By: Elisabet Medina
At first, I really didn't want to go to El Sauce. I wanted a vacation which in my mind meant sand, ocean, and a drink in my hand far away from the demands of daily life and the stomach turning news. Yet, on the last day of our trip that is exactly where I found myself. We took the road from Managua, to Leon, to my abuelita's and mother's hometown El Sauce, a place I had heard about but never seen for myself.
When I stepped into my abuelita's house- slabs of concrete, chickens scattered, I found something I could not have found anywhere else, the beginning of our family's story. People who knew my abuelita, recounted stories that I had never heard before. It was difficult to imagine the small 5 foot, modest, elderly woman I knew selling cigarettes and nacatamales to men outside of a bar even with the disclaimer that this was before she became a Christian of course.
I felt humbled to think of all that my abuelita had sacrificed to ensure her family would have a better life; and how far we all had come. It made me want to prosper, to be a blessing to others, it made me hunger to be all that that I could be given all the privileges I have. They worked too hard, for too long, in the mundane and tedious for me to sit back and take the life I have for granted.
It has been said that we are our ancestors wildest dreams. Yes, and I believe that my life is the answer to my abuelita's prayers. She would pray one hour in the morning, and one hour at night naming each of her children and grandchildren. She would shut her eyes and raise her hands to heaven firmly believing that God heard her.
I would be remiss if I didn't state that this family story is not without its pain, its traumas, its detours and grief like any other family story. What I can say is that I am confident that the goodness of God covers it all and that by grace we are still standing resilient.
Nowadays its hard to believe in answered prayers or miracles, but I feel I am living proof, a manifestation of all she had asked God to provide for her family. Even through layers of war, migration, assimilation and integration of our family into a new country- it was there on that small porch, in that small town, I felt more connected to her story than ever before.
Coming back to the states, my phone was abuzz with a government shutdown and a raging immigration debate. To me this debate is personal, affecting people that still hope and dream about America as the land of opportunity, to obtain an education, to start a business, and build a life, that would not have been possible in the homeland. My abuelita, my mother, and the women in my family are prayer warriors and I cannot help but want to continue fighting and advocating for others both in prayer and in action to keep families together, protect children and carve a path forward for generations to come.
Learn more about immigration developments:
By Elisabet Medina
I've been known to be a softee, to be "too nice" as a friend once told me. I find that true for my interactions with others but with myself I tend to be a hardass.
Especially, this time of year for setting goals, achieving and looking at all I intend to accomplish. I have tendencies that lean towards setting high expectations, leaning into the hard tasks, and not shying away from a challenge.
While this persistance has served me well, it has also burned me out to constantly push myself to do more. One more e-mail, one more project, one more mile, always one more and then I can rest.
I am learning that rest is not a reward, its a requirement. Persistance is the tool that I have overused at my own expense.
What if this year I was a little bit softer towards myself? A little bit more gracious?
What if we all took a step back and looked at what we are willing to prune away in order to be the person we envision ourselves to be?
Are we focusing energy on changing perceived weaknesses or are we building up on foundations of our strengths?
Here are some thoughts on setting intentions for this year:
1) Recognize that change is a process:
Of course we would all to like wake up Jan 1st and stick through a weight loss plan through Dec 31st. Yet change is a process, the stages of change model offers a great framework to understand thought patterns that underlie behavioral change from pre-contemplation, contemplation, action, maintainence and relapse.
2) Failure is a teacher
As a recovering perfectionist, failure or even the thought of failing can keep me from taking risks. Yet, taking baby steps and falling is how we learn to walk. There are some lessons that can only be taught to us by failing and picking ourselves back up and trying again; accepting this as part of the process helps to not personalize the failure when it happens.
3) Give something up in order to start something new
I grew up on the idea of girl power and "having it all" and as an adult I am realizing that doing it all is pretty f***ing exhausting. There have been times where I have to reassess my priorities in order to truly devote my time and energy to what matters most. And what matters most changes in different seasons of life. In order to give it my best, I have to do less.
I am not talking about bras although that's important too! I mean call in the middle of the night, pray for me, I have this idea but I am hitting a wall kind of support. We need people. Being an independent woman is great, but being an interdependent woman is better! Empowered women, empower others and the greatest accomplishments are accomplished together.
5) It's ok
Lastly, a friendly reminder that it's ok if things don't pan out how we planned. It's ok if 2017 came to a close and all the check boxes were not checked. We are more than our to do lists, we are creators. Our worth is not based on what we achieve. Build in breaks, retreats, vacations, time to reflect and celebrate right where you are right now. You are worth celebrating!
Our perspective on love and romance are constantly evolving as we evolve.
1995- We kissed on the school bus. I told you that I loved you in sign language because my English was broken.
2005- I sent you a valentine gram full of chocolates and balloons because I couldn’t find the words to express what I felt about our friendship.
2015-I said “why not” to love and gave it a chance; ending up in a new city but in a very familiar emotional place.
Love in 2018 is about giving and receiving .
Like receiving space when I need to be alone.
Like listening without needing to fix.
Me giving a warm meal accompanied with a warm heart.
Me giving a listening ear and loads of laughs to give away.
Love in 2018 is about allowing myself to be known for who I am; not for who I think others want me to be.
Like not laughing at jokes that I don't think are funny.
Like saying out loud what bothers me rather than holding it in.
Like not automatically changing myself to accommodate and fit into another's life, a little bit like Ann Perkins.
Love in 2018 starts with loving others as I love myself.
Acknowledging that I too, deserve love and happiness and that these are not only reserved for folks in the VIP section of life, not settling for a love that is less than.
Accepting my flaws and holding them gently instead of smashing them against the wall or holding them under a microscope.
Admitting and being honest about where I am at, what I am comfortable with, and who I am.
Love in 2018 is about healing.
Letting go of the past.
Letting go of expectations and timelines.
Letting go of should haves, would haves and might haves and being present in every moment of it and enjoying the journey.
2018 is a great time to be in love, with ourselves and with life, may love of all kinds find their way to us.
By: Elisabet Medina