There’s Something Growing There Now

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Harper and Bewick

Many memories were created on this corner where my childhood church used to stand.

I hadn’t come by in a while because the pile of rocks was too hard to look at.

Now, there’s stuff growing there.

It’s a visible metaphor.

Things that were once of utmost importance suddenly don’t exist. The devastation turns to anger then sadness when you look at what’s left.

Over time, though, something new starts to grow.

The structure is gone, but the memories stay for as long as you’re willing and able to keep them.

No One Gets to Make Me Be Someone I’m Not

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I have to resist the urge to stop people midsentence every time I hear them say that something “made” them react a certain way.

Example: “You made me mad when you…” “He made me yell at him cuz he yelled at me first.”

Ya’ll with me? The reality is this, no one can MAKE you do anything.

I have heard this sentiment expressed by my therapist and professors innumerable times since I’ve been on this counseling journey.

As a result, I find myself taking more responsibility for my decisions. No one makes me do or feel anything. Everything I say, do and/or feel is a direct result of a choice I have made.

And I’ll be honest and say that I’m a better person because of this new awareness. When I could blame my reactions on others, it was easier to excuse it. Now that I’ve decided to take ownership of my choices, I tend to make better ones.

It has been hard because not going with my first mind leaves me feeling like I lost, but then I realize what I actually won. I won my life. I am in total control of me. It feels good to not be anybody’s puppet.

Hope Is Painful

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…But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 

That scripture convicts me to think bigger and increase my willingness to believe in what I haven’t seen. But can we just take a second and be real about how painful it can be to have hope?

Have you ever wanted a job really badly? You feel like it’s yours so you share it with a friend? Then you don’t get it. So then you find another one and the excitement comes back, but you don’t get that one either. So next time you keep it to yourself so that your hopes aren’t up and you can take your loss quietly.

Have you ever wanted to see someone be healed from a life destroying disease? You pray for them. You pray for healing. You continue to watch them suffer. You pray harder because you have hope. Then, it gets to the point where you see that it’s not getting better. Against all logic, you press beyond the cognitive dissonance and you continue to have hope. You see them hurting and realize that they need and want rest, but you continue to believe. The hope helps your mind rest, but makes your heart ache because your heart acknowledges the reality.

Have you ever decided to open your heart to someone new only to find that they’re gonna break it too? Part of you wants to try again, but the other part just wants to admit that having hope sets you up for disappointment.

After so much hurt and disappointment, life teaches us to be pessimistic or unmoved so that the bad doesn’t damage and the good comes as a total surprise. But I just want to say that no matter how much it hurts, have hope. Believe only the best things are coming for you and your people. Somebody has to see the glass half full. If you can recall the hurt that all the above situations caused, you can also recall life going on and eventually getting better after them.

Hurt happens. So does healing. Keep hoping for the best.

OhCAE?

You Can Actually Do It All

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Who are you? Why are you? What do you do? Why do you do what you do?

Answer those. 

What’d you say for “What do you do?” More than likely you answered with your job. Our culture teaches us to place our value and find our identity in our occupation. 

Think about it. As a kid you probably answered this question innumerable times. “What do you wanna be when you grow up?” Then you had to do a project to research that thing. Then you were told to go to college so you could be that thing. And perhaps you’ve become that thing. 

I’m sincerely proud of you! But I have a question. What else do you wanna be? What other titles do you wish you carried? What are some hobbies you wish you could invest more time and energy into? 

Why haven’t you done those things? Is it because you believe you have to choose?

Well… you don’t. 

Take this guy. Clearly he’s a speaker of some kind. And clearly a musician. He plays jazz and has a single on the charts that rivals pop artists like Bruno Mars and Rihanna. Listen Here!

He’s clearly a family man. 
And he’s lettered and has dope friends who are doing great things. 💁🏿‍♂️👨🏾‍🎓He travels and mentors. 

And through 14 years of sermons and teachings he has pastored me and numerous others. 

My pastor has been the embodiment of exercising EVERY gift God has given you. His leadership and example inspire me to tap into all of my talents and not alllow anyone to pigeonhole me into one arena. But people seriously struggle with the idea that anybody, especially a pastor, can truly be multi-faceted. It’s so bad that he had to release this statement on Facebook in February because his music has been gaining more attention. 

“Hey FB Family! I have been fighting a vicious rumor for about 8 months and it has now hit a new level. It has been reported that I am leaving Lansing and resigning as the Sr. Pastor of the Epicenter of Worship. This rumor is an absolute LIE!! I am not leaving Lansing and last Sunday WAS NOT my last Sunday. In fact, Epicenter is expanding its footprint in the region. We currently have 3 churches in Lansing (two sister churches and HQ). With the help of about 50 people in Detroit we have opened Epicenter of Worship Detroit and it is doing well. IN 2017 ALONE, WE HAVE ORDAINED OVER 12 MINISTERS FOR GOSPEL MINISTRY IN THE REGION.   

Yes, I am a jazz SAXOPHONIST- musician but that doesn’t take away from my pastorate. Why can’t I do multiple things and still LEAD HEALTHY CHRISTIAN COMMUNITIES? I am asking EVERY EOW MEMBER TO MEET ME ON SUNDAY AT 10AM!! HELP ME PUT THIS LIE TO REST!!!! NOW YOU HEARD IT STRAIGHT FROM ME!!! THE LION IS OFFICIALLY AWAKENED! LANSING GET READY FOR EXPANSION.”

What I’ve learned is this… My job is what I do. It’s not who I am. Who I am is a child of a supreme being who created the universe with His words, who split apart a sea, who set a water soaked altar ablaze, who showed prophets visions of things thousands of years before they happened, who impregnated a virgin, who became a human, who died, who came back and who gives His Spirit to those who receive Him. If that’s my Father why would I relegate myself to one way of expressing myself? 

Who are you? Why are you? What do you do? Why do you do what you do?

Who’s stopping you from doing and being more?

Thank you, Dr. Sean Holland for living your life as an example for others. 

You can purchase your copy of Steps of a Good Man here👇🏾

Black Girl Magic

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She rocks her hair

Short and curly

Or long and straight 


Really… she can do it all. 

With her ample lips 

That complement her wide hips

She overcomes every obstacle 

To create, shape and fill her destiny. 

She is aware of her call. 

To birth all of humanity


To her family she brings sanity

She’s the glue of her community

She is why we understand real unity 

She’ll be the reason we are liberated from poverty


She’s so down to earth, but so out of this world at the same time. 

Just like her hair defies gravity,

She defies the odds and it’s truly mind blowing. 

Intersectionality shows her doubly oppressed identity


It’s hard to understand how she could be 

Amongst the most educated social group

With all of her degrees 


And still takes care of family

Most don’t get it

Because they can’t do it. 

You see, she gets her strength from the most high God. 

His strength allows her to do this with ease so it doesn’t look hard.

She’s smart, talented, resilient, and beautiful. 


With all those facets, I get why they call her magical. 



The Dichotomy of Artistry

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I started writing because I was going through things that I did not know how to express. Somehow, though, when I put my pen to the paper I was suddenly articulate. Something about writing for an audience made me remember that I wasn’t alone in my suffering. Something about writing for an audience made it all worth it.

I didn’t want anybody to know there was a problem, but the only way to deal with the problem was to tell somebody. When I started writing, it forced me to find the lesson. When I found the lesson, it made the pain make sense. Sorta…

So I write to expose the wound

To clean the wound

To let it breathe

So it doesn’t get infected

and cause unnecessary sickness

So that I can remember that I’m not

the only one in this

And I get to look back and see

That I’ve been through this before a time or two or three

And just like I learned before,

This isn’t the end of me.

Artist

It’s rude to YOU, not to them, because it’s normal there.

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Different cultures do and accept different things. Seems obvious, right? But for most people it isn’t.

During my freshman year of college, I was conversing with two friends about a proposal that was on the table at my school. A group of students wanted to make all the restrooms unisex so that transgendered students wouldn’t have to be forced to go to restrooms they didn’t feel comfortable in because of their outer appearances. My friends were completely against the idea of unisex bathrooms.

“So Claricha,” my male friend started, “you’d be okay with me being in the bathroom while you’re taking a shower?” He asked.
“No, because I’d be naked. But that’s totally different from you peeing in a stall next to mine. You guys only think it’s weird because you’ve grown up that way. If the norm was unisex bathrooms, you would think it was weird to have them separated by sex.” All these years later that conversation popped in my head when I was in Israel and this happened.

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Wouldja look at that? A unisex bathroom and nobody bats an eye because it’s normal there.

**Enter an ear piercing scream here**
That’s what one of the ladies I was on the trip let out when a stray cat rubbed against her leg while we were eating at an indoor restaurant.
We all laughed at her. The others at the restaurant didn’t even notice the cat because it’s normal there.

Speaking of restaurants, I went out with some others last night and got some yummy ice cream. We sat down at the tables outside of the sandwich place next door. We were asked to leave though. Why? “Milk and meat, it’s not kosher.” You can’t have dairy products served with meat. Crazy. You’ll never be able to have a cheeseburger or a chicken caesar salad with Parmesan cheese. That’s so weird to me, but it’s normal there.

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No milkshakes with my McChicken?! Malarkey!

I wanted to take a pic every time I saw a smoker especially the one who couldn’t have been older than 13 or the ones smoking in the restaurant. But I didn’t because no one else was taking pics of them. Because it’s normal there.

In America, we have all kinds of initiatives making smoking in public illegal because we don’t want our rights to clean air infringed upon by others. In fact, we think it’s rude when people do that. So as we walked through different cities in Israel, I heard a few people comment on how rude it was for the smokers to smoke in restaurants or near others. But guys, you have to remember it’s rude to YOU, not to them because it’s normal there.