Tuesday, December 11, 2012

IN THIS SEASON OF WAITING

This year, the light even looks different in the sky, as I am driving in to Port Huron; the viewpoint is different and the reality of what this time of year represents for me is very new.  I've waited before, as in celebrating Advent, but this year, the waiting is for a tangible something.  The waiting is for Christ to be revealed in a new way, inside a new relationship, inside a new commitment.

I see Christ's coming to this earth those many centuries ago through a different set of lenses, as I wait for the next two weeks to pass as they have every year before this one.  He is about to be revealed as I have not had the chance to in those previous seasons.  He is about to teach me how much He really does love me, as Mr. loves me in proxy for Him on this earth.  Mr. is to love me as Christ loves the church, as the Bridegroom loves the Bride.  He is about to vow what Christ did when He appeared and changed the journey of mankind.  Mr. is about to do for me what Christ did for us all - give love like blood and bone and breath.

"Wives, be subject (be submissive and adapt yourselves) to your own husbands as [a service] to the Lord.
23 For the husband is head of the wife as Christ is the Head of the church, Himself the Savior of [His] body.
24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
26 So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word,
27 That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless].
28 Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.
29 For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church,
30 Because we are members (parts) of His body."  (Amplified Version)

That is a tremendous job, a deeper call than any other.  Much more purposeful than even I first realized.  I truly can submit to the authority of one that is supposed to love me in such a soul-enriching, spirit-life loving way because that is what I have wanted from the beginning of time.  That is the only thing that has kept me waiting all this time.

And me?  What is my job in two weeks?

To be that bride and that wife, the one loved and cared for - the one that makes Proverbs 31:10-31 come alive in Mr.'s life.  It does not seem like much of a transfer of responsibility as a response to vows spoken, but as I submit to the commitment, this is me, this must be me (even when life spirals on in the way that it does):

" A capable, intelligent, and [a]virtuous woman—who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil.
12 She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.
13 She seeks out wool and flax and works with willing hands [to develop it].
14 She is like the merchant ships loaded with foodstuffs; she brings her household’s food from a far [country].
15 She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks.
16 She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.
18 She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good; her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust].
19 She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She opens her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her filled hands to the needy [whether in body, mind, or spirit].
21 She fears not the snow for her family, for all her household are doubly clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry. Her clothing is of linen, pure and fine, and of purple [such as that of which the clothing of the priests and the hallowed cloths of the temple were made].
23 Her husband is known in the [city’s] gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes fine linen garments and leads others to buy them; she delivers to the merchants girdles [or sashes that free one up for service].
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing and her position is strong and secure; she rejoices over the future [the latter day or time to come, knowing that she and her family are in readiness for it]!
26 She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness [giving counsel and instruction].
27 She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied); and her husband boasts of and praises her, [saying],
29 [b]Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all.
30 Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised!
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates [of the city]!"  (Amplified Version).

It may seem like such a big job but I have been through much to get me to this place.  It was all worth it - the pain, rejection, heartache to exemplify love on such a deeply gratifying manner...




Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Uncle Love

Yesterday, during a quick lunch break from work, I stood in my mom's bedroom talking with her and my uncle about my wedding, what I needed him to do as he finished walking me down the aisle and the words I needed him to speak in tribute during the ceremony.  He was miles away, speaking over the phone and at the sound of his voice I missed him deeply.  One thing I have always known about him that has helped shape me is the poetic nature of this man.  For me, my wedding wouldn't be reminiscient of me or Mr. without poetic tributes - most specifically from this father figure.

My uncle in his conversation was the reminder that I needed - the reminder of the me I have always been but seemed to lose in the hubbub of planning a new life with a man that I am daily knowing and loving more.  My uncle, like a wise sage, has this ability to orate the world, to give voice to yesterday, now, and tomorrow in his eloquent way.  He means the world to me, and as I heard him give an example of his ability to uplift the world by loving someone through words, I sighed.  The day was better for me in just that instant.  All the stress from the day, all the thoughts regarding my job, dissipated into thin air.

Words do that to me.  His words do that to me, like a daughter hearing her daddy's voice over and above everything else trying to confuse and muddle things.

"I want to read something to you," he said after he'd been given clarity about my wedding day requests.

He had written a superhero vignette about his middle grandson, Jaheim, the 5-year-old dynamo that has a special place in my heart as well.  As he elaborately described this little boy's hidden superhero powers (written because he just did not want to see him ever question his purpose or his esteem on this earth), I felt the invocation to be great as well.  He had written this for him, in language Jaheim would understand - the poetic language of superhero-dom.  My uncle, this boy's PaPa, loved him like my grandfather had once loved me, as special and perfect and wonderful (even when I was none of those things).  Tears welled in my eyes when my uncle's words encircled my mother and I as we listened, voice full of love and inflection in tribute and adoration of this boy, son of his boy.

And then, excitement welled in my heart, as I considered the power of the words he would speak in less than a month as I vowed to be an enduring and committed wife.  I was excited as I thought of how he would invoke that same power as he spoke of my grandfather, my grandmother, Mr.'s grandparents, my godfather in elegy.  I had no doubt that this would be the one day that mattered more than any that had come before.  Not because of a white dress or a tuxedo or flowers or rings, but because my uncle's love for me, for family, for life would frame the day.

And that will be enough for me to make that day complete, God willing.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Words and Prayers

My first prayer when I considered getting married, as a little girl, was that I would never marry an angry man or a man that was overly emotional about the simplest of things (because contrary to popular opinion, men are and can be emotional; they just display the rawness of their emotions in different ways).  But yet, I desired a man that was able to tap into his spiritual nature as often as necessary, as beautiful as huMANly possible.  Not just the temporal things that made him tap into all those uncontrollable emotions. 

Growing up, I did not see much of that...I saw a lot of running away from spirituality, a lot of denial of God's Presence, a lot of last-minute acceptance when there was no other recourse.  Except for my grandfather, the other father figures seemed aloof from the pursuit of this.

And yet this God I love and believe in, this real and amazingly supernatural God, answered those quiet prayers whispered as 11-year-old eyes witnessed the complexity of the male species in my world.  He sent one.  Others may say God has very little to do with the choices we make in selecting a lifelong partner.  While in form and physicality He may not be as involved, because the embodiment of love can change shape when one man dies and another appears, He is involved in the means for love to find us all.  He intends for love to find us.

I believe that most of all, after meeting Mr. such a short time ago.  Everyday, like a gift, he is unfolded before my eyes.  More of his ability to dig deeper into himself, the most risky move a man can make in front of a woman, is bringing to life the parts of him that once remained hidden from view.  I love it.  I love it the more I see him reveal his heart to me.  I consider it the most priceless gift I have ever been given.

Mr. opened the well-worn covers of the Bible held in his hands, seeking a Word from this God that we both love.  He cracked that cover open and I couldn't help but snap a photo of masculine spirituality at work.  His rough hands held the Book close to his chest as his eyes slowly took in each Word.  These hands work on parts in a factory all day.  These hands pull me into his embrace as his arms hold me close, after this work is over.  These hands have touched many things, but in the moment the picture was snapped the only thing that mattered more than any of it was how he held that Bible.



Mr. tells me about Isaiah 51 - how God whispers the mystery in his ear of why the hard times come and how best to view his role in the world around him.  He says prayers before meals, that do not even really deal with the preparation of the food, the ones that prepared it, though he does mention it as part of the many blessings God so graciously provides us.  What strikes me as rich is how he doesn't customarily recite the words he learned as a child round a dinner table.  He speaks "grown man prayers" as his faith has grown up and he has seen, witnessed, dealt with many issues in life that point to a God that has always walked with him.  Mr. says these"intercessory prayers" and my heart is enamored with the deep bass of his voice reminding God of who He is.

He lifts his hands to heaven - these same hands that have done so much.  And he makes me want to lift mine, repent of everything I have ever done wrong, embrace this God that loves us both - not that I didn't spend a lifetime wanting to do this before.  The thing is, when Mr. does it, the lesson hits home about what it really means for the man to be the priest of the home.  I feel the protection in ways that having to cover myself all these years never really taught me.  Mr. is doing for us both what is in his real nature to do. 

We say a man is supposed to work; you don't work, you don't eat.  This is true across the board no matter what faith you ascribe (subscribe) to.  But what makes my faith in this God above us most true of all is the fact that Mr.'s work, his natural and supernatural work in this earth realm, feeds me too. It feeds me.  I get fat off the work he is doing with hands lifted, Bible held in rough hands, mind and heart internalizing more of God.

He seeks Words from God and then he prays words to God.  When he does this, in his  no-nonsense masculine manner, he reminds me of my grandfather - the only man I ever heard pray before I sought faith on my own.  Mr. reminds me of the past, the present, and the future all at the same time.  Mr. does for me what I need from a marriage.

Thank God.

Friday, November 2, 2012

PACKING IT ALL UP

So anyway...this is the time and the season that the love humming just below my breastbone reminds me what I was waiting for.  We pack up and move on because instinctively we know that we have to accept that nothing is meant to last forever.  And so I am doing that - packing up my life as a single woman, boxing pictures in frames, shoving old clothes and memories and thoughts into garbage bags because quite frankly some things don't need to go to the next place and cannot go to Goodwill so someone else can make memories out of them.  Some things have to go in the bright red metal receptacle outside my apartment waiting with open-mouthed anticipation.

So anyway...I have six large boxes in my room waiting for me to put in the things that I am keeping - books, journals, photographs of babies that are now adults and adults that are in some ways like children again needing care, and words scrawled in notebooks that will never see a bookstore shelf.  They are waiting for me to put my singly purposed life in them, with the intent to be carried to a new location where space will be shared in a pseudo-forever fantasy.  It won't be forever but it will mirror Heaven on earth in its intent.  It won't be perfect but it will pull us closer to the One that pulled us closer to each other.

Glorious.

And so this is me, getting ready.  This is me packing a life into storage containers, as if such a thing is even possible after 15 years of living life on my own terms.  This is the process of saying good bye thankfully to the days when I thought I was in an apartment, forgotten by everyone. This is what other women (and men) traverse through when they are leaving the life of the bachelorette (bachelor) behind.  The path will not be seen again after the vow recitation;  there may be the (God-forbid) journey of a divorcee or the widow, but not the never married.  My hands will hold my life and will place it in a box.

The statement was made that perhaps I was scared, uncertain, fearful of the unknown and the known.  Quickly, "No, I am not" shot from my lips - not because the words were escaping before I could believe them but because this is NOT fear that I feel.  It is awareness that some things are over for good, and that is okay.  Some things need to end in life, though most people want to hold on to the things of yesterday and grab with full hands the things of tomorrow much to big for the grasp.

My mom has talked to me about some definite endings and possible endings in her life, though she has not explicitly used those words.  Her eyes and her words hint at her thoughts.  And the theme has rested on my mind lightly, like gentle feathers.  I watch her and know that as surely as I am accepting the changes in my life, I do not know if I am so easily accepting hers - the presence of the AARP necessities, the signatures needed, the planning in the drawers of her house that will tell me later how to let her life change from what I am currently used to.

Mr. and I have talked about familial expansion so that her hands and his parents' hands can cradle the baby to be born before they are not able to.  This is very important to us because our own grandparents meant so much to us, loving us into a place of being "spoiled" in some ways.  Baby must be loved like this by our parents - a sure gift hinted at around the dinner table.

Still, with each silent moment this weekend, as I pack up life, looking again at things that have to be hidden from view (even after the next location settles me), I will indeed wrap it up.  In a little more than a month, the bridge between "here" and "there" will be crossed.  In my imagination I wonder about how many more things will be different with a second point of view in the considerations.  One thing that has injured my heart in this process (because how could it ever be clean cut?) is the shaking of all that can be shaken: the absence of friends that I chose to release, the need for more solid loves, the defined roles that have to be established now.  This is never easy; it cannot be.

People are what they are; some pulled close have to be released.  I have no tolerance for selfishness anymore, but I understand that I have been selfish once.  So I know what it is like to be human wanting more than can be given when others are already stretched thin.  Some times the ones we love think they know us so well that they want to cross roles and  boundaries in ways that can place a crack in a place that is already fragile.  And I believe that in this journey, this Esther process, the proof of this is exactly what is manifesting.  The sad issue to me is when it is apparent to everyone, it smacks of something that cannot be ascertained or restored.

I have read Esther's story many times over wondering how she went from one life:  relationships, patterns of behavior, lifestyle to a totally separate other.  The past life was not able to intersect with where God intended for her to go next.  She packed her clothes to go live in a palace or a brothel for a king's use.  Whatever friendships she had before, decisions she made before, dreams she had before were all of non-effect once a king came into the picture.  I am pretty sure that like me she was hurt that her friends from the neighborhood, even the ones that she thought knew her well, could not go with her and even their advice had to be left in the place where she used to live.  She almost had to view what used to be advice for nosyness once her location changed.

I wonder as she packed her things, threw away things not fit for where she was going, how she felt about her future.  I do.  Not fearfully or with the thought that I am making a mistake, but with a clear awareness that some realities are transferable while others are not.  I can take "this" with me but because "that" represented some elements of my past (not necessarily bad), it cannot travel down the highway with me.  We talk about transferable skills in a job market or in a place of employment, but marriage is also a place where some skills that were okay when you were on your own cannot be used anymore when life changes again.

So everytihing else either gets packed up or thrown away.  You thank God for yesterday's treasures and even the things you thought were treasures but were really junk.  You thank Him for the lessons in the single state.  You keep it in your heart that you traveled on your own for a season and were able to utilize some major developmental changes.  But now?

Some things just can't go with you to be used later.  There is no recycling of everything in the palace.  Esther's old clothes, habits, friends, and customs could not be used and were discarded.  The Bible does not say that she grieved over the loss of those old elements of who she used to be.  She came into her new life with the understanding that where she came from mattered but where she was going mattered more.

Me too.

Now that is true wedding preparation.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Eve, Esther, and the Proverbs 31 Woman

This thought has been flowing over and over in my mind, as I am writing from my experience as a wife-to-be.  This is not strange for me, as I have always felt the need to chronicle my life journey for reasons unknown to me - perhaps it will mean something to somebody else one day.  Anyway, most of it seems prolific enough for me to write down.  Maybe it will all be a book one day.

I have never reflected more on my womanhood and presence on this planet than this pivotal moment in my life when I am getting ready to combine that Womanhood with Mr.'s Manhood (not talking about sex, so keep up, please).  It's not that I didn't notice the she in me when I was hanging with my girls (whom have all for the most part strangely gone mum or absent on me, with no help or advice).  When we were shopping, buying clothes, getting nails done, talking as women are wont to do, and battling between eating that dessert and eating those veggies, I definitely remembered my gender.  I love being a girl.  Wouldn't trade it.  But I never really THOUGHT about what it means in combination with a man's gender in that messy, miraculous thing called marriage.

There was nothing to ponder...like breathing...  You just are who you are; you just do what you do.

But the closer I get to that day when it's official, with all the prepping and life changes, I realize that there is something deeper God himself wants me to understand about me.  We don't really learn who we are until life demands that we bring our entire selves to the table.  We bring our entire selves forward when we are getting ready to join life to life.



The thoughts I have contemplated and meditated on focus around the three women that most women whom are actively attaining Christianity attribute our role in life or marriage to.  Eve, the first woman God made...Esther, the first Queen God crowned through life circumstances...the Proverbs 31 woman unnamed so we can all fill our names in the blank...all three have messed with my mind over the past nearly 6 months of marital consideration. 

Why are these three all up in my brain, so to speak?  Why do they matter?

The life intended, the mistakes made, the process walked through, and the perfection of being are not to be looked at lightly.  My preparation to love Mr. is not a mere "something to do" in the whole scheme of things.  While I may, as a woman, desire to have the perfection of the woman in Proverbs 31, I sometimes feel like Hadassah becoming Esther with the propensity of Eve to screw things up.  The process forces you to engage every part of the woman, every part of what makes you "not-so-perfect" but loved anyway, honored anyway, needed anyway.

How can all these elements be in effect but a man still sees the deeper purpose (very reminiscient of how our Creator sees us)?  How can grace finds us in that earthbound reality?  That is where I am right now, meditating on that grace.  He does love me, honor me, need me - little old me.  How? 

This pending marriage is crazy, in my head and through my eyesight.  How can someone love you enough to want to be joined to your life everyday?  How can someone want to be with you, when he knows that you can feed him something spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and (God forbid) physically; how can he know that what you feed him can make or break his entire life, that can affect his very purpose on this earth (like Eve).  Everyday, the question is raised to women - what are you feeding your spouse?  What are you feeding your children, your generations?  What are you giving them all that they are eating, internalizing, digesting?  Obviously, I am not talking about food.  God wasn't either when He questioned Eve about the fruit she gave Adam, when He asked her "What have you done?"

How can the man I believe God brought to my life love me when I came from a semi-orphaned existence, not entirely like Esther but uncovered paternally as she was until her cousin came along?  I had a different name, just as she did.  She came from somewhere that was not considered royalty.  She was not necessarily from a royal lineage; in reality, she was from a enslaved culture - bound to a reality she did not choose for herself but was hers  nonetheless.  I am not asking these questions from a place of pity, but from a place that acknowledges that marriage for me is like queenship for Esther - something never witnessed before.  The process to become a queen was a year's worth of hard work internally and externally.  I do not believe that the reason it took so long was based entirely on physical reasons.  Esther had to learn how to walk, to relate, to exist as a queen.  Where she came from had to be eradicated from her everyday though probably was never completely erased from her mind.  Not easy at all.

Finally, how can he (this man that has interrupted everything I ever thought about manhood) see me as this metaphysical manifestation of the woman he trusts his heart with?  Of all the things that stick out to me about the Proverbs 31:10-31 verses, these two hit me the hardest:

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil.
12 She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.

Wow.  These are heavy statements to make, especially when there isn't much trust going around nowadays between men and women in marital relationships.  That doesn't mean there aren't any good marriages, so please don't misunderstand me; yet, I doubt anyone can deny the enemy's plan to destroy marriages and families.  But when I look at the truth of these verses, to  me they are more concrete than anything else I have ever seen in describing marriage.  After all, what is the point of a man marrying a woman and not being able to feel this about her, know this about her, testify this about her?

To me, the heart of a man is the most priceless and precious treasure he has.  When Mr. says he trusts me with his life and his heart enough to give them both to me forever, it makes me want to work harder (like that Proverbs 31 woman) to keep those gifts true, to make our home his sanctuary he can come home to when the world outside our door is so ruthless and dangerous to his heart and soul.  It makes me want to work harder at "making [him] feel my love" as Adele sang in her remake of the Bob Dylan classic.  He gives me something unable to replicated by anyone else, and I polish it like the gold of heaven, holding it dear.

These three women are forcing me to make this thing we have to be the best love we each could ever have.  This is no small thing; quite frankly, nothing any of us vow until death to treasure could ever be.  I see that now.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Let's Stop Being Distracted, Shall We?

I am sitting here listening to the interview and the brief video of Victoria Christopher Murray and Reshonda Tate Billingsley on Bill Thompson's "Eye on Books" website, along with other authors that are highlighted on it this week.  While it is refreshing to hear authors talk about the one thing I live for (writing, writing, and more writing), it is also disheartening sometimes.  Ever since I was a little girl all I have ever wanted to do was be surrounded by books, art, and music and write books, make art, and play/sing to music.  With such a broad landscape to pull a creative life from, it can be hard to stay in a place of motivation if it feels that you are only doing for yourself, releasing tension with your hands to paper.

I have found it to be distracting to want something so badly and never get the opportunity to live like these women - traveling the country, reading their books to audiences, being interviewed on radio programs, and being able to keep writing for years and years to come with an established fan base.  Sometimes it makes me sad enough to just put the pen, paintbrush, or guitar down.  I have done this.  I am still doing this.  In my heart I know it is wrong to wallow in self pity when no one buys books or gives feedback if they did.  But then, days like today, I realize that the pouring out of a creative gift should never be abruptly ended just because the river is flowing to sites unseen.

The stopping is the distraction away from the gift.  The ending of a thing before it is done is the obstruction of vision and view that kills a project, a poem, a song.  It kills you, and before you know it, everything has shut down.  You are no longer happy and joyful - talking, smiling, opening yourself to the world at all - even if that world is only one person.  The halting is the precursor to the procrastination that intercepts starting again.

So for my artist friends, my writers friends, my musician friends....how do you stay focused?  How do you battle the war of distraction and procrastination?  This is the area that many of us that hold claim to artistic endeavors wrestle with.  The reality is evident that these are the tactics of an unseen enemy.  But what is the weapon you use to move forward in writing, art, or music?  What is the key?

Listening to these Black women writers' voices talking about writing a book together reminds me of the work that I am doing now, helping others bring their voices to life.  The problem I am running into is the distraction of waiting for responses when others don't understand their role in the flow.  Waiting for responses can be a distraction in itself because you begin to wonder if you are really talented enough to help yourself more or less anyone else.

How do you not give up on the gift, the contract, the comradery, and the ability to help?  How do you stand still when you want to leave it all along and ignore the urgency to tell the story of life again and again.

Here is the short video of the life these authors are living now.  I pray one day I will too.

http://youtu.be/KNbhrFpZ6Zc

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Getting Closer to the Ideal

I probably should be scared, nervous, uncertain.  I probably should be getting cold feet.  But whatever for?  If he is the one then he is the one.  I am a very cut and dry person, which sometimes gets me in a lot of trouble at work with the co-workers (not with what I actually do); that trait comes in handy no matter the circumstances because I have a "no-BS" (no Bureaucratic Stupidity, or something like that) rule of thumb I swear by.  I just wonder what the rest of this life together will be like.

I am loving the color purple right now and am realizing that getting married and having a marriage are actually two different things - two distinctly royal parts of the Esther Process.  I have not been overly concerned with the wedding itself, though I have a few wedding magazines sitting on my living room table at home for good measure and I also carry one with me so I can read what other brides have done when I am not busy.  But, I am concerned with keeping the sacredness of the union in the forefront of my mind.  I do not want to lose the sacred, as I have lost so many other things that I cannot get back.


I found a book entitled Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas while Mr. and I were wandering through Barnes and Noble last week looking for ways to spend my birthday gift from his parents.  Holding the paperback in my hands, I got the feeling that I should approach the reading of it as the help I really need - not so much the same as reading Inside Weddings

We all know and it is understood that weddings last at most an hour, but a marriage is a lifelong endeavor.  Somehow, it seems easier to not acknowledge that and distract ourselves with throwing a big party instead.  Forever seems an abstract concept, though we are living eternity now.  I love parties but I do not love heartache.  It is better, I believe, to throw myself into building on a sure foundation, a sure thing.  Taking risks in marriage is not wise, as I have witnessed time and again.  And I have never been called unwise.

Overly cautious maybe.  Innovative, surely.  Able to see sounds and hear colors (synesthetic)?  Artistically and faithful to the God-given spark inside?  Absolutely.  Unwise?  Never.  Never.

In two months my name will change again, though I have already released myself from the last name that I held for 34 years.  The going joke is that I will be "Locked" in.  Do I want to be?  Yes.  Do I want to escape?  No.  But what will it be like to be someone's wife, someone's mom, when I have been myowne somebody for so long?  That is the harder question, quite frankly.  That is the more realistic stance to take.  But who really asks this question?

I look in the magazine that is in my bag, carried everywhere, and I begin to wonder if the brides highlighted in it asked the right questions to make the right decisions.  I'm not talking about floral arrangements or chic shoes luxe bags, though for someone this is important or it would not be indicated as an article on the front cover.  Can someone write about the life after the wedding as a topic of discussion or is it really true that fantasy is what people want but reality is what they need?  I mean, I understand that weddings are big business but so is divorce court.  We want to be joyfully in the first place but definitely not in the second, if the marriage becomes just as important as the precursor to it.


I want to ask this bride (the one whose quote was boldfaced on the magazine page above), was her marriage completely worth it?  Is being married better for her than being single?  Does she still feel like herself a year later?  (Typically these articles are written six months to a year in advance of publication, coinciding with the appropriate time of year.)  So, by now, she should have started the beautifully principled, not-so-easily-desirable meshing together of two lives into one.  That is a bloody, difficult process if there ever was one.

When God took Adam's rib to make woman, that Eve-girl that rocked his world so (and ours too), there had to have been some blood involved or otherwise why was he put to sleep?  There may not have been physical pain in the Garden, but there was blood.  Adam bled so his wife could blend.  To be part of who he was, she had to be part of who he was.

I am preparing to drape our wedding day in purple, but what happens after everything is over?  Everybody claps and cheers and wonders under their breath as they witness us drive off into the future how long we will make it. 

Mr. will wear that purple; it will be intertwined in my hair and make-up.  The children, precious god-children of ours) preceding my entrance will be clothed in it as well, matching us that day.  But there are more  questions to ask every day after: Will our marriage be draped in purple - the royalty of a lifelong imperial love?  Will it be sacred, and will we be holy at the end of it - having drawn closer to God and each other as a result of being together in holy matrimony?  Will it be completely worth it?  Will those children grow up and admire the union they got to be a part of establishing those many years before?


Monday, October 22, 2012

Going Somewhere I've Never Been

People don't tell you and the bridal books don't say it, but when you have been single for as long as I have been, the journey toward joining two lives into one is a very difficult preparation.  You want to follow the books and the advice but the truth is every marriage is as unique as a fingerprint.  You will never see two the same.  On the outside they all look alike, but inside the house, there is more to the reality, there is more to the story that the couple never tells.

I don't mean the bad stuff, the hidden secrets that could tear the union apart.  I am talking about the dream they both had when they said "I do" to each other and not to someone else: the goal they had for their family before the family actually came into being and the desires they wanted to have when marriage became the topic of discussion.  When you are heading somewhere you have never been with new keys in your hand, you want to ride that journey to the end.


Getting married has been a journey from one place in life to an unforeseen other.  The love is the key that locks the door to the past and unlocks the door to the next place.  For me, it has been easier to not go back the way I came; it has been scary but exhilarating to move on to that next place - although I don't really have a map or advice on what the future for me and Mr. will look like.  Call me a raging, blind-faith romantic, but I am okay with not knowing exactly what will be around the corner.  All I know is that we desire a future that will be better than the places we have been before.

We are naming things that don't exist yet - two children, a homestead, a church together that we will both attend, artistic paths that we will encourage each other to pursue.  We are hoping for more ahead that we have never seen.  And the goal, the passion, the love is something we cannot deny.  I am glad for the broken road, as Rascal Flatts sang, that God blessed.  But I am also glad for the journey we travel together, with new keys opening new doors.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Eating Music Like Candy

This season in my life has been very busy, very crazy...
This season of my life demands music and pictures drawn
To erase life as we know, to erase the evidence that reality is not spirituality
Because love is not meant to be used as a pawn
In the attempt to be traded for something less risky
In the attempt to be used in place of the pain that rides love's coattails -
Can't have one without the other, can't live without love and pain
With the inevitable truth that while it grows deeper, the root of love fails
When you aren't nurturing the inspiration, nursing the muse
Stroking the ego of that art going beyond the visualized and auditorily internalized....
I'm eating music like candy gumdrops chocolate drops red hot drops
Hoping that the pounds will still drop, hoping that the residual won't leave a residue
Because the blues and the jazz and the hip hop of the bee-bop
Have the power to fatten up the unseen, colored a strange color of artistic blue....

I'm eating music like candy so I don't have to eat something better
So my soul will have reprieve and the spirit can receive
The deeper details of a life and a love that cannot be circumvented
In order to create the lie no one really can say they believe
But they eat it up anyway
Like water for chocolate
And sugared fruit snacks for the raw bite of true fruit
And the shot that changes the game, taking over the table with a corner pocket
None of it is real and emotions rise and fall like the piano carrying the melody
Of the song where Joss says she is The Last To Know
And I begin to wonder if we are all so blind that we don't look close enough to see the truth
That eating music like candy is the action that makes love slowly grow....



Monday, September 24, 2012

The History of a Family Love

Love the picture; love the stairs.  These were stairs much older than me, photographed at the Atlanta History Museum near Buckhead.  The home so beautiful was literally full to the brim with life once lived.




Generations ago, children ran up and down these stairs.  A Grandmother watched them from the windows, being too refined to join in their play but not too stoic that she felt any need to stop them.

I wonder if the home I am thinking of this morning will be looked at with as much awe as I stared at stairs, at doors, at stone work - wondering and imagining the lives that so haphazardly were lived here.  I know these lives were lived, as if unaffected by what happens to others as human beings would ever happen to them. 

When you live life, you don't think of the days when you won't.  You don't think of the stairs you will never climb again.  The water fountains you will never swim in again.  The floors you will never click and clack across with heels on.




The people who lived here don't anymore.

But when they did...

THEY DID.

That's what I want to happen after December 2012 has passed...when we are busy building a life combined and conjoined. 

I want my home to be the place where he and I will be so intertwined with the art cabana, the blue music room, the knotted pine library, the kitchen of many meals cooked, the fire pit outside, the well-used fireplace inside - that when our great, great, great grandchildren receive it in inheritance, they will know we loved.  We loved and lived here.  That will be felt and remembered long after our practiced wealth will transfer into the eternal gain of living in God's rich Presence.

That will be their history...their historical society..their history museum.  That will be their inheritance.

When I remember my grandparents, I don't think of the house that doesn't exist anymore on Thomas Street in Grand Rapids.  I don't consider where everything used to be.  It was not as beauteous as this home my friend and I toured a warm day in July.  But it was home.

It is remembered.  Never forgotten.




Like cemented history and blue doors...


I remember the inheritance of love.

If life is nothing else, that is the definitive purpose of breathing.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Happiness, Simply Put

He laughs, though not audibly.  Such a tiny little dog, his silent laughter rings truer than anything I have ever known.  How can he be so happy?  I can ask the question, but I already know the answer.

Nothing is better than simply being alive.


And my Barklee's smile is what lets me know that, there is absolutely no excuse to be frowning.  It does it to me every time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Watching the Sunrise



I didn't realize until a few months ago that the best way to greet the day, at least for me, is to greet the sun as it rises in the Eastern sky. It is a brief moment in time that if you are not looking carefully, you can miss. You can miss the sweet instant when new bright sun rays kiss sky and a day never before seen begins on earth. It is not just another day.

Like God's grace and mercy being new every morning, the sun slowly creeping up from the horizon, is significant because the way it arrives has never been seen in quite that way. Yes, it is the same sun as yesterday. Yes it will shine down and warm the skin. Yes, it will be the light to the day, so that we do not have to live in darkness.

Like the grace we take for granted sometimes, that sun is ever present. But what is not is the awareness that eyes are seeing it new again for another day. The sun is being born right before our eyes. If we pay attention, we will remember that the same God that made the same sun that gave the same grace as yesterday will keep us today and the acknowledgement we would do well to give makes everything more bearable.

Rain will come.

Mercy will be needed.

Grace will need to be extended for those who fail us and for each of us when we fail, at even the simplest tasks.

But behind the clouds is the sun that always comes back. Behind the issues that cloud our human nature and our restrictive view, grace and mercy always come back.

This day is a God-given day with blessings, challenges, heartache, love, pain, worries, and release. We rejoice in it when we know, first, that we were blessed to see it. And second, we rejoice because the old shines new.

I sit here now, every morning racing to beat the sun-streaks across the sky that signal that the fire ball in the sky is about to be reborn; it is about to make a grand appearance in a brief moment that can easily be missed. I don't want to miss anymore moments.

And I begin my day determined not to.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Showing Grace

One of the lessons that God has been teaching me this year, especially since Whitney Houston died and everyone started speculating and gesticulating on her last days on earth, is that grace is something none of us deserve but because out Creator loves us, He freely gives it. I wondered where was the grace for her, despite the issues she dealt with in her life. I wanted there to be some justification for what appeared to be so much unfairness in her daughter being left behind. What was the point of this girl losing her mother at just the time when she needed her most? What was the real lesson there?

The real lesson...the real intangible...the real beyond the obvious...

My best friend reminded me of the answer to that question today. She told the story of a young lady that was hired to watch her children this summer. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, this young lady decided to steal from my friend and her husband by changing the amount of her pay on a check.

Lots of people had a lot of responses to this action and the decision that my friends made. Some understood my friends' showing of grace rather than pursuing prosecution. Some felt that the only recourse was to enter the court of law - dragging her in there to teach her a lesson about being sneaky, being a thief, being dishonest.

I wanted to say something equally as biting, that she will only learn not to steal when she is prosecuted. She has to learn her lesson or she may do something far worse. She needs to be judged for her decision to make such a stupid mistake. But then I remembered something that God told me back in February at three in the morning.

"Stop looking for life to be fair; start looking for my grace."

I am looking for grace everywhere now, like a hidden jewel. I am looking for it, not just for me, but for others. I am seeking it out like a bloodhound on a scent, sniffing it out, wanting to see it manifested in this earth. Where grace is found, the Grace Giver is somewhere behind the scenes. I am not looking for fairness because although we'd like to think so God is a just God but what happens on this earth is not often fair. A just God allows unfairness.

God demands that we sometimes do what is not customary or according to the laws of this earth to teach a much bigger lesson. He wants us to live a life that isn't always easy, isn't always cut and dry, isn't always as simple as 1-2-3. He wants those of us that have found grace and been found by grace (when the lights get turned on and we are caught red-handed doing something we KNOW we had NO business doing) to show the same measure of grace on an individual basis.

"What was the lesson?" Jason, a friend, asked.

Maybe it wasn't what others would have done but I believe that my friends showing of grace to this young lady was the lesson. It wasn't what happens after; it is the showing of that thing that matters most of all. What the young lady does with it is entirely up to her, but what my friends do with the showing of grace points back to God. They showed what God shows us all and for me, I saw His face in their action. For me, my heart started beating double time, because yet again I sensed Him in the room just over my shoulder, reminding me that His grace is the perfume saturating my life.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Yep, I Know You're Going to Delete Me

So, here's the thing I didn't want to say. I haven't said much to anyone about wedding colors or bridesmaids or flowers (mainly because there actually aren't any). At first I had made the lists and started stressing over music and venues and caterers and dates. I thumbed through the bridal magazines (mostly out of obligation) and felt my stomach churn over all the things the articles said I was supposed to be doing right now.

But then I figured out that there was something of more importance than all that. It was actually speaking vows and not being put on display while I did that with the one that preferred privacy and intimacy. These actions are preferred over making our day about everyone else, keeping up appearances, hooplah, gray hairs (as if I didn't already have some I'm trying to cover up).

With that being said there are three reasons a lot of friends and associates are going to delete me off their Facebook and possibly out of their lives (but if they love me as much as they should, they will not even consider it):

(1) They won't have time to book an airplane flight, take time off from work, buy gifts, pick out outfits or make any other plans surrounding my wedding. The wedding is a lot sooner than people know. And due to fiance' privacy laws, I cannot say when or where or how or why (and no, I'm not expecting a tiny person in nine months before people start speculating).

(2) The invitees are on a very small list. Those whom have spoken to me within the last few weeks about this are on that list. Those others that have not called me, have not spoken to me lately, or had pointed discussions with me about my future can best presume they are NOT on the list. I love you all anyway, no matter what group you belong to. Hopefully there will be no hard feelings. But if there are, I apologize in advance, and maybe next summer you all can party with us when we continue to celebrate life, as we all should.

(3) The life I have dreamed off sincze I was a little girl did not actually start with a wedding dress or all the details of weddings. I have such a hard time with overwhelming events and moments in life that I never even considered the prospect of a wedding. I was more interested in the marriage itself, so my focus is on the preparation of being a wife and not just being a bride.

The rest of the world will be able to live vicariously through pictures after the unnamed date. I promise not to keep those secret. But, for now, despite the trepidation of hurting people's feelings, I am breathing a sigh of relief.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

THESE DAYS, BEFORE VOWS...

And these are the days that I have waited my whole life for. Days when I can see a future that is much better than the days when life hurt too hard to breathe. These days we can be distracted by the lie that our lives would be better if we just didn't disagree about the small things, if there had never been a disagreement in the first place if the introduction to a possible love had never happened.

It would not be easier.

It would not be easier without him here.

I think now that is the point of love, that when raw life tries to intercept the healing, we realize we are so much better together than apart. We learn to love more when our presence in the lives of those we cannot live without makes them want to be whole and healed by the love flowing through unseen veins.

He and I are about to do the unthinkable. And I have never felt the reality of being so crazy obedient as I am today...we have seemingly thrown convention right out the window. We are about to intertwine lives separate for now one day soon, although I have watched the cleaving apart of marriages around me. Are we nuts?

Probably.

But would I be crazier or lonelier or sadder or angrier without him?

Absolutely. Nonplussed.

If I wasn't able to answer this so truly, so definitively, then I am nowhere near ready. Other tangible issues, other carnal realities, may demand years of waiting. But this love demands that we embrace it. NOW. Can loving another ever be a mistake taken? I know some that are asking this when the cleaving apart happens.

But because free will to do foolish things are evident, the foolish decisions do not undo the essence of love. They do not undo what the heart speaks and what those blood-words, those covenant words do to us. They make us become better, even if circumstances get worse. If one loves and the other does not, there is no pretense that love changed somebody - most likely the one that gave it their all.

I am not better without this one, this man being right here - willing to do the most foolish thing in the world: throwing caution to the wind and becoming physical covenant on earth, giving all, no apologies. My world demands this covenant, so those who are watching my life from afar can be challenged to love again and again and again.

So we will stand there, face to face, with all our imperfections and say yes to a perfect love that will undo everything we thought - everything that almost destroyed the hungry hearts beating beneath breast-bone. We take that healed heart and hand it over to the other across sand, the expanse of time, the eraseable past that we were once ashamed of.

And I know now, before it ever happens, that I cannot live without doing this.

These days this is what I think of.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Myama Boone's Last Day On Earth

The original birth records will be sealed as if they never were.

The identity that was presupposed for most of my existence will no longer be.

The name of a man that I never knew will not be attached to the me that I have grown to know and accept. Finally.

The end of the one me that wrestled with legitimacy in an unsafe world will be the beginning of the one me that doesn't know what it means not to belong to a safe Kingdom. She does belong there. She has worth. She has not been forgotten. She is her own, that belongs to the One that has called her His Own. She sings softly:

"And He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me that I am His Own..."

I am Myowne.

God made me His Own, so I could embrace Myowne. How beautiful His love and saving power is.

And today is the last day that I must legally answer to an illegitmate name, at least in spirit. Though the name I will use after tomorrow will return to its original position as simply the one in the middle in about four months,I am most proud that I will be the me God knew before I was formed in my mother's womb during this time of preparation.

There is something to a name given...there is something even more majestic about being given an identity hidden in the Name which is above every Name. On it's own Myama Myowne has no significance but when He whom became insignificant for me over 2000 years ago calls me by it, I know that He is intimately connected with me and knows my beginning and my end. I may have been given the wrong name at birth, but in my life, I am now surnamed by the name of the One and Only God who legitimizes and brings worth to my life, my survival, my existence.

And I am grateful...like the little girl I am on the inside taught to say thank you in appreciation of good gifts...I am in awe that I am here and God is with me. Immanuel...He is with me. I make it personal. Because it is. Because He is and has always been with me...even when I was just a microscopic cell dividing in my mother's womb, He was with me, knitting me together gently with materials built to stand and last the test of time, materials hardened through difficulties but softened by Love.

So on my last day as the old me, known by the wrong name, misread and misunderstood by many, what will I do in remembrance of the life I have lived for 34 years with it? I will thank God for His grace, for I am truly named by it - the grace of Blood shed for me and the mercy that has kept me here, favored by God. I do not despise the day of small beginnings. I thank God that His infinitesmal reach touches me here and covers me under the shadow of His Wings. I am safe here. I am Loved here. I am His Own Myowne here.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Carrot-Hating, Vanilla-Ice Cream Loving Chihuahua

I adopted my five-pound chihuahua/son about two months ago from a great event the Michigan Humane Society puts on annually at the Detroit Zoo.  The "Meet Your New Friend" gave me the opportunity to find "Five Pounds" as Mr. so affectionately has nicknamed him.  His weight has very little to do with how grandiose his attitude and his disposition is; it, in fact, enhances how huge he thinks he is.  Since his larger-than-life arrival into my home, he has gained a definite place in my life.

His name is Barklee.  He has the biggest brown eyes and this tiny whine that can make you give up all the meat on your plate if you didn't have the inner strength and will-power to fight off his Jedi mind-tricks.  He also has the fastest little legs of any Chihuahua ever seen. Just ask Mr., whom, had the lovely opportunity to learn this one afternoon when he thought going to the park WITHOUT his leash was a great idea.  He has cute little clothes that he wears when it is too cold for him outside.  I honestly look forward to the brisk November air when he can wear either his "church coat" (which is tweed with fur around the collar with gold buttons) or his red, faux-down coat with the hood.

Basically, he has taken over my house and my life.

And I suspect that he is a little bit human...or at least has the same taste buds as my oldest nephew.

This is how the story goes with the nephew and how it interplays into Barklee's tale (no pun intended).

At 10 years old, the nephew decided that he was allergic to cooked carrots, or at least hated them enough to make himself throw them up.  Hence, a food allergy with a reaction that is best avoided.  He proceeded to inform me that he was allergic to the little round discs on his plate, which is why he didn't need to eat them.  I laughingly told him, as I recalled his babyhood and toddler years when he pretty much ate everything, including cooked carrots (and displayed no allergic reactions after eating them whatsoever), that he probably just didn't like them.  I even called the Queen that birthed him and she laughingly told me that I was correct.  He stated that I couldn't possibly tell him anything about his body since he lived in it, with his eyebrows furrowed and his hands on his hips after I reiterated that he was being melodramatic.  Amazing that his dessert was totally okay to eat, even though he avoided his veggies that night like the Black Plague.

Fast forward to last night's doggy chow down.

The first time I fed Barklee this particular dog food with peas and carrots and beef, I thought he was eating every bite.  That is, until I spied a row of orange discs lying neatly in front of his food bowl.  Barklee had long since returned to his bed, licking his chops.  I got up and walked over to his eating area and saw that every single carrot from his dinner was lying on the floor in a single file line.  I called him over and pointed at the little abandoned carrots that had not made it into his belly.  He bent his little head, looked down at them as if it were his first time seeing them, looked up at me, and returned to his lounge.


Last night I tried feeding him the same meal again with cuts of beef with gravy.  Looking at the picture, at least he didn't line up the carrots on the floor.  And is it any wonder, that like the nephew, my chihuahua has absolutely no aversion to dessert.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Appreciating His Music

I am a lover of words, of stories, of hearing about the journeys that have brought people to the present.  This man that I have fallen love with steadily every day since I met him has shown me who he is, where his journey had brought him, and I know that he is the man he is today because of the God that has kept him (even when he didn't want to be kept).  His story is like the music he is playing on his keyboard right now, multi-layered and multi-faceted.

The part of the story he is living now is the one that is uncovering his creative gifts that have up until now have remained hidden.  He is a creative genius in my eyes, but my hope is that one day he will see himself as he is.  Especially with music...he lives, eats, breathes it.  I know like writing and art is for me, he cannot exist on this earth without it.  He has to have it; it is an addiction to let his fingers press those keys into submission.

I am sitting here, being healed as his soul finds itself in true expression.  This is the place where my life creatively becomes intertwined with his.  True marriage....

Friday, July 27, 2012

Observations From an Unimpressed Bride-to-Be

If anyone can answer the questions I have about what the heck I am supposed to be doing right now in terms of the actual ceremony planning, the world of weddings would be a whole lot easier to navigate.  I was never the little girl who planned my dream wedding: imagining a princess bridal gown with a cathedral train, the types of flowers, the food for the reception, and the exact color my bridesmaids would wear.  If you look at me today, you would probably think the complete opposite since I am so eccentric and adore fashion and have been known to color my hair red, then blue, then black, and now considering a little splash of unconventional color (not telling what it is) randomly placed. 

The truth is I don't care about any of the hooplah associated with weddings.  We could have eloped, and I would be way happier. 

I guess I shouldn't have passed up the huge bridal magazine section in Barnes and Noble, for more important reads.  I should have had the intent to get prepared if some guy happened to pop the question and slip a ring on my finger.  I was more interested in reading magazines about music or art or writing or the next big hair color that I should bribe Mr. Jackson (my hairdresser) to put in my hair. Just wasn't too impressed with the whole thing at all and in fact, kind of had an attitude about the traditions and rites of passage that every bride-to-be apparently has to go through so everyone that shows up gift-less at the reception can approve of.

So here are my observations.  The truth is, the wedding will be quiet and small so I hope no one is offended.  The reception will be full of soul food and R&B music that me and Mr. will be breaking it down to because OUR nuptials have taken so long people wrote us off and assumed that we would die alone in a nursing home somewhere and a party with lots of dancing is definitely in order.  The only thing I have decided on for sure is that the invites to the reception will have the disclaimer that while the music will be tasteful, guests are absolutely NOT allowed to sit down.  I am planning to have security and bouncers in place that will escort guests out if they stand against the wall too long.  I mean, if it is a dance party reception, why in the world would anyone stand there like they have no clue what they should be doing.

I'm the bride and I pull rank, so on that day...NO ONE CAN TELL ME NO.

I digress.  Sorry.  Got a little too hype on that issue.

Back to my observations:

(1) I bet the lady at David's Bridal hates my guts right now because I cancelled my appointment to buy that fabulous $550 wedding dress that I must admit I looked HOT!!! HOT!!! HOT!!! in.  But really...Why, on God's green earth, would I (Mildred Bracy Jones' only granddaughter whom proudly picked up her frugal a.k.a. cheap demeanor) ever buy something I will only wear ONE TIME for $550?!?!?!  Nothing in my closet ever cost that much. And if anything ever did cost that much, there are two things I can guarantee you:  (a) I didn't buy it and (b) I have it encased in bulletproof glass with a death ray alarm system that would be set off the moment someone even stood near it.  I'm sorry but I wear my $5 Dots tee-shirts until the thread begins to unravel and the material loses its shape.  I am NOT buying that dress.  Nope, sorry.  No huge commission for you, Madam.

(2) Tell me this:  Who needs to have a reception at a golf course/country club?  I don't know anyone that plays golf and paying $15 a head for nasty food that absolutely does not compare to Miss Lena's cornbread dressing and Miss Gladys' fried chicken makes absolutely, positively NO SENSE.  And as stated before in describing the plan for the reception, all I need is a nice venue with a big dance floor.  I could care less about round or square tables or linen table cloths with matching chair covers.  Ain't nobody gonna be sitting down that long because they will need to dance off all the calories from Mr. Jackson's rainbow pound cake (that he doesn't know he's making yet unless he reads this).

(3) I would love to have blue flowers - like dark blue flowers - at the wedding and during the reception because blue is Mr.'s favorite color.  But I have a sneaking suspicion that navy blue calla lilies or roses are only a little hard to come by.  And if I am not buying a $550 dollar wedding dress, I am for sure not shipping in blue flowers only native to Timbuktu.  Silk it is.

(4) I don't want to have a bridal party because I'm afraid of turning into one of those crazy women from the "Bridezillas" show.  I don't EVEN want to go there, giving myself the chance to ruin friendships for life and promote sibling warfare, more or less have the unfortunate chance of getting on his family's nerves (so much so that they pull him to the side and berate him for being blinded by my good looks when it came down to choosing a life partner or whatever it was that made him overlook my tendency to swing from the lights when I can't have my way.)  Yea, I don't want to be the one his cousins whisper about at the family get togethers, that turn a pitying eye on my dear husband because he really did choose a HOT one (HOT-tempered, that is...).

(5)  I want to wear crispy white Air Force Ones customized with lace and rhinestones under my dress at the reception because that would be so ME, but convincing Mr. that I can still make that look classy is proving to be a hard endeavor.  But I am pretty sure I can pull it off.  And if not, hey, he won't notice until it doesn't matter anyway, right?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Why An Engagement Cannot Lose Its Beauty

Holding hands through the Detroit Institute of Art, people seemed to turn and look at us as if we were like those mementos of great art lining the walls, like the huge mural painted in the atrium of the great hall.  I caught eyes with one woman who looked first at him and then gave a soft smile at me, as if in the middle of her day, we had reminded her of something.  I wondered if we reminded her that true love has little to do with the element of feigned perfection and more to do with the way we walked, talked, laughed, fingers intertwined.

Maybe it was just me, paying attention to how his handsome face and beautiful smile that brings me back to the center, to the reality, to the promise that God made me when I lost love before, has that same impact on anyone that sees him.  He doesn't really believe any of this.  And that's okay because I am meant to spend the rest of my life with him helping him see his own brilliance.

That is my mission, anyway.

When the ring is slipped on the finger, the stars glitter in the eyes, and the fairytale infiltrates a cold world, there has to be beauty.  There has to be violins and angels and love songs.  There has to be the hatred of being alone at night wishing for the shared bedroom and pajamas (maybe). There has to be the daydreams. After the browsing through bridal books and thoughts of a shared existence and after the chosen attire, flowers, and festive decor of a reception is long over, there has to be the understanding that love is still very much there.  It exists with the frou-frou beginnings into the supposed mundane nature of everyday life - what all this is really for.

That is what I think about now.  We are engaged.  We are together when before being singly focused on life had been an accustomed state of mind.  And here we are...fingers intertwined, his laughter at something silly I've done or said and my gaze on his profile when he doesn't know that I am looking.  He has me - hook, line, and sinker.

I gaze at the ring on my finger everyday...cannot leave the house without it now.  And that is a gorgeous change for a person that never wears rings and always said she would only wear her wedding ring, should she ever be given one.  I notice people looking at it, especially other women, and I think haughtily that their engagement or wedding bands are much plainer than mine.  Mine sparkles in the sun like I'm the Queen of England.

The beginning of this thing was strange because, quite frankly, we had no idea what being really engaged looked like.  There had been others in and out of our worlds that I think we knew at those times would never share our entire lives when the game-playing ended.  But, now?  We had rings, a date, a venue for a dance-off reception.  We had ideas about a house and three bedrooms/two bathrooms and a fenced in backyard for our five-pound dog.  We had meetings and conversations and phone calls with our parents that probably deep down (excuse the French) wondered what the hell we were doing, moving so fast.  And then there was us, staring each other down when the raw-ugly humanity surfaced and we realized we hadn't actually met the quintessential perfect partner.

I refused to lose my grip on my umbrella while all this change rained down on our heads.  I told him to duck under and ride it out.  Because no matter what, after life's raw beauty, there is still beauty - after all.

This is why the engagement cannot lose the romantic.  It cannot be shelved so we can treat all this like a contractual agreement.  It is why we cannot trade the God designed intent for the humanistic rationalization that downgrades what we and a lot of others are doing and still want to do into a piece of paper with signatures that actually doesn't mean that much. 

"A piece of paper doesn't mean that much," I have heard some say.  Maybe not, I want to tell them.  But what about when you've been co-habitating with someone forever but have no legal justification or standing when something serious happens...or when you think your personal definition of marriage equates to a glorified "friendship with benefits" but still no legal merit (and likely never will be)...or when one of you gets sick and the other just stands back, crying from a hospital corner, left out of decision-making if death is standing in the other corner, inching closer.

On July 24th, while sitting outside at 6 a.m. watching the sunrise in communion with God, I wrote these words:

"The thing that has made this relationship so important in the whole scheme of things, but also so strange, is the need to do what we are both meant to do.  We cannot escape what God is mandating.  We have approached it wrong...from the side instead of dead on...from the side of the flesh, from the place that cannot enter into a spiritual union.  What is it we want from this?  Do we want the beautiful, exquisite, unconventional; or do we want the hybrid, the dangerous,the alternative?"

When a thing that is meant to be beautiful, like the paintings in the DIA that are worth more than the building itself, is reduced to simply the human compostion of that thing...broken down into mere brush strokes, grid lines, representations only...the beauty is lost.  But when people turn and look, smiling softly, reminded of the grip of love between intertwined fingers, life returns to what it is meant to be.

The artistic touch of a loving and creative God...

We are engaged.  Loved.  Beautiful.  Ready.

Friday, July 13, 2012

At Lan Ta

28th Floor, the highest floor available at the Omni Hotel at CNN Center....Quiet times to collect thoughts and hand them all over to God...  This, my first vacation, was simply divine, a place where I could meet God in the rest.  And rest was exactly what I needed.  Sometimes, like the awareness of all else brings you right back to the Center, the place where we are free to rest in God.  We cannot battle always.

As I gazed out of the window at the world going on far below, I was given clarity about some matters.  I stood away fronm the heat and the crowds.  This is exactly where I needed to be - not touched by the chaos going on below.  Instead I lifted my eyes and looked up.  As high up as I appeared to be, I knew that spiritually and natural the view from here is simply a foretaste of the place God has for me to be.

Positioned in a place, at a new position unrecognizable, moving forward into another dimension in God...Higher and higher and higher still...in this location, At Lan Ta, where others have misread its intention, I see from a higher place in God and have learned that His perspective has to be brighter than mine....

Monday, June 25, 2012

In Love Finally

I am not wondering now if prayers have been answered.  The problem as a human is that we take pleasure in talking to God, having access to His throne.  But as I have said many times before, what will we do when the answer is yes and we are granted what we have asked Him for.  Are we expecting a "No"?  We are not really prepared for yes, I think, and when we get a yes, we don't really always have a clue how to respond.

I am guilty.

I know this now.

God said "Yes" and here is love.  Love bright and brilliant shining in my eyes and blinding me.  I am prepared for gray clouds, for rain, for the deluge of disappointment carrying an umbrella and wearing rain gear on a day that calls for something I have not grown accustomed to - not because I don't ask for realistic things but sometimes I ask too small, too tiny, too minute, and not at all in the midst of specifics.  The bigger picture is much grander when we actually look at it from God's perspective.

I must admit, sadly, that at times I frame myself and try to sabotage my own blessings.  I am guilty of this too.  But for some reason or another, God shakes His head and keeps 'em coming.  He brought love this time.  After prayer for love, love landed in my life. 

The man that embodies God's love holds me close and I do not see him as he supposes that I should...like all the others that weren't me.  He did not believe at first that God would answer in such a precise manner as He has done.  With me.  Crazy that you never realize that you can be an answer to someone's prayer.  I am an answer to a prayer that was prayed when I was not even considering love at all except in R&B terms, ghetto living realities, observations of hood life love.  And here he was praying for me...not knowing that he was praying for me to show up and love him.

That is what you will have missed in the instructions class if you grew up where I grew up.  I have a feeling that it is worse now for the young people coming in the generation behind mine.  It is worse because we didn't know and now they know even less than that, if that is even remotely possible to be ignorant of ignorance.  But then, if you did grow up knowing that love finds you in the most unexpected ways and it doesn't hurt and it doesn't destroy the heart.  It finds you, yes.  It hunts you down with the motivation of fulfilling God's Word not to return void. 

A deep voice on the other end of the phone, assuring love.

A brown-eyed stare with an unspoken inclination for love.

A hug.

A love.

It is love finding me.

It will find you.

There is no wonder that Jesus said to believe...to believe you will receive what you ask for.  It is hard to believe because we think we aren't worth getting what we have asked.  We almost can't believe we are able to be loved by the ones that God sends.  God loves us but can the ones we ask to be here right now, healing us through touch, healing us in the physical because God's intangible finger cannot touch our tangible just yet, healing what we cannot know is broken.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Myowne is His Own

On May 22, I wrote this journal entry after my morning devotion and prayer time.  I had been reading a book during that time called Born to Create by Theresa Dedmon.  I also had been thinking about the pending last name change that I have finally decided to go through with within the next month or so.

"The Scripture verse today is Isaiah 43:1 - 4.  The verse that really caught my heart was the first one, and specifically when God says '...I have called you by your name: you are Mine.' When someone calls you by name, they have gotten past the formalities of introductions; they are comfortable with who you are and can call your name with clarity and purpose.  So for God to call me by name means that He knows who I am; I am not a stranger to Him.  I matter.  My presence has a name, just like His has a Name - the Name above every name. 

It is wonderful that I can call Him by name and He heeds my call.  But to me, what is more wonderful to me is that He calls me by my name, and I am able to say like the boy Samuel in 1 Samuel: 'Here I am...I'm listening.' (1 Samuel 3:4 - 10)

The other powerful thing about the Isaiah verse is that the Lord called His people by their forefathers' original name, the one given at birth (creation) and then called them by a new name - the name of their redemption (Israel).  He knows who they could have been; He knows who they will ultimately be.

He knows Myama Boone.
He also knows Myama Myowne.
He knows who I ultimately will be; He knows my destiny.

Myama Myowne means 'Essence of Spirit that is My Own' - the name my mother was inspired to give me, I believe, by God because it does point toward a sure destiny - a sure destiny that says I belong to God.  He says I am His own.

That reminds me of a hymn I loved growing up:

'I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses.  And the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.  And He walks with me, and He talks with me; And He tells me I am His Own; And the joy we share as we tarry there - None other has ever known.'

God says to me now, 'You are My Own.'"

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

FLOATING STEEL: OXYMORONIC UNCONVENTIONALITY

Ship in water, slowly-swiftly moving through the deepest waters,
In this we are changed, rearranged, as we recognize that we are made for this...
Formed like the steel floating through what would cause the unprepared to drown...
Formed by the Creator of our lives, shaped through grace, encountering risk...


Horn alerting to the presence of ship en route to next assignment, reminds my ears
Of the shofar blown in tabernacle as the God of Omnipresence enters in...
Alerting the God-lovers and God-worshippers that stand still knowing God,
Not afraid that He will reach into their lives bringing life, love to begin....

Tuesday, June 12, 2012




The new book...memento of love...

www.abbreviatedlove.com

Monday, June 11, 2012

FINDING FRIENDSHIP

The love of a near stranger makes him no longer unknown.

He looks into my eyes, reaches forward, truly listens, makes me talk. I haven't always done this, but I don't know that this matters anymore. All he knows is that I have something to say and he wants to engage me, my mind being his treasure box. He makes me wonder if God is like this, leaning forward, as I move closer to put my ear closer to hear His sweet voice, telling me secrets, not thinking of yesterday. And I am grateful that this man, made by this same God, can listen with the deepest part of him. I have long waited for this.

Long loneliness makes us excited to speak words that are no longer merely thoughts rehearsed in quiet rooms where we live. I find myself wanting to touch his soul with my words. How often have women wanted to do just this? We, the breathing sensitive to the muscled strength, are just profound people simply wanting love. Simple. Wanting love to wrap us up in the physical as God (if we are opened to our Creator) wraps us in His arms. Wanting to be listened to. There is always silence when only the physical body, that one day will return to dust, is the only desired thing. The people must search deeper, the Holy God whispers. The deep calleth unto the deep. The box the deep is treasured in must be opened and laid aside. Then love.

We talk and my soul breathes a sigh of relief. I am not alone. He is not a figment of imagination as he speaks words I have long imagined would be spoken. I have written of moments like this. And he is fulfilling it.

Does friendship turn to love turn to the demand for an eternal response? The desire sparks the romance of the infinitesmal...words spoken in a bookstore cafe...in a gold car...at water's edge...all turn my heart from stone to flesh. This is what God promised. He said that He would change my heart of stone to a heart of flesh. He did not imply that it would be the unseen spiritual only. He can use what and who he will to push the blood through this temporary body, housing spirit ("a spiritual being having a natural experience," the man sitting across from me sings in his beautiful, jazz voice declaring what I have long believed). It happened this way: I felt it beating inside my chest again, once stilled when death stole. Here, I am awaking from loneliness' hibernation, because he - the sent one, apostle of my heart - has learned to listen when he was not heard.

I cannot believe that he does not want to lift that voice in front of others, but I do believe that there is no need for the diamond sitting before me to be broken in pieces and sold. He has been broken enough. He wants only to write. To write the new song of the Lord. To give those vocalized harmonies of Heaven away so others can tap into the unseen spiritual and be healed; I want him to. I desperately need him to write worship with a pen of iron drilling the words eternal into stone - the Ten Commandments, the King's Decree, Jesus finger writing in the dirt as prideful men try to kill sin's victim. I am desperate for his song. He only sings briefly, this song not his, and I close my eyes - forgetting where I am - pretending that he is crooning his own worship.

How beautiful the thought is that his healed heart would sing gratitude to his Healer.

My spirit reaches for his, saying softly feminine: "Write here." Take this moment and write down what you hear for you do hear. You do.

Maybe that is why I am here...sitting here...finding friendship as it finds me, as God finds me, loves me through this experience too. I think of him who I lost, this time last year, weeping for his return that will never happen here. I wonder if he prayed for this when he stared into my eyes before saying goodbye. I felt him praying, hoping for me that I will never be alone again after those final tears were shed. I feel him talking about me in Heaven as I mention his name on earth. Did he pray that I would be found?

You learn more than you think you do when your heart is broken. You learn each part of it, as it is gently put back together by the Creator's hands. Each part is taken gently in universe-holding hands and delicately reformed, transformed. The glue He uses to seal my heart is the revelationd (the light revealing light) that I, once invisible, am seen in illumination, and that quanitfyingly brings me to a place of wanted inspection. I am standing here, nothing to hide, not hidden, revealed again. God uncovers my position to the one sent to find me. And since the last time, I let eyes stare into my soul without turning away from the gaze looking deeper, I want to be found.

I listen, nod, watch his eyes, and see the fire as he says what he has only told God in the quiet. He knows me, though he just learned my name. I am his friend first. I am his friend. How often can this be said?