Posts Tagged Faith

Just Hanging On- Renee’

test

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged because honestly the past month and a half have been …lets say challenging.

Darren was sick for two weeks and I just couldn’t figure out what was wrong. He was having breathing issues and if you read our birth story you’ll know why this is such a stressor for me. Come to find out…he had pertussis.  Scared me to death.

Then Lennon ran back to back fevers for two days the highest being 104.2 and back to the ER we went. He had walking pneumonia and last Friday..my mom was in a car accident.

This year has been a season of loss for me. A season of pruning and it’s hard. Every time I feel like I am about to take my first deep breath something else hits me in the gut.

I’ve not blogged because I didn’t want it to be so negative…but what I realized is that’s what makes this blog different. We all aren’t just the perfect Christians that never doubt God. Or get angry at Him…we have real emotions; real stressors.

Plus when God does fix it so sweet and I’m sure He will…this will be my testimony.

~Renee
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“Your baby wasn’t breathing”-Renee’

Hey! Hey Young World,

I’m writing to you in a sleep deprived  haze because……Darren K.W Smith is here!  I’m literally holding him in my arms as he decides if he wants to nurse again or go back to LaLa Land….but with all things…things are not what they seem

Birthing Story

It’s no secret that I wanted to do a TOLAC ( Trial of Labor after a C-section), because my recovery from my emergency c-section with Lennon  was waaaaay harder than that of my natural delivery with Daniel. For 40 weeks and two days…i had one pregnancy complication….hyperemesis gravardium which was about 80 percent controlled by Diclegis (an anti-nausea medication) for 6 months and then I just managed the systems by powering through because although I felt nauseated I didnt actually get sick everyday any more.. I digress…

Hubby and I were watching a Kareem Abdul Jamar documentary on  Tuesday, July 18. We were laughing because we just kicked the boys out because they were so hyper. Lennon wanted to literally lay on me…head on my shoulder leg around my belly…didnt work, Daniel asked 2340988 questions before the first credit rolled and Landyn well he really wanted to shoot hoops so…yeah they went to their rooms. All of a sudden i felt a…it felt like pressure and literally heard a pop! I looked at my husband like…i think my water broke! Sidenote it’s actually a rare occurrence to have that happen as a first sign of labor.

I stood up… and yes…there the Niagara falls flowed.  I was shocked. I’d done everything to encourage Baby Darren to emerge and there i sat at 2 cm dialated noooooo effacement for 3 and a half weeks…I had Hubby look up pressure points to induce labor earlier Tuesday night and did a membrane sweep that Monday.  Something worked lol.

Oh Baby!

In the elevator on the way to triage

So we gather all our things and head to the hospital. Laughing, joking, calling family. I had zero contractions the first hour. I change into my gown, get hooked to the monitors…..and wait. My contractions came on strong and Baby Darren was not happy; his heart rate would slow pretty significantly. The nurse had me lay on different sides to take pressure off the lil guy but…it would only work temporarily. In triage, I was about 3 1/2 dialated and 50%effaced around 11pm.

Moving into the LD room, I was in good spirits. My mom had arrived and she and hubby were keeping me focused on breathing and other pain managing techniques. Again I was told to lay on various sides because of his heart rate. At 1 am I was about 4 1/2 dialted 75% effaced. During this time his heart rate dropped pretty low and the c-section  convo began. Which I already knew because this happened with Lennon. They were going to put more water in the womb thinking that would give him more cushion but never did. Around 2am his heart rate dropped again with heart tones in the 60s so…off to the OR.  I cried because as with Lennon, i was progressing well physically  (I was 6cm and 75% effaced) but yet again the baby wasn’t doing well. But I was ready. The problem was no one explained 2 things:1) we are going to put you under general anesthesia* this is a huuuge fear of mine, I’d never been put under and…I would miss the birth completely. 2) my husband would NOT be in the room

In OR I kept asking for my husband. If I couldn’t see the birth I needed him to. People were everywhere, telling me to drink this, breathe into this. But not one question was answered and I was petrified. But God sent my labor nurse who had been in my room monitoring me into the OR. She held my hand, got me to slow my breathing and helped me swallow whatever the heck was in that vile. Sidenote 2.2…how does one drink laying flat? That seemed like a bad idea.

I wake up in a blurry haze asking for my baby. I’m told, he’s in ICU….wait,what? What happened? Did my husband see the baby? No. And you have to stay here for atleast an hour. One hour…he was housed in my body for 40 weeks…and not only did I NOT see him, no one has. No real updates. Nothing. Im a weeping mess. Like my husband wasn’t there in my room. Nor my mom, nor my bestie which had made it in by then. They were able to come back about 20 minutes later.

He was born at 234 am. I met him at 5:00 am. I was rolled down with pain pump, catheter and oxygen monitor in place. Hubby,mom and bestie were my escorts.

The first time meeting my child was pretty emotional. All the wires, and random people  (which of course are staff) and him being so pale and not alert….I cried yet again.

The pediatrician’s first words to me were “They saved your baby’s life”, before I held him, before I got to process the scene that was now my birth story.

Here’s the thing obviously I knew he was in distress. Lennon had been as well. But once the cord was unwrapped he was great. Well, Baby Darren did not have his cord wrapped and the placeta was sent off to see if we can find out what happened. No one can really tell me the cause of him not getting oxygen while in labor. But essentially he was suffocating. His APGAR scores were 4,6 and 7 (which are low). And because i was put under he also had some anesthesia in his system. The ped. doctor said they’d be monitoring him for neurological abnormalities since no one knew how long he wasn’t getting proper levels of oxygen. Oh the comfort.

First time

Meeting Baby Darren for the first time. I was swollen from crying and had to have constant monitoring due to taking pain mes

I was dumbfounded how did we get here. How? A full term baby with no prior issues was in the NICU.

I had prayed in the recovery room and in his room because although it seemed like chaos, I knew God is in control. I would have to leave my love there. And despite having a csection hours before i breast fed every 2 to 3 hours. The first 2 times i was wheeled in my wheelchair but the hospital was so busy the elevators were too full for all of my equipment. This meant waiting for a clear elevator for several cycles. The third time I walked. 6 hours after the csection, I grabbed my IV pole and slow walked from 6th to 3rd floor (using the elevator). That’s how I spent my first 24 hours.

As the day developed, i found out more details. Baby Darren was not crying when he was born, they spent 7 minutes giving him oxygen. It also took about 7 minutes to get him out. Later he would pass every single test they do for well baby checks 😁 it appeared he had no deficits!

God honored our prayers. Baby Darren started flourishing. In fact, after the pediatrician gave his report I had nursed him. His color started returning, he ooened his eyes, he turned towards my voice. By Thursday, talks started in on him FINALLY coming to my room. And at 8 pm, he was there!

For him to have such a dramatic start he’s a very chill baby. It’s scary to know that my litte guy entered this world fighting for his life, but I’m glad it’s a fight God allowed him to overcome!

I’m forever thankful for my husband  mom and  bestie Danielle. They helped me relearn walking, changed my dressings, helped me shower. Walked down 45 million times to nicu, wiped my tears. Thank yall so, so much!!!

 

Also a special thanks to Simone Plus Photography for the beautiful family pictures! It was such a healing experience after our ordeal.

Contact: http://simoneplusphotography.weebly.com/

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Beginning of Year 6 **DaniGee**

I got the great opportunity to write year 6 goals with my bestie. I am always inspired by the strength of the ladies that God has allowed me to meet on this journey called Life. Some of my goals will be add on from previous years and some are completely new to push me out of my comfort zones. It is my prayer that I commit myself to be more transparent with my journey via blogging with Radical 7even. Honestly, it was our goal when we first started blogging but slowly I started to slack. Thank you for joining us on this Journey. I hope you enjoy our posts.image

Here’s to Year 6!

I’ve decided to not do 7 goals but create 5 goals on various parts of my life that I want God to move in.

GOALS

JOURNALING: I WANT TO JOURNAL AT LEAST 4 TIMES A WEEK
o I have had many friends and family give me beautiful journals. I would write for a month of so but then it would get put down and not picked up, except for the random day. This year and part of 2015 I have done what I consider really well with journal. For the year of 2016, I written at least once a week for the past 6 months.
o INTERVENTIONS
Use Journal Prompts via Pinterest Pins, Book Questions
Seek out Spiritual/Religious sermons and readings
Honesty Writing about my Day

MENTAL HEALTH
o Mental Health is a subject that is not talked about enough in the minority community and sometimes with our closest friends. I want to shine a light on these issues
o INTERVENTIONS
Do a weekly blog on my personal blog titled Wellness Wednesdays
Highlight wellness resources in the local community and nationwide
Being honest about my personal mental health issues and self care.

FINANCIAL/EXTRA STREAMS OF INCOME
o I am believing in 2017 that I will be moving and in the last 2 years I have been doing better with paying my bills on time and I want to continue this trend by building up my savings as well as earning more income for traveling and extracurricular activities.
o INTERVENTIONS
Be intentional with posting on my DaniGee’s blog and various social media Platforms.
Seek out webinars and informationals on how to make thrifting successful
Plan out writing sessions.

SPIRITUAL
o In simple terms, I gotta do better.
o INTERVENTIONS
Find a daily meditation
Dedicate 30 min in the morning with Bible Readings
Seek out what it means to be a Christian.

WEIGHT LOSS
o I have been off the wagon too long. I hang on to the fact that I lost about 30 pounds but I realized that it has been about 10 years and it’s time to start again and continue the journey.
o INTERVENTIONS
 Looking for more ways to eat healthier, i.e. smoothies and crockpot recipes.
 Being more intentional in exercising
 Joining health challenges

I am praying for an eventful radical year. Please pray for us.

Still PUSHing,

DaniGee

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Worn Notes in My Back Pocket~Audrey

I was inspired by Daniele’s post to create a list of things I would tell my teenage self. Here is my list of 7 Radical Things I Wish I Had Known:

 

  1. He doesn’t love you

I know you love him and your love for him is real. It is first love, and it is strong and powerful. He says he loves you, but he wants to share you with his friends. He wants you to be a back up to all his plans. That is not true love. It will hurt to break away but, and I know you won’t believe me, you will be ok. You will become a strong independent woman. Don’t try to please him or make him happy. Move one to other loves and other mistakes.

  1. You are not what you see.

Your perception is off; you will be diagnosed with hypothyroidism. The chemicals rushing through your brain are making you hallucinate in what you see in the mirror. Until you get that checked and fixed, you will not see yourself as you truly are. There will be issues with your parents not getting you help, but you will get it and you will turn into a lovely, happy teen before you leave high school. Count on it.

  1. There is an answer for your physical and mental health

You get sick and hurt a lot. People will make fun of you and call you names. They will not believe you. But there is something physically wrong with you. You won’t learn about until your early thirties but it’s true. Your sinuses infections and mood swings are all related to an overall health issue. Keep going even when doctors brush you off. You are not crazy; you just need some help for a rare disease. You are what the medical community calls a zebra, and you are special.

  1. You and your mom will be close again

You tension is both of your faults. Your disease is making it hard, and you are mad at your parents for not getting help. Your mom doesn’t see it. She is quick to think that if she can overcome you can too.  Some of it is her selfness but some of it is your belief in your strength.  You won’t see that for a long time.  But you will be close again even if it does seem like it will take forever. The two of you will move past those struggles and have life events that will bring you close. You will empathize. So it will be alright with your parents especially your mom. Just hold on.

 

  1. You are special and God loves you very much

Your faith is fluid. You grew up Baptist but in your dark depression you don’t get any of it. You struggle with being agnostic. You wish for an easy faith as you see of those around you. But faith isn’t easy–especially in a world of false Christian and a closed minded attitude. You will meet a group of girls who will show you what Christianity is about. You will study the Bible and become deeper in your faith. Finding a church is sketchy and by the time you’re 32, you will find one that makes you p hopeful. But you will be fully aware that He loves and made you special. You are who you are supposed to be and He will lead you to great things. He’s there even if you can’t feel him in the darkness.

 

  1. You are not alone.

 

Even though you feel lonely it does not mean you are not loved. You feel alone one because of your depression and because you are different. But it’s okay. Keep reading books. Keep writing. Don’t give up. You will have friends who see the light in you even if you aren’t popular. When you get to college you will bloom as a person and attract people who care about out and who you care about. There will be men who truly love you, and family who don’t give up on you. And you will have a network of great friends. They won’t always be physically close but they will be emotionally. Some people will come in and then they will leave. But you only needed them for a season. People will replace them. There will be times when you feel lonely no matter what, but remember you will never truly be alone.

 

  1. You will change the world.

You have known since you were little that you were different, that you would go beyond your peer’s hopes for money and fame (even though you wouldn’t have minded a little fame). You would be someone you would make a ripple in this world. You will do this. It will be more subtle than most people think of when they say they want to change the world. You will preach on peace and love. You will change the lives of children daily as well as work with animals which you adore. Then you’ll move on to changing the world at an international level: you will help orphans find homes change the lives of people both in the US and the Ukraine. You will help your friends and be a rock for them. You will spread love to each of them and you both will change each other’s lives. You will accomplish your goal. Stay Strong. Keep your eyes set on it. Don’t ever let go.

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Lessons ***DaniGee***

handwritten letter

I honestly feel that this year has been an eye opener for me. Well, really the last couple of months have had me bugging my eyes out. I thought this would be a good time to reflect and to talk to the 18 year old Danielle. The 18 yr  old Danielle was in her first year at AUM. She turned 18 on her first day of college. She cried home to her mom, scared about doing something different and just wanted to go home. She felt like she was country girl-who felt fat and that others would see right through her. She felt that she would be lonely and never make new friends. This is what I would tell her.

Dear Danielle,

Learn to love yourself at whatever stage. Danielle you are beautiful. You have a great personality. That is what will shine through more than anything. So what, you have a gap or you think you have your daddy and grandma’s hands or that you have thick eyebrows (you will be introduced to waxing in 2006 and it will be Amazing!) You are gorgeous, at 270-280-310 (yes, you will get to 310 but you will work it off.) and don’t let anyone dim your light. Don’t lower yourself for the sake of fitting in. You will learn latter on but fitting in isn’t really your style.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. It really is small stuff. You have so much anxiety. We still have it but it’s about different things. Learn to loosen up. Yes, sometimes you stutter because you get too excited. You may say inappropriate things (well, we still do…that’s just who we are.) It’s okay. Life will go on. You may have a bad day but you will also have good days, days where you will laugh hard enough to cry. You will have joy in your heart.

Don’t forget to live. Stop waiting for the right circumstances. Stop waiting for you to look a certain way or feel a certain way. Just write down some goals and go for it. You will have friends who will be supportive of any idea you have, they will be your biggest cheerleaders. It is okay to see an event on campus and go, even if you don’t know anyone.

Think about what goals after college. I know that feeling that you’re having. You’re on a high because you said you were going to college and you have made that a reality. You are going to learn that getting your degree is the easy part. School comes easy to you. The hard part states after you walk across the stage.  You think that people will be throwing jobs at you: nope, it doesn’t happen. SO, take this time to start to see what you like or don’t like.  Don’t be scared to apply for internships, in and out of state. This goes back to the prior point—don’t be too afraid to take risks. Also, know that being afraid is not a requirement to not pursue your goals. Do it afraid!

I hope that I didn’t scare you with this letter. I want you to feel empowered. You will go places you never dreamed of. You will learn how to drive and get a car! Won’t he do it!! (That’s will be one of your phrases). I want you to feel empowered. I want you to live life, not go through it. Allow your eyes to be open. Live life and have Faith in God, in all situations. Don’t be afraid of what others will think of you. Heck, who cares what others will say. There will be nothing you can say or do to stop them anyway. Don’t forget—you are beautiful, inside and out. You are worthy to have good happen to and for you.

Love Always,

DaniGee (Danielle)

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When You Tell God No~Audrey

I have been pretty obedient to God as of late. I followed him into domestic ministry at Bridges of Faith. Living off the support of those with generous hearts to put food on the table and paying the car payment is scary! But I tell myself if He brought me to it, He’ll bring me through it!

I have had a wonderful time with the Ukrainian Orphans we bring to Alabama for cultural exchange and family networking. Our first group was a great group of young children. I have always loved young children and those with disabilities. But what I never liked as teenagers. I couldn’t deal with their attitude and sass.  I’ve said this for years. Nothing was going to change that. So when I learned our second group included eight teenagers, I freaked out. I told God I couldn’t do this. I wouldn’t be able to bond. I wouldn’t be able to deal with their attitudes in a Christian manner.

God does not accept “no”. He just doesn’t. He brought over eight beautiful teens and one younger child to enjoy the month of August at our camp called BridgeStone. There were three girls, and I was dreading them the most. They’d freak out about getting dirty and a variety of other issues.  I didn’t want any part of it.

But from the moment they stepped into the airport, these children were nothing like the American teenagers I have worked with. They weren’t yelling or screaming, (to be fair they didn’t know a lot of our language). In the van ride home, they didn’t fight among themselves. They had their snacks and took nap. Even though, this would be the most composed t2015-08-30 06.51.19-1hey will be for the e entire month, they never reached the hectic, loud, negative brouhaha that I was used to. Most of them were well behaved (but as allays with the boys, you had to keep an eye on a couple of them).

But they were so much fun. They participated in a variety of activities from actively learning English to trying new food to getting dirty with horses. No one whined or complained that they didn’t want to do something. They weren’t “too good” for anything. These children had seen the bad side of life and instead of lashing out at those around them, they had pulled inside themselves. So our job was to bring them out if their shells. Some came out quickly, embracing all the adventures in front of them. Some of them were slower, wondering if they could really trust US. But eventually they saw that and reached out to US.

Though I bonded with all the teen and learned about them, there are two that really taught me something about life. The first was a boy with the sweetest smile. He had been through a lot in his life: he had been abused as a child; he had been shuffled off to an orphanage because his mother couldn’t take care of him; and he had grown up with only the bare minimum of everything in life.  But he always gave you a smile and loved to give hugs. He hadn’t given up looking for someone to trust, someone to take care of him. My heart broke to realize that he made the best of a bad situation, and when I let the dumbest things get to me. He inspired me to smile more, to be happy more.

The second teen’s effect on me was more subtle. She did have a drama streak, but she wanted so much to connect with people, to be included and loved. She would help me up and down stars. If she missed helping me, she would be sad and apologize.  She loved freely and laughed often. She wasn’t afraid of tears. She totally changed my mind that all teens were all self-centered. She realized to be loved, she had to give love.

You have to give love to get love. Isn’t that just a profound thought. We can’t be loved by someone unless we have an open giving heart. Sure we can be grumpy and need help, but we have to be willing to get out there, to put our hearts on the line. These children did nothing but that.

The day they left, I cried. Heck, I cried the night before when we were all together. I cried more than I had even cried for the first group! I had such bonds with this children-one boy even told me “I love you” and told me not to cry! Each child was so dear to me: they had each changed my life is some monumental way. They didn’t even know it.

I had told God no, and he threw back in my face 9 instruments of growth and love. He proved to me that he was right and I was wrong. I am humble before him, honored to help these orphans. I must always remember not to tell God no, because he will always show me a yes!

If you would like to find out more about Bridges of Faith please visits: http://www.bridgesoffaith.com/

And if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to BOF in my name to continue my domestic ministry work , please contact audrey@bridgesoffaith.com, donate on-line (mention my name) or send checks to 302 County Road 383, Billinngsley, AL 36006. Thank you for your support!

 

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Counting Stars~Audrey

“Lately I’ve been, I’ve been loosing Sleep

Dreaming about the things that we could be

But, baby I’ve been, I’ve been praying hard

Said no more counting dollars, we’ll be counting stars.”

“Counting Stars,” OneRepublic

This year was prioritized for changing my focus; to starting seeing the important things: my physical and spiritual health, to see people in another light, and not to worry about the green backs, and instead work on my purpose. It has been a big year for me. God led me to change jobs, and He has truly given me what I asked for. I am now a domestic missionary: I don’t have a salary and I depend on the financial generosity of God’s Children, but the feeling of being complete, of following God is all consuming. I am truly counting stars.

Read on to see how I have done with my goals this year. (no matter what I did or didn’t achieve, my wholeness still reverberates in me!)

 


11133652_452690564881323_3100933449025871009_nInvest in my Prayer Life

This is going rather well. I don’t always go to God first, because I get so wrapped up in my emotions. But I do take it to him and pray to him whenever I felt moved and at night I sit down for a studious prayer to help connect with my Heavenly Father. So I give this goal a thumbs up!

 

 

bible-readingRead the Old Testament

My yearly reading started in January and is going really well! I am on track so I count this as another successful goal! I’ve worked through feeling guilty for the few days I am too tired to concentrate on my reading. I just pick it back up the next day and keep on going!

5ac0366ce19e0413b957feb83b4c5a82Establish an Exercise Routine

Great big fail! I tried to start a yoga routine. I have a five minute seated work out my friend sent me. I had another friend have her personal trainer husband create a plan for me (my lack of success is in now way related to their policies or procedures lol). I just didn’t do it. I would get started and then I would get tired. Then I’d get off track. But I have started walking to the mail box as much as I can which a short walk that doesn’t wear me out so I plan to expand it more in the coming year.`

Work on Self Image

I11870664_936730214334_2955001785396253691_n feel like I have gone backwards. At the half way point, I seemed to be doing OK. But I’m not exercising like I should, and I still haven’t lost the medication weight. Its frustrating and I feel unattractive and I feel discouraged. I was showing a friend pictures I took before I got sick. She was like, “That doesn’t even look like you! You look so beautiful!” I know that as time I changes I will, but I blame this on my illness, it seems to be the one thing I can’t shake about it it. I can handle the slowing down, the canceling of plans, but being unattractive isn’t one. I guess its because I felt so unattractive most my life, and then when I finally, get good with myself, it goes out the window.

 

 2feb1b8cd61b2e8ee3eec105646cb2a6Extinguish my Road Rage

This one worked 99 percent! I do really well on the road now. I had to remind myself that people were not out to get me. People just don’t realize what their bad mistakes can lead to and this is why I was so angry. I started to pray for them and for myself and slowly it began to get better. I could remind myself that maybe they were just Ina hurry and didn’t think or something like that. So unless I am really feeling bad, I have stopped yelling or calling people names.

Shake it Off

keep-calm-and-shake-it-offI am doing a lot better on this one. I pray to God to remind me to relax and not worry. I used “Shake It”, “I Bet My Life,” and a variety of other songs to elevate my mood and remember. I have gotten prayer cards for anxiety and rejection. These help cleanse my soul. My anxiety has gotten better and I have stopped worrying about little or perceived threats as much. This one gets a thumbs up as well.

pkikmExpunge the Record of Cynicism

I have worked hard to see the best in people. I have really opened myself up to hearing from God and allowing myself to think what I should really be thinking about people. I have worked hard not to judge them (working on my road rage has helped this a lot). While its a daily struggle, I feel like its not as bad as it once was. It helps that I have gotten out of a negative environment and into a more positive one. This has helped with Shaking It Off as well as seeing the best in others. I’ve picked up daily devotionals and books to try to connect with people again and to work harder to understand them-from a more positive side this time.

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