Tightening the Money Belt

I am in the midst of saving for a major investment. The plan:

save $25,000 by October 1 2018

Whew!

Initially, I was excited as I thought about how amazing it’s going to feel when I reach my goal. But then other emotions soon arose. I began to feel overwhelmed and somewhat resentful about the restrictions such a goal would require. How in the heck would I be able to do anything, fun? Saving like this would mean scrapping my international travel plans for the year, forgoing birthday travel, and this last one truly breaks my heart – it would mean not being able to complete a highly anticipated week long dance intensive! Sigh 😦

Saving is No FUN!

I know – I know, without discipline and sacrifice, success is unattainable. But it sure doesn’t feel so good…

For a few days I grumbled this way to myself and even wallowed in a bit of self-pity, until I decided to search for the silver lining. It took me awhile, but I eventually found it…

Since saving will have me grounded and pinching pennies, I will just have to search for frugal ways to nurture my creative side! And being local will also give me time to get focused on a few writing and dancing goals that I have for myself…

  • Writing 2 books
  • Getting into a split on both sides

So… For the next 2 months I plan to dance. write. save. repeat… and hopefully, before I know it, I will have accomplished several of my goals!

Time will tell!  Until next time…

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Baby AFTER 40… Do you believe?

I am 40 and still intend to have biological children. That statement often garners me incredulous looks and an inane litany of questions that go something like this:

  • You STILL want to have children?
  • Why’d you wait so long?
  • When do you plan to do this?
  • You realize time is running out?
  • Doctors say your chances are slim after 40, so how are you going to have a baby?

And on and on the list goes…

In my younger years I would let the doubts, insecurities, and disbelief of others cloud my own visions, hopes, and dreams.

However, me being as comfortable as I am in my own skin now, has allowed me to believe in every single dream within my heart… And that means I trust in me, I trust in my body, and I trust in God’s plan for my life – so I guess that’s why I have faith that I shall be a midlife mommy 🙂

The irony of this entire situation is that while outdated research studies say I should be less fertile after 35, I actually feel and look healthier than I’ve ever been. I must add in the emphasis that the research is outdated; women are having babies post age 35, at increasing rates.

If you’re interested in reading more about the outdated research take a look: http://nypost.com/2013/09/28/outdated-studies-feed-false-panic-about-older-moms-to-be/old_pregnant

I share this story about my fertility journey, hoping that it might inspire you to believe in whatever it is you desire to birth or bring forth, whether it be a baby (like me) or some other new life journey!

The moment I stopped limiting my options to what was in front of my eyes, was the exact moment that I broadened my perspective and life began to unfold before me…

So here I sit on the cusp of birthing my first book as an author! Watching my professional speaking career flourish! And being able to complete a few must-do activities like flying trapeze!!

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I’m so EXCITED and THANKFUL for this season that I am in…

I am happy – I am healthy – and I am ready for that which is to come.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Need help starting? Consider what Nike & Bishop Paul Morton have in Common…

I was recently listening to an old favorite gospel song and for some odd reason one line in particular echoed through my mind: greater is the ending of the thing that is beginning!

As I sat and pondered that line from Bishop Morton’s song ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’, I thought about the merit of it. It makes sense, doesn’t it… think about how awesome you feel when you complete something, when you cross that finish line. “I made it!” you might shout! However, if completion is so awesome, what is the stumbling block holding most of us back?

It would seem that the greatest stumbling block is the actual starting of the thing…

Psychologists often say that the anxiety/fear of doing something is often greater in the anticipation of the feared experience, as compared to actually going through the feared experience. In other words, as so aptly stated by former president FDR: “there’s nothing to fear but fear itself”.

This all leads me to ask – So what great ending are you denying yourself because you’re afraid?

If you would challenge yourself to push past your fear, you might discover a new experience that is worthwhile, fulfilling, and eye-opening.

So get going! Or as the Nike slogan prompts: JUST DO IT!just-do-it-bbb

And I’m not just giving you advice – I have actually pushed myself to do the same that I am suggesting to you…

One year ago (2014), I made the decision to write a children’s book. Although I have worked with youth my entire career, writing a book for them – was unchartered territory… Naturally, there were moments of doubt, uncertainty, and FEAR.

“What if I’m not good enough?” queried a small negative voice from within. However, I pushed past the negativity and fear, and today I sit here with a proof of my soon to be published children’s book in my hand!

Gives me chills!

I hope you find the courage to begin… so that you might experience the thrill and satisfaction that comes will completing something that you started. Greatness awaits YOU!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

God I don’t want to wait… Surviving the Incubation period.

It’s been said that you have to expect great things in order for them to happen… In other words, our life unfolds because of what we anticipate! Expectations are the root because expectations guide our actions, and our actions then lead to various consequences or results. This idea comes from the Law of Cause and Effect. This same concept is illustrated in science and spirituality. What you do will lead to various results…

But here comes the dilemma! Those results are NOT always spontaneous! Sigh…

This is a dilemma because most of us do things – wanting to see the CHANGE NOW! Sometimes I wanted and needed the change even quicker than NOW. How about RIGHT NOW!

Often when my actions are not leading to desired consequences, I begin to doubt, question, and contemplate faltering! What’s the point, I wonder. It seems to be a waste of time to continue doing something that isn’t working, right?

WRONG!

I’ve had to learn, the hard way, that putting forth effort doesn’t guarantee immediate results, it just guarantees results – even if those results are delayed and slow to come.

Recently, while reading Cindy Trimm’s book Command Your Morning, she shared the idea that before manifestation there is incubation. This means before we can see the results, there is a period that we have to WAIT for the results.

I found this concept so interesting that I decided to Google the word incubation and I came across this idea:

Incubation is time set aside that substantially increases the odds of solving a problem

This was very fascinating to me because in the past I have viewed my deferred dreams as a season of frustration, limitation, and lack. However, I now have a renewed perspective.

Instead of seeing the waiting as a negative, I could rejoice in the knowledge that my waiting is preparing me to be able to tackle the obstacles on my future path, as well as give me a greater appreciation of the blessings still to come!

So if you’re like me, and you’re WAITING, on something to happen in your life; continue to do your part – don’t quit. Remember that your efforts won’t be in vain. Not only do the laws of science support your actions, but God does too! 201208130500

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?

lettinggoquote

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 deep are your roots? Will you quit or will you persevere?

Have you ever stopped to reflect back on your life?

April and May of 2015 were really tough months for me. There were many moments of doubts and questions about the path of life I had chosen. Some of the questions arose because this year marked 10 years gone by since the Commencement ceremonies for my doctoral degree. I silently wondered why life seemed so vastly different from how I imagined it would be. The things I pined for in 2005 were in such stark contrast to the wishes of 2015…

I questioned: How did life evolve in the way that it had? And as I glanced around at my struggles of present day I wondered why was my health failing, debt accumulating, and life seeming to move on forward without me?

This can’t be the life of a child of God! Wasn’t I promised abundance, dominion, and lands of milk and honey? If I am blessed, shouldn’t my life reflect that? I started to become so disheartened at the efforts I’ve made to create the life I wanted. The seeds I had planted appeared to be in vain, so shouldn’t I JUST QUIT?

And then I came across a quote by Evangelist Billy Graham:

“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’”

That quote was a necessary reminder to me that being a Christian does not mean I won’t have struggles. In fact, it appears the closer I strive to follow God’s word the more obstacles that seem to cross my path. However, I am encouraged by the knowledge that I am not on this journey alone. God promised to never leave, nor forsake me!

It was from this place of feeling encouraged that I decided to research the idea of bearing fruit.

I found an image that mentioned the importance of planting roots. take-root-bear-fruit-11-638

After seeing that picture, it was as if a light bulb turned on. Of course! It makes sense that the deeper the roots – the greater, the stronger, the more lush the fruit. I realized that this same idea could be applied to my life… I was dreaming BIG, shooting for the stars – which meant it would take time, energy, and effort to plant sturdy roots.

Although we live in a world of instant gratification… I remind myself that the works of God are often not instantaneous and as Christians we must toil, work, endure, and persevere despite what is momentarily seen.

So although my dreams have not yet happened, I trust that if I don’t quit – I shall one day bear fruit and reap the benefits of my labor!

Will you have the courage to plant deep roots within your own life?

Which dream will you pursue without quitting?

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Tired of Waiting? Me Too! No Patience? Me Either!

This week God has been teaching me a lesson on Delays, Patience, and TRUST!

You see I have been wracked with feelings of unrest because I want to see the fruits of my labor. Just imagine you work at something with everything you’ve got and it doesn’t lead to immediate results, definitely enough to cause you a few gray hairs, that is of the hair that you haven’t already pulled out in frustration!

Well, that’s where I’ve been – in a place of waiting. Delayed in a holding pattern. Just like a plane during heavy traffic, I’m sitting on the tarmac waiting for air traffic control to give me the go-a-head. But alas the signal has not yet to come.

For the past 4 days this has been me. This morning though, I had a thought… this morning instead of praying for the things I desire and are waiting on, this morning I would pray that God give me greater faith so that I might find peace while in purgatory. After that prayer I made an important call to a potential literary agent and guess what was the result? You guessed it – MORE waiting! I hung up the phone with her words “can you wait two more weeks” ringing in my ears! I started to feel somewhat downtrodden as her words seemed to mock me and taunt me with MORE waiting… and then I had the thought…

Delay does not mean Denial…

And I could finally see the purpose to the last few days. This period of waiting was prodding me to have greater confidence about my path, this process, and the finish line!

In the midst of all of this inner turbulence during the last few days, God reminded me that even delays have their purpose. Feels good to know that God hasn’t forgotten me, and my waiting is not in vain.

In the words of Poet Friedrich Nietzsche: “On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow

So have you ever been delayed by God? How did you handle the waiting? Or if you’re waiting now, what are you doing with this time? Share your thoughts.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

GOD I’m TIRED… The Complaints of a Dream Chaser.

Sometimes life is such a lonely journey because you are the only one traveling your particular course… family, friends, loved ones can listen, empathize, and attempt to relate but have you ever had a moment where that was just not enough?

Well last night I was having one of those evenings…

I am in the midst of following a path that I believe I was destined to follow, but sometimes staying on the path is hard because of obstacles, challenges, and setbacks. Each difficulty seems to beg the question:

– Maybe you’re not on the right path Donna?

And the follow up to that question, is the thought:

– If you’re going in the right direction, why haven’t you reaped rewards for your efforts, by now?

Those questions, those doubts, the fears make it so tempting to give in, to turn back, and to give up. But if I did that then I would be sealing the coffin on my fate. Quitting is a guaranteed loss, whereas to persevere means I continue to put myself in position to win!

Yet I was still at a loss – my options seemed to be 1) continue to sacrifice and struggle while chasing dreams that seem so far-fetched and out of reach or 2) take the more realistic approach, play it safe, and take the well intentioned advice to give up my dreams…

Neither option seemed to be appealing and I went to bed with a heavy heart; a heart full of hurt that had no more tears because too many were shed during the day.

As I closed my eyes I had the final thought: “the advice they’re all giving won’t work because I’ve been doing it already. I’ve prayed. I’ve fasted. I’ve read. I attend church. I do self-care activities. I’ve waited. I’ve done everything humanly possible, so now what?” And then I remembered the line from Donnie McClurkin’s famous song Stand: “after you’ve done all you can, you just STAND!”

And as if to confirm that I am on the right track, this morning still needing some encouragement I decided to read another dream chasers story. Figured they too had experienced moments of doubt. Thought their story might inspire me. I Google’d ‘Tyler Perry and Quit Your Dreams’ and stumbled upon a 2008 post from him that said:

I am a dreamer and sometimes when you have dreams you are met with obstacles, and your dreams will start to fade. But what I’ve found is that when God has given you a dream, no matter what it is, when you want to give up and believing becomes hard, and when you can’t go any further, the dream itself will start to believe for you. The dream itself will start to carry you through with visions and hope and encouragement.

So, the new mantra for Tyler Perry Studios is “A Place Where Dreams Believe…” Don’t worry if you’re met with opposition on your path to your goals. When you’ve done all you can, stand and surrender. God will allow your dream to motivate you.

What confirmation for me that I was indeed on the right track. That others before me had felt the same moments of doubt and questioning. And to continue on my path means that in the end I will WIN!

So I intend to STAND.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

How to WIN: Tired, Weary, & Faint of Heart

Don’t grow weary and lose heart

Have you ever started a new venture? And thought aaugh! I’m in over my head! Well that’s me lately… Wondering what do I need to know? Who do I need to know? Where do I begin? Why do I feel so far behind? Questions, questions, questions.

The new venture is my journey to write and now to publish my book. It can be a lonely and daunting process, so much so that a gazillion times I’ve contemplated GIVING UP!

And to add salt to the open wound, the process requires you to expose yourself to judgment and critique from agents, publishers, and other writers. It’s enough to make your head spin…

While staring at the to-do list that seemed to stretch to infinity, I found myself feeling overwhelmed and overstressed. I decided to reach out to a good friend who reminded me “Donna if this is your purpose, trust that.” His comment took me somewhat aback. What did he mean by stating that I needed to trust? This wasn’t about trust… This was about manuscript submissions, snippy agents, and nonresponsive publishers. I sat baffled for a few minutes and then the realization came crashing down like a bolt of lighting. I was trying to work overtime to make things happen, forgetting for a second, that since God placed me on this path – God would be the one to make it happen! And that’s when I remembered a bible verse my pastor repetitively recites: Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty (Zechariah 4:6).

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe we are accountable for our actions and we need to make decisions that move us towards a goal. However, I also know that at the end of the day life often happens in a serendipitous way. We can’t line everything up, sometimes it just happens and we have to allow it to do just that.

So now, I will remind myself from time to time, to step back, take a deep breath, treasure the present moment, and trust that the life promised to me shall unfold in time.

For a moment I started to grow weary and lose heart. I allowed doubt and discouragement to slip in. But I’m back on track. The spoils go to those who persevere. I look forward to the finish line, but will also allow myself to enjoy the race!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Needing Energy… SAME God…

I was feeling a bit melancholy this day, as I have been diligently working but still waiting to see the manifestation of my labor.

It is a hard thing to till the land but see no fruit. I began to falter and question and wonder: should I give up? Are my efforts in vain?

In the midst of my doubts I turned to a trusted loved one who reminded me that each and every action matters and is positioning me for my desired outcome. Then he reminded me that he believed in me. His convincing argument helped to bolster my flailing confidence, and it caused me to reflect on another time in life where I doubted my ability to keep going. At the time I was at the tail end of my doctoral program. I was navigating the murky waters of completing my doctoral research and wondering if I would have the energy to make it through! But I persevered and guess what? It’s been ten years since I completed that degree… and I am thankful that I didn’t quit then – so there was no way I could quit now!

I shed a few tears of frustration and reminded myself that if my loved one believed in me, then I should too. I gathered up my courage, dug down deep to unearth some resolve, and sent a prayer up to heaven –

God I just need a sign… please let me know that I’m on the right track.

Later that evening the sign came. I participated in a webinar and the facilitator stated that people should “Stop looking at the ending and celebrate where you are right now!” That was a great reminder for me, because that perspective helped me to see that I was defining the fruit of my labor as the finish line or completion of the goal. But I needed to take a step back and appreciate all of the little things – all of the baby steps that I’ve been taking.

This quote from David A. Bednar also served as a helpful reminder to me about the importance of stepping back and appreciating what we have been given in each moment, instead of waiting for a future moment to come:

Sometimes we may ask God for success, and He gives us physical and mental stamina. We might plead for prosperity, and we receive enlarged perspective and increased patience, or we petition for growth and are blessed with the gift of grace. He may bestow upon us conviction and confidence as we strive to achieve worthy goals” Former president of Brigham Young University

So I realized that I needed to take stock of the strides I had already made! And I also realized what’s the sense in worrying when I know that I serve a God who keeps his promise. As Gospel artist Tye Tribbett sings: God is the SAME GOD! So the God who saw we me through my journey to finish my doctoral program is the same God who will see me through to my next level.

I hope whenever you face moments of doubt and despair, you too will take the time to reflect on how far you’ve come and be reminded that the SAME GOD will see you through each and every time.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com