A Year in Retrospect: 2016

2016-blog
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!  

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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

Find Your Happy

It’s so often that I find myself wanting to create new things all the time. Sometimes I want to take new pictures, sometimes I want to explore new restaurants (mostly because food = life), and sometimes I just want to sit and read and write my day away, and some days I just want to drive and keep driving without a destination. 

It’s so easy to fall into depression or isolate yourself from everything that is out there because of our daily routines and work life. We either hate our jobs, are work-aholics, or find a balance. Finding a balance isn’t easy for everyone and I myself have struggled with it. I don’t have the weekends off all the time so I can’t always hang out when my friends can and I feel badly about missing out. I appreciate the friends that find a way to work around it or make the effort to hang out on weekdays. It makes me happy to be surrounded with happy, positive people. 

I’m not saying we don’t all have sucky days because we are human and we can’t expect that, however, we can change how we let it affect us. Regardless of how I feel in the morning I always say out loud how thankful I am for the opportunity to have another day, another chance to live this one life. I’m not going to sulk in the things that didn’t work out, or the relationships that didn’t last, or the friends I once had because today’s a new day and tomorrow holds new things in store. I have to make the effort to make each day as good as I can and do the things that make me happy. 

I’m happiest when I’m me. When I don’t have to pretend to want to go out, when I can have a glass of wine, make a nice dinner and write or watch movies or whatever it is I feel like doing. It’s okay that I’m not with anyone right now because I’m happy being single and other people’s expectations for me are not my reality and I don’t have to live up to them because it’s not their life- it’s mine. 

So today I encourage you to go find what makes you happy, and if you find someone along the way who wants to walk that journey with you then even better, if not it’ll happen eventually. 

#FindYourHappy ❤️ (got the idea from Nikki Blackketter ) 

Gratefull.

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Hello again,

If you’re like me your first thought was just like mine. Is that a typo? The answer is NO.

It’s been a while since my last post and I’ve been thinking a lot. Not because I didn’t want to write anymore but because I want what I write to actually be something that matters. I’ve never been into seeking validation through social media of any sort, so when I started this blog it was really always about having an outlet for myself to express what I’m feeling or what I’m going through. So, to bring this back to the topic at hand- I’ve been focusing a lot on being grateful.

I don’t know about you but when something I have been asking for (or in my case praying for) comes to fruition, I feel so overwhelmed that I go through about a hundred emotions at once. There’s always a little bit of doubt that I don’t deserve said thing but at the end of the day I remind myself to be grateful no matter what.

I have now even made it a part of my daily routine that the first thing I do before I even open my eyes is to thank God. I have been through a lot of loss in my life (which I will speak on in a future post) and it has shown me the importance of every day or every fresh start I am given. It’s so easy to wake up and groan a little because of all the things you have to accomplish but all that does is discourage you. Wouldn’t it feel so much better to open your eyes with the realization that this day is a whole new start? That yesterday was yesterday and it no longer affects today. The choice is truly yours. Now, I’m not saying that every day will be perfect because that is not realistic and I try to be realistic because that’s life, shit happens and things go wrong. You might not have any influence over those things but you can decide on how you let these things affect you.

Let me tell you a little story, when I was in the works of getting my new job I had landed the interview and I had it the next day. I wake up the next morning and remembered I had to print a fresh resume because I know it’s key to bring it to the interview but I was out of ink so I had to go to Office Depot to print it and when I get to my car I put the keys in and NOTHING. It won’t turn on; it doesn’t even make the clicking noise to tell me it’s the battery- nada. Initially I freaked out and started to panic and texted all my friends to see what they were doing today. My best bet was to hitch a ride to El Segundo (which is near LAX in case you don’t know) and pay for the gas but no one was free. So, I sat there for a good five minutes before I stopped myself and said out loud “No, this will not stop me.” Next thing I did was get an Uber to Office Depot, and another back to my house. I get ready and look in the mirror before ordering an Uber to El Segundo, I say “You Got This” and head out- I made it thirty minutes early and was hired within two days.

This was just one of many times in my life when God has had my back and I am so grateFULL, I am full of joy, full of love, full of peace, and full of grace. I am not always worthy of all the blessings in my life but I truly am grateful for them all. My point is to always be grateful for all the things that are happening in this season of your life right now, whether it’s good or bad. If it’s good then you can be grateful for having the opportunity to have it in your life, and if it’s bad then you will be grateful for where this storm or situation leads you. Either way, there will always be something you can take from it and learn from it. I’m personally in a really good place, and I’m just blessed so now I’m just trying to enjoy it every day.

xo

A Letter To My Younger Self

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Dear Me,

First of all, I want you to know that there are many things in life you cannot control. You really need to learn to accept that.

There are times when you will want to find a way to change the course of something, but you need to pray about it and L E T I T G O. You will always want to see the best in others but over time you’ll see that people’s true colors will come out eventually. You will want some friendships to be forever, but sometimes you just outgrow each other. It’s okay, it’s no one fault. There are some friendships that are meant to be temporary lessons rather than lifelong.  You can forgive someone even if they never apologize to you- forgive those who hurt you.

You need to know that you are not defined by any one person. No man, friend, or idol. You don’t need anyone else’s approval besides God’s. Don’t focus on past experiences because you know what? You are human and mistakes will be made. You will definitely learn from them and I pray that it makes you a better person for it.

Ok this might be a hard one for you. You’re going to feel a lot of pain in the future but you will be made so strong for it, you will grow a very thick skin and some people won’t know how to approach you sometimes regarding these things. There are people who have never lost anyone so they won’t know how to feel or act around you. You can’t blame them for not going through the things you have had to go through; everyone has a different journey even if they have the same destination.

I want you to know that God has some really great things planned for you, keep the faith and work on your relationship with God. Have constant conversations with Him and know that he is ALWAYS listening. I can’t tell you how I know this but all those prayers will be answered so keep praying! You are so blessed you don’t even know.

Lastly, I want you to always be grateful. Be grateful for the struggle, for the blessings, for the people who entered your life and have stuck by- always let them know how much you appreciate them because they are really your rocks and you’re so lucky to have them.

I hope this will give you a little hope because there will always obstacles but it’s okay because they will lead to amazing results and blessings.

Xoxo

You

Why Me

Why me God,

Why did this have to happen to me?

Why did he leave me?

Why did they hurt me?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why don’t you love me?

Why me

Why me God,

Why did you bless me with this opportunity,

Why did you bless me with him,

Why do they love me,

What did I do to deserve your love.

Thank you God.

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When Opportunity Knocks 

#repost @wisdomfeed on instagram

This week has been full of enlightenment. I am insanely grateful for every moment that I am blessed with. I’m so lucky to be surrounded with like-minded individuals who always want to see me do better, who encourage me to pursue my dreams as well as setting high expectations for myself.

It is so easy to become content; in life, in your job, with your partner, or simply with yourself.  While I don’t think there is anything wrong with being content, I do think that being content for too long can be harmful. We should always be setting new goals for ourselves, wanting to better ourselves and pursuing things that are out of our comfort zone. Comfort zones are just that, comfortable. It’s like sitting on a comfortable couch and watching tv; at first you say it’ll be for one show then next thing you know you’ve been on the couch for hours with a large portion of your day wasted. This is what we do in life, we stay content and we waste portions of our lives.

I was blessed enough to receive a great blessing in relation to work this week and it was a reminder that we should always be pushing ourselves to do better, and aim higher. There is always something you can do to become greater, practice only makes you a better version of yourself. I know much of the hesitation in regards to this is fear; of failure, of not getting the position you wanted, of being rejected. Why do we see failure as a bad thing? In my eyes I see failure as a motivation. It shows that I actually tried. You must grow to embrace all your obstacles and let downs because they are in reality redirections.

I feel as though often times God creates a fork in the road and when we think we should go one way he closes that door and instead opens two more. I recently heard this from a wise man who said “there will always be great opportunities in life, but they won’t always be right for you.” God is always one step ahead of you. It’s okay to not know what is ahead of you, just be excited because God will only have good things in store for you. You need to let go of being content and learn to embrace the new opportunities that God has in store for you.

(The following is optional)

Prayer: God, thank you for always worrying about me and my success. Thank you for always keeping the good people in my life and showing me who is not healthy for me to be around and finding a way for them to exit my life. You know what I need before I realize it and I am so grateful that you will always have a plan even when I don’t. I thank you and I love you. In Jesus’ name, amen.