Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Help Me Go Back to Zim, pretty please with Jesus on top.

I am trying to finalize the plans for my 3rd trip to Zim in August. I will be ministering to the one group of teenagers who I first met in 2008. We are working out a plan for me to spend 8 days with them. This will be far more time than I have been permitted to visit with them in the past. I have many things on my heart about this trip. Many, big things. If you are able to and have a desire to help me financially with these costs, please contact me to make a donation. Thank you so much!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Back Hair

Oh Lawdy....I just cannot help but share this. My sweet Shawnie is covered in fuzzy blonde hair. It is all over his sweet back. All.Over! Sure hope it thins out as he gets older.

That's all. Carry on.

The Turtle in My Rearview

and now am re-posting THIS

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lean Stretch Rotate Grow

in the mood to re-post THIS


So, Asher just looks at me and says "Mommy, I want to test my attitude". I look at him with a deep interest in his proposal. I inquire. He explains to me that he is going to put his feet on the coffee table and I am going to tell him to get his feet off the table, so that we can see what kind of attitude he is going to have today. I agree, and he proceeds. "Asher, please get your feet off of the coffee table. They do not belong there." His eyes sparkle, his smile beams. He removes his feet and says "yes m'am". Success. Wow.

I should get in the habit of testing my attitude everyday. How about you?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Living in the Yesterdays

I normally don't condone living in the "yesterdays" of life. We've screwed up too much for that to be an enjoyable way to live. That is why phrases like "fly by the seat of your pants" and "live in the moment" have become so powerful. It's typically better to look ahead than to look back.

But yesterday is important.

There are so many painful yesterday moments in my life, but if I hadn't lived through them, I wouldn't have the mind, the heart, the love, and the hope that I have *today*. So, I recommend taking some journeys through your yesterdays every once in a while, even if it means re-experiencing some of the pain. You will no doubt, re-experience some joys too.

Since yesterday (literally) I have been living in quite a few "yesterday" moments.

I have re-lived:
  • bumping into an old classmate (Andrea Morgan) at Johnathon's Bar & Grill while I was working there in 1996, not knowing she would die soon of cancer.
  • the last "i love you" from my Aunt Brenda before she died
  • my miscarriage in 2002
  • getting sent to the hallway during Civics with Shelley Stice in 9th grade because we were laughing too much in class
  • my first walk across Belmont University campus, to my first class, choking back the tears of joy and thankfulness
  • the first house I ever sold, on the lake in Hendersonville
  • the last ugly words my Dad spoke to me, and thus the last words
  • the precious note Spencer left me when he was 6, stating that he might have won 1,000,000 dollars from McDonalds, and if so, then we wouldn't have to worry about Mother's Day.
  • the first kiss from Joe
  • waking up in a dark and unfamiliar room realizing i had bargained with the devil, yet again
  • the day I got to meet Elizabeth Asher Bannister
  • the day I fell off of a galloping horse and shifted every bone in my body
  • digging with spoons, in the arkansas dirt, at my Mama's house
  • sleeping on the sleeping porch at my Grandma's old country house
  • hiking in Crested Butte with the hubs on his 40th birthday
  • the day Spencer told me about *eh hemmm* (can't tell you that)
  • the day Paul and I met
  • the day Paul died
  • dropping spencer off at his Dad's house for those dreaded visitations
  • the week mom and i spent in New England
  • the first orphans in Zim that I ever laid my sobbing eyes on
  • hearing "it's not you, it's me"
  • hearing "i will kill you if you don't do what i say"
  • dancing in the Senior Variety Show in 1988
  • the day the hubs lost his job
  • the day Asher was laid naked across my chest
  • the day Shawn was declared "different"
  • the first day i met my bible study girls
  • the day i moved away from my childhood neighborhood and friends
  • the day i accepted Christ
Today is today, not yesterday. But yesterday makes today a good day. All those yesterdays brought me here. "God blessed the broken road". Don't be afraid to remember yesterday.

Is there a "yesterday" you want to share?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Beautiful Delays

This sweet little nugget...oh my goodness. I fall in love with him all over everyday, and that is not just a "feel good" statement. Sometimes I have faint memories of kids with special needs when I was a kid...and I can realize that God was preparing my heart all along to be this ones mommy.

Shawn is the baby. He is my 3rd child, my 3rd son. And because of Down syndrome, he is delayed in many areas. It took him longer to crawl and walk. He had to have his heart repaired when he was 2. He is 3 1/2 and still has speech delay.....but oh my WORDS! Shawnie is communicating so much. Two of his latest word discoveries are:

  • "mon" = c'mon
  • "turn" = my turn
Last week Shawn crawled in bed with me. He loves to lay his head on the pillow and cover himself up with the sheet. Not sure why, but to him this is a riot. He snuggled with me for a few minutes then rolled over, looked in my eyes and with a bright and anticipating smile, he said "MON!". In fact, he said it in rapid fire style about 5 times. Oh my heart.....Shawnie was asking me to come play. Specifically he wanted to watch Barney, aka "Marney".

Last night I was lying on my stomach. The boys like to take turns sitting on my back and then falling off. I know....it sounds like a thrilling theme park ride to me too. Anyhoo...Shawn plopped down on my back and proclaimed "TURN!". Seriously....he is getting it and it is so precious.

And finally, he is beginning to learn some letters of the Alphabet. In one of our books, he can point out the A for Asher. The N for nana. The M for Mommy. The D for Daddy. He is not quite getting the S yet. But be also knows O and U. Shawn absolutely loves to learn. His eyes light up when we count and when we sing. He is soaking in everything he possibly can.

Shawn is even deeply beginning to engage in playtime with other kids. A couple of times recently we've had many kids in our house. Even though they have all been bigger and and older than Shawn....he wants to be right smack dab in the middle of the chaos. Chasing and running is such a joyful experience for this boy. And it's delightful to watch.

**I'll update soon about my 3rd trip to Zimbabwe. I am still raising money and am far from my goal. Please help me return if you can, to serve Fatima and her orphans.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

under water

This boy is learning how to swim. I'm so thankful that after just 2 lessons his confidence was way up. By the 4th lesson he was jumping in with joy and showed marked improvement in his swim technique.....though still far from perfect. Today was lesson 7. Today I saw evidence of strength and maturity in this 5 year old. Whether under water with breath held, or on top of the water with a light and floaty drift......he is learning how to maneuver. He is learning that this swimming gig requires confidence, faith, strength and maturity. I hope he continues to learn this in each and every one of life's lessons.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I Think I Can...

For whatever reason, day 4 of this calorie restricted diet is working for me. I believe that dieting is psychological. If we don't really believe it will work, we can't succeed. Belief is paramount to achieving anything. "I think I can" isn't just a popular line from a story about a train. It is the basis of all success.

I think I can....

  • lose 20 pounds
  • be a good mom
  • improve my relationship with my husband
  • sell more houses
  • launch a successful Skincare business
  • make you smile
  • buy a truck for Zimbabwe
  • give more money to my church
  • read the bible every day
  • hear from the Holy Spirit
  • combat demons
  • overcome my sin nature
  • make it to Heaven
I don't think I can
  • be perfect
  • get everything right all the time
  • scrapbook if i don't want to
  • be who you want me to be
  • have the body of a 20 year old
  • give up watching "the Bachelor"
  • eat a lot of fresh bread without "heavy" consequences
  • be a vegan
  • earn your approval
  • give up chocolate
I think I can believe there is a God who loves us and wants us.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Summer Stream of Consciousness

I'm enjoying summer a little too much. Haven't showered in 2 days.

Ok, that's a lie. I am not enjoying summer. It is just too dang hot. But that 2 day thing, that part was true.

Asher is on day 5 of private swim lessons, and he is swimming like a fish who hasn't quite learned how to swim yet. Is there such a thing? He is really doing fabulously. And he loves it.

I am working on business business and more business. So very excited about Rodan & Fields skincare. And I'm enjoying a brief break from Real Estate. Well, I'm diving back in on Saturday....so not all that brief.

I'm on day 3 of a diet. You know. Again. But this time I am just cutting calories and I'm hoping this is the formula that works for me. Any suggestions.....I'd love 'em.

Shawnie is learning his ABC's. He Knows A, O and P. Hey....we will take what we can get from this sweet pea. He still blows my mind and rocks this world. Just.Can't.Get.Enough!

I'm doing a bible study on spiritual warfare. It is the perfect study for me right now. Amazing really.

Lastly, I'm still hoping to raise lots of funds to go back to Zimbabwe. I'd be so honored to have your help. Please email me with questions or suggestions.

SO I really want to know....do you love summer, hate summer, or are you one of those who doesn't even notice that the thick, heavy smell you sense when you walk outside is the whole worlds body odor? What is your summer like? G'head. You can tell me.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

Skincare News

I have a new blog specifically for my skincare business. Please visit. Go here!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Zim - times 3

Before I ever left USA soil to go on my first mission trip, in my research I was made aware that there are a vast number of Christians who do not believe in doing International Missions. There were various complaints on the issue, including:

  • mission trips are just glorified vacations (short-term missions trips)
  • the money spent to travel could be better spent on purchasing essentials for the needy in those foreign countries
  • why travel out of the country when you could serve locally? (I do serve locally)
  • a one-week or two-week trip won't produce enough results in the lives of the people you travel to serve (dead wrong)
I guess we all know by now that we were all created with different hearts, spirits, minds, opinions, desires, talents, experiences. There are always going to be people who oppose the very thing you stand for. Always.

Before I went to Africa the first time, some lovely jerk (sorry) harrassed me on my now defunct Myspace page because he claimed I was just raising money for a safari vacation, and he challenged me to just send the money to Africa instead.

On my mission trip to the Dominican Republic, there was a great guy there from my church who admitted that he was basically only there to judge whether or not short term missions could produce anything positive. He quickly discovered he had been wrong about his harsh feelings on the subject.

The truth is, in my heart I feel like we should be serving everywhere at every opportunity we get. We can serve with love, with listening ears, with physical labor, and with money....just to name a few. But we are absolutely called in the Bible to spread the word of God to all of the nations. ALL of the nations. The bible also clearly talks about serving orphans and widows. It is printed in black and white, in the scriptures. Oddly, the Hebrew word for orphans and widows, is orphans and widows. And the greek word for nations, is nations. (Ha....I'm just sayin').

But here is what the bible doesn't say. It doesn't say that every American is supposed to adopt an orphan from China, or Africa, or Russia, or wherever. Although I'm sure God wouldn't be disappointed if we all did. Nor does it say that every single person who has ever believed in Jesus is supposed to get on a plane and fly to a foreign country to spread the gospel. The new testament does talk about the need for people to be hospitable toward the missionary traveler. It says to feed them, open your home to them, accomodate them, etc. (The Apostle Paul was a traveling missionary). (By the way, I do believe through scripture that we are all supposed to support orphans and widows, either by adoption, missions, money, food, or whatever. Not a single Christian is excused from looking after orphans or spreading the gospel).

It's like the football game. It requires an entire team to get the ball across the line. Some defend. Some assist. Some pass. Some catch. But only one can run with the ball at a time. And only one can cross the goal line to advance the score. For me, or any missionary to accomplish the specific mission God has placed in our spirits, a team is required. I need prayer warriors, I need people to encourage me and lift me up, and I need donors. A lot of donors. I affectionately call them "senders". If you have ever been one of my senders or the sender of anyone who was seeking to complete a mission for the Kingdom, you too are an essential part of the missionary team, in the same way that the defensive back makes it possible for the football to cross the goal line, even though he might not ever touch the ball.

I know for fact that short-term missions are not futile. Not when done with a heart for God. If I had not traveled to Zimbabwe in December of 2008, Fatima and her orphans would not have a new truck right now. My trip there led to real relationships, which led to recognition of a need, which led to a heart prompted by the spirit, which led to the generosity of 34 people to make it happen. The truck, that is. Fatima has a beautiful ministry, which has now been made possible to expand. (Yay God!)

That same experience led to 15 orphaned teenagers feeling like they have a momma in the USA now. They now have the experience of knowing that somebody loves them and cares for them, outside of their limited region (a region who has forgotten them). Our conversations have led to hope and love, which was not previously in abundant supply. And our path hasn't reached its end, so there is no telling how much more can be accomplished as a result of that first mission trip. Those kids are not allowed to leave their country. They cannot be adopted. Our long distance relationship with various short term visits is all that we are allowed to have. So, our time together is very very important. And there are Kingdom proportioned consequences.

If we could adopt these children, we would. But we cannot. It isn't permitted. I wondered for 2 years why God sent me to Zimbabwe. And now I know at least part of the reason. It was to meet them, care for them, support them and love them for the rest of my life, in any way that I can. Part of that is to visit them and love on them in person. It is good for them and it is good for me. No dollar amount could be assigned to the countless, immeasurable good things that have come out of these mission trips to Zim. The way I live my life has changed for the better. They way I view money has changed for the better. The heart that I serve with has been enlarged. My compassion is greater. My loyalty is stronger. My kids have a richer experience as a result of what I can pass down to them. The kids in Zim have been encouraged....and if you know anything about encouragement, it can be the catalyst for amazing accomplishments. Sometimes you just need to be told that you are believed in, and you can suddenly walk further. There is no way to predict what the hope and encouragement those kids have received will result for them. But I promise that it will be big. Bigger than without the hope and encouragement. It is true life change.

Can you help?

I need a lot of senders. I need tons of small donations and a couple of large ones. I'm asking you to give, and I am also asking you to think outside of the box. Maybe your friends could pitch in. Maybe you could ask your employer to help. Maybe you could collect all of your spare change and donate it. Involve your church or your bible study group. Sell something on ebay or craigslist. Forfeit going out to dinner for one month. Do you have frequent flyer miles you can donate??? I have $1,000 of my own money invested. I have received $175 from the first donor. Can you help me raise $5,000 more? I know that it is a lot of money, but I also know that this amount will be multiplied in Heaven's economy. I have seen it happen time and time again.

I need to raise this money by July 9th to travel in early August.

In advance, I am grateful for every dollar and dime. I am grateful for every mouth that prays, every heart that rejoices, every email that encourages. May grace abound!

So, who are my linebackers?

(paypal donate button top left, or checks can be mailed to me at 6840 Bridgewater Dr, Nashville, TN 37221)

James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Please do not donate as an act of good will or to accomplish a good deed. Give for love. Give in faith, in the absolute knowing that your sacrifice will produce a return on your investment that cannot be measured on earth, but will outweigh the gold in Heaven. Give because you have faith in the one who died so that you may live. Give because you are in this world but not of this world. Give because the orphans are blessed by your giving, and because spectators are blessed and intrigued, and because families are changed and lives are saved. Do not give because you love me. Do not give because you want to help. Give because you want to be a blessing and because the greater blessing cannot occur without you. Give because you have faith. This is my humble, direct request.

My prayer:

Oh Father, my heart is filled with anxiety and dread when I know that you want it full of hope and love. My desire is to fulfill the works you prepared in advance for me, and for countless people to be touched in the process. I am seeking your heart and wisdom to take up residency in my soul and lead me to tomorrow. You are my guidance counselor, my redeemer, my healer, and my travel guide. You have stamped my footprints across the planet as your ambassador. You have breathed life into my lungs and injected your very spirit into my veins. My heart beats for you and because of you. My arms stretch high to your throne and out to the lost. My mouth wants only to speak words that encourage, soothe, and love. I am so full of gunk and junk that constantly needs purged and burned off. The ashes cry. I am so so so so sorry for the all the many ways that I fall short of your glory. I could never earn you nor deserve you. Thank you for giving me these beauties to love, Boaz, Lovejoy, Bestman, Sarah, Emily, Precious, Deborah, Boaz, Fatima, Theresa, Ruth, Bevie, Keldon, Kenneth, Richman, Richard, Abel and Layman. I want to love them with your heart, not mine, because mine is not lovely enough. Lord God, you know if I am to return to Zim or not. And if I am, then it is you who knows the how, when and why, and it is you that will make a way. Please Father do not send me if the time is not right. But please pour out the provision if it is. I praise your name Lord and I pray for immeasurable joy in the hearts of my senders. Make them known. In the life giving name of Christ Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dirty Toes

I traveled to a small town in Arkansas over Memorial Day weekend. This is an annual journey, as I have family there and so we gather. Usually it's a large group including my mom, most all of my living aunts and uncles, most of my cousins, and all of the youngest generation. This year much of my family wasn't able to be present, so I left my kiddos and the hubs at home and just journeyed with my oldest son and my mom. We were able to visit with all 3 of my moms brothers, my aunt Peg, and my cousin Stuart. It was a great time to just visit with adults. On one of the days there, my aunt Peg drove some of us to various cemeteries. I hadn't been in a very long time. My aunt Brenda died almost 8 years ago, so I guess that is how long it has been. I cannot even remember the last time I went just to take time to reflect and share stories. I really enjoyed it.

There is something incredibly beautiful and peaceful about an old country cemetery. Some of the old stones are worn and hard to read. For some reason, I enjoyed walking around and even reading the stones of people from other families. It is so hard to really grasp that someone could be enjoying life today and in the ground next week. It occurred to me that cemeteries are intended to be maintained forever. Our bodies will be in the ground longer than they walked the earth, no matter how old a person is when he/she dies. Nothing can really outlast a dead body. I guess that is why it is so important to us to have a peaceful place to rest those bones.

The house in the photo above was also a stop on our journey. I've been thinking about this place a lot since that weekend. I don't guess you can really call it a house anymore. The sides and the back of the house are completely gone. It is being held up by a tree. This is the house where my mom was born in 1942. And yes, she was actually delivered by a doctor inside this little house. It belonged to her grandparents, my great-grandparents. My mom was the firstborn of 8 kids. Her parents lived in St. Louis and I believe that my grandfather (her dad) was in the military, so her momma came home to Arkansas to be with her parents while she delivered her first baby. This home apparently was a popular hub of many visitors for many years. My mom, being the very first grandbaby, was adored. And this little house at the end of a gravel road, surrounded by God's impeccable beauty, was a haven and a playground for years to come. A few of her siblings have fond memories of this old country house.

I made my way onto the property that day by squeezing through some fence posts that I assume were designed to keep me out. There were orange lily's growing at the front. I observed acres and acres and acres of rolling hills as far as the eye could see. I truly could not get over the beauty of that land and the peacefulness surrounding. Other than the deterioration of the house itself, I imagine that the land and the surroundings can't look all that much different than when my mom was a little girl. I was so jealous in a good way, at the thought of how amazing it must have been a kid at that place back then. I imagined my mom and her other siblings running around that land and getting their little toes dirty. I'm a big fan of dirty toes on tiny feet.

My aunt Peg told me a great story about the last time my family members (without me) visited this old house. I think it was in 2009. They went inside what is left of the house and one of them peeled off a little piece of wallpaper to save as a keepsake. Behind the wallpaper was homemade insulation. I guess they would just collect newspapers and other paper products and compile layers of it on the wall over time for insulation. They found an envelope to my Mama from my Papa when they must have been newlyweds. They are buried together now in the old country cemetery, resting their bones.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What Gaylord Did

My husband was not affected yesterday in the mass layoffs at the hotel. Well, I shouldn't say he wasn't affected, but he did not lose his job. Even I have been greatly affected and I don't even work there. Joe has been employed there for 4 1/2 years. Nearly a year ago he posted for a leadership position at one of the restaurants. I am so thankful that he did that. He has become a very respected part of the leadership team, and for this reason he still has a job.

I saw on the news last night where Gaylord originally made a promise that even though they were destroyed by the flood, that they would keep all of their employees on the payroll. I heard words like "broken promises". It's really sad to me that they are receiving such harsh criticism. Gaylord does put their employees first. It is the core of their business model. They strive to create happy employees with the belief that happy employees will be the platform for exceptional service, leading to happy customers. I have worked for corporations before where employees were more like slaves, not stars.

Did you know that hidden inside that hotel are secret places just for employees? There are game rooms (free) and lounges with TV's. The busiest restaurant in Tennessee is at the hotel, but you wouldn't know it. It is the restaurant for employees only. The meals are very good and they are free. That restaurant is open 24/7. Several times a year the hotel hosts employee events. They put on huge carnivals and picnics for staff and families. We go every year. They also turn ballrooms into movie theaters and host families for a fun evening, with pizza and popcorn. Just recently they took all of the chefs to Arrington Vineyards to celebrate them.

One of the things that I have loved hearing about Gaylord from Joe is about the special needs employees. One of Joe's employees is blind. He also has a couple of employees with mental disabilities. I absolutely love an environment where the physically and mentally challenged are given a fair shot at independence. I love Gaylord for this.

I believe in the beginning when they stated after the flood that they would keep everyone on the payroll, that many people confused this to mean everyone would continue to get paid. Those 2 things are not the same. Remaining on the payroll means continuing to qualify for benefits, etc. With their huge loss of revenue coupled with the vast expense to restore....there is no economical way it makes sense to pay everyone for not working, for 6 months. Right away the employees were told they would be paid through 6/12. 6/12 is 6 weeks beyond the flood. Even though 1,700 people lost their jobs yesterday, I believe they still have 30 more days of income. It is heartbreaking and devastating because jobs are hard to come by these days. And for many of these people it was a double blow, because they lost their homes too.

Joe continues to go to work 5 days per week. He is happy to be shuffled around doing whatever needs to be done. He still manages to feed the employees that are there. He helped in physical clean up. He helps in banquets to carry out catering obligations that were already booked. We are so thankful that they actually need him during this restoration period.

I just hate to see Gaylord criticized for not being able to do what they originally said to the media. The internal work force has known all along that their jobs might end of 6/12. The general public didn't know, but the stars did. Yesterday wasn't a shock to most of them, if even any of them. Even we were mentally and emotionally preparing for a job loss under our roof....because there were never any guarantees.

Gaylord has even reached out into the community and helped many of their employees get other jobs. I believe they are doing everything that they can, and I also believe that they genuinely care.

Yesterday when Joe got home there was a basket that had been delivered to our door. It was a thank you basket from Gaylord for his service and hard work since the flood. They didn't have to do that. He didn't even lose his job. I think they are truly feeling a deep desire to show their appreciation to their valued leaders for their dedication and their adaptation to working in something that is nowhere near normal.

Thank you to all who have been concerned for us. We feel safe now. But I ask that you remember the others in your prayers. A lot of hard working families will be devastated.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lessons From Mrs. Pac Man

When I was a kid in the 80's, I handled the video game craze with a lot of intensity. I'm talking pre-Atari. My neighborhood friends and I used to walk to the local Kwik Sak and play Mrs. Pac Man, Frogger, Centipede, and some of those space ones.

I do not react very well to being chased. I never have. When I was a kid, if someone was chasing me for play, my mind and body together experienced way too much anxiety. Oddly, my experience playing Mrs. Pac Man was no different. The object is for the Pac Man to eat all of the dots on the screen, and avoid getting killed by the 4 ghosts who were chasing it. There were 4 opportunities on each level for the Pac Man to kill the ghosts. My strategy was simple.....eat the dots, forget the ghosts. It sounds fine until the take the score into consideration. You don't score very well if you don't kill the ghosts. You can run forever. You can eat the dots. And you can advance levels. But unless you eat the ghosts, you do all of this with very little reward. This is the run and survive method.

As a kid playing that game, I can remember my friends would stand and watch me and they would scream for me to get the ghosts. They got it. They knew that method would give me a higher score. I still didn't care. I just wanted to survive.

4 weeks ago when Nashville flooded, I bought the Mrs. PacMan app for my iPhone. I am not into video games whatsoever. I did this because I needed something to occupy my mind because my thoughts were toxic. I learned something about myself immediately when I began playing Mrs. PacMan to distract my thoughts. I am no longer running from ghosts just trying to survive. Amen. Now I attempt to precisely move through life, conquer the ghosts, and advance to the greatest treasure that I can possibly accumulate. Sometimes now, I will face that ghost head on, move right toward it, and then cut it off at the pass, in an effort to win extra fruitful treats along the way. Oh, did I not mention the fruit? Mrs. PacMan also has fruit with very high values. Fruit. Fruitful stuff. The fruit only shows up on occasion and it's important to be fruitful to improve your score.

The other thing I learned from my Mrs. PacMan app on my iPhone is that it is all mine. I'm not competing with anyone. I'm just always trying to outdo myself. There is no spirit of competition. I'm just trying to be fruitful.

I wish there were a Donkey Kong app for my iPhone. I did use to enjoy throwing barrels on the heads of the oppressors.