My little, growing family is thankful to God for so many blessings in this season. There has been so much to learn through challenges in 2020. Yet we have bloomed and are transitioning into a new and exciting chapter.
I haven’t posted on Bloom Beryl in months for a few reasons. First, for the past few months, I haven’t felt inspired to write much. I’ve felt constant guilt that I wasn’t updating my blog but at the same time, I couldn’t bring myself to put anything together and I didn’t want to force content. Another reason for not writing was because there was so much going on as my family and I prepared for two big transitions – a cross-country move and a baby on the way!
Over the past ten years, my husband Prince has been pursuing a career in cardiology. He’s spent countless hours studying, taking exams, seeing patients, doing research, etc to reach this milestone. It has truly been a long and hard road marked with many challenges. Through it all Prince persevered and God has brought him to the end of this journey. He recently graduated from cardiology fellowship and landed a job directing a program for a major health science center in Texas.
God is so faithful. God has exceeded all our expectations. What we would have imagined for his first job is nowhere near what we are getting – the position he found is so much better.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
- Ephesians 3: 20, 21
In the midst of this cross-county move and new job, we’re also expecting a baby boy to join our little family soon. We praise God for the opportunity once again to bring a child into the world.
No matter how common it may seem, pregnancy truly is a miracle. Whenever God allows a baby to form within a mother’s womb, it’s amazing. Every single organ and body part that takes shape correctly and every physiological function that develops is a gift from above. I don’t take this opportunity to become a mom of two for granted, and I’m so excited for my baby boy to arrive and join my family. I look forward to his little smile, his laugh, his personality, his relationship with his older sister, and so much more.
All of these amazing things are happening in a short time, and we’re elated to move forward into this new season. Once again God has shown us that He is more than able to exceed all our expectations if we trust in Him.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
In the midst of many transitions, there are many unknowns. How will we like our new community? Who will we meet here? What will our day-to-day life look like? What will life be like with two kids? Will I be able to balance it all?
My encouragement to everyone reading this is that God is able to do amazing things with our lives if we trust Him to lead us. Even with questions about your future, there’s no need to worry. God’s plans for us are greater than our own plans. Commit your life and plans to Him and know that He will work everything out.
What are the questions you have in your current season and what is one thing you are going to leave in God’s hands this month? Leave a comment below so we can pray for each other that God would exceed all our expectations!
I recently felt inspired to write a letter to my daughter for her to read one day. When I first found out I would be having a baby girl a few years ago I was filled with so much excitement to do all of the girly things and dress her in pink and bows. Over time, I began to think less about that and more about all of the things I wanted to teach and impart to her.
I thought of all the life lessons I hoped she would learn the easy way, not the hard way.
I thought of all the societal pressures on women and hoped that she would never feel that she had to be a certain way to fit in.
I thought of my own struggles with self-esteem and self worth and I prayed that she would never experience them.
I thought about what it’s like to grow up Black in America and prayed that God would protect her from ignorance.
I’ve spent quite some time reflecting on how I can best parent a young, Black girl in today’s day and age. There are many things I was never told as I grew up that I want her to hear. As I reflected, this was my letter to Thea, the letter I wish I had read years ago:
“Dear daughter, I pray that as you grow, you always know these things...
Your daddy and I love you so much. And so does everyone in our entire family. Before you arrived, your daddy and I dreamt of who you would be and how we would raise you. We were so excited to meet you when you were still inside my tummy and now that you’re here we are so excited to watch you grow and blossom.
Your deep brown skin, 4C hair, brown eyes, and everything about you are all absolutely beautiful. Never let anyone in society tell you anything different. Never compare yourself to another culture’s standard of beauty and allow it to make you feel less than enough. I did that for way too long and it only hurt me in the long run. God truly took His time creating you and you are beautiful.
You are so valuable to the world around you and I know you will make a positive impact on it one day. Your presence in this world matters. There is something amazing that God has given you to bless those around you. You’re already bringing so much joy to those who have the pleasure of knowing you.
You are so incredibly capable of anything you put your mind to. The sky is truly the limit. So dream big and work hard and you will accomplish whatever you try.
Daddy and I will always love you unconditionally, more than you’ll ever know.
Go back and reread that letter with you as the subject. Every specific statement may not apply to you but overall the message is the same. Regardless of your background, who your parents are, what they told you (or did not tell you) growing up, what you’ve already accomplished, or what mistakes you’ve made, these are all true.
If no one has told you yet, you have purpose.
You are beautiful or handsome.
There is a plan that God has for your life that exceeds anything you can imagine. Just trust Him and He will bring it to pass.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
- Jeremiah 29:11
However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love him. – 1 Corinthians 2:9
Every love story is different. God has a way of bringing two distinct, different people together and it’s kind of amazing to see the two lives become one. Other people’s love stories have always fascinated me. And what’s beautiful about each love story is that God, who is the author of marriage and love itself, knows exactly what and who we need and He provides in His time.
My own love story took place over a span of 1000 miles and somehow led me to meet and marry the man I never knew I needed. A chance encounter on a hot day in southern California began a lifetime together. I met my real life Prince in the summer of 2013 and this was the beginning of our forever.
In July 2013, I took a trip to visit the Loma Linda School of Dentistry. At the time, I was a pre-dental student and LLU was my top choice for dental school (Spoiler alert – God had other plans). Somehow my biggest aim in life at the time was getting into dental school and finally beginning the journey to my DDS. So needless to say I was VERY determined to complete the summer program at LLU to increase my chances of being accepted there. While I was in California, I met a guy named Prince at a local Ghanaian church. What I learned that day - he was a third year medical student at LLU, very passionate about medicine and education, currently in the middle of a psychiatry rotation, and also Ghanaian. He was a friendly, sociable person and I thought that if I ended up there, we would be good friends.
The summer program lasted about a week. One day, while the program participants were eating lunch together outside, Prince happened to walk past on his way to the library. THIS was the chance encounter that actually began our story. Also, note that the building we were standing in front of was called “Prince Hall.” Wowww!
As he passed, I caught his attention. We talked a little and exchanged numbers. I thought to myself, “He would be such a cool friend, especially if I ended up at Loma Linda too.” This one conversation sparked a genuine friendship.
I went back to Texas to continue my undergraduate studies. Prince and I began talking on the phone every now and then until eventually we talked on the phone every day. We were learning so much about each other and somehow falling in love, all over the phone with over 1000 miles between us. We started to skype and facetime. After just a few weeks of talking, even though this was my first real relationship, I had a strange feeling that Prince was my future husband.
Prince decided that he would come visit me later that year so we could finally spend some time together in person. When he visited, my family got to meet him (and they immediately loved him) and we had a chance to finally go on our first real date. Thus began a long distance relationship that would culminate in our beautiful wedding on July 31st, 2016. It wasn’t without its ups and downs but the distance actually helped us to delve deeply into many aspects of each other’s background, interests, likes, and dreams. Those long talks on the phone over the years were the foundation for the life we live together now.
How did I know Prince was the one? Throughout our relationship, I prayed for discernment and guidance as to whether or not Prince was the man I should marry. I soon found that God was providing confirmation that Prince was the one all along the way. I met him as a young woman who was still building confidence and unsure if a man would ever truly love me with all my flaws. As a matter of fact, I spent a lot of my high school and early college years watching everyone except me find someone to love and feeling discouraged about relationships. But God knew the plans He had for me. Our dreams are limited by what we know and expect but God’s plans are bigger than our dreams.
It has been quite a journey from that day when I met Prince in 2013 until now and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We’ve been through dental school, medical school, residency, cardiology fellowship, long distance dating, long distance marriage, two cross country moves, planning for a baby apart, and finally beginning our journey as parents. Through it all Prince has been my rock and support system. Prince is truly a gift from God and a light in my life. I don’t know what I would do without him. I somehow met my Prince and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with him.
This post has been sponsored by Zebra Pen. All thoughts and opinions are my own
My life is booked and busy these days and I must stay organized somehow! As a full-time dentist, part-time blogger and influencer, and mama to an extremely active toddler, it seems like there’s always something to do! There’s always a project I’m working on, a deadline, a grocery list to make, an appointment, or my work schedule to manage, all the while there are little hands tugging at my legs.
With an eventful and at times demanding life, I rely on writing in my planner and my notebook with my Sarasa® Grand Gel Retractable Pen. It helps me keep track of everything I have going on with clear, legible writing that doesn’t smudge easily. The difference between the Sarasa Grand and other pens is that it’s a premium quality, durable pen but still affordable! I don’t have to worry about going over my budget for office supplies, because as amazing as the Sarasa Grand is, it doesn’t break the bank.
As an added plus, the Sarasa Grand is very stylish and elegant and it offers an elegant writing experience. The design is seamless and beautiful, as well as the writing it produces. If anyone knows me, they know I’m very much into aesthetics and this pen passes the Bloom, Beryl Aesthetics test with flying colors!
I first tried out the Sarasa Grand at the busy corporate dental practice I work at and I was so impressed. I quickly found this to be my absolute favorite pen! Throughout my day of filling out dental charts, forms, prescriptions, treatment plans, and much more, the Sarasa Grand makes it that much easier to jot things down and quickly move on to the next patient. The retractable gel pen is lightweight, writes smoothly and reliably, and helps make my job as a dentist better. I used to hate searching the office for a decent pen to write with but now I don’t have to worry about that anymore!
From the office, I’m off to my home to work as a mom, wife, and blogger. I religiously fill out my planner and write to-do lists to stay on top of all of my duties. At any given time, you can find me planning my next event, appointment, day of content creation, or blog post ideas.
With all these things to plan, I need a durable pen, like the Sarasa Grand, to quickly jot down details. I love that this pen delivers professional-grade performance and comes in 6 different barrel colors including Navy, Rose Gold, Black,White, and Turquoise – all in with classic black gel ink. I also utilize the Sarasa Grand when compiling my tasks for the week on a notepad or when crossing off items that I’ve already done. The Sarasa Grand Gel Retactable Pen keeps me organized and available to chase my toddler onto her next adventure.
Check out more information here to see how you can Choose Different.
In a year like 2020, it may see hard to find things to be thankful.
Maybe some of your plans didn’t happen this year, and you find yourself disappointed and bitter.
Maybe you’re spending Thanksgiving today alone in an effort to minimize interacting with other people and potentially catching COVID.
Maybe you wish you could go back and redo this year with less craziness, no masks, and more normal everyday life.
But I would venture to say that you still have SO MUCH to be thankful for. If you reflect on this year, you will find that there have been a million glimmers of hope and reasons for thankfulness, in this year alone. We can be thankful for each day that comes. Today is the day that millions of Americans will gather around a table to reflect on their blessings and how the year has gone. When we are intentionally thankful, it shifts our focus from what we lack to what we have – which might be more than we thought. I encourage everyone to practice this type of appreciation daily and intentionally. Finding moments of gratitude is so important.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” – Psalm 100:4
I’m thankful for my daughter’s smile, laughter, beauty, and joy and the nearly 1.5 years she’s spent in our lives so far.
I’m thankful for my husband’s intellect, character, companionship, and constant support.
I’m thankful for not just ONE, but TWO sisters who are my best friends.
I’m thankful for a strong mother who has set such a great example for me of endurance, patience, determination, and grace even in the wake of losing my father years ago.
I’m thankful for an extended family that loves on me and lifts me up in prayer.
I’m thankful for my church family and the awesome opportunity to minister to youth through Bible study weekly.
I’m thankful for my friends who hold me down, both in Texas and Ohio who provide constant support.
I’m thankful for my career as a dentist and the practices I work at where I am constantly pushed and challenged to grow my skill set and build my confidence.
I’m thankful for the food on my table every day that I take for granted, while many are searching for where their next meal will come from.
I’m thankful for shelter and comfort in my home.
I’m thankful for the community of women I’ve built on Instagram and this blog and the opportunity to encourage them.
I’m thankful for _____. (Fill in the blank with anything that you re genuinely thankful for)
Try it out! Every day for the rest of 2020, start each day with a statement of gratitude and see how it reframes your mindset for the day. Finding moments of gratitude is key and it will truly change your life. Happy Thanksgiving!
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
- 1 Chronicles 16:34
Today I start year 27! Happy Birthday to me! #Octoberbabiesarethebest
Another year has come and gone. And as crazy as 2019 was for me, 2020 has somehow been unlike any other year prior. About a year ago, I shared a piece on my blog entitled “Sacrificial Love,” all about the unmatched love I have for my daughter. In that year I accomplished four major life events; I graduated from dental school à moved across the country à gave birth to my daughter Thea à and started practicing as a dentist. In sum, these events made 2019 THE biggest year of my life to date. So as I transitioned into the year 2020, I looked forward to a slow and steady year of coming into my own as a mother, dentist, wife, and blogger.
Then COVID-19 happened.
As the virus spread, plans for the year quickly changed and evolved.
To put it simply, most of my plans were shot down. I had three trips planned for spring/summer that were quickly cancelled as the virus expanded its reach. A springtime family trip to Chicago for a conference, and to explore the city, was abruptly cancelled. My sister’s graduation was postponed. The big first birthday I had planned for my daughter quickly became a small get together. Most of us have similar stories. I’m the type of person who greatly looks forward to events and travelling months in advance, so it was disappointing to say the least when all of these plans fell through.
But still, God was sovereign and He provided strength and allowed me to grow personally. I still bloomed even in the era of COVID-19. I somehow found peace in the midst of a pandemic.
As I reflect on this past year, I realize that so much has come out of this season of coronavirus. Through this pandemic, God has helped me learn how to roll with whatever comes my way and to be constantly thankful. With all that has happened in 2020, I feel even more grateful for every single day that I’m alive and healthy. And I know that in the coming years I will appreciate even more the opportunity to travel, visit friends, or even to live life without a mask. In this season, my days at home have been filled with more time reflecting and resting, my sense of gratitude for simple everyday blessings has grown, and as I mentioned earlier I’ve become far more flexible.
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
- Proverbs 16:9
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
- Romans 8:28
So as I celebrate my birthday today, I am at peace with how the year has gone. I haven’t traveled, seen many of my close friends and family, or celebrated milestones in the way I would’ve initially planned but I’ve still bloomed where I’m planted – I’ve thrived and grown in the midst of adversity. I’m grateful for every single day of this past year and look forward to what God has in store in the next year.
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
- Romans 4: 18-21
Look up the word faith in the dictionary and you’ll find this definition:
“Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”
As a Christian, I’ve learned a lot about faith over the years. Faith is absolutely essential in order to walk with Christ. It takes faith to believe that God exists and that He is all powerful, omnipotent, omnipresent, loving, gracious, and merciful. It takes faith to believe that this God hears me when I speak out loud to Him in prayer. It takes faith to believe that God has three personas, one being Jesus Christ who came to earth as a human and died for my sins. That’s a lot of faith! But all these levels of faith are elementary in comparison to the faith spoken of in the verse above, Abraham’s faith…
The Bible says, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed…” I read this recently and it struck me. I was literally shook. What does this mean??
In short it means that in a situation that was hopeless, Abraham still had hope. So for those who might not be familiar with Abraham, let me paint the scene for you. God promised this man that he would be the father of many nations and that his descendents would be more numerous than the stars in the sky. And yet, by the ripe old age of 99 he still had not had children. His wife was barren – her womb was dusty and there was NO earthly hope that she could conceive a child. And yet, Abraham still believed in the promise that God had spoken. God’s word was enough. Against ALL HOPE, he BELIEVED.
What does is take to believe God even when all hope seems to be lost?
It takes F A I T H.
Faith is the heartfelt and whole-hearted belief in something that hasn’t happened yet.
Faith is the vehicle that God uses to work miracles.
Faith is more about WHO you’re putting your faith in than it is the miracle itself.
Faith is transformative – as you believe God, you grow closer to Him and your mindset shifts towards what is possible with Him versus what is possible in your own might.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.”
- Hebrews 11: 1, 2
If you’re like me, you probably see Abraham’s great faith, are inspired by it, and are wondering how can I build up my own faith? Here are a few thoughts.
I’m praying that everyone who reads this will have an increased faith, a faith much like Abraham had. I know God is able to do this, and He will. Keep on blooming and building your faith.
These days there’s a lot of talk about #quarantine15 and all the extra weight people are gaining while staying at home. Unlike the #quarantine15 trend, I’ve personally been able lose weight over the past couple months and I’m proud of myself! My weight and fitness haven’t always been consistent over the years, but I make a solid effort to exercise regularly and eat right. This lifestyle began for me sometime during college as I was studying physiology and the importance of exercise for overall health. At that time, I felt inspired to make exercise part of my weekly routine. It’s never been easy, and it especially isn’t easy now as a full time working mom, but I believe that with determination, consistency, and the right systems in place, it is possible. I’m here to inspire you to take your own health into your hands, and make lifestyle changes that will benefit your health in the long term.
As part of this discussion on overall health, I do have a confession – I love anything and everything chocolate flavored AND I also love French fries. Those are just a FEW of the junk foods I like to reach for. The good thing is that even with my sweet and salty cravings, I also value a healthy diet. It’s all about balance. A balanced, healthy diet is so important, but we all deserve to enjoy ourselves from time to time with our favorite cheat foods. Let me briefly discuss the ways I stay physically healthy even with my busy schedule and hopefully you can incorporate something you read here!
These are just a few of my habits for staying healthy and staying active. None of them are easy but with time, if you incorporate them into your lifestyle you will see positive results! What do you do to stay fit?? Leave a comment down below!
“There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”
- Proverbs 23:18
Sometimes what we expect isn’t what actually happens. Honestly speaking, it seems like things rarely go as planned and most of us are coming to terms with it this year.
How many trips, events, or other activities did you have planned for this year that have been cancelled abruptly? How has your vision for the year 2020 compared its reality? Are you dealing with the disappointment of plans that never came to pass? If you can answer yes to any of these questions, I’m right there with you. I’m slowly processing all of the plans that haven’t happened this year. I’m sure that most of us didn’t expect to still be dealing with the pandemic raging out of control this far into the year and yet here we are with the death toll rising daily. But even before COVID-19 showed up, this concept rang true. Much of our disappointment comes from life not matching our goals and plans.
How can we learn to manage our outlook and the resulting emotions when expectations are not met? I believe that this takes a few steps, which might not be easy but are possible with God.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
- Romans 8:28
Expectation isn’t always reality – life doesn’t always go as planned and that’s okay. God’s presence and love never change. He is working in all situations. He will bring you through the reality successfully and things might end up better than you expected.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
- Micah 6:8
It’s been a tough week.
It’s extremely exhausting to be black in America.
I’ve felt hopeless, frustrated, angry, sad, disturbed, uneasy, and fearful all in a matter of days.
I’ve cried. I’ve asked myself how can there be change when there has been a longstanding pattern of lack of concern for the black man for so long?
I’ve prayed and prayed and tried my best to believe in faith that God will work everything out.
But through it all I’ve felt challenged. How can I live up to my blog’s name and bloom, even while black in America?
As we all know, George Floyd’s life was suddenly taken from him two weeks ago by a police officer with other officers standing by. A death like his was shocking, disturbing, and saddening. Perhaps the saddest part of all is that this is nothing new. Police brutality against black people has been occurring for years. The only new concept is that in recent years smartphones have become widely available, so more incidents have been caught on tape and distributed. The many injustices, racism, profiling, and violence perpetrated against black men and women needs to stop. But for this to stop, it will require major changes to occur in this country.
This issue is deep. It began hundreds of years ago when we were taken from our homes in Africa and thrust into slavery. Unfortunately the truth is that racial injustice has been part of the heart and soul of America since the first slave ships arrived on our shores. Fast forward to 2020. We’re STILL dealing with systemic racism, white supremacy, non-overt racism, implicit bias, mass incarceration, racial profiling, and more. (*please look into each of these terms*) For those who think that there isn’t a problem, and that you have no role to play in it, that is not true. It’s no longer enough to not be racist. We need a new generation that is anti-racist. We have so much farther to go.
How can I bloom while being black in America? How can I hold my head up high as a black woman and still succeed against all odds? How can others and I be a part of change and contribute to racial reform? How can non black people be allies, support the cause, and unashamedly speak the truth to others? The following list is by no means exhaustive, but it is my two cents. And this list is for everyone. Despite the title of this post, everyone has a part to play, and regardless of your race you CAN help. You CAN bloom as a beautiful black person in this country. You CAN bloom as an ally to your black brothers and sisters.
This list and this article are by no means exhaustive. It’s just a place to start. As Martin Luther King Jr once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This fight is not just the black man and woman’s fight. It should be the fight of everyone who believes in justice and what’s right. Please continue to use your voice for change and I believe change will come.
Author - Beryl
Beryl has a passion for writing pieces that uplift, inspire, and encourage you to bloom. She's been blogging since October 2018.