There is no time like the present to forgive and there is no one who deserves forgiveness more than you. Yes, you. You deserve the peace and the freedom that comes when you forgive those who have hurt or offended you. And in exchange for that you are guaranteed forgiveness from God for your own offenses towards Him.
Below is an excerpt from my memoir Words Will Never Hurt Me: Overcoming Childhood Memories of Domestic Violence.
"One day I received a call that my father had passed out on a South Carolina sidewalk. He was taken to the hospital and placed in ICU. I received another call 36 hours later telling me he was gone. He never regained consciousness. Over the next few hours I struggled with how to feel, what to think, and what would be expected of me. You see, in the years since the poems were written, the healing had been received, and the advocacy work began, my father and I had built a relationship – an albeit distant one – but one that seemed to work for us. At least on the surface.
"As I tried to make sense of things, the most amazing thing happened: my Heavenly Father flooded my soul with His presence until a truth stood out like a sore thumb: my father wasn’t a perfect father, but I hadn’t been a perfect daughter either. (to him or to God). Knowing I had some repenting to do, I lowered my head to pray.
"The next time I looked up, Father's Day was approaching. Again, God sent revelation to me, this time through a song called "Good, Good Father" by Chris Tomlin. The line that hit me like a ton of bricks is “and I’m loved by you, that’s who I am.” For so long I allowed my childhood to define me as “the child of an abuser and the child of the abused.” But the line in song noted above made me realize that my identity lies in the fact that I am loved by God. This divine reminder was a clarion call for me that it was time for me to let go of the past, and of all my father/daughter regrets, disappointments and issues. The truth is that I although I resented my father I also loved him. And I will miss him. I’ll miss his calls, his jokes, and his visits. But I won’t miss the bad memories. Because I’ve decided to let them die with him.
"Although the words I heard for the first 18 years of my life hurt me in more ways than I can say, I found out that there can also be freedom in words. And power. And healing. The two words that began my healing were 'I Remember'. The two words that completed my healing were 'I Forgive'."
Later on this month the women's department of my church is hosting A Forum on Forgiveness beginning with one hour of prayer at 9:00 am. Bring all your hurt, anger, offenses, issues, struggles, and regrets to the altar and leave them there. After prayer there will be a free breakfast as three women address on the topic "How I Found the Faith to Forgive." This all takes place on Sat. Oct. 27th at Christ Haven Worship Center 6800 Lindbergh Blvd Phila PA. See the flyer under the Gallery tab for more information.
Poetricia Publishing © 2018
Click here to order a copy of Words Will Never Hurt Me.
Click here to listen to Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin.
Click here for more information on Christ Haven Church.
If you are being abused call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at
(800) 799-SAFE (7233) or (800) 787-3224 (TTY).
Sunday September 16th is National Back to Church Sunday. It's also the anniversary of a very special event in my life. I share the full story because so often we think everything must be in order before God will accept us. As you read my story you will see that I hadn’t given up one vice, not one. (I was knee deep in it, as some would say). But like the prodigal son, that didn't stop God from welcoming me when I returned. This is my story:
"At 5:30 the night before, I stepped off the 32 bus at 33rd & Montgomery Avenue in North Philly, and waited for the light to change. It was a Saturday and I was coming home from work – an 8 hour shift of mandatory overtime with 'Ma Bell'. Even though I was on my way to the house directly right across the street, I still lit a cigarette and took a couple of puffs. I didn’t realize that would be the last puffs of nicotine I would ever take. I tossed the cigarette to the ground right before knocking on the door. It was my mother’s apartment. She had watched the twins for me that day and I was only planning on picking them up, taking them home for my grandmother to watch because I had plans that night. A house party at 18th & Diamond and a rendezvous afterwards just over the bridge. Little did I know I would never make it to either location that night.
"Once I got inside my mother’s apartment I found my sister was visiting. I don't remember how long it took, but suddenly they were telling me about this youth service at church that night. They were going on about how this whole church was coming from Jersey with their choir and the speaker and how I just had to come. I tried telling them I had plans, but they didn’t want to hear it. They just kept talking about this youth service. Now, let me pause here to say that I had left the church nine years before, and had been doing my thing for quite awhile. My family would invite me to church from time to time, but not like this. It was like a campaign to get me to church that night. I said I didn’t have anything to wear. My mother offered an outfit. I said I didn’t have any pantyhose. She offered that too. When I said I didn’t have a hat, and she offered me the cute little black had that I had been begging to borrow for months, I should have known something was up. You see, before that night, she always said no because she knew I wanted to wear it to a club (yes it was that kind of sharp). So anyway, I get home with the kids and ask my grandmother if she could babysit because I wanted to go to church. She says no, followed by “You know good and well you’re not going to nobody’s church, out there running them streets!” I had given her plenty of reasons not to believe me. All those times I’d say “I’m going out for some cigarettes” and then not coming back for hours (or the next day) were still fresh in her mind. Again, I insisted I was going to church, and since my sister was there to vouch for me, she finally agreed.
At the youth service I found out there is also a guest choir and that the guest speaker was someone named Elder Willie Shy. Don’t ask me what they sang and don’t ask me what he preached because I don’t remember. What I do remember is when the service ended, I was at the altar crying out to God to forgive me and to take me back.
The service - and the fellowship and refreshments afterwards - lasted so long that it was almost midnight when I got home. That's when the struggle began. I remember being very happy and also very afraid. The kids were already asleep, of course, so all I really had to do was to lie down and do the same. Go to sleep. Only I couldn’t. I was fighting the urge for a cigarette. It was so strong I remember finding an old bible and trying to read it until the desire went away.
Finally I must have fell asleep, because the next thing I knew, it was Sunday morning. The kids were up and it was time for breakfast, washing up, getting dressed and going to Sunday School. (Even in my years of wandering, I made sure they went to church every Sunday). My memory is kind of foggy on the next few hours. All I remember is that I had every intentions of going to Morning Service but after the kids left for Sunday School I kept falling asleep. Right after they left, I fell back to sleep. When I woke up, it was almost noon. I got up and laid out an old maternity dress to wear (it was all I had at the time that was appropriate for church). Next thing I knew, I was waking up again and it was almost 1:30. I lived right around the corner from the church so getting ready and walking there didn’t take long.
It was just about 2:00 when I walked into church that Sunday morning. The sermon was over and the prayer line had stretched almost to the back of the church. I remember standing in the back of the church wrestling with the thought of “do I or don’t I” regarding getting in that prayer line. The night before I felt God’s spirit all over me, but I wanted more. I didn’t just want to feel His spirit again, I wanted to be filled with His spirit again. That desire is what made me get in that prayer line again.
It was hard to concentrate on anything but all the eyes on me, the knowing looks, the nodding smiles, the prayerful whispers “Thank you Lord” “Bless her Lord” “Touch her Lord”. They probably thought they were being encouraging but really, they were making me more nervous than I already was.
Once I got to the front, our Jr. Pastor, Elder Robert Jones, who had preached that morning, said something like “Yes?” I told him exactly what I wanted. And what I appreciate about the next moment to this day is what he said next. There was no further probing. No back and forth. No doctrinal discussion. He said something like “Is that what you want from the Lord?” I said "Yes". He asked me the same thing again. “Is that what you want from the Lord?” Again I said "Yes". His response was “Well, lift up your hands and tell him!” All I was able to get out was “Lord I” before the Lord did just what I wanted: a refilling of His spirit - a refilling of the holy ghost.
That day was Sunday September 16, 1990. Every year since then, I have celebrated the 15th and the 16th of September with special consecrations to the Lord. Sometimes the whole month, if He leads me to. I didn't know until a few years ago that my spiritual anniversary fell on the same weekend as National Back to Church Sunday.
As I stated earlier, I'm sharing the full story because so often we think everything must be in order before God will accept us. Remember, I hadn’t given up one vice, not one. (I was knee deep in it, as some would say). But something in the songs that were sung, in the sermon that was preached, in that atmosphere of prayer, praise and worship, connected with something in me. That something in me was an empty void, and a deep longing for something more, something real, something true: the infilling of the powerful, loving, life-changing, spirit of the living God - Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sunday September 16, 2018 is National Back to Church Sunday. But more than a campaign ad to invite people to come back to church, this will be the first step in inviting people to come back to God.
Won't you come?
"Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 NLT
Poetricia Publishing © 2018
Earlier today I was part of a panel discussion at an event called SAVE MY SISTER PART 2 sponsored by PATHWAY TO GREATNESS, a mentoring program for youth in Philadelphia founded and directed by Lavon Howard. Women from all walks of life were invited to share with middle and high school girls on the topic I OVERCAME...
Equipped with the diary from my teenage years and my memoirs on overcoming both domestic and dating violence, I headed out to the event. I focused on the difference between surviving something and overcoming it. Below is a summary of what was presented:
I remember it like it was yesterday. Being threatened in private and slapped in public. Being punched repeatedly because I said "No." The night I tried to fight back but gave up and ran all the way home (over a mile) - from 21st & Van Pelt to 32nd & Euclid Street. The time he came to my job at the phone center store, threatened me in front of my coworkers, and how the elderly security guard, Mr. Smitty, came to my defense. Being threatened with a knife when I tried to break up with him and being stalked and harassed when I finally did. It took my uncles and my father to make him finally leave me alone.
Thankfully my horror story ends there. But if not for God's grace and mercy, it would have been different. Though my heart was far from Him, God was watching over me, and protecting me even when I rejected Him. Is it any wonder I love Him so?
Years later, I realized that although I had survived dating violence, I had not overcome it. There were things I was still suffering as a result of that relationship.
Inspired by God to write about my experiences, I published The Writing Was On The Wall (Recognizing The Warning Signs of Dating Violence).
My mission is to spread awareness about dating violence by sharing resource & referral information, as well as my own story of survival through poetry readings, workshops, lectures, and one-on-ones.
If you are experiencing dating abuse text “loveis” to 77054, or call the National Dating Abuse Helpline at (866) 331-9474 or (866) 331-8453 (TTY).
If you have a testimony of survival and you're ready to write about it, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Since 2016 I have taken joy in helping others also bring their stories to print. It would be an honor to help you do the same.
Don't forget about these organizations: Women Against Abuse loveisrespect Break the Cycle Stop Abuse For Everyone
And remember, GOD is just a prayer away, and I'm just a phone call away [856-553-POET(7648)].
I DIDN’T KNOW THE SIGNS* (by Patricia Middleton)
He was big and dark like a teddy bear,
I fell for all his lines,
I thought he really loved me,
I didn’t know the signs.
He was jealous of all my friends,
He checked up on me all the time,
I just thought he was a little possessive,
I didn’t know the signs.
The first time that he hit me,
He quickly apologized,
He even cried and his tears were real,
I didn’t know the signs.
Next time around I’ll be careful,
I’ll be patient and I’ll be wise,
I’ll think with my head and not my heart,
Because now I know the signs.
*Excerpt From THE WRITING WAS ON THE WALL
Poetricia Publishing © 2013
I was born on Tuesday, July 2, 1963. Today is my 55th birthday, and like the old nursery rhyme goes, my entire life has been 'full of grace'. In honor of my birthday, let's have a little poetic fun.
The nursery rhyme "Monday's Child" was written in couplet form. A couplet is two lines of rhyming poetry, followed by two more lines with a different rhyme, and so on. Robert Frost, one of America's great poets, wrote many poems using couplets.
A haiku is a Japanese poem of 17 syllables, in three lines of five, seven, and five, traditionally evoking images of the natural world.
While a haiku follows a 5/7/5 syllable pattern, a lune's syllable pattern is 5/3/5. Typically, since the middle line is restricted to three syllables, it is the shortest line of the three.They are not as easy to write as you might think.
Below are my humble attempts to write a couplet, some haiku and a lune for you. But first, let's take a look at that nursery rhyme in its entirety.
MONDAY'S CHILD (First Published in England in 1838, Author Unknown)
Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child works hard for a living,
Saturday's child is loving and giving,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath day
Is fair and wise and good in every way.
[I wrote the poems from this point forward. They can be found in my upcoming book,
More Ink For The Pen, set to be released in the Spring of 2019.)
Closed eyes ever seeing, his glory above,
Exhaling my issues, inhaling his love,
Head tilted to listen, upwards to the left,
Exhaling my worries, inhaling his strength,
A colorful picture shaded in grays
Inhaling His spirit, exhaling His praise
I went out on deck
To be with you but the night
Scared me away
INTO THE BLUE
Cruising over you
Deep blue waves turn foamy white
From the big ships speed
Her leaves like teardrops
Fall from her willowy face
Leaving me speechless
We are all the same
Though our words are different
We are poetry
Weeping willow tree
Bending branches crying leaves
Touches of green
White gold platinum
Stop me from dreaming
Poetricia Publishing © 2018
The Lord whispered to me while rolling over in pain in bed one night and said "Joseph's gift was perfected in his wilderness." All that week I had been studying Joseph's life between the pit and the palace, but my focus was on all the times the scriptures noted "And the Lord was with Joseph." Mainly because I'd been sort of in a wilderness of my own for almost 2 years now now and sometimes it's been hard to see, feel, or hear the Lord. Anyway, having found comfort that in all Joseph went through, the Lord was with him, I was pretty much done with my study of Joseph, or so I thought.
But that whisper in the night sparked renewed interest in my Old Testament hero. After further study I realized that while in slavery Joseph's gift of leadership and organization blossomed. And while in prison his gift of interpretation of dreams matured to the point that he found himself called before Pharoh himself. The act of exercising his gift for Pharoh - interpreting Pharoh's dream - was a blessing in disguise. In doing so Joseph saved a nation, gained his freedom, received elevation/promotion, found a wife, and his name went down in history for thousands and thousands of years to come.
I am sure that when he was dropped into the pit, sold into slavery, and thrown into prison, Joseph couldn't imagine that a brand new life would one day be his. A new life, a new job and a new family. All because of the gift God gave him. He was faithful over a few things - those few things being his gifts - and God made him ruler over many (Matthew 25:21. 23).
Pictured below are a few of my wilderness blessings. Some are internal and cannot be photographed. Yet, even as I type this, James 2:17 comes to mind: Faith without works is dead. My wilderness journey began when I lost my job on July 1, 2015. After the shock wore off, after the pain and shame subsided, I remembered that like Joseph, the Lord was with me. I went back to work part time that fall, but was let go again in June of 2016.
But then I remembered the gifts that God placed in me. And I remembered regardless of where I am in life - on the mountain top or in the wilderness - I must remain faithful to my calling, exercise my gifts, and not bury my talents in the sand. So I got to work. I re-released two previously published chapbooks as full length memoirs and finished three new titles that had been sitting on the proverbial shelf gathering the dust of the last two decades. By the end of 2016, I was the author of six books.
Something else also happened in June of 2016. God shifted something in the atmosphere that I didn't realize the significance of until earlier this month. You see, in May of 2013 I was invited as a guest author and lecturer at a senior living facility. Honored and excited, I had a book signing in celebration of my first book, a collection of inspirational poetry, A Time To Write. The topic I spoke on was My Life in Rhyme: Nine Poets Who Moved My Heart and Pen. It went over so well that I was invited back to conduct quarterly poetry readings. Two years later I was asked to expand the poetry reading sessions to include writing exercises and then in June of 2016 I successfully launched a Memoir Writing Class. On the 22nd of this month the first member of that class released her memoir and had a book signing at the senior living facility.
Truly, God has been perfecting my gifts in the wilderness.
If you are in a wilderness season in your life, don't neglect the gifts God placed in you. Allow God to perfect your gifts in while you are in this season. Remember, even in your wilderness, God knows the plans He has for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, to give you hope and an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11).
All six books are available as paperback or e-book.
Click on the Store tab to order books.
Thanks for reading my blog. Don't forget to leave a comment!
Poetricia Publishing © 2018
Today marks the 3rd anniversary of God miraculously saving my life. I wonder if some people are tired of hearing me talk about it. I wonder if they wish I'd just shut up and move on. But when you almost die and live to tell the story, then that's what you do: you live and tell the story. So, I am here to tell my story once again. This time though, I'm sharing the background that still amazes me to this day.
Three years prior to 'the incident', on January 25, 2012, I posted the following words on my Facebook wall: "This morning as I meditated on grace, and all that grace is, the spirit of the Lord whispered to me, 'Every breath you take is grace'."
One year before 'the incident', my pastor, Bishop Isadore Grant, Jr., preached a sermon on the topic "God's Preceding Word." It was all about how our tests and trials are often preceded by a prophetic word from God of warning, direction, faith, comfort, or instruction. Often we don't realize at the time why the particular word is being given, but as circumstances begin to unfold, it becomes clear why. I never forgot that message.
Fast forward to Mother's Day Weekend 2015. On Saturday May 9th, I'd been invited to serve as the guest speaker at a Pre-Mother's Day Luncheon at the Ambassador Seed of Love Church in Philadelphia. The theme was "Still Standing, Still Strong: I Don't Look Like What I've Been Through." I shared what the Lord had given me to share on the topic and we were blessed. On the next day, Sunday, May 10th, my daughter Angella took me to a Mother's Day Concert at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, PA. That night was the first time I heard the group Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy (they capitalize AP as a way to remember their previous name, Answered Prayers). I was so moved by the lyrics in the songs they sang, Testimony and Worth, that I immediately purchased and downloaded both songs. For the next few days, all I listened were those two songs - over and over and over again.
Four days later on Thursday May 14th, at approximately 5:45 pm I suddenly began experiencing shortness of breath. For the next 50 minutes, as I struggled to breath, I prayed, cried, sipped cold water, took my hair down, and loosened my clothes, but it was still a struggle to breathe. Finally at 6:35 pm I called my brother to pick me up from work (yes, I was still at work) and take me to the hospital. As soon as we arrived at the ER, I was given oxygen, an EKG, and several tests. At first they thought I'd had a mild heart attack because there was damage to the right side of my heart. But it was later confirmed that I was suffering from acute Bilateral Pulmonary Embolisms or, multiple blood clots in both lungs. Later that night I was admitted to a room on the Cardiac floor of Jefferson Hospital, connected to machines that beeped all night and specialists who visited all day. I stayed there for 5 days and 5 nights while my body was nursed back to health.
When I think about those 50 minutes from 5:45 pm to 6:35 pm when I did everything but call for help, tears well up in my eyes. I was told by the cardiologist that "you shouldn’t be here". That usually a patient like me "wouldn’t have made it". That I was "pretty lucky". But rather than luck, I like to call it my ‘Fifty Minutes of Grace.’ During those 50 minutes, even though I was anxious and afraid, I never stopped praying. Even though I didn't realize it at the time, God's preceding word had already answered my prayers ("Before they call, I will answer" Isaiah 65:24).
His word had already gone out - God's preceding word - through the words the Lord whispered to me two years prior; through the theme I was asked to speak on; and through the lyrics of the two songs that had ministered to that whole week. Yes, God's word had gone out of His mouth - just like my pastor preached and just like the scripture says - His word "did not return to Him void but accomplished the purpose that He intended" (Isaiah 55:11). And three years later to the day that word is still true. Every breath I take is Grace. I am Still Standing. I am Still Strong. I don't look like what I've been through. He thought I was Worth saving. And I gotta, I gotta, I gotta Testimony.
God has led me share my testimony in spoken word, here on this blog, and in an upcoming book entitled "Fifty Minutes of Grace: A Testimony of Survival". Keep checking the Events tab for the release date and continue to keep me in your prayers!
To God Be The Glory for the things that He Has Done. Grace: The Undeserved Favor of God
Poetricia Publishing © 2018
For information about Blood Clots click HERE
For information about my church click HERE
For information about Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy click HERE
For information about The Ambassador Seed of Love Church click HERE
Enjoy the poems below in honor of National Poetry Month (NaPoMo)!
I wanted to write a sort of theme poem for The Apostolic Poets Society (TAPS). I've been the group's assistant director and poetry adviser since its inception in 2010. I wrote this little poem during one of our events. As a poet for Christ, it speaks the sentiments of my heart.
THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH
Let the words of my mouth,
The rhythm and the rhyme,
Be in sync with Your spirit,
Praising You all the time.
Let the words of my life,
The style and the beat,
Never cease to tell someone,
What you’ve done for me.
Let the words of my mouth,
My delivery and my stance,
Tell the world that You are
The God of a second chance.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
After my prayers and meditations one morning, I reached for what I thought was an empty notebook and found a poem inside that I wrote while on an cruise in March of 2014.
The poem was inspired by a book of Caribbean songs written by Calypso Composer Larry Armony (Alamoulou). It was the best souvenir I bought on that trip.
Sitting on the balcony
I lift my eyes for a morning view
Of God’s creation:
The sky, the land, the sea.
Inhaling a deep breath of island air
I close my eyes, lean back in my chair
And rest in the nothingness
That all vacations should be.
Moments pass, and with opened eyes and lowered lids
One hand reaches for a sip of morning dew
And the other hand turns the page
Taking in more and more of you.
"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the skies shows the works of His hand." Psalm 19:1
One of the hardest things I've had to do as a Christian woman, was to end a dating relationship in my mid 40's. He loved me and I loved him. He put marriage on the table and I wanted say yes. And, we had history. However, he did not have Holy Spirit. He was a believer in word only, and for me being a believer is an action word. It requires you to do something. Apostle Paul drew a distinction in Acts 19:2 that cannot be denied when he asked a group of believers, "have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?" They had not. Many may disagree with me, but we all have 'deal breakers', right? Well so do I. And so does God. With a broken heart, and much regret, I finally said no to that relationship and yes to the word of God. This Christian life is a journey and there are many bumps along the road. That was a big bump of mine. And this little poem is one of many that was born out of it.
Yes, I may be hurting,
but the victory is mine.
I've learned to be obedient,
I've learned to sacrifice.
Yes, I'm disappointed,
but I still have the victory.
I've traded in what I want,
For what God wants for me.
And yes I may be crying,
But my victory is won.
For mingled with tears of what could have been,
Are tears for what's to come.
"Do not be joined together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness
and unrighteousness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?" 2 Corinthians 6:14
This little gem I found on my cell phone. I sent this text message poem to a few sister friends that God has placed in my life. Iron sharpens iron and each sister has made me just a little stronger and wiser in my walk with Christ. And for that I am eternally grateful.
SISTERS LIKE YOU
I am so blessed,
To have sisters like you;
To talk with, to laugh with,
And to pray with me too.
The bond that we share,
Are bonds for life;
As women, as friends,
And as sisters in Christ.
Thank you so much,
For befriending me,
Whether it was many years ago,
Or only recently.
Your encouragement and love,
Has helped me to grow.
I love you all dearly,
Just wanted you to know.
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you." Philippians 1:3
"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
This is the very first couplet I ever wrote. Carefully following the rules of a standard couplet I wrote this in one sitting several years ago. It was well received at a poetry gathering in my community that I attend monthly. I later read it during the open mic segment. Many were astounded that I wrote it all one sitting.
Unmet goals fill my soul,
With painful tiny little holes;
That seep into bones and sinew,
Polluting all He once made new.
And now I find thoughts so unkind,
Have taken over heart and mind.
Like a knife both sin and strife,
Have cut into this christian life.
It won’t be long, til all that’s wrong,
Will be the lyrics of my song.
So from the root this rotten fruit,
Must be replaced with God’s loving truth.
The task is surely no small feat,
But with His blood 'twill be complete.
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins,
he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:8-9
Not being able to see the forest for the trees is an expression used for someone who is too involved in the details of a problem to step back and look at the situation as a whole. Spiritually speaking, we can never become so preoccupied with trials and tribulations of today that we forget that our life is like a beautiful forest created by God. Doesn't matter if all we can see are a bunch of trees. Like my pastor always says, it's all about your perspective. The poem below was my Heavenly Father's reminder to me of just that.
THE FOREST FOR THE TREES
Sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees.
The big picture of our life is often hidden behind the leaves.
But if we step back and take a look again,
Through the misty forest of our lives we'll see our Savior's hand.
Leading us through the rocky paths of life,
Guiding us as we try to survive the bumpy roads of night.
Sometimes the forest mist,
Is so dense, heavy and thick;
That we can't see his hand, or anything at all,
And we blindly stagger as though we're about to fall;
When we feel a firm but gentle tugging of our arm,
Our master's hand still holding us protecting us from harm!
So we will not fear! We will not fall! We will not flee!
When we cannot see the forest for the trees.
"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight." Hebrews 4:13
".....He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you." Hebrews 13:5
Poetricia Publishing © 2016
In recognition of National Poetry Month I want to spotlight a poetry anthology called Images: Women in Transition. This book originally belonged to my mother who gave it to me earlier this year. The cover is tattered and the pages are worn but it's one of the best poetry books I've come across in a long, long time.
Let me pause to give some background. The poems in this book were compiled in 1976 by now retired Janice T. Grana. She was the executive editor of Upper Room Books in Nashville Tennessee and served as world editor and publisher from 1984 to 1996. She said "we sensed a need among women to write about their personal experiences from a context of change, struggle and sometimes frustration." So, "a news release was printed which invited Christian women to share their own stories" and it was "circulated ... through newspapers and special mailings." Not long after "manuscripts from across the country poured in .... from more than six hundred women."
The poetry in this book is revolutionary. The fact that I'm blogging about it 40 years later is a testament to how good the poetry in this book really is. It's moving and quiet and powerful and gentle. It screams and it shouts and it whispers. It sings. It makes you laugh and cry and wonder. You agree with it. You question it. You shake your head at one page and reread the next page five times. At a point in my life when the image I had of myself was becoming obscure, this book helped me see myself clearly again. As a woman and as a writer.
I love the words in this book. I love the women in this book. If only I could meet them. Sit with them. Talk to them. Listen to them. Hear them read their words. See them and the images they have become, their transitions now complete. If only I could see their now after being so affected by their then.
Here is one of the two poems I wrote after being inspired by this book. The book my mother gave me.
IMAGES IN TRANSITION
With literary leftovers
Hand me downs
Of decades old images
Washed clean the
Murky vision of self
That had started
To set in
And whose lyrics
Sang life to
Inside of me
And whose cries
Woke up my
Back to myself
Poetricia Publishing © 2017
Images: Women in Transition is available on Amazon.com. Just click HERE.
For Upper Room Books click the following link: www.upperroom.org
[Below is an article I wrote in 2010 about my first book signing.]
I remember Saturday March 20, 2010 like it was yesterday. It was the first day of Spring and the temperature was 72 degrees in the Camden/Philadelphia area. It was first day of a new season for me as well. It was the day I became a published author.
I chose the date March 20th even before the location was confirmed. Someone who worked as an event planner told me that was "not the right way to do it", that I should "always secure the venue first". But last November (2009) when I looked over the calendar for this year and saw that the first day of Spring was on a Saturday, I knew right away that would be the day for my book signing. The first day of Spring fit perfectly with the theme of my book, which is based on Ecclesiastes 3:1, "To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven." I felt that nudging in my spirit that we sometimes feel when God is trying to tell you something. So I set the date for March 20, 2010, and that was that.
Even though the location wasn't confirmed at that time, I also knew exactly where I wanted to have my book signing. Two years before the nudging about March 20, I felt that same nudging when I first walked into The Walt Whitman Arts Center in Camden. In early 2007 a church member of mine who also is a poet had invited me to an Open Mic at "The Walt". I had never been there before but the moment I walked in and started walking around I felt something. When I sat in my seat I felt something. When the poets started coming up on stage, I felt something. I remember looking around the stage, the audience, the balcony and saying to myself "I'm going to have something here one day". I went back a few more times after that to sit in on poetry group meetings on the second floor and I was even more sure that someday I would have something in that building that had to do with poetry. So I wasn't surprised when I called the Walt Whitman Arts Center last December (2009) and they told me that the date was available. It may not have been the right order to plan an event, but I had no problems reserving the first floor for my book signing.
The day went off without a hitch. There's a saying "It takes a village". Well, family and close friends helped tremendously with this event. After listening to me talk about my dreams of becoming an author for years, they helped make that dream come true. They manned the tables, took pictures, worked as hostesses, and even helped with finances and security. It was my daughter's idea to do the day in "rounds." My "rounds" consisted of signing books, taking pictures, and reading from my book. When I wasn't on stage reading there were "rounds" of a slide show presentation, live music, and performances by the other poets. The weather was so nice that after some people purchased their books, they went outside to read, take pictures and just enjoy the sunshine. The presence of friends and church members who have supported me throughout the years made the day complete. My son couldn't be there because he was recuperating from surgery, so as soon as we wrapped things up we went to see him. As he laid in his hospital bed he was introducing me to all the nurses who came in his room and showing them my book.
As the day came to a close, I was both overwhelmed and excited. Three people had already asked me to come to their church to do a book signing. Others kept asking me what was next. My next dream was to see my book on the shelf of my favorite bookstore: CLC (that eventually became a reality). Also, I have a few more books to publish, but once I've published all of my books, I want to help other people publish their books (that eventually became a reality as well).
March 20th will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the first time I realized that God not only answers prayers, He also makes dreams come true.
A Time To Write is available for purchase at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and CreateSpace.
Poetricia Publishing © 2017
I remember the first time I posted a Valentine’s Day poem declaring my love to the world. Well, not really posted, and not really the world. It was more like the city. You see, decades before myspace, facebook, instagram and twitter, every year in February, the Philadelphia Daily News allowed you to ‘post’ a Valentine’s Day ad in their paper for all the world to see.
It was the early 90’s and I was excited about reconnecting with this Guy I had broken up with in the 80’s. It was all my fault, too. I had trust and commitment issues and they drove us further and further apart. But the year before, we ran into each other at a youth service and realized we both still had feelings for each other. I was so surprised that after all those years and how I had done Him wrong, He said He never stopped loving me and that He wanted us to get back together. He didn’t care that I was a single parent of twins, either. He said He’d accept them as His own and love them like a Father. I was so overwhelmed. I realized I still loved him too, and had gotten over my issues of the past, was ready to settle down and, well, the rest is history.
We’ve been together ever since. Anyway, below is an excerpt of that poem. I hope it touches you just like it touches me, every time I read it, even after all these years.
(For more poems like the one below, check out my collection of Inspirational Poetry for Singles on my Amazon.com Author Page just CLICK HERE).
I’ve found a love I cherish,
Far more than words can say,
A sweet, kind and precious love,
That takes my breath away.
This love I can depend on,
No matter what I’m going through,
This love guides and directs me,
So I’ll know just what to do.
This love is an ageless love,
It’s been here since the beginning of time,
From everlasting to everlasting,
It will live on even after I die.
This love is a true love,
It’s the love that saved my life,
This love is unconditional,
It’s the love of Jesus Christ.
If you long for this kind of love
Just seek God out in prayer
And you will find the love I found
Waiting to meet you there.
Poetic Praise by Patricia Middleton
Poetricia Publishing © 2016
January is National Mentoring Month and this is my story: After 20 plus years at Verizon, I spent almost a decade working on the administrative side of mentoring at risk youth. After that I spent another almost decade working in Christian radio. Then two years ago I returned to the field of at risk youth for, not as an administrator, but on the front lines where I had direct, day to day interaction with at risk girls of various ages, cultures, experiences and expectations.
It was challenging, trying to get past their tough exteriors, the tests they put you through to see if you're for real, and the ability to know instinctively what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. However, what became evident to me is that when it came down to it at risk youth just want to be loved, understood and accepted. But because of life's circumstances, many of which they had/have no control over, how they express that is marred with the stain of their upbringing, their environment, and their lineage.
As I worked to try and make some sort of real connection with the girls, old memories surfaced and I began to remember myself at their age (that's me in the picture) - a church girl who got into smoking, bullying, and other very risky behavior. Inside I was angry, hurt, disillusioned and confused because of the lifelong secret I carried of growing up in an abusive household. Behind all my risky behavior, I just wanted to be loved. To be protected. To be safe. To be understood. To be accepted. Just like the girls in the at risk program.
Though my year was over before I knew it, while there I daily prayed for the strength and the grace to listen between the profanity, to see behind the anger, and to feel beyond the defiance. I prayed that I would remember that first and foremost they were souls, they were precious in God's sight, and that He had allowed our paths to cross for a reason. I prayed that I would remember that I am called to love my neighbor and that in God's eyes each one of them was my neighbor. I prayed that while they were in my presence, I would do my best to teach them - with patience, determination and hope - how to respect, value and love themselves. Because God already did. It was my belief that once they learned that lesson, all the other lessons - like life skills, social skills, tutoring, creative expression, - would be just a little bit easier.
For information on mentoring visit:
Poetricia Publishing © 2016
In my 50 plus years of living I've had many visions, but I can count on one hand the number I know definitely came from God. Flash back to 1993. I was watching something on television when I felt the presence of God fill the room and the power of God rest heavily on me. Suddenly I began speaking in that heavenly language known as 'other tongues.' Then I saw a vision of myself on the screen, signing poetry before a very large congregation. When I came back to myself, I knew that I had just seen a prophetic vision of my future. However, at the time I was a single parent two children still in elementary school, I was working full time, and I was active in the church. So for me, learning sign language at that time was out of the question.
Flash forward 30 years later. It's 2013 and I'm joining the Sign Language Ministry of my church, Christ Haven Pentecostal Worship Center. The Sign Language team is led by Pamela Hawkins-Tisdal. She leads and teaches with kindness, passion, patience and most of all the spirit of God. An added joy is that Tiana Warner, whom I grew up with at my former church, is also a member of the team. She's the same as she was back then: honest, loyal, loving, full of God's word and God's anointing. She's also hilarious!
The moral of this flashback is that no matter how many years have passed, if GOD gave you a vision that hasn't happened yet, don't worry because "The vision is for an appointed time; at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it lingers, wait for it; because it will surely come, It will not delay." Habakkuk 2:3
For information on Christ Haven Church visit www.christhavenchurch.com.
For information on learning sign language visit www.lifeprint.com.