Saturday, March 23, 2013

Letter from Imprisoned Iranian Christian Pastor

The imprisoned Christian Pastor, Saeed Abedini, in Iran, wrote a letter to his wife that I think everyone should read.  It displays the true Christ-like spirit that should be in every Christian!  This man is beaten and tortured, yet he forgives and loves AND keeps bitterness out of his soul - this IS true Christianity!!

Here is his letter that speaks volumes of his Christ-like spirit:

Hello to my dear love and wife,

When I saw my family for the first time behind the glass walls, I could see my mom four meters away. As she approached me and saw my face, she broke down and could not get closer. She was crying. I understood what she felt because after weeks of being in solitary confinement in Evin Prison, I also got to see my face in the mirror of an elevator that was taking me to the prison hospital. I said hi to the person staring back at me because I did not recognize myself. My hair was shaven, under my eyes were swollen three times what they should have been, my face was swollen, and my beard had grown.

It was a few days ago when one of my family members, with weary eyes and after running around for 15 weeks in trying to get me out of prison, said that my dad says every single day that “this week I will get my son out of prison.” But this does not happen and he is not able to get me out of prison. In that instant I looked into the wrinkled and tired eyes of my dad. I could clearly see that he had ran around for months and he had no more strength left in him. It was very hard seeing my family in such a situation.

You, my wife, on the other side of the world, alone with the kids. Alone and worried. My family here in Iran, being interrogated, tired and under so much pressure.

With the loud voice of the prison guard, our visitation had ended and they put covers over our eyes and we returned to the dark room void of any natural sunlight.

I started praying for my family. My dear Naghmeh. You are the love of my life. I am always in love with you.

Dear Naghmeh, I have been stung so many times that I have become full of poison. This is an Iranian saying. A lot of people say that they have been stung by so many people that their whole being is full of poison like a poisonous snake. It means that we have been bitten by the snakes of this world so many times that, that all of the poison has collected in us and that we are like the poisonous snake. But if we sting anyone, we will die. This Iranian saying is full of spirit of revenge and unforgiveness and every time I would hear this in Iran, I would get very sick hearing it.

A few days ago they brought a young war veteran who was disabled in 80% of his body in my cell. He had been put in solitary confinement with his horrific condition. And this had made him very mad and he kept saying “why did they do this to me? I gave my whole life for their sake. See what they have done to me!!!” And when he would get very mad he would say “I will take my revenge!”

I spoke to this young man until 4 in the morning. I spent time with him and spoke to him to forgive. When we don’t forgive, we drink the poison ourselves and then wait for the other person to die. And we take the knife that has hurt us and we stab ourselves with it again! And this is the will of the evil one who wants to destroy us.

But when we forgive, we pour out the poison of the enemy and of the devil and we don’t let the poison stay in us and we don’t let the poison make us into poisonous snakes! So that we don’t become like the person we despised and who persecuted and tortured us.

Maybe you ask, what is the secret of being so happy in such a hard situation?

Forgiveness and a change of attitude. When we forgive, we become free and we become messengers of peace and reconciliation and goodness. And whoever stings us, we can take into our embrace and love them. And in this dark and evil time, we can live full of love and full of peace and full of joy and shine like the stars! Glory be to His Name.

I forgave the prison doctor who did not listen to me and did not give me the medication that I needed. I forgave the interrogator who beat me. Every day when I would see the interrogator and for the last time when I saw him, I forgave him. I smiled at him and with respect shook his hand and I said my goodbye. The minute I forgave them and loved them, that second I was filled with unspeakable joy. I saw in the eyes of the interrogator that he had come to respect me and as he was leaving, he could not look behind him. Love is as strong as death.

We have to get rid of the poison in our body because if we don’t, we will die. We have to get rid of both poisons; first the poison of the snake that bit us and also the poison in us that was created by that bite. We can get rid of the first poison by forgiveness and we can get rid of the second poison by humility, by dying to ourselves, and allowing the band-aid of love and goodness to replace the empty place of the wound. So that we are not a tool of darkness and revenge, but that we can be light and love and a vessel of forgiveness and we can be transformed in the process.

Surely you have someone in your family, city, work or environment that have become like poisonous snake who have bitten you and tried to make you poisonous. So, forgive them and use the antidote of love and be Victorious!

One of the chances of forgiveness came when I was blindfolded and a guard was holding my hand guiding me. He asked “what are you here for? What is your crime?” I said “I am Christian Pastor.” All of the sudden he let go of my hand and said “so you are unclean! I will tell others not to defile themselves by touching you!” He would tell others not to get close to me. It really broke my heart. The nurse would also come to take care of us and provide us with treatment, but she said in front of others “in our religion we are not suppose to touch you, you are unclean. Baha’i (religion) and Christians are unclean!” She did not treat me and that night I could not sleep from the intense pain I had. According to the doctor’s instructions, they would not give me the pain medication that they would give other prisoners because I was unclean.

I could not fall sleep one night due to the pain when all of a sudden I could hear the sound of dirty sewer rats with their loud noises and screeches. It was around 4 in the morning. It sounded like laughter in a way.

Even though many would call me unclean and filthy and would not even want to pass by me and they had abandoned me and they were disgusted to touch me because they were afraid that they would also become unclean, but I knew that in the eyes of Jesus Christ, and in the eyes of my brothers and sisters, I am like the sewer rat, beautiful and loveable – not disgusting and unclean – and like the rats I can scream with joy within those prison walls and worship my Lord in joy and strength.

The Joy of the Lord is my strength. Amen.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Jose Eber Curling Wand - Review and Hair Pics!

A friend, whose hair I had loved when she curls it, told me how she did it - she uses a Jose Eber curling wand.  It took me a while to finally buy it because of the high temperature and price, but after seeing her use it (her hair is as long or maybe longer than mine) and her hair not showing any damage over time - I tried it out.  I've tried hot rollers and even hairspray on my hair since having my baby and nothing would curl my hair or it wouldn't stay past 30 minutes or so.  My friend's hair is the same until she came across this wand - so it arrived today and it worked.  I only left it on my hair for literally seconds and I still can't get over how it curled.  I didn't use any hairspray, gel or mouse - just au naturel and it still held.

Here is my hair before (straight) and then after (curled) with this curling iron - by the way, I measured my hair and it grew 6 inches during pregnancy, it is now 44 inches long!

Here are some more shots I did, please excuse my "house dress" - I realized it mid-way through taking pictures and switched outfits lol, just keeping it real....

I took small 1-inch sections of my hair and quickly wrapped them around the wand and let go - probably 5 or 6 seconds total for the whole process.  It took me about 30 minutes to do my whole head this way.  Here is a side-by-side example of the before/after of a section - notice how bouncy the curl is!

Here is an extra shot - I was loving these curls as you can tell!

Then, I combed it out all over and it still stayed, not sure why the middle pic showed my hair a different (lighter) color:

I did this at 2 p.m. and then combed my hair out 3 times throughout the rest of the day.  I also put it in a tight bun on top of my head and took a hot bath and it got wet too.....the curls were still there!  Then, I wore it to church - in the rain - and the curls stayed, though not as tight of course.  Went to the store afterwards in the rain and it is now 11 p.m. at night and I still have curls.......WOW!  With all the water in the bath, the tight bun, the brushing out and the rain TWICE - they should have fallen out, but they didn't.  Amazing.

I will find out if it damaged my hair or not when I wash it Saturday and let it dry - I normally always suffer damage with any kind of heat on my hair.  Even though I've only curled my hair 3-5 times this past year, I suffered damage.  I will be amazed if this really does not damage your hair as a lot of reviewers and my friend says - we shall see.

My husband really liked it but his main concern is damage to my hair or losing my hair, he still forbids me getting a perm, even though I wanted one again lol - I know I lost so much hair a few years ago with it but it sure was voluminous!  He loves long there is lots to love lately and I'm sitting on it, it gets caught in doorways, people accidentally take it with them when they walk by and I get stares when I go out, and compliments too.  I guess you take the good with the is our glory as women!

1 Corinthians 11:14-15

Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?  But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Homeschooling With a Baby - Part 1: 10 Tips to Get You On Track

Just when you think homeschooling is challenging, you have a baby and realize it never was until now!  I have to say that it has taken me weeks of trial and error and I'm still not completely in my groove yet of homeschooling with a baby.  There are some things I've learned along the way that I thought would be beneficial to other new moms out there with older children they homeschool or a mom who is thinking or going to have a newborn soon.  I'm sure there will be a part 2 to this in another few months but for now, here are my tips:

  1. Pray - Pray for wisdom and knowledge on how God wants you to do this, after all, he is the one that called you to homeschool, He will make a way!  Seek His wisdom for how to run your day and homeschool, and pray for your baby to be on a schedule and sleep through the night, etc.  God does answer prayers like these - He has for me!  You have not because you didn't ask!
  2. Take off the first 2 months - Spend those first 2 months getting everyone, yourself included, used to the new baby.  Wait till you finally start being able to get some solid sleep before you try and teach your older children please!  Who knows what you would teach them after only 3-4 hours of broken sleep.  No one is going to be any less smarter if you skip 2 months of school, after all having a new baby IS school - it is called Child Development 101 and its a high school level course to boot!
  3. Get the baby on a schedule - many moms think you can't do this and that is sad because you can, straight from the womb.  I started as soon as my baby came home the 2nd day from the hospital by training him about night and day.  Open the blinds at a set time each morning that you want him to wake up - for me it was 10:30 a.m.  Then talk to him and stimulate him at that same time every, single day.  Routine, routine, routine is what babies need!  Then at night at 10 p.m. it was lights out - we made it dark in the house and talked in low voices and didn't talk to the baby.  When he was waking up during the night to feed during those first 4 weeks, I made sure to not talk to him but feed him and then put him back down and keep it dark.  That way he learned there is no fun at those hours - so no need to be awake.  By the 4th week he was on a schedule and sleeping 5 hours at night and now, at 3 months old, he sleeps 12 hours straight through all night with no feedings, thanks to the SCHEDULE.  Then, during the day, schedule the feedings and naps by noting their natural feeding time and nap cues.  For Zach, he eats every 2 since he is on special formula that is already predigested - so we schedule his feeding times and nap times from morning till night.  He also has set bed times and wake up times - 10 to 10.
  4. Redeem the time - when baby is napping - school!  When baby is just fresh from being fed and content, put him down and school!  Don't wait till the worst moment when he is tired or bored and is crying - you won't be able to do much quality schooling then.  Learn to redeem those times you have, no matter how short - and make the most of that time.
  5. Plan meals and use the crockpot - Spend one day a week planning the week's meals and do mostly crockpot meals with leftovers if possible.  This is not the time to cook elaborate meals or time-consuming meals.  The most important things are to have something to eat - whether is it sandwiches, frozen pizza or a crockpot meal, gourmet is not happening right now.  I found that freezer cooking is currently not possible for me right now but that would be a good idea if the baby is older or you have someone to watch him while you spend a day cooking.
  6. Use paper plates/cups/utensils - I've found that the dishes are harder to do when you homeschool with a baby.  It is so much easier to use paper items but for budget reasons, we are only trying to use them on the weekends right now.  I plan on teaching my daughter how to load the dishwasher soon though!
  7. Assign more chores for the older kids - My daughter has taken on more responsibilities since the baby has been born.  She can now cook a few things and do a few more chores than she was doing.  Depending upon the age, children can empty trash, sweep, vacuum, wash or fold laundry, dust, clean bathrooms, wash dishes, load the dishwasher, cook, etc.  There are 9 year olds that cook full meals for their families I found out, when asking for tips for myself recently among a group of homeschooling moms - so guess who learned how to cook rice?  Yep......and she is going to learn a few more things and then make us a full meal soon, thank you Jesus!! 
  8. Lessen the homeschool load - you don't have to do it all during those first few months, take it easy with the actual homeschool workload.  The second month of the baby, I had my daughter do independent work - math fact cards, latin flashcards, spelling tests online, reading (lots of it!) and online educational games.  Then, we started back "full" school but still are not doing a heavy workload yet - no one is going to die if school doesn't get done this year.  Seriously, if you homeschool, your child is already ahead of most children.  Don't believe me?  Take a standardized test - we did and despite our half-schooling while I was pregnant, Katie managed to score advanced (1-2 grades ahead) in Math and English and average in Science and we rarely ever do science LOL!  Kids that read..........make the grade, bottom line.  Lessen your load - they will turn out ok and get back to it the next year when things are easier.
  9. Get out - taking a break when things are getting hard and the baby won't stop crying is crucial for a new mom's sanity!  Go for a walk, to a friend's house or the park - anything to put the baby to sleep, get out of the house or help you breathe some fresh air.  If you have a daughter like mine, you will be doing walking-school, she reads while we walk......seriously, this girl is a bookworm like her momma!  If she isn't reading while we walk, she has her magnifying glass and bug container to catch another specimen to investigate.  
  10. Let the house go - I'm not talking about living in filth and ending up on hoarders here - just stop cleaning so much and let go of the OCD lady!  Dust will still be there if you skip a week or two of dusting.  It isn't going anywhere - one wipe will still get it, whether you wait a week or month.  There are two things you must get done however - dishes and laundry, so make those priority and everything else is "whenever-you-get-to-it."  I was doing a bit every day, but now I'm back to my once-a-week cleaning and I force myself to not clean until that day the next week.  Skip deep cleaning, spring and fall cleanings this year - your baby needs you more.  A homeschooling mother's home should not look like the home of a mother who has no children at home during the day.  And a homeschooling mother's home WITH A BABY sure should not look like those who don't have kids at home all day!  My husband called me from work one day, he was doing a job in someone's house that had the sign on the fridge that read "A dirty house is a house where the kids are loved" or something along those lines - that is partly true, there are some people that are just plain d-i-r-t-y and they don't love their kids either lol, but then there are those that realize that spending time with kids is more important than a spotless house.  Choose your love - what will you regret spending less time doing - cleaning or loving your kids?
Related: Part 2

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