I Am Not Done Yet.

(Image creator with Maya Angelou quote unknown)

I've survived wondering how I would make it through with no safety net.
I've survived work place bullying and harassment
I've survived being underpaid and unappreciated.
I've survived depression.
I've survived health conditions I never planned on struggling with
I've survived grief
I've survived the kind of disappointment and pain that causes people to walk away.

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Courage is a Practice: 3 Years After Pulse

Here is what I have learned in my short lifetime. We are in this together. I knew this when I was a child afraid of Maitesine, when I have been an adult in my partner office crying because boko haram was killing people and I couldn't reach my family, or when I saw my family members grieve loved ones lost in the so-called civil war in Sierra Leone.

I also learned that we must speak for each other. I am not gay or transgender. But I will speak for our brethren who are LGBT. Because they are as deserving of dignity, love and respect as every other human being made in the image of God. I will speak for my Muslim neighbors because in my heart dance memories of the people who have loved me the most who are Muslim, and because they are covered by grace as am I. I will speak because the darkness cannot survive the light. I will speak because courage is a practice. And in a political environment where people draw artificial barriers between work and life, where we don't discuss social justice issues, I know that my failure to speak will inevitably lead to me being silent when I should not.

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Facing Giants: Use What You Have

Sometimes we find ourselves facing giants.  These giants —obstacles we haven’t faced before, challenges that could affect our livelihood, politics that could derail a career, financial struggles that cloud our vision — can weigh us down. It happens. It happens to the happy and successful and confident. It happens.

I have found myself at times in places where I thought I would lose my sanity. It is hard in those places where I was challenged in ways that forced me to confront who I wanted to be and what was not worth risking. It can be painful and scary. And yet here I am. Hopefully, sane.

It’s like running track. Fix your eyes on a spot ahead of you, maintain your form, and power through.  All the training, the exercises that hurt and then built, the diet, the stretching and practice was preparing you for this.

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Jesus in Heaven and Radical Activism aka Love

“You can become so heavenly minded that you are of no use on earth.” Pastor Dan Deeble

“You can become so heavenly minded that you are of no use on earth.” Yes. Amen.  Hallelujah! You must have read my mind, Pastor Dan. Or maybe my social media posts. Or listened to me speak with friends about the imperative to meet the needs of people hurting. When the hurt and marginalized cry to God asking where He is as they suffer or are alone or are oppressed, where are the Christians saying, “Here I am, Lord, send me”?

Ah! Right there. That’s me. I started my life as a born-again Christian handing out tracks and feeling pushed to preach the “gospel” and pray with everyone and anyone to be saved. No need to waste a bus ride or chance to walk door-to-door. Why? Because how could you miss a chance not to save a soul? I was taught that if you loved God and loved His people your heart would ache and your lips would not dare stay shut and missing a chance to preach “the good news”. 

“There’s a practical need for help in the here and now.”

But it didn't feel right. Even as a baby Christian I knew that the connection happened through relationships. The calling God placed in me led me to speak up, act, do. And in the scriptures I found a Jesus who met people where they were. In the scriptures I found a God whose heart wept for (and his anger was aroused on behalf of) the poor, oppressed, orphaned, the sojourner/immigrant. In the scriptures I found a Jesus who calls us to love one another. I have asked over and over, “How can I love you if I don't care about your earthly needs?” How do I worship a God of justice but not care about justice? My eyes are most frequently focused on the Jesus who says, “I am with THEM (the oppressed, the widowed, the orphaned, the poor, the homeless, the hungry, the marginalized).”

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Will the Real Men Please Stand Up, Please Stand up?

On Monday we all saw our news feeds flooded with posts of #MeToo. Some women (and men) were courageous and shared their stories. Others practiced their courage differently, by being supportive but not sharing their stories. The message was clear: women consistently face sexual harassment and assault and it starts early. 

The truth is as women we hear stories of what we should do and about our place in the world from our birth. Our families of origin and our individual cultures also play a role. When my mother gave me advice on various things -- be it dress or behavior -- it was not to slut shame or victim blame but to protect. Sadly, some women perpetuate the problem by asserting that women are just as much to blame for assault. You see, as women we navigate the world aware of the realities of our obstacles but many times also as change agents working to create new norms and culture. It is important to note that boys and men also face sexual harassment and assault. And we know that transgender women face tremendous violence because of their identity. Here I will focus primarily, however, on females victimized by males.

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