“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.”
“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
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” 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.
“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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