Rejoice Always

The Bible does not say “rejoice sometimes, pray when you need something, and give thanks when things go your way.” 

I was afraid this post would be different from what it is. I was afraid I would fail my exams today. (And I can hear my mama and daddy right now: “You’ve got this, stop being so negative.”) But I knew if I did fail, I would rejoice anyway. I would thank God anyway.  

Luckily, I’m rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks because I passed two of my hardest exams this far. And by pass, I got a 100 on one and a 1000+ on the other. One of these exams would determine whether or not I could move on to next semester.

I am out here doing the dang thing. I go to school, then I go to work, and then I come home and study. Sometimes all night long. I’ve pulled more all-nighters this semester than I’ve pulled in my whole life. But I couldn’t do this on my own. I’m not doing this on my own. I have people who believe in me. I have a big God who put me on this earth for a reason. I am working towards my calling. And I am so thankful. I have prayed so much this semester and God answers. 

Nursing school is hard. Life is hard… but we weren’t put here for things to be easy. What would be the point in that? 

If you are struggling… if life is knocking you down, I have been there. I feel for you. I care for you. I am here for you and I will pray for you. But do not forget to rejoice in the good.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.

{1 Thessalonians 5:16-18}

Dedicated, Not Defeated

I had a rough day yesterday. One of those days where nothing felt right and I couldn’t seem to shake it. 

I try to keep things as real as possible, so let’s be real about what happened. I failed my pathophysiology test. I got a 70% so I failed by 5 points. I have never failed an exam before. And when I tell you I studied for that thing, I studied. HARD.

I immediately felt defeated. I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I felt like I wasn’t smart enough. I felt like I’d make a bad nurse. I let it get to me all night. On and off, throughout the night, I kept getting so freaking angry at myself. 

When I woke up this morning, I didn’t feel angry… or sad. I felt happy. I truly felt so blessed. I realized how lucky I am. I realized that I am so grateful to be where I am. Not everyone gets to go to college and love it. Not everyone meets people who they instantly become friends with. Not everyone gets to do what they love every single day. Not everyone gets to walk in a room full of sick people and watch their faces light up just because I walked in with a smile. Not everyone gets to make difference.

But I do.

I’ll do better next time. I’ll study harder. I’ll be a good nurse. I’ve never been one to go easy on myself, but I’m pretty excited to have a week with no tests, not gonna lie about that.

I am dedicated to being the best version of myself I can be. I will not allow myself to be dragged down by one mistake… and you shouldn’t either.

“The days that I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, I have really good days.” -Ray Wylie Hubbard

Here and Now

I thought this would be a really cool way to kick off my favorite time of the year. October is kind of a pivotal month of the year, where the air starts getting crisper, the leaves start falling, and everything just feels okay. Soon enough, I’ll be buying candy for half price and then eating enough turkey to make me want to sleep for days and then sharing gifts and memories with the people who mean the most to me.

I tend to think ahead. I jump ahead into next week, next year, hell, sometimes I’m thinking about being 80 years old chillin in a rocking chair. I don’t often take time to appreciate the moment I’m in because so much of my life, I’ve spent preparing for the future.

I challenge you to be present, for one month. Yeah, I’m a few days late… what are you gonna do, sue me? Good luck, you won’t get a dime. Take a few minutes out of each day and be present. Give yourself a break, and enjoy where you are right now.

I sat in my bed tonight trying to be present and I would be lying if I said my mind didn’t jump to my test next week. I would be lying if I said my brain didn’t try to run through the Foley catheter check-off list one more time before tomorrow. But part of this is catching yourself. Bring yourself back in. Center yourself. Take a moment to appreciate who you are and what you are doing.

If you’re struggling during this season, like I happen to be, take a breath and enjoy whatever still moments you can. The struggle is when you need it most. 

If you’re having the best month of your life, succeeding in your business, in your school, in your wellness… whatever it may be, please do yourself a favor and be present. You want to remember the way this felt.

Take in this moment. Feel the feelings. Do not rush life. For a few minutes out of each day, for one month. I promise you will not regret it.

P.S. The back porch of the Amicalola Falls Lodge has some beautiful sunsets. Shoot, go be present somewhere with a view, y’all.

ANOTHER P.S. Comment on this post — or click the “Contact” tab above this post — and tell me how you chose to be present this month! I would love to interact with y’all and share some of your tips!

For The Good and The Bad… Thank you God

When I got accepted to the only nursing school I applied to, I thanked God.

When I earned good grades on my first tests, I thanked God.⠀

Just last week, I fit into a top I couldn’t fit into a month ago. And I thanked God.⠀⠀

When my dad was cured of cancer, I thanked God. 

Here’s the thing… it’s real easy to thank God when things are going well. When life is moving along smoothly, when you’re happy… it is so easy to thank God.

You know what’s not so easy? Thanking God while you’re having a panic attack and struggling to catch your breath with tears streaming down your face while you are sitting in traffic because you’re so overwhelmed with e v e r y t h i n g. When you realize your friend doesn’t really care about being your friend. When you’re at work and a grown ass man looks at your coworker and says “You are so pretty. It’s nice to see someone in here who doesn’t weight 200 pounds.” (Firstly sir, I’ve had a diet of stress and peanut butter crackers for a month now so I’ve lost five pounds, thank you very much).

Each of these things has happened to me within the last week. But I picked my head up, I smiled, and I thanked God. Here’s the thing: crying in my car means I have a heart that can feel things. I have plenty of old and new friends, the past few weeks I’ve made some amazing friends… and I don’t even know where I’d be right now without them. I am working on my weight, but weight has nothing to do with beauty or this killer (some call it intimidating…) personality of mine. I am getting stronger every week, mentally and physically.

Thank God when it’s hard.

Thank God when it’s painful.

Thank God when life is stretching you thin.

Thank God when the only thing you want to do is turn your back.⠀

Because you are alive. He is watching over you. I promised God that I would give the glory to Him when its all said and done with. At the end of the day, when I close my eyes, I know that without God’s love, I wouldn’t be where I’m at. I don’t know where I would be and when I look back at some of my choices I’ve made, some of the people I’ve chosen to spend time with, and the times when I didn’t thank God for weeks at a time because I didn’t think I needed to, I am just so darn happy that He didn’t give up on me.

Even when we lose our way, even when we turn our backs, He doesn’t stop loving us. He is waiting with open arms for us to drag our butts back to his love and grace. I’ve been dealt good hands and bad hands, and I play the heck out of whatever cards I’m given.

So, here I am humbled and in awe of my Lord who protects me, loves me, and has given me more opportunities than I ever could have imagined.

Enough

I have been so excited to start nursing school. I literally bought my scrubs four months ahead of time to make sure they would fit perfect and I would have everything ready by August 19th.

Yesterday, I drove to my school’s bookstore to purchase my textbooks and when I was walking out of the door with what felt like 50 pounds of books on one arm and a bag full of syringes and saline solution on the other, I felt defeated. I felt alive and defeated at the same time because here I am with my future in my arms but I just charged a thousand dollars to my credit card.

Today, I have been so down and out. My emotions have been all over the place and I am doubting myself. What if I’m not smart enough? What if I’m really bad at nursing school? What if I can’t make friends and allies throughout this journey? What if I can’t even afford to continue? I have spent today getting my loose ends tied up before class starts and cleaning my space. I have also spent today trying to talk myself down and questioning my own self worth. I opened my textbooks and words started flying off the pages and I became so overwhelmed by how much I will need to know.

I am writing this post now though to lay my fears to rest. I am speaking it into fruition, because I truly believe that what you put out into the world is what you will get back from it. God hears and He delivers. 

I am smart enough for this. I have brought myself to this point and if I have to crawl on my knees to bring myself through it, I will. At 16 years old, I was taking community college classes to become a CNA and during that, I knew for a fact that nursing was my future. Caring is something I’m good at. People are my passion. With that being said, I can do this. I will do this. 

I’m going to make friends, I already have made two friends who are in my program and it hasn’t even started yet so why the hellll am I so concerned about that? I am a good person, and a great friend. I am so excited to gain some lifelong gal pals over the course of this journey. 

And as far as the money goes, I can take loans out. I’ve been lucky enough to not have to do that so far but I just had to put a grand on my card so maybe a loan would have been best anyway. Oh well, now I know what to expect next semester and hopefully I can save up my money throughout this semester while I work. The thing is, God is in control. God has my back and He will pull me through deep waters. Not to mention, paying for school is why I’m working over forty hours a week some weeks. 

The point is that I am my own biggest critic. No one will ever judge me harsher than I judge myself. I know a lot of people just like me in that aspect and we need to trust that we are on the right path and making the right moves. We are good enough, smart enough, strong enough, and pretty enough. We are exactly where we need to be when we need to be there. I really hope I can help others realize that because I know that if I’m struggling with this, others are too. 

I really need to stop questioning myself and just trust my own abilities because I can do this. I will do this, and I will be a great nurse.