Changing Colors

“Autumn—that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness—that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.”
-Jane Austen

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Autumn has me changing colors. There is probably no better use of our time like when we reflect and think about how we can improve.

Today was filled with fall food shopping and reflection. I love fall food shopping. You walk into Whole Foods; pumpkins line the walls; the smell of cinnamon and spice trickles inside of you and soothes your soul; and you spend a little extra time in the soup aisle. Some things don’t change. Today, I relived the awesome fall food extravaganza I enjoyed last year. There is always that one day where Whole Foods is like a magical, overcrowded world.

I think there are some things in life that also never change. It’s funny how despite how much time passes, we change, and experiences change us, but some things are still the same. Sometimes, I think time just causes dust to collect on parts of our souls, and if we aren’t careful to dust consistently, later we have to do some heavy duty cleaning to restore that shiny little thing that grew opaque. I think of God as the caring hand that has the Clorox wipe.

We need to take some responsibility for who we are becoming and not just let it happen. I have been thinking a lot recently about the steps we have to take to become who we want to be; about looking deeper at what we watch, read, celebrate–it all changes us subtly, and it changes what we radiate. I suppose it’s similar to the concept of what we eat. Our system (body, skin, hair) reflects what we put in our bodies.

There is so much in the world that sort of acts as a genuineness-destroyer. Gandhi once said to be the change you want to see in the world, but we can’t change the world if we are exactly like it.

“We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses

We complicate our lives and enter vicious cycles of weirdness that seem to last an eternity, all because we are trying to do what we think is best, instead of accepting guidance given to us.

“And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history–money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery–the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

We all do this in our own little way. We are looking for pumpkin and spice in all the wrong places.

If your leaves start turning colors, it’s okay to allow a more radiant brilliance to take over. It’s not easy or simple, but it’s worth it. The leaves die, just like we have to let pride, selfishness and other bad habits die, but then there is a more radiant rebirth, and the process continues as the tree grows.

“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” C.S. Lewis

But even through changes and pain, there is beauty. So much beauty; beauty that words cannot capture.

[Image from Tumblr]

Friday Glee: October 17, 2014

You must be prepared to work always without applause.
Ernest Hemingway

I notice that Autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.
Friedrich Nietzsche

God is always seeking you. Every sunset. Every clear blue sky. Each ocean wave. The starry hosts of night. He blankets each new day with the invitation, ‘I am here.’
Louie Giglio 

Allow God to continually soften your heart so that it beats for what his heart beats for — people.
Christine Caine

To be an artist, you have to nurture the things that most people discard.
Richard Avedon, Darkness and Light

“God’s primary goal is not changing our situations or relationships so that we can be happy, but changing us through our situations and relationships so that we will be holy.”

He wanted to build Her a cabin, one that they could grow old in. Raise a family, have dinner conversations that would last through the night. He wanted to have a place that he could teach his son how to live and love, how to treat others and trust God; a place where he could teach his daughter to see life as something that is beautiful, where he could spin her around and create inside jokes that would last a life time with his little girl. He wanted a place that overlooked a lake so that he could spend misty mornings with his wife, holding her hand and standing still. He wanted to have a house that could hold family for the holidays, one that would be filled with laughter and the smell of coffee. He wanted to build a place that held memories of love, tears and redemption. He wanted a home and he wanted it with her.
T.B. LaBerge // The Novel of Us

I want God, not my idea of God.
C.S. Lewis

Don’t worry about having the right words; worry more about having the right heart. It’s not eloquence He seeks, just honesty. -Max Lucado

I’m going to make everything around me beautiful – that will be my life.
Elsie de Wolfe 

The best portion of your life will be the small, nameless moments you spend smiling with someone who matters to you.
Unknown

Long for the privilege to serve. Love like you draw from an infinite well of passion. Live like this world is temporary and the next one is forever.
Unka Glen

[Images and quotes posted and reblogged by Woman With Grace Tumblr]

While You Wait

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By: Gabriela Yareliz

Waiting is one of the worst feelings. I remember when I was a kid, when I knew my friend Liz was coming to visit, I would sit by the window and wait. That was always a terrible idea because she and her family always arrived later than planned. I would sit by the window, watching intently; get frustrated; eventually walk away; then, I would be mad for a while; I would annoy my parents with questions, and then, I would try to distract myself by setting up doll houses or American Girl Magazines I wanted us to read through together and the quizzes we would take once she arrived.

No matter how mad I was during the wait, when they [she and her family] arrived, I was so happy. The pain of the wait was forgotten. We would hug upon her arrival, go off and play and use up every minute wisely. Eventually, as I got older, I learned to manage the wait in a better way.

This reminds me of all of us human rights and immigration advocates waiting at the edges of our seats for some kind of immigration reform that may bring healing to some people’s lives and families. We wait. We wait hoping.

In life, there are many things we need to wait for. It could be a degree we are working toward (why does time creep by so slowly?), perhaps a job we’ve applied to or better yet just the simple opportunity to interview. We may be waiting for a special opportunity, a trip; waiting to see family; waiting for someone compatible to come along and be our partner-in-crime for life; waiting to move to a new place; waiting to understand something—there are many things we wait for in life. Waiting is not fun. Isn’t that why someone invented the microwave?

While I wait on some of my own personal goals and dreams, sometimes, I feel like my childhood self: frustrated, annoyed, asking questions, pacing, setting up and making plans– and yet deep inside, I know that when it finally comes, I will be so happy. I don’t think I will forget the wait, but that waiting pain will serve to contribute to the feeling of satisfaction and joy in the end.

Sometimes, we pray a lot about certain things. We begin to wonder why it feels like some things are answered quickly, while other things seem to “delay.” Hilariously, things delay for us, but God has His own perfect timing.

Can you imagine how Paul and Silas felt in their chains in the Roman prison? Singing. Bleeding. Waiting.

Martin Luther once said, “God may delay, but He always comes.”

I read something today in the Sept./Oct. Set Apart Girl Magazine (You can find the link to the site on my blog roll to the right), and it was talking about precision when we pray.

“There is a general kind of praying which fails for lack of precision. It is as if a regiment of soldiers should all fire off their guns anywhere. Possibly somebody would be killed, but the majority of the enemy would be missed.” Charles Spurgeon

Therefore, even if you feel a delay and you are going through waiting pain, don’t forget that God is going to show up with your answer. It may be what you’ve asked for, it may be different from what you expect, but whatever comes to you, will be the best for you.

We box God in with everyone who has disappointed us or hasn’t showed up, but God isn’t like that. He shows up, and He shows up with the goods, always.

So while you wait, pray with precision and ask God to prepare your heart for whatever He has in store for you.

I was talking about something with my cousin, Pipo Pere, and I hesitated a bit when I spoke about something I wanted. He said, “If you are there to win, you must talk like you are going to win and not even make losing an option.” That is faith.

Go forward in faith my friend.

“I do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do enter your room, you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping. You must keep on praying for light: and of course, even in the hall, you must begin trying to obey the rules which are common to the whole house. And above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not which pleases you best by its paint and paneling.

― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Keep praying. Keep waiting. Keep knocking. Keep seeking.

Epiphanies (with a tissue in hand)

By: Gabriela Yareliz

The internet is about to be down for a couple of hours. (Shall we resume the discussion on first-world problems?)

Today, I realized:

1) Being sick always brings me epiphanies. Is it the delirious feeling, the loss of fluids or the medication?

2) The key is finding contentment even when you are exhausted beyond belief and not exactly enjoying yourself. Otherwise, it’s simple. It’s like the concept of loving your enemies. It’s easy to love those who love you, but when it comes to loving an enemy, that is where the test begins and ends.

3) We must never forget the things we are good at. Sometimes, we are stuck doing things we may not be good at or learning, and then we feel like we suck at life–forgetting that there is another place in a comfort bubble of knowledge where we dominate and hunt, kill and eat.

4) Neighbors can be good; like in the Mr. Rogers kind of way.

5) Never give up.

Internet-less hours–bring it on.

Be a Joy Maker

By: Gabriela Yareliz

You know that feeling when your phone changes the words you type through some weird autocorrect you never authorized? What about that search of despair through your bag for your Starbucks or Jamba Juice coupon/receipt, or the fact that an overpriced mascara makes your eyes swell…?

Those, my friends, are first-world problems. We all have them.

As the holiday season approaches, I thought it would be a great time to turn our attention to where it should be: others.

I am loving the “Be a Joy Maker” campaign that has been promoted by the Disney Channel show Girl Meets World. I think it’s fantastic.

You can sign up for “actions” like sending a card or volunteering somewhere at givejoy.generationon.org.

Be a joy maker!

#GiveJoy

Other giving organizations (that focus on development and relief) to consider giving gifts/joy to:

ADRA

Oxfam

Monday Inspiration: October 13, 2014

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Happy Monday, to one and to all. After a road trip and a whirlwind of a weekend, Monday has begun. Life is still in fast forward with no pause button in sight. Even when I try to get in some sleep, it’s more like, Let me hurry up and fall asleep to get in as many minutes as possible in this tiny nap. Ridiculous. There is light at the end of the tunnel, it’s just not in October (for some of us; endurance is needed). Therefore, we continue to seek inspiration to help us through the good and the bad, the slow and the hurried, the grey and the sunny, and the warm and the cold.

Have a beautiful Monday. Monday-Fun-day– here we go!

1] Is it weird that we complicate life? We add social pressures; we mess up dynamics… Why do we do such things?

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2] Climb the mountain!

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3] When I was on my little road trip, I was fascinated looking out of the window at the fall trees. Some trees were already bare; others were still green. In one part of the road, everything was green except one bright orange tree. It’s clear that often times the only way things stand out is if they are different from all that surrounds them.

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4] Life is a comedy.

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9] New England looks beautiful. Autumn is in all of its splendor. I saw a place called “Autumn Orchard”, which is cool in the autumn (very fitting). These people love autumn so much that they named a place–so that in the spring, it’s still Autumn Orchard…

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11] Always keep fighting.

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[Images from Tumblr]