About Me

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I am well into my 30s and realize that I see the world differently than most of the people in my life. My views and beliefs are eclectically infused by my multi-racial background, love of the triune, over active brain, dual handedness and open mind to way too many things.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

So, it has been a long time since I have written on this page. A lot has happened, some things great, some things small. But I recently noticed that one of the best (and very random) parts of my day, is sharing stories and my perspective on different situations with my coworker.

This (ans my coworker) got me thinking that maybe I need to start blogging again... So hopefully I will.

Since I am working on a really uninteresting chapter in a 6th grade math book, I will not start now. But I feel like this post makes it real, because somewhere out there, 3-5 people may read this. And, since I am a woman of my word (most days) this small promise is hopefully enough to reignite the desire to write some of my life and perspective down...

... we shall see.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How to Run THIS Race

Yesterday I ran around a local reservoir practicing for a marathon relay this Saturday. This is the same place I ran when I decided to do a triathalon a few years back. Now let me be clear, I am NOT the woman I may appear to be in the last few sentences. in fact I am I never been a runner in my life. I would get winded if I jogged two blocks.

As I was running yesterday I thought about that first day I tried running (for the triathalon) and there was this white light house looking thing in the corner of the track and I kept telling myself if I could just run to that white thing I could become a runner. It took me about two weeks to get up enough stamina to accomplish this small goal. The distance is probably a quarter of a mile. As I headed back to that same track this summer I parked in a different spot to make that building my first goal again. this time it was about 3/4 miles away. But I quickly reached that goal by my second day of training. Last night I blew past that building several times to complete a 4.5 mile run.

As I ran I felt like the other people on the track should have been cheering for me, calling my name and waving signs. But they didn't. Well a few may have been pulling for me since I run crooked which makes me look like I am training for the kind of race where everyone gets a medal (not knocking the Special Olympics, I have spent many hours supporting my little heroes). But it made me realize that we are all on a journey at the same time and often on the same track. If I am not cheering or supporting anyone why would I expect the same.

I like to run alone, then I can go at my own pace, if I stumble no one knows, and if I give up a little only me and God really see. But life is not to be run alone. Sometimes you need others to push you hard, pick you up when you fall, and expect more from you than short cuts or giving up.And this means you have to give them the same support too.

Sometimes when I run I see an older woman who walks the opposite way! She now puts both hands up adn gives a silent cheer when I run past, and I smile and whisper encouragements to her. But this took building a tiny relationship with her with smiles and head nods. But on days when she is there it is easier for me to run, and her silent cheers are music to my ears.

I pray that each of you has or finds a great group of people to run this race with! I have!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Love is in the Air

As the 14th of February closes in on me I realize that for the first time in my life... really the first time ever... after 36 long years, I can honestly say that I have a Valentine. Don't get me wrong I have had dates, and attention, and as a first grade teacher I have had more than my fair share of rectangular cards with a sweet treats attached. But I really have a love to share the holiday with. I am not nervous or worried and to be honest we have no real plans. I was talking about love to my dad and explaining that I have always preferred singleness to relationships because they are just too stressful. I was always aware that they all were not like this, I have watched my parents navigate through great and terrible times all the while staring into each other's eyes for support, definition and companionship. But I never had that. I always thought love (for me) came with a burden of anxiety, unbalance and way too much stress. A part of me thought I would be single forever and really had few problems with that (outside of the Jesus rules I work hard to follow... if you know what I am saying). But next week I will cuddle on the couch eating something yummy and watching a movie that I am sure only one of us will like. And I will be filled with happiness. And I never would have thought that this man who is the full on version of my opposite would be the person God would use to send me such love and happiness.

 So as you admire your flowers and cards, eat your chocolates, or hang out single just know that somewhere in the city a big eyed girl is smiling!!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

It's Not Where You're From It's Where You're At!

So I spent this morning going over a few "notes" from Facebook and reposting the ones I felt were still significant to my blog. But I read one that I wrote that talked about my choice to move into my current home. This note was written within the first few months of me living here... that was over 4 years ago. And a lot has changed. So this repost is somewhat of a reflection and update.

Original "It's Now Where You're From It's Where You're At" (February 2008)

So for those of you who don't know, I was led by God (and a fluctuation housing market) to buy a home in a not so nice section of Baltimore. Ok, so they filmed the majority of The Wire within a 5 block radius of my home. If you look at the pictures it is hard to believe what lies outside my door. Not down the street, or even up the block. But right outside my door. To give you a small idea of my area, the man who lives extremely close to me (I would say next door, but that would be too obvious, because the other house is abandoned) sells heroin, some kind of pill and lets people pay him to get high in his house. When I walk to my car in the morning I am greeted by the local junkies, some strangers but most of them know me as "Teacher" or Miss D. 
Most of the time when people first come to visit they are confused by my surroundings, to say the least. Let's be real, sometimes I have no idea what I am doing here. But then I remember that I was led to this area and in all faithfulness I asked God to put me here if that was His will. (Funny how His will for me never involves a new car or trips to Italy). So when I moved in and the local drunk lesbian who also takes methadone helped me and my people unload the car, the adventure began.

I honestly, never thought what I had done was such a big deal. I mean this is the strongest community I have ever been a part of. 
1. When someone tried to steal my fence - the old white drug dealer stopped them
2. This summer I would open my door to a fresh apple on my mailbox, as a way of saying thank you for teaching our kids...Ok, really it was saying 'dang you toes look good in those sandals'. But either way it was more than this young guy had given someone in a while. 
3. When a strange junkie hit my car, the other ones came to my rescue knocking on my door and buffing out a lot of the scratches before I was finished getting dressed. 

But I recently started to share the true reasons for my living choices and it seemed to have an effect on people. It also made me start to d even more. 
It has changed me significantly. I worry less about the bag I am rocking (ok, maybe not less, but I care about other stuff just as much) and start to pay attention to those around me. I realized that EVERYONE has a story, and if you take the time to hear it, it may do them some good. 
I don't stand on a soap box and scream "Jesus loves you" at the top of my lungs. I just make eye contact, share stories, listen, listen, listen and laugh. 
You would be amazed at what that does for the human spirit. And all of these people who I meet at the rock bottom of their lives, I like to think, are a little changed by the small amount of God's love I try to pass on by these little gestures of humanity.

So, basically, if God is calling you somewhere strange, or to do something completely out of character, know that the benefits package that comes with "His work" is amazing! and unexpected!

Since then I have started the "Red Couch" bible study, watched several people get "clean" and come back and share their stories with me or come back and relapse. I threw a party and invited my people along with the folks from my block and watch as my old friends came right into the house and celebrated while my neighborhood folks just stayed outside and enjoyed from a distance. This alone taught me so much. 

Now the housing market is still crappy and I often times wish I lived in a place where I could just walk out of my front door and go for a jog, leave my car unlocked when I run back into the house to get something I forgot or other care free wishes that faded in the 70s. But I am still here, still sharing God's light and the gospel. I have made a lot more friends, I still know the drunk lesbian, own too many expensive bags and get Christmas cards in my mailbox from people in an ongoing fight with drug addiction. People in the neighborhood come to me for advice, prayer or to fix a broken door. And I go to them for smiles and stories. I still sit on my stoop and "do life" with my block.   

There has been even greater change in me. I have gotten a new car but no trips to Italy. My heart has grown for a people I once never even considered in my day to day thoughts. I have been convicted at times for doing nothing more than living on this block and not speaking about the grace God has for us all, or even just talking. But that is the ebb and flow of life. I am not a saint people! Just a sinner saved by grace and these people on this block have seen many sides of me. If you asked them about me you would get a lot of different answers, good and bad. But if you ask them about the God I serve, wether they know Him or not, they would all say I love him, and He loves me and some of them would even say that He loves them too.

So as I grow, redecorate and one day move on the mark that will be left will most certainly be on my heart. I am thankful almost every day for God's desire to break and reshape me on this block alongside these people I call friends!

What Does it Really Pay to "Discover"

Written December 4, 2008 on Facebook. 

So I was watching tv today… Ok, really I was watching a television show on the internet!! (The best thing about technology taking over everything) Anyways, I saw this Discover Card commercial that said something to the effect of life is cool and there is so much cool stuff out there that we all want. (I was in agreement at this point) and then it went on to say that it is ok to want all of it and to have all of it, you just need a credit card that gives you great rewards. (If you have not guessed by now this is where I stopped agreeing with the commercial). I guess I need to back track a little bit. I am a recovering spend-a-holic. A few months ago I was sitting on the stoop with a friend who has three kids and a non working husband and realized that she and her family were poor. Not strapped for cash, hitting a rough spot or anything like that. I sat there in mid conversation and realized that this woman I had shared so many laughs with over the last year was not just poor but well below the poverty line. I am not a cold hearted self absorbed person, I had done my part of dropping things off here and there to help out or just make the day a little better. And we had shared our faith, dreams and aspirations. It was just that I had really honestly never known what it was like to have next to nothing. Even on my worst day I have my parents to fund dreams, help clean up mistakes and just support my love for fashion. 
At the same time I was going through this revelation that my, what I considered to be low budget, life seemed extravagant to the people I had met over the last year. I started to tabulate all the times I had come home with bags of clothes, purses and shoes and they were tucking kids in with half empty bellies. I was then hit head on with financial stewardship being the new topic at church. I decided, in the heat of the sermon to take a financial fast. I tried to keep it a secret, but I am a shopper and when I don’t shop people really notice, and as I began to tell others about my choice it was cool to see the reactions. Aside from gas, basic foods and a few fellowship commitments I had made prior to the fast my money only went to bills and giving. 
In little over a month, a lot changes to a person when you have to pay attention to every single cent you spend, make sure it is a needed purchase and that God approves of it. I could go on but the point I was originally trying to make was about the commercial. YES! There is a lot of cool stuff out there, and it is only human to want it. But, there are so many more things and people that you could spend your time and money on. There will always be a better tv, iPod, pair of Ugg boots or whatever it is that makes you want to pull out the plastic and face the consequences later. So you can get the card that gives you 5% cash back on all purchases made between 3:46 and 3:52AM in Fiji. Or you can take some time and run your financial plan pass God and really see some true REWARDS. 
Since the economy is taking a nose dive knit a scarf, write a poem, give a hug or whatever. Just remember that it only takes a simple action to show someone the love that they need, but it takes like 30 years to pay off a $45 purchase on a Discover card! 
NOTE: My notes are a simple chronicle of my life, which encompasses my walk with God. Feel free to read and comment regardless of what you do or do not believe in. After my first one I saw that it got all my people from all beliefs talking and I loved it. So no matter what you have to say, this is what I have to say. And in this big spending, over-commercialized, extremely skewed season of shop ‘til you drop to prove you love, status, and wealth to others, time of year (Oh yeah that was originally designed to celebrate the birth of Christ), I just wanted to give you all a little something to think about. 

Black Like Me.. Something worth Reposting

Written January 20, 2009 on Facebook. 

The last few days have been mind blowing reflecting on Dr. King and the events that will take place in just a few hours. I have listened to so many people openly discuss everything from their love for Dr. King to their frustration with Obama. For the most part it was all talk of pride, joy and a dream finally fulfilled. And I was happy to engage in these conversations and give my two cents when and where I could. But in a room filled with Black people just having fun and keeping it light someone blurted out "We are about to have the first Black president sworn in just a few days." My heart jumped, smiles filled the room and people were excited. Then a woman remarks “Yeah, but he is not really Black”. 
Being that Obama is “Black like me” (definition – has one Black parent and one white, or what I like to call Black with benefits) I was very offended. Honestly I usually don’t care when people make these foolish statements because if I did I would have spent a great portion of my childhood mad. But this week is too huge to let this ignorance slide. Multi-ethnic people like myself who are biologically ½ Black spend the majority of their lives being thrown into whatever category fits for the people who bring their race into the matter.
If we do something wrong or break a law, procreate at a young unmarried age, struggle in school or make the evening news for some illegal act, we are BLACK. No one runs behind the story and says “Yeah, He looks Black but his momma is White.” Or “Another darker complected White girl just had a baby outside of marriage and so now your taxes have to go up.” In every negative scenario we are just as Black as the Black next person. 
So we walk the streets in a society that looks at us as Black, and we live that way. But as soon as we do something great like, oh I don’t know, become the 44th president of the United States of America, everyone makes sure our complete heritage is mentioned enough times so there is no mistaking that a Black person and a White person were involved in the creation of said person. Whenever we win it all, beat the odds, make a difference or a lot of money we become some complex racial being of more than just run of the mill Black. 
We also spend a great deal of our lives having the people who walk beside us in the racial indifference that still resonates in this country, look at us differently as well. We have been the topic of many talks that went something like “Oh she thinks she is better than me because she is half white”. In all honesty, to those of you who feel that way, I am better than you, not because my DNA or curly hair, but because of my heart. 
But if we openly say we are more than just Black (Mariah, Tiger…) we are looked at as the race traitors of the new millennium, or poor confused Black people. Not people who have chosen to openly express their full culture up front. 
When you don’t know me and you look at me I am Black. When you do know me and my family tree I am still Black. No matter what you think or say or do I am a strong proud Black woman who had the privilege of being raised and loved by a strong proud man who by the grace of God is White. I am in no way shunning a portion of my heritage. If you hang out with me long enough you may get some Kringler or other Swedish yummy, know that I am proud to be of Scandinavian decent, and that I can hold my own in a crowd full of any kind of people. All of this is because I have embraced who I am and all of the elements that made me that way. 
So in a few minutes I will fully enjoy watching the first Black President of the United States of America take his rightful place at the head of this broken nation! I hope you see the same man I see today!

PS- Thank you to Solidad O'Brian for taking this concept to the masses!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A case of the What Ifs!

So as I was leaving work today I felt a mixture of emotions. My school was hosting a math and reading night and I wanted to be a part of it... sort of... ok so I felt obligated to be there. But the problem was I lead a bible study every Tuesday night and we had just gotten back into the swing of things for the new year. So I headed home with my head pounding and a strong desire to lay down and not worry about this handful of women who would begin arriving at my home around 6:30ish. I honestly didn't feel like dealing with it. Some nights no one talks but me, those nights are an exception, but in my wearied state I hoped that it would not be one of those nights.
I hopped in the shower, wrote up the lesson and went downstairs to relax and try to get rid of the ache in my head before any one could knock at the door. Then I got a call and one of the women who come to the bible study had gotten a  flat tire. She anxiously explained that she didn't know who else to call. I told her it was not a problem, waited for someone to show up so they could answer the door for the others and headed out to fix the flat. From the time I headed out the door until I said goodbye to the last of the ladies I forgot about the headache.

I know this doesn't seem like a blog worthy story, but I have omitted the meaty portion, until now. In between those two moments I unknowingly let God have his way. I started the bible study off of the topic that I planned and began talking about salvation. Now don't get me wrong, I bring up salvation, hell and all the other topics those happy Christians gloss over from time to time. But with this unseen ring of fire encircling my head I had decided to stick to the script. Then that question that I always thought was a bit too corny and obvious popped into my head, and I shared it with the group even prefacing it with the fact that I rarely asked this question so bluntly. I simply said "If you died tonight on the way home where would you end up?" My flesh caused me to chat it up a little too much explaining how different people may answer the question and letting the ladies know that I would be asking them about it privately later. Then one woman asked me if accepting Christ was a big moment.

I stop to reflect on how easily people can make this simple step of perfection seem like an unfathomable challenge. I have watched over the last year as this woman went from not knowing how to pray for a simple request for the work place to buying a bible to now asking if she needed to do something special to be saved.

So I smiled and asked a few simple questions (if you don't know them let me know and I will ask you about them too!) and watched as her life was transformed. Then shook her hand and giggled to stifle the tears.

The rest of the night was pretty amazing too. As we shared about being ambassadors for Christ, the impact actually seeing and understanding his holiness can have on a person and the importance of His death and resurrection. (OK so it was a deep conversation).

Needless to say, I shed a few tears as we prayed out and I said goodbye to one another. And it was not until I closed my door for the last time this evening that I felt the pain searing in my temples. I am sure the headache never subsided the entire night. But when the Spirit is at work there is no room for physical limitation.

So I lay here tonight thinking "what if?"

What if I canceled bible study tonight because my head hurt?

What if I focused on my pain instead of others' growth?

What if I didn't have faith enough in God to start this bible study?

What if someone never took the time to pout into my life?

What if He had never called me?

Life is full of what if moments. I am so thankful for His mercy and grace. He didn't need me for this transformation tonight. He doesn't need any of us to do this work. But He calls us. He call us to come along side Him. Along side the Creator!! To work with Him. How amazing is that. With headaches, broken bodies, bleeding hearts and sin filled lives... He died for us so we could work next to Him!