A Good Friend

I am constantly trying to better myself. This gets really frustrating and quite honestly, I am really tired of trying to do all of the hoopla around self-care. Ok, yes I need to take care of all of me, I get that! Lately self-care has become a chore. Am I using the healthy powder I pour in my smoothie correctly? In my downward dog position, is my feet suppose to be flat on the floor? Because that won’t happen! Am I breathing in on the count of 2 and breathing out of the count of 10? Is my smartwatch keeping adequate data on my sleeping patterns? Because according to this, my sleeping patterns are not so great. Now, something else to worry about!

Should self-care really be this hard?!! I’m pretty sure I am not suppose to be figuring out if I am loving myself enough to the point of loving myself enough where it is getting a little chaotic? It’s like having an obsessive relationship with a person who laughs at your jokes, but is with a person you wish you could be, so you desperately find yourself putting on airs to get their attention and they just treat you like a good friend. (sigh)

Maybe that’s just it. Just be a good friend to yourself, one that is true and honest and accepts every flaw, and every decision that did not go well. A good friend is always there to share in disappointments and glory. Now about that three day retreat I can’t afford…hmmm?

Be Well My Friends!

Rev. JacquiP

Hey You! Yeah! You!

Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev on Pexels.com

Hello! Just for a moment. I know the chaos of the world is on your shoulder. I know you are wondering what happens next, thinking silently or screaming into your pillow, “Can I move forward?” “Does my dream still have a chance?” “Will tomorrow be any different?”

Yes! You are more powerful and capable than you imagine. You rode the waves through storms that you thought would take you out! Look at you! Wanting to pull the bed cover over your head, you still get up and you make your way, sometimes with a little spark and sometime with a gigantic spark, but you make your way. Yes! Tomorrow will be different, because you are determined to keeping moving, in spite of what this crazy world looks like. Whew!! You are one badass!

Now go show them what you got! Be Blessed My Friends!

Rev. JacquiP

God Is a Black Woman (Book Review)

God Is a Black Woman, written by Christina Cleveland, PhD., is witty, courageous and empowering to Black women who are searching for the image of God that is within herself. Dr. Cleveland is a social psychologist, activist and theologian who has provided to us permission to experience God on our own terms. In her memoir she shares her stories of her struggle growing up in a Christian culture dominated white male patriarchy system, “whitemalegod,” that refuses to comfort her and love her unconditionally but soon discovers the Sacred Black Feminine that identifies with all of her being.

God Is a Black Woman is real and raw, setting you on a spiritual journey, to walk along with Dr. Cleveland, experiencing sometimes discomfort but making your way to a place of wholeness. Dr. Cleveland’s ability to express her childhood memories growing up in a faith riddle with an oppressive theology that is controlling, unkind and unloving, and then as an adult working with white organizations, seeking to eradicate racism, but instead reverting to status quo, Dr. Cleveland finds a way to break free, with no apologies, through the power of several Black Madonnas.

God Is a Black Woman is brave and bold, speaking up against the power and authority of established patriarchal systems and institutions. Dr. Cleveland invites Black women, and all women, to find their liberation and I am here for all of it! God Is a Black Woman is a must read that will have you crying, rejoicing and hugging the very essence of your Sacred Black Feminine.

Be Well My Friends!

Rev. JacquiP

What Do You See?

What do you see? I see Beauty as she rises from the ashes of chaos. I see her dancing and hugging all that were covered with the soot of hopelessness and she provides shoes that sparkles when one walks which turns into stars at dust.

What do you see? I see Happy as he wipes the frowns from one’s face and makes one laugh with his jokes being careful not to offend anyone because there is one who is still fragile. One who still does not believe and cries turning tears into rain which turns into the sea.

What do you see? I see Love as they call names, one after the other, pronouncing each syllable perfectly, giving each one life, setting each one free and praying that one day, one will see what they see.

One will see that it is the very essence of their Being that makes this world go round.

What do you see?

My Hat

There is something about wearing a hat that makes me happy. When I want to feel funky and sexy, I have this wide brim black hat that I put on and just like that, I become that woman who can walk in a room and every one stops to notice that I have arrived! At least this is what happens in my mine and that’s all that really matters. All of a sudden I am fierce and confident. I went to a play wearing this amazing hat and some woman just started talking to me and said she knew me from somewhere, then her friends came over and I became the center of attention! I was so classy, smiling from ear to ear, talking with a flair of a valley girl leftover in an old black woman’s body. Yeah, this hat brings out some weird stuff!

Look, have some fun! Step out in something that makes you feel like you are invincible. For me, its that wide brim hat! If one night you’re out on the town and you see this woman flailing her arms and acting like she’s the bomb, well that will be me! Come over and hang with me! I promise you my hat will not disappoint!

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