Category Archives: LOVE

A Picture Perfect Present

4-year-old Wendelaya hugs her new "We Are Friends" book (Photo by Monica Anthony)

3-year-old Wendelaya hugs her new “We Are Friends” book (Photo by Monica G. Anthony)

On her Dad’s birthday, I handed her Mom a copy of “We Are Friends” my latest children’s book and she placed it on a table. Seconds later, Wendelaya picked up the book and her Mom snapped a picture.  The next day she sent it to me and I was in tears. It was a picture perfect present, not only for Wendelaya but for me. On top of that, she told her Mom, “I love this story.” As a children’s author, it doesn’t get any better than that. Out of the mouth of babes.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Viola Davis brought me to tears too, as she stood on the stage and accepted her SAG Award for Female Actor in a Drama series.  She said:  “When I tell my daughter stories at night, invariably a few things happen. Number one, I use my imagination. I always start with life and I build from there,” she said. “And then the other thing that happens…she always says, ‘Mommy can you put me in the story?”

Mirrors or maps?

Christopher Myers, children’s author and illustrator said the children he knows “see books less as mirrors and more as maps. They are indeed searching for their place in the world, but they are also deciding where they want to go. They create, through the stories they’re given, an atlas of their world, of their relationships to others, of their possible destinations,”

We all play a part.

As authors and illustrators, we create mirrors and maps for children like Wendelaya to see themselves in the story and dream beyond boundaries. That’s our part. In the words of Christopher Myers, “The rest of the work lies in the imagination of everyone else along the way, the publishers, librarians, teachers, parents, and all of us, to put that book in her hands.”

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Advertisements

INVENTING DARLA/”A Letter from Susan”

“A Letter from Susan”

Expressed through Darla Davenport-Powell—A Tribute

September 14, 2011

I can imagine Susan Lynne Majette writing this letter:

Hi Everybody!

I made it! I’m breathing on the other side, and I don’t need an oxygen tank. You can’t imagine the celebration that’s going on over here. There are no words to describe how awesome it is to wake up in the arms of God.

It’s better than Hampton’s Homecoming! The “welcome home” sign just blew me away. My Mom, Dad, Clarence Little, Felecia Kurtz-Gillis, Collins, Rodney, Van and so many others just surrounded me with the biggest group hug this side of heaven. They all asked about you and can’t wait to see you again. You know how much I loved Christ as my Lord and Savior. Well, for those of you who don’t know Him, get to know Him, ’cause you haven’t seen life, like life eternal. Don’t know how people live without Him; for it was only God who gave me the strength to live life victoriously on Earth…through all kinds of surgeries, financial challenges, disappointments, heartaches, trials and tribulations; it was His keeping power that gave me peace in the midst of the storm and joy in the midst of sorrow.

You know from Birth to Death, there is a dash. You write your own eulogy by the life you live. I’ve fought a good fight, I’ve finished my course and my question to you is: “How you living your dash?” There is no strife over here, no hatred, no jealousy and no bitterness. Just joy unspeakable! If you’re holding a grudge, or have something in your heart… anger, resentment towards anybody, FORGIVE; and do it today, while the blood is still running warm through your veins. You know it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have any instructions to leave; some call it a legacy…

To my Aunt Shirley, my Aunt Evelyn and cousin Helema: I leave you ever abiding love and hearts filled with peace. I know at times I was a handful, very picky, stubborn, bossy and set in my ways, but God gave me a family that loved me unconditionally. Lupus could not even beat our team! Hold onto the memories, the laughter and the love; and keep taking good care of each other like you took care of me.

To Angie, my Prayer Partner, Sister/Friend and Confidant: I leave you confidence in knowing that our friendship and spiritual connection will never end. There were many nights that I thought I wouldn’t make it to see the next day and you would call and we would pray, and it gave me what I needed to hold on a little while longer. We had some good times too! I am still laughing at some of the stuff that we’ve been through…you get a medal for patience. Your “calling” is clear, don’t run from it…

To my Pastor and Mentor Jan: I leave you with the blessed assurance that your work was not in vain. The respect that Ruth had for Naomi and Timothy for Paul, I had for you. Thank you for your example, for taking me under your wings as a Minister of the Gospel; for living the principles that you preach and for embracing and accepting me as one of your spiritual daughters.

To my Sorors: I leave you each other. Our sisterhood is a gift! Cherish it! Make time to fellowship more . . . there is something special that happens when we get together. Take those trips we talked about; there is no perfect time, so just do it. Charlma and I had planned a trip to Niagara Falls this fall. I didn’t get a chance to go, but you can; and if not there, somewhere.  Every opportunity you get, love and nurture each other.

To my Family, my Friends, to my Church, and my Community: I leave you a spot to fill. We serve God by serving others — for the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Find a cause greater than yourself and make the world better.

And finally, I leave my Doctors, Nurses, Caregivers, and Friends at the dialysis center, my thanks and appreciation for the good times and the challenging times we had, for I know that in the end, it all worked together for good. I leave my chair for the next person who comes in; remember to treat them with kindness, for that may be the only time in their day that they don’t feel alone.

Well, it’s time for me to go now. I know you are going to miss me telling you what to do . . . Well one last thing: Reality shines when we accept the things we cannot change, change those things we can, and in spite of everything we may go through, give God thanks for the journey.

Love you all,

Susan

 

 

INVENTING DARLA/Rocco is here!

He is here. He is huge!!! Those words were music to our ears. After 22 hours of labor, and 2 hours of pushing, Roy Cotton III made his entrance into the world. Like my Dad and his great grandfather William Earl Davenport, who didn’t get a chance to see him, he took his time getting here. My daughter’s due date was July 31st, but I knew all along that Rocco would come in August. What I didn’t know was that my grandson would be born on the same day as my Dad’s home going celebration; one soldier left and another soldier entered. God’s timing is impeccable.

My six-week visit with my daughter and son-in-love was heaven on earth. I enjoyed every minute. I was there for the 3rd baby shower, Niya’s doctor/dental appointments, Sunday services at St. John (Grand Prairie and Southlake), Wal-Mart and Target visits, evening strolls, Cotton/Powell fellowship dinners, and much, much more. I was there…

 I was there for Niya’s 37th week pre-natal checkup when the nurse said, “This baby is already 7 pounds, 1 ounce and 19 inches long;” I was there when she lost her mucus plug, had a bloody show, took long walks in the Mall, insisted on acupressure as an alternative to what was presented. I was there when Niya had gone well past her due date and was faced with the dilemma of going in after 40 weeks to be medically induced.

That evening, she said something didn’t feel quite right. The family prayed, and with her husband’s full support, she decided to wait. Rocco was probably 8.5 pounds then and wondering, ‘How do I get out?’ On the other hand, I can imagine him saying “What’s the rush? I’m eating all of this good food at Genghis Grill, Pappadeaux Seafoord Kitchen, Furr’s Family Dining, Sweet Tomatoes Buffet, Bordeaux’s Cajun Restaurant and Nana “Ds” healthy cuisine. I may as well hang out here until they evict me.”

I was there when they evicted Rocco on August 11, 2011 at 12:06 a.m. His Mom pushed him out naturally, and he weighed in at 9 pounds and 11 ounces. One thing is for sure, they do it Big in Texas.

Another thing for sure, Texas has its fill with churches and restaurants; I had my fill with both. I applaud my daughter and her husband for their dutifulness. Is that a word? They did more with one working car than some folks do with a whole fleet. To see this pregnant child of mine  – get up early to take her husband to St. John in Grand Prairie, and then travel to St. John in Southlake where she ministers, go back to pick him up and sometimes sing for that service if it was in overtime, and then drive all the way back home on the other side of Texas – was remarkable. The experience was exhausting. I was so glad to be there when God blessed them with two new cars.

God is reigning down blessings in the Cotton household. First a new house, then two new cars and now a brand new baby. Look out world, Rocco is here!

INVENTING DARLA/Living the Kodak moment

My friends are great teachers and I learn a lot through their experiences.

I’ll never forget a conversation I had with a good friend about her daughter’s high school graduation. Like any Mom, she was proud as a peacock when the day came where her baby would walk across the stage to receive her diploma. She was ready to capture it all with her camera in hand. This was indeed a Kodak moment to be remembered in years to come.

I haven’t blogged in a little over two weeks.

Thought I’d do a creative 30th Anniversary “shout out” blog to my husband a few days ago in that I’m in Texas and he is in California. This was actually the first time that we hadn’t been together on our anniversary. I celebrated at a wonderful restaurant on his dime and he had the pleasure of reading my blog. How romantic! We must have talked at leas 50 times throughout the day. Space is sometimes a good thing.

I haven’t forgotten the story. My friend shared that she was so busy snapping pictures during her daughter’s big day, that when it was over, she realized that she had missed the graduation; she had missed being in the moment.

I learn a lot from my friends.

I’m in Texas helping my daughter and son-in-love prepare for their “first born” and our “first grandbaby.”  It’s a joy watching my daughter in her nesting mode. Everything has been sterilized, organized and put in its proper place to get ready for our new arrival. We’ve mapped out the hospital route, placed the hospital bag in the car and have the car seat all ready to go.

New house, new car, and soon-to-be new baby, it’s a lot to take in…

I’ve been away from my blog for over two weeks because I’ve been cherishing each moment with Niya and Roy. Don’t want to miss the process. I learned from my friend that you only get one chance to capture the moment and if you are not careful, you can miss it in a flash.

Darla Davenport-Powell

July 28, 2011

INVENTING DARLA/HAPPY ANNIVERSARY WAYNE! THERE IS SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK!

It’s my Anniversary!

Thirty years ago ,my husband Wayne and I said, “I do” to God and each other and entered into a covenant, not a contract, to live out a marriage designed by God. Wow, little did we know that walking out our vows would be harder than climbing Mt. Everest or swimming the Nile. There were difficult days ahead.

How can two walk together except they agree?

Agree with whom, and agree on what? After the romantic phase was over, there were those power struggle years where it felt like we weren’t agreeing on anything. We didn’t even agree to disagree. One thing for sure that has kept us is our love for God and the desire to do “marriage” his way. He designed it so whenever there was a bump on our journey, we went to Him for answers.  The beautiful thing is that as our relationship with God grew deeper, our relationship with each other began to grow deeper? Why, because we were agreeing with His principles and serious about living them to bring Him glory. We learned early that our lives are not our own.

There is no seniority; always in the process of becoming…

Before we got married, my husband and I went to premarital counseling. After we were married, God always led us to marital enrichment groups, marital retreats, couples ministries, and discipleship classes, all designed to strengthen our relationship. It was there that we learned active listening skills, healthy communication techniques, the value of “leaving and cleaving” and so much more… Life’s a funny thing. Today, we are marriage counselors and facilitate premarital classes. We are still a work in progress.

What’s love got to do with it?

Marriage is that place where God finishes His perfect work. There are three phases: Romantic (That’s easy),  Power Struggle (That’s hard) and Mature Love (That’s mighty sweet!) To all my married folks, be patient with the process and hang on in there until you find the sweet honey in the Rock!  It’s work but it’s well worth it… What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.

Darla Davenport-Powell
July 25, 2011

INVENTING DARLA / I can do all things . . .

What do you do when the task before you is bigger than you?

I pray to somebody bigger than you and I, who reminds me in Philippians 4:13, that “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me.”  I discovered early on that while man and woman can do many things, there are some things that only God can do.

My husband shared those words with our niece, Christen, who is on her way to Madrid, Spain to study at Syracuse this summer. He wanted to assure her that no matter what comes her way, there is strength available to her beyond her strength. God has promised to give us strength for the journey.

I shared those words with our youngest son, Nigel, who is on his way to school this morning and will start the day with a physical education challenge of 167 sit-ups. I reminded him that he had already been successful in his long-distance run and his push-ups and to say, like David when he was met with a giant-sized task, “I’ve already killed a lion; I’ve killed a bear. What is a 9-foot 6 uncircumcised giant? For, ‘I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.’ ”

I too, find myself faced with a task that’s bigger than me. I’ve been invited to speak at my home church on the topic, “Beauty for Ashes.”  The speaking part? No problem! But who among us is worthy to speak on God’s behalf?

I am reminded that those whom He called, He qualified. Like the prophet Isaiah, I will proclaim the good news for “the Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; (Isaiah 61:1); and as I prepare for this God-sized task, I will pray and proceed, knowing that “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”


Darla Davenport-Powell will speak at Mount Calvary Baptist Church, 1735 Enterprise Drive, Bldg. 3, Fairfield, CA 94533, at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 21, 2011. She appreciates your prayers in advance and your attendance, if possible. God bless you!

INVENTING DARLA: LOVE COVERS MULTITUDE OF SINS – OPRAH AND IYANLA TOGETHER AGAIN

Oprah, your 25th season is indeed the best one ever…As I watched you and Iyanla deal with the breach in your relationship, those unresolved issues that created a gulf in your communication and a wedge in the continuation of your working together, I saw much more…as you aired your thoughts, hurts, misunderstandings, fears and pain, the walls came tumbling down and the love came rushing through like the great rapids to heal old wounds. It was a joy to see two brilliant  and powerful sisters demonstrate humility; each wanting to understand the other as well as to be understood; each reaching in to listen, not only to the words but to hear the heart of what was being said. We each can take a lesson from the Oprah/Iyanla page.

There is no getting around it; in order to heal we have to deal with character defects that do not discriminate. Human beings are faulty, fickle, flawed and fragile. That’s what makes us human. However we have a divine nature, a love center that allows us to rise above our inconsistencies and imperfections to demonstrate what heaven looks like on Earth. Forgiveness frees us! Reconciliation reunites us!

Oprah you and Iyanla did me proud. I’m calling your 25th season, No Greater Love—for it is a season of restoration, reunion and revival! Hallelujah!!!

%d bloggers like this: