My Word for 2015 (aka Happy New Year!)

I have always liked the idea of a word of the year.

It’s so powerful because words especially in the English language are so multi-layered and if it’s a verb (as mine is) there are a million words you can choose to go after it.

But before I share 2015’s word I have a few thoughts on this past year.

This past year was an incredible one. It was one of my best by far, and also one of the most challenging.

It taught me a lot about love, how to open my heart to people  I may only know for a short time, how to better love my fiance, how to love my family and yet not continue my role as compliant child, how to love and be there for my friends without being used, and to open my heart to new love: namely Miss J, who despite having dementia still has much love to give and receive,  and my new roommates who are such kind and godly women I am still amazed I found them. More than anything it taught me the power of action and presence, over words and intentions.

This year I was brave. I spoke in front of my entire school and shared my testimony, words that continue to shape me and keep me accountable. I went back to camp when I was scared that I would be lonely and miserable and postpone my future and wound up honestly having the best summer of my life. I decided to take a chance and let God know moving out would be amazing and he gave me a job and a place to go that have been major blessings and so easy even as they have greatly challenged me.

I prayed more than ever before, I’ve spent so much time in my prayer journal and on my knees than ever before. And I have such a long way to go, but my relationship with God is even stronger. He is the one I am leaning towards and choosing even when other things distract. The Holy One has guided me in so many ways, I’ve made decisions because I heard His voice, and while the path wasn’t always easy and some paths I’m still not sure what’s at the end of the journey, but the journey has given so much peace I know it’s only because of God.

I tried new things. I started this blog. I went on a trip to Baltimore with my best friend. I moved. I joined a group of women to not only create a whole play by sharing my personal stories, but I also committed to performing that play into the new year. I cooked a few meals all by myself. I watched more new shows and movies than I have in a long time. I said yes to adventures with friends and initiated adventures in a way I’ve always been to timid to push for.

So what is my word for 2015?

Seek.

This morning I was reading my Bible a bunch of Scriptures that included the word seek. Honestly I have no idea why except that I could not sleep and simply longed for rest and to be in his presence.  Among them I read Isaiah 55 which is aptly titled “Invitation to the Abundant Life”.

That is what I long for. Oh, I feel so close some days and so far others. On a slightly unrelated topic my fiance reminded me last night that as long as I keep moving upwards as I keep striving to be better that’s what truly matters. Mistakes happen, I’m human, but what is the bigger picture of my life?

That is why I choose seek for next year.

I want to seek the Holy One’s presence.

I want to seek love.

I want to seek the opportunities that God has for me.

I want to seek out the broken, the hurt, and the unloved, and give to them out of unconditional love.

I want to seek the life that I’m meant to live regardless of what my family thinks or how uncomfortable it is.

I want to seek challenges because if I’m not growing, I’m dying.

I want to seek, I don’t want to wait, to worry, to fester, but to seek and go after whatever will help me best live a life that glorifies the Holy One and offers unconditional love to everyone I interact with.

Seek. My word for 2015 a year that’s already set up for great things between my fiance and I getting married, being a part of this Women in the Bible play, and everything in between. I’m going to seek with all my heart.

What’s your word for 2015?

Glitter on,

Juanita

P.S. Since I’m going away to my grandmother’s for the next few days and will not have access to the internet, I will not be writing again until the new year, for now feel free to go back and look through old posts, comment and share your words, or to take your own break. Thank you so much for reading, it has been such an encouragement to me.

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It’s the Little Things-A sort of Christmas Post

The title is a phrase that frequently comes out of my mouth.

When life is overwhelming and confusing, it’s the little things that keep me going. And when I feel like the problems are too big it becomes my mantra for making things better. It’s the little things. Giving love consistently every day in big and small ways will change the world more readily than a one day event. I know it.

It reminds me when I feel overwhelmed by the holidays. It reminds me that getting a gift for my friends at all is whats great not what the gift is. That saying no to things that drain me to do a few things that I will really enjoy is what’s best. That taking a moment to send a Christmas card (or 6 matters). That carving out a weekend for just my family is priceless.

When it seems like you’re getting sucked up in the stress and consumerism of Christmas remember it’s the little things. Picking out just the gift that will make your friend glow with joy. Calling up an old friend to wish them Merry Christmas. Taking a moment to remember Jesus and his incredible love that he would come down to us as our most vulnerable in society, a baby.

It’s the little things.

It’s a mantra for life too. Life is full of big moments, moments that change us forever, but it’s a thousand little steps that get you there.

Graduating college is a huge moment, but it’s the days of homework, discipline, yeses and nos and crazy adventures that come together and make graduation what it is.

Remember that in the frustrations of post graduate life, whether your, unemployed, working, in grad school, in the military, totally sure, or totally confused take each day in one by one. It’s the little things that lead up to moments that utterly change your life. Smart decisions day after day, seeking his will day after day, using each day to the best of your ability. It’s the little things that create the life you desire.

Mother Teresa had it right, you can change the world. It’s the little things. Remember that this Christmas and into the new year. When you love, no matter what you do, it is an incredible act of God. Shine the glitter, friends, Merry Christmas

Settling in

I think a lot of times when we think about transitions we think about the big moments: the wedding day, graduation day, moving day, the day the baby is born (its birthday!), the day of the holiday, getting engaged all those clamoring big moments that, granted, are really important.

More often I’m finding what really makes something a transition is the lead up and the settling in afterwards. That big moment is wonderful, so wonderful. You need it honestly. Despite the 7 months that have passed since graduation, every time I see my pictures, am reminded of that day, or see my diploma I am filled with joy. That day was one of those few and wonderful perfect days. There was nothing wrong with that day, it was just pure and simple joy, surrounded by people who loved me and were so proud of me.

Afterwards though that’s where I had to slowly develop who I was going to be after college. I think for some people it’s easier, but for four years my school was a part of my identity. In the best way possible. It was my home. Where my friends were, where I worked, it was almost everything. And suddenly (though with great pomp and circumstance) it was time for me to move on. At least to some extent.

As you know I’m still quite involved at my alum. I have many good friends and acquaintances there. My fiance works there. I’m a teaching assistant there, and I’m part of the Women in the Bible play (speaking of which I officially decided to perform in it next semester, pray for me, it’s going to stretch me, and I’m going to be exhausted, but I think it’s going to be worth it). So I’m still more involved than I thought I would be.

Now I’m praying about possibly seeking work, closer to where I live, perhaps right in the heart of Boston (still my biggest dream).

But with moving out of my family’s home (and I’ve talked to them once a day since moving, not even on purpose), I’m figuring out slowly how that life will look.

The balance of my friends, my roommates, and my family. Creating routines. Figuring out how to eat every day, maybe one of these days I really will cook something besides breakfast and sandwiches (don’t count on it). Figuring out the bus system (really convenient so far).

I’m just doing my best to stay present and when it makes sense to say yes. Like last night I got home fairly early so me and two of my roommates went to Target and Barnes and Noble and it was really nice just to get to know them better and hang out with them for a few hours. I could have just stayed at the house in my room, called my friends, did some grading (but really I did need to get on that!), but I chose to say yes and take advantage of being present with the people I live with. I don’t doubt I won’t have more times to say yes in the future, but I’m glad I said yes then.

It’s so crazy how I’ve grown, freshmen Juanita would have shuddered at living with strangers, and to a certain extent I still do. Yet the Juanita who I am now has so much more faith and it’s awesome. Faith in God, faith in herself, faith in others. I decided after one meeting with them, on the word of a very dear friend, and a feeling of transcendent peace to move in with three women I don’t know from Eve. And so far it’s working out. Day by day I see my life unfolding. It’s pretty scary, but from the day I came to my alum and I told God I didn’t think I could commute and succeed at my school he has been more than faithful. Doesn’t mean things have always been easy, even this hasn’t been entirely easy (hello, now I really have to live on a budget), but he has always been faithful and as long as I’m seeking him, he’s always there to guide me.

So trust in that readers, the truly wonderful thing is that we don’t have to do it alone, God is more than happy to pour on the glitter and get the glory from our shine.

And when your in the midst of transition, be present with it. Say yes, take a chance, have an adventure, and have faith.

Glitter on,

Juanita

MOVED!

So it’s official, my worldly goods are all moved in and I have a nice space of my own.

My roommates welcomed me in by taking me out for celebratory pizza and after sleeping in I have been spending all of this glorious Sunday putting my room together in a way that makes me happy and makes sense to my life.

Here’s a peek at the place:

Picture 004

Well, my bed, decked out in purple of course. The camera on my laptop isn’t stellar, but it will do.

But really it’s just awesome, I have my own space!! It feels weird, and I have the strong sensation I am living with strangers (well because this far, they are), and it feels surreal and part of me is just wondering if I can handle it, but I’m excited.

And so blessed. Prayer works people. Following God leads to better things than you could think up. This is not exactly what I envisioned when  I prayed about moving out, but it’s so much sooner than I would have thought possible and in a better environment than I would have expected. What are the odds I would find a good location just outside of the heart of Boston with T accessibility living with 3 godly woman. Low. I would never have found this place on my own, He gets all the glory.

And now I get the best of both worlds, close enough and far enough to be near my work, friends, and family, and also having that blessed space of my own I’ve been longing for. Let’s see what new things I’ll have to learn, adventures I’ll have to undertake as I continue this thing we call life after college, always with a dash of glitter.