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!
There were two labourers Jim and Mario, who were assigned to dig ditches for new highways, in the sweltering heat of the August sun.
Near by, was a coffee shop which served a different kind of pie each day. The coffee shop was known for having the most delicious pie in the city because it contained a secret ingredient no one could identify.
One day, the two labourers went into the coffee shop at lunch. There was only one slice of pie left and it was the favourite kind of pie of both men: melt in your mouth peach pie.
When Jim tried to order the pie, Mario interrupted him with lies:” Can I please have the last piece of peach pie? It would brighten up my wretched day. My back is out and my wife lost her job.”
The coffee shop owner, Laura, was about to let Mario have the piece of pie when Jim interrupted with his own fake story: “Mario’s wife is a nurse and can easily find a new job. I have student loans to pay and a wife who recently lost our baby. I would feel more cheerful about my situation if you’d let me buy the pie.”
Laura didn’t know what to do until Jim and Mario started pushing each other. She had had enough of their lying, their pushing, and their shoving.
” Here’s what we are going to do,” Laura said to the men,” I will make peach pie on Monday and I will set aside a large piece of pie for each of you on the house.”
Neither Jim or Mario were entirely happy with the situation.”So what happens with today’s piece of pie?” Jim asked.
Laura smiled at both men and removed her apron. She grabbed a Perrier and the piece of pie and asked a girl to replace her on the cash register.
“Today, I get to eat the last piece. I bake it, I’m the manager, and peach is my favourite kind of pie.” Laura said with finality.
Despite Jim and Mario both receiving a giant free piece of peach pie on Monday, they both swore there was something missing from the pie they ate.
Deciding to further teach both men a lesson, Laura left out the secret ingredient she used in all her pies — and no one but Laura knows what that secret ingredient is.
Prompt: Critique something.
I know that Black Friday is coming. Last year I avoided it, most of my Christmas shopping was done by that point. But from online shopping emails, I noticed how great the deals were from both Canadian and American stores. I remember going to Banana Republic Canada’s website and seeing all clothes were 50% off. That hardly ever happens at Banana Republic! The best price you can get is 40 % off and that’s not often. In fact, it was odd to me that Canadian websites and stores were giving deals that were so good on Black Friday and they were better then the Canadian equivalent, Boxing Day deals. I like to shop, that’s not a lie. But I also have this part of conscience that is telling me that whether we are shopping crazily on Black Friday Week or Boxing Week, we are missing the point of the holidays these shopping marathons are based around.
The largest difference between Canadian and US Thanksgiving is when we hold our festivities. Canadians celebrate the second Monday in October and Americans the third weekend in November. But I know for both nations, it is a time for us to be thankful for all God has provided us with in our lives. For the plenty we have in our wants and needs. We remember so many do not have ‘plenty’ in other places in the world. We give thanks to be alive and for the relative peace we find living in our countries, especially when places so close to our hearts such as Paris, are attacked by terrorists. We eat large meals and see our family, whom we may not see all year. But to be specific, Wikipedia tells me, the first thanksgiving was celebrated in the US after the pilgrims first harvest in the New World in 1621. The feast lasted three days and in attendance were fifty three pilgrims and ninety Native Americans. In Canada, we simply celebrate the harvest and other blessings of the past year during our Thanksgiving celebration. But I wonder how such a time of thankfulness has become a shopping race, to find the best deals. To think of all we ‘want,’ instead of all we have.
Every Black Friday or Cyber Monday we see Americans literally fighting over electronics and grabbing items from each other as if they were toddlers. People are pushy, loud, and not nice to each other. They think that if they act how they act, they’ll get all the items they want. It is all about “me” and “I” or “my family.” I have to say it is worse on Black Friday in the US, worse then it ever gets in Canada even though Black Friday is gaining force here. But I’m not sure deals will be as great this year with the fall of the Canadian dollar from near parity.
What ever happened to being a decent person, sharing, and being thankful for what you have? You may get a great deal but at what immoral price? What are you teaching the younger generations when you gorge on food, say that everyone should be thankful, then push and shove in Victoria Secret over a bra, of which you have ten or more? Or, was it worth it to battle through bodies and buy a TV at a hundred dollars saving?
I know some of you Black Friday shoppers are kind. And that every person just wants nice things for their families or theirselves at a good price. Maybe you can only afford certain items on sale, so these shopping days are important. Things are pretty tame in Canada but there is always the exception. And it’s just my point of view, but I wonder how being thankful and all this merchandising, advertising, and worked up shoppers fit together.
In Canada, we celebrate Boxing Day after Christmas. It’s origins lie in people boxing up their leftover food from Christmas meals for the poor. But instead, we shop with our gift cards and Christmas money for more of what we have, for stuff, instead of celebrating family and Jesus’ birth; instead of celebrating people being together. I just find it a bit difficult, putting Christmas and shopping hauls together. I still shop and I still celebrate with my family. But I try to remember that when I’m out buying merchandise there is a way to treat other shoppers with respect, not like they’re the competition. I remember that buying stuff is fun but only temporary. “You can’t take it with you when you go,” as the saying goes.Whether you can buy a lot of things or hardly afford any, in death we leave all our junk behind. We need to remember that there are people who can’t afford are grand celebrations at Thanksgivings and Christmas. We need to give money and our time to those in need. To give presents to kids whose parents can’t afford, or food to the family who can only go to the food bank.
I think if we were more thankful we could see how it is for some people to have so little, while we have a lot. For some people a tiny gift or a helping hand is worth so much. Little things like God, family, good friends, and health should matter the most. Without them all the ‘things’ in the world are worthless. So, be happy if that is what you have and if your basic needs are met. Happy Thanksgiving Americans and start of the holiday season for many of us. May you be thankful and gentle when you shop and generous with your time and donations to those less fortunate. May you cherish the life you have because you’re a priceless person to many people you know and loved very much.
There was a quote I read last night on Pinterest that has stuck with me today: “Great things never came from comfort zones.” It was coincidental that I came across this quote when I did because I was thinking about my life and believing that I am a little to comfortable right now. Some of that is not by choice, I still struggle with the new medication my doctor put me on this summer. I struggle with sleep and with energy during the day such to the point some days I wake up and know I won’t be doing much that day. But also, I recognize that I have to push myself on those days because sometimes if I just get up and go out, I start to feel better.
I believe removing ourselves from our comfort zones is truly a way to bring new and exciting things to our lives. If we don’t push the line a bit, we never see what could be on the other side. I have really hoped to make new friendships and meet new people in my life. The trouble is sometimes I can’t keep up with new commitments. It’s a balancing act that I seem to always be playing. But just the same through social media I have been meeting new people.
It is difficult to explain my situation to new people. A lot of people can’t handle a person who can only be out for a few hours and only some of the time. It hurts when you want to be a dependable person but cannot be. It hurts when you are valuable for a night but not valuable enough for a relationship, be it romantically or just for a friendship. But I’m learning to deal and I know that the kind of people I want in my life are authentic kind people, understanding, and funny.
Some of pushing my comfort zone has come in just dealing with bureaucracy. I have been taking this course on ‘Residential Furnishings.’ But I can’t attend the class so I need a note taker. Finding one has been difficult and a month of classes have gone by. I feel like I have missed so much already and hope I can catch up. The first exam is October 20th. The office that helped me out with this at the U of A are not very knowledgable or helpful. They tried to have me go through student loans and the courses I’m taking aren’t part of credit courses, it’s adult education. I went through a whole process of discovering that and still haven’t got a note taker. So, I’m frustrated but determined I’m going to do this course so I can get my certificate.
Also, yeah new shows on TV. I love TGIT. Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, and Scandal. I’m upset that Scandal doesn’t seem to be on any Canadian networks, it’s my favorite show. But I watched all last season of How to Get Away with Murder so I’m caught up for that show. Do you have any favorite TV shows? How do you try to stay out of your comfort zone?