Archive for December, 2011

25 years and Counting-Renee`

Yesterday December 30, I celebrated my 25th birthday. This was my first birthday that I didn’t spend it with my biological family (except for my son who goes absolutely everywhere I go.). I decided to get a way with a few of the girls for some fun&sun. I must admit it’s one of the best birthdays I’ve had in a long time. As some know I am extremely passionate about childhood cancer and my lovely friend Audrey made a donation to the Be the Match Bone Marrow foundation in my honor :).. I being the big baby I am shed tears, because it was thoughtful and it will help someone else. SO, although I wasn’t able to do my benefit on my birthday someone else will still benefit. I was able to walk on a pier and look over the vast ocean and just relax and breathe in the wonderful essence that is nature and peace. Most of all the day was spent with people who add so much to my life, there were a few who were noticeably missing, but the love I received made up for their physical presence. Once again I was surrounded by love 🙂

What I decided to do, as a birthday gift to myself was really let go of all the things from my past and allow myself to really move forward in a healthy way. I made peace with some things that have been haunting me and decided that each day I am here I really want to make the best memories I can. I can’t always change how things happen to me, but I can change how I react to those things (this has been my biggest battle during this Radical 7even journey). Life truly is beautiful and I am so thankful to God for everything He has blessed me with.

Rad7even update…

  • I have decided to run in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Run/Walk in September it will help me with my goal of helping others and trying something new.
  • I will also do my benefit in September for leukemia. There are quite a few things in the work and it makes me extremely nervous because I’ve met some resistance in the past on this issue and I don’t know what the future will hold so please keep me in prayer
  • Dating-I’ve decided to step out of the game LOL. You maybe thinking didn’t she just enter the dating game??? Honestly, even those months when I said I wasn’t dating I still had a male around that would take me out and that I would hang out with..so I was still technically dating. And now that I am back in it I realize that I don’t want to hang out with someone that I know that I can’t see a future with. I always feel like I will know when  and who should date. And I need to stop with filler guys and just seriously wait for God to work things out in me so I can be prepared for where He is taking me. That maybe with a husband or it might not be.

Here’s to a beautiful new year,

Renee` N. Chaffin

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end of the year check-in

So, I was hoping by this very date I would have made a lot of progress accomplishing my goals. Well, let’s just see.

1. Finish the Old Testament: So, I have not read my Bible like I should. Currently, I am in book Deuteronomy.  I don’t want to rush through it just to say I have read it, but I am hoping to finish reading the Old Testament by September like I promised to do.

2. Find a cause to support: I did find a short-term cause to support. I started a professional network ministry at my church to address the issues in the job market. I am really nervous about being the leader of this program, but there are many people willing to assist me… which is great. More details are to come.

3. Create a recipe book: I have not made much progress in this area. Enough said.

4. Keep a design portfolio: I have made a lot of progress in this area. I have designed a couple of logos and created a design portfolio. Hopefully, I will be able to keep it up.

5. Read at least 2 books a month: WOW! I am a terrible reader. It took me two months to finish ONE book. I feel horrible. I have to break the habit of watching a movie over reading. Though I love movies, I have to train myself to make time for reading as well. So yea, I really have to step up my reading game.

6. Get physically fit. I was doing very well. I was going to the gym 2-3 times a week, eating healthy, taking my vitamins, and everything. Then, my job got in the way. I am having a lot of problems out of my legs and feet. I am constantly sore and sometimes cannot move my legs at night when I get off work. I thought I would get use to standing on my constantly all day, but my pain is getting worse. I had to stop exercising because of it. I plan to go to the doctor very soon. As for eating, Christmas happened. lol! But I am hoping to get back on the healthy kick as soon I get paid and can go grocery shopping. 🙂

7. Decorate my bedroom and bathroom. Not very much progress here either. Lack of time and money. That is all I will have to say about that.

Well, this is the progress I have made thus far. I have a long way to go, but I am determined to complete what I said I would do. I hope you all enjoy the rest of the year! Expect great things to happen in 2012! Talk you you next year!

Love,

Beyondai

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Just like jumping into cold water… *Kelly

Christmas was a lot of fun. 🙂 It was great to see family together making good memories–especially those who hadn’t seen each other in a while. I haven’t posted or spent time with other people much since then. I’ve been taking time for myself lately to center and focus on preparing for next week. I start my job soon, and I know I need to be in a good place mentally and spiritually to help me through.

 

I feel good in that I know this is the right direction for me now. Grad school was a goal of mine for a long time. Finishing my master’s was deeply satisfying and felt right. However, the Ph.D. program felt all wrong for me. I felt like I was gaining very little and devoting myself to the wrong path. I had absolutely no sense of giving back or contributing like I always had in Montgomery with AH and my volunteering. To be real I met a lot of great people, but I didn’t connect with anyone on a deep level. It’s hard to put my finger on it, but something very important to my personal fulfillment was missing.

 

I was told by multiple people that the job I’m taking is not good enough or not prestigious enough. The people I was surrounded by made little effort to understand my situation and personal preferences. For some people it’s Ph.D. or nothing–because anything less than that is   failure/quitting. I was uninspired to say the least by that mindset. Frankly it’s narrow-minded to assume people actually working in direct service positions are somehow less important than people who are paid to do research instead. Both are important roles in psychology. Both deserve respect. In the end, direct service positions are often much more emotionally demanding and spiritually rewarding.

 

My new job will be much more stressful and emotionally involved than the teaching/research I’m used to. I expect the little annoyances that used to frustrate me will pale in comparison to seeing the aftermath of abuse and dealing with parents who take no responsibility for the damage they’ve caused. My job is to encourage parents to work their case plans and improve themselves so that they can regain custody of their children. No matter what they have done, I have to do my best to motivate them. Of course I know that if people don’t want to change, they will not change. That part of the job won’t bother me. The parts that intimidate me are that I was told I will definitely get cursed out on a daily basis, sometimes I’ll see kids go back to homes where they are likely to be abused again, I will be in situations that are potentially physically dangerous, and there is absolutely nothing I can do to change these things.

 

I know there is a way that people deal with the bad parts of this job, and still remain effective in doing what they can to make a difference. I know a lot of it has to do with reminding yourself that it’s all about the kids. I have some plans for other ways to destress and stay centered (including prayer, exercise, talking it over with co-workers, etc.). I just know it’s going to be a hard job to adjust to–even for the best applicant. I just have to remember in the meantime that they hired me for a reason, and I do find solace in the fact that I will FINALLY be able to combine my passion for helping others with my love for psychology.

 

I guess the bottom line is I’d appreciate prayer as I go through this transition. I need to be good at this for financial and insurance reasons lol. Most of all I want to do a good job for the kids on my case load. I feel like this is the right direction for me. I think I’m on the right path. One great thing about this process is I’m able to rely more on God than I have had to in the past. Prayer is a huge part of helping me find inner calm. I guess this needs to be added to my list of Radical 7even goals. The first month or so–heck maybe year of this job–will be a big radical moment! I know it’s just like ripping off a band-aid or jumping into cold water. I need to just devote myself fully and acclimate lol.

 

Thanks for your support.

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This Christmas

When I was younger, I used to base my Christmas experiences as being good or bad by the amount and/or quality of presents that I got. When I was younger, one of my best Christmas was when I got a boombox and one of my worst Christmas experiences, was when I was in the sixth grade and I was homeschooled because of my leg operation so not only did I see what everyone else got for Christmas, I also saw my gifts..not fun. However, I’ve grown older and learned more about the real reason behind Christmas, I look less at what I get and more about how I can give to back. It’s the little things.

This Christmas was extremely special this year because one of my best friends Renee gave the best present ever. She not only took me to my mom’s house so that I could spend time with my family but she also stayed with us and allowed my niece and godson to interact together and I got to spend time with her family . My godson and his mom was able to interact with their extended family and it was great..Everybody loved them and they loved everybody.

This Christmas and just this year in general, I learned it’s not about the gifts, it’s about the interaction. It’s about seeing my neice have more fun chewing on her tags than playing with her toys. It was beautiful seeing my godson play with his first drum set and his mom looking all glassy eyed. It’s about the small things.

Keep Pushing.

Danielle G.

 

 

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Going Against the Grain-Renee’

I had an interesting debate today with one of my most favorite people in the world. It started out talking about one of my new passions which is childhood cancer, I am in the midst of putting together a benefit for the cause. I have three main goals:1. Raise awareness of being a bone marrow donor 2. Register people to become donors and 3. Raise funds. While explaining my goals the person started talking about bone marrow donation and the pain associated with donating. I began talking about the newer procedure which is very similar to blood donation and how all you would need to do is take a series of shots and the marrow would come into the blood stream and they would collect the marrow just like donating blood.thislead to a counter argument about the safety of the marrow being in the blood and what that could mean for my health later. I stated that everything has risks…and I would much rather take the risk of helping someone else than not. Anything could happen..certain illnesses run in families. I’m not claiming any of those for myself BUT its always a possibility that those could pop up in my lifetime. Then taking care of my son was brought up. What if the risks would interfere with my ability to properly care for him like what if the procedure incapacitated me..left me out of work etc etc. All I could say is if it were me I would want someone to do ALL the could to help my baby. When I think of donation..all I see is Starla and her smile underneath her now balding hair..fighting for her life. If I were her mother I would pray that someone would be willing to atleast try. This entire conversation made me really stop to think most people might not take the risk to help someone else if it would cost them. Don’t get me wrong I’ve done the research and as far as I can tell risk is minimal with the blood transfusion procedure for donation. But with everything there’s a risk. I know that’s what the person was saying..but I was puzzled. In the African American community there’s a desperate need for donors, not just for bone marrow but pretty much for anything. How do we address this shortage? Someone has to take the risk. True alturastic personalities are rare. Jesus,Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Mother Theresa, joan of arc etc. They all thought their cause, their passion was bigger than themselves..and were willing to sacrifice unto death for their ideals. But its a rarity. I have always been so passionate about so many things. When I was 4 years old I came home from daycare covered in blood because I used my tshirt to help a friends nose stop bleeding. It freaked my mother out! To say the least, but I never thought about myself I really just wanted to help. And that has carried into my adult years. Its why I feel drawn to non profit. I never understand why some have soooo much and some have barely enough to survive. It seems so unfair and I question God about that quite often (which I know I shouldn’t do) but it just seems like if those with so much did even small parts for those who were in such need things would equal out. But there are those who believe ‘ive worked hard to get what I have and so should everyone’. But the truth is we all have needed help at one time or another, whether its a 20,000 loan to go to college or a neighbor who offers to watch a single mothers child while she goes to school and works…we all are in need. I say everyday that I would not be nearly as successful as a single mother if I didn’t have a team. And believe me it takes a team. From the friends who watch my son so I can take night classes. To the friends I can call when I am having an emotional day. To my mom encouraging me every step of the way. I think that’s why I feel so passionate about helping others..others have helped me. I couldn’t be who I am without God allowing people to help me. I’m surrounded by some of the most kind hearted people. They are so good to my son that I would be lost without them. In this life there are passions, ideas, dreams, hopes etc that others (who love you dearly) may never understand. It is up to us to go against the grain and be true to those beliefs inside. This is where I am at in my journey. Here’s to new life to your passions and dreams (as well as wisdom when to pull back). Balance is important in this journey.
Peace, love and passions
Renee’

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A Walk Into Ministry *Venus*

On Tuesday, I went to the Women’s Hope Medical Clinic (WHMC) to fill out a volunteer application to be a client advocate. I’m interested in volunteering so I gain experience in my field (Sociology/Social Work) and to do something fun!  Its been on my heart for a while to be a volunteer for WHMC. I just didn’t get the guts to do it until this week..lol..Anyway while I was looking at the application for the client advocate position, I was shocked to find out that WHMC was a ministry! I didn’t know that before.  I learned more about the clinic by reading its Mission, Core values, and Vision/Statement of  Faith (all backed up by scriptures). For the application, I had to answer questions about my background, my spiritual life, and my views (i.e. abortion and adoption to name a few). I went in the WHMC thinking that I was just going to fill out an application, but I walked in on being a volunteer for a ministry. My mind is just blown still! God has a funny way of doing things. Its been on my heart for the past few months to get more involved in ministry. Also, I have been praying the past few months for God’s purpose for my life. I think I getting warmer towards it..If I don’t know anything else right now, I know that I’m fit for ministry! Lately, God has been confirming a lot of things regarding my purpose whether its by a video I watch, a note or devotional I read, and him talking to me directly. I’m just really excited about things that are coming up for me in 2012!! I will be doing a lot work in ministry! I’m so ready to be used by God!! I start volunteering next month!! God Bless!!! HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS!! ~Venus~

Info on WHMC: http://womenshope.org/

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Pam and the Holiday Stress

The holidays are upon us again. I look forward to this joyous time and then when it is here what do I feel? STRESS! Not happiness, peace, awe…. It is not that I do not understand what we are celebrating. It’s just that the holiday is full of schedules and preparations that I cannot seem to accomplish. I got 3 Christmas cards and only 1 gift in the mail. I intended to send 40 cards and 3 gifts out. I still have one gift to buy tomorrow. We also have 2 relatives spending Christmas in the hospital. My life as a mom of 8 is busy and I seem to miss out on everything. It seems like I only do work all the time and people forget I am even here for anything else. I give up a lot to be an overtime mom. I don’t regret it but I do miss being a part of events. I cannot do what I used to do to keep up relationships with members of my family. I used to have energy that I do not have anymore. I used to be more available for them. Now all I can do is send a gift from time to time. It hurts that some of them do not seem to miss me. I am ashamed to even admit that. It is not okay but I have to accept how things are going to be. On the other hand I have a wonderful supportive husband and sweet children that are a constant wonder to me. Everyday I get to watch them discover the world from such an innocent standpoint. Sometimes I wish I was that sheltered again. I saw a bumper sticker the other day that read, “Too blessed to be stressed”. That is cute, but how is that possible? I have never had a stress-free life and I do not know anyone who has. I do not think that it works that way even for Christians. I know God has blessed me and he will not put on me more than I can bear. I know he helps me through hard times. In the past, when horrible things were happening to me, I grew,I learned, I became stronger. So I have to reason that some amount of stress is necessary. Right now I just wish it was a little less stress. I wish I was valued a bit more by the people I love. I wish I had another week to get ready before Christmas. Stressed or not, I am going to make time to read the real story of Christmas with my children this year. God bless you and your families as you celebrate the greatest Christmas gift of all.

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