Archive for August, 2014
Hey everyone! My third year of Radical7even has had it’s ups and downs. One of the highlights of the year was becoming a Godmother, becoming an Empowermoments writer & getting my permit. I also enjoyed being able to be a bridesmaid for my friend’s Renee wedding & helping plan her wedding reception. I also planned my best friend’s baby shower last year. I can’t wait to see what will happen in the fourth year of Radical7even!
Hey everyone! Below are my final update on my goals for the third year of Radical7even.
1.) To work on my personal appearance.
-A couple of months ago, I bought some clothes from the thrift store. I think that I need more feminine clothes though. I have a lot of old college t-shirts.
2.) To declutter my room.
-I haven’t been doing my best w/ decluttering my room. It seems like every time I get the clutter down a little bit, it always find a way back to get in my room. Lol!
3.) To work on getting a job in my field.
-I still don’t have a job in my field. I have applied to a few places but haven’t had an interview. I’m hoping that I’ll have a job in my field by the time I’m 30 years old.
4.) To work on getting my driver’s license/permit.
-In May, I got my permit. Yay me! I don’t have my driver’s license but I plan on having it within a year. I have been practicing my driving skills & so far I’ve been doing well.
5.) To work more on the College Transition Program and for it to be in full function.
-My assistant & I have been working on the program. We created a PowerPoint presentation earlier this year. Our goal is to launch the program before the year is over.
6.) To work on reaching out to my friends more.
-I have been reaching out to my friends here & there. I tell them that I love them, think about them often, & that they are in my prayers.
7.) To decrease my stress and take more time out for myself to do fun things.
– I haven’t done a good job on decreasing my stress. I don’t be stressed all the time but I have my moments when things become too much for me to deal with. I have done a few fun things here & there. However, I don’t think I do enough fun things because I be on my “take care of business mode”.
In the last couple of month I have been in contact with a local pastor who wanted to use our nonprofit site to set up a cowboy church. I worked with him and became a liaison to our Board of Directors to set up a program both parties could agree on. With God’s guidance, the Cowboy Church was able to kick off three weeks ago. I had the honor of attending this past Sunday for the first time.
What is Cowboy Church you ask? It’s a service designed to make cowboys, county people, animal lovers, and the cowgirl at heart feel welcome and appreciated. Services are held in a horse friendly environment such as a barn or stable and many bring out their horses to ride before they sit down to hear about Jesus. There is no dress code. Your boots, dirty jeans and cowboy hats are welcome. Cowboy Church aims to remove the trappings that often deter some from church and keep them from coming to hear the Gospel.
That was the lesson of that day’s sermon. We as Christians often tend to box each other in thinking there is one way a Christian should look. “Don’t fence me in!” the pastor proclaimed. Sitting on the mounting block in my jeans and flannel shirt, I felt at home. I have always felt like the churches I went too were trying to fence me in. That they wanted to make me talk like them, look like them, walk like them. If you know me, then you know I am like nobody else.
The message delved into the story of Simon, a “stinky, cussing fisherman.” Jesus came to him, not to some nicely dressed banker, and, not only that, but he came speaking Simon’s language. He got down on Simon’s level using fishing terms helping him understand the miracles he could work and how we must bring other into the fold. He didn’t say to Simon, “Go take a bath and then listen to me.” He didn’t say, “Put on your fancy robes and then learn from me.” Jesus came to him and made him a fisher of men.
That’s an important lesson. We have to reach out to people in a way they will understand. Just like in education, we have to teach in a way they will learn so people don’t pull away from knowledge. When we make people feel like outcasts, we banish them from love and support.
I hope that I am inviting and welcoming. I do try. But it feels really good to know there are other people like that out there. Now giddy up cowgirl and be an evangelist for Christ!
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.
Many 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.
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
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 conference. 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!
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.