Healing race relations in the everyday ordinary

Healing race relations in the everyday ordinary

I never had to learn to love people of color because they first loved me.  Back in 1990 I went to the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA.) Every student that walked those halls wanted to be there. It was a privilege and a commitment. Our days started early, as we all took multiple freeways, commuting in from all over the county. And we stayed late, rehearsing Shakespeare on the lawn. We were actors, instrumentalists and singers, dancers and visual artists. Long and lean black men, with jazz shoes hung over their broad shoulders; Russian and Chinese immigrants carrying violin cases and heavy backpacks; visual artists with their hair dyed blue, portfolios tucked under their arms. We were a hodgepodge of inspired, self-expressing youth. But the overarching theme of our student body was inclusivity.     There were no minority groups among us because there wasn’t a majority of any one race. We were diversified, and therefore unified.  My years at LACHSA shaped the way I view race relations today, more than any other single season or singular event in my life. During my Sophomore year I joined the Student Coalition on campus. Our peer leaders were hippies, mostly the visual artists with a few female dancers who had dreadlocks and didn’t shave their legs or underarms. It was the year we marched downtown to celebrate anti-apartheid leader, Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. We carried banners and chanted, “United we stand – Divided we fall.” It was the first time I smelled pot. I wore a tee-shirt that displayed Mandela’s face. It looked like a piece of art by Andy Warhol, decorated in bright Rastafarian...
When will they ever change?

When will they ever change?

A few months ago Amber Lia and I released a book entitled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses. To accompany the book’s launch I’ve been speaking at MOPS groups all over Southern California, and what I’ve found is that no matter what Trigger I focus on, we always come back to this main point…   The following is an except from chapter 15 of Triggers, “When will they ever change?”   Why do marriage and motherhood have to be so hard? When we got engaged, our eyes were fixed on happily ever after. Even though we vowed “in sickness and health,” the dream was health and happiness. Though we swore to love one another “for better or for worse,” we naively expected a whole lot more “better” than “worse.” The same is true when we wanted babies. Whether conceiving was as easy as your wedding night, or as difficult as a long barren season followed by a trip across the ocean to an orphanage, the idea was happiness and the completion of a dream. And the dream was good. But many women I know would describe their reality today more like a nightmare with unruly kids who simply won’t change. Long days with three children under the age of five, with nobody taking naps; complaining about what’s been served for dinner; throwing fits at home and having meltdowns in public; and their daddy works long hours and comes home late and tired, with very little left over to contribute emotionally. You do your best to be consistent when it comes to love and discipline, believing whole-heartedly that...
from fast to feast – join us for a journey through the Psalms

from fast to feast – join us for a journey through the Psalms

For those of you who just completed our 2nd Annual 40 Day Sugar Fast… HIP-HIP-HOORAY! We’ve been more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Looking back over these 40 days I see many recurring themes, and all of them straight from the Bible. – We talked a lot about letting our hunger pangs drive us to the only One who can ever satisfy our soul’s great hunger. (Psalm 90:14) – We recognized that when we “hunger and thirst for anything else, we hunger and thirst in vain.” (Matt. 5:6) – We confessed our tendency to emotionally binge rather than bring our emotions to the Lord. (Ps. 139:23) – We collective heard Him say, “Thanks for the sugar, but what I really want is all of you.” (Mark 12:30) – Likewise, we admitted that once God shook this shackle free He immediately convicted us about other idols in our lives. (Leviticus 26:1) – And finally, we’ve heard women joyfully confess, “I’m finally satisfied.” (Psalm 107:9) More than anything else was the call to be in God’s Word throughout the fast. Instead of running to the pantry (for chocolate chips to get us through) we ran to Him, His Word, His Holy Spirit power!  We encouraged Bible study and Bible memory, and reminded each other that nothing else is sweeter. (Psalm 119:103)  It was a liberating and life-giving 40 days! And none of us are eager to turn back to captivity. We want to keep walking in freedom and pursuing the One who set us free indeed. And so we are going from fasting to feasting…     We have developed a holy hunger to “taste and see” that...
Building a legacy of faith – Forest Home

Building a legacy of faith – Forest Home

He stretched and pulled all eight years of his body up into a full seated stance, then leaned his little person out the window as we drove up into the mountains. The brisk morning air stung his nostrils and made his eyes run. Reaching his hand out the window, he fought the wind and won with a laugh. The creek that ran down the mountain beside the road testified to warm spring days and melting snow, and I couldn’t wait to introduce my boys to the same creek bed where I had played as a child, “plopping stones.” After a while he settled back into his seat, hair sticking up because the wind and run her fingers through his dirty blond locks. Breathless and with a slight lisp, my youngest child asked, “Mom, are our tires touching the same exact places your tires had touched as a kid?” It was my turn to cry, and my nostrils stung, and the tears ran like a river down the hillside of my face, landing in a sweet “plop” on my shirt. “Yes, I do. I think that our tires are touching the exact same dirt that my dad’s tires had touched, and my church bus’ tires had rolled over when I was a kid. Absolutely.” And his jaw dropped and his eyes shone, and he laughed again like a miracle. And it was. The older two, seated in the back of our SUV, put down their devices to take in the splendor of my childhood memories as we drove up and into the San Bernardino Mountains. Last week I took my boys to Forest Home Christian...
Forest Home: Mother / Son Retreat

Forest Home: Mother / Son Retreat

When I was a child my dad would take my brother and me up into the local mountains for a day or a weekend or a week at a time. He taught us to shoot a bow from an arrow, to maneuver our sleds down snowy slopes, and skip stones across icy streams. Grandma and Grandpa had a cabin up in those hills above Los Angeles, and the shag carpet smelled musty and safe beside the fireplace. Needless to say, that campground is near and dear to my heart. Forest Home.  Our church group also brought us up the same mountain pass for youth camp two times a year. I gave my life to Christ at a campfire in fourth grade. My best friend, Matt Morgan and I walked back to main camp that night, laughing and throwing snowballs into the branches, heavy laden with snow. We drank our fill of hot cocoa in the winter and milkshakes in the summer, and played more card games in Blinko Lodge than I can count. Forest Home.  Faith becomes a child’s own at camp in the mountains. I believe that with all my guts. The majesty and the splendor assailing young senses, followed by the truth of God’s Word and campfire worship. In sixth grade I was sitting between Heather Coombs and Brooke Donald in Hormel Hall, and we were singing “Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.” And I felt His Spirit upon my shoulders so tangibly… I believed with every fiber of my being. Forest Home. I went away to college and my Grandpa gave our cabin to the camp,...
Drop holiday weight – with more food and fellowship

Drop holiday weight – with more food and fellowship

Apparently it’s possible to gain 10 pounds in 3 weeks. Who knew? It might have had a little to do with our extended celebrations in Texas and Tennessee and all things BBQ – seriously, pulled pork may be my undoing! Or, perhaps, it was the chocolate pecan pies my mom brought on Christmas Eve; or the truffles that I ate as fast as I could so there wouldn’t be any leftovers to tempt me in the new year. It seemed like a good idea at the time. One week into 2016, and it’s time to get back on track. But I know I won’t get my body back in shape by heaping on a bunch of disjointed workout plans and only eating hard boiled eggs – I tried that last year – it didn’t work. So, here’s what I’m wondering after a month of seriously satisfying food and fellowship: If pounds come on in the company of good friends, is it possible to drop the holiday weight the same way? Stick with me here. Pounds came on as a byproduct of enjoying good food with good friends. You know what I’m talking about, grazing candy bowls while whipping all the little people in a game of Sorry; chatting it up with girlfriends over a cheese platter, piled high with all the scrumptiously aged white cheeses known to womankind; sliding another baking sheet of Christmas cookies into the oven for an impromptu round of cookie decorating with neighborhood kids. Food pairs perfectly with friendship. Click To Tweet Every meal spent with family and friends this holiday was like a banquet table heavy-laden with equal parts sweet potatoes and sweet fellowship. Good food and good friends simply...