Friday, December 18, 2009


"As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good." 2 Thess 3:13 (NLT)

Read a story that haunted me. Children adopted by a family in New Jersey were starved and treated cruelly for ten years. The oldest boy was found digging in a neighbors trash for food. At the age of 19 he weighed only 45 pounds and stood tall at only 4 feet. I can't imagine what kind of sight that was. The discovery (in 2006) brought the trajedy to an abrupt halt with the arrest of the adopted parents. The kids are now thriving in the care of new family as the oldest gains independence in a group home.

The survival of these boys is just miraculous - they never had access to the pad locked refrigerator, never eating cooked meals, but the grains of grits, dry batter of pancake mix, and canned food. Maybe they would eat once or twice per day, but with a time limit. Two or three minutes would be all they had to inhale the "meal" or it will be forcibly removed from their hands and thrown out. Bite marks adorned the walls of that home offering the secret of how they curbed their hunger.

This family had children of their own that they loved and cared for. Why did they adopt children only to hate them? That kind of cruelty, in this country and this day just breaks my heart.

This passion is stirring up in me to do something. Its always been there. Sometimes we may think the need of the entire world - human suffering, is too overwhelming. How can one person do anything? Satan lies like that. He makes us think that the little things we do, won't make a dent.

I heard about a common practice of Darlene Zschech that she does with the Hillsongs worship team, before they minister. They look up verses and research statistics on world hunger. They do this to keep their hearts tender, to remind themselves of why they do what they do.

I was recently challenged to come up with a 45 second punch line, to tell someone who I am, what I'm doing, and where I'm going. I know the crux of it comes from Micah 6:8 "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

I seek to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, set free the captives, and give sight to the blind. God is cultivating every dream, skill and occupation, in my life in order to fulfill the purposes He's burning into my heart.

Friday, December 11, 2009

"That Key Lookin' Thing"

"Mercy Triumps Over Judgement...Those who show mercy are shown mercy..."

Those words set to soothing tunes and the melodic voice of Julie True set the atmosphere, for a unique reaction to what I call - mini shock.

I'm working. I decide that I need to venture to the ladies room. I'm talking with my dad on my cell as I return to my desk. The hues once softly dimmed is loud and flourescent. My bags are raised from the floor and sitting on my chair and my desk (I carry lots of bags). As I try to say bye to Pop, I see my flash drive in pieces on the corner of my desk. I don't know how to react in that moment. I'm trying to wrap up the conversation, as I try to figure out what could have happened in the 10 minutes I've been gone. Did I do that? No, I wasn't here. What happened? There's 3 years of my life on that thing, what happened!!!

Someone comes in to break the news. "Something got caught in George's machine as he tried to vacuum your office. I heard this loud clackety, clack noise that wouldn't stop. He took a long time to turn off the machine. He wanted me to tell you that he got that "key looking thing out, for you. He said he didn't think it was that important." Revealing the true identity of that key drew collective gasps, mixed with raised eyebrows, occasional disbelief and sympathy.

That flash drive was like my memory, but when I was asked of the contents, I didn't dare go there. "I don't even want to tell you what was on it." I knew it would make me anxious, worried and angry. The lanyard attached to the flash drive, was sucked into the vaccuum and the "key" obediently followed venturing into the realm of the unknown, to the untimely fate of disintegeration. Alas, its remains lie in a ziploc baggy awaiting possible surgery.

So the neat and unexpected thing in all this? I could have been really mad at George. In that moment all I could do was laugh. He clearly didn't know what a flash drive was, or its value. I'm sure I could tell him in the future, but I'm just eager to move on. What? No whining? No bemoaning? It felt so good to extend this mercy. As soon as I decided to move on, I did. The enemy wanted anger, but that incident didn't steal my joy. I so need God's mercy, I just kept hearing that song playing in my head, and my spirit grabbed hold of it. It was my opportunity to put what I received to the test. It wasn't as a painful as my flesh wanted it to be. The great news in this trajedy? - you can come eat off my office floor - its that clean!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Season - The Best is Yet to Come

"those who hope in me will not be disappointed." (Isaiah 49:23) NIV

I have to laugh at my last post a bit. BJ wasn't even trying to read that Tony Dungy book. Its been a while since I ventured here; so much has transpired over the past few weeks, you'd have to be in regular contact with me to learn all the details.

I realized that at his age, BJ has reached there is not much forcing I can inflict, in terms of specific items he should read unless he is receptive; interested. I can remove those items from the home that would be harmful to him, but as much as I want him to be inspired by someone he may not physically meet, the best way for him to receive that is through a physical, tangible, human being. I am comforted in knowing that BJ has been brought up to love the Lord with all his heart, all his soul, all his mind, and all his strength. He has been brought up to love his neighbor as much as he loves himself. In all that BJ has learned, it is time that he make choices to continue to follow in the ways of the Lord, or take a round about way of experience, to bring him back to where he began.

There have been seasons in which people have influenced and encouraged us. There were about two from BJ's past, who had a huge impact on him; he truly admired and respected these men. They took time to get to know him and were involved in his interests and developed a real relationship with him. With the changing of the seasons people will move in and out, and for the most part, the moving out can be permanent.

So, with great expectation, I look forward to his new season of Heroes.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friend for BJ

I have been thinking of BJ just now. Was chatting with my friend Wanda. She shared something that made me reflect on BJ's current condition. The importance of having a friend that really hears - that really listens. Do you have someone in your life that you can bare your soul? Yes, the Lord can be your best friend, if you let him, but is there a physically, living, breathing, human being that you trust with what's in your heart? That person that won't cut you off with their practicality, or rush to smooth over your hurts, frustrations, and confusions with the typical phrase "I'm praying for you, trust the Lord." You know the drill, its what I call "listen, I've-got-no-time-to-listen-to-you,- so-I'll-wrap-this-conversation-up-right-now,-got-things-to-do," in disguise.

OK. So we didn't talk about that last part, but it sure has me thinking about BJ. (In fact, I suggested she write a blog about it). After the demise of my "mind affair," I was able to take notice of my son. There is so much in his life I know he doesn't feel he can talk to me about. I can understand that. It starts with being a woman. I don't even have to get to the part about occasionally exibiting control freakish behavior, and a little bit more of the same, and a little bit more.... OK, so I am working on that. Sometimes I just don't know when I'm being too over the top, or too lenient with him. At times I just laugh, because I know the Lord will have the final say and the enemy will not win. I find lots of relief in being able to do that - I really don't know what I'm doing. I'm sure it will be so much easier with Matthew and Alex as they come up into their young adulthood. I'm sad for BJ that he is the prototype of trial and error; learning the hard way with my son.

He needs to be around a man that can really understand him. Someone he is willing to open up to. His dad is not in a relationship with him. They hardly speak. There is so much that I can share with him that can help him, and encourage him, but remember - I'm a woman. That doesn't stop me from sharing and being there. Its these seeds being planted now that he will absorb later. I think about right now. There is a pastor that I met who would like to play basketball with BJ. I have heard wonderful things about him, and his story would allow BJ to connect with him - fast. He is an excellent teacher. I just need to get the ball rolling. There I go again. (Occasional control freak flare up - anxiety driven). God will put the time and place together. He hasn't forgotten. At least I am awake now. That glaze that satan dangled over my eyes is gone. I can pray for BJ.

Went to the library yesterday and picked up Quiet Strength, by Tony Dungy (), for BJ. I started reading it at the kitchen table last night; its written in a way that allows me to instantly can connect with his message. As (former) head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, he experienced huge trajedy in losing his oldest son to suicide, a year shy of his team winning the super bowl. Through that experience he was able to put together a book about what it takes to be a real hero.

BJ has huge dreams, and I believe God puts certain desires in our hearts, so we can look to Him for them. He loves to bless us with our hearts desire (when it lines up with what he has for us). I believe BJ can be a great basketball or football player that God can use to fulfill His plans. I believe his shyness can become God's boldness. He will be courageous, fearless, honest, and consumed with power; BJ's continual access to the Father will reap just that. I believe this book will spark a desire to do that. I have been prompted to get it, for the past two years; its time I obeyed.

He just needs to start reading it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Release - To let go

Release - one of Matthew's vocabulary words last week. That week symbolized an end to much of what has been the cause of no blog time; no inclination to write.

My mind had been consumed on again, off again with a man who I thought embodied the complete package - the list I had created, for God of who my husband would be. Saved, humble, handsome, kind, artistic... I was in hog heaven. I never had much conversation; just shared hello's and he would give me what I thought was "the look," - the basis for all the stories I created inside. Courtship, engagement, marriage, family - I was a mess. There really was no reciprocal feelings. I just assumed every shy glance meant this man was waiting on the Lord's time to reveal his stored up interest in me. I blame the movie, "Love Comes Softly."

I would stare at this man and his eyes always avoided mine; I'd enter a room and he would usually walk out. My deceitful heart did not take this at face value. It said, "he is self controlled and alert, girl." So, the infatuation continued. I began to realize, as much as I was enjoying all these "happy" thoughts, my heart was not longing for God more than the fantasy. I had allowed this to distract me - my heart was almost stolen away from the Lord who is crazy in love with me! I began asking several ladies to pray, secretly wishing the outcome would be that it was my destiny to have this guy. God was allowing me to be consumed, because He has chosen him to be the one. Yeah! I couldn't wait to introduce him to all my sisters to approve.

The heart is deceiful above all things, and God is faithful. He always side swipes me when he rescues me. The rescue; the answer, comes in a way that I would have never perceived.
Me and the boys were on our way to the Rays Spring Training stadium to watch the Charlotte Stonecrabs play. A song called "Forgiven and Loved" played throughout the day on the local Christian station. I was captivated by the soulful laid back sound of this man's voice - the entire song reminded me of a summer afternoon. (If anyone knows me well, they know I am on an endless pursuit of lazy summer afternoons.) The guitar and drum beat gave the song this funky rhythmic groove - I loved it. "I tried and tried to rectify my hopeless situation; I bought the lie 'I still have work to do.' Now I'm working 9 - 5 like I can earn my own salvation, but there is no condemnation in you..." This was a Jason Mraz that was singing about something that made sense! I looked up Jimmy Needham on itunes and purchased the entire album. Playing it in the car for my kids was fun - we know the words to almost all the songs now. Two of the songs he penned for his bride Kelly. Still being in my lovestruck cloud of deception, I wanted to peruse his website to find out more about their relationship. Jimmy dedicated a section featuring Kelly's blog. As I read it, I was surprised. She didn't discuss what I was looking for-a romantic story to fantasize as being my someday story. She did reveal the true condition of my heart and I was lovingly side swiped. It was 12am on a Thursday night and I couldn't stop reading:

Kelly experienced this consumption with marriage, during her years in college. The list she formed and the details usurped the position that God wants to have in our lives. He wants us to be crazy about Him! I knew that I was losing the desire to have a whole heart - I just wanted a loved one with skin. I knew I needed to let go, tell God that I am leaving this area up to him and that I don't care anymore. The last part was hard. This misplaced hope and anticipation I had, was dangerous, it was my security, my comfort. What would I do or think about when I let this go? I cried, yet I felt so free. I emailed this precious link to the sisters who I asked to pray, so thankful that the Lord introduced me to great music and great teaching. I received a hard hitting reply from my dear sister Mia White; better yet, she is more my spiritual mom:

"Peggy, I know its hard to long for someone that you feel is out of reach. It is just a ploy of the enemy to keep us distracted and preoccupied. When the real thing comes along, there will be a fulfillment, not a constant longing for something that is not happening. I hope this helps you, it may not, but that has been my experience.

You deserve a great relationship and because women want relationships so badly, sometimes we let our imagination go wild on the wrong person. I know the Lord will help you and I will pray for your contentment and completion in Him and Him alone. He is the best mate you can ever have. When it is His timing for you, it will be mutual. Love, Mia"

Wow! It was direct and loving words that really settled it all for me. The Lord used her and it really helped me - that was Sunday. On Monday I was in need of a little bit more sealing of the deal. I don't know why, but I never looked at this man's hands, always his face. I saw a picture of him and noticed that on his left hand he was wearing a wedding ring! YIKES! I spent almost a year pining away for a married man????!!!! Well, I just had to laugh out loud. It was all I could do from crying. I kept thinking EMBARRASSING! I let this fester throughout the week, until I realized that I can't make "I'm so embarrassed" my confession. In my coming to the truth, and the Lord setting me straight the enemy wanted to bring shame and condemnation on me. Uh uh.. ain't about to let that happen.

"I'm growing." As I jogged at lunch all the songs on my ipod were perfect, for the process He was taking me through, "Complete", "Remember Surrender," were just a few of the songs that shared my freedom. As I set at my desk late Monday afternoon, I heard "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor mind has conceived what the Lord has prepared. But by His spirit He has revealed, his plan to those who love Him....Jeremiah 29:11 says, 'For I know the plans I have for you, declares Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.' That's our father's heart tonight, let's trust him with our lives with our future!" As I listened to Paul and Rita Baloche the tears silently streamed down. I felt the comfort of the Lord like a warm blanket. "I wasted so much time." The Lord is meeting me right here in my office. I feel a sadness, but its good. I have to mourn and let go of my shameful, fantasy thoughts. I missed out on the joy of the Lord; of Him being my everything.

"I'm growing." I realized that the enemy doesn't want me to write. He wants no captives to escape, and be set free. He locks up my words when I allow him to distract me. I remember the Lord telling me in March, "keep writing, just keep writing," during the time that I prayed for Danny Gokey to marry me (I won't even share that story). So satan attacks that weak area, and if I give attention to it, its like "what blog?," as I continue enjoying my day dreams.

"I'm growing." I realized that satan wants me to be ashamed and not be myself around this fellow. I need to be kind anyway. I felt the poor guy avoided me, because I probably gave away my heart with my eyeballs. I felt sorry for him, if I had been making him uncomfortable, so I thought the only feasible option would be to act mad and mean around him. But, then I would just seem psycho-so I'm gonna try not to act mad. I need to continue to build relationships which, by the way, has been grand. I want to immerse myself in the lives of others unlike me and hear from them. I need to reject that spirit of rejection and just go back without feeling shame. The Lord wants to use me. He loves me.

Digging my heels into this earth, wanting so much from man. My heart cry has become, "I'm so done with this toil. I'm tired; frustrated, at times. I'm tired. Yes! Come soon Lord Jesus! I never thought I'd feel that, but yes I want to see you. I want more and more of you." But, could I experience marriage again first?

Friday, July 24, 2009


It must have been a few days after my own high school graduation, that I attended my friend Hopey's. I miss Hope. I haven't talked to her in over eight years. I believe she still lives in New York. I first met Hope Elaine Lee in fourth grade, we shared the same class all the way to High School, where she attended Walton, a co ed public school in the Bronx. We danced together, auditioning for the Apollo and local talent shows. We called ourselves "bug-out partners." She's part of the Undercliff Crew too; her building was across the street and we walked to school together.

When I married my former husband, he really made it difficult for me to retain past friendships. Looking back of course, I allowed him to control this part of my life. I was isolated for a while. I'll never forget her birthday - March 15 "the Ides of March." I remembered a few years ago and sent a card, but didn't hear anything.

I'm lying on the bed, listening to the second Cd Miriam gave me. Pastor Todd Skeirik is now sharing about relationships. He shared the need to find people you can share a similarity or interest in common with and get together. Get to know each other. He spoke about how Jesus reclined in the home sinners. He ate with them. My own personal digging began...

I complain at times about the full time hours of work. Oh if I could stay home; how awesome. I'm working. I'm doing what I need, to care for my kids. How can I make the best out of this? The job is pretty cool, great people and home-like atmosphere. Its been almost three years that I worked for the Health Department and I have not made one friend that I connect with outside of work. I realized that I didn't miss it either. Pretty content jogging five days a week, alone with my ipod and the park. I am inspired by this message. This challenge to get to know others and go deeper than the superficial "hi, how ya doin', now-get-out-of-my-face-I-got-other-things-to-do" routine, has got me all excited.

I have been isolated too long and its time I start venturing out and getting to know more people. It will be two years since my divorce, already five years since we separated. I know I have been through a tremendous season of finding contentment in being alone, dealing with the loss of the hope of an intimate relationship. I didn't know how much I had shut out of my life until now. I am ready to be exposed, (not too deep) to others; just enough to listen and laugh with them. I will travel at lunch time at least once per week to the clinic and have lunch with the folks there. I will seek out a coworker who loves to knit and schedule a time for me to gain a few pointers; my crocheting is much better.

The recent tragic death of a coworkers husband, began this process in me. I didn't take the time to get to know her well, so when the death occurred I was a bit cautious in my approach. The interesting thing is that I recognized my connection to her story and her hurt. I felt it. I went to the funeral and pondered heavily over her situation. At times my emotions were churned up till it reached my forehead and would just stop there-no tears, yet I could feel them backed up inside. The Lord in His mercy allowed us to talk. I was so thankful for what she shared. To hear how she was coping and moving on, strengthened me. Listening awakened my own need to do relationships. I miss that. I almost want to cry when I think of all the time I missed not knowing that I was afraid of rejection and being hurt.
"Don't give up on your friends. When you find out something bad about them, don't give up on them. Also, be empowering; not controlling. Be like God; get to know people. Love them. Don't criticize them. Don't separate yourself from them. " Boy have I done that. Praise God that as long as I am still breathing, I can make changes. Hmmm.....

Listening to that Cd not only earned Gateway a permanent spot in my "Sites to See" section of this blog, but it has allowed me to sigh in awe. This is a huge scene in that work of art He has created in me. As I allow Him to, He is making me whole.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Facebook Fallacies

Tonight I am about to join the Facebook group called "Undercliff Crew". How cool. I will get to see all my old buddies from Undercliff Avenue, where I grew up. Facebook is such a great way to find and connect with people you have lost touch with.

I am now "friends" with nearly 3o of my old classroom buds from Cathedral High School. A few weeks ago, my fascination with Facebook turned into a habit I wanted to avoid. One night I began peering into the profiles of a few of these Cathedralites. Bachelor's degrees, Masters, Program Managers, Directors, blah, blah, blah... So many turned out to be so successful. I began to bemoan all my mistakes that started my senior year. No goals and a boyfriend kind of sums it up. I began feeling quite bummed. Its been 19 years and all I have is an Associates and I'm an assistant. My grades were good. I could have gone really far with my life. Look at what so and so is doing. This one lady wasn't very good looking in high school, but now? She's a knock out! Oh boy, and the self loathing continued. I didn't want to get on the Facebook anymore. It lost its appeal.

Miriam sent a few Cd's from her new church in Connecticut: Gateway Christian Fellowship. I am so glad she has found a church home. The new pastors shared their testimonies, and I listened to this Cd at work. I had been thinking this day of how I need to stop talking about my past and my testimony, because its getting old. Its time to share something new. Wow. That was not a word from the Lord at all - definitely the enemy. The encouragement I heard at the end of this message really blew me away. It spoke directly to me and what I was experiencing. Another piece of evidence of the reality of the love of God working in my life. This is what I heard...

"A testimony breaks down strongholds. In the book of Revelation it is by the blood and the power of our testimony that we come out overcomers; we have the victory. We are no longer victims. Your testimony encourages another. Your journey, your story, your testimony is power! Use it! Don't wish that you had someone else's life. God can use your life - your testimony. It is a powerful weapon in your hands, because you are not a victim; you have overcome. Use that gift of your story to further his kingdom. It encourages Gods people. It breaks down mindsets and tears down principalities. He is faithful. No matter what place you are in, God can teach you, stay open, He can use it. Don't disqualify yourself. Don't be discouraged. Thank God. Ask God to use your life. We need each other. We need each others story."

You know, I just wanted to shout right there in my seat; right in the middle of the office! I just shook my head and laughed. Today I realized that my problem wasn't Facebook, it was me. I am so rich in what the Lord has given me. There may be a few of those ladies who don't know the Lord, yet have an amazing portfolio. A relationship with God has so much more value than any degree; however, in this reality I will not put down their accomplishments. I am proud of what my friends have achieved. I admire young people who know their purpose and have goals, and set out to fulfill them.

I am who the bible says I am. I have what the bible says I have. I am His own special creation; unique. I am His work of Art. Don't have time to be trying to live someone else's life, or redo mine. Can't. Must move on. Praise God!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dancing Trees

The routine would be different. At lunch time I'd be heading over to a staff meeting instead of taking my much anticipated jog through historic downtown Punta Gorda. Its always hot, but Gilchrist Park greets me with a cool breeze from the Peace River. I could sit and just stare at it, for hours - if I didn't have to get back to work. Along my precious route there is an amazing tree that sits along the corner of Trabue Avenue and McGregor Street. It is a gorgeous oak tree whose canopy literally swallows the entire street corner. I pause there and stare up; I see nothing but green. Its so thick, I know I could climb up there with the kids and hang out; read a book to them. When I discovered this place I asked the Lord for a tree just like that, gracing the lawn of my new home. I think we would spend most of our time there!

I usually am excited about seeing everyone from work. Yesterday I awoke melancholy and disinterested in the staff meeting. I fought this attack from its onset. I know my history and If I give into feeling woebegone it just takes on a life of its own.

Satan was using an offense, (that I felt was passively done), to steal the joy and peace that lives in me. I kept replaying this person over and over in my head. I wanted to confront her at one time, ignore her the next. I replayed those imaginary encounters in my head only to be interrupted by my third option - love her anyway. Fighting that one. My feelings just weren't making it there. I needed to take the example of David who encouraged himself in the Lord. The jogging and walking helps tremendously. Ten minutes of moving stimulates those feel good hormones. Ipod blasting praise tunes, (and an occasional slip of some Stevie Wonder; it's icing on the cake! I knew there wouldn't be time to do that. I pulled out scriptures. I prayed. I want so much to turn this hurt into a harvest! With every offense that we take, Satan wants to use it to steal from us. I remembered that I could laugh at the enemy and what he was doing. I laughed because I knew that when I came through this trial I wouldn't even smell like smoke. I'd come out on top. God's will is that we always come out on top through every storm. We are winners, and not losers, in Jesus' Name.

I knew that I was not to take this offense, or allow it take root in me. My dear friend Miriam shared that there will be people that will hurt you the most, coming from within your own safe circle of friends; from Christians. Those that you may have never suspected; the one you were most vulnerable enough to trust. That hurts. Its hard, but its true. So, what do ya do with that? Let it go. Don't dwell on it. Give it to the Lord. Don't be bitter. Let it go. Don't conjure up ways to "give it back to em" in your mind. You know it feels good though, imagining yourself hurting them back. Reject that false sense of satisfaction. Stop entertaining it, and let it go. Friends will remain forever, and there are many that will only be with you for a season. Cherish it and preserve the good memories and fruit produced in it. Find ways to bless that person, if the opportunities arise. Bless and do not curse; you know - it only leads to evil. (Psalm 37).

As the day progressed, I made it through the meeting just fine and had fun. I had my 3rd guitar lesson, and settled at home - just me and Matthew. He looked a little frustrated since Alex was sleeping over at a friend's house and BJ was at the movies. One of Hillsongs Australia's' albums was playing. The fast tunes were right on time. Instead of talking to him, I just started dancing silly in front of him, animated and in time with the music. This beautiful grin came over him - it lit up his entire face. He threw his head back and laughed. It was 10:30 pm. Perhaps he should have been in bed, but its summer, our schedule is out of whack. I grabbed both of his hands. We started to shimmy. We did the swim, the twist. We did some amateur ball room dancing. He was a bit heavy, but I managed to use him for the lift and twirl sequence. He loved that. Okay. We're hot and sweaty now. I'm thinking about the whirlwind of a day: "From mourning to dancing, my sorrow was lifted; His joy came, just as He promised. I got my exercise tonight and, it was worth missing that tree!"

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cast him out!

Greetings Rosebuds!

Have you ever tried to complete a project without reading the instructions? Have you ever taken a short cut only to get delayed by a detour? How did you feel? FRUSTRATED? The memory of Sunday afternoon at the ball game felt this way.

"Whenever I go to the game, they always lose. I think its me." I knew something was wrong with his statement. "You will have what you say," I'd tell Alex. "Mom, hurry up. We are going to be late," Matthew throws in. "I bet its going take one hour to walk to the field. We're gonna lose." Inside I was screaming "UGGGGGGGGGGH!" "What is wrong with these kids?" At my feeble attempts to correct them, I said "Where is your faith? This is supposed to be fun!" There was truth in my motivation to ask this, but I was still missing it. I felt opressed, tormented. Making attempts to deal with these attitudes, within my own power, was useless. Without the name of Jesus, my muscles are smaller than a peanut. Pretty tiny.

Our five minute walk to the field brought us into the "promise land", but section 146 was no where in sight. Matthew's frustration is starting to reach a boiling point. "We have to walk all the way around? Oh man!" I'm thinking for a ten year old, he surely is acting like an old man. I was having fun and Alex's began to relax, but Matthew was a man on a mission. "What's he complaining about?"
I have to pause here and share that my boys are fun loving and extremely gifted. I learn so much from Alex's simple, yet profound way of looking at the details of life which are often overlooked. Matthew is a sponge and has an ever expanding brain. He hears from God and is used by Him to encourage my own growth. They are rooted and established in love. So as you hear my thoughts, know that they were temporary and fleeting. I don't speak negative attributes over my boys.

We had corner seats -perfect. Selected by moi, these seats would allow a gazillion trips to the bathroom and concession stand without disturbing the fans. Game starts and this is where I check out mentally. Not completely. I cheer with everyone else, but it is not all that genuine - cause I don't understand the game friends. The boys, they are pretty good and explain a few things to me. No score for the first 6 innings. Alex appears sad about it. The Rays pick up the first 3 runs - all is well in Tropicanna Field!

We miss a play - there's booing in the crowd. "Matthew told me to leave him alone when I asked him a question about it." (He did other things like this to antagonize his little brother). "Matthew tell us what happened." "Just pay attention!", he says. I don't remember what I said to him; I know a threat was involved. Its the seventh inning and Rays score no more, for the remainder of the game. Alex says, "see I told you. They never win when I am there." So sad. Matthew begins his disertation on how the Rays stink, this was a complete waste of time, I don't want to wait in line for Alex to run the bases, lets go home. So I think I look like a Cherokee at this point, ready to purposely erupt some hot lava on my son. All the while I wonder, where are my kids anyway? Who are these impostors?

Alex had fun, but I was angry with Matthew. How could he say it was a waste of time? It was his idea to do this, this summer. I actually would have enjoyed myself more if he wasn't complaining so much.

The kids are light hearted on the way to the parking lot. The boys are bouncing around and I am mad. The sunshine skyway bridge appears under this beautiful sunset and I just start letting in to Matthew. Then I feel bad, because he is totally misunderstanding what I am saying to him appearing hurt. Then it hits me...well the Lord hit me, upside the inside of my head. "If you would have asked me what to do, I would have told you." In fact, he already has. In Mark 16:17 Jesus says, "And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons;..." "Peggy, you would have been all right if you'd have just casted him out." Its true. I don't know why I didn't think of it. It certainly was all an attack of the enemy. The bible tells me that I have the power to cast him out.

So as I sat driving and marveling at a missed opportunity. I exchanged peace for futile thinking. I quickly changed my thoughts so it wouldn't spill over into self pity and guilt, although it crept at my door. I just began to speak to the devil and say "Satan, in the name of Jesus, leave my Matthew and Alex alone. Get up and get out." Just as simple as that. It took a few hours but by evening, my boys were the same joyous kids I know. Our coversation was sweet and reconciliation covered it. He even told me why the crowd booed. I said Matthew, "you know love covers a multitude of sins?"

You know what, it happened again today. On the way to vacation bible school, they cried " why are you forcing us to go? You are ruining our summer. We want to go to grandma's house and do what we want." I know, "watch foolish television shows on cable or get the Word of God in you and have a great time? Hmmm. Let's see...." Gimme a break. I wasn't falling for Satan's tricks again. I held it together. As calm as I could be I kept repeating to them that they were going to have a great time, I know what's best and they need to trust me as their mom. I would not lead them into a horrible time. Matthew screamed and cried fat tears of anguish. Alex looked betrayed with tears in his eyes. Good grief. I wasn't afraid, just a bit agitated on the inside, but not with them. So I said it again, "Satan you come out of Matthew and Alex right now, in Jesus name" (can't forget that). They cried even louder and harder. They just thought I was making fun of them and being mean. Lies, all lies, from the one bendt on stealing, killin' and destroyin'. It took ten minutes to get them all inside, but they stayed and LOVED IT. "Sorry I was mad at you mom. I forgive you. It was OK. Nah! It was awesome! It was crazy!"

Our children are precious and he can't have them. Our mind is sound, and we cannot allow the enemy to have a picnic there. Cast him out!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Celebrate Freedom

Written July 3, 2009 for the Women of Destiny Newsletter
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. Isaiah 61:1 (NLT)
Have you ever answered the infamous icebreaker questions? "What's your favorite color, what was the last book you read? Favorite food?" But have you ever been asked this one, "What's your favorite word?" My answer would be: "Free"! Whenever I hear it, my ears perk up and my heart leaps at the thrill of being and having anything free. I salivate over a Dillard's ad containing the phrase "take an additional 75% off"; do I hear clearance anyone? "Freedom" floods my mind with visions of dancing, walking on water, birds flying, leaping off the edge of a cliff and slowly gliding. Of course, I can't neglect my ultimate vision - being on vacation. Ahhhhhhhh.....uninterrupted relaxation!
As we approach the eve of Independence Day, I can't help but ponder the freedom I have experienced in my own life. Freedom, for me is more than what it appears to mean in the natural. Let's see, I have sought freedom from fear, self-consciousness, procrastination, controlling people, being controlled by others; the list goes on.
Revelation of how much God truly loves me and meditating on His Word has strengthened my ability to walk in freedom. The Bible, as described by Creflo Dollar, "is not a book of rules, but a bag of Seed." Galatians 5:1 encourages us to remember that "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." (NIV) Receiving healing from past hurts has allowed me to say, "Bye bye" to the embittered, "I aint trustin' nobody", nobody that used to exist, and greet a renewed me. I'm gaining the freedom to say no, be vulnerable, transparent, and go where I've never gone before, cultivating a whole heart.
Till next time, let's walk about in freedom as we seek out His precepts! (Psalm 119:4-5)

Monday, May 11, 2009

National Day of Prayer

Thursday, May 7

My outlook calendar reminded me to jet to the county office during lunch time, to gather at the entrance and pray. Maranatha's Evelyn and Tony ministered in music and we all sang "God Bless a America"; it felt great to sing out loud, for the Lord in such a public arena. There was quite a number of people who gathere, many taking time from lunch to take part. Maranatha's own Pastor Rich Webb and Pastor Jeremy, led the prayers. I was so glad that I came. I literally had a 2o minute drive to get there, but staying only 20 minutes was worth it. So much took place in that time. We prayed as a collective body, for the nation, our President, the pastors in this community, and the military. We broke into small groups to pray for specific personal needs. I shared my need to be organized at home - I know what needs to be done, but struggle with time to do it. There is so much I would like to do, but it seems far out of reach. Jennifer Ford, a sister at Marantha was in our group, along with her parents. She offered a lot of encouragement to me and we exchanged numbers afterwards.

It was like a flash family reuninon - shook hands with my former Pastor Jim, and embraced my brother who was there filming. Surprise! Surprise! There a few other church members I got to give quick hugs to before returning to work.

I felt such a peace out there. I returned to the office like a super charged energizer bunny.

We closed as a collective body, unashamed to bow our heads in front of a government office and give honor and glory to Jesus.

A specific prayer was offered...

Reverend Joe Wright was believed to have created this prayer, originally delivered by Bob Russell. In 1996 Rev. Wright offended a handful when he addressed the Kansas House of Representatives with it. The truth will undeniably do just that.

“Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and seek your direction and guidance. We know your Word says, "Woe to those who call evil good," but that's exactly what we've done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values.”

“We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of your Word and called it moral pluralism. We have worshipped other gods and called it multi-culturalism. We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building esteem. We have abused power and called it political savvy. We have coveted our neighbors' possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our fore-fathers and called it enlightenment.”

“Search us O God and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of Kansas, and who have been ordained by you, to govern this great state. Grant them your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of your will. I ask it in the name of your son, the living savior, Jesus Christ.”


Zumba - Yeah Baby!

I woke up to a sea of disarray. I was determined not to touch it, or be consumed by it. BJ was with a friend until the evening, and the boys, well, they were going to spend the day with Ma and Pa. This was Mother's Day weekend and I had to train myself to not try and clean. BJ would help once he arrived home, and the little guys would do their part too.

I finally had the opportunity to attend Zumba at the Higher Ground Performing Arts studio. My friend Andrea has been raving about the class. I anticipated it. I loved it. I cannot describe the amount the of sweat that dripped from every pore in my body, only 15 minutes into the class. Our Latino dance instructor was creative and tough. The Afro Cuban beats, the salsa, reggae tone was nastalgic for me. We grew up dancing the night away with my parents. The Haitian music was at the forefront, as well; the style was quite similar. Our instructor asked me my name and if I danced. I told her how much I liked to dance. In fact, it has been quite a while since I danced. My high school days, to be exact. I was so excited at an opportunity to do something I enjoy and not feel like I was formally exercising. There were times I felt like laying out - prostrate on the floor. There were times when I just wanted to stand there and say "are you kidding me." I wanted to say no, but inside I kept saying yes, yes! The more I looked at my thighs, the more I kept moving and praising God that the day is going to come when they will disappear, and only muscle will remain. Yee Haw, or Hallelujah!

And guess what? On Thursdays they do the Total Body Blast. Does that not sound like an incentive to go to class? It sounds like video game laser surgery - love it. This class will mostly involve floor work - we can speak to those abs to come forth, and break through the fat, or blast through. Huh...huh.. I had so much energy, which truly defies the myth that exercise will make you tired. Quite the contrary.

I made it a point to tell the instructor: "I'LL BE BACK!"

I'm ready. Really I am. I want to get back in shape again. I have such a great responsibility with my boys, and with much I know the Lord has called me to do, for Him. I need the energy to be the mom with the "third arm." Someone prophesied that over me recently- He would grow me a (supernatural) third arm that would allow me to get the job done (of course He's doing it). I say "Lord, wears my third arm?" I need it!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Oops...Big Oops

5pm at Islands of Adventure

BJ and Brandon are done with the Hulk ride and we agree to meet up at the Spider man ride. Alex wanted to ride this from the beginning but the line was too long 125 minute wait. By evening it had dropped to 90. We really enjoyed it. The seat hardly moves but all the simulation makes you feel like you are towering over large buildings, falling, getting splashed, feeling heat, and all along Spider man is helping you out - pretty cool stuff! Alex is not happy; I glance at everyones glee, but Alex looks scared. He shares that he did not like that ride; I guess he took all that simulation seriously.

I apologize to him and offer that we all get on the Popeye ride to take that bad memory away, before we head out of the park. We had a short wait on it previously, but technical difficulties forced it to temporarily shut down. This time we got there in 5 minutes. The entire way Alex is begging me not to get on, he doesn't want to get wet. I am insisting that he go so he can have this great exeperience as a family. He is crying and asking me why I am forcing him to get on. He would like to sit in the waiting area. I think it would be dangerous to leave him alone, so I drag him with us. I tell him that not everyone gets wet. Well, guess who gets soaked in cold water, at the end of the day, when the sun has pretty much decreased in heat? Yup Alex and me. I am sorry the entire ride and he is wailing, because we keep getting sloshed.

We all agree that I should have just listened to Alex. His sweatshirt and hat are dry, so his shirt comes off so he can get warmed up again. I ask him to forgive me and express my ignorance-I forgot how wet we really get on this ride, I thought it was only at the end. I practically tortured him.

I wondered why I didn't just listen to my boy. A couple of days ago I started listening to a CD called why I can't say no. Being a fixer and codependent describes who I have been much of my life and where it all began. I am striving to recognize the tendencies and put an end to it. The Lord doesn't want me to be the Holy Spirit. He is the only rescuer and fixer that operates without an ulterior motive-when I do it, its to meet a need in me. Laura Petherbridge (speaker from this past weekends retreat) was right-on in her assessment. I wanted Alex to feel better, so I was trying to create a better experience. This was a classic way, for God to show me that when I think, How can I get so and so to do this or that, or stop this or that behavior, I am trying to rescue to fulfill my selfish needs.

I have learned that codependence actually delays or prolongs the porblem being fixed - I can't fix it! When I make a mistake and it hurts someone else, or if I see someone hurting themselves, I have to allow that person to experience the situation without trying to usher it through to a flowery end. I tried for a huge chunk of my previous marriage to Orlando. When I finally realized the sick pattern I was allowing to develop, I was more than eager to run.

I've learned that if I seek to enable, I am loving that person or situation more than I love God.

Praise God that he is now putting me in situations that is confronting this problem and He is fixing it in my life. I have moved leaps and bounds from the fear of avoiding conflict at all costs. He is currently urging me to be tougher with BJ who is failing Spanish. I may have to take everything away in order for him to get the message, work harder and pull up his grades. Matthew and Alex sometimes display these attitudes that I am not always consistent in correcting. At those times strong consecquences need to be experienced and sometimes I don't allow them. "Leniency is never loving." Sometimes having a false sense of acceptance and peace from my children meets my need to be accepted; yuck! The result of doing my job (which may need to be holding their feet to the fire), may result in anger and avoidance, but I will have the father's approval and support. I will always have HIs love.

Sometimes I walk through a false sense of peace in a friendship - I have to be brave to say what I am really feeling to make peace and not just try to keep the peace. It could mean an end in the friendship which God may have only allowed, for a season. My job would then be to just release it, and let it go. I may have to say no and limit my time with friends who are a bit toxic, who misrepresent who I am. I will be healthy and free. I desire freedom more than these chains.

The greatest thing I look forward to in all this is the growth in insight and wisdom, that only comes with obedience.

Set Me Free Deux - Self Consciousness

Day one at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure

Its mid day and our group of five has split up leaving me some alone time with Alex (my youngest). We are in Jurassic Park and BJ, Brandon and Matthew get on the themed ride that ends with a hefty drop, offering the tumble-over-the-waterfall experience; Alex was not even trying to experience that. We opted to wait a warned two hours to get on the flying prehistoric creature ride (can't spell the actual name). There are three sets of wings with two seats suspended in the air. It takes a total of about a minute to soar above a portion of the park - you go really high and feel like you are flying.

Waiting in line usuallly brings out feelings of frustration and anticipation. I made it a point to sit down with Alex and talk about school and whatever came to mind. There is plenty to see; what I like about the wait is the landscape and the music - beautiful waterfalls. landscaped gardens and island music. From time to time I try to get Alex to shimmy with me, but thats just too embarrising, for him. I can see why they call the engineers of this park Imagineers - you need quite an imagination to come up their ideas!

I observe the Latino mother and son in front of me - I wonder if they are from the states or foreign? What country are they from? Do they speak English? I don't open my mouth. They decide after half an hour that they don't want to wait anymore and exit the line. Next there is an Indian family in front of me. The heat and wind from a nearby fan intensifies the smell of mustard coming from a sandwich, a young boy is eating.

A gentleman (waiting with his family) behind strikes up some conversation with me. Is it really going to take two hours? I share how many vehicles are involved. The father in front of me asks how long we have to go - first time on this ride is my reply. Dad in back asks me where I'm from; he's from the Orlando area. We talk about Hurricane Charley, sports and he tries to get Alex to talk. We fall into a conversation about the biggest basketball players in the NBA. Lebron and Colby are the best technical players, but in this man's opinion Dwayne Wade has the best character overall and is his favorite. Hmm. He prefers College basketball - less whinig and drama and more team comraderie- I agree. Tim Tebow comes up. He says he is the only guy he would allow to marry his daughter. Hmm. I was initially worried about what I would say to this many, but he ends up being an encouragement to me, reminding me to open my mouth when I am prompted, when the questions are forming in my head, ask them. What to do you have to lose? I am quick to believe the lie that I have nothing interesting to say or offer when in this encounter every "little thing" I shared opened up more and more discussion. In just a few minutes I felt comfortable talking to a dad who i will one day meet in heaven.

Our conversation continued about Tebow; I didn't know he always wore Phil 4:13 on his face, during his regular season games and John 3:16 only for the final championship. When asked why he chose to do this, he said he knew the increased viewing audience needed to see this message more-a missionaries heart indeed! We both agreed that the reason he is respected and accepted by those who don't want a relationship with God is that he is the real deal. So many contradict who they are, but Tim is for real.

The president comes up, but not to take on a political turn - I tell him what I heard him say "We are no longer a Christian nation, but a Nation of Citizens." Certainly a time to show others who we are. In Tina's blog (that I follow) said it plainly - they will know we are Chrisians by our love, not our protests-Amen to that!

Yeah! We are next and we only waited one hour and 15 minutes. It was all worth the wait!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Set Me Free

Tonight we are finishing the final touches, for our spring break trip to Orlando. The boys have never been on a real vacation. They got a glimpse of the resort hotel experience during Christmas vacation - that the result of winning a ticket to ICE from my favorite radio station! BJ is much older and has been to Disney, and many other theme parks and attractions; however, as a family we've never gone away just, for fun!

As I check the tire pressure, fill up the gas tank, overwhelm the shopping cart full of groceries I try to ignore the nagging, sinking feeling I get whenever I do something that brings me pleasure. I feel guilty.

Freedom has been knocking on the door of a host of life long maladies. I've struggled with anxiety, fear, misplaced guilt and guilt by association of misplaced guilt. If that's not enough guilt, try the daughter-of-guilty-parents-that-were-probably-raised-to-feel-guilty-in-a-Haitian-Catholic-culture guilt.

Wait-there's more: I am the only daughter of the town mayor in the land of people pleasers. This distant town which my dear parent's belong, (though they surely have meant well), is all they've known. Perhaps they were raised this way–to be suspicious everytime I'd ever ask to sleep over Jana's house. She was only two doors down, on the same floor of our apartment complex! I always felt guilty, whenever I went. I would beg to go, but would always be sent off with a speech that made me feel as if I was doing something wrong, for trying to have some fun.
This never appeared to be unusual growing up until I find the same feelings creeping in my head. These foreigners that seek to suck out and control any joy that I know the Lord wants me to experience. For years this view that I have been trained to have, has spilled over into my view of who God is, and how he sees me.

If I stop to take those eroneous thoughts captive, I will be able to see that God delights in me. He wants to bless my life with good things. I can never out sin His love, for me.

How far do these chains take me? Gosh, I must have been four or five and James (little bro) was just one years old (but could walk). Family friends were over and I wanted to go to the park and play. Its what kids like to do; have a little fun. These kind relatives escorted me and James to the park in the nearby Projects. The swings back then were metal and someone was pushing their child on it. They didn't see James in the arms of the adult who was carrying him, past the swing, not prepared, for the crushing blow to his head as the seat came down with enough speed to form a gash. Blood is every where and we are running back home. No more play time, but I don't care about that. I wonder if James is going to die, if he does it would be my fault since I was the one who wanted to go. My mom confirmed my guilty conscience. She yelled at me as everyone fussed over James' cut. He did'nt have to go the hospital, didn't need stitches, but it was a huge deal. Maman said, "always want to go outside; can't stay home! If it wasn't for you, he wouldn't have been hurt." When I cried, I must have hid somewhere. I was alone and isolated, feeding on the lies and garbage satan began to form as early as the 70's.

Now I'm still feeling like fun may equal doom that's sure to come, but I am not giving into it anymore. I am going and I look forward to it. I know that God has given me the keys to break away from that brain-sucking feeling. I choose to let go of my parents who probably want me to have fun - I am letting go of the feeling that I am abandoning them; how weird, I don't live with them anymore, but I feel like I am neglecting them. Should I spend so much money? Uhh, I've earned the money, I've paid my bills, I'm a cheerful giver. There, that checklist should satisfy the intrusive Pharissee. Or Orlando (my exhusband). I feel so sorry for him sometimes. I hear the thoughts "you are going on vacation with the boys, he will surely feel bad that he can't do anything like that". In reality, I really don't care about it, but somehow co dependent leeches want to attach themselves to me. I know he wishes we were all a family again, but I know I have made the right decision as his insecurity kept me connected to my indentity-void roots. Speaking harsh words over me, words that robbed me of my value in Christ. My parents initiated it, and I allowed Orlando to magnify it, and thank God I no longer recieve it.

Just being able to be on alert, able to see it, gives me hope. It encourages me to know that God is actively working to produce the whole heart I have asked him for. Kids, reared in "normal" loving households know the feeling of shear delight, trust, and joy. So I'm about to have me some.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Little Imagination

Tonight we finished the first chapter of Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I try to read to Matthew and Alex before they go to bed. They usually fall asleep as I read. Tonight Alex said, "Mom, I'm not going to sleep or anything. I'm just going to close my eyes to get an imagination about what you're reading." Precious.

I have always been a huge fan of Little House on the Prairie, since my childhood years. I read all the books as a little girl, and am truly excited to bring this into the lives of my boys. From the television show, scenes of Laura and Mary running through the plains, pretending to be birds, makes me forget that they started out in the woods of Wisconsin - the big woods. No neighbors, for miles; surrounded by deer, bears, and other wild animals. I was fascinated by all the preparation it took to prepare, for long winters. The planning it took to kill, cure, smoke and store meat was amazing. Laura's dad would hang meat in a log and Laura would supply the hickory wood chips to add to it, and Voila! - smoked meat to store away, for the long winters. Duh! I was able to discover the meaning behind the flavor of my Hickory Smoke Barbecue sauce. Forgive a city slicker. Thank God, for the coveniences we enjoy today! That way of life is so foreign to me. Only my imagination can experience it.

"Even my wildest imagination could not cure my anxiety, Diana, " was the bit of the drama that would come from the mouth of Anne Shirley, in Anne of Green Gables, another beloved series. Anne's love of books carried her through the marvelous landscapes of Prince Edward Island, and countless opportunities, for hilarious mishaps. She breathed life into everyone she encountered, and grew to become a prolific author and speaker. Diana was blessed to have her as a "bossom friend."

A coworker of mine grew up in Wisconsin; he used to tell me stories of the lake his family lived by, the long walks to the school bus, fishing, work around the house, and the bitter cold. His descriptions created a beautiful picture, for me. Books are so valuable in its ability to create a unique vision in the minds of all who enter them. As much as I love the conveniences we enjoy today, there are plenty I could do without. Electricity has its perks, but I really enjoyed the two week interuption after Hurricane Charley. Life stopped. I was able to help my parents clean up the damage from their roof; gather the shingles in the back yard; barbecue each night and swat mostiquitoes by flashlight who snuck in with us, well after curfew. A little less convenience, a lot more imagination.

I would give my TV, for the opportunity to be bored. I envy those who complain about it. Oh, what I would do with free time. Children in the colonial days worked hard, but they had time to be carefree and dream big dreams, create, produce, invent! Their parents didn't rush to FAO Schwarz to get the lastest toy; children made their own. Each year Charlotte County hosts Colonial Days at a local park. Sandi and I took our boys last year and loved watching them play tug of war, sling shots and marbles. BJ (my oldest), rolls his eyes when I swoon over the idea of pitching stones.

In Little House in the Big Woods, Laura describes the dolls she and her sister would play with in their attic. Mary had a real doll named Nettie, and Laura loving cared for her corn cob, wrapped in a handkerchief - her name was Susan, she was a good doll. "It wasn't her fault that she was a corncob," Laura confidently proclaimed.

I don't know about you, but I just want to quit my job and move in with them!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hangin' with Sandi & The Spaghetti Chronicles

It was fun hangin' with my sister: uber mom (of four) and devoted wife (to Ivan). She's an awesome lady that Sandi Ortiz. (I will share more about our friendship in a future post.) This weekend they head for a vacation to the Holy Land Experience in Orlando. We went to the Goodwill in Port Charlotte; she found some deals on a couple of clothing items and I went gaga over the books.

I am a book hoarder. I love books, love to read. I don't have time for it like I used to, but that friend, is only temporary. I purchased seven inspirational books. The one I am excited about the most is Stories Behind the Best Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins. I love hymns, and Christmas songs are one of the aspects of Christmas that I enjoy the most. In fact, we are known for popping a Christmas CD in the car in the middle of spring - we'll play it anytime, anywhere - we don't care! Being a hystory buff will make this find an extra treat!

I took a wrong turn on the way to the store, but it turned out to be providential, or something. I went down Spring Lake Blvd. and we were in awe of the large beautifully landscaped, waterfront homes with plenty of land separating them. With sunset only an hour away, the drive was peaceful. When I first moved to the area, I would purposely take wrong turns just to find short cuts (where I don't have to wait at traffic lights), and discover neighborhoods that I did not know existed. I will definitely consider Spring Lake when I do my house hunting, this Spring. We shared our love of homes surrounded by of shade, woodsy even; trees are just beautiful. We need shade in this town that can get pretty hot in the summer months.

I only had time to peruse two shelves at Goodwill; we were getting kicked out (closing time was 8pm). We headed to Panera Bread and shared Frozen Cafe Mochas. I must make a note to self - don't drink anything but decaf, no matter how good it is! I am sitting here feeling like I am about to jump out of my skin! Caffeine indused anxiety is coursing through my veins. Yikes - I really can't hold down coffee. Love the taste, but its dangerous man dude. At work they warn folks not to give me any, because I can't stop talking. I talk in circles (kind of like what I'm doing now). Its hard to keep up with me when I'm on coffee, dude. It wears off like a hang over; headaches and everything. I am experiencing the high now, heart is racin' bud. I could probably lift this monitor and do about 30 reps; I'm en fuego man!

I need to sleep now. I have a busy day tomorrow. 9am is my hair appointment with Juana; afterward I will head over to Chic-Fil-A, for Community Christian Schools' car wash (gotta support the boys' school - car could use a bath). I will swing home to grab the boys and take them over to a memorial fundraiser event, for Sara Dian Heinemen's family. Sara was the daughter of Carri Ann, a teacher I worked for at Liberty Elementary in 2004. She teaches the emotionally handicapped children (the ones everyone avoids). I really enjoyed those kids. Sara was probably 3 years old at the time, the youngest of 3 girls. The day before Valentines day, she was with her dad Rick and her sister Madison on her way home. A drunk driver who drove a truck ran over their mustang (Rick loved that car). Rick is still recovering in Bayfront Medical Center, Madison is out of All Childrens Hospital in stable condition, but Sara died on Sunday, February 22. I read the story in the local paper. I just can't imagine the myriad of feelings Cari Ann must be experiencing; and Rick, he was still in ICU at Bayfront. What must it have been like, for him when he heard the news, and not be able to leave the hospital and see his girls? I pray that the Lord will help me to identify with her, so that I can encourage her. I hope she will be there tomorrow (or later today - its now 12:09am); I didn't get to attend the funeral. I just pray I don't say anything stupid. I just want to be sincere. Gosh. There were times when I used to have these scenarios in my head of what I would feel like if one of my boys died, if they all died. I imagine the funeral, I start bawling as if they are already gone. The Lord reminds me that I must take captive every thought, making it obedient to Christ.

My mind is truly like spaghetti guys. Well Chad Eastham says that all girls have minds like spaghetti. They can't seem to stay on one subject. He says that men are like waffles, they compartmentalize everything. They can't keep up with these spaghetti minds. But imagine a spaghetti mind on caffeine. Heck, you don't have to imagine it, you are experiencing it now! My mom puts coffee on her rose bushes as fertilizer. There, I feel better now....

Speaking of mom (fooled you - thought I was done - not; thought I was too), I will be seeing her later. I want to take her to see Tyler Perry's Madea Goes to Jail. Mom needs to laugh; she has to endure hours of complaining from dad - she says she's used to it. How can you get used to that? I'll have to make sure its clean (profanity free). Then again, I may move the movie date to Sunday; too many things in one day. Can't trust myself to plan a day on caffeine...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Meaning Behind the "Muse" ical

“Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of earth you will again bring me up.” (Psalm 71:20). The Lord revealed that verse to me in the early days of my rescue from a nine year, emotionally abusive marriage- what a comfort it brought to my soul. I didn’t know what it meant to have an enemy until marriage; pretty depressing. In fact, I was numb, for so many years waiting on the Lord to rescue me. Is it OK to leave? I wish he would hit me, then others would understand, and help me. Every silent treatment, harsh word, betrayal, and put down turned what was once a carefree child of God, into a stone wall with a fake smile.

My journey to freedom began in 2004, and to this very day God is restoring me to have a whole heart. My three boys inspired me to break what could have been a vicious cycle of abuse. Leaving, ended it. My first place of refuge was a condo nestled in this beautiful complex surrounded by oak trees. The view from my lanai was that of a waterfall in the center of a pond! I had always dreamed of having a room with a view. Each night I gazed at the light at the base of the waterfall, which made for an amazing display.

I received wonderful gifts from friends that year, which mostly consisted of roses. I purchased items to decorate my new room, and noticed that many of them contained roses. I knew that there was symbolism in it, and the Lord wanted to encourage me in it. So here is what I learned when I did some digging: "Usually a rose symbolizes beauty, love and passion. The thorns are a reminder that love can also be painful. For example, there may be sharp disagreements, separation, disloyalty, and other hurtful events. Another, related meaning is warmth of personality, compassion. " In spite of all my junk, I am still beautiful, full of love and passion. But hold on there, that love and passion part - I am single now and want nothing to do with premature romance. I want to marry again some day, but I won't date now. I trust God to pick my husband, for me. Instead of me looking for the right man, I desire the Lord to make into the "right" woman. So in further digging, I found this meaning - Bud of rose: Unopened flower of a rose. I am a rosebud. Marriage will turn me into a rose. In fact, I'll be a rosebush after marriage! Hee! Hee!

I love music, any kind of music (accept for country and heavy metal)! I always dreamed of singing, but I can only pull that off in the shower. I love to worship the Lord. I love songs that bring me closer to the heart of God. Something amazing happens when we worship Him. I know that I can gain access to the Lord; I have become receptive to hear what He wants to communicate to me. So how I can create a musical if I have no singing ability? Although I can make a joyful noise, I naturally muse - think about something in a deep and serious or dreamy and abstracted way; to say something in a thoughtful or questioning way.

I know its corny, but its all me, and God through me! He gave me that idea you know. As you travel on this journey with me, I may weave in and out of the past - not to punish myself, but to share what I have learned from it. I will drop in a line from a song as often as I can, as well as a verse the Lord will send to me. I want to share as passionately as a beautiful singer, can sing!

Fallen Petals

Eight years ago, I fled the cold, congested, and busy confines of New York City to embrace the warmth of Charlotte County, Florida. The move brought me closer to my parents who provided refuge from an emotionally abusive marriage. I made a series of poor decisions that introduced me to unwed motherhood at the age of 18. What led to those decisions?

I grew up a Haitian American; an only girl with three brothers living in the Bronx. My parents sacrificed a great deal to live out their dreams through their children. My dreams were lost in my need to please others, I was raised to think this way. Fear was also a major anchor that kept me from joining clubs and getting involved in extra curricular activities, during my high school years. I did manage to allow distractions from TV shows and romance novels, that injected me with false perceptions of what relationships would offer me. I delighted myself with daydreaming. I was hungry, for love; didn't want to wait, and thought I knew it all. I gave it all to the first young man who showed an interest in me. Early pregnancy at the age of 16 scared me to death, and compelled me to shed innocent blood. I was guilty and forged a coverup, the birth of my first son BJ at the age of 18. It didn't take away my pain, or heal my broken relationship, because it happened again, in my early twenties. (To give honor to my children and share details of the descructive power of abortion, and my redemption, read "Amara and Jonathan", which I will publish soon.)

I did not know how valuable my life was then. I grew up as a people pleaser with very little self worth. Deep depression overwhelmed me as I could not fix my gaze in front of me; I continued to look back, repeatedly reminding myself of my past mistakes. This self destructive behavior paralyzed me for many years. While I was a student attending a community college in the Bronx, I majored in Nursing until I participated in the clinical portion of the program. I realized early on, that I had no desire to be involved in the medical field, my parents choice.

I married a man who was much like me, insecure and afraid; unfortunately his fears manifested itself in explosive, controlling, and tyrannical behavior. Two wonderful boys came from that marriage to add to my first son who is extraordinary as well. I can only thank God for lifting me out of my depression, and releasing me from an unbearable existence, for myself and my children. Although the divorce was finalized nearly two years ago, I have forgiven my husband. I have confidence that no matter what I go through, I have a God that can see me through it. My ten year pause from education brought me to Edison State College where I recently earned an Associate of Arts degree. From there I hope to transfer into a program with a major in journalism. I also have a passion for counseling.

I have a second chance at life now. God has changed the way I think. It is difficul raising three boys alone. It is my dream to not have to work long hours that keep me away from my boys. My goal in pursuing higher education is to gain independence through journalism. As a free lance journalist I envision entries in newspapers and magazines, which will further launch me into writing books and screen plays. I am not afraid to think big anymore. With God, ALL things are possible. I am excited about the opportunity I have to express myself through writing. I have reached a place in my life where I can look back at all the events of my past, and realize that I have a story to tell. There were many details that used to trouble me, so I feel a great sense of freedom in knowing that the lessons I learned may serve to encourage others who may be going through similar experiences.

Morning Woes

March 5, 2009
"You dance over me, while I am unaware. You sing all around, and I never hear a sound. Lord I'm amazed by you; how you love me..."
I woke up this morning with this verse "forget what is behind, strain toward what is ahead. Press on toward the goal, for which God has called you heavenward in Christ." I knew this was not only for me, but for my boys. "Don't remind them of their past failures. Encourage them with this verse today. Help them to know that they have a hope and a future in me." The Lord wakes me up with a song and encourages me to get up, and not be afraid to face the challenges that will surely come in the present day.
What were my challenges? Lets see, Matthew (my middle son) would not eat. I was getting frustrated in all the different methods I would try to encourage him to eat something substantial. The Lord was telling me to not remind him of what he didn't do yesterday; start over today. Then there's my teenage son BJ. What do I do about his failing two subjects? "I know you're frustrated," the Lord whispers, "but I will help you. Encourage him to start over, and believe that he can learn spanish and tackle math." So I just speak positive words of encouragement over them, even when they don't receive it. I've failed miserably before, but I will commit myself to change.