Tag Archives: Single parent

Nostalgia and a Longing for Simpler Days…

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Dear Friends,

My oldest son, Jeremiah is having some intense emotional struggle right now that I am not even up for writing about.  If you wouldn’t mind, I sure would like to humbly ask that you pray for him; he is 16.

 

Tonight I was going to leave a video on the wall of his Facebook to cheer my boy up and inspire him.  This song always made me giggle and I simply love the message.  Add to that, I’ve been over the moon for Frank Sinatra for as long as I can remember.  I love his music.  Of course, I love old-school music in general.  My favorites include Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Nat King Cole, just to name a few.

 

I’d like you to view the following video and note how it somehow lifts your spirits, regardless of what kind of mood you’re in:

 

 

Now, riddle me this, Batman? How can one be in a depressed or anxious state of mind and hear this song without smiling and feeling just a little bit better than you did before you heard it? And how profound is the message of this song?

 

This snappy, upbeat tune was introduced in the movie, “A Hole in the Head” starring the late, great Frank Sinatra, circa 1959! We are talking about 54 years ago!  One must reflect on the simplicity of the world during those times; which were inarguably just not that long ago.

 

I grieve for my beloved America, as we seem to be given over to abundant chaos and such confusingly busy lifestyles that we, much more often times than not, miss out on the simple things in life; the most important and the most eternal things.

 

 Unmanageable stress is literally subtracting years from our lives.  MOST importantly, our children, many living in low-income, single-parent homes are confused and brokenhearted to say the very least.

 

Once upon a time we yearned for scientific progress, which to me, simply equated to us having access to more luxurious “things” and “things” that we thought would make our lives more convenient and somehow more valuable. Well, that certainly has worked out well for us, hasn’t it?

Oh, how I really do miss the old days.  I miss the old console TV sets that had rabbit ears and only a few channels; the ones you had to get out of your seat and turn the dial until you found a program you wanted to watch or could get reception on.  I miss my Disco 8-track tapes, and my cardboard box of a portable record player that played 45’s  and LP’s (33’s). 

 

 

 I miss playing outside, getting dirty, drinking from the water house, peeing on the side of the house so you didn’t have to go in your house and take a chance of getting hounded by your folks about something, and  I sure did enjoy catching crawdads in the creek behind my house.  I miss those things and so much more.

 

More than anything, I miss the family time we all shared day in and day out.  I miss those sit-down, delicious, gravy-invested dinners we shared as a family “at the kitchen table.”  I miss waking up early every Sunday morning to the smell of my grandmother’s cookin’, which literally made me jump right of bed; I was somehow seduced by the aroma of breakfast. 

 

We did the same things every Sunday.  We had our yummy, Southern breakfast, got dressed nicely, hopped in the car, and went to Sunday School “and” church.  I never tried to negotiate with my grandmother about going to church nor did I ever complain and tell her I was too tired to go.  It was part of our established routine.  It’s just what we did.  And after church my grandmother either “fixed” an extravagant lunch or we went to eat at Furr’s Cafeteria.  Mind you, retail stores and most businesses were closed on Sundays then.  Today, Chick-Fil-A is the only business that I can honestly think of that unapologetically closes on Sundays because of the corporations unshakable faith, values, and public desire to please God.

 

Yes, I miss those simpler days.  Praise God, I have so many memories to cherish.  I’m thankful for these beautiful memories and for my Godly upbringing! What about you? 

 

Do you think that as we move closer and closer to end times that the world is becoming increasing dark, chaotic, and depraved or is this all in my head?  I’d love to hear your feedback and opinions (that’s my polite way of telling you that you’d better chime in! lol!)

All my love,

Ava

drinking from the hose

kid peeing outside

tire swing

catching crawdaddies

dirty kids

mud pies

ice cream truck

sprinkler

family prayer

big wheel

At the End of the Road With an Empty Bag of Tricks: How Death Seemed So Seductive

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The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.  -John 1:5

Beloved Friends,

It’s been almost one month since I’ve written.  I’ve wanted so much to write each and every single day, but certain life circumstances have left me just plain depleted and wholly exhausted.  I suppose my pervasive depression was the driving force that has kept me wrapped tightly in my favorite blanket…in bed.  You see, that’s that majority of what I’ve been doing since I last wrote–sleeping or working.  When I’m not working I’m sleeping and when I’m not sleeping I’m working.  That’s the long and short of it, friends.  I have become a hermit lately with no social life or fellowship to speak of.  As a matter of fact, my hygiene has even suffered a bit!

You see, a few months ago before my gross reduction in income,  I used AG, Biolage, Purology, and Philosophy products to care for my hair and body.  In the realm of make-up I prefer Mac, Two-Faced, Smashbox, and Urban Decay, just to name a few.  Men, this may mean nothing to you, but ladies, you know exactly what I’m talking about!  More than any of my physical traits I love my hair and for years upon years have only allowed the best products to come near it.  I mean, I was using a $55 bottle of conditioner and a $30 glaze to keep my hair from being frizzy, while giving it just the perfect amount of volume and texture to put me in a close 2nd in a  “best hair” contest with Jennifer Aniston herself!

The “BEFORE” photo!

Is this my fate?

My $20 sugar and hemp-infused body scrub and $20 shower gel left my artificially tanned skin as smooth as a baby’s backside and smelling of an organic rhapsody of lavender with subtle hints of warm, toasted vanilla.  After my rejuvenating power showers, I used to like to smooth on some of my deliciously decadent Philosophy body cream ($28) before hitting my pillow which I even misted with a light Bath and Body Work’s fragrance. Now, I buy Pantene products from the Dollar General, and adorn my skin in Wal-Mart’s generic version of Dove’s mildly-exfoliating body soap.  My razor is one that my former reprobate of a roommate left behind accidentally.  It isn’t the sinfully sharp, quadruple-bladed razor that I’m accustomed to; it’s one of those Bic disposable numbers.  So, like I said, my hygiene has suffered a little; I can admit that.  But in my dirty defense, “bath time is no longer a spa-like experience“.  Shoot, as of late,  I’ve been so down that I have even had to remind myself to brush my damn teeth each day.  The loss of my beauty products hurt a little but I’m proud to report that my hair and skin have held up better than expected… and I still have all my teeth (in spite of my recurring nightmare that I’m missing my front one–we’ll talk about that another time).

I suppose that being separated from my elite beauty products aren’t really my biggest issue though right now.  As a matter of fact, although my skin is a bit ashy and my hair is somewhat wiry I must say, I have much bigger fish to fry. 

Surprisingly, money is not now nor has it ever been a great source of pleasure for me.  I mean, sure I like to shop sometimes, but I simply do not love money; never have.  I have dated wealthy men; wasn’t impressed.  Hence, I can say, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I will never marry a man for his money.  I like to have money for reasons related to financial stability.  You know what I mean, friend?  I desperately want to be able to comfortably pay my mortgage, car note, and my other giant mountain of debts.  I want to comfortably be able to give my children lunch money each day and not have to worry about how I’m going to get groceries from week to week.  I want to be able to save my money too like normal people seem to do…  And I want to be able to tithe.  But more than “anything” I want to be able to help others who are in need.  “Especially” single parents and their seemingly indefensible children. 

I often joke with God about Him not ever allowing me to win the blasted lottery.  I mean, my church would receive more than 10%, I would do mission trips to Africa and South America… building educational facilities all along the way, putting shoes on bare, calloused, little feet–and I could certainly ensure that an exorbitant amount of hungry, suffering children never feel the pangs of hunger in their little bellies again.  I could effectively share and spread the Gospel and even put a sizeable dent in the monstrosities that make up the sex trafficking industry.  I could pop a few caps in the asses of some of the cartel too!  In short, I could help so many people.  So why in the world would He not trust me with a bit of money?  It just doesn’t make sense, does it?  Even if he didn’t choose me, He could at least chose someone with a heart like mine!  Ugh!  Money is the root of all evil!  It’s come to a point where I am disgusted by it and what it represents.  I kind of hate it actually.  I hate how it distracts people and keeps them from experiencing face-to-face encounters with God.  You see, if I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned that poverty causes you to lean on Jesus, which deepens and sweetens your relationship with Him.  In that way, I feel kind of sad for the majority of rich folks.  (Disclaimer: I’m not saying that all rich folks don’t have precious relationships with God!)

But I suppose my theories on money and religion aren’t so important right now.  You see, I have to admit something, friends.  Late Sunday night… early Monday morning, I was in a place of such deep, devastating sorrow that I was, in all sincerity planning my great escape.  I was planning on ending my life.  My pain was so agonizing and unbearable that night and I had cried until my eyes were almost swollen shut.  All the suffering that I had experienced in my life just came together, forming one indescribable but all-consuming ache.  I had a plan and began subtly saying my goodbyes to those that I love in the wee small hours of the night.  Were it not for my beautiful son Jonah who was peacefully sleeping near me, I know that I would be nothing more than a memory right now.  Praise Jesus that I was able to remember back to the night my then, 5-year-old Jeremiah (who was sleeping) and I  drove up on my mother’s house to see why she hadn’t been answering the phone all weekend.  It was on that fateful night that I discovered that my mother had committed suicide. 

I reminisced upon the moments and hours that passed after seeing her lifeless, pale, white body laying in her bed.  She had the saddest expression on her face.  She looked like her heart had been broken.  She had been dead, laying in that bed for three days. 

I also reminisced upon her funeral.  She asked that we play a few songs, namely “Please Remember” by LeAnn Rimes.  It’s a beautiful song, but my heart broke into a thousand pieces when I heard it play at the service.  I vaguely remember that I literally let out a moan so deep and so loud during the song that my precious grandfather had to take his focus off of mourning the death of his child, and focus on consoling me.  It was one of those soul cries…I just couldn’t maintain my composure sitting there looking at her casket.

Then my mind wandered back to the days before her funeral, pre-visitation.  I got my mother ready for her funeral.  With the help of my cousin, who is a physician, we managed to get my mother’s body dressed.  And mind you, we didn’t pull the easy, funeral parlor trick where you merely cut a slit down the back of a shirt or a dress…we literally got her dressed, from head to toe.  She was bloated and had Frankenstein-like stitching all around her head from the autopsy.  Remember, my mom was a cop…  She once had to participate in an autopsy during her training at the police academy and was happy to report that she “got to crack the skull-cap“.  I remember her telling me that the human face is peeled back away from the head and that it simply looks like a mask as it is pulled down and then pulled back up toward the end of the procedure.  Add to that, I was also keenly aware that the deceased’s brain and other organs are taken out and weighed–among other things during an autopsy– and then tossed back into the chest cavity which is then sloppily sewn back up. 

She was so brave when she was a cop, so I had resigned to be brave like her during this sacred time to ensure that it was “me” taking care of her sweet body, ensuring that she was handled with supreme love and dignity.  The Holy Spirit definitely guided me as I prepared her body because I was so much stronger in that moment than you or anyone else could ever imagine.  I felt like she was with me and that God was bringing a much-needed sense of peace and understanding to our relationship.  Still, there were subtle reminders like her sad-faced, lifeless body reeking of formaldehyde, which was literally oozing from her pores and causing her beautiful hair to fall out as I curled and styled it. 

Praise the Maker that was able to successfully get her hair and make-up done.  I had managed to get her ready for her funeral all by myself, except for the help that my sweet cousin gave me in actually dressing her body.  I was proud of my cosmetology skills but what was bothering me was the fact that she had fallen after taking all the medication that she took.  I think she attempted to overdose but discovered that what she had taken did not kill her.  I think she sedated herself heavily and then woke up, disappointed that she was not dead yet.  I believe this is when she dizzily got up to grab for more pills (the ones that really killed her).  When she did she feel into a box fan thus breaking some of her acrylic nails. 

I said to myself right then, “MY mother is not going to see Jesus needing a fill!”  Hastily and with great determination I called a nail salon that was located across the street from the funeral home.  I asked them to please come and help me get my mother’s nails repaired.  Now apparently the Vietnamese culture does not play well with the dead, because a timid but traumatized little Asian voice echoed back at me saying, “D-no, we no do dat foe yew mudda!  We skeead!”   I couldn’t help but chuckle a little bit.

Finally though, my tenaciousness and perseverance had paid off.  With the help of my cousin, we found someone from a local hospital who was willing to give my mother her final fill.  I tell you what, that girl did one heck of a job!  She had my dead mother’s arms all sprawled out with “forms” on every nail.  By the time this gal was finished my mother’s nails looked amazing and the whole damn funeral home smelled not of formaldehyde, but of acetone!  I know it’s not funny, but the entire place smelled like a nail salon!

All this to say, the memories of my mother’s suicide are fresh.  So, the question is how could I do that to my Jeremiah and my Jonah?  How could I do it to my family?  How could I even entertain such thoughts?  Who would have found me?  Would I have had to have had a closed-casket because the left side of my head was missing from the exit of the bullet? 

I know these are maniacally morbid thoughts, but I thought of them all as I weighed out my unspeakable options.  Truth be told, I prayed and prayed for Jesus to come back.  I desperately wanted the Rapture to happen so my kids and I could just fly away from such an ugly, senseless, evil world.  I guess Jesus wasn’t ready to mount His majestic, white horse and ride to my rescue though.   Or maybe it was on account of the Battle of Armageddon hasn’t occurred yet or we haven’t all been asked to receive the mark of the Beast!?!  Either way, we’re all still here and aren’t winged and singing with the Hosts of Heaven.  I apologize if I have offended any of you by prematurely trying to end the world.

But you see, I’m really broke and struggling.  I stand to lose everything.  My home was literally one day from foreclosure.  My attorney met me at 7 am on Labor Day (September 3rd) to allow me to file for bankruptcy; I did.  Shortly thereafter, my boyfriend did some things that were absolutely appalling.  I had to send him away as his addictions and alcoholism were consuming us.  He was also becoming abusive again.  Add to that, I found two condoms in his suitcase… We “rarely” have sex and when we do, we don’t use condoms. 

I remember clearly back to September the 3rd because it was my late grandmother’s birthday that day.  I had been having some problems with dizziness and fainting and that afternoon, I got up too fast I suppose and I fainted.  Jonah was standing next to me when it happened.  I hit my head really, really hard on the closet door behind me.  Jonah screamed “MOMMY” in a tone that affected me to my core; still does today.  He was so scared and was crying.  I’ve never seen him get that upset and lose it like that.  Let’s just say that, in that instant it was painfully clear how much Jonah loved me.  It was also the memory of his cry for me that prevented me from making an irreversible decision the other night, which was the morning of the 24th.

What happened that night?“, you’re probably wondering, that could have taken me to the edge of a cliff like that.  I’ll tell you what happened, I found out that I lost my job.  Friends, I am yet unemployed again and I have to make a mortgage payment soon PLUS my monthly bankruptcy payment to the trustee.  I’ve depleted all of my resources. 

I took this job with the hopes of moving up quickly.  I don’t mind telling you that I went from making $50K a year to a little over $19K a year.  I was literally pulling in $9.53 an hour at the airline I worked for, with all my education and experience.  But you know what?  I loved that job.  I loved the people.  I loved working from home, which was a first for me.  I worked and trained so hard and it was all taken away in a flash. 

So here I am.  I do not know what’s going to happen to me next.  I have never been angry with God before the other night.  However, on that night I felt as if he had completely betrayed me and that all the prayers that I had humbly prayed to him…and I also felt like the time that I had spent on my knees were all in vain or that he was simply choosing to ignore me.  Today, I have decided to put up a little bit of a fight…as much as I can.  But know this friends, I HATE the devil.  He seems to want to devour me and my precious children.   It’s getting hard to take.  Just when I started feeling connected to the Lord again today, I turned on my computer to write on this blog.  I was going to praise God at that time.  As soon as my fingers hit the keyboard, my power went out.  Our electricity was shut off.  I owed $436.  Frightful times….

I am going to be writing a lot more in the coming days.  This is going to be an interesting ride but I invited you all along a while back.  God is going to move in my life.  I just don’t know how right now and I am overcome with grief and fear.  Please pray for me and my two children as we walk through this horrifically perilous time.  I’m running out of tricks, friends.  I’m getting older and I’m running out tricks.  As a matter of fact, this is how I feel (dramatic, but true nonetheless):

I love you all and will be writing again soon.  Sufficed to say, you are loved.  The very fact that you are reading this right now, wherever you are…humbles me in unspeakable ways.  If you only knew how much YOU keep me going!

The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:5).  I can’t understand it right now either…

All my love,

Ava

I CHOOSE to Praise Him…In Spite of My Circumstances!

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PRAISING GOD THROUGH THIS STORM

I love the above video.  In the song, “Shackles”, Mary Mary boldly sings, “Take the Shackles off my feet so I can dance.  I just wanna praise Ya!” and sings things like, “I’m gonna praise You through my circumstance!”  

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  There’s a definite reason for that.  I guess there’s no better way to say it, “I’ve been in a dark place“.  I wish I had the strength to shake some of this stuff off, but I don’t.  Sometimes major life circumstances get us down.  However, one thing we can do is to CONTINUOUSLY praise the Lord for the blessings that He has given to us.  Our flesh has a tendency to focus wholly on the things that are going wrong and on the hurt and sorrow our hearts feel.  Beloved, this is just want the Enemy wants us to do!  But we can make a conscious choice to praise God through our darkness, heartaches, and through our times of fearful uncertainty!  And be advised, when we praise God through our adversity, we confuse the hell (pardon the pun) out of the Enemy!

I just found out last week that my beautiful home is in foreclosure.  This is the first home the boys and I have ever owned.  We built it approximately 4 years ago.  I picked out everything in it, down to the color of the grout for my ceramic tile.  It’s my sanctuary.  More than that, it’s my children’s sanctuary.  We also had a roommate move in last week.  I moved Jonah, my little one out of his bedroom and gave that room to my new roommate.  Jonah and I are now sharing a room.  Each time I come home and press the button on my garage door opener, Jonah and I are faced with a garage full of all his things.  This breaks my heart…but not Jonah’s!  God has done something in his little spirit and he actually feels excited about the whole thing!  Jonah, who is just 7, chose to trust in the Lord and praise Him through all of this change.  If my baby can do this, so can I and so can you!  

The bank won’t take my payments anymore, so we are just going to save up what we would normally pay toward the mortgage.  And, I have an appointment on Wednesday with a bankruptcy attorney.  Through all this, I realized that home is where my babies and I are.  Shoot, we could move from luxury into a trailer park home and I know we’d be OK.  It would hurt us, and it would be an inconvenience, but the Devil will not steal my joy nor will He put a wedge between me and the Lord!

I have thought a million times about going back to work in a strip club.  And don’t think that even prostitution hasn’t crossed my mind either.  I have made a living on my looks in the past, but I refuse to do it now!  I want God to bless my efforts!  Further, I want others to see that, while I am suffering, I can still shine the light of Christ!  I choose to praise Him!  My water was shut off a while back and I have warrants for my arrests because of traffic tickets I can’t pay, but I choose to praise Him!  

My boyfriend has been away from me since mid-June and has been living back in Las Vegas.  He is living in hotels and gambling incessantly; he’s constantly drunk and I know he’s even been doing drugs.  He assures me how much he loves me but yet hasn’t taken my calls or responded to my texts in days.  He could very well be with another woman and my heart aches from the pain of the loneliness, rejection, and constant abuse…but friend, I choose to PRAISE the Lord anyway!!!  After all, he is the only One who can deliver me from this cesspool of drama.

I’ve got to get out of this utterly painful relationship but I guess there’s an intrinsic yearning that I have inside of me to be loved by a man.  I feel SO bitter that other people have husbands and I don’t!  I want a companion to love and to be loved by!  I want to have someone to split the bills with!  I want a male role model for Jeremiah and Jonah!  And for GOODNESS sakes, I want to be able to get laid every day and it be an act of worship unto the Lord…rather than a sin I commit inside my own body!  I know that last one didn’t sound too Godly… But hey, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have that edge!!! Please pray for me.  Please pray that God and only God, and only God will fill every deep desire of my heart.  Obsessing over my boyfriend feels like idolatry to me.  I don’t want anything to come before God!  

Speaking of that, I am reminded of one of Beth Moore’s sermons (I adore her).  She asked the question that Jesus asked of his disciples: “What is it that you WANT?”  Really, what is it that you really, really want that you perceive that you don’t have?  What is it that your heart yearns for?  “That“, she said, “is the point of spiritual warfare in your life!”  And oh, how right she is!  Let us not live from a cycle of lack!  When we do we give the Devil a powerful foothold and it greatly affects our relationship with our Father!

So, what it is that you want?  What do you think is the point of warfare in your life?  Where are you leaving an open door for the Enemy to attack you?  Pray for God to strengthen you in that area, and don’t forget to praise Him through the storms life.  I’ve never felt more blessed in my life when everything seemed to be falling apart and I praised Him through it anyway.  I hope you’ll do the same.  He will never leave us or forsake us.  I know this, and I hope your heart can internalize it too!

Before I end, I wonder how I can pray for you?  If you have any prayer requests, please share them with me.  I having been praying harder than ever lately, and I’d love for you to be able to get in on some of the action!

God bless you, Beloved.  Keep your eyes fixed on the Cross.  Trust me, If “I” can do it, I know you can to!

ALL my love,

Ava

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!

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And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

I am BEYOND delighted to report to you that my sweet sister in Christ, Miss Arlene, author of a wonderful blog titled “Armoured Up,” has nominated me for my very first blog award!  The nomination is in and of itself a tremendous honor.  However, it honors me and humbles me more to know that it came from my sweet Arlene.

Arlene and I have never met in person, we actually met via the WordPress community.  Regardless of me having not have ever been in her physical presence, I can tell you that she lives in my heart.  Arlene somehow stumbled across my blog a while ago and has been encouraging me and praying for me and the boys ever since.  Hence, the scripture reference above…

Arlene has been a vessel for the Lord in my life, and for me it re-solidifies how abundantly important the “BODY” of Christ is.  We truly need to be in constant fellowship with other believers and encourage one another as well.  Arlene is my sister.  And like I told her recently, I absolutely regale in the fact that we WILL spend eternity together!

And mind you, I believe the BEST gift that anyone can give is the gift of prayer.  It just so happens that Arlene is a bold, lioness of a prayer WARRIOR!  God has blessed me so much through her friendship.  I encourage you to check out her blog.  Further, I encourage you to drop her a line and get to know her.  She’s too precious to keep to myself!  You can find Arlene’s blog at:

armouredup.wordpress.com

Now to receive this award, you must do the following:

1) Reference the person who nominated you for the award.

2)Write seven facts about yourself.

3) Nominate 7 other ladies and pass along links to their blog.

7 Random Facts About Me:

1) My grandmother was the most Godly precious woman.  She was like a mother to me and I sometimes think she was an angel!

2) Since I was a child I have had a fixation with eating ice, particularly when I go to bed; my teeth have not suffered for it.

3) I hate doing laundry.  I don’t mind actually putting it in the washing machine, but putting it away overwhelms me (especially socks).

4) I thoroughly enjoy inserting Qtips into my ears!  I clean my ears out about 5 times a day and refer to the pleasure I experience as an “eargasm“.

5) I wanted to be a pilot since I was seven years old until I was called into teaching at the age of 28.

6) I drink Diet Cokes like I should drink water.  I’m addicted to them…which is kind of gross and unhealthy!

7) I have a hard time saying goodbye to anybody, good or bad, especially in my romantic relationships.  I can’t bear the thought of never seeing the person again.  But I do recognize that God puts people in our lives for seasons (sometimes).  I am really working on this.

And alas, the ladies blogs I am nominating for The Sisterhood of World Bloggers Award: 

1) birdmartin.wordpress.com

2) myjourneymyrules.wordpress.com

3) werclassly.wordpress.com

4) momandboy.wordpress.com

5) withoutababe.wordpress.com

6) mommasunshine.wordpress.com

7) sessica.com

I sincerely hope you have time to check out the blogs that are listed above!  We are a family here, after all!

All my love,

Ava

On Hungry Birds and Guided Missiles…

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“Mom, we don’t have anything to eat.”

“Mom, I’m hungry.”

“Mom, can you go to Sonic?”

“Mom, what’s for dinner?”

“Mom, when are you going to the grocery store?”

Jeremiah & Jonah

The photo above is quite befitting as I picture Jeremiah on the left; he needs a haircut so bad.  We had an appointment this evening but I checked my banking account and learned that the $1.50 Diet Coke that I swiped my card for at work overdrew my damn account.  Ugh!  When will it end?  No gas, no groceries, bills coming at me from every angle…  It’s hard living this way.  Sufficed to say, I am terrified.

I’m not teaching anymore…at least for a while.  I have gone back to work for a major airline.  Since September 11th, we have taken a huge hit, so it’s been almost impossible to get back on with the company as they simply have not been hiring.  I was extremely happy there when I worked there 12 years ago, so I was thrilled to see a job opening and therefore applied for it immediately.  

I prayed about teaching, which had been a huge source of stress for me for a plethora of reasons.  I had been so anxious and had no peace in my heart whatsoever.  I prayed and “totally” put the situation at the foot of the cross.  You can surrender to Christ with your mouth…saying it is one thing; but I surrendered to Christ with my soul–every ounce of it.  When I did He gave me an inexplicable peace–a peace I hadn’t felt in a long time–and miraculously, doors started to open and doors that needed to be closed, became closed.

Ideally, I’d like to get into teaching at the airline I work for and possibly be involved in curriculum and development.  It’s a faith walk right now though.  I am just going where God leads me.  Still I am afraid.  

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “I do not want my children to suffer for bad choices that I have made in the past.”  A while back a passage of scripture popped out at me from the 54th chapter of Isaiah:

For the Lord has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit,

Like a youthful wife when you were refused.

For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you.

With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;

But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you.

This is like the waters of Noah to me; 

For as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no long cover the earth,

So I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.

For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed,

But My kindness shall not depart from you.

Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed.

O you afflicted one, tossed with the tempest and not comforted,

Behold I will lay your stones with colorful gems,

And lay your foundations with sapphires.

I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of crystal,

And your walls of precious stones.

All your children shall be taught by the Lord,

And great shall be the peace of your children.

In righteousness you shall be established;

You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;

And from terror, for it shall not come near you.

Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not of Me.

Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.

Could that verse speak to my circumstances more?  I was astounded when I found that!  It’s like it was written just for me!  But that’s how the Word of God works!  

 With that, I’d like to think of my children like this, not like the picture above: 

 The psalmist tells us in Psalm 37 that he has never seen the righteous forsaken nor his children begging bread.  I know my kids are protected under the mighty wing of God (and praise the Lord they love Ramen noodles).  We’ll be alright because we are God’s children and He loves us in unfathomable ways.  And friend, YOU are His child too.  Whatever it is you are walking through, He’s gone before you.  Trust that.

And if you aren’t a Christian, it’s really easy to become one.  All you do is pray to your Father and tell Him that you believe in Him.  Tell Him that you simply cannot do it without Him.  Tell the Lord Jesus that you believe that He is the Son of God and invite Him to occupy your heart.  Admit that you’re a sinner and ask God to forgive you and wipe the slate clean.  He will, beloved.  He will wash you as white as snow.  

And don’t let any kind of sin that you are currently walking in prevent you from coming to Christ.  Come now.  He is gentle and patient and will clean you up little by little.  If you have a particular sin that you’re struggling to let go of he will slowly begin to change your heart so that you will want to break free from whatever bondage that you’re living in.  

I heard a story on the radio the other day that I thought was really cool.  It said that “guided” missiles aren’t “guided” toward their destination until after they’re launched.  

They have no destination until after they leave the launch pad.  Think of Jesus as the launcher, and yourself as the missile.  Baby, just GET LAUNCHED.  Get to the launchpad and GET LAUNCHED!  Once you invite Him to be your boss, He will fill you with love and acceptance.  He will then guide you toward your destination.

I think one of the biggest lies that Satan tells us that we’re too much of a mess to come to God NOW.  Don’t wait for the right time, friend.  We are all sinners and so it may never feel like the right time.  The time is now.  

And remember, Jesus himself didn’t run around with a bunch of people who had it all together.  He ran with whores, thieves, tax collectors, etc.  The great Apostle Paul was a murdered who murdered and persecuted slews of Christians before He surrendered His life to the Lord, and look who He became.

And look, I don’t know most of you.  So ask yourself this: “What does she have to gain by telling me this?  What is her agenda?”  I have nothing to gain and no agenda.  But if I don’t know you now, I’ll know you when we get to Heaven.  Because, if you accept Jesus, that’s exactly where you’ll be spending eternity.

I have been to the bottom of hell and back.  I could never deny the Lord.  I’ve felt his presence when everything else had been stripped away.  I am scared beyond measure at this time in my life, but the hope I have in Him carries me through.  Beloved, I can’t keep this love to myself.  It’s your too… All you have to do is ask.  If there is anything you need–prayer or otherwise–call on me.  I’m here for you, and so is God.

And friends, please pray for me and my precious kids.  We need a miracle right now…  

All my love,

Ava

A Faithful, Funny Family of Frazzled but Fortuitous Felines!

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“Mom, our family is like a cat.  We always land on our feet.” -Jonah, age 7

I often find that God speaks to us and gives us encouragement through people.  This always amazes me but when I comes from the mouth of  a child it simply knocks me off my feet!  Children are so innocent and untainted and therefore  provide us with a powerful connection to the heart of God.

Times are quite rough and uncertain for my little family and I at the present moment.  I have been overcome with fear in regards to our financial future as of late but am choosing to continue walking in absolute blind faith, knowing that God has never let me down before and that He surely isn’t going to do it now.

Today, out of the blue and completely unaware of our circumstances, Jonah crawled up next to me and said, “Mom, our family is like a cat.  We always land on our feet.”  Mind you, Jonah is just seven years old.  Most seven-year old children that I know don’t speak in clichés.  And if they do, I certainly don’t think they understand them.

But Jonah knew exactly what he was saying and I believe that my baby was simply acting as a vessel for the Lord.  It’s true, we do always land on our feet.  Why did it take a seven-year old child to remind me of this?

There is nothing more precious on this earth to me than my children.  I don’t want them to suffer for mistakes that I have made.  But God loves them as much as He loves me…and you.  God cannot withhold His love from us because He “is” love.  

Yes, we are like cats!  Though though our future is uncertain, we will prevail in the precious name of Jesus.  We always do.  We serve a Mighty God.  We are His beloved children and He is Abba , our Daddy.

Today I pray that you hear the voice of God and that you choose to let Him walk you through whatever it is that you feel you cannot do alone.  Friend, He is faithful…and quite adventuresome too!  Invite Him to be your Captain, and not your co-pilot.  He will take you to new heights and exceed your wildest expectations. 

All my love,

Ava

Famous and Infamous People Raised in Broken Homes

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I was alarmed to find out that the following individuals were products of single parent homes:

  • BILLY THE KID
  • SIRHAN SIRHAN
  • ROBERT GRAYSMITH (ZODIAC SERIAL KILLER)
  • JACK THE RIPPER
  • JOHN WILKES BOOTH
  • CHARLES MANSON
  • SADDAM HUSSEIN
  • ADOLPH HITLER
  • MARC LEPINE (MASS MURDERER OF 14)
  • LEE HARVEY OSWALD
  • JEFFREY DAHMER
  • “MONSTER” CODY (L.A. CRIPS GANGLORD)

Obviously the aforementioned names are some of the worst in the history of mankind.  However, my research uncovered many, many more functional, famous people who were also products of broken homes.  Take a look:

Maya Angelou was sent to live with her grandparents when her parents’ marriage ended.

Oprah Winfrey was born to an unwed, teenager mother and sent to live with her grandparents.

Lance Armstrong never knew his birth father.

Notorious B.I.G. was abandoned by his father when he was 2.

Kate Beckinsale’s father died when she was 6.

Halle Berry was abandoned by her father when she was 4.

Mary J. Blige was abandoned by her father when she was 4.

Orlando Bloom’s died when he was 4.

Pierce Brosnan was abandoned by his father before his first birthday.

Mariah Carey had little contact with her father after her parents divorce when she was 3.

50 Cent never knew his father and lost his mother when he was 8.

Eric Clapton never knew his real father. He grew up thinking his grandparents were his parents and his mother his sister.

Bill Clinton lost his father in a car accident 3 months before he was born.

Stephen Colbert lost his father and two brothers in a plane crash when he was 10.

Sean Combs was 3 when his father was murdered

Jodie Foster grew up without a father; her parents separated before she was born.

Jamie Foxx was abandoned by both his parents and raised by his adopted grandparents.

Cary Grant grew up thinking his mother had abandoned him when she really was in a mental institution.

Adrian Grenier grew up not knowing who his father was.

Laird Hamilton was abandoned by his father when he was an infant.

Samuel L. Jackson only met his father twice during his life.

Jay-Z was abandoned by his father.

Alicia Keys grew up without a father.

Kid Cudi lost his father to cancer when he was 11.

Martin Lawrence rarely saw his father after his parents divorced when he was 8.

John Lennon grew up without a father and lost his mother when he was 17.

Jet Li lost his father when he was 2.

Lindsay Lohan grew up without a father while he was in prison.

Shelby Lynne lost her mother and father in a murder suicide when she was 17.

Madonna lost her mother to cancer when she was 5.

Paul McCartney lost his mother to cancer when he was 14.

Eva Mendes was raised by her single mother after her parents divorced.

Marilyn Monroe grew up without a father.

Demi Moore was abandoned by her father before she was born.

Eddie Murphy’s father was killed when he was just 8.

Jack Nicholson never knew his real father.

Shaquille O’Neal grew up without his birth father.

President Barack Obama met his father only once before he died in a car crash.

Clive Owen was abandoned by his father when he was 3.

Al Pacino grew up in his grandparents’ home with his mother.

Audrey Hepburn was sent to boarding school at age 5; at age 6 her father walked out.

Mariah Carey eventually became estranged from her father after her parents’ divorce when she was 3.

Guy Pearce lost his father in a work related accident when he was 8.

Mekhi Phifer never met his father.

Sarah Polley lost her mother to cancer when she was 11.

Ellen Pompeo lost her mother when she was 4.

Gabrielle Reece lost her father when she was 5.

Keanu Reeves was abandoned by his father when he was 13.

Julia Roberts lost her father when she was 10.

Alex Rodriguez was abandoned by his father when he was 7.

Ronaldinho lost his father from a heart attack when he was 8.

Jason Schwartzman lost his father to cancer when he was 13.

Tupac Shakur grew up not knowing his birth father while his stepfather went to prison when he was 2.

Anderson Silva was raised by his aunt.

Gene Simmons was abandoned by his father when he was 3.

David Spade was abandoned by his father.

Jon Stewart was raised primarily by his mother.

Barbra Streisand lost her father when she was 2.

Shania Twain was abandoned by her birth father.

Liv Tyler didn’t know who her birth father was until she was 9.

Raoul Wallenberg lost his father to cancer 3 months before he was born.

Orson Welles lost his mother when he was 11 and his father when he was 15.

Kanye West was abandoned by his father when he was 3.

And I “sure enough” was abandoned by my biological father the moment he found out my mother was carrying me…

 

I get that those who were raised in utter pathology and in absolute psychologically damaging circumstances are not necessarily always going to come out unscathed.  However, I like to think of the human spirit as tenacious in nature, and capable of overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles.  And after all, we all have choices.  For me, I wasn’t going to sit around complaining that life had dealt me a bad hand, and that there was no hope.  Which is why I hate the saying, “It is what it is.”

 

My childhood was incredibly painful and dysfunctional.  This is why you could frequently find me in the self-help section of my neighborhood bookstore since I was an adolescent.  I was reading self-help books since I was a young teen and voluntarily attending counseling, which I still do today.  I even have a hypnosis app on my iPhone for topics like “codependency” and “how to forget your ex”, for goodness sakes!  I was never satisfied with the status quo and have been pulling myself up by the bootstraps for as long as I can remember.  

 

You will never hear me utter the words, “That’s just how I am.”  Although I am still a work in progress, I believe that someday I will rise victoriously from the ashes.  And as far as this crazy generational cycle that is marked by the suicide of my beloved mother… I am fighting with every breath in me to say, “This ends here.”  

 

It was hard being a child of a single mother; and I know it’s hard for my children too, most of the time.  We may struggle financially, but we are rich beyond measure in the love department.  For me this is what matters most.  Some days I can barely find the strength to get out of bed.  But mark my words, “I can do all things through CHRIST who strengthens ME.” (Philippians 4:13) 

 

Sources:

http://www.notablebiographies.com/An-Ba/Angelou-Maya.html#b

http://oprah.about.com/od/oprahbiography/p/oprahchildhood.htm

http://www.audrey1.org/biography/16/audrey-hepburn-timeline-1929-1949

http://withoutafather.com/celebrities.php