hello old friend

My absolute first love. I never show you the appreciation you are so deserving of. My first place of escape. My deepest sense of security. My greatest sense of freedom. And yet, I neglect you time and time again to pursue things that never fulfill me quite the way you do.

It is so unfair because you are always there for me. And perhaps that is the very reason I treat you as I do- I know you are not going anywhere, so who cares if I make you wait awhile?

But we both know that is just a front I put on. I need you. We need each other. Without me you have no purpose. Without you I have no peace.

So how exactly does one reintroduce themselves to a lover they have been neglecting? I’m not the same person I was when I left you, and yet I expect you to be exactly the same as when I left you.

Double standards. They are never right. They are never fair. And yet they still exist.

My heart aches. My mind races. My smile has forgotten how to form. I need you to restore me back to what I was. Will you even remember me? Do I even remember how to do this? Will this feel as awkward as I imagine, or will we fall back into place as easily as before?

I am done running from that which I know I have been called to. My gift of writing and my past experiences shall unite to become my testimony- My Purpose. Obedience is the path I am choosing. Call this me accepting my destiny. Call this me embracing my future. Call this my formal outward expression of me finally saying Yes to God. Trust me when I say it has been a LOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGG time coming.

Well played God…well played.

 

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Until Him

I never knew what real love was until my son came into my life.

Not because of the way that I love him (which is more than any words could ever convey), but because of how he loves me.

Despite all the grandiose ideas I had about the kind of parent I would be, when reality set in, I was/am far less than what I had hoped to be.

Every Single Day I make mistakes as a parent. I’m not patient enough. I don’t devote enough time. I get frustrated. I lose my cool. I’m not affectionate enough. I’m overbearing. I’m too sick to deal. I’m too busy to notice. I’m too stressed to care.

And yet, my son’s love for me never wavers. NEVER.

It astonishes me how quick he is to forgive. How he seems to have more patience with me than I have with him. How he seems to show me more grace than I show him.

He is the reflection of God’s love in my life. His love is pure. His love is unwavering. His love is consistent. His love never gives up on me. His love always forgives. His love always gives me another chance.

His love is not based upon what I do or do not do for him or to him. His love is based upon who I am to him- what I represent to him.

I am his mother. His safe place. His sense of security. In me he finds acceptance. In me he finds support. In me he finds encouragement. For him, that is how he receives love. And in spite of my imperfections, somehow that love always reaches him. Even when he’s mad at me for correcting him and guiding him towards making the right decisions. And even when I’ve totally and wrongfully taken my frustration out on him.

I don’t deserve him or his love. I often feel like he deserves so much more than me and what  I can offer. Yet I acknowledge that God chose me for a reason. In this moment I don’t quite know what that reason is, and I honestly don’t think I am supposed to know. I believe God wants me to blindly trust Him in the here and now. Trust Him to give me what I need so that I can impart in my son what he needs to mature into the person God has called him to be.

So I trust Him. I trust Him to use me to be the person/parent my son needs. And I thank my son for his graciousness and his love throughout the process.

To my son as I graduate…

Dear Jakob,

May 17, 2017. Today NYU’s 185th Commencement Ceremony is taking place to celebrate the achievements of many graduates including myself, but today I want to take a moment to celebrate you.

My journey to the tassel has been a long one. A journey plagued by frustration, stress, anxiety, doubt, fear, and numerous attempts at quitting. But through hard work, the prayers of those around me, and the grace of God I have made it to this day- Graduation.

And as proud of myself as I am and as much as those around me are celebrating me for this accomplishment, I think you are the true star in all of this. You have been the silent partner working behind the scenes to help me get to this point. So I thought you should know how grateful I am for you and why this achievement belongs to both of us, not just me.

Thank You.

For all the times I couldn’t tuck you in because I had class. For all the times I had to cut playtime short so I could take a test, write a paper, or finish a project. For all the times you went crying to Mimi and Grampy because you didn’t understand why I couldn’t stay just one minute longer. For all the times when I was impatient with you or short-tempered because I was so stressed and exhausted. For all the times I put a few more minutes of sleep above waking up early to spend time with you. For all the times that I was so stressed I was physically ill and you prayed for me and did everything you could to make me feel better. For the times I shared the good news of a test passed or a course aced, or a GPA above a 3.5 and you celebrated with me. For all the times I wanted to give up and your mere presence made me reconsider.

Thank You.

As cliche as it seems, you are the real MVP of all of this. Because even in the midst of all of that you managed to remain the same sweet, caring, helpful, generous and thoughtful child you’ve always been.

So thank you for bearing with me and motivating me and helping me get to this point in my life. I hope one day, when you are old enough to understand, you are just as proud of me as I am of you. This one is for us!

Love Mommy

 

 

The Power of Perception

When I was younger (not that I am old or anything), I used to see life’s struggles as a detriment to my life. The old “woe is me” would kick in and I would sit in self pity trying to figure out what terrible thing I had done to deserve such hardship, or why God had decided to turn his back on me at that moment. Back then, struggling and walking through challenges in my life was nothing more than an inconvenience. And when I was stuck in this mindset I was merely surviving, not living.

It has been within recent months, and really recent weeks, that I have reached a powerful place in my relationship with Christ and my understanding of who He is. One day in my time of prayer and devotion I found myself asking God why, if He loved me and wanted the best for me, would He then allow me to struggle and sometimes really suffer. In my narrow mind, the way God was supposed to show His love for me was by ensuring that my life ran as smoothly as possible.

Fast forward to later that same day. I was getting ready for bed and spent a final moment in prayer with God before I let my head hit the pillow. And then I fell asleep. And I had a dream. The dream was as follows:

A baby, roughly 10-12 months old is learning to walk. The father models for the baby how to walk across the room and then encourages the child to come to him. The baby, with a smile on her face, pulls herself up and begins to take some wobbly steps. Three to be exact, and then she falls. The father verbally encourages her to try again and dangles her favorite toy in front of him to serve as motivation for her. She gets up again, and with another smile she takes some more wobbly steps. This time it was five before she falls again. She looks at her father and the toy. She reaches her arms out towards the toy and grunts. She wants the toy. Why won’t her dad just give it to her? That would be the easiest thing to do. But he doesn’t. He again encourages her with his words and continues dangling the toy before her. She starts to crawl to him, something she knows how to do very well. But her father moves even farther back as she crawls and tells her, “No, No. You have to walk to me. I know you can do it! Come on Sweetie!” She seems to sit thinking for a minute about whether it is worth the effort to try to get the toy. But she gets up again. No smile this time. This time she is really focusing. Looking down at her feet and the floor and then back at her father and the toy. She takes three steps, then five, then a full 20 steps before she reaches the toy. She has done it. She walked. She reached her father. She got the toy.

And then I woke up.

And just as clearly as if a person was whispering in my ear God revealed the following to me:

“It would have been easier for the baby if the father simply gave her the toy. It would have been easier for the baby if the father allowed her to crawl to him, as she was comfortable doing so. But the father was trying to teach her how to walk. Had he allowed her to remain comfortable were she was (crawling) or had simply given her the toy, she would not have grown and mastered the critical milestone of walking. And though it was more difficult for the baby in that moment to walk, the father knew that once she mastered the skill, walking would take her places crawling never could. You are the baby. I am your Father.”

And that is what you call a revelation.

Just like that it became so very clear to me. God doesn’t allow challenges in my life because He doesn’t love me. He doesn’t let me struggle because He is punishing me. Uncomfortable situations don’t arise because He has turned His back on me. God uses those tough, uncomfortable situations to teach me valuable lessons. He is trying to force me out of my comfort zone so I can grow to and go to a new level in Him.

In my dream, once the baby literally stepped out of her comfort zone she did three things:

  1. She walked
  2. She reached her father
  3. She got the toy

In my continued seeking of God, I drew these conclusions about those three things.

  1. She walked- She learned something new that was going to take her greater distances and eventually with greater ease than crawling ever could. In that moment walking was likely the hardest thing she had done to that point. And at certain points during her journey she expressed frustration at being challenged by her father. But in the end she got what he was trying to teach her and her life would be better because of it. God operates the same way by using challenges to teach us lessons that will take us farther and higher in life. In those moments, things seem unbearable and unfair and painful. But on the other side of that pain is joy, and understanding, and peace.
  2. She reached her father- Ultimately, God’s main goal is always to have a deeper relationship with us. This means He sometimes has to create or allow situations that will draw us closer to Him. The father in my dream created the situation that eventually ended with the baby reaching him. God too will often orchestrate things in a way that ends with us being closer to Him and having a better understanding of who He is and how He operates.
  3. She got the toy Let’s just be real. The baby in my dream wanted the toy. It was her drive, her motivation, her desire. And when she made the choice to listen to her father’s encouragement and follow his model, she was able to walk and obtain what she wanted. I truly believe God wants us to have the desires of our heart too, but it requires obedience and faith. And at times God will delay our receiving of that desire until we listen and obey, just as the father in my dream continued to move that toy away from the baby until she walked. But once she trusted him and followed his voice of encouragement she was able to get it in the end. And if we can learn to trust God fully and listen to him entirely, we too will find ourselves walking in the blessing He has for us.

In actuality the hardships we face are not evidence of God’s absence, but reminders of his presence. Only a God who loves us and knows what we are capable of would challenge us in such a way. And He knows that we can because He fashioned us and formed us in His own image. He conquered death, and as those formed in His likeness, we too can conquer the hardships that come our way.

Just like the father in my dream, God is there for us all the time. The father in my dream didn’t encourage the baby to walk and then leave the room. He was watching over her. Encouraging her. Reminding her of what she was capable of. Showing her the prize that waited for her at the end. And that is exactly what God does for us. We just have to listen and observe all the ways and people he uses to do that.

 

 

PCOS & Fibromyalgia… I have them, now what?

I’ve really battled with whether or not to share my diagnoses publicly. Why? Because I am a private person. Because I don’t need people sharing and discussing information about me. Because I don’t want pity. However, I’ve been increasingly convicted to share my story. Why? Because I know I am not alone. Because the purpose of my blog has always been to use what I know, feel, and experience as a means of helping others. Because I want to be free of the burden of keeping these very real conditions in my life a secret.

In order to understand my journey to diagnosis with each of these conditions I am going to go back a little. Note, this post will be very long, open, and honest. I feel it is important to tell this story in all of those ways in order to accurately portray what I’ve been through to get to this point.

It was late 2013 when I first started to experience some symptoms that troubled me. I’ve been a relatively healthy person the vast majority of my life. No major illnesses or injuries. A cold here, a stomach flu there, allergies. Normal stuff that I have been able to live with, with much ease. But the symptoms I experienced at the end of 2013 alerted me that something was terribly off with my body. Exactly one week after my cycle ended I had another full week of a menstrual cycle, which has never happened before. This second cycle was extremely heavy, caused me to have painful cramps, I had severe lower back pain and I had blood and mucus in my stool. All of those things happened for seven days. And then they stopped. Just as suddenly as they started they stopped. And one week went by. Then another week. Then another week. So naturally I assumed I was alright. And then the next month a very similar thing happened. By the third month I knew I needed to see a doctor, so I made an appointment with my gynecologist (assuming it was a gynecological issue). However, it took me 4 months to see her as she was totally booked, and having not shared my story with the front desk clerk there was no rush made to get me seen. So I waited 4 months, and in that time span I was completely fine. Not one incident. Not one symptom. And when I finally got in to see my gynecologist and shared my story we both assumed that whatever was going on had resolved itself on its own. After all, my blood work and all the other tests she ran came back normal. So why wouldn’t we think that?

At that appointment my gynecologist told me that if my symptoms should appear again I was to call immediately and demand to be seen and to mention that she (Jennifer) had specifically advised me of such and would be furious to find out I had been placed on hold. So when all my symptoms returned just a month after that appointment including some new ones like migraines and huge/frequent mood swings, and when those symptoms continued into the next month I made another appointment to see Jennifer and demanded to be seen as soon as possible. I got into her office in less than a week and again all tests came back normal. So she scheduled me for a vaginal ultrasound.

When I had my ultrasound appointment the first person to come in was a student technician. She introduced herself, the process, and then the vaginal ultrasound began. First off, this procedure isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world. It’s not painful, but having something stuck inside you and then pushed around with a bit of pressure doesn’t feel good. Nevertheless, I looked at the screen as she explained where my uterus was, my Fallopian tubes, and my ovaries. And then she stopped. Really suddenly. And she looked at the smaller screen, made some notations and measurements and then hurriedly excused herself from the room to go get someone else. The doctor.

The doctor comes in and the student sticks the wand thing back inside and says something along the lines of “So I was looking around and then I see THIS here and THIS over there. Then the doctor takes over the wand thing and moves it around some more and then says, “Okay, hold on let me get Dr. “So & So”. I got the impression this was the head doctor and then I got a bit scared. The top gun comes in, the three have a mini discussion, the top gun introduces himself and does the little thing with the wand and then just says, “Okay. When was your last cycle?” Me: “It was a week ago.” Top Gun: “Well first of all, I can see that you don’t ovulate because these (points to ovals on the screen) are all your eggs which should have been released. Second, you have PCOS. That is Polycycstic Ovarian Syndrome. You see these things here (points to some dots on the screen) and these things here (points to a lot more dots on the other side of the screen)? Those are cysts on your ovaries. You have about 12 on your right and a bit more than 12 on your left ovary. They aren’t that large though. Roughly the size of an eraser head. But I’ll let you get dressed, print some stuff out, and have a chat with you in a few minutes.”

PCOS. I didn’t know what to think because I didn’t know what it was. But nothing about having dozens of cysts on my ovaries sounded good to me. Nevertheless the doctor came back in with a print out of my cyst covered ovaries. He explained to me that PCOS was a condition in which my ovaries were covered with dozens of tiny cysts. These cysts were not harmful to me, but they did cause a huge shift in my hormones which was throwing my entire body off (hence the changes in my cycle, the migraines, the mood swings). I was told the condition often makes getting pregnant a challenge and increases my risk for diabetes and heart disease. I was also told that common symptoms include acne, weight gain, trouble losing weight, extra hair on the face/body, irregular or heavy periods, and even depression (most of which I had been experiencing in addition to my other symptoms.) He went on to note that the little discussion he, the other doctor, and the student were having was related to one of the cysts which was about the size of an olive and looked to the student like a “problematic” cyst. However, in their little pow-wow he pointed out to the student that it was missing the 4 of the 5 major characteristics of a problematic cyst and thus it was nothing to worry about at this point.

So what was the treatment? Hormonal birth control. I was told that for me hormonal birth control would essentially offset the effects the cysts were having on my hormones and get everything back on track. So I got my prescription and hoped for the best. And sure enough things did get better and I thought all would be well for the rest of forever…..

Until Fibromyalgia. Just as I was improving in early 2014 , I began to notice that something was again off in my body. I was again getting migraines 3 times a week that lasted for 1-2 days (yes, that means I had migraines everyday.) I was feeling abnormally tired. More like exhausted. Like the type of exhaustion that you’d feel after running a marathon. Only I felt that everyday. No matter how much sleep I got the night before. No matter how little activity I did that day. I was also in pain. A lot of pain. At first it was the type of pain that I’d liken to when you have the flu. That achy feeling all over your body- that is what I felt every single day for seemingly no reason. And as time progressed that level of pain just increased all over my body. For seemingly no reason. My back, neck, and certain points on my arms and legs seemed to be in pain the most often and the most intensely. There were times I couldn’t get out of bed. Times I couldn’t get out of the bath tub or get out of a chair unassisted because I was in so much pain. And suddenly I was incredibly sensitive to cold. Like 65 degree weather was cold to me. And any type of cold made the pain in my body worse. Air conditioning in the car on a hot day- I couldn’t handle it. An actual cold day outside was like torture to me. On top of all of that, I was irritable, had these sharp mood swings, and even some mild depression.

I went to see my general physician at the time who ran every test you can run on a person. And small things were wrong that he assumed were the cause of my issues, and thus if those small things were fixed I’d be fine. This was mid 2014 at this point. For an entire year we went back and forth. Tons of blood work and every other test you can think of. Low Vitamin D so we will increase Vitamin D intake. Still ill. Low Calcium, so we will increase Calcium intake. Still ill. Increase Vitamin B12. Still ill. Iron. Still ill. Drink more water and get more rest. Still ill. Exercise and go to physical therapy. Still ill. And after a full year of all of this and still being ill my doctor was at a loss. Now all my tests were normal and I was still ill. On a fateful day in now 2015 I heard my doctor pull a superior aside right out front of my exam room. He explained to her my symptoms and this year long journey that resulted in no improvement. And then this woman walked into my room and asked me some questions. She asked me about my life, my responsibilities, my job and educational pursuits. She asked about my son and my social life. And then after those questions she simply looked at me and said “You’re fine, you just need to get some more rest and take some time away for yourself.” That was the fateful day I decided to get a new doctor.

I went searching at Fort Norfolk Plaza for a former doctor of mine that I last heard was there. However, when I called to schedule an appointment they informed me that she was no longer there and asked if I wanted to see Nicole Donaldson who had an opening that week. I did not know it yet, but this was divine intervention. I said yes and was seen later that week. I told Dr. Donaldson about my battle. She took incredibly detailed notes. She observed my body language when I talked about my life and responsibilities. She listened to me. And then she ran a whole lot of tests over a period of months. And then one day near the very end of 2015 she sat with me and told me that it was her professional opinion that I had Fibromyalgia. I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t too stressed or too tired. I had Fibromyalgia.

My doctor spent that day explaining to me that Fibromyalgia is believed to be caused by overactive nerves which can result in the following symptoms: widespread pain, chronic fatigue, frequent migraines, hypersensitivity to heat/cold, forgetfulness/inability to concentrate (Fibro fog), anxiety, depression, and mood swings, among many other symptoms Fibromyalgia sufferers can have. What makes Fibromyalgia so tricky to diagnosis is that there is no test for it. You literally have to be tested for everything else first. Then if all your tests come back normal and you present a certain set of symptoms grouped together, then and only then will be diagnosed by a doctor. But because that combination of symptoms is so broad and general, it often gets misdiagnosed as the various other conditions that can cause those same symptoms.

I was oddly relieved. Because someone took me seriously and worked to get to the bottom of what was going on with me. Now that we knew what I had we could work on some way to manage it (there is no cure for Fibromyalgia).

So now it’s been 2+ years since my PCOS diagnosis and about 1.5 years since my Fibromyalgia diagnosis. I know what I have and I am still in the process of finding the right combination of things to help me live a good life. I take medicine for my conditions and I’ve made significant changes to my diet, exercise routine, and general life habits.

For my PCOS, taking my hormonal birth control is necessary to keep my hormones in line. However, I am also beginning to understand the role healthy eating can play in maintaining hormonal balance in my body. I’ve also been exploring essential oils (which have worked wonders for me) to help keep my hormones in check.

For my Fibromyalgia I have found a low dose antidepressant to be a Godsend for keeping my widespread pain in check. The antidepressant elevates my serotonin levels which in turn helps to combat those pain signals from my nerves. If I miss a day of my medicine, I feel it the next day, so I have no intentions of letting it go for now. However, I am also understanding the role food plays with regards to this condition too. As my nutritionist/health coach pointed out, food is medicine. I now understand the kinds of foods that cause inflammation in my body and lead to pain or an increase in pain within my body. I now also understand the kinds of foods that fight inflammation in my body and decrease pain.

I am still learning everyday what my limits are. It’s weird for someone like me who used to workout obsessively and run/jog a few miles in my neighborhood daily to feel pain and exhaustion after a 2 mile walk. I sometimes forget I cannot lift certain things or move certain ways suddenly without consequences for my body. The hormonal changes in my body and my decrease in physical activity have changed the way my body looks and feels…But I embrace where I am. I have good days where I forget I have a health condition. And I still have some really bad days that remind me that I do in fact have a chronic health condition.

Getting diagnosed with both PCOS and Fibromyalgia freed me from the mental anguish of knowing something was wrong but not knowing what. I admit that I had diagnosed myself with much worse conditions via my Google Search Doctor Degree (never do that!). But now that I know, I can take the necessary steps to continue to learn about my conditions and map out a plan of care that best manages them. This will be a lifelong journey. I learn new things everyday. My PCOS and Fibromyalgia won’t go away and they will likely cause new challenges for me as I age or try to conceive later in life. But I embrace them. They are a part of me. I am Diamond and I have PCOS and Fibromyalgia, and I am okay. I can still live a good life. And I will.

Look for me to be sharing information, resources, products/foods, and more stories with you regarding these two conditions in the future. Like I said, my purpose for sharing was to help others and if I find something that works for me, the least I can do is share it with others so they can figure out if it works for them too. And if you have information, resources, products, etc. that you have found work for you, I want you to share with me too. I am always open to learning and trying something new.

Thanks for reading and getting to know a little bit more about who I am. No pity needed. Just prayers. ❤

26 Ways God Reminded Me Of My Value & Success In 24 Hours On My 26th Birthday

  1. Every person in my immediate circle either called me, texted me, sent me a card/gift, or personally wished me well on my birthday. Reminder: I am loved and appreciated by every single person I love and appreciate.
  2. My kid wished me a happy birthday a million and one times today. He also offered to use his change to buy me lunch and told me repeatedly about the cake he was going to bake me. Reminder: Despite how imperfect I am and how young he is, my child loves and values me. 
  3.  I got paid on my birthday, got a paid day off on my birthday, and received a personal note of appreciation and a birthday wish from the company CEO. Reminder: The work I do is meaningful to both me and the company I work for. 
  4. A mom in an online support group I am a part of told me that I inspire her as a mother. Reminder: Other parents are watching me, and where I think I am failing someone else wishes they could be the parent I am. 
  5. Freebies! Lots and lots of freebies! Reminder: It is okay to be acknowledged and get free stuff on my special day. 
  6. Social media shout outs! Reminder: Even people I might not know personally or be that close with anymore still thought enough of me to wish me well. 
  7. I got email confirmation that my cap and gown shipped. Reminder: I got a degree.  I freaking graduated. With honors. As a single parent. Working a full-time job. Just saying.
  8. My devotional today was like God peered into my journal and just took an excerpt from it. Reminder: God hears me and cares about what I am going through. And furthermore, he is working on my behalf to meet and exceed my needs. So basically, I’m always going to be good. 
  9. I fit into a size 4 skirt. Reminder: The hard work I put in and the commitment to fitness and nutrition paid off. (Thank you Shannon Stakes for guiding me through that journey!)
  10. My mom, as always, went above and beyond to spoil me today. From the thoughtful words, to the cards, to the gifts from her and “from Jakob”, to allowing me to sleep in while she tended to Jake, and so much more. She rocks! Reminder: God loved me enough to give me the most selfless and giving mother a person could ask for. If for no other reason, I am blessed just because of her.  
  11. I woke up this morning and prepaid most of my bills for next month. Reminder: I am financially stable enough to be able to do that and still have funds to enjoy my life. (I could not say that not too long ago. Thank you GOD!)
  12. A random woman told me I was incredibly beautiful. Reminder: Even when I am insecure I was created in God’s image, so I am beautiful.
  13. A former 6th grade teacher of mine sent me a heartfelt message about how proud she was of me and how honored she felt to have been a part of my journey. Reminder: I do matter to people. Even to people I never imagined would remember me, let alone care about how I am progressing in life. 
  14. The Alumni Organization at my college wished me a happy birthday today. Reminder: I am an alumni, which means I graduated. (I know I already mentioned that, but you don’t understand how hard I worked and how unattainable that goal seemed to me at so many points during the journey.)
  15. One of our oldest and dearest family friends (Ms. Kim Brown aka Kimerberloo aka “Kimberoo” as Jake says) surprised me by popping up at my house with a bunch of balloons. Reminder: Again, I am loved. 
  16. Surprise flowers. Reminder: The people who love me remembered one of my favorite things and made sure I had them. 
  17. My college bestie showed me special love today. Reminder: Even when I have been a less than stellar friend, my real friends still love me and show me grace and mercy. 
  18. My body felt amazing! Non of the chronic pain or health related issues I battle with  daily affected me today. Reminder: God is a healer. 
  19. I got a heartfelt apology from someone who really wronged me in the past. Reminder: God is an emotional healer and allowed me to get the closure I needed with that situation.
  20. I wrote poetry in my journal today and it was really good. Reminder: I am gifted and I’ve still got it. 
  21. I was inclined to use my wellness journal for the first time today. Reminder: It is okay to prioritize myself and my well being.  
  22. I got Tia Mowry’s and Ayesha Curry’s cookbooks as gifts today. Reminder: I have developed a new passion and it is okay (and delicious) to indulge in it. 
  23. I found peace regarding something I have been stressing over. I still don’t know how it will all work out, but I do know I will be alright. Reminder: My God will supply all my needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
  24. My child was relatively well behaved today. He only had one 3 minute melt-down, two mini attitudes, and only spilled two things today. That is a huge improvement! Reminder: God will give me peace and allow me to enjoy myself when I need it most. 
  25. I did not have one negative thought about myself today. Reminder: It is possible and healthy to think highly of myself. (I need to do it more often.)
  26. I was happy today. Like deep down from the inside filled with pure happiness. Reminder: True joy is possible and it is what God wants for me. 

So basically, turning 26 isn’t as bad as I thought it might be.

Reflections on the Inauguration of President Donald J. Trump

I very briefly tuned into the inauguration of President Trump on Friday, January 20, 2017. My brain had fully digested the events of the day and what that meant for our nation, but my heart and my gut were reeling.

I found myself stuck in this sort of trance of disbelief that what I was watching was actually occurring. I knew it was reality, but I was and still am struggling to accept it. I found myself at moments battling with fear and disappointment that swept over me so swiftly. I also found myself feeling anger and frustration that came on just as quickly.

And as I watched President and First Lady, well now former President and First Lady Obama take that walk to the helicopter, I found myself overcome with sadness. You know when they talk about your life flashing before you in the moments before you die? Well I guess you could liken what I experienced as I watched them take that walk to that kind of experience. Everything I loved about them, everything they’ve given and represented, it just rushed through my mind and I was overcome with emotion that it had come to an end.

Donald Trump has been in office for a weekend- one single weekend, and already I find myself exhausted by him and everyone in his immediate circle. Yet, this weekend I also witnessed the millions of people worldwide who came out in groups of hundreds of thousands to stand for what is right and against what is wrong.

In the midst of such hatred there are still so many people out there who are loving, and caring, and empathetic, and nonjudgmental, and compassionate, and tolerant, and giving, and helpful. It’s such a juxtaposition, but it is one that gives me the hope I need to keep pressing forward and joining others in the fight against oppression and suppression.