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.

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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.

We Need the Gift that She Is

Today while in the swimming pool, I met an 87-year-old woman.  If you can believe a woman can be beautiful at that age, believe that she was beautiful.  Snow white hair, a rosy almost wrinkle free complexion, and when she smiled, you just couldn’t help but smile with her. How her face lit up and her eyes danced with joy when she smiled.

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We talked for over an hour. Although both of us came to exercise, she to stimulate legs that refuse to walk without a walker and I to simply enjoy the rejuvenation water always seem to bring to me, we did not.  We talked; rather, she talked, I listened.

She told me about her lovely neighbor who had moved next door to her a few months back and how she cooks dinner for her one or two times a week. She told me about her deceased abusive alcoholic husband that she had married and divorced two times. She told me about the men that had sought her affections since his death and how she resisted their attentions out of fear. She told me about her only grandson that she raised since the age of two when her son and first daughter in law divorced and discarded the child. She spoke with pride of him for he is now a professor of geology in a major university. Then sadly, she told me that for all his achievements and through all the love she gave him, and all the years that has passed; he still suffers from bouts of depression resulting from being abandoned by his parents as a child.

She also told me something else.  She wants to leave this world, she said. It is not that she is tired of living; she simply does not know how to live anymore. No longer can she do the things that she did before. Her legs and her hands refuse to cooperate.

Her son lives less than a mile from her.  Oh he dutifully comes when she calls him.  But she is not comfortable in doing so.  You see his wife, her second daughter in law of thirty years, does not want to compete for her son’s attention.  She and her grandson  might be tolerated on holidays but clearly are and have been an unwanted intrusion in the life the son has carved with his wife of thirty years. Oh the pain in her eyes when she speaks on this can cause a heart to break.

She wants to leave soon she said. She said she has finally come to terms with the limitations of her life.

I watch her carefully and I am afraid for her; there is finality in her voice, determination in the lifting of her chin.

As we prepare to go our separate ways I ask her not to go away yet.  I ask her to stay awhile in this world, in my world.  I tell her of the joy her company meant to me today and what it can mean to others.

I’m not ready for her to leave this world.  I need, no, we need the gift that she is.

Proverbs 11:16

A gracious woman retaineth honour:

Proverbs 31:10
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

 

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.