Remembering Dr. Maya Angelou

When I learned of Dr. Angelou’s death, I mourned that day in sadness. Today marks five years she has been gone from our world. I wrote this when I learned of her passing.

I’ve only wanted to meet two celebrities since I was a little girl…Patti LaBelle and Dr. Maya Angelou….she was the inspiration along with Langston Hughes for my love of writing poetry….a legend in the arts of poetry, writing, education, wisdom, humanity and love has slipped away…May you rest in eternal peace Dr. Maya Angelou!!

Why We Should be Good Samaritans

One thing I can honestly say I learned from both my parents was to always help others whenever you can. I have this huge bleeding heart because of that. I learned from example, not just words. Both my mom and dad always helped even strangers. Even now, with Daddy gone, my mother continues to give her last for anyone. I strived to teach my kids to do the same. I hope I was successful.

The world is a much different place than it was when I was young or even when my children were kids. Because of social media, crime is at the forefront, and people are afraid. Regardless of whether the focus is police brutality, school shootings, church shootings, or parents murdering their innocent babies, people shy away from the idea of being a good Samaritan out of fear.

We used to hear of frequent instances from the “pay it forward” movement, but even those stories have dwindled in number. A little of my faith in humanity was restored earlier this month as I stood in the grocery store line of a new, frustrated cashier having to put items back because I overspent and she was confused. A complete stranger tapped me on the shoulder and covered the cost of the rest of my groceries. I tried to decline, but she shoved it into my hand and told me to do the same for someone else if given the chance. I wish more people had the faith of that woman. As she walked away she said we have to take care of one another as God wants us to. How true. We need to be kinder and more caring. It seems though, the majority’s mindset is every man for himself. And that’s sad. I see it every day in my own house.

Unfortunately, I have been without a vehicle for over a year. I know that’s tough on everybody, not just me. But lately, it’s gotten me a little down because I could get a stranger to take me somewhere before my own family/friends. I must admit I have a small circle of friends that is getting smaller. I find it difficult to fit into other people’s lives and therefore don’t trust them enough to fit them into mine. There’s no “pay it forward” or knight in shining armor. I must have used up all my save the day points without knowing it, right.

The good thing is I know that no one owes me anything, so it’s easier for me to just find a permanent solution to my transportation problem. I know as long as I remain kind, give when I can, and always pay it forward when I see someone in need, that my prayers will be answered. My point to this post is to never let your disappointment in what others don’t do for you, stop you from doing for them or anyone else.

The way to your continued blessings is to overlook the ugliness of this world and not conform to it. People are going to be mean, disrespectful, uncooperative, and hateful but more will be kind, loving, good, and civil. Chose your circle accordingly. There’s a good Samaritan tucked away inside of all of us. Some walk in their purpose and others walk away from it. Be kind to either because you never know what someone else is going through.


#mypoeticlifethebook #mypoeticlife #goodsamaritan


Some days, not often but often enough I feel inadequate
I know it sounds odd
but I do
I feel as if
When alongside my peers
I don’t measure up
Their cups are full while mine is half empty
Like, I may be enough in my own lane but merely an old classic in theirs, Inadequate in the eyes
They see my shiny new coat of paint and fresh leather
And yet believe underneath it all I’m nothing; tethered and aged
Am I a relic to them? Or a treasure? Who says they get to decide?
Therefore, just because I feel inadequate
Does not mean that I am At some point we all feel not quite enough
What will you do about it?
As for me, I embrace it
I know I’m inadequately complete, Beautiful flaws and all
Extremely capable of giving more than what and who one sees that I am And for that alone, I’m more than enoughBy Valerie Furr-Collins#inadequate #inadequatelycomplete #enough

Graduation Season

Ever since I first heard a recording of John Lennon’s Imagine, I’ve placed significant meaning on the word ‘season’ when pertaining to my life. Even as a child I understood that there is a time for everything. As an adult, I see there’s an even deeper meaning. There’s a proper time and place for everything and everyone.

I used to think that I had to be doing something productive in order to be seen by others as living my life. I became a nurse in my early twenties. After becoming disabled, I pursued my education with an Assoc. Degree in Business Administration in 2005, and went for my BA in Healthcare Management in 2009-2015 after taking a year off due to major deaths in my family. I came two credits shy of that degree after running out of financial aid. Four years later, I’m still researching alternatives so I can graduate. But see, it’s not my season

I learned about nursing, business, finance, healthcare, and politics. But I learned so much more about myself. When determined, I can move mountains! I can do anything I put my mind to as long as I have the resources needed to do so. For some that resource is sheer stubbornness or determination itself.

Friday, our 6 year old twins graduated from Kindergarten. I was determined to be there for them so I walked five blocks to get there just in time. When they came to us they were both scoring beneath their grade levels. About two weeks ago, they were both scoring at grade level. Together they were awarded for citizenship, 100 sight words, and most improved students.

We worked hard with them each night and taught them beginner study habits that made it easier to learn and retain information. It doesn’t hurt that my mom is a retired pre-school teacher. Their teachers were very supportive and instrumental in their success as well. This was their season to grow from babies to kids. It was my season to grow as a caregiver and aunt and my season to humble myself and accept help from really good people.

I was also overjoyed to see the last of my old church youth group children graduate from high school. Their pictures were amazing!! I wish I could have been there in person for each one of them. I hope they don’t mind me mentioning their names but Emanuel “ManMan” Lucious and Nevaeh Gladney I am so very proud of the two of you and I love you!!

To them and all the graduating classes of 2019, from Kindergarten through College this is only the beginning! Reach high beyond the stars and be the best you can be every day! Live life to the fullest and don’t get caught up on the crazy stuff. The world you are embarking on is a much uglier place than generations past, but you all are tough enough to change it! Live your best life and elevate yourself constantly! The best advice I have is to never think it’s too late or too soon to accomplish your dreams; it’s your season!


Fibromyalgia and chronic pain diseases like it causes a host of other illnesses. One of which is CFS or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The name explains the condition as you never feel rested. Regardless of how much sleep you get, if any, you are still extremely fatigued.

It’s an understatement to say that the diagnosis of fibromyalgia slowly picked my world apart until it was completely destroyed. It spiraled out of control in a whirlwind of insecurity, pain, depression, fatigue, and judgment. When I was first diagnosed 23 years ago, I would experience months without pain. But as I got older, it became a continuous revolving cycle of physical pain and emotional demise. Suddenly I woke up one morning feeling as if I’d been hit by a transfer truck and have felt like that every day since. Sounds like I’m exaggerating? Not likely. But I managed to cope and have a great support system.

I made one of the biggest mistakes which a lot of sufferers make, I gave in to the fatigue and pain and made it the focal point of my life. Step by step, I lost everything, my livelihood, my marriage, my dignity, and my peace. It’s so easy to get swept up in the overwhelming grief you feel from the death of the life you once lived. I was diagnosed when there were no specialists in my area and nine out of ten doctors did not believe the disease existed. I can’t count how many times I was told that my pain was all in my head.

Now, twenty-three years later, I realized that those under-educated doctors were half right. It’s been proven that the physical pain and fatigue exist but I accept that affected my mental health how I processed and dealt pain. When I’m stressed, the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at it’s very worse, tires me to breathe.

At the time I began this blog, a few weeks ago, the pain and chronic fatigue together cause my body to fail me. I call the way I feel crashing. Simply because that’s what I feel is happening. My body, my emotions, my mind, my being has crashed and I have no energy to exert to stop it. I’m exhausted beyond all understanding. It’s difficult to put it into words. If you are a chronic “disease” patient or have any type of illness, you quickly learn that the hardest part of this is not the pain or fatigue, but losing friends and family who don’t understand your condition along the way. You quickly learn to accept that people in your life will either support you or turn their backs on you. There’s no in between.

I’ve lost my share of relationships with family and friends. Some didn’t know what to say, others simply avoided me, some thought I complained too much, and then there were those gems who thought I was pretending to be sick. It all takes a toll on your mental health because of its a sudden loss of your whole world as you knew it.

To help explain, I’m going to attempt to sum up how I felt the morning of Sunday, April 7, 2019, when I started this blog post. Imagine running hard, as a kid, full speed, until you’re so tired your chest-thumps so hard it hurts, you’re out of breath and when you manage to inhale it feels like you’re breathing through a straw. Remember that? Well, imagine how tired you’d feel if you didn’t rest, or ever recover your strength. You never get your breath back, and all your muscles are tight, aching and constricted. Now multiply that fatigue and pain times ten and visualize feeling that way every day for the next twenty years. And this example is a mild generalization.

It takes true faith and a lot of support to not give up. Suicide is high among chronic pain sufferers. But although I’ve given up at times, I believe my life has a higher purpose. Sometimes it takes half our lives to find out why we are here so never give up. A great author and activist, Marguerite Annie Johnson a.k.a. Dr. Maya Angelou didn’t start singing professionally until she was 34 years old and didn’t write her first autobiography until she was 49 years old. My point is that you are NEVER too old to pursue and achieve your dreams!

Sickness plagues us all in one form or another and can often hinder us. But I’m a true believer in two things, one, everything happens for a reason, and two, we all have our own crosses to bear. One of mine just so happens to be Fibromyalgia. I only recently learned over the last past few years how to love myself completely. There is peace in that. When I’m crashing, I lean on my faith and my peace and I’m able to fight my way through. CFS is a constant battle physically and mentally because my mind gets tired as well. But I’m confident that in my ability to keep on keeping on through it all.


#CFS #chronicfatiguesyndrome #fibromyalgia #keeponkeepingon #crashing

Define Insanity

I’ve been living in insanity. Undeniably my very own version and of my own doing. I can’t blame it on anyone else. I’ve been reliving little excerpts of my life exactly the same each time expecting different results. From something as broad as dating to something as complex as credit, I’ve somehow allowed myself to continue making the same mistakes. What makes that insane is that I actually would get upset when things didn’t work out AGAIN for the hundredth time.

I think more people live like this than not or we’d all be overachievers. It makes for a stressful life and a not so dull existence. But until I realized this, I knew I had to continue to move forward but wasn’t sure how. I have made tremendous progress with beginning my launch, this blog, my IG accounts, my Facebook and trying my hand at influencing. But now that these fires are started, I feel like I’m in the middle surrounded by many choices with only a few minutes to make a decision as to which to choose.

It’s easy to feel cornered especially after you’ve made huge changes in your life. I know whatever direction I turn, I have to stop the cycle of insanity and go about everything I do differently. I must admit that usually, I’d wallow in my stagnation until the rocking motion of standing still felt like moving forward. But I can no longer do that. I’m not getting any younger. Plus, I am building a brand not for myself but for my family.

If I want my great-grandchildren to be taught prose in College from the stanzas of my poetry one day, I have to put things in motion now. I’m not just talking about a vision board but a vision board in motion so to speak. So over the next few weeks, as I climb out of my partial self-hibernation, I am going to be outlining my major goals and visualizing the steps I want to take to achieve them. Then walk in my purpose and promise.

As for dating, I believe I can be confident in my bashfulness. I think people take me the wrong way some times. So I’ve decided to humble myself at all times, open my heart, and allow love to find me. I’m going to keep praying and waiting. Right now, anyone God adds to my life will be a blessing. If I take my love life back in my hands I will surely go insane!

Sometimes self-affirmations are necessary. You have to make sure your head and heart are in the same place. Always lift yourself up because sometimes you may be the only one you hear doing it. Change is good. It can be the best part of life or the worse. If change puts an end to the insanity in your life like it has in mine, then I say bring it on!

As human beings, we tend to set the same traps for ourselves over and over again. But there is hope. I tell anyone who asks for my advice or anyone who will listen, for that matter, to the journal. Write down your feelings. This way when you’re faced with similar issues you can make different choices. Regardless, to how much you think you’ve backtracked, wasted time, or lived in insanity, never give up! Trouble will never last always.

My Decision to Have Children

I remember wanting children ever since I was a little girl. As the youngest of six, I never had a younger sibling. I suppose I wanted someone to boss around the way I was bossed! The home I remember the most while growing up was a yellow single-family dwelling with the cutest yellow wooden bench on the front porch. Its number address was the year of my fathers birth, 1941. The street name reminded me of Christmas because it was Mistletoe Circle.

My fondest childhood memories occurred every summer and on weekends when our parents had to work, my oldest brother, who was seven years older than me, would make us lunch. He’d cook mackerel sandwiches on light bread with kool-aid to drink. We’d sit out under the wooden gazebo in our back yard and eat, play and tell stories.

Because I had five siblings, I always wanted a big family. I revered my mom and thought she was superwoman. I still do. She worked, kept the house, cooked and took care of all of us including my Dad. She still takes care of the five of us left. I used to watch her in admiration as she went about her motherly duties and couldn’t wait to be as great a mom as she inspired me to be.

When I grew up and married, we wanted a child right away. We tried unsuccessfully for nearly a year. It was repeatedly upsetting to see one negative pregnancy test after another. My doctors said I was too stressed and needed to stop focusing on trying so much. At the time I was in nursing school. So I buried myself in my school work.

As the months passed, I’d sneak an occasional test every once in a while. They were all negative, of course, until my clinical rotation at a local clinic. My sister was there for an appointment and asked a friend who worked there to give me a pregnancy test. Finally, after eleven months of trying to conceive, I was pregnant! We were ecstatic!! My daughter was born jaundice at only 35 1/2 weeks, three days before my baby shower. I forgot to tell guests I had her and when they showed up, they got to meet my daughter. She is 23 years old now with a one-year-old daughter of her own.

My daughter was just over a year old when I discovered I was pregnant with my son. We had discussed having another child even though we weren’t in the best position financially, our marriage was struggling and I had just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. To my surprise and the doctors, I tested positive at only 10 days pregnant! My son was born at 40 weeks and one day! It was a LONG pregnancy!

At 8.5 pounds, he was born with double pneumonia, sepsis, and a heart murmur. They told us he wouldn’t make it through the night. But God! We were able to take him home after eight days in the NICU. He came home healthy and sleeping through the night. He is 21 years old now. Won’t He do it? Both birthday was really hard on me and I ended up back in the hospital after both.

So, I decided to not have any more children for a few reasons. One reason was that I didn’t want to bring another child into our toxic marriage. Another, my health was failing me and I wasn’t strong enough physically or mentally to raise another child. Plus, the difficult pregnancies and births scared me. Also, after divorcing, as petty as it sounds, I didn’t want my children to have different fathers. I told myself I had the best of both worlds, one girl and one boy. I was done.

I didn’t regret my decision until my children were in junior high and high school. I began to realize that in a few years I would be an empty nester. They were my whole life. My greatest accomplishments; the one thing in life that I didn’t fail at! Soon, I found myself with baby fever. After talking to my kids, they admitted they always wanted another sibling. I took parenting classes to become a foster parent. More than halfway through, I found out I would be denied because, with a packed house, I couldn’t provide a foster child with their own room.

Back at square one, I prayed to God for another baby. My fiance at the time and I never conceived. After we broke up, I still prayed and prayed hard. In 2012, my nephew and niece welcomed twins. Unable to provide a stable home for them, my niece unselfishly placed the twins in more capable hands. Through the grace of God, my prayers were answered. I was given their twin daughter when she was only six weeks old. I had the baby for which I prayed so hard. Nobody can tell me that God doesn’t exist!

The twins, Xaviana (nicknamed Zy) and Xavier (Mann) are six years old now. They both live with us. They attend the same elementary school as my kids did years ago. Sometimes I must admit, it’s hard as a disabled 45 years old raising six-year-old twins. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Their mother is in their lives and provides support for them. I live with my mom (their great grandmother) and brother (their grandfather) and we all work together with their mom to provide the best stable environment for them to grow up in.

So my decision to have children of my own was the best I ever made in my life. They were and still are my purpose in life and my greatest accomplishments. My second best decision was accepting the answer to my prayer six years ago with Zy and 6 months ago with both twins. I know I was created to be a mother. It’s the one thing in life that I had the best example of in my own sweet mother. I can only hope I’ve been half the mother she has been to me. If I’ve accomplished that, then I know I have succeeded in life.

Left top- my daughter Brittney, Right top- my son Trey and my Mom, Left bottom- my Granddaughter Avianna, Right bottom- Myself, Xavier and Zy

@vfurrmstheblogger #decidingtohavechildren #parenting #parenting101 #BrittneyAndTrey #mytwobabies #DemBabies #ZyAndMann #XavierAndXaviana #twins #GrammaBabyAvianna

Anxious Much? How to Survive a Panic Attack

Personally, I often have anxiety. I used to have panic attacks so severe, it felt as if I was having a heart attack. I have talked in detail with family members that have this condition too, and I wonder if anxiety/panic attacks are hereditary. My anxiety usually shows up in social situations. Most of life, I have always been a shy, quiet introvert. At times, it’s hard for me to feel comfortable around strangers.

So you can imagine what a date may look like with me. Awkward silence until I feel at ease. However for me, anxiety is at its worse with people that I have unresolved conflict with, or if I am put on the spot.

Over the years I’ve learned several techniques that can decrease anxiety. Counting backward from 100 eases me and allows me to refocus my energy. This next, solution may sound odd but I talk myself down, in my head of course and tell myself that I’m ok and this too shall pass. But I find prayer to be most helpful and definitive as my faith becomes stronger. I’ve also heard that salt lamps help with anxiety too.

These are great ways to deal with anxiety but sometimes anxiety is too high for them to work. Never feel bad if you are prescribed medication. I’ve taken Clonidine and Xanax, for example, because I needed it at the time. There is a stigma concerning mental health and medication used to treat it. Don’t give in to it. As long as the medication is taken as prescribed and not abused, it can be useful in controlling the symptoms. Life is too short to suffer from anxiety allowing that stigma to keep you from climbing out of the darkness.

Sometimes I go for years without a panic attack and them BOOM my chest is caving in! The stress of everyday life can kill you, literally! As I look back over my life, I realized that taking the time to care for myself and find solutions to my issues instead of quick fixes dissolves many situations that cause anxiety.

Today, I look forward to a brighter future. I used to expect things to go wrong so if they did, I wouldn’t be disappointed. I had been through so much hurt that my defense mechanism was to expect nothing but disappointment. That’s a sad way to live. I had to change my perspective about my value and life in general.

Now that I know my worth and even though every day won’t be a good day, I expect the best out of whatever comes my way. I choose to live in the present, expect greatness in the future, make the best out of each day, spread love and light, and be a better person today than I was yesterday.

For anyone suffering from anxiety or panic attacks, know you are not alone. It can be treated and controlled. I know that my anxiety may always be with me, hidden ready to pop up at random. But I’m so much more confident in my ability to deal with it head-on. It will never again take over my life. Don’t let it continue to take over yours. You have the power to overcome and survive.

The site offers detailed information about anxiety disorders. Comment below if you need to talk. I am always available. And you can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Helpline 24 hours a day at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).