The benefits of stretching

Dance class and cheering had this one thing in common I did not enjoy, called stretching. I hated stretching! While it was easy for some girls, it wasn’t for me. I knew stretching had its benefits but I thought it was better to skip and move on to practice or performing. I would stretch my legs as far as I could with all my strength, then my instructor would come and push against my back to go further. This was done on a weekly basis I couldn’t avoid it. Stretch,practice,perform, repeat. Stretch,practice, perform,repeat.

 

healthy-person-woman-sport

The last quarter of this year for me gave me that same feeling. I felt an uncomfortable ‘pull’ especially at work and though it didn’t bring me to tears it made me ask the Lord ,”Why?” After asking why I remembered how important stretching was for my body. Stretching improves my performance, helps my body move effectively, and decrease my risk of getting hurt.  I believe the benefits of stretching in the natural applies in our relationship with the Lord. He stretch us out of our comfort zone so our faith can strengthen in him and to become more flexible…adapting to his ways. Similar to my cheer/dance days, I’m always hoping the Lord would skip the stretching part of the process however, it’s necessary in order to fully develop. Don’t worry if you need help stretching he’s always there to help: Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

 

 

 

Advertisements

Finding My Voice

I was about two months into my job when I heard God say “You’re going to find your voice.” Find my voice? I didn’t have a clue on what that meant but I had a STRONG idea it would involve me being uncomfortable. Finding your voice is finding a way to connect by expressing your ideas or discovering courage as you walk in your greatness. I thought I heard God wrong because with the role I had at my job , I didn’t see where I could use my voice. As things started to shift, opportunities came for me to speak up . Still to this day , I’m adjusting to vocalizing my opinions at work and am now faced with a new challenge.. Periscope.

Never would I ever THINK of being on Periscope in all the days of my life until I had the idea for a children’s book series called, Ella’s Greatest Adventures. A good friend mentioned the benefits of creating live content a few times but I kept shrugging it off. Eventually, I couldn’t shrug it off because I was surrounded with the idea at business workshops, books, and podcasts. I finally got the nerve to make a video and it was HARD! I looked at it as if I’m giving a presentation in an empty room and as people join it becomes overwhelming. I’m still working on getting better because its not about me.

Finding my voice was never about me, it’s all about God. Of all the things he could’ve gave me as a talent, expressing himself verbally and through writing, are some of the ways he sees best through  me. Everything we say or think he values and I think during this season he wanted to let me know that as well.

 

Glossophobia

What is glossophobia? It’s the fear of public speaking and something I hate the most.  No matter how hard I avoid speaking , the environment creates a platform that requires everyone to talk . In school, I was the student that would not make eye contact with the teacher. I figured if we made eye contact there was a higher chance of them calling my name. I never liked introducing myself  or presenting to a crowd of people. I’m not sure how I dread speaking in front of groups of people, but I was a cheerleader and jazz/tap dancer, go figure.. Maybe it was the fact I felt comfortable performing as a group rather than by myself. Either way, as I continue to grow I notice there is no escape for public speaking. So instead of hiding it’s time to face the music,awkward stares, and everything else public speaking may bring.

Practice, practice, practice. I remembered practicing my capstone presentation with my teacher after her office hours and it was worth every minute! I was scared because I was not only presenting to my colleagues but to teachers and I had no idea what they were going to ask. My teacher helped me as far as my posture, making eye contact, and not being wordy in my power point. The time spent in practicing  those minor details helped me in a major way the next day when I presented my research.
Engage with the audience. Remember when I said I felt comfortable performing as a group rather than by myself? Speaking in front of people is like a big performance so it’s important to get everyone involved to avoid feeling awkward. I like asking questions to not only take the spotlight off myself but it’s a way get everyone engaged.
Picture everyone_____. Ok I’m not sure about this one lol. People would say if I pictured everyone in the room in underwear or something I would feel at ease. Actually I think it would make me look silly laughing in front of everyone like I’m on medication, no thanks. I heard this works but honestly I just like to get through the speaking so I can hurry and sit down.
Don’t look at everyone in the face. I look for that one person I’m comfortable with and pretend they are the only ones in the room. Focusing on one person vs the entire room help me control how fast to talk and keep my nerves in check. When I was a little girl I had to recite my Christmas speech and I would not look at anyone in the face! Instead I randomly stared at the big church hats, people teeth, and the big clock that hung in the back of the church LOL.
I thought my fear of public speaking would have disappeared as I got older, instead it got smaller which is progress! If you’re like me I’m here to say you’re doing great!  Always remember there’s a platform waiting to hear your voice to gain insight, stay encouraged, and be inspired.
mic

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! 🙂

My 1st lyft experience

I’m not sure what numbed my nerves and gave me confidence to become a lyft driver especially being an introvert! I just remembered being anxious from not working and YouTube videos of Uber/Lyft sounding cool and I was up for the challenge. So I applied,  submitted my information , and a few days later I met with a mentor so they could give me a heads up on things and evaluate my car.

A couple of days flew by ..maybe a week or two and I finally got the notification of being approved to drive, yayyy! Full of excitement and readiness to chauffeur the world , I switched my lyft app to ‘online’ to let people know I was available. I then decided to look at YouTube videos of the do’s and dont’s with lyft . Within 20-30 mins. of being ‘available’ I received a pickup request!  All of my excitement went away and reality reminded me of the fact ” you do know you just made yourself available to pick up strangers in your car, right?” I immediately switched my availability off …for like a month lol .

I know , why go through the emotions ? Well , I liked challenging myself to converse with people and it was a different kind of experience . So one Saturday I finally decided to move forward with the process. I picked up two ladies that were on their way to a college football game. On the way there they mostly talked amongst themselves which was great for me because I didn’t know what to talk about and I wasn’t a big sports fan. The last few minutes we spoke about marriage and the ‘stress tooth ‘ ball I have in my car that reminds me to stay focused on dentistry. Very random but smooth first lyft ride! I recommend for all my brave introverts :-)!

 

Dear younger Ash, (Pt. I)

First, I have to thank my WP friend, beautybeyondbones , for inspiring me to write a letter to my younger self. Make sure to check out her page!!

Dear younger Ash,

Where do I begin? You, my friend, will come a longggg way! Let me say your confidence will improve. I know for the moment you think you can’t do anything without  your friends. Matter of fact , your first year in college you’ll be so nervous to eat by yourself in the cafeteria that some days/nights , you’ll rely on your snacks in your dorm to get you through the next day. You won’t walk with  your head down and you’ll recognize your unique style ,no longer following the majority. The year you transfer schools, you’ll not only be changing location but it will be a complete transformation for you.

Your relationship with God will continue to get better. He’s not someone from your history textbook, he’s real and will reveal himself to you on a deeper level. Now, the college you transfer to will not be easy. You’ll cry from the threats they will give  when you can’t afford tuition. You’ll cry from the roommates because they are the worse..except for one. You’ll still have a hard time expressing yourself , walking past crowds of people to get to the library ,  trying to fit in, and sadly it now reflects your grades. However, through all of this God will be at your rescue I promise.

Lol, I know you’re like “great! now do I ever get into a true relationship with a guy?” Well , yes you do..eventually. I wish I could somehow let you know how beautiful you are.  Let you know you can stop flipping through the magazines to read horoscopes that will never happen. I wish I could stop you from the people you think you’re attracted to and the weird online chats. You’ll be heartbroken ..plenty of times ..but you will heal. Going through this builds character, you won’t be naïve , and you’ll finally meet someone who gets you. This guy loves your flaws and all, you can truly be yourself  and he loves you .

Well, I guess that’s all I will share for now I just wanted you to get excited about your future. I’ll share more when the time is right. 

Untill next time,

Older Ash **