It's Friday! It's Friday! It's Friday!

To finish this beautiful and busy week I would like to share my most recent obsession, the desert. It started with the plan of visiting a famous spot in Puerto  Rico called el Bosque Seco (Dry Forest) of Guánica while on a recent road trip. Basically it's a unique national park that contains a small piece of desert within this Caribbean, tropical island. For some reason that part of the trip got cancelled. I then received the Darling Magzine No. that highlighted the desert as its main inspiration; it literally blew my mind. As if all that wasn't enough, I felt many pieces of scripture aligning and meshing with the thoughts this magazine had stirred in me. This is the process that has led me here today.

June 3rd, 2013 was the day I arrived to this Caribbean Island to start a whole new chapter of our lives after a wonderful honeymoon in Hawaii . I was embarking on a journey that would require me to take on several new roles. I had packed my whole life in 6 suitcases, said bye to my friends and for a second time moved even further from family. The bliss of being a newlywed was definitely the best time to take such huge leap because the joy of finally being together (learn more about our love story herehere and here) was greater than any difficulty or trials that came our way. I write this so that you may understand that no matter how much you prepare for a transition mentally, financially, and even logistically, there are always unforeseen variables that could be disconcerting.   Think of all the small things that come with a change of country, a change of marital status, a change of career and that other simple stuff like finding a new favorite fresh market, a place where I can have a fresh bagel again, or just patiently hoping for a new kindred spirit to become a new best friend. 

When my husband went back to work and I found myself in an empty apartment with my suitcases, with more time on my hands than I had ever dreamed of, reality started to sink in. The adaptation process had begun and there was no way back. That was, in a way, the beginning of my latest walk through a desert. 

Today I am opening my heart to tell you a piece of my story that I don't normally share here, but  I have come to understand that stories are powerful. And like in any story, the whole thing is not pure cake, some parts of it reveal a struggle and that is the desert. That is the part I want to share with you and pray that it will give you hope if you find yourself in a transition or in a dry place emotionally or even spiritually. 

The desert is not dead
"a geography of apparent lack is actually a place of secret nurture" Darling Magazine

We may look at the desert and make the mistake of thinking that there is no life in it because of how dry, how silent, and how much of a barren wasteland it appears to be. It is in these instances in which we have to purposely choose to look closely in order to discover the well hidden inside and all the life it actually has.

Those first days on this Caribbean Island felt more like a vacation than anything else. I woke up without any alarms, I poured myself a nice cup of coffee and went back to bed to read. What can I say, it was perfect. However, like I said earlier, when I started finding myself with more time than I had wished for I started to feel a void. All these questions started flooding me, mostly concerning my purpose during this time of my life. So much uncertainty, so many unanswered questions would rob me from my peace and make me cry. I had plenty of creative ideas, many projects to tackle but little to no resources to get them done. I desperately missed my family and my girlfriends to go out and have a chat but I had no one that I felt close enough to open my heart to in those early days. 

I was in a desert, but I also had a choice. That period of my life looked like a dead period but I had the choice to stop hitting my head against the wall and turn to God and ask Him to help me silence my troubled heart (all the doubts, the uncertainty, the needs, the desires, and unmet expectations), to let my tears clean my eyes and let pain shift my perspective of things and instead of thinking about all the things I was lacking, I would start celebrating every small blessing and allow this process to develop patience and endurance inside me. And if you have been following this blog or my social media, you know that all I showcase is an extension of that. The unexpected beauty and the blessings in the small and sometimes mundane daily tasks. 

This is how this blog started. I had lots of inspiration during those long days by myself and so I started where I was. I took out my unused SLR Canon camera and started experimenting with it. I started writing my inspirations and filing them away. Than the day came in which I took the courage to start sharing them with all of you. 

We have the power to choose if our desert will be a barren and dead period of our lives that will make us bitter or a time in which we will allow that very thing that causes us discomfort to be the vehicle to cut out of our lives the excess. What do I mean? I was so busy before with my job and my social life that I rarely (never actually) had a full year of retreat with myself to re-evaluate my values, my goals, and my desires allowing me to trim out everything that I no longer wanted to have in it. It also became a time in which I explored and acquired new skills, took classes, wrote more, and also got closer to my Maker. 

"But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there" Hosea 2:14

Alone but not lonely 
The desert is often a place in which you go at it alone. Even though as a couple you are experiencing similar things,                                                                                                                                              at the end of the day you each deal with it in your own way. We live in a society that values the hustling and bustling, the "doer" and "get it done" attitude which are good in a way, because it pulls us forward. It should not, however, replace the disciplines of silence, meditation, prayer, fasting, and studying.

I am always amazed at how our brains work, and just how our bodies need vacation. Our brains also need a time of silence, time to think peacefully without any social media, tv, conversations, or any other type of distraction. During this time, I have reconnected with God in fresh ways because I was in a desert and had time to be silent and alone at His feet. I also had time to reconnect with a side of myself that had been buried for years and that could only flourish in an environment of calm and rest. 

I have learned to more fully enjoy the times I can spend alone and to squeeze the most out of them because I understand that this is a season. There will be other seasons in which the only alone time will probably be in the bathroom (but maybe not even). I also learned to be open to learn from pain. Working out is the best example of what enough pain can do to transform our bodies. I knew this patch was going to be difficult regardless of all the amazing people I was meeting and learning to love. It is only human to crave what is familiar, so I prayed that none of my tears would go to waste. I resolved to maintain a teachable spirit, to learn all that I could in this great adventure that I had chosen myself but that nevertheless still caused a level of pain.  

The desert land does not last for ever
The burning-hot sun of the desert, the hurting feet, and the thirst that come from a long walk in a desert does not last forever. Saint Antoine d'éxupéry said that "What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well" and I love that quote because of how real I have found this to be. My strenuous walk in the desert will not last forever but when I look back at that time of my life I will see how much I gained from it in terms of wisdom, faith, endurance, perspective, a thankful heart, empathy and in my case, even a blog. 

There was a well in my desert, full of richness, abundance, and life. But it was so different that at first I missed it. However, as my walk went on, I silenced myself in order to be able to listen to the voice in the wind whispering confidence, new insight, and reassurance. I too discovered that the desert is not a wasteland, on the contrary, it has an abundance of life.

Have a wonderful weekend! XO

Special Thanks to Jessica from  Team Wiking for letting me use her beautiful Fall desert style pictures for this post.