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Christmas–a poem.🌟👼

Christmas is for the poor… Christmas is for the weak… Christmas is for the refugee… It’s for the lonely…and the meek. It’s the magic of Christmas that captures us. Christmas movies often portray beautiful families and almost always have a happy ending.

Christmas is not only about gifts under the tree, though. It’s about something greater. It’s not about what you get, but what you’ve already got–a Savior. Christ entered, and as a man He changed the course of history. A human sacrifice.

He came for you and for me. Sent by God, the Holy Father, He performed miracles, signs, and wonders. Fully human and fully divine, He died and rose to redeem us. Christmas is about hope and peace.

It’s about a dark-skinned baby born among animals because no one would welcome him. How can we celebrate Christmas this season? Can we welcome Him into our hearts, or into our homes?

About Zina

Zina Hermez authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and created a Spinal Cord Injuries website. Zina has worked as an English as a Second Language Instructor and has been an educator for many 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. Her stories have been featured in Christianity Today, the Breathe Conference blog, the Southern Writers magazine, medical journals and various other publications. Her upcoming book, Hope After the Storm, will be the second in her II part Not Without God series and will be out sometime next year.

 

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 at 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

 

 

 

Writing Is a Way of Life

I write to process pain. It’s a channel to express my feelings—a way to self-evaluate. I examine my thoughts. The pen is my friend. Writing in journals and diaries helps me, and provides healing. Through ups and downs, I write.

I write for joy and for release. It truly is a spiritual practice when I share what’s inside my heart. I’m led by faith. Words will stick. Words will resonate, if they are meant to. Words will remain…in books, magazines, e-books, and the Amazon-book-seller page. But it’s about more than a platform – it’s a way to peace.

We live in a competitive world. Exposure holds a lot of weight. But number one, it’s about words. Don’t focus on the fame. Don’t focus on the pay. If you write a book or other publication, be encouraged; you are spreading your message. Your words will not only change the reader, but they will also change you!

For me it has to be about reaching people through my faith.

(This post is inspired by an article I submitted to the Breathe Christian 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 fifteen years. Her thousands of students have been from many parts of the world. She writes articles on faith and overcoming challenges, and 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.

 

 

 

Why We Celebrate Easter (special)

This is a video I uploaded on Good Friday to my “Faith Tips” series on YouTube. Instead of writing a post as I regularly do bi-weekly/on holidays, I decided to create a video blog!!! It’s cut a little short, but I hope you enjoy it.

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, the Breathe Writers Conference blog, newsletters, guest posts, and medical journals. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

My Speaking event last Sunday!

This is a small piece on prayer from the talk I shared at church.

As I began to recover after my accident, I knew I had a long road ahead. I contemplated my future with God. I would ask, “What are we going to do, Lord?” and “How will my life be?” I didn’t know for sure but I knew one thing, I had Him – and I knew He would never leave. I didn’t like what happened to me, but I liked being in the silence and experiencing the peace.

Talking with God, asking for his help, his guidance, and presenting my problems before him has always helped me! And in the hospital, He spoke to me each day – through the love of others, the nurses, my mom, and the doctors. He explained every step of the way, what we would do, and how we would get through. I knew everything would be okay — in my feelings and in my heart.

Spending time with God has saved me all my life. Prayer is one way I do this, and I like to speak to Him when it is quiet because that is when I can hear from Him most — in feelings and in thoughts. When I am away from the noise. I listen to Bible verses throughout the day or before I go to bed, usually.

I’ve been doing this almost every day for the last few months. If I can commit to at least fifteen minutes a day, it helps me! I feel more peace since I have started. Things that would bother me before seem petty. I have noticed improvements in different areas. So I would recommend for anyone going through a challenge, or hardship to start doing it.

I have downloaded the Bible Gateway app on my cell phone, and I sometimes listen on a laptop. I click on the audio selection, and listening is convenient. I have listened while cleaning, or even writing. Technology is great! You can study while completing tasks. We don’t have to only read anymore! Two Psalms that really speak to my heart now are Psalm 69 and Psalm 71.

 

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, the Breathe Writers Conference blog, newsletters, guest posts, and medical journals. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

I’m Speaking to a Congregation!

Dear friends,

I’m happy to share a letter and invitation I sent to close contacts earlier: http://eepurl.com/bRAlR5. I want to share it with you too, because you have supported me also. Let me know if you are interested in attending my upcoming event.

Thank YOU!

~Zina

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, the Breathe Writers Conference blog, newsletters, guest posts, and medical journals. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

Miracles are a Process

Found on pinterest.com

God knows me well. After all, He is my creator. My divine healer. God knows the secrets of my heart. He knows me better than anyone else, and better than I know myself. When we are going through something difficult it may be hard to acknowledge this. We may not believe in those situations. When in pain one may doubt. I’ve always felt His presence with me, though. As a child, I would go on bike rides. “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” He assured me often in the whispers of my heart. I knew it would be tough.

But the Bible reads, “For I am the Lord who [continuously] heals you.” I think this statement is powerful, and the word continuously means a lot. It proves that healing has to recur rather than be a onetime event. All of us have not felt good more than once. Healing may have to happen again and again in order for the ultimate healing to come. Have you experienced a situation in your life that has improved? Did your faith expand? God wants to stretch our faith! Strength is proven in moments of weakness.

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 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, the Breathe Writers Conference blog, newsletters, guest posts, and medical journals. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

New Year’s Resolution

My New Year’s Resolution was to always have peace with everyone including myself. I strive to get better, and better how I relate with others each day. I believe part of the peace I am seeking comes from self-reflection. The only way to realize my mistakes is to boldly look at myself “in the mirror,” so to speak. It’s not easy to do. It takes courage, but it is SO worth it once you become aware of patterns of behavior. When you are friends with everyone including YOU. You realize that even those that seem to be in opposition may be helping you. Getting back up only makes you stronger! But you have to like YOU first.

One of the ways I perform self-reflection is through writing my thoughts down. I began the practice of journaling years ago as a teen when I had no audience. Writing for myself comes easy. If you are not much of a writer, remember that no one else has to see your writing. You don’t have to share your inner-most-thoughts. Writing helps me, and I believe it can help you too. Complete happiness requires self-reflection, many people are afraid of it. It’s a lot of work. Writing is more than a need for me it’s a necessity!

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 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, the Breathe Writers Conference blog, newsletters, guest posts, and medical journals. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

 

Its God’s Timing

I think sometimes we expect too much in too little of a time. We don’t like to wait. We get frustrated if we’re in a long line. Through the power of the Internet we have a lot of information right at our fingertips! A student once told me that in her country, you could wait on the cable guy for a couple of days before he comes to resolve the issue with your television. I’m usually able fix any technical problem over the phone.

But we have to understand that in the spiritual realm things work differently. We can’t get what we want quickly, or simply have our dream come true! Success is a process, and so are things like healing and promotion. We have to work hard, and we have to learn to get better and earn what we have. There are no short cuts.

Have you ever heard its “God’s timing” before? God’s timing means you work towards your hopes, dreams, and goals but know that ultimately—you are not the one in control. He wants to promote you. But you have to trust Him. I would rather have God’s timing, it’s better than my own!

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 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, the Breathe Writers Conference blog, newsletters, guest posts, and medical journals. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

Merry Christmas!

Dear friends,

This is a letter I shared with close contacts today: http://eepurl.com/bKWiPj. I want to share it with you because you’ve supported me too. Thank YOU!

You can read about my recent adventure!

May you have a very blessed and Merry Christmas with your families!

Sincerely,

-Zina Hermez

 

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 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, the Breathe Writers Conference blog, newsletters, guest posts, and medical journals. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

My trip to HARVARD last weekend!

I attended the Business Expert Forum at the Harvard Faculty Club for a speaking event with people who are so successful. I was one of 60 speakers on December 5. Surreal. At times I couldn’t believe it. Sitting there looking at lights, cameras, and action! It was exciting, we gave TV-like-appearances that provided live streaming. I’ve never experienced anything like it!

One presenter was an engineer from Germany who’s worked closely with BMW, Audi, and Porsche. He was the youngest speaker there, I was the second. 😉 I watched the president of the Entrepreneurship Students Club at Harvard Business School give his talk. Another presenter was a coach originally from Australia (He said my speech inspired him : ). There was a doctor developing solutions for the blind, oh, and a billionaire!harvardblogpost

There was a famous actor, Jonathan Goldsmith, best-selling-authors, people who have been featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. There was a guy who’s worked with the president! I met a motivational speaker to Mel Gibson! She was so humble. The speakers were professional. I watched them all in awe and amusement. I was surrounded by talent.

Everyone was sharing their message, promoting their brand, or just socializing with others. At night there were hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. I love meeting people and networking. I really enjoyed it! Clint Arthur hosted it. He’s the founder and organizer of the Business Expert Forum. He made it possible for all of us!

My older brother, Joe, got me to the airport on time at 6am on Friday. In preparation for the big day on Saturday, I arrived early and stayed in Cambridge for a total of two nights. I took pictures of Harvard Square and MIT—a famous engineering college. My sister and her husband picked me up from the airport on Sunday. I really appreciated my family’s help!

I work very hard so this was a bonus! I felt exhausted when I returned home, but it was worth every moment! I had to find four substitutes to cover my classes, but now I can say I’ve been to Harvard. I’ve even SPOKEN there. I’ll never forget it!

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, the Breathe Writers Conference blog, newsletters, guest posts, and medical journals. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

My next Speaking engagement is on Dec. 5!

Dear friends,

This is a letter I shared with close contacts earlier:  http://eepurl.com/bImqHT. I want to share it with you, my readers, because you have supported me too. Thank YOU!

You can read about my upcoming adventure! And you can also watch me on livestreaming if you’d like! Click here: http://signupforthelivestream.gr8.com.

I hope you’ll join me!

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, the Breathe Writers Conference blog, newsletters, guest posts, and medical journals. To learn more about Zina visit http://zinahermez.com.

A Moment of Thanks – An Excerpt from My Book

“All you need to know is that someone cares. A small detail, but it’s enough to turn your life around. Love changes things.” ~Zina

While in the hospital at sixteen I kept a journal, and each night at midnight—under my covers, with a flashlight in one hand and a pencil and pad in the other with music playing in the background—I would write. Here is one journal entry:

Dear God,

I believe You are with me—listening and answering my prayers. I feel lucky to have You. I’ve opened my heart, and I’m trying to more. I don’t know how I got so lucky because before the accident, I didn’t know how You worked. But now I have found myself, I know who I am, what I want, and where I’m going.

I was thankful God saved me, and because of the outpouring of love and support from family, friends, hospital staff, and even families of the other children– I felt worthy. I think love has the power to do that, take a broken teenager, and make them feel whole.

In moments of despair I can revisit this place, it will make anything I’m upset about small. Can you be thankful for a time in your life when things could’ve been worse? Focus on how God’s saving grace helped you. It is an act of THANKSGIVING!

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.

A quote from my book!

My life had changed dramatically, and only God could help me. I knew only God could get me out of this.” ~Not Without God

Me
Signing one of my books!

Have you ever felt this way? Was there a time when you knew that only God could help you? Maybe you suffered something, or encountered an experience that affected you tragically. If you’ve ever been in this place, you know, like I do that ONLY God can help you!

It can be a desperate place. A minute to minute, moment to moment, dependence-on-God-place. Maybe you weren’t religious or spiritual when you encountered it, or maybe you were a little but then felt like you needed Him more than EVER before!

It can be a tough place, an unpredictable place, a HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN place. I don’t wish for anyone to enter it because I’ve been there more than once! It can leave you feeling uncertain. Get to know Him. Before the phone call, the diagnosis, before the loved one dies, or before your heart breaks!

My accident happened at a young age. I had love for the Lord but it still turned my life around. I kept asking Him what to do, and all through my twenties continued. God seeks a relationship with you! Talk to Him like you would your closest friend.

We can never be prepared for an earthquake, but imagine if we had packed canned food and bottles of water, had an emergency hotline number that provided shelter, or found a charity. How much more prepared would we be?

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.

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.

A Tribute for My Friend

I attended my friend Chris’s funeral the other day. He died at the tender age of thirty-five. Heart-breaking. Way too young. Sometimes I break out and cry, even when I think I am feeling fine. I can’t believe he’s not with us anymore.

He accepted me with my challenge. Although he lived in another state, he did his best to keep in touch by phone. He never denied his illness, and fought against it all his young life. He never denied being addicted.

With Chris at his sister, Heidi’s house a couple years ago!

Each time we spoke, I told him how proud of him I am for confronting his disease, for accepting his faults, and for trying to improve his life! In the end it got the best of him. Nonetheless, he was ahead of others in his situation.

He lost the battle though, and it hurts me so bad. I keep thinking – I should’ve tried harder. I should’ve been there for him more! I’m dwelling over what could’ve happened.

I’m listening to the Bible for comfort, it’s the only way to get me out of feelings of sorrow. I have faith he’s in a better place! The Pastor at his funeral was great. He kept saying how good our Lord is, and how He died for our sins and mistakes.

How this has everything to do with Jesus! He highlighted how Chris gave his life over to Christ. I love how he pointed out Chris even got baptized in the very same church we were at! “To be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord” (2Cor. 5:8).

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.