Faithful and True

Happy Independence Barbados! The blog is going all patriotic to God and nation. I will start off by addressing the importance of the second verse of our National anthem and then recount a comical but true experience. Enjoy the ride!

The second verse of our National Anthem is hardly sung. The traditional instrumental only covers the first verse and chorus in the interest of time.  It is unfortunate because the second verse focuses on God being at the centre of the nation. Without Him we can not move forward. These are the lyrics to the second verse of the Barbados National Anthem:

The Lord has been the people’s guide
For past three hundred years
With him still on the people’s side
We have no doubts or fears
Upward and onward we shall go
Inspired, exulting, free
And greater will our nation grow
In strength and unity

Lyrics by: Irving Burgie

God is at the centre. He is our guide. With Him leading us as a nation, we are fearless, neither do we doubt our future. For as a God fearing nation, we will move on with His help. We will always be inspired, exalted and free. We will become a greater, stronger and unified nation. Why? The reason is simple. God is at the centre of it all.

Still on the view of God being at the centre, let me recount to you the reason why I am eating a conkie this morning for breakfast. Yesterday despite having no conkies in my possession, I believed that I would sit and relax with one later on in the day. I am always reminded in the ways that God works for those who love Him.

After my eye examination, I got the car cleaned. The optician and the supermarket are on the same compound so I did some family shopping. An integral part of our Barbadian culture is to shop like it is the end of days when there is a long weekend. I wanted to get done before the anticipated rush. While having a conversation with the young man who bagged the groceries, I heard someone call my name. In the middle of the car park were the members from my father’s previous church.

After acknowledging them with smiles and waves I promised to come back to their cake sale. I gave the gentleman who washes my car his money due. He does a marvelous job. His car looks better than mine. The change he gave me I gave to the young gentleman who brought my groceries to the car. He complimented me and I said thank you, bowed my head and told the gentleman who washed my car to have a Happy Independence and eat some conkies.

I sauntered over to the cake sale. After giving the congregation members a donation they insisted that I take something. I mentioned something about watching my figure, but after I saw their downcast faces I asked for some fishcakes for my elder son and a conkie for my younger son. I had no intention of eating the conkie, for there is usually a lady who traditionally makes my conkies every year. I remain faithful and true and eat only her conkies at Independence.

I left the cake sale and slipped the conkie into the back seat of the car of the gentleman who washed my car and drove off. On my way home from the hairdresser, my mother called and asked me to pick up the conkies from the lady. She didn’t have to tell me twice. I drove as fast as the speed limit would allow me and made it to the lady in five minutes. After thanking this lady profusely, I went by my mother’s house to share in conkie glory. I had not one but two conkies and they tasted divine.

Both stories though serious yet comical have a common thread. God doesn’t need our help. All we have to do as a country and as children of God is to stay in His love and have faith. I remain faithful and true. My hope is that you remain faithful and true as well.

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Only in Bim

I love being a Barbadian. My island, my nation, my home. I love my rich culture and heritage. I embrace all of the elements of an Island Queen. Picking golden apples, Bajan cherries, soursops, dounces and sugar apples to make a refreshing drink. Eating fishcakes and  having cornmeal cou cou and flying fish for lunch or dinner. Speaking Bajan dialect with close family and friends while playing dominoes and drinking a cool glass of the local beverage mauby. Looking forward to some pudding and souse today with a conkie or two on the side.

bajan fruit

(In clockwise direction: from the red Bajan cherries, dounces, soursops and sugar apples)

golden apples  (Golden apples)

conkie     ingredients

(Conkie and its ingredients in clockwise direction: red skinned sweet potato, pumpkin and coconut, cornmeal, eggs, nutmeg, raisins (optional) and smoked banana leaf in the background for wrapping the conkie)

coucou

(Barbados’ national dish – coucou and steamed flying fish with sliced cucumbers) dialect        dominoes

(Bajan dialect is spoken fluently especially during a game of dominoes.)fishcakes (Fishcakes with a tangy dipping sauce)

mauby    (Refreshing mauby drink)

pudding and souse (Pudding and souse with diced breadfruit on the side, usually served on Saturdays in Barbados)

Barbadians sing folk songs, talk about our ancestors’ artifacts and intricately weave the story of a nation filled with pride and industry. True some may argue that the Barbados of yesterday is not like the Barbados of today. Yet that is the purpose of nostalgia. Each generation has its challenges and our duty is to rise above them to become greater. We cannot do that without the help of God, whose plans for us are better than what we ever imagined.

These difficult times which our country is experiencing with finances will turn around and refine and strengthen our nation. These difficult times which our country is experiencing with common courtesy to each other will turn around and refine and strengthen our nation. As we celebrate 48 years of our independence, our country will do as the author Melody Beattie quotes: “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

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Therefore, we will be grateful for our past. Then through that gratitude our people will continue to live in a relative state of peace. Finally with the peace that passes all human comprehension, we will cultivate the knowledge that through our present difficulties God will keep His promise. That promise is simply to see us through as a nation even more developed and more prosperous than before. Don’t give up on our country, even through difficult times. Be careful to keep your faith in God and trust Him with all of your heart. Let us open our hearts and receive God’s blessings.

All Beautiful You Are My Love

“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Romans 15:7)

This verse could be my life verse. Let us examine it in three parts. The first part is acceptance, the second part deals with how we should accept others and the third part demonstrates the result of that acceptance. The formula is set out like this:

Accept one another + Jesus Christ’s acceptance = Praise to God.

How do we accept one another? It is easy when people have been good and supportive to you in life. But what about those people who have done the complete opposite? What about those people who give a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach at the mere thought of them? Well if you are feeling the last question towards another child of God, you are not the first or the last one. It is up to you to transform those feelings into positive ones. Through this thought transformation, acceptance occurs regardless of others beliefs, sexual preference or their ethnicity.  God made everyone in a unique way. That brings us to Jesus Christ’s acceptance of our lives.

God is all powerful, all seeing and all knowing. Yet he accepts us flaws and all. Beyonce’s song speaks to unconditional love. We don’t know why God loves us. That is why we love Him. He is there when we stumble and fall and He accepts us with all of our flaws. Then God tell us that we are beautiful, for there is no flaw in us. We are complete through Him. Jesus Christ’s acceptance of us has given us the blueprint to accept others. We accept others flaws and all. And it is not about us.

Who is it about? It’s all about God. The result is far reaching and long lasting. By accepting others, the way that Christ accepts us we end up glorifying God through our lives. We are challenged by life’s circumstances. The struggle is essential towards our life’s development. By struggling with God we become refined. God wants us to struggle with Him. It is going to be tough but once you seek Him with all of your heart you will find Him. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It is about God.

Love

Through the journey of seeking Christ, the realization occurs that you must love all of God’s people. God made everyone in His image and He does not make mistakes. If He did not want it to exist, He would not have made it. Everything exists because of God. God is love and love is God. To know love one must know God.

How do you get to know God? God speaks to us in many ways: through His Word also known as the Bible, through nature and through people. These are some of the various ways that God speaks to us. God speaks to us through love.  As we focus on God with all of our hearts, minds, bodies and souls, we love ourselves on a spiritual level. All of our love goes up to God and overflows to others. That is when we love each other. We love everyone, because despite our relationship status (friend or enemy), they are still children of God.

As children of God, we are called to live a life that is pleasing to God. We are called to mind our own business and work with our hands so that we are not dependent on anyone. By doing this we realize our purpose in life. Living with a purpose is fantastic. Let us live a Godly life and pray constantly for everyone. Every challenge in life will result in strength and refinement. Every accomplishment in life will be celebrated and cherished according to our measure of faith in God. Let go of the life we have planned for ourselves and walk by faith the life that God has planned for us. For by doing so we will become wise.

Remember that love is patient and kind. It bears and endures everything. It always protects, is not easily angered, rejoices with the truth, always trusts, hopes and perseveres. The real meaning of love is found in God. Once that is accepted, everything else falls into place. And it is all together lovely and perfect (complete).

Glow

shine

“You have a glow about you.”

I leaned in and told the man who was trying to hit on me:

“You’re right. I do have a glow. It’s because of my intimacy with Jesus Christ.”

He looked at me quizzically and said:

“I thought that you were a Christian already.”

I replied, “I am! It’s just that recently I’ve taken my relationship with God to another level and it is wonderful.”

He questioned: “So that means that I can not look at you lustfully anymore.”

I leaned in further and whispered: “No you can’t. Your wife would not appreciate it.”

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Seriously though!?! This situation is crazy. My no means no and my yes means yes. Every morning I search for wisdom and I find it in many different and creative forms. I am still in the process of searching for healing, mercy and grace. Yet this journey is giving me such heavenly treasures, that I would not trade it for anything else.

Every week I pray intensely for strength and support and I receive it through the inexhaustible supply of mercy from God. My family and friends are wonderful supporters of my dreams and aspirations. They are there for me in physical, emotional and psychological ways. I feel sorry for those who think negatively about my support system. Responses such as “You are so lucky”, I push them aside. Simply because all you have to do is surrender everything in your life and hand it over to God. He will make things happen that are better than you ever imagined.

There is a Woody Allen quote says: “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” That simply means that your plans for yourself pale in comparison to what God has in store for you. So I walk around, with a smile on my face, a pep in my step and count everything as joy. I embrace my disappointments because through them I cling to God. So I have a glow and I’m keeping that glow, no matter what life throws at me. This glow is here to stay. A physical glow, a spiritual glow, A glow from God Almighty.

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No Regrets

He touched my elbow and I looked up from the glass window that contained my favourite cupcakes. As he looked into my eyes, my heart started to beat fast in recognition. Finally, his mouth voiced the words: “How are you doing?”

I had a dream about this guy and in my dream I wanted to thank him for all of his support throughout the years. This was no dream. This was reality and here was my opportunity to express my gratitude.

Life is crazy. It is like a roller-coaster with its ups and downs and you are just meant to enjoy the ride. The ups in life are wonderful when you feel the anticipation as you climb to reach your life goals of starting a family, excelling in your career and making lasting relationships with others who care. The downs in life test your endurance. You scream when you fall. You heart is in your throat when you are filled with all sorts of emotions. When the downs are over you are amazed by your level of tolerance. The downs in life teach wonderful lessons of mercy, healing and grace through experiencing the loss of a loved one by death or other means of separation or disappointment at not attaining that career or life goal.

Despite the ups and downs the Bible says in the book of James that you can count it all as joy. For without those ups and downs, life would not be as memorable and as wonderful as it is. By appreciating this downs in life, the ups in life have a greater value. When I look back at this time in my life, when I have to tiptoe down the hall to add on to my chapters in my thesis, so as not to wake my children, I smile. There are times in your life when you look back and say: “Did I really do that?” Yes you really did and consequently you are stronger and wiser. Through persistence and perseverance, that project, that goal or that dream was attained.There are no regrets as life is fully appreciated. If you did not have those downs in life, you would not be enjoying the things in life that are truly magnificent. Without my downs, I would not have two beautiful children, a rewarding career in education and writing and an amazing and intimate relationship with my God and Saviour.

So he asked me how I was doing and I said, “The children are healthy and wonderful and I am pursuing my Masters at the university.” He replied, “Good for you! I am also pursuing my studies at the university. ” Then I told him, “Thank you for everything you have done for my family.” Then we parted ways and I transformed a down in my life to an up of which I am definitely proud. No regrets just joy.