Sonam Kapoor: I Didn’t Wake Up Like This

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By: Gabriela Yareliz

Sonam Kapoor has always been an inspiration to me. Before Chrissy Teigen was making provocative statements and making us laugh with her wit on Twitter, there was Sonam Kapoor on Koffee with Karan. She always says what is on her mind, and I love her for it.

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Yesterday, I was talking to a friend about women in film, and today, when thinking back, I realized how much of that simple discussion and questions asked came from a male perspective. There is so much a woman juggles and struggles with. One is the concept of beauty. Women have a unique privilege of bringing and displaying a certain type of beauty to the world. And yet, beauty has come to be defined in the oddest ways.

“We’ve been taught that women need to be flawless even when our flawlessness is wildly implausible.” Sonam Kapoor, BuzzFeed

Sonam contributed her thoughts on women and beauty to BuzzFeed India, and the piece made me smile, tear up and get all weirdly emotional. In this piece, she shares some of her darkest moments.

As we get older, we go through so many phases with our skin, weight, body, body hair, hair, fitness, makeup routines– it’s a rollercoaster journey filled with taboos, (sometimes) sadness, courage and acceptance.

Kapoor said, “Real female bodies are so taboo that hair-removal-cream ads show hairless legs even before the cream is applied.”

We change, not only on the inside, but also on the outside. Our skin types change as we age (I have recently discovered this, first-hand); our hair length changes, and our weight may fluctuate in subtle ways that mark us. We should be constantly learning to love ourselves in new ways. We should be learning to see our beauty at every stage.

Sonam Kapoor is a queen. She is smart, stunning and so honest. She talks about her days of not eating, and how her friend, the talented makeup artist Namrata Soni, reminds her that her flaws make her beautiful.

You can find Sonam’s piece here.

Kapoor states:

“Aspire, instead, to giving your body as much sleep as it needs. Aspire to finding a form of exercise that’s actually fun for you to do. Aspire to knowing your body and how to live well in it.

Aspire to confidence. Aspire to feeling pretty and carefree and happy, without needing to look any specific way.”

What journey have you been on with yourself? What do you aspire to?

Sunday Girl: September 25, 2016

By: Gabriela Yareliz

It’s like someone flipped a switch. Autumn began with the cutest Google animation of little rocks eating a leaf (did anyone else see the adorableness?), and then, BAM,  sixty-degree weather that makes your nose run. I was almost stranded in Jersey City last night with a shut-down Path train station, and a breeze that reminded me that I needed to buy thicker leggings. ‘Tis the season! I always like to open up the season with the Ben Rector song, which I discovered around this time, several years ago. Autumn brings with it some relief from the heat and a temporary death, which we all know leads to new beginnings. And even in its longer, darker days, there is so much beauty.

In this post are some quotes that have inspired me, lately. Happy week! Autumn has arrived!! Let’s celebrate.

“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things.” Unknown

“Because the best thing about being alive is to feel part of something.” Maya Hart, Girl Meets World

“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try accepting yourself and see what happens.”
Louise Hay

“Never assume that God doesn’t want you to be open and honest about what’s weighing on your soul. This is a relationship. He hears you.”
God’s daily love (via god-loves-u-sweetheart)

“Love is a sacrificial choice we make daily. When the going gets tough, we have to keep going forward. We choose to live each day, we choose to eat and drink water, so we must choose to love one another. Nothing is more wonderful than knowing that someone doesn’t feel ‘stuck with you’ but rather that they have chosen to walk this journey with you and will fight for you when you are too weak to defend Yourself.”
T.B. LaBerge // Go Now

“I wondered if that was why God hated sin, because of the destruction it caused. For a moment I felt awe for a God who loved me enough to hate the things that hurt me without hating me for causing them.”
Susan E. Isaacs (via everfleeting)

“When our communication changes, our relationships change.” Dr. Tony Evans

“I write only because there is a voice within me that will not be still.”
Sylvia Plath, Letters Home

“Why do Christians always ask how sinful something is, rather than ask how righteous it could be? Why do Christians ask God to change everything around them, before they think to say to God: ‘change me’? No matter how many times God has come through for us, we’re still overcome with fears, worries, and doubts. Lord, make us more aware of how immense and all powerful you are, of how near you are to us, and how, in the end, your purpose for our life is the only thing that matters.”
Unka Glen (unkaglen.tumblr.com)

“He loved her, of course, but better than that, he chose her, day after day. Choice: that was the thing.” Sherman Alexie, The Toughest Indian in the World (via quotethat)

“Grace is wild. Grace unsettles everything. Grace overflows the banks. Grace messes up your hair. Grace is not tame.”
Doug Wilson (via quiethollowribs)

“You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems and suffer and understand, for all that is life.”
Jiddu Krishnamurti

“My goal is God Himself, not joy, nor peace, nor even blessing, but Himself, my God.”
Oswald Chambers

“[…] Jesus: the essential tenderness of His heart, His way of looking at the world, His mode of relating to you and me. ‘If you really want to understand a man, don’t just listen to what he says, but watch what he does.'”
Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

“Whenever you decide to believe God is faithful and live according to that belief, even when life is challenging, your faith grows. You can rest well, knowing that He is always up to something good.”
Charles Stanley (via godlywoman)

“I applaud the man willing and brave enough to explore the depths of a girl who has sapphires in her sparking eyes, caverns of kindness deep within her heart, a laugh that creases her eyes with an endless beautiful timeline, and a mind filled with forever ideas. She’ll make you feel like gold, I swear.
Darling girl, you are the most prized treasure. even when no one sees you or when you feel forgotten or unloved or even when you’re too hard on yourself. You’re whole + enough, sweet daughter of the Living God.”
j.w. | gold depths (via myheartmadeknown)

“But what had lasting significance were not the miracles themselves but Jesus’ love. Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead, and a few years later, Lazarus died again. Jesus healed the sick, but eventually caught some other disease. He fed the ten thousands, and the next day they were hungry again. But we remember his love. It wasn’t that Jesus healed a leper but that he touched a leper, because no one touched lepers.”
Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution

“When a human being is mistreated, objectified, or neglected, when they are treated as less than human, these actions are actions against God. Because how you treat the creation reflects how you feel about the Creator.”
Rob Bell, Sex God (via contrariansoul)

“Marriage isn’t just sex, it’s conversation and laughter
I mean some spouses barely even like each other, and the marriage seems like a dead end
You might share a checkbook and a house, but are you actually friends?
I mean, if marriage isn’t a commitment, then what’s the point of the vows we say?
‘Til death do us part’ really means ‘Until the feelings go away’
Like, I’ll stay with him, but only until it gets tough and my love shifts
But I say imagine if a parent took that perspective with their kids
Like can’t you see it? The minute the kid spills something on the floor
The mom’s saying, ‘Forget it, I don’t even love you anymore’
No, it’s just like marriage, to last you need the strength from above
Because it’s not love that sustains the promise, it’s the promise that sustains the love.”
Sex, Marriage, & Fairytales // Jefferson Bethke (via worshipgifs)

“But it was Jesus who taught me there was nothing I could really lose if I had Him.”
Bob Goff (via risinghopeandstrength)

“Sometimes I look at people who don’t see their worth in Christ, and I just think about how God actually breathed life into dust, making something wonderful out of something worthless. All of creation, God has been bringing value to the valueless, hope to the hopeless, and life into the lifeless. Don’t you dare look at yourself and deny what God sees you as, because to Him, you are the very air in His lungs giving Him life; He died and rose again, so that you may be with Him forever. Come now, sons and daughters, to the place that God has made for you; because He is not simply telling you to not sin, He is calling you home.”
T.B. LaBerge // Go Now (via tblaberge)

[Image from Tumblr]

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Monday Inspiration: September 12, 2016

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Happy Monday!

I saw a sign that said: “I run on caffeine, chaos and cuss words.” So cheesy. But, it made me wonder– what do I run on? We all run on something; especially on Mondays. What are your three things?

I guess mine sign would say: “I run on vegan/gluten free protein shakes, prayer and humor.”

Regardless of whatever it is that you run on, I hope you are inspired and filled with energy to tackle the new week. Yes. Tackle. I passed a sports bar yesterday, and I saw a bunch of white men wearing football jerseys drinking beer. ‘Tis the season! And New York Fashion Week…

Let’s make it a great week!

Some recent inspiration:

“Happiness is an inside job. Don’t assign anyone else that much power over your life.”

“Begin to live as if your prayers have already been answered.”

“The things that will get you fired when you’re young are the same things that will win you lifetime achievement awards when you are older.” Francis Ford Coppola

“As you grow up, your priorities change; nights out are swapped for nights in; your circle gets smaller; games, drama and partying every weekend just aren’t entertaining enough. You get to a point where it’s quality over quantity; like your career, relationships, home and family. You now seek quality; something that is yours, something that’s real, something you can grow, something you are proud of. As you grow up, you want a future, not just for now. As you grow up, things change, you change, and you start to like it that way.” @idillionaire

“Attract what you expect. Reflect what you desire. Become what you respect. And mirror what you admire.”

Heavenly Interviews

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Those of you who have been reading for years may remember my journalism studies days. (An old  comical blog post is linked for your enjoyment). I would wander around trying to find a quiet place to interview people.

One recent Sabbath afternoon, my friends and I were talking about what heaven would be like and what we would want to do in a place that was perfect, where we would be perfect, too. I decided I would want to be the Diane Sawyer of heaven, and I jokingly started saying some things I would ask different people from scripture. Here are some of my questions, below. The name in front of the question is who the question is addressed to.

What would you ask? I am sure you have some questions of your own…

Questions for People in the Bible in Heaven:

Moses: Do you stay away from rocks now?

Jacob: So explain to me this Leah situation…

Martha: Did you ever feel like leaving people dinnerless?

Lot: Did you ever see your wife as a salt pillar (assuming no one could look back)?

Isaac: What were your thoughts when you saw your father pull out the knife?

Eve: Did it ever occur to you that a talking snake was weird?

Joseph: What was it like when you saw your brothers again?

Noah: Do you get sea sick?
Follow-up to Noah: How did you handle the animal smell in the ark?

Paul: What was your favorite place you traveled to?
Follow-up: Favorite travel buddy? (Obviously not Mark)

Stephen: Are you surprised to see anyone here?

David: So… How many wives did you have exactly?

Solomon: Who did you write Song of Solomon about?

Lazarus: What was it like to be BFFs with Jesus?
Follow-up: How did you feel when you were dying a second time (post-resurrection)?

Nicodemus: What was your being “born again” experience like?

Mary (sister of Lazarus): Where did you find all the mourners for Lazarus’ funeral?

Peter: What did it feel like to walk on water?

Samuel: Why were you a bad parent like Eli, the priest who raised you?

Zipporah: What was it like to become the unofficial First Lady of a refugee nation?

Hannah: How many little tunics did you make for Samuel?

Aaron: A golden calf? What were you thinking and did you know that would end badly?

Benjamin: Why did your descendants end up being so evil? (See book of Judges)

Mary: So what is it like to give birth when you are a virgin?

Samson: Your biggest regret?

Daniel: Which empire did you enjoy more? (Babylon or Medo-Persia)
Follow-up: Did you name any of the lions in the lions den?

Ruth: How did you feel when Boaz told you he knew you were a wonderful woman?

Esther: What was your reasoning in inviting the king to multiple dinners with your worst enemy (Haman)?

Jeremiah: Please, do share something good that happened in your life. Anything. A happy memory?
Follow-up: Do you like doing pottery in your spare time?

Job: Did you stay friends with those jerks who would lecture you?
Follow-up: Are they here?

Elijah: What was the scariest thing about Jezebel?

Hosea: What are your thoughts on marriage?

Isaiah: What is your favorite messianic prophecy that was later fulfilled?

Timothy: What is it like to be circumcised as an adult to find acceptance?

John: Is heaven everything or more than what you saw in vision at Patmos?

John the Baptist: Did you ever brush your hair?

Sarah (Abraham’s wife): Did you ever use the expression “laugh out loud”?
Follow-up: Did you almost kill Abraham when you found out he almost sacrificed your son?

Zacchaeus: How tall are you, now?

The Hours: Week of September 4, 2016

The most random, memorable pieces of conversation from the week. Because sometimes, people say things that make you *double take*. – Gabriela Yareliz

9/8 @9:31pm: “I am stopping all sorts of traffic to get my life together.” (F parallel parking)

9/9 @11:10am: “We owe a lot to the clerks office who lost all the files.” (E)

9/9 @12:20pm: “I want a revolution.” (P)

9/9 @12:53pm: “You are actually having a conversation that isn’t moronic.” (C)

9/9 @10:46pm: “People have to realize that what is in people’s hearts can’t be legislated (greed, hate, love, peace). The revolution starts there.” (G)

9/10 @12:14pm: “God knows everything I have ever been through as if it was His own experience. Because that is how Love works.” (TG)

9/10 @12:40pm: “To be perfectly known and perfectly loved is the complete healing of us, as human beings.” (TG)

9/10 @3:50pm: “Faith doesn’t create facts, it just apprehends them” (TG)

9/10 @4:05pm: “The goodness of God leads us to repentance.” (TG)

9/10 @4:07pm: “We are created in the image of God to love the way God loves.” (TG)

9/10 @4:12pm: “I will include an illustration about the Bugatti in my sermon. There will be a great revival![…] Have you read Acts Chapter 2? It says they had all things in common. So if you are a Christian and I am a Christian– then your Bugatti is my Bugatti, my brother.” (TG)

9/10 @5:12pm: “Do you want to dance?” (M to L)

9/10 @7:30pm: “What? Isn’t she much younger than F?” (G) “Yes, I mean, everyone is.” (I)

9/10 @8:01pm: “You will be ‘Sexy Lips,’ and she will be ‘Baywatch.'” (G)

9/10 @9:10pm: “M is going to ask you about your Jewish family.” (L)

“Dark Faith”

By: Gabriela Yareliz

I read a brilliant article about Mother Teresa and her “spiritual darkness,” in The Week . The article was called, “Mother Teresa sometimes didn’t believe in God. That makes her an example of faith.” Provocative.

Mother Teresa recently became a “Saint.” I remember after reading her journal in high school, how impacted I was by some of the experiences she recounts. I couldn’t believe she still hadn’t met the criteria for what the Catholic Church deems as sainthood. Wasn’t her life enough of a miracle?

The article I read mentioned the fact that some of her writings are at times edited to not include her moments of spiritual darkness, or what some would call disbelief, in efforts to not discourage the readers.

The article points out, and I agree wholeheartedly, that faith isn’t having it all together. Faith is a journey, that very much so includes the moments when you are angry at God or questioning God.

You see, we need truth, the article states. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry is right when he wrote:

“She showed us how to persevere, in the dark night, in spite of everything, even one’s demons. That is not lack of faith, that is true faith. May we all have her faith. Yes, even dark faith, even the pain and abandonment of the Cross.”

Yes. That is true faith. Hanging in there, and groping your way out of a long, dark night.

At one point in high school, while I was reading a book of quotations of Mother Teresa on the school bus rides (I always admired her so much and sort of found comfort in her solitude and reflection), I was also reading through the book of Psalms by King David. I had a little green pocket New Testament, that included Psalms and Proverbs. This was my bus reading material.

I remember that I sometimes thought King David had serious issues. One day he was dancing, and the next day, he was sobbing to God because someone was out to kill him (a totally legitimate reason to cry out to God, I admit). It hasn’t been until years later, after weathering a few dark nights of my own, that I better understand King David’s joy and anguish.

I am reminded that God never edited people’s lives in the Bible. King David’s sobs and adultery are there; Moses murdering the Egyptian and his fear of speaking before Pharaoh is there; Abraham’s doubt in the dark night after being promised that his descendants would be innumerable like the stars is there; Jacob’s lies and his tormenting love story are there; Samson’s weakness for women is there; Solomon’s derailment is there; Jeremiah’s weeping is there; Joseph in prison for doing what was right is there.

You see, I haven’t posted in a while. I thought of so many things that are on my mind. We could talk about how bankers get to do their work in nice clothes, with a bowl of lollipops in front of them all day; the election circus; how to transition your summer wardrobe into fall (if I see this headline one more time– I will vomit); how matte lipsticks dry out your lips; how men’s razors are better than women’s razors; how amazing love is– but that’s not what is really on my mind, tonight. This is on my mind; this concept of “dark faith.”

I am thinking about those who surround me. Each person has a story. Many of us have been demoralized in life. Life has “swept the floor” with us, so to speak. We feel broken, more often than not, and weary. Sometimes, it’s not even the fact that we are angry at God or questioning. Sometimes, we are just so unmistakeably exhausted that it’s like we hold our hands up in the air, and we don’t say a word. There is nothing more to say. We grope our way around the corners of life, hoping we won’t stub our toe or experience even more pain. We harden ourselves, sometimes. We hide. Sometimes, we question. Sometimes, we aren’t sure we believe all that we know has been proven true.

We find ourselves in the dark, with a heart, heavy, but filled with divine promise, as Abraham did. And that’s okay. This is what I want to say. It’s okay. Because the “Heroes of Faith” in scripture are so much more than the names listed in Hebrews 11. It’s the people sprinkled throughout the whole book. It’s you and me. It’s the Bible characters  who lied, cheated, killed, doubted, and chose wrong. It’s the transformation of each of those lives. It’s the whole journey. The whole story. Light shines in darkness, and the love of God has shined into our darkness. The darkness is there. The darkness is real. Oh is it real. Our hurts, our brokenness, the betrayals we experience, the insecurities we are left with, the abandonment we have faced– it’s all real. And we are left groping. It’s part of our journey. Our unedited journey. It’s truth. And the truth will set us free.

Mother Teresa faced the ugliness of humanity with compassion. She often faced her own demons and disbelief with confusion and frustration. That wasn’t the end. This is a journey. A journey where divine Love saves the day and light breaks forth like the noonday sun.

Night doesn’t last forever. It didn’t for Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and our nights won’t last forever, either. This darkness is important– it may be the turning point, what the story hinges on. So remember, no editing. 

This manuscript of a life needs to remain complete. Because that is faith. Faith is persevering through the whole journey.