Thursday, September 3, 2015


"Life attracts more life..." The narrator of the PBS special about the Great Barrier Reef was talking about the journey of a mega-school of tiny fish. I was preparing to leave home for the day; the program was keeping me company as I dressed. Hearing those words, my head snapped toward the screen, but my mind did not follow. It zoomed off into EverLand.

I began to see the faces, hear the voices of the people who stir me with their presence and their wise words. Some are charismatic -- vocal and animated -- some are so quiet that they barely leave a footprint when they enter the room. Except on the soul. My spiritual ear, like Pinocchio's nose, grows exponentially when they start talking. I just know I'm going to hear something that will blow away the cobwebs and cleanse my that I can savor afresh the good of Life.

They seem to have perfect timing, too, these Light-Bearing-Life-Givers, arriving just when I need an
answer or a confirmation or an affirmation, as if summoned from my lantern. In our world's preoccupation with death and destruction, they are on a mission. Of restoration, strength, freedom, generosity, laughter, hope...

Sometimes it doesn't feel like they know who they really are and what they really do, so embarrassed are they by my effusive thanksgiving. They just make it do what it do. Bring Life. Attract More Life. And make others' Lives grow and glow and go. Every. Single. Time.

You make my day! Thank you!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Today I turned off the air conditioner and opened windows in every room. For some reason, the summer breeze reminded me of the apartment where I grew up. My grandmother, our matriarch, would open our first floor windows and tie back the curtains so that they would not blow outside (yep, no screens). The gentle summer winds that blew through our home were so sweet that the thought now brings tears to my eyes.

I’m not particularly nostalgic, not one to yearn much for the good ole days, but something about the breeze on my face took me alllll the way back to simpler times. I was a child who was dearly loved and well cared for even though my family was by no means wealthy or prominent. As the warm winds grace my every move today, I feel like my six year old self who sat in a chair in the open window and poured all my love out on Summer (and dared not stick my head or hands outside!).   

Life has presented me with some strong challenges in recent years; some that are still being resolved as I write these words. But I have seen the hand of God in ways that I might never have had those “opportunities” not presented themselves at the most inopportune times. And I realize afresh today that, through them alllll I have been so very loved and so very well cared for. Just like that happy little girl who lived on South Harper Avenue a long time ago.

Just had to say so,


Wednesday, July 29, 2015


My phone went dark. Just blank-screened me two seconds after I looked at it for the time. I thought I’d missed the low battery indicator, so I hooked it up for a recharge, to no avail. Soft restart; nada.

Then I ask my millennial goddaughter for help and she responds with “What did you do to it? You need a flip phone!”  What? I’m too S M A R T for a flip phone. I mean, I don’t go blank when you look at me. If you plug me in I charge up and do the doggone thing. I’m not busted after only seven months of service. No, sirree.  And you don’t have to make an appointment just to do your ‘genius’ act on me. Well, some of you do, but that ain’t the point.

The point is that it’s my smart phone that needs a flip. ‘Bout to get one too…

Working my nerves,


Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Language of Your Future

As the main character in the movie Woman in Gold, Maria, seizes the opportunity to flee Nazi-occupied Austria, she bids a poignant goodbye to her terminally ill father, speaking in their native tongue. At one point during their exchange he exhorts her in English to “…speak the language of your future”. A faith statement if ever I’ve heard one.

Maria had to be quick-witted and surefooted to escape the soldiers who were in hot pursuit, when interrogated about her luggage at the airport. She had to be fully in the moment while holding the future in view. Or she never would have made it. 

It may be touch and go today. I might be in pain. Or fear. Or simply have the blues. I could be angry bordering on P.O.'d and want to let it rip on some deserving individual. And while I believe it’s important to live fully in the moments of each day, I also believe in tomorrow. That it will be bigger and better. That what I’m expecting is this/close. That looking inward and over my shoulder might make me miss my cue. That what I say along the way can make it or break it. 

Speak the language of your future. It is the voice of my Father guiding me to destiny.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy Mother's Day, Toya Graham

Toya Graham is my shero not because she checked her son during the Baltimore uprising, but because it is clear to me that that was not the first time she had exercised her parental authority. If that were so, the whole world would have known it. How? By his reaction.

I watched him very carefully as she muffed him. That 15 year old boy is at least four inches taller than her; she had to reach up to land one upside his head. He could have hit her in the top of her head, pushed her down, or broke away running. He did not. He tried to block her blows, an automatic defense response, but that’s all. Parents in communities all over America have been murdered by their children for far less than a swack upside the head.

Her son's response tells me that Ms. Graham has always been on her parent-square. She has been disciplining him in some way or the other since he was able to defiantly tell her “No!” in his terrible twos. She's been training him to be a good citizen of the world since day one, even if he's not quite there yet. I’ll bet money on that. If that were not the case, I guarantee you that we would have seen something quite different in that video.

A few days later I watched their World News Tonight interview -- the embarrassed son and the mothers’ mother. He was properly chagrined. She was calm and poised and unapologetic. And I saw a family sharing with the world the love that they have for one another, albeit with a new understanding of its parameters.

No, that was not the first time Toya Graham corrected her son. And while I doubt that swatting is her only form of discipline, what I do know is what we all now know about the Graham family -- who the parent is in that home. 

Would to God we could say that for every household in America.

Happy Mother's Day,

Monday, May 4, 2015

Finish Strong

We all laughed at the video of the runner who began to encourage the crowd to cheer his impending victory…slowed his pace…and was beaten by the guy in second place who kept pushing to the end. He was the 21st century edition of the tortoise and the hare. You know the story: Hot-Air-Hare took off running and being so far ahead of his opponent, decided to stop for a nap. Steady-Freddy Tortoise did not change his pace or break his focus. And crept right past Hot-Air to the finish line.

Yes, I laughed but I also took heed. It ain’t over til it’s over. Whatever it took to get here, is what it will take to get There. So I’m praying for myself. For grace to finish. That I won’t be distracted by a good report or a bad one or no report at all. That I don’t change my pace just because I can see the finish line. That neither my focus nor my resolve is broken by presumption or assumption. That I finish strong. Period.  

I believe in celebrating small victories along the way, but when you’re in the final lap the only thing that really counts is when you break that tape.

Press on,

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Well Said

Say it straight, simple, and with a smile.
                            -- Yogi Tea (teabag tag)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Be Ready

I heard the phrase again last night while washing dishes and letting a television program keep me company. The rebels had committed to getting the hunted out of the city. They knew who they were, what guerrilla tactics to use, what was at stake. The only thing that could possibly go wrong was if those who they were trying to help were not prepared.
“Be Ready,” he said, looking hard into the eyes of the hunted. He was saying “I got you. Make sure you ‘got’ yourself.” This was the third time I had heard those two words in as many months: amplified, emphasized, insistent. Be Ready.

Last week as I prepared for Easter Sunday service the DJ played a song that arrested me with the first lyric, “This is not the time to get distracted.”  I bought it immediately; Your Destiny by Kevin LeVar. By the end of the day, I knew the entire song, verses, chorus, ad libs, everything. At the very end LeVar says “My victory is days away, so I’m-a get ready…” He says “get" but the spirit of his declaration is "I’m gonna Be Ready when it gets here. I’m not going to miss it or not know what to do with it when it arrives.” 

Earlier this year my friend and I talked at length about the difference between the two phrases, Get Ready and Be Ready. We laughed as we remembered how our parents would Be Ready at 4 o’clock for a 6 o’clock event. My mother would be dressed to the nines and sitting quietly in the living room chair, thumbing through a magazine; waiting, while we scurried around, teasing her for being so earrllly and talking about how we still had time to get ready. She was never moved by our teasing; Mama was Ready. When we finally got our act together, my mother would quietly arise from her chair, smooth her skirt, and proceed to the car. Unperturbed. Self-possessed. She always seemed to get more out of the event than any of us. Wonder why?

My friend’s father would also Be Ready two hours early; fussing until it was time to go because he was Ready and what the hell was taking everybody else so long?! He was point-perfect when it was time to pick her up from an event or take her mother out for the evening or keep a promise to a friend. It was the same for work: he started work at 6 am; he was Ready a 4 am. He, like my mother, was never late for anything. Ready, they were. Always.

So here we are at the beginning of the second quarter of 2015. It’s no longer a new year, but a year in gear and we’re expecting great things to happen. Expecting to make great things happen as we implement our plans and strategies. Good, good. Just remember that the devil is in the details. Minor distractions can cause the best of us to break focus, get off course, and get trapped in the maze-phase of ‘getting ready’…

...when the charge is to Be Ready.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring has Sprung

Folks are working on their Spring gardens. To get pretty flowers and sweet veggies they expect the opposition of weeds and bugs. And deal with it. Denial and procrastination not allowed.

You know where this is going…

It may be worry or fear. Maybe it’s that old familiar anger creeping in. You thought you were over that thing… Or maybe it’s the tiny corner in your heart that’s still sore from being broken.  Maybe you realize that you can’t quite trust the one you love no matter how hard you try. Could be that son or daughter you’re still pulling for, pulling through…and you’re getting...t  i  r  e  d... (How long? How long?). Could be you bore easily, become impatient and struggle to finish things. Maybe it’s food…a particular food that makes you crave more, eat more, weigh more and hate (yourself) more. Could be shopping or isolation or perfectionism or cynicism.

You know where this is going…

Spring has sprung and you’re ready for the New. I know I am. Having sown good seed for it, I have discovered that there are yet some things that need my attention, my focus. Things that need to be purged… fertilized… watered… watched….  

Be vigilant,

Thursday, March 5, 2015


I keep going to the store and forgetting something that I hate being without – hand soap, especially in the kitchen. It’s on my list but somehow I keep overlooking it. Today, I finally got fed up with the dysfunctional kitchen soap pump and decided to toss it. What the heck, I thought, there’s a pump full of liquid hand sanitizer in that bathroom basket. I’ll just use that.  

It came in a gift basket that someone gave my daughter and somehow I inherited it. It’s been in the ‘someday’ basket in my bathroom for two years. I reached in expecting to pull up hand sanitizer and to my surprise, it was green apple scented hand soap. Perfect for the kitchen. Yes, today was the first time I read the label. 

First I chuckled and then thought began to form, That’s what happens when you assume…  I checked that thought. You see, I have decided to live above condemnation. You know how we blame ourselves when we miss the mark, forget something or just plain old mess up. There’s this chasm that opens up and invites you to jump in. Often we leap without thinking because, after all, I did mess up. Did the dumb thing. Did nothing. We seem to think we have to pay for every mistake, great or small. Not.

Although every little (or big) thing I do may not be good, performed well, in a timely manner or correctly, every single thing I do has an assignment: to work itself into the big picture of my life. The one where I’m flowing in my purpose and doing the most good for myself and others. 

Some mistakes are good for a laugh. Others are good for a lesson. Still others are for serendipity…a nice surprise along the way, like that green apple hand soap. 


Friday, February 13, 2015

Pause and Think About It

You don't have to hustle to flow.
                                   Prophetess Katie Peecher

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Get On Up!

When you arise, God will cause you to shine.
                                            Joel Osteen 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pajama Day

I’ve declared a Pajama Day. I searched my soul and every room of my house to find a reason NOT to, but to no avail. Not that there isn't plenty to do around here or no work deadlines. Just that they don’t trump PJ Day. Not today.

It’s Monday, the arch-enemy of Pajama Day. And we all know that most of the time Monday wins big time. Routine, guilt, obligation, shame, paycheck are part of the Monday Gang and well, six against one, who can win that battle? But every now and then…every once and again…even without the help of an impending storm or a sniffle, PJ Day finds its super-power and bamm! They lose.

We used to call it taking a mental health day, but frankly, I'm mentally quite healthy. I don't need a day to get my head together because somebody or something got to me. I'm good. All I need is to cozy up to a traditional work day, freshly showered and in my new PJs, and do NO work, guilt free. I mean NO work. Not housework. Not homework. Not heart-work. Not catch up work. Not work-work. None. 

That, my friend, is a Pajama Day.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Happy 2015!

I decided to give myself a break and use the entire month of January to get re-organized. Who takes on an organization project during the holidays? Okay, not me. I was overwhelmed at the very idea of having to get it all straightened out in the first few days of the year. So, I gave myself all month. February 1st is show time.

How disorganized had I become? My dresser drawers were a ball of confusion. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. Did I say that I did not care? Not at all. After a bout with pneumonia that sneaked up on me and wore me all the way out, all I cared about was clean linen and pajamas. It mattered not at all which drawer they were shoved into. When I needed a pair of socks and found a mosh of stuff in that drawer that included Christmas gift wrap, I decided that last Thursday was the last day for that mess. Now every single drawer is in working order, with my Christmas-present PJs sitting proudly in their rightful place. I do love my PJs.

Drawers organized. Check.

Don’t ask me how it happened, but I had this paper shopping bag that was filling up with, well…paper. Bills, receipts, articles, cards to be mailed, notes to self, etc. Writers are partial to paper, yes? I pay all of my bills online, but I still get paper notices cuz I like it. I do. I digress. A paper bag y’all. I’m embarrassed. I think it got started on one of those pneumonia days when, after huffing and puffing and coughing my way up 27 stairs, I just started throwing stuff into the first thing I could find. Good thing that wasn’t a trash can. 

I knew I was feeling better when the rustle of that paper bag (hidden between my nightstand and bed) began to make my flesh crawl. On Friday I sat down and handled every piece of paper. Trashed receipts. Consolidated notes to self. Opened envelopes. Found three, count ‘em, three reimbursement checks from my health care provider. And two credit notices from utilities companies. There’s the case for opening stuff and not throwing it out ‘cuz it’s the third envelope from the same company this month (yes, each check came in a separate envelope).

Papers organized. Check.

On to the main closet. Twelve days to ground zero…

Happy New Year!