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Where I’m From

This weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in an author launch retreat for writers of color (hosted by The Voices Project and Kilns College). One of the sessions was led by Allison Fallon, and she walked us through a powerful writing activity about finding our voice as writers. The activity involved mentally revisiting our childhood home; after a few minutes of entering into the activity, I (and others in the group) realized that we were venturing down a rocky path. After we were done, Allison invited volunteers to read our pieces aloud to the group. I volunteered. Even though Read More

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Happy(?) Anniversary…

This post is originally from April 27, 2013. If I were to rename it, I’d probably call it “Puking, Pooping and Persevering.” I noticed that there were two separate times that I basically said “that’s a story for a later blog post.” I’m thinking about when/if/how to unpack those in the future. In the meantime, I just wanted to reshare this because I like to try to keep the topic out in the open.

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It’s My Body, and I’ll Smile If I Want To…

So I should probably just tell you up front that this is more of a rant than a deep (or even semi-deep) think piece… One morning, I was walking into the sun – which was especially bright because we hadn’t had sun for so long that I’d forgotten to put my sunglasses in my pocket. And one gift I inherited from my father was the need to wear sunglasses because the sun hurts my eyes. (I promise I’m not a vampire.) Walking on the opposite side of the sidewalk in my direction was a black man. I only mention specifically Read More

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Darlene. In Her Own Words.

  TRIGGER WARNING: This post deals with depression and suicide. *** This is the most difficult post I’ve ever had to write, and I’ve been putting it off for years. Today would have been my friend Darlene’s 45th birthday, but her life was cut short after a long battle with clinical depression. I’d known Darlene for at least a year before she began to share anything about her struggle with me. She opened up even more during her last year of life, and I walked very closely with her in her final months. For the most part, Darlene’s condition was being Read More

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My Heart’s Song

For the past few years, Chicago’s Swedish Covenant Hospital has sponsored art exhibits that feature work from patients. In 2010 and 2011, I submitted poems that were featured in the exhibit and the published book which contained copies of all submissions. This week, I am sharing those pieces. Below is my entry (“My Heart’s Song”) to the 2011 show, A Testimony to Being. — 7 a.m.: 1 pill This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. (Ps. 118:24 NLT) 7:30 a.m.: 1 pill I will give thanks to you because I have Read More

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The Defiant Dreamer

For the past few years, Chicago’s Swedish Covenant Hospital has sponsored art exhibits that feature work from patients. In 2010 and 2011, I submitted poems that were featured in the exhibit and the published book which contained copies of all submissions. This week, I am sharing those pieces. Below is my entry (“The Defiant Dreamer”) to the 2010 show, Dreams of Healing. — I was born to dream. But   Hope is often interrupted And temporarily replaced by frustration and anger. Vacations are spent in the hospital, and food is replaced by Ensure.   Consciously and unconsciously, I ponder and wonder Read More

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Ready or Not…(or Be Careful What You Pray For)

When my oldest niece was two years old, her parents took her to an amusement park for kids. They were on a “teacup” sort of ride, and things started off fine. But as the ride began to pick up speed, my niece had a change of heart. She says, “Wait . . .” Then she repeats it multiple times, with an increasing sense of urgency. (I would be lying if I said that I didn’t laugh hysterically when I saw the video footage my brother recorded!) This image came to mind recently as I reflected on what has been happening Read More

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Lessons learned from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”

This post was originally published in 2011. Since then, it has been my most popular blog post – gaining almost 5,000 views. People continue to come across it via internet searches about “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Because it’s been so popular, I decided to share it again. Hope you enjoy it! — As a child, I used to read a book a day during the school year. This wasn’t the result of any school initiated program, my love affair with reading started at a young age. One day, after a visit from my cousins, I discovered that one of Read More

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Finding Beauty

The following post is an excerpt from my journal reflections during a trip to the Middle East (Egypt, Jordan, Israel & Palestine) that I took in October 2015. I don’t think it was a coincidence that these were my thoughts while I was visiting what might be considered one of the most violent places in the world. — October 26, 2015 This morning, the first song I found myself dwelling on is “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” One of the things I absolutely love the most about this song is the tritone – it happens at the end of the chorus, Read More

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Lose the Training Wheels

While reflecting on the book of Acts, I found myself comparing the apostles’ behavior to how they had been portrayed in the Gospels. The image that came to mind was that of losing their training wheels. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus points out just how much they don’t “get it.” Yet, once they receive the Holy Spirit, the training wheels come off. They are healing people and boldly proclaiming the name of Jesus – even at the risk of imprisonment and death. This is a very clear change from a group of men who were too afraid to even show up Read More