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Kingdom of Heaven (ACAD: Matthew 11)

Now when Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and proclaim his message in their cities.

When John heard in prison what the Messiah[a] was doing, he sent word by his[b] disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers[c] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.  And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”

As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone[d] dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet?[e] Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’

Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence,[f] and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John came; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come.  Let anyone with ears[g] listen!

“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”[h]

Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades.

For if the deeds of power done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for you.”

At that time Jesus said, “I thank[i] you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.[j] All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 


Source: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11&version=NRSV

Footnotes

  1. Matthew 11:2 Or the Christ
  2. Matthew 11:2 Other ancient authorities read two of his
  3. Matthew 11:5 The terms leper and leprosy can refer to several diseases
  4. Matthew 11:8 Or Why then did you go out? To see someone
  5. Matthew 11:9 Other ancient authorities read Why then did you go out? To see a prophet?
  6. Matthew 11:12 Or has been coming violently
  7. Matthew 11:15 Other ancient authorities add to hear
  8. Matthew 11:19 Other ancient authorities read children
  9. Matthew 11:25 Or praise
  10. Matthew 11:26 Or for so it was well-pleasing in your sight
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Holiday Delight: Alvin Ailey’s Virtual Season!

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Marriage & Relationship Study Primer

I’ve mined the depths of my blog to give you easy access to material related to Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Practices! This list was pulled from eleven years of content to aid, boost or guide study. Read through at your leisure.

Studies

Study: Courage to Trust God’s Plan
Study: Courage to Build, Maintain and Restore Relationships
Study: Courage to Hear, See, Believe and Obey God
Faith Study, Part 1: The One in Whom We Believe (Hebrews)
Women in the Bible: RUTH

Bible Chapters

A Chapter a Day: Ruth 1
A Chapter a Day: Ruth 2
A Chapter a Day: Ruth 3
A Chapter a Day: Ruth 4
ACAD – Nations: Genesis 17
ACAD – Nations: Genesis 18
ACAD – Praise: Genesis 29
ACAD – Blessings: Genesis 48
ACAD – Praise: Genesis 49
Romans 8: Life in the Spirit…, God’s Everlasting Love
ACAD – Helper: Hebrews 13

Pop Culture vs. The Bible

Pop Culture vs. The Bible: Intro
Pop Culture vs. The Bible: For the Sake of His Praise

Relationship

A Personal Relationship with God is Paramount
Khalil Gibran on Joy and Sorrow
My Greatest Enemy
Proving Ground
People who hide themselves are impossible to know.
Devotional: Not My Will, But Yours
When Truth Destroys
Face-to-Face: Sharing God’s Glory With One Another
Kahlil Gibran on Reason and Passion

Women

Who do you want to be like?
Trust no man… 
No hero is coming to save me.
Minister to me.
A Foolish Woman vs. A Wise Woman
Wife… do you respect me?
Women in the Bible: WOMEN of FAITH

Men

A Faithless Man vs. A Faithful Man
Who will speak for this woman?
An Open Letter: Woman to Man
Husband… do you love me?

Marriage

Man & Wife = Leadership & Management
25 Things to Think Twice About Before You Marry
My hopes for my marriage
Our Nakedness
Awareness of Nakedness
Sacrifice, Submission, Surrender
Interview: Matt & Sarah Hammitt on Their Marriage & Song (Lead Me)
Testimony: Charlie & Dorothy Duke: The Greatest Walk Ever
Samson’s Purpose was Greater than Marriage
Singleness is not the prize.
My husband is not my soul mate. Shawnda’s response to “My Husband is Not My Soul Mate”
I AM HE
He Is My Husband…
A Lesson in 1 Kings 13 – Man of God from Judah Meets the Old Prophet from Bethel
The Importance of Communication
Separation from the Unequally Yoked

Family

Sermon: Family Matters – Present
Family Matters – Past
Sermon: Family Matters – Future
What are you teaching your children?

Faith & Obedience

Think on these things…
Are You Saying “NO” to God?
Pleasing God While in the World
Happy Thoughts in the Morning
Healed to the best of your understanding.

Love

Meister Eckhart on love…
About Love
Show Me the Love
Can I Love You?
I asked to be a lover…
…and the people said “HELL NO!”
I Love You, But God Loves You More
Love Anyway: Things I Learned During My Harvest
Devotional: Love and Justice

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Everything I Thought I Knew About Diabetes Was Wrong

Did you know diabetes mellitus is a term for a group of disorders that cause elevated blood sugar (aka glucose) levels in the body? Known by it’s first name, diabetes is a chronic (aka long-lasting) condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. Glucose is a critical source of energy for your brain, muscles, and tissues.

When you eat, your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose (sugar) which is released into your bloodstream. This triggers the pancreas to release a hormone called insulin. Insulin acts as a “key” that allows glucose to enter the cells from the blood. If your body doesn’t produce enough insulin to effectively manage glucose, it can’t function or perform properly. This produces the symptoms of diabetes.

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious complications by damaging blood vessels and organs. It can increase the risk of: heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, eye disease

Nutrition and exercise can help manage diabetes, but it’s also important to track blood glucose levels. Treatment may include taking insulin or other medications.

Diabetes and Food Memories of Mom

My mom was a diabetic. I don’t remember when she was diagnosed, but she would have been in her early or mid-thirties. I do remember watching her shoot insulin into her belly. That’s pretty much all I remember. Oh, and she was a drinker. Not too heavy, but she loved beer and now that I look back, her mood swings could have indicated some habitual drunkenness. She also enjoyed drugs and sweets. Memories of Mom’s baked goods still bring joy. When she threw together caramel cake with icing, banana pudding, and sweet potato pie from scratch, I would literally stand transfixed at her elbow peering under her arm or looking over her shoulder as time went by. Normally, I don’t claim regrets, but my greatest regret in life is that I didn’t get my mom to write down her recipes. Watching her cook and bake was not the same as having written instructions.

In the fourth grade I had my first Home Economics class – remember those? I still have Dotty, the stuffed animal I sewed that year. We learned to make French toast and vanilla pudding from scratch. There were many other dishes, but these were my favorites. Mom allowed me to make French toast and other simple dishes for the family on weekends. When I was fifteen, I took it upon myself to gift my mom and siblings with caramel cake. I threw flour, sugar, milk and eggs into a bowl and baked a brick. Mom was by nature laid back and easy-going person. A super pleasant and beautiful soul, truly. One of the few times I was the target of her rage was when she woke from a nap and saw that I had “wasted” so much of her precious baking ingredients. Desperately, but to no avail, I explained that I did not “waste” her flour, sugar, eggs, milk, precious vanilla extract and whatever else I tossed into the mixing bowl, I was baking her a cake. She stomped and screamed as she pulled my brick from the oven and tossed it on the counter. Truly bewildered, I didn’t understand why she didn’t appreciate my initiative and desire to bake one of our favorite deserts.

Today I understand. Today I can hang my head at my obtuseness. But I still wish she would have fussed and then shown me how to make her fabulous caramel cake. As far back as I can remember, Mom had worked several jobs at a time. The pride of her life was being able to say she provided for her family without government assistance. However, we were extremely poor financially. Everything, especially food, was precious. I knew that. Understood it. But that day, I didn’t consider it a waste to attempt to emulate my mother. She died a few years later and I have no other memories of trying to cook or bake her dishes. Since she’s been gone, I’ve asked relatives if they know how she cooked her banana pudding, sweet potato pie, caramel cake, turkey dressing, potato salad, pinto beans, chicken noodle soup or any of the foods that brought me comfort and joy during my childhood. No one knows. My mom cooked by taste, sight and feel. She was self-taught and as the eldest of eight children, everyone enjoyed her cooking, but no one could duplicate the magic.

This is all I knew about diabetes growing up: My mom had it. She had to take insulin. She also smoke, drank and did drugs. Subliminally, diabetes wasn’t a big deal.

Food as Comfort and Love

I’ve long known that food is my comfort. Certain foods remind me of home and love. Until the writing of this post, I hadn’t connected my “sweet tooth” to what my mom’s deserts and home cooked meals represented to me. For most of my adult life, I’ve attempted to recreate the taste, texture and feel of my favorite foods. This has led to baking becoming one of my favorite pastimes. I still haven’t mastered caramel cake but I’m closing in on an excellent caramel icing. My sweet potato pie is gift worthy and has been has been requested during the holidays, as have my staple sweet potato dishes. I haven’t attempted banana pudding from scratch again, but it’s on the to do list.

So… just as I’m coming into my stride as a baker, I get diagnosed as a diabetic during an intense DKA episode. I was sick, but didn’t know I was a diabetic so I was cooking and baking peach cobbler, caramel cake, banana bread and similar yummies to make myself feel better. In my ignorance, I was killing myself. Despite having a diabetic mother, brother and grandmother and since my diagnosis learning, five of my maternal uncles have diabetes, I knew nothing of the signs or symptoms common to the disease.

I Knew Nothing

Honestly, despite having a mother who had to use insulin daily and a brother whose death was inconclusive because he was a diabetic who had drugs and alcohol in his system when he was beaten to death, I knew nothing about the mechanics or practical requirements of diabetes. Both of my grandmothers fought chronic illness for most of my life. Yet I can’t tell you the sum of their illnesses or how their lives are impacted by each disease or how likely it is that I’ve already developed the same diseases or will soon do so. Disease isn’t talked about on either side of my family as something that is avoidable or even treatable to good health. There’s a resignation to disease with my people. So much so that it’s a side note or conversational add-on.

Quick Facts from CDC.gov

  • More than 34 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it.
  • More than 88 million US adults—over a third—have prediabetes, and more than 84% of them don’t know they have it.
  • Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States (and may be underreported).
  • Type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes; type 1 diabetes accounts for approximately 5-10%.
  • In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled as the American population has aged and become more overweight or obese. [https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/quick-facts.html]

What is Diabetes?

Closeup of dictionary page showing definition of diabetes

With diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use it as well as it should.

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.

Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.

If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Over time, that can cause serious health problems, such as heart diseasevision loss, and kidney disease.

There isn’t a cure yet for diabetes, but losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active can really help. Taking medicine as needed, getting diabetes self-management education and support, and keeping health care appointments can also reduce the impact of diabetes on your life.

There are three main types of diabetes: prediabetes, type 1type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant).

Read related posts:

Poem: Sister, Sister II

Morning Stretch and Praise Break

Sources: CDC.gov and Healthline.com, American Diabetes Association

 

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Poem: Trauma of the unseen by LaShawnda Jones

Many traumas ripple through a life
Remembered forgotten long ago feeling like now
How to tell what’s real or simply
Perception from trauma tinted lenses
Impossible to know if the
Traumatized have no awareness of their state
One revels in solitude because loneliness
has become a way of life
Quietness broken by occasional conversations
with strangers labeled as friends.
True friends don’t allow friends to rot
Unseen. Unheard. Unfelt. Unknown.

~ LaShawnda Jones, May 2019

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Bold Black Beautiful Photo Shoot

On June 24, 2018, Renata Cardenas, an author and beauty entrepreneur known by her lifestyle brand, Renata Del Carmen, hosted a photo shoot for Black Women in Brooklyn Bridge Park for her BOLD BLACK BEAUTIFUL project. Her goal was to create beautiful images of Black Women that would represent standards of beauty as stock photography on the internet. On her Eventbrite post Renata wrote, “Out of curiousity I googled, “Beautiful Woman.” I simply wanted to know what the cyber world at large considered beautiful. While I can totally apprecitae a good algorithm, I was certain that they missed the mark that day. I didn’t see any women that looked like me. Not even Beyonce.”

The I AM WOMAN project is born from a similar space. LaShawnda Jones (author/publisher for Spirit Harvest and photographer for SH Images) was tired of the negative images of Black Women in the media. She was exhausted from witnessing the abuse of Black Women perpetrated throughout society because they are rarely seen as worthy of respect and decent treatment. She wants to combat these situations with images and words of Black Women representing themselves by sharing their own experiences of womanhood in their own words.

Renata’s inspiration and goals for BOLD BLACK BEAUTIFUL are very similar to the I AM WOMAN project. Seeing a great opportunity to connect and possibly build towards a partnership, LaShawnda reached out to Renata and asked if she could do back-up photography during the BOLD BLACK BEAUTIFUL photo shoot and share information about her own project with the BBB participants. Renata graciously said yes and a great day of creative synergy and amazing feminine energy was shared by all present – including the male supporters and photographers.

The lack of recognition, respect and love Black Women receive in the cyber and public spears has spurred an amazing response from Black Women who see themselves and each other as the beautiful beings they are. Cheers to sisterhood, solidarity and the determination to create nurturing spaces in a world that perfers not to see you.

Renata Del Carmen on BOLD BLACK BEAUTIFUL

Renata Del Carmen on being a Life Style R

 

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Image gallery from the BOLD BLACK BEAUTIFUL photo shoot

 

More information on Renata Del Carmen: https://www.renatadelcarmen.com

More information on LaShawnda Jones: https://spirit-harvest.com

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Ain’t I A Woman? by Sojourner Truth

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, “intellect”] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say. [1]

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883): Ain’t I A Woman?

Delivered 1851

Women’s Rights Convention, Old Stone Church (since demolished), Akron, Ohio

“I sell the shadow to support the substance.” — Sojourner Truth. Carte de Visite, circa 1864, in the collections of the Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/97513239/)

Born into slavery in 1797, Isabella Baumfree, who later changed her name to Sojourner Truth, would become one of the most powerful advocates for human rights in the nineteenth century. Her early childhood was spent on a New York estate owned by a Dutch American named Colonel Johannes Hardenbergh. Like other slaves, she experienced the miseries of being sold and was cruelly beaten and mistreated. Around 1815 she fell in love with a fellow slave named Robert, but

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Indigenous Peoples Celebration

The Indigenous Peoples Celebration of New York City is an annual FREE two-day gathering on Randall’s Island, NYC. It usually overlaps with the U.S. national holiday celebrating the barbaric mass murderer Christopher Columbus and lesser known Norse explorer Lief Erickson. The celebration features many indigenous performers and speakers from around the world.

For more information go to: https://redhawkcouncil.org/powwows/indigenous-peoples-celebration. To Help Support Indigenous Peoples Day in NYC, click here.

Personally, I think the United States should dedicate a year, at the minimum, to acknowledging the atrocities committed against Indigenous Peoples on the mainland United States as well as in outlying states and territories. During that year, we should also celebrate Indigenous Peoples histories and cultures, learn some of the thousand upon thousands of stories that they have held on to, and make overtures of healing and friendship to all our First Peoples populations. After that initial year of acknowledgment, recognition and celebration, we should repeat it annually for a whole month as Indigenous Peoples Month. Still too little, but much better than what’s on the table now.

Below are some image from the 2017 Indigenous Peoples Celebration of New York City. All images by LaShawnda Jones for SH Images.

SONY DSC
October 8-9, 2017

All images by LaShawnda Jones for SH Images.