I am Finally in the Place

I am finally in the place where everything is working together for my good not because I deserve it, or because I earned it, but because I endured it. 

My boss told me to listen to a T.D. Jakes message (Do It) and spoke about how it motivated him to move forward on some major things in his life. I listened to it last week and for the most part it was just a good message. But when the message hit the 57 minute mark, I knew why I needed to listen until the end. It was Jakes’ last point on triumph that spoke to my current situation. The message was so powerful that I had to listen to that message again and again it spoke to my spirit in a special way. 

I can walk through this phase of my life fearless, because even if someone attempts to take my spot they cannot take my place. Although I am careful of who I share my ideas  and future projects with, I know that this is my time and my success does not hinge on someone else’s failure. There is enough room in the kingdom for everyone to prosper, so others may replicate but it will simply be a copy of something that is not going to get you to your place. It is not my battle to worry about others and to simply focus on the task at hand. 

I can look back and appreciate all that I went through was not mere punishment, but God moving me closer to this place.  Those situations were not even blessings, but place markers that show me how far I have come.  I speak often of growing up without my mother, having no relationship with my father, struggling to pay for college every semester and feeling alone even when I was surrounded by people. Every time I asked why, I never received an answer, but I would always receive encouragement that it was all going to work out for my good. So here I am basking in the glory of His promises. 

I never focused too long on what was going on and could not even fathom why these things were going on, but this trip has made me see that Gods plans were greater than my imagination. I told my husband yesterday that no one could have told me this is where I would be at 28, and I know in a few weeks, months, and years I will be in a house that I did not build, in vineyards that I did not grow, and harvesting crops I did not plant. 

It is not always about the specific acts, but the manner in how you carry yourself through the valleys and over the mountains. Sometimes we wonder why our actions don’t lead to results, big we never question our attitude. Your attitude can be your glass ceiling. Fix it and watch how the glass begins to break before you even reach the top. 

I no longer look to be a copy of anyone else’s dream, but an original of my own. I no longer expect anything in return for what I put out, because my expectation can limit my blessing simply because my mind is thinking too small. I no longer worry if it is going to work out, I understand that it is already done, I just need to get to that place. 

Live your truth. Walk into your blessing. Get to your place. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own terms. 

Advertisements

Marriage Matters: What Marriage is Really Like 

When I first got married I thought that I had failed and made the wrong decision. Everything was so difficult to get through and we argued about everything, and by everything I mean everything.  I would ask, “Can you take out the trash?” He would respond, “The trash doesn’t seem to be full.” I would take his response as him saying, “No,” instead of it being a simple observation. I would explode into a firestorm of criticism about how I don’t ask him to do anything and all he had to do was take out the trash. He would respond in kind with, “It wasn’t that serious,” and shoot a firestorm of criticism at me. It was an intense time and things only got better once we realized it was miscommunication and not pure evil. 

On the other hand before we got married if I asked him to take out the trash, he would do it without any questions. Hence the bigger issue of just being together and being married.  There is something about the bounds of marriage that intensifies everything. I think there is a fear that if you let go of this one issue then you will lose every battle in the future. As silly as this sounds, the fear of being controlled by another person is a valid fear to have. 

After catching up with a long term friend and having many conversations with my girlfriends about their marital journey, I realized that many of us are going through some of the same things. No matter who our husbands are, where they have come from, or what they do for a living, there is a common thread that connects us all to the struggle.  Marriage is hard and either we talk about it openly or we assume that we are the only ones going through it and feel worse than we need to. 

A group of friends who were engaged or married discussed our biggest issues and we settled on trash, dishes, and laundry. Although these things seem so minimal, they ended up in very explosive discussions and tension between each couple. Things build up over time and something that may be so small can be overly analyzed because we refuse to back down over something completely unrelated. Our strength comes from being patient with our spouse and ourselves.  This thing takes some work! 

I am very excited to launch this new Google Hangout Series, Marriage Matters on March 3rd at 8:30c/9:30e. http://youtu.be/wpBBaJ3gudY.  This series will feature a very open discussion with women who are married, engaged, deeply committed, and divorced. We will be discussing our biggest issues, our reactions, and how we deal with issues as they arise. The maximum is 10 participants and everyone must be set up for Google Hangouts prior to that day.  You can also watch live and comment throughout the discussion. 

I am expecting great things to come from this discussion. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own terms. 

This Little Light of Mine

When I was going through a huge moment of spiritual growth, I began to learn about the inner light.  The inner light is the glow of your spirit that shines even when you do not speak, illuminates a dark situation, and radiates and attracts people to you in ways you cannot understand.  That light can be so powerful that it attracts great things, but at times it can attract people or situations that want to steal or dim your light.  Your light is your power.

I always loved people and being around people, but learning about my inner light allowed me to permeate into the lives of strangers without them even realizing that they let me in so quickly and so deeply.  As a healthcare provider, it puts families and patients at ease when they are in your care, your colleagues trust you, and you leave an impression no matter how long or how short you are in a place.  Your light is your power.

It is hard to put in words how I discovered my light, but once I understood it, embraced it, and used it naturally, I had to learn quickly that I had to protect my light.  Light does not only attack good things, but it also attracts negative things and people.  I went through a rough period where it seemed that life was trying to dim my light.  It was one bad situation after another bad situation, and yet even if it dimmed for a minute, I centered myself and allowed my light to shine through my situation. Your light is your power.

I have interacted with people who have tried to dim or turn out my light, but I learned how to detach from those who sought to snuff out my light and recognize those characteristics early.  Many times it is hard to detach, because the light thieves are the ones who should be protecting your light or teaching you how to protect your light.  Relationships, jobs, and financial situations can all come as darkness and overshadow your light, but when you know your power, purpose, and position you remove those things or you remove yourself from those situations to ensure that your light is always illuminating at its full capacity.  Your light is your power.

I have met some of the most amazing people in the past 3 months.  I have reconnected with many amazing people I met growing up and all that remains between us all is that they don’t overshadow or attempt to steal my light, and their light is shining just as brightly as mine.  The power of presence is within your light.  Everyone has a light.  How brightly you allow it to shine is up to you.  What you put out in life will always return.  Light will produce light.  Darkness will produce darkness.  Enhance your light by putting out light.  Protect your light by disengaging with darkness.  Your light is your power.

This little light of mine.  I am letting it shine.  My light is my power.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Top 5 Things I Will Miss About DC/East Coast

5. Jumbo Slice/Duccinis/Pizza
I clearly love pizza so much that I post about it often. I know that nothing will compare to the pizza I love in DC and no one here will have halal beef pepperoni, so I will be forced to eat chicken pizza again. Nothing like a late night and hot, cheesy pizza to make you feel complete.  But there are great food options here and I am praying my soul is strong enough to stay away from all of the bad things I don’t need.

4. Riding by Howard
Howard was my home for 8 out of the last 11 years. I learned so much and received some of the greatest additions to my life there.  Educational institutions bring optimism, hope, and great memories.  I love Howard and am blessed to say that I was a Bison.

3. Being in 3 different States in a Matter of Minutes
I lived in MD but could be in VA or DC in a matter of minutes, to NY in 4 hours, Philly in 3, and SC or CT in 7/8.  The ability to change your surroundings quickly is a major plus of the east coast. It allows you to be very spontaneous and enjoy experiences on a budget when you need to.  No more megabus, quick turn around trips, or weekend trips up the road. Keep your money stacked cause we are flying in and out of here.

2. Our First Home
My husband said yesterday, “You are leaving the first home I bought you.”  That made me feel really special because he did buy that house for my son and I.  He wanted to make sure we had a safe place to stay and an asset for future use.  We had amazing neighbors and slowly made improvements that will benefit it’s future use as a rental property. Moving back into an apartment will be interesting but it’s all apart of the process.

1.  My Friends and Family
Being so far from my friends and family is going to be rough. Although we have all become so busy and immersed in our own lives, we still could get together and laugh when we wanted or needed to.  Thank God for technology and being able to eventually plan more family trips to fill that gap. I don’t easily disconnect from people and will always cherish and touch base with my team. 

DC has been an experience.  So much great sprinkled with some bad and ugly. I came, I conquered, I survived, I thrived, and I came home with everything I set off to accomplish 11 years ago in tow.

I am so full and so grateful to everyone who has made my life experience that much more special by just being who they are. By loving me, encouraging me, and building me up when I fell down.

The best is yet to come. Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own terms.

Top 30 Things I Love About Him

Happy 30th Birthday to my husband and hero.  Four years ago, no one could have told us this is where we would be, but it has been a beautiful struggle to get here.  We have accomplished so much and taken many steps toward our dreams! Today is your birthday but this year will be about making every moment count and memories that will last a life time.  Here is my ode to you.


I love him because:

  1. He is always honest.
  2. He reminds me to fulfill my promises.
  3. He always says I love you.
  4. He sends me sweet text through the day to remind me he is thinking of me.
  5. He works hard for our family.
  6. He seizes opportunities to advance his career.
  7. He never forgets a holiday or important moment. (I do…often. Too often.)
  8. He lets me put my cold feet on him.
  9. He eats all of my cooking, even when it’s not that great.
  10. He brings home my favorite things to surprise me. (Currently Talenti ice cream).
  11. He has taken my suggestions on improving his style and made it his own.
  12. He encourages me to fulfill my dreams.
  13. He never backs down when he thinks he is right.
  14. He will eventually admit to me that I was right.
  15. He defers to me on many issues that I feel passionately about.
  16. He is adventurous.
  17. He loves great food and explores many different cultural experiences.
  18. He loves his family.
  19. He has an amazing set of friends who have welcomed me with open arms and hearts.
  20. He will stay up late to put the clothes in the dryer.
  21. He makes me laugh, smile and cry tears of joy.
  22. He is passionate about his craft and does it well.
  23. He has given me the world.
  24. Simple things make him happy.
  25. He loves his namesake.
  26. He supports all of my crazy ideas.
  27. He prays with me and for me.
  28. We laugh at many of the same things…inside jokes for days.
  29. He tells me I am beautiful often.
  30. He chose me to be his life partner.

HAPPY 30th Birthday! This list could go on for days because you are all of this and much more.

IMG_0206 IMG_0509  IMG_0540 IMG_0514 IMG_0665 IMG_0707 IMG_0553 IMG_0563 IMG_0907

Believing I Am Beautiful

I remember being teased a lot for many different reasons.  I was teased for being a church girl, not having a perm, my hair being short, being dark, being chubby, not wearing the flyest clothes or having a boyfriend all the time.  Do not feel bad for me.  I did my fair share of teasing and it was not just in defense of myself, but as a way to mark my territory.  I was very good at hitting you where it hurt and laughing about it loudly in your face.  Despite being teased all through primary school, I think the words that always hurt the most were those that came from my father.

My father would say things like, “I hope you don’t think you are cute, because you are not?” or “You are so fat.” or “No one will ever want you.  You are going to turn out just like your crackhead mother.”  or  harsher words that cut much deeper and left internal scars that took years to heal.  Looking back at my pictures, I was actually pretty thin.  I was in ROTC and the marching band, which forced me to workout a lot and we never had a lot of food to eat, so it wasn’t like I over ate.  He said those things to hurt me and to control my perception of myself.  His words always stuck with me.  When I looked in the mirror I saw someone who was ugly, fat, and never good enough.

I was the late bloomer.  I was shaped like Taylor Swift my freshman year of high school but the following summer the Lord saw fit to allow me to blossom.  As I started to become more shapely, my father’s words became harsher and cut deeper.  By this time, my stepmother had moved back to Connecticut and I only had my girlfriends to help me get through these fragile years.  Thankfully, many of them had older sisters and their words of wisdom helped me to appreciate the young woman I was becoming ,but that only helped on a superficial level.  I understood that I was physically changing for the better but my self-esteem remained the same.  Low.  The foundation of your self-esteem is built at home and my home was filled with destructive words instead of words of love and power.

I never realized how hard I was on myself until my sophomore year of college.  I cannot pinpoint the moment or the exact set of events that led up to my epiphany, but I remember being in the car with my friend and she turned to me and said, “You look different.  You look very pretty.  I don’t know what it is but you look good.”  I remember that moment so vividly and I looked in the mirror and there wasn’t anything different about me except the fact that I had decided to just be happy.  I made the conscious decision to stop being so critical of myself and pointing out all of my flaws because I wasn’t going to change.  I learned to accept myself and find the beauty in my being.

My journey towards a happier me was slow and riddled with pitfalls, mistakes and setbacks.  I reached a pinnacle of happiness the year I prepared for my friend’s wedding.  I set a weight loss goal and focused on cleaner eating.  I worked hard at my job but I was also having the time of my life.  That year was amazing from start to finish and I vowed to only go higher from there.

When I look in the mirror I still notice my flaws but I don’t use them to deconstruct myself down to the studs.  I see an issue with my skin, I go and find a treatment regimen that will clear it up.  I don’t like how I look in my clothes, I prepare a workout regimen or set a running goal and stick with it.  If I am ever unhappy, I try to get to the root of the problem and deal with it accordingly.  This is the new me.  The me that arrived in 2005 and believed that I was beautiful because I am.

Our words changes lives.  Our words empowers.  Our words destroys.  Use your words wisely.  Build up yourself and those around you.  Be proud of who you are and work hard to be better each day.  Believe that you are beautiful.

Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Manage Your Stress Successfully

I deal with my stress in many ways.  I run, I read, I sleep, I cry, I do yoga, I eat Talenti, I tweet, I blog, and I call my friends or my family.  Sometimes when I am extremely overwhelmed I scream so loud that my throat itches afterwards.  That always makes me feel better but I don’t use that method too often.  Some of these methods are great means of managing stress, while others are not so great.  The most content people in life are those who are able to manage their stress successfully.

I am a high-strung, Type A, Virgo.  All of this makes dealing with stress important because I find stress in very minor things.  For example, I hate that my husband does not put away his clothes that I have sorted, washed, folded and placed in his room.  This brings me so much anxiety because I want everything in the right place all of the time.  I understand that may not happen with kids around and I have dealt with that by putting all of the kids toys in the basement.  My husband does not see the big deal in clothes being in a basket for weeks at a time and no matter how many times I explain my feelings on it, he still does not see the big deal.    I had to come to grips with our different outlooks, close the door to that room, and put that at the bottom of the list of things to worry about.

I always stress about not being a perfect parent.  Some things that helps me to be a better parent is to count down before reacting.  This allows me the time to assess if it’s really worth getting worked up about.  Many times I have to remind myself that children will be children and they don’t mean any harm by throwing your iPad on the floor when they are upset.  They really think it is fun to just jump off the last two steps onto a wooden floor and they don’t know that they could crack their skull.   There are plenty of books but not enough time to read so you live, learn and call your friends who have older kids and can help you through these rough patches.

The only way I can properly work through my daily stressors and the others that life may bring is by digging deeper into each situation and finding appropriate solutions to each problem.  The simpler issues I can resolve quickly but others take a lot of thought and time.  I can easily (took a few years) not worry about the basket of clothes but I have to actively work on being more patient with everyone around me.  The stress of life can show up in your health and in your lack of success.  Stress kills physically and will kill your dreams if you let it.

Life is full of stress and we have to be prepared to deal with it in order to get the most out of each day and every moment.  The time we spend stressing could be used in developing ideas and plans to get you through the current phase or to get to the next level.  The stress we allow to build up inside of us can cause digestive problems, fertility problems, urinary problems or a weakened immune system.  Finding a healthy way to manage stress will enhance your life and your positive perception will create better outcomes to situations that could have ended disastrously.

I am actively working on managing my stress and making the best of every situation.  We are all a work in progress but learning how to address certain aspects of our lives will help us in the long run.  This is an individualized journey, so how you best deal with your stress may be completely different than mine but having readily available methods will ensure your progressive success.

Find your inner peace and work hard to stay there.  Rid yourself of negative energy, people or situations.  Be positive.  Stay encouraged.  Encourage others.  Be kind to others.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Why I Have a Food Insecurity (abbreviated)

This developed out of a conversation on Twitter where people were discussing poverty over various subject areas.  Someone’s tweet struck a place in my spirit so I decided to share. Here is the Storify of my Tweets:

https://storify.com/DestinedNurse/my-food-insecurity

I started to write a blog about the entire situation and it got too deep for me to share. I unpacked too much too fast and it put me in a really emotional place so I decided not to share and table the in depth story for another time. In summation, I have a fear of going hungry or not having enough food, despite being removed from this situation for over 12 years.  I cope with this issue by shopping at Costco and always having a full fridge.  Although this seems simple, it goes so much deeper.  One day I hope I will be strong enough to share the entire story.

In due time.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Follow me: @DestinedNurse @QualityNC

Suicide Isn’t For Black People

I sadly believed this statement up until I began working for Dr. Donna Barnes at the Mental Health Center at Howard University.  At that time, I had never personally dealt with suicide, and I had only heard of a situation that occurred on campus the previous summer.  That incident was discussed more as an accident than a potential suicide.  I wrongly assumed that this was not an issue that affected people who looked like me and therefore I did not have to deal with it.  Working with Dr. Barnes on Suicide Prevention on campus and learning more about suicide changed my outlook and way of thinking.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death overall, but the 3rd leading cause of death in persons aged 10-14, and the 2nd leading cause of death in persons aged 15-29 (CDC Vital Statistics 2011).  Suicide was the 3rd leading cause of death among young black males from 2001-2010 (CDC Report 2010).  Comparatively, African-Americans commit suicide at a lower rate overall,  but there still remains a concern amongst our Black youth.  Black youth are affected by suicide at a higher rate than Black adults, and on average, die from suicide a decade earlier than White Americans.

The numbers may not be alarming enough to make people wake up and realize that we have an issue on our hands, but the reality is that we cannot wait any longer to discuss this topic.  Now is the time to begin to look at the root of the issues that are affecting our youth.  Suicide is not a comfortable conversation to have.  As a health care provider, I have never become comfortable asking someone about their mental health status.  It is a very private and personal topic that very few feel comfortable sharing.  Understanding suicide, the warning signs, and knowing where to go for help, may not be able to save every single person, but may be able to teach us how to reach someone who may need our support and save a life.

The first thing we have to do is stop putting a face to suicide.  We see suicide as a White issue and that barrier prevents us from taking the time to discuss, understand and recognize suicide as our issue.  Secondly, we have to be ready to relinquish the idea that we have to be strong to survive.  Yes, our strength and resilience can be an asset you our success, but it also can be a trap that leads to someone feeling overwhelmed trying to live up to that image.  Lastly, we have to support each other and check-in on one another.  Many times someone crosses our mind and we brush it away, instead of picking up the phone and reaching out.  When people say things that show that their troubles are beginning to overwhelm them, we have to express empathy and patience, instead of ignoring or sweeping it under the rug.

Suicide is not a new issue and will not quietly go away with any one solution.  There are so many pressure points that we have to recognize, address and deal with in order to provide people with options.  We have to change the way we talk about suicide, mental health, depression, counseling and even the use of prescribed medicines.  The conversation may be hard to start but once we are honest with ourselves and each other, we can grow and empower others.

After working with Dr. Barnes I became more aware of suicide and the potential signs, but it did not prepare me to lose someone close to me.  To this day, I think of my dear friend often and I have vowed to continue the conversation as a way to honor her life and all that she was to so many.  The pain that those left behind endure after losing someone to suicide is indescribable, but I can only imagine the pain that she was dealing with that led to her decision.

On September 20th I am walking in her honor at the Out of the Darkness Community Walk, to appreciate her contributions and to continue the conversation.  Feel free to support or send words of encouragement.  I continue to pray for her family and loved ones.  We will never forget who she was to each of us. This conversation is deep and has so many layers.  This is the first installment of many that will help to facilitate the conversation.

Know that you are not alone.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.

Donation page: http://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=585209

Resources to learn more: 

http://www.nopcas.com/absu.html

http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/

Those Who Deserve Credit Don’t Have to Ask For It

I always post about how appreciative I am of my amazing family, friends and others who have helped me along the way.  I have been blessed to be in the presence of Gods many angels He has planted on this earth.  Despite many of the things that I went through growing up, God allowed me to see his grace and mercy through the actions of those around me.  I have personally shared with each person in my life who has been my rock at some point, their importance in my life through conversation, emails, text or cards.  None of these people have ever asked to be credited for my success or accomplishments.  When I achieve something, it is as if they achieved something because they were apart of the process.  These amazing people never say that I owe them anything, even though I feel that I am indebted to them. These amazing people never attempt to discredit me or tear me down in any way, even if they could.  These amazing people continue to push me through my next dream because they have never left my side.

So for anyone who feels that they deserve to be credited for my success but not my failures; for that person who may feel that they deserve to be credited for my accomplishments but not my missteps; he who wants to be applauded for being the battery to my drive or determination; the one who may feel the need to yell to the heavens that they are the only reason that I am where I am, I am who I am, or I have what I have but forgot that I never forget, here is my message to you:

I will never forget the decisions I had to make my senior year of high school in order to graduate and go to college.  I will never forget the attempts that were made to destroy my life or reputation. I will never forget the times when I reached out in distress and was dismissed and degraded.  I will never forget the disrespectful lies that continues to be shared with others about things that you don’t know about and aren’t even remotely true or accurate.

So, when you are making a scene about the credit you deserve, make sure that you are taking credit for everything.  Not just the good but the volcano of a mess that your words and actions have created.  Be careful when you speak because the same words you use to hurt will return to you and your life will reek of all of the negativity you put into the atmosphere.

This is my story.  I will tell it my way.  I will give credit to whom its due and ignore all others.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own story.  On your own terms.