Saturday, January 24, 2015

Glimpses of Eternity

Today I want to share with you the longing that is in my heart. Quite recently I have felt a tug towards life, a nudge, or a pull towards something greater; greater than the everyday routine.  I have hungered for adventure, freedom, and intimacy. I have desired to see sunsets and pale moons. I have yearned for breath taking sceneries and for someone to share this beauty with. A friend, a lover; a person dear to my heart.

Last night as I was leaving work I got into my car and began to drive off. As I drove away from the building I was hit with a sharp pain in my chest. I noticed right away that it was coming from an emotion and not from a physical problem. I sensed loneliness, boredom, and complacency. When did I become this way I asked myself. It is like if time has created a void. Because of this void I have entertained ideas simply to avoid feelings of contempt. For example I have entertained men who do not deserve my attention and I have amused employers through long and unpaid hours of work. I have entertained the idea of forming a family in order to feel the love of others rather than forming a family to add to what is already beautiful. I have delighted everything that momentarily satisfies. Yet, I have not delighted in the things that last. The things that mirror the values I hold dear to my heart.
There’s a song by Pricilla Ahn called Dream. The song goes like this:

I was a little girl
Alone in my little world
Who dreamed of a little home for me.
I played pretend between the trees,
And fed my houseguests bark and leaves,
And laughed in my pretty bed of green.

I had a dream
That I could fly
From the highest swing.
I had a dream.

Long walks in the dark
Through woods grown behind the park,
I asked God who I'm supposed to be.
The stars smiled down on me,
God answered in silent reverie.
I said a prayer and fell asleep.

I had a dream
That I could fly
From the highest tree.
I had a dream.

Now I'm old and feeling grey.
I don't know what's left to say
About this life I'm willing to leave.
I lived it full and I lived it well,
There's many tales I've lived to tell.
I'm ready now,
I'm ready now,
I'm ready now
To fly from the highest wing.

As I listened to the words of this song I realized that even in the midst of finding what rings true to my values, it is still possible that I always will hunger. It is a fact that I will always yearn until I am ready to meet my creator. However, the things on earth that make me smile and the things that bring me peace and joy are found in righteousness and in truth. The matter is clear. I will always desire eternity. Until I meet my maker I will continue to thirst and hunger for forever. Forever will come. But, for now I will resolve to glimpses of heaven. Glimpses of eternity found in His word. Glimpses found in the values that I hold dear to. I will search for traces of forever in the things that resemble His bountiful love.
I leave you with this:

Philippians 4:8 “ Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Rising Above the Disillusionment

Back in 2009 I attended a small Christian school called Nyack College. Nyack College was located on a hill overlooking the beautiful village of Nyack. Nyack was a small quaint town just thirty minutes outside one of the biggest cities in world. Manhattan. I was close enough to the melting pot of diverse cultures where people from all over the world resided.  In those days I was a fire cracker. A city girl from Miami Florida filled with flavor and life. I was an extroverted young woman who loved the arts and appreciated culture. A social work major who had a passion for advocacy and who enjoyed making noise over matters that were worth shouting over.  Matters like human trafficking, modern day slavery, and societal oppression.  I saw the injustices of the world and desired to do something about it. I was at times doubtful and fearful yet, I still pushed beyond my anxiety. At this time I was like a walking billboard. It was my objective to make others aware of the inequalities that existed in our communities. I was a dreamer indeed. In fact this is how I began blogging. Someone said I had a lot of good and important things to say and she encouraged me to write about it.

I pause and take a deep breath. Gosh, where did I go? I remember when I thought I could change the world. I thought that I was truly unstoppable. Honestly, it sometimes feels like I disappeared.  Like I checked out a long time ago and vowed to never show up again. But, why? What happened to me? Some may know this and some may not but, I have had some losses in my life. Granted I never have lost anyone to cancer and I never have had to say goodbye to a loved one who got sent off to war.  Yet, I have dealt with some things that have left me worn-out, cynical, and even jaded. These things have left me to behave in ways that I truly do not approve of. Behaviors that have caused me to dislike myself, doubt myself, and behaviors that at times have left me in tears.

Let’s take relationships for a moment. My first significant relationships were built within the church. At twelve I became a member of the Assemblies of God. I was a devout Christian. I was a committed follower of the church. I went three times a week. Fridays, for youth group, Wednesdays for small group, and Sundays for Sunday morning service. I eventually became a leader within the church for the young women. I imitated every woman who held influence and I aspired to be just like them. These women at church were my rock and fortresses. In down times I leaned on them for support and advice. I followed their direction and trusted that I would yield a harvest of prosperity if I stuck to the straight and narrow path.  Well, just like all things built on only emotions and the will of man; eventually this church came crashing down. There was a huge split and many left hurt.  Even after the split I stayed and remained a faithful follower. I remember thinking it was the ones who left the church who had it wrong and maybe we were just going through a purge. I remained consistent and hopeful that our congregation were a people after God’s heart. Eventually as time passed I saw the reality of what was happening in our church. After some years of emotional abuse and oppression I left too, tired and empty. My view of God changed drastically, my view of the church changed drastically, and my view of people in general had changed. I was disillusioned. I had lost relationships that were dear to me and it seemed hard to trust anyone after that. To top it off, I ended a relationship with a man who I had fallen in love with. For the first time in my life I knew what it was to suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. Everything I had trusted in was changing and I didn't know what to do.

Although going away for college was difficult to deal with in the beginning, being in Nyack was a wave of fresh air. It was a time to confront the lies I had fed into for so many years and it was a time to rebuild what had come crashing down, my faith. I build new solid relationships and gained a sense of assurance and independence. Yet, like all chapters the chapter of being in college came to a close and I soon moved back to Miami Florida. This time trying to mend broken relationships and yet trying to stay true to the new person I had become. Sooner or later I understood that part of growing up meant letting go of the past and leaving behind the things that no longer served you. I also made new relationships in Miami and soon built something new in Florida. In fact some will say that I have become wise and responsible.

Yet, I ask myself if I have grown so much and I have finally begun to understand what life and love is about then why do I act so indifferent? See somewhere along the way, after all the disillusionment, I made an agreement with the king of lies to believe that everything was deemed untrustworthy and that if I was going to make it out alive in this world, then  I needed to be safe, responsible, and disconnected. I needed to be aggressive and independent. Eventually I began to be a different person all together. I no longer lived a life from a set of values that I held on to so tightly, instead I lived my life from a place of fear. Reacting to everything that occurred around me and not taking the time to stop and think. This is where I am today. I wear different masks trying to fit a mold just so I can survive. I try to hide what I feel and resort to pretending. I pretend that nothing hurts, I pretend that my relationship with God is fine. I pretend to get along with others. I pretend to be ok with the mediocre and when I get around my fiery friends I pretend to have energy. And lately this pretending has me exhausted.

I realize that if I am going to be a happy person and if I am going to have a great year, the pretending needs to stop. And the responding in a smart and loving manner needs to start. I have come to realize that everyone has a story and that every one’s story has a purpose. 2015 is the year I have vowed to come alive in. I have vowed to be real with myself and to stop acting. I told myself I would take my story for what it is and apply the lessons learned. I said I would create a new life filled with adventure and filled with the things that make my heart sing. I am not sure exactly how it will all play out. But I know that 2015 is my year. It’s time. I wanted to share my story with you all because I think that it is worth telling. I think that this story brings about encouragement in others. It gets us realizing that we are not the only ones with bruises and scars. It helps us to put our future into perspective and it pushes us to go beyond the limits we place on ourselves. It brings about courage in us.

Today people, I ask you to do something I have never done before. I never really call any of my readers to respond in such a way that I am asking now. But, if my story resonates with you. I ask that you personal message me on Facebook, or Twitter. I want to hear from you. I want to hear how this has touched you and I want to hear how we together, as a team can move forward from here on out.  Will you walk along side of me on this journey of mine? If so please go to my Contact Me page and connect with me via social media. Thanks, can’t wait to hear from you!   

Friday, January 2, 2015

Twenty Fifteen | Happy New Year!

Every year around this time people around the world begin to reflect upon the past year. They also start to ponder about what the future will bring. Well, for the last couple of weeks I have been doing the same. Every year I set goals. Some get accomplished and others …well others I leave for the next year ;) When I think about the reasons why some goals are accomplished and others aren’t, I realize that the dreams that aren’t accomplished are due to the simple fact that there was no plan in place to begin with. No plan for me to keep up with my goals. This year however, I decided to get ahead of myself and beat the game. I resolved that I would have a concrete plan as to how I am going to accomplish my goals.

Lucky for me I am a part of an online community called #fireworkpeople.  #fireworkpeople is a group of women who come together online to encourage one another and cheer one another on as each individual sets out to accomplish her aspirations. The #firework girls get together on Twitter, Facebook, and Google hangout. It’s a fun and convenient way to stay connected to others and it’s a great way to get inspired. This year in just a few weeks, the #firework team will be hosting a 5 month class. This class will equip members with practical ways to accomplish their goals.

The Bible states “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”  The power of community is evident. It is no secret to the world that a community of people carry influence. Therefore, when one is surrounded by a community of go getters then that person will have enough support to tackle what he or she is setting out to do.

I have written down my goals and I intend to see each and every one through. Because I already have a community of believers cheering me on, I have won half the battle. I consider myself blessed. I am ready to start the New Year.

Below I have listed my aspirations for the New Year, I have am still working on the plan; figuring out the details. Later I will share with you my plan. But for now, here are my goals.

What are your goals? What does your blue print look like for 2015?

PS: I have PLANS for the blog and I cannot wait to share them with you all! This year will be a ROCKIN year! 

Grace's Goals 

1.       Take photographs
2.  To be mentally and emotionally stable
3.     Lose 20 pounds.
4.     Blog consistently.
5.       Get a better SW job one that pays!
6.       Target the population I want to work with and what I want to do with social work and then start working at that.
7.    Pass my LCSW exam.
8. Become financially stable and independent
9.  Move by the end of 2015
10.   Meet someone special
11.   Build lasting and loving genuine relationships (make new friends)
12.   Market myself for my blog
13.   Get a photo shoot and take a photo shoot
14.   Travel
15.   Read all of the books I have yet to read that are on my book stand.
16.   Make money through business. Photography and blogging.