img_5340

NoParent

CoParenting: sometimes referred to as cooperative, parallel parenting, or even platonic parenting. Simply stated: it’s when you and the other parent work together and devise a plan and support each other for the good of the child(ren). You maintain open lines of communication, make agreements, and involve the other parent in decision-making, educational goals, and disciplinary action — even though you’re no longer in a personal loving relationship. Your goal is to parent your child(ren) together; to the best of your abilities even though you aren’t “together”. Nothing between you and the other parent compares or can get in the way of the shared love, guidance, and hopefulness that you both have for the child(ren) you share.

It is extremely disheartening to discover that anyone wouldn’t want the joy and pain inherent to raising a child. Alas, not everyone was meant to be a parent. You can love a child, entertain a child, spoil, enjoy, and care for a child and STILL not be parenting material. How can you parent your child with a person that has no interest in the child, no interest in being a parent to the child, or participating in the love, growth, guidance and success of the child? How can you agree to anything when you can’t stand to look at, be near, or communicate with the other person? How does one CoParent with a non-parent?

Do it yourself, you say? Yes. A noble concept, indeed. But often times; easier said than done. The African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child” is far from cliché. It really does take a village. The support system required to raise children is vast. And if you’re trying to man the stations alone; the vastness multiplies and gathers levels of difficulty, confusion, and exhaustion along the way. Quadruple that factor every time another child is brought into the mix. Single parenting is not for the weak, faint of heart, or challenge-challenged. You not only have to be strong, you have to be knock-down drag-out resilient. You have to take the punch after the punch and just keep swimming. When you parent alone, there’s no down time. There’s no time to feel sorry for yourself or wallow in any type of self-pity or grief. Your kids need you, ALL. OF. THE. TIME.

I have learned some hard parenting lessons (like everything I just mentioned) the very hardest way: trial and error (more error, than trial). I have struggled with all of the feelings and emotions that come with first time motherhood, single motherhood, and failed motherhood. I have felt blessed, elated, happy, sad, exhausted, doubtful, confused, amazed, anxious… you get the picture. Parenting brings out a person’s instincts, intuition and emotions that are complex, deep, and strong. Most of us need that village to help us cope with what goes on inside of us; much less the laundry, dishes, and cleanup. We need to hear that we are doing a good job and that we haven’t screwed up our kids for all time.We need someone there, even when we are trying to do it all alone. It is paramount that you understand that single parenting means that you are: mother, father, good cop, bad cop, disciplinarian, nurse, doctor, playmate, therapist, chef, maid, and barber. You are it. You are all that there is and you cannot take that job lightly.

We also need those village horror stories. We don’t necessarily need to hear someone’s pain and get relief from it. More so, we need to hear and know that someone can survive an absentee parent and still be loving. Or that someone else survived an abusive parent and can have and maintain a safe and loving relationship. We need to witness someone crawling out of the shadow of their parent’s depression, obsession, or mental illness to still turn into successful people. We just need to know that even though we’ve made mistakes, our kids still have every loving chance on the planet to be the people who God intended for them to be. We always need to be reminded that they are here for their purpose and not to fulfill the dreams and expectations we once had for ourselves. We must remember that we are ushers; guides — and our job is to “teach them well and let them lead the way” (thanks, Whitney).

proverbs-226-kjv-train-up-a-child-in-the-way-he-should-go-and-when-he-is-old-he-will-not-depart-from-it-4d739

Every person walking down the street has an opinion on how to raise kids. They give you unwarranted advice and tips that they’ve never practiced but heard so many times they just pretend it’s the gospel truth. However, every child is different, just as every parent is different. Sometimes the personality of the child is so prominent that you can see it before they are born. Their stubbornness and tenacity leach out of their mother’s womb the way hot grease dripping from a piece of fried chicken seeps into a napkin. No one can parent your child better than you. God gave you that child, and He would not expect anything from you that you didn’t have the talent and resources to provide. Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.

We all make mistakes. We make mistakes in every way every day. But if you accept the position and title of parent (I say “accept” because there are a large number of persons in the world who think that birthing a child is a CHOICE and not a God-given duty and BLESSING), you damn sure better learn from your mistakes and up your game! Get better. DO NOT GIVE UP ON YOUR CHILDREN. Do not. As with anything, there are always situations and exceptions to the rule, but those instances have to be examined very carefully when your children are involved. Children seek their parents for support and guidance in virtually all things. Don’t be the parent that turns your back or the one that requires that your child raise and support you. Know your role. Admit your wrongs, polish your method, and do the best you can — today and always.

Parenting is a sacrifice. There’s no way around it. You will sacrifice your body, your memory, your breasts (you know, if you’re a woman), your sleep… oh the sleep; I miss it so much. You sacrifice your friendships, work relationships, and every party you ever thought you’d throw or attend. AND IT’S WORTH EVERY BIT OF IT. Every shoulder covered in vomit, shirt that’s been sneezed on, pinky finger that’s plucked a tiny booger… it’s worth it. Every night that’s spent sleepless, pacing, worried, and scared because you’re not sure you’re doing it right… it’s worth it. Children are worth the battle. Children are worth the dreams, nightmares, scars, and adventures. They are miniature funnier cuter replicas of you and they will never cease to amaze you.

Some people know in their hearts that they don’t want children and they make a concerted effort to maintain a childless status. There are others, who don’t consider being a parent until someone says “my period is late” and they still manage to be fervent, and competent in the parenting arena. And then there are the others… the ones who just don’t. Nothing sways them from their perch atop the “I don’t wanna” soapbox. They use any and every excuse, if they stick around long enough to be questioned. They are children, in adult bodies who’ve created a child but somehow managed to deliver themselves from the parenting role. And nothing and no one can make them change their mind. Not even their child. They’re missing out, but it doesn’t matter to them. It only matters to the child who has to learn to deal. Most of those kids are better off without the person so selfish as to not give up any piece of themselves for their son or daughter. The child learns early on that not everyone can be trusted or believed in.. and that even a parent can let you down.

How do you succeed; alone, in a job that was meant for two?? I can only tell you how I try to manage: I do what I can myself, and I try to utilize my village. I keep on keepin’ on. You should too. You just press on and do everything you can and everything you need to raise that child as successfully as possible. (While simultaneously harboring no ill will, hatred or bad wishes against that other non-existent parent). You do your best to be both parents, the good and bad cops, and you do it with a smile. The child needs every effort, every ability, and every bit of your loving care to fill in those gaps. I am nowhere near perfect. At times, I doubt that I am even “good”. I do my best and hope that each day I get better. I pray that everyday my kids grow and learn and find happiness in their home and in my heart. I have plenty of pity parties and occasionally find myself filled with doubt and fear, but I don’t let it stop me from continuing to do my job as Mother.

img_5340

Margo (L), Miles (M), and Kenneth (R).

I am proud to be someone’s mother. Three someones to be exact. I revel in their hugs and kisses; and find the ultimate joy in their devouring anything homemade. I enjoy knowing that they look for me when they are excited, hungry, or scared; because they know that I can provide support, food, or comfort. i get a warm fuzzy feeling when they demand “reading and prayers” before bedtime. Knowing that my kisses provide more relief than a band-aid makes me smile. And feeling my kids climb into my bed because they want to cuddle makes my heart sing. I have made mistakes, and don’t claim to be anything other than a parent doing her best; but I’m here and I try. I AM HERE, AND I TRY.

Allergic to Allergies

My son has every allergy you can imagine. It’s a lot of work. He went into anaphylactic shock three times before the age of three. He has sneezed more and produced more mucus than the rest of my entire family put together. And while that fact is funny, it is no laughing matter. As exhausting as it is for me, I can only imagine how incredibly deflating and tiresome it is for him. He’s proven to be quite a trooper and is famous to my friends and fans as SuperBoy. Boisterous you think? No. let me explain.

Kenneth was born at approximately forty weeks to the day. He came out with a push and a half. He was more than eight pounds, almost two feet long, and had a faint mustache. At three months old, he would scream after every bath. I thought he didn’t like to be nudey in the breeze. No, he had eczema, and the lavender bath soap and lotion that I was using was torturing him. I didn’t know until one night when I only had cocoa butter at my disposal. After smoothing it over his little man body, not only was he not screaming, he was relaxed and comfortable. His skin needed that moisture and oil and he was pleased. At his next check up the doctor said: eczema. Eczema? Ok, I can handle that. No dyes or perfumes and plenty of cocoa butter. CHECK!

He trucked on through those next few months without incident. His skin was soft and smooth and his hair was super-curly-awesome! He was handsome and happy. I nursed Kenneth for seven months and when I switched to formula, a different set of problems started; sneezing, coughing, runny nose, congestion. So. Much. Congestion. After about a month of formula, Kenneth was transported by ambulance to the hospital. It was Christmas Eve. Pneumonia; the doctor said.

I watched as my infant child was held down by four adult women and then given an IV. I stood by as he was wrapped in towels and had his nose suctioned to remove the excess of mucus. I was witness to him receiving breathing treatment after breathing treatment after breathing treatment. And he still struggled to breathe. We spent his first Christmas in the hospital, sharing a twin sized hospital bed and slept at a 30-degree incline. I was broke, had no prepaid minutes on my phone, no charger for my phone and no change of clothes. At the time, I received a few visitors and I received a pair of fuzzy pajamas and socks. i also received a beautiful painted glass tile that doubled as a comforting nightlight. It was a really rough time and those few items helped me to feel at ease trying to help him feel at ease.

When we were finally released from the hospital, I went home and cried. Kenneth was almost back to himself, but I was exhausted. I called friends to see if someone could come and watch him while i tried to nap, but i wasn’t that lucky. i cried more. It took almost two weeks for his arm to heal from the adult-sized IV needle that was jammed into it. The bitch nurse that did so laughed at me for crying while i watched her shove a needle the size of a McDonald’s straw into his arm. She smirked and said “are you going to be alright?” and then smiled at the other nurse that was helping to hold my child down. I wanted to punch them both in the face. I will never forget her rude, inconsiderate, wrinkly mug. I hope i see her another day so i can tell her just how ridiculous and subpar she was during such a sensitive and traumatic moment in our lives.

Pneumonia, huh? It came on so suddenly. He hadn’t been sick or outside. It was December but it wasn’t cold (I mean, this is Southern California). But ok. Pneumonia, I guess. No dairy for a few days, no exposure to the cold, keep him hydrated and take all of his medicine. Got it. Pneumonia? We can handle it! CHECK!

Kenneth returned to the hospital emergency room just two months later. This time they said bronchitis. Bronchitis? Isn’t that one symptom shy of pneumonia? Good grief. But ok. We didn’t stay. I refused to be checked in or admitted. We got our diagnosis, our prescription and went home.

This became a cycle that went on for about two years. Kenneth was either at the doctor, or at urgent care. There were also a few emergency room visits. He was transported by ambulance again, when he was about four. We’d actually gone to the doctor, but his blood oxygen was so low that she called 911. Devastating.

Every episode was a bout of coughing, sneezing, snotting, choking, and pure misery. Sometimes his eyes would just scream “help me!” It was just murderous to watch. I always felt like I’d done something wrong; done something to him. I wondered if I’d inadvertently made him sick. But how, how do you give someone bronchitis or pneumonia? What set of skills do you need to have to impart such a condition? I felt guilty, and like an outsider. I had to stand back, step out-of-the-way, and watch other people care for my son.

I didn’t know what I was in store for. I had no knowledge of food allergies or their impact and effect on my infant/toddler child. I spent days, nights, and weeks watching my son struggle to breathe. He would not eat because he couldn’t breathe and there was just so much mucus that every swallow would lead to choking. He was miserable and I was too, twelve times as much. No one wants to see their child suffer through any kind of illness. It makes us parents feel helpless and ineffectual. We are the care providers and we are outdone and undone by a “bug”, a flu, a pneumonia. It sucks.

As time went on, Kenneth’s flare-ups would become (what I thought was) somewhat predictable. But then there were also times that they came on suddenly and unexpected. It was a life-or-death guessing game. Russian roulette… with an unknown weapon that had a hair-sensitive trigger. Every time I thought I knew what was going on, something would pull that trigger and I’d be back to square one. At some point the pediatrician said that Kenneth had asthma. Just “asthma”. Did I mention that he was diagnosed with eczema at just three months old? Yeah, so there was that, and now the asthma. Inhalers! Nebulizer! no cold, no wind, no dust, no pets!! asthma? CHECK!

The worst part of any and all of this was watching my son have to deal and adjust. He received shots, syrups, chewables, breathing treatments, inhalers, and steroids. STEROIDS! You know the culprit: prednisone! awful stuff. I mean, an absolute God-send in the way that it targeted his swollen bronchial tubes and allowed him to breathe. but HORRID in the way that it turned him into an emotionally unstable toddler HULK! He was bouncing off walls one minute, crying the next, and anywhere in between at all times. One morning, I had to get him ready for our morning commute. At that time, I just got him dressed and put him in the car. He never woke. But one fine morning, he did wake; and he cried and cried and cried. I knew it was the prednisone taking hold of his emotions. He was inconsolable and it ripped my heart out. So, considering all that he had been through and was going through, I had to decide if I should actually give him the prescribed medicine that he needed to make him better: TO HELP HIM BREATHE. Or I had to watch him struggle with every breath. Whatta crock!

I called the pediatrician and described what happened. Kenneth was prescribed an alternate course of medication that had zero to no effect and nearly had us back at he hospital the next week. Again, I realized the gravity of this drug induced torture upon my child. Kenneth became so disagreeable and defiant. And moments later he would be crying. To make matters worse, I had to leave him at childcare on some days knowing that his heart was broken and that he didn’t feel good. I really don’t know how I kept a job through those years.

During all of these bouts of asthma and eczema flare ups, my son would have allergic reactions to particular foods. At almost 3, he nearly died from exposure to peanuts. And that was the THIRD time that he’d been in anaphylactic shock. I have no idea what was the cause of the first two situations. He would vomit when he ate eggs, wheeze when he ate marshmallows, and all dairy products would descend upon his sinuses and create a constant and steady congestion that would surely lead to urgent care. I missed hours, days, and weeks of work. I spent many nights watching him, holding him, and administering medication at all hours of the night. I was tired for me and exhausted for him.

We have come a long way, but we didn’t do it alone. Kenneth is nine years old now. He is tall for his age, and slender for his size. He destroys a pair of shoes every two months and could eat his weight in pizza and ice cream. He spends his spare moments drawing, reading, chasing Pokemon, and doing those things that classify nine-year olds as exactly that. It took years for us to get to a point where he could just live his life comfortably. I blogged about her some time ago, but his health and well-being is due in part to our pulmonologist. She prescribed a strict regimen of maintenance medication that makes it possible for him to run, jump, and ride bikes without a hospital trip. He still has flare ups and complications now and again, but it’s nothing that we can’t handle.

I joke that “I’m and untrained, unlicensed, unrecognized respiratory therapist”. But it’s the God’s honest truth. Kenneth went to camp this past summer — for a whole week! The thought of sending him away gave me anxiety. I had to load his medical history and medication profile into the camp’s online registry. It seemed arduous at first, but I simply sent the prescribed medications in their proper containers with their pharmacy labels and all things went as flawless as if I’d been there myself. His school, our church, and camp are all very considerate and helpful. Our camp liaison returned with kudos from the nurse stating “he was awesome”. He didn’t have any flare ups while camping. 🙂

kmt-at-camp-summer-2016

Photo courtesy of Forest Home Christian Camp: The Village Summer Camp 2016

I belong to and monitor several support sites: Food Allergy Research and Education, Kids with Food Allergies, and suggest that everyone support and protect their allergy sufferers with awesome products like the ones available at AllerMates.

My twins had shown some food sensitivities in their early days, but luckily it appears they’ve dodged that bullet. They just turned three and we can have them tested to know for sure. While I certainly want to know if they have any allergies and avoid all near-death experiences, I dread the blood drawing and the possible bad news. I’ll credit their mostly organic diet for their improved health. Our household is predominantly organic, and we do our best to avoid those dangerous agribusiness foods like: high fructose corn syrup, food dye, food color, and most preservatives. I am certainly not perfect at any of that, but each effort and experience is worth it to know that my kids won’t glow in the dark next week.

As the title states, I am allergic to allergies. And I mean that. I myself have airborne allergies and what appears to be a sensitivity to shellfish. I also battle a mild case of seasonal eczema. But I consider myself armed and dangerous when it comes to food allergies, asthma, and eczema. I have a wealth of knowledge, a library of pamphlets, and assorted literature, and have spent a MINT on prescriptions, over the counter, and other support products to aid my ailing child(ren). I know my  children’s medical history word-for-word by heart. I have their medical profiles and current medications loaded into my telephone and have established heartfelt personal relationships with their doctors, nurses, and specialists. I hope you’ll do the same should you find yourself in this predicament. You’ll thank me later.

hemingway1

Recognizing Great Writing

 

Literature is amazing and the world is filled with it. The written word – whether handwritten, typed, printed or transported electronically – can consume a reader’s conscious thoughts, redirect their paths, and open their minds to fantasies that are beyond their own imagination. Word by word inventions, recounts, and the sharing of stories, both real and fantastically unreal, fills the halls and shelves of libraries and most of the Internet. There are so many categories and types that there is surely something for everyone. From literary classics to comic blogs, writers carry their readers to a place where only the two exist; the two, of course, being the writer and the reader. Literature is a historic form of expression, communication, and entertainment that, even today, is used for those same purposes, yet has evolved and elevated itself to a level that can hardly be tracked.

With that said, what makes a written work worthy of being read? What makes a classic a classic, or a bestseller a massive crossover success? There are so many qualities to a writer’s work that draw us in, keep us in, and call us prisoner. But what makes that writing stay with us? Could it be the title? Maybe the first page, the last page, or the character list? Is it the plot, the unexpected twist, or the way a particular work of fiction mimics our own lives? Could it be the vocabulary, the wit, or the absurdity?

Some writers write for themselves, others write for their readers. Whomever their audience, writers are capable of producing something grandiose, infectious, effective, and (hopefully) legendary.

Title and cover art work are the fragrant aromatics that catch a reader’s attention, like the wafting smell of just fired fajitas or fresh baked brownies. Void the concept that the reader has a preference for author, genre, or publishing company. While perusing a bookshelf, the title and artwork are the perfume trails that grab our attention, either attracting or offending us as the potential reader. A title can be intriguing, straightforward, or abstract. The reader doesn’t get to discern which until they read the work. Artwork can be explanatory, provocative, or irrelevant. The combination between the two can draw the attention of an unsuspecting reader and lure them into picking up the work, surveying it, and in less than ten seconds deciding whether it’s what they are looking for. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is an acceptable and realistic idiom.

Just inside the cover, a writer transforms a reader’s mind with their words. They paint pictures of scenery, situations, and characters by creatively weaving their words throughout hundreds of pages, consuming hours upon hours of a person’s time. There are many items that contribute to the grandiosity and staying power of a piece of literature. Some of the most important categories that separate “great writing” from basic reading material include subject matter, relatability, literary voice, and a formidable vocabulary. As well, a great piece of writing will draw it’s reader in and captivate them quickly and efficiently. Some readers feel that if reading the first page entices them to peek at the last – with that last page inciting questions, wonderings, and wide-eyed bewilderment – then the book is a keeper. Other readers just want to be sucked in. Their desire is for the first few pages and chapters to be so enthralling, their only choice is to make a pot of coffee and read from cover to cover.

Whatever genre, subject, or author fascinates the reader, the relationship that ensues is paramount. Each participant relies on the other, and that is the basic foundation and premise of the author -reader relationship. They need each other. The author needs the reader (even if the reader is the writer) to be open and accepting of their message, and the reader is dependent upon the author to provide them with something that opens their mind and exposes them to something new. One does not exist without the other, and coincidentally, they do not want to exist without the other.

Great writing permeates and pickles the being of its reader, leaving behind the perfume of its characters and scenes. The reader wreaks of literary tone, voice, and phrase. They are often drunk with the heart-wrenching prose designed by their favorite author, only to suffer the most intense and draining book hangover when they’ve read the last paragraph. Neither the reader, nor the writer would have it any other way. And that is just part of what makes it great.
hemingway1.jpg

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

me.

i write for my pleasure, not yours

my friend called me and challenged me to explain exactly what it is that keeps me from writing. in writing. i’m sure she’s not the only person to notice that I write less and less. i’d love to hide behind the fact that I work full-time and I have three kids, two of which are twin toddlers, and that I’ve just stepped to the other side of a most harrowing personal battle, but why? none of those things really matter in the scheme of things. while discussing all of this with my friend, I discovered my true feelings. i’m scared of success, and always have been. if I do what i’m doing, then there’s no pressure, no expectations, and no disappointments. if I just keep truckin’ along at my whatever-pace-I-feel pace, then the only thing I have to top is myself. selfish, huh?

therein lies the key! I am selfish when it comes to my writing. I write for myself. I write to get the words and phrases out of my head. I write for therapy and closure. and at the core of it all is the fact that I write so that I can see my thoughts. does that make sense? I write, so I can better understand myself. don’t get me wrong, I adore my readers, my fans, and my avid encouragers, but I write for me. I revel in the fact that someone finds my thoughts interesting enough to read, enjoy, laugh at, and comment on. without that validation, i’m certain that I would feel a twinge of rejection, but for every post I’ve written and shared, there are two more just like it that remain private.

thus far my posts have remained non-fiction glimpses into my personal life. i’m not ashamed or embarrassed about any of it. I did share a few things that I chose to withdraw at a later date, but that’s not because I was scared, nervous, or disgraced. I withdrew them because they contained information about other people and they aren’t as open as I am. c’est la vie, no?

another REAL reason that I have slowed in my writing is because as much as I have already shared, and want to continue to share, I feel that my children deserve a certain level of anonymity. I would like for them to grow up and make their own mistakes, publish their own stories, and not have the reputation, fame, or stigma as a blog post legend or celebrity. I want them to create their own pen name, secure their own web/blog site, and carve their own little place in the world wide web.

so, in retrospect, I have a few tangible and a few not-so-tangible reasons not to write. but they’re total malarkey in the grand scheme, even if they happen to be valid. i’ll just have to resort to writing nonfiction works about people not related to me or in my social circle. perhaps my grand hiatus is due to those very facts. perhaps I find it less entertaining and less pleasing to write because I want to write about my life and my kids, but at the same time I don’t…? quite the literary conundrum. I guess i’ll just have to get over it.

or give up on it.

(you know i’m not doing that).

me.

me.

http://taevo.net/

https://www.facebook.com/TaevoPublishing

https://www.linkedin.com/company/taevo-publishing

https://twitter.com/TaevoPublish

Armina and Evince Forward

Love for the Bereaved

Losing a loved one is nothing shy of being punched in the face. By someone bigger than you. Repeatedly. It’s a pain that strikes fast and hard and weighs heavy. Under the wrong circumstances, it can weigh a person down like an anchor and drag them to the depths of the bottomless ocean that is grief. In years past, I would have said that only “time” could heal the scar left by the death of a loved one. I know now, that while it certainly takes time, it also requires an insurmountable amount of Love and just as much Faith.

I met Armina in the summer of 2012. We worked for the same company, and coincidentally had a mutual friend. It was only a few months later that Armina told me that she wasn’t happy in California and that she and her husband: Kenny; would be relocating back to Philadelphia. I was a little shocked, but I wished her well and told her to stay in contact. We were soon Facebook friends, able to interact from a cyber distance. I don’t know exactly how long after we became Facebook friends, that Armina’s Facebook took me by surprise. I hadn’t been stalking her well enough and was confused by what I was seeing. It appeared that she was in grief, someone had passed away. I clicked onto her page directly and was immediately crushed by what I was reading. It brought tears to my eyes and I sobbed as I scrolled her timeline. Armina’s husband had died. Three weeks prior. I was devastated. I was devastated for her. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do or how I was supposed to respond.

Armina is a woman of faith. A Godly woman; who reads and follows the Good Book to the best of her ability. Each week after her husband passed away, Armina wrote a very eloquent homage to her husband, to her pain, about her Journey into and through grief. I am certain that her unabashed love for God himself manifested itself in her weekly updates. Sometimes it hurt to read, but it was insightful, inspiring, and lovely. With her permission I will share a post or two so that can read for yourself just how amazing she is.

• Armina Johnson
January 08, 2013 • Philadelphia, PA
It’s been one week since I lost the love of my heart. My heart is bleeding but I find comfort in God and his tender love for me. I have been blessed by so many ppl who have been by to sit with me for a while, bring me food, do my laundry, make sure I fall asleep and have been in the same spot when I wake. Have bought groceries for my fridge, and brought ingredients and cooked while talking to me about how much they loved Ken McElveen and the great memories that [they] have of him. These days are hard because I have come to the realization that he is truly asleep in the Lord and that this is not a dream. I have read all of your condolences over and over. I want to thank you all for such kind words of encouragement. I am asking that you continue to pray for me and my family. It is not easy loving a husband, son, brother and friend. Ken was loved by EVERYONE who knew him. Be blessed…

• Armina Johnson
February 18, 2013 • Blue Bell, PA
Week 7- Not getting better but placing my hand in the Master’s hand as I express how angry I am with Him. As I take a walk through this journey, my emotions are occurring spontaneously, and sometimes two or three at the same time. I’m learning that whatever my emotions lead me to feel, it’s okay to feel how I’m feeling. I think there are several emotions that I’m going to go through that are beyond my control. — with Ken McElveen.

• Armina Johnson
February 28, 2013 • Norristown, PA
Woke up this morning with a heavy heart. Going through grief is like going through a tunnel. The bad news is the tunnel is dark. I can appreciate that the good news is that once you enter into that tunnel, you are already on your way out. “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?” (Psalm 13:2). How long, Lord, how long? This tunnel is so dark. My prayer today is for God to show me His light.

• Armina Johnson
March 6, 2013 • Norristown, PA
“Just give it time,” people say. That is misleading. Time alone will not heal my grief. God is the source of all healing. Making the decision to remain close to Him despite my emotional struggles is critical in my journey. Are you still praying with me? “I am the LORD, who heals you” (Exodus 15:26).

• Armina Johnson
March 25, 2013 • Norristown, PA
Week 12: In the 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, Paul said he felt great pressure and confusion, but God set a limit as to how far this would go: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). 12 weeks late…the pressure continues to seems unbearable at times but it has not crushed me. I am utterly confused and overwhelmed, but I have not given up. My distress is constant, but so is God. I have been forcefully struck down, but I am not destroyed. Keep praying. — with Ken McElveen.

• Armina Johnson
May 20, 2013 • Philadelphia, PA
Week 20: Ken McElveen This has been an AMAZING week thus far in this process. Seven straight days with constant HAPPINESS. However, depression is real and is a part of the process of grief. It is a normal feeling in a chaotic situation. Knowing when to seek help is key.

I understand that therapy is not for everyone but we have to, at some point, come to grips [when] this feeling is too much and I need to share it with someone. If one’s depression persists for months and becomes a way of life, it is no longer normal grieving. You do not have to live with this. If it goes on and on, get help. Talk to a Christian counselor or your pastor or a doctor. This type of depression is what doctors would call clinical depression, and there is help for that.

Dr. Ray Pritchard says, “Don’t give up. Pick up the phone. Call a friend. If that friend can’t help you, call another friend. If the people at one church cannot help you, call another Christian church.” Take action to find help for your depression. And if that fails, try again.

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).

Father, it is only by Your grace that I can stand through this trial. Open the doors of help for me and strengthen me to walk through them. Amen.

Don’t you want to just hug her? Having shared that, it’s imperative that you understand that Armina took a very deliberate approach to dealing with the loss of her husband. She felt her feelings, she shared her feelings, and she made no excuses for her bad days. She walked her walk and invited all of us to hold her hand. I was so very appreciative, but more, I was amazed. And through it all, she never took her eye off the Lord. Her Love of the Lord reigned supreme. At a time when most people question and forsake the Lord, Armina held fast and strong. A most commendable gesture, indeed. The kicker is that she meant it. She wasn’t going through the motions, or adhering to what she thought she was supposed to do. God is her Savior, and she held on to Him in her time of need. He didn’t let her down.

Someone else was equally amazed with her and his name is Evince. From their introduction, Evince was aware of Armina’s emotional state and he gave her what she needed. Whether it was an ear to bend, a hug to support her, words of encouragement or space; if she asked for it, he gave it to her. Their relationship started with a date to Cracker Barrel and has blossomed into a beautiful romance. Their courtship grew and matured before our Facebook eyes as it appeared that he not only swept her off her feet, but that she was open, receptive, and accepting.

• Armina Johnson
May 21, 2014
I Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.— with Evince Domingue.

• Armina Johnson
May 29, 2014
Good morning. I am Armina. I am not “the woman who lost her husband.” I refuse to allow my situation to determine”WHO” I am. Enjoy your day FB. ‪#‎100daysofhappiness‬

In September of 2014 Evince surprised Armina with a marriage proposal in front of close friends and family. Armina and Evince are now engaged and due to marry in August of this year!  What a testimony!!

• Armina Johnson
September 21, 2014
A few days ago my mom: Jontarr, challenged me to 3 days of thanksgiving…on the last day of the challenge, he asked and I said YES!— with Evince Domingue and 13 others.

Armina Johnson's photo. Armina Johnson's photo.
Armina Johnson's photo. Armina Johnson's photo. Armina Johnson's photo.
You, Rolanda, Imelda, Kenya and 325 others like this.

• Armina Johnson
September 22, 2014
Good morning. When I woke this morning, I had to triple check my finger. It seemed like a fairy tale that ends well. I was so over joyed to wake up to all these well wishes(and they are still coming). Thank you all for the warm wishes and your continue support. We are elated! Looking fwd to every moment. Our God is hmm hmm good. ‪#‎wontHedoit‬ ‪#‎prayerworks‬ ‪#‎thereishopefortheweary‬ ‪#‎Helovesmeenoughtoblessme‬ ‪#‎teamdj2015‬

Armina and Evince Forward

• Armina Johnson
November 27, 2014 • Philadelphia, PA
Good morning. If it is not a daily practice to express your gratitude, let today be the start of something new. I am a witness that it will change your life. Be safe today, and enjoy great fellowship with family and friends. IF you have nowhere to go today…let me know…we have plenty of food and love to share…NY see you soon.

Armina and Evince Future

• Armina Johnson
December 25, 2014
It’s been a bumpy road this week. Evince Domingue I am the pen and you are the highlighter. I draw the world, you make it brighter…Thanks for being my BFF and making my world brighter. ‪#‎iamcornyinlovewithhim‬‪ #‎teamdj2015‬ ‪#‎dare2loveIdid

imageArmina and Evince Stuntin
If you’ve never stepped out on faith, take it from me, now is the time to do it. if you’ve never believed, never trusted or never felt the hand of God in your life, now is the time to change your thoughts and feel His power. If He can do all of this for Armina, He can do it for you too. And if you need a bit of inspiration, read over Armina’s Facebook posts and see for yourself that she not only kept her eye on the Lord, she continued to remind us all to be blessed, to be grateful, and thankful. And she always wished us well.
image
Armina, you are a walking testament to the mercy and power of the Lord! I know you don’t need to hear it from me to know, but honey, YOU. ARE. BLESSED. Thank you for blessing me with your friendship, your vision for our coincidental futures, and most importantly, thank you for entrusting me with your beautiful story. Congratulations on having the will to share, the power to struggle through, the discernment to open and receptive to God and His love allowing Evince and his love into your life and heart. Cheers!!! To a scintillating future.
image