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11/30/2011

Father, Let Your light shine down on me!


hello,
Yikes, this is bearing my heart now very openly to you guys. 
So, I wanted to post covers of my favorite songs for quite a while, but I was waiting for my sister's visit to do the first with her. I made this video (my first one ever) because I wanted to share it with her and my mom tonight. 

Today I got some trying-the-heart news.
It is in times like this were my mascara has run in black tears down my cheeks where I want to be a women of faith, where I don't want to be without hope and even without joy. 
And as I was praying for what has been laid before us and what is yet to come, the dreaded, unknown outcome but at the same time the glimmering light of hope and change, this is the song that my heart was singing to the Lord. 
I wanted to share it with my family. I want it to be a prayer and a plead and a reality in us. And I want Your light, Father, to shine down on us. That the more we are tried and our suffering prolonged, we might still shine with Your light in us, we might live glorifying a God that giveth and takes, but blessed is His name, our beautiful Savior and His wonderful love, bore in great sacrifice and traced with blood to pierce our hearts forevermore. 


video
By Bethany Dillon

"gently welcoming the weakest things in me... how could You Perfect one, love me when I have nothing done nothing that's worthy of..." My God is good. I forget that, Lord. I won't ask why, it is a selfish thing to do. I will instead say thanks in this time of need for I have You and I am no longer afraid. 

Psalms 23: "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not lack.... though I walk through the valley of shadow and death, I shall fear no evil, for You are with me..." You are always with me, always with us. 

Love You Lord!  

11/24/2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I think I have never before been so happy for thanksgiving as I am today. It has been a year of experiencing the changing power of thankfulness that has taken ahold of me and I am not letting go. I've experienced how it has made me turn my sorrows into joy, my burdens into peace, my worrying into trust, my sickness into health! I've been intentional in being grateful, and the moment I stop, I feel my old ways crawl back.

The secret of true thankfulness is that ,unlike hope and faith were you believe in promises and wait to receive them, you are content and joyful with your now and present, good and bad, with the knowledge that being thankful will not necessarily change the present. And maybe this is why it is hard for some to be thankful. And if it won't change the present, why then are we thankful?

I like that thankful is a synonym of appreciate. We are thankful because everything we have received he were given. I remember boasting once (ok, more than once) about my beautiful singing voice and thinking how lucky I was "I had developed" such a lovely voice. A good friend with whom I used to sing got sick and completely lost her voice. She had to learn to talk again and was never able to sing again. I remember being filled with the fear of the Lord in not taking anything for granted, anything as coming from myself. Nothing, not even the voice that comes out of my mouth is my own. And I did not "develop" my voice, I was given it. And I learned that I could have it taken away.
Hence, I appreciate my voice. for it won't be with me forever (not untill I am at His pressence singing Holy, Holy, Holy. Can't wait!).

Speaking of thankfulness is not something I take lightly. I try to put myself in the shoes of those whose days are not something you would jump around being grateful for; those in constant physical pain because of an aillment, those in heartbreak, in pain for loss of loved ones, those in desperate sutiations, persecution, imprisonment, or martyrdom. Lately I've been fearing a certain something from happening to me, and I have asked myself if that something were to come, would I still be thankful? Would I still be talking of the changing power of thankfulness?

I think that when we think of being thankful in the most difficult times we all run to think of the incredible example of Job and the perseverant example of Paul. "In all things I give thanks..." I guess it boils down to your view of God and to your view of yourself. How we deserve nothing and again, everything we have, we have received. If it is taken away, it was never yours to start with. But I view myself sometimes as deserving, and fall to think things are unfair. And these thoughts lead to murmuring, and murmuring to questioning, and questioning to doubting God and His plan for me, even doubting His love and promises for me. Guess this is why Paul was also intentional in being thankful.

Would I stand the test of thankfulness in all times? As I have told you, working on this intentionally has made a huge difference in my life. I pray I learn it with no need of test of fire. As I said, I try to put myself in the shoes of those with a hard time giving thanks. I pray they do. I pray they realize they still receive, they realize God gave Jesus for them, they realize how loving our God is, and they can give thanks for faith and hope in things to come. I pray that being thankful in difficult times, although it does not change the present situation, it changes the heart and soul and that changes everything.

Dear Father,
Thank You. Thank You for making me and bringing me in this place and in this time. Thank You for Your will in my life and that it is good and perfect. Thank You for being You and that You can love how You do, unconditionally and strong. Thank You for all I have and all I don't and You know better and You are in control. 

Counting gifts
*265 my first sewing class with the lovely and beautiful Izell and her grandma. Can't wait for next saturday!
*266 a beautiful friendship growing with the lovely lady mentioned above :)
*267 a night out with my colleagues. it was scary but they only took me to applebees! 
*268 caressing every horse in the fair and having a lovely time with my hubby and royki!
*269 an ill monday and tuesday, but a good rest at home.
*270 no shots required this time! yuppy
*271 watching sarahi sing Santo Dios. 
*272 14 days for my mom and sis to come!
*273 verses on my cel and facebook from my daughters
*274 a nice visit from Mely and Johnny. Really enjoying our newly found friendship.
*275 a hubby that cooks and cares for her sick wifey
*276 hope, faith, and love, and above all love from my Heavenly Father.

Happy giving thanks everyday yall! :)


11/14/2011

A Great Adventure

After my last post, I can't believe my joy today.
I don't think I've ever started grattitude monday this excited!
Boy oh, boy! I still feel the adrenaline in my body from yesterday's adventure.
Dear Lord, You are too amazingly good to me!

God, more than anyone, knows my heart best. He knows I crave for two things: adventure and new things. I am always day dreaming of trying out new things, seeing new places, and meeting new people. I got my share of all three the year I moved to Mexico city and got to travel through a fair share of that amazing country, make awesome friends, and trying out new things like Japanesse, jazz and contemporary dancing, poi, ferret pets, food, and much more!

As a teacher, I got my share of new people and trying out new things; didn't see many new places but my heart was satisfied. As a computer programer, I get to try new things, but I don't enjoy learning to make webservices in different platforms as much as making a new christmas play or coreography with my students each year. I fear a routine life more than anything in the world. The good thing is that life has changed dramatically as a married woman, and it will probably change even more as a mother (can't wait!). Still, I need my kicks of adventure, new things, new places, new people!

Friday I got a call from a my dear friend Marcela, who I haven't seen in way too long, and she asked me if I wanted to go rock climbing with her. I knew that friday I would stay at work late, I would have to go to work on Saturday, and I would be extremely tired and would not have much time with my husband. I called the hubby and asked if I could go and if he'd like to go, and after his approval and a little analyzing the pros and cons (don't do this too much in life. It's all about the risk!), we said yes. I left work at 10 pm on friday (5 hours after my shift) and had to work on saturday from 10 am to 6 pm (when I don't work on saturdays!). My lazy side who usually trumps my adventurous side lost no time in telling me that going to that exhausting trip and with my health condition would not be appropiate. I had planned to tell Marcela in the morning I was not going to be able to make it.

That Sunday morning I was so excited about the trip I got up really early. Rodol was up too (I can tell he was excited too because like me, he had had a tough week too.) We made french toasts, fed the dogs, prepared some extra clothes for the trip and waited for Marcela to arrive to eat breakfast. It was so good seeing her. She looked lovely as ever. Her energy and joy are always contagious and we were anxious to get there.

Marcela, Me, and Rodol

I was not prepared for what the trip had instore for us. We met with Marcela's friends, who are experienced rock climbers and have the climbing equipment, and were informed that we were not climbing rocks; we were going to do rapelling on a cascade. I had't seen many impressive cascades in the vecinities of tegucigalpa, but I was excited to do the rapelling. We went to Corralitos near El Hatillo and parked the cars in a stranger's house, who is nice enough to let us park the cars in his garage to keep them safe! You don't see kindness like that in the city. We walked some way and stopped at a high mountain were you could hear but not see a lot of water falling. We stopped to receive instruccions by our leader on how to use the equipment and do the rapelling properly and safely. We climbed down on foot a little more and there it was! A large, cristal water, beautiful cascade! How is it that more people don't know of this cascade?! Well, it is not easy to access and the only way down was the way we were going to go. My heart was racing. It felt so surreal to see such a place and to be doing this in Honduras.


I immediately ran to grab a climbing harness to be one of the first ones down. Anthony, one of the more experienced, went down first to secure all the rest.The leader asked who wanted to go down first, but Marcela is more overeager than I am and got first. Down she went and it felt like an eternity waiting for her to get down faster and get my turn. I am my mother's daughter; as soon as I started my descent, I was laughing out loud like a hienna just as my mom laughs when she is nervous. It was fun that it was the first thing Rodol said to me as he heard me and saw my grin. I could feel my heart beating on my throat! Half of the descent was walking backward on the rock and half of it was in mid air. The cascade was so close that its wind was moving my rope forward and backward. Now I could barely feel my heart beat at all. The nervous grin never left my face all the way down. All I could think of is "don't let go of the rope with your right hand" (the most important instruccion the leader gave) and "just keep going and this will all be over." I guess that if I would have known what was expecting me down below, I would have taken longer on that mid air descent. The water was extremely cold. If there is no hot water in my house, I will put some water in pots in the stove to warm or I won't bathe at all (yes, I am not ashamed to admit that; I am very vulnerable to cold). I thought they said the water would only be as high as my knee. It was as high as my neck! Marcela had been there waiting for me and Anthony would be there for everyone else. Marcela and I climbed over a rock to get out of the cold water with our clothes all wet and out teeth chattering and our bodies shivering. Marcela has pale skin complexion, but I was unaware of how white it could turn.



We sat on the rock waiting for Rodol's descent, but the next girl down informed us girls would be descending first. There were 4 girls left and they were taking forever to make their minds and start their descent (they weren't as eager as we to risk their lives down a 40 m drop). As much as we wanted to see Rodol's descent, it was too cold. We swam the river till we reached dry ground and the cascade was no longer in sight. Marcela had taken her backpack with her and we figured out how to carry it to shore without getting it more wet. Luckily, the clothes inside were dry and we changed clothes behind some rocks (Marcela was only able to give me some socks and a shirt as my clothes were with Rodol). It took 3 hrs for Rodol's turn to descend! Three hours of completely freezing ourselves! We had left the house at 9 am and it was already 2 pm. We had not eaten, we were wet and cold, and there was still an hour hike back to the cars!

The hike back at least gave us the warmth we needed with some good old exercise and elevated heart rate. Unfortunately, Marcela and I each had a fall and we hit our elbows. Rodol hurt his leg on a rock on the river and his hand with the rope on the descent. Still, it was one of the greatest days of this year and one of the greatest adventures I've had.

We were happy to get to the car and drive home to change clothes. We went to eat some Chuletas y tajaditas (pork chops and chips) at Sabores de la Costa at 5 pm. Needless to say, we ate two plates each!
Days like this make me feel so lucky to be were the Lord has me. I never know what He has instore for me. He never ceases to surprise me, never ceases to amaze me. He is kind enough to grant me the desires of my heart and show me the grandeur of His creation.

Grateful for:
*249 Marcela's friendship. I've often told others of her testimony and her love for Jesus, that she had her own ministry feeding the hungry of a very poor neighborhood in Comayaguela. I am truly blessed to know her and have her friendship and get to share days like this because of her.
*250 my husband being my companion of the adventures to come in our life together.
*251 a very, very tough week that ended on a really, really high note!
*252 daydreaming of the time I'll spent with my sister and my mom when they visit me next month! so anxious. 24 days to go!
*253 switchfoot and their music. I owe myself to see them in a concert. Someday!
*254 the pups learning new tricks and performing them infront of friends and family. They made me proud!
*255 Tough financial months maybe coming to an end.
*256 the pill for my hypothyroidism being affordable and helping me recover. Waking up early and brighter.
*257 being able to wear earrings. Seriously, I could wear them for two hours tops. Now, all day long! It's a habit to use them and combine them and the hubby loves that.
*258 being faithful in not biting my nails.
*259 a God that has words of comfort in the times of greatest need.
*260 a God that can give you such wonderful days after such afflicting days. Every season is important.
*261 a God that gives hope that will be attained
*262 a God that is always patient and loving.
*263 Izell's beautiful disposition to help me learn to sew. Next Saturday I won't be working and will be spending time with her :)
*264 getting my dose of new places, new people, and new things that truly brightens my heart!
I love You, Lord!

11/11/2011

Afflicted

I am afflicted.
My affliction is not my own, but it might as well be.
I feel there is nothing I can do, nothing I can say.
I feel impotent and at the same time helpless.
No way to console, no way to relieve,
the hurt in me becomes stronger.
This wretched impotence! Why?
Why can't I help. Why? I'd give anything, anything to make it better.
Why am I only left here in the dark crying my eyes out?
Isn't there anything left for me to do?
I seek Your Word, for is the only thing I'm left to do this darkest of nights.
Why didn't I come here before my tear-filled pillow?
And as always, Psalms can never go wrong to comfort.

Psalm 9:9 
The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Psalm 22:24 
For he has not despised or disdainedthe suffering of the afflicted one;he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.

Psalm 48:14
For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

Psalm 71:20-21
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.

Psalms 39:7
"But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.

And so I hide behind Your shelter.
And get a head start on my "staying still."
And realize I may not be able to do anything,
but I am not alone in this.
And He is watchful
And He knows the pain, better than I do hers.
And yet He gives me a thing to do.

1 Peter 1:13

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Hebrews 10:36
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised


So there is still hope, nothing is yet lost.
Though it feels miles away and undeserving.
And I try to cling to hope
and trust my Refuge,
as I remember His promises.

Hosea 13:14 

"I will ransom them from the power of the grave [a] ; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?

Matthew 11:25-30

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Proverbs 23:18
There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

And leave it to Romans to leave clear instruccion,
for this obssessive doer to do,
for this impatient stirred heart that could only find her way
in her loving Lord.

Romans 12:12

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Romans 15:4
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope

And then one day,
Your hope will come.
Till then, He loves you, He loves them.

Revelation 21:4 

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."


Dear reader, whoever you are,
please join me in prayer for those whose pain is so far gone, all you are left with is trust in God and prayer. Pray for those in sickness, pray for those in pain, mainly pray for those who have lost faith, those who see no hope. Pray that He might find them, pray that He might heal them. Pray is what you can do, pray hard with me today.


11/07/2011

A person with vices... Me?!

I have never considered myself a person of vices. I use to often pride myself that I was not a person prone to fall into addiction. I have never smoked, never had a drink, never liked to go on parties, never had a co-dependent unhealthy relationship. I use to think my only "addictions" were anime and my dogs (can't get enough of them!).

I guess many people like me must think they too are elusive to vices. Well, let's hear a dictionary definition of vice:
a. An evil, degrading, or immoral practice or habit. Anyone here immune to bad habits?
Aha! Leave it to the Holy Spirit to reveal the inner most hidden places of the heart, the ignorance of the mind, and the blinding pride and show me I am a person of many vices.

Cheer up, Linda, it's all good. Everytime the Holy Spirit places your sin before you is because He will enable you to tackle it. So, in the hopes of overcoming my vices, the Holy Spirit kindly gave me the next verse:

Luke 16:10

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

In other words, start turning your small bad habits into good habits, and you'll turn your big bad habits into great good habits. Of course, overachieving, anxious me wants to start tackling those BIG bad habits of mine, but one of those huge bad habits is my tendency to get ahead of myself and not stay still, (Yes, the verse "Be still and know that I am God" is constantly in my head :P)

Lately I have been struggling, and I mean struggling, to break this small bad habit of mine. It's a vice I've had since I was a little girl. A vice friends and family have asked me to stop and have tried to help me to stop and failed miserably. Having my husband asked me to stop, give me the don't-do-that look when he catches me doing it and I hiding it from him or down right saying to his face I-will-do-it-cause-I-want-to really got me thinking of this serious matter (not so much a little bad habit anymore is it?). Listen to this addict's train of thought: I will stop whenever I decide to. I will only do it when I needed the outlet, but I am still in control (biggest lie an addict says!). Till now that I do it unconsciously. And that is the thing with habits; you do them without thinking and to break it you are going to think of it constantly. Breaking a bad habit is so hard. It's not just about thinking to do the opposite, but constantly thinking about not falling into it. And boy, when you more think of not doing something, the more tempting it is to do it. Oh, flesh of mine, lowly sinful being that you are. And YOU thought mighty YOU was not a person of vices?!!!!!

Here is my small vice that has even given me a sleepless night (no joke) with me battling not to fall in it: biting my nails. Vice? Nail bitting is a vice? Let's go back to that definition: An evil, degrading, or immoral practice or habit. C'mon, nail bitting isn't evil, degrading or immoral! You are overreacting! Yeah, flesh jumps to say that. But it causes you disobedience and dishonor to your husband, lack of self-control, and, lets not forget, how ugly those hands look. How many bad habits do you have that aren't evil, degrading, or immoral in themselves but bring about those descriptions? How about the bad habit of leaving your clothes in the bathroom that causes your sister some discomfort and makes her aggravated? I can name a few habits people don't break because it "only harms themselves":

-being disorganized (loses time and causes other's discomfort)
-leaving the shoes where you took them off.
-leaving the floor wet after a shower (hazardous)
-always chosing first. (seriously, this is a vice for some. think of others much?)
-tv or radio too loud or on late at night.
-staying up late and oversleeping. (so, you are loud when others are sleeping, and asleep when others need you to cooperate?!)
-make mean jokes about others present or not; hand out nicknames.

And this are just the "small" habits. How about the big bad habits:
-gossiping or judging.
-gluttony (yes vice! Causes your parents budget to stretch on food and health and your lack of regards for others!)
-unable to stay quiet when angry or when being admonished.
-impatient, exasperated responses.
-calling other's attention in public.
- raising your voice when your husband forgets he is not in a fast and furious movie when driving!
-being unpunctual

How about the uncospicuous bad habits:
-facebook
-twitter
-tv watching, tv series addiction.

Ok, I feel better again remembering the Luke verse, one thing at a time, and you'll get to all of the bad habits in your life.

Today, I stand before you with a complete month without biting my nails (it's the longest I've lasted and the longest they've been). They look quite nice. My hubby bought me nail polish yesterday and was excited to see my hands nicely done. Seriously, I look at them and feel an urge to bite them (like if they were a cadburry's chocolate bar). When I am in a lot of stress, biting them to almost bleeding distance but stinging pain don't-ask-me-why gives me alot of release from the stress or nerves. This is when it's hardest not to, since my job is pretty stressful. I constantly think of not biting them and I am constantly going to the bathroom to wash my hands. I can't stand them, however I will continue till having long nails and never biting them is the habit and I do THAT unconsciously.

Even in this "meaningless" things, I am glad I can do all thing through Him Who gives me strength.
This is something I've done all my life. Is there something you do that you need to change before the rest of your life habits go unchanged?

For some good habits I recommend: habitsforahappyhome.wordpress.com

Counting gifts:

*235 it's only 49 days till christmas and 31 days till I see my sister and mother again! I am seriously counting days!
*236 better relationship with my coworkers, but mainly, better testimony on my behalf.
*237 a great night with my husband's friends from San Pedro Sula and some from here!
*238 a great afternoon with Mely and Johnny
*239 a father that knocks my door to give a helping hand. So humbled by this act of my father. I seriously need to be more grateful for him and care more about him
*240 a skype japanese lesson with Pit
*241 sunny days in November
*242 moving to another office with windows! I'll see if it is raining, or day or night!
*243 a humble man as a husband
*244 a weekend filled with strength!
*245 finally teaching my puppies something!
*246 my plants are still alive
*247 many friends with upcoming kids. happily waiting for my turn
*248 my mother's helping hand from afar.

God Bless.