Reflection and Growth

“Now we see only a dim likeness of things. It is as if we were seeing them in a foggy mirror. But someday we will see clearly. We will see face to face. What I know now is not complete. But someday I will know completely, just as God knows me completely.”

1 Corinthians 13:12

Two things keep sticking in my mind over the past year; reflection and growth. The start of the year, dear Danielle and I chose the word, “lover,” to be the word we would focus on and attribute to our mindset. Little did we know that this would be tested as everything changed in a crazy way. I am so thankful that we chose this mindset, because this year dealt with a lot, and there was a lack of love all around. I was ready for a year of busyness and wanted to focus on how to love better, but what happened was a year of resetting rhythms. I am thankful for that reset, I’m thankful for the time or reflection over the past and a growth towards what may be next.

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Thanksgiving

I am very thankful for this season of life. A lot has changed for both dear Danielle and myself, as well as so many of you. At the time of this blog being posted, we will be on the road back to North Carolina. We’re not sure of what’s next for us, but we know that God has got a plan for our lives. I have been thinking back to our time here in Florida, and I am overwhelmed with thanks. This season is good for reflection, living a thankful life allows me to have a clear mind and see all the growth that has happened. That’s what this thanksgiving holiday has always meant to me, I think about all that has happened and have a chance to look back with thanks for all the joys in my life.

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Gratitude in Every Season

I love the changing of the seasons. Sure, it’s just the weather shifting but I love the way it marks the end of one thing and the beginning of another. I think our lives constantly go through the changing of seasons. We enter one phase while experiencing the growth of another. Each season brings with it new challenges and new joys, and there is always an opportunity for each of us. As I continue with this series on living a thankful life, I want to take a look today at the importance of understanding the power of the past and how having gratitude can change our future.

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Love God, Love People

Spooky season is almost finished, which means this is our finale to the b-movie series here on the blog. Today, since I like to keep you on your toes, we will not be looking at a movie, but a TV show, and a specific episode. The Twilight Zone, created by Rod Serling (who also narrates each episode), sets a spooky tone in every episode with wild scenarios, all based in real issues we deal with. The episode we will be looking at today is titled, “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” the setting takes place in a suburban neighborhood and suddenly a flash in the sky appears and everything stops working. The neighbors gather in the street confused about the power outage and strange flash, and a little boy suggests it could be aliens infiltrating the neighborhood. Panic starts, then fingers are pointed at one another power comes on in certain houses, driving the people to become more and more untrusting of one another. The anger leads to a death, then the street erupts into chaos.

The final moment of the episode shows two aliens watching these events, and they simply say that all they need to do to conquer earth, is create confusion and the humans will destroy themselves.

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Never Go It Alone

One of the biggest tropes in horror films, is when the gang decides to split up. Almost every classic b-slasher movie has a moment where the teenagers decide it’s a better idea to split up and go get help, and we as the viewers want to scream at the screen because we know this is the worst idea! I always think of the Friday the 13th series, because they all pretty much follow the same formula. Jason shows up and then everyone else runs in the opposite direction, just not together. It becomes a free for all and doesn’t end well for pretty much anyone, until the end when the final people figure out a way to stop the mad man. We watch this and get so frustrated, asking ourselves, why wouldn’t they all just work together to stop this killer? The truth is though, that we ourselves do this same thing.

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Fully Known

This season has been absolutely wild. From a pandemic, injustices, natural disaster, as well as the personal struggles we all face can be taxing on our mental health. It can be easy in the midst of our struggles to feel alone. There was a very distinct feeling of isolation a few months back, and even still limited interaction causes some fear. One of the hardest battles, is dealing with mental health alone. I’ve written in the past about my own struggle with anxiety, and the worst part was feeling alone. You can know that others struggle, yet at the same time, feel like no one can possibly understand your pain. What I found was, that I needed to be vulnerable with others, and the truth I found, was that I am fully known and loved.

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Journey Update: Love & Growth

This past week, dear Danielle and I celebrated being married for two years. It’s been such a wild journey so far. From job changes to moving a long way from home, it feels like it’s been so much longer than two years. I’m thankful to be on this journey, and reflecting on everything, it’s put a new perspective on life. We’re all facing different seasons right now, for some of us, this pandemic has tested us in some tough ways. At the same time, it feels like many distractions were cut away, revealing to each of us what we truly value. It’s an important question to ask ourselves.

What do I value?

What do I need to rearrange to form a new rhythm?

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Someone/Everyone

I was thinking back to about a year ago when I was listening to Reggie Joiner speak at Orange Conference. He made a statement that stuck with me, and popped into my head the other day. He said this, “On his way to save everyone, Jesus stopped to save someone.” I love that. In the context of what he was talking about was the story of Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a man that no one liked, and he wasn’t really likable. Despite what he had done, he wanted to listen to the teachings of Jesus, and Jesus called him to be greater. God sent his son to save everyone and he started by saving someone.

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Yeshua // Savior & Deliverer

One of the toughest feelings is that of getting second place. It’s said that Olympic athletes deal with this idea; gold medalists obviously are ecstatic and even bronze medalists are proud of being able to place in the top three of the world’s athletes. The silver medalists though, that’s the hardest placement. Silver medalists are often the most tortured mentally, battling the inner fight of the fact that they were good, just not good enough. Milliseconds off of making it across the finish line first, but never getting there first. I’ve felt like this as of recent. I feel like I just keep coming up short.

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Journey Update: New Year and Dreaming Bigger

Just like that, another year has ended. This past year has probably been one of the most eventful years of my life. In the span of three months I was engaged and got married to my best friend! My nephew Gideon was born, and he’s probably the coolest baby ever (sorry not sorry to those of you who had children). I recently got an opportunity to write for Medium on pop-culture, which has always been a huge love of mine (Click here to read some fun stuff!). There have been so many great things, but this has also been a difficult year for me. I was working and carrying out a different vision than my own, and because of that, I stopped dreaming. I found myself working out of a routine because I wasn’t really able to experiment, I’m not saying this is bad, it just became an environment that didn’t help me thrive. The moments where I felt like I was myself were over shadowed by my anxiety to perform well with the hopes of others noticing my work and the craft I was giving. This anxiety really hurt me, causing me to forget who I am. When I was around people that love me and in situations where I could be who I was, that joy came back. As I reflect over this past year, I want to be different, I want to make sure that I am taking care of myself and following what God is calling me towards.

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