Discovering Me via Social Media Freedom

The last time I was here was December of 2015. Before that, I was here in August of 2014. Coincidentally enough, the amount of time I’ve spent away from blogging are my two of my four favorite numbers 16 and 7. It took me 16 months from my August 2014 post to finally return in December 2015. After that, I was too caught up again in life (or maybe it was social media) to commit to blogging. I was lost in trying to live a life to please others.

During the second week of June, I decided it was time for me to get rid of my biggest distraction, social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat had taken over my life and I was literally using these tools to advertise myself (basically), cyber-stalk (in the most non-creepy way possible), covet, set a foundation for gossip and relinquish boredom. I didn’t realize I began to depress myself because I was too busy looking at what everyone else was doing instead of living the life I was meant to live and being more productive. My breaking point hit when I found myself upset my family and friends would do things without me and also frustrated with my boyfriend because he wouldn’t post anything about our relationship.¬†I decided I needed to disappear from the social media realm for a week at most to get my head on straight.

It has been a month since my “social media freedom” and it has been awesome. I’ve gotten hooked on books again, focused on my goals and less involved with the unnecessaries. My circle has gone back down to those who care enough to call or text. The motivation I now have to do what needs to be done has risen. The need to advertise myself and portray “social media” me is diminishing slowly. The cyber-stalking has disappeared (obviously because I have no way to seek out what people are doing). I no longer compare my relationship to others. The news I read is actual news about what is going on in the world. Best of all, I feel happy.

Discover happiness in freedom, or sitting on top of a container :)

Discover happiness in freedom, or sitting on top of a container ūüôā PC:¬†Sati

For the next ten days, I’ve personally committed myself to the “Developing your Eye” photography challenge to get me back on the blogging track. I need to do something small before I commit myself to bigger things. In this process, I hope to reignite my love for blogging and “develop an eye” for the beauty that surrounds me through people, places and personal objects.

Christmas Reflection 1 – Strength in Joy

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Christmas is my favorite season of the year. The spirit of rejoicing and giving that comes with it is contagious. Although it has been commercialized in many ways, the true essence of Christmas is still very real in my life. There are three more days until Christmas so it has been impressed on my heart to write a personal reflection each day on Christmas.

I was inspired to share my own Christmas reflections after reading my Christmas devotional on the Bible app. Initially, I was going to journal this then I remembered stumbling over my blog and how encouraging it was reading my previous posts so here I am blogging again. Below is an excerpt from the Chris Tomlin devotion that inspired me:

“When God sent His son as a baby, no one knew the birth of this child set into motion God‚Äôs epic plan to redeem mankind. Today, this is not only where His story begins, it‚Äôs where our story begins, too. While we were yet sinners, God decided to send a Savior for us. And while He did it in the smallest of forms and the unlikeliest of ways, His perfect plan was unfolding all along. Two thousand years later, it‚Äôs easy to see the bigger picture. Looking back, it‚Äôs easy to trace the fingerprints of God‚Äôs larger purpose at work.

When we reflect on the past, we can see God‚Äôs faithfulness more clearly. We can remember how He‚Äôs come through for us and how He‚Äôs uniquely woven His plan into our lives.” -Chris Tomlin

SO here I am remembering the past in order to see God’s faithfulness and renew my trust in Him.

I read through Luke 1: 26-56, which is when Jesus’ birth was foretold to Mary then she visits Elizabeth to share the news with her. It is such a beautiful story of strength and joy.

Why strength? In the age we live in today, many are very concerned with people and their opinions on their lives. During my time as Miss American Samoa, it was ALL that I was concerned about. I wanted to portray the title the way everyone else saw fit. Going back to Mary, she displayed strength that I truly believe was not her own but from the Lord. She was basically a teenage girl who wasn’t married, but about to be pregnant. If it’s somewhat shameful in our society today, just imagine how much more in the Bible times. YIKES! ¬†Yet, she didn’t complain. She was scared I’m sure, but her response is one that has been used in sermons all over the world…

“Mary responded, ‘I am the Lord‚Äôs servant. May everything you have said about me come true.’ And then the angel left her.” ¬†– Luke 1:38 (NLT)

I have read this story many times, but this statement hit me hard for the first time. I was sitting here thinking, “WHAAAAAA!?!?!” She was about to be pregnant without a husband yet HER FAITH! Her faith in the Lord and His plans blows me away. The story continues after this with Mary going to visit her cousin Elizabeth who the Lord had also blessed with a child to pave the way for Jesus. When Mary gets to Elizabeth, the Bible says Elizabeth’s baby leaped within her and the Holy Spirit filled her.

42. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. 43. WHy am I so honored, the the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44. When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said.”
-Luke 1:42-45 (NLT)

This is when the joy factor comes into this story. They rejoiced in the Lord’s plans. Although I’m sure they knew it would not be an easy road, they rejoiced none the less. Mary even has a song of praise she says after Elizabeth said what she said.

I thought to myself. Do¬†I have that kind of strength to trust the Lord? How many times have I rejoiced in the Lord knowing the journey is about to get “interesting”? How many times have¬†I¬†relied on the Lord’s strength and submitted to Him when He asks me to do something unheard of?

To be honest, I don’t have that kind of strength. That kind of strength comes from spending time with the Lord and cultivating a relationship with Him that I’ve lacked. The relationship that I relied on for the past year is now wavering and because of that I’m falling a part. It’s interesting how the Lord always brings us back to Him when we start to stray. He allows the consequences of choices hurt so He can heal. Like Mary, we need Elizabeths in our lives to remind us that we are highly favored by God and that we should remember we are blessed because we believe in what God is going to do. I’m reminded I can find strength when I rejoice in what the Lord has planned. I’m reminded I ¬†can find strength by believing His Word. I’m reminded I can find strength in His joy. If there is anything I love about Christmas, it’s the JOY that surrounds the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

Thank You Jesus for allowing Your joy that brings strength to fill the world especially during the Christmas season. I pray that everyone especially those who are hurting during this time can experience the same gladness Mary and Elizabeth had by remembering Your perfect plan and that Jesus is the reason we rejoice every Christmas season.

Joy to the world/ the Lord has come/ let earth receive her King/ let every heart prepare Him room/ Let heaven and nature sing/ Let heaven and nature sing/ Let heaven/ Let heaven and nature sing.

I’m A Big Kid Now

“Let’s play house. I want to be the mom.” My incentive, as a kid, to play house and be the mom was so I could boss my little brothers around. I was seven.

For me at seven years old, I found joy in tea parties and playing dress up especially with my older girl cousins. I felt sophisticated and grown up. Playing with Legos and Star Wars figurines were a joy, but I had more fun playing guns and pretending to be a grown police woman or secret spy with my brothers.

I imagined being a beautiful dancer always doing different dances in my room no matter how crazy it seemed. The crazier the dance, the cooler I was.

I imagined being in a band with my brothers where I would sing and they would follow my lead.

I imagined falling in love by the time I was 21, getting married and having babies before the age 27. Real babies. Not my Cabbage Patch baby doll, which I absolutely treasured.

I imagined I would have 5 kids and they would grow up with a gang of cousins they would treat as siblings the way I did. I figured if we all got married, had kids around the same age range and lived in American Samoa then our kids would have the same joys we had in our childhood.

I imagined my future husband would be a comical, hard worker and a great daddy like my own dad, his dad and all my dad’s brothers.

When I turned 12, my dad started a radio station and I had the best time working with him on it. With this change in our family, my imaginations changed with it.

I imagined being able to one day run the radio station my dad started.

I imagined being able to make people happy and lift people’s spirits through Christian radio programming and Christian music.

I imagined traveling all over the world like my dad and helping those who needed it.

I imagined using the radio station as an outlet to reach out and heal those broken physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I imagined I could still get married by 24 at the most.¬†My love story would be a real-life fairy tale like my Nana & Papa’s or my Mom & Dad’s.

I’m currently 26 turning 27 in a couple of months. Real life. That’s what happened to me. It took a lot of my childhood “adult visions” and it’s done something to it.

My reality is I’m still not married and currently not even in the dating process. All hopes of my love story being like my Nana & Papa’s or like my Mom & Dad’s are shattered up to this point and as depressing as it is, it is how it is and I’m accepting it.

My reality is most of my cousins I grew up around live off-island and are raising their kids all over America. I miss them all terribly especially knowing I miss out on a lot of their kids lives.

My reality is I have no kids of my own, but since I’m a teacher I have many kids who I can help and counsel as I would if they were my own flesh and blood.

My reality is I own the radio station my dad and I worked on together, but he’s no longer in the picture. To be honest, I wish he was still around so it could be our project once again. I don’t even have a desire to a part of it much any more, hence why I became a teacher.

My reality is I still love to make people happy. I find joy in laughter hence my love to entertain and dance like a crazy person in the privacy of my home or out in public…sometimes.

I learned at a young age life is all about experiences and those experiences are what mold and make a person. Some experiences are good, and some¬†are¬†bad. I’ve learned it does not matter whether it’s bad or good. It matters how you react to a situation and what you do with the cards you’ve been dealt. As a kid,¬†I dreamed up all these possibilities, passions and desires only to see them change over time yet these dreams/imaginations are the exact foundation I needed for the reality I’m living today. My reality for right now in this moment won’t be the same from five years from now. I’m not dead yet so I still have time. Time to grow. Time to experience. Time to learn. Time to love. Time to be happy. Time to make something of my childhood “adult visions”.

Daily Prompt: Adult Visions

Those Busy Ones

There’s a tug of war in my soul. I want to write, but time won’t allow me. Every time I sit to start the phone rings or my reminders pop up or workloads pile up. By the end of it all, I’m too tired to do anything else except sleep away the days toils that take its toll on my mind and body so I can be rejuvenated for the next day’s tasks.

In Loving Memory of my Grandma Fou

This post is dedicated to someone very dear to me that went to be with Jesus on April 10, 2014. 

My grandma's face in the back though :D

I miss her. This photo was taken on my 25th birthday. She asked me “Aga fea e fai sou toalua? Toeiti alu a’u. Fia vaai a’u lou faaipoipoga.” (translation: When are you getting married? I’m going soon. I want to see you get married). I laughed and replied “Aua e te popole (translation: don’t worry) Grandma, I’ll get married before you go. I promise.” I won’t be able to keep that promise now and it makes me sad to know that I can’t. My grandma’s face in the back though ūüėÄ

Some people grow up not knowing their grandparents. On my mom’s side, I was fortunate enough to grow up with four different grandmas that were basically like having one.¬†I was “the pele” (equivalent to princess, still am) and I was treated as such by all my grandma’s sisters living in American Samoa, which I refer to as my Aua grandmas.¬†Grandma Fou was the oldest of all my¬†grandmas. She was loving. She was kind. She was sweet. She was beautiful. She was wise. She was strong.

She was a phenomenal woman. She had such a peaceful presence¬†that would flow from her spirit. My mom said she was the best at putting babies to sleep. No matter how fussy I got, Grandma Fou would put me in her lap, sing to me and po po me until I fell asleep. I spent most of my infant and toddler years in her house. Like my Aunty Julia (Grandma Fou’s baby girl) said, I was the first grand-baby they took care of in their house.

I ¬†remember feeling loved whenever she’d greet me with a “Hi Baby”, smile and kiss me on the lips. I remember feeling safe when in her arms. I remember feeling joy every time I saw her because I knew I was going to get money or candy. I remember looking forward to going to daycare in¬†Aua because I¬†never really stayed in daycare.¬†I spent most of my time with her¬†and Papa Fu’e in their house because they spoiled me and I loved it.¬†I remember our Fale family Christmases at her house. I remember family events and even random visits to Grandma Fou’s place just because. I remember how much I loved the relationship she had with her sisters.

The Fale Sisters - My Aua Grandmas. <3 Grandma Fou, Grandma Eseta, Grandma Lafo and Grandma Vai

The Fale Sisters – My Aua Grandmas.

I have no regrets. I loved her greatly and she knew it very well. I made time to see her and loved on her but not as much as she loved on me. She lived a full, blessed life and was clothed in beauty, humility, wisdom, strength and love. She always took care of her family and loved beyond words.

Life won’t be the same without her earthly presence. She’s rejoicing with Jesus right now and experiencing a blessed reunion with Papa Fu’e, Great-Papa, Pema, Aunty La’i and all her loved ones that have gone before. Heaven gained another beautiful spirit. I love¬†you Grandma.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”¬†Revelation 21:4 (NLT)

 

I will miss you immensely.

I will miss you immensely.

 

On to the Next One

Closing the door on this quarter while opening the door for the next is both exciting and relieving at the same time. Quarter 3 seemed to go on for too long so being able to see this…

Oh the joy of seeing this !

Oh the joy of seeing this !

…is absolutely breathtaking. There are many beautiful things in life, but one thing I find absolutely beautiful is seeing something completed and done and not having any remorse about anything.

Sometimes I wish we had set quarters in life. So in that way I would know when to open what doors and what doors should never be opened at all. Unfortunately life is full of surprises. I guess this is what keeps life interesting. If we always knew what we were getting and when we were getting it, life let alone whatever opportunity or learning experience is behind whatever door we choose to open wouldn’t be as exciting.

Yes it would save a lot and I mean¬†a lot¬†of heartaches and hurts. What is life without the sours? It can’t always be sweet or might get sick.

Anyways, I’m grateful and eager for the 4th quarter to come and go. I’m excited for the lessons I’ll learn and the values I teach. Last stretch, so this should be fun. Here I go on to the next one.

Thirsty ?

Imagine yourself running a race. You had water in the beginning but that’s it. You’ve gone for at least half an hour and you can feel yourself longing for water to rehydrate your body. An hour passes and you still haven’t had any water. Your pace slows maybe even to a brisk walk. You’re still going hoping to finish the race. Finally you can’t take it anymore. You need water, but you won’t settle for the disgusting public water fountain that everyone puts their mouths on. No. You won’t get off track for that. You know there’s a water station up ahead so you push until you reach that place where there’s water specifically for those running the race.

For the past couple of weeks I found myself at a place where my spirit was dry & thirsty in this spiritual race I’m in. I longed for more than just a touch from God. I longed to know God personally, but I was too busy running I didn’t want to stop at a water station to rehydrate myself in His presence. I forgot the importance of really getting in my word and spending time with Him.

O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.

(Psalm 63:1 NLT)

This was my cry. This is exactly how I was feeling. I’m sure we have all come to a point where we thirst for something. We want it. We need it. We cry out for it. Our body can’t function properly without it. This is how much we should want God. God wants us to thirst for Him. You think you’re the only one who loves to feel wanted? How much more does God want you to want Him? I’ve learned He desperately does because He wants to be intimate with us. He wants His Spirit to be the water that rehydrates and strengthens on this race we’re running. My question for you reading this is just how thirsty are you for God?

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone