Sunday, June 18, 2017

It's 9:11 pm in Chicago. I'm sitting on my porch swing because it is a perfect summer evening, weatherwise. It's cool. The air is fresh. There is a slight breeze whispering in the trees. But it's loud, very loud. Kids screaming. Fireworks blasting. Trains rolling by. Music bumping in cars. Police sirens everywhere. Grown adults screaming and fighting. A teenager on the phone working so hard for that girl to ask him over. Tonight is not a peaceful evening on my porch swing. But as I sit here wishing these kids would stop screaming to the right of me, I look to the left of me and what do I see? Tons and tons of fireflies. They are lighting up the empty field that is filled with trash because nobody cares about the beauty of the land. And they just keep lighting up. Two lights here, Five Lights there, One light hete, 10 more over there. It's so beautiful that all I can do is smile. I smile because it's a sign of something special. They only come out when the seasons transition. It's the first night that I've seen them this year. And they don't stop being a light in that empty field. Then God reminds me that's what he has called us to do. There are desolate places that don't look like much of anything. They look uncared for, unkept, ignored. But that's where the fireflies choose to fly tonight and give light to. It brings Beauty to that empty field.
Where is God calling you to be a light in a desolate place? To be Beauty in a place that is often ignored? And just like the Firefly, will you just keep glowing and glowing?
"Daddy thank you so much tonight that the Firefly was Beauty for me on such a hard day."
"You're welcome baby girl. Just a reminder of what I've called you to be. You know what it means to be in darkness and how much a ittle bit of light can pull you out of it. I will never leave you in darkness and the fireflies we're just my simple reminder to you."

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A day on my porch swing... this is life.
Its 9:04 pm in Chicago. I'm sitting on my porch swing. It's humid. It's raining. The air is thick. Normally, I would not be sitting out here but I just made a Father's Day video for my Daddy and am pretty emotional. So I had to go to my place of peace, my porch swing. While I'm sitting here, God started singing to me. That's right! The church bells are ringing! I sit here so excited... and so bummed at the same time. I TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT THE DAILY BELLS! How could I? That's how #PorchSwingLife started! I even used to set my alarm so I wouldn't miss it... and it's been so long, I forgot. All I can do is close my eyes, smile...and listen to the song. Hearing it seems to bring me right back to the time where I was so focused and centered. It triggered feelings of peace and joy. Then God reminded me how often we get so distracted, we easily forget - and take for granted - the simple things in life that give us life. We get so consumed with filling in the emptiness of our souls by doing, by buying, by numbing, by pretending that we forget to just be... be still... still enough to listen and hear... still enough to feel.... still enough to rest while he is singing... in my case, he sings everyday at 9:00 pm and I've been missing his sweet serenades... and I need to relearn what it means to just be his baby girl.

Back to the basics.
Alarm has been set again.
I will meet you at 9:00 pm on the porch swing Daddy... to be.
Just be.

‪#‎PorchSwingLife‬ ‪#‎SelfCare‬ ‪#‎KissOnForeheadFromGod‬

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Its 5:29 pm in Chicago. I'm sitting on my porch swing. Thunder. Lightening. Torrential Rain. Loud rain drops banging on the top of cars. The dry ground thanking the rain gods for quenching it's thirst. The flowers gearing up to bloom brighter. People yelling and running using whatever they have to cover their heads as they seek dry shelter. Little kids screaming every time thunder sneaks up and roars! and me...the only one on her street, swinging back and forth watching it all. And it's not normal's flood rain. It's the rain pounding so hard, it's louder than the Green line train that just passed. It's coming down so hard, you can see it in color.

This is what my inner self feels like today...for months actually. Tumultuous. Intense. Longing. Hard, soft, hard again.

And then God reminds me, rain, as inconvenient and troublesome as it can be, is also cleansing... it is cooling off Chicago after such a hot and humid day... it's feeding the earth so it can keep growing... it's giving free car washes to those who don't take time to wash's also giving you peace and quiet on your block to think of Me.

"I did pray for that yesterday, huh Daddy? That I could sit out here without all the neighbors yelling, music blasting, air smelling like kush... but some quiet on my porch swing?"

"You did baby girl. There will always be noise...even on the inside of you. Seek the noise that brings you peace. Seek my voice in the trees, the wind...and today, in the rain."

"I could get used to this noise Daddy. Rain some more please."

‪#‎PorchSwingLife‬ ‪#‎SelfCare‬ ‪#‎KissOnForeheadFromGod‬

Sunday, June 11, 2017

It's 10:07 pm in Chicago. I'm sitting on my porch swing. I've been inside all day because anyone that knows me knows I loathe heat...the icky sticky uncomfortable burning sensation brings out an attitude in me I'm not fond of. Today was predicted to be 94 degrees. Fate was decided for me. As I laid trying to go to bed, something was drawing me to my porch swing. Probably a desperate need for comfort. I anticipated it would be loud, muggy, humid, still stale air... but my City greeted me with unexpected kisses! A cool breeze that didn't stop making music with the rustling leaves. The breeze that brought my heavy spirit to life. The breeze is getting stronger and stronger. It feels like a dance sequence that first asks me to dance, slowly walking to the middle of the floor, then finding our rhythm together until we connect and steal everyone's attention. This cool breeze was like a blind date that was love at first sight, unexpected and beautiful. I don't want it to end. I close my eyes, the street is quiet other than the trees and leaves singing, i swing back and forth as my hair blows in my face and my tshirt does the wave from being puffed up. This. Is. Heaven. Not what I was expecting. What if I had missed this because I thought it would be different? What if I let my hatred of heat block me from wind's love for me?

And then God reminded me.... "Baby girl, life is full of unexpected moments. Life can change in an instant, in a moment. But I will always draw you to moments of peace in this crazy journey of life unexpected...if you listen."

"But Daddy, sometimes listening is scary because I don't know what to expect. Sometimes you ask too much."

"And that's why I long to give you these moments of peace.... more and more as we shhhhhh...close your eyes, feel my wind kisses on your cheek...and trust me."

"OK Daddy...can you smother me please? "

And in this moment, the wind fiercely started blowing...blowing kisses.

‪#‎PorchSwingLife‬ ‪#‎SelfCare‬ ‪#‎KissOnForeheadFromGod‬

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

It's 3:28 pm in Chicago. I'm sitting on my porch swing for the first time in weeks, maybe months. With all the traveling, hot weather, rain and just plain exhaustion, I have not been visiting my dear "friend" porch swing like I've wanted to. It feels oddly weird to sit here and feel calm, peaceful, disconnected to all the craziness of my life. To sit and pray. To be quiet. To close my eyes, inhale fresh air deeply and exhale stress and toxic thoughts. To feel the cool kisses of wind on my skin and face. To sip my sweet tea (I mean, this is exactly why it was created - for moments like this). My mind keeps going back to my to do list inside the house but God keeps bringing me back to the porch, the quiet.
"Just be in this moment baby girl. Enjoy my peace. Embrace my refreshment. So not be distracted from the hubbub and haste of life. Where you feel breathless and spent, sit in my stillness, in my healing."
How could I deny such love? The one thing I desire the most. A love that comforts, heals and sits with me in the chaos of my soul, the restlessness of my spirit, the anxiety of an unknown future. A love that sees me, knows the depths of me and still says You are the apple of my eye.
The wind keeps blowing. It's non stop. It feels refreshing, free...and then, right in my moment of silence, two teenagers starting yelling and screaming at each other. They won't stop. Reminds me of this battle we live in... Tension vs. Peace. Chaos vs. Peace. We can't escape the chaos but we can fight for moments of peace.
Thank you Daddy for today's moment.
Baby girl, thank you for pressing to take care of your spirit.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

It's 9:06 pm in Chicago. I'm sitting on my porch swing in this cool summer evening in the hood. As exhausted as my body feels, I was drawn to come and sit with God before I called it a night. I just had to pause as God sent me a hug in the sounds of the rustling leaves in the trees kissing my face with a cool breeze. It sounded like love saying "Stop writing... listen... feel... breathe in... it was as if the leaves were clapping, rejoicing, welcoming the breeze that visited my space and made me stop everything. I think about all I have to do this week and my mind is like a hamster on a wheel (I wonder how they keep running and not get worn out). Not sure how I'm going to do it all... so I take this time, this moment to be silent and still on my porch swing. God reminds me that this moment is the only moment guaranteed. Tomorrow will take care of itself, so will Tuesday, Wednesday and so forth. But in THIS moment, feel it all. Hear it all. Don't think beyond this moment. We live in a world where we're always waiting for something - an email, a status like, a bill, a phone call, a paycheck, an answer.... but do we ever just sit in the moment and say, this is all I need and want...and everything else will be OK?
"Daddy, can we just have 30 more minutes of 'just this' moments tonight?"
"There you go again baby girl. .." as another cool breeze hits my face
"Dangit! It's a discipline I gotta learn. Sorry..." As I close my eyes and feel the love and grace of THIS moment.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

It's 7:57 pm in Chicago. I'm sitting on my porch swing (for the 4th time time today) as the demon of heatwaves gives us a break from the torture and God blesses us with perfect weather - 72 degrees with a breeze. Tonight there is a sound of joy on my block. The house across the street is blasting old school jams - MY old school from Diana Ross to Biggie to LeVert and the Jacksons (Dancing Machine). I am jamming! I see a group of black teenagers laughing and throwing a football, not gang signs. My 80 year old neighbor greets me and we laugh and reminisce about the old days. A tall black teen boy walks by my house. As I do with everyone, I say hello. He smiles huge and we converse. As he keeps walking, he stops turns around and says "That made me feel good," as he clutched his heart and smiled. You made my day, he said. "So glad I could!" I said. How I am feeling right now is a one-eighty from the heaviness and depression I have been battling these past two days, even this morning when I woke up. When I struggle, I tend to isolate myself. I don't want to be bothered. I don't want to be around people...when the truth is, it's always being around people that brings me out - whether it's a hug, a smile or a simple, light-hearted conversation. As I sit here jamming to "I Just Wanna Be Close To You" old school jam, God reminds me that He does too. He reminds me we can't get through darkness alone. He came to give us life - He already endured death for us. It is in his death that we have life, it is in community that we find healing. Community that pulls us out - and in...whether they know your struggle or not. As much as I have said I don't like my new block, I am now beginning to fall in love with my street. Tonight I don't need church bells. Tonight I had a joyful community .‪#‎PorchSwingLife‬ ‪#‎SelfCare‬ ‪#‎KissOnForeheadFromGod‬

Saturday, July 16, 2016

It's 9:23 pm in Chicago. I'm sitting on my porch swing as the crackling sound of wood when I sit says to me "where have you been?" I took a very deep breathe and exhaled a loud "Yeeessss." But the very minute I exhaled, I was overwhelmed by all the sounds. All at one time: tons of police sirens, ambulance sirens, helicopters flying above me, people yelling loudly, police horns, loud backyard party, kids screaming, a car alarm going off, the Green Line zipping by on the tracks, car driving by playing trap music so loud it felt like my porch swing was dancing from the vibrations. "Whoa Lord!" I said out loud. I've never been that overwhelmed with so much loudness on my porch swing before. ...but then I thought, "This has been my life for the past two weeks - nonstop movement, constant emotional rollercoaster, and an overwhelming weariness...all at the same time ." In light of the past weeks, it seems the racial tension, police brutality, murders of law enforcement and everything that came with it was extra heavy for our country this time. It felt took my emotions and spirit through a different process I wasn't prepared for it...and I had to take notice. I've been invited to many conversations this last week to discuss it and have had to turn them all down because I'm not ready...not that I don't have something to say, not that I don't want to engage... I. Just. Can't...and I feel guilty about that. I feel weak, sad that I'm not strong enough right now to engage. But as I sit here, God reminds me that even Jesus needed to take a break, go away alone to pray and be restored...and that is what actually made him strong...AND stronger. God reminded me it takes real soldiers to recognize their limitations and step away if needed - so they can keep doing the work. "But also Baby Girl, it shows you trust Me to be Your healer and to know, with or without you, I got this."
"I know don't need me. "
"But I do choose to use you. In your weakness, I'm made strong. "
"Then You are REALLY strong right now!."
"And isn't that what you need?"
"Yes, Daddy it is."

Sunday, July 3, 2016

It's 9:57 pm here in Chicago. I'm sitting on my porch swing and I didn't come out here tonight for any kind of peace and quiet. It's July 3rd. The time in Chicago when the City is at its loudest. I hear EVERYTHING from backyard parties to police sirens, from rare sounds of children laughing to the normal sounds of the Green line passing by, from heart attack sounding fireworks on my street to the church bells from afar, the aroma of burgers on a charcoal grill to the burning smell of fireworks (or gun powder). Tonight, many are celebrating while others are mourning. Many are sharing these moments with friends and family while others are alone and hurting. No, I didn't come out here tonight for peace and quiet. I came out here to hear the heartbeat of my hear it hear LIFE in a city that deals with so much death. I sit here and take all the noise in. I notice they knocked out all the street lamps again on my whole block. It's pitch black, like a hurricane came through...but as I look around there are lightening bugs everywhere. I smile as God reminds me again of my call to be a Light in a kid's Darkness. The juxtaposition of life is always joy and pain, together and alone, light and dark. May we never just seek to stand by and just listen and watch but embrace the experience of life in every way it comes to us...and at us. May our senses never become numb but always aware and ready to move. Where do you see life in spite of death in your life?
"I hear life all around me Daddy. I like all the noise tonight."
"That's because there is peace in your heart Baby Girl...even in spite of the pain."  ‪#‎RIPKikito‬
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