Thursday, January 31, 2013

EAT CAKE AND CHANGE YOUR HEART

"The most powerful agent of change is a change of heart." ~ B.J. Marshal

I've spent the first 31 days of 2013 with eyes wide open and a spiritual heart transplant. Last year, it seemed as if I hid under a rock with fire ants as my companions infesting my mind and body with their venom. Now the venomous poisons of self-absorption, self-entitlement, and self-denigration no longer riddle my spiritual heart with infected pustules. 

The world is a groovy place of vibrant colors with each new day providing an endless array of possibilities to be grateful for. Prayer, solitude, daily meditation and a willingness to change will permanently alter one's lenses. Instead of bemoaning what I don't have in my life and focusing on the list of unaccomplished goals I seek ways to serve others. It sounds like a simple recipe with favorable results but when you're serving those who aren't appreciative of your efforts the sweet recipe quickly turns sour. 

Or what about those Mondays when you think the world has conspired against your new heart attitude and knocked off those groovy glasses? Last Monday morning I bitched and moaned about my workload plus photography woes to a good friend when hours later one of the doctors at work was gunned down. And just like that my woes shrunk to their Lilliputian sizes. This doctor who showed up to work that morning was oblivious to his impending demise 2 days before his birthday. Did he wake up grateful? Was he distracted all day with his stressful job? Did he call his wife and sons that afternoon to tell them he loved them? Was he looking forward to celebrating his birthday? 

Even with my new heart attitude I've let a few days pass without sending a "good morning I love you" text to my daughter who lives in San Diego. My arrogance blinds me to the fragility of life. I wake up with a grateful heart but act invincible to Death's stealthy approach. 

My granddaughter turned 5 on new year's day and she overheard my refusal of the proffered cake at her birthday party. In her childish innocence unmoored of pretentions she demanded that I eat cake because it's her birthday. She was right. I must eat cake because tomorrow isn't promised and birthdays only come once a year. May it sweeten the days when the doldrums hit and remind us that life is ready to be savored today. 








Thursday, January 24, 2013

SLAVERY NO MORE | LA FREEDOM WALK

Last Friday night Rylee found me sitting on the floor of my room surrounded by the paraphernalia that makes a 5 year old child shoot through the roof with glee: pieces of cardboard, glue sticks, tape, and black Sharpie markers. 

Oooh, what are you doing Gramma? 

I waited a full minute before responding. How do I explain to a little girl whose never known oppression, abuse, or fear that Gramma is making signs for the LA Freedom Walk to raise awareness of the injustice of human trafficking? 

I'm making signs to get people to help kids who are hurt by bad people. 

With a slight nod of understanding and no questions asked my granddaughter sat down beside me to help make the signs for the walk I was participating in the next day. Her eagerness to help acted like a can of Red Bull to my flagging energy. But such is the work of the modern day abolitionist. We get up and do it. Forget the long day I had at work and the fact that I procrastinated to make the signs. The stories and images of every victim of human trafficking are the elements that fuel my fight for justice. 

On Saturday, January 19, in honor of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, non-profit organization Slavery No More organized LA Freedom Walk where over 200 participants walked "in unity to abolish 21st century slavery and human trafficking." I represented My Refuge House, who has partnered with Slavery No More, and was given the responsibility of taking photos for the event. Out of the 200+ walkers two of them were my daughter and granddaughter. 

I was born for such a time as this. 

To live my legacy so that my granddaughter can continue the fight I began in my lifetime. I'd like her to have a global perspective with an awareness for those less fortunate. Oh, how proudly she carried her sign on the streets of Hollywood! I doubt she fully comprehended the meaning of the sign she carried or the impact she had on people. But she was surrounded by world changers who took action and chose to do something instead of nothing. 


To learn more on how to become an abolitionist please visit: 

To view more photos of LA Freedom Walk please visit the My Refuge House Facebook Page
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Jocelyn White, co-founder of Slavery No More
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Crystal Sprague and Riza Lim-Pham of My Refuge House
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Gramma and Rylee, my little justice warrior

Monday, January 14, 2013

SOCIAL MEDIA FAST

The time of year has come again when I deprive myself of something I usually can't do without. Some would call it torture but for others like me who want a closer relationship with our Creator it's a fast. I've never publicly announced a fast but this one is an exception. In the past I've fasted from meat, coffee, chocolate, lunch, and wine fewer than 10 days and as long as 40 days. This year I chose to remove myself from all social media activity: Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, 500px, Blogger, and Google+. 
 
Why? 
 
During my 3 day mission trip in Mexico last December I had no phone or internet access. I couldn't text/call my loved ones that I arrived safely or find out how they were doing that weekend. I had Wi-Fi access for less than 30 minutes which I used to send e-mails to my boyfriend, kids, and sister. I was DYING! I resembled the closet alcoholic that was enduring withdrawal symptoms in secret. I struggled with an internal drama-fest of social media deprivation and it was an eye-opening moment
 
 
What was the one thing in my life that would be difficult to be without? 
 
When my church announced their annual fast last week it didn't take a super computer to pump out the answer to that question. My life had reached an all-time level of pathetic if being without social media for 3 days caused jitters, anxiety, nervousness, nausea, and agitation. I used my photography as the reason to occupy my time with social media but in its insidious way my life became controlled by it. 
 
What do I aim to accomplish after my 7 days of social media fasting? 
  • A deeper, intimate relationship with God without distractions, interferences, and withdrawal symptoms. 
  • Breakthrough in my financial stewardship. 
  • Control over my social media activity and its effects on my well-being. 
  • Clarity in the direction my photography business is going. 
  • Sustaining the peace, joy, and serenity infused in my life despite trials that come my way. 
  • Keeping gratitude as the barometer for my days. 
  • Eliminating negative thoughts and behaviors from my life. 
  • Doling out the precious gift of forgiveness without inhibition
  • Opening my heart to continued acts of service without expecting reciprocation. 
My fasting in previous years has always yielded results beyond my expectations and know 2013 will be no different. Two weeks into the new year and it's already proving to be one of my memorable ones

See you next week!