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

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

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!

Does My Child Need to Be Tested / Evaluated?

There is the old saying that “children should come with a manual”. However, to the dismay of us all, children do not come with preset directions. Therefore, adults are often left with trial and error, as the means for determining “normal” development versus which behaviors should raise alarm. There are a few things to consider when determining whether a particular behavior is “normal” or not. Here is the acronym TEST to help you determine what’s typical and when it may be time to seek psychological testing:

Timing — How big is the concern? The first thing to consider is just how large of an issue is the behavior of concern. Three things to help you determine the size of the concern are frequency, intensity, and duration. Frequency refers to how often you are observing the behaviors. For example, is the child getting into fights with siblings and/or peers several times a week, as compared to once a month? Intensity refers to how strong the behaviors are. For example, is the child breaking things as compared to isolating themselves when angry? Lastly, duration refers to the length of time you’ve seen the behavior of concern. For example, did you just have this concern today or has it been for several months?

Effort — Who is the behavior affecting? Next on the list of considerations is the effort that the behavior is requiring or, in other words, the impact of the behavior. Is it disrupting school functioning or making home life intensely difficult? Are the behaviors of concern affecting your child’s usual eating, sleeping, or play habits?

Stage of Development — What is the child’s stage of development? – After considering timing and effort, it is then critical to consider the stage of development. As a rule of thumb it’s important to remember that all children, at various ages and stages, will demonstrate behaviors that may frustrate and grab attention. For example, it is expected that children who are less verbal will tend to “act out” behaviorally. Also, teenagers often engage in “acting out” behaviors, which is one reason that adolescence is often called a “second childhood.” Therefore, the point to remember is that behavior should be viewed within the context of the child and their current stage of development.

Treatments Tried — What treatments or things have been tried to address the behavior? Lastly, it is important to consider whether the behaviors of concern improved (or failed to improve) when various strategies have been attempted at home, school, or within the community.

In summary, at times parents may wonder if their child is in need of testing and evaluation by a psychologist. As a rule of thumb if the behavior(s) have increased in timing, require a lot of effort from the child or those around them, do not appear related to what is typical for their stage of development, and various treatments have been tried and failed – then it may be time to consider having your child evaluated. A comprehensive psychological evaluation can be useful in supplying answers to the questions you and the school may have about your child’s behavior, as well as their learning, social, and emotional needs.