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Christian Thoughts

I have noticed something about my Christian journey. I was baptized at the age of ten years old and, throughout my life I have decided that I can lean upon the understandings, teachings, principles of Christianity and God as my source of strength, whenever I need it.

And in difficult times, I rely heavily on prayer. As I study for examinations, make plans in marriage, my desire to pray increases.

But, this made me wonder- what about all the other times? When life is “easy”? When things are going right? When the road seems easy to travel and the path is straight?

Why do I pray less?

Shouldn’t my earnestness for prayer be continuous?

Shouldn’t my prayers always be as vigorous?

I wonder theses things at 4 am this morning!

What do you think?

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How to Know When Its Time To Leave Your Job

Yes, Let’s talk about it!

How do you know? How do you know its time to walk away from a job?

Often times, the writing is on the wall. There can be numerous reasons why you’ve gotten the “itch” to search for new jobs. But, how do you know it is the right decision for you to step away from the career or job that you are in currently.

I am no expert, but I have left one or two job positions in the past and here’s what Ive found to be clear indications that it is time to move on to a new environment.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com
  • You find it difficult to go into work for your shift. Previously, you were eager and excited to go to your job. Maybe you felt like you were making a real difference at work, but now you cannot find the zeal to even get dressed for work.

  • You find reasons to leave work early often

  • You spend less times around your colleagues. Before, you might have grab a drink or dinner after work, but now, you rush to go home and not spend additional time with workmates
Photo by Lisa on Pexels.com
  • You find your self “just seeing what is out there”. Ive always called this “the itch”. It’s when you put your resume out just to see if theres interest or you call a friend and ask about positions where they work.

  • You do not feel heard or supported by your superiors at work

  • Toxic work relationships

  • The job makes it difficult for you to maintain a work-life balance. It affects your marriages, friendships, kids or other significant relationships

  • No longer believe it is apart of your purpose in life
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com
  • You spend most of the day complaining about your job, the staff, your boss and work environment

  • You got a better offer!

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How to Thrive in a Multicultural Relationship

The story of our meeting is as nothing either one of us would have envisioned as children, even young adults. I won’t bore you with insignificant details at this time, but at the core of our relationship stands two individuals from completely different backgrounds. I am Guyanese and Segun, Nigerian. I know, two individuals from completely different continents met and decided to tarry through life together. Trust that it came with its own obstacles.

At first glance, many would see all of the things that should separate us; food, distance, cultural norms and expectations, family, friends, finances. Is he controlling? I am asked often. Is she taking care of you? He gets questioned. How’s your home life? Trust the questions are numerous from both sides of our friends and family. After a few hours of interaction with us in a room, they quickly resolve. However, my role is never to convince anyone of the love and respect we share for each other.

Years later, we continue to depend on a few core principles that allow us thrive in our difference.

1. Acceptance- we have accepted that we are different individuals. My life experiences are not the same as Segun’s. The cultural practices he grew up knowing and following are not the same as mine. Our foods are different and so is our clothing. However, we’ve learned to embrace these differences. I can make Egusi and fufu and Segun curry for my Mama’s roti. We exchange music and dance styles as we laugh at each other.

2. Our childhood unifies us– Neither one of us grew up with a surplus in our family. Our parents worked diligently to provide for us and our siblings. We can sit for hours and talk about the days we had little to eat. The stories of primary school and wearing uniforms. At times, it seems we live in the same place, yet this is far from true. Our life’s as adults is a reflection of our childhood struggles, sacrifices, and victories

3. Our own “Culture”– Whether it is hiking together, taking long drives, camping, having meals with friends, supporting each other at work, we have adopted a new way of life that includes both of us. It surprises many to know, Nigerian guy Segun likes pasta salad or Indian food just as much Efo riro. Our new culture allows us to incorporate our American life, as well as our Nigerian and Guyanese culture. We get to decide what works for us!!

4. We rely heavily on prayer! It is just that simple!

If you are in a multicultural relationship I encourage you to spend time building a strong foundation and learning more about each other. As with any relationship there must be willingness on both sides to work together. I am not relationship expert, just from one internet friend to another ( haha).

XO

JAARA

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Happy New Month

Hello Jaara Family,

Can you believe it’s August already? More than half the year has been completed, yet I feel like half of my goals have not been accomplished. Regardless, it is good to be back in the blogging sphere. 

My life has been quite interesting and I really needed to prioritize family, relationships, career, and unexpected events. I have even gotten a few gray hairs from adulting haha.

Exciting times are here. I have been working on new recipes, and have plenty to share with my JAARA family. Weekly prayer and meditations, every Saturday. Wedding planning as well. Hoping to share my thoughts on health, friendships and family, and some fun times too.

If you are new to JAARA, welcome. Stay awhile!!

Learn more about me, here

Warmest Regards

JAARABlog

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An Ode To My Mother

Caring you are,

Thoughtful, you are

Protective, you are

Prayerful, you are

Patient, you are… sometimes (laugh)

Fearless, you are NOT, because your desire to protect us from the difficulties of life creates fear

Giving, you are

Comforting, you are

Stronger than you think, you are

Misunderstood, you are

Great example, you are

Role model, you are

A wife, you are

A mother, you are

A friend, you are

Happy Birthday! If I never say it enough, your love and acceptance is so appreciated.

Guyana, Sabbath morning
Spa Day 2019
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5 Things No One Tells You, But They Should

Hello Jaara Family.

After a nice long break from daily posting and a super hectic work schedule, I have missed you all so terribly. Part of my goals for this new year is being intentional which means paying attention to my body, thoughts and, actions. This growth process is necessary but difficult because you realize things about yourself that you dislike and desire to change.

Heres 5 things Im learning to embrace in life;

1. Change is difficult-It is easy to praise the results, but we find it difficult to work through the process. I believe we all strive for excellence. Each day we wake up, we think about how we can do better, make small adjustments in our life to get to our end goals. CHANGE is difficult.  Without changing our mindset, we cannot achieve great goals. 

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
― Rumi

2. Finding your purpose in life, is an ever-changing process- Who I was in my 20s and who I am in my 30s, is almost completely different. As we mature, experience life, read, travel, play, our passion for life changes. As you go through those changes, adapt to them. Check-in with yourself, fix what you need to make better, and continue to prosper

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it”
― Buddha

3. Its okay to leave old “friends” in the past- I remember in High School, a group of friends and I made a pack to remain friends forever. Over the years, most of those friendships have dissolved, not out of hurt, but simply time. I moved away, went to college, and started life, and so did they. 

Some friendships survive the changes of time. They are so flexible that they bend and bounce back as nothing has changed. Time makes it better! But, other friendships you outgrow and that’s okay. 

“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” — Amy Poehler

4. You can impact others without being famous– So much pressure to being Instagram famous, a social media guru, marketing genius, all in the name of acquiring fame and popularity. But, the biggest impact you can have on someone’s life is showing kindness in one-on-one interactions. It is the moments of deep conversation and reflection that allow us to impact each other. The exchange of ideas and world-views will leave a lifelong impact.

So, forget about becoming popular, and focus on becoming impactful.

“Ordinary people pursue money, simple people pursue power, average people pursue fame, but extraordinary people pursue ideas.”
― Matshona Dhliwayo

5. Most people don’t do what they love/ are passionate about in life– You graduate from high school, go off to college, choose a career path and then you live and work in that field for most of your life. At the beginning of it all, you had big dreams of starting a business, establishing a foundation.

But over time, you become more concerned about living each day, paying your bills on time, and investing in your retirement. The 9-5 job becomes standard, and with time you believe it is the only option.

I have heard this story many times! If you are living in your truth and love what you do, count yourself blessed, for many do not have that choice anymore.

“There is no passion to be found playing small–in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

Nelson Mandela

Share your thoughts below

Comment and life

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Clearly The Superior Gender….

I attended a women college after high school because it was close to my parents so could commute and save on my expenses. I have noticed in certain crowds, when I say All Women, I am immediately labeled as a Feminist! As to say, I made a conscious decision to attend college because I knew and understood the suffrage of all women. But that is simply not true.

I knew nothing of feminism when I started college. The mere word had no representation or meaning in my life at 18 years old. All I knew about being a woman, was my mother. And she was a fine example of a hardworking, dedicated mother. Great wife and supportive friend!

My understanding of Feminism came much later in life. I was in my second and third year of college and I was required to take a course focusing on women’s experiences across the world. Again, not by choice! my interest at that time was Biology, being a teaching assistant, and meeting my friends on the weekend.

However, my experience in the class and the materials we studied tremendously molded my young brain. The questions of “why must women be treated differently” or ” should girls attend school?” grew my fascination. I could not fathom how any of this was optional. In my own world, I was encouraged to study and read. My parents made it a priority. I questioned, why aren’t all parents making this a priority?. Of course, there are cultural, religious differences that dictate norms.

By the time I graduated college, I knew what feminism meant to me. It was the advocacy and representation for all women. It was allowing another women’s experience to be heard without judgment. It was supporting their dreams and aspirations, even if it was never done before. It is saying I can do it and so can you!!

I do not believe women are the superior gender, and for certain I do not believe we are less stronger than men. As we celebrate women’s history month, I celebrate the women that have shaped my life- I celebrate my mother, aunts, and college professors. Each day may we continue to make history!

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Going Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Once I graduated college, my views on life, work, and family changed. The older I become, the stronger my desires are for seeking adventure and new experiences. Oftentimes, I give my parents a heads-up about my adventure, which is met with great concern and fear.

The first time I decided to live in a small town, I drove my mom and me to my job interview. It was about 1.5 hours away from our childhood home. As we traveled to my interview, my mom commented, “wow, this place is too small” or “Is this safe for a young lady?”

When I decided to hike mountains, my parents feared I’ll get lost or fall over the edge. As always, they cautioned “Be careful!.”

I often feel that maybe I am the odd woman, too adventurous for my family. Too risky. A daredevil, at least in their eyes.

However, the truth is, I take pride in breaking barriers and molds. I am told I cannot, then I must!

In past times a friend of mine would say, you can’t go swimming because of your hair (a story for another time), or skiing, or snowboarding. Those words were the ultimate reason for me to do these things. So, this past weekend I went snowboarding. To prove that I can do it.

There is a greater lesson here, a bigger message to share – Do not remain in your comfort zone! Letting your own fears, or the fears of others limit your life experience will lead to your own sense of unfulfillment in life.

This is a lesson I learned the hard way! The older I become, the less I live by the dictation of others. The less I prescribe to societal norms. And truthfully, the more content I am in my life

So, I encourage you today to travel, climb those mountains, ski those trails, snowboard, skydive, bungee jump!

I encourage you to be the representation others seek, but cannot see.

I encourage you to determine what brings you fulfillment, and then…

JUST DO IT!

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Marriage In The Black Community

I was scrolling through my phone and paused for a moment when I saw a beautiful picture of my parents. For their last wedding anniversary, I organized a photo shoot with a local photographer. The essence of these photos highlighted a lifetime of love, but more so, a lifetime of challenges, trials, victories, failures, argument, prayer, laughter, compassion, children, and grandchildren. A lifetime of marriage!

Research conducted at Yale University states that 42% of Black women will marry,  58% of black women will not wed. An astonishing amount of black women will never experience the beauty of marriage. I was so prepared to make a case for myself and female brown and black girls. The truth is, we have heard this message so loud and clear that it leaves us at times helpless in our pursuits of love and marriage.

The notion that we are not worthy of love. With the constant reminder that black men are incarcerated at higher rates than white. The facts on socioeconomic status and education. We’ve heard it many times. I wanted to reiterate these points and share that I was no longer apart of the statistics. But, I uncovered greater insight and an even more powerful message to share.

Through researching I’ve learned that black women do marry, that educated black women don’t always have it harder, that black men earn enough to care for a family and that a black man will marry me. I referenced this article posted on Thoughtco. An insightful article written by Nadra Kareem Nittle entitled Black Marriages: Four Myths Busted by Facts. The author explores statistics and shares a different perspective on black marriages. A healthy, hopeful perspective.

I really appreciated this article, as it shifted my perspective on this issue. We needed this article!

I join with ThoughtCo. to emphasize and empower women, especially black women, to not give up on love. Regardless of age, education, and money, know that whatever you desire can be achieved. Know that love will find you in the most unexpected places. Know that the statistics exist, but you are not the statistics. Also, know that you can choose a life without marriage and still be fulfilled.

Lets us share these statistics instead;

“88% of black men are married to black women.”

“Among Black women, 70% of college graduates are married by 40, whereas only about 60 percent of Black high school graduates are married by that age,” Tara Parker-Pope of the New York Times reported.

ThoughtCo.

“For heterosexual Black women in search of marriage, however, the forecast is not nearly as gloomy as has been reported.”

Thoughtco.

Sincerely,

A Black Woman

The walk isn’t always easy, but the walk is worth it, if we do it together!

Additional Articles to Read

  1. The Root
  2. New York Times

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The World of Love

There is clearly commercialization of Valentine’s Day and LOVE every 14th of February. Like clockwork, the TV advertisements become loaded with Valentine’s Day ideas. Hallmark cards, chocolate, roses, a gamut of gift ideas start to roll out.

I recall being younger and telling my teenage friends that I do not believe in Valentine’s day. My reasoning was sound- Why does someone who loves you need one day only to show their love?

I required unconditional love. A steadfast, unshaken love. A love that requires no big gestures, but a small constant reminder we were in this together. That even though times get rough, even though we disagree, we are humble enough to return to each other and seek forgiveness and togetherness. So, for me, Valentine’s day is still not important.

I think too often, we focus on what material gifts we can give to each other. We feel pressured to perform and to out-shine the next person, especially in this age of social media. But, what good is a gift on the 14th, if the day after, you treat me awful. One day is not enough.

Now, please do not get me wrong I am not saying not to gift your partner. I am saying, I do not need a grand gesture for one day to prove someone loves me.

For many couples, Valentine’s day is an opportunity to prioritize their relationship, and I encourage you to do so. If you are single, consider a virtual Galentines. Whatever way you decide to celebrate, I hope you have a fantastic time.

The world has made love into a catchphrase!

If Cupid could read this, would he be disappointed in me?

Heres, how I see it, celebrate the people you love daily. The small gestures, random acts of kindness, and your thoughtfulness will cultivate an ever-lasting relationship.

Do you celebrate Valentine’s day?

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The Religion of Love..

For God so love the world, He gave us His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life- John 3:16

From a young age, I learnt that the ultimate love, is the love shown by God. It was the act of sacrifice that reinforced the depth of His love. A forgiving, sacrificial, selfless love.

Yesterday, I wrote about the Science of Love. And previously, I discussed that I believe in both science and religion. One of the aspects of religion that I admire is the unconditional love of God. That someone so undeserving, as I am, can receive such pure and infinite love. God has a greater plan for my life and a greater purpose so He sacrificed His son’s life for mine.

To know there is a love that helps, heals, forgives, and nurture is so reassuring. This love is AGAPE Love. The greatest love of all.

Teach me to love like you, Oh Lord

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Love, Really?- The Science of Love

You’re walking through the grocery store aisle and walk past a handsome young man, immediately you are drawn to him. Your eyes interlock and BAM, you’re in love (HAHA).

That’s how quickly it happens. Well, my friends, there is much more to love than cross the eyes.

The idea of love has been sensationalized. Often we see Love as this explosive physical attraction and intimate connection we share with someone. As Valentine’s day is rolling by this weekend, we’ve become programmed to buying gifts, chocolate, and roses, but what if I told you to love is simply science. Let’s explore this together.

There is so much research on the science of falling in love. Truth be told, much of love is brain chemistry! Hear me out. I am not a cynic by any means, I love love, just like the next person, but my scientific brain, need some answers (smile).

Our brain is wired to allow us to love. There are three categories to romantic love; lust, attraction, and attachment. Each of these categories is facilitated by a different hormone (neurotransmitters).

Lust is associated with increased levels of sex hormones. For females, it’s an increase in estrogen, and for males, testosterone levels increase.

Attraction is generated by Dopamine, Serotonin, and Norepinephrine. Dopamine allows you to pursue reward. Sometimes we can become addicted to a surge of dopamine and “seeking reward”, leading to serial dating.

Attachment is facilitated by Oxytocin and Vasopressin. Oxytocin is also referred to as the “cuddle hormone”. Oxytocin plays an important role in bonding between a mother and baby.

Dopamine, produced by the hypothalamus, is a particularly well-publicized player in the brain’s reward pathway – it’s released when we do things that feel good to us. In this case, these things include spending time with loved ones and having sex. High levels of dopamine and a related hormone, norepinephrine, are released during attraction. These chemicals make us giddy, energetic, and euphoric, even leading to decreased appetite and insomnia – which means you actually can be so “in love” that you can’t eat and can’t sleep.

Harvard

There’s a deep, complex relationship between mood, attraction, love, and neurotransmitters. So, my friends, the next time you say I love you, remember, you learn it here first, that love is chemistry working on your behalf. Share it with a friend.

Below, you can find an awesome infographic on love.

nm-science-of-love-infographic
Northwestern University

How cool is our brains?

And to think, my parent thought I was still love sick!

Reference: Harvard Study

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Why are Some Minority Communities Skeptical of Therapy?

On average there are 132 suicides committed each day. This is the astonishing truth and startling statistics in the United States. However, this issue stretches past the United States and extends globally. The rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged white men, who account for about 70% of all suicide in the United States (2018). But certainly, this is a concern for many other communities and races.

As a minority woman and an immigrant, I am aware of numerous mental health struggles and the suicide rate of the people in my community. I fear that too often, we stay away, not receiving help when it is needed. I have found that there is a stigma in attending therapy, seeking counseling, and adhering to the prescription regimen in minority communities. I know of this through first-hand experiences where friends or family members are affected by mental health issues that often get swept under the rug.

Over the weekend, I listened to a conversation between my father and my aunt on the effectiveness of psychotherapy. Their viewpoints on therapy varied. However, this conversation highlighted a bigger issue at large; the shame associated with therapy and mental health. From my observation and personal experience, there seems to be a hesitancy in seeking out therapy and counseling in our community. This belief is further emphasized at a young age, where you are reminded that whatever happens at home, stays at home. 

As I age, explore different thoughts, read books, interact with different cultures and people, I’ve realized a serious struggle many people of color faced in coping with mental health. This is not to say that other communities aren’t affected as well. I am passionate about equality in healthcare and bridging the gap in health care disparities.

So how do we bridge the gap in mental health access in minority communities?

On a smaller scale, we need to address these issues at the home level. One of the realizations I’ve made this weekend is the need to break the family cycle. Moving forward, I am committed to raising children that have the opportunity to express how they are feeling and how other’s actions affect them. It is at the level of the home that we can begin to break generational obstacles and strong-hold.

Thinking globally, I believe social media is doing an excellent job of countering this problem. Platforms such as Clubhouse allows for interaction with licensed therapists, social workers, psychiatrist, and lifestyle coaches. Resource accessibility has been an issue for many years, however, new waves of resources are being developed. Friends and colleagues sharing their experiences on Instagram live and IGTV aid in spreading useful information to others. These small discussions will amount to great changes by creating a safe space for those coping with mental health.

Also, COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of Telehealth in bridging the gap to accessibility, whether routine medical care or mental health needs. Teletherapy is a great resource as well. If you are looking to speak to someone, try going to Psychology Today Teletherapy, and type in your zip code. A list of therapists will be provided.

I still believe there is so much more we can do to create safe environments for others to heal, grow, and live a fulfilling life. One of my long-term goals is to make health care accessible to minority and immigrant communities, not only for routine care but for a holistic approach to health. Encompassing therapy and lifestyle modification space to build stronger communities now and in the next generation.

Has therapy helped you in the past?

Comment below. Follow us on IG @JAARABLOG

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At the Intersection of Science and Religion-Pt. 2

It’s around 5 am, and I remembered a conversation I had with a friend about religion and healing.

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about religion vs. science. I shared that I believe healing comes from God. I received an email asking me to prove my belief. Here’s the thing, I am proof. The fact that I am alive is proof. Take it or leave. That’s the beauty of life- we get to make the choices in life on what we want to believe. No fussing or fighting.

Okay, back to my story. In late 2019, I had an awesome encounter with a patient. He was diagnosed with metastatic cancer to the spine. He recalled having back pain, which he ignored for months until it was unbearable. He presented to the hospital for care and his imaging showed lytic lesions to multiple vertebrae. His workup revealed prostate cancer as the primary site.

The thing that struck me was not his imaging or diagnosis, it was his outlook on life. I kid you not, I spent over an hour talking to this patient about life, spirituality, and healing.

He explained that he believes the body can heal itself. He practices meditation, mindfulness, acupuncture, and other aspects of “alternative” medicine. He highlighted some personal experiences he had in the past. He truly believed he could beat his diagnosis. His perspective on life was admirable, and well, encouraging.

See, that’s the thing about life, OUR MINDSET dictates our entire life. If you place a pessimistic view on your life, you will see things as such. If you put a positive perspective on an awful situation, you will find a source of strength.

So, after an hour of talking, I turned to walk away, and he asked that I sign his brace (TLSO). I did! It says “really awesome meeting you, best of luck”. Having exchanges such as these are scarce. Moments like these, with such an honest conversation, reveals our need to be understood.

I am not sure where he is today.

Maybe he is doing exceptional, or maybe he has passed away!

His words and our conversation will remain with me forever. This is my hope as well, that somewhere along my journey, I will inspire just one person, and in return be inspired by many.

Share your thoughts on healing? Do you believe in therapy as a tool to help with healing?

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Just Let Me Grieve

I lost my aunt this past week from COVID-19 complications. And, I am trying to explore the process of grieving. Asking myself questions like, is it ok to cry? Should I celebrate the life and legacy or mourn the lost? And even a bigger question- Why her?

There are some things we can never really prepare for in life. Even though it is apart of the cycle of life. Maybe, it’s the suddenness that comes with death, or perhaps we just want to hold on to the people we love for a bit longer.

Now, I’ve seen death face-to-face in a clinical setting. A patient that passes away after you’ve provided care is always heartbreaking. I sympathize with the family and cherish the interactions I had during the course of their care. However, quickly moving forward to lend a helping hand to another patient.

I recall one instance during clinical rotations, I was coupled up with a dying patient, and each day I was required to round on this patient. She lacked the ability to speak and was coming to the end of life. At that time during my training, I thought, how can this be helpful? Why am I not seeing a patient that I can learn about medicine, instead of a dying patient? Later, I realize this experience was one of the greatest lessons I’ve learnt.

Silence is Key. I have applied the idea of staying silent in many aspects of my life. It is during this time of quietness, I can reflect on my thoughts, hardships, joy, laughter and grief.

Too often, we focus on actively going through the process. Claiming each stage- denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. We count down the stages of grief, hoping that it will resolve our pain.

Let me tell you the truth, the loved ones we have lost will forever be missed. Years later, you will find yourself telling stories about their character and laughing at their jokes. Maybe, even cry tears of sadness. In those moments, I encourage you to stand still.

Do not allow the pressures from others to dictate how you grieve!

Take time to reflect on how you are feeling. When it becomes overwhelming, reach out to others for help. A great resource is speaking to a therapist once you are ready.

I encourage everyone to take the time they need to recover from their loss.

Just let me grieve.

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God Has Not Given You Fear….

The most crippling emotion I have ever experienced was FEAR. And somehow, FEAR always leads to anxiety. The relationship between these two emotions remains a struggle for many, myself included. I’ll tell you a story ..

I enjoyed watching movies, pre-COVID, I would frequent the cinema- watch a movie and grab some dinner. Quick and simple! But, I’ve always avoided scary movies. Partly because it’s too dark and partly because I hate the feeling of suspenseful music and its effects on my emotions. As I watch in suspense, I become fearful, closing my eyes and screaming- “RUN or Don’t do it, girl…” LOL.

So, yes, you will never find me in a cinema watching scary movies.

See, that’s the thing, fear is an irrational emotion that takes over and encompasses your entire being. Wherever fear is present, hopelessness and anxiety also reside.

Over the years, I have worked through many of my fears. The fear of public speaking, fear of failure, fear of not fitting in. But, it would be a lie to say fear doesn’t affect me today. I am doing public speaking, guest commentary, and mentorship, facing my biggest fears head-on!

What I have learned is that fear will only reside in you if you let it! And, I am no longer letting fear reside in me.

If you’ve read the bible, you may be familiar with 2 Tim 1:7-” God has not given you a spirit of fear but of power, of love and a sound mind.” This is a favorite text of mine, passed down to me from my father. Frequently, when faced with challenging circumstances, I will recite this verse.

In addition to this verse, I have developed five steps I have used to overcome fear.

5 Steps to Overcoming Fear

  1. Recognize Fear- the first step is to recognize- what emotion you are experiencing. Throughout the day, we go through so many emotions; happiness, sadness, joy and fear. To overcome fear, you must first identify it as such.
  2. Talk about it- whenever, I feel fearful Ill phone a friend and go through my thoughts. In speaking to them I can usual reasons that it is fear that is impeding
  3. Confront your fear- I used to question this step- Why would I want to do something I am fearful of, but it does work. Confronting your fear, in small portions eventual leads to overcoming those fear
  4. Realize you are not perfect- It is okay to make mistakes and to fall short of the “standard”.
  5. Applaud yourself when you accomplish something that makes me fearful

Now, I know these five steps require time and constant work, but like I always say “we are all a work in progress.”


Try it out and let me know how it goes.

DO YOU HAVE ANY FEARS? HOW CAN WE HELP YOU OVERCOME THOSE FEARS?

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31 Goals for My 31st Year of Life

Oh man, I remember feeling extremely anxious and overwhelmed by thoughts of turning 30 years old (more on this later!). Well, that age came and went – HAHAHA. My goals for each year have shifted as I re-evaluate myself, where I am in the present time, and my long-term plans. So, guys, I will celebrate my 31st birthday in five days and today I wanted to share 31 things I hope to accomplish at 31.

  1. Publish 150-200 blog posts (I love blogging and writing, thank you all so much for reading and commenting and liking)
  2. Have a wedding
  3. Go back to school
  4. Dog Sledding!!
  5. Complete 3 Adirondack High Peaks
  6. Invest in our dream home
  7. Organize a Donation Drive (more on this later)
  8. Travel to Guyana
  9. Read the bible more
  10. More exercise, less excuse
  11. Collaborate with other bloggers
  12. Offer mentorship to anyone considering Medical School, Physician Assistant Studies or Nursing
  13. Start a podcast
  14. Be Present!!!!!!
  15. Complete my COVID vaccination
  16. Networking
  17. Read 2 autobiographies
  18. Journal
  19. Visit St.Lucia
  20. Walk to work everyday!
  21. CONNECT WITH OTHERS ON IG- @JAARABLOG
  22. Interview my mentor
  23. Read The Alchemist!
  24. Dance more
  25. Listen to others less!
  26. Pray MORE
  27. Build a strong christian home with Segun
  28. Call instead of Text (This one is tough ha)
  29. Support small business and other Bloggers
  30. Relocate
  31. Enjoy being alive!

Theses are my goals for the next year.

Does anything on the list surprise you?

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At the Intersection of Science and Religion

Wow! Heavy thoughts all week. I have really spent the last week digesting some deeper questions I needed to explore. I started off by examining my purpose this year, spoke on the pandemic and its impact on healthcare workers and today I want to dissect the role of religion on health and wellness.

Is there a relationship between science and religion? Or is it mutually exclusive? Does God heal? Or is it science that does the healing?

Now, this is a topic I’ve explored many times in my head. I have had many debates with friends and family members. Some of my colleagues agree, and well others disagree. And that’s alright! The great thing about being alive today is that we can live in a world and disagree peacefully.

I am at a point in my life where I know the answer to these questions. Now, many may argue with me, some may disagree, but I truly believe that healing comes from God.

I know, I know. How can someone who works along with science, study medicine, take care of patients, believe that healing comes from God?

It’s simple! I have seen it. I have lived it. My testimony is enough evidence for me. The testimonies of my family are enough evidence for me.

Like someone telling you that you have 4 months to live, but here you are 1 year later, not only alive but thriving.

Please do not be fooled. I am aware of how important medicine is in treating illnesses. And how many change research has brought to the treatment and management of diseases along the course of history. I support the medical community, I am apart of the medical community, and proudly so!

I will tell you this; I believe in science, medicine, and research. Also in technology and healthy debates. But, I also believe God heals.

I am not forcing you to believe, not one bit. We each choose which tenants to live by; religious or not. The life I have lived is much different than yours.

Please share your opinions on this below. What do you think?

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Dear President-Elect…01/06/2021

Dr. President- Elect Joe Biden,

I longed to see changes around me. I listened to your speech yesterday and you stated “at their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, the words of a president can incite.” Those words resonated. Maybe, it’s the fact that our life in America has been turned-upside-down and I crave something different. I look to you with hopeful eyes, but with concern and a discernible mind.

I want to believe that you can bring about change. I truly do. As our lives are shifted like the wind by the words of our politicians, we longed for togetherness like never before. The promises made, year after year, without much fulfillment have left me empty. The future of my unborn children needs hope. I find myself turning to the only one who can truly save me, God.

But, I still have faith in humanity. I do not care about Republicans vs. Democrats. I do not care whose fault it is! I just need it to change. We need a president for ALL. Most importantly, we need a president that unifies us. A president that hears the cry of both sides and renders help to the wounded.

Now, Mr. President- Elect Joe Biden, I do not sit around and dwell on politics. But, I know the tears and pain of our country because I am our country. I wondered where we went wrong? I considered that it started well before my time. I am afraid it will be here long after my time.

Sincerely,

-JAARA

Has anyone been able to sleep peacefully after the events of yesterday? Or are you wide awake in shock?

Share your thoughts below, how are you feeling?

Disclaimer: Photo credit to Quartz.com

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Pandemic Burnout- We are Tired! So Let’s Talk About it

Often I get emails inviting me to attend healthcare burnout conferences. These emails usually state common reasons for burnout in healthcare and at the very end, a few helpful tips to reduce burnout. Thank you!

But, who’s really keeping track of healthcare burnout? Rather, pandemic burnout?

Imagine you spent your entire life thinking about how much change you want in the world and how you can do your part. You graduate, find a job, and start working. You work 10-12 hours a day during the pandemic to provide service, but your biggest hindrance is your patients.

We are constantly bombarded with the need to attend to patients, answer questions, round, telemedicine visits, clinic, N95, goggles. We move quickly from one location in the hospital to another to deliver excellent care. We take pride in caring for our patients and have a sense of fulfillment whenever they recover. A sense of sadness when they pass away. But has anyone stopped and examined the impact the pandemic has on our healthcare team; nurses, doctors, NP, PA, residents, physical therapist, occupational therapists, respiratory therapy, Xray technicians, environmental service workers, and cafeteria staff?

I know this issue is a work in progress. But can we take a moment and highlight the struggles of healthcare workers across the world. We see the picture and watch the videos, yet there seems to be a lack of responsibility to healthcare workers during the pandemic.

Experience of frontline worker
Continued experience from frontline worker

The Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality has listed some of the key factors leading to burnout. Burnout can cause a shortage of healthcare accessibility for patients. Furthermore, burnout leads to the inattentiveness of physicians and other members of a healthcare team.

Now, couple the demands of your career and family life. The balancing of family responsibilities, deadlines, and charting. Add your children into the mix, and by the end of the night, you are depleted.

You wake up the next morning to do it all over again.

This is the cycle.

You can put on your TV, watch the news and listen to the pleas of healthcare workers locally and across the world asking for social distancing and wearing a mask. Simply seeking light at the end of the tunnel after a long and grueling day.

This was our 2020! We look at 2021 with lots of hope and bright eyes. However, the 1st of January does not erase the issues of 2020. It takes an active and concerted effort of ALL to bring about needed changes.

Frontline workers detailed experience after a busy day

Things we can do to help with Pandemic/ Healthcare burnout

  1. Check in on your healthcare friends. If they work at a hospital or clinic, they are under an unbelievable amount of stress
  2. As best, follow the guidelines outlined for COVID-19. Wear a mask and follow rules of social distancing
  3. Consider getting your COVID vaccine once it is available to you.
  4. Be patient – when you arrive for medical care- waiting rooms may be filled, providers are running behind, staff shortages are present. They are doing the best to care for all.

So do patients owe healthcare provider and staff anything?

My answer is a simple and resounding “yes!” – common support is the bare minimum.

This post is a dedication to my fellow healthcare workers, friends, and family. To my friends in Urgent Care, ER and ICU.

We truly love our patients and want the best for them. As tired as healthcare workers may be, there’s no other job we would rather do.

Helpful Resources:

  1. TheHappyMD
  2. AAFP Foundation
  3. American Medical Academy
Mask Up my friends. Show your support by wearing your mask.

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Intentional

Listen to me when I tell you my approach to this year is purpose-driven! If 2020, has done anything positive in my life, it has reinforced my need to be INTENTIONAL.

To act deliberate, calculated, conscious, intended, planned, preconceived, predetermined, meant, done on purpose!!!

I will work intentional

So many of my goals for this year is centered around career and home life. I desire to make blogging a permanent part of my life. This platform has given me the opportunity to reach so many others across the world. I am truly astonished by the reach of blogging. It is my hope to publish 2-3x a week on my blog and to build a community that shares ideas and encourages each other. In my home life, I will work to build a Christian household- I will speak positive words of affirmation to those around me, I will spend time in prayer, I will spread a little more love to my friends and family.

Looking forward to sharing my goals, triumphs, failures, career and home with you!

I will live intentional

No more getting by! No more sitting around thinking and not working. No more considering other’s opinions and feelings before my own. I will walk in the path I desire. I will assert my goals and dreams with fierceness.

BOLDNESS!!

I will be intentional in my prayers

In our usual fashion, we welcomed the new year in prayer and fasting. As far back as I can remember, I have spent NYE at church in prayer and fasting. For me, it sets the tone of the rest of my year. It is a time for communion with God. A time to reset. A time to forgive. A time to lay out my plans. A time to seek guidance. This has always been my norm. But, I wonder, how much more can I give? Instead of saying a prayer of I want”, I will approach my prayers in 2021 with purpose, using these words “I seek your guidance in my life and I KNOW you will lead me”. I will spend more time in thankfulness.

Prayer from Bible app. Will share weekly prayers on Saturday on JAARA. After a year like 2020, we can all use a little prayer

So there it is – My word for 2021 is INTENTIONAL!!

IG- JAARABLOG

What is yours?

Comment below

Featured

I am not my Hair. Am I?

I recently read an article by Maya Allen on BYRDIE entitled ” 22 Corporate Women Share What Wearing their Natural Hair to Work Means” and I was captivated. The sheer title alone grabbed my attention. The experiences of these women felt similar to my own. Their stories were somehow also my story. 

BACKGROUND

As a young girl, I looked forward to hair days with my mother. On Sundays, she would wash and braid my hair for school on Monday. My excitement for Sundays was always sky-high. The fancier the hairstyles, the better I felt.  Hairstyles such as braids, ponytails, clips, bubbles, and ribbons were my normal as a child. 

Getting my hair done on Sunday would set the tone for my week. I felt majestic, beautiful, and like royalty.

SOMETIME AGO

Something interesting happened from childhood to professional women. There was a shift in my delight of getting my hair adorned.

I felt I needed to fit a mold.

For me, that meant straight and black.

Every hairstyle I wore to work was black.

Straight, and without curls.

Whenever I was prompted by my hairdresser to try a different style, I felt uncomfortable. I remember saying to her “NO BRAIDS AND NO COLOR!”

At my first job out from Grad school. My number one hairstyle- Alway black.

TODAY

My views have completely changed. The idea that professional hair is straight hair was a completely false narrative I had adopted. So this last year, I decided that I wanted to rock my natural hair in its fullness. Whenever I could not wear puffs, Bantu knots, or braid out, I decided to wear protective hairstyles that were more natural-appearing. After examining the disconnection between my hair and my professional appearance, I have found two points to be true:

  1. I realized that I wanted to be accepted by others, even if others could not understand my inner conflict.
    I became too concerned about corporate/professional America accepting my big, curly, and colorfully loud hair yet, I had not accepted it myself. I did not need their acceptance. I must first accept me.
  2. For any young girl reading this- know that you are PERFECT. Your kinks, color, coils, clips, dread, and braids are all apart of you. What sets you apart is your most valuable asset.
    • We can all do more to accept each other’s differences, complement each other’s beauty outside the workplace and within corporate America.

KNOW THIS:

Professional Hair is YOUR hair!

Professional Hair is YOUR style!

Professional Hair is YOUR color!

SO I got my hair braided today and added a little color

Referenced Article

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5 Last Minute Christmas and New Year’s Gift Ideas for my Fellow Procrastinators

  1. BOND TOUCH BRACELET
Courtesy of Amazon

If you are spending the Christmas holidays away from family this year, then you may be feeling like you are missing out on the intimacy of family togetherness. I saw the Bond Touch Bracelet on Amazon and immediately felt like I needed one. A better idea is to gift the bond bracelet to a best friend, spouse, parents, or someone you are separated from this Christmas. Show you miss them. 

Review and purchase this product HERE

2. KIDS AGAINST MATURITY

Courtesy of Amazon

My fondest memories as a child on Christmas Day came after dinner. After eating together, we played board games. In past years we played Monopoly, Scrabble, Dominoes, Family Feud, and Jenga.

Consider KIDS AGAINST MATURITY if you are looking for a board game to add to your family collection or gifting.This board game is unlike the ones I played as a child, but I am definitely considering adding it to my own collection.

Review and purchase HERE

3. EMBER MUG

Courtesy of Target

Cold weather is no stranger to us New Yorkers. After our last snowfall accumulation of 24″, we need something to keep us warm. Ember Mug is a perfect gift for the tea lover and coffee drinker amongst you.

Pour a hot cup of cocoa and sip away.

Check it out HERE or TARGET

4. STREAMING, MOVIES, TV SHOWS

Whether it is Netflix, HBO, or Hulu, a subscription for streaming services will make a great Christmas gift. Watching our favorite shows and series is just a click away.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

5. Exercise Equipment/ Gears

After the holiday season comes time for New Year’s resolution. Invest in the health of others by contributing to their fitness goals. You can support them- whether saving up for a new Peloton bike or considering the MIRROR Exercise, contributing funds toward exercise equipment or work-out gear is a great Christmas gift for many.

Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

Merry Christmas to All.

Comment below! You may add suggestions for other readers in the comment section.

Disclaimer: These are my personal suggestions for last minute Christmas gift. There are no affiliate sponsorship. The links provided are for reader’s accessibility only.

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A Letter from me to ME

Dear younger me,

There are so many things I want to tell you. As I sit and type this letter I am flooded with so many thoughts. Thoughts of hope, joy, laughter, family, and hardships. Life has its trials and at times you will feel defeated, but you have learned that defeat is never the end of your journey. So to my younger self, I leave with you, three points of inspiration.

Your childhood does not determine your adulthood

I can recall vividly the moment I realized I was not born into a wealthy family. I was eight years old when I looked around and noticed the differences between myself, my neighbors, classmates, and friends. The difference in dress, food, resources, and property. You will come across that one person, that always seems to have it all. But, do not heed to jealousy.

Hold fast! As you become older, the struggles of your childhood and lack of finances will become the driving force of you accomplishing your dreams. You have learned to live by the motto, “Hard work pays off.”

1994

To my younger self, know that you are in charge of your destiny. Use the skills of your childhood to create the adult life your desire. You are a work in progress still.

Enjoy your childhood. Don’t rush to grow older

Take your time. You have much more of life to live. Do not rush the process of growing up. Cherish the silly games with your brothers. Spend more time running around, playing with board games, jumping skipping ropes, doodling with chalk, playing cricket, and telling moonlight stories on the bridge.

As you get older, you will reminisce on these times with your siblings at every family get-together. You will spend hours laughing about some small thing that now fills the room with so much life. Something as simple as the time you fell down the stairs or the night your neighborhood friend got a spanking, and you waited up late at night with your brothers laughing in the living room.

To my younger self, slow down and savor these moments.

Find a strong support system. You will need it !

Over the last year, you have weathered many storms including family illnesses, the death of a loved one, mental health challenges, a pandemic, and the diagnosis of cancer of a close family member. Life can be so messy at times, and yet so beautiful. It is during these trying times you realized how truly blessed you are to have a great support system. Remember to appreciate the daily check-ins. When you felt discouraged and spent days crying, they rush over to be by your side to comfort you. When you felt like not praying, they prayed for you.

w/Mom
w/Dad

Here’s the surprise- Your parents will become your best friend as an adult.

DO not take them for granted.

So to my younger self- treat your family and friends with love. They will show up for you time and time again.

With love,

Your future self

P.S. You’ll meet your best-friend and love in the most unexpected way.

On my “About” page you would have read that I am from Guyana, South America. This small bit of information does not quite give much insight to childhood struggles, accomplishments and unfulfilled dreams.

Best Cauliflower Rice

For the longest time, I disliked cauliflower rice as I could never get the consistency and texture I desired. Often it was too soft! But, I have found a great way to prevent soggy cauliflower rice. Try this below if you have the same problem. Enjoy. 

Wash and chop cauliflower into small pieces. Place pieces into a food processor
Pulse food processor, until cauliflower is coarsely chopped similar to size of short-grain rice
Place, chopped pieces into a baking pan, without oil or additional liquid
Place pan to bake for 15-20 mins at 350 degrees. General rule- when the side start to become brown, it time to remove from the oven

Beef Briskets for Dinner

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs Beef Briskets
  • salt
  • black peper
  • beef broth
  • 3-4 clove garlic
  • onion
  • parsley
  • red pepper flakes
  • bay leaves
  • Olive or Grape-seed oil

Method

Beef brisket, seasoned with salt and pepper
Dutch oven – place olive oil or grape-seed oil on the bottom of the pot, Sear both sides until brown.
Seared brisket
Add rosemary, garlic, parsely, onion, bay leaves, pepper flakes to pot.
Add beef broth to half the level of the meat
Prior to placing into the oven to cook
Cover the lid and allow to cook. Cook at 325 degrees for 2-3 hours
Finished product!
I added a tomato-butter sauce over the meat
Served with cauliflower rice, avocado and cucumber

OneLiner Wednesday

I am in a phase of my life, where I am waiting. Daily, I am waiting for decisions to be made and plans to finalize. If I look too far into the future, I can easily become overwhelmed. So, Ive decided to live in the present, one day at a time. Just a friendly reminder to my JAARA friends.

Linda hosts One-Liner Wednesday. Check out her blog for the rules and try it out yourself!