Standing In Place

It’s been some time since I’ve written… much has changed and yet some things have remained the same…

Am I the only one that feels life is often two steps forward and then two steps back, so that you end up in the same spot? But the cool thing is … I don’t feel like I’m in a rut… I’ve accepted that it will take a little bit more time as I await a few dreams to come true…

Kind of cool that my perspective is positive and no longer dependent upon what’s going on around me. I’d consider that growth and worthy of kudos; YAY me!

Update on me –

  • still working on my splits (the left is darn near touching the ground – the right one though is still in progress. Whew!)
  • still saving money and I’m happy to report I’ve made significant progress – I am more than halfway to my set goal!
  • still not married to my “one” but I have made peace with that. I trust that when the timing is right, it will be right.

And then there was some new –

  • went snowboarding for the first time in January… lot’s of fun but good grief also lots of work!
  • scheduled to go paragliding at the end of this month
  • buying a house this summer

So although there hasn’t been too many drastic changes in life – I’m feeling pretty good about me and where I am… I guess you can say I’ve found my sweet spot! Life is good and I’m grateful for that! But should I start to get a bit too comfortable and forget to keep chasing my dreams… this image reminds me stay focused and driven:

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Until next time!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

 

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

I am happy to report that since my initial post about my dance goal of accomplishing splits on both sides (initial post here), I have made TREMENDOUS strides!

I’m still a ways from completion of the goal but how exciting that I can visibly SEE the differences made in just two short months!!

Right split – in April the furthest I could get to was ~ 12 inches from the ground… But, now, I’m about 6 inches from the ground. OMG!

Left split – in April the furthest I could get to was ~ 6 inches from the ground… And now, I’m about 2 inches… yes that’s correct – 2 inches from the ground. Whoo-hoo!

I’m still astounded by my progress!  Though I’ll admit that it hasn’t been easy, quite painful in fact, as I attempt to convince my leg, groin, and hip muscles that getting into a split is possible at 42 (even though I haven’t been in one since my teen years!)…

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But in spite of the pain – little by little – improvement was made. Seeing myself make these physical gains has been quite encouraging… a great reminder that big things are accomplished by taking small steps on a consistent basis…

It reminds me that we Choose what Tomorrow looks like by the Choices we make TODAY!

I can’t wait to post my next update, as I anticipate continued GROWTH.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

 

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

Rebirth: Dancing Out of the Ashes

For most of 2016 I haven’t posted to this blog… Was it that there wasn’t much to say? Or that I had outgrown this venture… No that wouldn’t quite describe my recent activities because while some things have changed, others have remained the same –

I’m still waiting on God to meet my husband and start my biological family…

Having to wait so long was starting to take its toll, hence the gut wrenching tears that found their way from the depths of my soul out of my eyes, at the start of 2016… But then something shifted…

I began school to become a dance minister (November 2015) and it stirred something within me – something that had always been there but had finally made its way to the surface… I really wanted to pursue my passion for dance.

So writing was neglected as I chased my love of dance. 2016 found me studying to become a dance minister, taking dance classes at a local dance studio, and even enrolling as a dance minor student at a local university! There was dance, dance, and MORE DANCE! AND I Loved it! Ballet, Jazz, Modern, and Hip Hop!

I felt invigorated and more alive than I had ever felt!

  • I graduated from dance ministry school in October 2016 (…even completed my dance final on pointe (who would have thought I’d be back in toe shoes! Haven’t danced in toe shoes since the age of 10!!))
  • I have continued with my university dance minor (I’m about half way through!)
  • And at the end of this month I will be performing a ballet piece with my local dance studio

My dance love and purpose have given me inspiration and hope, as I continue to wait for my husband and family… It appears that dance, in many ways, brought me BACK TO LIFE…

And now that I’ve gotten so many things accomplished with dance, I figured it was time to get back to writing – which means blogging more regularly and working on two different book ideas.

I guess that’s all for now. But how serendipitous that I am writing my first entry, in quite some time, on the day that the Savior arose from the dead. Maybe it’s symbolic.

“Sometimes you have to kind of die inside in order to rise from your own ashes and believe in yourself and love yourself to become a new person.”
― Gerard Way

 

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.”
― Janet Fitch

 

“When love awakens in your life, in the night of your heart, it is like the dawn breaking within you. Where before there was anonymity, now there is intimacy; where before there was fear, now there is courage; where before in your life there was awkwardness, now there is a rhythm of grace and gracefulness; where before you used to be jagged, now you are elegant and in rhythm with your self. When love awakens in your life, it is like a rebirth, a new beginning.”
― John O’Donohue

 

 

 

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.

A Soldier’s Testimony: Answering God’s Call

Yesterday morning I trembled from the sheer weight of my tears; I was driving and crying, not the safest way to travel. But I couldn’t help myself…

You see… I was overcome with emotion, as I listened to ‘We Magnify Your Name’ by Lecresia Campbell. It’s not my first time hearing the song, and it’s not my first time shedding tears to the lyrics of this tune. Yet this morning was different. As I hummed along with the songstress, I thought about the POWER of God. And I thought about how I want to share with others the magnitude of God’s force that I feel within me. I reflected on my desire to touch the lives of others with this great energy.

To let all of that pour out through dance would be such an amazing testimony to God. Unknown

As I drove and fully acknowledged that I was created to bring forth such a testimony, the tears fell. And as the stream of tears lined my face, I distinctly felt the spirit of the Lord ask me “are you ready?”

Am I ready God? Am I? You tell me, I replied…

The Lord was asking this question, at this juncture because I was finally admitting to myself that I have been running from God my whole entire life. I didn’t want to be the strong warrior he created me to be. Correction, I didn’t believe I could be the strong warrior he created me to be.

Yet every inch of me has always gravitated to things of strength from my fascination with the birds of prey science exhibit in elementary school to my young girl yearnings to be Queen Elizabeth, She-rah, Alice in Wonderland’s Red Queen, and even Joan of Ark! These were weird fantasies for a budding girl, yet somehow it was as if I always knew I was made to be a soldier.

But, and this is a huge but… life beat me down. Life weighed me down. And though my spirit yearned to soar, I was overcome by the dampening weight of depression and ravaged by the unceasing angst of anxiety.

So how, God? How could this broken me be useful, much less strong, was the question I pondered for years?

And because I had no answer, I ran. I ran from answering God’s call on my life. I refused to surrender, because to surrender would mean to walk in the vision God had for me – that I am strong!

But God is faithful. God is omnipotent. God is all knowing. He knew what I was made of, he knew I would endure, he knew I would stumble but not crumble under the pressures of life.

And so there I was, in my car, listening to We Magnify Your Name… and God asked “are you ready?”

Who knew that after 40 years, I would be able to answer… Yes… Yes God I’m ready.

This humble servant is ready to don the mantle you had prepared for her, in the beginning. I am no longer afraid of the awesome power of you that shall pour out of me. Use me God.

Amen…