CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH

FEBRUARY - BLACK HISTORY MONTH

A RAINBOW IN HER CLOUDS

Maya Angelou is the most inspirational writer that ever lived, in my humble opinion.  She lived through horrific circumstances early in life, yet she rose above it all – and more to the point, she wrote the survival manual for the rest of us!

The first volume in Dr. Angelou’s autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, is a poignant and poetic account of the author’s life until age 17.  The title was chosen for the caged-bird image that Lawrence Dunbar used in his poem “Sympathy”.  The book honestly reveals the cruelty, indignity and injustice that confined African-Americans in the 1930’s & 1940’s…  the cage… but also celebrates black people’s spirit, humor and courage.  I recommend you read this book if you are in an abusive relationship or know one who is.  There are some upsetting personal incidents, including rape, racial prejudice and stories of urban life, so may be too disturbing for preteens.  Dr. Angelou also wrote the screenplay for the 1999 movie adaptation of the book.

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Do you believe that Barak Obama is the first African-American President?  I disagree…

Abilene, Kansas is about 90 minutes from Wichita.  From the time I was a child I’ve visited the amazing Eisenhower museum and library.  The grounds are so beautiful and there’s a serenity there that I can’t really explain.  It’s particularly beautiful in the spring and summer months – so quiet except for the birds chirping in the trees – such a lovely place to meditate and think about the past and the future of America.lib-eisenhower-lHow much do you know about Dwight David Eisenhower?  He was a general and then became President of the U.S. in 1953 and served until 1961.  I’ll bet there’s something you did not know.  Did you know that his mother was bi-racial?  Yep.  When I hear people say that we have the first African-American President in Barak Obama, it makes me cringe.  People don’t study history anymore apparently because that’s simply not true.  We’re still waiting for the first African-American President.  Could it be Dr. Ben Carson?  Hmm…  time will tell.eisenhower-FB-mulattoEisenhower’s mother, Ida Stover Eisenhower was a mulatto.

Born in Mount Sidney, Virginia, her original name was Elizabeth Juda according to baptismal records.  She was the only daughter of Elizabeth Ida Judah Link and Simon P. Stover.  Her mother died when she was five years old.  Her maternal grandparents, William Link and Esther Black Link took her in.  William died in 1879 and her maternal uncle and aunt, William J. Link and Susan Cook Link raised her at their farm.

They did not believe girls should be educated, but encouraged her instead to memorize the Bible.  She ran away when she learned she could not enroll in high school.  When she turned twenty-one, she joined two of her brothers Stover who had moved to Kansas.

Stover graduated from high school at age 19 and taught for two years before entering Lane University, where she met her future husband, David Jacob Eisenhower, of German and Swiss ancestry.  The two were married on September 23, 1885 in Lecompton, Kansas on the campus of their alma mater.  The family was always poor, even though David was a college-educated engineer.

In the 1890’s, Eisenhower left the River Brethren Christian group, and joined the International Bible Students, which would evolve into what is now known as Jehovah’s Witnesses.  The Eisenhower home served as the local meeting hall for the Bible Students from 1896-1915 but her sons never joined the movement.

When their son, Dwight, decided to attend West Point it saddened his mother.  She felt that warfare was “rather wicked,” but she didn’t overrule him.

In 1945, Eisenhower was named Kansas Mother of the Year.

“Many such persons of her faith, selflessness, and boundless consideration of others have been called saintly. She was that—but above all she was a worker, an administrator, a teacher and guide, a truly wonderful woman.”  – Dwight D. Eisenhower

ida-stover-mulattoIt’s entirely possible that Eisenhower was not the first President with African-American roots.  In years past these things were not necessarily made part of public record.

The Eisenhower’s had six children – and what if they had not???  We would not have had such a good 34th President of the United States, right???  I LIKE IKE!!!  🙂

 

 

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HAPPY NEW YEAR

TL 1-1 HAPPY NEW YEARI’m the only one in my family that eats black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.  It’s a tradition that began when I was just a little girl.  Today I’ll eat a bowl all by myself, but I’ll be thinking of my parents, who put enough butter and black pepper on their peas to drown out the natural flavor.

Whether you eat black-eyed peas or not, this day represents the dawn of a free slate – a fresh start – a new beginning!  There are no mistakes in this day yet.  Well, unless you count that I forgot to put the cap on the toothpaste this morning – okay that was a goof.

But the point is, we have the choice to begin from here and LET GO of all our past transgressions and missteps.  Honestly, to hang on to that stuff – especially the things you will never EVER have the power to change – well, that can just make you bitter and angry and very cranky toward others.  Is that what you really want?  It’s not what I want! 

So today I want to encourage you to literally let the past go…  release it into the vastness of space where it can rise up so far that it eventually breaks into millions of tiny pieces and evaporates completely.  Life is too short to huddle up with past hurts and tons of regret that serve absolutely NO purpose in your life today.

Focus on this day – this present moment – this is what you have, and tomorrow it will be part of the past as well.  The older I get, the less I hang on to.  I just closely filter the things I choose to get my knickers in a knot over – and it’s never over anything that I cannot change.  I cannot waste my time and my energy trying to re-write history.  What’s done is done and it can’t be replayed with a different outcome – so why leave the tape in your head?  Get it out of there – and refocus your mind on the things of today – the new challenges and the new adventures that lie ahead in this new, fresh exciting year!

We have important choices to make in the future – we have to choose a president for our country!  We have new jobs to learn, new skills to hone, new paths to tread – and right beside us is our constant companion, God!  He will see us through anything He brings us to in life.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!  God’s got this!  🙂

PROVERBS 8:13 ON 8/13

TL PROVERBS 8 13 ON 8 13

To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.  – Proverbs 8:13

The book of Proverbs is filled with wisdom, isn’t it?  If ever there was a time in history when America and the world could use some wisdom…  well – I believe it’s now!

Have I mentioned that I am not perfect lately?  Well, I’m not.  I’m just a human being who leans heavily on my heavenly Father.  Fearing the Lord is to hate evil.  By fear, it’s not saying we should quake in our boots and hide behind tree trunks.  Fear means to have a reverence, respect, honor and awe of God.  Think about where your power comes from…  it really is awesome and awe-worthy!  This kind of fear is always tied to our obedience of Him.

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God doesn’t dig pride and arrogance.  Well, if you are too dependent on yourself, why would you depend on God?  Think about it.

God cannot look on sin – He just can’t.  Evil behavior often leads to something worse than the behavior that started it.  Evil behavior takes you down a one-way street with nowhere to turn around.  Eventually you may hit bottom, but it’s usually a short trip to the bottom.  Know this, however, that anywhere on the trip you can call out to Jesus Christ and He will be there for you.  He can and will help you out of the pit of self-destruction.  You’ll have to make changes, but the rewards will be so worth it.

A sweet pastor’s wife once told me that when people use profanity, they lack the intelligence to make a better choice of words.  That has stuck with me through the years.  God’s last name is not dang it…  or worse.  God is to be honored, respected above all and reverenced.  Anything less is a disgrace and sin.  Ask Him to forgive you for using His Holy name in vain because you will be held accountable for it if you don’t.

I want to be free of pride, anger, arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.  And if I may make the following statement:  I want my next president to be free of these things too.  I want a president who seeks guidance from God.  I want a president who is wise in decision-making.  Some diplomatic decisions need to be made not out of anger or arrogance – but with the wisdom that only comes from his or her higher power…  God.

Self-sufficiency does not impress this voter.  Self-made people are not what America needs right now.  Haven’t we been under the leadership of one who is self-made already?  Do we want more of that?  Let’s keep praying about this.  Who does God want in the White House?  Let’s consult Him about it.  🙂