5 Steps to Gratitude

Thoughts, Uncategorized

A couple of years ago, God told me to appreciate little things. He really did! He sent me books, people, and when I still wasn’t paying attention, He told me. Once I realized what direction God wanted me to take, I started to take it to heart and putting gratitude into practice. God is so good and so merciful! I ran out of words to thank Him a long time ago, but I still make sure I do. Here are five things I did and still do today. I hope these will help you have a more grateful heart.

1. Write 10 things that you are grateful to God for
I was always into journaling as I love to write so this came naturally to me. I kept a journal in which I wrote down my prayers and things I was grateful for every day. I wrote about ten things to begin with so you can start with that. Later on, I couldn’t stop. I stopped counting how many things I was writing and it was amazing the things I was grateful for! I wrote things like:” Thank You so much, Lord for this beautiful day.” or ” Thank You so much, Lord, for Your love and mercy.” ” thank You God that I have eyes to see the beauty of Your creation.” etc.  At first, I planned on doing it for 21 days, but I did not stop ever since. It truly changed my life and put things into perspective.

2. Say Thank you to/for others and mean it

I also started thanking others. Thanking them for little things each and every time. Thanking them for their friendship and thanking God for them.I would say in my heart when I see them:” Thank You God for putting this person in my life.” or even tell them in person that I am grateful for them. Surprisingly enough, my relationships bloomed without me doing anything. God was blessing each and every single one of my relationships and people seemed happier in my company. People who didn’t have my best interest at heart either completely changed their attitude or stayed away from me for my own good. I was also happier.

3. Be Grateful in Difficult Situations

I admit that this is not an easy one, but practice makes perfect! So much, that now, even if I say I am hungry or this is not going well etc. I am just saying it, but in my heart, whatever is not going well does not bother me one bit. Let me explain. In each situation, I believe there is a hidden blessing. There are always lessons to be learned and God knows I love to learn. I love to become a better person and to grow personally. As a result, every time something goes South, I always remind myself that there is a blessing in this situation even if I don’t realize it right away. I often say:“Thank God for lessons learned.”

I used to tutor at the Math Lab in the community college I went to. Some days were so busy that our supervisor would come in to help out. I had to walk around and help students while sometimes having one to one appointments and it was just so hectic. My coworkers would complain a lot about it and I would too at some point until I decided to view things from a different angle. Every day before work, I would pray and thank God for having a job and most importantly I would thank God for being able to help so many people who have exams and homework to go through. Next thing I knew, I was always so happy and cheery to go to work and help people. So much, that the students started to specifically ask for me to tutor them which made me even more grateful. At the end of my work days, I would be tired but I would always be smiling and looking forward to tomorrow. The same thing is happening at my current job. I love it so much and love the people even though it’s tiring work. I always look forward to the next work day so I can help people. As a result, my supervisor pulled me once to tell me how she loves how much of a positive attitude she noticed I have, how she appreciates my kindness, and how I always have such a genuine smile all the time making students feel welcomed. I thought to myself:” Thank you, Jesus. It was all You.”

4. Give Thanks in Your Prayers

Okay, I know this is a no brainer because we are supposed to give thanks while praying, but have you ever tried to not ask for anything and to just say thank you? I practiced that for over a month. I would wake up and start with praise then I would  thank God for each and every little thing in my life for an hour. I would do the same at night. As a result, I started to pray for others and not for myself and kept on giving thanks. What happened was that I got the job I wanted out of the blue,I got the courage to walk away from someone who wasn’t good for my life, and I passed classes I thought I’d fail. I did not expect any of this, and sure did not pray about them, but giving thanks to God for the things I do have without asking anything else was trusting God to take care of my needs and that’s exactly what He did!

5. Don’t worry and Be Happy!

Easier said than done, but When you are genuinely grateful to God, you don’t have the time to doubt Him. You don’t have the time to question whether or not He will provide this or that because you are too busy being grateful for what He has provided. One thing I’ve learned is that worrying is one of the most ungrateful acts. To me, worrying is basically not believing God’s promises and dismissing what He has already done for you. So Be happy! Smile to strangers, love out loud and share the joy that you found in the Lord! He’ll take care of you like He always has!

Love,

Lori

A Childlike Heart

Thoughts, Uncategorized

This post is a bit more personal as it is about my walk with God. I am an imperfect person who sins just like everyone else and I wanted to share my journey with God ( where I have been and where I am trying to be at when it comes to Him) and His mercy to me. I am humbled and forever grateful!

When I was little, the book of Samuel was my favorite book in the Bible. I had set myself to read the whole Bible, but I am not quite sure I had or if I did, I surely don’t remember. However, I remember that I wanted God to call me like He did Samuel. I would pray about it every night and beg and beg to be called. Being a child, I literally wanted to hear God’s voice call “Lori”. But being a child, I didn’t think about what I’d do if He had or what being called meant.Regardless, I really wanted God to physically say my name. I would even cry about it while praying! Until one night, I dreamed of God visiting me and it was the happiest dream I’ve had! After that, I felt that my prayer was answered although not the way I wanted. That’s exactly how and when I knew God was very real. I was completely convinced.

I always tried my best to always pray at night. My mother would pray with us and My prayers consisted of me asking forgiveness for my sins, blessings for my parents, family, and friends whether or not I knew what they were going through or not. Then I’d ask God to give me health, wisdom, intelligence, and obedience. I’d also ask for these for my family and friends and that God protects them. We would also pray “Our Father which are in heaven…”. At the end of each prayer, my mom would have me say:” Mon ame bénit l’Eternel, Que tout ce qui est en moi bénit Son Saint nom; Mon ame bénit l’Eternel. Amen” ( for non-French speakers, it’s the French version of Psalm 103:1 “Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name.” At the end of every prayer, I would also ask God to keep me from dreaming because I’d have very vivid dreams that would scare me. Overall, my prayer life as a child had a routine to it, but I meant every word.

Then growing up, I still prayed but it was different. I am grateful for family drama and teenage crisis that kept me close to God. Still, I only went to church one a month when the Catholic School I went to had mandatory mass. I grew up with a Catholic father and an Adventist mother who traveled when I was very young. When my mother was around, we went to church every Saturday, but after she left, my dad never really took us to church. Sometimes even if I asked so I made it a habit of not going and thought nothing of it. At the time, to me praying  and trying hard to be good and doing good was enough. I had a relationship with God then, but certainly not as personal as when I was a child or not as personal as I believe I do today. Let me explain.

As a child, although I had the fear of God, I craved His presence. As a child, God calling me or talking to me was what would make me special, happy, and grateful. Instead of daydreaming about other things, I daydreamed of being that child that God has a personal relationship with. I wanted to know Him, to be His friend, His daughter. As a teenager, family drama, and teenage years crisis made me see God mostly as my savior. The thing is I don’t know if I would have been a praying teenager had it not been for these situations I was facing. However, as a child, I prayed because I genuinely wanted to talk to God although I still had a bit of fear in me when it comes to Him. What was it as a child that made me want God to be close to me so badly that I didn’t have as a teenager? I asked myself so many times. Somewhere in between heartbreak, insecurities, and non-genuine friendships, I started to see God as someone I could go to with my problems, but without ever asking Him how He is doing or how WE are doing. When I say that I mean like this one person who only comes to you when they need you so you can solve their problems, but they probably know nothing about you because they never bother to ask. well, I was that person with God.

I then realized that as a child, my innocence didn’t allow room for doubts or concerns with problems. As a child, I was content with the little things. Like I would be wondering if I would dream of God on that particular night, and I couldn’t wait to go read the Bible or pray so that it can happen. Also, as a child, I took everything I read in the Bible to heart. I would feel so horrible if I lied and would beg for forgiveness right away. As a child, I trusted God fully. After that experience, I did not worry about whether or not God would do this or that for me. I would tell my mother that I talked to “Little Jesus” about this or that and that He will make things happen. Children are humble, they are not yet polluted by the ideas of the world. No wonder Matthew 18:3 says:“And He said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Maybe when it comes to God, if we acted as the children that we are to Him, things would be much better.

Later on, after God had showed me that I needed to remove yet another person from my life, I realized what I needed to get back to. I needed my child like faith back. I needed my grateful heart, and my ability to see the beauty and magic in the little things and that’s how it all began again. I started to truly seek God just because I love Him. I usually prayed for more than an hour per day. I prayed for people more than I prayed for myself and made it my duty to say thank you and to never ask for a thing for a long period of time. I would worship and pray God and beg Him to help me be close to Him. I read passages of the Bible and kept praying. And you know what? HE ANSWERED!! He sent me so many signs through people or books, or readings, to tell me to keep going and that He’s always been here despite my shortcomings.

He even showed me how some things I went through were never about me. They were to help another person that I would meet along the way going through that same thing at the moment. Some of the things were about Him. About bringing Glory to Him. Everything started to make sense and I was so amazed by it. I met the right people, the right group on the campus I go to.  Then He told me He wanted me to get baptized again. I was so scared at first then I remembered whose child I was and that the Most High talked to little nothing me and I had to obey (More about that later on). I even started to realize the purpose of so many things! I get a bit emotional every time I think of it. My life had suddenly changed and I was a brand new person with a grateful heart always as God is a dear friend/confident/Father of mine. Even today I get asked how is it that I am always the one to point out positive things out of awful situations and every time someone asks me that, I thank God in my heart for reminding me of how to have a child-like heart again despite my downfalls.  After all I am His child! And it keeps on getting better. I am striving for a better relationship with God and He sure helps me through the journey. Trust Him, He can do the same for YOU! Yes, YOU!

Love,

Lori

5 Things I did in Puerto Rico and Loved

Travel

For Spring break a couple of weeks ago, I visited San Juan Puerto Rico and it was amazing! I loved the colors, the people, the culture there, and the welcoming atmosphere. If you haven’t visited yet, I recommend it. Just in case you are planning to visit and are looking for things to do, here are five things I did while I was there and think everyone should do too.

1) Visit Old San Juan

If you are into photography like I am, there are tons of amazing photo or photo shoot opportunities!! Old San Juan is just beautiful. The magical and colorful streets, the people, the smell of food being cooked, the colors of the different art pieces give it that small town vibe. We took the time to walk around more than once and every time there was something new to discover. From good restaurants to bars and shopping places, Old San Juan is a very touristic   place. The food there is a little pricey, but you are on vacation right? Plus, the food is really good so for a one-time thing, it might be worth it.

 

2) Visit Castillo San Felipe Del Morro 

Located in The Old San Juan area, this castle was constructed in the 16th century and was designed to protect the entrance of the San Juan Bay from enemies coming from the sea. There is a lot of history into this monument. It was amazing to me to see how grandiose this place is! The entrance is just gorgeous with miles and miles of green area. Coming there, I remember saying:” It’s like I have died. And woke up in heaven just now.” That’s how beautiful the scenery was. Inside the castle, you can see where they stored  gunpowder, secret passages and so on. There is also an amazing view of the sea up there. Even if you are not into history or historical backgrounds you should visit! Even if it’s for the breathtaking views. Not far from this castle, there is also the Castillo de San Cristobal which is a bit smaller than the previously mentioned above. ( More pictures soon)

 

This is part of the area surrounding the castle

3) Visit El Yunque Rainforest

This Rainforest is not far from San Juan.  The drive may be a bit dangerous as you are driving into the mountains at about 2000 ft of altitude and over. It was also fun driving up there amongst the beautiful trees. Besides from just the forest, this place has hiking trails and viewing towers with breathtaking views. I talked about the view from the castle earlier, but that one is nothing compared to the view from the towers at El Yunque. Also, there are waterfalls there and a lake in which you can swim. They even have a picnic area! So even if you are not into hiking, you can always relax by the waterfalls or at the picnic area. We hiked for hours, but the soreness was worth it because the views were out of this earth! I will upload pictures later on.

 

4) Visit Cueva del Indio

The Indian Caves are located in Arecibo which is about an hour and a half from San Juan.  You might have to rent a car, but it’s totally worth it. Not a lot of people know about it so it won’t be as crowded with tourists as the other places ( you’re welcome). You are charged about 3-4 dollars for parking  and 2-3 dollars per person to walk in. Our host told us about this place and we were amazed by the beauty of it. If you are not into hiking and physical activities this might not be for you. We hiked to the top of the rocky hill and the view… The view!!! Okay! I’ll stop lol. We climbed down the caves which were pretty scary as we had to hold on to rocks and such. Like I said, this might not be for people who are afraid of heights. You also have to walk across exposed limestone to get to the caves and they are sharp so you need to be careful not to fall. The caves were pretty nice. There were bats inside; sleeping of course since it was daytime. The sea was raging on one side of the caves but inside was pretty calm although there was water there too. There are drawings on the walls of the cave. The mountains there are shaped like a bird which is pretty cool. In the first picture below you can see the head of the bird. More pictures will be posted later on.

 

Can you see the head of the bird?

  

 5) Visit a Puerto Rican dancing bar/restaurant

I must say, I am usually the stay at home reading a book person who wouldn’t necessary have the idea to go dancing, but I am glad I did! I love to dance but I am not as good as I would want to when it comes to latin dances. I have Hispanic and latina friends who have taught me before and I am so grateful for them, but I still can’t say that I am an expert. When our host suggested that we go out, I was a little reluctant, but my friend and I wanted to go dancing for the longest so we obliged. We went to the “Boricua” which is a dancing bar in San Juan. I must say Puerto Ricans are such beautiful and warm people! I mean just wonderful! I love them! We played pool ( my first time ever and I did pretty bad of course! But people were cheering me on so that made up for it lol) and danced until we were tired. There also was a beautiful singer that  night with an amazing voice. We had such a great time that we were reluctant to leave. If I wasn’t starving I would have protested when we left at 2 AM.

I also went to the beach but that’s another story. 😉

Until next time!

Love,

Lori

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

You can tell who was winning right? lol, I am on the right side.( Photo courtesy of Andreas)

 

 

 

Crowned

Through My Lens

In celebration of black girl magic, blackness, and queen things, here are the pictures from a shoot I did for my friend Zakeima. All natural and genuine.

I find that people become more comfortable during a shoot when we are having conversations. I think that keeps them from thinking about a camera being pointed at them and they forget to be awkward or shy. They also genuinely laugh or smile and to me the captured candid moments are the best ones.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Love,

Lori

Model: Zakeima Augustin

Photography : Lori Saint Rome
  
  
  
  
  

2016 is a Leap Year and I am Diving Into It

Thoughts

This year has been all about letting go of fear and stepping out in faith to me. I must say that it is going well so far. From traveling solo- ish ( more about that soon) to just approaching strangers, I have truly surprised myself and it feels good. Much better, it feels amazing! Sometimes we don’t know what we are missing out on by holding on to unnecessary fear until we let go.

I was always so afraid of going out there and do what I wanted. I remember back in 5th grade, I did not submit my drawing to a contest I could have won because I was too scared. Just like I waited until high school to take a dance class because I was too afraid and too shy and it goes on and on. I have decided to never let fear hold me back again and I am taking action towards that goal day by day. I mean no it isn’t an easy thing to do, but it is so worth it. I started by taking small actions like speaking to a stranger first ( anyone who knows me knows I never do this lol) or just by being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Before I knew it, I was boarding a plane to a new destination, renting cars, and booking rooms! These are things I’ve always wanted to do but was always putting off because of my irrational fears of the unknown.

I am all here for personal growth and truly living life and that’s exactly what happened. I have done things in the past couple of months that scared me, but made me oh so happy! I am talking about the “Oh my gosh I might die” fear and you know what? I would do it all over again! I am claiming 2016 the right way and I am so ready to love, laugh, and live bigger, bolder, and better. Maybe you should too!

Love,

Lori