“You took away my hopes and dreams of a family. Who’s going to want me now? What if they want children and I can’t have any more?” These are the accusations and questions I presented to God before and after I had a hysterectomy years ago. My fibroids and bleeding were so bad when the nurse called me after a blood test she asked, “My God! How are you still standing? Your iron level is so low!” Coming in after the test it was determined I had fibroids. However, as a black woman, I had to FIGHT doctors, particularly white male doctors, to take me seriously. It wasn’t the first time. But, it’s not just white male doctors, it’s doctors of cultures that see black women as less or women as less. (I often wonder why the hell are you a doctor if you can’t care for patients across the board?). It was a white woman that had a traumatizing childbirth that taught me to advocate for my health. I took care of her and the baby for two weeks.
Going from specialist to specialist they finally saw the fibroids. I had no choice at the time but to have them removed. I was devastated. I wanted to have more children IF I were to marry. It wasn’t going to happen. I went in fora surgery that was supposed to take 4 hours but it took much longer. When I woke up, the room seemed to be shaking, jittery. I could not focus my vision. One of my lovely Indian doctors grabbed my foot and said, “Mrs. Jackson, we almost lost you. You lost a lot of blood and this is why you may not be able to focus right now. Just close your eyes and listen to me.” I felt her still holding my foot. “We started off trying to do laser surgery but, where you had a C-section, the skin was so thick, we could not get through. We had to cut you and remove the fibroids. We also found another unseen fibroid underneath. You will need a blood transfusion.
Recovery was an ordeal. Here is how my gratitude for LIFE itself, breath itself, was watered: When I thought about how I could have died on that operating table and left my daughter, my family, my friends, I was so, so appreciative of life in a deeper, greater way than I had ever been before. It made every problem around me, including not being able to have more children and who would want to be with me, pale in comparison. I was beyond happy and beyond grateful to JUST EXIST. To see my daughter’s face and to feel her tiny hand after the surgery. I was happy to hear her voice and to see my parents. They were all there during the surgery.
Many times, after healing from that surgery (as I was still dealing (and healing) with not being able to have more children or grappling with life’s issues), I would recall how I could not have been alive and my problems seem to shrink some. I breathe and say, “I am grateful to be here. I am still here. I have many purposes in this life. I am grateful. This too, (whatever I am facing) will pass.”
If you know me you know I flow with Spirit (for the most part). As I was thinking about what I wanted from the summer season and what I wanted to give to the summer, I realized I was going to need courage. My word for the summer is courage. You may be thinking, what’s Nikki up to? Is she going sky diving or cross country? No. None of that. Let’s start with what I want from the summer or better put, what the summer has for me.
Summer is a time of vibrancy, production, and growth. It is a time where light is extended, longer days. It’s a time when most people take their vacations. We slow down as well. The grass is green, flowers have bloomed, and the weather is warm (hot depending on where you are located). It’s also a time where certain things are ripe and ready for picking. There is a harvest happening in summer. Proverbs 6:8 “Provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.” Proverbs 10:5. “He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.” It’s lively in the summer. Although we can sleep in, we are also awakened to the business of events such as holidays and weddings. The workload is usually higher in this season. We are interacting with each other in our communities and the world more. Summer brings renewed energy. So, what does this mean spiritually?
Summer is when we see the fruits of our labor. It is a time where we can see the seeds we sowed into our minds and hearts in spring, winter, and fall manifest. It is also a time of refinement of our gifts, talents, and growth. We gather the fruits of our labor in our businesses as well or we see the hard work and planning paying off from the former seasons. This is if you have been doing the work or learning the lessons from life or the journey you chose. Summer gives us opportunities to do something fun and new. It offers time to slow down, enjoy life, and give the people in your life your undivided attention. Put your phones away and watch a movie or the stars. Water is waiting. Summer says put your feet in the water. Put your boats in the water or take a swim. Feel the coolness. Play. It’s a reminder to play. It’s a reminder to rest. It’s a reminder that you can still work, create, but look up and live. This is what summer is giving me. Options. I think summer wants us to gather up the time and spend it wisely.
What do I want to give to the summer months? I want to give more time and attention to my daughter who is home from college. Not a summer of dragging ourselves here and there but, more of a quiet summer being at home and trying new recipes together. Maybe, a concert or two. Enjoying time with family and friends. Hosting an event. I want time with friends and associates. I want light hearted conversations. I want to work on a book or two. I want to paint. I want simplicity. Fresh lemonade. A cherry cobbler. I want to sit on the porch in the morning and drink my coffee and daydream about winning the lottery. I want evenings of rest. I want deep conversations. I want laughter. I want love. I want to smell soft scented candles floating through the air. I want to be heard.
I need courage. Courage to write again. Courage to say no to the many ways I could be pulled in different directions and become swept up in saving people and doing things I didn’t sign up to do. I need courage to be heard, to speak my mind, heart, and soul. I need courage to remove the lizards from my porch that are stuck in the sticky traps. I need courage to hike because well, there are things in the woods I don’t want to run across. If I can find swimming lessons, I will need courage. I am terrified of swimming. I will need courage to start the podcast that is calling me. I will need courage to continue the YouTube channel, the Garden of Mind. I need courage to be honest with myself so that I can stay aligned with Divine Flow.
It took courage to change my relationship with certain groups in the Spring. I think that was the start of everything. It took courage to stand my ground about not being the chairperson or co-chair of a certain month filled with activities and one tyrant for my home church. I guess I also want peace from summer. I want to be in my own world coming out to play and then go back home. I want to learn something new and that too, will take courage.
Who’s not grateful? I mean, is there anyone that’s not grateful for something or the other? Whether it’s grateful to be alive or grateful the store had your favorite ice cream we are, most of us, grateful for something. I want to talk/write about gratefulness from the perspective of how we can “grow” our gratefulness. Did you know gratefulness could be expanded? It can start with the simplest things in life to the more complex situations in life. I am going to call this blog series Watering Gratitude. I’ll explain as we take this journey in June here at Nikki’s Confetti Life and on my YouTube channel, The Garden of Mind. Don’t forget to subscribe! Now let’s get into how “it” started.
It started when I picked up a book in a resale bookstore. I needed something. I was searching for something to help me to make sense of my life from 2010 to 2015. I was facing Rheumatoid Arthritis Diseases, Fibromyalgia, and Diabetes all in the span of five years. I also had a hysterectomy where the surgery to longer than they expected. I lost quite a bit of blood and they almost lost me.
In late 2014, early 2015 I unwillingly began the journey of the disability process. It was 2014 I believe when I picked up the book, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach and her book Peace and Plenty. It was during this time I began to grow the gratitude that I had within me. I began to have a deeper appreciation for the basics in life and much more than the basics. It wasn’t silly to be grateful for a bowl of ice cream. It wasn’t unusual to be grateful for the rain. I later bought the book Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self by the same author. Next month, I will be blogging about authenticity.
It wasn’t just those two books that helped to water my gratitude. It was also a deeper prayer life, meditation, yoga, and another book, The Sacred Yes by Rev. Deborah L. Johnson. I am now learning how to truly be grateful in all things. Even the not so good things. How can one be grateful for the not so good things? It’s not so much as being grateful for a bad thing or tragic thing happening to you but, it’s more about being grateful for what you can learn from it. It’s about being grateful for what’s next. It’s about being grateful for time. It’s about being grateful for the now. It’s about being grateful for the opportunity to heal and to maybe help someone else that is going through what you may have gone through. Helping others helps you. It fills you (which deepens or intensifies the feeling) with more gratitude and love.
Oh, there were things I was NOT grateful for when it was happening but, I was grateful when it was over. I could give thanks and be grateful that it wasn’t worse or that it was resolved. I can be grateful I am no longer in that situation. Gratitude and gratefulness go hand in hand in my opinion. So, you may see me use them interchangeably throughout this series. Yes, let’s water our gratitude and grow it to expand beyond conditions and circumstances. Happy June!
I walked out to the front yard Wednesday morning to water my plants. I discovered someone had stolen my nozzle (sprayer). It was my favorite out of all the ones I’d had previously. It was sturdy, quality, and endured all of the times I forgot to put it away during winters. I was highly irritated that someone had taken it but even more disturbed that someone had the audacity to come on my property! I immediately went to the store and found the exact one I had. I was relieved. So, where is the lesson?
People shouldn’t steal. I should have put it away (but I feel I shouldn’t have to because it’s on my property but, I know we all live among thieves. Even in the suburbs which I do not live in.) I believe those are the obvious lessons. The natural lessons. The more spiritual lesson for me (us?) is to take care of the little things that bring you happiness, pleasure like you do the big things that bring you happiness, pleasure. Cherish the small moments that bring you peace. Cherish the lull in conversation with someone you adore, admire, love, and like. Cherish doing nothing with a loved one like sitting on the porch or in the backyard. Think of the last time you had a chat with someone you hadn’t spoken to in a while. How precious was that moment? Pay attention and put away in your heart, in your memory, the small things that light you up.
I certainly didn’t treat the nozzle like it was my favorite. I tossed it near the hose. I left it out year-round. Terrible. My oldest brother told me a few years ago to put away my tools and store them properly and they will last a long time. I didn’t listen. I also had to replace my garden wand because…I left it out all year long. There must be a small crack or the washer shrunk due to the drastic temperature changes. When I turned it on water sprayed everywhere onto me! I was soaked lol! So, put away/take care, literally and figuratively, of the small things/moments you cherish.
What is success to you? Do you get to define success for others? Who defined success for you? I mean really think about where you got YOUR ideas of what success is. Did you get it from your parents? Friends? TV? Social Media? Society? Religion? Yes. I said religion because some of us were taught incorrectly about being wealthy based on the lack of proper explanation of several scriptures. So, I encourage you to take some real time to define success for yourself without comparison to other people.
I recently out of frustration thought “I should be further along than I am.” And then a friend said it too about herself. And an associate said they felt they should be further along. But this is what was given to me when I said it: “By who’s standards? In comparison to who? You? Observing everyone around you and comparing yourself? Maybe by your own nice, little, neatly mapped out plans of your life on a whiteboard or in a notebook? Perhaps in your mind? Further along?”
I thought about this. I honestly was thinking about where others were and my own plans. I couldn’t be further from my plans if I intentionally diverted from them. This is why I wrote the affirmations in the blog yesterday: https://nikkisconfettilife.com/2023/05/24/where-are-you/ . But what was expressed to me about this statement was some of what I wrote in the above paragraph and also what is in the next few paragraphs.
You are where you are supposed to be. You are where you need to be. You are where you are however you think you got here. If hearing you are where you are because you made the choices you made seems too lofty or a dump reasoning, then hear this: “I am where I am because of some choices I made and some choices I did not. I am here because of myself and others whether I consciously or subconsciously (willingly or naively) allowed certain things to take place. I take responsibility for that but I do not take responsibility for the things I could not control. I take responsibility for my healing and I choose to make better decisions and choices.” I wrote all of that because it’s more complex than “You are where you are because of the choices you made.” And people never stop, nor do most care to see that. It requires thought, rationale, comprehension, and compassion and who has time for that today?
Feel the difference in “I should be further along” and “I am right where I need to be for change. I am right where I need to be for growth.” Say it aloud. Feel it. Remove the weight of “I should be further along” and see that feeling as an indicator that you are ready for change or growth. “Oh! I am ready for change. I am ready for a new adventure in life. This is getting boring or old.” You feel much lighter. You are more apt to take action for the right reasons after you FIRST define success for yourself based on YOUR internal dialogue. Not what the world or people say success is.
The heart of a human plans their course but the Lord guides their steps. Proverbs 16:9
Many plans are in one’s heart but the purpose of the Lord will prevail. Proverbs 19:21
Have you defined success for other people? Why? What is success to you?
This is a time for separation and divorce. And I’m not talking about marriages (although that may be the case). I’m talking about anything or anyone that hinders or distracts you from your purpose, dreams, goals, growth or destiny. I’m talking about your own stinking thinking (mindset, thought patterns). I’m talking about ideals and philosophies and even religious programming that keeps you judgmental, sanctimonious, self-righteous and cult like.
I separated myself from some things and people and it wasn’t personal but it was personal and spiritual. It was necessary and is necessary for my healing and my journey. Spiritual separation where my spirit and emotions aren’t so intertwined. No intimate conversations. Not frequently in each other’s space but cordial. Genuine love and concern. Maybe, there’s a chance for restoration in the future.
Then I divorced some things and some people. Peace. Go your way. May the Lord keep and bless you but, this is a wrap, Beloved. -Nikki
I used to think that when I asked or talked to God about something and God gives me an answer that seems unrelated, way out in left field, God didn’t care about what I was talking about. Since I’ve grown, I have learned that it means these things thus far:
1. I hear you but that’s not the pressing issue right now. We’ll get to that later.
2. I’m telling you this, showing you this, because this is what I want you to focus on.
3. Let me take you forward and then back to what you were talking about and it will all make since soon.
4. This is a piece of the puzzle. Hold that until you find the other piece. Let’s go on an adventure to the answer. Guided footsteps. (Sometimes, I don’t “be” feeling like going though! )
5. That is the answer. Look again.
6. That’s not your business.
7. You wouldn’t understand it right now. Wait until you grow some more.
8. I’ll tell you when you get to the next realm and even then you wouldn’t care as much about it as you do now. So, be at peace with never knowing some things and never understanding some things. (How? Trust God. Accept the peace Jesus willed to us.)
I recall a point and time when one of my brother’s wives wanted to have a holiday at their house. It caused quite a stir. Maybe it’s been her dream to host a holiday. Some people work this out and others don’t. For those that don’t, it can cause family drama. Which leads me to family drama as I decided to not force myself to attend Sunday Service and just meet my family at the restaurant for Mother’s Day Brunch. Of course, I haven’t told anyone this because it’s not really a big deal. Mother’s Day is for all mothers and we can decide what we would like to do that day. I’m not sure if the matriarch can dictate what’s happening for everyone on Mother’s Day or any other day but, it does happen. We allow it. If I ever were a matriarch, I would not try to hog all of the holidays. I don’t think most of them intend to. It just sort of develops that way. But, on Mother’s Day, I would want to see my children and grandchildren but, I would understand if my sons or daughters were being celebrated in by their spouses and children. You can see me the day before or afterwards. I am just easy that way about some things.
I am a mom, too. I thought about what I’d like to do a few days ahead. I’d like to hear a prepared, anointed message and I can hear that online from one of my favorite churches. I’d like to see my family; have a good meal and I can do that by meeting up at brunch. Afterwards, I’d like to relax, have good Epsom salt soak and play my PC game while watching my Sunday night TV line up. I’d like to be stress free and unbothered the rest of the evening. Oh, yeah and napping in between.