Lifestyle

Shadow

Thursday, November 16, 2017












2001-2017

Rest in peace, my best friend.

Lifestyle

Here's to today

Friday, November 03, 2017


I dropped out of University today. 

Who would have thought I'd ever say those words or do its action? The plan was, get through my four years of university, graduate, and get a job. But man did things change.

My health statues: struggling.

The semester was quite the disaster. I'll keep it short: I began failing nearly all of my classes, and the idea of catching up was impossible. 

Was school hard? Not really, but I would spend hours staring at the work in front of me, and I'd be incapable of moving, or thinking, and the longer I sat frozen in my seat, the more stress and anxiety would grow in my chest and only make things worse.

Then I began thinking. Do I even like the program I'm in? Is this even what I want my future to look like? After conversation with my parents, my sister, and a career counselor, I came to the decision that, it was time to leave University. 

And so I did, today, at 8:30 am. 

What's my plan? Get better. Seeing as my health isn't in its top shape, my goal at the moment is to focus on getting better. Doctor's appointments, therapy, etc. Along with that, now that I have sooo much free time, I plan to find a job, volunteer more at my church and in the community, and finally finish that stinkin' novel I've been writing. The number one thing, however, is to focus on finding my peace in God's plan for me. Knowing that I won't be in school for a year stresses me out from time to time, because I begin to worry about my future and whether I'll find a job or not, etc. 

But I'm following God's plan wherever he's taking me. And honestly, no matter where his plan leads, no matter how tough, at least he'll be with me the whole time. 

Devotionals

Peace in the storm

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


I realize it's been, about six months since I last posted on this blog. Almost everyday, I would go on my blog, look at the old abandoned posts I have laying around, tell myself, I should really write something, and suddenly become distracted by something else.

Facebook has done an impeccable job in reminding me that I haven't posted in awhile. It's felt as if Mark Zuckerberg himself has been telling me of the grandness of my failure as a blog writer, and the disloyalty I've had towards my Facebook followers.

I'm back though, and my hope is to continue writing more on the blog.

It's been a difficult, mind-blowing, sad, encouraging, and wonderful past summer overall.

And now, here I am, back at the beginning of this exciting cycle, headed back into the hallowed halls of my University.

I spent majority of my summer working as a Intern for my church again this year, and it was quite the "interesting experience". Earlier this year, after almost failing my classes and coming quite close to just dropping out in general, I was advised to go see a doctor, where I was formally diagnosed with Depression and sent off to the world of therapy.

So my new diagnosed mental state, coupled with a summer away from my family and working nonstop birthed "quite the interesting experience".

The saddest part of it all was that, I had completely shut God out when I needed him the most.

What did I learn this summer, and the first five weeks of University? God never left me.

The amount of times that my mentors, friends and sister told me to go to God in prayer and me not doing it is quite embarrassing. It would have been so simple, SO simple if I had just said anything to God. The words I wanted to tell him, and the feelings I needed to express were pushed down into the deepest depths of my heart in hopes that they would never resurface. I had this mentality of, "God can't heal me, he wants me to go through this" that seemed to destroy me.

Now, I didn't think that in a resentful way. I've been quite surrendered about my depression, and I've never been angry to God for having to go through it. However, it did make me stop praying. Since I believed that God had given me this illness for some sort of reason, I felt it pointless to ask him to heal me from it, so I just wouldn't talk about it. And not talking about it turned into just not talking to God in general. I pushed him away, and because I pushed him away, I got worse, and it became more and more difficult not to believe all the lies that Satan was telling me.

I began studying the bible with a friend of mine who, just recently, got into the water to make Jesus Lord of her life. It was beautiful watching her love for God grow, and her amazement of his love and grace for her become more real. Reading those scriptures with her, and watching her be completely open with her life so as to be freed from the world and reconciled with God ... brought me great sorrow.

Not for her, but for me. Seeing my friends eagerness to be right with God made me see clearly how I had been pushing God away and letting myself fall into Satan's traps over and over and over again. I needed to do some HEAVY damage control if I wanted to feel God again.

After having had my friends last study before her baptism, I called my best friend after immediately. I confessed to her, and was open about my sin. I made sure to tell he about all the bad, and the worse stuff. However, even though it felt great to get all that yucky stuff off my shoulders, I still didn't feel good. In fact, it was that night that Satan almost won.

Joel 2:12 (NLT) reads:
"Turn to me now, while there is still time."

Do you remember in first Samuel, when Hannah wasn't doing too well because she wasn't able to have a child, so, she wept bitterly to the Lord in her anguish (1 Samuel 1:10)? She wept. I wept. 

I can't say I fully understood what it meant to weep until that night. I had reached the lowest part of my life. I had completely let my depression paralyze me, and allowed Satan to terrorize me. I was trapped in my own mind, and left to rot in the darkest place I had ever been. And that was where I found God. 

It was like a tiny light that shone in a pitch black pit. 

The light didn't heal me right there, nor did it tell me I would be healed soon. It just shone and reminded me that it was there for me. I can't fully explain how it felt to feel God's love literally wash over me ("Grace, comes, like, a, wave, washing over me." Any elevation worship fans?), but it was such an amazing experience. Even though my depression was fairly bad, I could feel God be there right next to me, watching over me. It brought me so much comfort and so much peace within the storm.

Shout out to my two friends who referenced this scripture to me: Mark 4:37-40

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him. "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"

I love this scripture because the most powerful being in the entire universe, Son of the Creator of Heaven and Earth and the Author of Time was right there in the boat. I mean, the boat wasn't anything huge, Jesus being at the stern was really just a few feet away from the disciples, maybe even less, and yet, the disciples were afraid.

Jesus is right in the boat next to us. He was in the boat right next to me, yet I still allowed myself to fear the storm. I cried out to the Lord, wept and poured out my soul because I was far too afraid of the storm and I needed his help. And he woke up, showered me with love and told me, "Why are you afraid, Lorena? I'm right here. I've always been right here."

I pray that through your storms and your own sorrows, that you all can remember that Jesus is on the same boat as us all. He has never left, nor will he ever leave. He loves us far too much to let us drown. (Isaiah 43:2). And if you ever feel like you're too broken or lost to come back to God, I encourage you to read and study out Joel 2:12-17

Thanks for reading this far! Have a blessed day :)

Lifestyle

Year One | Tips

Sunday, April 23, 2017

I finished!

I  stepped out of that exam room, handed in my final exam of my first year of university, and now, I'm free!

Unbelievable. I have endured that first year. I MADE IT!

University wasn't a total shock for me. I remember being told beforehand that it was completely different than high school, but the transition between grade twelve to university was more refreshing to me than shocking. I thought I'd bestow unto you all (mostly the teenies who are graduating this year) my pieces of wisdom as a survivor of the first year!

#1 Go on a friend-making spree. Every first year coming into University is already a new student, so it's the perfect time to use that for your advantage. Make friends wherever you go, especially in every class you're in. It makes classes way more fun, and it gives you those opportunities to study with people and have those people there to help when help is needed. Everyone is looking to make friends, so don't feel shy! Honestly, each person will be willing to start a friendship with you.

#2 Hand-write your notes. I've tried both methods of, writing by hand and writing on my laptop, and writing by hand was FAR more efficient. Typing on my laptop was easy, I didn't even have to think about what I was writing, and I could literally write down everything the professor said. Writing it on the other hand forced me to really listen to the professor and to write down the key things the prof was saying. Truussttt, it's so much better to look back on your written notes when studying rather than your laptop notes.

#3 Study in your school's library. Just do it. There's so much more motivation when you're surrounded by people who are studying hard and it just makes you want to study too. It's even better when you're with friends in the library. (It's a library, so you can't talk, you'll have to study!) I tried working from home a few times and let me tell you, I got nothing done.

#4 Choose electives that will benefit your future. My sister got mad at me when I took some random science course just to fill up my timetable. She told me that, when you're choosing electives, try and choose one's that will actually be useful to you in life. For example, most schools offer classes on how to do your own finances and to budget your money. You could take a language class (french, spanish, italian, etc), a communications class, my school had professional writing which was amazing. Don't just choose random things, really sit down and think about what would be beneficial for you.

#5 Meal prep. Do it. My goodness do it. The amount of money that a student spends on fast food is unbelievable. If you keep just a few hours on like, Sunday, just to prepare your lunches for the week, your wallet will feel so much better. There are countless videos on YouTube on how to meal prep and great recipes to meal prep for. Trust, it'll be so much better, especially when you're dealing with housing payments and tuition.

#6 Study. This is a no-brainer. Just study for your tests and exams, please. This ain't high school no more children, you're in the real world now.

#7 Credit/No-Credit. Let's say, you're really struggling in a certain course, but you need your GPA to do very well, and this specific class is bringing you down. All schools may not have this, but my school allowed us to Credit/No-Credit a course. This means that, as long as we get a 50% or higher in the class, we will get the credit, but the grade won't go into our GPA. Amazing isn't it? If there's a class that's really dragging you down, check to see if your school also has the Credit/No-Credit function!

#8 Make use of what your tuition is paying for. Tuition doesn't usually only pay for the classes your taking. Sometimes, you pay for the school's gym, or the healthcare center, or bus fares, etc. Use up all you can that your tuition is paying for!

#9 Workout. School will get stressful, there's no denying it. But, working out in someway is honestly a great stress reliever. Doing cardio helps get the brain working well and it brings your mood up a lot. You might not need to do a full workout everyday, but maybe a run every few days will keep you sane for a bit.

#10 Share the gospel. I feel that people in University are much more open to coming out to a bible talk or church than people would be in high school. Definitely take the opportunity of being a follower of Christ and share the gospel with your friends and peers!

#11 Schedule your life! Guys. Don't drown yourself in studying your face off every chance you get. Plan out the days that you'll study, or the times you'll read your textbook. Make sure that you're still having fun in University. Hang out with your friends, go on adventures, and just have fun. If you schedule our your weeks, things will go much more smooth.

#12 Enjoy! University is a hoot. Enjoy every second of it!

I'm no university veteran, but I thought I'd share the things I wish I had known coming into University. If you're just going in, good luck! I enjoyed my first year SO much, and I hope you do too :)

Devotionals

Balance

Tuesday, April 04, 2017


I thought I'd write a quick post today. The other day I was talking to one of my friends, and as disciples of Christ, we both asked how the other was doing in their spiritual walk with God. When I spoke, I had come to a second realization.

I say second, because I had discussed this exact topic with another friend of mine just weeks prior, but I had completely forgotten about it until that conversation with my friend the other day.

Lately, I've become so intrigued by theology and apologetics. (Theology being the study of God and Apologetics being reasoned arguments to prove something is correct). I was busy researching and finding answers to some of the hardest questions that Christians are posed with. I wanted to be ready if anyone came to talk to smack about God, or proved his existence wrong. I wanted to be fully prepared.

Though, I completely neglected my own relationship with God. It was great that I was reading and learning so many new things, it was definitely faith-building. However, I became obsessed with this need to know everything! I needed to know why God did every single thing he did, and I felt myself losing faith when my questions weren't being answered, or I was just not satisfied with the answers.

I lost sight of God. I had minimized God's amazing power and wisdom down to fit my little telescope. But, God is far too amazing, and powerful and wise to be fully understood by our simple human minds. As humans, we want to know everything. Science is constantly trying to find answers to everything, but the reality is, we can't know everything, because we aren't God.

"For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." 1 Corinthians 1:25

My hope for me, and my hope for you (if you've also lost sight of God in the midst of proving his existence) is to find a healthy balance. Building a relationship with God and maintaining that relationship should be #1.

I 100% support researching and learning about the Bible. I've learnt so many things in my own studies, and even in apologetic classes I've sat in on. I've learnt that history proves that Jesus existed. I learnt that Genesis wasn't meant to be read as a scientific text, but as a love letter. Discovering the context behind the Bible and the stories I grew up reading was extremely faith-building, and I encourage you to do the same. It will help you see God in a new light, and it will strengthen your convictions and your belief in him.

Just be sure to find a healthy balance.

One of my dear friends gave me a genius idea on how to balance out my researching, and keeping a healthy relationship with God. She told me that, I should dedicate two or so days a week to just hardcore studying the deep questions about the Bible and learning all that awesome theology stuff. But, for the remainder 5 days, I would spend it praying, and worshiping God, and working on my relationship with him.

Have fun learning and building!

...

Thursday, February 23, 2017


You three are far more precious than jewels

Devotionals

Reading vs. Studying

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


"Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." Acts 17:11

Sometimes, when I’m feeling especially lazy, reading one Scripture from the Bible qualifies as my quiet time. But, I learn nothing from reading it over once and I would hardly even remember what the Scripture said as I would go on with my day.

It becomes extremely easy to get into that rhythm of reading something from the Bible quickly and passing it as your time with God. But the problem with that is that: the Bible isn’t meant to just be read.  

They examined the Scriptures

Let’s define the word examine:

Inspect (someone or something) in detail to determine their nature or condition; investigate thoroughly. (thanks Google)

If you were to spend time studying for a biology exam, you wouldn’t glance at the words “DNA Replication for Mitosis” and think: “I think the author of this textbook is trying to tell me that DNA replicates for Mitosis” and decide for yourself that you’ve finished studying and are ready for the final exam.

No, imagine how silly that would be. You would have failed the exam! Instead, you would have taken time to fully understand that “DNA Replication for Mitosis” occurs within the nucleus of a cell during the Synthesis phase, and that the importance for replicating genetic information is to make sure that, before dividing, the cells get all of the right instructions for creating essential proteins. Right? Now, you understand what your textbook is saying and you’re ready for the exam!

So why should the Bible be read differently? It may not be an exam we're studying for, but I think the goal of eternal life is a good enough reason to be studying out the Bible. The Bible is amazingly complex, and just reading won't help us understand the Bible.

They examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true

Your pastors/preachers/leaders of your churches have probably said that “God’s Word is the truth.” How easily did you nod and agree with your pastor/preacher without even questioning it?  Is the Bible really the truth? How exactly are you putting your Faith in something that you don’t even understand fully?

“Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” (John 8:31-32)

The Bereans were adamant that everything they heard and read that was about the Bible or God was to be thoroughly examined by themselves, in case there was some false doctrine happening. The Bereans didn’t want to put their Faith in something blindly, they wanted to understand it all for themselves, and by doing this, they came to believe (Acts 17:12) in God and Jesus; not because they were told to, but because they knew why they should.

I remember listening to a lesson on the importance of studying one’s Bible during a sermon in Montreal, and one of my favourite points from the preacher that day was: “if we’re just reading what’s on the [Bible’s] surface, I don’t think we’ll make it.”

I was blown away, because his words were both scary to hear, and essential to be said. It’s true. If we are reading the surface of the Scriptures, how exactly will we grow in our Faith? Understanding God, understanding Jesus, understanding sin, and Grace, and Love, and so much more are what build Faith, and conviction, and help us grow closer and deeper with God. If we aren’t building an understanding, our Faith will only weaken and weaken and soon diminish, because we never bothered to learn.

There is one final point I wanted to talk about. The words “every day” are used in the Acts 17 Scripture as well.

Another one of my favourite lines that the preacher from Montreal had said was: “Each time you study the Bible, it is an act of war against evil.” Every day is a fresh new day for Satan to prowl around, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8), so every day we should be spending time in the Bible. With an understanding of the Word, and in turn, an unshakable Faith (Proverbs 10:25), we will make it. 

My encouragement? Stop just reading the Bible. Stop reading what’s on the surface and qualifying that as a productive time with God. Study the Scriptures, and come to new understandings, and grow in your Faith! If you want to finish the race strong, then start by studying the Bible. (Luke 21:19)


Fools have no interest in understanding (Proverbs 18:2)

(shout out to Lauryn K. for helping me understand DNA Replication for Mitosis)

Lifestyle

Nineteen

Thursday, February 16, 2017


So my birthday was four days ago (Yeah I know, I'm a little late in writing this...), and I turned nineteen. Can you believe it? Nineteen? 

Can't say I'm super excited to nineteen, because all I can think about is almsot being twenty ... and I'm not ready to be twenty. That means I actually have to be mature and all grown up now (boo).

I thought, to really kick off my adulthood, I would create a bucket list of things to do before turning twenty years old. I want this year to be of a lot of growth, and lots of fun too, and really just my best year yet because after this year, everything changes!!

1. Write 500 words a day (or more!). Honestly, I don't do this enough. I most definitely need to be sure I'm constantly writing, whether it my novel, or really anything in order to continue to improve my writing!
2. Get a job. Since I'm moving out this year and hoping to go on mission trips to volunteer, I definitely need to start woring to save up money. (Already feeling this adulthood thing :( )
3. Get a pixie cut. I've always wanted one, so I plan on getting one!
4. Buy a lottery ticket. I didn't do this when I turned 18, and obviously I have been able to, but, yeah, I gotta do it now. Would be bless to win something!
5. Meet fitness goal. I've already been right on track with meeting my fitness goal. All that's left to do is to keep it up!
6. Nail the note in “I am Moana”. I'm soooo close to accomplishing this, but so far away!
7. Buy less fast food. That means meal preps every week to avoid the temptation to buy something quick and unhealthy!
8. Finish novel 100%. I've put this off long enough. I've been writing this novel for over five years, and there's not doubt in my mind that this year is going to be the year that I finally finish it!
9. Publish novel. This might be a little far-fetched... but I'm staying hopeful!
10. Go vegan for a month. I tried veganism once before, and man it was hard, but I felt good knowing that it's possible and that I can actually do it.
11. Go on a trip. Hopefully more than just a road trip, and more of a plane ride!
12. Help the poor and needy every month (or more!). I don't serve enough, and I need to serve more.
13. Update songs on IPod. I've had the same 60 songs (isn't that sad?) on my IPod for way too long. I'm definitely sick of hearing them and need and upgrade!
14. Sing on stage for an audience. High key, I love to perform, and getting the chance to sing on stage for something would be a dream come true!
15. Get my license. Isn't this sad? I'm nineteen and am still without my license?
16. Share in front of the church. Definitely a dream of mine to share my testimony or something in front of the church. One day...
17. Destroy this years’ exams! A's gotta be everywhere!
18. Share your faith every day. Everyone needs to be saved, and I got to do my part to give people the opportunity to hear the Gospel! I have no excuse!
19. Baptize a friend. Dreaaammmm!

Humans Of The Kingdom

Simone

Wednesday, February 08, 2017


"When I was three years old, I fell and hurt myself. I was running around, I was very rambunctious, and my mom said that I fell and I wasn’t moving. She picked me up and her and my dad rushed me to the hospital. They gave me an injection to alleviate the pain, but I think it damaged a nerve. Then they tried to repair that by doing physiotherapy by putting braces on both my legs, but that dislocated both my hips. So I couldn’t walk anymore.

"I don’t blame God though, because I don’t know any different. People who blame God for what happened to them, most of those people have a memory of what life was like before. I don’t know what it’s like to walk properly, I don’t know what it’s like to not be in a wheelchair, I don’t know what it’s like to not feel pain on a daily basis. To me, I get up every day and I’m in pain and to me, that’s just normal.

"I don’t ask God why these things happen. If you look at Paul, he had to accept the fact that it is what it is. He had to do what he needed to do for God. The scriptures tell me that you should not be asking why. That’s not an appropriate question because you aren’t going to get answer from it anyway. My disability, the reason why I am disabled, is so that I could bring glory to God with my body, and bring glory to God with my actions. I don’t see my disability as a hindrance, as a problem, I don’t see it as a problem. To me, being in a wheelchair is just like if someone were wearing glasses or a hearing aid. To me, I don’t see it as a huge issue."

Simone // Mississauga

Lifestyle

Two-Thousand and Seventeen

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Photo Credits: Aldrin Villamayor
I have never been so glad to have a year come to an end. 2016 had its wonderful memories, and its wonderful moments, yet, I still didn't feel as if 2016 was necessarily my year. 

Throughout the year, I felt as if there was far more I could have done with my year, and all the things I knew I should have done more. So, I thought I'd put these things on that New Years Resolution that everyone seems so hype about every year. 

I took some time to reflect, looking back at the ways God has blessed this year, and looking at my life from a third person perspective to see the things I really should have done for him, and for others around me. I guess I'll dive right in, then. However, this post is far more for me than you, but I invite you to read my resolutions as well, and hopefully you can come up with your own as well!

Giving my time
You can never really give too much time to God, and giving him more time this year is definitely a part of the plan. I look back at my 2016 and I can only see the amount of blessings that He had showered me with, and the moments I got to experience with Him, so why shouldn't I give more of my time? I have so much more to learn, and grow in, and by giving more of my time to Him, I know for a fact that 2017 will be great.

I also plan to give more time to my family. Knowing me, I enjoy being with my friends out at events and such, but I rarely plan to spend time with my family. 

Along with God and my family, I want to give my time and really my effort to my community. I seem to drown myself in school work and conclude that I have no time to do anything else, but due to the amount of TV shows I watched and hours of video games I played, it's obvious I have loads of time to do far more for those in need.

Journaling
I used to journal a lot when I was a kid. My mom would always buy me these pretty journals that I could use. I would write daily, explaining my day and what dreams I had, or whatever was on my mind really. This year however, I plan to journal only positively. I bought a journal and vowed to only write a good thing that happened in my day. Even if it was the worst day ever, finding the smallest bit of good in my day would go in my journal. (Most excited about this one, so I can look back in 2018 to see how my year went).

Knowledge
Biblical knowledge to be more specific. Lately I've been extremely intrigued by theology and apologetics (basically proofs of the bible), and the more I've learnt, the more I want to know. I've been confronted far too many times with questions I can't answer, so I plan to equip myself to answer questions asked of me (1 Peter 3:15)

Health
No surprise that I'm writing this. It's not a New Years Resolution if the want to improve ones health isn't on it. I have my own goals when it comes to my health and fitness, and I'm prepared to commit to them. I got to be honest, I've tried many, many times, and have often given up from discouragement. I'm keeping this on the list though, because I'm adamant to be successful in this area.

Write
For those who may not know, I'm currently writing a novel! This novel has been in development for many years (mainly because it began when I was so young, therefore going through many changes due to a large improvement in my writing) and has reached it's final draft. 2017 is when I am going to finish the novel, and finally get to work on the others. Ideally, I would LOVE to publish my novel this year, but finishing it is my main goal.

I hope you all have New Years Resolutions. Despite how cliched they are, I find them great tools to really reflect on how the previous year really went. 

Thanks for reading, ya'll. Happy New Year!