Move

By Tasha Cobbs Leonard

Happy Friday, friends.

Tasha Cobbs Leonard is one of my favorite gospel singers – her voice is amazing!! I love praising and worshiping with her! Her energy is EVERYTHING!!!

So, when I first heard the song “Move,” it spoke directly to my heart (and still does) because this is my heart’s desire. I desire God’s way in every aspect of my life. 

As you may already know, I am a planner and it is hard sometimes for me to let God lead or have His way in my life without trying to intervene. As Tasha Cobbs Leonard perfectly said, we need to “throw away our agendas.” I wake up daily and try to throw away my agenda and ask God to take the lead. I try my hardest to “move out the way” to make room for HIM to move! As the song says, when He moves, peace, joy, love, justice and much more come in! 

I was reminded this week that I don’t need to take everything into my hands to obtain justice for or fight against every injustice I have experienced. I can take it to God and He will handle it, and believe me, He showed me this week that He will do just that! The funny thing is that I want certain outcomes for these situations, but God always rises above my pettiness and gives me much more than I could have even asked for (praise Him).

I challenge you this week to throw away your agenda and ask God what He would ask you to do. I think starting each day out this way could really change the outcome of the day. If you don’t know where to start, you can begin by playing this song on repeat and I promise it will put you in the right mindset.

Enjoy the song “Move” by Tasha Cobbs Leonard! Check out her other songs as well – let me know if you need recommendations.

**** Unbeknownst to me, she dropped her new album today, ROYALTY!****

What do you do to start your day off on the right foot?

Till next time. 

Love always, 

Shayo 

Self-Image & A Sexy Outfit

This time last year, I could not have taken a picture like this or seen a picture of myself without being so critical of myself. 

  1. I am too fat
  2. I look terrible
  3. Do you see this or that? 
  4. I hate the way I look… 

This year… Baby! I look at pictures of myself and I am in love! My sisters have actually said I am a little too confident now. You know what, I will take that. Do you know why? I put in the work! I had to love myself all over again or actually for the first time. I had to be torn down so I could be put back together again. When I look in the mirror daily, I see me and I love me. I don’t look in the mirror hoping someone will not notice these flaws I have and still love me or hope that someone will love me enough so that I took can love me. Nope, I love myself unconditionally. What work did I put in?

Therapy

Y’all are going to get tired of year this, but I have been in therapy regularly for over 1 year. I was challenged at the beginning of 2019 to give therapy a chance for 1 year and I have never regretted it (thanks sis). Okay that’s a lie, I regretted 1-3 times when I was with the wrong therapist for me (that’s the nicest way to put it). But since I found my current therapist, my life has been so much better! 

When I first started therapy, I was going every single week because, Girl I needed it. I was in the middle of a crisis you can say and I needed help handling it. Over the next few months, I started to space my sessions out to every 2 weeks, then 3 weeks and now I go every 1-2 months depending on what’s going on. I don’t think I need therapy as much as I did over a year ago; however, I want to keep going for now to make sure I am checking in and working on areas that I still need to grow in. In therapy, I have discussed my childhood, past and present day issues. My therapist, has given me homework, she has challenged me and helped me with unpacking (thanks Khe for this phrase) a multitude of things. Do I recommend therapy? Absolutely! Ask my friends, I tell everyone to go!

Diet and Exercise 

I did not like how I looked physically, so I got up and changed that. I started to exercise more regularly. I still cannot say I LOVE working out but I can say I really love what it does for my body and mind. I never really understood how much exercise effects your mood until I started to experience it for myself. It seriously is a big pick me up that everyone should experience. Y’all, even Harvard agrees. So if Harvard says it is true, it has to be legit! As far as my diet, I am still vegan and I love it. You can read about it on my previous post but eating healthier as helped with the changes in my body as well. 

Next week, I will go into more detail about what my quiet time looks like. For now, let’s get on to this outfit. All you need to do is put some shoes on, minimal jewelry like I have on and call it a night. Fun for girl’s night out or date night.

Enjoy the pictures! And let me know if you recreate this outfit. The whole outfit is from Zara (except the Kendra Scott earrings).

Earrings: Kendra Scott

Till next time, 

Love always, 

Shayo. 

The Lies You Tell…

Disclaimer before we start, I don’t know the answers to many questions in life. In fact, I am learning each and every day. My goal with this platform is to share my life, struggles and to let you know that you are not the only person that has those thoughts (or maybe I am the only person that has some of these thoughts 🤷🏿‍♀️). 

Dress- Express, Shoes- Zara and Earrings- Kendra Scott

One area I HAVE struggled with is listening to lies about myself. Thankful it is not an area I struggle with as much anymore but sometimes this bad habit sneaks it’s ugly rear head around that time of the month (ladies, y’all know what I am talking about). Am I the only person that is so hard, mean and downright ugly to themselves around a particular time of the month? Even my dreams are horrible around that time… we are still praying for deliverance in this area. But I will say that I have started to notice this bad habit so I catch it early on and stop it right there in its tracks and return to sender, the enemy (the devil, I don’t have enemies on this earth). 

You may be thinking, what on earth is she talking about? I am just talking about  negative thoughts. Why is it so easy for us to believe the negative things people say about us or the negative things we say about ourselves? Why do we believe the enemy’s lies more than we believe the truth God speaks over our life? Why do I hear the negative talk of the enemy so LOUDLY and effortlessly but I can have to work so hard to hear God’s voice (just me?)? 

I can run down a list of things people (and myself) have said about me that I have believed at one point in my life. 

  1. I am fat
  2. I am not a good friend
  3. I am too emotional 
  4. Nobody will want to be with me because of… (multitude of  the reasonings). 
  5. I am not good enough

Just to name a few…

I am not sure why I have outgrown those thoughts, 

Is it that I am older and wiser? 

More self-aware?

Have I seen these people’s true colors and realize they have no right to place judgment on me?

Realized that these people do not know me and I know myself better than them?

Or is it that I just don’t care what people have to say?

Whatever the reasoning, I am doing better and I do not dwell on these thoughts for long periods of time like I have done in the past. Don’t get me wrong, like I said above, around the time of the month, my whole life sucks (Lol), yes I am being dramatic, but that’s how it feels like at times but thankfully I have acquired tools to fight these thoughts/ issues.  

Some of these tools include; 

  1. Therapy
  2. My Tribe- Surrounding myself with people that truly love me and speak life into me. 
  3. Quiet time- Reading my Bible, praying and listening to God. 
  4. Stop comparison 
  5. Knowing the truth 

Over the next month, I will be going into more detail about some of these various tools so look out for them. 

I hope they bless you in one way or another.

Till next time, 

Love always, 

Shayo. 

Oneyka (Baby)

by Burna Boy

If you are into Afrobeats, then you know that the month of August was FIRE! In case you did not know, Burna Boy, Maleek Berry, Adekunle Gold and Fireboy DML all dropped albums. Mind you, there may be others; however, these are the ones I was made aware of. I am still trying to listen to Adekunle Gold and Fireboy DML because I cannot stop listening to Burna Boy and Maleek Berry. 

This month’s song is by the one and only Burna Boy! I have to be honest – I have not been a day one Burna Boy fan. It’s not because I didn’t like his music; I just never really listened to an entire album until last year. I mean, I knew popular songs but I probably couldn’t tell you what he looked like. Last year, I saw him in concert, and I was blown away and can now spot him ANYWHERE. I had such a good time at the concert that I will go to every other concert he has. 

I really, truly enjoyed the “African Giant” album last year before I went the concert but loved it even more after the show. So, when I saw he was dropping another album this year, I was sold! “Twice as Tall” did not disappoint AT ALL. It is hard for me to pick one song that I love this month because I literally love all of them, but since I have to pick just one, I would choose “Onyeka (Baby)” because it makes me dance and he’s talking about toasting a babe. If you haven’t listened to the album, what are you waiting on? Go listen to it. 

This song makes me want someone to sing a song about me; in fact, I will settle for a song with my name in it that is not referring to alcohol, lol. Enjoy the song!

Till next time. 

Love always, 

Shayo 

I Did a Thing…

We are just going to ignore the fact that I have not posted in over a month and act like I never left. 😬 I have been doing well, life just got busy, mostly with work, but I am grateful. 

So, I did a thing. I stated my loc journey on August 18th and I am in love. For those who do not know, I have wanted locs for over a year now, but before we get there, let’s start with my natural hair journey.  

I big chopped for the first time in 2009 and about a year later, I went back to creamy crack. I then big chopped for the second time in January 2019. At the time, I went to a salon for just the hair cut; however, I started talking to the stylist about starting locs. She told me that starting locs was easy and she could start mine then and there. I was all for it. 

As the weeks went on, I did not love them because of the lack of uniformity, and I felt they were too big. So, I took the twists out and I decided I wanted to play in my loose natural hair, so that’s what I did for the last 19 months. 

However, for the last month or two, I started thinking about locs again but I was worried about the “ugly” phase (although, in actuality, there is no ugly phase). It wasn’t until one of my friends recently started her locs that I became OBSSESSED and had to join the journey. 

So, the morning of August 18th, I went to Obey The Crown here in Houston, Texas, and Bri started my locs. I just knew before I got there that it would be an all-day affair because I wanted micro locs; however, Bri was so focused and we finished in just four hours. I was so in love. 

I cannot wait to see what this loc journey has in store for me. Despite my hair being so short, I feel so beautiful! I will be providing monthly updates on my hair!! Here is what my hair looked like four days after starting my locs. 

In the wake of what is happening in our society, in regard to police brutality and the BLM movement, I pray that justice will be served and our society will start to see REAL change. 

Thank you to Bri Dezel for the pictures and GFayDesigns for the beautiful facebeat! 

Till next time. 

Love always, 

Shayo 

I Am Now Vegan

Hey guys! Yes, you read that correctly! It has been about three (maybe four) months since I had animal products. 

In the interest of transparency, I have had dairy a handful of times in the last few months, mostly on accident as there’s a learning curve, except that I have a weakness for these cookies (you can thank me later) that I have not been able to give up yet.

Let’s start out by discussing what it means to be vegan. From my research, there are different levels of veganism. According to Wikipedia, there are dietary vegans who eat a plant-based diet and refrain from consuming meats, dairy products or any product that comes from an animal. Then you have your ethical vegan, who is essentially a dietary vegan who also carries the “no animals” philosophy into other aspects of life. For example, avoiding purchasing clothes that contain feathers, fur, leather and wool. As well as avoiding activities that exploit animals such as animals shows, fishing or hunting. 

Another definition, according to the Vegan Society:

“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. There are many ways to embrace vegan living. Yet one thing all vegans have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey – as well as avoiding animal-derived materials, products tested on animals and places that use animals for entertainment.”

Now that you have a better understanding of what veganism is, you may be wondering WHY I decided to go vegan. It was quite simple – I want to eat healthier. There are many ways to eat a well-balanced, “heathy” diet without being so extreme, but it started off as a way to challenge myself to eat more fruits and veggies, and then it took off from there after I truly started to enjoy it. 

Which of those categories do I fall into? Right now, I am just a dietary vegan, but that may change in the future.

You may also be wondering if I did this to lose weight. Not really. With lots of diets, you can find an unhealthy version. An example of that is with the keto diet, you can eat “dirty,” with your meals consisting of highly processed packaged foods high in fat. Yes, you can still lose weight on that diet but there are health risks associated with it. With veganism, I could eat lots of carbs such as potatoes, rice, chips and very little veggies and I would still be considered vegan; however, I have made a very conscious effort to eat wholesome foods, which has resulted in me cooking ALL of my meals, and I have truly enjoyed it. 

Next question I get a lot: What do you eat? What don’t you eat? I am not a picky eater so finding things to eat has not been a problem. There are so many fruits and veggies that I would not normally pick at the grocery store that now I reach for. I have learnt a lot about recipes and foods from YouTube and a few cookbooks have been quite helpful. 

The other questions I receive include, “Are you still vegan?” and “How long is this going to last?” I don’t know. I will do this until I don’t feel like doing it. There is no pressure; I am truly enjoying it at this time, so I have no plans to stop. 

Some of the YouTubers I’ve been watching lately are:

  1. The Nigerian Vegan 
  2. avantgardevegan
  3. SweetPotatoSoul (Thanks to my sister for buying me her cookbook!!)
  4. Rachel Ama  (She’s pregnant so she has not been as active on YouTube.)
  5. Caitlin Shoemaker 
  6. Jaclyn Forbes
  7. Simply Quinoa
  8. Amanda Ducks 
  9. Veggiekins
  10. Plantiful Kiki 

I guess this post would be somewhat underwhelming if I didn’t include a before and after picture. Keep in mind I started exercising prior to the COVID-19 chronicles but I have not been all that consistent with exercising lately, although I did recently purchase a bike 😊.  

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that even though I am a health professional, you need to seek the advice of your personal medical professional before starting any kind of diet or lifestyle change. This is extremely important because our health histories will be different and what works for me may be more harmful for you. 

On to the pictures, so enjoy. ( I wish I had better quality pictures but I don’t 🤪 and I don’t weigh myself, EVER)

Left: January 1st 2020. Middle: March 2020. Right: June 2020 (same shorts as in the March picture).

Till next time.

Love Always, 

Shayo.

The Story I’ll Tell…

by Maverick City Music featuring Naomi Raine

I don’t think I know a single person who has not experienced challenges during this period of time. If may be financial, emotional, physical or mental, but almost everyone I know is going through something or has gone through something over the last few months. 

Fine, maybe you haven’t really gone through something too bad, but I am sure you have had some thoughts about what is going on. Why are things the way they are? Or, you felt some kind of way about your plans for 2020 that have now been cancelled or changed. 

Personally, I fall into the latter category. I had plans for 2020 and I expected big changes this year. Yes, I know the year is not over; however, I anticipated the majority of these changes to happen in the beginning of the year. But God has made me take several seats and that has not been easy.

I have enjoyed the break – the rest – you could say. But I am ready for things to change. I have to constantly remind myself that God is in control and He has a bigger plan for my life than I could ever imagine. I get excited about all the things I know He is working out for good (Romans 8:28), but at the same time, I get really impatient and anxious. I have to constantly remind myself to be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6). 

As an aside, I recently heard someone preach about this Philippians verse in a way I had never heard before. She said that a lot of the time, we are looking for the next thing (which we are anxious about) to give us value. For example, getting a promotion shows our supposed worth and proves that we are hard workers and that all our hard work paid off. But instead of looking at it that way, we need to realize that our value is already established in Christ and that “thing” cannot add any more value to our lives. In the grand scheme of things, Christ is the end all, be all. That’s another topic for another day…back to the song of the month. 

I heard this song about two weeks ago and I thought it was perfect for the times we are in. It is definitely the encouragement I need to know that God is working in the midst of things. I will be able to look back on this time (because believe me, it will pass, even though it is hard to see that right now) and see His hand moving on my behalf. I hope this song brings you as much encouragement as it has for me. 

Lyrics


The hour is dark
And it’s hard to see
What you are doin’
Here in the ruins
And where this will lead

Oh but I know
That down through the years
I’ll look on this moment
See your hand on it
And know you were here

And I’ll testify of the battles you’ve won
How you were my portion when there wasn’t enough
I’ll sing a song of the seas that we crossed
The waters you parted
The waves that I walked


OH OH OH My God did not fail
OH OH OH it’s the story I’ll tell
OH OH OH I know it is well
OH OH OH is the story I’ll tell

Believing gets hard
When options are few
When I can’t see how you’re moving
I know that you’re proving
You’re the God that comes through

Oh but I know
That over the years
I’ll look back on this moment
And see your hand on it
And know You were here

All that is left is highest praises
So sing hallelujah to the Rock of Ages

Happy Fourth of July! I hope you all stay safe! 

Till next time. 

Love always, 

Shayo

Update

Hi guys!

I am actually a tad bit embarrassed 😬😅 as it has been 3+ weeks since my last post. It has just been a lot, to be honest. 

Do you ever have so much to do that you don’t know where to start? That’s partly what was going on, but also, the state of our nation (the United States) has been chaotic and left me with a heavy feeling in my heart. 

About two weeks ago, I had intended to write about the Black Lives Matter movement along with the unnecessary killing of black men, such as George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, to name just two. However, I just didn’t have the words. I didn’t (and still don’t) know what I could say to make a difference or even encourage anyone. 

Being a black woman, racism and racial injustice is nothing new to me, but watching black men being murdered in the middle of the street in broad daylight was a shock, to say the least. It is scary. I am a daughter of a black man, a sister to black men, an aunty to black boys who will eventually become black men. I am a friend to black men and with all this going on, I worry and fear for these men in my life because nobody is exempt. 

Yes, I know the Bible says we should not be afraid (e.g., Isaiah 41:10, Psalms 56:3, John 14:27, 2 Timothy 1:17) yet I am troubled. But on the flip side, I have faith. I trust in God. I know that despite what things look like today, He is still in control and He has a perfect plan. That is all I am going to say about that situation because like I said, I don’t really have much else to encourage or motivate you with, which is the point of my blog in the first place. 

So, I wanted to explain why I have been MIA but also share some updates with you guys….

Social Media

I have deactivated my social media; I actually don’t really have any other form of social media aside from Instagram. This is not the first time I have done this. I was off social media for over a year, until about six months ago. I got back on at the end of 2019 when I started my blog. Why have I chosen to deactivate? I just need a break. I had not been on for about two months now anyway, for personal reasons, but now I have fully deactivated. I feel like I am truly a happier person when I am not on social media. I don’t know if it is because I am in my own secluded bubble, but for right now in my life, I enjoy it that way. It has really helped filter what I let in my mind, especially in regard to current events. I never miss it when I am gone; however, when I am not, it seems like it’s an addiction. 

Podcast

Remember when I told you that I had a podcast coming? Well, I lost the motivation for that after I bought my whole setup. But recently, the fire has been reignited!!! The podcast is about to take off. 

Earlier on, I said the podcast was just basically going to be a way for people to listen to my blog in case they are not able to take time out to read it. That idea has changed. 

You know I enjoy talking about relationships, love, marriage, etc., so I have decided to start a relationship podcast. As you may or may not know, I am currently not married; however, I desire to be married one day. In the meantime, I think God is wanting to use my singleness to help others. I am far from an expert at relationships or sinlessness, but I have experience, I love to learn and I know some people who are willing to share their experiences as well. 

You may be wondering what stirred all this up. I have been reading Michael Todd’s book Relationship Goals and I’m really enjoying the conversations that I’ve been having with my group of friends. I truly have been inspired by this book – read it if you have a chance! There is a study guide that comes along with it, too. 

I am working on not putting a lot of pressure on myself, so my goal is to have the first episode up within the next month. I am excited about my first guest and all the people I have lined up. I plan to have married couples, singles, dating couples and a wide array of guests with varying perspectives, so, stay tuned. 

Well, those are all the updates I have for you. How’s everyone doing now that self-isolation/quarantine is basically over in most states? I hope everyone is being careful out on the streets. 

Thanks for all the support that I receive; it means the world to me. Keep an eye out for the weekly posts coming your way! 

Till next time.

Love always, 

Shayo 

David’s Song of Praise

Hey there, 

Yes, I know it’s been two weeks but can I be honest here? I just didn’t have any motivation to write a blog post and you know what?  I’m okay with that. I’m not into forcing things anymore (Sadly, I haven’t always been that way).

This week, I decided to ease myself back into writing… sort of… okay not really. I guess what I mean is ease myself into posting. We are going to do a song of the month. It is not a song you are expecting but it is beautiful.

It’s David’s Song of Praise found in 2 Samuel 22. I read this chapter a few months ago and I was in awe the beautiful words; I read it again 2 night ago and I was again amazed. This is definitely a song that lifts my spirits. Read it and stand in awe of Who and What God is for you.

I have highlighted the verses that really spoke to my soul. What verses stuck out to you? What do you typically read to help lift your spirit?

David’s Song of Praise- 2 Samuel 22

David sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield[a] and the horn[b] of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
    from violent people you save me.

“I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and have been saved from my enemies.
The waves of death swirled about me;
    the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
    the snares of death confronted me.

“In my distress I called to the Lord;
    I called out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry came to his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,
    the foundations of the heavens[c] shook;
    they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
    consuming fire came from his mouth,
    burning coals blazed out of it.
10 He parted the heavens and came down;
    dark clouds were under his feet.
11 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
    he soared[d] on the wings of the wind.
12 He made darkness his canopy around him—
    the dark[e] rain clouds of the sky.
13 Out of the brightness of his presence
    bolts of lightning blazed forth.
14 The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.
15 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
    with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
16 The valleys of the sea were exposed
    and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at the rebuke of the Lord,
    at the blast of breath from his nostrils.

17 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
18 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.
20 He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.

21 “The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
    according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
22 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
    I am not guilty of turning from my God.
23 All his laws are before me;
    I have not turned away from his decrees.
24 I have been blameless before him
    and have kept myself from sin.
25 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
    according to my cleanness[f] in his sight.

26 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
    to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
27 to the pure you show yourself pure,
    but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
28 You save the humble,
    but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.
29 You, Lord, are my lamp;
    the Lord turns my darkness into light.

30 With your help I can advance against a troop[g];
    with my God I can scale a wall.

31 “As for God, his way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    he shields all who take refuge in him.

32 For who is God besides the Lord?
    And who is the Rock except our God?
33 It is God who arms me with strength[h]
    and keeps my way secure.

34 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
    he causes me to stand on the heights.
35 He trains my hands for battle;
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
36 You make your saving help my shield;
    your help has made[i] me great.
37 You provide a broad path for my feet,
    so that my ankles do not give way.

38 “I pursued my enemies and crushed them;
    I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
39 I crushed them completely, and they could not rise;
    they fell beneath my feet.
40 You armed me with strength for battle;
    you humbled my adversaries before me.
41 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
    and I destroyed my foes.

42 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
    to the Lord, but he did not answer.
43 I beat them as fine as the dust of the earth;
    I pounded and trampled them like mud in the streets.

44 You have delivered me from the attacks of the peoples;
    you have preserved me as the head of nations.
People I did not know now serve me,

45     foreigners cower before me;
    as soon as they hear of me, they obey me.
46 They all lose heart;
    they come trembling[j] from their strongholds.

47 “The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
    Exalted be my God, the Rock, my Savior!
48 He is the God who avenges me,
    who puts the nations under me,
49     who sets me free from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes;
    from a violent man you rescued me.

50 Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing the praises of your name.

51 “He gives his king great victories;
    he shows unfailing kindness to his anointed,
    to David and his descendants forever.”

How do you feel after reading that?

Till next time.

Love Always,

Shayo.

Happy Nurses Week!!

You may or may not know that May 6th to May 12th is Nurses Week! Nurses have shown to be invaluable during this pandemic as they risk their lives to keep everyone else safe. Sending wishes or even lovely gifts to the nurses in your life can help them feel appreciated.

Undergraduate graduation with my first big chop

I thought this would be a great time to talk about how I became a nurse. I have been a nurse for about 10 years now (where does the time go?). I remember graduating from high school, knowing I was going to college for something in the medical field, but I honestly did not know what I wanted to study. Since I was young and naïve, my dad encouraged me to become a pharmacist. I obliged and started my pre-pharmacy degree plan. 

The first year consisted of basic core classes that all college students take. During my second year, I needed to start preparing for pharmacy school and I “studied” (probably not hard enough) for the PCAT…and I failed it. My parents more or less forced me to take it again and I failed it a second time. 

At that point, I had been volunteering in a pharmacy but I was not really interested in anything that was happening there. Here is where things get blurry – I can’t remember if my dad told me to stop wasting time and money and look for a new major, or if I had a conversation with them and told them I didn’t want to study pharmacy. Either way, I had to look for a new major. 

If you are African, you know there are only a few degrees your parents will recognize as “acceptable,” which include something in the medical field, engineering or law.  Being that my dad is an engineer, you guessed it – he persuaded me to change my major to engineering. Young me said, “Sure!” so I went through the process of changing my major one summer. But  right before school started that fall, I told my dad I didn’t think I wanted to do engineering. You can imagine how upset my African father was! There were many questions such as “What are you going to do then?” and “Don’t you know you can’t be in college forever?” And, of course, the “I don’t have money for you to waste!!” Nursing had always been on my mind, but I didn’t know any nurses so I didn’t know the process or anything. 

I decided to finish my prerequisites and apply to nursing school. I was accepted, and nursing school took about 2.5 years (5 semesters). Those were some long years, full of hard work, sweat, tears, (lots of tears), laughter and adventure, but I made it. I made some of my closest friends during nursing school because we spent more time together than we spent with our families. 

Undergrad (RN) Graduation

My Nursing Career

I have been an oncology nurse for my ENTIRE career! I never guessed that that’s where I would end up; however, I received an opportunity in oncology during my last year of nursing school and I never left. Please believe I have tried to get out of oncology! But, I have stopped fighting it and realized that God has me here for a reason and I need to give it my all. 

After about 2.5 years of being a registered nurse, I went back for my master’s degree and graduated as a nurse practitioner. I have been a nurse practitioner for five years now (again, where does the time go?) at an outpatient oncology clinic. 

FNP Graduation

Obstacles

My journey may seem straightforward and easy, but it wasn’t. There were a lot of tears (have I mentioned I am a crier?) that were shed during the process of changing my major from pre-pharmacy to nursing. Making a career decision at such a young age – I was only 16 – is very hard and scary, but thank God my path was ultimately guided by the Lord. 

I had to convince my family that nursing was right for me. I fought hard to be a nurse. I had people advise my parents against me becoming a nurse. 

I failed a class in my master’s program by two points and I was devasted. I actually almost gave up, but my parents convinced me not to quit. I had to wait a whole year to retake the course so I didn’t get to graduate with my original class, but I did graduate and NOBODY cares that I had that setback. 

All this to say, I have learned that the process may not be pretty, but the outcome is usually BEAUTIFUL! 

I enjoy being a nurse practitioner. My favorite thing about being part of the nursing field is the relationships I build with my patients and their families. I gain so much insight from talking with people, especially my elderly patients. I love asking my older married couples the secrets to a successful marriage; I get all kinds of answers, which I cherish dearly. 

On the other hand, it is not always easy being a nurse, especially an oncology nurse. We get the brunt of people’s frustration and anger. However, I have learned to recognize that those feelings typically have nothing to do with me. I am meeting my patients during the most difficult and scary times of their lives and some are just learning how to cope with an array of emotions. I’m not making excuses for them, because there are none, but I can say I understand. 

Deuces!!

I hope you enjoyed my nursing story! Celebrate a nurse this week! They deserve it! 

PS: Happy Mother’s Day to all the AMAZING Mothers out there, especially my mother!!!!

Till next time. 

Love always, 

Shayo