Finding the Stationary

Have you ever lost your keys, or glasses or cellphone and then try tracing your steps in reverse order to find the lost item? Only to find it in some obscure place? A place that simply out of order in comparison to where you normally place your keys, or glasses or cell phone … you fill in the blank.

For those moments, we placed ordinary things someplace other than in their usual spot.

Are we ever guilty of laying the Word of God in places where it’s hard to retrieve too? For example, in John 15:4A –  Where Jesus says to his disciples, “Take care to live in me and let me live in you.” Well, the good news is that the love of Jesus is not something that we can misplace; God seems to know us better than we know ourselves. We just can’t quite get our hands on God’s love … so if it appears to be misplaced, we need to backtrack to that ever-present indwelling spirit that God sent to comfort and keep us and make all things available to us.

Our thought to ponder takes a little deeper and have us recognize that knowing where the love of God resides is wonderful … then, on the other hand, allowing our neighbor to witness that love is completely another matter!  “Jesus, I want my neighbor to see your love in me.”

John 15:1- 17 is the chapter and verses that have been speaking to our AC most of the ministry year.  Jesus uses the vineyard to explain connectedness and love. We see a vineyard as the place set aside for growing produce primarily for winemaking, but also for raisins, table grapes, and non-alcoholic grape juice.  Have you ever taken a tour of the dwelling place of growing grapes?

A few months ago, a couple friends and I were part of a group touring Spain. As some will recall, Spain is Teresa of Avilla’s home country. Among her many noted titles, she was a well-known Spanish mystic and theologian of introspective life through mental prayer.  Perhaps her spiritual discipline gives us a response to what it looks like to recognize the indwelling works of the Holy Spirit that make one more like Jesus.

During our trip, one of our land excursions took us near but not deeply into vineyards in southern Spain. It was a time of reflection to consider WHAT an inspirational walk through this vineyard in Spain might have revealed. I was close enough to see similarities to vineyards I had seen and walked through in southern California, yet we weren’t close enough to experience any of the nuances like the freshness of being in a garden or the close-up gaze at a vine that is putting out new tender green shoots……. Enclosed in a tour bus, you miss those sensory stimuli that you are afforded when you are physically among God’s creation. Being among the life-giving features of God’s handiwork elicits a connectedness to our own core through the sunlight, and the feel of the breeze blowing around us puts our surroundings out of our immediate control.

Does the same Jesus that wants to live in us control the vines and branches in this natural setting? This setting that calls you and me to reflect on his presence?

Wow!!! This awesome connectedness is a place of surrender, a place of solace. It IS a place where Jesus dwells. A place where saints like Teresa of Avilla once encountered this same, Jesus. You can clearly recognize Jesus and experience his spirit of welcome when we pause to acknowledge his places of abiding love.

Now, for all the scientific minds that are asking “IS THIS TRANSFERRABLE TO OTHER SETTINGS?


Making wine is a long, slow process, so I’m told. It can take a full three years to get from the initial planting of a brand-new grapevine through to the first harvest, and the first vintage might not be bottled for another two years after that. The vinedresser determines when its time. The fruit of the vine is required to stay in place until the keeper of the vineyard deems it ready for the next level of service. The challenge, much like the service of ministry or laying your keys in the wrong place, is the wait and proper timing for you to be at your finest.

At times this wait might seem to be a time of dormancy. A time when the cares of the day, crowd around you like weeds capable of choking the life out of your branch of ministry.

Keep reaching toward the sunlight and seek the face of the vinedresser for help, FOR survival and thriving.

  • Teresa of Avilla might say to you at those times… “Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you, all things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything.”
    ― Teresa of Ávila

Our challenge remains, from generation to generation of faith leaders – the art of carving out time in the vineyards of life to see and experience our connectedness not only to the neighboring grape in your cluster but to the dresser and keeper of the vineyard too, which is Jesus our great sustainer through the work of the Holy Spirit. We seek to be our best selves as the vinedresser snips away our unseemly parts or gently and repeatedly remove the scales from our eyes of understanding so that we may see Jesus in the ordinary table grape as well as in the lusciousness of the wine grape and all the diversity that lies in between. By God’s grace, we will even become disciplined about where we place our glasses and keys, too.

  • “It is foolish to think that we will enter heaven without entering into ourselves.” ― Teresa of Ávila – Let’s take time to display the love of Christ because we’ve been changed from within!
  • And remember, we appreciate the good when we have taken a few steps in the wrong direction and needed to backtrack to find our way back home … “To reach something good, it is useful to have gone astray.” ― Teresa of Ávila


board-1815982__340I am a concerned citizen of Cleveland and feel as though I have been deprived of my constitutional right to petition. On Monday, May 22, 2017, Cleveland Council President, Kevin Kelley, directed the City Clerk to refuse the official filing of petitions that I participated in gathering regarding an emergency ordinance to amend Section 195.03 of the Codified Ordinances of Cleveland – Ordinance No. 305-17. As I stood at the receptionist’s desk in the City Council office area of City Hall with a contingent of others supporting this initiative, the people’s City Hall, I personally felt abused and misused. While some began to respond to the circumstances immediately before us, internally I struggled with to whom to direct the anger I was feeling. Should it be directed at Councilpersons represented now by Kevin Kelley and Phyllis Cleveland or should it be directed at the folks who I participated in canvassing with and followed downtown to City Hall for failing to prep us for this type of “what if” scenario? There was seeming, a time of disarray as leaders from other coalition organizations who had formed this partnership started to voice opposition to what we were all hearing too. Those of us standing there at the City Council’s receptionist’s desk, in the people’s City Hall had by all accounts taken a proper course of action to have our voices heard through the petition.  City Council President, Kevin Kelley, launched a campaign to mute the voices of those with whom I stood alongside in the City Council receptionist’s lobby and the voices of 20,000+ who had signed the petition booklets that were faithfully delivered in four (4) white boxes.

The Cleveland City Charter seems very clear about the petition process:

  • 49 (City Charter, Chapter 7) Any proposed ordinance may be submitted to the Council by the petition signed by at least five thousand (5,000) qualified electors of the City. All petition papers, circulated with respect to any proposed ordinance, shall be uniform in character and shall contain the proposed ordinance in full, and have printed thereon the names and addresses of at least five electors of the City who shall be officially regarded as filing the petition and shall constitute a committee of the petitioners for the purposes hereinafter named.[1] We presented 20,000+ signatures to representatives of the Cleveland City Council Clerk to officially receive and transport to the Cuyahoga County Board of Election to begin the work of validating.

I am one of five (5) petitioners who supported the collection of signatures to place the Q Transformation Deal on the ballot for citizens of Cleveland to exercise their voting rights to give the deal an up or down vote. I feel that City Council leadership has violated the democratic process and Ohio law (RC 731.29) afforded to me as a citizen of the City of Cleveland and the State of Ohio.

Irrespective of Councilman Kelley’s position on the ramifications for a referendum about the Q Transformation Deal, residents of Greater Cleveland should be shocked, sickened and alarmed about the Council President and Legal Counsel of Cleveland violating the City Charter and denying an uninterrupted process to certification and the work of the Cuyahoga County Board of Election.  Those submitting the signatures gathered by the canvassers are clearly being denied our civil rights to participate in the petitioning process.

Councilman Kelley has placed himself between my personal right to petition much like what happened in 1963 when Governor George Wallace made himself a barrier to school integration in the South by standing in the door of the University of Alabama and denying the enrollment of African-American students.[2]  Similar to the ideology of the 1960’s, there seem to be a popular sentiment among our City leadership against flipping priorities and placing a greater emphasis on resolving issues in our neighborhoods like violence, blight, business investments, jobs and poor schools.  A majority of City Council members apparently support conducting business as usual as they managed their midday public caucus on Monday, May 22 and those Council members with whom I have been in cordial speaking terms with over my years living in Cleveland opted to not even make eye-contact with me. To them, I was invisible. I guess we all that were associated with the petition were invisible.  Yes, the City government mechanism launched its campaign to silence my voice which stands in solidarity with those voices crying out from the boxes of petition booklets delivered from the neighborhoods to the City Clerk of Cleveland. Voices whose repeated cry for justice and fairness can be interrupted may be even muted, but they will not be silenced.

The following official written statements on City Council letterhead were given to the petitioners. The first statement seeks to justify while the petitioners are not allowed to file the boxes of petition booklets delivered to the Clerk and the second statement attempts to emphasize that the Council President’s action allowing the petitions to be taken into custody by the City Clerk is not to be considered an official filing of the petitions:

“A referendum seeking repeal of Ordinance No. 305-17 would unconstitutionally impair an already executed and binding contract. Therefore, I do not accept the petition papers for such referendum,” letter signed by deputy clerk of council Allan Dreyer

The second letter signed by deputy clerk Allan Dreyer and presented to the petitioner by Council President Kevin Kelley states that the city was “taking custody of the petitions but do not consider the petition to be filed with the Clerk.”

President Kelley did not elaborate on exactly what contract the petitions would affect when pressed for an answer in the receptionist area or when pressed by Councilmen Johnson, Reed, and Polensek during the midday Monday, May 22 caucus.  Could it be that he and the legal teams he conferred with consider Ordinance No. 305-17 an emergency resolution? The Ohio Revised Code expressly states that an emergency resolution can be passed if it relates to “public peace, health, or safety.”  Is the definition of emergency left to the personal interpretation of our seventeen (17) member City Council? If so, 20,000+ Cleveland citizens have responded and do not consider this ordinance in the emergency category.

President Kevin Kelley stated that he did not have a written legal opinion from his legal team to share with his colleagues, only a private client-attorney discussion with attorneys on the City’s payroll. Therefore, the discussion was not privy to the public taxpayers nor the members of City Council with whom he serves.

The actions of the Cleveland City Council president and those Councilpersons with whom I have engaged over my time in Cleveland take me back to a time of childhood pain. Pain that makes you wonder about the value and purpose of doing good and being ignored or muted versus doing evil and being given significant acknowledgment and your name lifted onto the sound traces of the entire City of Cleveland. The Holy writings speak to us about doing good – One who seeks good finds goodwill, but evil comes to those who search for it (Proverbs 11:7). These City leader tactics require a close walk with our Creator God to reveal the purpose of pain and its reward in our personal lives.


Though I feel the pain caused by civic leaders stirring and rekindling the rage cultivated and fed by any action that mirrors my definition of racism, I will not go to a place of silence. I will not stand in a corner as a hopeless victim of the misuse of privilege and power. I will not, through the help of God and the prayers of the saints, I will not succumb to the tactics of the tilt of the currents of racist activities that challenge my right to petition and my right to be defined by my address or the color of my skin!

Racism is that constant burden that every black American knows about how it feels to have an unfavorable, and unfair identity imposed on your every waking day (Andrew Hacker, 1992)[3]. The antics of Cleveland City Council president, representing a city with a population of approximately 385,809 with more than 50% brown citizens, seek to mute my voice and people most likely living in distressed neighborhoods needing attention and who participated in the petition campaign. Will the voters of Cleveland be moved to exercise their constitutional right and vote in pending elections and take a stand for what is morally right? Seeking equity starts at the ground roots level. Justice and equity must be demanded!


Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Martin Luther King, Jr.




[3] Mael, E., 1998. “And don’t call me a racist!”. Argonaut Press, Lexington, Mass. (pg. 63).


via Daily Prompt: Heal

When I think of healing my mind presses hard upon the need to have a “pull back day.” In my senior years, I find myself looking forward to a day or two when I no outside commitments. A time when I can rest, read and attempt to write. Today was especially solum as I wrote the date, April 8th, in my journal and realized that it was 60 years ago today that my mother passed away. For many years, I have paused on this day and revisit her death with an attitude of sadness as if her death has been unfinished business. Much like a wound or illness requiring some type of restoration. Like a need to heal.

Today, before I became too self-absorbed, I was reminded that my mother died in childbirth. She died giving birth to a set of twins, one stillborn and one live birth. This means that I needed to wish my youngest sister “happy birthday.” So, I did. Maybe one day I will be able to hear her share what types of things come to mind for her on April 8th. I hope that we will one day heal another to talk about the separate paths that the death of our mom set us on. I want us to heal enough to talk about how our mom’s ending was also a beginning, for my youngest sister and for the rest of my four (4) siblings. We were all adopted out and lived apart. It has been as adults that we have tried to bond and restore our connection as siblings. We still have ways to go.


Learning Reflective Inquiry

Memories2Awareness is about learning to treasure your life’s journey in ways that bring inspiration to yourself and to others.  I have started writing my memoir numerous times and always get sidetracked by another person’s request for assistance with things that are near and dear to them and their well-being. This is a good thing but over the years, I am feeling more out of spiritual balance maintaining that level of focus on service and begin challenging my own self about – “What do I really feel passionate about?” In response to my question, I want to create and participate in learning communities. I retired 2014 and continue pressing my way out of  the revolving approach to life that provided incentives for me to do my work in a corporate setting or as a nonprofit leader or in the profession of an ordained clergy. I look forward to using reflective inquiry as an evolving light that brings peace to the places where I have been and wonderful challenges that fuel the future places where I am going   (

First blog post

Memories2Awareness is about learning to treasure your life’s journey in ways that bring inspiration to yourself and to others.  I have started writing my memoir numerous times and always get sidetracked by another person’s request for assistance with things that are near and dear to them and their well-being. This is a good thing but over the years, I am feeling more out of spiritual balance maintaining that level of focus on service and begin challenging my own self about – “What do I really feel passionate about?” In response to my question, I want to create and participate in learning communities. I retired 2014 and continue pressing my way out of  the revolving approach to life that provided incentives for me to do my work in a corporate setting or as a nonprofit leader or in the profession of an ordained clergy. I look forward to making reflective inquiry an evolving light that brings peace to where I have been and wonderful challenges to fuel future opportunities to inspire and be inspired.