What Next?

© 2021 Tim Jones for Wordz & Rhythmz LLC.

As a nation stands on the cusp awaiting change, there’s a tension in the air that can be cut with a knife… Are you really ready for the answer to the question, What Next?”

 

What next, America?

This hysteria is overwhelming as loved ones held dear drop like flies!

Too young, high-strung, pre-existing conditions

Yet, ‘COVID’ marks their demise…

Hidden lies.

 

Everything smells of poop

As fellow men stoop so low as to smear their fears

Across whitewashed Capitol walls laid

By my enslaved and forgotten ancestors!

The reparations for Blacks stall and the poor class falls

As Congress’ too-little-too-late aid

Makes many of us wade and waddle

To coddle up new ways to reside.

 

Yet, the nation, with bated breath, bides…

Waits and relies on Biden’s imminent term,

Which widens the gap between black and white.

 

White and Black blends, forcing grey:

Blacks still hollering,

“Our Black lives matter!”

Yet our voices die…

Black man down…

Black woman down…

Blacks gunned down,

put down,

Black Genocide.

Watered down

Into new abbreviations like,

“P.O.C.” and “B.I.P.O.C.,”

Lumped together with other ethnicities

Who don’t believe Black matters matter,

So our Black love language is severed.

 

Miss me with that….

Lack of communication,

‘Cuz rejection seems to remain my station

As this nation continually stabs Blacks in the back,

Over 400 years now.

 

Like that best friend who said,

“I got your Black back, girlfriend!”

But in the end…

I was just a riser in her crystal clear staircase

As mine laid shattered…

 

Tattered and torn,

I’m so tired and worn,

Ready to just GIVE UP!

Throw in the towel as 2021

Hits me like a ton of bricks!

I’m so DONE!

Taking licks that no medicine can assuage,

So I meditate on a different page,

To my Higher Power of God!

 

As I lay subdued,

Eating a river of hot tears and spiritual verses like stew,

I spew chicken broth and brew — boiling mad,

Glad my Daddy sent heavenly angels

To help me climb out of my pit of despair…

Guarding my heart before I completely fall apart…

“Shanna don’t you dare…!”

 

See, I have to encourage MYSELF

‘Cause few listen when I call —

Emails go unanswered,

Ignored when I call or text,

But let them need something and I say no,

Those same folks be perplexed!

 

WHAT…NEXT?!?

I’m almost afraid to ask.

But God doesn’t dish out fear,

So I’m here for the last

REVOLUTION.

EVOLUTION,

BECOME MY RESTITUTION.

Turn now my eyes, my heart, and our kids to Lord Yah,

The Solution.

‘Cuz I’m learning that those who hurt you

Are sadly wrapped up in their own pollution.

 

See, the only One on Whom I can depend,

Will one day, part heavens’ skies with a shout, and descend.

And no BFF, Boo, Bae, or girlfriend

Will be able to save your lost soul

To ascend.

So…

Are you ready for the next,

For what comes in

The End?

 

 

The Don Who Stole Christmas

President-Grinch
I Donald J. Trump do grievously swear…
© News Americas News Network and NewsAmericasNow.com – All rights reserved

 

 

There’s a lesson to be learned from Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. After President Trump blocked a relief bill for the American people, it’s official: “The Donald” is “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.”

Sadly, many of us, including myself, might literally be able to relate to Yehushua being turned away thousands of years ago. Millions of Americans stand to be evicted from their homes on New Year’s following the expiration of the CDC’s moratorium protections.

I was ashamed until I recalled how God’s Holy Son Yehushua was turned away. He was thought to be insignificant and sent to be born in a cold, funky barn with animals. Just as a rich innkeeper did not make room for an exhausted, pregnant woman bringing forth the King of kings, the U.S. Congress and the President continue its months-long bickering, leaving citizens in precarious predicaments.

Pregnant with struggling small businesses, plummeting savings, lost wages,
rising illnesses, mounting bills, the passing of loved ones, and soon,
lost homes, our most dire needs remain unaddressed
by the very people we elected to speak and act on our behalf. 

At this moment, a “fluffed” bill that is hardly relief for distraught Americans, has been stagnated. Congress has padded this bill, which is incredulously over 5,000-plus pages long, with support to foreign countries, a slew of government operational funds, research, and more aid going to undocumented immigrants instead of what’s been designated for American citizens.

Why are vast federal aid components not directly associated with COVID-19 relief for Americans and the economy laid out in this bill? Why has Congress spent months toiling on a bill padded with federal securities for government operations? How are undocumented immigrants receiving more funds than taxpaying Americans?

Can anyone make this make sense?

Although the $1,200 direct stimulus payments to Americans in April was the largest expenditure in the CARES Act spending bill, totaling $600 billion, direct aid to Americans remains dismal.

One of the richest, most advanced countries in the world is lagging when it comes to providing support to its citizens in the midst of the worst pandemic in the world’s history (see STATISTA study here).

Refusing to take responsibility for his own lack of leadership in this process, President Trump slammed the bill late Tuesday, then scuttled off on holiday. This morning, U.S. House Republicans rejected the Democrats’ proposal to increase direct stimulus aid to Americans from $600 to $2,000, leaving the entire relief bill in limbo.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, AMERICA!

President Donald Trump as Santa Claus.

I was under the impression that great leaders delegate, supervise, and manage their resources well. We clearly have a president who has missed this mark continuously during his tenure and rides out his pending days confirming this assessment. In addition, Trump’s administration and the elected U.S. Congress has shown us where their priorities lie, and it is not with the needs of its suffering constituents.

Just as we shrug off Yehoshua throughout the year, looking only to The Nativity Story long enough to get us into the Holiday spirit, we have missed the message in Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The real meaning of Christmas NEVER came from a store, and America has clearly forgotten what “In God We Trust” means.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock/Kevron2001

Now more than ever, man must seek the Holy Spirit, be obedient, and have the faith of a mustard seed. No government, or gift, can, or will, save you. That is a job meant for One Who is Alpha and Omega, The Beginning and The End. Trust in The Lord, and know that no matter what, all is well. It is going to be a Merry Christmas! SHALOM.

Just Believe..

So, just when your mountain seems too high

And your valley falls too low

Just when your tears, they come so fast,

You can’t tell which way to go

Just when your heart’s about to break

From the pain that’s deep inside

That is the time when you just believe…

                                     ~ LaShanna R. Tripp, Just Believe. Wordz & Rhythmz Publishing, 2007.

 

I originally wrote the song, “Just Believe,” in 2007 for the one and only American Idol Songwriting Competition that took place that season. It didn’t win, but this season, those lyrics are speaking to me.

When God told me to “launch into the deep” in the Spring of 2019,

I knew then that I was about to be swimming for my life.

Literally.

My older siblings will tell you that I had a time battling water as a toddler, so any references to swimming around in deep waters instigate fear. I prefer to feel my feet touch bottom.

But we know that sometimes, the only way to overcome that fear is to jump in head first, right? Well, I seem to have that part down pretty good!

At the age of three, I saw all of my older siblings splashing around in the cool, aqua waters of our backyard pool in Yorba Linda, California. I saw their heads above the water so all was safe, right? I gleefully called out their names, waving wildly. Then, I launched my little brown body into that pool,  nearly drowning.

If it weren’t for my oldest brother, Lou Price, I wouldn’t be here writing this.

43 years later, I am drowning again, but God warned me and promised a safety net. But that didn’t mean I wasn’t apprehensive. The last time I left the comfort of a full-time job to pursue passion, I lost everything and ended up homeless.

I just couldn’t go back to that. As I prayed for a new response, all He said to me was, “This time won’t be like last time,” then sent me to Isaiah 54.

When you want to succeed as badly as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful!

~Eric Thomas, The Hip Hop Preacher

If this season has proved anything to those of us who believe in Him, it’s that God says what He means, and He means what He says. As I see so many of my friends, family and entrepreneurial cohorts succeed and make huge moves to shift their lives to greater during this pandemic, I am excited for them, and celebrate with them, but I myself am encountering some extremely dire circumstances that threaten to take me out completely.

WHAT. IS. THIS?!?

Ever feel like all you did was wake up to conquer the day and all you continue to hit are brick walls? I mean, how many meetings can you take and be told no? How many calls, how many emails, how many grants, how many auditions, how many opportunities can you apply for, and be told no, and keep moving? How many, how many, HOW MANY?

Yep. That’s me right now.

I can’t make sense of anything right now, and it’s so frustrating! And I can’t help but wonder, am I the only one willing to verbalize how low I feel? I have never been great at covering up how I feel. What you see is what you get, and my face will tell you everything. Want to win at poker? Play me. Worst poker face EVER. Heck, I don’t even know how to play poker, so there you go!

But this lets me know, more than anything, that there is something big brewing with every step I make. With every call, I am closer. With every email, I am closer. With every no, there’s a yes building somewhere. I just have to keep striking the rock, place my hope in God, and trust I will strike gold soon.

Every delay, every denial, every choice, every thing God has allowed to be placed on hold and blocked is leading me on a journey to something greater that must be completed in order for His will to manifest in my life. I will continue to work, I will continue to keep the faith, and I will continue to confess His Word.

I am in spiritual labor,

and these pains are something serious.

Lord, help thou my unbelief…

 

 

 

Depression: Alone With Him

Depression: Alone with Him

In the world’s madness, lies a battle within the minds of all African-Americans that no one can comprehend. How do we heal? How can we be restored? Who do we turn to when no one knows, or can even understand, how deep this hurts? There is only One I can turn to in this depression.

 

Laid prostrate before you
Weighted world pounding my head
No amount of sleep
Giving rest on midnight’s bed

Peacefulness has left me
Depression’s setting in
Few friends have come to call
Yet darkness soon descends

Silent, cries are stifled
Healing distances itself
But, The Spirit within me bursts
As another sista sheds her tears

Woman esteemed, now empty
Voice raised to appeal Black pain
I’m moved to share her moments
23 minutes is all it takes

Now, laid prostrate before You
Weighted world pounding my head
Alone With Him* plays softly
To guide my whispered prayers

A vision of our Savior Yahushua
Carrying a cross He needn’t bear
A weighted world upon His shoulders:
Man’s selfishness creates despair

I pour my heart out before You
Seeing Your faithful love so pure
The words swell deep within me
And I know I must endure

Spoken tongues edify me through prayer,
Breaking chains that ache head and heart
Waving goodbye to sadness
As darkness now departs

A talk with Him cures everything
Though world still lies in pain,
When I sit alone with Him
I find strength to fight again…

 

*The prayer and worship instrumental, Alone With Him by Brandon Roberson, which was an inspirational background for this poem. Visit www.wordzandrhythmz.com/blog for additional poems, articles and works by LaShanna.

A Protest Poem for Police Brutality

2020 BLM Protest photographed by Koshu Kunii

If We Must to War…

*In the wake of George Floyd’s murder while in police custody on Memorial Day, May 25, 2020, I struggled to find my voice. When it finally struck, it was at 2:00 a.m. on May 28. There is no filter here. Please ingest with caution. 

If we must to war
Rest assured we will die
But better like this
Than at the crooked hand
Of any blue-clad whites
Who provoke a perverse
Pivot back to a segregated past
Where ink on a
1964 Civil Rights Bill,
Which hasn’t bothered to last,
Dies over the graves
Of an exhausted generation
Who spoke of better days
For us

When those babies stood up
Against Bull Connor
And marched the racist streets of
“Bombingham” with Dr. King
As silenced adults stayed home
With bottles in their mouths,
Afraid to blink,
And risk their jobs,
As water hoses speared the
Innocent backsides
Of the
Beautiful brown skin
Of their children like knives…
Yet, 56 years later,
The grandchildren of those babies
Die in American-sanctioned
Hebrew genocides nationwide,
Full lives
Unlived.

If we must to war
Be sure
You are driven
By a heavenly Word
To stir a pot
That’s rotten
Like forgotten gumbo in NOLA
When the Levees Broke
Like the Ebola,
Now it’s Corona…

DON’T TELL ME WHAT THE HELL TO GET OVA
WHEN TWO EPIDEMICS ARE RACING TO KILL
ME, MY HUSBAND, SON & DAUGHTERS IN THESE STREETS!

Between Corona and Racism
I don’t know what to think!

They blasted Ahmaud
Before the quarantine hit
Had nerve to try and hide it
Shot Breonna cold dead
In her bed
Then kneeled down on
The neck
Of George, our gentle giant
May all our senselessly dead
Rest in sweet heavenly peace
Couldn’t speak
Cuz my brotha
Couldn’t breath!

AND NONE OF THE OTHER THREE
MOVED TO BLOCK IT
MAMA…
MAMA, HELP ME
STOP THIS!

I. CAN’T. BREATH, Ameri-KKK!!!!

I’m on fire like Minneapolis
Your Targets are a target
What a pity, this city…
Now havoc is runnin’
Cuz you were gunnin’
To remove me from
This rat race
With your racist
Maliciousness
Now pace yourself
Because one thing I know

Is if we must war
Heaven already knew
He told us
In Ecclesiastes 3
Verse 16 divided by
Two Tales of America
Prophesied this sore
White people, I ask
What are you waiting for?

You hugged me
Said you loved me
Said you cared
Will you now dare
Your privilege to
Take on this massive demon
And help gain victory
For a detested Hebrew like me?
He said,
To everything there is a season
And a time to every purpose
Under His sun

Now…is the time to SPEAK!
Now…is the time to BREAK DOWN!
NOW…is the time to WAR!!!!

War against a system
That spills our blood
Too easily into the streets
And laughs mockingly at the anguish
That consumes our souls

Through unequal education,
Incorrigible wages,
And pathetic healthcare
All the while
A false smile
An inhumane hand
Stabbing us in the back
Like the forgotten stepchild
As we rise to take a stand
For being Hebrew
But He knew
The thoughts
The plans
And they aren’t few…
So…

If we must to war
Heaven prophesied this sore
White people, I ask again
What are you still waiting for?
Whatcha gonna do about
Bad cops, bad cops…
Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do
When Yah comes for you?

If we must,
We will die.
For He has already
Given prophecy of
Ultimate victory
Over your unbridled hate!

 

Rest in peace, Mr. George Floyd, and the too many black lives senselessly lost due to racist and rogue police.

Video timeline of Mr. Floyd’s final moments on May 25, 2020:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/05/30/video-timeline-george-floyd-death/?arc404=true

New Devils STOP!

What adversaries are stopping you from taking a leap of faith? Just pick any distraction.

Distractions are interesting. Distractions cause us to pause and more often than not, miss out on important, right-now moments in a life we’re not promised to be living tomorrow.

These disruptive distractions are unnecessary hesitations that delay what we know in our hearts we need to be doing. They are also emotions fed to us by others seeking to infest us with their own innate fears.

Today should be the day we stop living our life based on other people’s fears!

These distractions are simply your adversary seeking to delay you from your purpose. And man, did one hit me just this week through a loved one.

I found myself on a call that was intended to be a moment to catch-up, but it became pretty shady fairly quickly. I felt as if my talent and choices to transition to a new career was being attacked through a hidden, one-sided verbal war I thought I was unsuited to fight.

Out of respect, I could only sit there in shock as I listened to an onslaught of self-righteous opinions that sought to apparently somehow correct me. The goal, of course, was to stall me and take me off of my game!

I finally just hung up, but I could only stand there, stupefied. And then it hit me out of nowhere.

NEW DEVILS.

Earlier that morning, while running errands with my husband, he pulled to a STOP sign in our neighborhood that we’ve passed hundreds of times before. However, my eyes caught something posted on the sign that I had never noticed before. The two words somehow screamed at me just then, and I instinctively knew that it was a warning:

NEW DEVILS

I Corinthians 16:9 rushed to mind. I recalled that as doors and resources are being opened up to us during a season of growth and transition to greater, many adversaries rush in right along with the blessings. Now, this sign can be seen in different ways if we add punctuation:

  1. NEW DEVILS STOP. (Meaning new devils distract you and keep you from moving forward.)
  2. NEW DEVILS, STOP! (Meaning we shout out and tell the new devils to stop distracting us!)

I immediately just thanked God for the warning because it allowed me to focus back on what He told me: that this time won’t be like last time!

Both interpretations of this sign today were important to me!

Some of you, like myself, have taken risks before and failed very well, and are now in a season of trying again. God has promised that this time won’t be like last time.

That last time, you didn’t have a plan.

The time before last time, you were younger and didn’t seek wisdom and understanding.

This last time, you didn’t trust Him like you do now.

This is not the last time. This time, is your time.

Despite what your adversaries are doing, focus on what God said to you! Do you need discipline? Buckle down. Do you need help? Ask Him for it.

Fulfillment will only come when you are in pursuit of utilizing your gifts and talents to help others.

Cory Asbury’s moving song, Water and Dust, reminds us that God makes beautiful out of our ugliness. When everything around us is falling apart and not shaping up to be what we thought, don’t lose heart. He is working. 

You were created for greater! Tell the new devils you are three feet from striking gold, and you are not quitting!

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Everything you have is because #GodDidIt!

#GodDidIt

Everything you have is because #GOD DID IT!

LaShanna R. Tripp

©2019 Wordz & Rhythmz LLC Publishing. 

 

Everything we have is because God did it.

What happens when we forget Who brought us from meagerness to greatness?

This poem is a reminder of this truth, which God spoke to me through a rushing wind as I stood on a hill overlooking Homewood from a building our production studio now calls home. In that moment, I knew that He was trusting us to never withhold giving Him glory for what He was doing in our lives.

We have been able to overcome lack and stagnancy only because God did it. 

It is through divine connections that we are in this studio space. The years of being stripped of everything we owned, enduring heartache through miscarriages and hurtful jabs from people we loved and trusted had culminated into this moment. And I was completely full!

All I heard Him say was simply, “Don’t forget Me!”

Can God trust you in the territory you are wanting Him to bring you into?

Will you be able to to tell everyone that God Did It?

 

#God Did It!

©2019 Wordz & Rhythmz LLC Publishing. 

 

Who…moved…my…cheese?

A mouse, caught in a trap

Public classrooms / brought dooms

Your sista didn’t see that on a map!

Now, it served for a time

But poured out too many limits

Admins slapping my hand, saying, 

“Mrs. Tripp, betta quit it!”

 

That daily grind?

Honey, I surely don’t miss it!

Educator, underpaid

And these kids don’t get whippings?!

 

Brand new theatre, no respect for the craft

Directing shows, teens calling each other hoes

As colleagues I respect

Just stand back and laugh?

I looked up to God in year 7, and said,

“Lord, is this job complete?”

See, it served for a time

But poured pain into me!

 

So when things didn’t change

After four years plus four more

God spoke, loud and clear,

From Luke 5 and verse 4

 

“Launch into the deep…”

And tears raced down my face,

For I knew, in my soul

It was time for a change!

 

So, I stepped out on faith,

Though scared, yet upbeat!

Where I am is because

All my fears He defeats!

And as I look around, from this hill to those streets,

I holler,

(Hashtag) GodDidIt!

On all social media feeds!

 

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