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My Growth as a Mom!

It is May 10th, 2020. It is the day that is set aside to celebrate our mothers. To recognize all that they do for us. The valleys and mountains they walk with us. A special thank you goes to my children. Without them, I would not have this honorable title. They call me mom because I birthed them. I do not take it for granted because the lessons they have taught me are so precious, I am a better person because of my kids. How I have grown!!

In Prayer

I have relied on God to give me the strength to bring up His children in the way they should go. I pray for them daily and I also pray for their future husbands. I pray for their education and for their careers. They have taught me to pray and to be strong.

In Finding Joy

There is nothing like a child’s joy. A smile from the time they wake up to the time they come to give you a goodnight hug. We call it a “squeezie” because it has to be as tight as possible. That smile and a heart full of joy make it easy to forget the hard times. They have taught me to smile and be joyful.

Discipline

You can’t give what you do not have. In my quest to teach them, I have had to make sure that my tank is full first before they get up. I run to the Well every morning for my fill. I have had to learn to discipline myself in so many ways. What I watch and what I read. They have taught me to stick with it and be disciplined.

In defining Happiness

I have learned to create many positive experiences for us as a family. These are things that we will remember with fondness in years to come. That is what I call happiness. Even when things are tough, I look for a way out. It can be a hug or breakfast for dinner.  They have taught me what it means to be happy.

This week, I had asked all my siblings to tell me of facts they remember about our dear mom. It was very refreshing to read all they told me. One thing that stood out most was that she gave her all and her best in everything she did. She put others first.

I saw that this is one of the most distinctive traits or call it a lesson, that I inherited from her. I have a servant’s heart.

Thank you mom.

The Wuhan Effect

In a period of 6 months, a little known city in China has become a household name. No one knew about Wuhan China. It was not in the school course. We did not have to learn about it for the ACT or SAT or for any significant purposes. Unfortunately, this little city will forever be associated with the greatest human change in recent history. The coronavirus pandemic. In the blink of an eye what came out of Wuhan made the whole entire world cease to operate in whatever routine that we all called normal for the last century. Masks have become part of our everyday attire. In addition to parenting their children, every parent with a school-aged child has a new role. They are responsible for their school work. Children are doing their school at home. This should not be confused with homeschooling, mainly because the parents are not in control of the learning material. The teacher provides all the material and the parent is expected to report to the teacher all that the child has done. In true homeschool scenarios, the parent is responsible for the material and the results of their child’s education. In a true homeschool world, the parent is free to be creative and flexible to adjust according to the child’s learning style. This makes it less stressful and actually enjoyable. It becomes a lifestyle and the parent is at liberty to make every opportunity a learning moment. I work with parents who seek an alternative to public school for their children’s education. I inspire them to align their values with the goals they have for their children. If you want to learn how to homeschool your child, feel free to contact me and I will show you how. I can coach you to succeed in this journey. It would be the best gift you can give your child.

5 Critical Steps to Homeschool

Are you thinking of homeschooling? This 5 steps will set you on a good start.

Mindset

When you decide to homeschool, most likely there will be people in your circle who will not support, or understand your decision. It is important that you enter into this journey with the right mindset. Do not doubt yourself. Know that with every new thing that we introduce in our life, there is going to be fear. The thing is, fear is unfounded. It is a way for your brain to try to protect you. Set your mind to a life of positive stance and you will succeed. Have confidence. You can do this. You can do it and do it well.

Comparison

Just like your fingers are all of a different height, homeschooling is not going to be the same from family to family. Better still, it will look different for each child you have to homeschool. You will be doing yourself an injustice if you start comparing yourself to others. We all have our own path to walk and they will never look the same. Embrace yours and match on.

Plan

This is by far the most important task you will undertake. Take care of any legal paperwork that needs filing. Spend some time to learn how you will adjust your life to suit the new lifestyle. As you are planning, remember to leave room for flexibility. Set aside a day or a week to go through the different books, curriculums, and activities you will be undertaking. For instance, if you want to include piano to your school, take some time to find a teacher, if you going to outsource.

Tribe

No man is an Island. Don’t do it alone. There are so many great parents out there who have walked the journey you are about to undertake. Reach out to them. They will soon become your biggest cheerleaders and role models. Outsource what you feel that you need to. Join a co-op. This will give you and the children a chance to interact with others and will become your tribe. You will need a good support system and this will be one step to creating life long friends.

Relationship

Homeschool is a very good foundation for building solid relationships with your child. Not only that, but you will also be amazed at the firm friendship that is built among the siblings and as a whole family. It is a lifestyle that presents very unique opportunities that are equal to no other. Most importantly, you have a chance to instill in your children your values and beliefs.

It Shall be Well!

To say that we are living in a stressful time is an understatement. Is there a solution to all this? I believe so. Listen to this.
Matthew 11:28  Come to me, all (ye) that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.
​If you are like me, that verse is very familiar and maybe you already have memorized it. It refers to us taking all our troubles to The Lord who will bear it for us. What an appropriate verse to fall back to at this time of isolation and quarantine! Everyone’s life has been turned upside down. Parents who dreamed of a job where they could work from home have gotten their wish. Yes, no more of Atlanta’s neck to neck traffic. Yes, no more long waits at the bus station for those that rely on public buses in other countries. What complicates the whole scenario is that the kids are home too. Yes, they get to stay home all day. Yes, there is no bullying during recess or during the ride home on the school bus. The school has moved home as well. The traffic stress has been replaced by the stress of managing work and keeping the kids up to date with their school work. Another dilemma is that most of the teachers have to keep up with the class and their own children. How about those essential workers? How is everyone coping with all this? I have a few tips.
  • Pray. Read God’s word over and over. Saturate yourself with His word.
  • Practice self-compassion when you don’t get everything completed
  • Seek professional help. Sometimes it seems like you have reached the end of your rope. Don’t do it alone.
  • No man is an island and there is not a better time than this to rely on your good friends.  Do not keep it all in.
  • Some parents have been homeschooling for a long time. Seek them out and ask for advice or help. You might be surprised at how much help they can be.
  • Plan appropriately. Time management can be the key to all the stress piled on us.

Joshua 1:9  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
That is not a request. We are commanded to:-
  • Be strong
  • be courageous
  • don’t fear
There is hope in the Lord that this too shall pass. We do not know when the pandemic will end, nor do we know how life will be after all this. One thing remains constant.
God is love. He is good.
Cleave to what is good!

Getting Ready to Homeschool

Before you even start browsing the catalog, deciding what curriculum to use, write out your mission. What is your why? Religion? Cultural influence? Family dynamics? Whatever your reason is, write it down. Commit it to memory and put it somewhere that you can see it often. This will become your true north when things get rough, because they will. One day you will look outside and see that yellow bus and wonder why your kids are not in it. You will need your mission to keep you going.

One of the most important things to remember as you start your homeschool journey is first and foremost, you are your children’s mom. The teacher thing comes later. God brought them to the world through you. He will equip and help you bring them up to what His purpose is in their lives.  So, relax and enjoy the opportunity. Homeschooling is a journey and not a race. In the end, it will become a lifestyle. The second note to take into consideration is that all children learn differently. Some are kinesthetic learners and some are auditory learners. Knowing this and adjusting your curriculum to reflect the same will make your life so much easier. Doing so will promote mastery of the subjects, and hence the joy of learning. Homeschooling is not school at home. Remember you have full responsibility when it comes to your children’s learning. Trying to duplicate the nuances of a regular school will rob you of the joy and elevate the stress at home. Remember, you are not restricted to timelines and schedules. For instance, if you pick to do math facts before spelling, that is ok. It is ok to do school at the park when it is nice outside. As women, we tend to compare ourselves with others and that is no exception to homeschooling. Avoid falling into this trap. Homeschooling is different for every family. Remember, there are as many schools of thought when it comes to homeschooling as there are many homeschoolers. It would be overwhelming especially if this is your first year homeschooling. One advantage of homeschooling is a flexible lifestyle. Life happens. It is ok to skip school and go on a trip with daddy on his business trip. Switch a lesson plan to learn about an eclipse that is happening tomorrow. Because homeschool is a lifestyle, make every opportunity a learning experience. From taking care of a newborn to grocery store trips in the middle of the day. View every day as a mystery to solve. Learning opportunities are all around us. There will be times when you will not have an answer to their question. That is when you say, “let’s figure it out”. This will inspire them to have a love for learning. This is a skill that will help them tremendously in the future. When you show your vulnerability, you are also teaching them courage. All being told, the key to a successful journey is consistency. God is good. Cleave to What is Good!

Turning a New Leaf?!

When the new year rolls around, it is very likely that you set new goals or resolutions that you want to accomplish throughout the new year. Maybe you chose a word that will be your focus for the year, or possibly a phrase or a motto to use as your compass for the year. According to the dictionary, a motto is a quotation or phrase chosen as encapsulating the beliefs or ideals guiding someone, family, or institution. One particular quotation that comes to mind is my high school motto. “Forward ever, Backward never” This was printed on our shirts, yes we had uniforms. and sweaters. Several decades have passed since I thought about that clause. At that time, this phrase did not mean much to me, but now in my adult life, I see that it is a meaningful one to inspire one to aim higher in life and meet the goals or aspirations that one desires. Come with me and break down this phrase. The first part “Forward Ever”  means that we are going to put one foot in front of the other and start matching.  Realize that whatever you focus on will eventually increase. Focus on what is ahead of you. The goal you want to attain is the joy ahead of you. Your banner.

Philippians 3:13

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,”


I am sure you have heard the saying that a journey of a mile starts with just one step. It is the little steps that we make that bring us closer to where we want to be. Establish what those little steps are for you. Map out your journey to the outcome you want. Make a list. The joy in making a list is crossing it out. Every little development we make in our lives is a step toward our goals. Arm yourself with diligence, ingenuity, and consistency. By being diligent, you have to make your goal a priority. Care enough about your success and repeat what will bring it to fruition. The Bible has a lot to say about diligence. What caught my attention is that the word is mentioned as contrary to laziness. It yields progress, profit, satisfaction, and also leadership.

Proverbs 12:24

The hands of the diligent shall bear rule, but the slothful shall be under tribute.


Proverbs 12:27

The lazy do not roast any game, but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt.


When it comes to ingenuity, this is where your true character gets to shine. It is the creativeness of your personality that will get you to the ultimate destination. You and I might have the same goal and have a totally different approach to it. For instance, if your goal is to lose weight, you might join a local gym and I might opt to buy workout equipment instead. You are all unique in your own way and that is what makes you special. Tap into that originality and you will succeed. As your character gets to shine, it will also be tested. Consistently doing what is new to you is going to be challenging at first. The good this is that this is when true growth happens. You chose that particular goal for a reason. One way to stay consistent is to schedule a time to work on your accomplishments. Life has a way of getting in the way, so make sure you set time aside and put it on the calendar. It might be a good idea to have someone to hold you accountable.

Proverbs 27:17​

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.


1 Corinthians 15:58​

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.​


I will close with something I learned from watching an animal channel the other day. Apparently, in the frozen tundra, food is so scarce that late in the spring when the sun warms up the earth, thousands and thousands of reindeer descend on the thawing ground in search of vegetation. Sometimes they have to walk for days without stopping. Even the young ones know to do that. That is extraordinary endurance. The flip side to this is that the reindeer have an enemy. The biting flies, who also happen to have a very strong tenacity. That is why the reindeer needs to keep walking. When they cannot take it anymore, the reindeer knows to go to higher grounds where the flies cannot go. In the same way, you should elevate yourself to the levels that those who want to bite you cannot go. We all have a past. That should not be your focus. The past needs to remain as such. Behind us. Just keep walking. Forward Ever!!

Why We Met!

The temperatures are in the fifties and believe it or not, it is December! In Georgia! No heavy coats, no boots, and no gloves. After all, it is the south. When most of the country is enjoying a white Christmas, the south was as brown as it can be. Last week I had a visit from my friend Cheryl who lives in Ohio. She and her family had not been to Georgia and could not believe that they could go hiking. To them, fifty degrees felt like we were experiencing a heatwave. Our friends could not believe that they had left behind four feet of snow in the ground. “This feels great”. I will come back to that later. Stick around! The term friend has come to mean a lot of different things, credit to the new and emerging society powered by social media. For instance, a person can be your friend even if you have never physically met them. If they follow you on Facebook, they are considered your friends. They may not necessarily be people you now. They can be your friends because they like what you posted.  How do you define friendship? If you were to look at all the people that you know, you will notice that you relate to them at different levels. There are some that are friends by involvement, people you do things with. This could be your co-workers or someone you meet at a gym class. Other friends are in your life because of their trustworthiness and dependability. A special level of friendship involves those that, not only are they associated and loyal to you, but there also exists a level of affection between you. The Webster dictionary goes farther to state that a friend is one whose company you desire and you seek to promote their happiness and prosperity. How is this demonstrated in the Bible? In both the Old and New Testament, we can see how all these levels of friendship demonstrated. The life of Jesus on earth is a good example of how we should live ours. He proved His affection for us by coming to earth as a human and dying on the cross for us. Not only did He have affection, But He was also associated with all ranks of the human race. The fishermen, the tax collectors, and even traitors. Yet He called them friends. Back to my friend Cheryl. When we lived in the same city, we saw each other each week because we were in the same homeschool co-op. We did 4-H together, and other such activities. Although we were separated by about 700 miles, that did not present a barrier in our friendship. As it so happened, Cheryl found herself in a situation where she needed assurance and guidance and most importantly, prayers for one of her sons who was out of the country on a mission trip.  In Africa. Having knowledge about the place and the culture, I was able to help her navigate the waters and being there for her when she needed me most. Our friendship was transformed. It moved from one of association to one of dependability and loyalty. It is a clear demonstration of an African proverb that states “ndugu ni makinya” meaning it takes steps from both sides to develop a great friendship. Just like in a telephone call, if there is no response one on the other side of the line, it cannot be called a conversation. I love this family and I am glad we kept in touch with this dear family. People cross our paths all the time. We may not know why but God always knows. You have people on your contact list. You might have met them at the park, at the library or at one of your kids’ activities. Start there. Invest in your friends and you will have a rich life. We all have something to share. I have heard it said that the graveyard is the richest place on earth because of all the unfulfilled dreams buried there. I would like to counter that and say that the earth is the richest place because of all the friends around us that could help us fulfill those dreams. People whom we will want to see prosper and happy, and they will wish the same for us. A friend loveth at all times. Be a friend.

Never Seen Before

Have you ever met a prayer warrior? The kind of person that you can always count on to pray for and with you? That is the kind of friend we all need in our corner. Have you ever thought to listen to how they pray? Do they have a certain pattern to their prayer? What does that say about them and their prayers? It is in these moments that we can learn more about the person praying and a little bit about their character. My mom was a prayer warrior. Not just one to say that I will pray for you and forget about it the minute you are out of sight. No. She meant it and always did it. The most fascinating thing about her morning prayer is that she always started her prayer with, “…Thank you for a new day, one that I have never seen before. Many would have loved to see it but did not…” This phrase is engraved in my mind and it is one that I have adapted. It is so profound to me that I just marvel at how powerful those words are. Every morning is not only a gift, but it is a miracle. What is the definition of the word miracle? According to the dictionary, it is a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency. And yet, do we view it as a welcome event or have we gotten so used to the act of waking up in the morning that we forget that we might not see another one again? You know how you just pick up a book at the library just because the title looked interesting? I recently did that. The title of the book is Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. I was halfway into the book and I had not thought much about the title. One day, it hit me like a brick that I literary stopped in the middle of a jog. Miracle morning. What is it? Why did the author choose this title? I do not know why but I think it is very appropriate. Mornings are the only time in life when you have an opportunity to truly start afresh. If I were an artist, I would look at a new day as a blank canvas. Very white, all waiting for me to “create” a masterpiece. We should look at our lives as a masterpiece work of art. In the song, One day at a time, there is a sentence that says, Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow may never be mine. I watched my mom take her last breath. It was early in the morning, 6:32 am. It was a new day that she did not get to see (and many more). Her words were true then and they remain true to date. My prayer to whoever reads this is that you will continue to make a masterpiece out of your life. One that you will be proud of. One that, when all is said and done, those you leave behind will say, that was an awesome art. A life well-lived. And above all. The Author of all life will say, Well done, good and faithful servant! …… Come and share your master’s happiness! Matthew 25:23

Books That Inspire Me!

Although The Holy Bible is the first and most inspiring book to me, I do not feel that I should put it in this list simply because it is equal to none and I will not be doing the authors listed here any justice by putting them on the same list as The Bible. I believe that The Bible is God’s word to me. As I continue to travel this journey, I have come across people that, in their giftedness of writing, have made a difference in my life. I am thankful to them for using their talent to inspire people like me who find joy in written words.

All Experiences Are Good

Is it true that all experiences, delightful and bad lead to good? Really! How can a bad experience lead to good? It is easier for me to imagine how a happy experience can have a positive outcome. For instance, you have always had a dream of becoming a chef but have never taken the necessary steps to achieve your dream. After visiting a restaurant, on a Sunday afternoon, you have a meal to die for. This might inspire to go home and recreate the same meal. With your new zeal, the results are good enough that you are stirred up to start your own business recreating gourmet dishes. Next, you know, you are writing a cookbook or you might be the next name in every household. That is what I call a pleasing experience leading to good.   On the flip side, most bad experiences are really bad, the worst of them being the loss of a loved one. How can these encounters lead to a wonderful outcome? That is mind-boggling to me and I do not have an answer. What I got from the statement was that we can use that energy we have through the experience for a better good. Experience being the unrivaled teacher, it is from our pain that we can have more empathy for someone going through the same. Make your mess your message. What helped you most during your process? Was it the silence of a friend? Then be quiet when your friend is grieving. Was it a card in the mail from an acquaintance whom you haven’t talked to in over 2 years? Then spend those two bucks and send the card. You never know, you might be starting a lifelong friendship with that acquaintance.   Cleave to what is good and you will see a positive change in your life. It is in those moments when the road seems easier if we took the exit that we have to determine in our hearts and challenge ourselves. After all, it is easier to give excuses and dwell onto that which is unpleasant. Change leads to the betterment of us, those around us, and especially those we love. That is the only way to grow. It is common to ask a child what they want to be when they grow up. I think this is a question we should ask ourselves on a daily basis. So long as today is called today, we should always aspire to grow and get better than yesterday. Body, spirit, and mind.   If we keep getting disappointed about where we are, we will never get to where we want to be. Instead, start being optimistic about where you are going. This is complex because we are accustomed to looking at what we are instead of what we can or want to be. Keep your eyes on the goal. I will give you an example. When you are driving down the road and see something of interest on the right side. If you look at it long enough, guess where your car will start turning. Yes, you got it. The car will start turning towards what you are looking at.   Does my personal culture reflect positivity?   Cultivating a positive culture is key to getting from where we are, to where we want to be. No one wants to stay in the bad experiences forever. A character trait of optimism is having a sense of hopefulness and confidence about the future. I have had the privilege of visiting an Amish community and it was one of the best experiences I have had. I cannot think or hear the word pattern without remembering the beautiful, intricately made quilts that I saw during my visit. So, when I read the definition of the word culture as being an integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior, my mind immediately went to the quilts.   First and foremost, it is important to remember that there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. I looked up the verses in Ecclesiastes 3 1-8 and “…have no time for that” was not included. God has given us enough time in a day to do what he has equipped us to accomplish. So, be kind to yourself and take one step at a time, just do not procrastinate. How we chose to use time determines if we are will get the change we want or not.   What have I knitted into my pattern of life?   The pattern of negativity is a big hindrance in life. Truth is that as long as we are on earth, we will always get disappointed, discouraged, and also get hurt. What we do about it is what makes a difference. It all starts in the mind. Pay close attention to your thoughts. The patterns of our thoughts affect our action. Whenever you notice the same pattern that got you to where you are, know that it is not the truth. In Philippians 4:8, we are told to think those things that are true. The devil will always want to play with our minds and it is our job to refuse the advances he throws at us.   What knowledge have I acquired thus far?   Truth be told. God loves us so much. Believe in Him. He is a happy God and knowing this truth and living it is the best gift we can give ourselves. Our behavior should reflect a positive culture, just as God wants us to live. We can boost our positive behavior by building a tribe of positive people. Think of a herd of elephants. As long as they stay together, a pride of lions cannot attack them. If one of the elephants gets isolated from the group, the pride of lions can take it down. Do not isolate yourself. You will be just opening a way for the devil’s attack. There is safety in numbers.   But ye that did cleave unto the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day.