Come visit us for today's blog post where we introduce Gospel tracts as an evangelism tool for Christians to share the Gospel with others.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Sunday, January 20, 2013
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Religion vs Spirituality
Now I have questions that I need to find answers too. I begin my quest for answers. I started to look into the “New Age” spirituality views. I have always been interested in ghost, psychics and other questionable phenomenon. This made the new age outlooks to be very interesting to me. I read many books on the subject.
I liked the thought of a “Mother God” named Azna. Heaven or The Other Side was considered to be here on Earth but at a different frequency level then us. Ghosts are people that have not crossed over and are seen here on earth. Spirits on the other hand have passed over but come to visit us. When we see them on Earth they will seem to be floating a few feet off the ground, this is because they are on that other frequency level discussed earlier. There were many other views on everything from fairies, leprechauns and other fantasy being being real but also on other frequency levels. Hell does not exists as we believe. Dark spirits go into a separate area on the other side where they just wander for eternity or get sent back to Earth to repeat another life. (All this information can be found in books written by famous author/psychic Sylvia Browne.)
I am embarrassed to say that I actually started to believe some of this nonsense. Don't get me wrong, I do still believe in ghosts/spirits and psychic phenomenon. I have seen ghosts and have known of people with special gifts.
- Would believing in a “Mother God-Azna” be considered Idolatry?
- What about “The Law of Attraction or Quantum physics, Evolution, The Big Bang?” So many questions, so much information to process; what do you do?
- So many different religions (Catholic, Buddhism, Christian, Methodist, Protestant, etc) what's the difference?
Then you hear in the news of all the Catholic Priest getting arrested for child molestation, is this what religion has to offer? Do you need to bang down people's door with pamphlets? Please don't be offended if you happen to be Catholic or a Jehovah's Witness because for some reason when it comes to religion, the not religious or non believers might be a better way of putting it; only pass along the bad news. Where's the Good News?
Sometime around last summer (2012) I woke up. Amidst another financial crisis, I was drawn back to the thought of church. I remembered always feeling better and peaceful when I attended church and I longed for that feeling again. Fernando had also been starting to come around to the thought of God but stated he wasn't ready to go to church. I had a decision to make, do I go back to Church?
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
What is all this about?
As an infant I was baptized in the Methodist faith at our local small town church (Steven's Memorial United Methodist, Vista, NY). As a kid I remember only attending church for weddings, funerals, and a holiday here and there. I always believed there was a God and a heaven but knew very little about the whole story. I might have learned bits and pieces over the years but nothing significant.
In and around 2005-2006 while suffering through my second marriage I started to wonder what all the hype was will going to church and prayer. I began looking around for a church or churches to visit and get an idea how things worked. I of course went on line and research churches in my town and surrounding towns but I didn't feel pulled to any of them. I worked in Fishkill at the time and drove by a beautiful church in Hopewell Junction everyday. I could not help but stare at it each time I passed. It was a little out of the way in proximity to my home checked out the website anyway.
I was in awe of all the community and international missions they were involved in and just had an amazing feeling as I read and clicked through the pages of the site. I happen to notice they not only had a traditional service, but also a contemporary and an even an evening service. Being new to the whole idea I thought the evening service might be my best bet to start. I remember the first service I attended was amazing. A friend attended with me that night and we saw the woman’s choir of Walter Hoving Home. They were fabulous. If you don't know, Walter Hoving Home is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation for women in Garrison, NY.
From that night on I started to attend Hopewell Reformed Church more often; some evening services, some morning contemporary services. I was always welcomed with smiles and I felt so at peace when I was there and for days after, actually longing for the next Sunday to come. Then life got easier for awhile and I stopped going to church. Until, my husband left to Guatemala. The bills started piling up and I found out I was pregnant and life fell apart.
Guess where I was drawn to once again? Yep, Hopewell Reformed Church (HRC). I was again welcomed by a special lady; Pam helped me through my current situation more than she will ever know. I explained to Pam what was going on in my life and how difficult things were, especially financially with my husband gone.
The next Sunday at church Pam handed me an envelope with a check from the church to help me with my expenses. I was in tears sitting in service; I had never known anyone to give money to someone they barely new out of the goodness of their heart. Eventually I needed money to get a new apartment, and again HRC helped me. I could never thank them enough for their generosity. But you know how I repaid them, by not attending church anymore. Life was better again, so I no longer needed church.
After Fernando came into my life we attending HRC once or twice, still welcomed. Pam even remembered my name. Soon Fernando got his diagnosis and our world turned upside down. In his depression and anger he totally denied the existence of God and after listening to his thoughts on the subject I started to wonder and question my beliefs too.
Now that I have given you the cliff notes for my life I just want to fill in a few brief details. Over the years I have done many things that I am not proud of, at least not anymore. A year ago if not even more recently I would have said I was very proud of some of the things I got away with, I have skill! My criminal life started at around age 11-12, when I got caught stealing make-up from Jamesway Department Stores. No criminal charges, my parents where in the store and had to come get me from the security office. Now that would have deterred most people from that lifestyle, not I.
I continued stealing little things from stores but just learned how not to get caught; to the point of walking out of stores with bicycles, printers, and more without paying. My best skill is in “white collar” crime though. My boss at Blockbuster Video was actually upset that he had to fire me when they caught me renting movies without paying. He said for me to be able to figure out how to do what I was doing for so long without getting caught I was extremely intelligent and would have made a great manager. Then of course there was the fire department thing I spoke about in my second post. Lets just say, practice makes perfect.
And if you think stealing was it your wrong. If you needed a signature or even a whole document forged, I was your girl. One of my jobs, this actually came in handy to me and the company. The job required, or maybe not required but you made much more commission if you were able to stretch the truth, recreate documents to show what you needed it to say, or to make phone calls stating you were someone else to get things done. I have gotten bank loans with totally falsified paperwork, written bad checks and much more. Truthfully I should have been in jail many times over.
With all that said, I have always had financial difficulties. This was my long time excuse that gave allowed me to get past my conscious telling me it was wrong. Especially once I had kids, “I needed to feed my family!” As I grew older I did realize and stopped doing most of those things for my kids. And these big businesses could afford it anyway, I didn't steal from people. But for the sole reason that I was afraid of getting caught again and going to jail; how was I going to take care of my kids then?
I am probably scarring some of you that know me now, but didn't know me then. I'm actually scaring myself looking back at how many years of prison I could have faced, and my eternity in hell for my crimes. Now I believe that all these years of financial hardship just might have been my punishment for the crimes I committed.
Tomorrow I will finally discuss the way Jesus Christ has saved me. I just wanted to show people how no matter what you have done or been through in life there is a way out. Through our Lord, anything is possible. And yes, you can trust me NOW, my heart has been changed!
God bless you!
Monday, January 14, 2013
Myspace here I come. If anyone remembers Myspace you could put your zip code and search for people in a certain geographic area. So I searched within 20 miles of Wingdale looking for friends and maybe something more. I got back in touch with many friends from school but didn't find anyone I would consider a romantic relationship with. One Sunday I remember expanding my search to 50 miles and a profile popped up for someone which stated they were from Brooklyn. It was a little far I thought but something attracted me to this profile so I sent him a friend request. Within the hour we were friends chatting. He just happened to be from Brooklyn/Yonkers, NY but was currently in the Army National Guard in Fort Leonard-wood, Missouri.
I had some errands to run so I told him I would talk to him later that evening. We chatted for 4 hours that night, exchanging cell phone numbers even. This was February 3rd I remember. We spoke on line, by phone, text and though letters until he returned to NY on February 20, 2008. Against my mother and sons advice I chose to be the one to pick him up at the airport. Now he really didn't have any place to go since he was recently divorced while in Missouri still, so I brought him home.
Now remember my mom still lives with me and I have moved in someone that I literally just met. Fernando also happens to be very strict with the kids too, my kids were not used to this. I was always very easy on them, somewhat felt sorry that the mistakes I made were now causing them to be brought up without their fathers in the home. Mom was extremely unhappy with this choice I made and how Fernando would yell at kids that were not his. This caused a lot of friction between my mom and I to the point I asked her to please move out, which in turn started a big mess.
Looking back the whole thing was not handled in the right way and I am very sorry for things that were said and done during that time period. I knew all along that Fernando and I were meant to be together and wasn't going to let anything get in the way. I am glad we are still together and we were able to salvage the relationship with my mom, but it took a long time. There was a lot going on at that time that involved some others that I am not going to get into; it was a bad time for all of us.
A few months later I received a call at work from Fernando who was stuttering and didn't know why. With my background as an EMT, I unfortunately did know why but the cause I did not. He was having a TIA (or mini-stroke) at 36 years old. After a three day hospital stay, many doctor visits and tests they still did not know why. Maybe Multiple Sclerosis, Lyme Disease? Finally a new neurologist did a special blood test, “this is rare but I want to verify that it is not the reason for your condition.” Six weeks later, results are in. “You have Cadasil.” Cadasil is a rare genetic condition with no cure or treatment available. The only treatment is to treat the symptoms and treat with blood thinners like any other stroke victim. I won't get into the whole disease and other symptoms that we eventually realized are probably caused by Cadasil also.
Fernando and I both were shocked at the diagnosis but dealt in different ways. Fernando got angry and depressed with the knowledge he could have a major stroke and die at any time really and that there was a chance that he could pass to his daughter. I on the other hand was always strong in his presence but cried and felt sorry for myself when at work. My thoughts, “How can this be happening? I finally am happy and he could be taken away from me.” Fernando has suffered through many TIA's as well as 2 full strokes that left him with a leg that is not quite as strong as it used to be but with that said it could be much worse.
Through the years we have both grown. We have definitely had our trials and tribulations but have forged through and continue to do so.....
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Next chapter...My friend Donna, from childhood introduces me to her brother-in-law. We hit it off pretty well. So well I was pregnant by month six. Still not yet divorced from my first husband, I had to take care of that. Divorced in March 2002, married to the next one in September, gave birth December 23, 2002 to my lovely daughter Alejandra (Ali).
Here's the funny part of this story...Donna & Brenda are sisters, growing up people thought I was also a sister. Now I end up marrying the third brother, meaning Donna and Brenda married two brothers and I married the third. Now we had problems all along, my husband was very strict with the kids and he could be rather rude and argumentative with me. I should have had a clue when we were arguing all the way to the town hall to apply for our marriage license.
My dad died in January of 2005 in a nursing home. He suffered from Alzheimer's Disease as well as having his leg amputated due to gangrene (diabetes) and had heart and lung disease to boot. Now I woke up and decided I needed to do something about my weight issue being 300 pounds at the time and looking forward to a life most likely with diabetes. September 18, 2006 I had gastric bypass surgery. Now don't get me wrong I tried just about every diet imaginable throughout the years with minimal results, or lost 50 lbs to gain back 75.
As I lost weight I guess my husband got jealous because he repeatedly accused me of cheating on him. I won't get into those details, I will just say that he was very wrong. The only person I was falling in love with finally was myself. Around that time his mom in Guatemala became ill and he chose to go visit her. Giving the fact that he was in this country illegally, coming back was not going to be easy. A few months after he left I discovered I was pregnant again. I called to tell him and he responded “I'm not even there, its not mine.” Needless to say I conceived the night before he left, so yes it was his.
In August my mom moved in with me and the kids to help me out for the end of the pregnancy. I went into labor at 5:30 am on September 21, 2007. The hospital was almost an hour away and my ride wasn't moving very quickly. We winded up calling an ambulance just in case. Good thing, I gave birth to my gorgeous baby girl Kaitlin (Katie) at 7:05 in my driveway as the paramedics were wheeling the stretcher to the ambulance.
The next day I call Guatemala, “you have a daughter.” Response “no I don't, you do.” OK, research how to get a cheap divorce. I printed all paperwork and filed with the County Clerk. Not sure if it was postpartum or just the situation in general but I was kind of depressed and cranky to say the least. I had lost weight all through the pregnancy and was now 125 pounds. Loving the way I looked and physically felt but mentally drained. Chris tells me “you need a man mom.” and at 12 he sets me up a profile on Myspace. That is were a whole new chapter starts....
Saturday, January 12, 2013
So I already gave you a quick look at the first eighteen years of my life, now let us move on to the next ten years or so. Dropped out of college, kicked out of fire department, working menial jobs and moved into a small apartment with my new boyfriend after only about a month together.
Going from job to job finally started working for a taxi service in Bedford Hills, working long hours as a dispatcher and driver at times with my boyfriend. Right from the start I should have known I had made a bad decision with this guy. Alcoholic and cheater, time and time again I put up with other women and his drunkenness. Now I look back and know that I had no respect or love for myself. After about a year I ended up pregnant. Six months into the pregnancy he took off and moved in with another woman.
Now with little money and pregnant I moved back with my parents in that house I couldn't wait to get out off. I had an awful pregnancy being hospitalized twice for severe vomiting and dehydration I started working at Scott's Corner Market in Pound Ridge making little more than minimum wage until I was 36 weeks and the doctor said I couldn't work anymore. I just want to interject that my parents had tried to fix up the house several times over the years but the town wouldn't approve the work.
September 27, 1995 my water breaks but labor never progresses. Doctor says if nothing by the end of the next day they will induce. I call the baby's father to let him know, he's not around but the woman he is living with answers. Amazingly she is very friendly to me telling me how her ex left her pregnant also. Either way I honestly had no care in the world to be speaking with her. September 29th at 9am they induced my labor, at 12:22 I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy; Christian (Chris). He (my ex & father of Chris) shows up after for about 5 minutes then again at like 6 am the next morning and tells me he wishes us the best. A couple months later he calls me and tells me he is leaving with his girlfriend moving to Florida, but if I want to give it another chance he will drive her there and come right back to us.
I chose to give him another chance, he left and came back as he had said but it didn't last too long before he was up to the same crap. At least I had made it into the medical billing field and was making a little more money than before. Eventually I thought if I actually married him it might make a difference. Wrong! He applied for his legal residence since he was actually from Ecuador. He ended up needing to go back to Ecuador for processing of his papers. Needless to say I fought for 7 months and finally got him home. A month later he informs me he had been with another woman in Ecuador and she was coming to the US to be with him. By this time my son was 5 and starting school and I was able to get my own apartment. Like an idiot I am still seeing him while he is living with her. Well, life goes on......
Friday, January 11, 2013
I have no intentions on boring you with my memoirs or an auto-biography; I just want to give an idea of the type of life I have lived, the trials I have endured bringing me to find Christ. I'm also not going to say I have lived a horrible life because I didn't, but while going through the situation you may feel like it is the most awful thing imaginable.
I do not remember too much until I was probably around 5 or 6 living in Vista, New York. I lived with my parents and younger brother, Robert. After my grandfather passed, my grandmother (Nanny) came to stay with us also. Eventually we moved from Vista to Pound Ridge into my grandmothers old home when I was about 9 (1982 or so). Now by that year, it was pretty much unheard of; at least in Westchester, New York for a home to not have what most would consider simple necessities. I'm speaking of running water, bathrooms, and heat especially. Well, our home had none of them.
We got our water from an outside well house where you took a bucket attached to a chain and lowered it into a well (hole) in the ground and pulled up the water. Honestly it tasted great but washing dishes and taking a bath was not easy. We had to heat the water on the stove and fill basins to wash and rinse dishes and take sponge baths. The bathroom consisted of a commode behind a shower curtain, and heat came from kerosene heaters.
Any idea how much ridicule you get from other kids at school and on the school bus that happen to know about your living situation? Play dates, what? Thankfully we had neighbors that moved in with two girls (Brenda & Donna) my age and a younger sister (Michelle). We all became the best of friends, and still are to this day. Now besides the living situation, I was always on the heavy side. At that time school bullying was pretty bad when it came to kids that were not the norm for weight or happen to be on the poor side. I suffered bullying from nursery school through I think 9th grade when I finally decided to start sticking up for myself.
High school was much better. I had my first boyfriend in 9th grade, the relationship only lasted about 2 months or so, I wasn't ready for anything serious yet. Sorry Kenyon, I didn't mean to hurt you without an explanation. Tenth grade, school was good considering I barely went to class. Cutting classes hanging in the smoking area or girls bathroom was the life. I even was able to keep decent grades considering. New boyfriend and drivers license by 11th grade. Even though I was able to keep passing grades in my regular classes, I was still over weight and gym class was an absolute no go. So by mid year I realized there was no way I would graduate without the credits needed for physical education and I chose to drop out of school. My school district (Bedford Central School) paid for me to finish my computer sciences class and take a GED class at BOCES which I completed and passed in June 1991. I then chose to go directly to a 2 year business college, which again I dropped out of like an idiot with only 2 classes left for an Associates Degree in Business Management.
While still in college by high school boyfriend proposed, after about a year I realized I still wasn't ready for that kind of commitment. Louis, I also apologize for hurting you the way I did. Still living with my parents in that same house, I joined the Vista Volunteer Fire Department and became an Emergency Medical Technician. I loved it, but again I screwed up. I was the treasurer of the Woman's Auxiliary of the fire department and thought it would be a good idea to “borrow” a few thousand dollars. Well they had an audit and caught me before I was able to re-pay all of it. Thankfully my parents paid back what I had taken and they did not press charges against me; but they did make me resign from the fire department.
OK, now I am 18 and made a mess out of my life so far. I dated a few guys and ended up moving in with one of them. Now I look back, I probably just wanted out of that house........
Thursday, January 10, 2013
I thank you for taking the time to read my new blog. It may take me some time to really get things going here. If you would like to add anything relevant please do so. I was born again into my Christian faith on September 5, 2012 and have never been better. I wish to share my story, my faith and that of others. God bless you, and please come back often to see what is new.
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