Birthday reflections

Rainbows are a sign of Gods promises. He put up the first one after he flooded the Earth and saved Noah and his family.

on my drive to work

My birthday was Sunday and it also reminds me of Gods promises. I got pregnant around my birthday two years. On this day as I’m writing this (9/10) I was told I wouldn’t be able to get pregnant on my own. So every year since then it all comes back and reminds me that God is a promise keeper. He does what he says he will do. He doesn’t lie or change his mind. I know that in theory but its nice to have a reminder.

My birthday has always been a big deal to me even from when I was a little kid. Its at the tail end of summer so it could be blazing hot, last year it was 90 degrees! Or it could be cool and chilly. It has always signified new beginnings for me, even more so than the beginning of the year.

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I remember my 33 birthday that was supposed to be my Jesus year and that didn’t happen. Last year was just survival mode in learning how to be a new mom. 35 though…will this be my year?

I dont want to say so and it isn’t but this year feels different. I think the biggest change is consistency. I have been exercising 5 days a week consistently since August 3.

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I have been going to noon day bible study on Wednesday at church since May.

I’ve been doing the work to make lifestyle changes that I can sustain. Sustainability is key. I used to start off super hard but I couldn’t maintain that momentum.

I used to worry about what I could do to keep the momentum going. I was so worried about the something disturbing the joy I was feeling that I wasn’t enjoying it.

Not anymore. I am making sure to take each day one at a time and that has helped tremendously. I am learning how to stop my negative thoughts in its tracks. I am exploring new things and becoming open to new ideas and thought processes. I am learning how to be 100% me, 100% of the time.

I set that goal in December but I didn’t start working on it really until we were forced to stay in the house. The last six months have been a lot of work but I have definitely reaped the benefits.

How to deal with suffering

It seems like people have really been going through in 2020. I completely understand, in some ways it feel like God set the world on fire.

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There is a lot in the bible about suffering. I have been through my fair share of suffering. When I search suffer on the blog 9 posts come up. I thought it might be time to do a recap since suffering is something we all at one point or another have to deal with.

For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. 1 Peter 2:19‭-‬20 NLT

What is suffering? Suffering isn’t just something you don’t like, or a thing that bothers you. I believe suffering is the prolonged experience of physical pain or mental anguish.

Why do we suffer? We suffer for lots of reasons.

  • Sin. The choices we make, consequences for things we do or don’t do.
  • God wants to get the glory out of the situation.
  • God wants to test us and see that we put into practice everything we’ve been learning.
  • He wants to teach us patience and endurance because it produces Godly character.
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What should we do while we suffer? Two posts I did a few years ago would help. How to wait well and Pray for your enemies. You also can ask God to help you deal with it better. You can’t change anyone’s behavior but you can change how you respond to it. I know that seems impossible to pray for God to work something out in your favor but he can do anything. Not asking him is insulting to the power of God. He can do anything. He tells us to pray about everything so its not going to hurt to ask.

Remember. We are blessed that our suffering only lasts a little while, according to God. His little while and our little while may look different but its a good reminder that it is temporary and not meant to last forever. Sometimes knowing something is only temporary can help us endure just a little longer.

What happens after suffering is over? Double for your trouble. God never does anything without purpose. He can blesses us beyond what we can think or imagine. We typically get a blessing from God. Its not always the outcome that’s obvious on the outside but you have changed on the inside. That’s a huge gain. Change on the inside is something that lasts forever. Its something you can use when suffering happens again, because unfortunately it will.

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Prayer. Father God, I ask for patience, endurance, and peace until this time is over. God what do you want us to learn in this season? Are we re-doing something that you taught us before? Lord help me use my suffering for someone else’s good. I know we don’t just go through things for us, but for other people as well. Lord, I know you don’t waste a hurt, please continue to walk with my during this difficult time. Help me so that when suffering comes around again, that I remember that you are here to help me. I thank you that suffering does not last forever. In Jesus name, Amen.


Resources

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/five-truths-about-christian-suffering

https://www.christianity.com/wiki/christian-life/what-does-the-bible-say-about-suffering.html

https://bible.org/article/why-there-suffering

Summer is coming to a end

The summer flew by as it always does and now its September 1. I can’t believe it. This summer was definitely one of growth. I feel like I did less partying but I didn’t feel bored. The days seemed full. My birthday is in 12 days. It will be my Jesus year so I am excited about that. I’m fasting to prepare for my birthday as well. Get my mind, body and soul into gear. I have more thoughts on the Jesus year that I will get into as I get closer to my birthday.

My boss asked us to three questions that I think would be good for anyone to use as reflection for the end of a season.

What was the highlight of your summer?

Highlight of my summer was traveling, seeing Beyonce’ (twice!) and getting a new puppy.

 

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(Riveria Maya, Mexico June 2018)

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(Chicago, July 2018)

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(OTR II Cleveland, Ohio July 2018)

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(OTR II Columbus, Ohio August 2018)

(OTR II Columbus, Ohio August 2018)

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(Hunter James, July 2018)

His name is Hunter James and he is certainly a handful. He has definitely been a challenge but my husband and I have embraced him.

What are you looking forward to in the new year?

I’m looking forward to being a better version of myself. My best friend always calls it 2.0. I like that. I definitely want to do that as well. You guys would be so proud of me! I have really stepped out of my comfort zone in the last few months and the results have been amazing.

I want to continue to grow this blog, work on writing better and jazz up my website. My cousin who is working on being a brand ambassador said there is no “me” on my website. Which is true. At first I didn’t want it to be about me per se. I was worried about people wanting to know my business and using it to gossip. I didn’t want my message to get lost in talking about “me” all the time. I can see how the that would be impersonal though, so I added some pics 🙂

What are you happy to leave behind?

I’m happy to leave behind self doubt, self pity, self sabotage.

I doubt myself a lot. I may not say it out loud but I do a lot of second guessing and it can be exhausting. I want to be able to go with my gut, use discernment and be satisfied with a decision. I don’t want to replay conversations over and over again to see if I said something stupid, awkward or random. I want to pick out an outfit and just get dressed. Self pity is harder because it sneaks up on you. I can be moving along nicely and my mind will take me back some place that I don’t want to go or bring up a memory that from the past. Or have me worrying about things that have not happened yet. I don’t want to do that.  I don’t want to anyone else to feel sorry for me, so I’m certainly not going to feel sorry for myself.  Self sabotage is sneaky too. I sometimes don’t realize I am doing it until I am in the middle and realized that a better decision could have been made. Like I give up because I don’t see the results in the time frame I want.  Things don’t work that way, so I am just trying to remain focused and be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day and Dominique 2.0 won’t be built in a day either.

HELLO SEPTEMBER

Brave

Quite a few people have been coming up to me and calling me brave lately. Its funny because I never really feel brave. Often times I am the exact opposite of brave. I have come to a point in my life where I am afraid, but I am doing it any.

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I won’t say that confidence always follows but what I will say is that people recognize the good in me. I was nervous, I was vulnerable, I was worrying about being judged, however when it was finished it turned out well. I was told that I was doing a good job, that I had a gift. I don’t feel like the things I do are a gift, it just is how I am, so I discount it. I shouldn’t do that.

 

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The main reason I don’t want to do things is because I am afraid typically of the unknown. People are saying they can’t blog or talk about their problems because they aren’t brave like me. That’s not true. I don’t feel brave when blogging.

I don’t think it is something that I am going to be doing for years but for now it is something that I needed to do. I could no longer hold in it and journalling was not enough. Blogging can be very passive, especially when you use a platform that people have to find.

I feel liberated and validated through blogging. I know that many of things I go through I am not alone. It has helped me be more honest with myself and other people. Like the other day, one of my friends wanted to go to lunch. My fun money has been tight this summer because I am working part time and I told her that I couldn’t go because I didn’t have the money. The old me would never have done that. I would have went and spent the money and done without for something else later. That is small but its the growth that counts in that. My friend told me something personal things about her marriage and she said she was able to do that because of this blog. I appreciate that. She said she feels like she has to have this public persona because people don’t get it. I have lived that life so it makes sense to me.

I notice how other people are much more in tune with their feelings and even though they seem more anxious they also seem more comfortable in their own skin. Or comfortable being uncomfortable.That’s brave to me. That’s where I aspire to be.

I am doing better. We have these big social gatherings at work and I just don’t feel comfortable. Its just not the way I operate. I am much better in one on one or small group settings but instead of sitting there and worrying about what I was going to say, I decided to remove myself from the situation. It worked out much better. As I drove home today I didn’t have to replay everything I said to make sure I didn’t say something stupid or jerk like, etc. I am happy about that.

If you want tell your story you should. Its therapeutic. Being 100% Authentic is whats really brave. I don’t believe I do that 100% of the time but I am working on it. If I can do it, you certainly can as well. Don’t let fear hold you be back.

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Doing the work (23)

This summer is going by fast. I don’t feel like I have done as much partying as I did last summer. I had quite a breakthrough last summer in focusing on my self care and really doing the work to be a better person. I came out of that experience refreshed. I just start writing for my blog. I had good the goals or things I wanted to accomplish. God did all of them but one. You could probably guess which one that was. I was very pleased. I must admit though that list was pretty surfacey, superficial. It was mostly about partying and hanging out, having fun with my husband and my friends. I knew this year I would do the same thing. Make this list to God and ask him to help me do things that I wanted to accomplish. It was much harder for me to write it this time though.

I started this list in April, but every time I would sit down to write it, I just couldn’t do it. I would stumble and stutter and end up talking to God about random stuff, not what I really what I wanted to do. I couldn’t understand what was taking me so long why i just couldn’t spit it out. Part of that was because if I really asked God for something and worked on it and he didn’t do it I would be faced with disappointment yet again.

I just didn’t think that I could do that again. God’s track record is proven. So I decided to go for it. Knowing that I need to put the work in. I always thought that if I put the work in that I would be trying to help God.

That just isn’t true. He doesn’t need my help, he needs effort. Effort can be difficult when you aren’t seeing results, but that is where true perseverance comes in.

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I gave God my list and I started putting the work in. It has certainly been harder but also more rewarding. I am making long lasting changes. Changes that aren’t just a change in action but a change in thought process, with action to back it up. Its been a challenge but I feel good. I have definitely grown this summer and taken some steps back. Change is not a linear process. I couldn’t always say that.  Growth is also recognizing that things take time.

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Faith over fear (15)

What are you afraid of? I just realized that I am afraid of change. I never really thought I was a person afraid of change but one of the ladies in my caregroup asked me yesterday if I was of change and after thinking about it I had to say yes. We are doing a bible study on faith in a larger study on the fruit of the spirit by Beth Moore. Beth asks when you are afraid to have faith what is holding you back. Everyone said fear of disappoint, myself included but after we started talking about prayer requests, I realized I am afraid of change. I haven’t had many changes in my life. I worked in the same department at the same company for eight years. I also worked their in Undergrad, so there was no true change for me there. I lived in the same apartment for 3 years before I got married. I hate moving. As I look back over my life, I realized that I don’t take the opportunity to change very often.

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My fear of change could potentially be blocking me from my blessings. An opportunity came up at work and I was thinking of all the reasons that it could be bad. I never thought for a moment of the positives that could come from the change. There is growth in change. I realized that if I let my fear of change hold me back, then I am telling God he can’t be with me wherever I go or whatever situation I face. Its a control issue. The longer you stay in a situation, the more you have control over, you can anticipate the variables. I say God is in control of my life, but if I let fear rule me then truly, I am saying I control my life and not God. That’s not the life I am trying to lead.

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One of the girls in the group said that I was just creating a lot of this in my mind. I created a story. It doesn’t have to end that way. I am projecting my feelings onto a situation that had not happened yet. What if it was good? I have never even considered that. I chose to focus only on the negative. What if I chose to focus on the positive instead? I also made a pros and cons list. After looking at the list, the pros were definitely outweighing the cons.

Change is something that is inevitable. I am working hard to embrace change and not run from it. I don’t want to block any blessings because I am afraid. I trust God to work everything out for my good.

The best part of waking up (5)

When you wake up in the morning what’s the first thing that comes to mind? I used to think about about my to do lists, what I needed to get done at work or at home. I read a devotional that said the first thing you should be thinking about is thanking God. Not thinking about how the day is going to go or what you have to do but just thanking God for waking you up today.

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I am not talking about doing a devotional this is even before you get out of bed. I thought I was doing ok because I got up everything morning and did my devotional but sometimes it would take my brain time to slow down from whatever I was laying in the bed plotting about before I started doing my devotional. This way I am in position to receive the word from God. I am not rushing through my devotional as much and it helps me connect more to the material. This literally takes no time but it changes the entire perspective of my day.

Next time you get out of bed, just thank the Lord for waking you up and for new mercies,then go do your devotional or carry on with your morning routine. See if that makes any differences for you. Let me know how it goes.

Dominique

Keep that same energy

I just got back from vacation and it was amazing. My husband knows how to show me a good time. It was exactly what we needed after having a rough winter. I love to travel, going places doing things, just being out of my house and doing something new. Research shows that it’s easier to get through your days if you are planning a vacation or have something to look forward to. Why is that? Shouldn’t we have joy in our day to day?

Keep that same energy is Teyana Taylor new album title. I haven’t listened to it but the title really got me thinking. How do you do that? Once you get back from vacation why is there such a plateau, such a crash? It literally has a name…post vacation blues. When you are on vacation there is such a high and when you get back home its like, uh, let me get back to the grind. I want to break that cycle.

When I got home I didn’t get all sad, like man my vacation is over. Instead I’m making the best of my time here. I’m taking that just go with the flow vacation vibe and carrying that into my work week. I dont want to be down and just waiting to leave again. I want to enjoy my time in my home and in my city, just like I do on vacation.

I want to keep that same energy. I want to be carefree and let the stress roll of my back.

How am I am going to do that?

1. Be here now- when I am vacation I’m not on my phone. I am just enjoying each moment. I will continue that philosophy when I am home, limiting my time on social media and group chats. This way I am in control of what I take in.

2. Quiet time- when I am on vacation I dont have to rush through my devotional. I really get good one on one time with God. It is harder to not rush my devotional at home but it can be done, I just have to be more intentional with my time.

3. Be active- if you can believe it, even though I did a lot of laying around on vacation I actually exercised every day too. Definitely not something I do at home nor will I necessarily be able to duplicate but I can get close. Being active puts me in a better mood than laying around. Instead of getting off work and trying to catch up on shows or social media and I am going to try to do some physical activity.

4. Try new things- best thing about vacation is trying stuff you wouldn’t normally do at home. That can be anything, new food, drinks or experiences. Why can’t we do that at home? I am lucky that I live in a city that I can find all kinds of new things. So once a month I am going to try and find something or someplace I have never been before.

I know none of these things are super hard but it is the small things that make vacation great. If I bring all the small things I like about vacation into my every day life then I can bring a little bit of vacation back with me.

0 to 100 real quick

I tend to do that more often than I realized. I was all excited a few weeks ago because a lot of things were happening at once, got a raise, interview opportunity, and I thought I was pregnant. I was like wow God you really are laying it on me. Ok. I wasn’t prepared but I’m like ok this is a good thing. Then I thought like wait, its too good to be true, God is doing this to get my attention there is no way that all this awesomeness can happen at once. I was freaking out because I kept thinking that it was too good to be true. I didn’t think that I could get all the things that I was praying for all at once.  For now, I was right.

womp womp

Didn’t get the job and wasn’t pregnant. A bunch of let down right around the same time. I’m not super disappointed anymore about not being pregnant because as you are reading this I am chilling on the sandy beaches in Mexico and being pregnant here would not have been as fun. I’m not upset about the job because I got beat out by the best and I can’t really be mad at that. I want to explore this topic more, having it all. Where did it come from? Is it actually achievable? I will talk about this more in a later post.

I know what’s for me will be given to me. Nobody, not even me can get in the way of that. I don’t know if God had all that happen to get my attention. Its definitely possible. I haven’t prayed and fasted that much in a long while. I knew that I needed to step it up. I talked about that in a previous post.  I feel like there was other things he could do to get my attention although I have to admit these were definitely the best. Maybe it was the devil messing with me. I will never know. I do know that God will never play me and he is not a trickster. I couldn’t find any examples in the bible where he gave the people  something good and then snatched it away or gave someone something good to get their attention and then changed his mind. If there is something out there please let me know. One of my favorite verses is, God is not like man he doesn’t lie or change his mind (Numbers 23:19).

So I’m essentially right back where I started aside from the pay increase. When I think about how ridiculous I was acting it makes me laugh. I couldn’t even enjoy the blessing because I was waiting on the other shoe to drop.

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I’m sure if it was from God his feelings would be hurt over how I was acting. Who wants to give their kid a present for them to keep checking if you are going to ask for it back? I wouldn’t. So if learned any lesson this week it would be to relax. Enjoy each moment. I know everything works out for my good (Romans 8:28) and I know God has plans he made with my name on them (Jeremiah 29:11).

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Awkward

via Daily Prompt: Awkward

awkward-causing or feeling embarrassment or inconvenience

Why is everyone so scared to be awkward? Issa Rae had a book and YouTube series about being an Awkward Black Girl. (the language is pretty bad, but its also pretty funny) I can identify with some of how she felt. I don’t think I am super socially awkward but I am human, so I am sure I have my moments. I think a lot, so I make sure I avoid it at all costs. Sometimes I avoid being awkward so much that I let things linger that probably shouldn’t. How long is to long to not talk to someone? How long is too long to not hang out with them? There is no beef but so much time has passed it feels awkward to make the call.

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My friends say you don’t have to explain your absence, people just want to be reached out, thought about. Which in theory makes sense, but that initial conversation, what if its weird? What if the person is mad? What if the magic is gone?

I wrote a while back about spiritual growth being about reacting differently to the same situation and I want to, but then the whole issue of being awkward comes up and I start to think is it worth it? Embarrassment is a hard thing to get over and vulnerability is too. How do you tell someone its not you, its me? Would they even accept that? Can we go back to being what we were before? Do we want too? Can you trust me again? They say time heals all wounds but I just don’t know about that.

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I try to look at it if one of my friends came back to me after a long hiatus like hey whats up we should hang out. Would I be upset? Probably not, but things don’t necessarily bother me like they bother other people. I am going to take the plunge real soon and see how it goes. I have held this off for too long. God doesn’t want me holding on to anything. I could be blowing this situation up in my mind and making it worse than what it is. I won’t know until I pick up the phone. I will let you know my progress.