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Book Recommendations, Life, Pilgrimage, Thoughtfulness

Book Review: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

I’ve had many people recommend The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. After hearing about it for a while I have now finally read it. I saw that Allie B. Stuckey’s book club would be reading it and figured, now is the time. I had never read a book with an online book club before and thought it would be cool. Although I did not comment on any of the review questions, I thought it was nice to be reading the same book with many other women in the faith.

When I began reading the book, it took some time to get into the style it was written in. The book is a series of letters written by Wormwood’s uncle Screwtape.

In these letters Screwtape gives instructions on how to keep his patient from growing in Christ and being saved. He offers suggestions on how to keep him distracted so he doesnt grow, such as being dissatisfied with his church, looking at other believers as if they fall short (which we all do) and thus he should not be part of them or that because they fall short, then the whole faith must be false. He suggests having the patient become good friends with the elite because that will keep him grounded in worldly things. He discouraged godly relationships, basically anything to distract him from the faith. 

I’m sure in our experience we have come across seasons where we are dissatisfied with our church or are holding onto relationships that are not good for us. I just find it fascinating how a book written some time ago still resonates with what is happening now, kind of mind boggling really!

*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.*

Here are a few quotes from the book so you can get a taste of what I mean:

“Surely you know that if a man can’t be cured of churchgoing, the next best thing is to send him all over the neighbourhood looking for the church that “suits” him until he becomes a taster or connoisseur of churches.”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“Provided that any of those neighbours sing out of tune or have boots that squeak, or double chins, or odd clothes, the patient will quite easily believe that their religion must therefore be somehow ridiculous.”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“The humans live in time but our Enemy (God) destines them for eternity.”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts, Your affectionate uncle SCREWTAPE”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“but it is His long-term policy, I fear, to restore to them a new kind of self-love—a charity and gratitude for all selves, including their own; when they have really learned to love their neighbours as themselves, they will be allowed to love themselves as their neighbours. For we must never forget what is the most repellent and inexplicable trait in our Enemy; He really loves the hairless bipeds He has created and always gives back to them with His right hand what He has taken away with His left.”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

“Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feels that he is ‘finding his place in it’, while really it is finding its place in him.”

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

You can find a link to buy the book in this post. I think this book is worth the read. You will definitely see how concerns of the past are still relevant today. It is an interesting perspective to see how the enemy (the real enemy not the enemy in the book who is our Lord) might be plotting to keep up away from Christ and seeking spiritual growth. 

SDG- “Soli Deo Gloria”

Adulting, Life, Pilgrimage, Thoughtfulness

Adulting: 5 Lessons I’ve Learned

If there is something I consider to be a complete waste of time, energy and breath, it’s complaining, huffing and puffing at a fast-food chain because they are understaffed and not getting your order out as fast as you expected. I see this all the time. Obviously, these workers are running around trying to do at least two jobs at once and your huffing and puffing is of no use, it will not make then work faster than they are at the moment.

Don’t grow up to be that cranky old person, set in their ways who only care about themselves and what they want. Maybe it’s because I live in New York, and New Yorkers seem to be the rudest, most self-centered people on the planet (I exaggerate here) but you get the point. New Yorkers are known to be rude, they always want things their way and when they don’t get it, they huff and puff like the big bad wolf. Don’t be like typical New Yorkers, be considerate. 

I was recently at a KFC waiting in line for my food, I brought up the understaffed scenario because that is exactly what was going on here. I was stuck in line in front of a man, who from the very beginning came in with a bossy and demanding attitude. He wanted to know if they had chicken tenders and he wanted his answer fast. To his surprise, he came into an understaffed KFC that had employees running everywhere and no one was getting to him as fast as he wanted, which led him to mutter under his breath complaints about how he just wanted a yes or no answer to a simple question. After getting his answer (yes, they have chicken tenders FYI) he stood in line behind me. All the while I waited patiently for my food, this man shifted back and forth and often complained that they only had 3 workers and the line was getting longer, obviously anyone with eyes can see that. He proceeded to complain about the service and even tried to engage in conversation with me as if I was going to agree with him.

There are a few things I have learned during my few adult years, here are a few of them.

Complaining Usually Does Not Result In Much

I mean seriously, has constantly complaining helped any? I know there is a saying, the squeaky wheel gets the oil, however, I don’t think that applies to complaints, they fall into a constantly inquiring category. You constantly ask for the status of something and eventually, the person being questioned resolves what you want, but complaining… That’s different. As much as I dislike my job at times (I have noticed I complain every chance I get and I shouldn’t) it doesn’t make the problem go away. Complaining about the pains of my job and difficulties I face on a daily basis, is not going to get my work magically done. It just doesn’t help resolve anything so why spend our precious time in it (I am really speaking to myself here, its something I struggle with, to be honest)

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing…”

Philippians 2:14 (ESV)

Be Nice To People, It Usually Has Good Results

Have you ever heard the saying “ you catch more bees with honey” well you do! Being nice to people has never resulted in a negative way for me. Sure, not everyone is nice, some people are just plain rude and nasty but that doesn’t mean you have to be also. I had a client who disliked me from the moment he met me, I have no idea why he was just always rude to me and constantly compared me to his prior paralegal. He always found a flaw in everything I did, to be honest, I hated when he called because I knew he was going to complain about something but I picked up the phone and kindly answered every question he had, I figured I’d kill him with kindness. Well, after a year of being kind to this man who was always rude, he started calling me nicknames, like “love” and “sweetheart” (in Spanish), I was taken aback the first time, but soon after getting used to it.

It was not something I would have expected from him, by the time his case settled and everything was done, he actually thanked me for all the help I provided him, this after he had a small fit, left my office only to come back half an hour later and apologize to me because “I have always been kind to him and I did not deserve for him to have acted that way”, he asked me for a hug before he left and walked out of my life forever. I think I will remember forever, my toughest client turns nice and acknowledges my kindness, see, being kind pays off. You also get people to help you out more if you are kind to them. I can’t tell you how many times I have been kind to someone who I haven’t even met in person, and they are also kind back. A little bit of kindness goes a long way.

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV)

Admit When You Are Wrong

This is something I need to do more often than I would like to admit, especially at work. How many times have I made mistakes at my job? I have no idea. I know I wrote a blog post on this topic before, you can find the link here. I have grown so much from admitting I made a mistake, preferably, I would rather not make them in the first place but at least there is always a lesson. From every mistake I have made, I have learned what not to do and how to correctly handle a situation.

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

1 John 1:8 (ESV)

Own Up To Your Mistakes

Also aligned with the point above, owning up to my mistakes has grown me so much. I have learned many lessons and God has humbled me every time I had to admit I messed up.

“Repent, therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out”

Acts 3:19(ESV)

Learn From Your Mistakes and Keep It Moving

I have met many people who are stuck in a rut, why? Because they do not want to admit they made a mistake, it takes humility to do that and humility is not a trait that comes easy. It is the complete opposite of pride, the sin that is the root of many other sins.

“for the righteous falls seven times and rises again,”

Proverbs 24:16 (ESV)

Adulting is by no means easy, I think most of us who have entered adulthood can admit, we can relate to a young bird who is pushed off the ledge by his mother so he can learn to fly except, we hit the side of the cliff 40 times before we achieve takeoff. 

I hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to comment on any of your adulting lessons below.

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Adulting, Life, Pilgrimage, Thoughtfulness

A Letter to Teenage Me

If I had to write a letter to the teenage me, it would go a little something like this.

Dear Angie,

I know you are at a critical time in your life right now and think what is happening right now is the most important stuff that will ever happen, the most crucial, and important. But what if I told you that’s not true. What if I told you (yes, this is a pun, and at your age you probably wouldn’t get it because memes are not a thing yet but you will grow to love memes and also watch the Matrix…) that what happens in your teenage years is not so pivotal? One day you will look back and laugh, you will scold yourself for the time wasted and the emotions spent on nonsense. So here would be my advice to you.

Stop worrying about what other people think about you. In a few years you will no longer see these people and their opinion will be the last thing on your mind. Let go off all the things that make you anxious, trust me you will thank me (yourself later). With all the time you spend being angry, you can be doing other things. Your current friends will not really be your friends in a few years, in fact, you will all go your separate ways and you will really only message one of them sporadically via social media. Oh and on social media, at this point in your life it is not a big deal but boy will it take over, so be careful and mindful of the time you spend on social media (facebook and instagram) you won’t really see these until the late 2000’s and early 2010’s. 

Try a few different genre books and listen to more 90’s R&B, that is some good stuff. Spend more time reading and less time arguing. Try and look at the world from another person’s perspective, do not be swayed by what the world tells you. I know at this point God is not very big in your life but I would ask that you think about eternal things more. Think about where you will go and how your actions will affect you and others. Now, I don’t want you to think that being “good” will get you into heaven but it’s just nice to be considerate and mindful of your actions and their consequences.

Talk to your parents more, do not hold grudges, understand that your parents came from a different place than you did, they had a different upbringing and that may explain why they do and act the way they do. 

I know this sounds like a lot but if you slowly implement these suggestions soon they become second nature and can help you grow to be a smarter young woman and be more compassionate and kind. 

When it comes time to register to vote, do not register democrat, turns out in college you will get an in depth lesson on political parties and their beliefs and yours will not lined up with democratic values, you’ll save me some paper and time filling out a form to change my political party.

You are going to turn out ok, even if you don’t follow these suggestions just remember, what others think now will not matter later so might as well stop caring about it now. 

Love,

The older and wiser you.

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”

Thoughtfulness

How I Finished College and Kept my Sanity

Looking back on my life and all that I have accomplished, I must admit, the single achievement I am most proud of is graduating college. Why? Well because it was in college that I learned the most in my life.

I started college at the age of 18 and for the first year, I floated through it not really lending much attention to my studies. A year later, I began my first official job and immediately my entire perspective on education shifted. I quickly learned that in order to handle both work and school well, I had to change the way operated in some areas. It was great because the skills I had developed not only helped me with my academics but completely changed the way I did everything else.

I learned to prioritize and multitask effectively which have helped me greatly in my professional career. If I could, I would go back in time and implement what I learned sooner. I wish I had known how to plan ahead and take charge of what was important when I first began college but, instead of dwelling on the past, I will instead pass on what i’ve learned in the hopes that it might help others.

Here are a few things I learned that helped me excel during my time in college.

Make time, Plan Ahead and Prioritize

There were times where I had a major paper or assignment due by the end of the week but, with work after class from the afternoons through the evenings, I was left with very little time to actually sit down and focus on my work. I had to do some schedule rearranging and eliminate anything unnecessary and time-consuming. While in college, my younger brother called me “boring Angie,” because he knew that once school started I was in full-on focus mode. I rain-checked on a lot of fun stuff in order to make sure my work got done and would squeeze time in, both, before and after work for my studies. It was a sacrifice, but a temporary one that saw me through each semester.

Be Committed

Think on the end result. As Troy Bolton from High School Musical would say “You gotta get your head in the game and don’t forget it.” I don’t think I can count the number of times I had to remind myself of why I was doing this. It was most definitely not easy, but oh so worth it. I kept thinking about my graduation day and how satisfying it would feel to know that I earned that degree, not to mention all of the opportunities and privileges that would inevitably come with it. That was all the motivation I needed, but I needed to remind myself of it frequently.

*Quick disclosure: The photos for the items below are each linked to Amazon.com. Should you choose to purchase from them, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.*

Always Make Sure to Spend Some Time Doing What You Love

Every time a new semester was about to begin my younger brother would start with the whole “here comes boring Angie” jazz. When I asked him why he’d always say that, he would tell me that it was because, when I was in school I was grumpy, serious and never down to do anything fun. And he was right. When school came around, I was full steam ahead on my studies. So upon realizing this, I would occasionally try and make time for something fun. This was not only because I didn’t want to be regarding as boring Angie by my family and friends, but also because I needed to keep my own sanity. I’m sure you have heard the saying “all work and no play….” Well, it’s true.

So whatever you do, make sure you take some time out for recreation, relaxation and most importantly family and friends. It’s all about balance. Mostly work and some play, and once the semester is over, just play (with work, of course).

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Thoughtfulness

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers in My Life

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mother’s our there! Today, I would like to pay tribute the all the mothers in my life and give thanks to the Lord for placing them in my life.

I have had the pleasure of being surrounded by great moms throughout my life. They have all, in some way, contributed to who I am today. Whether by way of some small token of advise or much needed reprimand, I am a lot better today because of them. I am thankful because they have added much wisdom to my life, both, directly and indirectly.

Recently, I have watched many close friends of mine become mothers and I have seen them grow in the process. I always joke that motherhood adds a whole deeper level of maturity, and I stand by that statement. Sure, my friends and I are close in age but they seem so much wiser than me in almost every way, and this I can only attribute to motherhood.

So much work goes into raising a child; from what should they eat and wear to when they should sleep. From teething to “teening” it is a great responsibility, perhaps even above anything else out there.

When and if you are blessed with the privilege of raising another human being, you have to realize that you are actually playing a major role in the shaping of another individual’s life. That is no simple task and because I merely observe all this work from the outside, I want to continue to encourage all mothers out there. You are doing a terrific job! Do not second guess yourself. I hope you do not feel as if your work counts for nothing. What you do is extremely important and can be done by no one else but you -certainly not to the same extent.

I know that one day you will look back, if you haven’t already, and know it was all worth it. And your children will thank you for it.

Her children rise up and call her blessed” ‭‭

Proverbs‬ ‭31:28‬a ESV‬‬

While I am here thanking all the mothers for their life lessons and hard work, I must also thank my very own mother. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without her.
She is probably the strongest woman I know. She has raised 4 kids, all of which through different ages and life stages (our age gaps are no joke) and I cannot imagine what my life would be like without her. Mami, I thank you for always thinking of me, for the “Good morning, Princess” texts in the morning. I want you to know that I will always be here for your and that you are a real inspiration. I can only hope to one day be half as good a mother as you are. I love you mami!

I know not everyone can relate to how I feel about my mother but I imagine, for many of you, there is or has been that special someone in your life who is or has shown a level of motherly love and affection towards you. Someone that you love and appreciate dearly, even if she is technically not a mother. There are many women who have poured into our lives and even though they may not have children of their own they possess those key motherly characteristics. Therefore, they too should be thanked and shown appreciation.

So I urge you, thank your mother. Thank that special mother or mother-like individual(s) in your life. Thank your friends who are mothers and make sure that they know how much you love them and appreciate them for their tireless labor. Show them you love and appreciate all that they do, not just on Mother’s Day, but everyday.

I will again thank my strong mother, my compassionate mother-in-law, and all of my close friends and sisters in Christ who have continually blessed me by simply honoring the Lord Jesus and exemplifying His love through their parenting. I love you all dearly!

Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.’”

Proverbs 31:29

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Book Recommendations, Thoughtfulness

Reflections of a Dominican-American

Happy belated Dominican Independence Day!

This past week was Dominican Independence Day and when I think about the Dominican Republic I always come back to the years I lived there as a child. When I lived there I did not appreciate it at all, but now that I’m older I can’t help but feel nostalgic and wish that I could go back to those days. And because I am feeling nostalgic, I thought I’d share with you a bit about my heritage. I am a Dominican-American. I have lived most of my life in the United States but I hold close to my culture.

I didn’t grow up in the fancy or more advanced part of the Dominican Republic, I grew up in a small town by the beach with my dads side of the family. To this day, I have no clue what the nice parts of the Dominican Republic look like but hope to one day find out.

My grandfather had been a fisherman and his sons followed the same route. My grandfather, who we all know as Papa, ran a small pescadería (a fish market) and his sons and others provided the fish to be sold. My whole family lived by this beach, Papa’s beach. I lived with an uncle, his wife, and their children. They took me and my older brother in as if we were one of their own. My older brother always had a much more carefree spirit than me, I was more of a grumpy old troll stomping around, complaining about wanting to return to New York every time I got the chance.

Looking back, I wish I could simply return to those days when I lived by the beach. I wish I could just sit for a whole afternoon staring off beyond the coast and not worry about a thing or listen to the slapping of the palm leaves against each other on a windy day or the rain tapping at our tin roof on a stormy night.

Gone are the nights when we sat on the sidewalk when the light went out and told ghost stories about pepito (who just happened to be the protagonist of all our scary stories). Those are the moments that I cannot regain. I can only look back at them, just as someone looks into a snow globe, wishing that life stood still so that they could revisit those moments that were precious to them.

Nevertheless, I am proud that I can tell stories such as these. Simpler times I experienced as a child, the sweet memories of life on my beautiful island, the Dominican Republic. Maybe the reason I look back at those times with fondness is that, deep down, I regret not appreciating the time I had there. Maybe God had been trying to teach me contentment as a child and here I am, an adult reminiscing about time lost. Every once in a while my nostalgia leads me to write a short story, maybe I’ll share a few with you guys in the future.

I recently came across a book that I am interested in reading, it’s titled Too American to be Dominican. Too Dominican to be American. It’s funny because this is exactly how I feel sometimes. I think it will be a good read and might provide more insight into my beloved culture.

SDG – “Soli Deo Gloria”

Pilgrimage, Thoughtfulness

The Perfect Gift at Christmas

This month, I am slightly ashamed to admit, I have probably watched over 15 Hallmark Christmas movies and loved pretty much all of them. At this point, I can guess the plot, and pinpoint reoccurring themes like: a gingerbread house is made, there is a tree lighting ceremony, cookies are baked, trees are decorated, it snows, a man and woman fall in love. Half the time, one of the protagonists is from the city, or a small town person and moved to the city, and falls in love with the small town again. Somewhere Continue Reading