Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Humble Heart is Worth More than Gold or Diamonds.

These past few days have been very emtional for me for various reasons.   I'm up North visitng my husband's side of the family in Philly and Brooklyn, NY.  His side of the family is very different than mine in many ways but one thing that is the same is the humility and love they have for eachother.  I just hate seeing such humble people have to struggle.  We are staying with one of my husband's aunts in her apartment in Brooklyn right now and her stove oven doesn't work.  We decided that we had enough money to buy her a new gas oven.  I feel so blessed to have the house and cars that we have.  Even our oppotunity to be able to go to school.  I thank God that we are so fortunate to be able to give to them.  I cant wait to see his aunts expression tomorrow when the new stove arrives.

Now to switch gears quickly, my mother in law showed me a song by Celine Dion today called Because You Loved Me.  It left such a longing in my heart.  I can't stop listening to it.  Its so romantic and you know how much I love romance.  It makes me think of such beautiful things and I can't help but smile dreamily when I listen to it. 

Let me stop rambling on about Saturday, we are meeting a bunch of family on my mother in laws side. This should be fun.  Tomorrow we head to Manhattan to visit ground zero.  Now stands the memorial site and I know its going to bring tears to my eyes.  I'll post pics soon. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My Christmas Message

To all my family,

I say this with all sincerity that I miss you all very much and I wish we could be there to celebrate this special night together.  I want to continue our traditions with my new family so I've written my own Christmas message this year.  I pray that you will enjoy it as much as you have enjoyed the messages my Dad brings to us every year.  It's probably one of the things I am going to miss the most about Christmas Eve with you all tonight.  I love you all very much.  Merry Christmas! 

Christmas is a special time of year.  It's the only holiday recognized almost all around the world and is not just celebrated on the 25th but the whole month of December.  Think about it, that's one twelfth of the year.  This season is a whirlwind of the holiday routine: lighted houses, ornaments, presents, Santa, TV specials, church services, tinsel, wreaths, stockings, and eggnog.  One thing is for sure...when Christmas comes, you can't miss it.  It's everywhere!  But tonight, I want to bring us back to the reason why we all gather together during this time every year.  

Have you ever realized that when you look up an event on your calendar, you are using Jesus Christ as a reference point?  Jesus' birth divided history into BC (before Christ) and AD (anno Domini, in the year of our Lord).  Every event in history and today is dated by how many years and days it has been since Jesus appeared on Earth.  Even your birthday is dated by his!  Tonight is not just a night to celebrate being together as a family but also to celebrate the birth of God's Son who was brought down from Heaven in the form of a man to give us the ultimate gift...salvation.  It's a night to celebrate that Jesus loves us, that he wants to be with us, and not just with us...but FOR us.  

John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  The entire reason for Christmas is the love of God.  The love he has for us and everything in the universe.  He created us for his enjoyment and everything on Earth for our enjoyment.  God could have created a colorless, tasteless world but He didn't.  1 Timothy 6:17 tells us that God "richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment."  Our sensitive ears for music and rhythm, eyes for all the colors of the world, and taste buds to experience all the incredible flavors as well.  The Bible doesn't tell us that God has love, but that God IS love.  Love is the essence of God's character...his very nature.  The reason everything exists is because God wanted to love it.  If God didn't love something, he wouldn't have created it.  He loves it all, even when we mess it up with our sin, he still has a purpose for it.  He is unconditional and loves us regardless of our thoughts or actions.  His love is unchanging.

Some people often feel alone at Christmas.  Maybe right now you feel like God is not with you.  But his presence has nothing to do with your feelings.  Emotions are unreliable and can change easily.  But there is good news for us.  We can't hide from God!  Psalms 139:7-8 says "Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there."  No matter where you are God is always with you but you must tune-in to His presence.  No matter what situation you are going through right now, God is there.  He promises this to us in Isaiah 43:2-3 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."  In Hebrews 13:5 God ensures us "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."  God will always be with us because He loves us.

But just because God is always with us, it doesn't mean it is to condemn us.  Many people feel like God is out to "get" them but it's quite the opposite.  When the angel came to the shepherds, the angel said to them "Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people."  As a matter of fact, 365 times in the Bible, God tells us to fear not the things of this universe.  That's one for everyday of the year!  I want you to know that God is not mad at you but mad ABOUT you.  He doesn't want to rub in your mistakes, he wants to rub them OUT.  That's what Jesus did for us when He came to this Earth and died on that cross for us.

None of us knows what we'll face this next year, but we can know that God LOVS us, God is WITH us, and God is FOR us.  One plus God is a majority in any situation.  This is what we are celebrating tonight...the fact that God sent Jesus on this night thousands of years ago FOR us so that we can be WITH him forever because he LOVES us. I pray that God touches your heart with this message I've brought tonight.  It is not a coincidence that you are listening to this message on this very specific night.  May God continue to touch and bless your lives in this year and the next.  God bless.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A penny for your thoughts...

A penny for your thoughts?  A nickel for your time? What would be the cost to make what you and I have divine?  I could stay all day in the shadows of your world but my heart still feels so hollow and deserted.  I dive deep into these waters because I want to uncover the truth.  I want to face the reality and regain all of my lost youth.  But instead I begin to drown...choking on the waters that surround every inch of my body...or is it me that won't come around?  Am I the one holding me down?

A penny for your thoughts?  A nickel for your time? What would be the cost to make what you and I have divine?  My eyes search far into the horizon...looking for the Sun.  I can tell it's there...the pinks and oranges flood the sky...but Sun, why do you seem so shy?  Why won't you rise high into the sky?  I will wait...I will sit in your shadows because they are the only shadows I know.  But someday your rays will melt the frost that covers my heart...I know...I think....oh, please have least I'll try...

A penny for your thoughts?  A nickel for your time? What would be the cost to make what you and I have divine?  My heart aches with pains I've never felt.  I carry tears on the brim of my eyelids...I don't dare let them fall.  They are forbidden cares...hopeless hopes...empty dreams.  And yet it seems that they will never fade from the depths of my soul.  Soul keeper, lock them shut...away from my heart and mind.  Maybe this way I can reach cloud nine...

A penny for your thoughts?  A nickel for your time? What would be the cost to make what you and I have divine?  It seems that you and I have run out of time.  The Sun is on the horizon and I can see it rising...slowly...yes, slowly...spreading light across this pale and torn skin.  But when the grass is no longer green...and when the sparrows have no song to sing...When words stop telling stories...and the angels stop giving God glory...that is when I'll stop loving you...isn't that so divine?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The "D" Word

If there is one thing I appreciate about my parents, it's their commitment to God.  I think it's what has kept them together for 27 years and counting.  My parents called me today and shared with me a positive message from Dennis Rainey (Real FamilyLife speaker).  I'd like to share it with you all as well.  I plan on applying this to my marriage as well.  I believe I'm adding another resolution to my list and I plan on keeping it for longer than just 2012.  I will admit the "D" word has been thrown around in moments of anger even though we don't mean it.  But that word does bring a high level of negativity and create wounds that do not heal easily and always leave scars.  No more "D" word in my vocabulary.  Cheers to better days.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gingerbread People!

Good morning everyone!  It's a brand new day and I'm loving every minute of it so far.  This morning my husband didn't have PT so we slept in until 7 together.  We got up and had our morning coffee and breakfast before he headed out for the day.  It was nice to be able to spend the morning with him since we really don't get to do that often anymore.  I'm realizing now even more than before that this time off from school was much needed...not just to rest from school but to reconnect with my husband in a way that we can't while I'm in school being a busybody and studying and going to sleep by 9 to prepare for the next day.  Everyday this week, I've been reminded about the things that make me love him so much.  The things he does to make me smile.  I think he's noticed how little the time we spend during the school semester because he has even stopped playing his video games to sit down and watch movies with me (those who know my husband realize how sacrificial that is of him lol).

Last night we watched some TV together and then we made homemade gingerbread men.  Our friend Brian helped us out too.  It was a lot of fun.  Our first batch of gingerbread men came out very fat lol.  We improvised well though and they ended up coming out pretty cute.  Brian made one of his into a snowman and another into a soccer player.  My husband made one into a karate kid lol.  I made a candy cane girl and Mr. and Mrs. Gingerbread.  Take a look at our batch of gingerbread people.  I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday.  Everyday so far has been an adventure in finding new and old things to appreciate.  T.G.I.F!  Have a great weekend everyone.  God bless. <3

Our gingerbread people =)

Karate Kid to the left

Mr. and Mrs. Gingerbread

Candy cane girl and Baby Gingerbread

Snowman to the left


Candy cane girl

Soccer player

Soccer player

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Don't Save It All For Christmas Day

Final grades have finally been posted and I couldn't be more proud of myself.  I made 4 A's and two A-'s.  Which is really all As in my opinion.  Whoever made up A-'s are crazy.  I guess it's okay though...keeps me humble lol.  I'm great but I'm not perfect.

I haven't been up to much since school let out.  I've done some Christmas shopping but really it's my excuse to walk around and be out of the house.  I've forgotten how bored I can get at home.  I'm ready to start up another semester of school after this week.  I could just be taking this vacation for granted though.  Lord knows I need the rest after 4 months of drilling my brain on programming languages and calculus. 

I really miss my family right now.  Everyone is on this "family" cruise (I say with quotes because I'm not there, so it's not really all the family...yes I'm being bitter lol) and I can't call my parents or even my aunts and uncles.  My aunt Yomi didn't go either though...I think I'll call and chat with her tomorrow.  =)  I call my parents almost everyday.  I miss hearing their voices and chatting with them about how life is here in NC and them updating me on news of the family down in FL. I want to tell them about my grades and hear their enthusiasm.  Making them proud has always been a motivation for me to continue to succeed in life. 

I bought cookie mix and icing pens today and a few days ago I got some cute cookie cutters so maybe tomorrow I'll get motivated to start baking and getting artistic.  I think I'll give some to my neighbor.  They are always so sweet to us and they have a little boy that is too adorable.  I know he's gonna love them.  I think this is what I like most about and making people smile.  I wish people would give the way they give on Christmas all year.  It's never a bad time to bring joy and happiness into another person's life.  This reminds me of a song on my ipod.  It's by a group called Avalon.  The song is called "Don't Save It All For Christmas Day".  It's a beautiful song that really reveals an amazing truth to how much the world needs love everyday no matter the circumstances.

I think I will make this the first thing on my new year's resolution list:  Give a little love everyday.
Have a blessed rest of the week friends and family.  God bless you all.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Finals...almost done!

Finals weeks is coming to an end...quickly I might add.  Tomorrow I take my last final.  I can't believe that the semester flew by this quick.  I'm not complaining by all means, let these next two and half years fly by too!  I'm happy to say I've done exceptionally well this whole semester.  I hope that I can keep this same momentum the rest of my time here at UNCP.  I'm thinking my final grades will either be straight A's or all A's and one B.  I will give an update as soon as the grades are out.

Today has been a good day for me.  This whole weeks has been pretty good actually.  I think the only day I stressed a lot was yesterday.  I get very emotional when I let my mind think too much on things I can't really change.  On top of that, I was bidding farewell to Calculus last night so I spend most of the day studying for the final.  I'm happy to announce that I got a B on the final and an overall A in the class.  Hard work and studying definitely paid off.

Sometimes I think about how unperfect I am as a human being.  It really bothers me at times.  There are times where I wish I could be a better daughter, sister, wife....a better student, teacher, friend...a better athlete as well!  But no one is perfect they say...and the more I think about myself, that saying couldn't be anything but true when it comes to me!  Self-evaluation....I do this constantly throughout the day trying to figure what I can do to better myself...physically, mentally, spiritually.  And of course a list as long as California comes to mind.  I wish the thinking part was as easy as the doing part.

Wish me luck on my last exam!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Getting into the Christmas Spirit

So I've had my Christmas tree up since the beginning of November but that's about all the effort I've put into making my home "Christmasy".  I'm a little sad I won't be with my family this Christmas.  It's the first one away from them.  We are going to visit my in-laws instead.  I can't be too mopey though.  My husband hasn't spent a Christmas with his family since he joined the Army.  But this weekend I started to get myself into the holiday spirit.  I bought a gingerbread house kit and we made that on Friday night.  For breakfast on Saturday, I went all out.  I made eggnog pancakes, french vanilla french toast, and a huge ham and cheese omelet.  Needless to say we needed a few hours to recover from that breakfast lol.  Our stocking are up now and a few other little decorations around the living room.  I'm still debating on doing anything more around the house since we won't be here for Christmas.  I might go and get some lights to put out in front but not much.  Maybe only some to put around the two pillars in front of our house.  I plan on getting a lot of things after Christmas day since things will be half off and I can just save them for next year.  I want to get a new tree and the new LED lights as well as some ornaments that fit on a tree bigger than 4' (which is what we currently have lol from two Christmases ago).  It didn't really make sense to buy a new one when we won't be here.  Maybe next year we can spend it at our house.  I also tried making Christmas cookies but my little cookie mold pan was a fail lol.  I will just have to go out and buy the real cookie cutters and make them the old fashion way...which I'm not all too upset about.  I think it's more fun that way.  Here are some pics of our small touches of Christmas.  Hopefully I will have some cute cookies to show on my next blog.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The first year is the hardest they say...

Precaution:  This is going to get a little personal...

I can't believe this year is almost over.  Around this time last year, I was busting my butt in a full time job while juggling 5 classes to finish off a dual associates.  I was also preparing to see my husband after a long year of him being deployed.  It was a pretty emotional and stressful time of year.  It was the first year after being married almost two years that we were to spend the holidays together.  Actually, it was our first time spending them together ever.  I was happy to have had him home during that time of year and looked forward to the many we would spend together in the future (if the Army's calling didn't get involved of course).  I remember thinking about the new year and all of the new things that were to come in 2011 and just being filled with excitement and ready for the new adventure.
And here we are now...a whole year has passed by.  My husband came back from Germany permanently in March, we moved to North Carolina in April, and its been a solid 9 months of being together all the time.  I'd like to think that we have made it pretty far.  We have a brand new house, two nice cars (one paid off), and we aren't drowning in bills, even without me working right now.  I'll be honest though, this road we are walking has not been easy.  Marriage can be difficult and everyone warned that the first year together everyday would be difficult.  I remember rolling my eyes to the fact and thinking "we've made it this far away from each other, what could possibly go wrong?"
As these months have past, we've gotten to know each other more and more.  We've gotten to know the likes and dislikes of each other...the things that annoys us about the other...we've had really awesome days...really horrible never-want-to-think about-again days..and then the normal go-about-the-routine days.  The summer was pretty hard for me.  I didn't have a lot to do being that I was jobless.  I had applied for school again but that didn't start until the Fall.  I had dinner plans already in mind by 8 in the morning and done and prepared by 5 in the evening.  Then I would sit and wait...for whenever the 82nd decided to release my husband from duty.  Sometimes I was patient, I know its not his fault he had to stay late...and sometimes I wasn't and I would be angry...not at him...but since he was the one coming home and not the 82nd, he usually got my wrath unfortunately and those arguments never ended well.  Needless to say we always came together in the end and got our marriage back into motion again.
Then Fall came and school started up for me along with ROTC.  I became more livelier.  I was happy again because I had become active again mentally and physically.  I made friends and once again had my social  life back.  My husband started a new job as well.  We had a new routine at home since two days out of the week, I had night school.  The chores around the house were becoming evenly split instead of me doing everything.  It was coming to an even balance and I liked it.  It worked well for a while until I started noticing that we weren't very active with each other.  I guess I shouldn't say not active because we are...but we weren't as social with each other.  We were and still are so very busy and sometimes I feel like it takes a toll on our marriage without us even knowing.  We've become in a way distant with each other...not in a mean way but just that we weren't taking time to talk to each other much...about feelings or love.  And it bothered me.  Everything felt so materialistic and not enough emotion.  And yes I tend to be a lot less emotional then women.  Anyways...we had a rough month in October.  November things started to get better.  And now we are in December.  I can only hope that things will continue to get better.
I guess I just need to get accustom to the way he expresses love.  I'm an extrovert.  I love to display my affection with words, and actions, and pretty much anyway that it can be seen or felt and I'd like to receive love in that same way. My husband is more an introvert I guess and I'm just starting to see that.  His moments of affection are brief but sincere all the same.  It's hard to believe that we'll be going on 3 years married in March.  I feel like we are in the first phases of our marriage still.  I'm seeing now the language he uses to express love.  Now we have to build on how to satisfy each other equally despite the differences in our love languages.

I don't know why I wrote this really.  I guess I'm so tired of seeing everyone's perfect relationships on Facebook and the blogs I read.  I have to admit, even I omit all the bads in my blogs and status updates.  Today I just wanted to be real...and get down to the wire.  don't get me wrong though.  I am happy and love my husband.  But maybe there is someone out there that needed to see that they aren't the only ones out there with relationship problems.  Having problems is not a sin.  But learning to overcome them is a priceless lesson to learn.
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