My Sunrise

This morning

I  looked into the sunrise and thought of you

It reminded me of how I felt when I first held you

It was an honor, one not deserved 

One I wasn’t sure I was prepared for 

But one reserved for me

Thus I gave praise

Tears vacated by ducts

As love courses through my veins 

Your presence connected my existence with purpose 

My Sunrise

And like the aqueducts of Rome brought life 

My love flowed to you

and became a prosperous  Land 

With pride I see you as developed field 

Filled with vegetation

A plentiful harvest 

With plush trees that offer shade

To those overwhelmed by life

As the sun retreats behind the clouds

I think on this time you are away

And smile because I know it will emerge

And when it does, it  will again provide light to all open to receive it 

Spiritual Sunglasses ’16

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Put your Glasses on!

I wrote this to an African American friend who expressed his disgust in having to speak to his children about racism:

“This experience
Is one that not all have
An appreciation for
Or understand.
In our desire
Not to place the Racial Sunshades on our children,
Teaching them that God created
And loves everyone,
We are forced to give them
Fruit from the tree for their own safety.
Watching their innocence fade away,
And the layers of clothing slowly put on is a sad process.
Even further frustrated by the younger siblings
Who are still naked,
While their elder siblings are fully clothed!”

 

 

#PastorJDO3

Promotion via Parenting

Yesterday I received a great honor at Camp Exalted (#campexalted2016)! It caused me to smile from ear to ear. My chest potruded, my stride was along. My head held higher than anytime before.
At breakfast, my oldest child brought me the news!  
“Dad,” she said, “The made me a Dorm Leader! I’m responsible for the girls in my dorm!”   
My child; Dorm Leader! Wow!!! It felt great! Just yesterday it was her first day at camp. She was wondering around Jarvis without a friend with her headphone on eager to return home to her friends. She would come by my classroom and chat during down time and help me plan for my next class session. Just yesterday, I was mediating a disagreement between her and a peer, as she complained about the heat and the lack of a phone signal, and now, my child is the Dorm Leader!
Though this was an honor for her, as a parent I was so proud. In just weeks, I’ve watched her conquer High School, survive Prom, show maturity at her Geaduation Party, and now, an honor of honors from the Kingdom of God! As a parent, it was great to see her chosen for who she has become. And though I feel my wife and I have had a hand in who she has become, I recognize that a larger community has served and loved her through some trying times, maturing her through, and showing her the way. Both at home and at camp, many men and women has spoken into her life, helping shape the course of her now, and are directing her towards her future.  
Wanting her to do a great job, my instinct was to impart every ounce of wisdom and direction to help her with her new position, but I felt the need to encourage her, instilling and reinforcing my confidence with. The staff that she could do the job, all while letting her know that she is not alone. Watching her tackle this new assignment has brought me such joy.  
She truly is an amazing young lady.

A Gentle Breeze or a Harsh Wind?

This evening, a talk with a parent left a seed for thought for fellow parents.  Having a High School Senior, we find ourselves seeking wisdom, advice and encouragement from those who have gone before us.  Today, the word given was, “This year, I stopped driving, and started guiding!”

As the conversation continued, the image of a mighty sail boat appeared.  One can imagine our children on an ocean, sailing into their future.  Now captains of their ships, standing at the helm, navigating their future.  As parents, we have worked to train them on how to navigate life, and prepared, repaired, built, and structured them as sea worthy vessels, placed in them a sense of purpose and helped them discover their identities, only to face an approaching release into life’s treacherous waters.sailboat

What a challenge before us?  The parent spoke words to live by.  At some point, we must believe that the training given to them will be enough to aid them in navigating the waters.  We must believe this in confidence, knowing that the complete training of a person takes an entire life time, and that many of the lessons that will continue to mold and shape will take place after we release them to sail.   What was being said in the statement, was that the release was not one that turned their child into the raging sea, but one that understood the role of the parent shifting from the “Wheel” to the “Breeze”.

The difference between the “Wheel” and “Breeze” are key to proper navigation.  Many parents will spend the bulk of Supervision Years (college), Managing as Hands On (Grade School), fighting over the wheel that will inevitably be surrendered.  It is this fight that strains relationships, often resulting in outright rebellion. Realistically, the job of the parent is never done, but the methods and modes used to teach are different.  And while our job is never done, our jobs are not to maintain the wheel, but to release the wheel with our wisdom, counsel and advice.  Our purpose now becomes to keep them from sinking or running ashore, not choosing their dock.  We do this, knowing that there is still growing to do, but must do so in order to aid them in becoming effective sailors.

The teachings we render and direction we give from this point will be less hands on, but more vocal driven. We must trust our “breeze!”  Our “breeze” is relative to the love, trust, respect and influence our children have for us.  It is this “breeze” that will remain steady and aid our children in navigating the waters of life, allowing them to find more security in whom they were created to be, and to adjust their sails to the wind in route to their identified harbor.  We must trust that the wind; though missed at times because they have folded up the sails, must continue.  Its steady stream reminds them that they are not subject to the shifting of the current to take them, but that they can still access power to navigate life when they are ready to move forward.

We thought it necessary to also distinguish that a Gentle Breeze and Harsh Wind are very different.  A Harsh Wind is more powerful, but can make life difficult to navigate; especially with shifting currents and impending waves.  It can cause the sailor navigate improperly, panic and in some cases, topple a sea worthy vessel from lack of experience or frustration.  As they are learning to navigate the waves and currents, fighting through Harsh Winds can cause them to loose sight or question the compass, depositing them into uncharted territory.  As parents this is challenging, especially if they seem to be off course or make a navigation error.  It is our love and passion for them that often causes us to run aboard and assume the controls, but we must resist!   As said, training is on going, and while being in control seems fun or best, it will become a chore once you are unable to do so.  They have to learn how to navigate life on their own!

Thus, don’t be a harsh wind!  A Gentle Breeze will provide enough power to navigate challenging waters, giving out children the guidance they need to become productive and successful.  Keep Blowing Parents!

 

 

The Rain Came

Each weekend at VUU, you would sit in my arms and as ask me to tell you a story.  I know it doesn’t happen much anymore, but today, I publicly give you a story to celebrate 18 years of marriage.  Don’t worry, the interpretation will follow 🙂
Discouraged,
A King went to a private place
To silence the noise,
He was experiencing a drought
That brought a kingdom to its knees,
For days and weeks, nothing would sprout,
And the things that broke through
would wither away,
Decades of hard work would waste away,
As the kingdoms treasures began to wither away, IMG_0207
As the vibrant king slowly began to decay,
His crown too big for his head,
Once a perfect fit,
Now sat around his neck
Certainly headed for his waist,
What once crowned his head,
Would eventually adorn his hips,
As the praise from his heart,
Dissipated from his lips,
He bowed low,
With his head between his knees,
Crying out for rain,
The ground wet with his tears,
His shirt damp from his tarry,
His knees blistered from the weight of his temple,
His face smooth from the ground,
As though foundation had been gently applied,
His voice bore out the ground,
As he screamed for change,
His voice grew weary,
As his praise began to fade,
But his faith gave him the power,
And with determination,
He cried out
Until his screams were too low for human ears,
But his passionate plea brought forth his reality.
Rising from his knees,
He looked towards the heavens,
Reaching his hands up
As if to grasp what was his,
He walked away from his praying grounds,
Certain that death was waiting,
As the sun warmed his face,
A voice warmed his heart.
The melodious sounds of rain
Glimmered through the noise,
Creating silence through a quiet still voice.
Its tone customized to his mind,
Brought dew to his grounds,
And a smile to his face,
He captured each word,
Hydrating his fields,
Softening the ground,
He tilled his soil,
Collecting each word as droplets for his harvest,
Seeds were planted on each row,
As he gained confidence
That the dew was the sign of the coming rain,
A loud clap of laughter broke forth,
Sending a shower of rain into his life
That would bear much fruit,
Returning life to the kingdom,
Rehydrating the king,
Making him alive again.

 

Story Key:  Use this to interpret the story.
Your whisper is my Dew. Your Voice is my Rain. Your Laugh is my Storm.
The Kingdom is my mind.  My Voice was my Prayers. The Grounds my Brain.  The Noise were the Voices that Once Existed.

Doing our Part

 

This evening, the youngest girlies were traipse artist, pushing the mattress to its limits. Their leaps amazed the crowd, as they fell mesmerized by their death-defying routines.
As girlie #5 catapulted towards the ceiling, a voice screamed, “are you jumping on the couch?” “No,” she said, knowing this was a partial truth. For it wasn’t the couch but the bed. She wouldn’t volunteer the information. Big sister #2 remarked, “Uh huh! Told you Y’all were going to get caught!”, as sister #4 quietly sat, not to admit involvement in the routine.   image
I said to mommy as the door closed, “should we take away the joys of jumping on the bed from the kids?” Knowing that all who were privileged to experience a mattress in the home had used its power to bring to life fantasy after fantasy.
Our mattress as children caught our final tumble in the Olympics as well as the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. It was the backdrop our attempts to fly like Superman and caught the Suplex and DDT before our dolls heard the three count of the referee and gave us the championship belt!
“No”, mommy replied. “We shouldn’t. But, we have to do our jobs! We’re parents and its part of the gig.”
I replied, “Your right! Besides, half of the fun of jumping is knowing that mom and dad said not too! The danger adds to the fun!” I finished.

“You’re right” mommy said, “we’re just adding to the fun.” This said, knowing that the fun of the jump always overruled the consequences. As we smiled, we knew the jumping would continue. Maybe not today, but surely tomorrow.

The mattress might be one of the greater imagination supporters ever!   Maybe we should teach mattress safety as opposed to restricting the leaps?

Until then, “Are you jumping on the bed again?  Don’t make me come up there!”

Pesky Fly…Protecting your Plate!

Much has changed in the landscape of relationships, but the structure remains the same.  A true man will always emerge from the crop, and true woman will always be the crowning glory of a true man.

Being a mother and father has its challenges, especially during the teen years.  Relationship emerge, and wisdom must be passed to the next generation.

Today’s wisdom, we draw from the picnic table:

“To eat, you don’t have to kill the fly, you just have to shooo them away until you are finished eating!”

“Nobody fixes a plate and leaves it for the Fly!”

“You are bigger than any fly!”

“Never fight the fly; your food will get cold!”

“When you fight the fly, you leave your seat at the table, and another fly will get time to eat!”

“Flies get annoying!  Thus maximize your time at the table!”

“Flies nibble off everything until they are full!”

“Letting Flies eat from your plate can ruin a meal and bring harm to ones body if they consume what the fly has infected.”

The last word word of advice caused the looking up of the lyrics to the Shoo Fly Song…

“Shoo, fly, don’t bother me,
Shoo, fly, don’t bother me,
Shoo, fly, don’t bother me,
For I belong to somebody.”shoofly

I found them to be very interesting.  Though they were written for soldiers as a ways of reminding them to keep away the flies and mosquito that carried Yellow Fever, the words still have great significance.  While getting to know others, flies can be a great pest.    They travel from plate to plate, dinning on what ever is available, and can take what is made to be health and satisfactory to the palate and make it inedible and unedifying.

Though a man must choose and fight for what he wants, there are times when a woman must shoo the flies away so that they can have proper time to decide if this is what she believes it to be for her future.

Parents, particularly of young ladies, please join the discussion with your comments.  We have 5 beautiful, intelligent and spiritual young ladies we are raising, and we would love to hear your thoughts based on this blog.