It’s the Way You Live, Not the Way you Talk.

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Recently at work, we had this exercise called cross training, where our team members stepped into each other’s role to truly appreciate what the other accomplishes on a daily bases.

During a visit at my location, one of my coworkers and I happened to start talking about life, the future, and where we wanted to be within the next few years.  The next morning when she came into the office she proclaimed “I told my husband about this beautiful Christian young lady that works with me, I told him all about you”

Naturally I was a little taken back. Not once within our conversation about life or the future did I mention my religious beliefs. I never mentioned faith within my goals or the reason for my goals.  I told her I was not upset with her comment but simply wondered why she assumed my faith.

She simply stated. “well am I wrong? You will learn in this life time, it is not the way you say but the way you live your life”.

She made perfect sense. There is a striking difference between people who always talk about God and his word and people who carry his word through their actions and live a life that is centered around performing good works with humility that comes from wisdom.  Occasionally when I come across people who preach God’s word within every aspect of life, I feel that I do not always properly represent my faith in God.

Within my life, I have moved a way from established religion because I stumbled across so many people who would preach one message but actions did not align to the word they  taught to the masses. As a teenager this was the first independent thought that really started to separate me from my parents and family. It was the first decision I made as a young adult. To align my actions when possible to my faith and beliefs. Not just live the truth on Sundays and to formulate my own beliefs and not take everything at face value.

As I grew older and slightly wiser, most of my actions and who I am are directly tied to my faith.  As pointed out within the book of James in chapter three, your actions should match your word. If you are wise and understand your faith than do not prove it through your words and praising God in front of others, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. If deep down there is a selfish ambition within your hurt, your actions will directly reflect this even when you tell others about the word or your faith.

Some people have told me that by not speaking on my faith, I am essentially hiding my beliefs. By leaving God out of my blog, I am not truly living up to my true purpose outlined by God.

To this I would like to combat that words and speaking God’s name is only half the battle. You can announce to the world your love for God and the good works you perform on his behalf, you can hide behind a religious mask and cast judgement based on your definition of the word of God, but I have also learned that teachers of the gospel are held to a higher standard. Your actions must always match your words. To me personally it means more that my actions are able to communicate all the words that I do not necessarily speak.  It means more to me that I perform what is true in my heart, that I do not speak ill of others, that I perform works that align with my beliefs and not to fit in with the crowd or my peers.

Preaching God’s word can be powerful but living a life and performing God’s will and purpose is even more powerful and affects a larger demographic. Not everyone is willing to hear the word of God but can connect with someone performing the work of God more easily.

My take away from this conversation with my coworker My actions and constant state of changing my environment and self is a direct reflection of my beliefs without me once uttering the name of my lord and savior.

So my challenge to each and every person is to live a life that aligns with your own purpose and goals.  Allow your actions to speak louder than the words you will ever speak.

Perform good deeds without recognition. Do not point out all the good or bad you do. Remain silent. What you do is important, in most cases more important than what you say. You cannot preach one thing in public and think your private whispers will never surface.

Until next time!

-Bella

 

 

What Are You?

This poem/ open word piece is dedicated to anyone who has been wrongfully identified as a different race or ethnicity. It is also a testament of how I feel when people judge or make an assumption based on my physical features.

Your almond shaped eyes are so deer like, Are you middle eastern.

Your skin has a golden brown hue, Are you Puerto-rican.

You eye brows are dark, thick, and well defined, are you Italian.

You are hips are larger in proportion to your tiny waste, Are you African American?

Your nose is round and lacks a defined ridge, Are you Mexican?

Your hair creates the most perfect spiral curl, Are you Dominican?

Your lips are so full, are you Latin?

You speak Spanish, You must be a Latina.

You speak English with a lack of ethnic accent, you enunciate your words, you know the difference between to, too, and two. What are you?

I speak multiple languages, fluent in two and can understand four because I have a desire to communicate to every person that crosses my path. I do not expect everyone to know English. I speak Spanish because I yearn to travel the world.

My full lips allow me to speak up when everyone falls silent. It helps me to spread a positive message to the world, and call people to action. My lips are full of action.

My curls decide to twist, wrap, and take a different course everyday. Just like life my curls take their own direction. Sometimes I see them as a mess where others see their beauty. My curls are there to show a perfect representation of my life. Its crazy and a mess but outsiders only see the beauty of it.

My round nose that lacks definition. It does it’s job. It smells the small things like flowers budding, chicken frying, and my dirty dishes. It may not have a defined look, but its purpose is to allow me to appreciate the little things and warn me against hazard.

My large hips protects me when I fall. They allow me to bounce back. The also bare all the negative comments about women and how their bodies should look. They hold me upright when I should be falling apart.

My eyebrows are dark, thick, and well defined. They protect my eyes from dirt and anything that should not be within my precious eyes. They are well defined like my perception on things that do not belong in my life. They are thick because they had to shield my eyes from the world.

My golden hue skin. This was created from love. Two people who did not see color but love. I golden hue is unique like no other because it is never the same hue. It changes with time. The more light in my life the darker I become. The more I see darkness the lighter my skin becomes It reflects my life and mental health. It is an indicator of where I have been through.

Lastly my eyes. The beautiful almond shapes sees the world as it truly is. It sees that brown people are not viewed the same as the white man. My eyes see that the color of my skin is a predetermination of guilt. It sees that when I speak Spanish because of a language barrier others look at me like I do not belong. I see the the media wants to cast people of middle eastern decent as terrorists. I see that not all men are treated equal even if we are created equal. I see the injustice. I see the pain that is caused by injustice. Most importantly I see you judging me for who you think I may be from only my physical features.

What am I?

I am human like you.

Running Towards the Light

Mark Twain once said  “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

I never realized that finding your purpose in life could change the way you view the world. I used to believe that having values, a moral center, and a general life direction lead to having a fulfilling life until the day that I found my purpose.  Finding that one thing that drives you is truly life changing. It confirms your values, explains your moral center, and it leads your life down the appropriate path that it was meant to take.

For the longest time, I always wanted to be “successful”. To live a life that one day when I would retire, I could look back and think that I lived a life with little regrets.  I linked my success with my position within the corporate ladder, and my goal to be on top.   I knew personally that I loved working with people and helping those in need. I found a company that I could help people and allow me to climb the corporate ladder, I had that moment where I thought that when I was old I would be proud of what I did. That was until I found my purpose.

Finding your purpose is almost like finding your soul mate when you never believed in the idea of soul mates to start with.  It is like having that unexplained happy feeling and knowing that what you are doing just feels…”right”. It completes you as a person. It makes you go from not realizing anything was missing from your life to feeling whole and complete.  Feeling like there is not limits that you cannot overcome.

I have recently found my purpose. It makes me feel whole. It feels like my life is taking the direction that is was meant to take. It gives me the sense that even if I end up broke for the rest of my life, at least I lived a rich life filled with passion.  So many people wake up and go to a 9-5 and make a great wage. They survive and they are content, but I want to fill truly alive. I want to know that everyday I wake up like it is a Saturday morning. Excited about what I will be doing and all the possibilities that the day will bring.

Finding your purpose and passion in life can change life as you know it.  I cannot explain the process of finding out the “why” to your life, but on all accounts you will know when you find your purpose. When you cannot imagine doing anything else with your life. When life goes from black and white to technicolor.  Every life has a purpose but not everyone finds their true calling. If you are someone who finds their purpose in life run towards the light until the moment that you can bathe in the rays.

-Valentina

What is Success?

Success is a concept that each person within society is constantly trying to achieve. It is the hopes and dreams of every parent for their children to be successful and happy. It is woven into our character, and helps society define our worth, but what is success? More importantly, how do we obtain success?

The most common definition of success as defined by the internet and various dictionaries are the following: the accomplishment of an aim or purpose; the attainment of popularity or prosperity; and a person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains prosperity.

While I do not disagree that success is strongly linked to obtaining accomplishments. The definition that is provided by so many dictionaries directly link success with monetary accomplishments, name recognition, power, and status within society. Although most of society may consider those definitions the true definition of success, personally these definitions seem incomplete or not truly encompassing success as a whole.

This lead me to research what is success defined by individuals that society consider successful.  How do “successful” people define the concept of success?

Arianna Huffington, the founder of the Huffington Post, stated in her book entitled Thrive that society “tends to think of success along two metrics — money and power — we need to add a third”. She states that the third is more like a multi-branch pillar that contains “well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving”.  Success includes this last multi-branch pillar because to be successful, one truly needs to thrive and attend to their psychological well being as well as the role society creates for them.

According to the inspiring writer Maya Angelou, “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” She explains that success is sought through obtaining happiness within the decisions and paths that you have taken as an individual, and the enjoyment we find in it.

Spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra believes that success is a matter  of constant growth. He states in his book, “success in life could be defined as the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals.”

Unlike the three previous success stories that focus on the psychological well being of an individual, many others focus on the drive or path to success. Winston Churchill stated “success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” It is being relentless in your future and never giving up on your end goal.

Like Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison focused on the work to obtain success rather than what defines a successful person. He’s definition “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.” He focused on constantly putting in the effort to reap the benefit.

I saved my personal favorite definition of success for last.  According to legendary basketball coach John Wooden, success comes from competition within ones self rather than competition with others. Wooden stated “success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming”. His idea of success comes from self fulfillment and goals of success that is set by the individual.

The common theme that is universal in each of these successful individuals definition is success comes from self awareness. Regardless if it is self fulfillment, hard work, continual self growth, relentless efforts, self love, or altruistic service to others; the key to success comes from within.  It is one thing to be successful to others, but the bigger obstacle is to truly gain success within the strict defines that we place upon ourselves.

I have not yet became the successful person that I would love to become, but I am proud of my progress and my relentless efforts to gaining success. Remember you are only more successful than the person you were yesterday.

Success lies within the heart, soul, and mind of the beholder.

 

 

 

 

Freedom and Security

Within the past few years, I have learned an important lesson about social media. Not every person you meet spend their time educating themselves before spewing nonsense onto posts. Due to the fact that most people do no educate themselves on many topics, I will rarely engage in a debate on a topic.

Yesterday I violated every rule that I every set for myself in regards to social media.  There was the usual political stuff flooding my news feed when I came across a post by an acquaintance from college. He placed an article about a woman who had died waiting on the current immigration ban to be lifted to receive medical treatment.  Of course he had a nice “liberal” (what most Americans would call liberal not my definition) anti-trump message to accompany the article. For some odd reason under the comments a guy commented on the post stating that she would have received medical attention if it was not for 9/11, Boston bomber, and so many other attacks (most of them were domestic unfortunately making his comment invalid to begin with). For some reason every fiber of my being pushed me to respond.  I could not help myself. To save you a lengthy read, and save you the ignorant responses that were given, I will simply explain what triggered my response, and some information to understand why I responded (and the other gentleman that helped debunk the ignorant answers given by this young man)

Okay, lets first break down the issue area.

Issue: President Trump signed an executive order that was intended to protect the country from foreign terrorist that would enter the United States. The EO imposes a 90-day travel ban on citizens of seven predominately Muslim countries that include Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen. The order also suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days. In addition, it indefinitely prohibits Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. The order calls for a review of the visa and refugee programs, arguing that “numerous foreign-born individuals have been convicted or implicated in terrorism-related crimes since September 11, 2001.” The entry of Syrian refugees and citizens from the seven predominately Muslim countries is “detrimental to the interests of the United States,” the order says, using the language of a federal law that the president cites as legal authority to act.

To start and to not hide my opinion in a ton of misguided facts and information. Placing any sort of ban on citizens of a certain country because of religious affliction is WRONG.

Now it’s time to explain my blatant and obvious objection to the ban.

President Trump claimed to be placing a ban on seven predominate Muslim nations to protect our country from foreign terrorist that would enter the United States. To start there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and ranks Islam as the second most populous religion behind Christianity. It is currently the fastest growing religion in the world and is expected to surpass Christianity within the next few decades.  According to research most Muslims in multiple countries around the world state they condemn ISIS and see radical in a negative light, and believe that suicide bombing and mass killings in the name of Islam are rarely or never justifiable actions.  In many cases, people in countries with large Muslim populations are as concerned as Western nations about the threat of Islamic extremism, and have become increasingly concerned in recent years. Research proves time after time that Islam overall is a peaceful religion that does not condone violence and mass murder without cause.

Although research proves that Islam is not a violent religion, and many Muslims do not condone the behavior that is portrayed by small violent factions that promote destruction throughout the world, people are still placing the blame and a ban on states that are heavily Muslim.  What grinds my gears is the fact that people place the blame on one religion but overlook all the Christian terrorist that commit crimes in the name of God.  Like ISIS, the Army of God promotes and executes violence within society in the name of God. This radical Christian group kidnaps doctors and their families, bombs abortion clinics, and participate in mass killings of innocent bystanders at planed parenthood centers. Why are we not condemning every person of the christian faith. When I wear a cross around my neck, I do not get shy looks or sideways glances. People do not anticipate me to cause harm to them. Why is there a prejudice?

Now back to the topic, a ban on these countries only increases the racism and prejudices that are already perpetuated within American culture.  It allows people to continue to treat Muslims as a lower class. Within our history, America has been plagued with limiting rights for one group and always has the most asinine reasons to justify limiting the rights and freedoms that are the founding principals of the our country.  One day we all need to wake up and realize that we are all part of the Human Race. We all generally share the general goal of living in a world that is not plagued by war, money, and violence regardless of race, religion, creed, or location.

My second issue is the prohibiting Syrian refugees. Many people believe that these people are terrorists or are gaining entry into the country to live off welfare.  Here is a few facts. On average it takes two years for a refugee to gain clearance into the United States. The interview and clearance process is demanding and requires an absolutely perfect application without flaw. Also less than 1% of refugees are considered for entry into the United States. Listed below is the current vetting process for refugees.

1. Registration with the United Nations.

2. Interview with the United Nations.

3. Refugee status granted by the United Nations.

4. Referral for resettlement in the United States.

The United Nations decides if the person fits the definition of a refugee and whether to refer the person to the United States or to another country for resettlement. Only the most vulnerable are referred, accounting for less than than 1 percent of refugees worldwide. Some people spend years waiting in refugee camps.

5. Interview with State Department contractors.

6. First background check.

7. Higher-level background check for some.

8. Another background check.

The refugee’s name is run through law enforcement and intelligence databases for terrorist or criminal history. Some go through a higher-level clearance before they can continue. A third background check was introduced in 2008 for Iraqis but has since been expanded to all refugees ages 14 to 65.

9. First fingerprint screening; photo taken.

10. Second fingerprint screening.

11. Third fingerprint screening.

The refugee’s fingerprints are screened against F.B.I. and Homeland Security databases, which contain watch list information and past immigration encounters, including if the refugee previously applied for a visa at a United States embassy. Fingerprints are also checked against those collected by the Defense Department during operations in Iraq.

12. Case reviewed at United States immigration headquarters.

13. Some cases referred for additional review.

Syrian applicants must undergo these two additional steps. Each is reviewed by a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services refugee specialist. Cases with “national security indicators” are given to the Homeland Security Department’s fraud detection unit.

14. Extensive, in-person interview with Homeland Security officer.

Most of the interviews with Syrians have been done in Jordan and Turkey.

15. Homeland Security approval is required.

16. Screening for contagious diseases.

17. Cultural orientation class.

18. Matched with an American resettlement agency.

19. Multi-agency security check before leaving for the United States.

Because of the long amount of time between the initial screening and departure, officials conduct a final check before the refugee leaves for the United States.

20. Final security check at an American airport.

That must seem simple right? Wrong. This is a long tedious process. Throughout the process these refugees are being examined by multiple U.S. agencies to determine that they are not in fact a threat to our society. After a refugee enters the United States, they are not able to live free off of our “precious” tax dollars. Did you know that refugees must pay back the cost of their flight to the U.S. after finding a job, or that refugees do not get long-term subsidized housing. All refugees pay back their flight into the U.S. Each refugee receives a stipend of $1,000 to cover three months in a suitable apartment. After three months they must find a way to afford rent on their own. All refugees must apply for jobs after entering the United States. Luckily Syria was a lower middle-income country before war, therefore many refugees are educated and trained.  This allows for refugees to apply for better and more stable jobs within the States. So to cut my rant short, refugees do not get an easy road. These people are placed through extensive checks to insure our safety. What more do we need to do?  What more can we ask for? Why ban people in need?

I will stand for the right to treat each human being with dignity and respect until they prove to not be worthy of my respect regardless of race, color, religious beliefs, political beliefs (unless you spew garbage that cannot be backed up with facts or is outright untrue),  or ethnic background.

I will always preach that are country was founded on freedom for all, and a place with a rich history of immigration. I will end with two important quotes one is by Emma Lazarus, and is placed on the beautiful lady liberty, and ideals I stand by:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

And lastly a quote by dear old Ben Franklin “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” If you are going to allow the government to control our lives and determine who comes into the country to make it safer, you are essentially allowing the government to control other aspects of your life to insure safety. Every day I will choose Freedom over Safety. How safe our we under a government that will determine what we do and who should be allowed the freedom granted under the constitution.

I will end with a simple statement: Stop promoting safety over freedom, Let Freedom Ring!

Here is video to reinforce it all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9dwHYu_EK4  #meetamuslim