Raise Your Voice – Pray

Why does something tragic have to happen for us to bend our knees and pray to the God who created us? So many times over the years, when a tragedy hits, we find ourselves as a nation running to the church, a church; some place of worship where we find solace and peace, comfort and hope. Yet every day seemingly, we deceive ourselves into believing that we can do this thing called life without the guidance, peace, comfort and hope that we find in prayer in the midst of a tragedy. Are we morbid? I think not! But in a time and season of war and turbulence across this country and in the nations abroad, we miss the mark when we fail to reach out, to cry out, to fall on our knees and pray.prayer

  • When the planes crashed into the world trade center, people prayed for this country…
  • When bombs went off in Oklahoma people found their way to church and they prayed…
  • When airplanes crash or boats sink, or kids shoot kids in school people pray…
  • When people die, people pray…
  • When people find themselves facing surgery or get a life altering diagnosis from the doctor, people pray…
  • When the constitution for this country was written men and women wept and prayed…

What will it take for us, in this generation to decide that it is better to get ahead of the tragedies of life by bending? By falling on our knees and crying out to an unseen God? The Bible says in 2 Chronicles 7:14 “if my people, who are called by name would humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore, or heal their land.”

This land we call America needs healing. We as people need healing. From sea to shining sea, we need healing. From coast to coast, city to city, home to home, person to person we need the Master’s touch. We need to turn from our wicked ways and allow God to heal us!

Won’t you decide to raise your voice today and every day, and cry out for this nation, for our leaders, for your family and give God the space to step into your life. Prayer changes things. You already know that. Raise your voice and pray blessing and peace over our nation. Raise your voice and pray grace over your city. Grab someone and pray for them, their situation and watch God be God and show up right in the midst! God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all you could ever ask or think, but you have to invite him in. How? Raise your voice and PRAY!

On A Personal Note: Listen to Learn

Larry King said, “I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” There is strength in learning to listen to the world around you. Too many times in my life I know I have been too busy moving about the cabin (that’s a Darleneism), to just enjoy my world.

Recently I made a change in my life and I am not working right now. I have been moving for about 6 and half years and I have learned in the last 6 weeks I have been home that I have missed a lot. I don’t have any regrets. I loved my job and the people I had the privilege to lead and support. But it felt like more than I could handle and as a result I walked away. Right or wrong, ultimately, I needed a change. I needed to see some things. I need to learn some things. I have stopped moving so fast. I seem to hear my thoughts a lot clearer than I have and I am enjoying just being…Listen to Learn

  • Being alive and writing again
  • Being a wife and a mom
  • Being a woman
  • Being a leader
  • Being a coach
  • Being…

What I have learned in the last 6 weeks is that there is still much for me to learn. I don’t know it all. Not that I ever thought that, but it is very easy to assume you know enough to live and move forward in your life. I am only scratching the surface of what I am suppose to be doing in my life. I am VERY clear about who I am and what I can offer to the world around me. I am clear that I am valuable and that there is much for me to continue to pour into others but I have also learned the importance of being a life-long learner. My mom actually demonstrates this every day of her life. I know I got that lesson, but sometimes in the busyness of life and living you forget.

As leaders it is critical that we learn from those around us. My students taught me something every day over the last 6 years. I know they did. The problem is that I am not sure I always embraced the lessons – the learning. ‘Be teachable’ is one of my values. In the quietness of my life today, as I have listened – to my thoughts, to my God, I know that I am embarking on a new journey, a new season. I have no idea where it will take me but I am up for the journey and look forward to the learning. It feels like I am stepping off a cliff with no apparent path or footing, but if I am right, the road will come and meet me as I step out and begin.

Novices and Experienced Leaders: Who is around you that you are learning from? I am not talking about your mentor(s). They are great and you should have one if you don’t. But who else do you listen and learn from? I am talking about the 2 year olds who are just discovering the world around them. What can you glean from the simplicity of a child? When is the last time you discovered something? Or, what about that employee who gets on your last nerve? What about your leadership team? Do you listen to them or do you have all the answers?

These are just a few people we can sometimes take for granted and miss what they are saying. Slow down and take in the scenery…LISTEN! Enjoy the quietness of the early morning. There is so much to hear in the quietness of a morning. But be careful not to allow your mind to be at work. Settle your thoughts and just experience what’s going on with the people around you. There are lessons waiting for each of us, every single day, if we will stop long enough to listen and embrace them.

Did you hear that? The bell just sounded and school…I mean life is in session! Enjoy!

On A Personal Note: Step by Step by Step

In response to the Writing Challenge – A Room with a View – Where Would I Go? San Diego, California is my preferred destination! I chose a very unique way to get there! You begin your journey to join me from where ever you live to my ultimate destination – Ocean Beach, San Diego! I am in Baltimore, MD and I will begin from here! Where are you?

Our mode of transportation is our feet! We shall walk to San Diego, California and ultimately to the beach! You already said, “yes”. No backing out now! You are committed to the journey! Though, I know when I said we were walking you got this overwhelming feeling that you have bit off more than you can chew! But you gave your word…Let’s go! I can still sense you being overwhelmed by the magnitude of our journey, but let’s roll! All you have with you are your walking shoes and a journal and pen to document this phenomenal journey you are about to begin….step, by step, by step.

You have moved out your front door! Heading down the drive way and onto your street. You pause for a moment trying to figure out which direction to move in. But does it really matter you think? C’mon, get moving….you are having an internal war with the commitment, but you gave your word that you would meet me at Ocean Beach! Think about what that will look like when you arrive…. You ponder which direction is the shortest direction if you go left or right? But does it really matter? Given the sheer magnitude of the journey, you shrug and begin your journey down your street – you chose right. Step by step by step….

And you continue on, past familiar homes, stores and streets. You hear people chatting, laughing and is that a baby crying in the distance? But you don’t let that deter you, step by step by step. You’re moving, you’re walking to San Diego! Did that car almost hit you as it was speeding by, mocking you for this insane journey you said “yes” to…Who would know if you got a ride? They have room in their car, but where are they headed? Probably not to Ocean Beach in San Diego, step by step by step, you continue.

You made a commitment to walk using the feet God gave you! You’re feet feel like lead as you pick them up one at a time and put them down, one after the other, step by step by step….Who will you meet along this journey? What will you see? You push away the thoughts screaming at you, to convince you, you won’t make it…You don’t want to consider that thought, though it is screaming for attention in your mind. You only think about the next step and you hope you don’t wimp out and quit! Nope! Step by step by step – “San Diego, here I come!”

Where are you now? Step by step, you look around and you still recognize your surroundings. Buildings, and people moving about their day off to their various destinations! Why haven’t you gotten further yet? If only you could get to the highway, you would feel like you have made some progress. That there was hope that you really Ocean-Beach-Pierwould finish this journey….step by step, into the unknown. What’s between here and San Diego?

All of a sudden you can see it…there is the sign that says, “Welcome to San Diego”! You are getting closer to your destination. You smell the salt water and you can almost feel the warm sand between your toes as you head for the sparkling water, dancing with the waves and beckoning you to come explore the deep recesses of its mystery! You can see people shouting at you and cheering for you to finish the final leg of your journey!

You begin to tell yourself, “I can do this”…”I will do this”…”I will finish my journey, I will keep my word and finish what I started!” You can see yourself stepping into the cool water of Ocean Beach…the waves welcoming you as you begin to dodge them and play…deeper you go into the water, your tired feet and muscles applauding your gift – cool water…you’re laughing as you enjoy your accomplishment – You did it! You made it to San Diego! Step by step by step….you shake yourself, and the water disappears as you re-focus, you cross the street in your home town, the magnetic pull of Ocean Beach draws you as you’re heading west, step by step by step!

On A Personal Note – Remembering 9/11

Today is a day of remembrance for me. I will never forget turning my television on a little after 9:00 AM, back on September 11, 2001 and seeing the second plane fly into Tower Two of the World Trade Center. What a horrific day in our history. I was suppose to fly that day. I never made it to the airport. I knew we were under attack…9-11 Flag

So much changed that day for me and others in our nation! I knew that we would never be the same again, as a nation. We would never walk with the same swagger as Americans believing we were untouchable. We got touched on that terrible day 13 years ago.

Today, as I remember the almost 3,000 Americans who lost their life, their families, who I’m sure still grieve for them, I am hopeful for my unborn grandchildren who will have the privilege to be born in this nation. This is still the land of liberty and freedom! Today, 13 years later, I live in Baltimore, Maryland. This city is poised to celebrate the 200th year of the Star-Spangled Banner.

We should celebrate our National Anthem! We should sing loud and proud for those across the oceans to hear! We still have a voice and we are still are a nation to be reckoned with. We are proud and hopeful for better days.

The challenge in front of us 13 years later is that we have a deficit of leadership in this nation. Where are the men and women willing to posture them self for the sake of Biblical principles this nation was birthed on?

I will never forget the impact President George W. Bush had as he stood with the first responders and he declared that we would find those responsible. That took courage! You can’t teach that! You either have it or you don’t. It was a defining moment for him. He looked like a leader and he sounded like a leader as he stood on ground zero with that megaphone in his hand.

Mayor Guiliani represented his city well in all that he did in the hours, days and even years since September 11. “Rudy” was human in the midst of this terrible day. I saw his humanity, and yet their was undeniable strength and leadership that oozed out of him as he tried to comfort his great city.

Unfortunately, we have faltered in this country in our strength of leadership. We don’t look so formidable today across the various political skirmishes. We look weak as a nation. Why, because those who lead this country are weak. Where are the true leaders who stand for the values this nation was built on? Who are you following today?

If you believe you are a leader, or you wanna be a leader, dare I suggest you go back and study the lives of leaders who have gone before us. There are many who have paid a high price for the freedoms that you and I take for granted every day. We don’t have many examples today, but I am hopeful. Today, I remember the men, women and children who died 13 years ago! There have been many thousands who have died since that day, fighting to ensure we continue to be One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for All! I am hopeful….