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The Inspirational Power of Social Media: @GitzenGirl’s Story

Many of us use social media all the time. We tweet what we are doing, we tag people, we mention others, we “check in” at places and post photos to Instagram. Twitter wants to know “What’s happening?” and Facebook wants to know “What’s on your mind?”. All this, to show others what we are doing and in most cases to show them a glimpse of who we are and what our lives are like. I am one of those. Mention a Social Media platform and I am 99% I have an account on it, eh, I’m even on Orkut. Interacting with others on the internet has become part of my life, I am connected. Some people fear this, their opinion is that no real “community” comes from this and that we can become too used to hiding behind a computer or an iPhone and being social. They are entitled to their opinion and yes, it can happen, but that’s not what I see every day.

Take my life on Twitter for example, I have “met” people on Twitter with whom I have some of the deepest conversations; when my Mom has struggled with some of her conditions, my Twitter friends were there to help me pray, when my father was sick they stood by me. Twitter, a website, has allowed me to meet some incredible people in person. One of my biggest Twitter success stories is meeting Christy Polek, who took me to In N’ Out for the first time and for a drive through Hollywood, in which we saw the cast of Entourage filming a scene. I count her now as one of my closest friends, a friend that knows my life, all of it, our friendship was born on Twitter and grew way out of there, to the point of making our lives better. Social media can do that. It can bring people together, it can make lives better.

We use all these platforms as we go on with our lives. But what if this was one of our only means of interaction with the outside world?

Sara’s Story: Choose Joy

I have followed Sara, @gitzengirl on Twitter, for about two years I believe. I first followed her because a lot of people that I follow would mention her and retweet her tweets. My first impression was that she was a happy, inspiring and funny lady. These people that followed her first seemed to love her and I constantly saw words of encouragement coming from her to many of her followers. A while back I visited her blog and read through a few pages. And that’s when I knew her story. Sara has an “autoimmune disease that begins by attacking your joints… It is progressive and systemic… it’s goal is to attack your joints an build scar tissue, causing pain and stiffness”. You can read more about her story here, and please do. Basically, what ended up happening is that Sara wasn’t able to go outside because the air outside would harm her, she had to live life in seclusion and with a heavy dose of medicine. But even through her pain and her difficult situation, Sara has always showed joy. Through social media, many, like me, got to know her story a little better. I was amazed that a person who lived in pain as she did, was able to shine a light in others the way she did daily.

I am grateful for the internet and social media. Can you imagine? Just a few years ago, something like this would’ve been impossible. Sara’s life was not bound by her seclusion, she was able to inspire and encourage others and at the same time have a strong group of people to be in her life every day. She was not alone.

Sara’s journey among us is coming to an end. But she is moving up, she trusts God and is looking forward to a life with him, free from pain. Choose Joy is the name of her blog, and has been the standard in her life and it is know a thought that is running wild in the minds of those that know her. If someone had reason to complain of her situation it was Sara, but she chose Joy.

What if we do the same? What if we choose joy as the standard of our lives? What do you think would happen?

Dear Sara, catch you in the flip side! Thank you.

Jesus is my Virtue, and Judas is the Demon I Cling To | Gaga

Interesting line. Right? if you are a Christian, you may think I lost it. Oh, but wait. I am a Christian too. This is one of the lines on Lady Gaga’s latest single “Judas” which, even before coming out, was trashed by religious people because it was supposed to be sacrilegious, anti-christian, at least that is what they expected.

Personally, after listening to the song I wondered what the hoopla was all about. Yes, the song uses Christian symbolism but I think people are missing the point. But again, I am no expert and can only speak of my personal opinion and based on my personal experiences.

Don’t we all have a Judas? Something we cling to, difficult to leave behind when something much better, a virtue, is our other option? It’s easy to say: “Oh well choose the good thing and leave the bad thing behind, run from it”. But, come on, it is much harder than what it seems. Have you dealt with addictions? I have. They are not easy to break off. We can have the best intentions possible, but good intentions alone won’t allow us to break the cycle. Have you been in a bad relationship, a bad romance? A relationship that brings you more suffering than happiness, but can’t seem to get yourself out of it? Yes, it happens. We would do anything for that person, we would wash their feet, forgive their lies, no matter how stupid they are.

Continue Reading…

How Great Thou Art – Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood, one of the biggest stars to ever come out of American Idol brings an amazing vocal performance of How Great Thou Art. Her vocals are impressive, so clean and powerful. I have always loved this song, it helps me put my life in perspective and appreciate how good God has been to me through all the different seasons of my life.

Enjoy!

Get Carrie Underwood’s Album “Play On” at AmazonMP3

A Memorable Day… Think About It.


“That was a memorable day to me, for it made great changes in me. But, it is the same with any life. Imagine one selected day struck out of it, and think how different its course would have been. Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation of the first link on one memorable day.”
- Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

The Object of Your Obsession


Well, hello there. I feel like I have abandoned my blog. There have been a lot of changes since the year started, great changes and challenges. I finished my Masters, which makes me happy, mainly because I don’t have to be dealing with those deadlines. And one week after finishing my Masters I got a new job. I am currently working as a Web Content Administrator for a large Non-profit company. It’s been quite a change, I’m enjoying it. I enjoy having a set schedule with some flexibility, money, and weekends off? Yes, please!

But now, let me get to the subject before I fall asleep. I’ve been thinking about how easily it is to be obsessed. Ideas, people, material things… For some reason there are some things that we can help but obsess over. I’ve been in a lengthy learning process on this, basically all of my life. When I was a kid I remember obsessing over Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures. Then as I grew up it was video games, not all video games, but when the SNES came out, I had to have it. And let’s not start with Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat. Totally obsessed. As time progressed there have been other things I’ve been obsessed with. Things that I have felt I need to have in order to keep going, to be happy.

This has changed through the years. I’ve always been amazed on how we are all in constant need of connection. We are in search of someone even if it doesn’t necessarily mean a romantic relationship. We are in need of a friend, that someone that we can text when we have great news or when our world is falling apart. I’m grateful for the connections I’ve been able to make in my life, even through the Internet I have met some amazing people that are a blessing to me. But here’s the thing, my mind wanders some times and goes on a loop and tries to obsess about a deeper more meaningful relationship. The problem is that when the mind is obsessing we can get blindsided, we can lower the bar for the person that we want to have fill that void in our lives. And when meeting someone I have caught myself on this, I think I’m obsessed with the individual when I am really obsessed with the idea of having someone there to share life with. In those times I have to tell myself, chill, you know better than that. I need to look back and look inside, and realize that what I may have in front of me may not be what I really need.

My best friend knows me well and every time I mentioned that I wanted to get something, he would say: “I want, doesn’t get”. Meaning that just wanting something doesn’t mean that we have to have it. It doesn’t mean that we need it.

A lot of things in my life have started taking shape in the last year and I am so grateful to God for what he has been doing and the people he has surrounded me with. And now it is the time for me to learn, relax and enjoy my life. There is absolutely no need to obsess about anything. It isn’t worth it. Things come to us and things leave us. We are in charge of being happy with what we have, and even though others can factor in on this, we are the ones that decide how external things will affect our happiness.

And that’s it, I’m gonna end before I start sounding like Oprah or revealing too much about my personal life. Ha.

Have fun!

Strongholds Against Happiness

As I was driving around Dallas yesterday a thought came to my mind. I wondered why do so many people live unhappy lives? What can I do to change that in others? What was it that I did to change that in my own life?

If you know me, or just a little about me, you know for a fact that I don’t have a perfect life, but really, who does? But there have been some things that have allowed me to experience a different level of happiness. The happy moments outweigh the bad ones and I am totally okay with that. As I thought of the changes I made last year that allowed me to gain a new perspective a storm of thoughts came rushing in and it wasn’t all pretty. You see, many don’t understand happiness, some very well-intentioned people want you to live your life according to what they believe is right, even when you know it is not right for you. They would prefer for you to live a lie, just because you won’t have to fight and stand your ground.

As I drove I thought of it for a moment and for a brief second I saw myself taking that advice, as I did I felt like a stronghold built itself around me keeping me away from who I really am, and therefore keeping me away from being happy. It is easy to let that stronghold be built, it took me a long time to tear it down and frankly I’m not feeling like constructing it again, I’m not very handy. :)

How did I break it down, you may ask?

  • Take a look at yourself. Are you really being yourself or are you living life to satisfy the expectations of others? If it’s the latter, change that. Once you decide to be your messy self, filled with imperfections and struggles, for some reason you will feel great.
  • Love yourself. Easier said than done. Once you have looked and realized who you really are make peace with it. Yes, there will always be things that need to change but love who you are, what makes you, YOU.
  • Love others. People need love and believe me, you will reach a new level of happiness when a secure you takes your eyes off yourself and look at others with love. Things happen when you love others. Good things.
  • Don’t judge. This was a hard one for me. I used to hide my judgmental attitude under a “I want you to be better” cloak. But I had to realize that I am as much a screw-up as the next person. We all need help. We all need love. Don’t think for a moment that you are better than someone who is a mess, you’ll be messy soon enough.
  • Don’t think too much. I’m surrounded by people that keep kicking themselves for things that really are out of their hands. This makes them sad, depressed, angry. Yes, there are things that need to be thought of, but rid your mind from things that won’t bring any good. Fill your mind with good thoughts, with the hope of brighter days even in the midst of your current darkness.

What has helped you in being happy? Share it so we can try it! :)

Do It

The quote below is posted on one of my bathroom walls and I have become so accustomed to it that I barely read it anymore. Don’t you hate it when that happens, when something important becomes so casual and ordinary that you even notice it or pay attention to it anymore? Food for thought.

Do all the good you can.

By all the means you can.

In all the ways you can.

In all the places you can.

At all the times you can.

To all the people you can.

As long as ever you can.

- John Wesley

Feeling so good, feeling so weird. A real post.

I guess it’s time for a real blog. My last few blogs have been random videos and stuff from the interwebz. This has been mainly a result of working and having a life. LIfe has been pretty wild lately for me, many changes. Last week I went from being part-time at my job to officially becoming a full-time employee, which means I get benefits now so I don’t have to fear for my life too much if I get horribly sick or dismembered (Wow, that messed with my stomach).

As I mention in the title my life has been very good lately and also very weird. I am going out more, enjoying my time with friends and also enjoying time on my own. Apparently it shows because even when I speak to my Dad on the phone he mentions how happy I sound now. You see, a couple of months ago I was feeling miserable, I was at a place in which I couldn’t be myself and where I was feeling stuck. So when people ask me why do I look so happy now, my response is short and sweet: I quit my job. And yes, there are some trade-offs, I’m not getting rich at my current job but I feel very happy there. I love what I do, even on the not-so-great days.

For a few years now I have been enjoying the benefits of a great self-esteem, to the point of some people thinking I’m cocky. Sometimes I can be, but it is mostly joking ;) . But there have been areas in my life that I’ve been so afraid to enjoy that I kept them buried in a dusty vault. Lately, I’ve been more open in letting those areas out of the vault and they are enjoying being in fresh air. That’s what feels weird, but awesome at the same time. I am loving getting to know more of who I am, who I was created to be and letting others enjoy those areas of me as well. There are still fights inside of me, there will always be things that I could change and make better but I have decided to embrace to a certain level some areas that for a while were a mystery. The amazing thing is that I feel so good and God’s love upon me feels as fresh as ever. I love that.

I am Rand. If you knew me before you may think I am different, and I am. I am not a hypocrite. I’m just different, I’m just making the choice to the let the real me flourish and live. I try to be the best I can be and everyone will have the option to either love me, hate me or disregard me. But, if you know me you know that the last two options would be too difficult. I’m so lovable. Haha! Lately I’ve been having some great conversations, chats and interactions with some friends and I have been amazed by their greatness, they are gold I tell you. So, Charlie, Tanch, Jonathan, Scott, Andy Mc, Abby, Emily, Andrew, Taylor, Digitalberto, Eric, Mike, Tyler, Marisa, thanks for being awesome. The world is better for people like these. All very different but very awesome.

Ok, done with my acceptance speech, this ain’t no award show fool! So, keep an eye around this blog. New things coming, alright?

Have fun! Love.

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