Bacon, Eggs, Toast and Grits

"...He said to me, “My grace elevates you, to be fully content.” And now, instead of being overwhelmed with a sense of my own weakness, he overwhelms me with an awareness of his strength! Oh what bliss to rejoice in the fact that in the midst of my frailties I encounter the dynamic of the grace of God to be my habitation!" 2 Corinthians 12:9 The Mirror Bible When you’ve experienced the perceivable ‘worst thing that could happen,’ your paradigm shifts.   A fearless sense of invincibility rises. “Grandpa just passed out in my arms,” I said to my aunt on the phone. It was April 11, 2017 --- a Tuesday to be exact. My morning started as it had for the last 17 months. I got up, three hours before work, to go tend to my grandpa. It all started the night my grandma passed away from pancreatic cancer. She lived 51 days from the date of her diagnosis. The night she transitioned was the first time I saw Grandpa weep. He wept so deeply; it moved my heart with compassion. We were all overcome with unfathomable pain and deep grief. My grandmother’s death left us stunned, shocked, bewildered. Grandpa made it known daily that he missed his wife. But on this Tuesday morning, he did not get the chance to rant. He woke up gasping slightly for air. It sounded like whooping cough. His dry cough signaled no alarm, at first. Grandpa had been sick for a while.…

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Live Wisely, Live Well
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Live Wisely, Live Well

“…But I have come to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect – life in its fullness until you overflow.” John 10:10b The Passion Translation  Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well!  Psalm 90:12 The Message “The trick is to enjoy life.  Don’t wish away days waiting for better ones ahead." Unknown It was a quiet Sunday evening. The big brown chair in my living room embraced me like two loving arms and cradled me.  I was relaxing in front of the television when the phone rang.  I checked the caller ID to see that the call was from my friend in Cleveland. We had not spoken with each other in a few weeks and I elated to hear from him. But the voice on the other end was not my friend’s.  Immediately I knew. “My father passed away yesterday morning. . .” My heart sank, and pools of tears filled my eyes. “He always spoke of you -- of how much you encouraged and inspired him.   Your friendship meant a lot to him.  You inspired him to fight.” I was stunned.  Yes, I knew he was sick.  He had been battling a rare form of cancer for well over two years.  The last time we'd spoken, he sounded better than he had in a long while. He was in a place of peace and filled with a hope and faith that made my heart swell.  I prayed  with him; we…

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Lessons from the Stylist’s Chair

“Those who watch and wait for favorable winds never plant, and those who watch and fret over every cloud never harvest.” Ecc. 11:4  “Thinking ‘Here goes nothing’ could be the start of everything.”  Drew Wagner “Are we cutting today?” she asked as I sat down in the chair. Well, at least she asked, I thought. She has been known to cut first and apologize as an afterthought.  I looked in the mirror, not sure there was much to cut. “The pixie is in style,” she informed me in a “I-really-want-to-get-my-scissors-in-your-hair” kind of way. “Hmmm… is it?” I chuckled. My hair has been various lengths and shades over my 64 years.  As a child, I had a thick mane that my mother was very intentional about growing. By the time I was in junior high school, it hung well past my shoulders. The thought of cutting it never entered my mind -- even during my “I’m-Black-and-I’m-Proud-More-Power-to the-People” Afro days.  But as I grew older, an inch or two here for the health of my hair. A snip or two there for some kind of manageable style. Then came the day when I was finally ready for the big chop.  And once it was gone, I never looked back. Long hair was a thing of the past. But I’d never had it pixie short. “I could give you a long pixie,” she said.   Long pixie? Isn’t that a bit of an oxymoron? But it’s summer, mid-June and we’re already seeing “feels-like” temps…

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A Father’s Love

I stood in the hallway as my father took the call.   He sat on the edge of the bed and listened intently, occasionally asking questions.  His baritone voice sounded calm and collected as he said, "Thank you," and hung up the phone. Then I saw my father do something I'd rarely seen.  He fell across the bed and sobbed. His only son had died. My older brother, Phillip, had been born with brain damage.  He was born deaf and with a host of other physical and mental challenges.  My parents had tried to care for him at home as long as possible, but that became too arduous for them both physically and emotionally.  It was taking a toll on their marriage my mother had told me years later. A decision had to be made that my father resisted.  But eventually he conceded, and Phillip was placed in a long-term care facility in Columbus. I listened as my father wept and realized his tears were not only for the loss of life, but the loss of a lifetime.  This was his son, the one created in his image,  the one he'd prayed for, the one who would carry on the family name, his beloved.  The love was still so strong and wide,  so deep and long, so fierce and unchanging.    The fact that they had never been able to have that intimate bond that a father desires with a son had not lessened that love.  The fact that he'd…

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He Sent Me After Glory

“For thus says the Lord of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.”  Zechariah 2:8 It had been one of the most challenging seasons of my life. Nothing made much sense to me. While God was doing some wonderful things in and through me, my life seemed rife with contradiction. What I was living and what I had envisioned for my life seemed diametrically opposed. That which God had spoken concerning purpose and destiny and my day-to-day reality seemed completely out of alignment.  I questioned some of my choices (and I think those around me questioned them too). When people asked what was going on with me, I couldn’t begin to articulate it. I was confused and exhausted. So I made reservations and check into a hotel for a couple of days.   I wanted to sleep, to write, to pray, to listen. I wanted – I needed --  to hear anything from God that might make the comedy of errors that had become my life make sense. “This isn’t the life I chose for myself.  This isn’t the way I saw things going” I wrote in my journal as I lay sprawled across the king-sized bed. “You wrote that?” my pastor asked when I shared with him about my short time away. My pastor, John W. Stevenson is a gifted songwriter. He had recently spoken and led worship at a worship conference in…

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Reflections at the Foot of the Cross

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” -- Luke 23:34a  At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day!” ― Isaac Watts I will never forget the day I gave my life to Christ.  It was a sweltering Sunday morning in June -- Children’s Day -- and our little Baptist church was packed.  I sat fidgeting on the front pew next to my father. I was eight years old and I had made up my mind. This was the day. And so when Pastor Lewis offered the invitation to discipleship as he had so many other Sundays before, I leaned over and whispered in Daddy’s ear, “I want to be saved.”  He smiled and nodded, and I nervously stepped forward. Pastor Lewis knelt down, cradled me in his arms and, after a series of questions, welcomed me into the family of God. I was saved! That was the first of many “salvation” moments.  My seeming inability to get it right made me think that perhaps it hadn’t "taken" the first time.   And over the years I’d rededicate my life to Christ and then rededicate my rededication. (I attended college in the 70s. Need I say more?) I spent time this Resurrection Day weekend reflecting on the greatest event in all of history  –…

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