Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Yoseph; The Saviour Part 1

Gen;37: 1-11 "Jacob lived in the land where his father had stayed, the land of Canaan.
2 This is the account of Jacob’s family line.
Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them.
  Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate[a] robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
  Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.”
 His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

When I think of all Mark and I are going through, I not only think of Job, but also Yoseph. As per my last blog entry, Mark and I know that G-d has the way worked out for us. It is just so hard to see how. Butt then, my thought turn to young Yoseph. 
When the then 17 year old Yoseph was thrown into the pit by his older brothers, knowing they would leaving him there to dies, he thought back to his father, Yacob. How would he take the news that his favourite son was dead. How would his older brothers explain it to their father?
Yoseph no doubt wished he had kept his mouth shut about the dreams he'd had instead of sharing them. He wished he haven't paraded about with the chieftain coat his father had given him. He didn't have to rub it in that he was father's favourite.
I am sure Yoseph prayed that Yahweh would get him out of this pit and return him safely back to his beloved father.
That was oldest brother Reuben's plan. Maybe then he could get back into father's good graces.
Yoseph did get out, but not the way he had hoped.
Knowing they really couldn't kill their little brother, the other men (the brothers were between 30s and 50s) they took Yoseph out of the pit and sold him as a slave.
Once the money was divided, the brothers killed a goat and dipping Yoseph's coat into the blood, these men went to their father to deceive him, to make believe that an wild animal killed Yoseph, that he was no more.
They thought they had killed the Dreamer and his dreams, that Yoseph was out of their lives once and for all:
25 As they sat down to eat their meal, they looked up and saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead. Their camels were loaded with spices, balm and myrrh, and they were on their way to take them down to Egypt.
 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? 27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed.
 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt."
Yoseph no doubt thought this was the end of his life as well. The golden boy no longer golden, no longer the little prince, he was now a slave, and the fate of a slave was no better than a dog.
What Yoseph thought as the end, was only the beginning of the salvation of the family of Yacob.
And G-d would use the very one that was casted away to do so.


Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Caravan


Well, we are still making our way through hell; every time we think we are making some head way, we find ourselves force a few steps back.
Last Thursday, we found what we thought would be a very nice apartment. With Mark's tax return, we were beginning to believe we just might make the move out deadline.
And then it happen; there it was in Saturday's mail. An old Army Exchange debt claimed the whole of the tax return. So the 2,000.00 we were counting on to live on, to move with, Uncle Sam took away. 
So now, we have nothing, not a place to live, no money to live on.
We went to see my mother and after getting over her shock, she prayed for and with us.
We needed it.
Yet, despite how dire it looks, I continue to pray, to trust G-d shall deliver us through this.
And then, this morning, I found a program from Beth Messiah, the Synagogue we use to attend some years ago.
I saved this and many programs because I love rabbi Rosenfarb's teaching and sermons notes; there is not only such rich teaching, but wisdom in what he shares.
 This one comes from February 2007 (I think) and when I read it to Mark while he took his shower, we both knew that here lie the lifeline we need....
 "In the Torah, Joseph interprets Pharaoh's two dreams and predicts a famine. Pharaoh puts Joseph in charge of handling the famine. Joseph has a family and seven years of plenty are followed by seven years of famine, as predicted. Jacob sends ten of his sons into Egypt to buy grain, but the sons do not recognize Joseph.  But Joseph recognizes his brothers. As a test, Joseph gives back their gold and demands that they bring Benjamin be brought to him. Later the brothers return and are thrown into prison.
The story is moved forward by desperation. At every turn the brothers are thwarted in their simple desire to to buy grain. Yet even to the point of bringing Benjamin into Egypt the Jacob family moves on to what they must to save their family.
The circumstances must have weighed heavily upon the family hearts as their caravan travailed the long journey back and forth.
All the while, salvation was already guaranteed, but they could not possibly have known it. Joseph was going to save his family.
Our journey does not differ. The hard circumstances of life which makes us travel the same roads over and over can steal our hope. But, we must remember this story. G-d has prepared an end to the struggle and a way to deliverance.
Let us continue to walk the caravan with G-d at our side and find our resolve in Him. It will
This word gave Mark and I
hope, a lifeline to hold onto. I share this with all who are travelling the caravan through hell with us.
Thank you, Rabbi Rosenfarb

Friday, 15 February 2013

79 Years and Counting

Today is my beloved mother's 79th birthday.
I don't believe it is no accident that her birthday falls dead in the middle of Black History Month.
The grand-daughter of former slaves, born during the Great Depression, so much of what we read in history books, she has lived. And has lived out with grace.
When she was born, black amercians still had to sit at the back of the bus, there were stores they could not go into. Schools and Churches for "colours" were normal when she grew up.
But that never held her back or made her bitter.
Mother made friends where-ever she went; of every skin colour and culture. She went on to break the colour barriers in her own life without press or fanfare.
When the first black Barbie dolls were released, she made sure my sister and I had them. When I showed interested in Black History, she made sure I had the books to increase my knowledge.
She has gone through her own trials with an abusive marriage, a marriage she had the courage to leave. She took care of an ailing mother while raising two teen-age daughters and did it with such grace I still marvel how she did it.
Even with three strokes 14 years ago, her lovely smile remains. The pose and grace of African queen, the humble spirit of a daughter of HaShem, I can only and pray to be half the woman she is when I grow up.
When I was a teenager and thought I knew everything, I thought my mother was the meanest thing walking on two legs.
Today, I realise how very wrong I was. In a world that would judge me, not because of the content of my character, my mother strive to instill in me a spirit of excellence. That because of the colour of my skin I would have to be twice to be considered good enough. Sad, but true. And in many corners of this country today, that sad fact is still true.
"You have to be calm, you have to cool, you have to keep it together."
These are the words my mother taught my sister and I.
May we be faithful to them and make her proud.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Pookies Don't Leave.

For family and friends who celebrate Valentine's Day, I hope it was a blessed one for you. Yes, for my friends who do not celebrate, I know of its pagan roots as well as of its christian roots. For Mark and I, it is the time we decided to join our lives together. And therefore, the day holds its own special meaning.
Usually, we go away to Williamsburg for  a few days, but without money, this is the second year we remain home. I made a special meal of roasted veggies over cous-cous that both Mark and Montaque enjoyed.
It has been hard on Mark these few days, not being able to buy me a flower or a card. I thought him, for me it is indeed the thought that counts. Just knowing you want to.
Now get me wrong, I enjoy receiving roses and card like any woman. But I also know that at the moment, pulling what little money we have left into the gas tank, to look for a job is more needful than flowers. Making sure we have food to eat is far more important than a box of chocolate.
I know my husband loves me. And I don't need Valentine's Day for him to show it.
Making sure I have a roof over my head is just as romantic as dinner and a movie.
This morning, Mark looked at me and said: "you really do love me, don't you?"
"Yes, I do."
"Your amazing, another woman would have left a long time ago."
"I'm not another woman, I'm your Pookie Bear. And Pookies don't left."

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Rainy Days, Rainy Nights


Eight years ago this evening, during the Blessing Dinner, hosted by our former place of worship, Mark shared with all those presence his feelings for me, not realising he was asking me to share the rest of my life with him.
Eight years ago, I agreed.
And with all the highs and downs, the illness, deployments, unemployment's, deaths and family drama, and of course the fusses, I can honestly say, if I had it all to over again, I would.
This morning we stood in a kitchen that isn't ours, sharing a cup off and a chocolate doughnut together, remembering that special night that began our journey together.
Can't say it has been dull.
When I think about it, it was a rainy night the evening we were engaged. And while it was the fourth day of summer, it rained all day the evening we got married. Even the days leading up to our wedding day were filled with tumult.
The storms of life. As one preacher said: "your either going into a storm, outing out of one or about to enter one."
How much easier to face the storms of this world with someone you love, someone you can depend on. To get to the other shore, like Northern fishermen, we have to be willing to work together to get over to the over side.
I confess, there have been moments I have been ready to abandon ship. Or toss Mark overboard.
But, those thoughts only last seconds and I throw myself back into making over to the other side with my beloved.
Marriage is indeed hard work. It takes two adults and isn't for the faint of heart.
But it in the end, it is a union, blessed of the Creator and made holy by His touch.
And eight years ago this evening, The Creator took our hands and joined us together, walking within our mists.
And I think He likes coffee.


Monday, 11 February 2013

     Worth Repeating:
The story of Carter G. Woodson                                                       

By Korey Bowers Brown
During the dawning decades of the twentieth century, it was commonly presumed that black people had little history besides the subjugation of slavery. Today, it is clear that blacks have significantly impacted the development of the social, political, and economic structures of the United States and the world. Credit for the evolving awareness of the true place of blacks in history can, in large part, be bestowed on one man, Carter G. Woodson. And, his brainchild the Association for the Study of African American

Life and History, Inc. is continuing Woodson’stradition of disseminating information about black life, history and culture to the global community. Known as the “Father of Black History,” Woodson (1875-1950) was the son of former slaves, and understood how important gaining a proper education is when striving to secure and make the most out of one’s divine right of freedom. Although he did not begin his formal education until he was 20 years old, his dedication to study enabled him to earn a high school diploma in West Virginia and bachelor and master’s degrees from the University Recognizing the dearth of information on the accomplishments of blacks in 1915, Dr. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).

Under Woodson’s pioneering leadership, the Association created research and publication outlets for black scholarswith the establishment of the Journal of Negro History (1916) and the Negro History Bulletin (1937), which garners a popular public appeal. In 1926, Dr. Woodson initiated the celebration of Negro
History Week, which corresponded with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, this celebration was expanded to include the entire month of February, and today Black History Month garners support throughout the country as people of all ethnic and social backgrounds discuss the black experience. ASALH views the promotion of Black History Month as one of the most important components of advancing Dr. Woodson’s legacy.In honor of all the work that Dr. Carter G. Woodson has done to promote the study of African American History, an ornament of Woodson hangs on the White House's Christmas tree each year.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Keep Going

 When going through hell, make sure you have plenty of Hebrew Nation Hot Dogs and Kosher marsh mellows; you never know when you have to share.

I posted the above quote from Winston Churchill because; 1. It is my favorite and 2. it is where Mark and I are at the moment.
Since we have lost our Internet and I can only get on a few times a week, I find myself having so much to share.
I continue to heal from the flu. Seem I had a rather nasty bout of it. My blood pressure is coming back under control and I am hopeful that the medication will be lower soon as well.
When we were first married, we brought a Select Comfort bed. Over the past three years it has been nothing but trouble, to the point it doesn't even hold air. I found we aren't the only ones who has had a problem with the bed, but we can't allow to buy another bed at this time. So we padded it down the best we can and pray for a good night sleep.
 A few days ago, our landlord and roommate came to Mark and I with some news. There has been a situation that has arisen in his family, that affects him personally and as a result, he has to give us and the other roommates thirty days notice.
While I cannot share the reasons, Mark and I truly understand and support his descion. I just wish there were more stand up guys like our roomie.
Then, Thursday, Mark backed into a car at work with the company trunk. While he did scratch the bumper, no one was hurt. He had to have an urine test to make sure he wasn't taking anything. It is just standard policy.
What we didn't expect was the next day, Mark would be at work long enough to receive the news he was being fired for the accident.
So now we have little less than a month to find a new home and Mark has no job.
But we were blessed with two big boxes of meat, so we will at least be eating well the next month or so.
So, once again we are going through Hell, longing for Paradise to be on the other side. And I must confess, I really don't care for the place.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Much Better


Thanks to everyone who has prayed for Mark and me.
I am pretty much over the Flu, though I have a cough that is still hanging on.
Blood Pressure is slowly returning to normal. It seems the Flu as well as the stress raised it. The doctor is quite pleased with the lower numbers, but it still needs to go lower.
We have lost Internet service for the time being, so I get online as I can. Our local market, Harris Teeter offers free WiFi for two hours at a time.
So I am now writing my blog at home, saving the entries on a file that I can cut and paste to this blog when I get a chance.
I am relearning what it means to be contend in whatever state I am in.
I, who have been on welfare, public housing, raised a son as a single parent. Surely I can regather my inner resources, lean onto the everlasting arms of my Heavenly Father and know He will see us through this as well.
It is in the Desert that HaShem drives His servants, His prophets, His children, the nation of Israel, to burn away all that is vile and unholy, to forge His children into His image, to make us Holy as He is holy.
It isn't an easy progress. But there are not only lessons, but beauty in the Desert.
If only we would open our eyes to see it.

Black History Month. Day 1


Today is the first day of Black History Month.

This is the year 2013. We have indeed come a long way.

Today, the first bi-racial President has begun to serve his second term with our first African American first lady by his side.
Today, men and women of color are serving in places and positions we could not even have dreamt of twenty years ago. Even in my own family, Mixon and Prude men and women who have served in circles of leadership in the military, churches, government and education.

And for all the gains, we still have a long way to go. While more women of colour are attending college, more men of colour are in jail. While we have black doctors and nurses, we also have drug dealers. While we sing the songs of Zion, there are also the vile tunes that spring from the pit of hell.

The doors of education are now wide open to us, but how many of our children are dropping out of high school.  For all the struggles our great-grandparents and grandparents went through, wanting to make a better life for us, many have not taken advance of them. Yes, there are those who would love to see us back in chains, sitting in the back  of the bus once again, the truth is, the ones stopping us from moving forward isn’t from outside the black community, but from within.
I am giving fair warning; my post this month is not going to be easy reading.  There will be those I shall make rather angry. That is fine.
There is a saying I love; the truth shall set you free. First, it shall piss you off.