This blog was created to serve as an inspiration to all who read aspire, to love and to live a life of purpose.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day!

Howdy Everyone!

Today is February 29th, aka Leap Day! A day that only comes about during a leap year, every 4 years.  Its literally an extra day in the year, so this year we have 366 days instead of 365 days. Awesome stuff right?
Incase you didn't know, the concept (or rather reality) of leap year was invented by Julius Caesar in the first century in order to ensure that the solar calendar and the man-made calendar matched. However, was an unofficial calendar till 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII formed the Gregorian calendar, the same calendar we use know, the one hanging on your wall, the one in your phone....yes its called the Gregorian calendar. :-!

Apparently, the earth doesn't rotate around the sun in precisely 365 days every year. It does so in about 365.25 days so every year there's a quarter-day error...this error is what the extra day is fixes/makes up for. You may ask, why is Leap Day in February? According to the astronomical scientists, February used to be the end of the year so the extra day was put at the end of the year.

Imagine being born on February 29 like Ja-Rule. That would mean you only get a year older every four years.....if only biology was Leap-Year-sensitive, it'd be a more attractive option right?

There are a number of superstitions about Leap Days stemming from both Greek and Ukrainian history. For e.g. there's a belief that anything new you start on leap day (e.g. marriage, engagement, child baptism, contracts, trade, new job, etc) is scheduled for doom. There's an article which profiles those born on Leap Day as ridden with bad luck- here.

I don't believe in anything not based on the Bible. As a Christian, you shouldn't either.

So to me,  today is just a special day (exempt from any kind of bad luck). Its an EXTRA DAY we get only once every four years. What are you doing with your extra day? I know, I know, no one gets off work or school, or life, or bills but its still an extra day. For those who are salaried workers, arguably you work for free every leap day because this day is probably not calculated into your salary. (something to think about...) matter where you are, I suggest you take a mind vacation...If you're at work, dare to put your feet up (not literally please, the economy is bad lol) and if you're at school like me, sit there and imagine you're in cancun. hehehe...its the best you can do on an EXTRA day :-)
Stay Inspired....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lent: A Time to Fast, Pray, Give and Reflect

Hey guys!

Howdy! Today is Ash Wednesday...the first day of the 40-day Christian Lenten period. This period is generally known as the most spiritual period in the Christian faith because it is the countdown to Good Friday and then to Easter, when Jesus Christ died and resurrected, the benchmark of the Christian faith. The lent period for Christians is similar to Ramadan for Muslims and Yom Kippur for Jews.

The next 40 days are supposed to be a period during which all christians examine the depth of their commitment to Christianity by testing their endurance. This is rooted in the Biblical fact that Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness/desert without food. During the time, Jesus faced and overcame three temptations from the devil.  He spent the time in prayer, preparing for His work.
Drawing inspiration from that, Christians observe lent by giving up something to commemorate the significance of Jesus' sacrifice for our sake. It can also serve as an attempt to overcome personal faults. It is a time to test self-discipline, prayer and reflection. This practice is supposed to make us more steadfast to our faith....sort of like a renewal of commitment to Christ and appreciation for what He went through for the sins of mankind.

I personally believe that dedicated participation in lent breeds blessings. When you take the time to show solidarity in your faith, God rewards you with your heart desires. Every lent, I give up a luxury I'm addicted to because even though it is impossible to feel what Jesus must've felt without food for 40 days (I would've died btw), in my own little way I can show my appreciation by depriving myself of something I really thought I couldn't do without.
I have two main addictions; (1) ice cream (2) shopping. Two years ago, I gave up icecream and it was tortuous but it was worth it because it reminded me that the only need I have in life is the need for God's continuous grace. This year, I have decided to give up shopping. Meaning, I cannot acquire anything new for the next 40 days, with the exception of basic essentials such as food and water. I'll update you on how it goes.

I encourage you to participate in this Lenten season...If you choose to, the four things you should aspire to do for the next forty days, are (1) Fast (give up a luxury you "think" you can't do without; chocolate, video games, alcohol, partying, cursing, etc ), (2) Pray (3) Give (help someone out, volunteer, give to a homeless man, etc) and (4) Reflect. Use this time to reflect on your life expectations and spend time asking God for the changes you'll like to see happen in your life. I assure you that God never disappoints. It will bring you closer to God and God's plan for your life because it will remind you that the only thing you NEED in life is God.
If you already are or decide to, my prayer for you is that God will give you the strength to remain steadfast to your fast during the next 40 days and that at the end, that not only will your heart desires come true, your commitment to God will be strengthened.
So...if you're reading this and have already decided, what are YOU giving up? Can't wait to read your comments. :-)

Stay Inspired.....

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sincerely, Confused and Feeling Dumb

Hello Everyone!

This morning, I came across this interesting letter to Carolyn Hax, a columnist with the Washington Post.

Dear Carolyn,
Been seeing this same guy going on two years. He says he is a homebody and doesn’t like to go out — but he will come to my home late at night, while never inviting me to his. He never shows his feelings, only in the bed. Should I continue to see him? Not to mention I see him only once a month. I tell him all the time that I care for him, and he never responds.
Confused and Feeling Dumb

Here's Carolyn's answer
You feel that way for an excellent reason. And if you enjoy feeling dumb, then, yes, you should continue to see him.
But if you don’t like that “I’m an idiot” sensation — or its frequent companion sensation, the one of sitting home waiting to be someone’s booty call — then take heart. Everyone does at least one mind-bendingly stupid thing when tempted by the promise of love.
And, too, redemption is readily available. All you have to do is stop falling for the lines your smarter self would find risible, and start tuning out the voice that tells you to seek immediate gratification that leaves you feeling bad.

I think Carolyn spoke too softly. Here's what my answer would've been....

Dear Ms. Confused and Feeling Dumb,
There's the good news and the bad news. The good news is that you're not alone. A lot of women have been and still are in your shoes. The bad news is that you, like the others, have fallen victim to wishful thinking. I hate to be the one to break it to you....THIS DUDE IS EITHER MARRIED, IN A SERIOUS RELATIONSHIP OR JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU. The facts you have given paint the picture that you are the quintessential side piece/booty call. First, no matter how much of a homebody a person is, they will at least go to dinner with you once in two years. -_-

Secondly, real homebodies actually don't really like to move around at night, they are where they want to be at least by 7pm. If he was really in a relationship with you, he'd not only visit you late at night; he'd be at your place or invite you over to his for a quiet dinner and/or movie night. Third, he never shows his feelings for you except in bed? That alone, speaks volumes so i'll move on. Fourth, you only see him once a month? I'd understand if this relationship was long distance but since you do not indicate that, it is safe to assume that this dude only comes to visit you when he's bored or (you know what). Lastly, a person who really cares for you will either show it or tell it to you (ideally both). If after two years, he doesn't respond when you tell him you care, time to hit the road. 

Your feelings are self-inflicted and you can cure it, all by yourself. 

The first step you need to take is to realize your worth. You deserve much better than to be treated this way. Everyone deserves a partner who loves, appreciates and makes time for them. YOU deserve to be someone's #1....Look for a man who will hold your hand while you stroll down the park in broad daylight. Look for a man who is open enough to at least show you where he lays his head at night. Look for a man who is willing to tell his friends (at least) and family that you're his. Look for a man who doesn't mind waking up next to you. Look for a man who, by his actions, makes it crystal clear that he's into you. Look for a man who shows you that his feelings for you are not just grounded in the bedroom. Look for a man who loves you even when your jeans are zipped up...that's the least of what love is and you deserve that, at least. Please stop seeing this guy or entertaining his calls. 


Ladies, please don't fall victim to the "he loves me, he just doesn't know how to show it" or "if i keep sleeping with him, he'll realize just how much he cares about me" or "if i hang around, one day, he'll wake up and realize I'm just a pure gem", or "even though we live in the same city, he's just soo busy with work that we see only once every month" line of thinking.  
YOU are worth more than that.

Stay Inspired.....

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Off You Go Whitney, Off You Go...

Hello everyone! Hope your weekend is going well...Mine has been very quiet so far. I feel much better after spending the day in bed watching TV. Some call it laziness, I call it resting :-)

I spent a good number of hours today watching the live broadcast of Whitney Houston's funeral service. As we all know and have been saddened by, Iconic Singer and Actress Whitney Houston passed away exactly a week ago. According to reports, Houston was found lifeless in the tub at the Beverly Hills Hotel, hours before she was supposed to attend her mentor Clive Davis' pre-grammy party. Result of the autopsy is yet to be released. Yet, 'many' speculate an overdose was the cause of death. 

I don't want to be counted as those "many" because I tell you, just like her funeral service today, this post is not about Whitney's struggles with drugs. Its not even about her as the star we all know. Its about the "person" lost...Whitney as a daughter, mother, sister, and friend. Whitney as "Nippy" as her close family and friends called her.

The remarkable thing about the funeral today was that it highlighted the fact that after all is said and done, in the end it is all about Jesus. I was impressed that Cissy Houston, Whitney's mother decided to hold the service at Whitney's childhood church in New Jersey, where the singer sang her first solo as a teenager. It was an impressive ode to Whitney who despite all her troubles, always paid homage to the church as her roots.

As expected, the invite-only event was star-studded with Oprah Winfrey, Brandy, Chaka Khan, Ray J, Jordin Sparks, Jennifer Hudson, Kim Burrell, Jesse Jackson and Roberta Flack in attendance .....There were a few touching speeches and performances inclduing that of Bebe Winans, Stevie Wonder, Cilve Davis, Alicia Keys, Tyler Perry, R Kelly (who by the way looked sooo fresh and soo clean :-)) and Cece Winans but there were two special highlights for me.

First, there was Kevin Costner's emotional speech. Costner was Whitney's co-star in her first film "The Bodyguard". In his 20 minute speech, Costner said in pertinent part, 
"The Whitney I knew despite her fame always wondered 'Am I good enough? Am I pretty enough? Will they like me?' was a burden that made her great, the burden that caused her to stumble in the end...All those girls who are dreaming that dream or maybe thinking they are not good enough, Whitney will tell you, guard those bodies, the precious miracle of your own life....Whitney, if you could hear me now, I would tell you, you weren't just good enough, you were great....Off you go Whitney, off you go. Escroted by an army of angels to your heavenly father. When you sing before Him, dont you worry. You'll be good enough."
Incredibly touching and inspirational if you ask me.

The second and more significant highlight for me was the Eulogy given by Pastor Marvin Winans. He started off by saying... "I want to thank mama Houston, Cissy, for your willingness to forget about everything else and to have this service here....That took a lot of courage. And because of that, you’ve brought the world to church today". Yep!

The subject of his sermon was "Prioritize". In pertinent part, Winans said... 
"There's a misconception that living a life for God is boring...Faith always expects and faith always moves towards its goal.....Don’t think that the church is for people that have no hope....The devil wants to use your circumstance against you by making you anxious when things don’t happen on your timetable.....Jesus is saying I don’t want you to become anxious about life.....I don’t want you to feel that life has happened without purpose. God works all things after the council of his own will. You are not a mistake. You are not a mishap. God had a purpose before he ever created a person.....When people look at the bible, they look at it from the wrong perspective. This is the owners that you can get the best out of your life......I want us to recognize that our faith in God is not something that we attach to the end of our lives, but that we must prioritize....You make your decision based on your faith. You walk according to what you believe. You can never say yes to God and have God make you a stranger.....You can never put God first and think that God will forget you and leave you."

If that wasn't a powerful sermon/eulogy, I don't know what it is.  He took me to church and back. I was in my room screaming "Preach on Preacher!" :-)

The service was incredibly inspirational. I loved the fact that all those who got a spot on the podium knew Whitney personally. You could tell those who spoke, spoke from the heart and knew her personally. Loved every bit of it. Incase you missed it, you can watch some of the highlights here and here.

The lesson we all need to learn is that we have to realize that there is a need to love Jesus and each other NOW and not later. As is human nature, praises are sung only after a person is without breath. Ofcourse, I don't know Whitney personally (iWish)...that's why this post is solely based on the words of those who did. It is only after a person dies that it is suddenly remembered just how much we love and appreciate them. With each death, its the same story...there's wailing, then the "i love(d) you"s, the "i miss you", the "what a great person s/he was"s, "I repent"s....then days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months and months turn into years...then we forget...and go on living, like nothing happened. Well, until the next death. How many times do we need to be reminded?

Tomorrow is not promised people so we should show our loved ones just how much we love and care about them while they are still among us...I say this in almost every post but its because its such an important thing to remember...its inspiration that if remembered daily breeds fulfillment in your everyday living.....and loving...

Here are some pictures mostly from the service....

The service bulletin
The Choir

Ray J reaches out to touch the casket

Alicia Keys

Whitney's only daughter Bobbi Christina

Bobby Brown and family
Stevie Wonder
Tyler Perry

Rest in Peace Whitney...Your music lives on.
Do not fear death so much but rather the inadequate life ~Bertolt Brecht
No one can confidently say that he will still be living tomorrow ~Euripides

Stay Inspired....

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Second Lease on Life: The Inspirational Story of Melinda Muniz


How’s everyone doing? I hope everyone had a splendid Love Day :-). I feel a bit sick this morning..I may be coming down with a cold. Bla! This silly bipolar weather is messing with my body. Mschew! Say a prayer for me….as I drag myself through 3 classes back-to-back today :-)

So! This morning I came across this report on Yahoo that inspired me. As usual, I thought to share with you lovely people.

It’s the inspirational story of 35 year old Melinda Muniz, a mother of four who was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (cancer of the blood) last spring. Her and her boyfriend of over a decade had been engaged since 2009 but had not set a date yet.

By early summer, Muniz’s situation was dire. According to her, "I was really pale with bags under my eyes. I was fragile and had lost a lot of weight -- even my mother had said, 'Honey, you're not looking so good,'" she said.

Yet, her fiancé stuck it out with her. Infact, he married her in her hospital bed while she was described as being “literally at death’s door” strapped to IV releasing chemotherapy drugs into her vein. Her finance had brought in a priest to conduct the ceremony at her bedside in June.

As luck would have it, in October, Muniz was able to receive a half-match bone marrow transplant which gave her a second chance at life. Last week, looking and feeling strong and heathier, Muniz decided to redo her wedding photos clad in a white gown and away from the hospital. She had no wig on because according to her husband, "She's beautiful just the way she is."

The photographer, Jerry Tomko is a stomach cancer survivor who provided the couple with free services, including a floral bouquet and a limosine. He said his gift to Muniz was as act of giving back because he too was grateful for getting a second lease on life.

Muniz was shocked and appreciative, she said, "There’s no charge? This is free?....It's so amazing there are people out there in the world, willing to do things like that".

Today, Muniz shows no signs of leukemia.

In her own words…"I feel great and I am starting to get my energy back," she said. "I am eating better, have gained weight and am definitely stronger…..I see a lot of patients are on the waiting list now to get bone marrow because they don't have a match….That's very emotional for me. I had a chance…Words can't explain, how I feel about my wedding pictures…..I felt like we were getting married again."
Muniz and husband
 Inspirational lessons learned? What do you spot. I spotted six solid lessons :-) 
  • -       Appreciate who and what you have now….tomorrow is not promised and not everyone gets a second lease on life.
  • -       Give back in gratitude. Help someone in need. As you advance in life, don’t forget to look back and lend a hand.
  • -       Love unconditionally....
  • -       Be grateful for your life and good health….not everyone is so lucky
  • -       Whatever it is you want to do, do it today! Stop procrastinating your happiness. There is rarely an “ideal” time for anything. Take your challenges head-on now in faith. With God, all things are possible.
Stay Inspired :-)
*Muniz's full story is here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day guys! Sorry I'm sooo late... Believe it or not, I've been in school all day. (phew!) This widely-celebrated Love Day needs to be a universal holiday work, no school, just love (iWish...hehe)

Anyways, today, in the spirit of Love, I just want to say.....I appreciate each and everyone of you who stop by here. I hope you are inspired by every post you read and that it adds value to your life as it does mine...More so, my wish for you today is that you become/remain the star actor/actress in your fairy tale....that love finds you, keeps you and nourishes you in ways you thought you could only dream about.

I encourage you to look beyond Valentine's day as a "Single's Awareness day" or as a "Gifts-Getting Day" but as a day to love and appreciate everyone in your it family, friend or lover :-) Some of my favorite Valentines were spent back in high school. Then, the culture was to exchange gifts with your closest friends including school daughters and mothers. LOL. What ever happened to that? Your Valentine's Day shouldn't be couples-exclusive but should include all those you love and care about. Today, one of the first Love messages I got was from my best made my day because it was a reminder that this day should primarily be about acknowledging EVERY special relationship I have, best friend included. ;-)

Biblically, when I think about love, I think about it as enshrined in 1 Corinthians 13. I love this verse. Its the greatest and clearest definition of love and what we should seek in our relationships with all our loved ones. More so, its a reminder that loved ones come and go but the love of God is one that's eternal, thus paramount. Appreciate that your relationship with God is the most stable loving relationship you will ever have :-)

 1 I may be able to speak the languages of human beings and even of angels, but if I have no love, my speech is no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell.2 I may have the gift of inspired preaching; I may have all knowledge and understand all secrets; I may have all the faith needed to move mountains—but if I have no love, I am nothing.3 I may give away everything I have, and even give up my body to be burned[a] —but if I have no love, this does me no good.
 4 Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud;5 love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs;6 love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth.7 Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.
 8 Love is eternal. There are inspired messages, but they are temporary; there are gifts of speaking in strange tongues, but they will cease; there is knowledge, but it will pass.9 For our gifts of knowledge and of inspired messages are only partial;10 but when what is perfect comes, then what is partial will disappear.
 11 When I was a child, my speech, feelings, and thinking were all those of a child; now that I am an adult, I have no more use for childish ways.12 What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; then we shall see face-to-face. What I know now is only partial; then it will be complete—as complete as God's knowledge of me.
 13 Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is LOVE.
Stay Inspired..... :-)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

When Love Isn't Enough by Christina Arylo

Hey everyone,

I came across this article by Christina Arylo in the Huffington Post today and thought to share. Its discusses marriage and divorce but I'm sharing it here because it definitely applies to relationships as well, especially long-term ones. I find the article very insightful and I couldn't have written it better. Point blank- Not all break ups have to be filled with drama and bitterness. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem to be common knowledge. The norm today seems to be to drag every relationship on till it becomes literally impossible to let go without absolutely hating the person with the same passion with which you once loved them.

Arylo preaches this (and I totally agree)-Except in fairytales, sometimes love alone isn't enough.  Just because you love someone doesn't mean the relationship HAS to work. When its not meant to be, it won't be. If your relationship is not working, leave before resentment turns into bitterness, before bitterness turns into rage, and before rage turns into long-term unhappiness. If your relationship is hurting you now, leave before the hurt becomes a part of you.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE love. Its an incredible feeling :-) And...Love is an extremely important ingredient in any relationship/ is the oil in the wheel of any relationship...makes it progress smoother...However, standing alone it is insufficient to make it work in the long-term. Ask any successfully married couple, they will tell you about a period during which they lost love for their partner...they will tell you it was "other things" (such as commitment, respect, friendship, counseling, mutual goals, etc) that kept them together when the love faded.

DISCLAIMER! I must say that I am in no way advocating divorce. For me, this article resonates "truer" more or less when it comes to relationships. Marriage is wayy more complicated and I have not experienced it so I cannot preach on it. :-) 

Having said that, here's the article (copied and pasted)....with full credit to The Huffington Post. As you read, consider it not only in terms of marriage, but more so, in relationships.

Drama. Deceit. Devastation. It's not just reality TV, it's the reality that most of us experience when we end a relationship, because we don't and won't leave our mate until we reach the point of hating, hurting and hardly speaking. Like a pit bull gripping its most beloved doggie toy, we believe that if we feel any love at all for this person, we must stay, fight and make the relationship work. And only when we think that love is gone, do we concede and dive head first into the despair of an ugly, hurtful, messy divorce.
We will walk on coals to keep our relationship alive, whatever it takes, no matter if we are happy or this person is the best partner for our lives. If you love each other you must stay and make it work or keep trying until things get so bad that you can justify the ending -- no matter how lonely, exhausted or unhappy -- right? Wrong!
This crazy line of thinking has kept people stuck in wrong relationships and suffering through bad marriages for way too long. Even when we know this person will never be the partner we desire, or that we are no longer the best fit, we hang around because we "love them." But love should never require sacrificing yourself or forfeiting your joy or life dreams.
You can love a person and choose not to be with them. Love is not enough of a reason to stay in a relationship.
I figured this out the hard way, after the drama-filled ending of my 15-year relationship, which took the storyline of my fiancé announcing on the car ride to our engagement party, "I don't love you anymore. I don't want to marry you anymore. And, oh by the way, I've been cheating on you for six months." Drama. Devastation. And ouch!
Years later, I realized that the drama and deceit that we created could have been avoided if I had only known: 1) The truth about love and 2) The simple but smart rules to ending a relationship with dignity, grace and love. Yes the split would have hurt, but nowhere near as bad. 

#1 LIE: You shouldn't split up until you've fallen out of love.
TRUTH: Once you love someone, you'll love them forever. People don't fall in and out of love, as if love can be measured. People fall out of trust, intimacy, and respect, not love.
LOVE RULE: During a divorce (or break-up), take "love" out of the equation. 
Eradicate sayings like "I love you, but I'm not in love with you," or "I just love you differently," or "I am in love with someone else." These words are such a cop out. There is no ownership, real feeling or honesty. There is no way to respond. They just cause unnecessary massive hurt. Be honest with your ex or soon to be ex about the real "why's" this relationship is no longer working, which have nothing to do with love or anyone else. It's okay to love each other and still choose to end your relationship, in fact it's the best way. While the split will still be sad, it doesn't have to be dramatic or deceitful.
#2 LIE : If we loved each other more, we would be able to make this relationship work.
TRUTH: Love is only a prerequisite, and it's the easy part. Great marriages take deep partnership, and a commitment and a willingness to grow together and individually on all levels -- emotionally, mentally and spiritually -- by both people.
LOVE RULE: Be honest about what your relationship lacked. Assess on a scale of 1-10 your relationship on six of the most essential parts of a great marriage and growing partnership:
Respect: both of your actions and words never hit below the belt 
Trust: you can and do share everything 
Truth: there is full honesty between each other and with yourselves
Friendship: you're true BFFs, on each other's side, always there for each other through everything 
Intimacy: deep emotional connection
Unconditional Love: always there no matter what, love is never taken away
Think about the last two years of your relationship and be honest. If you score less than an 8 any individual indicator, give yourself the gift of honesty. Act as your own best friend and tell yourself the truth about why this relationship was no longer the right one for you. Being honest with yourself will make it easier for you to take the split less personal. You'll be able to see the love didn't die, but other things did.
#3 LIE: If the relationship ends, we have failed.
TRUTH: The failure is overstaying.
LOVE RULE: Be honest with yourself and each other when it's time to end your relationship, without having to make it anyone's fault. Talk to each other instead of resorting to behaviors that cause drama, deceit and devastation. Your goal is not to become the next reality TV show, but to use the power of unconditional love and respect (that you hopefully started the relationship with) to gracefully transition out of this marriage. Remember, you both want the best for each other, don't you? Use words like, "I love you, and this relationship is no longer good for either of us" or "I am sad that this is ending, and we both know it's time." Which if you're honest with yourself, you both know deep down is true. And because the love is still there, no one has to be in the wrong.
That's it folks. I'd love to hear your comments so please do leave some. :-)
Stay Inspired......