95 Years Of My Family’s Crossing Guard #61

If you’ve read anything that I have written in the last four years since I started this blog then you know that I absolutely adore my family. I always feel extremely blessed to have been born into such an awesome group of people.

Today is the 95th birthday of the woman who I call the chief of our tribe, the captain of our ship, and the ruler over all in my family, my grandma. The bible tells us that our days may come to seventy years or eighty, if our strength endures. (Psalms 90:10). Today God has allowed my grandma’s strength to endure living in this world for 25 years beyond the 70 years that the bible speaks of. I don’t know about anyone else but I am overjoyed by that fact.

Let me tell you a little bit about just who my Grandma Freda is. For 29 years of her life her occupation was a school crossing guard, but she was a crossing guard long before she started that job. My Grandma Freda has been life’s crossing guard for her five children, five grandchildren, nieces & nephews and countless others. Til this day she is still serving as life’s crossing guard for her four great grandsons. Grandma Freda has been the one to see us all safely from one phase of life to the next. From infants to children, from adolescence to adulthood, Grandma Freda has been there every step of the way, making sure we got safely through each phase. Even if we happen to step into harm’s way she is right there to pick us up and point us back in the right direction all the while very sternly telling us where we went wrong. Grandma Freda is an important part of the lives of everyone that’s born into my family.

I’m not sure I know anyone else quite like Grandma Freda, she’s awfully headstrong, as a matter of fact she’s probably where the rest of us got that trait from. You might not think so when you first meet Grandma Freda but deep underneath her very hard shell lives a kindhearted woman. If she has even just an ounce of love for you you’ll know it, but don’t look for hugs, kisses or much in the way of affection from Grandma Freda because that’s just not who she is. If she doesn’t like you trust me you’ll feel her sting. Grandma Freda does not sugarcoat anything at all for any reason. If it’s on her mind you better believe it’s going to come out of her mouth and you just might get your feelings hurt, especially if you’re sensitive like me.

I think that the spiritual/religious side of me has always been nurtured by all of my life’s crossing guards, but I have so many memories of Grandma Freda sitting me down as a young girl and teaching me “church songs” and scriptures. I admire her faith and her trust in God. Her church members know something is wrong if she’s not at Beulah Land on Sunday morning. She’s the oldest member of the church and they all know not to talk back when she says something. She’s always taught me “just trust in God.” Grandma Freda is the reason that Proverbs & Psalms are my favorite books to read in the bible, because whenever life throws an obstacle in my path that I just can’t seem to jump over easily Grandma Freda tells me to read Proverbs & Psalms and of course I do as she tells me.

Grandma Freda will teach you a multitude of life lessons in one conversation with her. You really have no choice but to be still, sit, listen and learn, because it doesn’t matter what else is on your schedule when Grandma Freda is talking. Grandma Freda has always been a my way or no way type of grandmother but a lot of times in my life I have found that she’s not going to steer me wrong and her way is at times the best way. I just wanted to tell you all about the woman I’m celebrating today, my family’s life crossing guard. A woman I’m grateful beyond words to have in my life, my Grandma Freda.

It’s my prayer that God continues to bless her with good health and many more years to celebrate her life.

That’s just my perspective!💜

A Perplexing Overflow Of Violence #60

Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you. Proverbs 3:29ESV

What’s up PBZT Family? I hope the first month of 2019 has been great to you all. I just wanted to share with you all something that’s been on my mind for the last few days. It is the last day of the first month of 2019 and here I am sitting at home finding myself once again questioning God and not understanding life and what’s happening in the world around me. I am sure you all can tell by my previous posts that I’m the girl who naively feels like we should all be able to live in this world getting along peacefully. I guess because I feel that we should all be able to live harmoniously it’s difficult for me to accept that the world is just not that way and probably never will be. I have no problem admitting that I do not understand all the hatred and violence that’s going on in this world right now. In perspective #37 Why Kill? I discussed how I don’t understand why people choose to kill others and right now I am back in the frame of mind, probably because I never gained any understanding on the subject. Why do people resort to violence, especially gun violence that ends with death. In my hometown it seems like someone is murdered every weekend. We’re still in the beginning of a new year and there have already been multiple murders, one of which the victim was a pastor who was unlocking the doors of his church on a cold rainy Sunday morning. He was shot and left to die alone on the street. The mind boggling fact for me is that this kind of violence isn’t just happening in my town; it is happening all over this country. It saddens me to realize that people just don’t seem to have any love for one another in this world anymore. Some people seem to have no regard for their own lives or the lives of others. I just don’t understand why it’s necessary to resort to violence that ends in death. I guess I don’t understand because violence is not a choice I think I would ever make.

That’s just my perspective!💜

Empathy In A Mean World #59

“In my view, the best of humanity is in our exercise of empathy and compassion. It’s when we challenge ourselves to walk in the shoes of someone whose pain or plight might seem so different than yours that it’s almost incomprehensible.” Sarah McBride

True empathy requires that you step outside your own emotions to view things entirely from the perspective of the other person.” Anonymous

In Heartbreaking Moment Perspective #33 I wrote about how the sight of homelessness affects me. A few days ago I had another experience with the sight of homelessness. One of my Facebook friends shared a small portion of a video documentary about Skid Row in Los Angeles, California, watching that video broke my heart. This video literally brought tears to my eyes and it made me realize how much empathy I have for all people, especially those who are less fortunate than I am. I have seen dozens of documentaries on Skid Row, but this one really made me emotional for several days after watching it. Just as I did after seeing the homeless man that I wrote about in perspective #33 I began to question why is it that I am blessed with a nice home, and a comfortable bed to rest my head on at night, but there are so many others who aren’t blessed in the same way. I wonder if I am too empathetic.

I look at the sight of homelessness and I wish that there was something I could do to provide all people with a decent roof over their heads so that there wouldn’t be a need for people to be living in tent cities or simply laying on the street. I realize that some of the people who are living homeless are living that way because of choices they’ve made that ultimately changed their way of life, but even in those cases it still bothers me deeply to see anyone who is living on the street and doesn’t even have a clean bathroom to use. At the time that this video documentary was made there were over 2,000 people living on Skid Row with only a small number of portable toilets that the city government had placed in various areas for all of those people to use. That’s unbelievable to me, I really can not even imagine what it’s like living like that. As the young woman was walking down the street there were people shouting angrily at her and her camera person and I honestly didn’t really understand that. I thought maybe its embarrassment of how they are living, but I’m not sure. After posting perspective #33 I had a conversation with my mother about the many reasons why some homeless people make the choice to live on the street like mentally illness or worrying about being taken advantage of while in shelters or other facilities and I thought what an extremely difficult life it must be. Is it selfish of me to have empathy for homeless people and others who are less fortunate than me, but at the same time be grateful and thankful that hasn’t been God’s plan for my life thus far?

In this world we live in unfortunately there is a down side to having empathy for people who are less fortunate than yourself. I recently saw a news story about a couple who were driving in their city and stopped to help a couple who appeared to be in need, well that wasn’t the case, those people who appeared to be in need of some kindness had malicious intentions and ended up killing a pastor’s wife who empathized with them and only wanted to share some genuine compassion and kindness. That was a heartbreaking story to see as well. It made me think of myself, because I am that person who is quick to empathize with someone who appears to be less fortunate than I am. I probably get that from my mother because she is the same way. Whenever I see someone who appears to not have had a bath or shower in several days and is carrying what seems to be all their worldly possessions I quickly feel sorrowful. We all pass by those people who are carrying handmade signs that say “will work for food” or something similar. The empathizer in me is always quick to have sympathy for those people and want to do something for them, give money, food, anything to make their lives better or take their troubles away for a moment. Sadly we are living in times where my second thought to myself is always, “I wonder if they are legitimately in need?” It’s awfully disheartening realizing that this world has become a place where it’s necessary to second guess having empathy for someone, because being a kind, compassionate, loving empathizer can get you killed.

Who ever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered. Proverbs 21:13ESV

That’s just my perspective!💜

Another Journey Around The Sun #58

I can’t believe it is the last day of 2018. I’m sure it sounds crazy, but to me it seems like this year went by much faster than usual, although I know that it was 365 days just as all years are.(except for leap years of course) This year has definitely been a year that will remain unforgettable because so much has happened in the world around me near and far. I have been thinking a lot about myself and my place in this world. I feel like I am 36 years old and I have yet to figure out where I really fit in this world and what my purpose is in this life, but I know that God has a specific purpose for my life. I think writing this blog and sharing my thoughts and feelings about various things has helped me to learn a lot about who I am and who I wish I could grow to be. For a long time I felt like God didn’t give me a talent or at least he didn’t make me talented in a variety of areas like most of my family members, but writing this blog has helped me to realize that expressing myself in writing is something that I’m pretty good at and maybe that’s my talent.

Each time I post something here on Perspective By Zena T. I hope that it is something that in some significant way helps the lives of those reading my words, because I want my life to help others. Looking back on my blog posts throughout 2018 I realize that I have written a lot about how the negative things going on in this world affect me and my thoughts. I hope that in the new year God will inspire me to write about much more positive subjects. I always try to be someone who attempts to spread love, kindness, and compassion to others and I don’t think there was very much of those things being spread around the world throughout the 365 days of this year and I just couldn’t deal with all the hatred that was being spread around so I needed to write about it just to purge it from my mind. I have tried my best to be 100% honest about my thoughts and feelings about whatever it is that I am writing about. At times throughout this year I have felt like maybe I write about grieving my father a bit too but I have decided that it is impossible for me to write about my daddy too much. His death had a tremendous effect on my life and I write about him because it’s cathartic for me and I hope to help other people who are grieving their fathers or other loved ones.

One of my favorite quotes is by Nelson Mandela, it says “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” My constant prayer is that God will use my life to put some good into the world. I want to provide some positive light in the lives of others. Through my writing this year I have actually taught myself a valuable lesson and that is to try to stop being so critical of myself. I feel like God is constantly working on me and molding me into who he wants me to be. I hope that those of you who have chosen to read my words throughout this year have learned a little bit about who I am and I hope that something you have read has brightened your perspective. Thank you for all of your kind and thought provoking comments on my posts. In 2019, I hope to make my blog better by writing more often and continuing to share my honest thoughts on everything under the sun. I hope that you all will continue to take a moment to look at life from my perspective.

That’s just my perspective!💜

I hope that the 365 days of 2019 bring you and your loved ones all the love, joy, happiness & prosperity your hearts and hands can hold.💜

No Christmas Spirit But Grateful #57

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It’s Christmas Eve and I’m feeling a lot of emotions, but festive and the so called Christmas spirit just isn’t on the list. This morning when I got up I just wanted to close my eyes again, get back under the cover and sleep the day away. I just wasn’t feeling right. I thought maybe it’s because today is Monday. I set on the bed and said to myself “ok Zena, you’ve got to snap out of whatever this is, you have lived to nearly the end of another year and that’s something to be upbeat and grateful about.” The self pep talk didn’t help because I was still feeling like Scrooge in a grumpy mood, even after an unsolicited hug from my nephew. I realized that no matter how hard I try to not allow myself to get in this bad mood, it happens every year since my daddy died. Holidays just aren’t the same for me anymore. I don’t know about anyone else in my family, but I always feel my daddy and my granddaddy’s absence even though they’ve both been deceased for twenty years. Holiday family dinners haven’t even been the same for me since their deaths, because at some point during my time with my family I always began to feel their absence. I always try to hide it, because I am not sure how anyone else feels therefore I don’t want to ruin any of our precious moments together because I can’t seem to step out of the pit of grieving.

Today I decided to try my best to just snap out of the Scrooge mood, but boy oh boy is that extremely difficult to do. I know that I will always miss my loved ones whose earthly journeys have ended, but I am still here which according to my beliefs means that God still has tasks for me to complete here on Earth. I have several loved ones still here with me and I am going to enjoy the precious time that I am allowed by God to spend with them. I promised myself that this year during the holidays I am going to enjoy spending time with the people that I love the most in the world and I trust that it’s a reciprocal love. I am going to enjoy watching my mother get her Christmas and birthday gifts all on the same day, although her birthday is two days after Christmas. I am going to enjoy my awesome godfather using his incredible sense of humor to constantly keep our time together filled with laughter, although the other half of his comedy show is missing (my daddy). I am going to enjoy receiving my two dollar bill and bottle of Welch’s grape juice from one of my favorite people, my Aunt Zel. I am going to enjoy watching my 94 year old grandmother just enjoying all of her offspring and being ruler over us all. I am going to enjoy every dish that the taste bud magician (my Aunt Sonja) prepares for dinner. I am going to enjoy just listening to whatever intellectual conversation my Aunt Diane brings to the table. Most of all during the holidays I am going to enjoy spending time with my five year old nephew, I know watching him open his Christmas gifts will put a smile on my face and some much needed joy in my heart.

I vow to myself to try not to dwell on how much I wish my deceased loved ones were still here to enjoy Christmas dinner with us or how much I miss having the light that my daddy and my granddaddy provided in my life. I am going to try to focus on the tremendous love that I have in my life because of my family and friends. Sometimes I feel like I am being ungrateful because I can’t seem to stop focusing on how I wish my deceased loved ones were still alive, especially my daddy because I feel like I need him so much, but I am as grateful as one can be for my life and for all of the amazing people in my life who represent so much of what’s good in this world to me. I just feel like the holidays and many other aspects of my life would be so different if death had not visited my family twenty years ago.

On Christmas Day I think if I find myself slipping into that sadness which causes the grumpy Scrooge in me to emerge I’ll find a quiet place to be alone, just me and my thoughts. Maybe someone out there in the world reading my thoughts here on my blog can help me fix myself. How do you get pass the changes that the death of loved ones brings to your life? It’s been twenty years and I have yet to figure it out.

That’s just my perspective!💜

From me & my family to you and yours I hope that you have a very very Merry Christmas. 🎄

Gifts Aren’t The Reason For The Season #56

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us,

The government will rest on his shoulders,

And he will be called;

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince Of Peace

His government and its peace will never end.

He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

Isaiah 9:6-7NLT

The other day my mother and I went to get dinner in an area of town where there are several shopping centers so we were amongst many Christmas shopping crowds. It brought some thoughts to mind. Seeing all the shoppers bustling around buying gifts for their loved ones made me reminisce about Christmas time when I was a little girl. I remember my parents, my little brother and I would always go to my maternal grandparents’ house for Christmas dinner and opening gifts. One thing I’ll never forget is the amount of gifts that were always under my family’s Christmas tree, it was literally wall to wall gifts mostly for all of the children in the family from “Santa Claus”, my parents and our grandparents, our aunts and our godfather. It was always an exciting thing to see as a child. I can remember trying to count how many gifts my name was on and after that I didn’t care about eating dinner, because I was filled with the anticipation of opening my gifts. Another thought from Christmases of the past that I’ll always remember is my Uncle Jake was always the one to come in and make a comment about it being “too many gifts under the tree.” Of course as a child excited to be getting new toys and clothes I never understood why my uncle always made that comment, next time I see my uncle I am going to have to tell him that I understand now. 

Now, many years later Christmas time has changed a bit in my family, we still exchange gifts, because it’s tradition but it’s no longer wall to wall gifts under the family tree at my grandmother’s house. A few years ago we decided to stop giving each other a lot of big gifts, we give one another small inexpensive gifts, what we call “token gifts.” We make sure that the children in the family have gifts to open, because it’s a joy for the adults in the family to watch the smiles appear on their little faces as they open their gifts.

I think people really go overboard with Christmas shopping. I think we all forget that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Christ. The custom of gift giving on Christmas Day started because the wise men and others who visited the stable where Jesus was born brought gifts for him. Yes, those gifts were befitting of our saviour, but I believe that the thought to give the gift means more than the gift itself. If you me a pair of socks I am going to be grateful simply because you thought enough of me to give me a gift. I think Christmas has become much too much about materialism. Christmas Day in my opinion should be a day (especially if you’re Christian) spent reflecting on the birth of Christ who was born just to make the ultimate sacrifice for all of humankind, enjoying precious time with those you love & cherish most in the world. It’s really not a day to place sole emphasis on giving or receiving gifts.

That’s just my perspective!💜

Thoughts & Prayers #55

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth Psalms 145:18ESV

It’s been another one of those weeks when it seems like every time the phone rang it was with news of the death of someone who has been a part of my journey throughout this life. It’s always interesting to me that death makes me think more in depth about life. I’ve been thinking about how whenever something tragic happens in a person’s life the people around them will say that they’re in their thoughts and prayers. I often wonder if the sentence “you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers” is something that has become commonplace to say, because we don’t know exactly what to say when tragedy arises in the lives of those around us. I question if people really pray for me when they’ve said those words to me.

“You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers” was a statement that I heard a lot when my daddy died, even then I remember thinking to myself “yeah right you’re just saying that, you’re not really going to pray for me.” I only have a handful of people in my life who I truly feel keep me in their thoughts and prayers no matter what. I am honestly guilty of saying those words to people because I just didn’t know what else to say and I honestly planned on saying a word of prayer for them but simply forgot. It was never because I didn’t mean it or because I didn’t care about what was going on in the life of the person that I said it to, it was simply because I forgot to place them in my prayers. That probably seems awful of me, but I’m human and I forget things sometimes.

These days I’ve gotten in the practice of whispering a word or two of prayer as soon as I tell someone that they will be in my thoughts and prayers, because the older I get, the more I believe in and understand the importance of prayer. I feel like it’s a statement that shouldn’t be thrown around as often as it is simply because you don’t know what’s best to say in certain situations. I guess maybe I am just not one hundred percent trusting of people to do what they say they are going to do, but I would prefer that people not tell me what they think I need to hear in the moment if they aren’t truly going to keep me in their thoughts and pray for me. I hope that I am wrong the next time someone tells me I’ll be in their thoughts and prayers and I think to myself sarcastically “yeah sure you will” because it’s a blessing to have people think enough of you to say a pray for you.

That’s just my perspective!💜

Disheartened, Frustrated & Angry #54

img_0685Lately I’ve really been struggling with what to share with you all. I think in the last week, almost two I’ve been subconsciously distracting myself to refrain from sharing anything on my blog, because I just haven’t had anything uplifting, enlightening or inspiring to share. As the saying goes, honesty is the best policy so I’ve decided that as usual I’ll just be honest with my blog family, hoping that someone will understand my feelings. Some of you may even be feeling the same way.

I have spent the last few months wishing that God had made me a little different. I wish that God had not made me a person who is so deeply affected by everything that is going on in the world around me. I really don’t want to keep writing about all the extreme negativity going on in the world, specifically in the United States, but unfortunately right now that’s what is constantly on my mind. Several of you in my blog family know me personally and know that I am not a hate filled person. I am a quiet person who tries to live life getting along with all others even if I disagree with something you’ve done or said I try to avoid conflict with others. I feel like most of the time I am pretty easy to get along with. I wish it was that simple for everyone.

Last Saturday I laid in bed once again watching news coverage of yet another mass shooting, I’m sure many of you were watching. Since I am being honest I have to admit that I laid in bed crying because I’m so tired of living in a world where people use guns to murder other human beings simply because they believe in something different or because they are of another race. A week earlier there was the man who decided to make and send bombs to politicians through the mail, thank God that situation wasn’t as horrific as it could have been. Oh let’s not forget the two people who were killed in Kentucky simply because they were two African Americans at the grocery store. Yes, that’s the world we are living in, all of that happened within what, a week.

I just do not understand how someone can be so filled with hate that they want to kill others simply because they are different in some way. I wish that I understood what’s going on in not only the United States, but all over the world, the hatred that exist is appalling to me. Why is it that we don’t take the time to understand each other? We are all so vastly different and in 2018 nearing 2019 there are still people in this country and in this world who can’t seem to understand or maybe just refuse to accept it. Apparently that’s the way that God wanted things to be, God made us all in his image (read Genesis 1:27) obviously God didn’t mean for us all to be exactly the same.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said “Let no man pull you low enough to hate.” I don’t want to live my life hating anyone for any reason and as naïve as it may seem I wish I could cure all the hate that has existed in this world for far too many generations. We live in a time where you aren’t completely safe anywhere, not your house of worship or your own home. It makes me angry and sad all at once. Something is wrong in this world and we have got to fix it. The hate and division has got to come to an end.

I really don’t have the vocabulary or full capacity to tell you all just how massively frustrated I am with the state of this country and the world around me. I want my five year old nephew to be growing up in a better world. I know that right now he doesn’t even understand any thing other than the life of a happy kindergartener, he’s not yet focused on what’s happening in the world around him, but by the time that he is I want this country and this world to be so much better. In ten years when my nephew is a teenager I don’t want him to be living in a world where young African American males are being killed by the police or where young people who have been bullied choose to go into their schools and murder their teachers and classmates. I don’t want my nephew living in a world where Jewish people are afraid to go and worship at their synagogue or where African American people go to Wednesday night bible study and can’t be Christ-like choosing to invite in a stranger because that stranger just might be a young man who has been taught to hate and has malicious intentions. I want my nephew and all the children in this country and throughout the world to have better leaders who actually genuinely care about the welfare of others. I am angry and frustrated because the world has been in this state for far too long and it doesn’t seem to be any change near, it seems each day its only getting worse. Change has to come soon, its imperative.

That’s just my perspective!💜

Living With Spina Bifida #53

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On July 16, 1982 my parents’ lives FB_IMG_1539982454041changed in many ways. On this day they became the proud parents of a baby girl, their first child. I was that child. I was born with Spina Bifida. Neither of my parents had much knowledge about exactly what Spina Bifida is. My mother had read a small amount of information on Spina Bifida while she was in college, but it wasn’t enough to prepare her to be the mother of a daughter born with Spina Bifida. During the first week of my life while I was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) my parents were given a myriad of information about Spina Bifida, I’m sure it was extremely overwhelming. They didn’t know exactly what the future would hold, but they loved me and were willing to do whatever they needed to for me. I can’t remember a time in my life when my parents weren’t there for me, through every surgery and illness when I was a little girl until my teen years, they were always right beside me. Since my father died I have a very special aunt who has been right alongside my mother and I during my last few surgeries, and of course Daddy is always there in spirit. I have always felt blessed beyond measure, because God chose to give me to my mother and father, because I have always felt loved, sometimes a bit over loved.

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According to the Spina Bifida Association, Spina Bifida means split spine. It is a neural tube defect (NTD) that develops during the first month of pregnancy when the spinal column doesn’t completely close. According to the Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission there are three types of Spina Bifida; two are readily diagnosed at birth. I was born with one of them, myelomeningocele which is the most common. This type happens when a cyst-like sac protrudes from the back containing spinal fluid and covering tissue and nerves of the spinal cord. The cord and nerves are likely to be damaged or not properly developed. The second type is also easily detected at birth it is meningocele, it is the least common. The sac contains fluid and tissue that covers the cord and the cord is not in the sac, but often is not damaged. The last type is spina bifida occulta. This type is not easily detected at birth because at birth no spinal column defect is visible. This type may not be recognized until much later in life. An x-ray will usually identify a thinning or mild distortion of a part of the backbone.

Adobe_Post_20181019_170138At birth I needed treatment which involved surgery. Surgical repair of the lesion (sac) was necessary. I actually had separate surgeries, one to repair the lesion in my back and the other was for the installation of a shunt. The shunt had to be placed at the base of my skull to control hydrocephalus. According to the Spina Bifida Association eighty percent of people with Spina Bifida have hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is an excessive accumulation of cerebral spinal fluid in the head. This fluid affects the formation of the brain and may lead to mental retardation thus causing a child to have to have a shunt inserted to drain the fluid from the brain into another part of the body. Let me explain what a shunt is. A shunt is a very flexible plastic tube used to drain the excessive fluid from the brain to a different part of the body where the fluid can easily drain into the urine. The shunt is inserted for the lifetime of a person. Sometimes there must be revisions made to the shunt.

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I have some physical limitations and have had several Spina Bifida related surgeries. People with Spina Bifida must learn to get around on their own as I did. In order to allow that happen, some people born with Spina Bifida will need the aid of braces, wheelchairs or crutches. I wear low leg braces. I did not begin to walk until I was seventeen months old. Today at thirty-six years old I am able to walk but I have an unusual gait. Spina Bifida affects the whole family and the problems that come with it can be challenging at times. Parents must take an active role in caring for the child. They must understand all the options for treatment and make the best choices for care. Living with Spina Bifida is not the same for each person who has it. It does mean for many crutches, wheelchairs and braces. Living with Spina Bifida for some means social rejection, psychological problems, physical problems and even academic problems.Adobe_Post_20181019_171245

According to the American Pregnancy Association the effects of Spina Bifida are different for every person. Persons with Spina Bifida may have other conditions. The other conditions may include poor bladder and bowel control, depression, latex allergy, partial paralysis and social issues. All of these conditions could range from mild to severe.

The Spina Bifida Association states that obesity is a great concern for individuals with Spina Bifida. These individuals may not be able to walk and if they can it is with limitations. Doctors are now saying that Spina Bifida can best be prevented by taking four hundred micrograms of folic acid everyday during pregnancy. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) the affects of Spina Bifida can range from mild to severe. Some people have little or no noticeable disability. Others are limited in the way they can move and/or function. Even so with the right care most people affected by Spina Bifida will be able to grow up to lead full and productive lives. I am living proof of that.10C26467-60D3-4D82-B587-EC66345BB3B9

Trusting God Through The Good & The Bad #52

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8

D1ECB8C7-920B-4E5F-86D7-F996EC503DEBThe fact that I question God all the time is no secret to anyone who reads my blog regularly because I’m always very honest with you all about the things that I question God about. I question God because I don’t understand certain things that are happening around me, not because I don’t trust him. Today I was thinking about how it’s always easy to trust God when life is going good, but when the difficult times roll in for some trust in God rolls out, although it’s during the difficult times when our trust and faith in God should increase. I’ve been wondering if God uses the difficult times in the lives of those of us who believe in him as a chance to test our trust in him.

I often use the phrase “let go and let God” because to me that phrase means let go, stop trying to handle things (life) in your way, pray about it and let God show you the way to handle the difficulties that life sends your way. I believe that God has a solution even before you are presented with the problem, but you have to fully one hundred percent trust in God and be willing to hand it all over to him. I know just from living my own life that it is extremely challenging to just step out of the way and hand your life and all your issues over to the Lord. Relinquishing control isn’t easy, because it’s natural to want to handle everything yourself.

Just as most human beings, I am a work in progress and God is always working on me and my relationship with him. I have had plenty of times in my life when I was worried about something, although I know that God always knows and does what’s best I found myself having a difficult time giving my issue(s) to God and no longer worrying about it. I have also had times in my life when I question God about something happening in my life or in the world that I just don’t understand and I didn’t trust his plan completely, because I didn’t understand. I feel like I have gotten much better with my faith and trust in God now that I am a bit older and each day it grows stronger.

A while ago, I read a devotional message that said “God will use difficult situations to teach us about ourselves so I wonder if difficult situations are God’s way of reminding us christians to keep trusting in him. That devotional message also said that if we don’t learn from our trials we’ll keep repeating them. I wonder if one of those lessons is that we must completely trust in God, maybe the lessons to be learned within our trials are different for each of us. I definitely believe it’s always one lesson that God is constantly repeating in my life.

When I have moments of difficulty in my life, when I’m worried or stressed over something, even though it’s still difficult for me sometimes to just give everything to God, I have to remind myself that ultimately I am not the one who is in control. I have to say to myself, Zena, God has not failed you in 36 years, he is not going to start failing you now, his way is always best, trust him.

What about you, what do you do when the troubles roll into your life and you start to lose your trust and faith in God?

That’s just my perspective!💜

Feeling Uninspired #51

6AE1DDFF-A2D9-4C58-9D12-16ED5A52E579Uninspired is defined as lacking in imagination or originality, not filled with excitement. Its a definition that completely fits how I have been feeling this week.

In August, I set a goal for myself to post something on my blog once a week and up until this last week I have been doing a great job of accomplishing that goal by posting the words that I feel like God has led me to share every Wednesday or Thursday. This week both Wednesday & Thursday came and went without me posting anything, it’s now Sunday evening, and I am determined to make up for not posting earlier in the week, even if my post is just about how uninspired I am. It’s been an awful week and I’m not feeling one hundred percent myself physically or emotionally.

There are so many negative things going on in the world right now and for a person like me thinking about all of that is so energy draining. Although most times I feel like I am led by God to write about the topics that I do, I don’t want to keep writing about those negative things, because I want to be a spirit lifting, encouraging, empowering person. I’m just in a gloomy mood right now. I have a question to pose to my fellow bloggers, what do you do when you’re feeling uninspired but you’re determined to accomplish your goals? Actually that question is not just for bloggers, anyone can answer. How do you handle moments, days, weeks when you’re in a melancholy mood, but you still have a life to live and goals to accomplish? I’m hoping and praying that next week is better for me. I hope that by Wednesday God has removed this moment of lack of inspiration to write and given me something to share that puts a smile on the faces of my blog audience. Please pray with me and for me.

Have A Great Week!

That’s just my perspective!💜

Rainy Day Rollercoaster Ride #50

img_0576I’ve made a list of a variety of topics that I might want to write about for my 50th blog post, but none of those things are on my mind today. On this rainy Wednesday, what’s on my mind and in my heart is the subject that you all know is never far from my mind and always in my heart, my daddy. You all probably get tired of reading about him, but I never get tired of writing about him.

I can’t remember the name of the blog, but earlier this week I read another blogger’s story about the death of her best friend and how she was feeling about it. I left a comment telling her that I hope that writing is therapeutic for her, because grief is a never ending process that can take your life on a scary rollercoaster ride of emotions all in one day.

I feel like it has been nearly twenty years since that Wednesday evening that my daddy left this life and I should be over it, but my mind seems to be stuck in time. I’ve tried as best I can to shake it but I just can’t get that day out of my mind, I can even remember things that I did at school that day well before the hour of daddy’s death.

Today as I began to prepare to write my blog post, I thought to myself, “I wonder if my daddy would be proud of me and my blogging journey, I wonder if he would be proud that I finally found something that I am passionate about and I wonder if Daddy would be proud of the person that I’ve become since his death.” That thought brought along a myriad of emotions for the rest of the day.

I will never forget how happy my daddy was that day, he had been so sick the previous week and my momma had to take him to the emergency room exactly a week before, so it was really great to see Daddy back to his normal self, joking about everything. There was no way to tell that it would be the last day of his earthly life. No son or daughter should have to go through what my brother and I went through that evening, I don’t understand why that was God’s plan for us at 11 and 16 years old. Why did we have to bare seeing our daddy laying over the steering wheel completely lifeless after having a massive heart attack in the car that we rode all over town with him in. I apologize if that’s too graphic for you, but it’s our reality. Can you all imagine how I felt walking out of my high school to witness that, the feeling hasn’t gone away. He was feeling so good that day, why is he gone now? I asked that question for a long time afterwards.

Nearly 20 years later I realize that Daddy died at the moment, second, minute, and hour that God had already chosen for him but that realization really doesn’t make me feel any better. I miss him and I feel like the deep pain in my heart isn’t ever going away, it hurts so bad and I just want it to go away so I can feel better. I probably shouldn’t be sharing all of this on the internet, but I figure maybe someone who is stuck on the rollercoaster ride called grief like I am may need to know that someone else understands. There may be another daughter out there whose father has left this life and she is hurting because regardless of age daughters need their fathers just as sons do, well maybe that daughter needs to know that her struggle is understood.

My daddy was such an awesome person and a great daddy who loved wholeheartedly, I feel like a part of me left this life along with him. I think I may have written about it before, but my daddy’s death has made me love, value and worry about my mother more than I did twenty years ago. I’ve become very protective of her, at times probably a bit overly protective. One of my daily prayers is that God gives my mother longevity in this life. I ask that of God a few times a day, although I know death is inevitable thinking about having to experience her death only adds to the soul deep pain that I already feel. I want to get off of this rollercoaster ride called grief and never have to get back on it.

That’s just my perspective!💜