Draw Near To God

 

I am excited for what’s happening in the month of June. My first children’s book will be published!! What started as an idea being in a comic-con convention to an actual illustrated book was an adventure and I cannot imagine doing it by myself.

Well, maybe that’s a lie. When I got my first idea for writing a book I thought I could do it myself. I knew the book would be dental related and drawing couldn’t be that hard…so I thought. I figured out quickly I needed an illustrator.

First, my husband went on forums  to find an illustrator for me. A lot of people responded but did not meet the criteria. People responded to my post that did not believe in my book idea so they would back out. There were people that responded with sketches that appeared as if they were rushing, missing important details. It was frustrating trying to find an illustrator.

When I exhausted my obvious options I decided to pray and ask God for my illustrator. I had an idea for how I wanted my characters to look but I needed someone to capture that on paper. I prayed for the illustrator’s personality to sync with mine since I was working with them. I was led to looking for an illustrator in a Facebook group and within a day or two later three people responded.

I asked God to narrow down my list of illustrators and give me the best one for my first book, the rest was history…

There were sooo many lessons I learned from working with an illustrator. Staying humble, being open for critique, patience, etc, etc. The biggest lesson was I couldn’t complete my book without God or my illustrator. As it starts off in Peter 4:8 “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you..” I had to spend time in his presence and then spend time learning the way he wanted the book . Yes, I would’ve drawn the characters myself but at the same time I felt nudges from my heavenly father saying ‘I want yours done a certain way.’ Working with the illustrator taught me a lot and to trust God knows what’s best.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” – Ryunosuke Satoro

 

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Bloom Where You’re Planted

Have you ever walked on the sidewalk and noticed a flower growing through the cracks? I thought it was impossible but plant roots will grow anywhere there’s water and that includes being ‘oddly’ positioned between slabs of concrete.

When I accepted my position as a chemist I thought it was very odd. If anyone knew my background with chemistry they would know I struggled…ALOT! I took organic about 500 times and once I graduated I told myself ‘never again will I do chemistry’….untill 5 years later lol. I was shocked to get a callback but once I walked into the environment I felt like I was out of place. It only took a couple of weeks and I was ready to explore something else. I ended up addressing my concerns to God (even now) and he shared a few of his reasons to why I was placed there. I couldn’t understand why he would pick a place like that for me to grow. I already had plans for how I was going to grow… like a Hibiscus flower grown in the tropic environment, I was going to grow in my ideal career environment. Instead, this hard,dry- looking place was where I was supposed to grow.

So how do you bloom where you’re planted? Honestly, I fought this for a while lol but since the time I started I grown to appreciate all of the experiences I’ve had. I try to focus on the bigger picture to why he have me there including praying for others. Making the most of my time by helping others , learning new things , and pushing out of my comfort zone has been major keys to my growth, I believe.

Understand you may be positioned in a place that seem unlikely for you to grow but know that God has an awesome plan for you. So Bloom where you’re planted!

 

The benefits of stretching

Dance class and cheering had this one thing in common I did not enjoy, called stretching. I hated stretching! While it was easy for some girls, it wasn’t for me. I knew stretching had its benefits but I thought it was better to skip and move on to practice or performing. I would stretch my legs as far as I could with all my strength, then my instructor would come and push against my back to go further. This was done on a weekly basis I couldn’t avoid it. Stretch,practice,perform, repeat. Stretch,practice, perform,repeat.

 

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The last quarter of this year for me gave me that same feeling. I felt an uncomfortable ‘pull’ especially at work and though it didn’t bring me to tears it made me ask the Lord ,”Why?” After asking why I remembered how important stretching was for my body. Stretching improves my performance, helps my body move effectively, and decrease my risk of getting hurt.  I believe the benefits of stretching in the natural applies in our relationship with the Lord. He stretch us out of our comfort zone so our faith can strengthen in him and to become more flexible…adapting to his ways. Similar to my cheer/dance days, I’m always hoping the Lord would skip the stretching part of the process however, it’s necessary in order to fully develop. Don’t worry if you need help stretching he’s always there to help: Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

 

 

 

Finding My Voice

I was about two months into my job when I heard God say “You’re going to find your voice.” Find my voice? I didn’t have a clue on what that meant but I had a STRONG idea it would involve me being uncomfortable. Finding your voice is finding a way to connect by expressing your ideas or discovering courage as you walk in your greatness. I thought I heard God wrong because with the role I had at my job , I didn’t see where I could use my voice. As things started to shift, opportunities came for me to speak up . Still to this day , I’m adjusting to vocalizing my opinions at work and am now faced with a new challenge.. Periscope.

Never would I ever THINK of being on Periscope in all the days of my life until I had the idea for a children’s book series called, Ella’s Greatest Adventures. A good friend mentioned the benefits of creating live content a few times but I kept shrugging it off. Eventually, I couldn’t shrug it off because I was surrounded with the idea at business workshops, books, and podcasts. I finally got the nerve to make a video and it was HARD! I looked at it as if I’m giving a presentation in an empty room and as people join it becomes overwhelming. I’m still working on getting better because its not about me.

Finding my voice was never about me, it’s all about God. Of all the things he could’ve gave me as a talent, expressing himself verbally and through writing, are some of the ways he sees best through  me. Everything we say or think he values and I think during this season he wanted to let me know that as well.

 

Daily dose of inspiration 

Listening to music has been my number one go to at work for the longest! I thought it was taking me to that creative space but that changed once I finally clicked on the podcasts app on my iPhone.

Well first things first, what’s a podcast? It’s like a radio show where people are sharing their knowledge with you for free! It’s having access to people you admire ,it’s loads of inspiration and you can’t help but get your creative juices flowing! Here I’ll share my favorites:

The potters touch/The alternate on one place 

Hearing TD jakes and pastor tony Evans speak in my ears every week is so encouraging! I love listening to them because they’re the friend that truly wants the best for you and they tell you in a way where you have no excuse for being stuck.

Dave Ramsey show

The people on here sharing their debt free stories are awesome and dave’s advice to financial freedom is contagious to where you’ll start working on ways to be debt free as well.

Support is Sexy 

This podcast is full of ladies that support each other in their businesses. The interviews are amazing and helpful for those looking to go in similar paths.

Kingdom driven entrepreneurs 

Ok there’s like a million businesses but when I found this podcast I had to subscribe! Its doing business God’s way , sharing how they started as an entrepreneur as well as share , and it’s all fun!

Life &Dentistry

First, I love their sense of humor but most importantly I love the topic.. dentistry! The guys just graduated dental school so they share their life experiences as well as interesting cases they handle at work. This podcast is so awesome!

Dreams in drive/ Side hustle pro/ The minority trailblazer

Ok, this trio is the best ever! The first podcast I ever listened to was an episode on The minority trailblazer and that opened my mind to the world of podcasts. I love Greg hill’s energy when he interviews guests, he’s passionate about making a change and helping others to do the same. Dreams in drive podcasts are very thought provoking. The way Rena asks her questions you can’t help but connect the dots to your story to focus in on your purpose. Then there’s Side hustle pro podcast . Nicayla makes business sound so interesting . This podcast is full of information on how to get started in your business and it’s not overwhelming.

I have French /Spanish podcasts, research, tech, etc but I just wanted to mention a couple that I listen to as my daily dose of inspiration , enjoy!

Glossophobia

What is glossophobia? It’s the fear of public speaking and something I hate the most.  No matter how hard I avoid speaking , the environment creates a platform that requires everyone to talk . In school, I was the student that would not make eye contact with the teacher. I figured if we made eye contact there was a higher chance of them calling my name. I never liked introducing myself  or presenting to a crowd of people. I’m not sure how I dread speaking in front of groups of people, but I was a cheerleader and jazz/tap dancer, go figure.. Maybe it was the fact I felt comfortable performing as a group rather than by myself. Either way, as I continue to grow I notice there is no escape for public speaking. So instead of hiding it’s time to face the music,awkward stares, and everything else public speaking may bring.

Practice, practice, practice. I remembered practicing my capstone presentation with my teacher after her office hours and it was worth every minute! I was scared because I was not only presenting to my colleagues but to teachers and I had no idea what they were going to ask. My teacher helped me as far as my posture, making eye contact, and not being wordy in my power point. The time spent in practicing  those minor details helped me in a major way the next day when I presented my research.
Engage with the audience. Remember when I said I felt comfortable performing as a group rather than by myself? Speaking in front of people is like a big performance so it’s important to get everyone involved to avoid feeling awkward. I like asking questions to not only take the spotlight off myself but it’s a way get everyone engaged.
Picture everyone_____. Ok I’m not sure about this one lol. People would say if I pictured everyone in the room in underwear or something I would feel at ease. Actually I think it would make me look silly laughing in front of everyone like I’m on medication, no thanks. I heard this works but honestly I just like to get through the speaking so I can hurry and sit down.
Don’t look at everyone in the face. I look for that one person I’m comfortable with and pretend they are the only ones in the room. Focusing on one person vs the entire room help me control how fast to talk and keep my nerves in check. When I was a little girl I had to recite my Christmas speech and I would not look at anyone in the face! Instead I randomly stared at the big church hats, people teeth, and the big clock that hung in the back of the church LOL.
I thought my fear of public speaking would have disappeared as I got older, instead it got smaller which is progress! If you’re like me I’m here to say you’re doing great!  Always remember there’s a platform waiting to hear your voice to gain insight, stay encouraged, and be inspired.
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For The Selective Palate

 

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I’m not sure what brought me to this path of being a picky eater. I could say money was a factor or the fact my mom worked long hours. Truth was, the last thing on her mind was to come home to cook a Lebanese Thanksgiving meal. Even if she did cook like that, I already made my mind up that if it’s not the texture then it’s the presentation of food that will make me cringe. Also, the fact I had people that supported my picky outlook on food rather than push me to try new things.  Why change when you already know what’s best for you, right? Well this all started to change once I got married. For my husband’s birthdays he likes to try new dishes and for some reason I started having the same craving to try new things as well. Rocky start but eventually I became open to new possibilities.

This continued in the workplace as well. My business trip to New York interrupted my comfort level greatly especially with food. We went to restaurants I would probably pass by in order to get some pizza and was served beverages that reminded me I was not in the south.  I did have a chance to visit a French restaurant and for the first time I tried macaroons!  Who would have guessed this picky person would one day open up to opportunities and try something better than the ‘norm’?

The way I am with food is sometimes translated in my relationship with God. I’m very persistent (okay, stubborn at times) and I like to have things done a certain way because that’s what I’m used to. However, I’m also learning that with God his way is better and part of understanding his way requires faith. It’s not easy. It’s like having a plate of some of the nastiest vegetables and your parents saying ,”Eat it, it’s good for you”.  Eventually , your taste changes and you become sensitive to what you eat and open to new dishes. Once you ( including me ) realize God’s hand in your life , you’ll become sensitive and willing to submit to his path.  So for the selective palate, I dare you to go out and explore not only food but God’s will for your life 🙂image1 (2)

emBrace Your journey 

Have you ever imagined accomplishing a goal but because of your age you were ‘too late’? It’s so easy to place an expiration date on something that shows no sign of being ruined soon.

I’m in my late 20’s and I just got braces.. for the second time! Looking back from my first experience, there was a lot of challenges I faced and one was the result of my mom not being able to finish my treatment plan. Little did I know, the setbacks I experienced inspired my appreciation for dentistry. If I didn’t see my mom struggle financially I wonder if my desire to serve in dentistry would be the same? Or If I didn’t have a peg lateral could I relate to others when it comes to self esteem?

It’s like what you’re going through is not just for you but it’s to help others. So it’s very important to embrace your journey by completing it. I knew in order to get the results I wanted from my smile I needed to finish what I started , which was getting braces. So maybe it’s not braces or academics, maybe it’s a business idea and you’ve been hesitating for a while. I’m here to encourage us both by saying keep pushing! Don’t single yourself out because of small circumstances. Someone is waiting be inspired from your story all you have to do is embrace your journey 🙂

Ephesians 6:7

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the lord, not people- Ephes.6:7

Before I start with my daily tasks at work I have to pray for strength, wisdom, and the right attitude to serve. I don’t know about you but this is a hard scripture to meditate on sometimes. To serve wholeheartedly, what does that mean? Well to serve is to perform duties for another individual and wholeheartedly is to be completely sincere, enthusiastic. So just that part alone I should be enthusiastic to help others..right.

unnamed My very first job was at Subway and ‘serving wholeheartedly’ was the last thing on my mind. Sure I always had a smile on my face but I did not enjoy the details of sandwich making. I’ve matured in my ways of thinking though I recognize I am still learning how to serve wholeheartedly through my job experiences. As the scripture continues it not only say serve wholeheartedly but as if you’re serving the lord, not people. Random but I seriously wonder if that’s Chick-Fil-A’s mission statement.images (1) They are known to give with a cheerful attitude in spite of how they really feel or how customers may respond. I wonder when I had some of the roughest days at work would the result be any different if I imagined serving God instead. If I could imagine making God a sub would he be satisfied with how I made it? Or as a histo-tech, would God be satisfied in the way I dissected his tissue sample in a hurry? As a chemist, am I really serving wholeheartedly? Sometimes I like to compare my current moment to my volunteering moments. Serving becomes my heart when it comes to dental clinics. I can have a few hours of sleep and feel energized the following day to serve.

image1  Serve wholeheartedly, as if you are serving the lord, not people is a constant reminder for me as it may be for you. Your passion can be in one area but the needs of people can be found in all areas of life. Sure that one person gets on your nerves or the work is not the creme de la creme, join the club. The lord wants us to serve enthusiastically so he can reward us with something much bigger! So give your complete best with a smile and ask, “How can I serve you today?”

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The Waiting Room

You’ve arrived on time for your checkup appointment and pretty excited because you know the time you sit down you’re going to be called. You already gave the receptionist the necessary paperwork and you’re ready. Hmm.. they will call me soon, you think to yourself, so to help pass the time you start to notice your environment. The waiting room is filled with people that need to be seen as well.

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One by one, everyone is being called to the back and it’s starting to get frustrating because there were people that did not have to wait as long. Your frustration builds to anxiety and now you’re going up to the front desk asking questions. They reassure you that the doctor will see you soon, he’s preparing some things for you; however, your patience grows thin. Your phone goes off from people sending messages asking,”why are you still waiting ?” “When are you going to move forward?”

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You don’t respond because they wouldn’t understand. You did everything you were supposed to, now it’s your job to wait and be called. Finally realizing your pacing back and forth is not changing the outcome, your attitude changes while you wait. You take advantage of the wait by embracing small opportunities like reading the magazines or checking your email on your phone. Time goes by but you’re gaining wisdom and understanding. You stopped focusing on the messages, the people that were seen by the doctor before you, at that moment the door flung open and you knew the wait was over.

door-240x300 How many of us had moments like this? We ‘wait’  anxiously for God’s big call while overlooking small opportunities to grow. I know this is a challenge for me but as a father, God, constantly reassures he will not forget about me. It may seem like everyone is moving forward before me but God knows I did everything I was supposed to and now it’s my job to wait for the door to open.  So stay encourage and know that soon our wait will be over 🙂

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