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Archive for November, 2014

The God Kind of Love

Dear Friends,

God is love. He loves us immensely and the entire plan of salvation is founded on His infinite love. He created us in His image and, therefore, we have the capacity to love with the God kind of love.

Love is a gift—the best gift we can give to each other. There are so many people that are starving for love and we can give that to them, for free. The more I ask God to help me love others with His kind of love, the more I am able to do so. I like to get to know people at the personal, deep level, and the more I do that, the more love I feel for each person that the Lord puts in my path.

Romans 12:9-10 (NLT) says, “Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Stand on the side of the good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” People know when you sincerely care about them. There is no way to fake that kind of love. Genuine people love genuinely.

The ability to love others starts by loving yourself first. Love the person that God created you to be. Accept who you are and let God love you. Let Him hold you in His arms. Let Him forgive your sins and let Him be your friend. Once you do that, He will fill you up with His abundant love and you will be able to love others with His kind of love. It is the only love that lasts forever. It is wonderful to feel loved by God and others. But it is even more wonderful to love others and spill out the love that God put in your heart.

You can demonstrate your love to others by your actions but also tell them how much you love them. People need to know. They need to hear the words “I love you.”

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I Am Thankful!

Dear Friends,

Today I am thankful and grateful for everything that I have and for every person in my life. When I was six years old, I survived the earthquake in Nicaragua. It happened on December 23, 1972. It was the day before Christmas and I remember our tall Christmas tree that fell on the floor shattering all the pretty glass ornaments. That year, we had no Christmas… My family had to move to another city to our grandmother’s house and then to a rented house until our house was fixed from the severe damage the earthquake caused. Even though our lives were changed forever, no one was hurt in my family. God protected us.

After the war in Nicaragua in 1979, when my family had to flee into exile to the Dominican Republic, we lived with my aunt for about two months. Because her house couldn’t accommodate a family of eight, they decided to convert their office into a bedroom for my parents and my youngest sister who was one at the time. The rest of the kids (five of us ranging in ages from 14 to 3 years old) were placed in the garage. Yes, I lived in a garage for two months during the summer months in the island of Dominican Republic. Do you know how hot it gets? And do you know how many bugs there are in the tropical weather? And did you know that mice and rats can get into the garage? Did you know mosquitoes can actually pick you up and carry you? (Just kidding on this one!)

Two months later we were able to move to a two bedroom apartment on a fourth floor apartment building with no elevators and a couple of weeks later the hurricane of the century, David, hit the island at 175 mph. Yes, I remember seeing the waves from the ocean even over three miles away how they were hitting the coast. I remember seeing objects flying through the air as if they were weightless. I remember the noise of the wind creeping into the apartment windows. It was a miracle that the balcony glass sliding doors didn’t explode. They were bowed and could barely stand the pressure of the wind pushing against them. We had about 4 inches of water in the apartment but not one window broke. Through the war and through the storm, God protected us!

I have shared with you through other blogs how when I came here to the United States in 1986, I thought I came here with nothing but I was wrong. I came here with all the values, morals, and the Christian beliefs that my parents instilled in me. I had God with me all my life and that is enough to get through whatever storm we encounter in life.

Today, years later after the earthquake, the war, the hurricane, and from moving to a new country I can only say “thank you” to my God, my Father, who loves me so much that He sent His only son Jesus to die for me. Yes, He saved me from many natural disasters and worldly events but the most important thing He did for me is to save me from hell, to forgive my sins, and to give me the gift of eternal life.

I am thankful. I am grateful… beyond words. It is a matter of the heart and God sees my heart. Today, I encourage you to look back in your life and see how God’s hand has been upon you. Take a moment to thank Him. Happy Thanksgiving to all my beloved family and friends!

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Dear Friends,

Bad things happen to good people… But good things also happen to good people. It is what we choose to do with what happens to us throughout our lives what makes the difference on how our lives turn out to be. Every choice we make, since the moment we have the capacity to make decisions at a young age, has a consequence—good or bad. As children, when we knew what our parents told us to be “good or bad behavior” and chose to do the bad behavior, we made a decision that brought consequences to our lives. Maybe at that point was a punishment of some sort that our parents came up with, like missing going to the movies with our friends, or not getting ice cream that day. As teenagers, the world presented us the choices of doing drugs, drinking alcohol, stealing, or getting involved in sexual relationships before marriage. The fact that “everyone’s doing it” doesn’t make any of it right and there are severe consequences to each one of those choices.

As young adults, we chose to finish high school or not. We then chose to go to college or not. Even though for some people it is difficult to attend college when we wanted to due to outside circumstances (like in my own life example), it doesn’t mean we should give up on our dreams and the choice we made earlier in life to further our education. We simply need to do it later.

Our lives move on to adulthood when we have responsibilities of work and having a family. Some people choose to simply have a job with no career aspirations. Others choose to have a career and select each job as a stepping stone to their ultimate goal. Some people decide to get married and others don’t. Some people want to get married but haven’t found the right person and need to wait. Some couples choose to have children and some don’t. As we have children, some couples agree to continue to work and some choose to have one parent stay home caring for their children.

All those choices we make throughout our lives have good or bad consequences. Then life happens. Something unexpected happens that leaves us wondering what to do next. It could be anything like the loss of a parent, a child, a spouse, or a sibling, or simply a loved one. Or it could be the loss of our jobs, which is painful at any age but more difficult to recover as we get older. A natural disaster can hit our town and we lose our home in an instant. Or the market crashed and we lost our entire life savings, which happened to many people in the last financial crisis. Life as we know it is gone. We have to rebuild our lives again.

It doesn’t matter what the life event is or why it happened. What matters is how we respond to each incident, how we get up after the fall, and how our attitude matters each time. There are some things we can do to help us get back on our feet:

  1. Never let go of God. Good and bad things will happen to all of us and we need to have God on our side at both times. During bad times, it’s easier to recognize our need for God in our lives and we seek His hand as well as His heart. During good times, it’s easy to forget God and that we still need Him. We may not need His hand (meaning financial help) but we still need His heart.
  2. Be humble. At any time in our lives we need to stay humble at heart. In bad times, we need to be humble but confident (confidence doesn’t mean pride or arrogance). Our confidence comes from knowing that God is with us. Being humble is recognizing we need the help from others. In good times, we need to be humble and not forget that everything we have came from God because He entrusted it to us.
  3. Get up and start again. With a positive attitude, avoiding a victim mentality, and hard work, we can get up and start again. Being grateful for what we do have in times of loss or lack is key to our survival.
  4. Help others. Life is not about us. It’s about helping others. When we help others during their time of need and also during their times of success, they will be there for us when we need a hand.

So when you look at your life right now and find there are some things you don’t like or want, think of the choices you have made along the way. You always have the opportunity to make changes in your life. Some changes may take longer than others to produce results but I truly believe our lives are the result of each choice we have made during our journey.

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Dear Friends,

Friday I lost a dear friend to cancer. I will never forget when he told me on June 17, 2013 that he had terminal cancer. I was to communicate the news to the staff and I didn’t know how to do it. I prayed and asked God to help me communicate the bad news to the employees. I gathered everyone and said that I had some news to share about our dear friend then I proceeded to read his text… At the end of the text, I broke down and cried. I couldn’t hold it together.

Leaders of an organization are often expected to have it all together, at all times, and to always be the ones who pull others up. But sometimes leaders also need to be held up and to be pulled up. Also, sometimes leaders think that they are supposed to be super humans. To the contrary, it is when they show their humanity that others admire them and follow their lead. It is in those moments that others realize that leaders, too, are humans, not just leaders.

It was a long journey from the day we found out the bad news until Friday. He wasn’t supposed to make it this far according to the doctors but God gave him enough time to complete his journey here on earth. For those of us who are left behind, we will miss him dearly. For those who went to heaven before him, are now rejoicing to be with him again. We continue our journey and live each day with the hope that we will see him again soon. Goodbye my friend. I will see you soon!

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Your Personal Brand

Dear Friends,

I was just reading an article on “personal brand” and was pondering on questions such as, “What do I want people to think of me when they hear my name? What is my personal brand right now? What would I like my brand to be?”

The word brand as a noun, means “kind, grade, or make, as indicated by a stamp, trademark, a mark made by burning, to indicate kind, grade, make, ownership, any mark of disgrace and stigma. A kind or variety of something distinguished by some distinctive characteristic.” Brand as a verb means “to label or mark with disgrace or infamy, stigmatize.” (www.dictionary.com)

When we hear a name, a brand, we immediately think something positive or negative depending on the brand mentioned. The same occurs with our own names. People either think something positive or negative depending on the interaction they’ve had with us through the years or sometimes just from one interaction, one first impression.

I like to think about brand in the various areas of my life so, for example, in the business arena, I would like people to think of me as a professional, a personal of character and highly ethical, someone who knows the banking field and has the expertise in risk management, and someone that is an “initiator, executor, and finisher.” At the personal level, I would like people to think of me as a person who is genuinely and sincerely interested in others, someone who cares about her relationships and takes the time to nurture her friendships.

From the spiritual perspective, the other day, a good friend of mine asked me a very deep question. We were talking about our callings and what God wanted us to do with our lives while we are here on earth. The question was: “What do you want written on your tombstone when you die?” “How do you want to be remembered?” After thinking for a moment, I said, I want to be remembered as “A woman who loved God, loved people, and helped many achieve significance in their lives.”

You see, in the end what matters most is not so much what we did here as a professional. We will be remembered by who we were as an individual while we were alive, how we treated people, how much we loved on people, and how we were able to help others.

I encourage you to think of your “eternal brand” and focus more on that rather than your professional brand, not that it is not important but it is temporal. Once you have the eternal brand figured out, what you want to be remembered for, then the professional brand will be a reflection of that and it will be easier to base all your “personal marketing materials” off of that.

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