Tag Archives: faith

The Authentic Me

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Ive been following a blog called Overexposed and Underdeveloped. I love the many posts they have by many different writers! They have all been talking about work lately and today I really loved  a post by Carmen Farrell..the idea of work being incorporated not as a real job we get paid for but one that helps us be ourselves, the work of being ourselves 100%..You can find that blog here.

This is something i’ve been struggling with my whole life! My husband and I were laying in bed the other night and we had a really long conversation about everything and nothing. He liked me when were were younger. He was my brothers best friend and the thought of dating him wasn’t even in my head. I wanted to know why he liked me then..maybe it would be the same reasons as now. But of coarse im a different person now..he said he liked me mostly because he was surrounded by ass holes and i was so nice to everyone. Yeah that sounds like me still..but im no where near as nice as i used to be. i dont let people walk all over me now..He also said that he liked my laugh then. I said what about my laugh now? My laugh was much higher pitched then. Now its different, more controlled i said. And it made me think of how different i really am from my 15 year old self. I tried to be my best self then but i was riddled with the thoughts of everyone else and tried to please everyone that i could, even myself..but i often ended up unhappy. If i even said a cuss word people looked shocked! My mother even said it wasnt who i was. Now i cuss without hesitation and usually never care..but there are times when i catch myself and wonder if i really am someone who could do without cussing..maybe but i havent stopped. 

I feel like ive been following someone elses lead my whole life. In middle school i desperately wanted to be liked. I left all my friends in Ohio and moved to North Carolina after my Dad died. I didnt know anyone, i was chubby and we weren’t rich so i couldnt get on any sports teams like i played in Ohio. I wanted to be skinny and i even starved myself for months to become so. Then people noticed me and liked me. People commented on how skinny i got and how pretty i was now. But even after all that i still looked at the girls around me, looked at myself, then still wished i were different. I never liked myself and wished i could better, skinnier, prettier. My inner self never mattered to me, just my appearance. I also met a boy who i went to church for and found my Faith in God. I thought by finding God i could be my 100% best. It hasn’t made me that but it has gotten me close, i found a new love for people, for wanting to help and accept all people. I went on mission trips and found a heart for service. I so desperately wanted to save the world. Even after getting that close to being a good me..i still felt empty. I still felt like i needed to impress people. I had to be nice always, choose things based on everyone else’s thoughts and opinions.

High school came around and it was a lot like Middle school. Impressing, being nice. Then i decided not to be..in 10th grade i dated a boy no one liked, he changed me, saw through what everyone else failed to see. i was an imposter. doing what everyone else wanted and not what i really felt i should do. I cussed more and did what i wanted. My mom could not, for the life of her understand why i liked him over other boys i dated. But she let it go. Then we moved back to Ohio. I was like a ghost coming back from the dead and reliving what life was like without me for 5 years. I knew faces and they knew me but no one cared to talk to me, or remember we had once been friends. Until a boy younger than me took notice of me and i him(eventually) and i followed his lead. I started drinking,,something i said id never do..even smoked weed (also thought id die before doing)..my weekends were full of people partying in my house and i loved it! i loved having friends and being surrounded by people and being accepted. I also let go of my soul. It started suffering the moment i said yes to things i knew weren’t in my morals. like smoking and having sex (that i thought meant something at first then just became what we did). I felt like i was spiraling downwards and i didn’t know who i was and i sure wasn’t nice and definitely not my best. 

I went on to college and for the first two years i struggled immensely with the version of myself that i was with that boy, and who i was with the friends i had made there. Of coarse we drank and acted silly but they were the best people i knew! i didnt know why God blessed me with such good people but he did and i was so happy to find them all. But at the other end i was being dragged down fast. It was so emotionally draining that i started getting depressed, then the panic attacks came on quick! back and forth x100000 and finally i stopped and realized i was not going to be who i needed unless i let go. and i did. It was hard but i did it with the help of my family. I finally started feeling good. like myself whoever she was! I started talking to my husband and he helped me see what true love was like, i could tell him anything about me and he never wanted me to change or be anything than the 100% authentic me. 

But being married and now being a wife means i have to consider peoples thoughts and make decisions as a team and frankly i hate it. i like making decisions for them but not for him to make decisions for me! lol

I thought about that laugh i had..i remember it. People always told me i had a cute laugh..it was carefree, spirited, now its controlled. I dont know how to find the 100% authentic me..but this is what i know about her:

  • i love to laugh..even if its controlled
  • I love God even though i dont know where to find him lately. and i dont believe in everthing the bible says or even if jesus is the only way to heaven. i think theres truths in all religions.
  • I definitely hate being told what to do and what my decision will be
  • and by judging all the times i just had to spell check..she cant spell either! lol
  • i wanna serve people and be 100% nice and mean it.
  • i hate when people tell me im wrong or facts are wrong when i know them to be 100% true and when they continue to say im wrong after ive given the evidence that im right!
  • i guess the previous means im stubborn!
  • I love Yoga and Buddhist ideals..even though im not ready to take them on as my own
  • i love being a mom and wife even when it means sacrificing things i want
  • i will sacrifice everything for the people i love
  • i will hold my family together when they want to fall apart
  • i wont pretend to like anyone that i dont but i will be polite because im not mean unless your mean to me first
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God Looks Like Happiness

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Today when i woke up i do my everyday routine..wake up, feed Myla, change Myla, then on to the laptop to check emails/facebook/new blog posts/pintrest..u get it. But today one of my best friends posted this as her status on facebook, ” I think God looks like what happiness feels like.” Wow what a powerful statement and so very true!

I started thinking..what  does god look like to me?

God looks like:

Nature. i think im closest to seeing God, in the solitude of Nature. There, i am his creation experiencing all of his creation.

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My favorite color, GREEN! (im honestly convinced that God and I share the same favorite color! and I think im not crazy because EVERYTHING is green..ok well most of the world is either green or blue..the sky and the grass/trees/leaves..u know! lol)

The smile on my daughters face!

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He looks like my best friends! Through them i have more happiness and good memories than i could have ever asked for!

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He looks like my family. God creates us and delivers us into our families arms. He chooses our family for us. Through them we learn to be who we are. God says, this is what i want for u from the moment we are born and when i look at my family i see how loving God is and how much of a parent he is himself. Through my family i have seen strength, anger, tears and happiness, love, humor, disappointment. All the good and bad God makes he instilled in the family and I’ve seen it all.

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God looks like my new family..My husband. In him i see Gods unconditional love. I see acceptance and sacrifice! i see a fathers love. Thatas what God is right? a father!

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i even see god in my kitty, Mr. Watson! He is playful, but protective and always loving..so is God.

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God is everywhere. I see him in everything. How do u see God?

Religious life is life

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excerpt from “Living Buddha, Living Christ” by Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Twenty years ago at a conference I attended of theologians and professors of religion, an Indian Christian friend told the assembly, “We are going to hear about the beauties of several traditions, but that does not mean that we are going to make fruit salad”. When it came my turn to speak, I said, “Fruit salad can be delicious! I have shared the Eucharist with Father Daniel Berrigan, and our worship became possible because of the sufferings we Vietnamese and Americans shared over many years”. Some of the Buddhists present were shocked to hear I had participated in the Eucharist, and many Christians seemed truly horrified. To me, religious life is life. I do not see any reason to spend one’s whole life tasting just one kind of fruit. We human beings can be nourished by the best values of many traditions.

 

Professor Hans Kung has said, “Until there is peace between religions, there can be no peace in the world”. People kill and are killed because they cling too tightly to their own beliefs and ideologies. When we believe that ours is the only faith that contains the truth, violence and suffering will surely be the result. The second precept of the Order of Interbeing, founded within the Zen Buddhist tradition during the war in Vietnam, is about letting go of views: “Do no think the knowledge you presently possess is changeless, absolute truth. Avoid being narrow-minded and bound to present views. Learn and practice non-attachment from views in order to be open to receive others’ viewpoints”.  To me, this is the most essential practice of peace.

An Explanation

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Lets just say today has not started off right and I don’t think it will be improving in the next few hours! BUT! I was enlightened by a blog posted by Messy Canvas called I Want to Explain. She was  feeling exactly what i am at this exact moment! I’m so grateful for this blog world and how connected and understood i feel by people who go through things that i do!

Do i feel the need to constantly explain myself so people will like me and accept me? Yes, everyday…Do i like that the one time i feel like i shouldn’t have to explain myself that i still have to? NO! But i do anyways. I hate it! So if i made a list of all the things i have to explain, or feel the need to explain it would look like this

  • why i’m not a social person
  • why i’m nice to everyone including people i don’t like
  • why i get scammed a lot 
  • why i took classes outside of my “religious beliefs”
  • why i took a sociology class just so i can get experience in working with the people we learn about
  • why i feel it necessary to defend homeless people
  • why i get upset easily
  • my whole life sometimes
  • experiences i’ve had that made me who i am
  • how i can spend a whole day reading
  • somedays i don’t feel like talking to anyone
  • why i would help people and serve people for free
  • why i make mistakes
  • why im not perfect
  • why i love so deeply 
  • why family is my first priority
  • why i agree with parts of other faiths and have incorporated them into my own
  • why i hug some of my best friends and not others
  • why i dont like being smothered
  • why i expect people to treat me like i treat them even if its unrealistic

Thats about all i have for now 🙂

Make a way for me

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Since i’ve been thinking hard about my faith and what i should do about how far away from God i feel, i took it upon myself to join youversion.com and i started a monthly reading plan about prayer and service…although i feel like i haven’t gotten anything out of it yet…but i’ve been reading everyday and trying to find something to help my faith. Then today i decided maybe i should try another one so i just started a yearly devotional (this one with commentary) and i have already connected to it on the first day!

“Its easier to loose that special presence of God than it is to get it back once we’ve lost it” Joyce Meyer

This is soo true for me. I couldnt even tell you the exact moment i let God slip out of my life..but i could surely spend an hour telling you about how ive searched to find him and i have yet to capture him completely as i once had..Man its tough and i know once i get him back again i wont be so quick to let him go!

Inspirational Bloggers encourage me!

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I got on FB today aand read this post by Matt Bohr, my youth pastor when i was a teenager.

“Remember, as a Christian, you have two choices. #1. You can sit back, not do anything with the power you’ve been given, wait for heaven, and try to ignore the empty feeling you have, OR, #2. You can step out, take the hits as they come (cause you know who’s dishin them out), and see lives changed through your life in Christ! No “grave tending” life for us!!”  ~ Matt Bohr

I thought to myself…”well its clear which one i am! and he would be so disappointed!” Truth is..i’m disappointed in myself. I surround my blogging with people who write about God’s Love and I admire the hearts they have for God. Their posts and daily challenges inspire me to start doing something! ANYTHING for that matter! I have fallen behind in my faith and at times i have no idea how im supposed to bring myself up out of the rut i’m in. How the heck do i get back to the God loving, God serving girl i used to be?

Here are a few bloggers who encourage me!

Shelby– we went to church together and now i loveee reading her posts! Im so amazed by person she has turned into and the God loving heart she has. Shes reading the Bible in a year.. I thought about taking the same challenge or any bible reading challenge for that matter!…I also follow people she posts about because idk how she does it but she finds some amazing people!

Because of shelby i found Mandy at MessyCanvas. Shes amazing and im always inspired by her posts and ive even downloaded her ebook on becoming an artist even if you think you arent one! it was amazing!

I’m following Caitlin at Collective Disclosure her heart for God is also amazing her posts and the verses she posts always give me the new perspective that i need! and she encourages me by showing what its like to live out God no matter where you are in life.

Also, Christs Revolution always encourages me when he posts. He gives scripture and explains it to the best of his ability. He does a great job too! i always feel like im getting a sermon but those sermons always hit home and theres no better kind!

Thank you all for encouraging me!

I recently got an advertisement in the mail for a church near our apartment! Its very enticing so i looked it up online. The people look so nice and their services seem to be just what i need! They even say you can wear what you want..which is nice! and they have loud christian music. The best part is they focus heavily on service. I’m a service kinda girl! My youth pastor^^^ once told me i had a servants heart. i could never pin down my spiritual gift and that’s what he told me…and its true! ill do anything to help and i always want to find ways to help the less fortunate or even someone who just needs a listener. BUT….I’m scared. I don’t know how to go into an unknown church and say “Use me!!” And what if i don’t like it or i dont fit in?

Another recent thing ive picked up again is reading. My husband decided to explore various sides of religion while he was on his deployment and now he has about 6 or 7 books that i was so interested in reading. He has a few books on free will and destiny and one about budhism and another about peoples struggles and how God helped their lives. I picked up one called The Belief Instinct..i got to reading the introduction and i immediately was disapointed in it! I like how the mind works psychologically but not to this point. By the end of the Intro i finally figured out that he was trying to prove that God is a figment of our imagination and he intended to help the readers know this so they could no longer be fooled by God as an illusion!! I was so mad! My husband suggested i keep reading to get another persons view point so i might better defend why i belive and KNOW god is real! But im bot ready for that! I just wanna get my faith back again not have some psychologist point me in the wrong direction! Then i realized that the books about destiny and free will were collections of philosophers writings and i again was disapointed because i already struggled through Ethics reading Plato and other various philosophers because i had no clue what they were saying. Finally he had 3 books i could read! So im reading Prisoner of Tehran. Im inspired by her struggle so far and her heart always faces God, Im only on the fourth chapter but id already reccomend it to everyone!!

I guess what i need is some encouragement from people who know what its like to be at this stage and maybe some words of advice! Any help would be amazing!

Failure is not an option!!!

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Today im linking up with Jaclyn Rae for her blog –Would your 10 year-old self like the person you’ve become? What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

When i was ten years old i used my dads fishing lines in a pond becuase i wanted to fish and they got stuck in trees and id fill up his cooler with tadpoles and hed find them all dead the next day when he needed his cooler for work!

id ask my mom to draw me pictures of a woman and shed draw me stick figures with triangle dresses and bows on their heads and flippy hair!

i climbed trees and ran around barefoot. I stayed outside all day and i loved softball! i could lay outside underneath the stars all night. i loved camping outside in my friends tents and having sleepovers.

I loved swinging from the braches of the willow trees near the creek down the road from my house. and i loved shells so much that my friend and i went underneath the bridge near our school and collected tinsey tiny shells that no one but us knew were there.

I chased lightening bugs and played in the mud puddles..barefoot!

I would draw and color all day and write cute little poems for my mom and for me..

i didnt care what anyone thought and i was care free….

Now thats all gone..and im nothing like her anymore.

i dont like fishing anymore because i dont have the patience and i only like thepart of peace and quiet of sitting with someone. i dont draw anymore because “i dont have the time.” i dont go outside barefoot because it hurt my feet, and i rarely look at the stars because i dont slow down enough to admire them. i hate running and im not athletic at all. sleepovers and camping never happen because money is more important and i have 2 jobs to pay bills. i still love trees and shells but i dont swing from them lol. i stil love lightening bugs but i dont capture them because its mean, and i would never jump in a mud puddle because i dont want to get dirty. i care too much about what people think and im always stressed…WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO MEEE!!!

If i could be that carefree girl again and never fail at what i did these are the things id do:

  • Start a non profit organization that helps the homeless back into society so that their lives can thrive again. I’d own a building where they could live and have counselors help them with their struggles. id have people donate clothing and buisness atire so they could go out and get jobs. I have a financial advisor teach them how to save and manage money so that they can have their own homes again and  be successful enough that they wont worry about being homeless again
  • id have an at risk youth program for the arts
  • climb a mountain
  • Create a program in prisons and juvenlie corrections that helps people change their behaviors too. today we spend money on keeping them ot of society so that they wont hurt anyone else..and when they are entered back into society they usually repeat the same actions bc they were imprisoned with other criminals and because they arent allowed acess to the outside world. Most are dealing with addictions, we’d adress that. Id give them a better reason to live by showing them better ways to live life and work hard to get ahead without committing crimes. Id have an intense experiental approach to keep teens out of the system. introducing them to what their future holds if they continue on this path and also introduce classes they can take so that they have usable skills for when they are released so they could get jobs and stay more out of trouble

HEY YOU! YES YOU! STOP WORRYING!!

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I read this really great daily hope column today and i loved the message

http://purposedriven.com/blogs/dailyhope/choose-faith-and-it-will-increase/

Its all about worrying and putting our Faith in God! My favorite part is when he says,

“One of the pictures God used to help understand his character is the picture of flowers. Jesus said, “Look at the lilies and how they grow … if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t he more surely care for you? You have so little faith!” (Matthew 6:28-30 NLT). Flowers are not made beautiful because of their anxiety. They are made beautiful because of the character of God.”

I dont know how much i have worried this past month! Worried about his deployment, and how i would deal with it. Worried that i wouldnt find another job if i quit my current one. Worried that everything would just fall apart….

All along i stopped asking God to take away my worries and stopped looking towards him for my answers. He did deploy and his tiny emails here and there give me more Joy than anything. I did quit my job and my friend helped me get a job at her place of work. Im hoping i get it this week 🙂 Pray that i do!!  I keep worrying thinking God wont help me, but he does! eEven if i havent prayed for him to, he knew already what would be best for me!

also taken for digital imaging class :)I loved that he used the flower example. Our anxiety makes us unhappy, it makes us suffer more than we have to. If we could just look towards God he would take this away and give us the peace that we need to go on in our lives and wed be happier because of it. A smile is much more beautiful than a worried face!!! 🙂 God always provides for us, just as he provides for the simplest flower and the birds of the air!

2011 Better than 2010? I think so!

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What’s the single most important thing you accomplished in 2010? And how do you plan to top it in 2011?

The most important thing I did last year was learning how to love myself first. I have always struggled with loving who i am and the way i look. My self esteem was at an all time low and because of that i didnt love the right way in relationships. Until July i had been in a terrible relationship for the previous 3 years. On and off again, we fought, i drank and smoked because i wanted him to love me…those which are truly the two things i regret in life…he cheated on me repetedly and i took him back everytime..we had nice moments but they became very few in between. He was selfish and mean and never appreciative of all the things i did for him, yet no matter how bad it was i still clung to him..out of fear that i would be alone, out of fear that he wass all i would have, the mere thought that i could be happier was far from my mind..i was scared to be with anyone else because i didnt think anyone else would love me. When i lived with him i believed everything would get better, not worse….and somewhere along the line i started to feel seperate from him..the last time he cheated numbed me. and i finally realized that i deserved better. I had given up so many friends, i turned my back on God and who I KNEW i was all along, but i ignored that because i searched for love in all the wrong places, and in all the wrong people. I dont know how many times i called my sister to come get me and one day i realized i didnt want to go back, and i didnt miss him. I was done crying and all that was left was disapointment. Disapointment in myself for being naive and disapointment that i had allowed myself to be something other than myself. Michael and i had been friends since we were younger and i always asked him for advice because he was the only person i knew i could trust who wouldnt be biased. He made me laugh and asked me what i wanted in an equal…my equal? i had forgotten that that was what i wanted all along…and i finally let go and started to try and be myself again. My mom told me she thought she had lost me and was happy to have me home. It broke my heart that she believed that..and even more that it had been true.  When i started listening to my heart and getting it right with God i could feel a new light within myself, like i had been given a new chance to get life right. God brought me back into the love of my family..my mom rubbed my back everynight and  told me everything would be okay. Michael constantly reminded me of who i was and what it was that i believed. God brought him to me and my life has been ever so blessed like it has never been before. When i came back to school my friends saw a new light in me, they said it seemed like i could breathe again, like i was free to be myself. They were right! i could breathe, and i was breathing as i always had and i loved myself so much more for it.

This year I am planning my wedding. Thats how I will top last year! I am so excited that i have found one person who i know loves me unconditionally, who accepts all that i am and teaches me to continue to be myself apart from him. together we cultivate a relationship that will last for 50 years and longer! lol He is everything to me and while hes on his deployment i will be planning for us to celebrate our love with our friends and family. I cannot wait until he comes home so that we can begin our lives together. I know that i will get stressed out and be sad because hes gone but planning this wedding will remind me that our relationship is more than distance, love transcends that and time. I hope that i make the right descions, that i plan everything so that it reflects mine and Michaels love without a doubt to anyone who attends.

 So far here are my plans lol

I want a vintage wedding. And flowers like these 🙂 i would show what i have in mind for my dress but thats bad luck! But i want it to be all lace and buttoning up the back, with a bridcage veil. I also want either Milk white glass vases (as candleholders) or antique candleabras, as lighting for the tables surrounded by flowers like in the picture above.

I basically want it to look like this if i dont have the antique candleholders. Its so beautiful to me 🙂 and as for the ceremony cite i have fallen in love with The Columbus Park of Roses. And the spiral stair gazebo! So, that will be my year as planned right now!

Hope

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What gives you hope? And what, if anything, makes you question hope?

Hope…such a large, broad word that covers so much. So many things give me hope..a smile, a hug, a joke from someone i love who is trying to cheer me up, a flower, a babies cooing, a sunrise and sunset, fields of sunflowers, laughter, inspiring photos, quotes from the wise, my favorite bible verses, stories about overcoming huge obstacles or illnesses, talking with friends, giving advice and so much more. Each of these shows me that life is wonderful and God is amazing! That i should feel blessed at the sight of these things and be filled with Joy..even in the worst of times. God gave us life so that we may live it abundantly and when life is getting me down i look around me and see the beautiful creations God has set before me. Its hard not to stare in awe of his wonderful creations and his glory. Knowing that God chose me as his child gives me hope. I dont deserve his forgiveness, i dont deserve to have been as blessed as i am, but everyday i wake up and God is calling me and loving me beyond all measures. How could i not be filled with hope? Just knowing that i am in Gods will allows me to know that wonderful and awful things will happen but i am promised the hope of eternity without pain and suffering. How awesome is that??!!

 Obviously there are times when hope seems out of sight..when the darkest corners of life surround me and drownd out the tiniest bit of light left for me to see. These times are when i have been disapointed, when someone i know becomes sick or even  dies, when my plans dont run accordingly, when i fail at small tasks, when someone degrades me or brings me down with their own suffering, when someone i care about doesnt support me…ect. You get the point. Hard times always make me feel small. Like the things that i do couldnt possibly matter or make a difference. Like who i am and want to be could never be accomplished or measured up to compared to others in those areas. But then a ray of sunshine falls on my face and i remeber that God would never put me through anything that i could not handle. I remeber that i will be opressed because Jesus was opressed first. And that all obstacles before me will strengthen who i am as a person. Also, those around me continue to enlighten me with ideas and thoughts about how hard times sometimes lead to better outcomes, and plans dont work out so that others can fall into place. I am immediately filled with hope again and optimism and i feel better. I remind myself that yes i am small, but even the faith of a mustard seed sould move a mountain. Just because i am small doesnt mean i cant accomplish what God has planned for me.