DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

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In violence we forget who we are.   – Mary McCarthy

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When I say “domestic violence”, what pops into your mind?  Husbands or wives being abusive to their partner, right?  Well, you may be surprised to know – that’s not always the dynamic.  Domestic violence is one family member abusing another family member, regardless of what that relationship is.  These wonderful SURVIVORS of domestic violence shared with me what most encouraged them in their journey.  It’s my prayer that anyone reading this will find hope for the future if they’re experiencing domestic violence.

Barb says a portion of Scripture boosted her self-esteem:14608161_1824641337780328_725756438_n

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One sister in Christ quoted this Scripture to me one day and ever since then I clung unto it and wow, my self-esteem boosted.  – Barb

Lucinda recalls:14516464_1824635784447550_1713161907539005853_n

I remember crying to my mom one day, ‘Why won’t God get me away from him?’  And my mom gave me the best answer ever, ‘He’ll help you but you have to do it.’  – Lucinda

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a-gift-from-the-pastfear-1131143_1280Love is not physical abuse.  Love is not expressed with fists.  There are constructive ways to channel anger.  Go to the gym.  Take a drive.  If you feel the need to hit something – leave.  Walk out the door and hit something.  No person deserves to be beat by another person.0c90cc5fdae9eef26a71b8f5f28eb131

Love is not emotional or mental abuse.  Putting a significant other down verbally does not make you better than them.  People expect to see outward signs.

Linda’s lesson:

It’s literally been decades since my abuser was around, but I didn’t wear scars on the outside.  My scars are all emotional and live inside.  Even after all these years I still second guess so many things.  There’s a voice inside my head – and it’s not my voice – it’s his voice…  telling me I’m stupid, ignorant, fat, or some other derogatory name.  Nothing’s ever right about me and  he tells me I screwed something up again.  Love that again thrown in there…  don’t you?  When I hear it these days, I call it what it is… the voice that lied to me.  I call it by its name and I tell the Lord to make it go away in Jesus’ Name.  God is good because He makes the voice leave.  It doesn’t stay gone, but when I ask God to make it leave – it has to go! – Linda

983866_330028463863441_8939621389547744056_nAlthough this poem was written for a wacky holiday in March, my mind was on a day long ago when I finally got away from a person who abused me.  It’s amazing, but the situation seems “normal” until you get away from it.  It’s like waking up from a nightmare.  While you’re in it, you cope the best you can.  Once you wake up, you realize that your situation can be so much better – if only you have the courage to stay awake and trust God for the next step.  Today, I love the color purple and I embrace these rules in my house and will not settle for less because God loves me and lets me know I’m worth loving.  rules-of-this-house

As we walk this land of broken promises and dreams we have visions of better things in our lives that have yet to come. Keeping your eyes and heart on God and His plan for your life will keep you focused. – Linda

Samantha reminds us of this truth that helped her:14699901_1827900347454427_475316969_n

People cry, not because they are weak.  It’s because they’ve been strong for too long.  – Johnny Depp

The tears we cry for them are real.  Sometimes all we can do is cry and pray – the prayers are not always words either.  God hears those prayers too.  Aren’t we thankful?

Every time I prayed and asked God to show me the way, He would put my abuser in jail.  And every time I cried for weeks afterward.  Took 3 times of him being locked up before I finally understood what was being said to me.  It’s time to let go. – Samantha

Christina adds:

The abusers never blame themselves, they always blame the victims and try to make them feel deserving of the bad treatment.  One thing I learned is never to blame myself for the abuse.  And to forgive myself for any choices of a poor relationship that leads to such.  I blamed myself for years for having the wrong dad for my kids and even though, we got free from him in 2000, and my kids thankfully by God’s intervening did NOT have visitation with him, still there are hereditary traits, especially in my son!  The behavior and addiction problems and anguish is there.

You can raise kids up in church and feed them God’s Word; however, they do come to an age of accountability where they choose to follow or deny God.

For awhile I questioned where I went wrong.  God showed me in His Word, the sins of the child are no longer held against the parent, nor the sins of the parent held against the children.  That was comforting to me, as it gave me a sense of freedom.

One thing people experience though, is many places of shelter can be cruel or stressful – and some charge.  I’ve had some literally make me wonder what the difference was in the abuse.  This is one reason many victims go back – because of no sense of real freedom.  Many are financially bounded.  Many get misjudged for keeping the people or person in their lives but each situation is different.

For instance…  although my son does not know my location, he is still my son.  He will remain on my friend list.  I let him know that I love and forgive him no matter what.  But, I cannot trust him.  It actually helps to be honest if there’s a safe way to do so.

As far as the guy I tried dating – that had many problems and red flags.  He was a greedy, angry soul who didn’t know how to treat women.  At first, he put on an act of this Godly person.

He wanted to rush things…  I’d warn anyone to be careful about someone rushing.  He wanted me isolated.  It was as if he was working together with my son to keep me from my doctor appointments – and I wasn’t allowed to use his truck – yet he wanted me to marry him.  Um…  NOPE.  I made up my mind years ago to never be treated like property and never be controlled again by anyone.

The day I was moving out is the day he pushed a heavy TV on me and also took back my stove he got me for a gift.  An $800 stove for a $300 balance on the car, which by the way, needs four tires, an alignment, has no heat, no air, etc… yet he drives a brand-new truck.

He couldn’t take no for an answer when I told him I would not marry him nor date anymore.  He even has his profile as “engaged”!  His best friend tried to sabotage the car the morning I was moving out.  And my sister witnessed the ugly words he had to say as well.  I may be sleeping on a blanket in a floor with no air, no heat, barely any food, but I’m free and grateful for everything.

My therapy dog is right beside me.

God is my stronghold.  I have smoke allergies and the lady that’s letting me use her floor is a chain smoker.  It’s not easy, but I keep a towel under the door and my window wide open.  We need electrical work.  There’s no hot water here, but a cold bath is still a bath.

My son is living on the streets.  I pray daily for him to turn to God and be safe and get another job.  He was fired thrice this year.

I also have to listen to a worldly TV playing at night.  It’s hard to sleep.  I don’t want to be fed filth, but I have no choice.  Actually, the shelter was worse…

At least I do have my therapy dog and I have my Christian music I can play on my phone.  – Christina

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I will throw this bit of advice in.  Never let anyone, even your most trusted friends, know where you are if you get away.  I’ve actually got a P.O. Box in a different county, plus I have people mail to another address and then that person sends it to me – to the out-of -town box!  Never leave paper trails if possible!  And go where least expected.  – Christina

Ann’s story:14639591_1828342204076908_5160058981559141237_n

All the bad, all the hurt, all the pain, all the struggle, all the hopelessness my children and I had after being abused (including my ex molesting my children) has been turned around and we now help others who have been or are being abused.  If you are being abused, please seek help and leave because life is better and you can survive on your own.  – Ann

Here’s the Scripture verse that helps Ann:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.  – Romans 8:28

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We can make a choice to never give up.  We can decide to keep our focus and faith in God, trusting and depending on Him for all of our needs.  We don’t have to accept defeat, failure or hopelessness; we can choose faith, hope, and to keep running the race of life with patience and perseverance.  God is always with us.  Sometimes He is standing by our side, sometimes He is holding our hand, sometimes He is whispering words of wisdom, and sometimes He is carrying us through the storm.  You can choose to never give up hope!  Hope can keep you alive!  I know this from personal experience!  – Brooke

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And this from Mara:14825572_1831278580449937_1601418205_n

Safe Horizon’s PSA for 2016:

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To show your support, give to Safe Horizon & paint your left ring fingernail PURPLE.

Visit Safe Horizon on facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/safehorizon 

One last portion of Scripture I want to share:

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  – Philippians3:13&14

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Once you are on the other side of domestic violence, you can finally experience the true freedom that God intends for you.  It’s worth what it takes to break free and find a better life.

If you see signs of abuse of any kind among your friends or family, don’t stay silent.  Say something to someone.  Staying silent has never worked.  🙂

 

 

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HEBREWS 10:23 ON 10/23

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Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.  – Hebrews 10:23

Shared with permission.

My parents and I were living in a refugee settlement in Vienna after we left the former Soviet Union.  Everything was uncertain, scary, and pretty terrible.  This didn’t stop my dad from announcing one day that we were going to visit the opera house in Vienna.  I thought playing tourists was ridiculous – we had no money, no citizenship, and no home.  “We don’t know if we’ll ever be back here again,” my dad said.  “Life is short.  It’s stupid to sit here and wallow in our troubles.”  Now I realize…  he’s right.  – Nataly Kogan

When our president said that he would fundamentally CHANGE the United States, a cold chill went up my back.  Part of me thought, “Well, maybe I’m just getting old and this is not as bad as I think it will be.”

This is not a political blog, but having lived under the leadership that promised HOPE AND CHANGE, I’m really just praying that in 2016 we get FAITH AND TRUST.  I want to be able to trust that those who lead my country are on my side.  It’s time for a change from hope and change.

Faith is not about finding meaning in the world:  there may be no such thing.  Faith is the belief in our capacity to create meaningful lives.  – Terry Tempest Williams

How many people can you really trust?  Do you have to use both hands to tally it up, or will one hand suffice?  If you are having to take your shoes and socks off to count up your trustworthy peeps, you are blessed indeed!

In this verse, we are told to HOLD TIGHTLY WITHOUT WAVERING TO THE HOPE WE AFFIRM.  Does that mean the hope and change in America?  I really don’t think so.  It’s referring to the eternal hope we have found in our LORD, Jesus Christ.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  It is a comfort to know that He has everything under control.

But this verse goes on to remind us that GOD CAN BE TRUSTED TO KEEP HIS PROMISE.  It is important to remember that even when we can’t trust our government or some people in our life – God can be trusted to keep HIS promise.  Every single promise He makes He will keep!  This includes His promise of eternal salvation for anyone who comes to Him and confesses Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, accepting Him into their hearts and lives.

At salvation, we become children of God and co-heirs with Christ. This means everything the Father bestows upon the Son, we will receive with Him. The Lord has sealed these gifts for us by the Holy Spirit and reserves our treasures in heaven.  – Charles Stanley

The times we live in are frightening, but we do not have to be polarized by our circumstances.  We cannot afford to stop dreaming, stop living and stop loving because the world around us is a scary place.  Find a way to hang on to God and trust Him to keep His promise.  In the meantime, live your life to the fullest because your life is in God’s hands and in His keeping.

We can’t make people change, but when we change, others may change.  – Gretchen Rubin

I think in this day of uncertainty we need to know there is a God who understands our fears and sees every tear we shed in the privacy of our room.  Lean on Him because He can be trusted.  🙂

NATIONAL NUT DAY

tl-10-22-national-nut-daya-circle-of-nutsfriendsI think we can agree that some friends are a bit on the nutty side…  and they do come in all shapes and sizes.  I think we also agree that it’s perfectly okay!  😉

The nuts we want to focus on are the edible kind…  of course.  Nuts are low or no carbohydrates, so are very healthy for diabetics.  They are chock full of nutrients and healthy fats.  My favorite nuts are cashews, and I eat a few handfuls every day.  Our little nuthouse here in Wichita, The Nifty Nuthouse, has such delicious cashews, but at $9.00 a pound, I have to pace myself for sure.

Once in a while I get a craving for Chinese food, and my favorite recipe is for, you guessed it…  Cashew Chicken.  Here’s my simple recipe:

CASHEW CHICKEN (Makes 5 servings – 10 carbs each)

INGREDIENTS:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp Teriyaki Sauce
1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
1/4 cup Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sesame seeds
3/4 cup cashew pieces
salt and pepper
INSTRUCTIONS:
Heat a large pan on medium heat and add the coconut oil.
Season your cubed chicken with a little salt and pepper…don’t over do it on the salt because the soy has enough salt in it.
Add the chicken to the pan and brown on both sides, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pan, and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to drain some of the grease off.
In the same pan, add the sesame oil and saute the garlic clove and ginger for 1 minute.
Stir in the Teriyaki, Oyster, Soy Sauce, Rice Wine Vinegar and red pepper flakes.
Once the sauce has come to a boil, add the chicken and stir to combine. Cook about another 5 to 6 minutes.
Add the chicken to a serving bowl and garnish with green onion and sesame seeds.
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So today, give that nutty friend in your circle a phone call or send a note…  and celebrate the edible kind with this wonderful recipe.  🙂

REPTILE AWARENESS DAY

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http://www.reptilesmagazine.com/

Are you aware of reptiles?  I like to admire most of them from a distance…  no offense intended to anyone who owns them.  I do think that reptiles are some of God’s most beautiful creatures, so today I thought it might be nice to post some pretty photos.  My knowledge of reptiles would almost fill a thimble, so we’ll just let the pictures do the talking.crocodile-580612_1280

animals-216133_1280LOL – this little guy looks how I feel…chameleon-195784_1280chameleon-164214_1280chameleon-237268_1920box-turtle-178631_1280macro-202418_1920lizard-174074_1920snake-454364_1920snake-357184_1920gecko-515507_1920lizard-522555_1920snake-959652_1920crocodile-263450_1920animal-256844_1280mountain-boomer-lizard-997146_1920chameleon-abstract-378557_1920corn-snake-588654_1920snake-860522_1280snake-806625_1920california-getula-684418_1280gecko-515496_1920snake-454242_1920corn-snake-413072_1920chameleon-276598_1920iguana-1102713_1280lizard-170293_1920fire-salamander-734776_1920crown-basilisk-941719_1920alligator-eye-1087745_1920snake-298710_1280painted-turtle-565974_1920snake-963535_1920malagasy-taggecko-653653_1920cepaea-snails-492428_1920chameleon-1333784_1920lizard-634300_1920collared-lizard-948787_1280snake-1571919_1920chameleon-318649_1920-1mellers-chameleon-877350_1280blaukehlagame-934942_1920turtle-956269_1280snake-1446008_1280snake-1527907_1920iguana-1509929_1920nature-988425_1920snake-1285354_1920turtle-182121_1280turtle-863336_1280turtle-1272306_1280animals-1098676_1920sea-turtle-1229714_1920animals-1098679_1920snake-419043_1920python-1389685_1920chinese-water-dragon-1641422_1920iguana-1081883_1920turtle-1592892_1920snake-1710073_1920lizard-1627411_1280iguana-8366_1920snake-653639_1920bearded-dragon-606173_1920splendor-skink-208600_1920Look at the detail here!  The colors are so vibrant and bright – and that “pattern” is just…  WOW!

God definitely has good taste!  🙂

MATTHEW 10:20 ON 10/20

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 For it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.  – Matthew 10:20

Sometimes it’s a good idea to back up and read what is before.  So let’s go back to verse 16:

 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.  Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues.  On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.  But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say,  for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”  – Matthew 10:16-20

If ever there was a time when Christians are the proverbial sheep among wolves…  it is now.  Of all the prayers I pray these days, the most important prayer of all is the one that says, “Father, please speak through me.”  The wolves are real – and they are everywhere (yes, they’re even in the church, sad as that sounds).  It’s time we as Christians pray for God’s wisdom in our lives.

Have you ever been ready to say something on your mind, but when you open your mouth, something completely different comes out?  I can’t tell you how many times that has happened.  I’ve also at times said something and it’s as if what I said was not heard – and later I feel so grateful to God that what I said was not heard.  That is how God’s Holy Spirit protects me every day.my-shepherd

I believe that in these last days, God’s people will experience miracles – probably large ones, but definitely small ones.  We need to begin to recognize how His Holy Spirit takes care of us – and keep thanking Him for His protection.  Remember that He will speak through you – but you need to ask.

We have a wonderful Heavenly Father, and His Holy Spirit is with us and wants to help us if we’ll just ask.  We can be shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves.  Shrewd does not mean rude.  Innocent does not mean ambivalent.trust-for-straight-paths In these last days, we need to lean on God’s Holy Spirit more and more.  He wants to guide and direct us along a straight path.  We need to want Him to do so because He knows what we need more than we do.  Beware…  there are wolves.  We are sheep – and God is our Great Shepherd.  We can trust Him to guide us along. 🙂

 

 

 

LUKE 10:19 ON 10/19

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 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.  – Luke 10:19

I respect anyone who takes these portions of Scripture literally and handle snakes…  but in my mind, this is taken figuratively of the devil, and his principalities and powers, and all his emissaries, who, for their craft and cunning, and for their poisonous and hurtful nature and influence, may be compared to serpents and scorpions.

Serpents are poisonous and scorpions hide so well, they sort of curl up when they’re waiting for someone, and look like an egg.  The enemy of our soul is poisonous but we don’t realize he’s struck until it’s too late.  He doesn’t come along in a red cape and a tail either.  He is the best looking temptation you can imagine.  What’s more innocent looking than an egg?  I know, right?

That’s why we must claim the blood of Christ to overcome the power of the enemy…  the sneaky snake – the cleaver scorpion that will surely cause harm to us and our souls.gods-not-waiting

As Christians we sometimes think we’ve got it all figured out – and that’s when we get in trouble.  About the time we think we’ve risen above the ability to be tempted – BOOM!  We have to walk humbly with our God, remembering that our help comes from HIM and we can do nothing apart from HIM.

Christ is the Vine – we’re only branches – and we need to stay attached to the VINE or we will wither and die – we will be weak in temptation if we forget that it is our LORD Who will protect us and fight our battles.

Stay strong – but make sure you’re not strong within yourself – but strong in Jesus’ Name.  Everything good comes from Him and is unattainable without Him.  The fruits of God’s Holy Spirit are not from our own determination and willpower.  Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Gentleness, Goodness, Self-Control…  those qualities go completely against human nature.  Those are qualities that flow through us by His Spirit.  Having these fruits gives us added strength to trample snakes and scorpions in Jesus’ Name.

When we learn to forgive quickly when we get hurt, correct with God’s Word, offering a gentle nudge instead of a pop on the head, and recognize a temptation to sin, then hand it to God as soon as possible…  God will be by our side.  He will help us overcome because He is faithful and He loves us.  🙂

PRO-LIFE DAY OF SILENT SOLIDARITY

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I am pro-life; however, I’m not always silent.  For so many reasons, I am NOT voting for the out of touch, power-hungry, wealth seeking Hillary Clinton.  The ads about how she is champion of children everywhere makes me sick.  She forgot to make it clear that the children she supports are the ones who are already born.  She has said time and again that she thinks late-term abortion – that means up to the time of birth – is fine.  This is SO immoral and unnecessary.  You know what gets me?  As president, she would have the POWER to change the laws for the unborn – but if she did that, she would lose liberal pro-choice votes.  It’s ALL about winning without taking morals or values into consideration.  There’s man’s law and there’s GOD’S law…  I’d rather cross man’s law than God’s law any day and twice on Sunday.  God says abortion is MURDER.  It is murder, regardless of what the Constitution of the U.S. says.  No wonder our country is in trouble.

I don’t typically write about anything political, but this election is about so much more than any election in recent history.  The fate of the Supreme Court is in question.  The safety or lack thereof here in the U.S. is at stake.  Healthcare – don’t get me started.  We need to get away from all the tabloid junk from decades ago and get back to the issues, folks!  This is stupid…  we have debt beyond anything we’ve ever known.  America is in deep doo…  and all anyone can talk about is what someone said or did decades ago – it makes me nuts!  Quit it!

On Meet The Press, Mrs. Clinton expressed her views about unborn children.  She sort of double-talks around about how we would certainly help the MOTHER as much as possible – yeah…  but that poor unborn child – well…  not so much.

In Hillary world an unborn child is unprotected.  Who in their right mind kills an unborn child – the most helpless of all God’s creations?  Who in their right mind supports that platform???  As a man (or woman) thinketh, so is he (she).  Has she been a highly paid big time lawyer and politician for so long that she really doesn’t have a clue that it is evil and God calls it MURDER?

You know…  I’m just asking.  I’m not a highly paid anything.  I’m not a lawyer or a politician.  I’m just a person who wants to understand a country that does not protect the most innocent – the weakest ones among us???  It’s sad – just so very sad.  Jesus weeps.images-206

As I said, there are so many issues where Mrs. Clinton and I disagree.  The issue of abortion is a total deal-breaker in my book.  You know, if we ask God to Bless America…  how can we expect Him to bless our country if we show no regard for HIS ways???  Do you want peace, tranquility, prosperity and blessings from God?  Yeah, me too!  We have to stop murdering the unborn.  America will be judged – and God can and will withhold HIS blessing on us if we don’t get it together!  We need to humble ourselves before God and ask forgiveness – all of us – and turn from our wicked ways!  ONLY then will He heal our land and bless us abundantly.  Read 2 Chronicles 7:14.  Commit it to memory.  It matters.

It’s my two cents worth…  I pray for the upcoming election in America.  I pray that somehow in a quiet moment, Mrs. Clinton has an ah-ha moment and realizes that God’s laws trump the American Constitution and all the power and wealth she has accumulated all these years will not last forever.  I pray for the unborn babies in America.  It’s never wrong to do the RIGHT THING.  🙂