He Is Risen!!!

As Easter is fast approaching, it is a glorious celebration of our Savior and His resurrection from the grave.  My Savior Lives!

Tonight, our Pastor used 1 Corinthians 15:1-9 to illustrate what this means to us.

1 Corinthians 15New King James Version (NKJV)

The Risen Christ, Faith’s Reality

15 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

The Resurrection changed the earth.  It changed us.  It changed the world.

The Resurrection changed:

The Cross ~~ It is now a symbol and reminder to us of God’s Love for us.  No longer is it the horrible death of crucifixion.

The Grave ~~ We rejoice in the fact that we’ll live forever with our Father in eternity, no longer are we put in the ground and left there with no hope.

Death ~~ Before it was “The End”, now it is the “Beginning”, a great hope that we will live forever with Christ.  ETERNITY!  The promise of everlasting life.

How joyous life has become, knowing that we are saved by His grace and love.

1 Corinthians  51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

1 Corinthians 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Oh Happy Day!  He is RISEN!  He LIVES! He REIGNS!

Advertisements

Fat Tuesday

I remember the first time I ever went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  I was a young Marine and had gone with 9 male Marines as back up.  We had a blast.  Nothing says fun like hanging in a strip club with your buddies. LOL!  Of course, being young and dumb, I was also intoxicated and took my shirt off to show the stripper how much better my breasts were than hers.  Needless to say, I was quickly escorted out of the club by my friends so we wouldn’t get arrested. LOL!

Many a Mardi Gras celebration was had when I lived in the Florida panhandle.  Yearly parades, jazz music and parties abounded.  King cakes and plastic babies, moonpies and  beads, masks and Beignets, Jambalaya and gumbo; the list goes on.  Of course, Hurricanes make the day even sweeter.  Fat Tuesday is the last day of decadence until Easter.

Tomorrow, Lent begins.  For the next 40 days, we await Holy week, in remembrance of the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ.  We usually give something up for Lent.  A vice that we probably shouldn’t have in the first place is a great thing to give up.

As for me and my house, we will serve you, Lord.  Each & Every DAY!

When it rains, it pours

So, I received a letter from my landlord today about a rent increase come January.  I can’t afford the increase; because I’ve just lost $600 a month in child support.  Great!  I guess It’s time to move.  My son just came out and stated it has not been our year and I do believe that’s the truth.

I have been so strong since Leif died, then David and then the ex.  I have been in a lot of physical pain as well as emotional pain lately and my strength has been incredible.  Right now, though, I am weak and falling apart.

I have been attacked twice by friends of Leif’s ex-wife, telling me to give Leif’s “stuff” to his children.  SMH I cannot believe that they believe they’re entitled to his things after cutting him out of their lives in 2013 and that they actually believe I have anything of his.  I am at a loss.  Since 2013, he has been in and out of the hospital for various aliments, which finally led to his death.  My heart is heavy with sadness that he is no longer here.  He was such a wonderful person underneath his pain and hurt.  “Hurt people, hurt people” and I understood that about him.  I could see through his pain to who he truly was.

Both of my attackers told me that God would be judging me for my “sins” and that I would be going to hell.  I cannot understand those who stand in judgment of me and who claim to “know” what God will do to me.

Believe me, I know that I am not worthy of God.  I know that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and that each morning I strive to be a better person and follow his teachings and I fail him daily.  I am flawed, I am human; but I am trying to be a better person.  Each time I fail, I ask Him for forgiveness and I know that he forgives; but Jesus has already paid the price for me.  So, I ask, why are others telling me what God himself has told me is true, is not true?  I don’t believe them; but I don’t understand them either.

I have cut out from my life, the people that have hurt me for so long.  I even cut out my father and two sisters.  Why?  Because people cut out cancer when they have it, so why should I not cut out those who hurt you?

My son, who spent last summer with my parents and sister & her family, in Texas.  He came back with tales of how fucked up my father and sister truly think I am.  My sister blamed me for things that both my parents told him wasn’t true.  You see, she can’t take responsibility for her own actions and blames me for a lot of the crap in her life.  I truly don’t have that power.  I never did.  I guess I should count myself lucky she didn’t attack me physically, which would not be unheard of for her.  She claims to love me; but proves she doesn’t each time she opens her mouth.

My youngest sister was cut off in 2010, after spouting off nonsense and then telling me that I was always the problem.  I don’t want to be anyone’s problem, so I don’t bother her.

As for my father.  Ah, I have tried my entire life to live up to the impossible dream he seems to think I am supposed to be living.  In 2014, Leif called him and asked him to bury the hatchet over a fight we had.  My father proceeded to tell him (and me, who heard it all on speaker phone) what a piece of shit, troublemaking asshole I am.  He stated that I hold a grudge, I am vicious and vindictive and vengeful.  That I take pleasure in hurting others as they have hurt me.  Wow.  I never realized I was so evil.

In all the years Leif knew me, he never saw any of that.  I did not take revenge against my cheating, emotionally and physically abusive husband.  Leif never saw me do anything that my father spoke of.  Tigers don’t change their stripes.

What Leif did see was a woman who was used and abused by those around me; because I’m too nice.  He watch a woman nearly steal me blind.  He watched people manipulate me to get what they could out of me.  He watched the world spit on me and became my champion to stop the madness.  It seems whenever I stand up for myself, I am a bitch and the mean one.

I can’t even begin to understand what others think and feel about me; but I do know that I am a good person.  I am trying hard to be better everyday and it isn’t easy when pain rules your life.

 

Goodbye’s the saddest word…..

On Saturday, September 3, 2016, @ 8:15 am, I said goodbye to my best friend.

The call came in at 6:06 am; but I slept right through it.  I’d spent the last few days going back and forth to Hospice House and taking Ian to and from CCHS for school and band.  I was just so tired; but knew I’d not sleep.

I woke up at 7:20 am to my dogs telling me to get up and let them out.  No rest for the wicked.  As it happens, I looked at the answering machine after they came inside and saw that glowing green #1 and knew.  I listened to the message and called back right away.  It was then I was told he was going fast.  I hurriedly dressed and drove there.

The nurse hung up with me and went to Leif’s room and told him to hang on, I was on the way.  I arrived at 7:50 am.  I caressed his head and held his hand.  I kissed him and sang to him.  I prayed with him and I told him it was okay to let go and be with our Heavenly Father.  I told him I loved him and I felt his hand spasm and then he was gone.  I continue to sit with him, not wanting to let go.  The nurse came in at 8:27 and I told her he was gone.  She retrieved the doctor and it was official at 8:30.

The social worker came.  She had a blue vase with gorgeous bouquet of sunflowers (my favorites) with her, a sign, I am sure, that he was telling me it was okay.  He was okay.  I shared some funny and sweet stories with the social worker, nurses and staff members.  They came in to make him “presentable” and I wandered off to the chapel to pray.

I told our Father to take care of him.  To hold him close and show him the “ropes”.  I told him I’d be there to meet him and to enjoy the time he’ll spent with his two daughters.  His life here was so hard, so unfair, so tragic; but now, he’s in heaven and has his new body and can be with those who will only show him love.

Arrangement had to be made and decisions I wasn’t ready for; but had to make.  Pastor Larry at Hope prayed with me, spoke with me and reminded me that God is my strength and my comfort.

He was so cold.

My comfort also comes from knowing Leif is finally at peace.  He is no longer hurting.  His soul is renewed in love and that one day we will meet again.  I will miss this great, big, gentle giant who loved me more than anything in the world.  I will see you again, my Cota Bear.

On Sunday, I went to make and finalize arrangements for his cremation.  I ordered his urn.  Papers signed, notifications made, tears flowed.

Leif was my hero.  My knight in tarnished armor.  The one who kept me grounded to this earth and the one who helped me soar.  He would catch me every time I fell. We fought as fiercely as we loved and laughed even harder than that.  He was my best friend, my fiercest competitor and my champion.

Cota Bear, I will miss you and love you until my dying day, when we will meet again.

10895319_510058355801628_540104733_n

Merry Christmas

Upon reflection during this holiday season, I know the Lord has a plan for my life. Like the legendary Phoenix, I have risen out of the ashes after facing death 7 times. I am stronger today than the first time I nearly died and I will continue to become stronger each day. Pain is my daily life; but even the “suicide disease” can’t defeat me. I am a survivor!!!

Not a day goes by that I don’t push my pain aside to live my life. I am a mother, raising a son alone. It is my job, each day, to ensure he grows up to be the best possible man he can be. It is not an easy task. Most days I feel like an utter failure. However, I rise up again the next day to start over. I am the only one my son has, so I have to try again each day.

Living with several diseases is hard. It is hard on him when I have to tell him I can’t do something, even though I so desperately want to let him. It is hard to play mother and father to a child. Money gets tight when bills have to be paid

Each day brings with it it’s own struggles. Is my Trigeminal Neuralgia going to bring me low with it’s pain? Is my Lupus going to flare and cause me to rebel against my body? Is the Fibromyalgia going to cause me so much burning or pain that I can’t even wear clothes? I can’t plan the day until I wake for fear of disappointing myself and my son.

My doctors can’t help me; but I do know that I am stronger than most women and I will get through each day as it is presented to me.

So, another year has gone by and I’m still kicking my way along the path the Lord has set me on. Merry Christmas to you all.

 

 

What’s in it?

Since April 23rd, I’ve changed my lifestyle for the better.  In January, I went in for standard blood work and food out my A1C was at 11.5.  WAY out of the normal range.  My doctor wanted to put me on insulin right away.  I wanted a chance to do it with a change in diet.  I struggled.  I couldn’t do it alone.  I was a mess.  I feared I’d have to go on insulin at the age of only 45 and I was not happy.  I lived in dread. 

My friends and I met up at the local Panera Bread for an end of school year (even though we had 6 weeks left of school to go) Bible Study celebration.  We’d been working on it since August last year, once a week, we’d meet up and share in the word of God.  It was great.  Well, one friend walked in with a copy of “The Daniel Plan” by Pastor Rick Warren.  I said, “Hey, I’m on the waiting list for that at the library.” Hers was borrowed, too and she told me she loved it and wanted to try it out.  So, we decided that for the next 6 weeks, we’d continue to meet and give it a try!

Week 4 I had my next quarterly A1C test and it was 7.5.  YUP, that’s right!  I brought it down.  Now, 7 weeks later, they’ve cut my medications in 1/2.  I’m doing TERRIFIC and it is all because of the Daniel Plan.

The Daniel Plan is a 40 day jump start program to a new and improved lifestyle.  It is based on Romans 8 and uses five basic principals to a new you.  Faith, Food, Fitness, Friends and Focus.

Faith is based on using your own personal faith in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to work in your life to create a temple for the Holy Spirit in your body that is pleasing to God.  My life is dependent of God’s plan and I am dedicated to being the best person I can be for Him.

Food is all about what we put in our bodies.  I learned to read the labels on foods, look for chemical additives that are bad for a person’s health and to change my unhealthy eating habits for better ones.  I learned that if it comes from a growing plant, it is good for you; but if it is manufactured in a plant, it is not.  No High Fructose Corn Syrup, No MSG, No Trans fats!  I learned to pick out the multitude of names that companies use in order to disguise unhealthy ingredients into food products.  I’ve cut out gluten based starches cause inflammation in our bodies and I feel better.

Fitness was a hard one for me; because I was feeling to badly to begin with; but I pushed myself.  I’ve been riding my bike for the past 8 weeks and am pushing myself further and harder than before.  I’m moving easier with a lot less inflammation than before.  I’m not a 100%; but I’m making headway.

Friends have been so important.  When I have felt stressed and wanted to eat, I instead contacted a friend.  If I felt a set back in some way, I could talk to my group of friends, who are also on the plan, and feel better.  With friends who hold you accountable, I am more likely to keep to the program and I do.

Focus has helped me to keep it all on God.  Scripture, prayer, devotion and love for God keep me focused on a better lifestyle for a happier, healthier me. 

Pastor Rick Warren worked with Dr. Hyman and Dr. Amen and consulted with Dr. Oz to help people get healthy.  They have the program, a cook book, a journal, and interactive DVD study that keep you on track.  At our last weekday meeting, we shared a few recipes for healthy alternatives.  It was great.  So great, in fact, that I began a second 40 day Bible Study with another group of friends to get them healthy, too.  It is wonderful.  My excitement about feeling better, getting stronger and staying faithful to God is now helping others to do the same. 

I love God for how he is helping me to be a new ME!  He is good all the time and I just love Him.

Freedom of Silence

I just watched a movie called, “Freedom of Silence” which is about the year 2030 and how it is illegal to be a Christian in the United States. How our government enacted laws to make it illegal to worship God freely. The very principals upon which this great nation was built were flushed down the toilet because of intolerance.

This movie, though not factual, could very well be on the horizon. This country is in danger of losing the very values and freedoms we so cherish. It is time we wake up, people and see what is going on right in front of our noses.

Our president is making a mockery of our religious values by disregarding the “National Day of Prayer” and instead, having Muslim ceremonies instead. How he is turning his back on the Constitution over and over again only to try and enact and force laws on us that he and his constitutes are “exempt” from following.

Gas prices have steadily risen since he went into office, leaving many people barely making ends meet. The rising cost of gas has the cost of food elevated and the sad fact is, we’re heading to another depression if we’re not careful. I truly believe this man is trying to bankrupt and ruin this country.

My prayers are for this country to band together and remove the gangrenous limb that is poisoning us and for us to heal. God has always blessed this country and I do so hope that He will continue to do so for a long time. However, with the current state of things, I do not see us recovering soon enough.

Take, for example, a recent article about the state of the Welfare System. A recent article mentioned that recipients of food stamps were spending too much of their stipend on soda, cookies, cakes and other junk foods. In my opinion, those who receive food stamps should not be permitted to purchase such things; but to purchase healthy foods. This is just an opinion. I shared this opinion on social media, only to be blasted by a food stamp recipient about how she is entitled to these vices and how she can’t last an entire month on her lowly $189 stipend, in which she also purchases cookies and sodas. WOW! Interesting. I spend around $400 a month on food for 3 people. I do not buy crap. I buy vegetables, fruits, meat and grains. I make good meals for my family. I stretch the money, use coupons and shop deals. I’ve learned to be frugal out of necessity. I wanted to eat healthy, so after dumping the processed crap out of our diets, I’ve found that you CAN eat on a budget and be healthy without going broke. YEAH!

This person, for whatever reason, is receiving a stipend to assist with her food budget and insists that she can’t get enough to eat without eating crap. I remember when I first left the USMC and only made $300 a month and how I made “way too much” for assistance even though I could not afford rent, food, electric and water on only $300 a month. I can only thank God and my parents for getting me through this horrible time in my life. If this same occurrence happened today, I don’t know what I’d do. Our country is quickly going down hill and I don’t see us recovering from it any time soon.

We were one of the strongest countries in the world and now we are borrowing money from China. We’re spending more than we’re making. We owe other countries with no hope of ever receiving repayment. We’re on a slippery slope. God help us all.

Approaching Five Years

It just occurred to me this morning that June will mark 5 years since I nearly died at the hands of a monster.  As I reflected on the 14 years I was with him, I see so clearly the things that should have been glaringly obvious to me; but I overlooked or didn’t notice until my eyes were ripped open. 

He was reckless.  On two occasions we were in car accidents during inclement weather that he was driving, going too fast and crashed my vehicle, totaling them.  He also narrowly recovered from another crash as well during a snowy drive, making that 3 times he nearly killed us.  Thus, he stopped driving us around.

Cheating on me was second nature for him.  I remember being pregnant and catching him on yahoo messenger and his denials.  Like I was stupid or something.  I then caught him 6 weeks to the day after our wedding.  He was apologetic, teary and begged my forgiveness.  I, stupidly, accepted it.  It was as if I gave him “permission” to continue this behavior, which he proceeded to do for the next 9 years. 

Callus disregard for our feelings was not uncommon.  I remember a weekend when my son & I were terribly sick.  I had pneumonia and our son was sick as well.  I continually called his cell phone only to be told he was NOT coming home for the weekend, nor was he going to take us to the hospital; because he was too busy doing his own thing.  He didn’t have time to help us.  I drove us to the hospital for the care we both so desperately needed.  This is not the first time he wouldn’t take me for medical care.  He even refused to take me to the hospital when I was allergic to medication and having a reaction.  

He treated our son, who was just a baby under the age of 8, as if he were his equal.  That’s right.  Our small child was an equal to a grown man.  GAME ON!!!  He should take any and all abuse, punches, rough housing, etc. as a man.  I constantly had to remove the child from the situation so he wouldn’t get hurt.  This was not just my child, either.  By the time we left, our son was 9 1/2  and reported that the bastard was smacking him around on a regular basis without my knowledge.  He’s just slap/hit him at will.  The child was afraid to learn to ride a bike due to his father’s constant bullying tactics when trying to teach him.  I felt like such a failure as a mother that I couldn’t protect him from that monster.  

He lied straight faced.  He would do things and then deny them or blame someone else for the incident.  He’s known about my facial nerve damage our whole relationship, yet he would grab my face and squeeze and when I told him it hurt me, he “assured” me that I was mistaken in his actions.  I would watch him do something and he’d act like the world was wrong in their perception of what he’d done.  There was a time he had a woman he was slobbering all over and a friend saw him, reported it to me and then he denied it and said the friend was trying to hurt me.  The time he told two of our friends that he could “shit all over me” and I’d never leave him or do anything about it.  He then denied saying it.  Over and over and over again he’d do this.  I am a fool.

 As I have recovered from his abuse and moved on with my life, my son and I are so much better off.  I could fixate on so many things; but as they are in the past, there is no need.  My son is do much better off without that monster.  I am better off and personally, I think the world would be, too.  However, that is not for me to decide; but God.

God has been so good to us over the last several years.  We’ve recovered, moved on and are approaching the 5 year mark of true freedom!!!  God saved us from the monster.  God delivered us from him.  God is wonderful and we are grateful.

The Daniel Plan

This week, my Women’s Small Group is going to take the next 6 weeks to read and practice “The Daniel Plan”. It is a diet and exercise plan based on Biblical principals. I’m willing to try it and hope for the best. I figure if anyone can help me, God can. 😀

The plan outlines what to eat, how to eat and when to eat. It helps you get in touch with God while on the plan. It is faith based, so I am putting my faith in Him to help me through it. I can hardly wait to get the book and start. We’ll begin on Wednesday and we plan to incorporate a walk with our study.
1907973_785646428112463_7655050764034766118_n

I’m hoping this will help me out with all of my medical issues. I’m so struggling with pain these days and I know that being overweight is not helping. I know it puts a strain on my body that would be less without the extra pounds. I so hope that God will help me win this particular battle, even though He isn’t resolving my medical issues.

Brokeness

My friend just lost her husband of 34 years and the hurt is so evident in her face, stance and definitely in her heart. She’s so confused; because for 34 years, he took total care of her. He made sure she was clothed, fed, sheltered, etc. She wanted for nothing and she was happy. Now, she’s in confusion over where she stands financially, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

She knows that her husband is out of pain, in the embrace of our heavenly father and she’s okay with that. The problem lies in the “What now?”. I wish I could help her more. Right now, she is with family, mourning; but I do know the time will come when she will depend on her friends and I want to be there for her.

For me, the whole financial aspect of her relationship with her husband has never been a part of my life. I’ve never had to depend on a man for financial support. I’ve always been the one who has taken care of the finances. It seems strange to me that a woman would willingly give herself over to a man and not know what is going on. However, with that said, my mom & dad are the same way and they’ve been together for the last 50 years.

Today, friends were discussing her appointments and another of our group also confessed that her husband takes care of their finances as well and she would be lost. WOW! I guess it is the way things always were for our past generations. I would have loved to have someone to share the burden with when I was married; but my Ex was not “responsible” for ANYTHING, not even our finances!!!! Heck, he couldn’t pay a bill to save his life. I don’t know how he is surviving right now; but to be completely honest, I DON’T GIVE A F*CK!!!!

Anyway, I’m grieving the loss of a wonderful man, husband, father & friend. I’m grieving the loss of a sweet man who loved his wife so much and left her alone. Most of all, I’m grieving for my friend, who is such a wonderful woman, who spent 34 years with the love of her life and praying that she will muddle through this process and be okay. I love her dearly.