Never Forget

“Faith is acting like it is so, even when it’s not so, in order that it might be so, just ’cause God said so. Because what faith says is: God you are telling the truth. Faith establishes what you think about God.”
Tony Evans

“God hears you and in His own timing, in His own way, He will prove Himself to be faithful.”
Matthew West

“God is not human that He should lie, that He should change His mind.

Does He speak and then not act?

Does He promise and not fulfill?”

Numbers 23:19

“God’s dreamers are always impractical– but in the end, some of their dreams come true.”
Amy Carmichael

“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”
C.S. Lewis

[Images from Tumblr]

Be the Baker

“Every day you have to just go make the bread. You know, you are like a baker or something. You know, every day– just get up, and go do it. And sometimes, you don’t have the answers right now, but in doing it, you will find your answers, [and] your way.” Garance Doré

In French literature (and in French towns, still), one of the most important figures in the community is the baker. Marcel Pagnol’s books and plays about life on the French countryside often revolved around or included at least on scene of drama at the town bakery. He even has a movie he wrote the screenplay to called The Baker’s Wife (La Femme du Boulanger). The idea is that “food is the life of the community”…not far from the truth. Bakers are always there, day in and day out. Everyone knows them, and they are essential. They are diligent, and while what they do may seem monotonous and taken for granted, if they are absent, everyone feels it.

In life, we have to be bakers. Every day, as Garance Doré said, we need to show up, and do our job. We may not understand what or why, but every path that crosses ours and every choice matters. Be like a baker who is patient, who sees each face that stops by and serves and listens to the individual who comes. When the baker sells a loaf of bread, he hands over his art, his time, his love. Be like the town baker who gives you an extra chocolate croissant and winks. Bakers are trying their hand at new little creations, pushing the limits and inviting others to curiosity and something deliciously different.

It’s time to dust the flour, line up the ingredients, roll up the sleeves and start kneading for answers, for art, for the people.

-Gabriela Yareliz

Drawing of the baker by Fran Slade.

Oscar de la Renta

By: Gabriela Yareliz (with help from mom)

Oscar de la Renta has died at 82.

The world has lost one of its greatest designers. He was certainly one of my favorites. When I was a girl, I would read too many magazines (maybe I still do), and when I saw a dress I liked, I would find the little caption that said who the designer was. I began to realize the majority of the dresses that I liked were designed by the same man, De La Renta.

Very few do femininity, with the exception of Dolce & Gabbana, the way Oscar de la Renta does. And still, his is a distinct and unique style. He was a philanthropist, gardener, visionary, creator, husband, traveler, go-getter and maestro.

He founded an orphanage called Casa del Niño in La Romana, adopted a son, and supported the construction of a school in the Dominican Republic, his home. He worked as a couture assistant and designer for names like: Balmain, Balenciaga and Lanvin.

He dressed some of the most beautiful and powerful women in the world. Many of these women live in our minds wearing his creations.

“We live in an era of globalization and the era of the woman. Never in the history of the world have women been more in control of their destiny.” Oscar de la Renta

You will be missed, sir. He is one of our most powerful and admired Latin trailblazers. He said of his Dominican Republic: “My country has given me a very strong sense of who I am.” And he, like others who persevere and succeed, has given his people a strong sense of who they could be. Inspiration.

And with his creations, he left us a piece of his heart.

Monday Inspiration: October 20, 2014

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By: Gabriela Yareliz

Happy Monday to all. Enjoy this week as October is in all of its fullness because next week is the last week of this fantastic, action-packed little month. It’s chilly out, skin starts feeling different (extra-moisture lotion!) and lip balm is needed. Autumn is in the middle of its parade, the sky is dimming and all kinds of things are falling out of the sky.

This time of the year reminds me of homecoming in high school, childhood memories of hot apple cider in a classroom decorated with fake leaves, and just around this time, I would start my Christmas list as a kid (ridiculous but true).

This week, I wish you productivity. Remember you are not alone, and celebrate what you are doing right. We all need little celebrations. Think of someone who is struggling with something, and see if you can help them in some way (materially or with your time). Find someone who irks you or is making your life 10x harder, and pray for them (it’s hard to dislike someone you pray for). And of course, make sure to take time for yourself; to reflect, pray and think about how you can grow. Flourish and spread your fragrance.

1] The labyrinth: Through our choices, every moment, we decide which path we will take and which way we will turn. We always have a choice. And remember, the best thing to do when you feel lost (and so you won’t get mugged) is to walk with purpose, and do your best every step of the way. Accept the surprises you find along the way. If you feel you’ve been somewhere before, life is like that. We sometimes have to pass through a place more than once; what matters is that we move on.

The smartest thing to do is to find the person who designed the labyrinth, and let Him guide you through with hints, notes and signs. Then, you know you will surely make it out safely.

What’s your labyrinth?

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“A labyrinth is a symbolic journey . . . but it is a map we can really walk on, blurring the difference between map and world.”
Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking    

2] An endless road of amazing possibilities is in front of each of us, but let’s enjoy the wind in our hair and the ups and downs in the now. Find a friend for the journey.

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4] Michigan Magic: I envy all of you out there camping, driving through orange tunnels of tree leaves, and those who watch the sunsets on Lake Michigan.

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5] You are more than what others say you are; you are more than a label or a past mistake. You are dearly loved.

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6] Teacher appreciation: too real. Cory Matthews is the new Mr. Feeny. I miss sitting in a small classroom like this, the conversations and hilarity.

7] We are constantly choosing between fear and adventure.

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8] This was a beautiful thought…oh to be a Godly woman. For those of us trying, don’t lose heart; keep praying and allowing God to mold you into the lady He wants you to be.

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9] Your path is unlike one walked by any other.

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12] Dare to ask the right questions, and dare to accept the answers when they come.

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[Images from Tumblr]

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]