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Serendipitous.

If I could speak briefly about what life should be when I fathom, absolutely, having come into Union with you, I imagine my voice would shake, emitting resonance as follows:

It wasn’t planned, how you and I met, not by me at least. I spent my whole life looking for you going in mistaken directions what felt like a million times. I even envisaged having met you when traveling said paths. I can recall how good they felt, too, but none would begin to compare to you. In hindsight, I knew they weren’t you; some felt like dead ends, early terminations…

We aren’t even wholly acquainted as I still build upon all you’ve offered me, yet I finally feel complete. And beyond what I feel, I’ve never stopped stopping to think, since the day you were no more unbeknownst to me.

The idea of you kept me going. The potential. The belief that there was more. For my development, you conceptualized major terms before we ever intersected. You encouraged me to pray more, that I might be certain that all I do would align with God’s plan for my life. You burgeoned my faith, that I might believe in what I had not yet seen. You comforted me when things became stagnant, admonishing the more that hangs on the brink of diligence and tenacity.

The day I knew you were it, I side-stepped all that was impertinent. I fell upon my knees knowing that God himself stood inside of you and spoke to me. I could have wished, in that moment that I’d done things differently, but ignorance was an unrelenting bliss.

At my quarter life’s inquiry, I wrote a letter to myself in hopes that it would inspire me to seek athwart extremity. I wanted to believe in more. I realized in that moment, and through every prayer to follow, that with my working faith alongside God, limits do not exist. (Phil 4:13)

What a pleasure it is to have met… how nice it is to know… how grateful I am to grow… with you; thank you, destiny. (Jer 29:11)

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The Alchemist x Paulo Coehlo

Everything they’ve said is true!!!!!

This book is purely amazing, start to finish! It is a tale of a boy who journeys through life trying to achieve his own “personal legend.” It is a story of perseverance and determination, with the aspect of love that can never be omitted in life’s greatest quests. Paolo Coehlo, in The Alchemist, literally does everything right. I honestly felt like I was there and I was in love every step of our journey through Spain, across the desert, all the way to Egypt. Truly, there are not enough words to put together in the best sentences to accurately convey how much I loved this book. Unlike all of the other “Bookworm” posts I’ve shared, this is a novel. Still it hits on some important stuff we could all use in our daily walks!

Happy Reading! ❤

in.decision.

Everything in life is a choice. Even when we choose to do nothing, we are doing something. Sometimes it seems right, to do nothing; sometimes we are content to wait our turn. Sometimes, the holding pattern becomes so familiar that we find ourselves happy in a cycle that never changes. Unless you can honestly tell me that you’ve accomplished, or worked tirelessly to accomplish your wildest of dreams, it sounds more like complacency if you ask me.

Have you reached your career peak? Do you make time for your favorite hobby, regularly? Is the girl|or|guy you’re dating mutually invested? Is your spouse[wife|or|husband] working with you? Do you feel valued every day? Do you put into the world even a portion of what’s been bestowed upon you?

First things first, you are responsible for yourself. You have to seek God in knowing your purpose, and in following it. Stop looking around to have opportunities fall into your lap; maybe it happens on occasion, but that’s not the way things work. Faith without works, my friends. Now, once you’ve decided to put in the effort, to work, you change the dynamics.

______________________________________________________________

Indecisiveness is a decision. Never allow yourself to be flung around like a pawn trading spaces on a board game. I don’t suggest cursing your boss out with or without profanity. I don’t recommend filing for divorce or breaking up with your boyfriend or fiancé on a whim. I don’t suggest spending money you don’t have on the vacation you really want. I do, however, suggest that you focus your mentality that you might objectively see your reality.

Can you advocate for yourself if the world you live in is full of delusion? Self-reflect. Ask yourself why! Are you really doing the heavy lifting?

I want to take a moment to share some of my own struggles:

  • I am grateful every single day that I have a job, in a time where everyone doesn’t. If I’m honest, it’s not where I want to be. In the past few months, I’ve had to change my attitude so that my actions could reflect proper stewardship of what God has given me. Being okay with going to work late, or doing just enough to get by, is an awful reflection of who my God is, and furthermore is just plain taking it for granted. I didn’t deserve to travel the way I desire to, I didn’t deserve to be promoted in any way, and because I was irresponsible with my time, I didn’t deserve to enjoy my hobbies! Now I’m sure to work hard no matter who’s not watching, to self-start; when it’s time to advocate for myself, my work, too shall speak. Then, when I am overlooked, or dangling with another, I don’t have to accept it. I can recognize that indecisiveness, too, is a decision.
  • I’m not a heavy dater(anymore, lol). I’m selfless, I’m loving, and therefore I am also careful with myself, my heart. I’ve fallen, hard, and it hurt. I’ve chosen people who haven’t not chosen me, but who haven’t chosen me either. I’ve learned the hard way that indecision, too, is a decision. I’ve been content with the fun we had, or how good it felt, never being honest enough to admit that whatever “it” was, it wasn’t going anywhere.  In relationships(and situationships) sometimes it’s harder to recognize because connection is real, emotions dig deep, and reality is a little farther away. Because it’s that much harder, it’s also that much more necessary to get your mind in line, to be less emogical.

My hope for all of us is that we recognize our worth. We don’t need to be arrogant to shine. We have our Lord and Savior on our side; when we trust Him, we have a light that illuminates far more than a single room. We are called to greatness.

Dream. Work. & Prosper!

Never stop working to overflow your dreamer’s cup!

The Gifts of Imperfection x Brene Brown

What I love about this book, The Gifts of Imperfection, is the perspective it takes on living a “wholehearted life”. The author,  Dr. Brene Brown, is a researcher who has studied things such as shame, fear, and vulnerability. That gives her a highly unique perspective on people and how we choose to live, especially as it relates to perfectionism! Using this unique perspective, Dr. Brown shares several points of wisdom (i call them) that teach us to let go of what we’re “supposed” to say, do, or be… and embrace who we are. Now, this doesn’t mean that she fails to encourage us to learn and grow; rather, she challenges us to do so in ways that we desire, that please us, and that don’t come as result of other people’s expectations of us!

Happy Reading!

On Love – & loss.

So often, so prevalently, the word “love” is thought to reflect intimate, romantic relationship. In reality, love is a much wider umbrella under which we are all supposed to live. God commands that we do all things in love.

The truth is, I haven’t always done things in love. Frankly, I haven’t even always tried to. There were times that I was content to be selfish, to lack the capacity to care any less about how my actions could affect others. It’s not that I wanted to intentionally hurt them, but doing so as collateral didn’t cause me to think twice. I remember, for instance, when dating for fun was the point… So then when I was “tired” of dating someone, I could just leave them standing alone in the rain. Where, then was the love umbrella? No, I don’t mean I had to love or be in love, but I could have been more tactful. Having fun is great, necessary even, but not at the expense of others.

The same goes for friendships, even acquaintances. I’ll start with the latter. Let’s be honest, it’s easier to throw someone you don’t really know under a bus. There’s no loyalty binding you to say, a ‘co’worker you don’t work directly with… But what does loyalty mean when it stands between friends? For me, it means loving them enough to do no harm. [[Ironically, “do no harm” is a major ethical standard I learned that stands above all others as a helping professional.]] That word, “harm”, plays a big role in the boundary conversation… And let me reiterate that doing no harm is not synonymous with being agreeable all the time. It has a lot to do with being responsible for oneself, and accountable to others (ie friends).

It would seem that loss comes as a result of disloyalty, right? As intelligent as we may be, when we try to wrap our minds around loss, we try to find rational explanations for it, but the truth is, there isn’t always logical reasoning. When our friends, family members, or even strangers pass away, for example… We cannot explain the why. We can be comforted by a couple of things, like the certainty that our lost will spend eternity in heaven… And certainly the knowledge that they didn’t choose to leave us.

There’s an abundance of gray that peeks through the black and white when loss surfaces in love with friends, in relationships, in careers. When someone chooses to leave us behind, it hurts so much more. There’s nothing to comfort us knowing that there was another way, a way that kept us connected, which doesn’t necessarily mean happy, by the way. I’ve lost a number of friends over the years, for different reasons. Some hurt more than others. When I’m the driving force of separation, it’s always easier, for obvious reasons. But the common factor in them all was that I had to let go, completely. The truth is, if you are to know that reciprocity exists, you have to afford the other party freedom to choose. You have to also realize that love from a distance is love just the same. Love may exist even when physical loss persists.

We don’t always see the big picture, the best, healthiest picture, especially when it hurts us… But sometimes, minor hurts shield us from lifetime harm. We have to, finally, accept this as a real possibility, and embrace it on both sides of the glass. We have to be willing to be on the hurting side sometimes, to protect ourselves AND our loved ones. And when we are hurt, we have to realize when not to fight. Just as we desire to be free to make our own decisions, we must grant others autonomy to do the same (not that they need our permission).

Love, in its truest form, is a decision to give freely of ourselves, |period|.

P.S. Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

1.18.15

Oh Lord,

I come before you now thanking you for life. It is the most beautiful blessing to wake each day, to live, to learn, and to grow. As people are in abundance around us, laughing, speaking, crying, engaging, isolating, and [verb]ing, l believe we tend to take the gift of life for granted. We are grateful for it, but I for one sometimes overlook the simple blessings in life. I ask that you’d slow us down, Lord, that we might see the beauty in living, that we might actually experience the natural world and its inhabitants. Allow families to bond, to know and love one another unconditionally, allow friends to recognize not only that, but also why they have chosen one another… For those expecting children, please help them to rejoice in every step, allow them to love their children and to care for them sufficiently. We are not innately good, so please help us to be better people that we might extend our hands to help one another, and not attack. Help us to be ourselves and make good decisions. Give us wisdom and discernment, but most of all today, I pray you give us peace; peace within and amongst ourselves.

It is in the precious name of Jesus that I pray with thanksgiving.

Amen. ❤

Mis|tak|en

There’s a quote that reads, “Mistakes are proof that you are trying.” I love that quote; it’s encouraging, not condemning. The more I read it though, the more I realize I don’t exactly agree with it. For me, it isn’t the mistakes that prove effort, it’s the acknowledgement, the conceptualization of whatever act as “mistake, and what’s more, it’s the conviction one feels after the f(act).

To acknowledge something as a mistake is to admit wrongdoing, to hold oneself responsible for having committed the wrong, and to make conscious efforts to act differently in the future. Whether our mistakes are intentional or unintentional, and we will all make both, reconciling takes on the same process. It wasn’t until recently that I realized the need to reconcile with myself, I always thought  it had to be two or more involved for some sort of resolution. Well, I’ve found that in some ways, there are, even when I reconcile with myself… there’s the guilt-crazed one who made the mistake, the judgmental one who condemns me for having made it, and the loving one who recognizes that if I repent and talk it out, there’s a lesson learned that leads me upward.

I’ve come up with a few steps that are real to me:

1.I must acknowledge and accept that I am not perfect; I must rejoice in this!

2. When I make mistakes, I must see them as mistakes, behaviors, separate from who I am as a person.

3. I must repent unto God and also confess my mistakes for myself. I must reconcile.

4. (Optional, but extraordinary) I must seek counsel (in|formal) that I may not isolate and worsen my situation.

5. I must forgive myself for the mistakes I make and acknowledge the lesson(s).

[These steps will repeat themselves.]

I guess there are positives about perfectionism… I imagine it makes us work harder, for example… But, it also makes us feel inadequate about our authentic selves; it allows the “not good enoughs” to linger; it tells us that mistakes define us as failures in whatever our endeavors… and society does too, so long as it clings to the perfectionistic mindset. We live in a mis•taken world that is teaching us that being who we are is deficient. We constantly look to the person beside us trying to embody a characteristic they choose to show us; we are afraid to mess up because someone is always on our heels, waiting to record our fall. We’re screaming at ourselves, inside ourselves, twenty-five hours a day, trying to release the real, but too afraid no one will get it… or worse, no one will want it. i t ‘s h a r d w o r k ! I think I’ve come to realize I’d rather get back up and try again in front of the whole world than to inwardly fail at everything and have no one to share that with. Our mistakes help us to learn, to grow, to matter… If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need a savior!

While we may not be deserving of the grace of God, if HE loves us despite ourselves, we’ve got to know that we are worth more than nothing. I’m not saying that we should be content with every bad choice we make or wrong turn we take; I am saying that we should be honest enough to recognize them as mistakes, comfortable enough to discuss them, and courageous enough to move forward, despite them.

When we think too hard about how to be ourselves, the person we show lacks authenticity and forfeits autonomy.

I love you, flaws and all.

1.11.15

Heavenly father,

I come humbly to you today to ask for nothing more for myself than your forgiveness. I am a sinner, Oh God, and though it is written as fact that I will never be perfect, I want, everyday, to please you. Though I cannot do all things right, though I was born and wake each day a sinner saved only by your grace, spared only by your mercy, and promised only your love, I want to do better. I have no desire to make casual mistakes, even those unintentional; for that only tells me that I am not intentional enough about my steps. I know that you will love me all of my days, oh God, and I am so grateful for a God like you, one so selfless even with the power to do all things. Lord, I thank you for allowing me new days to see, to live, to learn, to breathe… I pray that I learn to maximize these days with love that I may lift your name and magnify you, alone. I thank you, Lord, for the conviction I feel when I make mistakes. Sometimes I place myself in positions where I’m almost guaranteed to fail; sometimes I know things are wrong, but do them anyway. I never want to be cavalier about such things, before, during, or after! I want to feel that I am wrong, I want to cry out to you so strongly that you may feel the sincerity in my repentance. Lord, I never want to be okay with mediocre praise, you deserve so much more than a raised hand and a casual relationship. You deserve a life that, in all it’s endeavors, glorifies you! I want that to be my life, oh God. Keep me humble with those around me, please Lord… It is not enough to come humbly before you.. I want to be able to admit my shortcomings, my failures, my mistakes to those around me. I ask, also, that you help me to forgive others as you so often do for me.

In the precious name of Jesus I pray, with thanksgiving.

Amen ❤

Emogical I

The Internal

Have you ever had a friend vent to you about the SAME situation over and over again, until the point you listen without having anything to say. In the back of your mind, you’re screaming “you could do so much better if…”… But, knowing your words are for naught, you listen without hearing a word.

Is that an emotional or logical response?
One could argue either or both ways.

Imagine if you did the same thing to yourself. Chances are: many of us have been there in some way or another.

I can think of tons of examples, honestly. As a people pleaser, I’ve had far beyond my fair share of taking on the weight of the world… or the weight of my acquaintances in the world. The biggest ones for me, perhaps, surface in relationships, both romantic and non. With friends and some family, I have had the tendency to drop everything when someone asks me, never mind what I may be doing. The best part is when I actually had the courage to say no because what I was doing mattered to me, some have had the audacity to question my friendship, which in turn made me feel bad (emotion), drop what I was doing and “help” them. I’ve had coworkers who took advantage of my work ethic; they’d slack because they already knew I’d be ahead and have “free” time to take on their loads. Sometimes they disguised it as a genuine need, but really it was just failed responsibility and a lack of stewardship.

Slightly differently, I’ve found the air literally sucked out of my lungs, I’ve felt the water based liquid that usually prevents dry eyes fail to produce. Emotionally drained, I have told myself that I didn’t want to be in a situation, that it wasn’t good for me, that accepting and enabling this lifestyle for myself was worse than death. And even when I really wanted out, I lacked the capacity to move. One part of me was saying the same thing over and over again, and the other part stopped listening. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had no boundaries. I couldn’t separate myself from my circumstances because I hadn’t communicated what made us different.

I’ll be the first to say that it is better to be proactive than reactive, but it is never too late to place limits on what you allow in or what you put out.

I’m finally in a space where I don’t much care what people think of me so long as I live for the glory of my Lord and Savior. I no longer feel obligated to give because you have asked. I have the right to say no, just as I have the right to say yes. I cannot claim victim. I have learned that people only take advantage of me when I allow them; no one can invade my space if my walls are solidly placed. I will not give in for the sake of your feelings, or anything else. I am responsible for myself. Whatever I do, I shall do in love, with a pure heart, with regard for others’ feelings, but not in reaction to them.

Only by the floods of tears that drowned my pillows could I come to appreciate the sun that dried them. My tears now are genuine and focused; they come as I bow at the throne of grace. They represent growth and i understand them. I have chosen to define myself, and not be defined by what others think of me.

Boundaries changed my life.

I urge you to read the book (Boundaries) but even if you don’t, self-examine. I can only speak to my experience, but it is better to know than not. Where are you fatigued?.. Do you know why? What contributes? I remind myself, my clients and my students alike: you cannot control anyone but yourself! It would be a much easier pill to swallow if we could change the people around us, but we cannot. We can only control ourselves.

Boundaries x Drs. Cloud & Townsend

I honestly cannot say enough about this book. I’ve read it twice in three weeks, and some chapters even more.

It has and will continue to change my life, forever.

I don’t say this lightly. I’ve spent time reading this book for content, reading for understanding, and reading for healing. I have cried, I have laughed, but most of all, I have learned. It seems so simple, Boundaries. It isn’t a term unheard of or taboo; for me, however, it has been an all too cavalier practice. Boundaries, written by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsendhas engaged me, cover to cover. It ignited a burning flame in me to take responsibility of who I am that I may truly be an adult, by action, or by lack thereof.

If you want long-lasting, meaningful practices to intentionally govern your life, boundaries are a surefire way to start!

Happy Reading! ❤