7 Reasons Why I Love the 4th of July

While most people celebrate the 4th of July for America’s Independence, I celebrate it for entirely different reasons. A few significant things happened to me on this day. I am very grateful because these things affect many other aspects of my life. Here’s why the 4th of July means so much to me. To be fair, America did make the list! 😉

1. America, & The World’s Longest Unmanned Border
I am grateful that I live beside/above the United States of America. I love that we can take day-trips to Buffalo to shop (from the Tdot). I love that we can be Snow Birds to Florida, Arizona or any other warm winter spot. I love that we share so much history with you (although some were through wars! LOL) We do have the world’s longest unmanned border. It means that there is no military at any of our border crossings. To bring it home, no one with a gun is standing guard at the Peace or Rainbow Bridges. That is a great feat. We should be very proud!

2. New Lease on Life #1
My New Life began four years ago today. After strategizing for 156 Days, I finally left a 23-year, verbally abusive marriage. Has it been easy? No! Will I go back? Not a chance! I thoroughly enjoy my new life, challenges and all. I am now an advocate for Domestic Violence. I’m very, very happy that I left when I did. Wished I did it sooner. Grateful that I’ve been given a chance to redesign my future.

3. New Lease on Life #2
For those of you who don’t know it yet, “Children Learn What They Live”. I believe this so strongly that I have put the poem in one of my books, and it’s part of a talk that I give. My daughter followed my example. Thank God, she learned from my mistakes~and her own~ and is living free from abuse as well.

4. My Kids & My Grandson
My kids went through more than any little girls should. They saw their Mother crying A LOT! They stuck by me, giving me hugs and crying along side me on the bad days. I’m forever grateful for the times that we spent bonding in Sista 1’s room, and laughing over silliness. As a result of those times, we can make up the wildest stories about the most mundane events! I thank God for these beautiful young ladies.

When my Grandson was born, we women were determined that the “Little Man” would have a very centered start to his life. He essentially has 5 Mamas (his paternal grandmother has joined the fray). Manners are essential, and he loves to hug and love on people (after he’s checked you out). I’m thankful that his history does not determine his future!

5. New Lease on Life #3
I am very, very grateful that the doctors figured out that I had a Small Bowel Obstruction on July 3rd, 2012, and not on July 4th, 2012. See, if they didn’t do the surgery a year ago today, I wouldn’t be making this blog. It’s only after I recuperated, that I realized the severity of SBO. I am grateful to the doctor who wouldn’t let me leave the hospital when I was tired of waiting~yes, I actually wanted to go home, even though I had not eaten in 3 days. I am really happy to be alive!

6. Free Healthcare: T&T, Canada
So, free Healthcare has been a debate for many countries. I am so thankful that I didn’t have to worry. If my SBO surgery was required in Canada, the Healthcare is free. It so happened that I had the surgery in Trinidad. I’m a native…it was FREE. There are two eerie things that happened with this, though. First, the day before I left on my trip, I was asked if I wanted travel insurance. I refused saying, “I’m not going to Trinidad to get sick!” H’mm, interesting. The second is that I had a stop-over in Miami. Had I gotten ill in Miami, it would have been a whole different story. I’m VErY grateful for free Healthcare!

7. Freedom, Plain & Simple
I can worship my God, sing, dance, or not. I can walk the streets freely. I can go to school~or not. I can wear booty shorts~NOT! The list can go on and on. There is NOTHING quite like living in a FREE country. NOTHING. It’s only when you go to a country that’s restrictive that you can really appreciate it. I’m not American. We Canadians celebrated our Independence Day on July 1st. Yet, I am very aware that we both are very, very grateful for our freedom.

Last week, I discovered my “WHY”. I knew it in my belly, but I got my AHA moment then. Here it is: “I have almost lost something precious to me (my life). I am on a mission (compelled) to tell people that they cannot go through life numb!” Find your passion and pursue it! Live your Legacy!

A different post, for a special day! God Bless Us, Every One!

May Your Cup Always Be Full,

Stephanie, Emerging Princess

Porcupine Pie

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  As I naturally lean theologically, this one came to me today.

Yesterday (June 12th, 2013), my eldest daughter graduated from college.  Although the journey took a circuitous route, my daughter is now “legally” a fashion designer.  There are so many metaphors in this single occasion.  I’m going to zero in on one.

As you can see from the pic below, me and my daughter rock “natural” hair (as do my other 2 daughters).  This can be a big issue for the woman of colour.  Some prefer to go through the trials of having relaxers, weaves or wigs.  My girls and I are NOT to making a statement.  We are NOT proving that we are better than anyone.  We just prefer our own hair, as it comes out of our scalp.  This has been a bone of contention for my former partner.  He is of the belief that “something” should be done with hair for black women.  Either way, I believe that there is no place to push your views of how you believe someone should wear their hair.

After her graduation ceremony, my daughter went to greet her father.  The first thing out of his mouth was, “When are you going to do something with your hair?  I’ll give you some money.  Oh, congratulations, by the way.”  He served up an unwanted piece of Porcupine Pie.  Little did he know, this diss allowed me the freedom of enjoying the reception at her commencement.  She fully made no effort to find him in the crowd after that.  I hung out with my daughter’s friends, took pictures and gave hugs.  My daughter and I were then were able to enjoy a leisurely afternoon together, walking through downtown Toronto.

Later that evening, my daughter did connect with her father.  He now lives alone.  His words have pushed away the people who are supposed to be the closest to him.  It truly is a sad thing.  Yet, isn’t life about relationships?  Isn’t is great to be in the company of another human being, having conversation and connection?  I know what it was like while I was in the abusive marriage.  I wished that I could talk to people.  I wished that I had a friend.  I wished that I wasn’t so alone.

The thing is, the choice is ours.  It is up to us whether we give love, or Porcupine Pie.  I now choose to give big to the people I come in contact with.  I choose to have deep, meaningful conversations with lots of people, especially 20-something year olds.  There are many youngsters who call me Meamah or “Mrs. T.” even though they are not my own child.  If someone willingly chooses to call me an endearment such as that, what an honour to be thought of so highly!  I choose to hug lots and lots of people.  I believe that when you love on people, you will never be alone.  My arms and my heart are big enough.  So at holidays, my house is full of people who may (or may not) have family nearby, and they want pleasant company.  At any given moment, my kids may say to me, “Mumsy, my friend(s) are coming over”.  They weren’t able to to that before.  I will guard that freedom like a hawk.  There’s no joy greater than knowing you have influenced someone positively.

Proverbs 15:1 says:  “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. [NLT])  Or, it turns away a whole family.  And there is a saying by Elbert Hubbard:  “In order to have friends, you must first be one.”  H’mmm…interesting.  Porcupine Pie anyone?  Not a chance.  I’m learning to be that which I desire.

May Your Cup Always Be Full,

Stephanie, Emerging Princess

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Yes, there actually IS a song called Porcupine Pie!  (Don’t ask…)

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini

It’s Theological Thursday.  As is the custom, here is a post from a Christian point of view.  Enjoy!

I remember the day as if it was yesterday.  I was warned, but nothing prepared me for what I saw that day.

A few days before, I lay on a hospital bed in the emergency ward, preparing for surgery.  I had developed a condition, a Small Bowel Obstruction, which required emergency surgery.  The doctor explained what he was going to do, and where they were going to cut.  I looked at the Doctor, mortified.

Surgery

Surgery (Photo credit: Army Medicine)

“Can’t you cut across my belly, below my belly-button?” I asked.

“No, that’s not possible,” the gentle Doctor quietly responded.

Well, when they got to the surgical floor, I prayed that the situation would change.  My procedure was successful (or I wouldn’t be writing this blog! 😉  ).  A day later, a nurse came to change my dressing.  Most of my stomach area had gauze or surgical tape.  I eagerly awaited the revelation of where my actual scars were.  As the nurse worked and explained what she was doing, I peeked.  I would eventually be doing her job when I was released.  As the gauze was taken off, I gasped.  I had been cut from my sternum, past my belly-button, all the way down to—well I couldn’t tell.  I couldn’t see that far!  My hopes of a low-lying scar were dashed against a rock, and broken into a million pieces!

“Who would want a scarred body like this?” I thought.  Turning to the nurse, I said,

“Oooh gosh, look at dat!”

“Girl, yuh had may-jah belly sur-dree”, she replied.

Not only was the surgery a surprise, I was also in a foreign country.  I was in the second week of a vacation to my birthplace, Trinidad.  It didn’t take me long to revert to being a “Trini” again—embracing the slower pace of life, and the sing-song method of speaking.

A few days later, I was released from the hospital.  During the next couple of weeks, I had some major fights with God about my scar.  It was a bone of contention during many of my prayer sessions.  I believe that it even started sowing the seed of ingratitude in my heart.  I was upset that now, I couldn’t wear an “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie” bikini of any colour.

One day, I came to my senses and thought,

“Hold up!  This is ridiculous!  You have borne three children.  Your belly has been stretched to the maximum.  You have all the rivers of the world etched into your belly as proof!  There’s no way under the sun, that you’ll even ever go out in public in a bikini!”

That was a huge turning point for me.  Perhaps being angry at the scar was a way of taking my mind off the seriousness of the surgery.  Either way, I was finally able to thank the Lover Of My Soul for creating my body to be the wonderful machine that it was.  I was grateful that I was able to bear three wonderful children and nourish them.  I had strong legs, hands that worked, and a sound mind.

I looked back at the events surrounding my surgery, and they had God’s hand written all over them.  My room-mates were all Christians.  Visitors provided prayer coverage, and worship music was constantly playing.  I was surrounded by relatives who loved and cared for me.  This included a prayer-warrior aunt, who mustered up the support from my childhood church.  I had the surgery in a fabulous teaching hospital, with the head registrar leading my team of doctors.  I was able to have the surgery for free, as I was born there.  And when I was released into the care of my relatives, I didn’t have to lift a finger.  My laundry was done for me, my food prepared…that would not have been the case had I been in my own house.  This is the first time in my life that I was truly pampered.  Fussing over an “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini” seemed so puerile.

Recovery was a challenge, I won’t lie.  This surgery really changed my life.  Each day I’m thankful for my health.  I look at my “bikini” line”, and I’m well-aware that God saved me from the jaws of death.  The Lover Of My Soul has a great plan for my life.  I will reap my heavenly rewards, after I shake off this broken-temporal body.

What life-changing (near-death?) experience have you survived?  Please share…

May Your Cup Always Be Full,

Stephanie, Emerging Princess

 

 

Theological Thursday~Forgive & Thrive

It’s Thursday, and time for another post from a Christian point of view.  Hope you enjoy.  Please comment!

I was on my way…I started regaining my self-esteem.  Joy was becoming a part of my every day life.  Things were starting to look good.  Then, BAM!!  The blame game hit.

Have you ever played the blame game?  I believe we all have, at some time.  Growing up, we’d blame our brothers or sister(s) for taking a cookie from the jar, “He did it first”, after all.  And for many of us, it never stopped.

“If only she’d do this”, or “Why doesn’t he do that?”  Sound familiar?

Asking For Forgiveness

Asking For Forgiveness (Photo credit: hang_in_there)

That was precisely the position that I was in.  I was blaming my former partner for the predicament that I was in.  And in the process, I was carrying around a huge dose of unforgiveness.  This, I knew, could very well turn into bitterness.  And bitterness causes a host of dis-eases.

While grumbling about my situation one day, my eldest child looked at me and said,

“Mumsy, our father never did this while you were married, why would he start now that you have left?”   If you can’t say Amen, say Ouch!  That hurt~and it came from my own kid!

Yet, that’s just the message that The Lover of My Soul wanted me to hear.  I needed to Forgive in order to Thrive.  He cared about me so much more than a misguided former mate.  I needed to let go, and let God.  I had every right to hold on to the hurt.  I had every right to be upset about the state of my finances.  Yet, I did not have a right to hold on to it, and harp over it again and again.  I had no right to be God’s judge.  His word says,

“Do not take revenge, my friends”, Romans 12:19a.  I was also reminded that we are to forgive “70 x 7” times (some say 77).  [An aside here~I believe that one should forgive the sin.  If this sinner is preventing God’s plan for your life from being fulfilled, it may be prudent to remove yourself from the situation.  Just sayin’!]

As time went on, I realized that my Father loved me so much that, although money was a challenge, my family was never hungry.  We moved into a house and I didn’t have a job or references; people guided us to food banks; hampers and gift cards showed up at our door at Christmas.  Miracles were, and still are, a part of my everyday life.

Now, these things possibly could have happened without the forgiveness.  However, I don’t thing that we would have thrived.  I don’t think that we would have been as grateful.  I KNOW that I would not have been as grateful.  To be sure, a grateful heart is more receptive to gifts~big and small.  When a person has unforgiveness in their heart, they cannot be grateful at the same time.  They will accept gifts with an entitlement view.  I’ve seen this quite frequently.  After a person forgives, it’s like the flood-gates of Heaven open up.  The shackles around one’s heart, head and feet, break off.  I know that~speaking from experience~it’s really tricky to walk with shackles on my feet!

The Lover of My Soul was right.  I thrive more and more.  Forgiveness, then, was not for the perpetrator.  Forgiveness was, and is an act of love for my family, myself, and my future!

 

May Your Cup Always Be Full!

Stephanie, Emerging Princess

You’re An All-Star

Mono portable Radio Tape Recorder from the Ger...

Mono portable Radio Tape Recorder from the German brand Universum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s Thursday…time for another “Theological” post from a Christian perspective.  Enjoy!

“I feel so ugly, so unloveable.”  The hot shower soothed my body, as the sobs wracked my form.  This was my hideaway; the only place that I could cry without my kids hearing me.

It was a few months after becoming single again.  Although I was enjoying my freedom, my mind was still held hostage.

“You’ll never succeed at that.”

“Why can’t you ever get things right?”

And on and on the tape recorder played. (A tape recorder is displayed on the right-hand side.) 🙂

“Father, please show me something tangible; something positive about myself that I can hold onto.”  God, in His ever-loving mercy, always hears us.  We just don’t always listen.  This time I did.

“Check your e-mails”, I heard.  Thinking back now, I am aware that He didn’t tell me to open my Bible to such and such a verse.  I needed human validation and compliments.

Reading positive e-mails were a significant key to helping me re-build my self-esteem.  I typed up some of the compliments that people had given me, laminated them and put them on my bathroom mirror.  At the time, I needed to see things like,

“You’re An All-Star”, or that I was a “wonderful friend”.

The mind renewal began, and I continued healing with a 12-Step Programme and NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming).  On days that were heavy, I went into my ceramic oasis, and I said the truths out loud.  Sometimes, many times, they were recited through tears.

The Lover of My Soul put people in my path to bless me, and pour positivity into my life.  As the days wore on, He showed me that I was lovable.  He loved me first~even before this world began.

Wow, what an AMAZING love that is!  How could I keep THAT to myself?  I decided to take the spotlight off myself and my problems by adding more volunteering to my daily activities.  (It is something that I urge my clients to do even now.)  It wasn’t the same love as when I was married, yet, I was still giving love away.  Put under a microscope, if you examine this love, it’s probably healthier, purer, and flowing from a heart of compassion.

I realized that the Lover Of My Soul desires that my heart remain soft, and not let bitterness creep in.  This way it is open to first being filled by HIM.  Yes, I AM An All-Star, because He says so!

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–His good, pleasing and perfect will.   ~Romans 12:2

May Your Cup Always Be Full,

Stephanie, Emerging Princess

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Water For The Journey

Book Release PartyOctober 25th, 2013
The long-awaited release of Water For The Journey: 156 Days To Freedom. All day givaways and book release party!
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