Archive for February, 2014

My February ~Venus

Hey everyone! There has been a lot going on this month & it’s almost over! Yay! I’ve been working a lot lately and I’m burnt out! I’ve been feeling tired and sleepy a lot! When I get home from work, I usually want to take a nap.I hardly have any energy. I’ve been still having issues with Unemployment and it has been stressing me out. I worked on a Powerpoint w/ my assistant this month for a program that we are working on together. I just hope that our Powerpoint gets approved. We plan on submitting it soon to the people who are over us.

My Valentine’s Day was ok. I worked. I bought myself a promise/purity ring, a box of chocolate, and a Hershey’s cookies and cream. My mom gave me a box of chocolate and I got a box of chocolate from the leasing office of my apartment (also some chocolate chip cookies). Last Wednesday I attended the “Ask Your Mama: The Twelve Moods of Jazz” (a poem my Langston Hughes) featuring Malcom Jamal-Warner and the Ron McCurdy Quartet on AU’s campus. I had a good time. The quartet was awesome! They are so talented! The piano player, the man on the drums, and Ron McCurdy (he played the trumpet) had solos. I wish the guy that was on the bass had a solo! Malcom Jamal-Warner looked a little bit bigger in person. He is such a great actor! I wore my wig (Lavender by Sensationnel) outside for the first time. I received a lot of compliments on it! 😉

Here are the radical things I did for the month: I made Philly cheese steak sliders, I got my eyebrows waxed for the 1st time in the nail shop, and I also got a pedicure in a nail shop for the 1st time as well! That’s all I can think of at the moment to write. I participated in a Love Yourself Challenge for my mentor’s ministry Wives in Waiting for the month of February. The challenge consisted of posting a picture day on social media w/ an I am statement (a positive affirmation or who God says you are) using the hashtags #WivesinWaiting #LoveYourselfChallenge #PhotoADay #February. I found the challenge to be challenging because I’m not a picture person (lol) and it was something I had to keep at everyday w/ “I am” statements. I’m also not a “smiler”. Today is the last day of the challenge. WOO HOO I made it!

I had to say goodbye to one of my shows (Good Luck Charlie) on the Disney Channel. I’m so going to miss that show! My favorite character is Gabe. Gabe likes to pull pranks on his next door neighbor Mrs. Daphne. He is the most mischievous out of his siblings. Monday I filed my taxes for free w/ an organization called SaveFirst. I’m so glad that’s out the way! Now I have to figure out this health insurance situation. On Sunday, there was a car accident not far from where I live. I decided to take an alternate route to work that morning and I’m glad I did. If I had taken the regular route I usually walk, I would had been right next to the accident. Thank God for his protection! I enjoyed Being Mary Jane this month. Mary Jane is a complicated character. To the outside world it looks like she has everything together. She has a nice career, a nice car, and house. However, her love life is crazy! I really hope the new season come back on soon! God bless!

~Venus

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Relating to The Gabby Douglas Story Movie ~Venus

Hello everyone! A few weeks ago Lifetime aired a movie called The Gabby Douglas Story. It was an awesome movie about Gabrielle Douglas’ life. For some of you that may or may not know, Gabby Douglas was the 1st African American gymnast (she was 16 yrs old at the time) to win two gold medals at the 2012 London Summer Olympics. I could relate to several things in the movie. Gabby’s mom was very supportive of her. She went to everything that Gabby participated in and was supportive of her son and two other daughters. Her mom and siblings sacrificed to support Gabby’s dream to be an Olympian.

My mom was very supportive of me (she still is). She went to just about everything I participated from kindergarten to college. There was only one time that I remember my mom missing out on something I did. She wasn’t able to make it to one of my orchestras concert in 8th grade because she moved to Alabama before I did. My mom made time to come to my events. She was a working woman so I know it was probably was a little difficult for her to adjust her schedule at times. My mom and my aunt sacrificed for me to attend college. My mom and Auntie Pearl paid some of the semesters (tuition) and gave me the money for books during college. When I fell on hard times, my mom and my Auntie Pearl helped me out financially. There was a point that Gabby wanted to give up her dream of being an Olympian. She wasn’t feeling it anymore but she was able to find her passion and accomplish her dream.

There have been times in college that I wanted to give up (primarily my Sophomore and Senior year). College was very difficult for me. God gave me the strength to endure and finish. My Sophomore year of college I wasn’t happy towards the end of it. I was in a major (Information Systems) that I didn’t like. My grades started going down because I had a lot on my plate..I was a Resident Assistant and was active in student organizations. I just lost my motivation. I took a career assessment online and found out what I was good at. I found Social Work and changed my major to Sociology w/ a minor in Social Work. I was happy from that point on. I was happy to go to my classes and my grades started to improve. I also learned that I liked doing community service. I was the secretary for American Humanics (now the Non-Profit Alliance) and we did community service projects. I had tons of fun doing that! My junior year I had to transfer to another college because the college I went to (AUM) didn’t have the teachers for me to complete my Social Work degree. I had to choose between Auburn University (AU) and Alabama State University (ASU). I chose AU.

My senior year was rough. When I transferred to AU, things were rough. My aunt passed away my last week of finals at AUM. So I was still grieving over her death. I was working a seasonal job but it wasn’t enough to pay the bills. I had to depend on my family to help me. I did apply to other jobs but I had no luck. I had interviews but it didn’t go to the next step (a full-time job). I ended up failing my internship for Social Work (which I didn’t expect) and I had to change my major again. I had to apply to a new major, get my financial aid back, and go to school another semester the last week of school. On top of that, I was having drama w/ my roommates. I was miserable and depressed. I wasn’t able to fully function in the relationship I was in at the time. It was very hard for me to make it during my last semester of school. I ended up failing my Victimology class. I worked super hard in that class and did all my assignments. I even went to my professor for help! Her tests were so hard! I remember only passing on her tests. The funny part is I took another class w/ her (Sociology of the Family) and passed it.

Anywho I felt myself going to OH NO this can’t happen again mode. I couldn’t afford not to graduate on time again! My academic advisor was able to substitute my Victimology class w/ another class I took at my previous college. I was so happy! My academic advisor was so helpful when I was going through my rough patch my Senior year. My friends, family, and the boyfriend I had at the time were helpful too. I ended up graduating May 2010. I wasn’t the happiest person on my graduation day. To be honest, I was relieved and still depressed at the same time. One of my friends was going through a rough patch in her life too. Not too long after she graduated from college, her parents divorced and she found out she was having a baby. I helped plan her baby shower during my last semester. She was a single mom for a while. My friend now is married. She is a great mother to her sons (her biological son & her husband’s son). God has really turned her life around! 😉

I liked in the movie how Gabby automatically knew that she had to be coached by Liang Chow to train for the Olympics. The lesson I learned from that is that you have to be connected to the right people to reach your destiny. Today is the last day of Black History Month. So I thought this post would be a great way to close out the month. God bless!

~Venus

This video is awesome! I have to really get over my fears/doubts so I can be the person God created me to be. 😉 I remember in the movie Gabby told her mom she didn’t want to be exceptional (it was during a time she was having a rough patch). She told her mom she didn’t want to be a gymnast anymore. Her mom told her that they (the family) sacrificed for her she was going to throw it all away. <<-That's my paraphrase lol


I thought this would be a great video to share since Valentine's Day was this month. 😉

To learn more about Gabrielle Douglas visit: http://gabrielledouglas.com/biography

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Filled up ***Gem***

I’ve set many goals over the past few years. Financial, Personal,Emotional, Physical and Spiritual. My main goal is to have peace.I just don’t want to be stressed out. I know that I cannot predict anything around me , from the way people act/react to how events unfold during the day. What I can do is control what  I let influence me and how I let things influence me. This can be a struggle especially if I am having a particularly challenging day but what I found is if I start the day in a positive manner I have a greater chance of being able to combat negativity. Also it is important to nip negativity in the bud. This can be tricky because sometimes this involves separating yourself from someone that is being negative or cutting a conversation short because you can feel the topic stealing your peace ….and the list goes on. I know my stress tolerance level and I will admit it – I am an emotional person so if I am thrust into an emotionally tasking situation it will rub off on me. I sometimes have issues trying to compartmentalize. With that being said I have started to go in overdrive to protect my emotional stability and set fierce boundaries. The truth is, being a broken down version of yourself is not helpful to anyone. We give from our overflow so it is important for us to stay filled up so that when it is time for us to give we don’t end up feeling depleted . Stress depletes us.Complaining depletes us. Negativity depletes us. Speaking harshly depletes us. Judgement depletes us. Giving away our peace depletes us. The goal is to distance ourselves from that which depletes us and run towards that which fills us up- GOD.You cannot lose by trusting God for your portion. Choose to see the blessing in every situation. Choose to be filled up by gratitude . Choose to stand on his promises. One promise that I have been standing on and telling everyone every chance that I get is Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. This reminds me that it doesn’t matter what is going on, I can remain peaceful because God has a plan for me. He also has a plan for you 🙂Image

One day at a time,

Gem

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Musings from our due date *Kelly

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The photo above is what I see each morning when I wake up and every night before I go to sleep. I am on the verge of bringing forth life into the world and helping form a new family. My career trajectory is back on course to my dream job. I have brought my family to a city they love with opportunities they deserve. We are preparing to move into a nice gated apartment community in Kendall, a wonderful part of Miami to raise a family. Today is our due date! In the ocean of my life, I am sitting atop the crest of an exhilarating wave.

At the same time, I am experiencing a surge of emotions. Several people close to me are dealing with ongoing medical and personal struggles. I am feeling especially empathetic and thoughtful due to the pregnancy hormones. They make you feel more deeply, which is often characterized as crazy. I think it is an opportunity to experience life more fully for a moment.

The juxtaposition of what my loved ones are experiencing has me thinking deeply about God’s will. We all have different spiritual journeys. If you identify as a Christian, making sense of senseless suffering is the hardest part of that journey sometimes. I hear people talk about everything that happens being God’s will, and that if you are a good or faithful enough Christian you can pray yourself out of any negative situation. If that were true, a lot more of my Christian friends would be millionaires with perfect lives. Sometimes really awful things happen… they happen to us all. Blaming people for situations outside of their control is simple-minded and does nothing to help them along as they overcome their struggles.

Two of my loved ones have chronic health conditions that can wear on you psychologically as the symptoms and new medications come and go. One of my dearest friends married her dream guy, found a great job, got pregnant, and looked forward to all that entails. When she miscarried, there was no funeral. The loss of unborn children often transpires in a silent, painful solitude. If the child had been born first, the grieving would be a more social process with a gathering at a funeral and flowers… cards. Whether born or unborn, parents who lose children experience the same crushed hopes and dreams. Nevertheless my friend presses forward and is as strong as she can be in each moment. Another friend got a great job, found out she had a serious medical problem, got better news that she will be able to avoid chemo with radiation, and then lost a young member of her immediate family. She is also strong and gets through as best as she can. I refuse to believe God intervened to make my friends experience these losses, instead of intervening to say… stop a young child from being sexually molested. I do believe God is all-powerful, but the forces at work here on Earth are more complicated. They involve the decisions we make, the decisions of those around us, and the laws of science put into place that none of us can change. Good acts often breed more good, bad can breed bad, and sometimes there is no apparent rhyme or reason.

All in all, I don’t think we are meant to understand why everything happens to us and to the ones we love. The best we can do is what we should do. We all fall short of our aspirations… we all have our vices. I feel there is one source of love. This same love now exists in every location and culture. This means we are all capable of acting in love and improving the world immediately around us. That is powerful—as powerful as the negative. I hope that when my next challenges come, as they come to us all, that I will be as strong as my friends. I hope I can accept and feel the love given to me in those times, as they have received the love and support around them.

Please send me your positive wishes and say a prayer over the next little while for a safe delivery for baby Mei and a good recovery for me. The family that is about to come together and my family are now inextricably interwoven… and it is a beautiful tapestry. They have made it possible for Nathan, Elias, and I to make this move and start a new life. They are very private people, in protection of the good life they have built successfully in an accepting community. I won’t be posting any photos of the new dads and Mei on Facebook like we did with Elias’ birth. I respect that they are not making a political statement. They do not want to be a spectacle. They want to just be as a family. I ask for your prayers for them as they make the transition into parenthood, which is a wild time for us all!

Thank you for taking time to read about my spiritual journey. I hope the best for you as you travel onward down your path.

Much love,
Kelly

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Sometimes Life Sucks-Renee

Romans 4:20-22 (NIV)

20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness

There will be times in life when you will cry. Loved ones will die. You may lose a job. Be falsely accused. Lied on. Family members may even turn their back on you. You may have health challenges.
  You may even lose a child.

There are times that life just sucks. You dont understand why this happens or why that happens. You can spend hours, days, weeks, months or years trying to find meaning in the incident. The answer may come. ..or it might not. The thing about faith..it means despite what sadness challenges, hurts or disappointing issues you will face (we all face them). There will be a God who will restore all that the enemy stole.
The greatest blessing of having a loving Heavenly Father means at some point things will get better. If you don’t get actually healing of the ailments you get peace. If you have a great loss you learn to appreciate what you already have.
There is a season for everything. The Bible is very clear on this. It’s up to us whether we choose to dance during the storms of life or get swept  away by them. I was honest with struggling with losing Baby Smith, I had my season of mourning. I will always have a slight ache in my heart-a scar if you will from that loss. And that’s ok too. That Scripture that I posted at the beginning helped me so much during a low point. It speaks directly to where I am. It doesn’t matter what it looks like,I will continue to praise God and I will continue to radically seek Him. He will give me beauty for my ashes.

RENEE

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I Love Me Unconditionally ~Audrey

I bought a Valentines mug that said “I Love Me Unconditionally.” My father promptly made fun of me and called me conceited. But I’m not.

I love myself. Unconditionally.I Love Me unconditionally_Angelslover_com

I spent years as a teenage not loving myself. I had manic depression and lived under delusions that I was ugly. I was unworthy. I did not deserve love. This put me in many a bad position and I did things I shouldn’t have done.

I started growing into myself in college, but it would take years of therapy and a good group of girlfriends to really understand I was a good person. I am beautiful. I am worthy. I deserve love.

My walk with God has helped a lot. He made me special and he loves me very much. I stumble? He picks me up and forgives me. When I feel no one is on my side. He is there.

I bought the mug as a reminder to love myself no matter what. I have been pretty tough on myself and my body lately. I have been mad that it has betrayed me by being so sick. I feel fat, swollen, and irritable. I feel unlovable because I have special needs. I am angry at myself that my life is not “normal.”

But that isn’t fair. So what if my immune system is screwy? This is me; this is my body. God gave it to me. I can’t let the negative outweigh the positive in my life. I have a great boyfriend, the dearest friends, great advocacy and career opportunities. I am truly blessed.  I will forgive myself and love my body for what it is instead of hating it for what it isn’t.

God loves me through sickness and health, through doubts and confidence. It is so powerful to know he gave up his own son for me. Now that’s true love. And if he can love me like that, I should be able to love myself like that.

So today, I want you to look in the mirror. Forget if you’re single, married or dating. Forget how many friends you have. Forget what your family relationships are. Tell yourself “I love myself—no matter what.”

Then thank God for his love and ask for the strength to see yourself as God made you. I know it is hard. I know the road is long, but you can do it. Forgive yourself and learn to love who you are. God will help you.


 

 

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Renee

I was unsure what to title this blog, but I enjoy the posted picture so much I had to write about it.

I’ve had a hard time staying positive lately. Life happens sometimes and there aren’t alot of answers. Going back to my last post about my job I just want to say I still haven’t found my footing completely. Which has been hard because with that comes criticism. Its been really difficult staying positive when I feel like I’m not exactly doing a great job in certain areas. Im trying to make the criticism make me stronger, but honestly it has knocked my confidence and had me question if I made the right decision. Mostly I do feel like I will grow, but man these growing pains! I realize that there are some areas I neeed to reevaluate and stop letting small things distract me. I think the biggest trick of the enemy is to have us focused on problems over the promise. 

This has taken my focus off my rad goals and gotten me so caught up in trivial matters. I think after losing the baby I kind of assumed I met my quota of attacks from the enemy which left me vulnerable to mind attacks that I didnt even realize were happening. Now that I am aware I’ve been trying to focus more on the positive and stop feeling sorry for myself. I have the power to fight or give up. I choose to fight. All I have tondo is go through today…stop focusing on the future so much. This past year my husband and I workerd o save money for a bigger place. I remember thinking there’s no way I could go through a year doing this yet…next month we will move to a bigger place. I am equipped with all the tools I need to be successful. I need to just recognize it.

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