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I Am The Face That Nobody Wants to See

10 Aug

Now I See as I Am Seen ~ I Am The Face No one Wants to See

DeBorah ~ MMC 2002 Grad

DeBorah ~ Marymount Manhattan College 2002 Graduation

I am the face of Mental Illness in America. The face that nobody wants to see. The face that people wish would go away. For years I tried to deny my illness which is hereditary.  I’ve had it since I was a teenager. But I just want people to know that I’m the person sitting next to you on the subway, bus, in church, temple, at your job; next to you in the Shopping Mall, walking down the street, enjoying a day in the park, having fun at a club or concert, the Veteran who served her country, the Woman who graduated Cum Laude from College while fighting unseen demons.

I am the Face of Domestic Violence.  I am the Face of Sexual Abuse.

Yes I’m one of the Everyday People.  Sometimes I feel as though I’m living in a Dystopian Universe. My own personal Hunger Games, bodies falling all around me. Yet I the Damaged Battle Scarred Warrior fight on.  One of Jephthah’s Daughters, I Refuse to be stigmatized because of the Stigmata I bear.  The Bread of Heaven Sustains Me.

I’ve taken measures to remove Toxic people and Naysayers from my Life.  I’ve formed a New Family since the one I was born into abandoned me.  Yes this is my Thorn in the Flesh and I Own it. Some battles I win. Some I lose. But throughout my life I remain me. Not ashamed of who I am or how I go about living my life.  No excuses. No apologies. Just me. Only those going through the Fire truly understand.

I AM!  I AM!!   I AM!!!

 

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Palm Sunday Testimony and Praise Report

13 Apr

Testimony and Praise Report

Despite the fact that my stomach was acting up all last night and I got very little sleep I was determined to attend Palm Sunday service. My original plan had been to go into Manhattan but I changed that because with tummy troubles and subway delays I felt I should stick close to home. Even with insomnia and pain something inside me was so excited about today. When I made my right turn down Fulton St. I said Lord guide my feet and show me where to worship today. I briefly stopped at one of the many storefronts Churches lining Fulton Street but the Lord had me keep walking until I arrived at Pleasant Grove Tabernacle. You guys know I’m not much of a church goer but today I was lead to go and I’m glad I did. My late Beloved Aunt Helen Garcia had been on my mind and I think it was her who was prodding me from beyond the veil.

High School Graduation 1977

Aunt Thelma, me & Aunt Helen Garcia

I arrived in time to hear the last part of Sunday School. The congregation is very friendly. At once I felt very comfortable. Like most churches you get a program so you can follow the service but God had other things in mind and I’m very happy that Bishop Albert L. Jamison, Sr. went with the flow. Praise and Worship developed into prayers for healing. Now keep in mind though I’ve lived in Brooklyn over a year, I’ve never been to Pleasant Grove Tabernacle before neither have any of these people seen or met me. Folks were dancing in the Spirit and Bishop Jamison came down from his pulpit and began to pray for various individuals. He prayed for me and one of the Deaconess prayed also. As I said before nobody knew my condition but that sister prayed especially for healing! God Knew! I’ve been fighting not only physical troubles but battling emotional ones. Today was one giant Healing Service. Sisters suffering from cancer, depression and other ailments were ministered to. During the service Bishop had clergy and congregation hold each other by the shoulders and pray. Once again another different Sister came to me and prayed. A dam burst and I cried. A burden was lifted from me. We all also had the opportunity to go up for additional prayer from Bishop and to be anointed with oil. I went. Now that evil spiritual force was banished from my mind. I left church thinking right, acting right and rejoicing.

However my heart goes out to Karyn Washington who committed suicide at age 22 earlier this week. Those of us who are older have a frame of reference, we know that life does get better but of course we all need help. Maybe Karyn was ashamed to say she was depressed. Perhaps the burden myth of the “Strong Black Woman” was too much for her. I know how she feels. I’ve been there. I was young once upon a time but thanks to strong parents, caring Aunts and a solid spiritual base I made it. Please everyone let’s make our Churches, Temples, Mosques, Synagogues, and other places of Worship caring networks where people young and old can run to for help and guidance. Remove the Stigma of depression, panic attacks, anxiety and other mental illnesses. Be somebody who cares. May God rest your soul Karyn Washington.  May all who suffer find sanctuary.

http://blackdoctor.org/442252/karyn-washington-black-suicide/?omcamp=es-bdo-nl&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Black%20Doctor%20Subscribers&utm_campaign=Lifestyle

 

Escape from the Hotel California

10 Oct

Escape from the Hotel California

The Eagles – Hotel California

http://youtu.be/BjIJGxULpgo

Welcome to the Hotel California, 
Such a lovely place, (Such a lovely place) Such a lovely face
They’re livin’ it up at the Hotel California,
What a nice surprise, (What a nice surprise) Bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,
and pink champagne on ice, and she said:
“We are all just prisoners here,
Of our own device”
And in the master’s chambers
They gathered for the feast,
They stabbed it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was running for the door,
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before,
“Relax,” said the night man, “We are programmed to receive,
You can check out anytime you like… but you can never leave”

Island of the Dead Arnold Böcklin  (Swiss, Basel 1827–1901 San Domenico, Italy)

Island of the Dead
Arnold Böcklin (Swiss, Basel 1827–1901 San Domenico, Italy)

Suffering is acknowledged and discussed in Christianity, Buddhism and many other worldwide faiths. Suffering does endow us with wisdom beyond our years. I think suffering brings us a degree of wisdom, understanding and compassion only available to those who have gone through and come out on the other side. But the key words are to come out from the land of suffering and not stay living there. Let’s not take up residence in our own personal “Hotel Californias.”

Look to find Joy in everyday life. That’s why I Love taking photos. I Love writing poetry, stories and commentaries. As many of my friends, family and co-workers I also have a ridiculous sense of humor. I’ve learned to laugh at myself. I love to hear people’s stories. Not to make fun of them but to find the common points in life that we all share, no matter if we are Christian, Native American, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist. We have to find laughter in the midst of our greatest tragedies, triumphs, victories and even our defeats. Our respective faiths do not ignore or make believe suffering does not exist but our belief systems help us to transcend the mutual trials and tribulations of life.

Let’s look at two different scriptures from the Holy Bible that deal with suffering. Let’s also keep in mind that Biblical scriptures also have a historical and social context. While Biblical characters may or may not have been actual living people the dilemmas, emotions, and feelings are very real and very concrete.

2 Corinthians 4:7-9

New International Version (NIV)

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

We are all a little broken. The cracks & chips cannot always be hidden nor should they be. We wear our scars like Warriors. These are the battle wounds that give us character and grace for living. Suffering can produce clarity of the mind, purity of the soul, and a different perspective on living.  At one time or another have we not all been Fallen Angels looking to be restored to the Kingdom?

 

Psalm 42

New International Version (NIV)

As the deer pants for streams of water,
    so my soul pants for you, my God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
    When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while people say to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember
    as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go to the house of God
    under the protection of the Mighty One[d]
with shouts of joy and praise
    among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
    therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
    the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
    have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love,
    at night his song is with me—
    a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock,
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
    oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
    as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
    “Where is your God?”

11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God.

 

The people portrayed in the Bible aren’t Super Heroes. They are everyday folks like you and me. If they did not have the foibles and fragilities of the human condition we could not and would not be able to relate on our level. Times change and the modern world has encroached upon our 21st lives but we still possess the same frailties’ and vulnerabilities of soul and spirit as our Biblical ancestors. They are real people with real problems. Sometimes they achieve good solutions sometimes they mess up totally but provide an example for us of what not to do.

I agree with the Buddha’s teachings that becoming too attached to anything, idea or philosophy can lead to suffering. However suffering in and of itself is not a character flaw. In fact some suffering helps to build your character and gives you a greater ability for compassion. That being said there is external suffering which happens through no fault of our own and there is self-imposed suffering caused by bad decisions and errors in judgment.

While watching a TV show about the late writer, author and playwright Tennessee Williams I felt such sorrow that a man with so much talent was derailed from a productive pathway.

He did have plenty of success with such plays as, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire and many other famous plays and stories, however he was done in by the effects of a dysfunctional family, depression about his mentally ill sister Rose, and eventually he was done in by drugs and alcohol. The suffering he felt regarding his sister Rose was the sadness and frustration of seeing a beloved sibling encased within the walls of mental illness and being powerless to help her. His internal self-imposed suffering was caused by bad choices regarding substance abuse.

I too am a writer and author but through my Christian faith and Buddhist practice I will avoid the path of destruction that seems to plague many famous, writers, musicians, actors, and artists.

Suffering should invite self-examination of our lives. Are we repeating destructive patterns in our lives? Am I living right? Am I a blessing towards others? Do I negate others feelings or emotions just because they may not be in line with my own experience. In addition to prayer what are some practical hands-on ways I can help my sisters and brothers in need. Am I so fixed into my own suffering that I’m allowing “Wounded Soldiers in the Household of Faith” to fall on the battle ground.

The ultimate question is, “Is it time for us to change course?”

Learning to Encourage Myself

18 Apr

How to Encourage Yourself

Donald Lawrence & The Tri-City Singers

http://youtu.be/JbEaftzaFWA

Black Unicorn Rainbow

Black Unicorn moving towards the Rainbow

Extreme anger, panic attacks, uncontrollable crying and/or apathetic/zombie like fluctuations are defense mechanisms produced by our damaged psyches to protect ourselves emotionally. Just after I separated from my abuser in 2007 I went through a gamut of emotions. I was extremely high strung, angry and would lash out sometimes at total strangers. Now I do realize that a lot of that was a form of PTSD, stress and hormones since I had started to go through the Change of Life. Many times I felt like Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde. Other than my estrogen going wild I believe the basis of my negative emotions was fear. Fear causes the fight or flight response and unfortunately I often got angry at the wrong people. However once I stood up to my inner demons and toxic family/co-worker bullies I began to feel better. I realized I had options. I did not have to feel this way. Another therapy for me was and is writing.

I wrote about all my emotions; the good, the bad and the ugly. There were times when I wanted to kill myself. I wrote an entire heart wrenching story on all the evil locked up inside my head. Words gave that insanity somewhere to go so it would not destroy me. I became stronger. Then this year more healing came, peace came through being a part of V-Day/1 Billion Women Rising and through joining groups that focus on domestic violence and sexual assault. Then I saw that my trials and tribulations were not in vain and not for my destruction but for the upliftment of not only me but all women who are going through and have gone through this horrible experience. I’m here to encourage and support. We Lean on and draw strength from each other. We Find Sanctuary among and within our tribe.  Love is a Helping Hand and a listening ear.

Bill Withers — Lean On Me

http://youtu.be/QPoTGyWT0Cg

Sometimes I still have panic attacks but they do not last as long nor are they as powerful or as strong as before because I’m able to defuse them. I tell myself that this fear I feel at the moment is only that, a temporary moment in time. I’m made of survivor and victory stock. Some of my ancestors settled the Americas, most came from Africa, and survived the middle passage, slavery, Jim Crow and all other types of bullshit. My ancestors lift me up above the fray. Then my genetic memory recalls that I am descended from the Queens of Mother Africa. I carry within me the DNA of women who sat on the thrones of Egypt, Ethiopia & Mozambique. They reigned and I reign. I’m stronger than my flaws, weakness and shortcomings. I’m an Overcomer. I’m stronger and more powerful than the words of deceit, anger and hate my ex- the abuser tried to sow into my soul. I will no longer allow his words of defeat to take root within my mind. Now I listen to, absorb and plant the words of my maternal ancestors within my soul, my psyche and my spirit. Courage, Boldness and Determination grows and manifests itself to and for my SisterFriends!

Judith Beheading Holofernes

Judith with the Head of Holofernes

Not perfect but able to move through the pain. I do not deny the pain but I refuse to give pain, sorrow, sadness or depression any authority in my life. I walk in my authority as a Victor not a victim.  I will not allow my life to spiral out of control. I don’t have to live in defeat. I have choices. I have options. Living my life like it’s Golden!

Donations and Freewill offerings can be made directly to my PayPal account deborah.palmer280@gmail.com. Thank you and God Bless

Disposable People?

29 Sep

Disposable People?

James 4:3-5

Today’s New International Version (TNIV)

3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Allegory of Avarice (Greed)

Allegory of Avarice
Jacopo Ligozzi (Italian, Verona 1547–1627 Florence)

Gimme, gimme gimme, my name is Jimmie is something we chanted as kids. Some adults still harbor these ill-advised wishes whether externally or internally.

We live in a throwaway society. Everything can be disposed of including wives, husbands, & children. Men trade in their wives and/or girlfriends for a newer, younger supposedly better model, aka the Trophy Wife, not realizing that she’s only with you for the money or power you have right now. When you lose the money that she’s gone. Men want the Playboy Bunny/Players magazine image of women; fake hair, fake nails, fake boobs, fake butts! They go for the Bimbos every time because they think with the little head.

Women go for “rich/wealthy” men instead of seeking a man of character & integrity. If a guy has tons of money yet no regular job, your antenna should go up. It may be hip to be with that thug, bad boy, hoodrat but there is a price to pay. Talk to the women incarcerated at Bedford Correctional Facility in upstate New York. Ladies you sink even lower when you think of your kids as meal tickets or possessions. That will back fire on you. Kids grow up or God will take those children from you and give them to someone else to raise. Or worse yet they will realize that they are being manipulated and disown you.

Ignorant music that regularly calls women bitches and ho’s and steadily devalues their worth in the eyes of this young generation is just one of the factors that contribute to the abuse of girls and women.

TV shows on the ID channel like Snapped, Who the Bleep did I Marry?; Scorned, Deadly Affairs, Behind Mansion Walls and others illustrate dysfunctional relationships taken to the ultimate extreme but it does show what can happen as a result of repeated bad judgments and selfish motives.

Basketball Wives, Love & Hip-Hop, Mafia Wives, Toddlers & Tiaras, Honey Boo Boo Child and Bad Girls promote dysfunctional lifestyles. Has being Ghetto Fabulous become the new form of social climbing except the climbing is really descending? How ignorant can I act so I can get the bling bling, money, cars, big fancy houses, rich men, etc…

These television shows put male/female relationships that used to be frowned upon as the norm or the way to be in this world. What kind of society can we expect to have and what are the potential effects of these stereotypes on young people especially young women watching these derogatory TV shows. Instead of seeking a friend, a partner, a companion who will stick with us through the better and the worse of life we are now searching for status, power, authority, unnatural physical attributes that will fade with time and age. There is no substitute for faith, loyalty and commitment.

Everything that glitters is not gold or even cubic zirconium! If you dance to the music, you got to pay the piper. Beware the pathway the demon of unbridled lust leaves you.

Lust is the desire to benefit self at the expense of others. Lust desires to get.

Rev. A.R. Bernard

The only agenda we should have as humans is God’s agenda.

Donations and Freewill offerings can be made directly to my PayPal account deborah.palmer280@gmail.com

The Devil Made Me do it?!!

16 Sep

The Struggle of the Two Natures in Man

George Grey Barnard  (American, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 1863–1938 New York City)The Struggle of the Two Natures in Man George Grey Barnard  (American, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 1863–1938 New York City)

Normally I enjoy every service at New Jerusalem Baptist Church. I didn’t think today would be any different. I love Rev. Dr. Calvin Rice preaching. He is excellent, however I know from time to time he has guest ministers who are usually good. But not today. I actually left the sanctuary before the guest minister finished.

The visiting minister went into an entire dissertation on the devil, how he’s after you, his influence & so-called power. He’s whispering in your ear, he’s following you around. Why the devil is a stalker, never mind that there are six billion people in the world that he has to keep track of minus GPS! I was sure at some point Flip Wilson’s Geraldine character was going to come back to life with his famous saying, “The Devil Made Me Do it.”

Now I’m not an ordained minister but I do know that the devil, satan, slewfoot or whatever you want to call him is a created being. The devil was one of the Arch Angels, his name was Lucifer. Lucifer sought to be like God and convinced 1/3rd of the angels to go along with him. He rebelled against the most high. Lucifer’s sin was pride. His punishment was to be thrown down to earth along with the rebellious angels who became demons.

Since the devil/satan is a created being like us, he cannot be all powerful or all knowing nor can he be in all places at one time. This guest preacher gave satan/devil way too much power. Satan’s time on this earth is short, yes he is roaming the earth seeking who he can deceive by sending his henchmen the fallen angels to encourage the evil thoughts already in most human beings. However satan and his minions know that on Judgement Day they will be thrown into Hell or the Lake of Fire specifically created for them.

 As for sin or evil James 1:14 & 15 says we are taken by our own wicked thoughts, lusts & desires. Whether or not we give in is our choice and the devil/satan has nothing to do with it. Whenever we make the decision or choice to do something we know is immoral, illegal or just plain unethical it’s on us and we suffer the resulting consequences.

 Man is a dichotomy composed of constantly struggling dual natures. Your fight, your battle is with your dark side within not any outside evil force. This is why the Bible tells us to submit to God by carefully studying the Word so we can rightly discerning what is going on around us and make correct choices or if we do miss the mark run to his name which is a sanctuary and a strong tower of defense.

Donations and Freewill offerings can be made directly to my PayPal account deborah.palmer280@gmail.com

The Struggle of the Two Natures in Man George Grey Barnard  (American, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 1863–1938 New York City)

The Struggle of the Two Natures in Man

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