Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Prepare Ye The Way of The Lord / An Advent Devotional


In all my Christian life I don't recall celebrating the Advent Season.  I think I have an awareness of it from my family's Anglican heritage but I knew nothing of it.  When my church asked me to contribute to the annual Advent Devotional Calendar I was honored but shook as well.  I had to first find out what Advent was and then see the scripture verse given in that light.  As simple as the task may have seemed it was a little tough for me, I'll admit.  I had to look at the scripture with new eyes and honestly that took some prayer on my behalf.  So please find below the results of my efforts.  It holds a number of first.  First devotional I've written as well my first writing for Advent!

Zj (age 6) made this angel for me for my 50th birthday! She is wearing
 a crop top  and leggings in  case you are wondering.  In her left hand she is holding
 flames of fire.  It hangs above my desk. 


In this beautiful season of Advent, we celebrate a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas as well as the return of Jesus at the second coming. 

Often, we see the persons in the Bible as larger than life mythical characters that do no wrong and we forget that they were individuals who answered the call to love God with all their heart and love their neighbor as themselves.  The power of their accomplishments for Kingdom of Heaven being directly tied in their commitment to love.  John 15:1-17 outlines a peculiar transfer that happens between God and his people when they submit their will unto Him which enables them to accomplish what we interpret as larger than life feats.

One such character was John the Baptist.  John was one who helped prepare the way of Jesus’ ministry. John was so enveloped in his love for God that he allowed himself to be empowered to step out of the scope of normalcy.  John looked different, spoke different, ate different, dressed different and his conversation was different.

When the authorities of the time inquired who he was his response was

am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias ~ John 1:23

John spoke with boldness that he discerned his call to be that of one who prepared the way for Jesus and he gave his life over to his call.

Jesus Christ is coming again! Hallelujah!  And as we ponder the immensity of this season and look forward to His return let us also take time to self-reflect by asking a few quiet questions in our hearts.

Have I prepared a way for Christ?

Has my family prepared a way for Christ?

Has my faith community prepared a way for Christ?

Prayer:  Lord may your transforming love lead me to prepare your path.


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Scripture: Matthew 11:2-11
When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy[a] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces.Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written:
“‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’[b]
11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.


Hymn: Watchman, Tell Us of the Night #97



Tuesday, September 4, 2018

My First Day



Today, was my first day.

I showed up, not as Mommy or Wife, but as Gina.  And although it was the mommy and wife roles that helped to process me to bring me to this day, Gina showed up today to stake her claim.  I've been wife for 20 years and Mommy or trying to be a Mommy for almost 10.  Today I began to sketch out the new imprint that I will embody.

First day of Seminary.

Zj had prayed for me. She said she had hoped that if there were any bullies, at my school, I would have the words to make them get away from me.

Isaac kissed me goodbye and handed me my specially prepared lunch.

I had so many emotions and swirling. I’m I good enough? Can I do it?

I got emails and text messages from loved ones affirming my ability and faith in God. Thank you!

Even people I had recently met since orientation took time out to wish me well on my first day.

I was nervous.

First up on deck was my dreaded Hebrew class. I studied in advance so I was prepared as best as I could.

As I sat in class my thoughts tried to betray me with insecure words. I shooed them away with

I am great
I am brilliant
I have courage
God is with me
It’s my time
I belong here

The professor began the class singing to us in Hebrew. We had no idea what he was saying but it was so beautiful. Tears welled in my eyes and I worshiped in my heart.

He repeated and then asked us to sing it back to him. When we finished he let us know what we had just sung. It was the opening verse to to Book of Genesis .

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."  ~ Gen. 1:1

He continued to lecture using podcasts, poems, art and various other informants to communicate about the language and how there is no better age than now to be able to understand what this small group of people who encountered the God of the Heavens experienced.

He talked about the privilege of such an opportunity and its importance in the scope of current events and I was enlightened.

As we dove into into the work I felt inspired and capable. Dr Professor just lifted the learning of Hebrew from a very difficult chore to something ethereal.

I’m aware that it is going to be hard moving beyond my depth but it will be priceless in the end.

Today was my first day and it was worth it.
#doitafraid

Monday, March 13, 2017

Rough Day In The Mommyhood

Let me start by saying that at this very moment I feel that the solution to my problem is a seducing long stemmed goblet of luscious red wine.  Unfortunately I do not drink so no escape there.  However that is exactly what I feel I want - to escape.

Rough day raising kids
This pic says it all.  At the end of the day you are all looking crazy and perplexed and your kid(s) is bright
 and perky looking like what's next Mommy?!  In your mind you want to say, "Go sit down somewhere!"


Honestly, I'm tired. Mentally worn. The culmination of everything going on in my life has hit me.  For the last year hubby has been in grad school. What with assignments, 12 hour shift clinicals and 12 hour shifts working full time, Yeah, he's barely holding on but for Jesus.  Then for me the back flips of being a stay at home, homeschooling mom, not having family near and maybe some hormones, lol, have taken a toll on me.
Rough day in the mommyhood?You are not alone! Tweet: Have you every had a rough day in the #Mommyhood? You are not alone Come hear about mine! #momlife #parenting https://ctt.ec/ZdbRb+
Princess Talkalicous is good.  She is a driven, intelligent, bright light who entered the world embodying the principal of no is never final and all things are negotiable.  Her strong will and determination are admirable and needed but sometimes I just wish she would stop for goodness sake.  Everything is a battle.  She used to say that she couldn't wait until she was five because then she would be a teenager and no one would be able to tell her what to do.  Well, recently she turned five and to her dismay she is not a teenager and Mommy is still telling her what to do.

All jokes aside, today was rough!

As I write this note it is many hours past bedtime.   I can hear Princess singing to her bedtime CD ever so gently.  Most of what I wanted to achieve today did not happen.  I want to shout in there, "Go to sleep", but there have been too many raised voices, frustration and tears on both sides today.  So I resolve to reach deep, and I do mean deep, and extend love and grace to her once again.

Tonight I pray, center myself and rest.

Tomorrow I rise positively looking for better and start again.

In the meantime... Moms Night Out! ...anyone?

*******************

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Saturday, March 4, 2017

What Are Instant Locs?

It has been three weeks since my locs were installed and after observing my pics many of you commented that my locs looked fully formed already.  Well.... actually they are.  Instead of starting with two strand twists, comb or finger coils, I started my locs with instant locs.  Instant locs leaves you with fully formed loc with no shrinkage. Whaaaa....? Yes!

"What Are Instant Locs?"Tweet: What are #instantlocs? find out #notb #lockjourney #locs #starterlocs https://ctt.ec/p7tf5+


So to help you understand what I mean I'm going to show you the exact video my loctician used to explain the process to me.


I hoped that helped?

So armed with my requests of slightly smaller than pencil width locs and no tension hair line my loctian got to work and...

Have your questions about instant locs answered.


Viola!

I think, between my loctician and I, we made the best choices for my hair type and lifestyle needs. I am very happy with my results and my installation experience.

Finding the right loctician was critical.  Here are 5 tips for finding the right loctician.

I look forward to seeing my hair flourish over the next few months!

***********************



Be Inspired By Theses Loc'd Beauties

5 Tips For Finding The Right Loctician

So you want to get your hair loc'd.  You've been thinking about locing your hair for years and now you are ready to join the #loclife!  All that is left to do is find the right Loctician!

Tips on how to find the right loctician.


You may be ready but how do you go about finding that special person that can bring you loc vision to life?  Here are a few ideas that I have on the subject from my experiences with the wrong and the right loctician.

1. Educate Yourself 
Know or at least have a general idea of what type of locs you want.  As there are so many different types of locs from free form to sister locs. Additionally their are many different installation processes as well.  To name a few there is two strand twist which I used for my first set of locs.  There are finger/comb coils, crochet, interlocking and instant locs which is what I decided to loc with this go around.  More on Instant Locs here.

You may want to have a look at Pinterest for inspiration.  Also search youtube.com for a whole host of vbloggers and locticians providing you with more information than you can imagine.  By the time you finish with your search you will be thoroughly informed.

2. Ask Around
If you have friends who have locs you admire, ask them about their experiences with their loctician to determine if they might be a good fit for you.

Also check to see if your current stylist knows of someone who would be suitable for you based on your wants and needs.  This is how I found my loctician.  After talking with my stylist about my past loc fail and what I was currently looking for she, even though she does locs, was able to recommend me to a loctician within the same salon.  Asking around paid off and turned out to be very convenient for me.

Asking friends what they would do differently knowing what they now know about locs is also extremely valuable.  Who doesn't like a free and easy resource.

3. Ask For A Consult 
Don't be afraid to ask for a consult before deciding on a particular loctician.  On that consult you want to know what they will charge to loc your hair type and length in the loc technique you are considering.  You don't want any surprises.  You also want to know whether that price includes a follow up appointment, a shampoo, a re-twisting or styling at a later date.  Be sure to ask all the questions you need to feel confident about your choice.

During your consult don't feel shy about asking to see some pics of the loctician's work.  Locing your hair is not cheap and it is not outside of reason to ask to see proof of their skill and ability.

Tweet: Find the right #loctician! 5 Tips on the #blog #locs #dreads #locjourney #starterlocs https://ctt.ec/UBib7+

Find The Right Loctician!


4. Don't Be Anxious
I find that whenever I get that just can't wait feeling,  that is the time I need to wait.  Locing your hair is a commitment of time and money.  There are lots of stories out there of people jumping in to quickly only to find out the services they received are not what they expecting or worse, damaging to their hair. Myself included!  Take your time in finding the right loctician for you.

5. Do You Like Their Vibe
This tip might seem unusual but it is very real.  You will be in close quarters with this person, most likely, in their environment for long periods of time.  You don't need to be best buddies with the person but you would want to know that you can you get along with this person.  You want to be comfortable being in their presence.  Alright with them touching you and that you are you OK with the vibe of the salon or the location, smoke - music selection - conversation?

I had a tapered cut (short hair) and it took almost 20 hours over a period of five days to have instant locs installed.  Imagine if I wasn't ok with the surroundings?!

Well there are my tips.  I'm sure there are many other things I could have included but these are what stood out to me for me as I prepared to begin my loc journey.

Wishing you the best experience possible with happy and healthy locs that leave you feeling amazing!

******************

Find Some Loc Inspiration




Saturday, November 12, 2016

Prayers For My Little One

Here are the prayers mentioned in Teaching My Child To Pray. I created these prayers for my daughter when she was born. I have prayed them over and over again throughout her life.  So much so she knows them by heart.  I created them in a way that they would be launching pads for discussion and more in depth prayer as she grew.  

Evening Prayer


Dear God
You alone are God
Thank you for today
Thank you for your loving kindness and tender mercies
Thank you for providing for us
Please forgive us of our sins
Please remember my family and friends
And meet the needs of my neighbor
Protect us through the night
Give us wisdom in the morning
In Jesus name we pray
Amen

Morning Prayer


Father God
Thank you for another opportunity in this realm
Thank you for everything you have already provided for me to be a success in this day
I am a success
I pray that I remember to lift my eyes to you because you are my help
Cover and protect me
In Jesus name we pray
Amen

Grace


I bless this food
I thank you for providing it
In Jesus name

Amen
...........................



Here you will find prayer resources for children



Teaching My Child To Pray

Over the years I've learned that the only way to develop meaningful relationships is to invest time and energy into them.  The same can be said about developing a relationship with God.  There is so much more to knowing God than calling Him in times of panic and trouble.  In spending time with Him and ultimately talking to Him I have learned not only is He King of King and Lord of Lords, the Sovereign I Am That I Am but He is interesting and pretty cool as well.

We have discussed everything from everything from college exams - pre and post marital sex.  How  I didn't believe in marriage - please note that since my understanding was enlightened I now have been married for 18 years.  Through getting to know God, I can also say that Abba is my most valued friend and trusted source.

So much so I wanted to pass on not only my knowledge about God onto my daughter, but I wanted to give my daughter a taste of my relationship with God as a prelude to what her own relationship with God could look like.  A gift of experience.

My thoughts about teaching my child to pray

Teaching Her To Pray

Modeling The Behavior

Our children pattern our behavior. They learn more from watching us than they ever will from listening to us and because of this living honestly is critical.

I've done many of the traditional things such as taking her to church, reading and studying the Bible and we practice memory verses. She is getting older now and you know the part that has clearly stuck?  Worship and prayer.

When she was born, I didn’t know any kiddy songs or nursery rhymes so I rocked her to sleep with hymns, choruses and prayers.  Often times those were the only moments I got throughout the day to catch myself (you know new mommy life! lol) so I would pour out to God during those times and He would come down and meet me.  It’s been years, but every night and every morning she wants a prayer and a song.  I would be silly to stop now wouldn't I?

Honoring Her Uniqueness

Ever come across that prayer warrior who lines everything up for God with a multitude of words?  Telling God, what and how to do it?  Well that is kinda my style, lol.  Very detailed and leaving nothing out.  Baby girl though she is talkative like me she prays like her father.  What may take me thirty minutes to say he will cover in three simple, heart felt sentences followed up by a grateful amen.  

When we first got married and he would pray I would feel that he wasn’t putting enough into it.  You know I have control issues why else would I be trying to tell God how to do what He does! Over time I learned to calm my nerves and appreciate the simplicity and integrity of his prayer.  Now I watch him in amazement because there is no doubt that his prayers hit heaven.

Looking back it would appear that learning to appreciate my husband's prayer was the prelude receiving my little one’s prayers and not feeling the need to fix them.

Providing Her With Prayer Tools

When I say fix her prayers I mean teach her the 'rules of prayer'.  Elements like asking for and offering forgiveness, intercession, gratitude.  As important as they are I realize that she is well on her way and there will be time to teach her everything she needs to know.  Right now she enjoys the presence of God and wants to pray.  I’ll make the next steps as I feel led.  I don’t want to desecrate her humble and honest beginnings.

The Proof

To date is it working?   What has been the litmus test?   Well, you know they say that what you have truly imparted to you kids is demonstrated by what they do when you are not around.

One day after I completing our nightly routine, in which she calls “rocking” but there is no “rocking” involved, I tucked her into bed and went on to have my mommy time!  A little while later I heard talking coming from her room. As I got closer, she was addressing the nightmares that she had been having.  Telling them that they were to go away “get outta here” and not come back in Jesus name.  Her voice was very stern.  Then she asked God to protect her through the night from the bad dreams and she thanked Him.

Tears welled in my eyes.   

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