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?

Trust in God at all times, my people. Tell him all your troubles, for he is our refuge. Psalms 62:8

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!💜

Finding Moments Of Contentment #49

On my message of encouragement that I have started trying to post weekly on my social media accounts that I created to accompany this blog, I wrote about the ways that I try to encourage myself when I have allowed life to make me feel overwhelmed and frustrated. I believe that it is so important to develop ways to encourage yourself when all of the trials we encounter in this life overwhelm and frustrate you. In this life, we are all going through something and sometimes its necessary to encourage yourself because you can’t depend on anyone else to do it for you.

6550C2A4-D01B-4C68-979B-EEB474497C3BIt was last weekend when I realized that I can find contentment in overwhelming times. Lately I have been feeling like I’ve been running on empty. I have been dealing with some health problems and just feel very discouraged and overwhelmed with a million of life’s issues on my mind. I had a moment of contentment last weekend. It was a bright and sunny, beautiful weekend. The fact that I got a chance to spend some much needed bonding time with my nephew Tristan, made the beautiful weekend even better. He arrived Friday evening, cranky after a long day of being a Kindergartner so he didn’t want to have much interaction with me and I was not offended.

Saturday morning I woke up with Tristan asleep next to me, I couldn’t move even if I wanted to because he was literally almost under me. I am sure if you have a little person around his age (5) in your life then you know just the position I was in. I think little children turn into gold medal winning Olympic gymnasts while they are asleep. I laid there a little uncomfortable yet feeling a sense of contentment, because laying directly next to me was this incredible little boy who in just five years has brought an infinite amount of joy into my life. I couldn’t move, all I could do was smile.

180717_120050_27Once Tristan woke up we spent the next few hours of Saturday morning watching Bubble Guppies together, neither of us had a care in the world. It is amazing how a child can bring so much joy into your life and remind you of what’s really important in life. During my nephew’s visit I didn’t think about all the issues that I had been overwhelmed by, all that mattered was spending time with the best nephew in the world, that was contentment for me.

That’s just my perspective!💜

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I Can’t Imagine #48

aidan-bartos-373657-unsplashWe all know that this week marked the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attack on America which happened on Tuesday September 11, 2001. It seems strange to me to use the word anniversary when it’s a day that we remember and reflect upon the horrific act of terrorism that was committed and all the lives that ended on that day. On that Tuesday morning, in September 2001, I was 19 years old working at an elementary school as a teacher’s assistant, living confused, not knowing what I really wanted to do with my life or understanding what direction God was leading my life into. I’m sure just like me, on that morning most Americans were going about their daily routine and an act of terrorism was not on the list of things on any of our minds. Seventeen years later we probably all keep the possibility of another attack happening in America on our minds, although one has not occurred in this country. Since that morning in 2001 terrorist attacks have become a common thing in this world we live in.

Every year since September 11, 2001, I find myself watching the commemoration ceremonies when the relatives of the victims who perished when the twin towers fell read each of their names aloud. Even though so many years have gone by I imagine it doesn’t get any easier for the family members to endure that ceremony on the grounds where their beloved family and friends so tragically died. Seventeen years later just watching the ceremony on television it’s just as heartbreaking as watching the first commemoration ceremony was and it still brings tears to my eyes.24D5C3C1-541B-41CE-B070-21D1E8E11422I sit and watch the video footage of the planes flying into the twin towers and the two buildings ultimately collapsing and crumbling while all those people were still inside. All these years later I don’t think that image will ever not make me cry. I always find myself trying to imagine what all those people must have been thinking and feeling, being stuck in those buildings. Some of them probably were unaware of exactly what had happened and they didn’t know that death was imminent. Thinking about it now still makes my heart ache but I always hope that the people who met their death in those buildings did not have to suffer a painful death, I honestly hope that their deaths were instant. It always crosses my mind that there may have been even more death if it had not been for those heroic people on Flight 93 who lives ended preventing the last hijacked airplane from getting to the intended target. I can’t imagine the extreme fear the passengers on all four of the hijacked airplanes must have felt. Can you imagine realizing that you are about to die in that horrific way?

The terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001 are on my list of a million things that I ask God “why” about, because I just don’t understand. How can one group of people hate an entire country of people to the extent of actually planning an attack on that country that ended in three thousand deaths. I’m sure we all have met someone who we just don’t like at all, but to hate someone who you’ve never even met so passionately that it makes you want to kill, well, I think I’m glad I don’t know that feeling. I have never wanted to kill or wished death on anyone. I guess maybe I should’ve paid closer attention in my social studies and history classes in school so that I could better understand America’s relationship with it’s enemies.

I realize that grief is a never ending process that the relatives of the victims who perished in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks will always be dealing with, but I hope and pray that each of them has found a way to find some peace and solace when they remember their loved ones.

That’s just my perspective!💜

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An Abyss Of Negativity #47

juan-davila-221687-unsplashWhen I go into my quiet space to sit down and concentrate on writing, the first thing I do is pray that God will give me the words that he wants me to share with others. I also pray that the words I share will somehow have a positive effect on those who choose to read them. I also hope to not repeat myself too often, but I guess if God places a certain topic on my mind more than once it needs to be repeated.

For the last two days, I’ve been having a really difficult time coming up with a positive subject to write about, because honestly what consumes my mind these days isn’t very positive. I’m not sure that today’s perspective will have a positive impact on anyone. Everyday when I open my eyes from a night’s sleep I say a silent prayer thanking God for giving me another day of life and I attempt to start the day with a grateful heart, because I believe that God allowing me to wake up to see the light of another day on this planet means that I haven’t fulfilled his purpose for my life yet. I don’t know about you but I feel like that’s something to be extremely grateful for.

I try to live my life being someone who gives love, kindness, and compassion and treats everyone as I would like to be treated. It seems like I am living in a world where not everyone tries to be kind. I feel like I’m trying to be a positive minded person while almost suffocating in an abyss of negativity. When I look at the world outside of my family and my comfort zone there seems to be more negativity than there is positivity. It’s like I said in perspective #24, we’re living in a world that is unnecessarily divided and it doesn’t make any sense to me.

It seems to me that everything that makes us who we are, is also the things that divide us and I don’t understand that. Our race divides us. Our socioeconomic status divides us. Our educational backgrounds divide us. Our career choices divide us. Our sexual orientation divides us. Our faith/religious beliefs and political views divide us. Sometimes I feel like the only thing that makes us similar is that we’re all human beings who can’t seem to accept one another and live together in peace. I am guilty of having judged other people for some of those things that I said divides us, but as I grow and mature personally I am trying to be someone who only sees another human being when I meet someone, I pray that God shapes me into someone who doesn’t make immediate judgments of anyone. I’ll admit God is still working on that part of me.

mike-wilson-21985-unsplashWe’re living in a world where so many terrible things that just should not exist or happen have become commonplace, for instance just this morning there was yet another mass shootings, this time in Ohio where three people were killed by one gunman, someone who probably should not have been allowed to purchase any kind of weapon. The national news channel that I was watching broke away from discussing the myriad of issues happening in the world of politics for only a few minutes so that an anchor could give a few details of the shooting. It’s just my opinion, but I think any time there is a loss of lives that’s a news story that deserves more than a few minutes of airtime. It’s like we’ve become immune to horrific things like shootings taking place every day, things that should be tremendously vexing have become normal occurrences that we think nothing of or that only gain our attention for a little while. I don’t ever want anyone who reads my blog to think that I am being judgmental that is never my intention. I just write about the world as I see it and right now the condition of the world, especially the United States, really bothers me, it actually makes me angry when I think about it.

I have heard a lot of people blame the current occupant of the oval office for people being so divided in America, while I am not and never will be a fan of his, I don’t think one hundred percent of the blame should be placed on him. I do however, think that he and several of the people working alongside him have rubbed a ton of salt in a wound that it seems is never going to heal, by exhibiting such contentious behavior, but we were already a country divided when he gained his title.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”I think I’ve said it many times throughout this blog and will probably say it again many times but, I very often wish that I could be the change that I’d like to see in this world. I have come to the conclusion that if we don’t all work together to make change happen then things will always remain the same or get worse.

Here I go questioning God again, but I always wonder why God allows all the horrible things that are occurring in the world to happen every day. As always I wonder if there is a lesson in it all. Is God trying to tell us something and we’re misunderstanding it. What do you think?

That’s just my perspective!💜

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A Daughter’s Everlasting Love #46

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20180924_215406I just looked at the clock, its 2:30am on a Monday morning and I’m awake for no apparent reason, but there’s so many things swirling around in my mind. I turn over and watch my mother seeming to be having a peaceful night’s rest. Yes, I am admitting to the world that I’m 36 years old and for the last two years I haven’t slept in my own bedroom. If you all knew and really understood what my mother has endured during the last two years then you wouldn’t judge me because I’m a grown-up who sleeps in the bed with her mother. Momma had two life altering surgeries back to back, one in 2016 then again in 2017. She is the only parent I have living in this world and right now I just feel the need to be close to her as much as possible without figuratively smothering her, especially at night because she suffers with Rheumatoid Arthritis so night time is the worst time for her.039B6E39-3CC8-454F-9F4F-3C3E24D3AB31 I have always thought very highly of my mother, I mean this is the woman whose womb God chose to send me into this world through, the woman who endured nine months of allowing me to develop inside her, the woman who underwent a Caesarean section so that I could have life in this world. Those things alone are reasons to think highly of my mother, but they aren’t my only reasons. My mother is one of the strongest people I know and she reminds me of that every day just living her life, she is constantly pushing through her pain and getting every job that needs to be accomplished in a day’s time completed. I am always telling her “Momma, just sit down, you’re always trying to do too much in twenty-four hours.

IMG_20180708_213951_389Nearly twenty years ago, on a Wednesday evening in the month of March, life drastically changed for my mother when she became a widow after 31 years of marriage. My daddy’s death has taken its toll on everyone who truly loved him. You see, if you knew my daddy you just couldn’t stop yourself from loving him, he was just that type of person, a real people person. My daddy was the light in our lives and on that Wednesday evening in March nearly twenty years ago that light dimmed to almost darkness for a long while. I always think about daddy’s death from my own perspective but this morning I am looking at my mother asleep and thinking about what indescribable pain she must of felt and may still feel. My mother and father were perfect examples for the definition of soulmates, they were each other’s right hand for 31+ years and suddenly she was left alone. She was forced to figure it all out by herself. She was suddenly placed in a position where she had to take care of everything in life alone, including raising a sixteen year old daughter with some unique medical needs and an eleven year old son who really needed something she couldn’t be, a father. That’s an extremely heavy load to suddenly be placed on one woman’s back, but my extraordinary mother has managed to make it through.

I think my momma tried to hide parts of her grief and sadness from my brother and I for a while after Daddy died but she didn’t succeed in that. I’m not sure if she knows that I know but my mother’s “secret” crying and praying place was her bathroom in the shower. I can’t tell you how many times I have been laying in my bed upstairs and I could hear my mother downstairs in the shower crying and praying. I have often felt like Luther Vandross sings in his song Dance With My Father, “I’d pray for her even more than me, I know I’m praying for much too much. But could you send back the only man she loved, I know you don’t do it usually, but Dear Lord, she’s dying to dance with my father again.” I know its beyond crazy but I’ve often wished that death wasn’t permanent and that Daddy could come back with no heart disease or any of the other health problems he had simply to continue living life alongside Momma.

Fourteen years after daddy died on the last day of her career as a teacher Momma had an appointment with a cardiologist and was diagnosed with bicuspid aortic valve disease and told that she would eventually need to have surgery. Just to give you a little information about bicuspid aortic valve disease, it is a form of heart disease in which two of the leaflets of the aortic valve fuse during development in the womb resulting in a two leaflet valve instead of the normal three leaflet valve. It’s a condition that people can live well into their sixties or seventies without knowing they have it, because symptoms don’t start to show until one is in that age group.

Luckily it wasn’t until three years after her diagnosis in March 2016 that she would have to have open heart valve replacement surgery. The day of Momma’s heart surgery was definitely one of the most nerve racking days of my life, especially during the few hours that she was in the operating room. The night before I don’t think I slept at all, it was one of those times where God probably got tired of hearing from me because I was praying so much. When I think about it now I realize it was one of those times in my life when my faith in God was seriously lacking because I had prepared myself for something bad to happen. As I set in the waiting room, all that was on my mind was, my mother, the one person I have in my life who has loved me through everything, is laying on an operating table with her chest cut open and doctors working on her most vital organ, anything could have gone wrong. On that day I was “prayed up” and in those moments in the waiting room I felt like I could handle a bad outcome but thinking upon it now I know no matter how much I had prayed about it, I would not have been able to handle a bad outcome. I’ve been thanking God everyday since because Momma’s heart surgery was successful. Her road to recovery was difficult but thank God, she made it, those of you reading this who know my mother know she surely doesn’t look like what she’s been through.

1982E03E-643A-4C3D-9C2E-30B592A46EDBA little over a year later, Momma decided to have the back surgery that she had been needing but kept putting off since sustaining a back injury in a car accident in the early 1990s. In all honesty, my nervousness wasn’t at the maximum level about this surgery like it was during her heart surgery. The time I had to spend waiting to hear the outcome wasn’t as excruciating as the last time, I guess maybe my faith was renewed and I just felt like Momma was going to be alright. Once again it was a successful surgery, but the road to recovery this time was even more difficult than it was after her heart surgery. Seeing my mother in all the pain that she had to endure was very difficult, but like I said before my mother is one of the strongest people I know and this was just one more time that she made it through a painful moment in her life, because persevering through pain is something that my mother is a pro at. She may shed some tears, but she is a tough woman who always finds a way to jump over the obstacles that life throws in front of her.

Watching my mother make it through the two major surgeries she has had recently and just being her daughter who gets to witness her journey through this life everyday has made me more grateful for her than I think I have ever been. I value her place in my life and I thank God for choosing her to give me life. We have a bond that will always be unbreakable regardless of what other people’s thoughts are of our bond.

If you have a good mother who goes above and beyond the call of duty for you like mine does for me and my brother, although we’re both well over 21, please give her praises while she can still hear them, because life is so extremely short. I thank God for every moment that he allows me to express the love I have for my mother.

That’s just my perspective!💜

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Quiet In Chaos #45

It’s that time of the week again when I get in my quiet place, try and push the rest of the world out of my mind and ask God to give me the words that will some how help the people who choose to stop by my piece of the World Wide Web, but this week I think I could use some encouragement and inspiration so please feel free to comment if you have some words that will change my perspective.

Some people say that the world changes when you become a parent, it is said that life becomes all about your child. For me life changed five years ago when my nephew was born, I began to really pay closer attention to life and everything occurring in it and I’ve been thinking about how I’m 36 years old and I don’t think I have ever seen the world around me in such a depressing, chaotic state as it is currently, it’s not the place I want my nephew growing up in, but unfortunately he is. It seems like every morning I wake up hearing or reading the news of someone’s life having been taken by the hands of another person with a weapon that wasn’t intended for the use of murder. We’re living in a world where terrorists’ attacks are happening daily. We are existing in a world where the president of the United States of America is a totally unprofessional entertainer/businessman who had absolutely no prior experience in politics and has in my opinion caused more divisiveness in this country than I have witnessed in my lifetime.

We seem to be living in a time where people display selfishness much more than kindness and gratitude. We’re walking around in a world where we aren’t at all accepting of one another. I’m sitting in my quiet place wishing that I could change this world for my nephew and other children growing up in it and wondering what God is trying to tell us by making us experience such chaotic times. I recently rode through what I would call an impoverished area of town and that ride made me realize that I often wonder why must we live in a world where we aren’t all blessed in the same ways. Is this the way God meant for the world to be right now? Once again I find myself asking why? Is there a lesson to learn in all this chaos? Is change near?

That’s just my perspective!💜

It’s Really Not About Me #44

While scrolling through social media today I came across a quote that said “God can use our simple words in profound ways.” I’m not sure who the author of the quote is, but if I did know I would send that person a thank you note, because those words made me think about the many reasons that I love expressing myself through writing so much.

I recently had a conversation with my mother about why I continue to share my thoughts, feelings and life from my perspective, if you know me then you know that my mother is my sounding board, my listening ear, my advice giver, let’s just say that my mother serves a tremendous amount of roles in my life. I know that she will always be one thousand percent truthful with me even if she has to risk hurting my feelings. Ultimately I always appreciate her brutal honesty. During our conversation, I was explaining to Momma that my reason for continuing the blog has become something that even I don’t fully understand sometimes. I feel very deeply, strongly compelled to share my thoughts and feelings. My mother is the one human being who I seek validation from, her opinion on any and every thing I do means more to me than that of any other person. I said to her “Momma, does it sound crazy that I feel that sharing my perspective on life is what God wants me to do and is leading me to do?” Momma’s answer was short, she very matter-of-factly said “No, it doesn’t sound crazy.” After blogging sporadically for nearly three years and always being very apprehensive about posting very personal feelings to share with anyone in the world who chooses to read what I post, it was my mother’s validation that I needed to feel comfortable with just letting go and letting God use me for his will. I think that writing for this blog has allowed me to go through a lot of personal growth but I realize that is not the only reason that God has led me to do this.

Since I’ve been sharing my perspective on this blog I am always amazed first of all when people tell me they read it regularly and second when someone tells me that something I said within one of my posts helped them in a positive way. I know many of you amongst my loyal audience are people who have known me since I came from my mother’s womb, you all know that I am a very introverted, quiet, borderline shy young woman. I have trouble with accepting compliments, because I feel like I’m just being Zena and it’s not necessary to compliment me for that. Now, that doesn’t mean that I want you all to stop complimenting me, it just means that I don’t always know how to reply to your compliments, because honestly they sort of make me uncomfortable and make my heart happy all at the same time, I’m sure that sounds weird. I consider myself the far opposite of an attention seeker, but when someone tells me that something I have shared has made an impact on them and the way they think about life and/or the things happening around the world, well, I just don’t have the words in my vocabulary that can truly express exactly how hearing that or reading comments that express that makes me feel, it really means so much to me. I believe that making a positive impact on others is why God has led me to share my perspective and testimony about the things that I am going through or have gone through and gotten to the other side of.

This has become one of those posts that I think I will start calling my testimonial perspective posts, because it has really made me think a lot about life while writing it. It’s one of those posts that I am a little apprehensive about sharing online but I’ll share anyway. For many of my adult years so far, l have spent a lot of time thinking about and questioning my purpose and my place in this world, you all know, you read it, I am always writing about finding purpose and walking in purpose. As the tears roll while I am writing these words I realize that maybe part of God’s purpose for my life is to help others who are going through life’s trials, to look at the brighter side of things. I know from my own personal experiences that when you’re going through something difficult it can be extremely hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I’ve learned that if you just keep on walking there are always brighter days ahead. I realize that there are so many people in this world who have been through so much more than I have and are going through so much more than I do on a daily basis, but I know that God has led me to share my life in words because just one of his children needs the words that he has given me to express to the world.

That’s just my perspective!💜

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There Is Triumphant Strength On The Other Side Of The Storm #43

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength . They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40: 29 & 31NLT

My goal for the month of August 2018 has been to post something that I deem meaningful every Thursday in the month, well it is only the second Thursday in the month and I’ve been racking my brain all week trying to come up with something meaningful to say today. Lately my prayer in regards to this blog has been “God please give me the words that you want me to give to others.” Earlier this week I literally found myself saying “God, what’s up, are you going to give me something to say to my blog readers, because I am drawing a blank, you’ve given me the mindset to post something once a week this month, so you have to help me out.”

Recently I have been dealing with having severe abdominal pain and no one who has achieved M.D. behind their name has been able to figure out what the exact cause is, so I’ve been feeling not at my best and procrastinating for most of the day. I said to myself “Okay Zee, you’re going to have something posted by noon today,” at noon I was still drawing a blank and had no idea of anything I was going to say in this post, so I decided to take a nap and thought maybe God will give me the words after I sleep on it for a little while. At 1:30, I was awake and a bit more enegerized than before my nap, but my mind was still blank as far as this post was concerned. All of a sudden it became real cloudy outside and started to thunder, you know, it was one of those pop-up thunderstorms that seems to come from out of nowhere and I thought alright its about to rain and writer’s block is still laying on me strong, maybe God has nothing for me to share today, maybe it is just not in his plan for me to post something today, so I’m going back to sleep.

FBD32AB6-CF1F-4D1B-8E9B-E1D463494EF6Now yall, I always wonder about people who say that God talks to them, but I think my mind has changed about that. I’ve been thinking about, no, honestly dwelling on all the aches and pains and sickness that I have had to endure in my life, but I had decided not to write about that because I don’t want my perspective to turn into my testimony. At that point in the day when I thought I had decided not to attempt to post anything today, God said “Zena, girl, now you know life doesn’t go your way, what I say goes, you are writing something today.” and he gave me the words/phrase your pain is the road to triumphant strength and there is triumphant strength on the other side of the storm. Scared into obedience, that was me. I started writing and couldn’t stop, so if this turns into the longest Perspective By Zena T. post that I have shared thus far just know that I am being obedient.

As I said in Perspective #42 The Road To Loving Me, one of the things that I have questioned more than any other about me and my life is “why did I have to be born with Spina Bifida?” and “why do I have to have so many medical difficulties?” Having been born with Spina Bifida has not at all been the most awful thing in my life, as a matter of fact at times although I feel like its a bit selfish of me, but I find myself thanking God and being grateful because I don’t have as many health problems as most people who were born with Spina Bifida. I’ve never considered it a curse or placed blame on anyone because I was born with Spina Bifida, but throughout my life I have found myself very often asking God, why he chose to make being born with a “disability” and having to deal with being sick so often a part of my journey through this life? In the last year and a half with all the reflection and introspection that I have been doing I have been trying to not allow Satan to gain a grasp on my left hand while loosening God’s hold on my right hand (see perspective #35). I will honestly confess that in the last few weeks there have been several times that Satan’s strong hold took over me and had me once again asking God “why am I having to endure all this pain, why did you choose me for this?”

If you have read any one of my previous posts then you know that God has made me realize that there is a lesson in every trial that he sends me through, so I have taught myself instead of asking “why” start asking God, what is the lesson in this trial, what is it that you are trying to show me by presenting me with this difficulty or this difficult time in my life? What lesson is embedded in this experience? I have never thought of myself as a strong person, mentally, emotionally and surely not physically, but now that I have had thirty-six years to go through asking “why?” now that God has given me a chance to reflect upon all the surgeries and everything else that I have been through I realize those things in part have shaped who I am, how I think about so many things and how I see this life.

A27A90B6-6A31-4534-A513-CDE402576696In this moment I have come to realize and believe that God has been trying to show me that I am much stronger than I have always seen myself or thought that I am. God made me strong because he knew that I would have to endure a lot of pain and it would take that pain for me to see my strength. I guess that’s the lesson that I am supposed to learn from my current and past pain. There is triumphant strength to be rewarded at the end of each storm life brings my way. Wow! What lessons you can
learn from just being obedient, listening and doing what God is telling you to do.

That’s just my perspective!💜

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