Birthday Musing – Life Reflections…

Yesterday was my birthday and 6 guys from my past called to wish me Happy Birthday… yup that’s right – SIX! I was somewhat astounded. There were calls, text messages, Facebook messages, and even a Group Me message. It seemed they left no stone unturned. At least half of that number I expected, as we have remained friends post-relationship. But the other half, that caught me by surprise. My inward response was: “wow you remembered my birthday?!”

The upside to these resurgences from the past was it echoed quite loudly the notion that people remember me, even after the relationship is no longer. That’s pretty cool, because I think it’s an innate human desire to know that you’re not forgotten and have left an imprint/mark! But there is also a downside to this unexpected attention. Visits from past ghosts brought with it trips down memory lane. Their gestures to wish me birthday blessings left me haunted. As I replayed each relationship over in my head, I confidently confirmed that none was a good fit. But when it was all said and done, I was still single and I left wondering “when will I meet my right fit?”

Some people get bummed by birthdays, afraid that the added year means “they’re getting old”. Not me, because each year usually means a new year of EXCITEMENT! As I mentally scrolled through the last few birthdays: at 35 it was a photo shoot in NYC & girlfriends dinner, at 36 it was a photo shoot & weekend getaway in Florida, at 37 it was a weekend of parties, at 38 a girlfriend spa weekend at the Ritz Carlton in Arizona, at 39 a professional photo shoot in Atlanta, at 40 an overnight spa trip, and at 41 I jumped out a plane. And this list doesn’t even take into account the plans that the “then” boyfriend(s) had planned for my special day!

So based upon my track record, I was all stoked and ready to receive 42 with open arms. I had the ultimate adventure planned, but then my plans had to change. I am saving for a really big upcoming expense, which means the responsible thing to do would be to stay local and grounded, on my birthday. Bummer!

I rebounded from my initial plans and did a really good job of enjoying my local birthday (took myself out to an early breakfast at a French Bistro and then midday lunch at a Mexican restaurant that I’ve never been to). But my ex’s… ah my ex’s… their resurfacing has me questioning myself. The relationship has ended. Have I changed any since then? Am I making any traction or am I just running on a treadmill going nowhere? Is my life progressing or am I stuck?

I don’t know that I discovered the answer… but I trust that time is the wonderful revealer of all things. So I will just have to be patient and wait to see how things pan out. A year or two from now, it’ll be interesting to see where I am and what I’m doing (in life).

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…

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

Peace in a WORLD turned upside down! Learning the Art of Inner Contentment & Happiness

I sit here reflecting on this season of life that I’m in… and it is good…

✖ Not because life is perfect

✖ Not because there is an absence of life stressors

✖ And definitely not because I have everything I desire

In fact the amazing thing is that my life feels good in spite of the negative situations I’ve had to face!

How could that be you wonder?

Well, I’ve arrived at this very interesting space in time where I not only truly love myself but I know, I accept, and I appreciate my life purpose – my reason for living – the contribution/mark I intend to leave on this earth.

This place that I’m in is pretty awesome, particularly when I reflect on just a few short months ago I was struggling with the waiting:

https://donnadoctora.com/2015/04/30/spring-anticipation-patience-and-strength/

In that previous blog from Spring 2015, I mentioned the song ‘Conqueror’ by Estelle and Jussie Smollett. At that time, I needed the song to encourage me and help push me in the direction I desired to go. Now I listen to the song, and I smile… it is a smile acknowledging and confirming – YES indeed, I am a Conqueror!

I am a conqueror because I learned the secret…

Would you like me to tell it to you?

Here goes:

You can truly have happiness and peace NO MATTER WHAT is going on around you –

once you’ve found inner contentment!

It took me many, many, MANY, did I say many – years to get here.

But here I am… I finally understand and LIVE the true meaning of inner peace.

Here are two quotes about inner peace:

  • Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. Saint Francis de Sales, Roman Catholic Saint
  • My faith helps me understand that circumstances don’t dictate my happiness, my inner peace. Denzel Washington, Actor

I leave you with a final word… Namaste; which you will hear Yogis (practitioners of Yoga) say as a form of greeting to one another. It means the spirit within me, honors the spirit within YOU!

May you come to know the inner spirit that dwells within you, so that you may find peace, happiness, and inner contentment!

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