The snow began yesterday and hadn’t stopped. By 5:00 pm it was night and the snow continued. Sara peered outside and could see the fat flakes steadily falling. They accumulated into two-foot piles and the city was forced to run the snow plows to clear the roads.
It snowed for six months starting in December without stopping but remained eerily calm outside and around -12 degrees Celsius. It was difficult for Sara to even buy groceries. The walls of thick snow made her claustrophobic.
At the end of May, Sara crept outside and heard the first trickle of the water. The snow had begun to melt. Now, the river was rising and flooding was a concern.
Welcome back to another December issue of my biweekly interview series. Today I’m interviewing the gracious and beautiful Jackelyn Santana who was recentlymarried. She has a faith based blog here: Faith Walking Hebrews 11:1. She describes her blog using the Hebrews 1:11Bible Verse: “Now Faith Is The Assurance of Things Hoped For, The Conviction of things Not Seen.”
1. Jackelyn, Please Tell Us About Yourself?
My name is Jackelyn Santana, I am from Miami, FL, and my family is of Cuban descent.I am a child of God and passionate about my faith. I LOVE reading, blogging, and spending time with my family. I was married on November 11, 2016 and I am a mother to an amazing six-year-old and a stepmother to two beautiful young ladies.
This year has been full of blessings. To emotionally prepare myself for our marriage, I spent the year analyzing myself and I’m finally at a place where I can embrace my authenticity. I spent a good portion of my life internalizing my pain, wearing masks to cope, and believing something was wrong because I didn’t have everything as it seemed everyone around me had.
Having this frame of mind enslaved me. There wasn’t anything wrong with what I was facing, but because there’s a stigma associated with imperfection and emotional struggle, I thought it was a ‘ME’ problem. I didn’t realize the truth, my problems were natural and universal.
As I began opening up and peeling off the layers I was hiding under, I discovered more and more people who hid there pain as I was doing. We strengthened each other,helped each other heal, celebrated our spiritual growth, and learned to love ourselves no matter where we are in life.
The most beautiful thing I’ve witnessed is a group of hopeless lost souls coming together and loving each other back to life. We found a reason to smile again. This world is in such need of healing. I would love nothing more than to help spread love and healing wherever I go in my life.
” As I began opening up and peeling off the layers I was hiding under, I discovered more and more people who hid there pain as I was doing. We strengthened each other, helped each other heal, celebrated our spiritual growth, and learned to love ourselves no matter where we are in life.” – Jackelyn Santana
2. When Did You Begin Blogging? What Does Blogging and Writing Mean To You?
I started blogging about four months ago July 20, 2016 to be exact. Blogging means everything to me! It’s liberated me. I’m free!! The more I write about things, the less ashamed I am of what I’ve faced. With each post I’ve removed the chains of emotions and experiences I kept a secret. These emotions and experiences have lost power over me.
This has allowed me to acknowledge and celebrate my spiritual growth. I enjoy interacting with other bloggers. Blogging also gives me an inside view of my soul. Sometimes I’m shocked when I read older posts because when I wrote, I let the words flow from my soul and they expressed things I wouldn’t voice out loud.
3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation To Write?
I am inspired by my faith and other bloggers. I began blogging about one-year ago, but I didn’t think I could write posts people would want to read. I’m better at public speaking than I am at writing. A co-worker of mine kept pushing me to write.I would share advice with her and she would nudge me to put it on paper. I finally decided to test the waters by submitting a guest post on Proverbs 31 Women.
They approved my guest post one-month later and I was shocked and honored. I started writing away on my blog often. My faith in God changed my life,it wasn’t until I understood my faith better that I was able to apply its principles to my life. In the past few years I’ve uncovered so much richness I was missing out on because I didn’t study my beliefs. It’s become a way of life for me and I want to help others learn about Jesus in practical terms.
Many times when we think of the Bible we think of a standard which is too high for most of us to reach. The Bible comes across as something only ‘Holy’ people read. Or, we become intimidated by it because we find it unrelatable since The Bible was written many moons ago and times have changed.
These ideas of Christianity couldn’t be further from the truth.We need to find the right tools to break down barriers from reading God’s Word, The Bible, and help others understand faith in simpler terms.Believing in Jesus can guide us towards love and happiness. Once we understand the basics, our soul will keep searching for more – our hearts will be “homing our Heavenly home,” if you will, and we will grow spiritually.
By identifying with examples from the stories in The Bible, we can understand our obstacles are not too much, our lives can be molded in a way which allows us to serve both God, our families, and friends because they’re all related.
God acknowledges our need for connection and sent his son Jesus not only so that we could be saved, but so we could identify with Jesus and strive to imitate His way of life. As a woman, fiancee, and mother, I have been able to love more purely and unconditionally through The Bible’s teachings, making them a way of life.
Reflecting on the dark moments I’ve faced, I see how fine the line between good and evil can be — being saved or being lost; I want tohelp others be saved as I am saved through Jesus’s death and resurrection.
“My faith in God changed my life, it wasn’t until I understood my faith better that I was able to apply its principles to my life. In the past few years I’ve uncovered so much richness I was missing out on because I didn’t study my beliefs.’ – Jackelyn Santana
4. When Do You Like to Write and Do You Have Any Current Special Writing Projects?
There isn’t a time of day that inspires me the most. I write whenever my heart moves me to write. As of today I’m only blogging. My passion and dream is to help others. Perhaps join /create a traveling retreat group, or participate in spiritual workshops. This is a concept similar to a ‘Women of Faith’ tour, but on a smaller more personal level.
There would be one to one interaction, healing exercises, and honest group talk. I would love to help others come out of their shells and be saved through faith in Jesus and God as I was. My healing is made possible through God and meeting an amazing group of women in my Emmaus Ministry who were transparent about their struggles and shared tips on overcoming the obstacles of life.
5. Are You Planning on Publishing Any Written Work in The Future?
I have not published anything. Perhaps later in life I will be presented the opportunity to do so, or I will submit writing drafts. With only four-months of blogging under my belt I’m focusing on identifying my writing voice, interacting with others through my writing, and improving my writing skills which are at a novice level. I would also like to study theology and I think it would further advance my writing.
“My healing is made possible through God and meeting an amazing group of women in my Emmaus Ministry who were transparent about their struggles and shared tips on overcoming the obstacles of life.”
6. What Is Your Writing Process Like?
I sit in front of my laptop or a notepad and I pray, relax, and set my soul free to express itself. When an idea pops into my mind I write it down either on my phone’s notepad, or sticky notes. I may begin draft posts that I revisit at a later time when I can give my writing undivided attention. I have about fourteen draft posts which I’ve begun and I’m saving for the future blog posts.
When I first started blogging I would write and post instantly. I’ve learned to slow down and process topics, allowing my mind to continue digging for information. I will officially post my writing after I have looked at every angle.
7. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers Starting Out?
Write about topics you are passionate about. It feels great to do what you love. I love what I write about and it’s how I live my life. If you’re on the fence about writing I would suggest you take a leap of faith and see what comes from this desire.
WordPress has a wonderful community of bloggers and this community helps you grow as a writer. Don’t write posts for the sake of increasing traffic and followers, write on topics you enjoy writing about.
8. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share Pertinent to Yourself or Your Writing?
I am God’s creation, I am human, I am imperfect, and I am meant to depend on God. Read this post to learn more about me.
9. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Favorite Blog Posts:
“Sensitive people are the most genuine and honest people you will ever meet. There is nothing they won’t tell you about themselves if they trust your kindness. However, the moment you betray them, reject them or devalue them, they become the worse type of person. Unfortunately, they end up hurting themselves in the long run. They don’t want to hurt other people. It is against their very nature. They want to make amends and undo the wrong they did. Their life is a wave of highs and lows. They live with guilt and constant pain over unresolved situations and misunderstandings. They are tortured souls that are not able to live with hatred or being hated. This type of person needs the most love anyone can give them because their soul has been constantly bruised by others. However, despite the tragedy of what they have to go through in life, they remain the most compassionate people worth knowing, and the ones that often become activists for the broken hearted, forgotten and the misunderstood. They are angels with broken wings that only fly when loved.” –Shannon L. Alder
I am on an emotional roller coaster ride.
I will not try to deny it, this is who I am, sensitivity and all. I wear my sensitivity as a badge of honor, although throughout life I have been ridiculed or further wounded because of it. I cannot control the sensitive nature of my heart. I may pretend something has not stabbed or wounded me, but more likely than not this is not the case.
For many years I have tried to harden myself, hoping that I would become immune to the blows of life, and the harsh words received from those I hold with high esteem. Despite my efforts, my sensitive nature is unchanged.
My sensitive nature is misunderstood.
Those closest to me believe they understand me and my motives. They believe they can read between the lines. Many dare to correct me when I express my intentions and motives, determined their interpretation of my position is correct. My hard and serious exterior denies me the right to ever be recognized as a victim, although, my heart tells me otherwise. Many times I find myself confused, doubting my heart, thinking that there is something severely wrong because I’m always wrong and never right about my own feelings. Maybe I am bad at the core?
One Of My Favorite Bible Verses:
“For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15
In my case, I do not understand why I continue to love and care the way I do. I know better, yet I cannot help it. I continue to express my vulnerabilities to those I care about in hopes that I will be understood. The more I explain myself, the further away I get from MY truth, and the closer I get to shedding unfavorable light on myself. I allow the fighter in me to get the best of me when I feel taken advantage of. This without a doubt, is used against me as I fail to be consistent, giving in to my human frailty. I can only be silent for so long without jumping into protective mode. I can only shed so many tears without lashing out. The cruelty I spew is the cruelty I have learned through life, it is not the natural nature of my heart. I would never purposely provoke tears from anyone, not even those who have hurt me profoundly. Yet sometimes acting in this manner is the only way I can get someone to listen to my voice and believe my truth. I am neither too proud to extend an apology when deserved and make amends with those I’ve offended. My truest desire is to maintain peace.
I am not taken seriously in my tender moments; my tenderness is taken for granted. The world demands yet resents my tenderness. Should a loved one offend me, my tenderness is an inconvenience because my tears take away from focusing on the “root” of the problem, and I am forced to slog against the tears. Should I act sternly with others, not allowing my emotions to flinch, I’m accused of being cold and harsh. The combination of my emotions is never seen as right.
It seems my sensitivity is to be used at the convenience of others. I can never be me. I’m never entitled to the beauty of my emotions. My view of my emotions is brushed off because I am overly sensitive. Yet, I cannot label the world as overly cruel, overly angry, or overly unforgiving.
I read once that instead of numbing our pain we need to identify the source of our pain and work on the problem instead of the symptom. For example, we may have a headache because we are dehydrated, hungry, or stressed. We should work on fixing those issues rather than silencing the headache calling out for attention.
The same goes for my tears. My tears, the ‘water works’ as they’ve been called, are not crocodile tears. It’s not an act or an attempt to manipulate; these statements couldn’t be further from the truth. My tears are indicators that my soul is experiencing pain, something is hurting me. To stop my pain at it’s root I need to either freeze my heart (which I have failed to accomplish) or excuse myself from the undesirable situation until I’m emotionally ready. This I can rarely accomplish without ridicule that I cannot work through a topic, without being accused of being overly dramatic.
I am always apologizing, but rarely entitled to an apology when hurt because my over-sensitivity is what causes the pain, not the actions or words of others.
When is my sensitive nature ever right for me!?
People say my tears and sensitive nature take away from the moment. I have slogged away for a good portion of my life to hide these parts of myself. I keep my tears a secret and am ashamed of my weakness.
As an adult, I find that my sensitive nature and heart are not the problem. The problem is the lack of sensitivity in the world. It’s not the compassionate who are the problem; a lack of empathy is the problem! I will continue to embrace my sensitivity, tears and all. I do not lose hope there are more sensitive people out there. I won’t (and truthfully can’t) harden myself and lose hope because I find the world to be cruel and unloving. I am who I am. I am transparent.My anger is pain masked with anger. It’s sadness for being the recipient of a pain I would never wish to inflict on others. It’s a betrayal I never foresaw. It’s the second opportunity no one else would’ve extended, yet I’ve already extended a third to my offender while knowing how the situation will likely end. It’s fighting the urge to assume the worst in others. It’s the unconditional love I am willing to give which is rarely cashed in.
It’s the product of a broken heart living in a broken world that is trying to break the best in me.
“Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a “hot mess” or having “too many issues” are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.” – Anthon St. Maarten
Thank you so much Jackelyn for agreeing to be interviewed. I am thrilled to find out so much about you and hope your struggles in life have become easier to handle through your faith. I hope you have more peaceful moments, than times which stress you out. Here is one more link to Jackelyn’s Blog: Faith Walking Hebrews 11:1
Thanks for reading! If you would like to answer some interview questions about writing/blogging/poetry and your unique perspective and process on writing, I would encourage you to reach-out to me on my Contact Page. I would love to have you featured as a biweekly interviewee. See you in two-weeks!
Welcome back to my bi-weekly interview series. I’m not sure where you are in the world, but here it’s November and winter has set in –well not quite but it’s coming. Last year we were lucky to have such a warm winter but it doesn’t seem nature is going to be so kind to Alberta this year.
My name is Olaleye Abayomi Immanuel (David Pebbles). I’m a Nigerian from the southwestern part of Nigeria and I’m a proud son of the state that had an anthem before Nigeria – Ogun State. I am not someone given to taking pictures, as I find it awkward and too strenuous. But for the sake of the interview I will let you have a picture (above).
I am a Christian that is extremely passionate about God, life, and the intriguing delight which comes from pursuing one’s vision and calling in life. I am a graduate of Building Construction Technology and also a tech and gadget enthusiast.
I am also a multi-pod with a positive mental posture and outlook on life, a voracious reader, and lover of people. I can be quiet or talkative depending on the situation and the people around me but mostly, I consider myself an introvert. I am also a hard worker especially with beliefs, activities, and hobbies I am passionate about.
3. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging?
I never knew I would become a blogger someday. I have always been a scribbler and voracious reader since I can remember. I would save my lunch money to buy novels. While I was growing up, if you were looking for any missing books, magazines, or anything readable, they could all be found in my room.
I always write things down anywhere I’m able. Most of my scribbling is actually anecdotes, words of wisdom, and thoughts that I had earlier thinking about reading something. Sometimes novels but most often verses found in The Bible. Being a quiet person gives me ample time to read The Bible alongside a dictionary while I jot down thoughts or insights I gain while reading God’s Word.
I think began blogging intensely, commenting on blogs I read for a start. The first time I commented on a blog, I was skeptical if what I wrote was intelligible. Then, I wished I could erase my comment but unfortunately, I had clicked the send button. I prayed quietly in my mind that the writer of the blog wouldn’t approve my comment.
I declined to view the post again, until late at night three-days later. It took all the mountainous courage to look at the comment I had made. My comment hadfive likes! I was on cloud nine.
That was in 2014. Proceeding the comment, I opened up a blogger account on WordPress which didn’t get used at first as I was too scared of figuring out the whole blogging thing; however, I returned to my blog and began blogging often in November 2015. It has been an awesome experience. WordPress bloggers are so nice, supportive, and great bloggers all around.
“I never knew I would become a blogger someday. I have always been a scribbler and voracious reader since I can remember. I would save my lunch money to buy novels. While I was growing up, if you were looking for any missing books, magazines, or anything readable, they could all be found in my room.” – David Pebbles
4. What Does Writing and Poetry Mean To You And Why Do You Write?
Originally I wrote because I was bored and as a medium of escape from my solitary lifestyle. However, as time goes on, writing to me has become an extension of the intricacies that lie in the depth of my soul.
Writing to me means being receptive and bringing to materialization the billions of universal clues, images, sounds, and thoughts floating around the universe; these things can elude an unperceptive person.Writing is about demonstrating values, being encouraging, motivating people, and inspiring others to make positive changes to themselves and their environment.
Poems come naturally to me, even more than long form. I didn’t realize I could write poems at first. The first poem I wrote titled: “Unwanted,” was borne out of beliefs on abortion. I cried while writing the poem because it came from deep within me. It was as if I was an aborted baby.
“Writing to me means being receptive and bringing to materialization the billions of universal clues, images, sounds, and thoughts floating around the universe; these things can elude a unperceptive person.Writing is about demonstrating values, being encouraging, motivating people, and inspiring others to make positive changes to themselves and their environment.” – David Pebbles
5. Where Do You Find Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
Mostly my inspiration to write comes during my private worship time. Also inspiration for me comes from the Holy Spirit after reading a good book. Sometimes I don’t have any inspiration but immediately I place my hand on my computer keyboard or made up my mind to post something (of which I have no premeditation about) and inspiration flows through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes I find inspiration while walking down the street, while eating, or on a public bus; honestly, inspiration could be anywhere. When such inspiration comes, I immediately stop what I am doing to safeguard those line of inspired thoughts
6. Is There A Time Of Day You Most Enjoy Writing? Do You Have Any Future Projects You’re Considering?
My writing time is flexible; I for one don’t fancy regimented writing. Sometimes I write early in the morning, in the middle of the day, and sometimes late at night.
I have few writing projects I’m currently working on. Among them is the launching of an online magazine that focuses on Christian youths in general. I am passionate about self-development in youth. There are other projects of which I am thinking about how to express.
“Sometimes I don’t have any inspiration but immediately I place my hand on my computer keyboard or made up my mind to post something (of which I have no premeditation about) and inspiration flows through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.” – David Pebbles
8. Do You Have Any Published Works or Are You Working On Publishing Anything?
I have about four unpublished books and two finished drafts.One manuscript is currently being reviewed by an editor. Hopefully by December, my one book should be published. The other books will follow suit in time.
9. Can You Briefly Describe the Process You Are Experiencing While Publishing?
The first task after you have a final manuscript you’re happy with is to to send it to an editor and also to send some copies of your manuscript to trusted writing friends for review. From what I learnt from someone who had his book published, marketing is always the hardest part of publishing, especially for those that self-publish.
I am still considering the many platforms where I can make my books available. I do fancy an e-format before a hard copy book. I believe that when the times comes, it will go well with me and I will find the right platforms and ways to market my book. I want the book available to as many people as possible because probably, it will be free.
” I am still considering the many platforms where I can make my books available. I do fancy an e-format before a hard copy book. I believe that when the times comes, it will go well with me and I will find the right platforms and ways to market my book.” – David Pebbles
10. What is Your Writing Process Like?
The process can be as easy as slicing bread or sleety as making a Chapman. If I already have an idea to post, I will build on my writing making corrections along the way. Personally, writing and posting doesn’t take me more than a few hours even when I don’t have a leadon what to write.
Often, as ideas or inspirations occur, I will write, edit, and post, a piece within a few hours. I hate the torment of unpublished ideas or inspired thoughts and not being able to express them. Basically, I write as I think and thankfully enough I usually don’t need much editing on my posts.
11. Do You Prefer Certain Genres of Literature?
I am mostly into Christian literature which could be about relationships or motivational writings and poems; a quick view of my blog will reveal this. I believe in maximizing your strong point. This is mybasein writing.So much of my writing tends to be nonfiction and more personal.
I struggle with any other types of writing especially fictional. I’ve becoming much better at sharing nonfiction stories. I have no favorites but based on the number of views I have shared some below.
“Often, as ideas or inspirations occur, I will write, edit, and post, a piece within a few hours. I hate the torment of unpublished ideas or inspired thoughts and not being able to express them. Basically, I write as I think and thankfully enough I usually don’t need much editing on my posts.” – David Pebbles
12. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers and Bloggers?
Only two people I know, know I blog and they are random people I met in church. Nobody knows I blog from my immediate family. It’s a personal decision which has helped me a lot. I might plan to tell my family in future or they could find out themselves.
When I started blogging, I received no advice from anyone because I knew no one to look to for advice.But being a fast learner and playing around WordPress helped me a great deal initially.
Also when you write I would encourage writers to be theirunique self. Don’t write to impress anybody even when you don’t have a singlelikeor commenton your posts. Also, interact with other bloggers and don’t be a loner. Consistently writing is also a useful habit to take up.
13. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share About Yourself?
14. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Writing From Your Blog:
I find it difficult to pick a favourite piece from my writing as I could picture all of them with their hands raised up because they might feel hurt if not chosen. But all the same, l will pick some pieces randomly:
When you worship
Deep relief seared your souls
Tears respond in snaky path
Washing down the earnest
Of the yearnings wrap up
A squeeze from the dailies
Twisted and tumultuous origin
As if all once, warm presence embrace
Wrap up in such blessedness
You only response is tears
15. Here I Some More Links To Work On David’s Blog:
Thank you to David for the interview. I appreciate his willingness to be interviewed and answer so candidly and honestly each question. Once again, here is the link to David’sblog: David Pebbles Blog.
If you would be like to be interviewed about blogging or writing and would like to share with other writers, bloggers, and readers your unique writing process, please reach-out to me through myContact Page. See You in Two -Weeks 🙂