Self Care Diet

What about me!!??

I found myself looking in the mirror asking this question as I brushed my teeth a week ago. I was seconds away from slipping into self-pitty after thinking about the week I had. I’ll come clean and say that I am hard on myself. I like to keep everything high, my standard and heels. There was no way I could endure another day without some self care. This term is growing in popularity as women realize that you can’t pour from an empty cistern and there is no guilt in taking care of yourself.


So last Friday, I excused myself from my entrepreneurial duties and laid down my mommy cape for a day to myself. No emails, no contracts, no meetings, and no nursing (JESUS..HELP!). It was time to indulge in my self care diet. Outfitted with my fedora hat, praying’ & slayin’ tee, and plaided wrap I B-lined to the front door on my way to partake in my self care diet.

SELF-CARE DIET

  • Lunch
  • Nails
  • Shopping
  • Something sweet

First up was something to eat. I don’t like to waste eating opportunities on wack food, so I headed to Townhouse, a gem restaurant tucked away in Emeryville for lunch. I felt super fancy when I pulled up and they had complimentary valet. Having doors opened for me always puts me in a good mood. I totally enjoy having lunch by myself. I used to feel weird about going to eat alone, but now I relish in the opportunity to eat at my leisure, bring a book along, or make extra conversation with the server. A steak salad was my selection along with a tall glass of H20.

Next up was a trip to Nordstrom Rack. The location in San Leandro has a better selection than the one in Emeryville, but this shopping visit was explicitly for new panties and bras. I wanted to treat myself to a new set that made me feel good when I looked in the mirror. I am so ready to retire the nursing bras. To ensure the self-care didn’t end on that day I also picked up some body scrub and monogramed stemware so I feel fancy when sipping my pink lemonades. The family has been put on notice that those glasses are just for me!

Last Friday was Chinese New Year, so guess who that impacted the two nail shops I had to go to? The first one had limited services, and the second asked for me to come back in two hours. Now that I have acrylic nails, fills are mandatory, so I brought my tail back. Surprisingly I’ve had the same set since November! That probably means nothing to you, but it was my wedding day in 2006 which was the last time I had gotten “a full set”.

A date is never complete without something sweet. To satisfy my craving I stopped by good ole See’s Candy for five pieces of pecan buds. OMG, I love those things!

The day went by way to fast, but my husband and kids would attest that I arrived home much more at peace and full.  So tell me, what does your self care diet look like?

Are You Disciplined For Destiny?

Hey there! A few years ago I was the worse at meeting deadlines, bringing things from thought to fruition and keeping my life on track. I thought about it for a minute and pinpointed some daily disciplines that made the difference in my life. Many of us want to reach all of what God has in store for us, but the fact remains you must be disciplined in order to do so.

Check out the video below and consider implementing them into your life.

You Owe It To Yourself

Do you remember the comical line “Give me my money!” by Chris Tucker in the movie Friday? Craig played by Ice Cube owed Smokey a bet, and he was ready to collect. I’m sure you are just like me. A woman who pours out so much to her family, community, business, and others but now is the time to pay yourself. Sister…you owe it to yourself! Self-care is a fairly new term that has become mainstream, but many have not fully embraced it nor understands the power in it. When you take the time to prioritize yourself you make room for joy and kick anxiety out the door. Those who benefit from us most will notice the shadow of grace and ease over your life when you have taken the time to put yourself first. When you embrace the need for your own desires and hopes to be met you aren’t as quick to go off and carry the baggage of resentment.

While I am certain single women have an unique battle of their own, I want to highlight the necessity of putting yourself first as a married woman. Too often our identities are carefully molded around who our husbands are and the needs of our children. Some women have lost their zeal for life because their purpose has been buried under the piles of laundry and their second job as your kids personal Uber driver. My personal struggle has not been with the guilt of treating myself. It has been the ability to prioritize myself and voice my desires. For Pete sake I would like to see a movie that isn’t animated every once in a while. No, I don’t want to spend the holidays with your family this year, I can whip up a tasty meal of my own. This may seem like I’m venting, but see that’s what happens when you don’t understand that you do indeed owe it to yourself to put yourself first often. If you have a decent loving husband, he will also support this decision. The saying is true, “Happy wife, happy life :)”

So the question begs to ask, how do you balance the needs of your family and still handle your responsibilities. In my opinion, it comes down to…

  1. Godly wisdom
  2. Planning

There will be seasons in life when undoubtedly more time, money and effort will need to be spent on others things than yourself. When you exercise the wisdom of God frustration will be far from you when the nail shop isn’t on the agenda this week. When it is best you spend your weekend on the sidelines cheering on your son, their will be fulfillment that comes from that experience. The great thing about owing it to yourself, it’s not a daily expenditure. When you feel yourself running on low, nerves wearing thin, and you can’t remember the last time you had dinner with a cloth napkin it might be about that time.

Lastly, you can only plan when you know what you need and can communicate it to others. Sometimes, it is as simple as, “Babe, by time Thursday comes around I am tired and need some extra time to myself. Can you put the kids to bed early while I get a chance to _________________?” You fill in the blank. You know how much you can handle, you know when its time to decompress, and you should know your triggers.

You owe it to yourself to:

*love yourself

*know yourself

*prioritize yourself

5 Ways To End 2017 With A Bang

The other day I looked at the calendar to check my availability for a speaking engagement. I’m a little old school in that I use a hard copy planner along with my phone calendar to keep me organized. As I flipped all the way to reach November, it hit me…this year is practically over! The “planner” in me caused my anxiety to rise because I then mentally began to list all the things I want to accomplish before we ring in the new year and things I want to set in motion for 2018. I don’t have a sad story about 2017, this year has been beyond amazing for me and I’m believing God to do it again.

I complied this short list of a few things you can do to end 2017 on a high note, no matter where your current dial on the happiness scale is:

  1. Create a gratitude list

Come on, I know you can think of at least 10 things you are grateful for. Reflect on 10 answered prayers you received, even if it was as small as no cars in the Starbucks drive-thru on the day you were running late. Possibly you lost a few pounds, saved a few coins, or got a chance to spend time with your aging grandparent. Bottom line, God is too good for you not to say “Thank Ya!”

2. Pick up a book

Ok, not just any ole book, but a book that will challenge your thinking, level of faith, and current lifestyle. During your selection process consider the areas you are hoping to grow the most in 2018. For you 2018 may be the year that you finally get your money right, consider Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover or my girl Patrice Washington’s Real Money Answers for Every Woman book. Or maybe you want your dinner table to have more of a variety than the usual spaghetti, tacos, and baked chicken.  You’ve got to check out Ayesha Curry’s The Seasoned Life. This year the ministry leaders at New Life read through, “The Emotionally Healthy Leader“, this is a great read for someone who is seeking emotional wholeness. Ok, ok, ok, one more…looking to get your faith on fleek?? ANYTHING by my boy Mark Batterson is going to help you get your whole life. Bottom line, I want you to stretch yourself.

3.  Make a mends

People are going to be people, so let them be! 2018 is not the year to bring drama with you. It’s time to put on your big girl panties and forgive that person for every shady thing they did to you and said about you. Confiscate that energy and invest it somewhere else. Did you know that unforgiveness wears on you? It occupies mental square footage where love and positivity could reside? Whether they fess up or not, take your happy with you into 2018 and leave the offense behind. For a little relief consider taking the time and write a letter to the person. You don’t have to give it to them, at least you have released the hurt and expressed your feelings about the situation. Watch how liberating it will be once you release and make a mends.

4. Do something you have never done before

I like this idea because it’s a challenge, well all of them are but you get my point. For one it will make you sit and think about what has yet to be in your life. Then it will cause you to have a new experience to stick in your 2017 memory book.  Now this decision doesn’t have to be brain surgery, it can be as small as writing a check for $1,000,000 to yourself (see how that feels :), ride across the Golden Gate Bridge, research your family tree, or try a new hair style. Be sure to live your life and not just exist. I’m thinking about adding some color to my hair, maybe auburn or blonde highlights? You never know, you might just start a new tradition.

5. Bless somebody’s socks off

Making someone’s day has an innate way of sending warm fuzzies right up your spine. This action of love will cause you to be thoughtful and utterly used by God. Think of a person who you know has had a rough year. Consider an elderly neighbor or family member to bless. Maybe your child’s teacher could really benefit from a cash gift. Take some time to pray about it and I am certain the Lord will direct you to the exact person whom your actions will become an answered prayer.

It’s nearly 11 weeks left in 2017, enough time to check off all five of these items from the list. I’d love to hear what you plan to do and what you have come up with on your own.  Come on, let’s end this year with a bang!

Please share your comments below.

When Grace Finds You

Growing up my siblings, along with my first cousins and I used to play a game. This game kept us active and smelling like puppies as we rummaged the streets of Inglewood. I recently discovered that my children love the game of Hide and Seek too! If you were “it” you had to find and tag other players in the game as they hid under cars, in trees, within bushes, and behind parked cars. When you were found you were upset, doubted your hiding abilities or thought someone was cheating. Bottom line it wasn’t cool to be found.

Today as I reach the milestone of two months postpartum (not sure when you stop counting) I am confident to say that grace has found me. The Lord must have secretly been playing this game with me, but after careful review of my life and being asked, “How have you been since you’ve had the baby?” my answer remains “I have been graced!” Grace found me as a train of meals were delivered daily to my doorstep the weeks following Jayla’s arrival. Grace was laid upon my shoulders as loved ones visited to lend a hand to household chores. Grace gently kissed me on the check as Jayla began a steady schedule that allowed me a decent amount of sleep at night and productive during the day. I am so grateful that God loves me to know what I can handle and when to send help. We are now

We are now a family of five which is the number of grace. My husband’s ability to discern when I was close to the edge then he stepped right on in was surely grace in the flesh. The boys have been able to gracefully share our love and attention with their sister. Most recently, I found myself getting stressed and having growing anxiety trying to manage my responsibilities. Typically, that is a sign that I am operating outside of God’s grace. My next steps are to take a step back, get some rest, or ask for help.

I am learning as a person of purpose, grace is a requirement for reaching your destiny. Some of my favorite scriptures are bursting with the promise of grace.

And He said to me, “My GRACE is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.II Corinthians 12:9

And God is able to make all GRACE abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.II Corinthians 9:8

I find encouragement from these two passages in the following ways:

  1. When I am feeling weak it is a reminder that God’s grace can find me here.
  2. It prevents me from thinking I have to always have it all together. If I continue to fake the funk and pretend to be strong, Jesus can’t step in to help.
  3. There is sufficiency in Christ. (Whoa…I can say that again) This scripture becomes an internal check to consider if I am placing more dependency on others, myself, or systems instead of God. He is all we need!
  4. God’s grace leads to abundance! So again, I ask myself, “Am I banking on grace or on me?” It’s a better turnout when I’m on the lookout for His grace.

These are promises worth standing on. So if and when you find yourself lost and in over your head, meditate on these scriptures then pray for God’s grace to find you.

Tag, you’re it! 🙂

Since I’m Still Pregnant…Maternity Journey Part II (Perseverance)

It’s July 9 and technically a day before Baby J’s due date. I know, I know…if we’re close you may have thought her due date was July 7. Well, that was the date I was praying for. I mean how cool would it have been for her birthday to be 7-7-17!!?? The crazy part is that on Friday, July 7 from 5am-10am I experienced contractions every ten minutes. Then they just STOPPED! WTW??? Five full hours of contractions, me preparing my mind for active labor, holding my baby for the first time within a few more hours, putting on makeup, packing up the car, and scarfing down my last good meal before you are starved during labor and delivery all for nothing. SMH

I mean, I even light weight shedded a tear, because I felt God was giving me my heart’s desire, for my baby girl to be born on such a divine day as 7-7-2017. But He was like SIKE!!!! So here I am still pregnant, but grateful so I figured I would finish blogging about my pregnancy journey.

So let’s chat about my glorious second trimester. Technically it was from February-April 2017. Medically speaking, the second trimester is when morning sickness ceases, your energy rises, you come to the realization that you are for real for real carrying life inside of you, and you feel some what human again. Let me back up to say I had declared 2017 as the year of, “Brunch, Book & Baby“. Theses were the three major assignments that I would fully dedicate myself to. The best way to be successful in life is to define your focus and what success looks like to you and the 3B’s was it for me.

I spent the turn of the new year, February-March four months pregnant, finishing writing and revising my first book! That’s right, while pregnant I was able to dedicate time, mind space, prayer, writing, and editing to create a written piece that would empower people to overcome barriers so they can achieve their dreams. If I am completely honest, there was a span between December-January where I was tapped out. I had nothing to write, I was sick and feeling completely uninspired to finish the manuscript. Originally my goal was to have the manuscript finished before the end of 2016. Needless to say, December 31, 2016 came and swiftly went without a finished manuscript. I was discouraged, but didn’t want to let all the hard work I put into writing the book be for not.

After sending my first draft to a few friends, getting their feedback, revising it again, finding a professional editor, going through several rounds of edits with him and finally having a finished manuscript ready to present to my publisher so I could release the book at my annual brunch I felt so accomplished! That process was not easy by no means, but by the grace of God I did it!! All while being pregnant and adjusting to the physical and emotional toll it takes on your body.

At six months pregnant I stood as a published author. How freakin’ amazing was that? To top off being a newly published author, on April 9, 2017 I hosted the 2nd Annual Power of Her Brunch with nearly 200 women in attendance at the Mira Vista Golf Club.

I was able to use The Power of Her Brunch as the official book release/signing event for my book Dream Chaser. I humbly signed every single book purchased that day, snapped photos with attendees, and soaked up every minute of that experience. Words really can’t express how amazing that event was.

Remember, I was six months pregnant and fashion options were not on my side. So my sister made me a custom made all white beaded dress with a detachable cape to wear to the brunch. Who said you can’t slay and be pregnant at the same time!

My second trimester was extremely memorable. Not necessarily because of the physical pregnancy, but what I was able to still experience and do while being pregnant. Some people view pregnancy as a disability, causing you to push pause on life and your dreams. The things I was able to do and experience while being pregnant I believe I transferred that same strength, faith, and ability to my daughter that was literally with me every step of the way.

When I was able to open the 88th Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Far Western Region Ecumenical services with prayer that liberated many, she shared that moment with me.

When I spent countless hours writing and revising 30,521 words that became “Dream Chaser…How to Overcome Barriers and put your life in motion“, the same amount of dedication, fortitude, insight, and prayer I had to mustard up was deposited into her future work ethic.

When I planned and hosted The Power of Her Brunch speaking to 200 women declaring them to be Dream Chasers, the hustle, collaboration, faith, and words of inspiration spoken were deposited into her spirit.

And finally by God’s grace while seven months pregnant I pulled off a book tour to Fresno, CA not knowing for sure who would show up, where to host the event, and who would assist me. So I pray the faith it took to pre-order books, drive over two hours to share the message of Dream Chaser is embedded in every fiber of her being.

Whether you are pregnant or not, maybe you are carrying more than you think you can bear, or you’ve been tasked to handle something that was not part of the original plan. (Remember I had plans, and this pregnancy was not part of it.) Allow these truths from God’s Holy word that have carried me through each and every valley towards triumphant encourage you to persevere.

  • “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” I John 4:4

  • “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me” Philp. 4:13

  • “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” II Corinthians 9:8

And the coolest part of it all, THE BEST IS STILL YET TO COME!!!

 

Why Vision Matters

Helen Keller, the blind American author, political activist, and lecturer once said; “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” Ouch! How sad is that? The thought of going through life with the ability to see, but you can not see any further than what meets your eye?

When a woman has vision she is able to see beyond her current circumstances. When vision is alive in the lives of people hope can be ignited. I will go out on the limb and say, the day you stop being a visionary is the day you die. When you see with vision you view life with expectation. You are expecting things around you to change. Vision not only aides the person seeing, it also brings hope to those around you. While your brother may only see himself as unemployed and undereducated your vision for a better life for him helps him to create a new portrait for his life. Your vision is so powerful that it has the potential to change the lives of others.

So, let me ask you a question. What area of your life are you not utilizing vision? Does your job seem exactly that, just a job? Or do you view your role as a stepping stone to your next place of achievement. Do you envision the work you do to be life changing and making a difference in another person’s life? Do you have a vision for your family? Or have you limited your legacy to the mere letters in your last name. We have all heard the popular proverb, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

For this reason, I wanted to gather as many women as possible to The Power of Her Brunch to help ignite and fine-tune your vision. It’s amazing because many of the vendors that will be onsite, I remember when their businesses were just ideas. The panelists’ stories of success and failure will be motivators for you to believe in the vision God has given you. Another one of my favorite scriptures is Proverbs 27:17  which says, “iron sharpens iron”. You can not expect to be a sharp piece of steel if you only associate with brittle wood pieces. It brings me joy that the brunch draws like-minded women who are supportive, encouraging, and are all aiming higher to reach their destiny.

Today, I want you to begin articulating, penning, and stretching your vision. When vision is burning in the inside of you, you will never settle for what life throws at you. Visionary women will use the little they have and make it much. They will gather what resources and ideas they have to fulfill their purpose. Be encouraged to know the vision that lies inside of you is bigger, deeper, and more powerful than what you could imagine on your on.

Leave your comments and visionary stories below.

Putting The Extra in Extraordinary

Sweets have always been a great temptation of mine. You call it; cookies, pies, cakes, or cobblers I can loose count of the calories I consume when enjoying them. The difference between an ordinary cake and an extraordinary cake are the quality of the ingredients. I mean come on, you know the difference between a Betty Crocker cake and grandma’s chocolate delights. And while we’ve heard the old age adage, “what you put in is what you will get out” somehow we do not equate that same school of thought to our spiritual lives.

II Corinthians 9:6 says, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” Another scripture that defends my point is Proverbs 1:31, “they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.” Simply put, we have to be intentional about our inputs since they determine our output. Intentionality must be utilized in doing life. If we want our outcome to be extraordinary, we have to put some extra on our ordinary. Put some extra time into your weekly family planning, extra effort into your spiritual development, extra love into your marriage, and extra sacrifice in achieving your goals.

Each week during the month of March, I want to challenge you to put the EXTRA in your ordinary. Seeing you live an extraordinary life will not occur by happen stance. This week’s EXTRAordinary challenge is to:

Fall in love with the dawn of the day

How magnificent is the beauty of a sunrise? How calming and reassuring are the morning sounds of birds chirping? With extra time in the morning decide how best to use that time. Your extra time can be devoted to time with God, a morning prayer walk, meditating on scriptures, or preparing for the day ahead.

Psalm 143:8Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.

Psalm 119:148My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.

Proverbs 31:15She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.

There hasn’t been a day when I have intentionally decided to rise early to take authority over my day with prayer, meditation, planning, and taking care of my body that I regretted it. As you take the extraordinary steps to fall in love with the dawn of the day, know that an extraordinary life is within reach.

EXTRAordinary Challenge

Comment below with either how you will use your extra time in the morning or what you will do to ensure you get up in the morning.

4 Things I Won’t Be Doing In November

I’m coming clean y’all. As we approach the end of another year, and as we discern preciousness of life I have to be like Paul, and lay aside every weight. So I wanted to share with you what I won’t be doing in November and the months to come. There won’t be a nare notha day in my life (by the grace of God) that I subject myself to the following:

1.Asking myself “Am I doing enough?”

I’m a self-admitted over achiever…I know this. It can be traced back to elementary school to the chocolate bar fundraisers where I wanted to win the grand prize for the most bars sold. Or maybe it stems from the middle child syndrome (I’m #2 of 4 kids). When it comes to parenting, leading in ministry, serving in my sorority, and as an entrepreneur I’ve time and time again asked myself, “Am I dong enough?” Are the boys excelling high enough in school, are they eating the right foods, should they be in a more challenging program? I’ve questioned if I’m offering enough to the women I lead in ministry to grow stronger in the Lord, is someone feeling left out, am I hitting every segment of our Sisterhood community? Have I turned over every rock, asked enough questions, or gone the extra mile, and prayed hard enough to see my dreams realized? What I learned is when I do this I am not operating within God’s grace and allowing Him to be the difference make, but I am trusting on my ability alone. Be weary of these kind of people too, they can never be satisfied and will try to drive you crazy reaching for perfection. Nevertheless, what I won’t be doing this any longer, but instead focusing on the areas deep inside I KNOW I’m not investing enough in. Are you doing enough in your relationship with God, your marriage, your personal development?

2. Assuming

I already know what you’re thinking…when you assume, you make an a$$ out of yourself. Why hasn’t this notion fully penetrated mind is another question? I assume the best of folks, I assume they are knowledgeable and can get the job done. I assume they know how much our relationship means to me, so certain actions are a given. I assume since you lead a department, obtained a higher degree, and are a parent you know the importance of timeliness, excellence and doing what you said you would do. These bumps in the roads have allowed me to be a better listener, friend, and leader. If I am expecting something, I’m going to come right out and say it. If I need you and miss you, I’m going to ensure that you know it and collectively plan for time together. Assuming only makes you frustrated when the outcomes doesn’t meet your expectations. Author, Mike Foster said, “clarity creates accountability” So if you struggle in this area, be sure you are clearly communicating your needs and desires as it relates to work, family, and ministry.

3. Being anxious

This one was inspired by two close people in my life and their recent social media post. I’ll let their post speak for themselves.

Screenshot_20161101-093256 Screenshot_20161101-093403

 

I’ll leave you with this, Philippians 4:6-7Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

4. Wanting “it” more for others than they do for themselves

I’ll be honest and say I’m not sure if this is completely the “Christ-like” approach, but it’s so draining to constantly want more for someone than they do for themselves. It’s heart breaking to see people being used and abused under your nose. It’s like every new boyfriend they get is the same guy wrapped in a different body. In your mind you’re like, “are you falling for this again?” You see people go through the same unhealthy cycles over and over again neglecting the potential inside of them and forfeiting the abundant life God has for them. Now maybe what I need to do is draw a healthy line in these relationships. The inner coach in me always wants to save, advise, encourage and see people operating at their optimum level. But just like the old adage says, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.” So from now on, I’m going to release myself of the burden I put on myself that somehow I am their savior. No way that’s Jesus! I can give words of wisdom, try to be a place of accountability, and help where I can, but understand they have to want it, they have to come to the point in their lives like the prodigal son and realize better has their name on it. Just remember, what you begin to do for others as a precedent, they will always expect and require from you.

PLEASE let me know your thoughts and leave comments. I know I’m not the only one who needs to draw a line in the sand.