Gamble

It’s 4th of July weekend and I was working at the restaurant all day trying to get extra money for the weekend. This was a small restaurant but we stayed busy during certain times of the day. My homies will always come in around 4 o’clock to keep me company. Really it was to get some free drinks but Daniel made sure to always leave a big tip. He would say it made him feel better tipping me more rather than paying a lot for the meal. As long as he paid something for him and his friends I didn’t care.

Daniel is my best friend of 16yrs now. In the streets they call him Gamble or G. This is because he stays taking a gamble on life. He was more like my older brother. His mother died when he was younger so my family took him in and we’ve been close ever since.

Gamble and about three other hot head boys walk in the restaurant loud as usual.

“What’s up Jamy?” Gamble asked as he approached the counter.

“Same thing as every other day. Trying to get this money. The legal way.”

“Oh so you got jokes?”

We both laughed.

“What y’all want to eat?” I yelled out to all 4 of them.

Darius shouted, “Jamy hook us up with some philly steaks!”

“You better be lucky I love y’all lil bad asses.”

I noticed G was holding a white shoe box in his hand.

“Aye, G what shoes you selling today? I know those ain’t the new Yeezys and you walking around like ain’t nobody gon run up on you.”

“I ain’t worried bout these lil dudes. Me and my homies ready for whatever.” He laughed, Turning to dap up all his homies.

They all got loud and started talking about how they ain’t tryna kill nobody just tryna make this money. I loved them all but they give me a heart attack every time they walk out this restaurant.

Everybody finished eating and Gamble told them he was going to chill a bit longer with me. We sat down at the table and chopped it up a bit. Moments later 4 new faces I’ve never seen before came inside the restaurant. I instantly felt threatened. One guy approached the table as the other three stood by the counter.

“Yo, homie run me those shoes.” The ringleader demanded.

“Nah, but you can buy them for 400.” Gamble told them, not making eye contact.

The other three guys let out a laugh. “This nigga must be a fool.”

The ringleader folded his arms across his chest, “I’m gone say it one more time.”

I was looking at G hoping he can see it in my eyes that I wanted him to just give them the shoes. Gamble grabbed the box from me and held them close to him.

“If you want these shoes, you can buy them. I’m out here tryna hustle just like y’all. I’m not giving you my shoes.” Gamble got up from the table and walked outside. I think he did this so no damage was done to my restaurant.

The guys followed him outside and I ran behind the counter trying to call the police. Keeping Gamble in my view just in case something happened. I saw the guy hand G money and he gave them the shoes. I hurried outside to make sure he was good.

“They bought the shoes?” I quickly asked him.

“Yea, they gave me the money. I told dude like damn, y’all out here tryna rob people, y’all need to find a better hustle. They lucky I sold them for 400.”

“Man you had me scared. I told you these young dudes don’t care about nothing.”

We were walking around the parking lot while G smoked and we saw a car drive by and let the window down. Gamble grabbed me and we hit the ground as he covered my body. All I heard was gunshots that sounded like they were by my ear. Then it was nothing but silence.

Opening my eyes, “Aye, G get up you’re heavy.”

He wasn’t responding. I felt something wet on my face. Looked down and blood was dripping from his mouth. I used the little strength I had to push him off me.

“G! No, no, wake up! C’mon. Don’t do this to me.”

There was nobody outside like I woke up in a new dimension. I dragged his body into the restaurant as quickly as possible. I leaned against the bench and put Daniel across my lap. The floor had puddles of blood and tears. I knew he was dying and I didn’t really know how I was going to live without him.

“G, I love you so much. You hear me?” I knew he couldn’t respond but he had to hear me. “You remember when you used to make fun of me for working here? What I used to always tell you?”

I wiped his face with my shirt but tears kept coming down. “I told you that I was going to be the head of this restaurant didn’t I? I’ll make sure Darius, Markus and Jayson get their favorite meals.”

Daniel looked up at me and took his last breath. It felt like I sat on that floor for hours before I heard police sirens pull into the parking lot.

D.C. (Drama Connections) pt. 1

Today I was at the airport and it amazes me how people just share all their information and don’t care who’s listening.

I forgot my earphones at home this trip and I was kinda mad about that. But I figured what the heck, let me just try to relax.

I was sitting by the window all by myself because I got there super early. Charging my phone and this lady walks to the other side on her phone talking and laughing. I didn’t really care too much until she started gossiping. She literally got off the phone with one person and called at least 2 other people just so she wasn’t just sitting there waiting on the flight. One person didn’t answer and the other person was still sleeping I assume because when they answered the phone she asked them why were they still in the bed. Now we’re in a different time zone so I’m going to assume she forgot and just wanted people to be awake because she was awake.

When I go to the airport, I always wonder if I will see anyone I know or just recognize people from my city. It’s happened a couple times. One time I was eating at a diner and saw someone with a HEB grocery bag. That kinda made me feel at home because I was like “yay more Texans.” I don’t recall seeing those people on my flight so I don’t know if they were coming or going. So yea, I’ve never seen anyone I know personally. Just random people I remember seeing around the city.

I’m not well known in my city but I do know of a lot of people because of the work I do. I’ve been friends with people on social media for months and didn’t know it. I’ll see them at a show and what do you know, they’ve already been liking my post and supporting me.

But anyway, back to Miss Talk a lot. Once she finally got on the phone with someone long enough to start her juicy story, I couldn’t help but to listen. She’s talking and talking and my heart starts racing. There was no way that this lady, which I’ve learned is named Tammy, was gossiping about someone I knew. It just couldn’t be possible.

I try to keep my personal life private just because I don’t like drama at all. I’ve been living a great stress-free life up until now. Right here at gate 8 in the DC airport is when my life changed.

“Girl, I can’t wait to get back to Austin to see him. He bought this plane ticket and my hotel.” Tammy bragged and paused to listen to her friend. “What time will you arrive?” Tammy added.

“I’m so happy we get to spend this time together.”

“His brother needs someone.”

“The lady he’s with ain’t worth nothing.” Tammy giggled. “Maybe you can work your magic and just make him your man.”

“Girl, she don’t eat pork. Talking about she Muslim! B**** you know yo man likes to eat meat. You better cook him what he wants before someone else scoop in and take your place.”

She continues for a while then tells the person on the phone she needs to put them on speaker right quick. Now I’m like oh my God this lady is doing the most! I wanted to jump in so bad when she said the lady doesn’t eat pork. It’s very hard to keep your thoughts clean at times. But my first thought was, “you need to be focusing on a treadmill and not cornmeal!”

“Yeah, Shay Imma be there around 5pm. He’s picking me up from the airport.” Said Tammy.

The whole time I’m listening, I’m wondering why is she so loud. Then again I guess if you have someone paying for trips and ish you’ll be full of excitement too.

Then the smack in the face happened.

“Yeah Tammy, Eric wants to go to the Oasis then we might go to Hippie Hollow in the morning. This will be the first time we will be staying at the lake house.” Shay, her friend on the phone said.

“I can’t wait! You know I’m confident with my body. I told Obi that I might lose a couple pounds but right now I’m living life.” Tammy responded.

Both of the women laugh and I zone out. Everything after that became a blur of what they were saying.

I almost lost my mind in there. There’s no way that there’s two men name Obi with a brother name Eric in Austin. There’s no way! She’s still rambling on and on; I’m sitting there leg shaking, heart beating fast. I don’t know what to do. So I decide to text my friend Alicia because that’s Eric’s wife. I didn’t want to alarm her too much without knowing too many details. Our text went a little something like this.

Me: Hey wyd?

Alicia: Oh nothing. Waiting on E to get back from the store.

Me: Are y’all doing anything tonight? I’m otw home.

Alicia: No E has to go out of town for a couple days.

In that moment I knew he has been lying to her about what he does when he’s away.

Do I tell my bestfriend everything right now or do I wait till I get back in town? What if he was already gone when I got back. She’s going to be so hurt. Alicia recently had a miscarriage for the second time. I know this is a bad time but maybe this was a good thing. Maybe she wasn’t supposed to have any children with him and this will be her chance to leave him for good!

Me: Ok. Do you wanna go get drinks when I get back?

Alicia: Yes! I’ve been feeling so bad since the miscarriage. I could use some quality time with my bestie.

Me: I’ll come over around 8pm.

We ended with our usual two kissy face emoji text.

Now I’m tuned back into the chunky lady next to me. She’s chunky lady now because I’m furious that they’ve been coming to the city cheating with men I know and who have wives that have no clue. She’s now off the phone with Shay and talking to her son about when she will be returning home. Remind you, we are still sitting in the airport and it’s quiet so everyone can hear this lady. The son must have asked her for the security code because she told him a 4 digit code and said to make sure he hit exit before entering the numbers.

I’m not sure if you can figure out how this story turns out but let’s just say, Ms. Tammy needs to learn to keep her mouth closed at the airport.

Shatter your love…..(poem)

Daytimes filled with dark clouds, clouds that stored my deepest secrets. Secrets that would start to be revealed in the early mornings. Body shots mixed with inhales, exhale as you release yourself in me. I would always be gone before morning. Collecting my belongings while you lay snoring. You hated when I didn’t say bye.
 
Returning to comfort your lonely heart. Kisses all over your body. Soaking your brain with sweet lies before I depart. Sleep my love, I’ll come back to you. ~J.A.A.G.

Cracked the top off that Old No. 7 one last time last night. But I didn’t hallucinate I was able to fight and refrain, still insane though as I chewed into the glass with aggression, swallowed the label, engulfed the cap as it made a splash with no sound.

No more time to cradle you baby, I won as I stand over your shattered corpse but of course I want to get on my knees and lick the floors just to feel you one more time, mine you were but that’s past tense as I head for the doors light up a match and watch you burn never again yearning for more.
~ Luke Elliott

Sunset (poem)

Sunset 

As the sun sets in the West

I rise in the east

My mother used to sing to me

Well that was back when I nose deep in final calls and Qur’ans 

Back in the day when we knew Iran 

Back when everyone had an opinion about who I am

I am the non-practicing Muslim

The five percenter

The one that knows better

The queen of turn up

The one woman roll up

The silent killer

The Oh don’t do it to her 

Well then they better run

Run devil run

Run, hide and say your prayers 

As I rise into the nightmare 

Back in the day when I had dreams 

Now all I can aspire to be

Is an actress slash singer 

Reality TV stripper

Am I right or wrong 

Are we weak or strong

Boys in blue ain’t nothing but boys in white sheets

Strange fruit watered by the blood on the leaves 

What’s a hashtag black lives matter 

What is white privilege to white power 

What is liberty if we aren’t free 

What is an if there is no possibility 

Possibly if we keep marching 

For our 40 acres in the land of the free

Sunsets on the west 

Life lived depressed 

Chasing the love cream

Cash rule everything around me

The almighty currency 

Live and die under the all seeing eye 

In sin we lust

In God we trust
~Amirah Athena 

How Does a Christian Church Affect the Local Community?

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Allison Phillips
UNV 104
May 20, 2016
Aroz

How Does a Christian Church Affect the Local Community?

The Christian church has always been a staple within the local community. For many the church is considered to be a beacon of hope during periods of difficulty. Some look to the church for spiritual, educational, and monetary support as well as guidance. Many years ago the first church and Christian believers played the same role as today’s modern church, bring the people together and restore hope to the hopeless by way of the Great Commission. The Christian church has been shown to affect the local community when there is collaboration among churches, competent leadership is present, and there is a genuine respect for community diversity.
The church is a divine organization whose purpose is in line with Gods plans for the people. When the Christian church extends their mission beyond the church walls (Kibler, 2015) with a desire to unite and come together in collaborative efforts each church objectives can be fulfilled with a greater effect. Unity among the churches results in a greater impact on the community through programs such as food pantries and clothes closets, counseling, educational and work programs, rehabilitative programs, senior services, and transportation programs as well. When the unified Christian churches work in conjunction with other local agencies and nonprofits, an abundance of resources is made available for the residents and that community will abound with harmony and hope for many generations. (Kelly, Azelton, Lardon, Mock, Tandon, & Thomas 2004). For example, when the church coordinates with local agencies to provide free counseling and parenting services for families in the church and within the community, this encourages those families to reach out for help and in turn strengthen the foundation of their families. Keeping families together should be a priority in the church. In communities where there is a significant number of low-income individual’s transportation present as a barrier to most services. When each church or agency works in conjunction with a transportation service that provides affordable transportation, these individuals will have access to all available services provided through collaborative efforts of the unified churches and the local agencies.
Furthermore, it is very important to develop competent leaders within the church who will support the churches mission of community stewardship. When the leadership is trained and not simply appointed their expectations are clear and the leaders are able to mentor or disciple laity within the church who have a desire to line up with the church mission as well. This will create a streamline of leadership mentoring and succession within the church. The bible reveals many leaders mentored their successors who in turn went on to complete the work that had already begun. For example, in the Old Testament: Elijah and Elisha, Moses and Joshua and in the New Testament Paul and Timothy and of course the greatest example Jesus and the Disciples. (Ngomane & Mahlangu 2014).
Just as businesses develop their leaders within the company through leadership training programs Christian churches should do the same. When the church identifies and develop young emergent leaders they will see such benefits as church outreach, community fellowship, and the building up of a strong network of church and community allies who are united for one cause. As the church continues to grow from generation to generation each new leader will be prepared to pick up the baton and finish the race. The new leader is trained to finish work that is already begun in the church and community as well (Ngomane & Mahlangu 2014).
Finally, a Christian church will have many opportunities to witness positive results when the church has a genuine respect for community diversity, meaning there is an openness and respect for every culture and the many differences without judging. It is very important to develop leaders who will stand on the word of God and face secular issues within the church and the community head on with the understanding that diversity is a gift from God. Developing the community relationships is a very important step for the Christian church. The process of collaboration would not be successful without it, therefore, it is in the best interest of the church not to try to convert non believers to be like them and simply be open to the world and its culture with a non judgmental mind. (Wong,2008)
The Christian church can affect the local community when the church come together as one, build a strong leadership that transcends generations, and are mindful of diversity within the community. Unity is the key factor in fulfilling purpose, for where there is unity hope abounds This definition of the word unity from the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, 2015 speaks volumes. Unity: a way of combining the parts in a work of art or literature so that they seem to belong together. Therefore, with God being the creator, mankind is the parts that make up His work of art and each person’s life on Earth is written as a role in His story.

References
Kibler III, R. F. (2015). Reflections on The Church: Towards a Common Vision. Journal Of Ecumenical Studies, 50(2), 299-302
Kelly, J. G., Azelton, L., Lardon, C., Mock, L. O., Tandon, S. D., & Thomas, M. (2004). On Community Leadership: Stories About Collaboration in Action Research. American Journal Of Community Psychology, 33(3/4), 205-216 12p.
: Ngomane, R. M., & Mahlangu, E. (2014). Leadership mentoring and succession in the Charismatic churches in Bushbuckridge. Hervormde Teologiese Studies, 70(1), 1-10. doi:10.4102/hts.v70i1.2065
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary copyright © 2015 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated Merriam-Webster Online (www.Merriam-Webster.com)
WONG, K. M. (2008). CHRISTIANS OUTSIDE THE CHURCH: AN ECCLESIOLOGICAL CRITIQUE OF VIRTUAL CHURCH. Heythrop Journal, 49(5), 822-840. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2265.2008.00401.x

Eye Contact…..

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Unexpected Meetings
Unnoticed in the midst of the crowd. But once I saw her, she stood out like a sore thumb. Her eyes beamed in the dimly lit room. Her smile was as radiant as Sun rays. Something about her cocoa skin shined like leather. Her walk was not a walk of confidence but a walk of security. She walked as if she knew her King will protect her. But she was alone. Her energy drew me to her. She had came alone and I wanted to protect her.

I watched her as she bit her nails. I watched her as she applied chapstick to her lips. I watched her as she took a drink. I couldn’t help but to watch her. Here she was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. A hooded jacket and her bag over her shoulder. She looked, comfortable. I was drawn to her natural beauty. But how do I approach her?

I could tap her on the shoulder and introduce myself. Or do I just stand next to her and spark up a conversation? Time is ticking. What should I do? Before I knew it, she was on the stage speaking to me. Speaking words that felt like they were only for me.

“Unexpected compliments
Brings unexpected joy
It’s time to release these unexpected butterflies in my tummy
Please tell me more
I want to hold hands like we’re on a field trip
Stay up late till 4am talking about health tips
Religion politics
The news the blues
Anything that you choose
We can have breakfast at noon
Listen to some old school music
Long walks in the park
Random road trips if you like……”

I think I’m in love. Listening to her speak those words. I wanted the poem to be about me. I wanted every word she spoke to be related to me.

“……..Force these thoughts to come out of me
I’m ready for the one where my mind can’t keep you out of it
I want you to make me smile
Bring me happiness
Pour your soul into mines
As we create a life filled with unconditional love
I just wanna trust
No lusting I just want it to be us
I don’t need a coward
I want someone who’s courageous
Who can elevate me
Stimulate my mind with deep conversations…….”

She’s leaving the stage. What should I do? What should I say? I have to make a move soon. Wait, where did she go?

(Bumping into each other)

“Oh, excuse me”, she said

This is it. I was looking for her and here she is right in my face. Say something quick before she walks away.

“Hi, that was a beautiful piece you spoke” he told her.

(Blushing) “Thank you. Do you come here often?”

“This is only my second time. But I think I’ll be back more often. Any plans after this”, he asked?

I hope she didn’t. I would do anything to just sit with her for five minutes. Just to hear more of her voice. Listen to her laugh. Paint a mental picture of that beautiful smile.

“Well, I was waiting on some friends, but I don’t think they’re coming. So I guess I don’t have any plans.”

“Would you like to grab a bite to eat? There’s a Denny’s up the road.”

“Denny’s sound great. I’ll meet you there”, she responded.

I couldn’t be happier. What if she doesn’t show up? I should’ve said I’ll drive or suggested we rode together. Sh**, now I’m even more nervous. Ok, just relax. She’s cool. She’ll show up. This will be a great night.

R.K.

It’s Thursday!!!!

Hello there!

So a couple weeks ago, I decided to start posting a story on Thursdays. Just to do something different. Although I love posting pictures, it’s always nice to change it up and keep the audience engaged.

If you haven’t already read the previous story “When He Says pt1 and pt2“, please do so. It’s a really nice love story. Nothing too fancy, just short and simple.

This week’s story is really going to blow your mind. So make sure you check out the blog later this evening for some interesting reading. It’s going to make your heart melt.