Faith, Reflections

My Anniversary

It’s hard to believe that one year ago today, I had a large tumor removed from my leg. I had no idea then what the next several months would bring. What started out as routine, ended up being more extensive than I could have imagined. It took months to heal and even though the internal healing is complete, I will have a scar to remind me for the remainder of my days of the lessons that I needed to learn.

In those weeks, I learned how to accept and appreciate support from others, but also disappointment. The very people that I thought would have come to my side at a very vulnerable time in my life, did not. And the very people, who had no reason to, did.

That is the funny thing about loss, no matter what it is, surgery or death. Love and support comes from the most unexpected places to fill your cup. They are those angels that come and minister to you without saying a word. They just flutter about doing, because they know that you would never ask.

Behind the scenes they make sure that you are fed and comforted. They make arrangements for your beloved children. They send cards, they call. They ask about you. Sometimes they just sit and listen to you go on and on without judgement. And sometimes, they catch you before you hit the floor.

Were it not for the angels near and far, that chose to love on me when my pride would not permit me to ask for help, though, I very much needed it, I would not have fared as well as I did; my heart is grateful. I am grateful that they ignored my foolishness and did the work that needed to be done.

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

One year post my surgery
Belief, Faith, Family, Friendship

Tiny Little Miracles

It’s hard to believe that we have been here for three weeks. So much has happened in such a short time that it’s impossible to not see God’s hand in this move. We have visited three churches of Christ, since we have been here and have already made good friends. Through these friendships, we have been able to connect with the homeschooling community. Emily is enrolled in piano, will start tennis lessons after Labor Day and will also get to participate in Fall planting at my sister in Christ’s home next month. Needless the say, as I sit here typing out this post, tears are streaming down my face as I reflect on how good God is and has been since we made this move. Though it was extremely hard in the preparation, I am appreciative that Huntsville, is woven into our journey to heaven.

Today has been busy, following worship this morning, we were invited to the home of a family from church for lunch. Not only was the meal delicious, but everything on our plates came from their backyard. Even the kombucha that was served with our meal was homemade. The meal was followed by a tour of their homestead, and if that was not enough, they gifted us with more wonderful vegetables to take home. The one surprise at lunch was the rabbit. I’ve always been hesitant about eating rabbit, but decided today that I would expand my horizons. So, I ate it with gratitude and to my surprise it was quite tasty.

If I had to put a cap on my day, it was that I was able to leave my daughter at the church building this evening after Bible study for her first youth event. She had a great time and made some new friends. She was the primary driver for this move, because I wanted to have her surrounded by other children her age, growing in Christ. God has taken us from isolated to invited and welcomed.

With all of this wonderful happening to us, my heart still aches because Ethan is not here with us to experience this too. In fact, I feel guilty that we are able to live this life without him. It seems so unfair. In fact, I still can’t comprehend that my life is so radically different now. That God would have me go on without my heartbeat, my precious boy. It still hurts so deeply.

Though, I don’t understand, I will cling to my Lord and Savior, trusting that one day I will see Ethan again as he should have always been, whole and well.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15&16

In Christine love,

AngelaChristine

Belief, Faith, Family

Sweet Home Alabama

There is so much to share that I don’t even know where to begin. My daughter and I embarked upon a journey that relocated us from the state that we had grown to call home to a place that seemed so foreign when God placed it on my heart. Probably like many of the early Americans when they left family to travel out west to set up a new homestead.

But here it’s different or maybe I am different. I am different. Or perhaps, it’s the relatability or the way we were welcomed into church on Sunday as though they had been waiting for us to arrive. Or maybe it’s just the door that opened because He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. Whatever that, it is, I am grateful that we can now call, Alabama our home. ❤️

Being a native of North Carolina, I would never have thought I could live in Alabama. Truth be told I felt the same way about Georgia.

Thank you, Alabama for welcoming us with open arms.

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Faith, Grief

It Comes in Waves

What do you call a mother who loses her child when he is eleven years old? Is she a widow like when her husband dies? Is there even a name to represent her heart being pulled from her chest, like a heart attack that is associated with cardiovascular disease? There should be a name to call a woman who loses her child without warning or explanation. Maybe I’ll be the first to wear that name. I am after all a grieving mother and will likely be known by that until the day I die.

Most days, I wake up and do all of the things. But then there are moments when I see his lifeless body in my mind and I want to scream and cry and beg for it to not be real. Oh and then there are the times, when a friend will just simply ask, “how are you doing”, and the tears just start rolling down my cheeks before I even say a word. I know that people understand and they give me grace. But for some reason, I find it hard to give it to myself.

Since my dear Ethan’s passing in February, I’ve had time to sit with grief and ask why him he has been my companion for so many years. Why it seems, he follows me everywhere. Is there a lesson that I haven’t learned? Or have I not humbled myself enough? I wish I knew how to shake him or to travel a different route where he can’t find me. But somehow I don’t believe that is even possible. As soon as I let my guard down he takes someone that I love and need in my life.

My neighbor recently asked me if I thought I might date or find love again. My response, “probably not.” I reminded him that as a special needs parent, I wasn’t planning to get involved with anyone in that sense because my life was devoted to being Ethan’s mom, his person. I was prepared to take care of him. I am not prepared for someone to take care of me or for anyone to take up that much space in my life. That idea is so foreign to me at this point, that I don’t even entertain it.

What’s so interesting, is that being divorced didn’t and doesn’t feel like a loss. Losing my nana, my mother and my Ethan were losses, abandonment really and that is a visceral hurt that is indescribable. Those are the losses that make me question and wonder why I am still here. But grief won’t answer me, he just follows me and stares when I tell him to leave.

I guess this is the time where I have to accept what is and to be content with raising my daughter. She needs me and wants me to be the all in mom that she didn’t have for several years. So, that mom is who I will be because she needs me to be her.

In Christian Love,

AngelaChristine

Grief covered with a smile

Grief

Lonely

I am lonely. There I said it. Not in the way that most people would think. I am lonely in the sense that the one constant that anchored me, my son is no longer here. I feel like a boat with no real direction or a place that I should be. No real sense of belonging.

Before I knew that Ethan he was a he, I knew that I was pregnant with a boy, I knew he was my son. I had dreams of all the things he would do and would eventually become and I was grateful. I was grateful that once again, I would be a mother. Two children to love and nurture. That would be a blessed life.

Even when he received a diagnosis of autism and later, epilepsy and PANDAS, and my dreams changed for him, I still knew that he would be here and whatever he would need, I’d in some way be able to provide. That’s part of a being a mother, right? I mean it never would have occurred to me that I was only meant to be his mom for a short time instead of a lifetime.

Most days I am fine since his death. But lately, I find myself sobbing before I drift off to sleep each night. I know that God is with me and He sees me. I am comforted daily by His loving hands, but it is in those moments that I miss Ethan the most. I miss his hugs, I miss his smiles, I miss his innocence and his unconditional love. I miss my boy, my only son. I miss being his person and holding his hand. I miss talking to him, though he could not talk back. I just miss him.

This is my new normal. This is my normal and what I must accept for the sake of my daughter. She missed so much of me when her brother was here and has grown up so much; but she still needs me. She needs me to teach her all of the things that I thought she would just pick up because I told her or showed her one or two times. Turns out she needed me too, she just didn’t ask because she knew that Ethan needed me more.

While I don’t understand, why Ethan had to go or why I still have to navigate my life without him, I will accept and be assured that Ethan is with God and is waiting for me to be reunited with him one day. That is my hope.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

Thank you Lord for allowing me to be Ethan’s mom for eleven years. I will always be grateful.

Always in Christ,

AngelaChristine

The three of us
Belief, Faith, Family, Holidays

Why I No Longer Celebrate Christmas

I’m sure that this post will come as a bit of a shock for most people who know me personally as well as those who read this blog, I will no longer be celebrating the holiday known as Christmas. My reasons are simple, there are no scriptural references to this holiday and two it is rooted in idolatry and not the gospel. Christmas was first celebrated in 336 AD, three hundred and three years after the church of Christ was established in Jerusalem. https://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/301-600/the-1st-recorded-celebration-of-christmas-11629658.html

Sure, I celebrated Christmas as a child with my family. I have the fondest memories of Nana(my mother’s mother) coming over first thing in the morning to open gifts and have breakfast with us. I remember waking up before the sun came up just to see what was under the tree for me and to make sure that my brothers didn’t receive more than I did. Oh and of course there was Christmas dinner at my other grandmother’s house every Christmas evening, until we moved to Florida. So many beautiful memories are tied to that holiday. But when I shifted from child to adult, the real celebration was my mother’s birthday. She was actually born on December 25.

It’s been thirteen years since her death and the idea of celebrating another commercial holiday without her is just not something I am looking forward to. If you’ve read this far, you’re probably saying to yourself, what about your children, don’t you want to make the holiday special for them? Of course I would, but what made this holiday special for me and for others is the joy of family. They don’t have that. There is no family nearby to celebrate with. Not even close friends. There are no gifts from their grandfather, uncles or cousins to put under the tree. It is once again just us.

If I were to decorate the tree and plan out the day, the only people that would be present would be just us three. There will no gifts or invitations to celebrate the day. Always us. While I could create traditions of our own, what would be the point? Their only memories of the day they don’t have to celebrate would be of their mom stretching herself and running herself ragged just to place a few gifts under the tree. What would be different then about that day than any other day of the year?

So yes, we will create a new tradition and that it will always include spending time together, traveling and perhaps doing something that we have not done previously. It might even be a day of watching family movies and cooking and eating family meals that we prepared together. But it will not be spending like crazy on a day that has absolutely nothing to do with my salvation or theirs.

I will never criticize anyone for celebrating Christmas, because it is certainly a personal choice. But as for us, we will abstain and do something else. We will rejoice and be glad that Jesus came to earth and died on the cross for our sins and rose from the grave so that we might have salvation. And that is worth celebrating!

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Belief, Faith, Family, Mindset

Long Overdue

Joy in the Lord

It occurred to me that I haven’t written in quite some time. Not because I can’t but because I haven’t nurtured this space as I have needed to do. In this season of busyness, it was important for me to sit down for a few moment to capture a few thoughts, particularly around the topic of consistency.

Two weeks ago, I made the conscious decision to walk away from my 23 year career, well actually almost 24 years in the pharmaceutical industry. There are several reasons, the primary one being what is happening in the world today. It has been quite painful to watch regulations not be followed, people not receiving full informed consent and governments across the world manipulating its citizens to take a medical intervention that they do not want. This has been excruciatingly painful to see. And let’s not even forget about trying to open the eyes of the people I love and care about to these crimes. It has been utterly heartbreaking.

But to my original point about being consistent in all things. Consistency in my walk with Jesus, growing my faith, pouring into my business with godly intention and raising up my children to love the Lord will all of their very beings, is what I can do. And one important piece of that is writing this blog. So, while I may touch on different topics or ideas, my heart is always to serve and it is my prayer that what I put out into this world serves.

In my opinion, there is no greater gift that I can give than to serve in love.

In Christ,

AngelaChristine

American, Belief, Faith, Family, Parenting

Stand In Faith For Your Posterity

Children Playing

As a Christian, we know that this world is not our home, but in America we have now reached a place where Christians are no longer respected but are ridiculed. In some cases, downright hostile to the point of shuttering churches and organizations that reflect our faith.

We cannot even send our children to the government schools without worrying about what they will be exposed to in the curriculum. Then there is the issue of bodily autonomy. The government schools believe that if your child is there, they must be accepting of whatever is taught, passed or mandated. No! Morals and values should be taught at home.

This is not the America that I grew up in. My childhood is filled with memories of parents, teaching and taking their children to church. Teaching them about God and how to live a life for Christ. With many of the teachers holding similar ideals. Though, I am now an advocate for homeschooling and believe it is ideal, I know that for some parents that is a nearly impossible undertaking due to work, life and finances.

So, I suggest this, create the community amongst the people whom you share the same ideals/values, and create the learning environment that you want for your children.

Now is the time to stop asking, mother may I and begin to establish the communities across the country that will best suit your children now and for years to come.

They are your children, given to you by God our Creator to glorify Him in this world. You do not need the government’s permission to parent and raise your children. But you do need, God.

Stand in faith for your posterity (children).

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Cooking, Family, Health Bites

Butternut Squash Soup

October 13, 2021

Growing up, I was blessed to have two grandmothers, who not only cooked but cooked well. I can’t say for certain that I inherited my ability to cook from them, but I’d like to think that their culinary skills did rub off on me just a little bit. Only sharpened by the necessity of cooking for a special needs kid and my own autoimmunity.

As the weather cools, I feel more inclined to cook heartier meals that reflect the produce of the season. So, tonight I took all of the butternut squash that I had in the freezer and combined it with leftover rotisserie chicken along with the aromatics of garlic,yellow onions, celery and carrots in the Instant Pot. In addition to the salt and pepper, I added organic poultry seasoning to amp up the flavor. And to add depth to the chicken broth, I squeezed fresh lemon juice into the broth before sealing the pressure cooker.

Shazam! That soup turned out to be a flavor explosion in the mouth. As I ladled all three bowls it occurred to me that in addition to the fresh parsley, I should a little more fresh lemon juice to each bowl. It was delicious! My only regret was that I didn’t prepare a gluten free bread to accompany the soup.

Though I didn’t follow a recipe nor did I write down the steps I followed to make the soup, it was made with love and it was wholesome. In my very humble opinion, I believe that love is the main or primary ingredient for cooking. Without it, anything you make falls flat.

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

American, Belief, Faith, Family, Freedom

Love Thy Neighbor

It is not my responsibility to save you, only Jesus saves. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. It is not my responsibility to spoon feed you all of the data and research that I have spent countless hours doing, but I do it because I love you. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself, there is no greater commandment than these.” Mark 12:31. It is not my responsibility to show you the beauty of our Constitutional Republic, only you can pick up a copy of our Declaration of Independence and read it. “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

It is not responsibility to make you believe that God loves you and sent his one and only son for your salvation. ” For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. It is not my responsibility to make you understand that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” I Corinthians 6:19&20

It is my responsibility to share the good news as Christ commanded over 2000 years ago. But acceptance is up to you. ” All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always.” Matthew 28:18-20.

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Love the Neighbor