Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Hope for Tomorrow

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Today I had to speak at church. Some would call it preaching, but I call it teaching. I talked about Hope for Tomorrow. Romans 12:12, Romans 8:24-25. What is hope? Hope is a joyful or confident expectation for the future or the promises of God, or both however you chose to look at it or need it. Hope is a joyful or confident expectation for the unknown and the unseen. Who hopes for what he or she can see? We hope for what we cannot see and we wait for it patiently. In other words, you don’t hope for what you already have or what is already worked out. You hope for that which you do not have yet to manifest or be worked out.

Hope is a virtue, a good quality for the Christian life experience and in my own opinion, hope is a virtue we all should obtain. Hope makes waiting or walking in faith easier. When you have hope, you have joy or you have confidence that things are working out for your good. You don’t know how, you can’t see how, but you have this expectation that it will.

Without hope, we become bitter, sad, depressed, anxious, fretful, and perhaps angry. Without hope, you become desperate and take desperate actions. Many times these actions lead to making things worse than what they were. Without hope, a joyful expectation or confidence in the future or promises of God, people contemplate suicide or commit it. Without hope that you’ll be okay if the person leaves you, you do foolish things to get them to stay or even worse.

We need hope. Hope helps us to hold on while we patiently wait for the outcome. Hope, a joyful expectation, puts a pep in our step as we walk out our faith. Hope, a confident expectation in the promises of God to you, helps you to hold on until you see the life you desire to live unfold. Yes, we need hope for tomorrow. We need hope, for tomorrow in this world. The audacity, or the boldness of hope. Hope gives us boldness in the times of trouble. The nerve, the boldness to believe in our darkest hours that light will surely shine again happens when we turn on our hope. In the world we live in, particularly and personally me for, in the these troubling political times, I have HOPE that things will make a complete 180 and put us back on track to be greater human beings which will make a greater America and a greater world to live in for all people.

~Nikki

Friday Jr and The WKND Weekend

 

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Well, I had such a busy weekend I am just now getting a chance to sit down and blog about it. It was Thursday, also known to many as Friday Jr. (smile), that I got up the nerve to show up at a Memphis Bloggers Exchange Happy Hour. It was sponsored by the Nashville Bloggers Exchange. The place we met up at is new to Memphis. It’s NOT a club, but a place where you come to hang out, have great drinks, great conversations, good food, relax and unwind with friends or you can fly solo. Service was top notch from our entrance to our exit.

First, let me tell you when I walked I was nervous. Why? Well, if you have followed my blog for a while you know I have been through a rough few years. I was worried about meeting new people. Something that use to not bother me as much before Rheumatoid Arthritis came out of remission and brought fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and diabetes with it. Long story short, it changed the game as far as friendships, my social life, and the how I deal with people all together. Well, after walking into therapy with anxiety on level 8, giving myself all the reasons I should not go, I left with anxiety on 2 and all of the reasons I should go. I am so glad I did! I made so many great connections and diversified connections at that. These are just a few of the bloggers, writers, vloggers and photographers that were at the event. These wonderful group of ladies and more are right here in my city and now we are connected via social media.

We were invited to not only meet up, but to take photos, blog about our experience at this new hot spot in our city. We were able to try their entire menu! And everything was delicious! The cocktails were worth the money and I say that because if you are going to pay $10-$15 or more for a cocktail, you want your money’s worth. Tiger’s Blood Cocktail is what you see pictured above. I liked it so much I had two!

We were able to explore the venue and take pictures. You can reserve the booths we are in and they have several packages to chose from. They are also now serving brunch on Sundays! I love a good brunch! The patio was my favorite. It was very chilly that night, but the fire kept us warm as many of took advantage of photo ops. We were snapping it up and especially with a photographer on hand we got some great shots of our selves!

This was definitely a busy evening. I left there and drove across town to meet another group of ladies and we had karaoke, food, and wine. You know that had to be filled with laughter and great meet and greet. It was all positive vibes.

As the weekend rolled around, Friday I was invited to a movie. Saturday I purchased a small bookshelf from Facebook Market. I drove downtown to get it. I stopped by the Mississippi River to finish up my coffee from Starbucks and then off to ACE Hardware for paint. This was going to be an easy, less than 30 minute project.

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I painted the faux cherry wood bookshelf a dark espresso color that matches my new furniture in my room. It was the perfect size.

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And for the finale, Saturday night was epic and crazy fun. I went to a tribute for Bob Marley performed by some amazing reggae, funk, soul bands from my city, Memphis. It was a friend’s birthday week and I invited her to get out and enjoy herself. We met up with two others and it was so much fun. Too much fun lol! We ended up at iHop and I haven’t been there in about 15 years. I made it home safely and Sunday I slept in. I was home all day recovering from a very long week as I was at the hospital every morning with my dad and then coming home to do my own personal business and parent. Add the weekend to that and you have a run down chic! I was feeling the pre-pain before the big earthquake that landed Monday evening. Serious pain and mental drain. I have a heel spur I think from walking the long walk daily last week to and from my dad’s hospital room and serious back and hip pain radiating to the thigh. I know for sure my back and shoulder is a fibromyalgia flare. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t trade that wild and crazy weekend for anything and it brings me great joy to be there in the mornings for my dad to help or keep him company until he can home.

~Nikki

2018 and The It Is Well Within Me Tour

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My 2018 will not end until March 2019 spiritually speaking. My birthday is my New Year and every year there is something I work on until the next year. This year was about not just things being well within me, like my mental health, physical health or what was going on in my life, etc. But, it was about ME being okay, with who I am, what I want, what I think, how I feel and so on. We can say it was about Nikki becoming not just more, but completely comfortable with her own ideas, her own voice, saying no and not feeling bad about it, pulling back from family drama, false friendships, speaking my truth even it hurt some feelings, and understanding the issues I have, the trauma I have endured will not go away over night. I have to learn to BE WELL with the healing process and to BE WELL WITHIN about it. I can’t hurry up and get it over with, but I can do my part to move it along. I feel like what I don’t want is being filtered out and by the time March rolls around I will be pretty much done with this lesson.

Today I woke up to a low mood. It was last Sunday when I had a really bad bout of depression. Today when I opened my eyes I knew something was wrong and it was hard to get up, start my day. It did not take long to realize I was in another slump, but no where near as bad as last Sunday. Of course I googled the exact feeling that came to my mind: low mood in the morning. And what do you know, morning depression. I found some information from a few credible sites, and then I thought about what was I thinking about last night, all day, all week even. This is something I learned from the psychologist. It may appear as if I wasn’t thinking about anything. And that may be true some times. So, I had to be honest with myself. And I was. And after that, I had to not judge myself harshly the was I have been taught to judge myself, but instead, show myself some compassion. And I did. And I am. Not to mention, I didn’t sleep well last night either. And I haven’t been sleeping well. Some of it is my fault. Some of it is painsomnia.

I will be home tonight for the New Year’s Eve. I don’t want to party with Cardi or anyone lol! I don’t want to go to church either. It’s not my first time being home or being alone as my daughter will be at a sleepover. I am not sad or anything like that. I just want to brighten up a bit, maybe plan out a few things, and get some rest. Hopefully, it will be raining cats and dogs so the ignorant in the city will not shoot guns.

Happy New Year!

~Nikki

Vegas and RA: The Good, The Bad, The Really Bad and Ugly

I have shared with you my wonderful and brief trip in Vegas. The shopping, the entertainment, tourism, my fashion, and family fun. I know it seems so glamourous or maybe not lol! But, anyone can take a trip and it has nothing to do with having a luxurious job, which I don’t have. But, it has everything to do with finding the best deals and planning way, way, ahead. Remember, you can do whatever you set your mind to.

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Speaking of planning, when you have certain physical illnesses and diseases, limitations, etc. you have to learn to plan ahead as much as possible. We who have Rheumatoid Disease, Fibromyalgia, and other illnesses understand our dis-ease can be UNPREDICTABLE. So, this is where experience comes in, Google, and planning ahead as best you can.

  • I forgot my cute and much needed hot/cold reusable water packs. I have a small and a large one I usually take with me. You can find them at TJMaxx or on Amazon.
  • So, that was out! In Vegas there is WALKING, WALKING, WALKING, AND MORE WALKING! However, it is easily accessible for those with wheelchairs if you have one. So, don’t let that deter you from Vegas or anywhere else on this planet. I had my best pair of sneakers. This is not the time to break in a new pair. Go with a sure thing.
  • Pain meds ahead of time if possible. All meds on time. However, if I know I am going to have more than one drink, I will skip my meds. I am just being honest with you. You, however, follow your doctors orders. I’m not that big of a drinker meaning I can have it or not and still have a great time. I am allowed, per my doctor, a glass of wine per day if I want it. It’s not that serious for me.
  • Comfy house shoes with memory foam or something that is plush
  • Pain cream or gel
  • Foldable Flats and a purse that will fit them
  • Epsom Salt

Now, here is where it gets bad and ugly. I love heels and I can still wear them, but not the really high ones I use to wear. I blogged about that journey and halidux rigidus surgery a few years ago. I made the choice and sacrifice to wear some really cute heels to a club to see a celeb DJ. The walk there was fine. The dancing the night away was fine, but when I stopped I knew I was in trouble. The walk back was TORTUROUS. I can’t begin to describe to you the pain I felt. I knew I was going to have more than one drink so I skipped my meds. I had to rely on other methods and time to relieve my incredible pain.

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You are not suppose to walk through the hotel or casino with your shoes off. By the time my cousin and I got close to our rooms, we took off our shoes and sighed the biggest relief! Trust me! The picture below is how we felt after those “contraptions” called heels came off!

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But it did not stop there for me. I was swollen from the feet up to the knees. My feet were as red as fire and the neuropathy felt like shocks and this set off the fibromyalgia. I thought to myself, “WTH! I wasn’t expecting it to be THIS BAD!” But like I mentioned to you before, this disease is very unpredictable. I did not feel my bones hurting, but I figure they would be tomorrow. I could hardly walk on my feet and I had my plush house shoes with me. They only helped a little this time because the reaction was UNPREDICTABLE! I applied the pain cream and NOTHING! NO RELIEF!

 

 

I was like OMG and then I was like Dear God, please let this ease up. I tried to sleep and I could not. Below is a picture of the next evening (note I did well all the next day with my sneakers on), when we were going out again but decided on a fancy dinner instead. This is the results with flat shoes which is what they looked liked the night I took off my heels. I was in so much pain and discomfort that night I wasn’t thinking about anymore photos lol! But no lol! The only difference is the pain was minimum but the swelling was MAX. And the crazy thing is, I wasn’t in these shoes but a couple of hours. My feet were like, “No ma’am! Not again!”

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So, what did I do the night I had on heels and the pain was off the charts. I GOOGLED what to naturally do to ease neuropathy, fibromyalgia, RA. I read until I found something I could do. And here is what I will always want in a hotel from here on out. A good CLEAN (I am so OCD about bathrooms and what they look like) tub I can soak in AND once I get to my destination buy some Epsom Salt! This is my new thing to do or find a small pack if I am flying, to bring with me. Add that to the list. Thank GOD the Luxor Hotel in Vegas had a soakers tub! I filled it up with hot water, grabbed my phone and started a guided meditation session on chronic pain with my Inside Timer App, and soaked for about 20 minutes. I felt 50% better. If I would have had some Epsom Salt, I would probably have been at 75%. I was able to feel the difference and fall asleep.

The meditation app helped because I was in BIG pain and feeling so anxious, defeated, a bit jilted, and was slipping into a “Wish I never had this stupid disease rant” and I miss my old self. The meditation helped bring my emotions down and helped clear my mind and bring focus. Here I was finding the best solution to my problem at the moment.

I wish I could tell you that I won’t do that again. But, I don’t want to lie to you. Vegas is my YOLO ZEN place and it’s only once a year. I don’t how long I will be able to travel because of RA and it’s complications. I can tell you that I will bring a purse big enough for my foldable flats!!! I didn’t think I would need them because where we were going was close to the hotel. I did not factor in how much dancing I would be doing. Oh well, you live, you learn , you survive another day.

I had other pain in Vegas because of the walking. It’s like I said, this is not something I do every day and it’s expected when I travel. In the RA group many had to stop traveling or keep it to a minimum. I think I am midway at 43 with traveling. I have a few places I would like to see and hope I don’t ever have to give traveling up completely.

~Nikki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: What You Have Need Of

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You’ve been blessed with an inheritance, a lump sum of money, you won the lottery, or you have a good job or career and have managed to put away for retirement. Yet, you worry from time to time or constantly about the future and if you will have enough. Maybe, you are young or old, have a large family or a single parent, and you are doing the best you can. Let me tell you briefly, about my situation.

I am in my early 40’s, approaching my middle 40’s ha! (No, I don’t look it and thank you!) Well, I happen to become ill, could no longer work, blew through my savings to survive and raise a daughter that will be graduating from high school next year. I found myself in the disability process for three grueling years. I won my case. And I thought it would be a sigh of relief and it was. However, like any person that has to start from a setback, start from rock bottom, I worry. But and on my anxiety and man, it takes on a whole other form or worrying. How can I make it off this? What will I do when the surplus runs out? Will my other dreams ever take off so that I don’t have to be on disability? What happens in 3 years when I go for a review? What if they say I am okay and I don’t need it? What kind of job will I be able to do at 46 with my illnesses? Will I ever get the home I want? You see where I am going and then loop that in your head all day. That is anxiety. Go to bed and wake up thinking about the same thing.

This morning I heard this in my spirit, “There is no sense in worrying about tomorrow. Tomorrow has enough trouble of it’s own. You can’t add one day to your life by worrying.”

And then I thought, but don’t you have to plan for the future?

Spirit:”Be wise like the ants. But they don’t worry. And consider the birds in the air, the are fed everyday. The flowers are clothed and they don’t worry.”

Me: “But, what about my dreams, and goal, and plans, and life? What about that abundance? What about prospering? I don’t want to struggle until I die!”

Spirit: “God knows the plans created for you. God knew you before you existed in the womb. God molded and shaped you. You are carefully, and wonderfully me. The Creators plans for you are to prosper and to be in good health. You have choices. Choose life. Choose the things that will better you. Go for it. Do it. Be wise. Use knowledge. And God  knows the number of hairs on your head. Not one falls without his (her) knowledge.”

Me: Let me blog this and hope it helps someone else.

God, the Creator, the Universe, knows what you have need of. God’s plans are always for you to triumph, be at peace, be in good health, and to prosper. But you do have to do your part and if you’re doing your part, researching your part, then do not worry. God will do the rest. The Universe is working for you, always and never against you.

~Nikki

Sunday Morning Coffee Musing: Someone to Take Care of Me

 

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I am tired. I am worn. I am wounded and run ragged. It turns out that I am human. I know it. Does everyone else know it? It doesn’t seem like they notice I am burned out. Is it not obvious from the flame coming out of my ears? What about the way my body moves in the early mornings and late nights? Can they tell? Do they care?

It has been a very long two weeks. I’ve had very good days, but more bad days and a few very bad days. Yesterday evening was a very bad day. I have not had much time to myself and I am not sure that is what I need. Anxiety seems to pile up and heap on top of me at moments of financial decisions and the future of my well being and as my daughter’s graduation from high school slowly approaches. I worry about my mother who has obvious issues to me, but none to my siblings. I get angry about my father’s Parkinson’s Disease. I cannot sleep and when I do it’s not as restful so I take a sleep aide and I sleep too long (even with it spit four ways). I have not heard back from my therapist as I have missed an appointment. I call, I leave a message, and silence. I have been journaling nothing but frustrations.

Yesterday evening after an outing with my mother who is very high strung and nervous like, after taking my daughter to and from ACT prep, taking her to and picking her up from a birthday party, I was in very bad shape. I called my mother and told her I would not be at church tomorrow. I do not want to go anywhere, do anything. I am tired of everything. I told my daughter she could get the dishes. Fix her own breakfast in the morning, fix lunch and dinner for us. Also, said I wish I had someone to take care of me. What about me? Yes, unselfishly, what about me? Oh, the Lord will take care of you. I know that. Do you know that I am not talking about that? I would like to be taken care of and not because I having a melt down, but because we all want to be taken care of in times of trouble by another human being instead of always being that human being who does the “fixing” and taking care of.

~Nikki

Morning Routines: Mind & Spirit

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It started Wednesday with excruciating foot pain, but if we want to be honest it started way before that. It started with taking on Vocational Bible School when I really didn’t want to and doing most of it on my own with the nitpicking, complaining, and subtle “bitching” of others. Yes, I did use the word bitching and I could have used barking, but IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU AND YOUR COMFORTABILITY right now. I also had little sleep due to the oven light going out which we usually leave on. I discovered it has a shortage. Then the smoke detector went out. There was a power outage in the wee hours one morning on top of a night I was already tossing and turning. I didn’t want to take a sleep aid because…what if the house caught on fire and the smoke detector doesn’t work? (I have anxiety and this how the anxious mind goes into overdrive). I was thinking about all that I had to do. Major issues with my mother and minor ones with my sister. Drama and trauma.

So, I try to sleep better last night and I was irritable before I went to bed. Oh, and someone stole my bank card from church! I tossed most of the night and when I finally woke up it was from a terrible dream.

What am I doing wrong? What is going on here? Good things are happening and all of these inconveniences are also happening like the gnats that seem to have invaded our area. Small and irritating as hell. I had a great therapy session last week. What am I missing?

I am not centered at all. I am not thinking clearly and it is showing up. I have been fearful, angry, and peace-less. Fearful of the future, fearful of walking in purpose and marrying my authentic self to my purpose. Angry at the things said and done by family. Peace-less about a future relationship.  I am overwhelmed by household chores (tired body, achy body, little to no help, and a teen with lazy summer bones) and wanting to have a gathering, but not really wanting to be bothered. I  am missing intentional and thoughtful prayer. Meditation. A morning reading. Yoga. Either one or all of these things would do me a world of good because I need centering every day and sometimes several times during the day. I am missing the voice of Spirit and Self. I am ignoring it. And my body, my mind, is fatigued.

This morning I pulled myself up. Opened to a passage in the book: God’s Healing Power: Finding Your True Self Through Meditation where the above excerpt was pulled. I had breakfast. I watched a food documentary. I still don’t feel well. I wanted an instant fix. I still feel overwhelmed. I wanted energy. This is the beginning, Nikki. The RE-establishing of routine. It’s going to take some time and patience and effort. I think I will read this same passage every morning until…

~Nikki

 

 

Keep Out. Only God & the Experienced Allowed.

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It’s down right ugly the mood I am in. This war in my head and heart after my second hearing this year only to have the judge subpoena more records and a test to prove worsening conditions. I thought we had what he wanted. I thought we had enough. My anxiety was already through the roof and I’d had a panic attack before I even arrived this morning. I thought it was going to be over today. Needless to say, I bolted out of there and cried like I needed to in the car. I am so very tired. Over three years of struggling to survive and to stay sane.

I trusted God as I have throughout this process. It seems as if we were nearing the end. I feel like the rug was pulled away from under me. I feel heavily disappointed. Angry. Pissed. Exhausted. But, not defeated. I feel as I want to pull away from the rest of the world and at the same time I wish someone would console me. But, I don’t want them to see me crying. You know, crying in this world is a sign of weakness to most (NOT ME) and it makes people uncomfortable (NOT ME). In my not so humble but, honest opinion the only reason people feel that way is because they feel weak themselves when they cry and the are in fact uncomfortable with their own feelings.

So, here I am. Weary. Wounded and Sad. But unwilling to stop trusting God for a favorable outcome. I am confused. I don’t know why all of this has happened to me or is happening. I do know I did nothing wrong. It was not because of sin (rolls eyes). It just is a part of my journey. My story. So, as I try to figure out how to keep the lights on, pay for a cavity fill in my insurance doesn’t cover, pay my rent, pay other bills, and STILL be pleasant to others, I have to feel what I am feeling. I have to go through the thicket that has thorns. I remember the sticker bush at parents house and getting knocked into it playing or trying to hide and having to squeeze through it and another bush. No matter how you tried to get around or through it you were scratched up. There is just no way around pain sometimes. Only through it.

~Nikki

 

A Peaceful Saturday: Do Not Disturb

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It’s a chilly Saturday morning here in Memphis. Most of the snow has melted and patches of ice are still hanging on for dear life. It’s partly cloudy and my daughter is at her dad’s for the weekend. It’s a quiet morning for the most part and I don’t want to be troubled about anyone’s troubles today. I have had a very long and painful week that started last Sunday. I had oral surgery Monday. Tuesday the neighbors pipes busted…and wait…I don’t want to go on about this week. However, I did just get off the the phone with a person, whom name is being withheld to protect the guilty, on how they have these mountains of a problems today (two), which has greatly (not even barely) inconvenienced them. I just held the phone. Solved one of their “problems” by asking a simple question and listen to them solve the other. You know, before coffee I just don’t want an earful of woes.

At some point of a roller coaster week you have to get off. You have to carve out not just a moment, a minute, but an entire day. 24 hours of leave me alone. 24 hours of this is how the day will go. 24 hours of I can’t help you. 24 hours of I am closed. 24 hours of, sorry, that’s going to rush me, put me in a bind, throw my entire day off. 24 hours of I see your text, message, but I am not answering. I don’t want to think. I want to be quiet. I want to clean. I want to create. I want to eat good food. I want to binge watch. I want to listen to good music. A Do Not Disturb: It’s My Saturday.

Sunday Morning Coffee Musings: Waiting and Doing

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One morning when my daughter was a baby and I was on my way to work, I recall being extremely upset.  I don’t remember what my daughter’s father said or did to make me so upset that early in the morning, but I do remember driving on the expressway fighting back tears and anger. I do remember wanting to wish ill will on him, but holding myself at bay. I remember feeling immense mixed emotions. And I said “I am so angry, I can’t even pray!” Immediately, I heard a voice saying: “I will pray for you.” I wasn’t sure if it was the Holy Spirit or Jesus or an angel. It really doesn’t matter.

Yesterday and this morning I am dealing with depression and some anxiety. It was late when I got up and I laid there and just prayed some. I said, “I just don’t know what to pray anymore as I feel I may say the wrong things out of frustration.” I did not have an appetite yesterday, but ate dinner. I don’t have one today, but I have eaten lunch as I was urged to do in my spirit. I asked the Holy Spirit to pray for me and then I began to do my part. I wait for strength and change of mood and I “do” as much as I can. Yesterday, I could just do the basics and today, I am typing, sharing this with you. I have eaten.

Here is something, the entire time you are in a dark place of depression or anxiety, God is sending you messages. God is in touch with you. It could be the call from a parent, something that makes you laugh, sun on your face, an angel number with a message, a quote, something that you read, things brought to your remembrance…a number of small brief things. Inches of rope in your hope that “This moment too shall pass.” I want to encourage you, and hopefully others that have love ones that have moments like these, to let them wait and do as much as they can. Even if it is very little to you. Encourage them for the simple things. “That’s great you sat outside for a while. That’s good you got something down to eat. Eating will give you strength.” You don’t have to run over and slap oil on their heads or pray demons away. Sometimes just waiting with them, praying on your end, and encouraging is enough. My soul is waiting.

~Nikki