12 December 2010

Thank God for Mama

I know this title sounds like a good old Southern made up church song, but I mean it! I really mean it. I thank God for Autrey Jean, Bert and Duda's baby girl. Her husband's wives, her siblings' sister, her relatives' "Aunt Sister" and our Mama. My Mama.

I thank her for doing her best, even when we thought it was her worst. I thank God for her loving God, reading God's word every day, fussing at us with God in mind. I thank God for her good cooking, clean housekeeping, open house, hospitality to kinfolk and skin-folk. I thank God that she is living, getting old, showing her sweeter, and still being funny.

I decorated the house and decked the halls for the Holy-Days. Thank you Mama.
I folded cloth napkins and set the table for casual and formal dining. Thank you Mama.
I found every 24 hour pharmacy within a 10 mile radius for someone else. Thank you Mama.
I smile at babies and hold doors for old ladies. Thank you Mama.
I still say, at 50, Yes Ma'am and No Sir, to gray hair and bent bodies. Thank you Mama.

My son imitates the grace and love you taught me. Thank you Mama.

I thank God and Mama most for praying for her children -- daily.  I love it most when she tells me that she prays for us. I love her a lot when she calls to tell me that she is worried about me relocating from sunny Southern California to the Windy (and unexpectedly snowy) City.  I thank God that I have to sense to give thanks for Mama's prayers.

Thank you God, for my Mama.

Laughing, Giving Thanks in the Guffaw

"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength."

When I discovered my predisposition to depression was not an evil disposition but an organic disability, I took seriously to relying on humor to heal.  And here it is in the Word of God, my favorite source of inspiration, that laughing is complimentary beneficial to my wholeness as is psychotherapy and psychotropics. As both medicinal therapy ends and talk therapy becomes less intensive, when I begin to feel the unspecified listlessness that precedes a depressive episode, I find funny to refocus. 

And, I laugh! I laugh out loud, not just LOL. I laugh long, as opposed to my former aptitude to merely titter. I laugh til I cry, a visceral release of joy. I laugh at myself, at others, at the whimsy of a laughing God.  

Today I thank God for healing humor. Laughing often and much matters. Oh what a gift of grace and mercy.

08 December 2010

Thank You God -- I am Losing Track

When I commenced this 40-day Giving God thanks meme, I thought it would be a breeze to check in and give God a shout out every day.  On the contrary, I am finding this spiritual discipline to be quite a contemplative exercise. I find myself talking over with God which praise report to post! When I think of God's goodness!!!

When I think of God's goodness I fall all over my thoughts wondering which gets written so all who run by can read it.  When I think of God's favor I "rear back and hollah" like sanctified women used to do in the stodgy Baptist church of my youth. When I think of God's grace I grin and of God's mercy I weep.

I have lost track of which day this is to be in this exercise. However, I do know God has not lost track of God's greatness in my life and manifested in the lives of those I know and love. For that I am most grateful to our most gracious God!

05 December 2010

Thank You God for Community

Dear God, thank you for community. Community which transcends time zones and space, class and race, soup lines and charitable gifts. Thank you God for community which rends denominationalism and sexual orientation minutiae when Your children long to get together under Your banner of love. How few are the degrees of separation when we delight in knowing one another and being know my one another! Thank you God that I belong to a family of believers in You and Your Love.

Thank You God 4 of 40

 Thank you God that welcoming hospitality is as much of Christian mandate as it seems natural to my Texan raised in a big family heart. Thank you that I enjoy meeting people, discovering You in them, and learning to love through them face after face (and sometimes through this communal phenom called social networking).  Thank you that what others call popular, You anointed me with an attractive spirit to which many are compelled to hear what I have to say, come when I call to gather, and leave my presence more often smiling than begrudged.  Thank you for Your joy!

Thank You Note to God Day 3 of 40

Thank you God for calling me to Mother. Giving birth to Jay has been the holiest work I have ever done. Thank you being our Father and Lord, Protector and Provider. Thank you for creating me with talents and the opportunities to use them. Thank you for manifesting many of these talents in my son. Thank you that he attributes his fierceness as an inheritance from me.  Thank you.

02 December 2010

Give Thanks 2/40

Thank you God for calling the minister who preached in chapel today. She reminded us that "the time for justice, the time for freedom, and the time for equality is always, is always right now!" (Samantha in The Great Debaters, 2007)


Oh, Lord, hear our praise!

I Am Bossy, Bossy, Bossy... or Am I Just Persistently Insistent?

Some women vehemently decry being called out of their name as the “B-word.”  I comparably loathe being called out of my nature as the other “B-word” aka Bossy.  And so I wrestle with my discontent at being called bossy several times a day for the past week as I tend my partner-in-process while she is recuperating from a temporary disability.

The way I see it... I am a bottom line now, get warm and fuzzy after business is taken care of kinda gal. Whether assuring her comfort specifically, or completing any task generally, my communication style is direct and succinct. She calls it “going for the jugular.” Hmmm.

The way I see it... I am most effective when I can respond with efficiency of effort aka following a to-do list, errands route, and layered tasks. An instance of each:  write out grocery list grouping items found in the same area of the store, before getting out of the house plan to run errands from the furthest point to the closest upon my return home (and preferably run errands only two days a week, completing them within a four hour period), and do laundry while sorting closet or warm pizza in oven while pulling holiday decorations from storage closet. I am not sure that she gets that I need to have a plan of action day-by-day that may accommodate diversions in an emergency, but not every addition to a plan constitutes a must-to-today.

The way I see it... when I am dependent on others or when others are dependent on my preparation and/or perspiration, then I have the responsibility to speak up, speak out, and take action to tend the best results. She calls me bossy.

No, she is not the first one to call me bossy. However, the same ones who call me bossy, call me, text me, write me, and expect me to be there when they need to have something done well, right, and swiftly.  Even when they “tease” and call me bossy with a smile on their faces I cringe -- feels more like they are calling me the other “B-word” with a cherry on top.

Just when I was about to get depressed and ired over this impish word, one I have grown to respect told me that he appreciates my “sweet persistent insistence” to care my partner-in-process through healing discomfort to wholeness.

Sweet persistent insistence.  No one can say that without smiling!

01 December 2010

Tis the Season to Go Broke or Be a Blessing

On Black Friday I slept in with my partner-in-process as she recovered from elective foot surgery the day before Thanksgiving.  We were utterly exhausted this day after a lovely  Thanksgiving dinner with friends who cleared the table, stored leftovers, and washed dishes. Talk about giving thanks!


On Small Business Saturday I made inventory of who would receive my furniture and art for Christmas and Kwanzaa gifts as I relocate across the country from ten months of summer to six months of wintry weather. I will not sell any thing and only hope those Spirit spoke to me to be recipients find the items useful and beautiful.


On Cyber Monday I staved the desire to shop online to chat up the Salvation Army bell ringer in front of Walgreens.  I hope he was encouraged by my smile and pausing to acknowledged his humanity while serving an organization which is most likely helping him regain a measure of human dignity.  Because I travel cashless I did not have a dollar or dime to drop in the red bucket.  However, he was delighted, as was I, when I told him that the Salvation Army accepts Donations by Text! That's right! To make a $5 donation to the Salvation Army, text the BELL to 85944; or to make a $10 donation text GIVE to the same number.


I've yet to purchase a single holiday inspired item this year.  My wrap and ship gift list is very short: the partner-in-process and our children.  This is my way of showing them my pride and gratitude that we are people who are a blessing to others all year long; and that there is no need for us to go broke this season frivolously. Whether extending hospitality to friends or sharing a smile with strangers, being a blessing never ends up in the red or marked down on the clearance rack. 



What if.. We Just Gave Thanks!

Oh magnify the Lord with me; let us exhalt God’s name together! (Psalm 34:3)
גַּדְּלוּ לַיהוָה אִתִּי וּנְרֹומְמָה שְׁמֹו יַחְדָּו׃


A FaceBook Friend posted this challenge:  For the next 40 days, join me in giving God thanks. And so today I begin participating in this spiritual discipline.
Giving God thanks and praise that tonight I am fully present. Here in the basement, on the sectional in complementary repose across from my good friend, best lover, favorite dinner date, and life partner in process.  Like an couple with a history of decades, we began just last month when I arrived across country to commence on our history of decades, one day at a time.


  • Today I give God thanks that she is healing well from elective foot surgery.
  • Today I give God thanks that she says and does longings of my heart without provocation.
  • Today I give God thanks that she laughs with me, every day, over something really silly.

Today, I give God thanks that tonight looks nothing like this time last year; nothing like this time the past decade.  



###

21 October 2010

Giving God Thanks and Praise : Aiyisha's Father's Love

Family, just catching up with myself and wanted to pass along this article on Aiyisha's suicide.  Giving God thanks and praise that her father, a PCUSA Pastor, comes out loud and strong about his love of his daughter and declaration against homophobia and heterosexism. 

Aiyisha Hassan
Pray for me that I know the next and best way to reach out to Aiyisha's parents (and grandparents and aunts and cousins who are members of my home congregation).  Since I am staying the course with the PCUSA church, I vowed to call Aiyisha's full name before preaching.  I kept my preaching appointment this past Sunday and called for a moment of silence in her memory.  

What next? I will to be her voice until we meet again.

19 October 2010

Wear Purple Wednesday : To Remember, To Prevent, Lest We Forget

Beloved Womanists* and Community, as a simple gesture of momentous mindfulness, please WEAR PURPLE TOMORROW (10/20/2010) "To Remember, To Prevent, Lest We Forget":




Aiyisha Asilee Lindiwe Hassan, 19
T-SHIRTpurple.jpg tshirt purple image by mictsui196

Justin Aaberg,  15
Billy Lucas, 15
Asher Brown, 13
Seth Walsh, 13
Raymond Chase, 19
Tyler Clementi, 18





There is not enough grief to cover or compensate the loss of life and giftedness no longer dwelling in our midst with the passing of these young people. We must also pause to acknowledge many others who never made the headlines.  Not to pathologize LGBTQI youth, however, one queer youth choosing to take their life instead of live their life is one too many. 

Wear Purple Wednesday has gone viral. "It Get's Better" videos have overrun YouTube with hope. Other consciousness raising and passive activism initiatives have been launched on a grassroots level. Yet, I am compelled to command more from the adult queer community to SHOW queer young people, and all young people, that they are more than okay, they are perfect manifestations of lovable, able, capable human beings. It is time that we COME OUT, LIVE OUT, and BE OUT in our families, communities, jobs, churches, and government. I believe that it is the all pervasive oppression of shame, fear and silence which undermines a message of hope. Hope is best lived, not lipped.

COME OUT to save a young person's life.
What better time to mobilize in numbers and by name to come out from wherever we are closeted?  To whomever we have feared? For whatever reason negotiating survival trumped thriving as out and pr9ud?

LIVE OUT to save a young person's life.
Introduce your "friend" with the most accurate and highest endearing name which best describes your relationship.  If over 30, retire the ambiguous "girl/boyfriend."  If living together or loving together more than two years (give or take the stars in the sky and in your eyes aligning), tell the truth, you are not just "roommates" or "BFFs". 

BE OUT to save a young person's life.
If Gay Pride Parades are your thing, definitely not mine as are also not any kind of parade watching, parade on main streets in feathers or leathers. More than anything, normalize your life and your love. If you have to think about not appearing to be LGBTOI / Queer, it is in that moment that you must push past your fear, shame, negotiation for survival to BE instead of not be your authentic self.

Yes, there are a plethora of gay youth and suicide prevention programs. Still, I believe that to dismantle this burden of hopelessness we will have to come out one by one, albeit en masse, so that young people see us, really see us whole and bold; no longer cowering in the corners and trembling on the fringe. Hope cannot be programmed, hope must be practiced!

Come out! Live out! Be out! to save a young person's life. 
PLEASE. 

* is committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female.

18 October 2010

Petition: Clergy (and Academics) Against Bullying

Sign Petition Here: Clergy Against Bullying


Theologians and Academics are encouraged to sign also.


Today, as leaders of Christian communions and national networks, we
speak with heavy hearts because of the bullying, suicides and hate
crimes that have shocked this country and called all faith communities
into accountability for our words or our silence. We speak with hopeful
hearts, believing that change and healing are possible, and call on our
colleagues in the Church Universal to join us in working to end the
violence and hatred against our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
brothers and sisters.




16 October 2010

Thank You Note to an Ally

In this week's Washington Posts, ON FAITH, Dr. Valerie Elverton Dixon, Founder of Just Peace Theory . com writes this insightfully moving Ally Affirmation of Queer personhood. 

God's overflowing love and the heterosexual obligation

http://onfaith.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/panelists/valerie_elverton_dixon/2010/10/gods_overflowing_love_and_the_heterosexual_obligation.html




When receiving gifts, Mama told me to write thank you notes. And so...


Valerie, I receive your offering. My gratitude is reflective from both personal and political discourse -- if even there would be a demarcation.

Thank you for being ally; however, I refer to you as sister. Anyone who clearly advocates for my being for the sake of wholeness of the human community is more than friend -- I call you sister.

I call you sister because our sameness is with each breath and monthliness. 

I call you sister because grits and beans are our comfort foods.

I call you sister because you accept me vertically and verbose; and respect me when I am horizontally reposed with my lover.

I call you sister because in this street fight you hold my earrings and vaseline but dont mind losing yours when fighting alone gets the best of me.

I call you sister because you call on our common Ally in Creator and Christ, Jesus and Justice, Holy Work of Holy Spirit.

I call you sister because we came out the Womb giggling and holding hands; and now facing the Tomb giving so much and holding each other.

I call you sister for not being afraid -- not of me, but of yourself and your sexuality. 

I call you sister for understanding that you need me as much as I need you. 

I call you sister for believing for me and calling others to believe likewise on my behalf that when God created me/Me God still says, "She's good."

In Womanlove and Peace from the inside out...
Raedorah

12 October 2010

Prayer Vigil: Chilean Miners Rescue

Praying for Chilean Miners and NASA Engineers / Rescue Squad. Averaging 2 miners per hour. 15 more hours to go at this rate. The 34th miner should be out by 2p tomorrow.

Calling on the prayer chains to tarry all night long. Lighting prayer candles and singing praise songs on the West Coast til Midnight. Who's praying with me. For them. For their families.  Rescuers and Miners alike.

Oh Lord, hear our prayers.

Follow Live Update:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/chile/8058924/Chile-Miners-Rescue-Live.html

“Blessed to be Born this Way” | a sermon on John 9:1-12

This Sunday: October 17, 2010:  11a

-- Hope You will Meet Me Here --

West Hollywood Presbyterian Church
Rev. Dan Smith, Pastor
7350 Sunset Blvd. at Martel St.
(between LaBrea and Fairfax)
Los Angeles, CA   90046
323-874-6646
www.wehopres.org


Life’s Lessons:
"Blessed to Be Born This Way"
Being differently-abled does not mean one is disabled
in the Kingdom of God and Community of Faith!

This Sunday we welcome the Rev. Raedorah Stewart as our preacher and worship leader!  Raedorah is the first “out” African- American lesbian Candidate for Ministry in our Presbytery – and probably in the whole Presbyterian Church!  She is a powerhouse of a  preacher!

Reflection:
Jesus’ disciples encountered a person who was blind from birth.  They asked “Was it this individual’s sin that caused the blindness, or that of the parents?”  Jesus answered, “It wasn’t anyone’s sin - not this person’s, nor the parents’.  It was to let God’s works shine forth in this person.” --John 9:1-12

"A Hand"
by Alice “Tina” Hawkins a Graduate of Gallaudet College* © 2006

There’s beauty in the way a hand
Can carve a word in air,
There’s beauty in the way a hand
Can give lift to a prayer,
There’s beauty in the way a hand
Can trace a song in space,
There’s beauty in the way a hand
Can light a deaf child’s face.
Though, we can’t hear the spoken word
Or leaves rustling on a tree,
We can hear the beauty
of a word that we can see.
There’s beauty in the way a hand
Can make the things you say
Seem soft as rain, hard as stone,
And clear and bright as day.
The spoken word can’t do these things,
But words in signs can be
More vivid and more meaningful,
For they’re something we can see.

*(Gallaudet College is a nationally recognized college
for persons who are deaf and hard of hearing.)


By Hand and Voice I Declare...

... that Aiyisha Hassan did not die in vain. I dedicated this voice of mine and calling of God to make safe the way for LGBTQI-Allies youth in particular, all people, generally. 


 Aiyisha Hassan: 19 Years Old -Suicide In Southern CA 








When I can see better and my tears slow down I will be more eloquent. For now, know that Aiyisha's life will not be disregarded.  My call demands I speak through my pain. I must believe for Aiyisha's family, church family, and myself that in the midst of this hurt God is redemptive. But for tonight, I simply feel and cry and grieve and sigh, for Aiyisha.



Services for
AIYISHA HASSAN
Services in Los Angeles will be on
Wednesday, October 13, at 10am,
at Westminster Presbyterian Church,
2230 W. Jefferson Blvd @ 3rd Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90018.
We are also planning a memorial service in the Bay Area on Saturday, Oct 16th, location to be announced. We ask that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to your church’s scholarship fund for those attending college. We are very grateful for the prayers, calls, visits, and other expressions of sympathy.