We’ve arrived at the time of year when folks are once again engaged in the activities of holiday planning. We have triple holidays forthcoming that are close to one another, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Lots of people consider this season a favorite. Yes, planning; church programs; traveling; shopping; decorating; cooking; diet busting eating; social gatherings; sports engagements; and time off from jobs and school. How many people, though, are mindful that folks had loved ones who transitioned during holiday seasons? Some have loved ones who passed away on Christmas Day last year. How challenging will it be for them this Christmas? How will they cope with the grief and the memories? What are ways that we can ease their holiday sorrows? Scores of elderly people are often lonely. It’s enhanced during this time of year. There are folks in nursing homes that rarely, if ever, get visitors. Gratitude extends to people who are considerate to include elderly folks in their holiday events. It’s good that nursing homes haveContinue reading »

My heart goes out to the folks involved in child custody issues. Comfort, though, is in the awareness that God is an ever-present help. Psalm 46:1 – KJV, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Yes, no matter what happens, God is love and what the Bible teaches about love and the Lord’s aid provides immense measures of relief. There are instances when, due to actions of vindictiveness, people are being deprived of access to their children. Of course, there are cases when such access is deemed safe and in the best interest of the subject children. We know, though, that there are situations when there are issues of spiteful deprivation. Particularly, disturbing are the times when youth are relocated to foreign countries, which makes custody matters even more challenging. Christians are some of those involved in heart-wrenching custody battles. It’s so draining for parents to be engaged in those sharp disagreements. Of course, children suffer considerably through the ordeals. Thanks be unto God thatContinue reading »

Many families, over the years, have kept secrets, particularly from children. My mom passed away when I was a teenager. I just learned, this year, that she’d been diagnosed with schizophrenia. That revelation put some of the pieces of the puzzle together for me. As I remember, I now somewhat get why she sometimes exhibited bizarre and weird behavior. I now know reasons why my mom’s personality shifted from calm to scattered mindsets and actions. As a youth, in the seasons when my mom wasn’t in a sane mental place, I was ashamed of her. A few of my childhood peers would tease and taunt about my mother. They considered her crazy. In assorted ways, the situation was traumatic for my family. In the midst of all of the confusion and disarray, I was certain that my mother loved us. When she was in her states of clarity, Mom was loving, kind, generous, sweet and joyful. Also, she was a loving and faithful Christian who sincerely loved God. I’m gratefulContinue reading »

Shame sought to intrude in my peace places – It’s aim was to rattle me Shame reminded me with noise in my ears – Reminders were launched at me in rapid fire motions Shame taunted me, ridiculed and sought to bully me I grabbed the escape hatch from the bible fully aware that there are no temptations that our Lord hasn’t provided ways of escape Shame was answered with confidence accompanied by blessed assurances Oh, how wondrous to know that God transcends shame, pain, sorrow, and uncertainties Shame wanted in – Our Lord said, no Entrance was denied – Shame pouted and skulked away despondent and defeated Score another victory for the ways of God that manifest triumphantly.

Fire trials seared within Strangle holds manifested giving multiplied discomforts I wondered, will I ever escape these burning uncertainties? I wondered, where, oh, where is the way out? Fire kept burning – Smoke captured me in its choking grip I wondered, exit, where are you? Suddenly, the air cleared – My channels opened Relief had arrived – Fire diminished to a mere smolder Ah, breezes entered – Passages of air swirled within The fire’s strong grip on my faculties was temporary God used the high temperatures to teach, to purge, to rid of some needless branches to better the standing Whew! I’ve crossed over to the other side where some fire still flickers . . . but no longer am I choked by the smoke Release is a happy place . . . !

Recently, I watched a video clip where a son (my guess is that he was in his late teens) expressed to his mother that he didn’t believe in God. She reacted in anger and went on to tell him that he wouldn’t be getting anything for Christmas since he didn’t believe in the Christ of Christmas. Partly, that video inspired me to write this piece. What’s the best way to handle when youth, particularly, in same households with adult Christians, don’t believe in God? It can be tough calls, indeed. Some parents/guardians practice tough love in such circumstances. Youth are forced to attend church and to participate in Christian practices. In some instances, resentment resides in the youth. On the flip side, some parents/guardians don’t coerce youth to engage in what doesn’t spiritually appeal to them. They allow the youth to “freely” express themselves. What, though, is the best way? In my opinion, there are no hard and fast rules as to what’s best. Each family handles the predicaments inContinue reading »

We’re surrounded by gifts — Priceless gifts of love and splendor Gifts with no expiration dates I stepped outside today and connected with multiple gifts — Trees, birds, clouds, rain and snow I danced in their presence A dance of joy, freedom and gratitude — Thankfulness manifested in fluid motions in sync with the movements of love It was a happy dance despite what appears with aims to distract — We press through with awareness that we dwell in the habitation of God Our Lord provides bountiful and abundant gifts — Days and nights we’re presented with more gifts — How precious and treasured that LOVE is the best gift of all.

It happens often that mentally challenged and considerably obese people are mocked and marginalized. They receive rude stares and remarks, as well as insensitive actions. Bullying occurs relative to them, also. Mentally challenged and considerably obese people are precious, too. God’s love abundantly extends to them just as it does to the folks who don’t have such conditions. Compassion is the godly order for all of humankind. We can do and express things that relieve such challenged people. We can smile, hug and assure them of the love of the Lord, and that we care. Actions often speak louder than words. Our compassionate words need “feet” that provide evidence of our love and consideration for folks who are often mocked. Parents/guardians and other responsible adults should teach youth how to engage with people who are bullied and, overall, dismissed. Also, peers of bullied youth should speak up and demonstrate kindness towards them. There’s the saying that we lead by example. Our lifestyle postures should consistently reflect that we care. IContinue reading »

I wonder how many folks realize the enormous toll that occurs in the lives of those who are care tenders for those who can no longer independently care for themselves. Emotionally, it can be draining. Physically, it can be taxing, as well. Yes, typically, people do love those whom they care for but that doesn’t eliminate the issues that affect the care tenders. There are folks who have outside jobs and careers with the added responsibilities of tending to dependent loved ones. Many care tenders have little or no additional help thus they have to do social engagements with their dependent loved ones, laundry, grocery shopping, medical appointments, business duties, cook, clean, monitor, and other assorted tasks. Also, the social lives of care tenders are considerably altered, which can be depressing. Yes, care tending can be grueling indeed. Love is certainly often in motion, but exhaustion on spiritual, mental and physical levels still exists. Whew. My heart goes out to those folks who are in such circumstances. Support groups sureContinue reading »

Amber and her family have moved to Evergreen Lane in Tampa, Florida. Geographically, they love it but emotionally their hearts are deeply attached to the east coast where extended family remains. Job duties called Trent, Amber’s father, to Tampa; responsibly, he answered the workplace need. In the laundry room, pony-tailed Monica, clothed in a red and white polka dot sundress, hums along with the low playing classical music on the radio. She taps her flip flop clad narrow foot to the tune of the soothing music. Smiling as she folds Trent’s assorted basketball uniform shorts, Monica thinks of his passion for the game. “That husband of mine loves his basketball nights.” Dressed snappily in her blue denim capris and tie-died tee shirt, lithe Amber enters the laundry room. “What’d you say, Mom?” She rests her three-fingered hand on the warm dryer. How’d that hand matter come to be? Amber was born minus her pinky and index fingers. Monica cheerfully answers, “Oh, I was absorbed about your dad and his basketballContinue reading »