I forgive you.

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I forgive you.

I forgive you because I know you don’t hurt me from a cruel place, you hurt me from pain you are feeling.

I forgive you for misplacing your anger and resentment and aiming it at me.

I forgive you for blaming me for things I had no control over or knowledge of.

I forgive you because you are broken, and it’s okay.

I forgive you because I love you.

I love you because in these broken pieces, you will find a way to put yourself back together again- you will see the masterpiece that you truly are.

I love you because you are not less than, you are enough, you are so enough that the word “enough” doesn’t even begin to describe you.

I love you because you have grown and blossomed right in from of me.

I love you because you make me a better person, you make me want to grow and love myself for who I am.

I love you because although we want the best for each other we don’t feel as though we need each other.

I love you because it feels effortless and we don’t have to force it.

I love you because you are beautiful on the inside as well.

I love you because you showed me how to love me.

Choices

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When I can’t sleep my mind starts to run WILD. Not in like a crazy way, like dark things but in the way that I start to wonder what to eat for breakfast then I wonder what to wear tomorrow, followed by wondering what the next year will look like. This is usually very late at night, because of course, when I want to fall asleep my brain is LIT.

I try to watch a show that is boring so I can fall asleep but no that doesn’t help. I try to listen to soothing music but then I have to use the rest room because there’s usually some water noises in there somewhere. I try to read but then I get really into the book I’m reading and eventually I just have to put it down. It’s not often that this happens honestly, but when it does I end up thinking about every decision I have ever made in my life up until this point.

The other night this was the case, and as I pondered over my last 24 (young)  years of life there have been some very powerful moments and it’s interesting to see how even little choices brought me to where I am today. To joining a club in high school brought me to my current church and I still have the same leaders I did in the club as I do in church and it makes me so happy to say that because the leadership at church is amazing and so LOVING which is what makes us all feel like a family.

Then I look at family and how we have grown in the last couple years. It’ll be four years in June that I lost my mom and it still feels as recent as the day it happened.  Thinking back to that time brings up very real and very raw emotions. I think back to all that day – my heart quickens in rhythm as my eyes begin to well up with tears- and my heart breaks all over again. I miss her every day and there isn’t a day that I go without thinking about her. She was so smart and hard working, shes the reason I am the way I am today and why I work so hard. My three nephews get bigger everyday and soon I won’t be the tallest in the family anymore. It’s hard to imagine that one day I will have one of those of my own but I feel it’s bound to happen. My mom had three girls, now it’ll be all boys.

My life hasn’t been perfect up until now but it has been filled with some pretty perfect moments. Everytime I got to hug my mom and see her smile make it all worth it. As mother’s day approaches it brings those sad feelings up again but I know she wouldn’t want it to be that way, she would tell me to celebrate my sisters and tell you Vee how much I admire you. The boys are so loving and pure – and so motivated because they see how much you love and encourage them.  Jen I know you’re probably reading this and were waiting to see if I’d mention you- of course. Aiden is such a great person, he’s getting so big and I know how much he has in store for his future. His complete life is you, because he see’s your hustle and I admire that about you.

Every single day God gives us another opportunity to make an impact. In someone’s life, or just someones day. What do you choose to do with that?  I don’t know about you but I’m pretty happy about the choices I’ve made so far.

I challenge you to make a choice you were scared to make before but now you grant yourself the courage to take.

-xo

Do Not Become Consumed

a0dacc5b96bdb17f3d67b3b67f51aa3cGrowing up in the 21st Century has been interesting to say the least. Our phones weigh almost nothing, there’s robots who greet you at the airport, and if something cool happened but you didn’t snap or take a photo of it- did it even really happen?

I have been victim of social media for years now, at first it was neat to see what your friends would post and we were just teenagers but now that I see what social media has become it’s quite intense. People’s lives have been ruined by it, relationships have been torn apart due to things that happened on Instagram or Snapchat. Some people even only post what they want people to see when in reality they live a completely different life.

On the other hand social media has done great things and celebrities that have this immense platform have now taken it into their hands to spread positive things rather than just selfies. It’s clear to see that social media can either bring out the best in someone or just the vain in someone. I have taken a vow to stop posting that many pictures of myself and to instead post the beauty that surrounds me. For example, this past weekend I went to my church retreat and I barely had phone service and it was AMAZING. I’m so thankful for it because I was able to be fully immersed in the experience and appreciate all the breakthroughs that God was giving me. I have never felt more at peace that I did after coming home from the retreat, and a lot of that came from disconnecting to the outside world and connecting with God and building that relationship.

I want you to take this into consideration; does posting your every move really matter? Who are you posting it for? To flaunt or to brag? What if you took a break from technology every now and then. Try to to disconnect and I promise you that using that free time to journal or write in your prayer journal will definitely benefit you in the long term. We should not allow the outside world to consume us because these earthly things are all temporary whereas Jesus is eternal and will always provide and fulfill us. Those likes or reposts or comments won’t fill those voids that only God can fill.

Lastly, I used to add a prayer at the end of my blogs (completely optional) and I feel like I should bring that back.

Prayer:

God, I thank you for all the blessings you have brought into my life,
I thank you for the relationships that you have allowed to grow and I pray that these relationships that I invest in will bring into fruition more love and hold you at the center of it all.
I pray that these earthly things like my job, my clothes, technology, etc. will not consume me and control my life – I will keep you as my anchor always and remember that I should not allow myself to become overwhelmed.
I pray that the person reading this feels your love and remembers everyday that they’re not alone, ever. That you, God are always with them in the good, the bad and the unknown.

 

-xo

 

Faith Through Frustration

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Have you ever had one of those days where it seems like nothing is going right? First you sleep over your alarm so you jump out of bed like a ninja and rush to get ready and get out the door, then you start driving only to be in stopped traffic the whole way to where you have to go. To make things better you’re now late to work or school and when you walk in everyone turns to look at you and you’re left feeling shame and frustration? Well let me tell you- you are not alone! I can’t even tell you how many times this has happened to me and my initial thought is “WHY ME? WHY TODAY? WHAT NOW?” It’s almost as if I expect something else to go wrong and it’s only happening to me which makes me the victim.

Honestly this couldn’t be further from the truth. My question is this; why is it that because one thing sets us off that we can’t see any good in the rest of the day? What about the beautiful sunny day it is outside, did you take the time to notice that? What about that stranger that smiled at you but you walked past too quickly to notice? What about your parents? Did you bother to ask how their day was going?

It’s so often that we think too much about ourselves and our little bubble that we forget to notice all the amazing things that are happening around us. There are beautiful flowers blooming,    amazing food to try, art to see, places to explore and none of that can be seen when you’re only looking at the negative.  I have had so many days where I sit and sulk in my own pity rather than thank my lucky stars I’m here another day to enjoy all life has to offer.  I have learned to see past the bad and take a deep breath and have Faith that things will get better. Just because one thing or a number of things for that matter go wrong- doesn’t mean everything will. A bad day is just that, a bad DAY- not a bad LIFE. If you just take a moment to notice all the blessings in your life and opportunities that come your way, you’ll be much happier.

The next time you find yourself in a rut I want you to repeat the following:

I know things aren’t perfect but they are far better than they could be.

I am thankful for all the blessings in my life, and I choose to focus on the abundance of good instead on the tiny bit of bad.

Today will be a great day because I have Faith that God will make it great.

Xoxo

New Beginnings | #SelflessYear

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As another new year commences I begin to plan out my goals for the year as so many of us do. Although many like to make a list of all the resolutions they plan to complete this year, I know the majority of them will fall through within the first six months. The reason so many of our “resolutions” don’t work out is because they’re focused around materialistic things. For example: losing weight, making more money, being more successful, changing your wardrobe, etc.

I’ve also come across many posts about how people want this New Year to be their “Selfish Year” meaning they want to focus on themselves, they want to grow more, and they want to know who they truly are. My question to you is this; in all this time after all your struggles how has ONLY depending on yourself worked out? The reality of it is that we are only human; we can try so hard to carry the world on our shoulders but it’s too much. I read this quote once that read;

“That Mountain that you carry on your shoulders you were only meant to climb.”

This struck such a nerve with me! How many times did I try to take on tasks I knew were out of my league, how many times did I say “I don’t need any help, I will do it on my own”, how many times did I push others away? In 2016, God really showed me the complete opposite. When we put God before anything else, we lead such a worry-free life. There’s no need to stress over finding something that is destined for you because it will find its way to you on its own.

When we let God lead the way, you will find all the “resolutions” you want to accomplish. He will always bring you happiness and success because He wants the best for you. Numerous times last year when I let go of things and put them in God’s hands they ended up working out because it wasn’t me trying to control everything. The only thing I can control is what I do for others. So, my goal this year is to make it my Selfless Year! What does that mean you may ask? Well, I want to make this year the year of helping others. Sure, I’ve donated in the past, I’ve helped out at feeding the homeless but to be honest it was never whole-heartedly. I plan to help at numerous drives, shelters, etc. this year with your help! Send me (in the comments below) name or links to your favorite shelters (all kinds), food drives, etc. so I can get started ASAP! Additionally, I will be documenting about all the events using the hashtag “#SelflessYear” so stay tuned for that! Thank you in advance and I can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us all!

Xoxo

A Year in Retrospect: 2016

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Picture Credit: Erick Lopez (click name)

 

This year has been a roller coaster to say the least. As the year came to an end all I see in my feed are things like “I can’t wait for this year to be over” and although it definitely wasn’t an easy year it was one that I will appreciate in many ways. There were quite a few lows for me this year and it was in those times that I really couldn’t rely on anything other than my  faith and trust in God to get my through it.

To be honest, this year taught me just how much trusting God gets you. I don’t mean this in the sense that God is a wish granting factory- because He isn’t. What I mean is that if you pray about something, or for that matter just let something go and give it to God then He will do something great in your life.

At the beginning of the year I was unhappy at a job I didn’t love, I was worried about my financial situation and stressing over the repairs for my car of five years. Fast forward to the end of the year and I’m at a job I love and continue to learn more and more daily, with a steady income, and my new car which is saving me a ton in gas and repairs! I am so grateful for all God has done in my life, and when asked how I did it- I honestly just say “it wasn’t me, that was all God” but that is the honest truth. I am still learning and working on my relationship with God and I’m so blessed for all He continues to do for me and those around me.

One of my biggest prayers this year was that God blessed the people I surround myself with and to see where all my friends are brings tears to my eyes and the biggest smile to my face. To see the people I love most getting their dream homes, bringing life into the world, and becoming one with their soul mates- I couldn’t be happier for you guys.  Although I didn’t do any of those things I’m not worried about it because I know God has big things planned for me and His timing is perfect so things will happen when they have to.

It’s crazy really because 2016 held a lot of pain but the joy that came out of it is unbelievable.  I was able to get a new job, my car, move to a new place, and travel. These are all things I prayed over 2016 and I have BIG goals for 2017 so I am excited to see where God is taking me and what is in store for us all. Overall, this year wasn’t easy at all and I’m sure many of us can agree with that but it’s definitely a learning experience and one I won’t take for granted!

Here’s to new experiences, growth in all areas of our lives, and to promises being fulfilled.

BRING IT 2017!  

An Open Letter to You

Photography by Daniel Tapia

Hello again,

I’ve missed you.
I feel like writing this as a letter to a friend- because to me that’s what this is. I feel at peace when I release the stress, the worries, the thoughts that keep me up at night. We all have them, we all overthink and it only harms us.
To be 100% transparent I’ve been missing a part of me lately, mostly because that part of me will never be fully filled and that’s because she’s gone. I miss my mother. Every single day. The pain subsides but it comes in waves every now and then. With the holidays around I feel like anyone who has dealt with loss can relate but it’s always a little harder around the holidays. We had traditions, we had stories, and we had so many memories yet to be made.
It kills me to think about all the things she’s going to miss in my life. The day I get married, the day I have kids. All the big days in my life will always be missing her. She was my everything- my best friend since I was born. My mother worked hard so I didn’t have to want for anything at a young age. I was provided for by my parents and although we weren’t rich in money we were always rich in love. The love one has for their mother cannot be compared to as I’m sure the same can be said for the love a parent has for their child.
Dealing with loss is hard. No one ever quite explains it perfectly but if I had to it would be like this: you love something so much and you get so used to having it around it becomes a part of you. Then one day it gets ripped from out of your hands and you don’t even have time to catch your breathe. You feel as though the rug has been slipped from right under you. You hurt more than you ever thought you could and your heart breaks in places you didn’t know existed.

It gets better though, as time passes you learn to deal with it or live with it. The wound begins to heal every day, you manage to get out of bed and change and finally start your day. You learn to talk about it without getting choked up (although I still bawl my eyes out every now and then).  You try to smile through it all- you begin to do things that make you happy again and you find happiness.

You will find happiness. This isn’t a wish, it’s the truth. The funny thing is that our happiness is always around us- in the baristas who make our coffees and remember our faces, in the coworkers who bring you a coffee without asking, in the sunny days after it rains. It happens all the time and it’ll happen for you.

Give it time and keep the faith- I believe in you.

Talk soon,

Xoxo SL