Overcomer (Giveaway)

25 August 2016

After watching the movie greater I've been thinking of how much of a challenge I also faced while in school. Most of you already know I'm the daughter of a teen mom. Many times people didn't take my mom seriously when she wanted to ask questions about our schooling. However when I was in the second grade I remember my new teacher telling my mom that I talked a lot and got in trouble for it. The teacher seemed to suggest that maybe there was an attention issue. My mom was assertive and told her she knew for a fact that I did not have an attention disorder and she told the teacher that she was almost certain that I was bored.

After much pushing and talking to different professionals at the district level my mom secured an appointment for me to get tested for the gifted programs. After several weeks we received the results that I was actually a gifted student.  The answer was here, I had poor conduct grades because I was bored and super chatty with the other kids. 

It took another year before I was able to enroll in the gifted program at school. My new teacher reviewed my individual learning plan and kept me plenty busy. My conduct grades rose and I stayed on the principle's honor roll for many years. Even though the struggle was mine, it was a battle for my mom too. Her persistence taught me that you always stand up for what you believe in and you never give up.

The challenges only got bigger as I headed to college many years later. My biggest hurdle for college was the same as Brandon Burlsworth's, money! Though I had received a scholarship it was really hard to pay for things when I decided to further my education at a private university. I found myself unable to come up with money for the books as soon as school started or the money to pay for the huge course load I was taking. 

At one point I was ready to give up on that degree. My advisors continued to push me through and to encourage me to continued. One day my advisor emailed me to come to meet with him in the morning. He talked to me about money and the goals that I set. He then steered me in the direction of a few scholarships that may help to cover what my loans didn't. I applied for tons of them and never was contacted. Just as I was about to give up my advisor said just do one more. That last application was the break I needed. I got the scholarship and it helped me to cover books and left over tuition cost.

Financial stress is one of the biggest ones a college student can face. Now that I have my own children I vow to make sure they can attend college without debt and without worry of how they will pay for it. I am also glad that chapter of my life has closed. If you are facing financial challenges or challenges with your children's schooling just know you can overcome it all. Be persistent and never give up, persistence pays - just look at Brandon Burlsworth.

Here's a chance for you to win. Tell me about a challenge that you or your child face in school. I will select one answer randomly to win a $25 dollar Walmart gift card. Winner will be announced in Mondays blog post.

GREATER is an inspirational movie based on the life of Brandon Burlsworth that reminds us that any dream is possible. GREATER releases in theaters this August 26. Click here to check for movie times near you.


23 August 2016

The media often tells us that there is no hope for children who grow up without a father or come from a broken home. The move Greater, tells us another story. A story of preserverance, love, and faith in the life of Brandon Burlsworth.

This week I had the opportunity to view an early screening of the motion picture "Greater". It's an amazing movie that will win your heart from the start, I would give  it a 9 out of 10. In short this film tells the story of a young boy who overcomes various adversities to become one of the greatest football players the Arkansas Razorbacks have ever known. It is said that Brandon Burlsworth had no natural talent but the story reveals that his indefatigable effort to learn trumped talent every time. Brandon worked his way to the top in spite of the various challenges he faced at home. At his core he always put God and Family first, which I believe was the catalyst of why he succeeded at football. This story though tragic keeps an upbeat tempo as it chronicles Brandon's life. The actor Chris Severino does an accurate depiction of what many say Burlsworth was like - humble, respectable, and very cautious of indulging in alcohol, smoking or profanity.

There are many instances in Brandon's life that could have easily made him change course. I can really identify with the struggles he had in the relationship with his father. The depiction of that relationship alone is something that I think many movie goers will identify with. Alcoholism affects so many families and it is important for people, both young and old to know that they can overcome this issue.

I also throughly enjoyed the small details that were not left out when it came to how Brandon got along with his mother and brother. The film shares about Brandon's close relationship with his brother Marty who was 17 years his senior. Marty didn't like the idea that everyone thought he was Brandon's father but that never stopped him from acting as if he was. At the end of the film Martys emotions over the loss of his brother were at the forefront. My only concern in the depiction of Marty was the conversation he had with the strange man on the football field. I couldn't understand if he was his conscience, the devil's advocate, or a town nag. I would have liked a little more clarity on the purpose of this character. 

The movie also gets a thumbs up for an incredible sound track that included popular hymns. Some of which transported me back to the times that I attended youth services at my childhood church. I'm not much a sports fan so I worried that a story based solely on football could be boring. This was not the case for Greater, the acting was superb and just what the movie needed to make Brandon Burlsworth's story come alive again. Christ Severino did an amazing job in the portrayal of Burlsworth in the bar scene where he was so close to losing it after a bullying incident. The small town setting, town involvement in football, and the river baptism also helped to depict what life was actually like for Burlsworth.

The film has done a great job telling a story of perseverance while inspiring and motivating its audience. This movie is incredibly moving and a great reminder of how hard work can literally change your life. It's not a movie you'd want to miss.

I have 2 greater movie jerseys to give away. Enter below by leaving a comment to tell me about your favorite biopic. The winner will be chosen randomly and announce in my post on Monday.

6 Tips for Breastfeeding Twins

17 August 2016

On August 6th, my boys and I attended our second Big Latch On. It was a great day and I am happy to be continuing on in our breastfeeding journey. Last week I made a feeble attempt to break from social media. Although I did manage to keep from the constant communication I did pop in to share breastfeeding week pictures with some of my pals. I do plan to pop in again at the end of the month to celebrate black breastfeeding week as well. Breastfeeding means so much to me because I am the first woman to breastfeed in my family. A few have attempted but not one has done it full time and successfully. I am honored to pick up the torch for my family and to reteach the generations new and old that breastfeeding is necessary and can be done.

I take tremendous pride in the breastfeeding relationship I have established with my twins. When I was pregnant with them many did not think I would make enough milk to feed them without supplementing. We have done that now for 20 months and they thrived on my milk exclusively for 8.5 months. The beginning of my breastfeeding journey was filled with distrust for my breast. After I struggled to get my oldest twin to latch all those negative things I was told about breastfeeding came in like a flood. Thankfully God helped me by putting determination in my heart and I knew my boys would receive breastmilk by any means necessary. I pumped almost exclusively for 5 weeks. After getting so frustrated with pumping every 2 hours I contacted a lactation consultant who helped me to wean my babies from the bottle and to feed them from my breast at every feeding. This transition was so successful that both of my boys refused bottles when I was not with them. So much of my frozen breastmilk was donated for this reason.

Along the way I have learned so many things that could have made all the difference had I known them in advance. 

So here are 6 tips that I believed helped me to breastfeed my twins, successfully.

Seek Help - even if you have read all the books and attended all the classes let a Lactation Consultant help you to make sure your breastfeeding journey is off to a good start. In the mean time do not pump or use nipple shields without guidance, sometimes they can create an even bigger problem for mom and baby. If you are doing great in your journey and run into a rough patch later on know that you can call on a LC at any time, whether its 3 weeks, 3 months, or 3 years. My LC and I still remain in communication even after all this time. Beside the obvious skill of helping you to breastfeed your LC can also steer you in the direction of the support you need to continue breastfeeding if no one else is supporting you.

Get a Twin breastfeeding pillow  - let me be clear, Boppy pillows suck. They don't support the baby and they don't support the mama. The last thing you want is a slouchy mama and a slouchy baby. If you slouch, your back will hurt and if your baby is slouching, your nipples will hurt. A new baby is guaranteed to have a bad latch in a poor position. I personally recommend the breastfriend twin pillow over everything else in the market.

Breastfeed on Demand - multiple mamas thrive on schedule. Scheduled breastfeeding is not something I would recommend because it can negatively impact your supply. I do however believe that when one baby roots around you should offer the breast to the other as well. Breastfeeding both babies at the same time works twofold. When both breast are stimulated you produce more milk and when you breastfeed both babies together you can sync their feeding times. It worked out for me to offer the breast before the second baby was hungry so it didn't feel as if I was breastfeeding all day long.

Breast over bottle - As a twin mom I know how easy it is to feel overwhelmed especially where feeding is concerned. Many people will encourage you to pump so they can relieve you of your feeding duty by giving your babies a bottle. Pumping is in no way the easier route. When you pump someone else has to care for your baby, you have to clean the pump, and your pump can't empty you as well as your baby can. While I know the offer may be tempting the easier route would be to feed your babies from your breast. Afterward you can allow your helper to do diaper changing and hold the baby on a full tummy. At which time you can take a nap, shower, or eat a "hot" meal. Also many times moms put themselves through pumping just so their husbands can feed the baby. Don't buy into the hype, feeding is not the only way a Dad can bond with the baby. Once my boys were able to latch my husband rarely fed them because it was more work on me. He bonded with the babies by bathing them, changing their diapers, holding them on his chest, and dancing gently with them before rocking them to sleep.

Eat Well - in the 20 months that I have been breastfeeding I have found keeping up with my nutrition to be the hardest. I wish that I knew what a challenge it would have been so I could have planned ahead. If anyone offers to do anything to help you make sure it includes food. My hunger and thirst were out of control in the beginning of my journey and I still get super hungry and thirsty now. Make sure you stay hydrated and snack as much as you can to keep up supply.

Pump - I know I stressed feeding your babies from your breast in tip number four but lets face it sometimes you just need to pump. Often times multiples are born prematurely and if that happens to be the case for your babies breastmilk is the best thing you can offer to them - so pump like their life depends on it because most of the time it does. You may also need to pump because your baby has latching issues that may be caused by prematurity, tongue tie, or extreme fatigued after birth. If your baby is in the NICU have a LC show you the right way to pump. Then proceed to pump as much as you can and do skin to skin with your baby when allowed, this will also help your supply. If you are a working mom and you need to pump at work pump around the same times that the care giver will be giving your baby your expressed breastmilk. Keeping on this schedule will help you to provide the milk your baby needs while you are away.

So there you have it, 6 tips for breastfeeding twins. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about breastfeeding in general. Feel free to email me anytime.


01 August 2016

Hey Friend,

Thanks for checking in on me I am currently on a social media B R E A K. It's been some time since I quieted my mind without social media competing for my attention. And while I know it's not necessarily a bad thing to be in constant contact with people I care about I also know I need more time to focus on spiritual growth. 

There has been so much negativity on Facebook, Instagram, and other media platforms surround the election, recent police and civilian killings. It's enough to make me cringe each time I see a post about. I also found myself falling into despair. I'm raising black sons now, and I have a black husband. All of whom I love dearly and my husband of 11 years is of great moral character. I find myself worrying about him as he leaves for work and I know God doesn't want me to be anxious but to trust him to care for the people he's placed in my life. Ive been looking to government officials for answer and solutions - they never have any! My answer, hope, guide and place of solace is Jesus. Feel free to join me at his feet.

So while I don't know how long I will be gone my first goal is one month starting today August 1st. 

I will continue to blog so you can click back to my home page to check for updates.

The Winner Is

01 August 2016

We have a winner, Caroline. I will be in contact to send you your prize. 

Thanks to all of those who entered. I love hearing about the people that inspire you most.
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