August 16-17
LU with these two crazy weekend warriors

The Art of Gratitude

I’ve always been awkward with receiving presents or surprises. I grew up believing that I needed to be worthy to receive something, that being grateful was never enough. I didn’t like that feeling. I didn’t want anyone to regret giving me anything. Every time someone would give me something out of no where, I’d actually be more horrified than happy. “Why did you do this???" I’d always say, as if it were a sin to give to someone like me. Well I guess I never made it easier for myself. Instead of receiving, I resisted, and I pushed the giver further away. I never believed that I was worthy of it. I grew up believing that I had to earn gifts and blessings, and that it was imperative I’d give something in return.

During the past four years in the Youth, I received an overflow of true love and even a few material surprises here and there (mostly in the form of vegetables). At first I used to cringe and run away, then I started to say “thank you, I owe you”, but now I say this silent prayer “thank you Jesus." I learned about the unending love that God has for me. That He loved me first, that he gave me grace before I even deserved it. And I first saw it through my friends in the Youth. They showed me that I can be loved without being "worthy." I guess it’s possible to love someone so much without expecting anything in return.

Judah Smith has this talk called “Embrace Grace” and in it he says “we did not earn God’s love by worth, but through birth.” From the minute I was born, He loved me and He will with an everlasting love. When I heard that talk, it completely changed the way I see blessings and gifts and LOVE above all. It’s really as simple as saying these three words and really believing it with all my heart: I AM LOVED. My only reaction was gratitude, but not in the way that I used to believe it to be.

That’s because I realized that being grateful doesn’t mean giving something back. Maybe it means to allow my heart to be transformed by the love of the Giver. Maybe it means receiving love and allowing it to overflow into the lives of others. And maybe it simply means to embrace the fact that I’m loved.

"Vegas" (at Hit Productions, Inc.)

"Vegas" (at Hit Productions, Inc.)

No internet, no problem 😭😭😭

No internet, no problem 😭😭😭

Acrylic + watercolor + rainy days

Acrylic + watercolor + rainy days

July 13
Last day of the LSS#30 weekend. It was my first time to be 100% present as I served and what an incredibly victorious weekend it was. I am beyond blessed and grateful.

Pelaez family angels. Finally together again. I miss you both

Pelaez family angels. Finally together again. I miss you both

July 6

for a while i’ve been praying for something to spark a flame in me so i can finally live my life on fire once again. i didn’t realize that it would come in the form of a loss. but i’m reminded once again that life is short no matter how many years i’m given. i could live to be just 21, or even reach 99, but the life i live isn’t measure by years. it’s measured by the moments i’m grateful for, the times i loved, the lives i’ve touched. today i choose to wake up once again, and i am thankful for this moment.