Spring Break Edition

I wanted to continue staff devotions over Spring Break, but… last week, no this month, well probably the last year has left me drained physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. A school year has never left me so drained. I’m always surrounded by students with struggles and challenges, but this year it’s so many kids in literal crisis, dealing with issues no child should face, issues robbing them of childhood itself. It’s overwhelming, it’s out of control, it’s exhausting and very worst of all I CAN’T FIX IT!!! It isn’t going to be resolved this period, this day, this week or even this year. The load is heavy, I’m beginning to feel crushed, overwhelmed and defeated. To add to this overwhelming blow, there are family crises, the devastating loss of my cousin to COVID, the toll of confinement on the immunologically fragile, issues at work that shake the very foundation of who you are and who you thought you’d be professionally. “Happy Spring Break” falls hard on a broken exhausted soul.

Then today, I read Day 25 of Journey to the Cross and realized it is no accident that our Spring Break falls smack dab in the middle of Lent. It occurred to me as I read Dr. Tripp’s words, “The season of Lent is about offering yourself to God in new and deeper ways. It’s about submission and deeper devotion.” I realize in my life I can’t fix my students, I can’t make life easier for my biological children, I can’t extinguish the hurt of my friends and family. I CAN’T DO IT–therefore I must surrender to one who can, who knows, who sees. So I broke down the paragraph on page 144 about Lent and replaced it with Spring Break. So what if it looked like this:

  • Spring break is offering yourself to God in new or deeper ways.
  • Spring break is about submission and deeper devotion.
  • Spring break is about mourning the ways your heart has wondered.
  • Spring break is about confessing the hold the world still has on you or the places you’ve succumbed to temptation’s draw.
  • Spring break is about identifying places in the heart where you need to give yourself more fully to God.
  • Spring break is important because we need to examine our hearts, our lives, our relationships, and our daily decisions to see where God is calling you to give something up or take something up in devotion to him.
  • Spring break is about recommitting to self-sacrifice as we pursue the one who made the ultimate sacrifice for us.
  • Spring break isn’t a formal season or temporary escape from reality, but rather an opportunity to address things in your life that need to be addressed but that get lost in the busyness and distraction of everything else you’re doing.
  • Spring break is not about you, what you are doing or committing to God, but about what he has done and is doing for you.

My prayer for you is that regardless of where Spring Break takes you this year, whether it is the exhilaration of the trip of a lifetime or the drudgery of what continues to burden and pull us down, may you know afresh: “It is God’s generosity that is primary and transformative, not ours. We love because he first loved us. We give because he first gave to us. We lay down our lives because he first laid down his. We are willing to suffer for his sake because he first suffered for us. We obey because in his obedience we are given hope. We fight temptation because he fought it and defeated it on our behalf. We are willing to humble ourselves and serve because he left the splendor of eternity, humbled himself, and served up to and through the point of death…He is the ultimate giver. No matter how great our sacrifices or how much we give, we will never give to him the magnitude of what he has given us” (p 145).

Spring Break 2021 — may you be a breathe of fresh air to the tired and weary world.

Have mercy on me…

You and I have three problems that only the Redeemer has the power and willingness to solve.

Paul Tripp Journey to the Cross, Day 19

I should be writing about Day 20, today, but I don’t like that day. It’s message is “Gratitude silences complaint.” Ugh–I do not want to hear that. So instead I’m going back to Day 19 to look at the three problems we have with sin. My memory verse for this month is:

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquity; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:5

I’m doing the Dwell Differently Memory Verses with a student. You get a verse every month that is cleverly designed with a graphic that includes the first letter of every word of the verse. Looking at it helps you memorize the verse and it is crazy how easy it makes scripture memory! In talking about this verse I had to look up the word ‘iniquity’ to explain it to my student. Then BAM! there is that same word in Journey to the Cross. We talk so much about sin that we become callous toward it. We know we all sin. We know we can’t avoid its pitfalls. And confession becomes our mumbling, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” all the while knowing I’ve totally failed at forgiving!!

But Pastor Tripp helped me more sincerely confess my sin by looking at the multi-dimensionality of my sin, which is “something deep inside us that makes us susceptible to temptation’s draw and that weakens us in our battle with sin” (p 113) Lord help–my spirit of rebellion is strong!! But there is something even deeper that causes my rebellion, despite my best intentions–I’m inwardly impure. Then, on top of all that I have those specific moments of weakness and failure. It all leaves me feeling pretty depressed and defeated, but that’s the point. I can’t dig out of this hole on my own. I am utterly dependent on the grace of God. Day 17 asked us to set a timer and confess for 15 minutes–that’s a long time when I’m just glossing over the word and think I need to list all my sins–nobody wants to make that list! But today, as I contemplate this multidimensional aspect of my sin, suddenly 15 minutes flies by, I’m overwhelmed by how sinful I am and instantaneously comforted by the grace that saves me!

Shine or Whine

The story of our redemption is historical proof of the unstoppable sovereignty of God.

Paul Tripp Journey to the Cross Day 18.

Some of us might have control issues! Pastor Tripp in day 18 encourages us to stop during the Lenten season and acknowledge that we aren’t in control and that’s okay. Many things surprise us and remind us we aren’t in control. What does the way you handle life’s surprises say about our faith? Surprise parties are fun to plan, keeping secrets can be fun, but when tragedy surprises us it’s a whole other issue. But what shouldn’t be surprising is that nothing surprises God. He knows we live in a sinful fallen world. He knows that we all fall short of His glory. He knows we need grace and forgiveness.

Christ’s march to the cross reinforces for us that our rest and hope are not in our knowing, but in his ruling. The God who knows no surprises will surprise us again. But it is okay, because what we don’t know, he knows; what we can’t control, he controls, and because he does, we live with mystery and surprise and not be afraid (p 107).

Paul Tripp Journey to the Cross.

When life surprises us, we have to remember that it wasn’t a surprise to God. He’s not scratching his head wondering why that happened. I learned in GriefShare that no one comes to the end of their days and God is surprised. He’s not surprised by my stupid mistakes and decisions. I heard on the radio on my way home a principal that had encouraged his staff,

When life is hard, we can either

Rise and Shine or

Rise and Whine.

When life surprises you, and it will, you have a choice to make. It may in fact knock your feet out from under you, but the decision is yours alone to rise and yours alone to shine or whine. Understanding the sovereignty of God is the first step in letting go and learning to shine with His light from within, no matter the circumstances.

Blind

One of the scariest, most destructive aspects of sin is its ability not only to blind us, but to blind us to our blindness.

Paul David Tripp, Journey to the Cross, Day 14.

One of the biggest struggles I faced when my husband died was the feeling that I no longer knew who I was. It seems odd, but when the person in the world who knows you the very best is suddenly gone, it’s just weird. Part of it is that our identity gets so wrapped up in our relationships, you’re someone’s spouse, someone’s child, or someone’s parent. When that is suddenly ripped away, it tends to shake us to the very core. But Psalm 139 is a beautiful illustrative reminder of our true relationship with the creator, the one who knows us even better than we know ourselves. It took a while, but I eventually emerged as the person I had always been, not the same, but not foreign either. I was acutely aware of my blindness.

But Tripp is talking about a more subtle blindness where we lose an accurate view of ourselves because our sin is clouding our view. Those times when we become so comfortable that we create “pockets of personal spiritual blindness that will result in functional inaccuracies in the way I see, examine, and assess myself. This results in thinking I am more righteous, mature, consistent, or godly than I actually am, because there is sin of thought, desire, attitude, word, or action that I do not see or assess properly ” (p 86).

My process involved journaling. I so missed having someone to come home and share my day with, share my innermost thoughts, that I began coming home and just writing those things I so desperately wanted to share with him. In that journal is a page I dogeared because it was the day it dawned on my that I was clinging to a relationship with a dead person, when I believed in a living God. That day my conversation changed from what I wanted to tell someone who was dead, who I thought knew me better than anyone else and started talking to the God who created me and knows me better than I even know myself. Tripp wants to encourage us to “forsake forever the believe that no one knows you better than yourself” (p 87). He’s calling us to the daily awareness that no one knows us better than He who created us. He knitted us together from the very beginning, what He makes is wonderful and precious to Him. Nothing I do can change that, It’s more than I can understand, It’s more than I can imagine. My full potential is found only in surrender to Him (Psalm 139, PSV).

Emotional Autopsy

Your emotional life is a window into what is truly important to you and what you are really living for.

Paul David Tripp, Journey to the Cross Day 12

I have to confess that often I believe being ruled by one’s emotions is a sign of weakness–logic trumps emotion. But logically, emotions serve a valuable purpose. One of the most important lessons to learn in marriage is that relationships built on emotion often have a shaky foundation. While it may be the feeling of love that draws you to another person it’s the choice of commitment that sustains a relationship. At the root of both of these points is a black and white issue. Either you love someone or you don’t, either you’re ruled by emotion or logic. Tripp is calling us to see our emotions as a barometer, something that reflects changes in circumstances or opinions.

I know that I’m not the best as using my emotions to evaluate where I am and how I may need to change course, but I do really like to watch crime dramas. I’m always fascinated by the autopsies on these shows. I have not much first hand experience with autopsies. My father was not autopsied, his cause of death was obvious. My husband was not autopsied as it too was obvious that he died as a result of 40 days of infection eating away at him. Others in my family were not autopsied because they were old and their time had come. However, my friend Babette’s father had to have an autopsy because he suffered an unaccompanied death. Worst part was the autopsy showed no apparent cause of death which delayed the issuance of a death certificate which lead to a whole ‘nother set of issues and problems. (final outcome — he died!)

There are two kinds of autopsies: forensic and clinical. Forensic autopsies are the ones we are so enamored with on TV. They determine the cause and manner of death for legal reasons. In the United States, death is classified as: natural, accidental, homicide, suicide, or undetermined. A clinical autopsy is one done for research and study purposes. another friend’s father donated his body to science, it was used for these clinical purposes. He was studied for the betterment of mankind, because that’s what he wanted.

So what do autopsies have to do with our emotions? Tripp says that, “Our emotions are a window into what our hearts really love” (p 74). I need to perform emotional autopsies to keep my self on track, to use them as “helpful indicators of where you have replaced God with something else or where you have asked him to deliver you to something he’s never promised” (p 75). These autopsies will reveal where we’ve used things as God-replacements in our lives. Sometimes we can’t change what needs to be changed until we get upset about it. Sometimes I’m not going to act on something until the emotion moves it to the front of my mind. The emotion is not the compass that points me in the right direction, its the barometer that reflects where I’ve placed my trust. I don’t need to overanalyze my emotions, but I do need to use them to get to the root of my issues and to look for evidence that something is amiss, find where sin has taken root in my life, confess it and correct it. Confident that I am not ruled by emotion or logic, but living a life surrendered to the Father.

It’s good to be poor!

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3

Paul Tripp calls us to file for bankruptcy in day 7 of Journey to the Cross. I love this analogy, it was a realization that really spoke to me. I had a conversation this very morning where a co-worker and I were talking about someone who was just the sweetest person, seriously we could find no fault in them. Reading this Lenten Devotion I realized that I am so brutally aware of my own shortcomings and some particularly annoying individuals I have to deal that I’ve completely missed the point that not even one of us is righteous. One of my favorite CTCS teachers, Mrs. Kuhl used to do this illustration on her chalkboard where she had the kids rank sins in order of severity. Some could even be bigger than others. She marked the sins in order on the bottom left hand corner. Everyone could agree that some sins seemed bigger than others when you focused on the sins, but when you step back and look at the entire board which represents how great God is, does it really matter the order of those sins? No, they differences seem miniscule in comparison to the enormity of the board. Suddenly the sins are just a chalky blob in the corner. Since none of us can say that we are sinless, we have to acknowledge that we’re all the same. Down here in the corner, you may look like you are ahead of me, better or worse, but from an eternal perspective, we’re all down here in the chalkiness.

In reading about Malcolm X’s life and his draw to the Nation of Islam, he talked about how slaves equated Christianity with the concept that some people waited until death for glory yet they could see others had it pretty ‘heavenly’ on earth. It was the belief that blacks were to serve their master while on earth and wait for their reward in heaven, while the white master seemed to be well rewarded here on earth. The world is still filled with haves and have nots. I don’t have to look very far at all to find someone who has it better than me or someone who has it worse. BUT REALLY WE ARE ALL BANKRUPT! If you were facing financial bankruptcy, you’d be panicked — desperate for resolution. We need to quit seeing ourselves as rich, more importantly I think, we have to quit seeing others as rich and live with anticipation knowing that, blessed are, which, in fact means, blessed am I who is functioning in a broken, fallen world. But my brokenness causes me to, like the child who doesn’t know the way, reach up and take their daddy’s hand. Blessed are those who keep grasping for the hand of a loving Savior. (The beatitudes in the PSV)

Lent

I stole this image from my favorite Austin cookie maker, Hayley Cakes and Cookies. I love her cookies and creativity, but this one really struck a chord with me. Yesterday was hard. My students are stressed out! A kid in my room yesterday said, “My mom is mad at me, I can’t do anything right.” and three other kids chimed in and said, “Me, too!”. This is not a criticism of parenting but rather an indicator of the stress our families are under. Kids are struggling picking up where they left off eleven days ago. Their parents are stressed about missed work, empty shelves at the grocery store, the water supply, so much time together without the things we’ve come to rely on to release stress (music, video games, solitude) not even considering those who sustained property damage. Usually snow days in Texas are fun, make an ugly grassy “snowman”, enjoy a day off but this was not that, our faith in this creation we serve was shattered and is only compounded by what we have been through because of stinking COVID. I left fried yesterday and it was only Monday, and I didn’t go home to kids with homework, and I didn’t go home to storm damage (I did go home to a little dog damage, but that’s not unusual) and most importantly I’m not a kid!

But Lent!

Lent is an important tool in the inescapable battle that rages in all our hearts between worship and service of the Creator and worship and service of the creation. Lent calls us to remember once again that sin reduces us all to idolaters somehow, someway. It gives us a season to take time and reflect on things that have taken too strong a hold on us, things that we have come to crave too strongly and love too dearly. It reminds us that often things that we are holding tightly have actually taken an even tighter hold us (p 30).

Paul Tripp, Journey to the Cross

Lent begs us to pause and man oh man do we need a pause about now! Day six of Journey to the Cross challenges us to focus on death and all the ways that Christ calls us to die to ourselves.. “We are called to die to that life where we did what we wanted to do, when we wanted to do it, and how we wanted to do it. We are called to die to setting our own rule and living however we please” (p 42). This dying to ourselves doesn’t just happen, everything in us screams for control, comfort, relief. Death is ugly but it brings mourning and mourning brings healing. Lent calls us to consider, even while we live in a time that our consideration seems to have been stripped away from us, that sin tightly grips us and we need a Savior. And in that Savior, we find healing and hope. While we’ve lost much of our illusion of control without time to psyche ourselves up to deal with it or prepare, we have a small window of 40 days to stop and consider and prepare to celebrate again our resurrected Savior! To look beyond the current state of creation, your own life and consider: What areas need to die to make room for greater, more abundant life in Christ?

Well that didn’t go as expected!!

I had a long post ready to go for Tuesday, February 16, which was Fat Tuesday, the day before we Christian’s kick off Lent. But then we had the Polar Vortex accost Texas and we were left frozen in time, literally. If you’ve spoken to me since September of 2016, you have undoubtedly heard me say that the brains of this organization have died. Some have argued, but again, February 2021, this rings true again. I did go to the store and make sure we had food and water. But alas, we have a gas grill and two empty propane tanks, who needs propane until summer? I have a fireplace, but it is filled with lovely decorative items, has never been used and of course, I have no fire wood! I don’t like candles, I hate that smoky smell when you blow them out, I think it ruins any good they may have created. While I do for some reason have one candle, the lighter is across the frozen patio on the grill and still it will have to be blown out at some point, not to even mention how would I get a shoe on my foot with three pairs of socks! I personally was without power for 107 long grueling hours only to come out of it with the stomach bug, which could have been just the good old bug, the fact that we were under a boil order or we relied on the front porch for refrigeration. It has been a shitty experience!

I like meme’s way more than news ^ that was my favorite!

I do realize it could have been much much worse. But I learned a few things about myself that are particularly poignant as we begin Lent 2021. I had read the introduction to Paul Tripp’s Journey to the Cross before Snovid/Snowpocalpyse/Snowmageddon 2021 and I thought oh yeah! I got this, I can mourn, but I learned through the 107 powerless hours, I dOn’T gOt ThIs! I’m good when things are good, I’m good when things are temporarily not good, but 107 hours come on!! Thursday morning we were done, the dogs had been confined WAY too much, we were cold, we were hungry, and long out of words. We begrudgingly got up and continued our Monopoly game despite the fact we really could have not cared less. We played until we were so cold we needed to cover up and warm up again. I lay there with my eyes closed, because why stare at the ceiling any longer. I was jealous that people around me had power. I asked why can’t we have power? I’ve submitted to your will? I’ve been patient and upbeat! Long after having been so thankful we had water through it all, that I had Paxton here, I had books to read and games to play, but that truly only sustained me for about 48ish hours, I could no longer,

my optimism gave way to full on self pity and the stupid dogs still had to eat and go out and really resented not getting to be outside longer. And then I recalled Paul Tripp’s words:

Silence your inner lawyer and all the self-defending arguments for your righteousness. Quit relieving your guilt by pointing the finger of blame at someone else. And stop telling yourself in the middle of the sermon that you know someone who really needs to hear it. (p. 14)

It does rain (or pelt) on the just and the unjust. Electricity is provided to all and evidently ERCOT gives and ERCOT takes away. I REALLY need to “stop, consider, mourn, confess, pray, and give [my] heart to thanksgiving.” I had been forced to step away and consider and when I did, it revealed, Oh! how I have sin to mourn and how desperately I need a Savior!

I’m laying there with my eyes closed feeling like I had so flunked this minor test … and then I heard a click … my eyes popped open .. my head popped up … and Paxton and I stared wide eyed at each other across the room as we realized, power had been restored!!! As soon as we processed the miracle of electricity, I jumped up and started the tea kettle. We were soon sitting wrapped in our blankets, sipping hot tea as the though our every burden had been removed. Internet was hours behind, but we didn’t care, we could drink hot beverages and eat hot food.

So now I really feel like my heart is prepared to spend these forty days sitting under the shadow of the cross of Jesus Christ:

  • where sin doesn’t surprise us anymore
  • where sin doesn’t depress us anymore, and doesn’t move us to deny or defend
  • where we can remember who we are and what we are dealing with
  • where we are required to admit that the greatest enemy we face is not difficulty or maltreatment from without, but the enemy of sin within
  • where we quit pointing fingers and begin crying for help
  • where we are reminded that we are not in this battle alone; in face, there we admit we have no power whatsoever to battle on our own
  • where we get our sanity back, admitting who we are and what it is that we so desperately need
  • to a place of peace and protection that can be found nowhere else (p 18)

Sarah Sewell and I bought Journey to the Cross books for staff members, I have a few extras if anyone is interested in one. If you left your book at school or your life fell apart last week, it’s not too late to jump in. Lent gives us Sunday’s off. Monday, February 22, 2021 you should be on Day 5, you can start there, start on Day 1 and we’ll all finish at the same spot or it really is not the worst thing to not be finished by Easter. The process is powerful regardless of the calendar!

I look forward to a little normal on Monday!

Black Inventors

I started following Daily Black History Facts on Facebook a while back. Last week a post popped up about Alfred Cralle (1866-1919) inventor of the predecessor of the modern ice cream scoop. He patented the Ice Cream Mold and Disher in 1897. Mr. Cralle worked as a porter at a drugstore and noticed it took several tools and both hands to get ice cream on a cone. He came up with one tool that used one hand. Sadly, despite the device’s wide use, he never profited from his invention. Who doesn’t love an ice cream cone? Thank you Mr. Cralle for this piece of ingeniuty!

This got me to wondering about Black Inventors so I did a little research and found these notable inventors:

  • Marie Van Brittan Brown (1922-1999) a nurse who was concerned about the crime in her neighborhood in 1966, rigged a camera that would record her entryway and project the image on a TV monitor. The predecessor of the modern home security system.
  • Madam CJ Walker (1867-1919) one of America’s first self-made millionaires invented hair products for black women because she suffered from hair loss. Great movie about her life — Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker.
  • Thomas L. Jennings (1791-1856) First African American to receive a patent in 1821 for a dry cleaning process.
  • Alexander Miles (1838-1918) received a patent in 1867 to automate the doors on elevators. Before his invention riders had to manually open two sets of doors upon entering and exiting elevators.
  • Dr. Patricia Bath (1942-2019) first female African American to obtain a medical patent in 1986 for the Laserphaco Probe to treat cataracts.
  • Percy Julian (1899-1975) chemist who pioneered a chemical process to synthesize medicinal drugs like cortisone, steroids and birth control pills.
  • Elijah McCoy (1844-1929) received 57 patents in his lifetime, known for inventing the ironing board. He came up with idea because his wife complained about having an uneven surface to iron on. What greater motivation to invent something great than an unhappy wife!! He is also credited for inventing the lawn sprinkler. I love a man who looks around and finds ways to make our life easier!
  • Sarah Boone (1832-1904) in 1892 improved on Elijah’s ironing board invention to make it easier to iron sleeves and women’s bodices.
  • Alice Parker (1895-1920) patented the central natural gas heater for the home. She came up with idea because she was unhappy with the efficiency of the fireplace to heat her home in the cold New Jersey winters.
  • Frederick McKinley Jones (1893-1961) developed automated refrigeration equipment for long haul trucks which greatly impacted the expansion of food markets for grocery stores. It also was used to transport blood starting in WWII.
  • Garrett Morgan (1877-1963) prolific inventor that came up with products like hair straightening, the gas mask, revamped sewing machine and improved traffic signal.
  • Granville T. Woods (1856-1910) known as the “Black Edison” made key contributions to the telephone, streetcars and more.
  • Sarah E. Goode (1850-1905) first female African American to receive a patent. Sarah moved to Chicago after the Civil War and worked at a furniture store. She invented a folding cabinet bed because their apartment was so small. We know her invention as the Murphy Bed.

These people and so many others have blazed a trail to make our lives better. I’m so grateful for their perseverance and use of the gifts God gave them, especially when many of them were discriminated against and unvalued. We value them today, and look back on them, with gratitude, as great contributors to our way of life today

The Origin and Impact of Black History Month

I’m not going to spend the entire month on Black History Month, although I easily could, I hope that these little tidbits I’ve learned will peak your curiosity and get you to want to learn more.

I’m so ignorant and arrogant that I thought “Black History Month was developed as a token gesture by the white establishment”2 and since I actually read that in an article, I must not be the only one who thinks that. I did not know that Black History Month traces its roots back to 1926 and one man, Carter Godwin Woodson (1875-1950). Woodson was a self educated son of slave that got to attend high school at the age of 20. He finished high school in two years, earned a degree in literature and was the second African American to earn a doctorate at Harvard University.2 He went on to be a teacher, principal and supervisor of schools where he realized that that the history of African Americans was not a part of school curriculum so he founded the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History in 1915. He would then start Negro History Week that evolved into Black History Month during the Black Consciousness Movement in the 1960’s. Woodson’s goal was to “reinvigorate the self-esteem, sense of power and hunger for justice of a long-oppressed people.”2 Woodson’s second goal for Negro History Week was racial reconciliation, if whites learned about the contributions of Blacks to American History “this awareness would engender respect.”2 I am ashamed to admit that it’s 2021, almost one hundred years later and many of us have yet to get the memo!

The Association for the Study of African American Life and History(the same organization Mr. Woodson started in 1915) establishes a theme for Black History month every year. This year’s theme is: The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity. The flyer this year states, “Not only are individual black families diasporic, but Africa and the diaspora itself have been long portrayed as the black family at large.” I know about the diaspora of the Jews, I never thought about how what happened to those sold into slavery was also a diaspora and the impact it has on the community and family.

“The breakdown of the black community, in order to maintain slavery, began with the breakdown of the black family. Men and women were not legally allowed to get married because you couldn’t have that kind of love. It might get in the way of the economics of slavery. Your children could be taken from you and literally sold down the river.” 1 When you consider this reality of the family of slaves, the poverty many of them were thrust in to with “freedom”, you can see the impact on the family would last for generations. I’ve worked with a couple of kids who were trying to start out with nothing and it’s so overwhelming. We take so for granted the advantage of our support system. It seems so hopeless, but these are just a few examples give me hope:

“…A son of my late father, who was a pastor, a veteran, and a small businessman, and my mother who was a teenager growing up in Waycross, Georgia, used to pick somebody else’s cotton.  But the other day, because this is America, the 82 year old hands that used to pick somebody else’s cotton went to the polls and picked her youngest son to be a United States Senator.” January 6, 2021 Raphael Warnock upon his election to the US Senate.
“Shed some tears just now when I saw they were thinking about speeding up the process of putting Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. I have 4 daughters who in their lifetime have seen a president and vice president who looks like them. And soon they will could see a face like theirs on a $20 bill. I could not have imagined any of this in my childhood. Their dreams and goals are amplified to a level I could never have imagined when I was a kid. My dad always said if you put your mind to it you could do anything but I would never have dared to dream such things. Does not seem real.” Stolen from our own Chris Stephens Facebook post January 25, 2021, 10:48 p.m. (used without permission)

It has to leave you wondering, “How can I make a difference and continue to support and encourage our black brothers and sisters?” You have to continually educate yourself, continually step out of what you know, spend time with people who don’t look like you, who don’t think like you, who don’t believe like you, read, read, read! I am constantly amazed by how little I actually know, I think you may be amazed too! I end with my favorite quote:

1 Washington, K. (2021). Picking Up the Pieces: The Black Family Struggle. In Uncomfortable Conversations With A Black Man (p. 129). S.l.: FLATIRON BOOKS.

2Novelli, J. (2009, July 7). The History Behind Black History Month. Retrieved January 21, 2021, from https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/the-history-behind-black-history-month