Shaking The Tree 11-2-17

I haven’t posted in awhile. I have had some medical challenges these past couple of months however, I thought I’d post today in the hopes of inspiring women today. 

I was in my car yesterday and as I was listening to Sirius radio, Peter Gabriel came on. He was belting out “In Your Eyes”. For a brief moment I found myself reflecting on my youth when I was young, free and everything was good. As a young adult, I recalled listening to music by Peter Gabriel. I loved his songs then as much as I do today.  It was a very nostalgic moment for me. 

One of my favorite songs is “Shaking The Tree”. The song exudes influences from Africa which I love. In fact, Peter wrote the song with Youusou N’Dour, an African musician Gabriel admired. The song was Peter Gabriel’s way of taking a stance against the many problems in the world. This song was his way of supporting the women’s movement in Africa where traditionally men allowed women very few rights. It’s an awesome song and very empowering to all women throughout the world. 

I read a post the other day about courage. I was very moved by the words and I was inspired to be courageous and press on and do the things I was scared to do.  I’m sharing  in the hopes it will be the inspiration anyone reading might need today. 

“Today is COURAGE DAY!!! What have you been scared to do, even though you know you want and need to do it?  Today is the day!! It’s time!!! You know you’re ready. Now JUST DO IT!!”

After I listened to Peter Gabriel on the radio I remembered my favorite tune. I not only listened to it on my YouTube playlist, I shared it on Facebook. Today I’m sharing on my blog and dedicating it to all women who are facing challenges today. My hope is you will be inspired to have the courage to take back your life and be the strong woman god intended you to be. 

Maybe some of you are in an abusive relationship, maybe you’ve recently gone through a break up. Maybe some of you are at a workplace where sexual harassment is king or maybe someone reading today is facing a medical challenge that has brought you to your knees. Whatever your challenge is, I’d like to encourage you to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start “Shaking that tree!”  Shake two trees if you have to!! Do not allow anything or anyone to take a way that power that lives inside of you. Maybe it’s hiding somewhere deep inside but believe me, if you shake that tree hard enough you’ll not only find that courage but you’ll also find that strong, independent woman that lives inside of you. Break away from the fear that holds you back and just do it! Have the courage to do whatever it is you’ve been afraid to do and have the courage to just be you!!! 

I stand with all women today!  Remember, we are women. Hear us roar!! This is your day!! Its your life!! It’s a woman’s day!!  Take back your life!!!

 https://youtu.be/3_Q79lls1f0

New Beginnings…The Story Of A Butterfly 9-14-17

This was written by someone very dear to me. She would like to remain anonymous however, our hope is it will inspire someone to keep moving forward today. 

“Siempre adelante” ….(always moving forward)

I’m grateful for new beginnings. I am finally realizing that change, while hard, isn’t always bad.  I’m leaving what doesn’t work behind me and focusing on the new, the exciting, the unknown. That which brings growth and new perspective.  
Change has always been hard for me. Really, REALLY, hard. I am such a creature of comfort it’s ridiculous. But for the last year or so my life has undergone lots of change. I finally left the boy friend I ALWAYS went back to. A relationship that kept me from growing and becoming the person I am destined to be. I resigned from my job of 18 years— as it no longer challenged me. I wasn’t part of something positive anymore. I was actually surviving and NOT thriving.  

It’s strange how “hard” I thought it was going to be to move on from both of these situations as they were such huge parts of my identity. Who would I be once these labels, these relationships, these fantasies of the future fell away? Once I took stock of what these situations were costing me- I took action. How much do we have to endure before giving ourselves permission to let go? I was so tired of selling myself short. As one person put it, it was like wearing old clothes- they fit, but they weren’t my style anymore.  

After the butterfly leaves the cocoon, she spreads her wings and flies. The process takes time, but the end result is amazing. We all endure tough times but what does it cost us to carry these burdens? I’ve learned to view my challenges as “gifts”. They have taught me to love myself, to honor myself and to trust the journey in front of me. While not always easy, it is ALWAYS worth it.  

Last week a fleeting thought came to mind- and I realized that I am DOING IT. I am finally living life on my own terms! I will never forget that I am the artist of my story. Looking at life through this new lens, I realize how free I feel, how the possibilities in front of me are endless. I feel like a kid waking up on Christmas day. I’ve learned to trust God, the process and most importantly myself.    

“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” –  Tony Robbins

Stay In The Game 8-1-17

Stay in the game”And it came to pass. . . .” — The Bible

We can’t always be sure that things will always work out, but we will always have the strength to make it through. We can trust that eventually both the bad and the good will come to pass.

I’ve had the good ripped away from me and felt sorrow until I could drown. But it passed.

All I’m saying is that sometimes the bad guys win and the good guys lose. Sometimes it’s the other way around. Sometimes nothing that we do seems to swing the decision one way or the other, but we can always come back tomorrow. There’s always another chance to play the game, dance, sweat, and cry. And maybe it’s the experience, not the outcome that is the true prize.

If you’re feeling a loss of strength or confidence, let go of the desperate need for a positive outcome in your life. Realize that this, too, will pass. Gain your strength from knowing that whether an event is good or bad, we’re enriched by our experiences. Only we can choose to learn from them or allow resentment and foolish expectations to destroy their value.

Dust yourself off. Pick yourself up. Step up to the plate and get back in the game.

God, give me the hope, faith, and courage to live my life today. – Author Unknown

Feeling Stronger Everyday 7-27-17

I woke up this morning and as usual went through all of my emails. I follow many bloggers. This morning, one in particular caught my attention. This person was feeling down, depressed and feeling like a failure. She was even thinking death would be better. My heart went out to her. I’ve been there, done that on many occasions.
I posted the following comment. I’m sharing because she responded by telling me thank you. I thought about the many other women out there who might find themselves overwhelmed today. Feeling just like her or even myself many months ago. I’m sharing my comment in the hopes I can inspire someone else today. We all need hope sometimes. We all need a little inspiration. If my crazy life story can inspire a few women today then all the challenges in the world are worth it. Remember, I believe in you. Believe in yourself too!!

“I’ve been where you are on many occasions. I get it. Here’s what I know. You’re not a failure. Most people would’ve thrown in the towel a long time ago but you’re still hanging in there. You my friend are not a failure!!! You’re a warrior and a survivor!!! Remember that! Believe that!! I recall seeing my therapist some time many months ago. I too was feeling like I was better off dead. I was even thinking of ways to end it all however thank the lord I didn’t act on those crazy feelings. I’ll never forget what my therapist said to me. She said “Velma you are one strong lady. You have endured more than most. Despite the challenges you haven’t given up. Do you know what I think?” I replied “what?” She said “you haven’t given up, you haven’t ended it all because you’ll be damned if you give anyone the satisfaction of pushing you to defeat!” Wow! She was so right. I’d like to encourage you today. Don’t give up!! You are a survivor. Do not give anyone or any challenge you are facing the satisfaction of beating you!! You are going to make it!! Tomorrow is another day. I pray that today and all your tomorrows will find you feeling stronger every day!!! My song for you today is a favorite by the band Chicago. “Feeling Stronger Every Day!” That’s your mantra. I believe in you. You can do this.”

For more discussions on Depression visit:

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/depression/10-depression-quotes-that-may-change-your-life/

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/depression/how-to-deal-with-depression-tips-techniques-treatment/

https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/depression/

Life Of Illusion 5-29-17

This morning I had two people reach out to me asking for my bio. In truth, I don’t have one. I assumed everyone knew my story. 

I’m sharing a brief bio about myself in the event you haven’t read my “About” page. This is a condensed version of my story however, I hope I somehow resonate with someone today and make a difference. 

I’m Velma. I want to share my story with women (and men) out there who may find themselves facing challenges in life. Life is hard sometimes, especially when you’re a woman because often times we are seen as caregivers. There’s an expectation that we can persevere through anything. I’m no stranger to the pitfalls of life. There are many challenges, insecurities and fears that go along with trying to get through this thing we call Life. 

I’ve survived divorce, custody battles, the death of my father, a 16 year eating disorder, alcoholism (I’m 15 years sober), an emotionally abusive relationship while battling cancer, I’ve done my best to raise three wonderful children as a single mom. I’m a warrior and I’m a survivor. 

My dad passed away six years ago and I was devastated. My life turned upside down. I quit my job, broke up with my boyfriend, packed up my bags, left my family, friends and even my children to move to San Francisco in the hopes of finding happiness. Unfortunately, I hit rock bottom. For the first time in my life, I found myself facing challenges I couldn’t overcome. I found myself broken and I felt like a failure. I ended up sick, very depressed and I lost my self worth, self confidence and my strength to believe in myself and persevere. 

God certainly has a sense of humor. On April 10, 2014, I was diagnosed with an aggressive breast cancer. I’ve been battling the wreckage of this disease ever since. I endured six chemo therapy treatments, 36 radiation treatments, a year of infusions, the loss of my hair, my eyebrows, my eyelashes, my fingernails, toenails and the loss of my dignity too. My knees and the bathroom floor became very good friends. I was on my knees every day asking God for the strength to make it through one more day. I made it! I’m a survivor.  

Life can be challenging at times. Occasionally I feel like I’m “living a life of illusion” however, if there’s one thing I know, in any challenge, this too shall pass. If God brings you to it, he will certainly bring you through it. My philosophy is you have to find the humor in all things. There is always something to be grateful for and there is always, always something to laugh about. My hope is that by sharing my stories, my experiences, my ups and my downs, that someone will find themselves inspired to keep going and never give up! If I can do it….So can you. 

I read a quote once that said, “She was unstoppable! Not because she didn’t have failures or doubts, but because she continued on despite them.” I am continuing my fight every day and I hope that I will be the inspiration you need to do the same. I’m an overcomer! I’m a survivor! I’m Fierce, Fabulous and Funny!

If you’d like to contact me, please email velmadunkin@gmail.com. I’d be happy to hear from you and offer any advice or encouragement I can. I am a certified John Maxwell Coach. My goal is to add value to the lives of others and make a difference. I hope I can make a positive difference in your life.

This is certainly my song!

Everyone Is Facing A Battle 3-12-16

On March 12, 2014 my ex and I were on our way back from Scottsdale Arizona after spending five days at spring training. I’m a huge fan of baseball and even huger fan of the San Francisco Giants!!! We had spend the week cheering on the Giants.  I posted this story on Facebook. It popped up as one of my memories today. I remembered this flight and the impact this young woman had on my life. I am sharing on my blog today as a reminder you never know what people are going through until you spend a day walking in their shoes. Be kind. Be compassionate and always try to bring joy in someone’s life, especially when they’re having a bad day. 

  
On the flight home from Scottsdale we had the same seats w a view of the engine as we did on the flight there. To the right of us was a young mother who was trying to console her screaming baby. It was very annoying to many people on the plane. I’ll admit I too was a little bit frustrated. I could see the young mother was frustrated so I finally got up and asked her if shed like some help. She was so appreciative. I sat next to the young girl. She was 21 years old. I was able to finally console the baby and he fell asleep. I decided to sit next to her for the duration of the flight. I didn’t want to wake the baby so I just held him for his mom. 

Sometimes in life you never know what the person next to you might be going through. At times we don’t stop to ask. As it turned out this young mother had moved to the Bay Area a few months prior after her son was born. Her baby was born that October. This young moms name was Stacy & her sons name was Jaiden. Stacy was returning from Arizona where she had gone to visit her daughter who had a birthday that week. She would’ve been 3 years old. The previous July while Stacy was pregnant she took her daughter to the pool. She turned around for a brief second. Long enough for her daughter to run off & fall in to the kiddie pool. Stacy’s daughter drowned. It was an accidental death that was not just caused by drowning but her daughter had asthma. Stacy shared how the paramedics had tried so hard to save her daughter. Like any mother she was devastated. 

The trauma she endured was hard on her pregnancy. She shared that her baby experienced colic & would cry  for hours. She had been told that the trauma not only effected her but possibly affected her baby. She moved to the Bay Area to stay w her godparents in the hopes of healing. She was in counseling and her family had been very supportive. 

As we began to land baby Jaiden woke up. He was screaming. For some reason I prayed & asked god to please console this baby. You’ll never believe this but the baby stopped crying. Stacy and I talked to him, rubbed his back until we landed. My heart went out to this young mother.

After we returned home I found  I couldnt stop thinking about Stacy and her baby. I certainly prayed for her & hoped she would overcome. 

I decided to share this story because often times we all become frustrated w other people. We don’t take the time to listen to the real story. Next time you encounter a frustrating situation take the time to ask the person if everything is ok & be sure to listen. I know I will do the same. Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind always and take the time to listen.