“The Greatest Love of All”

There is a song sang by the late great Whitney Houston that says, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.”  Although that is by far one of the most beautiful songs that I have ever heard, I must beg to differ with it.  Allow me to state my case.  I mean since we are in the Holiday Season and all.  And yes, it is time to trim the tree.  Time for mistletoe and holly.   Time for peace on earth, good will toward man.  But even considering all that, I place before you, a world gone mad.  A world that by all means and purposes seems to be turning completely upside down, ready to implode on itself.  To self destruct.  And even in this the most blessed and Holy seasons, it sometimes seems to be impossible to find as much as a hint of rationality, stability or sound judgment in this world.  Not to mention any of those other wonderful fruits that the Lord God happened to talk about in the times of yore.  You know, the ones like love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, meekness, longsuffering, gentleness, faith, temperance, against any of these there is no law.  Let me give you a few examples or present to you exhibit A, as to how far we have fallen off track all around the world everyday, but it seems to be more prevalent during the Holiday season and especially on “Black Friday.” (And this is taken from 98.7 WFGR Radio Station Website).

In New Jersey: A woman was arrested for spitting on anther shopper and her children.  Why?  Los Angeles: 20 customers (including kids) suffered injuries after being pepper sprayed by a fellow shopper. Police say she used the spray to get a better shot at a discounted Xbox.  In San Landro, CA: A shopper was shot after fighting two armed men who were out to steal his purchases.  Upstate New York: Two women were arrested after fist fighting in the electronics department.  In Kinston, NC: Cellphones marked from $200 to $35 caused fists to fly between customers — security had to use pepper spray to regain order.  Right here in west Michigan – Muskegon:  A teen was treated for injuries after being trampled repeatedly by customers rushing to the electronics department.  In Phoenix, AZ: A grandfather who put a video game in his waistband to lift his grandson above a rowdy crowd for safety was thrown to the ground by police.  And Wal-Mart stores in Woodland Park, CO, Neosho, MO, and Bentonville, Ark, all received bomb threats.  Really people? For something that they are going to play with for 5 to 10 days then toss to the side?

Someone, please tell me, what happened to the good old days, the simpler days.  The days when you could pick a pine cone up off of the ground, paint it a pretty color, stick a bow on it, some glitter or some other decoration, present it as a gift from the heart,  and that gift be received with genuine joy and appreciation.  Or when someone would crochet an afghan, a hat and scarf set or some mittens, or cross stitch a table clothe or pillow cases and the recipient have more joy and awe and appreciation for that gift than ANYTHING you could have possibly purchased out of a store.  We’ve got it all twisted folks.  This is NOT the way it was originally meant to be.  In St. John 3:16 it says that, “God so loved the world that He GAVE His ONLY begotten son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  The part I want you to really pay attention to is, For God so loved the world, that He GAVE…….. THAT, was the greatest love of all.  He gave all that was dear to Him, all that He had, so that we, who fight in Wal-Mart over some trivial electronic gadget.  And we who spit on people.  And we who pepper spray people and yes, even we who send bomb threats to Wal-Mart for no apparent reason, can have the chance to have everlasting life once we believe on Him.  That’s not a small thing, because I don’t know any person who would sacrifice not one, not even the worst of their children, for someone else.  I know I wouldn’t.  But He did, just for you.  Just for us.  Think about it.  So during this Blessed Holiday Season, while we are acting like some primitive, uncivilized, unrefined, unregenerate, Philistines that came out of a cave or slide from underneath a rock, stop.  And think.  Seriously. Is this what our God sacrificed all for?

Now, tell us what YOU think,

“WORLD CHANGERS”

There’s an army rising up.  A mighty moving force, that is about to spread across the land.  They are young, and they are strong, and they are determined to deliver the message that they have been entrusted with.  They are determined  to be a living breathing example of the epitome of what righteous living truly is.  To proclaim the unadulterated word of the Lord.  They are determined to be the epitome of priesthood, manhood, husbandhood, fatherhood, and brotherhood.  To teach those younger men what real men really are.  And real men are not afraid to worship God.  Only when me worship God can they become the true fathers, husbands and sons that they need to be.  They are determined to break the chains, reverse the cycle and change the mindsets that have plagued their generation for so long.  The mindset that has made men abandon their children and families, leaving mothers to raise their sons, their daughters, their children alone, and causing a breach that has created a substantial ripple effect in society.  They understand the importance of a man raising his family and that it is so fundamentally critical to their essential growth and development, and that it is so much the very foundation of their children, their sons, their daughters, that the effects of him NOT being there is sociologically and statistically astounding.  They understand that their mothers, and grandmothers, their sisters, their aunts, and their nieces, are queens and princesses, and should be treated as such; with honor, reverence and respect.  That their woman, their true soul mate is the stabilizing force, the very fiber that upholds the greatness that is the man.  And that it is his job to, and he must nurture, cultivate, encourage, support, develop, protect, defend and love her.

Because of their ideology, they are coming to a greater understanding of way things SHOULD be structured.  They understand that only having a religion, or a form of Godliness, just will not do.   They understand exactly who they are, and that they have the power to change and create their own destiny’s.  They understand that everything  happens in the perfect will and timing of God and for His purpose only.  They understand that God is EVERYTHING and that they are nothing without Him, and that He is the very air that they breath.  They understand that God truly sees the heart, no matter what you may act like.  Whether that be good or bad, so it is best to be true and real, not fake or pretentious.  That everyone’s level of duty may not be the same, but that everyone does indeed have a duty or a level that they MUST pursue and ultimately obtain.  They understand that you are a leader or become a leader sometimes even before you know that you are one, because you are different.  You may try NOT to be different.  You try to blend in, to camouflage,  but you can’t.  You can’t being who you are.  You just stand out because you are who you are, and you are marked by the hand of God.  They understand that they must be an example, mentors to our young men, and nurturers to our young women to bring them back to health and wholeness that has been lost to them because of the influences and demands of society.  They understand that they are priest of God.  Kings in the making.  And that God is linking them up together with their queens, their other halves, their soul mates so that they can together, conquer the territory and accomplish the supernatural and divine mission that has been set before them by the almighty.  They understand that the decisions that they make will inevitably affect more than just them, but that they will affect everyone around them and their entire generation.  No matter where they are, no matter what they are doing.  They may ultimately have to be elevated to a higher position, a higher calling, so that they can do the job that they need to do, because the only way for them to be able to touch the lives of the people that they MUST touch, they MUST  excel to that higher place.  They have humble hearts, and they are willing vessels, but they are not wimps.  They are up for the fight, and they will NOT take what the enemy has been handing out lying down.  Because he is not and issue, and he never was.  They don’t take lightly the charge that has been placed upon their lives.  They welcome it.  They call for it.  They challenge it.  And they are not afraid.  There is advancement and elevation for this chosen generation as they assemble, as they connect, as they are drawn together from all parts of the country, all regions of the world, and prepare for the awesome challenge of this great revolution, and as they take this world by storm.   They are right now being spiritually armed and equipped.  For they WILL break the chains that bind up their generation, and you WILL hear the chains breaking and falling off.  They are called and sanctioned not by man, but by God.  Who are these “World Changers?” you may ask.  Just open your eyes and look around, they are here, and they are there, and you will know them when you see them.   They are, “The World Changers.”     

“IN THE NAME OF DEMOCRACY?”

I have been following the news concerning the partial Government shutdown that has recently occurred.  I sat and listened, in appalled surprise, as Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator from Texas, sat and read Dr. Suess’ “Green Eggs and Ham” to his children over the phone at bed time, on National Television in an act of filibustering, in order to run down the clock on the decision of whether to shut down the Government or to continue with Obama Care.  Wow!  I believe that we have other and more important things to be concerned about in these United States of America.   You disagree too much.  You fight too much.  This side does not agree with that side.    This one doesn’t see eye to eye with that one.  She does not want to support him, and he does not want to be on the same side as her.  Nobody acts like they like ANYBODY.  And NOBODY wants to support the ones that actually NEED the support.  The people.  You have opposed one another and fought one another for so long that you have lost focus on what is really important.  The people.  You remember?  The ones that you have sworn, and promised, and have taken an oath, to Govern and to care for.  To support, and to protect.  REALLY?  SERIOUSLY?  Well please explain this to us, Mr. Senator, Mrs. Senator, Mr. Congressman and Mrs. Congresswoman;  (Ms. for everyone else that falls in between, so that we can be politically correct).  But I’m talking to those of you who represent this great United States of America.  And here is the question.  How does this in any, way, shape or form, benefit the people.  YOUR PEOPLE?  The ones that before now had only 2 choices; either you die slowly, or you die now.  Either way, you die.   Because they didn’t have health insurance coverage, and they wouldn’t  be covered by insurance anyway because oops, they made a mistake and got sick.  And because the insurance companies just do not care.  If you can not pay, you will not be served.  Is that the America way?

And here is an even better question Mr. Senator, Mr. Congressman, and everyone in between.  If the Government is shut down, and literally hundreds and thousands of workers across the United States are “Temporarily Unemployed” and are therefore NOT getting paid, then how are YOU getting paid?  How are YOU getting YOUR check?  How are YOU paying YOUR mortgage and YOUR car note?  How are YOU buying groceries for YOUR family and children?  Did YOU give up YOUR check or take any pay cuts?  Are YOU “Temporarily Suspended or Unemployed?”  That’s exactly what I thought!”  Now that’s something that makes you go, “Hmmmm.”   And then tell me this.  Just what kind of formidable authoritative force do you really suppose that we are to the world right now, while we sit back and read “Green Eggs and Ham” on National Television, and the world laughs.  Oh, don’t you think for one second that they are not.  What weight do we hold while we allow such a selfish inane act under the guise of “This is MY right as a U.S. Senator to have MY moment, because I’m due this time.”  HEY!  Our troops are out there fighting on a daily basis, not only for our freedom, but for own their lives as well.  Thousands of our children, husbands, wives, sisters and brothers, nieces, uncles and aunts put their lives on the line for this thing we call “Freedom” everyday.   Not for the opportunity for us to abuse that freedom, but for the right to embrace that “Freedom,” that “Liberty,” and that spirit of Democracy  that we hold so dear to our hearts.  So what, you don’t like the President!  GET OVER IT!  We can call in to question more than half of the Presidents that we have had thus far.  But this is the set man who has been appointed unanimously by “We The People” for such a time as this.  You need to stop all this foolishness.  Get with the program.  Begin to contribute constructively to the issues at hand, and to assist this man, this president, this Commander in Chief, in the EFFECTIVE running of this great Government, this great Country that we call the UNITED STATES of AMERICA.  If we truly are what we say we are, then come together, stop the filibustering, and make some positive decisions that will truly benefit “We The People.”  For Together we stand, but divided we will fall.

Now, Tell us what you think,

“SMELL THE ROSES, AND LIVE”

While working a stint at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, or the BOE as we fondly refer to it, I had the awesome opportunity to observe several things.  Now mind you, it has been quite some time since I have held a regular job in corporate America being an “At Home Mom” and all.  But I was called to do my service to the County, and I went.  So, I packed up my lunch in my little striped bag, got in my little car, and headed downtown to the BOE.  I was so very excited to be heading back into the world of the gainfully employed.  Allow me to share with you some of the things that I observed.  One of the first things that I observed on my daily commute to and from work was the courteousness (facetious tone) of my fellow drivers.  I observed a “STOP” sign that apparently did not really mean “STOP” because drivers were zooming past it like it was not even there.  Hmmm, that was quite a peculiar occurrence, since I have been taught since my early childhood that red meant “STOP.”  Then, I sat at a yellow yield sign that was being obliviously run by everyone, for about 5 minutes while drivers who had no obvious understanding of the word “YEILD” continued on in a long straight line, seeing us sitting there, but not even attempting to stop for one second to allow the merging traffic to come onto the roadway.   Well, as I continued on my merry way to the BOE, I experienced yet another enigma; vehicles dashing right in front of me narrowly missing hitting my truck because they were  trying to get out of the lane that it was quite evident had parked cars all along the street on the right hand side for about a half a mile down.  Wow!  That was close.  Then vehicles moved through that flashing yellow “School Zone Sign” and past the public servant that was so diligently crossing the school children across the street in safety, so quickly, passing me as though I were sitting still while I moved at a snail’s pace through the zone.  I on the other hand, thought the sign read “20 miles per hour.”  Hmmm, that was odd.  Yet another conundrum.  Perhaps it was me that was mistaken, for it did not appear to have the same meaning for them as it did for me.    Oh, and there were lots of conversations going on and people looking down at their cell phones.  Amazing!  Because I have never mastered the art of driving while looking down at my phone.  And the motorist who zoomed past me in a 35 MPH zone, probably should have left just a bit earlier.  Then they would not have had to speed to get to work.  It certainly makes sense to me.  And the people on the street as I walked from the parking lot to the BOE?  Faces that looked like they were made of stone.  I said Good Morning to a few, with no discernible response in return.  I wanted to yell and tell them that “Hey, It’s ok to smile, to say hi, good morning or even nod your head in acknowledgement of another individual.  Life cannot be that miserable or depressing that you can’t muster up a common courtesy.  As one of my co-workers so eloquently put it, “Good morning is free, and a smile does not cost you anything.”

I’ve learned a lot these past few weeks.  And from what I’ve learned I do know this; that while this scurrying back and forth everyday in our quest to achieve the American dream may indeed be a necessary evil, so to speak, it cannot, nor can we allow it to take the place of our very lives.  Our humanity.  We must continue to live, and love, and laugh, and to be happy, and to just enjoy our “God Given Lives.”  We are all awesome and incredible individuals, with some beautiful smiles that can quite literally light up a room, who have all been given the opportunity to breathe the breath of life one more day.  And we all deserve respect for who we are.   And we must understand that a little common courtesy goes a very long way.  So, we may not be able to come to a complete stop in our incessant quest for greatness, or cease from catering to our unremitting responsibilities, but we can surely allow just a little kindness for our fellow-man to come forth from our ever stone facades.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and so is the next person, and we must remember that.  And I believe that if for just a moment, just one moment, we slow down, even stop, and just breathe in the very essence of what life is, God’s life, then we would suddenly remember that we are here for only a moment, an important moment, and that we must learn to value one another, to respect one another, to enjoy life and one another.  And then, we will stop and smell the roses, while we still have time.

“FOR THE SAFETY OF OUR CHILDREN”

It’s good to be back everyone.  My computer was down for a little while with a virus, but I had some awesome technicians at a little computer shop on Lakeshore Blvd. called “Y Pay More” that got it right back in order for me quickly.  Thanks Eric and William.  You know I love to shout out to people who do others right, offer a good product or service and don’t try to take advantage of them.  Now, here is what I would like to talk about today. 

Recently over that last few years I’ve noticed that we have been experiencing an increased rash of violence in our schools with  our students, and on our streets with our young people in general.  Students can’t even go to regular education schools anymore because of the threats of physical violence that they are experiencing on a daily basis.  For example, a young woman that my daughter knows was just pulled out of mainstream regular education this week by her parents because on the very first day of school her life and the life of her unborn child was threatened by someone she didn’t even know.  A few years ago, my daughter herself was on her way home from school, having missed her connection with her brother who she normally rode with, and right in the RTA Rapid station at tower City, where we are supposed to have increased security and cameras, she got cornered by 3 students, 2 girls a 1 boy that she was not even acquainted with, but who knew someone else that she knew, and who went to the same school that she was attending at the time.  The boy held her arms behind her back while the girls proceeded to punch and beat on her.  They then knocked her down, kicked and stomped her to the ground, then left her there, walking away as if they had accomplished some noteworthy and extraordinary feat by beating up a little tiny girl who was all of 4’11” inches tall, (Not even 5′ tall) and weighed slightly over 105 pounds on a rainy day, and was alone.  Wow!!! THAT took great courage to go up against HER!  (The writer says facetiously).   That is the way of cowards.  After we took her to emergency we discovered, thank God , that she had no broken bones or permanent injuries, just a lot of bruising.  But we did make a police report.  Now here recently, my son went to school last Monday just like everyone else in the City of Cleveland did.  But after school while all the students were trying to get on the RTA buses, cars came driving up and students from a rival school jumped out and begin to jump the students from my son’s school.  My son got broadsided, (Punched) in the side of his head for no apparent reason, other than the fact that he was not from the same school as these trespassers.  Yes, Cleveland Police and the Gang Unit showed up and pursued after the intruders, but that does not negate the fact that these young people were not only threatened with physical bodily harm, but were assaulted as well while simply trying to get home from a long day at school.  Something that in all practicality should be easy enough to do, but seems to be becoming an increasingly difficult task. 

The safety net of being on your own school property no longer exist.   What are our children to do?  My son, while he fought the intruders back, was out numbered 4 to 1.   But he stood his ground, not allowing the perpetrators to know whether he was afraid or not.  He only ran for safety when his own schools security came running out.  So shy did he run when he saw his own schools security and not feel just a little bit protected, comforted and safe you may ask?  Because of the school policy that says, WHENEVER a student is caught fighting, whether they initiated the fight or just merely defended themselves, they too will be suspended.  Now I don’t know if this is a written policy or if it is just implied, but I have seen it happen myself several times in the past, and my son did not want to get suspended in the first week of school, so he ran.   Now that to me is a bit odd, because it stands to reason that if I’m being harassed, and I defend myself against the harasser that I should not be punished as the harasser is.  Shouldn’t our children feel safe in our schools?  Shouldn’t they know that they will be protected and not punished for protecting themselves?  Shouldn’t we be doing more to increase the safety in and around our schools.  And shouldn’t our security extend just a little further than the outside of the school?  Is this what we’ve come to, a completely online education society because there is no safety in the schools?  If you ask me, I think it’s time for us as parents, to being to press and pursue criminal charges against ANY STUDENT who threatens the safety and well-being of our children, no matter what school or area they come from.  That’s what I think.

Now, tell me what you think,      

 

Family Reunions

I recently went to my family reunion in Charlotte, NC.  My cousin’s Forrest and Simone did such a phenomenal job that it just didn’t make any kind of sense.  (That’s an oxymoron in case you were wondering).  These folks spread out the red carpet for us and showed us such love and hospitality, that some of us didn’t even want to leave and come back home.  They worked non-stop and tirelessly to ensure that we had a good time, and plenty, I mean plenty to eat.  And then sent us off on our merry way with yet even more to eat.  Well done Forrest and Simone and NC crew.  We really appreciate and love you.

We had family come from everywhere; from Ohio, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and many more places.  (Forgive me if I missed your city).  Many we did not know, and had never even met, but when we saw them, we embraced them and claimed them as family.  We even made our bus driver feel like family.  Shout out to you Virgil.  There were not any isms, or schisms.  No hidden agendas.  No friction.  And most of all, NO DRAMA!  Young people bonded and made new connections, and new friends.  We were united, if but for those few short days.  We talked, laughed, ate, shared our opinions, our past present and future hopes and dreams; and we passed the torch from one generation to the next, assuring that the legacy of the Banks-Fields family would continue, and that the next generation would grab ahold of it, embrace the challenges of it and continue the traditions that were put in place by the matriarchs of this great family some 50 years ago.

But everyone does not have the kind of family that we do.  A close-knit family that will pull in and adopt ANYONE AND EVERYONE that wants to be a part.  A family that will love you, despite all of your flaws, defects, imperfections and faults.  A family that will back you, and stand up for you.  Is it a perfect family?  By no means, but it is a family that flows with the unbiased, impartial, unadulterated, unpretentious, true, love of God.  And THAT, you cannot buy, batter, beg, steal or negotiate for.  And in a world that is so troubled, and filled with so much sorrow, pain, dispassion and hate, THAT means all the world to me.  Long live, the Banks-Fields Family and everyone in between.

Now, tell us what YOU think,

“Inspired by God”

Inspiration. The act of inspiring; the quality or state of being inspired or influenced.  There are many things that inspire us.  A marriage; the birth of a baby; a new boyfriend; a new job or house; or something as simple as a good book.  Many things inspire us, but sometimes because  of the tough things we must invariably go through in life, the death of a loved one.  The loss of a job or career.  The break-up of a failed marriage or relationship.  The discovery of something catastrophic in our lives, such as illness or disease.  A situation that is so far beyond your control that there is nothing you can do but just sit, and wait, and trust and pray;  inspiration can seem to be really hard to find.  Many things that afore time may have inspired us, just doesn’t seem to do it anymore.  Even though the sky is still blue.  The leaves on the trees are still green.  The birds are still singing sweetly in their branches.  The buzz buzz and the scurry of little insects and animals are still going on; but you feel somehow, detached.   Alone.   You go through those dark and lonely places that we talked about a few month’s ago.  A place where it seems like you can’t find your way back from.  Yet, you take everyday, a day at a time, reaching.  Where is the connection?  Where is the help? That place of solace?  Who will hold your hand and walk you through the valley of the shadow of death?

Jesus walked this lonesome valley all by Himself.  Nobody was able to do it for Him.  Why then, do we feel that we are any different or any  better than He?  But it still doesn’t make it feel any better.  Oh, life is so wonderful when things are good.  When you are on top of the world.  You’ve got a little money in your pocket.  Relationships are working.  You’re experiencing a little bit of righteous living, and the prospects are looking good.  But have we forgotten in our moments of splendor to pray.  To seek the Lord.  To acknowledge our Father who art in heaven.  Who’s name alone is Holy and Reverent?  Is that why we have to revisit the dark and lonely places, so that we will remember?  Perhaps.  But sometimes perhaps not.  We serve a God that is good, loving, kind, faithful, just, wonderful, Holy, righteous, reverend, omnipotent, omniscient, Omnipresent, and all that and more.  He is not spiteful or vindictive or petty, and doesn’t punish you for having good things.  He GAVE you the good things.  As a matter of fact, He is so good, that He is down right, “The Bomb.” Yes, He may get a little jealous at times and have to remind us who we belong to, but what parent wouldn’t be.  Imagine if YOUR children professed their undying love to another mother or father right in front of you.  Or treated someone else like they were more important than you.  Or even talked to and called another man and woman, mom and dad.  Oh, I would be royally ticked.  Let me give you an example.  My oldest son was home for a few days from the service.  And my nephew who had initially came to see him stayed in the kitchen for the majority of the time talking to me because we do some business together.  But to both of our surprise and humor, my son stopped what he was doing in the other room, came into the kitchen, stood right in his cousins face, nose to nose and loudly proclaimed, “This is MY mother, and you don’t sit and talk to MY mother, cause we don’t share our mother.”  Well, we both laughed my nephew and I,  and my son may have been joking with his cousin, but my nephew took him seriously and followed him back into the other room, because I knew, that he was joking, but he wasn’t.  God does the same thing.  He proclaims to the enemy that, “This is MY child, my son/daughter, you will NOT harass them and say crazy things to  discourage them, cause I DO NOT SHARE MY CHILDREN!”  So, if this young man is unwilling to share his mom or dad with another person, why do we think that God should be so passive and share our love and devotion of His children with other gods, the things, that we have allowed to be Lord over him.   You have to figure out yourself what idol you have put in the place of the love and devotion that He deserves.   So, when I begin to sit and think about how awesome and incredible God is, and what He has ALREADY done for me in my life, EVERYTHING just seems to fall right back into place.  And the things that seemed to be weighing me down. those  little dark and lonely places just seem to dissolve and disappear.  INSPIRATION?  That is something that I should find everyday just from waking up in the morning.  For my feet hitting the ground, and for me being in my right mind.  And knowing that HE IS LORD OF MY LIFE.  God didn’t say that we would not have problems and burdens, He just said that He would make them easier to bear.  He did not say that we would not cry, but He did say that He would wipe the tears from our eyes.  And He did not say that weapons would NOT be formed against us, but He did say that they would not prosper.  You have got to learn to put what God is to UOU after YOUR name.  Deliverer.  Healer.  Provider.  Doctor.  Lawyer.  Friend.  Savior.  INSPIRATION?  GOD, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, IS MY INSPIRATION!  And that’s enough for me.

Now, let us know what YOU think,