Period.


I don’t serve The Lord out of a need to be religious. I serve Him because I love Him. Period. I don’t try to follow His will for my life because I somehow must please Him. I follow because I love Him. Period. And when I fall (and make no mistake, I do, often). I don’t condemn myself to somehow garner His pity. I don’t have to. He loves me and I love Him. Period. I don’t claim the name of Christ to be fanatical. I don’t have to try. I just am. Because I love Him. Period. There is no science about love. No deep complicated theology or even high exalted philosophy. Love is love, and everyone knows that when love is present, we do things because we love. Period. And you know what’s funny? I could never be more fanatical for Christ than He is of me. Because He loves me. Period.

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Hope in a Hopelessly Hopeless World


I guess I will never understand how hate can be so blatant and yet so muddled.  As North Korea engages in defiant actions of war and hate on one side of the world and the gay right movement accuses some of being hate organizations, I stand back and try to wrap my head around the mess of this world.  But I can’t. I look at this globe that I call my residence, and I am saddened because it becomes all too clear for me that peace is not in the long term comprehensive plans.  Indeed quite the opposite, war and rumors of wars are all too common.  Monstrosities such as 15 year olds murdering their families, or going into schools and extinguishing the life of others are increasing.  Politicians fight against politicians in a desperate cat fight while in the middle the kittens wail for food.  But the politicians don’t care.  That which is good is mocked by the media as something that is weak.  Rather, personal success stories of selfishness are exalted and even exemplified.  Indeed this world has none, nor wants any peace.  How sad.

But in this darkness; yes even in this hopelessness, I have hope.  Even when those who speak the loudest paint the world in gray, confusing the fact its black, I can hear the succulent sound of promise.  Darkness slowly tightens its grip on the light.  Innocence is rare and when present, it’s discouraged.  Self has become king thus any action loses merit if it fails to improve Self.  But I have hope.  In a place and time when hope is hopeless to hope for, I have it.  When the thief, threatens to steal it from me; he can’t.  He tries to bash me with eloquent words and deceptive promises.  But he fails.

I’ve tasted what this world claims to offer.  I filled my cup and drank till I was drunk besides myself.  I placed no inhibition before me and wasted no time in improving self.  But in the end, I came to the same conclusion that Solomon came to; vanities.  Everything ‘puffs’ away like smoke as you are left with the deception of fulfillment only to wake up the next morning in search of that which you thought you had.  This world promises many things and fails to deliver them all.  Nation rises against nation to obtain these promises.  But why don’t they see that the Promiser is promising to all sides.  And how can the Promiser keep his promises when all sides want the other to fail.  People rise against people, seeking equality and justice yet unwilling to serve others. If all seek equality for themselves it only makes sense that no one will ever receive it.  Yes; indeed the promises of this world are many.  But like the person in Plato’s Cave.  I have stepped into the sun.  Its light hurt my eyes and burned me to the very core, but that was just for a little while.  As my sight adjusted to the light, I saw that what I had been living in all this time, was but a shadow of truth.  The cave will never be my home again, for once you see the light; you can never step back into darkness.  For once you know the truth; the truth will set you free.

Indeed, I have hope; and because of this hope I am free.  I can walk through the darkness knowing that in me, there is light.  I can face the monsters knowing that they have already been defeated.  Death has lost its grip on me for I no longer fear it.  I love life and I now live.  The life I have is abundant and it will only increase.

How I wish people saw what I see.  I wish people could see the mornings heavy with promises and evenings heavy with fulfillment.  How I wish people could hold the hand of the One whose compassion has no end and whose love is everlasting.

I have hope.  Not from anything this world could promise, but from everything He has done.

My senses are gone!


Phew, this semester has started busier for me than last semester…how is that even possible? At any rate, I am currently competing in the ULI Competetion. There’s a multidisciplinary group of five of us which entail an architect, engineer, 2 business/accountants, and the urban planner (me). Our projects goal is the redevelopment of east downtown Minneapolis, MN. Let me tell you, this is not an easy task. But I am privileged to be part of a great team.

The prize is $50,000 distributed amongst us, five of which goes to the school. Y’all pray for our group as we strive to meet this challenge head on and hopefully come in top with $50,000 dollars to distribute amongst us.

Thus, if you have noticed that I have not posted much lately, this is the reason. Coupled with my classes, presidential duties and two jobs, well, you can start to see where my sense has gone…far far away from me lol.

Deer in the brush


Deer in the brush

I have always been told that within the brushes of the Alachua Sink, deer reside. However, I have never seen these shy creatures until one day, on one of my nature walks, I spotted one. Way out in the distance. Jumping about with no cares in this world…Ofcourse, by the time I snapped this picture, it had decided to stop jumping.

Gulf Fritillary: Game of peek a boo


Gulf Fritillary: Game of peek a boo

Here is a Gulf Fritillary butterfly (AKA Passion Butterfly). Its is one of the common butterflies here in Gainesville Florida and can easily be found sitting on a number flower on any bright sunny day. I found this one as I was exploring an overgrown patch of land near my apartment to find insects I could photograph.
Cool Facts:
-Gulfs have been known to lay there eggs on people.
-Caterpillars are orange with menacing looking black spikes, but the spikes are harmeless
-Gulf’s diet is not restricted to nectar, they also like a nice healthy portion of manure once in a while

It’s my new tattoo! (the answer to my earlier question)


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I am not trying to look “hard” in this picture by the way. Its hard to see if the camera is in the right position so my eyes are all squinted.

If you answered tattoo, you were right. As of a few days ago, I am the proud bearer of a very significant tattoo on my right arm. (Yei).

Now before someone faints on me or something along those lines, let me tell you the meaning/my reasoning behind this tattoo 🙂 :

The Tattoo: Symbolisms 

The Phoenix

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The actual image I found online

Let’s start with the Phoenix.  The tattoo is a tribal design depicting a battle between a Phoenix and a dragon. The Phoenix is at the top depicting victory and triumph over the dragon that is on the bottom.  The Phoenix is a mythological creature that is reborn from the ashes (short description). The reason this is significant is because in Isaiah 61:3, Scripture shows that God can create beauty from ashes. This He also shows in the parable of the potter (Jeremiah 18:1-6) just to name a couple of places. This is significant to me because, as most of you know, God has brought beauty out of the ashes of my life. Truly He has re-birthed me and given me the spirit of adoption.  The bird has also come to symbolize the Holy Spirit which now resides in me.

 

The position of the phoenix is also important. Notice that the Phoenix is on top if the dragon, symbolizing triumph and victory. Indeed, I have victory because God has given it to me.  Satan (lower case is purposeful) has been defeated, a fact he knows oh too well.  As a trophy of grace, I rise to proclaim God’s victory!

The Eight

Also, notice the full design of the tattoo. It’s a figure eight.  This has many statements for me. First: Consider that by flipping the image, a satanic victory can be depicted as opposed to his factual defeat. All it really takes is flipping the image around, or looked at another way, all it takes for you to claim victory over satan is to flip the image (that is, if satan is winning in your life).  This is important because the truth is, if you have not come into a relationship with Christ, satan is winning in your life, further destroying any form of structure until you are left in ashes.  But as simple as the action of flipping the image around is; victory can be obtained in like fashion by turning around to Christ by accepting His forgiveness and the plans He has for you.  By giving everything you know about yourself to everything you know about Christ.  By placing your hope on Him.  Why? Because He says: for I know the plans I have for you and they are good, to give you a future.  On our own, we are not able to defeat Sin and satan’s hold on us. But Glory be to God, we don’t have to because God did that for us and He says: “Today, if you hear my voice, come. Come to me all of you who carry a heavy burden and I will give you rest, for no man has greater love than he who lays his life down for his friends. I have laid my life down for you, so that I can call you friend.” I answered that call and He made that flip in my life.  Therefore my Phoenix rises above the dragon, in total glory, authority, and victory!

 

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Circular “Ying Yang” battle. I did not want this type of design because the “Yin Yang” is a depiction of Unity between opposing sides in order to balance the whole.

Second: The figure eight is also extremely important to me because of the symbolic meaning of the number eight in scripture (this could be a whole blog in it of itself).  To spare you an even longer post I’ll tell you the meaning: The number eight symbolizes Jesus and new beginnings (new creation, new order, rebirth, etc).  I could have chosen a circular “ying yang” type of design in order to depict this battle, but that would have symbolized unity between the two fighters.  The fact is that the enemy and I are no longer unified.  He has no power or dominion over me.  he (lower case not a typo) and I are completely separated in Christ.  So Yin Yang would not have worked.  Rather the eight, which symbolizes what God has done in me; that is, made me a new creation, is definitely more appropriate.  Moreover, the figure itself depicts the struggle between two separate entities, as opposed to the union of two competing entities.

 

Lastly, the figure eight is the mathematical symbol for eternity, which is something I can now look forward to thanks to God’s sacrifice.

The Dragon

The dragon represents satan.  However, it also represents sin and the great deception of this world.  Notice that in spite of the fact that the dragon is on his back (defeated) he is still fighting.  A picture of reality; meaning that in spite of the fact I am victorious in Christ, satan is still fighting against me. He can’t rob me of my stature with God.  But he can try to steal my joy.  He also wars against humanity, for he despises us.  He knows he’s lost, but he will go down fighting…like all serpents do. 

The Tattoo: Design

The tattoo is not original art.  In fact, I found the image online (here). However, when I saw it, I knew it was the design I wanted as it depicted everything I have discoursed in the paragraphs above.  Whether the artist’s intentions where to portray my exegesis of the design? I really don’t know.  But the reason why I decided to make this design a permanent mark on this body is because it paints in great detail with little details at all the powerful work of God in my life.  A work I would choose one billion times over the alternative.  With everything that has been happening lately on the media, and everything that is about to happen, I wanted something that depicted satan’s defeat as a constant reminder and encourager.  I also wanted something that represented my story which God through His power gave me (Ie. My testimony).    And, yes, I also wanted a tattoo…period.  Nevertheless, I wanted a tattoo that meant something for me, hence why I have waited four years to get it (lack of money also helped).

The Tattoo: Conclusion

ImageI feel that this tattoo is a brand of what God has done and is continuing to do in my life (as stated earlier).  There are lots of people who would disagree with my “branding” of myself.  But little would they know that in the time I have had this tattoo (about three days now), I have been able to share my testimony with a good amount of people.  If I were to stand before God (which as believers, we are always before God) I would not be ashamed of this decision.  Rather, I would run up to Him and I would be like, “lookey lookey, aint it cool!!!” and He would probably be like “that is a sweet tattoo….but mines are better” and I would be like…..well, I would not know what to be like, lol.  Oh and before I forget…No it did not hurt…not one bit.  I sat on that chair and I was like “what? Is someone tattooing me? Is that the tickling I feel ?”.  Ok, maybe the experience wasn’t that pain free…ok I admit it, there was some pain involved….2.5 hours worth of pain.  Ok fine it was pretty painful lol.  But well worth it :).

 

 

Top of the morning to ya!


I just realized that I wrote a post yesterday night (kind of a contradictory statement… YesterDay Night….I digress) and failed to post it. Tempted to post it late but there’s time sensitive statement that would make no sense unless it was posted yesternight. (Not like my rants make much sense to begin with :). Buuuuut I have finally done it! What you ask? I am glad you did. I will post a pic of my accomplishment soon. In the meantime, take a deep breath and keep reading…my blog that is, because this post will soon be over. Have an awesome day today, and remember, all things work together for good to them that Love God and are called according to His purpose. All things! And trust me, if God takes the time to know the count of hairs on your head, He most definitely is able to work All things no matter how small for good and for His purpose.

Stay tuned for pics later today 🙂

Huge hug!

On the road, from my phone, update


Today is a new morning and its 60 degrees outside! I wake to my Tia’s loving (and persistent) nudges in a perfect choreographed orchestration with my alarm clock. One, I would love to throw out the window (my alarm clock…just in case your wondering), and the other I would love to just give her a big hug (and she would want me to take her outside). My day is full of activities that I can’t wait to commence! Today, I will do something that pushes every ounce of comfort boundaries and the result will hopefully be amazing (can you guess what it is?… Ill post a pic of the result tomorrow or maybe even tonight).

On other news, yesterday I went to one of my classes to hear the professor say “this class requires a book, but you can find it cheap online”. I go online to find this book for 75 bucks and I can’t help but to think:”cheap for who?”. I buy the book.

On yet other news, as expected, I woke up barely able to move my upper body (from the workout soreness). What’s really kind of sad, is the fact that the weights I have been using, at one point in my workout career, where merely warm up weights. Yet these weights have now challenged my body to a point where soreness now prevails. My ego now hangs by a thread. No more showing off at the gym for me, lol. Oh we’ll. maybe by the end of this semester ill be able to show off (I hope)…hey, I too have needs. (I’m sure by now some of you are wondering about me lol, rest assured I’m not that vain…or am I.)

Start of the workout morning


It’s almost time to go and commence my second workout this year.  I’m already feeling the soreness from yesterday’s workout which in a kind of masochistic way, I’m enjoying.  Yup, every time I move my arms, I feel that pain and I tell myself “oh yeah, that’s weakness leaving my body”….and there’s a lot of that weakness that needs to go!

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Tia saying good morning.

I’ve already had a good walk with Ms. Tia who is currently knocked out besides my chair (must be nice being a dog).  Needless to say, it’s her fault I’m even up right now.  Her cute morning nudges telling me “Hey! Get your lazy rump up and take me out, or so help me I will pee on your carpet!” are one of the highlights of my morningsJ.  I’m actually serious, best alarm clock ever.

So as I go forward today (to endure a grueling workout), I will remember my dog’s nudges telling me “hey! Get your lazy rump up or so help me I will pee on your machine!” and God knows I wouldn’t want that…that would just be…uncivilized.

To the Gymery and Beyond!

Juan

First day of class…Yei!


It’s the first day of the semester and it has been a good one so far.  I’m in that state of limbo where I’m trying to figure out how exactly I am going to proceed to establishing a set pattern.  After the first day, I have to say, my time will again be occupied sorely.  However, I do see some time available to workout (and hopefully get back in shape…Muscles here I come!…but I digress), take some pictures, Photoshop some pictures, read, write….in other words, do things that I really enjoy doing.  So I am really excited! And of course I will share the fruits of my labor with you guys (except for the workout part…I may get accused or running a different type of blog site…which would not be cool).  Anywho, I can honestly say it has been a good day so far, I hope you guys are having a good day tooJ.

Huge Cyber Hug,

Juan