Well, I am back from my extended, relaxing, crispy-cold vacation. We skipped around New Jersey and New York, and even a random short road trip to Tennessee. My husband and I had a blast enjoying intense couch potato time, long city walks, a bit of shopping, photography dates, and lots of good eating. We got a love overdose from family and friends and met some of you on the road as well. (The picture on this blog was taken by my sister-in-law during one of our photography dates (isn't the view amazing?) Also, if you look closely, you will see birds flying in a V. (They saluted me by spelling the first letter of my name.)
I know many are glad 2013 is over but I honestly loved that year and it will forever have a special place in my heart as a year of transition and commitment. I made a short list during our road-trip of the things I learned this past year and decided to share it with you. If you make one, tag me on it, I really enjoy reading those.
1| God can make so much out of nothing and His provision is overwhelmingly timely.
In the last few years my husband and I (in our separate lives at that point) had decided to follow God's will without reservation or conditions, and as a result, we have seen His hand working on our behalf in such a miraculous and loving way. God's faithfulness was especially evident this year, as we lived through quite a few transitions.
2| Marriage rocks, but only when the groom is the right one, given by God at the right time. We are having so much fun going through the roller coaster of what has been our first 7 months of marriage. The transition from a long-distance relationship to always being with each other was not as bumpy as some predicted.
3| It's ok to cry when tears have a purpose and that purpose is God's perfecting work in us. It is important to know the difference because I have met so many young people that have fallen for the popular yet masochist saying "real love hurts" or "if you haven't cried you are not really in love". Suffering in a relationship is not God's plan for our lives but this does not mean we will never cry or feel pain. When we put our lives in God's hands, we will be tried and purified through trials but the outcome will not be a broken self-esteem, abuse or destruction. It will be growth, wisdom and endurance.
4| Happiness is not a destination but the ability to be thankful for what appears to be the smallest of blessings. It's a daily exercise and like saying goes, "practice makes perfect". I found I became more happy as I practiced contentment, satisfaction, and thankfulness for every single thing, no matter how minute. Basically, the key concept I learned this year is not to take anything for granted.
5| Hot showers are awesome. Always took that for granted until I had to do without them. I don't take them for granted anymore.
6| Enjoy and learn while in the present season. Nothing is stagnant, at least not in my adventurous life with the nomad tendencies God insists on inflicting upon us. So if I open my heart to learn, submit, and enjoy the benefits of my present season, as opposed to constantly bashing the negative aspects, I might be pleasantly surprised on how much I end up loving it. This is another excellent exercise.
7| Just do it! (No, I'm not campaigning for a famous brand of athletic wear) All through the bible we see how there are times in people's lives when God creates a perfect storm and chooses to use them in amazing ways. Many theologians call that a "kairos" moment. When God inspires us, gives us dreams and opens the right doors, JUST DO IT. Don't let the hard work, fear of failure and/or greatness scare you. So many times I have procrastinated when I should have been working and using the window of opportunity given to me by God. If you are reading this, please learn from past mistakes and get it done. Whatever it is that you are planning to do at this point of your life, just do it! (Do God's will without any delays)
8| Some deserts will be traversed alone and I should not be afraid of that. I am a really sociable and friendly person, so while I enjoy being alone for a short period, I usually thrive when I interact with others. There comes a point, however, in our journey of faith in which God separates us from everything and everyone (this is my experience) to teach us to trust Him and also to quiet down all the voices so we can learn to distinguish His with clarity, without any distraction or crutch.
9| Friends come in all ages and shapes, and if you carefully observe them, you will see that they are God-sent angels. No matter where I have lived, God has always provided warm, kindred spirits that know how to lighten up my life and make me laugh. This move to Puerto Rico has not been an exception. I already have my hugger older, lady (whose hugs can heal any heartache), spiritual mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers and just all-around great people that sent me off to my next destination and a new group that have welcomed me with love. I am so wealthy in love, in care, in blessings and 2013 would've been impossible to survive without it.
10| Blogging is such a hard, time-consuming, and wonderful experience all at once. I have met some awesome people in the short time that I started blogging again after 2 year of silence. I get daily messages, pictures, videos by many of you. I see how what God inspires me to write about, impacts your life and I am humbled by it. God told me a while ago to return to blogging and I dragged, resisted and finally just obeyed. I am so glad I did because there is really a great, online community that I am now part of. Thank you for reading, sharing and communicating with me. I love and pray for you.
11| 2014 will not be very different from 2013 unless you decide to change directions and put your heart and destiny in able hands. I chose to put mine in God's hands and that has become the best, most difficult, and intriguing adventure that is now my entire life. With a new year comes the hope for better things. While I love the idea of having 'hope', change involves action from our part, and it cannot be wished to completion. If life has been hard for you this past year and you were not able to complete what you wished during 2013, I pray that you will take the steps to first, move closer to God. Honestly, everything begins with His love for you. Let Him love you. Let Him guide you. He knows best.
I have been working on content for the next few weeks and I am excited for what is to come. I am also happy to be getting new tools that will make my sharing a lot easier. Happy New Year 2014!