Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things (of 2009)

I wanted to share a few of my favorite things, through pictures, that occured this year. Without a shadow of a doubt, my favorite thing, isn't a thing, but a person, little Miss Saphirra Jael, my best friend Giddel's baby girl, who was born this summer. She's just gorgeous!

Over MLK weekend, we jumped on the Turnpike (for all you non-New Jerseyans, I-95) and headed south to Philly to take in the sights. I finally saw the Liberty Bell for the first time in my life. The most surprising thing was how small it was in real life!

My sister Joscelyne, who I mention a lot, received her Bachelor's in Business this February after six and a half (!) years of school. She did go part time partially and changed majors, which slowed her down. But the biggest feat was the fact she went to college despite being a single teen mom, and as a married, 24 year old, she finished. I'm super proud!

In April, K and I decided to paint the bedroom a relaxing shade of blue. I called it Rhapsody in Blue.

On Independence Day, we borrowed my mom's backyard to try grilling for the first time. We got a cheap little grill from Wal-Mart, some dogs and burgers and started a new tradition.

On July 7th, my niece Sophia (Jos' daughter), turned one. The Princess had a fun barbeque birthday party.

In October, K and I celebrated our one year anniversary, despite my illness keeping us from actually celebrating. Marriage is hard, but it can be a true blessing.

And just a week ago, Christmas! It was quiet, just me, K and a friend, but it was so nice. Plus, I got a Mr. Coffee Espresso/Cappuccino Maker. And it's awesome!

I'm So Animated!

Meet Cartoon Li, a very cute animated Alisha. Who actually looks better than the real me (she never has bad hair days or pimples). She does have adorably cute heels, and like me, loves books.

I want to say a huge thank you to Mike Hartz for creating her, and if you're in need of some animation, send me an email and I'll make sure to pass it on to him.

Monday, December 28, 2009

'Tis The Season For The Prosperity Gospel

Bible Bling! The famous trio of gifts for baby Jesus.

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I know I did with my amazing hubby. I'm also enjoying some time off of work, too, so I'm feeling extra happy.

I'm not feeling so happy about this CNN story called "Passions over 'prosperity gospel':Was Jesus wealthy?". Below is an excerpt:

"Each Christmas, Christians tell stories about the poor baby Jesus born in a lowly manger because there was no room in the inn.

But the Rev. C. Thomas Anderson, senior pastor of the Living Word Bible Church in Mesa, Arizona, preaches a version of the Christmas story that says baby Jesus wasn't so poor after all.

Anderson says Jesus couldn't have been poor because he received lucrative gifts -- gold, frankincense and myrrh -- at birth. Jesus had to be wealthy because the Roman soldiers who crucified him gambled for his expensive undergarments. Even Jesus' parents, Mary and Joseph, lived and traveled in style, he says.

"Mary and Joseph took a Cadillac to get to Bethlehem because the finest transportation of their day was a donkey," says Anderson. "Poor people ate their donkey. Only the wealthy used it as transportation."

Many Christians see Jesus as the poor, itinerant preacher who had "no place to lay his head." But as Christians gather around the globe this year to celebrate the birth of Jesus, another group of Christians are insisting that Jesus' beginnings weren't so humble.

They say that Jesus was never poor -- and neither should his followers be. Their claim is embedded in the doctrine known as the prosperity gospel, which holds that God rewards the faithful with financial prosperity and spiritual gifts."

I'm not sure why CNN chose to run this story on Christmas itself, since it highlights yet another divisive controversy within Christianity while simultaneously shining light on crass materialism as opposed to our Lord. I should expect no more from a secular outlet, though, so let's examine some of the claims made. First, regarding the gifts, I don't see how the expensive presents given by the Wisemen reveal much of anything about the recipients' wealth. Instead, the Magi's gifts show Jesus' royalty. They gave costly gifts to the Prince of Peace (for one explanation on the gifts, click here).

Second, whether Jesus' garments were expensive or not can be debated, but I believe the real significance of the soldiers gambling over it is the fulfillment of prophesy. Psalms 22:18 says: "They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." The entire 22nd chapter of Psalms foretells Jesus' suffering, and this verse specifically deals with the Roman soldiers making bets to collect the robe off the back of "The King of the Jews."

Third, I can't find a single passage of Scripture stating Joseph and Mary were rich. We know Joseph was a carpenter, but little else. Interestingly, we are told in Luke 2:24 that the new parents, while presenting the newborn Jesus in the temple according to Mosaic Law, made a sacrifice of "a pair of doves or two young pigeons". The significance? This gift was an acceptable sacrifice for those who DID NOT have money! Observant Jews of means would have given a costlier gift of a lamb.

Fourth, I find the comparison of a donkey and a Caddy silly. While a starving person would kill their donkey for the meat, a poor person might not. Again, the Scriptures don't list Jesus' parents' finances, but I believe the fact they rode on a donkey showed they weren't loaded. Rich folks would probably ride on camels (and I won't compare them to Maybachs). In both Matthew and Luke, Jesus says about Himself that He had no place to lay His head. Does this mean He was homeless? I don't know, but all through the Gospel, Jesus was about His Father's business, showing little concern to physical comforts, let alone amassing wealth.

Jesus did assure His followers that God would meet their needs, though, so we know God will have our backs. Let me make this clear: Being wealthy is not a sin, and I don't have anything against having money. It is the LOVE of money that is wrong. Why? Because God is jealous, and we cannot serve two masters. This is why I find the Prosperity Gospel so poisonous. It spends so much time pushing what believers can receive from God, it neglects God! Whether it's money, love, happiness or health, Christians should never let the things of this world and our desires for them cause us to stray from our objective to serve God.

I often hear people who follow the teachings of the Prosperity Gospel or the Word of Faith Movement talk about being "favored" by God or receiving His "favor." They use these terms to describe receiving a blessing, many times material. I was listening to a radio program last week which was dedicated to the Christmas story. These verses from Luke 1 were read:

26And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

27To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.

28And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

29And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

30And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.

31And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

Twice in these verses we read the angel of the Lord refer to Mary as having favor with God. Indeed, being chosen to be the mother of Jesus was a true blessing. But think of all Mary would experience. The 29th verse showed her being very troubled about receiving God's favor and she had reason to be. Pregnant and engaged? Enough to be stoned. Even after the Incarnation, Mary seemed to be worried or perplexed a lot (Luke 2:19, 48-51). She wondered if her Son had lost his marbles (Mark 3:21), and who knows what she thought about him referring to His followers as His family as opposed to her (Mark 3:33-35). And because of her favor from God, Mary also watched as the Son she once held in her arms was hung on a cross and brutally murdered (John 19).

Mary's experience of receiving favor from God is in sharp contrast to what Prosperity Preachers push to the masses. When I read the Bible, those who received God's favor were not just blessed, but also challenged and many times, suffered much. Because to be favored means to not just receive, but to give, since the Lord is actually setting that person apart to be used in His service. What better blessing can one have then to be used by God? Like Mary, all who are called to serve the Lord should say "yes" and magnify Him (Luke 2), being thankful to receive such favor, with all it may entail.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Count Your Blessings

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Anti-CHRISTmas Message

This disgusting picture was put up on a billboard by St. Matthew-In-The-City Anglican Church in New Zealand.

On last Sunday's sacrilege-filled episode of "American Dad", Stan and the family rush off to their Episcopalian church for Christmas Mass. The Rapture occurs during the service, taking everyone in the church except Stan, his wife Francine, and the Priest. As Stan and Francine stare dumbfounded at the sight of countless bodies ascending, the Priest simply says, in between puffs of a cigarette, "Hmph... so there really is a God."

After hearing the following Advent "homily" delivered by Glynn Cardy, the priest at St. Matthew-In-The-City Anglican Church in New Zealand, I know Seth McFarlane's cartoon is on to something. Listen to this:

The church even put up a billboard with the above offensive picture, I guess to advertise for this crap. But let's for a minute, delve into what he said:

"Christian fundamentalism believes a supernatural male God who lived above sent his sperm into the womb of the virgin Mary. Although there were a series of miraculous events surrounding Jesus’ birth – like wandering stars and angelic choirs – the real miracle was his death and literal resurrection 33 years later. The importance of this literal resurrection is the belief that it was a cosmic transaction whereby the male God embraced humanity only after being satiated by Jesus’ innocent blood. The Christmas billboard on a local fundamentalist church sums up this thesis. It reads: “Jesus born 2 die 4 u!” His birth was just an h’orderve before the main Calvary course."

While I don't consider myself a fundamentalist, I'm definitely not the kind of "Christian" who would refer to the essential Gospel message in terms like this. First, I noticed Cardy's redundancy in cynically referring to God as a male. According to Scripture, God is not male or female, but Spirit (John 4:24). Far from Cardy's claims that orthodoxy teaches God and Mary had some kind of sexual union, Mary became pregnant through the move of the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:18, 20) . So is he saying God's "sperm" is the Holy Spirit? He's walking a fine line as far as blasphemy is concerned in my opinion. Concerning God needing to be satiated by Jesus' sacrificial blood, Cardy is making the Almighty out to be some sort of bloodthirsty cannibal. On the contrary, his summary misses a crucial point, the first being that Jesus is God! (John 1:1; Col 2:9) Second, Father God sent His son, not to watch a cosmic bloodsport, but because He loves us and desires for all to have eternal life (John 3:16). It was a real "miracle" that Christ was born of a Virgin in fulfillment of prophecy (Isaiah 7:14), and yes, it was a real "miracle" that Jesus, after being crucified, rose on the third day (Mark 16).

After listening to his message, which was really nothing more than an attack on the traditional Christian faith as opposed to anything really related to Christmas or the true Christ, I have to ask, if Judgement Day were today, would Cardy be asking the same question as that cartoon priest?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2000- 2009- The Decade of the Future Was All About the Behind

With this decade coming to a close, magazines, news shows and websites have been featuring countdown lists of the best and the worst of seemingly everything. Many people will remember these years in terms of politics. Others will think of the rise of irritating publicity-seekers with no discernible talent being given television shows (thanks Paris for exploiting this trend and causing everyone from real housewives to squabbling parents of preschool multiples to follow in your reckless path). I'll think of these, too, but I can't help but think this decade will be remembered for something else. There's no buts about it, the early oo's was all about the booty.

I guess I should've seen it coming. Back in 1999, after the whole big boob bonanza that flourished in the early to mid-90's thanks to "Baywatch" had faded, but dead smack in the middle of the nation's love affair with midriffs, a la Britney, the butt started getting some action. Rappers have long waxed poetic about the beauty of the backside (think Sir Mix A Lot's "Baby Got Back"), but it seemed that year, their love was spread all over the place, thanks to some cross-over success on the pop charts. Juvenile's "Back That Thang Up" had plenty of girls... backing that thang up (although I still don't know how one can walk that thang like a dog). Many other hip-hop artists began showing (too) revealing shots of derrieres in their videos, too. Maybe behinds would've remained confined longer in the realm of BET if not for one former "In Living Color" Flygirl's foray into the world of music. That's right, when Jennifer Lopez released "On the Six" in the summer of '99, there was no turning back. The new millennium's body part of choice had been made.

Even laser beams could not match J. Lo's buns of steel!

In 2000, Sisqo topped the charts with the unclassy but very catchy "Thong Song". And suddenly, the string panties were everywhere. Sticking up over sweatpants, skirts and especially jeans. Thongs saw a spike in sales, but (thankfully) bottomed out so to speak by mid-decade. Britney Spears (still flaunting that midriff) wore a pair over her lowrider jeans in her video for "I'm A Slave 4 U." And speaking of lowriders (which are cut very low on the hip), everyone and their momma squeezed into them, revealing plenty of unflattering butt crack.

Wow. I don't even need to write a sarcastic comment under this pic. The bad taste speaks for itself.

Fashion continued it's march into whoredom thanks to ever more tush-revealing styles. Celebrities from Toni Braxton to Rose McGowan showed up to awards' shows baring so much booty they looked like they were ready to hit the pole. Daisy Dukes came back, thanks in part to Jessica Simpson's role in "The Dukes of Hazard" movie, ladies walked around with words printed across the back of their fitted sweatpants and the most daring wore lower back exposing dresses that revealed butt cleavage (which is really just the aforementioned crack dressed up).

The word "Bootylicious" made it into the dictionary thanks to the ladies of Destiny's Child, and it's lead star, Beyonce, came to personify the newly minted word. Those not as blessed as B sought help through exercise and butt lifting jeans. Others went under the knife and got implants (!), a procedure that has become ever more common.

Today, the behind has become common. Girls with more to grab can pull on a pair of J. Lo jeans or Nelly's Applebottoms. Suburban moms have joined strip classes at their local gyms to learn how to shake their money makers. The nation as a whole has been dropping it like it's hot for so long, it's pretty much cold now. One need only to flip on just about any channel to check out how commercialized the butt is:

In my case, this kind of commonality brings contempt. When I first saw the commercial, despite my full knowledge of the recent history of the behind (You'd think someone with a degree in English would be well-versed in Shakespeare. Sadly no. However, I can recall off-hand at least 5 different songs about booties), I still felt like this commercial had taken it one cheek too far. As I watched it, I quickly looked over to my husband to see if he was watching. He was. "Can you believe this? Augh!" I kept watching his eyes to see if he was checking out the Reebok girl. He had already moved on. "It's really too much," he mumbled, unimpressed. "Yeah, it is!," I said, relieved that he didn't care. I closed with a "I'm so sick of it!" Now looking back at the past decade as it's coming to a close, I hope the American public is, too. You know, I do believe the hand is a really underrated body part...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Second Grader Suspended, Sent for Psych Eval for Drawing Jesus

The drawing by the unidentified 8 year old which led to the boy's suspension from school.

From the Taunton (MA) Gazette: "A Taunton father is outraged after his 8-year-old son was sent home from school and required to undergo a psychological evaluation after drawing a stick-figure picture of Jesus Christ on the cross.

The father said he got a call earlier this month from Maxham Elementary School informing him that his son, a second-grade student, had created a violent drawing. The image in question depicted a crucified Jesus with Xs covering his eyes to signify that he had died on the cross. The boy wrote his name above the cross...

The student drew the picture shortly after taking a family trip to see the Christmas display at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, a Christian retreat site in Attleboro. He made the drawing in class after his teacher asked the children to sketch something that reminded them of Christmas, the father said..."

To read the rest of the story, click here. So a a kid drawing a stick figure Jesus with "x" eyes on a cross warrants a suspension? And a psychological exam??? Heaven forbid a child think of Jesus and His sacrificial gift on CHRISTmas. Sigh. Makes me glad I went to Christian school.

Living Like We're Bulletproof

"...This world is chaotic and love is symbolic
So life don’t get cherished, and our babies perish
And your babies perish now tell me who’s careless
Now who should I pray to what should I pray for
You can’t pay the preacher for your redemption
I know where we’re headed, I already read it
The Good Book done said it..."

Lyrics from Raheem DeVaughn's "Bulletproof". Ludacris is featured. Pretty heavy song.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bishop WEAKS: The Reality of Unholy Matrimony

Bishop Weeks with wife number 3, Prophetess Christina Glenn. "Bishop"? "Prophetess"? The Pulpit Pimps certainly like titles.

I really don't know how I missed this one, but somehow I did. Thanks to my sister Jos' love of spreading the "good" news of tacky D-list celebs and irreverent ministers, I just learned that Bishop Thomas Weeks III, infamous ex-husband of multi-millionaire Prophetess Juanita Bynum, was married for the third time to yet another message bearer for the Lord (supposedly), Christina Glenn in October.

If you're unfamiliar with Bishop Weeks, let me catch you up to speed. He is a pastor of a megchurch in Georgia and head of Global Destiny Ministries. After a quick perusal of his/the church's website, I'm not quite sure what the ministry's goal is, but I know the word "global" seems to be a crucial part of it (you can become a "Global Intercessor"or join "Global Destiny Online" or simply view the "Global Map"... only that last one seems to make a lot of sense). Anyway
, back in 2002, Weeks married Juanita Bynum, who is a best-selling author and quite popular on the Word of Faith circuit. They had a platinum wedding which was broadcast on TBN, and then went on to begin a joint ministry which included a relationship book. All seemed well in Pentecostal prosperity land until news broke in 2007 that Weeks had pulled a Chris Brown and beat Bynum in the parking lot of an Atlanta hotel. The ensuing media firestorm made both seem like self-serving sensationalists. She called herself "the new face of domestic violence" (I'm telling you, these prosperity pushers really like their titles), and went on "Divorce Court" to share her story. Weeks faced domestic violence charges for the assault and pleaded guilty. They divorced in 2008.

Sadly, the drama should've ended with the dissolution of their messy marriage. But of course, it didn't. A few months before the divorce was finalized, Weeks went on "The Wendy Williams" radio show to tell his side of the story and to hock his book about what he learned because of the mess.

The interview went so well that Wendy wound up believing Weeks over Bynum. And Weeks decided to keep up the positive (?) publicity push by looking for a new Missus. Via the internet. Weeks, with cameras rolling, consulted with staff members on the attributes his future third wife should have- including her being "sensual" (Hmmm... not that being sensual is a bad thing, but maybe someone could've suggested a speed read through Proverbs 31 for Godly ideas.). The Profit Prophet found love and more press when he hooked up with Christina Glenn, a very pretty (and I suppose, sensual) minister from Greensboro, North Carolina. As I mentioned at the start of this blog, the two married a couple of months ago in a not-as-lavish-as-his-second-wedding-but-still-headline-grabbing ceremony. They've already begun a series of relationship videos (available for viewing at his site) titled "You Can Begin Again".

Eww. I can begin to hurl again. Moving on, I mentioned way back that I was raised in a Pentecostal Assembles of the World (PAW) church, and incidentally, Bishop Weeks was ordained by this Oneness organization. In fact, growing up, I often heard about and from the Weeks family who attended some of our state conferences. I guess the acquaintanceship makes me feel nauseous, but what really makes me ill is how love, marriage and relationships are cheapened and then put on display for public consumption. While I expect such trashy disregard of matrimony from a VH1 celebreality star, coming from a man of the cloth- even if it's polyester tacky televangelist cloth- is horrendous.

Over the weekend, I finished reading Donald Miller's "Searching For God Knows What" (which by the way, is fab), and he retells a lesson he presented to a class of Theology students. He told the students he would be presenting a lecture on the Gospel, but something very important would be missing. He proceeded to speak on man's sinful, fallen state, the consequences of sin and how those consequences are prevalent throughout society today. He told the class, people must repent in order to leave this natural state of depravity. He had examples and charts, and finished over 30 minutes later. He then asked the class what had he omitted. They sat in silence for 4 or 5 minutes, stumped. The answer? Jesus.

When I think over this whole woeful tale- the multiple marriages, the physical abuse, the books, the seminars, the websites, even the churches- I can't help but wonder... why have so many Christians not noticed Who's missing?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Au Naturale

The beautiful Ms. Lori. I think of her as the Jamaican Carrie Bradshaw.

To see my friend Lori is to look at style coordination brought to life. Her 4 inch pumps always match her chic dresses. She wears the cutest patterned tights, belted coats and tailored jackets. Her style aesthetic is very much that of a lady. And her hair, long red locs that fall down her back, sets her look off perfectly.

Gone is the outdated view that to be natural means tie-dye shirts and Birkenstocks. As natural looks have become ever more accepted in the mainstream, women with totally different fashion tastes have taken to wearing their hair naturally. Although Lori wears her hair natural- sans relaxers- she favors a 1960's style closer to Jackie Kennedy than Angela Davis. She went through a number of looks before deciding to loc her hair. She use to straighten her hair with permanent relaxers, also experimenting with temporary straighteners."Perming my hair made it brittle and hard. Dying it didn’t help, either," she explained. As a girl, she wore her short hair pulled back because of limited styling options: "My cousin and I were forced to subject ourselves into wearing the infamous stub-tail with a scrunchy hair do for a good portion of our teenage life." She unfortunately was called a "Jamaican booty scratcher... and bald head Lori-Ann in Jamaica".

Lori with her little love, 4 year old Justyn. Justyn, by the way, was once madly in love with me. Then K came along and ruined it. We'll always have the memories of watching Disney movies and playing cars.

While she never was a booty scratcher, she did cut her hair very short in high school, which she enjoyed (and sometimes wishes to do now). I saw a picture of her from that time period, and it was an adorable cut. Half Toni Braxton, half Halle Berry. She opted to loc her hair, an option she has never regretted. And asked if she could have any type of hair, she answered with one word: "Natural."

Contrary to her shirt, her name is Candace. But she really is awesome.

If there is a word that fits Candace, a friend of mine since the first day of 11th grade when we were both transfers at a new school, it's natural. She doesn't like make-up, preferring to just wear some lip gloss and keep it moving. She doesn't do fake nails and keeps it simple with the jewelry. I think there's a little hippiness in her, too, what with all her smiling and hugging. She might actually take a fashion cue from Angela Davis (just fashion, people- she is not a latter day Black Panther). So it makes sense that she has never taken a hit of the creamy crack... um, relaxed her hair. She does like to straighten it sometimes, so she'll have it blown out or flatironed. Of mixed ancestry- her mom is from Dominica and her father, Puerto Rican- Candace has found the best salons for her cater to women of varying ethnicites. "I do go to mixed race salons. I specifically choose to go to salons that are run by Afro-Hispanics- a person that tends to come from the hispanic Caribbean- because they use the best techniques to deal with my type of hair. I don't go to any other salons. But I have found that people of ethnicity can deal with and do all types of hair while it's not necessarily the same for salons that are run by Caucasians."

While Candace has embraced her natural roots (both literally and figuratively), she doesn't have a problem with other women who wear weaves, wigs and extensions or relax their hair. There have been countless debates about Black women who relax their hair "trying to be white", Candace doesn't see it that way. She shared, "Not 'keeping it real!' by wearing fake hair is bull! Some people have different types of hair. Like me, for example, I have thin hair and I was actually considering getting extensions to volumize it. The only problem I have with weave is when it's ghetto and ridiculous!" She continued, " I feel the same way in regards to trying to 'white' because you straightened your hair. I love my natural curly hair but sometimes I want it to be straight. It has nothing to do with trying to be white. I LOVE BEING Black and Puerto Rican. I love my hair, I love my skin color. It's beautiful! And sisters that perm their hair straight most of the times do it because it's more manageable that way."

Tangie stopped relaxing her hair after experiencing major breakage. Bet you can't tell, right?

Manageability was what Tangie, a native New Yorker with a pretty smile and a knack for design, was after when she relaxed her hair as a teen. She wanted one a kid, but was forbidden by her mother and grandmother. At 15 or 16, her hair was virgin no more: "I actually got it because my hair would curl up and would not hold a style." But keeping her naturally curly hair in check came with a price. When I was 22, my hair came out due to color and perm. It was so bad I had bald spots in my head." Tangie has let the relaxer grow out (when I met her last year at lunch with Lori, I couldn't tell), usually styling her hair at home. She sometimes goes to a salon, one that handles a mixed clientle. She has visited salons that try to pressure her to go the chemical route, but she's left that in the past. "I do what I want!" She exclaimed, it's "about me being happy and if I'm happy nappy or silky then so be it."

When I asked her if she could choose any type of hair, what would it be, she answered, "I would choose my own because every race or person with a different texture hair has something they don't like about it and want to change. So, I'll stick with what I have." And I think, at the heart of it, that's what keeping it natural is really about, staying with your own texture and working with it and rocking it, whether it's twisting it into locs, rocking a curly fro, or flatironing it straight. Tangie did make a good point, too, about people of different races having something about their own hair they don't like. Think it's only Black women? Think again. In a coming Hair Story, we'll look at the battle women of different races- including Indian, Jewish, Latina and Italian- wage to style their hair.

Bonus: Do you wear your hair natural? Check out Black Girl With Long Hair for great styling tips and amazing products. Also, check out the Far Above Rubies Fan Page on Facebook to find out the hair tips Lori, Candace and Tangie use to keep their hair healthy. Not a fan? Join today!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Twitter Will Kill You...

... according to David Crowder Band. I think it might just make you sick. And cause carpal tunnel because of all the typing on tiny keypads. It's kind of like a 2000's version of Nintendo thumb caused by excessive bouts with Mike Tyson or double dribbling back in the 80's. Anyway, follow me on Twitter and enjoy this video!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Proverbs 22:6 in Action

I have friends who have kids who (unfortunately) have picked up the ugly habit of cursing. The tots first mumbled a four letter word at two, and were giggled at (Um, not by me. I did not find it hilarious. I flashed forward to their middle school years. Then shuddered.) by their amused parents. By four, the kids (suddenly to their parents' horror) were cussing like preschool sailors. Potty-mouthed preschoolers have become quite a problem of late- both Britney Spears and Nadya Suleman have made tabloid news this year, not only for their own exploits, but for their sons' trash talk.

So, of course I am super thrilled to hear children praying, singing or talking about God. While quite a few little girls can sing "Umbrella" while backing it up like Beyonce, it's not as often you hear a hymn coming from little mouths. I posted this video of Hannah's Prayer a little while ago, and I'm pleased to share this video of my friend Lakeyia's four year old son, Zade, reciting The Lord's Prayer.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christian Teens: Forget Sexting- It's All About the Side Hug!

The perfect illustration of a Christian side hug. Also the logo from this very funny site, Stuff Christians Like.

I thought this much discussed video was hilarious, although some of my internet perusing on the topic leads me to believe that some people aren't getting the joke. Some writers thought the young "gangsta" rappers (yeah, they have about as much street cred as Kevin Federline) were serious about extolling the purity of the side hug. While it is true that many Christians have taken to the practice (much like using Christianese phrases like "Praise the Lord" instead of just saying "Hello"), the creators of the song and video are poking fun at our Christian wackiness. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Music Malaise: The Week in Music

Out now, the unappetizing "Video Phone" by Beyonce and Lady Gaga. It'll turn your stomach so bad you'll pass on those Thanksgiving leftovers.

On Twitter (follow me!), my friend Cathy sent me the link to Beyonce and Lady Gaga's latest joint collaboration, the icky "Video Phone". Cathy wrote "I found it disturbing. Keep the younger generation in prayer." After viewing it, I could understand her concern. Not only is the song blaise (B, what's going on with you? Ever since your "B-Day", things have been sliding down hill. It's cool to have a few fun, radio friendly bland songs, but why is everything you've put out lately sound the same?), but the video tries to up the sexy, but winds up slutty. I don't like the male dancers with the camera heads (weird), but having them simulate "snapping pics" of the ladies' crotch areas is gross. And incredibly stupid. The video will unfortunately be admired most by high schoolers, and today's current group of teens do not need to be bombarded by media messages to skank it up in front of recording devices. Sexting isn't cute, and can be illegal. And we all know how well the mix of a camera and nudity turned out for Carrie Prejean.

Rihanna advertises her single "Russian Roulette" with a tat of a gun. Okay, not really. She got this earlier this year for non-promotional reasons. I think.

Another thing I didn't understand (or like) in the video was the brightly colored guns. What's that about? An homage to super soakers? At least Beyonce's and Lady Gaga's guns looked like child's play, especially compared to Rihanna's disturbing turn in "Russian Roulette." In the first single off her latest album "Rated R", Ri Ri lives up to the album's title in the video as she acts out her death- several times over. Oh how times have changed since Rihanna's mentor, Jay-Z, played out his demise in "99 Problems" five years ago and raised quite a few eyebrows. But times, they are a-changing, and the violence that caused a rapper to provide a cautionary preface in a video in '04 is overlooked in '09 when performed by a pop princess. I actually felt sadness watching the video. Why all the gun play? Why the darkness? After having such a tumultous year, why would Rihanna close it out on such a negative note? As unbelievable as it is for me to state this, here's to hoping Rihanna will "Shut Up" and again grab her "Umbrella"- ella,ella.

Not quite sure what state of mind Jay Z was in when he took this picture with the beautiful Ms. Keys.

Speaking of Jay-Z, I just wanted to quickly comment on a line from his chart-topping song "Empire State of Mind" with Alicia Keys. I've liked this song for months-it gives me the urge to jump on the PATH and take a trip to NYC. But, there is one line that irks me: "And Jesus can't save you, life starts when church ends." I do agree with that last part, that life really gets at you when you step foot out of the chapel. It's super easy to praise the Lord when the Worship Team is singing heavenly at the 11am service, but it's a lot harder to keep that praise going throughout the week when your company is facing layoffs and your marriage is crumbling. However, it's not a building we should run to for security, but God: "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Psalm 91:1-2. And contrary to Jay-hovah's words, Jehovah's Son can and does save (Matthew 1:21, Acts 15:11, I Peter 3:21). So I'll end my sermon here, and request that you testify, uh er, share your opinions on songs and videos. I'm always very thankful for comments. :-)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What A Tangled Head We Weave

Is this a man-repellent? Give your opinion.

Do all guys hate weaves? I'll admit, I don't do extensions. I only have twice. Once for the prom to add more curls, and the second time while I was on vacation a month after I finished high school. I'm not anti-weave, it's just not my thing. It seems like more work (and money) then it's worth for me. I also have THICK hair, and to add to it, even for more length, is unnecessary. Plus, my husband, who for 99% of the time is not particular about my appearance, has forbid it. Seriously. He detests fake hair. And obviously, so do these guys:

So what's the verdict? Ladies? Gentlemen?

(I first saw the video on a really cool blog called Naturally Famous. Check it out.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

It’s Hard Out Here… With A Limp

This guy thinks he's got it bad? Try having a neuropathy!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I have developed a neuropathy. To date, the myriad of doctors I have visited still do not have a clue as to why. They have ruled out a number of diseases, viruses and autoimmune disorders, but still, nada. So, dear readers, I ask that you keep me in prayer.

Recently, someone (maybe on Twitter or Facebook, I don’t know, it’s all one big cyber social for me right now) did a status update that said “It’s hard out here for a pimp”. I immediately thought about Terrence Howard in “Hustle & Flow”, complete with the funky, dried out perm, and the Oscar winning (yeah, that still seems weird to me, too) theme “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp.” I then quickly thought, “What? Pimps think they have it hard? Try being me for a while!”. Upon reflection, I admit, that is one totally weird thought. But it does make some sense. Let me share with you some of my experiences:

  • While at the orthopedist’s office during my final visit in September, the doctor told me he didn’t believe any of the tests I was undergoing for my neurologist would reveal anything was physically wrong with me. “They can do a EMG, but I don’t think it will show a thing.” I sat, silently for a minute insulted. “This dude doesn’t think anything is wrong with me physically? Ok, so it’s in my head? He thinks I’m nutso?” Hurt, I responded, “Well, it seems no one can find what’s going on with me. I’ve been to so many doctors, and no one knows. I think it’s a lot of educated guessing.” Whoops. Before I could close my mouth, the orthopedist went off on a long speech about doctors not knowing everything, car mechanics and finally, closing with a lecture on why Obama’s healthcare reform will be disastrous and everyone who voted for him will have to deal with the repercussions. I sat, stunned, mouth still agape as the old man stormed (ok, he’s super old, so it was more like shuffled noisily) out of the room. See, if I were a pimp, I could’ve popped the old doc with my shiny, stud-topped cane. He would’ve checked himself quick and know not to insinuate that I’m crazy or that I have an interest in discussing politics instead of my health. But since I’m me, I just picked my jaw off the floor, grabbed my purse and limped out. Come to think of it, that cane would’ve been handy with my limp, too.

  • Pimps are always working hard to keep their pros in line. They’re always looking menacing, yelling and raising their hand as a warning… at least they do this on television and movies. When I think of pimps, it’s usually a mix of Huggy Bear, Ike Turner, Kat Williams and Snoop Dog- which is ironic, since none of those guys were/are actually pimps. But anyway, the Hollywood pimps always have a way to stay in control. Unfortunately, these tactics don’t work for me, since my fight is to stay in control of me. The neuropathy causes my legs, arms and hands to feel simultaneously weak and sore. Sometimes I feel like my lower back is on fire. Sometimes while I’m walking, one of my legs will just give out. I haven’t fallen, thank God, but I sometimes make a crazy “OH NO!” face like I’m going to, causing people to want to come rushing to my aid. Which makes me feel embarrassed. Pimps, by the way, never show they are embarassed. At least the actors who play them don’t. I, on the other hand, have the most obvious Poker Face that could make even Lady Gaga gag. I’ve tried talking to my legs (in my head, not out loud, I’m not nutso!), but they don’t seem to always want to listen. They’ll be good one day, then rebellious the next. How am I to get them in line? The pimp hand will not work in this situation. Mostly because the neuropathy has turned my hand into the limp hand. And my legs do not fear that.

  • Pimps are known for their hair. They keep their jheri curls juiced. They will work a press and curl better than your grandma. If for some reason, like having a hit out on them, they cannot make their weekly hair appointment, someone will come to them. Same with their nails, which for many Hollywood pimps, seem to be as important as their hair. I, on the other hand, am not so connected in the world of beauty. If I can’t make it to the shop because of exhaustion, no one will kindly stop by our apartment to freshen up my mani. I always feel antsy going to the shops now since my legs have a tendency to not just fall asleep, but lapse into comas when I sit for too long without being able to move once in a while. At work this isn’t a problem, I usually get up to go to the fax machine or copier throughout the day. At the shops, no such luck. Since I have no clout and do not tip with twenties, I have to wait for my hair to be washed and rolled just like everyone else. And this sometimes means hours of barely moving. My one upside here, though, is when I’m done, my hair usually has a bounce that could put a pimp’s to shame.

I could go on about how I can’t rock platforms like a 70’s retro pimp, either (especially painful since they are so in this season), but I’ll stop here. You get my point. It is far harder out here with a limp.

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