I remember when I found out I was pregnant with Daniel in 1994... I wasn't married. I was 24 years old and my friend, Stephanie and I had just decided to rent an apartment together. We had just signed the lease and gotten the keys. We entered the apartment and I took the pregnancy test in this empty, basement level apartment. The test was positive. Shock was an understatement. Her words were something like "How can you be pregnant when you've never had sex?" And "Of all our friends, you're the "good girl" and you get pregnant... this is impossible!!" I remember she was a little freaking out. I remained pretty quiet.
I went back to my old apartment and called Steve. He picked me up that night and we went to a pregnancy center to get a free pregnancy test to confirm. It was positive again. We were both quiet and somber. But in that moment, I was soooo happy!!!! I thought to myself, well I think I'm supposed to act all sad and scared because I'm an unwed mother, but how happy I feel on the inside, how excited and thrilled beyond words, do I feel to have this baby that I've always dreamt of!! This was my dream come true, to be a mother.
I was extremely happy, truth be told!! I was full of joy and anticipation. Though apparently "unplanned" and darn near close to the fastest conception ever... Daniel was planned, with all my heart, mind, and soul, I wanted a baby. I wanted him. It is the fastest conception and birth I've ever known of. People know I had a premature baby, but very few people know... I gave birth 7 and 1/2 months after I lost my virginity. And then as most of you know, on April 19, 1995 I almost died in childbirth. But God spared my life. These are the words in my head when I woke up this morning "God spared me."
They ripped him from my womb too soon to save my life. They strapped me to a table, they took a knife, they took him out, when he was too little to survive on his own. And then God spared Daniel's life too.
I don't know why all of this is going through my head at this time, except now Daniel and I must live apart as he is now 20 years old and becoming a man. I saw him receive his keys to his first rental yesterday. A part of me is very sad and feeling that ripping from my womb too soon again. And I know it's not too soon. I know he must go. But every cell of my body remembers the experience 20 years ago of my baby's survival being uncertain....and it is not in my conscious thoughts (my conscious thoughts know it's time to kick out the baby bird from the nest), it really is a sub-conscious and cellular reaction - my body aches and swells in fear of "Will he survive?" And will he survive without me??
This is when and where God tests me again and asks me to surrender. So I keep reminding myself... God spared me. God spared Daniel. God will protect him, God watches over his life and guides his steps. With time, God will show me again that Daniel's life is already planned. Daniel's life is not in my control. Daniel will survive.
"You can do this all in your heart, without saying a word - if someone rejects you, reject their rejection. If someone belittles you, belittle their belittlement. If someone attacks your character, attack their attack. Do this in your heart, silently; you don't need to say it out loud. And just as important, still accept that someone. Reject the message, not the sender. This is incredibly powerful and transforming."
"Angst, in any area of your life, is the result of not be able to reconcile what you experience or observe with what you know to be true in your heart."
When you see your own heart,
You find your true essense.
When you see your true essense,
You find the image of God.
When you see the image of God,
You find the light.
When you see the light,
You find love.
When you have love,
You have it all.
"People are attracted to love, happiness, and health. So let your words communicate love, your face communicate happiness, and your body communicate health." - 9/8/2011
"I am living my life according to the truth that is for me: I could die tomorrow, but I most likely won't." - 6/13/2011
"It is slowly being revealed to me that every past wrong, hurt, rejection, or betrayal against me has been a blessing FOR me in purposeful and grandiose ways." - 4/22/2011
"When you are truly freed from caring about what others think of you, you are freed to think about truly caring for others." - Shelley Johnson 3/23/2011
"Some of the most fantastic opportunities in life are like moving trains; you have to jump on board quickly or miss it!" - Shelley Johnson 3/22/2011
"Whether it's an ambition, a goal, a relationship, or a love, if it's not dead, it can be revived." - Shelley Johnson 1/26/2011
"In regards to relationships, need without being needy, want without wanting, and love. Love. Period. There is no "love without...", because love is the only thing willing to go without." - Shelley Johnson 1/22/2010
"Love removes self-doubt in the head, releases self-confidence in the heart, and restores self-worth to the soul." Shelley Johnson 12/30/2010
"When the heart pains, human nature leads us to be self-destructive to the body (risky behavior, bad habits, addictions, over-eating, drug abuse, alcoholism, etc.) but when the heart is completely broken, unless we restore the body, our self-destruction becomes the slowest form of suicide." Shelley Johnson 11/19/2010
"Power of positive thinking, mind over matter, all things are possible; I believe in it all!" Shelley Johnson, 10/22/2010
"A body transformed is indisputable evidence." Shelley Johnson 8/09/2010
"Your self-esteem should never be defined by your body; it's completely the opposite, your body is defined by your self-esteem." Shelley Johnson, 7/30/2010
While watching my son play chess with my dad, as I used to when I was a little girl, reminded me of an attitude that I adopted long ago deep in my heart. Watching them play chess together, I asked my son if he'd play Mastermind with me, and his response was "After I beat Grandpa at chess!" Although he was down his queen, both rooks, a bishop, a knight, and several pawns, compared to only capturing a few of my dad's pawns, I knew in my son's mind, he was thinking the exact same thing I always used to think while playing chess with my dad: "I don't care how far I'm down, I'm coming back!" And yet, I can't remember a single time I ever beat my dad in chess. He won every time. Yet, every time, I felt more and more determined to beat him. Will I ever beat my dad at chess? Most likely not. Did it create an attitude in me that ultimately ended up serving me well in my life? Absolutely. With every challenge, obstacle, or mountain to climb I face in my life, I always think, "I don't care how far I'm down, I'm coming back!"
Do Yourself Happy
A while ago, I took a poll via facebook, and asked my friends, "What makes you happy?" I got so many varied responses, from being creative: painting, writing, baking, to helping others, to most interestingly, WORKING...doing things, finishing projects, accomplishing things. Then I went back and read every response, and realized, when it came down to it, even the simplest things that make one happy...hugs, swinging on the porch, listening to the birds chirp, to enjoying church with your family, to maybe doing nothing but watching your children giggle....at the core of each of these things, is the fact that you did something, you worked at something, you accomplished something to get there, to be able to enjoy that privilege. If your happiness comes from your children jumping in bed with you on a lazy Sunday morning, that is because you are finding contentment and joy in the fact that you have earned that privilege, in many ways....you've worked hard to provide for your children, you probably got them dressed for bed and tucked them in bed the night before. The joy we derive from our children is a result of the hard work we've done as parents.
If you simply think happiness comes from those rare moments of relaxation, soaking in the sights and sounds of nature, or enjoying a simple laugh with your loved ones, think again. You're right and you're wrong. It does come from whatever gives you those feelings of pure joy and happiness. And that comes from the fact that you've worked hard to get that, earned yourself the privilege of enjoying those things - your children's laughter, taking a walk or vacation, or making a difference in someone's life.
So if I could give any advice on how to be happy, DO something, WORK at something. You will find happiness from the accomplishment. Creativity was a common response I got in reply to "What makes you happy?" Creativity, in music, or art, or any form of creativity is doing, it's creating; truly accomplishing something in its purest form. I learned a lot from taking that poll, especially since I have accomplished things that have brought me happiness, I realized, accomplishment gives us self-esteem, privileges, and loved ones to hold in our arms. So literally, you can Do Yourself Happy!
SHELL - by Shelley Johnson
Our body is like our shell, so remember this acronym on the top five ways to take care of YOUR shell!
S - Sleep. Getting enough good and restful sleep is so important. Lack of sleep wreaks havoc on the body. We need a good night sleep every night to restore, renew, and refresh our minds, bodies and spirits.
H - Healthy eating. This is not rocket science; we all know what this means. Feed your body with nutrient-dense foods filled with vitamins and minerals.
E - Exercise. Find something you love to do. Any way that you can move your body, burn calories, increase strength, mobility, and flexibility is a great way to take care of your body.
L - Love, Make Love. Sex is a basic need of the body. Like sleep, sex in a loving, monogamous relationship is designed to restore, renew and refresh our minds, bodies, and spirits.
L - Lotion. Moisturize - do it! Lotion, lotion, lotion - gotta love it! Your body will love you for it! Your skin is like the shell of your shell - take care of it! Lotion!
Shelley Johnson - Inspiring individuals to a healthier and happier lifestyle, and ultimately to faith, hope and love. And the greatest of these is love.