Category: My Life

Another Birthday in the Books

Hey friends,

[This is long. You’ve been warned. Enjoy!]

Well, another birthday has come and gone for me. Tuesday, Sept 26, I celebrated my 39th birthday. I am in my final year of my 30s. Hard to believe, but I feel blessed to be here.

My 30s haven’t been at all what I expected them to be. I did get married, which was one of my goals. But every other goal has failed to come to fruition. And guess what? I am not sad at all!! Why? Well, keep reading! [This might be all over the place, but I’ll get to a point eventually!] 🙂

Initially, I wanted to write this super, deep post about living out your purpose in life and I had all of these quotes, etc I was going to share. But I’m going to spare you all of that. However, I have thought a lot about my purpose in life (because ya girl has TIME *lol*). At one point I thought, “What if I don’t have a purpose!?!?” I know I’ve spoken about this before, but yeah, here’s some advice: don’t think this way. Like, never ever think this way because it will mess you up!

Thankfully, my belief in God and my increased prayer life pulled me out of my misery. I know I talk a lot more about God and for those of you that are not Christian, I hope maybe you can open your mind enough to read these posts. Otherwise, I will not be offended if you choose not to read any longer. But this is my life now (always has been) and there’s no way I can talk about certain things without bringing God into these conversations with you. Anyway…

Prayer and studying the Word has given me a new attitude and outlook on life. So when it comes to my purpose, I know that one day, I’ll figure it out. (I think I have already honestly, but more on that another day.) I’ve learned that some of us will meander through life until we can find and fulfill our purpose, while others will find their purpose immediately. We are all different and have different journeys. In today’s world, it’s SO damn hard to remember this, especially with social media. It can be a huge stressor in our lives. The list is endless, but I’ve learned (still learning) that seeing some aspects of someone’s life doesn’t mean that I’ve failed in mine. I must believe that God has something amazing in store for me.

While I haven’t achieved many of the goals in the timeframe that I’ve set, I know that time means nothing to God. All of the time restraints I’ve put on myself (i.e. I want to have a home by this age, I want to have a child by that age), are all irrelevant to God. When you fixate on when something should happen, you make your plans greater than His plans. No bueno. When I thought about that, I stopped focusing on timelines and planning every detail of my life. I still have goals and dreams, which God certainly wants me (us) to have, but I don’t put timelines on them. It’s unnecessary. By doing this, my faith has strengthened and I know that things will work out when the time is right. What’s even more important is that I began realizing that God may have bigger, better plans for me. I meditate heavily on this verse:

“I have plans for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. — Jer 29:11

The above has literally changed my life. If you are a believer, then you understand the immense feeling you get from reading these words. I really don’t know what I would do without His word.

In the grand scheme of things, my life has been wonderful. It’s not what I planned, but everything has worked out. When I’ve given my past some thought, I can see that anything I’ve pushed to make happen, hasn’t turned out well. But when I’ve prayed and let go, things have worked out better than I expected! Until recently, I never thought about those things, as I try not to re-live parts of my past. But for a moment, I think it’s okay to think about past decisions because they can truly be learning experiences.

On another note, I’ve encountered pressure (mainly from family…mainly from my mom) to pursue SOMETHING for the sake of DOING something with my life. I’ve also allowed myself to feel…a made-up pressure? Essentially, always thinking about what people think of me. This imagined pressure has probably caused the most anxiety I’ve ever had in my life. It’s made me feel inadequate and has hindered me for so long. To be frank, I don’t want to be seen as the girl that does nothing with her life. To be more frank: I don’t want to be a loser. No one wants to be a loser, right? Trust me, I would love nothing more than to be DOING something. But I have finally (FINALLY!!!) gotten to the point where I’m going to begin doing the things I’ve wanted to do, regardless of how it sounds or how it looks. 

Before I go, I wanted to talk about happiness. I’ve often felt like I was searching and searching for things to make me happy (hello nail polish collection). But it wasn’t until I read a devotional by Brittany Rust called Finding Joy In The Ordinary, that I was hit with a truth bomb:

“Joy is not the same as happiness. While happiness is momentary, joy is not fazed by your circumstances. What’s going on around you shouldn’t determine your joy.

Joy is not based on our circumstances but is based on our ability to be thankful.”

When you’re happy, do you notice that you can be so happy in one moment, only to go back to feeling stressed, hurt, angry, sad, unsure, etc, etc the very next moment? Why?

In short: happiness is fleeting while joy is everlasting.

We chase the sensation of happiness. We chase it, we catch it and once it leaves, we’re on the chase again. It’s a never-ending cycle. So what do we do? We find joy.

Joy is what I experienced when I was in the hospital after losing our child. It’s very weird to say that, I know. But through God’s grace, I was able to get through that time and experience joy. Yes, even in moments of despair, we can have joy.

“Joy is not based on circumstances, but it is steady because our focus is on God.”

Even if you are not Christian (you believe in a higher power), you can focus on or believe that there is something bigger than you, anchoring you through tough times. And if you can wrap your head around that notion, that belief can bring you joy. Joy comes from trusting that if things are bad, they will get better. Joy comes from being thankful for life, even if there are things in your life that aren’t going as planned.

I was sad for our loss, but beyond THANKFUL God allowed me to see another day on this Earth. This allowed me to have a smile on my face and gave me strength to get better. My doctor, as well as nurses, were baffled by this with me. I could tell they thought I should’ve been a complete wreck after what happened to me. And I did experience tons of sadness, but I found joy too. At first, it felt strange. I felt extreme guilt because I was happy to be alive. But I began to embrace it because it was truly the power and love of God that brought me through it all.

Keeping my joy and learning to be open to my purpose, is what I want to take with me into my 40s next year. I have also learned trials equal growth. Through them we grow stronger and learn to persevere. We always question (usually with anger), why do we have to experience loss or go through tough times. Next time you wonder those things, immediately ask yourself, “What would life be like if I never had to endure any hardships? What if life were easy? Would we still learn anything?” I’m sure you’ve heard many times that through failures, we learn how to be successful. Whether we’ve loss a loved one, or a relationship ends, these things teach us so much! Yes, they are hard to accept at the time, but little by little, I encourage you to see the lesson.

I’ve learned (and am still learning) many lessons this year. I feel stronger than ever and hope that God allows me to continue learning for many more years to come.

-t

p.s. I edited this for longer than I care to admit. So excuse the typos, the rambling, etc, etc. You know the drill — “It hurts me…blah blah blah” #writerlife 🙂

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I Need YOU!!

Heyo!

Haven’t been here in a minute! But what else is new?! Ha! Okay, let’s jump into this post, shall we?

I have been dealing with a personal family issue. I didn’t know if I should bring it to my blogging fam, but I am stressed and need help! Like, seriously, I don’t know what to do. So, here goes nothing. I’ll try to keep this all relatively short, but ummm #longwindedblogger

The short: My (soon to be) 29 yr old nephew and his girlfriend (I use this term loooooooosely) have (an almost) 2 yr old son. They recently moved down to FL near my parents (like 5 mins away). And basically, according to my mom, they are “terrible” parents. ☹☹☹

The details:

  • They barely feed the kid. Yes, you read that right. They apparently were only giving him milk up until a few months ago! The two were staying with my parents when they first moved down there, so my mom was able to spot this issue immediately. They basically said they didn’t know he was supposed to be eating solid food. *sigh* I have SO many comments about that, but let me stay on task. They are feeding him food now, but…barely. They don’t cook, they eat out constantly and buy very little food for the baby. My mom has informed them that they can’t feed the baby fast food, candy, etc, etc that they eat all the time. They understand, but are not consistent.
  • They don’t do anything with the baby at all. My nephew hasn’t been working, so he’s home all day with the baby. But apparently, my nephew plays video games and smokes weed all day, basically ignoring his son. My mom says neither my nephew or his girl really play with or talk to him.
  • The girlfriend apparently told my nephew that the baby “ruined her life”. (Oh. I forgot to mention, she’s 21.) Anyway, this is what my nephew told my mom. So, if she said these exact words, then clearly, that’s extremely sad. But I don’t know if these were indeed her exact words.

Those bullet points are the main issues concerning the baby. I should also mention my sister lives down there as well, and in the same building as my nephew. So she goes over to see them, checks in, etc. She takes the baby for walks and stuff…just to get the baby out and about. But my sis is disabled (her sight is impaired), so she can’t drive or do too much. She and I have talked and she shares the same concerns as me. She told me that she has also had numerous talks with my nephew and his girl about raising the baby.

For now, my parent’s solution is to keep the baby with them as often as they have time. My parents both have part-time jobs, so they aren’t always free. But they do get several days off (7-10 days) at a time, so they’ll keep the baby. However, my parents will both be 74 yrs old this year and while able-bodied, uhhh, they don’t have toddler energy.

There is SO much I’m leaving out because I don’t want to overwhelm y’all. But I wanted to blog about this because it’s been weighing heavily on my mind. I wish we lived closer so I could help. But I DID tell my nephew that I’d be happy to fly down and bring the baby to VA for a while. He said he was fine with it, but he’d have to ask his girl. I haven’t heard from him yet. My mom is supposed to remind him, so we’ll see.

So. *sigh* Have any of you had a relative like this? If yes, what did your family do? If not, what would you do if you did have someone in your family like this?

In the meantime, does anyone know of any resources I can direct them to? They need parenting classes BIG time. I have been searching the area they live in and can only find parents-to-be type classes. I have found free resources for the baby though (ie baby gyms, read-a-long/sing-a-longs, etc) and I’ve passed it on to my mom for them. I also bought them a parenting book, specifically for parents with toddlers. My nephew sent me a text, thanking me for the book and told me he was going to read it. I hope he does! And I bought the baby some books and learning toys, because as I said, they don’t play with him or anything! I sent this stuff to my mom and she kept a few things and sent some to my nephew. She said the baby was SO excited and plays with the blocks and book (it’s a talking book) all the time 😊😊  I’ll be sending him some other things for his birthday next month.

But I’d like to find classes, groups, orgs for them to get help. Also, they are low income, so they would need inexpensive/free resources. My sis (and mom) has shared a lot of info with them for services they can utilize (ie WIC), but she said they don’t seem to want to take advantage of them. It’s so strange and that’s a whole other conversation!

I would appreciate any help you guys can give, even if you’re not a parent. As I said, my mom and sis have been talking to them for months. But…knowing my mom and sis, I’m sure their advice is starting to sound more like nagging than advice, lol! My mom said she had a recent conversation with the girlfriend and it seemed to go well. She opened up to my mom and said she didn’t have a great family, so our family’s “helpful” dynamic is new and different and she’s trying to get used to it. My mom told me that it just seems like she was raised to essentially fend for herself growing up (another whole conversation). I (sorta) feel bad for the girl. Sorta. I understand her upbringing was not like my family’s…but yeah…I stop there. I could write several paragraphs on that situation alone, but I won’t. I just hope though, that the conversation she had with my mom becomes a turning point. Again, we’ll see.

Thanks in advance for your help!! And even if you haven’t the slightest idea of what to do, just send out some good thoughts and prayers for my family. I appreciate the spiritual help, too! BUT….I would SO appreciate any thoughts/ideas on what we can do. I feel like, if we all brainstorm and throw out ideas, maybe we can come up with something that can help them.

One last thing…for me, I can’t say, “Well, hopefully they’ll learn” or “All new parents are like this”. No. No, this is not that type of situation. This is two people that seriously had no business having a kid. Like, NO business (remember, I’m not giving you ALL of the details, especially about my nephew). And I hope I don’t get flack from the parents that are reading this. But… I think as mature adults, we can all agree that there are people out there that DO NOT NEED TO PROCREATE! These two are those people. Especially my nephew…omg…I’ll have to discuss him in another blog one day. Anyway…so now, we (my family) have to help because the baby is here. And of course… of COURSE, he’s a doll! My sis and mom says he’s so sweet. My heart just breaks for this little boy and I pray for him everyday. Ok, I’ll end here and again say thanks for your help!

-t

Can We Talk About Food?

First, I just wanna say thanks to those of you that reached out after my last post about John. I really, really appreciate it. I’m going to post the link to their GoFund Me account if anyone feels so inclined to donate. They are asking for donations to help with expenses beyond John’s wife medical bills. No pressure to give, but if anyone felt the desire, I wanted to offer it. Again, thank you for your prayers, positive thoughts and vibes. I hope his wife feels them!

https://www.gofundme.com/for-barb

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This is a weird post, I know. Feel free to skip this one if you need to. But I’ve been thinking a lot about food and nutrition lately! *lol*

Mainly, two things:

  1. I want to eat more vegetables.
  2. I’m contemplating becoming a dietitian or nutritionist (!!!)

Vegetables – In the last couple of years, I’ve become fixated on improving my health for a variety of reasons. After starting to follow a lot of healthy Instagram and Youtube accounts, I realized I definitely didn’t consume enough veggies. Honestly, as a society we don’t eat enough of them. What we do love though, is meat! I’m not saying we should give up meat. Not at all. But perhaps consuming less would be better for our overall health. I know for me, when I really focus on eating veggies, I feel SO GOOD! Like, seriously, evaluate whether or not you eat a lot of veggies. Try it for one day. Eat veggies in all of your meals and see how you feel. Trust, you will feel better at the end of the day. And I won’t get into how great all that fiber is for your body. #DigestionIsLife

Water – Do you drink water? How much? If you’re not getting a serious amount of water in your diet, you gotta do better. I know…water is boring. I used to be someone that NEVER drank water. I seriously would go a whole day without drinking even 8oz of water. Most days, I think I got in about 8oz, but I know for sure that when I was in my 20s, I could go almost *days* without drinking water. I KNOW! How horrible is that? #MinuteMaidJuiceWasLife

Now, I drink water all day. I’m still not a huge fan, but after seeing how drinking an adequate amount of water in one day made me feel, I’m definitely an advocate of it. There is all sorts of information about the amount of water you should drink daily. Some articles stick with the old “six to eight, 8 oz glasses a day”. While newer research says we should try to drink half our body weight in ounces. I go for the latter method. I go with this because after thinking about it, I do think someone who weighs more should drink more water. Our bodies are like 60% water, right? So it makes sense that if you’re 200lbs, you should try to drink 100 oz of water. I know that sounds like a ridiculous amount of water. But now that I’m doing it (or trying really hard to), it’s not as hard as you think. Seriously, I drink water from sun up to sun down. And now that I’m limiting my coffee drinking, I pretty much just drink water (with the occasional cup of hot tea). When I drink the appropriate amount of ounces of water for my weight, I feel AMAZING!! Since I drink so much, I can instantly tell when I haven’t had enough water for the day. I feel lethargic and a little…foggy? Also…if you suffer from bloating…WATER IS YOUR FRIEND!! I have made other changes to my diet that contributed to always feeling bloated. But now, if I don’t have enough water, I bloat immediately! Having more water solves that easily. And while I can just drink straight water, I often add lemon to it to make it go down “easier” *lol* Seriously, lemon (or any type of fruit…citrus is great, as are strawberries) really helps you drink it if you’re not into water. #LemonWaterIsLife

In a previous post, I mentioned reducing my carbs. I did more research and tracked my food for a week. So I’m ok with the amount of carbs I get per day. It really isn’t the amount, rather, the type that I needed to change. I eat a lot of starchy carbs (hi, potatoes!), so I’ve started switching out those for more greens and lower carb veggies. I’ve also been trying to focus on my protein intake because I definitely wasn’t getting as much as I needed.

I think I mentioned this before, but 6 months ago, I went to the doc and had some general labs run to see how the ol’ cholesterol, blood sugar and other things were doing. Well, much to my surprise, my blood sugar, cholesterol and thyroid were all a little bit high. Luckily, I didn’t need any meds, but I needed to work on it. My doc recommended I start taking fish oil to help with my cholesterol and he prescribed Vitamin D (that was low as well). He also told me to keep exercising, specifically cardio. (I really wasn’t doing much cardio, just strength training.)

Well, this past Monday, I went to the doc to get an update on new labs I had run. Everything is MUCH better! My blood sugar was high and now it’s normal! My thyroid is fine too. I still have to work on my cholesterol. It did go down, but still needs some work. My doc seemed impressed. He said that whatever I was doing, I need to keep it up. Basically, I shifted my diet to include more veggies, swapping in more greens and lower carb veggies. I’m trying to really watch my sugar intake and have lower sugar fruits. And I’ve stepped up my cardio game to 30 min/3-4 days week. I usually ride the bike (regular, upright bike), jump rope and/or do the stairmaster. For ex: I’ll bike for 20-25 min and then jump rope for 5 mins (trying to work my way up though). Or I’ll do the stairmaster for 15 mins and then bike for 15 mins. My legs are looking GREAT! *lol* If any of you follow me on Insta, then you get a better idea of what I eat. #FoodPicsAreFun. I’m really, really happy that the changes I made actually worked!

Guys, seriously, we’re all getting older! Our bodies aren’t the same as they were back in our 20s where we can eat everything and get away with it. I know, it’s tough to eat well and exercise. I struggled with it too. I love a good burger and fries and I loovvvve dessert! And occasionally, I still have both. But I know I can’t eat like that all the time and expect to be in good physical shape. I am surprised though, that my cholesterol was high, given that I eat pretty damn good. If I’m getting in as many veggies, fruit and overall good stuff in my body, then I can’t imagine what my body was going through when I used to eat fast food twice a day! (Yeah, I did that. No lies. I was living that “Super Size Me” life for like a year. So bad!)

*steps on soapbox* Prevention is everything guys. If you haven’t gotten checked out in a minute, do it. Go see what’s going in your body. I never thought at this point in my life, given how I eat, that some things would be even a little high. I’m glad I know and glad that I can do something about it and not be put on any meds. Not that meds are bad…if you need them, then you need them. But for real, we can heal ourselves with food! #FoodIsLife *steps off soapbox*

Let’s get fit and healthy, guys!! Let’s live forever! *ok, not forever*

-t

p.s. I did a little research about becoming a nutritionist or dietitian and looks like there isn’t an “ACEND-accredited supervised practice program” near us. Well, I could go to Howard, but the tuition is ri-donk-culous. I wanted to do something online, but Howard only has in-person courses. I have to do more research. I don’t mind going to classes, but I’m not driving far and wide to do it. AND, cost would be a big factor. I could take a class at a time though to keep it more affordable. If anyone has a friend that is a nutritionist or dietitian, holla. I could use more insight. Gracias!