GRACE, a Name we can all Adopt

A store clerk looked at my credit card last week and asked, "What does your name mean, Anita? It is so beautiful". I responded that I once knew, but had forgotten… that I would google it.Apparently, my name means GRACE and I couldn't have been happier to learn or re-learn this little fact. I have always loved that word.While I was preparing for yoga with the ladies of the Phila. Federal Detention Center (FDC), I decided to research the meaning of many of their names:Donna- l … [Read more...]

Why Roots Was So Important: A Message for Those Who Didn’t Want to Watch it.

If I had a dollar for every time a well meaning person has said to me “my family owned slaves, but we didn’t treat them badly” or “My family didn’t own slaves, we fought for the confederacy to protect ourselves from northern aggression” or “slavery wasn’t that bad, being an indentured servant like my Irish ancestors was much worse” I could probably pay back my students loans and buy a house.Snopp Dogg did not want to watch Roots because it shows the violent oppression of Black folks in the US … [Read more...]

Die, Die, Die

Do you ever wake up so sad because the world is overrun with violence, grief + disbelief in the healing power of love? and your own pounding (occasionally violent) heart threatens to beat itself out of your chest...  I am led to pray over my friends and family. It's as if as I extend each blessing, I can already feel love  returning to me.  But then I have this feeling ARISE-- it is so unsettling, I am not me at all...I am other than myself. I do not fit in my old skin any … [Read more...]

The Time is NOW to embrace our not so menacing Shadow

 Shadows go in front of you, leading into your future and trail behind you, leaving a part of you in the past. They are clearest when we are in the light, and disappear when we lose ourselves in darkness. Kiersten WhiteA shadow does not have a polar opposite; it gently embraces both light and dark at once. While light displays morning and darkness mourning, shadows show us that both of these extremes exist simultaneously and in relation to each other. This is true of all … [Read more...]

Poem: I needed a friend, not a know it all

Disclaimer: After Pentecost, at Park Avenue Baptist Church we are starting a series on Job. Many of us have felt real suffering in our own lives. I decided to push some of my energy into this poem to understand what Job felt like when Zophar blamed him. While in my own life, I've had less than two percent of my friends ever say horrible things to me around suffering, job did. After I lost so much, I only had 2 friends say stupid things to me. What I've experienced has been nothing but sheer love … [Read more...]

What Do You See When You Look at Me: Beyonce, Colorism & Identity

I am an adoptee from Colombia. I was born in Bogota. My adoptive sister, six years younger than me, is also from the same city and same orphanage — we are not biologically related. She has golden skin and, especially as a child, golden hair. I have olive-brown skin and dark brown hair. We look nothing alike. When my sister was in elementary school someone made fun of her for being adopted and from Colombia. She came home and crafted a child’s story about how she was born in the hospital down the … [Read more...]

Now – A poem and painting reminding us to be present

This year I have been thinking about how to get the most out of life. What I landed upon was to be more present in each moment. But that is hard to do. I consider it a skill that is learned and practiced. So this year I have been meditating on what it means to experience the presence, to feel it, and to pay attention to it. I want to realize that "power of now" that so many spiritual masters speak of. This squares with my Christian spiritual practices because I believe we can be more open to … [Read more...]

Jesus Commanded I Tell You about Gluttony

Like a preacher in yoga pants I have come, a new Paul, to tell of your integrity in Christ, as a shared identity. But first you must put down your phone or laptop...Go ahead, trust me, she says with a mischievous grin.Back already? Great, now that I have your full attention!! Put it back down and put one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart. Close your eyes and fill up your belly like a big balloon, pause for a few seconds and then watch the belly descend as you slowly empty out … [Read more...]

Hey it’s Jesus in an Easter Dress Sitting in the Lotus, but You don’t Recognize Him

I cried on Easter Sunday...actually, Jesus my bridegroom wept because again He went unrecognized. It's a sad feeling deep in the heart, when a pastor doesn't recognize the risen One he is preaching about knowing so well. Not much has changed in over 2,000 years. It's Good Friday morning --coffee with an old friend chatting about God, yoga, healing, trauma, + racial tensions when over walks the pastor of a local church we used to attend. He had his back to us and I had not even seen him … [Read more...]

Radical, Subversive, Defiant, Self-Love

Black Women live in a crossroads of oppression where racism and sexism meet, and that is without even mentioning those of us that a queer, experiencing poverty, disabled, new to this nation, elderly, or adolescent. We face a unique struggle because we are constantly told that we are not good enough and we have to ask ourselves if the hate is because of our race, our gender, or both this time.Our bodies are consistently, historically, and unapologetically policed. Our hair, noses, butts, … [Read more...]


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