0 comments on “KEEP WALKING”

KEEP WALKING

I remember being 12 years old and thinking “When I’m 16, I’ll have my first boyfriend and I’ll get my driver’s license, when I’m 25 I should be married, and when I’m 30 I should have my first child.” Okay, so none of my predictions came true. By the time I turned 25, I still couldn’t figure out what I wanted to be in life. There’s a one hit wonder by 4 Non Blondes and it goes….

       Twenty-five years and my life is still

Trying to get up that great big hill of hope

For a destination

………

And I try, oh my god do I try

I try all the time, in this institution

And I pray, oh my god do I pray

I pray every single day

For a revolution

………

And I say, hey hey hey hey

I said hey, what’s going on?

………

That was my song. I sang it quite well actually. I was one of two vocalists in a cover band performing weekly at a bar not far from the Vegas Strip. I didn’t pick the song, the members chose it for me but they didn’t even have a clue I was only a few months away from turning 25. I remember that year clearly. I thought I had a very good standing relationship with God, but I look back and I was actually more on the self-righteous side blinded by my own self-confidence, yet I didn’t have a clear focus on how God wanted to use my skills and talents and I was still chasing after worldly gains.

I always believed having a goal meant that you’re counting on yourself to achieve it one day. YOU SET IT, YOU GET IT. And it confused me so much because the Bible says that God establishes a man’s steps, no matter how much he plans his own life (Proverbs 16:9). So what did He want from me?!? Why did He give me so much passions and interests and I can’t even focus on one to set me for life?

He brought me back to square one. And not just once, but quite a few handful of times. Square one was a corner as I had always pictured it before. And whenever I came back to this place, I always lost hope and complained “Well, I’m going to have to work extra hard now just to gain back all the strength I just lost, because now I have to start all over again.” It might have been the hundredth time of returning to this place that I finally realized it is not a corner but the center of where everything begins. It is now the place where the LORD always reminds me I am nothing without Him and have nothing without Him. And I have no complaints but praises and thanks. I have to make sure I’m still on the path. He brings me here to remind me it doesn’t matter how much I have been pushing myself just to walk a little faster than before because at times I felt I was so behind. What matters is that I’m walking in faith. What matters is that God is my ultimate Goal.

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“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination.”

Earl Nightingale

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:6

“God is my Goal.”

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

Christian  Health|Nutrition  Portrait Art

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0 comments on “Why Health”

Why Health

Home Improvement was one of my favorite TV shows in the 90s. The middle kid, Randy, was my biggest crush. All throughout high school, I idolized him. When I discovered he was a vegetarian in real life, I thought “Well that’s it! That’s what makes him stand out!” I easily justified his good looks, wit, and smarts to his diet. I admired him and so I wanted to be just like him, or at least be cool like him. I was 9 years old when I first thought of the idea of going vegetarian. I was 10 when I became part-time on the diet. I was 11 when I decided to commit. It caused my family a lot of grief and worry, thinking I’d for sure develop some kind of eating disorder, and end up dead one year later. I was already somewhat health conscious, but I look back now and I really don’t think I knew what I was doing.

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Jonathan Taylor Thomas was my initial reason, but overtime it changed as I remained committed and outgrew my obsession with him. I was a weird girl. Life was difficult as a teenager. My relationship with my dad was ugly. Read my testimonyI don’t mention this in that post but I basically equated his diet to his anger. I had daddy issues and my hatred for meat grew the more hostile our relationship became. My choice not to eat meat was psychological. I came to discover this for myself when I finally decided to face my fear of forgiving him completely. You hear people going vegetarian or vegan for health or ethical reasons, but I did it because firstly, I was obsessed with a celebrity and secondly, I wanted to get attention from my dad. I was definitely more of a junk food vegetarian because I struggled with focus, memory, and sleep. I was anemic, had eczema, asthma, indigestion, anxiety, and terrible PMS. Had it not been for my pride, I would have given up on the first year on this diet. I guess it was my way of keeping my dad on his toes. WOW is right. How much more weirder can this post get? I’ll get to my point I promise.

My doctor never diagnosed me for any of those conditions because I didn’t have an option. My parents didn’t want me ever getting on any special medication, so I sucked it up. Go ahead, state your opinion, but I’m glad  that no matter how difficult I was, I never took to prescription pills. Instead, I took my health into my own hands and became my own health advocate. My parents bought a Jack Lalanne juicer for the whole family, which I now know they really bought it for me. I put that machine to good use as I came to realize I’m 100% responsible for getting as healthy as I could. Each year I became more and more health conscious, but I really didn’t step it up until a very embarrassing moment at work. I was a cashier and the person who gave their payment decided to hand me change after I had already punched in the numbers on the register. I froze and my ears turned red hot because I could not compute in my mind how much change to give back. My manager had to get off her break just to fix my problem, because it was that busy in the store that none of my mates could help me. That was one of the many awkward and embarrassing moments that pushed me to change my diet.  But taking supplements and actually eating more vegetables wasn’t going to fix me overnight.

I lasted 15 years. Do I regret giving up meat for that long? No. Despite the low self-esteem I had, I gradually progressed by committing to make my health a priority. Since JTT’s influence on me, I’ve always believed that food had a connection with behavior and thoughts. In my case, my pride and stubbornness opted to endure problems, which I totally could have prevented if I just knew what I was doing, and if I just had more discipline. I am a health enthusiast today thanks to the psychological and emotional struggles I had due to my poor diet and my relationship with my dad. After my long journey as a vegetarian, I transitioned to pescatarianism for one year then veganism for one week. Today, I’m an omnivore like most everyone else, but I transition through each eating lifestyle (in a different order) throughout each month as I revolve around my menstrual cycle. Sound interesting? Out of all this, I’ve come to develop a diet that has basically been a mental and emotional cure for me, and weight loss was just a bonus. Anxiety, depression, I’ve had my share.

I NOW SUPPORT MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS BY INTEGRATING FAITH AND MENTAL HEALTH/EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING. 

I’ve designed an eating lifestyle, which I am hoping works for all menstruating women. I know this is just the beginning of my endeavors with diet and fitness, but if you are a woman reading this and you’re interested in how I balance hormones by balancing nutrients, I’m glad to make this website available for you. Read this post to learn more. The connection between mind and body is amazing and I will never stop studying independently about their relationship, and how we are affected simply by what we consume. I also strongly believe in prevention, why and how it’s better than cures, and why diet alone has a great impact on how a person experiences life overall. Health is important to me because when I lack discipline to maintain good eating habits, my mind goes astray and I lose focus, and focus is a must to maintain. No other person but me experiences what I go through mentally and emotionally when I neglect my own health. And that’s why taking it into my own hands is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. I very much strongly believe that health and Christianity go hand in hand and God proves to me time and time again exactly how my body is His temple.

My “Recipes” section is small but I am working on adding more. Check it out here. If you haven’t yet already done so, you can watch my very first video about my diet to learn more on how I’m losing weight.

I had a physical check-up 3 years ago, but that wasn’t my most recent. I told my doctor about how I experience shortness of breath a week to two weeks prior to my period. I have this weird thing that I do. Let me explain. I yawn again and again until I feel like I’ve gotten enough air, but that feeling of relief doesn’t last for long, and I have to force another yawn just to feel okay again. So anyway, I went into grave detail about this issue that I’ve had for over 10 years and asked my doctor if he knew what could be causing my shortness of breath. He responded with a look of bewilderment, saying somewhere along the lines of “It could be your asthma. I never heard of anything like that.” It was another embarrassing moment for me. It’s encounters like this that reaffirms my commitment to be my own health advocate.

*UPDATE: AS OF RIGHT NOW, I AM PUTTING TOGETHER AN EBOOK/PDF FILE OR TWO ABOUT THIS LIFESTYLE I HAVE DEVELOPED THAT REVOLVES AROUND A MODIFIED KETOGENIC DIET AND THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE. SO PLEASE HAVE PATIENCE WITH ME AND BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THAT.

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

Christian  Health|Nutrition  Portrait Art

 

4 comments on “UPDATE”

UPDATE

It’s been so long. I know I’ve abandoned my blog. Forgive me. I just edited my About Me too explaining this. I sound redundant. But I’m back. If you care. Or if you don’t I really don’t mind. 🙂 I started this years ago and I just can’t not use it ever again. It’s always nice to have something to call your own. I think I’m finally starting to think more like a mom, even though I don’t have any kids. This is my baby. I need to nurture it. I think God would really like that. He was the one who prompted me to start this anyway. So yes, Im back. I’m alive or at least trying to survive. Life got busy. Reading some of my old posts makes me crack up. I’ve gone and deleted ones that just sound immature. Err. I’m still growing and every year gets better and better. What matters is I keep walking in faith and part of that is keeping up with this blog. I’m so glad 2018 has been great towards me so far. I’m learning to expand in ways I only dreamed in the past. And having this blog will push me to share the Lord’s goodness. I’m grateful. And so should you, for whatever circumstance you might be in, know that it only takes gratitude for the things you already have, because with God all things are possible. While I’ve been gone, on my free time, I would read so much on health because I knew I wasn’t living my best. I’m always led to the cold truth that my relationship with Christ is directly related to my overall wellbeing, and the topic of health has definitely stepped up on my list of values. So I’ve been doing a lot of independent research, specifically concerning women’s health. If you are only following this blog because of the Christian-based content, you might want to unsubscribe. I would just like to warn you that I’m incorporating all things related to diet/weight loss (recipes, tips, and health in general). I will be sharing my weight loss journey in hopes of helping many other women struggling to lose unwanted weight. Lastly, I am a portrait artist who has committed to using my talent not just when I feel like drawing or painting. I’ve been blessed to appreciate detail in everything and with this gift, how can I suppress it? I’ll be posting all my artwork here. Check out my GALLERY. So that’s me for now. I hope you all are doing great this year. And I pray you receive blessings every day. BE BLESSED! 🙂

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

Christian  Health|Fitness  Portrait Art

 

2 comments on “Sorrows Into Joy”

Sorrows Into Joy

 

Even after all these years of being a Christian, I still struggle with trust. In all my relationships, God wants me to dearly cling onto Him. When I’m at my weakest (usually a few days out of the month…) I’m reminded of traumatizing experiences in my past. But without a relationship with the Lord, I would be clueless as to how He could turn my sorrows into joy. I’m so grateful for my trials. Anybody who has been physically and/or verbally abused by a parent, guardian, or partner, remember He only gives what you can handle, and it’s in His will you come out of it a much stronger person. You wouldn’t be the faithful and strong person you are today if you never acknowledged God was watching over you.

James 1:2-4, 12 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Blessed is the man who remains steadfast (or perseveres) under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Romans 5:3-4 We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

Christian  Health|Fitness  Portrait Art

 

9 comments on “My Birthday Adventure”

My Birthday Adventure

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My boyfriend, David flew in from L.A. last Thursday. We bowled that night with his older brother Robert Jr.. We went to Suncoast casino, where we used to watch movies on Tuesdays for $5, then afterwards go bowling because it was a free round if we showed our ticket stubs. There’s always something to do in Vegas other than watch shows and gamble on the Strip, but I’m assuming not many people know that. So we brought our own shoes and we did alright. I practiced my curved throw, which is best described as throwing a football underhand. I threw more gutter-balls than curved ones, but I didn’t care. The best I ever did at bowling was with a 7 pounder. I can’t get away with doing that again because the guys working there said I’d have to be a kid to borrow it. We stayed up pretty late, then the following morning we headed over to our friends’ house. They live 40 minutes away from the nearest ski/snowboarding resort, Mt. Charleston. It was my 4th time snowboarding and the time before that was embarrassing because I ended up landing on my face a few times and eating a lot of snow. I remember when David took me for my third time a little over 2 years ago. It was my first chance to impress him with some sporty moves and the fact that I told him I’d gone twice before, he expected that I would do just fine. To his surprise I was better staying behind on the bunny slopes. I ended up landing on my face a good number of times again and eating a bunch of snow. He and his brother were patient and kind enough to give me some lessons. I tried my best to learn but I guess I just don’t know how to follow instructions. This time around however, I had better balance. A good friend told me before that snowboarding is like learning how to ride a bike. Once you learn it, you’ll never forget, even if you haven’t done it in quite a while. For me, it took 3 trips to the mountains to finally be consistent at keeping my balance. Being up there for nearly 5 hours, I only fell about 10 times. He was impressed and he made sure I heard him say it a few more times. I still have yet to learn toe carving but maybe next year I’ll be ready. We finished the day with all-you-can-eat sushi at China town and I’ve never been so sleepy at a restaurant. I have to mention that snowboarding can be very expensive. Not my gear though. I like to have fun and l like to save money. I found my bargain at the juniors’ clearance section in Big 5, Cerritos, California. My jacket, pants, gloves, and goggles all came at just under $100. The fact that it was on sale was great, and the fact that I was daring enough to ask if I could get a discount for purchasing over $100 worth of merchandise saved me $50. 🙂 My boots were also ridiculously discounted because of a defect, which works just perfectly fine with me. I picked them up from a table at REI Sporting Goods here in Vegas on a day they had a huge sale that extended out to the very front of the building. $14 can you believe?! My board was given to me by an ex who used to work for a man that owned a bar by the beach in Mission Bay, San Diego. He had a collection of all kinds of boards, skates, and bikes in his garage. Anyway, he was able to claim the board for free, and I didn’t even have to ask for it.

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On Saturday, we spent the afternoon helping his brother move into his new house. My muscles were so sore from the day before but lifting furniture and always being on the move was also the cure. We finished that day with a great meal of Filipino food treated to us by their dad. The brothers geared up for their shooting match on Sunday. These guys have been playing with guns since before they turned teenagers. It’s much funner shooting with them than watching a match that lasts for hours, so I opted to stay home. That evening, they took me out to meet with a couple friends at GameWorks. It was the most fun 5 hours I’ve ever had in an arcade, so much fun that I ended up getting sick. I remember eating a really sweet lollipop, which then gave me a mean sore throat. As a kid I would always get sick the day after Halloween. Bacteria loves sugar. It’s such a simple knowledge. I may also have gotten some germs from all the buttons I was pressing that night. The following day, my sore throat led to some ridiculous coughing. Did this snowball come down from the mountain to chase me to the end of the Strip? Tuesday, the 23rd rolled in, I waited 3 long hours at the DMV to get my ID renewed. I should have brought a book to keep my mind off of my body aches and chills. This is how I spent my actual birthday. From a distance I saw the oriental girl that took 15 minutes with our lunch oder at Burger King after the brothers’ shooting match. I wanted to Snapchat about it, but God told me not to. Wednesday came, my cough persisted, and it was a sleepless night because I had the worst asthma attack of my life. I woke my parents nearly midnight and we drove to the nearest drugstore that we were hoping sold OTC inhalers, because mine were out of puffs. They said they didn’t sell those anymore so I wound up taking tablets instead, which were of very little help to my lungs. Thursday morning, we take a family trip to nearest Urgent Care clinic. It took 3 hours of waiting, just as long as I had waited in line to get my ID. All I wanted was an inhaler!!! I finally get in a room with my mom and brother. I gave him my virus apparently. I told the doctor how I was feeling, that my asthma was a lot worse earlier but it finally subsided after the long wait, that I rarely get attacks, only once or twice a year. But my mom insisted I get an injection. So next thing I know a male assistant comes in and makes my mom and brother leave so he could tell me to pull my pants down and give me a steroid shot on my right cheek, which he then explained was going to feel like a stinging punch to my butt’s bone. It was the most painful 15 minutes of my life. I don’t understand why the doctor couldn’t have done it herself and not leave me alone with him. I felt so awkward. Happy Birthday to me. It was worth it though. I could breath again. I’m so thankful for air.

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

Christian  Health|Fitness  Portrait Art

 

0 comments on “Unusual Dream”

Unusual Dream

The other night I had a dream. I was driving a truck pretty fast on a pretty empty freeway. I don’t know why I was speeding. I felt I was not rushing to go anywhere. But for some reason my heart was calm. As I’m typing this, I’m realizing it was God behind the wheel. The truck in my dream went off onto a ramp but the ramp was not a complete path. I found myself up high in the air and I looked down to see an entire neighborhood. It was beautiful. The truck went into nose dive and still my heart was at peace. I felt like I was flying.

I woke up but still remained calm. I laid in bed and kept my eyes closed, but it didn’t take long for my mind to somehow come up with it’s own interpretation. I really just wanted to keep sleeping. The fact that I remained calm throughout an experience that would have terrified another even if it was only a dream, tells me God is preparing peace in my heart if He did take me to be with Him today.

adobe-spark-post (16)Last month, I was in Los Angeles visiting my boyfriend when one afternoon, my brother Isaac texted me about what happened to our mom. I called her as soon as I could but I guess she was busy on her phone chitchatting to someone else about it. She was held at gun point, not once but twice at her job where she had just started as a pharmacist on call. There were two other workers with her. She ran to the register where the panic button was. The two robbers of course demanded for her to open the register, and in her honest reply, she didn’t know how. They wanted Oxycontin as well, which she then told a lie. She didn’t have the access she said. The boys ran off only with the panic button and an iPhone of one of the workers. Hahahaha! We never got word from the investigating officers if they ever found those kids, but I doubt it was even difficult at all tracking the phone down. This calls for a verse or two from the Bible and I pick Ephesians 6:4 -​ Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Back to my story about my mom…When I had her retell the story to me, she said she felt at peace while everything happened so fast. She might have appeared panicked at first but she said she felt a sense of calm in her heart. She knew that if anything were to threaten her life again, she was positive she was going to heaven. I want to say I guess I know how it feels like now to know that I am going to heaven whenever I will have to face death. When I fully woke up that morning after an unusual dream, I remembered thinking, “Thank You for not taking me yet, You know I still have so much I want to do and I want to do them for You.”

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

Christian  Health|Fitness  Portrait Art

 

6 comments on “Lace Up”

Lace Up

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Father God, I love focusing on You. I know I don’t do it all the time, but when I do I remember how awful life is when I don’t. Every time You bring me to that point, I’m so grateful because I get to choose to want to change again. And every time I want to trade my heart for Yours, You do this wonderful thing that transforms my mind. It’s an awakening that doesn’t get old. And when that happens, I’m better than yesterday and wiser than before. If I have fallen off track, You make ways for me to get back on. You’re always rooting for me and You know that I have what it takes to keep following You. Your grace is enough for me to do Your will. Wherever I turn it’s there to remind me just how awesome Your will is, that is Your plans are greater than mine. When I focus on You, I care so much more about the people in my life. I feel alive when I love with that love You freely give. Thank You for Your glory.

So I’ve been feeling the blues these past couple of  weeks. I can’t blame God but I am angry because my hormones drive me crazy and maybe I’m mad at the weather too. I’m not my usual self. I haven’t got the energy to get up early to do my morning jogs because it’s cold. Well I know my body will warm up once I get going but still it’s so chilly leaving the comforts of my own blankets. There’s four of them because one is not enough, and for some reason my bedroom is also the coldest room in the house. Wow, I feel so much better than when I started. I take it that God is truly pleased when I journal or blog. Why did I even take a break? Oh yeah, I was feeling the blues. I’m trying to do so much at once. I’m trying to finish my first e-book and the site that allows me to do this for free can only give me 30 pages….that’s including the book cover and an intro and whatever else I need before page 1 actually starts, so I’m only left with 27 pages and my subtitle indicates that it’s a prayer for every day of the month. How is this going to work?! I really don’t know what to do now and I keep tweaking every sentence. I’ve been spending my mornings clearing the clutter in my parents’ office. The loft is next and these folks definitely don’t know how to keep things tidy. My aunt came to visit over the holidays. She made me turn the first floor upside down with her. I give this lady an applause. She gets away with being a dictator because she did put order in the house. It was long overdue. So she’s gone and now I’m left with a couple rooms upstairs. It’s about time. I mean the rest of 2016 will look so much brighter for my family if every thing has a home and place. There’s so much to organize. I hope to make it in time for summer when we’re going to have our first garage sale. And I’m constantly thinking if I see less clutter maybe that should help me finish my book, because then I can really focus. I really don’t want to put another project aside…who knows, I’ll go off starting a new one because that’s what I tend to do, which now brings me to overthink. Am I decluttering because I’ve run out of sentences to write? It’s a Christian book I’m asking God to help me with but I’m realizing my focus is not on Him. My focus is making everything perfect. I’m also realizing my relationships aren’t as great as they were two weeks or so ago. I think I’m making it about myself again. I’ve got to start jogging. I keep telling myself to make more videos on my channel, but every day I’m still figuring out the best position for the lights, what backgrounds to use, how to set it to achieve the highest definition….my mind is bombarded with ideas and I want to do them all at once. I keep disappointing myself trying to make everything so perfect. Why must I have to eat five times a day?! Can’t I just have one big nutritious breakfast without going nuts for sugar later on?! It’s good I went back on Facebook. I have a friend who all these years still loves me and cares for me when I thought I had disappointed her badly. And another really nice friend all the way from London, whose kindness encourages me. He also told me about a pastor who I have grown to really enjoy listening to. His name is Paul Washer. I don’t know why I’ve never heard of him before. Anyway, pastor’s good. He makes me feel awful in a good way. So yeah, I tend to make things about me, but God as my witness knows my heart, and I’m still trying to get to know His. I’ll be running in a mini marathon today and will be part of the world’s biggest gathering of leprechauns for a cause. My sister got us registered for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. It’s just awkward that this is happening before Valentine’s Day. This should be very good for me. This gives a good chance and reason to lace up.

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

Christian  Health & Nutrition  Portrait Art

 

0 comments on “What’s Your Zodiac Sign?”

What’s Your Zodiac Sign?

Astrology, horoscopes, zodiac signs. For 15 years, I was all about that. I actually became somewhat of an expert at it that whenever anyone told me their birthdate, I would know what their sign was right away. I believed in God, but my actions spoke louder and my attitude didn’t care much for a day to day relationship with Him. In the attempt to help me get over my low self esteem and insecurities, my soul searching led me to the occult, magic, superstition, palmistry…that kind of stuff. I wanted to better myself because I struggled so much with confidence. I may have laughed and looked happy all the time, but as much as I tried hiding things I didn’t want people to see, the more my denials showed its big face to me. I looked to astrology because it was interesting, and so it got me hooked. It slowly made me into a person that wasn’t really me. The more I read about my sun sign, the more I believed also everything negative said about it. I justified my actions on a sign that had a great hold on me. I took everything personally and I became highly sensitive. I kept telling myself over and over again what my sign’s good qualities were in hopes of transforming into the most self-assured person I knew. Eventually, it made me overthink things and I was never diagnosed with social anxiety but I was absolutely convinced I had it. Things really do start in the mind! And for me I chose my reality. I would behave in ways that astrology said was true about me, but it only hurt people and pushed them away. I justified peoples’ attitudes and personalities according to their signs and if they were Christians, I believed that it didn’t matter. It made me judge others so easily and I became so critical and new friends would only be friends for a short period of time, and I made more enemies because I didn’t know I pushed them away. I was in conflict with myself and I started to have what I would say a double life. I felt like I was bipolar. I realized that I was relying too much on my sign to make up for my lack of confidence. I was desperate, and reading about my moon sign especially would get me all excited again, but it never lasted. Astrology for me was fun until it became an addiction. If anyone out there can relate to this, I care so much because confidence is so important. It is the value of your integrity and that’s a big thing in this world. Confidence says a lot about a person’s overall worth, and how much you can trust them. Success, love, relationships has a big thing to do with it. Everyday, people measure your worth by your confidence whether or not you are aware of it and whether or not they are aware of it as well. I believe that astrology has its way of putting the focus on the reader, so much so that it actually becomes dangerous and unhealthy especially if they are easily entertained. We are called by the Lord to be selfless because in surrendering to Him we have freedom.

I made a decision never to believe in astrology again but it was easier said than done. Satan was unhappy I knew the Truth. God became so persistent about a daily relationship with me that He made it possible for me never to fall into the nonsense again. I discovered a more powerful, genuine kind of confidence with His help, the One who created the stars, the whole Universe. It made sense when He made me realize I shouldn’t be worshiping anything He created but only Himself. I found my true identity in Him and the wholeness and oneness that I was longing for. He gave me His confidence. Today, I get nervous for practical reasons, but social anxiety doesn’t exist in my mind or body because God overcame it for me. The more I worshipped Him, the more He worked on my heart and changed me and transformed me into a person that has all the great qualities I wanted, better than anything my zodiac sign ever said about me. I truly care about people who are looking to the wrong things to gain self-confidence. You may or may not be into astrology but if you are looking to other things to gain that confidence then you’ll always feel like you’re chasing after something you lack. God offers abundance, so much goodness, and freedom through His kind of confidence. His assuring help and guidance abounds. And by asking Him daily to have more faith to believe in Him more than anything else, He truly does break down all other limiting beliefs that a person has developed due to worldly influences on them. A genuine desire to know Christ is the only requirement. Astrology proved to me personality is so important. But God proved to me character is the ultimate winner, and only He has the hand on that. As believable as astrology can be, it can never help you reach your full potential. The Lord knows your future and if you’re relying on anything other than/but Himself, then you will never experience His great and prosperous plan for your life. Any habit, addiction, activity you make more important than God takes the place of your worship to Him. You are so much more than what your zodiac sign says about you. You are so much more than what you let the world define/label you as. You are so much more than any opinion you believe become your reality. You are so much more than all the fun psych survey questions or personality tests say about you. You are so much more in God because He knows the truth about you, the person He intended you to be, and if you care enough to get to know Him, you’ll discover how much of a lovely, beautiful, amazing, great, and wonderful person you are! He says don’t limit yourself to personality because character overall is the one that sums up your confidence.

Deuteronomy 4:19 And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars–all the heavenly array–do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.

Leviticus 19:31 “‘Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

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3 comments on “Florante”

Florante

adobe-spark-post (9)I was bedridden a little over a year ago. I caught a fever. My temperature fluctuated for a week. I recall waking up at 2 am because of such an urgency to start praying. I would say it was an almost audible voice I heard. I would never have woken up on my own if I never sensed the words telling me to wake up and start praying. I knew it was time. 266 miles away from my home, my uncle in Los Angeles was slipping in to his eternal sleep. His name was Florante and he was diagnosed with 4th stage lung cancer. In my meditation, I remember feeling at peace. I affirmed out loud as if he was in my bedroom and said that everything will be alright. Then I said my goodbye. I quickly fell back asleep and had three dreams within a dream about myself waking up from each dream. I finally woke up to an asthma attack. I medicated myself, then back to sleep I drifted. I was not completely aware of the time, but it seemed just a few minutes later, when I sensed the lights turn on in the hallway outside my room. My door opened and I quickly sat up as if I never slept. It was my mom. She told me that my uncle had just passed away. Before she could complete her sentence, I said “I know.”

How did I know? I don’t know. I just knew. It was the most chilling night I have ever had.

Sometime before that evening my dad had partly opened my window to air out my room of stubborn bugs that were keeping me ill. I didn’t realize they were opened the entire night, until it was near dawn after my uncle passed away. A very strong gust of wind came into my room. I can’t forget how beautiful the neighbor’s wind chimes sounded. Though the chills kept coming, I had a calm and peaceful feeling over me.

5 days before his passing, he celebrated his 64th birthday in California. My family attended and my parents were able to reach him with God’s gift of salvation. I caught a cold during the time of his birthday, and when we returned home it had only gotten worse. I remember an afternoon when I was driving home after picking up my brother from school. There was a dove that flew across from our driveway as I was turning to park. I had never seen one so close just a few feet from the windshield. In my uncle’s last month when he was diagnosed with cancer, my brother and I would see this dove almost everyday he had school. It would be on the neighbor’s lawn with a group of pigeons. It had never crossed our path until that afternoon. It was also the last time I was outside of the house and not long before the night of his passing.

22528_4994176138624_602577133_nI remember my first few steps after landing America in 1993. My uncle’s face was the second familiar face I saw when I was reunited with my dad. He was the father of my cousin who came with us to board the plane en route USA. Christmas was just around the corner. He and his wife brought us over to a party at his workplace where my sister and I were showered with many gifts. I’ve never had that many presents in one year. He was a good citizen. He worked for the Los Angeles Metrolink as a bus driver. During a very challenging time of my life (2008) when I lived apart from my family because of an adversity between me and my dad, I hid from everyone and lived with a good friend. I recall stepping into a bus for work one day. I had never known my uncle’s daily route until I looked up and saw his familiar face. We smiled and he was glad to see that I was alright. I readied to give my fare, but he refused it and told me to take a seat instead. I said “Thank you”, and strangers on the bus must’ve thought I was nuts when I leaned in to kiss him on the cheek. 🙂

He was laid to rest one year ago today. I love you and miss you Tito (Uncle) Flor!

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

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4 comments on “Officially Members”

Officially Members

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Illustration by Jim Stoten for Sinfini Music Spotlights

It’s been a month and a half since my family have been members of our church. I’m proud of my younger brother, who has been attending Sunday school on time. Last month he enjoyed a youth camp retreat up in the cold at Mount Charleston, Las Vegas. The Sunday of his return, he did not want to come home. He loved his experience so much. I just pray he doesn’t base his walk with God according to great experiences on the mountaintop with Him. I’m proud of my mom, who has been attending church Monday afternoons and Thursday mornings for Bible study. Sometimes she makes home-baked goods and brings them over to her new friends. She has been facilitating the afternoon class all by herself. I’m proud of my dad too. He no longer yells in fear of being late on Sunday mornings. He drives with more ease and confidence. As a family we attend Bible study an hour prior to service. My parents return later on in the day for the evening service. A few Sundays ago, my sister and her husband took our invitation and attended our church for the first time. Since she graduated college, she has neglected a daily relationship with Christ. I pray that there will be plenty more Sundays she and her husband will attend so that there will be a revival of true joy in their stressful lives.

The following Sunday after my family became official members, the worship leader makes a surprising announcement. He decided not to waste time where this was leading up to. He simply delivered it with confidence. He was going to leave the church after two more Sundays and no longer be the music director. He had a position ready for him in Texas. Though he believed God wanted his family to move there, I’m sure it upset a good number of the congregation. At the end of service, there were people waiting in line to say their goodbyes. For the first time, I finally said a word to him. I introduced myself and apologized for all these years my family never took the chance to get to know him. I thanked him and said I wanted to be part of the worship team. He was very nice and pointed me towards a sweet lady, whom I told to count me in.

Wednesday came. I felt excited attending choir practice for the first time. It only caught up to me later on how awkward it must have been for the worship leader. Maybe the awkwardness only existed in my mind. I couldn’t help but begin to regret coming. I felt a bit uneasy. Perhaps I came at the wrong time. Some people were crying during the closing prayer because they would miss him. And there I was the newest member who never had a close relationship with him as the rest had.

Four years ago, I was part of a cover band that would practice on Wednesday nights to perform the following Friday at a bar serving a fusion of Filipino-Hawaiian food. I look back and don’t doubt God built up a discomfort within me so that I was never going to be part of the gigs again. From now on my Wednesday nights will be spent at choir practice to perform the following Sunday morning at a church that serves food for the soul. Yesss. How awesome is that? Whatever God has in plan, I know it is good. 🙂

By His Grace, Sheela (via sheelaleigh.com)

 

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