When Olivia Michelle Burgess arrived June 11, at 6 pounds, 5 ounces, her father and my nephew, Wesley Everett Burgess, announced her triumphant arrival and held her proudly so her whole generation could admire her and bask in his delight. Olivia is his first born and her appearance just in time for Father’s Day, was perfect, thanks to her beautiful mom, Dannielle.
A recent article about immigrant children being separated from their families brought the conversation about immigration center stage for me. I’ve been saying yes, we need better and more fair and equitable legislation and policies. I’ve been whining about yes, we need to set the record straight about who took whose jobs and who crossed whose borders, but I haven’t done all I can to raise my voice and my righteous indignation about what’s happening to us as humanitarians and advocates for justice — agitators for doing what’s right for our neighbors. Today I am silent no more.
Cinderella is to blame. If she hadn’t married the prince and ridden off into the sunset to live happily ever after, we probably wouldn’t be so fascinated with the handsome young prince with multiple names and the beautiful princess or duchess who were married last week. Harry and Meggun, as the priest pronounced it, have given us a front row to something very special and I, for one, am grateful for the gentle reminder that young people still fall madly in love and commit themselves to marriage.
Every time I watch the video (I’m up to six times already for some segments) I am moved by how they can’t stop smiling and looking adoringly at each other! I’ve listened to Ben E. King sing Stand By Me at least 329 times but what the Kingdom Choir did with it Saturday had to be what God intended when marriage was dreamed up. The production was flawless. From Prince Charles escorting the amazingly composed Meghan and her mom, the scriptures and readings, the Bishop’s stirring sermon on the redemptive power of love, to the well behaved little people—this magical moment offered a brief respite from government investigations, trash talking, police/school shootings, elections, political jockeying, agendas that divide, unstable markets, heartless deportations, and rumors of wars. Harry and Meghan are concrete proof that love can build a bridge and yes, it’s time we got our own hammers and nails and got busy building some of our own.
And lest we forget the reason for the season…
As Memorial Day 2018 quickly approaches, please take time and remember our fallen heroes in a meaningful way. I poignantly remember October 8, 1968 when Vietnam became more than a foreign place we heard about on the evening news. Corporal R.T. Perry from my hometown was killed and almost 50 years later, I still remember the tremendous loss we felt along with his family. The devastation was real and it seemed to permeate every corner of our small church and community. During my first visit to Washington, DC, I proudly saw his name inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and was delighted to see him remembered in this significant way.
Our military families and communities are shattered whenever a “routine” mission becomes anything but routine and soldiers are killed or die in battle for freedoms we often take for granted. Please pause today and pray for our soldiers and their families because serving often means frequent and extended deployments, life-changing injuries, post-traumatic stress syndrome, higher rates of divorce, and the list goes on.
The familiar line “all gave some, but some gave all” must be our clarion call today to (1) pray for peace everywhere,(2) do all we can to elect officials who will study war no more, (3) provide more comprehensively for our widows and orphans, (4) offer intentional support to our first responders and chaplains who care for our families, (5) tell our heroes’ stories and keep their memory alive, and (6) celebrate and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
On behalf of a grateful nation, thank you to our soldiers and their families. We owe you a debt we can never repay. Amen.
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.
Sadly more children have died at the hands of a school shooter this week and we seem helpless to intervene/prevent these much too-frequent occurrences. We’ve boycotted the National Rifle Association, we’ve legislated, we’ve marched against school shootings, we’ve lobbied and advocated, played the blame game, we’ve even prayed and had vigils, and yet our children keep dying.
My mother, Mrs. Alvis Marie Jones Bond, doesn’t cry when she’s happy, or gush over things like I do. Trust me, I cry at mushy notes, sappy movies, sweet songs on the radio—whatever strikes me that day. And yes, when my mom says “that was nice,” or “I really enjoyed it”—whatever IT was, I know to take that and rejoice because it’s probably not going to get any mushier than that.
I loved and admired Dr. Johnetta Walker Neal and I told her so often. I‘m so glad I did because she died unexpectedly last Wednesday, not much more than a week after I saw her last. On March 24, she participated in the Fourth Annual Phenomenal Women Speak community event in Brownsville, TN, and I poured it on extra thick in the mushy note I included in her gift bag. Her response back to me March 28, “you’re a real star,” made me feel 10 feet tall and as rich as Oprah and Bill and Melinda Gates!
I was the proud president and CEO of her fan club and she knew it. She was always elegant and sophisticated and I NEVER heard her be angry, mean or unkind to anyone. When she wore coverings on her head, she looked stunning and regal. I, on the other hand, looked like young Celie Johnson from the movie, The Color Purple!
I love snow days stuck inside watching Gunsmoke, The Virginian, The Big Valley and Bonanza better than anybody I know, but if it’s snowmen or daffodils and robins, it’s absolutely a no-brainer! I love everything about spring—the hope that seems to spring forth like the tulips in the morning dew, the gorgeous flowers and trees that bud and bloom as a gentle reminder that Easter is coming soon! EVERYTHING shouts glory hallelujah!!
I’m just full of good advice these days. How do I know? Because I’m 62, I’ve been reading *Dear Abby for almost 55 years and because I try to listen and learn from every experience. I read a recent article about powerful women and they were asked “What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?” I started thinking and today, here are some of my favorites, but please share some of yours.
February is an awesome collection of 28 days so for the next 20 or so days, I say let’s celebrate in a significant way! We have at least a million excuses—it’s Heart Health and Black History Month, there’s Valentine’s Day (14th), Random Act of Kindness Day (17th), Make a Friend Day (11th)—heck, pick one, any one, and kick up your heels, shout, giggle, buy and send some flowers—whatever makes you happy, feel alive and special, do it this month! Here are four things to get this party started in here: