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!

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.

 

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

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.

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

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.

 

Faith as a Mustard Seed

Faith is the ability to see something good in your life with no evidence of it being true. You create the experience. ~Zina

I would like to share a quote from my book, Not Without God: A Story of Survival because I believe it can be helpful. “Life sometimes happens whether we are prepared or not. I had one hope: my faith.” What does this mean to you? When you read this passage, what comes to mind? Let me repeat it: “Life sometimes happens whether we are prepared or not. I had one hope: my faith.”

Could you paraphrase this expression, or interpret it if I asked you to? Feel free to share your thoughts with me. Faith means so much. I would not have come this far without it. “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).”

If I didn’t believe this passage, I would not have healed after my accident. I could see myself getting better in the beginning even when I could not move! But it took a lot of faith. Faith is not something you see, you can use it to imagine, to believe that something will happen even when it seems like it won’t!

Faith can be likened to a mustard seed. The Lord said that if you have “faith as small as a mustard seed” nothing will be impossible. So I want to challenge you. How can you have more faith? The kind of faith that can help you overcome. Are you practicing it? Jot down any ideas on how you can expand it. How can you water the mustard seed so that your faith will continue to grow?

 

About Zina

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

You’ve already won!

If things don’t happen in the manner you would like them to it does not mean they are not happening at all (behind the scenes). You don’t know what God is doing. Faith is the ability to see something good in your life with no evidence of it being true. You create the experience. Imagine. Believe!

Something good is about to happen. You are only getting started! You can have a smile on your face every day, every moment, if you only try. Smile on purpose, is really great advice I heard one time. Don’t give up! Keep in mind that life has the capability of turning around in your favor. This is only the beginning…

“Life is a journey to be savored not a race to be won!” – Zina Hermez

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

Bask in Love

“The love that you withhold is the pain that you carry.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

When you know what it’s like to pray you make it through the day because of (mental) anguish you can eventually experience love in its fullest form.

Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate life when you’ve had it easy. But when you know what you do because of hardship, you can become more thankful for what you have.

When you’ve struggled more than once, and when struggling seems to be the only way—you have a decision to make. You can take life for granted, and become bitter as some do.

Or, you can choose to do something different. Allow the pain to enhance your life. Project it outward instead. Use it for good—give, or encourage. Don’t just keep it all inside.

Don’t ask why this happened. Remember, we are small in the larger scheme of life. We’re all trying to get through. I think that some make it while others simply get by.

Those that get by usually have it fine–the house, the car, children and a career. They don’t experience too much difficulty in their lives.

But those that make it are the ones that turn the tide. They may even change the course of history because they decide no matter what they will survive!

They not only want to thrive, but they also want to help others while they’re doing it too!

Why not help someone today?

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

Plant seeds of faith

I have this desire. Sometimes I think everyone has it then I realize I’m mistaken. I want to help others through my writing. I want to help them heal. Yes, really. A lot of people. Many. Like thousands…maybe even a million! Does that make me vain?

Something really bad happened to me when I was younger. I knew that I would help others through it. My blog, “Spinal Cord Injury Solutions,” the one you’re reading now has been viewed almost 40,000 times! I would’ve never imagined.

I get emails of gratitude. I hear that I have helped others through sharing my story, and the thank yous are not only from people in the United States. I get emails from people in other countries. I wrote things I thought others already knew. I gave tips on how to overcome tragedy, and how to have faith.

I guess the world needs more of that. So I keep writing. I talked with a friend that thinks the end of the world is near. She can’t believe all that is happening. The massive killings, earthquakes in different parts, wars that never end, and all the atrocities. It deeply saddens me, but I don’t think the world is ending.

Martin Luther King just delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech in 1963, and that’s not very long ago. Women didn’t have the right to vote until the 1920s. I think the world is evolving. We still have a chance! I pray that things get better for us.

Change does not come easy. It has to start with you. It has to start with me. Let’s plant seeds. When we are long gone, our success won’t mean much. All we can leave is our mark. How would you like to be remembered by future generations?

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

When Faced with Rejection

“Nothing happens by mistake when you walk by faith.” ~ Zina Hermez

Some focus on the “no” when others realize there was a blessing in the rejection. Thank you God for saving me when I don’t know how. Some stare at the closed door for too long when others stare at the perfect result. I’m thankful for the closed doors. Some see hardship when others see promotion. Let’s be thankful for the endurance to carry it out!

How do you envision your life? Look at things from this perspective. We have two outcomes: good, and bad. If every outcome produces something good, would it make the bad worth it? Interesting question. Does it depend on how bad the bad is, and how good the good is? Many difficulties equal many blessings. Do you feel better about the no’s, now?

When faced with refusal, remember you must be doing something right! Your challenges, struggles, setbacks, and “closed doors” are all ways of pushing you forward in life. Whether you realize it or not. C.S. Lewis said, “Failures are fingerposts on the road to achievement.”

Do not be afraid to fail. Be afraid to never try. Fear of failure is the most tragic.

When you fall, your first reaction is to get back up. Then you feel more confident because your feet are on solid ground. Remember, it’s not about how many times you fall—it’s about how many times you rise. Life can be a learning experience. I am forever a student. We each have a different set of skills. Let’s help each other since we are all bound, by this thing, called love.

Let’s live together, happily. Moving one another forward. Helping each other develop.

The Little Things in Life Really ARE the Big Things!

As my birthday approaches on Monday, I’m grateful for my life. In the back of my mind, I feared I would not make it past thirty when I was younger. I thought that way because of my accident. Here I am, it’s been twenty years since that fateful day. I’m still here.

I had a strong feeling I would influence others through all that happened. I wanted to help the sick, the hurting, and those who are helpless. My book, Not Without God is only the beginning. I’ve been blogging to reach out to others with or without spinal-cord-injury for two and a half years.

But there is more I want to accomplish. I try to offer hope in as many ways as I can in my book and on my blog. I have been there so I can relate. I understand what a lot of people are experiencing. In some aspects, I had to grow up fast.

When I’m asked how I walked again when I’m out in public, or how I survived my accident—I talk freely of my faith and of how God saved me! I’ve been doing that for years. I want to give hope. I want to tell about Christ.

It must be my energy, but strangers are often not shy to ask me questions. Very early while still in the hospital at Mott Children’s, I felt I would help others in some way. It’s no wonder I wrote a book about my life. It’s surreal, and exciting!

I would not have made it this far without the love and support of many. One of my dreams was to finish college, and have a career despite all my injuries. I graduated high-school on time, and walked on a walker to receive my diploma. I fulfilled the promise I made to myself—to walk on graduation day.

I worked so hard through college. I put a wheelchair in and out of the car several times a day. I began working in the classroom when an instructor asked me if I would like to be a tutor in Composition classes at twenty-two years of age.

When others see me and sometimes express that they feel sorry I need to walk with assistance. I explain that each crutch weighs less than two pounds. They are much lighter than a wheelchair, and much easier to put in and out of a car!

Some people don’t realize how good they have it until something bad happens, or until they meet someone like me and then their faith is challenged. Unless you’ve gone from paralyzed to walking, you really can’t understand how freeing walking can be!

It’s one of the reasons I’m thankful for every day, and it’s why I appreciate EVERYTHING!

My life is a miracle, and so is the ability to walk.

Happy Birthday to me!

In Love with Life

From pinterest.com

Not all the time. But usually. I try to not complain – even when things aren’t going right. This has not been the easiest year. I have had some added stress. I’m teaching English, writing thoughts down, and trying to stay in contact with those who care. It’s a busy time.

I do love life! I wouldn’t trade places with anyone else. Not because mine is the best; not even close. But things always fall into place even when they seem to be falling apart. Does that make any sense?

It’s true! Life improves.

How we respond to situations makes a difference when times are tough. We can worry, we can stress. But it doesn’t profit us. I’m looking forward to a Not Without God book signing in January, and another one scheduled in early April.

Everything will be okay. It always is. And, it’s almost Christmas!

“The Lord helps His people in their times of despair.” ~Zina Hermez

Can you remember a time when your difficulties brought you closer to God? Did things eventually come together? Feel free to share your thoughts.

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

Love Changes Things

Found on pinterest.com

Just a few words can change a day. I got a nice compliment today. One of my colleagues at the school where I teach said that his students said something really positive about me. It felt good to hear that, and it was very kind of him to let me know. After shoving piles of snow off my car, and trying to keep my balance on crutches while walking on ice and snow. I had a headache. I realized that it does take a bit of energy for me to get to work on snowy days.

When feeling upset, or down – remember those feelings are only temporary. Don’t give up, and don’t let the day end with a frown. Always keep a smile on your face. Smile when it hurts. Make a decision that today will be a good day no matter what! Each day brings an opportunity for new chances, and new friends. Embrace them. These opportunities represent more than you think. Open the door to new beginnings, and you will keep past hurts and frustrations outside of your door!

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

A New Day

Found on pinterest.com

Today is a new day! And every day is a new beginning. The choices you make, or don’t make affect tomorrow. So think about that. What are you choosing? I hope your choices are good ones. I hope they are healthy. We are faced with so many opportunities. How can we make today great? The more we practice, the better we become at adding good days to our lives. Let’s put behind the mistakes, hurts, and trauma that we’ve encountered. Let’s count today as a new start. Who knows, this fresh outlook may just take you to something great!

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

The Power Of One

power of oneThe power of one, it is something I learned about in a workshop tonight. Whenever families, spouses, friends, or even coworkers become divided. The solution can be found through coming together. Whenever two or more are divided amongst themselves, nothing is more powerful than agreement. The power of one. A wonderful tip that stayed with me tonight.

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

Gratitude

Gratitude
Found on pinterest.com

This quote helps me feel a sense of gratitude. We should be thankful for who we are, and for what we have! There is so much competition. I think now more then ever with all of the advancements in technology. We want to do more, and be more! The world is changing fast. But it’s okay to be content. So sit back, relax, and be thankful for how far you’ve come at this very moment!

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

Show Up

My motto
Found on youtube.com

I love this quote! I think it should be our motto. No matter how tired you may be, or disappointed. Regardless of any feelings of negativity you may be experiencing. Even when it hurts me, I show up. By showing up we have won half the battle! And of course, never ever give up!

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

A Dream

dream
Photo courtesy: Lifehack.org

Do you have a dream? What is it? Fulfilling a dream takes perseverance. Do you have the strength to persevere? There will be bumps in the road, setbacks, and disappointments. C.S. Lewis said, “Failures are the finger posts on the road to achievement.” We need to remember that. Having a dream is a beautiful thing. There is a difference between having a dream, and having the courage to follow through with it. Good things in life are not usually handed to us, we have to work for them. But in the end, the benefits will be worth it!

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

My Calling

My calling
Photo courtesy: thesassylife.com

I’m passionate about my work, even when I’m exhausted. Even when I’m spending too much time. Even when I don’t have it all figured out. Even when I feel I may be reaching too high. I am passionate about what I do because I believe it has value. For any dream to occur, you must believe in it before others do. What are you passionate about? Do you have the normal fears that we all do? Don’t give up! I don’t plan on giving up until I reach my goals. What is your calling? Feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comments.

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! online website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability, and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.

“The love that you withhold is the pain that you carry” is a quote I came across by Ralph Waldo Emerson. It stood out to me so I wanted to share it. Are you withholding any love? I’m sure I am. When I come into contact with difficult people, or people that seem hard to deal with. I will knowlege, lovetry to see the good in them, and see them the way that God does, this is my prayer today. “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know” (1 Corinthians 8:1-2). How about building each other up today?

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! on line website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world, and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

Joy or Sorrow?

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).”

I strongly believe this to be true. People tell me “you’re so strong” all the time. Perhaps I am; but for me to be here is a part of God’s plan. He controls everything. We have to understand that everything happens by Him and for Him. I think sometimes people have this misconception that they are rewarded because of their effort or hard work and things they do. Good things happen to them. They get surprised when bad things occur. But God allows suffering sometimes.

One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was return to school in a wheelchair my senior year in October of 1994. When everyone was thinking of prom and spring break, I was learning how to have a physical challenge. There are things we live through, only by God’s grace. And only God has kept me. He has made me happy.

I finished high school on time. My real friends stayed with me, even if they were few. I learned to drive, still went to college, worked, and even walked! The majority of people with spinal cord injuries don’t walk much at all. Doctors usually say the chances are slim to none. To be able to walk from day-to-day is a blessing. And the best part is, I still have faith.

The beauty is that joy and suffering are interchangeable.

So, I’d like to ask you today—no matter what you’re going through, which will you choose? Joy, or sorrow? I hope you’ll choose joy!

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created the Spinal Cord Injury Solutions! on line website. Zina works as an English Language Instructor, and has been an educator for nearly fifteen years her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world and she’s worked with all ages.

Zina writes articles on faith and overcoming disability and her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, Spinal Cord Injury Zone, SCI Access, newsletters, and medical journals among many other various publications. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

How I Found Peace

Have you ever felt a sense of peace while turning the pages of a story about your life? This is what I’ve experienced. As I review my book, and the suffering I’ve encountered from a life-changing accident that left me paralyzed as a teen. I begin to feel a sense of peace.

I didn’t always feel this way.

Something that once welled up my eyes with tears. Tears that often hit the keyboard as I typed and recapped thoughts and memories—is now a source of healing for me. I can read over the story of my life, and feel good while doing it.

It’s amazing how God works.

To be cured is to be freed from a condition or disease. To be healed is to be made whole. Although I’m still dealing with present circumstances from my accident. I cannot walk without a cane or crutches. Yet, I still feel whole; complete.

How could this be?

I’ve been given a gift. I don’t mean the gift to teach, nor do I mean the gift to write. A gift that has brought me pain, rejection, and even loss that most people will never experience. But more importantly, a gift that has brought me closer to God. With every failure and with every defeat, I have come to know the Lord.

It still feels like a dream that I have finished my book, Not without God. It still feels dream-like that it will be available in bookstores on October 7. It is now available online and at http://zinahermez.com. I always had a desire to leave my mark, so to speak.

A desire to make a difference in the world. I never knew that desire would be fulfilled through a tragedy. The odds have been stacked up against me. The Bible says, “…for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again” (Prov. 24:16). I am not perfect, but with each failure and with each lesson. I have gotten up!

 

 

Ever stop in the busyness of life?

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9)

This verse has run through my head a few times this past week. Sometimes I get tired, worn down, busy with things to do, unfinished work, there is so much I want to accomplish. And so often I feel I cannot catch up with all that I have to do.

Do you ever feel that way? I feel guilty about things I can’t do, or things that are hard. I want to donate more. I want to visit the elderly. I want to help.

I have a cousin who was in a bad accident this past week. He broke several bones and sustained serious injuries. But thankfully his spine is okay, of course, it’s the first thing I asked about. They said within a year he should be walking normally. Keep him in your prayers please, his name is Shaun.

My nurse Regina, when I was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at U of M after my accident in Oct. of 1994, went to heaven last week. She was the first medical professional to tell me I would walk again. As a matter of fact, she said I would run. Some of the hospital staff were pressing my family to tell me I wouldn’t walk for weeks. I think deep down my family knew I would. That’s why no one wanted to tell me.

“Zina, listen, I had a dream, you were running to me in this dream. The Lord Jesus can heal, and he gives me prophetic dreams about my patients sometimes. And you kept saying, ‘Regina, thank you, thank you Regina! Thank you, and you were running to me.”

Regina was not only a nurse for many years in the PICU, but she was also an ordained minister. She put a poem I wrote after my accident in a plaque for me on my birthday, and bought my first bible. I still have them both. I’m not running but I’ve come far. And who knows, despite the fact that I’m not as healed as I would like to be–I still have to believe “All things are possible, through the Lord who strengthens me.” Don’t we all?

She was diagnosed with cancer last year and within a year she’s gone. I was in admiration of her son, Glenn, in our last conversation his strength and attitude amazed me. Since my accident, he’s been a good friend. This week, I made the trip to the hospital to see Shaun. I made the donation. I made the phone call. I stopped in my busyness, and did my best to be a good friend.

Every so often in our lives someone comes along who’s meant to help us in some way, through a tragedy, difficulty, or problem of some kind. They work as angels, miraculously, they show up. Sometimes, we haven’t realized how much they actually helped until their work is done.

In my life, I’ve been blessed with a few. Regina is definitely one. How about you? I hope you’ve had at least one..

“The Best Writers are the Best Readers”

Going to the bookstore is something I’ve always enjoyed. In college, I would spend three to four hours at a time there, just hanging out, doing my homework, meeting with friends, or having a café latte or cappuccino as I roamed the isles in search of new titles. I especially liked to keep up to date with best-selling authors.

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to visit again as I stopped by the local Barnes N’ Noble to relax and get some work done as I used to. It had been at least several months since I’d been there. It seems now with all the information on the Internet, it’s easier to read and keep up with the latest books at home, and lately I’ve been purchasing them on my kindle for pc through Amazon.

I saw a lot of the same books I used to see years ago, that I even still have in my book case such as: “Body for Life” and Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life,” Suze Orman’s “Women and Money,” Mitch Albom’s books and more. I saw new stories such as: Eben Alexander’s “Proof of Heaven,” a neurosurgeon who explains his journey into the afterlife.

I did look in particular for true life accounts of those living with SCI. And after talking with the employee there, I learned there are not many of those stories out there. The autobiographies of people with spinal cord injury were very few. I think he found maybe one. And the titles he was able to pull from the computer were no longer in the store. Some of the SCI books were more of a medical reference for physical therapists, rather than real life stories of someone living with spinal injury.

However, I did see Nick Vujicic latest book, “Unstoppable: Life without Limits” in the Christianity section, and it is a best-seller. He does not have SCI, but he is disabled as he was born with no arms and legs. He is very influential and has an amazing attitude so I was not surprised. You can visit his web site here: http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org/

The one book I did locate from someone who had SCI is Bear Grylls. I’ve heard of him before. Bear Grylls has become known around the world as one of the most recognized faces of adventure. His journey started in the UK. His father taught him how to climb and sail. He trained in martial arts and spent years in the British armed special forces.

He had a free-fall parachuting accident in Africa, where he broke his back in three places: T8, T10, and T12. Although he endured months in rehabilitation, he went on to become one of the youngest ever climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest. “Mud, Sweat, and Tears” is the name of his book and it’s an international best-seller.

As I was sipping my hot chocolate and leafing through, I read his experience when he reached the top of Everest. I thought it was inspirational, so I wanted to share:

Slowly the summit loomed nearer. I could feel my eyes welling with tears. I started to cry. Emotions held in for so long, I couldn’t hold back any longer. I staggered on. There had always been part of me that never believed I could make it. Since my broken back, a little part of me, deep down, had thought it was all madness. Yet ever since that hospital bed, I had wanted to be fixed. Physically Emotionally. And right here, at 29,030ft, as I staggered the last few steps, I was mending. The spiritual was working through the physical. At 7.22am on May 26, 1998, with tears still pouring down my frozen cheeks, the summit of Everest opened her arms and welcomed me in. My pulse raced and in a haze I found myself suddenly standing on top of the world.

7 Tips to Keep the Holiday Cheer!

Have you thought about your goals this holiday season? Any New Year’s resolutions? Have you thought about ways to stay healthy? Or keep the holiday cheer? Holidays are fun but can be a demanding, busy time as we try to meet the needs of our family and friends. There are gifts to be bought, turkeys to be cooked, and trees to be put up!

During this hectic period, it’s easy to feel a lot of stress. In giving, the giver feels just as rewarded as the receiver, if not more. However, we sometimes forget to give to ourselves. In your time of giving, don’t neglect your own needs. This will help to reduce anxiety, and keep you calm throughout the season.

Would you like to improve your finances? Volunteer? Do you want to feed the poor? Maybe you want to make some healthy lifestyle choices such as eating better, or losing weight? Whatever your goals, I wish you success!

Let’s prepare to stay merry. Here are some tips to keep you in the holiday spirit!

  1. Be thankful – Nurture a thankful heart. It’s hard to be unhappy when your heart is brimming with thanks! By changing your attitude, you can experience joy even when circumstances don’t change.
  2. Trust – Develop the trust that life will provide you with what you need. Serenity comes from contentment with what you have.
  3. Forgive – Let go of resentment and remorse which wastes energy on yesterday. Forgive and live today.
  4. Give to yourself – Give yourself compassion and understanding. Recognize your abilities and value.
  5. Savor life – Enjoy the taste of cranberry bread, the smell of Christmas cookies, the sight of sunrise.
  6. Do something for someone in need – Write a letter to a lonely friend, make a phone call to an ill relative, or bake a pumpkin pie to welcome your new neighbors.
  7. Love – Remember the deeper truth of life – you are loved. When you feel holiday stress, remember the voice of God who beckons, “Come to me when you are weary, and I will give you rest.”

May your holiday and New Year be filled with joy, happiness, and peace.

Happy Thanksgiving!

–  This holiday letter is reposted from a newsletter I edited for health care

Be a winner!

Winners take full responsibility for everything that happens to them – even when those things seem remote and are not directly attributable to their actions. To achieve superior health, you must take 100% responsibility.–David Wolfe

This is true. But hard. It’s hard to take 100% responsibility. Even for people who walk “normally” it’s hard to exercise and always eat right. Imagine you could not walk? Or walked and it was a struggle? It’s that much harder to get up, get out. You may not even want to get out of bed sometimes.

The spinal cord is like a tree trunk, with nerves and fibers representing branches and stems. The vertebral column is a bony structure, like wood. When the spine breaks, the nerves and fibers are damaged. Just as if you took an ax to a tree trunk, all of the stems, branches, and twigs would start to wither away.

I’m up to 20 minutes on the treadmill and 20 minutes on the elliptical–forty minutes of cardio combined. A goal my physical therapist set for me several weeks ago. I’ve reached it!  Now I need to set a new goal for myself.

I’m walking faster and getting around better. It’s paying off! I just need to relax. Sometimes I get down on myself for not being able to move around like everyone else. I expect to be able to do what others are, not taking into consideration all of the injuries I had. I not only have a spinal cord injury at L1-L2. But several of my bones were broken. My left femur broke, my right tib fib, and left tib fib broke as well. I not only have a rod in my spine, but rods in my legs. My C1 was fractured. That’s not even all of my injuries. I’m lucky it wasn’t worse!

David Wolfe says, to feel like a winner you must be 100% responsible. It’s hard to feel like a winner when you can’t walk. After a severe injury, your self esteem is compromised. What makes us winners? The perfect job? The perfect mate? A nice big house? I think winning is in your attitude. We all have obstacles. Tragedy can strike all of us. I believe the winner has to be within, to not give up on life! Even on bad days, you have to bounce back.

One strategy that works for me is thanking God even when I feel bad. It’s not easy to do, but as I start to thank him for what I have, my mood starts to turn around. I feel better. The other stuff doesn’t seem so bad. Being a winner is not what you have, it’s who you are. And who you are, is what you make of yourself!

“Imagination as a Powerful Tool!”

“Visualize everyday about the person you want to become. See yourself as being that person NOW. Your brain will take what you visualize and help you create it.”-HealthCoachTraining  I love this quote. I wanted to share because this is what faith is–seeing something with no evidence, your circumstances may be totally different. You can practice it in your mind. I had visions of walking at sixteen after I was hit by a car. Nightly in bed before I fell asleep, I would see myself on a walker or on a cane. I was paralyzed. I had little movement in my left leg.

I was using a wheelchair all day except for in physical therapy. My left quadricep would contract. My right leg was numb with no movement. I could kick my left leg up for a few seconds at a time while sitting because my left quadricep was firing. The following paragraph is a journal entry I wrote at the time:

“My left leg is pretty strong. I can hold it up in the air for a few seconds. My right one is coming along it’s just moving slower. I should be getting out of the hospital around early February or March. Gretchen said they will put me on braces around February. I know in time I’ll walk again. I have God on my side. It’s the best feeling. I realize how precious life is. I know what I want to do when I get older, help sick people. I want to be a doctor. I’ll never take life for granted, and try to enjoy every minute.”

I never became a doctor, I became an English teacher instead. I still think being a doctor is one of the greatest things. I have a desire to help people with physical challenges such as mine.

From a wheelchair, I saw myself walking and out of it. Sometimes we are strongest when weak. Sometimes I feel frustrated by the fact that walking with one cane is still hard. I remember that faith. I remember those visions. I practiced them throughout my twenties.

Little by little we can get better. Healing is a process. Rome wasn’t built…

What is it you want to get better from? Scars and pain are not only external. We have internal challenges too. We all have imperfections. Mine are visible. Ask yourself, is my goal reasonable? Is it feasible? Try envisioning it. It just might come true.