The Loudmouth Protestant

December 27, 2007


Filed under: family,God,life — nickisym @ 10:54 pm

Yesterday was my birthday. It’s usually not a day full of fanfare but I try to do little things like buy whatever I want, spend time with family and friends, and thank the Lord for yet another year on the planet. Yesterday was really no different.

I started the day out in a Firestone and departed to head to the mall to take advantage of the day after Christmas sales–this is based on my need of clothing. Later on, my parents took me out to dinner and as we finished our meal I began to get a little weepy and emotional.

My mother looked at me and said “27, you are getting old, but here’s to many more years.” I told her that I hoped that it would be many more years spent with her and my father to which she replied–as if reading my mind–“My mother is 90 years old, so I have a long way to go.” It’s moments like that with my mom that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I held back my tears because I believe what she meant. I believe it because there is nothing like a mother’s love. I believe it because I want to celebrate my birthday with her for years to come. I believe it because I can’t wait to introduce her to the love of my life. There’s just something so precious about a mother’s love and I thank God for it because when friends and others fail you, mom is there is pick up the pieces.

So on my first full day of 27-ness I am preparing to head back to NY and it feels bittersweet because I do love being at home with my parents–despite moments when I feel like I am being driven up the wall. It feels safe here. In my maturation I am recognizing that my love for my parents has grown and continues to grow deeper. I pray that God will always protect them and bless them. After God, I know in this moment there is no greater love.


December 20, 2007

My Gift to You

Filed under: Uncategorized — nickisym @ 2:06 am

Since I won’t be writing as frequently for the next week or so, I thought I’d leave you folks with a few oldies but goodies from the blog:

It’s like I can’t share an opinion based on my random musings not facts–lighten up people–Pitbulls, the Devil’s Dogs?

Not Gon’ Cry–Sobbing in Singleness 

The Sweetest Thing–Need a Break? The 23rd Psalm

Just Do It–Take Christmas Back for Yourself

Enjoy and Merry Christmas

In the Midnight Hour

Filed under: life,randomness — nickisym @ 1:59 am

So I am back in O-town for Christmas vacation and as always  I have to share my observation about the stark contrast of life in this city. As my parents drove me home from the airport I was dead silent. Mostly because I was tired but also because I needed to just marinate on this place I call home. As we drove past the brand new condos, apartments and cookie-cutter homes I notices one thing, the lights were out and it was only midnight.

To me, this is rather strange considering that if I come home at 3:00 in the morning in NY things are still “on and popping”–for better or for worse. But Orlando, despite what its residents would like to think, is a sleepy town and it’s beautiful that way. So here I go as I morph into this lifestyle again which I hope will also give me time to really relax and reflect for the next week.

December 13, 2007

The Enlightening Shuffle

Filed under: faith,God,life — nickisym @ 2:54 pm
Tags: ,

I have these moments when I need to just shuffle through the songs on my iPod instead of picking and choosing what I will listen to at any given moment and it never ceases to amaze me the enlightenment that takes place when I do that. It started when the first song to play in my shuffle was Angie Stone’s “Lover’s Ghetto” which is a great song that samples Camp-Lo “Lucini”—it’s actually the top reason I even own the song.

After the ghetto came the Via Dolorosa. That isn’t the title of the song but a phrase I became familiar with after listening to Kurt Carr’s “They Didn’t Know.” As the song played while I was toiling, it actually began to mesh itself into my work. I happened to be reading an Advent entry from “God With Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas.” “They Didn’t Know” is about Jesus’ travails on the way to the cross to be crucified and inevitably die for our sins. As I listened to the choir preach in song about the ignorance of the people that led Jesus to the cross I started to read a section in the fourth Wednesday of Advent about the solemnity of Elizabeth’s baby—John—jumping in her stomach at the excitement of being in the midst of the savior—who was at the time in Mary’s belly. The writer, Kathleen Norris, goes on to explain how it is not only a moment of gentle comedy and joy, but is solemn because like all pregnant women, these women both have children that they are destined to give life to and certainly watch die. All of this on the second track of the shuffle party?
After that experience I skipped a few songs because they just didn’t fit the moment and then I hit the jackpot again with Lauryn Hill’s “Oh Jerusalem” from the MTV Unplugged album many don’t understand—myself not included. The moment she began to strum her guitar and wail I knew where this was going. A few minutes before the song started playing I had reached over to check my Blackberry because I saw a message come in. It was from a friend who was lamenting over an assignment that we both have to do within the next few days. I too am lamenting the assignment and I discovered many of the reasons why as I listened to the song. It’s as much about me and my internal issues as it is about the people around me who refuse to approach the assignment with the gentleness required. Without going into too much detail, here are the lyrics to the song.

“Oh Jerusalem”

Oh Jerusalem yeah, oh Jerusalem, oh Jerusalem, oh Jerusalem…

Realizing that there’s no place else to go
And there’s nobody I know who can help me
Textbook solutions are so improbable
Cause everybody else is just as empty
Naked as the day that I was born, I tried to hide
…behind education and philosophy
Hopeless explanation to describe a situation
I can’t see because the world’s on top of me
Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me
From the body of this death
Freeing me from dust, and the superficial trust
Of an enemy that seeks to take my breath
Failing to connect, cause I’m morally defect
By reason of the God inside my head
Causing me to see, only what pertains to me
Believing I’m alive when I’m still dead
Limited to earth, unable to find out my worth
Cause I…can’t see past my own vanity
If I’m not included, then I just have to remove it
From my mind because it has to be insanity
Oh wretched man that I am, who will deliver me
From the body of this death
Can I even factor, that I’ve only been an actor
In this staged interpretation of this day
Focused on the shadow, with my back turned to the light
Too intelligent to see it’s me in the way
What a paradox, having God trapped in a box
All this time professing to be spiritual
Naturally pretending, that I’m actually defending
God through my facade don’t need material

Oh Jerusalem, wash thy heart from wickedness
That thou may be saved from thy deception
How long, shall thy face those lies within thee
Oh Jerusalem, keeping thee from perfection

Submit to truth, leave the deception of thy youth
So we could walk in the council of authority
Forget the proof, our generation so aloof
Only follow in the steps of the majority
Trust in the Lord, with all thy heart
And lay not to thine, own understanding in all thy ways
Acknowledge Him, and He shall direct our paths
Be not wise in thine own eyes and you can follow him
We judge and condemn, just as ignorant as them
Who religion tells us that we should ignore
Perpetrating we’re in covenant with Him
Exposed by the very things that we adore
We grin and shake hands, then lay ambush for the man
Who has a different point of view then us
Infuriated cause he doesn’t understand
Bringing up those things we don’t want to discuss
Why still do evil, we don’t know how to do good
Walking on in darkness running from the light, ey
Led to believe, because we live in neighborhoods
Telling us what’s going on will be alright
Oh so repressed, so convinced that I was blessed
When I played with my game of Monopoly
Oh to suggest, that my life is still a mess
Who reveal the pride I’m hiding is what’s stopping me

Oh Jerusalem, wash thy heart from wickedness
That thou may be saved from thy deception
How long, shall thy face those lies within thee
Oh Jerusalem keeping them from perfection

Abide in me and I in you, as the branch cannot bare
…fruit of itself except in the vine
I am the vine, ye are the branches, He’s that live in me
And I in him, the same bring forth much fruit
For without me, you can do nothing
Oh Jerusalem, you’re traditions have deceived you
I’ve chosen you, you haven’t chosen me
Do whatsoever, you asking my name he may give to you
But in vain they call my name
teaching doctrines just the same
Justified among themselves
But God know with the heart, what man esteemed as smart
Is an abomination to Emmanuel
Just repent, turn from selfish motivation
So iniquity will not cause your demise
Make you a new heart and a new spirit
…for why would he die
Oh Jerusalem, please tell me why
I have no pleasure in the death of him to die
Says the Lord God where forth turn yourselves and live
It’s not the talkers, but the walkers and his word
Are the only ones the Father will forgive

Oh Jerusalem, wash thy heart from wickedness
That thou may be saved from thy deception
How long, shall thy face those lies within thee
Oh Jerusalem, providing you no protection

Oh Jerusalem…

The Accutane Account: Day 13: The Process

So it is day 13 on Accutane and I feel like I want to curl up in bed and just sleep until about Day 45. No the Accutane side effects of depression aren’t kicking in, but the side effects of “it gets worse before it gets better” is in full effect. In the middle of last week I noticed that my face was practically throwing up all over itself and I wanted to just die. With each day it has gotten worst, to the point where I don’t want to look anyone in the eye for fear that they will just take pity upon me and throw me a dollar like I am some poor charity case. Yes, it’s an exaggeration but when your face starts to retaliate against you there aren’t many other ways you can feel.

In the midst of having a face that looks like I reverted back to my years in high school–and even then it wasn’t this bad–I started to reflect on what it really means to go through this process. My dear friend reminded me of “the process” when she saw me fretting over my skin on Sunday evening. She said calmly and gently “It’s just part of the process.” She said nothing else but it spoke volumes to the way we as a people deal with “the process.”

Months ago in a sermon a preacher said that we look forward more to the promise than we do the process in regards to the molding that takes place when you enter the body of Christ. We must suffer in this great walk of faith and endure some trial and tribulation in addition to the immense joy that we will experience being in fellowship with God. I know that I always look forward to the end without really paying attention to the process it takes to get there. This is problematic because at this point I am not even preparing myself throughout the process, I am just waiting until the end. In all honesty, I’ve been waiting for five months to get here without really thinking about what it is going to take to get through the five months. I am so hard-pressed for clear skin that I am not even paying enough attention to the fact that there will be some road blocks to my results.

But now, I am taking more time to consider this process especially as it pertains to being patient. Of course I am ansty right now because I want my skin to clear up but I know that I just need to be calm about this situation and realize that this all takes time. So while it is killing me inside–okay I know that is a really severe way to describe it–I am going to hang in there. It’s like Job said “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” If I truly believe God intended for me to go through this Accutane course, I have to trust that he’ll never put more on me than I can bear.

December 12, 2007

Take Back Christmas for Yourself

Filed under: christianity,christians,God,Uncategorized — nickisym @ 11:06 pm
Tags: , ,

Every Christmas season it is the same thing, a bunch of Christians balking and complaining about how corporations are making money off their backs. They say that big business is taking the meaning out of Christmas and that people are getting so confused about what the true reason for the season is. I want to say that I believe that the time of us complaining about what other people are doing to our holy-day is up and it is time for us as the body of Christ to take back Christmas for ourselves.

How can anyone truly understand the meaning of Christmas if we insist on spending more time rallying against our adversaries than we spend simply loving one another? It’s something I am not willing to understand now because I believe we must pick our battles. Yes, we must be aware of the enemy at the gates, but we must also be aware that we are the only Bibles some people will ever see and so we must grasp at the opportunity to share the love of Christ with mankind.

There is no other time of the year–I dare say Valentine’s Day included–when people are so willing to be compassionate and show as well as give love and this isn’t just Christians. Sometimes I think that others are a little more capable of giving love at Christmas time than people in the body of Christ are. Well I am tired of it. I am tired of us focusing on the wrong thing during Christmas. We–including me–get really caught up in things that have nothing to do with Christmas. The decorations, the Christmas parties or Christmas pageants at our church, the shopping, the cooking, etc, etc. Then we sit around and wonder why we just aren’t in the spirit of Christmas?

Well I believe it is time to stop wondering and start reclaiming Christmas for yourself. Refresh the spirit of Christmas by preparing for the day with Advent readings. If you’re not an Advent-type of person then consider it a time of increased prayer and study so that your spirit can be climatized for the coming of the Lord. Do what you have to do to get yourself there but stop waiting for the rest of the world to get on board with Christmas program.

Baby Got Book

Filed under: randomness,video — nickisym @ 1:17 am

NIV with the ribbon bookmark

December 10, 2007

Need a Break?

Filed under: randomness — nickisym @ 9:34 pm

I came across this video this afternoon and I instantly fell in love. It combines strange cartoon characters and emo-esque music.

Side note: This kind of thing–the video–is really my cup of tea. I can be a bit strange at times. Sort of Emily the Weird meets Daria meets an angel. Nevertheless, do enjoy the song and the cute globular characters.

Revelations, Not So Groundbreaking

Filed under: entertainment — nickisym @ 12:43 am

This afternoon, a close friend and I went to go see the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre. After living in NY for five years we figured that we owed it to ourselves to see this amazing company. I was so excited for the opportunity to see one dance in particular, an Ailey Classic entitled “Revelations.” It’s a dance that goes through the spiritual movements of a believer. From the moment that one has been rebuked–“I’ve Been ‘Buked”–to the moment when one realizes there is nowhere to hide–“Sinner Man” to the moment when one realizes that life is about getting ready for something bigger than themselves “I Wanna Be Ready” to the celebration of being closer to the creator and His beloved people–“Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham.” Collectively this was all beautiful in its execution but…It isn’t ministry.

You see, I was heavily prepped on the profundity of “Revelations.” Many told me that it would be the best dance I’ll ever see in my life. But no one told me of the ministry behind the dance.
As I watching the piece, though it was incredibly beautiful and watching the dancers was like watching rain dance upon a body of water, I didn’t see the spirit in their dance. My spirit couldn’t connect with them even though they were dancing to music that was deeply moving and that is what I missed. At that moment it connected me to my own dance ministry and it allowed me to really understand what it means to minister with your whole body and not just with your body but to fully engage the mind and soul in the venture of dancing. It allowed me to distinguish between steps and spirit, movement and ministry and bring it all back together.

And really I say all of this fearfully because I know that many will be shocked at the fact that this dance didn’t change my life or blow me away. But the truth is, when you’ve been in the midst of true dancers, those who have committed their bodies as living sacrifices to be holy and acceptable unto God. True dancers that minister in spirit and in truth and do it for free. True dancers that don’t need a ten minute applause because they perform for an audience of one. True dancers who leap for the joy of the Lord. True dancers who have a high release because they know where their help comes from. True dancers who dance in spirit and in truth, you really can’t be blown away by anything else.

The Accutane Account: The First Ten Pills

As of today I finished my first ten-day round of Accutane and I feel pretty normal with the exception of having extremely dry lips.

For a short period of time my skin seemed to be making minor improvements. Some of my pimples went down but I could also feel emerging pimples below the surface of my skin waiting to rare its ugly head. On top of this rollercoaster skin episode, I saw that my hair was shedding more than usual last week. I mentioned this on a previous post and said that I wasn’t going to freak out too much and I didn’t until I saw that it was still happening at the end of the week. By Friday I had enough of combing my hair or running my hands through my hair only to see many strands in the comb or my hands. I called my doctor on Friday afternoon and asked her what this could all be about. We went through all the possibilities. Trauma? No. Death in the family? No. Dietary changes? No, save for my switch to pescatarianism about two months ago. Stress? I am trying not to.

That just about ruled everything out. She told me to take 2.5 mgs of Biotin–a vitamin good for hair, skin and nails and also try Rogaine. I took her advice and went to the store later on that evening to find both. Didn’t find the Biotin but I found the Rogaine and decided that I would bypass it because of the price–$47. I figured–and the doctor told me this–just to give it some time. So finally today I went to GNC and purchased some Biotin. So we will see if it helps. I do pray that it does because I am on a pretty low dose of Accutane–40mg–and if my hair shedding is due to the Accutane I would hate to see what happened if they increased my dosage.

So folks, I ask that you pray for me in this time. You know how desperate I am for clear skin but pray that I don’t let this become my god to the point that I sacrifice other parts of myself for it. It’s quite tempting to do so, that’s for sure. Day 11, here I come.

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