Outreach

We talk about community connections. Many churches and communities remain self-contained. They feel they need to stay within themselves. Their outreach is limited by their comfort zone. When we need to be breaking comfort zones.

Outreach is important because we all go through struggles. Support is very important, and people need an understanding community or communities to be present. In many cases, the benefits cross both parties and a bond is developed that can expand the gift of reaching out to those in need. Outreach is passed on through the sharing on support and understanding.

Outreach is also education, whether it is a forum, discussion, activism, or marches. Being informed is critical to starting the process of establishing networks. Networks creates outreach opportunities that can lead to other opportunities. This is empowerment and self-regulation.

The next time the opportunity is given to become involved in a community-based action why not try it. There could be a lesson meant to be learned or shared, but if the idea of risking getting involved is challenging then think about the people before you. They took a risk and outreach is a risk. How can break down the differences if we don’t risk ourselves in outreach?

A Body & A Cot

We spent our lives trying to seek what is already there. During Winter relief January 2019, we help out a community that needs a support network. Many see these people as a body and a cot. They don’t have a story and what brought there was their issue. People don’t want to see themselves.

When you are with them, whether it is helping with coffee, hot water, creamers, or refilling sugar they are telling a story. When you bring your coffee and sit with them and everyone shares their story it is clear, they are more than a body and a cot. Some talk about the meals made by their family, the funny pages, and things they have to do. There is no coating of language in the twilight hours. We talk and our connection is refreshing.

The next the opportunity comes to reach out and help the community, do it. You will discover that someone can be completely different from you and your stories have a common thread. In this case, it is about looking at people beyond their situation. They are more than a body and a cot. They are us, and we are them. I look forward to next year, who is with me?

The Game of 2019

The Game of 2019 is an empty board. The moves we make around the board are sometimes none, backwards, or forwards. Some spaces have situations beyond our control. The best we can hope for is the moves we make help us to see that passing GO takes patience, strength, and each other. Welcome to the Game of 2019 and may your moves bring the best out in you.

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Love is strange

My legs are trapped under the weight of an 80 lbs black lab

I need not disturb the sleeping dog

as he snoozed and starts numbing out my legs.

Love is strange,

and reflecting on what it is can be …

an exciting and growing experience.

I am asked to draw hearts

over and over until my desire

to color them secretly comes in

but I resist that as this 2-year old

only wants hearts.

Love is strange,

and reflecting on what it is can be …

an exciting and growing experience.

The oranges are ready

with child-tempting delights,

and a meal that is not a meal

but a gathering of community,

understanding we are family.

Mother nor Father matter not

as we are in the family of God.

Love is strange,

and reflecting on what it is can be …

an exciting and growing experience.

What is love can’t be explained,

but you know when it is present.

Finding Meaning in the Chaos

As a marketing event happens in three days, please remember that the mall, manufacturers, and other merchandisers did not create Christmas. Christmas was created by divine power that I will not argue with who created Christmas. Some people say Christmas is based in paganism. Other folks will say it was incorporated into early Christianity to encourage the other beliefs into early Christianity. I will not debate that as who has that much energy debate where it comes from.

I will say the principal of Christmas is simply this, which is put each other people first. An understanding that each of us needs to be loved. That love does not come in a box, that love does it know what wrapping paper looks like, that love doesn't know dollar values, and love definitely does not know ugly sweaters (as fun as they maybe 😉).

Love this year for me, correction Christmas gifts, was having lunch with a friend on a Sunday morning when I skipped church (yes, I missed church) to be with a few co-workers but mostly to be with her. It was rainy but I had an amazing time. Having someone actually listen to me, accepting my input and seeing the validity and what I were saying. The Biggie was accepting me where I am now and where I will be going. That is my biggie...

If they can sell that at the mall, they are good.

I wish everyone a beautiful, loving, warm, and spiritual Christmas. I love you all and I hope you all embrace gift of each other.

Relationships

Relationships are like plants. Some relationships grow into trees becoming tall and strong. Other relationships are like bamboo, easily cut and grown. Some last only a season and others are annuals as they may or may not return.

We need to understand what relationships we have. Once we understand that, we can see the value they are. When one changes enough, we are left with a choice. Do we change it? address it? or let it go?

It is not easy and as 2018 closes, I’m at that place. What do I do? What relationships are savable? changing? too far gone? growing? It is a lot to think about. Relationships are living things.

Blue Christmas

We race into the store, hoping to find something for that someone on our gift list. We discover an overstock of everything, and the marketers are telling us of what we should purchase. “Pretty paper, pretty bows” are images that come to mind. The exterior image of the illusion that the gift inside is made of love.

The decorations everywhere to charm the spirit into seeing what is a celebration of life and faith. When in truth, it is a celebration of other traditions that have little to do with faith and Jesus’s birth. It is traditions from diverse beliefs from many regions. That is not to say, they do not have importance and value in society. They need to be put into perspective.

How does this make a Blue Christmas? It is the idea that everyone embraces the Holiday Spirit, looking forward to the celebration of trees, charm, and traditions. Many folks have battles, challenges, and losses that are difficult to overcome. The false expectation that everyone can override and continue through these experiences only makes the feeling worse.

I struggle with Blue Christmas. I have been told that I need to celebrate the Holiday, and enjoy it despite my challenges. It hurts, and I have made efforts to adjust my Holiday traditions by adding St. Nicholas Day on December 6th and Hanukkah as I was told as an adult of Jewish linkage in my family history. Despite that, it is the memories of Holidays past that challenge me and I go through the motions.

I have been struggle with the Holiday since the passing of my mother in June 2000 as she loved the time between Thanksgiving and New Years. In reflection, my challenges to the Holiday season are much older. They started as a child who experienced two households and the feeling of being in middle of a battleground with her parents. I learned to embrace the Season of Joy and felt the growth of the silent conflicts. I let myself fell into the seasonal expectations as I knew no difference as a child. As an adult, I see the emptiness of letting yourself see only the stuff and traditions but not the heart and the spirit with it.

How did I get to where I can freely discuss Blue Christmas? I received support of church, community, many friends and family who saw my struggle. They permitted me to go through the challenge of the season. They provided love, support, guidance, time, and presence. Thank you is too little and I’m grateful beyond words.

The season will always be a challenge, but I feel and see love, hope, and courage. I will pass those priceless gifts on to others challenged by the season. I hope you will do the same if you can.

The church is doing a Blue Christmas Service on Sunday, the 16th, at 4 pm. If you are challenged by the Holiday season, please come to the service and trust that people care about your challenges. Thank you for the Blue Christmas Service and those who need it.

Voices of Hope

We are Voices of Hope…

The song we sing

is one of courage,

delighting in the challenge

of what must be done.

We climb the walls

build by injustice

whether we are

in the pulpit, classroom,

or in the community.

We are Voices of Hope…

We follow the path

and our hands

are linked to the greater

yet diverse world.

We will always be

Voices of Hope…

We start movements,

coming together in moments

of challenge and need,

Our being in the Kindom

can only grow with strength,

trusting each other.

We are Voices of Hope…

When we hear messages,

coming from our companions

with their words dancing

into our dreams and thoughts,

We have only one choice,

but to stop, act, and be.

We are the Voices of Hope…

Letting the dust settle

WE CAN NOT!

Our victory is not always

the one we think it should be,

Perhaps our place

is where it is RIGHT NOW!

We know not what is planned

We only know ourselves,

even if doubting our purpose…

It is then that we discover

Our Voices of Hope.

Moments

We steals moments and change our schedules

We see people with new eyes

Discovering what we like is still there

Choosing to spend time with ones

that you let time slip away.

So changing your routine

Maybe something you need to do

Just because…

There are times when the need is unspoken <3

Thankfulness

Reasons to be thankful:

Love that grows day by day.

Faith in each other.

Hope for tomorrow.

Today is a new beginning.

Presence is everything whether in body, mind, or spirit.

Community is family and together we can accomplish anything <3

These are some thankful moments, wishing I could share more <3 <3

Power of Silence

Sitting in the dark,

feeling your heart beat,

hearing the leaves,

noticing the challenge

of trying to sleep.

Your mind races

like a million pics

over and over

with bits of color and tints

until you stare —

Into the darkness

Into the darkness

Into the darkness.

Then the colors and tints

come dance together

until pics are formed.

Your eyes and mind

hope you are on a trip,

It is then you realize

it is the Power of Silence

and it’s God Giving You Sight!

Process over Product

We too often focus on product over process. The process outweighs the product as process is learning. Product is the end result and someone is always ready to look at product to see if it can improved. The same idea happens in life.

In daily life, it happens everyday and WE don’t realize it. It happens when your kids go to school, and learn. Writing starts with scribbling, and reading starts with looking at the book. In the workplace, when you learn new skills and changes fields of employment. Then there is community organization, and that runs from the church to the government. The number of community organization actions that began with one person or an idea are endless. This is process becoming product.

For me, it is my development from lacking confidence in myself to seeing my struggles as healing tools for others and myself. I only recently have discovered the power of my voice, and how to use it. Process over Product should be the bigger deal as learning and growing in lifelong. Thank you to everyone who helps and understands the idea and struggle in have this insight.

Speechless again

I’m between anger and disbelief,

I‘m screaming and no voice is coming on

Yet again…

Yet again…

Yet again…

11 White Roses…

More remembrances…

I’m between anger and disbelief,

Action should have started yesterday -

People should have taken notice -

I’m speechless again!

Yet again…

Yet again…

11 White Roses…

11 White Roses in remembrance to the victims in Pittsburgh.

11 White Roses in remembrance to the victims in Pittsburgh.

To Be A Voice

To be a Voice

Or not to be

Is an underlying question.

We spend our lives

Making connections to

Journeys we can’t see,

Yet we risk it!

We cross paths…

We cross paths…

A Voice that was once

Silenced by its own struggles

Hears the drums

Of the inner Voice!

To be a Voice

Or not to be

Is an underlying question.

Purpose: Reflection from Bible Study Romans 9 to 12

We question why life is what it is. Why some of us struggle and yet feel like we are receiving nothing. Why others have it all or so it seems. These are not questions but reflections. If I had a question, it would be only one. My question is, what is the purpose for everything?

The additional questions only have to clarify the purpose and how it happens. The comedy is this, we don’t know until it happens. It is then we question with all the smaller daily ones. It is then, when we wonder over and over.

The path to purpose is not easy to explain or understand. It has so many unexpected options not written by us. We only know that it is written. We have to trust what is written if we are to see the questions to ask!

The answer to the main question of what is the purpose for everything is knowledge, growth, and living. It is all we can do.

Dark Moments

The dark moments when all that is left is the hope. There are some that said dark moments need not exist. Others who said that …it does not matter. What happens in truth is justice, honesty and freedom. Let us come together walk in the light. We are light and energy.

Our Church

So it seems our church is one with many communities. We found our way to World AIDS Day and Rev. Wayne Schwandt, who was EVOLVE Chesapeake. The churches came together and my community, EVOLVE Chesapeake, is a part of UCCA today. Our church stood up and continues to do so for the greater community, and people know we care. We participate in Winter Relief and share our time and talent to assist people in need. We have marched, spoke up, and challenged the acceptable norms of society. What we have done is too numerous to name.

Our church has opened it’s doors to people that have been looking for a church home. They found a church home and found acceptance. It is not often when you miss your church more then your family and friends but I do. Our church is family and we see community as a part of the World around us. Is there any greater reason? Not one I can find.

Wrestling with...

I wrestled with myself for 52 years. I have had to climb mountains, at times, feeling alone. People telling me that I have no right to feel what I feel. People telling me that I was less than human for whatever reason. People telling me that my kind don’t fit in. I’m done wrestling!

I want to wrestle with what can be done. I want the tools available to make the wrestling match balanced and the rules the same. I want people who wrestle themselves to not fear what is inside them and accept their uniqueness.

God, Our Creator, Mother Earth, or the many countless names created us for a purpose. It could be we have to wrestle ourselves first so we have the strength to wrestle other forces. It could be the other forces had to come in to give us what we need to get the strength. Our purpose in the wrestling is growth.

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Be like a Dandelion

Keep coming up and never…