It’s Been a While

Hi and Happy New Year, Valentines Day and everything in the middle. It’s been over a year since I’ve blogged.   What I would like to do over the next few post is share some of my poetry from my collection called, I’ve Got My Voice Back.  I compiled this collection 8 years ago of work that I’ve written almost 20 years (some of them). I will be sharing the poems in an audio series called, Poetry at Home With Angela.

My hope is that there can be dialogue as you listen to the poems.  They have different character and feeling with them.  Please feel free to say something I promise to respond back and if you like the poems, you are welcome to share the links.

Below are 2 youtube links for poems.  I hope that you enjoy them.

-Angela

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BLACK HISTORY MONTH

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I thought that I would have prepared something for black history month before now, but for some reason, I couldn’t seem to find my muse. During the Grammy’s, the rapper, Kendrick Lamar’s performance seemed to inspire something in me. I couldn’t hear what he was saying because I was in the kitchen. But, when he and his performers entered the stage, they were shackled together. This got my attention, and reminded me of poems that I wrote a few years ago called, There’s a Purpose for the Pain and The Strength of a Thousand Generations. You can hear me reciting them by following the Podbean link below. I hope that you enjoy them.

Feel free to leave your feedback. I’m always encouraged by your words.

-Angela

http://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-jhxs9-5cb483

PERCEPTION?

 

It’s amazing how people think that they know you because of what they read on Facebook post. They feel that they know you because you shared your pictures. They assume that life must be picturesque and trouble free. It’s their perception. As we know, perception does not always equal reality.

Those who know me personally on this blog, know that I smile a lot. A few years ago, the name, Sunshine kept following me. Typically, during an encounter with me, a person will laugh or smile, because I’m likely going to say something funny. I’m very personable. Some would even consider, a “happy go lucky”, extroverted type.

Few people know me well enough to know that I’m actually quite introverted and relish time by myself. I can spend hours even days alone and it doesn’t bother me, I actually crave it. Which can make marriage and motherhood a challenge at times. My kids don’t care if I want to be alone. They are more like, “You are mama. Get up and make us a sandwich. When we are done eating we are gonna sleep in your bed with our feet in your face! 🙂

It’s interesting because I didn’t realize I had this “glitch” until after I got married. I got married at age, 38. I left home at age 20. So, I’ve had about 18 years of being on my own rhythm about life as a grown up. Y’all need to pray for my husband. I know it’s rough being married to me. I’ve gotten so use to being on my own rhythm that sometimes, I’m rude and sarcastic. I don’t naturally think about walking together. I don’t always think partnership, but sole proprietorship of my life and plans. The worst part about it is, I don’t even want to talk about it. Why?  Because, it’s a selfish and ugly part of my personality that I’m constantly asking God to help me with it.

I don’t imagine that anyone would guess that about me. Or when you see the picture of my family of four that you would imagine that we have tough days. That when you see those two handsome little boys that there were actually two other babies that didn’t make it. That there are days that though I’m grateful for the gift of wife and motherhood, that I I still have to pray that God help me to love them. Shoot, help me to be kind to people. Because my instinct wants to slap the stuffing out of some folks.  I’m guessing that you would never imagine that this thought would ever be behind my big ole smile. But it has.

My point is people are not always as there appear.

Only a few people know this; I just feel like sharing it now. Twice last year, I learned that there was a person who was saying unkind things about me, not because they know me, but because of what they perceived. In November, I learned that I was not only spoken ill of, but also hated. To be honest, it shook me. I’ve met people that I didn’t necessarily care for, but to go as far as to literally hate someone, well… to me that’s inconceivable. But it’s because of perception.

It can be perceived that because a person looks happy; that they don’t have to go through their share of challenges and dark days. But as we know, that’s not true.

As I talked to people last year, I learned that the end of 2015 was a dark and difficult time to say the least. You wouldn’t necessarily know that they were at the end of their rope by looking at them. But quite a few people, me included, found it to be tough. It reminds me of the 23rd Psalm. There’s a verse that says, Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you are with me.

A valley is a low lying place; a depression with two mountains between it; where it’s difficult to see the sun. There is a river running through it. When you look at it according to a perspective of life. It’s a place where you feel down and discourage where you can’t see the sun or get a light, illumination, revelation on what you are going through. You aren’t sure which way to turn or which direction is right because there’s a shadow; something that’s there, that seems to be blocking out the light.  The weight of what you are carrying may seem like it’s going to kill you. It’s a shadow of death. It seems to separate you from God, your source of light and knowledge. But it’s just a shadow. Keep walking. This verse gives hope; it gives encouragement because it is perceived that God is not there. That you have somehow been left alone.

When I looked up the definition of the valley. I read that there is a river running through it. The water; the substance of life is there in the depression. All that you need in your valley, to make it through it, is right there, carving a pattern in your life.

In a valley, the water will form the shape of a V or a U. In your life, the pattern is, though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death. He is with you. You can put your confidence in that. It’s an unchanging pattern. You just have to keep moving, keep walking. Soon the valley will be a place that you can look back on because you came through it. It’s where you were, not where you are.

Maybe you are in a valley experience as you read this. I encourage you to keep moving. What does that look like? You have to decide that I am going to get through this. Ask God to help you. Shadow of Death situations are real. There are times when you just don’t know what to do. But a shadow does not mean that the light is not shining. It does not mean that God does not see you, know you and love you. He does. Ask for Help. Matthew 7:7 says, Ask and you shall receive. Many times we need help whether from God or from people put we don’t want to be perceived a certain way. When we do this, we allow pride to stand in our way. Ask God to send you who or what you need to get through your situation. I believe he will do it, because he’s done it for me so many times.

As I wrap up today’s post, I tried to tie one of my poems to this thought but, I couldn’t think of one. As I was typing, I kept hearing this song by CeCe Winans called, Alabaster Box. I used to sing back in the day.   (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9QZxS03FvY )

The line in particular that I want to point out is, “You don’t know the cost of the oil. You don’t know the cost of my praise.” Because people think that they know you. That they have you summed up by what they perceived. But the truth of the matter is, you really don’t know the depth of me. The smile that you see is because I have a strength that is beyond me, it comes from the Lord.   It’s despite my failures, imperfections and short comings. It’s strength that comes from Jesus loving me and guess what… He Loves You Too!

I hope that this helps someone.

 

One last thing… if you would like to follow the blog, let me know at usmama4@yahoo.com.

-Angela

2016 Less Whining and More War

peaceHappy New Year! I hope that it’s filled with moments that lead you into becoming the best you that you can be. Perhaps some of you, like me have decided to exercise more and eat better. Those are excellent resolves, especially if you ate like I did over the holidays. But, this year I have decided to do one more thing, maybe you can implement this into your year’s resolve as well, to Whine Less and Fight More. I guess you are wondering, hmmm Angela, what the heck are you talking about? Well, I’m glad you asked. 🙂

Let me tell you how I came up with this. A few days ago, I had a conversation with my good sister friend. I kind of expected this conversation to be similar to some of our previous conversations about conflict with her husband and family. But, her first sentence more than got my attention, it made my heart leap for joy. She said, Angela, I realize that I have been fighting all wrong. My words were not building up my marriage or my family. My words, were tearing us down. I want my marriage. So, I decided to start my day with prayer and reading my Bible; I have to fight differently.

This part made me laugh. You know how it is when you’ve been relaxing a bit and someone, like your spouse asked you about housework? It can kinda strike that annoyance nerve. When her husband came in and asked that question, she answered him differently than she had before. She was feeling peaceful, so her answer was peaceful. The result of the peaceful answer, he started cleaning the living room. She said, I’ll start dinner soon. He insisted that she rest, because she needed it. WHAT?! This really does work!

What gave them both a change of heart and perspective? The movie, The War Room. If you haven’t seen it yet, please do yourself a favor and watch it. It will give you a different perspective on how to go to war for your relationships. Especially those that it seems like your fighting has been futile. You love them but you get exhausted at the thought of seeing them because you know that an argument is going to ensue.

In the movie, the challenge was with a married couple with a daughter that was out of sync with one another. It was looking a little rough for them and they were feeling tired; not knowing if the relationship was worth saving. The older woman in the movie coached the wife on how to go to war for her family. Though the movie was about a married couple, the principles are the same no matter what the area is that you want to see change in.

So, I challenge you as we journey to becoming a “Better Version of Ourselves in 2016, Lets determine to have Less Whining and More War.

There are a few verses that come to mind when I think about Less Whining and More War. One is 2 Corinthians 10:3-5-3 (New Living Translation) We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. 4aWe use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.

The 2nd is Proverbs 15:1-4 1A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. 2The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness. 3The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping his eye on both the evil and the good. 4Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.

Lastly, Proverbs 14:1 1A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.

The last one really causes me to pause, because I never want to be that woman who tears down her own home by the words that I speak. It’s a frightening thought to me. But, I can definitely see how it can happen.

My pattern for this season, is that I would like to put one of my personal poems with each blog. (if you stroll through some of the recent post, you will see a link at the bottom of the post to hear me reading one of my poems.)  I didn’t have one that I really found fitting for this one. The youtube link below is from the movie, The War Room. It’s the prayer. Very profound!

Oh yeah, before I end this blog, I want to send a special HELLO 🙂  to those who are new to the blog!!!!

To everyone who is reading the blog, I welcome your comments even if your opinion differs from mine. If you want to comment without it being visible, you can send a message directly to me at usmama4@yahoo.com. I promise to personally respond. You can also become a follower of the blog if you aren’t already by sending an email request, whenever there is a new post, you will receive a “hot off the press” copy of it to your email.

We are on a journey. I’d like to hear how yours is going.

Happy New Year!!

Here’s the link:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WpfkFyG5qQ

ISSUES

 sad-ladyI hope that all of you had a wonderful Christmas. It was a great day that I  was able to spend with my 3 favorite guys (husband, and 2 sons). The 24th on the other hand was a little rough to say the least. Here’s why. On the 23rd, I had to have a dental procedure on one of my front teeth. So, the dentist had to give me several shots of a local anesthetic (some type of novacaine) to numb the area. Later that evening, I said to my husband that it looked like my top lip was swelling. He said he didn’t notice. I thought, maybe I’ll just take something and it will be better in the morning. Well, in the morning, my top lip looked like a duck bill! Since the dentist only medicated one side of my mouth. One side was swollen and the other side was kind of the normal side. I looked like a duck that had a stroke. Whew… not a good look!

I went to the Post Office and to Target Department store. At both places, I caught people glancing at the duck bill and looking away. What was also interesting was the customer service people who had to ring up my orders not wanting to make direct eye contact with me. They asked me a question but looked everywhere except at me directly.

When I got to Target Department Store, I sat in the car for a few minutes debating on whether to put on the mask. I looked at myself in the mirror with the mask on and thought to myself, should I cover up this issue? I decided to go without the mask because the mask would give me more attention than what I wanted. I would look contagious even far off. The swollen lip would take a little longer to recognize so, I went uncovered.

I also began to recognize this as an Issue. I thought about people that I’ve come across over the years who have had Issues with their past; issues with not being treated well; family issues, marriage issues; Issues that NO One knows about. Heck, I thought about my own stuff. Issues that only me and Jesus know about. I remember my good friend, Brenda told me years ago about facing your Issues head on. Because if you hide behind them, they may become harder to deal with later.

I walked into Target determined that I was not going to let this issue control me. I’m more than my smile. Though I was very uncomfortable, this issue prompted me to go deeper. To take a closer look at myself. I asked myself, have I ever treated anyone or looked at anyone the way people were looking at and treating me? Unfortunately, the answer the was yes. I didn’t verbally say anything to hurt anyone. But then again, neither did they. However, their actions and attitudes spoke volumes. Their message was clear. My appearance was offensive. Offensive like the persons with physical infirmities; offensive like visible health and mental issues; abuse issues, homelessness. The list can go on and on.

How do we treat people when we see that they have Issues? Though it may make you feel uncomfortable are you loving? Do you change the climate of someone’s day by offering kind words, eye contact or a smile? Do you take the time to really SEE people? If no then, why not? It was a trip to watch the reaction of people that were obviously uncomfortable by my presence.

I’m thankful that the offensive appearance is not part of my lifestyle, just an experience that I had. It definitely has me thinking and prompting me to make some changes. I hope that it’s got you thinking too. Lastly, if you are dealing with long term issues, this blog is not intended anyway to make light of your situation as if I understand what it is to walk a mile in your shoes. I don’t. This is only about my own experience. And my intention to do better because it’s necessary.

The poem that I decided to add with this blog is in audio form. It’s my poem called the Woman with the Issue of Blood that’s inspired by Bible scripture, Luke 8:43-48. If you click on the link below, you will hear me reading it.

(copy and paste into the browser)

Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments. They keep me encouraged.

-Angela

YOU be the GIFT

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Tonight I watched our President on an episode of Running Wild with Bear Grylls. In case you aren’t familiar with Bear, he is a nature survivalist. On his show, he takes a celebrity with him to “rough” it in nature for a full day. They may drink water from streams, hike, eat bugs and raw fish, etc. He even talks about drinking his own urine for survival. The President didn’t eat any bugs, but he did eat salmon that was partially eaten by a bear. Bear Grylls cooked it for the President on a rock!

They chatted asking one another a number of questions. One of the questions that the President asked Bear was, when he was young, did he see himself becoming an advocate for nature? Bear answered, that he just loved being outside and that this is what he did with his dad. That he was the kid who could always climb the highest trees. Nature was what he was good at. It made me think about the scripture that says that your gifts will make room for you and put you before great men. It doesn’t say certain gifts… but your gifts. (I gotta do better about tapping into my gifts. How about you?)

Towards the end of the show, Bear, who professes Christianity, asked the President if he could pray for him. Bear did a sidebar and talked about how awkward and humbling it was to ask the President of the United States if he could pray for him. He didn’t feel like it was something he was “worthy” of doing. But, he wanted to offer something to this man who sacrifices so much for his country.

We never know how much our small gestures mean to people. That prayer may have made the President’s day. Who knows.

I’m going to make more of a concerted effort to be a blessing; to be more impactful in some way daily. Even if it’s a smile; a word of encouragement; a helping hand. I think that it’s so important. You don’t have to feel worthy or wait for the majority to give you the ok. Sometimes, you just need to do it because there’s a need.

The poem that I chose to go with this thought is called, The Feet Washer. It is inspired by Luke 7:36-50. There’s a woman who has a reputation for being sinful who sees that Jesus has a need. Some say that this woman was a prostitute. And though she has some issues, she is perceptive, brave and bold enough to take the opportunity to meet Jesus’ need. She didn’t do this because she had provocative motives. She did it because she loved Jesus and saw that something needed to be done. Do we really care about people enough to follow this woman’s example?

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THE FEET WASHER

A sin-filled woman went to Simon’s house

to see a man she’d heard about.

He was known to heal the sick, even to give life again.

Some people called him, Master.

Perhaps he’d be her friend.

She said nothing when she saw him, but kneeled down behind his feet.

Oh how precious to behold him, this sister began to weep.

She washed his feet with a river of tears then dried them with her hair.

Anointed them with expensive perfume.

Can imagine the fragrance in the air?

Simon thought, Look at that sin-filled woman and how Jesus is enjoying this!

Does he really know who she is? Is he really a prophet?

Jesus knew what Simon was thinking, then began to let him see all

the lessons who could learn from this woman’s humility.

When I came into your home, you gave me no water for my feet,

no oil for my head, no kiss upon my cheek.

But this sister has not stopped kissing my feet since she came into the room.

She washed them with her tears and anointed them with perfume.

Her sins are now forgiven, washed away behind my feet.

He can do the same for you.

He can make your life complete.

Open up, let him in that your sin-filled life will cease.

And He’ll say to you as he did to her,

Your faith has saved you, go in peace.

 

Angela B. Alexander

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-w6edr-5b1059#.VnPDymhUJ0c.facebook

 

PICKING UP THE PEN AGAIN

My husband encouraged me to start blogging again.  You should write… put your poems out. He kept saying.  So… though it’s been a long while.  I decided that maybe I will release a poem.  I’m not sure if I will do it weekly or even if I will begin to create new poetry.  Everything is over ten years old, just sitting in a box.  So, maybe it is a good idea to at least let someone read it.  I may record a few so that you can hear how they are supposed to flow.  If it’s easy, then I will likely post it on my Facebook page and let you know.

Please let me know if you like the post or if you have any thoughts.  A little feedback goes a long way.  Here’s the first poem.  It’s called, Winter.

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WINTER

I was looking out of the window one day at the bare trees and the snow covered ground.  Life seemed still.  The sun was hidden behind the clouds.  I sighed and thought, I’m so cold.  Then I heard a voice that came immediately after that thought, “Then let me hold you.”  Startled, I turned around and he said again, “I’ll hold you.  Give me your hand.”  I asked, “Who are you?”  He replied, “Death”.  Of course I gasped and told him to leave.

He continued to seduce me into believing that he should stay.  The sound of his words played as mystical music in my mind.  He intrigued me to dance with him. He wanted to hold me close.  He promised  that  I’d never have to feel coldness clinging to me as an overcoat.  His coaxing words were constant.  “Allow me into your heart.  Come nestle into my arms and I promise to take all of your pain away.”

Tired from our tango, I sat down on the bed.  He told me to look around at all the nothing that I had and to think about all he was willing to give me.

Just as I was about to say ok, I felt my heart beating.  I realized there was still hope.

I reached for the Bible on my nightstand.  I remembered that it was the Bread of Life.  I opened it and I ate of it a teaspoon at a time until my strength was renewed.

I read how God’s rod and staff would comfort me.  How God promised that lo, He would be with me always. And as bad as I was feeling, that was a pretty good place to start.

Then I saw that I was created as a tree for the display of His splendor.  I stood up as a tree stretching toward Heaven.  I began to feel warm as I opened my eyes.  The sun had wrapped its ray like arms around me.  My tears glistened as diamonds cascading down my cheek as I felt my Father’s love penetrating me; resuscitating me back to life.
I declared to my soul, It’s winter, but I shall live and not die.

-Angela B. Alexander