NatGeo #8

Good Day, Friends!

Please enjoys this week’s National Geographics “Most Compelling Photos of the Week”.

“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.”
— Don McCullin

 

Funny Friday: Torn Throat

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Hey Friends!

Happy Friday! I hope you all have had a productive week and I pray that your weekend will be even more awesome-sauce! Please enjoy today’s Funny Friday brought to you by BoredPanda.com.

Stay blessed and have a wonderful Funny Friday 🙂

I am an ER doc. I once had a 20-year-old and his girlfriend comes in at 2 am freaking out because “something had torn his throat open”. He seemed fine. No blood. Breathing fine. I had him open his mouth, saw nothing. So didn’t want him to lose confidence in me, clearly, something had happened, so I’m looking, and looking….there is nothing wrong with this kids throat. Finally, I say look, it seems ok…what do you feel or see? “I don’t feel it but LOOK ITS RIGHT THERE”. WHERE??? Looking, looking. It was his uvula. Somehow this kid had gotten to the age of 20 without ever noticing his uvula. Girlfriend was also horrified…I told them it was normal. Did not believe me. So I told them I was about to blow their minds and showed him his girlfriends uvula. Minds were blown, another life saved in the ER.

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Music is Life: What Now

Hey Friends,

I would like to share a song by Rihanna from her Unapologetic album, titled What Now. I love singing this song at the top of my lungs when I’m frustrated, hurt, happy, sad, or just in a singing mood. If you’ve never heard this song, I hope you enjoy it. As you know, music is such a huge part of my blogging life. It provides wonderful inspiration and allows me to tap into a place in my heart, I would otherwise try to hide.

What Now by Rihanna

I been ignoring this big lump in my throat
I shouldn’t be crying, tears were for the weak
The days I’m stronger, know what, so I say
That’s something missing
Whatever it is, it feels like it’s laughing at me through the glass of a two-sided mirror
Whatever it is, it’s just sitting there laughing at me
And I just wanna scream
What now? I just can’t figure it out
What now? I guess I’ll just wait it out
What now? Ohhhh what now?
I found the one he changed my life
But was it me that changed
And he just happened to come at the right time
I’m supposed to be in love
But I’m not mugging
Whatever it is, it feels like it’s laughing at me through the glass of a two-sided mirror
Whatever it is, it’s just sitting there laughing at me
And I just wanna scream
What now?

Why You Should Believe You’ll Be Just Fine

In January 2010, I joined the United States Army. At the time, I was married to my first husband. Hannah and Rj were only 3 and 1 at the time. It was such a hard decision for me, but because of the Army’s benefits, I felt as though it was the best decision for my family. So, I signed up to fight for my country.

During MOS (military occupational specialty) training, while on an FTX (field training exercise), I fractured both sides of my hips and basically wore down the cartilage in my knees. So because I had served less than a year, the US Amry said, “thanks for your service, but you’re no longer needed” and sent my butt home. I was Rick James, for real.

My pride and self-worth were hurt because I felt like the biggest failure. On top of the fact that I can longer justify why I left my kids.

When I returned home and healed a bit, I had to meet with my commanding officers to discuss the honorable discharge that I had received. That is when my sergeant had notified me that as soon as I would have graduated from MOS training, my unit was being deployed to Afghanistan for 12 months.

Talk about relief! My self-pity immediately turned into gratitude. Although I wasn’t able to be a US Army soldier like I originally planned, I wasn’t about to be deployed neither. I later found out that a few of my battle buddies didn’t return home. Y’all, that could have been me!

What’s my point, you ask? Ok, let me get to it before this turns into a novel.

Sometimes in life, we put ourselves down when we are unable to accomplish the goals that we set for ourselves. We become discouraged and even feel worthless. But unbeknownst to us, God is really saving us from disaster. Whether it’s a relationship, marriage, friendship, job opportunity, etc. You never know that the Lord is doing behind the scenes in our lives. This is why we have to trust Him and know that His plan for us is more extravagant than any plan we can possibly have for ourselves.

The Good Book says,

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” -Proverbs 3:5-6

This verse has been my anchor, especially during this season of my life. I do not understand why things are happening the way that they are happening, but I trust the Lord with all of my heart to not only get me through this season but allow me to become healed.

Things may not make sense to you right now, but trust that God will not only pull you through, but you will come out of the other end stronger. I am living proof!

Stay blessed friends!

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11 

 

 

Love Letter from Depression

What kind of person reblogs an article written 6 months ago?? Me, of course. 😁 My laptop is on the fritz and this darn WordPress app is like trying to shave your legs in the dark…impossible! So, I’m rebloging today. It’s current and still very relevant in my life. So if you’ve never read this, I hope you enjoy it. If not, come back in 5 minutes and read it again. If not by then, well then you just suck! Just kidding. You know I love y’all 😘😘

God bless you guys!

Harotian Essentials

Dear Ashley,

Its your oldest friend, depression. How’s it been? I’ve missed you so much. I’m glad to hear that you are sick because I knew it would be the easiest way to get back into your life.

I’ve missed our long nights of no sleep and endless tears. I’ve missed the sound of your heart breaking every second of every day. Do you remember, Ashley? Do you remember the wonderful negative thoughts you used to have? I’m glad to see that they have come back, stronger than ever.

I love that you feel like a horrible parent and a horrible wife. I love to watch your tears flow as you beg God for mercy.

It’s just you and I, Ashley. Cant you see? We belong together. You and I are one. I will never leave you, nor forsake you. No matter how many pills you take, no matter how…

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NatGeo #7

Sorry for the delay. For some reason, it wasn’t allowing me to download the pictures, but thank the Lord we got it figured out ☝🏽 I was about to go bonkers 🤪 Well double bonkers, since I’m already kinda bonkers 🤪🤪

Harotian Essentials

Good Day, Friends!

Please enjoys this week’s National Geographic’s “Most Compelling Photos of the Week”

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”
— Aaron Siskind

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Funny Friday

Oh crap! I’ve been so wrapped up in mental wellness, I almost forgot to post today’s Funny Friday. Why didn’t anyone tell me? Oh yea, that’s right…you’re not suppose to!

Today’s Funny Friday is brought to you by my 4 year old, Christian.

Christian: Mom can we go to field trip (QuikTrip gas station) to get a donut?

Me: I don’t mind, but I have to take a shower first.

Christian: Why?

Me: Cause I haven’t showered yet and I’m starting to smell.

Christian: …don’t forget to wash your tate o tots (testicles).

Me: Girls don’t have testicles

Christian: Yes they do. And they’re musty so you have to wash them!

Have a wonderful Friday! Stay blessed

Thank You Ms. Carey

Today, I received a notification from Apple News that read, “Mariah Carey Once Hospitalized After Believing Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, & Prince Were Dinner Guest”. Wait! Before you stop reading, this post is NOT celebrity gossip or even my opinion on the matter. I promise, there’s a point.

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So, if you are a fan of pop culture, then you would know that the mother of two, multi-platinum selling recording artist, Mariah Carey recently announced that she struggles with Bipolar Disorder to the public. When I read the headline I immediately assumed that if the incident did happen (cause let’s be honest, you can’t believe everything you read in the media), I’m sure it was during a manic episode. Or maybe, she is a medium and communicates with spirits. Honestly, you never know.

My point is, I feel sad for her, but I’m so grateful that she has decided to share her story. She is a world-renowned diva, whose voice and passion has gotten me through some rough times. Her decision to be open about her condition has brought awareness to millions of her fans. And I appreciate that. More awareness brings additional education and understanding and hopefully better resources. So the next time, we find out a loved-one may have symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, you can help them and not judge them.

Please read She Must Be Crazy on how to approach a loved one if you suspect they are struggling with a mental illness. 

Also, please read I’m Coming Out, I Want the World to Know about my personal journey with Bipolar Disorder. I’ve never had dinner plans with the deceased, but I probably wouldn’t mind it neither.

I pray that God is with everyone who is struggling with mental/physical illness, addiction, heartbreak, and any other ailment, that He heals us and comforts us. That He extends His love so we know that we are not alone. I also pray that we find healing in your word, for you tell us that “your word is alive and powerful” and that “it is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword cutting between soul and spirit” (Hebrews 4:12). We are all in this fight together as children of God.

Thank you to everyone who took the time out of their day to sending inspirational, loving comments under my last post. I was going through it for a moment, but after I prayed a few prayers and talked to supportive people, I was able to come out of the dark space I was in. I began to doubt whether or not I should have allowed myself to be so public with my breakdown, but then sharing my journey wouldn’t be authentic. 🙂 So thank you to everyone who prayed for me. And of course, thank you to everyone who I began has enough patience to read my long post. I can go on and on and on, like now.

Love you all! Thank you for your continued support. Stay blessed!

“With God’s help we will do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes.” -Psalm 60:12

Imbalance

It seems that when one is trying to get right with God, the enemy tries to discourage you. I’m apologizing ahead of time for the grammatical errors and misspelling. Tears are streaming down my face as I try to wrap my heart around how I’m supposed to deal with everyday life and battle my mental illness. It seems so impossible.

God has been trying to convince me that He will not put anything on me that I cannot handle and I know He knows me better than I know myself, but…why, why do I have to hurt so much? Why is it so hard just to get through one hour or even one minute of every day?

Lord I’m trying to flood my mind with your word, but my thoughts are becoming louder. Please save me.

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Today, I was supposed to post another article on Autism, but really, my heart isn’t there right now. So, please visit Autism Speaks to get more information on ways to cope with Autism Spectrum Disorder. They have helped me understand what autism means and provided wonderful ways to support my son, RJ.

To catch up on his story, please visit 💙❤️💛💚Dancing To Your Own Beat: Autism Awareness💙❤️💛💚 and Rj’s First Fist Fight…And Im A Little Proud!.

Thank you all for reading my thoughts. Please pray for one another. Everyone is struggling because more and more people are depending on God, instead of themselves, so the enemy is working overtime to prevent that from happening.

For those who are having a rough day, here is a cute puppy video to lift your spirits.

Love you all and stay blessed!

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11

7 Reasons Why We Avoid Progress

Hello Friends!

Have you ever been afraid to become a better you? That sounds crazy right. You’re probably saying, “why would someone be afraid of progressing in life?” We would like to think that we want and need progression in our lives, but very few people will admit to being afraid of it. I know I am.

I so desperately want to get better, feel better, and do better. So why does the thought of “being a better me” frighten me so much? There must be something wrong with me, right? WRONG!

Ron Edmondson is a church leader and pastor of Immanuel Baptist Chruch and is an avid believer in Jesus. I was introduced to him by one of my church elders and leader of the group that I’m in called Crash the Chatterbox, Bert.

Bert gave our class a handout that explained why we are afraid of progress written by Ron Edmondson. When I first read it, I thought the same thing you said, “Why would anyone be afraid of progress?” But then I started reading. The reasons he stated makes sense and has transformed my perception, so hopefully, it’ll transform yours as well. Let’s do this!

7 Reasons We Avoid Progress by Ron Edmondson

  1. It stretches us– Progress will lead to unchartered territories; areas that you have never been in before. The unknown can be scary
  2. It invites us– Progress loves to create interest in new activities and circumstances. In order to fuel and maintain the momentum, one must embrace the continuous change that is going to happen.
  3. You HAVE to improve– Progress requires more energy and effort as it progresses. Keep in mind, “You have to get better to get bigger.”
  4. It’s often messy– I like to say, “Anything worth having is going to require a fight.” If it were easy, everyone would be rich, everyone would be successful, everyone would have the spouse of there dreams.
  5. It often defies logic or boundaries– Think about this, 100 years ago, you would have been locked up in an insane asylum if you told them that is it possible to pick up a device, put it to your ear, and talk to someone 2,000 miles away in 30 seconds? Sometimes, stepping outside of the box will take you further than staying in it.
  6. It invites competition– “Show people a little progress and someone will want to join the fun!” -Bert V. In today’s social media infested society, it seems that everyone is losing their individuality to become more like celebrities, and the celebrities are copying each other.  So, maybe, if you progress, then others would want that for themselves, too.
  7. It begs for more– This couldn’t be truer. One time I thought to myself, “Ugh! Blogging requires so much time and attention, and I need my naps, soooo…. maybe this is something I don’t want to do. I’m glad I didn’t listen to myself but instead listened to God. I sounded stupid. Blogging has become my safe haven, my beach, my getaway. Why would I deprive myself of such harmony just because I need naps? Don’t be a turd in a hot tub, floating around, waiting to get flushed. Nurture what nurtures you.

Reading over this broadened my perception. I didn’t know that I was afraid of progressing until I said, “Yea, I’m afraid of that” to most of the reasons. I was like the chicken in the video clip. A part of improving, unfortunately, is taking a really good look at yourself. Not your outer appearance, but your soul. And you may not like what you see. I surely don’t! But you know what, it is very much worth it.

I love the feeling that I have when I know I’m improving myself. I feel great when I know something that I have struggling with is now no longer a concern. All it took what a hard look, a little vodka, and a whole lotta Jesus. Joking about the vodka, cause boy, I wish.

Anyway, thank you so so much for reading my thoughts. I appreciate all of the love that is shown to me and I love each and every one you in Jesus name. Stay blessed, family.

PS…sorry for all of the cute furry animals. I wanted to use furry cuteness to represent my mood, but I think all it’s going to do is make you guys go…

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” -Benjamin Franklin

 

 

The Mystery Blogger Award

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Aye! I feel so lit. Thank you Shonies Sky for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award created by Fallen Angel On the Run. Please click the highlighted links to view their wonderful blogs. Shonie, I appreciate you so, so much. Your love for your family is truly inspiring and I look forward to your post every day. Thank you for the amount of support that you’ve continued to show me since we’ve begun following each other. You are such a kind, kindred spirit and I am so glad you are sharing your knowledge and thoughts with the world.

Blogger Award Rules:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

3 Things About Myself

  1. I have 17 tattoos all over my body
  2. My proudest moment in life is when I graduated Medical Assisting school
  3. I inspire to be a counselor through Jesus Christ and to serve his purpose and his people

Please visit Sun Ray Kisses and Who’s Ashley? to find out more interesting facts about me.

Shonies Lovely Questions:

  1. what made you want to start blogging? It began blogging as a way to get out of a very dark moment in my life.
  2. what keeps you going? The feeling I get from blogging. I love expressing myself in a healthy way and inspiring others through my own experiences. It is always great to feel like I’ve created material that can help someone get through a rough time in their life. I just love blogging.
  3. how much time do you dedicate to writing? Not as much as I should.
  4. what do you hope to achieve in writing? I want to inspire people and become successful at it.
  5. whose your best blogger? I don’t think I have a “best blogger”. Every blog that I read is great in their own. Everyone brings their own unique style to their blog, and I think that is wonderful and inspiring.

Questions for all of my followers

  1. Do you prefer movies or books?
  2. What is your favorite adult memory?
  3. What is your favorite childhood memory?
  4. If you had to donate every penny you had to a charity, which one would it be?
  5. If you could own any kind of animal, what would it be?

I’m supposed to nominate 10-20 other bloggers, but I want to nominate all of my followers. You know I think all of you guys are so AWESOME-SAUCE! Each and every one of you deserve it.

 

 

Crash the Chatterbox

Did you know that the average human being has up to approximately 60,000 negative thoughts per day? According to Psychology Today, 70% of our thoughts are negative. That’s a lot, right. I mean, out of all of the things that we think about, 70% are negative? It makes me sad to know that I have spent so much of my energy on negative thinking, but it also makes me feel better to know that I am not alone when it comes to having negative thoughts.

So, what next? How do we not have so many negative thoughts, when obviously, it’s a flaw that most people struggle with.

In my attempt to grow closer to Christ, I have joined a handful of support and community groups at my church. I so badly want to drown out the negative thoughts that plague my mind. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • I’m not worthy
  • I’m ugly
  • I’m fat/skinny
  • No one loves me
  • My life is meaningless
  • God doesn’t love me
  • No one understands me or my condition

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Pity party, right? Well, no more! One of the classes that I joined is based on the Christian bible study called Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick. This study focuses on how to replace your own negative thoughts (the chatterbox) with the word of God. It also focuses on building a closer relationship with Jesus so you can learn how to seek him in peace and turmoil.

Related Post: Seeking Emotional Refuge in God

When I first learned about this study, I was super excited. I am so tired of hearing my own thoughts, getting caught up in my own mind. Now, I am learning to turn off the chatterbox and directing my focus completely on Jesus.

This weeks lesson we learned that:

  • The chatterbox will always try to convince you that God doesn’t love you
  • We have to turn on focus on Jesus. When we focus less on ourselves and more on Jesus, we are able to hear him clearly and feel his unconditional love.
    • Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. -Proverbs 3:5-6
  • Gods says I amOverpowering who I say I am
    • When Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.” (Exodus 3:13–15)
  • Gods says He willOverpowering my fear
    • So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” -Hebrews 13: 6
  • God says He hasOverpowering condemnation
    • In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. -1 Peter 5:10
  • Gods says I canOverpowering the lies of discouragement
    • Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. -Psalm 139: 14-15
  • The Chatterbox will always try to make you misunderstand the nature of who you are in relation to who God is.
  • God wants us to have confidence in his everlasting love and notin our circumstances

There is so much more in this study that I am unable to go over without turning this post into a book. If you are interested in learning how to turn off the chatterbox on your mind and focus on what God has planned for you, please click here for the complete set; study guide, book, and DVD.

Click this link to view Steven Furtick teaching one of his lessons. He’s really inspiring and you’re always left feeling inspired as well.

I’ve been doing this study for two weeks and I can already see a difference in my thought process. Please read Changing your Mindset; Becoming More Mindful for more ways you can transform your mind to become more positive.

Related Post: Fuel for Thoughts: Monday Motivation

Please remember friends, allow God to transform your thoughts into his word. Allow Him to transform your heart and your mind to be more like him. So you can have peace knowing that Jesus is always with you. Pray so he can hear you. Read His word to hear him. Stay blessed, family. I love you all and I pray that you are having a beautiful Sunday.

“Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God said this, ‘I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” -Hebrews 13:5

Image borrowed from google pics

Funny Friday: Kids Giving Life Advice

Hey Friends,

Welcome to Friday!! What an honor and blessing to see such a wonderful day. Please enjoy today’s Funny Friday brought to you by Surfer Sam.  I pray each of you is having a beautiful, blessed day.

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CHILDREN TELL US THE FACTS OF LIFE

  • Mary Anne: No matter how hard you try, you can’t baptize cats.
  • Keesha: When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don’t let her brush your hair.
  • Ryan: If your sister hits you, don’t hit her back. They always catch the second person.
  • Michael: Never ask your three-year-old brother to hold a tomato.
  • Allison: You can’t trust dogs to watch your food.
  • Cody: Don’t sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.
  • Sylvia: Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time.
  • Jonathan: You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.
  • Allison: Don’t wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.
  • Steve: The best place to be when you’re sad is Grandpa’s lap.

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