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Reflection Friday: What Faith Is by Frederick K.C. Price

Apostle Frederick K.C. Price (I still call him Pastor Price) is one of my first and best teachers. I began watching his televised services nearly twenty years ago while living in Milwaukee, WI. Quite honestly, I was interested in the Word – I wanted to read and understand the Bible – but my direct reading was doing nothing for me. Nothing was clicking.

I was baptized at the age of six and have been communing with God since then in the form of my journal writing — Dear God: It’s me again! Yet and still when I wanted to read the Bible in my teens and twenties, I couldn’t quite get it. I had a King James Study Bible, which I still occasionally reference here and there, however the language still trips me up.

As far as church attendance goes, I’m a professional visitor. I visited the same church for eight years with a friend in high school and college. Never joined. Wasn’t interested, but I enjoyed attending. To this day, whenever I travel, I look for a church to visit as part of the trip. Having sat in on services across the United States, France and Israel, and having walked through ancient religious edifices in Egypt, Ethiopia, England, Italy, Mexico, Poland, and Vatican City, I know we are not dissimilar in the way we choose to display honor and glory for God around the world. The human need to erect monuments in as palatial a way as possible is on display wherever humans are. Yet and still, I have rarely felt moved by the Spirit in any of these spaces. Except for one memorable time in a small town in France. After visiting Chartres Cathedral, a 12th century architectural masterpiece, I withdrew to a bathroom stall in a nearby restaurant to weep and pray.

My mother had died about three years prior. I have no linear or practical memories of those in-between years. I don’t even know what triggered me. I was studying in Paris that spring. Even though the written placement tests put me in the second tier at the Sorbonne, which was near fluency, I felt like a charity case. It was hard for me to speak the language. Nerves. Embarrassment. Whatever. The knowledge was there, but my tongue wasn’t cooperating. That is, until the day I had an epiphany in a small stone restaurant in the rural French town of Chartres. I prayed aloud in multiple languages that day. I’m not clear English was a part of that communication. I’m certain of French and Tongues. Yet I understood every word that flowed from my month. That night in my dreams, God answered my prayer.

Even having had this pivotal, emotional and spiritual experience, reading the Bible remained a difficulty for me.

A couple of years later, I began watching Pastor Price on TV. Through his sermons, the Word began to marinate in me in such a way that it became tender enough to digest. I still wasn’t getting it on my own, but I was understanding enough to continue to try.

A few years after finding Pastor Price on TV, I moved to New York City. Pastor Price operated his ministry from his Faithdome in Los Angeles, CA. As a televangelist, he traveled the world. In 2001 he started a sister church, CCC East, in New York City at 96th St and Central Park West. I first visited CCC East shortly after my arrival to the City in 2005. I lived in the Bronx my first six months and the commute was too convoluted for me. Some time after I moved to Manhattan, I began visiting the church often. A year after becoming a regular, I felt the urge to answer the altar call but valiantly resisted. During my second full year in NYC, I made a deal with God during one of Pastor Price’s visits. “I won’t join today, but the next time he comes, I’ll answer the altar call.” Based on his routine, I was certain I had a month before committing myself. The following Sunday was Easter and Pastor Price decided to bless us with his presence. As I walked down the middle aisle to my seat, I raised a side-eye to God and acknowledged His checkmate. “Ah! You got me!” CCC-East became the first and only church I’ve ever joined.

Pastor Price preached the below “What Faith Is” series a few months before I joined CCC-East. I’m sure I heard a version of it in person. This is the teaching style I sat under for a number of years. Listening to him developed my ears, discernment and understanding. He helped contour my faith.

One thing he said often was eat the meat and spit out the bones. We didn’t have to agree with him, but don’t miss the message! He had his dogma, but he didn’t teach in a way that forced his perspective on his congregation. For that, I’m eternally grateful because I could have certainly become a blind sheep loyal to a man instead of the Word.

Apostle Pastor Dr. Fred Price taught the four part “What Faith Is” series at Faith Christian Center in Arlington, Texas beginning February 25, 2007. It’s a welcome refresher for me. I hope it blesses you as well. Listen and take notes – you won’t regret it!

What Faith Is, Part 1

What Faith Is, Part 2

What Faith Is, Part 3

What Faith is, Part 4

Reflection

  • How do you think of faith?
  • Is faith a part of your life, the way you live life or an unexplored idea?
  • What came first in your faith walk: knowledge, experience, language or belief?
  • What was the catalyst that broke open your understanding of the Bible or spiritual teachings?
  • What has been your favorite lesson from your best teacher (of life, spirit, Bible, all/any things)?
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My divorce was not a battle.

A message from Lana Michele Moorer aka MC Lyte on her Instagram account.  

My divorce what not a battle. My ex-husband, John Wyche, has never attempted to take any assets from me at any time before, during or after our marriage. Anything that is written or said that states or implies otherwise is untrue and unfair. I do not agree with or support anything that aims to secure clicks and views by crafting slanted messaging at the expense of the reputation of innocent parties.  

While I made public comments related to the delay in signing papers, I can state that any delay may have been connected to his desire to save the relationship; never to take any of my property.  

Since this matter appears to be of concern to so many, I will use this moment to share a few lessons:  

  • Divorce does not equal failure. We did not fail; it simply did not work. I pray for his wellbeing as I do my own and I wish him nothing but God’s choosiest blessings. 
  • If you have anything to protect going into a marriage, get a prenuptial agreement so there’s no confusion if it comes to an end. As a matter of fact, make sure you protect all of your assets with proper insurance, financial and estate planning. Our people are far behind the wealth gap; get a financial education and do what is in your power to protect what God has blessed you with. 
  • Focus on love and truth. Be careful what you say or imply about others. No one is perfect and we all have something that we need grace to cover. With all of the mental health crises we are facing as a human race, my prayer is that we will see more commonalities of heart among each other and less judgement.  

#LyteIsLove 

I love this post. Over the years, I’ve often said the end of relationships deserve as much care and consideration as the beginning. Begin as you intend to continue and end as if you care. Be blessed.

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Songs that held me together in 2022

Zach Williams’s music has been my soundtrack for at least the last three years. And I had no idea until a few months ago. He wrote and performed songs that seemed to pull my heart out and wring the tears directly from it. His voice is rich and soulful and his writing is soul therapy. If you haven’t enjoyed his music yet, do yourself a favor and listen to his last three albums.

Along this thought train, I want to share a smaller volume of songs that have ministered to me over the last year. Here are my top picks from K-Love’s rotation plus one from elsewhere. Be blessed as you go.

My playlist on Amazon Music: 2022 Songs that Held Me Together
https://music.amazon.com/user-playlists/18464eec4dc1417481a69ed338324e8bsune?ref=dm_sh_0sTpYdIeakYqi91AyZmCSbnmp

Amazon playlist: January 2023 favorites
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Reflection Friday: I’m taking you back…

Prompt: What don’t you want to go back to?

“I’m taking you back to the very place you suffered shame and defeat and you will have victory.”

A couple of years ago, I came across this old journal entry. At the time I wrote it, it spoke to me about my return to Arizona in 2018. Heavy, profound, life & family altering changes happened during my first stay in Arizona in the 1980s. When I stumbled upon this message a couple of years ago, I had just returned to Milwaukee after sixteen years away. This time, a return to all the places, people and things that  have impacted my life seemed to be the warning and lesson. 

I don’t know what the victory is, but I know the promise is that I won’t die in defeat. My end won’t come while I’m low. If I’m not shouting for joy now, I need only hold on because the morning will certainly come.

The first time I left Arizona, I vowed never to return. I was thirteen. It’s now a place I think of as an ideal home for myself. A place I want to settle in before retirement so I can build a community to age with before old age keeps me in place.

The last time I left Milwaukee, I swore I was done with it. I was thirty. Yet when I came back in 2021, Milwaukee was the most promising city for me as a new real estate investor. Among other cities, my top considerations were Atlanta, Baltimore and Detroit. Anywhere may have been a profitable choice, but I knew none of those cities intimately. However, I understood Milwaukee – it’s markets, culture, neighborhoods and its people. It’s biases. I remembered where it was  twenty and thirty years ago. I was beyond excited about recent, current and future development projects.  More importantly, I could afford to buy in a neighborhood that was one minute from the interstate, ten minutes from most major points in the metro area, and adjacent to a neighborhood I wanted to work myself into. 

When I left New York City, the mantra that drove me was, “I’m not going to die here!” I was forty-three. New York is where I first became my most authentic self. I was able to push boundaries, explore concepts, sample possibilities, and dismantle walls boxing me in identities I wasn’t sure represented me. It’s where I was most alive even when the City began to feel like a gilded cage. Six months after selling my co-op apartment and completing my relocation to the Tortolita Mountains in Southern Arizona from East Harlem, the Covid-19 lockdown began. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to be a shut-in during a global quieting.

How we begin our journey is no indication of how we will end it. How we leave a place, people or situation doesn’t mean we will return the same way – stuck in our hurts, frustrations, disappointments or soaring on triumphs and memories of greatness. If we are open to change, not only will we evolve but the way we interact with the world will bring opportunities we never could have imagined the first time around. As our perspective expands, life forms everywhere we look and joy becomes an expectation.

Reflection

  • Where is the one place you are determined never to return to? Why? Is it fear based? Shame? Regret? Whatever the reason, have you confronted and explored it? 
  • What is the best lesson learned after you returned to a place you didn’t want to go back to?

#live #life #covid_19 #chooselife #getup #go #newperspective #newchoices  #newday #newmercies #live #woman #womanhood #iamwoman #harvestlife #reflection #doover #keepmovingforward #onward #whatsnext #rethink #restructure #reflect #build #reapingmyharvest #Iamtheharvest #joy #peace #selfawareness #chooselife

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I like you. Do you like me?

So, a man asked me for my “stuff” over the holidays. More precisely he offered to do “stuff’ with me or to me. “Stuff” is my word. In the moment I couldn’t quite process that a neighbor was propositioning me for sex in such crude, unsolicited, non-encouraged and awkward manner. But more astonishingly, he assumed access to my body, energy, life, home, bed, and time only required him saying he “likes” me. 

Before he got to his coup de grâce of “liking me,” I tried to derail him, and in my mind, had turned him down multiple times in the conversation. I deflected, changed the topic, greeted other neighbors, but he was laser focused with liquid courage (I’m guessing). Men act like they’re too sensitive for rejection, but they are in fact aggressive revisionists who think of “no” as a challenging obstacle to overcome. Or overpower. 

He approached me in my driveway late on a Saturday evening as I was stepping out for a food run. It was dark with only one streetlight on my end of the street, and cold as winter was entering its deep freeze in Wisconsin. I thought I recognized him, but my night vision isn’t the greatest, so I was on edge as his dark shadowy figure moved towards me without speaking. As I walked down my porch stairs, I called him by name and asked how his holidays were going. Midway down the stairs, my motion light came on, brightening my driveway.  I could see him clearly now, but his lack of verbal response made me uneasy.  

He is hard of hearing, but he normally tries to cup his ear and ask me to repeat myself. Or simply wave and shout his own greeting. This time he didn’t speak until he was nearly toe-to-toe with me – far too close for my comfort – he finally responded quietly that his holidays were going fine. Then he stared at me and said, “You’re so pretty.” Almost like a whisper. Somewhat bemused.  

The Color Purple, 1985. Mister attempting to convince Nettie to be his wife.

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Reflective Questions

  • What are you offering in exchange for access to someone’s body and life?
  • What are you willing to accept in exchange for access to your body and life?
  • How do you evaluate what you’re willing to share? 
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Poem: No longer listening

I once heard what I thought  
was a calling. A mating call of yearning, 
of need, of matched desire. 
I listened. 
 
Was someone seeking me? 
The voice seemed familiar –  
its vibration pierced my soul, 
breached the dark midnight of my days  
in the directionless wilderness of life. 
It pulled me, spun me 
surrounded and filled me. 
The melody delighted me. 
Surely it was a call to live;  
to fulfill hopes and dreams 
I kept listening. 
 
Even as I called back,  
I listened.  
Even after I became a seeker  
starving through the ravenous desire 
of a supernova devouring its own light, 
I listened. 
I called back. 
I listened. 
I called back. 
I waited and waited and waited, 
for more than a dozen years,  
I waited for my radiant reply to reach  
the one my soul loved;  
ached for the brilliance of their  
presence to sustain me. 
 
I thought I needed to see, to feel, 
to be seen, heard, wanted, and needed.  
I thought I needed someone to love me;  
someone I could pour love into. 
Yet aging with none of my needs met 
altered my hearing, diminished my longing. 
Silence is not only deafening, 
it deadens the soul and mutes the heart. 
I stopped listening to the void. 
 
A lifetime ago, a whisper tickled my senses  
through the wilderness of the universe. 
But how could that be when  
sound can’t travel in space? 
Relics of my imagination had launched  
on gases of hope, creating orbits of dreams 
in the echo chamber of my heart. 
So… I’m no longer listening. 
 
I will feel what I can, be who I am, exist as created 
with no regard for the sliver of sound heard 
in the wilderness of loneliness, that had only  
ever been my own echo reverberating off stardust. 

LaShawnda Jones
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Are you listening? 

Listening: give one’s attention to a sound; take notice of and act on what someone says; respond to advice or a request; make an effort to hear something; be alert and ready to hear something. 

In recent years, mostly since the pandemic began, I have become aware that the people I had been most comfortable speaking to – i.e., bearing my soul to – are not good listeners. Not only that, there’s no evidence they take the time to hear any of the words I actually speak. 

All my relationships have relied heavily on telephone time for the last twenty years. None transitioned to social media well. I’ve rarely been in the same space or state with family or friends for well over a decade.  

Nearly two years ago, I returned to Milwaukee where I lived for high school and college, for what was supposed to be a summer stay. My goal was to purchase, renovate and flip a property while spending time with my sister. For nearly twenty years prior, home had been elsewhere. There were two old friends I had maintained contact with over the years. I had last seen them both in 2018. Neither were interested in connecting upon my return. After the initial sting, I was and am completely okay with that. Above all else I did not want to get wrapped up in the lives of people who hadn’t grown much in twenty years. My focus was my first real estate investment project and seeing where that would lead.   

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Reflection: What do you need to rebound from?

self-reflection: meditation or serious thought about one’s character, actions, and motives.

Prompt: What do you need to rebound from?

On July 16, 2020, I was released from the hospital after nearly a week in ICU following a month-long mysterious illness (no confirmation of Covid-19 connection). I thought I was dying and was honestly ready to go. Fast forward to today and I’m laying ground work for an old-age with few financial concerns, no matter the state of my health.

Rebounding from a physical and emotional low has its advantages.

What do you need to rebound from?

Changing perspectives. Fleeing comfort zones.

If everyday is a new day, why is it so hard to start over? Or to rethink life? Rethink process? Rethink you? Or what works for you?

Realizing you’re free of former constraints will lead to a new level of personal freedom.

#live #life #covid_19 #health #scare #neardeathexperience #chooselife #getup #go #newperspective #newchoices  #newday #newmercies #live #woman #womanhood #iamwoman #harvestlife #reflection #doover #keepmovingforward #onward #whatsnext #rethink #restructure #reflect #build #reapingmyharvest #Iamtheharvest #joy #peace #selfawareness #chooselife

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Poem: the blessing of ordinary  

if i should happen in quite 
some ordinary way 
to remain 
sustain or 
simply maintain 
my existence 
i would count myself 
among the extraordinary 
 
if I should happen in quite 
some ordinary way 
to breathe 
consistently 
deeply 
repeatedly 
without thought 
difficulty or obstruction 
 
if i’m able to exist… like air 
then certainly i’d number 
among the extraordinary 
 
we’re conditioned for selfishness 
immediate self-gratification 
taught to despise emotion 
ignore empathy 
discount sympathy 
without understanding practicality 
taught to live in the moment 
for ourselves 
for what feels good 
we’re told self-focus 
make us extraordinary yet 
such flings us like a wisp of wind 
 
appreciation of the ordinary 
exposes abundant blessings 
allowing for extraordinary 
insights in a world where 
we’re expected to accept  
what’s given to us 
done to us 
told to us 
shown to us 
where we’re not expected 
to think for ourselves 
of others or beyond  
what we see, feel, want, or need 
 
however, having learned to 
grow through vulnerability 
navigate darkness and greyness 
unlearn toxicity 
confront abusers and their enablers 
having learned to love myself 
embrace and accept my wholeness 
reenforce my strengths 
confidence and faith 
basic life elements 
uncommon to many 
yet necessities for wellness 
it’s clear i’ve been favored 
 
if I live to remember  
a dream 
loves embrace 
happiness’ pursuit 
then the ordinary has  
become a path to the divine 
 
so many years of yearning 
for extraordinary happenings 
only to discover blessings  
in the ordinary course days 
 
Asé 

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Perspective: Spillover Atwater Park

If you haven’t heard of Pete Souza, look him up. I’ve been following him on Instagram since 2017 (according to the app). he’s a former presidential photographer who served Regan and Obama. Following the Obama Administration, Souza based himself in Madison, WI.

On his IG account he shares political images that function as commentary on cultural and historic American moments. However the post that has impacted me the most was a series titled, “The life of a tree, 2020” posted on December 20, 2020.

Life of a tree, 2020. Series post by Pete Souza. Madison, WI.

Though I’ve long done serial photography – returning to favorite spots for varying perspectives – I only thought of myself as an amateur developing my skills. After Pete’s post where he describes happening upon a tree and later realizing the tree was in multiple images, and then deciding to be intentional about a series, I decided to be intentional with a series highlighting my time in Milwaukee, WI.

Since returning to Milwaukee in Spring 2021, I’ve made it my business to enjoy the scenery with the changing seasons. Wherever you are, nature is breathtaking.

My first subject was a tree on Bradford Beach on Lake Michigan. The second and third spots became a lakefront tree line in Veterans Park and a tree-encircled lagoon that reflects the downtown skyline. The forth and most beloved spot is the Harbor Lighthouse. The Spillover II sculpture by Jaume Plensa in Atwater Park in Shorewood, WI enraptured me a year after the other locations. Though it’s a late entry to my intentional Milwaukee/Lake Michigan series the spot has delivered some stunning and introspective images. You can be certain there will be some Spillover II prints available soon.

Late Autumn Sunrise

Early Winter’s Morning