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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Christmas – A Legacy of Love

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Remember our Christmas brunch at my house?  Andre and I prepared a full course breakfast and served you.  We stood in a circle and held hands.

We made a birthday cake for Jesus and spoke of our blessings remembering the reason for the season. I found gifts at the dollar store and wrapped them so pretty so that of those who had graced our home, none would leave empty-handed.

The eldest among us, would bestow blessings upon us.

We always had the most beautiful Christmas tree, whether we spray painted pine cones or bought ornaments at the store.

One year, Son Son and I stapled lights to a cross we had made of 4 ft boards and erected it in the front yard to remind those passing by that we were a family that observed God’s gift to the world.

Life has driven our family to different parts of the world but it does not alter the legacy of love we have been given.

Wherever we are, among family or friends, alone or together, we are made greater by the memories of love we have shared.

Hold them in your heart.  Never let them go.

Pass it on.

Never forget who you are and of whom you are.

My daughter, my son…you have been given a legacy of love.

Pass it on.

That’s Love

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Love comes in many forms and through many sources.  You can’t always recognize it until you step back and look at your life.  I remember something about love.

God and I would meet each morning on the front porch after Momma went to work. He watched while I played with the only doll I had.  When God wasn’t around, my big brother was.  Butchy was my big brother.  Five years older than me, Butchy was my hero and he was my first love.    After God.

Butchy and his friends all hung out in front of the old raggedy house we lived in when I was four years old.  The grass that was supposed to be in the front yard had been worn into a dusty baseball diamond by Butchy and his friends.  Home plate was right at our front door.  They used cinder blocks from the dilapidated vacant house down the street that they had pilfered for the bases.

Each day, beginning with the first day of the summer, they would play for hours and hours from first light until the street lights came on.  They had nick names like Mantle, Robinson, and Pepitone.  They were serious about baseball.  The games were loud and for a little girl watching from the porch, very exciting. All these big guys, every size and color, nine, ten and eleven years old, sweating, cursing and spitting, sliding into base, slapping their baseball glove with balled fists, and hitting home runs in our front yard.  It was the most exciting thing in my whole young life.

I wanted to play.  I wanted to wear a baseball cap and run around the bases.  But I was a girl and girls were not allowed.  It was the rule.  Each day I watched the games from our porch. Me and God and Dolly.  I knew all the players both by name and nick name.  I knew the positions they liked to play and their particular stance and baseball idiosyncrasies.   Butchy always chewed gum.   He batted left-handed and always spit out of the right side of his mouth while hitting his left foot with the end of the bat before he settled into position to hit the ball.  For some reason, Billy Nelson, would always stretch open his mouth into a wide side like yawn before he would pitch.  The guys would tease him about catching flies with his mouth.  David kept his left gloved hand behind his back.  He played left field, bending over from the waist, his right arm rested on his right knee.  He never smiled.  Dave played shirtless each day.  From the waist up, that skinny white boy was the same color as Butchy, but he had a blond crew cut and blue eyes.

One day, one very special day, my big brother, called a time out in the ninth inning.  Butchy called me to the plate, and put the bat in my hand.  With his big hands over mine, Butchy moved my hands into place on the bat and showed me where and how to stand at home plate.  Once he was comfortable with how I was positioned, he removed his navy blue baseball cap with the white letters from his head and placed it on my head.

“Okay Billy,” he said, “Roll the ball on the ground so my sister can hit the ball.“

God said, “That’s love. “

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Look for Him in the simplicity of life. He is there, He is waiting for you.  Look for love and you will see Him.  You will know truth.  You will experience love.