Change was the name of the game (2017)

As the hours of the clock wind down towards the end of this year and the beginning of 2018, I like to reflect on 2017.

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This was a busy and challenging year for me. Change and I are not friends, not even cordial acquaintances. I know it’s there and never going away like taxes and my birthmark, but it doesn’t mean that we have a good relationship. I also know that change is one of God’s favorite tools to grow us. Workouts are great for the body but not any less painful.

 

This has been the scripture of this year for me. Learning and re-learning that God is in control and not me

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The first six to seven months of the year, I spent back and forth from the hospital with my mom. Balancing work, ministry, life and her needs was quite challenging. Looking back, I don’t remember much, it’s all like a blur, but I know it happened. That was the beginning of some of the big changes, although she’s a lot better from what kept taking her to the hospital, her needs have changed, therefore my focus has changed.

work stressMy 9-6 had three reorganizations in 2017. This brought the anxiety of not knowing what that meant in terms of employment. It helped me exercise my faith in God’s provision regardless of the outcome. I’m very grateful that I’m still employed and basically within the same functions. Each reorganization brought a new leader, which meant an adjustment of expectations and leadership styles. I know that at the end my attitude was not of expectation but more of surrender. At the same time, I have to admit it has taken an emotional toll.

I’ve spent a lot of time alone this year, but it has been necessary time. I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of introspection. I’ve been able to process some life events that were still lingering in my soul. I’ve been able to find more acceptance of myself, which is not easy as I’m my most fearless judge.

I also lost a young man that meant a lot in my life. He’s the son of a friend. He came to my life when he was seven years old. He had a lot of challenges in life but he had a faith that was worth modeling. He was the smartest person I knew. Who else would call you in the middle of the day with a history trivia? Ivan would. He was the only child whose punishment was to take a way a book from him. He was about to finish his associate degree, but his health didn’t allow for that. God has now given him rest and for that I’m grateful.

As of November I’ve returned to writing. I had taken a two year hiatus to devote my time to “Celebrate Recovery” a wonderful ministry that gave me a lot and allowed me to serve. That season has now ended and I’m back to what I love to do: writing.

My jumpstart was the same as my first main start, NaNoWriMo and I finished it.

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Right after NaNo, I started a creative writing class. I’m currently studying short stories. I’m having a lot of fun with that.

Last night I had a dream, and woke up with a story inside. I propped my laptop on my bed and as I write this I’ve already written 1,500 words of that new story. I’m not sure what’s going to be :short story, novel or novella. I’ll let you know in due time.

I’m looking forward to 2018. 2017 was filled with challenges and changes. I’m sure the new year is going to bring it’s own, but I’m not the same person that ended 2016 and I like this one a little bit more.

Many blessings in 2018!

Naty

2018

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2015 In Review

20152015 has been quite a different year. Different is usually associated with a negative connotation, but different is not always bad. God has taken me into a journey that I never imagined.

In 2009, when I started this blog and had just finished the first draft of my first novel (The Road Home) I thought I had finally found my purpose. I’m not implying that I will no longer write, I actually miss it a lot. But I’ve been placed on hold to pursue other things for the Kingdom of God.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord in Isaiah 55:8 I have to admit that I still can’t get that through my head. After a life of fighting for everything, I stop the fight and have left the Lord be the pilot of this life that belongs to him anyway. My small mind thinks that with every step that’s as far as I’m going to go, yet the Lord surprises me again.

When I started writing, I never thought I would get a book to see the light of day. Now I have 4 books published: The Road Home, Growth Lessons, Season’s Greetings from Amelia and A Brothers Vow. I also have 2 other novels waiting to be edit for release: Saving Paola and Breaking Free.

In 2010 I started attending a ministry program called Celebrate Recovery to deal with the domestic violence in my marriage and eventual divorce. Today I’m the Ministry Leader of the only Spanish Celebrate Recovery in GA and a State Representative for Celebrate Recovery in GA. These are not my accomplishments, but places where God has brought me to that I never imagined. The State Rep happened this summer.

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It’s been kind of a quiet year. I’ve been a little reclusive doing a lot of introspection. It has been a year to connect with God at a different level. It’s been a year of growth.

I also moved to a new apartment in the summer. A smaller but way better apartment. My dog is happy as the complex has 2 dog parks, and she gets to drag me there to play.

For the first time in my life I have a television over 24 inches, not an accomplishment but something that happened. It looks really good and weird to see the clarity of some shows like if you were sitting right next to the characters or walking with them through hallways and streets.

It’s been a peaceful year. I’m really enjoying being quiet for long periods of time. I’m enjoying silence, which is a different pace for me. I don’t want to get too comfortable ad stop chasing dreams, but for now being able to breath is a good place to be.

Happy New Year 2016!

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Looking Towards 2015!

It is New Year’s Eve as I type this post. I’ve been thinking about the how this year was. I was looking on Facebook at the last posts of the year of some of my friends. Not everyone had jolly things to share, but just like me they were looking at 2015 with hope and 2014 as quite the growth school.

2014 was quite the spiritual boot camp for me. I had many loses, incomplete projects and some setbacks. I dealt jobwith health issues within myself and loved ones. There were more tears than laughs in 2014.But as this year sets down, the book seem to be turning a page. Things are slowly looking up.

I was at my chiropractor yesterday and he told me something that quite explains what my feelings are, “Life is like an ocean. It comes in waves, some are higher and some are lower. It all depends on how you navigate the wave” Which is where I stand grateful to God for helping me navigate through the waves of this year. I’ve had to grow and growing comes with pain.

I see this New Year as a new opportunity. It’s the year to not go back to the good things that were before, but to try new things, new approaches. It’s time to put into practice not only the lessons from this year, but the ones from years before. It is time to live differently, so that this New Year is different. We can’t control the waves that come our way, but we can control the way we ride them.

Care to share some of your thoughts on 2014 or your resolutions in 2015? I would love to hear them

Many blessings and Happy New Year.

2015

 

 

 

GLIn Growth Lessons, I was reminded of this beautiful truth: Our walk with the Lord is a process of growing up into the image of Christ. P. Yates

I would recommend this book for anyone who would like some common sense and light added to their life. C. Cunningham

Great for meditations and daily devotions. N. Thames

Ending 2013

In the years prior I measured my success by the blogs I was able to write, the books I was able to publish and the personal goals I was able to meet. 2013 was a year rich in life lessons that could not be accounted in numbers.

This year I was a lazy blogger. I was being pulled in so many directions in my life that I couldn’t concentrate enough to write myABV blogs. I participated in a few marketing campaigns for my books but nothing major. I was able to publish one book out of pure perseverance and I know I have not done anywhere near anything to market it, so I’m not disappointed with the results because I can’t have any expectations for the work I have not done.

I have not even been consistent working out, so I have some ground to recover once the year comes back. So what are the highlights of this year?

Well, although my goal was to read twelve books, I read eight. Yes, the goal was not met but it was six books more than I read the year before.

I started working with a new ministry at my church in Spanish. Aside from writing, I’ve found another place where I know God has called me to be.

I cooked Thanksgiving dinner, something I had not done in over five years and I’m pretty proud of myself.

But to be honest the highlight of this year was a card that someone I had not talked to in a while gave me. The card said how much I

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had inspired her. I’m not boasting on that fact, I’m just happy that in spite of all my shortcomings and inabilities the Lord still used me to inspire someone. The Glory is for HIM, I’m just glad my imperfect self is still usable for him and that makes up for 365 rough days of 2013.

I’m looking forward to 2014. 2014 is a New Year with new possibilities, new opportunities, new mercies but the same awesome God.

Happy New Year 2014!

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WF: The Light in Me

2012 is gone. Good or bad, there’s nothing from that year that we can bring back. God always gives us the opportunity of new beginnings. The best way to start this year is to acknowledge who Jesus is in our lives and take advantage of the opportunity of a new year to live.

Have you given yourself the opportunity to trust Jesus? Have you lost your way and don’t know how to go back to the path of righteousness?

Remember that when He died on the cross, he died for all your sins, the ones that you have done and the ones that you will do. Do you remember when Jesus was walking down Golgotha towards his crucifixion? We are told that he fell three times and even with literally the weight of the world on his shoulders, he got up again and again because he loved you.

Let’s begin this year allowing God to put his light in our hearts. Let’s allow his Spirit to overwhelm us with his presence.

You don’t know where to begin. Here’s and idea. Push play in the video below, listen to the words and allow yourself to go. After that just start by saying exactly what’s in your heart. Even if it is, “ God I don’t know what to say or what to do” He never left and it’s time for you to come home.

Blessings.

WF:Worship Friday

 

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In Growth Lessons, I was reminded of this beautiful truth: Our walk with the Lord is a process of growing up into the image of Christ. P. Yates

I would recommend this book for anyone who would like some common sense and light added to their life. C. Cunningham

Great for meditations and daily devotions. N. Thames

Surviving 2012

I can’t believe we are at the doors of a new year. 2012 seemed to have lasted forever. This year has been one of a lot of growth for me, and of course with growth comes a lot of growing pains.

This past year brought me a new opportunity to start over again. I have taken my writing to a new level. Last year when I published Growth Lessons , in my head I knew that this was something that I wanted to do. 2012 taught me that this is what I was called to do and every day I’m more motivated to do even more.

CIMG5895I was given a new start in my health, when I went from being a pre-diabetic morbidly obese woman , to losing 40 pounds and gaining my health back. With my new body still in progress I’ve learned to eat differently, live differently, respect my temple in a total new way. (By the way it’s 60lbs, but the first 20 had been coming down here and there since the previous year until I got serious this past May)Went from a size 24 to a 14. So I have had to shop for clothes, what a drag, right? LOL!

On that note, I am finally using my gym membership. I’ve signed up for dozens of them, paid off the contracts and never went. This time I’m actually using it.

I have a new career path. God changed my 9-5 to remind me that my focus is in him and his purpose. In this new path, that is not so new because I’ve walked it before, I know he’s training me for the day when I’m able to fulfill my dream to be fully dedicated to my writing.

I published my first work of fiction, The Road Home (TRH) and my first novella, Season’s Greetings from Amelia (SGFA) in 2012. These two pieces have brought me many joys. I did 3 book signings for TRH and have received remarkable reviews. SGFA sold 5 copies within the first hour of publication.

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I lost my favorite aunt, Juliana. I lost one of my best friends and one of my spiritual mothers moved over 600 miles away.

My 81 year old mother got an IPad for her birthday/Christmas present, got on Facebook and requested a Twitter account. Yes, I can’t get over that one yet, LOL!

As I posted the other day, I’m working hard on getting my next book out hopefully February or early March. I’m looking forward to the opportunity of a new year, a new beginning.

Happy and blessed 2013!!

Handling New Year Resolutions

2008 Taipei City New Year Countdown Party: The...
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At the beginning of each year we decide that we’re going to do everything new, those resolutions usually last until the second week of January because routine sets in and life goes back to normal. Part of why we tend not to come through with our resolutions it’s because we set unrealistic goals.

 So, does that mean not making New Year’s resolutions? Not necessarily… These were my lessons from 2010.

  • Look at the root of the problem- Sometimes we are addressing the symptoms and not the real issue. When you don’t resolve the actual issue, your chances of success decline significantly because the behavior will either return or transform. The most common issues are food and finances, but this applies to anything as well. People enter into diets or financial plans to resolve debt, but within months they return to their bad habits, that’s an example of treating the symptoms and not the issue. Why do you eat or spend or drink or whatever the issue is? Is it loneliness, self esteem, boredom, lack of skills. Once you identify what’s really causing the problem, even though it may take a little longer to see results in the changes, you may experience more permanent changes and more satisfying results. (Matthew 13:20-22)

 

  • Identify the reasons for the change- Are you making these changes for you or for someone else? Sometimes we have the tendency to join a wagon because our peer jumped in it, but are those things that you’re pursuing beneficial to you. Look if your goal will have a physical, emotional, spiritual or even financial benefit for you. This may be extreme, but for example, I have a friend who is anorexic and the last thing I would want for her is to go on a diet with me. (Romans 12:2)

 

  • Find out what works for you- We are not truly created equal, we are as different as the stars in the sky. Find something that works for you in the accomplishment of your goal.

 

  • Divide your big goal into small steps. I think the principle of one day at a time and small changes very well applies here. I get it! In the microwave mentality world that we live in, we want immediate results, but are those the ones that really last? Whatever you’re trying to change in your life didn’t happen over night and it will not go away over night. You will feel like a failure when you don’t get the results you want or when the results are not lasting. However if  you start with smaller goals and celebrate those smalls victories, then once a goal is achieve you can up the bar to another one higher. By the end of the year you will be able to look back and see not only that you have accomplished more than you honestly expected ( Ecclesiastes 3:1-17;7:17)

 

  • Seek help- if you have tried to achieve this goal before and the things you’ve tried has not work, there’s no shame on seeking help. Having someone to guide you through the process, encourage you and celebrate with you your success may be the formula to finally conquer that obstacle that you’re trying to overcome. (Deuteronomy 1:12-13)

 

So start working on your game plan and much success in 2011!!