Not Having it Together Yet in Your Early 20s is Totally Okay

Thoughts, Uncategorized

I recently had a conversation with a friend who was desperately looking for something to do to show out for herself. Everyone around her seemed to have talent and to be up to something except for her she said; so she was trying to learn as many things as possible or trying to come up with things like creating a blog, or writing or anything she thought she could get her hands on. I thought of encouraging her  if she was doing this for the right reasons until I found myself in her.

Today’s world puts so much pressure on young people nowadays! It’d have you feel that in your early 20’s you need to have graduated, be a home owner, have traveled the world, be successful, be married or in a relationship, own your own business, and be popular on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/YouTube and whatever else there is.

When I think about it, social media and comparison seem to have a lot to with it. Let’s go back to my friend. She felt that everyone around her was up to something. When I asked who was everyone, she told me social media friends or people she knew in real life posting about their new job, travels, graduation, blogs, YouTube channels etc.

Hmm.. I thought. Haven’t we all been there! Social media are not what they are cut up to be. People are more likely to post about successes than failures. You will not see how many rejection letters they received or how they struggled for anything they post about. While I do not necessarily blame it, I do not condone comparing your life to others’. What you only see or hear others talk about is what they choose to share with you, so comparing your full life story to bits and pieces of another’s life is just not fair to you.

I am here to tell you that in your early 20’s, not having it together yet is totally okay. You are probably a student, working towards certain goals that you would like to accomplish, or maybe you are not a student but you have dreams and you look at other people’s successes and think to yourself that you should have been doing more or doing better. Well, I am totally here for having other people inspire you, but if being inspired by what someone is doing is borderline making you feel bad about yourself, you need to rethink this.

Each person is on their own timeline according to God’s plan for their life. Comparing your journey to someone else’s is trying to fit someone else’s timeline to your own. That won’t quite work now will it? I recently read the book of John and one thing I remember writing is how Jesus would mention that his “time had not yet come”. It reminded me that there are specific times for certain things. The fact that someone graduated today and you are working towards graduating but you are not there yet does not mean that you have failed. It maybe   means that you are moving according to God’s timing for your life! and if there is one thing I learned, it is that it’s the best timing there is!

My friend also wanted to find things to do that she’d seen others’ been successful at. Hmm.. while this can be a good thing, it has its flaws.  I am all here for finding yourself, finding your purpose, your path, and God’s plan for your life, but if the reason you choose to go into something is because you see others do it, I think you should rethink this yet again. God gave us gifts and talents according to His will for us. Maybe someone else’s ministry is singing, maybe another’s is creativity, or leading, writing, or whatever else, but that does not mean that it is your own. Appropriating another’s path won’t make you as happy as they are if it’s not your gift.

Find your purpose, find what you are good at and do that. The rest will follow according to God’s will. Move at your own pace and try to enjoy the ride along the way. And the next time you find yourself being discouraged by comparing your life to others’, remember God created you unique in His image, with gifts that maybe you have no idea you have and that He is going through this journey with you. Pray and ask Him for guidance with your life. Trust in Him and in His timing.

Love,

Lori

Wynwood through my Eyes (Lens)

Through My Lens, Travel

I live for colorful walls/places, beautiful artsy cities, and living art so as soon as I found out about the Miami art district, I have wanted to go there. I recently visited  and I was not disappointed.

The streets were filled with more people than I thought, the warm air smelled of food, occasional cigarette smoke, and something new. You know like when you just bought new clothes or new shoes. It was pretty hot, 92 degrees Fahrenheit; But it’s Florida, I am used to it, and who cares!   Colors! Colors everywhere! art galleries, fashion boutiques, food, beautiful stores, and so on. I walked around for a while, rested, then walked some more. I took a lot of pictures of course and was completely amazed by the art and even the people there. There is something about walking on the streets and just “vibing” to the beauty around.

I mean look at these colorful walls!

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yes to colors!

 

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And to beautiful patterned walls!

I don’t know who the artists are, but in my head we are best friends or even family because so much talent! I hope they are all getting the recognition they deserve somewhere as beautiful as their art. I usually see God everywhere, especially in the gifts He gave humans and I can say I saw as much in Wynwood.

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There also were quotes everywhere along with little sayings here and there where you’d least expect it… on the floors and walls. Here are some of my favorite.

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Always

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.

I also spotted some lovers’ locks by a store and my mother mentioned that bridge that used to be full of locks somewhere in France.

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Locks

 

Here are a couple more pictures. I hope they’ll make you smile!

 

I will certainly go back for one of these tours that they usually have at night or before real life kicks in to remind me that I am not as care free as I thought. Feel free to join me!! We can be exploring buddies!

Until then,

Love

Lori

To My 18 Year Old Self

Thoughts

This text I wrote in my journal last year and added things to it. I wanted to document how things have changed and I wanted it to be a reminder to be grateful for every single change good or bad. For Christ has carried me through it all. Maybe these are things I wish someone told my 18-year-old self, but anyway that’s not the point. Why am I posting this besides the obvious reason that I can and want to? Well the purpose was and still is to document the journey and if this helps a 18, 19, 20 or whatever year old somewhere, I’d know that it served its purpose:

You will forgive your dad and your mom will become one of your best friends! How crazy is that! Moving is not as hard as you think. It’s going to be okay. You’ll adjust. You always do.

You’ll find love, you’ll lose it too! only to finally learn that love is God and love is in you so you can never lose it. That heartbreak is not the end of your world. It’ll be okay. You’ll be okay. You’ll learn that the best way to love someone is to love them in a way that lets them feel free. You’ll like that guy, but you’ll also learn to let him go voluntarily because you’ll learn that chaos is not love. You’ll also learn that the right person does not come with heightened emotions and messiness, but with calm and peace of mind. I repeat it, love is calm, reassuring and peaceful. Don’t mistake chaos and dysfunction for love. 

You’ll learn how to say yes and mean it and how to say no without regrets. You’ll learn to let go. You’ll learn to be and love yourself. All of it.  Girl! You’ll even cut off all your hair at some point!  In fact you’ll do it twice! Don’t worry about wearing hats to cover it up because you will absolutely love it! You’ll love every bit of yourself all the time even that scar on your right shoulder!

You won’t ever care about what people think of you and you’ll let go of fear. You’ll travel and visit places you never thought you would. You’ll graduate and go somewhere you never thought you would. You’ll find work. The perfect one for you too! You’ll move out of your mother’s house and learn to “adult”.

You’ll learn photography and so many other things! I know you love learning so get ready for this! You’ll even have a blog! Keep up with your writings! You’ll see why some day. oh and you’ll learn praise dancing and you’ll love it so much that even when you’re tired you’ll still go to practice! I know you want to learn sign language now so don’t give up on that just yet! You’ll figure out what you want to do and you’ll love it.

You’ll lose friends, but you’ll find new ones too. Most importantly, you’ll find the right ones. You will grow apart from most of your high school friends and that’s okay. You’ll learn to speak up, to walk in your truth no matter what. And you’ll learn to stand up for God, your beliefs, and others. You’ll be braver than you ever thought you could be. The earthquake and all you’ve been through will leave some scars, but you’ll learn how to make the best of it.

People will still sometimes treat you wrong, but forgive them. Forgive a lot. And sometimes, speaking up and saying how you feel clears up a lot of misunderstandings. So say how you feel and explain more.

oh and you’ll meet God! I mean much better than anything you’ve experienced with Him before. You’ll get re-baptized and become Adventist like your mother! Who knew right?? But Trust God! He knows what He is doing! When He tells you to do something, don’t ever question it! Do it right away! You’ll fail Him still. You’ll get away from Him at some point, but hang in there! He never leaves your side and it gets better. You’ll eventually find your way back.

You’ll still make mistakes, but you’ll learn from them. Go easy on your mother, she is trying really hard. Your brother will still be your partner in crime so don’t worry. There is so much that you’ll learn and I could go on forever, but let me not ruin this for you more than I already have!

Love,

Lori

8 Books I Think Everyone Should Read

Thoughts

I have always loved reading for as far as I can remember. Nothing compares to a good book to me and I always find myself liking the books better than the movies. I read fiction just like I read non-fiction. My favorites are romance, Christian/spiritual, and mystery books . As a child, I LOVED the “Comtesse de Ségur” books. If you grew up in a French/Creole- speaking country you might know it. It’s the author of “Les Malheurs de Sophie”. I still have the books today! I think they are AMAZING children books with lots of lessons in them. You can find them on Amazon, but they are written in French. Anyway, if  you are a reader like I am, here are 8 fiction books I have read and re-read that made a difference in my life or that I just over-loved.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Where to start with this one! I have read it more than five times and I am not exaggerating! This book is pure gold. It talks about purpose, the accomplishment of dreams, faith, love, letting go, and so on. When I finished reading this book, I found myself questioning so many things in my life. How I love, who I love and if I loved in a way that let the other person feel free etc. I also thought about God and faith and the answers to prayers and believing in the accomplishments of dreams. I can say that this book really influenced the way I view these things. Writing this make me want to go find it and read it one more time. I probably made a lot of my friends read it ( lol I am not sorry. They loved it!).  The book is about a young man traveling the world looking for its Personal Legend and meeting people along the way. Wondering what Personal Legend is? Get yourself this book and read it. I don’t want to ruin it for you.

The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

Seeing a trend here? yes, I know! I LOVE Paulo Coelho! I had just as much fun reading this one! I read it a couple of times and I don’t think I’ll ever be tired of it. It is a book full of magic, the universe, and the unity that exists between the two. It’s also about being true to oneself and finding the courage to go through with one’s path. Athena was fascinating to me! It is a book of fiction and although I can’t say that I share the views of the main characters on some things, I still found it to be a beautiful story. I mean that’s the whole point of fiction right? This book took me into a whole magical place of spiritual beings and love. I still think that everyone should read this one whether or not they are into stories about magic and things related. I am pretty sure you’ll learn something.

The Magic by Rhonda Byrne

This one fell into my lap just when I needed it I like to say. I don’t usually go for “self-help” books as they call them, but this one really taught me a thing or two about gratitude. Now I am debating if this book should have been at the top of the list… Anyway, I read it once, just once and it was more than enough. I still practiced some of the things I read  daily and it is truly a beautiful experience. This book talks about the importance and joy that comes with simply being grateful daily. I also really liked the fact that the author gave real life steps and experiences to help the reader with the process. I took it seriously when I read it and it changed my whole perspective on things. Maybe if you do too, you’ll have a similar experience or even a better one! Who knows!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chboski

I LOVE this book! It literally spoke to my soul as I could totally recognize parts of myself in some of the characters. I also love psychology books and I think this one has a psychological component to it. I borrowed it from the library and loved it so much that I had to buy it and have it for myself. I loved both the movie AND the book and that rarely happens! Maybe I loved the movie because Emma Watson is in it and I LOVE her ( Okay Fangirl moment here), but yeah. It’s about  three teenagers who meet in high school. The story talks about family struggles, psychological struggles and of course, love/relationship struggles. This book is a masterpiece to me! I won’t ruin it for you, but if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book yet do so! ( this totally wasn’t an order I promise).

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Okay, I know… You probably saw the movie or heard of it, but I must say the movie is nothing compared to the book! ( At least in my opinion). This book made me cry, smile and laugh. It’s about two cancer survivors who meet during support group and fall in love. I loved how sweet and real it was. I also watched the movie, but I didn’t like it ( yes I said it). The movie was okay , but not as raw and deep as the book was to me (sorry if you’re a fan). If you haven’t seen the movie or read the book yet, read the book first so you don’t ruin the story. Plus, everyone knows that once we’ve seen the movie first we lose interest in wanting to read the book.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Powell

Since we’ve been talking about love and romance, I thought I’d add this one in here too. I love this book. At first, I thought it was just going to be another high school mushy love story, but it wasn’t. Although it was about high school sweethearts, this was one of the most realistic love stories I’ve read. I think Eleanor and Park can teach us a thing or two about young love, romance, and being in high school.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

When I first read this book, I was really young and did not love it as much as I do today. Maybe it’s because the meaning I find in it now, I did not find then. It made me cry more than once. This book paints the aspects of the futility of the adult existence along with solitude, friendship, imagination, purpose, and sadness. It’s about an aviator who meets a little boy in the desert who travels from one planet to another. If you’ve read it when you were younger, I suggest you read it again. You might discover some new things in there just like I did! Or maybe you can read it to reminisce about that 7-year-old boy/girl that you once were!

Every Day by David Levithan

At first this book was kind of weird to me, but in a good way. It’s about a soul who travels from one body to another ( it can’t help it) until he meets a girl and falls in love. Actually, I can’t accurately say that it’s a boy or a girl because technically “it” has been both. ( I told you it was weird! but good nonetheless). It was a sweet story and while reading it I couldn’t wait to finish it. Check it out if you’re into unusual love stories!

 

Currently reading: Steps to Christ by Ellen G. White and The Bible

 

I hope you liked this list and if you do end up reading one of these let me know how you liked it! I probably will update this list as I remember more titles. Also, if you have any book suggestions, feel free to comment the titles and I’ll check them out! Click on the titles for where to find them ( I usually get them from Amazon). The library is also a good option!

Love,

Lori

 

Disclaimer: I just posted the links to these books just in case you were wondering where to find them or where I got them from. I am not associated with any of the authors or sellers or anything. xoxo 

 

 

 

 

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

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