Saturday, May 31, 2014

Remember (Day 27)





“My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.


This I must remember.

I must turn to this truth when I am down on the ground. When there is dirt on my face and when my palms bleed red I must remember His truth.

Yes, on days like these, I must remember that all is under His control.
See, as true as the sky is blue, God is governing over all.

So remember that when the rain pours heavily.

Remember.

When the word “No” seems to be the only answer, know that he is saying “yes”. And on days when all you want to do is curl up into a ball and cry, on those days…remember that he is near.


When these days come I will hold on to my faith; knowing that all will be well. Yes, on days like these I will turn to Him.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Day 21

(A weight I want to get back to)

Have you ever woken up with a desire that felt so intense, you didn't know how to react?

Have you wondered about your life and questioned the reason behind your disappointments?

Is there something you seek but haven’t found?

Maybe it’s time for a change. Maybe you need to stop?

I challenge you. Stop for a moment to examine your lifestyle.

What kind of people are you surround by? Are the people in your life pouring into your vision for life?

 What are you doing?

There is a verse in the bible that speaks of the idle man; the man who does nothing. The bible states “he gains nothing”; Nada, nulla, zero, zip.  If you want to be rich but never work and save your money, you will stay poor. This is common sense.

What are you doing to make your dreams a reality? Are you sitting down waiting for your ideal job to come to you? 

Or are you out seeking connections with those who do the things you want to do and live the way you want to live?

I know I haven’t been working hard enough. I have been putting things off for tomorrow. Sure, I have done my research. But beyond that, what else have I done? We are all guilty of doing nothing. But, we can change that today.


 I encourage you all to chase hard after your ideas. What you are looking for is not beyond your grasp. You can do it. And you will achieve your goals but, only if you work for it.



Sunday, May 25, 2014

Day 20

Hi!


How is everyone’s Memorial Day weekend going? I hope all of you are enjoying yourselves and catching up on rest. 
Here are some pics of what I've been doing. 



Planned my schedule


Studied while sipping on some Starbucks. 


Laughed hard at a friend's hilarious yet, unfortunate story about being conned.  



And ended the night with an episode of New Girl. 








Thursday, May 22, 2014

Purpose



Purpose

Today is day seventeen. We have passed the halfway mark! Congratulations to all who have been working so hard!

I wanted to take this time to tell you all that I am adding “new purpose” to this group.
Just a recap: We have been doing a 30 day challenge. The Purpose of the 30 day challenge is to dare my readers to take part in any activity that they enjoy for 30 days; this activity is supposed to add expansion to the number of days of their lives (email me for more info).

Membership: The reason I decided to include membership is to create an online community. The idea was that the members would share their experiences online, via Facebook, and hopefully encourage one another to live a more fulfilling life.

Although all of the members have been active in committing to their daily seven minute activity; I however, have sensed a disconnection amongst the members. Recently I asked all of the participants of the 30 day challenge to provide feedback on how I can improve this experiment. After hearing everyone’s suggestions I have decided to include specifics to the challenge. I have tailored our task so that the outcome is more of a fruitful outcome.

 Changes: I am extending the 30 day challenge to 30 more days. On June 4th the first 30 days will have passed. On that day you will all still be receiving the gifts I first promised you. However, if you wish to continue the challenge, a second gift will be mailed to you at the end of the second challenge (day 60. Gift details coming soon)
The Goal: The goal of this assignment is to adopt a healthy habit.

Clarification: You do not need to continue after June 4th if you do not wish to. You will still receive your gift for remaining faithful to the first challenge. However, please incorporate these new changes to your seven minute activity that you are currently committed to. Those of you who will be continuing the challenge make your changes and email me with a message stating “I am in for round 2”. I encourage you all to continue the challenge as it will be good for you!

The new commission: These are the changes. Commit to one goal for 30 minutes each day until the end of the challenge. This chore should be something that you desire to incorporate into your daily life. It can be something that you do not already do. This chore may be difficult. The task will have to be the same every day. The purpose of doing it for 30 days (round 2) is to engrain it into your memory. 30 days is the average span of time someone needs in order to adopt a new behavior. If you have already committed to a task like this, continue. If you are not doing round 2, you will stop your activity June 4th.

My plan: To meditate 30 minutes every day.

What’s next: If you are a part of the Lil Bit of grace Facebook group, then, underneath this post please write down your new task. It should be very specific. Include why you want to adopt this new activity into your life. Include your hesitations, fears, or any challenges you foresee. And include what you will be doing to keep yourself encouraged and committed. Also, include what you want to accomplish (the outcome should be specific).  

Buddy system: Every day you will have to reach out to a member in the group either by email, text, or Facebook and ask them how their day is going. Your job is to encourage that person every day. You will be assigned to a person. The assignment will change every week. This way, each of us gets a chance to meet one another. Because we have an uneven number, someone will always be paired twice. This way it will be fair.

Buddy Assignment:

Week One 

Talicia Lane Change paired with Laura Louis.

Grace Olivieri paired with Bryan Torres.

Nicole Castrillon paired with Grace Olivieri.

Furthermore, introduce yourselves to one another via Facebook. The buddy system will start today! It’s ok if you see this post tomorrow and start tomorrow.


READY.SET.GO

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Day Thirteen


Meditation

What comes to mind when you hear the word meditation? Do you envision monks, hills, grassy areas, and weird chants?

How do some of you feel about meditation?

For a long time I believed it to be part of a strange religious act. I thought meditation was for those who derived from the eastern world and prayed to Buddha. I could not have been more wrong.
According to dictionary.com, meditation is described as “continued or extended thought, reflection, or contemplation. “

Jesus said “mediate on my word”

It is known that when one focuses his or her attention on anything in particular it affects the mind. People often say “think positive”. Now I want you to think about it, if one is constantly thinking negative thoughts then he or she will soon embody negativity.

Thoughts impact our actions and our actions impact our lives. Therefore meditation is nothing more than practicing mindfulness. Meditation is the act of a person intentionally bringing his or her mind to a precise state.

In addition, some people chant when meditating. It is known that when one chants “om” the vibration of one’s vocal chords affects the body and mind. It is proven that this vibration relaxes our mind. Some who are spiritual will say the word “om” is used for connecting with the divine. However, I use it to relax. Science backs it up. Because I know this is healthy for me I decided I would practice yoga more and include chanting in my practice.

Today I chanted “Om” and stretched for 7 minutes.

At first it was hard to stay focused. My mind wandered off. I even questioned if what I was doing would work. I usually practice yoga at a yoga studio by my house. However, today I lead myself into stretching and meditation on my own. I wasn't sure if I was doing it correctly.

Before my seven minutes were up I started to feel relaxed and I knew it was working. Soon my alarm went off and it was time to stop. I realized it was easier than I thought. I thought to myself “I could definitely do this on my own.”

I encourage you all to practice some form of meditation. Simply focus on a word, or an action that assumes positivity. See how you feel afterward. It may seem weird at first especially because you may not be used to sitting in silence. But, eventually you will start to enjoy it.  I know I enjoyed my seven minutes today!


Here are some pictures of another type of meditation/mindfulness event I attended. Drumming produces sounds that also relax one’s mind. Enjoy! 





Friday, May 16, 2014

Day Eleven



“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
-      Elizabeth Gilbert

This is a quote from the book Eat, Pray, Love. Have any of you seen the movie?  I adore it!

This quote couldn’t be more true. I constantly feel that I am searching for the ideal life. For the next thing that will make me happy; the thing is, I do find what makes me happy. 

Yet, I am not disciplined in maintaining my happiness. 

For example, I love my yoga practice. It gives me peace, helps out my posture, and enlightens me. Yet, I don’t stick with it. I get my fix and then go. Like any quick fix it does not last. I constantly have to come back for more. And like all things worth keeping, what helps us stay afloat needs work and commitment.

How are your seven minutes going my friends? Are you finding it harder to commit to your goals? If so, I encourage you to keep fighting, keep dreaming, and keep searching. If you don’t give up you will see results!


What will I be doing for the next week? I will be spending 7 

minutes in silent meditation. I …must…commit! 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Day Six



Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms!

I have been absent for three days! Please forgive me. I had to take care of some things and I also needed time to myself.

 In order to update you on what I have been up to as far as my activities go for the challenge, I have decided to write this post and include my activities below. This is what I did…

Day Four

I spent an hour at the gym.

I did my hair.

And I bought a pretty dress for today. Entire outfit $25.00 Pics coming soon.

Day Five

I spent the morning with my mom.

I went to an Alzheimer’s fundraising event.

And I watched desperate housewives.  

Today
I will be spending the day with the women in my life who mean so much to me. My mother, my sister, my aunt, and Emilia (my second mom)


Have a great Sunday!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Day Three (Perfection is Not Required)


I was overwhelmed today. See, I have a lot to accomplish.  Graduation is around the corner and I need to start thinking about making a good living. Student loans will soon kick in, bills will need to get paid, and mom and dad will no longer be helping.

I thought to myself “What job would I qualify for?” “Where would I live?”  “How much will I make?” Some days I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I never do. Yet, worrying about the answer was not going to help any. In order to take my mind off of the anxiety I decided to spend my 7 minutes at the gym. I actually spent 40 minutes at the gym.
 Anyway, one would think that after pumping iron I would feel better. For a brief moment I did. I had a surge of energy. One would also think “Now she will be able to see clearly.” Nope. My surge of energy soon faded after driving down US1 to pick up the children I babysit.  I arrived to work with a sense of lack. Apprehension was still tugging at my heart.  

Yet on the way home today I thought to myself “what will I tell my readers?” I did my seven minutes but, it didn't feel like I completed much at all. That’s when it hit me. It’s not about the feeling. It’s about the doing. We are not always going to get it right. We are not always going to feel awesome even if were doing the right thing. Life is not automatically going to get easier because were trying to be our best. In fact, it will get harder. And we may not always feel like dedicating 7 minutes to something that benefits us. But, we do it anyway. We press on.

Galatians 6:9

Let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

Be encouraged guys there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Day Two


I spent 7 minutes reading my bible today. 

What did you do?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Update Me


I pray these next 30 days are days that will give you new life. 

I shared with you all how I spent  my 7 minutes today.  I now want to hear how you spent your seven minutes today.

Facebook me, text me, or email me. 

Let me know how it wen't! 


Day One Begins Now



It’s official!

Day one of the 30 day challenge has begun! If you started and took a break with us then it’s day two for you!

But for the sake of being on the same page let’s call it day one.

 How have you been spending your 7 minutes today? Me? Well, I have been painting. Yup! I am painting a very special portrait for my mother. I plan to give it to her on mother’s day.
However, that’s not what I want to talk to you about today. What I want to share with my readers today is this:  Do not be afraid.

When I first dreampt up the vision for my blog, it was a blurry vision.  
I started blogging because I knew I wanted to touch the lives of others. See, when I read stories about others I get encouraged. I trust its cause I see the power in community. When someone can relate to someone else’s story a powerful thing happens; people become excited, people become vested, and people’s lives begin to change.

My philosophy is that we are all on this earth temporarily. We have another home, a spiritual home. We are all trying to get there but we are a bit lost. We need guidance. All of us have a light in us; we just need to find it. I am here to say that I have faith that, that light is Jesus. I believe He has a precious voyage he wants to take you on in order to get you home. However, everyone’s path is different and no one’s journey looks the same. It is my hope that through my blogs God speaks to your heart and shows you your way.
 Again, I had a blurry view of what my blog would be like. But, I had a template to go off of. See, I have been a faithful reader of my friend Rachel Marie Brown’s blog for a couple years now. I started following her blog when her blog used to be called Chasing Kite Tails. The purpose of her blog was to empower women to chase after their dreams. She hosted, a 6 -10 week journey (much like our 30 day challenge) and challenged her faithful readers to dive into a hobby, a dream, or anything that they wanted.

Unlike her, when I started blogging I did not plan on completing any type of experiment. I decided to go forth with this task when I realized I needed to do something innovative in order to gain more readers. See, my story wasn't enough to impact others. So, I asked a few writers what they thought of my vision. They encouraged me to make my blog very specific. Many times when I write, my ideas seem to be all over the place (I hope I am not doing that now). My critics advised that in order to keep my readers coming back for more I needed to hone in on a main idea.

I decided to give their advice a shot. This is where the 30 day challenge sprung from. The 7 minutes a day challenge came from a Ted Talk Video. I thought to myself “hey I can just put these two ideas together.” The challenge is do something you love for at least 7 minutes, for a total of 30 days.

 I am happy to say that I have four (consistent and special) people who are joining me on this journey. Thank you folks, you know who you are!

Going back to the point of this entry;

My first 7 minutes today were spent painting. While painting I realized that starting any project such as blogging is like painting a work of art.
Let it be said that I am no Michael Angelo. I start off having an image of what I want my art to look like. In the end it always turns out different than what I had imagined.
 Life is not perfect. These next 30 days won’t be perfect either. Still, I plead with you all to keep the course. Whatever you want to achieve, you can do it. Whether it’s starting a blog of your own, painting, working out, cooking a new dish, or reading your bible, I know that you have what it takes to finish the task.

You will learn something in these next 30 days. I don’t know what God wants to teach you. But I know it will be worth the trip.


Doing something you love for 30 days will require mindfulness and it
 will require consistency.  Do not give up. Praying for all of you this month; see you on the other side! 

Monday, May 5, 2014

30 Day Challenge Countdown



It's almost here. The 30 day challenge begins tomorrow! 

Are you ready? 

If you have not emailed me your information please do so. Click the contact me link on my page to view my email. You will not want to miss out on the gifts and memos coming your way for the next month.

John 14:27 -  
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Who are We





                        


I am just a little ticked.

Ticked off not, because of what they did. But because of whom they chose to be.

Is it just me, or does every one now days try to keep up with a society who is lost? A society, that says I must wear all the hip things, and say all the right words; like yolo and selfie in order to be cool.

A society that strives to be someone they are not. Someone they cannot even monetarily afford to be.

Prada and Channel are the only things in my closet (not really) but I will post pictures of only those items. I will pretend to be someone I am not just so someone I don’t like can approve of me. 

This hit me, who are we trying to keep up with? And when did we begin to agree with society and all of its unspoken guidelines.

My name is Grace and I like myself. Thank you very much.

I love to write. I am a dreamer. I do not settle for the norm. I want to be the best. I want to stand out. I believe in an ugly world and still, I cast away all of its ugliness, so what is left is nothing but, beauty. This is me. This is who I choose to be. I can be hip and say all the right things. I can go to the fanciest parties and wear the trendiest outfits. Still at the end, without Jesus I am empty. Without variation life is dull.

My identity is found in Him (Jesus) and Him alone.

I do aspire to have nice things. I do want to be able to afford a Jaguar one day. But, if something happens to those things, I will still be who God made me to be fun loving; and happy me.



Friday, May 2, 2014

Let's Hear from You




Today I want to hear from you. We are four days away from starting our 30 day challenge. Are you excited? Have you told all your friends about what you will be doing? I want to know, what will you be doing for the next 210 minutes?

I want to hear from you!

On the comment box please write and tell me what you want to achieve in the next 30 days.

Can’t wait to hear from you all!


Ready…set…GO! 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Balance




"A little bit of balance goes a long way"
  


Balance; they say it goes a long way.

How many of us are balanced?

I pause and think to myself, what does that look like? If balance equals perfection I am not even close to being balanced.

Between deadlines and the many demands of life I get an overwhelming sense that I am lost.  

Where do I begin and when does the hard work stop?

In this 30 day challenge I will be challenging all of my readers to spend at least 7 minutes a day doing something they enjoy. It is vital to one’s well-being that he or she takes a break from time to time. Studies have shown that stress leads to heart attacks and heart attacks can lead to death. My yoga teacher Soraya tells her students that “when one is stressed, one’s diaphragm becomes contracted and when a person’s diaphragm contracts, less air flows through the person’s airways.” Breath gives life. Therefore, it is important that people continually work on becoming less stressed. People must learn how to manage the many demands of life.

 I am a full time masters in social work student, a part time babysitter, and a part time intern.  I need to pay bills. My apartment still has to get cleaned, clothes need to get washed, and I have to make time to cook. After all, if I continue eating fast food I will never lose 20 pounds!

I am stressed. I am tired. And I want…to just…arrive… already!

I no longer want to pinch for pennies, pay debts, and think about responsibility.

I want to have enough, in fact; I want to have more than enough. However, I don’t want to work too hard for it. No. I want to work just enough and then enjoy my privacy.

Still, life is not that easy. The bible says in Proverbs 13:4 “The soul of the lazy man desires and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich”

Proverbs is a book of wisdom. This book is filled with advice. In fact the bible tells us that if we want to be wise we should seek out wisdom.

However, wisdom also advises us to rest.

Exodus 34: 21 says, “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest time you shall rest.”

And in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke (my ways) upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly (humble) in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I am reminded that although we must work hard to achieve our goals, it is necessary to rest. God allows us to rest.

So, today my friends, spend at least 7 minutes resting.

This is balance. Enjoy!