by Tammy Phillips
It was so tall. My sisters and I had to rear our heads back to see the star on the top of it.
For years, my parents took that artificial Christmas tree out of its worn old box. Then we would put it together, pile on the tinsel and bulbs and lights, cover each branch with fake snow and then illuminate the tree with the spinning four-colored wheel. Our tree was Phillips, pretty and warm. It looked like it was touching the ceiling.
Then something happened. Our old tree shrunk?
I did not have to maneuver my head to the see the top star. My toes did not have to tippy to put the garland and ornaments on the top branch. My sisters and I had grown almost as tall as our tree. I remember when I was in my early teens being amazed that our tree and our Daddy were not tall at all.
My nephews continued the tradition of being in awe of the tall Phillips tree, pretty and warm, until they too shot up near the star. But even when our perspective changes, it was comforting to know some things stay the same.
Daddy was no decorator. But, Mommy was gone, and we were grown and he decided to try, so… Continue reading
Timing is Important
by Tammy Phillips
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” James 1:19
Lesbianism was not a national topic in the early 1980’s. Women were feminine and men were masculine; there was no celebration for the contrary. This was our reality when we walked into a women’s prison to present a Growing in Christ seminar. The chaplain and the instructor were seasoned; the rest of us were brand new. Incredulously, we watched the women walk into the gathering area; ninety women formed forty-five couples. Some of the women were more masculine than a stereotypical macho man. Our instructor was gracious; we reluctantly followed her lead.
The women were separated into small groups, facilitated by a volunteer. Each of us had at least four couples in our group. Irritation marked my face. At the first break, we descended on our passive instructor; “You’ve got to say something, do something about this.” Her response was, “We are guests in their house. Do what we came here to do.” This was the wrong answer, but we continued our small group facilitation after each of her lecture sessions. Several more times we begged her to address the situation; each time she Continue reading
by Tammy A. Phillips
Grandmommy always brought cheap soap; four bars in a bag for one dollar. I had only used it to wash my hands. One day I took a bath using the soap in the bag. The pain from itching was quick and severe. Immediately, I rinsed off, got out of the tub and complained, loudly.
“Grandmommy, why do you buy cheap soap? Mommy buys IVORY, and it never itches me. This cheap soap hurts.” While drying dishes, never looking at me, she said, “There is nothing wrong with the soap. You started rubbing and disturbed the dirt.”
Grandmommy’s soap reminds me of challenging commandments from the Word of God:
“…Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you… (God, I must do this for someone who lies to me?) Matthew 5:44 Continue reading
Don’t Wait Until You Feel Like It
By: Tammy A. Phillips
While my youngest sister was studying for her nursing degree, one of her classmates committed suicide. This woman was not known to the other students. However, their professor announced that the entire class would be attending this young woman’s funeral. Many complained bitterly about tolerating this inconvenience for someone they did not know. But the professor was insistent.
Begrudgingly, dozens of students showed up at the funeral home. What they saw broke their hearts: only two women stood in front of the casket; no one else was present. The women, who were the dead student’s mother and sister, turned around and almost collapsed with joy when they saw the uniformed nursing students. They profusely thanked each one for taking time out of their busy schedules to be with them. Mother and sister were convinced that others cared about their loved one. Continue reading