Altogether Beautiful

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[Image by Dolce & Gabbana]

By: Gabriela Yareliz

San Valentino is upon us, as the Italians would say.

This brought to mind notes from the romantic story of Ruth. This brings us to start with Proverbs 31:29, “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Those would be words used to describe a woman like Ruth.

Ruth was a young foreign widow, who decided to stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi, in a land that was not her own.

She returned with Naomi to the land of the Hebrews and began to work. She began working on Boaz’s land. Boaz is described as a worthy man. (Ruth 2:1).

Scripture tells us that on one particular evening, through the counsel and wisdom of Naomi, Ruth approached Boaz for redemption.

“At midnight the man (Boaz) was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman (Ruth) lay at his feet! He said, ‘Who are you?’ And she answered, ‘I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.’ And he said, ‘May you be blessed by the Lord, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman… As the Lord lives, I will redeem you.'” Ruth 3:8-13.

Boaz, as the worthy man that he was, recognized Ruth’s worth. He told her not to fear because he would redeem her (how the law required redemption).

The words of Boaz can be compared to the words God tells us, His people, in Isaiah 54:4-5, 8:

“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name; the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth He is called…’with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,’ says the Lord, your Redeemer.”

The Bible is filled with flawed individuals who through God’s grace become deliverers and instruments of God. So what is the role of this foreign woman’s story of redemption and her romantic, happy ending?

Ruth may not have been a “deliverer” in the way Moses was, but it was through her lineage, scripture tells us, that the ultimate Deliverer came.

People sometimes scoff at Ruth’s happy story, but the truth is that Ruth’s story is our story.

When we had nothing and we were destitute, when we sinned and made ourselves foreigners to God– He redeemed us. Ruth’s love story is an illustration of God’s love for us. He is our Redeemer.

God is constantly pursuing us, and He sees our worth. He gave us our worth. He says to us, “You are altogether beautiful, my love, there is no flaw in you.” Song of Solomon 4:7.

Reflections Before Bedtime #70

This is a special brain-dump edition of Reflections.

1) Did anyone see the Justin Bieber GQ cover?

See below. Look who’s all grown up!

We forgive you, Justin, we forgive you. (Insert an Uncle Jesse *Have mercy!* here).

2) The Spanish Mafia was at the Goyas 2016. And now, they are in NYC for NYFW. Yasss.

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[Images from @MiguelCarrizo]

3) If it’s all back on the table, we are going to need a bigger table.

4) Vanessa Carlton is good for the soul, just ask Terry Crews.

5) Horchata. That’s all you need to know. Or better said, all you need to drink.

6) Because this happened… And it was good.

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7) I fell under Chazz Palminteri’s spell. I just want him to be my godfather or something. Give me your wisdom, boss.

8) And to conclude, a message via Psalm 20:4:

“May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!”

Tuesday Badinage: February 9, 2016

By: Gabriela Yareliz

Hi, hi! It’s your little plague, here. I am feeling much better. My cough is still scaring people, but hey, today will be a better day.

Yesterday, I was speaking to a client; started coughing; couldn’t breathe; dropped the file (all papers scattered); I quickly put a cough drop in my mouth; almost choked on that; and then, I literally turned around in my swivel chair and said to myself, internally, “You have got to get yourself together!” *insert wheezing here*

That is not going to happen today. I know it. I am praying for it. It’s crazy how much we take for granted on a normal day. Like, hey, wasn’t life great when I didn’t feel like death on a platter? Anyway, that was not supposed to be a John the Baptist reference…

I hope you are ready to keep making this week fantastic. I was spending some time with the Lord this morning, as is my usual habit, and I read something that deeply moved me. I wanted to share:

*I love sharing stuff here, where cough cannot interrupt*

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” Psalm 34:4-5

No matter what you are facing today, know that He answers you. He is ready to deliver you from all your fears. When you look to Him you will be kept in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3), and you will be radiant. You will not be ashamed. In other words, He will never let you down. He does not fail.

Go out there! Conquer. He is with you.

Reflections Before Bedtime #69

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By: Gabriela Yareliz

To be.

We aren’t talking about “to have” or “to do,” but “to be.”

I was talking* with someone recently, and we were discussing how we always celebrate what people do (selectively), but we don’t exactly celebrate who people are.

We’ll celebrate a football player who body slams another, but he could be the most broken person on the planet who beats his wife or something. But he ran with a ball, yay.

I wish we had goggles that show the soul. Anyway, if we were less superficial, we’d see the soul; it just takes a little more than a first glance. Not everything that glitters is gold, babes…

And while it’s important to see people’s souls, it’s even more important to think of what we see in our own souls.

Who do you want to be? Are you that person?

I loved this quote from Diane von Furstenberg:

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She became exactly that; not by coincidence but by effort, choices, determination. Make sure you are on track to becoming that person you envisioned yourself to be.

Sometimes, in a closed circle of women (girl talk, so to speak), I realize how often we forget our worth. Never forget your worth. As they say, keep your heels high and your standards higher.

2016 is just beginning… May it be a year of growth and fulfillment.

We need to love the woman or man we are becoming; and if we do not, I believe it was Fitzgerald who said, if we realize we aren’t living a life we are proud of, he hopes we find the courage to start again. Whoever said it, he was right. It’s never too late to be who you want to be.

Go. Be.

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[Images from Pinterest]

*This is what happens when I am sick and can’t talk. I write. Third one’s a charm. *wink* Thanks for reading! Maybe, this third post of the day will encourage you to pray for my fast recuperation. XOXO.  [This post was in no way sponsored by Tylenol Cold + Flu].

Monday Inspiration: February 8, 2016

By: Gabriela Yareliz

I am sick, guys. I know. Totally sucks. I am on meds, and I have no voice. It’s an issue when a big part of your job is talking. Monday.

Yesterday, I saw Ravi Zacharias speak at The Brooklyn Tabernacle. That was such a blessing. He spoke particularly on Deuteronomy 8. It was about learning from failures and gaining victory. One of his points was about why it took Israel 40 years wandering in the desert to reach its promised land.

Deuteronomy 8:2, discusses that many times we are tested to be humbled and “that [we] may know what is in [our] hearts.”

This past Sabbath, at church, we discussed that we are often in the wilderness before God fulfills His purpose and promise for our lives. It is a time of test and refinement. A time of preparation.

I really loved Christine Caine’s point, “The most difficult time in your life may be the border to your promised land.”

I hope that this week, if you are going through your own wilderness, if you have been wandering in a desert for 40 years, reflect on what is in your heart and how you can grow.

Be sure that He who has promised is faithful.

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Friday Glee: February 5, 2016

Hi friends,

Today, we explore snowy tragedies, what’s in an age (is it really nothing but a number?), questioning what it means to be really “grown up”, the political scene, breakups, languages, and maybe more– you know, if we get to it.

Most of you aren’t from the U.S.; I love looking at my reader map. I thought I would fill you in on the NYC scene. It’s snowing here. Non-stop. The bad weather contributed to a crane collapsing in TriBeCa. One person died. Prayers are going out to that family. Life is so precious. I don’t normally talk about the sad news. Tragic, really. But I wanted to acknowledge this and urge you to pray for the families involved.

Politics have our heads spinning in circles. Not even the candidates know what they are saying anymore. Did anyone see Colbert hosting the Trump v. Trump debate?

The red-heart invasion continues. Lots of people are breaking up now, as they reflect on the meaning of life, love, their finances and the future. I did not mean that ironically… Sometimes, breaking up is the right thing to do. I loved a recent piece by Leandra Medine Cohen on this topic on her blog Man Repeller, hence the discussion. We don’t always like it, especially when it happens to us or someone close to us, but sometimes, we need to step out of all the messy emotions, and objectively (whatever that means) weigh the situation. It’s also interesting to think about how we evolve through relationships.

Once February 14 passes, it will be a full-blown Easter celebration at the pharmacy. I was at a place where I saw the cutest ceramic Peter Rabbit illustration plates. I seriously considered the adorable bunny plates and tea set, for at least five seconds. I was on the phone with someone close to me. “Aren’t you a little too old for that?” I heard in the phone receiver. Sigh. I get it. But this, led me to think about age.

What or who determines what we are too old for? No, seriously. I know 40 years olds that tell me they love Justin Bieber and One Direction’s music in hushed tones. Why? Why not just say you like it? Is there some kind of age cap? I look around a networking event, and to be honest, I see no adults. People my age and older still feel the need to get tipsy to have so much as one ounce of courage to talk or network with people, and they leave bars completely drunk… Aren’t they a little too old for that? Or people who look at you with a condescending air of “you are so young” when really, you’ve made more mature decisions and lived more responsibly than the older person’s entire collective experience. What is this age thing?

Anyway. I didn’t get the plates. They were completely adorable and appealing for Anglophiles and fans of British lit. Bunnies make the world a better place. I don’t care how old we are.

I met a handsome older man on the train this week who has been playing hockey for 52 years. He is on his second set of front teeth implants. “Some things have no age limit,” he told me. I completely agree. He then invited me to a hockey rec course he teaches, but I would like to keep all of my teeth, for now.

Jhumpa Lahiri, one of the only fiction writers worth reading in my opinion, is releasing her new book on Feb. 9th. It’s nonfiction and in Italian. She is Bengali. I loved her piece in The Guardian where she discusses her journey through learning a foreign language and her passion for it. I especially identified with the bit about being a different writer and version of yourself in another language. It sounds crazy, perhaps, but it’s true. Languages have the weirdest way of pulling on different aspects of yourself and magnifying them. Her piece reminded me of my goals and dreams, the ones that have been floating around since high school.

Lahiri writing this new book in a foreign language to her was refreshing, bold, risky and daring. Oftentimes, the best life waiting for us out there requires just that.

On another note, I am super excited to say that this weekend, I will be hearing Ravi Zacharias speak. Many of you, who read often and who have been a part of this blog for the six years it has been in existence, know he is often quoted. He is one of my favorite apologists and philosophers, and I am so excited.

Yes, it’s also Super Bowl Sunday. As a kid, I remember someone from church would have a Super Bowl party, and it would be a day of eating lots of chips, sweets, veggie hot dogs and commercial watching. Sweet memories. Not sure I will be watching this year. Apathy has gotten the best of me.

But how do you plan life? Maybe the weekend will be different than what I have envisioned. And that’s all right. Last weekend was hellish, but if this weekend brings surprises, I think it can only go up from last week.

I hope you all have a warm weekend. We’ll be hiking through snow mountains.

The groundhog said spring was coming early, right? What’s his name? Phil?

Whatever, he’s cute. After resurrecting that line from jr. high, it’s time for me to go.
Spring, come find us.

XOXO,

Gabriela Yareliz

PS. Awesome articles and videos were linked for your enjoyment and further reflection.