Are you going to TRY? Life lessons learned while surviving a teenager…

I sit here watching my stepson play basketball and a thought pops into my head: raising a teenager is like a test of wills!

This idea was triggered by a recent exchange we had. The discussion began when I prompted him to put on a hoodie to temper the evening air. He grunted, complained, and mumbled under his breath “I don’t even wear those”, but he complied, knowing that this discussion was not open for debate.

That exchange occurred last night, and was forgotten by the both of us, until this afternoon. He was readying to begin his basketball practice. Before he took to the court, he removed his hoodie; yes the very same one of last night’s discussion. However, even more shocking than him wearing the garment again, was the comment he tossed at me: “I’m keeping that hoodie, I like it”, as he trotted off to play basketball. 4d210a5dbfc13fef15421664d28a8f3a

It was in that moment I knew for sure that children are sent to DRIVE US
NUTS!!

I immediately sent an SOS text to a few close loved ones:

“raising a teenager is enough to drive anyone to drink. Pray for my sanity”, the text read.

But now I sit here reflecting on my stepson’s stubbornness and his rejection of things before having all of the facts. If I were honest with myself and with you, haven’t we all been guilty of the same thing? Rejecting something, just because it’s new or unfamiliar.

How often have you missed out on things simply because you weren’t willing to try?

2015 is rapidly coming to a close and I am pleased to report that in this year, I took several risks and opened myself up to the new, including:

  • Trying Flying Trapeze

And

  • Taking an aerial silk dancing class (think Cirque Du Soleil)

And

  • Writing and self-publishing my first children’s book

However, the BEST news is that the year is not YET over! We still have two and a half months to make it count!

Take some time to think about something new that you’re going to try…

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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

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

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

Do Superheroes exist? Modern day powers: Intuition and Faith

Is seeing really believing? Or is our vision the last sense to know?

I pondered these questions after reading an article about 11 creatures that possess a SIXTH SENSE. Sea turtles measure the Earth’s magnetic field in order to locate their home, Bats use ultrasound to “view” their surroundings, and Salmon use their sense of smell to identify their stream of water. It would seem that if these creatures have superhero like powers, shouldn’t WE?

Some scientists argue that we DO have a sixth sense, often referred to as our instinct or intuition (http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Scientific-Facts-About-Intuition-Developing-Intuition). I’ve always wondered about intuition. Seems like a valid concept, as there has been moments I “felt” an occurrence before it even happened. However, one recent afternoon in particular is most memorable.

A popular blogger that I follow posted an announcement about a friend’s upcoming free webinar. I decided to participate in the talk, which was focused on fertility and conception. The information shared was interesting and it was quite relaxing to join in on the five-minute group meditation time. Although I am not a stranger to the practice of meditation, this session was strikingly different!

To begin – the webinar facilitator mentioned that while meditating “you may see a symbol. Just notice it, and then continue to focus on your breathing.” When prompted, I closed my eyes, relaxed my muscles, and focused on my breathing.

Breathe in – Breathe out

Breathe in – Breathe out

A few minutes passed and then I saw 3 symbols: a cross, an ankh, and a heart. Seeing the cross made sense because my faith is an important aspect of ME. Even the heart made sense because it represents love. But the ankh… why did I see an ankh?

After the session was complete, I decided to Google the mysterious symbol. And guess what I discovered? The ankh is an Egyptian symbol often seen in the hands of a God or Goddess and believed to represent life, conception, and immortality.

Reading the definition of the ankh blew me AWAY! There I was meditating during a conception webinar, I see a symbol that I had no prior understanding of its meaning, and I later discover that the symbol represents the very topic I was listening to!

Call it a strange coincidence or a random occurrence. But I see it as divine prophecy of the day in the future when I shall conceive a child. How can I believe this? Well, because I have faith in “things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Speak life… What are you thinking and saying?

It’s often been said that you have to “think positive”. And I agree with that sentiment because thoughts become feelings and feelings become actions and actions become what is your reality. So there is a direct link between the things that we think about and what occurs in life.

However, have you ever stopped to think about your thinking?

What do you spend most of your time pondering about?

If you take a survey of your inner mental activity, you will be amazed to see that it will give you a clear picture of the person you are and the direction that your life is moving in…

So if you ever find yourself in a place, in life, where you desire change to occur – it first starts within your mind! Start working to change what you think!

A few things to help you shift your thoughts:

  • Be mindful of what you read and if you’re not a “reader” – you need to begin! Reading feeds the mind
  • Be mindful of what you watch via the internet and/or television
  • Be mindful of the company you keep, as the thoughts of others can be infectious. Negative thinkers can influence how you think about life
  • Remember the power of the tongue

I think #4 is SO important, that I want to spend more time talking about it.

The power of the tongue, what exactly does that mean? It refers to the ability for us to speak things into existence. If you speak positively, then that is likely where your thoughts and focus with shift. By the same token, if you’re a naysayer, doubter, or worrier, then the odds are you’re probably talking about and thinking about the obstacles, struggles, and problems.

You need to be more aware of the things you say or speak over yourself and your life. For me, I speak positivity because it encourages me, it reinforces positive beliefs about self, it refuels my energy tank so that I can persevere, and it confirms what God already told me – that his children are beloved, beautiful, and accepted in spite of their flaws!

So what positive things will you begin speaking over your life?

  • I proclaim that I shall be a published author
  • I assert that I will be seen as a social-emotional leader
  • I anticipate that my writings will provide emotional and social healing to those that it touches
  • And I expect to enjoy my future roles of biological mother and wife

What positive words and thoughts will you start to proclaim, assert, anticipate, and expect in your own life?

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Are you living the life YOU imagined?

Many hours of a child’s day is spent daydreaming, wishing, and hoping. To a child, the world is a playground and all experiences are seen as an opportunity for adventure. They conquer, discover, and invent, even if only within their minds. No mountain is too tall, and no task is too big for the power of a child’s imagination.

However, then life steps in – in the form of an adult suggesting that a particular task is impossible and/or was completed incorrectly. Or life may intrude in the shape of a peer who jeers and teases that child into questioning them self. Perhaps, it’s just the child comparing their performance to that of a sibling. No matter, where, when, or how – at some point the child will face criticism and that criticism may call them to question all that they dreamed and imagined.

One hopes that the child is able to rebound and still continue to pursue the things that they visualized. But such is not always the case. Many children give up, discard, and abandon the very thoughts that brought them hope and joy.

How do I know that this has taken place with some children? Well, because there are so many of you, who walk around no longer living life to manifest your dreams. Instead, you live life on autopilot. Doing the same routines, not because it fulfills you and not because it infuses positive energy to those around you – but just because it’s the same way you’ve always done things.

For this New Year, of 2015, I hope you find a way to tap into that child within you. Within you there is still a child who is filled with passion, and believes in all of your dreams. There’s still a child who isn’t afraid to try; even if it means you fail and have to start all over. There’s still a child who finds joy in the discovery of something new and the unexpected. Harness the power of that child within so that this year you finally get to start the new project you’ve always wanted to do, try that new hobby you’ve been meaning to get to, or even go on that desired trip. Whatever it is, take some time this year to get in touch with the ‘you’ that is within you.

If you take the time to go within and rediscover your buried dreams, what you’ll awaken is a bounty of motivation and energy that will better your life and those around you!

Recently, I was walking past a local Barnes & Noble. I noticed in the window, a sign that read “go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Life the life you’ve imagined”.

What will you do in 2015 to make your dreams a reality? How will you begin living the live you’re imagined?

Your emotional imprint… What’s your impact?

I sit here shedding tears… yet AGAIN…

Why am I crying? Well, I received yet another confirmation that this journey I have been on was not for me…

Why would that make me cry? Because it was God reminding me yet again “fret not child”, for God sees and knows all, and the battle is NOT Mine. It was also a validation that the struggles I have endured, the pain that wouldn’t go away, and the doubt – oh the doubt, none of it was in vain. It will ALL, and I mean all – be used for good. Good that will help release, free, and uplift others. And, good that will result in overflow to bless my loved ones and little ole’ me!

So what was the trigger that prompted this teary entry?

I received an email from a dance mentor of mine. She was responding to my email where I informed her that I wouldn’t be able to complete the dance minister training program because the rule was to choose the dance program OR the writing program. And I chose writing… not because I see myself as a writer, but because I prayed about it and everything within my soul said this is the season for my writing to be released!

I sat there reading her response and I saw the words

“… Going through EITI (dance program) would have been for YOU but going through EIAI (writing program) is for someone who needs to read your story and whose deliverance is captured within the lines that you are penning even now”.

Her words hit the nail on the head and captured the weighty sacrifice I had made. Not only in having to choose between the two programs, but also in the many things I gave up on this quest to emotionally heal. Here was my mentor restating what I knew, that the things we experience in life are often not for us. Many times it’s so we can go through it and then help someone ELSE!

This reminder that my life is mine yet at the same time it is not mine is mind-boggling. But it’s true… we each live to impact one another. We, however, have the choice of whether that impact will be positive and encouraging, or negative and defeating.

What imprint are you leaving on this world? What imprint are you teaching your children to leave upon this world? Have you taught them the power of sacrifice? Do they know how to give, just because, and not look to receive in return? Do you live by these same ideals?

I will leave you with a quote by William Shakespeare: “how far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world”

Do and Persist in 2015

Ugh, was the feeling I had as I rolled over, in bed. Limbs still somewhat sore from the previous evening’s dance class, and the brain still not fully awake – I was struggling to get up and moving. What was sort of funny about this morning’s fight was that as soon as I got out of the bed, I could hear my 12 year old across the hall going through a similar battle! I called his name several times, but it was to no avail, he was not ready to be awakened. However we had 45 minutes to get to his morning basketball practice, he had to wake up now! I called his name for the sixth time. He groaned in response and said “I’m not going to practice today”. Initially I paused, but then I responded with “get up, you’re going!” He dragged his lazy bones out of bed and proceeded with his morning routine.

On the drive to practice I explained to him the method behind what he perceived to be my madness. “Get up, you’re going was said in order to teach you the importance of persistence”, I explained. We then had a discussion about the value of doing things, even when you’re tired, discouraged, or frustrated. We spoke about the difference between the successful and those who aren’t. The successful continue to do despite how they feel!

And as if to confirm the legitimacy of my stance, later that day my sister sent me her morning devotional, from mydailybible.org, which read “for whatever was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope”.

So my question to YOU is what are you willing to endure on your path to success? Will you continue to pursue your dreams even when you DON’T FEEL like it? If you do, keep going no matter what, I bet on the other side of that journey will be your happy story ending.

Take a look at this quote from American Essayist Og Mandino:

“The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams”.

It’s the New Year (2015)… I hope you decide to begin doing and persisting… and WHEN you do – come back and share your triumphs, with me!

Strange Conversations… Words of Encouragement.

I sit here with tears streaming down my face…

Have you ever been touched by the kindness of a stranger?

Below is an email conversation that I was having with a stranger. I was so touched by his kindness I had to blog about it…

  • Stranger: It’s God’s will in control .xo
  • Me: Yes. God has the ultimate plan. I desire to be a mom, and God promised me at least 1 biological child – so I’m holding him to that promise.
  • Stranger: You’re a warm and friendly woman. Absolutely beautiful too. I will pray for God to show favor. Love them babies. You go girl! God bless!
  • Me: You’re going to make me cry! Amen, I receive that blessing and confirmation! We serve a mighty and awesome God 🙂 I thank you for your kindness. I wish you love and happiness 🙂
  • Stranger: Oh don’t cry sweetheart. If you’re alone don’t be afraid because God certainly has a plan for you. We are to find joy in our suffering. A sure thing He knows what you want. He is by your side alive in you now.
  • Stranger: His will, surely will – bring a beautiful baby into your life and that special man too. Xo.
  • Stranger: With the love I feel from your heart, you’re going to be an amazing mother. I’m praying for you. I won’t stop. God bless you. As for that lucky man somewhere out there, he will realize that he hit lotto with you. Lol

So what was so amazing about this above conversation??? Because, here was a stranger willing to intercede upon my behalf, and why, because he believes in the power of God! I think that’s awesome!

Especially, because recently I have been worrying about the blessings I am waiting on God for! And in the midst of my doubts and wondering, God sends a messenger to remind me that God is ALWAYS in control of all things, has not forgotten me, and intends to make good on all of the things I am still waiting for…

This conversation moved me to listen to Andrae Crouch’s contemporary gospel song “Let the Church Say Amen”. Here are a few lyrics from the song:

When we receive a word from the Lord, our answer should be Amen!

Verse 1: Make this your response, Amen – No matter how you’re feeling (Amen) or how your world is reeling (Amen). Battle on through the night (Amen), because you’re going to win the fight (Amen).

  • Even in the valley (Amen), or standing at your Red Sea (Amen) – continue to say (Amen), because your help is on the way! 
  • All we needed was a word from the Lord, and we got it! (Amen)

Verse 2: When your dreams about to die (Amen), Knowing that God’s not a man (Amen), he just can’t lie (Amen)

  • In spite of what (Amen), what the devil does (Amen), Know you got a word (Amen); that comes from above (Amen)
  • Faith must be (Amen), must be what you say (Amen), so open your mouth (Amen), say Amen today!

I pray that you find encouragement, in whatever you are struggling with and through. Remember that God hears you, sees you, and loves you! In the complete plan, you are blessed and shown favor – you just have to hold on to that promise and keep doing your part!

Go out and be a blessing to someone! You just never know how you might touch them! They may be waiting on that message, as I was. Good thing my stranger decided to share the message God had given him, as it was intended just for me!