“A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.”
– Leo Buscaglia
My life hurries, and my time passes, and for others, the world becomes more lonely! For this reason, I am moved to write about friendship. Proverbs 27:9 declares that “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” I strongly believe that this is the truth.” A true friendship can refresh and revive the barren parts of your heart; it can resurrect the dead places of your soul. Growing up attending church, I learned the hymn, “A Friend in Jesus,” and I know that I do have a friend in Him! As I look into the beautiful faces of those individuals that God places in my life, Iam reminded of that gift! Amid a hurried and lonely world, we must be reminded of this truth! The need for friendships of the soul has always existed through the beginning of time. We long to know that we do not walk the path of life alone, and indeed we are not. In retrospect, as a teenager, I discovered my favorite Christian artist and songwriter, the one and only –Michael W. Smith.
He released a beautiful song called “Friends,” and it spoke to my heart. As a Christian, he spoke from a place of deep love, claiming that Friends are given to us by God and that friends truly never leave us. Yes, “Friends are forever when the Lord is the Lord of them.” I think this is so important to remember because in a world that is ever-changing and people are pulled apart by the demands of life, this ideology still holds. So, decades later, I realize that the so many friends I thought I lost, I never truly lost them at all! God holds us together! Now in more recent times, I spend time praying for those in our newer and present generation. I try to listen to their music and hear their voices; I may, for a moment, look into their beautiful faces. Well, I realize that simply nothing has changed; their faces also say, “I need a friend.” We are in a world filled with technology and endless advanced forms of communication;Yet we are forever lonely, wondering who will be there. Or better yet, does anyone know I am here in this place at all?
We can begin to feel invisible to others, but this is the greatest lie of all! If we believe that we are alone and invisible, then we also forget that God has given us a purpose! As I thought about this, I remembered the song of a young talented artist named Justin Bieber called “Company.” He represents the voice of so many in the present generation, and for this reason, I pray for him. Justin presents the most important question of all – to a world where reaching out and spending time together in friendship has disappeared in so many ways: “Can we be each other’s company?” Undoubtedly, the need for true friendship and connection is ever-present. So, go find your company and your friends! Today, I want to thank you on behalf of “My Seven Blessings” for not just following our website, but for being our friends and company. I do not long to create another site filled with followers; I hope that we can be a genuine network of friendship. May you know that as I start every day, I thank God for the world that I live in, and I thank Him for you! I think about all the potential friends that I have all around this world, and I pray for God to bless them truly. As you go about life, know that we are here for you, and that is our greatest gift to call ourselves your friend! – Your friend Forever, Lisa & My Seven Blessings
“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.”
– Carol Burnett
Motivation is one of the greatest psychological aspects that significantly impact our spiritual and self-development. Therefore, we must work on motivating ourselves daily; for instance, an athlete needs to always strive to win different accomplishments, which is symbolized by medals. Ultimately, these medals envelope all the hard work, long hours, and sacrifices they endure; this is how they measure their success. In other words, this is how an athlete motivates themselves by attaining a symbol for their success, so what symbol do we accomplish by motivating ourselves? What symbol do we seek?
All human beings have open areas, hidden areas, blind areas, and unknown areas. Ultimately, the wider the open area is, the greater openness and transparency they generate when they interact with others, so what do I mean by this? That we all have something we have yet to find; for example, there was once an adolescent named Jack, a boy who stopped believing in love, Jack passed through various phases of depression and heartaches. Yet, He still decided to open his heart to another relationship. Although, he was still afraid of giving his love due to his past experiences, and because of that, though, he was able to experience something extraordinary. At first, it was difficult for Jack to avoid bringing his heartaches and melancholic experiences into the new relationship, without feeling those pesky insecurities, and those doubtful thoughts about his partner.
Nevertheless, he eventually understood that sometimes people come into our lives to either destroy or make us into better visions of ourselves. There are various blind areas in a relationship, where we must communicate our will, without measuring the impacts or implications, without mediating the opposite messages that others may perceive. Ultimately, a form of relationship where what matters is my vision, interests, challenges, and objectives. Where others are part of my environment, but they are not my priority. There is no area in between.
Foremost, we must understand that our communication with God isn’t left in open areas. Instead, it is in the zone where we can always enjoy his presence, solely devout to him. From our commitment to the holy and pure, we know that we do not live the full promises of his love. Therefore, we must keep expanding our values and self-development and keep searching for other options to light our torches within our hearts to parish all the darkness that plague our hearts. We must be reborn at the stake of faith and merge into the crucible of his love. If you look closely at Jack’s story, you will see that his purpose was to find someone honest, loving, and caring in his life. Unfortunately, he went through various painful phases in his life, yet he persevered despite all the obstacles; Jack kept his vision to find someone who genuinely loved him and wanted to start a family.
Ultimately, we can all achieve what we set our minds and heart to do; we can do much more than we can ever imagine. However, we can only achieve this if you have a vision and can endure all obstacles and various forms of suffering. If this becomes our mentality, we will destroy the barrier known as “limit.”
“Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns it calls me on and on across the universe.”
– John Lennon
Hello everyone, my name is Tyler Cardenas, and I’m fortunate to say that my soul has been fortunate to experience nearly 25 years upon this beautiful world, and the crazy thing is my perception of life would’ve been entirely different if I had been typing this story last year. Since my early stages of life, the universe seemed to be on a mission toward making sure my subconscious and mindset were regularly tested each day that faded by. As a result, this led me to find excuses to shun and laugh at any aspect of life involving spirituality, I just kept focusing on the negatives instead of realizing the positives that come out of every situation, pretty much I figured my life would just turn upside once a glimmer of light would try to poke it’s way through. For almost 25 years, I was oblivious toward the bigger picture of this reality that we currently take part in, and yet it’s crazy to think that it took meeting/ losing somebody close to wake my consciousness up. Because of this, I had an awakening and have been on the most serene, euphoric journey ever since.
In retrospect, it’s pretty ironic how life works, but sometimes people need to fall to a bottomless abyss before they’re susceptible to significant change. If it weren’t for everything leading up to today, I know for a fact I wouldn’t have received this fantastic opportunity! To be a part of a loving community, one that actually wants to heal the world, one day at a time. I’m excited to hopefully work with all of you because now I see a more significant purpose. In other words, the bigger picture, that each and every one of us needs to manifest love in various forms, and sometimes it’s up to our own selves to remember that we can help spread that message across the universe. One of the best quotes I have come across “Life doesn’t happen to you; it happens FOR YOU. We’re all here to ascend our consciousness and bring back peace and love toward everything that surrounds us and creates us. I’m truly blessed to be given this opportunity to grow with all of you.
Relationships are a significant component of how our lives function. If you think about it, most of the things we do are indirectly/directly to maintain or build relationships. As humans, we have thrived on relationships throughout history; our greatest civilizations have been constructed through various types of relationships, whether transactional, personal, or spiritual. Therefore, we must evaluate how each relationship plays in our life and differentiate each type of relationship. Nonetheless, each relationship shares one theme; they all contribute to our life in some way or another; each teaches us various subliminal lessons that we may not even consider just an afterthought. Unfortunately, many of us do not know to differentiate or even approach different types of relationships which is what causes havoc in our modern times.
Do you ever wonder why our divorce rates have gone up over the years? Or why there are so many divorce lawyer commercials? Or you even hear about scandalous custody battles? It’s become the norm in our society. Nowadays, commitment is scarce due to the amassed amount of options available to us. In my opinion, this is very troubling due to the lack of stable households where everyone communicates, and everyone loves one another; we’ve all seen this happen, it’s prevalent to see marriages go through scandalous affairs or “just do it for the kids.” Although it is good to show unification in families it can be a double-edged blade; for instance, many spouses do not display any form of love around their children which is saddening since this emulates the type of family they are bound to have because of learned behaviors. Therefore, this is what contributes to the 40 to 50 percent divorce rate in the United States, according to the American Psychological Association. Unfortunately, this pattern is what causes most divorces around the nation directly and indirectly; additionally, long work hours and higher labor demand may take a toll on relationships more than we fathom. As discussed in my previous article, everything is intertwined with our materialistic cravings with our relationships.
Every relationship has an underlying value; one thing is for certain no relationship should be treated as a means to an end. In other words, we must not treat relationships to get something in return; for many, this is a problematic way to view a relationship though, in fact, it is the healthiest perspective on relationships. Unfortunately, in our world this view is becoming scarcer with the wretched selfishness and entitlement spreading like it’s the black plague and poisoning our emotional and spiritual components. Even, I am still learning to disembowel these negative traits that overpower our will to attain selflessness; ultimately, we must discipline our mind by practicing altruism and genuinely loving one another for who we are as a person rather than superficial traits or what we may receive in exchange. By doing this, we allow ourselves to create loving families and envision our children to the same; we must eradicate all the wretchedness from this world all the grudges, and arrogance that holds our false bravado. As a result, we will create a world with less cynicism and build a civilization of functioning and loving relationships.
“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
– Dr. Seuss
When I think of Love…My favorite quote from the legendary Maya Angelou comes to mind: “Love recognizes no barriers, it jumps hurdles, leaps, fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” And believe me, I think a lot about Love! By those that know me well, I am referred to as “The Hopeless Romantic! But in all honesty, I believe that I am just hopeful because I strongly believe in the power of Love. So strong is my belief in the power of Love that I either watch a love story based movie or I read about it every single week. This week reflecting on my favorite love stories, I remembered the award-winning movie, “The Titanic” starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo Di Caprio. In one word, I truly found this love story absolutely mesmerizing, so much so that I must have watched at least a good 30 times! The love story of Rose and captured my heart and inspires me to think of all the reasons that love still matters! However, it wasn’t until this week that I truly realized why I love this movie like I do, and that is because it reminds me that Love saves! Yes, it does! And I believe it saves us all!
In the movie Titanic, there is an unforgettable scene when Rose meets Jack for the first, hanging from the back of the ship. Rose is seen frantically running through the boat until she reaches the end, with tears and desperation, she concludes that this too is the end of her life! She believes that there is no other way out for her, but to simply leave this world! Rose is convinced that no one cares, that is ultimately invisible and that she is truly alone! Yet, just in that perfect moment, suddenly appears Jack Dawson to save her! Amazingly, he is the only one present on that side of the ship laying on a bench looking up at the stars, until he is startled by the sound of Rose running and crying through the dock! He both sees and hears the astoundingly, beautiful young woman! Jack approaches Rose with caution, fearful that she just might jump off the ship into the deep ocean. He immediately realizes that the lovely, rich, and classy girl has come to the end of herself, but only he can help her! Jack reads her emptiness and the lack of Love in her life.
Have you ever felt like that? You look inside of yourself, and there’s no purpose or reason to live? You wake up one day, and you can’t even breathe, so you begin to run…and you run! Well, and yes, you run from your life, from the people around, but most of all—From Yourself! Indeed, I know that I have in my own life! Undoubtedly, I have been in moments that seem endless and that I genuinely believe that my heart will never go on! Yet, these were the moments where I also saw God appear the most in my life. These experiences taught me that God both sees and hears what no one else can, and that is able to love me in my brokenness, and I feel like absolutely no one.
The Bible tells us in 1 John 4:7-21 that God is Love and that we are called to Love if we know God, because He loved us first through His Son Jesus. Love is powerful and in many ways like God cannot be reasoned or put into words. God’s Love transforms us, changes us, draws us close, and can even interrupt us! There is no mistake in Love it just exists, and gives us the strength we need. So again, we see this power of Love in “The Titanic,” when Jack comes to Rose’s rescue and interrupts her plan to just end it all. He did not make his presence to Rose optional, in that dramatic scene, he says to Rose, “I am sorry, I am involved now, and if you jump, I am going to have to jump in the water and get you!” In other words, I am in this problem with you, and I am definitely not leaving you. I will do everything I must do to save you! Until Jack convinces Rose to receive his hand and turn around to simply look right into his eyes. The eyes that reflect the Love and hope that she so desperately needed in her life. These are the same eyes that mark her soul, and she remembers them until the moment at hat she takes her last breath into heaven. But as with most turns around in life, it was not that simple, Rose is caught, loses her balance and slips off, only held by Jack’s hand. She is convinced that she will die! Yet, Jack knows differently and calls her, saying, “Look at me, Rose! I got you! I won’t let go! His reassuring eyes that say, I can save you and bring you to safety. I think just like Rose, we all need a Savior that gets us back on the ship. God’s Love is also that strong for us! He loves us and saves us right where we are! God runs to find us and jumps after us just to get us back to safety! The eyes of Jesus looking back at me have given me a fresh start so many times, and His Love has even saved me from myself at times! God’s Holy Spirit has definitely come to my rescue, also when much like Rose, I would just say go away and leave me alone! I do not understand it most of the time, but somehow, Jesus always shows up and just stays with me until I finally decide to look into His eyes and accept His Mighty Hand!
In the movie’s love story, we know that Jack’s Love transformed Rose’s life so much that he died so she could live and gave her a new last name by the end of the story. Rose expresses these wonderful words: “Jack saved me in all the ways a person can be saved, and she realized the power of Love helped her to find herself so that her heart could go on! We know that she was only able to keep Jack in her memories and in her heart, but through it all, he was there with her as she lived her life.
This is an example of God’s powerful Love in our own lives because we cannot see Him, but His Love is always there! God always remains even when our own lives disappear with time. You may be asking yourself, well asking yourself, and how exactly does Jesus show up in my life? The answer is simply this, look at into the eyes of the individuals that just suddenly walk into your life when you are at your worst in life. Or maybe, those you ask to go away or you run away from because they look different or sound different than you? Can you see the Jack in your life? Ready to Jump, Ready to Listen, and Ready to Love you no matter what! Our own Jack’s teach us and lead us to discover, know, and live out God’s amazing and endless Love that sacrifices everything and never leaves us until we return home! With Love, Lisa Camacho
Watch these videos! They are components to this article!
” Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. “
Are you ready for a once in a lifetime get-away! Are you feeling the dread of the work week! Do you ever feel like your life is a dull mindless routine! Well, think again! With our exclusive vacations, all your problems will go away! No more depressive thoughts! Call now to receive this once in a lifetime deal plus a gift card of your choice to spend in anything you want! This is basically what every get-away commercial is based-off emotion appealing benefits. Therefore, our mind is tricked into creating a beautiful reality where we envision ourselves enjoying in beautiful sandy beaches without a worry in the world and sipping on frosty piña coladas while watching our picture-perfect family. Don’t get me wrong this is an excellent thought to have, especially since modern-day marketing models many of its advertisements from these elements. Additionally, vacations are romanticized throughout social media, many of us posting these nicely edited photos to make our holidays seem nicer than what they are. Unfortunately, this sets our expectations higher, allowing more space for disappointment and shortcomings; this can significantly affect our vacation experience, which defies the whole purpose of a vacation.
So, what is a vacation? Why do we have them? Often, we insinuate vacations with pricey hotel bookings or that we must set aside so much money to enjoy ourselves thoroughly. Unfortunately, having this mindset doesn’t allow us to enjoy our vacation. By planning more, we experience less essentially, and I know to this might sound ridiculous, but in many cases, it’s quite factual. As humans, we always like things to go our way; we feel distraught when things don’t go as planned. Now you can imagine how a family feels when their flight is canceled or when an incident prevents them from enjoying the rest of their vacation. Although, vacations are for enjoying ourselves and releasing accumulated stress which is why we look for different ways to do that; therefore, the hospitality industry takes advantage of this problem and creates all sorts of attractions to attract a wide array of demographics. As a result, of our increase in workforce and business growth, also don’t forget our populations demand for material possession that has created numerous jobs; all of these factors, demand more hours from workers, more hours cause fatigue which then makes the worker look for ways to relax. This is the backbone of most hospitality businesses which is why many emphasize the customer service component; hospitality businesses are aware of the demanding jobs many of their patrons undertake which is why they want to create unforgettable experiences. However, this cannot fix our deeper issues, which is what we need to differentiate when we travel or go on vacations.
We are the same person every place we go, see we look for happiness in these beautiful places that we find on social media. We create an illusion in our mind of how happy we are going to be or create these massive expectations that are bound to collapse at any unplanned misfortune. Ultimately, a vacation can be anywhere; anywhere our mind can feel at ease, anywhere where we can reconnect with our spirituality. We don’t have to spend much money to achieve this; instead, we need to invest in ourselves to enjoy a vacation. In other words, if you are feeling sad now and depressed anywhere, you go that same feeling will follow, we cannot deceive ourselves with changing our personalities or behaviors just because we are going on a pricey vacation. One thing we always need to remember, incremental lifestyle changes sustained over time is what impacts our overall vacation experience.
Maintaining a steady and consistent work ethic is one of the most significant building blocks for success; it is one of the vital indicators of future results and what differentiates success and failure. Although, maintaining a work ethic routine can seem arduous even dreadful for many since nowadays distractions are in abundance. This problem stems from our short attention span; many of us have become Goldfish; we literally cannot focus for extended periods of time; however, this problem isn’t biological instead attained behavior. Consequently, this is tied to our mass-consumption of social media and any interactive form of technology; though, we have more ways to reach and establish communications with our peers. However, we have succumbed to every notification we receive on our devices. In my opinion, this is what reduces productivity for many.
My background is freelancing as a digital marketer, and being a freelancer, you must maintain a steady work ethic which is built around various factors; for instance, reputation is the primary indicator of how you are performing and delivering to your clients. Therefore, I must schedule my day based on the length of time for each contract. In other words, I must prioritize what tasks are the hardest and most time consuming by creating a list of each task; once the list has been created, you can start analyzing which tasks you should prioritize. Fairly simple right? Well no, doing this can seem quite difficult for some or even maintaining this same routine throughout our professional careers. Likewise, we always tend to prioritize things that impact our personal lives significantly which has the most impact in our self-fulfillment; however, this proves difficult when we have so many choices that our minds feel bombarded and we don’t end up doing anything. Therefore, we must carefully plan out and evaluate what we spend our time and energy into; for instance, instead of spending so much time doing activities like watching Netflix or scrolling through social media we can use that time to learn a new skill, or plan out your day, or just spend time improving yourself. Most of these seem very cliché something out of a positive social media post; yet, many of us end up doing empty value activities.
However, the most important trait/quality we must sustain is the same trait that guides through thunderstorms, hurricanes, and all of life’s obstacles. Perseverance is what leads us down uncertain paths; these paths are arduous odysseys that might lead us to cul-de-sac’s or lead us to great destinations beyond our wildest imaginations. One of my favorite stories, even a story that most of us should live by is the story of Phil Knight. Phil Knight is someone who built a massive empire of pure uncertainty, Phil traveled to Japan out of a vision, out of pure vision; unfortunately, during this time Japan was still rebuilding after catastrophic bombings like Hiroshima & Nagasaki and even their capital city Tokyo. In other words, Japan and the US still had conflictive tensions; also, they are both different from a cultural standpoint. Yet, even with all these odds against Phil managed to travel to an uncertain land of opportunity and maintained that vision throughout various hardships. Besides, all the cultural differences, startup business setbacks, and unlimited liability, Phil still managed to build a massive sports clothing empire known as NIKE. So why am I telling you this story? Well, this story symbolizes the importance of uncertainty and how it can impact our perseverance tremendously. Our determination follows a close link to our work ethic; it is the fuel of how far we are willing to pursue our goal/purpose. Even if we have fantastic work ethic skills without perseverance, that work ethic will crumble significantly at the first sing of uncertainty. Phil used his preservice of building a business to fulfill an athlete’s needs and be able to perform above-expected standards; which is why Phil set his missions above all, to overcome any obscurity from uncertain business partners to bankruptcy in his first business ventures. Ultimately, this is what leads our craziest visions/goals to become a reality; this is how we build the life we all dream of, the ability to carry a vision throughout obscurity and believe in it so much with action, efforts that it eventually becomes a reality.
Once we combine all these traits and frameworks, we can set any goal for ourselves; everyone can reach their full capacity and exceed to greater feats. Life is our greatest gift; we must not devaluate it; we must not waste these precious years on self-deprecating lies we all tell ourselves. These lies are what gets us through our daily lives; sadly, many of us don’t ever experience our highest potential because of these self-fulfilling lies. We all have different purposes in life; we can’t live someone else’s purpose; we were all brought to this world for various reasons. Therefore, we must explore our mission by setting goals, once we find something we genuinely enjoy we must pursue this feeling and never stop chasing no matter how others perceive it; consequently, many of us live our lives trying to please others or be socially acceptable, and this is the biggest anchor in our journey to pursue our goals. Ultimately, we need to make the impossible possible, and the only way to do is set goals that seem impossible because once we reach that impossible mark, we can anything possible.
I recommend you read Phil Knight’s story by reading “Shoe Dog” his own written Biography.
Another book ideology used in the article is: “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy.
One of the best life coach I know is Corey Wayne and his book is “Mastering Yourself” definitely a must read to discover your mission and purpose.
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“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.
What is sacrifice? Why do we choose to sacrifice one end to achieve another end; most of the time, we don’t acknowledge how much we are surrendering to accomplish a particular goal or reality. On the other hand, many of us do acknowledge how much sacrifice and how much we are willing to tolerate or how our mind interprets the amount of sacrifice we are dealing with; see throughout history as a society we’ve sacrificed a lot of pleasurable experiences to attain pleasurable experiences right? For instance, our infrastructure has come a long way since the Paleolithic Era, where we lived in much harsher conditions incomparable to the commodities we have in the Modern Era. Nowadays, we don’t need to sacrifice as much as our ancestors did, we have everything at our convenience also we are the largest users of technology compared to previous generations; resulting, in vast innovations and services available to us, we are living in the best times we have everything.
Despite, the ever-growing list of tragedies, nature, and wealth inequalities we are still far better off than our ancestors; ultimately, this has led us to become susceptible to any form of discomfort or adversity. For instance, when we start facing a major obstacle in our life, or any form of rejection, our emotions take over our thought process. Consequently, this affects us in more ways we can imagine, our thoughts become clouded which leads us down a self-deprecating path; this path makes us question our life choices, the path we are headed in, and the most destructive “if we are good enough.” Unfortunately, these questions bring negative effects to our well-being and self-motivation/will; these can cause complacency in our journey to achieve our greatest dreams.
Throughout my experiences, I have learned the values of sacrifices in various forms, spiritually, mentally, and physically. For instance, my weight loss journey is one of my most significant achievements yet; my story began in my Freshman year of High School where I was weighing roughly 270 IBS at 6”3 which is significant weight even for a taller individual. In fact, most of my weight loss stemmed from my poor diet and lifestyle choices. Even though fast food and carb-loaded meals are pleasurable due to the various components that stimulate our taste-buds though they can cause detrimental effects in our dietary nutrition; in other words, anything in life that is pleasurable has negative elements associated to them which is what causes our addiction-fueled cravings for that thing and eventually seeping us into greater pain than we ever anticipated. Ultimately, I hit rock bottom when I visited the clinic, and I had to get a physical for school which at the time I thought nothing was wrong with me; however, my experience was anything but quaint.
First, I had to weigh myself, which I was already self-conscious about, and what the scale told me was even more soul-crushing a whopping 270 IBS! Almost 300 pounds! Afterward, the doctor finished the job by telling me that my poor eating habits took effect on my cholesterol, blood pressure, and sugar levels which could potentially shorten my lifespan, this hit me harder than any words ever have. This affected me deeply that weeks after I started developing a black hole inside my head, this black hole consumed all my positive thoughts and optimism. Otherwise, known as depression, many shy away from depression since our culture has labeled as this negative feeling that only eats your life away. In a way that is true, though it shouldn’t only be seen with this perspective, like anything we need balance in our life’s health, occupation, and emotional components. Therefore, depression shouldn’t be used as a negative emotion, rather a reflective even meditative form of therapy; depression augments our problems in ways that positivity can’t even enter our thought process to ease the feeling of somber. Thus, causing our mind to only focus on that problem, see many times we don’t know why we are depressed, or why we feel the way we do. In my opinion, it is the bodies way of communicating an issue that hasn’t been addressed properly; therefore, our minds create scenarios of what would happen if we don’t change this or find a solution to this problem.
Sadly, this is where many of us misinterpret depression or why we have this emotion. Therefore, many deny this feeling even bury it with self-fulfilling prophecies and illusive tendencies; this is where we start to halt our advances to achieve our greatest feats and fall into complacency or “living a lie”. Understanding these frameworks is what allowed me to enjoy sacrificing pleasurable experiences to attain a better pleasurable experience. Although this might sound vague, this is the exact mentality we need to preserve when facing any form of sacrifice to making goals for new year’s resolutions. What pleasurable things are you willing to give up to achieve this goal, what are you willing to sacrifice? Would you enjoy sacrificing those things? Personally, I had to give up playing video games for long periods of time, not eating my favorite meals, and changing my whole routine to regain my health. At first, this may seem challenging giving up what you love to do just to achieve some obscure goal; however, once you start to grasp the difference between short-term and long-term experience you will be able to program your mind to crave long-lasting change then sacrifices will seem less arduous and more like a pathway to achieve your greatest desires. Likewise, this is what creates a successful mentality, becoming comfortable with undesirable experiences and accepting all forms of sacrifices; nature changes, our climate changes, nothing ever remains stagnant, once we become stagnant, we don’t grow, and we become too comfortable and complacent in our society. Ultimately, we all need to pass through a thunderstorm, hurricane, any form of disaster and give up a few commodities to reach the summit of our potential.
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” All things are artificial, for nature is the art of God.”
– Thomas Browne
Lisa Ivette Camacho was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico and blessed with a loving and giving family; who raised her with a strong belief in God and that all things are possible if you develop a strong faith-based mindset. However, many of my childhood memories are bittersweet; likewise, many of us, when reflecting, have experienced this feeling. After being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at the age of just two years, my parents promptly decided to move to Orlando, Florida, seeking greater medical advancements to provide me a better future. Unfortunately, These efforts required endless hospitalizations and rehabilitation services, which amassed to staggering medical fees. However, my family’s sacrifices and prayers paid off, and I am delighted to say that I am living a healthy life without complications. In retrospect, my childhood experiences have instilled my faith and my eternal gratitude for the Lord’s blessings so that in turn, I could bless others in this world.
As a young Hispanic woman, I promised myself to create a dream for my life, run after it, and make it happen. Therefore, I can genuinely say that after two decades of hard work in many ways, my life dream of helping others has come true. One of my most excellent mentors in leadership and my career is the legendary Mary Kay Ash, and she wrote: “The definition of successful people is simply ordinary people with extraordinary determination.” These words describe my own story, my identity, and my pursuit of becoming a leader in this world. In other words, I am an ordinary woman determined to create an extraordinary difference in this world.
In 2002, I graduated with a Master’s degree in Social Work, and I have dedicated my life to serving in the areas of medical case management and hospice services. Social Work has taught me about the complexities of human behavior in an often chaotic world. Thus, healthcare is one of the most critical organizational industries that continue to impact people, and they’re well- being around the world. Additionally, the adventures of social work have taught me about the physical, emotional, and socio-cultural aspects that develop and impact human beings. Honestly, Social Work has given me no greater satisfaction than to see individuals thrive in diverse cultural environments, whether this entails environments filled with struggles, violence, victories, or pursuits. Ultimately, Social Work has prepared and led me to believe in the power of leadership and how it can shape communities, build organizations, and strengthen human development.
As a medical social work leader, while working with the issues of death and dying, I understood that for humans to reach their highest potential, an individual needs to become aware of his/her spirituality. This longing to understand how people develop in their spiritual life also led me to complete a Master’s of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in May 2017. My theological studies have empowered me to help others find community and faith. So, in addition to working as a full-time medical social worker, I also volunteer in my local church serving as a coordinator of the Hispanic Ministry and as a minister in the Orlando community, where I teach Bible studies at a Dunkin Donuts weekly. Every month, the ministry attendees are also collectively able to enjoy various social activities and individually reflect on their spiritual growth through my devotional writings and dialogues. As a result, I have watched so many people become empowered in their faith journey with God and their relationship with others. I feel blessed to have been given the gift of influence and leadership, but not for any personal gain of power, but to serve as an instrument to help others achieve more and greater success.
For me, living the dream of leadership has only just begun, and I believe that the doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership can and will help me complete that dream. My greatest passion has been to merge my two careers in medical social work and Ministry. As a result, by understanding the components of business and various organizational leadership structures, I believe that I will accomplish the dream, and it can only strengthen the vision by expanding my horizons and knowledge. As part of fulfilling that passion and vision; ultimately, I plan to use my skill sets in the field of missions work on a global scale.
As I begin, I want you to know that I am thrilled that you are here! Today, we start our journey, and together will we discover all how life is and can be made beautiful through Faith! As we reflect on our lives, we have all encountered moments where our Faith was tested! I know that I have and to be honest, I am not always perfect at exercising the process of Faith, just like everyone else! I want to ask you: Have you ever been afraid of water or swimming in it? I will share with you a childhood story of when I was ten years old:
It was a scorching summer day, much like today! I was always afraid of swimming, yet my youngest brother Sammy mastered the waters just like a fish, and nothing brought him greater pleasure than swimming in a pool during our long summers! One afternoon, we were with relatives at the local hotel pool with my cousins that were excited to experience the Florida sun!
On the other hand, I loved to be with them but not so much at a pool, because I was terrified of water and swimming in that pool caused panic in my soul! As I watched them, laughing, playing, and having fun in the water, I kept myself in a very safe hot chair that honestly brought me little joy! I kept thinking to myself: “Wow, look at them! Too bad, I can’t swim! At least, not like that!” Though suddenly, my brother yelled out to me: “Common on Lisa! Get into the pool!” I always admired him and didn’t want to disappoint him, so I did!
At first my fear was intense, but as the water was at my waist, and my feet could touch the textured pool ground, the fear was gone! However, as I began to play with the others, I forgot about my safety zone and went into the deeper end of the pool! When I realized that I could no longer touch the ground, I began to panic and started to drown and swallow warm water! My fear was unfathomable! I moved my arms and legs frantically in all directions! I thought I am going to die! No one is watching me! Although out of nowhere, I felt Sammy’s strong arm pull me up, and he swam with me over to where I felt safe again! I was so relieved, but I never forgot what my brother said: “Don’t worry Lisa, I got you!” As we sat on the side of the pool laughing, Sammy looked at me with a sparkle in his eye that I will never forget and in a proud and joy-filled tone of voice, he said: “You did it, Lisa! You finally went on the deep side of the pool! You see, and you did not drown! Now, you do not need to be afraid of the pool anymore!”
I share this story because it helps think and understand Faith in our lives! It does not come easy, and in many ways, it can be scary! In Matthew 14:22-32, we see that Peter walked on water because of his Faith in Jesus! Jesus challenged Peter, much like my brother challenged him to get out of my safe place! For that is what Faith does in us, it takes us out of our secure and dry areas in our lives! I pray that as we keep our eyes on God accepting every challenge given to us that we will in Faith been to walk over the waters of our lives!
What are the waters in your life? How do we envision them? Are they like the waters of a warm and calming pool, but that have different levels of depth that can change when you least expect it? Alternatively, are they turbulent filled with strong winds and wave on a beach shore? Whatever, they are and however they look to you, know that God is there and that He’s got you!
By living in Faith, God will be able to take us where we have never been before! We can see and hear things like never before in our lives! For God, it is never too late to learn how to walk on water or even conquer our greatest fears. To walk on water in God’s Faith means to walk in confidence and to believe that God can and will get us to another side. For everyone, “the other side looks different,” but the arrival to it is what truly matters! You may be waiting on God to create a miracle in your life and change your circumstances, and know that He can! However, many times, God will wait for us to take a straightforward step that says, “I am leaving my safe zone now to all God’s best for me! The walk of Faith leads us to a new beginning that renews us and leads us to a transformation from the inside out!
The Mission of our hearts should be to worship, love, and serve God above all things. We should seek the things of God, the unseen things that only the Holy Spirit can reveal to us! We should chase after Jesus and seek His Kingdom so that we may fulfill the high commission that one day He left to His disciples and we continue to carry the legacy. We should desire to advance the Kingdom of God for God alone deserves the Glory! The longing of our hearts should be focused on the One that gave us life and not just any life but life abundantly! However, the Bible makes it very clear that our actions are meaningful, but without Faith, it is impossible to please God.
What is Faith? Faith is to believe in what we do not yet see as it says in Hebrew 11, as Christians, we are called to live by Faith. We are called to trust in the source of Faith in the One that has brought us this far. To believe in the One & only God that brought us here today! Our daily struggles, inner voices, and our socio-cultural spirits of unbelief that govern our world can in one second tarnish our Faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Today, God calls us to be brave and to begin to live by Faith again, and if you have never lived by Faith, you are invited to receive the God that will create that journey of Faith for you. In Jesus’s Name, we cast out every spirit of fear that is trying to impede our Faith, and that hold us back from experiencing a new walk of Faith. God is calling us to step into the journey if the Impossible! Join me as we step out into Faith and believe that it begins today!