Love knows no color

amenIn the wake of recent violence and increasing racial tensions, Texas pastor Roy Smith wrote an opinion piece suggesting that churches – and Christians – need to practice what they preach when it comes to loving one another. I have had the opportunity to meet Smith a time or two over the years, and his wife, Carla, played a significant part in my life-changing Emmaus experience a decade ago. I truly believe that he wants people to come together as one and be the body of Christ.

But I fear some of his words calling for racial unity will make readers forget all his other words.

He wrote, “… you will be required to get out of your ethnic comfort zone and engage a different lifestyle with and among different ethnic groups and to do it as a lifestyle not as some kind of benevolent or charitable act. Many of you who have never been out of your protected upbringing must forsake it to get among those who have not had the life you have. And that will be far more geared to my brothers and sisters who are Caucasian. When black folk leave their community churches to mingle and become part of a mostly white church, to them it is considered a step up. However, when a white person leaves their comfortable existence among their own to be with their black brothers and sisters, it is considered a step down or some charitable act by their peers.”

Well, that’s the kind of instruction that falls on deafened ears.

To suggest that whites have more comfortable, “protected” lives and regard spending time with “black folk” as charity is offensive to me. Further, that black people who become part of a “white church” consider themselves to be taking a “step up” is even more offensive. You cannot call for unity in one breath, then further divide with the next! Continue Reading

Bodacious rules, literally and figuratively

There's a new queen at our house. She even has her own crown!
Fancy tea party food. She insists that guests crook their pinky fingers to drink tea ... .

Fancy tea party food. She insists that guests crook their pinky fingers to drink tea … .

I found out I was pregnant with a girl about six years ago. I laid on that sonographer’s table at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Odessa and uttered a few curse words. I was put off because, just like King George, I saw my own end. Little girls are game-changers, and I knew that in just a few short months, this monarch would be overthrown.

My mother tried to console me. She told me that little girls were special, and assured me that I would love having a daughter. “Boys grow toward their fathers, they want to spend time with them and emulate them. But the bond between a mother and daughter, that relationship is a very special gift and lasts a lifetime.”

But at that time, I couldn’t see the gift. My son was such a joyful, laid back kiddo. I just knew having a daughter would add a whole new layer of drama and lipgloss-coated complication to our household. I could not have been more wrong.

There's a new queen at our house. She even has her own crown!

There’s a new queen at our house. She even has her own crown!

My Bodacious is a lot of things, but demanding she is not. She makes her own rules, she’s tender-hearted and funny. She loves her brother more than anyone else in the world and has her dad eating from the palms of her soft, dimpled hands. She is fearless, loves to cook and host fancy tea parties. When she runs, it’s damn the torpedoes-style, head down and full speed ahead no matter what is in front of her. After watching her charge about this summer, my neighbor described her as a child with “momentum.” I envy her ferocity.

But she also has a soft, artistic side and loves music. She makes up songs on her little plastic guitar and sings into her karaoke microphone as she sharks around the driveway on her hot pink scooter. So any time we get the chance, we take her and her brother to see live music. The Hubs and I were fortunate enough to catch one of our favorite bands, the Drive-By Truckers, on tour this year. Our sitter cancelled on us, so we decided to buy some earplugs and take the kids with us. We were not sure what they would think about the show. DBT doesn’t really play “kid music” and I wasn’t sure if their Southern everyman, gritty sound would resonate with them. So, like the awesome parents we are, we brought their Kindles in with us just in case.

Little Son liked the concert until we ran out of food. After I refused to serve him any more root beer, he just wanted to lay down and play Minecraft. But Bodacious, surrounded by rednecks, trucker caps and overalls, well, she found her tribe. She wanted to spend all of her time in the front row, sitting on her dad’s shoulders. I was relieved when she didn’t tie her t-shirt into a halter top.

When he brought her back to our seats, she didn’t want to rest or take a drink. She just wanted to dance. She climbed up onto the bleachers to get a better view, still dancing. Her face, her sweet baby face, flashed in red and blue and purple with the stage lights. The music just washed over her, swallowed her. But it also set her free. I watched her, feet still moving, arms rising with the tempo, eyes closing. She swayed in perfect rhythm and then, she just stepped out into the ether around her. It never occurred to her that she could fall, or that I wouldn’t be there to catch her. It was beautiful and terrifying.

She makes insanely big messes and never, ever, everrrr follows instructions. Bodacious marches to the beat of a drummer that only she hears, I just hope it’s Dave Grohl and not Tommy Lee! She describes her every day look as “fashion.” As in, “Don’t mess with my style – I look so fashion.” She rocks her orange tutu with cowboy boots and a sundresses and refuses to comb her hair because she likes it to “feel free.” And no matter what our day has been like, or how tired she may be, without fail she asks me to cuddle and sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” with her every night before bedtime. Even though this request usually means I have to stop whatever it is that I am doing, this time has become one of my favorite parts of the day. I kiss her after every verse, and we always finish the song together, big at the end with extra vibrato. She is … becoming someone amazing. I am so thankful that I get to bear witness to her perfect magic. I’ll get my iron throne back soon enough – if I let her leave for college.


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This Sunday, I celebrate ALL the fathers in my life!


by Rachel Biggersatff


To all the dads out there, forcing their daughters to learn about football and root for the Texas Tech Red Raiders, I salute you! This day is for you!

The very first Father’s Day was celebrated in Spokane, Wash., on June 19, 1910. Sonora Smart Dodd had the idea to make an official day of celebration with her father in mind, he  had raised six children on his own after his wife’s death during the birth of their youngest child. Though Father’s Day celebrations quickly spread throughout the United States, it was not made into a yearly national celebration until 1972 when President Richard Nixon permanently established the observance of Father’s Day as the third Sunday of June.

Now, I don’t know what kinds of gifts were given on that first Father’s Day but I feel certain that there were no $5 Hallmark cards involved or breakfast in bed. And Sonora Dodd’s father certainly was not given the newest Halo game for his Xbox or a “World’s Greatest Dad” coffee mug.

The thing about Father’s Day today is that, until your children are grown (and maybe even later) Father’s Day is a day that the mother of your children arranges to get cards and gifts and tries to keep her children peaceful and happy all day for a few minutes so that Dad can relax and put his feet up. Kids, especially young ones, have no idea that it’s Father’s Day unless prompted by an adult, and they certainly aren’t capable of getting online with their credit cards to buy dear old dad a Kegerator. Continue Reading