A Look Inside My Search

In a search for answers to the woes in my life, I found God. The truth that lies in knowing God for myself, placed me on a quest for peace. While on this journey, I have discovered that there are others seeking this truth also and that I can help. I have a Doctor of Ministry degree from Catholic Theological Union, not to rise above anyone, but to better serve everyone. I am on a journey towards peace, speaking truth that opens people up to God.

31 December 2014

Ending Beginning

New Year's Eve marks the end and the beginning. It is the one time that an entire people regardless of race, creed, ethnic origins, political agendas, sexuality, religious denomination, etc., celebrate the end and beginning.

Move away from New Year's Eve and you find people hanging on to things they should be ending and failing to start things they should be beginning.

I am embracing the rhythm of ending beginning. And this time I'm EXCITED!!

Ending Beginning allows me the opportunity to close the door on sorrows, mistakes, should-haves and could-haves and open the window to going-to and can-do.

To continue this journey towards peace, some things truly must end. I must close the door on
  • too many projects which results in "too many minds"
  • procrastination that results in me rushing to get too many projects complete
  • working the wrong projects 
and open the window to
  •  streamlined work
  • a more focused way of working
  •  working smarter
I'm ending the "don't have time" mantra and beginning the "I have time for God" mantra.
I look forward to what having time for God looks like in 2015.

As you celebrate 2014, put an END to that which is holding you back from your BEGINNING.


25 December 2014

Christmas Hope

God born into the world long ago invites us to have Christmas in our hearts.

And so that we aren't overwhelmed, God comes as an infant: small, in need of our small nurturing in order to grow, to fill our hearts completely.

May the poverty of our hearts be transformed by the SON.

Merry Christmas!!

22 December 2014

Watch Watching ADVENT - Week Four: Welcoming the Transformation

Read Isaiah 43:19

The largest stumbling block to God’s grace is our inability to accept it.
We allow our sense of unworthiness to get in the way. We believe every negative thing, every mistake, every fault, every failure has more weight than God’s forgiveness. This last week of Advent is all about Welcoming the Transformation that comes when we’ve gotten into position, completed our strength training and worked it out. It’s about Acceptance.
We are a new creation in Christ! Hallelujah! Let the party begin. Oh wait. We can have the party, but you must know, this last step can be tricky. Many people get stuck here. They welcome the the transformation as though they have arrived at the end. But this is not the end. Welcoming the Transformation is to acknowledge all that God has done, give Thanks and start all over again.

Yes we must get in position, do strength training, work it out and welcome the transformation. This is the life of a doer of the WORD. One who hears and then works to “make all things new.”

16 December 2014

Watch Watching ADVENT - Week Three: Working It Out

Watch Watching ADVENT - Week One found us "Getting Into Position" while Watch Watching ADVENT - Week Two had us in the "gym" with "Strength Training."

This third Week of Advent we are "Working It Out."

Working it Out is our presentation to the world that we’re Getting Into Position and that we’re involved in Strength Training. Watch Watching ADVENT doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It doesn't take place only in your home. It’s PUBLIC. As much as we think following Christ is all about us individually, it isn’t. This “private” thing we got going on with Christ is only private when we’re faking it. True followers are Working It Out. Making adjustments. Stumbling. Falling. Getting angry. Being frustrated with the progress or lack of progress. Crying in the darkness. Rejoicing. Celebrating. Working It Out is about sharing what God is doing in our lives. It’s about using what God has given us for the benefit of others. For that is the way God is truly glorified. Working It Out has us looking through Christ’s eyes, not ours. Working It Out is committing to Strength Training and LIVING our new lifestyle. Showing and Telling the Good News. It’s entitled Working It Out, because we have to figure out how to get the pieces to fit. We have to take note of those things which are helping us and those things that are not. We have to have the courage to rid ourselves of those things (and people) that are not life-giving. Working It Out demands that we press forward toward God. That we stay “under the shelter of the Most High” and WORK.

09 December 2014

Watch Watching ADVENT - Week Two: Strength Training

Last week I talked about the need for Getting Into Position this Advent Season so that we may receive our LORD when He comes again. This week I'm all about Strength Training.

Strength Training is all about preparing ourselves to take on the onslaught of adversity while we're in position. Funny thing about following Christ is that being in the correct position is not enough. We often think that after we are "saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost" that the work is done. Sorry.

Strength Training is about daily prayer, reading Scripture, helping others, opening one's heart to the will of God and replacing our will with God's will. Strength Training gives us the stamina in our legs to handle the winds of adversity. Strength Training allows us to put up the umbrella of God when the rains of depression threaten to flood our lives. Strength Training helps us navigate the influx of temptation as we journey.

Advent provides us with a great opportunity to get back into the "gym" and workout. Slow down and take note of the light; darkness CANNOT overcome it.


01 December 2014

Watch Watching ADVENT - Week One: Getting Into Position

What a festive time of year for many of us. Christmas songs are playing on the radio. Decorations are on display in shop windows and in our homes. Christmas trees are being decorated with sentimental ornaments. And can't you just smell the cinnamon, the pumpkin, the nutmeg, the vanilla?

But this isn't what we're to be watching for. We're supposed to be watching for Christ. We're supposed to watch for our LORD to come again. And while we're watching, we should be Getting Into Position to receive the grace that our LORD's coming gives us.

Getting Into Position is difficult. It requires that we slow down as the "Holiday" Season gears up. Getting Into Position asks me to take a deeper look inside and admit my faults and forgive others theirs. Getting Into Position requires that I look past the presents to the PRESENCE of Christ in my speaking and in my doing.

As I begin this Advent trek, may I open my heart to the transforming works of our God as I move into position.


07 October 2014

The Flying of Time

How often do we say, "I don't have time for...!"? Filling in the blank can lead to a list of things that we wish we could get done but don't. Way too often reading scripture is one of those things. Sure many of us know its importance, but too few of us take the time.  To make it easier, I installed a Bible study app on all my devices so I would take the time. And as is true with many of you, I found that the app wasn't being used. Each day I looked at the app and each day I said, "I don't have time." And each time I said that I would cringe inside.

God to the rescue. 

I kept asking God for a multitude of things each time returning to Her Word. "If I would only read the Bible more." So this morning, instead of taking my usual prayer books into my prayer space, I took the Bible app. To my dismay, the reading plan I opened was started in December 2012. It was to be a 1 year plan. I had "successfully" stretched it, made it last, got long life out of it. Terrible! Just plain terrible. 

I did not allow the dismay to last. I honored my effort to read God's Word and hit the button to continue reading. And what JOY entered my being. and before I knew it, time flew.

What a book to get lost in! What stories to relish! 

As I return to my journey through God's Word, I invite you to join me. Let us all bask in the glow of the flying of time as we savor the Words of God.


07 September 2014

In Darkness There Really is LIGHT

I've been masking. Yes it's true. I've been covering up the darkness that has creeped into my being as times have grown financially dim. I kept telling myself that God IS surely providing. That things will be well. And as creditors went yet another month without payment, I wondered...will it be well? How long do we wait before we make contingency plans? Of course there were many other questions that had the darkness deepening. AND then...there is GOD!!! Lily in the Valley; The WayMaker; the LIGHT in the darkness.

In this place of darkness, I need only OPEN my eyes and there, right before me, is our God. What a marvelous sight to behold. Open your eyes in your darkness. Don't keep your eyes shut due to fear. And right before you will be God. LIGHT for the journey onward.


11 August 2014

Ending to the Beginning

So the end of my first summer as the Associate Director of Continuing Education and Enrichment Programs in the Institute for Black Catholic Studies (IBCS) at Xavier University of Louisiana came faster than I thought it would. And what a summer it was. As I found my way through, I shared my joy of fun with everyone. #followtheorangeKiaSoul became the tagline for raising scholarship money for the IBCS enabling more students to attend. Now that I'm back home I find that I'm looking for IBCS merchandise in the Kia Soul that I need to be selling. Is that what PTSD is? Well I guess that's a little strong, but the thought is genuine: I'm missing my work in New Orleans. As I continue to transition to the work here in Chicago I find a similar excitement to my work. I still am sharing what it means to be a Black Catholic to me in our world today.

So the end of the 2014 Beginning has come. Stay tuned for what is next on this journey towards peace.

27 June 2014


Registration for the 2014 Session of the Institute for Black Catholic Studies is over, signaling another beginning. As I prepared to receive students into the Continuing Education and Enrichment Programs, I received a migraine. I was interested in welcoming a migraine, as it really interfered with my welcoming nature. As I continued to suffer, the IBCS community came to life around me and the village took over the work I was to do.

Beginnings. Though things don't always turn out like we plan, the fact that they start is what matters. I am grateful for the people who stepped into the gap so that I could heal. And healing is what is happening. What else could happen after people laid hands on me and prayed God's healing mercy? I must admit, God is moving at a different pace than what I would like, but God is moving.

At that how it is? We want God to move differently cause we figure we know what is best? Well, Well. Our job is to recognize God's movement when it is different from what we wanted. That way, no matter what, we will have a praise party.

The Institute for Black Catholic Studies is beginning it's 2014 Session. Pray for us as we will be praying for you.


14 May 2014

Me and You

You open me in so many ways.
I am constantly amazed by what You do
           especially to me.
Unworthy I am.
Worthy You make me
           just by loving me.
How can I love as You are teaching me?
How do I move past the hurt and anger
           towards Your peace
                    that I seek?
Moments spent with You help.
Quiet with You
           me not trying to control the flow.
Unworthy I am.
Worthy You make me
           just by loving me.

originally written 12 May 2014

10 May 2014

Mother's Day

Our history has seen us birth nations, inspire greatness, scrub floors, build buildings, nurse the sick, endure injustice for justice, hold onto what others would let go, and sacrifice in order to achieve.

Mothers, whether by birth or circumstance, let us not allow despair to take over. May we rise up and nurture our children so they may know LOVE.

Mothers as Aunt, Cousin, Friend, let's take back our children's love of technology and show them how to LOVE humanity, and USE technology.

Mothers, first teachers, co-creators, let us not grow weary, God is our strength.

Happy Mother's Day Mom (gaynell burrell), Love You

30 April 2014

You Betta Recognize

Greatness cannot be hidden. People see it and one of two things happen: 1. they help it along or 2. they work to bury it.

It is easy to bury someone's greatness when they don't recognize  that they have it. So many people fail to recognize their own greatness because they're too busy trying to imitate someone else's greatness.  Quite often, relationships that are unbalanced, even abusive are the result of one person burying another's greatness.

You Betta Recognize your own greatness. You cannot rely solely on others to recognize your greatness and do what should be done. The days should be over when we allow someone else to do what they will with our greatness.

You Betta Recognize and in doing so, you commit to do the work necessary to allow your greatness to burst onto the scene and God be glorified.

You Betta Recognize your own greatness so that you can take notice and act when another is seeking to keep you from rising.

All of Us, made in the image and likeness of God, Betta Recognize.


24 April 2014


I feel like the woman in the Parable of the Lost Coin (Luke 15:8-9) as I have been looking for a book of mine all day. I have even looked in places where a book should not be: under couch cushions; in paper boxes; in shoe boxes; in suitcases in the closet; behind other books on the shelves and even in cabinets. As of this writing, I have NOT found the book. Now that it is about 3pm you would think I would stop looking. I haven't. Now I'm going over the same places I looked earlier today.

I think Jesus searches for us like that. He looks everywhere. Even in the most unlikely places...Searching for us until we are found. That type of intense searching should be comforting to us. To have in our heart a sense that we are called to something beyond us; something great. Each of us who are lost are searched for by God. Like the woman, God will turn over everything to reach us.

Can you feel something pulling at you? Drawing you like a magnet? Then say yes to the Holy Spirit and give in to the pull.  Unlike my lost book, there is much to rejoice over when you are found by God.


14 April 2014

Whole-y Weak

Moving through my Good Fridays to Easter Sundays for wholeness below the surface.

Lent offers us the opportunity to take inventory of our Christian Living. Many of us don’t do this in a way that really gets to the heart of things in our lives. Most often we stay on the surface, giving up or taking on things that fail to challenge us in our Christian Living.

Whole-y Weak is about the realization that my wholeness is weak without Christ’s leadership. In my quest to be whole, to be peaceful, I come to understand that I must be weak in my heart; in my soul, so that Christ can fully enter into my being and turn my Good Friday moments into Easter Sundays. 

Funny how long I sought to be strong; to have it all together, so I could live as a good Christian. What Whole-y 
Weak has taught me is that my strength is in Christ, that my wholeness is only in and through the ways of God. Truly I am not whole on my own. On my own I am holey; incomplete.

In following Christ I better understand that my Good Fridays are destined in Resurrection. Fully understanding Whole-y Weak leads me to Holy Week where I am able to celebrate with Jesus the Christ death to the things that harm and RESURRECTION to new life.

03 April 2014

Silent Company

As I sit on the couch next to Jesus, I find that we are enjoying a comfortable silence. I am watching the sun set while Jesus is busy with the world in His hands. I find it unnecessary to say anything. Just being in His company is enough.

20 March 2014

Night Prayer

Hey God, thought I'd come over and hangout. How've You been? That good, huh? Well that's great. Me? Oh, I'm good. Especially since I've been hanging out with You. I really appreciate You letting me come over. I really feel good when I'm with You. Funny thing, we don't even have to be doing anything. Just being with You is fine with me. You too? Wow! Thanks.

(Originally written 18 March 2014 during my Night Prayer)

04 March 2014

Getting Ready for LENT

I'm so excited for LENT 2014. God has been doing such GREAT things in my life and I can't wait to join in Her work. Though I have been working with God, well truth be told, and against God, Lent gives me the opportunity to put some practices in place that say, "Yes God I'm on board; I'm willing to do your will." And these are the practices I chose. Sure the Church puts in place a few things to get us started: prayer, fasting/abstinence, and alms-giving. How those things get lived out is totally up to the individual.

This year, not only am I giving up something, I'm also taking something on. WOW!! Here goes!!!
For all of my Candy Crush players out there, I'm giving up Candy Crush; Pet Rescue; Solitaire Blitz; Words with Friends; AND Pepper Panic Saga. Now this may not be much to many of you but it is way too much for me. In recent months I have found myself playing these games entirely too much. So, out they go. Does that leave anything? Sure it does: Criminal Case, Pyramid Solitaire Saga and Matching with Friends. These 3 games have limited playing time so I think I'll be okay with the amount of time playing computer games.

What am I taking on you ask? Several things: a 6-week daily retreat (Your Spiritual Garden: Tending to the Presence of God by Pegge Bernecker); morning and evening prayer; and daily Mass (at least 2 times a week). In my free time I will be writing my book and practicing Spanish.

Aren't you excited with me? Of course you are!!

How are you planning to participate in God's transformation of you?

27 February 2014

Investing for the Future

I've been struggling with this term, Investing for the Future, for some time now. Especially when someone wants to spend money I don't think should be spent. I didn't know why it was a struggle, until now.

I find it hard to grasp the concept of spending one's few earned dollars on investing in stocks, property, gold, jewelry and the such, knowing the gain is elusive.

I do find it a worthy investment to take my few earned dollars and invest them in people. Cultivating relationships, creating bonds of friendship, mentoring while breaking bread or sipping coffee/tea.
Now that to me is true Investing for the Future.

All of us should take time to be "pastorally present" to one another. We don't have to do much. Just learning to be comfortable with one another will go a long way to healing our hurts.

06 January 2014

Snow Day

I spent the 2013 Holiday Season eating well and watching a lot of movies. Once the new year arrived I was ready to get back on track: stop eating those pies and rolls I made, ease up on the Mickie watching, get back to my 4 times a week yoga.

Then,...snowmageddon 2014 happened and I found myself shoveling snow way too many times. Then the tempature dropped. Being in the house without the desserts had gotten me off to a good start.  So now I'm back to eating like I should. Shoveling snow took the place of yoga.

Hahah, but I'm still watching movies. I'll change that tomorrow.

What are you doing?