Monday, April 6, 2009

A New Season . . .

So, it has been WAY too long since my last post, and there is so much to report, I hardly know where to begin. I'll do a more detailed blog later, but until then, here are a few of the BIG highlights of my life since the last post in 2008 . . .

1) Got into law school (on scholarship) and am finishing up my first year!! Whoo Hoo!
2) Met & fell in love with the man of my dreams, and we are now engaged!!!
3) Voted for & saw the inauguration of the first Black President of the US, Barack Obama!!
4) Loving every minute of my life (except when 25 page briefs are due and I've had like 4 hours of sleep - lol)!

Stay Tuned!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Restless in North Carolina

Today, I feel restless...
Unusually restless...
Like time is turning on itself, more like turning on me, really...

I'm waiting for something...someone...something, but I don't know what.
Just all of a sudden, where I am and what I am doing is not enough.

I've prayed and asked that the restlessness, the urge to retreat be lifted,
but this prayer, it seems, has not availed. So, I'm retreating again into me...
I've grown so accustomed to silence and the freedom it represents
My voluntary, solitary confinement a break from responsibility...

But, I'm still restless...
I'm writing, er, typing these words restlessly
Wishing the cursor would type ahead of me, anticipating my thoughts, so I wouldn't have to.
Because, honestly I'm a little too restless to finish...

SO restless!
Tired of waiting, patience having her perfect work is wearing me out
Frustrations growing, Growing, GROWING...

Time is moving slowly, but I have no idea what I'm rushing to...

I'm Just Restless...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Open Mic

Friday night, we held our Open Mic in Greensboro, and it was wonderful! There's something so special to me about open mics... Maybe its because that's where I got my start as a performance poet or perhaps it's just because I love being around other poets and artists, but I just love the atmosphere of an Open Mic. It makes me feel nostalgic for an era I never saw but I feel very much apart of... Taking me back to the roaring twenties and the streets of New York during the Harlem Renaissance, when poets, writers, great thinkers, and activists gathered to share ideas and thoughts. When the scratchy sounds of phonographs and the smooth melodies of Duke Ellington were the soundtracks of daily life, and men and women paved the way for the cultural explosion that was to come, with a vengeance. I long for those days, and although I never saw the Harlem Renaissance, I am a result of it and appreciate it...

Fast forward more than eighty years and you can still see the power of Spoken Word. You can sit and watch people walk up to the mic appearing timid and shy, but once they open their mouths, its like a transformation takes place. They immediately become confident and poised, listening to the sounds of their own voice and hearing the grunts and snaps of encouragement from the crowd. It's beautiful!!!

So, I snapped a few (more like 150) pictures from the open mic and just wanted to post a few here. Enjoy!!



















Friday, June 13, 2008

Insignificant

Some time ago, while sailing the Western Caribbean with my mom, I wrote a poem entitled "Small." Reflecting the feelings I experienced on the cruise ship. I thought I was so big, my problems so big, my issues SO BIG, until the ship sailed and I was lost at sea. I found myself lost in the vastness of creation, realizing at that moment how small I was. In the wonder of creation God made, humans are so small... Smaller than mountains, smaller than trees, smaller than many land mammals; we are small.

What touches my heart this morning, and was a part of my devotion is thankfulness, because no matter how small we are, God still knows our name. How wonderful is that? In many other religions, if you study their holy texts, their god never comes down to their level and pursues intimacy with them... They never know the wonder of having God call your name and speak to you in His special way, whispering words of love to you. I thank God for Jesus, who loves me enough to call my name. Today, I feel so small, so minor, so insignificant. I was not an essential element in God's world, life could have and would have continued to go on without me ever being born, BUT God wanted to be in relationship with me enough that He caused me to be, and then when we (Man) "got off" & chose our way over God's way, God reconciled us back to Him by sacrificing His Only Son to save us... Wow! That God, Who made Heaven and Earth, loves me enough sacrifice Himself for me is both humbling and wonderful!

I'm small, but great in the eyes of God! "How great the love The Father has lavished on us..." That word, lavish, is beautiful isn't it? It means to expend or give in great amounts without limits; extravagant, generous, wasteful. I LOVE IT! I remember reading a writer's blog and it said he enjoys the "Wastefulness of Grace" and I was like, what does that mean? But, now I understand. God lavishes His grace upon us, expending it generously, without end... And that's no small feat :-)

small

i am so small
that you could hide me behind a piece of paper
so small that i could fit beside your weathered change purse in your pocket

so small in fact, that i can be invisible
not seen by humanity, but what’s bizarre is that even with my invisibility
everything larger than me, seems to reflect in me

divisible by only the One plus me
i am a prime,
only smaller

Tiffany N. Dyson
© 2007

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Shack...

If there is one thing that most people who know me, I mean really know me can say, its this - I don't get excited about a lot of things. It really takes a lot for me to get really, really excited about something, but when it happens, I jump on it! I tell any and everyone willing to listen about my excitement... So, dear blog readers, get ready to be EXCITED!!

About two weeks ago I was at a Starbucks (my guilty pleasure) with a friend. She introduced me to a short, bald, white guy, covered in tattoos sipping his nonfat, soy latte. At first glance, I was a little thrown off by his appearance, and thought "How in the world does she know this guy?" He didn't look like anyone she would know or be acquaintances with, but soon my judgemental opinions of this man were thrown aside.


She introduced me to him as the person who had let her to Christ, which caused a huge smile to spread over my face; remembering the 4 years I spent praying and believing God for her salvation, finally seeing those prayers being answered on Sunday morning in February... After a few minutes of small talk he asked me if I had read a book called "The Shack." I replied that I had never heard of it, but being an avid reader, I asked him to tell me about it. He began telling me a wonderful story, much too good to be fiction, weaving his own personal story of salvation and redemption between the lines.


He told me had gotten saved a year ago from a wicked lifestyle, and had since become very active in discipleship, witnessing, and mentoring young people at his local church. As he told me his story, tears welled up in his eyes. He kept apologizing for it, to which I replied "don't worry about it"; my own heart rejoicing at the sincerity of his spirit and the gentleness of his emotion... He told me how the book had softened his heart towards an estranged sister, allowing him to finally forgive her and express his love for her after 7 years of separation.


WOW! was all I could say. I asked for the title of the book and the author, and made a mental note to buy it. A couple weeks later, another friend was reading the book, and asked me if I had heard of it. Man, I had completely forgot about it! I promised I would look into it and read it, but never got around to it. Well, last Thursday, after work I started reading it, and by Friday afternoon at 6pm, I had finished the book!


There are many, many great things I can say about the book, but the most powerful part of it is this: I can tell you the storyline, I can describe the plot, detail the twists and turns, and even tell you how it ends, but it still won't sum up the story, because I've found each person's response to be totally different. Its nothing like actually reading it for yourself; feeling it in your heart and spirit, and knowing that God intended for you to read it to share something with you about His nature, His kindness, His persistence, His tolerance, His Grace.


There is a line, written on page 185 that has touched my heart and changed my mind forever about the nature of God. It reads: "Just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn't mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don't ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me..." - "Papa"


I was sitting at my desk at work when I read that, and I had to put the book down. I needed a minute to allow that to sink in and personalize that statement for my own life. If you have experienced great tragedy in your life, as I have, you know that at times its difficult to get answers to the difficult questions, and that line was my answer to a 6 year long question. I used to ask God daily why He allowed my Father to die so suddenly, and never receiving an answer, I came up with my own. The way I saw it, God had to take my father so that I would give my heart and life back to Him, because well, maybe I wouldn't have ever gotten saved if my heart hadn't been broken enough. But, do you see how that can cause a very warped and skewed image of God? A God who is inherently GOOD, KIND, MERCIFUL, and JUST cannot at the same time be manipulative or sly. But, based on my past experience and perception, I thought He was just that. Praying was a chore, because I felt I needed to choose my words very carefully, or He might use them against me... GOD does not need to tamper with our lives to cause His ends to come to pass. He's not like us; He doesn't need to manipulate any areas of our lives to make His will happen, HE'S GOD, and ultimately, a friend! And in order to experience intimate friendship/relationship with Him, we must grasp that truth...

I recommend everyone read "The Shack" whether you profess Christ or not, (although hopefully afterwards you will) its a book that will open your eyes to the true nature of God. Keep in mind, however, that although it is a FICTION novel, the truths expressed in it and very much REAL...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Step UP to The Mic...

It's time again for another Open Mic, and I'm praying to God for inspiration...AGAIN! It's funny, how I can be short of inspiration, when there are so many inspiring things I could write about, but it's almost like sensory overload... So many things I could attempt to write about, but Lord where do I start? I am inspired by everything I see and by the weirdest things, its amazing. I once wrote an entire 2 page poem after making some Hazelnut Cream coffee! From that one little phrase, "Confessions of a Woman" was born. So, with so much going on, my question is where do I start? And the answer is...... ?????


So, I'm going to spend this week praying, visiting my favorite websites, looking at pictures, reading, and waiting to be inspi(RED).


Peace...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sister-Friend Check up...

This morning I was taking a little time to reflect... I was remembering all the goals and dreams I put out there at the beginning of 2008, and I guess its time for a mid-year check up to see where I am in accomplishing those things. In January, I sent an email to my best friends from college just sharing my heart with them and my goals/dreams for the year. Going back to this email almost brought me to tears because I remember how I was feeling at that very moment. Having just come out of the fight of my life, I was excited, hopeful, expectant, and thankful. Sure, I had a few scrapes and bruises from the struggle, but I MADE IT THROUGH and now four months later, I can look back and say "GOD, Great GOD..."

I'm not all the way there yet, but I am on my way to becoming the woman God made me to be, and it feels good to know that I am in the "making" process, remaining on the "potters wheel" allowing Him to shape and mold me into His image...

I'm also SO PROUD to see my sister-friends going after their dreams, too! I've got friends who just graduated law school: 1 passed the Bar on her FIRST attempt and is working on Capital Hill, the other is moving to California to practice law there. Two friends are getting married this year. 1 is moving to Monaco, France to live with her husband while in grad school. Others are moving forward also: going back to school, losing weight, maturing in their faith, buying homes, etc... I'm so proud of all my sister-friends and look forward to rejoicing with all of them in future successes!!

So, enough yapping, Here's the email...
January 2, 2008:

"HAPPY NEW YEAR, Feliz Ano Nuevo, Bonne année and all that good stuff! I'm so excited about 2008, I don't know why, I'm just really excited about the new year. I believe good, no, GREAT things are going to happen for all of us in 2008. Biblically, the number 8 represents new beginnings and I fully plan to take advantage of 2008 and make this the best year ever. I was thinking about all of us and remembering all the many things we all talked about we wanted to do, accomplish, have when we were in high school/college. And for so many reasons many of us haven't gotten it yet. Sometimes the circumstances were outside of our control, and then sometimes we just didn't go all the way with our dreams. But, my prayer for myself and for all my girls is that this year, WE GO FOR IT!!!!

There is nothing holding us back or keeping us from having our dreams except ourselves. The Bible promises us that God will support us:

1) "Trust in the Lord with all our hearts, lean not to our own understanding...In ALL THY WAYS acknowledge Him and He shall surely direct our paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6)
2) "If GOD be for us, who can be against us" (Romans 8:31)
3) "My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip or to be moved; He Who keeps you will not slumber" (Psalms 121:1-3)
4) "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes" (Mark 9:23)

2007 was the hardest year I've had in a long time. I changed jobs 3 times, had days LAST YEAR I didn't know where my next meal was going to come from, I got so low on money, I stood in line with the homeless at the salvation army and red cross to beg for help to pay my bills... I had to get help to buy groceries, gas, clothes, etc; there were days I was afraid I was going to lose my house, (and if it hadn't been for my church, I would've probably lost my house) and ultimately my mind. I was too proud to come to my friends for help. And was so angry/disappointed with God because I thought that He had let me down and forgot about me. I told everyone and believed that I was going to be in law school, only to perform poorly both times on the LSAT, and to be rejected from all 3 schools I applied to. I gained 20 pounds from eating fast food for nearly all of my meals (it was cheaper), and overall just felt like a huge failure. I cried so much last year, was taking pain meds/sleeping pills just to sleep b/c my mind would just be racing... But, I believe that the best is yet to come. I believe now that I've endured failure, I'll be humble, gracious and appreciative when I do obtain success. Like Paul said " I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus ." (Philippians 3:13-14)

I'm sure that you, like me, encountered some challenges in 2007, but we're still young. Young enough to bounce back! So, in 2008 lets commit to dreaming big. Dust off all of those old dreams, hopes, and prayers and HOPE for the best. I heard a definition of HOPE that is really changing my life and how I think about things. Hope means to Have Only Positive Expectations. Why not believe for the best? A lot of times we defeat ourselves before we even get started because we speak or think negatively ("For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he " Proverbs 23:7) or we doubt ourselves, but to doubt ourselves means that we are doubting God, who made us. It means that we don't have faith in the creator - we don't believe that what He created is good enough to succeed. Go back, make that list of what you want to do this year and dream BIG! Then ask God what His will is for you to do and then Move on it! " Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." (Proverbs 19:21)

Girls, Let's go for it in 2008!!!! I want to be successful, happy, wealthy, and fruitful but I'm going to need sister-friends to share that with and I want to share it with y'all!

Sorry for the LONG email, but I woke up this morning real excited. Y'all have always been my sounding board, so I thought I would share and hopefully encourage you, too. I LOVE YOU!!!!!!
____________
Tiffany N. Dyson,
Future Law Student"

TO BE CONTINUED...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

For the Poets...

We are the benders of language
The crafters of relevance
The lovers of lyrics
Brothers and sisters in the pen
Lights burning brightly from our mouths like lite-brights
Turning on the magical shining lights
Except if you look closely you won’t find any magic here
Just a single solitary pen suspended in air, holding on to our intellect like suspenders on britches until what’s held up in our mind finds its escape on paper

We’re here, making our intentions clear
Spark a revolution of language screaming loudly for the world to hear!
Following the greats before us like Giovanni, Sanchez, Brooks, Cullen, Toomer, and Hughes
Because until you’ve walked a mile; a single solitary mile in my shoes don’t tell me poetry is not necessary, like a balm rubbed on a bruised knee or ego
Poetry eased the blows of slavery when Frederick Douglas addressing a white population presented “What to the slave is the fourth of July?”
Poetry calmed the storms of segregation when men and women marched on Washington listening to one man’s dream just to see later his blood spilled in Tennessee.
In 1989, poetry wiped away tears of a young girl experiencing loss for the first time, falling in love when she penned her first rhyme...

Poetry granted access into the underground chambers of lyrical kings and queens, ascending smoked-out thrones, grabbing solitary microphones like scepters, declaring and decreeing truth to their subjects/listeners, with dimmed lights and the crackling sound of soul snaps in the night…
Poetry grew boys into men, listening to the hardship and complexity of loving a woman; the throaty, gruff sounds of brothers angered by “the system” and the love letters to women who waited for them.
Poetry was the original “Diary of a Mad Black woman” lending its voice, full of sorrow, joy, humor, poignancy and vigilance; telling tales of love, loss, denial and betrayal in ways that the silver-screen can never capture; caught up in the rapture of a woman’s love.

This is for the poets
The benders of language
Crafters of relevance
Lovers of lyrics
My brothers and sisters in the pen.

CROSSpoet
© 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Encouragement - For my sisters!

Girl, just look at you with your pretty self. You are so beautiful! Not only are you beautiful but you have the nerve to be talented and gifted by God. Hold your head up girl and know that you are loved and appreciated. Don't give the enemy any place to cause you to have low self-esteem or doubt. You are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made. This is your year to decree it and speak it! This is the year of new beginnings. So, get your step on girl God is faithful to perform all that He has promised to you! Be confident in Him and His word. The words you speak from your mouth determine your outcome. Why not speak good and positive things over your life girl? You are not defeated but rather you are more than a conqueror. You have been through a lot in your life and look at you now, just as pretty and as strong as ever! Oh, how blessed you are. Look what God has done and look where He has brought you from. Begin to bless God and praise Him for all that He has done, and for making you so beautiful! He had you in His precious hands all the time. Your life is orchestrated by Him. He knows you and what is best for you. Believe that He has even greater things in store for you and your family. Girl, get over the silly stuff and grab hold of faith. Seek God as never before. Sure, times are hard but God is good! Learn to love who He has made you. There is no one like you!

Enjoy Jesus and enjoy life girl!

I wrote this especially for you (with your beautiful self)
~Author Unknown~

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Truth

Cause HE IS the Truth
And HE IS so real
And I love the way HE makes me feel
And if I am a reflection of HIM
Then I must be FLY...

Years ago, I would listen to this song by India Arie at least once a day and imagine my life with a man that would make me feel this way. I was in a relationship, and I was very much in love with him, but even he didn't inspire me to attribute these words to him. I looked around for a man that would make me feel this way. That would make me feel FLY in just knowing that I was a reflection of Him; His care, His consideration, His love. I never found him. But, years later in 2004, I Found HIM and HE made the difference. Now, I can look at my life and say that truly, if I am a mere reflection of GOD, then that very fact makes me FLY (Psalm 139).

My search is over because I've found THE TRUTH, and He makes me feel worthwhile everyday. He never raises His voice at me, He never abuses me, He never lies to me, HE never hurts me, He teaches me, He raises me, He's matured me, and He's loved me with a passion that I never found in the world.

So, this morning, my blog is just simply my love letter to Jesus. He is the truth of my life and the LOVE of my life and because I am HIS reflection, I must be lovely, I must be worthy, I must be Holy, I must be kind, I must be faithful, I must be LOVING, I must be fair, and I must be GOOD...

Hopelessly in Love...