Category Archives: Family


This is a story about an humble woman wanting more not just for herself and her family, but wanting to do so much more for those suffering around her. She knows the pain of poverty. She knows the frustration she sees in the eyes of others who are always dollars short from taking better care of their own health, and the health of their family. She knows why some make bad decisions in order to just try to survive another day while watching others thriving with resources.

This story is about a mom who barely makes enough for herself and her family, but she will put herself out using her time and her car to help others who also suffer from the challenges of not having enough money, and struggling every day to keep food on the table, and doing their best to look after their family. Not being too far removed from poverty challenges herself, she has just about run her car to death. She goes out of her way to see that other moms keep their appointments with housing people, getting food, and looking for the social services needed to maintain their family. Her car has kept some families from total frustration by her arranging her schedule to make sure a mom can continue meeting with people just to find a place to live since the boyfriend can’t seem to find a job because of his past.

This story today is about how this mother has used her car to make sure someone suffering from poverty worst than herself can keep going by finding places where another mom can get some food when resources run low from social services who cannot keep up with the demand of families needing food.

Recently, this mom who also works hard to make sure her husband can get to ER from yet another health challenge, knowing the car could stop at any moment. She prays that her car holds up while taking her two teen-age daughters to yet another school function while juggling the need for car repairs against the need for food and/or to make sure the rent is paid on time. While working, getting her husband to work, and getting the daughters to school events, she is concerned about what will happen to her and her family when the car finally stops. She has been stopped by the police when they noticed that her car needed a current registration. She wanted to get the registration, but her family also needed food, others needed transportation to find resources, and the car had to have gas and oil. Why are older cars so expensive to maintain?

Sometimes this mom cries. She is going to school in order to prepare herself for a better job. By working hard on her homework, she has managed to make the Dean’s List at her college. She is happy about that, but knows that she needs to get more rest if she is to keep her grades up. Good grades equates to completing some of her educational goals, plus it is an inspiration to her own teen-age daughters. Maybe if she can graduate and find a better job elsewhere, or be promoted at the fast-food job where is now training for management, she can make enough money to get the car fixed. So many things on the car are failing; now she needs about $3,000 just to ensure that all the mechanical items get fixed before the car finally quits.

The phone rings while she is preparing dinner and encouraging her girls to do their homework without the assistance of computers. It’s ER again; her husband has passed another critical episode—she can come and pick him up. She leaves the girls again at night, knowing that they are being socially and academically drained without the aid of computers, but keeping a roof over their heads and keeping the car running overshadows that as she goes out the door again to the ER, thinking about a friend who needs a ride to get her housing voucher tomorrow. The car is slow to start. She prays. Maybe someone has an older SUV in good condition that they would like to get a tax deduction on. Or, maybe someone with mechanical skills would be willing to donate such skills to keep this car running, As she pulls out of the drive-way, she thinks: about making the Deans List. Not to bad for a struggling mom, working a full-time job, and going to school almost full-time! Well, at least the car started again.




The children were playing in the narrow streets, shivering from cold. However, they were used to the cold while playing outside—whoever took care of them could not afford a nice school coat AND a play coat! The scene is being played over and over again inthe neighborhoods of the disinherited during Christmas time. Many are hoping that some church, some organization, or just anybody will do their annual drive-by with some food, toys, and maybe a bike. Of course, a nice coat or two would be nice, but the children never had high hopes—they had been disappointed too many times in their young lives. This was especially true of one family whose house you had to enter from the back door…the front porch was too dangerous!

I recall visiting this working class family—father doing odd jobs, mostly in construction, but usually not working much in the bad cold and rainy season. He didn’t mind working in the rain if the company was on a tight deadline and encouraged them to work. If some got sick and could not work, oh well, such was the business of working outside. The father has a nice pick-up that had to always be kept in good-running conditions as he dares not risk missing work while being stuck in a pick-up on the side of the road. He has already been down that road.

Missing work was dangerous—one could lose the job, and then be unable to pay for the housing for the family. Plus, he took pride in working for his family. He wanted so much more for his family than what was provided for him. He regretted not having a better command of the English language, but he was needed to help his father do odd jobs and had to drop out of the school in the 5th grade. He had planned to go back, but having to bring in money for his own mom, dad, and six brothers and sisters was much more important. He had dreams, but the years had not been kind to him. He was just grateful to work almost year-around to provide for his own family, send money back to his mom since his father had a heart-attack from doing too much strenuous work for too long, and not getting enough rest. His father wanted more for him just like he was now wanting more for his wife and their three children, while planning for a fourth in about two months. He loved his father and respected him for doing so much hard work. He could never understand some others in his neighborhood who had already lost their dreams, and did whatever just to get by. He hoped he would never follow their path that usually led to jail, prison, an early death, or just looking like dead men walking.

Having a large family might be rough economically, the father had thought, but it would be better for his wife’s support if he died too early. He didn’t have much in the way of recreation so he enjoyed his few beers, relaxing with the children in front of the television, and the pleasures derived from being married to his long-time sweetheart. Maybe this year, some group would give his children the toys that he could not buy, and maybe some coats. He finally had saved enough money and with his friends could finally fix the front door to open properly, and tear down the rotten stairs and put in cement stairs. As a cement worker, he had repaired so many roads, sidewalks, and freeways that he had the skills to help fix up their small house.

Inside the home was the mother, doing her best to take care of three children, and sometimes her sister’s two children—one with a mental and physical challenge. The mother is also pregnant, but continues to do odd jobs, such as cleaning homes while her widowed mother helps her keep her own house clean, and looks after the elementary children. They don’t have much furniture, but they do have a nice car since the father never wants his wife to be at the mercy of the elements or strangers, while waiting in a disabled car. She felt proud whenever she had to go shopping with the children and her mother. Everywhere she drove, people smiled. They didn’t always smile when she drove the old car that sounded like a barking dog, smoked, and often slid in the rain on the bald tires. She was so proud of her husband working hard. They could have bought a much-cheaper car, but dependable transportation was much more important with her having to be the family driver, and sometimes help her sister get around, as well as some other friends whose cars often died on them.

This mother and father didn’t have much, but every Christmas some church or other group would drive by and give them fruit, nuts, candy, and sometimes some dishes and pots for the house. She didn’t like having to get pregnant every two or three years, but having the children made her husband so proud, and giving him what he wanted wasn’t so bad, except when she would really have a headache! He was such a good man and didn’t drink too much. He always brought the paycheck home and they figured out how to pay for the house, utilities, get food, pay some bills, and use the gadgets that gave them and their children so much fun and kept their minds off the challenges of always being so near poverty. She was glad that they had saved enough money to get that front porch fixed. She would feel so embarrassed whenever someone almost felt through the rotten stairs, and stumbled against the make-shift door. She would then have to holler out the window and tell them to please go to the back door.

The children were always feeling bad whenever a teacher or some church person came calling and they had to tell them to come to the back door. Soon, the front porch would be fixed, and they would have a real door. Gradually, they would get some dining room furniture, but the boxes and broken chairs from the dump or from the curbs of others would do just fine. To have a real front door, and a safe porch would always put a smile on her face as she thought about that. Maybe they didn’t have a whole lot, but little by little they were getting ahead. While watching others on television getting new furniture for Christmas, or having their house get fixed from Hurricane Harvey gave her hope that maybe, someday, they would be on tv, smiling and crying while some kind people fixed up their house and filled their home with new furniture, gifts and some clothes. In the meantime, she would take care of herself as best she could, eating what they could afford, looking to the day when she could fill the house with fruits and vegetables, and go to the doctor more often than now. She just hoped the baby she was carrying would not come out with some form of disability like her nephew. Her sister’s husband did his best to provide for the family, but just never had enough money for proper food his wife needed, and for all the doctor visits she was suppose to make. She, too, sometimes had a kind person come around during Christmas with a little help; she just wished that Christmas time was more than just a drive-by once a year.

NEXT TIME: She used her car so much for others, but now her car was dying. Maybe a drive-by Christmas would help her in time before the car died as she carried people to doctor visits, find them housing, get to work, take others to work, and take young people to their practices and games. Maybe this 2017 Christmas Drive-by would be a dependable SUV or van. Well, Christmas was still a few days away…maybe.

Poverty is More than a Mind Thing!

While doing research on building my business recently, I came across something that may help the masses of people, especially those of the African American experience who have been dumbed down, discouraged, depressed, despondent, and disappointed in trying to fulfill their potential. This is a short phrase from a business family, but mighty powerful:

“If you want to go fast, go alone… if you want to go far, go together” (Joel & Julie Landi of The Performance Group)

I was raised by a very determined woman. She had a husband, but sometimes things just don’t work out, and a woman has to do what a woman has to do.

Not many people around gave me much of a chance. I was smaller than many boys around me; had a speech impediment (stuttered and stammered); was made fun of; developed a very low self-esteem (whatever that is!); and began growing into a very angry young man on the inside while I tried to smile on the outside.  There is quite a story behind why I smile so often now, and have dedicated my life to help others.

By the time I was 11, my mother had become one of those very dedicated Christians. She was the daughter of a church planter and minister, but negative circumstances had affected her desire to be really serious about becoming a committed Christian. Coupled with her own personal powerhouse of determination to succeed, she constantly brought sunshine into what I thought was a strong poverty life. One day, she grew weary of my negative and “Woe is me!” attitude.  I had made the word “can’t” my daily diet.  I used to smile as a baby and young child, but over time, hurts from family members, school acquaintances, and being laughed at by others had crushed me—my smile left and I was a depressed sight.  I had said “I can’t” once too often that day.  My mom glared at me with those sharp black eyes surrounded by her long black hair sat atop a very diminutive body.  “That’s it!” she cried.  I had heard her sharp tongue much of my life, but this was different.  It was as if God himself was thundering at me.

“The word ‘can’t’ will no longer be used in this house!” she continued.  “You CAN read better!  You CAN speak better.  You CAN do better!” she thundered.  “I don’t ever want you to use the word ‘can’t again.  Do you hear me!”  Her thundering voice was so strong I was sure the entire neighborhood heard from our basement living conditions.  “Beginning today, you WILL smile!  Beginning today, you WILL believe in yourself!  Beginning today, you WILL read to me out loud and speak better!”

My mom spoke with such force, I was convinced that she and God must have become very connected!  My eyes opened wide; fear gripped my soul.  However, that day was a turning point in my life of thinking we would always be in poverty.  Of course, my mom NEVER considered us poor, even when we had to share an outhouse with the local pimps, prostitutes, drunks and others in a place where we used to live. She often worked two jobs, and even found time to take me to work in the agricultural fields wherever we lived.  We were seldom broke.  She would wash twice or more times a week to keep my few clothes cleaned and pressed.  And, we seldom missed a meal.  But, I would look at others and what they had, and often despised what my mom worked hard to provide for the two of us.

That very day of the thundering, my mom began me reading out loud to her.  Every morning she would check to see if I was smiling.  If not, I had to quickly put on a smile!  I went to church with her, became active in local and church youth programs, and slowly began to grow beyond my mind of poverty-thinking.

My speaking gradually improved.  I began to dream again.  Against odds, I finished college with several degrees, and was blessed to have had a wife who has stayed with me since 1965.  We have five grown children successful in their own right, 14 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.  I am NOT rich—yet, but I have had the experience of working and learning from over 19 different industries!  This experience has helped me to become a consultant to politicians, ministers, business people, and to community organizations, helping others to dream, and find their niche in life.  Now, I wake up every morning with a smile on my face and looking forward to helping someone else, or making a positive difference in some organization or community.

This entire journey of mine could not have been as successful as it has been if I would have had to walk my journey alone.  Preachers, pastors, teachers, street people, business people, family members, and associates have helped me come this far in life—by being willing to go on the journey together—with others.


Thinking About Some of America’s History

Over the years, many Reconstructionist historians, atheists, and others have bashed Christopher Columbus, the Pilgrims, the Puritans, the nation’s founders, European and other early entrepreneurs to America, explorers in America, slave owners, and Christians for their part in destroying Native culture, and expanding the free enterprise system.  They remind me of women who have been abused in relationships, and blame all men for everything wrong around them!

But, just like ALL men are NOT responsible for the abuse done to women, neither can we blame those above for the abuse done to Native Peoples, African slaves, or to the environment.  Yes, some of those with the above labels have done wrong—they just happen to be human, or greedy, or even evil.  But to blame entire groups is not accurate.  Let’s take Thanksgiving for example.

Some of the early settlers in America were looking for a place where they could practice their belief in the Creator without being abused by those with power.  When they found a measure of peace and survived harsh winters after burying many others, they were thankful to be in a new land.  They didn’t come to take over land from the Native People; they heard it was a New World, and that they could start a new life without powerful people controlling their lives.  They even tried to make peace with the Native Peoples, and find agreement to live together.  Some of the Native Peoples helped them survive in a weather to which they were unaccustomed.  Some of the Native Peoples welcomed them as new neighbors as there was plenty of land.  And, some of the Native Peoples taught them how to plant food, go after game, and survive in a land new to the new arrivals, but well-known by those who had long history in the land.

The Pilgrims gave thanks to the Creator for the help from the Native Peoples.  They gave thanks for those who had survived a cruel winter.  They gave thanks for the opportunity to start a fresh, and free, life in a land with so much potential.  Whether people were religious or not, the Pilgrims were religious, and thanked the Creator for all, for food, survival, and opportunity.  They had a time to sit down with the Wampanoag Native Americans at their thanksgiving table July, 1623 for three days, thankful for life, fellowship, the rain that saved the harvest, and good food as a result of the rain.  Unfortunately, this fellowship only lasted a few years as more people came to these shores, ignoring the ways of the local citizens, and turning to their god of Greed. Some historians say that celebrations in Florida, Texas, and Virginia happened before the gathering at Plymouth and came to be known as “Forefather’s Day.”

It was one of the Founding Fathers, President George Washington, who recognized the time and set the time aside to give thanks on a national day, October 3, 1789, even though there were those who opposed his religious inference.  However, he emphasized that the holiday would be inclusive for Americans of all faiths. Then, along came President Abraham Lincoln.  His desire was to keep the Union together perhaps more than to set the African American slaves free.  And, like President George Washington, he really didn’t want to arm ex-slaves and free African Americans to fight the English, or even to fight Anglo Americans in the South.  However, he was pushed to arm these men after considering the South was arming slaves to fight those from the North, and so many African Americans wanted to fight that he was forced to put them in uniform, and then forced to concede to some of the demands of the South if he wanted to bring healing to the nation.  So, he called the Nation to prayer during a time of Thanksgiving to ease the transition of the South into forming one country again.

Another President, Franklin Roosevelt, recognized Thanksgiving, but caused a firestorm by changing the date to fourth Thursday in November to allow more shopping days for Christmas, from the fifth Thursday, to which people were accustomed.  But, Thanksgiving survived and even grew when magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale, a widow and penniless, worked diligently to make Thanksgiving a national holiday for all Americans.  Later in the 1970s, Native People learned to hate Thanksgiving, Christopher Columbus, and all that stood for progress over them.  Many saw the time as a time of betrayal by the descendants of the early Pilgrims, Puritans, and settlers.  Instead of working with Native Americans and respecting their laws and customs, including their burial lands, late arriving immigrants and some greedy Americans began taking more land from the Native Peoples, continuing to kill and disrespect them, cheating them, and pushing more of them onto lands that were not suitable for the sustainability of their livelihood.  Native Peoples could not see any thanks for them during the season of Thanksgiving.  While others prospered, their way of life quickly diminished, and their wealth was taken away.  However, the o92nd Street Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in New York did manage to take the Thanksgiving season as an opportunity to do some good for those who were in need.  Just how much good has been done for the Native Peoples is still up for discussion.

Nevertheless, many Americans who honor Thanksgiving have become thankful for their prosperity; thankful for an opportunity to share with others; and thankful to be able to learn how to learn from different cultures, and thankful for their contributions.  Many Americans (including myself and my children) over the years leave their Thanksgiving dinners and serve in soup kitchens, help out in food banks, or do some acts of charity.  For some, it is very difficult to become thankful, walking past homeless people on sidewalks around Macy’s or other stores, or enjoying peace by watching the football games being interrupted by news of war overseas, girls caught up in human trafficking, crime in the inner cities, and high unemployment in this land of plenty.

So, in 2017, when you sit down to a fine meal of veggies only, or fish and rice, or turkey, cranberries, mash potatoes, gravy, green beans, varied salads, pie, cake, ice cream, and a drink (or several!), remember some of the words of Ben Franklin who expressed as only a pundit could regarding gratefulness for “…full Enjoyment of Liberty, civil and religious.”  However, since Native Peoples and many African Americans lack such “full enjoyment,” America still has some work to do to really honor the time of Thanksgiving in 2017, and each day in every way.  We can review the history of Thanksgiving and how those who came up with the phrase “thanksgiving,” can include prayer and worship as we move forward.  Of course, prayer and worship should include helping those less fortunate as an outward show of the outgrowth of prayer and worship.   This was illustrated by Representative Elias Boudinot to allow the citizens to do such after an arduous time of the ratification in 1877 of the Constitution.

America has come a long way in honoring the holiday of Thanksgiving, now with the Macy’s Parade, football all day, feasting, and sometimes, helping others.  Perhaps in 2017, we will remember the pain of the Native People during this holiday, understanding that not all of them own a share of a casino or smoke shop, many have become addicted to some form of drug, causing them to bring abuse on family members, and that many STILL don’t feel respected in the land that was formerly owned by their ancestors.  Perhaps, instead of feeding a homeless person or giving a blanket, each of us can adopt a Native family, adopt a homeless family, adopt an African American family, or adopt a newly-arrived immigrant from a war-torn country, and help them develop their talents into providing them with a real Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  [Adapted in part from Melanie Kirkpatrick’s book: Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience]

A Statement Concerning Race and Violence in the United States by the Lott Carey Global Christian Missional Community

While the following was not written by me, I want to share it and get your response:

The notion of race is among the most destructive ideas in history. It prevents living harmoniously and sustainably. Rather than contributing to our capacities to generate ideas, create beauty, analyze problems, and produce solutions, the contemptible notion of race, having no science to support this approach to differentiating human beings, constructs barriers that separate and segregate people. It hinders us from engaging in relationships that strengthen and sustain. The construct of race is manipulative and malevolent.

Human beings are created in the image of God. This gift grants us amazing capabilities for creativity and community. We achieve our highest possibilities when we support and share with one another. Communities of collaboration and compassion enable us to live fully and productively. Working together, we help each other to become more of what God made us to be. Tragically, however, we frequently fail to live as we are intended. We regularly retreat behind boundaries of race – a product of human imagination gone horribly wrong. Our notions of race can cause us to sin before God and to injure one another.

Racial injustice has plagued people in the United States from its beginning. Exploitation, manipulation, and oppression have been inflicted upon so-called racial minorities on this continent from the time of its earliest European migration. Displacements and massacres of Indigenous Nations, the enslavement and murders of Africans, and the dislocation and internment of Asian Americans are horrific examples of racial injustice enabled by religion, government, and customs established to privilege people of European heritage.

Violence has characterized racial injustice in the United States. Physical, psychological, and sexual violence have been used to terrorize and dehumanize people of color. The conscious or unconscious perception of racial supremacy by people of European heritage is accompanied by the privilege affiliated with this erroneous assumption. Erroneous beliefs of racial supremacy and white privilege are advanced through economic, political, educational, religious, and media systems to project these worldviews as normative. This toxic mixture of wrong beliefs and manipulative power has contributed to increasing occurrences of violence against people of color, particularly African-American males, by law enforcement. These hideous abuses and fatalities, with rare accountability, are repulsive to and destabilizing of civilized society. How can people support institutions that threaten, abuse, and murder them?

The Lott Carey global Christian missional community calls for an immediate end to violence against people of color by law enforcement. Further, Lott Carey calls for accountability from law enforcement, the criminal justice system, US communities, and communities of color.

Concerning Law Enforcement

The privilege of wearing a uniform and carrying a weapon imposes the duty on police officers to use good judgement. Officers who fail to exercise judgement that seeks to defuse potentially volatile circumstances, but who, instead, react violently toward unarmed citizens of color must be held accountable. Police departments, law enforcement fraternities, governmental oversight structures, and the communities they serve must ensure that the law enforcement personnel who serve them receive appropriate cultural training to counteract pervasive racial prejudices in this country. Further, these entities must ensure that policing personnel receive the skills training necessary to ensure that they can function effectively in high stress situations. This training will help officers avoid erroneous decision-making that may cause danger and even death to members of the public at large and especially those within the minority community.

Concerning the Criminal Justice System

Data shows that people of color are arrested, prosecuted, and sentenced at a much higher rate than white people in the United States. Incarceration disadvantages convicted persons when pursuing employment opportunities, limits civil engagement like voting, destabilizes families, and contributes to financial fragility and poverty. United States criminal justice systems must remove the profitability of incarceration, and we must provide sufficient financial resources to invest in quality education, job creation, and community viability which will benefit the whole of society rather than enriching a few through criminalizing people of color.

Concerning the Impact of Racial Injustice

Throughout the history of the United States, racial injustice, blatant or subtle, has helped to create environments in communities of color where crime, drugs and violence flourish. Guns are not manufactured in communities of color. Drugs are not grown in communities of color. Communities of color do not redirect economic development and community investment funds away from their neighborhoods. Corporate and government entities collude to limit investment in schools, neighborhoods, and public amenities which leave vacuums that become filled with destructive activities and enterprises. Fiscal and governmental leaders must fairly restructure their approaches to investing in communities that are most vulnerable. These investments will create income, generate wealth, and contribute to safe, stable, and strong communities, cities, counties, and commonwealths.

Concerning Communities of Color

Communities of color, though traumatized by centuries of racial injustice and various forms of violence used to oppress them, cannot use bigotry and inequity as excuses for failing to create strength among themselves. They must organize to promote engaged citizenship, community strength, societal uplift, and neighborhood vitality. They must exercise good judgement in spending their money with businesses that will reinvest in their interests. They must cast their votes for people who will be accountable for responsible governance in relationship to their needs. They must teach young men how to defuse rather than incite potentially volatile situations when engaged by a police officer with a badge and a weapon and who is clothed with government authority. An ill-treated citizen cannot win a confrontation with law enforcement in the moment. We must train young people to use discernment, discretion, discipline, and documentation so that they can live long enough to win in court or through arbitration. Racial injustice is unfair and injurious, but people of color have survived and thrived despite slavery, segregation, and oppression. They can and they must do so in the 21st century.

The Lott Carey global Christian missional community is committed to making peace and ensuring justice. We oppose violence based upon race, gender, religion, nationality, and vulnerability. We support life – nurturing, flourishing, thriving, and affirming life. We are committed to life because we are committed disciples of Our Lord Jesus Christ who was crucified but raised to life eternal. We work for and long for the day when all people will know the love, hope, and joy that is offered from God and in the power of the Holy Spirit. We call upon people of faith and people for life to join us in this journey to end violence and ensure the well-being of all the human family.

Authored by the Discernment Team of the Conversation on Race and Violence:

Dr. Alyn E. Waller
Pastor, Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
President, Lott Carey

Dr. Gina M. Stewart
Pastor, Christ Missionary Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee
Second Vice President, Lott Carey

Justice Cynthia A. Baldwin (ret.)
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

Associate Justice Cheri Beasley
Supreme Court of North Carolina

Dr. Arlee Griffin, Jr.
Pastor, Berean Baptist Church, Brooklyn, New York and Raleigh, North Carolina

Dr. Anthony L. Trufant
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Brooklyn, New York

Dr. David Emmanuel Goatley
Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Lott Carey, Landover, Maryland

Lott Carey is a global Christian missional community organized in 1897 to help churches extend the Christian witness throughout the world. Through prayer partnership, financial support, and technical assistance, we come alongside indigenous communities engaged in ministries of evangelism, compassion, empowerment, and advocacy. Together, we are touching lives with transforming love.



Death is sometimes welcomed, especially if an individual is tired of the pain, the long-suffering, and looking for relief.  Death is also sometimes welcomed by the family care-giver who has not gotten much rest, due to caring for a loved one.

When death came to my mother earlier last month, I was glad that she was out of pain.  Last Thanksgiving (2014), she had confided to my wife and I that she was tired, and since the decision to live or die was in her hands, she was ready to go.  As long as I have been in the world, and before I was in the world, my mother has been suffering from one affliction or another.

My mom overheard the doctor tell her father  that she would not live long, due to the challenges to her health.  Mom was about eight years old.  When her father emerged from the meeting with the doctor, he tried to hide his teary eyes.  However, mom smiled and told him, “I overheard what the doctor said.”  Her father almost burst out in very audible sobs when mom stopped him.  She said, “Since I am going to die young, I am going to outwork everyone I can every day.  And, when I get to Heaven, I am going to tell God to help you in your ministry!”  Her dad was a farmer, and a young developing minister.  He had been a somewhat hard-drinking man due to family issues and challenging racism in Texas and Oklahoma; mom had told him about hearing the voice of God when she was five.  She was told to tell His (God’s) people to get right.  When her dad came in from a hard day of working, and a hard night of drinking, she told him what God had said.  After crying and asking God for forgiveness, this man took his family to church, and was soon on his way to becoming a minister.

The family had moved to California during “The Grapes of Wrath” episodes in the late 1920’s, which saw many poor farmers, and those looking for a better way of life, working their way from the Southwest to the Golden State of California.  It was here, the father heard the sad news from the doctor.  Mom learned how to outwork everyone as a farm laborer in California.  When her father became a labor contractor, she served as his bookkeeper.  However, her father kept wondering when she would die. Other doctors said that she wouldn’t live past 18.  When she passed that death sentence and married and had a son (me!), she was told that she would die by the time she was 30.  Later, other doctors said she wouldn’t see 40.  By this time, mom told the doctors to stop telling her when she was going to die as they were not God!

As long as I can remember, Death always seemed to be lurking around mom.  Sometimes, one eye would not work; then, it was an ear that couldn’t hear.  When it was very cold, arthritis stiffen her up, forcing her to sometimes work in the fields or do hair with only one hand working.  Sometimes, she had to take to the bed, especially when she became paralyzed on one side.  But, she still managed to outwork most people.  She felt like if she was going to have an appointment with death, Death would find her working so hard that Death would just have to take a seat, and wait a little longer!

Thanks to mom’s spiritual growth, and connection with God and seriously godly people, mom’s vision came back into that eye.  Later, her ear popped open.  Then, she worked so hard, or prayed so hard, or believed so intently that arthritis even had to take a seat and admire her fast-moving, working self, sometimes holding down two jobs.  When my step-father came on the scene, he worked hard so mom could be free to help people that she felt God wanted her to help.  This included a lot of abused women and children, young people who didn’t have loving family relationships, and others who felt like they had been served the raw side of life.  Even in loving and reaching out to others, mom would put her disabilities on hold, feeling like since she had been blessed to outlive some of her doctors, there was a joy as she gave her life helping others.  Once, she gave a beautiful home with a huge yard to a family of 13 who could not afford a house.  Books could be written by people she fed, housed, clothed, prayed for, loved on, and turned their lives around.  I am one of those people, but that story will wait for another day.

I had planned to go and visit my mom this past Thanksgiving.  With me in Texas, recovering from some of my own health challenges, and her in Northern California, I wasn’t able to visit mom often, but we talked a lot by phone.  When so many people she loved came to her 90th birthday two years ago, she was overjoyed at what each had accomplished, whether they had become backup singers in Hollywood, opened a business, raised their children alone, become famous in their own right, or just had managed to survive without giving up hope.  Congratulatory letters came from local, state, and national politicians from both sides of the aisle.  Even a mayor of her city came to honor her.

Last year, mom had my wife and I help her plan her transition to Heaven, and not keep Death waiting any longer.  Since we thought we had a few more years, we didn’t complete everything.  I would see her the following Thanksgiving, and we would be able to put everything in place.  Alas, while I was making plans, my son, her most recent, and longest, care-giver, sent word to others (since my phone was on vibrate) that my mom had just passed away.

I should have known something was up when my wife solemnly walked down the hallway and told me to turn off the television.  I was paying more attention to my work on the computer than on the television, so I protested that I wasn’t really watching television.  Then, she raised her voice a little and told me to please turn off the television.  After I had complied, she looked me in the eye and said, “Your mom just died!”

I can’t explain the feeling I had when I heard those words on a Sunday evening.  There was so much to do.  As the oldest child, much of the burden would fall on me.  However, one of my sisters, an attorney, was very resourceful.  Plus, my son, mom’s care-giver, was very helpful.  And, then there were my grown children, and others, who jumped in and made sure the planning, and homegoing arrangements were carried out with professional excellence.  I think I was pretty numb during the preparations before I arrived where mom stayed, while carrying out my duties with the funeral home and the insurance companies, and so many other details that must be done when someone in a family dies.  In fact, as I write this, I am still pretty numb.

Death.  Death became a pleasant friend at last for my mom.  For the first time in her life, she would not have any more pain.  At such a thought, I somewhat thanked Death, but I still wanted to visit my alive mother just one more time.  There were so many things I wanted to discuss with her about her family, more about her history, and just hug her just one more time.  I had no idea last Thanksgiving as she asked me to feed her from my plate with the one fork that this would be the last thing I would do for mom.  Death.  Death is often not welcomed when one is robust and things are going great.  Death is really not welcomed when family members and friends hadn’t finished their planned time with their loved one.

Death will come to us all.  Regardless of race, religion, no religion, gender, or whatever one may believe about life ending here, or life extended into a different dimension, Death will visit all of us.  The only questions that remains is: Will you be ready to meet Death?  Will you have all of your affairs in order?  Will you go with Death quietly, or will you go with Death screaming and clutching on to what you have?  If you are reading this, you have a chance to prepare to meet Death, so stay ready, as Death is always checking the appointment book!








There is a lot of propaganda against anyone who dares call themselves a Christian.  This propaganda has been growing since before there were “Christians,” a name given to those in the first century who acted a lot like a person that had hung on the cross because propagandists were tired of Him doing good for the masses of people while often making religious and political people look bad.

Now what is propaganda?  It depends on one’s definition.  However, the most accepted understanding comes from the dictionaries. The definition I will share comes from and says:


1.information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.

2.the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc.

3.the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement. (

Many evil, negative, selfish, and self-aggrandizing people don’t like, or sometimes, downright, hate Christians.  As I observe the propaganda coming out from the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender) organization, I see that they have become caught up in propaganda to help them get what they wanted—and, it is working.

If a person, especially a Christian, don’t agree with the lifestyle of a gay person, or call what they do sinful, or unnatural, or don’t agree with their pushiness to MAKE someone serve them, rent to them, accept them as another form of “natural” gender, they get hit with labels like “bigot,” “hatemonger,” “homophobic,” “mean-spirited,” “unChristian,” or some other word to try to show those who agree with them that that person or group is not kind, or whatever, and needs to be punished.

Unfortunately, this group wants to speak out and demonstrate for their “rights,” but don’t want Christians and other non-believers in their way of life to say anything they would consider negative against their lifestyle.  The politicians and others are so afraid of being “called out,” demonstrated against, sued, or considered an unkind person that they are caving in, and gradually giving the LGBT just about whatever they want.  Of course, many within the LGBT have been fighting for their form of justice for over 50 years.  And, they are using mostly civil rights laws developed to create a level educational and economic field for African Americans.  However, when one puts up the statistics of the massive horrors done to African slaves and African Americans against the few horrors done to any within the LGBT movement, the results are a slap in the face of many African Americans who have not bought into the LGBT movement.

Many Christians and Christian groups support most, if not all, of the agenda of the LGBT movement out of respect.  Some say everyone should “tolerate” this group, and all who consider themselves as another gender, or a gender desiring the affections of their own gender.  These Christians hide behind a few verses in their interpretation of the Christian Bible, do not see the necessity of including the ancient teachings of what they call the “Old Testament,” and usually do not see their understanding of what they call “God” as really being unchangeable—the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Such is the power of how people and groups use propaganda, to embellish their own agenda by putting down the agenda of others.   And, let’s face it: we ALL have an agenda!  Some are fighting for the right to respect the long-standing history of what a marriage is.  Others feel like a marriage is whatever they call it to be in this brave, new world.  Many Christians don’t even want to get involved in the conversation because some of them may be “closet” gays and lesbians; are sleeping around, and quietly having sex with single or married men and/or women, and even having sex with boys, and/or girls; have divorced one or more times to enjoy the kind of sex that they think they need and deserve; or hide away and enjoy personal sex by themselves with books, tapes, movies, or just with their mind.  Thus, they don’t dare speak out lest someone find out about their past, or discover what they are currently into that might be considered “improper” sexual thoughts or actions by Christians and others with higher moral standards.

An ancient Native American saying, paraphrased here, is DON’T JUDGE OR CRITICIZE ANOTHER WARRIOR UNTIL YOU HAVE WALKED IN HIS MOCCASINS!  Whether one is involved in the LGBT movement, has a child or relative that is gay, has gay tendencies, or just don’t think being gay is normal, slinging propaganda mud will never bring lasting peace.  What will bring a measure of understanding between the so-called gays, and the so-called straights is just learning to accept each other the best we can, enjoy what each brings to the table, stop trying to shove each other’s beliefs down the throat of each other, and respect each other for the right to believe/act the way they desire without having to pass a bunch of new laws, or go to war against each other.  In other words, if someone doesn’t want to rent or sell you something because it really goes against their long-standing beliefs, move on to someone who will.  If someone doesn’t want to bake you a cake, give you a job, or whatever it is you think you deserve, look around and find someone who will.  And, if no one will give you the product or service you need to be happy, consider creating a new opportunity or industry.

At one time American women weren’t given an opportunity to share their skills beyond the bedroom and the kitchen; now they control over 59% of the economy.  If they continue to learn, earn, develop, and marry into rich and powerful families, they may one day control ALL of America when their husbands die!  At one time, there was not ONE African American playing in the NBA, NFL, MLB, so they developed their own leagues and perfected their skill; now there is not ONE professional NBA, NFL, MLB without at least ONE African American on their team roster.  At one time, there was not ONE African American quarterback in the NFL; now there are several.  Of course, marching, educating, and passing laws didn’t hurt!  At one time there was not ONE Hispanic American in the unions building highways, freeways, skyscrapers, and new homes; now in some states, they almost control the labor of construction, janitorial, maid service, yard service, and even in some restaurants that are NOT Hispanic!

Educating, understanding, and sharing resources without fighting could be a better wave of the future for lasting peace among various groups, instead of using the broad brush of propaganda to coerce people to follow the dictates of another.  However, will we be reasonable and listen to each other, or will we continue to get what we each want even if it means tearing the country apart, and allowing a dictator to take over and tell ALL OF US what we are to believe or face the chopping block?