Becoming A Woman With Purpose: Part 1

I’m still amazed at what God has placed on my heart in regards to starting a blog that reveals how important learning is a part of growing and maturing. As a mother, I recognize the importance of confidence, endurance, and laughter when caring for a child. I would not have been able to love and care for my daughter without the Word of God and the HolyGhost in my life. When envisioning this blog I dreamed of providing wisdom received through my experiences and encouraging words that will get every mother and parent through the day, specifically the tough ones. These five verses positioned me into the mindset of purposeful living that has changed my approach to situations in my life. The next five blog posts are dedicated to every single verse and I pray it changes your perspective in your situation.

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Two years ago I was blessed with the gift and responsibility of caring and guiding my daughter. Though I didn’t understand what it meant to be a mother, I was ready and eager to learn. I quickly tapped into my maternal instincts and began a journey that I cherish every single day. After the initial months of me fumbling and walking in my insecurities, I started to realize that I didn’t just birth a child, but the birthing of a confident, hardworking mother in me. One of my quickest habits that I formed was I was all talk and no action. I would acclaim to how many dreams and goals I would impart in my life for the benefit of my family but I was slow in action to fulfill them. When I stumbled across this verse I instantly felt a slap to the face from God.

When my daughter was born into this world, all of these dreams, visions, and goals came with her. Not just the ones that are linked to her destiny that she has yet to fulfill, but mine as well. I thought that becoming a parent would strip me away from my desires and dreams in order to focus on my child. I was wrong. Instead, God allowed new dreams, new desires to form inside me and this verse told me to stop dreaming and start doing. I love the message version because it’s plain and simple: when you don’t work, you don’t get paid, and you don’t bring home the bread. Or in “mother” terms, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid and you won’t afford those diapers and wipes. This verse applies beyond the typical work scenario. If you don’t work on your marriage, you won’t get the benefits of a healthy marriage. If you don’t clean and manage your household efficiently, then you are inviting chaos in your world. Accepting this verse was a big pill to swallow but living by it has brought success that I would’ve never achieved if I didn’t see becoming a mother as a blessing instead of a burden.

It also revealed that I can’t be frustrated at my circumstances when I’m not willing to roll my sleeves up and work through it. Blame it on my femininity but when I get overwhelmed and overworked I instantly get dramatic. My emotions, facial expressions, and hand gestures go from level one to level ten! I began to cry the sad song and doubt that change will ever come. I cry out, having a pity party and run a hole in the floor pacing back and forth worrying. This wise verse puts my emotional tantrums in check. I realized that when I do the work that my success is sure to come. It would be crazy for someone to work and work tirelessly at a job and never receive a paycheck.  But God promises us that when we put the hard work in, the tears, sweat, and pain will pay off. So if whatever stage of life you are in, if you are a struggling mother like sometimes I still find myself at or you manage to overcome it all just know that your hard work will bring you the bread of life!

When You’re Making it Up as You Go Along

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In the early stages of my motherhood journey, I was overcome with anxiety, paranoia, and insecurities. I’m not going to lie — it was an emotional time in my life and I struggled with handling it without feeling inadequate. Becoming a mom, no matter what age or stage in life is an intimidating thing. I don’t know who raises the bar to perfection, but there it is always staring you in the face, reminding you how you never quite make it.

When you give into that lie it distorts your capabilities of being a good mother. Whatever level you personally deem good parenting or mothering you should aim for it every day. Don’t compete with other parents but compete with yourself. What I mean is if you were patient with your child yesterday, just aim to be a little more patient with them the next day. Competition with others to make yourself feel on top isn’t really winning and your child loses in the end. Don’t feel the need to meet a status quo invented by others based on their personal experience with their children. That’s not what being a loving parent is all about.

Yes, you should always be inspired by the stories of the woman before us who have done the impossible for their sons and daughters. Embrace the testimonies of the woman who have cried, sobbed and fought for theirs just like you are now. You should invite strength, wisdom, and experience in your soul but don’t disregard your own strength, wisdom, and experience. It’s what you’ve gone through and overcome that’s made you the parent you are today. The most important lesson for me about motherhood is to never second-guess myself when it comes to how I treat my family. Walking in confidence isn’t easy but it helps to understand that even though you have those days when you are just making it up as you go along, each and every day will come together in the end and works out so long as you have faith that your parenting, all your hard work, and efforts will pay off.

 

LifeLesson: Live in the Moment

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As a mother, I’m always faced with the challenge to get things done off my to-do list and I always bypass the chance to just live in the moment. I’m so accustomed to wanting each and every day to be productive and successful that I don’t stop and appreciate the little things. I hate to say it but I’ve developed a bad adult behavior that emphasizes more on tasks, chores, and checklists as a priority rather than the person I do it all for; my kid.

Before I wake up in the morning, usually our daughter has made her way back into our bedroom. She climbs over me strategically making space in the middle of us. It’s gotten to the point where on cue, whether I’m half sleep or not I scooch over and tap my husband to move so she doesn’t get squished. All three of us would lay in bed snuggled uncomfortably for another hour before the rush of commands hit us for the day.  Sadly that’s one of the briefest moments my family connection before the day begins and technically it doesn’t count since some of us are still counting sheep.

It’s crazy how quickly we fall into a sort of a routine without even realizing it. My husband and I will fuss over who does what. I nag him to make all the beds and depending on who has to go to work first cook and clean. Come to think of it, with all the hustle and bustle we are pretty tired by 11 and I do mean am! I could accredit to how things were much simpler when she was a baby but no matter how old our children get it shouldn’t diminish our willingness to just take the time and have quality moments together.

Looking back on just the last couple months, it’s been filled with us walking around like mindless drones instead of real human beings. But sadly once you start the rhythm it’s hard to get out of the flow. The same pattern follows and the more I allow it, the harder it is to break away.

Case in point:

Every night I get my daughter ready for bed and like any tired parent you want them all cleaned up, in their jammies, teeth brushed and story read before 11 and I do mean pm! I must admit that by the time I kiss her goodnight for the twentieth time and take the big sigh of relief that everything’s done I never know what to do with myself. Should I stay up late watching tv? Eat more dinner or dessert? Write? Read? When I start to finally enjoy the moment of stillness I instantly start to ache for more family time with my daughter and husband. Part of me wants her to go to bed as early as I can and the other part wants to stay up to watch old 90’s TV sitcom shows.

The fact of the matter, I’ve been struggling with balance and setting my priorities in place so they no longer clash for a while. There is so much to do, so much to get done, so much to accomplish, but allowing it to overrule you diminishes the quality of life we are all blessed to have. It’s difficult to put down the clipboard and run away from routine freely. How can you have quality life moments without the quantity of life’s responsibility over-piling?

It starts with taking a death breath. Release the pent up energy, take a sip of water and realize just exactly where you are. Ask yourself do you really need to be fussing in the supermarket like this over Cheerios and chips? Should you be wasting a joyous car ride fussing over what hasn’t been done yet? What about at dinner, why act surprised at the food all over the floor? Parenting is a never-ending roller-coaster ride. But why should your emotions be?

Take a moment before you start and really list the absolutes that you are going to focus on. Don’t give any time or attention to details that take you away from that list. Close your eyes and imagine what you want to get done today and then start making a plan for getting those done. Permit yourself moments that recharge your love, kindness, and strength. For me, it’s reading my Bible, listening to music, and actually going to the bathroom alone. Whatever you need to keep your energy high for the day, do it.

And if you have a busy toddler like myself, then don’t stress do those things together. Incorporate your kids to clean when you clean. Get your child to find all the mismatch shoes while you fold the towels. Have them sing for you while you clean the bathroom. Every task, every chore, involve them in it. Invite them into your routine and it will definitely bring the family connection you’ve been missing.

I learned that saying, “sit” over and over again will exhaust me and leave me unsatisfied. Plus, it will never get her to sit. So, throw the rule book out the window every now and then. If you are paying bills, then have them sitting right next to you and maybe they will pay a bill or two. If you are praying, don’t lock them out but bring them in and take your time. Every moment of the day should not only be spent succeeding but also loving the ones you do it all for.

Life Lesson: You Are Diamonds

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My message for mothers and woman today is don’t cheapen yourself on the account of others. I can’t tell you how important it is as a wife and mother to know your self-worth. Having a high standard of self-worth produces high self-esteem, confidence, and self-respect that is too precious to trade in or exchange. A confident woman doesn’t allow abusive relationships to define their self-worth. A self-respecting wife won’t force herself to die in her marriage but find ways to thrive with or without her spouse. A confident mom lives, breathes and nurtures her children with power and strength because she fears nothing.

Living like a diamond forces life to back off and let you shine. Life of an assured woman means not stopping at the no’s and you can’t’s that’s always being thrown in your face. Having confidence in how God created you births tenacity and a persevering spirit that can overcome anything. Having confident isn’t about being puffed up or arrogant but being content with the gifts, strengths, and flaws that God has given each of us to work with. I’m certainly not here to promote bragging or pride but to share with you the freedom in being a strong diamond of a gal.

So I hope after my elaborate introduction you’re asking yourself, “Well, how do I live a diamond?”

  1. By accepting that God loves you.

If you don’t believe God is real, that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again then there isn’t much I can do for you. True confidence doesn’t appear within ourselves but it comes from the almighty Creator. The big G-O-D himself made us his top priority and wanted us to have nothing short of the best. Believing is just the beginning. You have to live, breathe, sleep and eat with the truth that God values us all. Why would you not accept all that love? Realize that God loves you permanently!

2. Living with love in your heart for others.

You want that confidence in your walk, that glow of the holy spirit upon your life you have to live your life through the lenses of love. Everything you go through — He loves me — so it has to work out. Even when friends, family, and strangers try to deter you from believing — act in love. Having a rich, quality lifestyle doesn’t just come from working hard on behalf of yourself but going the extra mile for someone else. Luke 6:31 and 35 say to do to others what you want to be given to you. If you want love in life then love others freely without looking for anything in return.

3. Saying goodbye to insecurities by reading the Word of God.

This is the best way to feed your faith and starve your doubts. If you’ve been dealing with insecurities, baggage from the past and past pain then open a Bible! There are scriptures after scriptures that will boost your soul into the confident, God-fearing woman you are destined to be. Philippians 1:6 will tell you that he started something great inside you and he won’t stop until it’s completed. And if you are reading this with doubt in your heart, just know that you aren’t confident that Proverbs 3:26 says that God will be your confidence and he will keep you.

And the amazing part of this…there is so much more. Unlock all that God is waiting to give in your life. Live with assurance that God desires you, he wants the best for and he hates to see his diamond get scuffed up or damaged. Celebrate your one-of-a-kind design and witness God accomplish great things in your life. Don’t shy away from all that God is calling for you to have.

 

Month of Motherhood: You Are A Masterpiece

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Yay! It’s finally here….almost here I should say: Mother’s Day! The coveted day where all things mom and motherhood gets it’s deserved recognition. Even though moms should automatically get the breakfast in bed and the bouquet of flowers every day we understand that trying to wine and dine us for our mothering feats will take forever.

I’m so happy to be one of the millions of woman known for being fearless, loving and strong. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom always packing lunches for the kids or the hard-working mother that slays in the boardroom — I want this month to be filled with posts encouraging you, strengthing you, and reminding you how amazing it is to be a mom!  And not to exclude all the amazing woman — those aunties, sisters, cousins, babysitters, singles.. you have kids or none at all this is your month to shine too! So for all my mothers, it’s the month of Motherhood and for all non-moms, it’s the Month of Womanhood!

I’m devoting a blog post every week to reminding mothers and woman in general that no matter what, no matter who….you are an original masterpiece! That’s right, Ephesians 2:10 says,

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Whether you agree or not, all of our stories began with the Word of God, with God thinking about us and creating us. He didn’t just create us, he envisioned us a life for us filled with opportunities, victories, hardship, and His love. God didn’t hastily throw us and all our uniqueness at the last minute. He didn’t rush and guess at our potential, strength, weaknesses, and capabilities. He took the time, energy and commitment to creating a work of art that’s more valuable than any amount of bad days, horrible relationships or dead-end end jobs that try to take away the treasure he placed within us.

I am valuable because he made my life worth it when He died on the cross. He refused to give up one me and you when he rose from the grave three days later. He went above and beyond because we are His masterpiece. Live like a masterpiece, carry with you that passion and drive he gave you. Don’t ever let life diminish your resolve to rise up. God knows who we really are and who we can truly become. Embrace it!

 

LifeLesson: Having The Right Perspective Changes Everything

 

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Handling life’s problems can bring the best and worst of times. Hands down it develops genuine character in you that you will appreciate for years to comes. It births wisdom, compassion, integrity, strength, and understanding to weather more life storms.  But, I can personally tell you how difficult it is to believe that you’ll make it on top. Yes, a problem is a problem no matter how you spin it. But what makes a problem turn into a solution: your outlook, your determination not to give up, and your faith in God.

When I was younger, stress would always be a boost of determination for me. If I was stressing about school, it would push me to focus more and increase my discipline in my studies. If I was worried about not making the cut then it would push me harder to reach my goals. But, now I’m a little older, have more responsibility and the weight of being a wife and mother can be…stressful.

Life can be really messy. With every step you take toward your future, it can sometimes involve unexpected twists and turns that can lead you farther away from your goals or keep you at a standstill. It’s so easy to forget about all the good in our lives when bad stuff come. It’ doesn’t matter what causes it, just that we want it all to be solved and over now. Whenever you focus on the bad instead of the good, it wipes away the possibilities of hope and you end up with a perfect recipe for giving up.

Personally, I hate it when my back is against the wall, I can’t see no way out and I’m overwhelmed because it instantly sprouts doubt. My life is no longer that of a 13-year-old girl worrying about my grades and chores. So, neither should my perspective. I can no longer think, create, or analyze situations based on the results of my past. Time eventually revealed this to me after years of me going around in circles with certain issues in my life that just wouldn’t change. It wouldn’t change because I refused to change my mindset.

I was too stubborn and fearful to renew my mind. Romans 12:2 told me in order to understand what God wants for my life I have to stop doing what others say and change my thinking that brings me closer to Christ. I felt like that wasn’t necessary to overcome obstacles and bad days. I deceived myself to believe that doing the bare minimum would still bring me success. Then, when my way failed, I had the nerve to cry out to God and ask him why I wasn’t successful, why I wasn’t happy. He told me through Philippians 4:8 that thinking about myself and what I want won’t even bring me close to a fulfilled life. That I have to think on the truth, on lovely things, and to have thoughts that give God honor and praise. After learning the hard way one too many times I eventually caved, and time went by and I felt a newness in my heart and mind. But, I wasn’t done. Things began to turn around for me but I started to get impatient, frustrated and worried. I would wonder if I was ever going to get to the top if I was ever going to be satisfied and quickly my bad thinking habits began. But, God told me, vividly and repeatedly that I can’t be anxious about anything but pray continually with supplication, thanksgiving and have faith that God will hear my requests, give me his peace and guard my heart and mind (Philippians 4:6-7).

That was one of the hardest parts of this journey. Even now, it’s still something I daily struggle to maintain. I had to learn to truly have a relationship with God, surrender my thoughts and allow him to protect my heart. Sometimes when I think back on those hard moments I shake my head in disbelief at how difficult I was. Now that I see how much better it is to trust God in all my ways and to lean on his understanding I feel like so much of my time has been wasted. But then, I stop and realize that thinking about the time wasted instead of all the time I still have, opportunities I still have to gain is finally living life with clear, healthy, godly perspective. I have to remind myself of how loving God was and is to me to wait for me to finally get it together and realize that having the right perspective through Him will change everything.

The Adventures of Elizabeth: The WayZoo Coloring Book

Hi!

What do I love to do more than anything?

COLOR!

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I like coloring so much I can’t seem to keep my drawings on the page.

I color on the couch,

the dining room table,

the walls,

the floors,

the ceiling if I could reach it!

But today, my mommy found me this amazing coloring book.

And it was totally free!

I got to color The WayZoo Coloring Book!

A free coloring book featuring cute animals!

It was so fun coloring with my mommy today.

Here are two of my drawings:

 

Nothing makes me happy than when I’m coloring.

Especially when I’m coloring with mommy.

Try it for yourself, you’ll love it.

Bye!

 

#MomLife: Family Fun For Everyone

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Hello, moms and dads!

It’s only a matter of time before we are free of the Winter weather. As anxious as you and your little ones are about running outside to play we’re bound to wind up with at least a few more frigid days. As of mother of a toddler with a surplus of energy, I know how difficult it can be to keep your kids entertained all day long in the house. As easy as it can be to just turn the TV on for them, sometimes it’s not enough to keep them occupied.  If you are struggling to keep up with a supply of fun activities for the family then look no further.

I’m here to tell you that there’s still room for a few more indoor activities to do with the kids before the season is over. That’s why Wayfair created The WayZoo Coloring Book, a free 10-page printable coloring book featuring cute animals in the home for kids to color and make their own. And to celebrate the launch, Wayfair is pairing it with an art supply prize pack giveaway including an easel, chalk, markers and paint. All you have to do to enter is send in a scan or a picture of your artist’s creation to wayzoosweepstakes@wayfair.com!

Don’t miss out on a great opportunity for your child to win cool prizes and have their art featured in The WayZoo Gallery. Take a moment, find some crayons and let the creativity begin.

 

Have Fun and Good Luck!!

The Adventures of Elizabeth: Terrible Twos

Hi,

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Did you know my birthday is January 21?

I’m going to be two years old!

You know what that means…

Terrible Twos!

I’m living a typical toddler life.

Chapter 2 of my life story is just around the corner.

So far, I’m throwing ALOT of tantrums lately.

I never want to nap during nap time.

(No surprise there.)

I cry when I can’t have my way.

I cry when I can’t have more cookies.

(or french fries, man oh man how I love my french fries)

I cry, I cry, and cry.

I even fall out on the floor sometimes.

I try my hardest to get what I want.

Sometimes I listen and sometimes I don’t.

My mom and dad try their best to keep calm.

I give them a run for their money.

But I’m still smitten with my mommy and daddy.

I never want to be apart from my parents from long.

I’m so excited to be two.

Can’t wait to see what’s in store.

 

Life Lesson: Trust Your Instincts

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When I was younger I always believed when I became a mother I would do all the right things for my baby. I would love him/her, cuddle, play, and make sure he/she is a healthy, strong baby. Like most little girls I had tons of practice with adorable, almost life-like baby dolls. I prided myself on how none of my baby dolls had a missing arm or leg. My  beliefs about motherhood were very black and white. If you didn’t dress your baby well then you was a bad mother. If you didn’t give your baby medicine when they got sick then you was a bad mother. If you didn’t feed your baby right then you were a bad mother. If your baby wasn’t happy or smiled a lot then you was a bad mother.

Since then, my views on motherhood have drastically changed. Now that I’m grown and a mother myself, I realize that there are many ways to provide for your child. For one, I didn’t always buy my baby designer clothes like I thought. After the first couple weeks of onesies soaked with throw up, milk stains, and messy diapers I decided to shop frugally. I set out budgets where my baby could have affordable outfits that lasted longer than a month without breaking the bank. I learned that giving baby medicine can actually harm the baby rather than help. As painful as it is, it’s sometimes better to have your child endure that cold or fever so their body can get stronger and fight off more infections. My child-like beliefs were filled with hope but no sense of reality. I remember when our daughter caught her first high-temperature fever all I wanted to do was make her pain go away. But, with regular feeding times, an outfit change and patience, I saw how quickly her body was fighting off the virus all on its own.

One thing I learned from being a wife and mother is to trust my instincts. When I was pregnant those nine months I tried my best to plan, prepare, and equip myself for motherhood. I gained knowledge, facts, and techniques so when my child arrives I will be prepared. I downloaded apps, watched videos, and podcasts to familiarize myself with being a good parent. I wanted to be the type of mother that nurtured every aspect of my child’s life so they can pretty much be perfect. I quickly learned that all the parenting books, pamphlets, and articles can only do so much.

With motherhood comes many struggles. You have to decide what cleaning products to use, what baby formula, and the type of doctor you want your child to have. Being a mom requires a lot of big decision-making. I remember after those hours in labor when they finally handed her to me I was overwhelmed with so much peace. It didn’t really occur to me what being her mother would require. It wasn’t until she got hungry that I realized I had to make a decision.

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With all my preparation, I still hesitated. All that prepping went out the hospital window. I was suddenly a blank canvas holding a blank canvas. I felt like an artist with colors of all shades and hues with no clue to do. I honestly thought about feeding my daughter formula from birth to better suit my needs. I didn’t want to be inconvenienced with pumps and engorged breasts but holding her in her fragile state made me realize how I so badly wanted to give her the best.

The nurse smiled and proceeded to help our daughter latch. It was awkward at first, but a couple of tries later she was eating like she was starving. I was amazed that my breast even had milk. It’s a miracle what the body can do. I felt like a mother bird feeding her little birds. I felt so accomplishment and complete. It wasn’t until it was time for me to come home that the feeling of pride slowly washed away.

My biggest struggle with breastfeeding was as she continued to grow so did her appetite and my breast didn’t always accommodate her feeding needs. The first couple of weeks were nice and breezy. She would eat almost 6 to 8 times a day. Her feeding times started off short and sweet. I would usually pump milk in the morning and at night just in case if I had to go somewhere or I was really tired. I would always pump after I feed her too so my milk production could increase. For nearly six months all I did was pump and let her suck.

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It didn’t take long before she would drink from both breasts at a time. Her appetite increased and I had to make the hard decision that breastfeeding until she was 10 months wasn’t the life for me. I wasn’t going to give up so easily. I started to stop feeding her from the breast, just pump and put baby cereal in the bottle. It gave her satisfaction until she hit the another growth curve. I eventually decided to start her on baby formula indefinitely. I slowly started to wean her off of breast milk. I would breastfeed at night, pump out the  extra milk and give her formula with cereal during the day. I would cry sometimes with frustration when my breasts didn’t give her enough milk. But, I saw how satisfied she was with baby formula and got over my personal feelings.

Breastfeeding can sometimes be tricky. There are thousands of different reasons why your child doesn’t respond positively to your breasts. But be reassured that there are a thousand different solutions. Whether you breastfeed your child or provide them with formula alternatives don’t ever second-guess your instincts. There were so days where I struggled with her latching and other days I couldn’t get her off. But have peace of mind whenever you see your baby happy and laughing that you are doing a great job.

So hesitate to deviate from the plan especially if it could help you and your baby better. Always be willing to ask your doctor for help in any area for your child and take the time to reach out to other mothers for support.

Learn about the breastfeeding and formula options from The Honest Company.

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