Two Photos. Two Memories. Two Healings.

Two Photos. Two Memories. Two Healings. This morning I ran my 800 mile of 2020. My Laura and I have experienced many ups and downs along our crazy beautiful journey. One of those ups is Laura Geddes Paez, pictured with Laura and I at one of our book signings last year. Laura P. was more like a little sister to Laura and I. Laura P. and her wonderful husband René walked through many ups and downs with us. In turn, we walked through some major storms with them. I remember when Laura P. got sick, we declared that one day when our bodies recovered from the battles we were facing, we would run a marathon together. We were both looking forward to that day. Last November, I received my healing. Earlier this year, my dear friend received her healing. Not in the way we had hoped. No, my dear sister received the ultimate healing. No more pain or suffering. So when I run, I am not running alone. No, my dear friend Laura P. is running with me. ~OC

A Sad Day

I wake up a little sad this morning. I also wake up this morning with one less friend. No, my friend did not pass away. Sadly, my friend disagreed with something I shared in a group last night. Instead of talking about it in person, this friend decided to question my faith and character in a text. This friend decided their opinions were more important than a friendship.

That is really why I am sad today. When did it become okay to kick a friend to the curb when you have different opinions? Unfortunately, I am hearing more and more stories like mine these days. I remember a time when two friends with opposing views, could have a wonderful conversation and still walk away friends. Most of the time better friends. Sadly, those days appear to be slipping away. Today, it has become Them vs. US. Guess what? There is only US. If we continue to walk in a Them vs. US mentality, we will continue live in a divided world.

For me, I will continue to love everyone; even when their opinion differs from mine. I will continue to embrace dialogue. I will continue to embrace different opinions. I will continue to embrace diversity. I promise, I will not kick you to the curb when we disagree. ~OC

True Friendship

A few thoughts on True Friendship:

*True friends encourage you.
*True friends respect you.
*Tue friends support you.
*True friends stand by you.
*True friends reach out to you.

*True friends love you.
*True friends dance through the storms with you.

Obviously, this is just a small sample. Feel free to share your own list. ~OC

Love Over Differences

The last few weeks, several Christian friends shared it was hard for them to pray for people they do not like. That could be a politician, athlete, entertainment or someone in the media. As I heard this several times, God gave me the following thought.

When Jesus met Judas Iscariot, he knew Judas would betray him. Did you catch that? Jesus knew this man who he called a friend, would betray him for thirty pieces of silver. Yet, Jesus still loved Judas. He even washed Judas feet at the last supper. That’s right! Jesus humbled himself and washed the feet of the man who would betray him. Jesus payed for Judas. Jesus loved Judas.

So will you choose to love and pray for that person who just rubs you the wrong way? Will you love and pray for that person who looks differently than you? Will you love and pray for that person who has a different opinion than you? Will you love and pray for that person who belongs to a different political party than you? Will you love and pray for that person who worships differently than you? I pray we will always choose love over our differences. ~OC

Lean In…And Get Uncomfortable

As I scroll through social media and watch the news, I see a lot of pain and injustice in the African American community. I see my brothers and sisters hurting. It breaks my heart. At times it can seem overwhelming. I asked myself, how in the world can I make a difference? Can anybody relate? Even though I cannot do everything, I can do something. So, I have decided I will continue to stand up and do everything I can to help end racism in America. I will continue to lean in..,and get uncomfortable.

I will continue have real conversations about racism in America, with people wanting to truly make a difference in this world. Not just talk about the issues, but take real action. I will surround myself with others who want to fight the sin of racism. I will continue to get educated. I will continue to listen to my brothers and sisters of color, as they share their experiences. I will lean in..,and get uncomfortable. I will continue to take the time to see the pain of my brothers and sisters of color. I will not pass them by with a “I’ll pray for you.” No, I will stop and pray for them in that moment. I will not allow my brothers and sisters to walk through this unjust world alone. I will lean in…and get uncomfortable. I will continue to have uncomfortable conversations with my white brothers and sisters who believe racism is not a major problem in America today (That is a whole other blog). I will proudly stand up and say #Black Lives Matter. I will continue to challenge my white brothers and sisters to step out of their comfort zones, and sit down with people of color and truly listen to their life experiences. I will encourage them to study African American history and visit African American museums. I will continue to confront racism when I see it. I will continue to speak out against injustices even when it’s not popular. I will lean in…and get uncomfortable. I encourage you to join me. ~OC

Keep Talking

Today’s a new day! Just because most of the media has jumped to other stories, do not stop having true and meaningful conversations about racism and injustice in America. It’s still real and still happening. Keep the conversations going. ~OC

Monuments of Hate

Lately, as I watch the news or scroll through social media, I see some people are upset about some monuments being taken down. I hear people making the argument that people are trying to erase our history in America. Especially Southern history. Let me share a little about the history of Southern monuments.

Most people think these Confederate monuments have been around since the end of the Civil War in 1865. This is not the case. The vast majority of these monuments were built between 1895 and the 1950s. Why were so many Confederate monuments built during this time period? Well, it had nothing to do with celebrating these dead soldiers. No, the building of these monuments had more to do with hate and intimidation. Let me give you a little history lesson.

1895-1915: Jim Crow laws are alive and well during this time period. There is a resurgence of the KKK and other white supremacy groups. A large number of Confederate monuments are built during this time.

1915-1955- Jim Crow continues to rule throughout the South.

1955-1970- The Civil Rights Movement kicks into high gear with the Supreme Court Brown v. Board of Education decision. In the South, racist groups begin a reign of terror against African Americans and start erecting Confederate monuments again. The motivation was to continue terrorizing African Americans. Most of these monuments were placed in the middle of town and at courthouses.

So, when I hear my fellow Southerners complaining about “Our” history being washed away with these monuments being taken down, I wonder if you truly know the history behind these monuments. These monuments are not about history. These monuments are about hate. That is not the kind of history I want to celebrate.

Here is another history lesson for you. If you travel to Germany, you will not find monuments celebrating Hitler. If you travel to South Africa, you will not find monuments celebrating Apartheid. You will find museums remembering the victims of these horrible crimes.

Let me share one last thing. I do not believe people should be destroying these monuments. That’s just dangerous. Someone could get hurt. I think these monuments should be taken down by city workers and discarded. We need to stop celebrating a history of hate and intimidation. Those were not the good old days. ~OC

Celebrate Juneteenth

Happy Juneteenth! Today we celebrate the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865. Take time today to learn more about this holiday and its history. Take time today to learn more about African-American History and Culture. Take time today to have conversations about our history (the good, the bad, the ugly) with our African-American brothers and sisters. But, do not make this just a one day celebration or conversation. Let’s use today as a launch to have more conversations about the beautiful history of African-Americans and the ongoing issue of racism in America. -OC #Juneteenth

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