On The Shelf February 17′

 

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

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Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams. – Amazon.com

 

 

 

Wrecked by Jeff Goins

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Wrecked is about the life we are afraid to live. It’s about radical sacrifice and selfless service—how we find purpose in the midst of pain. It’s a look at how we discover fulfillment in the least likely of places. It’s
about living like we mean it. It’s a guide to growing up and giving your life away, helping you live in the tension between the next adventure and the daily mundane. This book is for us—a generation intent on pursuing our life’s work in a way that leaves us without regrets. -Amazon.com

 

 

6 Keys to Spiritual Health

I can always tell when I’m starting to get the spiritual sniffles because the evidence of my spiritual health begins to spill over into my day to day life. Symptoms often include a running mouth that finds itself gossiping and complaining. A craving for bad behaviors and unhealthy vices. Lethargy and laziness accompanied by discouragement, distractions and a headache full of lustful thoughts and negative thinking. When I begin to notice symptoms like these I know I have not been maintaining my spiritual health. Listed below are 6 keys to monitoring and maintaining a healthy spiritual life.

 

1. Meet with the Dr. (PRAYER)

Prayer is an essential component to the believers life. It is where we communicate with God by expressing our gratitude, acknowledging God’s goodness, and removing the gunk out of our lives through confession and repentance. Most of all, prayer is our act of worship and obedience to God.

  Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

2. Read the Prescription (BIBLE STUDY & DEVOTIONALS)

The word of God is our sustenance and source of life.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God

Matthew 4:4 NIV

It is our hope, our health, our instruction, and within its pages it points to the cure for all mankind, which is Jesus Christ. The Bible is literally the God breathed, God inspired  word from heaven to us; good for use in all things we may be facing, questioning, or going through.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

2 Timothy 3:16 NLT

3. Follow the Doctors Orders (OBEDIENCE)

If we are going to live healthy spiritual and physical lives it is important that we are vigilant and obedient to follow God’s instruction and design for how we should live. Furthermore, we obey God not only because it is the wise and profitable thing to do, we obey out of our love and reverence for who He is.

“If you love me, obey my commandments.

John 14:15 NLT

4. Get Plenty of Exercise (BE A DOER OF THE WORD)

It wouldn’t prove very beneficial or profitable to have a gym membership and a personal trainer yet never lift a weight or heed the trainers counsel and instruction. The same goes for us. When we only read what the bible says yet we never take any action and put to work the principles and wisdoms of the word our spiritual lives only decline and rarely if ever improve.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.

James 1:22-24 MSG

SIDE NOTE: The promises of God, in many cases require action and obedience. “If you do this…God promises to do that.” Action is required to live whole and healthy spiritual lives. Every day we make decisions that either bring us closer to a fuller more abundant life with God by becoming more and more of the person He created and designed us to be or we drift further and further away from the completed work in us and our true identity. Every day we have to choose to put into practice what we know the Lord has called and commanded of us if we are ever going to live in the fullness He has promised to us.

5. Eat a Healthy Diet (WHAT ARE YOU CONSUMING INTO YOUR HEART, SOUL, AND MIND?)

Every moment of our lives we are constantly consuming information. Especially in a day and age where social media, television, movies, music, news and opinions are at our fingertips 24/7. Its important that we are consciously monitoring the things we are taking into our hearts and minds. From the conversations we choose to engage in to the books we read we should always ask ourselves, “Is this activity, media or substance benefiting and bringing life to myself and others or is it contrary to what I know is acceptable in the sight Of God?”

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Philippians 4:8-9 MSG

What we consume becomes a part of who we are, it has the potential to shape our lives and it will be these things that overflow from our hearts through our actions and words that will spill over into the lives of others and those around us.

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

Luke 6:45 NIV

6. Get Plenty of Rest (REST AND WAIT ON THE LORD)

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him.

Lamentations 3:25 NASB

Lastly, when we are walking in faith we can find rest in knowing that God is on our side, that He is always faithful to those who trust Him. There is no need to be anxious for anything. As believers we are always allowed to pray about a matter but once given to God we are not allowed to worry about it! We rest in the faith knowing that God will always keep his promises. He is waiting on our waiting…

Yet the Lord still waits for you to come to him so he can show you his love; he will conquer you to bless you, just as he said. For the Lord is faithful to his promises. Blessed are all those who wait for him to help them.

Isaiah 30:18 TLB

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

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On The Shelf January 17′

41a4igwcrgl.jpgResisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly

A true story about why we sabotage ourselves, feel overwhelmed, set aside our dreams, and lack the courage to simply be ourselves… and how to start choosing happiness again!

 

 

 

 

 

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41zkopkkzhl._sx258_bo1204203200_.jpg.jpgCapture Your Style: Transform Your Instagram Images, Showcase Your Life, and Build the Ultimate Platform  by Aimee Song

Capture Your Style will empower you to become your own master mobile photographer, whether you’re looking to launch an e-commerce business or simply sharing a gorgeous meal with your friends, turning even the most mundane moment into Instagold. This is a must-have reference for anyone interested in the ins and outs of stylish personal branding.

 

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Rediscover Jesus: An Invitation by Matthew Kelly

How well do you know Jesus? I think about this often, and I always come to the same realization. I don’t know Jesus anywhere near as well as I would like to know him. The desire is there, but life gets in the way. There are times when I seem to be making great progress, and other times when I wonder if I know him at all. But I always arrive back at the same inspiring and haunting idea: If there is one person that we should each get to know in a deeply personal way, it is Jesus – the carpenter from Nazareth, the itinerant preacher, the Son of God, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the Lamb of God, the new Adam, the Messiah, the Alpha and the Omega, the Chosen One, the Light of the World, the God-Man who wants good things for us more than we want them for ourselves, the healer of our souls.

 

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People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Competitive Crafters, Drop-Off Despots, and Other Suburban Scourges by Jen Mann

A debut collection of witty, biting essays laced with a surprising warmth, from Jen Mann, the writer behind the popular blog People I Want to Punch in the Throat

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A Case of the Mondays

Ya know, it’s so unfortunate Monday’s  get such a bad wrap. It’s almost as if everything is destined to go wrong on a Monday huh?

Your alarm doesn’t go off at 7am so you start your day off 30 mins behind schedule. Traffic is a mess and the D train has been stuck at Penn station for the last 12 minutes with no move insight. Finally you arrive above ground rejoicing  with 15 mins left to gleefully spare. So you pop into your usual coffee shop because who are we kidding? We already know that all work and no latte makes Jack a dull boy. But there’s a problem. Your usual barista is on vacation and the newbie behind the bar has not the slightest clue what you mean when you ask for a carmel vanilla latte with 3 shots, 2  raw, whip, and extra sauce in the cup.

“Okay so is it the vanilla cream or the vanilla flavoring you want?” she hesitantly asks.

“Umm, Im not sure because I dont work here …You do! My job is two blocks away of which I am now 3 mins past due thanks to this unfortunate interaction.”

This of course is what you want to say buuuuut you dont because you have Jesus in your life today. And like every good Jedi knows His force is strong. Particularly at this very moment seeing as while you stood sardined between two armpits on the train for 45 mins you were able to get up to date on all of your YouVersion devotionals you missed over the last 5 days. (For which you kinda should be proud of because you didnt even have to use the “catch me up” button… Hurray you)

So instead you pause, then force a hopefully convincing smile, and in a sweet voice say, “The cream is fine.”
And thats Monday.

Or is it?

Sure, some days are uppers and others are downers. The cards may land in our favor or like a vegas night we dont want to remember, leave us treking home dry. We have the power to reset our day by resetting our perspective and speaking life, positivity, peace, and prosperity into the situation.

Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses. Ecclesiastes 3:1 GNT

My mother, brother, and I were running late to an event one evening and to make matters worse we were stuck behind a stalled train. With no way out on a one way street I gripped, sucked my teeth and complained. Then my mom turned to me and said,

“You dont know Tana… God could be slowing us down to save our lives from an accident up ahead.”

In that moment my mom’s perspective of the same situation, in the same car, behind the same train was utterlly and totally different than mine. I went from being frustrated and anxious to thankful and very patient.

Our perspective, when its through the eyes of positivity, goodness and Christ can take a Monday and make it feel like a Friday. Take an unpaid bill and turn it into an opportunity to grow your faith. Take the wrongdoings of another and turn it into an opportunity to demonstrate Gods love, mercy, and forgiveness. The proper perspective can even take a heartbreak or a loss and turn it into the foundation God wants to use to build something great.

Today, tomorrow, and beyond I encourage  you to change your perspective on a situation, a circumstance, or even a person that is challenging, seemingly negative, stressful, and uncomfortable. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the spiritual eyes spiritual to see things through the eyes of faith, the eyes of positivity, but most of all, through the eyes of God.

 

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17 Things Things To Accomplish in Twenty-Seventeen

I gave up on resolutions about 20 minutes ago and decided to take this puppy in a different direction. Below I’ve listed 17 things I want to accomplish this year in 2017. If I dont get to achieve them all perfectly its the heart and effort that count. Either way there’s no pressure just goals… 

(In no particular order)

1. Join a NYC church community

2. Exercise more financial responsibility.

3. Improve my physical health through exercise and healthier eatting.

4. Waste less time. Become more productive.

5. Be honest with myself and others. (even when its hard or awkward to do so.)

6. Go the extra mile in all I do.

7. Read through the entire Bible.

8. Say yes to new opportunities more often.

9. Take a class on a subject that will sharpen my passions be it writing, photography, film, or music.

10. Rebuild/Develop old and new relationships.

11. Serve in church ministry/community.

112. Become more teachable.

13. Volunteer to serve/participate in a community organization.

14. Blog/Write more consistently. 

15. Become more of a woman of integrity.

16. Have more God time than I used to.

17. Find an opportunity to share Christ with atleast 1 person everyday.

 Inauguration

Well, it is finished. The United States is now celebrating or sobbing for its 45th President Donald Trump. And it almost seems as though the world has gone mad in a sense. There’s nowhere I can go, especially here in NYC, where I don’t hear people complaining, debating, protesting, or rocking back and forth on subway cars muttering “The End Is Near Now!”

To be honest, by the looks of things, if I didn’t know God for myself I’d be looking for the next available bunker and stocking up on cans of vienna sausages and pork and beans. Fortunately for me (and my poor mother whose heart probably can’t take another Sutana antic) I do. And in knowing I have hope, I have security, I have faith and surprisingly to most I actually have peace about the whole thing.

“Gasp! But Sutana, how could you. I mean the man wants to deport immigrants and build a wall at our boarders. And what about health care benefits? Our low-income and impoverished communities like the one you’re living in now? Oh and the arts, my God the arts! Wasnt it the educational funding for music equipment and instruments the very thing that offered you the opportunity to have your very first instrument which in turn made creativity, music, art, words and expression some of the things intertwined into the very fibers that make you you today?”

Cant lie I agree with what you’re saying. In no way do I think its wrong to fight for what you believe in and stand up for what is right. In many ways I am not a supporter of many of the proclaimed changes President Trump intends to make. However, When all of this Trump business started I made up my mind that I was not going to fixate on the “America is the laughing-stock of the world” mantra, nor focus on the chaos, the riots, and the  “why was Kanye there?” of it all. Im going to fix my gaze elsewhere. I am going to look to the real ruler over all things. I my friends am going to look to God.

The bible says:

“Make your motions, cast your votes, but God has the final say.”

     -Proverbs 16:33 MSG

Let us not forget whom is really in control here. Especially as believers. We have no need to fret and fear as the world does.

Call me naive, perhaps I’ve watched one too many Disney movies as a child. If anything though, I’d like to think that at the least I am just a bit more hopeful than most. But here is an idea, and it might be a bit of a shocker: How about we just give the guy a chance and trust God for the rest. After all who knows? Perhaps he will have a massively positive influence and be a vessel to change the world for the better? I can see it now…

Peace in the Middle East, U.S. debt will decrease, and the love for our planet and all mankind will increase….

ooorrrr if not…

Then at least the most we can hope for is that this guy ain’t right.

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On the Shelf: October 2016

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  This is an awesome read for those wanting to know, discover and pursue the calling and purpose God has placed on their life. Learn how what we most enjoy doing is intricately tied to our calling and how our life experiences, ups and downs are training grounds that contribute to equipping us to effectively take hold of our destiny.

This is a very fun book that offers simple and fantastic ways to live fulfilled without the use of destructive substances or behaviors.

Creativity, ideas and inspiration are everywhere, you just have to open your eyes and look around. Austin shows readers how they can turn an average day into a work of art just through a shift of perspective and by getting in touch with your creative side.

Hiatus…

There was a time I really used to think that going on hiatus was a bad, horrible, awful thing that you should never do… HA! That was until I went on one. For the last month or so I’ve taken a break from nearly everything it seems like. Social media, relationships, blogging, friends and family at times. I ate an abundant amount of carbs, didn’t workout at all, then again I never did, watched Game of Thrones on repeat for the 6th time and got alone with God and myself to really figure out what it is I was doing with this gift we call life.

During this time I really realized I was just doing. Doing this, doing that… but never really being anything purposeful. Growing up, in a lot of ways things just happened for me. I happened to go to an awesome college, I happened to start singing and playing guitar, I happened to fall in love with an idiot or two, I happened to move to North Carolina then to New York, then to California then to Florida and back again, all while happening to go absolutely nowhere all at the same time.

Something in me needed to change. Perhaps die is a better way of putting it. I got to a place in my life where my complacent, lackadaisical, all pray and no work attitude had to perish and I had to begin to accept the calling, the plan, the purpose and the will of God for my life.

I now live in NYC, a definite dream I’d always had since I first visited as a teenager. Not much seems to have changed on the outside, by meer glance some would say I appear to be worse off. However, I know that more than what appears to be going on externally there is something greater, more fruitful and more inspiring going on on the internally. And in due time the vine of my life will begin to blossom and the fruits will undoubtedly show.

Glad to be back…

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Clocking Numbers that Count

“A win is more than numbers on a scoreboard, more than dollars in your bank account, ” – ordinarilyextraordinarymom

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3 out of 4 = the number of posts my husband shared in July.
2 out of the last 3 = the number of former students who liked, quoted, and re-tweeted my blogs before anyone else.
100% = the percent of blogs my sister and cousin read, like, love and share.
At least 5 = the number of times my husband tells me I am beautiful, and he loves me every day.
At least 5 = the number of times my son comes to give me a hug or a kiss every day for no reason.
At least 5 and up to 10 = the number of students who eat in my classroom for lunch everyday.
At least 2 = the number of those students who never took my class but still come during their lunch breaks.
3,809 = the number of pictures in my phone of captured moments I…

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