Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dipping Into Something New

As the end of the holiday season draws near and the new year begins I remind myself of all the people, events, treasures and trials that impacted me. In fact, I can recall one moment in particular that changed my life right before my eyes. It happened while I was visiting a detention center for young men one week before Christmas. A few people from my bible study group and I had gotten together to sing Christmas carols and talk with them. The end of the program was coming to a close but I kept feeling something tugging at my heart. I needed to do more than just sing with them. I needed to pray and speak a word into their heart. At first the fear of holding hands with someone that I didn't know completely overwhelmed me. What if he murdered someone. Or raped someone. What if he committed a violent act toward someone I loved. Then suddenly that doubtful, negative spirit dissipated and I could feel a transformation take place. Not just in the heart of the boy whose hands I held but in the ones of those that were holding them. My hands. I was letting go of the fears and inhibitions of the unknown and letting go of the prejudices that once stalked me. I was lifting and encouraging this young man in a way that even I couldn't understand and I was becoming all the better for it. I prayed that the season that he was experiencing in those cold, concrete walls be ended and that whatever was ahead of him be greater than his past. I prayed that whatever cards life had dealt him or circumstances he had been in before be changed. He was now dipping into fresh water, into a new season, his dew season of life that would bring forth something great. When I opened my eyes, I felt the burdens and pain pour out of him and up to God's hands. As I reflect on that moment, I pray that whatever season of life your in, that today your transformational moment begin and the desires of your heart and dew seasons of your mind come true for each of you.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Celebrate The Season

As much as I hate to admit this I'm just not into the Christmas cheer this year. I've gotten phone calls from family, dinner invites from friends and holiday notes from strangers but still, it's just not there. I've even tried listening to Christmas music, shopping for gifts, and driving through neighborhoods just to see some sign of big, fat Santa. But still, there's nothing. So what is it about this year that makes it any different from the rest? Nothing has changed, what's the big deal? It's just another day. Or is it? Unfortunately, for some of us, it just can't be. Not when we're constantly hearing all of the bad news about the economy and job or housing loss. Not when our country is in a financial mess. Yet, everything I shared whether it relates to me or not really does affect me. It affects the people that I love and the world around me. When I stop and think about how fortunate I am I get overwhelmed and am simply amazed. Last week I drove through a rainstorm in a car that had a leak so deep in the sun roof that I could have gone swimming. And yet, I remembered the person who stood in the rain with no shelter at all because they no longer had a car. I got a call from a friend who loss her job after having worked there for only 3 months, and I thought to myself, that could have been me. The amount of grace we receive in times like these are nothing short of a miracle. We are able to eat outside of garbage cans while others are eating garbage just to survive. We are resting our heads in warm beds at night while others lay on payment. But, we pay more attention to the things that we have not received without even saying thanks for the things that we do. This year Christmas will be all about that for me. Giving thanks for life, health and breath, breaking bread with family and offering a hand and an ear to those who need it most. For as long as I can, wherever I can, my plan is to dew a new thing.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Grey Anatomy

When I turned 30-years-old every birthday became less of a ritual and more of a period of self reflection and an opportunity for me to create all sorts of wish lists.

1. Find the perfect man to marry and have kids.
2. Find the perfect home preferably near the water in a beach house.
3. Win the lottery and forget about points 1 & 2.

But, as the years quickly passed and I got closer to turning 40, I realized that points 1,2, and 3 might not become a reality. Therefore, the only thing I had to look forward to was the art of ageing gracefully. Until suddenly, grace was interrupted when out of nowhere stood a grey hair. The long, black hair that I had grown accustomed to would be forever tainted by this monstrous beast. No wig, no weave, no nothing would be able to hide it and now my life was completely over. I would be invaded by a single, silver strand who became known to me as "the intruder." Much like the aunt or uncle who showed up drunk on Christmas or the dreaded coworker I least expected to show up to the corporate dinner. They just didn't belong there! And just like these annoying people in our lives so was my grey hair. Yet eventually, I had to come to terms with the fact that this was something that came along with the ageing process and I would need to embrace it. However, I wanted no parts of it! Having grey hair meant that I would be treated differently when I went to the mall or shopped for groceries. Men and women would now refer to me as "Mame" instead of Ms. Roy. No longer would I be able to enjoy passing for the girl in her twenties, I was getting old and this was going to take some getting use to. I could no longer wear the short skirts and tiny t-shirts anymore without being ridiculed by the packs of women wolves at nightclubs. Now, I was a fully grown woman who had to give up all of those things and accept whatever life had to offer. I was entering into a new beginning, my dew season and life was about to become pretty darn special.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cruising and Losing

Easy come....easy least that's what I told myself when I arrived home from a 7-day cruise to the Caribbean last week. I had just celebrated my sister's 50th birthday and was already thinking about what to do next. I hated the fact that I had to give up the "stuff my face" sessions of eating, hated the fact that I no longer had the ocean in my backyard...hated the fact that there was no one else left to serve me, hated the fact that there were no more island men to look at and last but not least..I hated the fact that I had to go back to work and face business as usual. My lovely, rest-filled vacation was now a memory that turned into a nightmare fast when I rear ended a driver while leaving work one night and broke my wrist. Like I said earlier easy come...easy days of no longer having a care in the world or having to do anything for myself like lift a fork or a spoon were gone...I went from being the high roller to a disabled veteran of fun in just a few days. Never again will I look at someone with a disability the same way. Yet, my small inconveniences are nothing compared to what handicap people face everyday. Not being able to wear a coat that fits, or take a shower( I still wash really well, don't be fooled), grocery shop, drive my car without using my left hand or email friends as often as I use to has shown me just how blessed I've been all these years. I think about how easy it's been for me to take small things for granted. And then I realize that I really can make do with little or less. Everything depends on my attitude and I'm choosing to say yes. Especially to all the positive things, the fact that I'm alive, the fact that it could have been worse and the fact that I am able to still smile even when I don't feel like it. I also realized that having more does not make me rich and that I really can manage without all the extra things....I am blessed by just being here....and dewing just fine.

Friday, October 31, 2008

My Halloween Journey

I had almost forgotten that today was Halloween until last night. My friend's daughter was so excited about her costume. She was sharing details of every part of it. As I listened intensely I started thinking about my own Halloween memories. Like the time I dressed up as Queen Nefertiti. My face was completely plastered in gold glitter and I wore a long, black cape with a turban on top of my head and black tights. I was determined to win the prize for best costume that year and I did! Later that day my friends and I made plans to go trick or treating together. I was certain that we were going to hit the candy jackpot because we were doing it in one of the richest neighborhoods in New Jersey. This place was like a trick or treaters heaven and we were about to enter its gates. It didn't matter how cold it was that night because we were far too deep in the early stages of our sugar high rush. There were 4 of us. April, was Bambi, Kyle, who I had a major crush on was a vampire, Michael, another best friend was a vampire also (I guess there was a sale on costumes from Woolworths) and last but not least was my friend Vera. Once we arrived, each of the members of our pact began to scatter with the exception of me and Kyle. All I could think about was the cold and how cute he was. I'm almost certain he felt the same because the next thing I knew our lips were connected. We must have done this for at least five minutes because I counted. It was awkward, but worth it! My tongue licking his teeth, his teeth licking and sucking bob wire because I had braces, yet, none of that seemed to matter. I was finally kissing him! I even saw fireworks like the ones Marcia Brady saw from the "Brady Bunch" show. To this day, Halloween has never been about ghosts or goblins for me but a memory that I hold dear to my heart.

For details on this experience and more journeys like this one , read "Journeys of Love Voices of the Heart," or visit www. to purchase a copy of our new book.

Monday, October 27, 2008

When Life and Death Divides

If ever there was a time to be pissed beyond words. Today is that day. When I got on my computer this morning I was devastated by what I read. Jeniffer Hudson, a costar of the recently released movie"The Secret Life of Bees," Academy Award winner and former contestant on American Idol had had just lost her mother and 27-year-old brother. Both were found shot to death in their Chicago home last Friday and her 7-year-old nephew was missing up until a few moments ago. They just announced that he was found in an SUV. I can't imagine the type of pain that she's feeling right now. No one, whether celebrity or not deserves this. Yet, in the wake of such a horrific tragedy the remnants of racism are louder than ever. When Barack Obama and his wife Michelle heard about this they sent their deepest sympathies to her and her family. How anyone in their right mind could ever question this as being some sort of a publicity stunt is beyond me. Wake up America Mr Obama is ahead in the polls not because he has to use publicity stunts like this but because the American people are sick and tired of business as usual. For those of us who follow any news, Jennifer sang at the Democratic National Convention therefore it would be safe to say that Barack would be concerned about her. I couldn't believe my eyes when I read some of the comments people wrote criticizing him for wanting to reach out and be supportive. It didn't just stop there, these same ignorant men and women had the nerve to say that black people were animals and that this was a "democratic crime." They also asked why Obama wasn't organizing the streets of Chicago to end black on black crime. Insults! Shame! What a disgrace! This is 2008 people and it's time to start offering prayer and sympathy to others rather than let race divide us. Perhaps in dew season we'll finally be able to see beyond color, race or gender and support each other by speaking kind words. Just a thought.....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Child Burn

No one ever told me that raising kids would be easy. In fact, most of the stories I've heard from all of my best friends have been the same. Rule # 1- Having kids requires a great deal of patience. Sort of like the patience you need when you're standing in line at the Dept. of Motor Vehicles or sitting on the highway during rush hour traffic. All of which, could be said to be slit your wrist moments. Okay maybe not that severe but we've all been there. Anyhow, I'm a single person whose been in more weddings than I care to disclose. In fact, I've been an honorary member of "the bridesmaids gold club" for years. I also have no children. Yet, by all accounts I am an auntie for children all over the world and I wear this badge with pleasure. Therefore, every now and then I get this overwhelming desire to see life on the other side. Last night, was one of those times and I took this task on with open arms. I would leave work, make a mad dash to Fed Ex to drop a few packages off then drive home to change. I had made a date with one of my best friend's daughters then decided at the last minute to invite a playmate for her too. We were headed to see a play at a local church. Everything was going so well that I could even hear the sounds of baby cries and rattles echoing in the background. Hmph, this baby thing might not be so bad after all. I have no idea why my friends make such a big deal out of this. They obviously haven't gotten this patience thing down pat yet. I guess I'm gonna have to give them some advice after the play. Whisper..whisper....giggle..giggle...(loud laughs and chatter are now filling the air). It's okay...their teenagers, I tell myself. But as the night continued the conversations grew and I could feel the mist of patience slowly beginning to fade. Are they trying to test me? Can they smell the scent of rookieness? For the first time in my life I was starting to feel the pain of "child burn" and there was no remedy for it. These kids were in my possession for the rest of the night. I was their guardian and responsible for their every move. Moves that were tested when an altar call came and both of them leaped at the chance to give their lives to God. I watched from a distance as they bowed their heads to pray and then followed other audience members into a holding room to receive further instruction. Surely, they'll be okay I thought to myself. This is the house of God. He knows all our needs. As I reached the bottom of the stairs to proceed toward the exit doors I noticed that my two step daughters had suddenly disappeared. How can this be possible? It's only been 5 minutes. Now I was beginning to feel the pain of "child burn" again only this time it was moving toward my chest. My hands became sweaty and I could see the silver handcuffs in the hands of the officers who were coming to get me. After searching frantically through the lower area and patio outside I was certain that I had lost them. Hopeless, I retraced the steps we made when we first arrived and to my surprise there they stood, totally undisturbed by the darkness and strangers that lurked around them. That night I learned a very valuable lesson. Keep your cell phone on at all times, wear comfortable walking shoes, keep a cool head and always expect the unexpected. In dew season, I'll be ready to commit to all these things but until then I'll limit my invitations.

Friday, October 17, 2008

To Whom Much Is Given

As much as I hate to admit it. I kind of enjoy reality TV. Well, maybe not for all the obvious reasons like cat fighting or the intervention programs for celebrities trying to lose weight or stop using drugs or even the horrific "Real Housewives of Atlanta" but rather those that celebrate a hero attitude. Take for example, the new reality show called the "Chef Jeff Project" which aired on the Food Network Sunday evening. Jeff Henderson, or Chef Jeff as he likes to be called went from a man serving a 10-year prison term for a cocaine operation, to an Executive chef for Cafe Bellagio in Las Vegas to a best selling author. While incarcerated, he developed an appreciation for cooking and a desire to turn his life around. How many of us have experienced times like that in our lives. Finding ourselves in some of the darkest seasons and places we never expected to be in only to have our situation miraculously turned around. Yet, in Jeff's case his miracles went a step further when he was offered his own show. Talk about grace! But it gets even better. Jeff also realized that "to whom much is given, much is expected." He didn't allow himself to be caught up in the success of his new found life. He decided to use his show as a platform to reach kids in the inner city by giving them an opportunity to gain wisdom, discipline, courage, cooking skills and something that they may have never gotten in their lives before, someone who believed in them. Suffice it to say, that for these young men and women their dew season has finally arrived.

Friday, October 10, 2008


When I thought about starting a blog I had no idea what I wanted to name it. I kept toying with different words but none of them really reflected me. They either sounded really clique or had nothing to do with who I was as a woman. All day long I struggled with it until it finally hit me. This morning I woke up and found myself watching a young woman who was a former contestant on the show American Idol. She talked about her successes and failures after she was voted off the show. The thing that struck me the most was her ability to admit that she was flawed. Here was a woman who had been on one of the most popular shows on television who now had to deal with the pressures of fame. Like an addict she chose to self medicate herself with the vice that she knew best, food. Eventually this young woman woke up and found that God's love for her was all that she needed and more. But then it hit me. My lack of money, my lack of love, my lack of whatever it was that I desired most really didn't matter. Here sat a woman before me that had all of her needs met but still didn't have happiness. I realized then that no amount of money could buy it. Inner peace and inner strength sprinkled with God's love is what could. Mandisa was, even back then, what she is now a complete woman, no matter what size or shape. In dew season I pray that each of us finds this....