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African Nectar or Moroccan Mint?

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Ms. Khadijah didn’t miss a beat while she prepared our light snack.

“And so, like the dusty snow globe on the shelf behind you, that forsaken place inside remained undisturbed, never ransacked by menacing love, nor shaken by honest fear either.”

I felt my toes ball up in my shoes, denying my spirit permission to run. She was getting dangerously close to hitting the head off the nail. But oddly enough, I found myself soothed by the faint sound of her swirling spoon, evenly stirring two perfect cups of tea. She lifted her voice even more; I could hear her just fine.

“Would’ve been okay, right, had it not all begun to crumble and cave in under the weight of false pretense, leaving you wide open, a gaping hole in your soul where your fortress once stood.”

After every dramatic pause, I squeezed the soft flesh between my finger and thumb, listening for the swirl, swirl. Like only old folks can do, Ms. Khadijah’s words seemed to strip me naked on the spot, spinning my mind to snapshots of feelings, people, and events. Defenseless, I understood everything she said but didn’t say.

Now her voice dropped, as if this was the scariest part of a ghost story.

“In came the bulldozers. Arms filled with tons of dirt. Promiscuous patches of red clay swallowed chunks of gravel meant to manipulate and control others, but ended up controlling you. And now, as life eventually does to us all, you’re awakened by the reality that you’re buried barely alive, and those short, shallow breaths are no longer enough to live by.”

Clank, clank, clink. Like a hypnotist’s wakeup signal, three taps of the spoon snapped breath back into my lungs, and me back into the room. She brought the tray to where we were sitting – indigo blue porcelain cups placed next to two matching bowls of cut fruit, and a long saucer of wheat crackers lined up like fallen Dominos.

“Now, tell me my dear Krystal, is that a fair understanding so far?”

The aroma of sweet mint filled my nostrils as I took a sip.

“Yes ma’am. Moroccan mint was a tasty choice.”

It was the only smart-dumb thing I could fix my mouth to say.

© 2012 KimB.

A Poet in the Dark

I think I became a poet
in the dark.
the words were my
closest comrades
standing guard afar off
with dim voices
i had to squint to hear yet
it did not prevent their
thick sweetness from
cushioning the sour blows
of self-affliction one day,
forced flattery and pride
another.

abide with me in the dark
i said.
silent lyrics agreed and
there we began to weave
circles around statuesque
pillars of loneliness,
and pressed deep into vapors
of laughter
praying hard that they would
press back and peel away
the ever so stubborn present
from sticky sadness.

hurry before the darkness flees!
and leaves behind hidden joys
wrapped in fluorescent black.
for the darkness is as much my captive
as i its devoted prisoner
with no evidence to support
my innocence
no defense against the guilty verdict
that i am
and always will be
in the dark
a poet.

(c) 2012.

{Blink}


to {blink}
or not to {blink}
is rather irrelevant
given the evaporating nature
of this substance called Life.
it is irrelevant due to
the limitations
not of our energy
which is neither uncreated
nor destroyed
but of our
stories “now playing”
in this or that form
this side of forever.

to {blink}
or not to {blink}
is neither the question
that stumps the inevitable
nor the answer
that trumps the unknown.

the real question and answer
suspended in immediate jeopardy
is this…
“how will we live life
within the span
of the blink?”
~selah~

to {blink}
or not to {blink}
is rather irrelevant because
whether you do not
you will
and whether you do
Life foreknew
you would.

so why not just
{blink} and live?

©

I Matter.

When the baby was finally removed from her mother’s womb, she already had her very own little toe tag, and a private reservation for space in the George Washington University Hospital morgue.  This preparation was customary for expired babies, and indications from every tool and machine in the teaching hospital’s delivery room confirmed it.  With no heart beat detected over the course of the pregnancy, and none heard the afternoon of November 12, 197x, this delivery would be a lesson in proper procedure for removing multiple tumors and an expired baby for the physicians-in-training who watched silently from the balcony.

Surrounded by lights, beeping machines, and bustling delivery staff, doubt and anxiety filled the mother’s heart, as she stared at the draped partition blocking the view of the cesarean.  She was by herself, and a part of her could only imagine the deformed child being removed from her stomach, along with tumors themselves the size of an embryo.  In contrast, the other part of her remembered the phone call she’d received from the baby’s father months prior.  He was on the other side of the country, and received a vision from God.

“We don’t kill no babies. Tell them you’ve changed your mind. The Spirit of the Lord says the baby will be o.k.”

After the last tumor blocking the baby was removed, the head doctor announced, “Now removing the baby…”

The mother heard gasps from the delivery room floor all the way to the balcony.  From her angle, she couldn’t see what they saw, but very soon – she would hear what they saw.

The baby moved, and soon after let out a cry that drowned out every beeping machine in the delivery room.  The baby girl was healthy and whole.  Toss the toe tag in the trash – God keeps His promises.

One of the physicians-in-training later visited the mother in recovery.  She said she was writing a paper for a medical publication about the miracle birth.  It apparently wasn’t time for her to receive training in the delivery of an expired baby.


Today is my birthday, woo woo!  The only time I usually ruminate over my birth story is closer to the birthday season.  But I noticed something a little different during this difficult year called 2011.  As a reminder of my purpose and God’s love and favor towards me, I’ve been playing out this story in my head ALL YEAR long.  And every time it’s brought me a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th wind to stay on course.

Folks, circumstances sure can muddy life’s water, and introduce trash and debris in the form of self-doubt, heartache, failures, and uncertainties.  But that’s where our testi-stories come in.  Think about your story?  It may not be your birth, but what about the one where you weren’t supposed to make it through, no logical way you survive that, life is over and I’m down for the count.  But look at you now – Helllllo!  You made it :-) !

It’s so important for us not to despise the valleys, the rough spots, the painful times.  These events are the makings of our future lifeboats, guiding us safely back to the realization that, regardless of what it looks like – We matter!  All is well!  It was only a test!  We are still beautifully purposed and loved and provided for by God!

So my friends, know your testi-stories.  Keep them handy.  Rehearse them often in thanks and gratitude, knowing the mud is no match for the Truth.

The Fabric of Our Lives

Stop!  You’re being too rough with it.  It may be fragile and frazzled, but it serves a purpose.  And if you don’t find a way to treat it gently, you will definitely do more harm than good…to so much more.

Each of our lives is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind tapestry, a fabric interwoven with the complexities of our experiences, culture, history, and personal ideologies.  Yet, with all the wonder that makes our fabric who we are, we’ve all seen them.  Frayed edges.  Loose threads.  Stray strands that stick out like a sore thumb from the rest of our beauty, causing curiosity and confusion that begs to ask, “Where the world did you come from, and why are you here?”

From time to time, I’ve asked myself these questions about a couple of s-nagging issues in my life that seem grotesquely out of place.  I can take my finger, and with careful eye, trace their intricately woven paths back to the place of origin: even there I find no reason why such “off” threads were allowed to be a part of the beautiful masterpiece of Me.  And the more I looked at them, the more they got caught on things and menaced my fabric, the more I wanted to yank those threads from the root of whatever knot thought it cool to “spice it up a bit.”  Gimme a break, seriously?

Ever imagine what your tapestry would be like if there were no loose threads or frayed edges?  To have every fiber of your being stitched in its proper position, color, and texture?  What would your life be like if you had just had the right parents, perfect health, the right amount of money, if you lived in the right city, went to that other school (or to school), had fell in love with him/her instead of him/her, had nothing but the sweetest of experiences…what if we had plain ‘ole made better choices?

As if my Author-Designer-Creator owes the created fabric any explanation, here are some of the gentle truths whispered to my Spirit during reflection on the fabric of my life…

If I decide to reach inside, reach back, or reach forward and yank those dangling threads, I will do serious damage to My tapestry.  I will bunch my material into knotted clumps, or worse yet, rip a hole in me no way I could ever repair alone.  Those threads – as odd, out-of-place, frustrating, or painful as they may be – are a part of Me.  We are connected as designed.  And while they are a part of me, they are not the sum total of my fearfully-and-wonderfully-made being; they do not define me, but remind me of my interconnectedness with Humanity, and the fact that we all have issues with frayed edges somewhere, even if hidden on the underside of our fabric, or perhaps tucked deep within our pretty “silk” linings.

The awkwardness and aggravation regarding the threads will quickly subside when I learn to accept and love all that was and is Me.  There were no mistakes or coincidences, just hand-picked opportunities for growth and the realization that God would heal, mend, clean, and patch every rip, cut, stain, and tear like brand-spanking new, even (esp.) the ones I caused .  God purposes and uses every straggling thread, every unique experience and characteristic that is Me.

And when those threads reach an unbalanced length due to my own fixation, pulling, and meddling, the Spirit will remind me of all the beauty and care poured into my “bigger” picture, and I will  gently snip the threads back to NOT being a monumental deal, without disturbing my overall fabric, and I will give thanks in and for every thread woven to create Me.

I am not my frazzled threads, and neither are you.  But it’s good to know that the fabric of my life and the fabric of yours are also amazingly intertwined.  So, let’s be gentle with each other, and ultimately beautiful – together.

Trading My Strut for Trust

It’s not there.  And I can honestly say with a Straight face – I used to love it, but now I don’t miSs it anymore.

Recently, I took my finger and tried to trace the grooveS, feel the curveS that Swerved and made me beautifully dizzy with invincible Strength.  Yes, once upon a time I got high on my own Supply.  And now that I’ve traded in my Signature Strut for a State of reSt, so rests the misplaced momentum, and this Squirrelly belief that I’d found the golden ticket to Self-Supremacy and Sustenance.  Told ya’ll I was Special lol.

So yeah, the “S” on my chest is now gone.  No more “Super Kim”.  No more Creator’s trusty “Sidekick”.  And truth be told, I’d Stole it anyway.  Did myself a dis-Service by robbing TruSt blind of its power to empower me.  I’ve chosen now to Surrender my Strut, and re-move the “S” back into its proper place – within my TruSt in God and His faithfulness and Love for me.

No, I didn’t always want to give the “S” back.  It looked good on me, felt good.  I was Strong.  I had all the anSwers.  I really didn’t need anybody else – I’d get it done by myself, if I had to.  And in the center of my prIde, “I” stood flat-footed and alone.

Growing into the knowledge that I needed to change this mindSet, stop only running to God with what I defined as the “hard” stuff, I decided to make the “s” lowercase hahaha :-) .  You been there too?  You didn’t want to totally play Savior, you just wanted, in all sincerity and good faith, to give the Savior a helping hand.  You didn’t need or want all the kudos and praise, you just wanted to feel like you had contributed, right?  After all, didn’t God give you Smarts, common Sense, problem Solving Skills – all that good Stuff that Shellacs that “S” deeper into your Super-being, and makes it all shiny?  Funnyness.

But, life has a way of presenting opportunities for growth.  Recently, I faced the threat of lay-off from my job.  With everyone around me polishing resumes, updating their Linked In accounts, networking like crazy for the next big move, I remember telling someone “I feel weird.”  Typically by now, I’d have a plan A thru at least U in play, all with sub-plans lol, ready to pull the trigger.  Makes sense, right?  Got kids, a mortgage, can’t wait too late and end up bamboozled.

Still, I did nothing.  No game plan.  No next stop.  No job site searches.  No contingencies. And frankly I felt lazy, straight up sorry.

My common Sense was screaming “Risk!, Don’t be Stupid!, Wake up, Girl!”, but I was curious, and wanted curiosity to get the best of me – “What if I choose to go through this with a peaceful heart, totally hands-off, and rest in the truth that God knows what I have need of before I ask, and He promised to supply it.”

Pretty comical thoughts and a very uneasy place for a recovering Superhero.

The day I got the news, I was on vacation, called into a meeting (supposedly) to discuss all the transitions going on with my team.  Walking up the sidewalk, the thought hit me, “What if they’ve really called this meeting to let ME go?”  I dismissed the thought with these words, literally talking to myself before entering the building…. “God I TruSt you as my Source, and I know you’ve got me.”

Don’t get me wrong.  Sure, I was nervous, and a little Scared of the thought of having to find another gig, economy’s bad, etc.  The fact of the matter is…I had choSen to TruSt God, and by this time lol, God was my only hope.

One of the most beautiful sights you’ll ever see is God getting HIS STRUT on for you!  Who else could send me to a meeting to be let go, and from there, send me to an impromptu interview for my next gig?!?!  Same day, Same company/job/role, salary, with cool former colleagues (always treat people right, you never know when you’ll see them again #livebythat).

Now, look at everything I missed….the stressful running around, the worry, the sleepless nights, the bubble guts LOL, the exhaustion with trying to help my Source.  How could I trade all of that for peaceful stillness, a wonderful vacation, and the beautiful surprise ending. #Supergrateful for a job!

What about you?  Are you currently running around, busying yourself trying to help your Help?  Are you finding it hard to face those unknowns, and doing something to contribute makes the angst easier to swallow?

My friend, I want to encourage you to STOP!  That’s right, just stop.  Not “try” to stop, or cut back lol….STOP!  All of it.  Everything you’re doing, thinking, scheming, planning, manipulating.  I’ve been there – and it’s not worth it.  Not when God has already pre-paired you with a beautiful, surprise ending that doesn’t require you to do anything else but – Look to Him.  Trust Him.

Life’s nudging you to give it a try. C’mon, you can do it!  Let’s rest together, look to the hills, and watch God do His thing – I’m telling you…He’s got a fieeeerce Strut just for you too :-) !

© 2011

Winning Losses

“All I do is win, win, win…”  Really?

Well, that hasn’t been my reality the past couple of weeks.  At least, I don’t think so reflecting on those moments right now.  And typically?  Yeah, I do “win” alot (read over-achiever lol), so this is strange :-/. What worked well or seemed to fit is now either broken or two sizes too small.  Odd.  Ouch.

Here are the facts:  I’ve taken some unprovoked, head(mind) and body blows after following all the “rules”…checked them at least twice.  Man, I could see if I swung first, which old Me took pleasure in doing back there lol.  But I kept my ducks in a row (even the ones that wanted to get “out of line”), dotted every i (paid close attention to the smallest detail), and crossed every t (finished what I started).  

Now, I say all that not to share a glimpse of invisible perfection, cos frankly, it ain’t there.  I miss, jack stuff up, and will jack some mo’ stuff up in the future.  Bet.  But doggonit folks, sometimes, just sometimes, I’m on point, right as rain, and I’ve earned a “W” in my column!  Ever feel like this?

So, God, what the world do you call this strange place, when your Mo-jo turns to No-jo, when you’ve done all you know how to do and are still denied, rejected, embarrassed, disparaged – the Loser.

You call it My will.  And if you’ll stay in here with Me, and close your eyes, you’ll begin to see the winning losses.”  #iseewords #selah

Wow.  This is a different kinda growing season for me – forget the facts and learn to embrace this truth…

There’s a time when it’s not time to win, and not every win comes with the victory.  

Huh?  For real? Yeah.  And that’s the exact “time” of epiphany, when you realize it’s not always about you and the “way” you want or think you should win.  Sometimes, you’ve simply “won” the opportunity to grow yourself, maybe even grow others.  Hmm.

Ever had a win that you didn’t win fair and square, but by some other squirrelly means?  Funny. In the case of two of my “losses”, I can sense the “winners” responding to me differently now, almost in a regretful, more humble-than-before kinda way.   Are some victories tempered in the light of Humility?  Sure, I cut up in private, but in the winners’ presence, somehow I held my peace and let it go, when every drop of my Kim-ness wanted to put so much more on it :-) .  

No boast?  No parade?  Maybe they’re having second thoughts.  Maybe I am too.  

Did I really lose, or did I win the opportunity to witness a morsel of maturity and self-control blooming inside?  Did I really lose, or did I win God’s trust with some difficult situations, knowing I’d represent and make Him proud?  My girl actually witnessed one of these events.  Did I really lose, or did I win the chance to teach her how to take the high road and maintain a sense of dignity and respect?

While this is all still fresh and new, I’m feeling a winning attitude brewing past anger and frustration, as I grow into new perspective.  I’ve matriculated at the School of Non-Resistance before; man, these refresher courses feel like grad school now.  Guess I gotta dig a little deeper and sure up my foundation.

I like how W. F. Diedrich put it:  “You seldom win until you become willing to do so without the prize.”  I can see an empty mantle in my future, but also a spirit and soul overflowing with joy, happiness, and well-being.  Let’s get it, chic!  Dukes down :-) .

I Wanna Divorce!

It’s been me and you all this time. In some ways, we both thought it would be this way until the end of time. I see now…it’s a blessing how, before time ends, it reveals. Something that punctures commitment and fractures trust. Something that exposes the fraud of tearful normalcy. Time sets off a blazing alarm that jars your spirit and crash lands your soul into a place called Awake…I guess when you’re good and ready, or sick and tired.  One of the two.

I am a proud citizen of Awake now. And as I pledge allegiance to the pursuit of love and happyness, I recognize the disguise of ticking time standing still, and vow in my heart not to spend another second with you. I wanna divorce!

Thoughts. Lies. What s/he/you/I said. Don’t look around, Thoughts, you know who you are…

“Your access to love depends on performance and conditions.”

“Your worth is far below mine.”

“It’ll never happen…you should’ve given up a long time ago.”

“You’re cute, but kinda ugly too.”

…this is IT with me and you and you and you!

Psychological polygamy is a good name for it. ‘Cause with some of you, I wasn’t just true to your lies and abuse. I two, three, four and more-timed you all, spread myself wide open to whichever one of you had next. Swallowed every blow whole. Took every lick like a champ. Better than not feeling anything at all, right?

Wrong! No longer will I submit to you, Thoughts! You negative seeds that grew weeds I pranced around and showcased like a beautiful bouquet of flowers, specially delivered. Powerless under your seductive aroma – I will be no more. Convinced that your malignant words were a balm, and that  living was dying and vice versa – I will be no more. Limited by your gift-wrapped box of freedom with the padlocked top – I will be no more.

I’m changing my “I do” tune to an “I don’t” song. I don’t and won’t hear, believe, feel, cosign, live you anymore. And the faster our union is severed, the faster peace and wholeness will rush in, patching holes and healing bruises I once considered my medals.

Now, I win, because this is The End. Consider yourselves served.  Buh-bye.

© 2011. KimB@iseewords


Are there some negative thoughts, words from others, internal beliefs, true lies that YOU need to serve papers to?

Put it Out There and Let Go

Back there, I’d convinced myself.  I had the power and I was in control.  Nevermind the absurdity, it probably stemmed from being robbed of power and control a time or two, the proverbial robbee seduced into the life of the robber.

Juxtapose that mindset with my incessant need to be understood, which pretty much ranked neck-and-neck with its kissing cousin named V.A.L. – Validation, Acceptance, and Love.  And with that, no matter what it took, I was going to make you understand me.  Or use up all my super powers trying LOL.

And you… and you… and you…you’re gonna understand me :-) !

Recently, I’ve noticed a shift in me and my relationships.  Call it a calm, soothing confidence that comes from a place where I know I’m loved, cos I love me – a close 2nd behind the Creator’s first; or maybe a realization that what used to matter, what was sooo huge and worth fighting for before, isn’t anymore.

Today, I am free to speak my honesty, in love, without the necessity or expectation of being fully understood.

What a difference it’s made in my spirit, to forego those feelings of frustration and annoyance in the face of perceived misunderstanding (notice the word “perceived”…that’s all it is most times). Sometimes, people need to process things in their own time, their own way.  Why force it? Other times, it takes maturity to agree to disagree, and accept that some things may never be understood the way I think they should.  Taking the shoulds off folk not only frees them to be who they are, but gives me a chance to direct my energy in places where it counts – like seeing if there are other areas in my life where selfishness and/or a self-centered mindset has the power and controls me.  Hmm.  

My responsibility and focus now is to be authentic and honest, rather than pulling the strings of someone else’s response and understanding.

Does this shift kill my hope to be understood when I express me?  Course not.  I’m not a glutton for misunderstandings, awkward stares and wrinkled brows when I share me.  It is and will always be a beautiful thing, without cartwheels and a parade, to be simply “got and felt”.  And how ‘bout this:  the more understanding I give to others, the more understanding I’ll effortlessly receive.

Can you relate to being a “maker”…fighting and struggling to make others understand you (or something else)?  Have you overcome the fear of putting it out there and letting go?  Getting closer…?

In a Nutshell

funny thing, life
in a nutshell
lies a nut’s hell and heaven
on earth where i’ve
jacked some things up
patched up a hole or two
crossed lines never meant to be
crossed or drawn
got it right
got it wrong
been hurt
caused hurt
apologized
forgiven others
both til black and blue
on the inside
i’ve cried
til i laughed
just to taste a drop of wonder
from which i was created.
 
i’ve pointed the finger
with three pointing back at me
wasn’t ready to see
that it was me, was me, was me, oh Lord
standing knee deep in some mess
i made
others made
for their agenda
learned to surrender
hands up
pride down
looking like a fool
with my mask on the ground
in thirty pieces of
broken english
no words
no tape or glue
to re-member Truth.
 
yet
inspite of all i’ve
said and done
lost and won
screamed and sung
i remain sustained and
wholly Loved by the Holy One
who came
and saw to it
that i would
more than conquer
this life i’ve lived…
in a nutshell.

© 2011. KimB@iseewords