An Open Apology To Dolly Parton 

I thought this was truly amazing of Amy Rawe..

Rawe-struck

Dear Dolly,

10040291_300x300I’ll be honest. I used to think you were a bimbo. I used to think you flaunted your big boobs, teased hair, tiny waist, and your syrupy-sweet southern accent to sell yourself and your brand as a country singer. Granted, I was raised in the Midwest and lived as an adult for many years in the Northeast. I didn’t get you, much less the South.

For example, I’d heard about your origins as a poor girl from the hills of East Tennessee, and when I learned you’d created a theme park in your native Sevier County I rolled my eyes. “Really, a theme park?” I thought. “As if rollercoasters will really help the people of rural Appalachia. Why not create something truly useful to give back to your community, like a library.”

Oh.

You have created a library, actually, and possibly in a bigger and more magical…

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Cheating on GOD?

Our church has been fasting since earlier this week. We have been doing the Daniel fast, which has been somewhat difficult as I am in my final month of my pregnancy. I have been fasting for change, understanding, guidance, financial help, restoration, healing but mostly for God to intercede in a lot of things going on within our lives right now as a family. During my fast, I felt that something was telling me to read the book of “Jeremiah”, which I wouldn’t normally read because I am a “new testament” type of gal. But I thought I would give it a try anyways. I just never realized how many “ouch” moments I would have while reading this book. I will explain……

In Jeremiah, God basically sends Jeremiah with messages to Jerusalem, warning them about the ways they have been living.

God starts off by reminding Jerusalem of how she used to act like a bride that was so in love with her groom (God) as she devoted herself to him. Totally in Love, zealous after God, thought of him all the time. Even followed her groom (God) into the wilderness, in a land not yet created or discovered that her groom prepared for his bride. You know? Like how a regular person is when they fall in love and get married. They would follow that person to the ends of the earth if they could. That is how the relationship was with God and Jerusalem, anyone that defiled their people, was punished by God. But somehow, Jerusalem stopped loving God. God then asks them what he did so wrong that Jerusalem started pursuing worthless Gods that basically made their people worthless themselves. Losing their identity and their worth in worshipping those idles. They forgot about the God who delivered them from captivity in Egypt and gave them a land of their own. The same God that guided them and led them through the wilderness full of deserts, pits, droughts and deep darkness. Instead, they were brought to the land that God promised them, just for them to defile it and turned Gods inheritance to them an abomination. Wouldn’t you be hurt if you committed your life to being with someone, picking them up from being a nobody and helping them in every way to rebuild them and putting all the love you have into them, just for them to cheat on you? Or start worshipping someone else that seems as if they’re better than you, but really they end up humiliating them and making them look stupid? Because in the end, the person they started worshipping and putting time and effort into never came through for them or helped them in times of need? Does that make sense? I’d be LIVID! GOD gave these people an identity of their own and helped them be free from what held them captive. They forgot about him and started cheating on him with worthless idols.

But that’s what Gods basically telling them. How they committed TWO MAJOR EVILS:

  1. They forgot about God and forsake him
  2. They quenched their thirst and desires with things that would never satisfy it.

Through this, I actually started feeling guilty. In a way, I have been super ungrateful towards God. I have been so busy with my own agendas and my own needs that I never stopped to even thank God or even think about what he needs. I have been making work, school and my family my idols and just been concentrating on how to make things good in those aspects that I forgot about where God has brought me out of. Even started running out of things to thank God for during prayer, when there is so much to be thankful for. I always pray for new miracles not seeing the miracles he has already given me. Reading this reminded me so much of when I first got saved and how so in love with God i was. I remember I stayed up late nights reading his word, super excited about everything I was learning about God. I never wanted to miss church because I could not wait to see what message he had for me. Fasting was even easy for me too, because I was that hungry to know more about this new person in my life. As a Christian for so many years now, I’ve become so accustomed to being saved that I stopped pursuing God because I felt like I knew enough about him. I stopped trying to learn things about him. I forgot everything we’ve been through together and everything he has brought me through. I never thought God notices these things until I read this. I mean of course he has feelings too but I always made the excuse of “Oh God will understand, I mean he is a loving, kind and forgiving God, right?”. Little did I know, I was hurting him…. This was his way of telling me how he was feeling and me finally listening!

Its like being in a marriage. When i first committed my life to him, I was head over heals. Now that we’ve been married for so long, I stopped trying to learn new things about him. I stopped trying to please him and learning things that would make him happy because I felt so comfortable with him being in my life that I never imagined he would ever leave. Just an FYI, I am still talking about God LOL. But like in a marriage, you should always make your groom feel loved and wanted. Cheating on your spouse by praising and wanting other grooms, it would devastate God. I know I needed this reminder, I hope this helped you as well.

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Im torn… FAITH > Reality

The past few months, I have been preparing to go on maternity leave & possibly leaving my job after I return from leave. Mostly because of my kids needing me home more, to concentrate more on school, and to invest more into my walk in Christ and be more involved in ministry somehow. I feel as if Gods tugging at my heart that its ok to leave my job. Of course he would not want me to be broke and to struggle, but I feel like he would hope that helps push my faith to learn to depend on him more. I have to be honest, ever since both my husband and I started working, we stopped depending on God as much and just depending on our jobs to always provide. It caused us to lean on God less and more on our own understanding of our jobs and our own strength. Dont get me wrong, we were thankful and thanked God all the time, but sometimes its not enough. 

Seeing that we were secured financially, we didnt need our faith much. We didnt have to exercise our faith as much anymore. Now? I hate to admit it, but our faith and trusting abilities in God arent as strong because we havent had to utilize them. Its crazy isnt it? How we pray so much for God to deliver us and to help us with certain things, and then he does it for us, but we are so caught up in enjoying the fruits of our prayers and labor that we start to forget how to seek out God?! Or just get so distracted that we forget God in general or that we even need him anymore? 

A few months ago, I remember asking God, “Dad, please teach us to be faithful with the little that we do have, to be content with what we have and to TRUST you more! Help us learn how to trust you again”… Boy, he is DEFINITELY answering my prayers. We only have a FEW bills such as rent, car payment, electricity, and credit card payment. Those bills only take up HALF of our checks combined in our first check. We get paid A LOT for two people in the same house hold. I mean we could afford a house if we lived in a house. But for some reason, even after paying our tithing, we somehow always end up with not that much left in our account to last us. Causing us to live check to check, which should NOT be the case for as much as we get paid compared to how much our bills are. Another way God is teaching us? We are getting ready to move to a BIGGER apartment for our kids to have their own space and since our family is growing. With me deciding to leave my job knowing that were moving into a bigger place and that my husband will be the only income for our home. I worry about how were going to be able to do it! I mean I know we can do it but we will have to sacrifice A LOT of the things weve become acustomed to like eating out, shopping, and just spending it on anything we wanted. Its a scary feeling! The uncertainty and not knowing completely. I guess thats the point, right? God wants us to be vulnerable, so that we could see him provide for us in miraculous ways that we could testify about. Another problem is that my husband is not a citizen. He is a New Zealand citizen and is on a working permit which is going to be expired in March of 2017 and we havent even reapplied. I am going to leave work not even knowing whether we are secure in him remaining the only income when I leave my job. That also scares me! 

The crazy thing? I feel as if God is wanting me to trust in him to take care of those things. Thats the hardest part about trusting, isnt it? That you have to abandon all thoughts of reality and rationality to cling onto the evidence of things “hoped” for. God wants us to abandon our own ways of understanding. He wants us to abandon what we KNOW and what we have learned, thats its through hard work and a paycheck that were able to make it. That as a believer, we should not only trust in the things we know, but also in him and what he could do in out lives! 

So, while im panicing, I have chosen to leave my job, move into that bigger place and to trust that God will always take care of things for us while we take care of things we need to for him. 

Matthew 6:33 has been a constant reminder these past few months constantly as I battle these decisions. 

“33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Wish us luck and keep us in prayer as we pray that its Gods will whatever decisions we make. That we will always be assured that God is always there! As I pray the same for you, God bless.

“Procrastination” is my middle name..

Last night, we went out to dinner with my husbands only sister and her husband. They treated and surprised us to dinner at one of the most fanciest restaurant with the most delicious food, EVER. The food was so good, my husband and I came home in such good moods and so much more in love than when we left our house. Ridiculous, I know, but some foods are just that GREAT! Anyways, we got home and I remembered I had an assignment due by midnight. I got on my laptop and started on my assignment for my psychology class. I was happy because I was almost done and all that was left was to turn it in. As I was going to turn in my assignment online, my youngest son Gavin, UNPLUGS THE WIFI. He did it a couple minutes before the deadline and of course it took some time for the modem and wifi to warm up and get started. So long story short? I ended up being too late, couldn’t turn it in. My grade dropped below 3.0 GPA and I got super angry. I got angry at my husband for not watching him while i wrapped up my assignments and of course I got mad at my son for even unplugging it. I threw a fit and yelled for 10 minutes while throwing stuff around in my room. I was so blinded with rage that I even started yelling about other stuff I was unhappy that weren’t even related to my homework or school.

My poor husband! He is such a humble man that I felt so bad. I grabbed my towel while nagging and yelling about different things on my way to the wash room so I could cool down during a shower. I showered then came out and got dressed for bed while my husband was cleaning up. I felt so bad, so when he sat next to me on the bed to massage me, I apologized for raising my voice to him and being so angry. He says the same thing all the time, “its ok babe, I know you didn’t mean to, you’re just stressed”. My heart melted even more and i felt even more guilty. So the rest of night we just watched movies and cuddled.

You see, it was MY fault. It was never about them. I have been procrastinating so much that instead of taking responsibility, I decided to go out and have fun without using my time wisely and taking care of things first. Then I took out my own mistakes on the people around me. My son is only TWO! He didnt know any better and my husband was cleaning (poor thing), while my son was unplugging the wires. So he was already doing something useful. Its so easy to blame others when really, its US. 

I have been so strong in procrastination lately, its not even funny. In order to get into the nursing program I want, I have to maintain above a 3.0 GPA. Unfortunately, I will have to do extra credit now to get my grade a little above 3.0 at least. I just can’t wait until the day when I won’t have to worry about going to sleep early for work and cutting my study time down. Anyways, don’t be like me. You will find yourself disappointed at yourself and especially at your frustration at the people around you.

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Crazy Dream… 

I had a dream last night that I just told my husband this morning. I had a dream that everyone was in a ship (different nationalities and backgrounds). The waters were vicious and unforgiving with waves as tall as sky scrapers and rain so thick you couldnt see anything. It shook the whole ship & everyone in it. In my heart, it felt like everything was going to END! When I turned around, people were praising & worshipping God in the dark, I couldnt even really hear the waves anymore but just cries, claps, hallelujahs, praises and singing all at once.. I closed my eyes and raised my hands to praise and worship God. I open my mouth and yelled out, “Lord, you are faithful! you are worthy God! You are our protector and shield“. I could feel my body being thrown around in the ship losing my balance and falling on others while they fall on me. The ship being tossed around by the ocean as if it were bullying it pushing it back and forth between waves, but I never stopped praising. All of the sudden, I could feel a wave hovering over the ship. I cant see it, but I can feel it even with my eyes still closed. I can feel that its getting ready to destroy and kill us, but then, BOOM! Silence.. & then I wake up.. 
I felt like in a way, in the ship were all the believers.. the ocean and the storm were the worries, fears, destruction, and panic thats caused by the election and maybe even after the election. All I could see on Facebook since the election date are people threatening to leave the country, people already disowning Donald Trump as their president, people already claiming to know that the country will be ripped apart from this election. I dont blame them! Even thou Donald Trump does support some of my values, he has awaken the racism in this country. He has exposed this country for what it truly is, a racist and unaccepting country. Im not saying that it is his fault, just that he has stirred up problems that I dont think he will be able to control. 

BUT I felt as if I was reminded, even through unsure times? Instead of complaining or worrying? WORSHIP! TRUST! Praise God for the troubles he will keep his people from. Worship God for the destruction of this world not ever touching his people! You’re a BELIEVER! If you believe in God, then believe he will always make a way for his children. Living here is temporary anyways. This was never meant to be our permanent homes. Honestly, Trump was right, NONE OF US belong here! We as BELIEVERS are only here on a temporary assignment. To prepare to go to our TRUE HOME! If you know your word, you would know that were just aliens here.

John 14:1-3 Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

 Never really belonging here in the first place. He has already created a place for us. So, with that said, REMEMBER! Remember WHO you are and that no matter what happens HERE? God has a plan and theres nothing that happens here that is not part of his plan! “God, help us in our unbelief!”

1 Chronicles 29:15 

“We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.”

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You’re ALL I need…. 

I remember the day I walked into church, so depressed, lost, broken, and unsure of what was ahead of my life. I just had a miscarriage a couple months before. I really wanted children, but then at the same time, I was somewhat “relieved” that I wasn’t able to bring that precious life into the mess of a young marriage I was in. You see, I was only 20 years old. I made the decision to marry at 19, to a man I knew in High School and thought I could trust in adulthood. Adulthood, marriage, responsibilities, it was all taking a toll on us. We seperated right after the loss of our baby, and I think we were both sad, but at the same time relieved. 

I remember that Sunday, dragging my feet because I had no energy. I wanted to sleep in until the aching and heavy hurt in my chest disappeared. But I couldn’t, something stronger urged me to get up and go to church. I got up, brushed my teeth, kept on the same sweats and sweater I wore to sleep, brushed my hair, grabbed my little blanket, and got in the car. My parents of course looked at me like I was crazy but they knew I was having a hard time and they were just glad I was actually going. So they just left me alone and drove. I remember getting there and most of our church family was there already. All facing forward ready to start off their Sunday with praise and worship. Probably as ready as I was to unload whatever burdens they came in with. Each one of us came in expecting some kind of healing, message and understanding of “WHY” we were in the situations we were in. Somewhat looking for answers from God in regards to where we went wrong? What do I do now? 

I walked into the church, air kissed some family members on the cheeks as to greet them. Then I was looking for a spot I could hide, all the way in the back. There it was, a chair, near the door, all the way against the wall in the very last row on the left side. I was so ashamed seeing how everyone came in their Sunday’s best and I came in my sleeping clothes. So I picked up my blanket, wrapped myself in it to cover my sweats and sweater and made my way to that chair. I sat down for a while until the music began. I honestly didnt want to stand up, but I did. The music started and I remember one of the song’s words piercing through my heart as if it were words my heart were searching for to cry out but wouldnt surface until that song played. My husband at that time betrayed my trust and left me when I needed him most. All I wanted was GOD! To intercede, to heal, to love me, to comfort me, to understand me and to help me understand why he would allow all these things to happen?! The words kept piercing and then I finally BROKE and tears started pouring out uncontrollably. The words, “You’re all I want, You’re all I’ve ever needed, You’re all I want, Help me know you are near”. Those words. They were simple yet expressing every hurt in me, exposing every painful memory in my mind. They just kept repeating and repeating. I couldnt control my tears anymore or my heart. I felt like this song was my personal song to God for healing. As I cried, I felt as if as the tears poured out, so did the hurt and disppointment. As if something was pulling it out as I cried & reassuring me that I wasnt alone. It made me cry and weep out loud even more. I mean, I cried like someone died, because someone did. Noone around me really knew what hurt I came in with, but when I opened my eyes, I could see their faces of sympathy and worry as they smiled to reassure that I wasnt alone in whatever I was going through. The rest of our praise and worship went on like that as we changed to different songs, each one pierced through the thick wall of hurt I came in with and broke it down so that Gods word (the sermon or what the pastor preached) could be planted there instead. The ending of service, I felt lighter, less hurt, less burdened and angry. I just felt, LIGHT! When I walked out, I remember a woman that I adored and that always encouraged me, she stopped me for a couple minutes. She didnt know how I was feeling or everything I was going thru or the fact that my one question to God was, will I ever be a mother again? I was told it would be hard for me to conceive because I had TWO miscarriages with my husband, but one from a year or so before the other. She didnt know what the doctors told me. She didnt know I felt hopeless, that I was sad that theres a possibility that I wont be able to have anymore kids. That I was sad because my marriage was failing no matter how hard I fought for it and no matter how hard I prayed. I felt alone! I felt abandoned. I felt like I would never have the FAMILY my heart longed for. A husband that would love and cherish me and a child of my own to love on and vice versa. My heart was more broken than its ever been and NOONE knew! Aside from my parents and siblings watching me struggle with the loss of both my baby and my husband that moved out because we both couldnt handle the arguing every night blaming each other. I wanted answers from God! I was so faithful in my walk. I read, I prayed, I fasted, I submitted, I changed and gave up things that I knew I needed to give up in my life just so I could get an understanding or answers of WHY and WHAT NEXT?! 

“Baby?” she said in her gentle but almost southern accent. “God wanted me to tell you something!”. I stopped and was curious to what message she had for me. She started, “God loves you so much! and he sees your heart and your hurt. He wanted me to tell you that your husband will be Samoan! He will be God fearing, a family man, handsome, humble and you will both have children! More than one. They will be beautiful!”. Right when she said that, I doubted it. You see, my husband at that time was black (Bahamian-African American). He was anything but “God Fearing”, he didnt even like to go to church with me. He only had a dad, one sister and a mom and they werent really as family oriented as our family, they hardly even talked or spent time with each other. On top of that, I was told it would nearly be impossible to even conceive again with my uterus being so weak. I wont even be able to carry a child! Doubfully, I replied, “No, I think that message is for someone else, I dont like Samoan guys, and my husband is black!”. She said, “Im sorry baby, but thats just what God wanted me to tell you! He ‘IS’ Samoan and handsome and he will LOVE you the way you need to be loved!” I stood there for about 5-10 minutes trying to convince her that she was wrong and I doubted her words. This was in year 2008 going on 2009. After that day, my husband and I were able to try again but I got to a point where I realized, we were bringing out the worst in each other and not the best. So I moved out and started my own life. I found that I was happier without him. I was happier alone for a while so I could discover ME, instead of trying to be the person he wanted me to be for him. I felt more free, more content and more at peace. 

It is now year 2016. I am happily married to a SAMOAN man who is God fearing, a gifted drummer, an awesome father, and is family oriented! We are expecting our third child (our first daughter) in 2017. I was driving home a few days ago and was praying over my daughter. I found myself crying on the freeway while praying. I thought back to that very day when I went to church in sweats, a sweater and blanket looking for answers. The words that a woman said was God’s words, and how I not only doubted them but fought them. I see my life now? It’s everything God said it would be. I mean, it was NOT perfect getting to where we are now, but everything that happened helped nudge us to where we needed to be. HERE! In this time, this moment and this life. Were happy! Because of everything thats happened along the way, its caused my husband to LOVE me even more than he has ever loved me or anyone else. I always questioned God about why things happened the way they did and why put me through so much pain and hurt. But he reminded me, everything he allows, is for my best. Its to strengthen me or to help me, never to intensionally hurt me. But because he knew I was a strong person and he knew how I was going to react and maintain, he trusted me with those lessons. 

Romans 8:28 in the bible says

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Thats why I cried! Because with everything that I have been through. Its helped shaped my life, my family and my faith. My children, my home, our cars, our jobs, our marriage, our church family, our spiritual walk, everything! I just realized how blessed and how even when I didnt know God had a plan for me, he still stuck with me. He still persued me and still loved me. Even when I thought he didnt care and was punishing me for not being good enough for him. He never gave up on me, and everything he asked me to do till this day has always been decisions I doubted but I did it anyways. And everytime I asked, WHY? He always showed me through my life what the answer was. These words, only show a glimpse into ONE thing he has done for me, out of so much more. Be blessed! 

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Its on my floor! There is crap on my floor!

So, as a parent, you will experience LOTS of things with your kids. Sad moments, happy moments, memorable moments and even once in a lifetime moments. My youngest boy, Gavin, just turned two this October. He surprises me with the things he learns and even the new things he discovers. As his character unfolds, I learn new things about him and fall in love with him more and more.

This past week, he has definitely been learning a new habit. I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s a “good” new habit. You see, my son has been learning that wearing a diaper with “poop” or “feces” is uncomfortable. How he told us or showed us is a whole different story, luckily, it’s the story I will be talking bout today.

WARNING! If you’re not a parent or an aunt or an uncle that has ever changed a diaper, I would stop reading here.

While doing my homework on my laptop after I got off work, I noticed Gavin acting weird and being super mysterious. He was hiding from me, and then I saw it! So first, he started putting his hands in his diaper, then he would smell his hands (with his poop on it still), then he would rub it all over his head. YES, you read right, the boy would rub it in his hair as if it were gel (insert crying emoji here). The first time he did this, I felt like I was going to go into labor the way I freaked out. I immediately grabbed him, while trying to keep his hands away from his mouth, face, and away from me. I put him in the bath tub and turned on warm water and let him sit in the shower while I stood there shaking my head in disappointment wondering, “where the heck did I go wrong as a parent?” I showered him and scrubbed him over and over until I felt he was clean. It literally drove me nuts! I called his dad furious, explaining what has been happening and trying to figure out how to fix this problem. All I could imagine was crap all over my carpet, couch, kitchen table, walls, room, bed, etc. I even imagined him possibly getting some bacterial virus from it or getting pink eye.

This was only the beginning of LAST week. He kept doing this over and over until this week. I think last week, he had 2-3 showers per day through out last week. This week? He tried something different. He would go near the dining table, hide, pull his pants down, pull his diaper and then poop, ON MY CARPET. Yup, not in the toilet, not in his diaper, but on my newly cleaned light tan carpet (insert coffin emoji here). I freaked out for about 2 minutes looking at his feces on my floor while yelling at him, “No Gavin! no-no! Kaka goes in your diaper, not on the floor!” He just stood there with his innocent confused puppy eyes, so I melted. I was still angry but I felt bad for raising my voice to him when he didn’t really know better. So i got some wipes, picked up his poop and put it in the toilet. Then I scrubbed the carpet with Clorox wipes and sprayed it with Clorox disinfectant spray. My son was watching while I was cleaning trying to talk to me in his baby language (which I did not understand a thing). He knew he was going to have to take his 3rd shower for the day so he was already in front of the bathroom door waiting for me to come and open it for him to shower. Which thankfully, he already knew to hop in the tub and turn on the water to shower. He has been doing this all week, which has been making me lose my hair, or so its been feeling like it. Last night, I finally thought, “I am going to get him some pull ups, underwear and a potty training toilet! I think its time“. Luckily my husband agreed with me, after he laughed for a while….. a long while.. a couple of weeks worth of long while. He is lucky he didn’t have to clean any of the mess or shower him as many times as I’ve had to. He just finds it funny.

At first, I freaked out and almost cried from cleaning and showering my son so much. Now? When I tell people this story, they laugh and I find myself laughing too. I love my kids and although there are plenty of hard times and tiring times, I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I guess this is going to be one of those stories that I will tell his girlfriends, friends, future wife and maybe even his kids (insert evil laughing emoji here).