Sunday, December 22, 2013

HOW CAN I FORGIVE AND FORGET IT ALL?

Is it easy to forgive?
Is it easy to forget?

See the scenario before you unfold:
  • A husband cheats on his wife, again
  • A child steals and sells things in the home or that belong to the parents to buy drugs
  • You grow up in an abusive home where no one cares about you
  • Your wife gets up and leaves you
  • The people you trusted in church share what you spoke in private
  • A pastor tries to manipulate you and push you into an affair
  • You are told to leave a church with no explanation
  • You help someone at work after they mess up big and then you get fired, and they don't speak up and say the truth
the list goes on.....

Is it easy to forgive?
Will it be possible to forget?

The response to these questions are not simple. The truth is that when we are feeling the pain in our hearts of being let down, deceived, used and tossed aside like trash, at that moment, the ache and discouragement doesn't let us believe we can ever forgive, let alone, forget.

The remedy for the pain, I've found, through my own experiences is found in Matthew 5. 


Pray.
Pray for those you see as your enemies.
Pray. 
Pray for those that have let you down, hurt you, and crushed your spirit.
Pray. 
Pray for those that raise their voices against you to humble and humiliate you for their enjoyment.
Pray for those that have lied and worked to hurt your character and testimony.
Pray for those that have walked away from a relationship, forgetting their vows before the Lord.

Pray? How can you say pray when I am angry, filled with hatred and so very hurt?

 Matthew 5:43-45 
Love Your Enemies
43"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' 44"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.…



I say pray because Scripture tells me to pray. I say pray because I've had to pray when I thought I couldn't pray and I believed I shouldn't pray for my enemies. I wanted to call curses and wrong upon them that hurt me and yet the only advice I found was to pray for them.

Ask the Lord to show you the condition of that person's heart and you will see that God's heart breaks over the wrong choices they have made as well. That person needs God's love. If God was alive in their hearts, they never would have hurt you or caused you anguish.

In my stress and discomfort I have cried out to God and He has healed my brokenness. He has helped me to forgive some very difficult situations in my life. FORGIVE. Oh, Lord it is so hard but with You, believing and trusting in You, and remembering that You have never denied me forgiveness, this has been possible. 



Pray for them as if it was their last day. Pray for them and you will see what I saw happen to me.
I began to feel their loss and their pain. God began to pour out a love in me for them that I was able to forgive and later on I saw God do great things. God restored and brought back what seemed broken and gone in my life. He is still doing great things. I am still praying. I am still waiting and know that the Lord will continue to do great things in my life. He will do the same for you if you pray and give it all into the hands of the Lord. He is the Healer of every emotion. He is the Healer for every crushed spirit. He is able to help you forgive. The memories may come back every now and then, but you will be able to say: 

Psalm 54:4
New International Version (NIV)
Surely God is my help;
    the Lord is the one who sustains me.



Psalms 103:8-14
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.



#forgive #forget #prayer #pray #praying #prayforenemies #forgetting #hurt #relationships

Saturday, December 21, 2013

MAKE ME NEW

Make Me New


My heart, please change
For as of late
Events in my path
Have made me feel hate

My heart, please renew
For if hatred grows
Your Presence is lessened
I fear Love will go


My heart, make it new
Teach me how to forgive
It is the gift
That will help me to live

My heart, Lord restore
So that I can move on
And love without measure
Love, everyone.


My mind, Lord, erase
Every cruel memory
Every word poorly spoken
All the wrong done to me

Your promises bring forth
Speak Life into death
Raise up what is falling
Hold strong what have failed.




For into Your hands I surrender

My heart, Lord, please take
In my sleep, make me new,
A new heart, when I awake.


By Angeline Duran Santiago


#heart #godslove #hands #ingodshands #brokenheart #hate #anger #forgive #forgiveness #healing #restore #restoration

PLACE CALLED, HEART






There's a place called, Heart
We have all been there,
Walked through doors wide opened,
Other times tightly closed

As we've walked right in,
What sights we've beheld?
Many treasures beautiful
Others so dark we'd rather not share.


In that place called, Heart.
Laughter echoes through
Memories of beauty and loving
Sentiment of youth,



Doors that lead to rooms

Locked and kept away
Hide the hurt and sorrowful moments
Still vivid and causing pain


Can I walk with you through each corner that is broken?
The healing balm I've brought to pour on each open wound
You see, I've been there, too
Exposed and left out in the coldness
The Healer came through the door
Healing and Restoring what was hopeless.



There's a place called, Heart
We have all been there
If we let Love in and take a seat
What a place it will be

In that place called, Heart
You can choose to bare
Every joy and every sorrow
Till only strength stays there.




Once Love is allowed to reside
Doors of yesterday's woes will be told to leave
All things new and hope to lead the way
It you can just believe.

There's a place called, Heart
It's a place that's home,
And when Christ walks in and stays,
You're never again, alone.


Written by Angeline Duran


#love #Jesus #Christian #home #hope #door #heart #new #peace #joy #begin #knock #believe #alone #lonely #loneliness #rooms #happiness #happy #God #family

Friday, December 20, 2013

MORE THAN SKIN DEEP

Ever heard someone say, "She's beautiful, you know, in the inside. After all, beauty is skin deep."?


I don't know what comes to your mind when you hear that, but today I want to take a few minutes to say that although some people are extraordinary on the outside, we ladies, are all beautiful on the outside as well. Just because some women can afford to be pampered and dolled up regularly at the salon, doesn't mean we can't look nice as well. You are beautiful. You are.

So, here we are, holidays and new years coming, among other things like parties at work or somewhere you got invited to. Many people decide to stay home because they just feel like they can't look amazing.

Here's my quick and short guide to getting ready and making that beautiful you shine:

DON'T STAY HOME!

(1) Prep your face the night before with a nice facial and then moisturize. Moisturize while you sleep.Your face be ready for some makeup in the morning. I like Oil of Olay products and their night time cream. (just my thing) you can use what you have.

(2) Wash your hair and condition the night before. You will be more relaxed if you want to blow it out, straighten it, curl it or set it. If you wait til morning, you will be in a rush and maybe do like me so many times, resort to a pony tail. In the morning you can do a quick fix and maybe some gel or hairspray.


(3) I like to give myself a manicure/pedicure at night. I will put on music or put on my favorite movie or show and take time pampering myself. If you take your time, you can do all this yourself. Yes, it's nice to get it done at the salon but some people may not have the money to get it done in the salon. Nail polish is under five dollars. Find your favorite color and glam up your nails.

(4) Next day, as you wake up, put on some holiday music or your favorite music. Start the coffee pot or get some hot cocoa ready.

(5) In the morning wash your face with warm water. Don't use soap that will dry your face. After all, you spent the night moisturizing it, right? If you like some light face cream on your face before makeup, go ahead. I feel the night time was enough for me. I put on some light foundation. Cover those dark circles if any. Pick makeup that will compliment the beautiful you that you already are. I like the smoky eye look with brown and purple eyeliner. 





(6) Red lips are nice. I prefer dark red,not bright red. Burgundies, browns, well, you find the one that says you and wear it.

(7) If you have a new outfit, awesome! If you don't, look for something that makes you feel amazing the night before and leave it out, ready to wear. For the holidays I add red or silver/gold in small ways. I love holiday jewelry depending where I am going. Don't forget your favorite perfume. Today and always, you are the star!

 Know that you are blessed and that God made you amazing! 
Feel good about how you look.  I'm in my forties and know many ladies think we can't look good anymore. So, put that lie aside and get ready to look super amazing this holiday season! Enjoy.


#makeup #holiday #Christmas #fashion #beauty #makeover #forty #forties #red #reds #smokyeyes #hair #party #celebration #ladies #glamour #glam #women #trends

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

PLEASE PASS THE KETCHUP


     The other day I was out of ideas on what to make for dinner. Everyone had taken turns being sick for the past two weeks in this home, so I decided to make what we call in our family, some healing soup. It was enjoyed and I was glad to see everyone was recovering nicely. It seemed the soup was the last medicine they needed and we could go back to normal family life. (Yeah, right)


    The next day, Sunday morning, I was greeted with a huge punch to the head and I felt knocked out. The thing was I was too tired to stay knocked down. I got angry and decided I would not allow myself to proclaim to the world my last days were upon me. Just because I felt like dying didn't mean I had to do a liturgical dance or mime to explain myself. Not today. Not now.




     I don’t know where my energy to disinfect the home and clean up came, but it did. I put on some inspirational music and began to see myself with new strength and healed. My kids gave all the regular signs kids do when they are in expectation of what is coming for dinner. If I tried to explain my exhaustion, I think they would not have believed me because I had kept so busy all day. My insides gave way and I collapsed on the recliner. My brain was all like, “Beep, beep, beep, try to get up, It ain’t going to happen.”


     My feet and my body were in complete defiance to what my mind dictated. Please note that I always thinks about nutrition first and was really tired everyone being sick. And so it was, this amazing mom that is always thinking healthy food did the greatest thing known to mankind from the recliner.


      Bingo! You guessed it. I ordered out.  I was convinced that if I started dinner, I’d knock out before it was done and knowing my kids, the fire department would end up in the house way in advance before they realized the food had burned and the kitchen was on fire. Everyone ordered something from a Chicken sandwich, French fries or Chicken nuggets. Everyone that wanted something to eat was provided for.



You’re right. It’s not the best meal but we all need a plan B or plan C sometimes. We always want to provide our family with the best but there will be times when we have to improvise to deal with changes that just show up. At the end of the day, I was able to knock out in bed for the rest of the evening, worry free, because everyone was fed and now, if it was my time to die, (LOL, just kidding) I could. 


My family would have preferred a homemade meal that evening but sometimes a mom has to do what a mom has to do. So, for now, forgive me and just please pass the ketchup.

#sickness #fastfood #healthy #momissick #familytime 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

BROKEN, AGAIN

Broken, Again.



When I was little, I remember admiring these doll figurines in my mom’s night table. I think they were made from Avon and were perfume bottles. They were beautiful, delicate works of art that I sometimes secretly used to play with as I pretended to put on musical productions imitating the ones Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire showed in their musical films. As I got older, I guess mom saw how much attention I gave those dolls and allowed them to graduate into my nighttime table. I don’t think I can truly express the pride and the joy I felt in knowing my  mom had entrusted something so special to my care.

Time passed, I got older and married. These precious gifts moved on to adulthood with me when I moved away to begin my new life. It wasn’t until one day, cleaning away, I tripped and as I tried to stop my fall, pushed against the dresser and one of the dolls fell to the floor. My heart began to ache as I witnessed the poor doll lose a few pieces here and there.

My husband saw my pain and immediately picked it up and decided he would attempt to fix it. Ladies and gentlemen, yes he would attempt such a feat with gorilla crazy glue. He really has used them so many times he sort of swears by it. My mom used to say, when I was a child that if something broke to just throw it away. Someone had told her it was sort of bad luck to keep it. Anyway, although I usually take her advice, I couldn’t this time. I decided to trust my Hubble’s fix it spirit.


He sort of put it back together and I loved her so much that I proudly displayed her on the table once more, just on the side so you couldn’t see the areas that were scarred. To better protect her, I placed her in a display case in the living room. One day, during a birthday party in my home, one of my guest knocked down the curio in my living room. Everything on it crashed down to floor into billions of glass pieces, and the poor cherished doll said her last farewell as she knew no amount of tears or gorilla glue could put her back together again. I was so broken hearted that night.
Why talk about a broken doll? Not just broken once, but again.

She was something precious to me. No, she was my treasured possession as invaluable and uncostly as it was in the eyes of antique dealers putting her up for a bid. She was broken and no longer suitable for repairs.

So it seems that our lives, our hearts, and/or our spirits can come to a place where they face being broken time and time again. The difference between our lives and my doll is that she was without help, hopeless, and left to remain a memory. Our lives may go through the abuse of being broken and battered, yet they are not within reach of healing and restoration. 

Many times my life has been like that doll. I’ve seen beautiful things happen and come into my life, to then be pushed to the side and I’ve fallen. Circumstances beyond my control, situations that were not foreseen and even people that I had trusted completely pushed me off the display case of life and I fell, no one hearing my cry for help at times, and my world fell to the floor into a billion pieces. I believe if you are honest, maybe you understand what this feels like also and have experienced something similar.

The good news is not that my Hubby will show up with the gorilla glue, crazy glue or special tape. The good news is that God is still able to see what happens, bend down to where we are, whether from innocent reasons or by our own faults, and he stretches out his arm and picks us up. He begins to restore and heal us in our brokenness. He renews us in our blown up and away moment. Someone might say, if he is a loving God, why he doesn’t just stop all the hurt before it all happens. I don’t know if I can answer that, but I’ll try.


Perhaps the only way I would ever know he is able to heal is because I have been on a deathbed before. Maybe, the only way I know he can heal the broken hearted, is because he’s taken all of the let downs and all the hurts and not only allowed me to forgive, but to love the people that hurt me.

I guess I couldn’t call him Awesome without seeing that He has showed up in my life, not only on great occasions, but in my desperate ones as well. So, although I can’t rejoice over the loss of my doll, I can be thankful for the times my heart has been broken, because He’s made me stronger and able to stand. I thank Him for the areas in my life, even now, that seem perfect, but He and I know they are falling apart. Because the best part about keeping the gorilla glue away is knowing that my Heavenly Father can put the pieces back together again. The best part, I won’t have to walk or turn sideways like I did with my doll because when God heals, you won’t see the scars unless He leaves them so I can prove what He can do.







Thursday, December 5, 2013

When LOVE Came to Stay


Laying my head on my pillow, many nights were spent listening to my amazing storyteller mom share her Christmas memories from her childhood.

There were many times that I wanted to cry for her. She seemed to have a way with words and she could make the worst memory something to laugh about.

Truly my mom had learned to look back at life and remember what truly mattered. 

"There were no gifts." She shared. "Our family was just too poor to expect any presents. But we had one thing that was greater than any present. We had love."


Those words, "We had love." were so powerful for me as a child.

 I internalized the meaning of love being so great. Hunger and nakedness are issues of extreme poverty. My mom's childhood was filled with that. But she was always wealthy! Mom always said, "But, there was so much love!" 

Mom seemed to draw us back to the real memory that made all the difference. "We knew we were loved. And that made up for everything else we didn't have." 

Those words helped me get through many times when I didn't get what I wanted as a child. I remembered Christmas for both of my parents as a child. No Christmas tree, no lights, don't even bother putting hay for the camels because they don't visit the poor down here, and no gifts. 
But, my mom, always ended each memory, "We had so much love."


And so, this Christmas, and every other, once more I remember all the stories engraved in my mind by the greatest storyteller of all time, mom. 


Her words add one to one thing.
When Love came to stay, it entered and never left.

When love showed up, it declared its power.
When Love appeared, it was so genuine and heartfelt, that nothing and no one could bring something greater but Love Himself.   Love (God's Love) came to stay in their midst and what greater gift can any man give or receive than love itself ?

Recollections of days without a proper meal, not being able to purchase fabric for clothing, or having shoes were always made with a smile and always something to laugh about. 

Mom's stories lifter me up and allowed me to visit her as a child when she shared. They were that real to me. So many times I felt her sadness. But, the way she shared gave me hope and joy. 

"We just had so much love! We didn't realize what we were missing or focus on what we didn't have. Our dad loved us so much in the midst of that great poverty."

#puertorico #christmas #navidad #bedtime #family #love #poverty #greatlove

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tis The Season For.....


Go ahead. Fill in the blanks. Like that word game, Mad Libs. You have to think of some great adjectives, nouns or silly words to create the silliest and funniest story ever. Well, we can do this here too.

Tis the season to be _____________! 
Fa la la la la, La la, La la.

What is the first word or list of words that pop up in your mind? Be honest....

I'll help you out with some that I've heard this week.

 Tis the season to be (broke)!
 Tis the season to be (frustrated)!
 Tis the season to be (left alone)!
 Tis the season to be (getting wasted)!


I think these are more than enough to give you an idea where I'm going with this one.

Look, I've been there too. I completely understand you if you are feeling down at the moment. Maybe you lost your job, your kids are sick and you've had to take an unpaid leave, or things between you and your significant other and really not well. I believe everyone at one time or another has fallen into the Bah Humbug feeling for the holidays.


Good News, though.
You and I don't have to stay there. Use this moment and motivate yourself to remove the present word choices at the top and replace them with some new ones. Can I help, again?



Here we go...
Tis the season to be (thankful)!
Tis the season to be (thinking of others who are less fortunate and look for ways to bless them).
Tis the season to be (dancing away to some 50s or 60s music!)
Tis the season to be (playing the PS3 or Wii with your kids) even if you don't know what to do,
Tis the season to be (laughing)!
Tis the season to be (redecorating and cleaning)!
Tis the season to be (hugging and kissing)!



Come on, You can think of some better ones because only you know what is going on inside of your mind and heart. Let's kick Old Man Scrooge out the door and welcome the joy and the power of a renewed mind that decides to transform their atmosphere with life and love! 
Don't you know God has something great for you and you don't need for it to be Christmas to begin experiencing something wonderful in your life!

Don't wait until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to allow great things to happen in your midst. Love came down, not on Christmas, but Love came down one day for you and me and gave His Life as the greatest gift of all!





Song, "Give Love on Christmas" Jackson 5



#tistheseason #holiday #christmas #jesus #givelove #givehugs #family #rejoice #love 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Overcoming During the Holidays



     Without a doubt, for many, the holidays are a time for wanting to shut the world out and hide away until Santa’s sleigh is hidden far away until next year. Some would say the heart has become hard or that someone feeling this way is a loner. I tend to believe that many people are just stressed out from living with the same situation day in and day out. The holidays are just one more reminder of a failed attempt of living life the way it had once been envisioned in the past. The holidays for many are one more reminder of a broken home, a strained marriage, or the burden of sickness that has permanently made its home in yours.




Perhaps today you find yourself closed in because you look at your bank account and have to decide between paying the rent, the bills and getting groceries or trying to make some Christmas wishes come true. Maybe you feel overwhelmed because you’ve applied to so many job postings and every answer is, “No.” 




You may even find yourself wanting to eliminate every thought of Glad Tidings from your home, but when you look at the faces of your children, the joy and the glow of childhood expectation reminds you to be silent and hold back the darkness that is trying to overpower you. Then you need to get up, rise up on your feet, open the door, leave the room of discouragement, abandon the seat of depression and release yourself from the grasp of despair. 

You’re going to have to be brave to do this, but let’s do it together, 1, 2, 3, Be free!



You see, Christmas (Christ) and (mas- in Spanish means more) so to me, Christmas can only be about more of Christ in your surroundings. Can you see it that way for just a moment? Ok, the gifts and the special dinner and the tree. I get you. I hear you loud and clear. But, aren’t you creative and able to do a lot of these things on your own without having to purchase much? You know you can pull this off if you really try, don’t you? 


Go, get the stuff you put away from last year or Lord knows from when. Dust if off and put it up. Gifts? Well, tell your family the truth and get everyone to make something special, something homemade. Or, prepare them to receive a gift from the heart that is not going to kill you financially but will still remind them, Hey, it’s about more of Jesus Christ in this home.




Need some more ideas? Write to me and I'll share what I've done in my home and in my personal space. Most of my Christmas treasures were stolen last year when we moved. I had a collection of precious things that represented special stages in my life and in the lives of my children. All gone. But the JOY, no one and nothing can take it away. With the help of my kids, we've turned our home into a place where the Lord is welcomed. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas with what we have. With much or with little, the greatest room to prepare is your heart for more of God's love and presence. 


Still feeling down? I know. It's hard sometimes. But, we will get through this together. Can we? Absolutely! For today, hold on to this. Christmas is not about hiding in a cave and shutting yourself away. It's not about opening the door to sadness and depression. We did the countdown and if you really mean it, darkness has to flee! When we open the doors of our hearts to the Giver of Life, Christmas is born in our lives!

Found this clip and thought it fitting to begin this time of joy!




#christmas #depression #holidaydepression #encouragement #christmas2013 #holidayencouragement #merrychristmas #truemeaningofchristmas #truemeaningoftheholidays #inspirational #joy #comfort #freedomfromdepression #discouragement #familytime #familychristmas