DJ Strong

     “How do you smile, when you don’t want to? How do you laugh when it’s easy to cry?” 

     I would like to share with you, a story that has completely touched my heart and soul, as I’m sure it has others as well. 

     Diweni Jituboh is a 15 year old girl who is inspiring in the most incredible ways. She’s beautiful and witty, and so beyond her years in intelligence. 

     I first heard about Diweni as I drove through town one night and saw all of these blue signs everywhere outside of the high school. I didn’t pay any attention to it until one night I saw all of my coworkers posting on Snapchat pictures in these blue and pink T-shirts. 

     What was going on? What big event had I missed that A.) We were allowed to wear something other than sweaty, black, uniforms, and B.) I wasn’t informed of.

      When my brother and mother arrived home that night, they were grinning ear to ear in their matching shirts, and I bombarded them with questions.

     My brother said that as he was walking into work that night, a woman in an SUV handed him a shirt and a bracelet and said “Put this on.” He was a little thrown off he said, as I would be too if a stranger threw me a shirt in the parking lot of my work. When he walked into the restaurant, he noticed that all of our coworkers were wearing the same, matching shirts. 

     He said that a girl who had “some big surgery” came into Cotton Patch to eat tonight, and it had been an amazing evening for everyone. 

(Picture taken from her CaringBridge)

     I’m not going to lie. I was angry that I missed it, and that I didn’t get to be apart of it and wear the cool shirts. Fortunately for me, my brother said I could have his shirt. But I had a question ringing in the back of my head as to who this girl was.

     I spent the next hours looking up the hashtags, #PRAYFORDIWENI and #DJStrong on every social media platform I own, and what I found changed my perspective on so many things about life and beauty and appreciation for the little things.

There’s a girl who grew up playing soccer. She could put David Beckham to shame. She’d like to win, but she’d rather inspire. She plays for the love of the game.

     Diweni lives, playing soccer. This game is her lifeline, and I understand what something like that means to a person. And she wasn’t just any old soccer player, this girl was good. One night during a game, Diweni sustained an injury with another player in her knee. She shook it off and finished the game, despite the throbbing in her knee. She went home, she iced it. No big deal. It would go away, right? Well, it didn’t. It didn’t go away. Diweni was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. That’s a lot to take in as a 14 year old girl. 

(Picture taken from her CaringBridge)

     Even with all of the bad news in her life so far, Diweni still maintains her happy persona and strives to smile. I give her mega props, because I know I would be an absolute wreck. I could never handle anything even remotely similar to this. 

 (Picture taken from her CaringBridge)

     Today, Diweni’s life will change, yet again, as she goes in to have a surgery that will remove her tumor from her knee and replace it. I write this blog in hopes that you will hear this young woman’s strong story, and keep her in your thoughts throughout your day today in the midst of what ever it is that you may be doing.

You’ve been through a lot, but there’s a fire you’ve got inside.

     You may not believe in religion or prayer, and that’s okay. Please just send her and her loved ones well wishes and positive vibes, as well as the doctors that will be surrounding her during the operation. 

     Dallas Children’s Hospital is one incredible place, I know in my heart that you are in good hands.

(Pictures taken from her CaringBridge)

      As for you, Diweni, if you happen to be reading this, I do hope you know that your story touched my heart and made me sit back and think about the things I tend to take for granted in my everyday life. Here I was, mad at the fact that I didn’t get a T-shirt, when I didn’t even stop to think what the cause was even about. I think you’re incredibly strong, and all together beautiful. This isn’t what your typical freshman year of high school is like. But hopefully your years will become easier and you will be allowed to enjoy the rest of your time as a teenager without having to worry about cancer. 

     I’d like to take the time to dedicate this song to you, and hope that you find time to hear it before your operation today. You truly are a force to be reckoned with. 

https://youtu.be/bMIYCofzhF0

I know you won’t ever stop, you’ll do more than walk, you’ll fly.

     Stay strong! Keep fighting!!
Until next time,
Tay❤
P.S. Here is the link to Diweni’s GoFundMe, if you are able to donate to her cause. If not, I encourage you to please share her story and her smile to your friends and family. She needs your thoughts. 

https://www.gofundme.com/no-one-fights-alone-djstrong 

(Screenshot of Diweni’s Twitter account)

Escaping on The World’s Longest Lazy River?!

Bucket List

       The past few weeks of my life have not been a breeze, I can tell you that much. Stress has been a key factor in my daily life, as well as with my family. We have been so overtaken with weight on our shoulders from life and the way it works sometimes. We really needed a get away, a time where we could just relax.

     This week was Amber’s 15th birthday, and as a surprise, we decided to take her to do something a little more adventurous than your typical dinner and dessert. Who needs 15 servers clapping simultaneously as your cheeks flush with embarrassment when you can spend all day floating in the sun on the world’s longest lazy river? 

     We really ended up killing two birds with one stone, as it was a present for Amber and a time for us all to unwind and just be at peace for a while, even if it was for a few hours.

     In the midst of June in Texas, it is a blazing sauna anywhere you go outdoors. What better way to combat those high temperatures than to spend it all day at a water park? What better way to escape your issues for a few hours than to float away from them, really?

     The night before Amber’s birthday, we finally revealed where we were taking her, and what our plan was for the day. 

     BSR Cable Park is located in the far back roads of Waco, Texas. We first found out about it after seeing one of our friends on Facebook share a post about it. My mom had been dying to go ever since. If you ever have the opportunity to go, I suggest you try it out, because it’s worth the drive. The location is definitely something that threw us off. Through our last few turns before the GPS dropped us off, we went down some sketchy looking back roads. Our initial thoughts were “Great, this place is going to be some POS dump people use to trap naive kids who jump at Facebook posts.” But it was the exact opposite!

     It is a large, gated, community in the back. Once you enter the gates, you can very well see how lovely it all looks. We had planned to do everything that day, including their renowned Royal Flush slide. 

 (Taken from bsrcablepark.com)

     Upon our arrival to the park, however, we came to realize that there was a little mix up in the prices stated on the website and the prices stated in front of our eyes. You pay for each thing you wish to do, but you only have to pay once. Once you pay for one thing, you get a bracelet that shows you can ride the Royal Flush or chill in the lazy river, etc., as much as you please. Because of the off prices from what our knowledge was, we did not have enough money to do both. It was kind of a bummer, but we all decided we would float the lazy river and just make the best of what we had. Besides, we were already there, two hours away. 

     Now, this lazy river was sort of amazing in my book. The first time we went through, it took us a whole hour to make it back to the starting point. Which, actually made me pretty anxious towards the middle of the river because I don’t like not knowing where I am, or how long I’ll be there for.  However, it was gorgeous and had such a clean aura.

     After floating for an hour, we got hungry. We didn’t want to leave the river though. Fortunately for us, at BSR they have these nifty devices you can bring along in the water with you. They have cooler floats! That’s right, a float for your cooler. It has handles on the sides, so while you’re relaxing in your tube, you can just hold on to it.

     We didn’t have a cooler, so we put all of our snacks and drinks into Andrew’s duffle bag and plopped it into the cooler float. Bam. Problem solved. We no longer were withering away. Andrew also decided to bring his Bluetooth speaker with him in the cooler float, so we had our jams as well.

     Just to lay in the float and relax, I felt the weight of the world roll off my shoulders for a moment. I didn’t have to think about anything other than being there with my family and enjoying my day, so that was really nice for a change. If I could take a day and go float the river every week, I think my stress would be better maintained.

     We ended up going around the lazy river 3 times, and then walking over to the pool they have around the Royal Flush. We were all exhausted at this point from the sun and the water. Our original plan was to stay in the park from when we got there at 1, to when the park closed at 7. But at 5:30, we were burned and wanted to go home and shower off the lake water.

     We don’t get many family days, or even days where we do out-of-routine things in general. It was so nice. Of course our problems were still there waiting for us when we got home, and they still lingered in the air as we enjoyed our day at BSR. 

     Sometimes you just have to get away. So go. It doesn’t have to be far. We only went 2 hours. You could go hiking 30 minutes from your driveway, or you could go on a summer road trip 18 hours away. If you’re overwhelmed and can’t seem to catch a break in life, go. Make a break for yourself that you deserve. We all need an escape sometimes. 

     Go.
Until next time,

Tay❤