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Monday, February 9, 2015

God's Grace

So many things I could be thinking about. But Gods grace..... It's just amazing. As I sat in church listening to testimony from a sister who's been in the church for decades, I just kept hearing Gods grace. How He changed her, how He made her better, etc. And then it brought me back to this past Thursday when I just had to tell a mom that her two girls are just amazing. I love love love watching them worship and dance and come to the altar, watching them pray for other women. They have even prayed for me. They are such beauties inside and out, and they are so young! But they've already decided that they want God in their life. What grace! And I got to witness that! In fact I've witnessed it 2-3 times a week over the past 5 years. Their mom gave all the glory to God, again, what grace! She took no credit for herself even when I tried to say it starts with an example at home. I know God made that happen but He worked though a willing vessel, her. Now in my life, I am always in awe at what God has done. I used to drink and hang out at clubs and bars. I used to swear like a trucker, I told dirty jokes, laughed at people's misery, even created misery for some people. I was rude, unlady-like, selfish, mean, angry, judgmental, and blamed God and everyone else for all of my mistakes and short comings. I hated people, I picked on people, I belittled people. I never cared who it hurt. But then.....Gods grace. We started going to church and hearing THE TRUTH. Although it was never directed towards me, because how could our pastor know what I was like with us being brand new, the message was always for me. It was constant; repent and be baptized. Every service for weeks this went on. So I spoke to the pastor after service one day and the next week my husband and I were both baptized in the name of Jesus for remission of sin. Just like that, I was given grace. It didn't matter what I did in the past, it didn't matter who I blamed, it didn't matter how many broken promises I made to change if God would just help me through the current situation. None of that mattered. It was all erased. Not just forgiven, but forgotten, gone, it never happened. My favorite line in a song says, "Imagine God whispering in your ear letting you know that everything that has happened, is now....gone!" Every time I hear that, I tear up. It's true, it's gone. Don't think that He doesn't know every single thing you've done in the dark or in secret. He sees everything! But His grace can make it go away, all that pain and hurt. No one and nothing on this earth can make that go away, not a bottle, not a drug, not a good deed. They may help temporarily, but not forever. The devil is always quick to remind us of our past, but we don't live there anymore once we are baptized. He just wants to remind you of who you WERE and tries to make you believe that God hasn't forgotten, but I assure you He has. I've done terrible things in my lifetime. Yet God has blessed my marriage, my children, and my life. I know that I wouldn't be with my husband today if it weren't for grace. My girls, although still wouldn't be as bad as the teens nowadays, definitely wouldn't be where they are. My kids are a living testimony of what God can do. They all are good students, great Christians, just great people. Beautiful inside and out, trustworthy, modest, and they make good choices. I wish I could see my life if I never went to church. God isn't done with me yet. I fail Him daily, but there's that grace I keep mentioning. He knows my heart, He knows when I'm truly sorry for mistakes I make. Don't think that just because you're a Christian and you go to church every week, that you are all set. It's not just somewhere to hang out Sunday's so you can feel good about yourself. You have to want to change, and be sensitive to what you are commanded to do. No one will have the same journey as you, so don't be a judging Christian. Maybe God delivered you from a foul mouth but not your brother or sister in the next row. So what! That's between them and God. He doesn't expect you to come out of the waters of baptism and poof, you're perfect! You just need a willing heart. Willing to change and accept conviction. I know I'm all over the place but that's how my brain works. I also realize that I've started a lot of sentences with "and" or "but", which as a grammar freak, I hate!! I write what's on my heart when it's there. There is no time for editing. I'm not writing for my SATs. 

In closing, I will leave you with a piece of my favorite Kirk Franklin song.....

This song is dedicated to people like me.

Those that struggle with insecurities, acceptance and even self-esteem.
You've never felt good enough, you've never felt pretty enough
But imagine God whispering in your ear letting you know that everything that has happened is now...

...gone, gone, it's gone, all gone

(It's all gone, every sadness)
Gone, gone, it's gone, all gone
(Every mistake, every failure, it's all gone)
Gone, gone, it's gone, all gone
(Depression, gone, bad faith, it's gone)
Gone, gone, it's gone, all gone
(Low self-esteem, Hallelujah, it's gone, it's all gone)
Gone, gone, it's gone, all gone
(It's gone, all my scars, all my pain)
Gone, gone, it's gone, all gone
(It's in the past, it's yesterday, it's all gone, ah)
Gone, gone, it's gone, all gone
(I can't believe it's gone)
(Gone, what you mother did, what your father did, Hallelujah)
Gone, gone, it's gone, all gone
(It's gone)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

I'll Think of A Title Later...Maybe

My mind often wanders throughout the day. Tonight was no exception. While playing my new app obsession "1010!", I started thinking about one question. If I could be better off financially and not have to worry about paying bills etc, would I be happier and would I trade my current life in for that? My heart already knows the answer is no but I wanted to think of WHY I feel that way. I love my husband with everything I have to give. I've never known complete happiness until I knew him. He isn't perfect, and neither am I. Not by a long shot. Trust me, my husband is a saint haha! That's a whole other blog post. My point is, he is perfect to me. I could never give him up. Many times I have thought about if I lost him and it literally makes me cry. Not just teary, I'm talking sobbing, puffy face, can't get it together crying. I don't know what's wrong with me. Actually I do, I'm in love with him. I've been through so much heartache that I can truly appreciate the godly man he is. I don't have enough time in the day to explain everything I love about him. He makes me laugh, he loves me truly for me, I can trust him totally, he's smart, he's handsome, and he is ALWAYS thinking of me and my feelings. He is so unselfish. I just love him very deeply. There's so much more to add to the list but there's no way I could name every reason. Anyways, I tried to think of anyone I consider a thorn in my side or anyone I'm not too fond of, and if they hit the lottery for example, would I really be happy for them, or be angry because they got what I perceive to be an "undeserved blessing". That's a tough question to answer, especially with a particular person. Then I started thinking, they still couldn't possibly have what I have been blessed with. They might have earthly blessings. They may even be continually blessed with things that I feel I deserve more. However, who am I to discount someone else's blessing simply because they got it and I didn't? My treasures are in heaven. There is nothing this world can give me that would make me want to trade places with someone who seems better off than me. A nice car (one that doesn't have constant issues lately), a big house, no bills, no worries, no struggles..... Those are temporary. They are so very temporary. One day I hope to be in heaven with my king. There, I will have my treasures. Nothing on earth will matter. So you see, if someone around you is catching every break there is, while you just can't seem to get ahead, remember that God works in strange ways. He uses things in ways we can NEVER even begin to comprehend. Your blessing is coming. Besides, in reality, if you have a place to sleep that's indoors and away from this bitter cold weather we are having, if you have clothes on your back, if you can open a bible and read it without being murdered, if you having running water nearby, if you are breathing and moving.....be thankful. Those are blessings. I know it's cliché to say "someone is always worse off that you" but it is the truth. You're mad because you got fired? Be thankful that you can even work. You're upset because your hot water heater broke? Be thankful that you even have water, some places in the world have to walk miles daily to get water. You're feeling down because you only have a few outfits to wear? God has given you clothes, period! Be thankful. Does it suck? Yes! That's life. We are all going to die someday and when we do, that fancy car and big house and fat bank account will not matter in the slightest. It won't fit in your coffin, and soon enough, you will be nothing more than rotten flesh and bones. Stop worrying about what everyone else has and take a second to look around you. If you can't name at least 20 blessings of your own, then you really need to look inside yourself and examine your heart. I know I need to take my own advice too. I hope I can try to be more grateful, more often, going forward. I would like to try to see the good in every situation. I guess this post was really for me. With that, I shall save the rest of my mind ramblings for another day.....

Monday, December 15, 2014

Stop picking flowers! And updates

So here it is...2am. And I'm wide awake. Lately I've been wide awake till at least 4am. Starting a new medicine is no fun. Oh silly me, I just remembered my last post was last year so I should probably do an update first. Ok so big changes in the house. Juliana is now 16. Jocelyn is 15. Mariyah is officially a teenager at 13. Michael is 8. We now raise chickens, 5 ladies. Um.... Still working part time at the pet store. Still homeschooling and going to church. Etc etc. Same same. Oh Michael and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary this past July. I love him more than ever. It just keeps growing more and more as the years go on. Which is awesome!
Ok so back to blogging. I was called on to testify this morning in church and I bombed. Ugh. All the time I have these sweet testimonies to give and I'm all pumped about saying them, but I never get called on. So P.A. calls my name and I'm like having a brain fart and can't remember anything cool to say. So I just said what came to mind and that was about having a good place to come to and how much I love spending time with our church family. I'm thankful to have a place where I don't have to worry about what my kids are hearing or being exposed to. How much I trust the people in our church etc etc. NOW, that is all true. Some people may take for granted that their entire family is in church and therefore share the same beliefs and values as you. That's not the case for us. We have NO family in church. None. Not a third cousin. Not a married into the family uncle. Not even a friend from life before church. It's just us. So we have to be careful. I'm not downing my family at all. I am far, so very far, from being perfect. However, I can't pretend there are not times when I just want to avoid certain situations. It's because of my unique situation that I am thankful to be able to have a holy place to let my kids be free in. No judgement. No swearing. No sex talk. Etc.
Now what I really wanted to testify and say is this: the other week, my son wanted to get his sisters some flowers from the grocery store. He is usually just downright a brat to them so I jump at the chance to have him show love to them. He picked out 3 carnations and gave them to the girls when we got home. They thought it was so sweet. Few days later he asked me why they always die. -side note: I never am able to come up with witty comparisons or metaphors relating one thing to God so this next part I'm really pumped about- OK, so I tell him it's bc once u remove the flower from the plant it is no longer fed by the root. You can put plant food and give it clean water and it will live for a little while but eventually, those things are not enough and in the end it will die. So then I said it's just like church. The church is the roots. The members are each a separate root. Coming together and growing together is how we, as the flower, stay alive. Sure some roots are longer than others, stronger than others and feed the plant more but they all contribute to keeping the flower alive. If that flower or person is cut from the plant or decides to leave, they will eventually die (in their spirit). Yes they can get nourishment from other places like TV evangelists, radio programs, books, etc. Just as the plant can be kept alive by water and plant food. But it's not enough to sustain you. You need your church, the preaching, the fellowship, the ministries, the small groups and so on. Those are your roots. I could go on and on about how a flowers growth compares to our life in Christ. Even to say, what do you do with dead flowers someone bought you? You throw them in the trash and never think of them again. But flowers who die on the plant because they are old or their time is up-they are done blooming. They fall of the plant and fertilize the ground so new plants can grow even stronger. Like the people in the church. One flower or members contributions lead the way for stronger future generations of flowers. Hopefully that makes sense. It makes sense in my head lol! Well that is all. I was hoping some screen time would put me to sleep but no luck. 4am here I come! Eventually my body will get used to it and I can sleep normally but adjustments must be made to find the right solution.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Clean up, clean up, every teen and every tween!

Oh my goodness. I can't take it anymore. These girls' rooms are so gross, I can't believe there are people living and sleeping in there. 
I seriously went to wake them up once and because of the immense stuff in their bed, I thought they were in there but they weren't! They slept in another room. Probably because they couldn't get to their bed. I'm not saying my room doesn't have the occasional bad day. OK! FINE! Bad week....MONTH! However, my room has NEVER looked like that, even when I was a kid. It's quite scary. 

I do not know how to get them to keep it clean. I've tried allowances, yelling, punishing, stickers, rewards, applause, ignoring, laughing, helping and anything else you can think of. I even cleaned it once myself. Took me 10 hours!! No lie! 5 garbage bags later, their room was spotless. I don't know why they can't keep it clean. 
(Is this what it's like in heaven?)

*sigh*......Suggestions welcome. I'm on my last idea: only allowing a bed, dresser and one rubbermaid tote each. If it doesn't fit, you must toss it. Today, they are stuck cleaning until it is clutter and garbage free. I know it's so mean, but what other options do I have??? They have to learn to keep a clean room or they will end up on an episode of hoarders!

PS: These pictures are the closest thing I could find to what their ACTUAL room looks like. These are still cleaner LOL!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

This Is Me. Raw & Uncut.

Ok. I am freely going to admit some things here and I'm doing it simply because I'm human. I am simply flesh and I need help with this. I am sending out a caution now~there may be some harsh things said here and it may not be very christian. Though I will try to keep it as nice as I can stand. 

So, its no shock that my unwedded relationship with Mariyah's dad, didn't end like a fairy tale. I had a child with someone even though our relationship was not stable. I was stupid, I thought a baby would fix it...WRONG. Ladies, as sure as I am writing this, please trust me when I tell you, babies are not band-aids. *sigh* Moving on. My daughter is 11 years old and I have 7 years left before I can start phasing out her father. Not that I want her to grow anytime soon. I know that he will always be a part of my life but once she is 18, there will be no need for all the court drama and nasty text messages he sends. No need for the constant fighting between us because we have completely opposite parenting styles. I can't even begin to explain how opposite. There's a reason I have sole custody. I'll give you some examples of what I'm working with. Flash back to when Mariyah is just a few months old. She has a high fever and she is coughing. Her dad, we will call him DJC, feels the best way to care for her is to put her in a turtle neck. He is literally yelling at me because I will not tell him where to find one in her dresser. He claims that the turtle neck will warm up her throat and help to stop the coughing. Now, my opinion, um hello!! She has a high fever, I think she's pretty warm all over, I'm DEFINITELY not putting her in any clothes whatsoever. Granted, we were both very young, 19 & 20. But I'm no idiot! Flash forward to last month. DJC takes Mariyah sledding....in the dark... at a park that although it has awesome sledding hills, also has lots of trees. She hits one of the trees, fracturing her elbow and hitting her back really hard. My first reaction is the hospital, I don't care if she's in pain or not, she hit a tree! His reaction is "Let's go to Tops and get a hot pack for her." Are you kidding??? So you can see his logic is a bit off. I'll blame it on his upbringing and leave it at that. Currently, I filed court papers to ask him to agree to change a visitation day so that Mariyah can attend church with us. He filed a cross petition asking the court to force me to allow Mariyah to have an iPhone (that he already bought her) with her at all times so he can contact her whenever he wants. He can easily call my phone and talk to her whenever unless we are eating, doing schoolwork or something else along those lines. I do not want my kids hooked to technology 24/7 and thinking its ok to communicate that way. There certainly is no reason for an 11 yr old to have a cell phone contract. There have been several issues in the past where technological devices that he has purchased for her have become problems. Once the police were even called on me because I punished her from it. Yes, the police came to my house demanding I give back the iPod. I angrily handed it to the officer and said "You can tell him I do not want it sent back to my house ever again!! And I'm sorry he wasted your time." I feel like I'm dealing with a child all the time. I can't take it. Even today, I allowed Mariyah to go over his house early and stay late because I had to work. He has her text me to see if she can stay another 3 hours. I say no and instead offer to let her stay another half hour. He hadn't fed her dinner yet so that's why he wanted her to stay longer. You had her ALL day and you can't feed her dinner?! Ugh!! So I stand firm on only allowing another half hour. He sends me a text which is too explicit to repeat. The gist of it is him calling me the "B" word, telling me to shut up and saying "FU". Normally he also calls me selfish among a host of other insults. Now, in trying to be christian, my husband has tried his VERY BEST not to murder him. Although, when a man (or someone who is supposed to be one) is constantly verbally abusing your wife and insulting/disrespecting her, it's hard to stay out of it. Somedays, I wish he would just punch him in his face so hard. But I know DJC, he will call the police and my husband will go to jail, which will be very embarrassing to explain to my pastor. However, it would ensure that my husband would get full body massages everyday for the rest of his life. Such a toss up... I know we are taught to love everyone especially our enemies. I feel like every conversation with him is a test and I fail every. single. time. I can't help but defend myself and fight back and say mean nasty things to him to make him feel bad because he angers me so much. I can't help it! I'm weak. And I'm in no way proud of how I make him feel. He's 32, homeless and living between his mom and sister's house. Never been able to make it on his own. No job. Collecting unemployment for the past 2 years while working under the table DJ'ing. He has two kids he barely supports. No future plan for life. 8th grade education. He's not very bright. He makes it so easy to hit him where it hurts. And I know it's wrong, because I'm sure that he tries to make me mad simply because I have a better life than he does. (I don't mean that as horribly stuck up as it sounds.) We split up and he thought I couldn't stand on my own two feet without him. I own a house, I get to stay home with my kids, I have an amazing church, an amazing husband, a family. I am blessed. He doesn't have any of those things and I'm sure he knows that he should have more to show for himself by now. He hurt me a lot when we were together. He belittled me, he abused me mentally,verbally and physically. He cheated numerous times and made me believe it was my fault. He ruined my heart and any chance to trust a man ever again. I had less than zero self esteem when we broke up. I lost my best friend and my family because of him. More importantly, I lost who I was because of him. I say that I forgive him for all of that and I want to believe it. I've told him that I forgive him. I WANT to forgive him but, I can't help but relive every moment of pain when he talks to me the same way he talked to me when we were together. I want to fight with him and say things to him that I should've said a long time ago. I want to talk to him the way he talked to me. I want to make him feel as small and unimportant and stupid as he made me feel. I want him to cry his eyes out for hours like I did. I want his heart to be so broken by the words I say to him that, he can't even feel pain anymore. That being said, I am trying so hard to grow spiritually and I am held back because of the anger I have towards him. I can push people away who hurt me and I can stop talking to family members who are hindering my growth. But I have no choice in dealing with DJC. I have to. I've come a VERY long way. I asked for prayer at church and I was doing so good for a really long time. I wouldn't respond to any text messages that included insults or curse words, that was pretty much every text he sent me. Our communication, was on an as needed basis only. We were doing well compromising when it came to Mariyah. I don't know what happened, he just flipped a switch and today started all the drama again. I realize now that it's hopeless. We will never get along. We can't work together. I am so thankful that God helped me to leave that situation and never look back. I will never forget the day I left him for good. We were in another argument and he was talking to me like I was nothing to him. I simply asked him if he ever planned to treat me right. He said, "No. Why should I? You don't deserve it." So I responded with, "Then you don't deserve me." With that, I walked away from him. It was the most ballsy thing I ever said to him. I was so proud of myself. After that, I went crazy. By crazy, I mean I did EVERYTHING that he hated. I cut my hair, I got a tattoo (a stupid one) and I went out to the club with my bff and got drunk~a lot. I'm not proud of the drinking or being drunk. Did we have fun, yes. Did we make some great memories/stories, yes. Do I regret it, no. I can't regret any decision I have ever made because it made me who I am now. Stronger, smarter and more me. It's also how I met my husband. Yes folks, we didn't meet at church or at a youth rally. I wish our story was that PG. We met at a bar, both drunk, both dancing a little too sinfully, both fresh out of a bad long term relationship, both with kids sleeping at gramma's, both with a broken heart and no ability to trust. And ya know what? God made something beautiful out of it. We are married, and we have a strong trusting marriage that involves God and a lot of praying from church family members. I couldn't ask for a better husband. He really is my best friend and I really trust him. More than I have ever trusted anyone including myself. He knows me and all my faults. He has seen me down right certifiably crazy and he still loves me. He has seen me scream I hate you and still loves me. He has seen me skinny, fat, a mess, beautiful, sloppy, neat, crying, laughing, sweating, and first thing in the morning and he still loves me. He held my hand and had my back through the long, difficult delivery of our son. He never left my side and advocated for me when I was unable to. He took my daughter in as his own and loved her despite the problems her dad causes. My family loves him simply because he loves me and he shows it by taking care of me and our kids at any cost. He serves our family like a MAN should. I know my dad appreciates that. He doesn't worry about me because he knows Michael is taking care of me. I've gone way off topic and I'm sorry but my husband is a miracle in my life and I can't help but brag even though he does drive me insane sometimes like when he makes us late for a party with our family from church. He almost lost an eye that night! Anyways, just pray for me if you pray and ask God to help me REALLY forgive DJC so I can move on, and also that God will give me the strength to ignore his nasty text messages. 

My apologies if this was too raw for you but I hold nothing back. I have nothing to hide. This is me. My past has made me who I am and my present is shaping my future. My struggles are what they are and they are real. I'm not perfect, I can't even pretend to be. I'm just another pentecostal woman trying to get to heaven...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Power of a Praying Son

   So.... Its been a really long time since I've written a new blog. Not that I haven't had ideas stirring in my head and said to myself, "Self, you should totally blog about that!"
   Anyways, I wanted to share the SWEETEST story about my son. After school the other day, Michael's teacher called me. She wanted to share with me what happened in class that day. During the morning, Michael raised his hand and shared with his teacher what happened to his sister Mariyah. She was sledding and hit a tree, so she fractured her elbow. They talked about how scared mom & dad must've been and how sad Mariyah probably was. Then, he asked his teacher if she would pray for Mariyah to get better. She said she was so honored that he would ask her to pray and that it was so nice of him to think of his sister. She told him of course she would! So later on in the day, his teacher was reading poems and stories to the kids and Michael raised his hand again. This time he asked, "Are we gonna pray for my sister now?" You see, when we go to church and someone asks for prayer, we pray for them right there. Sometimes, we wait and pray all together for that person depending on the nature of the prayer needed. Michael must have assumed she was going to have the class pray together. Sadly, she had to explain that she couldn't lead the class in prayer but that she herself will pray for Mariyah tonight. She also asked the other kids, if any of them were praying people, could they pray for Mariyah too. We really have been blessed with Michael's teacher this year. She is just awesome and I'm so ecstatic that she isn't afraid to say words like "God" and "prayer" in the middle of class. I really wish he could have her every year. She is just an awesome, very caring teacher and she's so sensitive to the needs of each and every kid in her class.  
   What an awesome kid I have! This is one of those moments where you realize that even after all the tears and time-outs, our kids are really great little people and they DO listen. We must be doing SOMETHING right. After I hung up with her, I gave my son the biggest hug and kiss and told him how thoughtful and kind it was for him to think of his big sister. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Move Over Betty Crocker!

Sooo... I've become a bit obsessed with trying recipes on Pinterest. I always see all these yummy pictures of food and wonder if they taste as good as the picture makes them look. I have tried many, many recipes posted on Pinterest and I know personally, I'd love to know if someone had actually tried it and how it came out so i decided to do just that! I know....brilliant right!? You're welcome :) I'm new-ish to the world of cooking so I like to try new stuff out. The kids and hubby seem to enjoy my culinary skills and I haven't killed anyone or made them sick....yet!

For my first recipe: homemade sugar donuts.

This recipe has the simplest ingredients ever!
-1 can of Pillsbury Grands homestyle buttermilk
-vegetable oil or whatever you prefer
-medicine cup (trust me)
-brown paper bag (or something to drain them on)

Start by flattening out the biscuits. Using the medicine cup, cut out the middle of each biscuit and save that tiny piece. Put sugar in a bowl big enough to fit your donuts. Warm up the oil and once it's ready, you can begin placing the donuts in the frying pan. Mine fit 4 at once. Don't crowd them. You can also sneak in the little middle parts around the donuts. Once they are golden brown on the bottom, use tongs to flip them to the other side.

When they are finished cooking on both sides, take them out and set them on the brown paper bag for just a few seconds to cool. They only need to be cool enough to touch. Place the donuts or donut middles in the bowl of sugar one at a time and flip to coat completely. You can also shake them in a lunch bag of sugar too, but we didn't have any so I improvised with the bowl idea. Enjoy immediately!

If you happen to have any leftover, you can store them in an airtight container and they will stay soft. I hid/saved some just to see how they would be overnight, but if the kids had their way, it would still be a mystery... They were super duper delicious fresh out of the sugar!! I was concerned they would taste just like a regular biscuit, but we couldn't taste the difference. In my opinion, they tasted more like sugary biscuits THE NEXT DAY.