Archive for March, 2014
Hello everyone! So there has been a bit going on this month. I’ve been stressing out about the whole health insurance situation. Enrollment ended today. I have health insurance through my job but it’s not considered as health insurance under the new law because it’s a “fixed” plan. I decided not to go w/ Alabama Cross Blueshield because I can’t afford it every month. I didn’t want to put myself in a bind trying to pay what I see as an extra bill right now. So I’ll just have to pay the penalty.
I was on Spring Break earlier this month due to the students being out of school for it. Since I work on a college campus, I get a Spring Break too. It felt weird sitting at the house not doing much. I’m use to being busy all the time. I admit it felt good to be able to sleep late during the week again. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that w/ the exception of my off days.The downfall of being out on Spring Break was that my last paycheck wasn’t that much. Being out of work for a week kind of hurt be financially but I have enough money for rent! WOO HOO! It’s due tomorrow. BOO HOO! lol!
On last Thursday, I babysat my Goddaughter Ja’Kiyah. She is 3 months old. It was the 1st time that I watched her by myself. Watching her wasn’t bad. I forgot what it felt like to babysit a baby. When was in high school, I baby sat my cousins. Ja’Kiyah was a little fussy but I was able to get her to calm down. I fed her twice & changed her diaper. A ministry class that I’ve joined, started two weeks ago. So far it’s going well. I received my money from my income tax this month & decided to put it in my savings account until I figure out what I wanted to do with it. I want to spend my money wisely. I bought a few items w/ my gift card & that was nice. =) I also volunteered this month & it went well! I hung out w/ a friend a few times this month. It felt great to do something fun! God bless!
P.S. I did somethings radical during last weekend. I cooked ribs for the first time! The sides that I had w/ the ribs were mac and cheese and baked beans. I was kind of nervous to cook the ribs because I wasn’t sure how they were going to turn out. I need to learn how to trim the fat off of ribs and remove the membrane better. Once I learn how to do that, I’ll be good to go!
I found out last week that one my high school classmate (Joel Finney) passed away. Him and his father was in a car accident. His father also passed away. My heart drop when I heard the news. One of my other high school classmates sister was involved in the accident. She had to be taken to the hospital.
Hello everyone! I’m trying my best to write this post but I’m really sleepy & tired! Lately, I’ve been feeling burnt out & tired. I’ve been working day shift w/ my job and it’s been a huge adjustment! I was on night shift & was use to going to bed around 2a.m. or 3a.m. Now I try to be in bed between 12a.m. & 1a.m. Even though I go to bed earlier, sometimes I don’t go to sleep until much later. When I get home from work, I usually take a shower and take a nap. When I take long naps, it messes up my sleep later on in the night so I’m trying to learn how to take power naps. I feel as if I lack energy & I feel really drained. I hope that I’ll be able to get more rest soon! God bless!
2 Corinthians 5:17
New International Version (NIV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!
Sometimes our identity comes from everything that is outside of us, our education, job title, beauty etc. We begin to misplace our focus onto things we “control”. We believe that our good works, our ability is what got us to this point…when really it’s nothing, but grace.
I’m currently facing a radical situation that has challenged me as a woman, this very instance I know for sure will alter who I will become IF I allow God to really get a hold of me and this situation. I’ve never been so out of sorts before and honestly God is the only One who can make this right.
This situation although challenging has opened me up to being more graceful to those around me. I’ve been purposefully more patient and kind and maybe this is exactly what my Father needs.
Maybe I was so caught up and focused on a goal that I missed my purpose. We can be so focused on the good thing that we miss what God is actually doing. If you’re so focused anything that does not align with that specific goal may seem like a distraction and you miss the opportunity to show someone the God in you. Yes, it’s a pain to wait an extra 10 to 20 minutes in line, but should you get up to the cashier with a nasty attitude? Will that change the wait time, or will that just affect the cashier’s day? Not saying we should never seek managerial assistance if someone is not properly helping you, but being rude should not be on that list.
I actually called and gave an employee a compliment on the national line. She had been pleasant and helpful and I immediately encouraged her and thanked her personally, but felt lead to do more.
When I called,the operator was so shocked that I had to be put on hold 2 times just so she could ask her supervisor the proper way to handle me placing a COMPLIMENT. We live in a society where the horrible deeds and the evil acts and thoughts are highlighted. People arguing fighting and being malicious is entertainment. How sad is it that being nice ..is actually shocking? God said we are to be a light in dark places….don’t let anyone or anything dim your light.
When I was growing up I admit that I imitated some of those women who were aggressive and brash, because they “got things done”. When I got saved at 17 I realized something had to change my actions represented something more..someone bigger than me. I wasn’t perfect and struggled with ( and sometimes still struggle with) the aggressive vs. Assertive lifestyle. But I want to be light. I want to glorify God at all times…even when I’m not in the best position. Honestly, that’s when it counts the most, when it is the absolute hardest thing to do. I no longer am a prisoner to my past thoughts or mistakes. I am new IN Christ. If I abide in Him…the work will get done even in negative environments. Like a rose growing in concrete, I can allow Him to bring beauty in the oddest of places.
Planting peace in my soul garden,
I sat in the chair tears stinging my eyes. I wouldn’t cry; there was no reason to be afraid. But I was so afraid. My boyfriend had kissed me goodbye at the security check point. They had patted me down and sent me out to the crowd of people looking for their gates. The large windows let in no sunlight; it was too early in the morning. I was all alone. I was about to go to a big city by myself. To do that, I would have to step on a plane for the first time.
I am introverted but I do not like to experience adventures by myself. I like to have a hand to hold and to share those experiences with my loved ones. When I first received the invitation to participate in Kidney Action Day, I was terrified. I almost turned it down. But I was able to convince myself that it would not be anywhere near as scary as thought and that I would be glad I went.
So at 4:45 am on that Tuesday, I got a breakfast bagel and took something for my anxiety. I snapped a picture of Grumpy Cat saying how much she hates airports. Security hadn’t even been that bad. But I couldn’t shake the nervousness. I said a prayer for peace and just sat back. The overhead system played a song that I loved and held a lot of meaning to me personally. It was Mandy Moore’s “Extraordinary.” I closed my eyes and let the words sink in: “now I’m ready to be extraordinary.” And I was.
After that my anxiety was gone. I was a little disconcerted for the takeoff on the flight but I quickly learned that flying was no big thing. It wasn’t like everyone had told me nor was it like what I had seen on TV or in the movies. I was in a way smaller plane that moved a lot but not so much it was scary. I did not have a good experience with my change over in Charlotte but I made my connection flight and my luggage got where it was supposed to be. Score!
I didn’t have to worry about being alone in Washington DC. The American Kidney Fund made sure I had driver who helped me get from the airport to the hotel and any other travel arrangements I needed. The schedule was so packed that I didn’t have much time to be alone. Between training, Action Day on the Hill and interviews, I had very little time in my suite. But the suite was so nice it was like home away from home. I made my tea soaked in the tub and snuggled up in my big ol’ bed.
During the Action Day I had a chaperon who made sure I got where I needed to be and made sure I said what I needed to say. I had meals with the other advocates learning each one’s stories. I marveled at the snow studded sights of Dc including the National Mall, the Capitol and senate buildings and the Supreme Court. It was powerful to see these places in person, places I had seen on TV or in video games. I was in awe.
I had been right the entire time. It would not be as scary as I was imagining and it was totally worth the trips. By being Radical, I was truly being extraordinary.
These last few months have been tumultuous to say the least. Let I give you a quick breakdown of the last few months:
December 2013- I took a leap of faith and applied and got approved for a car. I’m the proud owner of a 2004 Honda CR-V, which is also the car that I have wanted since I learned to drive. 2 days before Christmas, I was invited for a interview at a local mental health center for the position of, drumroll please….a therapist! It was by far one of the best interviews I’ve ever had and I really felt good about it.
January 2014- I went in for a pap smear and a lump was found by the nurse practitioner. I was then seen by a surgeon who ordered a lumpectomy (removal of the lump). I had 2, one was benign and the other was cancerous…
…I inserted dots because my life halted, literally I heard my dreams screeching. I went from, that morning being told I was officially hired as a therapist to being told that afternoon I had the big C. I was then sent to an oncologist where I was officially diagnosed with stage 0 breast cancer, which means the cancer is not likely to spread but it does have the possibility to return in the same breast.
February 6, 2014- One of my oldest brothers passed away at our house from cardiac arrest. He was only 35.
February 17, 2014- I started my new job as a substance therapist.
February 24, 2014- I began radiation treatments (6 weeks, 5 days a week), which I am prayerful will kill any and all cancer cells in my body.
WELP, thats what been happening in my world. This has been an eye opening experience. People have come of the woodwork to offer me support and prayers, which I am really grateful for. On a personal note, I have really stopped doing things. I really haven’t worked on any new earring designs or created any event planning idea blogs. I thought maybe having cancer would be my motivator, to kick me in high gear. But, right now, I am in the midst of not trying to be in a rut. I call it a walking sadness. I am doing the usual things but there are other times, like when Im at work and I feel so out of my league and feel ineffective and with the added feelings of being nauseous, breast tenderness from radiation, and my lack of exercise since last year, I am literally living for the weekend.
At this moment, I am taking it, as a phrase I’m hearing on a weekly basis, one day at a time. I am doing my best to not worry and let God does what he does best, which is to take care of me.
Still PUSHing with a case of sunburn,
Hey World !!!!!
I have been really busy the last few weeks. I have purposely tried to be radical again. I feel like the last few months all I have been doing is being intentional and I just felt that this wasn’t a fair way to go about this process. I need to continuously push myself if I am really going to get out of this journey what I expect.
1) I joined a running group! I have been off my physical health journey for awhile (for several reasons). When I had the ectopic pregnancy I couldn’t exercise until my HCG levels hit zero. Also, after my asthma attack last year I had a fear about having another one. BUT I decided that I needed to get out and do something just for me. I am not a huge fan of gyms..it’s just too repetitive for my liking so I had to think outside of the box. I am proud because this will help me meet two Rad goals at one time. I am able to meet people and get my body back in shape. The very first day of the run I almost fell out when they said they were going to run 5 miles. Like 5 miles! I never in life walked or ran 5 miles before, but these ladies were serious runners! I said I would do my best and not push it. I did intervals (running and walking) the first 2 miles and then I walked the rest of the way..but i DID 5 miles. I was elated. Then I went to the gym two days later and did 4 1/2 miles on the indoor track and did 20 minutes on the bike (which equaled about 5 miles). Again I was so proud of myself. I even made healthier food choices for the whole family as well. My goal is to run the Mercedes half-marathon in Tuscaloosa next year. I think that might have been my issue before with exercise. I didn’t have a goal, I worked out because I felt I had to and not because I wanted to. Or worse yet just for reasons of vanity ( I refused to say I had “baby weight” when my son was a year old). Now I feel I have a healthier relationship and view of exercise.
2) I started looking at graduate programs (again).I am back to looking at social work for the 50th time. I’ve talked myself out of it for various reasons, but it keeps coming back! I also have a small confession about grad school. Although, I did really well in undergrad and my one year graduate school (3.5 and 3.7 respectively) . I sometimes feel it was a fluke. Not that I think that I am stupid by any means, but I don’t know.. I feel like I have been out of school for so long that I might have some trouble getting back into the swing of things. So…instead of facing that fear head on I’ve kind of side stepped it. I have decided to also try and tackle another monster while at it..the GRE. When I was in grad school before I opted for the cheaper and not as lengthy MAT. In order to qualify for better financial aid options most programs require a GRE score. The non profit I work for currently is extremely small ( I am one of 4 employees) and I do not think that I would be able to get tuition reimbursement so I have to be creative. And by creative I mean I have to study my butt off and get a great score. I can’t see it being worth it to get a graduate degree and rack up more student loan debt especially if I am deciding to stay in the non profit sector. It really wouldn’t be cost effective, but if I can get some great scholarships, GA positions and grants that would help.
3) I’ve also opened myself back up to the idea of trying to have another baby. After losing Baby Smith I felt like I should just be happy with having two healthy boys and call it a day.I actually considered having my tubes tied. The boys are at preschool age and that means things have gotten much easier. I realized that idea really came out of fear. Ectopic pregnancy is really scary, ontop of the feeling of grief you must also make sure you pay attention to your body. Any abnormal pain or ache needs to be evaluated to make sure that you haven’t ruptured. If you rupture and don’t know the risk of shock and death is still on the table (even after treatment). Being faced with your mortality at a time when you should be focused on bringing forth life is such a weird paradox. Now that I am in a much better head space I think that I will be open to having another baby if that’s what God allows
4) Also, I am trying to learn how to be more assertive in professional environments. How do you nicely disagree with a superior in a way that they will not become offended? How do you say something bothers you without coming across rude? This is a new area of development for me. I find it so strange because for any of my clients I am quick to fight for them, quick to encourage them. But I struggle in this area for myself. Am i valid for being upset? Most of the time I just shrug incidents off and keep it moving, but is that the right thing to do? I’ve been really praying about this issue. I want to be tactful in all that I do, but I also don’t want people to do things that I just don’t like. I struggle with this balance.
Back on track (in more ways than one)
I spent the past year obsessing over pregnancy/surrogacy. Luckily I followed good advice to believe in myself and apply for grad school again. Now I can spend the next year (or 6) obsessing over my future career. I know it will be a difficult road, but I am excited to be back on track. I worked hard throughout my undergraduate and master’s program with one thing in mind… the elusive Ph.D. and the job opportunities that it entails.
The first step ahead of me is acquainting myself with the many different projects my new mentor has going. After reading articles related to each one, I get to choose with projects I want to become personally involved with–all of which include studying correlates of and treatments for child maltreatment. I can’t wait to begin! The real work will start this fall when school starts and Elias goes to daycare. I will be using my time very wisely to make sure every hour Eli is in daycare will be spent productively. Elias is going to get good quality time with me every day. He’s always going to be my top priority. I find no better motivation for success than picturing Eli at my graduation.
Wish me luck as I start this process, and please send up a prayer for me as I read up on the projects I will potentially be starting this fall. I want discernment in choosing wisely to find projects that I will be good at helping with and that will help me advance my career.
Grad school is a notoriously emotional process. I plan to use all the tools at my disposal to stay centered and see the big picture as I walk this academic labyrinth. Little steps each day add up to big success in the end. Thank you in advance for your prayers and support.
Love and luck until next time!