Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Growing Pains

First off let me start by saying that I am the type of person that does "self evaluations" on myself constantly. I look for ways to improve who I am. Sometimes I learn the hard and painful way, sometimes I learn from watching other people, and sometimes I have people who come into my life that inspire me to no end. My enemies are the ones I watch. The ones that attack me for no reason and try to bring me down to their level. They teach me more about love than my actual friends. Because they are the ones that need it the most. I always feel sorry for those types of people, because it has to be a lonely world they live in hating themselves so much that they feel the need to destroy those around them just so they won't be lonely. Those are the ones that I never want to be like and in my "self evaluations" I am always asking myself my motives behind the negative and hurtful thoughts and words that I have. All because my enemies have shown me who I never want to become.

My family, now there's a complicated one. My family has given me good memories. Mostly bad, but the few good ones I have, I cling to them for hope every single day. It used to hurt me to think about them, about all of the good times. I would always wonder what happened to make us all hate each other. Where did our love for each other go? I would cry myself to sleep remembering all of the great times we used to have and wishing with all of my heart that we could be a family again. Sadly, this might not ever be because it never really was. I was just young and naive and any attention they gave to me, I saw that as a good memory even if it wasn't real. This is all another story for another time, so I will get to my point. My family has taught me how to be independent, how to not judge others so harshly just because they sin differently than I do. They've taught me loyalty, honesty, integrity, love, and most importantly they are the reason I know and love God the way I do. But they didn't teach me in the way you might think. I just watched them when they didn't know I was watching, I listened when they didn't know I could hear, It was in those moments I realized who I had to strive to never ever become. Lesson learned? God can always bring beauty from ashes. I am living proof. 

Now on to my friends. Although I barely have just a handful, the ones I do have, have helped me grow as a person in more ways than I can count. They have shared their gifts of laughter, music, uninhibitidness (I don't think that's even a word, but just roll with it), honesty, and unconditional love with me. Some have and still inspire me on a weekly basis with their strength and wisdom. And some inspire me with their courage to just be happy no matter what others think of how they are living their life. They have shown me the beauty in the small things. The healing powers of laughter, the emotion stirring powers of music, my extreme love for the game of UNO, and the soul cleansing power of a good cry. Even if it is for no reason at all. My friends are my family. My friends are my reminder to stop taking life so seriously. And my friends are my constant in this ever changing world.

Last but not least, Mi Amor. My love, my heart, my very best friend. Jose Luis Garcia. The man that completely turned my world upside down and showed me that love is the best healer of all. He forced me (unknowingly) to be honest with myself. He challenges me to grow in God every day. He has shown me that I am stronger than I think I am. And he has inspired me to forgive. It has been a painful (for me) road at times to endure the truths that were always in my heart, but I was too scared to see because I wanted to be ignorant instead of feel the pain of the truth. But in my self discovery, Jose has been there the entire way. Helping me grow, helping me cope with the pain of my past, understanding when I wasn't ready to forgive, but rejoicing with me when I finally did. He keeps me on my toes with his quick wit, and he keeps me young with his innocent heart. Simply put, he is my everything.


You have to love yourself enough to know you don't want to be like your enemies. 

You have to love yourself in order to be strong enough to be REAL in a very fake world.
You have to love yourself enough to face the truth, even though it hurts, you know that it will help you more than the hurt.
But lastly, you have to love yourself enough to accept the kind of love you deserve. The kind that you were created for. The kind of love that Jesus died on the cross to give to all of us. The kind of love that inspires and transforms you into someone that you never knew you had the courage to be.

The kind of love that only comes from growing pains.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

All You Need Is Love

I am someone that wears their heart on their sleeve 80% of the time. It's something that I wish I didn't do, but I am learning to slowly embrace it. I cry when I see other people cry. And I don't hesitate to tell people what I think when they try to do me wrong. I am by nature an empathetic person. Oddly enough though, I am really good at hiding my weaknesses. With all of that being said, this year, I have come across people that make me want to shut down inside so that I never show any emotions at all. I keep thinking they're not good enough to be let in. They don't deserve to get to know my story. Pretty haughty right? 

It seems though, that God will not allow me to be that way and he wants me to be my empathetic, vulnerable self. Everytime I have come across these people and I shut down, I notice I begin to judge them and I begin to find all of their flaws and characterize them as a bad person. And everytime, I am always put in my place, humbled to the point of embarrassment and tears. One such example. I have an aquaintance that has been doing horrible horrible things. It seemed as if they didn't even try to hide what they were doing, but they always lied about it and tried to cover it up in ways that made me furious!! So I judged them and classified them as a bad person and I was cruel to them when they tried to say hi to me. All because I didn't agree with what they were doing.

One night this past week I was sitting far far away from this person when they came walking toward where I was sitting and took a seat across from me. I immediately put my wall up and we had some awkward and sparse conversation. That was until they came right out and told me their secret. As they were talking to me, I was watching this person's face and I saw them in a different light. I saw pain instead of the monster that I had built them up to be in my head. And as I was listening and observing, I was reminded of all the times I had made mistakes in my life, all of the times that I was rebellious , all of the times that I let people down because I was selfish. 

I saw so much of myself in this person sitting across from me pouring their heart out, wanting support and advice. I was humbled and embarrassed at myself for being so judgemental. How dare I! So me, wearing my heart on my sleeve, told them that I already knew everything but I am not here to judge and I shared with them one of my stories from my past when I too messed up. I didn't want them to have to go down that road alone like I did. I realized that in my judgement, I failed to see this person's pain behind their actions.I confessed to this person that I had judged them and I apologized and asked for forgiveness. 

It's funny how things work if we are only willing to be honest with ourselves. It's amazing the things we learn about ourselves as well by putting our pride aside and being vulnerable. That night, I learned that the entire time I had been building this person up in my head as a monster, the real monster was me.

THIS is why I am learning to embrace the fact that I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am learning that it is ok to be vulnerable, it's ok to admit when I'm wrong, it's ok to say I'm sorry. By keeping my walls down, I learn to accept the fact that I am not perfect and I shouldn't expect other people to be perfect either


 In my case it's being honest with myself. Even if that means admitting I was wrong. Again, lesson learned. It's not always about what we see with our eyes. If we just open up our hearts, we will see that everyone out there is hurting and when they do bad things, they are just reaching out for help. And all it takes is that one person to just love them to change their entire life around. 

Like the Beatles once said. "All You Need Is Love, Love Is All You Need"

Monday, 16 June 2014

To clean or not to clean....

So a lot of changes have happened in my life recently. (for those that don't know) The biggest one is I married the man my soul was made for in October. A lot of people around me keep telling me, O you're still in the honeymoon phase, or you're still newlyweds those butterflies will fade. And it just irritates me! I know my husband has character builders (that's how I like to refer to flaws, I hate the word flaws). Yes he can get on my nerves and make me want to scream, but what good would it do me? I accept him as he is, character builders and all. Everyday I work on being a better wife. Do I succeed? Most of the time, no. I am as human as anyone else, but I try. Because to me, that's what marriage is all about. Even when we fail, at the end of the day it's love that holds us together.

For example, the other day Jose was at work and I was home by myself. The house was a disaster so I cleaned it. Did the dishes, scrubbed the bathroom, changed the linens, etc. etc. The entire time I was fuming to myself Jose NEVER cleans the bathroom, Jose NEVER vacuums, changes the linens, or puts away his clothes. Why do I always have to do all of this? If I didn't do it, it would never get done! And as I was standing on my bed angrily trying to make the sheet go over the corner I looked up and I saw the picture on the wall. You know what I did? I cried. I cried because I was so ashamed of myself. This wasn't about Jose and all the things he doesn't do around the house, it was about me and my own self gratification. I was gently reminded of all the things Jose does that I take for granted, yet he never complains.

For instance, when we get to have dinner together and he cooks (he usually is the one that cooks) he always serves me. He hands me my plate full of food, my napkin, my drink, and my silverware. Then he serves himself last and after dinner he cleans the kitchen. Never once has he complained, he does it out of love. Because LOVE IS SELFLESS. Now back to my cleaning story. After I got done crying and fighting my pride, I started cleaning the rest of the house and thanking God for all the blessings he gives to me. Number one being my husband.

Instead of cleaning the house all angry, I try now to clean it because my husband helps provide for me. It's with his help and hard work that I am even able to have the things I have. It's my way of saying thank you to him. He doesn't ever expect me to clean, he doesn't ever ask me to clean. So why did I get so angry when I cleaned on my own free will? Because I was being selfish. I wanted to "teach my husband a lesson and make him feel guilty."  That day, love taught ME a lesson. It hurt, but lesson learned. I hope I never leave the honeymoon phase of my marriage and 50 years down the road people will be saying "I can't believe they are still in their honeymoon phase after all these years." All because love is.....



Blogging...everyone's doing it. So I thought I would too. Actually I've had many blogs in the past but I ended up deleting them because I went through massive life changes and just wanted a clean slate. This time, I'm sticking to it! 

I want to start off with a picture. 
This picture was a wedding gift for my first marriage from my friend and mentor Mrs. Edie. I gave it to Jose the night before I left for the states in 2011. The love that is described here in this picture is the love I found in Jose. And whether or not God wanted us to be together I wanted Jose to find this kind of love in someone, even if it wasn't me. This picture, and scripture has brought my husband and I closer to God and to each other in more ways than anyone will ever know. It hangs on the wall at the foot of our bed and when I wake up in the morning, sometimes I just stare at it and I pray that God helps me to love my husband in this exact way. Sometimes I am convicted of my grumblings and complaints I have given him and I make a mental note to try harder. 

You see the title of this blog is not just about a picture, it's about a journey. A journey I have been (at times wearily) but ever so hopefully traveling my entire life. To be able to love the people in my life that have caused me pain and do me wrong....but more than that to love myself and to see myself through the eyes of my creator and best friend, God. I have searched for this love for a very long time (not as long as Jose though, but we'll get to that part later on) and I only just recently found it. So here is my story on my journey of love as I try my best to love others like God loves me. Some days you will find that I'm not so loveable. Some days I am a total sap. Others, well, I guess you'll just have to keep reading to find out.