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Shawneda's 40 at 40... My Life in Quotes

Shawneda shares her forty at forty aka her life in quotes.

Forgiveness Quotes

"It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody." Maya Angelou

"Thank you, God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough." Garrison Keillor

"If we can find forgiveness in our hearts for those who have caused us hurt and injury, we will rise to a higher level of self-esteem and well-being." James E. Faust

"I believe forgiveness is the best form of love in any relationship. It takes a strong person to say they're sorry and an even stronger person to forgive." Yolanda Hadid

Writing Quotes

Shel Silverstein — 'If there is a book you want to read but isn`t written yet, write it.'

"The only writing is rewriting." Ernest Hemingway

"Write hard and clear about what hurts." Ernest Hemingway

“I make writing as much a part of my life as I do eating or listening to music.”
― Maya Angelou

Perseverance Quotes

'If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.' Henry David Thoreau

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.” ~ Marie Curie

“Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s when you’ve had everything to do, and you’ve done it.” ~ Margaret Thatcher

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” ~ H. Jackson Brown


And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever–
John 14:16 AMPC

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
Romans 12:2 AMPC

IN THE beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. [Isa. 9:6.]
John 1:1 AMPC

For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.

Luke 1:37 AMPC

Written by Me

“This book won't write itself.” 2012 Shawneda
"Acquiring skill costs time and practice. Growing in wisdom costs knowledge and experience. Trusting God no matter what life brings you ... priceless." Shawneda (2013)
“I'm thankful for the simple things in life God's love, health, family ...the important things money can't buy.” Shawneda

"At a certain point, you realize that a person who continues to discount, dishonor, and disrespect you in their actions regardless of what they say needs your prayers more than your anger. Sometimes your forgiveness is the only road to a necessary encounter with God."  Shawneda (2012)

GIGPowHer: God Inspired Girl Power to Become Unstoppable

There comes a time when you decide you refuse to quit. Middle school was that time for me. After giving my son up for adoption. Before moving in with my foster family I made a commitment to God and myself. I held my son. Looked into his beautiful brown eyes. Choking back the tears I promised not to have any more children until I was married. I told him not to let anything stop him. Sniffed the inside of his neck, where it smelled like baby oil and sweetness one last time then asked him in the quietest whisper I've ever used to forgive me for not being enough to give him what he needed in order to be able to stay with me.

His adoptive parents were good people. They loved him. I could tell from the questions they asked they'd been hurt by someone else trying to adopt. Her protectiveness was fierce when she asked me if I would ever try to take him back. Mine was just as intense when I told her no because he didn't deserve to be put through the confusion and pain of losing a mother twice. I loved him better than that even though I couldn't parent him anymore.

The truth of how much I needed to give him up for adoption hit me in waves. Coming home from singing with the choir and finding my baby screaming at the top of his lungs while my addict cousin slept in the back room -- His head caught behind the piano in the living room of my aunt's home. My biological mother's boyfriend calling pretending to be his father to try to take him from daycare. The toxic environment of my biological family was not only not good enough for my son, it wasn't good enough for me.

Before I saw my son succumb to the patterns of addiction, failure, manipulation, and other issues that plagued my biological family I'd give him to someone able to provide a better home. Two loving parents adult in age and responsible enough to provide for all of his needs. God was merciful in plucking me from my family.  Giving me a Dad, too.  I didn't know that would happen when I gave my son up for adoption. I only knew the environment I lived in wasn't conducive for his best to be realized. I loved him better than that so I kissed my beautiful boy's forehead. I kissed him, apologized, told him I love you, and let them take him away.

A year later, I relinquished my parental rights and threw myself even more into my school work. Right after he left, my biological mother came back into my life. We lived together one more time. She left me, for the last time to come home from school to find an empty apartment to go be with the man who molested me while I was pregnant.  Sitting alone in the dark, waiting for her sister to come to pick me up, to live with her again destroyed the last shards of hope left for us to ever be a family. Despite the hell I faced at home, my grades and scholastic endeavors didn't suffer.

The day I gave my son up for adoption, I promised my son and myself, my sacrifice would not be in vain. My desire to make something of myself was born out of loving someone more than I'd ever been loved. Enduring what some would consider insurmountable odds "motivated" me to never quit. When the pain, challenges, frustrations, and injustices of life came as an adult I didn't consider giving up... I'd never learned how.

My son's face would flash before my eyes. The scent of his neck wafted up my nostrils from the place deep down in my soul I'd protected by building walls most people weren't brave enough to attempt to climb over or knockdown. For years, sheer determination came because even when no one else knew what I'd sacrificed or why... I knew. People say hate is strong but I know something even stronger. Revenge is nothing compared to the strength, tenacity, and grit of love. Pure, unyielding, unrelenting, impenetrable, untainted love will cause you to keep your word even when no one else knows you gave it. People have claimed to admire my "drive" over the years.

Truth be told, I didn't get the hype. When you've lost what should never be taken, been abused because you were unprotected, neglected and used spitefully by those who should cherish you and God in His infinite wisdom still chooses to trust you with a life as precious and fragile and priceless as your own --- I didn't see any other way. My choice to persevere, live life with no regrets, choose to see the lesson in loss, the blessing in every trial, came with a price many would not be willing to pay.

My own painful experience and the ability to see the truth about my family environment required a 13-year-old child to make a decision women twice my age have told me they wouldn't have been able to make. Loving my son enough to give him to people who were able to give him what I didn't possess but knew he deserved was the moment life gave me a reason to never give up. Knowing God heard my prayers for him to have a better chance. For him to have a Dad and a Mom to love him. For him to be in an environment that was safe and his value acknowledged and his gifts supported and nurtured made the pain I carried of giving up my child worth it. Stop working to make my dreams come true?

For some, having amazing parents and a healthy ---not perfect, no one's childhood is perfect--- but a healthy home environment affords them the emotional support they need to fight through the challenges of life... that is the power of unconditional love. Living in a healthy home environment didn't happen for me until the second half of my freshman year of high school. My tenacity, determination, grit, fortitude, and work ethic were acquired a much less desirable way but the strength I needed to learn to endure came from the same place... I became unstoppable when I finally experienced agape love.

Having a son. Being trusted by God to do right by him. Learning to trust God with the most important person in my life forced me to take stock of life's harsh realities way too early. My childhood stopped years before I turned 13. Life offered me countless opportunities to become heartless and God provided the ability to choose love. Strength to believe everything somehow despite all the pain, would work out for my good.

I didn't do it to prove everyone wrong who hurt me. There has not been one dream I've achieved because "success is the best revenge." No, unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness, anger, and malicious intent were too easy to recognize in the eyes of the adults who made my childhood toxic. My strength then and my fortitude now are woven together by love, sealed by hope, and hemmed tightly by faith. Love, an overwhelming, intense, instinctual need, to care for and protect my child rose up inside me. Love gave me the courage to make the hardest decision I've ever had to make to this day in my life. Love is responsible for my becoming unstoppable.

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