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Wednesday Word

Wednesday Word

May 29, 2019

This Wednesday Word No. 112, from AdView and spotted on Pinterest, is pure facts. I’ve seen it in my own life recently with some strides made with my fitness. Toward the beginning of the year, I set out to take control of my health and made finding a personal trainer one of my 2019 goals. Since I’ve been working out with my trainer, I’ve lost 10 pounds and 2 percent body fat! I was surprised to hear those results, but it just goes to show that a little becomes a lot if you keep your head down and trust the process. I think the (not-so) secret to my success has been making changes to my regimen little by little. I started cutting back on eating fast food and upped my physical activity. Nothing groundbreaking! This could apply to any goal that you make for yourself.

Also, on the eve of World MS Day, I must reflect on my health journey. I’ve slowly been working on strengthening my left foot that became severely weakened after my flareup, which ultimately led to me being diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. And slowly I’m beginning to be able to walk for longer periods unassisted by my AFO brace. I WILL be able to leave it off permanently one day soon! To think about where I was back then and where I am today is astounding. I went from having extreme fatigue where I would just collapse after getting home from work, for weeks on end, to waking up at 5:30 a.m. consistently to work out and feeling energized well into the night. All I can say is, “Thank you, God!” I’m writing this to remind you that it — whatever your “it” may be — may look too hard to attain, but taking it one step, hour, day at a time will mean big results if you keep at it. So, don’t give up just yet! You’re closer than you think.

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

Wednesday Word

Wednesday Word

April 24, 2019
wednesday word
Image courtesy of FTD by Design

This Wednesday Word No. 111, discovered on FTD by Design, is an on-time reminder to give your loved ones their flowers, like the roses pictured in this image, while they’re still here to enjoy them. I wish I had a few more snuggles and walks with my beautiful, loving 13-year-old fur baby, Berkeley Buster DeVoe. I had to say goodbye to him earlier this month on April 7. I keep thinking of all the good memories to get me through, and the more I reflect on his life, the more I see how much he has truly become a part of me. That little rapscallion came into my life during my last year of college and has basically been with me throughout my entire adult existence. He has helped me become the woman that I am today, so I know that without a doubt, Berkeley lives on through me. I find solace in the fact that even though there’s a Berkeley-sized hole in my heart, time will heal the wounds.

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

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

January 30, 2019
wednesday word

This Wednesday Word No. 110, courtesy of Quote Master and spoken by the late poet-activist-womanist Audre Lorde, is a reminder to take care of yourself. I dare to venture that it’s necessary for you to take care of yourself first. Truly, how can you pour into others when your well is dry? I have to keep that in mind when I feel like I’m exhausted with my daily work responsibilities, and work events and after-work events. Especially now with my condition, rest is vital to me to have a long, healthy and stress-free life. Another version of the quote has Lorde saying, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Because the notion of putting yourself first is contrary to what women are taught. Some of you may have even observed the women in your lives taking a back seat to everyone else. Where did it get them? Probably exhausted, frustrated, depleted, and hopefully, not to an early grave. So I implore you all to pause and take inventory of your life. Are you regularly practicing self-care? If the answer is “no,” I suggest you make plans to do so before the day is over. Need ideas? Dear Black Women has you covered! Take care, friends!

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

ashley ♥ adores

Wednesday Word

January 2, 2019

This Wednesday Word No. 109 (the first of 2019!), spotted at Lessons Learned in Life, is a timely reminder as we embark on the new year. Whether you feel like 2018 was kind to you or if it was the meanest year to date, it’s apropos to reflect on how far you’ve come. I personally am using the upsets and challenges from the past year to propel me into this new season. I’ve weathered the storms and am stronger than ever because of it. Give yourself credit for persevering. Alrighty, no more living in the past. Let’s get after 2019! May this new year be your most productive, fulfilling, successful one yet.

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

ashley ♥ adores

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

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