A Partner For The Journey Is A Blessing!

Engagement anniversaries may not count for most after nearly 12 years of marriage, but we still count. Marlon and I in the park.

Marlon and I started dating when I was still in high school. I love him so much and thank God constantly for him. We have a life together I never thought to have and a son together I didn’t know I wanted to have. Now, I know life would be so bleak without them. Thank God for my partner on the journey, Marlon.

Marriage is a bond and promise. It is frustrating and joyful. All of our experiences make us, bring us closer to each other and Christ. I am honored and humbled to be his wife, and help carry his cross/his burdens. It is a good day.

Until tomorrow, shalom!

If We Are What We Read, What And Who Am I?

I wonder if I didn’t say anything, would you notice I didn’t post yesterday! Mostly, because my son was out of school, it just slipped my mind that it was even Monday. Still, I got plenty of work done including my worship plan for Sunday, and had dinner with my brother-in-law, who is in from San Franciscot, and the rest of the in-laws. Tacos is always a family favorite though noone makes them quite like Marlon, ask my son! I hope you are all having a great week thus far.

I have to get back to writing these budgets and getting ready for Sunday, but I need it to get to my outlet, which is writing for fun. So, let me talk about a couple of books I am or have read, and influence me.

Festive In Death, by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts)

Festive In Death Book Cover Amazon

Lieutenant eve Dallas is a homicide Lieutenant! She is a victim/survivor of the foster care system around 30 years from now give or take. I don’t want to give away too much of a story in case I’ve wet your intereste, and you’re going to go read this 50 books series! Of course, this is fiction, which allows her to be a super superhero. Nevertheless, she overcomes horrific trauma to become an amazingly dedicated public servant. I can empathize, which is why I identify so much with her and love the series. I, too, grew up in foster care, and it was definitely ugly. I find this example to be both intimidating and inspiring. I can’t figure out if it helps me get to work or if it makes me feel like I’m completely not doing anything. Perhaps both. Still, I’ve read this series over and over again.

I like this book in the series particularly, because it forces Eve to have more balance then she tends to and it forces her to celebrate the holidays, which she would pretty much just let fall by the wayside if it were up to her, or so she’d have us believe. She’s a hard ass, but not brittle. Remember my post of Saturday? If we don’t take a rest, it increases The chances of our being brittle and broken… Well, good thing she has people to give her that same message, because she definitely needs it. My guess is most do; especially if, like me, you’re a Perfectionist/Type A personality.

As Eve gives thanks for Rourke, her husband, I give thanks for Marlon, mine. True LOVE definitely makes a difference and when we find it, we have to hold on tightly especially through treacherous and torturous storms. She is irreverent, belittles even the idea of faith in God and cusses entirely too much… She is imperfect. She lives every day of her life fighting for justice and she definitely knows her WHY. I want that confidence and won’t stop until I have it. Lord, I won’t let you go until and unless you bless me (Genesis 32:26j.

Wrestle with God. God can take it!
Pinterest images for Genesis 32:26

Eat That Frog, by Brian Tracy

Eat That Frog is a book, which has helped me fight my procrastination tendencies. I’m not good at procrastinating, and hate that I’ve developed that habit lately.Eat That Frog Cover

Perhaps it was the image of eating a disgusting frog that first got my attention! I love this book and have quoted from it quite a few times on Facebook and Instagram. When I suffer from anxiety, I list everything I need to do and that leads to inactivity, because then I get overwhelmed and anxious and I start to feel so small! It is a vicious and sometimes seemingly endless cycle. Can I get an Amen!

I was just talking to my husband about the fact that I don’t want to take the bus to the gym, work out, then either walk back from or take the bus back from the gym because it takes too long. I realized though that of course I spend so much time worrying about it and worrying about what I have to do that the time I think I’m saving, I’m wasting anyway! During that time, I’m beating myself up for what I’m not doing, and doing things that don’t necessarily need to be prioritized or… So, I have to remind myself daily and multiple times daily to eat that frog.

Which one? Bryan tells us the biggest one, but when everything is vital and urgent, that can’t be that easy to figure out all the time either. So, I am working on it.

If it’s your job to eat frogs, eat the biggest one. If it’s your job to eat two frogs, eat the biggest one first. – Mark TwainThis quote from Mark Twain inspired the title
  • What do you think? How do you get unstuck?

Finally, I have been titled Sunday’s sermon Indulge Yourself.

Returned to me with all your heart. With fasting. With weeping. With mourning.Bible greeting card for Joel 2:12-13

My sermon will actually be on Isaiah 55:1-9, so this is the background text for a series. Lent is a time to unclutter our lives, clean out the junk and mess and return full heartedly to following Christ. Repentance is not a happy emotion in the way we are used to thinking of it, but in repenting, we enter the abundant life. We are invited to indulge in water and bread from heaven, and unlike physical water and bread, when we partake of these, we never hunger or thirst again. I love this promise and I’m comfortable walking and sitting in the reality of the almost and not yet partial for filament of this promise. As long as I am here on earth, I will hunger and thirst again physically and spiritually. I don’t walk perfectly with Christ all the time and sometimes I feel abandoned. Even knowing that I may be doing things to block my blessings does not lessen the anguish of these moments. So , I cry come Holy Spirit, come!

Let Us Pray

God, thank you so much for sending your son to be born and live amongst us, to die and fight for us and to rise up again that we might have eternal life. Thank you Holy Spirit that you continue to walk with us and sit with us and live with us so that we may have the wisdom, courage and compassion of Christ in the world. Thank you that you continue to help us walk in the way of Christ. Jesus, we love you and we praise you. We give you all the honor and glory. Thank you for your sacrifice and for your perfect example. We are not worthy in our own power, and yet, we continue to try and to be our best, because that is what you ask of us. Amen!

See All The People Along the Journey To The Cross

Thankful Thursday is on its way out. There is so much to be thankful for. I observe this day every week, Because even though we may not need a special day or special holiday or special season to be thankful, it helps to have those special times. The truth is that in the stress and drama and hardship, gratitude, joy and contentment have to be intentional. They don’t come quite as naturally are easy as the more negative emotions and emotional states. So, maybe it seems a little Hallmark or hokey to celebrate Thankful Thursday, but I’m going with it! There’s a lot to be thankful for.

So Thankful For

  1. My new mentor.
  2. My resourceful, patient and amusing friend, Ainise.
  3. Great tacos after a long day.
  4. My Bible Study Class.
  5. Hot water.

Of course, there is so much more than these five to be thankful for. I wanted to make a list short and name things that perhaps I don’t mention all the time.

  • Do you keep a daily gratitude journal? What are you grateful for today?

I mentioned being thankful for my Bible study class tonight, and I am. I highly prioritize being there every week, because the study, fellowship and probing question of how is it with your soul makes Christ real to me in a way I need. This is what the church is for: to nurture, nourish, equip and then… To send us out to share that peace, joy and wisdom with the world.

Specifically, from today’s class, I want to sit with Matthew 5:40 and Matthew 5:45 for a while. Jesus tells the crowd whatever we have done to the least of these we have done to him and conversely what we have failed to do for the least of these we have failed to do for him. So, as Wesley reminds us, John Wesley that is, we not only have to do no harm but as Christians we are best served to do all the good we can do. There is no more powerful message to carry with us on this Lenten journey as we continue struggling forward and pulling others along with us, and from time to time, crawling or tiptoeing or bellying our way up the steep mountain.

Matt 5:40

Minus the Scripture, HufPostc published this image with a story about a lost autistic child. The lost, last, least

Pope Francis states rather bluntly at this site that hell awaits those who abandon, ignore and add to the plight of the pooR.

Let Us Pray

Lord, open my eyes and heart to see all the people especially those who are among the last, lost and least by the world standards. No matter how hard it is to look, give me the strength, courage and compassion to look and see and be your instrument of healin, love, justice and mercy in the world. Amen.

Let Us Break Bread Together

Christian Communion is continuation of Jewish breaking of bread.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who brings forth bread from the earth.”

Blessed and chill! Today was rather breezy. I took a long walk, worked on my Easter play, took the unexpected chance to help a child at church with his homework and get a little bonding time in, and I’m feeling pretty good. I hope you are blessed and enjoying growing closer to Christ during this Lenten season.

What is the quote above? Well, I mention that I am writing a play. It is the Easter play for our church’s Children and Youth Easter Production. There are countless ones already out there, but I love to write, I love to create, and I love bringing scripture a lie, so it was important to me to do it myself. It is a play called Emmanuel and it is an adaptation of Luke 24; the Emmaus Experience in those immediately surrounding it. I thought about putting the whole thing here, but who knows, I may publish it! I know, ambitious, right? But why not? I feel great today!

In short, two of Jesus’ followers–not of the 12, now 11, disciples–were walking on the road from Jerusalem. They were mourning Jesus’ death and probably wondering what to do next. and when a man walked up to them and asked what was going on, They had no idea that this was no mere man, more than an angel in disguise, it was Jesus, Emmanuel/God With Us! In fact, they are unaware of who he is until he breaks the bread and he promptly disappears.

The prayer above Was extracted from the same site the photo came from. In fact, I went to the site searching out the quote, because The verse simply says Jesus Broke the bread and gave thanks. This specific Jewish prayer may not have been his prayer, and he definitely didn’t speak it in English, but it is likely similar to one he might have prayed. If you go to the site, by the way, you will see it in Hebrew.

Luke 24:30 when Jesus breaks the bread

Message/Take Away

Be hospitable to strangers and everyone for that matter! Mostly though, what I take from this is we only have eyes to see God, the heart to hear and yearn for God when the Holy Spirit blesses us with that perception and wisdom. It is all by grace, and mercy. None of us can be proud or Self righteous. It is Jesus who invites me and invites you on this journey. We cannot follow Jesus to the cross in our own power, by our own good deeds or even our own zealous pursuit of scripture and knowledge. So, God be with us!

Let Us Pray

Jesus, take us with you to the cross and onto final victory. Amen.

Shalom!

Did Thought Management Yield the Desired Results?

Progress not perfection! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It’s easy for me to point out why I was NOT successful in controlling myself today, but the point is I was not! I mean, I tried! I was more positive than I have been lately, and I still have a ways to go! As I say when giving the pastoral prayer on Sunday, Holy Spirit, breathe in and speak through me. May your thoughts be my thoughts!

Acts of the Apostles is so inspirational and formational, so of course I’m thinking of acts 1:8!

In Acts 1:8, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit upon his gather disciples so that they in return can speak far and wide of the grace of God and salvation.

Today, as I caved to anxieties over work evaluations, confirmation training coming up, planning for Lent and Easter, getting ready for summer reading program and VBS, I needed the peace of Christ, which surpasses all understanding more than ever, but it doesn’t feel particularly accessible to me at this moment. Good thing my faith in God is not reliant upon my feelings.

So, I will wait and pray and trust. I can’t allow doing the work of the church get in the way of doing the work/will of God and being a woman of God. Holy Spirit, fill what I do and am with you.

Right now I feel like crying out with Jacob, though:

Genesis 32:26 is powerful and it this place how strong we are to be when we approach God for blessings.

The peace, wisdom, assurance, ability and giftedness I need tonight can come by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have the training, the degrees, some of the experience and network, but I need a sign, and tonight, I am praying for and asking for and expecting one.

Obstacles to Thought Management

  • Headaches (orado in your ailment).
  • Stubborn negativity
  • Lack of discipline.

Practice Thought Management: Armor

  • Pray or thank God every time I th ink something like ouch! my head hurts! If nothing else, that will definitely saturate the pain-filled days with blessedness.
  • Catch the stubbornness and refused to allow it tonight. Thank a positive affirmation such ass “I am enough” and make a conscious effort not to the future and argue with those who affirm or complement me. That’s a struggle! Worth it when successful.
  • Believe that /we do, when we do it and why we do it matters. Sometimes, it’s easier or more comfortable, I guess, to convince ourselves that what we do doesn’t matter or can be done by others. It doesn’t matter though, if that is what we are supposed to do, we owe it to ourselves and others to always do our best. So, what are some ways you can pump yourself up when completely unmotivated and feeling completely undisciplined?
  • The road is not easy. How ever we strive, some days, emotionally and physically, life takes it’s toll on us. The key is to acknowledge, except, resolve that tomorrow will be different, and move on. The journey is too important to give up now! I am going on to perfection. Holy Spirit, in your mercy, hear my prayer!

Thank You, God

  • For an open and confessing spirit.
  • Water to drink, falling from the skies and all its life-giving powers.
  • Zoom and voiceover, which made using this phone more possible.
  • That I got my 10,000 steps in as well as my Spanish practice and completed my Bible Study for the day. Now, I can sleep and rest and be ready for a brilliant day tomorrow.

Numbers 6:23–24 is a favorite text are used in benediction/sending the people into the world after worship

Keep your head up, heart open and eyes on the call as we journey with Christ to the Cross and beyond to victory. God bless you.

I Think I Can Think I Can

Love, Peace, Joy, Justice and Hope be yours! First Sunday in the Season of Lent is coming to a close! Our culture puts so much emphasis on New Year’s and New Year’s resolutions, but I honestly feel that the greater chance for purifying our hearts and cleansing our spirits happens during this season. Many of us sacrifice, but we sacrifice nothing compared to the One who sacrificed all for us. In that sacrifice, I gain clarity, hope, restoration of relationship and an ever increasing appreciation for life. I am grateful. I hope as we walk through these 40 days and Sabbath days up to Easter you feel renewed hope, joy, peace, love and commitment to serve the needs of others. Justice and mercy are needed in our World, and when we are nourished, we are better equipped to care for our world.

Be blessed and make sure you leave any comments if you need prayers.

I got you!

Onto today’s topic! As I continued reading Max Lucado’s Be Anxious for Nothing, I was compelled to contemplate and write on this concept of

Thought Management (Ch. 9). I put recurring reminders in my phone reminding me that “I am enough.” Reminding me that “Jesus loves me and so do I.” Positive affirmations and feeding ourselves positive reinforcement may sound cliche and soft, but it is necessary. So, the idea of controlling our thoughts in order to control our destinies and lives is not a new one, but it’s definitely one I haven’t mastered. Max gives wonderful insights for how to make this a practical Goal for those of us who tend to suffer from anxious thoughts and anxiety. I want to use one of his tools, which is breaking down Philippians 4:8 Dash nine. There are others in the chapter and I’m sure I will explore them throughout these days of Lent, but my heart is on these verses, especially verse 8, tonight.

True

The truth is I am blessed. I have an amazing husband. We have been together since August 11, 1998, married June 30, 2007, and we are still in love. We have a wonderful son and share deep love of God. We pray and play together. Thanks be to God. What is true about you life and blessing?

Noble

my job as Minister Of Children, Youth & Young Families is noble. Thanks be to God.

Right

I have the heart, fortitude and ability to fight for what is Right and Just. We need those who fight for what is right our children, immigrants, trafficked populations, ethnic minorities and other marginalized people. Thanks be to God we’re all on the battlefield! Myself included.

Pure

My sweet boy asleep.

Lovely

The smile on my little niece, Kaylee and Savanna’s faces. To only have a girl!! Thank you, God, for these girls. Thank you for all our children. Protect them. Keep them!

Admirable

My mom, sister’s, brother and many friends have experienced so much pain and suffering. Still, our resilient, fighting spirits are admirable. Thank you, Jesus! May we never give up our give t u!

Excelente

hard one! I think of the Hymn though “Jesus, Excellent”.

Praise-Worthy

My God! God is creator, Redeemer, savior and judge. God is just, all love, always present. The LORD is my all and all! Thank you for this faith and assurance, O God!

… And the journey continues. Let us walk on.

Just A Closer Walk

Saturdays are for sleeping in and lazy mornings! Well, not today. Since I did have to wake up early, I can hardly think of a better way to spend the morning than supporting future leaders! Marlon, my husband, and I attended Saint Mark LA’s 28th annual scholarship fundraiser prayer breakfast. The guest speaker was dynamic and inspiring. The testimony from the college graduate who had received a scholarship in the past was heartwarming and a prayer stations were perfect. The food was awesome, but what else can you expect! The black church always could do food!

One of the activities they encouraged at this breakfast was to write notes on index cards, which would be sent to scholarship recipients away at college. You know how homesickness works. So the index cards were on the table and we could write messages. This is crucial considering how many of our young people go away to college and how few of them return to our or even other churches. Remember to let your 20 somethings young Adults and your teams know they are not alone and wherever they go or however far they travel, God is with them and so are we.

And this reminded me of a quote I read yesterday in Max Lakato Be Anxious for Nothing:

“What you have in Christ is greater than anything you don’t have in life.” (Max Lucado AFN Ch. 7)

let us remember as we journey through light so that we can remind our children, youth and young adults, that no matter how challenging and rocky life gets, life with God is better than life or death without God. Let us be that presence of Christ in a broken and hurting world today and every day. Amen!

Journeying With My Son

Thursday, March 7! Today was a productive and blessed day. I mostly worked on preparations for Sunday school. My students are mostly middle school! I created a bingo game for the students for the sermon. I hand these out to students of all ages and their generated bingo cards have words that I expect to be in the sermon so the students can listen out for those and try to get bingo! So, of course, we Collett Bible bingo! They seem to enjoy it so I hope they enjoy it this week. I also created a play based on the sermon text, which will be Numbers 10:29–36. My class will enact this play during the Sunday school hour. I think this is a fun way for them to engage the scripture and work off some of that energy that middle schoolers always have! Help us!

Scripted adaptation of numbers 10:29–36, when Musici is leading the Israelites down from the mountain and through the desert to the promised land.

When I get home, the last thing I wanted to do is deal with middle school or’s! Imagine, a gym full of middle school students and their parents and teachers. Well, today was my sons spring recital so of course I went, and of course I’m glad I went. As working mothers and fathers, ministers and teachers, lawyers and doctors, we often forget that we are called to parenthood. Adolescents are really good at communicating that they don’t need us, but nothing could be further from the truth. I know in my heart he will remember perhaps not the specific times I was there, but he will remember that I was there. More wrenchingly, he’d remember if I were not there. So, as we journey to the cross with our children and families, let us be present.

Shaun and Christy after the performance at the spring recital of “Be Our Guest’ and more!  This was his dance with the class. The boy has the moves!

LENTEN REPENTANCE

  1. Failure to be be present.
  2. Being impatient.
  3. Criticizing too much.

ENJOY THE JOURNEY!

Because Jesus bought our freedom on the cross, every day, by grace, I have a new opportunities to be a better mom, better wife, better sister and daughter, better minister and teacher. Today, repenting of the above listed shortcomings, I was able to do better. We’re now, that is good enough. I am enough. Good night and God bless!

Continue reading “Journeying With My Son”

Let Go, Pick Up & Move Forward

Ash Wednesday is about repenting and humbling self to the creator.  God created us from dust, and when our time here on earth is over, to dust we shall return.  Thanks to Jesus Christ, that is not the end for believers.  When we accept God’s grace and salvation through Christ, we rise up once out time here is over.  We go, as Christ did, to be with the Father in paradise.  Let us, therefore, take up our crosses and follow Christ to the Cross and into Glory.  

Matt 11:28-30 tells us that Christ's burden is light and invites us to lay our heavy burdens upon Him.  God can handle our sorrows, weariness and pain!
  • What do you need to let go, put down and surrender to God?  What do you need to pick up, hold on to and dedicate to God? 

Let Go, Put Down and Surrender!

Luke 9:23 tells us that discipleship REQUIRES we take up our crosses and follow Christ.  We cannot lay them down until we take them up, wrestle with them and let God help heal us from their wounds.
  • Lazy and weary! I get up late, lay around listening to books about the fictional lives of others, put off reading and creating for work, because I am weary, anxious and depressed.  Why doesn’t it all matter enough for me to do more; for me to be more? I repent for I have devalued myself and given you and your children less that I am able.  Lord, forgive me, purify me and restore my energy, hope, joy and conference.  I have not loved you as you have loved me.  I have not treated others as you would, and I have not loved my neighbor as I should love myself.  I repent. Let me lay this down and march on to victory. 
  • Anger and Wrath! I yell at my husband and son far more than necessary.  I am angry if they talk, when they don’t talk.  I want them to enjoy life, but get upset when they roughhouse, tell jokes I don’t understand and snap when they distract me, even if it is from listening to or reading a book I have reread and reread again.  I am angry and impatient.  I have no self-discipline or self-control at these times, and I repent. I lay this down and ask you to purify me, and give me a heart of joy, patience, engagement and love.  I love my family and may the words of my mouth and the deeds I perform let them know this every day.  Amen!
  • Procrastination! I am always afraid that what I do will not be enough, so I do nothing think that once I start a project, it will take too long, and I don’t want to take the time.  There are so many messages I tell myself and some message I have not consciously identified. Whatever my rationale, I procrastinate and do not get things done.  Please release me of this burden.  I lay my procrastination down and pray I will never pick it up again.  I need you so much on this one!  

Pick-Up, Hold On To and Dedicate to God!

King David had done wrong and asked God to create in him a clean heart, and this is my Lenten prayer as well.
  • Lord, my poor eyesight, inadequate transportation situation and a mission field with few willing laborers make my job challenging.  This is my cross to bear.  Help me take up these burdens, use them to your Glory, and make lemoniid out of lemons.  Lord, you put me here—this church, this ministry, this neighborhood, this time—for good reasons.  Please let me see your plan so that I can more gladly take up these crosses and inspire others to follow. 
  • Hold on! I need to cling closer to my Call and Your Word.  Lately though, I have been hardhearted and not being fed by the words I read in Scripture. Help me hold on to You. 
  • My work, my family and my life are dedicated to You.  Help me be worthy.  May my sacrifices of obedience, loyalty, contrite spirit and prayer be acceptable in Your sight; my rock and my redeemer

MY PRAYER

Holy Spirit, meet us in our Ash Wednesday worship tonight.  We are dust and ashes whom You have redeemed and made holy by the blood of the lamb and through the endowment of the Holy spirit.  God, I Adore, and I LOVE You! Thank you that Joy comes in the morning. AhMen!

Blogging to Easter: My intro to Blogging

I am, as you are, part of God’s great story. Writing is my way of putting voice to the chapters of my story. I wrote my first little story in Braille in elementary and have loved writing poetry, articles, short stories and even newsletters ever since. I have always had the feeling I should write a book, but no idea has quite solidified yet. Should I write an autobiography, creative nonfiction, the first Systematic Theology Text by a Black female Methodist? What?? Time to try my hand at blogging!

So, as you know by now, my name is Christy! I am a mother to Shaun, who is 11. I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have a Terrior Puppy! All of us are life-long Californians!

Vocationallly, I am Minister Of Children, Youth & Young Families with Saint Mar, Los Angeles. Concurrently, I am working toward ordination in the United Methodist Church as an Ordained Deacon, called to word, service, justice and compassion ministries. As our children, youth and families grow in faith and receive the vital nurture they need to thrive, they will take their stories out into the street and be the bridge to Christ for a broken world who so strongly needs hope, love and healing. My Master’s In Divinity (M.Div.) from Fuller Theological Seminary (2015) and B.A. in Collaborative Health, Human Services and Public Policy/Social Work reflect my conviction that the Child Welfare System and policies of our nation must be overhauled and our children must be protected and defended and the church has a key role in making sure this work is done.

Much of my childhood was spent in foster care, and so I am dedicated to being the light especially for at-risk youth and young adult populations, but also for all of those whom God sends my way. In 1985 at the age of three, I lost my vision and I’m to this day partially sighted, so I also have a special need to serve as a light for those with physical disabilities who the world often pities and/or shuns. We give lip service to justice for all, including children, the disabled, people o( all sexual orientations and races, but this is not the reality in many cases. So, the fight is going strong for social, political economic and all other forms of justice in the world.

For this, my first blogging attempt, I will journey through Lent with you. Starting Wednesday, which is Ash Wednesday, and leading up to Easter, which falls on April 21 this year, I will post daily on my journey to the cross with Christ and you all. I post pretty regularly on Facebook and Instagram anyway and figure it is time to try my hand at blogging. This is also a spiritual discipline and a way to hold myself accountable to daily reflection on journeying with Christ. My goal is to provide you with solidarity, resources, which will help you along your journey and have a lot of fun in the process. I hope to hear from you as to what you think, what would be more helpful for you, and any prayer requests you may have. May God bless you today and always. Shalom!