Friday, September 6, 2013

Jesus, the disciples and the dirty heaux. my thoughts on John 4 (part 1)

these past 2 months, i've been studying the book of john (i'm still there). somehow, i was stuck on  john 4 for half of that time. this chapter has so much truth that's kicking my butt heart right now. here are some nuggets i got while reading this chapter. for this post, i will concentrate on the dirty heaux woman at the well:

  • give people grace - this woman was diiiiirty. she was an adulteress. she had 5 husbands and at that moment was sleeping with a man that wasn't her husband. uhhhmm.. yeah. she was pretty much a slut. most people shunned away from her and judged her. most people did not even want to be associated with her. Jesus treated her like a human being. He spoke to the very need of her heart. He told her what every human being longs to hear: that no matter how sinful and dirty she was, Jesus knew her and He loved her. Jesus showed her grace. because Jesus did that to her, we must do the same for others.

  • meet people's needs - when Jesus talked to the woman at the well, He was able to validate her in a way that changed the woman's life. He was able to meet her needs in every aspect of her life. He met her need by doing one simple thing: talking and listening to her. because of their conversation, she had the revelation that He was the Messiah. sometimes meeting people's needs requires for us to do really simple things. the simplest gesture Jesus did was to start a conversation with her. most of the time, people just need someone to talk to, someone who will listen to them. don't be afraid to start conversations with people. everyone has a personal story to tell and you'll never know just who might need a friend to talk to.

  • don't be afraid to speak the truth - Jesus knew that this woman was sinful. Jesus approached her in a loving and gentle way, meeting her need and validating her, but He didn't stop there. He challenged her to live a completely different lifestyle.

    this woman was thiiiiirsty (click the word if you don't know what that means). her soul was so parched and she was trying to get her fill of love by giving her heart and her body to any man she met. He challenged her to receive Him, instead of trying to get her fill from men and sex. basically He was telling her to "quit her thirstiness", He invited her to receive from The Living Water, and live a life fully devoted to follow His teachings, instead of satisfying her needs with her own idols. (and that could be anything: sex, men, food, fame, power, addiction, people pleasing, etc) He invited her to live a lifestyle of Lordship, making Jesus her Master. when reaching out to others, it isn't enough to show grace and meet their need....we must invite people to live a lifestyle of Lordship. we are to tell others to follow and obey God's commands and the best way to do that is to live a life showing them what that looks like.

  • never discount anyone - again this woman slept around. a LOT. the fact that Jesus was talking to her was already taboo. but Jesus saw beyond the sin and spoke straight to her heart...and because of that, she changed and a whole town came to know Christ because of her testimony. don't limit reaching out and evangelizing to those who you think will fit the cookie cutter mold. God can transform and use anyone. case in point: ME.

    that was me a loooong time ago. i was tagged on this pic yesterday for #tbt. i mean check out my hair. my clothes. my countenance. i looked like i was MAD. i didn't even look like i was happy. to read more of my testimony you can click here and here. as you can see, i was not an easy person to reach out to. but someone decided to get to know me for me and introduce me to Christ. those people were not afraid to speak truth into my life and they challenged me to live a life of Lordship,a lifestyle fully committed to follow God.

    because of that my life was transformed. now, 13 years after, God is using me as a missionary to spread the gospel and make disciples everywhere i go (just like that woman). i'll say it again - GOD CAN CHANGE AND TRANSFORM AND USE ANYONE!

.......more on the disciples and their stupidity on the next post.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

out of the overflow of your heart, your FB statuses, tweets, and words speak #dailysoulfood

"but i will HOPE continually, and will PRAISE You yet more and more" [psalm 71:14]  "for out of the overflow of our hearts, the mouth speaks" [luke 6:45]

i will HOPE continually. i will PRAISE more and more.

i look at this verse and it's challenging me to the core. it's such a simple verse, yet it's piercing my heart. as i was reading this, i asked myself the question, "do i hope continually? and do i praise more and more?"

or are there moments when i find myself becoming hopeless and ungrateful.? an ungrateful heart is one that finds no reason to praise.

i WILL hope and praise.... 

the psalmist commanded his soul to hope and to praise. so shall i do mine. no matter the circumstances. no matter the surroundings. no matter the situation at hand. no matter how people around me piss me off or irritate me. no matter how much money (or lack thereof) i see in the bank.

i will hope continuously and praise MORE AND MORE.

more and more...does my life express fresh praise? what new testimony am i declaring that is giving glory to my King? has my praise become stale? am i continuing to look for creative ways to express how thankful and grateful i am to my Lord who has saved me and done great things for me? creative ways like declaring his works to others, sharing the gospel to other people, choosing to let positive and thankful things come out of my mouth instead of grumbling and complaining and gossiping.

because out of the OVERFLOW of my heart, my mouth speaks [luke 6:45]

out of the overflow of my heart... my mouth [via facebook status, my twitter updates, my instagram posts, the tone of voice i use to talk to my loved ones] speaks.


i wonder....what are others hearing that is overflowing from my heart when i open my mouth?

Dear God, help me to continously put my hope in You and not in circumstances, man, or others idols. help me sing your praises more and more. Gently nudge my heart to find reasons to sing your praise, especially in the midst of circumstances or confusion or irritation or fear. help my mouth overflow with good and positive things, filled with praise and hope. You are my reason to sing and to worship and i thank you that you are the Rock in whom i can  put my hope on. I praise you for your unending love and your grace in my life. Amen.

what are others hearing from your mouth when you speak?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

i live for days like this.

We had such a fun family day today! Haven't been able to sit still much coz this past week was a BUSY week... So I'm glad we had a day to REST and just BE with family.

Got to sit and quiet my soul this morning while everyone was still asleep. Journaled and spent time reading the Word, praying and challenging myself to continue to dream even bigger dreams for God to accomplish in and through my life and my family's life. 

After spending time in the Word, we played "tourist" and went to the north shore to visit John's old stomping grounds. We ate garlic and butter shrimp at Macky's Shrimp Truck.

This shrimp plate lunch is to-die-for. The hubs like this place better than other shrimp trucks. I've only tried 3 other trucks and this is the one I like best too. Last time we were here was last September, so we were overdue for this cholesteroly goodness.

Then we went to the Dole Plantation. Karielle got to see where her dad grew up and where her grandma used to work (at the shops in Dole Plantation). It's was a hot day today so even if i was super-stuffed with buttered-garlick-shrimp, i STILL had to have a LiHing pineapple softserve. Talk about #fattystatus. Meanwhile, the son ran around the 2+ mile maze. That is why he is skinny and this is why I weigh the amount that I do.

All in all, it was a beautiful day! My tummy and my heart are full. And to top it all off, tonight, I meet with the ladies in our small group :)


Friday, July 12, 2013

what the heck happened to me?

last week, I had a conversation with my friend about how I used to "love journalling and writing". the conversation came about because i had a book of mine in my hand that i was going to lend to another friend. the book was about being in the wilderness.

inside the book, i had a gajillion notes written on the margins.  i read the words i scribbled.... words that echoed once in my heart.... i could still feel the raw emotions i felt 6 years ago when i penned those words....

after reading the notes, i thought to myself.... "wow, I used to write and journal with such a passion.... what the heck happened to me?"

it's been a week since that conversation happened and I'm still pondering over that question.... 

What happened to me?
What happened to the old me that used to love to express my thoughts in words and pictures?

this blog was once filled with my heart poured out in words as i wrestled through the wilderness season of my life....

this blog was once filled with things i was passionate about...

like being a voice for anti-human trafficking and anti-abuse.
spreading the gospel.
feeding the homeless.
volunteering for different organizations.
helping other women find their dreams and challenging them to run after it.

this blog was once filled with the beautiful journey as a single mom, telling stories of the highs and lows of me and my son's life.

this blog documented my life and the amazing things God was doing in and through me and my family

not that I don't do those things or feel that way anymore fact i think the things are happening in my life right now are showing God's glory and miracle in my life even at a greater capacity...

but somehow the writing stopped.

in the midst of getting married.
working at church. meeting with people. telling others about God.
having a brand new baby who demands my constant attention.
cleaning, cooking, cleaning again, folding laundry, etc etc.

i made excuses like "im too busy" or "I have no time to write".

I even said things like "blogging is dead", "only those that blog are the ones who make money off of it",  "who needs to write, everyone and their mom seems to be writing a book these days... what do I have to say that's different from them? "

i even used "writer's block" as an if I'm really a freakin' writer....helllluuuuuur Patricia.... get your ass out of the clouds and back to reality....

honestly....i don't even journal my devotion thoughts nor do I do s.o.a.p., s.p.a. or any kind of writing anymore.

the reality is....

i became too lazy to write and journal..... (truth be told, i was definitely busier when I was a single mom.) in that process of laziness and busy-ness.... I somehow lost a part of me. The ability to express was taken away....

That's when I realized that writing and journaling was more for me than for others.

i didn't write to get noticed or be heard...(obviously, coz my grammar is so not the business). i wrote on this blog and in my journals because my heart needed an outlet. My heart needs a space to tell stories or vent, to blab, to cry, to celebrate and rejoice.

my heart needs this. I need this. 

i'm hoping that this recent epiphany will give me enough reason to follow through with journaling my devotions. This time around, I hope to allow myself the time to sit and be vulnerable to share my heart in words once again.

I hope that as I take time to journal and write and create, I will find that part of myself that i feel like i lost...coz i need that part of me back.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Impromptu Date Night and being thankful God doesnt always listen to our foolishness.

My husband and I schedule Monday nights as our date night. (Yes, we actually schedule our date nights coz I personally believe that if something isn't scheduled in a calendar, then that event must not be a priority). We have impromptu date nights from time to time but we work hard to keep  some time on Mondays free for us to spend quality time with each other. 

This past Monday though, we had high school camp going on and I wanted to be there and support the next generation by praying for them. He encouraged me go, even if he wanted to spend time with me coz he had a very busy week last week. 

Needless to say, we didnt have our "Mondate" (Monday Date) and my son got sick with a fever, so going out wasn't an option for us this week.

Last night, he surprised me with an impromptu date night by setting up our patio with candles and gourmet dessert and drinks (aka chocolates, brownie brittle and water) ;) And we spent about 2 hours in our patio just talking about us, our family and other random stuff. 

The best thing about this date is that we didn't have to leave home or spend money for food or find a babysitter. Here in Hawaii, we don't have much options to leave the baby with "free" sitters coz the grandparents and almost all our family live in the mainland...which means we take her with us every Mondate.

Tonight, my son cooperated with his dad's plan (even if he wasn't feeling well) and kept himself busy by watching TV and being our "lookout" in case his sister woke up or cried. This has been our first date in 3 months that she wasn't "with" us. 

It's the little surprises like these that make my heart smile and realize how truly blessed I am to have a husband that continues to surprise me, even with the simplest of things. 

Tonight also reminded me to continue to be thankful to God, coz I remember when I was so adamant about not ever wanting to get married and I wanted to be a single mom for life

As I sat on the patio chair looking at the flickering light, my heart paused to worship God in that moment as I spent time with my husband. I'm grateful that He has allowed me the privilege to live this life with John by my side.

I'm glad that God always knows better, and sometimes that could mean not answering prayers the way we want Him to.... only because He has a way better plan than we do. Had God chosen to answer my prayers about remaining single and not ever wanting to get married, I would have missed out on something soooo wonderful. 

Tonight was one of those nights that reminded me once again that He truly does make everything beautiful in His time. 

By the way, if you haven't tried brownie brittles, you are seriously missing out. Stop reading this. GO TO COSTCO and buy it ASAP! You can thank me later :) 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Our constant in the midst of crazy. - @jcravalho1

Because of you, we see and comprehend another facet of God's love for us. 

You are a father to the fatherless, a gentle warrior, a humble leader. You are a wisdom-giver, a listener, a provider and protector. 

You are our constant and stable in the midst of crazy (us being the crazies)! Sorry if we drive you insane and dont put things back in proper places. LOL! 

Happy Father's Day @jcravalho1 We love you more than you love us! 

Friday, May 31, 2013

the grass is greener. #dailysoulfood

"Lot..saw it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom) like the garden of The Lord, like the land of Egypt. Then Lot chose for himself the plain of Jordan...and pitched his tent near Sodom" - Genesis 13

be careful when setting ur eyes on grass that "seems" greener elsewhere. Lot set his eyes on a "supposedly greener" pasture and set his tent near sodom....  

ultimately, that decision became the worst decision of his life. he ended up living not just near sodom, but IN sodom. he lost all his possessions, his friends and his wife... and his daughters and him barely made it out alive. all that because he set his eyes on things that he thought was good to him for the moment, instead of thinking about long term consequences.

daily soul food: the grass isnt always greener on the other let's not set our eyes on trials, circumstances, problems and even good things like "dreams" or what seems to be greener pasture elsewhere.... let's not be stupid like Lot. 

instead let's fix our eyes on Jesus, the Living Water... He is after all the author and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)

Friday, May 24, 2013

when real life gets in the way of dreams.

"don't you hate when real life gets in the way of our virtual one?" - my friend, kristin tweeted that to me a couple of days ago...

and that's exactly what has been happening to this blog.




the silence on this blog is exactly opposite of what has been happening with my life. this is the first time in almost 3 months that i am sitting in a coffee shop by myself with NO KIDS. NO HUSBAND. NO FRIENDS. 

it's just me. myself. and i. and it is quite refreshing.

in between the last post i wrote back in january (i know...what a slacker huh?) and now, i have been hella busy. i got into a car accident which left me and my husband slightly injured...aaaand i gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. all the while trying to maintain the things that i have already been doing.

OVERFLOW was my #oneword365 for the year... and it truly is overflowing. the blessings have been good. very good.

yet in times of must know the priorities to focus on.

and there has been a wrestling in my soul. it's almost like a fight inside of me to know the right priorities and to know which desires and dreams to die to in this season.

it's been painful trying to decipher which things should be put on the back burner for now and which ones God has thrust onto the front burner of my life. one of those things i am wrestling with is this writing thing. i LOVE pouring out my heart onto this blog and sharing the journey God has and is bringing me through and to but i haven't really been a good steward of it.

for a season, i was considering shutting this blog down (but decided not to for now). the only reason this blog still gets hits is coz of those stupid a** spamcommenters. the thought not writing breaks my heart. i have been writing (on xanga and on this blog) since 2004-05. i took the time to build relationships with readers and network to make new friends in the bloggosphere. and suddenly, it. all. stopped.

for seasons of my life, i really believed (and still do) that i would be able to write a book and speak to women.  i don't really have a desire to become this big shot author/speaker. i just want to write and speak and share my journey to others in hope that they fall in love my God because of my stories. i used this blog as an avenue to proclaim His praises and share stories of the beautiful miracles that God has done in my life.

but having extra time to write isn't a commodity that i have right now. not especially with my newborn (well, she's 10 weeks old). sooooo writing...and running after my dream to speak and encourage women, it seems is once again being laid down in the altar. and i am having to die to those dreams once again.

and it freakin' sucks
it's painful to do so.

God truly has "crowned the year with bountiful harvest. even the hard pathways overflow with abundance" - psalm 65:11. there has been an overflow of blessings. being a mom to my baby girl and my almost teenage boy and supporting my husband is my major role for this season. my family is my greatest treasure and they are my top priority. that, making disciples and spending the little extra time i have with friends and doing what i can to help this church -  i know these are on the top lists of priorities. chasing after the dream of writing will have to take back seat for now. which means the blog will be updated sparsely. and that means networking and connecting and encouraging other writers/bloggers and reading their work is also something i cannot do a lot for now.

dying after personal dreams sucks. but i know that in due season (hopefully sooner than later) God will resurrect them....

maybe choosing to die to this for now will produce even more harvest as i choose to sow into the lives of the next generation (starting in my own home) and to the lives of others. i sure hope so anyway.

"unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. but if it dies, it produces many seeds" - john 12:24

Monday, January 28, 2013

pregnant with a baby... and giving birth to dreams.

5 years ago, i wrote a blog post called pregnant with dreams. I came back to that blog post and read it again recently, smiling to myself and shaking my head at how it was probably a mix of faith in a big God + partly my naïveté that has given me the tenacity to believe for big things despite the challenges that came my way. i was also amused when i counted back at how long ago it's been since God had first conceived those dream in me....coz it pretty much took 11 years of being pregnant with that dream and im now only getting to enjoy the fruit of it.

speaking of being el preggo, i have been a human baby making machine/incubator for 33 weeks now. only 6 more weeks till we get to meet this baby girl who is already rocking our world with PINK! anywhoo.....i found myself complaining to telling my husband how uncomfortable this last trimester has become.. i mean, dont get me wrong....being pregnant with life growing in the inside of me is wonderful and exciting and i wouldn't trade it for anything else.... but it also comes with pain and stretching. aside from the weight gain, there's bleeding gums, flatulence, incontinence, indigestion, back ache, swollen feet, heavy boobs, gestational diabetes & having to prick myself 4x a day to check my blood sugar.... aaaaaand not to mention, feeling like a seal walrus and having a hard time getting up from wherever i am sitting (or laying) without any help.

after whining sharing these things to john... it brought me back to think about my previous blog post about being pregnant with dreams....often times, people dream about having an easy pregnancy with no morning sickness, a healthy weight gain of about 20lbs, no stretch marks, no epidural, no pain, and no tearing and after one big push... voila.... they hand you a healthy, beautiful baby with dimples who will sleep through the night and not cry and fuss... but pregnancy and labor and having babies isn't as easy as it seems coz it requires a lot of sacrifice.

a silhouette of me with my 32 week belly in waikiki.

it's been 28 days since the beginning of the new year. i've heard so many people desire the promise of the "new". (isaiah 43:19) a new season, a new living situation, a new promise of health, a new job, new relationships, new promotion, a new plan to see their dreams unfold etc.

but the reality is, most people who want the "new" life that they say they do, are NOT willing to go through the messy and hard process of carrying and growing the new dream and goal that is living inside of them. being pregnant with a baby or dreams and goals or a new vision entails being stretched and challenged to do the things that aren't comfortable, and sometimes do things that are very painful and way beyond your comfort level. it requires you to be strong enough to carry the extra weight & be healthy enough to sustain your own personal growth as well as sustaining the life (or dream) that you are carrying... it requires you to have to ask for help coz sometimes it's just too much to try and stand alone when you find yourself down.

being pregnant means having to be okay to have "doctors" check up on you (and prod and poke you in places you would rather keep private) to make sure you're healthy in every way. it means having to have ultrasounds to check your "insides" just to see if you're insides are as healthy inside as what you are showing outside. it means having to endure bleeding, contractions, and having weird things like mucus plugs on the inside of you come out (i know gross right?).

it means gritting your teeth through the aches and pain as you labor and push. and it also means being okay if the way you thought you'd give birth to your baby/dream may not look like how you planned it in your head. (when i was giving birth to my oldest son, i thought i would pop him out in an instant. i had to go through 12 hours of labor with no epidural only to have an emergency c-section coz i dilated only 2 centimeters and my amniotic fluid was running out.) let me tell ya, that was NOT how i planned it my head. but, even through all that pain and unplanned moments, having my son was sooooo worth it.

11 years after feeling the first flutters of pregnant with His dreams inside of me, God has proven Himself faithful to allow those dreams to be birthed and I am currently having the time of my life watching that "baby" grow. the years of waiting, prodding, pruning and stretching have been worth it. those trying times have actually been the very key for me to have expanded room for overflowing faith to allow for God to conceive even bigger dreams and goals for this next season.

God, who is the Master Creator and life giver, is always willing to breathe new life and new dreams inside of His most precious creation, but we have to show ourselves faithful to Him that He can trust us to carry and birth His dreams however long (or short) it will take.

Monday, January 14, 2013

#oneword365 for 2013

last year's one word - NEWbrought so much to the table that i am at a loss for words to even begin to express how grateful and thankful i really am with what God has done in my life. last year, God has filled my cup with blessings beyond what i had imagined, prayed and even hoped for. after making a choice to live my life as a missionary, He has been faithful to His promise to give back what has been sowed, a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over indeed...and He has poured down and lavished me with so much that my heart is overflowing with gratitude and praise. 

so my #oneword365 for 2013 is overflow.

this word has been swirling in my head since december. (it only took me 15 days to sit down and find time to write my heart out...sorry ya'll this preggy mama loves resting whenever i find the time). i prayerfully considered other words like: grace, stretch, growth, courage, etc. thinking that the word overflow was a bit too much, too extravagant, too excessive, and it maybe might even sound too selfish. it seems though, that my themes & one words for the past few years seem to tell a story within themselves... and i love how they interconnect with each other (from die2self, face to face, dream, believe, and new). this year, instead of giving me another word, He showed me scriptures after scriptures and verses after verses in the bible with the word overflow, overflows, overflowing, running over, abundance, etc. 

and then He whispered to me..."let the redeemed of the Lord say so"... SAY SO! share what He has done, to write it, speak it, to shout if from the mountain top.... because out of the overflow of my heart, my mouth will speak.... and this year i will proclaim the goodness and redemption that has happened in my life last year and even see an overflow of His Spirit, His blessings, His provision, His wisdom. more of Him.

well let me tell God has redeemed. and i am going to say so. so my verse for this year is:

My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe (Psalms 45:1 esv) 

overflow can be a scary word.  because to be entrusted with much means there is so much more at stake...there's more room to make mistakes, more room to fail, more room to fall. but there is also more room to grow and be stretched and grow in faith. the overflow of last year's new - new family new job, new responsibilities, new ministry, means that i am being stretched in a good way. stretched literally and physically coz my belly is actually bulging and i cannot see my feet anymore and also stretched figuratively because of everything  that this year entails and what it asks of me.

but i know if i choose to abide in Him, His Spirit that overflows in and through me will be able to give me the strength, tenacity, joy, peace, leadership skills, wisdom and everything i need to do what He asks of me to do. because He has come so that i may have life....and have it to the full...till it overflows. 

so bring it 2013. and let His love overflow.