2020: More Courage, Self-Control and Joy-June Edition

Have you ever asked God to move you? Well, this past month that is exactly what I asked God to do and he responded.

This month has certainly been filled with courage. On the 14th of June I applied for a job as a mental health blogger. I got an interview and they asked me to send in some samples. The company liked what they saw and asked for two more fresh off the press samples. I sent them in and waited. I did not hear back. Even though I did not get the job I knew that God had something better for me.  A week went by and in my email inbox I got a request from Perkins to come join their three-day career launch testing group. I was excited to do the job. Come to find out I was going to get paid! I learned a lot during the three-day program. I will sit down and write a separate blog post about this event. 😊

In addition to this I had my follow up appointment with my orthodontist. He wants me to continue to wear my retainers full time until July 15. Our goal is to see if my back tooth moves to its proper position. He says if my tooth does not move back into place, and I start having pain then we may have to remove it. I am following the orthodontist’s instructions. I feel that I am making progress, but it is going to take some time.

When it comes to self-control, I have been learning that the more I practice patience the calmer I become. I was having anxiety about reaching my savings goals. It feels like I will never get there. However, little by little I am getting there.

Lastly, when it comes to joy this month was packed full of surprises. I was able to go out with a friend of mine and go thrift shopping. God provided me with an amazing pair of shoes which I was praying for.

On top of this God has connected me with my mother’s family. I have connected with a 2nd cousin who is now my prayer partner and he wants me to succeed with my business. He told me over the phone that even though my business plan may be as big as an elephant keep going step by step. I will get there. He also pointed me to peace when I told him about my father’s side of the family. He told me I can pray for them, but it is up to God to change their hearts. However, it is up to them to act on the change that God has given them. He is right. I can not let the hurt of my father’s family get to me. I can only give it to God and let him do the work.

How was June for you? Let me know in the comments below.

2020: More Courage, Self-Control and Joy-April Edition

April has come and gone in waves. Some days go by faster than others. I must admit that I forgot to write a “2020: More courage, Self-Control and Joy-March Edition” because I lost track of time.

Like the rest of the world, I am staying at home due to the Pandemic. I have found out a lot about myself during this difficult time.

First, I have decided to have more courage. One of the things that this pandemic has taught me is that I deserve health care. I have not seen a doctor since 2016. Even though I have a fear of getting medical care, I have decided that once this Pandemic ends, and the doctor offices open up I have to make an appointment to have a general health assessment which includes blood work. When it comes to courage I really have to learn that God wants me to have peace in my life, to understand that he wants me to let go of my past, and my fears and to know that he has a wonderful life planned for me.

Self-control has been challenging because I have been struggling with setting my financial goals. There are some things I need to buy, but there are also a few things I want to buy. For example, I broke my Phone’s screen last November after my hard drive broke, and I need to replace my phone’s screen. I have been going back and forth with the thought of buying myself a prepaid cell phone plan or staying on my grandfather’s family plan and just fixing my phone. Getting my phone fixed will not be cheap. There are somethings I would like to buy. I would like to buy an Apple watch. However, achieving these “want” goals take time. The things I really need, including my business goals, are most important. I just have to show self-control and save for the most important things first.

One of the things that this pandemic has taught me is to have more joy for what I have. Recently, God has been telling me “to clean out my closet and my room.” Not only is he talking about my physical space, but spiritually as well. I have been using An App called Bible. Within this app you can study different plans. Boy, God sure has been using this App to get my attention! Lately, I have been struggling with my Body Dysmorphia Disorder and God used  two different plans  one called “How God See’s you” And “Get Out Of Your Head” to get my attention that the way I look is the way I am meant to be. God wants me to focus on him and on reaching my goals that he has set for me instead of having anxiety take over me. God has also used another plan called “How To Forgive Someone Who Hurt you Deeply.” For years I thought that my feelings had to a line so that way I could forgive my father for not wanting to be a part of my life. The plan went on to explain that forgiveness and feelings do not have to line up to forgive someone. It is okay to feel hurt, but it is better to let go of the hurt and to forgive the person who has hurt you. Dad, if you ever get a chance to read this know that I deeply want a relationship with you. You are always welcome to reach out to me at any time.  I am working on processing and forgiving you. I am no longer angry at you. You are forgiven. One of my friends put it to me this way, “As long as we have breath there is hope for a relationship.” That is a great thing. Letting go of my hurt has helped me find joy in my life. As I dive into these plans, I am working on letting go of the negative things in my life. That has brought me peace.

How was April for you? What goals did you achieve this month? Tell me in the comments below.

 

 

 

The Pandemic and My Hurt Tooth

This Pandemic has been all over the news and I have been having some anxiety. One of the ways that I deal with anxiety is I clinch and grind my teeth at night.  On the 22 of March, I bit into my night guard hard. It hurt and I had a concern that I had broken my tooth.  I really didn’t want to increase my chances of catching the virus by visiting the dentist. I waited a few days to see if the pain would subside. It didn’t. I made the brave decision to go to the dentist.

On the 25, when I got to the office, there were only a few cars in the parking lot. My grandpa decided to wait in the car until I was ready to check out. When I approached the door there was a large sign that read: Knock to be let in. This was due to the pandemic.

Once I checked in at the front desk, I was given paperwork to fill out. I looked around at the small lobby. It was empty.  Because of my visual impairment I had to ask for assistance to help me fill out the paperwork.

As I was filling out the paperwork I was so scared; I was shaking because not only was I fearful of catching the  Corona virus, but I was also fearful of having to get extensive dental work that would be accompanied by a large bill. The dental hygienist was kind to me, as she explained what would happen during the procedure.

When the dentist came in, he appeared to be already dressed in his Covid-19 attire, which included a thick gown, gloves and a mask.

He seemed rushed to get on with the exam. He didn’t really introduce himself. He just quickly asked me to open my mouth, and then he looked with a mirror and a poky tool. He told me that my tooth wasn’t broken; however, I needed to see my orthodontist because my teeth shifted. To keep your teeth from further damage, I also needed a new night guard and a new retainer.

Since I also suffer from body image disorder, my heart sank because I felt ugly due to the change in my teeth.

That same day I tried to make an appointment to see my orthodontist. However, due to the pandemic, he would not be available for consultation until May. But I was able to see a technician at his office, who gave me a new retainer.  The technician didn’t really have any advice to give me to help with my clenching and grinding other than to get a new night guard from Walmart. This advice added to my anxiety because I wasn’t sure if it would work, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to see my orthodontist until May.

When I went to Walmart to buy another night guard, I noticed how the people moved quickly and seemed standoffish.  Interestingly enough, the shelfs in Walmart were filled of supplies even though the shelf’s in other stories in my area were empty due panic buying because of the pandemic.  I grabbed my guard, checkout and went home.

A few days later, I have learned that by not watching as much news on the pandemic the anxiety I have felt has gotten better.  I hope that the pain will go away even further were I will not have to see my orthodontist in May.  How are you coping with anxiety during this time?

The Time I Overcame

This is a new story series! The Time I overcame…. The first story comes from Ailsa.  I hope everyone likes this new series. Take it away, Ailsa.

Hi everyone, I am Ailsa, and I am the proud owner of Brains on Wheels. Brains on Wheels is my personal blog, where I write about my experiences surrounding my disabilities. I would like to thank Amanda for letting me write for her blog…

Today I would like to talk about how proud I am to have achieved my English GCSE at a grade 3.

In England, we have an education system where people who are 14 – 16 take exams called GCSEs, which stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education. Genually, pupils around 16 years of age take their GCSEs. As far as I am aware, and in my experience, most GCSEs consist of coursework and exams. Some have more than one piece of coursework, some have more than one exam. It all depends on the subject

In June 2013, I took my GCSEs. I took all of the core (required) subjects; English, Mathematics, ICT (I got the highest grade in ICT), and combined Science (Biology, Chemistry and Physics). I chose to take one other subject: Health and Social Care. I sat each exam, I have double the amount of time to complete each paper. Everything went well in my exams, I am proud of my grades.

For the English exam, there were three components to make up the final grade; Controlled Assessments, also known as coursework, Speaking and Listening, and one written paper. I did all three parts.

In all my exams, I am aloud up to 100% extra time because it takes me longer to read and get my thoughts written down. I am also entitled to a reader, a scribe (writer) and rest breaks. It took me about five hours to complete my English exams! I made it! From analysing and comparing texts, to writing a short narrative, I did the lot. Five hours later, I was absolutely exhausted!

Then came Results Day. I went all the way back to my senior school, which was Portchester Community School to collect my GCSE results. When I arrived, first of all I had a quick natter with my friends, and met up with the LSA I had helping over the five years I was at the school. I took my results envelop and opened it… All of my results were as expected, apart from one subject: English.

Back then GCSE grades went from A* (which was the highest) to the lowest grade of G. U was ungraded.

I was predicted to get a D in English at school. When I looked at my English grade, the paper said that I got a G. On the paper, it had the grade broken down into three sections: Coursework, the Speaking and Listening, and the exam. I had marks for the coursework and the Speaking and Listening exam, but they had my result for the paper marked as 0!

I was so upset with this! English has always been one of my strongest subjects and to go through this was horrible. After a lot of conversations between my mum, school, the exam board and I, we found out that the exam board had lost the paper with my answers written on. We were all incredibly angry about this. The rules say that if the exam boards lose someone’s paper, they have to give the candidate their predicted grade. The exam board announced that they had “found” my paper and gave me an F. To this day, all of us think that they never found my paper, and they didn’t want to give me my predicted grade, so they just picked any old grade to give me.

Anyway, when I was about to start, the staff at my college (UK) said that if I didn’t get a grade C or above, they would help me to get a higher grade. I can’t remember when, but when I asked about re-sitting my English GCSE, they refused to give me the opportunity on the grounds that I wasn’t working at the appropriate level. They also said that I “wouldn’t be able to cope” in a mainstream class, even though I went through mainstream schools. This made me extremely angry, and even more determined to prove them wrong.

We made a deal that if I passed Level 1 and 2 Functional Skills English, I could then re-sit my GCSE. Functional Skills English has never been practical for me because the writing part has to either be hand-written or typed on a computer. Even though I am able to use a computer with my feet, when I get stressed or emotional, my mussels refuse to function effectively. As a result, I couldn’t type very well or quickly and before I knew it, my time was up. Straight away I knew that I didn’t write enough to pass. I took this exam twice, and the second time around, I passed!

They finally allowed me to join a GCSE English class after passing Level 1. I did well in the classes, but the college still would not let me take the GCSE. I took the class for two or three years before I was allowed to take the exam. I watched lots of other students; my peers gearing up for their exams, knowing that I wasn’t going to be taking the exam with them.

By the time I was put in to do the GCSE English exam, in 2018, the system had changed completely. The grades changed from A* to G, to 1 to 9. I had to learn a new set of skills for this exam, which wasn’t that bad, but it was still annoying. I was just lucky that I had a fantastic teacher!

The good thing about the exam changing is that it was a shorter exam. I still got double the time take the written exam, but because it was shorter, it was easier. I still did the Speaking and Listening exam with the same amount of time as the rest of the people doing this exam though.

When I came out of my last exam, I was so excited and proud of myself for doing it that I screamed at the top of my lungs. One of the things that I said was “in your face!”, I know that was a bit childish, but I don’t really care because I waited so long to do it. I just want to thank the people who believed in me and gave me the chance to do this. It really was an amazing feeling!

It just goes to show that you should believe in yourself and you should never take ‘no’ for an answer. If you want something that much, you should fight for it!

Thank you for reading this blog post, I hope that you have enjoyed reading about my achievement! Feel free to visit my blog, subscribe and follow me on Social Media…

Brains on Wheels (blog) – http://ailsas.wixsite.com/brainsonwheels

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How I’m coping with the COVID-19 virus

I have seen and heard many reports about the COVID-19 virus that is spreading over the world. I feel sorry for what has been happening and I have been praying for a cure for some time.

So far things are normal for me. I am continuing to write and think of new ideas as I stay at home to help do my part in fighting the virus.

I feel that keeping busy has helped me with the anxiety I have been feeling about the pandemic. I been keeping myself occupied by reading An Irish Country Family by Patrick Taylor. In addition to that, I have been keeping up with my blog posts, edited my book, and producing my YouTube videos.

In my spare time, I have been watching a variety of shows on Netflix. I have been watching a lot of cartoons from Looney Tunes to Garfield.

I have been doing my regular chores, such as laundry, dishes, and yardwork.

Whenever I get anxious about the virus, I find that talking with friends on social media helps to alleviate it. My anxiety is more heighten at nighttime for some reason. To help with this, I play rainstorm sounds on my Alexa device, and I run my essential oil diffuser.  I love the scent of lavender; it helps me get a good night’s sleep.

If we all pull together and do our parts, hopefully we will be successful in this fight against this virus.

What have you been doing to keep yourselves busy while we are told to stay home?

 

Remembering my mom and feeling thankful for my grandpa

“I love you mom,” I said as I stood as a panicked sixteen-year-old standing in the living room. “I love you too, Amanda,” my mom said. Those were the last words that my mom said to me before she died from a sudden massive heart attack. The days and weeks to follow seemed to come in waves all in a blur. I had to work through my grief. It was a tough road, but one thing I have learned from all of it is I can enjoy and be thankful that I am able to look back at the sixteen years I had with my mother and smile. Days of fishing, dancing and cooking in the kitchen. These are the memories that I cherish the most.

It has been 15 years since my mother died, and in that time frame I have grown. My mother has missed seeing me go off to college, graduations, and many happy and sad days in-between. There are days when I wake up and I wish I could just sit down and have a cup of coffee and talk to my mom.  I hope as I write this, she is looking down on me from heaven and she is smiling at the young woman I have become.

After my mother died my grandparents took over my care. They have fed, clothed, and provided treats for me. Even though my grandmother died in 2018, I am still thankful for all the help that she provided. Now it’s just my grandpa and I. He continues to provide for me while I work on my freelancing career. He has provided food, clothing, shelter and more. I am thankful that he helped me fight for the education I received at The University of West Florida. After college, my grandpa could have sent me on my way after continuously looking for employment. He hasn’t given up on me. I can’t thank him enough for helping me grow into the young woman I am today.

On the anniversary of my mother’s death I sit with my grief and I miss my mother. I also rejoice in the fact that she is with Jesus, and one day I will meet her again in Heaven. Sometimes I look back at all the things that my grandpa has provided for me and I can not express enough gratitude. Like in years past I will treat him to lunch. I am not sure yet where we will be dining, but I am sure it will be great.

My favorite Valentine’s Day gifts I’ve received as a child

Valentine’s Day doesn’t really mean a lot for me. That’s because I have not been in a serious relationship, and my parents didn’t really make a big deal out of the day. As I think back to all of the Valentine’s Days, I had with my parents one particular comes to mind. I had come home from school, and we had this tall entertainment center. I happened to look up and saw a NSYNC board game. “What’s that?” I asked as I pointed. “I told you she would find her gift,” my step-dad said. My mother sighed. “Just give it to her early.” she said. My step-dad reached up and got the game for me. I put my backpack down and bolted for my room.

I was so obsessed with the band. I had all of their CD’s, a few posters around my room, and I finally had the board game that I had been asking for. I quickly took off the lid. I looked at the many pieces and quickly tried to read the instructions on how to play the game. Come to find out you needed three or four players to play the game. This made my heart sink as I am an only child. So, I got down on the floor and started to play the game by myself.

The next day my parents gave me some candy. Even though I had found one of my gifts early I still enjoyed the game.

I had another gift from my step-dad. He knew that I loved my Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game. So, since I was getting so good at the game he went and he made me a custom park for me. I remember enjoying the game, and playing it for hours.

What has been one of your favorite Valentine’s Day gifts or memories? Tell me in the comments below.

I hope each and every one of you have a happy Valentine’s Day!