That I Might Have Life

I know a woman, who suffered unspeakable brutality,

in a time when women were but chattel,

at the hands of one who took an oath before God to love, protect and cherish her.

I know a woman, who suffered in silence,

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the indignities caused by a philandering husband

who chose to flaunt rather than hide his indiscretions with different women,

I know a woman who raised five children

all alone

on an income of less than $7000 a year.

I know a woman, who worked three jobs at a time,

who slept on the front porch so her boys and girls could have the two bedrooms.

I know a woman who had a heart large enough to embrace

two more motherless children

when she did not know how she was going to feed her own.

How many of your dreams died daily?

How did you endure the loneliness when it came late at night?

How many times was your hope scattered as disappointment came?

How many prayers did you offer up that seemingly went unanswered?

Where was your peace?

Where was your piece of the American Dream?

I cannot count the cost of my high school graduation party

or my prom dress.

How many shirts and pants did you have to iron?

How many tubes of lipstick did you sell?

How many bottoms did you have to wipe?

For me.

For me.

How do I begin to count the cost of your sacrifice

that I might have life?

How do I begin to say thank you?

Will words do?

For you.

For you.

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Baby Steps

If you’re not careful the evils associated with depression can sneak into your life unaware and wreck unimaginable chaos in a life you thought was in order.  Most of us do not have the luxury of sitting down while the storm passes.  Most of us have to walk through the madness without the benefit of taking to our beds with pills or alcohol.  Most of us have to take whatever baby steps we can conceive to cross over into the land of sanity to arrive at a point in our lives where we can once again be productive; where we can find the simplicity of joys in a good meal or the smile of a child or languishing in a bathtub of bubbles.

I am one of those “most of us” of whom I speak.

I can not pinpoint the date or time this evilness crept into my life…I know it was a deceptively crafted plot that I did not or could not identify as it snaked it’s way into my life.  I look back and I see the signs that should have told me but I thought it was simply a momentary lapse into the rest to which I thought I was entitled to as a reformed workaholic. More of the time my Lord has given me in these last couple of years that I care to admit, even to myself, I have been walking in a cloud of this evilness called depression.

I watched myself separate from friends and family.  I heard myself snap at cashiers.  I would sit as a vegetable in front of the TV (something I have always avoided). I prayed that my phone would not ring with one more person asking me to do something for them.  Cigarettes became a good friend and baby steps proved to be a slow laborious process, a daily struggle to maintain, to accomplish even the most mundane of tasks.  I loathe this state of mine for I have always viewed myself as a positive and productive person. I will myself to take steps to emerge from this pathetic destructive state of inertia…even though they are only baby steps, each minor tasks I do, I count as a victory against the evil.

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I tell myself I will emerge from this cocoon as a beautiful butterfly.  I will concentrate on those things which I remember as peaceful and calming. Those things that in the past could make me smile; my bible, my photography, texts from a sweetheart, swimming, conversations with Jordan and laughing at my sweet little grandchild.  These are my baby steps. I will use these baby steps to come back from this abyss. This blog that I have neglected… this, my first post in over a year, I claim as another one of my baby steps. With the help of God, I will continue to add more baby steps each day until I can take giant steps, and then, I shall run.  I am a kept woman.

THE RAINBOW IS ENOUGH  

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There are times when God is getting ready to move you into your destiny: you have to relive your story so that you won’t repeat the mistakes of the past.

You have to remember the impetus behind your accomplishments to regain the strength and the motivation to remove any deterrents, impediments and obstacles that prevent you from walking in the divine plan God has for your life.

You have to know with certainty that there is one and only one way to get where you’re going. Follow the Rainbow – The word of God – at the end of the rainbow there is a pot of gold.

I wrote my book “Notes to My Daughter…The Rainbow is Enough” because my mother, an abused woman, was not allowed a voice in her day. I wrote about my failures so that my daughter would not have to repeat my mistakes.

It was Christ and Christ alone that brought me through.

Now as I begin this new walk…I know how and I know the way

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A Blanket or a Brick

Twice a day, five days a week for the last sixteen months I would see him, sitting in the same place doing the same thing – nothing – except on occasion sleeping.

Today I see a homemade cross where he always sat.  A cross made of sticks and flowers wilted by the sun, stuck in a bed of dirt littered with cigarette butts.  A cross constructed by the homeless for the homeless.

He was an extremely obese very black man.  I wondered sometimes if he was homeless because of his weight or if the state of homelessness was a contributing factor for the extreme amount of weight on his frame.

I never stopped to inquire before. I never gave a dime or a damn.  But today, I stop.

“He was killed with a brick in a fight for a blanket”, they said.

His name was Travis.  That’s all anybody knew about him.

His name.

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Three Words.

DSC_0493 - CopyWho are you and what will be told of you in the end?

Who will bear witness to your life?

That you lived and laughed, that your existence had purpose and meaning?

My daughter speaks of a time I do not remember yet it was a life changing moment for her. Yesterday she shared this moment. Unbeknownst to her I needed to hear what she said. I needed a reminder that purpose is made manifest not in the grandeur of accomplishments but in the small moments of life.

She spoke of the time she was fired from her first  job for being three minutes late. Despondent, seemingly defeated by life in a span of three minutes, facing a future with no way to provide for her necessities, she called me, her mother, to pick her up. The phone call was not one she wanted to make, but she needed a ride home.
Prepared to be scolded, lectured to, reminded of incompetence and lack of responsibility, she opened the door of my car, with head down she told me she had been fired.

My response to this news is what I do not remember yet its effect even some twenty years later proved to alter her thinking and redefine her approach to life. It is a story she told me, she has told often.

“Let’s go shopping,” I said.

Three words.  Three words that told her, “God got this.”

Three words.  Three words that told her, “Your job is not your source.”

Three words.  Three words that told her, “When life hands you a lemon, make lemonade.”

Three words.  Three words that told her, “You’re not defined by what you do, but who you are.”

Three words.  Three words that told her, “Everything works together for the good for those that are called to HIS purpose.

Three words.  Three words that told her, “I love you.”

Three words and a life lesson is learned. Three words and thinking is altered. Three words and joy is restored. Three words and hope is reinforced. Three words and confidence is reestablished. Three words and the future has promise. Three words and love blossoms.

Three words and Satan is defeated.

Who are you and what will be told of you in the end.

Who will bear witness to your life?

That you lived and laughed, that your existence had purpose and meaning?

It can be as simple as three words.

 

I am Weak but Thou art Strong

Father forgive me for I have sinned.  Forgive me for in my weakness I have caused another to sin.   I have read your scripture and it is grace that I seek that your strength be made perfect in my weakness.  I pray that the power of you my Lord will once again rest upon me.

Charge to my account only the sin that I have caused another to commit.  Truly I am weak…but show yourself strong, my Lord,  that the beauty in us and of us might prevail.  For sin separates and is harmful to your plan.  I glory than in your strength to rehabilitate, reconcile and restore.

I wait on you, Jesus.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations,

there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me,

lest I should be exalted above measure.

8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities,

that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake:

for when I am weak, then am I strong.

I Love the Way You Love Me

Love has no color and it does not respect age; this I know, because my best buddy is a little fireball of a white child named Emma Lee.  She’s eight years old now but we’ve been best buddies since she was two.  No other love can compete with the love of a child.

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If I leave this place and return to Atlanta, it will be because God honored the prayers of Ms. Emma Lee.  Every day this little girl prays that her Grandma or Daddy will hit the lotto so she can buy me a house to return to her.  She’s so bossy she just might convince God to do things her way.

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I have been calling this child “Ms. Emma Lee” since I met her at her Grandmother’s yard sale six years ago when she was two years old.  Now just about everyone else calls her that too, even her teacher at school.

Ms. Emma Lee has never understood that she is a child, she came into the world grown.   When I met her, this two-year old little bundle of energy was riding her tricycle, bossing around her older cousins, five Jack Russell terriers and negotiating the price of the items on display at the yard sale.  She was so cute, with her curly hair framing her face, ponytail swinging back and forth, country accent, and total command of the English language.  I believe I was so drawn to her because she was so like my daughter Shellis at that age.  (I called my child Ms. Ann and had to constantly remind her she was child, too.)

Give me a precocious child and I immediate go into a teaching mode.  Their minds are razor-sharp.  It’s like programming a computer.  I try to input as much good information as I can into them.  They can absorb it, they feed on information, they live to learn and I know that if I engage them at that age, I can plant good seed in good ground.  I love it.

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So I waited for Ms. Emma Lee to turn her attention to me.  I didn’t have to wait too long.  I knew that spending time with her Grandmother was motivation for her to come over and participate ( by this I mean “take over”) in our conversation.  Once we locked horns that day, and Ms. Emma Lee recognized that I was a tree that she either had to cut down or climb to move, she and I became best buddies, we were inseparable up until the day I moved away.

A motherless child, with unlimited energy living with her grandmother and ailing father can take over a home unless definitive limits are established and rules respected and implemented.  Ms. Emma Lee knew no limitations.

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When someone enters my life, I know there’s a reason, a purpose that God intends for me to fulfill.  My job as I perceived it was to prepare her for the real world were children knew how to be a child. To channel her energy and engage her mind with practical and constructive things that would not only occupy her time but give her life skills that would come in handy as time went by.   Our time together was always a learning and training experience that I would masquerade as fun.  By my calculations, I had three years to do this before she entered public school.  If not, Ms. Emma Lee would be teaching the class with the teacher standing on the side lines wondering how this happened.  Ms. Emma Lee was just that smart.

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Baking cakes and cookies was a way to learn patience and cleanliness; arithmetic and time management.  Operating a camera, she learned to respect the property of others, to view the world around her in a different light; to observe the changes in the seasons, the moon and the stars, and identify different animals and insects.

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At my house, she learned there was a place for her toys, books and games.  She learned that she alone would have to clean up after herself.  A trip to the play area in the mall was exciting for Ms. Emma Lee.  She loved children, especially babies.  I would watch as she learned to wait patiently for another to take their turn on the rides.  She would run back to me when things did not go her way on the playground and another opportunity to learn a life lessons presented itself.

In return, Ms. Emma Lee gives me the kind of love that only a child can give.  Unconditional..we love each other because we do.  Simply, easily, beyond color, beyond age, just because.


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We are best buddies.  Ask her who her best buddy is.  She’ll tell you.  Now, six years later, we write to and telephone each other.  When I go back to Atlanta we have an opportunity to be together, it’s a time of sharing and caring, laughing and hugging.

The harmony of life is made up of the memories. we hold dear.  Ms Emma Lee and I have many memorable moments together.  Our lives are intrinsically bound together.  She can not past my former home unless the memories of our time together replay in her mind.  I can not hear country music without recalling that country accent of a little white girl.

Our favorite song is a country tune by John Michael Montgomery.

You should see us together; a black woman and a white child, two peas in a pod singing his song to each other, at the top of our lungs.

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“I Love the Way You Love Me”. 

 …so completely.




For Coffee Man

What does love look like?   It has the hands to help others.
It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy.
It has eyes to see misery and want.
 It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men.
That is what love looks like.
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If you happen to be on the marina in Bay Shore, please look out for Coffee Man.  Make sure that he has a blanket to keep him warm.  See that he wears a hat and find him a coat that will protect him from the elements.  If you can spare a dollar, buy him a cup of coffee.  He likes coffee, strong with a touch of milk, add plenty of sugar.  He’ll thank you for it.  Don’t worry about feeding him.  He knows the places along Main Street where he can get a meal. He doesn’t eat much.  Besides, his pride won’t allow him to receive a meal from the hands of a stranger. 
Coffee is different.  It warms him up for the day ahead.  He likes coffee.
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Don’t be offended by his appearance.  Living on the street, sleeping on park benches, makes it hard to be presentable, but he keeps his body clean.  It is a source of pride for him. They unlock the bathrooms at the marina at seven o’clock and you can find him there performing his daily ministrations.

You needn’t be concerned that he will harm you.  He won’t.  He’s seen so much pain, been victimized by too many to hurt a fly.

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He has to know the intentions of your heart before he’ll let you help him so be careful how you approach him or he’ll hop on that old bicycle of his and ride away.  It’s best to bring a cup of coffee with you when you come.  Stand about five feet away and softly but casually ask him to join you.  He will watch you carefully.  If you make a sudden move, he’ll be gone.

You won’t get much conversation from Coffee Man.  He’s not the talking kind.  But if he does open up to you, it’s best not to ask too many questions.  He’ll tell you what he wants you to know.

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Early mornings before the sun would rise; Coffee Man and I would be the only ones at the marina.  He would sense my presence and sit up, watching always watching.  I would watch him too after all; it could be a little scary in the predawn hours.  I didn’t know him and he didn’t know me.  But soon, we became comfortable knowing there was another on the bay; watching.  I, for the sun to rise and he for the gatekeeper who would unlock the bathroom door.  Soon, I began bringing an extra cup of coffee.  One for me.  One for him, strong with a touch of milk and plenty of sugar.

When it was time for me to move on, he and I went to the coffee shop he liked. The only shop that would let a man who looked like him stay for a minute.  I gave the old man who ran the shop some money.

“This is for him,” I said.  “Make sure he has a cup of coffee each morning. Make it strong, with a touch of milk and add plenty of sugar.”

I received a text message Christmas Day.  It was sweet but it broke my heart.  I heard from Coffee Man, wishing me and my family a Merry Christmas.

I was glad to hear from him. I wanted to know that he was okay because I want everyone in my world to be happy. That’s naïve. That’s not going to happen.  But that’s what I want.  That’s what I pray for.

Coffee Man is still outside.  He’s sick and he’s lost a lot of weight. He told me that he had been beaten, his front teeth knocked out and his bicycle and his coat stolen.  He told me that he was cold, so cold.


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If you happen to be on the marina in Bay Shore, please look out for Coffee Man.  Make sure that he has a blanket to keep him warm.  See that he wears a hat and find him a coat that will protect him from the elements.  If you can spare a dollar, buy him a cup of coffee.  He likes coffee, strong with a touch of milk, add plenty of sugar.

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I know he needs so much more, but one cup of coffee will warm him up for the day ahead.

God will do the rest, if you pray with me.

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I know He will.

Family

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One would think that living in a house with five young men and a young woman and only one bathroom, would be chaotic and unnerving.  Not so.  Not when love prevails.  I loved my Navy babies and they loved me.

Each morning the house where we stayed would be filled with a rush of activity, laughter and love.

Beginning at 5:30, I would rise, and fill the house with the aroma of coffee and biscuits.

Wei would be the first to wake.  Barefoot  with a towel wrapped around his waist, his first stop would be in the kitchen where he would kiss my cheek, grab the cup of coffee I had prepared for him just the way he liked it and head to the bathroom.

CJ and Mouse would be next.  CJ, standing over six feet and solid muscle, full of energy, would rush into the kitchen, grab me by the waist in a massive bear hug and swing me into the air, round and round, until I would pound his shoulders playfully and tell him to put me down.  CJ enjoyed talking as much as eating and kept up a running dialogue, teasing the others and reliving the drinking parties of the night before.

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Mouse, so handsome, would stand at the door of the kitchen and wait quietly, until his presence was acknowledged with my “Good Morning, Son.”  A product of the foster care system, he would never dream of reaching for his plate of eggs and biscuits.  Sitting at the kitchen table, he ate his food slowly and as his way, quietly.  He had the healthiest appetite of them all yet would never ask for seconds.  I would simply refill his plate and watch in satisfaction as he ate every crumb; only then would he drink his juice.

Job, the youngest and smallest of the bunch, would receive the brunt of CJ’s teasing.  Initially, he had a little difficulty understanding how to cope with CJ’s insults.  With some coaching from me, he was able to match CJ’s unbridled wit with some prime insults of his own.  Proud of Job, I would laugh and laugh as they traded insults at the breakfast table.  Once he got the hang of it, sometimes he was able to shut CJ down, which was no easy task.

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Chula would be the next to come into the kitchen.  Not a morning person, she would scowl and roll her eyes at the guy’s antics.  Serious and focused, she didn’t have time for games.  Her concern was making sure her military uniforms were exact, every strand of her luxurious hair was in place and her boots were shined before she stepped out the door.  Generally she only wanted coffee so typically I didn’t cook enough for her. When she wanted breakfast and there wasn’t enough for her, she would storm out of the kitchen with a torrent of Spanish words that only Son understood.  As soon as she rounded the corner, we broke out laughing. But she was our doll baby and we could do that..in love.

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Last but not least was Son.  Grabbing an egg and biscuit sandwich and a cup of juice, he would plant a kiss on my forehead and head for the door, toothbrush in his mouth and uniform rumpled where he had picked it up from the floor tossed from the day before. Son was always the last to wake up, because he didn’t want to go.  I would send one of the others to his room to pound on his door and make sure he was up and dressed.

As he went out the door, I would stop him, turn him around to face me, and holding him by his shoulders; I would tell him what I always said to him as a child before he left the house.  “Remember, you are representing your family and more importantly Christ.  Do good things today, Son. You are covered by the blood.”  A man of few words, he would look at me, nod his head and be gone.

I had always wanted five boys and one girl.  For the few months I stayed there, that’s exactly what God gave me.  I so enjoyed them. I loved them as my own. Son brought our multicultural family together.  His heart was big enough to share his Mom with them and that is what I became for them.

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When they left for the day, when the house was quiet, it was my time, my time to pray for them, to lift them up to Jesus and cover them with His blood.  They each sought time to be alone with me to share their stories; reveal their fears, frustrations, and joys.  I would bring their concerns to the altar, my heart heavy with their pain, angry at satan for hurting these beautiful children at such a young age. How I wished that I could promise them that nothing would hurt them again.

I pray for them even now..I want so much for them.

In April, it will be a year since I left my Navy babies in Virginia.  Just recently, Son told me of the day I left.

He told me that as I drove off, they remained on the porch and for over thirty minutes, not a word was spoken by either of them.  They sat in silence, in mourning.  For me.

What they don’t know, what they may never know is that they gave me so much more, than I could ever give them.

Love given freely and unconditionally heals a wounded heart.  Their love and laughter was the healing balm I needed to begin this journey.

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I carry their love in my heart.  Grateful for my experience. Thankful for another opportunity to love and be loved by family.

Preparing to Launch

Diary Of a Kept Woman

Day one

Good Morning World.   Are you ready for me?

DSC_0022I’m preparing to launch.  

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I’ve said my prayers.

DSC_0032I’ve completed my morning rituals.

DSC_0078I’m getting ready to spread my wings.

I fully expect to have a marvellous day – 

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 Today the spirit of God leads me to new heights.

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Watch me soar.

Watch me conquer each obstacle.

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Watch what the Lord is doing through me

as I honor Him in each endeavor I undertake.

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With His wings beneath me.  I can not fail.  I will not fail.

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I am more than a conquer.

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Follow me as I follow Christ.

Ruth 2:12

The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

Psalm 68:13

Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.

Psalm 57:1

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Launch into the Deep

Diary Of a Kept Woman

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I was told that if you want different results, you have to do something different.  I am getting ready to do just that.  Different for me is leaving behind the big cities of Atlanta and New York that have been my place of abode for the years that I have lived on this big earth.  Different for me is going to a place where I know no one.

Why – why – why – why ??????????????

To find my life I have to lose my life. 

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I did everything I was told to do.  I have the degree’s – I have raised very nice kids – I have raised plants, dogs, cats, fish, birds, children, men.  I helped many along the way, opening my home to others, feeding the homeless, community and church work, cooking and cleaning, working on jobs that left me emotionally drained and physically exhausted. I have…

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When I lose, I win

I use to be very good at the game of chess.  Winning came naturally.  I did not play chess competitively.  It was a game.  It was fun.  Many would come to play with me.

One day, my cousin brought some friends to my house, to play chess with me.  I beat three of his friends, than I lost to one of them.   He became the crown prince of chess…it was as if he had won the Super Bowl.  Twenty years later, whenever I am in the presence of these gentlemen…they relieve the experience over again…the day Nate beat me in chess.  They laugh…they taunt me…they slap each other on the back…they toast the victor.

Since that day, I refuse to play chess with a man.  It is no longer fun.  It becomes a game of competition that I refuse to compete in.

I am a woman.  I like being a woman.  I love that God has created a man and a woman differently.  I find the differences in the genders fascinating.  I love men simply for who they are. I enjoy them. I want them to enjoy me. I want to be loved for who and what I am.

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I am not in competition with them.  I will never be.  If ego requires they win. They can win.  I don’t mind losing to them; for in losing I win.  I retain me.  The good part of me.   The feminine part of me.  The part of me I like.  The part of me that God made as a compliment for them.

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Life and chess can be similar with the objective being to place the King in a position of powerlessness.  I don’t want to play that game.  There will be no competition.  I need my King to be powerful.  I will use my talent to make him strong or I won’t play.

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I was not created to compete with men; I was made to compliment them.

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We are different.  I like the difference however, do not require me to become less of a woman so you can win.

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I won’t play that game.

Ever again.

When I lose, I win. When I win…you win too.

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Behind every good man; there’s a good woman.  A woman.  Not a competitor.

A Man among Men

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Maybe it is because this is the time of year that we think about the past and hope for better in the future that Pop is on my mind more than usual.  Maybe it is because this time last year the man I called My Pop entered the VA hospital in Atlanta to die.

Pop was 93 when he died and he died because he wanted to.  I know.  I was the last person he spoke to before he lapsed into that special sleep many experience just before death.  I know because I helped him write and publish his memoirs, THE SECRET OF POSSIBLE DREAMS… That Leads You to Successful Living, two months before he died.

He was the man I honored as father.   I had known Pop all my life.  He was the Sunday School Superintendent for over twenty years of the church I went to.  He was not my father, but he was the father I knew.  I became the daughter he lost; he became the father that I had lost.

He and I would spend hours conversing about every subject under the sun. His mind was razor-sharp even in his nineties, but I could be just as bull-headed and opinionated as he, still my law degree was no match for his 4th grade education.  He was a self-learned and self-made man.  He was candid about his life and shared his secrets. Pop was my friend, mentor, and he was my hero.

Eleven o’clock, December 31, 2012, as I was preparing to go to watch night service, the Spirit urged me call my Pop.  I knew his heart.  I knew he was ready and I was prepared to let him go.  In obedience, I placed the call.

“Please Pop,”  I begged, “Please come into the New Year with me.”

He told me, he had to go.  It was our last conversation.

I found out from the nurse the next day that he did see the year 2013 and just after the stroke of midnight, he never opened his eyes again.

I have never grieved for Pop for Pop lived a full life, with his wife of 75 years; whom he called his angel, and I, affectionately called Mom, family, friends, mission work and me, his daughter through spirit.  He invited me to share his life and he loved me as only a father can.

He wanted more for me than I wanted for myself.  Any achievement I gained, any accomplishment I made, he was as delighted for me as if he had done it himself.

He wanted me to be happy.  He wanted me to be married.  He wanted me to have my own home.  He wanted me to travel abroad and see the world.  He wanted me to take what he felt was my rightful place in “high society”.  He wanted my struggles as a single parent to end and he wanted me to want so much more out of life.  He wanted me to dream bigger dreams than I had settled for.  In all he wanted for me, he was never disappointed in me.  He believed in me.

Up until his death every endeavor Pop would undertake, and there were many.  I was there.  He always said that I would be the one to take care of him in his old age.  But Pop never grew old, he just aged.  At ninety-three, strong in body, sharp of mind, a giant in Spirit, Pop was ready to go. Pop simply loved Jesus more than anything or anyone else and Pop wanted to be with Him.

Believe that and if you have doubts, of which I speak, read his book.

My Pop, a Man among men.

http://www.blurb.com/b/3642669-the-secret-of-possible-dreams-that-leads-you-to-su?ce=blurb_ew&utm_source=widget

Silence is a Weapon.

Silence is a weapon my mother used against me. Effectively.  To a child growing up it meant disapproval, rejection, and isolation.  It was a painful punishment.  It was judgment.  I was not worthy.  Powerless to penetrate this barrier of emotion, I would run from it.  Defeated by silence all that should have been love… left.

First, as a small child, I ran to the little Pentecostal church across the street from the house we lived in.  When I saw the light shine through the storefront window, that’s where I would be from the age of five until the age of twelve.  Each time the doors would open, there I would be, whether for service, business meetings, choir practice or whatever. The church was my haven.

After the age of twelve, her silence drove me to the streets where I learned the lessons that I should have been taught at home.  Silence prevailed and rebellion set in.  What could be said during my teenage years when everything I knew about life I learned on my own, from the streets through trial and error?

Entering college on my seventeenth birthday, alone, there were other lessons to be learned.  From the girls in the dorm, by observation, I learned of boys and men, drugs and sex.  They taught me how to dress and wear makeup.  I learned how much I did not know and eventually I learned to loath myself, for I would never be as smart or pretty or wise as these perfect confident creatures that inhabited my college world.

I ran further from the silence after college.  Settling 1500 miles away I foraged through life on my own, with no guidance and when my mistakes translated into motherhood, I made an attempt to reach out to break the silence.  I needed help.

But years of silence makes communication difficult and uncomfortable, even when the want to is there.  Could I trust the words given in a monotone, handed out one sentence or syllable at a time?  Could I trust someone who could not or would not say my name?  Could I trust someone when the current of disapproval, rejection and judgment ran just below the surface?

As my children got older I knew they would never be regulated to a life of silence.  They would not have to be educated in the streets by others who had little concern for their welfare.  They would learn from a mother who would communicate openly.  They would learn life’s lessons from me.  They would learn to trust the things that I said, because they would know the depth of my heart; through communication.

In my teaching, I taught my children that they were free to speak their mind.  More importantly, I taught them that there was a way to say anything that needed to be said.  I gave them the freedom to communicate effectively.

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Now I am included in their lives although we live miles apart. They share their thoughts. I share mine. We are free to tease and laugh with each other because we have gained understanding of who we are and where we stand with each other.  We can discuss any subject without fear of disapproval or rejection because we have learned to trust our acceptance of each other unconditionally.  We don’t run away from the hard subjects.  We speak our minds, when we are angry, frustrated, or elated.  We speak with passion yet we remain confident that our secrets, our hearts are understood, not judged.

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I have discovered that as they have grown wiser, and I have gotten older, I have the freedom to share even the silliest thought that comes to mind as I laugh at life.  They let me.  They accept me just as I am.  I love them and  I appreciate who they have come to be.

Just last week my daughter and I were conversing about death and dying.  During the conversation, she said, “Mommy, should I die before you, you will not be surprised by anything anyone says about me.  You know everything there is to know; the good, the bad, the ugly.”

I am grateful for the intimacy I share with my children.  Is this not a blessing? To know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are accepted in a circle of our love born out of communication. Isn’t there freedom in communication?  Isn’t it a privileged to know someone so intimately and be known as intimately?  Isn’t this what Christ desires from us? That He be known as intimately as He knows us.  

 The weapon of silence will not destroy our love.  Not my family.  Not now.  Not ever.  Not again.

In a bed of intimacy love can be conceived
Born of communication
Freely
Without reservation

The Weapon of Silence has no Power