Monday, September 28, 2015

#MusicMonday: Andy Mineo's new album Uncomfortable will have you feeling anything but

    I'm a music lover. And I always give a song two listens before I decide if I consider it music worth listening to. I feel I'm a little biased when it comes to Christian music simply because I tend to gravitate toward it most often only because it gives me hope, encourages me, speaks truth, and doesn't give me a headache. Christian hip hop is the same way for me.

   On September 18, 2015 Reach Records released Andy Mineo's second studio album, Uncomfortable. If you aren't familiar with Andy he's a New-York based rapper known for his spiritual yet progressive lyrics. It hit the #10 spot on the U.S. Hot 200 Billboard chart.

Song By Song Review

"Uncomfortable":  Talks about how racism isn't dead despite our President being black and how Christians need to stop condemning the LGBQT community, Jesus wouldn't act like that. Hard hitting musically and lyrically, it's a great opening track to the album. 

"Uptown": It's an ode to Andy's Washington Heights roots. My favorite lyrics in this song: 

"Now I Know": Mineo discusses all the lies he's realized throughout his life. 

"Desperados":  Favorite lines off the track:

"Hear My Heart": A track Andy wrote in honor of his deaf sister

"David's Roof": A track that introduces the one that follows it it is scripturally based off of 2 Samuel 11 when David is looking at Bethsheba from his roof. The song's only verse in English is translated: Prepare me for the war because comfort is the fall of kings, is the fall of kings.

"Rat Race": A track about running your own race and how people hate when they start envy someone else's race when they should be running their own:

"Know That's Right": A song that thanks the fans who voted for his song, "You Can't Stop Me," as the Best Walk Up song for MLB and he received a Whammy from ESPN. 

"Vendetta": Andy gives a shoutout to 2Pac and said he did more for him than Barack because politicians are out of touch with "the struggle" of society unlike the artist who understand being outcasted for their perspective of "the struggle.": 
 This is one of my faves simply because I'm just glad someone had the guts to talk about this issue.

"Ghost": Addresses the people Andy's lost connection with in his life.

"Love": In this song Andy talks to love as a person and talks about what he’s learned about love over the years. It’s not a ballad to his wife as expected, but expressing his love for love.

"Strange Motions": A song about a relationship that has you second guessing your relationship with God.

"Make Me A Believer": A song based on David's repentance in Psalm 51 about how God's love increases one's faith:

If it isn't obvious, I highly recommend Uncomfortable for any Christian or non-Christian alike.

Until next time, remember: The only way that you get acceptance is when you know you don't need it, yeah. Freedom is a mindset, and I ain't in my prime yet. -Andy Mineo♥

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

#WriterWednesday How I Succeeded at Failing (and what it taught me)

     My girl Geniveve has been gone almost two months and I still haven't finished grieving over her absence. I know she's with me and as close to me as Jesus himself but that still doesn't mean I don't miss her hugs, her smile, or how her hips never lied. Yet, it's like no one at all understands this because it's not socially acceptable to grieve over a dog like this but what people don't realize is that I saw Geniveve as a person and not a dog so I grieve over her how you would another human.

     Yet, I didn't think Geni wanted me to sit around and cry over her without moving on with my life. After all, I feel like death is just the wake-up call we need to fully embrace life.Click To Tweet This!

    So I did attempt to move on by applying for more work and I got a second part-time job with an undisclosed freelance agency. At first, I was excited because I got hired the day before my birthday (Aug. 4) and I would be paid to write just like my other job with Outloud but instead of being paid by the article, I would be paid by the word count, and the pay was very low. Because of this and the people who worked for this agency started to mistreat me and accuse me of blatant plagiarism, I decided to look for another job. I applied for ten to fifteen more freelance postings through the site Elance, and within the same day, I heard back from a guy saying I had to reach him via Skype to see if I fit the job description. I sent him a contact request and waited until 2 p.m. the next day. He finally added me and said he had to make a new job request for me and I had to apply there.

    At first, I was like wow, they are creating a special position just for me to apply to and to work. This must mean I'm really special.

    I accepted the terms of the job which included writing articles for eight hours a day, five days a week, meaning I finally found a freelance job that was full-time. I was working for a pay rate of $13 an hour. I was ecstatic and immediately thanked Jesus and Geniveve for smiling down on me.

    After the first week, the guy didn't answer me when I logged in to let him know why I couldn't work the day before. Something didn't seem right. Plus, why must we always communicate through Skype? I don't even have skype on my work computer. After tossing and turning for a good two hours, I got up and logged my computer on and found that "my boss" was logged on at 2:30 a.m.. He was located in California...this would mean, he was working at 11:30 p.m. I sent him a message that said Hello. He wrote back, "Ready to start?" At 2:30 am?! was this guy real? My intuition was screaming loud and clear, RED FLAG! GET OUT NOW WHILE YOU STILL HAVE YOUR DIGNITY!
  That Sunday (on my day off) I was logged into my work email and found that Elance was advising me to stop working on this project as there were risks with the overall account. I didn't know what they were talking about so I just kept working. I didn't want to give up and risk losing the amount of money I was making.
  I worked until Thursday of the next week when I received yet another email from Elance letting me know that my invoice I submitted to receive my first paycheck as a full-time writer was still unpaid and they advised that I stop working. I sent "my boss" the link to the unpaid invoice and surprisingly he ignored all messages I sent him that day. On Friday September 4, I not only quit working for the second part-time freelance job who jibbed me of pay they claimed they would pay me but I found out the full-time job I was doing wasn't even real. Even the contact information the guy provided Elance was all false and made up.

This left me feeling defeated, broken, and absolutely worthless as a writer.

     On September 1, 2015, I had set out to write a 50,000 word in 30 days. I know what your thinking: Have you lost all sense of reality? Well, of course otherwise I wouldn't consider myself a writer at all. I decided to do it both to prove to myself I could, to help myself write more freely without self-consciousness or awareness of audience, and to prep for November's NaNoWriMonth. The first four days went by with great progress and then after I lost two jobs on the same day (both of which weren't worthy of my time) and was left, once again with one job and little money from it. I just didn't know how to keep going.

    Sure, I could blame my family for not being supportive. My sisters who are overly needy but only need me for help with their homework but never for any other reason. My mom who wanted me to watch our usual shows together so the DVR didn't get too full. My dad who always needs me to do something for him or with him, who expects everyone in my family to drop everything they have planned on the days he's home so that we can hang out with him on his days off. They, have well meaning intentions of at least wanting me around, but at this time, I just wanted to accomplish something for myself because I wanted to prove that I could move on from Geniveve's death and life could go on.

Yet, once again, I failed. And this time, Geniveve wasn't here to dance for me to cheer me up or give me a hug while I cried silently in her arms. Instead, I had to find a way to pick myself up from this and go on.

I did find a way but I still can admit that I'm not fully healed from this.
Nothing bad in life has good timing and this situation was no exception. Click To Tweet This!

I had to remember that even when things in life don't make sense, God has a plan. Recently, I went applying for freelance writing jobs via other sites and I happened upon a site called I found the guy who scammed me and his real name is Falcie B and he was from Kenya. That explains why he always sent me messages in broken English.

So I've not found more work as a freelance writer yet but I did receive plenty of opportunities in my field of public relations. I am now an intern for two separate PR firms both of which are located in Florida. I'm really excited for this opportunity to further my expertise so that I can eventually be hired for a public relations job which require 3 plus years experience in the field.

I'll save you from hearing my list of complaints about how my life isn't what I thought it would be at 24. I envisioned a whole different existence for myself. I saw myself with a husband and plenty of furry children living in California working and being successful living in a big house complete with a dance studio, a music room, and plenty of bedrooms so we always could have guests stay over. I would be driving a Purple porsche and being able to travel the world and see it.

I still have dreams of driving a car of my own but I would start with a Mazda 3. I still have dreams of seeing the world and I want to start by seeing the entire United States before I go overseas. I'm even considering making these dreams real by making GoFundMe pages for each of them so that generous strangers can consider helping me make them real. Comment below if you think I should.

I'm not someone who compares myself to other people because there is no win in comparison but I do see that most other people got a lot of help from relatives and friends of the family after graduating college. They got new cars and vacations as their grad gifts. Yet, this isn't my reality. I've always been forced to be financially independent (for the most part) and find a way to buy myself the future I desire. And of course, I know I can when I remember that my heavenly Father is the source of all provision.

These failings taught me that despite having to wait for the life I want, I should instead embrace the life I have now. After all, God's word says in 1 Cor. 2:5: So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God.

 In October, I'm going to attempt again at writing my 50,000 novel in 30 days. Please stand with me by sharing this post with anyone you can think of.

Before I leave you with a final thought, I promise I will try to blog more because I appreciate all of you that read my posts and share words of encouragement. Also you can now follow my Blog on BlogLovin' through your email so you never miss a post. See the sidebar or go here to follow:

     Until next time, remember: God not only sees where you are, He sees where you can be. -Joyce Meyer. Click To Tweet!

     When nothing in your life makes sense, trust God anyway. -Joyce Meyer Click To Tweet!

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!
~Just Keep Swimming~

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

My dogs are famous (well, sort of)

My dogs are my pride and joy. I consider them my babies and treat them like VIP. And I was recently asked by Outloud to write an article about the health benefits of owning a dog. I didn't pick the topic; the topic picked me. It was like Geni was smiling down on me.

The article is now live and you can read it here: Why Owning a Dog is So Much Better For Your Health Than Sliced Bread

Exciting news to share with you soon and a blog about what happened with my job situation coming soon.

Love Times Infinity,
God Bless!

~Just Keep Swimming~