Tuesday, August 30, 2011

From Freedom Riders to Flash Mobs

Fifty years ago, the Freedom Riders changed America.

From May until November 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives—and many endured savage beatings and imprisonment—for simply traveling together on buses and trains as they journeyed through the Deep South.

Trained in the techniques of non-violence, the Freedom Riders challenged Jim Crow laws that called for the separation of blacks and whites by riding interstate buses through the South. The Freedom Riders met with bitter racism and mob violence along their journey. In Mississippi, the Freedom Riders were sent to prison.

On September 22, 1961 the Interstate Commerce Commission issued its order to end segregation in bus and rail stations that had been in place for generations.

Last night, as I watched the documentary, The Freedom Riders, I was in awe of the courage of the young men and women of all races and religions who faced violence and death in the fight for civil rights for all Americans. I was proud of the strength and resolve of the men and women who faced death so that America could live up to its ideals. I felt gratitude for the sacrifice of people who faced beatings, violence and the very real possibility of death so that future generations would not have to suffer the indignities of segregation and racism.

But as I reflected on the images of the Freedom Riders and our forefathers who faced hate-filled violent mobs, I thought of the new mobs that threaten our young people today.

Now the images I see on the news are not Freedom Riders facing white mobs of hate, but flash mobs of young people beating innocent victims.

Monday, August 22, 2011

43 Lessons I’ve Learned in 43 Years

On Sunday I celebrated my 43rd birthday. By chance if I had forgotten my age, my daughter reminded me with a wonderful homemade card with a big 43. But I think I’m going to claim my Wii fitness test age of 35. That was a pretty good year. I am thankful to God for allowing me to celebrate another birthday. As I get older, I find birthdays as a time of not only celebration but also reflection and contemplation. In thinking about my four decades and three years on this earth, I thought about some of the important life lessons I have learned.

So I wanted to share some of those thoughts. These thoughts, lessons, truths and sayings are not necessarily in order of importance or in the order learned. This list is also not comprehensive, but just 43 that come to my mind at this time based on my 43rd birthday. They are things that have been learned by observation, experience and listening to the wisdom of others (sources noted in parentheses). Although they are lessons learned, truths taken to heart and ideas that I live by, I’m still striving to live and walk in the truth of them every day. Step by step. Day by day. Year by year.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned and truths that you know? What have the years taught you? Here are some of mine.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bird Sense

Like a bird that wanders from her nest, so is a man who strays from his home. Proverbs 27:8 (Amplified Bible)
Outside of my living room window robins have taken up residence.

They built a nest there last year and have returned. I’m reminded of their return most mornings when I enter my living room and I hear the thump of the bird running into my window.

“Crazy bird,” I think to myself and sometimes say out loud.

The bird, the Daddy Bird I assume, keeps flying into my living room window, apparently thinking someone is coming near his nest when we walk through the living room.

I see him bringing worms to the Lady Robin as she sits on their eggs. He protects and provides for his nest.

Then I started thinking, this bird isn’t so crazy after all. If only some humans had bird sense.

I sit at my computer and click on Facebook and look at a video a friend has shared from Judge Mathis. A man in an orange pin stripe suit with nine children by five different “baby mommas” is being sued for rent and cell phone bills by a woman who is pregnant with his tenth child.

And I think to myself again, some folks don’t have bird sense.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Going in Circles

“Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in.” Joshua 6:2-5

Have you ever felt like you’re wasting your time?

You’re doing what God told you to do but you don’t seem to be getting anywhere or making progress? You’re just going around in circles. Covering the same ground. Doing the same old thing.

Do your daily tasks seem meaningless and ineffective in the grand scale of things? You see others doing “great” things. Winning great battles and receiving accolades and you’re just marching around in circles.

I’m sure the children of Israel must have felt like that while they were walking around the walls of Jericho. And that is how we may feel sometimes in our life. Perhaps God has you in a season where you just seem to be going in circles.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Power of One and a Little Encouragement

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
Psalm 133:1

This past weekend my husband and I attended a music festival in a large football stadium. Thousands of concertgoers enjoyed the music of various artists.

During the break between acts on Saturday night while the stage crew was preparing for the next performer, the sounds of “Flashlight”, a classic from the 70s group Parliament that gets folks to the dance floor, played in the stadium.

The energy of the crowd had died down as we waited for the next act, but when the music started to play, one man in our section got up and started to dance. He was working it, smiling, having fun and getting down. The folks in our section of the stadium started to encourage him.

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