Sunday, January 31, 2010

Seeking You Through The Shadows...



My faith has been challenged lately... I've been blue like jazz...


In Don Miller's "Blue Like Jazz", he says he initially didn't like jazz because it didn't resolve. He once felt similarly about God. Lately, I've been feeling my illness and the limitations it causes won't resolve.

Miller eventually realized jazz does have resolutions, and God provides them as well. I may not know where my current journey will lead, but I know I'll continue to follow God. He always resolves.


Like Aaliyah, I need a "Resolution".


These songs represent the call of my heart to the Lord today... I love You, Father...









Thursday, January 28, 2010

All The Single Ladies!!! He Better Put TWO Rings On It


A girl from another department where I work has the perfect family portrait on her desk. In the silver frame, she sits on the left, with a bright smile. Her man, handsome and broad shouldered is posed on the right, and squished between his parents rests a little, chubby toddler revealing teeny baby teeth. As I passed by her desk, I stopped, and with admiration said, “Oh, how cute! You and your husband have a beautiful son!” She sighed, and then said, “He’s not my husband. He’s my fiancé. Ha ha, yup, my fiancé.” She then held up a limp left hand revealing one small ring. And although she laughed, we both knew there was no joke. She had identified herself as one of the countless women out there who find themselves stuck in a purgatory of sorts- more than a girlfriend, but definitely not a wife. Perpetually betrothed. But why?

I’ve met quite a few girls who fit into the category of “wifey” but wish desperately to drop the “y”. Here’s one story:

Isis*: I mentioned Isis last year in a blog about dating drama. Unfortunately, she belongs in this story, too. Isis is beautiful, has a great job, attends college and has a precocious but sweet preschooler. She also had a boyfriend that seemed to have no problem living with her, going half on a baby with her, but strangely would not fully commit to her. During good times, they talked about getting hitched- her gown, the guests, maybe even an intimate ceremony on a beach at sunset. But during the bad times, the sun would quickly set on the wedding talk, and she found herself stuck in the dark unknown, making plans for a ceremony that never materialized. Isis knew the cycle: things would go well, but the minute she wanted to start solidifying the commitment he swore they had, his mood would switch. He’d be angry and defensive, tell her he was saving for her engagement ring, but since she obviously didn’t trust him, he should return it (Hmph… I always wonder how one can return an item not yet purchased, but whatever). She’d get angry, then sad, and finally felt as if she had blown it. Why couldn’t she just leave well enough alone? She almost had him… right?

For some ladies reading this, they see nothing wrong. Marriage isn’t for everyone, they may think. If so, this blog ain’t for you. If you’re happy Goldie Hawn-Kurt Russell-ing it up, more power to you. But so many women (and men) aren’t . (Although, I have to ask you, especially if you claim Christ as Savior, WHY? And don’t give me the “it’s just a piece a paper” line, either. If it was, you wouldn’t have thousands of gay people across the country fighting for something they could pick up from Papyrus.)



One of the best books I’ve read on dating recently (yes, duh, I know I’m married, but I’m always reading something) is Steve Harvey’s “Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man.” In this book, he’s blunt, not sugar coating the truth. A man will treat a woman the way she allows him to. He gives these words of advice to lovelorn women:

“…If putting your requirements on the table means you risk him walking away , it’s a risk you have to take… All too many of you let the guy get away with disrespecting you, putting in minimal effort and holding out on the commitment to you because you’re afraid he’s going to walk away and you’ll be alone again. And we men? We recognize this and play on it, big time.” So how do women avoid getting stuck in relational purgatory? “Start by making the man be really clear up front about what he wants out of his life and his relationship with you." Set the ground rules- and stick with them.

But what about the women who are already stuck playing house- joint bank accounts, joint bills, even an engagement ring, but no “Save the Date” postcards? “...Men do everything with a purpose, and in the case where a man dates you for an extended length of time, or moves in with you, or gives you a ring, but still refuses to be pinned down on setting a wedding date? He’s doing it to lock you down… the only reason a man gets away with a lengthy engagement or holds off the proposal altogether is because his woman hasn’t REQUIRED him to set the date… It’s just plain dumb.”

This from a dude, ladies. Even a guy thinks you’re being a dummy. Your fiancé isn’t playing you so much as YOU ARE PLAYING YOURSELF. His solution: “…get some requirements and standards and enforce them” and set a wedding date. Give him a timeline, and if he doesn’t meet it and balks, you walk. Period. "Don't be the Baltic Avenue on the Monopoly board game- the one that anyone can just roll the dice, land on, and pay a couple of dollars to chill on without any obligations or worries. You've got to go to Broadway on the game board; make your man round the corner and land on the high end property- recognize that you're prime real estate that's for purchase only."

So, if you're desiring to tie the knot, make sure he puts TWO rings on it. The man who accepts the responsibility and will set and keep the wedding date is a real man. The man who sees you as "Broadway", as the prize you are. The one who "will make your house a home."

"After all, boys shack. Men build homes."



*This is her nickname; there will be occasions, from time to time on this blog when I will use aliases to protect identities. As "Dragnet" use to proclaim, “Names have been changed to protect the innocent.” Lol.

Will Jesus Fulfill Us Here on Earth? by Don Miller




I've mentioned Donald Miller in a previous post
(he rocks), and I wanted to share this awesome clip with you here. You can also check out some writings on this topic here.


Will Jesus fulfill us here on earth? from All Things Converge Podcast on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Christianity Magnified" by Candace

I love poetry, and when it centers on God with passion, I'm enthralled. Below, Candace recites her original work, "Christianity Magnified":


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Imagine

This has been a hard time for me of late, struggling with the limits of my neuropathy, on top of having surgery to have a cyst removed from my face. I've also felt especially hurt by the victims of the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, even finding myself awakened in the middle of the night to pray for them.

But today being SONday, I need a refreshing, and immediately "Imagine Me" came to my head, a reminder of God's love for all us. Be blessed.



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Prayer for Haiti

Haitian women gather to pray on Sunday. (Getty Images)


Heavenly Father,

It is with a heavy heart that we come to you, not necessarily knowing what we should ask for because many of us are wondering, "Why did this happen? Why has tragedy struck Haiti again and why do so many lives have to be lost again? Why has this beautiful island been struck by a catastrophic earthquake and ruined?" But as many questions as we have regarding the situation, we still humble ourselves before you to ask for your mercy to be upon Haiti and its people. Extend your hand upon the land and restore all that has been lost, destroyed and damaged to be better than it was before. As rescue teams search for casualties, give them foresight. May they be led by your wisdom, and encouraged by your strength and advised by your discernment. There are yet people who are surviving and I pray that the rescue workers would find them in time and revive them. For the lives that will be lost, we pray for immediate comfort to come to the family and friends of the deceased. For those of us who are watching this unfold from the outside, I pray that you would give us hearts of compassion so that we can give out of our surplus to fill the deficit that is widening in Haiti. May we all extend ourselves in any way possible to secure our brothers and sisters in Haiti. And may every prayer regarding this tragedy be heard and responded to in your good time.

In Jesus' Name,

Amen


Prayer taken from Beliefnet.

What it Means to be a True Martyr

Robert Park- to die for Christ is gain. (Image from boston.com)


What does it really mean to be a martyr in this day and age of suicide bombers and terrorist attacks? This very moving story by Claudia Rosett at Forbes.com answers this question beautifully. I first read about this on the Wintery Knight Blog, and I wanted to share an excerpt here:


"This past Christmas Day brought us the stories of two young men, both willing to martyr themselves for their beliefs, but in ways and for visions so utterly different that their tales might serve as a parable for the defining struggles of our time.

One, as you surely know, was the underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a wealthy young Muslim from a prominent Nigerian family. Following his embrace of radical Islam, he tried to sacrifice himself--allegedly--in a botched attempt to sow terror and death by blowing up an American airliner packed with 289 other people, en route to Detroit. Having entered American air space decked out as a suicide bomber, he is now availing himself of U.S. constitutional rights, granted to him by the Obama Administration, to plead not guilty to criminal charges.

The other martyr, in stark contrast, was a 28-year-old Christian missionary, Robert Park. An American of Korean descent, Park offered himself up peacefully, on Christmas Day, for the cause of life and liberty for others. He went to northeast China, and from there walked across the frozen Tumen River into North Korea. Witnesses told reporters that as he went, he called out, in Korean, messages of God’s love, as well as “I am an American citizen.” He took with him a letter to North Korean tyrant Kim Jong-il, asking Kim to open his country and shut down his prison camps.

... Before he crossed that frozen river, he gave an interview to Reuters, asking that it be held until he was in North Korea. In that interview, which Reuters released shortly after he had crossed over, Park spelled out “I do not want to be released. I don’t want President Obama to come and pay to get me out.” What he wanted, he said, is for “the North Korean people to be free. Until the concentration camps are liberated, I do not want to come out. If I have to die with them, I will.” Those were not words of madness, but of passion for good over evil."



What would you be willing to die for?


Friday, January 15, 2010

Where is God in the Haitian Earthquake?

I thought this was a nice response to Pat Robertson's vitriolic comments earlier in the week. This video was created to inspire rather than condemn:

The "Reverend" Pat Robertson Should Be Ashamed

Idiot.

In the wake of Tuesday's horrific earthquake in Haiti, most people around the globe were moved with compassion and sorrow. Sadly, the "Reverend" Pat Robertson, host of the Christian Broadcast Network (CBN) show "700 Club", was moved to ugly when he made the following comment:




Robertson made similarly un-Christian comments after both 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina. I think at this point, The Wrong Rev. is pretty much counted on to say something both offensive and disturbing after every world tragedy.

On CBN's website, a statement was released "clarifying" Robertson's comments.

On today’s The 700 Club, during a segment about the devastation, suffering and humanitarian effort that is needed in Haiti, Dr. Robertson also spoke about Haiti’s history. His comments were based on the widely-discussed 1791 slave rebellion led by Boukman Dutty at Bois Caiman, where the slaves allegedly made a famous pact with the devil in exchange for victory over the French. This history, combined with the horrible state of the country, has led countless scholars and religious figures over the centuries to believe the country is cursed...

Which countless scholars? Did they all attend Jackass Televangelist School with Robertson? I actually know people who believe similarly regarding curses. In a strange way, I can see the appeal of blaming bad stuff that happens in life on some past bad actions, or good things occurring being the result of behaving well. Curses are the flip side of the "favor" coin. But this type of thinking falls apart quickly (at least it should) in reality. Matthew 5:45 says "...for He [God] causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Nature, and life, with all it's good and bad, occurs whether we are good and bad, whether we like it or not. If there is a curse in play, it is the curse of sin that has poisoned even the Earth (Genesis 3:17). Romans 8:20-22 says "Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time." God has promised those who believe new bodies, and a glorious new home. II Peter 3:13 says "But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God's righteousness."

A sound Christian response to those in need is to help, as our Lord commanded us, and I know personally, I'll be donating money to aid the victims of this disaster. To Robertson's credit, his organization is even donating. I encourage all who can, to do likewise. Click here for a link to the Red Cross, which has already raised millions for relief.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Christianity is...



Yikes! These "suggestions" are based on other people's searches...

Friday, January 8, 2010

H&M and Wal-Mart Destroy, Dump Unsold Clothes

As a person who donates my old clothes, and regularly gives money to charity for those in need, I found this story not just wasteful, but sad. From Shine/Yahoo:

"This week the New York Times reported a disheartening story about two of the largest retail chains. You see, instead of taking unsold items to sample sales or donating them to people in need, H&M and Wal-Mart have been throwing them out in giant trash bags. And in the case that someone may stumble on these bags and try to keep or re-sell the items, these companies have gone ahead and slashed up garments, cut off the sleeves of coats, and sliced holes in shoes so they are unwearable.

This unsettling discovery was made by graduate student Cynthia Magnus outside the back entrance of H&M on 35th street in New York City. Just a few doors down, she also found hundreds of Wal-Mart tagged items with holes made in them that were dumped by a contractor. On December 7, she spotted 20 bags of clothing outside of H&M including, "gloves with the fingers cut off, warm socks, cute patent leather Mary Jane school shoes, maybe for fourth graders, with the instep cut up with a scissor, men’s jackets, slashed across the body and the arms. The puffy fiber fill was coming out in big white cotton balls...”

The story closes with a statement from H&M saying they won't allow this to happen again. Good. I hope Wal-Mart decides to do the same.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

That Must Have Been Some Kiss...

Flying the friendly skies? Not so much for travelers stuck at Newark Liberty on Sunday. (Pic from NJ.com)


On Sunday, there was a well-publicized breach of security at Newark Liberty International Airport here in my home state of New Jersey. In the wake of the attempted terrorist attack on a plane to Detroit on Christmas, officials were especially jumpy, and operations came to a halt for SIX hours, while passengers were re-screened. Turns out, the breach was not caused by a demented crazy but a kissy-faced love bird. From the Star-Ledger:


"All it took to breach security at Newark Liberty International Airport on Sunday night, stranding thousands of travelers and entangling flights around the world, was a simple stolen goodbye kiss.

Descriptions by security officials and a lawmaker who saw the long-sought videotape of the breach suggest the breakdown at Terminal C was even more blatant — and to some, more disturbing — than originally thought.

It all started, they said, with a man apparently seeing off a female passenger, trying to get one last kiss from her.

The revelations came as an outraged U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) pressed the Transportation Security Administration to release the tape.

On the tape, the man is seen embracing a woman at the C-1 security checkpoint before she passes through passenger screening, according to people who saw the tape. The man, who was not a passenger, walks past a spot where a TSA security officer should have been stationed to move closer to the woman.

While she holds up a rope — used to keep people who have not been screened from entering the secure area — he passes underneath and they walk hand-in-hand toward the boarding area before disappearing from view, the sources said."

Wow! Who knew one kiss could cause so much trouble? If there is one positive out of this whole mess, it's that at least Jersey can score one for the lovers instead of the fighters, what with our reputation for stereotypical Italian-American mobsters, murders, and yet even more stereotypical Italian-Americans- orange, gelled "guidos and guidettes" who love their alcohol and get in bar fights.

Got to love Jersey.

Ask FAR: Questions About Marriage


He he he. Just kidding. Sort of.



For some reason, people have been asking me questions a lot about marriage in hopes of getting good advice. I don't know how good it was, but I certainly did give advice. I think people see my glasses and believe I am wise, instead of just near-sighted, which I am. But I hope I have gained at least some wisdom and a whole lot of knowledge in my almost 28 years of life, and I don't mind sharing. So here goes!

Q. I have a question. I have a couple of friends who are married, and they refer to marriage as slavery! Lol, but seriously why do so many guys say it's so hard? Is it that impossible? I love my fiance, and we've had a great relationship the past few years. As long as she stays the same, it'll be great... right?

~Soon to be a Groom


A. STBAG, OK, first of all, that's like 3 questions, not one. But that's okay. Let's deal with each part separately. Your married friends are saying marriage is hard because... it's hard! I won't sugar coat it. Is it wonderful? Yes. Is it uplifting? For me, very much so. But marriage is hard because it requires work in order to maintain. It's not like you say your vows and it's all good until death do you part. Like anything with worth in life, you have to put in work. Even inanimate objects like cars require maintenance so they'll keep going.

However, marriage is not impossible. I think people today too often equate hard with impossible, so they'll look for a quick solution. Overweight? Pop a pill, drink a shake or suck the fat out. Want to buy cool stuff but don't want to save? Buy it on credit. Marriage stinks? Get a divorce. But you must remember, with Christ as the head and center of your marriage, all things are possible.

Lastly, I hate to break it to you, but no, your fiance will not perpetually remain the 25 year old you're about to swap vows with. Think about it. Were you the same EXACT person you were at 16? No, thank God. Proper growth requires maturation. What needs to remain is her core values, morals and character, and her commitment to God and you. Change can be good.



Q. My boyfriend and I have been together for a couple of years, and we're talking marriage. We're pretty much engaged, but we don't want to make an announcement because we don't have a lot of money for an engagement party, let alone a wedding. The problem is, as Christians, we've been having problems with the whole no-fornicating thing. We know we're not supposed too, but how are we supposed to abstain if it takes so long just to get married nowadays? We're not living in Bible days, and our families aren't going to pay for a thing. Plus, my boyfriend has a load of school loans to pay off. What are we supposed to do?

~Money-strapped


A. M-s, I have a few questions for you. Are you engaged or not? You wrote "pretty much engaged". What does that even mean? And if you are engaged, why are you referring to him as "boyfriend"? I think you and your... um, boo, need to clarify where exactly your relationship is at. Has he actually proposed? Do you have a ring? You don't have to make a formal announcement, complete with space in the paper to get engaged- you do know that, right? Nor do you need to have an engagement party. These things are nice, but not requirements. And this might be shocking to you, especially in this culture of Bridezillas and Platinum Weddings, but you don't need a big wedding, either. A wedding does not make a marriage. Let me ask you another question. What do you REALLY want, a wedding or a marriage?

I hate to say this, but you sound like your priorities are out of whack. You're worried about a public show while privately, you two are sinning, stepping out of God's will. I advise you to stop and evaluate your heart, asking for God's guidance. Tell your... um, honey, to do the same, apart from you. Then come together and share. Ahem, and by come together, I mean just to meet up. You two need to stop the sex, which won't be easy. Do you have a Godly woman you can turn to for accountability? Does he have a Godly man as a mentor? Also, if you two, after prayer and evaluation, decide to marry, I strongly suggest pre-marital counseling. Marriage is hard, as I told STBAG, and you two will need help. If you think you've got money concerns now, just wait until you jump the broom.


Do you need advice and for some reason want to ask a four-eyed chick with no training in counseling? Email me at alishadefreitas@gmail.com.

Mariah Scary: Drinking + Acceptance Speech= Yikes!

It's January, the start of a new year and a new decade. It's also the start of Award Season, with musicians, singers and actors getting geared up to receive accolades for (supposedly) stellar work. Unfortunately, things have gotten off to a bumpy start, as evidenced by Mariah Carey's drunken acceptance "speech" (I'm putting that in quotes because there wasn't too much speaking going on, but there was a whole lot of drunk) on Tuesday night at the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards.




Let me set the record straight- I am not a Mariah hater. I once loved her so much her Butterfly album cover hung above my bed. I still think she has a wonderful voice. I also know we're all human, and mistakes (like unexpected intoxication after throwing back too much wine??) can happen. But... I am sick and tired of the drunken/intoxicated/high sloppy mess in public performance by celebs. We can go back to '95 to see professional hot mess Courtney Love get into a weird catfight with Madonna at the VMAs thanks to inebriation. Anna Nicole Smith infamously slurred through an introduction of Kanye West a few years before dying of an overdose. And speaking of Kanye, we all know about his infamous interruption at the VMAs in September after gulping down some liquor on the red carpet on his way into the event.

So, to anyone nominated for a Golden Globe, Grammy or Oscar- please skip the booze. At least until the closing credits roll. Thanks.

Monday, January 4, 2010

"Love", Polyamory Style

Uh, no. More like lust multiplied. Love perverted.


Eww. Just eww. According to the Boston Globe, there are hundreds of Bostonians who are polyamorous, which to me means these folks want their cake and to eat it, too. And then some brownies, ice cream, cookies and maybe a little flan, why not? From the story:

"Jay Sekora isn’t actively looking for an additional relationship, but he admits to occasionally checking a dating site to see who’s out there. Sekora’s girlfriend, Mare, who does not want her last name used here for professional reasons, said she is not pursuing anyone, either, but is “open and welcoming to what might come along.” In the three-plus years they have been together, a few other people have come along, like the woman whom Sekora, a 43-year-old systems administrator from Quincy, met online and dated briefly until she moved away. There was also a male-male couple that Mare and Sekora, who identifies as bisexual, dated for several months as a couple. Other than that, it has been the two of them. Well, sort of.

Through the lens of monogamy, this love connection may appear distorted, but that’s not how Sekora and Mare, who is 45, describe their lifestyle. Adherents call it responsible non-monogamy or polyamory, and the nontraditional practice is creeping out of the closet, making gay marriage feel somewhat last decade here in Massachusetts. What literally translates to “loving many,” polyamory (or poly, for short), a term coined around 1990, refers to consensual, romantic love with more than one person. Framing it in broad terms, Sekora, one of the three founders and acting administrator of the 500-person-strong group Poly Boston, says: “There’s monogamy where two people are exclusive. There’s cheating in which people are lying about being exclusive. And poly is everything else.”

Everything else with guidelines, that is, although those vary according to the agreed-upon needs and desires of the people in the relationships. After all, this isn’t swinging, in which a couple seeks out recreational sex. This isn’t even the free love of the ’60s and ’70s, characterized by psychedelic love-ins. And despite the shared “poly” prefix, this certainly isn’t the patriarchal, man-with-many-wives polygamy that has earned increased public attention with the HBO show Big Love. Polyamory has a decidedly feminist, free-spirited flavor, and these are real relationships with the full array of benefits and complexities -- plus a few more -- as the members of Poly Boston’s hypercommunicative, often erudite, and well-entwined community will explain.

“With affairs, you get sex. With polyamory, you get breakfast,” says Cambridge sex therapist Gina Ogden, citing a well-known poly saying."

Hmm, breakfast and probably some STDs. Check out the video below for interviews with participants in this lifestyle.

Making a old trashed retro room,well retro... and umm not trashed.~ By Joseph Flemming

Alas, as a Cablevision subscriber, since the 1st, I no longer have HGTV. But thanks to my brother, Joe, I can get my home improvement fix with this guest blog. Hurray! Enjoy!

~Alisha




Making a old trashed retro room,well retro... and umm not trashed.

Funky 70'S Red tiling had seen better days, oh well scrape away.

Inspired by HGTV and a plethora of home improvement shows I decided to renovate my living space, and blog about it. Is the "do it yourself" method we see on these home improvement shows really as simple as they make it seem?


Ok so lets get right down to business; this floor comes directly from the 70's. Covering the Funky red Tiling was some equally "out of sight" puke green shag carpeting. Alas the carpet gave up the ghost years ago and the degrading red tile was all that was left.

When starting this project I considered three things: cost, time and existing materials. There is a LOT of work to be done all over this house (trust me on that.. you'll see)
I tried to ensure everything was even and leveled.

I digressed; So we will keep the wood paneled walls, find a floor to match for a totally retro look. (Scraping all of the old tile and thinnest mortar up with a scraping tool sucked though)
Almost all done,...finally

The BEDroom
With the final pieces of the floor done, it's time to build the bed.

To be honest the bed is freaking huge..really it takes up the whole room a little on the large side; and will pretty much take up the whole room, but the bed is so comfortable. (memory foam mattress)







Frame complete, almost done...(this crap is heavy!!) the bed is from BoConcept a great Danish furniture company. you can take a look here

Not fun.

Pulling Slats taut and drilling them down at the same time by yourself is a pain in the @ss.
why don't they ever give you enough of these?

Construction came to a halt for a day because these little tiny cam lock "bullets" went missing - lucky I found some extra ones.
Uhh oh, because this assembly was suppose to be a two person job we got some scratches on the veneer, hey it happens.. lets fix it.
Unfortunately a couple nicks in the veneer like this happens when moving or assembling furniture. there is a fix.

I use old fashion hard putty Fill sticks and then use a clear coat finisher. This involves liquefying the putty stick and over filling the desired area, and then leveling off the putty with a plastic edge (credit card works great here) a piece of cardboard to "sand" it for texture and blending and a clear finish.
Note:if you would like to repair your furniture sans heat & fire I recommend MOHAWK's family of furniture repair products;get them HERE
**caution light only the fill wax, not your hand**
Using a plastic edge carefully level off excess product.
"sand" product to match existing wood veneer; use a tone finish if needed.

Sweet Slumber awaits.

Well, that's it for the Floor and bed. Next up Installing floating shelves, a wall mounted bookcase, how to make a double window out of a single, and prepping the living room space for paint.
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