What Do You Have to Give?

We are living in an age where hatred and violence have become common place; we wake up to bad news of shootings (in schools, churches, malls, at Walmart), and in the last episode there were two of them within 24 hours!

I will give you a little background story and try to demonstrate (in my own views) what I think God is searching for out of us, and I hope, maybe, it will help you—the general population (or whoever reads this)!

Going to church as a young child often felt like a scary experience—I knew that the priest was often telling us ‘not to do something,’ and that if we did, ‘we would go to hell’ and God would not let us into heaven.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I have many beautiful memories of attending mass, especially on holidays. But I distinctively remember being aware that I had to learn more than this, because I knew that just going to church would not give me the full experience.

I knew God was great, but I wanted to understand him better. God was not one of vengeance and retribution, God was not one eager to send people to the fire pit; I knew God loved me, and even more so, now, I’ve learned how much He loves the outcast, those who are difficult, and even unlikable.

As an adult who has read and done my own research, sought after truth, studied and prayed (a lot), I have some favorite authors and people that I follow, some of which I have never met. But they are on my Twitter (Thank God Twitter is about more than the tweets of Donald Trump)!

So much of our faith is about love. There is a place referred to as ‘Hades’ in the bible, but I’ll admit, I’m not sure exactly what the translation is, I believe it means some form of hell, though. I am no Greek scholar, I do not know Latin, and I am no expert on the bible. However, I have read many parts of it. In case you’re interested, the NIV is a favorite version because it is so clear.

But one thing I’ve learned throughout my studies are, God wants you to give: I believe that when we give, we receive. You reap what you sow.  But the whole point of giving is not to receive, it is just for the sake of giving! Jesus was a giver. Give to charities, give through your selfless actions, give through acts of kindness, give through a smile, give through advice, give through anything that would be pleasing to him.

God wants us to reconcile, also: we have to live in community with one another. Although we live in an individualistic culture, realize your reliance on each other. That is why we should forgive, forget, let go, and move forward. Of course, there should be boundaries after people have hurt us. But we are not meant to live alone, we are meant to live among each other.

Isn’t it nice when you know the names of your neighbors? When you can greet someone you know at the market with a smile, or when you run into an old friend? Doesn’t it feel good when someone comes to visit? We are meant to live together.

God wants us to be peacemakers. He says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Kingdom faith means living among one another; kingdom faith means being meek and humble; GIVING and knowing you will be comforted no matter what.

Give, love (the people that God would love, all people) and be a peacemaker!EA2EBDF5-6E39-413F-B1AE-B175F27E6E5D

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored “Not Without God: A Story of Survival” and her forthcoming book, “Hope After the Storm” will be the second in a II part series. Her stories have been featured in various guest articles, medical journals, magazines, newsletters, and over 200 of her very own articles. She works as an English teacher in the Detroit area and has been an educator for twenty years. She’s had the privilege of working with thousands of students from different backgrounds and parts of the world. She’s taught at automotive corporations like General Motors, Nissan, Toyota, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz. She’s worked with numerous children and accumulated many jobs throughout the years. Zina began her own teaching services incorporating math and other subjects. She currently home-schools at churches and teaches creative and structured writing as well as other Language arts courses. Zina’s goal is to help others overcome adversity. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter.

Democratic Presidential Debates!

I went downtown for the Democratic Presidential Debates in Detroit on July 30 and July 31. What an experience! I’ve been to a few political events, but this was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It was surreal, but I wasn’t able to get into the beautiful Fox Theatre (I was told I needed a pass from CNN), however, I still met some wonderful people!

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Amy and Kristin (on the left) travel the country and go to these types of events. They are both from Detroit, but Amy currently lives in Chicago. They told me they are big “donors.” Totally sweet and kind ladies!

Then, something I dreamt of happened, I met Chris Cuomo and got a photo with him!!! He’s my favorite journalist, and I watch him every night! His show is on at 9pm EST, and it’s called “Cuomo Prime Time.” He is brilliant and someone I greatly admire! I keep on smiling.😊 I’ve also added some more pics.

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CNN set-up!
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Christin Powers is running for president and was only four people away from getting a chance to debate!
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Parked right outside of CNN!
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Luv my city!❤️

Failure Is a Stepping Stone

The fact that you are in control of nothing can be a scary one, but trust the outcome will be good no matter what, you are NOT alone, you can live in peace! Know that every step is directed when you walk by faith, and in that, there is no opportunity for failure.

803c3f5c-602a-41c7-9b8f-e80f0029dbb6-e1564069014420.jpegSometimes miracles happen in a way you least expect. Nonetheless, they will happen to you if you PERSIST. You may be praying for a financial solution, or for restoration of a relationship. Sacrifice is a part of love, though; you may not get everything you want in life, and sometimes we give up what we want for others—I know this all too well, I’m a caregiver.

Culture teaches that we should not settle for less, and that we should not be uncomfortable. But sometimes love calls us to put others before us, and the beautiful thing is you can hear from the Spirit through other people, for me this is a big one, I feel it working through so many—I will call the people that God sends “advocates,” or friends.

It is easy to distinguish who may not be here to help us, but believe it or not, they play a role, also. When others hurt you, they provide you with a life lesson, there is something you needed to learn or gain out of that relationship.

I know it sounds crazy, but even those that hurt you are part of the plan. There is a reason you went through that, often times God will replace it with new friendships, it is in the hurt that you almost always thrive, grow, and become better!

So much of life is about your attitude, and how you deal with loss, pain, or rejection. I’m resilient. I have my moments, but I always bounce back. You have to, you cannot stay down because of any one instance. If you do, you will never know what the future holds. Happy energy draws good experiences!

So stop looking to hurts or failures you may have had in the past. Stop thinking about what you would like to do and make it happen! Stop trying to control the outcome of what you have no control over, because all you can control is how you react. Learn to find peace in everything!

About Zina

Zina Hermez is the author of the best-selling book, Not Without God: A Story of Survival. Her various stories have been featured in magazines, newsletters, guest blogs and other places around the web. She has written more than 200 articles. She works as an English teacher and has had thousands of students. She’s taught at automotive corporations and began her own teaching services, and she currently teaches classrooms at churches. Her goal is to help others. When Zina is not writing or teaching, she enjoys talking on the phone, going out and socializing with friends, or trying something a little adventurous! You can find her on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram.

Is Writing A Desire or A Calling?

Are you a writer? Have you found your niche? What do you write about? Right now the popular trends are diversity, culture, and social issues. It’s important to write about topics that people care about. But keep in mind that your writing is not for everyone. Who is in your target market? I’m sure your ideas have been explored. Someone may have wanted to encourage others through their personal struggle, or they may have had a similar idea for a novel. With 1.5 million books out each year, make sure your writing is really good! We are not all meant to be writers. We can practice the skill, and I recommend it if you want to grow in your business.

But be aware that you will work long hours. The more you write the more confident you will become, though. It will become easier to convey your messages. If family or work obligations don’t allow time for it, ask yourself if writing is really your calling. It’s normal to feel fear. You may have a fear of failure or a fear of not fitting in. You may have a fear of going too far! I believe there are endless possibilities for all of us to be successful in some endeavor. But if you are meant to be a writer, your words will not only change the reader, they will change you, also!

Recently I was approached by a company that asked me to take the pay-to-publish method. I was told that If I do business with them, my book may be “picked up” by one of their larger (recognizable) parent companies because they would take note of it. There are all kinds strategies and gimmicks that people use to get you to buy their products—but before you dive deep into your pocket, learn how to write better. Learn how to write a book proposal or a pitch. Start with a one liner!

Writing takes determination and persistence. You can’t give up. If you are serious, you won’t be able to stop no matter what. You will keep on going despite any criticism or rejection.  I’ve joined writers groups. Most publishers may not pay attention to you until you are established online, so start building your platform. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are important. This is where you can connect with your potential audience.

Create your own blog, or try to write a magazine article. Begin a monthly newsletter. I started by writing Ezine articles. Those short essays can eventually turn into chapters. Maybe one day you can compile an organized manuscript. The exposure will help you seal any potential deals. I’m still working on my craft. It can take years to develop your voice, but once you do it will be worth it because writing is an art and a fascinating field!

(This article will appear in the Southern Writers Magazine – Suite T blog).

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored “Not Without God: A Story of Survival” and her forthcoming book, “Hope After the Storm” will be the second in a II part series. Her stories have been featured in various guest articles, medical journals, magazines, newsletters, and over 200 of her very own articles. She works as an English teacher in the Detroit area and has been an educator for twenty years. She’s had the privilege of working with thousands of students from different backgrounds and parts of the world. She’s taught at automotive corporations like General Motors, Nissan, Toyota, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz. She’s worked with numerous children and accumulated many jobs throughout the years. Zina began her own teaching services incorporating math and other subjects. She currently home-schools at churches and teaches creative and structured writing as well as other Language arts courses. Zina’s goal is to help others overcome adversity. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

 

Ever think about giving up? Don’t.

If you don’t try you will never know what God has in store. Stay the course.  We have the capability of improving our lives. Small steps are motivators!

I achieved my goal of walking a mile yesterday! I’m sore, but it’s worth it. I have to keep on going. As I think back, I’m disappointed—this time last year—I was up to one hour straight on the elliptical (doing more than 3 miles). I am not far from that, so I am going to shoot for 10,000 feet.

In the last several months, I have become a full time caregiver, not only distributing medicine, but making frequent visits, and sometimes staying in hospitals with loved ones for several hours. I’m an emergency contact. I’m an advocate and a “scheduler.”

I’m working on endurance when it comes to walking, though, and it’s really coming along. I keep track of my steps on a counter, and I’m increasing them. I’m so grateful for my life experiences, and for the friends I have made!

ed6547f2-71e6-4625-b8c8-0e6d8776c65f-e1562953387204.pngI’m excited about an upcoming trip to New York in the fall. I will be going to an event at Carnegie Hall! I will get to watch and learn from world-changers, speakers, experts, and authority figures who have made a difference. I will get to meet celebrities, also!

Being in NY will give me the greatest feeling, and I am really looking forward to it! My hard work has brought me here, the late nights, the lack of sleep, and the pain in my body from just sitting up and writing for so long has paid off.

I hope that my writing will one day have a big impact, and in some ways I believe it already has. I never gave up on my hope of walking after my accident; I was determined to have the career I always wanted, and it is very exciting to see that come to fruition.

We have an amazing God who always keeps his promises so long as we call on him! We all have burdens, to each his own, and they are not here to hinder us—but to make us better—to teach us patience, to be kind, and to love one another. God wants to perfect a great work in us!

About Zina

Zina Hermez is the author of the best-selling book, Not Without God: A Story of Survival. Her various stories have been featured in magazines, newsletters, guest blogs and other places around the web. She has written more than 200 articles. She works as an English teacher in Detroit, and she’s had thousands of students. She’s taught at automotive corporations and began her own teaching services. She currently home-schools at churches and teaches writing. Her goal is to help others, and when Zina is not writing or teaching, she enjoys talking on the phone, going out and socializing with friends, or trying something a little adventurous! You can connect with her on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram.

Out of the Storm!

15FDA52C-7FDE-4923-97CE-B92760292861.jpegI’m able to maintain a sense of inner peace even when there are storms all around me. I questioned myself the other day. Someone else in my situation may not feel this way. How could I be? Then I was reminded that happiness lies within us. The waters may be rising in anticipation of a flood, but you may be content. The flood waters will not “swallow you up.” I remembered, again, that happiness comes from deep within. It doesn’t lie in material things, nor does it lie in your status. It’s not in any labels you add. It comes from within. It’s a permanent happiness you can possess. It’s the one that is reborn every time the temporal happiness ceases to exist.

Whenever you start to feel unhappy, remember that eventually you will return to that place. Let go of worries, fears, selfish desires, pressure, disappointments, or the desire to win! Permanent happiness can only come from within. We are meant to be happy creatures, but culture often teaches us there is a void. We may feel we ‘need to have’ this or that, in order to be fulfilled. Just take a look at the world around us. It’s wonderful to be thankful, and no one would be happy about living in poverty, for example, but really count your blessings, and realize how much you have, you will think about what you are missing much less!

Hillsong UNITED Concert!!!

457541C5-9D8B-49BC-9BA4-A209A39B97D7I’ve been to many concerts, but I was particularly excited about the one last night! I went to the EMU Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, MI to see a performance by Hillsong UNITED!!! It was everything I expected and more more more!!! I was in tears half the time and so deeply moved by them. I love to watch their videos and listen to their music, but there is nothing like seeing them live!

I have seen many performers. I’ve seen Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Rascal Flatts, Jewel and many many others! I am definitely a concert girl. Listening to music is one of my hobbies, and I often do it at home while I write. Seeing Hillsong was soo special, though! This is a little church out of Australia that has become global. And now they have churches all over the world!!!

The first Hillsong college is in Pheonix. I screamed so loud and sang their songs along with them. I really hope I didn’t annoy the people sitting next to me. Although I did get a compliment from one of the girls. She said my voice was beautiful😉. I had to park 10,000 feet away but it reminded me that I am still in shape. There were so many people!

One of my favorite lyrics from their song “So Will I” sticks out in my mind. They are referring to God and say, “You don’t speak in vain, no syllable empty or void.” I love this line so much because I love words, and it demonstrates the profound power of the Lord. The bible says the tongue can be an unruly evil.

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“He’s a personal God not some distant far off deity, he came in here with you tonight.” ~Joel Houston♥️

There are times when I have spoken, maybe even argued a little 😉 and it was unnecessary or “in vain.” This lyric helps remind me to talk less and listen better. Their music is about more than religion. Its about having a personal relationship with God. Pure. Dependence. Jesus is a common topic in their songs, and their music is poetic while paraphrasing bible verses. It is beyond beautiful!!!

As I was listening and singing (out loud) and praying with them at various times, I heard the Lord whisper in my heart. “Zina, these are my disciples.” I said, Lord, I want to be your disciple, too. I know I’ve messed up, but I want to come home to you. Their faith is remarkable. And Joel said they were going to shut down the venue. I can tell they don’t sleep much. They are always coming out with new songs, and I left with a t-shirt and their new CD!!!!

Some Things I’ve Learned

These last few months have been particularly stressful, and I feel like my life has been flipped upside down. But I won’t get into all of that right now. What has happened will come up later. So stay tuned for more.

Nonetheless, I have not given up. In my book, there is no such thing as giving up! It is never too late to heal. But we cannot heal the things we don’t acknowledge. That’s right. We are able to heal ourselves.

We have a marvelous God who never gives up on us! I’ve always held onto what I know–God will get me through. After my accident at the age of sixteen years old, I didn’t know what the next day would bring.

I could not predict anything. But I knew that with God by my side, overcoming would become second nature. It did! Writing helps me process my thoughts. There are some things I’ve learned that I want to share.

There has been a lot of pain coming up in my mind. Solid truths that are undeniable and issues I avoid. But when you keep an open heart, you keep an open life! When you extend yourself it means a lot. People see your works and are inspired. They, too, may rise up and face challenges of their own.

Finally, let go of everything you think you are holding onto. Ultimately, you are not the one in control. So whenever fear tries to hold you back, remember to take risks. Fear tells us we have to hold tightly to our lives. But fear is a liar. Because God will see you through!

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About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the best-selling book, “Not Without God: A Story of Survival.” Her stories have been featured in various guest articles, medical journals, magazines, newsletters, and over 200 of her very own blog posts. She works as an English teacher in the Detroit area. She’s had the privilege of working with thousands of students from different backgrounds and parts of the world. She’s taught at automotive corporations like General Motors, Nissan, Toyota, Ford, and Mercedes-Benz. Zina began her own teaching services incorporating math and other subjects. She currently homeschools at churches and teaches creative and structured writing as well as other Language arts courses. Zina’s goal is to help others overcome adversity. She strives to do what she longs to. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

 

Are You Grieving?

Grief can be an interesting thing. You may be grieving and not even know it. Life can take you through phases, and sometimes it takes a while to adjust to the fact that things aren’t going to be the same. But you will eventually accept them and even see life through a different lens.

Never believe you’ve hit a dead end. Life has a myriad of opportunities that await us. Keep a good attitude. You may think you cannot accomplish something, or that it is too late. But life is full of new beginnings!

It can take a long time to accept your circumstances. Denial is the first stage. But you will be happy. You will smile and believe. You will hope. You will plan. You will open your heart to new experiences again!

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We are Being Renewed Every Day!

Life can be difficult. But the beauty of it is we always get a second chance. Even when we mess up we can make things right again. The verse below speaks to my soul because I am reminded daily of how we are vulnerable. It is challenging to not lose heart when so much is not in our hands. But if our “inner selves” are being renewed we must not give up! The Holy Spirit can instruct us. You can even have a direct connection with Him. When we ask to be led, he will be able to guide us and we can overcome anything. Whenever you fail, know that Jesus is there. Become closer to the Lord and remember that in your trials His love is enough! 7EF579E3-5086-4CCD-9804-6123BAF92EA7

I Try to Walk on a “Faith path”

I try my best to walk a faith path. A path of faith requires patience because when you walk by it, you cannot be impulsive. A faith path will not allow you to make rash decisions. You think things through. You pray about them. When you are on a faith path, you ask God to help you so you are able to discern.

When I react quickly or strictly out of emotions things seem to fall apart. But when God leads or guides you into a decision it is fruitful, and your blessings multiply! When you think things through, you are able to maintain your position until God has instructed you further.

It’s not easy. But if you stay on the path and keep asking God to lead – you’ll be much happier. Believe He has the power and let the “powers” that you think you have go because ultimately, He is the one in control.

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Your Promise Is the Reason I Don’t Fear Solitude

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Lord I feel your presence and I hear you whisper in my heart, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I know that life will be hard. But your promise is the reason I can be alone when others can’t. It’s why I’m not afraid of solitude. When I’m riding my bike, gently, you whisper in my heart: “This road will not be easy, but you will get through it. In the end you will be with me…forever!” ~my thoughts as a teenager

Don’t let anyone throw you off your trajectory. No matter what happens stay focused and on your path. Don’t get off balance. It is easy to get distracted. Some situations will hinder you. But if you stay on your course, sooner or later you will be rewarded. I’m constructing a self-help book for others to learn how to handle grief and overcome negative thoughts. I want it to be a quality work.

One of the questions I ask is, “Can you remember a time when God was really there for you?” Were you ever in a desperate place? A moment to moment kind-of-place? We’re you just confident you would overcome? Sometimes we know that God will deliver us. Jesus says, “ I will ask the Father and He will give you an advocate to help you and be with you forever” (John 14:16). I am open to comments, and remember that writing your thoughts down can be a healthy pattern.

The Light Is Not at the End of the Tunnel!

There is a light, but it doesn’t have to be at the “end” of the tunnel. Remember that. We are supposed to work through pain in life not try to avoid it. Don’t complain about it. Life is not meant to be one of convenience, but one of FAITH and PERSISTENCE.

At sixteen, when I was finally home and out of the hospital—I still had no idea how I would make it. My identity was crushed, and I knew it would be difficult for others to relate to me because the accident transformed my life!

Those years were vital—to read and study Scripture, to listen to live prayer on the radio most nights, and to talk to GOD daily. I would not have come this far without doing those things! And I still remind myself to practice them. 

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—from “Not Without God: A Story of Survival”

When GOD is involved…

Listen to the Holy Spirit. Pray and seek after God. The Holy Spirit will tell you WHAT TO DO in your heart. The Holy Spirit invites us in, but when we are off tune we cannot hear from Him. Ask to be led, and simply start by talking to Him.

When you are praying you are RECEIVING. Whether you realize it or not, God is giving. You open the gateway. The Holy Spirit gives you guidance. You may not hear directly from the Lord. But once you ask, there is an unfolding of events that take place.

You may not see your miracle or dream occurring, but something is happening behind the scenes—this is what the essence of faith is: The ability to see something good in your life with no evidence of it. You create the experience!

 

Seasons Greetings! Update On Me!🎄🎅

Dear friends,

As you may know, I opted to have an elective surgery on October 2 that left me in the hospital for a full week. When I was finally discharged, I had to go back for almost an additional week due to an infection that could’ve been prevented if the problem were detected early enough. I am happy to say I am at home now and doing much better!

I’m extremely grateful for everyday of health and healing I am able to experience. I hadn’t spent that much time in the hospital since my accident that happened when I was sixteen years old. Since the surgery, my condition has improved and I no longer have an ailment I suffered from for way too long.

I am reminded of the quote shared by the great abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, an American Slave that dates back to his book published back in 1845. The popular passage still resonates. He writes: “I date the entertainment of a deep conviction that slavery would not always hold me within its foul embrace, and in the darkest hours of my career this living word of faith and spirit of hope departed not from me but remained like ministering angels to cheer me through the gloom.”

He continues, “This good spirit was from God and to Him I offer thanksgiving and praise!” How does this timeless verse relate to me?  Well, it doesn’t–directly. As a survivor, I can choose to take the victim mentality though and not try to accomplish all I know I can. But Douglass stood up for his rights and even taught himself how to read and write, and I have rights, too. I am not limited in my abilities because no one knows what God can do.

What Douglass wrote speaks to my soul and it can speak to yours, also. His knowledge of God and the fact that He would set him free is parallel with my knowledge that God will set me free of any bondage in my predicament, thoughts, or attitude. Your challenge may be different from my own, but how can you apply this passage by Frederick Douglass to your own life?

What are you confident about and know you will overcome? Have you ever felt caught up in a situation you didn’t know you could get out of? Did you just know you’d be freed from it? Sometimes we just know that God will deliver us! Was there a time when you knew that only He could help you? Feel free to openly share with me in the comments. I’d love to read your thoughts and get back to you.

May you have a very Merry Christmas and may the Lord Jesus be with you this holiday season and all the days of your lives,

~Zina Hermez

P.S. I was wondering if you were able to catch my Facebook Live interview this past August with Patricia Durgin, the Christian Message coach, from Marketers on A Mission? I recount details of my book Not Without God : A Story of Survival and talk about the accident I was in as a teenager, how I overcame through my faith in the Lord, hard work, and determination.

I also get in depth about my upcoming one, Hope After the Storm. It will be the second in my II part, Not Without God series. In the video, I explain the structure and how it is designed. It’s a narrative like my first, but it gives readers an opportunity to also reflect and write in journal sections at the end of chapters. I also give tips on how to market or pre-launch your own book material or message.

It will help even if you have a desire to write but don’t know how to get started! Click the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DHHYE3QDJE

Three Ways to Begin Your (DREAM) Writing!

Did you know that 80 percent of Americans think they should write a book? Most of them will never do it. People get intimidated by the work. They don’t know how to find a publisher or even self-publish. They never try or give up because it seems too difficult, or they don’t know how to get started. These days, writers can self-publish with tools on-line, and there are ways to get your book printed by on-demand or you can go the route of Indie publishing if you’re feeling especially productive. Whether you publish independently, with a hybrid company, or with a traditional publisher–you are still responsible for marketing. Be aware. Authors are not only writers, they are marketers, “experts,” salespeople, speakers, and we wear many hats!

Keep a Diary or Journal

I would not suggest for you to publish simply because you want to. Millions of people write books each year, but the majority of them are not necessary or good. You don’t have to be born with the talent, but you have to practice! You can start by writing for fifteen minutes a day. You can then reread what you wrote as a way to reflect and recognize any thought patterns. You can add more or rewrite to help change any negative attitudes. You can’t heal from what you don’t acknowledge. Writing can be therapeutic. I’ve practiced this technique since I was a teenager. Write somewhere where you can focus and edit. If you can’t find the time to write every day, write for one to two hours a week. Three hours or more of writing per week would be an ideal schedule to begin.

Find a Writer’s Community

What do you want to write about? Who will be in your audience? Will you create a blog? You can start a free blog at WordPress.com or Blogger.com. You can start a blog at WordPress.org, but you would have to purchase hosting. I’ve bought a domain at Godaddy.com (I am not an affiliate of any of these companies). Connect with other writers: join a writers’ group, attend a writers’ conference, share your writing with your friends or family and ask for honest feedback but ask them not to be too harsh. Compliments with constructive criticism are healthy. You have to be willing to learn from others. Find an accountability partner (That was a new piece of advice I heard at a conference!). I liked it. Reading others writing can help also, and it is a great way to write better. The best writers are the best readers, and writing can help you be a better speaker–I have told many people.

Relax, and enjoy it!

I’ve taken the fun out of writing by focusing on trying to make it “perfect.” Trying to type the right words, word-for-word can be stressful. These high expectations can take the enjoyment out of it! Writing has to be fulfilling. I was listening to a live webinar in my Writers Guild, and I heard a man say he feels “parched” while he writes. He was asking our writing coach how to solve this problem. He shouldn’t feel parched; he should feel inspired. You cannot inspire someone else until you inspire you first. But this develops over time. Finding your “voice” can take a while, but once you find it, writing can become easier and more comfortable. You won’t regret all the work you’ve put into it!

(This article will appear in the Southern Writers Magazine – Suite T blog).

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored “Not Without God: A Story of Survival” and her forthcoming book, “Hope After the Storm” will be the second in a II part series. Her stories have been featured in various guest articles, medical journals, magazines, newsletters, and almost 200 of her very own blog posts. As an educator for nearly twenty years, she’s had the privilege of working with thousands of students from different backgrounds and parts of the world. Her writing endeavors earned her an invitation to speak at the Harvard Faculty Club’s “Business Expert Forum.” Zina’s goal is to help others overcome adversity, and she strives to do what she longs to – help others. Socializing with friends, taking road-trips, listening to music, and networking are among her hobbies.  You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

The Writers that Changed My Life

I’m excited to be an author now. But I began writing a long time ago. I won my first story contest in the second grade! I’ll never forget it. I won many. My teacher was so happy for me. She comprised a nice booklet with all my stories made of colorful construction paper. It was such an accomplishment!

At sixteen in the hospital I wrote after a bad vehicular accident. Hooked up to machines with a breathing tube down my throat, the first few weeks I had to write. It was the only way to communicate; I couldn’t talk. I still have all my notes of black marker scribbles on white and yellow cutouts.

I kept thick bible-sized journals while I was in college (they’ve since been shredded), and wrote just about every night. Some nights I wrote more than others depending upon what was going on in my life. Several years ago, I sent an email to a writer in west Michigan and asked him for advice.

He directed me to a few conferences, and one of them was the Breathe Conference (https://breatheconference.com/home/)! He also told me I should get involved with an on-line group called Fellowship of Christian Writers. I went through their application process and received a letter of acceptance!

I wrote a heartfelt email to all (800) members, and was promptly responded to by a famous editor! I closely followed his emails and promotional material and learned how to write a book proposal. If you’re interested, there are different formats. I used “Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript” by Chuck Sambuchino and the Editors of Writer’s Digest Books.

I also took a creative writing course by another one of the on-line group members. Last year, I was a part of a Writer’s Guild and it really helped. I watched live webinars with people like Donald Miller and DiAnn Mills. I had a chance to really study the craft with a wonderful writing coach and other speakers.

The authors who’ve mentored me have really blessed my life! You have to go after your dreams! Life is not meant for you to be complacent. Reach for the unattainable. Achieve what you never thought was possible! I’ve had the honor of sharing my stories with thousands, and I hope to reach millions!

(This article will be featured on the Breathe Writers Conference blog).

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored “Not Without God: A Story of Survival.” Her forthcoming book, “Hope After the Storm” will be a teaching book with a study guide–the second in her II part series. Zina’s stories have been featured in various magazines, guest articles, medical journals, newsletters, and almost 200 of her very own blog posts. As an educator for nearly twenty years, she’s had the privilege of working with thousands of students from different backgrounds and parts of the world. Zina’s goal is to overcome adversity while helping others. Socializing with friends, taking road-trips, listening to music, and networking are among her hobbies. You can follow her on her website at http://www.zinahermez.com for updated posts, or connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

The Human Body (a spiritual approach)

I recently came across a sermon by the well-known, Louie Giglio of the Passion Conferences. If you haven’t heard of Passion, it’s a global tour aimed at ministering to young adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. It’s an event I missed out on while I was in college. The headquarters are in Atlanta, Georgia. There are speakers and music artists – some that I’ve seen perform at other venues!

The sermon helped me put things in perspective, and realize that my problems are small. I have to have faith even when things don’t go as planned because all things are held together in our bodies and in the stars and the planets. Louie says “the earth is the size of a golf ball” in comparison to the universe; nonetheless, each of us are made in the image and likeness of Him.

He asks how we can know that God will “hold us together.” He states, “That’s really what we want to know.” He discusses the function of laminin, a cell-adhesion protein molecule and its function in our bodies. It’s the protein that tells our cells what to do. It’s the glue that holds our bodies together! It provides attachment for cells inside organs.

Laminins are in humans and animals and crucial for our survival. They’re in the shape of a cross! They hold one cell of our bodies to the next. I had already heard of laminin before, but it was great to find Loui’s video that gives such a vivid portrayal. I have made the symbols of the cross over my abdomen on many occasions. I had no idea I was doing over laminins! It’s a prayer!

Here is a clip of the video if you would like to watch it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSR8z_0uW5E

About Zina

Zina Hermez is the author of the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and has been a long-time educator. Her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, the Salonpas blog, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, and the Breathe Conference. She’s written various guest posts, newsletters, and nearly 200 of her very own articles. A few of her hobbies include meeting new people, taking road-trips, and listening to music! You can follow her for updated articles at http://www.zinahermez.com, or connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

True Love Came To Visit

I sought after God at a young age. It wasn’t until after I had my accident that I REALLY experienced His love. I felt it through others. What I mean is, I found it in the three short months I spent in the hospital. As strange as it may seem, for the first time—my life had meaning. I had all these injuries and had become paralyzed, but I was still searching.

I lived in a good neighborhood and went to a good school. But I would ask God questions about life, and about what it all means. I knew there was more beyond what I could see. Then I got my answers. True love came to visit me in that hospital room.

Through compassion from doctors, nurses, and loved ones – I experienced a PEACE like none I had known. Life is so precious! When you are well, you may not necessarily feel like you “need the Lord.” But when you are sick, and hanging onto life by a string – you know it. And the way he comes in to rescue you is remarkable!

You can be in a desperate place, a minute to minute, moment to moment kind of place. I urge you to seek after him before the accident and before the diagnosis. It’s like not being prepared for a flood – if there were an “extreme” weather event, you probably would’ve wished you would’ve bought insurance. And luckily, most do. Buy insurance!

Invest in the One who can bring you security. Believe, read, pray, and seek! You will be better prepared in case there is an “emergency.” “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock (Matthew 7:24-25).”

God is love because He sent his only son, and he died and rose again for us! We have proof of it. His promise to redeem us from agony is proven to be true in the resurrection. There are reasons we go through what we do. We may not understand why. But if you pray and have faith through the pain, true love will reveal itself. Good things will happen to you again.

He will be the one listening while you’re in bed when you need to talk to a friend. He will be with you when you have anxiety. He will be with you when you have to go to the hospital to visit a loved one. He will be there. Every. Step. Every. Time. God truly is a fortress in our lives

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival. She works as an English as a second language Instructor, and has been an educator for almost twenty years. Her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, guest posts, newsletters, and medical journals as well as nearly 200 of her very own blog posts. To learn more about Zina visit: zinahermez.com.

Happy Holidays!

Dear friends,

This is a letter I shared with contacts today. I want to share it with you, too. I hope you find some inspiration from reading it!  I look forward to offering more tips on topics such as health and grief for those who are going through it.

Click on the link to read my note! https://tinyurl.com/ybdoh77o

May you have a very blessed and happy new year, and enjoy the remainder of 2017!

Stay warm,

~Zina

About Zina
Zina Hermez authored the book, Not Without God: A Story of Survival. She works as an English Instructor and has been an educator for more than fifteen years. Her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, guest posts, newsletters, and medical journals. To learn more about Zina visit: http://zinahermez.com

Your Miracle Will Happen!

~”Thoughts” by Zina Hermez

Ever wonder why it’s taking so long? I used to think I had to wait for miracles? Sometimes we do. Miracles are a process though. We can play a part in making them happen. Prayer and exercise are my two faith pillars. They keep me grounded. I pray while I’m working out. I ask God to help in different areas of my life, and I pray for loved ones. It helps me sort out thoughts!

Have you ever become content in a bad situation? Have you ever told yourself that you can’t do something because it’s been too long? In order for a miracle to occur, you have to do something. Miracles seem to be spontaneous, but we have to act as co-creators with God by taking action!

God hears every prayer. You may be praying for one thing, but He can answer a prayer you prayed for long ago. You may have forgotten how badly you wanted it! Think about the lame man that was healed in Acts 3. He was a beggar. He wasn’t asking to be healed from his paralysis anymore. When John and Peter were going into the temple the man asked them for alms.  

Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk (Acts 3:6).” Then Peter took him by the right hand and helped him up. I think the man gave up on hope because he was that way for so long. However, he still had a spark! If he didn’t, he would not have gone around leaping, excited, and telling everyone!

Remember: when you lose your hope, you lose your faith, you’re emptied of desires, and your belief disintegrates. You can lose your opportunity for any potential miracle!

God knows what’s best for us. He doesn’t always say yes, but he usually doesn’t say no when we are reasonable. I learned he sometimes says “not right now.” But we have to be mobile. What is your plan of action? He could be waiting on you to start!

 

How to Become a Writer (if you’re interested)

Did you know that 80 percent of people want to write a book? It’s true, but most of them will never do it. People get intimidated by the work. They don’t know how to find a publisher or even self-publish. They never try, or give up because it seems “too hard.” Anyone can self-publish with tools on-line, and there are ways to get your books printed by paying for it. Whether you self-publish or publish with a traditional publisher (where they pay you an advance), you are still responsible for marketing. Don’t be fooled. Authors are not only writers, they are marketers, “experts,” salespeople, speakers, and we wear many hats!

I would not suggest for you to write a book simply because you want to. You have to practice writing. Millions of people write books, but the majority of them are not any good. You don’t have to be born with the talent, but you do have to practice! You can start by writing for fifteen minutes a day. Keep a diary, journal, or notebook. Write somewhere where you can focus and edit. If you don’t want to write every day, write for one to two hours a week. Three hours of writing per week or more would be an ideal schedule.

You also have to determine your topic. What do you want to write about? Who will be in your audience? Will you write in a blog? You can start a free blog at WordPress.com or Blogger.com. You could also start a blog at WordPress.org but you would have to buy hosting. I purchased a domain at GoDaddy.com for my website. I’m not an affiliate. I’m just giving you ideas for how to get started.

Your writing is not for “everyone.” People who think their blog or book is for everyone are mistaken. I’m sure the topic you choose to write about has been written before. Someone, somewhere may have wanted to encourage others through their personal struggle, or someone may have had a similar idea for a novel.

Don’t let that discourage you. You have to write about something fulfilling. In my Writer’s Guild, I heard a man say he feels “parched” while he writes. I was listening to a live webinar. He was asking our writing coach how to solve this problem. He shouldn’t feel parched, he should feel inspired. You cannot inspire someone else until you inspire you first. My writing is therapeutic for me. I realize things because I write about my own personal life.

Image found on Pinterest

You have to meet with other writers. Book events, conferences, and Writers’ groups are all good places to go to. If you cannot find one nearby, you can have a friend or family member help you. Ask for honest feedback, but also ask they that are not too harsh. Complements with constructive criticism are healthy for you. You have to be willing to learn from others, but you don’t have to get hurt. I’ve had that experience before!

Sometimes we don’t follow our dreams out of fear. You may have a fear of failure, or a fear of not “fitting in” anymore. You may have a fear of going too far! I believe there are endless possibilities for all of us to distribute good in the world, be prominent in business, or successful in some endeavor.

It’s hard work, I’ve stayed up many nights trying to type the right words and the right messages. The high expectations I put on myself are not from the Lord, though. What I mean is, He may have put the idea to write in my heart. But He does not expect perfectionism. In all my articles, I strive to do what I long to–help someone else!

About Zina
Zina Hermez authored the book, Not Without God: A Story of Survival. She works as an English Instructor and has been an educator for more than fifteen years. Her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, guest posts, newsletters, and medical journals. To learn more about Zina visit: http://zinahermez.com

You Can’t Stay Where You Are

I accomplished what I set out to do—become independent. I’m teaching and writing. Both are my passions! I’m able to support myself. Of course there are other things I’d like to accomplish, but they are too many to list. Maybe, get on national television? Buy a house. Drive a BMW! Material things are not my concern though. I seek after what others do, friendships, and enough love! I have known hardship. Have you ever experienced it?dreambig1

What was the cause? Abandonment? Google.com defines it as a condition that is difficult to endure. I wish I had a solution, or a way to work around it. I don’t. No matter how painful it is, you have to go through it! When I’m going through it, I pray and exercise. You need to be strong enough to defeat pain both mentally and physically.

Let your vision be greater than your circumstances. It may seem like there is no way out. But you WILL overcome. As I write notes for this article on my cell phone, I’m on an elliptical. I couldn’t work out the way I do now. I even saw myself being an educator when I was young. I remember watching my teacher. He was full of passion while he taught. I thought, I’m going to do this one day. I just knew it in my heart!

Never stop giving thanks. When you give thanks to God, family, and friends its medicine to your soul. They will help you if you ask them to. Optimism is to know you need (help) to overcome. Act as if you have an emergency. What do you want to do, today? Go for it! Take simple steps. Start with something as simple as a to-do-list. Don’t sit on your dreams for years. You’ll feel resentful later.

What you will do is not what you see, it’s what you feel when you’re in the midst of pushing yourself, going beyond your limits, proclaiming it, and in the words of Eminem, “Failure is NOT an option!”

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival. She works as an English Instructor and has been an educator for more than fifteen years. Her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, guest posts, newsletters, and medical journals. To learn about Zina visit: http://zinahermez.com

Work on Yourself

Are you someone who likes to help other people? Have you ever tried to clean up someone’s mess? I’m a nurturer by nature, but here’s what I’ve learned: you have to take care of yourself first. How do you care for YOU? Pray a simple prayer. Jesus says, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever” (John 14:16). The advocate is the Holy Spirit and He will guide you.workonu

My accident happened at a young age, I kept asking God what to do and all through my twenties continued. He explained every step of the way. For example, I felt Him “nudging” at me to go back to school. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I didn’t know how everyone would react to my wheelchair.

But many students were warm and friendly. I knew I would get through the year. I was able to graduate on time with everyone in my grade. Taking care of you also begins with your health. You have to rest, eat right, and exercise. I put myself on an exercise plan, and I notice that my tasks have improved! I’m sharper and faster. When you nourish your body, you nourish your brain too.

Be an example!

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival. She works as an English Instructor and has been an educator for more than fifteen years. Her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, guest posts, newsletters, and medical journals. To learn about Zina visit: http://zinahermez.com.

How to Celebrate HIS Story

I was sent these questions as a writing prompt from a Writer’s blog: As Christians who write, one aim is to give honor and glory to God. How has God used your story? How has the Holy Spirit inspired and encouraged you? Have you seen the fruit of God’s glory as a result?

When I began my writing journey about five years ago, I had no idea the amount of people it would help. I’ve written since I was a child, and as a teen my audience was myself. I wrote behind closed doors, but with the surge in technology and media we are capable of reaching A LOT more people! I’m sure you’re familiar with the term “platform” if you are a writer. According to Google.com, a platform is a raised level surface on which people can stand. If you are on a raised surface and speaking from a podium more people can see you than if you are at eye level with everyone else.

As a writer, artist, musician, CEO, or salesman you need a platform. Many writers fear they won’t get noticed if they don’t have one. But your platform does not have to be huge. Publishers are still looking for REALLY good writers, that’s why I’m involved in a Writer’s guild and Writer’s group. I work on my writing skills. So…back to my prompt, how has God used my story and encouraged me?! Many of us want to write for God, speak his name, speak of his glories, and the ways he has blessed us.

But God is not concerned with my popularity as much as he is concerned with my friendship. God is not concerned with how many followers I have on Facebook or Twitter. Before I got into this business, I prayed to remain humble no matter what, and to never seek fame in a way that’s destructive. I simply write to help others and share my experiences. I write to motivate, and in turn I am motivated when my writing touches someone’s heart. I celebrate HIS story daily by carrying my cross. And sometimes, it happens to be evident in my stories…

(This post is inspired by an article I submitted to the Breathe Writer’s Conference blog.)

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Injury Solutions! website. Zina works as an English as a Second Language Instructor and has been an educator for more than fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she writes articles on faith and overcoming challenges. Her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, guest posts, newsletters, medical journals and other publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com

 

What will YOU overcome?

I had to read a lot in college. I majored in english and minored in history. The books I read sometimes overlapped. Something I was learning about in a Literature class would show up on a History syllabus. One of my favorite passages is by the great abolitionist, Frederick Douglass. I was required to read his book, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.” This popular quote out of his book still resonates with me, and many others:

“From my earliest recollection, I date the entertainment of a deep conviction that slavery would not always be able to hold me within its foul embrace; and in the darkest hours of my career in slavery, this living word of faith and spirit of hope departed not from me, but remained like ministering angels to cheer me through the gloom. This good spirit was from God, and to him I offer thanksgiving and praise.”

How does this relate to me? Well, it doesn’t – directly. But as a survivor, I can choose to take the “victim” mentality and not try to accomplish all I know I can! But like Douglas, who stood up for his rights, he even taught himself how to read and write, I have rights too. No one can put limits on my abilities because no one knows what God will do.

What Frederick Douglass wrote speaks to my soul, and it can speak to yours no matter what you’re going through. His confidence that he’d be freed from slavery, and his knowledge of God is parallel to my knowledge that God will set me free of any bondage in my body, thoughts, or predicament! Your challenge may be different from mine. How can you apply this passage by Frederick Douglass to your life? What are you confident about, and know you will overcome?

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Injury Solutions! website. Zina works as an English as a Second Language Instructor and has been an educator for more than fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she writes articles on faith and overcoming challenges. Her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, guest posts, newsletters, medical journals and other publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com

 

 

Make Progress

The survivor, the victim, the recovering addict, the overcomer, and the high achiever all have a fear in common–going back! If you fit into any of these categories, I’m here to tell you that is not God’s purpose in your life. I know first hand.

When we survive or recover, we don’t have to fall into depression, or regress back into what was hindering us before. The suffix ‘Gress’ means to take a step. God does not want you to take a step back–He wants you to make PROGRESS! I don’t know who I’m writing this for, but I felt that someone needed to read it.

When Jesus raised a man from the dead (John 11), the man didn’t die soon after that. He lived a long time! When Paul the Apostle made the lame man to walk in Acts 3, he didn’t go back to lie in his bed when Paul left town!

You overcame because you fought. You accomplished because you worked hard. You withstood because you prayed. You got better because you worked on yourself. God will not take that away. You lose your blessings when you believe the lies that say you won’t amount to anything!

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Injury Solutions! website. Zina works as an English as a Second Language Instructor and has been an educator for more than fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she writes articles on faith and overcoming challenges. Her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, guest posts, newsletters, medical journals and other publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

NO Exercise is Detrimental

Writer’s conference – California, USA

Today I’d like to write about exercise and how important it is for all of us. I’m constantly working on exercise in hopes of reaching my long term walking goals. I go to the gym, use the treadmill, elliptical, arm, back, and leg weight machines. I keep notes on my cell phone to record number of minutes, repetitions, and time.

Doctors say we only need thirty minutes a day of walking, jogging, or some other form of activity to maintain health. However, in order to build muscle, improve drastically, or attain a specific goal it is good to be on a workout regimen. I walk with crutches after a bad accident that left me paralyzed as a teen.

I have taken physical therapy into my own hands because often times in physical therapy, I have found that my best interests were not at the forefront. Therapists often quoted science in response to my hopes, and they put limitations on my dreams of walking based on my injuries. The beauty about having faith is that when you do, you are able to defy science!

It’s amazing how good I feel, and I am improving on my own. I can complete activities that I couldn’t do before, and I have more energy throughout the day! Things that would take longer to complete are faster now. I recommend exercise for everyone. It keeps us healthy, and I look forward to it. I never miss an appointment!

God never gives up on us, we must not give up on ourselves. I believe all things are possible because I have witnessed it in my own life.

The Breathe conference posted my article!

One of the many benefits of writing is meeting others and making friends. I have met some wonderful people! Today my friends at the Breathe Writer’s conference published another one of my articles. They have been so kind since I began this journey a few years ago. Writing can be a lonely experience, but it’s a bonus when your writing is shared on different platforms. I have learned so much from them. I’ve attended two of their annual conferences in October. The knowledge gained from authors, marketing advice and overall help is invaluable!

Thank you Breathe conference!

http://breatheconference.com/home/featured-articles/writing-is-a-way-of-life-by-zina-hermez.html