Thursday, June 19, 2014

Phenomenal 2014

Today I had an opportunity to witness a turning of a page in the lives of some of my students who are now graduates! It was a moment when I was reminded that I was a part of something big. It is the first and the last time these young people will experience being graduated from High School. These are the moments that never repeat themselves. In the words of the head boy, Michael Cooper, "A second just past, and another one, and another one. We will never get that time back".

Watching these young people turn a corner in their lives, a milestone, so excited to be done with High School and looking forward to what's next and what is yet to come, was a powerful experience. Their hearts filled with hope and inspiration for their future, their eyes on fire to be PHENOMENAL as they step onto the road of life and begin to explore what it really means to journey in the real world outside of High School walls. They are at a cross roads and will have to make some life-altering decisions, learning to discover who they really are and what their purpose in life is. I felt so touched, humbled and honoured to be a part of that moment!

Above all, I was overjoyed to see those who had placed their lives in God's hands and were making stand for their faith, inspiring others to continue on their life's journey with God, because it is only with God's leading that they will be able to go in the direction of their purpose and attain their full potential, finishing the race!

My prayer tonight is for all the graduates of 2014 - that that may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. Father, may they know how much they are loved by You and may that be what defines them! May they grow closer to You and truly know who they are in Christ and recognise that they can do all things through Christ who strengthens them! Lord, may You place a hedge of protection around each and every young graduate and that the weapons formed against them shall not prosper, in Jesus' Name! Lord, above all, may they know that You are always with them and may they rely on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, the Teacher, the Advocate, the Helper...always! Send them the right mentors and friends to create a great support system as they journey, so that they may grow to maturity and bring glory to You! In Jesus' Name...Amen!

Today was a powerful day for some beautiful students and I got to capture that moment!

...and for that i am thankful!

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
~ 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Peace & Home.

The one thing that I can say that I am so very thankful for today is looking forward to coming home, knowing that when I get there I will be finally in my 'safe zone'. It is such a peaceful feeling. It made me think of the occasions in my life when that was not the case, and how that felt...that is one of the worst feelings ever.

Imagine you are heading home and you are literally dreading each minute as you get closer to your destination. Many times you are thinking of other things to do or trying to find other places to go, just so that you would spend less time home, dragging the time. That is a difficult reality to face for anyone who, for one reason or another, is experiencing that feeling. Some may not want to be faced with the loneliness, while others have to deal with some sort of dysfunction going on at home - the one place where one should find safety and peace of mind.

A home should be a place where, once you get there, you can drop the weight of the world off your shoulders, take off your shoes kick back and relax, letting yourself go one hundred per cent!  The minute you step across the doorway, even the scent of your place should invite you in and make you feel welcomed and cozy. Whatever or whoever is welcoming you there should be communicating love and acceptance. This is the one place you should be able to be yourself without fear of judgement or criticism.

A home should never be a place of fear or intimidation, but of complete safety and peace. It should be a place where you look forward to going to at the end of the day, and a place that you wish you did not have to ever leave. It is a place of refuge, where you recharge your batteries.

Today I realised that I am able to just come home and feel peace...

...and for that I am thankful.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Nothing but LOVE

I don't even have the words...the pictures speak for themselves...

 No matter what is happening in my life, no matter how tired I am sometimes...these people really make it worth it every time! I am overjoyed and very blessed to be able to share life with each one of you, to journey with you and to have become a part of each of your lives. No matter what happens and where life may take all of us, I will always have these memories and my door will always be open. These moments are PRICELESS!

...and for that I am thankful!

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:  
If one falls down, his friend can help him up.

~ Ecclesiastes 4:9

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 

~ John 15:12 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

That's an "A"!!!

I am so so very excited today! I got a 99% on my mid-term exam!!!

I was anticipating the result of my first mid-term exam of my first online course towards my Master's Degree... and OMG! I got an "A"!!! I cannot believe it! I cannot begin to express how wonderful that feels. i am so encouraged.

For awhile this mid-term was like a mental hurdle to overcome. I really studied and enjoyed the course thus far, but some things came int he way and then just overcoming the nervousness and finally completing the test was a bit challenging. Finally, I forced myself to focus and buckle up, get my work done and now, I am seeing there results of that decision and commitment!!!

Now that my mid-term is behind me, I can get back into studying regular assignments until I have to face the FINAL!!! But, until then, I will celebrate my progress...

...and for that I am thankful!

Friday, June 6, 2014

The afterthought

As I was sitting watching this big dance going on in the middle of Downtown Disney with all the little kids dancing to the music played by a DJ, with all the lights flashing and all the parents chasing them and dancing with them and taking pictures, I had these thoughts...

Our experiences are channeled though us into the rest of the world. How we process them varies and determines what is projected through us into the world. Depending on how we process our experiences and grow through them we are able to offer wisdom to others on how to overcome similar situations. We filter these through our heart, soul, mind and spirit at the time when it's happening to us, in such a way that others get to see. Our ability to filter our experiences exposed the true nature of our heart, mind and spirit. It is through the way we live it out, how we think and what we say and do.

As we grow with each experience and become more 'polished' on the inside and mature, we develop character and gain wisdom. Our wisdom is not for us alone. It is not about us at all. It is all about bringing glory to our Creator  and to serve and help others. But we cannot do it without awareness nor without first learning ourselves. If we do not learn - we do not grow. If we do not grow - we do not become wiser and without wisdom we cannot bring glory to God nor can we help others. And if we do not bring glory to God through our life journey, if our life does not positively impact at least one person - we lived in vain and we would not get full satisfaction out of life.

It is only when we connect and share our life experiences with others, building them up, motivating them, encouraging and helping someone else do we truly reach fulfilment in life's purpose. This is why having children is such a life-changing experience (at least for most of us). That's because for the first time we truly realise that our life will impact and shape another human life. Our children see us better than anyone else, they are very perceptive. Children are like sponges - absorbing all of who we are - the good, the bad and the ugly...and it becomes their norm, at least until they learn to think on their own. Our personality, traditions, beliefs, habits, mannerisms and convictions will be engraved in them and will lay the foundation in forming the core of who they are and in their thinking.

Oh, how much more challenging it is for those kids who do not have active parents. These kids end up picking up bits and pieces from all over, without a consistent and stable guidance in forming a full, healthy picture of life and healthy identity. The foundation for these kids is broken from the initiation. Then these kids become adults...who go into therapy to make sense of what was put into them from early on.

Like Lego pieces we begin to unravel it all, going through the painful experience of dismantling everything we have ever believed and thought about who we are, examining who put those realities there to begin with. For many this is way too much to handle and too painful, that we give up before we even begin.

So what's the moral of the story? Before you loose me, let me say this - let your light shine! Get rid of the darkness, live responsibly because it is not just about you. Like Joyce Meyer says, "as many people as you can help you can also damage". Going with the flow and YOLO should only be our motto is we are following the flow of the Holy Spirit who is there to guide us... and only if we realise that we do only live once, no repeats...This is the one life we get to live for Christ and His mission, the life abundant!

...and for that I am thankful!

"So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the Glory of God"

~ 1 Corinthians 10:31

"Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible but not everything builds up."

~ 1 Corinthians 10:23


Thursday, June 5, 2014

It's never too walk away

Downtown Disney! WOW! It was so much fun :) and the reason why it was so much fun, I realised, was because I felt free - stress free!

I realised that living a life with someone in it who tries to steal your joy and your sense of freedom is so deadly for your soul and spirit. The only way we should allow someone into our life is if that person propels you into freedom and helps you realise your full potential, who encourages and inspires you to be the best person you can be.

Most people, because they are themselves broken and emotionally unhealthy and/or spiritually immature, will put you an a box of their expectations, whether good or bad. It is a form of selfishness because they only see their own desires, seek their own goals and understand the world only through their own pain and insecurities. It's still all about them. They are not interested in your dreams and they are not concerned with your story, your journey, your growth. It's as if you constantly have to fight to defend yourself with them, constantly having to stand your ground and re-establish boundaries, always on the look out because you are unsure if they will look out for YOUR best interest. There is no freedom, no trust...there is no love in a relationship where you constantly have to prove who you are. If only they paid attention and opened their eyes and took a genuine interest in you - they would see you and there would be no need for explanations.

These are the unhealthy people, who are more concerned with self-gratification than your success. They will pretend to care because it's in THEIR best interest, as long as it serves them and they are getting something out of the deal. They are good, really good. They possess a gift of manipulation and it's hard to see them coming. The problem for so many of us is that we fall for it and by the time we see the true colours we are so caught up and deeply engaged and wrapped up, that we get stuck. In so many cases it is too late.

Relationships with unhealthy and unsafe people end in heartbreak and often with even worse consequences. They suck you dry and leave you empty. BEWARE! Guard your heart and never be afraid to walk away. Be courageous, count your losses and move on. Do not even look back. You deserve so much more.

Walking with Jesus and constantly tuning into the leading of the Holy Spirit is what allows me to catch myself and identify unhealthy people just at the right time.

...and for that I am thankful :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Life is but a dream

Today was so peaceful. Serenity would be a good way to describe this day. This is the kind of day that you get to reconnect with God and have that quality time with Him. I have been longing for that for awhile. It was not about doing nor was not about doing at was about being.

Normally life is so busy and hectic. Even when you do make time to sit and focus on God and do devotions and even meditate, the mind is always busy. Rest is so important. It helps me reflect and get tuned into His presence, hear His voice. This is when I get most encouraged and inspired. This is when I get fed spiritually and fully rest because He gives me rest.

It was in that time that I was marvelling at the magnolia flower that was given to me by my newest friend. She is a special lady and she was so kind to bring me one of the magnolias that grows in her garden. It was my very first time seeing one...and oh, the fragrance!

Here is my poem that was inspired by this beauty. 
Dedicated to my girls - you know who you are ;)


“She is blooming, there was no other option.
No matter how much they would keep her petals closed
No matter how much she’s been hurt before
But now she’s blooming!

It would have been much worse to stay the same
It would be much more painful to remain
The only option is to give into what’s real
The only choice it to unfold, to open up and bloom!

Each petal took the liberty to move
Each movement was another fight to overcome
Each choice was made intentional to prove
Deliberately, fearfully to bloom!

And now she is no longer in a bud,
She is no longer hiding all her essence
Instead she is illuminating fragrance
Allowing to be seen from inside out!

Each moment that it took to bloom
It was not wasted, all was mean to happen
And now she’s free no matter who can see
Because no matter what her beauty is unraveled."

~ Iliana © 2014

"Life is but a dream" 

I heard this statement today and it almost jumped at me and then the Holy Spirit began to speak...

We think this life is the reality, but in actuality this life is only a transitory journey into the eternal reality. While walking here we have a chance to awaken to the reality and begin walking in the eternal even now. We no longer have to sleep walk being distracted by the insignificant things of this world. Instead we become sensitive to the unseen things of eternal significance. That is when we begin to seamlessly develop character of integrity not for any other reason but because anything else becomes irrelevant. It is not simply putting our best foot forward to impress others or pat ourselves on the back. It is just who we are - eternally meaningful and authentic. There is no other option, living any other way would be equivalent of shooting yourself in the leg and trying to run a race. This is what it means to wake up. Most people live their lives asleep. They are sleepwalking, making plans based on the reality of this life that will evaporate. How silly is that?

This life is a period of growth, discovery and exploration. Each person deserves that journey. God allows us to go through this life so that at some point we realize that nothing on this earth and beyond can remain disconnected from Him. He is the source of life and love. Our human experience has been tainted by sin which separates us from God, from the eternal...but we can choose to wake up now and live a life with Him, growing in our awareness of the eternal. Through acceptance of our sleeping state and making a choice (when we choose salvation from sin) we begin the process of waking up. The Holy Spirit connects with our spirit and channels eternity into us, bringing us into greater awareness of eternal reality. That is when our eyes become open, the scales fall away and we receive revelation. And nothing is ever the same...

...and for that I am thankful!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Shedding Skin

When was the last time you've had that 'me time'? It's that time when you get to do cool things that you love, the things that the daily routine sometimes steals from you...

This afternoon I got chance to do something that, sadly, I don't get to do often - bubble bath Jacuzzi! It was so awesome! A bath tub full of really warm water and bubbles...and the whole jacuzzi effect was amazing. When I got out, it was like shedding skin - I felt brand new!

Today on the whole was so wonderful, so much to be thankful for! I made a new friend. We got to chat and share some cool stories. It was a day that did not involve any planning, the kind of day when you wake up and don't know what happens later that day. This was a smooth day, every minute was worth living it out. I even got a free bouquet of flowers, just by being at the right place at the right time.

I realise that it is the same with our faith walk. When we are walking in the Spirit, it feels like we are at the right place at the right time. When we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit we step into the divine favour and the right doors open up and the blessings are coming our way. Often times we get sidetracked and need to get back on track. To step into that favour sometimes we need to shed some things out of our lives that hinder us. It is the letting go of what does not serve us, whether it is our attitudes, some people or some circumstantces. Letting go is not an easy thing and making that decision can be even harder...

Today I got to reflect on the moments in my life that called for my attention. Was I in the right place at the right time? Do I need to let go? Were the right doors opening or was I walking though the wrong doors? These are some really important question to ask in time of reflection. We are a new creation in Christ and we are able to step into the leading of the Holy Spirit and create a new reality.

...and for that I am thankful.