Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Widow and the Fatherless Children

This is what my family is referred to in the Bible.  What a concept!  I am a widow with fatherless children in the midst of a pandemic.  I sound like some Biblical story.  But this is what I have to say about it:

Psalm 68:4-6
"Sing to God, sing praises to His name;
Extol Him who rides on the clouds,
By His name YAH,
And rejoice before Him.
A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity;
But the rebellious dwell in dry land." 

What more is there?  Praise God!!!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Neediness of Pets

I am sitting here writing.  There is so much to write about these days.  I haven't been blogging as much and I'm sorry.  My head is like my messy room where I know where everything is and I have to get rid of stuff.  I am sorting through things.  I am not one of the ones who have it all figured out.  I am the hotter mess.  I am the hotter mess with three pets that I have had since they were babies. 

Next to my foot is Barkley.  He is my papillion spaniel.  I wonder about his boredom.  Is he bored sitting by my feet all day long?  What does he think about?  Is he happy?  Barkley is a very needy kind of dog.  Very anti-social when it comes to other dogs; he prefers the company of humans.  He loves long road trips and riding in your lap.  He likes running short distances away from the house and in a race, he will win every time.  He always wants attention and anything, anything you drop when it comes to food is his.  David considers Barkley his dog.  But it is Barkley who stays by my side.  I am just now starting to understand dog people.  

I have two cats, both of them males.  Samson is a Blue Russian.  He is my oldest.  I call him the old man.  He is 13 years old.  He loves to talk and tell you things.  He used to be this big cat, defining alpha of the house.  Compared to Midnight, he was the tough one.  Midnight is a snuggle bum. Midnight likes to be carried.  He will climb up on you and hug you.  Sometimes I find David just sitting on his bed with Midnight on his shoulder being loved on.  Samson is not like this. I thought Samson wasn't as emotional, but then Santi died, Samson went to pieces.  He understood that his master was gone.  He lost weight.  His fur became matted.  One day, someone left the window open and while we had gone to church, the cats escaped.  Samson was by the window, our loyal boy, he was waiting for us to come home.  Midnight was out and about.  Picture me roaming the neighborhood crying for Midnight, an all black cat, in the dead of night.  How was I suppose to see a shadow?  David still makes fun of me, as he was the one that walked with me and held  my hand as I looked for Midnight.  In the morning, I got up and looked out in the backyard with thoughts of Midnight.  I saw him climbing over the fence.  I went out with bare feet in my nightgown and I picked him up and brought him home with tears (a picture of how our great God welcomes us when we have a "night out").  I called to the children when I brought him in but who was there waiting anxiously?  Samson.  When I put Midnight down, Samson sniffed him and kissed him.  I was able to witness the love between two adoptive brothers.  Samson missed Midnight.   

I thought I would lose him when Santi died.  It became clear that he relinquished his place as Alpha to Midnight.  When they were fed, Samson waited until Midnight ate first.  If Midnight was someplace, Samson would be the one to leave.  I can learn about submission from these animals.  I bought a special brush.  We cut away the really bad matted parts.  We rubbed him and bought him liquid food.  Samson may not be alpha in the rest of the house but as my favorite, the old man has free reign in my room.  In the mornings, Samson sits with me as I drink my coffee.  He likes to throw himself against you and he is the best purrer.  He is not as insistent as he used to be but he wants attention too.  He meows at you for it.  He wants to be pet and he wants to spend time with you.  He likes things that we have worn.  He likes laying on the bed because it smells like us.  I know that his tenure on this earth is shorter than the others.  I am thankful for this cat and his dependence on us.

Then there is Midnight.  His story I can save for another time.  Midnight doesn't ask permission.  He is Janet's favorite.  He will climb up on your lap and then stay there with his sticky claws.  He is more insistent on being taken care of.  There is not one hair of his that is not black.  He has greenish yellowish eyes.  He is big.  He is our hunter.  Don't let anything smaller come into the house, Midnight will hunt it.  His coat is so shiny!!!  He used to be only my cat.  Now things have changed.  Janet claims him.  In case you were wondering, Barkley is David's and Samson is mine, but David is the one that feeds all of them and takes care of all of the pets the most.  Midnight is very social.  He will play with Barkley where Samson avoids him like the plague.  Midnight doesn't worry as much as Samson does. 

These pets and their need of us.  They are our companions.  They teach us about ourselves.  I always feel astutely when I learn of the passing of a pet.  I understand that this demise can be much much greater than losing a human sometimes.  I don't think of myself as a pet person.  If a pet, then a cat person.  And yet... I have three..  The other day we were all in one room, the children, the pets and me.  David made a comment of how many of us there were.  We are technically not a small family of three but a big family of six. 

I look down.  Here is my boy, Barkley.  I call his name and he looks up, his tail wags.  He is happy.  I am petting him.  He puts his two little paws on my knees and sneezes (he sneezes when he's happy).  He is a good boy.  Maybe I'm not such a cat person after all... 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Not That Pretty

I don't know what came over me but I decided to post a pic on this app called "PhotoFeeler."  This is where other people rate you on attractiveness, smarts and trustworthiness.  My first picture rated a 3.7/10 in attractiveness.  My second picture rated a 4.1/10.  I'm analyzing the data.  Apparently, I am not as pretty as I thought I was.  This answers a lot of questions for me. 

Let me be clear.  I think that I'm very pretty.  I like my face.  I think that it is very symmetrical. I look good in glasses and hats.  I love that I have full lips and almond shaped eyes.  Maybe I think that I'm as attractive as I was when I was younger.  I don't age in the way that I see myself in my mind's eye.  It helps to get an outside perspective.  I like it, outside perspective puts me in perspective. 

Here is the other thing.  I am not about my looks.  I don't know if I was ever about my looks.  I like make up, because I like an excuse to wear glitter, but make up is a hobby, not a means to lie to people.  I think I translate better in person.  You can't hear my snarky responses over a picture.  You can't see my funny expressions all of the time in a smiling picture.  You can't get a hug over a picture.  Here is the thing.  I am so much better in person. 

The last thing is (and you knew I was going to bring this up) that God doesn't think I'm unattractive. Psalm 139:14 states, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."   I know fully well that God made me purposefully.  I thought about something else, people have altered their appearance until they no longer look the way that is uniquely them.  I want to look like Elle.  I want to age like Elle.  I want to be Elle.  If I had it all together then I couldn't be this hotter mess bless by grace.  You wouldn't be you either, consider loving yourself, even if you aren't that pretty.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The New Work Norm

I am trying to develop a schedule and stick to it.  I know that there are people that miss things about their lives the way they had it a few weeks ago, BC (Before Corona).  I don't have time to miss anything right about now.  I am making sure that my children stay productive and that I can be paid for the work that I produce with integrity.  So far my work day consists of a cornucopia of meetings.  They end with people saying not to be overwhelmed.  I see ads for Master Class and I feel like dreaming.  I don't have time to dream about doing anything!!!  This isn't necessarily true.  I'm not thinking about how I feel though I'm just working and trying to develop a suitable home/work schedule. 

I like my commute though.  I like seeing my children each day and if I miss them (and I miss them)  I could just go to their rooms.  I am around.  I like folding laundry and putting it away for a break.  I like going outside for a minute and letting the sun shine on my face.  These days have been awesome.  I get home on time and I have time to go on a majestic walk with the sun peeking through trees and clouds and it is all so glorious.  I don't have to hide my Bible.  I can read it and meditate on a verse. 

I think of Psalm 19.  I posted it below in its entirety.  I drink in the sky and I remember the law of God.  I am thankful for things that don't seem to change.  For the God who does not change.  He is the same yesterday, today and for always.  I may change.  I may wither and die but God...  Praise the Lord.  In thinking about Psalm 19 and how the sky reveals God's glory, I remembered a song that came out when I was in college.  The name of it is "Optimistic"  by Sounds of Blackness.  The main thought is, "As long as you keep your head to the sky, be optimistic."  I want to believe that there is an element of prayer and the sky represents not just the expanse above us but heaven, where God lives.  This happy song brought me back in time to brighter days where all I did was dream of all my tomorrows.  I want to believe that God is the one that helped me remember.  My good and gracious God that helps me through all of my craziness.  I am thankful. 

Psalm 19 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Perfect Revelation of the Lord

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

19 The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.
In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,
Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
And rejoices like a strong man to run its race.
Its rising is from one end of heaven,
And its circuit to the other end;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.

Courtesy of Bible Gateway

Sunday, March 22, 2020

An Overabundance of Words

I'm sad.  Someone told me an off hand remark.  They said, "You have a lot to say."  Do I?  Is this bad?  They said it like it was a bad thing.  I knew it!!!  I absolutely knew it!!!  I may be insane!!! 

I mean, someone tells me in a critical way that I have too much to say and my first response is to write about it!  I do have a lot of things to say!! (She says while pouting)  I do write a lot!!!  (She crinkles her forehead).  There is nothing good about it.  I don't really have anything important to say other than the stuff that I normally write about. 

What would happen if I stopped writing?  I write letters.  I write journals.  I write my prayers.  I love the sound of the click click on the computer.  Maybe I am not addicted to writing but the sound of typing may be my comfort sound and I write to hear it continuously.  No.  I also write with pens.  I have an issue with pens and papers.  I think the right word is a better gift than toilet paper.  Yes, it is that powerful.  I think that a story could change your life.  I think about lyrics to songs and how they can change your mood.  We underestimate the things that have actual powers. 

As I sit here, I am powerful.  I consider this blessing.  I used to work with this para-professional.  Ms. Benavides was her name, Salvadora Benavides.  She hailed from Bogota, Colombia.  She reminded me of my father.  I love her still.  We lost touch.  There I was flailing in life.  I was a new teacher.  I didn't know what I was doing.  She understood my power with words back then.  She would tell me that someone with the ability to write could do anything.  She was so impressed with me.  I think of her now, this sweet woman who is encouraging me years later.  Can I do this for you?  Can I encourage you? 

That's all I have for now.  Hope it wasn't "Too Much."

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Not Claustrophobic

As a child, I remember loving small spaces.  My grandmother had these end tables with slats.  I loved hiding in there.  In fact, I told someone recently that I loved hiding.  I loved hanging out in my closet.  I used to play Hide and Go Seek with my mother.  I remember hiding in the small 70s style wicker hamper.  I would put clothes on top to make it seem authentic.  I remember hiding so quietly that my mother became frantic when she couldn't find me and I heard her calling my father at work panicked that I had escaped.  There were times that I would hide from her and I would practice being so quiet and so still, I think it was just a little mean that I wouldn't tell my poor mother about my hiding.  Again, she would call my father. 

I was obsessed with small things.  My favorite coin was the dime because it is the smallest (I have another story about dimes that I will need to tell later).  Where did this come from?  I saw a Thumbelina movie.  She slept in a walnut shell.  I used to like to take the little babies from the baby showers and pretend they were her.  I loved small things.  I wanted a doll house and I wanted to fill it with miniature furniture.  I thought it would be easy to travel.  I thought it would be cozy to sleep in a walnut shell. 

At some point, I developed a fear of vampires.  I remember lying in bed and I would practice being very still... with a scarf around my neck, for the vampires.  I thought that if they thought I was dead, they wouldn't want to bite me.  I could get lost in the blankets and pretend I was part of the bedding.

I liked small spaces so much that when I saw a movie of a girl who was buried in a small space, I thought, "That's not so bad."  I was a strange girl with some very strange ideas.  I lived in New York City but I loved greenery and I think I believed in fairies.  Small creatures that you wished upon.  I was an only child with a sick mom.  I was good being by myself.  I drew pictures and wrote stories.  I had not one but two imaginary friends.  I liked to read strange books and I loved being weird all by myself. 

All of this to say that I am not claustrophobic... but I am feeling slightly confined.   Not only that, I'm learning a lot about myself.  Stuff I didn't really want to learn.  In between my girlhood and now, I was with my best friend for 24 years.  Before that there was Joanne, my best friend before Santi.  We have known each other our whole lives.  Now my best friends, including Joanne, have their own lives.  I have to get used to being by myself again.  It takes a pandemic in order to face myself.  God works in mysterious ways.  I don't know if I want to face myself.  I think the real issue is that I want to run away from the strange isolated little girl I once was.  I'm going to stop now.  I have to figure out stuff.  Be safe people.  God bless you.

Less Not More

I'm at home.  The children are at home.  We are at home.  I have been blogging and vlogging.  I have been keeping busy.  There is a lot to do.  There are moments when I find myself more busy than less.  I don't know about your feed but there are moments when I am noticing less not more activity.  Surely when I first found social media, I was on there more.  I was so excited finding people that I had not seen in ages.

I am thankful for the venues  Talk about feeling isolated!!!  Where would I have been if there were no social media?  Would I have had the courage to move out here?  I still feel very much connected to my people.  I love learning about what my friends are doing in other states and in other countries.  The world becomes a much smaller place.

Now in this time of turmoil?  Can I even say turmoil?  In this time of  uncertainty, I am forced to focus and reexamine this "less is more" mentality.  It seems a contradiction.  Doesn't Jesus tell is that less is more?  Of course I was going to bring God into this!!!  Jesus tells us that we should do the opposite of what we want.  If someone smacks you, you turn the other cheek... Uh...  Wow!!!  The first will be last and the last will be first.  He who seeks to gain his life will lose it and he who loses his life, for His Name's sake will gain it.

With these greater truths in mind, I will not hoard toilet paper.  I will not do needless shopping.  I will not overeat.  I will go through my wardrobe and do a purging.  Why?  Less is more.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Setting Up For Remote Living

I have been on Spring Break for a little bit.  I have had some meetings for work.  Let me be clear.  I am supremely thankful to have a job at this time that will continue to allow me to work remotely.  I am thankful to the Leona Group and Maya High School.  I am thankful to God for providing and allowing me to provide for my family. 

HOWEVER, I am going to need to figure out the prerequisites for my children's schooling for the rest of the school year and I am trying to figure out what my job will look like for the remainder of the school year.  I have a had a few check ins from different people.  Thank you for checking up on us.  I did a grocery run and I will run to the grocery for you (if you are by my way).

I don't know what you need to hear.  There are moments that I would like to panic and there are moments that I have panicked.  I keep a prayer journal and I have written down scared prayers to my Big God.  I don't have it all together all of the time.  Remember that I am a mess and as long as I am on this earth, I will always be a mess.  I may become less of a mess but let's not pretend that I'm even remotely (pun intended) close to having it all together (another pun in the same sentence). 

Friends, I am thinking about my gifts.  I am a teacher so I would hope that I teach well.  I love fiercely and I realize that it makes me crazy but I'm not going to apologize for loving the way that I do.  For real, if you need any help that you think I can help you with... DO NOT HESITATE!!!  If you think that I need to make some pit stop to check on someone.  Give me their address!!!  I am here to serve.  We can be remote but we don't have to be alone.  Love you all.

Thursday, March 19, 2020


Pan-de-mic...  Not just any type either, a Global Pandemic.  Oh my God.  I try not to use that phrase lightly.  I hate taking the Lord's name in vain, but in this instance, I am calling to Him.  I am saying in that phrase a true prayer for all of you who are reading this and I am praying that those you are around can be blessed by my three word prayer as I sit here shock and awe at this situation that we find ourselves in.

My dear friend, Amelia, wrote in a post, "...pandemic (words I never thought I'd write in my lifetime!)"  I echo this sentiment.  I will tell you that there is some disbelief at this state that we find ourselves in.  I find myself asking, "Is this really happening?"  I don't know about you but there are moments that I forget and I'll tell the kids, "Let's go..."  Then I remember.  We aren't going anywhere.  We are staying home.  We do go walking.  We need to go out to get our minds clear.  We started very minor cleaning yesterday.  I think that I am drawing out all of the chores.  It doesn't help when it rains.  We end up not walking and Mom gets a little restless.

What am I thinking?  Why am I restless?  I should be happy because I don't have another adult to get snippy with and blame.  There is only me.  And this idea smacks me in the face: There is only me.  You ever cry on someone's shoulders?  Yeah.  I remember what that was like.  There is one of you to send to the store for stuff.  There is one of you to be strong while the other vegges out.  I used to hear Santi tell the kids, "Play quietly.  Mom is sleeping."  I had desperately needed that nap too.  I would get stressed and he would calm me.  He would get stressed and it would help me to calm him.  When you are helping someone, there is something about it that allows you to be calm yourself.  I tell myself, "Listen to what you are saying and take your own advice, Elle."

I think of those movies in the Wild West where there was the Widow Johnson alone with her children and she would have a rifle so when the wild men came she was ready.  I'll confess that when I first became a widow, I would have this image in my mind.  I'm not sure where it came from.  The word, "widow" is a sad word.  I think of all of the widows in the Bible.  Jesus sent John over to His mother, Mary to take care of her because, I think, she was a widow.

I don't think that I am like other widows.  I think I'm sassy and feisty.  I think I'm funny and smart.  I trust in Jesus to take care of me and I want to show that He does take care of me.  He answers prayers, even the silly ones.  In the midst of a Pandemic we are figuring things out, with awe and disbelief, with faith and trust, we are walking toward Jesus still.  If I didn't have Jesus, I would be writing a different type of story.  So praise God from Whom all blessings flow!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Thoughts on Being Extra

It is in these quiet times that I can think and process things.  I can reflect on the quarter and I can make plans and feel like I am actually living instead of just putting one foot in front of the other.   It is now that I thought about something a student told me.  "Miss, you are so extra."  At the time I didn't even think about it but now that I'm sitting here, I can't stop thinking about it.  The reason my student said that was because I make them follow the rules.  I call other teachers. I follow up.  This is not being extra to me.  This is me doing my job and being helpful. 

I'm not extra for a lot of other things.  Housework, for instance, I'm definitely not extra.  I need to be!!!  If you look at my size, yes, I'm extra.  It's okay.  You can say it.  I'm working on it.  What if it's a good thing?  What if I like being extra?  Honestly I don't know what it all means.  I did a post a while ago on being too much.  This is different verbage for a similar theme.  I am too much.  I have decided.  I'm a lot.  The same things that are bad that are too much are the same things that are good.  I'm sitting here marinating in my extra-ness.  I love myself.  I love a lot.  Some would even say that I love too much.  I still don't care. 

I am getting ready now.  I have things to do that I have put off.  Being home is good.  I can just... catch up.  Spend time with yourself.  Be extra!!!  Be not enough.  I think this is a good time to reflect on who you are and what you want to be.  If you need anything, I'm here. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Love in the Time of Corona

There is so much to write about, so much.  In these last few days, it seems as if the world has broken.  Am I in a movie?  I want to ask you, when did Corona Virus become real to you?  I know when it became real to me.  I went to buy some staples for the house and there weren't any.  I didn't get nervous but something happens to a mother when they hear their children.  I remember as babies, my children would cry and I could feel my hackles rising.  There was something about the sound that was like a very loud alarm in my head.  In the supermarket, I saw their faces.  I saw their worry and concern.  And they looked to me, I know what they were thinking, "If Mom is fine, then we are fine."  I mustered up all the control I could manage and I told them with all the truth I knew, "God is in control."  That was all my darling son needed to hear.  I heard him tell his sister, "It will be okay."  What he didn't say but I heard anyway was: "God's, not Mom, got this!"  Praise the Lord!!!  We were able to find things.  The things that we may need I will order online.

Even now I am calm.  I am nursing a heavy heart, though. It is a hard time for the heart.  I equate love with this organ. A friend is going through a divorce.  Another friend is having trouble with children.  Yet another friend is going through a family illness.  I am thankful for my friend, Heather, who gave birth to her daughter.  I am praying for them.  I am missing some of my friends.  Friends who are not close.  Friends who I may not see again for a while.  Logistically, there are some friends that I love dearly that I will never see again.

I took out my heart this morning.  It was happy to see me.  It pumped strong and had a good healthy red color.  I inspected it in my hands and I looked at its surface to see the scars.  There were so many.  Tears welled in my eyes as I touched the deep healed over gauges.  There were some that were deep and long.  There were some that were short.  I touched them.  My heart was happy to see me.  I looked at it with my sad eyes filled with sorrow and apologies.  It was like a dog, happy to see me.  If it had a tail it would wag.  I have a dog's heart but I wish to have a cat's.  The reason I had taken it out was to check it to make sure that it was strong enough for what was to come.  It seemed strong.  I found an imprint on my heart, underneath, hidden between the ventricles, "Property of God." This is why my heart could be so loving and forgiving.  This was why it could withstand so much pain and still beat strong.  There are no open wounds on my heart, there are some that are healing but I'm not bleeding.  There are some scars that are small and painful but again, I know that they will heal.

Friends, I scratched my heart.  I did.  I wanted to see what would happen.  My heart yelped.  It took a day to be moody.  It languished in the news of the Corona Virus.  I confess to not being happy with my heart but before long, it was back to its old happy ways.  I looked at the scratch that I have caused it.  I can see it, like the scratch that Esther accidentally gave me a month ago.  But I know that it will heal.  I know what you are thinking, "What does that mean that you scratched your heart?"  I allowed myself to feel pain and worry even though the truth is that God DOES HAVE THIS!!!  So... I will not worry about toilet paper (even though I really do want to worry about toilet paper).  I will not worry about milk right now and I am praying.  Let me know if you need some prayer too.  I think that we all need prayer these days.  Love deeply, Friends.

I Peter 4: 7-9
"The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.  Show hospitality to one another without grumbling."

Sunday, March 15, 2020

These Times

Is this really happening?  It takes me a long time to process things.  It does.  Even now as my friends check in on me and I am reading news articles and processing information, I am in denial.   I don't think it has all hit me.  School closing?  Working from home?  I was one of the ones who didn't buy a ton of toilet paper.  Now there is a shortage and I have teenagers at home, teenagers with fast metabolisms...  Let that stay there for a minute.  I'm not going to say no to a proffered roll so... If you have extra, keep me in mind.

I think of how little germs are.  I think about how big God is.  Today at church, Malachi, the associate pastor, preached on Psalm 46.  I'll copy and paste it below.  If we are going to trust in God, then we are going to trust in God.  I am not tempting fate right now by refusing to wash my hands and going out into the world.  I am sitting here, in front of my computer and I'm doing what I have always done.  I'm writing and sharing thoughts with the world.  There are moments that I tell myself that I should be more scared.  But I have lost... a lot and God has always been there, taking care of me and showing me the way to go.  I have made mistakes... Oh Man!!!  I have made so many mistakes.  It is more common for me to mess up than to not mess up.  Expect messes from me!!!

I don't know what will happen.  You don't know either.  Only God knows what is next.  All of those dystopian movies that have dominated television, movies and booklists have prepared us for what will come next.  Have we been getting ready for this for the last decade?  I don't know.  God is sovereign.  Be safe and pray, Friends.  Trust in the Lord and Praise God!

Psalm 46 English Standard Version (ESV)

God Is Our Fortress

To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth.[a] A Song.

46 God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present[b] help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
    though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
    God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
    how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
    he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah


  1. Psalm 46:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term
  2. Psalm 46:1 Or well proved

Friday, March 13, 2020

Appropriate Distance

I woke up this morning to the news.  You should know that my day does not usually allow for time in the morning.  However, I have been shoving news into my life and in my day as much as I can.  I am, after all (sometimes), a grown up.  My news sources have a tendency to differ but when I can't have smart news, I would like quick news.  I have been deleting my daily dose of news found in my email.  Email?  Right now my inbox is overwhelmed which is really unlike me. 

I took a moment this morning and I found that the world has changed.  The world is changing.  Is this isolation where we are heading?  I wonder what it is like in New York City right now.  Is there still the hustle and bustle?  My life is quiet.  I have to make an effort as it is to socialize and find people congregating.  I miss Central Park with the myriad of people visiting.  Our favorite pastime was to people watch. I need to go out of my way currently to do this.  We are lacking something.  It started earlier and being deep into my life, I didn't notice the separation and the isolation that was occurring.  It would appear from my part of the world that we are burrowing deeper into our individual holes. Corona Virus is nothing more than an excuse to burrow deeper.

It is an observation.  I am not in the least suggesting that you go out and put yourselves at risk.  In case this is not clear: DO NOT GO OUT AND PUT YOURSELVES AT RISK!!!  It is just me, a mere observer looking at life through my own lens and putting the thoughts together.  I think about how we are meant for community.  I think about how people are meant to be social.  I belong to a church community which is the world for me.  I have a family in the members of this church.  I have an appropriate social outlet each week sometimes more than twice a week.  What do people do who don't have this?  I need to be at work every day but I think of those that are allowed to work from home.  Are we creating a nation, a world, of agoraphobes? 

By all means, be careful, but put your distance of people in perspective.  Do you need someone?  Do you need community?  What are the thoughts in your head you are holding on to?  I ask this because I feel that the more we are separated, the more we assume.  We create a monster out of the masses.  Isn't this how it all starts?  "United we stand, divided we fall."  We are being divided, Friends.  Hmmm... the devil's power play (just posturing).  In any case, reach out SAFELY, and live life.  It's still too short, don't waste moments.  Until next time...  Praise the LORD!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Savoring the Rest to Come

Guess what is coming up?  SPRING BREAK!!!  Whoo hoo!!!  And I get to stay home with my babies.  I have some plans but really, I just want to savor the time.  It's like money you know you are going to put in the bank but for a moment, you let yourself make plans with it.  In my mind, I make plans but the only thing that I really want is the opportunity to catch up on rest.  

Anticipation, I'm anticipating a little rest and this is what has me excited and giddy.  This puts me in mind of my eschatological view.   In light of the pandemic that is the Corona Virus, we are faced with our mortality.  I will tell you that I am not afraid.  I'm not afraid for myself or for my children.  I am thinking with the lens of going home.  There is every possibility that I am wrong in my thinking but God will come for His people.  If we die before this then we will go home to be with Him.  

In both cases, Spring Break, death, I am savoring.  This is the part that is the best.  It is waiting for what is coming.  I don't know where you are and what you are hoping for but there is peace in the savoring.  Take my word for it.  Praise God!!

Monday, March 9, 2020

Not Okay

Busy Busy Busy Bee that I am.  The plan was for the busyness to take over thoughts of losing my husband.  There was a plan in place.  I think it was working.  I'm looking at a picture of him right now.  I can almost hear his voice.  I can almost go back in time.  I can almost even touch his hand.  I forgot that grief will come regardless of what you do to hold it off. 

Today it came leaking out of my eyes as I drove to work today.  I felt it in my walk.  It wasn't all bad.  It isn't all bad!!!  I ate some broccoli at lunch and I felt better.  I want to blame it, this feeling, on something.  I blamed lack of proper nutrition.  I blamed lack of rest.  I blamed the ending of the quarter and the full moon coming.  I can blame the devil, that serpent.  I can blame myself for not planning enough.  Would it all make a difference?  There were small moments, minutes really where I felt alone and scared. 

I reached out and asked for prayers.  Even now this is hard to write.  Why?  Because I want to be okay.  I want to be fine and I'm not.  Today there is every possibility that I am not okay and I need to hide in the cleft that is the Rock of my salvation.  I'm a strong willed woman.  I have faith in God.  I have waited in the Lord.  I have praised His Name in pain, in suffering.  I will even do it right now.  I don't want pity.  I want to turn my face to God.  I want to believe that He is greater than all of my troubles.  I want to pray and know, KNOW, that my Great God hears me. 

This is not a post I am proud of.  This isn't even a post I would like to write and publish and have other eyes see.  But I want to point you to God.  You who are reading this.  You who have had not so great days yourself.  You who are suffering.  You who have lost.  You who are in need in of sunny days and laughter.  I want to point you to the God that I serve.   You are not alone and you don't need to stay alone. 

Psalm 30:4-5
"Sing the praises of the LORD, you his faithful people; praise his holy name.  For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."

So... I'm waiting.  I'm waiting on God.  Praise the Lord!!!

Friday, March 6, 2020


I did a bad job remembering today.  It helped that it was a Friday and I didn't have a lot of paperwork to remind me of the date.  Today I went to church for the Chili Cook off.  I didn't cook.  I had intended to make some gluten free corn bread but I was missing an hour.  Instead I came empty handed and hung out till the very end without even thinking about helping. 

Janet was wearing a flannel of her dad's.  I felt the need to wear something too. I wore a shirt of his that he bought but didn't really wear because although he loved the shirt, it was on the small side for him.  So I wore it today.  I didn't explain that I was wearing my late husband's shirt because it was his death day and not because I am a fan of Pink Floyd.  I only know the "Money" song from The Italian Job.

David, David didn't do anything. His birthday was on Thursday.  I want him to just remember and appreciate his birthday.  He tells me that he will never forget. I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I want his birthday to be a good thing.  Yesterday we cut a cake.  I got him a t-shirt and a few of his favorite foods.  His wish was really a gift for me.  He prayed for good things to come.  Is he really this mature?  I'm happy when he's just a silly kid. 

Next week, we will take time out and go out to eat and have some distance for David's birthday this year.  We will go shopping and eat good food where he wants.  Maybe we will do our Dave and Buster's thing and do that with his sister.  When I look at his pictures, I will always remember.  I remember him all of the time.  I loved the way that he loved me and I miss him.  I don't know if it will always hurt.  It hurts less now.  I think he would have wanted it that way.  Here is to remembering.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020


I read an article the other day.  It was about appreciating being single.  An artist used pictures to illustrate all of the things that are wonderful about singleness.  I was worried about this.  I am getting used to being single. 

I woke up in the morning and I looked around my messy room as I was getting ready to leave.  It was a mess because my bed was a mess and I had tried on some outfits and I thought, "Man, this place is a mess!"  I smiled to myself because there was no one but my children to see it.  I don't have to do anything.  I could fix it later. 

I spent 24 years being in a couple.  I had a feeling that I would have a moment in time where I would feel the adjustment, the adapting to singleness.  There is something to be said about living a quiet life with deep conversations with God because He is the one that is there.  When I have my moments of tears I can cry them out in prayer and there is peace.  It comes to me so sweetly that I can't even tell when it happens. 

I like wearing lipstick.  I can wear any lipstick I want.  I had this boyfriend that hated when I wore red lipstick.  Can you even imagine me without red lipstick?  As a married woman, I compromised.  I'm finding that I don't need to compromise as much.  The other day for dinner, I had a gluten free bagel thin with cream cheese.  My friend invited me out to hang out with her at the mall and I got up and went with my daughter, just like that. 

What else can I do?  Can I plan a cruise?  My Puerto Rican friend from work told me about a cruise that I might like.  It sounds amazing!!  I could budget and finagle it.  There is no consulting about it.  You know what!!!  Now that I'm thinking about it.  I could save up and buy myself a Chloe purse!  I don't have to buy a Chloe purse but thinking about the possibility of it is nice.

Now I got to go. I'm having popcorn for dinner.  More on this later. 

Sunday, March 1, 2020


I love dancing!  I have always loved dancing.  You should know that it started with my friend, Adria.  Her mother would send her to this little dancing school on the corner of 231st Street and White Plains Road.  I wasn't normally allowed to go but since I was being watched by her mom, I got to watch.  I loved everything about it.  I loved the shows and the moves.  I would watch thinking, "I could do that."  It started there.

I was alive before MTV.  I would watch U68 on the channels that weren't channels yet.  I sometimes question my rhythmic nature.  If you ever question a latent quality, wait for it.  It comes with your children.  You see yourself in them.  The way my children love music and dancing.  Me?  I loved to practice dancing.  My church didn't allow dancing.  My life was a Footloose movie.  For my graduation from eighth grade, I convinced my father to go to the dance.  He went with me.  I secretly danced in the lobby.  I got caught and felt so guilty.  I wanted to dance so badly.

All throughout high school, I only went to the day time mixers.  I didn't even go to prom.  I wasn't allowed.  Friends would ask me why I wouldn't be at the dances.  How hard is it to explain in a city like New York that dancing was verboten in my world?  The reasoning behind the forbidden dancing is that it is too provocative.  Modern dancing was too enticing.  My logical brain agreed.  My selfish young teenage self just wanted to dance. 

In college, I went to every dance.  I was in Eta Omega Tau Sorority Incorporated.  I loved every single pink and black minute!!!  There were dances!  So many dances to support the other organizations. I was living in New York City, the place where some of the greatest dance clubs exist!  I danced!

I like to go to weddings.  My children understand that when music comes on that I can dance to, I can't promise not to dance.  Janet and I are known to have impromptu dance parties in our living room.  I can probably dance a whole entire night.  Working as a high school teacher, I have had the honor to "work" at 9 high school dances.  God is good to me.  I am hoping to dance again and to keep on dancing until I no longer have the ability to dance anymore.  My soul dances.  All of this to say: Always keep on dancing.

The New Pretty

I was on Instagram the other day just looking around.  I found myself watching a make up video.  It was a younger girl.  She was funny as she applied what seemed to be endless amounts of make up.  I found that I was startled at the length of the false lashes she chose.  In the end, she was going for a natural look...  A NATURAL look.  Her skin wasn't even the original color.  She has plastered on a few layers of color that didn't resemble her actual skin tone and then she contoured, blushed and highlighted her face till it looked more like... what she started with.😐

I'm being a little bit of a hypocrite because if you know me, you know I love make up.  I love bright and bold colors to enhance my face.  But I am not about my face.  The other day I went to work, on a regular day (not a Friday), without make up.  I didn't even bother putting it on.  I was told I looked a little tired.  I could deal with a little tired.  On any given day, I wear concealer, mascara, blush, highlighter and lipstick.   If it's a day that I can afford to do extra, I put on eye shadow.  If it's a bold look type of day, I put on eyeliner.  I have make up.  I don't like the feel of it.  I don't really like hiding or lying.  I want to tell people that I meet, "What you see is what you get."

Proverbs 31:30 says, "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."

I Peter 3:3-4 states, "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.  Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 

I laugh.  I laugh a lot at the part that says 'gentle' and 'quiet'.  I suppose God will change me as He sees fit and when He sees fit. 

I think about my mother.   Children see moms all of the time.  They see the inside mom and the outside mom.  I can honestly tell you that my mom was beautiful all of the time.  On the day she was being extra, she was spectacular!  Sick and ailing, she would put on her lipstick and heels and be ready for the world!  There are moments of insecurity that I let my children see.  However, to them, I am always their beautiful mom.  They think I'm beautiful.  The same way that my mom was beautiful to me.  The mom that wakes up first thing is the the same beautiful mom they see when I'm wearing my red lipstick.

A former grad came to see me on one of the days that I didn't put on any make up at all.  I didn't care.  I snapped the picture anyway.  I am looking at the picture now.  How beautiful!  It's a picture of two people who are so happy to see each other.  I think you can see the pride and love in my face.  I don't even notice that I'm not wearing make up.  Happy needs no make up. 

I will always love make up.  I believe that it is part of the legacy that I will leave behind.  "Elle?  Yes, even at 100 years old she wore the heck out of that purple hair and red lipstick!"  But maybe the new pretty shouldn't be to put on layer after layer of stuff.  And truth be known, those fake lashes scare me a little bit.  They are getting bigger every day.  The new pretty should be who you are and the love of Jesus.  I'll try it and let you know.  Praise the LORD!!!