January 29, 2017

 “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.” Colossians ‭4:5‬ ‭NIV‬
This verse has been on my mind since last weekend, and all that has transpired between immigrants, refugees and even Native Americans (although they’re not actual outsiders) has reminded me that we, who claim to be “Christians,” have an obligation to be different. We have an obligation to really be pro-life and not just hold that stance towards the unborn. We have crisis going on all around the world and we cannot cower in fear. Wheather its food shortages, natural disasters, manmade disasters caused by leaders like Assad in Syria, or even ISIS, we need to be deliberate in our actions. If indeed we are believers of Jesus Christ, his actions were perfect examples of how we ought to act towards outsiders; he welcomed them, cared for them, healed them, and sent them on their way with a blessing. He also reminded us, ‘perfect love, casts out fear (1 John 4:18).’ It’s time for us to walk that out. 


Modern Day Racism

September 7, 2016

In east Chicago, Indiana neighborhoods have been evacuated because they found lead levels of dirt to be 10x above what is acceptable. Investigations date back to the 70s and only now, are they tearing down apartment complexes. 

Many say we no longer have racial issues in this country… maybe because people aren’t being lynched, or maybe because there aren’t obvious “blacks here,” or “whites only” signs showcased in various places through towns. However, there are many examples of contaminated towns and water systems whose occupants are predominantly those of color. There’s redlining, barely funded schools, exaggerated suspensions and juvenile imprisonment, and an unfair justice system that (if you look at the numbers and ratios) are skewed against those of color. 

These are all systemic examples of how racism is still an issue in this country and there’s many more. These kinds of racial manifestations fester in subtle ways that many are more comfortable ignoring, but then they want to talk about Chicago’s gun problem and black crime. 

There’s a source of where it all stems from, can we deal with that? 

As our boys’ 10th birthday approaches, I find myself reflecting on my time with them, and on what I’ve learned from them. If you’ve followed my social media during my time as their mother, you’ve no doubt read countless quotes I either found pure genius or just funny. 

So to commemorate, I want to highlight some of Max and Dante’s words over the next few days. I’ll begin with one from Dante that I caught myself repeating just the other day. 

This past weekend I shared a bag full of children’s books and the movies with one of my neighbors and also included a train set the boys no longer played with. As I was carrying groceries from our car a few days later, my neighbor commented on how appreciative they were, and that their daughter has played with the train set for hours. 

As I walked away, Dante’s words played itself on my mind, “it feels good to help the world.” Whether it’s his gentle plea to “please give him something (referring to a panhandler),” or to asking his teacher to set aside a plate of food for his classmate who was missing out on their world day celebration (due to a mid-day dentist appointment), helping the world can be small acts of kindness and giving.

“…and remember the words of the Lord Jesus that he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” ‭‭Acts‬ ‭20:35‬ ‭NET

“…Freely you received, freely give.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:8‬ ‭NET‬‬

Please Speak Up

July 11, 2016

The sad truth is when organizations like the KKK continues to stand in this country, racism has room to fester. When Dylan Roof shot and killed 9 inside the historic church in Charleston (simply because they were black), he lived to face his day in court. It also wasn’t deemed “domestic terrorism.” But here we are today, back at it again. It’s the same story, different scenario, and we only have the removal of some confederate flags to show for it. Not an acknowledgment that yes, it was a hate filled, atrocious, and racist crime. So when some want to say, ‘it’s not a color thing, a black and white thing, or racist thing,’ it most definitely is. 

Yesterday I had a brief conversation with a friend and there was a moment of laughter, soon followed by a moment of sadness. I likened having the need for whites to speak up, to parenting. There are things my husband and I can press on our boys and they remain unfazed, but then, if their uncle says it, they’re completely on board. Sadly, it’s the same for some woman in the board room (I’ve heard plenty of personal accounts from women’s summits). A women shares an idea and the group is unfazed, but a man takes said idea and shares it again and suddenly, it’s a great idea. Sadly, that is why we all need whites who are against racism to speak up. With all the history and the anger over what has happened lately, many have deemed blacks’ fear and Black Lives Matter as not credible.

Is injustice, unfairness and racism not real? No; it’s just not real enough to all. Please speak up against racism. 

In Giving, I Receive

November 16, 2012

I once had an art teacher say, ‘everything you make during your first year will pretty much be worthless.’ Well, that did not fly too well and I certainly beg to differ. The beginning work you make or partake in, sets the foundation for what is to come. Each piece, the missing link to the next. Each piece, purposeful for the final product or the whole.

I have been reminded of that statement because, I have recently begun to work in an unstructured manner that is really contrary to my natural inclination. In many ways, it has lead to something purposeful that is not strived for. I have also felt led to just give away some of my artwork. I do not always know why, but it just feels right. The awesome thing, is when the recipient reaches out and clues me in on the why. Which, for someone like myself, is very important.

During these last few years, God has also been teaching me the gift of simply, receiving. It is something I struggle with at times and it has gotten to a point where it is like God just says, ‘shut up and say, thank you.’ So, in giving away my artwork, I have had some interessing things occure. I have been ministered to and even if the lesson does not apply to me at the moment, instinctively, I know it someday will. Through my giving, I have also gotten requests for commissions, love offerings and people wanting to sow a seed into my work as an artist.

So, I am recieving almost simultaneously; and for the times I am incredulous, God has just as swiftly humbled me one way or another.

Yes, it costs me something… time, resources, going on a lim, but I have learned, stalling or not doing it, is not an option. Many times, if I have not done so, God brings back that conviction or simply puts me in a position where I simply have to do it. It might feel like going against the grain but in actuality, it is the proper thing to do and God confirms that for me every time.

Maybe for you, it is not about giving away a piece of artwork, but about giving, your time, insight, an encouraging word, money, a hug, dinner, you name it. Any act or gift (however small) is purposeful. It is also nowhere as big as the release it brings.

Share with me how you have received in your giving, especially as it is the season.

Thanks for reading! Iraci

Love and Kindness Campaign

November 8, 2012

Whoever coined the term ‘kill them with kindness,’ was onto something BIG and now more than ever, we need to put it into practice.  If we as a nation or even the world want to experience true change that will positively make an impact and reflect godly principles, love might just be the most effective way we can do it.

With all the political discourse going on and the churches’ influence on this election season, I was reminded of John 13:34-35.  Jesus commands us to love each other just as He loves us.  Somewhere along this election season, the tone turned into ‘love those who go to church or those who share your opinions.’  The result, a lot of good, well intentioned “Church people” came across as, self-righteous, melodramatic, unsympathetic and even hateful at times.

So, now that President Obama has been reelected, are we really doomed?  Have we as God’s people lost our good chance to make this a true nation under God?  I for one, as a Christian, a wife and a mother often caught myself asking, “am I missing something?”  “Am I so spiritually disobedient that I cannot willingly fall in line with the Republican agenda and vote for Romney?”

Yes, I want the sanctity of marriage between one man and one women to be upheld, and yes, I don’t condone abortion but are these positions enough to disregard a whole slew of positions and policies I do not agree with for the sake of faith and a godly position?

Lets just look at campaign funds, what would happen if we divided all the ridiculous amount of money spent in the 2012 campaigns and infused them into falling schools?  What would happen if those who professed to act in the name of ‘godly principles’ willing gave to the poor instead of campaigns?  Would the effect be so small that it’s enough to discount this idea?

I think not. Could it just be, we have not done it enough to see results?  Why is it almost “wishful thinking” to push these ideas as opposed to gay rights or abortion?

I think the world would be so much more receptive if we shelled out love, our time and acts of kindness rather than, rules in the form of godly views.  After all, if we are operating in godly principles, don’t they inadvertently impact everything else?

Let’s kill ungodly agenda’s with kindness.  Lets positively impact government, this nation and the world by loving those around us, our family, our friends, the clerk at the grocery store, that man by the curb begging for money and yes, even our acquaintances with opposing views.