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.

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Be blessed

Naty

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

 

 

 

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Questions to Ask God

By Chaz Douglas

God has given us different gifts and we must go to him so we will know how to use what he has given us.  God only gave Manoah and his wife the gift of Samson so they will have specific questions for God based on the awesome gift they had been given. We have gifts, abilities, and talents that God has given us that we must ask specific questions to God on how he wants us to use them.

 

Here are some tips of what we should do with our gifts:

  1. God wants us to come to him to learn how he wants us to use the gifts that he has given us.  There are specific places, times, and groups of people that God wants us to minister to with our gifts.  We have to come to him s
  2. “So Manoah asked him, `When your words come true, what kind of rules should govern the boy’s life and work” (Judges 13:12 NLT)?
  3. As we live our lives for Christ there are specific questions we should ask God that are designed and tailor made for us.  There will be questions that only you can ask God because he has only given you the particular gifts and abilities.
  4. Manoah didn’t see or speak to the angel but he prayed that the angel be sent again to teach him and his wife how to bring up their son.  
  5. o we can be where he wants us to be, when he wants us to be there, and to help who he wants us to help.
  6. We should ask God questions to understand specifically what he wants us to do with our gifts.  God has made us to have completely different bodies, personalities, education, abilities, and resources.  It would behoove us to ask God specifically how he wants us to use our gifts with our unique bodies, education, personalities, abilities, and resources. Remember God gave Manoah the unique son of Samson so he had specific questions based on what God gave him.

 

What has God given you that only you can ask God about?

About Chaz Douglas:

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Chaz Douglas is an educator and member of the United States Air Force Reserve.  He has a Bachelors in Education from Eastern Michigan University and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Central Michigan University.

Douglas began teaching Bible Study for the Youth Ministry at his church from the ages 6-1

7.  He would later be asked to teach the Youth Ministry’s teachers learning strategies and biblical principles to assist them with the children that they would instruct.

He is currently taking a course by Tom Corson-Knowles an Amazon bestselling author. Douglas believes the course is preparing him to become an author who is produces what readers want.

The reason for writing this series was the experience Douglas had being deployed in the ChazAir Force.  He was deployed for six months and used his time at Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait to increase his relationship with God.  As he prayed, read, and mediated on the Word of God the Holy Spirit increased his wisdom to be able to write biblical lessons that that men and women can apply in their lives.  The Holy Spirit led him to write this series to help all people have a better relationship with the Lord.

My Birthday Gift

It’s noon and I’m just getting around to breakfast today. I had a day planned out,  but plans laptopchange, that’s why I rarely make them. I’m at Starbucks enjoying my free birthday coffee. Of all the freebies I can get today, this is my most important, don’t ask me why.

As I was rolling in my bed deciding if I wanted to get up yet, I remembered two things: Usually I update my readers twice a year of what’s going on in my life and that I haven’t blogged in a while.

If you follow my blog, you know that most of my posts are inspirations of my walk with Christ and ideas that I think I can share with my readers. I’ve had plenty of those, but none of them positive and that’s why I haven’t been writing. I’ve been very sad.

I’ve been very sad about how the world around me has changed; what it seems to be overnight. I see believers fighting one another, families torn up apart because of belief systems and opinions, this has really grieved my heart.

It has taken a lot of strength to not just yell, STOP IT! You were the closest just 2 yrs ago, how can you let ANYTHING separate you from the people you love? But it’s happening. The hardest part for me has been watching this cultish mentality. This philosophy of “My side is right even if they’re wrong because if I accept that my side has even made one mistake then I’m giving into the other side.” Insanity!

When did we pick sides? I thought we were all #TeamJesus.

We’re called to be salt and light of the earth and right now we’re being sheep following wolves. We’re all going to think different, God made us that way for a reason. God protect this world if everyone all of the sudden starts thinking like me, because sometimes my brain gives me some crazy doozies. We need to get back to respecting each other and loving each other.

Have we forgotten our second commandment to love our brother as ourselves?

So if you’re interested in giving me a birthday present today, the best gift you can give me is to be kind to others; especially those with whom you disagree. In fact, if you consider them your enemies, then not only be kind to them, but love them, the bible tells us so.

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you Matthew 5:44

Happy Birthday to me!

anniversary birthday blue bow
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Blessings,

Naty

GL

Change was the name of the game (2017)

As the hours of the clock wind down towards the end of this year and the beginning of 2018, I like to reflect on 2017.

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This was a busy and challenging year for me. Change and I are not friends, not even cordial acquaintances. I know it’s there and never going away like taxes and my birthmark, but it doesn’t mean that we have a good relationship. I also know that change is one of God’s favorite tools to grow us. Workouts are great for the body but not any less painful.

 

This has been the scripture of this year for me. Learning and re-learning that God is in control and not me

plans

The first six to seven months of the year, I spent back and forth from the hospital with my mom. Balancing work, ministry, life and her needs was quite challenging. Looking back, I don’t remember much, it’s all like a blur, but I know it happened. That was the beginning of some of the big changes, although she’s a lot better from what kept taking her to the hospital, her needs have changed, therefore my focus has changed.

work stressMy 9-6 had three reorganizations in 2017. This brought the anxiety of not knowing what that meant in terms of employment. It helped me exercise my faith in God’s provision regardless of the outcome. I’m very grateful that I’m still employed and basically within the same functions. Each reorganization brought a new leader, which meant an adjustment of expectations and leadership styles. I know that at the end my attitude was not of expectation but more of surrender. At the same time, I have to admit it has taken an emotional toll.

I’ve spent a lot of time alone this year, but it has been necessary time. I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of introspection. I’ve been able to process some life events that were still lingering in my soul. I’ve been able to find more acceptance of myself, which is not easy as I’m my most fearless judge.

I also lost a young man that meant a lot in my life. He’s the son of a friend. He came to my life when he was seven years old. He had a lot of challenges in life but he had a faith that was worth modeling. He was the smartest person I knew. Who else would call you in the middle of the day with a history trivia? Ivan would. He was the only child whose punishment was to take a way a book from him. He was about to finish his associate degree, but his health didn’t allow for that. God has now given him rest and for that I’m grateful.

As of November I’ve returned to writing. I had taken a two year hiatus to devote my time to “Celebrate Recovery” a wonderful ministry that gave me a lot and allowed me to serve. That season has now ended and I’m back to what I love to do: writing.

My jumpstart was the same as my first main start, NaNoWriMo and I finished it.

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Right after NaNo, I started a creative writing class. I’m currently studying short stories. I’m having a lot of fun with that.

Last night I had a dream, and woke up with a story inside. I propped my laptop on my bed and as I write this I’ve already written 1,500 words of that new story. I’m not sure what’s going to be :short story, novel or novella. I’ll let you know in due time.

I’m looking forward to 2018. 2017 was filled with challenges and changes. I’m sure the new year is going to bring it’s own, but I’m not the same person that ended 2016 and I like this one a little bit more.

Many blessings in 2018!

Naty

2018

Prompt: Stage Fright

As I relayed to you guys a few weeks ago, one of the exciting things going into 2018 is that I’m taking a creative writing course. From time to time I will share some of my exercises. Now, remember that’s all they are, writing exercises and not a finish product.

So here is my first one. The prompt was stage fright. To my fellow writers out there, you can use this to create your own writing exercise and I would love it if you would share them with us.

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Glen was ready for the performance of his lifetime. He had rehearsed endlessly for months to get to the theaters and finally present his monologue, “Glen: A Life Story” The day was finally here. The butterflies in his stomach were strong. He didn’t know if he was just nervous or about to get sick.

He was sitting on his dressing room reading the script one more time. He started feeling a cold shill down his spine and sweaty hands. He was no doubt suffering from an attack of stage fright. He started pacing in the dressing room. How could it be that he was so nervous? He had acted on stage before. That was true, but this was the first time that his own material would be portrayed.

There were so many questions on his mind: Will the audience like it? Will my friends be there? Will I’ll be laughed off the stage? Finally, will it really feel satisfying to fulfill my lifelong dream?

Someone knocked on the door, but Glen was so immersed in his thoughts that he didn’t hear it. Kathy, his producer opened the door and approached him. He was with his back towards her and she just wrapped her arms around him without saying a word. Finally, Glen stopped pacing and allowed himself to breath and released his soul into that warm embrace. He felt safe. He knew Kathy was a very particular producer and she wouldn’t have accepted to do his monologue if she didn’t think it was good.

The sound of clapping hands interrupted their embrace. It was the final call to the theater. The curtain was about to be lifted. It was time for Glen to walk out. He took a deep breath and walked behind the curtain. He knelt with his back to the audience as he had practice so many times. The applause became deafening. The lights went out, the curtains up and there was Glen.

I’m having so much fun with this I had to share.

Until next time

Naty

Saying Yes to Love: The Christmas Story

Christ xmas

We all have heard the story of Christmas. The baby born in a manger by a virgin. The wise men guided by a star. When you look at it closely it’s just a story of deciding to say yes to love. The main festivities related to Jesus are his birth and death. Both were celebrations of saying yes to love.

The first was Jesus’s decision to save humanity through becoming one of us to save us from ourselves.

That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer. Hebrews 10:5

God said yes to Jesus and sent him to earth.

baby

He then chose a woman named Mary to carry that son and bring that son into the world.

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. Luke 1:38

Mary said yes, despite knowing the consequences of being judged since her “fiance” was not the father of the baby, which would bring shame to them.

This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement[c] quietly. Matthew 1:18

Although our redemption came later with Jesus’s resurrection, Christmas was the first step in the journey of him showing us how to live a life for God within our human condition. He said yes to dying to save us all.

I believe that the best way to celebrate this time is to reflect on this love that was given to us and freely give it to others. It’s not about money or presents, it’s about spending time with those we love, but also sharing ourselves with those who don’t have anyone to love them.

This is the real meaning of Christmas: saying yes to love.

How are you showing your love for others this Christmas? Share it with us!

merrychristmas

Blessings

Naty

Adventures in Snowcalypse 2017

Let me set the stage by explaining that although I was born in New York, I celebrated my PR2first birthday in Puerto Rico and the following 28 as well. If you don’t know this, Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean, where snow is only seen on television. I did see snow before I moved to Atlanta. I think my most vivid memory of snow was when I was eight or nine. My brother lived in Maine by a lake. My mother and I went to ring the New Year with his family and there was snow, oh there was snow!

Anyway, fast forward to the present time, snow is a treat for me. In Georgia snows for a couple of hours and it quickly melts, but I get to see snow and even walk in it for a few minutes. Back in 2014, Atlanta had a “big” snowstorm. Now, you north snowbirds can stop laughing right now. It was big for us, so stop it! The city had a real meltdown. Cars were in the highways for days, people were stranded for hours, it was a total mess!

I’ve been fortunate that I’ve always been home when snow comes. I haven’t had to deal with traffic or other kinds of issues. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know how to drive in the snow, therefore I leave the deed to the professionals.

snow1Meteorology in Atlanta is a game of Russian roulette. They will tell you that it will rain, and you find yourself with a pretty sunny day. They tell you that it will be beautiful outside, and you get soaked. So, when I saw that the forecast was announcing snow mixed with rain, I figured I would see a few paper towel dust flurries, rain and move on. To my surprise it started snowing. I ran outside to take a video of it to make sure that I captured the few flurries that were to come.

An hour went by and it started snowing; really snowing. That’s when I realized this one was for real. (Again folks, stop laughing). I was working from home, so I opened all my windows wide and enjoyed the scenery while working.snow2

The first thing that should have clued me that this was not like other times, was that when my dog tried to go out for her morning bathroom break, she seemed to be ice skating on the deck. I told a friend that I was going to take my lunch break to go to the store and get a few things. He asked me if I was planning to walk to the store. (He’s a comedian) When I stopped laughing, he asked me if my car was a four-wheel drive, that was a no as well. He recommended that I stay home unless it was an emergency; and it wasn’t.  After work, because I’m a big girl, I got bundled up and decided that if I drove very slow I could make it to the store, get my wants (because there were no needs) and come back. I opened the garage door and proceeded to try to get the car out.

I must clarify that even my realtor and his lovely wife described my driveway as a launching pad because it’s a steep hill. I finally got the car out of the garage and it started sliding in the ice, not something I’m used to. I have very good news, the breaks on my car are perfectly fine. I, still stubborn, tried to get the car a little lower on the driveway. The car was still dancing in the snow3ice. This is where a little bit of anxiety kicked in, forget the store, will I be able to get the car back up? I opened the garage door that was now closed. Between the gas pedal and my very good breaks, I was able to get the car back up the hill. I closed the garage door and said to myself, “You know what? I really didn’t want hot cocoa after all, what I really want is some tea and I have plenty inside”

A few hours later, looking out my kitchen window, the neighbor’s kids were building a snowman. I smiled and contemplated the idea of making a snowman until I remembered that required getting dressed and being out in the cold. I decided that watching the kids do it was more enjoyable at this point.

Finally, I woke up this morning with snow still falling hard. It is beautiful to see all the white fresh fallen snow on my yard and the streets. I’m writing this from my bed, my dog is curled up in her bed snoring. This is how snow days should be spent.

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I still pray for those who lost power and those who’ve had no choice but to be out on the streets.

Ok, laugh now as much as you want! 🙂

Stay safe and warm

Naty