One of those

It was one of those days. You know, long stressful, tiring, and just overall hectic. It wasn’t necessarily a bad day; it was just a day where all I wanted was to come home.

I want to be first to admit that I’m selfless and at times down right understanding of life’s many obstacles, but the truth is sometimes I beat myself up way too much– dramatically speaking. When I allow day likes these to get the best of me, negative energy is also transmitted onto those I care the most about. It’s easy to ignore rude comments or standoffish attitudes, but in reality those things hurt.

As I sit here and examine my poor choices in life, I think back to my time in Mexico and that wonderful Mission Trip I was a part of and instantly want to go back in time. But, I can’t. I also think of the relaxing walks I’d take with Micah and immediately I want it to be that day again.

Yes, today wasn’t what I wanted it to be. Tomorrow may not be better. On Friday things might start to look up just in time for a slow down on Saturday. In times like these, when I’m having one of those days, I look back at the memories. Because sometimes it’s okay to enjoy the good times after all they did exist. All the while those moments give me hope.

I hope you’re enjoying your Wednesday, and if you aren’t, remember it’s just one of those days. Enjoy these photos. As always.

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First Day Back

Oh the first day back to school. When I was younger I dreaded this day, but now it’s filled with different emotions.

Today I started year 5! Gosh I can hardly believe it. It seems so unreal that five years ago I transitioned into this special profession. So far being a teacher has been such a blur. Maybe it’s because I never imagined I’d be here, but teaching has fueled so many passions it’s only natural I can’t seem to find the correct words to explain what I’m feeling.

It all begins with that nervous and anxious feeling of getting back into a solid routine. I’m also excited to see my students both filled with worry and enthusiasm. Then I feel a huge disconnect from my summer love–my bed. Lastly I feel inspired. Returning to school always makes me feel as if I have to set new goals for myself.

Of course I want to be a good role model, I want to teach passionately, I want to create opportunities, make students wonder, share innovative ideas, etc.

As of late, I just want to relate. I want students to look at me and think, “she’s just like us.” I want them to see my mistakes and learn from them. I want them to see what life altering changes I’m making and hope they be moved by them. I want to show and tell. I want students to use my fears and turn them into their fighting courage. Most importantly I want them to challenge themselves farther than ever simply because they can. Simply because I’ve got their backs.

And just as year 5 began I realized, that this is where I need to be.

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What I wore: Skit was a Mexican store find, I’m going to update you all on soon. Top and necklace from Maurice, and my shoes (I was on my feet all day so I needed band aids by the end) are from JCPenney.

I’ll share more details about these items later. For now, I’m just adjusting to being back. It feels good.

PS: I also love school so much because this is where I met the love of my life. Mr. Womacks. I 143 him!

On a sad note, our family and consumer science teacher, Mrs. Voran passed away on Saturday after her long fight with cancer. School today seemed so off. It was different to start on a sad note. She was a great work-friend. And I enjoyed watching her interact with her club, FCCLA. She will be missed, but her devotion for teaching will live on. I dedicate this blog to her.

As always,

Mission Trip: VBS

My most favorite aspect of this mission trip was being able to interact with the children of Tizimin during Vacation Bible School.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0283.JPGThis wonderful lady, who has literally been sent by God, for these children heads up the school/church responsible for their formation. Her name is Magdalena Saldana. She has the spirit of a lion. The will of an eagle. The grace of a peacock. The love of a mother. During her time with DCI, she has lead more than 100 children into her facility to present the gospel of the Lord. The children who attended VBS instantly gave her the respect and love that she deserved. She touched my heart. As an educator, I praise people who devote their lives to the children. For her, what better way than through the teachings of Jesus Christ.

DSC_0394DSC_0451For four days we interacted with more than 90 children from all walks of life. Micah and I were in charge of registering these kids before they entered camp. We were the first people they saw. Some of them were confident, shook our hands, told us their names, and walked on in ready for the day to begin. Others seemed lost, confused, and scared. Some children where homeless. Some children didn’t have parents.

It was a tug at my heart, when Magdalena ask a little boy why he had been absent for so long. He responded, “our house has been ceased and right now we are kind of living where ever we can.” (Deep sigh) It was difficult to hear these types of things. It was difficult to see some of them walking barefoot. To see some skinny. To see runny noses.

But then my heart would rejoice when I would hear a giggle. When I would see a smile.

“He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.” Matthew 18:2-6
Many times I have heard it said that one must be childlike to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I didn’t quite understood what that meant, but seeing the children of Tizimin worshiping Jesus, singing, dancing, being carefree in His name made me think that it really didn’t matter what I wore, where I lived, what my life circumstances were. If I worshiped Jesus without a care in the world, like these children, I literally had nothing to fear. And that’s what these kids where, fearless. Interested. Eager. Willing. They wanted to learn. They wanted to know more about the man who died to save them.
After registration, the kids danced and singed. Then came studying. Our group taught lessons on Esther, the king’s armor, love, and understanding. Micah and I would sit in the back and observe them. It’s like they were hungry for love.
1On the second to last day, one of the group leaders ask Micah and I to lead the last lesson. I instantly agreed without even consulting Micah. Fear suddenly paralyzed me. And my good friend insecurity had a lot to say. But Micah, my love, instantly reminded me of how capable I was and with his help we presented the 10 Commandments to the children. Micah presented the ice breaker with a game of “Micah dice” (Simon says, or Micah says). Then I transitioned with “how do we know what God says?” “How do we know what to do?”
There I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me, helping me, giving me the confidence and the will that I needed to the point where 100% of the children were engaged. High five Ms. Rojas and thanks for the help Mr. Womacks.
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The rest of the time with the kids was spent on various activities, like arts and crafts, painting, coloring, praying, playing with sports equipment. Micah’s interaction with the children touched my heart as well. Many of the boys loved him. He was so good with the children. Maybe they saw what I see everyday in him–his good and noble heart. This boy, Brian, was our favorite. He often times wouldn’t leave without saying goodbye, hugging me and high- fiving Micah.
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The boys would literally gravitate towards Micah, I felt so proud of him.
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I felt a deep connection to this little girl, because Micah pointed out she looked like me. I agree. Ever since then, we gravitated towards each other.
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Micah and this little guy kept secrets and it was adorable.
VBS was inspiring to say the least. I felt like I went in thinking I was going to set an example, be uplifting, to teach, and to give, but in reality these children taught me to strive to be better. To self grow. To self love. To love without measure beyond the circumstances. Now my goal in life is to have a heart like these little ones.
Tomorrow, I’m going to share with you all about the eye exams we participated in.
Until then and as always.

Mission Trip: the beginning of greatness

Hey everyone! Long time no talk.

I truly apologize for being away for so long.

However, I’m excited to share why I’ve been gone from the blogger world for more than three weeks. I was on a mission trip with Micah. We traveled to Tizimin, which is in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. To say the least, it was extraordinary.

For the next week or so, I’m going to dedicate my posts to sharing how God impacted my life, my relationship with Micah, and my desire to be a better Christian.

For you see, behind all the clothes I always put on Jesus’ Armour.

It was a summer filled with love and I only have God to thank for his continuing blessings. I want to begin by sharing the number one reason for this trip. I gifted this mission to Micah this past Christmas. It was an attempt to further center our relationship towards the Lord. Both Micah and I want Jesus to take the wheel and guide us on our journey as a couple. And Jesus never fails because through this mission, Micah and I grew spiritually. It was truly amazing to see the Holy Spirit in the mist of our relationship as we served the people of Tizimin.

Secondly, this blog is almost always going to be geared towards clothes and fashion. It’s  going to be about the things that make me feel good on the outside, but sometimes, I want to be able to share what’s inside of me.

For as far as I can remember, I have had this passion for serving the Lord. When I was younger I didn’t realize that serving was going to take me on mission trips. It started with an inner desire to explore and see the world, but to also give God something bigger than me. My attention.

It all started in Peru, from there, God was all I saw and I wanted to cling to that feeling. Peru will always be dear in heart. Yet when I try to understand what God wants for my life, I think of Tizimin.

I went looking for God in Peru and I found Him, but He took me to Tizimin where He answered what was in my heart.

“Cast all of your worries on HIM because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

When I traveled to Tizimin, I was worried, but not because I was going to be called out of my comfort zone. I was worried about not properly surrendering myself to God’s will. For quite sometime now, I’m utterly worried I missed God’s major plan for me. I ask day in and day out if I’m living according to His will. Am I truly being who God wants me to be? Are Micah and I, as a couple right for each other? Are we ready for marriage?

Yet while in Tizimin, I felt God. He answered my prayers.

“For we are HIS handiwork, created in Jesus Christ for the good works that GOD has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.” Ephesians 2:10

Needless to say, I feel beyond blessed and thankful to be His.

Today, I want to briefly explain the area we were in and touch based on what exactly Micah and I did while on the mission.

We arrived on July 8 in Cancun and drove about two hours west into the jungle towards Tizimin, a city of about 50,000 people. These people are caught between traditional Mayan upbringing and Christianity. For a week, Micah and I participated in Vacation Bible School, where close to 90 children, from all walks of life attended. During the evening, we walked the streets of the city to share the gospel and invite people to a free eye exam that would be held towards the end of the week. Lastly, we conducted a small worship service and shared prayer with those who needed healing. At the end of the day we handed out glasses to those who had needed them during the exam portion.

I can remember my heart twisting each time I saw someone in need and all I could offer was hug. I can remember Micah holding my hand when he saw my emotional face during trials. I can remember my heart pattering after seeing the smiles of children. It’s a unique experience that is so undesirable yet so endearing it has to be told.  I hope I can explain myself as much as possible.

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This mission trip was made possible through DCI Missions, Dream Center International. It was an organization I found online through endless hours of research. Missionaries Bill and Kathy Craver have been conducting missions work for more than sixteen years. They oversee two missionary training campuses, one in the Yucatan of Mexico and one located in Belize C.A. Throughout the year they lead teams to impact the lives of indigenous people.

It was amazing to see how God has worked in these people lives not only to move them, but also to show how great our Lord is. It was inspiring.

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This was the main entrance to the camp where we stayed. There were a total of 24 people on the trip. There was a large group from Florida, a family of four from Georgia, a group of wonderful ladies from Texas, Micah’s solo roommate from Tennessee, and Micah and I from Kansas. It was also uplifting to see how everyone came together for the same purpose.

45Maybe I’m being bias because I’m a teacher, but some of my favorite moments where spent with the children. Yes I liked playing with them, coloring, laughing, and doing arts in crafts, but I especially enjoyed watching them worship Jesus. I was filled with tears when I saw them praying to the Lord. If anything, they truly left a mark on me. I will forever remember them.

IMG_5137IMG_5149Working alongside Micah was one of the greatest experiences during this trip. I was so proud of him and fell in love with him even more. More than that I was touched by the people of the area. It was completely humbling to be able to give these people the gift of sight through God’s handiwork.

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And at the end of the day, God always graced us. There’s so much I want to put into words, but I simply can’t. It’s not because I’m unwilling; I just can’t find the words to truly explain what I was feeling during this week. This is something, I now look back on, and think wow I was there. I lived that. God was with me. I’ve grown. Micah and I have grown.

Tomorrow I’m going to talk about the children and VBS. Until then and as always.

Life itself

It seems so selfish to go about my life as if I’m the only one who worries, is stressed out, is busy, or is conflicted. I feel as if every time I blog I have to boast about how busy I am or how complicated my life has been because of this or that.

Today upon opening my e-mails, our administrator informed the school about a recent death. He was a student. He was a son. He was a brother. He was a friend.

Suddenly everything that I’ve been dealing with lately seemed so small.

We were asked to talk to the students about anxiety, stress, and depression.

So here’s my chance to be uplifting, inspirational, caring, kind. And…. I blew it. I read talking points. The students just stared at me like deer caught in taillights.

The truth is, it’s hard to talk about suicide. It’s hard to know what the right thing to say is during a time of confusion. Pain like this is tough. I feel for my students because they are young and life is giving them difficult challenges. Some of them are having to grow up too fast. Some of them are oblivious to hardships. Some of them are independent. Some of them don’t feel they have a voice. What’s harder is that as a teacher, an adult, a mentor, I can’t always relate to them. This is where I’m conflicted because I’m at a loss as to what to say, how far can I invade their personal bubble, how long do I stay present?

It seems that during a death like this there are a million and one questions everyone asks, like why, just for starters. And me? I don’t have all the answers to the way the universe moves.

I sat back down after my award-winning speech on “I’ll be there for you,” and contemplated my struggles, my fears, my moment of depression. For one second, I realized that when depression kept turning off the lights in my life, I wanted to drown myself in sorrow. I wanted so desperately to feel. When that intoxicating desire to feel something took over I was a goner. Next thing I knew I was in the shower shaving my legs and the razor “accidentally” cut my ankle. I didn’t flinch. Instead, I watched as a tiny river of red ran down my leg and into the drain. After that I was addicted to that feeling. Why? Because I could feel something. I wasn’t numb anymore.

So it was back to the shower, time and time again. I never cut too deep, just enough to feel. I was playing with my life. It wasn’t until one evening my mom came home from work and hugged me. She said, let’s go get ice cream. Beyond my endless eye rolls, we went. We had a conversation about nothing. She talked while she savored her chocolate ice cream cone about how growing up she always wanted to explore the African jungle. I asked her why? And she said just because it’s something I know I’ll never get to see. I was puzzled. Why on Earth did my mother have a dream that wasn’t worth achieving. Intrigued, I asked her to explain?

She went on to say that sometimes we have a dream so big and unreachable that it gives us hope. It makes us get up every morning and work hard. It makes us cling to ourselves and to make peace with knowing that God’s will is what we should want.

God’s will. God? Oh yea? (smirk) Then the light switch got turned back on.

I suppose the point of all of this is that sometimes we feel like nothing will matter, like nothing makes sense, like nothing we do can help save a life. Who knew a hug, ice cream, and a unreachable dream would save my life. Give it meaning.

Maybe I should have talked to my students about my struggles to find hope. On the other hand maybe the talking points were enough. Everyone is different. Everyone loves, thinks, acts, feels, and moves differently. That makes us who we are. For me during a time of struggle, like this one, it’s not to necessarily try to understand, but to be there. To help by lending a listening ear. To be present. To be a smile. To be in this life.

On Sunday during church sermon it was said that we always hear the famous words of Mother Teresa, “God wouldn’t give you anything you can’t handle,” and it’s true in a sense. But in reality we should consider God not giving us anything He can’t handle. So we should give Him our troubles. He’s ready. He’s able. He’s for us. Give it to him. Or give it to me and I’ll pass it on to Him.

As always,

Theology Thursday: I am a woman who loves the Lord

Brr, we got some snow today. The entire day was filled with the falling cold, which made school just a little be deary, but just like the students I powered through. Being back in school today was so uplifting. It’s so surprising that motivation comes from being up and about– moving. All the same God dwells in all things good and for that I’m every grateful.

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This morning, my devotion asked me to reflect, “what, in deep things of God, do you still have to discover and see?” For the longest time, the answer to such a question lied in myself and really it’s silly because it’s a question in itself.

The answer: I want to see where I, woman, Alejandra, person, self fit into the realm of God, Jesus and Holy Spirit. What’s my role? I’m discovering that aspect more and more as I grow in faith. It’s interesting. For now God has called me to love without question and fault. Secondly, God has called me to be a servant. This one I’m actively discovering. From the looks of it, it’s so fulfilling and rewarding.

Figuratively speaking one aspect I’d really like to further study is the way women not only served the Lord, but what their role was in the Bible is. It’s difficult for me because Catholicism brings forth the male priest. So on the outside, I don’t see women as the head of church, and that’s okay. However, where do we stand?

During confession, I explained to my priest that my faith was being rocked. It’s natural for society and some relationships to sometimes test our faith. I’ve been there, I’m guilty, and I take blame. The priest told me to read the book of Esther. “It’s short and to the point and once you’re done, you’ll know what God wants from you,” he said. Fair enough.

“Be mindful of us, Lord. Make yourself known in the time of our distress and give me courage, King of gods and Ruler of every power.”

Esther 4: Chapter C: 23

Goodness, was Esther full of courage and hope, but all that strength didn’t come from her own. No way, it came when she trusted the Lord, when she prayed. I’m always a sucker for a woman of prayer. She put all her hope and faith in the Lord and she stood up for what she believed in and guess what? God answered. He’s so amazing and He will always keep us in mind. Again, how beautiful.

As I read further into the book of Esther, I was filled with wonder. She truly did extraordinary things, but she was so successful because of her devotion to God. Her faith was never rocked, her faith was firm and never ending, and even more so she encouraged me to speak about what I believed in.

“Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion, and turn his to hatred for our enemy, so that he and his counter-parts by perish. Save us by your power, and help me, who am alone and have no one but you, Lord.

Esther 4: Chapter C: 24-25

In the past, the hardest thing for me was to talk about my faith, not because I was ashamed or embarrassed. Simply, I felt it was an inappropriate subject, come to realize that I was foolish and down right naive. Ha! How can the Lord be poor timing? And that my friends is where discovering the word for me came about. It’s hard to tell people about your faith, but seeking God in these situations allows us to speak with confidence. Plus, God puts the words in our mouths.

I strive to be like Esther, courage and faithful. And if you’re wondering there are more woman like her in the Bible. Women like Mary Magdalene, who was not only the first person to discover Jesus’ tomb, but she was also chosen to go deliver the good news.

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

John 20:17

Can we just take a moment to realize that Jesus choose a woman to declare that He was risen. This alone gives me shivers. Indeed, we “women” don’t fall behind. That in itself should challenge us to advance at work, to take control of personal struggles and life, to strive, to accomplish beyond measure, to seek the greater good, and to not give up.

Then there’s Ruth, Joann, Susanna, Martha, and of course our Blessed Mother Mary. The list goes on. So good women, I challenge you to discover not only your place in the spiritual world, but also to establish your ground in faith. And keep me updated, cause I’m here for you, cheering you on.