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Wednesday Word

Wednesday Word

June 27, 2018

This Wednesday Word No. 108, spotted on Pinterest, is an on-time reminder that if you’ve still got breath in your lungs, you have lots to be thankful for. If I’m being honest, the month of June has been a bit of a doozy. I was in a car accident, a four-car pile-up on the 405 caused by a girl plowing right into the back of my car during rush-hour traffic. My beloved Lisa McDowell, whom I named after a character in my favorite movie “Coming to America,” ended up being declared a total loss because the repair costs exceeded the actual value of the vehicle. And then I had an allergic reaction to the first dose of my MS medicine. My face, neck and chest broke out in a rash that I’m still trying to get under control. After waiting two months for insurance to approve the medicine and for it to arrive and for me to learn how to inject myself, I now have to search for a new medicine and begin the lengthy process all over again. On the bright side, I walked away from the accident unscathed. My life was spared, Praise God! Plus, I am now the proud owner of a used 2018 Kia Optima! Her name is a work in progress, but I’m leaning towards Vivian Anita (guess why!). And at least now I know what to avoid in future treatment of my MS, and I’m one step closer to finding the best medicine for me. I’m alive, blessed (and highly favored) and very grateful. God has been so good to me! If you’re in the midst of a storm, hang on. It’s not over. If God brought you through tough times in the past, He’ll do it again! Thinking back on past blessings and victories is always guaranteed to lift my spirits. If you’re in need of a smile, I suggest you start there!

To get inspired by previous Wednesday Word posts, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

May 30, 2018

This Wednesday Word No. 107, spotted on Pinterest, happens to fall on World MS Day. You might be wondering why I’m posting about multiple sclerosis, one of the most common neurological disorders and causes of disability in young adults. The truth is, I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS on March 9, 2018, after an arduous six-month process of trying to figure out why my left foot went numb out of nowhere. I’ve had to repeat the words in the image above to myself more times than I can count.

MS has been a journey that has challenged me in ways I could never have imagined. I often fear how this autoimmune disease will attack me. How long it will be before I have another flareup. If I’ll be able to walk unassisted down the aisle on that big day when it comes. What people assume when they see my lopsided walk and leg brace (I’ve dubbed it my “bionic boot”!). If I’ll ever regain strength, feeling in my left foot. Whether this was something I could have prevented (MS is caused my environmental factors and is prevalent in people with Vitamin D deficiency). How long it will take me to find my “new normal” and what that will look like. If the sting of (well-meaning?) passersby and strangers greeting me with unsolicited remarks like “What did you do to yourself?” and “What’s up with your foot?” will ever be less jarring. If the physical therapy will be enough to help me get my old gait back.

I try to take these struggles — these minuscule mountains that stand before me day after day — in stride, but I must admit that this battle kicks my butt some days. There are prolonged periods of fatigue that seemingly take forever to shake, where I fall asleep on the couch after getting home from work, only to wake up at 1 a.m. with all the lights on and my dog running around irked because I haven’t yet walked him. There are times when walking to my car a block away from my apartment or even across the office to a meeting room is a chore. There are an onslaught of drifting thoughts that rob me of my focus, and cloud all semblance of collectedness and clarity.

Last week I started experiencing new symptoms — intense tingling in my right leg — and it was super scary. My neurologist recommended I undergo an IV infusion of medrol/steroids over five consecutive days to reduce the inflammation. I laughed when he told me. It was unreal how matter-of-factly those words rolled off his tongue. That’s something that I’m still getting used to — the big words, the unheard-of remedies, the expectation that I automatically wrap my mind around them once uttered. It’s still all new to me. The IV treatment lasts four hours. Today was day two of the treatment. It’s taxing. Saddening. Draining. Uncomfortable. It forces me to sit there and come to grips with this illness. I hope these visits don’t happen often.

As I type this, tears stream down my cheeks from the weight of it all, and Berkeley, my four-legged cuddle bug, promptly hops on my lap to comfort me. It’s these little moments that that give me strength to press on. To the friends and loved ones who’ve checked on me daily; called to chat about current events like Cousin Meghan and her royal wedding; made me guffaw heartily at their East Coast shenanigans; let me know that they “got” me and not to hesitate to let them know if they can help in any way, no matter how big or small; sent me throwback memes and videos (Raise your hand if you remember the 1990s PBS gem “Zoom”!) on the Gram; entertained my antics; presented me with unthinkable theories about the Sixers mascot and “Atlanta” that literally floored me with laughter; made the mundane feel magical; came to have lunch with me at my job; or texted a simple “How are you, homegirl?,” “Praying for you” or “Thinking of you” — it means more to me than you’ll ever know. And a special shout out to my fellow MS warriors who have given me pointers and guidance at the height of my feeling lost. You guys are my tribe and I’m blessed to have you all in my life. I refuse to let my diagnosis be a death sentence. If God woke me up today, that means He has given me a gift that I can’t pass up. It’s my charge to make the most of these 24 hours. And by golly, I’ve been fighting to make them count.

In honor of World MS Day, I hope that you’ll learn a little more about this disease that 400,000 people in the United States and 2.5 million people around the globe are living with. And I hope that if you know anyone with MS that you’ll send them some love today and whenever they cross your mind. We need it to survive.

Wednesday Word

April 25, 2018

This Wednesday Word No. 106, spotted at Haute in Texas, is where my heart and head have been since my epic trip to South Africa. Our group was fortunate to go on a walking tour of the Langa township in Cape Town, where we had the opportunity to meet the locals, learn about their history, buy some of their wares and see how they live. Sugar, our tour guide, was from the township and gave us a real glimpse at life in this part of the world. She even gave us a run-down of the Xhosa language, marked by distinct clicking sounds, which made me appreciate its unique beauty all the more. We visited the Dalukhanyo Preschool, where the kids sang the South African national anthem and danced for us. I wanted read to them and play games and trade dance moves. Simply put, I didn’t want to leave. If anything, those few minutes we spent at the school made me realize that I could be doing more to support them. Our tour guide in Johannesburg, Sonja, also left an impression on our group. Her adoration for the country of South Africa was palpable. She didn’t sugarcoat the not-so-pretty parts but spoke truth with love. It’s crazy how much Sugar, the students and Sonja made me feel at home, thousands of miles from Long Beach, on a whole new continent, on the other side of the world.

To get inspired by previous Wednesday Word posts, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

March 21, 2018

This Wednesday Word No. 105, spotted on Pinterest, is a good reminder for today, the second day of spring. Or any day, really! LOL. Spoken by Walt Whitman — the American poet, essayist and journalist also known as the “father of free verse” — this quote, in my opinion, is all about your mindset. Spring, to many, is the start of a new beginning. New life, new blooms, new wardrobes, new possibilities and so on. Why not use the dawn of this new season as a time to recalibrate and shift gears in your thinking? Maybe the rainy, chilly weather — or if we’re being really honest, life’s little storms — has gotten you down. Maybe you’re tired of hearing that good things are on the way when your present reality shows otherwise. If so, here’s a simple remedy that may be just what the doctor ordered: Turn your gaze toward the sun. Soak in those rays, that divine Vitamin D, and see if it doesn’t shift your perspective. When we shift our gaze toward the light (read: focus on the positive), darkness has no choice but to fall behind us. On this day — this drizzly and grey day in Los Angeles — I will look for the metaphorical sunshine and know that it will put a little spring in my step. Hope you can do the same wherever you are (physically and mentally), friends!

To get inspired by previous Wednesday Word posts, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

March 7, 2018

This Wednesday Word No. 104, spotted at Hom Sweet Hom, was unapologetically spoken by Shonda Rhimes. For the uninitiated, Shonda Rhimes is the creator, head writer, executive producer and showrunner of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder.” She basically runs Thursday nights on ABC and is a total game-changer. But that probably goes without saying. This quote taken from her book, “Year of Yes” (I listened to it as an audiobook in January, and it completely changed my perspective and led me to embark on my own “Year of Yes”), is her forever mood and is goals for me. To put it into context, Shonda writes: “I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart. I am talented. I take advantage of the opportunities that came my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.” Remember those words when someone tries to dim your shine. We all should have the confidence to tout our greatness. Let’s call it like it is. We’ve earned everything we’ve accomplished, often working twice as hard to get half the credit of others. This Women’s History Month, I salute Shonda Rhimes for the example she has set for Black girls everywhere. Seeing her succeed lets us know that our words matter and that embracing our imaginations and creativity can lead to amazing things.

To get inspired by previous Wednesday Word posts, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

February 28, 2018

This Wednesday Word No. 103, spotted via Quote Catalog, comes right on time, as we wrap up Black History Month and get ready for Women’s History Month. W.E.B. Du Bois — an African-American sociologist, writer, activist and originator of this quote — is a real one for this. Not only was he one of the most impactful social thinkers of his generation, but he also recognized the importance of lifting up women. This quote is equally potent today as it was back then. Reading these words makes me think of the black women who rise while navigating a world that constantly quells our voices. We dare to thrive in a society that challenges our worth due to the sheer fact that we’re both rich with melanin and hold the key to life in our anatomies. I personally think of my mother, who worked tirelessly to raise us kids — six wild and crazy ones at that — while progressing in her career and serving God. I’m also thinking of my Grandma Ruth, Grandma Clara, and a gaggle of aunties who set examples for me with their selflessness, faith, grit and compassion. It’s because of their determination that I’m here today.

Who are some of the women who come to mind when you reflect on this quote? Let me know in the comments section below!

To get inspired by previous Wednesday Word posts, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

February 21, 2018

This Wednesday Word No. 102, courtesy of GREER Chicago, is for all those who refuse to let hurdles stand in the way of their progress. Shirley Chisholm, who made history as the first African-American woman elected to the US Congress and first African-American to run for President on a major party ticket, faced many challenges in her political career. But she persisted in the face of many a closed door, numerous naysayers and severely stacked odds. The famous quote stems from a word of encouragement that she gave to Democratic party activist and her longtime friend, Donna Brazile: “If you wait for a man to give you a seat, you’ll never have one! If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring in a folding chair.” Also, shout out to the women who speak life into their friends’ hopes and dreams. (As you may know, Brazile continues to make major moves in the political arena and is currently chair of the Democratic National Committee.) There’s something to be said about someone who’s so sure of herself and her mission that she chooses to see opposition as opportunity. Chisholm is a beacon of confidence, resilience and determination. She knew that there was great work to be done, and it couldn’t stop with the noes of men. Aren’t you glad that there are powerful women like Chisholm who came before us to set an example of the potential we have inside? I know I am.

To get inspired by previous Wednesday Word posts, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

February 14, 2018

This Wednesday Word No. 101, a tweet from California Senator Kamala Harris posted on Feb. 2, has been at the forefront of my mind since it was sent into the universe. It was a poignant reminder that there is an army of well-wishing, encouraging, uplifting, caring sisters behind me. They may not be in the building physically, but I know their thoughts, prayers and hopes are with me.

What a reassuring feeling, especially as I got about my work day, oftentimes the only Black woman in the room. The more I engage and build relationships with my Black colleagues, the more supported I feel. I thank them for their hugs, smiles, laughs and “You’re gonna be OKs.” They mean more to me than they’ll ever know. It’s a beautiful thing to feel that encouragement 365, but it feels especially good during Black History Month. Now that’s a special kind of love.

And by the way, Kamala Harris is Black History herself, and her future is so bright. I stand with her as one of those cheerleaders she mentioned in her tweet. Get ’em, Kam!

To get inspired by previous Wednesday Word posts, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

January 24, 2018

This Wednesday Word No. 100, spotted on Mess in a Bottle’s Instagram, is low key my mantra during this season, as I embark on my own “Year of Yes.”

First of all, this very feature represents something that I stepped out on back in February 2015. I had long wanted to include words of wisdom and encouragement on this blog on a more regular cadence, and “Wednesday Word” was the vehicle that I created for that purpose, after months of wondering in my mind how people would receive it or if it even made sense for my brand. Well, guess what: I’m all about encouraging and bringing joy to others, so I shouldn’t have even questioned if it was a fit for Ashley Adores. Plus, I make the rules here. LOL. I didn’t need approval from anyone to begin with. And here we are, 100 Wednesday Words in!

You’d be surprised how opportunities to live out your dreams and accomplish your goals come seemingly out of nowhere when your mindset shifts from “I should do X” or “It would be cool if Y happened,” to “I’m actually going to do Z and when I do, it will feel amazing.” God is up to something, for sure. For example, one of my goals for 2018 is to get a better grasp on my finances and knock down my debt. Then lo and behold, my church announced that it is offering a financial literacy course starting next month. Boom! A chance to really cross that item off my list.

What have you prolonged? What dream have you deferred? Sometimes a shift in mindset is all you need to accomplish your goals. So, no more shoulda, woulda, coulda. We’re making moves ’round here. To remix queen of the glow-up, Cardi B: I don’t slack now; I make power moves.© Now that’s a dope T-shirt in the making … You heard it here first!

To get inspired by previous Wednesday Word posts, click here.

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

January 8, 2018

This Wednesday Word No. 99, spotted on Pinterest, is dedicated to those who want to live life without regret. It’s better to make a mistake than it is to sit idly by and wonder what could have been. With the start of a new year comes an influx of hopes and aspirations of ways to improve various areas of your life. And of course, there comes the cynicism of those who feel like the new year is simply a changing date on a calendar. But I personally am harnessing the newness as a real opportunity to start over and go after the things that I’ve pushed aside. I want to be that person who learned a bunch from their failures, instead of that person who looks back over their life in their 80s and wishes they had taken the risk or did the thing they always wanted to do. This year, I’m going to do things that scare me and push me out of my comfort zone. I’m currently listing to Shonda Rimes’ “Year of Yes” (seriously, do yourself a favor and head to Audible right now — well, after you finish reading this post — and get it!) and it’s giving me all kinds of life. And it’s giving me all kinds of ideas about what I could say “yes” to, and I’m excited about what I’ll learn about myself along the way. For starters, I’m taking a series of public speaking courses offered through my job. Like many introverts, I’m terrified of public speaking. “I’m a writer, not a talker,” I tell myself to make sense of this phobia. But who knows what this newfound courage will bring about? I can’t wait to see. I’ll fill you in!

What is it that you’re making a commitment to pursue? Let me know in the comments below.

To get inspired by previous Wednesday Word posts, click here.

ashley ♥ adores