Faith

So after “The Holiday Disconnect,”  I feel freer and lighter.  I don’t have this heaviness on me anymore… more at peace.  I posted this pic last weekend, and I have to admit I checked the post quite a few times to see who liked it.  I went back to my old ways.  I decided I would ration out my time on social media, only check it on the weekends.  It was kind of weird to be totally disconnected to everyone.  Every now and then I would ask my sister about a few people, we have over 300 mutual friends.  But overall, I was okay not knowing the play by play of people’s lives.  When I heard from them via text or saw them face to face I caught up with them then, and I was cool with that.  I needed this time to work.

I made some strides too! I finished the play I started and actually submitted it to a play festival.  I spent most of the time editing the play: printing it out quite a few times to use my red, flair pen to add dialogue or cross out unnecessary details.  In those edits, I was able to build, refine the characters a bit more, and raise the stakes a bit more.  Along with editing my play, I came across a play that was similar to mine.  The subject matters were not at all the same, but the layout… Yeah, I guess, the layout of the whole piece was quite similar.  Characters were doubled, and the lines were somewhat in code, holding a deeper meaning.  The movement of the play was very much in movements, not in Acts, or scenes… but in physical shifts.  The piece did have the technical parts of a play: a plot, rising action, climax, and resolution, but not a clear linear story… similar to mine.  So, it was kind of refreshing to see that this play was published and has been performed across the world.  It gave me hope that maybe I had a chance.

I read my play aloud to my sister and the first thing she said, “Hmmm that’s sound familiar.”  I just laughed and said, “You write what you know.”

I saw the latest version of the Little Women movie (I prefer the older one featuring Winona Ryder) while I was in this whole editing phase, and more inspiration came about.  The character Joe had this drive to write so badly that she would stay up all night to finish up one of her stories.  I don’t think I ever had that drive, but I did feel like I had work to do and it was now time to start.  I had been sleeping on this for too long. God constantly surrounded me with writers… oh, and one of my writer friends actually called me during this whole break.  We met in New York while working at the same art museum.  He had always had his writing in tow and did quite a few writing residencies.  After ten years, we have still kept in touch.  When I moved back home, ten years ago, he stayed over my parent’s house when he and his wife were moving from NY to the west coast.  And just two years ago when I was in Orlando for spring break, I spent some time with his family… they now live in Orlando. In the course of our friendship, he has managed to publish quite a few of his works and make a short film.  We kept in touch through emails and a phone call here and there… he’s not on social media, which I now understand.  It just gets in the way sometimes.

It’s crazy because when I was younger, writing/ reading was like second nature.  It was therapeutic and my coping mechanism for anything and everything I went through.  Although, I did throw away quite a few of my journals when I moved back to Texas… they were a bit depressing… as if a black cloud was hovering over me.  I’m glad I used my writing to get it out of my system at the time but I had no need for them now.

Inspiration kept me coming, and it helped a lot especially when I had to revisit those dark places.  Even when tears came down my eyes I knew I needed to keep going.  My past served as my inspiration: the old conversations turned into dialogue and old relationships transformed into characters.  I saw my life transpire through the pages and saw the hidden messages throughout my life that lead me to be vulnerable… softened … as if to make me more malleable…

As timing would have it, I went on a cruise for my friend’s birthday … the cruise amplified this disconnect even more because I had no access to the internet for a few days.  I wasn’t going to pay an extra $20 a day just to check a few emails/ texts.  I was going to be just fine within a day or two when we hit land to make the appropriate replies.   It was the four of us and we seem to have the same agenda while on this cruise: Relaxation, positivity, and peace.  There was no drama in our interactions.  We listened to each other, we waited on each other, and we were patient with each other.  We even made time to do a bible study one morning.  One of my friends was reading a book while we were on the cruise and shared a few passages with me.  The book: What Happens When Women Walk in Faith by Lysa Terkeurst.  I ordered the book on Amazon when we hit home.

After the trip, I decided to start my day with a new chapter from the book.  And slowly, but surely it has motivated me to continue the work.  To have faith and just move from there.

 

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. 

Proverbs 16:3 NIV

 

 

 

Holiday Disconnect

To keep the bad things away

So, I have decided to disconnect from social media for a while, at least during the holidays.  I’ll use it for my side hustle, teaching gym classes but I think my consistent strolling/ trolling through random accounts needs to cease.  It takes up quite a bit of time that could be used for creative purposes.  I have done this big disconnect before and it was like I was free… it was weird but I wasn’t bogged down by comparison and just lived my life.  It was a nice feeling.  Also, I was able to receive spiritual guidance more clearly.  I was able to make connections and gain revelation.  I was more focused on what was at hand, my circumstances and how to handle them.  Not that I’m a total mess when I am on social media, but I do tend to get clouded with confusion and doubt.

As a middle school teacher, I have noticed how social media can have an effect on children.  I never met so many insecure, anxious, depressed, confused demographic in my life… I have worked with high school and elementary, yet middle school is a totally different breed.  They are sneaky and manipulative, but sweet and full of compassion.  Some share there deepest thoughts with you and then others can’t say a word to you.  There is no common ground, the whole age group is hard to define.  I’m still amazed at how I can interact with them and get through to them.  So aside from their natural instinct to be hard to deal with, social media doesn’t make it any easier.  Likes, Stories, snap chat all do something to these preteens that I don’t remember going through when I was their age.  Yes, I was uncomfortable in my own skin, went through multiple friend groups, and was made fun, of and had my bouts with insecurities and still do now.  Yet, these kids today are on a totally new level, They are acting out their confusion, acting out their insecurities, acting out their anger in very non-constructive ways.  I try to find a level ground, of being a mentor and teacher, not a friend.  I have learned to create boundaries, and not give in too much because I’m not a licensed counselor, and there’s only so much I can do.  I am pretty strict as a teacher, there are rules in my classroom. I’ve learned to also ignore certain behaviors because really the student only wants attention because he/ she is not getting any at home… let me emphasize the behaviors I ignore are the bad behaviors.  Anyway, I could go on for days on the woes of middle school, but I have learned that these kids today, their confusion, insecurities have been heightened by social media.  There have been so many suicides, school shootings, fights that I had never witnessed when I was their age.  All seem to stem from social media, this need to promote self and this need to belong… this need to be feel valued.

My social media disconnect stemmed from obsessing over a boy.  Yes, my middle school mentality got the best of me.  I started to realize my light was getting dimmed every time I interacted with him. It is the start of our holiday breaks from school, and yesterday I realized after my morning chiropractor appointment, best friend from high school meet-up, yoga class, and talk with my spiritual mentor.. somethings not right with this “friendship.” Friends are there to encourage you, check in with you, this is all reciprocated on the same level of enthusiasm and love…there is no second-guessing their love for you.  I realized this friendship had come to nothing.  What was there is no longer there.  I was trying to force something that had run its course.  I was fighting for this friendship alone.   I was in this friendship alone.  Now, this is not my first rodeo.  I have been here before.   I could barely get out of bed.  My little sister had to drag me to church. And when I could finally get myself to attend service on my own… I broke down in tears, and stranger reached out to hug me. It was pitiful.  I didn’t want to let go but I knew I had to. That was years ago, much more stable now. Same situation, I don’t want to let go but I know I need to, yet this time around I actually have this newfound freedom.  A weight lifted. A knowing that I did all I could do… God will do the rest.  The big disconnect will only heighten my need to come back to myself.  The self God intended me to be.  To give out my energy to those that receive it with open arms. I wish him all the best, but I don’t want my light dimmed anymore, I want to create, accomplish all God has intended for me, and my light must shine…. even if I have to let go and Let God.

2020, is the year of vision.  I want to let go of anything that may hinder a clear vision from God.  I need HIS guidance in this exciting new year… I have actually received part of the vision… just waiting on Him.. or maybe it was actually Him waiting for me.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.   

2 Corinthians 5:17

 

 

Do You, Even If…

Accountabililty partner: Did you create today?Accountability: Did you create today?

I recently went to a bible study led by one of my closet friends from college.  It’s crazy how people come into your life…some stay for a season and others stay for a while.  Those that stay for a season teach you something about yourself  and those that stay, witness your growth and walk alongside you through your transitions.  The ones that stay for a season, may encourage you from a distance or may back away from the “new” you, or rather the authentic you.  Lately I’ve witnessed and gone through some changes with friendships. One, in particular, shocked me because a newfound friendship has now come to nothing.  I had hoped it would have somehow blossomed into something beautiful.  Yet, in time it died into nothing.  We communicate but only online: texting and social media.  I have tried numerous times to see this friend face to face, IRL,  but it doesn’t seem to happen.  I am now at the point of letting go.  Not so much of letting this friend go, but my effort to connect “offline” is no more.  I don’t want to disconnect entirely from this friend, because on paper we are a pretty nice match.  We have the same interests, goals, values… yet, it is very much standstill right now.  This friend actually inspired me to go beyond my work environment and hone into my talents…  Not directly but simply being in their presence.  This friendship pushed me to grow in the arts, to create those opportunities and work towards them.  This friend was in the same ordeal as I was.  We both had this job that was in the arts but yearned to do something on our own… to build an empire.  We had even talked about building something together… I’m kind of hoping we can still build this empire and both put our egos aside.

I have also witnessed friendships changing.  A friend, who started out as a co-worker.  My relationship with this co-worker evolved when we both experienced a loss of drive in our day jobs, we started to seek joy elsewhere.  At first, we hit the pavement looking for new jobs, even open to the possibility of going back to school.  Yet, nothing panned out.  We were struggling to find peace.  Our frustrations were very vocal in conversations, and a newfound friendship started to form.  I started to get back to writing and she began a podcast with a mutual friend.  I started reading, working out, praying more… I was discovering my self outside of my work environment.  In time we both were getting our feet wet in this exciting place.  This place did not have a consistent paycheck, nor any money at all yet it brought us both joy.  We made a commitment to each other, more an accountability agreement.  “Did you create today?”

Time passed and we finished our small projects here and there and encouraged each other along the way.  I started to pull back from outings and people just to own this time to create.  Small breaks from social media did the trick… the need to compare became obsolete… well, it wasn’t so prominent as before.  Soon, co-worker/friend decided to create together.  Similar background in theater/ visual arts leads us to create a film.  In all this self-discovery, old ideas started to strip, and I started to pull back from certain people.  My desire to create became stronger… and my desire for Him, pulled me to seek moments alone.  I wanted to know more… ultimately I needed His inspiration. Also, I felt like no one could give me that clear direction… I had to do this on my own… at least for that moment. In this phase, it was hard especially when I would get a glimpse of everyone on social media.  I got distracted and put my work aside.  I had these moments quite a bit.. and in these moments I had some episodes… crying… wondering why it was not clicking for me.

The summer went by, me-time on full blast and the dynamic of friendships changed… but surprising I stayed afloat… and I managed to finish a play I started a year ago.  In finishing that project, I changed churches, (I haven’t joined this new church but the new environment is giving me that strong spiritual foundation I need right now)  and my desire to “gain access to my door beyond” has become stronger. This goes back to the bible study I mentioned at the beginning of this post.  That was The Word: “Gain access to your door beyond.”  We were asked to write down three words that came to mind after hearing that phrase.  My three words: outside of school, play, writer.  It was now time to seek beyond… to open MY door.  In breaking down the phrase, we came to the conclusion that the door is there, has been there, it was only waiting on you to open it, this door opens up to endless opportunities/ possibilities… this door is behind our fears, insecurities, doubt… access to this door takes faith, courage, and Trust in God.  It is now time for me to open this door not only to experience newness outside of myself but open this door to my authentic self.  To let go of fear, insecurities, and doubt and fully embrace me, even if I am alone for a while, even if people pull away for me, even if I am scared . It is now time to be who I was created to be: outside of school, play, writer.

 

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

Jeremiah 1:5 NIV

 

Power…Part 2

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Once On This Island Jr. Spring 2019. A piece of the vision that He has revealed to me

I had to add part 2 to the title because I realized that I had already used this title before… way back when.  At the time, I was caught up with a boy who I had taken my power… crazy but I don’t even remember which boy I was talking about.  I guess that’s a good thing.  I overcame… oh, yes I remember who it was.  I wish him well.  Moving on… this time I focusing on the power of prayer.  A few weeks ago, I had decided to pray out loud and speak with declaration… I was angry, no fed up… announcing my growth and, the changes I made to get to this point. I decided that I didn’t want to cry or be frustrated about the situation I was in because I was tired of crying.  I had done time and time again and I was done! The tears didn’t make it better… for a moment but not really.  I prayed this time with assertiveness… “You told me this was going to happen.  You told me that was going to come together… I want my blessings now Lord!  I don’t want to cry anymore… I want the blessings you told me about.  The blessings you showed me.”  I said this prayer in my car.  I drove up the driveway, about to cry about the same thing I had been crying over before, opened up the garage, no cars in the garage… I was home alone.  I parked my car into the garage.  Turned off my car. And I started my prayer.  I started speaking out loud.  telling Him I was tired of crying over this… I was tired of being frustrated over this… I was done with my response while in this process.  I declared his power over this situation and declared his vision.  “You are…” “You said…” and crazy I never shed a tear during the prayer.. after the prayer… or the rest of the days that followed.

I know this sounds odd but after I said that prayer, I truly started to believe in the POWER in prayer…something in me started to change.  That prayer gave me so much confidence…The prayer opened up something in me.  I had never felt this before.  I had heard before: Prayer can create miracles, but I think it has a lot has to do with how you pray.  I had never really prayed like that… born and raised Catholic, my natural instinct is to recite memorized prayers, or keep it nice and quiet.  Yet, at this moment, I felt moved… to preach, really.  When I said this prayer… a change happened within me… a power came upon me.  It was not this supernatural whirlwind that whipped me into a different dimension but there was this supernatural knowing that All is well… I will get to the vision… now, you are on board. Now, you believe.  Now you are speaking in Faith, Megan.

So, the origin of this prayer came from my frustration of waiting on God.  I had always had this gift of vision.  God tends to clue me into what is to transpire.  When I was in NY, after about 3 or 4 years I was given a vision… I remember I was on the B38, riding down Dekalb Avenue looking out the window I saw a vision.. as if I watching a movie, of me leaving my job at the time.  A going away party in my honor, all saying good-bye.  I was actually fine with this vision, yet tears rolled down my eyes as if I was leaving defeated.  I came to the big city and nothing came together.. as I thought they would…I needed more time… but as the days went by I a sense of peace came upon me, and assurance that it was time to go.

When I came home I was able to slow down, mend relationships, and build a foundation in Him.  My life had gotten all out of focus those last few years in NY.  I was so focused on success, money, and simply M-E, ME.  When I came home, I was able to grasp HIS calling in my life.. and beautifully, without my doing everything fell into place.  Before I saw that bus vision I was simply me-centered.  I was pushing, forcing things to happen… making things happen… but when I followed through, made that move and was I obedient to His call, I saw those around me more clearly.  I needed to sit down, listen, observe, detach… and start His work.

So, I am in this same predicament again.  He gave me a vision but there is no real action I can do.  Like before it was the simple task of moving… packing up my things and head home.  This time, I am not too sure what to do… there is no clear step by step to allow this vision to come to pass.  This is when the gift of vision becomes frustrating and I get downright angry… which prompted “the prayer.”

Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, “ GOD has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”? Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? GOD doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon GOD get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:27-31‬ ‭MSG‬‬

 

The Work

 

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November 2018 UIL Middle School District Competition @ Chavez High School.  And A Child Shall Lead Cast and Crew

It’s a been a while since I have written an entry but it is the new year and I have had this overwhelming push to write again.  I had some time to get my footing as a theater arts teacher.  I had gotten so focused on competitions, answering emails, and to be honest, SOCIAL MEDIA… that I didn’t create time to reflect on the whole process through writing in this blog. Maybe there was a part of me that wanted to appear that I had it all under control… when I really worried about every detail on how everything was going to turn out. I was still unsure on how I got here and there I was in the thick of it…

This past year proved to be a time to remind me to get back to writing… to start creating.  Although it has only been three years…well 2 and half years of teaching… I had lost the desire to create. I got in the routine of getting up, heading to work (school), gym and then sleep.  I didn’t prioritize my time to even write a short entry to just get things going.  I don’t ever want to go back to that because to be honest I really don’t want to be teaching for too long.  I enjoy inspiring children.. in fact, I have realized that I enjoy the directorial role, creating an intriguing dynamic between characters in interesting vignettes… but to be locked down in a school for 8 hours, 5 days a week is not what I want for too long…  to be a retired teacher is not my life’s goal…to be working towards retirement of anything, really…

I was really inspired by Suzan-Lori Parks, one of the most innovative playwrights of this time. A friend of mine had taken me to see her… timing is everything.  People come into your life to steer you back on course.  I would not have ever known about this event if he hadn’t told me about it.  God is good.  So in the lecture, she talked about her journey as a writer. How she studied creative writing, which then led to her writing plays, motivated by James Baldwin, himself.  Also, her time spent in New York, in which she wrote, directed her first play at a coffee shop.  She didn’t have much of an audience but she did it.  Her boldness and confidence in her talent sparked something within me…

During the Christmas break, I have been watching old films, particularly Green Pastures and Cabin in the Sky.  Both films have a spiritual… biblical backdrop.  Green Pastures breaks down the stories of the Bible from God’s perspective, giving you a sense of God’s plan, ultimately God’s love.  Cabin in the Sky deals with the spiritual warfare that takes place in our everyday lives centered on a couple, Petunia, a devout follower of Christ and “Little Joe” who is struggling to leave his gambling ways to be more like Petunia.  As I watch these films, I catch myself rewinding certain parts and looking at scenes over and over again.  I laugh and take in the dialogue but something is stirring within me.  The Work is a play I started a few summers ago.  It deals with generational curses and the battle to overcome them…. kind of like the musical Carousel, in which the daughter starts to become just like her deceased father until his spirit intervenes to steer her off his dark path.  I want to create something like these pieces.  I want to create a piece in which we are reminded that the true battle is in the unseen.

I had always had a keen sense of spirit… I have felt the light… and even the dark. The battle is real.  Relationships are his biggest desire to destroy.  Friendships, Family, and Lovers.. the enemy hates it all.  Thoughts of rejection, insecurities, comparison … it’s all part of his deceitful plan to break up unity.  I want to create a piece in which we are reminded of our true enemy… or rather enemies (his crew.)

The play will not serve as a scare tactic but a call to love… to look beyond the negative thoughts that the enemy speaks to you… and be aligned to our true source.  Speak to Jesus/God and activate his power to fight the darkness… He is the only way.

So here’s to 2019:  To create more time to write and finish The Work…. the play and His work in me.

And that about wraps it up.  God is strong, and he wants you strong.  So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons for the best materials.  And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way.  This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours.  This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to finish against the Devil and his angels.

Ephesians 6:10 MSG

 

Full Circle

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Period 5 Theater… my favorite class 🙂

I am finding that I am itching to grow in the Arts… as in becoming a better theater arts teacher and I am not sure if I stay still I will grow.  My surroundings are slowly but surely causing me to take the easy route… just be down right lazy.  I know I should not let people steer me off course, but when the majority of the atmosphere is this “bare minimum” state of mind, I can’t help to feel a bit complacent.  I know in the past, I was a minimalist in all aspects in dealing with the day job… not that I had a night gig or anything.   I know, “do better, Megan,”  but, I wasn’t being lazy… I just felt like that was my calling at the time.  The inner work needed to be taken care, so my jobs before never caused me to overdo it, in a sense.  I was a teacher assistant for about 4 years… I had the opportunity to become a dance teacher but in my interview, it became quite obvious that I was not ready for the responsibility…   I needed more for preparation.  I needed more time to accept my calling.  Like David, who spent most of his life in the field before he became king.  Not too much responsibility, but just enough to clear out what needed to be clear out … or rather what needed to be cultivated within me.

Recently, I was reconnected with a friend.  We were in the same circle of friends a few years back…back when I was a “performance artist.” I hung around with a group of artists in the infamous Third Ward.  Now, even though I lived off Kuykendayl and I-45, I would flock to Third Ward two to three times a week to be part of the daily happenings within the circle.   The daily happenings ranged from conjuring up ideas for a grant proposal, rehearsing for the upcoming show, or playing Monopoly…yes, Monopoly.  This group gave me value. I was able to see my worth in this group.  I was surrounded by talent, and most importantly I was accepted by this talent.  Performances, art openings were quite frequent.  There were usually at least 2 exhibitions every week, so I started to meet other artists.  I got to know so many creative people and were actually interested in getting to know me.  It gave that celebrity feeling without me being on the cover PEOPLE magazine.  I was seen.  I was adored even.  I was part of everyone’s art project… everyone wanted me to be part of their project.  I know, I know, “keep at it, maybe you could make a living doing this!” But you see in order to make a living doing something, income must be generated from some source.  I made absolutely no money doing this.  The artists I worked with would apply for these grants, money for these art projects, but I never saw a dime of any of it.  Mind you, these grants were usually a few 1,000 dollars… not even $20 was given to me.  I even posed for a life-sized portrait that was sold for $10,000.  Did I get a smidge of that?  NOPE!  So I was working/ posing for their… let me emphasize THEIR projects and getting nothing in return.  No fruits to my labor.

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In time, something hit me and I decided to take a break from it all.  At first, I thought it was just because I got tired of seeing the same people all the time.  As I started to take off a week, then a month, then months, I realized it wasn’t the people that I got tired of but I got tired of being in the dark.  Within this break, my family became a priority and me figuring out who I was, am, without the third ward crew.

Fast-forward to…. two boyfriends later, friendships ended, new ones gained, forgotten friendships renewed, a church that teaches me the true meaning of Worship, and the realization of my calling as a teacher…A path that was nowhere near linear…Unexpected people and places on my path….and having no idea that it would lead me to teach theater.  God certainly put that dream in me… literally! I had a dream of a stage that first started off small with hand-made scenery, then as my eyes shifted towards the right, the stage, or rather each stage got bigger and bigger and the scenery more elaborate than the one before.  A vision of the plan.

So now, my first year as a Theater teacher has come to an end, and my desire to grow in this field has expanded, causing me to seek more nurturing surroundings in the arts… as in leaving my current position.  So, after weighing out the pros and cons, and being content with staying if God called me to.. I applied to another Theater position.  The position was actually in my old stomping grounds… not Third ward.. but Garden Oaks/ Oak Forest area.  This was my home, where I attended elementary school, St. Rose of Lima, and dance classes at Sullivan’s/ Texas Tap Ensemble… This was where I began.

It all happened within a week.  I applied and in that same week got an interview, and the next day I got the job (all before the school year ended, so I didn’t have to spend the entire summer applying to jobs as I did last summer.) It just flowed right together… not a whole lot of effort on my part, just simply God’s grace.

As the new school year approaches, I am a bit nervous, being that I have some major responsibilities to take on.  I want to do well… I want to win this competition and I want to put on a great show… I want to be a great teacher.  More than ever I want to please God… I NEED Him more than ever.  I need His inspiration, pure wisdom, His peace to get me through this.  I am feeling a bit vulnerable these days.. not to the point of tears but I need to call on Him more than I did before… placing a large amount trust in him… which I believe was His plan all along.

Dear God,  I am ready to listen.  I am ready to follow through. I am ready to surrender to the call.

“This is the appointed time.” –  John Gray 🙂 August 23, 2017

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up.  And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.  And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Luke 4:16-21 (ESV)

 

 

 

A Woman’s Worth

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So It has been a long while since I have written an entry.  Actually, I have made several attempts to start an entry on various topics that crossed my mind in the past…let me think… 8 months.  All attempts were valid but I have decided to start, complete and publish this entry because this subject matter has been a constant theme for the past 8 months.

My last entry dealt with applying for jobs while teaching art during my summer vacation.  A somewhat bittersweet season that pushed me to cling to God and ask for guidance on a daily basis.  In this quest, I did receive revelation via a dream.  I had a dream I was talking to Hispanic young women, teenagers, and I only remember the words I told them in the dream, “You must know your worth.” or something along those lines.  In the dream, the girls simply listened and had the utmost respect for me.  When I woke up, I felt empowered that I had this task to take on and then, of course, I asked, “Why was I only talking to Hispanic young women.”  It simply goes to show that God gives you information little by little because by the end of the summer I had received a job at a high school, teaching theater and dance, along with being the drill team dance assistant director at a high school that was predominantly Hispanic.

The position took some getting used to.  Especially coming from working at a Catholic school in The Heights, and then a magnet school nestled in the lush South Hampton neighborhood.  Then on top of that, having a private school education majority of my life… well, I experienced public school education during my middle school years, which gave some street cred but not a whole lot since the school resided in West University.

So I accepted the position and in the first couple of months, I had to “man-up” and be quite stern with my students.  I was given this advice from a fellow educator who works in the infamous Aldine school district.  It proved to work because it is now spring semester and those once troubled students are now participating, wanting to do better.  And there is an overall sense of respect in all my classes.  No longer do have that one student that changes the whole dynamic, in fact, that one student has now become interested in pursuing theater.  Somehow this overall peace in my classroom is present.  Now, I give no credit to me just me putting my foot down but simply to God.  Since my first day of school, I have been praying over every desk in my classroom.  I do a walk through every morning with my hands extended on the desks, praying my students are able to release any pain and/ or anger in the process of participating in my class.  I guess I was aware at some point in my life that the arts have the power to heal, but it has become quite clear now that I am now the facilitator of this emotional release.

I remember when I first got the position.  When I had the interview with the principal I knew I needed to be there.  The school was nowhere near the utopian school with involved parents or students that did above and beyond but I knew my presence was needed in this moment. I knew I needed to share the arts with THESE students.  I remember the week before school officially started, professional development week
for the teachers, as I was introducing myself to the teachers, and getting my classroom together I had a smile on my face but was suppressing the very fact that I was super nervous and felt… well, inadequate.  I knew God had planned this … this was the next step towards the bigger picture.  I held in a lot of what I was feeling. I was “Faking it, until I made it.” Now, of course, when you hold stuff in they are bound to come out eventually…  well mine came out in tears while in church. The perfect place, right?! I went to church and I don’t particularly remember the sermon but near the end the pastor wanted to do a special prayer over the teachers. The teachers had to stand up while the others had their hands extended towards the teachers in the church. Right when Pastor Jeremy recited the first line of the prayer, tears started to roll down my face, and all that frustration I was holding onto flowed out. This was my emotional release.

I am now in the thick of it.  The school year is about to come to an end and I survived dance competition season!  My theater students are pretty comfortable in expressing themselves, of course in an appropriate manner, and have gotten to know the girls pretty well on the drill team.  The teacher role has certainly crossed over to mentor role.  And yes that “worth” lecture has come up in some various conversations with my students… especially my female students. Yet, more than ever I have even seen that “worth” lecture crossover to my circle of friends and family, and even strangers on my path.  This bringing up of women, in general, has become a trend in my life … I am starting to have more clarity on how to go about it now.

Throughout my life, I have allowed my light to get dim in certain areas of my life.  In comparing myself to others, in looking for men to give me value, and simply not adhering to God’s guidance.  I have been so caught up in seeking outside myself for value and instead of seeking Him to know my value.  At this point in my life, successfully being single for a whole year I now know where my value lies.  I now have boundaries and have shed some “fleshy” attributes of myself.  Of course, this process calls me to pray to Him on the daily to stay on course.  I am not a finished product but I do see a change and that makes me smile… chin up and chest out 🙂

 How can a young person live a clean life?
    By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;
    don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart
    so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God;
    train me in your ways of wise living.
I’ll transfer to my lips
    all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
    than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you,
    I attentively watch how you’ve done it.
I relish everything you’ve told me of life,
    I won’t forget a word of it.

Psalm 119:9-16 MSG

 

Light, Salt, and…Sand

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This whole summer, particularly this month has been filled with filling out applications and going on interviews.  The interviews have been a blessing, but the rejections have been eye-openers.  The rejections have led to me to ask God constantly, “so what do you want me to do again?”  Surprisingly, the rejections have not put me in a low state…I mean I do have my moments but they don’t last for days.  I’ll speak or cry out my frustrations, then within an hour or so move on to the next application… or wait till the next day…. or next week…Which is exactly what I did the week before my trip to San Diego. On that Monday, a few days before I went on my trip, I had an interview at a school that I really wanted…. well, actually I had two interviews with the same school I really wanted on the same day to first meet with the Fine Arts coordinator and then a second interview with the principal.  I felt good about it and was hoping to get a call right before I left for my trip that Thursday,  so I could enjoy my trip and be at ease….  but my wishes were not met and had to go on my trip with uncertainty.

I had planned on working my teacher modules and fill out job applications while I was on my trip just to stay afloat and be ready for whatever came my way when I came back… but that didn’t happen… in fact, I didn’t think about anything while I was away.  My days were spent on three different beaches, taking a morning hike along the mountain landscape, and feeling the cool breeze while relaxing in an outdoor hot tub.  I got sucked into that Cali vibe all the way! I didn’t have a set plan or anything…I was flexible… I was calm…I was at peace… I was on some type of high that lasted the entire the trip. I thanked God under my breath at every minute …I thanked Him for the beach, the deep sleep, the food, the funds to get away… Everything!!!  I was okay when I was away.  The interviews, the applications, the emails that I needed to send… the emails and calls I was trying to avoid were all a distant memory.

On the last full day of the trip, I went to my friend’s church, EastLake.  The church reminded me of the church I go here in Houston, Hope City.  It had that same laid-back vibe and ambiance. The service opened up with praise and worship and the groups of singers were young and sang songs that I hear of KSBJ… “Ever Be” was one of them… I love that song.  The familiarity of it all brought on more peace within me.  As I sang the best I could… I’m not the best singer.  I think I’m an Alto but can’t always hit those low notes… I dip into soprano at times… or whatever… I had stopped singing when one of the singers took over one of the songs.  I can’t recall the name of the song but it was a beautiful song partly due to the fact the singer had an amazing voice… along the lines of Fiona Apple and Adele…deep, raspy, and soulful and yes, she was white.  Anyways, not only did her voice get my attention but her shirt got my attention.  It read, in gold letters: “Light and Salt.” The scripture came to my mind… I loosely remembered the verse… you are the salt of the earth, the light to the world…  let your light shine… I held on to that message.

The next day I went back to work, teaching art, and somehow held on to my Cali state of mind. Throughout the day nothing bothered me.  I hadn’t heard from that school I really wanted but did get an email from another school for an interview.  I was cool with it.  I was so chill that day,  even when I got my favorite Mexican shirt dirty, I didn’t react I simply washed it out with soap and water at the classroom sink, taking my time while  a group of students waited for me to be done.  I didn’t care…I got through the day and had decided to head home after work to rest for a bit and then headed to the gym to take a class…. I was fine… Feeling good…

Well, sad to say that “feeling good” thing didn’t last long… the next day, the day of that other interview something hit…. this something hit after the interview, Thank God… it was the realization that I had no idea what was happening.  Right now every day seems like a surprise… which can be cool … but my controlling side is not too keen with that.  Every day I am doing what I can and waiting on God to His thing.  I try something and then ask for His direction… I go with what LITTLE details He gives me.  My dreams give me little vignettes, clues of what is ahead…and  I keep seeing the numbers: 11, 22, 33, 44…333…4444…777…. lots of 7s and 4s.  I googled this phenomenon and it all points to being on the right track and God, Jesus, and the angels support and are providing guidance.  Well, the numbers do give me that extra encouragement but this uncertainty has got me…well it’s got me calling on God more often… I feel like my last entry was about this.  A daily call for assistance… daily bread…

A close friend of mind told me that I am officially a month old of 33 years old… my resurrection year… a call to His will as come to the forefront … and I’m a little nervous but excited at the same time…kind of.

 

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

 

 

 

Take The Lead!

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Now more than ever I feel like God wants me to step out.  No longer in the background, as if to say, “All that was needed to be taught, healed has been done and you are now ready to be fully in the world.”  Of course, I will always be a work in progress but the realization of who I am as come into view.  I spent a huge part of my life running away, or rather taking control of what I thought I was, but now I’m in full surrender.  I’m so in full surrender that I am actually applying to be a certified teacher.  I feel like God is pushing me to do this.  He gave me a short gig to give me a glimpse of what he has called me to do… in this moment, at least.  Around this time last year I had applied to be a dance teacher and while in the interview I was not fully committed.  I was not fully in it.  Although I got pretty far into the interview, second round, I did not get the job because it was obvious that I was not committed to making this a career.  I knew it was a part of me but it was not all of me…yet when it was all over I missed those moments of creating dance lessons, putting together a performance, watching the children perform…I missed it all.  I knew having these feelings were a clue into what God had called me to do.

Throughout this month I have been praying really hard to just get a new job! I apply for jobs every day… praying something will come through.  I have been asking God to take over and open up an opportunity that will give me clarity… opportunities that will add on to the foundation that has been planted within me.  I’ve mainly applied to Theater/ Dance positions… I started applying in May and now, at the end of June I’m starting to hear from a few schools… all for theater jobs.  I just came back from one interview. I talked to the principal and she showed the classroom and stage… and I left feeling … well, it was nice to get interview mode… ease some nervousness for the upcoming interviews I have scheduled.

Now, working in a school can be… well, somewhat stifling for “the freed artist” but maybe this new position will open up something within me… I’m simply trusting in this guidance.  I guess there is a certified teacher in me that I need to let flourish… certification would be nice to add to my expertise… although a resume filled with degrees.. certifications means nothing in God’s eyes… He has the power to open doors that a fancy resume couldn’t!  Who know’s maybe God will open up a door that I have not even applied for… until then I’m in teacher interview mode… putting my best foot forward.

But yeah, aside from the interviewing I have spent a quite a bit of time writing a new play… somewhat autobiographical… don’t want to give too many details but along the lines of generation curses… and I’m trying to go big with this one…. musical theater like… Broadway?!  Watching the Tony’s got me a little inspired 🙂

 

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4 NIV

 

Simply Trust and Believe…

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The school year is officially over and summer is here.  I have some opportunities teaching dance to keep me occupied throughout the summer and have scheduled a trip to the west coast for some rest and relaxation at the beach.  Although the summer has just started I already feel like it’s going to go by so fast… yet, I am hoping it slows down a bit so I can figure out what’s next in my life.  These past few months I have definitely felt a shift within me that’s yearning for a change. I had this same feeling a few months before I moved back home from New York… everything appeared to be the same but my inner being seemed to be moving elsewhere, not wanting to stay where I was.  I have this same feeling now.  This shift to make a change was confirmed in a dream I had about a week or so ago… I was in different locations, almost a step by step of my past to the present and then the future…the end result was… well, it was not where I am at in this present moment.  I knew the place, the location, but how to get there wasn’t quite clear … I was only shown where to go.

So after I had the dream I came across this documentary HOLY GHOST.  The film was pretty much curated by the holy spirit.  The director had no script, storyboard, no plans really on how to go about the film… he was simply in full surrender to wherever the Holy Spirit led him to.  The crew ended up traveling across the world, to a Muslim mosque in Morocco, Mormon territory in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Hindu shrines in India speaking of and praising Jesus Christ through song without any violence erupting… they were accepted, protected the entire trek.  Their tactics were quite different to what is usually seen on street corners, people holding signs speaking harshly into a microphone about damnation, and the urgency to repent…instead they walked the streets peacefully, being led to certain individuals in a gentle manner offering healing to any ailments they may have had. All the individuals they approached were open to receiving healing… and the crew of pastors/ believers simply laid their hands on them and prayed boldly in Jesus’ name…truly believing… the holy spirit was working through them… They were truly using His power. Also, aside from that, what kept them on course were promptings/ visions of landmarks that they were to visit… and somehow the very people they helped led them to these very landmarks.   They simply allowed the spirit to lead them without questioning or even figuring out on their own on how to get these landmarks… they truly put their trust in God.

The film made me think of moments in the past in which I was led by The Holy Spirt.  I had received a vision,a dream… I mean there was even a time I was lost in New York and heard a gentle voice lead me to which subway car to get on, and which exit stairway to walk out of and then I was led to a friend that actually needed some encouragement en route to where I needed to go.  I have had other experiences like that but at this moment, I do feel like the Holy Spirit is far from me… or maybe my old way of being in control is getting in the way to allowing to be led.  The dream excited me a bit, but really pushed me to know how and when this will all going to come about…anxious… impatient, really.  I want it all to transpire fairly soon but it’s only causing frustration from within.  As this month is ending, I am telling myself to trust and truly believe that the Holy Ghost will lead me… I don’t need to worry or make plans on how to have what He has shown me… I have done that before and it did not end so well…the Lord will lead me to the right people/ places to bring about my destiny.  Simply trust and believe….. my mantra 🙂

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The pic above is me in my new car… definitely an intercession of the Holy Spirit… confirmation that The Holy Spirit will come through and is listening.  In my old car I kept saying “I just want a reliable car”  and “a SUV would be nice!”  Now, in my own thinking I would’ve had to wait and save money but God made it happen way quicker…. okay, I got it… simply trust and believe… it’s coming sooner than you know it!

 

Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’  Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

Geneis 18:13-14 (NLT)