Easter The Old Fashion Way

In the last few weeks there’s been a lot of controversies about the closure of places of worship due to the cornonavirus situation. Most places of worship have determined on their own to move their services online. Others have challenge the recommendations for social distancing.

I was watching pastor Rick Warren, from Saddleback Chuch in California, speaking on CNN and he said some things that really resonated with the way I view this issue.

He mentioned that pastors are not only responsible for leading the sheep, but also to protect it. And he also reminded people that on the first Resurrection day, the apostles were at home, in fear and Jesus came to them, right where they were.

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Luke 34:36-44

The early church didn’t have a specific building to worship. The Holy Spirit is in us and the Word says that where there’s two or more of us together in his name, He is there. And if you’re like me, where there’s no other with me, the fact that I can join an online community makes it the “two or more of us” .

Here’s an article from Bible Truths that you may enjoy about the early church gatherings.

Is it different than worshiping with our friends and family? Yes, of course. At the same time, I don’t think we should place limits on God. How many people have gotten saved just by listening to an old teaching, or watching a TV show? The power of God is not limited by distance. We have the advantage to still congregate, just through other means.

Please be wise, for yourself, your family and those around you. Our celebration this year, will look a lot like the first resurrection day. Let the light of Jesus reach us where we are.

Stay safe!

Naty

Caretaking From a Distance

If you think that not being able to go out is the worst part of social isolation during the Covid-19 crisis, there’s a lot you’re missing. Yes, a lot of people are struggling financially, but there’s another group that on top of all the very difficult situation are having to deal with a more painful reality, they can’t be with their loved ones in their moment of need.

Due to the high level of contagious from this virus, if you have a family member in the hospital, or any other type of medical institution, regardless of the diagnose, you’re banned from visiting your loved one. This has been a reasonable decision, but not any less difficult for the loved ones of that patient and the patient themselves.

Our current reality is that some people have died alone. Others are deteriorating just by the fact that their isolation is causing depressing feelings.

I can relate to this. My mother has been bounced between rehab and the hospital since mid-February. Originally, she had a stroke. She spent days in the hospital and moved to rehab. Few days while in rehab, she had a fever and went back to the hospital to discover she had an UTI (urinary tract infection). She went back to rehab, where she developed fever again but now with some respiratory issues. At this point, visits to rehab had been cancelled and I talking on the phone was my only way of communication. She went back to the hospital; she was tested for Covid-19 but the results took forever. She had a positive test, but she’s medically much better. The issue I’m facing now is what are the next steps? She’s not well enough to come home, not because of the virus, but because of the stroke. No rehab will accept her until she has a negative result on the test. We’re currently in limbo.

As someone with an elderly mother, I totally know how to advocate on her behalf, but this is the first time I’ve had to do it at a distance. I can relate to the feeling of powerlessness, and the fact that you truly have to trust God and the medical professionals to do their part because there. is . nothing. you. can.do.

But yes, there is, and I want to share with you some things that have kept my sanity and some illusion of control over the situation.

  • Call the nurses – I admit that I felt bad doing this because I know they’re overwhelmed. I’ve been lucky enough to have very sweet nurses that always encourage me to call as many times as I want. I don’t abuse it. I tend to call once on each shift for an update, that way I’m not bothering the same person.
  • Be prepared – Remember that your loved one is not the only person that they’re tending to. More than likely they’re also receiving several calls from family members all the time. Have your questions ready, that way you can shoot them and get off the phone as soon as you can.
  • Talk to the doctor – As sweet as the nurses were, they didn’t have much medical information for me. My calls to the nurses were more related to: How did she sleep? Is she eating? Is her breathing better? Is she taking her medication? (at one point she was spitting it out) My questions were more geared to the day to day welfare check. The doctor is the one making decisions, telling you what tests he ordered, what where the results. He can explain the rationale between changing or adding a particular medication to the regime. He’s the one that can give you prognosis and estimate timeliness. Be also prepared for this call, they have even less time to talk to you than the nurses.
  • Did I mention call? – The reason why this bears repeating is that if you wait to hear from the hospital you may be sitting there for a long time. You must do the outreach. I’m not going to say that I haven’t received unexpected calls from the hospital, but I did most of the calling to make sure that I knew what I needed to know and that I could provide as much of what I knew of my mother for them to have necessary information to adequately deal with her needs.
  • Be nice – We’re all stressed out. Don’t be short or inpatient with those taking care of your loved one. These people have families too and are risking their lives to take care of the one you love. Be kind, patient and thank them for their sacrifice.
  • Pray – That is something you can always do. Pray for your peace of mind. Pray for the health of the one you love, but don’t be stingy, also for those others who are in the hospital. God has enough to give, be generous with your prayer. Finally, for the medical health professionals and their families.

We’ll get through this. I’m realistic. I can’t promise you that we will be back to puppies and rainbows. But, did we really have puppies and rainbows before this crisis? No, we were all struggling in one way or another and making it. The same way we will make it this time. Maybe somewhat banged up, but with a better testimony that when we started.

Be safe beloved

Naty

Going back to move forward

*cough* *cough* pfftt!! No worries, I’m not sick. I’m just trying to dust this place. Wow, it’s been more than a year since we’ve been able to check on each other. Time really flies. Now this is not necessarily an update post, we can do some of that in the next few weeks. But let’s talk about what’s really in front of us.

People, there’s a virus out there! I know, this came super fast and we’re having to adapt very quickly to a new normal. From someone who doesn’t like change, trust me is not easy.

Now, I must admit, that the last year of my life was a training for quarantine. Right now, my mom is in the hospital and although I’m concerned for her; I’m technically just responsible for me right now. My heart goes out to all of you with big families having to balance many things.

Everyone is getting how to’s on taking care of yourself physically, but let’s not forget that we’re not solely a body; we also have a mind and soul. Let me try to give you some pointers on how not to lose it right now. (I need them more than you)

  • Stay away from the news! – Now, I’m not going to tell you to not be up to date with what’s going on. We must know what’s happening. From experience, when something big is going on, I start binge watching news outlets, and searching through social media during commercials. I’m obsessive and crazy, but you already knew that. That’s not going to help you. That’s not going to keep you or your family any safer. Restrict your diet of news to once or twice a day to catch an update and do something else the rest of the time.
  • Try something new or finish something old – Keeping ourselves busy helps with not dwelling into our anxiety thoughts. The actress Gwyneth Paltrow said she’s learning a new language. I had started that before the crisis. I’ve been relearning French for the last 4 months. If you’re interested, there’s an app, Duolingo, that makes that possible for free, just 15 minutes a day. If that’s not what interest you, go to that pile of books that you were going to read one day, the book you were going to write, the diy project that has been on hold; watch cartoons. Resurrecting this blog is one of mine, lol
  • Fill your life with music. I haven’t met someone who doesn’t like music. If you don’t like music, there’s something wrong with you, go fix yourself! Music allows us to connect our spirits with something higher than us. Now listen to something uplifting and not chaotic or depressing. That will defeat the purpose. Below I share one of my favorite songs.
  • Remember who you are – Try to connect to that part of you that has conquered challenges in life. For my fellow believers, I had to go back to the Word and remind myself the promises of God.

After reading this I remembered how many times my life has been in danger and how God has delivered and protected me every single time. He’s still God and in the throne. What shall I fear?

  • Be wise! – Not being afraid doesn’t mean to forfeit wisdom. Stay your happy self at home. Wash your blessed hand. Worship at home. God is not in a building, it’s in YOU!
  • Stay connected– Social isolation is really a bad term. It should be named physical isolation. Again, keep your happy self at home and away from anyone who doesn’t share your address. But make phone calls, have family meetings via web conference, write a snail mail. Connect, connect, connect.

We’re in a time in which we need to take a step back from pushing through the grind, to place ourselves in perspective, so that we can move forward in an emotional and spiritually healthier way.

Stay safe my beloved. God Bless!

Naty

Confessions of a control freak

By Brian Peart

I have had heartbreak in my life, early death of a father, a failed business after the
recession of 2008, issues with my kids. But nothing could compare to the pain I
felt when I lost my wife. She was the great love of my life, a fairy tale story if
there ever was one. And now it was gone. She was off at the lake forming another
life and I was at home crying to Ed Sheeran. She said I was a “control freak” and
that I was verbally abusive. To be clear, I never hit her…there was no physical
violence, but you can tear down a person with words and apparently, that is what I
was doing. At first, I said she was crazy but at one of my lowest points it dawned
on me…maybe there was something to what she said.
As I began to look into what makes a control freak it became increasingly clear, the
heart of the control freak is fear. For me, this fear was based on insecurity. She
was beautiful and amazing and deep down, I did not think I deserved someone like
her. That led to a fear of losing her which led to my subtle and not so subtle
attempts to control the situation. The heart of a control freak is fear-fear of losing
control causes you to try harder to keep control…and in the end, the thing you fear
often happens anyway. So now I knew the cause of why I acted that way, but what
was the cure? I went to the ultimate source of wisdom, the Bible, to find out how
to stop this pattern and came across this verse, “Perfect love casts out fear”. Ah
Ha! That’s it. Perfect love casts out fear…I knew then I had to dive into the Bible
and get to the heart of love to conquer this fear once and for all. That journey led
to the writing of my book, “Perfect Love”. I feel the Lord led me through some
carefully orchestrated steps to walk me from my bitterest defeat-the loss of my
wife-to my greatest victory. Within 4 months my book was written and within 6
months it was published. Writing that book healed me, but more importantly God
showed me a simple strategy to help ANYONE who has experienced heartbreak
and defeat to rise above and get back to the victorious life Jesus promised when He
said, “I come to give you life to the full. “ And if that was the end of the story, it
would be a great victory. But God was not done.
Unbeknownst to me, my ex wife found a copy of the book and read it. At first she
was put off but the Lord guided her to read it a second time and it changed her life.
Divorce is never one sided, there are always two people in every marriage. She
had habits and issues herself and amazingly, the book spoke to her as well. She
reached out to me, we started dating again and now are re-married! Reconciled!
Praise the Lord what an Amazing Grace! God’s Grace is the key my friends, His
love is overflowing. When you are in doubt, when you are down, when you are
struggling, you need only to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and
you will find peace. His Grace is sufficient for you!

19095577_1521594441247778_4644025883748247842_o (1)Brian Peart is a man sold out to God.  He lives in Monroe, Georgia and owns a mortgage company.  Brian is happily married and father to seven children with a granddaughter on the way.  Brian has laid out a battle plan in his book that takes you from the feeling of an epic fail, to the greatest point in your life.  He calls this a “God Help Book” and if you let the Lord lead you, with the simple steps in this book, you will be amazed at the results.

Brian Peart is author of a book entitled “Perfect Love”. In it he powerfully
reminds us of who we are, and steps out a simple plan to gain and keep a
victorious life all year long.

perfect love book cover

 

More than Pumpkins and Cancer

 

October

October marks the beginning of the fall. The weather starts to cool off a little, or at least I’m waiting for it to finally do. The stores start carrying everything in pumpkin flavor. I like pumpkins, but some things should not be pumpkin flavored, just my opinion.  October is also breast cancer awareness month, a very worthy cause, but let’s not forget that it’s also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

DV

Since I started blogging, I’ve tried to make a concerted effort to recognize this cause, because it’s close and dear to my heart. I try to provide information and a venue for survivors to share their stories.  This year will not be different. I’ll admit that some information may sound like repetition, but some things are worth repeating.

To anyone wanting to share their stories, I have a form on the site where you can share 6the story confidentially. I will post it on the main page, only if I have your consent. If not, and all you wanted to do was vent, I’ll consider it an honor the fact that you decided to share with me and I’ll pray for you.

 

To family and friends of victims, I say this: be patient.  You may not understand why someone doesn’t leave an abusive situation. I can promise you that it’s complex. Rushing the person before they’re ready or putting them down will make the situation worse. Offer a listening ear and support as much as you’re allowed to.

To those who have survived, I say this: you made it! You may still be dealing with y battle wounds and other struggles, but everything will be OK. It may take a while, but it will be fine.

To those in the situation (men and women), I say this: You are loved! Don’t even believe that you’re not worth it, because that’s a lie. Don’t ever believe that you are stupid, because that’s a lie. Don’t ever believe that you can’t do any better, because that’s a lie. You are precious, loved and wonderfully made. Reach out, we’re waiting for you.

8

Be blessed

Naty

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

 

 

 

Book: Surrender

By  Chris Baumball

Surrender” is a mesmerizing religious fairy-tale about an unyielding spirit determined to achieve three important things: faith, family and love.

Surrender can mean many things to many people, even animals. In this fictional story, a religious fairy-tale satire about a Sasquatch named PoBo, we learn what it can mean on many different levels. On one level, PoBo is displaced from his family at an early age amid a war initiated by humans. But with an unyielding spirit to be reunited with his kin—and with music being his best motivator, at least at first—the hairy bachelor decides to set off on a dangerous quest to find them.

PoBo knows the journey will be fraught with danger because he knows he and his family are on the endangered list—a constant struggle to survive. But like an adage he once read in a book, “nothing ventured, nothing gained,” he is steadfast to not give up on his goal. Fortunately, and unexpectedly, he gets some assistance from two animals, one of whom is far bigger in his faith than his physical size. PoBo encounters many obstacles along the way, and his own faith is tested repeatedly as time runs out to fulfill his quest.

When we’re broken and realize we’re not in complete control, it’s time to surrender.

About the Author:

I am proud to admit that I’m a constant reader and writer because books don’t havechris redundant commercials. I was born on Independence Day, live in Ohio (US), and graduated from Kent State University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. I am happily married to my best literary critic, Melannie. We have two sons, Michael and Alexander, both of whom continue to keep us active and young at heart. I draw a lot of my inspiration from some of the creative things I overhear my kids say throughout the day.

Book: A Well Memoir

By Anita Wilson

WellbyAliasInTownDepression and addiction are often taboo topics in the church. However, Christians are just as susceptible to depression and addiction as any other social group. Christians who suffer from these afflictions often don’t seek help because of shame and fear of alienation. For a depressed Christian or a Christ follower with an addiction, seeking help feels like shining a spotlight into their spiritual life and highlighting a failure as a Christian.

There are many hurting Christians in desperate need of help, and it is common to feel like you have nowhere to turn. I am very passionate about this topic because I am one of those Christians. I live with depression, and I’m in recovery for addiction and attempted suicide. I also have a chronic illness, and made incredibly bad decisions in coping with her illness, desperately seeking relief.

Alias In Town’s memoir, Well, chronicles my journey toward healing in a unique way. When I came home from treatment, I started pouring over old journals and found entries where I sought forgiveness, healing and deliverance. I gathered them up into a scrapbook. I also added original artwork telling my story through the end of a paintbrush. I dug through my blog, and gathered essays into the scrapbook too. I realized this scrapbook had become something. It had become a vulnerable and raw memoir telling a story of hope.

http://www.aliasintown.com

About the Author:

Alias In Town is an anagram of the author’s name. In every town there are alias people anitaliving with chronic illness, chronic pain, addiction and depression. Alias In Town is one of those people. Learning to live well while ill is a necessary and difficult endeavor. She learned multiple coping and life strategies to be Well.

“I am more than my body. I am body, mind and spirit. My body is simply the weakest unit of the triad. Though chronic illness affects the entire triad, I have made considerable effort to strengthen my mind and spirit to find the balance of ‘Well’. – book excerpt

Her style of writing is to combine multi-media formats into stories. She utilizes short essays to tell her story in words. She creates original artwork to tell her story through the end of a brush. She includes personal journal and diary entries to remain open, honest and raw in her writing.

One of the most anxiety releasing activities she utilizes is art. She explores art through several mediums and included them in the book “Well.” She does not claim to be a proficient artist but utilizing art is cathartic to her. She has an art website https://anitamariewilson.wixsite.com/atw-art

She has been married for 35 years with 6 children and 7 grandchildren and lives in central Ohio. Her website is http://www.aliasintown.com