Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hate-watching vs. Love-watching. How are YOU watching?


Hate-watching. 


You aren't familiar with the term? Well, it's just what it sounds like: watching something you hate and then spewing hate.

Technology is a blessing but at the same time a curse [remember, this blog is my opinion ;-)]. I say that because of technology, some of us have reunited with long lost friends and it's a blessing to rekindle old friendships [true story, I found my childhood BFF on Facebook a couple of years ago]! It is also a curse because all of a sudden you are exposed to so much hate because of public forums [and such].

As you have probably noticed, I am very active on social media [I currently have Facebook (FB), Instagram, Twitter and oh yeah...I blog]. I love to read and learn about different things. This year I learned about this new "exciting sport" we have in the USA called "hate-watching." Different people follow different public figures, shows, and organizations that they hate just to "hate" on them.

Do you know how many times during the election I saw Obama supporters going on the official Romney FB page to bash them? The same goes for the Romney supporters who went on the official Obama FB page to bash them. 

Do you know how many times I have seen people go on an FB page of a show they hate just to poke fun at them and to call them degrading names?

Do you know how many times I have seen people actively follow public figures on Instagram and all they do is degrade them in the comment section? 

Do you know how many times I have seen Christians follow other [legit] Christian ministries even though they do not agree with their style, beliefs [etc], but actively follow to just speak negative about them with a non-Christian attitude?

Do you know how many times I have seen people being friends on FB, talking behind each other's backs? They do not even like each other! They have each other on FB so they can just be "in the know" of each other's business?

Sounds crazy, right? A couple of days ago, an article in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper [written by Misty Harris] came out about this hate-watching phenom within television show audiences. Here is an excerpt that jumped out at me:

Though the expression [hate-watching] has quietly existed in social media for years - and the behaviour itself for even longer - it wasn't until recently that it was defined and packaged as a pop phenomenon.

Distinct from a guilty pleasure, the term refers to unapologetically watching a TV show that's such a hot mess that deconstructing it becomes pleasurable.


To read more from this article, click here.

I don't know about you, but the part that says "unapologetically watching...[something] that's such a hot mess that deconstructing it becomes pleasurable" is disturbing to me. But if we stop and analyze our life, we come to realize that we do it more than we think [whether it's people we do not like on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, etc]. That's not healthy.

It's time we start [wait for it...wait for it...]........... love-watching. Yes, I know this sounds super corny, but I had to counter the bad with something good. Come on, you know I couldn't just leave the blogosphere with this hate-watching concept.

The Holy Book [the Bible] commands us to "love-watch" one another. 

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God." 1 John 4:7  

So, if we have to pray extra hard to love certain acquaintances/friends or public figures we have on our social media; then so be it. But if we are lead to "unfriend" these people on the social media sites so that we will not be inclined to spew hate; then so be it!

Let us "love-watch" one another. Let's build each other UP instead of tearing each other down.

Be blessed, my friend, be blessed.

--Niss

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Power of "WE."

Photo Credit: pursuingmeaningfullife.com
Me, myself and I. Do you see "WE" in there? I didn't think so.

There is power in the word, "WE." Think of the times when masses of individuals got together for a common goal? What happened? Lots of awesome things, right?

For the past few years, I have known about Blog Action Day, but never participated because something always came up. This year I have made it my prerogative to join in this year.

This year’s topic, The Power of We, rang a couple of bells for me. I don’t know about you, but when I think of that statement, The Power of We, I think about the body of Christ. What’s the body of Christ, you may ask? In the Bible, there is reference to a literal human body and scenario. Let’s read it [By the way, use your imagination when reading it, it will help you see it in a different light]:

1 Corinthians 12:12-27

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 

Watch this video as well to further illustrate your imagination:
Did you have mental images of the different body parts speaking to each other and “bumping heads [pun intended]?” What would happen if that were to all throw tantrums and stop doing their specific part? It would be a catastrophe for the human body. 

Well, ladies and gentlemen, sadly it DOES occur…and all the time, at that. It happens at places of employment, places of academia, places of worship, and other places. Wherever we may be [especially places of worship], we should do our best to work together to the common goal. It only hurts ALL of our goals if we choose to compete with each other, throw people under the bus, not do our part, and not work together nicely.

Speaking of not doing our part, I have been part of a couple groups [and I am sure you have too] where more than one or two members do not “pull their weight [responsibility]” and it is a rather frustrating experience, to say the least. Need another visual? Imagine there is a huge tug of war contest and in the middle is a wide mud pit. Imagine if only a couple of people pull their weight, would there be a favorable outcome for the other group? There would be many people in the mud in disarray. That’s how it is in real life situations as well. When we all “pull our weight” we have favorable outcomes. Let us never rely on just one or two people in a group to pull all the weight. If you do, those people will end up with a severe backache and eventually stop in their trek because they cannot take it anymore.

In conclusion, remember “my, myself, and I” IS valuable, but even MORE valuable when we work collectively with others in ONE accord. And that is the power of "WE." 
Be Blessed. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

LIVE STRONG


For many years now, the yellow LIVE STRONG band has been almost as recognizable as the golden arches [hint: fast food king]. Whenever you saw the yellow wristband, you'd think "Lance Armstrong" and associate your thoughts with some of the following key words:


Cancer-free
Winner
Cycling
Great man
Perseverance

Well, if you're into the news and keep up with it, you would know that last Friday, August 24, after 10+ years of suspicions, the United States Anti-Doping Agency [USADA] stripped Lance Armstrong of his record seven Tour de France titles and banned him from future cycling competitions. To read more, click here

Anyways, I know there is a possibility that Lance did not take drugs to boost his energy or stamina [only God + Lance know the absolute truth], but unfortunately either way his "brand" or reputation has been tainted to millions across the globe.

It lead me to think about our lives and how it can take years to build a solid, reputable reputation [pardon my redundancy] and it can take just ONE negligent thing to destroy it all.

This makes me think of a quote I've seen floating on countless Pinterest boards that resonates in my mind:

Photo Credit: thinknice.com

Let that soak in a little-- "If you don't want anyone to find out, don't do it." It's such a basic principle, but yet so profound. Imagine if we all thought like that? Perhaps our world would be a slightly better place.

With that being said, I know we can go to the extreme and feel like we have to walk on eggshells 24/7 just so that everyone can think we are perfect. "Living for others" is exhausting, draining and senseless. Simply living like Christ never  jeopardizes our reputation. Yes, I know it's tough to live like Christ but didn't He also say, "nothing is impossible for me!?" 

Ephesians 5:12 sums it all up:


"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

So, the next time we want to do "that thing" that will get us in trouble or hurt our future goals/dreams or lead us away from Christ, remember to LIVE STRONG...for Christ. 

--nissy


















Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What are *YOU* wearing?

Photo credit
I don't know about you, but when I take a mini road trip by car I like to dress as comfortable as possible. Scratch that, whenever I travel by boat, plane, or car, I like to dress comfortably. A few weekends ago, my husband and I decided to visit my abuela [grandmother] in South Jersey. The plan was to leave early Saturday morning so that we could go straight to church [we attend church on Saturdays instead of Sunday, to learn more click here] for the 11:00 AM service. As we were arriving to my abuela's town, my husband suggested we change in the church's restroom, but I quickly shot it down because I know people would look at us so strangely without knowing the context of why we were in sweat pants. So, we decided to change in the car in a lonely parking lot couple blocks down from the church. As we were changing cautiously, my husband told me about a time he and his guy friends went up to NYC for the weekend and how they drove straight from Maryland to a church in North Jersey for church service and that all of them went inside the church looking like "street people" with their garment bags on their arms and changed in their restrooms. My husband said the looks they received were highly uncomfortable and awkward. Later when the guys had changed into their sharp church clothes, the church people's reactions changed. So obviously, I was really happy we did not decide to walk into the church with our sweat pants and flip flops [to then change]. 

That is when it hit me, we, Christians, tend to be like that many times. We expect new people to walk into our churches with "fancy clothes"aka (also known as) no sin, problems, addictions, etc. We expect them to be just like us, whatever that means since we are all sinners. If someone walks into the church and is drunk and a chronic alcoholic, what would we do? Would we shun them and snicker about them as we stare from across the room? Or would we embrace them and point them to the right direction [rehab or church based addiction program]? If someone walks into the church looking like they just finished their "night shift" in the red light district, what would we do? Would we pull out a long, flowy dress from the Dorcas closet and give it the girl who just walked in and tell her she cannot enter unless she puts the dress on? Or would we welcome her and make her feel truly loved [something she probably doesn't feel on a regular basis]? I can go on and on and on with different examples, but will stop right there. 

My point is that we all do not wear the "same clothes" (we sin differently) and all of us may not be experienced with handling different types of sins. This is where education and studying up comes into the play. Let's get educated to know what exactly we are dealing with instead of judging, hating, and ignoring others because we do not know how to handle it. The next time someone walks into your church wearing "different clothes," welcome them like Christ would and get to know what they are about. Christ accepts us as we are with "dirty rags" AND is ready to give us a clean garment [Galatians 3:27]; are we better than Him that we cannot do the same? Think about that...I dare you.

Be blessed--

nissy

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Let's Stop the Madness. Today.

I am writing this blog post in honor of women who have been abused [whether physical, spiritual, digital, emotional/verbal, financial or sexual]. 

One of the worst things to hear is that someone you know is getting abused. I don’t know if you’ve ever received word of such news and have felt that sickness in your stomach. It’s an awful feeling. What’s even worse is when the person doesn’t feel worthy enough to leave the abusive relationship and stay captive.

The other day I heard about a situation that broke my heart. A beautiful woman was telling me that her companion was “bullying” her and calling her “fat,” amongst other things [even though the woman is not obese and even if she was overweight he has no business calling her that]. I could not believe that her companion was berating her in such a horrible way. It angered me instantly and found myself wanting to berate the companion, but then realized it would be the
same low thing he was doing so I refrained. 

While this beautiful woman was telling me these horrible things, all I could think of [besides the anger] was that we are all God's daughters [if we know it or not, we are all His daughters] and I am 100% sure He does not want for any of His daughters [or sons] to go through abuse.     

Believe it, my dear sister in Christ.
Photo credit: www.indulgy.com
My dear sisters, let's remember WHO WE BELONG TO--- GOD! He loves us with a respectful, pure, tender love and wants us to be treated with the utmost respect from our men, peers and family [and He expects us to treat others like this as well]. 

If you ever find yourself [or anyone else] in a domestic violence (or any other) situation, please consider contacting the National Domestic Violence line. If you are in an abusive teen dating relationship, contact the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at 1(866) 331-9474 or their website, www.loveisrespect.org. There are other organizations such as END IT NOW and NO MORE that offer lots of valuable resources as well and can be a beacon of hope for your "dark night." And If you find yourself in immediate danger, call 911! 

Besides all of those wonderful organizations who are there for you at whatever time of the day, please remember that God is there for you 24/7 (as well) and cares for what you are going through. You are not alone even though you may feel like it. God is there to wipe away your tear, to cool your bruises (internally and externally), and to love you unconditionally and wholeheartedly.


Whenever you are feeling used and abused and need something encouraging to read, keep these Bible promises [a promise is a pact that cannot be broken] and quotes below:  


God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. Psalm 46:1-3,7


‘Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Isaiah 41:10

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 

2 Tim 1:7 (AMP)

He [God] only is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Defense and my Fortress, I shall not be moved.

Psalm 62:6 (AMP)

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. 
-- Eleanor Roosevelt

"You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it." 

-- Maya Angelou

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. 

Alice Walker

Always remember that you are God's precious daughter and are worth so much more than you can imagine. 


Be safe and be heard. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

*The Time is NOW*-- Resources for Undocumented Students

I know that my blog posts are usually Biblical applications, but I wanted to dedicate a post about resources for undocumented students. After all, What Would Jesus Do [WWJD]? Side note, if you don't know who Jesus is, click here.

By the way, click on the links to access each individual website/information source. 


President Obama's [OFFICIAL] Decision about Deporting Young Undocumented People

La Decision [OFICIAL] del Presidente Obama Acerca de la Deportacion de Jovenes
Official Press Release from Department of Homeland Security in English
Comunicado de Prensa Oficial de la Oficina del Departamento de Homeland Security en Español

For More [OFFICIAL] Information about President Obama's Decision Visit these Links
Para Mas Informacion [OFICIAL] Acerca de la Decision del Presidente Obama

United States Citizenship [and] Immigration Services (USCIS) 
United States Immigration [and] Customs Enforcement (ICE)

For Updates About Immigration Policy Changes Visit these Organizations
Para las 
últimas Noticias Acerca de Immigracion
Reform Immigration for America
National Council of La Raza

Disclaimer: I found most of the following resources at Educators for Fair Consideration [E4FC] website. They are an amazing website and first I've seen solely dedicated in helping undocumented students reach their dreams. God [continue to] bless them for starting their organization and for their mission. 

Scholarships for Undocumented Students [Don't require SSN #]

Becas Para Estudiantes Indocumentados [No requiere numero de seguro social]

Scholarship Directory for Undocumented Students 

[Published/compiled by Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC)]

Scholarships for Students Regardless of Immigration Status

[Published/compiled by MALDEF]

2009-2010 Paying for College: Student [Scholarship] Resource Guide

[Published/compiled by Congresswoman Lucille Roybal Allard's District Office: CA-34]

Selected Funding Opportunities Open to Non-US Citizens

[Published/compiled by University of Maryland National Scholars Office]

Search Engine that Allows You to Search for Scholarships That Don't Require SSN#

[Hispanic Scholarship Fund]

Financial Guides for Undocumented Students
Guias Financiaras Para Estudiantes Indocumentados


Financial Aid Guide for College-Bound Undocumented Students

[Published/compiled by Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC)]

The College and Financial Aid Guide for AB540 Undocumented Immigrant Students

[Published/compiled by AB540 College Access Network]
Guia En Espanol

Access to Publish Education Guide: Unlocking the Key to our Nation's Future

[Published/compiled by NAKASEC & KRC]

Living Guides for Undocumented Students

Living in the United States: A Guide for Immigrant Youth
En Español
[Published by Immigrant Legal Resource Center]


Immigration: What Teens Need to Know
En Español
[Published by Public Counsel Law Center]

Life After College: A Guide for Undocumented Students
[Published by Educators for Fair Consideration]

---------------

Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) also has the following resources: 

For Parents
For Educators
For Students [I listed most above, but there are additional ones]
Legal Services
Advocacy Center
Online Store

To learn more about the angels [employees] who E4FC is comprised of, click here.


I will continue to update this blog post when I learn more information about a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. The other day, I was telling a couple of friends that I could totally see Jesus helping out our youth [and adults] if He was still walking amongst us today in 2012. And yes, I definitely know He is helping out right now in the situation from Heaven and "Lord, we praise you for it!"

 "...W
hatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for ME." Matthew 25:40


The time is NOW to act + help others in need.

Be blessed and please pass on this blog post.

--Anissa Pérez-Perla










Friday, March 16, 2012

Through Their Eyes...


I work a couple blocks from one of Washington, DC's landmarks--Union Station. If you've ever lived in DC or visited DC, you know what I'm talking about. It's this grandiose train station that was built in 1907 and millions of people have walked through it but enough with the history lesson.

Almost every week I go to Union Station to have lunch or take the train. Every time I walk through the doors I'm greeted by throngs of tourists taking photos of the ceilings in the main hall. For a time there all I could think was, "what's the big deal, tourists? It's just a building. Geesh!" You should see the look on people's faces when they've seen the main hall for the first time. They are amazed and captivated by all the features in the edifice. They stop and stare while the rest of us are in a hurry to grab lunch or in a rush to catch the train.

Last week something hit me as I was strolling through the station. "Will my original fascination with Union Station be reignited if I see it through their (tourists) eyes? I stopped for a moment and tried to shift my vision to see what they were seeing and at that moment, Union Station's beauty captivated me once again. I thought, "wow, THIS is what they are seeing..." You see, for a time there Union Station was just a regular old building to me because I was so used to seeing it or being in it that it's beauty faded. I had taken it for granted

I started comparing this to the captivation, awe, and the admiration of a new "baby" Christian and their fire for God and His work. It's often referred to the "first love" feeling. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. There have been times where I've felt like I've lost that feeling because I'm so used to seeing God's work or being in the church that I take it all for granted. Some times we are in a hurry to do "this and that" for church that we lose the true meaning. Have you ever felt that? Again, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. And to see the happy faces of those new baby Christians makes you think back when you were as them...on fire! Well, the good news is that we are not dead and there is still a chance to see our loving Christ through their eyes.    

"But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent." Revelation 2:4-5

Thursday, February 2, 2012

One-Way < Two-Way

"Two-way."


When you hear the words, "two-way," what comes to your mind? For me I think of two-way radios, two-way pagers, two-way mirrors, two-way streets and two-way relationships.

Yeah, yeah...I know that was a corny intro, so let me cut to the chase. First, can we keep it real? You sure? Okay...


At the end of last year and beginning of this year something had been churning in my brain and it is one-way relationships. At one of my job staff retreats, I learned the concept of 100/100 instead of 50/50 [which is how I grew up knowing it]. The theory is if two people give 100% and one person slips up at any given time, there will still be 100% sustaining that relationship. Opposed to the 50/50 theory where both people are only giving 50% and if someone slips up, it's only sustaining 50% of the relationship which requires 100%. Interesting concept, no?

Anyhow, isn't it beautiful to have a two-way relationship, where you both give 100%? Where both of you initiate conversations [not just the same person over and over], both of you initiate quality time [again, not just the same person over and over], both of you care for each other and show it, etc. It's a wonderful feeling to be wanted [whether in a friendship way or even a romantic way]. One of the best feelings in the world is knowing a person is there for you at all times AND [you] being there for someone at all times.


Going back to what was churning in my mind. I had been thinking about some one-way relationships I had in my life with some people I care about. And I know this may sound wrong, but towards the end of last year, I decided I was going to let the one-way relationships go [no harsh feelings, but just letting bygones be bygones]. The truth of the matter is, it hurt...a lot. 


Last month, I remember sitting in my car and feeling so hurt and then it hit me [like a bus]! This is how God MUST feel when I give him the cold shoulder and only have a one-way relationship with Him! You know how you feel like you're having an "aha moment [Oprah style]"? That was me! Here I was sitting in my self-pity when I've done the very same things to God, my Father & 
BEST FRIEND! Quickly, I shook out of my one-sided mess and shifted my attention to what I have done to God in the past. There have been times I barely give God even 50%, let alone 100%! There have been times I don't initiate conversations with Him and He is always there initiating them with me. How selfish of me. There have been times I don't initiate quality time with Him while He is there yearning to spend quality time with me. The sadness I felt that day in the car had *nothing* on the sadness we must cause God due to our "50%". 

How many times does God show us He loves and cares for us and we don't return the love? I just thank God that He isn't like me where I was ready to give up on my one sided relationships, just like that. We would deserve for God to give up on us, but He never has and will never do so. Thank you Lord Jesus for that assurance that you will never give us less than 100% even when we only deserve that 5%! 


Where can I go from your Spirit? 

Where can I flee from your presence? 
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; 
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, 
if I settle on the far side of the sea, 
even there your hand will guide me, 
your right hand will hold me fast. 
Psalm 139


XoXo,

Nissy

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The State of YOUR Union...with Christ.

If you live in the United States [or anywhere else for that matter] and have television or Internet, you know that every year while a president is in office, he gives a State of the Union (SOTU) address. In the hour speech he reports to the American people [and the entire world who is watching] about the condition of the United States of America. Sometimes the state of the union are optimistic, while other things the state of the union look very grim. Also in this speech, the president outlines his legislative agenda for the days to come.

In my lifetime, I've heard many of these lengthy speeches, but tonight something different came to mind. Do we as Christians [or whatever else you may be] evaluate about the condition of our union with Christ? Sometimes we are so busy working for God [or doing other things] that we forget who we are serving. It is beneficial for us to take a brief moment to thoroughly evaluate "our own state of union" with our Heavenly Father.  When we are clamoring to God about our state of the union, do we give him a sincere agenda of what we would like to improve with Him? These are obviously all rhetorical questions but something I hope makes all of us reflect so we can improve our relationship with our eternal "president."

"Give in the grace of knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18


And like my friends at McLean Bible Church say, "this is not a sermon, just a thought."

Have a blessed night and may God bless you and the United States of America!

XoXo,

nissy