Pretty Planner Party

For the last two years, I have thrown a Pretty Planner Party for a group of friends that enjoy crafting and planning in their planner as much as I do.
We get together and enjoy good & wholesome association, we share washi tape, stickers, coloring pencils, tips and tricks, etc.

Typically I hold the party at a public place but this year I was fortunate enough to host the party at someone’s home which gave me a chance to decorate and plan a menu. I bought the majority of my decorations at The Dollar Tree and 99 Cents Only Store and I highly recommend these two stores if you are ever planning any type of party.

Here are a few pictures I took:

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This was my third year hosting the Pretty Planner Party and I feel like this was the best year so far.

I’m very grateful for the turnout and everyone who brought a dish and supplies to share!

With love,

– R. Vargas

Shulammitegirl Snaps: June

During the month of June, I:

• Surprised my boyfriend with a date where we went to a batting cage & rode go karts.

• Had our family worship over purple triangle history and went to the Dallas Holocaust Museum Center.

• Climbed about 20 flights of stairs just for the view.

• Hosted an Italian themed movie night.

Xoxo,

-R. Vargas

Employment:

  • God’s view on slaving for two masters. (Matthew 6:24)
  • Jesus wanted people to place their hope elsewhere.
    He wanted them to rely on the Source of lasting riches, Jehovah.
  • On the Sermon on the Mount, he explained that real happiness and security do not depend on material things, nor our own efforts but on our friendship with our heavenly father.
  • Based on the Model Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray, not for financial security  but for our daily needs. (Our bread for this day…)
  • The only way to attain true happiness and security is to trust in our caring Father, rather than in money.
  • Matthew 6: 24-34
  • In today’s world, “The goal is to look well off even if they are deep in debt.”
  • 1st Timothy 6:8
  • Luke 12:15
  • Proverbs 10:22
  • Jesus invites us to work for an eternal reward. Not material riches. 

First-Aid Kit Board 

When I read this months issue of the Awake! I knew instantly how deep and personal it was for me.
I also thought it was very timely since February is National Teen Dating Violence awareness month.

The magazine discusses teen depression and what I really respect was that it shed light on how depression is an illness and disability.

Now when I was a teenager “depression,” was not classified as a sickness. It was just a word tossed around to make fun of sad and discouraged people.
Now mind you I was a regular teenager who had their highs and lows and thankfully I never stayed in a depression for too long but there are many people including adults who suffer from depression and never come out of it.

When I felt blue at the time, I just wanted to wallow in self pity. Now I turn to the bible and scriptures seem to be the only thing to bring me comfort.
This magazine was focused on young people and I felt it would be great study material for my oldest niece and I, especially since it had a special project for teens.
We read the magazine, took breaks in between and discussed personal things, read some scriptures together and after about an hour or so we ended our study, went shopping for some materials and headed back home to work on the project together.

The article suggested to create a “First-Aid Kit” for your emotions which included:

  • Contact information of people to call when you feel down.
  • Favorite songs that are positive and upbuilding.
  • Inspirational sayings and encouraging articles.
  • A list of comforting and upbuilding sayings from the Bible.
  • Mementos to remind you of people who love you.
  • A journal containing your positive thoughts as well as positive experiences you have enjoyed.
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Materials for the “First-Aid Kit” Board.

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Her journal for positive thoughts.

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Getting together her contact information to call when she’s feeling down.

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Mementos for her board.

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Her finished project. (She wanted to save room for more pictures throughout the year.)

I’m so happy we studied this article together and she opened up about personal things.
I can only pray she can grow up to be strong enough to seek help should she ever need it and rely on Jehovah someday.

Have you read the Awake! article yet? If so, what did you think?

Xoxo,

–  R. Vargas

 

 

Lesson of 2016 

Photo credit: Bianca Arcienega



“You can’t please everyone.”

This time last year, I was stuck in a rut. 

Emotionally, financially, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

I knew I was going to overcome everything I just had no idea of when and the stress and anxiety just continued to build up.

I was trying so hard to please everyone around me but I couldn’t even please myself.

Now that the year has come to an end, I can’t help but to look back with the biggest smile on my face and thank Jehovah continuously.

This year was full of growth and I’d like to share the highlights with you all:

  • I was (permanently) invited to have a family worship night with one of my favorite couples in my congregation.
  • I met a few pen pals in person!
  • I was able to land my dream job of working at one of the best children’s hospitals in Texas.
  • I was baptized despite the many discouraging trials I faced a few months earlier.
  •  I saw my two favorite musical talents perform live! (Coldplay & Adele)
  • I auxiliary pioneered for the first time shortly after getting baptized.
  • I put in an application for the LDC.
  • I finally came to the conclusion that while caring for everyone else’s needs and happiness, I needed to find a balance and prioritize my needs and happiness as well.

All the memorable things that happened to me this year, I owe to Jehovah God.

I have a few spiritual goals I’d like to focus on and accomplish in 2017 and I know that as long as I put Jehovah first, I will accomplish them.

Xoxo,
– R. Vargas

Auxiliary Pioneering

During the month of October, I took an opportunity to Auxiliary Pioneer since the time was reduced to 30 hours. Being baptized for only two months, this was my first time pioneering.

Now for a continuous Auxiliary Pioneer and of course a Regular Pioneer, I know 30 hours is easy to them but to an individual who works full time, goes to school part time, lives in a divided household, and does everything else in between, those 30 hours were not easy to obtain.

Being the organized planner that I am, I researched and prepared for October weeks in advance to finish my game plan for the month.
There were five Saturday’s in the month of October so I planned early morning service, regular service, long days, letter writing, and my favorite, informal witnessing.

I wanted a supportive group of friends to help me reach this goal and when they agreed to early mornings or long days with me, I wanted to thank them. So my best friend who was also pioneering, and I decided to provide snacks for the car groups we were in.
I made a list of all the snacks and fruits the car group would enjoy and my best friend and I split the cost of everything.

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I asked brothers and sisters who have been pioneering for awhile if they could share some tips with me:

  • Schedule it out and stick to it!
  • Start making plans with people for those days you want to do service when support isn’t strong.
  • Allow for extra time if things come up that are out of your control and would cause you to miss service time so that you don’t get behind.
  • Stay out the days you don’t work.
  • Start practicing offers for that month.
  • Make a goal/goals.
  • Check your phone every couple of days, bring up a current event.
  • Focus more on improving the quality of your service.
  • Try new avenues and work with different people in service.
  • Talk! Talk! Talk!
  • Lots of prayer.

The first of the month was on a Saturday and I wanted to start the month off so strong but “time and unforeseen occurrence befall us all.”

During early morning service that day, I heard the tragic news that my favorite elder had passed away.
It was all so sudden and I couldn’t fully comprehend what happened, what was going on, and why it happened when it did.
I take pride in not crying in public but I could not contain myself that morning.

The next week was his memorial and things weren’t any easier but I knew that applying for auxiliary pioneer service days before, was my promise to Jehovah that no matter what happened, I would make my 30 hours.

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I continued my service to Jehovah, placed several invitations, a few magazines, talked more than I ever have before, showed a video, made quite a few return visits, and even tagged along to Swahili territory.

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The last weekend of October came and I was panicking that I wouldn’t make my time but with full reliance on Jehovah and tons of prayers, I made my time!

I hope to pioneer again someday, keep me in your prayers please.

Xoxo,

– R. Vargas

On Getting Baptized

I’ve been studying with Jehovah’s Witnesses since I was four years old.
Once I became a teenager, my studying was irregular and was on and off again.
It wasn’t until I was 19 that I really started making the truth my own and my bible study became regular and so did my meeting attendance.
First I started every other Sunday, then every Sunday.
Once I started attending every Sunday, I started going every other Wednesday and it soon became every Wednesday.

My patient yet firm bible teacher saw my progress and we discussed joining the then, “Theocratic Ministry School.”
I was nervous but eager.
One night after our weekly meeting, we spoke to the elders and they approved and soon after that I was able to become an unbaptized publisher.
I felt baptism would come immediately after that but I was wrong.

I felt I was ready but I also saw Jehovah’s hand in many situations telling me that I was not.
It wasn’t so much that I was not ready to give up certain tendencies, it was more so that I needed to fully understand my dedication to Jehovah and the consequences that I might face if I did not.

I felt firsthand what it was like to lose a friend in the truth.
Whether they ran away, became pregnant, got reproved, got disfellowshipped, or just started doubting, I felt I was hopeless since many of my associates were leaving not only me but Jehovah and they were brought up in the truth. Their parents were Witnesses all their lives, some pioneers, some who had fathers who were Elders, I couldn’t understand how someone like me who had no family members in the truth could make it at all.

For years I felt stuck. Spiritually, I felt stuck. You see, I wasn’t going backwards yet I wasn’t going forward either.
I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to give my all to Jehovah in the way I should.
I held back because I felt others wouldn’t take me serious because I didn’t come from a spiritual family.
I held back because I felt I would fail Jehovah.
I held back because I felt I was never good enough.

I would gain a little confidence when a brother or sister would comment on how much they enjoy my parts or seeing me at the meetings but the more happiness I felt, I started looking around and realizing how vital a family unit is within Jehovah’s organization.

It wasn’t easy to attend meetings alone.
To study and meditate alone.
To sing and praise Jehovah alone.
It wasn’t easy to have the privilege of having parts on stage and praying a family member would attend.
It wasn’t easy to go to service alone.
To join in hospitality without a parent or sibling.

In the year of 2015, I mentioned in a previous post that I went through a few personal things that led to depression.
I’ve had time to reflect on things and I’ve learned that you cannot let what others do or say or even how they feel towards you, take you away from Jehovah.
Your relationship with Jehovah is just that, yours. 

All the time I spent focusing on being alone, I didn’t realize the spiritual family I had supporting me the whole time.
With the loving support and patience from my bible teacher, my best friends, and a few encouraging brothers and sisters in my congregation, I realized I had a family all along.

I made my dedication to Jehovah in my heart and in my prayers a very long time ago but I knew there was one more step.

At the, “Remain Loyal to Jehovah,” 2016 Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses, at the age of 24, I was finally baptized.

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Thank you for all the love, support, prayers, and pleasant thoughts,

Forever Grateful,

-Sister Vargas