A Heartfelt Promise

IMG_1691Today, we’ve officially been in Europe for two months… You can’t even imagine how hard the past two years have been for me, my faith and my ability to believe that God not only heard my prayers, but would answer them.

I’ve faced an incredible amount of rejection, not from haters as many may call it, but from those closest to me. People who saw the depths of the trials I’ve endured and somehow taken joy out of it. I’ve not only seen the doubt manifest in their attitude towards me and their faces, but in their not so private conversations about me that all come ringing in my ears when someone was upset or wanted to make sure I knew just how highly the people closest to me truly thought about me. Then there was the people who openly admitted that they couldn’t understand how someone with my intelligence and education, could be so stupid, so irresponsible and so negligent. I’ll have to admit that I doubted my own ability to hear God’s voice. I couldn’t figure out why every time I had an opportunity to move forward something always managed to snatch me back to a lower depth. I’ve gone from teaching women in lower income housing, to relying on lower income housing. I went from empowering others to pave their own way and not accepting hand outs, to looking for handouts in public housing, welfare and free programs for children. I went from giving my car to friends and family when they needed it, to being the one who needed a lift or walked everywhere. I’ve competed and won all my life and somehow the biggest challenge has consistently left me facing failure, life.

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Creating my vision journal for 2015

Just over a year ago, I thought about having an abortion, booked the appointment and decided last minute that I couldn’t go through with it. I thought about all the plans I had in my life, the things I haven’t done, the goals that were left unaccomplished and asked myself how could I bring another child into this world? What type of life would I be able to provide him or her? Wouldn’t it be cruel to bring a child in a life full of so much instability? I wondered if my son would suffer by me being the sole provider and now having to provide for another person. My relationship with many in my immediately family has been volatile to say the least. I knew there would be very limited support of me having another child, but the same amount of scrutiny if I went through with the abortion. Who was I kidding having a child with my unstable life and so much self-doubt. Knowing that I would be a single parent to him or her because this child was not made in love or commitment, but one single moment of lust. The most interesting part of my decision making process was that it was the men in my life (who were not connected to the child) but saw something in me that needed this child and encouraged me to keep the baby and to not abort because they saw it as a blessing. I decided to not go through with the abortion when I realized that I couldn’t allow my selfish desires, unmet goals and doubt to allow me to kill a dream that I had for so many years; just because the dream didn’t come my way.

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At a theater camp for Daniel, a few weeks after my prenatal sickness had ended

I had traveled from Florida, to Atlanta, to New York (appearing on the Dr. Oz show), back to Altanta and then to Kansas not knowing that I was pregnant. I was so out of myself one month into my pregnancy, that I was convinced that I must have been having a nervous breakdown. The only reason I came to Kansas was to admit myself into a mental institution to find out what mental illness had me so mentally drained and left me with no desire to do anything anymore. I stopped working my Paycation Travel business, became a recluse, didn’t do my hair, put on makeup or wear heels. My sister Dawn in Atlanta was an absolute blessing to me during this time in my life. She hated that we left Atlanta, but I know the person that I had become was not healthy for her or my son. Daniel and I took a bus from Atlanta to Topeka. Thank God my sister in law encouraged me to take a pregnancy test, because I was one day shy of my voluntary admission into Valeo, a mental institution in Topeka. I was extremely sick the first four months of my pregnancy and could barely move. Once I gathered the strength I enrolled my son in summer camp, drum lessons and started applying for work. Thankfully, I was hired with Verizon less than a month after applying for jobs.

God has a funny way of forcing me out of a bad situation. A bed bug infestation forced me out of my apartment on public housing after only three months and I stayed with my mom and stepdad for two months. Then I was able to afford to lease a fairly new car, put a down payment for the home I was renting and start buying things for Sasha. While six months pregnant, so determined to not allow my son Daniel to suffer in lack, I worked insane hours until my left foot was so swollen that it was twice the size (due to the damage a blood clot did 9 years prior) and as soon as I got off my feet I couldn’t walk without limping. Enrolled in my first MBA course while 8 months pregnant, I studied during lunch breaks and after 10-12 hour shifts, I went to the local McDonald’s to finish homework assignments and to write papers. I was very grateful for the hard earned A as it taught me a ton about perseverance. It also showed me my real character in the midst of trying times. I always promised myself that I would thank God during my struggles and He blessed my faith and hard work.

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Sasha Skylar as a newborn

I had two months off from work with maternity leave and after my first two weeks of having Sasha, I was back at trying to be there for others while I was still trying to grasp my new life and all it now encompassed. I’ve visited the hospital more times than I would care to mention because of a sick loved one, while I was supposed to be healing from my cesarean. Wanting to embrace my new home, I decorated it as if it was the home I truly desired and not the only place I could afford and would accept me due to poor credit. I challenged myself to visualize what I wanted in a home and made every inch of that place resemble something that I previously envisioned. I made my room a sanctuary, symbolizing purity, everything was all white except for the mahogany furniture, hard wood floors and baseboards. I felt peace every time I entered it and made every inch resemble the new love I had for myself and the respect I showed my body. My family helped me put together the furniture for Daniel’s Tranformer/technology room. I invested into building a little haven for him that resembled some of the great rooms he had in the past.  I made a little haven for us.

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Sasha Skylar a month before we left for Europe

However, life as you have it, always has those moments that were unforeseen, but predictable. Somehow I knew that my child care situation would be unstable, but it was the only one that I could accept. Local daycare had long waiting lists in Topeka, Kansas and for many reasons I just couldn’t leave my daughter with a stranger. So I accepted the temporary and prayed that it could work in the meantime. The meantime ended sooner than expected and I was left with a decision to allow myself to get terminated to possibly qualify for unemployment or resign and hope that my unfortunate situation would allow me to collect unemployment. I chose the latter. However something changed, matter of fact it shifted. I saw a vision of myself living paycheck to paycheck, working hard hours, much older and living an ordinary life that didn’t reflect my dreams, talent or desire for my life. I just couldn’t…. I couldn’t allow myself to be a victim to circumstance and not fight.

As a Certified Travel Professional through Paycation, I knew all the travel tricks, tips and travel hacks. I knew how people were traveling the world for cheap through my strategic observations on social media and reading travel books. I crafted a plan that involved me traveling to Europe with my two children and then eventually relocating to Denver, Colorado. I knew that I would have a sum of money coming to me and I knew that I had a couple of resources available that I hadn’t used. I tapped into them. One area that I’ve always won consistently in is being a very resourceful person when I set my eyes on a goal. I couldn’t just let my temporary situation snatch my dream for myself or my children. There were negative cycles that had to be broken.

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My new and old vision journals with Sasha’s passport

I started selling things that I worked hard for immediately as I’ve never been attached to material possessions. I let go of everything I didn’t need and since I leased my car, I gave it back with no problem. The things I didn’t sell, I gave to the property manager of the low-income housing complex because I know how it is to have nothing and need everything. I kept my mouth shut, because I learned from my failure with China, that you can’t tell dream killers your dreams or people who think they mean you well when they ask “did you really think this through?” My failures might have been terrible, but my accomplishments have been equally fantastic. I started reading a book ‘Calling in The One’ and used it to help me purge self-doubt, thoughts and beliefs that held me captive with fear; preventing me from realizing that I am not who they say I am. I’ve been broke most of my life because I’ve always settled for jobs that were close to who I thought I was or what I thought I could do instead of demanding what I deserved. In that same way, for years, I’ve given advice, tips, strategies and legitimate work away for free instead of capitalizing off of my talent, because subconsciously I didn’t take pride and ownership of my work as an artist. I let go and I moved on to embrace my desire to see the world and earn from my talent.

My worst enemy has been myself. I’ve told myself so many lies about myself through embracing and collecting the negative words of others as if they were the authority of who I truly am. I’ve let a need to help others at the expense of myself thwart me from my dreams every time. I simply couldn’t this time, because I knew that it meant death, if not physical, then spiritual. Once you give up on you, you are dead; because you are not operating in yourself. You’ve turned yourself off and turned someone else’s voice of you on. At that point you let go of you.

I share this snippet of my life today, because a year and a half ago, I planned on killing one of the absolute best things that has come into my life out of fear. Everyday I look at her and I see myself. I see the beauty of my mother and the spirit of someone so beautiful. I picked her name 10 years ago, because when I pregnant with Daniel, I didn’t know if I was pregnant with a girl or a boy, so I picked two names. I thank God for those who fought for Sasha’s life through prayer and encouraged me to keep her.

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Taken in France preparing a course teaching people how to achieve their dreams through strategic use of social media.

I’m in Europe with my two children because I’ve somehow escaped that trap that wanted me to believe that my previous reality was as good as my life would get. I didn’t claim the unemployment because I wanted God to bless my work as an artist and entrepreneur and integrity will take you a long way. I didn’t accept the offer from a previous lover to come live with him while he would take care of me and my kids, because I made a promise to God. Some days my faith is so weak, but I chose God. I may be a horrible example to some daughters in relation to life choices, sex and marriage, but God has created something new in me that says “I’m not who they say I am”. I’ve been celibate for 16 months now and that may be a small feat to some, but to me it’s monumental. I know that my commitment to give everything to God is what brought me here to this place. I made a promise to Him that if He allowed me to keep her, then I would believe that He isn’t done using me yet and that I would cherish my new role as a mother to a daughter. I made a promise to believe in who God created me to be, a woman who uses her life and talent to empower others. While traveling, I’m a freelance writer creating professional resumes, biographies and articles to help people achieve more and to empower others. So I’m not sure if this message is for a woman that’s pregnant and planning an abortion, a woman who has given up on herself, a person who constantly feels as if God hasn’t blessed their talent to help pave the way for them, the family member or friend who is super critical of a loved one or just a person in need of encouragement through a tough time. I thank you for taking the time to read this message and I ask for you to keep us in prayer as we use our faith to design our life in accordance with God’s will.