Monday, December 12, 2011

"How are you REALLY doing?"

"How are you doing?" We've heard it time and time again...it's one of the most common questions (if not THE most common questions) ever. We hear it everyday. At work, at school and at play (okay, I really didn't mean to rhyme there, seriously). You run into friends, acquaintances, strangers, and even people you don't "fancy" all that much and the first things that usually come out of our mouths are, "Hi, how are you doing?" In fact when you are learning a different language, that is one of the first sentences you learn. I remember I took a stab at learning French and "Comment allez-vous" was one of the first things I learned and still know til this day. "How are you?" and "I'm okay/fine" have become so normal that a lot of times we just say it because it's customary to, but do we ever slow down and wonder how that person is really doing?

I will not be using names or even gender affiliation to protect this person's identity (btw, I asked this person if I could include their story in this blog and they granted me permission to)...but this past week, I was talking to someone and it was just a casual conversation. One thing lead to another and it eventually lead to the person telling me that they were deep in depression and has even contemplated suicide to get away from it all. You know you always hear about these stories from other people, but it hits "home" when you have to face the music and assist a friend who is in complete darkness. Honestly, I had no idea that it was THAT deep. I would ask this person, how are you? The answer was always "I'm okay/fine." And sometimes you just don't want to prod someone so much for fear that they will shut down or put up the 10 foot walls and block you out completely. So, anyway, like I was saying, I was facing the music..."Lord, what do I say? Lord, what should I NOT say?" In middle of my conversation with this person, I pleaded with God, and my Heavenly Father gave me words that were not my own to bring light to this troubled soul. As the conversation continued with this person, I eventually told them about my own struggle of depression. Many of you who know me know that I'm a private person, but I strongly believe that when God allows us to go through something and He gives us victory, we should turn around and give a hand to those who are in similar situations. My friend could not believe I had a bad case of depression in the past. They were super surprised because they said, "Wow, I never knew. I saw you and you looked fine...I did not know!" I then told them that depression was very much alive in my life...there were days I literally could not get out of bed, days I could not eat...every day I would cry myself to sleep. Depression had gotten the worst of me. I literally felt like my life was over, but I PRAISE GOD that He victoriously brought me out of the cold darkness and into the light of His warmth. God is still able!

So, you must be thinking to yourself, "okay, that's great, but what's the point of this blog post?" Don't worry, I'm getting to it. The purpose of me sharing this is that we truly (myself included, of course) take James 5:16 to heart and it says:"......Pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." There is power in prayer, my friends! Imagine if we would all pray more for each other? What would our lives look like? Would we be able to easily discern our friends' struggles and be of greater service? 

There is this quote I saw on one of my friend's Facebook wall and it instantly caught my attention:
Let's ask God to help us be vessels for Him...to be able to see when our loved ones need us. God most certainly uses us as messengers to bring others God's hope, comfort, love and compassion.

I leave you with this beautiful prayer found in Ephesians 3:16-19:
16 I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Amen and amen.

Be blessed,

Nissy

P.S. If you want to speak to someone other than God or anyone you know, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. God bless you my friend.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Benito-- My Angel (1930-2001)

"To live in hearts we leave behind
Is not to die."

--Thomas Campbell


I know I haven't written in awhile + there are various reasons for it that maybe I'll blog about in the near future, but I could not let November 8, 2011 pass without writing a special tribute to a man whom I loved dearly, a man whom I cannot let a week go by without thinking of -- mi abuelo querido (my beloved grandfather). Exactly 10 years ago today, he left us and while my heart is feeling so sorrowful as I write this blog post, but I want to share about how amazing he was...

Benito Crespo Velez (1930-2011) was truly my angel...

My abuelo was the most mild mannered person I've ever met. He rarely ever got angry...ever! I vividly remember the only time I ever got him angry and it was when I was super disrespectful to my abuela during a trip to Williamsburg, VA. Trust me, I was scared. To see someone who never gets angry, get angry is a scary thing!

My abuelo was an outgoing man. If you wanted to go out with him to church, pick up a few things from the bodega, visit friends + family, or just simply the bank, you had to be mentally prepared to be there for hours at a time! He knew someone everywhere we went. It didn't matter the time of day or place, we always ran into someone he knew. They would talk and talk and talk and as a little girl, I would sit in the bodega eating free candies and chips while hearing my grandfather chit chat with the other viejitos about their days in Puerto Rico. Laughter would fill the air...and while I was bored, I still enjoyed hearing their stories. At church,  we would all socialize but you know after awhile, people want to go home and eat...but my dear abuelo would keep chatting with everyone. He loved everyone...from the young folks to the oldest ones, he loved them all.

My abuelo was a strong pillar. My abuelo was born in Puerto Rico in 1930 and he definitely had it rough at the beginning of life (and throughout). Not to get too deep, but his father was murdered before my abuelo was born and the worse part is that it was a case of "mistaken identity" (they thought my grandfather's dad was the man they wanted to kill, since they looked alike, but it wasn't). Since childhood he had endure such harsh situations, but he never used it as a crutch to not be better.

My abuelo was a hard worker. Because of his hard beginnings in Puerto Rico, he did not receive a proper education (like you + me), but he did not let his lack of education bring him down. He worked many jobs to provide for his wife (mi abuela), his daughter (my mama), and his 2 sons (my uncles). He made sure there was always food on the table and a roof over their heads. He always did his best in whatever job he had, whether at church or work. Something I like to contrast is how he lived in a shack in Puerto Rico, but later down the road, in New Jersey, he had a custom home built for his family whom he adored with all his heart. His hard work paid off... He lived his American dream.

My abuelo was rooted in Christ. My grandfather was not born an SDA. He got to know about the faith in his 20's (I believe) but after that he was on fire for God! He was an active member in his local church and always willing to lend a helping hand to those who were sick, down, and shut-in. I know to some it's bad to compare people to Jesus, but honestly when I say, my abuelo was like Jesus, I'm not kidding. I don't throw words like that around easily. The way he cared for the church members and non-church members spoke louder to me than any Sabbath School lesson or sermon. It was beautiful.

I still remember when he found a lump on his chest area in the early 90's... It was frightening. I remember he was admitted into the hospital and had chemotherapy sessions and I remember him waving to me through his hospital room window (since I was too young to go in room) with a huge smile on his face. He was my angel. We all thought we were going to lose him since that is what the doctors kept saying...I remember we had people from all over praying for his recovery...Prayer is the answer and after they had only given him 6 months to live, he lived 8 (EIGHT) more years!!! Thank you God for that! We are eternally grateful for that. 

Unfortunately, the cancer came back in that eighth year while I was a Freshman at La Universidad Adventista de Las Antillas (UAA) in Mayaguez, PR. My family kept it away from me because they knew how close I was to him and how much I adored him...and they did not want to distract me from my studies (especially since it was my first year and I was so far away). I just remember them telling me he was getting sick again and that they were taking him to UPenn for some tests (which I found so odd because they have hospitals in the town he lived in)... I just knew something was wrong and I could sense it. They eventually told me and it was devastating to me. I remember crying my heart out (like what is happening right now). I just couldn't believe it. I remember thinking, "Had I known abuelo was this sick again, I wouldn't have come to study so far away!!"

The terrorism attack on 9-11-01 occurred 2 months before his death and my mom tells me that as he was watching all he could think of "Jesus, we want you to come more than ever!" Imagine being on your deathbed and seeing that? I can't imagine because I wasn't on my deathbed and was watching it and it made ME sick to MY stomach. On November 8, I had an urgent message to call my mama and I still remember me using the pay phone outside the cafe at UAA and calling my family...They told me the news and I burst out in tears. I still remember the friends who ran out of the cafe and instantly tried to comfort me. We are still friends til this day...I will never forget. Thank you guys so much.

As I sit here, I can't help but relive many precious + beautiful memories in my mind...but they move me to tears because I miss him so much! He was so loved! So loved that at his funeral, the police chief, the mayor, and many many many loved ones came to say goodbye to my angel. I still remember til this day that many friends of ours came in the church van from Washington, DC to Vineland, New Jersey for the funeral... It was so touching. My family + I will never forget. NEVER.

I cannot express how many things I learned from my grandfather both from his words and from his non-verbal communication. He was my angel whom I still think about constantly. My angel whom I cannot wait to see when Christ returns. Seeing my abuelo in Heaven is one of the things that keeps me in check when I want to "act a fool." I want to be reunited with him and tell him that I've been waiting for all these years to see his smile again. I want to sit under the trees with him and hug him...I want to go swimming in the sea of glass and snorkel with him. I want to hold his hand while strolling on the golden roads and sing to him. Oh, my angel... How I miss my precious and sweet angel. 

I long for the day like Revelation 21:4 describes--- "And He (God) will wipe every tear from their (our) eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." I am longing for that extraordinary day, aren't you?

Not the cutest picture of me but my mom said that when I was born, my abuelo adored me instantly and nicknamed me "tesorito" which means "little treasure."
Whenever I was in New Jersey, I was always attached to my abuelo's hip. My favorite man!
Cherry Blossom festival in the 90s... He knew my love for the Redskins... :)

Christmas in New Jersey. Being in New Jersey with my grandparents for the holidays always made me smile. lol.
I thank God I graduated high school earlier than I was supposed to (June 2001) because 5 months after this, he was gone. I praise God my abuelo got to at least see me graduate from HS and send me off to college.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Oh no! Facebook is Charging? Come on, really?


Disclaimer: Again, if you get easily offended, please don't read. :)

Wow, what can I say?...Actually, yes I know what I can say. Did you know that this past week and weekend there was a fire on Facebook (FB)? Yep, there was a brush fire of (very) false rumors that Mark Zuckerburg was going to start charging us. To be more specific, the funny guy (or girl) who started this entire rumor (again) was so "good" they came up with different tiers of charges FB was going to charge us. Clearly, the person who started this rumor was upset with all the changes FB is implementing and wow, it sure did spread like a wildfire in the desert. This is the bogus (+ false) claim:::

FACEBOOK JUST RELEASED THEIR PRICE GRID FOR MEMBERSHIP. $9.99 PER MONTH FOR GOLD MEMBER SERVICES, $6.99 PER MONTH FOR SILVER MEMBER SERVICES, $3.99 PER MONTH FOR BRONZE MEMBER SERVICES, FREE IF YOU COPY AND PASTE THIS MESSAGE BEFORE MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. WHEN YOU SIGN ON TOMORROW MORNING YOU WILL BE PROMPTED FOR PAYMENT INFO...IT IS OFFICIAL IT WAS EVEN ON THE NEWS FACEBOOK WILL START CHARGING DUE TO THE NEW PROFILE CHANGES. IF YOU COPY THIS ON YOUR WALL YOUR ICON WILL TURN BLUE AND FACEBOOK WILL BE FREE FOR YOU.PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON.

And we can't leave this other false one out:::
IT IS OFFICIAL. IT WAS EVEN ON THE NEWS. FACEBOOK WILL START CHARGING DUE TO THE NEW PROFILE CHANGES. IF YOU COPY THIS ON YOUR WALL YOUR ICON WILL TURN BLUE AND FACEBOOK WILL BE FREE FOR YOU. PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON, IF NOT YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE DELETED IF YOU DO NOT PAY.

Really, my friends??? First of all, if Mark wanted to start charging us, I am 99.99% sure he would make a public + official announcement at his conference just like he did about the new FB layout.

What really annoyed me about this brush fire of ignorant rumors is that it's like that in real life about real people. What do I mean? Well, sometimes when we hear rumors we are SO QUICK in telling others and we don't stop and check our facts! Am I right or AM I RIGHT? Jill comes up to us and tells us, "Did you know this, this + this about Jack?" We immediately tell Joe, Jackie, Jane, Jeremy, + John about it because we just cannot believe it! Wow! This is outrageous"...but the truth of the matter is, had we stopped for a moment to ask Jack if this was true, the rumor would have stopped right then + there! The same goes with FB...Do you know how many lonely people (or those who do not have anything better to do) sit behind their computers thinking of ways to spread viral rumors/viruses on FB? We've seen the video of Bin Laden's murder (really people??), video of Justin Beiber getting shot (come on folks), click here to see what friends have deleted you (really?), and the list goes on.

I saw a couple great (+ provocative) rebuttals to the false claims about the FB charges on my friend's status updates but my favorite was the following:::
"Hello people! FB is not going to be charging!
If we only spread the Gospel as quickly as we spread rumors... we would be in heaven already."
--Pastor Javier Navarrete
What is Pastor Javier talking about exactly? He is referring to Matthew 24:14 which states, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." Can you imagine the gospel being spread as fast as this latest rumor did? How powerful, true, + effective would that be??! Pr. Javier has an amazing point. Maybe one of us should spread this truth on FB + see if it spreads like a wildfire! Wouldn't that be amazing?

So, my friend, the next time you see a questionable statement on FB or ANYWHERE else for that matter, take these steps::

1) Confront the source (aka: research and/or go straight to the person it's about)
2) Ignore the rumor (It's always better to ignore the rumor then to keep spreading it)
3) Don't encourage it (Don't add to the already lit fire)

Simple, eh? Also, the next time you are bored and want to create a viral anything on FB or any other social media site, pick something meaningful. Talk about Jesus' soon return, a good cause (like breast cancer awareness, other causes + things that will help our community), just anything but vicious lies + false rumors. Deal? Awesome.

Let's remember the words of Proverbs 26:20 – “Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.” (NIV)

Be blessed.

XoXo,

Nissy



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What My 1st Earthquake Felt Like

Columbia Heights Shopping Center (DC USA)
Where the escalators are located (photos not taken by me + on another day)

WHAT. AN. EXPERIENCE.

Just like normal employees in this grand country of ours, each day I take an hour lunch break. It's my personal time to detox from my work environment and all the stress. Shopping is therapy for me and today I left work at 1:15 PM, and was perusing around the shopping complex (that you see above).  Around 1:53 PM, I was JUST exiting the Bed Bath + Beyond (to go back to work) when I heard super LOUD noises and screams. All I could think of was "Ummm, should I throw myself on the floor (since initially I thought it was a shooting)?" It's amazing that in a "split second," so many things run through your mind. Everyone froze for that split second, not knowing what was going on because during that split second, the noises were getting louder and louder (notice the bottom picture, the building is huge and has many windows). Then panic kicked into and it was pandemonium!! There is an escalator that leads to the main doors and everyone sprinted for it... All I could think of at this point was, "Lord, is this what a terrorism attack feels like?" DCUSA is the largest shopping complex in Washington, DC and the metro train runs right below it. So, mind you, everyone is going nuts and pushing and shoving and I'm thinking, "Lord, please help us not get stampeded!" We were all running down the escalator and then we couldn't run anymore because there was a young mother with a stroller and holding her toddler's hand. At this point, people are screaming, "RUN, RUN, MOVE, GET OUT THE WAY!" I was directly behind the toddler and God turned on my "fight or flight" mode and I picked up the little girl without asking the mother and literally ran down the moving escalators in a dress and slippery flats. Again, in that split second, I thought, "OMG, I wonder if this lady thinks I'm about to kidnap her child??!!" But didn't care. At this point, no one still doesn't what is going on. I let the little girl go once we were outside and thank God, meanwhile, an angel helped the mother with the stroller down the escalators.

Once we got outside, people were crying in hysterics and my beloved older Latinas were praying at noticeably audible levels. Everyone was trying to call someone they loved and no one was getting through. All we saw were ambulances, police cars, and unmarked black SUVs zooming by and it made everyone more nervous. At this point, I'm sure everyone was thinking "this is definitely terrorism." Some were saying, it was maybe an accident of the metro directly below us and others were saying maybe it was the Washington Sports Club's pool that had erupted (???). Then I think some people's phones started working and someone screamed, "It was an earthquake!!" It completely made sense of why everything shook so fiercely and why my legs were wobbly. Since we didn't have access to our phones, we couldn't read about possible damage or any other details. Sorry if you saw me frantically contact my husband on FB... I was praying hard and while I knew God was in control, I still wanted to hear from my love and other loved ones (nothing wrong with that). After many unsuccessful attempts to get through to my loved ones, I just continued to pray and facebook (lol). They did not allow us to go back inside to get our car (which was underground) for fear of aftershocks. After waiting for 2 hours, thank God they finally let us back in.

All in all, I was shaken up pretty bad because it was my first earthquake ever. I know to those from the West Coast or other earthquake prone places, this was literally nothing, but for us who have never even remotely felt anything like this, it was terrifying. I know God had a plethora of prayers to tend to during those moments. Had I been sitting at my desk during this event, I'm sure I wouldn't have been so shaken and I'm sure I wouldn't have blogged about it (or maybe)...But I was literally in the middle of chaos. Thank you precious Lord, that despite being in the middle of chaos + panic, you still protect + shield us...Please help us to be ready for YOUR soon return.  

What was your story? Please share!

To read more about the DC 2011 earthquake, click here.

God bless + be safe!

XoXo,

Nissy

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Are We Only in (or Out of) Church Because of Friends? PART II.

About a month ago, I blogged about the correlation of friends and church and how they are linked. At the end of that post I said the following, "What I'm saying is friendships are an integral part of our worship experience and spiritual walk, but they should not be our main motive." The part that I will address in this second part is how friendships are an integral part of our worship experience.

As you probably know, for almost 2 years now, my husband and I switched from attending a Spanish speaking church to an American, English speaking church called Restoration Praise Center (which I highly recommend you visit one day). When we arrived, we were introduced to many new aspects of worship, the christian walk, spiritual growth, ministries, you name it. And one of those things was that I noticed many members had accountability partners. When I looked up the definition of an accountability partner it stated that it is a person who coaches another person in terms of helping the other person keep a commitment. The term is often used by Christians where the accountability partner helps a person adhere to a moral commitment. Interesting, eh? So, back to what I was saying, I noticed that many members in my church had an accountability partner (aside from their best friends, husbands, wives, and family). I personally do not have one, but I've heard that they pray with each other on the phone once a week (or more)...also, they check in to see how their partner is doing spiritually and to motivate each other in their walk with God. Doesn't that sound phenomenal?

I know a couple of you might be thinking, "Hmmm, isn't that what friends are for?" The answer is, YES, but the reality is it doesn't always happen so frequently within our friendships. I think the role of the accountability partner is more spiritually centered. That's not to say friendships aren't, but it's like that saying, there are friends for everything... There are those friends whom you run to when you need a shoulder to cry on, there is that friend you run to when you've found the most awesome sale on those pair of shoes, there is that friend you tell about your crisis at work, there is that friend you ask for advice, there is that friend you call just to get some serious laughs, I could go on for days... So, while we can talk about God to all those friends (including the one you run to when you've found a good deal on shoes), the truth of the matter is not everyone is interested in being "accountable" or being an accountability partner.

I've heard our Senior Pastor, Pr. Paul Graham, speak about his accountability partner and how blessed he is to have him. Another pastor, Pr. Joey Pollom, came to our church not too long ago and briefly spoke about the accountability partner he has had for over 10 years (!!) and how much of a blessing that has become in his life. (Btw, if you want to hear an amazing sermon right now by Pr. Joey Pollom, click here). This concept of accountability partner is so amazing to me and while I've had the blessing of having great family and friends who do care about my spiritual welfare (and likewise), I haven't had an accountability partner (outside of my marriage). It's something I am praying about because I believe when two or three come in Jesus' name, miraculous things occur. 

I was googling accountability partner to see what I could find and I came across this article written by Dr. Jon Alfredsson and while it's not based on the spiritual accountability partner, it definitely has lots of information that correlates beautifully to what spiritual partners can do for each other with God's help:::

Accountability Partner – 5 Reasons Why do you need one?

There are not many things that can increase productivity and motivate you in such a drastic way than having an accountability partner. It is probably one of the single most effective ways to become more productive. No matter what you do, get one!

Here I will give you five reasons why you want one:::
  • How Getting an Accountability Partner Increases Your Productivity …You cannot rationalize and make excuses if your accountability partner stands firm and won't let you get away with those weak excuses. And eventually, you WILL feel guilty if you're not doing what you're supposed to be doing. …
  • Your Best Business Asset: An Accountability PartnerAn accountability partner is someone who can help you stay on track toward reaching your goals and creating a life and business by design rather than default. January marks three years that my accountability partner and I have been …
  • Breaking Free » Choosing a Good Accountability PartnerAccountability partners are fellow strugglers, not moral giants. They need to be able to sympathize with the struggle, either because they have struggled through it themselves or because they have successfully counseled those who have. …
  • The Single Most Significant Element in MLM Success | Bicycle BikesAnd then there comes that encouraging hand, and we are back in the game. The Accountability Partner. Encouragement is great but there is something else that is often more important than that: accountability. This is where you agree to …
  • Who is your Accountability Partner?Define and implement some guidelines for what accountability looks like and have your partner check in with you on a daily or weekly basis.
  • Take these reasons to your heart and get an accountability partner NOW if you don’t have one! If you get one, you WILL be much more likely to succeed in whatever you are doing! To your Success, Dr. Jon
Great little piece by Dr. Alfredsson, right? Makes me think more about having a spiritual accountability partner. Again, friends shouldn't be the ONLY basis of why we are in church, but remember friends and fellow brother and sisters in Christ ARE an essential part of our walk with God.

I know some of you reading this have an accountability partner and perhaps you would like to share how it's impacted your life (please do share). Or maybe this is the first time you've heard of this concept, what are your views on this? Or maybe you are like me, you've heard of this amazing partnership and have been praying about choosing the correct accountability partner... Whatever your stance on it, please share, I'd love to hear!

Blessings!

XoXo,

Nissy

P.S. I will continue to pray for my future accountability partner and will let you know how it has changed my life (because I know it will).




Friday, August 12, 2011

My Heart Says Yes-- Troy Sneed

I absolutely love this soft + harmonic song that talks about the Christian heart and welcoming God. Enjoy + be blessed!
My Heart Says Yes

Jesus I Love You
And you are welcome in, your welcome in this Place
I'm lost without you
Can't do nothing without you oh no
and you are welcome in,your welcome in this place
My heart says yes (to your will)
My heart says yes (to your ways)
and you are welcome in,your welcome in this place

My heart says yes(can't live without you)
My heart says yes(can't do nothing, can't do nothing without you
you are welcome in
your welcome in this place
My heart says yes (Lord, I'm yearning for you)
My heart says yes(Lord, I need you)
and you are welcome in, your welcome in this place

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

You're HOW Old??? Praise God!

There has been something on my heart for some time and while I've expressed it to some of my friends, I have never said anything in public about it. It's not a huge pet peeve or anything, but it kind of bothers me when people are completely ashamed to share their age or when people complain excessively about their age. Yes, I get it...it's not "mannerly" to ask for people's age, but come on, what's the big deal?! And what's with all the complaining about your age?! At least you are alive. Disclaimer:: In this blog I am NOT referring to good-natured age jokes. I like to joke around too, trust...but I'm talking about the serious (and sad)  complaints and silences about age.

The way I see it is that every year you turn another year, it is truly a blessing from God and it is a testimony in itself! Do you know how many people make plans for their next birthday bash and never make it? They probably had the guest list ready, the venue reserved, their outfit complete, and cake ordered, but they never got to enjoy it because of some circumstance (either accident, illness, a violent act, or just never woke up) cut their life off. Life is short (for some), lets enjoy it and embrace our age!

Not too long ago, someone was complaining about turning a certain age and I told them, "What?! You should be thanking God you have lived to be this age...There are some who don't even make it to their mid-twenties, let alone thirties and forties...!!" Which leads to share something about a good friend of mine from Takoma Academy whom before we all left to Winter Break (mid-December to early January), we gave each other a long hug and gave our "seasons greetings"...Little did I know that was the last time I would see or talk to her. She was playing her violin (which she totally rocked at) at home during break and kept complaining of a simple headache to her mother... The headache continued to get progressively worse and to make a long story short, she ended up having an cerebral aneurysm and passed away. Sorry for the morbid story, but I promise I'm going to make a good point...just keep reading. So, every time I hear complaints about age or people who are completely secretive about their age because they are ashamed (really, what else is it if it's not ashamed?), I think about my friends who never made it to even their mid-twenties. I'm sure you also have friends or family who left you too soon that you can relate to.

To be alive is a blessing, my friends, let's thank God for it... To live another day is a HUGE blessing, to live another ENTIRE year is even greater! God is good to have given us life...Have you thanked him for your 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, etc years of life lately? The next time age is brought up in your group of friends (or acquaintances), go ahead give it a try, tell them your real age and tell them about the many blessings God has done to bring you this far!

XoXo,

Nissy

P.S. Just so you know I'm proud and thankful to God He has given me 28 years of life. Just amazing if you think about all the things that could have stopped me from reaching this age. Thank you Lord!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Ready," but Not Really READY...

One of my friends, Sylvia, has recently picked up on a healthy (and impressive) hobby of participating in 5k walk/runs around the Washington Area and about a month ago, good 'ol Groupon had a great deal for a Caribbean themed 5k in Rock Creek Park scheduled Sunday, July 10...I bought the tickets and instantly started to get excited, but yet nervous. What was I thinking? Who am I kidding? I've never run/walked a 5k in my life! So after 5 minutes of worrying I started thinking what many women (and men) battle with everyday, "what am I going to wear to this race?" LOL...Sounds shallow, but I had heard about and seen many dri-fit Nike commercials that entice you with two words, "sweat proof." So, immediately, with the 5k in mind, I went out and bought some gear "to be ready": Nike shirt, Nike leggings (is that what they are called?), and even Adidas sweat-proof performance socks (yes, I broke the Nike stride)... My husband had bought me some new Nike training shoes for my birthday so I was all covered (or so I thought).

I was ready until illness struck me the same weekend as the 5k. All I could think is, "Noooo, not now!" But that's not all... Remember the groupon I had bought? Well, it just so happens that I thought just by purchasing the deal I was "all set" in running the race (as in registration-wise). Come to find out as I was printing the coupons on Saturday night (July 9, 2011), a night before the race, I read the fine print and it said: "Must register for 5k before June 30, 2011." Even more of a "Nooooo!" My husband immediately contacted the organizers of the 5k to see if they can make an exception...We were thinking "wow, we got this awesome deal, and we sat around thinking we are ready for the race and the deadline came and went and we were not even registered!!" We failed miserably at reading the fine print...We just thought with just buying our ticket, it was sufficient. Boy, were we wrong. To make a long story, semi-short, the organizers wrote back and said they would accept us even though we missed the deadline. We went to sleep thinking, "Okay, wow thank God for exceptions." Fast forward a little, the race was set to begin at 7:45 am, Sunday (July 10) morning... Guess what? We did not wake up until 8:00 am because the alarm did not go off! "What??!" :-/

Needless to say, my husband or I did not run the race we were so "prepared" for. And all Sunday, I couldn't help thinking about "Wow, I wonder how it was? Would I have felt refreshed and re-energized?"

Then it hit me. The Caribbean themed race (5k) can be like our lives as we are running the race toward Heaven... Sometimes we are too caught up with wanting to have all of the right "garments" to win the race that we forget to read the fine print. Do you get my drift? Hope so.

We still have a little time to change our "garments" and read the "fine print" now before it's too late, but there will come a day where some of us will see the finish line from far and will say to the organizer "What is this? Why did you end the race now? I was almost there!! I have the newest and best garments...I paid my dues! I deserve to be counted as completing the race!" On that very day, there will also be some of us who will pass the finish line...beat up, exhausted, tired, lifeless, and perhaps not with the best garments on, but the organizer of the race will say, "Well done, good and faithful, well done!" Matthew 25:23. Now, which runner do we want to be? Think about it.

God bless you + yours.

XoXo,

Nissy

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Are We Only in (or Out of) Church Because of Friends? PART I.

*Disclaimer: This only my opinion (such as everything else on my blog).*

About 2 years ago, my husband- Hector, ran into an acquaintance from another sister church while in Georgetown...we will call this person "Billy" out of respect and privacy issues. They were both happy to run into each other and soon got to chatting. Hector asked Billy how his church was doing and that is when Billy dropped the bomb...he was no longer in church. When Hector prodded him to see why he wasn't in the faith any longer, Billy's answer was clear... he wasn't in the church because all his friends had stabbed him in the back and no longer had any real friends at church. Hector continued to talk to him and said a few impacting lines that I will never forget-- "Billy, I understand about your friends letting you down, but it should not have anything to do with your relationship with God. You can try another church in the area, but please do not leave the church in entirety. If you leave the church because of lack of friends, it might mean your motives were wrong..." Billy agreed wholeheartedly with what my husband said and to make a long story short Hector agreed to keep him in prayer and encouraged him to try another church because the MOST important thing is your friendship with Christ...

Unfortunately, this is a story we hear all too often, right? I am sure all of us know at least 1 person who has left the church because of his/her lack of friends. But why is this? Even though, like my husband said, our motive is wrong if we leave the entire faith because we do not have friends, human interaction has something to do with our worship experience. After all, one of the reasons why we do not stay home Sabbath after Sabbath and go to church is to come together as people of faith to worship the ultimate creator! Friends are an integral part of our spiritual walk with God, but when we solely depend on those friendships and those relationships fail, what then happens to our walk with Christ? It reminds me of this one old Christian song by Stacie Orrico that says, "Don't look at me (your friend) if you're looking for perfection...I will only let you down. I'll do my best to point you in the right direction, but don't look at me, LOOK at GOD."

I'm going to be honest with you all and those of you know know me know I'm a private person, but I think it's worth sharing this because I know others may be going through something similar. When I knew it was time to leave my childhood church (about 1.5 years ago) because of various reasons that maybe I will disclose one of these days, one of the hardest thing to do was leave because of my close friends. Hector and I were church shopping with one thing in mind...we wanted to attend a church that was open minded, was open to new ways to evangelize, youthful, and wasn't so stuck in Central American ways (no offense to my own people...which we love). I would cry because I did not want to leave my group of friends and the thought of going to a new church would scare me because who would we talk to after the service was done? When we found our current (and awesome) church, Restoration Praise Center (RPC), we were thrilled! But there was always that part of me that would want to draw me back to my childhood church because of my friends. I then had an "aha" moment thanks to God and one of my good friends, Carol. She told me, "Nissy, what is more important...your friendships or your spiritual walk/life with God?" Sounds harsh, but it got me thinking and that's when I was finally more than okay to let go of my childhood church. While my friends at my childhood church mean the world to us, Hector and I knew that we could always still hang out with them outside of church...So, we could essentially get the best of both worlds: Attend a new, amazing, Holy Spirit filled church and still maintain our other friendships alive after church hours.

What I'm saying is friendships are an integral part of our worship experience and spiritual walk, but they should not be our main motive. Do you see what I'm saying? This leads me to say, let us all (yes, including me) try to befriend those at church who look lonely so we can enhance (not full dependence) their walk with Christ because we just never know...

Part II will be coming soon. Please share your opinions + comments below. Thanks + God bless!

XoXo,

Nissy

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lost Get Found

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I attended our first "Awakening," which is an awesome new youth ministry at Mt. Vernon Spanish SDA Church and during the song service the ladies sang this super touching song and wanted to share with you. It's called Lost Get Found and is sung by Britt Nicole. The video above is  the acoustic version and if you want to skip all the talking, fast forward to :18 seconds.

Here are the lyrics and trust me, I think we've all felt like this at some point or another::

Hello my friend
I remember when you were
So alive with your wide eyes
Then the light that you had in your heart was stolen
Now you say that it ain't worth stayin'
You wanna run but you're hesitatin'
I'm talkin' to me

Don't let your lights go down
Don't let your fire burn out
'cause somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe
Why don't you rise up now?
Don't be afraid to stand out
That's how the lost get found
The lost get found

So when you get the chance
Are you gonna take it?
There's a really big world at your fingertips
And you know you have the chance to change it
There's a girl on the streets, she's cryin'
There's a man whose faith is dyin'
Love is calling you

Don't let your lights go down
Don't let your fire burn out
'cause somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe
Why don't you rise up now?
Don't be afraid to stand out
That's how the lost get found
The lost get found

Why do we go with the flow
Why take an easier road?
Why are we playin' it safe?
Love came to show us the way
Love is a chance we should take
I'm movin' out of the gray

Don't let your lights go down
Don't let your fire burn out
'cause somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe
(Stand out)
Don't let your lights go down
Don't let your fire burn out
(Stand out)
'cause somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe
Why don't you rise up now?
Don't be afraid to stand out
That's how the lost get found
The lost get found

So when you get the chance
Are you gonna take it?
There's a really big world at your fingertips
And you know you have the chance to change it

Be Blessed.

XoXo,

Nissy

Monday, June 20, 2011

"When Are YOU Having a Baby??"

Ah, the infamous question-- "when are you having a baby??" You know, I was telling someone the other day that the questions never stop. When you are single and hanging around someone of the opposite sex, people start asking, "when are you two going to hook up?" They bother you until you two actually do hook up. When you are officially boyfriend and girlfriend, they eventually start asking, "when are you two going to tie the knot?" Okay, so your relationship progresses and eventually your significant other pops the question, and guess what you're getting married! So, now that that's taken care of...After 1-2 months after your wedding, the newest and (to me) the most pesky question comes into play, "when are you having a baby??" Are you pregnant?"....And after you have your first child and still feeling the pains from the labor, people start asking, "when are you having a playmate for your baby?" And then eventually the cycle starts all over again with your children. LOL!


Recently, I've gotten a little more...hmmm, how should I say this...oh yeah, miffed is a good word to describe it when people ask because now they have gotten more aggressive. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind if you ask me once while we are spending time in 1 day...especially if we are friends (I know there are people who genuinely love me and want to see me with a baby), but when it's persistent, rude, aggressive, nosy and pesky---it has got to STOP.


I've put more thought to it and really going to ask God to help me not ask women who still haven't produced children because you know, there are many women out there who cannot conceive children and imagine people continously asking, "when are you having a baby? Why do you not like kids? Why are you depriving your husband of children??! (what what?)" That women (who cannot conceive) must feel in the pits while she is hiding with the truth. Little do these people know the real reason behind it all. People (I'm including myself), lets not be rude and pushy when it comes to sensitive questions such as these. Let's not accuse people of hating kids just because they either cannot or choose not to have a child at that moment. We just never know...


There are many reasons why women don't choose to have children at a very moment in time. Factors such as the following:
  • Couple wanting financial stability before having a child
  • Couple wanting spiritual stability before having a child
  • Couple wanting to stabilize their marriage/relationship 
  • Couple wanting to purchase a home before having a child
  • Couple wanting to secure a new job or get promoted before having a child
  • Couple have health problems they want to stabilize before having a child
  • Couple not able to conceive 
I'm sure there are many more reasons, but those are the top 7 I could think of. I know this post might sound angry, but again, if you know me, you know I'm very opinionated and just expressing myself. :)


In conclusion, let's remember Ecclesiastes 3::


Time for Everything
1There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


Please don't fear if you ever want to ask me when am I having a baby (I'm not the grinch)...LOL! All I'm saying is let's be tactful. :-) That's all. God bless you and if you want to leave a comment, please do! I love me some good conversation and debate.


XoXo,


Nissy

Monday, January 24, 2011

Friendship.

"Trusting and being trusted provides the bonding that will make a friendship genuine and lasting."

Beautiful quote I read in the Sabbath School lesson last week that I strongly believe in! :)