Red NOSE Day

24 May 2017


Hello Friends tomorrow is RED NOSE DAY. Read the information below to see how you can help and be a part of the solution.


Called to Help

As we near the start of summer and think about vacations and time off with families there are others who are not nearly as fortunate to enjoy those luxuries. On May 25th NBC television will air Red Nose Day, a live telecast aimed at ending child poverty.

Red Nose Day is unique in that multiple charitable organizations will benefit from the three hour live program that night. The event is all about coming together, to have fun, and make a difference for kids in need.  The goal is to end child poverty, here in the U.S. and around the world -- one nose at a time.

The fundraiser began in 1988 by U.K. director, Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral) and recently started in the U.S. Red Nose Day raised over $36 million in2016, and over $23million the previous year, totaling over $60 million in its first two years in the US.
The two charities among many others that will benefit from Red Nose Day are Covenant House and charity: water.  These are just one of many organizations that everyday work tirelessly to make a difference here at home in the U.S. and around the world. What’s staggering with the statistics is that this is happening right here in the U.S.

We’ve learned from Red Nose Day charities that:

• 1 out of 5 young people live in poverty.

• Every Year, More Than 2 Million Kids in America Will Face a Period of Homelessness.
• 57% of homeless kids spend at least one day every month without food.
It’s heartbreaking with regards to the homeless kids and youth as it puts them in such danger of human traffickers – something I know so many of our churches and organizations fight against.  We have an opportunity to make a difference and keep some of these kids away from the streets.
We hope you will consider taking the time to help those in need and checking out both ministries and finding a way however big or small to support them. We’re called to help those in need and we often forget that although we are fortunate to live in a country that provides us with a lot – there are many children right in front of us who struggle to even get a meal a day. We hope you’ll think about ways you can help our youth and even join in on the fun and put on a Red Nose and post to your social channels with the hashtag: #rednoseday

Red Noses are available at all Walgreen locations.  For those wanting to do something fun and get involved, stop by Walgreens and buy a red nose.

We do believe that if we can all raise awareness about this issue – we can all end child poverty one nose at a time!

Motherhood.

18 May 2017


I've always been the mothering type and I would mother anyone who would lend themselves to my mothering nature. But the evolution that took place the moment I saw that picture of my two hatching embryos was far greater than the mothering nature that I thought I already had.

This year I celebrated my third Mother's Day. I am such a different mother than I thought I would be before we had children. Honestly, MOTHERHOOD is the best teacher about what kind of mother you will be. I had all these rules about how I would care for my kids, what I would teach them, how we would sleep, how they would eat, how long we would breastfeed, how we would discipline etc. Some of those things that related to my core values are exactly where I thought they would be. Other things like breastfeeding, sleeping, schooling, discipling and eating are completely beyond where I expected and today, I am okay with that.

Beautiful gifts from my darling boys.
I remember saying to some friends that I wanted my bed to only be for my husband and I. I was afraid that sleeping with babies would change my marriage and I wanted to keep that intimate connection (not sexual intimacy) with my husband. However after being separated from my babies after their birth I was afraid of being away from them and the first night we were home I couldn't bare the thought of having my tiny 5 and 6 pound babies sleeping more than 30 feet away from me in cold lonely cribs. So that night the co-sleeping life chose me. Now, nearly 3 years later they do nap and sleep the majority of the time in their cribs but if something should be amiss at any time that they are sleeping they are always welcomed in our bed. If motherhood has taught me one thing for sure it is how to be flexible. Flexibility isn't always a friend to someone that can be as controlling as I am but it did wonderful things for the amount of sleep I got after having twins. When I accepted what motherhood was teaching and allowed myself to be sandwiched in between two tiny infants I got the best sleep possible for a new mama of twins - even if I had a baby latched on my breast the entire night.

Chauncey
Another thing motherhood changed in me was my desire to give my kids the best start in life. I've always believed that food is medicine but I didn't consider how important it was to give the best food to babies too. Ive shared before that I do not come from a legacy of women who breastfed so I had no idea where to start and how to do it. I didn't even have a desire to breastfeed until I shortly before I became pregnant. It was as if my biology set off to make me a mother in my mind long before my children would come earth side. I consumed all there possibly was to know about breastfeeding and in that knowledge the determination to breastfeed no matter the challenges set in. I was sure that I would be breastfeeding the first year but I had no idea that at almost 2.5 years we'd still be nursing between 4-5 times a day. Although our nursing sessions look as glorious as they are I still war within my own mind to regain my individuality in the form of weaning. However after thinking about it long and hard I realized that this is one of those times that motherhood was calling me into flexibility. I've decided to sacrifice my wants for their needs and to let them nurse as long as they see fit. I've learned that there are so many benefits to breastfeeding toddlers and there is still tons of nutrition to be had as my milk supply has always been plentiful.



The scariest part of motherhood for me has no doubt been going against the grain in the form of being a non vaccinating mama. While this is something that I usually keep pretty private I do share it if people ask. I am not ashamed of my choices and together with my boy's doctors we have decided that this is the right path for our family. Originally when I was pregnant I set out to be on a delayed vaccination schedule just to make sure we were not overloading their systems with too many at one time. Eventually on a delayed schedule they would still be fully vaccinated. However throughout that pregnancy other factors presented themselves and again I was called into the flexibility of motherhood. The decision hasn't and never will be easy especially as stories both true and false about sicknesses emerge. I do all that I can to protect my babies daily and for the rest I lean on the almighty arms of Jesus. I know that some people reading this will probably scoff at our decision but please remember that you don't know all of our story and the great thing about motherhood is that we have a right to chose what is best for ONLY our children and no one else's. Each day I have a lot of challenges to deal with so it important for me to be confident in my decision and to stay in prayer for wisdom and guidance through this uncharted territory .

Oliver
I share all this because I wish someone had given me the key to motherhood long before I tried to conceive. I wish someone told me that the hardest part of motherhood would be my own expectations and not my child's clingy or independent nature. I wish someone told me that biologically we have all that we need to mother our child and that there isn't a single toy, device or person in the world that can meet a child's needs like their mama can. And lastly I wish it didn't take me so long to be so in tune with my inner spirit that quite miraculously already knew exactly what to do. So friends if you plan to embark on this journey of motherhood one day I'm giving you the key, Flexibility. It's a mindset and it needs to be put into action even before conception because as we all know sometimes babies are not even conceived in the way we expect them to be. Don't be afraid to make a birthing plan when you get pregnant but also don't be afraid to be flexible for any changes or challenges that might take your plan in a different direction. In being flexible you give yourself the grace to change your mind and learn new things. As you adapt and live in a state of flexibility you'll watch yourself evolve from the mother you want to be into the mother your child needs you to be and that is the only thing that counts.

I am definitely no where near where I envisioned myself as a mother but I love who I am becoming and how easy it is to adapt when you fully surrender. I look forward to seeing how much more motherhood changes me as my boys grow.


This is 30

17 April 2017


I think I've finally hit the goldmine in life, I'm finding myself and coming up from the fog of new motherhood. Just a few weeks before turning 30 I was determined to be a better me. I wanted to take out time to become more in tune with myself and to unearth all my new desires for life.

As a mom of twins there is hardly any time to be you and trust me being their mother is all I could have wanted. There is no other love like the one I experiencing now. I'm a very attached parent and a super crunchy mama. So that means most if not all of my time is focused on my littlest loves. It wasn't until recently that someone asked me what I liked to do and I realized I was so out of touch with what "I" wanted, liked, or needed. I really don't know who I am anymore besides Chauncey and Oliver's mommy.

In January I decided it was time to find myself again. That mission started with the physical, as I was not pleased with my appearance. I've grown my locs for 8 years and decided cut them off. They were no longer healthy and just hid the hair issues I had underneath. Now with them gone I am obligated to care for my hair and to make sure I am eating and drinking properly to make sure it grows back full.

I also began to drink more water because my skin looked dull and lifeless. My face was looking less full and almost wrinkled. In just a few weeks I noticed huge differences where my skin and nails were concerned. I even started attending Zumba and Pilates in the same time frame. My husband constantly tells me how beautiful I am but I want to be pleased with what I see in the mirror and I know that's going to take time.

For my mental and spiritual I've started reading again. Both my bible and a few fiction books. It's been so nice to escape in a book. I am also planning to take a social media hiatus after Easter so that I can regain focus on my own creativity where blogging and art are concerned and my biggest goal of  helping women breastfeed.

Honestly this 30th Birthday has done wonders for self actualization. I feel like I'm pleased with the direction I'm headed in and I'm excited to see the fruits I'll be bearing after all this cultivating. God has really opened my eyes to learn a lot more about myself and I love it. My husband and I are pending a big move and God has reminded me to live right here in the present making memories with friends, family and for myself. I am seizing all opportunities until he tells me there is something better and more important to do. 

So far this is 30 and I love it.


Soulmates

13 April 2017



In three short months my husband and I will celebrate 12 years of marriage. We have more happy moments than growing pains but without a doubt they are there. Over the years I am learning to savor all the moments that we get together whether they be good, bad or mundane. Life is to short so I know its important to appreciate our journey.


For a long time I thought that my husband and I met by chance. It wasn't until we had been married for a few years that I realized God created my husband just for me. He knows precisely how to handle my green, romantic, control freak nature. The only way anyone could possibly know how to love me in spite of it all is if God hardwired it into their DNA. And because of that It would be hard for anyone to convince me that we are not soulmates.

My husbands personality is nearly completely opposite of mine. So where I lack he has and abundance and where I have an abundance he sometimes lacks. One thing I admire the most about my husband is that he forgives easily. And when I say forgive I mean he actually doesn't hold a person's faults against them after he forgives. I've never been able to be like that. He's shown an incredible ability to forgive not just me for my antics but to forgive others that have hurt him a ton. That has been a struggle for me most of my life so I know that God used him to open my eyes to how easy it would be to become a forgiver with God's help.

I also love how hard he works and how he cared for me and those around him for so many years. He's always willing to put himself last even to help a friend. So right off the bat he is selfless and forgiving. He's giving all he could to take and our children and continues to work hard even when he's dirt tired to provide a life for us. There hasn't been anyone that I thought I could so easily give my life for but I know without a doubt I would give it up for my soulmate. He inspires me everyday to be more forgiving and I know God put him in my life to be an example of that. So to you my dear, I give all my love.

In the comments below tell me who you admire and why. First person to comment will win passes to see "The Promise" starring Christian Bale. The Promise released to theatres Friday, April 21.



Check out the trailer below. Winner will be announced Monday.


MJ, A Woman of Courage.

27 March 2017

via


It seems to me that the most courageous women rarely make history. I thank God that each day I am surrounded by women who have courage to battle the odds against them. It was four years ago, or maybe even five (my memory is not so reliable in this constant state of sleep deprivation), that I met "MJ". Our meeting yet so brief would be the inception of what I hope to be a life long friendship. I chortled at her comment on a mutual friends post, it was everything I was feeling at the moment. MJ pand I had a brief conversation about how hard it was to lose weight on our infertility journeys. She commented that losing weight was hard for her and that she was much happier she was when she wasn't dieting. Both of us knew that losing weight and being healthier was essential to our mutual goal of having babies. MJ and I haven't met in person yet but I know that day will come, until then I want to share a little of her story.

I can't remember which one of us took the initiative to request the other but I'm so glad it happened. As a result I learned more about her than I imagined could be possible from a few square pictures on her instagram account. I learned that she had been married for more than a decade at that point, her husband had beaten cancer, and that they suffered through the miscarriage of their very first pregnancy. MJ had a great sense of humor sprinkled with sarcasm, logic, faith and a little profanity. To me this was refreshing, as there are too many perfect personas on the internet and I was drawn to her right away.

She's an Ivy League grad and had a very stressful but successful career. In the beginning I found that a little intimidating since at the time I was a run of the mill self employed, artsy photographer/housewife. Right away you can see how intelligent MJ is but if you dont give her a chance you may take her matter of factness for being mean. I can assure you this is not the case. I followed MJ along and eventually we exchanged phone numbers. That exchange a few years ago lead to a daily frenzy of text messages between MJ and another woman that I consider my internet bestie. MJ was very helpful and concerned for me as I started IVF, she faithfully checked in on me and she also gave great advice on how to make my intramuscular injections less painful. Im usually pretty private but whenever I talked to MJ my life was an open book. In June of 2014 she had her own procedure done and happily awaited news of a pregnancy, possibly with twins. When she said that she was pregnant, I was over the moon. I was super excited for her and ready to cheer her on to the finish line. 

Unfortunately from the beginning things were not shaping up to be exactly what we all had hoped. From the start MJ had worries because there was bleeding, and that was the last thing any pregnant woman wants to see. It was soon revealed that she was pregnant with twins but lost one of the babies shortly after. She progressed in her pregnancy and with baited breath continued to hope and pray that her remaining baby would hang in there until the due date. I couldn't fathom the conflicting emotions she was experiencing as she simultaneously grieved one baby while hoping and praying for the survival of the other.  At this time it was known that I was pregnant with twins too, I experienced a wide range of emotions for her and her experiences tested my faith as well. I couldn't understand why something that seem within reach would be quickly snatched away. I had to continually remind myself that God would turn this experience around for her good even if it didn't feel like it in the moment.

Fast forward to September, MJ finally had a little baby bump. That month she had gone on a beautiful vacation and found out that her sweet baby was a BOY. Not too long after she returned issues arose with her blood pressure. It started to rise and rise and rise. This was not a good thing and I could tell that she was worried. After a very brief hospitalization MJ revealed to us that her teeny baby had been delivered while she was still in her second trimester. The details of his birth were very traumatic so much that she only shared small details with us while holding the rest close to her heart. It hurt badly to feel so helpless in her suffering. I was devastated and honestly I didn't know how to support her through this. Though I am positive there were many emotions she didn't share with me I know that she was frightened of the outcome. There were lots of peaks and valleys throughout the time that her tiny warrior fought for his life in the NICU. There was a battle in MJ's mind as she absorbed much of the blame for his early debut. As her friend I tried to reassure her that she did the best that she could. I also told her that I believed her vigilance in watching her blood pressure and communicating with her doctors surely saved his life. During her own struggles MJ helped me when I was desperate for breastfeeding advice, she encouraged me and lent her ear during a very depressing time in her life. 

Her baby will be three this year and while a few issues have arose since then he is alive and continuing to be the little fighter he was born to be. MJ is hanging on and riding the waves of toddler mama life. I have never seen someone endure so much hardship with so much grace while continuing to carry the loads of friends around her. She is courageous and she inspires me much more than she knows. I've always wished that I could have helped her more during her time of need by bringing a meal, coming to visit, or helping out at her home while she was camping out at the hospital - but the miles between is made that impossible! It is my hope that she felt comforted by God as I interceded on her and her baby's behalf for what I remember to be 109 days. She is truly courageous!

*MJ's name has been changed for the purpose of privacy. MJ if you are reading this I just want you to know that your internet pal in Florida adores you. I think you are amazing and courageous. I love how you care for your friends and I love how much you dote on my boys. I look forward to the day that we actually meet. Until then I pray that God will send redemption and healing for all the ways that you have suffered since we met. I pray that peace, light and love pour out of the cracks in your heart. I love you, friend.


In honor of my courageous friend MJ. I am giving away tickets to the inspirational film the Zookeeper's Wife which opens this FRIDAY, MARCH 31ST. To enter this giveaway please tell me about a courageous woman in your life in the comments below.





When in Doubt.... GIVEAWAY

02 March 2017


Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her! Luke 1:45

To date that is one of my favorite scriptures. Sometimes I forget all about it when doubt clouds my mind and makes me second guess the goodness and the grace of God. When my husband and I were first trying to conceive I wasn't close to the Lord so this scripture didn't hold much weight in my life. I had no clue of what his promises were to me. All I wanted was for him to give me a baby so I could show all the other people how raising a child was "supposed" to look. My heart wasn't in the right place and it was black and blue from all the hurt that I had endured over the years.

Instead of giving me what I wanted God drew me in with love and christian sisterhood. He took me to a new church and brought me to a group of women that would water me with his word every week for four years before he sent me to live in a new state. He loved on me and helped to pluck out so much of the yucky stuff that I liked to keep hidden. Even with all the good it was still hard for me as I journeyed through the change.

My heart screamed louder and louder at me about wanting a child but I clung to God even more and asked him to take away that desire if it wasn't of him. I later found that it was in His will to give us a family but there was so much that had to be revealed in my heart, my marriage and my life before this child(ren) would come to fruition.

As I matured in my faith I learned that when my mind was filled with doubt there was no better time than to plant my feet deep in the word. No, it didn't fulfill my desires but it filled the space that cried out to me that I needed a child. It filled the space to tell me that with or without babies I was enough. As I begin to see myself in the eyes of the Lord the pain I felt from infertility eased up a bit. It didn't sting so much when I heard those pregnancy announcements because the Holy Spirit helped me to replace the doubts with belief.

I sat on the sidelines month after month watching babies be born or women announce that they were pregnant on each side of me. I held the hands of friends as they were told no over and over again by doctors when they hoped the answer would be yes. The journey was long and arduous. The journey was painful and lonely, but God showed up in a miraculous way just when I felt I couldn't wait any longer.

His word stood strong and saw me through several years of infertility and then it soothed my soul as I held my breath through 38 weeks of pregnancy. The Lord was faithful to me and blessed me even in the moments that I lent myself to doubt. If you trust him and believe I know he will do the same for you no matter what your situation.

There were disciples that were full of doubt while sitting at the feet of Jesus, so you and I are not alone. We have to push pass our doubt and have faith, even if its as small as a mustard seed.

If you'd like to learn more about the disciple that had doubt check out CNN's Finding Jesus: Faith Fact Forgery which airs March 5th at 9pm EST.

I have a $25 dollar gift card for LIFEWAY that I would like to give away to one reader that is interested in purchasing a new bible or devotional. Comment below and tell me about a time that the Lord helped you hold it together when you were full of doubt. Winner will be selected randomly, look for the announcement on my Instagram on Monday (be sure to follow me there).




Courage Is All You Need!

10 February 2017

I absolutely love watching movies. Most of the time romance is my go to because I love those mushy feel good films. However sometimes you just need to watch something uplifting and something that speaks about God's mighty hand in your life. Race to Win fits the bill as an encouraging movie that displays God's abundant love for his children.

The movie is set in a small town where a ranch family experiences a tragic loss. Along with the loss they also face the loss of their home. They face a dilemma at every turn but ultimately God comes in to save the day just in the nick of time. This heartfelt family movie is a must see. Race to Win checks all the boxes, it includes a little drama, a little romance, and a few climatic scenes.

Its serves as an encouragement to all believers that no matter what you are facing God is there with you to bring you peace and to give you wisdom in your circumstances, courage is really all you need. This story brings hope and shows that in everything God works for our good!

Check out Race to Win as it releases to DVD. February 14, 2017.


* I received a free copy of the film to review but all opinions are my own.

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