100 Days Left!

100 Days Left!

I cannot believe that in 100 days (give or take) I’ll be a full-fledged mommy. I have so much to do. I’m hoping that I can get the bulk of what I need done by the end of March–(finding a new bedroom suite that will add storage options for all of the clothes I decide to keep (I’m giving away ALOT of clothes to make room for this little guy), getting his nursery area emptied out and painted and baby furniture set up, getting my guest bedroom up to par for the uber awesome people who decide to come help me :-D, getting my downstairs better organized so things will be easier when I’m rushing, etc., and getting Smokie acclimated to not going in the nursery and familiar with new smells so he’ll be as ready as spoiled-dogly possible). Whew, I’m already tired! And I start all my classes in a couple weeks!

This morning, I came across this on Pinterest.

At first, I thought easier read than practiced. But then I kept reading it and considering it (and trying not to be a pessimist), and really, this is in line with my Lent goals. Thinking about all the good things that come with having my baby has been very helpful to coping with all the things that are/seem overwhelming. And when I feel I’m in trouble, I can either lash out, acting on my fear and anger, or I can be patient and believe that it’ll work out even if I don’t see how. And added to that, God keeps sending me people who help me by saying a kind word, sharing their own experiences with me, lending their talents to my plight (thanks Shannon (talent: throwing stuff away) for helping me sort through my massive amount of clothes and thanks Vonetta (talent: shopping for baby stuff and being persistent about it) for making me go to stores I would otherwise avoid, e.g. Buy Buy Baby and Babies R Us), sending unexpected cards that make me smile (and of course get misty because I’m a big cry baby), crossing stuff off the things I need before I even ask (thanks Rashida and mama!), and just making me laugh when I didn’t think it was possible.

Here are a couple of songs I’ve been trying to keep on my mind.

and

 Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand <– I can’t find a YouTube video where they’re singing like my Zion Travelers does! But basically, the song says that life isn’t always easy but to build your hope on things eternal.

So far so good with Lent. And I will admit that when I’m not worrying or wading in anger and negativity (it happens but either immediately or after a couple of tears, I remind myself to shift my thoughts to something else) feels much better. And I know it’s better for the baby. Saturday, one of God’s messengers (thank you Niki!) suggested I go get a pregnancy massage so I’m gonna look into that and I gotta get my schedule synced with my photographer friend so we can finally do my maternity pics. 🙂 And I’ve finally started doing better with my scrapbook pages. I have to get pictures printed but I’ve gotten four pages done to the point where all I need is to paste the pic.

Ok, gotta go. Hope everyone has a productive week!

 Pregnancy Ticker

My Baby is going to be awesome!

My Baby is going to be awesome!

Today after getting over a mini-scare (not really a scare–more like a pause to raise my eyebrow) this morning when I had a stomach cramp that wouldn’t go anywhere. Turned out to be a little gas that went away after being a little gross, especially for the office. I took a walk, ate some cereal, had a good burp, passed a little gas (I know that’s TMI but it’s so the truth), and took another walk, and then Butterbean (who is now Buster Bean to my ma since he’s a boy) started back moving around like he was in a marathon.

Anyway, almost everyday I find things that I know I’ll enjoy taking my lil man to. From trips to DC to see the future black history Smithsonian to simple things like Sunday Funday (read: a cheap day) at the zoo to community opera to telling him about/showing him pics of other countries since I have well traveled friends (and I’m not so shabby myself), my baby is sure to be exposed to lots. I’m looking forward to finding low cost ways to enrich his learning while having lots of fun. My ma already made the observation that I have way more books than the average person listed on my registries. Well, I’m just hoping that people will include a little book with whatever gift they graciously bestow to my baby. I want him to be an avid reader like I am. To enjoy a wide array of stories and learn from them. To stretch his brain and fill it up with useful information and make him open to all the possibilities life has to offer him. I’m holding off a little while on picking DVDs for him, but I’m excited about that too because I remember my niece used to love love love to watch VeggieTales with my dad, and one of my personal faves is still School House Rock (which someone has loaned me so I need to find one of those places that makes copies!). I mean I learned some French before I ever took any classes at school from tapes that my mom bought with nifty songs. I love incorporating learning for myself with fun stuff, so I’m sure this will be a mere extension of what I already enjoy! I still have very fond memories of family trips to various cities and all the black history museums and aquariums we visited. Can’t wait to make those memories for my own family. 🙂

And of course I am hoping for a well-rounded child. He should have some predisposition to athleticism since everyone on my dad’s side of the family plays baseball (including his cousins who are all becoming forces to be reckoned with in t-ball and youth baseball), his dad plays basketball, one uncle played baseball, and another played football. And he should have some musical talent since both his parents sing and love music and play or have played instruments (I played the violin for years and his dad plays piano). Both his parents have artistic skills too. So much promise growing in my belly!

If you can’t tell, I’m getting excited about meeting this little fella and seeing what kind of person he’ll be.

A Different Kinda Lent This Year

A Different Kinda Lent This Year

Usually at Lent, I give up things like soda or eating out or swearing. One year, I did a one-intentional-act-of kindness-per-day thing. This year, with everything going on with me, it’s going to be difficult, but I want to give up a different kind of “thing”. So I’m reporting to you while organizing my thoughts so bear with me.

1. Worry – This will be a major obstacle because I think if there was a contest in who worries the most, I might win. It’s really easy for me to hone in on an issue and just focus on how I don’t see a solution. So during the next 40 days, my goal will be to see the problem, try to think of a solution, and if one doesn’t surface, tell myself that God will work it out–no matter how many times I have to tell myself. So that I can stop losing sleep over things I can’t control, getting rid of my nasty habit of worry would be awesome.

2. Anger – A couple of years ago, I really worked on managing my anger and not letting it get the best of me (and not snapping on folks without any hesitation). You can’t control your feelings–but you can definitely control your actions. But to do so, you have to have reign over your emotions. You can’t let your emotions be the boss of you. I’ve had some moments lately where I could barely function because I let my anger consume me. And that’s not healthy, and I know that. So, to lower the stove from high to low, I need to try to give up anger over the next 40 days and focus on not reacting automatically to things that (again) I can’t control.

3. Believing in the worst – This is closely tied to #1. When you worry the way I can when I allow myself to, the worst scenario becomes very real and easily blocks out all other possibilities. I realized I had started doing this yesterday when I talked to my ma. I had just told someone that getting a new bedroom suite was unfathomable the day before because I have so much other stuff to get done before baby boy gets here. And she casually reminded me that I have an investment account that I think about once a year when I report the dividends on my taxes that is just enough to cover getting the package that I really need to get my bedroom in order so that mommy’s mister won’t have to take a nap in a pile of clothes that won’t fit in any of my current storage options. Just like that, a solution that I wouldn’t have considered negated that unfathomable notion. What’s unfathomable when you actually get back to believing that God protects us and looks after us?

4. Motivation Lulls – Sometimes I just get to the point where I don’t have the motivation to check things off my list and I don’t even feel like looking for a burst of inspiration to get me moving. Whether it be working on the baby’s scrapbook, sorting clothes to give away to make room, or getting off my patooty and going to the gym to make sure I’m in shape when the day comes when I’ll need to be in shape. I need to get rid of that lazy/uninterested/overwhelmed/pessimistic thing that happens and prevents me from being productive.

I could definitely think of more if I tried, but I think these 4 will take enough effort to leave behind. Are you giving up anything for these next 40 days? If so, feel free to share!

Lessons from Smokie

Lessons from Smokie

Last Tuesday, my pooch and I experienced something so crazy that he’s still recovering physically and I’m still recovering emotionally. Smokie, although he is a lot more clingy, seems to be remembering life before “The Incident” more and more every day, as evidenced by his new willingness to cross the street to relieve himself (as I keep him right in front of my house because I’m still wary of even being outside especially if the sun is not at its peak).

Ok, so by now, I’m sure you’re like will she tell the story already? Lol, okay, here goes.

So Tuesday night, after a night of creating my first painting just for my baby and signed mommy, I came home and took Smokie out for his routine last walk of the night in the nonexistent safety of my own partially gated subdivision. I always let him off the leash to poop because he doesn’t like pooping on the street (and neither do I). After he turned the corner, a coyote, yes, a coyote, jumped out the bushes across the street to where Smokie was. I ran in the house to find a weapon all the while fighting the urge to hyperventilate because pregnant girls who don’t tote guns don’t have many options and although I wanted Smokie to be okay, I didn’t want to put myself or my baby in danger. Running back outside armed with a boot (smh), I saw the coyote had dragged Smokie to the other side of the street and was trying to carry him back into the brush, but Smokie was giving him trouble. Although he was way bigger than my little brave honey pie, Smokie wouldn’t just lie there and let him kill him. So what did I do? While crying because Smokie’s screams were breaking my heart, I stood in the street in front of my house screaming over and over for Smokie to just get to me. Smokie squirmed enough to get out of its mouth one more time–this time his neck was in its mouth–and outran the coyote to get to me and we went inside where I started the process of figuring out what the hell to do with this dog who was scared and shaking, with holes all over his back bleeding.

We eventually (quickly but it didn’t seem like it then because since Animal Control was NO help I had to go upstairs, get on the Internet, find my own after hours pet hospital while shaking and trying to keep my eye on Smokie to make sure he was alert even though he was hiding and call to make sure they would take him and could help him) got to The Ark Animal Hospital, where after I completed a load of paperwork, Smokie was put under and rushed to surgery. A little over a week later, Smokie is doing better, finally off pain meds (read: doggie morphine), not limping anymore, and I can see some of the wounds healing, although the deepest ones are still presenting problems. Yesterday, I had to take him back in because one was wide open and needed to be restapled. Since I was told by Animal Control that they don’t handle wild animals regardless of the clear danger to public safety, I’m extra uncomfortable to be outside for over the couple of minutes it takes me to check my mailbox and let Smokie use it right by my driveway. Any time I have an errand to run, I prefer to just take him with me so he can pee and poop without fear of a coyote going at his neck.

But since I’ve had a week to stop seeing the coyote jump across the street and hearing Smokie’s screams every single night when I close my eyes, there are a couple of lessons I’ve gotten from Smokie.

1. No matter how big the problem, don’t just lie there and take it. When we got to the hospital, the nurse said Smokie lived because of his will to get away. She said she’s seen many pets who play possum when in the same situation, which of course doesn’t really work–it just guarantees death. Smokie took that coyote head on with all odds against him, and although he definitely suffered from the battle (and so did my wallet), he’s alive to tell about it to keep me inspired. I can’t believe how brave he was, but I’m so grateful he’s a fighter because Butterbean and I need him around. 🙂 Don’t give in just because your problem seems monumental. You have to fight and pray to make it to the other side of it.

2. Run to the one you know you can count on. Sometimes, and I know this currently, we focus on the problem and shut down and close everything and everyone out. But when we’re weak, we have to run to the people we know have our backs. I will admit I’ve been kinda distant in my spiritual relationship but that’s a whole other post, but my pastor and my mom have been right there to remind me who to turn to and to remind me that I’m going to be a-ok because I have them and I have God. It seems hard, but it definitely was only instinct for Smokie to know what direction safety was in. I wonder what I can do to make my instinct clearer/stronger.

3. You have to leave the wound alone a little to let it heal. Part (not all because the doc left it partially open for it to drain–but definitely part) of the reason Smokie has this one particular wound that just won’t start looking any better is because it irritates him so and he licks it when it’s at its worse. It’s hard, but I’ve had to be more intentional in steering my thoughts from my issues to other things when I can make myself do that because giving my issues so much of my energy just makes it worse. And the point here is not to say ignore the issue–one of my main gripes with people who think they’re being good friends is that they like to say oh you’re making it a big deal, just get over it, buck up, or just pretend they don’t know anything is wrong with me, etc. when it’s not something I can switch on and off and it’s not as easy as welp, whatever, let me move on now as if my life is hunky dory. The point really is that you have to acknowledge the issue–find help, get it stapled up like Smokie’s wound if possible, and then try to steer your thoughts to better things that give you hope when your mind wants to linger at the source of your hurt. Don’t at all pretend you don’t have a gaping wound–but don’t spend the day licking it. If you can ignore the sting even a little bit a day, it’ll help bring you out of the fog.

Here’s a song I keep humming so I decided to go ahead and listen to it when I started writing this. So of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t share. (And I particularly like this version because he’s got Corinne on the background vocals!)

So, just pray for my sweet thang Smokie and for me. Trouble don’t last always, right? And one day, he will look normal again and maybe I’ll figure out a solution to this coyote problem in my neighborhood. Who knew that when I moved I would be moving to a hood AND forest? *raised eyebrow*

And since my mom just texted it to me, I’ll share:

Only God can turn a “Mess” into a “Message”, a “Test” into a “Testimony”, a “Trial” into a “Triumph”, a “Victim” into a “Victory”!!!

Just another experience to share in my memoir one day. 🙂 Happy almost weekend!

Happy Love Day

Happy Love Day

If you know me or have been reading my blog over the years, you know that I love Love Day. Regardless of your boo status, it’s a day to focus on all kinds of love in your life. This year, it’s a little difficult for me, but hey, that’s what my own words are for, right? So, I went back and read a couple of my own posts, and here are a couple that made me go ok ok ok, I shouldn’t be feeling bad on a day I’ve always enjoyed.

Happy Love Day!

MLM: The Time of My Life

Happily Ever After

 Love Quote of the Day

Showers of Blessings in 2008

And then yesterday, while listening to my fave Whitney songs (I really thought I would wake up today and just post my fave Whitney love songs, but you know I operate on the whim as it relates to this here blog), I heard a song that I hadn’t heard in a while but hadn’t HEARD in even longer. Sometimes lyrics come alive when it’s something you need to hear. This all-time favorite talent show hit seemed to explode on me, and I started crying in the middle of it. Like not a tear here or there, but seriously crying. A song can never be too throwback to send a message.

The greatest love of all is easy to achieve <–[note from Nada Jo: not always]
Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all

And if, by chance, that special place that you’ve been dreaming of leads you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love

 So any of you that may be having rough time in your life, listen to Whitney. Find your strength in love. And if love is part of your issue–maybe a romance gone wrong or a fallout with a friend or family member or something that has made you a little distant in your relationship with the Most High–you have to focus on those people who do give you love and remember who you are and what you’ve already made it through. It’s not always easy. Whatsoever. By any means. But you can’t wallow in the negative or it just keeps getting worse and worse. And the worse it gets, the harder it is to pull yourself back into the pleasant parts of life.

Now, I guess I’ll do something for myself today to show myself some love, which I haven’t been doing much lately. Not sure what. Maybe a manicure or something since my polish is chipping, lol. And maybe some lunch that I hopefully will keep down. And of course I have two special Valentines. One I carry around with me, and one who patiently waits for me to get home every day. Here’s my Valentine for my little sweetheart who’s been a brand new anchor at times.

And here’s my Valentine for my super brave and resilient pooch.

Happy Love Day, all! Focus on the positive and love yourself and appreciate those who love you today. Tootles.

The last couple of weeks, especially last week, have just been extremely rough, but I’ve found myself becoming more and more receptive to positive words. I may not always fully believe them, but I receive them and try to think of them and feel them. I opened an email this morning, and here’s the quote I found.
May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and  others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the  love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow  your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for  each and every one of us.
Thanks, Virgie, for sending that. I hope you readers find some inspiration/positivity/uplift in that. I’ll be back when I’m ready to share some things about last week. Stay tuned.
Tuesday Tunes just for me

Tuesday Tunes just for me

I haven’t really been feeling like writing lately because I’ve been in one of my down periods but with effort I’m in transition mode to being ok. But as has always been the case, music has been my place to turn when I can’t express how I feel. So here’s a taste.

So when I stumble off the path
I know my heart will guide me back…

Ooh hey I’m trying to decide which way to go
I think I made a wrong turn back there somewhere

Free your mind and find your way
There will be a brighter day

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay

There’s a shadow hanging over me.

Now I need a place to hide away…

Either i’m going to trust you or I may as well walk away
’cause stressing don’t make it better… don’t make it better, no way

There ain’t nothing too hard for my God, no
Any problems that I have, He’s greater than them all