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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Take A Spiritual Gifting Test

Sometimes some of them ebb and flow. Other times things develop that seem to come out of no where or because of a trial or situation.

Hospitality
Faith
Teaching
Writing
Poverty

Leadership
Wisdom
Administration
Pastoring
Encouragement
Knowledge
Discernment
Giving

Music
Exhortation
Helps

Prophecy

Apostle

Monday, May 30, 2011

National Appreciation


I am proud to be a half first generation American.

I was born here and so was my father but my mother was not.

To just add more flavor to the mixture that makes up me my parents both joined the military. My mother was only in for a short time but I remember her days working in dress blues.

We lived in town and so except for medical visits and the occasional errands our life looked like every one else’s mostly.
I was in air planes before I ever went to school going with my mother across the country to visit back home. She is from the Bahamas.

Mean while my very full life has centered here in northern California. I love my country and I am so appreciative of all the soldiers living and not who signed up or went to help defend it.

Early on I told myself I was not interested in ever checking it out from basic training to a life on call nothing ever sounded appealing about signing up.

God has blessed us I wish more people (especially Americans) would open their eyes and really see this. Yes there are problems evil and corruption, yes mistakes have been made. 

Still there is no place in the world I want to go and stay. We’ve been set high on a hill visible for all to see. It makes us a target it causes people to hate and misunderstand. Glory is not a human thing is it spiritually discerned for full appreciation.

I am kind of disappointed because my daughter seems to have a more jaded view and opinion of it all. I think she hasn’t lived enough or seen enough to know how fortunate she really is. She is so feisty she does not care. (lol) It is ok she is still young. I can’t imagine her leaving either.

I still do not understand my mother who retains her other world citizenship. When I found this out I almost fell over. I couldn’t imagine how a country could let you join their military and not be a citizen. 

Now that I am older it makes sense that a country appreciate a soldiers allegiance and resolve.


By my recall it would seem I have visited even if only by drive as many as 46 states. We never got to WA, HI or AK for sure. There might be one or two others we missed. 

In my childhood we flew to FL, drove to MI and OK. I went on a school trip to NY and to visit an aunt in the PA, D.C. area. My mom, brother and I took Amtrak some where for something maybe that is how we got to the northern east coast.

There is no place like home (the only place where people do not talk funny) but it’s enriching to get out and see the greatness of the nation in every day scenarios.

Thank You Veterans from an Air Force BRAT

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mental Mentors…

So I got involved in this mess. Well they never start out looking so messy right? I went to a womens meeting where a Christian group was pairing up women mentors. I was excited. I have been asking God to give me a mentor.

My life was going through all the dramas I have but eluded to in this blog thus far. I wanted someone to walk along side me and encourage me. I wanted someone wise and saved to talk to about things.

When I got to the meeting after hearing some of the other women who were also seeking mentors I thought I should forget about me and just help them. One had no mother and felt lost in the world. Another was all a fright trying to plan a wedding with no direction. Another was dealing with some hurt or tragedy. There were tears in the room. It was so sad. My journey has been frustrating and scary at times but rarely does it make me cry.

Never the less I was paired up with an older single woman. She is accomplished and a mother as well. I found out she had a teen daughter, a house and a live in roommate. My future maybe? Another thing I had wished for was that God would send me a stable roommate, babysitter/nanny and friend that would have been great too.

At the first meeting with just me and the mentor she told me she was finally coming around to the idea that maybe God wanted her to have a physical ailment she had been ignoring and trying to cope with looked at instead of just miraculously healed. It had been months if not years since the problem started. I told her I lived back home with my parents and was waiting on a husband because God had spoken to me about one.

She stiffened and said she could not stand her parents more than just knowing they were alive on the other side of the country. She further was repulsed by the idea of a ball and chain as she referred to the idea of a husband.

I should have realized then how unable this woman would be to walk with me. I thought well at least she knows where she is and is not in denial.

I wondered to myself “What if God wants to heal the relationship with her parents and it starts with her bridging the gap? What if God has a wonderful husband for her to help her so she does not have to fight the world alone and face losing her daughter and then really be all alone in another few years?”

These were questions I do not think she could even imagine much less tolerate thinking about. Never the less I can’t help but think it would be God’s heart on the matter.

Fast forward to my mother kicking me out around this time which I never thought was possible. My mentor insisted I handle it a certain way. I told her no. She told me we could not walk together if I would not obey her. WTH???

Yeah that was the end of that.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sugary Wax & Dye

Well the girly house is still very girly.

The bottle of hair dye that sat mixed in the bathroom having chemical reactions over the weekend still had some potency so we are rocking a few mellow random all but hidden streaks. lol

Then last night she tried to make wax because she is annoyed having to shave her legs.

I do not know if it was our errors or the recipe just does not work.

It seemed so simple:

1Cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons each lemon juice and honey

Heat to dissolve the sugar and presto you have yummy....liquid candy....where's the wax?

Maybe we needed fresh lemon as it did call for. Maybe we did not heat the sugar enough but it sure got HOT.

Never the less mini chemists that we are we are in full on experimentation mode.

She was telling me she wantst to eat @ Olive Garden. Random much? Presto for Mothers Day mom sent me a gift card so some day soon we can.

Later today we have a meeting with her school advisers. Then...Thai food after some program at school. I am excited about Thai food since I tried their green non spicy curry. She was supposed to have a dentist appointment tomorrow. I called to cancel or reschedule it on Saturday. If I had not gotten an auto reminder late Monday night I would not feel so ambiguous.

If she needs summer school it starts next Tuesday even tho school will not be out until the 14th or so. That is because it looks like we are going to change charter schools.

The meeting we have planned is...serious and I feel we have all dropped the ball. Her the school and myself. This is not the charter I would have chosen. So many things have felt out of my control. How is this my life some times I wonder. Oh well

Monday, May 23, 2011

?

Under construction

Chaos & Confirmation



Yikes wow yup yup the song fits. I was singing just this week it seems.

Then Thursday hit. I woke up early and started the morning ritual with plenty of time to get to school and be there all day 10-10. Almost two hours before I would need to leave I call my ride. No answer. At least her phone was back on. I was all but set to take the bus but just wanted to check in with her. We played tag and that got me distracted from my first mind perhaps.

I had woken up happily talking to God contemplating my future. The next thing I know I am missing buses and having other issues. Feeling in limbo just so irritated me. The only thing I could have done differently was try and confirm the night before. Might not have helped me through a sudden emergency but anyway something to strive for. Until they call to confirm with me I need to because it means they might not be thinking of me. ggggrrr

Anyway finally on the bus I try to recompose and am looking forward to arriving in a timely manner. I had thought to head one way but missing that first bus I decided to go the opposite direction.

Arriving at the street of my connection I realize that the needed bus is going to leave without me. I try to catch it but am not fast enough plus there was a work truck blocking my path for just long enough to help hide me from the driver who might have seen me and waited just a few moments longer....

Could this all have been a set up? To elicit a reaction out of me? I began to try and reason with myself as I paced for 20 mins missing the dead line of on time arrival. The irony is that I went from Gods presence at home to on my way to another gathering in it else where. There is also the idea that school is keeping track. I have already missed days here and there due to transportation issues.

Be intentional, release & trust. I could barely hear that
I did however begin to pray Lord what are you saying?

Not about facts like that I could have confirmed my contact the night before or even how if I had been keeping up with my homework I would not have missed the bus due to looking for a folder I needed.

What are You saying about my future? Something new is afoot. Sure enough He began to say Yes and BOTH.

BOTH? I have recently been asking about something new and wondering which direction to take it in. Hello Dorothy the Scarecrow is right. Oh My...

As good a time as any to get my dance on. I could already see it deep I just had no idea how wide I needed to spread His net.

So off we go towards a new adventure. I will keep you posted as I try to keep my head on straight.

The great news is I have taken good notes along the journey and through all my experiences thus far. Coming into a new adventure I feel well equipped.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weekend Fun

My house is a girly haven. Asleep up stairs are my daughter and friend. There is a bottle of hair dye smelling up the bathroom. My poor kitchen was a wreck and various signs of their presence litter the house. It is Friday morning but this post will land on Sunday. No idea where things will progress to by then.

I so loved being a stay at home mom. It is the time I love best about my life still I think. As the title of this blog suggests I keep odd if not late hours. I am alive and thoughtful when ever I am up. After musings at midnight I like to sleep in til the sun is high or I used to.

This getting up on east coast time thing has been weird to say the least.

Daughter loves the relaxed schedule as well. 


Wake up late, raid the kitchen, paint nails, work on cross word puzzles, connect with friends through social media. That is how I like my days to begin. I roll over in bed thinking about God or ministry most of the time. Making time to actually do devotional has been a bit more of a challenge for a while.

Speak Lord your servants are listening..sigh

It wouldn't be so bad if I were keeping up with my journaling but even that has been hit or miss. Still His mercies renew and the kids come and go. We've had a young couple with a baby step sister one, step sister two due any day now, a school friend, the intervention, a newly wed, a couple of teen guys, two or three of the other best friends, wow a lot of people here in just these few short months!

You just do not know joy until your bathrooms in a YouTube video with your teen and her friends. lol

With all this hosting you would think I have been baking up a storm. The truth is we've had more pizza I think. The good news is the young one is not only a video star she can cook too.

I think the addiction to popsicles has ceased and thank goodness we have not been overly swayed by the fact that right across the street is a donut shop.

My plan for...today or tomorrow...I think tomorrow....must be to see if Staples can fix my damaged laptop. Silly me I dropped it on the power cord and the jack is unhappy just in time for the end of school. BLAH

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Winds of Change....



Sigh well here we go again it would seem. I swear sometimes I wonder what God knows about me that I do not because I have no wanderlust!!!


I also love people and want to just get along and love on them. I want to get some place and stay. Dig in my roots and settle. Instead the flame spurs me forward.

At least it is still an adventure. Are you along for the ride and so free flowing? It can't be just me.

Not sure where exactly or rather how exactly I will land this time. I wonder who I should talk to that might not think I am going a bit into lunacy.

I had to ask myself am I a cog or a clog in the system? My name is not Jonah I am not causing a storm but misplacement is as bad as not being in. If someone needs me there but I remain here well that is a problem.

At least I feel older wiser and more in control now. hahahaha

Yeah I feel... I think....

We will see.

The emotional storm from yesterday brought back up the growl. If I want it to be right I might have to design and run it myself. Make (it) your own... is something Mamma used to say. What did she know and see about me that I still don't get?

In class this week my professor said only about 2% of the population are innovators. Something clicked for me. No wonder I feel so lonely. No wonder people do not understand.

Marked from the womb my life and mind say kingdom mentality I do not belong to nor have I been conformed to this world. I take my cues from heaven and on high.

I see far out imagining my field of dreams a full stadium. I can see, the people, smell the scents and hear the roars.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Current News & Scandals

Maybe this subject doesn’t even deserve a post. Let me know.

I watch a lot of news so it is just so in my face. The nation or at least our state are rocking and rolling in shock about the former governor’s love child.

Should anything really shock us any more? Poor Maria Shriver... 
Public scandals of division are something I pray against for whatever future marriage God has for me. I want to be secure in it and know that both of us will stick together no matter what.

Then there is the end of the world slated to begin tomorrow night. Now see if this guy had predicted this for the days of the Japan quakes…. 

Yeah never mind see my post from last August if you think the sky is falling. I have not even seen the bill boards with no car to drive around in. Someone in one of my classes said they were able to interview this guy and of course his hermeneutics and theology are all wonky. Ugh SMH
Lord please help us!!!

I thought it was bad when the weirdo 1 of “2.5 guys” was trending to no end. Thankful that that is over but not thrilled about what is new on the scene. 

The Thrive conference was underway recently here in town. My experience a couple of years ago left me wanting… The best thing about it was Francis Chan who has stayed true to his radical form since then if news serves at all.
It was my first time on the Bayside campus and also the same place I saw No Arms & Legs Nick
plus Tamra Lowe White Girl Rap 4 God
If only what really mattered trended harder more. Sigh

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Now Vision

Ok so I can see myself as a public speaker. Maybe even an author. I spend enough time talking and writing online posts. I even was telling myself I should become a motivational speaker before God started ordering my steps and dragging my life through the mud.

My struggle lately has been with the new idea that church is community and not where a pastor leads. This fact is not a problem although it is new. My problem started with well if I want to open my home to have church what happens if men want to attend? There are issues of safety and propriety having my home open to males.

After that there is the confusion about women in leadership, then there is the real fact that men need other men to grow and be discipled by. I feel like if I call what ever I do a church it should be able to minister to all who might come unto it.

I cannot however just call whatever I am planning to do a prayer meeting or a Bible study. I have seen the power that is released when God’s people come together.

Besides all these things there are other issues with having a group in my home. My cat for one, my daughter for another. I have no idea who I am called to specifically and who I can just minister to through external community.

I know there will be individuals who God bonds and knits my heart with. I also know and can feel the mission ministry and need is much, much bigger than that. Bigger than the list! When that thought hit me I began almost to panic. We could barely get that gathered.

If only I had a house or was in a church.

Would it be so very, very wrong to see about the spaces our school just vacated? lol

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The dream I had...

It was fall 2009. Our local Christian radio station 103.9 the Fish dropped by the Bible college. It was a promotion for the school as well as the station. I  won a ticket to Women of Faith for the winter. I was even more excited when I found out it was worth about $80. Some days I feel spoiled. Never mind that I was sleeping on a couch separated from my daughter for the season.
During the conference they were urging us to turn in our comment cards for a free prize.

A funny thing began to happen as I enjoyed the events however. I love respect and admire the women on the panel that travels every year but there is little to no visible ethnic diversity to their mix. Not a complaint I would usually even register. To make things worse or at least more interesting the music featured Nicole C Mullen,
Mandisa and Tiny half of Mary Mary. Tina expressed that it had been hard for her to attend wondering if white people could appreciate their music.
Why the black folks gotta be regulated to the entertainment to be on the stage also went through my head. Again for those who are tracking this was so unlike me it was odd to ponder. I went to bed the night before the forms were due and had the following dream:


I wake up on my way to the conference. For some reason I am frantic to get it in the drawing as I navigate the chaos of the event. I am all but beside myself. It is so bad I can barely focus. An usher spots me and tries to help me calm me down or even find me a quiet corner to work in.


Almost as soon as my card left my hand I am indeed being ushered into a private viewing box. It's also a sort of green room. What is going on? Just that quickly my entry has authorized my promotion. I am in the room with other people like myself.


The next thing I know it is lunch time and I am ushered in to a banquet room with a long table surrounded by chairs and filled with food. The women from the panel are seated around the table as are other well known Christian ministers. The one who sits directly across from me I shall not name. This person has faced their share of discrimination and controversy.


I have an assistant to my right side trying to help me with protocol. As the chatter goes on around the table and we begin to eat suddenly this person basically tells me to shut up. It is not that I am talking too loud or mindlessly chattering it is that I have expressed a view point they do not agree with.


I am floored and flabbergasted that anyone would tell me to shut up when I am speaking to Christian leaders and making conversation in an appropriate manner. My assistant is very agitated. I do not know if at me or the person or the situation or what. I tell my dissenter that one child of God to another they do not have the spiritual authority to hush me.


I woke up disturbed as much about who this person was as about what had happened.

What I believe is that this person represents the Christian establishment. I feel like God was telling me in this dream: "Something I do or write will promote me but not everyone will be glad when I arrive". So much for the innocent idea that other disseminatoers of the gospel would welcome those God sends in among their midst.
I never asked God to be "a mouth piece for the kingdom" as one man of God spoke over me. I just flow in who I am. It is not too much to ask that ministers respect what God does as He uses people.

Part and parcel of being a bold peculiar radical. Nothing will be different from my normal life but the date and location. I have come up against the status quo all my life putting them to shame and causing them to bristle.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Church as Family or Community

For those who are following along and tracking, my focus is changing or perhaps getting larger even as it gets more vague and clear…. 
 
Yes you might want to call for the updates on that. I might even need your help.
This post however is just to wrap up some thoughts on my personal observations from within the Organic expression of church.
                                                                              
When I labeled the previous post Church is 2 or 3 gathered it was in reference to the idea that we do not all always need a pastor or  dedicated church building. 

We are the church and God is present in our midst when we gather. When we focus on Him or gather in His name He reveals Himself and ministry takes place. 

Revolutionary and foundation rocking ideas it would seem since I do not hear it preached anywhere. Wait would it put preachers as we know them out of jobs? Could that be why they do not seem to have this revelation or feel released to share it.

A new thought I am grappling with is the idea that the church is more a community than a family. It might be because I grew up surrounded by my small nuclear family. 

Holidays meant special dining not extra people coming over. Roles were clearly defined. I had parents and an older brother. We did not even have pets. 

Diversity of gifting? What would that have looked like? I have no idea.

Community on the other hand lends it self in my opinion better to encompassing all that the Body of Christ is called to do. Community has the very old and the very young, it has commerce, it has art. 

Maybe it is just semantical but I like the sound of the Body as community.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Do You Have A Tithing Testimony?

It was September 2003. I am a single mother. I was making $1000 a month and my rent was $500. 
My child support was set at a little over two hundred dollars a month but we had never seen a check for that. One day in 2001 I got a random check for around $1000 but other than that we never saw a penny from my daughter’s father. 
Circumstances aside I knew the Bible says to tithe. God had taught me about tithing as a child living at home so I was eager to just get with the program and be obedient.
As a child my parents used to give me a little bit of money to put in the offering plate at church. I did this blindly for years until it came to me that I could easily pocket the money for my own use.
Every time I tried that the money got lost, stolen or wasted. It never went to the things I was hoping to use it for. I knew it was a sign. God was showing me to be honest and respectful to Him and my parents.
He doesn’t need our money He wants our hearts. He wants our focus and to know we will obey the things He asks us to do. 
Back to September 03, I was attending a new church. 
During the week I write out a tithe check in anticipation for Sunday service. I give it and am just preparing to make due with what is left believing God will stretch and provide.
Before the check is deposited and the money leaves my account I get my first child support check in the mail. Two hundred and change is more double the tithe.
I could call that coincidence but I decided to believe that God was trying to show me His approval of my obedience.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Do You Hate Mondays?

As usual I am excited but not quite sure what where my excitement could lead...

Finally living in my own space again means I can invite people over.

I wish my little condo was big enough for a big dinner party.

My heart breaks for the isolation we all experience living our lives even as we see each other sometimes daily. The healing begins with reaching out. 

So...who's free on Mondays...?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Church Diversity A Book Shout Out

So I got my cyber hands on an early copy of the new book by @ScottWilliams who you can find on Twitter and other places on the web.  

Church Diversity: Sunday, The Most Segregated Day of the Week
Weren't we just discussing race and the Church? Wait lol it’s not a discussion it’s my mixed race life. I was telling the new believers I have met, it is just comfortable for me to be involved with people that do not look like me.

God knew He would eventually break down these racial walls and He has and is raising generations to embody what church is supposed to look like.

The book tells mostly the authors personal story. There are 8 short chapters and less than 200 pages.
  • The Most Segregated Day of the Week.
  • Confront the Elephant in the Pew
  • Everything Starts with Leadership: Leading Beyond the Dream
  • The Great Omission
  • Corporate America Cares More Than the Church
  • Churches Ahead of the Curve: Small Stories Shaping the Big Picture
  • Diversity in Worship
  • Back to the Basics: The ABCs of Church Diversity
  •  
I feel blessed to be able to say all but a couple of local churches I have attended in recent years seems to have a handle on these issues. You can see my previous posts on the issue of race or the one on my church hopping adventures if you would like specifics.

Maybe we are spoiled to live in Sacramento which is so extremely diverse. It helps I am sure that it is a busy big capital city. It probably also has to do with being a Californian. Few people you meet are actually from here.

When I was homeschooling it would some times come up that presumably homeschoolers are all white. I would laugh and say even if that was true when theChild and I show up we bring the diversity.

A more relevant problem that I hear about is fellow students complaining about praise & worship in school. Yikes I don’t get it but then I am just versatile. The only problem I see is main stream modern Christian music. I miss the diversity of genre.

Living as a heathen I enjoyed rock and heavy metal along with pop and gansta' rap. 103.9FM is like easy listening by comparison. I think they could do a lot to widen the taste of their audience. Maybe when my autographed book comes I will send it for them to check out.

Get this book, join the conversation on your own blogs and Twitter. Use the hash tag #ChurchDiversity. It will lead you to others who are reviewing along with me.