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

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

 

 

 

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:

book

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.

change

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.

changes 2

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