Friday, January 31, 2014

Post 31

For the first time today (well technically it happened tomorrow, but with an overnight prayer service I'll be generous with myself and post it for the 31st) I gave a sermon in Italian. Ok, not the first time, but certainly the first time this year ;).

I hadn't had as much time to prepare as I wanted, really, and so I was feeling nervous. Though I wasn't as elegant and as polished as I had hoped to be, I was sincere. When my alarm failed to wake me (I later found my phone on the floor in three pieces.) and my hour and a half long nap turned into three hours, I lost my extra preparation time. Instead of spending what little time I had left complaining about the situation in which I found myself, I decided to pray. What lesson could I learn from this? My academic training combined with my natural ability to present well makes me sometimes take God out of my preparations for things.

I had prayed for inspiration with the word to share, but as often happens, I was relying on myself to deliver the results. Because I didn't have enough time to triple check grammar and write out my third draft, I went into this sermon the way I should've done every time before: humble and reliant upon God. I am realizing that I do this a lot in just about every area of my life, and I bet much heartbreak could be avoided if I first listened to and waited on God, and then acted according to HIS plan. I know God is preparing me for something and I want to remember all of these lessons I'm learning. I've got a lot to learn!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Post 30

Almost to the one month mark and I face my first challenges to regular posting: traveling and internet. No matter.
It was wonderful to be home for the holidays, and part of me did not want to come back. I'm always of two minds, it seems. It's hard to leave my family and friends but it's even harder to leave the will of God. I hold tightly to the truth that, "Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy." Psalm 126:5

Unfortunately, I left my ipad home and so I was unable to take advantage of free airport wifi to update my blog before my flight. Instead, I prepared a sermon that I was to deliver the the day I was to arrive, and went over some songs for the time of worship I would lead after. That was lovely, and though I did get a few weird looks from other passengers waiting for their flights, a few really cute kids made me smile by staring transfixed at my guitar while parents held them or watched over them.

My recent flight experiences have definitely proven to me that if God wants you somewhere, you'll get there. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Therefore, I am pleased to say that my flight back to Milan was rather uneventful. In fact, there was a jet stream of over 200 miles per hour, "pushing us towards Europe", as the pilot said. He was rather pleased, and riding that jet stream got us to Zurich more than an hour ahead of schedule. The spiritual symbolism here was certainly not lost on me. And now I am back to business as usual!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Post 29

Continuing with the theme of women in the Bible. This one is more pensive and not one I envision being performed.


You want a son and so you give me to your husband.
Give me!
But I am but a servant. My body is yours to do with as you please.

Does he touch you like this? I wonder.

I am his now, and no other man will take me. But I have borne him the son you wanted, and for the comfort this gives me you treat me harshly. I did not go to you. I did not ask for this!

Twice I have found myself in the wilderness and twice the Lord has rescued me. El-roi, the God who sees me, heard me crying when I ran away, heard the cries of my son when we were sent away.

We did not perish in the wilderness for God showed me the well that sustained us. I have suffered, but my son has grown strong, he has married well, and I have been promised more descendants than I can count. This is my inheritance, my reward.  My son will flourish. He will succeed!

The cries of the broken and destitute do not fall on deaf ears, and the trials even of the lowly servant do not go unseen. Have I truly seen the One who sees me?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Post 28

When writing this it's something I envisioned as a performance piece, but not "spoken word". A monologue, I guess. I almost wanted to write in stage directions. Maybe writing something like that will be a future challenge. Def not my forte.

I think this could use some work. It seems a tad bit disjointed. Well, some of that's intentional because I wanted to reflect the turmoil and the ups and downs I imagined Leah was going through.

Any way, one of the reasons I identified with Leah and her story is that I have often caught myself trying to find in a partner what I can only find in God. I need to already be fulfilled and whole, because it is two whole and healthy people that form a strong relationship. My current period of singleness is a wonderful opportunity to invest in my life and the lives of those around me in ways I could not if I were dating or married. Until such a time comes when I have a partner, my focus is to grow in faith and character, and simply, to love. But I digress. Without further ado, here's today's creative contribution.


"When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, he enabled her to have children, but Rachel could not conceive." Gen 29:31

"Her eyes are dull", they say. "Her sister's much prettier." Hm. As if I can't hear them.

He doesn't love me. Given in the night like something shameful, to be hidden. But, I thought the sweet caress, the tender touch, was mine.

Yet the gaze which looked upon me when morning had come did not reflect the shining of my own. Dull, it seemed.

Wife. What meaning has this if there is no love?

But look, a son!
Surely God has seen my misery. He will give me my husband's attention. Surely!


Surely He is the one who hears. If not for one son then for two sons my husband will come to me!
And yet he still puts her before me.

What have I done but love him?! Can he not love me back? This time he will feel affection for me. This time he will be attached to me and depart no more, for I have borne him another son!
I alone have provided this inheritance for him.

Will he not come to me? Will his face not shine with pride and joy when he beholds me and the sons I have brought into this world?

Oh no, no, no, no...


With the birth of this fourth son I praise the Most High!
God has heard me, drawn near to me, and loved me where my husband would not. When He looks upon me His focus is not upon the "dullness" of my eyes, but upon the purity of my heart. The Lord of Heaven's Armies sees and hears the cries of the suffering. He comes in mighty splendor, with new life upon His breath and healing in His wings. He rejoices in me, woman of His creation, beautiful in His sight, known and loved even in the womb. He has heard me, drawn near to me, and loved me where my husband could not. Oh yes, now I will praise the Lord.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Post 27

I've been thinking about words lately. Specifically my own. Maybe it's because I watched the Grammy Award show and part of me wants to win one for a song. But really, I'm thinking of words with more eternal impact. Reading Paul's letters gives me an idea of words with staying power. Words can be so powerful and have such huge impacts on people. I suppose this can be said of the arts in general.

Art has the ability to reach people profoundly. I want to a part of that, but I don't want to focus on that to the point that I lose sight of the joy of creating. I think that for awhile now I've felt that I need to churn out hit after hit. I felt it wasn't worth it to write a 'bad' song. I sought those moments when people would come to me after a performance and share how what I did touched them. When that stopped happening as often I think my motivations were revealed.

People often ask me what audience I'm writing for and where I want to take my music. I honestly don't know anymore. I never allowed myself  to pursue a career in music to the exclusion of all else and it doesn't look like I will anytime soon. I will, however, continue to write and sing for God's glory. I trust that everything will progress as it should.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Post 26

My Hairstory (The Abridged Version)

My hair has recently become a topic of increased interest. I say increased because Black hair, especially natural Black hair, is always a topic of interest. I've had people ask me how I got my hair "that way" more times than I can recount. I've even had people sneak pats and touches of my locks or my afro. In case you're wondering, just ask. You wouldn't be the first and you probably won't be the last ;).

I first went natural because I wanted long hair. Mom told me going natural was the only hope for my thinned  and badly broken tresses. I'm gonna say she was right on that. I had my locks until I freaked out and was super depressed freshman year of college and cut them off. Well, my friend cut them for me, but you get the idea. By then my reasons for being natural had changed, and it became a decision based on self love. I rocked my 'fro au naturale until someone convinced me that I should reshape it and bleach it blonde in order to be more competitive in the music industry. I regretted that, decided to dye it purple, regretted that even more, and cut my hair off again. I was then convinced to restart my locks, again, because of the music business. I eventually cut those locks off again as well, this time with a pair of scissors while half delirious and still recoverng from some sort of flu. Now I am exploring the 'fro once more.


As I head into job hunting and other such applications I suddenly find myself nervous about my hair. I've seen the articles about careers stifled and work environments poisoned because of the way natural hair got interpreted in the work place. My hair is unkempt, not professional, too aggressive, etc etc. But, right when I was ready to put some extensions in for any interviews (God willing), my mother set me straight. She told me that there was nothng wrong wth my hair, and that I didn't need to change it. She told me to pin it, maybe put a flower or some other interview appropriate accessory in it, and let it flow as freely as I always do.

This is where I will stress the importance of mothers and their daughters' self-esteem. I cannot pretend that my mother's support was not and is not a part of my current healthy self-esteem. In that moment of fragility my mother chose to build me up and help me to appreciate the beauty of who I am, as I am. When the time comes (again, God willing), I hope to do the same for my daughter.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Post 25

I never really thought I could get to that point with a guy, you know? I think inasmuch as women are objectified, we can do the same things to men. And it's not OK. My experience of oppression does not give me license to then oppress you, because as we all know, two wrongs don't make a right.

So, why is the brother thing so important? Well, Christians tend to work in community a lot, and the brotherhood/sisterhood aspect of that becomes very important. I now call many people "sister" who I never thought I would. It is not just a Mr./Ms./Mrs type of thing. In real loving community these women are like family. Admittedly, this level of intimacy has been easier for me to attain with women than with men. Perhaps because I have been trained to look at all of them as potential partners. My thought process has always been, "Are we compatible? No? Moving on.-- Yes? Let's see how this turns out..."

You see, I never really learned how to look at a man as anything other than a possible future mate. It's like my brain went to auto mode. Now I suddenly find myself in loving and healthy relationships with men that are, heaven forbid, platonic! I am now a firm believer that people can change. Sometimes my attempts to enter platonic friendship are met with men who distance themselves from me, probably assuming I'm trying to make a partner out of them. Sometimes the opposite occurs and they want to be a little too close. No matter! When I find like-minded people who understand the importance of friendship, then I'll continue to build on the beautiful friendships that I now have with men. I can even ask them for dating advice! I love it. On a side note, I like the idea of being friends with someone and getting to know a person before adding the extra element of romance.

So, here's to friendship. Well, for now at least ;).

Friday, January 24, 2014

Post 24

When the bus broke down today I doubt any of us were expecting it. We were all calmly riding along, and I am certain I wasn't the only one who dismissed the bumpy clang as awkwardly navigated snow piled on the road against the sidewalk.

But, no.

One stop later the patrons of the 411 found ourselves stuck on a broken down bus. The natural impulse to vacate the potential deathtrap was silenced by the actual deathtrap of waiting for any length of time outside in the bitter cold. No matter. We make the best of our situations in life.

Some, more than others.

It would seem that there is almost always an extrovert waiting for just such an opportunity to break social convention and talk to strangers on a bus. (For some, simply existing in a space nearby is invitation enough.)

Sometimes breaking social conventions is a good thing, and if it positively fosters a sense of community, I say go for it. Today's extrovert didn't make a big awkward mess of things. She simply talked about now being late for work, and while imitating her boss' foreseen incredulity at her excuse, had quite a few of us laughing.

I suggested she take photo evidence on her phone to show to her boss, and already on the same plane of thought, she quickly went about doing so. She even shared her card with some of us, as she is a spoken word artist. It figures a performer would have no problems being friendly on public transportation. Well, maybe that's too sweeping a statement. Either way, despite the bus today's commute was lovely. Just lovely.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Post 23

   Sometimes I think that I put myself out there too much. Well, I've at least felt like that in the past.       Though difficult at times, I think that vulnerability is a good thing. I've been reading "Heart of the Artist" by Rory Noland and I would definitely recommend it to any artists seeking character growth. Anyway, in the book Rory talks about all of these different areas of being and relating to artists. I have therefore resolved to pick up a few tips heading into the rest of this new year.

1. Respond to every critique with love
As an artist it's not always easy to take it with grace when someone pokes and prods at your heart that you've figuratively laid out before them. I hereby resolve to not go up in arms whether or not someone lacks a little tact.

2. Have fun with it!
Here's to a year of having fun with creativity in all of its multiplicity.

Ummm, so can you tell I'm kinda stumped for a post idea for today? A little dstracted. So here's to not feeling too bad about that. :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Post 22

So, my mom wants me to sign up for Christian
Ever so thoughtfully (and tastefully, I might add), she reminds me of my duty to get married and bear children. I am mollified somewhat by the fact that she encourages me even more so to get a graduate degree.

Still, I'm only 23 years old (24 in March), and when I run into old family friends they think it's appropriate to ask me, "So, when are you getting married and having kids?" How is that a good follow-up question to the statement, "I've been teaching English as a foreign language in Italy."? Beats me.

Everyone's favorite question is whether or not I've found me a hottie yet, and to be fair, I'd probably enjoy this question a lot more if I could say "Yes."

Part of me wants to get up in arms and go on a rant about how 23 year old men don't have to face these questions and expectations. They're more likely to get asked how many chicks they banged recently, not how many life partner prospects they've met and tried to secure and then procreate with.

The thing though, is that when I was in high school I had planned to already be married around 23 so that I could have a couple years with my partner before having children. I wanted to be on the younger side, 27 at the most, before having children.

Oh, how dreams fade.

I'm not too upset about it though.

My mother recently reminded me that I am an accomplished young lady. You know, focus on the positive. That shouldn't be too difficult ;).

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Post 21

I am currently sitting in a Dunkin' Donuts, drinking chai made with too much milk and sugar. Well, that's what happens when you order a pre-milked and sugared drink instead of just getting a black or green tea and doing it yourself.

I am traveling soon, and so despite the severe weather I determined to go out and have dinner with a friend. It is terribly cold, but I've taken care. I've got on two pairs of tights underneath my leggings, my snow boots and leg warmers, and quite a few layers on top as well. But I digress. I didn't want to write a post of snowstorms. Today I wanted to talk about the reflection and editing processes that are part of writing.

While I love this challenge that I've given myself, I can't help but wonder how much better some of what I posted would be if I had more time to go over it before posting it. Oftentimes it takes at least a week for me to get a song into decent shape. I've got to let it settle in and let the flavors meld. Some songs take months or more before I'm ok with where they are. That makes posting something each day that I can be ok with a little difficult. While reviewing, revising and making improvements is an essential part of any discipline, this venture does give me the opportunity to let loose a little. I'm sure I'll get the opportunity to do some editing, but it's nice to give myself over a bit to the rawness of creativity. If I focus too much on the refinement I might miss out on some of the fun of the creative process. So here's to celebrating the beauty of the imperfect and the unfinished. They remind me of the importance of the journey, and not just the destination.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Post 20-Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Today in the U.S. it is Martin Luther King Day.

I can still recall my first memory of MLK Day. I was a little girl, too young, perhaps, to even understand the significance of what this man had accomplished and had inspired others to accomplish. In my memory there is a lot of the color blue, and my mother had opened a bottle of champagne special, to celebrate. She held her glass out to me, and ever the conscientious one I declined her offering citing the whole age issue where alcohol was concerned. She snorted (yes, you snorted mama) in amusement and said, laughter in her voice, "Oh come on, Allegra. It's Martin Luther King Day! He did wonderful things for us. You can have a sip of champagne."

So sacred, this sip of champagne shared with my mother, on MLK Day. I still didn't fully understand who the man was and what it was, exactly, he had done for us, but if mama said he was important, far be it from me to say otherwise. Now that I am older I can better appreciate Martin Luther King, flaws and all, for the work he did to advance civil rights for all citizens of the U.S.A. A society that moves further away from oppression and closer to freedom and equality brings benefits to every member of that society.

In the spirit of celebrating the road traveled and the road still to come, here is a video my buddy Anceline and I recorded a few years ago. Let us all keep our eyes on the prize.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Post 19

You are beyond compare
You shine bright like so many suns, warming, warming
Higher, ever higher You take us
Closer, ever closer You bring us
Deeper, higher, closer, more and more in You, through You, to You

How can I conceive of Your majesty, limited as I am? And yet, though I am limited You still choose to reveal Yourself in and through me. The mysteries of the heavens are there for anyone who wishes to search them. I have searched You oh God and I have found You to be pure and holy. Endlessly forgiving! Uncontainably loving! Righteous! Just! Merciful beyond compare.

Oh how You love me! Oh how You love me.
You are beyond compare

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Post 18

Sometimes bonding can happen in the strangest ways. Today Mumsy and I had some strangely awesome bonding time. She's been sick and so I've taken on the role of the good daughter, helping to take care of her. This has been doubly important because my future step-dad has been ill as well.

Our bonding time started at the bathroom sink this morning and continued as we lazed around all day watching Olmypic hopefuls and qualifiers, and a beloved movie from both our childhoods. I'd say though that ending the day attempting to throw M&M's into each other's mouths was the kicker. Mumsy, this post is for you.

Hanging out with mama
We laugh, oh how we laugh
I still maintain that laughter is the best medicine so you'll be up and at 'em in no time.

You support me through so much. Don't think that I don't notice or don't appreciate it.

These times together, good and bad, just being us. It's hard to let that go, isn't it? To be so far apart? But you support me anyway, and help my dreams come true. Thank you, Mumsy.
Thank you.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Post 17

Gregory Porter at Scullers Jazz Club

warm light, candles 
                    I am feeling inspired. 

This is better than I expected. Slow, sultry and hip rockin', head boppin', this guy's got it all in his repertoire. 

I should do this more often.

Looking around me I feel like I'm in one of those Tyler Perry movies, like that jazz spot scene in "Diary of a Mad Black Woman".
If I get too intimidated from all the bougie-ness I can just talk about Europe and Bryn Mawr. That should do it.

I cannot help but appreciate the artistry, the saxophonist sliding effortlessly into blue notes that elicit hearty "mm!"s, each member of the team working together as a unit, transitiong beautifully, so beautifully between solos and playing all together. The people I am sitting next to and I are united in our appreciation of the band. We exchange comments about the music as we introduce ourselves. I love this power of music to unite people formerly unknown to each other. I love the positivity of the artist, that fostered that type of environment in the first place. I love love!

I really should do this more often. 
                      I am feeling inspired. 

Exposure to great work often does that for me.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Post 16

When I write a song about a guy it's not usually something I feel comfortable sharing publicly, quickly. If I knew how to tell a guy about my feelings I'd tell him instead of writing a song, posting it on the internet, and hoping he'll: A-see and look at the posting, B-understand the lyrics and realize they are about him (given my traveling and language tendencies the chances of a guy literally not understanding the lyrics of my songs are rather high...) and, C- do something about! (something I like, like approach me, instead of you know, forgetting about it or brushing it off). I feel like I'm at Bryn Mawr, but instead of being passive aggressive I'm being passive romantic. Hmm...
Every now and then I'll write a romance-y song without anyone in particular in mind. You can guess which type this is ;).

Today's post is the song very recently written, called "Follow"

I've been dreaming of you for some time now
Do you follow?
I've been thinking of you quite a lot now
Do you follow?

Oh, do you follow?

If you're willing to journey together, I will follow
If you're leading me deeper into love, I will follow

Oh, I will follow

Can we stop and listen? If I pray will you pray and we'll wait on God. Can we wait on God just to hear when He tells us if it's right or wrong? I will follow, you'll follow, we'll follow.

Oh, we'll follow

Here's the description I have in the video: Song I wrote recently. As I get older it's become more and more important to navigate attraction in a way I feel would please God. I think this song reflects that. It's not enough for me to find someone attractive. Plenty of hot guys around ;). I want to know from God if it's the right time with the right person.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Post 15

Today's post is a lyric video of a song I recently wrote. I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Post 14

To My Future Husband

I will not make myself less for you
I am strong, dark, and beautiful, not but

match my strength
match my beauty
match my spirit

And desire that we become more than the sum of our parts. Be the man to my woman.

Encourage me and allow me to encourage you.
Correct in love and receive in humility,
that we both can keep our eyes upon Jesus.
Lead like a servant and I will serve you like a leader.

Do not hide yourself from me, but show me your heart. I will not hide myself from you but will instead show you my heart.

May we both be quick to love and forgive, and slow to anger. Placed before us is the greatest example of love: Christ and the Church. Let us endeavor, through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, to mirror it.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Post 13

Without Words
I am without words
Is this perhaps a cop out?
I may never know

I see you lovely
I see you as that and more
You may never know

How do you see me?
Are you without words right now?
I don't want to know

Oh, but yes I do
Though I tell myself I don't
I stay without words

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Post 12

I am in transition

flowing, ebbing                                             

flowing, ebbing
with the tides of life

I think I love this. This constant sense of adventure, of something to look forward to. 

I mean, when eternity is ahead of me what's not to look forward to? 


because eternity is ahead of me!

But even here, now, I am beginning my eternal walk. Oh, and I love it!

Things to learn, people to meet, to love, to allow to love me. Places to go, to become part of and to allow to become part of me. I am ready to be stretched, in fact am already stretching 

W                  I                  D                  E.

I think that our perspective plays such a large role in our lives. I choose to see life as an adventure, a calling that I say a hearty "Yes!" to. As I go forth in a life of praise I think it most appropriate that I quote Ruth as she returns to Judah with her mother in law Naomi when she says "Do not beg me to leave you or turn away from following you. I will go where you go. I will live where you live. Your people will be my people. And your God will be my God." Ruth 1:16

So in this life of adventure I go where God leads me, the whole world is my family, and God is my God.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Post 11

Today was pretty awesome. I had some really good espresso at a cafe in North End, which is essentially little Italy. Also some really good tiramisu. Then I went to watch the women's figure skating finals. Our future Olympians! Here is my writing contribution of the day. And on a side note, I'm totally digging this whole global citizen feeling I've got now. [note that this will not necessarily be the case during the Olympics. def team USA ;) ]

Brown coffee
Sharp, bitter.
I like it black, no sugar
espresso, a taste of the exotic now made familar. the opposite of unheimlich, perhaps?
this taste is good, close, familiar, like home

Friday, January 10, 2014

Post 10


I have a calling, and my eyes are on the prize.

I remember hearing that our likes and dislikes, our dreams and goals, provided they are in God's will, all come together in some fabulous way that only God could put together. Like using songs and singing/dancing routines to teach English to young students. I wasn't expecting that combination of my skill set to come out.
Or leading worship in Italian while in Poland for the first time. I never saw that coming!

I'm learning about what I like and don't like. My dreams, my hopes, my fears, and the steps I need to take to navigate through all of that.

I've mentioned time and again that I am torn. I love Italy and Europe, but I love my family and friends in the U.S., and the ease of living in a country as a citizen. My friends in the U.S. want me in the U.S. My friends in Europe want me in Europe. I want... I want both. I want my cake and I want to eat it too. That's possible, right?

I remember again a woman who had many passions. She got degrees in different fields, some not clearly related. She did her thing, despite some people wondering what on earth she was doing. They didn't see its connection to God's plan for her life. In the end, every single thing she studied and knew was called upon as she directed an organization. (Sorry I'm so fuzzy on the details, but you get the point I'm trying to make, right?)

Coming back to the states to pursue my goals in higher education looks foolish if I know that I am called to Italy, but it's what I want to do. It's what gives me peace. Yes, my heart still aches for Italy, and sure there is good I could be doing there, but I want to be prepared for what God has in store for me. I've been told that the Holy Spirit provides, even if someone doesn't have a graduate degree. I also know though that the Holy Spirit provides when someone has a graduate degree too. I love learning! I plan to be a lifelong learner and traveler, and right now I am in the process of building the road for my future. I don't want to leave any of the road unpaved.

Feelings are not always the best indicators when one makes a decision, and so I have waited in prayer for this for months, missing a few deadlines in the process. But I know now that what I would have applied to earlier is not what I want anyway, so no harm done there. I waited on the Lord, and He answered. In context this verse has a different meaning, but it spoke to me this morning. I was praying, asking God what to do next. I said, "God, I want to be prepared for what's ahead. I feel that studying international policy, education and intercultural relations will prepare me for what's ahead. This is all with a purpose, to prepare me for the prize: missions in Europe." I looked down at the pages of the Bible I had open in front of me from my morning devotion, and this verse literally jumped off the page at me.
"Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize." Colossians 2:18

Again, this verse doesn't meant the same thing in context, but I mean, it had the exact same language in my prayer. As soon as I finished praying about this preparing me for the prize, bam! There it is. I don't see it all clearly now, but I know it'll all make sense in a little while.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Post 9

Musings while walking through Prudential shopping center

There's so much affluence here, It makes me self conscious. I don't feel comfortable here. This world that I've been taught to desire, these goals to which I've been told to aspire. It doesn't seem right. I feel like an intruder. I feel like my clothing, my shoes, my coat all scream out, "Discount! Discount! No retail priced purchases here!"

I feel like I traipse around in so much borrowed finery and they can see right through me down to the humble beginnings that most can claim or relate to anyway. But who are "they" and why does their opinion matter? What am I trying to prove?

I like to see myself as the enlightened and battle scarred young woman of color, wise beyond her years. I have realized that I cannot find my own worth in name brand clothing and makeup, my degree, my world travels, my talents, skills and capabilities.

No, because valuing myself by these things inherently devalues those who do not share in my victories. And in the end, these things pass.

I've decided that simply existing is enough to declare that I'm precious. And the same goes for you. When we were both just glimmers of our parents' imaginations, stored potential finally released, God knew us by name. There in the womb we were already known and loved, deeply, no matter the outside circumstance.

known fully,
and LOVED! fully
Just as we were, having done nothing to deserve this.
known fully
and LOVED! fully

Through  all, so that we could unlock and set into motion the glorious and divine potential within us.
I take joy in my Creator and in what He has created, and in Him I find my worth.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Post 8


You are a bright light within me
Clearing away the shadows, illuminating my previously dark spaces.

You are the lamp unto my feet
Showing me the way one step at a time, 
enough path to know where to go next, 
but not so much that I run ahead of You.

You are the breath within me, Your Spirit giving me life, awakening me to see that

You are my strength in my weakness
You are the joy through my trials, the peace
in the midst of my storms

You are the inconceivable mystery of the universe made too simple for me to understand: Love. 
Your thoughts, higher than mine, Your ways, higher than mine
all converging in Love.

Truly you are who you are, you will be what you will be.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Free Writes

Today's post is coming in rather late in the day. Sorry to say this won't be the only one, hehe. Anyway, I've been wanting to experiment with some free writing, stream of consciousness type stuff, so I did some rambling writing while I was on the bus and train today. It's stream of consciousness so I don't feel obligated to make sure that it makes sense. Ergo, we're coming in in the middle of a thought here. Also, at the end of this post I've got the video to the free write assignment on Crime and Punishment of my senior year of high school, that I set to music. I think it's cool. Hope you do to.

Pt. I: On the Bus-The beginning
Distance. When I think of cultural distance, I realize that race complicates the issue.
I've been thinking also on what it means to be an American.
And now I'm reminded of another free write assignment. This time in high school. Similar to stream of consciousness. I'm sure there's some technical difference that I don't actually care about. Yup.

Pt. II: On the Bus-The end
Little girls with painted nails and puffy coats, and phones. Phones much cooler than mine, and a fashion sense much more hip and up to date, I'm sure.

There's no one here, really, and so writing about the bus ride proves challenging. Ah. It is finished.

Pt. III: The Waiting, and the Train Ride
At Malden Center Station people congregate in mass not-quite-huddles because no one wants to get too close. Baby, it might be cold outside but we require our personal space. I suppose though that if the temperature goes any further below freezing that we might rethink the whole personal space thing. At any rate, the train is much warmer, and we can appreciate that our body heat warms this metal contraption without us having to touch each other.
When I think of the differences between here and Italy that is something I often think of. Touch, space, personal, mine. And yet, though I touched more in Italy and talked much closer than I normally would I still craved touch, and I craved intimacy. You see, when touch is given here it carries meaning. They are not often thoughtless, or just part of the culture. A kiss on the cheek, a hand held, a lingering hug, tend to carry a bit more weight. Well, at least to me they do.
But over time I began to notice that these hugs and kisses of greeting became more, well, more. I began to be able to tell the difference between a "hug and kiss because this is how everyone greets each other here" and a "this hug and kiss is a little bit longer and tighter, bigger and smackier because hey, we're good buddies!"

The languages come in and out of my head almost like suddenly switching characters in a role-play. I'm torn. Maybe a little stuck. But I trust and I believe. Oh, I believe! 

Here's that senior year lit assignment. Posted freshman year of college (so young and cute! I still ate cinnamon toast crunch, visible in the background) when I actually had time to do things like post YouTube videos without feeling guilty about procrastinating something else. Enjoy ;)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Post 6: I Hear the Chains Falling

This is more of a short spoken word piece and so it's meant to be performed. I'll post the words here all the same. This came out of some lovely personal time with God today.

I Hear the Chains Falling

I used to be bound, but I hear the chains falling.

The pressure used to bend my back but
I hear the chains falling!

I walk upright in victory. There is no shame that can attach itself to me, oh no. Because I, am the daughter of the Most High King. 
That mountain that was blocking my path? I told it to move in the name of Jesus. It moved. 
Those chains that were binding me? Broken, in the name of Jesus.

I hear the chains falling.

I used to be bound but, 

I heard those chains fall.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Orange Line Vigilante

Hello all! Post #5 of the year is dedicated to the Orange Line Vigilante.

So yesterday as I was heading to meet some friends downtown I decided to take the opportunity to soak in the familiarity of riding on the Orange Line. As I looked around me I noticed some advertising.

It all seemed innocuous enough. To be honest most of my time looking at the ads was trying to figure out what was being advertised, until I saw "Surface." Ok, so some new laptop/tablet hybrid. What I first noticed was this:

And so, you can see, it's understandable why I didn't immediately know the name of the product. What stayed with me though, is what's written on the advertisement. 

"This literal objectification of women should not be used to sell products!"

Followed by, "Yes! I agree. Thanks for writing this!"

And so, I extend my thanks as well to whoever wrote this. While defacing paid for space isn't always advisable, this is definitely one of the more positive advertisement writings I've ever come across. This person opened up an important dialogue in a public space where anyone could come across it, and not just those who would go looking for this sort of discourse. Well played, Orange Line Vigilante. Well played. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014


Normally I'm not hip enough or motivated enough to comment when things like this happen, but given my post on micro-aggression a few days ago and the fact that I've given myself a hefty writing quota to fill, post#4 of the year is dedicated to +Green Liberation, who identifies not as White, but as Green.

You can find the development of this whole twitter conversation and the development of the #greenpeoplebelike hashtag HERE.

Where to start? I mean, there's so much material here. Many others have already pointed out that there are more constructive ways to personally deal with systemic racism than to choose to no longer identify as White. Unfortunately, as I have previously stated in the aforementioned earlier post, White privilege is something you are born into. Clearly not everyone wants to deal with it. 

I think though, that the response we have to people who have difficulty acknowledging this simple truth is incredibly important. (And by we, I'm talking about all of us who felt " I'm Green" was not an adequate response to "I don't identify with White people", nor an adequate response to the issue of race as a sucky social construct that must be pushed against.) Yes, I think she's a little off the mark to think that denying her whiteness absolves her from dealing with the personal and societal responsibilities and inquiry into her privilege that come with her desire for positive social change. Yes, I think she was overly defensive and a bit aggressive, even when there was no clear warranting of it. And you know, this whole "how dare you say I'm racist!" song and dance is starting to sound unfortunately familiar. 

BUT (you knew one was coming...)

What about us? How did we respond? How are belittling, disparaging and hurtful comments going to encourage this woman to respond to us with the love and openness we want her to, when we didn't show it ourselves? I include myself in this, as I retweeted, favorited and laughed at my fair share of mocking comments... until I realized that if I were struggling to process my race in a way others couldn't understand I wouldn't like it much if they mocked me like that. It was up to her to openly and honestly examine herself. If we feel she didn't (and I do...), no need to lambast her about it.
To be fair, not every response to this woman was negative. Some were really good openers to safe exploration of this "I see you White/I see me Green" dilemma. These were healthy and helpful.

However, I think in general it's high time we started looking at the way we interact on the internet. If someone is agitated you don't keep bombarding that person with stimuli. You leave one or two statements and then you back off. Let the person think, cool off, process. If the parties still cannot meet in agreement then at least they can be kind to each other.

With the gazillion people commenting on the internet, there really was no opportunity for this to happen. One or two statements multiplied by, oh let's just say a gazillion, adds up to a gazillion different stimuli coming in. I'm not saying we shouldn't tweet and blog and vlog and whatever else we do to share opinions and interact with each other. I just think we should be more mindful of others when we do so. 

Even when we know we're in the right, it takes an extra bit of character to look beyond ourselves and love where it's difficult. That is the righteousness that I don't always show, but I always aspire to.

Friday, January 3, 2014

WC2014: Day 3

Hello! Going strong, three days into the new year. So impressive!
Some of these pieces are going to be crap, and I'll likely be embarrassed to post  a few of them, but a challenge is a challenge! Here's today's piece.

The Time Capsule

Sometimes I feel like Christmas Trees are a sort of time capsule. Only, instead of having memories locked up and buried away to be discovered at some distant unknown quantity of time by someone else, the memories are rediscovered at the regular interval of each year when the tree is put up.

The tree I have come home to this year is to me the visual representation of my bildungsroman. Each ornament brings with it a memory of a place, a person, a time: laughter, joy, and the traces of healed pain and trials overcome.

It is the sum of my coming of age.

I have not participated in the preparation of the tree this year, nor the last, because I have been away. This absence, too, is part of my story. All the same, this tree bears examples of my presence everywhere, and though not adorned by my hands, it is wholly familiar. I am reminded that some things stay with us and speak to our unity even when we're not together.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Haiku: WC2014

Structure (Jan 1st, 2014)
Syllables are five
Now syllables are seven
Again they are five

New Year's Snow (Jan 2nd, 2014)
Snow of the new year
Body cold but heart so warm
This snow is from home

Happy New Year!-The 2014 Writing Challenge

1st post of the new year! Woot woot!
Now, like many people I want to start the year off well. I also want to finish well, but that's besides the point.

Or is it?

What's more important? The beginning or the end of the race? Or perhaps it's neither. Perhaps it's the entire race itself that is where the value is held. So! It's time for a course change.

I want to be a writer.
Like, I really want to be a writer. I want to continue blogging, I want to write more and better songs, I want to write poems, I want to write books. I want to write!

And so here is my new year's challenge, which I will hold myself accountable for here on this blog. One piece of writing to be posted each day, for the entire year.

That's right. The entire year. No easy-peasy challenges for me! I'll post things like song lyrics or recordings, poems, etc etc.
Now, I will make for allowances for those situations in which I don't have internet access. It does happen. I will try to do posts in advance or post the writings once I've got connection again. You will just have to believe that I'm keeping up with my writing.

So exciting! Stay tuned folks.