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

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.

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 Easter!

Dear friends,

Happy Easter to you! I want to share my most recent news, and also let you know about an Easter promotion we are running on “Not Without God.” The e-version of my book is practically FREE right now. There are only a few hours left! I would love for you to read it! Please take advantage of this special opportunity.

Click on this link to read my update: http://eepurl.com/bi1CAL.

May the joy, hope, and promise of Easter fill our hearts today and every day!

Sincerely,

~Zina Hermez

Accept Life’s Challenges

“Seeds of faith are within us; sometimes it takes a crisis to nourish and encourage their growth.” –Susan Taylor

We want good things, and we become disappointed when life doesn’t go as planned. We can try to see our obstacles as experiences that bring us closer to our purpose, and that may relieve some of the pain. I think everything in my life is the way it supposed to be, but that doesn’t mean I like the way everything is. I complete the tasks set before me. I press on, in faith. From strength to strength, I am being shaped. When you’ve gone through something tragic, you can feel a deeper sense of appreciation for life.

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. I think sometimes people have this misconception that they are rewarded because of their effort and everything they do. Good things happen to them, and they get surprised when bad things occur. We can’t get angry when things go wrong in our lives. God wants to bless us. He wants to be there for us and be our best friend. But we have to trust Him. In time, He makes all things right.

Experiencing peace in all of it

Have you ever healed from reading about your own life? As I read through trauma I overcame as a teen, I feel a sense of peace. How could this be? I can read my book and feel better while doing it. What once welled up my eyes with tears as I wrote, is now a source of healing for me. It gives me strength for whatever I am dealing with.

I cherish this free time because life as I know it has changed. Things will never be the same. I’m more of a caretaker for my parents now than ever before. For those of you that don’t know, English is not my mom and dad’s first language. If I’m not teaching the subject, I’m working because I’m helping them with their medicine, making appointments, talking to doctors, or explaining things.

The illnesses of others weighs heavily. This lingering feeling of loneliness has been there… Never had a circle where I belong. Although I’ve been blessed with some really good friends, I struggle to find acceptance. In my pursuit to gain it, I realize I am also in pursuit to accept myself. I am different. What I mean is…

God told me my path would not be easy. I knew this road would be hard. Whenever I got a chance, I was outside as a child riding my bike. On those nights I remember feeling God’s presence strongly. I was getting instructions on the steps of my life. There would be some trying times, but I would make it through. I knew the other kids were not like me. I used to feel weird for having these feelings and thoughts.

If I told you I’m going to call, and haven’t gotten around to it, or if I suggested we spend time and plans fell through–I apologize. Between teaching, taking care of my own stuff along with helping Mom and Dad—I’ve got a lot to do! If I have not been as responsive as I usual am on social media sites, I have not forgotten you. Thank you for caring and for reading my post!

 

Be Originally You

All my life I’ve had to fight. I’ve been told I’m too independent, and too strong. I’ve heard, “don’t you need help?” And how can I live, “by myself.” What people don’t understand is you do your best to compensate when you’ve lost so much. Strength is my survival skill. I wouldn’t give it back for the world! I DON’T KNOW HOW TO GIVE UP.

From a young age, I had to be tough. I had to make my own decisions. Our life experiences shape us into who we become. I can’t alter or change myself to appease others. We tend to shun what we don’t understand. I can’t feel guilty for being me. We’re all different. I march to the beat of my own drum. In a culture like this one, I am not the norm. Thanks for listening to my rant!

I did not know for sure I would become a writer. Though I had a feeling I would write a book. Watching it come to fruition has been fabulous. There is so much more I want to write. Writing about yourself can be closely monitored. There’s something about telling your own story. It’s different from writing a fiction book where you can hide behind characters.

As a child, I knew my path would not be easy. God assured me I would make it through. He communicated that to me in feelings and in thoughts. God doesn’t need words to communicate with us. We can hear from him, if we only try. ~Zina Hermez

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!

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.

 

Book-signing party!

Not Without God cake!I had an incredible time last night! I really appreciated everyone coming out on a very cold day. Being an author is so enjoyable! It’s amazing that God keeps opening doors. I feel blessed, and grateful for this purpose. To be able to reach others through my writing is a gift.

I signed and personalized books. I gave a short talk called A Few Ways to Overcome Adversity. It’s a spin-off from a podcast I am going to post. I got positive feedback from the guests. It was a great night! As you can see in the photo, my sister-in-law created this wonderful cake! It was perfect.

Not Without God: A Story of Survival books were sold as well as Not Without God: A Story of Survival bracelets. Copies of my book and bracelets are both available online. Visit my website: http://zinahermez.com. I gave a free copy of Not Without God to our book raffle winner, Jeff! It was a night filled with laughter, love, friendship, and fun!

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.

Not Without God – an Excerpt

Today I’d like to share a passage from my book Not Without God: A Story of Survival. As you may already know my life is a miracle, and so is the ability to walk after an accident that left me paralyzed as a teen. In the hospital I kept a journal, and each night at midnight—under my covers, with my flashlight in one hand and a pencil and pad in the other, with 10,000 Maniacs playing “These Are The Days” and “Garden of Eden” in the background—I would write.

Here is a journal entry I wrote.

“Dear God, I believe You are with me—listening to me and answering my prayers. I feel lucky. I have You here. That’s because I’ve opened my heart, and I’m trying to more and more every day. I don’t know how I got so lucky. Because before this accident I didn’t know exactly how You worked. I was insecure because I didn’t know who I was.”

I would ask God to make me a better person. I was confused. I knew there was a God and that He was mighty, but I couldn’t grasp everything. I believed my prayers were answered through my tragedy. I was thankful, and I felt lucky that God saved me from the accident. The outpouring of love and support made me feel even more fortunate.

The passage continues.

“But now it’s like I have found myself, I know who I am, what I want, where I am going. And I’m sure of myself. I don’t know. But no matter what, I’m thankful. How did I get so lucky for you to help me and save me from the accident? And help me see clearly. I know it came from You.”

Every time I feel upset or down I try to revisit this place. A place where I was simply thankful (for breath and life). It makes all the other stuff seem not so important. I return to thankfulness and gratitude. This was a turning point, and it is from Chapter 2 of my book.

 

About Zina

Zina Hermez has authored the book Not Without God: A Story of Survival and has 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.