Friday, May 17, 2013

Y'all ready for this?



Pennsylvania…again.

I don’t really know what it is about PA that keeps drawing me back to a place that is so far from everything I have ever known. I feel like I belong there. I feel connected to the people. I feel like I am at home. That feeling has not been attached to a place in a long time. Probably ever.

You see, the longest that I have stayed in one place was 6 years when I was growing up. Home was always where my family was or where the people that I love live. It was not a house or even a town. Since being back in California and being able to reflect I have come to the conclusion that constantly moving while growing up has affected me more than I thought.

I am a serial mover.

I love the thrill of finding a new place to live and new things to do. It is exciting to explore a new area that I have never been to before. To find the local hot spots and learn how to get around on my own. I used to feel bad for it. You know, moving to a place for a couple years and just when I am getting deep into friendships and creating a community… I up and leave.

Not all of it is because I have some issues with commitment (a talk for another time). That is definitely part of it and something that I am working on in my own life. Hence, the move back to Pennsylvania. Part of me just likes creating communities and then knowing that I can leave and still have those communities and support systems for life. I can always come back to them. I can always lean on them if I need to. It is a very comforting to know that the people I love are going to be there for me.

To visit. To love. To vent. To cry. To laugh. To learn.

But then again, I think what is missing from my life is the experience of really investing in a community for an extended period of time. I have never lived in an area and really got involved where I was living because I have never stayed there long enough to do so.

Enter Harrisburg, PA.

I am going to do it. Invest in a community. And what better community to commit to than the one in Harrisburg. It is small. I already am involved in and love 2nd City Church. I have a community group that I go to and I love them dearly and can’t wait to get back into that. There are lovely restaurants, coffee shops, and organizations where I believe in their mission and way of doing things. So, why would I choose any other place?

Harrisburg is home. The first home that I have had in a while. The first place I felt like a grown-up. The first place where I could really connect. The first place that I realized that God was still with me. The first place that I learned to truly love myself as the person that I am. Not the person people expect me to be.

The first place that I felt like…..me. And that is always the better choice.

Peace,
Celisse

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I think I am ready to talk about it...

Yep. Let's talk.

Obviously, I mean the Super Bowl.

Apart from BeyoncĂ© killing it during halftime, that was a shattering moment in my life. I know this sounds silly to many people but the Super Bowl means so much more to me than just a football game. It was my dad and my favorite holiday. We had a glimmer of hope this year and it never came to pass. Maybe I wanted it too much. Maybe it was too important. Maybe it was just out of my hands and was not going to be changed for the simple fact that I made a T-shirt (a very awesome one, if I do say so myself).

I felt like I was part of something. A huge thing that I could celebrate. It consisted of something that was bigger than myself. It included all of the people around me that were just as excited. I went to the store a couple hours before the game and there were tons of people there and everyone was decked out in their favorite 49ers jersey, tshirt, jacket, or sweatshirt. There was a guy selling 49ers gear outside.

It felt amazing.

I was in an environment where people were talking to one another as if they were old friends. I think this is the reason that I love higher ed so much. Working on a college campus (well, at least a private, Christian college) feels like a huge family. You are working together. Growing together. Playing together. Living together. If I could create a heaven of my own, I think that it would look much like a college campus. We would all be there for the same reason: To live in community with each other and giving praise to God every step of the way.

The Super Bowl reawakened this yearning for community in me. I have grown up with this idea that family does not only mean your blood family. It means whomever you come in contact with becomes part of your life. They become your hermano, cousin, auntie, tio, abuela. I have been searching for that all my life. During every transition. During every move. During every new step.

Even while working at Starbucks.

I loved almost everything about working at Starbucks, especially the people with whom I had the pleasure of working. I tried to create an environment where people will want to come and work hard but have fun. It worked most of the time and I sure did have fun. I loved hearing people say that they were going to miss me because I made work easier. That they laughed so much that their stomach hurts. That I better come back and visit them. That is creating a community.

I am not saying that I am an authority on it, by any means, but I want to keep it a priority for my life. Creating a community wherever I go. Being the one to pull people together. Loving on people that might not know that they need it. Sharing the copious amounts of love bestowed upon me by the wonderful Creator.

This is becoming such a repetitive theme in my life that I think that God is trying to say something (maybe he is shouting because I am kind of hard-headed). I think I am going to listen this time.

Watch out, world. God and I are coming and we are armed with coffee and community.

Peace and Love,
Celisse

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Silence...It's Deafening.


I am not even sure that title makes any sense except to me.

I have been in California for 5 months now. I have not had anything to do other than to help out my mom and my sister. I am trying to get a job to make some money while I am out here. I picked up crocheting and baking again. I’m trying to push myself on the bike. The other day, I went 4 miles roundtrip. I know that is not a lot, but it is a start. I have been trying to fill the days with something. Anything to break the silence.

Anyone who knows me knows that I do not like silence. When I am cooking, I turn on the music. When I was in school, I had two or three movies that I would play while I was doing homework. Even while I am typing this I am listening to music so that I can focus. At least, that is what I tell myself.

I am not so sure anymore. At some point, I have to deal with the silence. I have to approach the things that are going on in my head and the situations that have shaped who I am right now. The older I get, I seem to have more opportunities to reflect on these past situations and my reactions. Those that know me are also probably not surprised to hear that I tend to internalize and then intellectualize what I am feeling during a crisis of my mind. It is not until I have completely thought it out and analyzed every possible outcome will I talk to someone about it.

Even God.

I always decide to take it upon myself to make sure to examine everything before I present it to anyone. It is not fair to God. 

My creator. 

The author of love. 

My biggest fan. 

The one being that I am supposed to be able to confide in and trust throughout the entire “crisis." Throughout my life. He knows me better than I even know myself. He is there with me the nights that it is all too much to bear and I cry myself to sleep. He hears my frustrations with my situation and the world around me. He notices when I have a revelation of how much he loves me. He cares when I feel completely and utterly alone. He loves me even when I do not care for him at whatever selfish moment I am having. 

All I should be doing with my life is living in continual love of my God and his people. To me, that requires giving fully who I am to God. Especially when it means he wants me to give him the good and the bad.

The conclusion that I have come to is this silence is a gift from God. It is a wake up call to me. God is giving me another huge opportunity to completely and fully rely on him. It is all or nothing. No more lukewarmness here. I don’t know what this season of my life is going to hold but I am not waiting on my incessant need to know what is going on to stop me from a constant pursuit of the life-giving, challenging, affectionate, truth revealing love of God. 

Here we go!

Peace and Love,
Celisse

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Secret ballot is an awesome thing.

You know, one of the beauties of democracy is the secret ballot. You can hear and read all of the ads, articles, radio shows, and sermons but once you step into the booth or check the box, it is all you. You have to make a choice between two people who are qualified to run the country but have different approaches. No one is putting a gun to your head or threatening your family or watching you in the ballot box to make sure you vote the right way.

We may not have those extreme examples but we do have some people in powerful and persuasive positions that, I think, should not use their power to affect the vote of the people that follow them. This is America. The land of the free. Home of the brave. Why wouldn't people who are in positions of power either keep out of it or show both sides of the coin?

My campus pastor in college did a wonderful demonstration in our chapel one day right before Election Day. He did the pros and cons of each candidate and then urged us to research even more to make up our own minds. That is what the church should be doing. It annoys the hell out of me when pastors say who they are going to vote for or who their congregation should vote for. It takes away the right and privilege that we have as Americans to choose our leaders. So, pastors, please don't endorse from the pulpit. It's not very American.

With all of that aside, please go vote. It is a privilege that not everyone in the world has.

Women, a hundred years ago, we were still fighting to be able to vote.

People of color, we were still fighting to vote in the 60s.

Voting is an important privilege that we get to exercise. No matter who you are or what you believe, you have an obligation to the people that fought for your right to express your beliefs to vote for the country that you want to leave for your children. Take pride in your country and vote.

Peace,
Celisse

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Singleness. I love it. No, seriously.


This is a random topic for me because I do not often talk about it but today is different for some reason. I think it has a lot to do with certain people interrogating me about dating habits or giving me unwarranted advice or "introducing" me to someone. It's hard not to think about it.


I know that I do not have much knowledge or experience the relationship department but I think that I have become somewhat of a promoter of being single. Like if singleness had a PR position open, I would apply for it. 

I enjoy being single. I enjoy the freedom that I have. I love going and coming whenever I want. I have accomplished so many things and have had so many great experiences that I would never want to take back.  I think being single in my 20s is a wonderful decision that I made. That's all. No buts. I just love it. It's when the relationship part becomes a possible reality that has me frazzled sometimes.

I have had many examples of wonderful marriages/relationships that are Chris-centered, loving, and genuinely fun. Everyone knows those couples that you do not mind being around. You actually like hanging out with the two of them because it never feels awkward. I love those marriages/relationships. 

They are wonderful. 

They are inspiring. 

They are a gift from God.

THEN WHY DOES IT FREAK ME OUT SO MUCH?!

I have been thinking about that. I have many examples of relationships that I would never want to have. Sometimes I think that subconsciously I would rather omit the whole idea of being in a relationship to avoid having a bad one. It is easy for me because relationships have never been a huge thing for me. You could say that it was my dad's fault. He always said that I was not allowed to date until I was done with my schooling. It was never really my thing. 

School. Sports. Church. Ministries. Singing. Family. Friends. Reading. 

Those were my things. That is what I spent my time doing. When other girls were going on dates, I was perfectly pacified sitting at home reading a book or having a rousing discussion about politics/current affairs/theology/education with my dad. I obviously had my crushes but nothing so big that I was going to pursue anything. I didn't feel that I needed to. I had a wonderful father and grandpa in my life that told me every chance they could that they loved me and how beautiful I am. I felt loved so much at home that I didn't need to search for it other places. Thus was born my independence. 

Independence. Freedom. Making your own decisions. Loving what you are doing. Loving who you are in Christ. That's the thing, though. Loving Christ is a commitment that stretches me on a daily basis and with which I will never be perfect. 

But it is a commitment that I love the most in my life. 

It is the one that gives me wholeness. It gives me clarity (well, most of the time, haha). It gives me peace. It gives me understanding. It gives me faith. Faith in Christ, that he knows what he is doing. That he knows who to put in my life. That he knows me well enough to put things in my path that will bring me closer to him.

I'm not one of those ladies who will say that I don't need men because Jesus is my boyfriend, but being in a relationship with Christ that will fulfill all those things that I have been longing/hoping/wishing/pleading for fills me with joy and excitement (and to be perfectly honest, a little hesitation). This is the commitment that I need to strengthen. It is the one with which I need to continually work. It is the one that scares me the most but it is one that I would never want to do without. Who knows, maybe one day I won't be so weirded out by the word "girlfriend."

Peace and Love,
Celisse

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I coulda.....well, maybe if I woulda.....

I completely understand how ridiculous and crazy and wrong this is going to sound.

I could have done something. Anything.

I could have stopped my dad from dying in some way. Given him my kidney. Been there more often. Been a better daughter. Something!

I feel like every time I think about my dad, I have this huge burden of guilt that I have been carrying this whole time.

It's not totally unnecessary guilt. I wasn't there when he died. I was off being a good student leader and helping out with a choir retreat. As always, I put work before my family. The one time that it mattered the most for me to be there.

I just wasn't.

These feelings seem to keep getting stronger. It will be 6 years in January.

It's supposed to get easier, right?

I know that I have expressed this before but I miss being special. You know, that feeling that only a dad can give his daughter? The one that says no matter what you do or who you become, you will always be his little girl. The one that gives you the confidence to do anything and supports you in everything. I miss that. A lot. And even more recently.

I know that I talk about it a lot. It's just that this is something that is looming over my head and I haven't been able to get over it or get past it or deal with it or accept it. I can't get it out of my head.

I will never forget my last moment with my dad. It will be forever mine. It's what keeps me going sometimes. And sometimes, it just isn't enough.

I don't know how God is going to sort through this one.

Peace,
Celisse

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

If you just realize what I just realized...

I am not sure how to put into words what is brewing in my mind. It's not that it is something that is hard for me to understand or even that it is extremely emotional.

I miss God.

I miss him being the whole reason that I live. I miss him being in control of my life. I miss turning to him when I have a need, question, or talking session.

This isn't a night where I am sitting on my bed crying because I miss my loved ones. It's a night of realization that I have been neglecting the most important person in my life. I have been allowing myself to blame and mistrust God.

God took away MY dad and MY grandpa and MY grandma. I felt abandoned and that God stole something from me even though they were not mine to begin with. They were always, and still are, completely his.

I have created this barrier between us because I have felt hurt and alone for a long time and it was all God's fault. I thought God had to prove to me that he was trustworthy. That he could do what he was supposed to do and that was protect me. On those nights, I did not feel protected.

I felt hollow.

I felt alone.

I felt abandoned.

I felt disappointed in myself.

I felt helpless.

I didn't feel what I thought was supposed to feel. I didn't feel like God cared. But he did. He wanted to comfort me. He wants to help me to not feel alone, abandoned, or helpless. He wants to be all of these things for me. He just wants me to let him do it.

I guess all this to say, that I miss my relationship with God and the closeness that we used to have. I hope to one day get back to the good old days. Maybe even grow more.

I still don't know why in the hell he still cares. But I'm glad he does.

Peace,
Celisse