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.