Sunday, December 23, 2018

It Doesn't Feel Like Christmas


"It doesn't feel like Christmas this year," is something I've heard more than once and can't fully disagree. Elf, A National Lampoon’s Christmas, and all of the popular songs are on and the lights in my neighborhood twinkle long into the night but a pep is missing, a certain lightness of spirit...excitement perhaps.
But this morning as I went about my tidying up, I began to wonder what the first Christmas felt like. You know the one I'm talking about. Mary, Joseph, and their fresh baby Jesus and realized that for them, it didn't feel like "Christmas" (or our version of it, anyway) to them either.
When we marvel at artists’ depictions of that newly married couple from Nazareth looking down at their swaddled baby, awe in their hearts, it's easy to forget what their Christmas looked and felt like.
There's Mary, Miriam in Hebrew, a girl no more than 15 whose reputation was in tatters, ribbons, and ashes. Imagine falling pregnant while engaged in the Middle East 2,000 years ago. Possible death penalty by stoning aside, did her family believe her story? Did her friends? Did her community? What was it like for her to walk through the market?
We know her fiancé didn't initially believe her wild story about an angel telling her she’s to carry the Messiah because Joseph was prepared to quietly end their engagement to not only try and preserve a few shreds of her dignity but maybe her life as well. That is, until he had his own encounter with a Divine being.
The couple married. I can’t imagine it was a particularly joyous event. How many people gossiped about the unfaithful, lying, promiscuous, girl and the fool who married her while they took their vows?
Heavily pregnant, it came time for a road trip for the government census. Not by car or even donkey as they were very poor. They walked the 90 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem (some of it quite hilly). I've been pregnant. The farthest I wanted to walk in my last trimester was from the couch to the fridge and even that felt like a brutal pilgrimage.
When the exhausted pregnant woman and her weary husband arrived, surely there was a room waiting with a heating pad, hot meals, fresh clothes, and....no. There wasn't any of that. People disagree as to whether Mary and Joseph stayed in an actual barn of just some lower room that happened to have animals in it, but what we can agree on is that straw and donkey poop are not welcome in any maternity ward.
Joseph was from Bethlehem. Are we supposed to believe he didn't have any family or friends who could make space for them?
He probably did, but as we all know, scandalous news travels fast- especially about the hometown boy whose fiancée got pregnant by somebody else (“She’s still saying she’s a virgin? LOL"). Could it have been that they weren’t welcome anywhere? Or anywhere they were welcome would have been too uncomfortable to stay?
Either way, Mary and Joseph found themselves without a hotel reservation and alone.
Him: shouldering shame, fear- his wife was in labor and he wasn't a midwife, and the responsibility of raising not just any old child.
Her: having her first baby in what had to be the worst Airbnb of all time after enduring months of slander and rejection topped off by a long, physically challenging journey in the most vulnerable state she’s every experienced.
Don't tell me that in the throes of labor, she wasn't missing her mom.
The first Christmas didn't have twinkle lights. There was no tree. No gifts. No welcoming extended family and no Instagram-able accommodations or decor, no table packed with steaming dishes. It was lonely, dirty, and painful both emotionally and physically.
And yet it was beautiful, miraculous, Divinely appointed and changed the world forever.
On the very first Christmas, the lights came in the form of heavenly hosts who lit up the night sky with a blazing message of hope. The gifts came in the promise of God's unfailing love and redemption in the form of a little baby boy. The visitors were shepherds- members of one of the lowest occupations at the time- who had been sent on a Divine mission of encouragement and welcome.
The room, while not impressive to the naked eye, was packed to capacity with glowing angels singing in heavenly chorus. How’s that for decorations?
If your heart is heavy this Christmas because it doesn't feel right or good enough...maybe the loss of someone you love has the air feeling empty, or you can't fill the space under the tree for the kids the way you'd like to, or you've been walking that Nazareth to Bethlehem walk through valleys and up mountains for months, years, and your mind and soul need healing rest...you're not alone.
The first Christmas was stripped of all the comforts of home, there were no red and white frosted cookies, no sparkling silver tinsel, no movies, and very few familiar faces, but with the Child came a promise of Divine hope and love that transformed a barn into a palace, strangers into family, and a common night into a season of miracles.
My hope and prayer for you reading this, is that you can look around your simple life, the broken and beautiful pieces together, and know that the miracle is still alive and present today. Hope is here, among us. Let it in. That’s Christmas.
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:11
love always and Merry (early) Christmas,
Bunmi ☃️♥️

Friday, December 7, 2018

I Understand

A few months ago I had an encounter with the Divine that changed how I see and do everything. It came out of a time of extreme, intense difficulty. I was literally given a second chance at life.

Do you know what it is to float above your body, weightless- pure consciousness- and look down at yourself? I do. It’s perplexing to see the physical form that you identified with for so long separate from yourself...but I felt a sense of lightness I’d never known as I stared at myself from the sky, just below the clouds, on that clear, cool morning despite knowing it was wrong.

And then I was sent back.

I struggled for weeks, wondering why I was given another chance. And then I understood. It was to help people who are where I was because it takes one to know one.

I KNOW what the shadow realm on Earth looks, smells and tastes like (hopelessness and sulfur, in case you’re curious). I know what it’s like to be so weighed down, mentally tortured, and in despair that something just snaps and all of a sudden the most terrible decision seems right. That’s what most people don’t understand: it seems 100% correct.

Although I’m happy to be with my family, I wasn’t spared the consequence of my decision just for them. It was to help you, the person who is reading this, to take a step back from the edge.

Listen to me: the battle for our souls takes place in our minds first. Believe me when I say not every thought you have is yours or true. I love how my friend Jenny (The Bloggess) says it: “Depression is a liar.” It lies. It knows you, knows your weaknesses and deepest, most sensitive unhealed tender, infected wounds and speaks hot, searing lies into them until you are curled up in a ball in deep, indescribable pain. It’s then that your body becomes the burning building you want to jump from.

These lies can easily cost you the most precious gift you were ever given: your life.

If it were enough to simply believe in God or just have the right therapist or prescription, nobody with those things would ever die.

I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I’ve come to realize that being aware of the daily battle for my mind is the key to survival. I might just look like a chick in a hoodie and pajama pants but I’m in full armour every. single. day.

In a letter to his church besties, Roman citizen and Jewish dude, Paul of Tarsus wrote that they needed to put on, as he called it, “the full armour of God” and describes each piece from head to toe, giving them practical tools for walking through their darkest nights.

And oh yeah, he wrote that letter WHILE IN JAIL for talking about his faith. He’s sitting in some 70AD stone, probably hella cold, damp, rat infested, no good food having JAIL encouraging his friends. That takes some faith. If I’d been Paul, I would have been writing my family asking for care packages with Instant noodles because very hungry.

You can only do what he did when you don’t see the world around you with just your physical eyes.

You can’t see my armour: my metal helmet, sword, shield, etc. but they’re on me. I take jabs at every lying thought and take out plenty but inevitably, in a moment of human weakness, one gets past me and I find myself swirling. It’s then that I ask the One who knows me by name for help.

I also go see my mentors Helen and Ada whose battle regalia is covered in ribbons of battles won and I tell them the truth. I drink water. I listen to uplifting music and watch YouTube videos (Bill Johnson of Bethel is my absolute fave- slander him here and get blocked, he has picked me all the way up). I rest in the arms of my Maker because sometimes I’m just tired and need to comfort.

This morning I was writing in my God journal, overwhelmed with the idea of helping people in pain while I myself still struggle.

I wrote, “I can’t do this,” and heard back, “I know.” I exhaled. It’s not my my power. Yes, I need to be willing and try but just how I didn’t give myself a second chance, I didn’t put my soul back into my body on that Sunday morning, I have Help.



If you’re reading this, be encouraged because we’re not fighting alone. There legions of angels charged with our care and a Divine Love that while I don’t 100% understand, I grow to trust more (argue with) daily.

I’m still petty, crybaby me, but I fight the $h*t out of some demons on the regular with my angels by my side and my God both in my heart and around me. Suit up. Fight for yourself. I got your six.

Love, Bunmi


Thursday, December 6, 2018

Letting Go

This week I've learned that I'm a control freak. It manifests through procrastination and avoiding making decisions until I've researched thoroughly, imagined every negative possible outcome in stunning mental detail and then saying "No" because I can't predict the future.

Normal.


Yesterday I was talking to an entertainment lawyer about a project, trying to squeeze every bit of information I could out of him because I was afraid to move forward.

"But what if...how do we know that...ok but..."

I was and am afraid because it's a new area for me. What if I got screwed over? What if the project doesn't come out in a way I like? What do you mean I can't control every aspect of everything?

At some point, he sensed my neurosis and said, "It's going to require a leap of faith."

That's what did it for me. I'd done my due diligence. Now I just had to jump.

Did I mention I have trust issues?

I started writing down my conversations with God lately. Yes, we have them. It's not special. I'm rude, childish and accusatory because I figure He knows everything in my heart anyway so I may as well just say it and get some answers. I love God, pease don't get me wrong. I just need answers. I guess the theme for my week (month? year? entire life) is fear and trust, because that's what we talked about. If this idea makes you uncomfortable, you can always just think I'm crazy.

Anyway, this is how it went.

We were discussing a situation where I was working hard to forgive a person who had deeply offended me and I realized that I forgave them a long time ago. I know that humans are fallible. I'm fallible. It was God I was holding a grudge against.

Voice (How do I describe the sound. Like a still and gently moving soft, warm, sweet breeze that is self-contained and calm):

Why don't you trust me?

Me: Because I wasn't protected. (By you).

*I thought of all of the situations that scarred me in life*

Voice: I exposed your wounds to the light to heal them. Does a surgeon work in darkness? I don't need Light to see, but you do. You needed to see what hurt, so I, the Doctor, could tell you why. Healing is not always pain free. Pain is not always a sign that something is wrong.

*I saw a picture in my mind's eye of a man with a broken let in a cast grimacing as he moved off of a bed. Healing was taking place but it still hurts*

Me: And prolonged pain?

Voice: Is caused by holding on to it.

Me: Why would I hold on to it?

Voice: You tell me

Me: Because if I let go, it will just come back again anyway. At least this way I can control it.

Voice: How is the control going?

Me: Badly. How do I let go?

Voice: That's the best question yet. Let go by trusting the One you're letting go to.

Me: HOW *wanting a detailed instructional manual with in-color photos and instructional video*

Voice: Healing takes place in the mind before the heart.

Me: Why?

Voice: Because the mind makes decisions. Every second and half second.

Me: And the heart doesn't?

Voice: Couldn't if it tried. The heart reflects the state of the soul. It is for you to know where you stand- in Light with me or in the shadow of Light behind a lie.

Me; What lies?

Voice: You tell me.

Me: That you fail to, or decide not to protect me.

Voice: Who told you that?

Me: thinking: *You ask a lot of questions you know the answer to*

My mind tells me.

Voice: Someone else told your mind and the thought took root because of the state of your heart which reflects where you stand in terms of your soul; the only part of you that is you.

Me: How do I fix these lies?

Voice: By wanting to. And you do not.

Me *offended* Why?

Voice: You tell me

Me: *suddenly very tired and a bit sad* Because I'm afraid they're true.

Voice: And if they are?

Me: Then You're not who You say You are.

Voice: *echoing my next thought* And I'm a liar.

*In my mind's eye I see Eve and Adam in the garden being told by the serpent that God lied to them, that the fruit was good. The lie takes form, wriggles into their minds like a snake and burrows in deeply. A seed is planted. The image is surprisingly heartbreaking because neither of them had any idea what would happen and what they were giving up by believing it*

Voice: Do you know how you kill a lie?

Me: How?

Voice: Starve it. Lies need attention to live. Starve it. When you act on a lie, you feed it, giving it power. Starve it of yourself. It needs you to live. Without you, a lie cannot fulfill its purpose and it dies.

Me: What's the purpose of lies? *I don't know why I ask that question*

Voice: To kill

Me; What?

Voices: To kill. Lies want as many human lives as it/they can eat. They desire death.

Me: *a little afraid by this drastic and dark turn*  How?

Voice: You've seen it and lived it.

*Shown starving, emaciated bodies in barracks in the holocaust, men with hollow sunk in eyes staring*

Voice: The lies didn't start by building ovens. They started in kitchens, workplace chatter, yards, parks- benign places and took root like mold.

Me: *a bit angry* And You let it.

Voice: Did I?

Me: Yes.

Voice: *stern and with a voice like a stern windstorm* Did I do nothing? Have you read the file on the miracles I performed on empty roads and in death camps?

Me: Millions died.

Voice: And millions were saved by My hand.

Me: If you didn't protect them, how can I expect you to protect me?

*I needed to ask. This has been my question for awhile*

Voice: Do you know how many times I've protected you? Pain is part of this world.

*In that moment my mind flashed many scenes, none of them clear, but I was aware that all of them were scenarios in which I'd been saved from outside circumstances and the consequences of my own behaviors. I'm aware of a grace that has been present my entire life, a thick and generous blanket of it and feel ungrateful and grateful at the same time.*

If that grace is with me, I believe it's with all of us. It doesn't mean everything in life is pretty and easy. It works as a net to catch things, shield us, from dangers we never knew about.

I'm trying very hard to listen and starve the lies and make decisions from a place of truth and trust only in the One who breathed life into me. My first instinct is always to either believe the lies or try to attack them with truth, but it's true...either way I'm engaging and they seem to feed off of my attention. Lies don't seem to even care if they're believed, just that they're played with until I'm exhausted from defending myself and one slips past my gate of debate and plants a weed in my garden.

My eyes like to look down at the choppy waters, but I can decide to lift them and take rest in the heart of God who I know loves me. I snuggle in there like it's a huge duvet. In that place, I'm always a child, always held, always snuggled to sleep. All I have to do is let go.



Tuesday, December 4, 2018

King Without Her Crown

This morning was one of those mornings. My most challenging kid (who has almost the exact personality as me, go figure) woke up ready for battle. It actually started last night with a lack of listening, talking back, and me being a present and patient Earth mother in gingham apron ( aka yelling).



 I love being a mom, I really do, but sometimes that mouth tho. After all of the back and forth that bled into this morning (pre-coffee of course), 5 y/o was wailing because there was no time for Teen Titans Go and because he had to get dressed yet again (putting on clothes is always a major shock to his system- keep him in your thoughts).

 My oldest, the sage one, simply watched the chaos unfold quietly as she does. That’s been her MO since she was a baby. When I’d take her to the park as a toddler, if there were any kids who even seemed even a bit rowdy, she’d calmly exit the jungle gym and come sit next to me on the bench and watch. She doesn’t do ruckus. It’s not her scene. She was blessed with two siblings who are the exact type of kid she tried so hard to avoid.

 I empathize with the mom in Where the Wild Things Are. Max did too much and ended up in his room. Without dinner. And while the little king of monsters went on his imagination voyage to a the island with monsters more terrible than him, I wonder if his mom sat downstairs in their family room, eyes closed feeling simultaneously furious at her baby and terrible for not being the perfect stern but peaceful disciplinarian we all want to be. I didn’t have time to change out of my real pajamas into my yoga pants pajamas. My son was envious, not realizing that these black and red blatant pj pants at school drop off amongst the smoothly ironed pencil skirts and crisp stain-free business pants send a very clear message to the world that I lost control of the morning.

 I haven’t smoked in a week but needed something and bourbon is frowned upon before 5pm. My spirit wanted me to pray, ask the God who isn’t a abstract deity to me, but a Father who gets it and cares, for help, but I was too mad. Closed off. In “f*** everything” mode even though I could feel heaven’s eyes on me, not judging but waiting for me to look up. But I didn’t want to. Like Max, I retreated into my own island jungle of overwhelm populated by my own wild things (anger, resentment, and cigarette smoke- don’t give me quitting tips or warnings. I know).

 As I drove home, I heard the Voice. Always so gentle like the faintest of breezes but somehow also so clear. So far away and near at the same time. And no matter how grown I am, the sound of it makes me feel like a child again.

 *Juvinile’s Back That Azz Up* playing in my empty car as I smoke and marinate in anger, shame and despair at not being able to do anything right ever*

I’d been so good lately and now this. Five steps forward and three back, I thought looking at my cigarette. Me: “So what are you going to punish me now?” I ask, a challenge in my voice.

Voice: I’m not like you.

 I see myself last night and this morning matching everything my kid said, escalating. Then no words, just the Presence that feels like a slowing rising sun whose light shows me where I am and what I need to do to get back home.

 I’m not ready to sail back, though because, like Max riding the back of his terrible new monster friends, this is where I get to be the King. My paper crown proves it. On this island I’m in charge. Did you notice my crown? It’s real.

 Me: “This is who I am,” I said, always defiant.

I’m the one who messes up and hurts people or gets hurt. That’s me.

You ever heard God laugh? It sounds like soap bubbles popping, a mix of delight and amusement and always catches me off guard.

 Voice: You’re telling the one who made you who you are?

 My music played... “Girl you look good won’t you back that azz up.” I turned it down a bit and thought: “Ok, what do You see then?”

The Breeze was quiet. I changed the song to one by Matisyahu, a Jewish American reggae singer whose soulful songs are always calming and unlike some spiritual music, never tell me how to feel. 

My sails went up, like Max’s. But sailing back home from the island isn’t a quick trip. I got into the boat. Slowly. Already missing my monster friends.

 This morning happened. The light came and reminded me how children in paper crowns might act like monsters but are still children. I’m one of them and raising them, too.

I can’t go back and change anything. But when they get home, I’ll have some gentle words waiting and of course, dinner.

 Love, Bunmi 🌹

-
PS. I always throw away the full new pack when I slip up but this time kinda wanted to keep it and maybe have one more before quitting AGAIN. I pulled one out, lit it and held it up asking God, “Souvenir?” Like “Can I has?” And immediately got a picture in my mind’s eye of lungs dotted with black stuff and that voice asking, “Souvenir?” back. When I tell you God had a sense of humour, please believe me.

--------

*Spongebob voice* ONE HOUR LATER

This is the Matisyahu song I listen to over and over and love is called King Without a Crown. That crown. Like Max's crown. Yeah I just put that together an hour later (still haven't had coffee and I'm not the quickest girl in the world. 😊

This song is beautiful and it always makes me reflect on my spiritual journey with God... a relationship that's been defined by my running, hiding, pretending not to understand, tantruming, arguing, throwing logs on the fire of my anger because it keeps me warm against feeling anything else but always crying out from my heart because I know who my Father is even when I'm wildin. ❤️
Matisyahu's story is really interesting...born and raised in the Orthodox Jewish community, gravitated from the Chabad movement to Hasidism... he went THROUGH IT (drug use as a teen, divorce, ostracism from his religious community and many people, a child with serious medical issues who is doing well now thankfully, and while his beard is gone meaning he probably isn't the Hasidic community anymore, he's still making music from his heart and soul and I love what he's all about). Thank you for attending my Ted Talk on the matter.


Hashem = God
Moshiac = Messiah

Lyrics:

You're all that I have and you're all that I need
Each and every day I pray to get to know you please
I want to be close to you, yes I'm so hungry
You're like water for my soul when it gets thirsty
Without you there's no me
You're the air that I breathe
Sometimes the world is dark and I just can't see
With these, demons surround all around to bring me down to negativity
But I believe, yes I believe, I said I believe
I'll stand on my own two feet
Won't be brought down on one knee
Fight with all of my might and get these demons to flee
Hashem's rays fire blaze burn bright and I believe
Out of darkness comes light, twilight unto the heights
Crown Heights burnin' up all through till midnight
Said, thank you to my God, now I finally got it right
And I'll fight with all of my heart, and all a' my soul, and all a' my might
What's this feeling?
My love will rip a hole in the ceiling
Givin' myself to you from the essence of my being
Sing to my god all these songs of love and healing
Want Moshiach now so it's time we start revealing
What's this feeling?
My love will rip a hole in the ceiling
Givin' myself to you from the essence of my being
Sing to my God all these songs of love and healing
Want Moshiach now
Strip away the layers and reveal your soul
Got to give yourself up and then you become whole
You're a slave to yourself and you don't even know
You want to live the fast life but your brain moves slow
If you're trying to stay high then you're bound to stay low
You want God but you can't deflate your ego
If you're already there then there's nowhere to go
If you're cup's already full then its bound to overflow
If you're drowning in the water's and you can't stay afloat
Ask Hashem for mercy and he'll throw you a rope
You're looking for help from God you say he couldn't be found
Looking up to the sky and searchin' beneath the ground
Like a King without his Crown
Yes, you keep fallin' down
You really want to live but can't get rid of your frown
Tried to reach unto the heights and wound bound down on the ground
Given up your pride and the you heard a sound
Out of night comes day and out of day comes light
Nullified to the One like sunlight in a ray,
Makin' room for his love and a fire gone blaze
Makin' room for his love and a fire gone blaze
What's this feeling?
My love will rip a hole in the ceiling
Givin' myself to you from the essence of my being
Sing to my God all these songs of love and healing
Want Moshiach now so it's time we start revealing
What's this feeling?
My love will rip a hole in the ceiling
Givin' myself to you from the essence of my being
Sing to my God all these songs of love and healing
Want Moshiach now
And see, I lift up my eyes where my help come from
And I seen it circling around from the mountain
Thunder!
You feel it in your chest
You keep my mind at ease and my soul at rest
You're not vexed
When I look to the sky where my help come from
And I've seen it circling around from the mountain
Thunder!
You feel it in your chest




I also like Time of Your Song

Lyrics:

The world is moving to the song I hear,
Who's that singing, wind is rushing in my ear,
Mind gushing memories almost lost everything,
Felony and fellows running in my dream,
We were in the van where the hits were driving,
Saw myself In the highlands at age 13
And I'm asking questions to the present day me,
Moving backwards down the hill see we were posting.
Moonlight illuminate my night and my days sun ray make the people say
And a vision something's missing so they're screaming out loud
Keep my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds.
I'm the arrow, you're my bow, shoot me forth and I will go
And I know and I go and I go get up and go
Make me feel it's for real tell me what you know.
I don't need to glorify,
Ate the apple of the tree and tried to lie,
In the garden I'll remember
That's when I started to sing
I said death brings life into uncertain things,
Cut some slack for me
Sun setting autumn breeze
Sound is moving like a chorus
Keep hearing that melody,
Check the radio but there's nothing playing,
Check the radio again but there's nothing playing.
Moonlight illuminate my night and my days sun ray make the people say
And a vision something's missing so they're screaming out loud
Keep my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds.
I'm the arrow, you're my bow, shoot me forth and I will go
And I know and I go and I go get up and go
Make me feel it's for real tell me what you know.
Rewind!
Swing low, sweet chariot of flames
Change my name, yo!
It was always the same,
Till if only what you find when you climb,
Check the radio but of all that shines there's no time,
My life is making your mind work in overtime,
But along the line you'll have to pay for the crime.
Slow it down, you turbo too soon,
Vroom vroom then you want to blast off unto the moon,
But you might get trapped in a temple of doom,
You might get trapped in a temple of doom.
Moonlight illuminate my night and my days sun ray make the people say
And a vision something's missing so they're screaming out loud
Keep my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds.
I'm the arrow, you're my bow, shoot me forth and I will go
And I know and I go and I go get up and go
Make me feel it's for real tell me what you know.
I'm the arrow, you're my bow, shoot me forth and I will go
And I know and I go and I go get up and go
Make me feel it's for real tell me what you know.
Tell me what you know, tell me what you know.




I had a dream a couple weeks ago and people of different faiths were coming out of there homes and were singing one song to God. Listening to this song reminds me of that, too. I hope that happens. I hope you have a peaceful day, guys



Sunday, December 2, 2018

Book of Poetry Coming

My debut book of poetry called "Dear Mother: Poems on the (hot mess) of motherhood" is coming in early 2019


Blue Angel


As a child I don’t remember hearing much about angels. I was probably told something, but at that age, I tended to space out and enjoy living in lala land. I’d stare out of the car window and think about books I’d read like The Secret Garden (“Why didn’t I have a secret garden? Where could I find one? Do they have any in Oakland?”). 

The first time I saw an angel, I was in my bed, awake but couldn’t move. A figure at the foot of my bed who exuded more authority than anyone I’d ever met was speaking to me, or rather, proclaiming declarations at me. They didn’t use words. As he spoke (I never saw a face but it felt quite masculine), the information was like lightbulb after lightbulb being lit- the truths were deeply profound and illuminating. 



Tumeric

I grew up in the church but felt burned by many experiences. Later, I attended a Christian university and while I met a couple of wonderful professors, I came away deeply jaded and determined never to be involved in anything churchy again. “That’s great for them, but I don’t fit in and frankly, I don’t like these people” was my mantra and I felt pretty good about it. Cocky, even.

Several years passed and I began rebuilding my faith, brick by raggedy shaky brick, on my own.

I was with my foster daughter, who is really my bonus daughter for life, at a store she introduced to me called Zara. It’s a fancy chain for people who shower regularly and care what they they look like so I can’t relate, but they had a few nice things including a large turmeric blanket that became my prayer shawl. I’d cover myself in a cocoon that felt like angel wings and just pray and pray in my little bedroom (80% complaints but that’s still prayer).