2017… what a year…

I began the year sick and I’m finishing the year… you guessed it – sick… SMH! Sounds like not much has changed – and yet so much has DRASTICALLY changed!

During these last 12 months I have grown in many immeasurable ways, but I will try to quantify them here:

  • I am able to do a left split
  • I climbed Stone Mountain in 24minutes & felt strong
  • Although I’ve been a dancer my whole life, this was the year I danced with full abandon & a smile
  • I returned to work full time for the school system, so that I’ll have predictable income to reach my savings goal!
  • There was local and domestic travel (fun times)
  • I reconciled and strengthened several family bonds
  • There was a slew of dance rehearsals for my various dance performances
  • I began building my own comunidad (community) and it feels awesome to have the support (no longer wandering alone (except when I choose to))
  • And there was a TON of concerts, broadway shows, and movies. Just a few of my favorites were: Movies– Wonder Woman, Leap, The Star, / Broadway– Annie, Finding Neverland, / Concerts– For King & Country, Anthony David, & Fantasia

Through it all… what I take away from this year is a newfound and hard-earned love and appreciation of who I am. I walk with an air of confidence in my capabilities and my purpose. However, thanks to all of the struggles, that confidence doesn’t spill over into the realm of arrogance. I will never forget the struggles for they keep me humble…

There’s something to be said for the season when I women truly comes to understand her value and her worth. The essence of Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Woman poem captures what I’m referring to – this place of knowing who you are so intimately that it radiates for others to see… I am in that season…

Gone are the days of running from anxiety and hiding in the shadows of depression. Goodbye to the periods of self-doubt and self-deprecation. And no longer am I unclear about who I am and where I am going.

These are exciting times!

So as we all ready ourselves, to sing the well-known Auld Lang Syne, I smile at the bittersweetness of this time. For although there were tough roads and tears shed in 2017, it was intermingled with pops of sheer & utter JOY! And so I shall miss 2017! Those moments of sunshine & mountaintops, as wells as those dark, gloomy valley days… for they have propelled me into knowing who I truly am.

A new year awaits me… and you… I eagerly step through the door and into the new experiences that shall come with 2018. Per my usual, I don’t set resolutions, but I do have clear and high expectations for 2018. I’m excited to see the germination of seeds planted oh so long ago!

I’m proud of this new me – the one who is no longer waiting to live life. The one who appreciates and is grateful for this life she’s living, right now, in this moment! No longer waiting for a husband or a baby to define me – trusting that I AM ENOUGH… and when the husband and baby do come (for come they shall), they will come to complement this wonderful (though far from perfect) life I’m living.

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Until Next Time,

Dr. Donna

Finding Me…

I was looking through my website and came across these random, (not) posted thoughts:

my similarities to the sun

  • sometimes overshadowed by clouds
  • occasionally eclipsed by the moon
  • but always living to rise to a new dawn

I started this list – Three years ago… wow… that would have been 2014.

Some things are the same about me and my every day existence – yet I feel different! Probably because the lens that I view life through, has changed.

Even though on the outside everything looks status quo, I can feel what would be missed by the naked eye and random observer.

No longer do I feel like I’m wandering aimless and purposeless.

No longer do I feel in the shadows, eclipsed, or overlooked.

I have found my voice. I have found my stride. And I’m excited for what the future holds!

It is a new dawn indeed! But this reality is better than I ever could have imagined! Because before I was waiting to acquire things or a certain status to feel peaceful, happy, and whole. But lo and behold, I have arrived to my happy place – and it didn’t happen because of a material possession, relationship status, or career promotion.

It’s comforting to know that this secure place is nestled inside of me – forever mine!

Getting advice from Captain Hook…

Life is SUCH a roller coaster… or maybe it’s just my life… who knows… But as I sit here reflecting – there have been so many HIGH moments, on the one hand – and then there have been the LOWS! The moments where I doubt and I’m ready to throw in the towel! UGH! There have been many of those!

Here I am replaying in my mind the challenges I’ve faced to reach present day. And for a moment I am overwhelmed, because guess what – despite my long journey, there is STILL so much I desire… still so much I have to accomplish! Where will I find the energy? What will help me to keep going? I’m not sure but I know I can’t quit…

This determined spirit of mine reminds me of lyrics that have stuck in my mind, since going to see Finding Neverland this week. The play was awesome, inspiring, and it’s these lines (sung by the character playing the role of Peter Pan Playwright, JM Barrie) that I can’t get out of my head:

I’ve got to be stronger
Reach up higher
Must dig deeper
Find the fire

Feel enlightened
Can’t be frightened anymore

 

I can run now so much faster
Now defeat won’t be my master

For to conquer the demons
I won’t have to wait any longer
I’ve got to be stronger

 

So I just have to keep going… I have to keep proceeding forward until I see the results I desire. And in those moments where I wonder “how much further?”, I’ll just remind myself of the lines sung by the Captain Hook character:

You’ll see in time
You will survive
Too soon to run
Too late to hide
It’s your destiny
Every pace, every stride

 

What a journey!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

What God Sees for 2016! Happy New Year!

It was 4:48am in the morning and for reasons unbeknownst, I was WIDE – awake. No longer tired, so I just laid there. I then had the urge to hear the contemporary gospel song ‘It’s Not Over’ and then right after that I listened to the hit ‘It’s a New Season’. Both offer great reminders as we straddle the old year of 2015 and look towards the new year of 2016.

There were so many positive things that happened during 2015, but I must admit that there were moments of doubt. Moments where I questioned:

Can I really do that?

Will I reach the goal?

You see – I had made declarations over my life… Signs that would indicate to me, LIFE was once again flowing from within and all around me. I will be a bestselling author. I will be married (this time for the right reasons) and have biological children. I will take my dancing to the next level. I will have financial health. I will be a sought after motivational speaker. I will further sculpt and tone my body. My natural hair will grow back thicker and healthier.

Well, the jury is still out… I am still in the process of manifesting a few BIG dreams. But one thing I know FOR SURE, it definitely won’t happen if I don’t try. So 2016 is the year of BIG EFFORT! Trusting that all things are not only possible, but they are also new, in God!

God sees my future as limitless, and I’m finally starting to believe, Him! I wish that same vision for YOU!

May you start to believe, Just as God believes.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

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Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

 

P.S.

If you missed my December 31st 2014 and January 1st 2015 posts, here they are:

https://donnadoctora.com/2014/12/30/forecast-for-2015-slow-steady-wins-the-race/

https://donnadoctora.com/2015/01/01/do-persist-in-2015/

“Persist with a heart full of gratefulness for what you’ve overcome (the past) and what you have yet to accomplish (your future)!” From Dr. Donna 

Discipline… it’s not a bad word.

I’ve always been a HUGE believer of the connection between the mind-body-spirit… However, this lesson hit very close to home when I found myself feeling lethargic, lackluster, and sad. It wasn’t until I took a B12 vitamin, upon the encouragement of my sister, that I found some of my usual vitality returning! This experience served as a great reminder that if you want to be healthy you have to tend to each area. The secret to health or the proverbial ‘fountain of youth’ is to achieve balance in mind, body, and spirit…

Even the Bible mentions the importance of mind-body-spirit:

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth (3 John 1:2)

So God is reminding us that health requires total body health. This sounds like such simple common sense, that you may even wonder why I’m writing about it…

Well, as we know, often the things that appear simple and common are often the most challenging!

To have total body health, we must be disciplined and being disciplined isn’t easy… because even if we can convince ourselves to get started on the path, it seems darn near impossible to sustain and stay the course…

So what shall you do?

You must FIRST start by disciplining your mind and then the rest becomes possible.

Here are a few tips to help you on the path to train your mind:

  • First identify a target – what is it that you’re desiring?
  • Next, visualize in your mind how you will feel once you’ve actually reached the goal
  • Finally, think of 2-3 really simple steps that you can begin immediately that will lead you in the direction of your goal

Remember it’s never too late to get in the habit of developing a disciplined mind!

I’ll leave you with a few useful quotes about discipline:

“To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him” Buddha, A Buddhist sage

“We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment” Jim Rohn, Entrepreneur

“It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through” Zig Ziglar, Author/Motivational Speaker

Get Disciplined! Stop TRYING and choose to DO IT! Did-You-Know-760x760

YOU CAN!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Leaping Faith… A New Journey Begins.

Have you ever found yourself in a place wondering: “what am I doing here?”

Well, that was me, this past week… I was going through a mini existential crisis, wondering why certain desired things had not yet entered my life. It took everything in me just to be able to go to and from work. I was out of energy, as a car whose fuel tank was on empty. It wasn’t that anything new had occurred; yet somehow the dark cloud of depression had found a way to blot out my sunshine. I guess I was experiencing scripture firsthand because Proverbs 13:12 says that a deferred dream will make one sick… and sick I was feeling indeed.

From this place of feeling like an emotional train wreck, I showed up to volunteer for the Catalyst Conference. For those of you not familiar with the Catalyst Conference, it is a national conference intended to provide education, resources, and tools to leaders who love the Church. From this place of emotional brokenness I had to dig from within to keep a smile on my face as I greeted the arriving guests.

After the second day, all of that smiling on the outside (but not the inside) depleted me. When my duties were done, I fled the conference to sequester myself in my bedroom. But something miraculous happened on the third day of the conference. My duties were done strangely early that morning and I was free to sit in on the conference activities. As I sat there in an arena filled with 8,000+ Christians, I initially watched but then joined in as we sang about the awesome power of God to free us from past hurts, from disappointments, from broken hearts. I realized that I had found the answer to my initial question of “what I was doing there”. It struck me that I was in the right place, at the right time. And it felt good, awesome in fact!

So much so that I see it as a pivotal point in my faith walk with God because two days after the conference ended I decided to give my body back to God. I am now choosing to abstain from sex until marriage. Go figure, me? Seems ludicrous yet as I was reminded, during the conference, we serve a God of the IMPOSSIBLE… not the difficult… the Impossible!

And it is in that God I place my faith, all of my future hopes and dreams.

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I am in a new season and it is one that is hope filled. May my story of courage and bravery, in the face of doubt, fear, and tears give you the strength to take your own leap of faith!

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Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Faith in the Next Step…

This morning I listened to a song called ‘Lord You’re Mighty’ by a group called Youthful Praise. The lyrics continue to echo in my head as they repeatedly chant: “Lord you’re mighty”…

There are so many reasons that I could cosign with that tune, but right now I just want to hone in on one point – the Lord is MIGHTY because GOD IS EVERYWHERE! I mean literally everywhere! Just look for God in the church and out of the church. You will find God in the flight of the birds and the waving of the trees. God is even on our jobs and in our neighborhoods.

You may be wondering why I’m on this God Love Fest? Well… it’s because this weekend I was struck by the seemingly random yet synchronous events of life! Only GOD could take the seemingly accidental happenings of life and string it together so that it reveals a little bit more about this journey called life.

Let me share what happened.

On Friday, of last week, I decided to participate in a webinar on total body health. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a health nut and the eternal nerd, so I am always seeking to learn something new! While listening to the webinar, the speaker shared that true health involves not only physical health but also mental and spiritual health. She went on to elaborate that health begins with a desire to be healthy and even when we don’t know the next step we have to trust that our desire will guide us in the direction of the information that we seek.

Now fast forward a few days… I was spending some time at my sister’s house and decided to peruse her bookshelf. My fingers for whatever reason stopped on a book entitled The Magic in the Extra Mile by Larry DiAngi. Wasn’t familiar with author, nor his work but for some odd reason I decided to skim through his book. As I peered into the pages, reading some but scanning most, my eyes fell upon these words:

YOU WILL KNOW THE NEXT STEP

How odd! The phrasing of the words in the book was almost identical to the words spoken in the webinar.

It was as if those particular words were being repeated because it was intended for me to not only receive that message but to do something with it!

I now share these same words with you hoping that they inspire you to trust your life path, trust the journey, trust God to give you the next step!

Believe and never stop…

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Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

4th of JULY reflections – More than hamburgers, hotdogs, & fireworks!

It’s another 4th of July…

As I reflect on this day known for barbecues, time with the family, and being poolside, my mind wanders. Independence – freedom – the pursuit of happiness. It’s quite ironic that a few days ago I was reflecting on the season of life that I am in. It is a period where I am finally and truly open to change, growth, and releasing the past! So this year is a bit special. July 4th will not only be a time for remembering the freedoms fought for and that we’re still striving for, but it will also signify a turning point my life.

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Moving on to the new can be a very daunting and overwhelming task! Most may opt to remain with the familiar. However happiness, true happiness can only be obtained when we are free – when we allow ourselves the chance to seek the things that encourage our inner passions, creativity, and spirit.

This Independence Day I am channeling the sage wisdom and bravery of my ancestors to walk courageously into happiness!

So what is the first step on the path to happiness?

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It is letting go of the past hurts, pains, and even regrets… this first step is often the HARDEST but it is necessary!

I give myself permission to be happy

I give myself permission to be free

I give myself permission to be whole

I forgive those who have hurt me and …

I liberate myself from feeling any further self-blame that I allowed them to hurt me

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I am eager to see the amazing new things that will walk into my life because I am a new me. Marriage, babies, publishing books, and amassing wealth… an exciting time is on the horizon, indeed!

Well that’s my Independence story, what’s yours? What are you focused on this Fourth of July? Will you take a moment to reflect on what new pursuits will add flavor to your own life?

I hope you do!

“One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Amen”

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

How to Dance in the Rain

Have you ever had one of those days where it just seemed like everything that could go wrong, did? Well, that’s the kind of week that I’ve been having… Door after door seemed to be closed, and opportunity appeared to be nowhere around. You name it – I’ve been stressing about it… money, bills, relationship, and career. It was all too overwhelming and so standing in the shower this morning I burst into tears. “ENOUGH GOD”, I shouted… “I’M TIRED OF LOSING”.

As I stood there allowing the tears to stream down my face, I could feel the emotional weight of my plight shifting. Although nothing tangible changed, at least I was no longer carrying the burden of how I felt, and that brought a huge sense of relief. The sense of calm that I now felt even allowed a SMILE to creep in. Just the act of venting my distress helped to break up the cloud of depression.

I finished my shower, dried off, and pondered for a bit what had just transpired. I went into the tub sad and depleted. I stepped out feeling just a little bit lighter, just a tad bit more motivated to face my day. It seems I had just experienced what one might call “DANCING IN THE RAIN”.

I share this with you because there may be some days that you’re going to have to dance in the rain. So how do you do that?

  • You acknowledge what it is that you’re feeling. Be completely honest with yourself and then vent it. You may decide to let it out by writing in a journal, by singing a song, or by just yelling it out as I did. Whatever you do, just allow yourself to express it
  • Allow yourself to feel, whether it is a feeling of sadness, frustration, confusion – whatever. And if that means tears fall, allow them to.
  • Then take a deep breath

You would have now learned the art of dancing in the rain. Nothing about your situation would have changed. However, your mood will change, which means your outlook will change, which translates into having more energy to face the challenges that lie ahead!

And you WILL face your challenges! Be assured of that! I find the toughest challenge is not the situation, but instead to believe that each and every situation will be overcome!

Be encouraged and remember as gospel singer J Moss sings in Psalms 150 “he moves right before we stop believinghttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqkdzgGv8H0

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Questions as I approach 40!

What’s your DESTINY?

Do you ever WONDER where you’re headed? Or what direction your LIFE is taking? What is the point to each day?

Well I often wonder about these things… Especially as I approach the age of the BIG 4-0!

I look forward to turning 40!

I look and feel great! Especially when the young people say: “you don’t look your age”.

However I must confess that 40 looks nothing like I thought it would. When I was 18, I thought that by the age of 40 I would be married, with teenage aged twins, living in some suburbs of New York.

How vastly different my life is from that? Which causes me to wonder if my 18-year-old vision of 40 was so off the mark, what other vision do I have to guide and order my steps? And I also question why would God have me on a path so different from where I thought I would be?

But in the midst of my questioning I am reminded of two things:

  • If we live our life according to God’s guidance we shall be immensely blessed (see Proverbs 29:18)
  • Sometimes God’s plans don’t seem to fit with our plans (see Luke 22:42), but God will bless us if we obediently follow his plan (Luke 11:28).

So I boldly embrace my upcoming 40th birthday, trusting that God has amazing and awe inspiring plans for the next 40 years! This first phase of my life was all about preparation for the purpose that God intended for my life (from the start!)

As for the specifics of that purpose, I think it’s encapsulated best in this quote by novelist Ayn Rand: “Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values

Each day I now awaken with renewal of energy and a determined focus to go after and achieve EACH and EVERY dream, desire, & aspiration.

Will you too adopt such a courageous spirit? I have faith in you, Do YOU?

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com