Posted in Church!

40th Anniversary of the Bolling AFB Gospel Choir

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In July of 1976, my mother, Elouise J. Brown was allowed by God to form the first Gospel Choir at BAFB. By “Gospel Choir”, I mean in the realm of the black worship experience in America.

My parents had served as church pianists for years in Charleston, SC from preteens to young adults. Mom had formed or served  with children’s choirs at the various bases that we lived at over the years and played and sang with Cantata and other choirs. WE, her children, we’re members of choirs since we could walk and talk. but her tradition of music, Gospel music, had generally remained at home.

My mother, even in a wheelchair, is a hard working woman. She has done hair, taught Sunday School, been awarded several commendations for her volunteer work and helped my father in his 31 year career in the Air Force. She still creates jewelry, bangles, bows and corsages, boutonnieres and other crafts to give away, or for church events. She helps the crochet and knitting teacher at her Senior Center to teach others to enjoy her favorite work short of music.

Until recently, she had continued to play for the Agape Choir, the children’s choir she had formed in the 80s . Even though we belonged to another church, my daughter sang her first solo as a three year old for the Agape Choir. She stopped singing with the gospel choir about four years ago as her voice gave out. My Mom has had three heart  attacks and a stroke over a ten year period. Every day that she rises is a miracle!

This 40th anniversary is a bittersweet celebration.  You can’t have a 40 year marriage without some fussing and fighting. A separation occurred for a while. She went back. She couldn’t help it. She loved that child too much to stay gone.

I was her first soprano, and occasional tenor. There were six of us, including the pianist. We grew to a high of 50 over the years, collapsing to about 20 now. I still call this my choir. I’ve moved in, but the desire to serve God as a psalmist never left me. My mother put that desire there.

She may not realize it, but her struggle to start and nurture the choir was my example for a career, volunteerism and teachung. If God told you to do it, nothing will stop you. If you have a desire to do something, nothing will stop you  And – when it is time to let it go, move in. The next thing is coming, and nothing will stop you.

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Posted in Uncategorized

UPDATE: Court Overturns Judge’s Order Barring Uber & Lyft In Philadelphia — Consumerist [I drive both in the DMV]

This week, a Common Pleas court judge in Philadelphia issued an order barring ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber’s UberX from operating in the city. This afternoon, an appeals court has overturned that order, allowing these companies to offer rides in Philly (which they hadn’t stopped doing anyway). Uber filed an emergency petition with a…

via UPDATE: Court Overturns Judge’s Order Barring Uber & Lyft In Philadelphia — Consumerist

Posted in 2016 Congressional, 2016 Local, 2016 Presidential, Politics

REGISTER TO VOTE! https://turbovote.org

Image result for local ballot

Are you reading this post and have not registered to vote yet? WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?!?!?!

Here is the website that you need: https://turbovote.org

Once you have accessed the site, chose your state, and register to vote. It is so not difficult!

Remember that you are voting not only for POTUS, but also for Mayor, or Congressional Representatives, for Senators and judges, for dog-catchers and Clerk of the Court. You must educate yourself. You must look at every candidate’s website, REGARDLESS OF THEIR PARTY, and make a decision for School Board that will affect your children or grandchildren or godchildren or nieces and nephews. You must make a decision concerning the position of prosecutors, who wield so much power in this country that they can decide whether you live or die based on what they charge you with and how they bias a grand jury. You are voting for judges who may be predisposed to dislike you because of what you wear or how your hair is done. You are voting for Countyh Council, where they decide whether the contractor who greases the right palm will be able to build dozens of garden apartment conmplexes in the four acres behind YOUR house. You are voting for the Animal Control officer who needs to send staff out to deal with the rabid neighborhood cats.

It is so important that you vote that I cannotoveremphasize it! VOTE!!! But first, if you arenot registered, make that happen before the deadline is over for your state. I know there are many that cannot because they are not citizhttps://turbovote.orgens, or because they are former felons or a number of other reasons. This country, unlike many in the West, finds ways to stop people from voting. if you are not precluded from voting, it is your obligation to stop for fifteen minutes and get registered.

https://turbovote.org. Real easy.

Make it happen!

Trump: What Have You Got to Lose


et it not be said that Donald Trump has not been in every blog in the universe. He is now in mine.

Trump is now pretending to talk to “African Americans”, asking them “what have you got to lose?” in voting for him. He talks to us by using every stereotype that racist and/or ignorant whites believe black life is like. We are supposed to be happy to vote for him because he will make sure that we can leave our homes in safety daily instead of being shot. We are supposed to be happy to vote for him because all of our schools are horrible. He will create good jobs so that we can get out of poverty.

Listen carefully: 27.4% of black people in this country live below the poverty level1. That means

72.6% of black people ARE NOT POOR!

Let’s look at the truths that he stretched:

  1.  Many schools in many parts of country that are primarily attended by poor black children are horrible schools. That is by design to keep those children from joining the rest of the nation in prosperity and success. BTW, that is a fact in all poor regions of the country. Politicians do not care about poor children whose parents cannot line the pols pockets. These schools must be improved. I will not address possible changes here because that is another post.
  2. Some poor black neighborhoods are dangerous. All of them are not. The press focuses on Chicago, DC, Baltimore and other areas where the violent crime rate is high. The rate of violent crime has risen ACROSS THE COUNTRY in 20152. So yes, it is higher in areas that may have already been dangerous, as it is in other areas.
  3. Jobs are scarce in poor black neighborhoods. YES!! But part of the problem is that jobs that can be held by people who were forced to attend substandard schools were shipped overseas by people like Trump whose shirts and ties and handkerchiefs are manufactured in China and other places.

Basically, Trump is not speaking to me and mine. He is reinforcing the stereotypes that his supporters believe to be true about every black person in the country. He was telling his supporters that he would make life better for those poor, pitiful black people that they all either feel sorry for or resent, take your pick.

What do we have to lose by voting for him? Our dignity, our pride, and our ability to look ourselves in the mirror, that’s all.

Illustration credit – DonkeyHotey
Posted in Uncategorized

It’s Not About Us

purple_metal_letter_capitol_Every once in a while, someone says something that makes me want to smack them. This time, I was not in attendance at the event that created the smack-worthy moment. That was a good thing, as smacking a church leader in the Fellowship Hall is probably not appropriate.

From what I was told, the teaching was on the Great Commission. This is a theme text in our church this year, coming from Matthew 28. At the time, the lesson was focused on making new disciples, and particularly bringing them to Christ. Note that I said “bringing them to Christ“. It sets up the smack.

Our Bible studies are not loose, but questions are encouraged, and discussions may branch off from them. As related to me, the discussion moved to bringing people to Christ. A member noted that it was not important to bring the person to your church, but to bring them to a relationship with Jesus. Her point was sound and valid. The Great Commission instructs us to go out into all of the world and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  As we can see throughout the rest of the New Testament, groups of believers came together where they were as the Apostles and other disciples moved throughout the known world spreading the word of God.

Seems reasonable enough that we take it to be our job to tell people about Christ and lead them to a relationship with Him, right? Yet a church LEADER stood up to, in his words, “not give place to the enemy”. He felt a need to correct the member. According to him, our goal should be to bring the person to Christ and get them to join our church. What horrified me as I heard this story was that other leaders agreed with him! SMACK!

Because we have become so focused on membership numbers, the size of the offering for the week, the need for additional parking and an overflowing choir stand, we have forgotten exactly why we come together on Sundays and come to learn more on Wednesday. Sunday is for believers, giving them time to worship, fellowship and hear the Word of God preached. Bible Study during the week is for the same believers and the new or prospective Christians to come and learn more about the tenets, requirements, and direction of the Bible. Both experiences give us the opportunity to get revved up for what we are expected to do – go out and make disciples of all people, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost!

Nothing in our commissioning requires us to sit in the same place of worship as the new believer. We may (should) help to direct them to a Bible believing church in their area. If I am traveling in New Orleans, I cannot tell the person that they need to move everything to the DC area. If I am in SE DC, it does not make sense to tell a new believer to bypass a church right near her home to travel to NW twice a week to attend my church. Because we have been in contact and fellowship with other churches in our area, I can actually recommend a few places in the DMV.

But suppose I could not make a recommendation? I do not live in Tucson, Arizona, but I would love to have made a disciple there. Where would I send them to church? I do not know! So we would pray, JUST AS WE WOULD ANYWHERE ELSE that the person will be directed by the Lord to the best church for them. That is all I can do. It is on God after that. He always comes through. When I am at home, I will invite the person to my church if they live in that area. If not, I will suggest a church in their area, if I know of one. If they ask where I go to services, I will be delighted! 

Follow the words of Christ: Go out in all the world and make disciples! Teach them what you know. Stay in touch. Trust God in all of it.

Posted in Uncategorized

Metro is DOWN!

I don’t believe I have ever heard of this sort of action being taken in another metropolitan area with such wide reaching impact. From Midnight on Wednesday, March 16 through March 17 at 5 am., the Washington Area subway system will be shut down!

I do not know about you, but I certainly did not expect to see anything like this happen to Metro until someone else died. However, the new General Manager has made safety and the lackadaisical Metro culture his priority. Hence the shutdown is understandable – Metro has found that the conditions that caused a massive shutdown at the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station and the death of a passenger might be repeated in other areas of the system. They must address these issues But over 700,000 people depend on this system to get to and from work, appointments, school and soccer games daily. The impact will be incredible.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has stated that all federal workers with prior authorization to telework may do so on an unscheduled basis tomorrow. They may also use up their leave without prior approval. However, none of that helps government contractors, doctors, nurses, students, janitors, police officers, etc. It does nothing for the people who run food trucks who may see a huge decrease in their revenues, depending on where they are parked.

We will not get into the fact that the government has not, as a whole, adopted telework as a practice. Some People are not inclined to be forward thinking and dynamic in many agencies, and those people tend to be in charge. Enough said about that.

My question to you is, “how are you going to handle this?” For the moment, the question is aimed at people in the DMV (District, Maryland and Virginia),.who ride the 118-mile, 91 stop system. Heck, let us throw in the folks from Pennsylvania and West Virginia who commute by train to Union Station to catch the Red Line from there. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO HANDLE THIS?

I can hear the clucking and see the heads shaking, “You are making too much of this.” Let me repeat. Over 700 thousand people use the system daily. They did not know until they were leaving work this afternoon that Metro would be shut down for the entire day on Wednesday. If you are a Lyft or Uber driver, you have loaded up on gum and mints and set your phone for Waze and Pandora. You are already in bed. Sleep well; midnight is coming! Click the links for each service (Lyft or Uber ) to sign up as a rider or get in the queue as a driver. This is your personal transportation backup plan.

My husband works at L’Enfant Plaza, the station where the last catastrophe occurred. That day while he was walking to the next station, I asked him what his group was supposed to do if there was a major transportation shutdown, as this is a high level risk with high impact in the continuity plans that I have written. He had no idea. Because his work deals with running the Headquarters (HQ) facility at L’Enfant Plaza, he could not do his work remotely. As he is part of the Postal Service, which is a quasi-governmental agency, OPM’s edicts may or may not apply to the HQ staff. I am keenly aware that his next Metro ride could be his last.

If your company did not have a plan to that you could email and text to your employees this evening, why not? Even if you do not live in the DMV, what would it mean to you if there was a station collapse at the Times Sq-42 St / 42 St in New York. A bus strike in Los Angeles? A CTA “sickout” in Chicago? How much money would your company lose? Is it a good policy to reimburse employees who use ridesharing services to get to work? What about lateness due to people having to catch the bus for the first time in their lives? How can you prepare for such an occurrence?

Proactive planning includes the street vendors and the aerospace engineers. The nannies and librarians need to know how to handle a major transportation shutdown. Notice that I said a “transportation shutdown”. This is not scenario planning! Manage your risks! If you live in the DMV, a tractor trailer turning over and spinning out of control on the Inner Loop near the Landover exit may (has) shut down the Beltway for six or seven hours. From nearby high schools to the White House, that is a high level risk because of the number of people who travel that corridor; local commuters, tourists, truckers coming from Maine and heading to Florida. Have you included this risk management procedure in your overall Business Continuity Management Plan? Take that plan out and review your risks and threats. If they are realistic, your plan should address them.

esto perpetua, LLC exists to help small businesses set up comprehensive Business Continuity Management Plans that are maintained by your in-house continuity manager. Contact us at info@be-perpetual.com. We would love to help!
Posted in Uncategorized

And so we begin!

It’s a new year! Why the exclamation point? I’m not sure … yet. But I’m certainly excited to see 2015 go away. It was a sucky year. Don’t get me wrong; God is good and His mercy endures forever. But I am glad to see the year gone!!!

My mother was in the hospital so many times this year that you need one foot to continue counting it all. They finally found out what was wrong in the next to the last week of the year. Now that the problem is stopped, she is working on getting her strength back. At 83, with a number of health issues, she (and we) is glad to see 2016. Dad is in great shape and still rolling strong. I want to be just like him when I grow up!

My son still doesn’t have a steady job, and now he is not in school. Not that he hasn’t tried; you need one hand for the number of jobs he held this year while going to school. Earlier in the year, he bought $120 worth of stuff at Walmart, going through the self-serve checkout. He forgot two items. Instead of telling him to come back and pay for those, they had him arrested. After he left his cart at the door to go get his car. After he pulled up at the door to load the car. After he didn’t run or complain. He spent hours waiting for us to figure out how to pay bail remotely. Returning to school last August, he lived in his car for a while, has eaten cheap pizza steadily for months, sleeps on the floor of the room he rents, and his car is continuously breaking down. He couldn’t finance another semester because we don’t have decent credit anymore. At the end of the year, just before Christmas, he found out that his new job hadn’t finished his background check and shouldn’t have been letting him work. So he has spent a week out of work, hasn’t been paid for the 80 hours he did work and can’t pay his rent. He’s glad to see 2016 end!

We can’t figure out how we’re going to pay his rent because we are generally $200 short each month. We made it in the last part of the year because of an unexpected inheritance (BLESSINGS), but car repairs, and car swapping with the people who were supposed to be fixing our car, and repairs to my son’s car, and my daughters tires and my car and paying our son’s rent twice left us with a literal zero balance last week. I drive Uber and Lyft and do transcription. Excuse me, I’m supposed to be sick!

BUT YET we have never missed a day of eating or getting to work or supporting the kids. Sometimes my father has stepped in, sometimes my sister, sometimes I worked a bit longer than I should have. BTW, if SSA is looking, I never exceeded what I was allowed to make or worked more than ten hours a week. Honestly, I can’t. 🙂 GOD HAS SHOWN UP AND SHOWN OUT, even when I have complained about it all. I’ve been angry with Him, suicidal, despairing and pouty. But He’s never left us, even in the car in Atlanta. Our daughter moved from here to the basement of an incredibly dysfunctional family to her first apartment and a new job. The job my son “has” is pushing hard to get him back on the job. My husband has cemented is responsibilities at the church and lessened his responsibilities on his job.  The mortgage was adjusted (HARP). I can still drive when so many others I know with the diseases can’t do much more than get out of bed. I have dictation software. We can still sing and we still dance. It’s a wonder, but we are still here!

We are looking forward to this new year. It will have art exhibits, Instagram postings, new and organized business, and positive adventures. How do I know that? Because we are focused this year. Depression is under control; focus has returned. Jobs have actually been obtained and either have begun or will start within the week. I can’t drive too much more, but other doors are opening. This is going to be a great year! Why not?

Posted in Uncategorized

A Life Lived Well

We will gather today at Springfield Baptist Church in Washington, DC for the homegoing service o fa remarkable man. For those of you who do not know the term “homegoing”, it is a celebratory Christian funeral. When a believer dies, she is leaves this life for the next instantaneously. She goes home. We celebrate the life they lived here.

In the story that Christ tells about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), we are told that when Lazarus died, he went to a place of rest with Abraham and those whose lives were judged righteous, while the rich man who had ignored him on Earth was sent to a place of torment. On the cross, Jesus tells one of the thieves being tortured with Him that he will go to paradise with Him on that day (Luke 23:41). Massive arguments have been, and are still being formulated concerning the state of those who are dead to us. I won’t argue the theology – I am well aware of the many references in the Bible concerning our taking a rest as we wait for the end of time. Those passages will be read at the services today. But what we are celebrating is the fact that Deacon Eli Gavin has slipped away from this world, from this dimension, and is resting.

Deacon Eli Gavin was an awesome man. I wish you could have known him. He lived on our planet, in this little square of DC, for 82 years. He was my Dad’s current age when he passed last week. I was not as close to him as others who will write about him, and sing tribute at the service, or deliver the eulogy. But his life touched mine in a profound manner. I met him as the head of the New Member’s class at SBC. I immediately felt I was dealing with a quiet version of my own father. I was immediately put at ease by his presence. He was confident without being overbearing, authoritative without the ego, He was kind, gentle and generous with his praise. All of that in the first encounter!

He was a someone who gave us a prime example of love in how he loved the late Betty Gavin and each of his children. His eyes would light up when one of their children or grandchildren headed in his direction. The first time I noticed that was over 26 years ago. I caught myself staring at the interaction more than a few times, marveling at the transparent love in that look. Seeing that made me realize how often I took it my parent’s love for granted, and allowed me to see that same look in their eyes. I’ve delighted at their greetings ever since. I hope my children see past my weariness or petulance to know that I do delight in them.

He set an example in how he loved him some Betty Gavin. Sometimes it is nice not to be close to those you admire, because I never heard a cross word between them. He would occasionally want her to move along quicker so they could leave the church after service, but his insistence always appeared to be a good humored exasperation, if that is a possibility. After a couple of attempts, he would tell someone else to tell her to come on as he headed for the door. That would be the only time I saw him with a cross look on his face. It never lasted long. I would look as I left the church and she was coming out, because honestly, these two people were important to me. I was not stalking! To my relief, he would usually greet her with a smile when she finally came out.

He was a man of ethical conduct (tsadeyq – righteousness). He set an example as a steadfast church member. I imagine he played the same role in his acapella singing group, The Spiritual Volunteers. Unflappable, willing to compromise if it did not violate his principles, and always prepared. Whether for the Sunday School or new members class that he taught, his duties as the church clerk, his leadership of Senior Choir #1, or serving communion, he was a steady light in occasional chaos. If I was not sure how to react in a situation at a church business meeting (notorious for unChristlike behavior), there were several older people to look at in the middle of the situation for guidance. Deacon Gavin was one of those folks. He kept the same slight smile on his face while flames were going up all around him. He took detailed notes in those meetings, including who said what and sometimes even how they said it. He would dutifully read the minutes back at the beginning of every church meeting, including the good, the bad and the ugly, sometimes laughing as he recited the text. When it came time for him to step down as clerk, he chose a man with his temperament as his replacement. Cool, calm and collected.

He was a beautiful tenor. He sang a solo a few weeks before his death. Again, it was not just what he said, but the example that he set that counted. He and others formed the Spiritual Volunteers and traveled extensively. One of his sons is now leader of a band that is well know in the DMV. He and his wife sang with wonderful, clear as a bell voices. Their oldest daughter is a highly in demand psalmist, their sons are (were) musicians, the other daughter is a singer, thespian and well respected event organizer. Like their parents, they manage their dual careers with excellence, reaching the ears and touching the lives of thousands. Their children’s children carry on the excellence taught by their grandparents, racking up school, church , performance and other accolades up and down the East Coast.

That excellence will be his greatest legacy. Deacon Gavin did not do anything halfway. The cab that he drove for decades was clean inside and out. He always knew the Sunday School lesson and the liner notes every Sunday that he taught. His minutes were detailed. Even his most enthusiastic singing had discipline to it. Whether you were related to him or not, he expected you to excel if you said you were going to do something. He encouraged and inspired many of us, whether he knew it or not. One of the world’s quiet giants went home to be with the Lord. We will miss him. We will celebrate him. I am so glad I was blessed to know him.