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!

MLK Jr. Had A Dream… So Do I…

I started my ascent at 3:40 pm. As I climbed I listened to Multiplied by the contemporary Christian group – Need to Breathe. How poignant of a group name because that’s how I felt on the way up… breath 1, breath 2, breath 3… whew!  

And I went all the way up – to the tippy top. When I Googled I found out, it was 1 mile up (1,600 feet of climbing). Along the hike, I stopped twice for a minute break of water & breathing… but then I was back at it! I arrived to the top at 4:04 pm. 

Before heading back down, I took a few minutes to just revel in the beauty of the mountainside – to reflect on the symbolism of my trek. This was another vision that I saw and manifested!

I also took a moment to pay homage to a man who once spoke about experiencing freedom on the red hills of Georgia. So I decided to listen to a contemporary mix of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have A Dream Speech. The song is called One Day by Vandaag! I think my ancestors smile down every time I conquer a new challenge or break a new threshold… So there I sat, on a rock, sweat pouring down, as I smiled and reflected… 

In this moment-in-time, in this season of life, I feel fully capable of bringing each and every dream of mine to fruition. I am full of life and full of love. Feels good to have arrived here. To this place. To my mountaintop.

And each new accomplishment reminds me of the next mountain top I have my sights set upon. Motherhood… I am getting so close to her (my daughter) that I can hear her, see her, and even smell her. She is my next big vision! I shall Birth her and become a biological mother! Wow! I get chills every time I think about it 🙂

The road to this place of fulfillment has been long and tiresome! But I am stronger, I am better, and I am living this life of mine to the fullest. 

And guess what – it’s not over yet! I’m ready for more!!!

But before I could tackle anything new – I had to get off that mountain! And it was so much quicker on the way down. I smiled and even had a pep in my step as I headed to my car – a nice long shower was on my mind!

I have a dream…

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

Answering the call…

Who Am I – to believe I was called to be a Dance Minister? I have repeatedly asked myself this question, prior to and even during the 2014 Gathering of Eagles in Dallas Texas. I came to this conference as a 2014 TEN graduate; however, unbeknownst to me, I was coming to the conference to gain so much more. During the day of the Yom Kippur (atonement service), Rabbi Yisrael Ben Avraham said that instead of asking ourselves “Who Am I,” we should ask ourselves “Where Am I”. So there I sat, considering WHERE AM I? During that particular service, I came to realize that where I needed to be was laid prostrate before the ‘face’ of the Lord… So when Rabbi sent out the call for the person “fighting for their life.” I hesitated and stood there conflicted, until I finally gave in and walked that very lonely walk to the front. It was there, after my act of walking to meet God, that Rabbi served as the vessel to give me the personal message that on that day I was “renamed beloved” by God. I finally accepted that I was called to be a Dance Minister. However, my journey to this place has been a long one. I believe I came out of the womb as a dancer. However, my dance training began by attending my first dance school, Dance Explosion, at the age of 9. I remained there for 2 years and then began dancing at Gloria Jackson, a dance studio that was under the direction of Kathleen Turner. Ms. Kathy was eventually called to bring dance into the church at the Greater Allen AME Cathedral. However, I felt too emotionally constricted to dance for the Lord, as was evident when I attempted to audition to join the newly formed ministry. However, I continued dancing with Gloria Jackson until I left to begin my undergraduate studies at Binghamton University. Dance would continue to be a significant part of my life through the Black Dance Repertoire at Binghamton University, and the various dance groups I’ve formed myself, such as the Hommocks Middle School Multicultural Dance Group. As time evolved, I eventually returned to the church. After completing my graduate studies, at Pennsylvania State University, I joined Union Baptist Church (in New Rochelle, NY) and ministered in the Dance Ministry. Two years later, I moved to Mount Vernon, NY and joined the dance ministry at Grace Baptist Church. In 2010, I moved to Atlanta, Georgia and joined Turner Chapel AME. It was through Turner Chapel, via Eagle Danese Turner, that I was introduced to the TEN Network. I began TEN in January 2011, but moved to Orlando and therefore did not finish. While living in Orlando I attended and ministered with the dance ministry of St Mark AME Church. It was here, in a place of financial, emotional, and spiritual desolation, that I finally found myself able to dance more freely. All of these years of dance, yet I still felt confined. I returned to Atlanta in November of 2011. However, I was now in a different county than previously, and though I visited various churches in my new area, I never felt led to join. So for three years I have remained un-churched until I felt pulled to St James United Methodist Church in Alpharetta, Georgia. I joined St James UMC on September 28, 2014, one week before I would attend the 2014 Gathering of the Eagles. Which brings me back to where I started… so where am I? I am sitting here typing a letter to receive admittance into the 2014-2015 Eagles International Training Institute Dance Ministers Year One. I finally accept that, long ago, God had called me to be a Dance Minister.

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

quotes-collection-on-new-year

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 

Single Woman Chronicles

The Earnest Prayers of A Single Woman…

It was New Year’s Eve morning and I began the morning with a BANG! Not the type of explosion associated with fireworks and festivities. Instead I found myself on my knees in prayer. I began the eve, the dawn of a new year – a new season – on my knees. That alone causes me pause, yet even more draw dropping was the message within my plea to God. I was crying. One of those hushed weeping, body slightly trembling, tears falling, kind of cries. There I was crying and I said:

God please let my husband know I Am Praying For Him… God please SEND MY HUSBAND!

As I said those words, the stream of liquid coming out of my eyes, intensified. It felt as if every pore and every cell of my body – desired that request. I was finally ready to meet my life partner. I was finally ready to enter into a marriage covenant with God and that man; the one I was designed to help.

Now I should pause this story to share that the craziest part of this whole entire experience was that, in that particular moment I was single. I was praying for a man who didn’t even exist – and yet I could feel him, AS IF he already did!

You may now be curious… what is the impetus to all of this?

I met a man. Those four words are not that amazing but, and this is a monumental BUT, this man came at a time when I was starting to falter in my hope about my future. I didn’t know if anything would materialize with This man, for I had met many men during this journey called dating. However, this man’s presence reminded me of three things:

  • God’s peace endures – These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33 KJV)
  • God is a GOD of HOPE so don’t give up (ever) – My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him (Psalm 62:5 KJV)
  • God will fulfill every single promise he’s made over your LIFE – The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24 NIV)

May this eve of a New Year find you in hopeful anticipation of all that shall be in 2016!

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 

 

Returning Home for the Holidays

This evening I went to see a musical written by Mark E. Swinton, a producer for the Tyler Perry Studios. The setting: a fictitious mountain town by the name of Perryville. The story: a remake of the parable, known as the Prodigal Son, found in Luke 15:11-32. And the message: Forgiveness…

The cast was compelling, the singing was moving, and I enjoyed the theatrics of it all. But something shifted inside of me on the drive home. As I steered myself north, in the direction of home, my thoughts skimmed over a few things I was desiring this holiday season, and settled on reflecting over the MANY things I have been through just to arrive at this holiday season…

It was in that moment of replaying my life, of reflecting on the hardships, and reviewing the tape of some of the struggles that I had the epiphany:

I AM THE PRODIGAL SON

Cue the tears… Yes tears fell as I thought about the fact that Over fifteen years ago, I walked away from God – took my lot and decided to move far away from all that was familiar and all that was safe. The same as what is told in the biblical story. But perhaps the most amazing part is that the same way the bible speaks of the Prodigal son being welcomed back home with OPEN ARMS; God has provided me with the same fanfare… And I am thankful! So thankful to be back within the fold – back under the covering of the one who can save, protect, and love us all.

I share this story hoping that when you hear the word forgiveness, you think about not only forgiving others but also forgiving yourself of bad decisions, poor choices, and “stupid” mistakes!

God loves you, and God forgives you, and God is WAITING to welcome you home.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from Me and Mine to You and Yours!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

 

“It’s toughest to forgive ourselves. So it’s probably best to start with other people. It’s almost like peeling an onion. Layer by layer, forgiving others, you really do get to the point where you can forgive yourself” – Actress Patty Duke

 

“Forgive yourself for your faults and your mistakes and move on” – Motivational Speaker Les Brown

 

Making Peace w/the Old Year

You renewed my body and told me to RUN ON!

That is a line from a song that is dear to my heart… The song is Walter Hawkins’ Thank You Lord. It’s a contemporary gospel hit from 1991, and yet I still love it, Today…

But the line that gets me EVERY TIME!!!

You renewed my body and told me to RUN ON!

As we approach the conclusion of 2015, I have so much to be thankful for… there is so much that God has healed me of… and yet there is STILL much to be accomplished!

So what does that mean? I need to take a moment to reflect, regroup, and plan for 2016!

I began this task of reflection by going back to see what my thoughts were at the close of 2014. I scrolled through my blog and found a message about enduring and persisting. A reminder to never quit. 

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I’m happy to report that 2015 found me remaining consistent to that… just like the diligent tortoise, I slowly and steadily ran the race. And though some progress was made, like publishing my first children’s book, doing not one but 4 radio show interviews, facilitating a psychology webinar, and headlining as a Thought Leader at a youth conference, I figure:

Why stop now? Why not go after ALL OF MY DREAMS?

So the hunt is on… and I’m excited! For I stand on the brink of a new and promising season…

But, I’m curious – where are you? Do you find yourself also on the brink of a new season?

I’m not sure if 2015 was everything you desired, but know that if use 2015 as a steppingstone, all the mistakes, the setbacks, and the disappointments will position you to walk into a 2016 that is more than you could EVER ask for!

Life According to Me, 97767605

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

 

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

“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 

Earnestly Praying & Wrestling with God

I woke up with an earnest prayer of God: I need you. There is darkness… there is confusion… I need you. Where am I going? I have desires and needs, when will those be answered?

I was tired of wandering in the wilderness and tired of feeling confused and then I ran across a blog about earnest prayers… the word EARNEST peaked my attention, for though I have always talked to God – prayed to God, I began to question myself of the intensity with which I had prayed.

I had never thought to ask God to hurry! I had never considered requesting God to come quickly. For I always assumed that the time should be left to God to decide… until I became so desperate for God’s deliverance, that out of my despair, I was asking God to COME NOW!

As a result of residing in a miserable place, a friend suggested that I read the story of Jacob. You see Jacob spent an entire evening, well into day, wrestling with an angel because he believed that his blessing and healing would come by that very angel’s touch. He refused to let the angel go until he was blessed. His desperate actions reflected his yearning for God to come at that very moment!

god-remembers I found comfort in reading about Jacob’s story. It consoled me to know that God answered his plea because of his desperate demands!

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 4.39.32 PMAnd what’s more… I was encouraged that amidst the struggles God will not only swiftly answer the cries of his children, but he will use the very same struggle to strengthen our character, and guess what else… to bless us (and others).

 

So you be encouraged and don’t give up! Because healing, blessings, and your anointing are just a desperate prayer away!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

P.S. If you’re curious in reading more about the value of earnest prayer, take a look here:

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/five-benefits-of-asking-god-to-hurry