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“I’m Different. Difficult. Awkward. Real. You may get me or you may not. I hope you do. I don’t care if you don’t.”-Unknown. My Long Winded Intro…

The moment someone meets you, they immediately put you in a social category within seconds of hearing you speak. As you begin to reveal more details about yourself, your beliefs, morals, or simple likes and dislikes you are then labeled accordingly. Everyone’s guilty of this sometimes, right??  Well….what do you say about that person who you can’t read. They just don’t make sense to you. Everything about them is peculiar from the way they speak to the way they walk.  We typically use the politically correct term “Different” to describe them. Well, that’s me! I’m that “Different” person and to my recollection, I always have been. I’m a grown lady who walks on her toes (literally), speaks her mind (sometimes before I think), prefers to go on shopping sprees at garage sales and thrift stores instead of high-end department stores, enjoys competing in every sport invented (even if I’m the only female), and finds humor in tragic situations. 

When most people meet me for the first time, they find it hard to believe that I’m married and have four children under the age of 6. They are even more baffled at the fact that I’m a #WAHM (Work At Home Mom), raise my children using strict biblical principles, all while working a stressful part-time pharmaceutical job and being actively involved in ministry. People say things like, “ 4 kids? Are you crazy?“, “And you stay at home with them, how do you do it?”, “You do know how babies are made, don’t you?”, “You home school your kids? What about their socialization?”, “How do you afford to live with all of these kids?”, “Don’t you want your kids to have the best?”. I guess the idea of having more than 2 kids and choosing to stay at home with them is almost an enigma in this day in age. I’ll explain how I answer these questions in future posts.

For about 2 years now, I have been at home full time with my children trying to maintain the fort while the hubby goes to work in the corporate world. I have also added on the task of homeschooling my 2 year old, 4 year old, and 5 year old twins for the time being. I like to believe that I am successful with this although I often I feel like the word failure is written in bold red font right across my forehead. Every single day is a challenge as I attempt to maintain order in my home without completely losing my mind. My days often look like a boxing tournament and I’m the referee. A restaurant full of demanding customers and only one server on the floor. Complete chaos!! Through all of this, I’ve become happy and grateful for the little things like not getting a migraine from yelling at my kids and using the bathroom without being interrupted by one of my little angels. It’s REALLY good day if I actually get a chance to take a shower, brush my teeth AND comb my hair. Okay, perhaps I’ve overshared a tad bit but I’m just being honest.

Once in a while, I leave the home hoping for some good fellowshiping and socializing  with people over 42 inches tall. But inevitably, the outing ends with someone telling me how I should be a better wife to my husband or properly raise my children who they seem to think are spiraling out of control. The irony is that the majority of this advice comes from someone who is divorced, don’t even have children or barely involved in their lives! I believe these encounters are like ongoing tests to see if and when I will finally snap on that one person (potentially a family member) for no reason other than their annoying unsolicited advice on the absolute WRONG day. Okay, maybe this first post is not exactly turning out the way I had planned it to. It’s a little more ranty (yes I intentionally made that word up) than I had envisioned. Needless to say, this mama has some struggles. But I assure, you I’m aware of my short comings and my creator is working on me. I’m not yet where I want to be, but thank God I’m sure not where I used to be!

I’ve been on this earth for 31 years and counting and I’m hoping for at least 70 more. It’s sad that it took me over 30 years to finally be okay with who I am. From this day forward, I intend to make the best of all the years I have left by helping, serving, loving, and encouraging people, laughing more and most importantly, being the unique person God designed me to be.

So why did I start this blog???? Well the truth is, I haven’t the slightest idea. My husband has been telling me to do this ever since I became a mom. I guess as I openly share my journey of faith, family and just being peculiar ME, my hope is that I will inspire a few folks to laugh more, cry when they want to, and be THEMSELVES a long the way.

WELCOME TO MY BLOG!!

 

Time to Say Goodbye 👋

After over 11 years of being committed to you, thankfulness & gratefulness flows from my heart. You’ve taught me how to be a leader, innovator, professional, results driven, and a team player. I came to the company as a know-it-all ‘tweener’- single with no children and no 5-year plan in place. And somehow, my summer gig quickly turned into a full time career. You gave me a chance and endless opportunities followed. Now I am leaving as a much wiser woman but always learning along the way as I focus on the next phase in my life. I now strive to be a ‘learn-it-all’ versus a ‘know-it-all’!

I’ve worked with some of the most ingenious people who sacrifice and labor countless hours to develop cures/treatments for many life threatening diseases. I will always treasure the time spent with these brilliant folks and all the wisdom they’ve imparted.

So today, oh yes, is a bittersweet day as I officially say goodbye to you, Abbott/AbbVie! This experience has been more than rewarding. It has literally been life changing. 2018 is the year of many new beginnings so, here we go!

#NewYear #NewMind #NewGrind #Momlife #servantlife #blessedlife #lifeisgood #Godisgood

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#AntiSuperwomanMentality: My Efforts are Enough

Everyone knows a woman or two, who seem to have it all. She has the job, the family and is very active in her community. A lady who’s strong and who keeps herself along with her kiddos looking good…  She portrays an image of the ideal woman, in the Bible, described in Proverbs 31. “Her children arise and call her blessed and her husband also, and he praises her.” This all sounds wonderful so I know you’re probably thinking, “Where is she going with all of this?” Well, there is one part of this passage that many people seem to leave out when encouraging women. Verse 15: “She gets up while it is still night and provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.” There it is; the three words that blew my mind, “Her female servants”. There was a season in my life when I decided to read this chapter every day to encourage myself to keep up my superwoman behavior. The revelation I got was that this woman was indeed someone to model, however, she was NOT a superwoman and definitely not alone in her efforts. She needed help.

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There is clearly no such thing as a superwoman and striving to portray that image is doing more harm to women and our families than we think.  Many women are simply doing too much with little or no help at all, causing many of them to be overworked, underpaid and plain old stressed out. Our ways of relieving the stress are also limited because we simply don’t set aside time for ourselves. I recently read in a Mayo Clinic article that stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Needless to say, this condition isn’t good for any of us and it’s time to talk about it.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any female servants or “big mamas” at home helping us as we try to complete numerous tasks on a daily basis. The majority of us laugh at the idea of hiring a nanny or assistant.  That also leaves the question of “Who can actually afford that privilege these days? ” Stayathome moms have transitioned to workathome moms who typically have a much heavier workload now than they ever did when actually working outside the home. With that being said our responsibilities are endless, expectations are unreasonable, our stress levels are rising and our overall health is declining. So what do we do about it?

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A therapist once told me that I need to be the best version of myself in order to help others. How could I be the best version of “myself” when I neglect “myself” to serve everyone else? You see, I had become everyone’s “go to” person and yet I had no one conveniently at my service. These thoughts kept rising; “Where was my female servant? Who will help me with my children while I’m reaching out and helping other moms with theirs? Who will help me with this huge project that I have been tasked with to fulfill someone else’s goals?” “Is it selfish of me to desire some type of help?” Many people would say I was complaining but was it really a complaint or just being transparent about a situation while taking necessary actions to improve it? You see, at this point many women don’t need the repetitive cliche’ affirmations and quotes (ie. You’re strong, God got you, just lean on the Lord, I don’t know how you do it, you’re superwoman..etc.). Many of these women don’t even need a sympathetic pat on the back or a hug. I mean… all of these words of encouragement and actions are important and thoughtful but the true necessity is; 1. For our teammates, partners and/or co-workers to do their respective jobs, 2. Be willing to help others when necessary (like the superwoman always does..right?), 3. Someone to tell us it’s absolutely okay to say no when we need to. I’ve learned that these three very simple requests are sometimes too much to ask of people. Simplicity can be quite complex at times. 

My irrational expectations for myself and apparently others around me almost led to a nervous breakdown. Now at this point, there was only one person to blame for this, ME. So what did I do??? I put “Superwoman” down! I went on a sabbatical for a month, taking a leave from every position with the exception of wife and mom. I had to remove myself to get my life back in order, first taking care of myself, my husband and then my kids followed. I began to prioritize what I am called to do and what I needed to let go of. During this process I had to decline invitations, solicitations, and propositions in order to intentionally work on reasonable goals, aspirations, and self-care. And now, if I don’t feel I have the help or support I need to effectively complete a task, I simply decline and keep it moving. 

I believe an ideal woman is one who fears the Lord and uses wisdom. Her priorities are in order and she knows her family comes first. She no longer tries to fix the burdens of the world but strives to effect change through improvement and not perfection. I’m encouraging you women out there to be wise and set reasonable expectations for yourself and others around you. Let go of the guilt that you may feel when you don’t meet those crazy expectations that society has set for us. As for me, I am working on being content with who God called me to be and in this process of striving to please Him only, I’ve found that with everything else, my efforts are enough.

If you are a single mom, married mom, single woman or wife without children continue to ‘be about your business’, seek the Lord, set boundaries and stay focused on what’s most important to you. Join the movement in fighting burnout and over extending ourselves using the superwoman facade! #ASM #AntiSuperwomanmentality 

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#ASM #AntiSuperwomanMentality

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Just Saying No Because God said So…

My spiritual father used to always say, we live in a microwave oven and Burger King type of world. We want everything fast and “our way.” We all have our personal goals, career goals, and spiritual goals which are great to have, but what’s most important is knowing how to prioritize them. 

If you are married your higher priority (over everything but loving God) is your husband and then your children. EVERYTHING revolves around our family not the other way around. If we can’t take care of home, how can we be successful in anything else?!? 1 Timothy 3:5 is very clear about the true priority when it comes people who cannot manage their own home but tries to manage a church. I believe that this could also be applied to other commitments like a business, organization, club, or any other endeavors we may have. We truly can’t successfully manage or lead effectively if our home is chaotic and out of order. 

We also need to remember that there is a time and a season for everything. Being cognizant of this let’s you know when to say yes, no or “Not at this Time”. I like to use the phrase “Not at this time” because it simply means I’m interested but need to postpone. Just note that there will be more times when you likely need to tell yourself (and people) no.

Thinking about who and what I need to let go in order to do what God called me to do effectively…

God knows the plan that He has for us but usually does not layout the exact timing to everyone. And many times God’s voice gets distorted because we’re too busy pleasing ourselves and people. We need to slow down, listen to the Lord , be obedient, use discernment and wisdom, then more details are revealed. Since God already had the plan for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and has given us these gifts to bring Him glory on this earth, when do we use them?

I’ve heard many people say that God has taken their gift away but the bible teaches us that He doesn’t (Romans 11:29). God just wants us to use our gifts according to His plan for us. Let’s think about our gifts, purpose and season. What are we doing right now that doesn’t fall in line with God’s Word or purpose for our lives? What or who do we need to say “No” to in order to accomplish the unique mission God has given each and every one of us? Think about that. 

Virgin Hair! A Natural Mess But I Love It 

I walked into the office on a day when I simply did not have time to wash, condition, blow dry, oil my scalp, then finally straighten my hair with a flat iron that gets hot enough to fry a 30 pound turkey. Stop and stare, and then that daring question commences, “Can I feel it?” This is most common reaction that naturals receive from the wash-n-go look. I’ve been natural for almost 9 years and still experience this reaction from people who already know me and have seen my hair curly on numerous occasions.

So when I actually find the time to execute the recipe list of steps and stretch my curls by flat ironing my hair…oh yes!!! The strands are bone straight, moistened, bouncy and absolutely lustrous! The reaction I received now is OMG your hair is sooooo beautiful! As I smile it brings this overwhelming sense of confidence and I instantaneously feel the urge to whip my hair like a Victoria’s Secret model. During  mid sentence I’m embracing every opportunity to nodd my head hard enough to see the fluidity of my fine locs shift across my face. 

I’ve been very experimental with my hair with different lengths, colors and textures. You name it, I’ve done it all! In retrospect, I believe my mother is to blame for my hair adventures because she had my sister and I helping in her salon as young kids. We probably learned how to dye our hair and apply acrylic nails before the age of 10. However you choose to wear your hair, where it with confidence. Hone it! And for my natural sistas who just can’t seem to manage their hair see my helpful tips below. 

For Natural Look:

Find the products that work for you and use them consistently. If all else fails, go back to the basics. I use organic coconut oils immediately after I wash the conditioner out of my hair. I’ve found that it helps moistened the proteins in the hair but doesn’t leave it feeling gritty or greasy. Apply your leave in conditioner and/or your curl activating serum and go. If your curly fro is doesn’t look even you can wear a head band or retractable bra strap to pull the hair together. In order to train those curls you have to apply moisture, daily in between washes. I mix leave in conditioner and water in a spray bottle and apply it every day. 

For the Straight Look: 
When wearing my hair straight I always deep condition before I apply the heat. Lather 3 times and apply conditioner. Leave the conditioner in for at least 30 minutes and wear a plastic cap to allow the natural heat from your body to permeate through the hair strands. Wash the conditioner out and apply the coconut oil throughout especially directly on your scalp. Divide your hair in to 2-4 sections to blow dry each one at a time. This ensures that the heat is applied evenly. You’ll find that it’s also easier to comb through when your hair is in sections. Then use an oil sheen spray on the hair just before you flat iron it. At the end of the day, wrap your hair and use a silk scarf to help retain the moisture. You might need to apply a small amount of oil, daily, to maintain moisture and shine. 

Products I use:

  • Kera Care Detangling shampoo and conditioner 
  • Mixed Chics Leave in conditioner 
  • Organic Coconut oil
  • Blue Magic Hair and Scalp Conditioner AKA ‘GREASE’ (Especially for the scalp applied at night)
  •  Pink Hair Glosser (Used when straightening)

3 Reasons Why Marriage is Still “A Thing” For Us

We were in our early 20s when we decided to tie the knot 9 years ago. We had tons of people giving us the inevitable unsolicited advice. “Keep God in the center of your marriage” , “Keep a great love life” and “Communication is the key to a successful marriage” are just a few statements that I can remember. Fast forward, nine years later, I will acknowledge that these statements were very relevant words of advice but no one, at that time, explained to us the “How”. How do we keep God in the center of our marriage? How do we communicate when I really just want to prove my point and win the argument? What love life??? With children, jobs and ministry work, how do we even find the time or energy for intimacy!?!? Anyway, from these thoughts derived three reasons why I believe my husband and I are still married in addition to God’s amazing grace and daily renewed mercies. 

1. My husband knows that I respect him and I know he loves me.

We’ve argued plenty of times and hitting my dear hubby upside the head then carrying on with my life was enticing. We’ve had moments in our marriage when I would think “This joker can’t be serious???” and worse words would end up coming out of my mouth if I didn’t check my heart. Then one day during a disagreement, my husband said to me, “I know you don’t talk to your boss like this…” Now that right there was something to think about. If I can respect my boss, surely I can respect my own husband. I’m not capable of altering the way he thinks or acts (that’s a job for God) , however, I can change my attitude and how I respond to him.

The bible tells husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husband (Eph. 5:33). So after heated arguments, when all I want to do was give him a piece of my mind and enter the deadly silent treatment phase, I have to humble myself and apologize. A minister once said, “Never look to win in an argument because either you’ll be a loser or married to one”. We’re not enemies and if I’m upset with him I still have to respect him simply for who he is.  He is my husband, the head of the household, the sole provider, and leader of our family. Reading the bible and obeying it is how you “Keep God in the center of your marriage”.

2. We never stop striving to communicate effectively.

When you’ve been with someone for so long, you go through a plethora of changes; appearance, preferences, and interests. What you liked yesterday might not be what you like tomorrow. How you feel about something today may not be how you feel about it next year. We have to talk to each other sometimes like it’s our first date. We ask each other about goals and where we see ourselves in the next 5 years. We intentionally engage each other even if we’re up until one in the morning. We are quick to apologize but still have those hard conversations to resolve the issue instead of ignoring it. This all goes with the “communication is the key “ advice. That’s pretty simple right???

3. We make finding ways to be intimate with each other a HIGH priority.

Unfortunately, being intimate with each other is already a hard task when you’re always tired, you work a lot, and you have multiple children in the home. We getaway about once a year to a Family Life marriage conference for private intimate time and to also receive spiritual impartation from some of the best Christian marriage counselors around. So what else do we do for the other 363 days of the year???? We get creative and intentional. We plan our private time and until then a loving touch, hug, and kiss here and there when the kids aren’t looking, goes a long way! Women, it could be even better if you initiate the love taps. Initiation reminds your husband that intimacy is a high priority for you, too. 

I’m sure we all can agree that it takes time, sacrifice and an honest effort from both husband and wife to have a strong marriage. And I’m here to tell you, if we can press on through the good and bad, so can you! Join us in striving to beat the odds and make your marriage last forever. 

Time or Money: Do We Really Have to Choose What’s More Important?????

“What’s more important time or money?” was an interesting question posted in a Facebook status. The person who wrote the post was specifically referring to sacrificing time with his family and friends in order to work more hours. Well, from reading responses to that question I learned that it’s all about perspective. A rich person dying of cancer would likely say that time is more important, however, a person who has lived in poverty most of their life would probably say that money is more important. If you had only one year to live (and considering the world we live in today this is very likely) would you accept a job aiming to receive more income even if the job required more of your precious and diminishing time?? In my opinion, time with loved ones is much more important than money. I also believe that if we learn to use our time and money wisely, we wouldn’t have to struggle as much as we do, to be successful in our careers and family life.

Unfortunately, it took a series of tragedies to transpire to help me put life into perspective and prioritize my goals according to the purpose God has for my life. One of those tragedies was losing my 16 year old brother. Even after his death I still made getting money my highest priority. My goal was to make tons of money to live the lavish lifestyle of owning the finer things in life and someday have a family of my own to share it with. In my vigorous attempt to attain that goal I simultaneously worked 2-3 jobs while in college full time. I wanted to receive a bachelor’s degree and later pursue a law degree to make even more money. No matter how much time this endeavor took from adequate hours of sleep, spending time with my family or volunteering at church, I was determined to get my money or die trying. That was a dangerous quote from one of the popular rappers at the time that I had chosen to live by. Then in the moment of me actually coming close to death, I thought, this money is not more important than the time I could be spending with my family and doing something for the greater good. At that point, my foolish desire to get rich by any means necessary started to dwindle.

After the unexpected death of my brother and my own near death experiences, my ultimate goal was to have an intimate relationship with the Lord. I decided to make a very intentional effort to CHASE THE LORD instead of money. To chase the Lord is to simply strive to be like Jesus. There were many times when I got off track but God always found a way to bring me back. Regarding my desire earn a good living, I learned that what’s most important than sacrificing time to make more money is learning how to properly manage the money you already make. I began to look at how much time I spent working to make the money, how quickly I spent it and what I spent it on. I also thought about new job opportunities and what worked best for my family situation and my desire to serve the Lord. This is how I established the correct order of my goals and discovered the true value of time and money.

The bible tells us to honor the Lord with our wealth (Proverbs 3:9). Most people these days choose not attend church let alone relinquish the tithe and offering. Giving our money to the church is the last thing on our minds but we consistently pray and ask God for increase. I learned that if I wanted to ‘chase the Lord’ I needed to also be obedient with giving a portion of my income to further His kingdom. Would it make sense for God to bless us with more money if we are being disobedient by withholding the tithe and spending it all on temporal things? Are we wasting our time doing foolish things when we could be working or learning to invest our money. Perhaps if we had a grateful attitude about our families, jobs, homes, and belongings the Lord will then bless us with even more income. Maybe if we honor the Lord with our income and properly manage our time and money, we will then have the amount we allegedly need.

I’m saying all this to encourage people to strive to live a righteous lifestyle, seeking Godly wisdom/counsel and being obedient to God’s Word then we will won’t have to compare and contrast what’s more important, our time or our money. Godly wisdom and counsel will help you become a better person, employee, family member, friend, and steward with your money. It will also teach you the disciplines you need in order to succeed in life. Also educate yourself by reading Godly resources and attending seminars regarding finances.  I personally believe that If you sacrifice all of your time chasing money, you will be running after it your entire life never having enough to satisfy yourself. And in that inevitable moment when you’re about to bite the dust, most of you will desire more time with loved ones instead of the material things your money got you .

I can’t speak on what others do to achieve success but living a righteous and modest life what I strive to do. It’s still not easy for me and I’m continuously learning and seeking wisdom/advice to stay on track. With this approach I’ve witnessed the favor of God on my life and family’s life as it relates to health, safety, job opportunities, financial responsibilities, investments and even vacation experiences. I truly believe that if we all strive to receive wisdom from the Word of God concerning our time and money, we will lessen the experiences of hard life lessons due to ignorance.  We actually need to seek the Lord for advice concerning everything!Anyone can preach this word all day long, but honestly, I believe it’s time for us all to make a better effort at practicing what we preach if we really want to help ourselves and others. Value your time and your money using Godly wisdom, it will reap success.

Avoid getting so busy making a living that you forget to live. Don’t take life for granted. Find your balance. What lifestyle changes do you need to make in order to balance your time and money effectively? Both are important but maybe you don’t have to choose.

Moving Forward Peacefully After This Contentious Presidential Race

I woke up this morning in a very peaceful state. I’m not shocked or upset about the election results. I’m just grateful for the President Obama administration. Under his so called “bad” administration my husband and I found great jobs, were able purchase homes & cars, are comfortably raising our four beautiful children. We feel safe and need for absolutely nothing. I’m so thankful for his leadership and sacrifices he and his family has made to serve our country. With that being said, I look forward to finding positive things to say about our future administration.

President elect Donald Trump will not rain on my parade of joy and gratitude toward the much higher authority of this world, Jehova God. I believe that it’s because of our family’s allegiance to Him that we have been blessed in the past 8 years when allegedly many others have struggled. My hope and faith will remain and only be in my God, before this country and anyone else in authority! So for the folks who are confused about what to tell their children today, tell them that when their faith and hope is in the Lord, they can thrive under any presidency. It’s that simple.