Purging my Life 5.2 Purging the House Making my House into a Home “Meet My Dream Team”

September 2, 2019

My Dream Team

Now before I get further into this part of the Blog, you must know that I did not do this by myself.  Remember I said above I tried and tried to do this. But we (my daughters and I) were paralyzed and overwhelmed.  We could not do anything but survive the pain that consumes our heart.  We knew that this was not the way to live, nor was it the way we wanted to live.  Our house was not nasty by any means. It was just cluttered and unorganized.  I have to give you the back story about who we call our Dream Team and our deep connection to them.

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Meet my organizers Lauren Poe & Kike Ojo, Clutter to Clean.

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Jose and Elaine Belardo

Elaine Belardo (also my one of Spiritual Advisor) will beautify, and turn your house into a home by making it a cozy, warm, oasis. She is also the founder of the “Deeper Windows Project” that she founded when her husband Jose’ Belardo, was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. Ironically he was diagnosed around the same time Michael was diagnosed with Lung Cancer in 2016.

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Elaine, Mike, and Jose

I want to tell you how God works in our lives.  I know for a fact that He knows what we need before we know we will need it. He prepares us for things that we are going to go through in our future, and he places the people you will need to lean on and glean from in your life and specific times.  Only God can orchestrate our lives like this.

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The book of Jeremiah states, “For I know that plans I have for you. Declares the LORD. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you a home and a future.”   God knew what was ahead for my life from the moment I was born, and when I looked back on my life, I can see where God was preparing me for such a time.  He has always had, and He still does have my best interest always in mind. I prayed for a way out and trusted in the LORD, and He answered my prayers!

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Tragedies can pull people apart, but they can also bond you for life!

When I met Elaine, her daughter Lauren was in high school. Looking back, both of our families were in a high season of our lives.  Michael was retired after 21 years in the military and had a good after the military carrier going and Jose’ was a distinguished officer with U.S. Public Health Service.  We were all very active in our churches and communities.  Elaine was in charge of one of our Chapels Women’s group here at Fort Leavenworth, where we became friends.  When our husbands were diagnosed with their respective debilitating diseases, we shared the bond of becoming caregivers to our husbands who were both the STRONG head of their household, something at our age we were not expecting!

Unfortunately, as you know, Michael made his transition home to be with God, but we both soon discovered that we were both grieving what was to be our future and we became each other’s shoulders to lean on. She has been there for me even though all of the work, pain, and grief she is going through.  We have been each other’s sounding boards because some people, as well-meaning as they are, do not understand this type of grief and what it takes to keep going day by day.  She has helped my girls and me through some of our darkest days and is always there to help us celebrate the good times in this new normal of our lives. I hope I am doing the same for her. I am proud to not only call her a part of our village, but she and our dream team are a part of our family. (I am still waiting on my adoption papers to come through)

So, to have them come in a do a total overhaul on our house was more comfortable than having strangers in my home.  They had stock in our memories and an investment in our lives. Because they knew us personally, they knew how difficult this was and would be.  They were very gentle and loving throughout the entire process, which took a couple of months.  If the girls and I had to do this on our own, it would have taken us years to complete this type of project.  Lauren and Kike kindly encouraged us to purge and did not push if something was too difficult to process or get rid of; they just found a way to organize it.  Wait, now I am getting ahead of myself.  Purging and reorganizing in the middle of a difficult situation is very hard and can be excruciating.  But our Dream Team made the task bearable and yes, sometimes even fun!

I love you all

Have a blessed and Amazing Day

 

The Road to Restoration

Friday, August 30, 2019

My word for this Friday is Restoration. 

Restoration means a lot of things:

Refurbishment

Repair

Renewal

Rebuilding

Transformation 

Rejuvenation 

Reconstructing 

Restoring

For me, restoration means reestablishing and discovering who I am outside of who I was. I am learning to find my own way with my rules.  I can tell you in the past three years I have made tons and tons of mistakes.  There were so many things I was not aware of or had never done.  You must realize I went from my grandmother’s home to my husband’s house. My life was completely turned upside down in every single area! There are things I wish I knew, there are things I wish I hadn’t done, and many there are many things that I have done that I am very proud of. But…

 

For a while, I did whatever I wanted because I seriously was not planning on living for long.  (Don’t be surprised or shocked... depression and grief are real, and I was suffering!) But then after hours of prayer and therapy, God convinced me of my worth on my own and that I was NOT going anywhere! He said He had somethings I needed to do; He was not finish with me. Now I needed to get my act together! I do have some major cleaning up in my life to do, but I know that I am not alone! 

 

My life now is nothing like I thought it would be.  Nothing worked out the way I wanted or the way I planned. However, my life is not bad, it’s not easy, it’s pretty good, but I am also learning every day how to move forward with the hand I have been given. God has placed some extraordinary people in my life that pray for me, check on me, and will continue to love me in spite of my defects, flaws, and imperfections.  

They are my…

Let me leave you with this: Mostly we must know that God will love us, forgive us, never leave us, and guide us no matter what we do. He will always be there for us.  Believe me; it took me a while to get back to this frame of mind and way of thinking. 

What is left now… I continue to move forward, learn from my mistakes, and operate in the attitude of restoration. Meaning I will not be hard on myself for living and making mistakes. I am thankful to be alive, breathing, walking, testimony of HIS great love for me.  I am a mess, but, HE will take this mess and turn it into a great message!

I love you all

Have a blessed an Amazing Weekend!

 

Purging my Life 4: Physically Purging the house and the body Body Purge/ Heart Matters

July 18, 2019

The Body

I am still developing this area; it is a work in progress.  This is a two-step process for me.  One involves the heart the other involves the physical body. There will be more to come on the physical body.  I am working on my plan to become physically healthy.  My daughter and I are adopting the Keto Diet and an exercising program.  I am doing the meal prep and she is coordinating our exercise program.  I will make sure to keep you updated on our progress and what we are doing, and how we are doing.  Y’all keep praying for me! (lol)

The Heart

Now the matters of the heart are different altogether.  Shortly after Michael’s transition in 2016, I had a talk with my Pop, (Pop Skipp), and he told me not to close off my heart. I asked him what did he mean by that because surely he did not mean what I was thinking.  He did.  He said that Michael would not want me to be alone and that he would want me to be happy. I told him I know but that would never happen, ever! It was the furthest thing from my mind.  Actually, I told one of my brothers at church that God would have to put someone right in front of me for that to happen. This will have to wait for another blog post discussion at a later date. (Smile)

Matters of the heart involve more than just the love of another person.  Yes, that is very important; because we all desire the need to be wanted and loved but matters of the heart also include your passions.  What you are passionate about should fuel your heart, encourage you, and stimulate you to move forward.  This was a time that I used to work on myself.

Life-Long Goal #1: Bachelor’s Degree

Despite the enemy’s rude accusations and intrusion in my life, in 2017 I DID finish a lifelong dream that he said I could never accomplish!

I completed my Undergraduate Degree!

From the time that I had to leave school in the ’80s, I have always had the desire to finish my degree.  I grew up in Highland Park Michigan in a small town surrounded by the Detroit Metro area, with my cousins, the Heaths.  My Grandmother’s married last name was Shaw, but she was born in Warrington GA. Yes, she is the one who taught me how to cook.

I had been in school from 2008 to 2017!  So yes, I was discouraged and especially then because I seriously doubted myself.  I was very close in In May of 2016, but due to Michael declining health, I decided to take a break. This was important for me because I wanted to be there fully for him as his caregiver.

In January 2017 a few months after his transition, I thought I was ready. You know the enemy was waiting on me! I enrolled in classes and I started getting anxious, and the thoughts came that I was not ready, I could not do this, and I was going to fail. I dropped the classes I and I had succumbed to defeat. Nevertheless, we serve an awesome GOD that does not give up on us that easily!

A few weeks later, my academic advisor called me, and he noticed that I had dropped out of classes for this session.  His exact words were, “I know you are having a rough time and dealing with many things right now. But I wanted you to know that you only need 3 elective classes to graduate” I said “What!” He said, “Yes ma’am you only need three classes and they are electives to receive your diploma” Let me tell you taking two online classes in an 8-week period is not an easy task and I needed to take three!  However, was determined to finish!

One of the last conversations I had with Michael was about school, and how much it was costing and how long I had been going. He said “Lita, I don’t care about all of that, I just want you to finish” I pushed and prayed through those 8 weeks and on May 15, 2017, I received my Bachelor of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies!

 

I am finally a college graduate!! GOD IS GOOD!!

Life-Long Goal #2: Membership

For as long as I could remember, I wanted to be a part of a Sorority, but not just any sorority.  I admired different women in my life that were members of this organization for years.  I knew to be a part of a group of strong, extraordinary, educated women; I needed to step up my game. I did not just watch from the shadows, I continued life.  I worked in my church and my community among many of these women.  They are already my friends and sisters.

On January 13, 2018, I went to a meeting to gather more information and to let it be known that I was interested in starting the application process for membership into their organization.  After receiving all of the necessary information, I began to gather my own documents and information needed for the application.  Once I completed the application process, I waited and prayed hoping that I was among those selected to be granted the opportunity to seek membership into this illustrious organization.  I finally received a call that I was selected, and I was ecstatic!!  My 13 line sisters and I entered into an exhilarating, enlightening, and knowledgeable process, and on April 15, one day shy of what would have been my 30th wedding anniversary; I fulfilled a lifelong dream we were granted membership into the greatest sorority on the planet, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Even though it was the day before what was our wedding anniversary, this day turned out remarkable!  Here I was still healing and dealing with my grief, anger, sadness, and depression.  Thinking about what could have been and once again, God showed up and gave me a new reason to celebrate during this period.  It could have been a week before or a week earlier, but it was the same week.  (God’s divine plan) From that day on this time from in April will NOT be a source of sorrow and regret it will be a time of reflection, remembrance, and celebration.  I will always remember April 16th but I will celebrate the time that I gain not only 13 new sisters, but I also became a part of a worldwide sisterhood.

I was doing more than learning to survive in this new phase, this new chapter of my life, I was learning to live.  I am stepping out into new horizons and experiencing things I have never experienced before. I have people who love and encourage me to be myself and not to fear what God has in store for me.

Someone very special told me “I could do anything I put my mind to do.”

 

I am stepping out on faith and giving this new chapter in my life a try. Does it terrify me to think about putting my heart and myself out there after 30 years? YES, it does.  Nevertheless, it is all a part of the process of moving forward.

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I am activating God’s plan for the rest of my life.  I am plugging into what he has already instilled in me.  I may not have known what the future holds but God did, and HE has prepared me for it, and I am ready for whatever HE has in store for me next. Chapter 2 is underway.

I love you all!

Be at peace & Have a Beautifully & Blessed Day!

YOUR LIFE MATTERS!!

Monday, 3 February 2019

Let me start by saying… I love going to therapy!!

It has been a wonderful process and it has helped my daughters and myself tremendously. I recommend it for anyone whether you think you need it or not. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.  We should never neglect it.  

There was an article in Psychology Today that talks about how some African Americans view therapy.   A 2008 study, by Alvidrez et al., found that, “African Americans, who were already dealing with mental health issues felt that to talk about their problems with an outsider (i.e. therapist) may be viewed as airings one’s dirty laundry, and even a quarter of those consumers felt that discussions about mental illness would not be appropriate even among family.”  The article goes on to explain that some are embarrassed about being labeled one of “those people” and this keeps them from getting the help that they need.  The article talks about other concerns regarding the therapist themselves, the treatment process, and of course the cost and lack of insurance coverage. (Psychology Today, Nov 2011) (www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/culturally-speaking/201111/why-african-americans-avoid-psychotherapy)

I am sure other ethnic groups have some of the same beliefs about therapy because of the growing rate of suicides in our nation, and I know in my home growing up and homes of others I have heard these phrases many times:

“What happens at home stays at home”

“Don’t put my business out in the streets”

“Nobody needs to know”

“WE can handle this”

“Just give it time, it will get better”

“This is a secret”

Well theses secrets are killing us. Depression, Grief, and Suicide is real and it is on only becoming more prevalent in our society.

You must realize that any type if mental illness in NOT a personal failure.  Seeking the right counsel is imperative to our overall health! If anything is a right step forward to your own personal growth!

There are some judgmental people will say and did say, “Well you said are a Christians, just pray about it.” Yes, this is true, I am a Christian and I did pray about it but I truly believe that GOD placed my therapist in my life has a vessel to be used by GOD to pull me out my depressed state.  I knew that, when was researching a therapist for myself, I knew that she had to be a Christian and have a love for God.  Proverbs states, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” My therapist helped to pull me out of the dark place that I had been living in for months. She reassured me that GOD was not done with my yet and HE had a plan for me and that HE is with me and HE will always be with me and gave me practical guidelines on how to deal with my grieving process.

Therefore, when I hear that the suicide rate is up among active duty military, teens, and veterans I get alarmed.  Why is this happening?  What can we do to stop it? We have to check in on each other especially if you know someone has been dealing with difficulties in their lives.

Now with all of that being said, I can only speak from my own experience.  When I heard about circumstances regarding the death of Christopher St. John, brought back to my remembrance where I was 2 years ago, and I could have slipped easily! However, God said to me in the midst of my despair… “You are stronger than this!”  Yes, you had better believe I am still in therapy after almost 2 1/2 years. When I first started going to therapy after I loss Michael I went every other week, crying sobbing, but never kicking and screaming because I knew it was something I needed.  I prayed for GOD to send me a Christian therapist who loves HIM as much, if not more than I did.  I said, “if not more,” because at the time God and I were not seeing Eye to eye.  I had many questions and I was very angry, sad, disappointed, and depressed. It was very hard for me to see God. I knew that He was there, and I still had a deep love for him.

Imagine if your parents and they love you more than their own life and you love them.  You asked or you begged for something for months, and then when the day comes for you to get what you asked for… you get nothing.

Your sister asked your parents and got it.

Your brother asked your parents and got it!

Your friend from down the street asked your parents and got it!

Your parents never outright said you were going to get what you asked for you just considered their record and you knew you were going to get it, but you did not.  How do you feel?

That is exactly how I felt.  I did not love God any less, I did not hate Him, I did not stop believing in Him, I was just disappointed, for me that disappointment turned in to depression, desperation, and fear and once all of that set in I could not see anything ahead.  I knew God had a reason and a plan for all that had taken place, but I could not see that and I felt there was no future for me just death. I prayed for God to help me. I did not want to leave my daughters, but I was too busy thinking about feeling and myself from all the pain.  But I knew that God was stronger than what I was going through.

My PCM (Primary Care Manager) suggested that I see the on staff social worker.  I saw him a couple of times, it helped a little, and he suggested that I seek out someone more long term.  I told Him it had to be a Christian therapist.  I saw a couple of therapists but no one I saw was the right person. There was one more on my list and I went to see here.  At first, it was the typical visit.  We sat down and she said tell me what has been going on (which is how she starts all of our sessions.) Well we get out the tissues and I start talking.  There was something different when I started talking with her.  When I finished talking, she said, “Lolita, first thing I want to tell you… God loves you and He is always with you”.  I knew she was the right therapist for me.  Now two years later it is like talking to an old friend once a month.  She is helping me reevaluate my life and navigate the new life I was forced to live. Now it does not seem so forced I am discovering many things about me that I like and some I need to work on.  I believed that the enemy would have loved to keep me my depressed little ball casted out to the darkness! But I knew that God made me STRONGER than anything that he tried to throw at me!

Therapists are here to help us. They have training and tool that can help us navigate what going on in our head.  It is important to see the right therapist.  You may have to see a few before you find the therapist that is right for you.  Just as you did research to find your family doctor, or a surgeon, it is imperative that you do the same for your therapist.

Suicide is NEVER the answer!
Suicide is preventable, but everyone’s help is needed.

If you or someone you know:

  • Feeling depressed
  • Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Shame or humiliation
  • Mood swings
  • Isolating from others
  • Not communicating with friends or family
  • Giving away possessions or writing a will
  • Driving recklessly
  • Increased aggression
  • Increased drug and alcohol use
  • Searching about suicide on the Internet
  • Gathering materials (pills or a weapon)
  • Experience bullying
  • Lose someone close to them
  • Experience physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
  • Abuse drugs or alcohol
  • Have a history of mental illness
  • Feel uncertain about their sexual orientation

You are NEVER ALONE… Please reach out….
Call 1-800-273-8255
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Have a Blessed Day in the LORD
I love you all!

Letting the Word of GOD Work against Our Problems

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January 15, 2019

I had a phenomenal weekend hanging out with my beautiful Sorors of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc for my 1st Founders Day Celebrations! We celebrated 106 glorious years of our sisterhood! If you know me, then you know this is definitely a dream come true for me.  It was thirty plus years in the making!

This morning I heard such a good word on both of my prayer lines, so I just had to share!

Many of you know I love music and I love to sing.  One of my favorite songs that we sing in church is called, “Trading my Sorrows”

I’m trading my sorrows
And I’m trading my shame
And I’m laying it down
For the joy of the Lord

And I’m trading my sickness
And I’m trading my pain
I’m laying it, laying it, laying it down
For the joy of the Lord

I’m pressed but not crushed
Persecuted, not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed

And I am blessed beyond the curse
For His PROMISE will endure
That His joy is going to be my strength

Though my sorrows may last for the night,
His joy comes with the morning

The words to this song have taken special meaning to me in the past few years.

I can tell you from my own life experiences, I have has my share of difficulties in these past few years but I can tell you this…

I am never defeated, dejected, hopeless, or destroyed. God plucked my out of the darkness, where I wanted to stay and die, and HE broke through that curse of depression that the enemy tired to place over my life.   I prayed and I read GOD healing words of love, redemption, and his promises to me.

Minister Kai told us to “Stand on the word of GOD and let it bless you.”  He said, “Let the word do what it is going to do.”

“So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  (Isaiah 55:11)

Meaning, wait on the LORD and let his word accomplish its purposes for our life.

My Sis Aisha Dudley said in our team prayer this morning, we are NOT to focus on our problems for put our energy and our focus towards the PROMISES of GOD.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)

No matter what the enemy throws at us, no matter what it may looks like, no matter what it may feel like we have to focus on the PROMISES of the LORD and know that HE has already won the victory! Without LORD, we can accomplish nothing.  He has HIS plans for our life already laid out for us we just need to continue to hold on and believe that with God NOTHING is impossible.

I know that my LORD PROMISES:

Peace
Deliverance
Prosperity
Love
Joy
Happiness
And so much more (read HIS Word)

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with GOD.  (Luke 18:27)

 I can testify that my sorrows may have lasted for a night but HIS amazing, remarkable, supernatural, joy always come in the morning! I have traded all my sickness, shame, worry doubt, and I have laid it down for the JOY of the LORD

 Have a Blessed Day in the LORD
I love you all!

 

Good Bye 2018: My Year of Discovery

December 31, 2018

As I bid goodbye to 2018, I thank GOD and I look back on lessons learned and the accomplishments I have made.

I have accomplished some lifelong goal in the past two years.  God has blessed my girls and myself with some wonderful people in our lives who have become our “Village” and “Our Tribe.”  In 2018, they have seen us through and prayed with us through some tough times in our life. They have also celebrated, applauded, remembered, and honored along with us. Never any judgment only love.

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We celebrated Michael’s 50th Birthday with a “Thank You Dinner” for our village.

In 2018, I have stepped out on faith and started some new and wonderful journeys. I have discovered my own voice, navigating, and finding my way as the LORD plans the course for the rest of my life. I have said good-bye to more friends and family than I wanted too, but I take joy and I praise GOD knowing they are all in capable hands.

I have also added to my family when my 13 Line Sisters (14 M.I.L.E.S To The Crimson DynaSTy) and I were initiated into the illustrious sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Therefore, it is with bittersweet regrets that I bid adieu to 2018, but I cannot leave without mentioning some of the “Blessings in the Storm” I have navigated in 2018…

In 2018, I have discovered that:

I have chosen to come “Out of the Darkness”and live in and with the LIGHT.

I will “Never Ever, Give Up”, because God is in control and HIS grace and mercy surroundsimg_0898 me.

“There is Good News” I have the joy of the LORD in my heart and I am never alone.

Because the LORD is in my life and my heart, I know that “It Is Well with My Soul”

Life is so short, and tomorrow is not promised to any of us so don’t live in regrets, “Love Hard”

God is amazing and His love is unconditional “He Is a Mighty God”

God has great things planned for me and I am ready, so “Fear is Not in My Vocabulary”

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I am learning to overcome the obstacles of my life and my past because I know that “I Am a Survivor,” and I know that with GOD I can do anything because Christ gives me the strength.

“Dear Future, I am ready” I can, and I have the right to be excited for the next phase in my life.

“God is in Control” of my life and I have no reason to fear it!

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WELCOME 2019

We have taken some knocks and obtained some bumps and bruises along this life’s road, but we still stand strong.                                         

We have walked through the valley of the shadow of death, but we continue to be victorious because, we know to whom we belong.

We will never give in and never give up on what the Lord has planned. We have given HIM all things and placed them under his command.

So come on in 2019 we are not afraid of you,                                                                        We will wait, watch, fast, and pray to see what the Lord will do.                                                          

Family and Friends, all the ones we hold dear,                                                                     We pray that you have a Very Merry Christmas and a God Blessed New Year! (LJL)

 

I love you all

Have a Blessed and Prosperous 2019!

It Takes a Village

November 8, 2018

An African Proverb states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well, I think it takes a village to raise a child, to live life, and to survive.  I have the best village ever!!  They are my tribe!  My peeps! My Family!!  However, you may wonder, “What is a village?  What does a village consist of?”  For my purposes, my village is something else.  It is something very special.  It may be easier for me to tell you what a village is not.  My village is not as the dictionary describes it, “A group of houses and associated buildings, larger than a hamlet and smaller than a town, situated in a rural area. Nor is it a self-contained district or community with in a town or city.”

My village
They are the people who are important to my family and me.

They are of many backgrounds, nationalities, and religions.
They are the closest to my heart.
They love me fiercely as I love them.
They belong to me even though we are not blood related.
They have celebrated and laughed with us during our happy times/strong>
They have comforted & cried with us during our times of sorrow, grief, & despair.  I love them with all of my heart!
They are my family!

On the night of Thursday, October 25, my daughters and I decided to celebrate Michael’s 50th birthday (which was September 16), with a small thank you dinner to our village and a candle light prayer.  Pop Skipp, my Father-in-love was in town for Morgan, my youngest daughter’s, homecoming and it just happens to be what we call, Michael’s Angel Anniversary. This is the day he made his transition from earth to heaven.

It was fun to gather with our family and reminisce about Michael, and what was going on in our lives.  It also gave us a chance to spoil them a little.  We had some of what has become known as my famous Mac and Cheese, Collard Greens, Chicken, Brisket and of course cake.  We sang happy birthday to Michael and we just loved on each other.  The only thing missing was his voice and his laugh.  We know that Michael had an amazing time celebrating his birthday in Heaven, but we celebrated as if he was there.  (He was there in there in the spirit)

Everyone that attended this celebration is special to my girls and me.  We love them, with all of my heart, and I know that we could not have made it through the last couple of years without them and I thank GOD they are forever in my life.

Whom do you consider your village?  Who is your tribe?  There is a quote from Danielle Laporte states, “Find your tribe. Love them Hard”

Consider this…

My Tribe
Women Who Adventure with GOD
Be Around the Light Bringers
The Magic Makers, The World Shifters
The Game Shakers,
They Challenge You, Break you Open,
Uplift and Expand You.
They don’t let you play Small with your Life
These Heartbeats are your People.
These People are your Tribe
(desertoutpouring.com)

I love you all!
Have an Amazing Day!!