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.