Goodbye Fumoffu

Waking up to the aftermath of the events that took place yesterday wasn't as hard as I thought it be. I was eager to be at work with my mind occupied than in bed with my despondent heart and my incessant mind replaying everything.
Yesterday I lost my darling dog Fumoffu to a tragic accident.
She had been the family's dog for a little more than 6 years. She even went with us on our adventure of moving to Mexico.

That is she and I going to the airport. 

When we got to Mexico, we were unaware that the climate would have an effect on her (Mexico City is much colder than Tegucigalpa). We had to buy her sweaters so she could have time to acclimate.

That's she with her sweater and on my bed. As you can see, she was very spoiled

She is often seen in my brother's poi and juggling videos running around happily on the yard.

Here is a pic of her visiting Mexico's downtown Socalo

The whole Maradiaga Family!

She moved back to Honduras on March because my brother in Mexico had to move to an apartment where no dogs were allowed. 
The hubs and I were happy to receive her, but she was a handful.
Having lived inside the house, on my or my brother's bed, and pretty much doing whatever she pleased, It was hard for her to adjust to my husband's more dog-like life for her: outside the house with the other two dogs and, by no reason, on the sofas or beds. 
It took almost two months for her to stop howling all night begging to be allowed inside. However, she really liked the open space my house's yard provides. That yard is dog heaven and Fumoffu enjoyed every inch of it, especially during the rain (She didn't help her chances of getting inside!).
We couldn't understand why the other two dogs where dry and clean and under the garage roof during the rain, but Fumoffu was covered deep in mud and drenched. She loved it! And she showed us her happiness by jumping on us and our clothes in that state. 
She had a hard time having other dogs around. She had been a single dog-daughter in my family. Here she shared love, food, space, and attention with Terry and Lanky. It was funny to see how she was the oldest and smallest, yet she dominated the other two. At first she was kind of a loner, but then you could catch her playing with the other two dogs. I even caught them sharing her bed (only she had a bed my mom sent from Mexico) and even giving each other kisses. 
She was just re-learning obedience (the obedience she had was lost when I left Mexico), but she was being very stubborn. One of the things we tried hard to teach her is not to run infront or behind the car when we were entering or leaving the house. This she never learned. My husband and I were very watchful to see where she was when we would move the car. My husband was watchful and careful of this yesterday, but, in a glimpse, she ran accross and got run over. 
He immediately ran to see if she was ok and got bitten pretty bad on the hand. He tried to pick her up again to take her to the vet but she would growl and bear her teeth, and my husband had only a good hand left to grab her. He came to pick me up at work so we could take her and him to the doc, but when we got home it was too late. 
I'm grateful my sister was around to drive us to the ER to have my husband's hand checked and help me calm down. 
My wonderful in-laws all came to help me burry her and console me. 
I'm grateful my brother in Mexico (who loved her dearest) was with his girlfriend when he got my call and she was able to console him. 
I'm grateful my mom had our dear friend Abelardo with her in Panama there to console her too.

She meant a lot for all of us and we thought we had many years ahead with her by our side. 
Here is a little video of her most quirky trait known to everyone as: SARITA! 


Death has left me pondering much on how to cope with it and make sense of the mess of you it leaves.
If you know someone is going to die (old age or health related), you are left with the pain of the departed loved one, but a sense that all that could have been done was done.
If the death is sudden and out of the blue, you are left with more than the loss of the departed, but with a sense of uselessnes, a bunch of "what ifs" and "could I had done..?", a sense you and the departed where robbed: robbed of time, love, and moments.
It has left me two painful revelations:
1. It's astonishing to realize just how frail life is. 
2. As painful as losing a loved one is, life goes on. 

Ecclesiastes 7:2
It is better to go to a house of mourning
than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;
the living should take this to heart.

When facing death, I feel as though time should stop, life should pause. Life and time were stopped for someone else, it should stop for you as well. But it doesn't. You wake up next morning and continue your life. Death is not powerful enough to stop life for the forlorn loved ones, and for those who believe and have a hope in Christ, not even for the deceased.

1 Corinthians 15:55
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”

I don't why this happened. I hope God is not preparing me for death coping. I just ponder and wonder, I grieve and somber, and pray life can go on with joy in Fumoffu's memory more than anything.
Job 1 : 21
and [Job] said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
And, as I believe nothing is impossible for God, maybe one day I'll see my Fumoffu again! Thank You, Lord, for the gift, joy, laughter, and love she was. 


Faith Because He says so!

I've often heard people preach countless sermons on Peter. I myself have given advice and counseling on his story and have said here before that I identify myself with him.
One of the sermons I often hear of Peter is of his before and after. Pastors speak of his brash and heedless persona when he was with Christ and his transformation into a level-headed leader after Christ's death. I am a before-Peter and I use to think that I too would develop the after-Peter character.
Nowadays, studying Peter closely I realize there is no before and after. Yes, we find a more mature Peter in Acts but it's not due to the fact that he changed his brash personality, but because of what he learned being that way.

I used to think that if God had given me a more introverted personality, I would be better and better suited to be His disciple. I hated the fact that introverted people do have weaknesses, just less public and noticeable than mine. And funny thing, I didn't know that introverted people wished they were more like me. C'est la vie, isn't it? God has a reason for how and why He makes us like we are.

Back to Peter.
We probably heard more stories of Peter's faux pas then any other disciples, but we also learned more from him than any other disciple as well.
I stumbled on a Peter moment I hadn't analyzed before that I wanted to share:

Luke 5:4-5

4 When He [Christ] had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because You say so, I will let down the nets.”

Peter could have just obeyed and let down the nets without saying anything; after all, he did so.
But he voices what's inside his heart. 
"We worked hard all night and haven't caught anything.." It's like Peter saying: "You know, it feels dumb for me to do something I've already been trying hard to do with no results!"
Don't we feel that way with God sometimes?
Like what He is asking of us we've already tried to do and failed?
The frustration that comes from doing something again and again with no results!

Here is what I learned from this passage:
Luke 5:6-7

6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

We do feel like Peter sometimes: "We've been working hard and caught nothing."
But what if he hadn't obeyed Christ and missed out on such a catch?
What if you give up on what God is asking of you because you get tired of no results, but then the ripe time God had for you to sow, you missed out because you forgot Who it was that was asking it from you?
"But because You say so..."
Here is where faith plays its role.
Are your eyes on the results or on Who is asking it of you?
What if a mother stops giving discipline to her child because she sees no results, but God was working on the child's heart?
What if a wife stops honoring and obeying her husband because he doesn't change, but God was transforming this man's mind?
What if a maiden stops waiting for the godly man God has for her to go after a man of the world, but God had a righteous man for her right around the corner?
And if only they had remembered Who it was that was asking it of them, they would have had a full ship.

Let's take our faith further:
What if we never stop obeying and never see results?
Well, isn't He the Creator and Owner of all things that no matter what, because HE says so, I must do??!!

If Peter hadn't said anything and just obeyed, he would have not realized were his faith was lacking.
Luke 5:8

8 When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!”

We are human and, like Peter, we get weary of working hard with no catch.
But like Peter, we can learn to obey nevertheless because of Who Christ is and says.
And I, I am grateful God made me like I am, and that how I am makes me cling harder to Him for I am a sinful woman.


Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.


Adding Faith: A lesson on contentment

The Lord is teaching me contentment.
It is good He is pointing me towards this direction because of the drastic changes that have happened in our lives and are yet to come.
In the past months of 2012 we have:
1. Bought a car
2. Had a new pet additioned to our family
3. Gotten pregnant
4. Moved into a house

And it's wonderful to move forward and all these changes have been huge blessings.
Yet ALL represent debts and expenses. The car loan plus gas bills, the dog food and vet expenses, the prenatal meds and monthly ob-gyn bills, the doubled house rent. Sigh.
Take a deep a breath!
Curiously enough, I was more overwhelmed last year that this year. Difference? Gratitude.

God has been beyond good to us. Somehow, He provides for us be it through help from my mom, help from the in-laws, help from family and friends, credit card rewards, or even extra hours and extra projects in the job. Our lives haven't nearly faced their most drastic change yet: parenthood. Friends who know our financial situation and our schedules constantly ask me: "What are you guys gonna do once the baby comes?" My answer: "I don't know, but I'm not worried."

I thinks this is 90% true. I'm still working on my adding faith. And probably when the baby is here I'll worry some more. But God's lesson today is contentment.
Today I read an article on blog I about contentment. The article was from Jeremiah Burroughs and he said that to have contentment, true contentment, we must first suffer discontent.
When speaking of contentment, Paul used the word "learned" several times. This made me wonder why I have only started to learn the power of gratitude.

Philippians 4:11-13

For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Looking back on my life, I've really had it all. Mom provided everything and I never had a worry in the world. She even provided for a maid to take care of my meals, laundry, and cleaning. I feel foolish of the "problems" for which I used to lose sleep (which is why I feel like slapping a teenager when he complains because of school work!). It seems ironic that I didn't learn gratitude when I had it all and now that it's a struggle I'm more grateful than ever. It was easy to have contentment when what I wanted (not what I needed) came easy as well.

I've always reminded myself and others to have contentment when you put your situation into perpective with others' situations. I think now this thinking, although effective, is a crutch. Yes, when you realize how much harder it is for others or how much less than you they have, it helps you feel better about your situation. Does ts is make you LEARN contentment like Paul had? No! True contentment is "through HIm."

Today I came across a verse in Acts 5 right after the apostles had been unjustly imprisoned because they kept preaching in Jesus' name and flogged when they were released:

Act 5:41

The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.

THESE men knew true contentment and knew it through the joy of suffering for Christ's name.

Dear Lord,
That I may learn this true contentment through You, even in suffering and struggle, and in abundance and happiness as well. I rejoice in my sufferings and the teaching it has brought to my life and in seeking You harder. I rejoice in Your providence and choose to rest in You alone. Thank You for all the things You are doing in our lives and bless the child growing in me.
I forever love You!


Step 1. To your Faith add Goodness (Part 2)

In my attempt at walking by faith, I'm trying to go more to church despite my health and despite the time, (I usually don't go anywhere after 8 pm unless it's a saturday and the hubs convinces me. If I'm out at night, I usually end up with a bad case of allergies or asthma).
Yesterday, I managed to drag my body to a meeting at church I was called to two hours beforehand. However, I completely failed at adding goodness to my faith.

You see, we miss alot of church meeting because of my health. It is something that burdens me. Honestly, we don't go to church group on Friday not because we don't want to, but because come Friday I'm extremely tired and I just want to go home to lay my head. In that faith walking, we are going to start attending group on Friday.
Last week was our first visit to a group in a long time. It was encouraging to see people happy to see us there, but it was more burdening than anything.
People started asking us if we were going to start going every Friday and if we were not gonna miss anymore group. This got on my nerves.

In all honesty, sometimes we don't go to church not because I'm not feeling fine, but because we just don't want to see the people there just to hear them question why we haven't been to church lately. To me it's like: "Do you care why I haven't come or just that I haven't come?" My husband is a kind, gentle person who will always answer patiently. I wish I were more like him. People come over to ask him why we haven't been to church. He patiently gives them an answer, and they just brush it off as an excuse. My husband won't show you his disapproval of your comments and opinions, but they are getting on his nerves as well.

On last Friday's group, they invited my husband to a men's meeting on Monday. My husband is on his test week at college. As we were entering the meeting yesterday, a guy from the group asked him why he hadn't gone to the meeting on Monday. Again, as per usual, my husband kindly tried to explain that he was up all night studying. The guy immediately dissmissed his explanation and started joking around of his "irresponsibility." Here is where I failed to practice goodness, my friends. I got so angry at his "jokes" and judgments I snapped at him. "He already gave you an answer. If that is not good enough for you, that is your problem not ours," I harshly responded.

Oh great! Now I was there feeling terribly angry at the same welcome of always and terribly ashamed of how I had reacted. The hubs of course called my attention for my response, not that he needed to. I knew I had been wrong. I waited till the end of the meeting to approach this guy and ask for forgiveness.

I was seriously starting to wonder what church is about and why I don't want to go anymore. What is more important: my attendance or my life? Because all I see is that they don't care about our lives; they care if we're faithfully attending or not. Don't they not know me or my husband? Weren't we there every meeting before my health issues?
How come when we tell them we aren't going to church because I'm very sick none of the "questioners" call to ask how I'm doing or visit? None of them ask my husband how he is coping with caring for his wife almost every week. Do they know he feels burdened or frustrated and oftentimes alone, and he doesn't want to spend his weekend locked up in the house? Do they know our financial problems because of our medical bills? Dear reader, I'm crying as I write this down.

I was inmensely touched by the fact that Pastor Gustavo wrote me asking how I was because he was worried he hadn't seen me in a while. "How are you?" instead of the usual "Why haven't you been to church?"
Now that I find myself in these situations I'm truly grateful. In the past, I was a prolific "questioneer." This was my attitude towards "church slackers" as well.

Please don't get me wrong. I don't think my brothers and sisters in Christ are ill-intentioned at all. The guy from last night surely didn't deserve my attitude towards him.
What happens is that it's hard to be truly interested in someone's life and most of the time you don't even realize what your comments and opinions do to someone.
And I fail even more at faith and goodness here. I'm not giving my brothers and sisters a chance, and I'm instead feeling exasperated by them. Im justifying reasons for not going to church that shouldn't be based on what others do but on what I do and I need. Even last night's altercate served me in learning how to add goodness. Actually, the harder the showing goodness becomes the strong the faith is rooted.

To your faith add goodness...

The dictionary defines goodness as:
1. the state or quality of being good.
2.moral excellence; virtue.
3.kindly feeling; kindness; generosity.
4.excellence of quality: goodness of workmanship.
5.the best  part of anything; essence; strength.

As I told you, I failed at adding goodness.
If I'm gonna trust my church is where God has taken me, then I must grow in goodness.
What will this imply?
I won't be offended by others, but return love and forgiveness and non-judgmental thoughts to them.
I will answer kindly and patiently, or simply be quiet and let my husband answer kindly while I learn from him.

Psalm 23:6
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 65:4
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!

The house of the Lord... Is it Church? Are goodness and mercy shown to you there? More importantly, are you showing it?
The house of the Lord... Communion with God? Surely delicious to my soul and flesh. Are you seeking it always?

Goodness is only found in God. Only He is good.
Such an important realization of our state. None of us are good. Therefore, we may only learn goodness from God and through Him. This also means He teaches goodness from others that pick it up from Him. This is what you must strive to be and strive to be around. Friday group is a good starting place!

Life is not easy. This is the very reason you are learning this steps.
It is not easy to have faith. It is not easy to have goodness.
It is easy to come to the Lord. It is easy to come in prayer.
It is easy to pick up His Word and tie it to our necks.
And thus, it is easy to have faith and easy to imitate His goodness. 


Step 1. To your Faith add Goodness (Part 1)

I wanted to do a series on 2 Peter 2:5-10 but was unable to because of illness.
I'm happy to report I'm feeling much better and baby is doing fine.

If you remember my last post on these verses, I mentioned seven steps although there were 8.
Step 1 is to your faith add goodness, but for this you would have to have faith to start with.
Is the fact that I believe in Jesus as my one and only Saviour and the Son of God, and pray to Him count as having faith?
Is faith far greater than that? Is this a good starting point?

Hebrews 10
38 And,
“But my righteous one will live by faith.
    And I take no pleasure
    in the one who shrinks back.”

Live by faith...
I've confessed in the past that I think I'm lacking in faith.
I am always expecting the worst.
Seriously! If I go to the doctor and have to take him a medical test result, I'm certain it is positive. Sometimes even after he has told me it's not!
I've been ordering my mind to ignore these thoughts when it comes to the baby. It has proven quite effective. I guess this is why in the things God commands us to do He includes controlling our thoughts, and not doing so is a sin.
You can control your thoughts if you chose the right thought. Interesting.
By experience, I've learned that the right thought comes out of the Word.
"Nobody loves you and you are all alone," my teenage brain would tell me. "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.," my Bible and sweet Jesus said! And I replaced this thoughts for His words.
My favorite teacher Mr Greene once told me that every sin can be pinpointed to a lie we believed.
His example of this was especially directed at me: "Why do we worry? Because eventhough God has told us He takes care of us, we don't truly believe it."

A couple of weeks ago we were visiting our dear friends Johnny and Meli, and we had a very interesting discussion about married life and marriage relationships.
It was refreshing to have friends you could talk openly and honestly about married life and really not try to hide or pretend it's always perfect, we never fight, and we never have problems or disagreements.
Johnny was talking about the woman's submission to her husband. Mel and I were saying it's sometimes hard because we are seeing that our husbands are gonna make a wrong decision.
So Johnny asked me: "Then is your obedience to submit to your husband in the fact that your husband makes good decisions or the fact that God commands you to submit and, if you do so, He is in control?"
Do I trust God when He commands me to trust my husband's leadership or I'm a believing the lie that I have to "try to control things" or else it won't go right?

Is it faith versus lies?
I think it is. Is faith believing God's words are truth and thus completely following and trusting them? I believe so.

I'm still afraid of my fears coming true, tha come December there is a chance I might not be holding my baby.
I've been reading a blog from an Australian nomadic family that was stricken with tragedy and the loss of their youngest in a disconcerting way.
She hasn't stopped blogging through the whole situation and is capable of speaking of love, hope, and compassion.
Her oldest asked her is everything that happens is good. Even in all she is enduring, she firmly states a "yes"; everything is in God hands, hence everything is good.

I'm gonna walk in faith. And in that faith, I'm gonna start planning and working on a nursery. 
Mark 9
21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Tis my prayer.

So, to sum it all up, the step for today is a two step:
1. Replace your thoughts for God's Word. For this you need to be on the Word.
2. Pinpoint the lies you believe that leads you to disobedience and mistrust. More time in the Word would also be effective. :)
I know I haven't actually gone to the add goodness part, but I just refuse to mess with the 7 steps :P

Not Monday, but grattitude is good any day.
*471 my first diapers sent from Panama by eager Grandma Linda
*472 Still not being able to move to our new house.
*473 In-laws receiving us in their home will we wait for the house
*474 my sister learning through the hardships of the work place
*475 my sister learning she is not alone in those sufferings
*476 my pups behaving while we are away from home
*477 my health improving enough to enjoy time with my husband more
*478 the awesome relationship the hubs and I have been experiencing the past weeks. I can't go by three hours without calling him to find out how he is and viceversa.
*479 the hope the house will be done this week
*480 planning a whole homestead
*481 dreaming of a garden with tomatoes and berries and more
*482 planning a nursery and beginning small projects
*483 Grandpa Edgardo is making the crib!
*484 Adina's visit bearing daisies for her sick "mommy."
*485 My darling daughter Adina surviving her first ironman placing in 7th eventhough she was hit by a car in the bike trail! :O Is she amazing or what?
*486 a lunch with darling daughters Denise and Sarai to celebrate Sarai's birthday
*487 the hub's test week.
*488 classmates willing to help the hubs study. I love them so dearly
*489 Precious Uncle Paolo bearing gifts! A whole box of toys for sweet baby.
*490 a darling Father I can pray to anytime all the time.
*491 pizza making with Izell and Jenny while the guys watched the EuroCup final
*492 Sweet puppy time whilst visiting Johnny and Meli. I'm sorry, but I'll be visiting more! There are few things that fill my heart with so much joy like lying in the ground with puppies biting my hair, nose, ears, and face.

P.S. readers, stick around to see my DIY projects for the nursery, my attempt at home making, and the future series on pregnancy and baby's sex!!