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Stork Delivery, Part 1: When a 22yo Dropped Into My Life

Have you ever had someone crash land into your life with all the force that nature can provide and immediately know that your life as you know and appreciate it is about to change?

Yeah, it’s something like that….

Back Story: Meet Lil Cuz

Last summer some misguided and unrepentant stork dropped a 22-year-old prima donna aspiring hardcore rap superstar into my quiet solitary life. She’s the daughter of a cousin from a branch of the family that has done me no type of good and therefore we’ve had nothing to do with each other most of my life. Be that as it may, apparently my living in New York City is now a benefit to them so the homing device on the stork was set to me and I became the most unsuspecting and unprepared recipient of a post-teen, fully attitudinal, unemployed, broke dreamer with extremely anti-reality-based expectations. Additionally, she acts like she knows everything, doesn’t have to learn anything, shares nothing, can take whatever and answer to no one. She expects to live off of others’ yet has no understanding of respect, grace or hospitality. She was also traveling with a male friend who shared all her qualities.

I started referring to her as Lil Cuz initially. That soon became Lil Girl which was usually accompanied by Father, have mercy! I now simply refer to her as Youngin’. It’s a verbal cue for me to patiently respond to the child and not the adult she thinks she is.

The way Youngin’ got to me was through a frantic text from her mother who is my older cousin by eight months. Big Cuz and I were truly close as children. We were each other’s confidants and protectors until our thirteenth year when I moved across the country.

During a rather humdrum morning at work last summer, I received a text from Big Cuz stating, “My daughter’s in New York and I’m worried about her. I gave her your number so I won’t go crazy.” Fifteen minutes later Lil Cuz called me (for the first time ever). She had been in NYC for two weeks and had run out of money. Or so her story went. She came so she could attend an eight week acting class. One of her best friends was traveling with her to help her, but he wasn’t working and didn’t have any money either – so he hadn’t proven to be much help. He wasn’t her boyfriend but they started the grand NYC adventure as good friends. By the time they showed up at my job that afternoon, they could barely look at each other. They both shared that they had been fighting and bickering from the stress of the City for the last week. I allowed them both to come home with me to decompress and think about their next steps.

They ended up asking if they could stay for two weeks. The goal was to look for work and then they would set off for an affordable hostel for the remainder of their time in NYC. I agreed to two weeks rent free but they had to get out of the house each day to look for work (day jobs at least) or otherwise find something to do in the City. I made it clear that they were not allowed or welcome to lay up in my house, while I was at work supporting myself.

Towards the end of two weeks (with one day to go), Lil Cuz’s friend lost it and snapped, “I don’t need to put up with this” and stormed out of my home. I had come home early (@3pm) and found him dancing around my apartment with loud music blaring. He hadn’t left the house all day but lied to my face swearing that he had.

Liz Cuz on the other hand asked if she could impose (my word, she has no understanding of what an imposition is) on me for two more weeks. She effectively stayed for a month without contributing to her expenses but offering slick remarks and major attitude – as well as disrupting my sleep, peace, equilibrium and summer. Her end came when she told me in effect that she was grown, living her life and could handle her money (after getting her first pay check). This was in response to me asking follow up questions about her new job and plans. Whatever I responded, she came back with, I’ll get out of your house tonight. I replied with a simple ok.

I think they both expected me to chase them down and beg them to stay. They were both disappointed. The first night they arrived in my home, I told them both I would hold them to their words. I stayed true to mine…. Except for when I told Lil Cuz we were done after her outburst. She moved out but she did not lose my number. She’s been working me like some sort of guerilla warfare strategist.

Lil Cuz left NYC at the end of the summer. She returned to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Brooklyn. I asked no questions then either. She texted me to let me know how fly she was to be flying in for the New Year and to ask if I could go to Brooklyn on a Friday afternoon to check her into her bed and breakfast room because she was landing after the office closes. All via text. I don’t know how long I looked at my phone with my head tilted to the side. Finally, I responded that the only place I was going to be on a Friday afternoon was at my desk at work. To which she blithely responded, “Oh, yeah, I forgot about work.” That one statement pretty much sums up Lil Cuz and her grasp of the real world.

Back to the Present: Youngin’

Earlier this month (April), during another blissfully normal day at work, Youngin’ (formerly Lil Cuz) text’d to say she was back in NYC and asked if she could stay with me for two weeks. She offered to pay $150 per week. I told her that was a discussion, not a text. We spoke during my lunch hour and she ended up meeting me at my apartment after work. A few days before her two weeks were up, without contributing a dime to her upkeep (again), despite setting her own terms, she text’d me again at work to say she had gotten a job and asked if she could stay another two weeks. I congratulated her on the job and ignored the remainder. It was the day before Good Friday and I was intent on enjoying my three-day weekend with a pure faith-focus – no distractions or frustrating conversations.

The day after Resurrection Sunday, I wrote talking points for a discussion with Youngin’. It came to a full single space page. I also drew up a weekly roommate rental agreement that represented half of my monthly housing expenses. The revelation I had while doing that was that in opening my home to this little imp she decided that I was easy pickings for being taken advantage of. Youngin’ was the first one to mention money last summer. I believe her expectation was that by offering me $100 for her last week, she’s be allowed to do whatever she wanted to do in my home. I quickly disabused her of that notion. When she offered to pay, I told her it was up to her, but whatever she decided, I would hold her to it. My reasoning then was: she’s a young woman taking a big step to build a life in NYC and though she hadn’t planned for the cost of an extended stay in NYC, she was still responsible for the decisions and agreements she made. It also provided me an opportunity to evaluate how she valued her word.

What I learned is that I will never again allow anyone to enter my home with the idea that their terms are ruling my roost. My hospitality was too broad. It always has been. I offered her the same hospitality I’ve provided to friends who have known me for years. She was not a friend and we did not know each other. Nor is she a good guest. I had to learn that also. The more she took my generosity and hospitality for granted, the less I offered.

I reined myself in when I reined her in. The haphazard way she lives her life is a disruption to my life. I’m twenty years her senior and have been working and contributing to households since I was sixteen. I don’t understand her – the way she thinks, the way she acts her complete lack of responsibility and honor.

When she first contacted me, I thought it extremely possible that she would be a pure blessing to my life. An opportunity for me to love someone and share some of the bounty and provision God has blessed me with in New York City. By the time she left last summer, I was disappointed and disillusioned by yet another contact that didn’t have to go as sour as it did. I was no longer interested in even sharing time with her.

This second time around I was reluctant to open my home to her again. Luckily for Youngin’, I admire the passion it takes to pursue one’s dreams. I also believe I should do what I can to help those who ask for assistance. Two weeks didn’t sound so bad. It sounded like an opportunity to try building a relationship with the Youngin’ again. An opportunity to provide guidance and support for her transition to New York City. We’re now nearing the end of four weeks, her scheduled departure is two days away, and I can’t wait to shut my door behind her.

For the most part she’s been pleasant in my home. We’ve had a few good conversations. Red herrings for the most part. Overall, I have a sense that she’s misrepresenting herself, her interests and/or her intent – that she essentially is not being honest. She has a philosophy that you either crap on people or get crapped on (language edited). She shared this message on Instagram. After seeing it, I asked her if she was crapping on me or was I crapping on her. She tried to insist that neither was the case while also insisting that her followers understood what she meant. I am well aware that she thinks she’s getting over on me. Her blatant post was simply a crude confirmation. She’s since posted other things that have confirmed her character and true outlook on life and human interactions. However, her behavior and her explicit lack of interest in spending time in my presence (I.e getting to know me) has led to me enjoying her presence less and less which directly corresponds to my eagerness for her departure.

So the blessings I had hoped for from the interactions with Youngin’ did not manifest. Nevertheless, I still received blessings in the form of closures and revelations.


Blessings for Obedience

If you will only obey the Lord your God, by diligently observing all his commandments that I am commanding you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth; all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the Lord your God:

Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field.

Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb, the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your livestock, both the increase of your cattle and the issue of your flock.

Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.

Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.

~ Deut 28 NRSV

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ACAD – Rejected: Psalm 108

Praise and Prayer for Victory

A Song. A Psalm of David.

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;[a]
    I will sing and make melody.
    Awake, my soul![b]
Awake, O harp and lyre!
    I will awake the dawn.
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples,
    and I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is higher than the heavens,
    and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens,
    and let your glory be over all the earth.
Give victory with your right hand, and answer me,
    so that those whom you love may be rescued.

God has promised in his sanctuary:[c]
    “With exultation I will divide up Shechem,
    and portion out the Vale of Succoth.
Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine;
    Ephraim is my helmet;
    Judah is my scepter.
Moab is my washbasin;
    on Edom I hurl my shoe;
    over Philistia I shout in triumph.”

Who will bring me to the fortified city?
    Who will lead me to Edom?
Have you not rejected us, O God?
    You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
O grant us help against the foe,
    for human help is worthless.
With God we shall do valiantly;
    it is he who will tread down our foes.


  1. Psalm 108:1 Heb Mss Gk Syr: MT lacks my heart is steadfast
  2. Psalm 108:1 Compare 57.8: Heb also my soul
  3. Psalm 108:7 Or by his holiness

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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ACAD – Rejection: Psalm 60

Prayer for National Victory after Defeat

To the leader: according to the Lily of the Covenant. A Miktam of David; for instruction; when he struggled with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and when Joab on his return killed twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.

O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses;
    you have been angry; now restore us!
You have caused the land to quake; you have torn it open;
    repair the cracks in it, for it is tottering.
You have made your people suffer hard things;
    you have given us wine to drink that made us reel.

You have set up a banner for those who fear you,
    to rally to it out of bowshot.[a]Selah
Give victory with your right hand, and answer us,[b]
    so that those whom you love may be rescued.

God has promised in his sanctuary:[c]
    “With exultation I will divide up Shechem,
    and portion out the Vale of Succoth.
Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine;
    Ephraim is my helmet;
    Judah is my scepter.
Moab is my washbasin;
    on Edom I hurl my shoe;
    over Philistia I shout in triumph.”

Who will bring me to the fortified city?
    Who will lead me to Edom?
Have you not rejected us, O God?
    You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
O grant us help against the foe,
    for human help is worthless.
With God we shall do valiantly;
    it is he who will tread down our foes.


  1. Psalm 60:4 Gk Syr Jerome: Heb because of the truth
  2. Psalm 60:5 Another reading is me
  3. Psalm 60:6 Or by his holiness

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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In my hallucination
I saw my beloved’s flower garden
In my vertigo, in my dizziness
In my drunken haze
Whirling and dancing like a spinning wheel

I saw myself as the source of existence
I was there in the beginning
And I was the spirit of love
Now I am sober
There is only the hangover
And the memory of love
And only the sorrow

I yearn for happiness
I ask for help
I want mercy
And my love says:

Look at me and hear me
Because I am here
Just for that

I am your moon and your moonlight too
I am your flower garden and your water too
I have come all this way, eager for you
Without shoes or shawl

I want you to laugh
To kill all your worries
To love you
To nourish you

Oh sweet bitterness
I will soothe you and heal you
I will bring you roses,

I, too, have been covered with thorns

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Final Salute: Housing for Homeless Female Vets

This report is eye-opening and shocking. It’s beyond my understanding how the American government could allow any veteran to return from battle with no means of providing for themselves or their families, but this report highlights the loophole in the governmental care that is available: some veteran benefits are available for men only and where women do qualify for shelter, their children may not allowed. Please watch the video below. This report is very well presented.

Homeless Female Veterans: A former Army captain opened a house for homeless women veterans. (07:31)

“We are still not getting it as a country, and we’re making a poor effort as a society to take care of all our veterans…We can liberate other countries and clear up their natural disasters. Women veterans are now America’s natural disaster,” says Final Salute founder Jaspen Boothe.

Source: Religion & Ethics Newsweekly,

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“Don’t worry, I’ve got you!”

SupeNLoisAs“Don’t worry, I’ve got you!”

Remember when Superman caught Lois Lane mid-air and said these words to her? Lois looked at him incredulously and said, “You’ve got me, but who’s got you?!?!”

I never thought of it this way, but it’s just come to me. She wasn’t interested in his power. She wasn’t interested in his strength. Nor his ability to fly. She wasn’t even impressed that he had saved her from certain death. Her one and only question was about HOW he was able to do that. WHO was EMPOWERING him? In other words, she could have said: Yeah, you may have me for the moment, but when your steam runs out, then what?

I’m passing on the question: Who’s got you?

When you’re doing superhuman feats, are you relying on your own strength or the Source that supplies you?

When you’re receiving supernatural help, are you aware of who is enabling the person reaching out to you?

God has you covered and supported. He’s the power of the universe. Nothing greater. Relax into Him. He’s been wooing you and whispering to you for a long time: “Don’t worry. I’ve got you.”

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Don’t be so crooked you can’t see straight

I’ve had he recent discomfort of dealing with someone who was so busy trying to get over on me that he missed a genuine offer of help with no strings attached.

It was an odd experience, to be sure, to offer someone help and then listen to them try to hustle me throughout the next couple of conversations on the topic. Basically, the help I offered was not a priority to him. It was needed, but he didn’t value it. As he tried to twist my offer into something that would suit his temporary wants, he missed out on receiving assistance for a real need.

Today’s lesson: Help comes in many different guises. Accepting help with one of your smallest priorities can free you to concentrate on your bigger priorities. Be wise enough not to look a gift horse in the mouth.

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Where my help truly comes from…

I wanted to write about three conversations I had last week. I spoke with three women I’ve met at different stages throughout my life, they’re scattered across the country and have never met each other. They know nothing of each other, yet their current struggles and complaints were very similar. The underlining cry of each conversation was for help and a trustworthy companion. They didn’t all claim defeat but they each seemed to believe they were living defeated lives. They didn’t see themselves as overcomers with victory a mindset away. I had several working titles for this post: The Lie of Powerlessness; The Masquerade of Fear; Self-Defeat: The Only True Failure; and Where My Help Truly Comes From….

Fear is a real illusion. What the women spoke into my ear revealed the fear they are living with in their lives. Their fear is masquerading as an insurmountable obstacle. In each of their minds, they can’t see their way through, around or over this obstacle.

The God I believe in is bigger than anything I can see. He’s the creator of everything in my environment and neighboring environments. Therefore, in my mind, He has control over everything I encounter.     

I look up to the hills, but where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

He will not let you be defeated. He who guards you never sleeps. He who guards Israel never rests or sleeps.
The Lord guards you. The Lord is the shade that protects you from the sun. The sun cannot hurt you during the day, and the moon cannot hurt you at night. The Lord will protect you from all dangers; He will guard your life. The Lord will guard you as you come and go, both now and forever.
~ Psalm 121, NCV

What part of Christ do you claim?
As I grow in my walk, I become more able to discern various levels of Christians:

  • There are those who know of Christ and think saying His name makes them holy
  • There are those who claim Christ with no personal experience of Him at all
  • There are those who know some scripture and think recitation makes them faithful
  • There are those who claim a relationship with Christ but don’t obey His teachings and commands
  • There are those who believe in Jesus but don’t have time for Him
  • There are those who put Christ on in the morning and take Him off at night
  • There are those who dedicate themselves to Christ but don’t share Him with others
  • There are those others can see Christ in but who can’t see the Christ in themselves
  • There are those who believe God’s word and see Christ in every created thing and being, including themselves
  • There are those who die to themselves repeatedly, thereby allowing Christ to increase in them continuously

There are many variations and expressions of Christ in the people of the world. I understand we all have our own personal journey with our Lord. But I have perhaps tripped up on Christians who don’t have faith, hope, joy, peace or love. I believe these spiritual gifts are inter-linked and interactive. Truthfully, what can someone possibly be reflecting of Jesus Christ if they aren’t reflecting His faith, hope, joy, peace or love? How can anyone call themself after Him, if His Spirit has not been allowed to root within them?

Last summer, I asked my readers to pray for me regarding my impatience with the weak-minded individual (see Don’t Be Weak Minded, Please!). I’m not sure if any of you truly heard me, but God certainly did. This year, I’ve been inundated with fearful, self-defeated women who blame everyone but themselves for the circumstances they’ve experienced in life. They complain bitterly that no one is helping them, they have no one to depend on, and no one in their life has proven to be trustworthy. One at a time, I have been able to offer words of comfort and hope, and advice when solicited. But recently, I was overwhelmed by the hopeless frustration and angry resentment being shared with me by women who claim to have faith in the power of Christ to overcome everything they encounter.

Question: If you believe in Jesus Christ and you believe He can/will/has overcome any/every obstacle, then how can any obstacle in your life possibly defeat you?

Last week, my patience was sorely tested. Actually, as I think of it, the fiery assault against my patience and willingness to support the weak-in-spirit within my circles began in January with a visit to my grandmother (see How do you celebrate a life that was not appreciated during its lifetime?) and continued throughout my tour of Israel in March. Over the course of three days last week, I engaged in long conversations with three women I’ve been a sounding board for throughout the years. Having all three of them unload their emotional burdens on me back-to-back in a matter of days made it clear to me that God is working something out in me. He’s refining His message in me and through me for sure. Through the refining, He’s teaching me the patience I somewhat unwittingly asked for, but knew would eventually come.

I was frustrated when I began writing this post shortly after the third conversation last week. I had gone from gentle rebuke (get over yourself and look at this from another perspective), to irritation at listening to the same type of complaint for the umpteenth time (seriously, you have the power to change your life; begin with one choice at a time), to anger that three women who claim Christ, know scripture and understand something of the nature of praising God, could be so defeated in their speech (thank God for this trial and make sure you ask Him what it is you’re supposed to learn from it). I asked them each about their faith and each was quick to say that their faith was not an issue. They were also quick to recite scripture and teachings applicable to their situations.

This left me flabbergasted. I can’t do more for you than Jesus. He is the Word of Life. Though I consider it my duty to make myself available to anyone who calls on me, my advice will always point you to the Lord (God willing). I’m not interested in having a “scripture battle” and I don’t throw God’s word around like a weapon; I share it as a guidepost. So, if you already know His word, please apply it to your life.

This is what the Scripture says: “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart.”That is the teaching of faith that we are telling. If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. We believe with our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we declare with our mouths that we believe, and so we are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disappointed.” ~ Romans 10:8-11, NCV

After I got over my frustration with the women for what I saw as self-defeatist attitudes, I was able to see an incredible opportunity to minister to the seeds God has planted in them. I can see now that it’s not the quality of their faith I need to be concerned with as much as the quality of my testimony of Christ. How am I speaking and sharing the Word with those who come into contact with me?

But before people can ask the Lord for help, they must believe in him; and before they can believe in him, they must hear about him; and for them to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them; and before someone can go and tell them, that person must be sent. It is written, “How beautiful is the person who comes to bring good news.” But not all the Jews accepted the good news. Isaiah said, “Lord, who believed what we told them?” So faith comes from hearing the Good News, and people hear the Good News when someone tells them about Christ.  ~ Romans 10:14-17, NCV

In the same way, trust comes by seeing someone do what they said they would do. With each action that follows a word/declaration/promise, trust increases. The third woman I spoke to last week complained bitterly about being unable to trust anyone, having no one to turn to for assistance with her children and being weary of inviting anyone into her home for fear of how they would take advantage of her situation. In exasperation, I told her, “At some point, you’re going to have to just decide to trust someone. Before you get to that point, you have to trust yourself. Do you trust yourself?”  

My question took her by surprise. She paused for a breath of a second and replied, “Yes, I trust myself.”

“Then that means you need to trust your instincts, trust your decisions, trust your resourcefulness and trust your abilities. And trust that God is with you to help you. Start with what you have; start with trusting God and yourself and eventually other people’s untrustworthiness will have no effect on your life.”

And now, dear lady, this is not a new command but is the same command we have had from the beginning. I ask you that we all love each other.And love means living the way God commanded us to live. As you have heard from the beginning, His command is this: Live a life of love.  ~ 2 John 1:5-6, NCV

If you are frustrated with an issue in your personal ministry to people in your circles, give your frustration over to God. He’s going test you and the circumstances causing the frustration will increase in scope and intensity. But when you get over yourself, the revelation God gives you will make you a much better vessel for His use.

Be blessed and keep on blessing others with the Word God has put in you!

[Related post: Getting Over Yourself to Perform God’s Will for Your Life ]