Showing posts from March, 2017


Why is it that when I'm in some real tough situations, all I seem to be able to do is to praise my God? I mean, I'm not as spiritual as that sounds. I'd rather watch TV most evenings than pray. I'd much rather talk to my best friend than listen to a deep theological lecture. Furthermore, I'm just as selfish as they come. Finally, I'm bored right now. I'm trying to be productive, but it's much easier to be creative and to blog than to be hard working. But let's get back on track, here.
I'm not devoted to home repair. Not in general, anyway. But one evening, I found myself laying vinyl tile in my bathroom. I was tired and overheated, and the last thing I wanted to be doing was laying tile. But I finished the job, and was still pumped about it days later. 
What does one have to do with the other? Why is laying tile like praise and worship? Believe me, it was a hard project. First, I peeled and scraped up all the old vinyl from the master bathr…

Why Cultural Differences Are a Good Thing

The best part of life consists in the experience of learning to navigate a new environment. When I've walked among people that I don't understand, I have found my inner self stretching and being renewed. Every new horizon opened me up to a new understanding of life. 
When I was a little girl, I spent the summers with my mom. She worked for a few hours every day, and so she sent me to a friend's house for babysitting. The family was African-American, and they had moved up from Georgia to New York City. They lived in a neat, clean, middle class neighborhood. They owned their own home, a lovely house with a little Chinese dog. An intact young family, they had kids who ranged from teen to little children like me. Their food was different, their way of handling conflict was different, and even their jokes were odd to me. Yet, as I learned to navigate this new glimpse into another world, I became a different person. 
I'd been raised to believe that black people were a diffe…

A Shelter Under Construction

When I was a very tiny child, the people who should have cared for me the most did a lot of harm. I'm the same way. I loved my kids. I did my best. But I messed up. I was angry and yelling when I should have been gentle and consistent. I wasn't a great mom. But boy did I wish that I could be. So when I write this, I'm not judging harshly. I'm just telling the facts.

Love covers a multitude of sins. But there's so much under the surface. Sometimes in hiding an action, we're not actually covering a sin, but continuing a legacy of evil acts. I cover the sin. My family was full of people loved me, family friends who wanted to do right, and they all tried to do right by me. They had faults that made them think that somehow this behavior wasn't wrong. They had blinders on. Even when they knew that it was wrong, they couldn't seem to stop. I know that. I love them anyway.

Charming, kind-hearted, friendly people used my body for their sexual gratification. They…

Bikinis and Jean Shorts

As a 13 year-old, I firmly believed that bikinis were only for supermodels, but on the day my aunt brought home a red and white polka-dotted string bikini, I became a bikini wearer. At first, of course, I decided that she must be unaware of my cellulite. I put it on to show her what I meant, and all she seemed to see was perfection. Well, getting me to wear the bikini to the pool was a struggle, because I didn't think that the one inch of cellulite that showed at the bottom of the panty was acceptable. My 4'11" skinny little aunt was undaunted. She said, "You have long legs and curves. Do you know what some women would give for a body like that?" She made me feel so silly about my self-conscious attitude that I wore the bikini and went swimming every afternoon for hours. 
Years later, I was an overweight young mom, and once again, I felt impossibly hideous. Now, my cellulite had spread, my curves were even curvier, and I had stretch marks. For years, I swam wit…

Failing Big

I had a neighbor who suffered a stroke. She was a sweet elderly lady who always waved at us and we at her. She worked cleaning houses, and she went to church faithfully every Sunday. She had a son who was mentally ill, and she walked with dignity and a poise that seemed to bely her years. She was an extraordinary lady, and I wished to be that awesome when I reached her age.

When she had a stroke, I felt certain that God was nudging me into preparing meals and taking them to her. However, I let my self-doubt get in the way. I asked myself why she'd want to eat my cooking. I decided that since the neighbor from the other house opposite hers was taking her food, she'd be fine. I told myself it was none of my business. I told myself that I had three kids and a husband and I could barely handle what I was dealing with in my own life. Yet, every day as I watched the man take a plate of food into the house, something within me screamed that I should have been the one doing it.

The la…