Lost Prayers

How many of you have some praying mothers and grandmothers out there?  Like you know, that you know, that you know, they were praying because of the situations in life you knew you shouldn’t have made it out of, you did.  It’s like you felt them praying in the moment or just this feeling you got afterward. 

The bible says, the prayers of the righteous availeth much. Well, the prayers of a mother availeth much too! And I’m so thankful for those prayers.  They weren’t lost on me.  They found their way to me when I needed them the most.  

Do you remember any prayers prayed over you as a child that made absolutely no sense at the time? But as you got older and started experiencing life, it was like a light bulb went off and you were like, that’s what she meant!

It’s kind of like when your parents were about to beat you as a child and they would say, this is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you and you look at them sideways like, really?  How is this possibly going to hurt you, I’m the one getting beat.  And if it’s going to hurt you so much, we can forego this form of punishment.  But they don’t.  You hurt…they hurt…supposedly…we all hurt. 

But it wasn’t the physical pain your mom was referring to, it was emotional.  She knew that if you spare the rod, you spoil the child.  She was trying to teach you that there are consequences for your actions.  Of course, she didn’t want to see your feelings hurt or see you cry but she also knew the consequences that the world would give are a lot less forgiving.  

What about when your mom would constantly ask if you’re in two rooms at once, you say no and her response is, well then why are all these lights on? 

Or you leave a room and when you go back the light is off.  This was so irritating as a child but now, now that I’m paying bills, I get it.  I would read in the dark if I could.    

These are only two examples, I’m sure you can think of many more.  But what about those prayers, you remember any of those?  Prayers that were lost upon you at the time because you had no context, but now they ring so true.  

Two prayers I can remember specifically were actually prayers the pastor at the church I attended as a child would always say.  I’m paraphrasing but it went a little something like this, “I thank God for giving me the activity of my limbs and being clothed in my right mind”.  

I would hear this part of the prayer every Sunday and it was as common as saying, ‘Amen’ at the end of a prayer.  I didn’t understand it and could remember thinking, that doesn’t make any sense. Oh but today, it makes so much sense and means so much more.  

It’s not until you’ve been threatened with someday not having the activity of your limbs do you understand this prayer.  I pray this prayer with so much conviction because of what it means to me…it’s personal.  

When I was first diagnosed with MS I knew very little about the disease, but what I did know was the possibility of the loss of mobility one day.  This was and is a tough pill to swallow so you better believe I was praying that with a sense of urgency.  

And being clothed in my right mind…there are many times in which I could have starred on an episode of Snapped on Lifetime.  Well, maybe not Snapped, but there have been times when I was pushed to the edge and it was only by the grace of God that I didn’t tip over. 

Have you ever seen someone out of their mind? Like personally interacted with a person literally out of their mind.  I have, and it’s not pretty and a bit scary.  It will definitely have you thanking God for keeping you in your right mind.  

Life has a way of taking you places you would have never imagined you’d be and these “lost prayers” have a way of making an appearance and creeping up right when you need them the most.  

I’m thankful for the lost…and found prayers.  They have brought comfort to my mind, body, and soul.

Meditate on those prayers and until next time, keep…

Loving. Living. Growing.

Friday FAQS: African Americans and MS

Historically MS was thought to primarily affect Caucasians, particularly those of Northern European descent, but more is being learned about other racial and ethnic populations. Studies of military personnel and subscribers of Southern California Kaiser Permanente healthcare system both indicate a higher incidence (the number of people NEWLY diagnosed with MS within a given period of time) of MS in African Americans than previously thought.

https://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/Who-Gets-MS/African-American-Resources

Grateful, Thankful, Blessed

My cousin sent me a video of former NFL player, Tommie Harris, speaking at the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration event. He told his story of having lost his wife to a brain aneurysm after only 41 days of being married. The audience gasped, as did I. Then he proceeded to say, “Death is a thing that happens in life, it’s not a thing that happens to life.” He admonished everyone to take a deep breath and encouraged everyone to make life count. He stated that as long as you have breath in your body, you can make a comeback.  Or as Andy Mineo put it, you ain’t done, as long as you got breath in your lungs.

Ladies, things happen in life…it’s life, but we have been blessed with the opportunity to not stay stuck and the ability to pivot and make a change at any moment.

Life is not always easy, hell, it can be downright hard and can even suck at times.  But don’t allow that to stop you. You have dreams waiting for you to dream. A purpose waiting for your attention and a life waiting for you to live.

Try to avoid the convenience of burying these things with your disappointments and find a way to still be grateful for what God has placed in your hands. Even something as simple as a phone, with a data plan, allowing you to read this, be thankful for that!

I digress.

So how many of you heard of Newton’s Third Law which states, For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Well, let’s use this premise in our life. For every negative action, let’s choose a positive and opposite reaction. 

For instance,

You may have lost your job but you found your purpose. 

You may have lost a relationship but you found yourself. 

You may have even lost hope but you gained perspective. 

Things don’t have to align perfectly to think thoughts beyond your situation. We can still “make moves” no matter where we are mentally, physically, or spiritually. I mean, look at Paul in the Bible, he started a revival in prison. And Isaac Wright Jr., a man who was wrongfully convicted on drug charges and became a paralegal while in prison. He helped overturn the wrongful convictions of 20 of his fellow inmates. You talk about beauty for ashes, this is the textbook definition of what God can do.

But it’s a choice…and the choice is yours.

So today, on the day set aside to give thanks, choose to be grateful, choose to be thankful, and choose to be blessed in each and every situation.  

Loving. Living. Growing.

Inside Voice

A recent Sunday sermon entitled, “Use your Inside Voice” had me thinking.  But first, have you ever told someone this before? Or have you ever been told this before?  No? Maybe not as an adult but I’m sure at some point in your life these words were uttered from your mouth or directed towards you.  It’s typically something you hear a parent say to a child who mostly speaks at one decibel, which is…loud.  But in this case, it’s referring to OUR inside voice.  The voice that, like a child, often speaks loudly, so loudly that it can become a distraction or even cause us to become stagnant.  It’s a voice that can speak contrary to the Words your Father has spoken over you like, 

  1. You are Valuable
  2. Your are Loved
  3. You are Strong
  4. You are Worthy
  5. You are Chosen

And are often replaced with words like, 

  1. I am not valued
  2. I am unlovable
  3. I am weak
  4. I am worthless
  5. I am forgotten

Why is this?  Why is it that the very opposite set of words tend to ring louder in our heads?  

It’s that inside voice.  Which is loud, and can make it hard to hear anything else, but these are the times when we have to be intentional about hearing that one guiding voice.  

Do you remember the story in the Bible where Jesus asked Peter to come out of the boat and walk on water?  Well, Peter was walking on water, one foot in front of the other…until, yes, until he took his focus and attention off Christ and instead focused it on what was going on around him and then began to sink. 

That’s the same thing that happens to us.  We’re good, walking through life skipping until we hit a roadblock…a divorce…a health diagnosis…a job lost and we take our focus off the one who had been guiding us all along.  We choose to listen to a different voice…this inside voice and inevitably begin to sink.  

I did this for years and if I can be truly honest, still do at times.  

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) years ago.  Ya’ll, this took the wind out of me.  I was starting to train for a triathlon and shortly after…this.  Diagnosed with a debilitating disease that has no cure.  Me? What does this mean? Will I be able to have kids? What man would want me? Hell, forget the man, will I still be able to run…walk?  I had so many questions and very few answers.  I soon allowed my inside voice to take over and eventually fell into a state of depression.  

I forgot whose I was, who I belonged to and who I came from.  Prayerfully, God saw this coming and strategically placed people in my life to help me walk through this journey. 

Just like Jesus caught Peter when he began to sink, he will catch us to.  We just have to call out to Him.  And in the times when you don’t have the strength to utter the words, His grace is sufficient.

Remember that!

So although I don’t know what my future holds, I know His voice and I know who holds my future and therefore will keep…

Loving. Living. Growing.

~Forever Trina

Lonliness

Did you know that loneliness can be as bad for your health as smoking?

Having connections with family and friends are good for more than just your social life — strong relationships can protect your heart.

Studies show loneliness can present the same risk of heart disease that smoking does.

Loneliness can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by 30% according to Dr. Ramesh Mazhari, Director of Interventional Cardiology at George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

The risk of social isolation could be as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being obese.

So based on that, it looks like if you have more friends, you may need less pills.

Hmmm…I’m not sure about all that but there’s still something to be said about the impacts of loneliness.

But I digress.

A recent survey by Psychology Today found 47% of Americans feel lonely.

So is making friends really the “cure”? But how do you do that as an adult?

When we were younger it was so much easier to make friends but as adults; it’s definitely become a lot harder. And add social media to the mix, and it makes offline interaction even more difficult.

And as we’re trying to figure out this friend thing, the number of people who are lonely continues to grow, in fact, it has doubled since the 1980s, according to a report by the former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy.

Loneliness also has biological effects.

It can increase the inflammatory markers. Loneliness can directly impact other habits that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Loneliness and social isolation is associated with poor nutrition, poor sleep, poor cooperation with treatment plans … loneliness can lead to depression which, in and of itself, risks cardiovascular disease.

So let’s combat these statistics with some practical avenues such as,

  1. Joining a meetup group
  2. Get involved in your local church or non-profit organization
  3. Joining a running group
  4. Joining an exercise fitness group
  5. Joining a book club

With so many other diseases vying for our body’s attention, don’t let loneliness win.

Until next time, keep…

Loving. Living. Growing.

~Forever Trina

Trick or Treat?

” But I ain’t into trickin’,
just to treatin’
And I ain’t into treatin’
every trick that I’m meetin’

Wreckx-n-Effect

I’m such an 80’s baby and I’m also so super random!  These are the lyrics that popped in my head after reading this scripture, 

“[God]…Guide me away from temptation and doing evil. Save me from sinful habits and from keeping company with those who are experts in evil. Help me not to share in their sin in any way!”

Psalm 141:3-5 TPT

Yeah, please don’t ever try to follow my thoughts, you will get lost.  My thoughts are very much like conversations that I have with my girlfriends where we start ‘here’ and end up ‘there’ and how we got ‘here’ or ‘there’…yeah, trying to trace the steps back only leads us further into an abyss. 

But for fun and since we have time, let’s talk about how I ended up here. Can you guess?

Yup, COVID-19…what a surprise.

I mean, doesn’t everything trace back to COVID these days. My default response to any bad decision is, COVID made me do it. Not to mention “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”. 

This season of waiting and feeling ‘stuck’ has a funny way of leading you down roads you’ve traveled before and already know where they lead.  But yet and still, we insist on scrolling through our phones and checkin on those old friends.  Why do we do this? Why do we insist on “treatin every trick that I’m meetin”?  

Well, primarily because we’re human and we were created for relationship. So allow yourself some grace when those uncharted waters become chartered again. But also be proactive and surround yourself with those girlfriends who will remind you of how messy and dusty that road is and how you got motion sickness on that boat the last time. 

And if nothing else, remember, He’s fine sis, he don’t need you checkin on him! He got groceries. Prime Fresh delivery out in these streets. They good, we good,  He’s good!

Hahaha…but seriously, let’s support each other in this season.  And you can start by coming back next week to talk about some healthy habits that can be developed while we wait out COVID-19.

Until then, keep…

Loving.  Living.  Growing.

~ Forever Trina

Some Type of Way

As I look back over my life and think things over, I can truly say…

“life got me feeling some type of way”

Haha….ya’ll thought I was about to break into Rev. Clay Evans, “I’ve Got a Testimony”, and although I do, right now I want to talk about what’s got me feeling some type of way.

Over the past few years, I’ve been on this journey of wholeness.  I’ve taken an introspective look at why I do (or don’t do) certain things.  I started going to counseling to help process and move forward from things I had been holding onto like fear, past hurts, pain, trust issues, and even feelings of not being loved in the way I felt I should be loved.  This journey to find out why I am the way I am prompted and began to answer questions like, 

  • Why I may cry at something so seemingly trivial?
  • Why I may pop off at the drop of a dime?
  • Why I sometimes didn’t believe in myself?
  • Why I was such an introvert in my younger years?
  • What makes me bold (or not)?
  • Where my self-esteem, self-worth, and self-love resided?
  • Was it internal, external or even eternal? 

Like, what made me tick, and why? And that’s what got me feeling some type of way.  

So yes, I do, in fact, have a testimony like the lyrics in Rev. Clay Evans song suggests.  I have,

  • Vision
  • Passion
  • Dreams
  • Goals
  • Purpose

…all in which encompass my story.  The ups and the downs, the twists and the turns…they all led me here.  

And THAT is why I may pop off or cry or hurt or just feel…emotions. I’ve carried my story for so long, a story, partly written by others and life’s circumstances and a part written through the lens of fear.  But I’m finally taking hold and owning these next chapters.  I hold the pen to the subsequent chapters of my life and I’m allowing God to guide my pen strokes. I am more accepting of my flaws and my weaknesses because I know who holds them in their hands.  And not just that, they are what makes me great, unique, one of a kind, dope!

So I’m not just feeling some type of way but I’m living some type of way…on purpose to allow the light to shine through my broken pieces.  

Forgive me (or not) if I’m overly passionate or extra (as some may say) about a topic…or about…ME.  I’ve come a long way to get HERE and I have no intention of turning back.  

And that’s what I desire for you ladies.  Take hold of YOUR story, whatever it may be, and own it, live it, write it.  It may be messy but some of the best things can be birthed through it.  

You should absolutely feel some type of way, bothered, slighted, offended when someone calls you anything less than a child of God or when life shows you anything less.  

God is the author and finisher of your faith…your story.  Allow God to guide your pen as you continue writing your way to wholeness. 

Loving.  Living.  Growing. 

~ Forever Trina

Stay Calm…

Don’t worry, don’t fear, the ten ways to date during the COVID-19 social distancing mandates is here! Whew, that’s a mouthful!

So yes, Singles, you don’t have to put finding love on hold for 3-6 months.

And couples, you don’t have to put finding love [again] on hold either.

You can still date, just now, it’s a little more creative and with intention.

So what is dating? Glad you asked. It’s about gathering data…likes, dislikes, must haves and deal-breakers. Now married couples, hopefully those last two were taken care of before the “I do”…if not…yeah, I have nothing…counseling maybe?

I digress…

So yes, dating! I use to have a sad outlook on this tiresome and somewhat draining phenomenon of my single girl’s life. But my approach was off. I use to go on dates with a mental checklist of, can this be future bae? Now while I still feel that some resemblance of a “list” should be in mind, I also feel it should be a bit more organic. Suppress the butterflies and trust your gut. When you know, you know. It won’t be forced or manipulated into being what it’s not.

But oh those distractions…the noise. The, oh you so fine….

“You so crazy
I think I wanna have your baby
Whatta man, whatta man, whatta man
What a mighty good man
Yes, he is…”

Salt-N-Pepa

Okay so maybe, not all that but you get the picture. Now that brings me to the topic at hand. The very thing that COVID has done for us. Removed the noise, ya’ll. We’re being forced to get to know each other in a way we never had to before. That being said, this does have the propensity to make or break you…so let’s just hope it’s not the latter.

Now onto what you’ve all been waiting for…The List…the 10 ways to still date in this era of COVID-19.

  1. Get fancy and have a virtual dinner date via Zoom.
  2. Watch Netflix together…from your own couch.
  3. A Night at the Virtual Museum….virtual tours are being offered by museums worldwide. Check it out!
  4. Virtual Scavenger Hunt…find ideas for your scavenger hunt online or make up your own.
  5. Host a virtual game night…invite some friends and get competitive!
  6. Virtual Workout…there are so many trainers streaming workouts online…or simply find one on YouTube.
  7. Virtual “Walk in the Park”
  8. Read a book together and discuss
  9. Get a front-row seat to one of the hundreds of artists performing worldwide that you can stream from home.
  10. Have a 90’s music “jam session”…sing together, laugh together, simply reminisce and allow some of your favorite jams to…

Take me to another place
Take me to another land
Make me forget all that hurts me
Let me understand your plan

Arrested Development

Hope this helps…Happy COVID-19 Dating!

Loving. Living. Growing.

~ Forever Trina

Reflection

The lyrics of a new worship song, “Rattle” have been ringing in my ears all week.

“This is the sound of dry bones rattling
This is the praise make a dead man walk again
Open the grave
I’m coming out
I’m gonna live
Gonna live again
This is the sound of dry bones rattling”

Elevation Worship

This is my new anthem…LIVE!

Sunday was Easter and although it looked a little different this year due to COVID, it wasn’t any less impactful.

I reflected on what the resurrection represents and how it can play out in my life.

But before we go any further, let’s take a step back and define, resurrect.

“Revive the practice, use, or memory of (something); bring new vigor to.”

Oxford Dictionary

And while we’re defining things lets also define, reflect.

“Think deeply or carefully about”

Oxford Dictionary

There are certain days that are on the liturgical calendar, like Christmas and Easter or on the regular calendar, like my birthday, that cause me to “think deeply or carefully about”.  These days cause me to reflect on life, my journey and the future. So on Sunday and really even before Sunday, that’s exactly what I did.

When I reflect on the resurrection, so many words come to mind…

  • Revive…dreams.
  • Restore…hope.
  • Regenerate…mission.
  • Revitalize…life.
  • Breathe new life into…me.
  • Reinvigorate…passions.
  • Renew…thought patterns.
  • Relaunch…business ideas.
  • Renovate…my heart.
  • Awaken…my soul.
  • Wake up…dry bones.
  • Re-establish…relationships
  • Renew…vows.

Resurrection is about gaining a new perspective. Letting go of our expectations and holding our life and our plans loosely to allow God to make and shape them to positively move forward.

That said, what are things that you’re holding onto tightly? Could it be a relationship? Unhealthy thought patterns, what your life “should” look like?

What do you need to loosen your grip on and release so you can openly receive and live your best life. 

Reflect on resurrection, what this means and what needs to be accepted before it can ultimately be released.

This new gained perspective will allow you to walk away stronger, wiser and so much better (thank you, Marvin Sapp). 

Live out the resurrection in your life. 

Loving. Living. Growing.

~ Forever Trina

Single and Ready to…

Wait, are you serious right now?


A girlfriend of mine sent me a meme the other day…

“Me: I think I’m ready to date again…

The universe: Oh yeah? 

*releases worldwide virus preventing all human interaction*

Me: Well played”

COVID-19, you’re killin me right now…at least in regards to this.  

So what CAN I do?

Honestly, this kind of reminds of the Netflix serious, “Is Love Blind?”, where men and women date through a wall with the hopes of finding meaningful emotional connections outside of the physical.  Now, I’m gonna be real with you.  It took me a while to watch this.  I thought this was the dumbest thing ever and I thought they were kind of biting off one of my favorite shows, “Married at First Sight”, and  I refused to cheat on my show.  But again, COVID-19 won, I was sucked in and even came out with a couple crush…Lauren and Cameron.  They are so stinkin cute!

Now, I will say that the beginning was still a bit ridiculous.  Guys and girls, crying and saying “I love you” after only a couple of days of “dating” and still haven’t seen each other.  Crazy!  But once I got past those episodes…I was officially cheating on “Married at First Sight”.

I digress.

So how do you date in this season???

Check me out next week for some social-distancing date ideas!

Loving.  Living.  Growing.

~ Forever Trina