And the love quote of the year goes to… “Oloff”- from the Disney movie Frozen

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Someone great told me to watch this warm film about the cold, which creatively tells an exciting story about the dangers of a frozen heart and the journey of one young princess to find the answer- and the answer- as in many Disney movies- is, true love.

But what exactly IS true love?

In this movie the queens sister is about to die from being struck in the heart by ice accidentally by the queens rage of anger and pain. The princess’s heart was growing cold and the only thing that could heal her was true love.

Without giving away the entire plot… When true love does in deed heal the princess, Oloff, the most adorable character in the film, a snowman, says it perfectly in a voice that lets you know that it dawned on him suddenly “Love is putting someone else’s needs before your own.”

And there we have it folks, plain and simple. The love that heals us; the love that saves the world; the love that builds bridges and tears down barriers; The love that is the answer to wars and famine; That lifts others up and lowers ourselves at their feet in service- Is the love that puts others needs before our own.

That’s it- that’s Jesus. That understanding is why He was born- in a barn, poor- to serve others. That’s exactly why the story of a king is told humbly- Because that’s who he was- born to serve; born to love. Born to sacrifice himself for the needs of others- And so were we. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Good night- Merry Christmas.
Happy New Year!
Love others the best you can- even if you get angry and smash their gingerbread house😉 Love can help you repair it.

One year of Love and Truth-
Tulani

A little bit of kindness goes a long way!

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Sometimes I struggle with being angry with people who are mean to me- as you may be able to tell if you have read some of my previous blogs, but I recently learned two things to help me on this journey of learning how to live out Love. 

1) When I am pissed off, one kind thing from someone can completely change how I feel even if it’s just a smile- and I realize the power of basic, genuine kindness.  That one kind thing may help me to reset my focus and assists me in the process of forgiving an offense; And I have the power to help someone else do the same.

2)  Just because someone is unkind in one regard, does not mean that they are all around unkind.  They may be a stickler about one particular thing, but may turn around and show extraordinary kindness in another area-  and that is the aspect of someone’s character that should be my focus.  Whatever is good in a person is what should be magnified and appreciated and the other stuff disregarded.  When I am thankful for my life and blessings and have a positive, optimistic focus, I find it easier to focus on the goodness in others and be thankful for those things-  and I am still trying to grow in this area.

Thankful for the goodness that is in all of you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Take the high road- sit down.

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I always thought that I may have made a good lawyer.  I can defend almost any point  if I am forced to and I like to pick apart topics and debate and beat a horse that has long passed  rigor mortis; and have often not been mature enough to not argue a petty point- until recently.

If my husband or anyone for that matter says something that I strongly disagree with I have had a hard time not voicing my opinion and I like and respect when others disagree with me.  I like the dialogue.  I enjoy hearing other perspectives and learning from other people’s point of view and challenging what I once thought as truth.

For friends of mine who are the same way we can discuss our opposite views exhaustively and walk away appreciating one another’s differences, taking away from the conversation a different understanding of the other person.  Our opinions don’t always change, but usually we find a common ground of understanding on some level.

With others, this kind of open communication may not be possible nor necessary AND I am learning that depending on the nature of the conversation, it can be argumentative to state an opinion in opposition to someone else’s. et.

I thought to myself, “why am I attempting to be understood? Why do I need to interject an opinion?”  I didn’t find an answer for why, but what I did figure out is that when I say something to someone that is opposite their belief it puts me in a position of an opponent and unless a mutual trust and respect has been established, opposing someone, or putting myself in the place of an opponent in a way may make me be perceived on some level as an enemy.  Can I be perceived as loving and simultaneously an enemy? Probably not. 

In my journey to learn how to be more kind and loving as a way of life, I realized that stating my opinion may not always be a part of that unless it is in the right setting and manner.  Nothing wrong with sharing who you are and your thoughts, but when it’s the unpopular opinion, maybe the loving thing to do is to keep it to myself unless absolutely necessary to speak up.   I have and always will speak up for others, but often times, maybe love is being quiet.

Point B to myself is even if I am right about what I have to say, if it won’t be received properly for any number of reasons including delivery, than the statement could be counter productive.

Point C is sometimes I’m just flat out wrong.

So I have come to the conclusion that unless I am seriously compelled, have a strong conviction or am called to stand up, to speak up, I will sit down and shut up.

Sometimes taking the high road means sitting down.

Good Fathers- Now that’s LOVE

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Good Fathers- Now that's LOVE

I recently realized what a sacrifice it is for my husband to get up in the morning and drive our son one and half hours to private school and back. I thought to myself “How in the world did he learn how to be such a great father when he didn’t have such a great example of one in his life?” Where did he pull from to know how to take such great care, pay so much attention and be there for our children when they need him?
He doesn’t just say he loves them or just believes in his heart that he does. He shows them! Not only by being there for them consistently, supporting them in life emotionally and financially, but by sacrificing his own wants and desires for theirs.
I thought of lots of other men whom I know who are also EXCELLENT fathers! There are so many who have fallen down on the job, but there are also so many who have not, and then there are others who have not only not fallen down but have persevered through their own fatherly disappointments and childhood heart aches to do better; to give their children more than what they were offered in the way of a father growing up and not just to give more, but to excel at fatherhood.
Many fathers have had dreams and hopes for their lives, but no matter which ones were realized, the accomplishment of being a great father surpasses them all and makes up for what was not. These men have righted in the lives of their kids a wrong that took place in theirs and have broken what could have been an ongoing pattern of behavior. I am amazed by them and in awe.
Many men are great, but you awesome father surpass them all- this I am sure! And though you do it not for accolades, your glory I will not ignored. TJ
Honoring those men who take care of business with their children! (Especially the ones who did not have an example to follow)
I wish I could have posted a picture above of every awesome father, but those were the ones whom I know and that came to mind immediately when I began to write this, interestingly enough, every one of them had a picture of themselves with their children as one of their profile pictures on Facebook- so they made it easy for me to put together that small collage.
Ya’ll inspire me- and so many others –
Now THAT’s LOVE!

“The fundamental principle of the New Testament is universal love”

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http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TzV1r5SCc8U&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DTzV1r5SCc8U

“The human condition and social conditions change. What is the fundamental principle of the New Testament? It is one of universal love. Loving your fellow man. And if we get obsessed with a particular definition of that through a form of sexuality, then I think we are missing the centrality of what the gospel; whether you call it a social gospel, a personal gospel, or a spiritual gospel is all about.”
Kevin Rudd
Australia’s Prime minister

Beautifully stated.

“Love thy neighbor as thyself” was meant to encompass “love thy gay neighbor as thyself.”
Tulani

Whites in the American Civil Rights Movement- Now That’s Love!

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Whites in the American Civil Rights Movement- Now That's Love!

I recently saw a few movies that inspired me to love in a way that I have not previously had to love.
The first was The Butler, where it reviews the history of African Americans from just after slavery until today and takes us through the life of a man who lived as a boy in the abusive south on a cotton plantation and was alive to see Obama inaugurated. His generation is the last of those who are still alive today who could have had the experience of being born to people who were slaves on a plantation. In the story it showed some of the experiences of those who were the Freedom Riders in the 1960’s.
I knew of the atrocities that took place, I knew of the abuses that the people who were determined to ride on non-segregated buses together to make change endured, but what I had never before really thought of were the experiences of the white people who road and marched and were beaten and spit on and murdered alongside the black people whom they fought for.
I wondered what makes a person decide to trade comfort and a normal life to endure adversity and hardship and even face death to fight for an equality that they already had, and simply desired for someone else. What would make a person do such a thing?
I then, in the same week, saw the movie of the book to Kill a Mockingbird, which is told from the perspective of a little girl who was white and raised in the south during the time when blacks were free from slavery, but hated and severely mistreated and discriminated against. The book shows a window into the normalcy of living amongst discrimination as a child, that does not necessarily impact you directly and what that looks like. It would be easy to just do nothing about the injustices around you and to not even see them as such when it is the status quo. It would be normal to just live and do nothing and who could blame one for just minding their own business? But in the story, the girl’s father is faced with a decision to defend a black man for rape, and against a lot of opposition and threats, he decides to do what he believes is right and defend the man, putting not only his safety, but the safety of his own family at risk. His integrity would not allow him to do any less than what he believed in his heart was the right thing to do no matter the cost. What would make a person do such a thing?
What would make a person interrupt the comfort of their lives to see to it that others can live free?
I understand why black people would be involved in the civil rights movement because we would be fighting for ourselves and if not our own equality, for that of our children and their children, but what makes a person enter the hated side of a world of danger and grave injustice and fight until the death for another’s freedoms? What other than love?
Before now, I had never considered the grand capacity to love that must be in the heart of people who would do such a brave, compassionate and selfless thing.
Dr. King was a great man who understood and taught an aspect of love that is hard even to comprehend. He said that you cannot drive out darkness with darkness but rather only with light and it is the light of his non-violence movement to love his white brothers and everyone equally despite how he was treated, that shed light on how unjust racism is and convicted the hearts of men and women who would not have otherwise been moved to change, People were changed when they saw innocent people enduring such abuse and not returning evil for evil but rather humbly returning good for evil.
But what has recently boggled my mind even more is the love that the white freedom riders had, who were beaten and killed to give to their black brothers and sisters an equality that they themselves already had.
Today I honor those who were not African American who fought and even died for the civil rights of all.
That’s love.

Killed in Mississippi in 1964 for fighting for the rights of blacks to vote:
Michael Schwerner
Andrew Goodman

Love is an Individual Choice

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Love is an individual choice

As many times before, last weekend I debated world issues with some wonderful and wise people. We discussed social and individual responsibility, the role of government, race and religion in our lives and we agreed that for those who are still disenfranchised something needs to be done, but we did not know what.
I agreed with every point that ever person made just about regarding the hurtles of discrimination on various basis that still exist and pose a barrier, I agreed that there are numerous barriers to progress other than discrimination and then I thought, but what about individual responsibility?
No matter what the powers that be decide, do we not each have a higher individual choice to make in our own lives and in the lives of others to improve things with in our circle of influence?
Despite all of the social injustices; despite unfair laws and policies; despite historical abuses; despite familial dysfunctions; does not each person have an individual choice to make that could make things better collectively for everyone?
Now I know that situations and life are extraordinarily complex, beyond simplifying it to a one sentenced inquisition. But I ask on a very basic level, does not how the community scene plays out affecting everyone in it collectively, not boil down to individual responsibility and choices?
I think back to Nazi Germany and I always wondered what each individual soldier told himself in order to carry out the heinous commands of Hitler. I wonder if each person had purposed it in his heart to take individual responsibility for his own individual actions, if there could have not been a cooperative change on a basic level to not do what would cause harm to others; if the holocaust may have been prevented by numerous individual refusals to hate. What if each soldier chose to not do to any human what they would not want done to them, or their family.
What of American slavery? What if each man identified buying a human laborer as unjust? What if each man said to himself “Would I want my daughter or son purchased and bred like farm animals?” What if he asked himself “Should the mighty American dollar have more value than the sacred human life?” or “Are fighting for my own freedoms and liberties more important than helping someone else live so that we can all be free together.” I wonder if American history would be different if each person asked himself those questions. I wonder if American history will be different in 200 years if we can start asking ourselves some of those questions today.
It seems that we, as an American community, are so consumed individually with the holes in our own shoes, that we no longer care that there are many right around us here in America who are still walking miles without shoes.
In our debate someone said that the downfall of the black community was the introduction of crack into the community. I wonder if the introduction of mind destroying drugs into other communities devastated them as well? I do not know, my primary experience living around poverty has only been in the black community, but if drugs were the downfall of the community, did not the crack or meth user have a choice to make at some point? Did not the crack or meth dealer have not a choice to make?
Do not the people who pull the trigger, who buy the gun, and who sell them, have not a choice?
What of individual responsibility?
I grew up hearing from my parents and grandparents firsthand accounts of an era when black people were dragged out of their homes and innocently shot or hanged with no justice expected to be pursued. When black girls were burned alive and black boys were lynched for no reason other than hate. When blacks were not permitted into various neighborhoods nor social groups and neither could use the same bathrooms sit in the same seats on the bus, drink from the same fountains, neither vote nor attend the same colleges as their white peers.
If my grandparents and parents remember these events then they weren’t so very long ago. But my have things changed! There are still a ways to go in the way of true equality, but we as a people have come pretty far…
… Except that
I grew up seeing my neighbors shot on the corners over petty arguments or drug feuds. I saw people being killed for gold chains and sneakers. I, before I was 18 was help up at gun point twice. The first time they got a cheap pager I had and a brand new Eddie Bauer jacket. The second time I ran for help as my friend lost her jewelry. Someone, ironically, the neighborhood drug dealer saw me running and did come to our aid, thankfully neither time I was shot, but not because the stick up boys were far beyond shooting the young teenaged victims that they robbed.
So now then, what of individual responsibility?
After our debate, we figured a lack of leadership is a part of the problem. Many people have had these experiences, they decide on an individual level to do something better, but have no idea how to help the community as a whole. There are way more good apples around than bad ones still, but how do the good ones come together, raise their children to do better and not tolerate the terrorism of the bad apples? I don’t know- I do agree that there is a lack of leadership. Or even just a lack of role models, but I am hopeful that we, who are now the adults will give back and each one of us has to individually figure out in what way we will. I confess that I have fallen down on my individual responsibility to give back to the community that I was raised in. I made it out, I know better and now I have to do better.
It is not enough to just blog about love, but I, we, need to get out into the city of brotherly love and do just that.
Will let you know what I come up with.
Here is a story that I came across today that I found very inspiring.
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Journeyman/167865816737032 (this article is about the men in the photo above)
Don’t let anyone judge the way that you decide to express your love for others. Individually, selflessly, fearlessly, we can collectively make a change!