Wednesday, July 16

Layers Exposed - Trading Ashes for Beauty

I knew that I would have to share this one day. Not that I didn't want to but I didn't think I was healed enough, strong enough, and whatever else enough. The lies the enemy tells you when God is revealed in your life…

One February morning I woke up with excruciating pain in my right eye. Light literally felt like its worst enemy. I screamed in agony as I tried to find my sight. It was nowhere to be found. After being rushed to the hospital the corneal specialist determined that I had a corneal ulcer and infection that was bound to take my entire eye due to it severity and rapid growth.

I didn't want to hear it. I knew my God would come through. I knew His glory would be exposed. But I just had to figure out how to get there.

Every area of my life has been tested in these last few months; Physical, mental, spiritual. I would lay in my closet in fetal position and scream out to God. 'Why was I going though this Lord? What did I do? Please take this pain away! Help me to endure it if You won’t!'

There were times I was so bruised, I felt like I couldn't pray. I thank God for using my fiance’ to encourage me in those moments. To remind me I was beautiful, that everything would be alright, and that we didn't believe what the Dr. said as the final word.

But I have to be honest. This situation, where something changed in the physical, made me realize how much as a woman a part of me still classified my beauty according to the outer. Also, how much even family members did. I was always made to believe that my eyes were one of my most beautiful attributes. So what happened when they were hurt, changed, or different? God again reminded me where TRUE beauty comes. At such a deep level it’s almost difficult to articulate.

God gave me the Joy for the tears He counted in a bottle. Even though I was a mess in moments, He never allowed me to be down longer than that. It was in those moments His faithfulness wrapped around and cradled me. After a few weeks I was able to be in light again. The pain gradually started going away. As my cornea began to be healed layer by layer God was healing me from the inside out in the same manner.

‘We saved the eye but I don’t like how slow it’s healing,’ my Dr. would say. Of course I didn't ‘like’ it either. But I knew that God was taking His time for a reason and I just had to be patient. And although I couldn't SEE through my right eye, my VISION became uncluttered. I began to see how selfish I was, how vain I could be, how I hadn't forgiven certain things from my past. I began to see how twisted my prior vision was. How there was a whole old mentality that has to disperse for my true rebirth to take place.

The pruning hurts. But sometimes we've got to get bruised to prevent the real severs down the line. Sometimes we get tested to be redirected, other times it’s to take us to a new level of commitment in our relationship with Christ.

My eye now? Five months later it’s still healing slowly. As am I. Grateful that God renewed my vision, my purpose in Him, and helped me to accept every level of where He has me, holding tight to the promises He made for the future. I’m enjoying the waves, the storms, the rain, the quiet moments, the moments of play and everything else in between. Even though there’s this shadow over my cornea, I know without a shadow of a doubt that God is faithful. 

and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll -- are they not in your record? Psalm 56:8 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13


Monday, December 30

The Gorgeous Inside Challenge

This year my 25th Birthday was extremely special! There weren't any material objects that I craved for whatsoever. I am so content in my portion that everything added and taken away is a blessing at this point. The first half of the day my family and I went to bless others around the town.  25 Random Acts of Kindness for every year of life! Now giving is NEVER about who knows or ANY type of reward that a person can give you back. Giving is about genuineness with a cheerful heart, knowing that your reward is in heaven. I only share this with you all just in case you all ever want to have a unique birthday celebration! You are blessed to be a blessing! Never forget that!

Throughout this journey of Holy Spirit filled stops and detours there was one idea that punctured my heart in the best way to start something brand new! 

The Gorgeous Inside Challenge

How often do we see people emphasizing external beauty? I mean it's every where. From the media to our facebook pages. And do not get it twisted, there's nothing wrong in looking and feeling beautiful, however it becomes an issue when we focus more on things of the flesh as opposed to our inside: our spirit. 

With this challenge I am encouraging women to leave a note on a public restroom mirror or facility reminding others that the mirror will always be too fickle to reflect their true beauty! Or just simply leave a word of encouragement! You can get as creative as you'd like! It's your love note leaving a little sprinkle of love to whomever finds it. 

Please TAG #GorgeousInsideChallenge on Instagram, facebook and twitter with your love notes! You seriously never know who needs a word of encouragement and reminder of God's love! I mean how many times have you been having a bad day and felt blessed by a kind word or deed right on time?! 

I look forward to seeing them!

Here is an awesome example left on a gym mirror in Jupiter, Florida by one of our sisters in love!

(To friends and family who have stayed loyal to the blog even when I haven't posted much, THANK YOU! I will get better! There's so many things that will share with you all soon! 2014 is already awesome!)

Thursday, September 12

Sign On The Dotted Line

A common trend I have seen on social media is people taking others quotes with no respect to it's author. Who doesn't LOVE 160 characters of realness to share anyway?! Everyone can use good words daily. But that does not mean that you can claim it as yours.

Some of you may be saying 'It's not that serious. Who cares?' Let me explain why it can be serious:

You don't know what people had to live through to attain that wisdom. You don't know how many tears they cried to learn that message. You don't know how many hours they spent studying and trying to put things in their own words, finding the treasure in the tests and sitting on God's Word. True, 'there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9)', however at least try to put it in your OWN swag to it.

No one would ever walk into an art gallery and sign their name on someones art. No one plays a record of another artist and says 'that's me'. No one walks into a hospital and throws on a Dr's gown without first having gone through the preparation; without first accepting that calling.

I know everyone is philosopher on social media but the next time you want to claim someone else's work/words/personal experience as your own, please consider signing their name on the dotted line. It's simply respect.

-Paloma Duran
In a way, fraud in business is no different from infidelity in marriage or plagiarism in scholarly work. Even people committed to high moral standards succumb.Miroslav Volf  


Wednesday, May 29

Planting A Seed

Never doubt that you're seemingly small gesture or caring word of advice can make difference.
Each fruit started with a seemingly small seed. You never know when that person will resort back to that word or seed that was planted in their life. God is the grower of good crops. Plant the seeds and don't question the date of their blooming.

I speak from experience. There was a time in my life when I barely cared what my loved one's thought, much less authority. I was lost. I had no belief system beyond the point of thinking life wasn't fair to have given me that portion of pain. My best friend would try to get me to talk to her mother because she knew I didn't believe in God at the time and that she would pray with me. I didn't want to apply it then, but I'll never forget that conversation. Strangers came up to me several times telling me about 'a calling' a upon my life. I honestly thought those people were crazy, but I never forgot. My counselor while at an alternative school kept telling me I was 'too gifted' for this. I never-minded him too. But it still remained ingrained in my heart. 

Its those seeds that they planted, that God preordained them to plant in my life, that took bloom YEARS later. I never forgot the light that was passed to me in my time of darkness. Even though I didn't want to hear it at the time. Those seemingly small words of encouragement set me on different path to get to know God and the purpose within me, for myself. It was years later of course, through seemingly small steps that eventually planted me on a journey of 'cherry blossoms' I had been on all along.

I pray for you dear friend. That you never ever stop giving or being the positive person God called you to be because it seems it's taking you no where or even impacting others. When you are called to plant seeds in people's lives, trust God to do the rest.  

No one is too far gone, too far used, much too deep to be the person they were birthed to be. Never judge someone because of their past or current path. You never know where God is taking them in the future. Sometimes all we can do is plant the seed...

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Wednesday, April 24

11 Ways to Stay Hungry in Harmony

Yes, it's amazing to stay hungry, but can you do it in harmony through all seasons?

The regular wear and tear of life can have an affect of all of us if we don't take care of ourselves. Being a dreamer, as I know many of you are, that hunger can keep us up at night. This hunger is only fed by action. Or so we thought. I am going to share with you 11 ways to stay hungry in and out of seasons without losing your mind or damaging your health.

1. Turn off your phone and become MIA from social media accounts without permission or forewarning. Seems sort of unprofessional right? Well so is directing your attitude upon others because you feel trapped and overworked, or possibly putting the wrong message out there because you're having a bad day. Face your problems before you facebook them.

2. Positive Self Talk and Messages. Sounds corny right? Well allow me to remind you that no one can give you better encouragement than you can give yourself. Come on. You talk to yourself all the time anyway. You might as well be your own cheerleader, mascot and team instead of opponent.

3. Pray. Pray. Pray. If you don't know the benefits of prayer then I suggest you try it. If it's been a while for you, try writing letters to God. Extremely therapeutic and helpful! Besides, where you lack, God will supply.- Philippians 4:19

4. When you're facing issues, please don't go to people that aren't equipped  to speak upon your life in that area. Like if you're having financial issues and need financial advise, why on earth would you go talk to your next broke friend? If you're having marriage issues, your single friends are not the one's to call; nor Tyron. You get the picture.

5. Reading. Who ever said reading is for dorks must have been sippin' on gin and juice. Read things that will add upon you, that will lift you spiritually and challenge you. Watching TV or listening to music is cool but it's so important to be mindful of what you let come inside of you. What comes inside will come out. Above all else, Guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.- Proverbs 4:23

6. Pay attention to what you consume. I love that quote "you are what you eat." And although I am no health guru, nor certified personal trainer, the average Joe will tell you 'when I eat healthy food I feel better, when I eat greasy food, I get the itis." You need your energy to function to the best of your ability. It is your only temple so take care of it.

7. Stop telling those seasonal friends your lifetime goals. Not everyone who asks how you're doing and what you're up to really cares. Some people honestly just want to make sure it's not better than them. Your true confidants should not exceed the number of fingers in one hand.

8. Take it one day at a time. Many times people tap out or never even start because they think about the long term goal instead of the big picture. Each day is a new chance to take a new step. Sometimes you might even crawl or limp. Rest when need be. Then take another step.

9. Understand, accept, embrace the fact that not everyone is going to like you. Not with bitterness and 'these haters' messages every where, but with dignity because it means that you're actually an individual. The person who is liked by EVERYONE has a chameleon suit that is exhausting to change from. Save yourself the headache. It's quite possible to respect and love everyone without necessarily needing them to like you.

10. Your blessing is in being a blessing to others. Have you ever thought that you were having a bad day, then talked to someone that was doing a lot worst, only to come to the conclusion what you're going though is chump change? Be grateful for every breath that you take and use it to be a blessing upon others.

11. Never take things so seriously that you lose your ability to laugh. “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” 
― Charles Dickens. Joy is contagious. Pass it on.

Be that go getter! Balance is everything though!