Category Archives: family

Almost A Half Century

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I’m 4 months away from 50. In my own head, I’m still thirty-something. However, reality slaps me in the face when I look in the mirror. I see things that I didn’t see a few years back. It seems there has been a crow dancing around my eyes. Lines are beginning to form on my once firm face. The pigment in my hair has completely disappeared and my body thermometer has blown a fuse, but I am not complaining!

Turning 50 will be great! It will be a testimony of the many lessons I have learned and been able to teach. Every line on my face is just part of God’s artwork. My Silver hair, a representation of time, struggle, transition and wisdom. Every hot flash; a reminder that the fire of God burns within me. You see, I have decided that this year is and will be a very important year in my life; not because I will be a half century old (wow) but because I have had a half century of life lessons and experiences. I have so much to share!

My life has not been perfect but it has been wonderful! Wonderful because I am very blessed! I’m blessed to have a wonderful husband and great children! I’m blessed because the Lord faithfully continues to teach me and lead me! I’m blessed because, I have finally gotten revelation of how important it is for me to love myself! “Why?” You wonder. Well, because if I don’t love myself, then I can’t love God. God is love and He dwells inside of me. I’ve also learned that true love is always honest and sometimes it brings correction which can sometimes be painful! I refuse to be afraid of the pain because, as they say, “no pain, no gain!” So, as I prepare to “live it up” right in and through 50, I offer you this:

Love the Lord and love yourself! Focus on all the wonderfully positive things about you! Look at yourself in the mirror daily and say, “God made you very special and today I am going to take good care of you!” Now, go and make every moment count! Today is a great day!

 

 

 

 

There is No Cloud!

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There is No Cloud!

I find such peace and solace when I look at the sky. I love to capture the beauty of it on my cellphone camera. I am not a professional photographer, by any means. However, I would really enjoy spending a part of my day pretending that I am professional (Does a professional use a cellphone?).

It just seems that when I look up, I see artwork. I  see pictures in the clouds, the hues of the light, the sunbeams, the brightness of the moon against the night and the twinkling of the stars make up a story. Each story speaks to me. It ministers to the deepest parts of my heart.

On the day I took this picture, the sun was peeking out from behind the cloud. It reminded me that no matter how dark things may seem to be, all it takes is a little light to brighten things up. Jesus is the light of my life. Although, there may be times that I feel like darkness is trying to overtake me, Holy Spirit always reminds me that He is with me and then, I can see the light peeking out through my situation.

There is no cloud (problem, situation, etc.) that can keep the light (Jesus) out!

An Instrument

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I am an instrument

not made of silver or gold.

I am an instrument

not made of wood or brass.

I am an instrument

not for hands to hold and strum.

I am an instrument

not for man to bang or blow.

I am an instrument

with a unique sound of my own.

I am an instrument

with a voice and a tone.

I am an instrument

 like the sun, my worship

does rise.

I am an instrument

to be enjoyed by the Lord.

It suddenly hit me. Revelation. The depths of my praise. The heights of my worship. Not just words but, life. Every note, every sound, every phrase. All of it. My praise and my worship opens the shut doors. My praise and my worship, create windows in the heavens for blessings to pour down. As I surrender my song to Abba, He stands up from His throne. He smiles. He dances over me like the waves dance in the sea. He responds with a song. A song just for me. The Words are not heard but felt like rain upon my face or a kiss on my cheek. He covers me in peace that surpasses all understanding. He answers my questions and calms my fears. His love is unstoppable and unending. forever more I will sing my song of praise. My worship will never stop. I am an instrument to be played for Him.

 

 

A Powerful Marriage

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A couple of weeks ago, at bible study, My husband (pastor Eric) and I  had everyone sit in a circle. It was our way of making everyone feel part of what we were about to discuss; marriage. It seems, lately, that we are having more and more married couples complaining about their relationships. The problem seems to be, that too many couples have lost sight of how much work we are actually supposed to put into our marital relationships in order to make it the marriage that God intended.
 
Eric and I have been married for 27 years. We were both young when we married. I was 19 and he was 21. We started having children immediately and quickly realized, that our “feelings” for one another was not enough to get us through all the hardships we were going to endure. If it had not been for our desire to please God and our love for Him, we would not have come this far. I could pretty much guarantee that we would have divorced more than 20 years ago.

Death Brings Gratitude

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Buzzzzz, buzzzzzz, my phone was vibrating and woke me out of a deep sleep. I didn’t recognize the number so, I ignored it. Buzzzz, buzzzz, it vibrated again so I answered. What I heard next, forever changed my life!!!

I was still shaky with sleep and my voice took a second to actually come out. “Hello” was all I could whisper. “My husband is dead”, was the response on the other end of my hello. There was no more sleepiness left in me. “What? Who is this?”  I asked half knowing who it was and hoping to be wrong. ” did you hear me? This is your daughter. My husband passed away!”

The details of that conversation will be seared into my brain forever. My daughter, a newlywed, is now a widow at 26 years old. Her husband, 24 was dead. Her father and I in Miami and she was thousands of miles away in Afghanistan, serving our country with the US Army. Her husband, also a soldier, found dead in their backyard in North Carolina. My mind immediately races with a million thoughts. I was taken back to the past, a place that seemed like yesterday. her as a baby. the image of how I would hold her close and she would snuggle into my neck until she fell asleep. Being able to comfort her was all I wanted to do. I had no answers for her “why’s?” No explanation for the situation. All I knew was, her pain was cutting much deeper than any knife could and it seemed, I could physically feel what she was feeling. It had to be the spiritual connection between a mother and her child.

The Army did a great job of getting her on the first plane out of Afghanistan. However, while she was in the air, we were having church service and letting everyone know we would be gone for as long as Rahjanni needed us.There was absolutely no way that we would not be in North Carolina when she landed. I needed to be with her and she needed us.

The travel time to North Carolina felt so long. Eric and I were unable to get seats together and my emotions were on a roller-coaster. I decided to pay for Internet access in order to stay in contact with Rahjanni. Unfortunately, she got stuck in Germany while we were in flight and the only contact between us was through Facebook. I didn’t need to hear her voice audibly or see her face. I knew her face was covered in tears and her eyes were swollen from crying and lack of sleep. I kept seeing myself holding her close and reassuring her that she would come out of this a much stronger person.

Well, needless to say, it has been 3 months since Chris died. Things didn’t go exactly as I imagined them. Rahjanni, is unbelievably strong. Her faith in The Lord, was her strong tower. She didn’t lose control or sight of reality at any point.  Like any woman who lost her husband, she had her moments of sobbing and questioning. However, she always pulled herself together. At times it even left me feeling unneeded. I wanted to be the coddling mother, but that wasn’t what she needed. I wanted to lay in bed with her and hold her close. That wasn’t what she needed. All she needed was our love and to know we were there for her.

She  took some time off to grieve. Not as much time as some may have expected, but exactly what she needed. “I need normalcy in my life.” “I want to get back to work.” Is what she told us. There are those that would have taken months, even years of grieving and drowning in sorrow. Not Rahjanni. She made a conscious decision to move on with her life. “Chris, will be the best memory I’ll ever have.” She told me. And what a memory it will be! Not just her memory but our memory. The memories we established while he was alive as well as in his death. The lessons, the love, the laughs and the tears will forever be part of our lives.

Losing someone you love is never easy but, losing someone you love that is young and healthy, is so much harder. The details of his death left everyone with unanswered questions but, even in his death, we all knew that he loved Rahjanni and wanted the very best for her. Knowing that, has helped to comfort me.  Rahjanni, will always have the love they shared between them to remember. Even  when she falls in love again one day, his memory won’t fade away.

As for me, I can’t change what happen to Chris but I can be more appreciative and thankful for each day I have. I can love harder and give praise to The Lord daily for all my blessings. For everyday that I open my eyes and hear my husband’s and children’s voices, I am grateful. For every breath I take, every sunset I see, every fresh breeze I feel, every good and bad day…..I am grateful!

I’m ALIVE!!!!!!

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Over the 26  years that I have been serving The Lord, I must say, they have not always been easy. The hardest thing for me was waiting on Him. I, like so many, wanted the answers NOW! Tomorrow was too long! Of course, that is not the way our Lord does things. Everything is on His time and His way! Although I could preach that to the masses, I found it difficult to accept it for myself. There were times that I would give The Lord direction on HOW He should do what I wanted. Imagine that! There I am, before The Lord’s throne:
           “Hello Abba! As you know, I am in                  need of a financial miracle (etc.). Since you are my provider and the owner of the cattle upon a thousand hills (psalms 50:10), surely, You can afford to bless me with a portion”. “I know that You don’t want me stressing over bills and That You expect the best from me but, my clothes haven’t been the best lately. What if something happens? I don’t have “extra” for emergencies. I know gambling is out of the question but maybe tomorrow when I go for my walk, you can put the winning lottery ticket on the grass somewhere That I can see it and no one else. Thank you, Lord! Now I will go to sleep and believe that I’ll have it MY WAY.”
 
As you probably have guessed, things never really went the way I planned. You see, I was being taught a powerful lesson; God is in CONTROL!
During the process of this lesson, I received many spiritual bumps and bruises. I had to work out my salvation, daily, with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). Every hard day was an opportunity to speak to my flesh and to proclaim to my Lord; “flesh, in you lays no truth! Lord, no matter how this may look or feel, I place my trust in You. You hold the outcome to my situation in your hands!  I choose to believe that the best is yet to come!” Well, as you can imagine, my words were always tested. Like a fitness fanatic, I had to pump the weights of faith. Sometimes they felt heavier than others. Some days, I woke up feeling like I didn’t want to get out of bed to workout. However,  just like in the physical, I had to overlook the fleshly feelings and push myself to do what I knew would be the best. As time passed, I found that it became easier to trust. My faith became stronger day by day. My spiritual eyes were beginning to see with clarity and my spiritual ears were beginning to hear the “still small voice” of The Lord without having to strain. Now, when the answer comes, I am well prepared to handle it the way that I am expected to.
 
My hubby and I have been in ministry since 1990. First serving as youth pastors and then being called to pastor a church. My husband/Pastor always worked two jobs while pastoring. He included The Lord in every thing he did and in every decision he made. For many years he prayed for full-time ministry. Being the man of God that he is, he wanted to be sure that his family was well provided for. Of course, he always knew that The Lord would make a way so that one day he could let go of his secular job to work the ministry full-time. Even with knowing, there were days that he would say, “When, Lord”? Not because he was losing faith but because his physical body was getting weary. He held on and trusted. Now, After 14 years, on January 8th, 2013, he is finally retired from his job at the school board! The Lord opened the door and said, “Time to take a step of faith and leave the school”. Since that point, it seems that Abba has been proving himself tremendously, especially to me.
 
Many people have asked me if I am worried because Eric (my husband) is no longer going to be getting paid by the school board? I honestly respond, “no”. Maybe a few years ago, I would have been completely stressed out about it. O would have been trying to figure out what I was going to do to bring in money. i would have been doing inventory of everything in my home, to see what i could sell and for how much. These days, I’ m actually excited about see 
How The Lord is going to take care of us. Now, we are completely dependent on Him alone. It took me so many years to finally accept that my way is not the right way! I have truly laid myself and my life before The Lord, NOW I am I truly ALIVE!

 

 

Even GOODER!

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I haven’t written in quite a while. Not because there have not been things to write about but, because I allowed myself to get distracted by a lot of nothing. Of course, I have been busy with everyday activities; husband, children, chores, errands, etc. However, I’m back and I pray I have not lost your dedicated reading.

I do have something I’d like to share with you. On December 24th, my husband and I, along with our three youngest children, took a trip to New York to spend Christmas with my Father, Stepmom, sisters and their families. Our oldest son, his wife and toddler also went however, they stayed elsewhere. Unfortunately, our eldest child (daughter) was unable to be with us because she is serving our country and currently in Afghanistan. This was a trip we always wanted to take but, as you can imagine, can be very costly. We gave the children a choice of receiving gifts under a christmas tree or the trip. They chose the trip.

Our seven day family trip was very good. We stayed at my Father (Papi) and Stepmom’s (Ivy) 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment. It sounds crazy but you don’t know Ivy. She is one of those women that knows how to use her space wisely. She is organized and extremely hospitable. She turned two bedrooms into 4. No, she didn’t use magic. She used love. Her and Papi gave up their bedroom with a queen size bed for Hubby and I. She made a very comfy pallet on the floor with a twin size cot, sleeping bag, quilt, down comforter, and pillow for our son. They Have two queen size air-mattresses. One mattress was blown up and placed in the living room, that’s where they slept. I tried to convince them to give us the air mattress but, they insisted. “This is more comfortable than our bed.” They claimed. The second air mattress was placed in the dining area for our two younger daughters. Ivy covered them with a fitted sheet, a down comforter to add additional comfort and a down comforter to cover up with. My sister, who lives at home, had her room. Everyone was nice and cozy! Although there was only one bathroom and eight people, we some how managed to schedule our bathroom use perfectly. In the mornings, beds were made, mattresses deflated and put away, comforters, etc. put in their place and furniture placed back in its perfect spot. Ivy, being the ‘Hostess with the Mostest’, Always had breakfast, lunch and dinner waiting for us. She always had a spread at the back of the dining area with cookies, crackers, fruit cake, cheese, hard salami and anything else that served as a quick snack or dessert. Let me not forget her wonderful coffee. It almost felt like we were staying in a Bed and Breakfast but with so much more personal care and comfort. The Bathroom was stocked with several different types of soap; bar soaps, liquid moisturizing soaps, exfoliating soap, face soap and anti-bacterial hand soap. “My face feels dry”. “Here, I have a face cream for you”. She would respond. “My Lips are chapped”. “Here is a lip balm”, As she handed it to me. What more could I ask for?

I loved watching Papi and my husband Eric, spend time laughing and talking about anything and everything. Everything felt so stress free. We laughed a lot, we ate a lot and we walked a lot. If you know anything about New York City, you know that it involves a lot of walking. Of course, I am not complaining because I’m sure it helped to burn some of the extra calories off. My younger sisters spent as much time as they possibly could with us and our personal tour guide was my brother-in-law, Sandra’s husband Gregg. Wow! He had so much patience with us. He drove us around, he took us by train, by bus and on foot. Whatever we wanted to do, he never complained! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Gregg! My other sister, Karen and her husband George, had us over for a winter BBQ. Yes, you read correctly….a winter BBQ. Apparently, my brother-in-law George is a fan of frozen fingers, a runny nose and smoke in his face but his food was great! Thanks George for battling the wind and cold to feed our bellies! Karen, was so busy making sure everything was okay, that I had to remind her to take a break and relax with us. We took some pictures with Papi and Ivy. We took some sister pics and some silly ones, too. Every moment that we were there was filled with family, good conversation and lots of love.

My very favorite part of the trip was the opportunity that The Lord gave us to have a bible study. Ivy asked Eric (Hubby) if he could please hold a study on Friday with the entire family. Of course, he did not hesitate to say, YES. It was an answer to my prayer. I asked The Lord to open a door for us to share His Word with them. I wanted it to be the perfect situation so they wouldn’t feel pressured. I wanted them to WANT to hear. Apparently, they were all touched by what what Eric taught because, my sister Karen asked if he would be willing to do another study the next evening at her house. YES! Lord, you are so good! No, your better than good, You are GOODER!! not only did he open the door once but twice for a bible study. My sisters all agreed that it was time to have The Lord in their lives and my brother-in-laws also felt the same. Even my Nephews and niece seemed eager to hear.

Since returning to Sunny and warm, Miami, Florida, I have received text messages from my sisters. They are excited about the door that was opened to them. They are eager to find a good church and begin their lives with God in it. Knowing that, made my vacation even more worth while. It made it GOODER!