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…

raising-teens

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

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

Prayer + Action = Miracles! What Miracles will YOU Complete?

Completion on the Earth…

Have you ever stopped to wrap your mind around the fact that everything is already complete? Tomorrow has already happened! It is mind boggling for our human minds to fathom this, but everything already exists within the spiritual realm. This is not only demonstrated on a metaphysical level (good old science) but it’s also scriptural.

So if everything already exists why don’t we have all we desire right now?

Why do some people die with unfulfilled dreams?

I don’t think anyone has the definitive answer to either question; we may have to wait until we can ask God himself. However, I do believe that part of the answer rests within the person. I wonder… do dreams die because we fail to bear them? Do we quit? Do we get frustrated? Or do we not chase them at all due to fear or unbelief?

There are so many signs and wonders that prove when we never quit – we make it to the finish line! And what we speak is what is…

Here are two short examples:

Example 1 – Two weeks ago I repeatedly teased one of my pregnant students that she was having twins, and I forewarned her that words have weight. So since I put it out into the universe, it was probably going to come back as truth. Guess what that same student emailed me to say: “so you were right, I’m carrying twins. We just found out in the ultrasound.”

Example 2 – Seven months ago friends and I began a Morning Prayer Circle. We pray over our finances, our family, our health, and our hearts. We also stand in the gap and pray over others: our nation, our coworkers, and even people we don’t know. For seven months we have kept up this practice and this week one of my friends shared that God has blessed her and answered her prayers! It took seven months for the blessing to appear but we prayed without ceasing and we never stopped believing, so the blessing was completed!

If you’re reading this, I hope you are getting inspired. I pray you are experiencing motivation. My wish is that you feel a burning desire to go after, chase after, and pursue each and every promise God has JUST FOR YOU!

Remember prayer and positive thinking is where it begins, but it can’t stop there. You have to take persistent and consistent steps in the direction of where you hope to be!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

You are a potter, life is clay… What shall you make of it?

I was recently listening to Ruben Studdard’s song “I Need An Angel.” I’ve always liked that song, but on this day my attention gravitated to these words:

Take me – Shake me – Mold Me – Change Me – Teach Me – Fill Me – Save me…

Those particular lyrics echoed in my mind as I pondered what things did I want God to change in me… Hmmm… that was a tough decision because I finally feel I am on the right path. However, if you were able to pin me down about 7 years ago, I would have had a LONG laundry list of items that I wanted God to correct!

But isn’t that the beauty of life. If we don’t like the direction it is going in, we have the ultimate power to change it! No we can’t change others and no we can’t always change our immediate circumstances, be if we START with making small changes within ourselves, it Will ultimately SHIFT EVERY Thing around us!

How awesome is that! That God gave us the ability to have choice and power to create life!

Freedom is man’s capacity to take a hand in his own development. It is our capacity to mold ourselves – Rollo May, Psychologist

A man has to learn that he cannot command things, but that he can command himself; that he cannot coerce the wills of others, but that he can mold and master his own will: and things serve him who serves Truth; people seek guidance of him who is master of himself – James Allen, Writer

Life is a quarry, out of which we are to mold and chisel and complete a character – Samuel Butler, Author 

I think it’s pretty exciting to have that much freedom and influence over the life that we live. But I will admit it’s also pretty scary to have that much responsibility. To know that all of our choices: big and small, affect the state of our existence.

The first 30 years of my life I took for granted our ability to affect the life that we live. However, around age 30 I had a great realization! But I had to spend the next 10 years cleaning up the mess that I made in my 20s! Now that I’m 40, I intend to use the learned lessons to create the life I’ve always wanted… And I’m already in the process of doing just that!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

No… it’s NOT too late! So get Started & Don’t Quit.

Do you ever stop and wonder about some of the decisions you’ve made?

This weekend I turned 40… this momentous point in my life found me reflecting on the highs and lows of the previous decades. As I considered past decisions and choices, I realized that I have learned, grown, and gained A LOT of knowledge. As that realization set in I began to wonder how life would have been if I had the knowledge I have now, back then…

If 20-year-old Donna knew what 40-year -old Donna does, I could have saved her a lot of heartache and headache. I guess that’s why they say: “youth is wasted on the young”. As I sat thinking I began to feel a bit glum about what on the surface seemed to be squandered time. I asked myself: What if I hadn’t and maybe I should have? And I even considered IS IT TOO LATE? Did I wait too long to “wake up”!

But then I reminded myself that the wisdom I gained came from the mistakes, the wrong turns, and the detours, so none of it was in vain.

And not only was it not wasted time, but I was reminded that it’s not too late…

My reminder came while listening to Steve Harvey on the radio. During the morning show he mentioned that he was homeless at the age of 30. Although I knew he had been homeless, what caught my attention, this day, was his age. 30 wasn’t that young, so I decided to Google his bio and discovered that many of his great accomplishments occurred at an age others might deem as “old”. He didn’t get his television show until age 39, Kings of Comedy didn’t happen until age 42, and he didn’t begin writing books until age 52. And at his current age of 58, he continues to evolve and achieve new things.

Reading Steve’s bio was the reminder that I needed! For though I am now 40 and I wonder what would have happened if I had been living my purpose since age 25, I can’t get the past back. But I can purposefully live my present and my future, and that’s exactly what I intend to do. By the end of the next 40 years, I’ll be able to look back and admire all I was able to accomplish.

I share this with YOU to encourage you that no dream is ever too late! Each new day of life is another opportunity to go after your heart’s desires.

As Fitness guru Jane Fonda would say: “It’s never too late – never too late to start over, never too late to be happy.

So waste not another minute of your life!

I’ll leave you with this quote from Journalist George Eliot: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.

Life According to ME,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

Stop Procrastinating – Live Life!

Over the course of a single day you might be responsible for making countless decisions. So many responsibilities to handle that at times it seems dizzying. I sit here pondering such thoughts as I gaze at my to do list. Am I the only one who feels a subtle hint of being overwhelmed? And is it just me that thinks about the simplicity of ignoring the list and watching a favorite show on my DVR recorder?

Alas, I don’t do either. The responsible Donna knows that procrastination just makes the task all the more harder to attack. But where does one find the energy and the motivation to do what it takes, even when you just don’t feel like it?

Motivation and Energy come from visualizing and focusing on some tangible and desirable outcome. In other words, you are more apt to keep going and keep working when you have something that you’re working towards.

So if you’ve ever struggling with procrastination or perceiving yourself as just plain lazy, consider this quote by Tony Robbins:

People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals – that is, goals that do not inspire them.”

Now, take some time to reexamine your goals. Do you have something that you desire? What will be required in order for you to obtain that desire? How motivated are you to obtain it? As you consider these questions, you may experience a renewed sense of focus. And before you know it, you’ll feel energized and ready to tackle the day! So go out and make the most of it.

However, do take note that it’s okay to have down time and it’s healthy to devote energy to being quiet, still, and at rest. But it’s critical to realize that there is a time and place for everything. Success requires a time for productivity, as well as a time for relaxation. As Benjamin Franklin once stated: “Leisure is the time for doing something useful. This leisure the diligent person will obtain the lazy one never.”

I wish you the courage and fortitude necessary for completing each and every one of your goals.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Find and Work your Purpose

Purpose is the reason for one’s life. It’s often said that our purpose on earth is to help one another. There are an infinite number of ways to help. But we are all different. Therefore, our unique purpose is identified when we find our individual way of helping others.

Purpose is such a central piece of who we are that most of us spend life trying to identify our purpose.

Do you know your purpose?

Do you know what special contribution you were created to do in order to help others?

If you’re wondering how to identify your purpose, the first place to start is to consider your gifts. For when we find a way to use our talents to help others, we have discovered our purpose.

Here are a few quotes on the idea of purpose:

  • The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others – Philosopher Albert Schweitzer
  • I believe that God has put gifts and talents and ability on the inside of every one of us. When you develop that and you believe in yourself and you believe that you’re a person of influence and a person of purpose, I believe you can rise up out of any situation – Pastor Joel Osteen
  • I believe that if you don’t derive a deep sense of purpose from what you do, if you don’t come radiantly alive several times a day, if you don’t feel deeply grateful at the tremendous good fortune that has been bestowed on you then you are wasting your life. And life is too short to waste – Author Srikumar S. Rao

I mentioned earlier that identifying one’s purpose is an important part of life. Not only because it allows us to help others, but also because with purpose we experience an increased sense of fulfillment, joy, and peace – in day to day life.

So are you willing to discover your purpose? If you’re needing a resource to help you figure it out, take a look at this quiz from Oprah’s website: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Who-Are-You-Meant-to-Be-Self-Assessment-Quiz

This year, may you endeavor to find more fulfillment, joy, and peace in your life!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

Tap into endless Creativity

I am a new blogger. Or at least I view myself as new, considering that I began consistently blogging about six months ago. For years I contemplated starting a blog, but just never got around to it. I made excuse after excuse.

I didn’t have the time

I didn’t have the energy

And even scarier, I didn’t have enough to say…

Or at least I didn’t think I’d have enough to say. I wondered things like “how will I know what to post?” or “what if I run out of topics to discuss?”

However the amazing thing is that as I write more I find increased motivation and inspiration. The more I blog, the more I have to blog about. This is the wonderful cycle I’ve found myself in…

And the best news is that creativity is infinite! So there was no need for me to fear running out of things to say. Poet Maya Angelou eloquently captured the endless fountain of inspiration in this quote: “you can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have”.

So what’s the moral of this message? If you want more, you have to do more. If you want to be inspired, you want to achieve success, and you want to tap into your creative abilities, you just have to start. You just have to use them!

If you’re wondering how to start… just take the first step by doing something different, something new. Take a look at this quote from motivational speaker Denis Waitley: “A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown

And if you’re wondering where your creativity lies, remember that we are all creative, just in different ways. As educational advisor Ken Robinson states: “you can be creative in anything – in math, science, engineering, philosophy – as much as you can in music or in painting or in dance

So as I end this post, I want you to remember that creativity is infinite, we are all creative, and we tap into our creative potential by stepping out and doing something new.

I am excited about life and have renewed purpose as I delve into my creativity within the areas of writing, teaching, and speaking.

What is your creative ability and what new things will you do with it this year?

Life According to me,

Dr. Donna

Your Gifts and Talents… Get to Work!

I sit here reflecting on a recent sermon I heard in church. The pastor spoke about the importance of “working your gift”. I thought this title was quite fitting and a bit ironic because earlier that same morning I was singing along to the contemporary gospel song “The Gift” by Donald Lawrence and Company. Both that song and the sermon expressed three important points:

  • We are each “gifted”
  • No one else on the earth can exhibit our gift the way that we can, for we each are divinely unique
  • We have to work our gift

Although all of the above points resonated with me, it was the last that I seemed to fixate on… the importance of working the gift that we’ve been given…

That third point held a lot of weight because it reminded me that although we are given talents and gifts – it’s not until we do something with the endowment that we get to see and feel the power of the blessing.

How many of you have talents that you are just “sitting” on? Gifts that are going wasted because you feel you’re too busy, tired, or afraid to step out on faith?

I can relate to your reluctance, for at times I too want to shy away from using my gifts, for with gifts comes responsibility.

For even the bible talks about this greater responsibility in Luke 12:48: But what about the servant who does not know what his master wants? He also does things that deserve punishment. But he will get less punishment than the servant who knew what he should do. Whoever has been given much will be responsible for much. Much more will be expected from the one who has been given more.

And with increased responsibility, comes increased pressure. Sigh. Yes, pressure!

However, despite the heavy load of responsibility and pressure, I know that I can’t not walk in and make use of the talents I’ve been given because there’s always this little push or voice from within that keeps propelling me forward. And more importantly, I know that my gifts were meant to be shared, to be a blessing to someone else. Or in the words of the pastor delivering the sermon: “the gift is given TO us but NOT for us… so be not prideful and be not a hoarder…. Bless the world around you.”

I hope you find the inspiration and the courage to share your gifts and talents with others, knowing that we each have something valuable to contribute to this planet we call Earth.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna