September 30, 2013

Taste Test: Evolution Fresh Fruit Puree & Juice Blend Smoothie Review

I finally tried the Evolution Fresh Fruit Puree & Juice Blend Smoothie. I honestly can't remember the price. I just remember that it was more than I'd like to pay. The only reason why I purchased it was because I like to try different health drinks and see how they taste. It's the curiosity in me. This drink was pretty good. It didn't taste like anything was added to it. It was a pretty raw and fresh tasting juice blend. With ingredients so fresh, I understand why this drink would be a little pricey. I liked it but I don't want to pay a lot for a small drink so I won't be purchasing it again but at least I got a chance to try it!

Just trying to be healthy and watch what I put in my temple! :)

September 27, 2013

Christian Living: Present and Accounted For

It's interesting how the older I get, the busier life becomes. There's never any calm to the storm. There was one morning that I woke up and thought, "D! Your life is too crazy and there's got to be a better way!" So I've implemented a new strategy into my life and am working to make that my new reality.  It's interesting how a lot of motivational speakers/entrepreneurs will share that when you're looking to reach a certain achievement, the concept of balance is almost always a myth. They discourage the pursuit of balance. So what do you do? Live life like a chicken with it's head cut off? I think not! If you ever feel overwhelmed by the never-ending to-do list of kids, spouses, family, friends, work, play, plans, church, etc., here are some tips to help you regain control and get a sense of normalcy back into your life. 

1. Be Mentally Present. 
I can be physically present in Wednesday September 25 and mentally present in both Saturday October 5th and Christmas day 2013 at the same time. How? I'll be thinking about the things that I need to get done on those days, the things that could go wrong, the things I need to plan for, etc. If you're like me, your mind can go a mile a minute. When channeled in the right direction for appropriate use, it can be a very useful asset to think ahead. However, I think ahead to all the worries and stressors that can potentially arise on those different days. Don't do that. If it's Wednesday September 25, stay there. When you have some down time, make plans for those other days and then leave them there. This leads me to my next point. 

2. Make Plans. 
It's important to have a plan no matter what you're doing. The Bible makes it clear that where there is no vision, the people perish. Have an understanding of what the intended outcome is. You can apply this to just about any part of your life. You do have to leave leeway for people. You can't plan what people are going to do or what curveballs life might throw. You can plan for yourself though. 

3. Be Disciplined. 
There will always be something that goes wrong and it's important to have a contingency plan for emergencies. However, when you make the decision to be disciplined and do what's in front of you at the moment, you end up getting a lot more done and eliminate potential disasters. I've heard Dave Ramsey talk about the fact that most financial disasters happen to people who have no "rainy day fund" or plan in place to be disciplined and stick to. In Romans 7: 15, Paul is referencing sin when he says "the things [he] wants to do, he doesn't do but the things he doesn't want to do, that's what he ends up doing." Although he was talking about sin, I think the same came be applied when it comes to having discipline. After all, being lethargic and undisciplined could be considered sins (inadequate stewardship of time and other resources). I could go on about that but that'll be another blog for another day. For example, right now, I'd love to be sitting in front of the television watching reruns of House Hunters Renovation on HGTV. However, I've got to do the things that I've committed to doing which I know will make me happier once I've completed them. Commitment means sticking to something long after the feelings left you when you made the commitment. Discipline is sticking to the commitment. Once you decide to be disciplined and make it a practice, it will eventually become a habit and your life will bear fruit of that decision to be disciplined. 

I hope this has inspired and encouraged you to live a life that's filled with less chaos and more happiness! You can do anything you put your mind to! Now go be great!
God bless you! 

September 26, 2013

Christian Living: Bloom Where You are Planted

I bought a large bunch of snapdragons and hydrangeas last week. I separated the flowers into three different vases and placed them around the room. I love switching things up on a regular basis so after a day or two, I switched two vases and placed them in a corner that didn't have direct sunlight. The third vase was closer to the window but still didn't have direct sunlight. I noticed that the third vase drank up its' water very quickly and as a result, I made sure to fill it up with more. It's been over a week and I have yet to change the water in the other two vases. Unlike the first two vases, the third vase continued to bloom and look very beautiful. 

Bloom where you are planted. 
The circumstances may never be ideal to bloom but utilize your resources to the best of your ability. 
Don't just stew in what is and complain that you don't have better. 
Work with what you have. Soak up the water in your vase. God will send provision. People are more likely to want to work with you when they've seen that you can steward the little you have and make it bloom and grow in spite of the odds against you. 

Keep going. 

September 25, 2013

Christian Living: Unhappy With What You See?

Have you ever had an morning where nothing you did to make yourself look pretty turned out right? Of course, we are fearfully and wonderfully made but let's be honest. There are days you wake up, look in the mirror and think, "Man! I look crazy!" Unfortunately, I ran out of gel the morning before and was running around searching for the right outfit to wear. Let's just say I wasn't too proud of my appearance upon heading out. While working with the babies later on, I passed by a mirror and quickly looked away because I was not happy with the truth it told. It was obvious that I needed gel, a brush, makeup, a wing and the prayer to match.

About two hours before it was time for me to leave, the babies were starting to get cranky. Neither of them had a good nap for the day and it was starting to show. I pushed the double stroller around the church for a while to get them to calm down. It only seemed to make things worse. I found an empty room and tried to entertain them with musical toys, snacks and water. I took them to the bathroom to see if they needed changing. Only one did. While I changed one, the other was crying inconsolably in the stroller. I wanted to pick him up and rock him but I still had to change the other. Imagine two 1 yr old babies crying at the top of their lungs in a church bathroom with an echo. I was surprisingly calm and determined to get both of them to match my calm. While rocking one baby to sleep, I fed the other snacks and a bottle. Please keep in mind that we are all still in this grand church bathroom. The changing table is still down with the mess in tow. There are snacks strewn all over the bathroom floor and the double stroller is parked in the center of it all. I thankfully was able to get some peace to the storm as one baby finally fell asleep and the other was content with his bottle. I proceeded to disinfect, wipe and sweep (with my hands) the bathroom disaster.  When I finished the damage control, I looked up to fix what I could of myself. What I couldn't believe was that I looked better in that moment than I did all week. Something about my skin seemed to glow. My hair didn't look as disheveled and lack of makeup seemed irrelevant. I actually felt and looked more pretty than I did all day. 

When things went from bad to worse and then calmed down, I was able to see a physical difference in my appearance. I really can't explain it. I wasn't sweating. I wasn't "dewy" per se. I just feel like God was trying to teach me a lesson though. 

You may start out not liking what you see. It doesn't have to be physically either. It could be in any of your life. No matter how you try to fix it, that "thing" is still a mess. Sometimes, it takes the mental decision to keep trucking in spite of what you don't like. Things may go from bad to worse but it's usually in those times of pressure that a unique beauty can be revealed. Think of a diamond. It has to go through fire and pressure to be molded and reflect light the way it does so beautifully. 
Don't stay stuck on how things look right now. Make the decision to keep pursuing God and His will for your life.  Things may go from bad to worse but with God on your side, He ALWAYS finds a way to make things beautiful in His time!

I hope this has encouraged and inspired you. 
Have faith and determination! God will bring you through!
God bless you! 

September 24, 2013

DIY Plate Decoration Project: Matthew 6:22

It's time for another fun DIY project! So there's a little story behind this plate! As I've said before, I'm tackling my To-DIY list one project at a time and I pinned a similar project on Pinterest where coffee mugs were used. My heritage is West-Indian (Grenadian, to be exact) so it's in my blood to love tea! :) I literally drink tea all year round and was looking forward to creating a personalized mug. I will still do one and post the results. 

When I went to the dollar store to pick up a coffee mug, I could not find one single plain white mug. They had every other design under the sun but there were no white mugs. I was kind of bummed about it since I was really looking forward to it and I've seen plain white mugs at the dollar store before. I decided not to sweat it too much and DIY a plate instead. I figured it would be great practice for when I found my perfect mugs.  So I found a nice ceramic plate and a sharpie and decided I'd get creative. When I got home, I really couldn't think of anything I'd want to put on a plate. I thought of pretty pictures, different prints, polka dots, etc but nothing was sitting with me right. 

Then, I looked up and saw a scripture from this post that I did a few years ago. I don't know why my screen was on that page. I know it's listed in the popular posts section but I don't remember clicking that link. Anyway, as I read the scripture, I realized that I really liked it and I wanted it on the plate. As I started to write the scripture, the ideas flowed and the pictures started to form. Don't laugh! I'm not the best artist, I know! Despite my lack of artistic prowess, I still love what I created a lot! 
Here's a hint: I quickly learned that nail polish remover is a fantastic eraser if you mess up and want to try again! I used quite a bit and I had a blast doing it. 

I think it's a running joke among Christians that the Message translation is the most random translation ever. Sometimes you'll read a scripture from the Message and then from the KJV and wonder how the two are one and the same. I love this verse though. It's very poetic and incredibly true. Now, once you finish creating your design, you can bake it for 10 minutes at 350F to seal it in. As my hand gets steadier, I'll try this with a set of mugs. This project could make a great "thinking of you" gift. It's always nice to surprise your friends with random cute knick-knacks. 

The plate ended up turning into a really sweet space to hold all my toiletries when I'm getting ready in the moning. All the regulars are in one place and they can't get lost because I'm happy to put them back in their rightful spot! :)

"Your eyes are windows into your body. 
If you open your eyes in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light." 

- Matthew 6:22
The Message Translation
(of course!!!)

September 23, 2013

Christian Living: Don't "Lean" With It! (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I get to take care of two insanely adorable little boys. I really enjoy watching them! They're super sweet and fun! I spend more time watching the youngest baby who just turned one a couple weeks ago. For the sake of confidentiality, let's call him Baby D! 

So Baby D has one of the funniest habits. When I take the babies for a walk, I'll strap them in the double stroller and give them snacks for the journey. Baby D sits in the backseat and doesn't have a tray for his snacks. I usually give him the snacks in a baby-friendly cup. 

Without fail, he will take the snacks out of the cup, throw them on the bottom of the stroller and then reach forward to pick them up to eat them. When he reaches forward, he's already strapped in so he's basically straining to pick up the now-dirty snacks. I will always offer him the cup and encourage him to just take some more snacks out the cup instead of getting the dirty snacks. He won't listen. What makes it funnier is that he does this delightfully. He looks forward to reaching the snacks. He never complains about it. He just throws them down and tries again. 

God has given us His Word and the Holy Spirit. We have 24-7 access to petition God's throne about ANYTHING that's on our hearts. God continues to make Himself available to us.  Jesus is our Intercessor. He is there to carry us through the trials and make the journey of life smoother because He is there. Life will be hard and there's no escaping that. What makes life even harder than it really needs to be is when we take what God has given us in His Word and we throw it aside like it's nothing. God's Word is meant to nourish us. It's meant to sustain us while we are on the journey. We make life difficult by reaching and straining for sustainance when God is right beside us, ready and waiting to give us more of Him. Just like I will never run out of new snacks to give Baby D, God will never run out of mercy, love, grace, encouragement and strength to impart to us if we'd only look up and receive what He has to offer. Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us to trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not (don't lean, strain, depend on) on your own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him and he will direct your stroller...I mean, path! 

Let's not make life harder than it needs to be. 
Receive what God is trying to give you. 
It will make the ride of life a lot more enjoyable. 

Now, if only I could get Baby D to read my blog... 

September 20, 2013

Christian Living: A Blank Stare

Most of you, if not all of you, have experienced a run-in with a "fake friend". There's always a person who seems to smile in your face but stab you in the back. It's never a fun feeling and as fake as the friend might be, the damage they can do is very real. When it pertains to fake friends, one of my biggest concerns has always been the inability to see them as fake. There are a lot of people who are professional actors in the grand scheme of life. They know how to put on a show depending on the vicinity they're in. As exhausting as it is to even think about, there are people who have it down to a science. How can you see them for who they really are?

There's a quote floating around the internet. Unfortunately, I don't know who to credit it to but it's really thought-provoking. 

"Some people will pretend to care just so they can get a better seat to watch your struggle. Every helping hand isn't always there to help." 

Some people pretend to care and it goes deeper than being nosy. Using someone else's struggle as your own entertainment fest stems from a serious space of lack. To have the time and energy to find enjoyment in the struggles of others means that: 

a.) There's an abundance of idle time. God makes it very clear in His Word that He frowns on the idea of being idle. That time could be spent communing with God, cultivating your purpose, working out at the gym, building a business and the list goes on. 

b.) There's a lack of self-worth. I have to daily give my self-worth back to God and give Him permission to define the woman I am in Him. It takes work. Sometimes, I fail. I do put in the work though. When there's a lack of self-worth, it's much easier to look at others and find joy in their pain because misery loves company. Don't be that person.

Now, if you're trying to figure out who these people are in your life, consider the following:

1. They've seen you down and out, offer help and then try to make you feel bad for needing help.  
2. They've seen you at your worst and then brag about how well they're doing. 
3. They're not happy for you when things start to go well for you. 
4. They're quick to offer help but slow to offer encouragement or love. 
5. They act like they aren't paying any attention to you but in conversation, they bring up details that would suggest they are watching closer than they lead on. 

This list isn't to suggest that you become paranoid. I am suggesting that you become as wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. You don't have to be mean. Just really be careful how much you share because there are wolves in sheep's clothing. There are people who will pretend to support you but really it's just a part of their own selfish agenda and has absolutely nothing to do with uplifting the body of Christ. 

Think of it as a blank stare. Yes, those folks are watching. Folks are watching and "waiting to help". As a matter of fact, they're staring. However, there's no fruit as a result of their actions. The help isn't really help. You're just coming up with nothing...totally blank.  See it for what it is and keep it moving. Don't get down about it though. Out of all the people on planet Earth, they find you interesting enough to pay so much attention. Obviously, you've got something going for you! Praise God for the struggle because the impact is multi-dimensional! Pray and ask God to give you discernment, peace, and provision to help you through your struggle.

I hope this enlightens and encourages you. 
God bless you!

September 19, 2013

Christian Living: The Stuff of Dreams

I can't believe it's been a month of blogging for me already! I recharged the blog on Aug. 19th and today is September 19th! Time really flies! Anyway, I'm excited to share some goodies with you today on "the stuff of dreams". This segment happens every Thursday and is a chance for me to share the spotlight with some great stuff people are doing! If you have anything you think I'd like to check out and it's worth a highlight, email me at! 

1. Becoming Myself: Embracing God's Dream of You by Stasie Eldredge 

Stasie Eldredge is one of my absolute favorite writers! She co-wrote Captivating with her husband, John. Captivating is hands-down my absolute favorite book in life (as of this moment). Recently, Holly Furtick (wife of Elevation Church senior pastor Steven Furtick) shared the good news of Stasie Eldredge's new book on her blog. Check Holly Furtick's blog out too! It's pretty awesome! Stasie Eldredge's new book is called Becoming Myself: Embracing God's Dream of You. First of all, I must point out that the title is PERFECT for "the stuff of dreams" this week! I'm corny! Please indulge me:)
Amazon allows you to listen to a great sample of the audiobook. I've listened to it and I'm ready to buy! Honestly, I was ready to buy once I heard there was a new book. I can't wait to read it! 

2. Wegman's Grocery Store

Okay! So I've heard a million people share how awesome Wegman's really is. I always meant to go inside but I never did. Well, a Wegman's store recently opened up in my city and I decided to go by and see what the fuss was all about. Boy was I in for a HUGE surprise! If you have a Wegman's in your area, I'd highly suggest you make a visit there asap. Imagine Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, a really amazing farmer's market, and Starbucks joined forces! Anything you can possibly think of is in that store! They have even have rows and rows of hot food, an amazing assortment of baked goods (including DELICIOUS cupcakes), a pizza bar, a sushi bar and the list goes on and on. I've gone there 3 times this week already! I'm so excited about it! Once you sign up for the free shopper's card, they gift you with 4 reusable shopping bags and a the loveliest basting oil. 

Here are my two life-changing goodies for this week's stuff of dreams! Check them out asap!! :) 

September 18, 2013

Christian Living: A Prize Journal

I recently finished a 21 day soul detox. Ashley Joy of Distinctive Female Blog hosted it. I found it through Instagram and it was truly an awesome experience. I'd like to share 2 blessings that I received through this experience and lessons that you can remember throughout your spiritual journey. 

1. You Can Win!- 
Now, I rarely enter giveaways, contests, etc. I have the mindset that I'll never win. Mind you, I've won two contests online off the top of my head but for some reason, my mind has been programmed to "loser". That sounds awful to think about but I subliminally do this to myself. As a result of thinking, I'll lose, I don't enter or try. To be a part of the 21 day detox, Ashley Joy asked that we all give our name, email address, and some other info. I did this not realizing that I was entering a drawing. Lo and behold! I won one of the prizes for the contest! I was really excited and shocked to hear I was getting a gift.  I won the beautiful pink journal that is pictured above! I had no intentions of winning and so I didn't even put my hopes there. I think this parallels with my relationship with Christ. A lot of times, I have no hopes in winning in life because things have been so hard for so long. However, if I set my mind there, that's what my reality will be. As a Christian, I must have hope, faith and a belief that with God, I can win in the situations in my life. 

2. Document the Journey!-  Now, if you've followed me for some time, you know that I love my gratitude journal. Since I already have a journal for gratitude, I decided to use this journal to write letters to God. My letters to God are mainly filled with my feelings and my prayer requests. In keeping a gratitude journal, my intention was to focus on the positive and hopefully more positive would come into my life. Yes, it has worked! God has blessed me more than I could have ever imagined! The part that is problematic is the denial. In focusing on the positive, I've tried to tell myself that the hurts and pains I feel don't exist. When you're dealing with aches and pains of any kind (emotional, spiritual, physical, financial, etc.), the worst you could do is pretend they're not real. In order to see healing take place, you must recognize the pain, deal with it, and ask God to help you move through it. This prayer journal is my opportunity to recognize and deal with the pain in my life. 

I hope this helps you as you continue to seek Christ in all you do!
God bless you!


September 17, 2013

DIY Project: Vase Design

So as I have begun to get back into the swing of blogging for the past couple weeks, I've included some  of the projects that explore my creative side. After all, the blog is all about exploring both Christ and my creative side! :) So it's time for some creativity!!! Yay!!! 

Maybe I'm not the only one but I have a TON of projects that I've bookmarked. It's easy to bookmark, pin on pinterest, or screenshot pictures with the intent to one day reproduce the idea with your own spin to it. Yeah...I'm super bad at that! I really want to do better. So, I need you all to hold me to it! I first saw this idea on one of my favorite DIY blogs, Creature Comforts. I loved that it was such a simple project and straight to the point. I actually did the project from start to finish while I was on the phone with one of my best friends. It wasn't messy at all and for those of you who need instant gratification, this is an excellent project to do!

Step 1- Purchase a glass vase. You can get soooo many different sizes for $1 at the Dollar Store. Seriously, the pen was more than the vases themselves! I actually went to WalMart (because that's where I got the pen) and purchased each glass vase for  $0.97. I used this Elmer's painter pen.  I would be careful not to use regular acrylic paint. It might come out a little funny unless you get a paint can be used specifically on glass. Not everything looks as pretty as you might think! Trust me! I learned that lesson the hard way with some crazy looking acrylic paint! 

Step 2- Decide what you want to create BEFORE you actually paint. It's ALWAYS best to have a blueprint of what you want before you make it. If you mess up, just simply take a damp tissue and clean  off the paint. But, I'd highly suggest making a rough draft on paper before doing it on the vase. The more confident you are in your design, the better it will look! 

Step 3- Add water and a pretty flower!!! Super easy, right?
Step 4- Put your new arrangement in a place where you can really admire it!!! I spend a lot of time at my computer so I placed one of the flower arrangements there! As you can see below, I made three vases so I'll place the others in different spots! I LOVE flowers so I knew that I'd want small flower arrangements all over!

Flowers really are sooo beautiful! I'll never get over how beautiful God's creation is. He put such details and it's mainly for aesthetic purposes! God loves beauty and we should appreciate it! It also helps if you can have fun vases to place beautiful flowers in! Let me know if you decide to do this project! I'd love to see how you do it!

Thanks for reading!

September 16, 2013

Sermon Notes: An Enduring Lesson

Don't you love it when you go to church and the sermon speaks directly to your situation? A couple months ago, my Senior Pastor shared a sermon on the subject of endurance.  I had to sing that Sabbath so I got a front row seat to all the goodness she was sharing! Here is the link to view the service and hear the actual sermon. Here on the blog, I'd like to share some of the key points and notes that I think you'll really benefit from if you are in a season that requires a lot of endurance. 

To endure:

1. You must have confidence. Confidence is the staying power of a faithful believer during life's difficult moments. Have confidence in the promises God's made to you in His word. They are forever and they are true. 

2. You must have determination. You have to possess a strong will to win. When you enter a race, you don't enter with the intent to barely make it. You enter the race with the intent to WIN! Be determined to go on in faith and know that God will give you strength for the journey! 

3. You must have a sense of timelessness. Endurance never has to ask for a wake-up call. Time is irrelevant when it comes to God's promises. Take it moment by moment (that was key for me). Endurance wins one second at a time. FIX *lock in* *focus* your eyes on Jesus! He alone has perfect timing. Wait patiently!!

4. You must understand that grace is not what you deserve. It's a free gift. Grace is sufficient in our weakness. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Whenever you feel like you've sinned and have gotten so far from the Lord, remember that where sin abounds, grace doth much more abound. You don't have to wait for a time when you feel more "deserving". Even at your worst and most underserving moments, God is there with grace and love. 

Lastly, remember this formula:

Faith + Patience = An inherited promise (read Hebrews 6). 

Faith and patience WILL inherit the promise! 

Believe God!
God bless you! :) 

September 13, 2013

Christian Living: Consider The Lilies

Whenever I feel anxious and weird in my spirit, nature is one of the most effective tools God uses to calm my spirit and teach me lessons. After a long day at work, I’ll sometimes drive into the country, park my car and just stare at the sky. I don’t have a garden yet but I make sure to have a piece of nature in my apt once a month in the form of fresh flowers. Flowers have a way of brightening up my place and I appreciate their beauty.

 God recently used three lilies to give me some great reminders to apply to my life. I normally buy a bouquet of the same flower, but on one occasion I purchased an exciting, mixed bouquet. Unfortunately, the mixed bouquet started to look a little creepy after two days. Some flowers hadn’t opened up yet and some flowers were already dying. I attempted to revive the bouquet but nothing worked. However, I noticed that three of the lilies in the bunch were still closed.  So before I went to bed, I pulled the closed lilies, placed them in an old glass bottle and placed the new bouquet on the bathroom countertop.  I figured if I couldn’t get all the flowers to look good together, it’d be best to split them up.

The next morning, I woke up to another episode of “Guess who’s questioning God today?”(It’s not something I recommend you tune in for. It’s not pretty). I was extremely unsettled and just wanted even MORE reassurance from God about an impending situation in my life.  I tried to shrug off my feelings and go on with my morning routine. I was so unsuccessful that at one point, I stopped what I was and simply cried out, “Jesus! I’m such a mess!” In the following moment, I felt the Holy Spirit tell me to go to the bathroom.  As I entered the bathroom and turned on the light, I discovered that the first of the three lilies beautifully opened up overnight. “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these”(Luke 12:27, NLT). This verse immediately came to mind and my heart felt settled. God lovingly gave me four simple reminders through that first blossoming lily.

1.     Luke 12: 22-34 elaborates on how much God is in control and how we shouldn’t worry. If He cares about the details of simple lilies in a field, rest assured that he cares about the details of a life that he died to save. RELAX. Stop worrying. Everything is going to be okay. After all, when you worry, you’re practicing atheism because you’re saying there is no God and my fate depends on me. Talk about a monkey wrench in your faith!
2.     I moved the lilies out of the mixed bouquet and placed them in a different vase in a different room. Sometimes you have to be pulled out of an old environment and placed in a new one so that your full potential can be seen, reached and appreciated. Don’t fight the move of God.
3.     God can use ANYTHING and ANYONE. If a simple lily could inspire such relevant lessons to a woman, how much more can God use a woman to share relevant lessons to a dying world?
4.     Only one of the lilies blossomed while the other two were still somewhat closed. There may be some people around and/or close to you who aren’t progressing at the same rate that you are. That’s okay. That shouldn’t stop you from developing and growing into the person God created you to be. Don’t dim your light just because you’re afraid of how bright the light is. Don’t diminish your light just because those closest to you aren’t ready to shine their light just yet. Each person’s path is different. Likewise, there may be a person close to you who has reached a certain point in their “purpose-driven life” before you’ve even figured out what your purpose is. Praise the Lord for what He’s doing in another life but don’t use it as a barometer for your personal walk with Christ. God is developing each of us differently and comparison is deadly. If you commit yourself to God, you will fulfill God’s will and purpose for your life in His perfect timing.

Now I KNOW these reminders aren’t just for me. Lean on God to grow and develop you into the His best version of you. He is all-powerful and mighty to save. So whenever you feel unsure of God’s presence or providence in your life, take a little time to consider the lilies.  

September 12, 2013

***the stuff of dreams***

Anytime I learn something new and I'm excited about it, I always want to spread the news! I do it on all of my social media channels so I figured it would be a nice idea to make it a component of my blog as well! It only makes sense! So, you can expect this from me every Thursday!

This week, I will be sharing the blogs of two beautiful ladies with amazing blogs & equally amazing messages of hope and encouragement to share! Today it's R & R!!! 

Rebecca & Rachel 

1. Rebecca "Bee" Overton: 

What a beautiful soul! Bee is an incredible make up artist, musician, wife, mother, the list goes on and on. She doesn't know this (until now) but from time to time, my younger sister and I would just marvel at her journey. My sister had the opportunity to interact with her a lot more than I did while in college. But we've both watched her journey. To see her start as a girl in college trying to find her way  and blossom into a mother/wife/career woman with a vision, plan and countless accomplishments has been nothing short of beautiful to witness. I read this post this week and my jaw was on the floor. If this doesn't inspire you to persevere, I don't know what will. Please read her story and follow her blog. She's truly an inspiration!

2. Rachel Lemons-

We went to the same college but just as different times. As a result, I never had the opportunity to meet her. Recently, one of my best friends insisted that I check out her blog. She was surprised that I hadn't heard of it already and then directed me to read her beautiful love story with a special guy named Peter! She even sent me the link to read. When I clicked the link, I immediately noticed that the story had 13 parts to it. I figured I'd read the first part and call it a day. Boy was I wrong!! I literally sat up and finished the entire 13 parts of How Rachel Met Peter at 2 am! I did it in one sitting. I also watched her vlogs where she shares more about Christ as well as her book, Fish Food! This is another blog you don't want to miss!! Please check her out and follow her story! She's incredible!! 

Visit Rebecca "Bee" Overton at 
Visit Rachel Lemons at

September 11, 2013

Christian Living: Hi, Hater!

I've never been too keen on labeling people as "haters". I feel like too many people seem to get excited about having an army of haters. I personally don't want to have haters. If I have haters, I'd rather not know who they are. Haters breed drama and I have a tendency to retreat in situations of drama. Some people need drama to thrive. I am not one of them. When I hear of people who "brag about having haters", their "complaints" run the gamut. Here are a few:

"People be hatin' on me so I must be doing something right."
"People be hatin' on me cause they jealous."
"People be hatin' on me cause they can't be me."

**Please excuse the intentional usage of ebonics for this post. 

It sounds super obnoxious to me. Why focus so much on the hate? I guarantee you most people aren't even thinking of you to hate on you. As a matter of fact, most people are too busy thinking of themselves and their own image. That is truth.  However, I'm beginning to realize there is some validity to those statements. I'll swallow the humble pie this time. :)

Sometimes, people are hating on you because you are doing something right. It's difficult to get up every morning and make the mental decision to do the right thing and live a life of integrity. It's easy to be hateful, spiteful, jealous, back-stabbing, and careless with our words. It takes discipline to turn the other cheek, pursue Christ, be dedicated to a job you may not like or endure a situation that is less than ideal. When you make the decision to become better, it will turn some people off. Your mere presence might serve as a rebuke to what they aren't. So as a result, they hate.

Sometimes, people are hating on you because they are jealous. I have struggled with jealousy when I see women with their mothers and they have beautiful relationships. It's not that I wish they didn't have good relationships. I think it's really beautiful. It just makes me really sad because I don't have that anymore because my mom passed away when I was younger. It's something I have to deal with internally. I can't push that off on anyone else. Whatever a person may lack and see in someone else could be a stimulus for jealousy. It's a matter of connecting back to Christ and finding the beauty in the position He's placed you in. People will see your beautiful appearance, spirit, life, children, spouse, car, home, career, spirituality, talents, etc. They want it and they don't have it. So as a result, they hate.

Sometimes, people are jealous because they can't be you. It'd be really strange to hear someone say, "you're mad because you can't be me." As crazy as it sounds, it's actually true. Some people are really upset that they weren't created to be you. There's something about that "grass seems greener" that really trips people out. Sometimes the grass really is greener. That's because the owners water it. Focus on building up yourself and tend to the life God has given you. However, that takes work, sacrifice and vulnerability. Folks don't want to do that. So as a result, they hate.

What can you do?

Are you the victim?
- If you've been the target of someone's hatred, be prayerful. Honestly, pray for them because their hatred is coming from a place of hurt. Hurt people hurt people. I would also be careful how much time you spend with them. I've been in situations where I wanted to prove to haters why they had no reason to hate. I wanted them to know how much I really just wanted things to be peaceful and for us all to get along. Yeah, no. That's not happening. When a person has made up their mind about disliking/hurting you, there's nothing you in your own strength can do to make them like you. Lay them at Jesus' feet in prayer and allow the Holy Spirit to do a number on their heart. Don't give them more opportunities to hurt you. That's sadistic.

Are you the hater?
- Recognize it. It could show itself in different ways. Do you envy others? Do you talk badly about them behind their backs? Do you defend them when others aren't around? Do you look for reasons to dislike a person? Have you felt rejected by someone and as a result, feel the need to retaliate? Don't be that person. Don't be a hater. Once you've recognized the hate, pray and ask God to remove it. He can do it. I had a situation where a young woman was intentionally mean to me. As a result, I developed a strong dislike for her. Anytime I saw her enjoying life, laughing or having fun, I'd get annoyed because I wanted her to feel as miserable as she succeeded in making me feel. Guess who became the hater in the end? ME!  Never allow yourself to stoop so low as to hate someone else. It really hurts when someone has done you wrong and you want to retaliate. Don't. Refer to this post for what God says on retaliation. 

Most of us, if not all of us, have been hated on and been the hater at some point in our lives. Let's do our best to get rid of the hatred and just spread more love.

September 10, 2013

Christian Living: Becoming the Woman of His Dreams...

This blog is on-going conversation about Christ, spirituality and personal development. It is also a mirror to my creative side. My creative side includes DIY projects, cooking, taste tests, and product "junkie-ism". You'll see more of the creative side as time goes on. I have some fun stuff coming down the pike so stay tuned!

When it comes to learning more about Christ, His greatest commandment is to love. I've always been apprehensive to talk about love on my blog because I'm NO expert. However, I do have access to someone who is! So from time to time, I will start to share what God impresses upon my heart on the subject of love! :) 

We'll focus on romantic love this time. So, I've been battling a cold for the last couple of days. When I get sick, I try to put my game face on but the older I get, the more I wish I had someone to baby me when I'm sick. So while brewing my own tea and giving myself medicine, I started to mentally take notes of the discussions that would come up in pre-marital counseling with my future husband (yes, guys! we can go alllll the way there). I came up with some of these requirements:

1. When I'm sick, he will give me Epsom salt baths.
2. When I'm sick, he will run to the store at any hour to get medicine, vitamin c, cough drops, etc. 
3. When I'm sick, he will hold down the fort. 
4. When I'm sick...
5. When I'm sick....
6. When I'm sick...

Now keep in mind, I'd be willing to do this for my husband and I don't think these are unreasonable requests BUT...they all start with me! They are all self-serving. 

I'm not married, yet I have learned a thing or two from married couples. Marriage is anything but self-serving. If you enter into it with that mindset, you're in for a rude awakening. I have heard many people compile lists of attributes they want in a spouse. I've heard about how he/she has to be an upgrade/asset/ or come second to Jesus Christ himself. I'm not saying lower your standards, burn your lists or cast your pearls among swine. You've got to live with the person for the rest of your life. What I am pointing out is that there is a consistent evaluation of what the person can do for you as opposed to what can you do for the person. A self-serving attitude is an emotional set-up. 

I take delight in the little gifts that God has placed in my heart to naturally love. I'm doing my best to cultivate those gifts so that I can be a blessing to the body of Christ. If it involves becoming a blessing to a husband, that's awesome. If not, it's blessing God and his people which is the ultimate honor. 

God is fully aware of the desires of your heart when it comes to a mate. And it's okay to prayerfully pursue romantic love. Just keep in mind that your potential mate is not Santa Claus or a genie. Your mate is a person with feelings, hurts, dreams and goals of their very own. Instead of looking for a lover who can serve you, focus on becoming more like love itself. The greatest definition of what love is and how to become it is found in 1st Corinthians 13:4-8.  

This is my prayer and focus. I would love to be a wife to a man who considers me is his Proverbs 31. So, there is work that can be done on my heart so that I can be prepared to be that to a man one day. However, even if you don't get married, the same work that God does on your heart is the same work that's needed to be a devoted follower of Christ. 

After all, it's not about becoming the woman of a man's dreams as much as it is about becoming a woman after God's own heart. I can't think of a better dream to pursue! 

September 9, 2013

Christian Living: You Are Not Invincible


You are not invincible. 

I was driving home this weekend and while in the car, I could literally FEEL the sick bug hit me. By the time I pulled up to my house, I had a full-fledged sore throat. I mentally decided that I was bigger than any sore throat and it would NOT overtake me. I tried to drink tons of fluids and take an ibu profin before bed to help with the pain. When I woke up the next morning, I was in straight flu mode. I was pretty upset about it. I had a to-do list and nursing myself back to health was not on it. Even though I needed rest, I tossed and turned because I kept thinking of everything I needed to do. Eventually, I got up and tried to get some work done. Ironically, everything I worked on turned out to be a mess. I tried to talk to people on the phone (even a book club meetup via phone) but I was so drugged up from the medicine that I'm SURE I didn't add any value to any of the conversations. 

Then, it hit me. 

D, you are doing too much. 
Stop. Rest. Pull Yourself Together. 

I had good intentions with the work I wanted to do. I had a laundry list of good purposeful work. However, my body was sick and I needed to stop and take care of it. There are people who work through sick days. I understand the reasoning behind it. You don't want to miss a day of pay. Okay, sure. However, is it worth prolonging the sickness and putting your body under a ton of pressure? Is it worth infecting the people around you? 

Even on a more serious note, what about your spiritual life? There are so many of us who are eager. We want to help people know about Christ. We want to share His love and tell others about this amazing man. So we get involved in church. We take part in tons of ministries. But then we get so overwhelmed with the fact that we can't be ten places at once and we wind up being ineffective. This has happened to me so I am not speaking from a place of total ignorance. 

So what is the solution?

Don't bite off more than you can chew. 
Seriously, be honest with yourself about what you can realistically commit to BY YOURSELF and then execute it. If you feel like you need a team and you don't have one, move forward with what you can do by yourself. People will be willing to assist in helping you achieve a goal/vision if they see that you are committed and sensible. 

Commit to what you can do. You are not superman. You are a mere mortal that God gives breath and life to. Don't take it for granted. Being sick helped me realize that. A ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. I'm in cure mode when I could've and should've taken preventative measures. Don't let life teach you this lesson in cure mode. 

Do what only you can do and watch God work. 

September 6, 2013

Christian Living:Don't Get Played

**I originally wrote this for my church's blog last year. 
I still love it so much and wanted to share it with the readers of my personal blog! Enjoy!**

I’m not one that’s big on keeping up with the every move of celebrities. However, there are a few that I’ll lend an ear to when they have a radio interview or television appearance.  One of the celebrities I’m semi-interested in is Will Smith. We saw him start as a rapper turned actor on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and now he’s one of the Hollywood elite. I may not like all of his projects or totally agree with his theology but I respect his insane work ethic and his thoughtfulness. When I saw the quote pictured above, some questions came to mind. What if I didn’t know you during your struggle? Technically I was absent. Does that mean I don’t have the chance to know you during your success? Call it being facetious but I felt inclined to ask!

The more I thought about the quote, the more I thought about people who were absent in my struggles but front and center, oddly enough, when things were going well. I remember the hurt I felt.  I became less likely to trust those people.  They had no loyalty. Their love and support were conditional in ways that were too painful to ignore. It was okay to call me when they needed a dollar but if I needed a dollar, they were nowhere to be found.  My thoughts fell more in sync with Will Smith’s approach; leaving those “friends” in the past along with their lack of support.

Feelings aside, is this a biblical concept? Would Jesus agree with Will and say, “If you were absent in my struggles, don’t expect to be present at my success”?

The Christian walk is filled with struggle. We each have a cross to bear. Pastor Billingy recently reminded us that if we are to be called one of His own, we must learn to rejoice in suffering. She pointed to Philippians 3:8-14. Verse 10 in the Message Bible translation says, “I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, BE A PARTNER IN HIS SUFFERING, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.”

If you are brutally honest with yourself, can you say that you are willing to participate in Christ’s suffering even unto death? When Pastor Billingy asked that question in a recent sermon, you could hear the uncomfortable murmurs throughout the congregation. What’s unsettling about that is the fact that we are in the last days and we can’t honestly stand up and say that we would take a bullet for the same Man who died naked on a cross for us. He suffered so that we could live again. Even if you take out the concept of dying for him, many of us can’t even deal with temporary pain joyfully on his behalf. This is upsetting to God. How do I know? I know because he makes it very clear that if you can’t deal with it down here on Earth, you will have no part in the greatest success of all: Heaven and ceaseless fellowship with him.

The Message translation of Matthew 10: 32-33 says “Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I’ll cover you?”  Mark 8: 38 says “If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I’m leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you’ll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendor of God, his Father, with an army of the holy angels.”

So basically, Jesus agrees with Will Smith 100%.

Think about how it cuts so deeply when you feel abandoned in your suffering. Friends and family that you thought would be there for you are nowhere to be found. Now, think about how many times you do that to Jesus…on a regular basis. It hurts Him too! It hurts Jesus so much to the point where he’s technically saying (21st century translation), ‘You want to play me and act like you don’t know me? Okay fine! But at the end of the day, you are NOT welcomed to my house and if you even try to act like you know me, I will play you in front of my Father and all the angels.  I’d say that classifies as a “don’t expect to be present in my success” moment. Wouldn’t you? So will you play spectator to Christ’s sufferings and then when He comes back ballin’, try to act like you know Him? Here’s a word of advice: don’t get played.

September 5, 2013

Christian Living: 3 Steps To the Dream Life

What are the stuff your dreams are made of? My dream life involves frequent visits to the beaches of the world. You have a dream. You have a vision. You have God-placed desires in your heart for a better life. Have you thought about how to make your dreams become your reality? Have you fleshed out a concrete plan of what your life would look like at it's peak?

Think about the lives you'd like to touch. Think about the family you'd like to have. Think about the businesses you'd like to run. Think about the hobbies you'd like to perfect. Think about the music you'd like to make. Think about the life you'd like to live. 

1. Write it out. 

- Be extremely honest with yourself about where you'd like to be.  Consider the talents and gifts God has given you. He uniquely created you for a reason. Your quirks, interests, and skill set are gifts that can propel you into a place that God has uniquely designed for you. Don't ignore or deny them. Do not lie to yourself about something you know deep down you truly want. As long as it's morally, ethically, and legally sound, write it down. Pray and ask God to give you direction if you're unsure of how to even verbalize what you want. 

2. Plan it out. 

-In my humble opinion, Google is quite possibly one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. It's one of my greatest resources. Any questions I may have, I go to Google. The internet is available to answer just about any question you may have about how to get from point A to point B in your dream life. Find a mentor who has already achieved the goal you'd like to accomplish. The point is to create a concrete plan so that at any given time, you can go back to the blueprint for instructions. 

3. Walk it out. 

- God has given you life, talents, abilities, dreams, etc. In all of those things, be clear about the desired outcome with a plan. Now comes the time to walk in what He's given you. When you are "walking out the plan", be determined to do it with a spirit of excellent execution. The reason why so many of us are not where we'd want to be is because we're just too mediocre and undisciplined. It is not of God. Proverbs 18:9 explains that whoever is slack in his work, he is a brother to one who destroys.  Half-heartedly giving yourself to a project is equivalent to being a destructive person. Let that sink in!  You don't want to be in the category with anyone who destroys. Being one who destroys sounds too close the one who came to steal, kill and destroy (ringing any bells?).   Allow Colossians 3:23 to inspire you to work at whatever is placed in front of you with your whole heart! It may be difficult but with practice and consistency, you'll get better. 

What if I don't know what I want?

Work on what is in front of you with excellence. Take the simple things like folding clothes or doing the dishes. Even though I sometimes wish 'cleanliness is next to Godliness' was actually in the Bible, it's not. However, Colossians 3: 23 is. Clean dirty dishes to the glory of God and to be a blessing to those who live with you. Exercise to show your gratitude for the body God has blessed you with and make the commitment to treat it well. When you say you'll be somewhere, do your best to keep your word. Don't just say things to say them. Be a man or woman of your word. God blesses those commitments. In return, you'll be learning how to cultivate excellence in the smaller things so that when the bigger blessings come, you'll be able to handle them. 

I hope this has been an encouragement and inspiration to you. Let's strive to make God proud of us in every aspect of our lives! 

God bless you! 

September 4, 2013

Bible Study: Proverbs 24: 17-18--No Gloating Allowed

Ok so admit it! We all have lived long enough to experience the pain of someone hurting us intentionally. It really bites when it happens to you. You'd think that people would see your heart and know that you mean well for them but nope, that's definitely not the case. People have some sick and twisted reasons for why they'd want to hurt others. However, we all know hurt people hurt people.

After experiencing the hurt, one of the scriptures that comes to many of our minds is the famous Romans 12: 19. "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mind, I will repay, says the Lord." We vehemently claim vengeance on the other person and sometimes, we actually look forward to seeing the vengeance happen.

There was one situation where some people decided to talk ill of me and make life a little unbearable for me. They were bullies. It made my stomach sick...literally. I wasn't good at standing up for myself so I could feel myself shrink whenever these people came around. I didn't necessarily pray for vengeance but I didn't want to see them do well because they had hurt me so badly. Well, God gave me a front row seat to the vengeance and to be honest, I could've done without seeing it. I felt soooo horrible for the people that did me wrong but I knew it was a direct reflection of how they treated me.

Too often we want to see the vengeance of our enemies. We want the satisfaction and pleasure of knowing justice was served. Be careful with that. Proverbs 24: 17-18 highlights the point that we are not to gloat when we see bad situations happening to our enemies. Our hearts should not be glad when our enemies fall. God isn't pleased. If He sees that you find pleasure in the vengeance, He will stop punishing the enemy. It's a two edge sword. You want justice to be served but you shouldn't like the fact that it had to happen. How does this apply to you?

1. The love of your life broke your heart and left you for someone else. Your heart is broken. They made all kinds of promises to be there for you but when someone cuter, richer, more popular, etc. came along, they completely dissed you. A couple months down the line, you hear that there are problems in the relationship. The heart is deceitfully wicked so knowing that kind of news could prompt your heart to rejoice. Check your heart. God is not pleased. Remove that evil motive from your heart.

2. The job you faithfully gave 10 years of your life to, decides to terminate you abruptly. You feel cheated, hurt, confused and scared. Don't pray ill against the company. Don't pray for bankruptcy. Ask God to deal with it and move on. If you need to speak your peace, do it (be angry and sin not) and move on. God will deal with that employer. When He does, do not gloat. I'd even say pray for their salvation.

This isn't a feel-good post. Trust me, I know. I also know that I don't want to miss out on any instruction that God may give. If He says watch the heart and the motives, do that.
I hope this speaks to you. Don't forget this verse the next time someone does you wrong. Don't return evil for evil. Let God handle it and be at peace.

September 3, 2013

The Quest to Be Beautiful

I am a freelance writer. It's one of those fields where you have to create your own job. There's a lot of hustle involved. With a hustle, paychecks may not always be steady. As a result, I have a few side gigs. One of my favorite side-jobs is being a nanny. I love learning how to facilitate the needs of children. It's  really awesome how much God teaches me through my interaction with them as well.

After spending the day at one of my nanny jobs, I came home and ran into my dad walking toward his car. He stopped to look at me. He then told me that it looked like I had a rough day. Sure, I was on my feet more than usual. Even though I had a great day, I was extremely tired. I then went inside and looked in the mirror. I looked like it had been a horribly rough day.  My hair was in a disheveled afro puff on the top of my head. My eyebrows needed some shaping. I was in desperate need of a facial, manicure and pedicure. And the wardrobe had accents of baby ravioli all over.

While it isn't necessary to be top model ready upon leaving the house, it is important to put effort into the way we present ourselves. We can honor God even in our physical appearance! Even if you don't have much money and you're trying to make a dollar out of 15 cents, I'm there with you and we can still make it work! Here are some tips:

1. Learn how to do your own manicure and pedicure.
- It may take some practice to get a steady hand but it is possible. You can purchase fantastic nail polishes at your local beauty supply store for under $2 and nail polish remover is $1 at the dollar store. There are way too many Youtube tutorials out there not to be able to figure it out at home!

2. Learn the simple hair styles.
- For me, a twist out is not a simple style. It's easy but it takes a bit of work and it can easily go south. However, a bun is simple, elegant and no-fuss. Learn what hairstyles are easiest for your hair and work with those.

3. Create a routine.
- For example, once you put the baby down on Monday nights, it's "me" time. Do a simple DIY facial with inexpensive products you can find in the kitchen (lemons, bananas, yogurt, apple cider vinegar). Wednesday nights could be mani/pedi night. If you make a schedule and commit to sticking to it, you'll not only look better but you'll feel better as well.

I've inserted some of my favorite Youtube Tutorials & article links for different beauty regimens. Check them out. Some are more involved than others. You don't have to do them verbatim but if there's anything you like, try it out and customize it for yourself!

1. Smooth Heels (If you're a dancer like me, you already know the struggle! :)
2. Natural Beauty Remedies  (Great compilation list)
3. Problem Skin Remedies

Ambrosia is one of my favorite vloggers. Subscribe to her channel and check out more of her beauty tricks!

Shanel Cooper-Sykes is a teacher to the core. Her regimen is a little more than I can honestly commit to but I do think it's fantastic for those who can put in the time. Check both videos and see what works for you! :)

I'm going to do better! And I'm challenging YOU to do the same!!! We can do it, ladies!!!