Look Alive

31 December 2010

A Meeting in the Ladies Room (The Time is 'NYE'!)

Happy New Year's Eve!

Have I told you that God is wonderful? Did I need to? Nah... but it doesn't hurt! I absolutely Love Life and all the brothers and sisters in it with me! Our struggles achieve the status of beautiful once we know to bring the sheaves of our lessons to the table and share the wisdom. Having been equally comfortable as a solitary and social being, I've often leaned in the direction of healthy discovery: studying whatever harmless thing was labelled with a "no", traveling where not everybody goes, befriending mostly boys because being a girl was something I'd already known.

At this point of adulthood, it's very plain to see that insisting on a counter-everything approach could pose its problems, including simple misunderstanding. Generally speaking:
  • There is a solid foundation to be benefited from by honoring the right "yes".
  • Some corners of the world have no visitors because they're dangerous or uninhabitable.
  • Straightforward with expressing their disappointment and pleasure as I appreciate many of them to be, some guys have absolutely no desire to 'just talk' at any time, especially late at night. 
Getting to really know and love all my girls (even the permanent, internal one) has been a process, involving a moderately-sized room mostly filled with faces that have been familiar since ribboned plaits, expressing our blossoming femininity in jest with silly terms such as "fabulocious" or "sexypocious" and all that! Hills and valleys notwithstanding, by the Grace of God, I wouldn't trade any worldly thing for my journey!

Growing up, my mother spoke so well about a certain two or three she would go to school or the club with. Even if they had minimal funds, food, drink, transportation and safety for everybody was a given. Each made sure the other looked stunning in the bright lights of their own lanes. If something was out of place, girlfriend had your back -- and not on her iPhone preparing to share evidence of a dress hem that made its way into the band of your undergarments with Cyberia, either. The names and notions of the others' men were off-limits unless somehow necessary. The pot-luck was goooood!

My grandmother's best friend may as well have been my trampoline the way I loved and showed her frequent presence in the home since age two. To this day, even after Mama's passing, her metamorphosis into a tried-and-true sounding board made of sweet wood still stands or, more appropriately, sits. Witnessing my goddaughter's excitement after visiting an American Girl shop with her bestie was also a blessing, as it was something they could enjoy together. Finding a doll that looked like them was their only agenda -- and with a spritely adult's help -- they succeeded creatively. It was a moment straight out of the "Darling sisters" playbook on the Cosby Show! What a cherished circle of Life!

For different reasons and in different ways, all those ladies have asked "what happened to the sisters I used to know? Where are they?" I believe the answer is "right here" within each of us! We've always been daughters and students, but we are also blessed to be wives, mothers, professionals! Even if the way we apply the quiet determination those roles develop has gone from making it through winter break without playdate overload and withdrawal to being rehabilitated from an accident, performing a successful surgery or making it to watch night service after cooking and cleaning, there is so much to honor within the responsibilities on and before our paths. To incorporate the phraseology of a talented poet named Universe, sometimes that duty is as simple as being the "keep-her" we would like on our own team.

* Please check back here later for some beautiful "be" footage
once Xtranormal decides to let me type movies too LOL *

Don't just OK anything the (inner) sister brings your way if it comes as blame, undue competition, harmful habits from gossip to overeating to a nasty princess attitude. Bring the Truth to her! Not once, in passing, before throwing her to wolves. Do it honestly and gently or with privately focused fire, if necessary. Do it for your Life and that of any sister out there who could fit a shirt that reads "Me". Do it even by muting the TV when one of the many Hollywood popstars or housewives distorts your vision of reality. Do it for the good brother she will have or already has married; the wellbeing of the home, family and our global community.

You were born fancy because the Lord of All's craftsmanship designed your beauty. Never mind waving at anyone in the 'club' vicinity, "hating" for friends to see. Smile from the heart when they look, offering witness to and reverence of God's glory!
We rebuke the sisterhood of Samaria as Aholah and Jerusalem as Aholibah
under Sodomic influence!
We seal the rift between Euodia and Syntyche with a holy kiss!
We are restored daughters of Zion; a renewed Hagar and Sarah, Leah and Rachel: Loved by our Father and every Mary that decently attends to the Lord!
Fellow "keep-her", we got this!

Today, on the "Eve" of a new year, let's consider the concept of original womanhood and its best reflections. To every sparkling sister whose 'voice' has been a healing balm or wake-up alarm in this life: know with security that we are Loved by the Source of all Love and need only serve Him truly, sharing that love from here on! He has already calmed the storm. Go ahead and step out!

30 December 2010

The "Stew" in Stewardship

"The passion for setting people right is, in itself, a dis-ease with the self." ~ Marianne Moore

WWJD... For close to a decade, this popular acronym has been asking 'what would Jesus do'. The fact that any of us even need to consider this question before some thoughts, words and deeds is testament to our imperfect tendencies. Even the "elect" (well-versed, maybe even degreed in, Spirit-filled and shouting the Word) err -- often on the side of ego or "easing God out" as a guest pastor memorably quipped last week. How do we ease God out of our lives, especially under our super-anointed radars? Well, that ease can come in the forms of thinking our waking in the morning is courtesy of a Bose clock radio, stealing or slandering when no human eyes bear witness and doubting that the Most High is great enough to brush off that which came from dust, especially after having fallen. We won't even get into the mutual harm of judging books by their covers or the incomplete pages we have read. With the Sovereign Author and Finisher of all our stories, to paraphrase singer Natasha Bedingfield, "the best is yet unwritten!"

In the process of receiving the Holy Spirit's utterance, sometimes overwhelming energy or details of corrective protection are revealed that feel nearly impossible to contain. (Remember Jeremiah from a few days' links and aeons back?) The ecstasy to hear even a Hortonesque 'who' from On High is overwhelming! Factoring in the truth that the Lord knows our faults and yet deposits enough Love in us to better love ourselves and Life-at-large might invite the belief that Grace is exclusive and not for all, if we're not careful. Personally speaking, zealous self-righteousness has done the occasional sneak attack on my mind, sometimes reaching as far as my mouth or fingers, with the intention to fix another. Like keeping the company of strong drink and other lower case spirits, it only tends to be destructive no matter how good the intention.

That being said, I present a new question for that same acronym; hopefully bland enough to avoid heartburn but lightly seasoned to encourage your own thoughts on the matter: why wield judgment daily? After all, judgment is a two-edged sword of immense weight that few, if any, human arms can manage for long. It is true that believers in God are called to admonish and teach each other, among additional duties to humanity, according to His Will and Word. The other factors of when, how, to what extent and so on belong to the Creator, however. We are just here to amplify the Light of God as stewards to each other, not monopolizing our Father but sharing His Truth-in-Love with all who seek it and even some who don't.

On this second-to-last day of the the year "2010", let's consider the many faces and nations represented across the globe to reflect upon all the different types it takes to fill a world. Next, consider the microcosm and the qualities we each have inside that are worth keeping as well as those we could do better without. As we develop in stewardship, let's be sure to add only those 'keepers' to the stew!

'11' preparation tips
Knowledge: Structured plans (aka recipes) can assist almost all forms of development, good, bad or indifferent. We have to know what end result that we want and what we need to achieve it, remembering to guard against 'too many cooks'. If the Lord says we should receive "It", it's time for...

Action: The above, like faith, requires the spark of activity or work to make it happen. The stew's not gonna cook itself, you know!

Vessel: The right ingredients need a place to combine, be transformed and from which to be poured and stored, be it cup, dish, bowl, pot, wineskin or bottle. Each of us are created as vessels; what we choose to contain and release is another story.

Oil: For plant cells, oil is one ingredient that eases movement past the walls and grants access to the nutrients for our bodies' absorption. It also helps our good "stuff" bear the heat required to refine it.

Spices: Since antiquity, spices have been of great value, even moreso than precious gems and metals at times. Their irreplaceable function is to help preserve, make tougher matters tender and impart flavor in ways that are still subject to the unique leanings of the individual! Salt (to taste) is not officially a spice, but it serves similar purpose while amplifying the others.

Meat: Regarding our actual diets, this is optional. Regarding the Word, however, meat often accompanied by...
Potatoes or another root/starch component will solidify and give 'body' to a meal that sticks and fills.

Water: The universal solvent lives in and balances everything. No cleaning and very little cooking can be done without it. The Lord and His Word are the Water that should comprise over 70% of our lives.

Vegetables: Perishable yet fortifying, plants come with healthy properties that often correspond to their true colors. To enhance texture and flavor, prepare some with the spices and add them to the seasoned and reduced meat that's stewing as you will. Many can and should be enjoyed raw, too.

Heat: Water's activation potential and boiling point of 212°F must be reached and maintained to ensure that invisible, harmful germs are killed and that the chemical bonds of all the above are broken as necessary to yield the desired meal. (See also below)

Live in p(e)ace, using only what time is appointed as necessary. Failure to do so is likely to result in undercooked meat that can pose serious illness. Poor planning or desires for convenience otherwise will require working with extremely high pressure. The choice is yours.

Enjoy the "stew" and be blessed as well as a blessing!

* This post contains elements of the short, "Dinner with Mermaids"

29 December 2010

I Hope You Dance!

On the heels of last night's Kennedy Center Honors including dancer/choreographer Bill T. Jones, my godmother and some of her friends went to see FELA! on Broadway today. My displeasure with being absent from the production includes the power combo of the Afrobeat king's musical story, Miss Patti (LaBelle)'s voice and director Jones' poetry-in-motion was subdued by the humble pleasure of having seen and met the latter on a few occasions courtesy of a mutual collaborator. I glorify none other than the Lord, but the high definition of his physical body, precise inability to miss a beat even while suited and smoking for the stage as well as some of his signature, joint-focused moves' way to evoke the emancipation of marionettes is awe-inspiring, especially all these years after his principal days.

Thriving on rhythm and soul-full movement as Life does, the artform and quickly-change-your-whole-outfit-where-you-stand-if-need-be-before-returning-to-your-place-revealing-nothing-but-no-one-is-so-immature-uptight-or-surface-flesh-focused-to-care-should-an-elbow-be-exposed-in-the-process-anyway culture of dance has always appealed to my senses and sensibility. I'd be lying to profess advanced knowledge of all its pioneers and formal techniques, however. Chalk that up to chubby childhood ballet days that rather welcomed switching to the force of modern and tap the way they better welcomed my frame as well as increasing expenses overall.

Farther along the road, an afternoon whim to treat myself to something nice would indelibly bless my heart with Ailey's "Revelations". Applying that gravitas to the flattened back & foot flexing of African classes [yes, the course catalog descriptions were usually that generic] not only tempered my eligibility for financial aid in undergrad, but made the occasional solo whirl through Lower East Side Jump'N'Funk parties kind of a big deal. Don't get me wrong; we're not talking about some attention-seeking debauchery deal here. My partners felt, looked and spoke like they were having fun too, but my joy was in the universal drum and finally being allowed out to move to it! The party was just about over when adventurously answering an open call for an Urban Bush Women audition showed me that sipping herbal tea in NYC was probably the closest I'd come to being part of that number. Certainly, I hadn't trained and dedicated my life in dance's direction purely enough to deserve or expect any of the above honors. An appreciated privilege eventually became an earned source of fitness and fun. That's all. Now if I could just find those abs...

One of the films I'd alluded to and seen recently was Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan. The psychological thriller intermingles themes of light (as portrayed by Natalie Portman's "Nina") and dark (ala Mila Kunis' "Lily") within the arena of professional ballet. Nina seemed insulated from the wild world and what could be described as her mother's bipolar tendencies by innocence and a mechanically perfectionist approach to technique. Pursuing the role of a lifetime as Swan Queen, her nurtured naivete was challenged by company owner Vincent Cassel ("Thomas" of the silent but deafening ssssss) and the edgy, effortless company dancer Lily. Once Nina was appointed the role -- on basic merit, the promise that adaptability added to her work ethic would yield greater worth and merely asking -- harsh rumors swirled amidst the rest of the company, leading the two dancers to forge an unlikely but quick friendship. They were pink and black. Blank canvas and tats. Want to and did that... together. Once Nina's apparent inability to animate the dark side of the Swan Queen's dual role threatened her dream's success, a struggle between unwavering integrity and initiative ensued; within herself and/or with an arguably suspicious Lily. Things Nina wouldn't conceive of before such as illicit drugs and sex, she soon bore (the brunt of, in the form of near misses and severe confusion to put it mildly).

Although the movie teaches that the extremes of one's passion must be explored in order to achieve one's goal, the Word teaches that we should train with the fiery discipline of athletes for the greatest prize of godliness within. Dance is a great vehicle for that energy, as it represents what we do between Life's stations and situations! It responds to victory in battle or acts as a rebellious precursor to demise. It has its own rightful time or signals another's untimely end. Most importantly, dance is for praise, the genuine practice of which will tone the belly, arms, legs and help the heart too. Needless to say, none of us are promised tomorrow. Today, under Grace, we can bear the Most High's Loving law inside with sound minds as we turn, step and leap by faith away from the past into "2011" and beyond. Let us consider healthy goals for ourselves, allow the Holy Spirit to search our hearts on the matter(s) and study the Word for guidance as to the Lord's unique answers for our lives. Of what is truly approved, let's go forth with that praise, get what is ordained as ours, keep it sacred and cooperatively share it only per God's will, to His glory!

28 December 2010

ON... Anonymity and 'Anti-social Networking'

A funny thing happened on the way to enjoy some music and check my inbox! There was a 'random' response of questionable intent directed specifically to me based upon my appreciation of an instrumental track. I have no idea who the individual behind the account really is. Maybe, s/he doesn't really know me or the fact that I'm allowed to like the wordless song and another commentor's open rebuke, however worldly, of some digi-fighting matches that seemed to have ensued between some listeners. Truth is, though, the person might also just enjoy unique applications of language and could have meant well by the unfamiliar symbol they used. Also, this represents one of enough situations where I should have been more prudent to keep my enjoyment inside or at the equivalent minimum of "yes and Amen". Unfortunately, no one is exempt from slips or their repercussions, so should, could and would ain't good! That, too, has has passed, though. We need to seek and offer forgiveness while doing better as we go forward.

While I believe every day is a day that the Lord has made, in John 14 this era was already written to have been sublet to another. Regardless of where your faith lives, one look at your nightly news or daily neighborhood will prove that the Love, community, honest transparency and accountability that can accompany a direct, visceral experience is pixelating into a blur. To quote a generational favorite, singer Mary J. Blige, sometimes men and women (attempt) to "do something behind [one's] back and then try to cover it up", especially when relationships of any kind are involved. Profiling, in either law enforcement or slang, can denote any prejudicial or otherwise false act that would make us look sideways in disbelief. Further, as inferred from Paulo Freire's seminal work, it is an odd but common response of a victim towards those who are suffering the same plight or trying to help as a way to prove they still have the 'it' that an unfaithful, negligent or domineering partner/authority figure devalued.

In these instances of self-empowerment, extra personnel are usually required to try wrecking what would otherwise be very beautiful; the commitment to personal reckoning of how hurt and pain beget the same then closing the circuit with Love proves too great. Because such a cycle does not promote Life, it must die to itself -- as all seeds do -- albeit with no light of the Sun, no water of added emotion, no nutrients, no hope for further growth. The digital realm does offer great outlets of faith and "edutainment" even though some outlets and users often pride themselves on profiles that bear middle, pen or other nicknames along with images of anything but the account holder(s). How ironically hilarious is it that a 'bee' with a 12-letter name would express such things! Please join me in Emoticonese now and LOL :) That may be a bit basic in the scheme of things, but the former English teacher in me is not too fond of the way our (youth's) fitness, penmanship and personal development are compromised with current social networking and ancient methods of subversion. At times, it's almost anti-social.

Before or as you point at me, possibly to the dismay of a Wilhelm Reich-type, accept my extension of a peaceful hand to explain that my semi-anonymity actually began as assistance. Somewhere exists someone who needed to be seen and heard instead of me to the point of hacking my former accounts. Life, limb and my love for socially just expression are unscathed, so it was all essentially harmless. Sooner than place family or close friends in little on-screen boxes, with whatever contact resources I have, I prefer to honor what trustworthy rapport we establish in our calls/answers/visits/sharing/overall Love while we have Life and reserve web tools to organizing and directing the constructive, professional. Sure, I may allow some avatars or comments where said inner circles, interests and work intersect. Fine-tuning that process, or the decision to leave crazy 'nings' alone, has its challenges though.  

To think any of the profile types discussed in this piece can tell us all we need to know is a grand lie. Alfred Hitchcock's famous visage alone says nothing of his hobbies. Determining a baby's gender with the naked eye trained on the pregnant woman's profile in the third or ninth month will not always produce accurate results, even if old wives insist a certain navel protrusion or set of the stomach say otherwise. Many public figures are different off the magazine page, screen and stage. All things Wiki must be subject to additional verification and, naturally, our Father didn't make me a bee, although I am appreciating the lesson of being about His business grows daily. 

From typing the title and first sentence then pressing "publish post" instead of "save draft" to the completion of this post, I enjoyed the additional peace of reading some of my favorite devotionals. One, in particular, whispered something I wholly agree with. It is our responsibility to ensure that the messages we transmit along our paths be edifying to God and each other as the network of His original design.

* This post contains elements of the short, "Datkham".

26 December 2010

LEVI(RO)TATION :: To Day, Jah View

As the season's first major snowfall brings some of the East Coast to cleansing stillness, this is for the beautiful "Vanilla Child" from Santa Monica, CA born Mary Christine Brockert a.k.a Teena Marie (March 5, 1956 - December 26, 2010) who especially sweetened my musical enjoyment and aspirations since the days of sneaking the radio into bed with, if not instead of, a teddy bear.

Lots of Love, few words & what I receive as a soulful reminder from "Lady T"
to let go of all sin

23 December 2010

Elevation: ___ Feet

.: 'God's gonna show you higher ground!' :.

This is track #5 on the Verve album, "Motor City Moments", by critically acclaimed violinist Regina Carter. Carter has been a personal favorite since her days as a member of the jazz quintet, Straight Ahead. (New listeners, check her out on "Hallucinations", "Last Night Marion Had A Real Good Dream" and the lush favorite, "You Touch Me" from their 1991 debut, Look Straight Ahead.)

Here, she lends her immense talent to a sparse yet percussive rendition of the Stevie Wonder classic, "Higher Ground", from his 1973 Innervisions album. Enjoy, look within and reach up! The original's lyrics are below :)
"Higher Ground" by Stevie Wonder

People keep on learnin'
Soldiers keep on warrin'
World keep on turnin'
Cause it won't be too long
Powers keep on lyin'
While your people keep on dyin'
World keep on turnin'
Cause it won't be too long
I'm so darn glad He let me try it again
Cause my last time on Earth I lived a whole world of sin
I'm so glad that I know more than I knew then
Gonna keep on tryin'
Till I reach the highest ground
Teachers keep on teachin'
Preachers keep on preachin'
World keep on turnin'
Cause it won't be too long
Oh no
Lovers keep on lovin'
Believers keep on believin'
Sleepers just stop sleepin'
Cause it won't be too long
Oh no
I'm so glad that He let me try it again
Cause my last time on Earth I lived a whole world of sin
I'm so glad that I know more than I knew then
Gonna keep on tryin'
Till I reach my highest ground...Whew!
Till I reach my highest ground
No one's gonna bring me down
Oh no
Till I reach my highest ground
Don't you let nobody bring you down (they'll sho 'nuff try)
God is gonna show you higher ground
He's the only friend you have around

21 December 2010

KNEWS :: Sighs, Matters

(c) Trevor Riggen

Changes of season take place in much of North America four times a year, but the coincidence of December 20/21's Winter solstice and total lunar eclipse is a reported rarity. The phenomenon occurs when the Earth essentially stands between the light play of the Sun and Moon, hiding and slightly reddening the lesser body against what was a dark sky in my neck of the woods then. I believe such an alignment of three planets is also known as a "syzygy", which I perceive as having an odd kinship to the word "sizing" only asking 'why, why, why' within its unique appearance.

During the early phases of the heavenly movement, my main website's server and a few other sites I accessed in the surf had undergone system maintenance that presented minor setbacks and underscored the event's suggestion to pause 'business as usual'. That downtime's late night or otherwise lunar news of positive relief efforts found its place among negative reports of disease and death. Similarly, the First Lady's health promotion efforts met with the frosty reception of a "food fight". Even NYC's poetic commuter pick-me-ups are taking a back seat to more structured service info for straphangers. No good news or even positive approaches to solving the bad news is at the popular fore. For the moment, contrast is the headline.

Obscure, almost frustrating answers may arise when questioning these humbling and equalizing accounts. This is to be expected  as the blockage of light can make it very hard to discern, or size things up, if relying only on the natural senses. Thankfully, peace and perspective are available beyond mundane reason. Let's stay tuned to these stories as they develop.

20 December 2010

LEVI(RO)TATION :: Spice Up Your Life!

Recent Resonant(s)
  •  50 Cent - "Amusement Park" [instrumental]
  • Blue Magic - "Sideshow"
  • Fertile Ground - "June"
  • John Legend - "Show Me" and "Shine"
  • Sounds of Blackness - "I Believe"
  • Stevie Wonder - "If It's Magic"
  • Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers - "Brotherly Sisterly Love
  • 9th Wonder - "Do The Right Thing" [instrumental]
  • Al Jarreau - "Never Explain Love"
  • And So I Watch You From Afar (ASIWYFA) - "A Little Bit of Solidarity Goes A Long Way"
  • Daryl Coley - "It Shall Be Done"
  • Fertile Ground - "Broken Branches"
  • Kevin Davidson & the Voices - "Arise and Be Healed"
  • Marvin Gaye - "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)"

ON... Catching Up, E-Clips Edition

Season's greetings!

I hope this post finds you well. I am looking forward to the rare and cherished pleasure of squeezing many miles into a few moments and hugging loved ones from all over! With the typical priority of work at temporary rest, a pajama brunch, silly songs and dances, laughter in Love, movies galore and talks until daybreak will have come to life. No tricks or expensive tickets are required; people, temperatures and environments conducive to 'just right' chemistry will do! Even with spell-check and any usual faculties to prevent issues here, such dynamic joy can still affect the presentation to a certain degree. Please accept my apology if your experience with me is negatively compromised in the holiday balance. Few really know where exactly into cyberspace some transmissions go and who will truly see, enjoy or benefit harmlessly from the honest work once "send" is pressed. I am learning not to worry about anything I pray and work within God's Will for, however.

In the Spirit of offering good aural spice for this holiday season (see above), I believe some 'condiments' may also be in order. That is, I just need a mustard seed of faith to also 'catch up' on some once and future writing! With 'what ifs', waste and other misuses of natural resources being a global problem, I am inspired to echo the early sustainability efforts of indigenous peoples with a special nod to my love of music. The following pieces were salvaged and are respectively shared from August 15 (in memoriam of singer/activist Abbey Lincoln), September 21 (for a 'musicians on music'-type pilot) and October 14 (a XXL Guest Blog contest submission that is, in part, an offshoot of the former). If nothing else, may they foster the growth of our 'edutainment' overall while building upon my house of work.



for Abbey 
After [learning of her passing] yesterday, I took an edutaining look back at the legacy -- even the very face -- of the writer, artist and lioness that continues to BE Abbey Lincoln. Through the eyes of music, the soul of a woman once dubbed Aminata appeared to me as a study of contrasts comfortable in one lovely vessel: gamine, full-grown, jazz, prose... . Whether referencing 1966's "Who Will Revere The Black Woman" written piece or any facet of Max Roach's perpetually relevant "Freedom Now Suite", Ms. Lincoln's secure stance along the tightrope between those contrasts and the other chambers her career and former marriage courted is an inspiration -- for natural beauty; for endurance; for a commanding presence and voice; for abundant, chrysanthemum-like creativity across artistic disciplines; for freedom of spirit!

In 2004, a dream compelled me to write and record a song entitled "Aminata", which was intended to honor the fierce, feminine spirit admittedly as embodied by Mali's "female circumcision" activist-in-exile Ms. Diop. My own dynamic journey within womanhood since then has contributed to the temporary loss of the piece and changes in the frequency of my musical voice's expression, but Ms. Lincoln's return to the essence is a reviving albeit bittersweet deposit into the hearts of any daughter or son who will acknowledge and receive the wealth of her experience. 'It whispered, we listened and wondered if it could really be', but I celebrate the Almighty Creator's deliverance from her earthly pain and "it's freedom day" for Abbey.

for pilot
I was actually being filled with a Nas/Damian Marley track on repeat and just linked the instrumental to Facebook when asked what I was listening to.

P A T I E N C E, is what it is. The concept and need for patient and prudent uses of 'our time' is both timeless and universally applied. Although the Distant Relatives album's been out for some months now, I'd heard the song for the first time and nearly drowned in the sweet e-motion that YouTube granted my insomnia. At the very least, it deserves a high five. I'll explain each of my fingers with no offense -- I promise! In no particular order, I Love:
* the soothing flutes
* the men's decision to form an international, musical alliance this generation can appreciate when the next gives birth
* seeing a Marley building good catalog in light of the legend and his estate's recent copyright loss to UMG
* their message of the way we overlook the trees we spend/rest or write on/read/breathe with and so on for forests of fantasy that often exploit them
* a tempo that doesn't put me straight to bed (for any reason) but still takes the time to share an active truth

From the opening "here we are" to the closing dedication to global "wisdom and knowledge seekers", there was p(e)ace: contentment as well as a sense that perfect timing brought me to that moment. Not much more to say about the song than that. It simply proved worth the weight.


from the XXL entry
Welcome to the terradome, where maintaining and uplifting the Earth to Heaven's purpose stays well on my (and hopefully your) mind. About the powerful energy we call hip-hop, knowledge and blossoming understanding of self dictates that I not only used to, but all-ways love H.E.R. After all, when my gospel, soul and jazz roots went pop and started playing the hard rock until I got sampled, scratched, remixed, chopped, screwed and eventually vindicated from the heart of the cities across the world, she is me. The following musical memories help comprise the 'everything NYCe' ingredients to my tried-and-true recipe. Allow me to reintroduce myself and offer you a few of many favorites.

1) "White Lines" [Sugar Hill...]
Picture it. Bronx, 1983. An inquisitive me tried to finesse a tiny portion of the Betty Crocker Cherry cake mix into my EasyBake while the older girls talked (not-so-)secretly about boys just under a blasting bassline that grabbed me from across the apartment. Two contradictory phrases, "don't do it" and "get higher, baby", were all I could discern from my post during that radio moment but some form of the contrast lingers on even now. Experiencing hip-hop is such a good teacher. She first taught me that extremes in human nature with good intentions are "something like a [timeless] phenomenon." Let's proceed.

2) "Be A Father to Your Child" [Mercury, 1991]
Lemme guess... the Roy Ayers "Searchin'" sample comes to mind first, right? I feel you. The man whose talent I respect to the point of nearly hanging up on him in disbelief that he would see fit to call me about my re-arrangement and recording of one of his classics deserves positive recognition. Before Teairra Mari or any post-millennial variation of TMI spoke on having no daddy, however, nuff yute like myself felt the brunt of the "next man lack". From the home of New Edition, Ed O.G. & da Bulldogs put a smooth beat to my three-month telephone relationship with my own estranged father and made it bearable.

3) "Check the Technique" [Chrysalis/EMI, 1991]
Oh, Gangstarr... Let me go'n start this choice's explanation. OK, so I was a semi-nerd in high school. Our dearly departed GURU's monotone cut through the way that Primo had with Marlena Shaw's "California Soul" starting with "you puny protozoa / you so minute you didn't know the / Gang has been watchin' you". Quiet as it's kept, THAT line and, of course, the boss beat served as great internal motivation from the observer's end of the microscope during HS biology lab. True story! Lessons in what it meant to be "Lovesick" came later; glad I graduated.

4, 5) "Shakiyla" [Profile, 1990] and "Renee" [Uptown/UMG, 1995]
These two 'other sides of the game' made the roots of my inner Amina that much stronger by adding an unforgettable sense of pride with a touch of sadness. The fact that Miami bass or the folly of some men's base natures seemed to be the only place I stayed showing my a** and I really was a "wise, Black queen" who avoided the blunts of "silly stunts" was such an honor. These particular sista figures were cherished and contended for to Wise Intelligent and Mr. Cheeks' boys, or should I say mens an' 'em. Standing up for yours, even when a brother doesn't have to take a leak, is gangsta. Still, hood love didn't really get to thrive in the mainstream until Mary came, because tragedy (not Khadafi) struck at least one girl dead. "Day by day, I wonder why my shorty had to die?" *smh* I'm sayin' -- can I live?!

6) "Not Your Average Girl" [Def Jam, 2009]
I admit it. With no disrespect to GZA, I think RZA is a genius. GFK, however, is my favorite Wu. Appreciation for the Abbott's triumphant sound is a given, but something about my Ironman's ultra-confident, often culinary flow has stayed close to my heart for years. This duet with Shareefa in his Ghostdini incarnation coincided with my own (book) lovin' Jersey girl moments (only minus the couch ~ don't ask...) and provided the perfect, all-season beat to bump for the whole block when making moves in a serious, if not sentimental, mood.

7) "Accordion" [Stones Throw, 2004]
Leave it to Doom and Madlib's two-unit Voltron, but who knew polka's primary instrument could knock so hard?! When this cut was originally released, I was part of a bootleg-but-more-beautiful "Real World" living arrangement in Brooklyn. Needless to say, one of my roommates was a DJ -- and every day was an eclectic listening party. At first, I could honestly "testify from in the spirit" to that track's beauty as uncontrollable joy tears welled up in me. Yeah, it was like that, but don't play yourself thinking I'm too soft! I'm just unafraid of expressing what I feel to be real.

Won Love!

13 December 2010

INSIGHTS :: Teach-ability

It has often been said that those who can, do, and those who can't, teach. The sadness there is not due to the alleged inabilities of those who genuinely choose to help others grow, but in the ignorance and perhaps arrogance that denies the omniscience of the Creative force responsible for the very particles that comprise everything, even this soapbox :). Ephemeral ego bubbles have no choice but to pop in His presence, because to Know it all (as He does) is possibly to teach it ALL! If the heartbeat really does stop for the split-second it takes to sneeze, our fallible humanness, alone, can do nothing 365/24/7.

I wrote in terms of potential energy only to acknowledge free will, because success in giving and receiving any lesson strongly depends upon how that 'freedom' is applied. Although I began walking away from any rockstar dreams in my early twenties for the waking rest of a bit more selective creativity, the new guitar I got and mentioned a few years ago will neither strum itself nor show me how to do so properly without my involvement. For the best results, I have to want to learn and play, whether or not instrumental talent lives in me. From that, I should make room for instruction and practice. The instrument will then respond to my initiative per the nature and/or nurture of its design.

Without even raising a question, much less a hand, seeing the patterns of random birds among sky-high wires during a recent supermarket trip was a living lesson in what could be the perfection of human group dynamics. While visiting with a family friend shortly thereafter, he mentioned a desire to have his hair braided. I obliged to his surprise, somehow the 1986 comedy "Back to School" entered the conversation and he shared a few other picks that the family could watch once we all get together. The simple moment was doubly teachable across time and space in that my hair-handling knowledge was born only of necessity decades earlier when the 'big sister' who taught and tended to me moved out on her own. As for him, a healthy willingness for grooming imparted a convenient option he had no prior awareness of. 

Sometimes before and certainly once we pass the age of reckoning, we believe there is nothing we can be taught; even moreso if we have some of the world's education or feel otherwise entitled or informed. There isn't a person alive who hasn't proudly or stubbornly dismissed a helpful attempt at some point. Selfishness as we gear up to do what we like and even undo what we don't is an almost expected part of the growth process, warranted or not. Trust... I've been guilty of that back there somewhere, but I can surely appreciate the need and power of a teachable spirit as well as the right spirit with which to teach; like a loved child! There are so many different ways that we can learn and share within the body of Christ -- and enjoy it.

Consider the different approaches of sisters Martha and Mary during Jesus' visit. Luke 10:38-42 compares the ministries found within labor for a certain standing and learning at One's feet. Although each had its merit in Jesus' eyes, Mary's submission to the Word touched His heart. When a snowflake falls to remind us of individuality with a unified purpose under God, an echo resounds or light reflects in quantum proving that the Originator's vibrations reached their marks, may we embody the heart of Christ with the humble obedience of Mary to allow the lesson's completion per James 1. By faith, generosity of Spiritual sight and above all, God's grace, countless teachable moments await us with Love and softer knocks if we let them. It is instrumental that we cherish these moments' lessons for Life! 

"That's it! ... I feel like I just gave birth! ... It means I'm not taking nothing from nobody. I'm gonna pass this test! ... Who's next?" - Rodney Dangerfield as Thornton Mellon, displaying the joyous and harmlessly positive power that double negatives (and other examples of logic/math) can yield

09 December 2010

KNEWS :: Crash a la carte?!

Residents and visitors of New York City who meet with the misfortune of an accident may go for broke when considering the area's breaking news -- that some emergency services might become fee-based in the future. In an effort to fill chasms in the city's budget, costs such as $490 for a car fire with human injury and $415 without may accompany rescues. The charges are also touted as an effort to ease taxpayers' burdens. Try not to feel too disgusted, though, as relief may be challenging to find for the moment. The Johnson & Johnson company is also in the news this week, because various types of its Rolaids antacid are being recalled for the alleged discovery of wood and metal chips in the product.

04 December 2010


"God Is."
"Peace / Love"

These are just two examples from my playlist's recent choices. Surely there are many other pairings acted upon, stated and thought about in this high-stress global environment where chilly attempts to force good people to curse "damn you" are as common as a "bless you" response to any of our billions of sneezes. Question is, if we know better and have a choice as to whether or not we lower our vibrations, why stoop? Then, if we believed an occasion really called for it and such a decision was made, why settle and stay (or try to keep another) down on that level in the name of strength? To let the Living Word and even a certain Dr. Emoto tell it, it actually doesn't get much weaker than that. His water crystal energy work particularly brings to mind the importance of sharing an encouraging, light heart with each other, particularly the young people and women both credited with being the most watery of our species. As right Word vibration is credited with much of the power and/or practice that created the entire universe, it's safe to say that I'd like to keep my little piece of it sound -- with goodness!

  • 50 Cent - "Amusement Park" [instrumental]
  • Blue Magic - "Sideshow"
  • Fertile Ground - "June"
  • John Legend - "Show Me" and "Shine" 
  • Sounds of Blackness - "I Believe"
  • Stevie Wonder - "If It's Magic"
  • Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers - "Brotherly Sisterly Love"

02 December 2010

KNEWS :: Hell or High Water?

As of yesterday, 167 law enforcement officers were relieved of their duties to Newark, NJ indefinitely. This is but a foreshadowing of the cuts expected to extend to some sanitation and other municipal workers as the month progresses. While running any 'household', even a city-sized one, is well-known as no cheap or easy task to complete properly, some concern (if not compassion) should arise in considering what could become of a community with gradually increasing unemployment rates plus the added challenge of the proper safety and hygiene structure being shaken. Adding a little levity to these variedly serious times, maybe the Kentucky investors who decided to build a new ark (namely Noah's) have the right idea! At least that's somewhat more feasible in my opinion than, say, cosmetically enhanced apples over otherwise beautifying the "Big Apple", New York. Its natural effects on real food might not be all that pretty, but please remember, people: oxygen is often a good thing! What works for healthy blood and lung function should be good for fruit, too. Be well and breathe easy!

01 December 2010


This month of December not only focuses on fun fetes but also marks a period of additional gratitude, great vision and good health! The first day in particular commemorates the 55th anniversary of Civil Rights legend Rosa Parks' arrest as well as World AIDS Day, reminding us of the importance of taking a stand (or seat) against injustice and health promotion/dis-ease prevention at large. I believe including the books of Acts [weeks 1 & 2; weeks 3 & 4] and Titus for the final three days in this month's scriptural studies respectively will help develop our knowledge of pioneering, apostolic duty and Divine order over our earthly groups. Happy holy days as they arrive!


22 November 2010

PROPER GANDER. :: B. Attitude

At the foot yet in the face
of mountains
off-color detours are absorbed
sprayed, capsized by the nearby sea of fresh memory
and the mind is above the mines abuzz
morphing and migrating to what is
made for it

LEVI(RO)TATION :: "Lovelight"

I saw this YouTube user's 'video' for the featured song and laughed with delight! Whether or not s/he is conscious of it, I believe "sdaav" made such a simple yet impactful statement by complementing Ms. Muldrow's "Lovelight" with the black screen. On the Way to learning, knowing and living Love, we often experience the projections of dark energy and intent that the atmosphere has first. Even 1 John 2, namely verses 7-17, addresses this. Thankfully, the ensuing challenges and the revelations their agents yield only make rightful, ready hearts & souls more prepared for the inevitable blessing of Love!

  • Georgia Anne Muldrow - "Never in Vain"
  • James Brown - "Can't Take It With You"
  • Keri Hilson - "Pretty Girl Rock" [video/instrumental, because I agree that one should never have to say]
  • Outkast - "Da Art of Storytellin'" [instrumental]
  • The Foreign Exchange - "Leave It All Behind"
  • Youngbloodz - "85" [instrumental]

KNEWS :: The Misadventures of the 'Rangel' Rover & Sun... stroke?

Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) has kicked up his share of dust and doubt before and since the House ethics committee cited him in violation of 11 points on November 18. Career activities beyond his job description, such as allegedly using a rent-stabilized apartment for campaign purposes and evading federal tax payments on an offshore property, are now awaiting the formal responses of group "censure" or written "reprimand" where some are calling for "expulsion". Neither luck nor genius come to mind when permanent separation of the romantic kind is at the helm, either, but recent studies show that risked incidence of stroke is double trouble if the victim experienced divorce as a child. An even hotter topic that may provide some levity in the midst of these concerns is the almost-alien legal claim by Angeles Duran, a woman on the Spanish-Portuguese border who now believes she owns the Sun. Maybe the representative and warring parents should write Ms. Duran to shed less and more light on their respective situations -- or we can all put our delusions down and realize the order our Creator manifested deserves greater respect.

Come back next week at the same Be time on this Be station for more :)

*** EditoREAL update: On Dec. 2, the House committee decided in an official, 333-79 vote upon Rep. Rangel's censure.

15 November 2010

LEVI(RO)TATION :: The Path of Two Marys

The name means "bitter", but evokes very compassionate, feminine energy and images. Quite contrary, huh?! Marys and their variations have known contrasts of epic, historical proportions as well: sinners, saints, sisters with a different work ethic and so on. The modern-day MaryMary have returned to the 'urban' gospel scene with "Walking", an arguably too-secular tune with a "Gypsy Woman" flavor from the '90s. Their journey back seems to not only welcome, but groove to, the scrutiny encouraging the listener with "Look at me / I'm tryin' / Everyday I fall down / Make mistakes / Get back up / Try again /  Next time that you see me, I'm walking... ." Sunday's best and most traditional sound or not, I do agree with the sisters when they say with "'Walking' you can't go wrong ... one day at a time". Enjoy the message and the movement!

  • "Always Will" - Tweet
  • "Benediction" - Tara Nova
  • "Don't You Know That" (instrumental w/ hook) - Luther Vandross
  • "Happy Being Me" - Angie Stone feat. Pauletta Washington
  • "Step It Up" (instrumental) - Kokane feat. Tray Deee
  • "Trying People" (instrumental) - De La Soul
  • (Never Do) "What They Do" - The Roots

12 November 2010

PROPER GANDER. :: The Lost, H/our...

Every so often
someone believes
daylight is no longer worth saving
and gives way to inevitable nightfalls
too soon
The moon does not worry
You will find
she just shows up
on time for her shift
only a smile behind
a gain

01 November 2010


right now

  • "(Ain't Gotta) Lie to Kick It" [instrumental w/ hook] - Sunshine Anderson
  • "Black Woman" - Jungle Brothers
  • "Devotion" - Earth, Wind & Fire [like bok choy and tea!]
  • "Let Go" - Lalah Hathaway
  • "Reach Out of the Darkness" - Friend & Lover
  • "What About The Children?" - Yolanda Adams

31 October 2010

TRINITY TALKS: Naked and Unashamed!

This post is being published on what some of the 'modern' world considers All Hallows Eve or Hallowe'en, a time when ghouls, ghosts and goblins allegedly roam free to promote negativity before the day of all saints (November 1). For exactly this reason, I am celebrating November's sacred duty of rightful rebirth early and encouraging us to add study of the Bible's gospel of John and Amos to our good times for the 30 days of this month!

Ever blessing, ever blessed,

PROPER GANDER. :: Readership

Up, past, and away!
Anger and disappointment are so costly
When considering who's the boss, s/he
foolishly tried to destroy an eternal Enterprise
The decision came instead of earnest discussion
Defying reason not to Love, s/he rushed against
any space s/he occupied

Point hand strong
an imp in the throngs of pride
is what s/he'd become
all the while seeing the other in that light
Had s/he forgotten all the trust and travels
that saw only trysts and tights
not even far off from other school-age starry eyes
I won't cry - I will just forgive & live
What does it matter if s/he never loved

S/he noticed the evolution of a creature like
an undeserving rest
Instead, s/he slept
throughs dreams of mindless fun
then awakened, refreshed
knowing the best would come
with resolve -- not revenge -- in stride

S/he learned hard as s/he forged
the bridge s/he destroyed
that air castles need the right foundation
or moat, it be
How many more saved ideas could
leave the box if they chose
had it not been for perspective
and blessing ghosts to float
away from...
up to levels that yield only peace to

Let's see our own hands fully
in the midst of nebulous faults
Cherish the wonderful treasure
of spiritual vaults
and emerge from every fire
as pure gold
You have been told

27 October 2010

LEVI(RO)TATION :: "For Colored Girls" in a "Colorful World"

On a weekend ride through Maryland, the driver and I marveled at the autumn foliage. The first half of the color spectrum floated, stood proudly and lay all around as a stream of sacred music washed over us from the sound system. Selections by Vicki Yoh'e, whom I hadn't heard much of before, and longtime favorite CeCe Winans were very sweet to our ears and spirits, especially in the 2 MPH traffic! Winans' tune, "Colorful World", and I met in good time for the November 5 release of Tyler Perry's film adaption of the 1974 "choreopoem" for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange.

Although many teens (and adults) out there still suffer the misfortune of angst and circumstances that make suicide an option for them, I am grateful that the pleasure of discovering Shange for myself while just a girl and amazingly creative Grace before & since have a much greater appeal to me: the one who'd worn a non-pierced nose ring to incite and do away with family shock on my own terms almost a year or two before even going under the gun. Years later, I'd wished Erykah Badu and others who also appreciate her artistry had given more credit to the fcg work's major influence on her subtle homage via the "Bag Lady" video. Maybe she'll give its due now that the silver-screen version will undoubtedly encourage more spinoffs. Still, only laughter emerges as I reflect upon how my early but quiet fascination with skin art, vision and freedom of movement must've rocked the boat of my strict upbringing at the very least. When CeCe opened with mention of the "slightly embarrassed", pierced girl and the "cheated, mistreated" boy we all knew, the now calmer waters those memories drifted upon found my soul satisfied.

British writer and educator Walter Pater stated that "The base of all artistic genius is the power of conceiving humanity in a new, striking, rejoicing way, of putting a happy world of its own creation in place of the meaner world of common days, of generating around itself an atmosphere with a novel power of refraction, selecting, transforming, recombining the images it transmits, according to the choice of the imaginative intellect. In exercising this power, painting and poetry have a choice of subject almost unlimited." Say my favorite images or even tunes quickly filled another's artistic arsenal or repertoire. If rightful respect and credit are given, that example of one's foundational influence on another is a healthy and universal part of life on Earth as we continue to mature and evolve into our unique Divine assignments. Anything less is uncivilized.

In my eyes, however, the power and presence of the Almighty Most High is the priceless jewel that every living art, entity and science are but a facet of; all our colors, whether hell-bent on negative depths or inclined to positive heights, are just refractions of that True Light. Questioning whether or not It would shine upon us when and as needed is actually a blinding disease of the mind to be looked away from. To paraphrase both The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Sean Hayes, God's Love is indeed (the most) powerful stuff!

Let's get some as It alone is more than enough,

  • "Funky for You" (instrumental) - Nice & Smooth {because Dizzy Gillespie plays the [trumpet] with angels now. R.I.P. legend!}
  • "Hey Lookaway" (instrumental) - Questionmark Asylum
  • "I Just Want You" - Vicki Yohe
  • "Just Like That" - CeCe Winans
  • "Love Said Not So" - BeBe & CeCe Winans
  • "No Love" (instrumental) - Eminem feat. Lil Wayne [with a smoothly paved Way to the realness]
  • "Tru Master" (instrumental) - Pete Rock * AMEN.

25 October 2010

INSIGHTS :: week of 10.24.10 :: Mm...

OK, I'm more than a millionaire in mind and Spirit. At the time of writing, however, the bank account did not yet reflect the same status. So be that. A first, random view of Patti Stanger's show tonight tickled me something wonderful. Love in five non-negotiable points?! It may or may not be that simple and calculated, but it's worth a thought. Here goes...

My man must embody:
  • openness and obedience to the Almighty Most High
  • respect (for Life, for himself, family, his peers, his enemies/challenges -- if or how a man fights and wins his battles speaks volumes, *for me*)
  • a balanced and effective work ethic, preferably applied to what he really loves & excels at that
  • honesty, humor, intelligence, humility, (physical-emotional) strength, adventure and (self-)control that harmlessly keeps me on my toes while making us both better
  • an undeniably attractive and monogamous connection with me, God-ordained, passionate and dynamic enough to stay bubbling into healthy, blessed results we can sustain (mutual goals, children, etc.) without exploding into disaster
Wait, was that more than five? Oy! ;)

20 October 2010

*sneak pique*

Hey! Don't hide from, fight or be afraid to enjoy & appreciate what we're experiencing together. I'm just glad you chose to come in
p(e)ace. So take your time and let Understanding have its own.

18 October 2010


Can ye smile shine like mine?
(back from break)
College youth's peace crossed purpose
with the pace of 'official' bullets
Madame made her way before politicos,
proud of her pros(e)
'At least we provide timely, reliable service'
"But have you heard this..."
the watchers said,
"rent is too damn high!"
When Marvin insisted "this ain't living"
the boom rang out past minutes and miles
Light years away, A. Hill sighs
determined never to be hung up on
signs of disjointed times

17 October 2010

LEVI(RO)TATION :: Jumping Out the Window?! Word is Bourne...

Although the actor is not reported as having bonded himself to filming the fourth installment of the Bourne movies, (Matt Damon's performances in) "Hereafter" and 2011's "The Adjustment Bureau" seem like ones to watch. Of probably much greater significance in recent cinema, however, are "Waiting for 'Superman'" and "Ghetto Physics". Aight dear ones, say no to the ledge, but do the knowledge.

As we were,

  • Blossom Dearie - "Figure Eight"
  • Duke Ellington - "Lotus Blossom"
  • El-P - "T.O.J." instrumental [for resetting the Energy structure of times that need peace]
  • George Benson - "Love x Love" [Listen to the vibe... :)]
  • Kindred - "My Time"
  • Mos Def - "Mathematics" (instrumental)
  • Suite for Ma Dukes Orchestra - "Take Notice"

11 October 2010

INSIGHTS :: week of 10.10.10 :: Chileans Saw Base (and Emerged)

Pledge (the premise and promise of the illusion) - Turn (the point that separates the ordinary from the extraordinary) - Prestige (the resolution and return of what was once believed lost)...

Watching Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman's magician characters spend years enduring a fatal blend of competition provided a moment of oddly entertaining downtime after a dynamic week. Even Scarlett Johannson's sycophantic damsel role was tragicomical as she, too, deceived herself into thinking that (assisting) another man's destructive obsession would equal love for her. I began thinking about the places common sense and one's own radar go when recruited by stories told to assist the dirty work of a "friend". Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar's ambulatory shame for Bill O'Reilly's generalized 9/11 blame on "The View" also surfaced.

Consider the now-famous 33 from the South American country's dusty depths. Whether rising to a complex relationship, the satisfaction of newborn 'hope', ongoing media success or simply a healthy life above ground via the Fenix 2 apparatus, each of those trapped dealt in the dirt for the benefit of his neighbor, with elder wisdom bringing up the rear. That part of the effort didn't spell much sense to me until a recent conversation with my godmother reminded me of wisdom's importance in refining hindsight. Of course, her wanting to see a picture of someone I used to know wasn't nearly as profound as having the 63-year-old "navigator" help ensure the other 32 men's escape, but I trust you get my drift. In order to achieve the rescue without further agitating the surrounding earth, an easy pace up a narrow way had to be employed. With guided patience, a good plan can yield success in the emergent, see?

Certainly some stories that begin at the base of mines will never see the light of day. That doesn't make their impact or the power of God to rectify them any less potent. Chiiile, listen... when the heat is on, even in a controlled lab environment, the elements of our formulae can become unstable and seek release from the darkness by any means. How we get cool or otherwise balance the equation is key. So, have YOU ever been "rockbottom"? Does it seem as bad or, God forbid, worse in comparison to this ordeal? From those places, do we take our time and reach up or do we sooner defy the hearing of faith's call, as well as Midnight Marauders era Q-Tip, and "wallow in the mire" to our further demise? The old folks may arguably say that youth is wasted on the young, but know that wisdom is not (to be) wasted on the 'wise'. Who needs it and seeks it on higher, unselfish levels for keeping yet sharing its Love can also thrive.

P(e)ace and a present,

LEVI(RO)TATION :: 26 Ways to "Love You to the Letter"

I have yet to marry. A wealth of personal journeys, observations and long-term friendships, especially with males, have granted me what feels like a decently balanced perspective to keep me open only to God's best plan without the need to force or unnecessarily tie any hands. Some have labeled that and other life choices as unmarriageable (and ideal and Black and White and female and 'like a guy' and big and small and boring and wild and old and young and 'hood' and bourgeois and broke and privileged and brilliant and slow and ugly and beautiful...). That's the assumption of opinion & that's ok, because I know I AM -- grateful for ample inspiration to build upon right relationship(s) with/in the All.

Starting with lyrics like "Life is always changing / constant rearranging, but / nothing changes with You", the qualities sung about in the featured tribute song may have been intended solely for a human mate with whom love is hopefully worthwhile work. I can't help but hear reverence for the Divine in the midst, however, with Whom the bees and things and flowers daily tell me Love is truly effortless. In moments of downtime,
I set some of my lessons to letters...


A T. Tribute...

"Anita" is said to mean grace or favor. No good relationship is complete without either.

Brickhouse or not, the capstone of her last name (Baker) represents the "beta" energy, or a balancing counterpart, of the alpha presence. For constructive building tips, put Psalm 127 and more goodness in the oven.

Credit belongs where it's due! "Compositions" is the title of her beautiful 1990 album for Elektra featuring this song as track #8. James McBride is the composer of this infinite favorite.

DO... dance to your own beat, but complement your partner's rhythms, avoid stepping on any toes & stay in pocket!

Examine all the angles without excess ego and envy. Partners may not always see eye-to-eye, but with positive, common goals, outer limits are less likely to be tested.

Fight fairly, if you must at all. The flames of anger are hard to quench once ignited, so the proverbial wisdom of never letting the sun go down on wrath, revenge being best chilled (not always served) & soft answers for an upset partner are always fresh! If those fail, instead of fanning them, FLOAT on and refuel your energy.

Give -- not just to, but as you want to -- get! Simply put, it's golden! :)

Hold on to hope in what is heavenly! It is the seed of faith, which will take you ever higher if you wholly do the work of climbing together without pulling each other down.

I AM breathed into our different vessels for one overall purpose -- to be glorified, not cast aside, via your individuality. Shine!

Just a matter of time before your relationship develops into the fullness of its joy and/or purpose. Let NOTHING but the Most High sever what the Most High joins! Stay juicy :)

Keep kindness close! Kindred spirits sometimes cut each other easily because you know each other best.

LOVE! It's the most obvious but neglected ingredient. It isn't control, domination or force. It is self-controlled, willing to yield loyally for what's right & powerful enough to harmonize opposites ala Isaiah 11:6. Bless God ~ laugh at all you've learned apart and together!

May the warmth of Love melt any unnecessary hardness and futility away until only what matters remains. After all, the mandate and magic of true marriage is what I'm talking about in these love lines. I trust there have to be ways to happily maintain the long but light haul.

NOW is the right time to express your Love, even after an eternity. All things can become new by the Almighty. Except to evil, NEVER say never!

Open your heart, mind and soul to the One ~ our Creator ~ for guidance as to the earthly one for you. Graduate from old lessons & allow that one to get to know you too. There's no future in frontin', people. Omission is just commission you might not see!

Pursue & practice ~ fervent prayer, patience, privacy, purity and peace with your partner. These are stronger than pride. Make the loving as perfect as possible!

Quiet as it's kept... sometimes silence is the sweetest, most profound sound.

Respect your reflection all-ways! Be ready to see yourself and straighten up when you do, remembering that regard and reward are two very different things. The former is a basic human right, but the latter is only for the upright :)

"S/he say" is not the final word! Don't be stupid, but substantiate the most pressing stuff and don't sweat the rest. Time is like sand: small units comprise a vast yet flighty reality. Seize it sincerely; treat it sacredly!

Truth must prevail throughout time & space. Be tender and tough where necessary in this Life. Trust will find you and follow.

Understand this: there is none other just like you! No matter how hard one tries or the similar tale of the outside, uniqueness is the Most High's specialty.

Vision is vital! Vengeance is God's, but we are gifted with discernment & healthy values to promote our victory. This commonly used symbol for peace (to which unity is intrinsic and always implied in my book) is arguably inferior to a joined finger gesture resembling the ASL letter "H". Revisiting the heights in that letter, the dispute is void. Very interesting!

Worry negates your faith and work, so why give yourself reason? Even wise Solomon could've benefitted from said seasoning. Don't fall off the wagon of your true worth. Well enough deserves to be left alone.

X usually marks a spot for a reason. Sure, there may be treasures there, but clear and accurate direction must be provided first. Unless you're a scavenger, exit the scene until an exclusive map is given. No excuses.

Yes & Amen (meaning "so be it" in some traditions) are the only answers we need, according to the Word. When the human experience presents forks in the road, maybe we should eat more of that Divine food until we know the right way to go at that time.

Zones of resonant Love may be beyond our natural sight, but not beyond our (tempered) zeal. Is the zephyr any less real than the hurricane? No. What's missing is the devastation & pain. Find your true Love zone and get there if you can.

'A-Z' Love text and visual collage (c) Tara Nova for Psalmbody/PMLLC