Category Archives: Editorial

5 Steps to Burnout Freedom

It’s Spring, and it just so happens to be that time of the year when we are beginning to feel the burnout of being so disciplined from January until now. Sound familiar? Unless you’ve got a goal that you are staring in the face that is giving you life every time you go to the gym, you probably need a little motivation. With the upcoming release of my newest book Two Dreams and a Goal: The Second Colorfully Candid Diary, I’ve been a little obsessed with the difference between the two. I think Napoleon Hill’s statement sums it up best, “A goal is a dream with a deadline.” If you need a push, it’s time to place a deadline on that dream or, at least, set benchmarks as you accomplish little things leading up to the big hoorah. Don’t worry, I’m here to help.

What qualifies me to speak into this part of your life? As a youth pastor, novelist, speaker, non-profit executive, military wife, and mentor to a lot of young lives, I feel burnout as often as anyone else. If you’re anything like me, there are some days when I would rather scroll endlessly through Instagram, binge-watch TV, or just stare at a wall than do any work, but if we are honest, that only leaves us feeling worse after we realize all of the work we have left to do. It’s time to reel in the drawn out conversations that we use as an excuse to procrastinate with friends and co-workers. Hide the phone. Turn off the TV. And face the music. After all, who wants to look up and find that they are in the same place at the end of the year as they were in the beginning?

Proverbs 6:6-8 shares that we should look at the work ethic of an ant when we’re in doubt about what to do. Even though they have no one checking in on them, they work tirelessly during the summer to store up food for the winter. It’s summer y’all – figuratively, anyway. Consider incorporating the following strategies into your daily routine:

#1

Evaluate your time-tracking and management methods. Are they really working? Be honest. Even though a lot of people love to track their time on their phones, it doesn’t work for me. I don’t need ANOTHER reason to be on my phone! If you find you’re in the same position, go shopping for a really pretty planner that makes you want to fill it up with lots of memos and ideas.

#2

When you feel unmotivated to track your time early in the week, or if you happen to fall off by Tuesday, establish a habit of tracking activities you completed daily. Seeing what you have already accomplished will motivate you to keep going.

#3

Tackle the stuff that bothers you the most, first. You’ll feel good when you finish the hard stuff and everything else will seem easier.

#4

At the start of each month, determine a specific number of meetings, fellowships, and networking events you will entertain throughout the month. Once you define the priorities that mean the most to you in this season, the time you spend on them will be more enriching. I found so much more available time when I limited the number of meetings I attend to three. Not only did I eliminate the time that I spent traveling to each meeting, but I also had to think more carefully about the purpose of the meetings I chose to attend.

 

#5

This last one is an oldie, but a goodie, and I just couldn’t leave it off. Identify a reward at the end of the tunnel, and keep it in front of you. Change that screensaver if you have to. After all, what happens when you accomplish that goal? What happens when you have that hard conversation with that difficult person at work that you’ve been putting off for days? What happens when you finally lose those inches? What happens when you write the first chapter? Celebrate sis, celebrate! Rest a little, and then get back to work.

I’d love to know what other time management hacks you incorporate into your everyday life. Let’s grow together. I’m always learning and it would be great to pick up some new skills. You can never have too many. Continue this conversation with me on social media @candidliv.

Your Time, Your Season

Sis, it’s your year! Yes, YOU! And I’m not talking about the typical “girl it’s your year” simply because it’s a new year. This isn’t just a declaration but a promise to the women of God! I know we often hear women go by the dated, yet relevant theme song, “Run the World,” and there’s no doubt that girls do run the world, but I give credit to Proverbs 31 for setting the tone first. This woman is the epitome of strength, faithfulness, wisdom, passion, business savviness, ambition, worth, value and so much more. She’s bold, fearless, her hands are created as unto the Lord, and she’s here to take over 2018!

God keeps sending me soft whispers that something is quite special about 2018. It’s the year where dormant thoughts and plans for businesses, books, career moves, and innovative ideas awaken. A year where our gifts and talents make room for us, and our confidence and faith exist in the One who put them in our hearts in the first place. A year where we build a door for every “no” that we hear, simply because our spirit says “yes”– a “yes” that’s so robust and loud in our ears that we can’t ignore it. Fear, insecurity, bad relationships, unbalanced lives, toxic emotions, lack of education or resources, no longer serve as a fiery dart. But they serve as past hindrances that we’ve broken free from. We’ve shifted into a season where our voices are heard even when we’re in the back of a room, causing the crowd to separate just to see who “she” is. No more reminiscing on how things used to be, or how much time we’ve wasted, or who we were in our past life, or any other distraction. The grass is green and it’s time to spring forward!

How ironic…we live in the world where gender inequality still exists, especially concerning our career moves, our lovely chosen leader fits the profile of a sexist, and the presence of sexism is so pervasive that it has spearheaded us into a times up movement–a fight for women’s worth and equality. Yet, in the Spirit, God is saying. “this is the year when my daughters will know their worth in me, they will speak, and I will cause them to lead like never before as mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, CEO’s, entrepreneurs, preachers, authors, and pioneers.” And we will do so with boldness and with a posture that reflects our certainty and identity in God.

How empowering and promising it is to know that God is doing a new thing! And this new thing is not concerning who we are or where He’s taking us in our purpose. But it’s more so a new thing concerning our hearts and minds–aligning it with what has already been predestined for us. So, as you leap into this newness…into your blooming season of Spring, take these best practices with you.

Stay Connected to the Source. All of who we are belongs to Christ. Allow Him to always be your source. Talk to Him through prayer, read His Word, fast, and enjoy moments of silence with Him so you can hear Him clearly. He’s talking and shifting things on your behalf as you walk into your divine purpose. Seek Him first and He’s got you. Check out Matthew 6:33!

Be confident. Yes, our confidence is in God, and after that, you must have confidence in what He’s given you. If He’s given you the idea or opportunity, He will provide the plan, resources, time, and money. There is also a part that we must play, so be a willing vessel and move in faith. Know that in Him, you will finish. Oh, and never mistake conceit or vanity for confidence. Stay humble. Check out Philippians 1:6!

Recognize distractions. We all have them, and they come in various forms: people, relationships, 9 to 5’s, discouragement, depression, laziness, pride, life trials, etc. Whatever it is, it’s nothing under the sun that God didn’t calculate when He formed you in the womb. Ask God to show you what is keeping you from being available for your purpose, and then ask Him to show you how to remove them. Check out 1 Corinthians 10:13!

Stay connected. Iron sharpens iron! Having a strong Godly circle that is so necessary in this season…in every season. Keep sisters in your life who speak life, live holy, can pray with you or for you, hold you accountable, motivate you, love you heartily, and can see the vision even when it seems too big. Check out Proverbs 27:17!

Spring forth! You prayed for “it”, dreamt about it, talked about it, and even written it down. And even though sometimes it may not come in the package you expected, it’s still greatness wrapped up specifically for you. Don’t stall. Let go of the old and spring into what you’ve been called to do. Check out Isaiah 43:19!

There’s no denying that we’re on this journey together! So, let’s take all that God has given us and kill this season…with Him!

Your Sis,

Jameela

Free to Forgive

Bitter. Angry. Cold. Entitled. All words that infiltrate my thoughts when I think about some of the feelings we battle with when we harvest unforgiveness in our hearts.  I wonder how a moment of hurt could pierce the heart so deeply that it causes a person to shut down, reject love, adopt an unfamiliar character–change who they are, loose peace, paint on artificial happiness, and the list goes on. How could one person, or an encountered experience have enough power to destroy the person God has called each of us to be? I say “us” because I refuse to single you out knowing that I existed in a place of unforgiveness for a long time. Believe it or not, I was comfortable with it! Comfortable in a sense of no matter how much resentment, anxiety, and hurt tortured me, I still refused to let this hardened feeling go all because I felt like I deserved to carry it out full term–forever.  I felt entitled.  My determination to hold people accountable for what they did to me was my way of saying, “you did me wrong and I didn’t expect it, so I’m now authorized to deal with you the way I see fit.” I didn’t expect it! That’s the part that tends to smack us in the face…we trust, they fail.

This feeling of entitlement that I mentioned has nothing to do with the natural expectation that the people we love or simply encounter are supposed to treat us with love, respect, loyalty, courtesy, goodness, kindness, etc.…as they should. But it has everything to do with our belief that if people don’t treat us the right way, we should in return hold them hostage to our despising and sometimes murderous thoughts and actions. We keep ourselves bound by the spirit of rejection, hurt, and even depression. Let’s not forget all of this starts with a decision to hold on to toxicity, simply because our unforgiveness feels justified– justified due to someone else’s lack of good character or inability to meet our expectations. In some cases we carry resentment because we are secretly disappointed in ourselves for our own inability or unwillingness to properly assess the people we allow in our lives…our inability to see people for who they are and who God would have revealed them to be if we would have consulted him first. 

We often misread signals because we “feel” people are put in our lives for a reason. But this common phrase fails to mention that sometimes “the reason” is solely to destroy and delay us! Sometimes people are not sent by God but by the enemy himself. We forget that he too has a mission to knock us off every stepping stone God builds towards our purpose. We fail to guard our hearts with all diligence as the bible encourages us to do, we welcome people into positions they were never supposed to fill. What if the man you made the decision to be in a relationship with was only meant for you to give him a word to lead him to God?  What if the girl you decided to be best friends with was only someone you were supposed to give an encouraging word to and that’s it? What if the man you went on a date with was only a counterfeit sent to block you from the promise God was on His way to deliver to you–– your real husband?  What if the person who abused you was sent to kill you spiritually because you were called to do powerful works for God in the world? All these what-ifs serve as real life examples of how we can easily become a hostage to people who were misidentified or sent to distract us from discovering our true identity and divine purpose.

There are times when we have valid reasons to trust those we love, and then that trust is betrayed in the worst way. Or what about the times when strangers bring unexpected wrath into our paths? In those moments, we are required…commanded to cling onto God and his almighty power, his perfect love and his never-ending strength to forgive.  His strength is made perfect in our weakness, he fights for us in his perfect timing and our enemies become his. God’s love is so full and perfect that he will heal us if we open our hearts and remain rooted and grounded in him. He’ll deliver our enemies right in front of us for them to either see they’ve been defeated, or cause them to glorify the God we serve simply because our forgiveness shed light on their darkness.  Holding on to the pain caused by another person keeps us locked in a time capsule unable to grow, love in fullness or move on. We literally become stuck in a time zone…unable to tap into who God has called us to be and the blessings he has assigned to us.  Making the decision to forgive is about us and our relationship with God, not about focusing on who caused it. It’s about living in our rightful freedom and not allowing anyone to steal our peace and joy. It’s about forgiving others as God forgives our faulty messes. Forgiveness never dismisses the truth that has been revealed about the person who hurt us or replenishes a relationship, but it does give us permission to be let loose from their control and reconciled with the one who is faithful at winning our battles for us––God. It gives us permission to let go of hurt and grab desperately onto God’s love.  If there is any love left in you, which I believe there is, I admonish you to pull from that place where the Spirit of God lives, forgive, and be FREE!

Your Sis,

Jameela

911…Who’s Saving You?

If your 2017 has been anything like mine, I ran out of the year like a woman with her hair on fire. Now that the year has gotten underway, I don’t know about you, but I am living my BEST life this year! What is the BEST life you say? Your best life is living the life that God has for you. Your best life is the life without and limits that we often place on ourselves because of our past.

As women we are the first ones up in the morning, and the last ones to lay down. By the time we get to ourselves we have nothing left! It would be great if we could wake up tomorrow and already living where we want to live, have the things that we want to have and already making the moves we’ve promised ourselves we would make.

It takes WORK to live your best life! In order to live your best life, you will need a YES, a NO, and a RIGHT NOW. You need to say YES to God’s will for your life! This will be the hardest part. If you can do this, the rest will be easy. When you say yes to God you are openly acknowledging that his will is what’s best for you. You are getting out of the driver’s seat. Ultimately, you are allowing God to lead you and relinquishing your life over to him and trusting that he will get you where you have to go.

You need to say YES to yourself. Saying yes means that you are pulling yourself from the back burner and moving your desires, ideas, hopes and dreams to the front. You are making yourself a priority. Now I know, you have children, maybe grandchildren, and a husband. But let’s put our own oxygen mask on before you worry about putting on someone else’s.

After you have said YES to God and YES to yourself you need to say NO. To who? TO EVERYONE ELSE! We have to learn to say no to the responsibilities and obligations that others try to pass on to us. No, I can’t go to your event. No, I can’t take you to the store. I’m helping ME! Don’t deny yourself so you can feel better about yourself. Now that doesn’t mean we should be rude, offensive, or even dismissive to others. But we should look at the ratio of time we give others in comparison to the time we spend on ourselves. If we spend all of our time helping someone else with their dream when will we have the time, passion, patience or resources to see our dream into fruition?

Once we’ve gotten those out of the way then we can get to work. When will we write out our dreams and goals: RIGHT NOW. When will we put what God told us to do into practice: RIGHT NOW. When will we start the business plan: RIGHT NOW. it won’t happen overnight. It takes time, energy, effort, and patience. If you don’t live your life, it won’t get lived because no one else can live it for you. If you’re scared, so what; do it anyway. Feel like it’s too big, great. It probably is too big and that’s why you will need God’s help. How will you do it? Glad you asked, let me tell you:

 

  1. Spend time in prayer and ask God what his will is for you. When he tells you, write it down.
  2. Pray daily over the plan he gave you for your life. Seek him for how and when.
  3. Give yourself deadlines, this will help you stay on task.
  4. Pray about who you should and shouldn’t share your plans with, some will be encouragers and some will be investors. But be careful of those that are leeches, they only want to siphon the good and leave you with the rest.

It’s your time! 2018 is your year to live! You will love your family more, serve your church more, and love yourself more!

Corner Prayer:

Lord, thank you for bringing me into a new year! Thank you for what you have for me this year. Lord, help me to let go of the things that held me back, disappointed me, or didn’t go my way last year. Lord, renew my passion for the things that you promised me. Help me to seek you in a new way so that I can live my best life. The abundant life that Jesus came to give me. Help me to be a better mother, a better wife, and a better kingdom woman. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Mentoring: The Time is Now

2017 was the year many of us broke free, made momentum, and defined new trends of success within our families and our spheres of influence. When I look back from this new space I occupy this year, I realize that I’m grateful for the struggles I’ve endured because they’ve led me to appreciate my successes in ways that I never would have if I didn’t have obstacles to overcome. I’m sure you can say the same. Looking around at the women I call friends, I’m amazed at the accomplishments we’ve made. Some graduated as first generation college students. Some kicked addictions. Some stepped out on faith and opened new businesses, and others decided to persist until they saw their first six figure salary or a doctorate in hand.

What did you accomplish? I dare you to identify one thing you overcame, one success that surprised you, one moment that you questioned would ever come. Titus 2:4-5 encourages us to mentor others as women of God, and even though we’ve all found talking about our accomplishments to be rewarding, I’ve found that talking about who you’ve brought along to learn from your accomplishments is even more rewarding. Mentorship spreads hope and makes the accomplishments we achieve appear even more attainable in the eyes of those who lead lives much like our younger selves.

November 2017 brought news that shocked many of us across the world with the revelation that slave auctions in Libya are still active today, and many were shaken because the new knowledge brought a sense of hopelessness for how to fix the problem along with it for the average person. Would you be surprised to know that slavery is alive and active in the United States as well? Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, in which perpetrators use force, fraud, or coercion to manipulate and establish control over individuals who are exploited for profit. Here in Las Vegas, I meet girls and women who have been recruited, coerced, and forced into selling their bodies from small towns throughout the United States and beyond, and it’s scary to realize that modern day slavery has the potential to affect the women we call daughter, sister, niece, friend.

Lenore Jean-Baptiste is the Project Coordinator for Power ON!, a program in Las Vegas that provides youth that have been sex trafficked or are at high-risk to sex trafficking, mentorship by pairing them with community trained mentors. Lenore notes:

“Anyone that is trying to reach any level of success needs a mentor because mentors are the bridges to an individual’s next phase in life…Mentorship is vital to the community because it serves as an intervention piece that empowers a youth that has a life filled with problems, to living a life filled with promise.”

In honor of Anti Human Trafficking Awareness Month and Mentoring Awareness Month this January, let’s choose to mentor a younger sister(s) in our communities by consistently visiting a school to provide assistance, volunteering in a mentorship program, connecting with the youth in your church, or incorporating an internship program in your business. Mentoring matters. After all, could you imagine the possibilities that now define your life had it not been for someone that spoke into you, listened to you, or showed you the way during your time in need? Choose to pay it forward. Become the mentor you needed when you were in high school, when you nursed addictions, when you wondered if you would ever pay the bills. It matters. The quality of our world and the next generation of leaders depend on it.

Holiday Blues

When everyone’s NOT waiting on the holidays….

The seasons are changing, leaves are turning colors, and we’re a few days away from Thanksgiving, and just over 30 days away from Christmas. For most, the holidays are a time of food, family, fun, YOU NAME IT! However, for some, the holidays are a reminder of what used to be. Grief grips everyone differently, and is managed in different ways. Grief is defined as keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret. So, whether you’ve experienced a death of a loved one, a break-up, divorce, or a distant move, you could experience holiday grief around this time of year. As the month of October ends with Halloween, and children are putting their costumes away for next year, those of us who struggle with the holiday season, begin our time of mask wearing. We smile when we want to cry, we appear to be okay when others’ joy, Facebook posts, twitter feeds, and holiday greetings really make us want to run indoors and scream in sadness! We wear the mask because of the isolation we feel…because we made the distant move, or we have experienced the grievous loss. So, here are a few tips to help you get through the holidays.

A few pointers as you prepare for the Fa La La La La of the season.

1. Acknowledge that the holidays will be different and they will be tough.
2. Decide which traditions you want to keep, and what you want to change.
3. Create a new tradition.
4. Remember that not everyone will be grieving the same way you are grieving.
5. Be honest. Tell people what you DO want to “do” for the holidays and what you DON’T.

 

Corner Prayer
God, thank you for this time of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thank you for being the reason that we give thanks and celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Lord, you are the reason for the season! But, God we are reminded at this time about the way our lives used to be. The loved ones that have passed away and the relationships and family structures that used to define and identify us. Help us to remember and KNOW, that in all things, you work them together for our good (Romans 8:28). God, we ask that you comfort us and minister to the pain, anger, confusion, and sadness that we feel during this time. Lord, help us to trade beauty for ashes in this season, and give us a way to remember our “used to be” in a way that brings a smile to our face. Help us to still be a light and an example of how you comfort the broken. In Jesus Name.
Amen

When Better Gets Worse: Hear No Evil, See No Evil…

Nita, a vibrant, beautiful young woman loves her church and she loves serving. She’s been in church all her life. She was born and raised in the Christian faith and considers her relationship with God the strongest one she has. Second on that list is her charismatic and friendly husband, Shawn. Nita and Shawn have been married for eight years. They were high school sweethearts and went off to college together. They enjoy serving in the Young Adult Ministry and Worship Team at their Church. Their pastors often ask them to host guests that come into town.

Today is a wonderful day for Nita and Shawn because they will find out the sex of the baby that Nita is pregnant with. The couple is so excited to be adding to their family and both sets of parents are elated as well because they will be grandparents for the first time. As Nita sat in the office, the doctor proudly shared that they would be having a baby girl, her heart sank. Though the expression on her face was one of happiness and excitement, behind her bright eyes were tears fighting to burst through her eyelids. The whole way home Shawn talked non-stop about how he couldn’t wait to be a dad and have a daughter that he knew would love basketball as much as he did, how he already knew what colors they would wear to their first Father/Daughter dance. All the while, Nita is lost in her own cyclone of thoughts as she emotionally ingested the reality that she would have a baby girl soon. Nita’s main concern: “how do I keep her from knowing how her dad is when he is angry.” It hadn’t been an issue since they found out she was pregnant, but before then Shawn would become abusive when he was angry. Nita believed that he loved her, but she wished he had a better handle on his anger. When they arrived home, Nita told Shawn she was tired and was going to lay down, he was okay with that because he wanted to call his family and tell them the good news. Before she could get the room, she closed the door and tears exploded from her eyes as she thought “I don’t want my daughter to grow up like me…”

Now there are a number of subjects that are tip toed around in the church: money, sex, and domestic violence (or relationship violence) are some examples. Like Nita and Shawn, there are many families in the church that appear to be doing well, but behind closed doors, their lives are distinctly different. In 2013 Christianity Today cited a survey which reports that of all the discussions not taking place in the church, domestic violence is one of them. The report validated the argument that the church and church leaders are often silent when it comes to addressing this issue that can cross generations as in Nita’s case.

In other research, it is found that when church leaders do join the conversation and “help” survivors of abuse they often instruct women to be more submissive, forgive, change their behaviors, and pray more. There is still an expectation to stay in abusive relationships despite the documented effects that the abuse has on members of the family. Unfortunately, studies show that relationship violence is just as common in the Christian home as it is anywhere else. Some research cites that about 25% of Christian homes have reflected abuse of some form. Some of the reasons for this lack of attention to the matter is often because leaders feel untrained and incompetent to help, while others are naive to how important the matter may be in their congregations.

So what do we do Maggie? Are you saying that survivors of abuse should up and leave their partners? Here’s what I propose:

• While statistics show that attempts to leave a violent relationship can be fatal, one thing we can do is stop pretending and masking the realities that are facing families today.
• Stop having hushed conversations and start equipping one another with the resources, empowerment, and agency needed to obtain help. While God hates divorce, he loves his sons and daughters and would not want any of them abused in any way.
• Stop minimizing abusive behavior and seek help for anger management issues, and other emotional issues that result in abusive behaviors.
• Stop being permissive of those that exemplify behavior in abusive ways and hold them accountable to get help.
• If you know of persons that are experiencing and surviving abuse, support them and seek out information that will be helpful to them, as well as cover them in prayer and seek God’s wisdom as to how you can support them.

 

 

The “I Do”

What is marriage? I mean, if you had to define the word “marriage” how would you define it? If you had to describe it, what would you say? Would your definition or description be a combination of what you’ve heard others say? Or, would you use your own experiences and combine that with what you think it should be? Would you use a cute cliché, or quote a scripture to sound deep?

Well, after 5,315 days of being married allow me to share my definition. Marriage is what happens when a triangle and a circle become a rectangle. Marriage is the perfect blend of R&B, Jazz, Pop, Hip Hop, Rap, a little Rock & Roll, and Gospel music. In the 759 weeks that I have been married, I have learned so many lessons. You don’t just have to compromise, you must also put down your will to be right for the cause of being whole. As the Bible says, “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?” (Amos 3:3).

A few of the 174.5 months of my marriage have been difficult because at times I felt like I was building a house with no blueprint. Almost like putting a puzzle together without seeing the picture as a guide. I mean, yes there were married couples in my family and I witnessed mothers and fathers that lived together while growing up, but there were always some parts of the relationships I witnessed that I didn’t want in my marriage. As a matter of fact, there were marriages in my church that I swore my marriage would NEVER look like! I used to envy others that had the television scripted marriage. I wanted for my marriage to be fixed in 47 minutes! To my amazement, that’s not what marriage is and furthermore, that’s not what MY marriage is. While I wanted my marriage to look like others that I saw, God let me know that I was merely window shopping. I was admiring all the work that was being put into other’s display, while at times neglecting mine, or half-hearted working on my own. I was in awe of the finished product without ever knowing what it took to get to what I could see.

So, as I walk into the 15th year of my marriage I am grateful that God loves me enough to allow me to have a man that loves him, and loves our children and will do everything within his ability for our family. Of course, that doesn’t get him an entrance into sainthood, but it does get him my continued support, honor, commitment, and a continual “I Do”.

My continued “I Do” is the way that I plant seeds in my marriage. “I Do” is collaborating with my husband to continue building a legacy for our family. It’s when I stop looking at other marriages and putting pressure on my husband to make our marriage look like theirs. Planting seeds is not always a glorious task, but it requires getting dirty from time to time. For example, when difficulty in communication comes and I push past the uncomfortable moments to reach the goals that we set in our relationship. Planting seeds is work! Whether that’s being more patient, loving, willing to sacrifice, enduring, creative, loyal, resilient or humorous.

Raising Friendlies

by: Esperanza Cherry

 

As parents we try to raise kind and loving children and in return we also want to see our children treated with love and kindness. It breaks our heart to see our children being mistreated or abused. We so quickly turn into Momma Bear to defend our child but do we protect the precious children of others with the same passion from our own kids? Are we more concerned that others are good friends to our children than we are about our children being good friends to them?

So the question is, why isn’t our child’s lack of being a good friend being acknowledged? Maybe the negative behaviors aren’t properly addressed because we think it’s just a phase that will be grown out of instead of developed. It is also possible we don’t see our child’s behavior as “that bad.” Whatever the reason may be, we do our children a great disservice in not addressing their heart.

Here are some ways to help your child be the type of friend you would want them to have:

1) Create a zero tolerance Approach
For some things be sure to create a zero tolerance rule and stick to it each and every time. If you don’t want your child to be hit by other kids, then be the first to immediately take your child out of playtime when you see them hurt another child. Be sure to give them the appropriate discipline for their action and discuss with them why they are receiving this consequence. Remind them that this action is never acceptable and it will always be responded with a consequence. You would want the parents of your child’s friend to respond with the same care.

2) Help create a sincere heart
In a child’s mind it’s hard for them to see past their own needs and wants. They are living in an “it’s all about me” world. It is our job to help them see the rest of the population in that world. Let’s help our child be the caring friend we want them to have. Teach your child to rejoice about the celebrations in their friend’s lives. If their friend is excited to show your child their new shoes, teach your child to rejoice with their friend and take a sincere interest.
Another way to help your child escape the “It’s all about me” world is to help train your child to engage in conversations by asking about the other person and how they are doing and feeling without turning the conversation back on them. Allow opportunities for your child to care completely about the emotions and concerns of others.

3) Avoid the master manipulator
Children are observant and can learn the right words and actions to take to get themselves out of trouble. Remember that the goal is to do our part in raising a kind and loving child, this means that though we may want to believe the “I’m sorry mom” and let it go with a simple apology it must sometimes come with a consequence. Not doing this teaches them that saying just those words allows them to act selfishly and do what they want without repercussion. Be sure your child understands that being sorry means they feel sorrow and regret for how they hurt their friend, it’s not just a statement to get out of trouble. This is your opportunity to teach your child empathy. When your child says sorry even with an insincere heart, be sure to thank your child for saying the words but that their action still means there is a consequence. It is an important life lesson that they will have to learn, you can’t just say sorry and avoid the consequence.

It is important for us, as parents, to love our children enough to help hold them accountable for their actions and help them to act out of a sincere heart to love, feel remorse and empathize with their friends. Let’s help develop our children to be the kind of friends we long for them to have.

One Bite At a Time – Deliciously E Review

by: Erica McGowan

 

Bites

This month’s bite comes from Haagen-Dazs ‘s new Artisan Collection that features various chefs, chocolatiers and people who create mouthwatering food. The Spiced Pecan Turtle co created with Chocolatier, Christopher Elbow, featuring his spiced pecan turtles, is a cool yet delightfully warm mouthful of chocolate ice cream, caramel swirls, and chocolate covered spiced pecans! You’ll wish for it never to end. Get it now while you can find it!

Food Stop

One could conjecture a while regarding the merits of a good breakfast. While traveling I delight in finding the best food around the country. This month’s feature is Southport Grocery & Café located at 3552 N Southport Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. The staff was very courteous, unpretentious and it was a relaxed and semi posh atmosphere! The restaurant is located on Chicago’s North side and boasts not only an eaterie, but also a grocery store that stocks wonderfully unique food items that are sure to pique your interest. The bread pudding pancakes, along with the biscuits, eggs and bacon were breakfast heaven. Uniquely, the Lavender Vanilla tea was an unexpected pleasure. Southport Grocery & Café rates five forks from me.

“Flawed” Love

by: Esperanza Cherry

 

My head is pounding, it’s like I can hear and feel my heart beating in my head. My eyes are heavy as I open them to see the rising sun through my bedroom window; a sight I thought I would consider beautiful but instead I dread the blended color of reds and orange rising up to kiss the sky. The colors are a reminder that my time for sleep has ended even though it never really started. I guess my baby Milena takes the rising sun as a special message to her that her shift for keeping her mother up with her cries to rock her, nurse her and change her are now over and she stretches her arms above her head like a marathon runner through the finish line and slips into a peaceful slumber.

Just like clock work my toddler calls out my name alerting me that her shift has begun. Just as I start rubbing my eyes and preparing my mind to get up to face the new day, my husband lifts himself up from our comfortable bed and responds to her calls. I rest my tired eyes and smile to the lovely sound of my husband whispering to my daughter “ let’s go make breakfast, Mommy is tired and needs to sleep. ”

It is something as simple as knowing that I could use more rest and taking control of a situation to look out for me that makes me fall in love with my husband over and over again. Just the fact that my husband was considerate enough to use hushed tones to speak to my daughter was enough for me to feel loved by him. This was something very meaningful to me but it was only meaningful because I chose to make an effort to notice and appreciate the kindness in my husband.

In this situation, my heart could have been in a different place. Instead of feeling blessed by him I could have thought things like “ It’s about time he got up” or “ took him long enough” or I could have simply taken my opportunity for sleep and not have given it any thought at all.
Many times in marriage it can be so easy to get caught up in the world’s lies that tell me “he has to do this or that ” or “it’s his job to do this…”; that we as wives begin to take for granted the things our husbands do for us, we become ungrateful. Expecting it be part of our husband’s obligation to do things like throw out the garbage, cut the grass, or get the kids does not allow us to be thankful for the things they do for us, whether it be big or small. We can begin
to miss all of the ways our husbands bless us and then sadly, the lack of gratitude can becomes reciprocal. If we never point out and value the efforts in our husbands, it becomes easier for them to do the same to us as wives.

In my marriage it has been a real blessing to me to hear my husband thank me for washing the dishes every single time that I wash them. He does this because he knows I absolutely hate doing them but it brings me joy to do them when I know he appreciates me. I do the same for him, when he leaves for work in the morning I pray with him and thank him for working so hard and providing for our family, because I know he would much rather be spending time playing with our children. I sometimes send him a text or an e-mail and tell him I appreciate his hard work and I can’t wait for him to come home. There maybe times where I may not say the actual words “thank you” but I always make an effort to welcome a spirit of gratitude in my heart so I may notice even the small things. Even just having this attitude of thankfulness towards my husband is something that he is able to notice and blesses both him and our marriage as a whole.
Let’s be a great support to our husbands and make our best effort to never take them for granted. Let’s have a spirit of appreciation towards the smallest and greatest things they do alike. We are blessed to have them and we want to let them know that they are loved and reminding them consistently that we are immensely thankful for all they do always.

True Love! Selfless or Selfish

by: Zetta Johnson

 

We always hear the famous saying “love is an action word.” Sometimes, it can become very cliche. I must admit, to hear one say they love you but never show it would be very hard to believe.

John 15: 13 says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This a great example of the word “Love” in action.

The scriptures let us know that Jesus sacrificed his life on the cross and that was the ultimate example of love. It doesn’t get better than that! His unselfish act to give his life for the world will forever be the ultimate love sacrifice.

While we may believe that nothing can top Jesus’ sacrifice, there is another inspiring story in the bible that also exemplifies love.

There were two mothers who both had newborn babies. One of the mothers rolled over and killed her baby. She was devastated and heart broken and I can only imagine anger she felt towards herself.

The woman took the living baby from the other mother and placed her deceased baby in its place. The other mother realized her baby had been switched and was upset. She took the woman before the king so he could settle the situation.
The king said he would split the living baby in half so that each mother would have a piece since he could not decipher who was the mother of the living baby and the mother of the deceased baby.

Well, the mother of the deceased child was satisfied with the decision. She lost her child already, so and didn’t have love in her heart for the child who was not naturally hers. Wouldn’t you know, the child’s real mother told the king that the other woman could have the baby so the baby would live, even if it wasn’t with her.

From her unselfish decision to give her baby to the other mother the king knew right away she was the real mother and granted her child back to her possession.

True love is not a selfish act. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 is a passage I love to turn to for the definition of love. It says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (NIV).

During this season when most are wrapped up in finding a valentine I challenge you to question your motives for those you profess to love. Do your actions exemplify selfishness or selflessness?