Category Archives: kingdom

Serenity Sunday

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This was a special memory, a time when our church walks to the African

Methodist Episcopalian Church in Delaware, Ohio. The way the ‘body of

the church’ there responds to the words of the Gospel, is quite amazing.

My young children, ages 1, 3 and 5 had seen a few movies with the responses

that different cultures have to religion.

We were open-minded,

had chosen to go to the

Asbury Methodist Church

to visit,

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church,

and then, this summer Sunday,

we had been entering

First Presbyterian Church

for the first time.

My three children were all ‘slicked up’ in their Sunday’s best clothes. The

two girls in matching dresses, ‘baby’ in my arms, since she was still pretty

clingy. The people we saw pouring out of the church, were all friendly,

but wait! Had I missed the time? Were they starting earlier, in summer?

One very open, sweet faced petite ‘elderly’ woman, older than my parents

who were in their fifties, (I, only thirty, considering my parents… “old!”)

stopped to tell me that the whole congregation ‘exchanged’ or ‘visited’

the other church, AME church, in the summer for one Sunday and then,

the following one, their whole church came to ‘ours.’

When we entered their church, you must walk up a long, steep set of

steps. They had an elevator, for those who were needing it. This group of

well-dressed black people on the first floor and outside the door, looked

like they were in the receiving line of a wedding. All were such warm,

smiling faces. I was glad I had not turned around at First Presby and

gotten into my car to go home!

Their were a few children who greeted my children, some giving hugs,

as encouraged by their parents and what appeared to be grandparents.

 

The Gospel songs, rejoicing and praising the Lord were awesome on

this Sunday. For many years since I arrived in Delaware,

in the late Summer of 1986,

I have walked or driven straight there.

Knowing how blessed I would feel, enriched and most importantly,

LOVED after the service.

I had known of Maya Angelou, due to being born in Cleveland, my

parents having chosen, during their retirement around 1979, to move

to Vermilion, Ohio. Maya went to college in Oberlin, where my parents

had chosen their ‘final’ church to attend. The service included this poem.

I know this because it has helped me, made me continue to feel loved,

throughout many years since that first visit at the AME church.

There are many poems, books and thoughts (quoted frequently) that

Maya wrote, but these powerful words were ‘given to me’ on that first

Sunday morning of church in Delaware, Ohio, in the articulate man

who preached to us the Word of Christ:

 

“CHRISTIANS

by Maya Angelou

(April 14, 1928 – May 28, 2014)

 

When I say. . . ‘I am a Christian’

I’m not shouting ‘I’m clean livin’

I’m whispering ‘I was lost

Now I’m found and forgiven.’

 

When I say. . . ‘I am a Christian’

I don’t speak of this with pride.

I’m confessing that I stumble

And need Christ to be my guide.

 

When I say. . . ‘I am a Christian’

I’m not trying to be strong.

I’m professing that I’m weak

And need His strength to carry on.

 

When I say. . . ‘I am a Christian’

I’m not bragging of success.

I’m admitting I have failed

And need God to clean my mess.

 

When I say. . . ‘I am a Christian’

I’m not claiming to be perfect,

My flaws are far too visible

But, God believes I am worth it.

 

When I say. . . ‘I am a Christian’

I still feel the sting of pain.

I have my share of heartaches

So I call upon His name.

 

When I say. . . ‘I am a Christian’

I’m not holier than thou,

I’m just a simple sinner

Who received God’s good Grace, somehow!”

 

I am off to babysit, really play with, my grandchildren.

I give them little parts of my faith,

pieces of God,

to love

and

pray.

 

I have an overnight planned,

so won’t be posting

tomorrow either!

 

 

Single Ladies Unite!

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On June 4, 1948, Marion Richards placed a greeting card and a corsage on

some of her coworker’s desks. Inside each card, she left a special message

and in honor of her choice of words, there is a holiday on June 4th to celebrate!

She had chosen, you see, women who were over thirty years of age and were

unmarried at the time. She wanted them to feel loved and cared for, despite

their status.

This day is called, “Old Maid’s Day!!”

Oh my! Let’s see, in that time period my Dad was 16 years old and my

Mom was 20 years old.

Both my parents had aunts that were unmarried, due to choice, situation

or loss of a husband. They lived in separate homes, leading active and

productive lives.

My Great Aunt Marie had lost her husband to death while young. She had

worked until she was 67 years old at Gorton’s Fish Company in Gloucester.

She was one of the ‘highlights’ of my 16th summer in 1972. She had a little

red sports car and would take me to the drive-in movies, pick up young (and

cute) hitch-hikers when we were heading out of town. She would carry on the

liveliest and most interesting conversations. She was a good ‘role model’ for

my future dates by being independent and leading a positive life. I remember

one of her favorite outfits that she wore. She had a bright coral blouse and a

beautiful silk scarf with a floral design that included the color of turquoise.

She showed creativity and good fashion sense, which I liked to think about

as time went by She showed a ‘joi de vivre.” She will always be, in my eyes:

Forever young!

When my Great Aunt Marie was 92, I went to visit her. She still had her

own apartment, liked to walk to Bingo, to McDonald’s and the stores

in Gloucester.  When I woke up early to hear her lilting voice raised in

song, I walked slowly and quietly into the kitchen to find her dancing.

There she was floating on her toes, gracefully pirouetting and spinning.

When that song that says, “I Hope You Dance” came out, I carefully copied

all the words and mailed it to her. We were pen pals, and although she

never remarried, she always professed love for Pete, her husband who

had died. She never expressed regrets for not having children and truly

seemed interested in mine. I kept some of her letters, since they hold

such amazing positive words of encouragement. She was not lonely and

made friends up until she died at age 96! No worries for her being an

“Old Maid!” Not in her vocabulary or sensibility.

My Great Aunt Harriet was also a widow, a little older than my Aunt Marie,

but still would take her easel out Bearskin Neck and paint boats and the

infamous Rockport, Mass. red boathouse, Motif Number 1. She also was one

who would hop on her bicycle and go to the other ‘coves’ or inlets to use

her drawing pad. She was quite lively, intelligent and could get my 16 year

old self intrigued in everything from conservation, sea life, and politics!

Mom used to talk about her “elderly old maiden aunts,” which in reality

were cousins of hers. They were retired school teachers. They were not

related, so there were times, much later in my life, that Mom said one

time,

“I think they may have loved each other, choosing to spend their retirement

days, reading and volunteering at the library in Middletown, Ohio.”

Still later, while watching Sean Penn acting as the gay character with the

same name as the movie, “Milk,” she expressed thoughts that her maiden

aunts “may have been” lesbians adding,

“I guess we will never know for sure, since they never told anyone, that I

knew of, in the family.”

Tomorrow, (June fourth), is “My Day!” It may be “Your Day!”

In this world of crazy reasons to celebrate, rejoice in the feeling of being

‘free to choose whatever you wish to do,’ as long as you don’t go out and

break any laws, I don’t care if you even ‘play hooky from work!’

Many women, in today’s society, choose to remain unmarried well past

their 30’s. There is no ‘time limit’ or restrictions or even suggested age

that one must marry now. When women choose to focus on their careers,

their own paths in life, and possibly having children with no marriage

license. . .

I think, “Whatever works for you!”

If you haven’t found Mr. Right, he may just be around the corner.

(At least you have not settled for Mr. Wrong!)

If you are looking for Ms. Right, she may also be just around the corner.

(I hope you catch her eyes!)

If you are content in your ‘Single-dom,’

May it be a kingdom filled with

Joy, Independence and Tranquility!

Who needs an excuse to celebrate being single?

No one needs one, but it is fun to do so, anyway!

Any excuse for a Party of One!

In case you have forgotten the beautiful and inspirational lyrics of

Lee Ann Womack’s song’s lyrics are written by Mark D. Sanders

and Tia Sillers in 2000.

“I Hope You Dance”

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,

You get your fill to eat, but always keep that hunger.

May you never take one single breath for granted,

God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed.

I hope you still feel small

when you stand beside the Ocean.

Whenever one door closes,

I hope one more opens.

Promise me that you’ll give faith

a fighting chance,

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,

I hope you dance..

I hope you dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,

Never settle for the path of least resistance.

Living might mean taking chances but they’re worth taking.

Loving might be a mistake but it’s worth making.

Don’t let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter.

When you come close to selling out– reconsider.

Give the heaven above more than just a passing glance,

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,

I hope you dance…

I hope you dance.

Time is a wheel in constant motion,

Always rolling us along.

Tell me who wants to look back on

their years and wonder where those

years have gone”

(A couple of repeated stanzas and the “I Hope You Dance” repeats.)

If this song isn’t energetic enough, check out Martina Mc Bride’s

song, “This One’s for the Girls.” Of course, you can always rely on

the fun song, even sung by the little Chipmunks’ girlfriends can

be silly to dance to: “All the Single Ladies” by Beyoncé Knowles

and others.

A totally different song, a rowdy and controversial song with

anti-violence message and ending domestic abuse is called,

Independence Day,” sung by Martina McBride. This was not

played on radios because of the difficult subject matter of a mother

fighting back against abuse by burning her family’s home down.

The reason I support this song is due to Martina McBride’s being a

dual spokeswoman for the National Domestic Violence Hotline and

the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

“Independence Day” contains a powerful message for those who are

needing an ‘anthem’ to give them ‘backbone’ to get out of abusive

situations. I like it just to shout out the lyrics, “Let freedom ring!”

 

A Walk Towards Easter

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This is a good one to read, if you are following some

Lenten ‘walks’ which have you choosing to set aside

technology and giving up other outlets. We may need to

have more peace, quiet and meditation while we contemplate

God’s gift of his Son. This is taken from Ann Weems’ book,

“Kneeling in Jerusalem,” (1992).

Here is a poem by Ann Weems:

“Winding Down”

We run around the World and the church

like wound-up toys,

looking for a way to get to Easter

without reading the instructions.

When we wind down,

We lie on our faces,

unable to move.

Perhaps in the still and silence,

God will give us the courage

to see our souls

and give us the chance

once more

to choose Life;

Faith, rather than frenzy.”

Trip to the Kingdom

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In the course of my Wednesday evening, I had the pleasure of the

company of my two grandsons from my oldest daughter. They are

adorable, as all children are when related to yourself! I play the car

game, “My father (or mother, grandfather, uncle…) owns a grocery

store and in it, he sells… ” and we give a beginning letter or the first

letters of the product or item. We were heading for a 20 minute

away Burger King play area. They love the crowns and they were

getting strawberry milkshakes. Mom (my oldest daughter) gave

the “okay” since they had already eaten supper!

That night, we were teaching the four year old that the letter “C”

doesn’t just make a “K” or “S” sound. We told him that it can make

a “ch” blend sound. I gave him that explanation as a “hint” when he

had asked, “Is it edible?” So precious,to think they can learn such

things so young, don’t you think? And, he was off asking about was

it a drink or was it candy?, etc.  By the time we told him about the

“ch” sound he asked, “Is it chicken?”  We were so proud of him!

But then when I said, “No but you are getting this!” When I gave

him another hint, “It could be white, orange or yellow,”  he lost

track of the letter and shouted, “Mac and cheese!”

And, my word was ‘cheese’ so we gave him ‘credit.’ We play taking

turns guessing. Otherwise, his older brother, age 8, Skyler, would

“win” all the time!

We had driven halfway down the road and Micah said, “We saw

two movies, Nana, in this month.”

I asked, “Which ones and give me your reviews.” Skyler chuckled

but Micah asked, “What’s (has trouble with r’s) ‘bevoos’, Nana?”

I replied, “Tell me what they were and whether or not you like

them. Reviews mean, if you could tell a friend, would you say

you liked them?”

Micah asked Skyler, “Which one do you want me to tell her about?”

Skyler answered, “Whichever one you want!”

Micah said, “Nana, you would LOVE the movie, “Despicable Me 2!”

“Why did you like it so much?”

He thought a minute, “Because the bad guy isn’t as bad as he was

in the first one. This time you know he is not so mean, he likes the

little kids a lot.”

He added, “It is so funny!”

I asked, “Micah if you could give it stickers would you give it 3 or 4?”

He said, “Well, Nana it should get 10 stickers!” (So cute, huh?)

Next Skyler told me all about the movie, “Monsters University.”

He really liked it because it “is not for babies. It was very smart

and had a lot of fun things. A boy when he is on a school field

trip, rode a bus to visit the Monsters, Inc. company. There he

sees a guy named Frank who is able to be a good ‘scarer.’

Then, the boy grows up wanting to become a scarer, too. Did

I mention he is a boy monster? Anyway, he goes to college

called Montsters University. His roommate is named Randall

Boggs and looks like a chameleon monster that is like one of

those guys on that show you like, Big Bang Theory. What are

they called?”

I said, “They are scientists but can be considered ‘nerds’ or

they also are “Trekkies” like your Poppy in Dayton.”

Skyler said that he liked all the guys like Sulley who is kind of

rude and “obnoxious.”  He added, “This is a mature movie, not

for babies.”

I questioned a little about the old characters from the first movie

then asked, “What would you say for a rating system? I usually

use the newspapers to rate using four stars as the best… How

many would you give this one?”

“Nana, you have to give it 10 stars, because it is at least as good

as “Despicable Me 2!”

To summarize, both those mentioned animated movies should get

as many stars as possible and they are highly recommended by a

four and eight year old I know!

We arrived at the play area, snagged their shakes and I bought a

complete meal, Whopper Jr., onion rings with zesty sauce and a

large iced vanilla coffee. The boys took their shoes off, stopped

and asked, “Can we take our socks off, too?”

“Sure, we will use wipes after you play and clean up before you

go home.”

They proceeded to ask me to take a picture of them with their

crowns on their heads. I sent it to their mother and stepdad,

to their aunt (my youngest daughter who called them “precious”

in their crowns) and since Lenny had been texting me, I sent

him a picture, too. He pronounced them “fine looking kings!”

Lenny told me to tell them “hi” from him.

Next time they got out of the play area, having been down the

slide and making friends with other children, they asked about

the picture, I showed them the texts back to them. Skyler read

them to Micah.

“Mommy says, ‘awww!'” and repeated Aunt Felicia’s words to

Micah, but when he got to Lenny, I had to tell them that he is

who I am seeing now.

MIcah groaned, “What happened to Mark?”

I repeated what I told him a few months back, that we had

retried and made an attempt to be boyfriend and girlfriend,

but once all the effort to “catch me” was over, he turned out

he wanted to be with his ex-girlfriend of more years.

I explained that sometimes the longer time you are with a

person, the better you like them.

Skyler, a little too wise for his age, added, “My big sister

Breanna, for example went back to her old boyfriend

since he lives closer and is more convenient to where

she is now. (His half sister is a high school graduate

and off to Dayton to work and lives too far to see

her local boyfriend here in Delaware.)

The analogy was sort of enought to satisfy them

and answer the question.

But both boys came to a very nice and sweet conclusion:

“Lenny better be good to you, Nana! We don’t want you

to cry!”

On our way back to their house, we played “My father owns

a grocery store” and Skyler ‘stumped us.’ Turns out I could

think of tons of fruits and foods with the first letter “A” but

could not think of any vegetables. Micah “gave up” fairly

quickly but I kept racking my brain (feeble as it is sometimes!)

When he gave me a “hint” which we allow one for adults and

3 for kids, Skyler said, “You need them to make guacamole!”

Oh!  I forgot that he would know that avacados are a vegetable!

And I forgot that avacados are in his range of knowledge, too!

On the way to and from the kingdom of play and fun, we had

the most amazing conversations.

Relationships are always so special when children are in the car

and we are’media free’and captivated by their thoughts, vivid

imagination and conversation.

conversation