Divine Valentine

I want to wish everyone a wonderful Valentines Day 💕. Let today be a day of love and forgiveness. Love on your spouse, love on your children, love on your parents, but most importantly☝🏽☺️love on yourself! 😉🤗🌹

Goodbye Lupus

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For the past few days, I’ve had the pleasure of reading called Goodbye Lupus: How a Medical Doctors Healed Herself Naturally With Supermarket Foods by Brooke Goldner. This was suggested by one of my wonderful followers. Thank you so much for this suggestion because it was a wonderful read.

In her book, Dr. Goldner speaks about how she was diagnosed with Lupus at the age of 16 and how dramatically her life changed after that. While studying to become a doctor, she faced a number of illness’ including arthritis, kidney disease, and blood clots. It became so bad that it interfered with her education.

When she was 23 years old, she met her now husband, who is a health guru. He introduced her to a special diet that eventually led to her complete recovery from Lupus and it’s attached illness’. She calls it, The Healing Nutrition Plan. She breaks it down into 6 easy steps:

  1. Eliminate Animal Products- Animal products, such as chicken, beef, pork, lamb, and fish (and eggs and dairy products) can cause major inflammation in the body.
  2.  Eliminate Added Oils- Eliminate excess omega-6 fatty acids. Too much omega-6 fatty acids (found in animal products and vegetable oil) can cause major inflammation
  3. Eliminate Processed Foods
  4. Eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables
  5. Consume Omega-3s Everyday- Can be found in fish oil and plant-based products, such as seaweed, flax seed, chia seeds, and walnuts
  6. Drink plenty of water- Dr. Goldner recommends at least a gallon of water a day

I would definitely recommend anyone who is looking for a healthier lifestyle to read this book. I think it is a helpful resource, not just for those who are struggling with a chronic illness, but anyone who wants to live a healthier life or if you just want more energy throughout the day.

She shares her struggles and triumphs while dealing with a chronic autoimmune disorder, along with wonderful smoothie recipes for the entire family. Her journey is truly inspiring. I will definitely be following a lot of her advice, especially increasing my water and raw vegetable intake.

You can find her book on Amazon by clicking here; Goodbye Lupus or Sign Up for 30-day free trial with Kindle Unlimited by clicking here; 30 Day Free Trial Kindle Unlimited and you can read it for free.

“I encourage you to say ‘I will have my life’ out loud. It helps. This is incredibly important to believe and fight for. If you let it, Lupus can rob you of your life and your dreams – so don’t let it do so!” -Dr. Brooke Goldner

 

Funny Fridays

Good day readers

Each Friday, I would like to share with you a funny joke, story, or something I just find super hilarious and I hope you find it hilarious as well. This is another goal that I’m adding to my list. Please check out my previous blog post, Blogging With Depression about how if you’re struggling with an illness or depression/anxiety, how you should take it slow especially when adding goals. Right now I feel pretty good about accomplishing the goals that I have set thus far, so I have decided to add another one. Dedicating one day to one specific kind of content is definitely a goal that I want to accomplish. So let’s see how this goes.

 “Helicopter Ride”

 Walter took his wife Ethel to the state fair every year, and every time he would say to her, “Ethel, you know that I’d love to go for a ride in that helicopter.” But Ethel would always reply, “I know that Walter, but that helicopter ride is 50 dollars and 50 dollars is 50 dollars.”

Finally, they went to the fair, and Walter said to Ethel, “Ethel, you know I’m 87 years old now. If I don’t ride that helicopter this year, I may never get another chance.” Once again Ethel replied, “Walter, you know that helicopter is 50 dollars and 50 dollars is 50 dollars.”

This time the helicopter pilot overheard the couple’s conversation and said, “Listen, folks, I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll take both of you for a ride; if you can both stay quiet for the entire ride and not say a word I won’t charge you! But if you say just one word, it’s 50 dollars.”

Walter and Ethel agreed and up they went in the helicopter. The pilot performed all kinds of fancy moves and tricks, but not a word was said by either Walter or Ethel. The pilot did his death-defying tricks over and over again, but still, there wasn’t so much as one word said. When they finally landed, the pilot turned to Walter and said, “Wow! I’ve got to hand it to you. I did everything I could to get you to scream or shout out, but you didn’t. I’m really impressed!”

Walter replied, “Well, to be honest, I almost said something when Ethel fell out but, you know, 50 dollars is 50 dollars!”

I borrowed this wonderful story from LaffGaff.com

“Smiling is definitely one of the best beauty remedies. If you have a good sense of humor and a good approach to life, that’s beautiful.” -Rashida Jones

 

Setting Goals

goals

Good day fellow bloggers!

Today, we are going to switch it up a bit. A few months ago, I was duped into spending $15 of our hard earned money on a program that stated it would help me set goals for a business that I am trying to start. After I generously paid, I received an email of questions that I feel wasn’t worth $15; no explanation, just questions. So, I want to share them with you for free.

I’ve changed the outline and wording of the original questions so they can’t sue me. 🙂

Setting Goals

Setting clear goals is an important part of the success of your business. The next set of questions should help you get really clear on the goals that you want to set. Set aside an hour of your time to truly immerse yourself in the task for maximum results.

Current Analysis

  1. Where is my business right now?
  2. What is my current income?
  3. What am I good at?
  4. What can I do better?
  5. Are there any additional skills that I may need to help my business work more efficiently?
  6. What additional resources, such as, courses, books, coaching, videos or audios, could help further my business agenda?
  7. Is there anything I cannot do?
  8. What do I need to gain more skills?
  9. What will all of this cost?

Future Planning

  1. What would you like for your income to be in 3 months? 12 months? 3 years?
  2. What would you like to spend the extra income on?
  3. How would your extra income make you feel?
  4. What would the extra income do for you and your family?
  5. How will you be able to increase your income?
    1. Sell more?
    2. New products?
    3. New services?

Personal and Family Goals

  1. Do you have balance in your life right now?
  2. Do you spend enough time with your family?
  3. Do you spend enough time with yourself?
  4. Are you able to set aside 15 minutes to yourself?
  5. What do you do to recharge yourself?

Summary

  1. What is your number one?
    1. Personal Goals
    2. Business Goals
  2. Take time to break down Personal Goals/Business Goals into 10 smaller steps
  3. How would achieving your goals make you feel?
  4. Sit for 5 minutes and visualize your emotions. Try to really feel how amazing it would feel to achieve all of your goals.

Thank you guys for reading my post today. Like I said, it is a bit different from my usual subjects, but I wanted to share with you what I have come across and learned. I have realized that you can use this list of questions for any goal you want to accomplish, not just starting a business.

I would like each and every one of you to have a great day! May God bless you in every way.

“There are times I am happy. There are times I am sad. But I always try to separate emotion from the need to reach for something stronger, deeper. And then no matter the emotion, I can reach for a stability that helps me accomplish what is the goal.” -Troy Polamalu

 

Blogger Recognition Award

I have been nominated for “Blogger Recognition” award by:

Thank you, both for nominating me for such a wonderful award. Thank you for reading my words and my thoughts. Most importantly, thank you for supporting my blog. It is people like the both of you that I encounter who continues to give me encouragement and strength during this time in my life. Friends, please check out their wonderful blogs by clicking the links above.

The rules of Blogger Recognition Award are:

1.Post the rules.

2.Use the Blogger Recognition Award badge on your page.

3.Tell us why you blog.

4.Give us two tips for new bloggers.

5.Nominate at least 4 new bloggers for this award and notify each of them of the nomination.

Why do I blog?

I blog for a few reasons:

  1. I love to write
  2. I want to share my trials and tribulations in hopes that someone in the WordPress can relate. I want to share my experiences so those who are struggling know that they are not alone.
  3. It helps lower my depression and anxiety symptoms
  4. It helps me feel productive on days that I am unable to do much of anything else.

Tips for new bloggers:

  1. Set realistic goals
  2. Do not compare yourself to other bloggers. Your journey is unique. You have your own path to follow.
  3. Be consistent

My nominations for the blogger recognition awards are:

ALL 231 of my followers. Every blog that I have come across are run by some pretty awesome people. I would like to nominate all of you guys. By the way, thank you to everyone who is following me. I really appreciate your support and inspirational messages and comments.

Thank you again to those who were kind enough to nominate me. There aren’t enough words in the English dictionary to describe my love and gratitude. Let’s all continue to support each other’s ventures, goals, and aspirations.

“To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone.” -Reba McEntire

Please Forgive Me

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Forgiving those that have hurt you can be difficult, but asking for forgiveness from someone that you have hurt can be even more challenging. Growing up in a large family, we didn’t apologize to each other that much. We were taught, unconsciously, that if you have wronged someone, you would go a short amount of time without talking to that person and then out of the blue, pick up the relationship where it left off. For instance, I would hear my mom and my aunt get into big fights over the phone. They would go a short amount of time without speaking, but when they eventually did, it was as if the argument never occurred. They would continue life as normal until the next disagreement. This eventually lead to a lot of resentment within our family.

If we got into a fight with someone we couldn’t avoid, like one of our siblings, we would carry on with life like nothing happened. We never apologized, nor spoke about what made us angry. If we tried, most of the time that person would become angry and defensive. Personally, this caused me to close up completely and not share my feelings with anyone, friends or family members. It wasn’t until later in life, after a few failed friendships and intimate relationships, I learned what it means to truly apologize to someone and mean it.

Some people like to think that simply saying I’m sorry is good enough, but sometimes it is not. Sometimes, the pain is so deep and so hurtful that simply saying “I’m sorry” will not fix the damage that has been done. I would like to share with you lessons that I have learned along that way. Please feel free to comment on ways that you have learned to ask for forgiveness. Let’s get to it.

Rules to Asking for Forgiveness

 

Be Patient

When you apologize, do not expect that person to forgive you right away. It may take time for them to move on from whatever you did to hurt them. They may forgive you right away or decide to never forgive you. It’s their choice to decide how they would like to move forward. Everyone heals in their own time. You rushing them to forgive you will only make things worse.

Respect how they feel

You may not like it, but you have to respect it. If you did something hurtful and you don’t understand why they are hurt, try to have a calm conversation with that person. Try to see it from their perspective. If you are still unable to understand why they are upset, respect their feelings. Do not put them down or call them stupid. Everyone is entitled to their feelings.

Explain what you did WITHOUT excuses

This may be hard for a lot of us. When we apologize, we tend to say, “I’m sorry, but…”. When someone is hurting, the last thing they want to hear is excuses. Hearing the reason why you hurt them doesn’t really matter. We are all tempted to justify our wrongdoings, but if you apologize without excuses, that person would be more willing to forgive you. They would feel like you are taking responsibility for your actions, thus learning your lesson.

Acceptance

Accepting the consequences of your actions is hard because, in our fast-paced society, we have been programmed to want results right away; drive-thrus, text message delivery notification, internet access, etc. Plus, not that many people like to admit when they are wrong. I used to have a huge problem with it. Sorry, I digress. We are so used to having instant results, but forgiveness doesn’t work that way. If a person doesn’t forgive you right away, accept it. Move forward. If the relationship can be salvaged, try to save it with love and compassion. If it cannot, move on. Accept that what you’ve done cannot be forgiven at the moment. Do not force them. Do not try to guilt them. All that will do is push them away further.

Throw Away Expectations

Do not go into an apology expecting anything. The person that you are apologizing to may not react the way you want or they may react the total opposite. If even they have wronged you as well, do not expect an apology. Expectations will only cause more problems and possibly another incident. If you are apologizing from the heart, then it shouldn’t matter how they react. Expect little, but hope for the best.

Show that you have changed

Everyone loves to see progress. Don’t apologize for something just to go back and do it again. If you’ve hurt someone, apologize, and then hurt them again, you would be a liar. You would lose their trust. Trust is complicated because it can take seconds to lose and years to gain back. Show that person that you really are sorry by not doing whatever it is you did to hurt them in the first place.

Remember, you are not a bad person

I always say, there are two types of people; good people who do bad things and bad people who do bad things. The majority of people who make mistakes are good people who just simply made a mistake. Don’t beat yourself up because you are only human. If you hurt someone, know that you are not a bad person. You a person who just made a mistake. If the person doesn’t forgive you, that does not measure your value as a person. It just simply means that they are so hurt at the moment, they are unable to see the bigger picture.

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Forgiving and asking for forgiveness is draining for both people, but very necessary. Forgiveness has known to lower blood pressure, lower stress hormones, and strengthen the immune system. I believe that forgiveness is vital is to leading a happy, healthy life, but it is a choice. Forgiveness is a privilege, not a right. You are more likely to be forgiven if you’ve likable and understanding afterward.

Remember, you are loved. You are wonderful. You are beautifully made. I hope your day is as beautiful as you are. Stay blessed.

 

Never forget the nine most important words of any family: I love you. You are beautiful. Please forgive me. -H. Jackson Brown, Jr., Author

12 Bad Habits Not To Take With You Into 2018

Tree For All Seasons 2007 John Newcomb (b.20th C./American) Acrylic on canvas

As the time is winding down, we begin to reflect on this past year. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the sad. Tragedies, such as domestic terrorism, devasting natural disasters, and modern-day slavery has turned our world upside down. The great news is, in less than 24 hours, we’ll have the chance to start a new year with new hopes and dreams. It may be difficult at first since but change never happens overnight. Change will be something that we would have to work at everyday that we are blessed to wake up.

Below is a list of bad habits that you may have developed during this trying year that you may want to keep in 2017 and not carry with you into the new year.

  1. tumblr_llpiownyoe1qznniio1_250Taking things personally: You must know that not everything is about you. For instance, if someone is having a bad day and they become irritated with you, most likely, their attitude has nothing to do with you. We all go through things and process them differently. It may be a little upsetting, but now is the time for understanding each other more. Learn to just let it go.
  2. poster-die-vergangenheit-festhalten-1374533Holding on to the past: Personally, this is easier said than done. The best way to begin moving on from your past is to forgive the person or situation that is holding you back. Whoever wronged you, forgive them. You’re not forgiving them for their sake, but for your sake. When you forgive, you find peace. That person no longer has a hold on you or your thoughts.
  3. 18Spending most of your free time on Facebook: Facebook is a great social media outlet for people to connect all over the world. Unfortunately, Facebook has a way of making one feel spiritually and emotionally drained. Between online trolls (people who purposely make accounts to be mean and hateful) and “the world is ending” status updates, it’s easy to get caught up in the drama. You see so many posts on destruction and chaos all over the world and the human psyche wasn’t meant to be exposed to so much trauma at once. Personally, I no longer have a facebook account for this very reason. I was checking it constantly. When I would finally log off for the day, I would feel angry, anxious, nervous, worried, everything but entertained. I had to let it go. I haven’t checked Facebook in four months and I feel a difference. I believe it has honestly helped with my depression.
  4. stress3Over-stressing: Stress serves zero purposes to your life. Stressing is a complete waste of time. I used to think stress was apart of life, but it doesn’t have to be. What has helped with lowering my stress is believing that all of my problems are in the hands of God. Troubles will arise in my life, but I know that I have help. I know that when those bad things do happen, I will have the strength and integrity to get through them. When you believe in the power of a Higher Power, one’s life struggles becomes easier to deal with.
  5. sleepprimary_0Sleeping in late: Have you heard that expression “the early bird gets the worm”? Apart of being happy is being productive and keeping yourself busy. If you sleep most of the day away, you are giving yourself less time to be productive. Use that time to complete a task that is on your to-do or use that time to meditate. 
  6. Fueling drama: When you allow yourself to instigate drama, you are starting 61d4bfaab2ae94724ba3ddf7ffb273dfan endless cycle of negative energy. This negative energy will stay with you. Next thing you know, you’ll find yourself involved drama that has nothing to do with you. This will then turn you into a toxic person; someone who cannot live without drama. 
  7. healthy-dietHaving a poor diet: You are what you eat. Oh, how I miss the juicy taste of a beef burger or the incredible flavor of triple chocolate fudge cake covering my tastebuds. Over the past year, I’ve had to make major changes to my diet. My kids say I eat like our pet Guinea pig since my diet mostly consists of fruits and vegetables. Eating healthy promotes good physical and mental health. Take time out to learn about ways to improve your diet. You may not have to eat like a Guinea pig, but replacing fries with carrots would be in your best interest.
  8. f8c05617bba402dfddb8a3471cb39897Complaining all of the time: Do you know that your words have power. When I was younger, I remember my mom always saying that you can speak things into existence. I’ve found out the hard way that this is one hundred percent true. If you complain all of the time, then you are creating a mindset that will always see the bad in any situation your life. When you complain, you are reiterating to your brain that what you are saying is true. Instead of complaining about your situation, try finding what you can be grateful for. For instance, if you lost your car, you can say that at least your helping save the ozone layer until you are able to get another one. That may sound a little corny, but once you begin to train your thoughts to see the good, it’ll eventually become as easy as breathing.
  9. DruckOverthinking: Overthinking leads to negative thoughts. Negative thoughts can lead to stress. Stress can lead to severe depression and anxiety. I remember being so mad at my husband over a misunderstanding. I allowed my thoughts to overshadow the possibility that it was a misunderstanding. By the time he would ask me, whats wrong, I had already made up in mind everything that he had done before he was able to explain himself. This leads to a lot of confusion and dysfunction. Don’t allow yourself to overthink a situation. If you find yourself overthinking, replace it with reading a book or meditation. You can call a friend to get advice or simply let it go until it presents itself again.
  10. 11GossipingSimply, mind your business. Spreading gossip about someone is one of the worst things you can do. Everyone has problems. Everyone has stuff going on. How would you feel if you found out someone was spreading gossip about you? Oh, they have? Well, don’t stoop to their level. When someone gossips, they are telling more about themselves than they are the other person. It says they do not respect the privacy of others and what they may be going through. We should all pray for each and be supportive towards one another during our hard times. Life would be so much easier.
  11. great-live-in-the-moment-quotes-64-on-beautiful-quotes-with-live-in-the-moment-quotesNot living in the moment: Every day is a gift. It’s like one of my favorite quotes says “The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present” by Alice Morse Earle. If you are struggling with depression or any kind of illness, the 24 hours in your day may seem very long and dark. Even if you have to live hour to hour, minute to minute, appreciate each breath that you take. You are here for a reason. You woke up this morning for a reason. You may not know that reason yet, but have confidence that one day it will be revealed, but you must push forward. Everything counts, no matter how big or small.
  12. hug4Trying to please others: If you think that you can please everyone, you are mistaken. Humanity is not perfect. It is physically impossible to make everyone happy while trying to be happy yourself. Live your best life the best way you know how. If there is someone in your life that is displeased with your decisions, simply remind them that you are living for you and if you are unhappy then no one around you will be happy. Living your best life is the only way.

I would like to wish each and every one of you the best success is 2018. You are wonderful. You are loved. You are beautifully made. Have a very Happy New Year from my family to yours.

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” -Neil Gaiman

 

Turning Tragedy Into Triumph: How To Live Your Best Life Amid Turmoil

Turning Tragedy Into Triumph: How To Live Your Best Life Amid Turmoil

It’s 1pm and my house is completely quiet right now, which is unusual since the kids are on Christmas break. They are sound asleep because we allowed them to stay up until 5 o’clock this morning  (a luxury only given during prolonged school breaks). Even our pet Guinea pig, Sasha, is quietly nestled under her pink, plastic hut. Meanwhile, I’m comfortably sitting on my sofa enjoying the sweet smell of pomegranate oil and the soothing, soft glow from my candles. 

The reason for this rare, joyous occasion is our internet is down due to the extreme cold in my area. I am literally forced to become disconnected from the world. I am left to come up with other ways to entertain myself or keep myself busy. I now realize how dependent I’ve become on the internet. It makes me feel happy and sad at the same time. Happy because I’ve been able to get back to doing things I used to love, like handwriting this blog post or reading a paperback book. It forgot the wonderful scent of stale paper from a paperback book, especially a classic. Sad feeling because I am a little ashamed of how I’ve allowed the world to influence so much of my life. It would explain a lot actually.

This time of reflection has gifted me with the ability to share with you guys ways we can turn our tragedies into triumphs. I’ve discussed before ways that you can look at the bright side of any situation, but this is more specific. I used to ask myself, when will this all end? When will the suffering stop? I’ve come to the conclusion that it will never stop. There will always be pain. There will always be suffering. The only action that you can control is how you react to unfortunate circumstances that may occur in your life.

I figure the best way to live your best life during tragedies is to turn them into triumphs. Imagine dancing in the rain during the worst storm of your life. This is turning tragedy into triumph and here is how you can.

  • Embrace Your Journey: Sometimes, the things we want to hurt the most. When going through a traumatic moment in life, we tend to feel sorry for ourselves. It’s normal. Our brains are just trying to make sense of it all, but you have to know that your journey is NOT your destination. Example: Let’s say you have a goal of climbing Mount Everest. There is so much training and preparation that one would have to achieve in order to make it to the top; condition training, physical and mental training, planning the route, knowing the terrain and weather condition, etc. It is a lot of hard work. A mountain climber wouldn’t complain about the journey he/she has to take to make it. They just do it. They know that once they make it to the top and look down at the world, the journey was well worth it.
  • Acknowledge that what you are going through will not last forever: Everyday that we wake up, we have a choice to fight depression, anxiety, heartache, loss, illness, etc. Making that choice will lead you to your desired destination. I’m sure we’ve all heard that saying, “The best part about hitting rock bottom is the only destination from there is up.”
  • Look forward to the future: Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING last forever (well maybe McDonald’s french fries and roaches). What you are going through will not last forever. Imagine how it’s going to feel when you finally reach the top of your mountain. I’ve learned to always look up at my destination and NEVER look down at my past. Looking up only gives you the motivation to continue the climb to the top.
  • It is ok to NOT understand: There are things you may not understand about your journey until you have endured it, suffered through it, cried through it, made mistakes in it, had setbacks in it, almost collapse in it, almost ran from it, etc. Experience has a way of making us stronger and more resilient. So, if ever you were to experience tragedy again, you are better equipped to deal with it. If you are reading this, you are stronger than you were yesterday. You chose to get up and do something. I’m proud of you!
  • Tribulation will teach you patience: The worse part of my journey is being patient. I know great things are ahead. I know that my circumstances will get better, but I am the kind of person that has always lacked patience. This journey is teaching me that all great things come to those who are patient enough to push through. I like to read inspirational stories about people who never gave up because if they can be strong, then I know I can as well.
  • Embrace your experiences: Experiences are important because the experience will give you hope and if you have hope, you have access to the universe. There will be times when you feel like you will never move past your circumstances, but if you continue on your journey and don’t give up, it will get better. Your circumstances will change. When you have experience, you will no longer endure being drug into moments of hopelessness and despair. You’ll know through experience that God has your back and will bring you out of it, as He has done so many times before.
  • Acknowledge the darkness only to conquer it: There is a darkness lingering around humanity. Negative energy is so powerful because it is easy to give into our dark desires; drugs, alcohol, hate, fear, anxiety. If we acknowledge the presence of negative energy, then we are able to fight it, not sit in it. Example: If you are aware that you have diabetes and still choose to eat sweets, then you are giving in to the desire of the disease, hence becoming sick. If you are aware that you have diabetes and you choose to eat right and take the proper medications, then you will feel better.
  • Stand strong in the fire: The fighting process gives you the drive and commitment to stand the pressure. The most dangerous thing is achieving a goal that you didn’t deserve because the process prepares us for the power that you need to stand your ground and never let it go. When you fight for what you want, you won’t let anyone take it from you.
  • Believe in Gods promise for you: Your enemies want you to be stuck in a situation that is beneath the promise God has in store for you. Your enemies do not want you to succeed, but God’s greatest presence is when all hell is breaking loose. I am living breathing walking proof of this fact. Click the link to read how God appeared to me while I was having thoughts of suicide and self-loathing here, Letting Go, Letting God. God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us. He also promises that we will live eternally through Jesus’ name. That all of our worries will be accounted for and dismissed. Believe that your life is not meant to stay in turmoil, but yet it’s meant for all things great and wonderful. “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” -Psalm 62:8

Tragedies are hard to get through, especially when the “light at the end of the tunnel” seems so far away. No matter what anyone says, you can turn your tragedies into spectacular wonders and blunders to tell future generations. Allow your journey to be a life lesson for yourself and for other people. Remember, great warriors always have the best stories to tell.

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”-Albert Camus

 

5 Pros to Hair Loss

91809d4bac33b427373e720b8b1ffcea-treatment-for-thinning-hair-hair-loss-treatment.jpgSince my battle with Lupus began, one of the symptoms that I have been experiencing is  “unexplained hair loss”, according to my rheumatologist. I’ve shaved my head completely bald twice in 12 months because my hair follicles just weren’t holding onto my scalp any longer.

This was something that I was extremely ashamed and embarrassed about. I began to feel like my husband wasn’t going to be attracted to me anymore, but that wasn’t the case. He has been so supportive by reassuring me every day that he would never find me unattractive.

My hair has since grown back but has recently begun falling out again. I’ve begun researching natural remedies to stimulate hair growth and I’m quickly finding out how tedious this process is becoming. There are so many products, it’s hard to know which ones would really work, but I’m on a mission so I can’t give up. While I’m figuring all of that out, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t allow my mind to slip back into a dark place filled with self-pity and turmoil. I decided to think about how losing your hair can be awesome.

5 Pros to Hair Loss

  1. I use less shampoo and conditioner. I love that I use less shampoo and conditioner because my family won’t go through it so quickly. It saves money and time spent in the store. I’m all for saving both.
  2. Shaving your head bald actually feels awesome. I loved it when the cool breeze would kiss the top of my head and the deep scalp massages my husband gave. It was so relaxing. It helped calm me during severe anxiety attacks.
  3. Now, I have a legitimate reason to buy wigs and not feel guilty about it. Before when I had healthy hair, the idea of buying a wig was frivolous. I would always think of what else I could have bought with the money, but I was also envious of women who were brave enough to wear stylish wigs without worrying about the judgment of others. Now I feel like I’m going bald and I want to look cute, so I need a wig.
  4. Wigs are awesome. They even have stylish wigs for men AND you can’t even tell it’s a wig! I mean, men have been wearing wigs for centuries, but modern day wigs can blend into your scalp. It’s a perfect illusion. You can get short, long, straight, curly, updo, down-do, course, thin, thick….it’s endless.
  5. I know that I am more than my hair. I am more than my skin color. I am more than society’s projection of perfection. I am loved. I am wonderful. I am beautifully made. Hair or No Hair. I am Ashley.

If you’re experiencing hair loss or any physical issues, YOU ARE STILL BEAUTIFUL. The world’s perception of you is not God’s perception of you. He thinks you’re wonderful. You were made in His image and He makes NO mistakes.

“Beauty is when you can appreciate yourself. When you love yourself, that’s when you’re most beautiful.” -Zoe Kravitz

Who’s Ashley?

smiley-face-question-mark_556117Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve read a lot of post about personal growth. I mean, it’s the end of the year, so I’m sure it is only appropriate for people to share how awesome this past year has been for them. I was trying to think of what I could write for a “2017 End of the Year Wrap-Up” blog, but honestly, I’m having a hard time coming up with a post. It’s not that I do not have anything great to say about this past year. It’s probably because it would force me to think about situations that I would prefer to not think about right now. My emotional and spiritual healing just isn’t in the place that I can share the ups and downs of 2017 and not cry uncontrollably while logging off. It feels a little pathetic admitting that, but it is what it is.

So, instead of letting you guys know about how my year has been (since I kind of do that on every blog post), I would like to share with top secret information about yours truly, only told to a selected few. Let’s go!

5 Not-So-Known-Facts About Me (Ashley)

I am an extremely private person

drkwgThis may sound crazy because I have shared so many intimate details of my life for you guys to read. Honestly, every time I’ve posted a story about what I’ve been through, I’ve gotten extremely anxious and fearful. Then, I think about how many people are going through the same circumstances. For such a long time, I felt alone. I thought that I was the only one going through a hard time; the black sheep. This past year, I’ve quickly learned that I’m not alone and the number of people going through turmoil is astronomical. The fear of judgment and anxiety is not as strong as my desire to help broken people, like me. So, I choose to push forward. Luckily, you guys have been awesome and supportive.

I Iove playing tricks on my husband and kids

pointinglaughingemojiI don’t play mean tricks, just “payback” tricks. For example, I love LifeSavers mints. Not just any mint, specifically, Wint-O-Green flavored. Shamefully, this addiction has caused a couple of cavities. Anyway, I love putting the mint wrappers in my husbands’ clothes and shoes. So later, when he puts on his favorite sweatpants, all he’ll hear is the soft crumble of the wrapper. And there are so many of them. I’ll put at least ten mint wrappers in his pockets. It’s awesome! He’s always so annoyed by it. Afterwards, you’ll find me snickering in the corner like, “Oh yeah, that’s what you get for not putting away the dishes, hahahaha” *evil scientist chuckle*.

I love all things Sci-Fi and Fantasy Entertainment

batman-312342_960_720I love reading comic books, sci-fi/fantasy novels, and watching DC and Marvel movies. Actually, my favorite superhero is Batman. I know, I know, it sounds cliche, but there is something about having a dark past and being able to turn heartache into saving the world, so appealing. If you are a Batman fan, you know that he loves his city unconditionally; good, bad, poor, rich, he saved everyone…without killing them! He feels all life is precious, no matter who you are or what you’ve done. I guess Batman was similar to a father figure since my own dad was absent. Batman was a huge part of my childhood. Like J. Cole said in his song No Role Modelz

First things first rest in peace Uncle Phil/For real, you the only father that I ever knew/I get my b***h pregnant I’ma be a better you

In this verse, he is referring to Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, who was a great father figure for a lot of fatherless, black children in our community. For me, it was Batman.

I love learning about History

4294118869_b34713c1a1_bThe majority of television shows I watch are about history; Vikings, The Tudors, Game of Thrones, Shaka Zulu, just to name a few. I love watching documentaries and reading about history. Anyone’s history. I love learning about other cultures by being aware of their past. When I was younger, I was very judgmental of cultures I didn’t understand. Now, I’ve controlled my judgment by learning about why people or cultures are the way that they are. It helps me “look through the eye of the beholder”. Well, not exactly, but it is a close as I’m going to get right now since traveling around the world has been put on hold. 🙂

I’m secretly a conspiracy theorist

cartoon-coloring-page-line-art-of-a-paranoid-guy-peeking-through-blinds-by-toonaday-505.jpgThink about it, if God can change my life…if He can create trillions of stars, hundreds of planets, walking-talking organisms such as humans, then why couldn’t he create extraterrestrial beings? Or Big-Foot? Or government conspiracy? I’m just saying, I think there is information that only the universe knows. As much as we (humans) like to think that we are the most advanced, superior beings ever created, in my opinion, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Again, this is just my opinion.

Thank you so much for taking the time to learn a little about me. Thank you to all of my followers, old and new. Each like and each follow inspires me to write reading material worthy of your time.

Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

I Want To Twirl, Dam**t!

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As people, we have the tendency to take our lives for granted. The heartache that we go through numbs our ability to live in the now. This past week, my husband and I chose to watch Valerian and The City Of A Thousand Planets. It’s a movie about a planet full of intelligent beings viciously wiped out by a galactic war that they had nothing to do with. The opening scene of the movie was with this beautiful blue girl twirling out of her seashell home only to walk out onto a white, sandy beach with a wonderful view of a clear blue sky and a gorgeous blue, clear ocean. She looked so peaceful, so serene. You could tell that she didn’t have a care in the world. I immediately thought to myself, I want to twirl dammit. I wish I was able to walk outside every day with a positive attitude, skipping along to the birds singing, twirling around soaking up the sun. I’m not being facetious. I want to have a natural high from life that only each breath can provide.

Then I realized that I can.

When you walk outside to face the day, you and only you determine what kind of day you’re going to have. Once your foot crosses the threshold, you can choose to handle your circumstances or allow your circumstances to handle you.

I wake up every day knowing that unfortunate circumstances are going to happen. Who I am will determine how I deal with what is going to happen. I don’t want to be a coward and hide from them. If millions of people can do this, then I can too.

Somewhere along the way, I started to believe that a life of misery was my destiny. The heartache and anger of my past and present is a permanent part of my existence, like depression. I’ve allowed Lupus to trick me into believing that my spirit is doomed. Honestly, the person that I’ve become and the thoughts that I continue to have is a person that is foreign to me. Up until now, I’ve never had to put so much effort into getting through the day. It’s discouraging.

So, I chose to face the day with dignity. I chose to face the day with the armor that God has provided for me. I chose not to sink into a dark place that only feeds my inner demon.

I chose to live life.

“On a good day, enjoy yourself; On a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days so that we won’t take anything for granted.” –Ecclesiastes 7:14

 

 

 

Unapologetically Living Life

What does living your best life look like? Sometimes we have the tendency to live our lives for other people and feel like we have to apologize or be sorry for when we finally decide to live for ourselves and do what is best for us.

We shouldn’t have to apologize for living our best lives. We shouldn’t have to apologize for doing what needs to be done to make sure we, ourselves are happy.

Below is a list of actions that you should NEVER apologize for:

BEING YOURSELF!

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It takes courage to follow your dreams and not someone else’s. You may be in a situation where someone is making you feel like you have to live the life that they want you to live.

For example, I would love for my son to become an architect. He is so talented and smart. Instead, he wants to become a comic book illustrator. I want my son to live his best life, so I have to support what he wants to do with it. I want him to be himself and never apologize for it. 

Since tomorrow is not promised, be your best self today. You were born for a reason. You were born to shine. Shine bright baby, shine brighter than anyone ever expected you to shine. Blind the haters with your rays of awesomeness.

FOLLOWING YOUR GOALS

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Everyone has goals and aspirations. Follow yours! Do not mind the nay-sayers and haters. You will succeed because it is something that you want for yourself.

Remember, anything worth having is worth fighting for and your dreams are worth fighting for. So, suit up and get prepared. It may be bumpy, it may be challenging, but you can do it. You only get one life. If you woke up this morning, you’ve already accomplished more than so many other people. You are here, you are worthy, you are destined to be great. 

FINDING YOUR INNER PEACE

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I used to let people disturb my peace, but not anymore. Do you know anyone who has the ability to disturb your peace? I’ve decided that everyone that is known for gossiping or drama has been blocked from my phone. Why? I need my PEACE! I need to be able to go through the day without hearing the tragic news that one of these toxic people has caused for themselves.

At first, I felt bad for ignoring them. Then I had to realize that-that heavy, negative feeling that I would have when I hung up the phone was not worth it anymore.

You can’t expect people to change, you can only change how you allow people to make you feel. If you have to chuck up the deuces to get some peace, by all means, do it without apology. This is beneficial to you and you only.

TRUSTING YOUR GUT

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My gut has saved my life 8/10 times. I trust my instincts for almost everything because I feel like it’s the Holy Spirit guiding me.

If you feel like something is right, then go for it. Your feelings are your feelings and they are important. Your feelings should never be a sacrifice for someone who may or may not agree with your life choices. Learn to trust yourself and your needs and wants.

There will be a time where you would have to make a  life-changing decision. It will be easier to make that decision if you trusted yourself and your ability to do what is right for you and/or family.

BELIEVING IN A HIGHER POWER

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I love Jesus! I am a Christian. Nowadays, society will try to make you feel like loving Jesus is a bad thing. Some would argue that I am brainwashed by the church to give away all of my money, but those non-believers do not understand the relationship that I have with God has nothing to do with the church I attend or how much money I may choose to offer.

My relationship with God is 100% about my salvation and selfishly, help with getting through my life’s challenges, but I will address that in a later post.

We should all respect each other’s choices on how we decide to make life work for us. If you are Buddist, great! If you believe in the energy of the universe, awesome! If you don’t believe in anything at all, that is your choice. I will never judge you for your beliefs, just as I ask you not to judge me for mine.

My faith teaches me, that everyone will eventually learn about the grace that God has to offer, and I feel when He is ready to move in your life, that will be between you and Him. I will still love you as He instructs and I will support any endeavor you may want to follow.

Never apologize for having faith in something. If you think the lampshade answers your prayers, then by all means, pray to the lampshade. If that is what gives you the courage to wake up everyday to fight the good fight, then do it. Do you!

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Now, this list also applies to the a**holes. I say this with humor and all seriousness. I know someone who is an a**hole. They will say anything that comes to mind and not cares about someone feelings. If you are like this, you can still apply this to your life. Just know, you have to respect if someone chooses not to deal with you because of your a**holeness or if I choose to hit that good ole block button. It’s honestly my favorite feature on my iPhone, so don’t bring me any drama! 

“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself, comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the essence of beauty.” -Dr. Martin Maraboli

*Photos owned by Google*

Phenomenal Woman, That’s me!

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As I type this, I am struggling with a couple of health issues that has me bedridden; kidney infection and a lupus flare.  Although, I am really proud of myself for getting a few things crossed off of my to-do list, including getting prepared for a much-anticipated surgery this upcoming Monday.

Since I’m not feeling well, today’s post will be fairly short and easy, but inspirational. I want to share a very special poem that I like to recite to myself whenever I feel overwhelmed and unable to push through the day. 

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Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size   

But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

I say,

It’s in the reach of my arms,

The span of my hips,   

The stride of my step,   

The curl of my lips.   

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,   

That’s me.

I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please,   

And to a man,

The fellows stand or

Fall down on their knees.   

Then they swarm around me,

A hive of honey bees.   

I say,

It’s the fire in my eyes,   

And the flash of my teeth,   

The swing in my waist,   

And the joy in my feet.   

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered   

What they see in me.

They try so much

But they can’t touch

My inner mystery.

When I try to show them,   

They say they still can’t see.   

I say,

It’s in the arch of my back,   

The sun of my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

Now you understand

Just why my head’s not bowed.   

I don’t shout or jump about

Or have to talk real loud.   

When you see me passing,

It ought to make you proud.

I say,

It’s in the click of my heels,   

The bend of my hair,   

the palm of my hand,   

The need for my care.   

’Cause I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me!

Always remember, whether you’re a woman or man, boy or girl, young or old, YOU ARE LOVED! YOU ARE STRONG! YOU ARE PHENOMENAL!

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10