emBrace Your journey 

Have you ever imagined accomplishing a goal but because of your age you were ‘too late’? It’s so easy to place an expiration date on something that shows no sign of being ruined soon.

I’m in my late 20’s and I just got braces.. for the second time! Looking back from my first experience, there was a lot of challenges I faced and one was the result of my mom not being able to finish my treatment plan. Little did I know, the setbacks I experienced inspired my appreciation for dentistry. If I didn’t see my mom struggle financially I wonder if my desire to serve in dentistry would be the same? Or If I didn’t have a peg lateral could I relate to others when it comes to self esteem?

It’s like what you’re going through is not just for you but it’s to help others. So it’s very important to embrace your journey by completing it. I knew in order to get the results I wanted from my smile I needed to finish what I started , which was getting braces. So maybe it’s not braces or academics, maybe it’s a business idea and you’ve been hesitating for a while. I’m here to encourage us both by saying keep pushing! Don’t single yourself out because of small circumstances. Someone is waiting be inspired from your story all you have to do is embrace your journey 🙂

 

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Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

I just came back from NYC on a business trip and I must admit I enjoyed myself! My coworkers and I attended an event called Supplier’s Day, which included vendors from all over sharing their newest trends in the cosmetic industry. During the free times, I had the opportunity to explore the area.IMG_1294

Now rewind << to my airport experience, very interesting. The last time I rode on an airplane was during 5th grade and I had marshalls so I had no clue of what to expect years later. I printed my boarding pass and the only thing on my mind was the destination. I didn’t have much time to check my bag in so I decided to carry on. As I walked through security, the sensor goes off because of my sequin top and my braids.The lady had to check me thoroughly (including hair). Security recognized liquids in my suitcase and had to throw away my perfume, lotion, etc.  By this point, I was annoyed because I wasn’t at my destination but the process of getting there took a lot of work.  Once I finally got settled on the plane my attitude started to shift.  The transition from the airport to the plane shifted my attitude. I sat by an awesome doctor which was heaven-sent because we had so much in common and the fact she was inspiring. Once we arrived in NY everything started to flow.

I wonder if God shared that day in detail with me would I still go through the process or avoid it altogether?I’m learning to somehow be comfortable being uncomfortable. My heavenly father constantly molding me into my purpose and though I’m not sure of the details I have to be comfortable with that.  I think we all have a ‘destination’ we’re trying to arrive to but we’re still going through a process that’s going to make it worth the wait. Stay encouraged knowing you’re at the right place and trust the process 🙂

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Ephesians 6:7

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the lord, not people- Ephes.6:7

Before I start with my daily tasks at work I have to pray for strength, wisdom, and the right attitude to serve. I don’t know about you but this is a hard scripture to meditate on sometimes. To serve wholeheartedly, what does that mean? Well to serve is to perform duties for another individual and wholeheartedly is to be completely sincere, enthusiastic. So just that part alone I should be enthusiastic to help others..right.

unnamed My very first job was at Subway and ‘serving wholeheartedly’ was the last thing on my mind. Sure I always had a smile on my face but I did not enjoy the details of sandwich making. I’ve matured in my ways of thinking though I recognize I am still learning how to serve wholeheartedly through my job experiences. As the scripture continues it not only say serve wholeheartedly but as if you’re serving the lord, not people. Random but I seriously wonder if that’s Chick-Fil-A’s mission statement.images (1) They are known to give with a cheerful attitude in spite of how they really feel or how customers may respond. I wonder when I had some of the roughest days at work would the result be any different if I imagined serving God instead. If I could imagine making God a sub would he be satisfied with how I made it? Or as a histo-tech, would God be satisfied in the way I dissected his tissue sample in a hurry? As a chemist, am I really serving wholeheartedly? Sometimes I like to compare my current moment to my volunteering moments. Serving becomes my heart when it comes to dental clinics. I can have a few hours of sleep and feel energized the following day to serve.

image1  Serve wholeheartedly, as if you are serving the lord, not people is a constant reminder for me as it may be for you. Your passion can be in one area but the needs of people can be found in all areas of life. Sure that one person gets on your nerves or the work is not the creme de la creme, join the club. The lord wants us to serve enthusiastically so he can reward us with something much bigger! So give your complete best with a smile and ask, “How can I serve you today?”

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The Waiting Room

You’ve arrived on time for your checkup appointment and pretty excited because you know the time you sit down you’re going to be called. You already gave the receptionist the necessary paperwork and you’re ready. Hmm.. they will call me soon, you think to yourself, so to help pass the time you start to notice your environment. The waiting room is filled with people that need to be seen as well.

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One by one, everyone is being called to the back and it’s starting to get frustrating because there were people that did not have to wait as long. Your frustration builds to anxiety and now you’re going up to the front desk asking questions. They reassure you that the doctor will see you soon, he’s preparing some things for you; however, your patience grows thin. Your phone goes off from people sending messages asking,”why are you still waiting ?” “When are you going to move forward?”

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You don’t respond because they wouldn’t understand. You did everything you were supposed to, now it’s your job to wait and be called. Finally realizing your pacing back and forth is not changing the outcome, your attitude changes while you wait. You take advantage of the wait by embracing small opportunities like reading the magazines or checking your email on your phone. Time goes by but you’re gaining wisdom and understanding. You stopped focusing on the messages, the people that were seen by the doctor before you, at that moment the door flung open and you knew the wait was over.

door-240x300 How many of us had moments like this? We ‘wait’  anxiously for God’s big call while overlooking small opportunities to grow. I know this is a challenge for me but as a father, God, constantly reassures he will not forget about me. It may seem like everyone is moving forward before me but God knows I did everything I was supposed to and now it’s my job to wait for the door to open.  So stay encourage and know that soon our wait will be over 🙂

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Red light , Green light

In the game Red light, Green light one person is chosen to be the traffic cop . The other players stand a few feet away while the ‘cop’ has their back facing the players. When the ‘cop’ says “green light”, the players race to tag him/her. When the ‘cop’ says “red light” , the players have to stop in their tracks . If the’ cop’ catches someone moving that person have to return to the starting line and the first person that tags the ‘cop’ wins.

RedlightgameI love the principle of this game , it’s not like Mother May I where you need validation to move.  In ‘Mother May I ‘ , every step you make is closely watched, whether it’s to see your progress or you fail and as a result start over similar to ‘Red light, Green light’.

For the longest I’ve played ‘Mother May I’ with the wrong people or having the wrong attitude. Some ‘moves’ I made in the past were from validation , you know , you think you’re in the right direction because you have someone’s approval only having to start over. I was used to this game until I started paying attention to some of God’s lessons. Did you know God knows our complete story before we were born? (Jeremiah 1:5) Therefore we don’t need someone to approve our purpose, personality, or appearance! Also instead of valuing everyone’s opinion I believe he likes us to consider him and play ‘Father May I’ instead. The difference in his game is that he’s merciful and when you move without his permission , he won’t let you start completely over.

The game to play with everyone along with the right attitude is Red light, Green light. I was taught how to make big moves while moving silently. I used to share my ideas before strategically planning so you could only imagine my list of fails lol. It’s not bad to share your plans but for me it made a big difference.

Mother May I and Red light, Green light are fun games to play especially when applied in life. Learn to move silently without the approval of others and you’ll be on your way towards your goals!

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The Power of Saying “NO!”

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If every answer to a question was a ‘yes’ I wonder what would life be like? Even though there’s  glamour in saying yes , there’s definitely power in a no.  ‘No’ will direct you on the right path.  I can’t tell you how many times I was rejected in my relationship quests when I was younger but let’s just say I was persistent, lol. The same determination I had stuck with me when I started applying for jobs (100 applications & 20 interviews later.. ) . The experiences were frustrating yet it somehow gave me fuel to keep pushing myself to the point I had to stop and evaluate what was going on.  Chasing guys did not look pretty so when I finally gained a better understanding of who God created me to be that’s when I became friends with my now husband. After applying to a million jobs and receiving no’s , it directed me on the path I’m on now.

‘No’ is good for your well-being. Making promises to everyone can be stressful and overwhelming. When you finally accept the fact that you can’t please everyone it feels like a sigh of relief. Creating the guest list for my wedding was very stressful at first. I had so many people in mind I pictured at the wedding but it was conflicting with the actual cost. I looked up a great method on how to handle the guest list and it relieved my stress tremendously!

‘No’ helps you think clearer . Honestly , saying no right away is not my first response. There’s so much power in our words but to mentally process what we’re asked first is power all on its on. How many times did we agree to something without thinking through the question first? When I submitted my DAT (Dental Admission Test) scores , the schools sent me emails immediately after. They knew my character but wanted me to push more academically. The schools said ‘no, not now’ ,which was great because it allowed me think clearer on what I wanted .

To hear the word ‘no’ can bring so much emotions , good and bad, depending on how you receive it.  I think God created that word with us in mind. He wants to protect us, keep us in perfect health, and mature our thinking . So the next time you’re rejected be joyful because something great is on your way!

 

Overcoming the fear of dentists

I had the opportunity to shadow all kinds of dentists and the specialty that caught my interest was pediatric dentistry. In this field dentists focus on oral health of children from babies through teenage years. The patients are unpredictable , some cooperate while others have no problem letting everyone know they are terrified of dentists.

tips-to-tame-childs-fear-of-dentist-webCould it be from the bright lights? The weird looking dental instruments? Or the fact dentists are working in their personal space? I agree the dental office can be intimidating and the thought of someone handling vulnerable areas in the mouth is enough to run away . However there are some tips that may help children on their next dental visit.

According to NCPediatricDentistry, they recommend that you talk about dentists positively. Create a good experience by sharing stories related to dentists. If you could only think of that one bad experience you had share other people stories. Reward them for being brave. One of the things I enjoyed from my dental visits was the toy treasure chest. If I was good during my appointment (which was all the time lol) the dentist allowed me to pick one toy from the chest, very encouraging! I went to one office to shadow and they rewarded children by giving them a gold coin to use for their toy/ gumball machine.23034455_m

Explain that the dentist is a friend. I could tell the difference between the child that received ‘pep talk’ before their dental appointment vs the one that cry hysterically as their parents talk to them at the moment. I think it helps children and dentists when the parents already explain the details of the dental appointment. Playing ‘pretend doctor’ could help lessen anxiety and reading children books about dentistry is a plus!

Take your child to meet the dentist first. As they visit the dentist consistently they’ll hopefully start to recognize them as a friend and become comfortable during their actual appointment. I enjoyed watching fear disappear from children faces when hygienists allow them to hold some of the dental instruments  to let them know there’s nothing to be scared of . When there’s a lot of interaction and communication between the patient and dental staff it makes a big difference.thw7oqr9w0

Select sedation for children. Now for this I wish there was an alternative. Through shadowing I’ve watched and helped dentists keep children seated so they could sedate them properly and it was NOT EASY! I also understand this is necessary for most of their procedures. One thing I enjoyed was how some dental offices kept children preoccupied with iPads and TV as they administered medicine.

There’s so much to learn from the world of dentistry and fear is not one of them. So let’s start painting better pictures for our children and dentists!

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A love letter to my passion

Dear dentistry,

I know you don’t know me completely  but I need to let you know how I feel about you. I love how you take pride in serving others . You consistently build people’s confidence and remind them they’re worth their smile. Besides the beauty in appearance, I can’t get over your love of health. I listen as you educate on the importance of oral health. The fact that heart disease is linked to periodontitis and children are affected by tooth decay makes me commit in knowing you more.

I would love to get to know you better! I talked about you with people that actually know you and they say I should go for it . Truth is I did.. but I will not give up because I don’t know how. You play hard to get when I approach you but you’ll eventually give in. Your presence inspires me to put myself aside and serve others wholeheartedly . I know it was God that introduced me to you because no matter how hard I try to walk away I feel peace with you .

Give us a try

 

The heart of a volunteer

I can now say I really enjoy volunteering . Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t always have a heart for it but my thinking  changed and I now have an appreciation to give . At first the thought of volunteering was more of a task than a genuine service. In college , as most of you may know, you have to get service hours as a part of graduation requirements. Well , I did but it was mostly buying canned goods for shelter homes because I wanted the weekend to myself.. lol smh. After graduating I started volunteering with dental clinics to get hours and because I love the dental environment.

My first volunteer position was to carry a spit bucket from station to station , eww is right. The suctioning dental assistants do in people’s mouths has to go somewhere and where there’s volunteer clinics  you’ll find pre dentals emptying those nasty bottles . Another time I helped sterilize the dental instruments. One Saturday , as I was giving dental bags to people, a patient started crying saying, ” Thank you so much , this all means so much to me!”  That’s when my thinking changed. All this time I didn’t think I was doing much.

I wasn’t the hygienist that cleaned teeth , not the dentist that alleviated pain , and not the techs that’s creating the dentures . I’m simply me and the patient says ‘thank you’ .  This inspired me 100 percent and it seems after my thinking shifted the volunteer positions changed as well. I know its like a first come first serve with the positions at the clinic but I was able to assist the dentist and chart teeth ( which is a big deal for me because I’m not certified ..hee hee).

I had similar moments volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and a local christian radio station where God was /continues to show me how to serve. Ephesians 6:7 states ,’Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people’. It has become one of my favorite encouraging scriptures to recite especially in the workplace .

No matter how big or small your service may seem or to be in a place where you feel useless know that God recognizes not only the quality of your work but your heart as well! 🙂

Facing the DAT: Take 1

I knew once I made the decision to become a dentist I also accepted the path God created for me. The courses I took in college felt like  boxing matches ..I gave it my all but there were some fights I left without having victory so I already knew within myself I needed some rematches. As time passed, my self esteem grew as I became inspired from networking and it was at that moment I said to myself “I’m going to take the DAT”.

Now in order to become a dentist , like any other career , there’s a process. It’s something like the following: HS >College>DAT>Dental School. So I got my test preps together ( most were free from networking with other students and the people I knew from college) and I created a study schedule to go by for those months.

After getting my dental application complete (recommendation letters, transcripts, $$$$,personal statement, etc) it was finally time to  face the Dental Admissions Test, better known as the DAT. The DAT is a 5 hr test taken over the computer made of a variety of subjects from natural sciences to perceptual ability test (viewing 3d shapes). All of this is required to show how committed you are to dentistry.

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I remembered waking up hours before the test to have breakfast and look over notes. I kept praying for God to lessen my test anxiety and to help me with the test. When I arrived at the testing center I saw other students putting away their things in the assigned lockers. I sensed all types of emotions but I tried to remain focus.

As I started my test my mind literally went – blank-. I became distracted as fear crept into my mind paralyzing my thoughts. I became frustrated because of the money I wasted and the score I knew I wasn’t going to get at that time.

TN-26439_iNSIDETESTCENTER35..4..3..2..1.. My computer screen says I’m done. “noooo!!!” I screamed to myself. I sat at my seat for a moment holding back tears and the feeling of defeat then I stood up and walked slowly over  to the lady that printed test scores.  My scores were awful and I knew schools would not consider me . Understanding this much allowed me to come up with the idea of just wanting to go home in my bed and cry for at least 2 hours.

illustration-cartoon-vector-of-a-white-man-holding-a-birthday-cake-and-balloons-by-bnp-design-studio-365However, my fiancé changed my plans rather quickly by surprising me with my favorite cupcakes and balloons. He said no matter what was the outcome he was still proud of me . I contacted the admission committee from each school with my scores and I kid you not it was like they were waiting on my email because their response was less than 5 mins apart. I did not get in but received a lot of advice that would help me for the next cycle until then this is what I learned from taking the DAT::

  • Retake the classes necessary in order to have a strong foundation for the DAT as well as show the dental committee I can handle their course load
  • Continue volunteering
  • Stay consistent with  studying so I will remain confident once its time to take the test.
  • Keep a support system
  • Never give up

Keep an eye out for Facing The DAT : Take 2 very soon but until then I hope my experience will help you as you take tests or face other obstacles in life 🙂