Black and White Photo Challenge Day 7

I would like to thank the lovely Shreya Jindal for nominating me for this wonderful black and white photo challenge.

Rules are:

  • Seven days
  • Seven black and white photos of your life
  • No people
  • No explanation
  • Challenge someone new each day.

Thank you so much for sticking with me though this challenge. It was a little difficult because almost everything in my life has an explanation in it or people in it. I guess that’s what made it a challenge. 😉❤️

How I Got Rid of Toxic People In My Life

hb1tf1aAbout ten years ago, I allowed a close family member to break my heart. So, much so, I was bedridden with grief for about two days. It was hard for me to overcome because I couldn’t wrap my head around why she would betray me. I didn’t do anything to her to deserve it. She saw an opportunity to take advantage of my kindness and took off with it like she was Usain Bolt. It left me feeling worthless because, at the time, I truly felt like she genuinely wanted to build a relationship with me. It was all I was praying for; understanding and love from someone I grew up with.

42-23039081Needless to say, that wasn’t the case. Fast forward to 2017, this same person needed my help again. I should have said no. She is a toxic person. You couldn’t deny the energy in the room turning sour once she entered it. It was a stench that you couldn’t ignore. She was someone that couldn’t be trusted, but I thought that was in the past. So I helped. Sometimes, I ask myself why did I bother. She would only turn around and do the exact same thing she did years prior. This time, it hit me even harder. I was already going through and hard time and bam! Here she was with her shenanigans.

At the beginning of this post, I said I allowed her to break my heart. I say I allowed it because I feel that people will only do to you what YOU allow them to do. I knew how she was (both times), but I thought that she had grown into a better person. I was wrong. She played me like a cheap violin. While she was basking in the glory of my pain, I was letting out the real pain of betrayal and heartache.

I had to figure out, what does God say about toxic people? How do I NOT allow them to affect me so much? What do I do about them? How do I get “over it”? I prayed every day to become the kind of person to brush things off as easily as she brushed me off, but I had to learn to get through it and here is how.

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I came across a book that would answer most of my questions. It’s called How God Sees Your Struggles by Lynn R. Davis. In the first chapter, she makes explains how God wants us to handle toxic people and their foolishness. Below are the lessons that I learned to get rid of her and other toxic people in my life and here is how you can too:

  • Stop allowing yourself to get worked up about what other people think, say, or believe about you.

“There are some people who always seem angry and continuously look for conflict; walk away. The battle they are fighting isn’t with you. It is with themselves.”                -Anonymous

  • You are a beautiful creation of God. The only opinion that matters is His and His alone. God wants you to know that you were not created to be abused, used, mistreated, or mocked.

“What is the price of two sparrows-one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid ; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows?” -Matthew 10:29-31

  • You will never have peace if you do not overcome your need to please people and expect to maintain your health, peace, and sanity.
  • Do not allow yourself to get sucked in by other peoples foolishness.
  • Do not allow them to pollute your faith.

“Unfriendly people care only about themselves; they lash out at common sense. Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” -Proverbs 18:1-2

  • Toxic people will try to make you stoop down to their level. Do not allow them to do this. It will only cause more stress and heartache for you in the end. Although it’s hard, walk away. Only speak in love, let it go, walk away, and pray for them. They are miserable, not you. Give it all to God.
  • Do not waste your time and tears on toxic people. If you do, you will never have peace. Only God can change their hearts.

“When a wise man has controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest.” -Proverbs 29:9.

  • Stay encouraged for doing the right thing. As long as your heart is right with God, so will your actions. Don’t worry yourself about how to get back at the people that attack you. God will deal with them as He sees fit.

“The way of the Lord is a stronghold to those with integrity, but it destroys the wicked.” -Proverbs 10:29

  • Toxic people bring destruction on themselves. Spend time in prayer and meditation so you don’t allow yourself to get sucked up in their chaos. Once you’re sucked in, it’s hard to get out. You will then find yourself reaping the benefits of their turmoil.

After following the do’s and don’ts of dealing with toxic people, I can say that I have peace. I love my close family member, as I should, but that is as far as our relationship goes. I pray that she is able to let go whatever is causing her so much misery, but until then, I can’t deal with her and now that I know my worth, I refuse to. I used to feel bad about it, but now I don’t. God says that I have to love her and pray for her. He doesn’t say anything about me taking abuse from her or anyone else. Sometimes I have to ask God to give me the desire to pray for her. That way, I can heal from her destruction and move on.

I hope you are able to let go of the toxic people in your life. Trust me, you will be better off. If you are interested in reading her book, you can find it on Amazon by clicking HERE. You can read it for free by downloading the 30-Day free trial Kindle Unlimited by clicking HERE. It’s worth it and honestly, this is how I was able to read it. Thank you for reading my thoughts. God bless you all.  

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Love Me, Do Ya?

Joann with This Is My Florida Blog, Daman with Above and Beyond the Infinity Blog, and Gail with Gail Love God Blog were all wonderful enough to nominate me for 3 very img_0119.jpgdifferent, wonderful blog awards. Thank you all so very much. I am moved every time I open my notifications and see that someone has nominated me or liked or commented on my posts. Your recognition motivates me every day to share wonderful content with you guys. You inspire me to get through the bad days. You all are so much a part of my life and I love you very much for it. I wish there were enough words in any language that I can use to describe how much you guys mean to me. We’ve never met, but I will never forget the people who helped me get through one of the toughest times of my life. So, I will just simply say, Thank You! Each and every one of YOU!

At this moment, I have a lot going on in life, but I promised that I would at least post my answers to the questions that you guys have for me. I feel it’s the least I can do. In the future, I will try my best to repost each nomination (if I am blessed to receive any more) because I really want you guys to know how much I appreciate you thinking of me. Out of the millions on blogs, you chose mine. 🙂

If you would like to participate in any of these awards (I strongly encourage that you do), please click the blogger links above for how to participate. Or if you don’t want to participate, click their names anyway. Each blogger that I named above have the most beautiful souls and it illuminates through their writing.

Joann’s Questions: Real Neat Blogger Awardreal-neat-blog-award

  1. Where are you from? St. Louis, Missouri
  2. Why did you start your blog? I originally started my blog to sell soy wax candles. But then, it started to turn into something different. Now I see that I am supposed to use this platform to motivate and inspire other people who may be going through the same life challenges as I am.
  3. What is your favorite book and why? My favorite book right now is called Shattered Promises. It’s my favorite because he has a lot of actions and it’s sci-fi fiction (which is my fav genre).
  4. What place would you most like to visit in the world? Honestly, Rome. There is so much history I would love to bask myself in. But that answer may change next week after I watch National Geographics.
  5. What is the best place you’ve ever visited? Denver, Colorado. I’ve never met nicer people in my life. Everywhere we went, everyone was pleasant. We didn’t run into one rude person to the entire week we were there.
  6. What is your favorite season? Fall. The weather is always perfect. I feel as though you can really see Gods blessings during the fall. You see in infinite beauty everywhere from the night’s sky to the leaves falling to the ground.
  7. Favorite candy? Black Licorice

Damans Questions: Liebster Award liebster3-500x500

  1. What is love to you? When I’ve been asked this questions before, I would give a long description, but if I could sum love up in one sentence, it would be, Love is when my husband offers the last of his dessert because he knows how much I love cake.
  2. What brings you to blogging? I’ve always loved blogging, but this is the first time I’ve taken it seriously. I’ve had a couple of failed blogs, but this one has my heart.
  3. What is your favourite word and why! Mvemjsunp because it reminds me of the order that our planets are in.
  4. Why wordpress? It was the very first site I used to start a blog about ten years ago. When I decided to start this one, I used WordPress because I was familiar with it already.
  5. Who is the most important person in your life? I don’t have one particular person. My children and my husband are the most important people. I couldn’t imagine my life without any of them.
  6. White sauce pasta/Red sauce pasta? White. Red gives me indigestion
  7. Who is your present crush? This sounds so cliche, and I laughed out loud when I thought it, but it would have to be Jesus. 🙂 I want to know everything I can about Him. Every time I learn something new, I love Him even more. So, yea, right now, good ole’ Jesus.
  8. Heart/brain? I want to say brain, but my heart is telling me to say heart. 🙂

Gails Questions: The Awesome Blogger Awardawesome-blogger-award

  1. If you could travel anywhere, where would it be? Rome
  2. What is your biggest accomplishment? Raising three other human beings.
  3. What is the most amazing blog you’ve ever come across? All of them are really awesome in their way, so I don’t have a favorite. Every blog brings something different “to the table”. There is so much diversity, I love it all.
  4. Chocolate or Lollies? Chocolate
  5. What is the nicest thing you’ve done for someone? I’m not sure how to answer this. Everything I do is out of love. I do it because I need to or want to, not do it because it’s “nice”. So, I don’t know the “nicest” thing I’ve done because I don’t really think about it. Make sense?
  6. How do you stay positive? I try to think of the upside to any situation. There is always a rainbow after every storm. I try to look forward to the rainbow during the storm.
  7. What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you? Someone told me to never give up on writing. That I was too great at it to let it go to waste.
  8. What’s one book you’d always recommend and why?  The Bible because it is the best self-help book ever written.
  9. What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? Vanilla bean
  10. What is your dream job? To run my own non-profit organization helping underprivileged children succeed in life through encouragement, self-help classes, and maintaining a healthy diet while providing affordable resources.

Again, thank you all so much.

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Quill Commander Award

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A few days ago, I was nominated by a wonderful blogger, JGomez, Journey of Reflections for The Quill Commander Award created by Dronstad. Thank you, good sir, for thinking of me. I love how inspirational your blog is and how much love you always show to your readers. Thank you for being awesome sauce! If you have a chance, check out his great blog.

The purpose of this award is to promote patriotism and unify bloggers from different countries through tolerance and appreciation of their nationality.

Unified by our love for writing and reading, this reward is a token of that love.

The rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and post a link to their blog
  2. List the rules of the award
  3. Post a photo of your National flag and anthem
  4. Leave a favorite quote
  5. Nominate a few loyal bloggers

One of my favorites quotes is (because of course, I can’t just have one)

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” -Maya Angelou

You guys should know by now that I do not like to nominate any particular blog. I would like to nominate everyone who is reading this. I would love for you all to share 🙂

Thank you all so much for your time.

Weakness Is Strength

Lately, I’ve been finding myself praying for strength. Strength to get through the day. Strength to NOT scream in frustration at my four-year-old. Strength to tolerate one more day of uncertainty. I want to be strong. I need to be strong. I feel strength will give me the ability to tackle whatever obstacle comes my way.

Somedays, I grieve the strength that I used to have. It seems so long ago that functioning through everyday life was as easy as breathing. I’ve always been able to pick myself up once I’ve gone through a hard time. This time it’s different. This time, my emotions feel foreign to my heart. It’s almost like, I’m not who I thought I was and maybe I’m not. Maybe, just maybe, God placed this obstacle in my life in order to reveal the real me and my true strength.

My battle with physical and mental illness’ has taught me so much; compassion, acknowledgment of my feeling of those around me, and a strong relationship with God. Most days, I see that my struggles are apart of a more elaborate plan by my Father.

Right now, I am reading a book called One Year Guide to Praying the Promises of God by Cheri Fuller & Jennifer Kennedy Dean. It is a daily devotional that I read to help me center me. Each day reminds me of God’s promises and why I shouldn’t lose faith. I would like to share an example that was used to show how although we may see our struggles as our weaknesses, God uses them to strengthen us.

f2d4da07ecc70d692182489306a45a4f[In Exodus 4:12] God was calling Moses to a task that was bigger than he was. God wanted Moses to deliver a message, but Moses could only concentrate on his failures. He begged God not to send him because he felt like he wouldn’t have the right words.

In (Acts 7:22), Moses was described as someone who “powerful in both speech and action” before his 40-year hiatus. Afterwards, he became a man who was “not very good with words” (Exodus 4:10). It is believed that during his forty year desert training period, God stripped Moses from his self-confidence. God’s purpose was not to leave Moses insecure and weak, but instead for Moses to transfer his confidence to God. When it comes to God’s power, Moses’ weaknesses and failures became irrelevant. The only thing to measure is the power of God, and the power of God never comes up short.

God promises Moses and, by extension, you and me: “Whatever you need in the moment, I will supply.” In this instance, Moses needed the right words to deliver Gods message. But whatever we need to fulfill Gods request, God will supply. He will give us what we need when we need it.

We don’t have to worry about what to do or say because the Spirit of God, who knows the mind of God, lives in our heart. He has direct access to our minds and deposit the wisdom and guidance that we need. (See 1 Corinthians 2:10-16, James 1:5)

I hope this helped you as much as it helped me when I read it. We have to stay strong and fight because God will give us the tools that we need to survive. If you are thinking about giving up, pray for strength and guidance. Sometimes, just simply saying, “Jesus” will provide you comfort in your time of need. Stay blessed family.

You are wonderful. You are special. You are beautifully made.

“His promise gives us the courage to be on call every minute of every day, ready to respond to this command. There is no need to inventory our weaknesses when God’s strength is the determining factor. When we transfer all our confidence from ourselves to him, what is left to fear?” -Jennifer Kennedy Dean

Funny Friday

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A boy asks his father, “Dad, are bugs good to eat?” “That’s disgusting. Don’t talk about things like that over dinner,” the dad replies. After dinner the father asks, “Now, son, what did you want to ask me?” “Oh, nothing,” the boy says. “There was a bug in your soup, but now it’s gone.”

I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to their weekend.

You are smart. You are special. You are beautifully made.

My Time in SAA

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I’ve allowed the curser on my laptop is blink for at least 20 minutes while I thought about how I would begin my post today. I even have my notebook open to my notes about self-forgiveness. But, there is a very intimate story that I would like to share, but I am afraid. I am afraid of judgment. I am afraid that my children may read this one day and think less of me. I am afraid that talking about this would bring up old feelings of resentment and self-hatred. But, this subject has been on my heart to share. I feel there are so many women who are afraid to address this topic because of the same fears. So, then, is it my responsibility to share my story so other women like me can know that they are not alone? So they can have the courage to speak their truth? I don’t know. I honestly, do not have the answers. So, I’ll just get into it with hopes that you, as my readers, will understand my story and why I am deciding to tell it.

During my childhood, I thought sex equaled love and love equaled sex. Due to this ideology, I lost my virginity at a very young age. Maybe it had something to do with being sexually assaulted by a close family member or maybe it was all of the dirty movies and televisions shows I watched late at night on HBO. By the time I had turned nineteen, I had already had over fifteen sexual partners. Half of them were one night stands. It wasn’t until almost ten years later when I had to spend three weeks at a addiction and mental illness outpatient facility, where I learned that I had an addiction and that having sex with every Tom, Dick, and Harry wasn’t a healthy lifestyle to live. Not an addiction to sex, per se, but addiction to the feeling that comes along with sex. I was addicted to the 10-15 minutes (sometimes shorter) of peace that I had of NOT feeling worthless, empty, doomed, sad, angry, etc. I even carried on a relationship with a man who had a live-in girlfriend with children because he made me feel like someone other than myself. I allowed men to destroy my self-esteem. I listened when they told me that I was only good enough for sex. They didn’t verbally say it, but their actions did and I allowed it.

After my outpatient treatment was over, I felt good about myself again. I vowed that I wouldn’t put myself through spiritual damnation any longer. That I will not tolerate men who wanted to treat me less than I deserved. I began going to SAA (Sex Addicts Anonymous) meetings. It felt weird at first. When I was first told about the meetings, I thought it was for people who were considered nymphomaniacs. It never occurred to me that you could be addicted to love or the illusion of an unhealthy definition of what love is. At first, I only attended women’s meetings. I thought I would be more comfortable there and I was. The women there were so nice and sweet. To my surprise, a lot of them were there to learn how to love themselves again. To treasure their bodies as they would a holy temple and not use it for a few minutes of human gratification; to feel absentee emotions.

One night, the women’s meeting was canceled. The only group that was meeting was a mixed gender group 30 minutes from my house. I was really dedicated to my recovery, so I decided to go. As I walked into a small room filled with old, musty books, I looked around to see about 10 white men over the age of 40, sitting there waiting for me to join them. I felt so awkward. I immediately wanted to turn around a leave, but the leader came up to me and introduced himself. He was surprisingly welcoming. After he introduced himself, everyone else introduced themselves and welcomed me like I’ve been a regular part of the group for years. It was amazing, yet intimidating. They didn’t judge me, nor treat me like I was a young, black woman. They treated me like someone who needed help just like them. After we sat down and shared our stories, we found that we all had a lot in common. How this addiction had affected our self-esteem and our personal relationships. Although, our stories we different, the outcomes were ultimately the same. I walked away that night feeling fulfilled. I had a better understanding from a man’s perspective. The leader of the group told me afterward, that because of my story he felt like he had a better understanding of this illness from a woman’s perspective.

I will never forget this time in my life because this was the beginning of how I have learned to love myself. It also taught me to have so much compassion for other people. Young, old, black, or white, everyone has a struggle. Some struggles can be seen and others you can’t see. A lot of those men and woman I spoke to were successful and well-put together. Some were professionals, some were homemakers. There were people that were single and other’s that have been married for decades. Being all together in one room for an hour or so was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever felt. We all had different backgrounds, were from different cultures and religions, but we each knew exactly how the other was feeling. It’s the biggest connection I’ve ever felt (outside of my family) to another human being. That is what I was missing. Not sex, not a few minutes if possible pleasure, but to feel real love and real human connection.

This is my truth. This is my story. I want young women and men to know that sex does not equate to love. Love is endless. It fulfills a void that you didn’t even know was missing. Love is beautiful and sirene. It is not questioned, nor oddly observed. Love is all and all is love. Love is not a quickie in the back seat. Know your worth and love yourself. Treat your body as a beautiful temple made by our Creature. You are worthy. You are special. You are beautifully made.

“Love who you are, embrace who you are. Love yourself. When you love yourself, people can kind of pick up on that: they can see confidence, they can see self-esteem, and naturally, people gravitate towards you.” -Lilly Singh

To those who have nominated me for awards, I have not forgotten about you. I will post my responses soon. Thank you and I love you all.

Goodbye Lupus

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For the past few days, I’ve had the pleasure of reading called Goodbye Lupus: How a Medical Doctors Healed Herself Naturally With Supermarket Foods by Brooke Goldner. This was suggested by one of my wonderful followers. Thank you so much for this suggestion because it was a wonderful read.

In her book, Dr. Goldner speaks about how she was diagnosed with Lupus at the age of 16 and how dramatically her life changed after that. While studying to become a doctor, she faced a number of illness’ including arthritis, kidney disease, and blood clots. It became so bad that it interfered with her education.

When she was 23 years old, she met her now husband, who is a health guru. He introduced her to a special diet that eventually led to her complete recovery from Lupus and it’s attached illness’. She calls it, The Healing Nutrition Plan. She breaks it down into 6 easy steps:

  1. Eliminate Animal Products- Animal products, such as chicken, beef, pork, lamb, and fish (and eggs and dairy products) can cause major inflammation in the body.
  2.  Eliminate Added Oils- Eliminate excess omega-6 fatty acids. Too much omega-6 fatty acids (found in animal products and vegetable oil) can cause major inflammation
  3. Eliminate Processed Foods
  4. Eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables
  5. Consume Omega-3s Everyday- Can be found in fish oil and plant-based products, such as seaweed, flax seed, chia seeds, and walnuts
  6. Drink plenty of water- Dr. Goldner recommends at least a gallon of water a day

I would definitely recommend anyone who is looking for a healthier lifestyle to read this book. I think it is a helpful resource, not just for those who are struggling with a chronic illness, but anyone who wants to live a healthier life or if you just want more energy throughout the day.

She shares her struggles and triumphs while dealing with a chronic autoimmune disorder, along with wonderful smoothie recipes for the entire family. Her journey is truly inspiring. I will definitely be following a lot of her advice, especially increasing my water and raw vegetable intake.

You can find her book on Amazon by clicking here; Goodbye Lupus or Sign Up for 30-day free trial with Kindle Unlimited by clicking here; 30 Day Free Trial Kindle Unlimited and you can read it for free.

“I encourage you to say ‘I will have my life’ out loud. It helps. This is incredibly important to believe and fight for. If you let it, Lupus can rob you of your life and your dreams – so don’t let it do so!” -Dr. Brooke Goldner

 

Funny Fridays

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Each Friday, I would like to share with you a funny joke, story, or something I just find super hilarious and I hope you find it hilarious as well. This is another goal that I’m adding to my list. Please check out my previous blog post, Blogging With Depression about how if you’re struggling with an illness or depression/anxiety, how you should take it slow especially when adding goals. Right now I feel pretty good about accomplishing the goals that I have set thus far, so I have decided to add another one. Dedicating one day to one specific kind of content is definitely a goal that I want to accomplish. So let’s see how this goes.

 “Helicopter Ride”

 Walter took his wife Ethel to the state fair every year, and every time he would say to her, “Ethel, you know that I’d love to go for a ride in that helicopter.” But Ethel would always reply, “I know that Walter, but that helicopter ride is 50 dollars and 50 dollars is 50 dollars.”

Finally, they went to the fair, and Walter said to Ethel, “Ethel, you know I’m 87 years old now. If I don’t ride that helicopter this year, I may never get another chance.” Once again Ethel replied, “Walter, you know that helicopter is 50 dollars and 50 dollars is 50 dollars.”

This time the helicopter pilot overheard the couple’s conversation and said, “Listen, folks, I’ll make a deal with you. I’ll take both of you for a ride; if you can both stay quiet for the entire ride and not say a word I won’t charge you! But if you say just one word, it’s 50 dollars.”

Walter and Ethel agreed and up they went in the helicopter. The pilot performed all kinds of fancy moves and tricks, but not a word was said by either Walter or Ethel. The pilot did his death-defying tricks over and over again, but still, there wasn’t so much as one word said. When they finally landed, the pilot turned to Walter and said, “Wow! I’ve got to hand it to you. I did everything I could to get you to scream or shout out, but you didn’t. I’m really impressed!”

Walter replied, “Well, to be honest, I almost said something when Ethel fell out but, you know, 50 dollars is 50 dollars!”

I borrowed this wonderful story from LaffGaff.com

“Smiling is definitely one of the best beauty remedies. If you have a good sense of humor and a good approach to life, that’s beautiful.” -Rashida Jones