Tag Archives: healthy living

Life-Changing Lessons from A Broken Leg (Part 1 of 2)

These past two to three weeks have been what I would consider ‘life-changing’.

On November 16, I caught a terrible virus from a family member and overnight I was in Urgent Care getting a shot in the ‘hip’ and contemplating if I could push through the work day or not. It turns out (per doctor’s orders.)  I was forced to call it a day HOPING I’d get better soon so I could get back to work.

It turns out, God didn’t plan it that way.

Tuesday afternoon brought on a new symptom (other than the sinus drainage and a terribly scratchy throat/sneezing) ……. one large order of VOICE LOSS! Nevermind that my job as an insurance agent requires me to TALK 95% of the time! ** insert a “what are you telling me LORD?!**

With one fell swoop, my entire year supply of sick days was wiped out and I was forced the following Monday to return to work, with a hazmat mask on, barely being able to speak above a scraggly whisper.d21b601d09f254a6301b0c4004f8045b.620x400x1

Most of you who read my blog know that I’m a freelance photographer and will undoubtedly feel my pain to know that in addition to being out of work and running out of paid sick leave, I also had to reschedule a slew of fall special shoots I’d already rescheduled due to an emergency family conflict. I was calling on the LORD (in my heart) heavy now! Appearing unprofessional and flaky was NOT my goal when I initially set up these shoots months earlier.

**in a 60-something year old black pastor voice** Somebody turn to your neighbor and say BUT GOD!

Thankfully God heard my cry and blessed me with my go-to videographer-friend Rashaad (who is my second photographer on weddings and events) and allowed him to be off work so he could step in for me.

# LIFE-CHANGING LESSON A: Be thankful for the good people God has placed in your life and be good to them.

One of the things that bothers me most as a business person is when a situation legitimately makes me appear as unprofessional or unknowledgeable. I love photography. It will always be in my heart; and while there will always be people who will try to “get over” on me or dislike my art, I don’t always take it well when “life” happens and interferes with how customers perceive my business.  This is why I’m thankful to have someone like Rashaad on my team and I always try to be a good as a friend as he is to me. He didn’t have to take on those shoots for me. He could’ve said “well to heck with you, I ain’t got time for it!”, and watched as I crashed and burned – but he didn’t. The importance of true friendship and partnership was illuminated to me in this moment. I was inspired to try and be there for my loved ones when they really need me (although I may not be able to help all of the time.) God divinely orchestrates certain relationships to help us live our best lives and live great.

 

Back to the sickness.

By the fifth day of week two, my voice was functioning at about 87% and while I was physically tired and still feeling icky, the week wasn’t overwhelming – UNTIL – I walked into my parents’ house ….

(to be continued)

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Keep Calm….God is Working – My Thoughts on “Stinking Thinking”

During the past four weeks God has really been dealing with me on the subject of THOUGHTS. Often times I find myself slipping into “stinking thinking” (as Joyce Meyers would say).  More recently I’ve had moments where I’ll become preoccupied with the future…you know… Am I ready to own a home? What’s the next step? When will my prayers for a family come to fruition? Will I be spiritually, emotionally, and physically ready? Why do I feel stuck? Am I making the right decision for my businesses? Am I truly emotional and physically healed from my past hurts to enjoy the present? AND SO ON AND SO FORTH!

Last Thursday I woke up with a cluster of revelations rushing to my mind. First of all, I realized that I needed a good slap on the back of the neck because I am God’s child! I believe in and wholeheartedly follow His son Jesus Christ PLUS I pick up my cross daily to follow Him SOOOOO I have no business worrying about ANYTHING to begin with (oh what needless pains I bore)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT

“The name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.” – Proverbs 18:10 NLT

Secondly, “stinking thinking” has interrupted my peace. God has not given ANY of us a spirit of fear, but of peace and of love and of a sound mind. He gives us His peace —

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – John 14:27 KJV

— so that we can work on ‘chill mode’ while He works out all the ‘particulars’.  I’ve found myself lately getting so caught up in my dreams, and my excitement, and my desires, that I’ve virtually forgotten to bring them to God the Father and leave them there. It’s like I’ve been praying this entire time, “God help me with this and that as I kneel before Your throne of grace. Amen” — wait a few seconds, start packing all my prayer requests back into my heart, and turn around to go back to my daily life with the VERY SAME STUFF I just asked God to take care of! How silly is that?! I know, God’s evidently been working on me!

A third thing I was reminded of is that negative thinking has been holding up my healing – and I’m not just talking about emotional! Thinking toxic thoughts have the power to halt our physical healing too! God is not a respecter of persons, but a respecter of faith —

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” – Matthew 17:20 NLT

–and when we allow negative thoughts to take over, it dampens our faith and hope of ever being healed from: that terrible cold, that excruciating back pain, that digestion problem, that asthma, that chronic disease, anything! Not saying God isn’t going to heal me unless I have 100% faith (sometimes my faith ain’t all the way on fleek), but that’s something I need to be working towards; and I believe that God works more quickly once our faith lines up with what we KNOW He can do! (just look at Jairus and the ‘Woman with the Issue of Blood’ in the books of Mark and Luke). Our faith may be on 60% (aka on sub-fleek), but I confidently believe that even with that little bit that we muster up, we can still tap into SO much more as Christians when our thoughts are lined up with God’s. Our positive and hopeful thinking will carry our faith even further and carry us into the healed and happy future God wants ALL of us to have!

“For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 2:16 ESV

Our thoughts have the power to shape our future – whether through how it drives us to act or feel or believe. It’s in our best interest to make sure our thinking is fresh and alive! Join me in kicking that “stinking thinking” to the curb, and walk with me into a prosperous future!

– Joc

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Beware of #TeamNoSleep

I was listening to the Yolanda Adams Morning Show this morning (as I always do on my way to work) and they were discussing this delusional statement #TeamNoSleep. Now I have to be honest, I lived by this mantra up until 8 months ago. I have a full time job, own 2 businesses, and I do volunteer work. I figured the only way to be able to live life making a living from my dream career would be to work myself dry now and reap the benefits down the road.

I WAS SO OFF!

Fact: Americans put emphasis on the notion that hard work and workaholic lifestyles equal success.

But the truth is God did not design us to live that way. If we were capable of doing everything on our own, there would be no need for Him. AND SINCE THAT ISN’T REALITY and we DO need God for everything, we need to know when to work and know when to rest. Since I was 19 years old, “late nights, early mornings” were second nature to me. I sacrificed friend time, family time, my love life, and even more alarmingly…my health if it meant getting work done.

Many people don’t know this but over the past 3 years I’ve been sick and hospitalized more than I’ve been since I was a kid! I thought it was just asthma or allergies getting me down, but what was actually happening was my body was giving me a wakeup call! Working on the go, eating out all the time, getting 2 – 3hours sleep at a time, working all day then staying up all night editing photos was slowly depleting my immune system. I learned THE HARD WAY that our bodies NEED rest and there is nothing glorious about passing out dead from an unhealthy lifestyle.

 

Mark 4: 35-38 NLT reads, “As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

ALSO…

Mark 6: 30-31 NLT reads, “The apostles returned to Jesus from their ministry tour and told him all they had done and taught. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.”

If JESUS knew enough to rest with all of the ministry He did, we not only need to be concerned about just our spiritual health, but our physical too! I mean come on, Jesus was the SON OF GOD…and He rested to show us what we need to do. After all, a Christian is someone who is a follower of Christ and His teachings correct?! CORRECT!

So the next time you jump on that bandwagon talking about “We hustling ova here” “#TeamNoSleep” “Late Nights, Early Mornings” – just know that you sound dumb and are quickly on your way to being the newest member of #TeamSixFeetUnder and #TeamNoMore.

Take care of yourself folks. TRUE hustlers know that there is a balance to this thing. Levels.

Be Blessed, Joc

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Napping can Dramatically Increase Learning, Memory, Awareness, and More

In some places, towns essentially shut down in the afternoon while everyone goes home for a siesta. Unfortunately, in the U.S.—more bound to our corporate lifestyles than our health—a mid-day nap is seen as a luxury and, in some cases, a sign of pure laziness. But before you feel guilty about that weekend snooze or falling asleep during a movie, rest assured that napping is actually good for you and a completely natural phenomena in the circadian (sleep-wake cycle) rhythm.

As our day wears on, even when we get enough sleep at night, our focus and alertness degrade. While this can be a minor inconvenience in modern times, it may have meant life or death for our ancestors. Whether you are finishing up a project for work or hunting for your livelihood, a nap can rekindle your alertness and have your neurons back up and firing on high in as little as 15 to 20 minutes.

Big name (and high-dollar) companies recognize this. Google and Apple are just a few that allow employees to have nap time. Studies have affirmed that short naps can improve awareness and productivity. Plus, who wouldn’t love a boss that lets you get a little shut-eye before the afternoon push?

study from the University of Colorado Boulder found that children who missed their afternoon nap showed less joy and interest, more anxiety, and poorer problem solving skills than other children. The same can be seen in adults that benefit from napping.

Researchers with Berkeley found an hour nap to dramatically increase learning ability and memory. Naps sort of provide a reboot, where the short term memory is cleared out and our brain becomes refreshed with new defragged space.

Read: Sleep Removes Toxic Waste from the Brain

So how long should you nap?

napping

Experts say a 10 to 20 minute “power nap” is best for refreshing your mind and increasing energy and alertness. The sleep isn’t as deep as longer naps, which allows you to get right back at your day upon waking.

A 30 minute nap can lead to 30 minutes of grogginess, as you are often waking just as your body enters the deeper stages of sleep. You’ll experience some of that same fogginess if you sleep for an hour, but 60 minute naps are good for memory boosting.

The longest naps—around 90 minutes—are good for those people who just don’t get enough sleep at night. It’s a complete sleep cycle and can improve emotional memory and creativity.

Naps are good for you—physically and mentally. But don’t sacrifice night time zzz’s for an afternoon snooze; take your nap in addition to a good night’s sleep.

Original: http://naturalsociety.com/science-napping/

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Trust Yourself, Get Something Good. Trust God, Get Something BETTER

I am literally in awe of God. I woke up this morning inspired by the confidence I have in Him and it grows rock solid every second! It blows my mind how all knowing He is. I was just talking to my folks about God and of how He operates in our lives. If we ask Him enough, He’ll give us just what we ask for…even if He has something better. obstacles2

Check it…

We may want a bike, but He’s waiting to give us a car. We may want a job, but He’s waiting to give us a career. We may want just a little more money to get us through the month, but He’s planning to give us triple what we normally bring in. We may want a boyfriend/girlfriend, but He’s wants us to wait while He preps someone to eventually be our spouse. However…the key word is “wait”.

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

If we are faithful and just, and really seek God for something that we want, He’ll honor our request – even IF He wants us to just wait a little longer to give us something ‘great’ instead of ‘good’. 

There have been NUMEROUSSSSSS times in my life where I’ve gotten ‘trigger happy’ and prayed and prayed….and prayed to God for something. Eventually, He may have given me what I prayed for, but then I realized it wasn’t all I thought it would be. I realized that if I would have waited a bit longer, I would’ve been able to cash in on an amazing blessing!

obstacles1I remember there was a time when I was in middle school where I prayed to God for ‘more friends’. I already had friends, but just felt like I wanted a few extra to hang out with when my other ones were busy… and that’s exactly what I got. More friends. Not necessarily GOOD friends – but they were ‘friends’ nonetheless. If I would have waited on God’s time and been grateful for the good friends I already had, I would have probably saved myself a lot of t[w]eenage drama. (you know how all over the place you were  back in those tweens years; don’t trip haha)

The same process happened to me after the hand-me-down car I was driving finally sputtered into the afterlife. I was praying, “God, I really want a car! I just need something Lord!” In my heart, I really wanted a nice, DEPENDABLE car, but my trigger happy brain didn’t want to wait around for one. I found one for literally $350 and bought it right on up! I think it lasted me a year (if that) and poof…I was out of $350. I really believe that if I would have waited and ‘struggled’ by carpooling for a bit longer I would have been able to get a nicer car.

So Joc, what is the purpose of this, yet another of your rants?

WAIT ON GOD!

Make sure you don’t make decisions based on how YOU feel. Take the time and patience to make yourself aware of what God wants for you.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

obstaclesThere is a reason why I had my commitment ring inscribed with Jeremiah 29:11. It reads, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The purpose of the ring itself is to publically display the promise I made to God and myself to remain celibate until marriage (hey, it’s never to late to start – God can forgive your past if you choose to let Him) – but the scripture inside of it is to remind me to be careful and selective in who I date, court, and eventually marry. It reminds me to not compromise the values and promises I’ve made, just for the affection of a man. God has had my wonderful man of God brewing up for me since birth so there is no reason to offset my destiny by making dumb choices because of how my flesh feels at times. The same goes for YOU too, and in EVERY area of your life.

God knows what He’s doing. He’s no amateur and He is the perfect and only Creator. Don’t flub up the awesomeness He has planned for you by rushing Him along just to grab a hold of something that’s just MEDIOCRE. Hold out and trust Him for the greatness.

– Joc

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