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Hello Winter!

Hello Winter!

I kind of picked up on it over my car radio driving home from work that the weather was going to change drastically. I didn’t really pay much attention. I was more than aware that it was a very cold night, so I missed seeing those white fluffy snowflakes drizzle down from the sky overnight.

I live in Houston, where we get excited over a slight drop in temperature. Seething, steamy days are what we’re used to. The nights are not any different.
‎This morning, we were thrilled! Overnight, the temperature dipped below freezing and it snowed. We woke up to snowy covered cars and rooftops, as well as newly white backyard lawns, with picturesque views of pine trees washed in snow; the kind that Christmas greeting cards are made of.

The last time it snowed out here was in 2009. The year prior, we had just arrived from California and my kids and I experienced our first hurricane. (Remember Hurricane Ike?) The benefit of daylight made the “snowstorm” of 2009 fascinating for those of us who’d never been around true winter weather. The snow from the “storm” froze over the windshield, which made defrosting an adventure of sorts. It took some ingenuity to get through it. This time around, it felt like beach sand in my bare hands as I safely scooped it off the windshield.

Back in August, we had another taste of a nasty hurricane. Harvey claimed my car as it hovered over the Gulf Coast for 2-to-3 days, focusing on Houston and its environs after making landfall in Port Arthur and Corpus Christi. Here’s an interesting pattern: between 2008 and 2009, Hurricane Ike and the rare snow incident; now this year, Hurricane Harvey and the snow last night. And that’s just four months apart!

Back to this morning: as I stepped out to leave for work (even though I’d have rather preferred staying home, in my warm bed) I was gleefully greeted by Frosty the Snowman, artfully put together by janitorial workers at my apartment complex, assisted by schoolchildren snowballing while waiting for their school bus to arrive.

As I marveled about a banner year of weather I’d seen — a year for fires, hurricanes and (mild) snowfall — the excitement was short-lived for me as I worried about the six major wildfires currently burning in our home state of California. I wished for a minute they could have the snow to help quench the treacherous threat facing them this moment. That put a damper on my excitement, knowing how many lives and how much property have been lost.

Mosaic of Hope.

You collect the tears the of hungry and the thirsty,
of the prisoner and the captive,
Of the wandering homeless,
even my tears of pain and shame,
and you weave them into this beautiful mosaic of hope
and love and peace.
Magnificent and superfluous in your ways,
in awe of you I breath.

Your goodness is the sound of many waters
crashing across my senses,
Flung through a trillion balls of fire,
from the smallest to the biggest of them all that sight can see
‎that shines on all creation and rains on all imperfect.
‎ Your goodness in display
‎transports the garment tassels
‎To heal a broken hope like the balm of Gilead
Across oceans and seas it flows
to soothe the hurt on earth transcends to life eternal.
Goodness responds to the violent suffered
To the broken in a thousand fragments
Stiched together by the scarlet flow
from the fountain of grace and mercy.

This is amazing grace
That takes the soles of my feet to tread
To claim many places trodden
The grounds of many nations, many cities
In those cities many lives.
If I claim anything, I claim them for you
For your desire, your purpose, your good.
If I claim anything,
I claim peace for the nations at war
love for the unlovable
Stoicism for mothers whose sons’ blood
Scream for respite for their sacrifice.
I claim for the homeless cities of hope
Shelters of outpouring love,
Leaders with the forthrightness and intergrity
To serve with selfless abandon,
The end to the ravages of war and the senseless death
Of the vulnerable, women and children
Weeping that their cities be returned to them
That their playgrounds be not a stench of carcasses.

I’d claim them all and lead them back home
to tranquil nights, boistrious days and playful sunsets.
I’d collect in these hands the tears of Syria, Ukraine, Haiti, Chicago
To the diaspora enslaved in Libya and pour them
As offering at your feet; I’d throw the prison doors open
To breath your freedom.
The doors of every orphanage will open into hearts of love
The unlatched entryways of domestic violence and abuse
Will match through the paths of freedom
to your unending, enduring love.
Break down the walls of pride,
leveling them to vestals of humility.
Obliterate the boundaries of color
Awash them in blood that speaks as one.
I’d take those bubbles that ensconce us
Deflate them so each seeps into the pain of
All.

I arise

I awake in dreadful tears borne
of longsuffering pain,
shame and failure untold.
But I arise to an enduring love,

A perfect love radiating like the sun
hurling away fears
Bearing hope for a new day.
I arise
To arms that languishing souls
embrace,
That to depths of despair
drop! Catching humanity’s tears,

I arise
To your love,
Mending twisted, battered minds
bending away from shoel
From shame so
deep.

Broken you chose me, ‎
You called my shattered pieces to come together
Into this mosaic of your magnificence.

This new day,
‎my good shepherd’s voice
‎resounds and
my spirit quiets.
Peace sings sweetly within me,
Sweet as honeycomb,
His voice of love cocoons me.
prospering my twisted soul and
healing my broken body.

America, the Beautiful!

The beauty of America is in its diversity. I believe that’s why she is fondly referred to as “God’s own Country”..  God is the grand author of diversity; The miracle of diversity is displayed in the whole of creation. God’s creation is beautiful and awesome in its uniqueness, such that no two blades of grass are the same, no two of our fingerprints are alike , yet together, the grass carpets the lawn with such lush of glory and beauty, and we marvel at how distinctly our fingerprints with the help of science celebrate our originality.

Any immigration reform that diminishes this reality diminishes the glory bestowed upon this nation by God. A glory that shines through in the ethos of entrepreneurship, hard work, and a dogged determination to create a life better than the one left behind. That dream is the common thread that binds us all together. 
God bless America! Happy 4th of July.

Egypt will be fine…

ImageThe problem with most commentary I have read so far about the ousted government in Egypt is that people expect a fledgling democracy to work the way it does in the United States and other developed nations. We want the same checks that are effective for a well entrenched democracy; we want the same ideologies that define their political structure to work every where else democracy is practiced in the world. The truth is the socio-political, cultural, and religious experiences of nations are never the same. Therefore, democracy in developing nations, especially in Africa, at best still remains an experiment whose outcome is yet to evolve.

The majority of the people of Egypt came out in their millions to protest a government that was clearly taking the nation down a path that would not augur well for its people. The people rightfully refused to be complacent, and decided to take action before it is too late.
Egypt, like every young democracy, will stumble, pick up herself and continue to define her own path to a strong and stable government that will be popular and all-inclusive.

The culture of divisiveness has always been the bane of most developing democracies. In a shameless quest to please those in his circle, Morsi’s government violated the people’s human rights; lost legitimacy; and the outcome is a vote of no confidence in his leadership that was played out in Tahrir Square these past few days.

No one should pretend to completely understand or appreciate all the ramifications or underpinnings of the politics of Egypt better than the Egyptians themselves, so they should be allowed to grope their way through this new experience, and they will hopefully emerge the better for it.

I applauded the stance of the youth of Egypt, who clearly are hungry for democracy, but for one that will present a President who will be for all Egyptians irrespective of their religion, sect, or profession; a leader of all her people. In the words of an Egyptian commentator, the people “spoke louder than thunder”. The military heard them loud and clear!  Morsi is ousted!  Aluta Continua!