Friday, November 30, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 30: I DID IT!!!


As difficult as it felt to do some days...I still can't believe I actually wrote every day for 30 days - it doesn't feel like it's been that long!

As mentioned in the beginning, it's not a new or difficult thing for me to be thankful; thankfulness is natural part of my personality. It was, however, a little difficult to make myself sit and write about it on a daily basis - particularly on the weekends, because I tend to avoid the computer all weekend long. I sit in front of one for nine hours every day; the last thing I want to do when I get home at night or while relaxing at home on the weekends is get in front of the computer again. This is why I tried to write while I was at work most days. I guess I could have pre-written several of these and just timed them to be released on different days, but, that would have felt like cheating.

Anyway, thanks to all of you who went on this journey with me, and/or even took it upon yourselves to remember to thank God for at least one thing every day for the last 30 days. During this time, there was very little I could find to complain about, my mood has been pretty steady - which is impressive considering I've had two periods this month - and really, I've just felt all-around peaceful. I've also set a couple of personal goals for myself that I've already started working toward, and that are sure to improve my overall quality of life physically, financially and emotionally.


Until Next time,

XOXOXO - Jessika

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 29: Growth

Thank you, God, for GROWTH!!!

I don't mean in size, that's for sure (though if God were doling out a few extra inches in height in the near future, I wouldn't mind taking a few:)). I mean in maturity, in spirituality, in faith, love, personality, etc.

I don't often feel my age. I quite literally still feel like I'm in my 20's MOST days. There is much about me that still needs to grow, yes, but in the last two years, I feel like I've done the most maturing than in any of the years before it. I used to be very much into gaming online and until recently, I was very into watching beauty videos all day every day. Not to say that those things are signs of immaturity, but, they didn't add any DEPTH to my life. There's nothing those activities can offer me that will make me a better person on the INSIDE, which is where I need to do the most work. If I'm going to remain interesting to my husband, loved by my children, useful in my community, but more importantly, in the Kingdom of God, those things need to be put behind me.

I don't remember the last time I played an online's been SEVERAL months. As for beauty videos, in the last month at least, I have not been able to finish ONE youtube video by a beauty guru. Not ONE. I keep going back to them from time to time because I'd been obsessed with them for over a year, but my spirit can barely tolerate a full two minutes of one anymore.

Don't get me wrong, I still like makeup - a lot; particularly lip stuff and nail polish - OMG did you hear about CVS starting a "Nail HQ" section in their stores?! I can't WAIT TO VISIT ONE!! LOL! But, not as much as I used to be, and lately I've been leaning more toward skincare products for my aging skin! However, I strive to be more than all of that, and with God on my side and as my Guide, I know that continued success is in my future.

I am blessed!

Until next time,

XOXOXO - Jessika

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 28: Revelation Part 2 - THE HOLY SPIRIT!!!


I had to cut my entry short yesterday because I got busy at work. By the time I remembered that it wasn't finished or posted, I was ready for bed, lights out and everything. So, I posted part of it from my phone using the Blogger app.

People think that Believers follow the Bible and believe all that it says merely because it's in writing. As though we are mindless and spiritless beings that believe something just because we're "supposed to." It's simply not true. In my personal experience, I found myself feeling differently about things I used to feel, believe, see, do and say long before I found information in the bible supporting my feelings. You see, unless the Holy Spirit is actually IN you, you won't be able to discern the truth about how GOD feels regarding ANY situation. This is why a nonbeliever is so incapable of grasping - or even WANTING to grasp - the Gospel.

As a kid and teenager, I did a LOT of things that went unnoticed by my parents. I can't recall a time when I've ever been "caught" doing something I wasn't supposed to do and subsequently "punished" for it. When any form of "punishment" was ever delivered in our household, it was due more to the alcoholic content in a parent's blood than to anything I actually did wrong.

In my household, as an adult, however, strange things started happening AFTER I became saved...

God started to continuously reveal to me (and to my husband now, too) so much dirt about the kids that I'm sure they thought they'd never get caught doing. As many times as they've been caught and punished, I truly do wonder how or why they continue to do what they do. In all of my years on this planet, I had NEVER heard of or seen any family who has had such FREQUENT occurrences of their kids getting caught doing something they weren't supposed to do like ours has...

And the ways we find out are so random! We don't go snooping behind our kids all day every day, you know? One of us will come home early and find the kids doing something they were specifically told not to do; or we'd get the urge to pick up the house phone and find one of the kids having a less than godly conversation; or we'd find a letter or email or other type of evidence of their disobedience just laying around the house. It's really crazy.

I'm also finding that God will reveal to me new information about people or relationships that I'd never picked up on before. People I used to think I needed to stay away from, God would reveal I needed to get closer to instead. People who I used to think I needed to be close to in my life, God would reveal to me were insincere or toxic and needed to be loved from a distance. Even before my husband and I got together, the way God would help me decipher if the guy hitting on me was worth considering was uncanny. It was so immediate, so easy. My "type" of guy was completely changed. The "game" I used to fall for before Christ was so YUCK to me after Christ...amazing...

Salvation is not just a gift to me - though a gift, it also is, indeed - it's a TOOL. I NEEDED this salvation to help me become a better parent, a better human being. I NEED the Holy Spirit to live inside of me so that I can correct MYSELF when I'm doing something wrong, and to be able to recognize when something or someone is wrong FOR me and/or my family. He is my very own internal Truth Machine.

I'm not saying that I can easily tell when someone is lying to me or not. I'm still human, still very much affected by my emotions and preconceived notions a lot of times. But, for the things that TRULY MATTER in life, I know I have an Internal Guide Who will help me find my way, and give me the strength to respond to each situation accordingly...


Until next time,

XOXOXO - Jessika

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 27: Revelation

Thank you, God, for frequently blessing me with new revelations...

When I chose to become a Believer and accepted Christ into my life eight years ago, I had little to no idea what it would fully entail. Interestingly, new found perspectives and insight were two very obvious and quick changes. Things I used to think were okay, all of a sudden didn't "feel" right anymore. When I'd check for scripture on the subjects, I found out why.

To be continued... Until next time... XOXOXO - Jessika

Monday, November 26, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 26: Hope

God, thank You for blessing me with HOPE...

I almost couldn't think of something new to be thankful for today; the things I've been extra grateful for lately are things I've already written about these past 25 days...but then I remembered something.

I won't go into too much detail but there was something for which my family and I got together and prayed this past weekend, and that we trust God to answer. It felt so good to pray together that it filled me with new hope and anticipation for things to come, period. Not just with regard to the specific thing we prayed about, but for everything.

We are so blessed to have a Father Who is ever-present and always listening. I know that whatever He has in store for us is going to be Good, because we love HIM. I trust God wholeheartedly with our future, and am excited to see what's in store...

Until next time,

XOXOXO - Jessika

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 25: Little Things

Dear God, thank YOU for giving us the ability to find fun and enjoyment in the little things.

After church today, we went out to eat at a Chinese buffet place called Osaka...or something like that. Per the use (short for usual), we found a lot to laugh about at our table, including the very serious and dramatic readings of our ridiculous fortune cookie fortunes and our incredibly silly attempts at pronouncing the Chinese words on the other side.

The crazier part of our afternoon was our time at the Dollar General where we went for gum but ended up with $27 worth of junk:). We must have spent a good 30 minutes in one aisle playing a game I could only call, "Name that sound." My husband was literally having our two youngest kids close their eyes while he took random food items from the shelves and then shook them close to their ears to later have them identify them. My kids are gifted: they guessed everything right! LOL!

When we got home, he had the two of them throw rotten bananas into the woods behind our house. We didn't expect them to have as much fun as they did doing this, but we both got a whole lot of laughs out of the experience, and so did our little throwers. I had to thank God out loud for how awesome it is that our kids were able to have fun doing something so simple.

Our family is unusual. People don't usually look at us and see father, mother and children. We've even had someone come up to us asking if we were all brothers and sisters. We often catch other families and people smiling at us when one of us looks their way, and very often we've had people come up to one or all of us to say we have a beautiful family. I think that's so cool.

My prayer today and always is that as our children grow older, they never grow too OLD to have fun and be silly. Please let them be responsible and serious when the occasion calls for it, but also give them the freedom of spirit to let loose and have fun! In Jesus' name, AMEN!


Until next time,

XOXOXO - Jessika

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 24: Resolve

Thank you, God, for blessing me with RESOLVE.

firmness of purpose or intent; determination.
I required a great deal of this today to do something that required doing, but that I haven't done in years. I tried to talk myself out of doing it at first, but God stepped in and gave me what I needed to dump the excuses and get to work.
It's amazing to me how God just stepped in and gave me exactly what I needed at the very moment I needed it without my even having to ask for it. I'm extremely grateful for that as well: the instant help given without a word having to be spoken. 
I needed that reminder that He's always with me, too...I am His child indeed...
Until next time,
XOXOXO - Jessika 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 23: Marriage

Thank you, GOD, for blessing me with a covenant marriage with a non-crazy husband!

I've been watching Bravo TV all day and the personalities in the men I saw on there have been scary. In a world full of psychos, it's a wonder how I managed to find - to be FOUND BY - someone who isn't a tool, a control freak, a psycho, a narcissist, a womanizer, an abuser...

I never would have been able to receive this kind of blessing without God in my life. My background, my experience and my upbringing were in no way conducive to choosing a good was clearly evidenced by my previous choices. I thank God for giving me the discernment I needed to spot what was and wasn't good enough for me, and the inner peace and contentment I needed to choose being alone over wasting my time with less than worthy men.

My heart and mind were focused on God alone until He gave me the permission to share them with a man that He Himself chose for me. He knew that I needed to save and rejuvenate my heart until it was ready to be taken by my HUSBAND. I knew that casually dating, spending my time and effort on anything less would only steal pieces of me that should be set aside and made perfect for the one who would love me enough to find me worthy of marriage. I wish that more women would think enough of themselves to do the same

Until Next Time,

XOXOXO - Jessika

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Days 21 & 22: Easy Work Days + Thanksgiving!


I love the holiday season. People are out of town, not traveling for work as much, and my workload is significantly decreased, allowing me to relax.

Tomorrow will be Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year - yes, even more than Christmas. In celebration, I will not write tomorrow, but instead relax, fill my home with fall scents, and then later go out to enjoy the lovely dinner my mother in law is preparing for our family - another reason to be extremely grateful. I don't really cook for Thanksgiving, but I'm thankful that my husband will have this holiday off from having to prepare anything, too.

I'm thankful for my family; my husband who makes my life so much better than I ever thought possible; and my kids who may sometimes break my heart, but whom I love, who love me, and are healthy and strong and full of promise.

I am blessed!

Until next time,


XOXOXO - Jessika

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 20: Perseverance!

Dear God, thank You so much for Perseverance!!!!!

I needed to be grateful for that today because I'm finding it more difficult to keep up with these daily entries - yet I persevere. My attitude about the daily entries doesn't make sense because I thought that doing something daily for a while makes it easier as you go along. Sigh. It could just be PMS, I don't know! I'm tired!

Forgive me for complaining, as I certainly don't mean to sound like a brat. I'm looking forward to the LONG weekend coming up; I plan to sleep as much as possible.

Until next time,

XOXOXO - Jessika

Monday, November 19, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 19: Wisdom

Today, dear God, I THANK YOU for Wisdom, in present situations and in situations to come.

I'm in need of wisdom today to help me with a situation that has come to my attention recently. It's tough when someone you love is an expert manipulator. It's even tougher when you find out that this level of expertise is present in your own young children.

How do you defend and guide children whose behavior humiliates you as a parent? When they can look you in your face, smile, hug you, tell you they love you when the whole time they're taking you for a fool?

I find that the smarter the child is, the better they are at lying, manipulating, and getting away with ungodly behavior.

Well, I guess this is payback time for me. I, too, was a smart child and because of situations going on at home that I had to keep secret, I became a fantastic actress. Lying became as much a part of my lifestyle as was breathing, sleeping. Plus, I'm a girl - and everyone knows that females make the best liars.

Please pray for me as I figure out how to proceed with my latest findings. I desperately need it...

Until next time,

XOXOXO - Jessika

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 18: Chicken!!!

Dear God, THANK YOU for blessing us with CHICKEN!!

OK, I know it's silly. But those who know me best know that my all time favorite food in the world is chicken! I have my times where I crave beef - a lot of beef- but if there were only one protein that I had to live on for the rest of my existence, it would most definitely be chicken.

It came to the forefront of my mind today because my husband made these ridiculously delicious chicken thighs that were just OMG there are no words. Perfectly marinated, seasoned and cooked, I could have eaten 10 pieces - but only ate two...though I'm debating going back downstairs to see if there's any left...

Anyway, I am mucho grateful for the existence of chicken, and for the skills God blessed my husband, daughter, and other great chicken-cookers with to make the experience of eating chicken oh-so-MORE-than-enjoyable!

Until next time,

XOXOXO - Jessika

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Being Extra Grateful: Day 17...Movies and Books

Dear God, today, I thank you for great books and movies!

Today, I saw a movie that wrapped up a series of movies that brought tears to my eyes, as well as to my daughter's. I've read the book and things were happening that weren't supposed to happen! I didn't much care for the entire first hour of the movie, but things got good on the snow - good and emotional and heartbreaking and intense and...that's all I'm going to say about that.

I'm looking forward to reading another book by the writer of this now-over series - already bought it:). A movie is coming out based on this book next year. Can't wait!!!

That is all.

Have a blessed day!

Until next time,

XOXOXO - Jessika

Friday, November 16, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 16: Change

Dear God, THANK YOU for giving us the ability to CHANGE.

I've met a lot of hard-headed and/or hard-hearted people in my day. I was abused as a child by one (he was both). Interestingly, I had children with two more (one was both, the other was one) - who also happened to have mothers who were the same way (one was both, the other was one). gave birth to me (she's one - but has come a LONG way, definitely changed in many ways and is still changing).

I've always had the kind of heart and belief that ANYONE could change. It wasn't until after knowing my second son's biological father and grandmother that my blanket belief in anyone's ability to change became weakened, just as my open and easy ability to trust people also became weakened.

As my children have grown up, I've noticed some things about them that appear to be consistently hard-wired into their personalities. Some good, and some not that great. I'm concerned for all three of my children, always, but there is a trait in one of them that scares me the most.

As a mother, you want to believe - always, always believe - the absolute best about your children. You want to think that no matter what is happening right now, things will get better. The thing is, it doesn't feel right to unconditionally believe that your children can and will change for the better if you don't also believe it about the rest of the world. And so, for the last several years, my weakened belief in the ability for ANYONE to change has been strong once again.

The only thing stopping ANYONE from changing is the person in need of the change. There are, unfortunately, a LOT of people on this earth who believe that they don't require change - that they're "good people with good hearts." Others are too proud to admit to themselves that they need to change, and others don't have the confidence in their ability to change, so they take on this mentality that they were "born that way, that's how they've always been, people have to love them or leave them alone if they can't accept them as they are," etc.

NEWS FLASH: Just because you've "always been" something doesn't mean you always HAVE TO BE that something...I know and believe this with all of my heart and soul!

The absolute truth that I know is this: GOD is the root of all significant change. Some of us struggle with issues that we really do feel are how we were born to be. Something that deep-rooted into us can only be extracted by the power of God and God alone. A lot of us are not able to get what we need from God, to experience the full impact of His presence in our lives, because of habitual sin, unforgiveness, etc. God will need to be able to forgive us in order to hear us, to work with us. But we have to be cognizant of the fact that change is required, and what's more, we have to WANT IT! Change requires a close, personal relationship with God that cannot be accomplished when our sins are in the way, causing a separation.

It is my prayer for my family, friends, acquaintances and even myself that we all take inventory of the sins in our lives, and really consider whether or not we are willing to let them go before making any further requests of God.

In other words, if we repent from and release sin first, we can receive and achieve TRUE change later...

Until next time,

XOXOXO - Jessika

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 15: Truth

Dear God, THANK YOU for blessing Your people with the TRUTH, and for giving us the discernment to recognize it.


I don't even know how to begin this entry. I read something today that made me shake my head. It was a post sharing the sentiments of a gay person regarding "gay marriage." The post said something to the effect that they didn't like that gay marriage was called, "GAY marriage," that it's simply MARRIAGE as far as they are concerned; just as the gay person wouldn't call parking, "gay parking," or the lunch they had, "gay lunch."

The enemy has been so very busy for centuries, and is really working overtime during these END DAYS. Everything that is wrong is being called right, everything that was meant for good is being used for evil.

Sex was created to be enjoyed between a man and a woman, while married, and the enemy has turned sex into perversion, through pedophilia, pornography, prostitution, music, etc.

The rainbow IS a symbol God gave the earth as a promise that He would never destroy the earth by water again, and the enemy has turned it into the official symbol for homosexuals. How fitting, especially since one of the big reasons God destroyed the earth in the first place was because of the abominations being committed by the women who had sex with women and the men who had sex with men. It's like Satan's official slap in God's face. "Look at us now, God! We're doing it up and you can't do what you did last time, because this here rainbow says you promised not to!"

And now marriage, which was created to be between one man and one woman, is now being redefined as also being between same sex persons.

He's coming soon...


Until next time,

XOXOXO - Jessika

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 14: Forgiveness

 Dear God, THANK YOU for the gift of FORGIVENESS.

There are no words to describe how good it feels to live a life in which there is absolutely, positively NO unforgiveness. Everyone who is or used to be in my life has been forgiven/freed from any and everything they've ever done to me, I don't allow past issues to affect my day to day life or decisions, and there is an inner peace that cannot be disrupted by any mention of my past, or anything resembling it.

There is peace in knowing that yes, things have happened to me, but today, I couldn't be more over it than if it'd never happened in the first place. And to top it off, I've forgiven MYSELF, too.

But, it's not living like this that allows me to feel this good; the root of this inner peace and joy is in knowing that in doing so, I've left the door wide open to also be forgiven by GOD. After all, we must forgive in order to BE forgiven.

We can deny it and fool ourselves into thinking that this biblical fact is untrue, can fabricate our happiness by sweeping things under the rug and avoiding confrontation, but when it comes down to it, we'll find that where inner turmoil is, unforgiveness is found also. Whether left simmering under the surface, or boiling over when under pressure, unforgiveness is a thief of true inner peace...

Until next time,

XOXOXO - Jessika

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 13: A SOUND Mind

Dear God, THANK YOU for blessing me with a sound mind.

Today, I am especially thankful to have my wits about me. To not have been permanently damaged by my past, to recognize that how I feel and react TODAY is not influenced by things that happened eons ago.

I thank God for giving me the strength, the POWER, to put it all behind me and to MOVE FORWARD with my life, to not have remained mentally stuck "back there," to not feel the familiar pain or mental anguish when talking about or even thinking about what happened "back then."

I'm WAY, WAY over it. Have been for YEARS. Praise GOD!!!


Until next time,

XOXOXO - Jessika

Monday, November 12, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 12: FUN Companionship

Dear God, today I thank You for blessing me with FUN companionship!!!

There are only two weekdays in the year that a government holiday results in a closure for our office, but not for our kids' school. Today was the second one.

My mom is still in town so we wanted to find something fun to do with our GORGEOUS-WEATHERED "free" day. She's been wanting to go near a body of water for quite some time, so we decided to go to the National Harbor.

We walked around and sat by the water for a long while, just watching the ripples and debris and fish-searching birds, laughing and talking before we decided to get something to eat. We were planning to have dinner at home so we didn't want to eat anything too heavy. We all had the pleasure of experiencing for the first time hot dogs from a place called ChiDogO's.


It's been a LONG time since I've had a hot dog, and NEVER have I had one that tasted as good as the one I had today. OMG. I didn't even feel like I was eating a hot dog; it was like eating a really great sandwich with all the fixings. We all decided to go for the Chicago style Dog and it did not disappoint. I only had one but it was more than memorable and I will most definitely go back for more in the near future.

After some more walking around, enjoying the breeze and visiting cool little boutiques - as well as the Peeps store! What!?! - and such, my companions wanted some coffee, so we went to Mayorga's. Jason and I went for something similar to a caramel frappuchino and we split a pumpkin cheesecake muffin that was out of this world delicious, as was the drink; my mom went with a traditional Cuban coffee with cream and sugar that she absolutely loved.

When we got home, my husband put the chicken he'd been marinating for a couple of days into the oven and then he went back out to get the supplies my kids needed to put together their science projects, which we just found out were due TOMORROW. Sigh. It's a tradition around here that the kids don't inform us of due dates until the night before. Gotta love 'em.

My mom also made Spanish rice and a salad with lettuce, tomato, avocado, salt, lemon juice and olive oil. Yum. We both sat at the table and ate because it'd been over 90 minutes since my husband and our kids left on mission science project and we were hungry!!!

I love how easy it is to spend an entire day with both my husband and mother. There are so many families in which a visit from the mother in law is something the husband dreads and/or hates. Not my hubby. It helps that my mom has a great sense of humor, is not critical, and is just all around easygoing and fun to be around. She and my hubby mesh beautifully well. He treats her like a queen, just as he would his very own mother.

All in all, today was yet another PERFECT day. Thank You, God, for making it so:).

Until next time,



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 11: Peace

Today, Dear God, I am thankful for PEACE!!!!

My son's girlfriend, Ewurabena, as well as her sister, Ewurama, came to church today and were very warmly welcomed. After church, we all came to my home to play a game called Hedbanz and to eat the absolutely positively delicious chili and cornbread that my husband made last night.

OMG that chili was SO good...

I love that there is no strife in our family, that we all get along with each other, and that we are able to welcome two people over and laugh and be silly and feel absolutely comfortable with them. They are two incredibly funny and personable young ladies.

I also introduced the girls to my massive nail polish collection. I didn't expect that they would immediately remove the adorable nail polish colors they already had on their nails to wear some of the colors I showed them. But, to see how they looked at the bottles of polish with wide eyes, and then immediately ask for cotton balls, made me smile outwardly as well as in my spirit. It may seem silly to say or feel this, but it made me truly happy to see how comfortable they were to jump right in and paint away. I sat there very happily watching my daughter, my son's girlfriend and her sister rifle through my polishes and paint all of their nails - as my son napped on the living room couch! :)

We don't usually have company over but today's visit made me want to have company over more often. 

Today was a truly lovely, PEACEFUL day!

Until next time,



Saturday, November 10, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 10: Walking, Plus Mom Business

Dear God, THANK YOU for blessing me with the ability to WALK on my own two legs!

After my mom, husband and I got pedicures, we all went to the mall to find my mom some boots, get something to eat, and then walked around for a couple of hours. I was still wearing my flip flops from after getting a pedicure so the bottom of my feet were not feeling GREAT, but I didn't get winded and my legs felt great the entire time. I am extremely grateful for my ability to walk!!!

So...I don't mean to put my mom's beeswax out there, butteruh, she's got a date tonight! She's wearing her newly purchased boots, which go great with the new bag I gave her a couple of weeks ago. She's going to look absolutely gorgeous! My hubby and I have been grilling her about the (younger!!!) guy she's been talking to for six months. She said he'd asked her out while she was in her car on her way over here and she asked if I would mind. I don't mind at all, but I did suggest that she meet the guy at the location as opposed to having him pick her up from my house. BTW: this is their SECOND date:).

My mom's not a "dater" in any sense of the word, but I'm excited for her to be taken out and treated to a nice time. There's a lot I wish I knew about the guy, and I'm sure I won't be able to resist investigating more about him (wink wink), but I pray that she will be careful and be able to discern a good guy from a loser, especially in this day and age!!!

Please pray along with me as my mom embarks on a new chapter in her life: DATING!

Until next time,



Friday, November 9, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 9: Love

Today, I thank You, God, for Love. Your love and the love of others.

Love is as necessary to life as food and water. I know that now. A recent event for some reason has given me a sort of revelation.

There's no greater love than the love of Christ. His love is so great that He not only died and rose again for our salvation's sake, but, when He left this earth for good, He also made sure that His love would remain in a meaningful way.

Enter, the Holy Spirit: "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:15-17)

We, as humans, are incapable of loving the way God loves us. We're incapable of effectively loving in a way that heals, forgives, trusts, comforts, and positively impacts others in a significant way. But God is and does and has left us with the Holy Spirit so that we may get from Him what we need in order to do what only He does best.

I can honestly say that there have been instances in which I was spiritually able to borrow from the Holy Spirit the love and words I needed to comfort someone that I quite literally felt no love or affection for before the love and words were extended. The result of my allowing God to flow through and use me in this way was a newfound love and affection for the person to whom I ministered.

A minister - well, now Elder - at my church, Jim, once spoke to the church about love being more about action than our personal feelings. He also said that love is something we as Christians are obligated to give, REGARDLESS of whether or not we "feel" like it. In fact, when we press forward and choose to love in obedience to God, we will more often than not find that the feelings will follow. At first it sounded strange to me to hear that...but as I looked back, I realized that he was 100 percent right.

And yet, I still fail to do this as consistently as I should. I've allowed my feelings to take over. Recently, someone extended to me the kind of love that only Christ could possibly give, because I KNOW this person didn't "feel like it." As the recipient of this GIFT of love, my heart was significantly softened; I was healed of my pain and anger, and it was put in me to apologize and move forward in a positive direction.

This is a gift I have robbed others of receiving due to selfishness. This is a gift I could and should consistently give to others. This is the gift that could change a person's life for the better, to give them the encouragement and strength to go on in this terribly cold, harsh world.


Until next time,



Thursday, November 8, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 8: Laughter

Dear God,

Today, I thank You with all my heart and soul for my ability to laugh - even in my SLEEP!

Last night I had a dream that I was entering a room where my husband and several other people were there sitting at tables, eating. When I walked into the room and looked at Jason, he made the funniest face that made me laugh so hard that I had to sit down - on the floor.

There's nothing extraordinary about this dream, but it made me appreciate my ability to laugh today. How interesting that I've never actually thought about my ability to laugh so easily as a blessing. In fact, lately I've been looking at, and with great resentment, the ever-deepening laugh lines on my face. One of them is deeper than the other for some reason. Stupid laugh lines!

My husband is a natural source of laughter. It's clear to me that he got an extra special ingredient added to his soul when God created him. I love that he's so funny, but, sometimes I hate it because he tends to make me laugh my hardest, most embarrassing and nearly life-threatening laughs when we're in PUBLIC!!! There's no controlling it!!!

Ya see, I'm not a normal laugher. Where there is true laughter there are tears, extreme facial redness, table smacking at times and child-like squeals that for some reason my husband finds endearing if not amusing, but that I know bugs the heck out of people who are trying to enjoy their meals or whatever other activities in various places.

I don't like my laugh, but most of the few people who love or like me do, and without question, my husband loves it the most. Maybe. I say maybe because I know that my sis loves my laugh, too, and she's the only one who has verbalized it with enough frequency for me to know she most definitely means it!

My husband once told me that sometimes I surprise him with the intensity of my laughter, because it belts out of me as though a button on my body has been pushed. There's no giggling that works up to chuckling that works up to slightly loud laughter that then works up to the spectacle that is "Jessika VERY Highly Amused." It's zero to crying-reddening-table-slapping-practically-convulsing in two seconds flat if not less:). Of course it's not like that ALL the time. I have a chuckle, a giggle, etc. But for some reason, my husband likes to be EXTRA funny when we're OUT! UGH!!! I love him so much:).

My mom says she's proud of her laugh lines. I thought I was, too...I'm not "there" yet, but I'm WORKIN' ON IT! :) I shall concentrate more and more on why they are there, however, and thank GOD again and again that this world, the people in it, and the things that have happened to me were never able to steal my joy - AMEN!

Until next time,



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 7: Mercies (Plus Presidential Thoughts)

Today, I thank You, God, for Your mercies toward me, toward US, as a people. Without it, we'd all be dead or worse.

When I woke up this morning to find out that Obama was re-elected, I exaggerate NOT when I tell you the first thought that popped into my head was, "Well, the divorce rate is about to far-exceed 50 percent now that gay people are going to be allowed to marry, too." I had the thought without an ounce of anger, resentment, sadness - I quite literally felt nothing at all.

You see, I actually believe - have always believed - that my life won't be affected by the man sitting in office. He may pass all the laws I don't agree with and flush this country down the toilet, be he a Democrat or Republican, be he black or white - none of it matters to me. I HATE politics and have very little to NO interest in it. I stated a short opinion about who I wanted to win (which by the way, was based on personal moral stands/beliefs) and that was that.

But then I started surfing around Facebook and what I saw bugged me to no end. I lost count of the number of times I found myself saying, "Are you KIDDING me?" Forgive me if I sound harsh, but, here is what I posted as my Facebook status in response to the numerous posts I read:

"I wanted Romney to win, but I'm in no way angry, stressed or worried about the fact that he didn't. I know from Whom my help cometh. I do think it's strange how same-sex marriage-supporter-Obama-voters are spewing so much scripture today about Jesus this and Jesus that; scriptures and spiritual comments are being dropped left and right by people who barely know God at all let alone read His word or go to His house. I'd like to see how readily these same folk will find and post their scriptures when something they DON'T want to happen, happens. Adversity has a tendency to bring out the truth about what we really have hidden in our hearts. God bless you and you and you and you and America indeed."

I will admit that the above is my third revision. My first one was indeed much harsher and even came off as judgemental, which is something I don't wish to be. I am a flawed person just like the rest of us, but I do try my best to correct myself when I can.

If you're a person who barely if ever posts a scripture on your status, why now? I really don't care who you vote for or what you believe in - but don't conveniently insert God into the picture after you've basically done and said and thought and believed things that were completely outside of the will or involvement of God. 

Reading those statuses was reminiscent to watching an awards show where the hedonistic "artist" who earns his living glorifying lust, greed, and filth of every sort thanks GOD for "giving him everything he has." Seriously? To me, and I may be going too far with this statement, it's borderline if not flat-out blasphemous! 

Having said all of that, I recognize that this world, of which I'm only a visitor, needs to get a lot worse before the time comes for it to be destroyed by fire. Therefore, I trust that God will continue to allow exactly what He must in order for nature to take its course. My focus from this point forward will be on getting ready. Nothing else matters...

Until next time,



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Being Extra Grateful...Day 6: Protection and Deliverance

Today, I thank You, God, for protecting my children on a daily basis.

I see news stories and watch shows that depict such horrible acts against women and children and I am so grateful that my children have not had to go through such things.

I'm thankful that I did not STAY one of those women who hold on to the wrong type of men, the kind who use and abuse women and their children. I thank God that I grew up and put my children's welfare above all, and that God gave me the strength to come out of a lifestyle of abuse and neglect.


Until next time,



Monday, November 5, 2012

Being Extra Grateful, Day 5: My Daughter

Today, I thank You, God, for my daughter, Jada. As a mother of boys for so many years, having left the child bearing idea behind, yet also wishing I had a girl, there was something of a hole in my spirit until she came into my life.

It wasn't just her entering it that did it for me. It was how she took to me so easily and started calling me mommy nearly three years before my husband and I even got married - before I even knew whether or not that would ever happen.

I'd lacked confidence in the ability to mother a female child, and when she began to call me Mommy, I discouraged it the best I could without hurting her feelings. I told her it wasn't necessary to call me that, especially since I wasn't married to her daddy. She said it felt "right" to call me mommy and she really wanted to do it anyway.

The letters she has written me, my God, I've never read more heartfelt words! I think she wrote me her first letter when she was seven or eight years old, and tears just streamed down my face at the love in it. She has an amazing ability to express her emotions in writing. Her talent in that regard only makes her feel even more like my own daughter.

I remember a couple of weeks after Jason and I got married, I had a court date with my oldest son's father regarding child support on the first day of school. Jada was not able to be enrolled into school the same day as she registered because the school needed "time to get her put into the system and create a schedule." So, I had to take her with me to the courthouse. As we waited, I  pulled out the enrollment forms for health insurance that I needed to complete in order to add my new hubby and daughter. Jada watched me and it hurt my heart like crazy to be forced to call her my "stepdaughter" on the stupid form. It took me forever to complete that part and when Jada saw the word, she said, "Aww, man, you put stepdaughter!" I apologized and explained to her that it had to be done. Ugh, I HATED IT!!! We don't refer to each other as step-ANYTHING!!!

In the car on the way home, I started craving lemon cupcakes, and she and I came up with the idea to make our own strawberry lemonade cupcakes using crushed up strawberry Jolly Ranchers! They were delicious, tasted something like Fruity Pebbles, but something about the way the Jolly Ranchers melted into the icing was too weird for me...we never did them again. I literally JUST NOW remembered that as I was writing this...that's really something...

Jada now has her own cupcake business called Epic Cakes 101 and actually has a seasonal "Strawberry Lemonade" cupcake with REAL strawberries that is absolutely amazing!!! 


Until next time,



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Being Extra Grateful - Day 4: Deliverance

Today, I thank You, God, for Your MANY MERCIES! You have kept me from homelessness, depression, poverty, unemployment, tragedy, and so, so, SO much more! THANK YOU, GOD, for never letting me go, and for choosing me long before I knew to choose You!!!

I am BLESSED!!!!

Have a BLESSED Sunday, all!

Until next time,



Saturday, November 3, 2012

Being Extra Grateful - Day 3: Praying in Tongues

I don't have anything specific to write about today, but I thought I'd use my blog to post daily the thing for which I thanked God out loud.

Today, I thank you, God, for giving me the ability to pray in tongues!!!

This morning, around 5 a.m., I woke up feeling desperately in need of a shower. So, I decided to do just that before going back to bed, and used the entire time to pray in tongues. I'd say I prayed in tongues for at LEAST 20 minutes, but more likely 30, as I didn't stop until I was completely finished putting on lotion and deodorant, using mouthwash and getting dressed in clean jammies before going back into bed.

I pray your day is especially blessed!

Until next time,



Friday, November 2, 2012

Thankful People are Happy

Last night was an emotional one for me. In talking with my son, things came to the surface that have been eating away at my heart for quite some time. My son said some things that broke my heart, and though some might say he said those things to manipulate me, I can't bring myself to agree.

By the end of our conversation, I thought it'd be good for him to practice being more grateful for what he has - what's amazing about this is that God actually used a quote I received in a monthly Julep subscription box to create this challenge. The quote was, "It's not happy people who are grateful, it's grateful people who are happy."

I've decided to challenge myself this month along with my son, and pretty much everyone else who's willing, to consciously think of one thing every single day for which I'm grateful, and to thank GOD out LOUD for it.

This isn't going to be hard for me to do, because I'm a naturally thankful person, even in private. It's literally hard for me NOT to thank God for a cool morning, a good parking space, a gorgeous sunrise or sunset, a clean toilet, a hot shower...and the list goes on and on. But, I believe it will be a challenge for my son, who tends to focus on the negative a whole lot more than a child ever should.

Please pray for him as he begins this journey to a happier and more content disposition.

Today, I'm grateful for a loving family. THANK YOU, GOD, FOR MY FAMILY!

I am truly blessed.

Until next time,