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life

A few notes that I learned…

It’s here. The last week of 2021. If you have been following my blog for at least a year, or you know me personally, you know I am a reflective person. There are two marked periods of the year that I steep myself in reflection, the week before my birthday and this week in between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Last night I took the time to write out some of my reflections. Like to hear them… here they go:

  1. When life moves too fast, constantly, you lose too much. It’s cool for a season, but it’s not often sustainable.
  2. Your environment often imitates your internal perspective. When I am going on warp speed, the space I occupy looks like the eye of a hurricane. Again, for a season… ok… indefinitely – nope. See number 1 for reference.
  3. Selective participation is a benefit of adulting. No is a COMPLETE SENTENCE. You not only get to say NO and mean it, I suggest you learn how to deploy NO’s when people start pulling on you too much. (You are people too. Tell yourSELF No too!)
  4. People’s proximity doesn’t automatically grant all access passes. Discern who needs to know what. That’s online and in real life. I love many, but like Jesus I keep a select few very close.
  5. Privacy is a gift. Value it.
  6. Creativity is not a full throttle 24/7 machine. It ebbs and flows. Learn the seasons and cycles. Don’t fight them, you won’t win.
  7. Cooking is comforting and lethargic as long as you aren’t hungry. (Bonus, don’t go shop for groceries while you are hungry either. Your pocketbook will thank you for adhering to this.)
  8. It doesn’t matter that people knew you yesterday, you grew. You are different. IF they have a hard time with that, let them watch from a distance. And if by some chance they turn into a negative entity in your life… remember Psalm 23. The Lord has already shared there will be an enemy audience at your table to witness your cup running over. Just pray to be able to discern people’s purpose at your table.
  9. Good music is literally the soundtrack to life, it should be embraced as such.
  10. Books are fieldtrips, no matter your age. They are free passport stamps that are pandemic proof.
  11. Support is real and GRATITUDE is invaluable. Especially when life is out here acting up.
  12. Water is life.
  13. Can we keep the social distancing and return the pandemic? No? ok.
  14. My vision board from 2021 is still accurate. And that’s ok.
  15. Stress kills. No really. Stop it.
  16. Anger is expensive. So is remorse, regret, and withheld apologies. You can’t afford any of these.
  17. Love heals.
  18. Discipline isn’t natural. Eventually you choose it, or you never acquire it. But having it requires consistency.
  19. Even if they never indicate it to you, someone is always watching. What they see, authenticity or not, is completely up to you.
  20. Faith + Learned Experiences are how we inform our decisions. Our life is a gumbo of stimuli, prayers, and decisions. Season well.

I am embracing what 2021 still has for me. When 2022 arrives, I will embrace it as well. It stands to be a year like no other.

Lord, this morning You reminded me of so much. I have literally been running a million miles a moment. Thank You for the shift. Thank You for those who have entered my life for their assigned season and those who have been given their leave. Thank You for blessings, lessons, and wisdom. I embrace HOPE as I close this chapter and open another. I thank You for that which I have overcome and that which I have yet to overcome. Between them is both celebration and preparation. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

Ivy Out

Categories
life

Finding resources…fibroids

If you read my last post, this one will make sense. I want to share a few things I have found.

https://unmutingfibroids.com is a site with a very informative panel. While I only have 3 detected fibroids, some sisters had over 20 in their womb. I am hearing people having multiple procedures. I am noting it all.

The White Dress Project- IG- https://instagram.com/wecanwearwhite?utm_medium=copy_link

This was the first real source of info for me after my doctor’s appointment. Its super helpful. While this diagnosis isn’t monolithic, knowledge is power. The founder is on the panel in the first link too.

I also want to shout out the first person I remember personally making Fibroids and PCOS LOUD in women’s convos- BNeal! I appreciate you for your comfort, conversation, and willingness to have TABOO TALKS!

I will continue to share what I find and my journey. Thank you for the prayers, encouragement, and those who have come forth and shared their journey with me! I will continue to FAITH & FIGHT.

IVY OUT

Categories
life

Diagnosis not death…

Did the title bring you to this entry? Great. Here we go. I got part one of this situation back in December os 2020… I didn’t really share. But with this fall’s shift I began looking for resources and that was a struggle. So here we go:

On October 1, 2021 I was diagnosed officially with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and in the midst of maybe my 5th or 6th pelvic ultrasound over maybe 5 years, a THIRD fibroid was found. The first two fibroids were found December 2020. So the news of a third sent me emotionally over the edge. In 10 months another one decided to pop up.

Let’s break this up. PCOS and Fibroids are both very common among Black women. Yet I didn’t know that one of them affected someone close in my family UNTIL I shared my first two with my mother. WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN OUR BODIES.

I can’t give you expert knowledge yet… because I honestly don’t know enough to even know where to point you.

I can’t tell you all the sites, sources, and resources out there on God’s internet… but I want to stay AUTHENTIC and TRANSPARENT via this blog about this Christian Black Woman’s truth (ME). And I identify myself as I always have on this blog. Why? It’s MY blog, lol. And word to “Auntie Tab”, that’s my business.

October 1 – day 1 – (the) Emotion that initially bubbled up: FRUSTRATION. “dear God, really?!” I get this close to some relational and family goals and then “my womb”?!? Really? And although I know the scriptures and the Biblical truths – THAT IS NOT WHERE MY INITIAL THOUGHT WENT. I refuse to overspiritualize my reaction… I was in a yucky place!

Day 2 – I had a whole bunch going on so I didn’t get to really process.

Day 3 – Back to having time to process this…Sitting in church BALLING (crying), I literally walked into the lobby and finished the sermon in the lobby. Sadness, frustration, disappointment all about what the diagnoses could mean…I felt it all like I had bricks on my shoulder.

You see among a bunch of regular symptoms, PCOS and FIBROIDS BOTH can make fertility & conception more difficult. That is not something a 38 year old woman who WANTS children wants to hear. Now once the emotions came down enough for me to process the TRUTH that God CAN even with all of this, I began to notice people around me. God literally sent people and their testimonies to me. People’s daughters who were currently pregnant, people who had successful fibroid treatments, and even one sister whose PCOS is no longer detectable.

I don’t yet know what my treatment options are – because there are a lot of factors to consider – because medical referrals aren’t speedy – and because I just don’t have enough information yet, but I am evaluating everything possible to preserve my womb. Outside of the fact that I will not let anyone remove my “lady parts”…it’s a huge factor in WOman. Like HUGE. And this isn’t the part where I need someone to tell me not tow worry. To some extent I have to process this in chunks.

So if you are out there and you dealt with these, are dealing with this, or know someone who is… I OVERSTAND. I am in the THICK of it. I know that God can and still will get the glory out of even this. I am here. We can fill up these comments. Literally, I am open to the conversation. I will not deal with this silently in hope that it will encourage someone else. No more than even commUNITY matters.

So there you have it. I was diagnosed with PCOS and a 3rd fibroid… it wasn’t a death sentence – but it almost killed my dream of being a mother after being a wife. BUT GOD. Emotions come to reveal something to us. I literally had to ask myself, “do you REALLY trust GOD/JESUS CHRIST/HOLY SPIRIT with EVEN this?!”I cried asking myself that and admitting that I did. But like the man in the Gospels…I prayed, “God I believe, but help my unbelief!. He answers every prayer…even if it’s “wait”. So while I wait, I will build community and eventually awareness. I will faith and fight. And one day… when my sweet babies are born… I will look back and say… LOOK WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE!

IVY OUT

Categories
life

Professor Dis.

Do you grow in your disappointment?

It’s a part of the human experience. You can’t get around it. DIS-Appoint-ment. Dis is an indicator of a negative experience. But guess what… It might sting for a minute but it doesn’t have to stay negative. I have had a lot of interesting moments of disappointment recently. I had a choice. I could stay down, or I could learn from the moment. I have said with every job application, “I want what God wants for me. If this job is not what He has ordained for me, I DON’T WANT IT.” Guess what. You can repeat that a million times, it doesn’t kick the sting. But every time I repeat that to myself, I am reminded that God’s will for Andonnia is FOR Andonnia. Like there are some Andonnia sized places that only Andonnia can fill. Sub your name for YOUR STUFF. It’s true. A job could be a great fit in the wrong season and still be, that’s right, WRONG.

So, ask yourself, what is there to learn in the disappointment? Allow it to teach the lesson it came to teach. Soothe the hurt and find your joy.

Remember, joy isn’t based on your journey…it’s based on JESUS. Since He is consistent, joy is too. I wasn’t happy about the “great candidate but we went with someone else” emails…but I AM glad that I know God doesn’t sleep. When the NEXT comes up…it will be WORTH it!

Keep your head up and your prayers flowing.

IVY OUT

Categories
life

Reserving Mother’s Day for later…

Last year a LOT of people told me Happy Mother’s Day. I kinda smirked and said.. “not yet”. Then that individual and several others went to an explanation of bow I am a “mother figure”. And with a deep sigh… I want to share my heart.

While I am a nurturer, and I LOVE THAT ROLE, I am not a mother YET. I would really like to reserve that for when I carry a little.

A stranger told me Happy Mother’s Day yesterday and I redirected that to my mom.

I am 37 years old. I want to be a mom. My season hasn’t come. I am able to voice this. I want you to think of all the women who CAN NOT voice this. Angel moms, mom’s who have experienced loss or who have complications with fertility. Be gentle with your words. “Happy things” can yield unhappy results under certain circumstances.

You can politely ask. You can avoid all together. But for me… please reserve Mother’s Day for my wombfruit. My harvest will come.

Ivy Out.

Categories
life

When YOU form the weapon…

I ALMOST put my opinions on somebody, read verbal punch, until I thought about my ugly moments. The moments only God could accept me because I would have thrown me away then too. I formed a weapon…an opinion…a statement about someone else’s shortfall and then God said, “Remember when you…” GATHERED ME RIGHT ON UP.

Maybe I am the only person in the world who has had that moment, but I won’t be the last in history. Think about Grace and MERCY in your own life, it will help you with other’s humanity. For good measure, tuck Proverbs 23:12 and Proverbs 23:18 in your heart for safe keeping.

Ivy Out

Categories
life

A question for you:

Will we sit still long enough to hear? Will we still ourselves so that it isn’t our history making suggestions? Sometimes the apex of our confusion is not due to the stimulus outside of who we are. MANY times it is the noise I N S I D E of us. I dare you to get still and get quiet. Ask GOD to show you the answer. Can you create space in your schedule for your SOULution?

IVY Out

Categories
life

Not the busy, the rest…

It’s not uncommon for people to assume that my busy is a problem. However it’s when I am doing nothing that usually triggers me. There is always something to do. I had to literally learn to rest. I remember my mother telling me I would have to do that. I have been a purpose driven girl my whole life. Serving others. Hurting when others hurt. I have NEVER understood the hate that radiates from some people. Hate has no inherent purpose. It doesn’t do anything but reveal evil. Heck maybe that is its purpose. . . the Red Flag Alarm that says, “BROKEN”.

It’s sad that in America…those who hate go from one demographic to another. Bias is revealed ALL OVER THE PLACE. With that being said… Joy is a revolution. Peace is a revolution. REST is a revolution. In a world where busy is interrupted by constant HATRED… JOY, PEACE, AND REST are things we must remember to cultivate. The current attacks on humanity bother my very soul. It is only in Christ that I find peace. LITERALLY. I cry when I encounter the MANY outlets blasting the latest. My heart is sore for the Asian community, the Black community – of which I am a part, and everyone with a heart enough to be a real ally.

My country tis of thee… WHERE IS YOUR LIBERTY AMERICA?

Don’t worry about your strong friend’s busy… worry about their rest.

IVY OUT

Categories
life

In the storm

It can be easy to accept the storms you are prepared for. The storms that surprise you, generally take your breath away.

I live in Texas. Born and raised here. I have lived in another state, but came home to Texas and bought my house. My home state is all over the National News. Not for something amazing… for another botched response to a natural disaster.

There are somethings that one comes to expect in certain regions. Arctic storms in the south don’t match. It’s not even off like a hyperbole… more like acid and hot sauce. It doesn’t match up. Even though like a Hurricane, we had at least four or five days of warning, we were ill prepared for our power grid failures. Thus, I was one without power for too long.

I literally had fingers and toes go numb. It was scary. I prayed and tried to stay encouraged… but imagine how cold it has to be to blow smoke outside…I blew smoke in my bed, under layers of clothes and blankets, holding my 10 pound dog. THAT DAY I cried out. That day a Soror rescued me. That day, a neighbor I didn’t know helped me release my frozen garage door. That day, I had been sitting in my car warming and charging. I realize how close I came to CO2 harm. Making sacrifices the only way I knew how. Venting my house through two open doors. I know I had CO2 in my house because I had trouble lighting a flame to light my candle. I had to stand by the open door. This prompted me to leave the door open a while. Was it already freezing. Yes. But the way my second favorite subject is set up in my brain… I listened to the unction.

I was fortunate where some were not.

That doesn’t change the reality of this trauma. I have lived through hurricanes and floods. EACH brings it’s own layer of trigger. 2020 is a shinning example of what trauma can do and how it can largely affect and effect. We are 49 days into this year, and much like the last one, I have not given up hope. However comma I have been severely tested. The body’s natural response to danger is to draw blood from certain places to help protect vital organs… GREAT… but do you know how scary it is for an artist to have to process danger in her fingers?!? To see them turn colors. To know it’s because someone with a lot of money thought “oh that will never happen” until it did?!?

And that was just up until mid-Tuesday. Wednesday brought electricity after 75 hours and a burst pipe. More almost frozen fingers. But MORE answered prayers by way of neighbors who called the cops when something didn’t seem right. The cops contacted my family who contacted me. One of these neighbors also helped me shut off the water, move the fallen sheetrock and manually lower my garage door. God sent me people. Literally people who came to aid. Again, my Soror Angel helped me navigate and have safe shelter. I am soooo grateful for commUNITY.

Yes, this week has been a nightmare. Yes, I have already alerted my therapist that I will need an appointment to process all of this. Yes I prayed daily for myself and others. Yes I still trust God. Yes I still see a reason, and a strong one at that, for faith. Yes, hope is real. Hope kept me warm under blankets while it was LITERALLY freezing out&inside. Love undergirds the good. Add commas where you need them…

Thank you for reading. I pray you NEVER encounter storms that can literally chase after your life. However comma… storms in concept will come. No one on earth is immune. Look for the blessing on the other side. Hope for it. Have faith that it will come & that your prayers don’t fall on deaf ears. In the storm… HOLD ON TO HOPE. With every ounce of you that you have. It will be the lifeline you need. We aren’t out of the storm… but the sun has come out. Light reminds us that darkness hasn’t won. Look to the light.

Ivy out.

Categories
life

Who feels worthy anyway?

Ahem… it’s 2021… can we de al with this myth of “feeling qualified”? Maybe this isn’t your testimony or story, but CHILE… it is mine!

I have done a few things in my life (spoken at some conferences, created and hosted some, preached, taught, published a book *no longer in print, sang a few places, facilitated a workshop I created while in another country, been on international radio stations, been a part of a Sorority almost two decades, some sisterhoods, a tribe, and this little blog of mine is about nine years old (had to go back and count)) but I have never felt qualified for any of it. I have been teaching for twelve years and I often don’t feel qualified to do that. Somehow, over 1,000 students have passed Miss Maiben’s doors. What does any of this have to do with this blog’s title? You need to stop depending on “feelings” when it comes to qualifications. I will just go out on a holy limb here and say the very fact that you DON’T feel qualified prepares the foundation for FAITH to show it’s fullll self mighty in your life. God shows up when we let Him lead. When you get these God sized opportunities, you end up with a God sized responsibilities. There is no place inside of a God sized opportunity for our human feelings.  You know why? Feelings are not a constant. They shift constantly. If you are waiting to feel worthy to do what you are assigned…you’ll never do it.

Now what I do want us to realize is, when we move in God’s will to do what God assigns that is outside of our capacity…GOD GETS THE GLORY. If we could do it without God…we would attempt claim the credit for the thing. Come on through God… get all of the glory for these assignments gifted to me. My prayer is for the wisdom to operate in excellence, the peace to survive and thrive in the process, the grace to learn and not fail, the mercy to grow even when I miss the mark, and the faith to be obedient.

I don’t feel qualified, but I do feel called. I don’t feel worthy, but I know it’s assigned. With an humble and shaky heart…I keep moving in what I am called to do.

Ivy Out!