Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19

I am going to be honest. There are days where I just don’t understand and don’t see how I make it. Let me share you the story of the spoon theory. It was developed by Christine Miserandino as an analogy for her life. Read it here. The gist? Imagine you have ten spoons. Each activity those with chronic illness do takes a spoon. Subtract one for getting up, one for showering, two for going to work. How many do you have left over for fun? Most of the time I have none; I’ve used all our spoons just getting through the day.

10590646_670491483030216_1724298714795303498_nMany days my spoons are bent.  I had an endoscopy last Friday. That in itself was not a big deal. The problem was that my great uncle had just died and his funeral was that afternoon. The anesthesia had me knocked out and groggy all day. I was sick to my stomach and needed to lie down.  So I missed it. It’s not the first funeral naive missed since I was sick either.  When I first went into the hospital, my aunt died. Her funeral was the day after I got out but I still couldn’t feel my feet and missed it. My spoons were so bent these days, I couldn’t even count them.

I am disappointed with myself but I know it can’t be helped. I didn’t decide “Oh, I’m tired; I’m not going.” It kills me to leave Christmas celebrations early (I don’t get extra spoons on the holidays) or sit through a baby shower out of it. But I try and grip those spoons tightly trying to get the most out of life.

But I can’t live with the guilt of what I couldn’t have done. I must do new things! I must make my way through the wilderness of the wasteland that is chronic illness and come out proudly holding a spoon. Yes I can do this! Yes I’ve made some mistakes. No I can’t change things. Yes I can move forward!

So raise you spoon and toast to a new day with no regrets.

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Life After Death-Renee’


I’ve been very blessed in the fact that I’ve really only dealt with death from a distance. I’ve had an uncle pass and a great grandmother, but being a military brat I wasn’t able to build strong relationships with them because I lived so far away. Recently like literally a week ago that changed with the death of my recently high school graduate cousin….a cousin who was still in his teens….life was snatched by a bullet. I still can’t believe it. When a death occurs from violence it’s sudden and usually comes with few answers, but tons of rumors. The result is the same with or without answers:my cousin is dead.
I believe funerals are for the living, so those left behind can come together in support and love, but I still hate going. I stalled for hours so I wouldn’t have to see him at the viewing. I didn’t want to see the lifeless version of such a lively person, but it was unavoidable at his service. I was radical because I went to see the version of him I had avoided so long and because I held his mother in comfort. I had no real words..nothing is like a mother’s love and to bury your child…is every mother’s worst nightmare.
My cousin was the kind of guy who lived the way he wanted. He cared not what other people thought of him and was an individual. His death has made me completely reevaluate my life.
Our time here is short; regardless if you’re given 18 or 100 years. All will seem not long enough when you’re at the end of them.

My goal now is to make sure I’m using every ounce of time to adequately fulfill my God given mission. Even if it doesn’t make sense to those around me..or I get negative feedback. At the end of my days the naysayers won’t have to deal with regret, I will.


With lots of love


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A Week in Radical~Audrey

Last week was pretty radical for me.

I had to attend a two-day training in Columbiana. I would had to drive an hour both ways and stay by myself for one night. I haven’t driven that long since I got sick nor have I spent the night alone. I am always worried about what may happen with my health.  I managed to drive without too many issues though sitting in those conference chairs all day was the most painful. Luckily, I was in pretty good health and just had an easy evening of quiet.

One of the biggest radical things was that I was determined to be social. I chatted with several people over meals that I had never met. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a hard time with social situation especially if it is small talk or I am not comfortable with that person. So in two days I hot three big milestones.

Think that was the end of my radical week? Not even close.

I had to head out again on Thursday. My throat had a little tickle, but I was off to Tennessee for the PATH Intl. Region 5 10610543_680914022000160_3690968303600168659_nconference.  My friend Sarah and I are State Co-Chairs for Alabama and had to make an appearance for Region Leadership activities as well as to get continuing education.  I drove small portions of the four and a half hour trip but let Sarah take the majority of the drive. I wanted to push myself a little. By that evening, though, my throat was on fire and I had a headache. I feared I had caught something at the first conference. We got settled into our hotel and got ready for our busy weekend. We were off for one seminar to another or  to a meet and greet or Region planning meeting. We were going wide open with little sleep. On Saturday , I gave my first ever conference presentation. I was part of a panel on Facility Building. The woman in charge had accidently messed up the Power Point but I was able to retrieve MANE’s photos and present a lovely recap of the philosophy of how we built the barn and what worked and didn’t. I enjoyed it and even decided that I would create an abstract and try to give a presentation at next year’s conference on building and revamping a Sensory Integration Trail.  And next year it is in Alabama so Sarah I will be busy planning for it.

Yesterday I hit the doctor’s office and by the grace of God I didn’t have strep. So now I just rest and take some medicines-now that I have a moment to catch my breath that is.

Let’s get recharged and going again! I’m ready for what’s ahead of me!

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Lennon Justus

I can’t believe it is already August! That means this Radical year is one month from being over. It also means I am one month closer to holding my son..that’s right Jelly bean is a boy! My entire family found out last weekend. That ultrasound picture makes me smile outwardly and in my soul. His life, although he is completely unaware is totally interconnected with mine, we are literally one. As I’ve watched my older two boys grow and mature I’ve been fascinated by how they become their own selves. How they have opinions and thoughts and ideas. I pray every day that I am doing right by the lives God has so graciously entrusted to me.
One thing God has brought to my attention is my influence on all things He has placed in my life (my family, job, students at the schools I work in, friends)..how I’m responsible for what I am putting out into the world. My boss gave me a book to read entitled how to influence people, this book is by no means about manipulation, but focuses on you…and how you have influence (both positive and negative). The book has the focus of having you critically look at your areas of influence and if you are actually being the person you say you are. Not who you wish you might be. Tough questions but needed.
As you may know I suffered a bit of a crisis in my Christianity after the loss of Baby Smith, while I am not glad for the pain the rebirth of my faith came out of that situation. Unless you’ve seen the bottom of something or really tough times the relationship does not grow. You can look at any figure in the Bible from Adam to Jesus (&beyond) and see who cracked under extreme pressure and who preserved. But who would know without the test?
Before losing my virginity becoming a single mother…I could never speak to a woman who was struggling with sexual sin. I hadnt been through the test. I couldn’t tell a woman how ive overcome and continue to overcome my challenges with co-parenting. I’ve been tested. I’ve been so blessed to not have a ton of losses but losing the relationship with my father and my unborn..but not losing my mind (although I felt pretty darn close) is a testament to the Goodness of my Heavenly Father. I thought because of my relationship that honestly God owed me that protection from heart breaking pain…but instead His love was what covered the cracks and crevices and made me stronger. Made me appreciate life. Life is a gift..is every part wrapped up beautifully, no it’s not. But growing into a warrior for God’s kingdom takes guts and heart. This can only happen in battle, whether you want to be in one or not. The Bible says there is an enemy, he is going to and fro all over the earth looking for whom he can devour..he’s real. He’s out there and honestly he doesn’t play fair. He may even knock you down, but if you have breath in your body..you have life and a chance to fight another day
I’m glad I chose life, to fight for my joy and peace once again. This is why my son’s name means so much to me Lennon means beloved or loved son and Justus means upright and righteous. He’s one of many new things in my life that show me life is worth fighting for.


Move Along~Audrey

Even if your hope is gone, move along.
All American Rejects

I’ve been at a good plateau lately with my health. The medications are starting to work and my stricter diet has given me more energy and less pain. I’m not 100 percent (I won’t ever be but I’m okay with that) and my daily life is rather pleasant. But two weeks ago I hit a big bump. I had my first flare up.
Flares are an increase activity of that certain disease. This means mild to severe symptoms can poop up or get worse. 7.10.-10-Signs-of-a-Lupus-Flare-jpgThis can be caused by a variety of things and sometimes you never know what caused them. In my case, my flare ups are most like those in lupus flare ups. But here’s the problem: flare doesn’t even begin to cover what I go through.
My whole body hurt. I hadn’t hurt like that since I had started seeing my rheumatologist. My knees, hips and ankles throbbed and radiated pain. My muscles spasmed and stayed tight. I was exhausted all the time. My brain was fuzzy, and I was not cognitively on my A game. It was sheer agony.
The worst part? I was used to feeling good. I was used to this pain being gone. Then Red October suddenly, I was smack dab in the middle of a moderate flair up that was making my life miserable. I was so emotionally drained by this. My spirit was knocked down. I knew there would be flare ups but this event made me truly see that I there would be days where I still felt like I did at beginning.
This upset me. I don’t want to feel that way. I know I don’t have to. Why does my body do this to me?!
So I rested and tried to entertain myself with my books, comics and TV show. I tried not to focus on the pain and just told myself it would be over soon. And it was. I am back to 90 percent again. I can walk across a parking lot. But I am fighting living in fear knowing that any moment a flare up could strike. I just have to move along. I just have to live and take what come my way.
This is a new a hurdle to jump. It will be another thing to adjust to. But I can and will do it. I won’ let it get me down.

When all you to keep is strong, move along.
Move along like I know you do
“Move Along”


My Vent for Today ~Venus

Hello everyone! Today I was feeling depressed. I had to make a trip to the bank today to check on my account. My paycheck that I received was less than what I thought it was. I had to deposit money on my account to cover my rent and one of my other bills coming up. I really hope that I receive money from unemployment soon. I really don’t want to continue to use my savings to pay my bills but it seems like my only option outside out of unemployment. I’ll be glad when I go back to work sometime next month. Being laid off is not a joke! Lol! This is the second lay off that I have had this month. I’m praying that my financial situation will get better. God bless!


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My Summer ~Venus

Hello everyone! My summer was interesting. I was laid off from work in May and began working the last week of that month. I served food to kids that came to AU for various summer camps. The place I work in was set up like a buffet for the summer. There were some periods that we got low on food and had scramble to get more food out for the kids. I got laid off twice this month. So I’m doing the best I can to stay afloat right now.

I’ve been taking applications for the summer for a scholarship program that my sorority has. The deadline for the scholarship is next Friday so I hope everyone sends in their information soon. I only received a transcript so far. Smh! I got into a really bad argument w/ one of my guy friends a few weeks ago. We did talk face to face. So I’m glad that were able to talk & I’m at peace. Before him & I talked to face to face, the situation weighed heavily on my heart & mind. I dislike arguing w/ people. I had to make a decision to stop allowing that situation to negatively affect my emotions. I attended an inservice at WHMC earlier this month that was very informative. The inservice was about different religions in our society & how to deal w/ clients that are non-Christians. I joined a webinar for the writers of Empowermoments last month. That was very helpful!

I did a few radical things over the summer: I tried to transfer to a new building to work in on campus but I was denied my transfer, I tried an orange chicken stirfry recipe, I donated a few items to two thrift stores, & tried out the Badoo app for a month. I think that’s all the radical things I did. Lol! God bless!


P.S. My roommate that lived on my side of the apartment moved out today. I’m going to miss her & her cat Munchkin. One of my roommates that lived on the other side of the apartment moved out earlier this month. So I have one roommate left at the moment

Charter decided to go digital this month so I was without cable for a couple of days. I wasn’t a happy camper! Lol!  I had to go to the Charter office & get me a cable box.



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