Ferguson, Garner and Cop Killings through the Eyes of a Bi-Racial Family

racism

 

I sat on the couch breathless as the Grand Jury results were released on CNN. There would be no indictment of Officer Darren Wilson in the tragic death of Michael Brown.  Brown’s death was tragic because it was unnecessary, no matter where we place fault. And the tragedy continued as small business-owner’s had their life and livelihood burned down, stores were ravaged and an entire community was completely ruined.

I watched until I couldn’t watch anymore.

We talked about it, for days. We muddled through the events, the quick shift in the tide of the Nation and how our world needs, well let’s be real, it needs Jesus. But we didn’t just talk about it from a middle-class, churched, Suburban America perspective. We talked about it from the perspective of black, Hispanic, white, mixed and law enforcement—because our family is all of those things.

I am white.

My husband is black—his background is in law enforcement, he is currently a forensic investigator with a Masters in Criminal Justice.

My two (step)daughters are black.

My son and daughter are half Hispanic, half white.

My youngest son is half black and half white.

We are a blended, bi-racial family.

We have learned that the world is very jaded and racism is alive and breeding right here, down your street, in your family, at your church. It is based on ignorance, and lack of respect for the whole of humanity.

We have heard comments like:

“What is it like to have a black step dad?”

“Wow, your kids look really Mexican.”

“Your mom is white? That’s not your mom!”

“How is that your last name, you don’t even look Hispanic at all?”

When my husband and I started dating, I was on the receiving end of racism for the first time in my life. I married a black man, and the black community has not always welcomed me.

Recently my son texted me this photo found on the wall in his high school, where the demographic is predominately Hispanic:

 

taft racism

 

When we walk into a restaurant, we get glances and blatant stares. People don’t know what to make of us.  My kids have fun with it. I was at Walmart with all five of them, and they convinced everyone I was their adoptive mom, who rescued them from the foster system. I walked out of that store a saint that day.

 

But I am their mom, 3 of the 5 came out of my womb. My husband is their dad—biologically 3 of the 5. We don’t see our race, our color, or origin. We are family. I don’t think about my husband being black, and don’t look at my kids as Mexican or Hispanic. They are just my kids. We don’t have to “work hard” at not seeing the color of our eyes or skin or hair as a definition of who we are.

So when these things happen—these racially charged issues, these murders, these injustices—we are forced to reconcile who we are individually and as a whole—and re-examine our worldview.

My husband’s perspective is unique. He has been a patrol officer, in dangerous situations with all races. He is military combat trained, he is highly educated, and considering law for his future. But he is also black, and has been on the receiving end of profiling of police officers, where respect and courtesy only come to him AFTER the police officer finds out he too is in law enforcement. Being a former officer, and a current investigator he also has great respect for law, and the reality of consequences for our actions.

I grew up in a predominately white family, although my step-dad is Hispanic and my younger brother is white and Hispanic. I lived a somewhat sheltered life, and my grandparents, who were influential in raising me, grew up in segregated Texas. They were loving and accepting of all people, yet traces of their childhood remained.

My son and daughter are also mixed with Hispanic and white.  They are influenced by both races, and are exposed to their Hispanic culture, yet don’t see themselves as anything but simply, people.

My (step)daughters grew up in a predominately black community. They went to an all black private school, and attended an all black church. As they have grown up, they have embraced the diversity of our world, and love people just because they are people.

Then there is the youngest: Half black, half white, with 2 black sisters, and a Hispanic brother and sister. He gets lots of questions, and I’m grateful that he has yet to experience any overt racism.

But as we sit and watch CNN and read the tweets—and we hear of police officers being murdered, it all hits us, because we are all of those things. We aren’t just the white cop who was the shooter, or the black teenager who was shot—we are both. We aren’t just the people angry at the injustice of the world or just the police officer who got killed leaving his family behind, we are both.

We can’t pick a side, because there is no side to pick.

I remember dreading time on the playground during recess when teams got picked to play soccer. That was the worst feeling, not knowing if you were even going to get picked at all. But it didn’t really matter as long as you got to play.

Somehow, our society believes that we have to pick a team, but by picking a team, we are leaving out the most important thing—the privilege of humanity. We watch the racial divide growing, and are stunned at the growing fire of racism because we know it’s possible…It is possible to look beyond stereotypes.

It is possible to look at a person’s actions apart from their skin color.

It is possible to embrace humanity.

It is possible to take responsibility for who you are, without blame.

It is possible to co-exist.

It is possibly to live in harmony.

It is possible to simply love.

I don’t have any other solution but this:

We must learn to love, in an unconditional way, with deep humility and passionate servanthood. We must teach our kids, and every other kid we are in contact with, ever in our entire life, that people are human—not black or white or Hispanic or Asian or … We must push our kids out of their comfort zones—we must push them into situations where they are forced to see the world through a multi-colored lens. (I know too many kids who live in middle-class bubbles whose parents won’t make the effort to expand their perspective on the world. Not just from a race perspective, but from a socio-economic one as well). We must take responsibility for our own thoughts, ideas, and the conclusions we jump to because it’s the way we have always thought.

We must challenge ourselves to walk through Samaria, and talk to those we wouldn’t normally talk to, regardless of how they dress, or what type of education they have or what they have done in their past. We can’t change this generation, but we can change the next!

But we can’t do that alone.

Until we admit that we need help, until we humble ourselves, and admit that we need the power of Jesus to flow into us and then out of us, we will remain the same—living in the impossible.

It is only in Christ that all things are possible.

I’m grateful for my possible– for my bi-racial, blended family. I believe, even in our imperfections and failures, we are a picture of the power of the love of Christ!

wpid-Photo-20140911134513.jpg

10 Things To Teach Your Daughter

I pain at the thought of my daughter leaving for college, but it’s happening. In less than a year, she will be off in the world, the cold, harsh world. I keep telling myself that the first year is my test. My LSAT, my SAT, my GMAT. It will be the time to see if I did my job well as a parent. I am suspecting I got lots of things right, but I still have nine months or so to ‘cram’. I know I”ve taught her character, and empathy and love. But I have a laundry list of things I need to make sure she knows before she leaves.

1. FINANCES: I need her to know how to budget, how to save and how to balance her account. This is is something I was never taught and it still bites me in the butt!

2. CHURCH: go to church even if you don’t feel like it. It’s a priority. Church will make sense even if th wrld doesn’t.

3. IRONING: I watched my grandmother iron all my Poppy’s shirts for the week. I was never really taught, but I watched. My mom was a working mom and everything was sent off to the cleaners (which to this day is my preference! Thanks mom!!) But she needs to know how to iron, the cleaners isn’t always in the budget–which I will teach her first, remember?

4. COOK: I want to teach her to cook (5) full meals from memory. Anyone can follow a recipe. But cooking from memory is when you really learn–and make mistakes.

5. GROCERY SHOPPING: My daughter can shop for clothes like a master. In fact, rarely do I shop without her because she’s so Boss at it. But grocery shopping is a whole other bag of tricks. It seems easy and logical, but really it’s not. To be able to shop on a budget and your food be able to last you as long as you need it is an art! Trust me, I’m the Master at this!!!

6. MEDICATION: I was in my 30’s before I knew the real difference between Motrin and Tylenol. I want her to know what she is putting in her body and side effects.

7. DOCTOR VISITS: I want her to be able to communicate effectively with her doctor without me around. I don’t want her to shy away from the intimidation of doctors. I want her to take control of her health and fight until she gets answers.

8. CAR MAINTENANCE: I want her to know basic mechanics and how things work. She needs to know what a raditor does, how to fill the wiper fluid and what to do if her blinker goes out–especially that there is no such thing as Blinker Fluid — but that’s a story for another time.

9. TOOLS: I want her to know the difference between a hammer and screwdriver, a wrench and pliers. She doesn’t ever have to use them if she doesn’t need to, but I think she needs to know what they are.

10. DRAINS: How to unclog a drain. With our long hair and constant showers, our drains are about to get all backed up. It is necessary for a woman to know how to pour some DRANO down the sink!!

Luckily she is amazing at housework (it’s her OCD) and knows how to sew on a button. She is committed to learning to sew on a machine and knows how to set goals and accomplish them. I am certain she can teach me a thing or two, or three.

I don’t want her to go into this world unprepared. I want her to be empowered with the knowledge of simple things. What am I missing? What are important practical things you are teaching your daughter?

COMMENT AND SHARE WITH ME! I don’t want to screw this up!

 

LG|LP

How To Live Recklessly: Lessons From A 3 Year Old

Anyone who knows me knows that I love me some kids. Adults can get on my nerves, with their well thought out opinions, thinking they know what they are talking about. Kids, most of the time, actually do know what they are talking about. Kids are so much better.

Yesterday I spent the day in the Fiesta Texas water park with my youngest and two nephews. For hours, me and this little were BFF’s.

Fearlessly, he ran through water, climbed up rope ladders and swam deeper and deeper. We walked into the pool, that gradually got deeper as you walked into it. With every step, his little heart raced, becoming more and more excited at the adventure that lied ahead. I wised up pretty quickly and rummaged through to find a small enough life vest. He moved his little arms and legs as fast as possible, not knowing that it was me who actually propelled him forward.

He was swimming.

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. ”

As we reached the shallower areas, he would just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. I would say, “Blake, put your feet down.”

He realized he could touch the bottom.

He would jump, jump, jump, letting his vest bob him along the shoreline.

Then off he would swim.

When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified, “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

After three hours in this pool we trekked to the wave pool–and for anyone who has been at Fiesta Texas and pushed a stroller from the bucket play area to the wave pool know the trek I’m talking about. Oh, my friend, I’m thankful to not have to use a stroller any more.

The waves encouraged a whole entirely new level of courage in that little person. He bobbed along, jumping, allowing the waves to push him in and out, up and down. The waves would get the best of him, and he found himself under the water. I would say, “Blake, you have to hold my hands.”

His little fingers would grasp tightly around mine, rebuilding his trust in himself, knowing I would not let him go.

The water would come crashing, forcing out giggles and wonder.

One little hand would surrender.

Then the other.

Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.”

He would bob along, and closely I stood, as he was determined to master the pool himself. The water would come crashing…and again I would gently remind him, “Blake, You have to hold my hands.”

Come,” he said.

Then he would see “the Guys” splashing and playing several feet away.

“Guys! Guys!” he would yell, quickly letting go of me, his safety, and “swimming” as fast as he could toward the big guys, ignoring the crashing of the waves that threatened to fall upon him.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.

Oh I want to be like Blake, like the child Jesus wants me to remain.

I want to move my arms and legs as fast as I can, knowing Jesus is guiding me forward, closer to him, closer to fulfilling all he has for me.

I want to run as fast as I can, not even knowing I can put my feet down to walk.

I want to jump out of the boat when I hear the voice of Jesus, letting go of all I know that I know is safe, ignoring the crashing of the waves, recklessly ignoring what my mind would see as treacherous.

Everyday, I want to pursue Him so fiercely that I am completely exhausted from the joy of being in his presence.

Kids are so much better. Live Reckless. -Tiff

How to REALLY Fight For Your Kids

I caught her expression out of the corner of my eye. I was rushing to pile stuff on tables, and convince every person that my stuff was worth the $5 bucks I was selling it for. We were moving to Texas–suddenly. My three kids were in shock, but with some happiness. Except my daughter.

She would be leaving behind her friends.

She wouldn't be a varsity cheerleader anymore.

She sat there, in the chair, huddled with her friends, on her 16th birthday, watching me sell our stuff.

I will never, ever forget the look on her face. I tried my hardest to be positive. I had conversations with God and told him that I trusted him. But inside, as a mom, I was dying. I felt like a failure. I felt the worse sense of shame that somehow I was causing harm to my kids. I hated myself.

From that moment forward I hated everything about life and everything about how utterly helpless I was to change our circumstances. We moved to Texas and did our best to settle, temporarily at my brother's and then soon after into our own place. No matter what I have done, being in San Antonio just hasn't felt like home. I hated this place. And I convinced myself that if I chose to like it, then I chose my daughter's pain, and I couldn't own up to that.

Her depression was ruining her. Daily tears, hating her school, feeling utterly alone, feeling like she just didn't fit in. Our pain was unified, she hurt, and I hurt…I hated and she hated. I couldn't take it anymore. What happened to my independent,sassy, life-loving, joy-filled, fisher of men? She was slowly fading, with every tweet: I hate school, I hate my life, I hate people.

I told her counseling was inevitable, she was stuck without perspective and I could only encourage her so much. She refused, with all the stubbornness inside her. It only made sense to fast for her. I had to.

As a mom, I have certain control over my children's spiritual life. She is flesh of my flesh, and I have every right to approach the throne on her behalf. I have every authority over the principalities of darkness to fight on her behalf. And I did!

With every bite I denied myself, every Coke I passed up, my prayer was this: My daughter needs freedom more than I need this piece of bread. The pangs in my stomach are my spirit crying to you Lord to free my daughter and give her vision for her life.

And He did.

Her depression is lifted.

She can be sad about missing her friends without it controlling her life.

God has given her a clear vision for her immediate future. And she has been favored already as she starts her own business and blog. She no longer cries everyday. She no longer hates people. (However, she still very much hates her school).

She is seeking God's word, and has once again embraced her desire to conquer the world.

Although nothing has changed, everything has changed.

As parents we must go head to head with the enemy, refusing to allow anything to overcome our children. God entrusted them to us and it is our job to protect them, not just physically, but emotionally and especially spiritually.

A group of us are fasting

JULY 1

JULY 2

JULY 3

Join us if you have a child who:

  • Is overcome with depression
  • Needs a relationship with Christ
  • Is lost or alone
  • Is being bullied
  • Struggles with Addiction
  • Has a broken relationship with you
  • Just needs some breakthrough.

FAST WITH US!

FIGHT FOR THEM!

A leader of the local synagogue, who name was Jairus, came and fell down before him, pleading with him to heal his little daughter. “She is about to die,” he said in desperation. “Please come and place your hands on her; heal her so she can live.” Mark 5:22-23

Right away a woman came to him whose little girl was possessed by an evil spirit. She had heard about jesus, and now she came and fell at his feet. She begged him to release her child from the demon's control. Mark 7:25-26

One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son for you to heal him…” Mark 9:17

One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them….He said to them, “Let the children come to me.” Mark 10:13&14

Parents! Bring your children to Jesus…they will be blessed and healed, And you will have a grateful heart, an overwhelming spirit of thankfulness whenever you look at our child. You will have evidence of God's present day miracles in the eyes of your very own child!

Comment your YES! and stay tuned as we prepare our hearts!

Share this with 3 people who can fast with you!

And for those of you who are already committed, I am praying for you!!

LIVE RECKLESS

 

 

MY RESPONSE TO ‘SHOULD YOU MAKE YOUR CHILD SHARE’

Creating Unforgettable Adults is one of my main goals as a mom. To our family, an Unforgettable Adult is one who is a strong, Christ-follower who is rooted in an identity that is unshakeable and is willing to trail-blaze for Jesus.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)

Popsugar recently published an article that has gone viral in the parenting world. Why I Don’t Make My Son Share focuses on real life scenarios with pre-schoolers who struggle in a world of determining what is mine, what is yours and what is ours. Granted, preschoolers, and actually most children, are territorial in they find a sense of comfort and security in things. But is it so wrong to teach children to share?

In fact, there are many aspects of your child to take into consideration when teaching the “sharing lesson.” The first and foremost is the age of the child. Not all aged children can be taught the same lesson in the same way. Depending on the developmental age of the child will depend on how they respond. A toddler does not have the reasoning or abstract thinking skills of a 2nd grader, or even a preschool child. Teaching “sharing” is more difficult with a toddler because in their mind, everything in the entire world exists for them.

Regardless of age or anything else for that matter, I believe we should teach our children to share.

Here are a few comments from the article and my thoughts:

“I think it’s a great disservice to to teach him (the child) that he can have something that someone else has, simply because he wants it.”

I agree. We are a generation of parents who teach our kids to remain toddlers their entire lives by feeding the lie that the world exists simply for them. I think the concept of sharing has absolutely nothing to do with the idea found in the above statement. To me the concept of sharing isn’t about entitlement it’s about serving.

Sharing has less to do with the child who wants the toy than with the child who has the power to be kind. The hope of the lesson of sharing is ‘pay it forward’. If I share with you, then you share with her. Along with the problematic sense of entitlement in the Ygeneration is also the sense of selfishness and lack of ability to work as team or within a family. Sharing encourages working together. To me there is nothing wrong with that–actually our kids need to learn all the characteristics of teamwork such as negotiation, communication and fairnes.

In addition, by not teaching your child to share the sense of entitlement simply shifts from the child who wants the toy to the child who has the toy. All I can visualize are all the seagulls in Finding Nemo chirping, “Mine! Mine! Mine!”

As a Christian parent one of the most important lesson we can teach our children can be found in these passages:

I Corinthians 10:26 “the earth and everything in it belongs to God.”

Translated by THIS mom: “Share-it’s not yours!”

Job 1:21 “…The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; praise the name of the Lord.”

Translated by THIS mom: “Share- or I’m taking it away.”

“…think about your own day-to-day adult life. You wouldn’t cut in front of someone in the grocery checkout line just because you didn’t feel like waiting.”

Hopefully as an adult, by now I would have been taught kindness and social graces, so no, in fact, I would not cut in line at the store. Even most small children know that when you go to the store you have to wait in line, because they’ve been taught.

Teaching the concept of sharing is basically the same. It takes time, trials and persistence. The ideology of sharing is transcendent. Teaching sharing is not just about toys or things. Sharing is a deeply rooted part of every aspect of life. We share our time with others. When we grow up, we share our lives and our toothpaste with our spouse. We share our emotions with one another. We share life. People who do not share life with one another are found to be miserable and lonely. Our entire lives center around the concept of sharing. My hope is that because I’ve taught my children to share, someday when they are grown they might just let someone cut in front of them in line at the grocery store, just to be nice!

“Let’s teach our kids how to cope with disappointment because it happens.”

Yes, disappointment is a horrible part of life. But each lesson in life needs to be taught in the appropriate way and at the appropriate time. I’m not sure disappointment should be the lesson taught along side the fundamental, and universal lesson of sharing. Disappointment is never intentionally taught by a person who loves you. Disappointment is the school of hard knocks. Life brings enough disappointment in itself. Perhaps better opportunities to teach a child to cope in disappointment are if your child doesn’t make the team at school, or your ice cream falls on the ground maybe even if a much anticipated spend-the-night just can’t happen, or sickness on field day. There are times and places….

In fact, Scripture teaches in Ecclesiastes 3:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…”

Translated by THIS mom: “We are playing with friends right now, so now is the time to SHARE.”

 

Teaching our kids to not share perpetuates the lie of the culture that I deserve and I have rights and it’s all about me. More importantly we rob our kids because there is joy in sharing. In fact there is so much joy in sharing because sharing is simply an expression of love–the love we see throughout the Scriptures and the very reason Jesus died for us. He died so that we may share in his inheritance, even though we are undeserving. I’m not sure about you, but I’m glad Jesus decided to share.

Jesus AND his bride are BIG fans of sharing. The entire church was built on the premise of sharing:

Acts 2:

“All the believers were together and had everything in common. they sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.”

Translated by THIS mom: “You need to share your bubblegum, you need to share your time with your friends when you are playing, you need to share your space and let your friend sit next to you. You need to share your ideas with the world, and your faith with the unbelieving. You need to share love and kindness and hope to a hopeless world. You need to share your uniqueness and amazing gifts God has given you to make this world a better place. You need to not worry about who wants what, because it’s the person you are sharing with that is more important–even sometimes more important than you. So stop being the selfish person the enemy so wants you to be and be the wonderful creation God intended you to be. And share your toys.”

What do you think…the new trend of teaching our kids that we don’t “have to” share—is this a good thing?

Comment and SHARE!