Tulips

I put tulips under all the pillows and then I set fire to the house.  Sounds dramatic, I’m sure. I mean, will forensics even know there was tulips there if everything is ashes by the time they get there?  I would know the tulips were there. I will always know. I will never forget. I bought those damn pillows. I remember researching which ones would enhance his quality of rest. The way you sleep impacts the way you live. He worked so hard, by the time he slept, I wanted it to be deep fruitful sleep.

She found a diamond bracelet in the back of the car.  My daughter found it while picking up some fruit loops that fell out of her mouth and rolled under the drivers seat.   Araina picked up the bracelet and dangled it in front of her face. When the light danced with the glass in the rear view mirror, I snapped out of my mommy daze. “What is that, Araina?” “Your pretty bracelet, Mommy.” I turned green with envy.  My heart began to bleed. The last time we saw a movie, we fought through the first 30 minutes and left early.  He was drooling over the main character.  I found this to be disturbing and pathetic because it was one of those graphically enhanced movies like “Avatar.”  “You’re getting horny over a computerized character!?” He just rolled his eyes at me.  The chick wasn’t even human.  I should have known then that we were a mess. I can’t compete with imagination. I should have known our reality was being invaded. Who was invading our reality?

I prayed it wasn’t something cliche like a chick at work or an Instagram model.  It was both!  Apparently, Lily was an aspiring actress.  She was a brand ambassador and a party promoter but that wasn’t bringing home the bacon. She decided to get a second job working for my husbands telemarketing company.

One late night when I surprised my husband with an under the covers “special treat”, the taste of lipstick left a residue on my tongue.  I could smell baby wipes and cologne.  We were arguing so I don’t think he expected my mouth to replace his alarm clock.  We were both surprised. He denied my blatant accusations. He labeled me abusive when I smacked him. I knew I was right though.  I knew something was going on.  One night while he was overseeing the OT crew, I hired a sitter and drove the 17 miles to the job. In a true act of absurdity and a visual reenactment of every urban novel ever read…there they were.

In the employee lounge, over the sound of the office dishwasher they were grunting and moaning. They were so bold.  It was as if they were supposed to be together and that was their sacred space. There on the floor slipping and sliding in the free office supplied french vanilla coffee creamer was their love nest.  I decided not to make a scene.  I decided not to ask, “why?” I decided not to beat the bimbo up. These were all quick decisions.  This didn’t need to be a Waiting to Exhale Moment.  This didn’t need to be an episode of Snapped. I picked up my pocketbook and returned the visitors pass to the front desk.  I drove home without the radio playing and I slowly counted my breaths.  I walked passed our lime green deck chair. My husband would watch golf in that chair on the iPad while drinking an ice cold Stella Artois in the summer.  I kicked that ugly ass chair into the salt water pool and paid the babysitter. I then carefully selected 5 Lily flowered tulips from our backyard garden and placed them under all the pillows in our master bedroom.  I packed two bags, unplugged Arainas Nintendo Switch from the charger and strapped her in the booster seat in the CHR we kept around for guests.  Then I took a safety match from the glove compartment and set fire to the house.

We drove away from the flames and the ashes of my cremated marriage.  I cried silently while my daughter slept in the back seat.  I mourned my youth spent with someone who didn’t deem me worthy of honesty.  I wondered if the smoke smelled like lilies or regret.

By: Shaun Liriano

PhotoGrid_1573833553784

Pray With Me

Pray with me

Pray with me
Entwine your fingers with mine
Feel my palms sweat and don't shy from the warmth of my vulnerability
Pray with me not for me
Bow your head with graciousness
Stand at my side, not ahead of me or above me 
Dance to the rhythm of my heart beating feverishly
I want to hear your nervous feet shuffling from side to side
I want to see the imprint of your big toe through your shoe
May our intentions and desires be one.
See, I await anxiously, hoping God will see 
that I really hope
and I mean I really hope 
that the road to hell is NOT paved with good intentions
I intend to make a change in this world 
I intend to give children something good to dream about and chase their nightmares away
I intend to clean the filthy
I intend to give a hopeful beginning to those who just want it all to end
I intend to wake up every morning ...early...and spend an hour with myself 

There is something magical about holding hands with a stranger.
First Calvary Baptist Church (Inwood, NY)
Don't be alarmed as I tighten my grip
I just really needed someone to touch me today
I have desperately been waiting for an answer from God 
Desperately been shining as brightly as I can while filtering through so much darkness 
I have been holding my arms outstretched 
I have been kneeling with white paths on my face that begin where my eyes are and end somewhere between my neck and my chin
Waterways traveled there many times
They irrigate the mask I wear and unveil pieces of all that unravels me. 
Pray with me
Embrace me and let me feel the comfort of your awkwardness 
Let me know you are waiting for something from HIM too
Your are not untainted 
You are also afraid sometimes
You too, wish you could ...everything
Pray with me in the middle of the mess
Not at the end of the day when its quiet and neat and the candle is lit and its convenient
Pray with me, with rollers in your hair or your boxers and your A-shirt on, or with your stained apron that smells of fried chicken and plantain
while the kids are saying "Mommy" 5x consecutively...pray with me.
While the game is on...pray with me 
I need the blessing now 
We need the connection now
The calling is now 
The moment is now 
The answer is coming now

Pray with me because I can't shake the feeling that something heavenly awaits and we don't have to wait till we are at heaven's gate to be a part of something that perfect.
Pray with me because I needed you yesterday and the day before and the night before that.
Pray with me and I'll pray with you and we can glue each other back together.

By: Shaun Liriano




 

The Power Walk

“I have a trail I want to show you. Will you go walking with me?”

Admittedly I’ve put on a few pounds. The thought of walking didn’t sound as appealing as drinks and appetizers. However, my mother is a ridiculously busy person and we never get to spend time together so I accepted her invitation. She’s one of those people who “have it together.” The reliable conservative type.

“Maybe if I walk with her, her sense of order will rub off on me because I definitely didn’t get it genetically.”

When I got home from work, I informed my husband I was going for a power walk with my mom. I know him. He probably immediately envisioned old ladies at the mall with pink dumbbells in their hands with walkmans and black Sony headphones. He’s a runner. He runs at least 6 miles a day so walking makes no sense to him. When I came out the bathroom in my hot pink Miami souvenir t-shirt and my psychedelic Hot Soxx and tights, he gave me a quizzical look. “You’re not going to burn any calories. Why are you dressed like that?” I smiled, kissed him and the kids and left.

The truth? I was genuinely excited. I needed a break. Just a moment to decompress. An hour to reassess the tasks on my mental “to do” list. I have colleagues who “unplug” weekly. They do not tend to their phones, social media or personal email for a day or two. An old friend of mine has a rule that neither she nor her spouse can answer their cellular phones after 9pm. When the kids are asleep and it’s just the two of them it becomes time to unplug from everyone else and recharge their union. It sounds corny but there is validity to it.

“When I came here before, all these trees had no leaves. Some of the flowers looked dead like they’d never bloom again. Now they’re all green.”

The power walk was a physical reminder that life is just a meandering trail that we haven’t seen before. We don’t know what comes next. We can fret over bugs. Or maybe at night someone will jump out of the darkness and attack us. A tree branch may break and fall on your head. No matter what happens there is also a strong possibility it will be scenic, pedagogical and best of all you may find company so you don’t have to walk alone.

The older I get, the more I value the friend that will pray with you. It’s like singing your favorite song and someone just jumping on the hook and harmonizing with you. That’s powerful!

The trail may be unique to you but someone else has already walked it. Seek counsel from wise elders, mentors, or even blog communities. There are people who have been through what you’ve been through or they are going through it right now with class and ease. They’re making it look easy!! While you’re panicking, they’re strategizing and preparing for the next blow.

After the walk we went to Wendy’s (I did get a salad at least) but regardless of what I ate I felt lighter. I shed some stress. I was a little more content with the lack of control that humanity sometimes requires. It really was a power walk.

By Shaun Liriano

Shut Ya Mouth and Pray -The Journey

image

Today I almost forgot.  I run around a lot. Always trying to squeeze everything in. It’s necessary and it’s important. I love the feeling at the end of the day that I did everything I am capable of for that day.

I have to take a moment and reflect on the tremendous, tumultuous, joyous, romance filled, cinematic, and dramatic journey I’ve taken. I did not take that journey alone. I have a good, patient, supportive, strong minded, wonderful, challenging, friend and husband. I have always rushed around trying to keep up or catch up. I now have a life partner to help me take the lead.

Father,
We take the time today to say thank you for our friends, lovers, and loved ones who keep us company on our journey. We thank you for giving us a life with purpose. We shower You with gratitude. We ask that you help us reach our full potential. We thank you in advance for the increase you are about to touch our lives with.
Amen

By:SML

#Shutyamouthandpray Power Within

image

Did it all happen quickly? Minutes turned into hours? Time never cooperates with your expectations. Are you frustrated?  Are you staying the same and your surroundings are changing?

Yea.

What are you doing about it?

Find an accountability partner and put your ass in gear. It doesn’t matter if its perfect. It matters that it’s done and you aren’t wasting your time and talents.

Father:
Help us push and push harder than we ever have. Help us dig into undiscovered parts of our potential. Help us not to gauge our success by the success of others. Help us to have self esteem that is only controlled by ourselves and not weighed by others opinions of us. Help us to see passed the selfishness and sometimes oblivion of our loved ones. Help us stay strong enough to fight the fight even if it means shadowboxing with ourselves and slap boxing with Jesus. God please stay with us and strengthen us when we feel weak.
Amen

Before Its Over…(ShutYaMouthAndPray)

wpid-2015-10-25-22.08.52.png.pngAlthough it may seem cliché. I wanted to use the last 5 minutes of Sunday’s ShutYaMouthAndPray to be thankful. We often complain and are sometimes dissatisfied with aspects of our lives that are unsatisfactory to us but would be great blessings to someone else. Be grateful for your employment, be grateful for your hooptie, be grateful for your loved ones (even the ones who get on your nerves.) Each day will present new challenges, you just have to recognize what they are and rise to them.

Bless!

Shut Ya Mouth and Pray (For the children) Pt 1

http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/05/us/chicago-tyshawn-lee-shooting/

The above link was sent to me by a friend in a text messaging group chat. After reading, my heart dropped into the pit of my stomach. I could walk on the ocean floor. Someone blew out the light of the sun. The stars were unplugged from God’s socket. All I could think was, “How do you execute a helpless child?”

This is not a hood movie classic. This is life.

As a parent, I don’t know how the parents are functioning. The father must be blaming himself. My prayers immediately went out to the grieving family. This is not a race issue. This isn’t even evidence to support gun control arguments. This is about a life that was extinguished. Someone’s baby is gone.

Every Sunday  (I’ll try to be consistent) I will post a prayer reflection.  No matter what your spiritual path or doctrine you identify with, please join me as a prayer warrior and make a change in this world. We can’t just talk about it. Prayer is action. Shut Ya Mouth and Pray. Open your heart.

image
This song always encourages me

To Our Creator:
Please protect our children. Please let us cherish every moment we have with them. They are our chance at a righteous future for this world. Protect their innocence. Build their self esteem. Show them their value. Keep them safe.
Help us to forgive our enemies. Help us to move forward and heal. Help us to pray when we feel weak. Amen.

By:SMN