A Glimpse of Mi Vida...

It started with a missions trip to Camden, where my life and perspective were changed and where this blog began. Life has been a roller coaster filled with its ups and downs and I'm excited for the adventure and discovering what God has in store, even though I really dislike roller coasters... I am a Lady in Waiting...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best of 2011

Joining Shanda at A Pause of the Path I am highlighting  my "best" blog...

Being a new writer and discovering that I love it after taking a several year hiatus from blogging... in May I was encouraged by the lovely Jackie and Shanda to join them in doing an alphabet blog where each day we would post pertaining to a letter in the alphabet. What started out as a great way to keep me writing, busyness got the best of me and what was suppose to be a 26 day adventure stretched out to almost three months. I am proud of the results however.

So below in an except from my blog titled, "Ll = Lady and Love Letters".

"Last year, amidst tears and worship songs in my car past 10pm at night in my driveway, I broke it. I broke my alabaster box at His feet. I took my alabaster box filled with my body, soul, dreams…everything… I entrusted all those things to Him. With Jesus as my Lord, I can joyfully walk on the path that God has for me. The Lord is so worthy of that honor of me giving my all to him. It must be ALL or NOTHING.

I have played the game of giving God things halfheartedly and my life and heart were only half-filled with His love and desires. That never worked, so I must give Him my all, my everything, and do “nothing” but allow God to work.

I have discovered Christ is my Bridegroom. I gain fullness in Him, not in a MAN. My days are filled with HIM, not a him. My time is filled with conversations of Him, thoughts of Him, and the desires of His heart and what He wants for me. He has made me into a woman of diligence as well

With that blog I had over 300 pageviews... my best ever considering this blog has primarily just been for me and my adventures...
Thanks for the support and keep on reading.
Happy Blogging and a Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On My Heart: Tuesday: Jobless Blessings

On My Heart Tuesday: Jobless Blessings

So I have yet to share this on my blog and have barely mentioned it on Facebook... but I am one of the many jobless in California. But I can't help but feel so blessed by the opportunity to have time to serve now.

I remember the day I was let go from my job so vividly. It was towards the end of October and it was abrupt and sudden. I left and just drove with tears streaming down my face. I ended up at the church and walked into one of the offices, one which I didn't frequent. One of the ladies asked what was up and I just began to weep. She ran over to me and just hugged me and prayed. It was so comforting... I felt God in that moment comforting me. Amidst my tears, I said, "This is a backyards blessing!" I was right.

I hated my job because it sucked the life out of me. I remember as I roamed around Peru this summer praying that I would some how be let go of from my job. I knew I wouldn't leave because God had repeatedly told me to stay. I would have to find a job or be removed. Due to unfortunate circumstances, I was let go of and it has turned to be the biggest blessing.

I learned to move on and to not hold on to resentment or bitterness because if I did, I couldn't receive God's blessings, or even recognize it. Within two weeks I had already had four job interviews. God was showing me that "He Had It!"

Soon after I got out of my funk, I started volunteering in that same office that I somehow ended up in that day. Looking back I can't believe how I have not only been a volunteer staff working 9 to 14 hours around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the people in that office have become my family. I have learned project management amongst other great things I can add to my resume. I am also going to Haiti this summer as a co-leader, which is another blog entry in itself.

With free time, I am officially starting my freelance business. I already have my business names registered. I have spoken with my accountant and write-off a majority of my expenses like a computer and new camera. I am doing something that I love that I would not have had the time for. I am able to take what I learned from the past year and a half and it will help me grow my business. I have a website picked out and hope to launch it by the end of January!

I stepped down from a form of leadership after praying about it and God confirming more than once that wasn't where I was suppose to be. God allowed me to take on more responsibility in our outreach department, which is where my heart has always been... I just had never realized it. I also have left a small group where I was not only feeling left out but where I wasn't growing in the way that I should. Now I have more time to focus on the small group that I lead but also invest in the girls that feel left out and not part of the "clique". That is a ministry in and of itself. I have been able to form so many new friendships and now couldn't imagine my life without these wonderful ladies. I love getting to pur into them and having deep conversations.

I have become so close to three families especially which I consider myself to be apart of that family. As I have mentioned before my home life and relationship with my family is extremely difficult at times and I almost feel more loved by these new families than I do by my own at times. One of which, I feel like I have a new best friend and sister... I have gained a spiritual mentor through a husband and wife who constantly pray for me and lift me up and offer me the love and support that my soul quenches for. They feed my love languages. Another family invites me to hang out and have fun with adventures at Disneyland where I get to feel like a child again. I get to laugh and joke and I consider them to challenge me to learn and grow about so much, especially the mom... we are so similar and think and mesh really well together. The last family has adopted me practically... as the girls in the family have said. I have spent a whole day cooking with them and then spent hours at the mall with a teenage girl shopping for Christmas plants. I have laughed to no end and even have my own ringtone on each of their cell phones.  I am so blessed because I feel so loved by these spiritual families... they are loving, caring, generous, considerate... and FUNNY!!!

Lastly I had a lovely Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thanksgiving I spent at church volunteering and serving meals to those in need as my family for the 2nd year in a row ate without me. I jumped a fence and even led and helped to organize a site. On Christmas, my dad didn't get high or drunk so that was a blessing in itself. My cousin announced that she and her husband are pregnant after miscarrying a few months prior. I got to spend time with my godson and see him play with all of the gift that I got him... most of which I had to put on credit... but I also cut back this Christmas and didn't really buy gifts for anyone. Then I got to spend time with my grandparents... hearing my grandmother sing Christmas music as we drove around the city. But also I got to see my grandfather... which I cherish and almost brings me to tears just thinking about. He has progressive Parkinson's and is showing signs of dementia...

As I leave you this evening... I can't help to think of how blessed I am...

Monday, December 19, 2011

In Search of Beauty: Natural

So... I am excited that I will be starting a new project soon called, NATURAL!!!

I have been working as a photographer and my next photo event/project will be a photo shoot in which I capture women's natural beauty. My project will enlist all of my girlfriends in jeans and a tshirt without any makeup on in a place of beauty. I literally cannot wait...

I love my friends and all of their natural beauty because I know it radiates from the inside, although I do think they are gorgeous not just internally, but externally as well.

Let me know if you are interested in participating...

Pay It Forward

This afternoon I sat in a whole in the wall restaurant with friends... half of which chose not to eat (a personal pet peeve of mine). The restaurant is cash only and luckily I had some leftover change from shopping from a few weeks back. The three of us who were eating ordered our food. The waitress, an old Mexican woman, snarkily made a comment that we should not take such a large table with half of the table not ordering food. My friends then quickly became a peanut gallery, making comments about how rude of the lady to speak that way to us and went on and on. I sat there quietly most of the time not wanting to throw fuel into the fire. I made "excuses" for the old waitresses "rudeness", although honestly I agreed. This wasn't some chain restaurant, it was a small... a mom and pop shop. I sat there almost embarrassed as my friends went on and on. The waitress still failed to bring us two of our waters after about fifteen minutes, more comments flew back and forth. I just thought, leave this poor woman alone. I though, yeah... maybe this was rude but what is a woman over the age of 60 doing working on a Sunday. I thought of her story and I thought of leading out in example... of being an example no matter where I am, especially in a restaurant.

Often times I feel as though us "Christians" are the worst customers. Rude. Complainy. Picky and Cheap. I try to think of the person behind the counter when I go out, or the person trying to make a living. I try to remember to tip well although I think college students often fail this rule.

So we sat there, finally getting our food and someone in the group complained... twice. The food was fixed and brought back. They asked for ranch dressing and sour cream was brought. At this point, the group was grumpy and extremely rude. When the bill came, I was overcharged for something that was misleading on the menu. Friends continued to complain as we paid the bill. I made a comment about how I was only going to leave 10% of a tip (essentially shorting it) because I was overcharged and the bill was over but it wasn't worth another complaint. My only comment. As we leave the restaurant, a friend stays behind and talks to the waitress.

We are standing outside waiting for our friend when our she comes out in tears. Sobbing she tells us that she went to the waitress not to complain, but to apologize. As she was leaving the lady from the table began to yell at her. She stated that she heard our conversation and heard my comment and proceeded to yell at my friend. I was even more embarrassed. Embarrassed at my own comment, but saddened that my friend's continual complaining left the wrong impression with this woman who proceeded to yell at her and put her in tears. Was this lady right? No. But neither was their behavior or my comment.

"Practicing the "pay it forward" principle will make you alert to unexpected kindness from strangers toward you, and you may find yourself becoming more grateful for everyday kindness and consideration from people you don't even know."

I think that our world is not about paying it forward, but of letting our love overflow. When I am centered in the word and aware of my surroundings, my cup overflows of God's goodness and grace. That overflow is able to be poured out to others and hopefully the love, mercy, and grace continues to flow and spread. It is not about getting something out of it, but rather just continuing to be an example and show Christ's love.
Tonight my cup overflowed and I was allowed to bless someone else.

There I sat with all new friend's in a restaurant. We had another family from church of friends in the booth next to us, which we said hi too. We attempted our best to stay off our phones and enjoy each others company. We laughed and joked and even got the waiter to give us the lunch special.

Our waiter was a sweetheart and I knew him. We used to serve in ministry together but he hadn't been around much lately, but no one ever noticed that he disappeared. But he was our waiter and we remember each other. He was working along in three sections of the restaurant on this busy Sunday night. 

As two of the girls had to leave, they asked to have their bill separated. But he said not to worry about it, it was taken care of. We looked at each other and questioned what he was talking about. He told us that the table next to us covered our bill. A bill for 11 women's dinners. We were in shock and almost in tears. I was amazed. My friends... the family at the table next to us. The family who had taken me in and treated me like a daughter, the family that made me laugh and loved me and the family that I have become close friends with over the past few weeks, had paid of my meal and all of my friends. Most of which whom they had not met. What a blessing. They really blessed us.

Immediately I thought that we must tip the waiter really well and I grabbed my phone and read a text from the family that said, "The bill is paid... tip him well he's had a long night :-)" As I left a tip that was the amount of what my bill would have been, I started collecting money. I was slightly disappointed that some of the girls didn't seem to understand the concept of paying it forward, or using this as an opportunity to really bless this waiter. We collected a total of $42. Although a little disappointed I thought we should have given more, I was happy that this waiter could be blessed. I hope that this was even an opportunity to get him to come back to our church... he had since moved to Pasadena but was working in Glendora... I hope he was blessed.

He sure did show us that there are good, pure, hardworking guys out there though... I know he has a girlfriend. But one of the girls in our group asked if he was married because of the ring on his wedding finger. He said no, that it was a purity ring and then told us purity is something important to keep until marriage.  We swooned.

What a blessed evening the off-day turned out to be... how great it was to take the "free" dinner and not run, but rather to turn around and allow it to bless someone else.
I felt love by this family,  and felt how amazing it was that they not only blessed us but also blessed this waiter and allowed us to bless him as well.
I pray not that we would pay it forward for good jujubees of the universe, but that we would look at our many blessings and in turn, hope to bless others with our abundance.
A friend also commented, "So many sweet girls who love the Lord all in one place...makes me smile!"

I love when God's love radiates!