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Adulting, Book Recommendations, Life, Pilgrimage, Reading Journey

Book Review: 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You by Tony Reinke

As this year is ending, I have been striving to complete my reading challenge for this year. Every year I set a goal for myself of how many books I would like to read; this year’s goal was 16. As of today, I am 13 books in and have 3 to go. I am super excited, it has been a few years since I fully completed my goal. 

The reason I am writing this post is because I want to share one of my current reads with you. This book is titled 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You by Tony Reinke. I had mentioned it in a previous post for which books I intended to read over the summer. I must admit, I only made it half-way through that list but that is better than nothing.

Anyway, this book caught my attention a few years back when it was released. I always see how we are all, and I am including myself, sucked into our phones whenever we get the chance. We walk, we sit, we wait, we linger about all while holding our phones in our hands and scrolling through an infinite feed of new posts. I agree with the author that phones are not evil in and of themselves, but rather the way that we use our phone is what could be a problem here.

I noticed in myself, that whenever I was waiting around or in an awkward situation, I immediately reach for my phone. I know I am not the only one. I see it all the time. Mr. Reinke goes on to explain some of the reasoning as to why we behave this way.

I will talk about a few of the points he makes in the book but not too many as I would rather you check it out for yourself. Here are a few ways he mentions our phone is changing us:

1. We Are Addicted To Distraction

Remember how I just mentioned reaching for my phone while waiting, yup, I can honestly say I prefer to be distracted from the waiting so much that I reach for my phone the moment I notice there is something I need to wait for. What this does is help me lose track of time until the thing I am waiting for happens, be it waiting for the train, or waiting in line to order some food.

Sometimes to stop myself from reaching for my phone I remember a scene from one of my favorite books The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. In this book the main character finds himself in a town where the inhabitants are seen rushing back and forth through an invisible building, the explanation for this being, they were so busy looking and down and walking fast that no one stopped to admire the building and so they disappeared.

Of course, this is fiction and many loopholes can be found, but I tell myself that I must stop and look at my surroundings before they disappear. Now, of course, they will not turn invisible but with all the construction going on, it could be a familiar location that can be quickly replaced because I even take a moment to look up and see what is going on because I will rather be distracted by my phone. 

2. We Become Like What We Like

This I can also personally attest to. I love books and follow many bookstagrams. I just love to see piles of books, shelves of books, all neatly organized and picture-perfect, it is one of my little pleasures. But this can also take another turn, what if we begin to follow celebrities, we like their post, laugh at their jokes and next thing you know we find ourselves relating to them more than before.

I wrote a prior post briefly touching on this. The issue with this is we can become influenced by what we are seeing and liking that we will neglect our own views and where we stand.

As Christians, we are called to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. Are we doing this often? How does who we follow affect this? Mr. Reinke also went into a similar topic in this book. 

3. We Neglect Our Flesh and Blood

I love the way Tony Reinke began this chapter, he does a good job of illustrating just how detached we can be from other humans when we have arguments on the internet. It’s like that other person is less than human because we do not see their actual flesh and blood through a screen.

Isn’t it almost crazy that a took we claim to use to draw closer to family members actually does the total opposite? We tend to have a conversation online but when it comes to being in person we are distant and awkward.

The fact that we put on a persona for our friends and then find ourselves unmasked in person we feel defenseless, it is so much easier to hide when we are not in the same room. Imagine how this can affect social interactions. We would much rather hold conversations online rather that meet up in person, this is definitely a way our phone if changing us.  

Overall, I highly recommend this book, I will not give more details about it because I would really like you to read it on your own and come to your own conclusions. This book helped me see some of the unhealthy ways I was using my phone, it is a real eye-opener. We should keep in mind who our Savior is and how we can live our lives to honor Him. If our phone usage does not draw glory to Christ, we may need to reconsider how we use this technology He has given us.

I hope you enjoyed this brief review and really encourage you to check out this book, you can find a link in this post to purchase the book on Amazon. *I am an Amazon affiliate so I may get a small fee for any purchase you may make but this will be of no effect to the price you pay.* Thank you so much for checking out this post, see you next time.

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

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Book Recommendations, Fitness Journey, Life, Reading Journey

Book Review: Fit For Life

Today I bring you a post that fits into two of my categories: health and books. This will be a review of a health book I recently read and also the results of trying out some of the suggestions in it. 

My husband recommended this book to me after seeing how much I was struggling to lose weight. At the time, I had a few factors stacked against me. I sprained my ankle about a year before, the pain had gone away when the sprain healed but returned after I began doing HIIT workouts. Shortly after the pain came back, I began physical therapy and was unable to exercise the way I was used to. 

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Adulting, Life, Pilgrimage

Celebrities and Politics: Why They Shouldn’t Always Mix

I recently came across a photograph of a rather well-known celebrity. Although relatively new to fame, she has a tremendous influence on many young people. In this photo, she was endorsing a certain candidate for the upcoming 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. 

My initial thought was, who would take this seriously? However, I soon came to the realization that, in all honesty, many would. Many would gladly, perhaps even blindly, support someone as significant as a presidential candidate simply because one of their favorite celebrities (sometimes “celebs”) suggested that they should.

Why is this? Well, for one, and a relatively recent factor in terms of our modern election cycles, is the reality and influence of social media. Prior to the advent of social media platforms, we did not have very direct and personal access to our favorite stars. We instead, relied on television, tabloids, and radio to find out what they were up to. But not anymore. Today, because of social media, we can see what our favorite celebrities had for dinner, where they got their hair done and what kind of exercise they do at the gym.

It seems almost as if they are our friends. We feel a sort of closeness to them, even to the point where we esteem their opinions as highly, if not higher, than our very own.

Now, I am not resolved to conclude that it is inherently wrong to follow celebs on social media. In fact, if I were to say that, I would be no more than a hypocrite, as I too follow a few of my favorite actors and singers on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. Rather, what I would like to persuade you to do, is to engage in a close examination the following points, particularly with regard to politics, voting, and celebrities.

1. We Are Not The Same

Celebrities, although they may seem to share much in common with us, at the end of the day, are not like us. Why? For one, they are wealthier than us. That fact inevitably plays a role in all of this. In my case, the income differences between the celebs I follow and myself are on completely different levels, in fact, hardly the same spectrum. But why is this important? Well, when it comes down to celebs and who they may choose to help, rich people often tend to look out for themselves and their own interests. Sure, they may say that they are looking out for minorities and the disadvantaged, but do you really think a commercial artist, who brags about making my year’s salary in a week, genuinely cares about me? I would say no. Many celebs would stop at little to preserve, maintain and perpetuate their social status. In today’s especially polarized political climate, this often translates to endorsing politicians who suit their needs. These politicians are even regarded as a means to their ends and visa-versa. I’m not going to presume that all celebs engage in this or that their motives are completely devoid of sincerity. However, in cases where celebrities advocate for a specific politician, we should take care do our own research and thus intelligently determine whether or not our values and beliefs line up with theirs. We should do this before being wooed by the shout-outs and photo-ops or merely because of the fact that our favorite artist likes them. Some celebrities have impressive business sense and are very credible but we may never know whether or not they have a hidden agenda.

2. Celebrities Can Be Bought

Coming from a Dominican background, and understanding how corrupt a country’s politics can be, I am no less convinced that here in America we are equally as susceptible. And this will tie in with my last point concerning our ability to discern a celebrity’s motives, or any public figure for that matter. We need to seek out the truth and be wary of the possibility of being swayed in any given direction. Odds are, the person advocating for that cause is being paid to get you to conform to their ideology and hop on to their political bandwagon. Don’t give in to the hype based on what you see at first glance. Do yourself a favor and some conduct some research so as not to be deceived. 

“Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart; though his hatred be covered with deception, his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.”

Proverbs 26:24-26 ESV

3. We Need To Follow Our Own Convictions and Follow Christ

This ties in with doing our research. When thinking about making a decision as momentous as who to vote for, we ought to ask ourselves whether or not this person, party or idea should receive my vote and, essentially, my allegiance in the first place. Do they agree with what I stand for? Will they have my interest(s) in mind? Will they make a positive impact in areas of great challenge? Are they honest? Do I think they will stand firm for what they are advocating, even amidst fierce opposition, or simply bend under pressure? Does their record and conduct support any of this? These are all things we need to keep in mind when considering our future leaders. It can be so easy to support a candidate plainly because many people we like and admire are speaking well of them. But at the end of the day, we need to find out if they will truly be a good candidate given our standards. Not only that, if we are Christians, saved by grace and set apart to live for Christ, promoting His righteousness here on earth, we will line up with anything that the scriptures inform us to stand for.

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Micah‬ ‭6:8‬ ‭ESV

‬‬ 

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” ‬‬

Philippians‬ ‭4:8-9‬ ‭ESV

For the Christian, let us always remember that God is Sovereign. Despite these days seeming more daunting than any before us, and the forces of evil prevailing day-in and day-out, God is sovereign. By the look of it, any Christian challenging the culture,  speaking out against homosexuality and abortion is immediately marginalized as a bigot, a radical and ignorant individual. It may very well be that one day Christians in this land will be silenced by the law. As time progresses we may no longer be able to speak freely of our Lord and Savior, but take heart brethren, for He has overcome the world! This place is not our home and God is sovereign even in the darkest of times -just as history has clearly showcased time and time again. His justice will prevail over all the earth and if we find ourselves worried, let us cast our burdens on Him. 

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” ‭

Psalms‬ ‭55:22‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28 ESV

“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”

Proverbs 21:1

As long as we are here, let us stand for Christ even if it means going against popular beliefs. Let us not fear sharing the gospel, it is good news. It may not be the most popular message out there today but it is certainly the most important and the most beautiful. Let us remember what we have been saved from and share this great news whenever we get a chance and never let yourself be governed by the fear of man or by the sensationalism of celebrities. 

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

Romans 1:16

And at the end of the day, may everything we do be done to the glory of God.

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Adulting, Blogging Journey, Blogging Life, Life, Pilgrimage, Reading Journey

It’s my Blogiversary!

Today my blog is a full year old! Yes, it has been a year already. It’s almost hard to believe. Just a year ago I decided to start this journey. It was definitely not an overnight thing. I gave it a lot of thought before actually going for it.

I spoke to my husband a couple of times and spent months (I kid you not) months picking out a name. I kept trying to sort out what my purpose would be and honestly, I am still figuring that out.

I started this blog mainly to share what I have learned and am still learning with you guys so we can all grow together. I also wanted to glorify God in my writing. To Him be the glory always! I am so grateful for everything He has done for me and want to honor Him at all times.

I am so happy that you have stuck around with me and I will continue to post more content I think you’ll enjoy.

Here is a little fun fact, my blog was almost named Life by Ang. That was my husband’s initial suggestion. I liked it but I wanted it to be something more. I didn’t desire merely to ramble on about the day-to-day minutiae of my life in particular but, rather, to share my thoughts and worldview as they relate to a variety of different subjects. I also wanted I wanted to create a space where you can all kinda grow with me too. So I switched the words Life By to Journey With.

The word journey, brings a pilgrimage to mind. As a Christian that is exactly what our life is. This world is not our home, we are just passing by.

I hope I am able to make you guys feel welcome here at Journey With Ang. If there is anything you’d like to hear my opinion about, feel free to message me. Although I do not give my two cents on everything, (ie; I cannot speak on motherhood, as I am not a mother) but I will do my best to answer any questions I receive.

I want to thank you again for sticking around and I look forward to continuing this journey with you.

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Life

10 Things I learned about Switzerland (While in Switzerland)

My husband and I went to Switzerland last week and it was AWESOME!!!

Now, if you had asked me 10 years ago if I saw myself traveling to Switzerland, my answer would probably have been “no”. I would have opted for more glamorous sounding countries like Italy or France. I’d have said I want to ride a gondola or see the Eiffel Tower.

I would not have said I wanted to see Switzerland. Sure, I had seen the movie Heidi and it looked nice but the New Yorker in me wanted to see more city. I did get to see city but not like NY and it didn’t bother me.

When I arrived I was taken by surprise when I saw the mountains. They are huge! So majestic! Gods creation is truly magnificent. I fell in love with the nature around me. The fields and farms. In fact, when I returned from Switzerland, I turned on my Nintendo Switch and began to play Stardew Valley because I wanted to be a farmer so bad, it was that inspiring.

I enjoyed my trip so much and encourage others to pay the county a visit. Why? Here’s a list of things I learned while I was there, hopefully they will move you to book your next flight. By the way, this is not a sponsored post, this is truly all me and me experience. Enjoy.

1. They are Patriotic

Pretty much everywhere you look, and everywhere you go there is a Swiss flag hanging of off balconies, flag poles and strung up from one light pole to the other. Not only will you see Swiss flags but in Switzerland there are what are called Cantons which are kind of the equivalent of a state in the US, and each Canton has a flag, you will also see these flags hung around various locations within the Canton. Very patriotic.

2. Timely Transit System

The trains in Switzerland really do run on time, but not just the trains but also the buses and even water taxis. It is quite impressive coming from NYC where you rarely come across a train line running in a timely manner. Although, I must admit, the MTA has stepped up their game and the trains have been a bit more consistent. While in Switzerland there was one occasion in which I actually had to run to catch the train because of you miss it you need to wait for the next one and over there you pay for your ride ahead. So if you pay ahead, I suggest you catch that train. That’s money you do not want to waste.

3. Hiking and Biking is Big

Pretty much everyone hikes and bikes. Everyone! I’m not exaggerating. Ok, maybe a bit, but definitely a lot of people hike and bike. I actually think it’s pretty cool. From what I was able to see, there are hiking trails all around and the views are amazing. Mountains almost everywhere you look, I mean everywhere, unless you are indoors. I saw people of all ages walking around with hiking sticks. The Swiss seem to be pretty active people, it’s admirable.

4. Older Folk are Active

Not only did I notice people if all ages hiking but also older people. I saw them biking and hiking and out and about. These people do not just settle down and grow old at home. They go out and do stuff. It’s inspirational. I want to be like them when I grow up. I bet they live longer and have less health problems.

5. So Many Languages

Switzerland is home to at least 4 languages. German, Italian, French and Romansh. You will come across any of these languages at any given time you are walking around Switzerland. It’s actually fascinating. Maybe I was fascinated because those are not languages common to me and New York but I think it’s cool how frequent you hear them. The intertwining of these languages if fun to see. And unlike in the US, no one is yelling at you to speak the “official language” because there are four of them.

6. Eco Friendly/ Environment Cautious

Before going to Switzerland I was told there would be no air conditioning. I thought, how will we survive a summer week in Switzerland without an A/C? It actually was not so difficult. You see, those summer is not humid. The sun is hot but the breeze is cool and the nights are even cooler. If you need to cool down, crack open the window, sit and chill. When I asked why they don’t use A/C I was told it was for environmental reasons. After being there for a week I can see why. Everywhere you look there is nature, why ruin that with excessive consumption of electricity, specially if you can do without. Kudos to them for thinking about the environment.

7. Food is Expensive

Food is more expensive over there than in New York. Shocking. It is actually better to eat in, than dine out. Outings to restaurants are “treat yo’self” occasions. Restaurants cost more, the food is tasty but at a price. So if you plan on eating out while visiting, prepare your wallets.

8. You Can Veto New Construction

I learned that if someone wants to construct a new building they need approval of the residents of the neighborhood. How is this done? Well, mock beams are placed where the corners of the building would be so that the neighbors can have an idea of how it will effect the neighborhood, scenery, etc. And if they don’t like it, they can complain so that it won’t be built. Interesting, huh?

9. Clock Towers/Bells Ring Around the Clock (literally)

It seems there is a church in every town with a bell. The bells go off every hour on the hour and sometimes every quarter hour. This can seem a bit annoying at first, specially while trying to sleep but after a while I found it charming. I was able to tell the time when I heard the bells and didn’t need to look at a watch.

10. Some Public Bathrooms Require you to Pay

Sounds weird, paying to use a public bathroom. I thought so at first but then realized those bathrooms are well maintained, probably because they are not free. Did I like paying $1 or $2 to use the bathroom, not really, I found it a bit overpriced, but the cleanliness made up for it. This is something else you’d need to prepare you wallet for before paying Switzerland a visit.

I hope I was able to teach you some cool things about Switzerland. It was one of the best experiences I have had in a long time. I’m definitely looking forward to going back and seeing all of the things I missed during this trip. There is so much to do. You will not be bored. If you are a history buff, I definitely recommend paying Switzerland a visit.

By the way, the pictures used in this post were taken by yours truly 🙂

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Adulting, Life, Thoughtfulness

Adulting: Owning Up to My Mistakes

I work full time as a paralegal for a busy personal injury law firm and this job comes with a great deal of responsibility and a need to be cautious and attentive to deadlines. In addition to looking out for deadlines, I need to make sure all the papers that will be served are properly organized and that the language contained therein is correct. A great deal of revision goes into my work and sometimes even with the revisions I can miss something. Not always in the document itself but in following specific legal procedures.

So with this said, there have been times I have missed a deadline, or forgot to file something which can be a bit of a problem but I have learned that instead of shying away from the problems and trying to find an excuse as to why, what ever it was, was not done, I admit I messed up and own up to my mistakes. Trust me it is not very easy and I think it takes quite a bit of humility but it is always worth it.

Why? Well you learn. I have learned so much during the times I have spent with others correcting a problem, even when I was the reason it came to be.

I enjoy solving puzzles and love finding the solution to things. In the case where I need to solve one of these complicated legal procedural puzzles at work, that is not fun, at all! In fact, these are probably the most stressful days at work for me. I always picture my life on the line and myself at risk on being let go. It really builds up my anxiety.

But, God has been very gracious to me. He has surrounded me with people who seem to favor me, for one reason or another, and are always willing to help.

Admitting I was wrong and taking charge of the situation, although stressful, has really grown me as an professional and as an adult. I definitely feel more competent, (it might sound weird to say I feel competent after endeavoring in a stressful adventure that I got myself in by making a mistake) but in the end the learning process in the challenge makes it all worth while.

I have never regretted admitting my wrongs because they have helped me grown and learn.

So if you are prone to make mistakes, hopefully not as many mistakes as me, feel encouraged. It is ok to admit you are wrong and when you admit it, you will learn something new. For me it some sort of legal procedure but the fact that I can admit I was wrong and I made a mistake I think makes me a stronger and more knowledgeable person overall. It has been one of the most important things I learned while “adulting”.

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

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