The Daily Quote: You are Responsible for…

” If you want to move forward in life, you have to make it happen for yourself. You are responsible for your own life, and if you’re sitting around waiting on somebody to save you, to fix you or to even help you, you are wasting your time. Because only you have the power to take responsibility to move your life forward and the sooner you get that, the sooner your life gets into gear. This is what I know from doing 25 years and thousands and thousands of interviews on The Oprah Winfrey Show:  It does not matter where you come from, whether from dire circumstances… It does not matter what your momma did, whether she had a PHd or NO-‘D.’ What matters is this moment – NOW, your willingness to see this moment, accept it, forgive the past and take responsibility and move forward.

 

-Oprah Winfrey

The Daily Quote: Hope and Faith

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“Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” – Vaclav Havel

I find this quote to be incredibly true. Along with a passage from the Bible that became a cherished source of comfort & strength for me seven years ago today.

“Now Faith is being sure of what we Hope for and certain of what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1.

These two quotes completely explain a mentality that I have by the grace of God learned & developed over the past seven years, as the Mother of a Micro-preemie.

Today marks my first-born child’s seventh birthday. 🙂 Seven years and 1 month ago, I was pregnant for the first time. At almost 20 weeks pregnant, I was excited, looking forward to finding out the gender of my baby. Sevettn years and 1 month ago, my water broke too soon. I was admitted to the hospital where I spent days & nights wondering if the life inside of me would end, what I might have done to cause it, & praying for her to be given a chance to live. My daughter came 4 weeks later, weighing 1 pound 4 ounces. She was so tiny & fragile, but in my eyes, she was absolutely spectacular. Miraculous. Beautiful. A gift from my Creator.

Several times before her birth, I sat in the hospital room, trying to swallow oceans of information, statistics, emotions, & advice from Doctors, faced with the decision to terminate my pregnancy. The specialists did not expect her to live, and should she happen to survive, they predicted she would suffer with multiple lifelong disabilities and face little chance of walking, talking, or living a normal life.

After she was born, we weren’t able to hold her for the first month. She began having seizures, was sedated, and we were again faced with the decision of ending her care (turning off life support). It was that day that God truly tested me; teaching me & proving to me the meaning & power of Faith and Hope.

I had Hope that my Daughter would pull through if it was within God’s plan. That Hope also encompassed the possibility that she would not, & that God would allow me comfort & understanding in His divine plan & reason for her short life. Hope meant that no matter which way the cards fell, that it would make sense & become clear. That was what Hope meant to me.

I was profoundly tested in my declaration of Faith in the Almighty God. In my choices to hang on by my fingernails, over this cliff of uncertainty, as my daughter’s tiny, short life hung in the balance. As I had watched her survive & struggle to live, all at once I realized that nothing really ever hung in the balance. Faith, as I finally understood it, as it concretely unfolded before me, truly was a sense of certainty in that which I could not see. I had blessed assurance that my baby‘s life was not hanging in the balance, but resting securely in the beautiful, perfect, divine plan of the Almighty. There existed not one speck of insecurity or uncertainty in her situation, but that which existed within Me.

I chose to shed it. Toss it. Let it go.

And I have seen miracles every day ever since. ❤

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The Daily Quote: I Get It

“The difference between ‘I know’ and ‘I get it’ is that you know what you have to change but you don’t get why you have to change it. Aim for ‘I get it.’ – Mariana Pan

Source: Get this

One of my biggest pet peeves growing up was having to do something without being given a reason why. “Because I said so.” was a favorite of my parents. I struggled with math; algebra in particular. I often asked my teacher why we needed to learn algebra. It wasn’t out of disdain, but rather out of my personal desire & need to operate with a purpose. It was a tool that facilitated my learning. The teacher took it as an insult, & therefore avoided me completely. I barely scraped by with D’s on my report card.

Years later, elbow deep in college algebra & panic, wondering if I would ultimately fail at a career in nursing because of my debilitating fear of algebra, I finally “Got it.”  My head spun with the realization. It wasn’t so much about the numbers & letters; it was the thought process.

If my teacher had only told me that algebra was preparing me for critical thinking skills, I would have had that ‘Eureka’ moment years earlier. Before the D’s on my report card, the tears, & the anxiety that sent me to the school nurse during math class.

The mental road blocks I had suffered likely would have cleared almost immediately, had I understood that algebra was teaching me how to think; to problem solve, to delve into multi-level problems & to follow through an extended thought process. Remembering the values ‘a’ & ‘b’ represented & solving for ‘x’ were just a game. It was a class for brain development. Learning formulas & being able to apply them to different problems, learning to render a mathematical equation from a word problem, apply a formula, & find the answer…it was all mind games. It was not worth the tears. Knowing this now, as a Mother, before my children venture into learning math – LIFE IS GOOD. 🙂

The question my children most often ask me, at four & six years old, is, “Why…”

This question is so vital to every aspect of their development. I have only a few times caught myself in mid-sentence, spewing out the answer given by generations & generations of Moms & Dads before me,

“Because I said s….”

I have made it part of my duty to try to always give them a reason why they are doing something. I remember how much easier it was to learn something, remain motivated, follow directions, or just do what my parents asked me to when I knew why I had to do it; when I could see the big picture. When I teach them something, or when they come home from school with new knowledge, I don’t just want them to ‘know’ it, I want them to ‘get it.’ With a smile. With confidence, empowered with reason & motivation. They are not robots; they are people.

Life is so much sweeter when we ‘Get it.’ 🙂

The Daily Quote: Change

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

BeTheChange_Gandhi

This quote by spiritual & political leader, Mahatma Gandhi, has long been one of my favorites. Alongside the Serenity Prayer & many quotes by the amazing Author & Poet Mchaya Angelou, these words have inspired & moved me to change my own condition, to perpetually grow & improve, & to be a positive & uplifting influence to others.

These influential people taught me, during some of the most difficult times in my life; as an adolescent walking the fine balance between obedience & independence, that I was not powerless & at the mercy of abuse, oppression, & hopelessness.

I learned to be the change in my world. I learned that I had the power within me to change how the negative aspects of my life affected me.

  • I wished adults had been patient with me; I chose to embody patience. I tried harder to listen & understand people before reacting. I tried hard not to become a carbon copy of the people who had hurt me.
  • So often as a child, I wished someone would notice how much I was hurting. As I grew up, I chose to reach out when I saw other kids sad or hurt. I often listened & comforted others, & it began to heal my own wounds.

That which I could not change, began to foster changes in my attitude.

  • I awoke at an early age to the perception that there were others who were less fortunate than me. I saw other kids who came to school hungry, dirty, & sad.
  • I chose to embrace Gratitude, & to discipline myself to stop complaining.
  • I tried to feel compassion for those who were angry & hurtful. I began to see that their actions were caused by pain, & I understood pain.

It is still a daily practice of discipline for me, as an adult, working to embody the changes I wish to see in my world. I work every day to be what I once so desperately needed as a child – for my own children & as a school nurse, for my patients.

  • I needed patience; I must be patient.
  • I needed respect; I must be respectful & teach my children self-respect.
  • I needed support; I must be encouraging & supportive. I must be aware of the needs of my children, & be open when they come to me.
  • I needed love; I must be loving. Kind. Patient. Understanding. Non-judgmental. Unconditionally loving.
  • I needed someone to smile at me & show me that my world would not always be this dark, scary place. It is my goal to always smile at children. At my children, at my patients, at children in the supermarket, & wherever I see them. Always, always offer a smile. You may be the only one who does.

❤ Peace & Blessings,

Angela

The Daily Quote: I Think You Left Someone Out

I Love You

When I saw this picture, it gave me all those warm, fuzzy feelings inside. I pictured my children, swaddled up as newborn babies, fresh & full of potential. I pictured my Husband, on our wedding day, all of the memories we had yet to make, & the dreams we had yet to chase together.

And then, those warm, fuzzy feelings went away. Darkness.
I didn’t believe anyone had ever felt that way about me. Neither of my parents had wanted me. I was a burden; an inconvenience. Everyone who had ever taken care of me as a child had told me more than once what they’d had to go through because of me.

I removed the picture from my screen & closed my laptop.
I resumed the usual feelings of self-loathing.
Logic & reason & faith told me that none of this mattered, because the Almighty, Allah created me – not my parents, not any of those caregivers. Allah valued me & saw my worth, even when no one else did.
But those feelings of worthlessness always crept in, separate & apart from my sense of faith & what I tried & tried to tell myself.

“I love you
For all that you are
All that you have been
And all you’ve yet to be.”

Finally, it hit me. The problem was not that “nobody” felt this way about me, or “nobody” had showed me enough love as a child.
The true problem was that I couldn’t say I felt this way about myself.
As a grown woman, if I didn’t like the way I felt & I didn’t feel valued, it was my responsibility to do something about that. I had to choose to love myself. For all that I am, all that I have been, & all that I’ve yet to become.
If I could look at someone else & say & feel this beautiful affirmation of love, then WHY didn’t I give myself the same gift?
Because I have to look in the mirror at ME everyday. I have to LIVE inside my experiences, including who I have been in the past, & who I am yet to be.
If I held myself at all responsible for the happiness & well-being of my children & my Husband, then WHY did I not hold myself just as responsible for validating & loving myself?

This was a profound lesson.
I always tell my children, “You are my favorite girl in the whole world,” and “You are my favorite boy in the whole world.” I hold their little cheeks in my hands, look into their eyes, & kiss their foreheads. I want them to feel so special & so loved.
And then I walk away feeling empty inside. Inside, I’m still the child who didn’t have that. Who was in the way. Who was neglected. Abused.
I realized, I love them so much, just trying to feel loved, myself.
“I think you left someone out,” I told myself.

I walk to the mirror, & I speak words of love & acceptance to the child inside,
“I love you
For all that you are
All that you have been
And all you’ve yet to be.”

I imagine holding those little chubby cheeks of the little girl me in my hands. I look into her eyes & I kiss her forehead. I am there to love her when she feels unloved. I want her to feel so special, so important to me.