“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”- Exodus 20:12
God commands children to honor their father and mother- for me that also means honoring those who have stepped in to take her place. My mother died, from a heart attack, when I was just sixteen. Mother’s Day is a day to sit back and reflect on the memories that I had with my mother. My mother and I enjoyed fishing, cooking together, playing video games, and just spending time together. She taught me many lessons like being thankful for what we had, to work hard when I was attending school, and that God would take care of me.
One of the last lessons she taught me was that she made a mistake raising me to be fearful. We were at Fort Pickens and we were going down some stone steps that did not have any handrails. I was worried about falling and I did not want to go down. My grandma was also worried about me falling. My mother wanted me to focus on looking out while stepping down instead of watching my feet. She knew that I needed experience with different textures due to my visual impairment. I made it down the stairs. That night my mother and I talked about the day. She told me something along the lines of, “Amanda, I am sorry that I raised you to be fearful. I shouldn’t have done that. I want to help you to be more confident.” After this conversation she started to work on that, however in February she died.
One of the last things I said to my mother before she died was “I love you.” Those words are words I cherish in my heart.
After she died my grandparents took over my care. My grandparents said they would provide everything they could for me as long as they are able. Both my grandparents have kept their promise.
Even though my grandma is no longer here she taught me many lessons. One of those lessons is not to let fear and worry consume me. My grandma worried about everything. Her health, the dog, etc. Now I am trying to live worry free.
So this mother’s day I will be thinking about the women who have helped me become the woman I am today.
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
This month was a rocky one. I am glad that May starts a fresh Chapter.
Life has been up and down just like a roller coaster. I am excited for October because I have a big trip planned. Sometimes I wish it were already here, however I know I must be patient. My editor and I have been working hard on my Nystagmus book. I have a few more things to add to my book then my editor and I will review it one more time before it is published. I had a meeting with my graphics designer, and we have a potential book cover. I cannot wait for my book to be in my hands.
I have been working on training my dog Duke. We have been working on come and on how to heel nicely and ignoring other dogs while he is walking. He is improving. Last year, Duke got into two fights with two other dogs. It really scared me because I did not know what to do. Luckily, the owners of these two dogs were able to brake up the fights and no one was hurt. Since then, I have been scared to take Duke on a walk because I do not know if a loose dog will run up on us or not. This caused me to be afraid and because of this I have not been walking Duke. My friends and family have been supportive of me taking Duke on short walks. I have my treat bag. When he heels next to me and focuses on me rather than distractions, he gets a treat. Because of our hard work both of us have been losing the weight that we have gained during lockdown. I feel happier and healthier.
Life comes with excitement and disappointment. Two weeks ago, I had a frustrating day. Finding out that my state Identification card may or may not be accepted in certain places-depending on the company’s policy is really irritating. Not finding a replacement shirt made me sad. However, I am thankful that God did show me to be thankful in all situations.
I had some peace during this month. God showed me how to have peace in my heart with words. My grandpa and I were working out in the yard, and a young man yelled out the window for him to “Move it ***.” My grandpa just kept walking. I asked him if he had heard what the young man had said. He said no. I told him. He told me that it is better to keep walking than get angry.
God showed me his goodness by connecting me with other Christians. My friend, Andrea told me to keep writing for the Lord no matter what my numbers on my blog may be. I also met another Christian, who is a financial advisor who reminded me to keep running the race for Christ and to give when I can, no matter if it is with time or money, God can use it for his glory.
This Friday, I went to the local mall for a few hours. I enjoyed my time there. I got a birthday card for my grandpa, and a worry stone and some candy for myself. My grandpa and I had lunch together at Red Robin. We both had fish for our main course. We had fried pickles for an appetizer. I treated myself to a chocolate milkshake. It really hit the spot.
God reconnected me with Kayleigh. Years ago, she sowed the seed that led me to Jesus. Praise God!
How was April for you? Tell me in the comments below.
“They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their bitter words like arrows.”- Psalm 64:3
Have you ever had someone say something mean to you and it made you cry? I sure have. The past few days I have had trouble in my heart because my heart is filled with pain from hurtful things people have said to me in the past. I just cannot seem to get rid of the pain. Let me give you an example.
Last October, I texted a friend of mine to let her know about my tooth ache and the fact that I might have needed surgery to fix my jaw. I do not know what was wrong with her that day, but during my appointment she started to speak cruelly to me by saying things like, “Who is going to pay for it? Your grandfather is not going to live long and once he dies you will be homeless. You only get twenty dollars a week. You do not know how much it costs to live independently. Your writing is not that good, and you’ll never make it to England. Furthermore, you have bad hygiene because you do not shave.”
Text after text I tried to explain that I walk in God’s grace every day, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) I also explained that if God wants me to go to England, then he would provide a way. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
As far as the bad hygiene, I was having an allergic reaction to my razor. My nurse advised me to take a week off in between to let my legs heal from the swollen welts that would form on my legs.
Even though she came back to me the next day and apologized to me, I still carry the hurtful words in my heart.
When I share my story about living with my grandpa, many people either imply or outwardly call me stupid or poor. I have a college degree that I am learning to be thankful for, and I am not poor by choice. I believe that God is using the loss of my mother and living with my grandpa for a reason. I may not know what the reason is, but it is to teach me something for sure. Perhaps, I can learn something from the Apostle Paul when he said, “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
Here is another example of hurtful words. I recently bought an Amazon Echo. I needed to upgrade from the one I currently have because my 2nd generation Echo was going bad. The device was not responding to me, and the sound quality was getting worse. A friend blessed me with a gift card from Amazon, and because I had some money left on it, I found that there was a sale on the Echo devices. I was happy to get this upgrade because I use it for work. My aunt’s response was why did I need to update it, and she was shocked that my device was only two or three years old. When my aunt asked why I needed to update my Amazon Echo, I felt as though she was criticizing my purchasing decisions. I think carefully before purchasing items to determine if it is the best choice.
As you can see many words have entered my heart and have hurt my heart and I think about them often.
Words can also hurt others. Yesterday, as my grandpa and I were cleaning the yard, a young man yelled at my grandpa, “Move you ****” I walked up to my grandpa after this offense and asked if he was okay. He told me that he did not hear what the young man said, I told him. My grandpa just continued to work. While I was working, I felt anger. I felt it and then let it go. After we finished working, I asked grandpa about the incident, He told me that the young man was probably trying to show off to his friends and it is better to let it go and continue to work. He was right. Later, I told my best friend about it and she agreed. God is showing me through my Grandpa’s response, that words do not have to hurt.
Instead of hurtful words, I wish more people would take the bible’s advice when it comes to speaking, “Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” (Proverbs 16:24)
“Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16
I am not going to lie, as I am writing this, I feel so frustrated with how my day has been going. This morning I woke up to the sound of thunder and hard rain. According to the local weather forecast it was going to rain for most of the day. The sky was dark and gloomy, and I had a hard time waking up and getting my day started.
After a quick breakfast, my grandpa and I headed into town. We had four places that we were going to go to: bank, Walmart, the local DMV and Publix. I had three transactions that I had to do. Because of my visual impairment it is often hard for me to see my bank account number and for me to sign my name on the signature line. I took my time signing my name and copying my account information down. The lady at the counter was kind and patient. I soon had everything taken care of and now all I must do is my bookkeeping for my accounts.
When we went to Walmart, I really wanted to get a replacement Blessed Girl shirt. I got a new shirt to wear for my vacation, but Duke jumped on me and made a hole in it. I tried to repair it, but instead of fixing it I accidentally burnt my shirt with an iron while I was trying to patch it. I found out that they only had one shirt at Walmart left. When I got there, I looked and looked. Come to find out the shirt I wanted to replace was out of stock. I had to get another shirt instead. I was disappointed because instead of being thankful for the shirt that I found, I went straight for some candy and soda to numb my sadness.
Next, I headed over to the local DMV to get my ID checked. If you do not know the back story I recently traveled to Maryland for vacation, and on my way back, my ID did not want to scan. I was able to get through security, but the guard suggested I get my ID checked. The man at the check in counter was nice, however I would have had to wait four hours to have it checked. I am going to have to come back another day. I really was hoping that I could get the issue resolved.
The last stop I had to make was to our local Publix. My grandpa and I picked out a few groceries, and a sandwich to enjoy for lunch. I had a craving for soup to go along with my sandwich, however I knew that we had chips at home. So, I did not ask. I enjoyed my lunch including my candy bar and soda.
Looking at my blog post now I can see the small blessings that God provides for me every day. Sometimes you must stop and ask yourself am I really being thankful and praising Jesus or am I letting the small frustrations of life get in my way?
Two weeks before my monthly period I start to feel like I am changing. I start feeling more sensitive. I start to feel happy one minute then sad the next. Sometimes I start crying for no reason. On top of the mood changes I experience physical changes such as tender breasts, bloating, and fatigue. Once my period starts, I have two days of cramps and heavy flow then the symptoms stop, and I have a week of no issues at all.
I thought that this cycle, that would repeat itself month after month, was normal. Come to find out, during a therapy session, in 2015, that she thought that my depression and mood swings was caused by a medical condition called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.
According to womenshealth.gov, “Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorderis a health problem that is similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) but is more serious. PMDD causes severe irritability, depression, or anxiety in the week or two before your period starts. Symptoms usually go away two to three days after your period starts.”
At first, I did not know much about PMDD or that I really had it, so I started doing my own research. I found out that I had many of the symptoms of PMDD. Some of the symptoms a person can experience, according to womenshealth.gov are: “…Lasting feelings of irritability or anger, feeling sad or feeling anxiety, feelings of mood swings and crying often, low energy, etc.”
I started to pay attention to my body, and I soon realized that my physical and emotional symptoms would soon end after I would finish my period.
When I was in therapy in 2015, I did not want to try birth control because I knew that my body reacted much better to natural resources such as exercise and adding extra vitamin D to my diet. Even with adding this to my routine I still was not feeling better. I continued to have problems. Because I was skeptical of trying birth control and because my therapist thought that she could no longer help me, my therapist ended my sessions in January 2018.
In January of this year, I finally had enough of the tears and pain. After another three weeks of wide range body pain, I decided to ask my current therapist about my symptoms. She agreed that my cycle sounded painful. She referred me back to my nurse. Even though I was hesitant to ask for birth control because I had rumors of weight gain and I feared having to have a pelvic exam, I finally asked my nurse for help.
My nurse was kind as she listened as I described my physical symptoms which included cramps, body pain, and acne. During my visit I emphasized that I had emotional symptoms which included depression, mood swings and lack of energy.
We went through the checklist of the benefits versus the risks of taking birth control. She and I both agreed that trying birth control would help me with PMDD.
During my first month of using birth control, I had headaches, aches and pains and leg pains. My period was the same. However, my emotions felt more controlled. At my follow up my nurse reassured me that the aches and pains I have been having should calm down as I continue to take it. I will continue my birth control unless I need to stop it. I hope that things improve.
Author’s note: I am not a medical professional. I am just sharing my own personal experiences. If you are concerned about your physical or mental health please seek proper medical care.
March went by so quickly and it was definitely filled with Life, Peace and Goodness.
Learning to live life boldly is one of my goals for the year. I often find myself backing out of things because of anxiety. This month I celebrated that life can be amazing. I celebrated my 33rd birthday at the beginning of the month. It feels so good to sit back and reflect on how far I have come since I was a sick infant. I know that I am lucky to live a full life without many medical conditions. I know that many children born prematurely need extra help often beyond what I am getting.
In addition to that I went to Maryland on a two-week vacation to visit a friend. I got over my fear of flying and I enjoyed the four flights that I went on. Everyone at the airports were kind and helpful. I enjoyed spending time with my friend. We cooked for each other, went on long walks, went shopping, enjoyed bible study, and visited his family and friends.
During most of the month I had peace. I took a step of faith when I started saving for my trip. I was blessed during the trip and I did not have to worry about financial struggles. When I first started my trip as I was boarding the plane, I felt the Holy Spirit remind me of the verse, “So do not fear; for I am with you; do not be dismayed; for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 4:1
Grandpa took care of my dog while I was gone. Duke was a good boy while I was gone. Funny thing was, when I returned home, he walked up to me, wagged his tail, sniffed me, and walked away… It was like he was more worried about getting a French Fry instead of greeting me. I also did not have much mail. I was worried about getting a lot of mail while I was gone.
I have been seeing God’s blessings during the whole month of March. My God is amazing. I have been praying about getting baptized since I received Christ as a teenager. Once, during one of my bible studies, I asked my friend Matt if he would baptize me. He agreed. One year later, on March 15,2021 at Grace Baptist Church I stood publicly for Christ. My baptism was everything I wanted.
How was March for you? Tell me in the comments below.
I recently was in Maryland for a two-week vacation. During that time, one of my most cherished moments was my baptism. I accepted Jesus when I was a young teenager, and I asked, my friend, Matt if he would baptize me during one of our Facetime Bible studies. He agreed, and we both started praying and asking God to provide the right time for us to meet and for us to do the ceremony.
During the time of writing my part of the ceremony I reflected on my journey with Jesus. He has brought me through so much such as the loss of my mother, grandmother, dog, and my eating disorder. Even though I have faced so many challenges Jesus has taught me that according to 2 Corinthians 5:17, “…Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
The night of my baptism demonstrated to other believers that I accepted God’s gift of eternal life. When I went under the water that represented the death that Jesus took for our sins, and when I came out of the water that represented his resurrection.
My baptism was everything that I wanted it to be. I would like to thank the congregation of Grace Baptist Church for allowing us to use their facilities. Ken, Marttah and Curt for helping set up the event, and Matt Harris for baptizing me.