Getting older and embracing it!

I am now 59.   How should I embrace this time of preparing to see the big 60 around the corner?  Hmmmm?

I will make it fun!  I will laugh and dance!  I will run my fingers through my thinning hair!  I will keep flossing so I can keep the teeth I have!  I will workout, maybe not go overboard though,  to keep my bones strong.  I will wear funky outfits that will make heads spin. I will shake my hips!   I will be a sexy diva and make my husband blush everyday.

I will love me!

 

 

 

Grace

This word has been on my mind a lot!  I can’t seem to shake it.  I’m not sure why this word is grabbing my attention.  Maybe because of the time and place we are in our nation.  Perhaps it is a word that we pray will describe how God will view us when children of refugees are returned to their parents and their parents be granted asylum; when public schools in every American town and city will receive the tools required to educate our children and not let it be based on zip codes; when gun-violence in schools is no longer the norm and children return home after the last school bell rings; when a Georgia town respects all of it’s residence the right to vote and not close 7 out of 9 precincts, which are in African American communities; when there is justice in our court systems and regardless of color of skin or economic status everyone is treated fairly; when farmers are able to raise crops and not be afraid of tariffs; when the President of the United States begin to treat citizens like God’s children instead of calling them dogs, son of bitches, dumb and when white supremacy is abolished instead of being classified as “very fine people”.

Grace is that wonderful amazing gift from God, this free and unmerited (favor) act through which God restores God’s estranged creatures to God self.  Wow!  We can’t lose grace right now, can we?  I can’t even begin to imagine and then in some sense I could see how grace could walk out the door, in tears.  But God is love.  Right?  Right?!!!!

Maybe this is why I can’t shake this word….as a reminder to the song written by Katharine Lee Bates which claims God shed God’s grace on thee.

America, America
God shed His Grace on Thee
And crown they good,
With brotherhood, 
from sea to shining sea. 

Yeah, I’m struggling with this word grace.  With God granting grace would not this nation seek forgiveness or does this nation demand God to grant this gift of grace without repenting for her sins?

Grace.  I’m struggling with this word…..

Way My Baby Boomers At?!!!

There are 23 items listed on my “You Can 2018” resolution goals. Twenty-three!  This may not seem to be many goals for you to reach, but for me, shucks just the mere fact of being on a diet for two days is a major accomplishment!   I have managed to work on some of those goals but the one that frighten me the most I accomplished today!  I retired from corporate America after 36 years and 11 months.  It wasn’t an easy decision to make.  After working so long  in one place you really kind of feel like you have it made.  You can come in when you want to.   You can reply back to emails when you feel like it. Nothing becomes an expedite any more and the boss knows you have all the inside dirt so he/she just leaves you alone.  An easy, cushiony, laid back, sun-roof top, digging the scene with a gangster lean kind of work attitude.  Gosh, though, I’m going to miss those first quarterly bonuses! Ahhh…..you know the bonuses you looked forward to that would determine how vacation would  be spent that year!  Yeah, Jamaica versus the Baltimore Harbor!

Look!!  I am grateful for having a job that allowed a single mother to raise her child and to teach me leadership skills that will carry me for the remainder of my life. I’m grateful for co-workers who became friends.  I’m grateful for a pension..even though I know this company really could have done a whole lot better by it’s season employees, but hey I don’t expect any corporation to care about me as a human being!  This isn’t the environment in which we live and corporations unfortunately don’t have to care. They don’t and why we, older generation, put so much stock in these companies is beyond my understanding!  Baby boomers like me have worked for American corporations most of our lives….most of our lives!  We’ve made American corporations great!   Baby Boomers have sacrificed their dreams for the privilege of someone walking into a Walmart to buy 100 rolls of toilet tissue or someone walking into a car dealership to buy a Ford truck.  Baby Boomers have sacrificed their dreams for the sake of America!  Yes, we have given blood, sweat and tears so that America could buy internet, phone and tv at a bundle rate.

It’s time to go.  Just that simple.  So for my baby boomers who are too young to venture into retirement homes in Florida and too old to learn anything else remotely technical, don’t fret!   You really have to believe that you are worth fighting for.  That you are worth searching for a passion you once had but just need to remember; that you are worth living out dreams that are only hidden but can be found (for they were never lost);  that you are worth living your absolute best life; that you are worthy of being your authentic wonderful self!   That you are just freaking worthy!

Search and remember your passion and go after it!  Live your authentic self and dare to give a damn as to what anyone has to say or think.  Seek God for direction in whatever ways you seek God; for God is present in all things.  But when you begin to stir up that passion again, let it be to give of yourself unselfishly, to influence a new generation to love better, to appreciate the earth, to embrace different thoughts and to believe good can happen.   There is a world out there that is desperately in need of our dreams which were deferred for a time but now need for us to show that you don’t have to sacrifice your journey in order to live an awesome life.  There is a world who needs to believe that their life is not wrapped up in corporate greed and their life can be fulfilled with living their passion.   There is a world who needs to see, hey, baby boomers were selfish for a while but we’ve repented and have seen the light!  No!  We’re not ready to walk towards the light….move away from the light!  Not yet!

So as I clock out from my corporate life, I clock in to living my best life!   Be bless my friends!!

Rev. J.

Move Forward

There is no way you can be alive today in this nation in which we live and not be overwhelmed, bruised, hurt, tired, tearful, frustrated, angry, fearful and so much more painful feelings and thoughts caused by the evil ones.   We become stagnant.  Everything around us stop and all we can do is stand in one spot looking hopeless.

We.Can’t.Stay.Here.

Move Forward.  One step at a time.
Move Forward.  The issues won’t magically disappear.
Move Forward.  The children must stop crying.
Move Forward.  Police brutality must end.
Move Forward.  White Supremacy must be destroyed.
Move Forward.  Nationalism cannot be the order of the day.
Move Forward.  Hunger must be wiped out.
Move Forward.  Everyone deserves a home.
Move Forward.  Everyone deserves an opportunity.
Move Forward.  Everyone deserves a good education.
Move Forward.  Everyone deserves freedom.
Move Forward.  Everyone deserves love.
Move Forward.  Everyone deserves to see God.

Move forward and let your light shine so bright that it will cast out darkness so that others will see they too have a path to move forward.

Rev. J

 

 

 

 

You have permission.

Writing can be scary, at least for me.  I’m usually nervous about what people think…yep, still trying to get through that awful feeling.  I’m really learning how to put out in black and white how my mind works.  I know that itself may be dangerous.  I mean once you open yourself up to the world, you never know what kind of response the universe will throw back your way.  And to tell you the truth, that can be quite frightening when you expect the worse response.  Case in point, I started writing a small piece a month ago. I wanted to stop after typing the words , “I’m struggling.”  Fearful on what someone would say or fearful that someone thought I may need saving which the only thing I wanted to do was just write and have a fist fight with my thoughts.  So I stopped typing because what you think (not you really) of me was unfortunately winning.  Then  I received a note from a friend telling me she had not seen anything I wrote lately, like what happened??! Where did you go?  I just got scared to share.   But hearing the news of the suicide of Kate Spade (I have these adorable Kate Spade eyewear) and Anthony Bourdain (love this guy) I really should not care what response the universe gives me.  This is my healing, not yours (of course I’m not talking to you in an embarrassing voice) so here goes.  This is what I started to type a month and 6 days ago.

“I’m struggling.  No.  Not with an illness.  Not in my marriage. Not with finances. Not in a way that I need for friends and family to drop whatever they are doing to come see about me.  I’m just struggling.  It’s not a serious matter, of course, though what is serious to one person can be detrimental to another.  But I assure you, I’m just struggling.  Can’t really explain it.   Things don’t come as clear to me as they do for other people, I’m guessing.   I exist.  I  get up.  I try. I know I’ve been called to do more than just exist.  And there lies the issue.  That’s it!  I’m not struggling!  I’m not living!”

I was in a funk. I found so many reasons to pick an argument with myself.  Why did I gain so much weight?  I was doing so well!  Why is my hair still thinning, I’m taking my Vitamin D!  Damn!!!  Why am I still at this freaking job for 36 years?? You know the feeling sorry for yourself that you can’t even see your worth.  But I just realized something in vomiting my mess and insecurities.   I was living!  I was actually living!

Doing life involves all of this, days when the sunshine is so bright you don’t ever want it to end and days when the clouds consume you, you scratch to get out.  I was scratching to  get out from under the clouds…if I didn’t scratch to get out, then life, living does not happen. Experiencing the pain was living!  Getting out from under dark clouds mean that I scream, kick, pray and sometimes even curse.  Those actions and sounds are visible and loud.  I didn’t need to hide getting out in fear or others, I scratch to get out because of others!  My husband, my children, my friends, myself.  Because I’m worth living, even when life can be painful. I’m worth living all of it.  I’m worth living the happiness and I’m worth living the pain.

If you find yourself in a funk and someone tells you not to be there, don’t listen!  If you’re struggling and afraid to even say the words, “I’m struggling”, say it anyway.  And say it proudly!  It is not a moment to be prideful on what people will think, or how people will assume that you are not grateful that God is blessing you and you should be continuously happy!  There is a scripture that comes to mind, “The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17 NRSV).  You have permission to scratch through the dark clouds, permission to cry, permission to scream, permission to live.

I’ve learned that I never stay in the struggle.  I go through, but I don’t stay!  Tomorrow is a new day!  You have a new day!  But if you want to scream today…. go ahead!!!

Mental illness is not a crime!  Mental illness is not a sin!!!  If you need help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  1-800-273-8255.

Rev. Jacqui

 

 

 

 

Show Up!

The Royal Wedding was a delight!  Such  a positive and happy moment for a lot of people who just needed to feel comfort. Just to be able to sit in front of the television with no hearing of killings or rudeness that spews from the mouth of those who sit in powerful positions yet lack power in love.  Thank you Bishop Michael Curry for preaching to us today, reminding us that it’s not a fairy tale or just in our imagination that love,

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God’s Agape love can truly happen when “we all show up”.

Be a blessing to someone today!

Rev. J

 

 

 

 

 

Lilies & Daffodils

About twice a month I buy fresh flowers and place them throughout our Philly twin.  Lilies and daffodils are my favorite.  The flowers just seem to add a sense of  peace and they make me feel like I can take on every corrupt thing in this world and beat the hell out of it!  Yes, the lilies and daffodils give me that kind of power; like I can conquer and defeat all evil! I understand that vibranium from Wakanda is the precious stones we are all dying to get out hands on, if just in our imaginations, but right now lilies and daffodils are easier for me to put my hands on.   For moments, with the vase full of God’s peaceful creation, I can dance around the living room as the sun comes across the windows, hitting the daffodils and a streak of yellow curves and adds comfort and warmth.  For those moments, everything is alright in the world.  For those moments, there is no danger.  The lilies and the daffodils offer me a smile and provide me with a beauty that my soul apparently needs to view and believe that such beauty still exists.   These moments bring to light that life is still good and dreams are still right around the corner.

How do we stop and breathe and believe and dance and dream and admire and love and just be, again.  I know, it’s been awhile for all us.   Talks of wars, disregard for children, hatred which is normalized, evil which is confused with patriotism.    Yes, this period of time in our history is definitely a frightening one. Some of us may feel like there is something we should be doing to save it.  We just don’t know how.   We have closed ourselves off from each other, fearing one another.  We’ve unfortunately adjusted to the same ugliness that we despise; adjusted to smell of rotten bodies; our hearts are hardened.  We’ve closed our doors, turned off the lights, pulled the covers over our faces and dread for the tomorrow.  The tomorrow which we have already decided to be the same ugly day, tragic day, hard day, can you kick be any harder day?!! Yes these kind of days; these “freaking” normal days can not stay as “freaking” normal days.  Therefore, lilies and daffodils are required.  Lilies and daffodils are required to remind us that there is still beauty in the world.   God still allows beauty to grow among us.  God still allows inspiration in nature when God know longer can depend upon the heart of humankind.

Lilies and daffodils grow and gives to us intentional beauty.  Intentional to make one admire and feel great about the world in which one lives.  Intentional about providing happiness when we walk by a field of sunshine on a dreary day.  Intentional to make us notice it’s strength that they are here to serve us and give us an appreciation for God’s wonders and to let us know that God can still grow beauty in the midst of chaos.

Yes, simplicity of lilies and daffodils humbles us.

I don’t know what your favorite flower is.  Maybe you don’t like flowers.  But don’t you agree that we should remember how to dance?  That we should remember how to speak and smile at each other?  That we should remember how it feels to show kindness? That we should remember how to see beauty and even more important to relate to God’s wonders? That even the smallest beauty can give us the nod we need to know that God still need for us to believe that God is still believing for God’s greatest creation, humankind, to grow and shine in a dark and dreary world and help save it from it’s ugly demise?  There is time.  God is waiting.

So what kind of flower vase do you have?  Crystal, glass, ceramic?   Any will do!

Rev.  Jacqui