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

 

 

 

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

Tired of Waiting? Me Too! No Patience? Me Either!

This week God has been teaching me a lesson on Delays, Patience, and TRUST!

You see I have been wracked with feelings of unrest because I want to see the fruits of my labor. Just imagine you work at something with everything you’ve got and it doesn’t lead to immediate results, definitely enough to cause you a few gray hairs, that is of the hair that you haven’t already pulled out in frustration!

Well, that’s where I’ve been – in a place of waiting. Delayed in a holding pattern. Just like a plane during heavy traffic, I’m sitting on the tarmac waiting for air traffic control to give me the go-a-head. But alas the signal has not yet to come.

For the past 4 days this has been me. This morning though, I had a thought… this morning instead of praying for the things I desire and are waiting on, this morning I would pray that God give me greater faith so that I might find peace while in purgatory. After that prayer I made an important call to a potential literary agent and guess what was the result? You guessed it – MORE waiting! I hung up the phone with her words “can you wait two more weeks” ringing in my ears! I started to feel somewhat downtrodden as her words seemed to mock me and taunt me with MORE waiting… and then I had the thought…

Delay does not mean Denial…

And I could finally see the purpose to the last few days. This period of waiting was prodding me to have greater confidence about my path, this process, and the finish line!

In the midst of all of this inner turbulence during the last few days, God reminded me that even delays have their purpose. Feels good to know that God hasn’t forgotten me, and my waiting is not in vain.

In the words of Poet Friedrich Nietzsche: “On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow

So have you ever been delayed by God? How did you handle the waiting? Or if you’re waiting now, what are you doing with this time? Share your thoughts.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

GOD I’m TIRED… The Complaints of a Dream Chaser.

Sometimes life is such a lonely journey because you are the only one traveling your particular course… family, friends, loved ones can listen, empathize, and attempt to relate but have you ever had a moment where that was just not enough?

Well last night I was having one of those evenings…

I am in the midst of following a path that I believe I was destined to follow, but sometimes staying on the path is hard because of obstacles, challenges, and setbacks. Each difficulty seems to beg the question:

– Maybe you’re not on the right path Donna?

And the follow up to that question, is the thought:

– If you’re going in the right direction, why haven’t you reaped rewards for your efforts, by now?

Those questions, those doubts, the fears make it so tempting to give in, to turn back, and to give up. But if I did that then I would be sealing the coffin on my fate. Quitting is a guaranteed loss, whereas to persevere means I continue to put myself in position to win!

Yet I was still at a loss – my options seemed to be 1) continue to sacrifice and struggle while chasing dreams that seem so far-fetched and out of reach or 2) take the more realistic approach, play it safe, and take the well intentioned advice to give up my dreams…

Neither option seemed to be appealing and I went to bed with a heavy heart; a heart full of hurt that had no more tears because too many were shed during the day.

As I closed my eyes I had the final thought: “the advice they’re all giving won’t work because I’ve been doing it already. I’ve prayed. I’ve fasted. I’ve read. I attend church. I do self-care activities. I’ve waited. I’ve done everything humanly possible, so now what?” And then I remembered the line from Donnie McClurkin’s famous song Stand: “after you’ve done all you can, you just STAND!”

And as if to confirm that I am on the right track, this morning still needing some encouragement I decided to read another dream chasers story. Figured they too had experienced moments of doubt. Thought their story might inspire me. I Google’d ‘Tyler Perry and Quit Your Dreams’ and stumbled upon a 2008 post from him that said:

I am a dreamer and sometimes when you have dreams you are met with obstacles, and your dreams will start to fade. But what I’ve found is that when God has given you a dream, no matter what it is, when you want to give up and believing becomes hard, and when you can’t go any further, the dream itself will start to believe for you. The dream itself will start to carry you through with visions and hope and encouragement.

So, the new mantra for Tyler Perry Studios is “A Place Where Dreams Believe…” Don’t worry if you’re met with opposition on your path to your goals. When you’ve done all you can, stand and surrender. God will allow your dream to motivate you.

What confirmation for me that I was indeed on the right track. That others before me had felt the same moments of doubt and questioning. And to continue on my path means that in the end I will WIN!

So I intend to STAND.

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

How to WIN: Tired, Weary, & Faint of Heart

Don’t grow weary and lose heart

Have you ever started a new venture? And thought aaugh! I’m in over my head! Well that’s me lately… Wondering what do I need to know? Who do I need to know? Where do I begin? Why do I feel so far behind? Questions, questions, questions.

The new venture is my journey to write and now to publish my book. It can be a lonely and daunting process, so much so that a gazillion times I’ve contemplated GIVING UP!

And to add salt to the open wound, the process requires you to expose yourself to judgment and critique from agents, publishers, and other writers. It’s enough to make your head spin…

While staring at the to-do list that seemed to stretch to infinity, I found myself feeling overwhelmed and overstressed. I decided to reach out to a good friend who reminded me “Donna if this is your purpose, trust that.” His comment took me somewhat aback. What did he mean by stating that I needed to trust? This wasn’t about trust… This was about manuscript submissions, snippy agents, and nonresponsive publishers. I sat baffled for a few minutes and then the realization came crashing down like a bolt of lighting. I was trying to work overtime to make things happen, forgetting for a second, that since God placed me on this path – God would be the one to make it happen! And that’s when I remembered a bible verse my pastor repetitively recites: Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty (Zechariah 4:6).

Now don’t get me wrong, I believe we are accountable for our actions and we need to make decisions that move us towards a goal. However, I also know that at the end of the day life often happens in a serendipitous way. We can’t line everything up, sometimes it just happens and we have to allow it to do just that.

So now, I will remind myself from time to time, to step back, take a deep breath, treasure the present moment, and trust that the life promised to me shall unfold in time.

For a moment I started to grow weary and lose heart. I allowed doubt and discouragement to slip in. But I’m back on track. The spoils go to those who persevere. I look forward to the finish line, but will also allow myself to enjoy the race!

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

www.donnadoctora.com

Twitter: donnadoctora6

God: Am I safe?

This morning I woke up and had a desire to hear Vickie Winan’s contemporary gospel song “Safe In His Arms”. Not sure why that song dropped into my spirit, but this often happens to me. Seemingly out of nowhere I will have a strong urge to listen to a certain tune.

As the melody streamed out of my laptop, I initially began to dance as I was enveloped by Vickie’s beautiful voice. However, in the middle of a movement I stopped when she bellowed the phrase “when the storms of life come raging, he’s going to hide me”. It was as if I were frozen and stuck in that position. I stared at myself in the mirror and I started to go down memory lane. And I was saddened as thought after thought revealed storms that not only came raging but they left me devastated!

I began to wonder: Where were YOU God when I was struggling, when I was floundering, and when I was failing? It wasn’t the angry tirade of a disobedient child, but it was an incessant barrage of questions, as I attempted to reconcile the words of the song with the reality of my life.

The song said God would hide me and shelter me amidst all the calamities. Yet it seemed that I had been knocked down by wave after wave in the sea of life.

But do you know what came to me in the midst of my questioning? God’s answer came.

Me: God you’re supposed to hide me, but I got hurt; what happened?

God: Sweet Donna, I did hide you. You see the devil wasn’t trying to hurt you. The devil was trying to TAKE YOU OUT! Terminate you.

After God’s response all I could do was stand in silence. I had never thought about it that way. I had lost much, but it’s true that I could have lost so much more! And even more amazing is that all I have lost, God intends to restore it back! So much so that the overflow shall run over.

I share this hoping to encourage you that no matter what you’re going through or have been through – don’t quit!

  • If you just keep striving, you will make it. There are no assurances in life, but if you never stop that guarantees you will eventually finish the race.
  • And, never take for granted that things could ALWAYS be worse! So be thankful for what you have, trusting that anything you’ve lost will be returned on to you.

TRUST

BELIEVE

EXPECT

RECEIVE

Life According to Me,

Dr. Donna

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

Healed Hearts in 2015

It was an interesting day. I had three different people thank me for my blog posts. While I was humbled and appreciative of their feedback, it was the phrase “thank you for allowing God to use you” that caught my attention. Those who know me know I don’t believe in random coincidences, and the repetitiveness of the message struck me, as this is more than just a fluke of nature. So I decided to think a bit more about their choice of words…

Thank you for allowing God to use you…

It seemed that they viewed me as a messenger conveying something from God through my blog. That’s a pretty awesome confirmation, as the focus of my message is always to share something that will inspire, uplift, and spread some love. However, as a writer you’re not always sure if you hit the mark, until you hear the reactions from the receiver of your words. It felt nice to be acknowledged – I was doing something positive and worthwhile. But even larger than that, I was doing something that people could see God from within me. Now that, for me, was mind blowing!

It blew my mind because my spiritual walk has not been a straight and narrow path. There have been many twists and turns, even some days where I wondered if God had forgotten me. But then the tide began to change, and with one touch I could feel God turning my life around. The shift was so GREAT that it prompted me to start penning my memoir; a memoir that I am still in the process of writing.

At times I wondered why did God seem to overlook me in one season, but then in the next I can so clearly feel God’s presence all around me and within me? And then, I came across a chapter in the Stormie Omartian book that talked about hardened hearts. She explained that God needs our hearts to be softened.

Wow… I wondered to myself “could it be that my heart had been hardened before?” Then I reflected on all of the hurts, disappointments, broken promises, lies, and all the other negative encounters I’ve endured. Yes, it would seem that I had sealed off my heart to protect myself from further injury. However, once I started to open myself back up – to seek God and to love God, it made it a lot easier to heal from everything I had endured. And I guess that why God can now use me.

My hope, for you, is that whatever blockages, whatever has happened to you that keeps you closed off and protecting yourself from hurt – I pray that 2015 is the year that you are healed from it. For in your healing, you will then allow God to make you a vessel of his message, so that you might then go out and bring hope, light, and inspiration to someone else.

Life According to me,

Dr. Donna 🙂

Be gone negativity… Hello abundant life.

In this season of my life I have found myself surrounded by prayer.

I have continued the ongoing Morning Prayer circle with two girlfriends and I decided to join in on the 30-day Evening Prayer led by an aunt. Who would have thought that I would be spending so much time engaged in corporate prayer?

I grew up in the church and always believed in God, but never thought of myself as “one of those Christians”. I initiated neither opportunity. All I did was be responsive when it was laid on my doorstep. So, this is where I find myself, prayer all around me.

And guess what… it has been an eye opening experience, thus far. It appears as if God is preparing me for a new assignment. Therefore, the prayer coming from all sides seems to be God’s way of getting me ready for all that is coming. In the King James Version of the Bible there is a verse that states: “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). This verse talks about the need to remain alert, be ready for action, demonstrate self-control, and think clearly. Basically you need to be “on point”. My increased time in prayer is doing just that. It is helping me to refocus, recharge, and remain steadfast in my pursuit of ALL that God has promised to me.

Within my prayer group discussions I have learned and shared a great deal thus far, but one particular prayer topic stands out in my mind. It was during the previous week, while reading for the evening prayer group, I came across a chapter entitled “Pray as Though Your Life Depends On It”… This chapter from Stormie Omartian’s book was a great reminder that prayer is indeed a lifeline connection, to God – the giver of earthly and eternal life.

Often we all think about God when life is called into question – so when we are near death. However, if we thought about God during our earthly comings and goings, we’d live a more fruitful, prosperous, and loving existence. And that is where I am focused in 2015. The question I will ask myself all year is – how can I live a life that is more abundantly rich, full, and gratifying?

I expect that I shall continue to grow and be stretched, as I strive for a life that is plentiful. But there are two immediate things that I know, right now, will support an abundant life:

  • I refuse to engage in negative interactions. Any and all things that attempt to bring negativity my way, I immediately know that is NOT of God, so why engage – I just say NO to the haters, naysayers, and detractors…
  • I know who I am… so while earthly validation makes my ego feel good, it is the spiritual validation that provides me a sense of rest, peace, and fulfillment

Life According to me,

Dr. Donna 🙂