness of God, it is of paramount importance that we reflect God's love, God's grace, and God's generosity. I am reminded of the First Century Church who gave of themselves to assure that all in the fellowship were cared for:

"Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need" 
(Acts 2:44-45 NIV).

Beloved, please visit Tejai's page. There she tells her full story. After you've read it, please consider opening up your heart and your wallet. This is how we express ourselves as the church.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Portals Into God's Presence: Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Yesterday, as I was doing laundry, I made up a ditty to the tune of "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing." Like to read it, here it goes:

...Streams of laundry, never ceasing,
Call for mom to be busy.
Prone to leave clothes in the dryer,
Prone to fold them a week late.
Here's my iron, take and use it,
To make laundry nice and crisp.

All jokes aside, "Come, Thou Fount" is one of my favorite hymns. I especially love the third stanza. It speaks of the power of God's grace to cover our every debt. It speak of our need—my need—to have God's grace restraining us as trials and tribulations and our own messiness seek to capture and corrupt our hearts. It speaks of the reality that no matter how good God is, that sin is alluring and enticing and that every once and a while we might be enchanted by its lure. But, thanks be to God, it also speaks of the grater reality that we have the ability to surrender our hearts—the essence of who we are, the seat of our emotions—to a Loving and Merciful God to the glory of God and the edification of God's kingdom.

       Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I'm come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.

        O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.

Monday, October 21, 2013

One Year Later...

A great friends of mine is the founding director of a faith based non-profit organization that focuses on wholeness and healing in the lives of women. Every year, for the past thirteen years, she hosts a brunch that gathers women over food and real talk and prayer and a commitment to live in the fullness of God. I have been blessed to attend many years, and this year the brunch was amazing (we focused on love), but the strides that Baby Girl and grandma made while mommy was fellowshipping with the sisters was priceless.

Last year, I arrived at my parents' house early. I nursed baby girl, kissed her, and made my way out the door. The brunch is five hours. And Baby Girl cried the entire five hours. Well, maybe not the entire time. Grandma did get a reprieve from the wailing when she took Baby Girl outside for a walk in her stroller. She didn't intend to take her outside; They were going to walk in the hallway and lobby of my parents' apartment building. But since the tears kept flowing and the cries were unceasing, grandma took her outside. The thing is, my mother was in her house slippers, with no socks, and without a jacket. She must've looked wacky walking around, but since that is what kept Baby Girl calm, she did what she had to do. Baby Girl was five months old.

Fast forward one year.

Baby Girl is seventeen months old now. Although she still isn't feeling everybody, she loves her grandma. Last week she sat (and played, because she cannot sit still for more than 2 minutes) with grandma at church while mommy preached the Gospel. But church for three hours is different than leaving her for five hours at grandma and grandpa's house. And different it was. When we arrived at my parents' house I did a quick and dirty drop off: I took off her jacket, gave her a snack, gave her a kiss and let her know that I would return soon. When I walked out the door she was wailing, but by the time I reached the end of the hallway her crying had subsided. Unlike this time last year, she didn't cry at all while mommy was away. She and grandma had a grand time. They played in the house—coloring with crayons, pretend baking with a flour sifter and pot, and watched Happy Feet. They video chatted with "The Aunties" (my sister and niece in California) and ate grandma's fresh fried chicken and mango.  They went for a walk to my mom's friends house and then to the park—sans stroller—marching and picking up acorns along the way. When I arrived at the house after my time of refreshing, Baby Girl greeted me and went about her business with playing with grandma.


I know from experience that change happens over time. But I must be honest, when Baby Girl was a baby girl and crying every time I left her I never imagined that she would be happy hanging with anyone besides hubby and I. But, thanks be to God, my imagination was limited. One year later, she still loves being with mommy and daddy, but she finds joy in being with others—especially grandma.

Some of you may be asking where grandpa was in all of this. Baby Girl is suspicious of any man that is not her father, including my dad. There was a time she wouldn't get close to him at all. (Despite the fact that she identifies him in pictures. When you ask where is grandpa, she points to him and says "Pa") Last weekend she gave him two high-fives, but wouldn't go in the room to say good-bye to him. I am pleased to report that this past weekend she not only went into the room to see "Pa", but she also gave grandpa hugs and kisses. My Baby Girl is growing up...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Portals into God's Presence

I am blessed to have great friends. Great friends. Fiercely spiritual and smart friends. Amazingly beautiful friends. However, as we get older (and the responsibilities of life, families, babies, and doctoral programs set in) it is increasingly difficult to connect on a regular basis. We are still great friends, nonetheless. As blessed as I am to have great friends, I am more blessed to have a Friend who is always available. That friend is Jesus. I was reminded of this when I woke up singing our hymn of the week, "What A Friend We Have in Jesus." Meditate on the words as the Mississippi Mass Choir minister to your soul.

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he'll take and shield thee;
thou wilt find a solace there.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Writers Write...


Writer's Write...

And that's what I did.

I had an assignment due today for Urban Faith Magazine. At first I struggled writing it. And then the words. flowed like a river. That didn't happen until hours before the deadline, of course.

But I wrote anyhow.

And now I don't have too many more words to share with you except that I am grateful to God for this opportunity and grateful for the new spaces to minister.

Selah.

image taken from http://www.bmpseries.biz/3-order-profit-hobby/

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Portals into God's Presence: Lead Me, Guide Me

I have been rather busy this week, hence no other blog post.  I have been preparing to pray I have been preparing to preach. I have been preparing to write.

And none of this would be possible or effective without the guidance of God. Simply put, in order for any ministry we are involved in to be edifying to the body of Christ and glorifying to God, we must be led by the Holy Spirit. To that end, our hymn for the week is Lead Me, Guide Me.


I am weak and I need Thy strength and power
To help me over my weakest hour
Lead me through the darkness Thy face to see
Lead me, O Lord, Lead me

Lead me, guide me along the way,
For if you lead me I cannot stray.
Lord let me walk each day with Thee.
Lead me, oh Lord lead me. 

Help me tread in the paths of righteousness.
Be my aid when Satan and sin oppress.
I am putting all my trust in Thee:
Lead me, oh Lord lead me.


Lead me, guide me along the way,
For if you lead me I cannot stray.
Lord let me walk each day with Thee.
Lead me, oh Lord lead me. 


I am lost if you take your hand from me,
I am blind without Thy light to see.
Lord just always to me thy servant be,
Lead me, oh Lord lead me.



Brother Joe May Pilgrim Travelers Lead Me Guide Me from sheepwoman on GodTube.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Portals into God's Presence: Hold to God's Unchanging Hand

Yesterday I purchased new running sneakers. I don't know if it was the shoes or my fatigue from Wednesday's Body Works plus Abs Class at LA Fitness, but I had a difficult time running today. I'm using the Couch to 10K app, which I've named Sheila; She tells me when to walk and run. I completed my training and ran when I was supposed to but my feet and legs felt time stone pillars for the entire run. It wasn't my best run, but the reality is that I never stopped running. And isn't it that way on the journey of faith. Some days are more difficult than others, but when we keep fast in our relationship with God, we make it through. The same way that I never stopped running—though my pace was slowed at times—as a Christian we overcome difficulties and trials by holding on to our faith, holding on to our God. And so, our hymn for the day is: Hold to God's Unchanging Hand. This weeks video is a sweet country/bluegrass group that, in my estimation, really sings this song. The lyrics and video are below.

Time is filled with swift transition,
Naught of earth unmoved can stand,
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand.

Refrain:
Hold to God’s unchanging hand,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand;
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand.

Trust in Him who will not leave you,
Whatsoever years may bring,
If by earthly friends forsaken
Still more closely to Him cling.

Covet not this world’s vain riches
That so rapidly decay,
Seek to gain the heav’nly treasures,
They will never pass away.

When your journey is completed,
If to God you have been true,
Fair and bright the home in glory
Your enraptured soul will view.



"God's Unchanging Hand" - The Franz Family, Live (Canon 5DmkII) from ColdWater Media on Vimeo.

(If you noticed, the video is from Vimeo and not YouTube. For some strange reason, YouTube has been acting funky on my Macbook and IPhone. Thank God for other video sites!)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

What TIme is It?

In my very second week of my Liturgy course at Drew Theological Seminary with Dr. Heather Elkins she asked a poignant question: What Time is It? The answers ranged:

  • Some said, "10:15am" noting the actual time on their watch.
  • Some said, "Back to School" noting the time of year when students and teachers return to campus.
  • Others said, "Ordinary Time" noting the period on the liturgical calendar not marked by a major event for the Church (ie. Advent, Passion, Easter, Pentecost)
  • I said, "NOW" thinking about Jesus' words in the sixth chapter of Matthew's Gospel:


“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:25-34 NIV, emphasis my own)


That was a little over five years ago, and while I—in theory—I am attracted to living in the present, I still have a tendency to focus on the past and future. While there is nothing inherently wrong with glancing on the past as a source of joy, comfort, strength, or learning, taking up residence in the past has a way of halting ones spiritual growth. And planning and future thinking, too, aren't wrong per se, but it is problematic to worry, fret, and become anxious what hasn't yet happened.

I noticed this just yesterday. I am in a prime place in my life: married to a wonderful man, mother to a beautiful daughter, able to move about with some sense of ease, poised to glorify God in ministry outside of my home, and yet I have been so anxious about the future. I would go as far to say that I've made an idol of my Drew Seminary self—a theological rock star of sorts—who should be preaching and teaching, and perhaps pastoring RIGHT NOW! And so, my "now" response then still haunts me.

After asking us the time, Dr. Elkins asserted the following thought: Technologies of time are often our theologies about God. In other words, how we understand time shapes our theology about God. In my stewing over the past and being anxious about the future, I am making a profoundly theological statement that God is not trustworthy. Heavy. Which I know is not true. God is absolutely trustworthy and faithful.  So why is this ordained-minister-blood bought believer lady behaving like a practicing atheist?

The answer lies in social constructs of time that I have allowed to shape who I am and how I move in the world. What would it mean for me, for any or all of us, to rest into now without concern for the future. To let the future unfold as a series of God given nows. What would it mean for me, and you, to move away from arbitrary time-marked milestones in favor? Really, if I don't have my PhD by 40 is something cataclysmic going to happen. (Cue suspenseful music) What would it mean to embrace the time that we are in—whatever that time may be—and let it be used for our good and God's glory?

For me, it would be extremely liberating. It would give me time to think. Time to pray. Time to move. Time to dream. Time to laugh. Time to be with myself and others. Time to create. Time to play. Time to walk. Time to run. Which, when its all said and done, that's what my time here on earth is all about anyway. It would be a life not bound by what I should be doing, but modeled after Jesus very being as the Great I Am.

Another great preacher understood time in this way:

 There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
     a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
     a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
     a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
     a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NIV)

Beloved, what time is it?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Portals Into God's Presence: Kum Ba Yah

I am laying in my bed, sick. A little over a week ago, Baby Girl brought home her first gift from daycare. She joyfully gave it to her father, but I managed to avoid it. Until now. I felt it coming on yesterday afternoon. I tried to fight it with Nyquil last night. The Nyquil knocked me out, but did absolutely nothing for my cold. So, here I am in bed and my hearts prayer is out hymn for the day: Kum Ba Yah.

Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Kum bay ya, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Someone's crying, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone's crying, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone's crying, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Someone's singing, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone's singing, my Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone's singing, my Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.

Someone's praying, Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone's praying, Lord, kum bay ya;
Someone's praying, Lord, kum bay ya,
O Lord, kum bay ya.


Kum Ba Yah, is Gullah (Creole language of former slaves from South Carolina) for Come By Here. Although the term Kumbaya has been recently used in irreverent and cynical tones, I understand it as seriously and sanctified. If you are standing in the need of God's presence, peace, and power, the song Kum Ba Yah is an invocation: Come by here, Lord. As I lay here in bed--needing a healing touch from the hand of God—my soul is singing:

Someone's sick, Lord, Kum ba yah!
Someone's sick, Lord, Kum ba yah!
Someone's sick, Lord, Kum ba yah!
O Lord, Kum ba yah!

Video: Soweto Gospel Choir from YouTube

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Benefits of Daycare (This Mother's Perspective)

I am keenly aware that I am writing this post from a place of privilege. It is the middle of the day and I am sitting in Panera Bread enjoying lunch and being with my thoughts while Baby Girl is (most likely) fighting her nap at daycare. Many women do not have this luxury. For sure, I desire to work outside the home—to live into the fullness of God's calling on my life—but for now I have not found or been found by the place where God would have for me to settle. Until then, she goes to daycare and learns and plays while mommy prepares for the next move. With the exception of hiccups around nap time, daycare has been good for us. Yes, I said us. Having Baby Girl in daycare has been good for me. Let me share with you three ways I have been blessed by this experience:

  1. I have been able to reconnect with myself and what lights my fire. These last few weeks have afforded me the opportunity to move through life at a different pace. I spend the first part of my day—before Hubby and Baby Girl wake up—energizing my soul in prayer, Scripture reading, and preparing breakfast to Gospel music. After Baby Girl's needs are tended to and she is at school, I spend about an hour or so energizing my body. Three days a week I run at the park in preparation for the Trenton Half Marathon and 10K on November 9th. On the other days I go to the gym for my Body Works plus Abs and Yoga classes. Post-workout time is mostly spent doing something vocation related—sermon prep, blogging, job search, etc. Sitting down at my laptop to write has been amazing. It energizes me as much as prayer and running. 
  2. I have been able to catch up on rest and housework. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I found it difficult to keep up my standards of a nice home while attending to my daughter's every need (and her needs are legion).  So, imagine my delight when I spent the first week of Baby Girl being in daycare cleaning the house. I organized the closet that had become the hub for any and everything under the sun. I deep cleaned the kitchen. I had the carpet deep cleaned. And not only have I done a thorough cleaning, I have been able to put myself on a schedule to keep the house in order. But cleaning wasn't the only place I had a hard time keeping up; I also found it difficult to rest. Even if I did have the chance to lay down in the middle of the day, my mind would race: to-do-list, fears about the future, etc. Like most mothers, I was running on fumes for a long time. And while I haven't used this time to lay in my pajamas all day, just yesterday I made an executive decision to rest. All day. After I dropped Baby Girl at daycare I skipped the gym and came straight home where I put my pajamas back on, got in the bed, and rested until it was time to pick her up. And guess what? I didn't feel guilty. Folks earn vacation days after working a certain amount of time. Surely I had put in enough work for fifteen months to earn one (or ten) days of doing absolutely nothing. 
  3. I have learned to cherish my time with Baby Girl. I now fully understand the joy my husband feels with each moment he has with our girl. Not that I didn't love her deeply, but as a full-time, stay-at-home mom there was no time to miss her (and have her miss me). Things that delight my husband—like the ways she playfully rolls around on the floor begging to be tickled—had become mundane to me. Each day that I pick her up from daycare, I anticipate our time together. The fun of bath time has intensified. Her laughter excites me. I will admit, every moment is not blissful—molars coming in, anyone—but I have learned how to approach even the crankiness of teething with joy.
What I have learned in these months of motherhood is that every baby is different, every mom is different, and every family is different. While daycare may not work for some, it is working for us. And for that, I am extremely grateful. 

Full Disclosure: While writing this, three mothers with brand new babies have come into Panera Bread. My smile widened and my ovaries danced when I saw them. I think I'm coming down with a case of baby fever.... either that, or I'm missing my baby girl. Or both. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hymns: Portals in the Presence of God

For our first selection for Portals into the Presence of God, I thought it fitting to chose the hymn that is listed first in many major denominational hymnbooks. Holy, Holy. Holy was written by  Reginald Heber and John B. Hykes.


Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee,
perfect in power, in love and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy name, in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty,
God in three persons, blessed Trinity.



From Time to Time Has a New Feature!!!!


If you follow this blog, you know that for as edgy and new school as I am, I have an old, old, soul. I may don a mohawk in the pulpit, but I've also been known to be posted up in a comfy chair, thumbing through my hymn book and humming along. I love when I come across a hymn whose tune I do not know with words that stir in my spirit. The hymns can be used for all aspects of worship—from prayer to instruction. Before I could comprehend Scripture, I would sing along to "Holy, Holy, Holy." Before I had my own words to pray, I would sing along to "What a Friend We Have in Jesus." When Baby Girl was just a baby girl, I would hold her in my arms and sing a worship medley that included "Blessed Assurance," "Great is Thy Faithfulness," and "Hold to God's Unchanging Hand." In fact, even now when she's fighting naps like a heavyweight champ, I sing those same hymns to calm her soul and lull her to sleep. The hymns have shaped my faith. They hymns ground me. For me, the hymns are portals into the very presence of God.  And so, allow me to introduce our latest feature... Hymns: Portals into the Presence of God. Each week, on Thursday, I will post the lyrics to a hymn and a YouTube video of my favorite rendition of that hymn. It is my prayer that you will be blessed and encouraged.

image taken from http://www.flickriver.com/photos/48975241@N07/6959664046/



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I Have a Testimony

When I look back over my life and I think things over, I can truly say that I've been blessed. I have a testimony!
Rev. Clay Evans

I have a testimony. When I think about it—really think about it—God has been so, so good to me. I cannot tell it all. But that doesn't stop me from trying. God has brought me a mighty long way in so many areas of my life, including my journey to health and fitness. Thanks be to God, Minister Crystal Cochren (one of my sisters in ministry and founder of the My Faith and Fitness Blog) has given me a space to share the goodness of God as it relates to my faith and fitness. Check it out here.

And while on her site, be sure to read through her posts. You will surely be encouraged and blessed! So blessed in fact that you will want to take the time to vote for her. She's been nominated for a 2013 Black Weblog Award in the best faith based blog category. You can vote here.

By the way, I finally registered for the Trenton Half Marathon and 10K Race on Saturday, November 9, 2013. I am running with the Black Girls Run! Group. I am so excited! My excitement showed on the pavement today. I was super confident, fully embodied, and ran my fastest time yet! This race presents so many opportunities: Not only do I have the chance to trust God to do something in me I've always feared, I also have the chance to run with an amazing group of Black and Brown women who are totally committed to living healthy and whole lives. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I will have a testimony to share after that race.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Think on These Things: I Found the Answer

As I prepared breakfast for Baby Girl on Monday, I could hear Mahalia Jackson's voice faintly in the distance:

I found the answer, I learned to pray,
O, with faith to guide me, I've found the way.
The sun is shining for me each day,
I found the answer, and I learned to pray.

This song ministered to me on Monday morning and continues to do so. I hope it blesses your soul as you go about life's journey.



Monday, September 9, 2013

Preaching: A Maskil

Yesterday I preached at the Bethesda Baptist Church of New Rochelle. Bethesda nurtured and nourished me in the faith. It is the place where I accepted Christ, engaged in rigorous study of the Bible, answered my call to ministry, was ordained to the Gospel ministry, and served as the Assistant to the Pastor for two years. It is also the place where I learned to preach. My pastor, Rev. Dr. Allen Paul Weaver, Jr. is a dynamic, passionate, and educated preacher. He loves Jesus, loves his people, and pours out from the depths of his soul when he is in the pulpit. Before I engaged in a formal study of homiletics in Seminary, I learned about exegesis, textual analysis, voice, and delivery sitting under Dr. Weaver. I am grateful for his witness and for every opportunity that he has given me.

This morning as I reflected on my preachment, and myself as a preacher, I recognized two things:

I am not a "hooper" by any stretch of the imagination. My preaching professor once remarked that I wasn't the most excitable preacher. (He was affirming my voice.) A woman in a congregation I preached at last month noted that my voice was calming. I used to envy preachers who could move a crowd with their voice. I wanted my own signature "say yeah" that would have people standing to their feet when I preached. If I am honest, I felt a tinge of nervousness before I preached yesterday. When I arrived at the church I was told, several times, how the preacher at the 7:30am service tore the pulpit up. I am not a pulpit tearer-upper. But God set me straight. God is pleased as long as I am excited about the Gospel, immersed in study, and preach with authenticity of voice. That authenticity comes across when I preach--whether my voice is soft or booming.  Besides, the "goal" of preaching is not to have folks standing when you preach; Rather that they walk the aisles to surrender their lives to Christ and/or have a closer walk with Jesus when they leave the sanctuary.

I used to rely heavily on a written manuscript and my technology, namely my iPad, to preach. God has reminded me that when preaching that I need to rely solely on the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. In this new season my preparation has changed. I have surrendered my rigidity and my controlling nature. I have been soaking up God's word, whether I am preaching or not, so that when it comes time to prepare there is something deep within for God to work with. Yesterday, as I mounted the pulpit, I went with Bible and an outlined 4x6 index card in hand. I never even glanced at the index card. This is a far cry from the woman who would previously read word for word from her digital manuscript on the iPad. If it was on the screen, I said it. If it wasn't on the screen, I didn't say it. This, of course, left little room for the blowing winds of the Holy Spirit to breath afresh on that which I had prepared. This is not to say that I'll never write a manuscript again. It simply means that I recognize that the manuscript doesn't give me power to preach; God give me power to preach.

Life, if we take the time to look back, has much to teach us. These are but two of the many lessons I hope to learn in this journey...

Friday, September 6, 2013

Transition Time...

I love change.

That said, I also hate transition.

In other words, I despise the process involved with change. From the frivolous: I love drastically changing my hair, but I despise sitting to get braids, growing out bangs, etc. To the serious: I love salvation, but sanctification is tough for me (God, why can't we be perfect in one fell swoop?)

And so, this has been a rough couple of days for me. Baby girl is doing quite well in daycare; She has been playing and learning and eating and sleeping well. Her momma, on the other hand, is having a harder time. I'm fine when she's at daycare. In fact, I got more done before noon on Wednesday than I had gotten done in the three weeks prior. I have been reading and writing and cleaning and running errands unencumbered. Plus, I'm looking forward to passionately engaging with adults once I begin working again. However, when Baby Girl comes home it is a different story. She is figuring out what it means to be home with me--and only me--for just a few hours before bedtime. She has been clingy and fussy and tired and nothing I do, short of going outside to play for two hours, helps. I miss my sweet little lovely. I await her return. And until then, I will be patient and extend grace to her, and to myself. For it is grace that gets us through moments of transition...


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Vocation: A Holy Conversation

vocation |vōˈkāSHən|nouna strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation: not all of us have a vocation to be nurses or doctors.• a person's employment or main occupation, esp. regarded as particularly worthy and requiring great dedication: her vocation as a poet.• a trade or profession.ORIGIN late Middle English: from Old Frenchor from Latin vocatio(n-), from vocare to call.Tomorrow, Baby Girl will start daycare/school. I was so excited that I purchased a back to school outfit for her (which includes a polka-dotted tutu). Sadly, there are no new clothes for me. Thanks be to God, there is another kind of newness in store!This newness is around my vocation. I've posted the definition of vocation above. In my understanding of vocation, the above definition reduces the word to something lifeless and one sided. I am drawn more to the origins of the word--vocare--which means to call. What we do is more than a job; What we do is our response in holy conversation with a gracious and loving God. I am reminded of the Prophet Isaiah, who in response to God's calling answered, "Here am I, Lord. Send me!" (Is. 6:8). I answered my call to preach in 2007, however I believe that--whether ordained or layperson--God calls us over and over and over again for greater works, new directions, and new visions all to His glory. Beloved, God is calling me again...To that end, before I get active in my new church home (New Hope Baptist Church of Metuchen, NJ) and before I find employment (baby needs a new pair of shoes to match her tutu) I am going to get still and get clear and listen for God's call as to the direction I should go. And whether it is full-time ministry, non-profit work, education, a mix of the three, or none of the above, as long as God is leading, I will certainly follow. This more than about a job to make ends meet. In fact, it is more than about a career to sustain our family over the years. This is about being who God has called me to be, in the place where God has call me to be. To help me get there, I plan to spend a week doing the following:1) Creating a Vision Board2)Completing the "Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts" Assessment3) Completing the "Birkman Method Preview Report"The first two, vision board and spiritual gifts assessment, I've done multiple times. Without fail, God speaks to me and with these tools I am able to write the vision and make it plain (Habakkuk 2:2). I had planned to do the Myers-Briggs assessment, but a fellow creative momma suggested that the Birkman method may be more helpful for who I be. These tools, coupled with Scripture, prayer, and meditation will surely open me up to live boldly into the fullness of my vocational identity. In the days and weeks that follow, I look forward to sharing my discoveries with you.Beloved, what has God called you to do? When is the last time you paused to listen for the call? What tools have you used to open your heart to God's calling? How have you responded?It is my prayer that as God calls us anew, that like Isaiah, our response would be affirmative availability. That, indeed, is the essence of vocation...(definition jacked straight from the new oxford american dictionary on my mabcbook pro)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hello, my name is Donna and I am a first time mom.

There, I said it.

What does it matter, you ask? Let me give you a glimpse. It means I second guess almost every parenting decision I've made for the past 16 months, even the ones from way down deep in my gut. It means I boast extra hard to the point that you'd think my baby girl was a child prodigy. It means I'm enamored with her sweet smile and funny antics and that I want everyone to see. (And I do mean everyone, including my Twitter followers.) It means that I cringe at every fall and snatch every piece of paper that seems to be heading for her mouth. (I've hear that by baby #2 all that goes at the window. Sure baby, eat the Crayolas! They are non-toxic.)

It also means that as awesome as this next phase of our lives will be, I am trippin' extra hard when it comes to sending baby girl to daycare. Hubby and I visited eight centers in one day and made a prayerful and informed decision about where we would send her. The place is filled with trained staff, love, and a diverse student body. And it is spic and span clean. We chose a time, beyond what we thought would be my year at home, that was right for our family. This allowed baby girl and I to visit my sister and niece in California for three week and enjoy a long weekend in Orlando for our family reunion. It also allowed for lots of cuddle and play time for us before the hustle of life resumed. So given the consideration that went into this decision I shouldn't trip.

But I am.

Today I dropped her off for a one hour "play date" at her daycare facility so she could interact with her teachers and the other children. And, if my racing heart was any indication, I tripped hard. I am trippin' less for her and more for me. Being home with baby girl, as uncertain as I felt at times, allowed me to rest in one aspect of my identity: mother. I didn't have to think about myself as preacher, teacher, artist, or writer during that time. In other words, I didn't have to deal with my stuff: feeling alone in New Jersey--like I have no people, wondering where I will work; wondering what I will do; wondering I will be invited into spaces to minister when no one know me; wondering if people will figure out that I feel like a fraud in most aspects of my vocational life--like I've mistakenly earned three degrees and been ordained.

Before I get too caught up in my head, my heart kicks in and reminds me that I am exactly where God desires for me to be and that with God, all things are possible. I am reminded that God has gifted me to the praise of His glory. I am reminded that I worked hard for my degrees and was ordained to the Gospel ministry even before the foundations of the earth. I am reminded that even though I'm out here all alone, that God will open doors in ministry that no man, woman, boy or girl can shut. I am reminded that God called me--in the fullness of who I be--to serve this present age (including my hubby and baby girl). I am reminded that God, who began a good work in me, will be FAITHFUL to complete it.

So, for now, my trip is over. As a point of reference, I reserve the right to trip all over again.
It's part of the journey...


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Microphone Check

Testing...

Is this thing on?

It seems we were having some technical difficulty. Or perhaps I lost my voice. Or perhaps...

Whatever it was, it is over now.  

This morning I woke up singing, "I can feel the breaking of day..."

It could have been the seven and a half hours of uninterrupted sleep I got.  (Never underestimate the restorative power of sleep.) But I know in my soul that it was more than that. It was--and is--God, tugging on my heart, telling me that it is time to wake up and get moving.  

Not that I haven't been moving.  Surely, chasing a fifteen month old around is not sitting still. But its a different kind of movement.  It is time to write. It is time to create. It is time to preach. It is time to teach. It is time to engage in the fulness of my vocational identity. 

This week marks the last full week I will spend at home with Baby Girl. She will begin daycare next week. I am excited and anxious, but I know that it is necessary for our family.  It is necessary for me. Part of being a good mother and wife means being a good woman and minister. However, I know in the depths of my soul that the time home with her was theological education, indeed. For God has used her to teach me so much about the depths of God's love and the nature of humanity (including myself).

I am writing this as she sleeps. Nothing new there, right? What is new is that I am writing this from my brand spanking new Macbook Pro. My old computer died when Baby Girl was three months old. And as much as I wanted a new one, it wasn't time. At the time, finances were the primary reason. With all of the stuff that babies need, buying a new laptop wasn't a high priority. As I look back, it wasn't really about the money. It was more about the timing of it all. 

I am reminded by the Preacher in Ecclesiastes that,"He has made everything beautiful in its time" (3:11 NIV).

Beloved, it is my time. Stayed tuned and tell your friends. New things--beautiful things--are on the horizon.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Short and Sweet...

Today's post is going to be short and sweet. I realized that I haven't posted in a few weeks. I started writing a post last week after my first "mommy time out" where I drop baby girl at the sitter for a few hours so I can do Donna stuff, but it never got posted and its now this week and well, life happens.

Last week I treated myself to lunch and a mid-week manicure and pedicure. The experience was a wonder in my soul. Today I am home, cooking and writing and getting some things in order. As much as I love baby girl, I am loving this time. It rejuvenates and refreshes me to be the best minister/wife/mommy that I can be.

Speaking of being rejuvenated; I am excited to go to Bible Study tonight. It's the first time since baby girl was born last year. I've been focused on getting her and keeping her on a schedule that I've done very few things after 5pm. But she is old enough now and is sleeping well, so we are going to stay out a bit later tonight and feast on the Word of God with the people of  God. Thanks be to God!

And to push the idea of rejuvenation further, I am hoping that this blog, From Time to Time, has a much needed rejuvenation after I attend the Blogging While Brown Conference this weekend. Shout out to Minister Crystal over at My Faith and Fitness for hooking me up with a Gold Badge (gratis)! I'll blog about the experience next week, but I hope you'll follow me on Twitter (@ddotolivia) to read my real time thoughts.

Until next time...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!!!




Today is my 37th Birthday! Pretty uneventful, except for the breath and blessings that abound in my life. I say uneventful because its not 30 or 35 or 40. I say uneventful because hubby is away at a conference, so we didn't get to spend the day together. I say uneventful because I spent the better part of the day on the road, traveling from grandma's home and back again so baby girl could go to the doctor (again) for a pesky ear infection. But the reality is that it is and was an eventful day. I have breath in my lungs, a God who has blessed me to see another year, and a family that loves my raw, vulnerable, no make-up self (they love the powerful preachin' teachin' woman, too). And although the memories of 35 are faded and the anticipation of 40 lingers in the air like a sweet smelling perfume, I am excited about this 37th year! I am excited about the lessons in ministry, marriage, and motherhood that await me. I am excited about shedding old stuff and living into the truth that I am good enough. I am excited because I know that God is up to something and I eagerly wait for God's good and perfect will to be done in my life. So, join me in wishing me a Happy and Blessed Birthday!

P.S. As I emerge from the fog of the first year of baby girl's life, I am eager to integrate me back into my life. That said, I'll be blogging more often. I cannot say how much, as baby girl has taught me to be more spontaneous, but it will certainly be more...

image taken from: http://blogs.aspitalia.com/rickyvr/post2410/Buon-Compleanno-ASPItalia.com.aspx