Inspired and Encouraged

Thanks, Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus, not to mention today’s NaNo words of encouragement! Your email was just the ticket! This phrase liked me:

and now it is all grown-up and book-shaped and published and bestselling

I feel like you were speaking prophetically about my current project. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. Since there was no way to respond to the NanoMail you sent, I thought I’d blog my appreciation and question: Does Scrivener come with a pricetag? No need to reply. I discovered the free trial option.

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At-One-Ment

It was a tough call selecting only one phrase from today’s My Utmost For His Highest.

…beware of anything that is going to split up your oneness with Him and make you see yourself separately. Oswald Chambers

Read the whole thing. For me, the tallest challenges offer the greatest hope.

Archbishop Duncan Williams Silencing the Voice of the Accuser @ MFM

Whose team are you on? You’re either an accuser or an intercessor, Archbishop Duncan said. You don’t have time to criticize if you’re praying for someone, so pray without ceasing so the Devil doesn’t use your tongue against God’s anointed.To silence the voice of the Accuser when he tries to accuse you before God, Man or yourself, overcome him with the blood of the Lamb. Raise your hands and voice in grateful praise. The serpent blinded Adam to all God had given him by focusing on the one thing God prohibited. Don’t let the serpent beguile you, be grateful.

What’s Mine Is Mine

All that I am and have are mine because God gave them to me and I give them back to Him. This is assured because God’s Word can do everything but fail. When I get a word from God, I obey. So help me, God, to love you wholeheartedly. I try the spirits by the Spirit and therefore am blessed because obedience is better than sacrifice. As a daughter of Abraham by faith, Caleb’s portion and all God’s promises are mine.

Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel. (Joshua:14:14)

As I lay on my back aligning my faith and interceding on the basis of Psalms 23, Caleb came to mind. Three minutes before my 30 minutes were up, but what felt like long after I felt the urge to rise, the phone rang. Someone bearing gifts came to maximize my relationship with this timeshare company and inviting me to lunch. After yesterday’s harmonious journey and course download along the way, last night’s gifts – both initial evidence of the manifestation of Pastor White‘s prophecy at Mountaintop last Sunday and fulfillment of Scripture– it continues to be revealed to me and manifest that God does indeed prepare and position us for next level blessings continually. Thank you for such faith, Heavenly Father. Amen.

Stepping Up to Humanity’s Challenge

Though I know we will soon meet, I cannot tell him face to face that my instinct, upon hearing an excerpt from one of his talks on TED is to protect him. It is an odd impulse from many angles. Yet, for my own sake, that which is past in me, and is therefore now far beyond the place of protection, perhaps always was, I will share his summary of the ubuntu philosophy he shared:

The only way for me to be human is for you to reflect my humanity back at me.

This I offer after a particularly complicated class on ending sexism. I have posted in my archive some of the details and asked the team members teaching to send me their answers to a classmate’s question: How does sexism affect you personally? These answers I will post on my website. The only explanation for the complexity I experienced today must be next level living.

There Is A Handkerchief

In the pocket of my father’s navy windbreaker, there is a handkerchief. It is, possibly, one of the last things he touched before he died. His nose was perpetually running. Most times he didn’t notice it. Often, neither did we. Or, if we did, we chose to ignore it, the way we ignored his intermittent deafness, selective memory or, what one caregiver called his depression-induced Alzheimer’s.

Perhaps we’d grown accustomed to ignoring him altogether, is what he might have said, had any of us been listening, or present long enough, or taking a breather from barking commands or beating up on him verbally. Perhaps we’d never grown accustomed to him in the first place. I know, nearly half a century is a long time to have the company of a father – lifetimes, by some standards, and well long enough to get used to the idea of his presence.

Maybe we all inherited the feeling he’d disappear the way his father did, or the way our mother’s father was made to disappear, no thanks to the Catholic church in Jamaica, after our grandmother had had enough near concussions, enough disappearing acts of her own to put an end to the violence in the only way she knew how.

Years before she died, I interviewed her, formally. I was, at the time, a journalist after all. It wasn’t that I knew her time was short, though she did in fact die within two years of the interview, for even in her 90s Gaga could still cut a rug. I interviewed her because I felt my time was. I would be leaving New York, for good, this time, and I wanted to take as much of her with me as I could. Though we have matching birthmarks on our right hips and calves, it was not enough. I recorded her voice while I took notes though where the tapes might be now I know not. But some stories you don’t forget. The day she got on the train was one of them.

Somewhere between the first daughter and the fifth birth, Grandpa had made use of her as an occasional punching bag. Some time after having sewing scissors impaled in her shoulder for having the temerity to attempt to defend herself with them against our grandfather, in his tailor shop, she, with three daughters living, our mother the youngest – then four – Gaga packed a small suitcase, kissed her two eldest goodbye, hoisted our mother, Ms. Chick, on her hip and walked the distance to the train station.

As the train pulled into the station, Grandpa did too having been tipped off by a neighbor that his wife was on the platform. Walking calmly up to her, he picked up the suitcase where she’d rested it on the ground, and slipped our mother out of her arms. With a steel she did not until that moment know she possessed, she walked the few steps to the waiting car and put her foot on the first step. Apparently, Grandpa was so confident that she was trailing behind him, he didn’t bother to turn around. Neither did she. Over time, she stole each of her girls back. Over time, he grew old, alone.

He died the week before I flew to Jamaica to meet him, the week before Father’s Day. When Gaga died, she left me her hair net. I already had a collection of her handkerchiefs by then. Somehow, I’ve managed to acquire one or more handkerchiefs from each member of that generation. Now, we use tissues. They’re anonymous, but sanitary. The one in my father’s windbreaker will stay there as long as I can’t bear to remove it and move on, if only to the laundry room with it. When I push my hand into the pocket on the right side, I am somehow always pleasantly surprised. I am always imagining it’s something one day, I’ll be able to return to him, as if I were only away on vacation; as if he were just a few states away, sitting by the phone waiting for me to call to tell him when I’ll be coming home.

Even toward the end, when he’d complain of the draft by the phone in the assisted living or later, when he couldn’t make out much of what I was saying on the cell phone our sister had bought him, I’d still call, and suffer through our shared discomfort as long has he would. He’d wanted to say something to me the last time we’d eaten dinner together. I’d had a plane to catch.

He held on two years after Mom died. Two years and one month, and fifteen days, and three hours, give or take. Their two houses are gone; their strangling debt, her books, his electronics, their music, and various ailments. Two of their children had children. One has such stories, a husband, a hairnet, two dogs, and a handkerchief.