Called By Name #Identity #Wholeness #Certainty

My nephew Zion turned one years old last month, and man did that come quick! I feel like it wasn’t too long ago that I was rushing to Paris to fall in love with him. (Click here to read that story).

One of my favorite things to do in this season his life, is watch his development. I get a kick out of observing him try new things and discover so much for the first time. I see him fearlessly maneuver and attempt to figure out ways of doing. I see him formulating likes, and even testing his limits. He listens and studies our eyes and lips when we speak. He deciphers and identifies words that we say, associating them with things and people that we address. I love to see this!, and it’s a precious reminder of how we all should be with our own Abba, Father.

You know what I really love, though??? His response to his name! It amazes me how powerful names and labels are, and how they can become ingrained in an individual before they even make it earth-side! At just one years old, Zion knows that he is Zion, he knows that he is “Auntie’s baby”, that he is G-Mama’s “buddy”, that he’s his mama’s “little man”, and that he is “so cuuute!”, and incredibly loved. He knows and he doesn’t for a second answer by what he doesn’t know. I can only imagine how hard his development would be if he didn’t know his name. How strange it would be if when we called his name he never turned his head in acknowledgement.

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you…” – Jeremiah 1:5 (NLT)

So I encourage you all today to open your bibles and discover your identity (like a child). I encourage you all to forgive whoever called you something that you’re not. Remove the debt and harsh labels (Matt. 6:12) and clothe yourself with the truth! How strange it is for us to not know who we are when our source (The word of God) and Resource (God himself!) is so easily accesible to us.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. – Psalms 139:13‭-‬14 (NLT)

Start fresh. Rule out any and everything that you’ve heard before, and declare in our heart right now, and adopt in your mind, right now, that our heavenly Father and Creator is the only One who is right! Let God be true and every man a liar! (Romans 3:4). Zion doesn’t rely on his own understanding, He trusts that what we are teaching him is what is right, as we should also trust God. (Proverbs 3:5)

I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” – Luke 18:17 NLT

When we know who and whose we are, the enemy’s foothold is loosened. The truth exposes lies and causes veils to fall. It grants sight to the blind. No more feeling our way through the darkness and crossing our fingers in hopes that we’re on the right path.

It’s time for certainty in identity! No more flip flopping doubts, embarrassment and pride about who we are! No more masks and weird phases, no turbulent cycles and emotional roller coasters. NO. MORE!!

“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. ‘Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.’” – 1 Peter 2:9‭-‬10 NLT

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5 Immunity Boosting Staples to Get You Through Flu Season #flu #kids #health #immunity

Anyone who knows me, knows that kids are my life and I’m connected to them everywhere I turn.  They are adorable, hilariously honest, give the best hugs, and are full of love. Oh, and I can’t forget germs. Oh, the germs!  Unfortunately, many of these little bundles of love haven’t yet mastered the art of avoiding spreading their germs, so we’ve got to play defense!

For the most part, I steer clear of western medication and stick to natural remedies. As the temperatures change and flu season hits, I thought sharing this post listing some of my favorite natural staples to boost your immune system, was pretty timely.

It’s always good to begin building your immune system when you are well, but beginning at all is swell. All of these come in handy when traveling too!

Disclaimer: The below recommendations are solely based on my personal opinion, personal experience and personal research. I am not a medical professional. 

Here’s the list:

1. Ester-C

Now, this isn’t your ordinary vitamin C.  It has high absorption properties, it’s non-acidic, and it contains antioxidants called bioflavonoids that help rid the body of icky toxins.

Another awesome factor is that you can take these on an empty stomach. No excuses for skipping this vitamin! Seriously, it’s my #1 for a reason.

2. Traditional Medicinals Organic Echinacea Plus Elderberry Tea

If you’ve been sleeping on echinacea, I’m about to wake you up because it is a fabulous herb for building your immune system. For years I’ve been a fan of it, and also a fan of the brand, Traditional Medicinals, and their assortment of organic teas (Thanks mom!).  A friend hipped me on elderberry, and honey, let me tellllll you! Throwing elderberry into the mix makes for a deliciously fruity, lethal combination for fighting colds, allergies, viruses, and bacterial infections. This little tea bag is the truth y’all! It’s not the easiest to find, but Amazon also sells a 6-pack (totaling 96 tea bags) at a reasonable price, comparable to in-store prices.

Check out Traditional Medicinals’ Seasonal Sampler too!

3. Emergen-C

Remember Airborne? Well, swap it for 1,000 mg of this fizzling goodness instead. Jam packed with electrolytes, manganese, zinc, antioxidants, and 7 B vitamins…umm, YES! They have a wider variety of flavors than I once remembered too. You no longer have to choose between Tangerine or Super Orange…big whoop! I’m currently digging Super Fruit Pomegranate myself.

1 box contains 30 packets, and 1 packet is recommended for 4-6 oz. of water. Use your box sparingly if you’re just boosting and maintaining. I “Subscribe & Save” from Amazon and have a box shipped monthly.  Definitely don’t pay over $10 for a box of these bad boys.

4. Ricola Cough Drops

Riiiii-co-laaaaaa! If you are a singer or have a job that requires talking frequently, you can certainly benefit from stashing a couple of these in your purse or pocket before running out the door in the morning. These also help lubricate and soothe your throat while in cold climates or air-conditioned places like stores, churches, hotels, schools, hospitals, etc.

Like Emergen-C, they too have more flavors now, and even have the kind that ooze menthol and open up your sinuses if you’re into that sort of sensation. Ricola Cough Drops often range from 19 up to 130 count.

5. Mandarin Oranges

In my opinion there’s nothing like vitamins in their purest form. Mandarin oranges are a healthy and easy snack to pack on-the-go. Not to mention, the immunity boosting benefits of orange pulp continue working long after consumption.

Unless you have a citrus tree in your backyard, you’re probably heading to your neighborhood grocery store to pick up this little booster. “Cuties” and “Halos” are amongst the more popular brands of seedless mandarin oranges/clementines on the market.

You can munch on them in transit, throw them in your lunch bag, toss them in a salad, or quickly satisfy your late night sweet craving, all while boosting your immune system. They’re also pretty easy for toddlers to peel on their own too. For the win!

 

So, what’s in your stash? Comment below. I’d love to know!
Tis the season!

 

#Kingdom #Business is Booming…

Today, I have the most amount of friends that I have ever had in my life at one time. I mean, I have had plenty of acquaintances, but the number of genuine people that have been a friend to me can be counted on one hand. The number is small, and personally, I like it that way, but I feel God stretching me.

I try to give the people and things that I care about my undivided attention. I’m the person who’s not on their cell phone at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I also don’t like rationing out my love. I like to give out as much as I can for keeps, and for free, if you’re not a pig, that is (See Matthew 7:6). Up until recently (like hours ago recently…this is fresh!), my analytical mind figured a small number of friends would allow me to strategically drop lump sums of love on everybody, resulting in happiness for all. It was a big fat burrito versus numerous street tacos kind of approach. street taco burritoIf you ask me, it’s a brilliantly inappropriate formula that works as long as the numbers don’t increase. But, Kingdom business is booming, and something’s gotta change. Times like these make me happy. They are those sweet and sour crooked path being made straight types of moments, and I’m all about it! I’m noticing that there are suddenly more mouths to feed, and I am but one chef cooking in the kitchen. There are suddenly more sheep to tend and I’m just a little ol’ sheep myself. Kingdom business is booming, and something’s gotta change.

business booming

cut the stringsMany of my friends, like myself, are probably used to my level of availability. Their level of support and maturity vary, but regardless, it comes down to me. I’ve been the kind, single friend with a different type of busyness that truthfully, I haven’t respected much. I’ve had a willingness to be there and set myself aside. Sometimes it’s a labor of love, which is great and necessary, but mostly it’s been a neglectful puppet act that displeases the Lord, and myself. It’s been an unhealthy form of bondage, like all forms of bondage are…unhealthy. My puppet strings are showing, and I can’t do it anymore.

As I sit here on this threshing floor with Jesus, looking at all the dreams and opportunities that He’s dropping on purpose for me, I realize that there is no way I can attain them with this posture. I am weak and I need His perfect strength to make me strong. I need Him to take it from here.

…He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

Lord, please forgive me for taking Your place, and getting in Your way. It is not my job to meet the needs of my friends (or anyone). In fact, there is absolutely no way that I can do it, for You are their Shepherd! I see that Your family is growing. Your church is growing, and many new relationships are forming that I just can’t keep track of. Thank You for every friend, brother, and sister You have blessed me with. I submit them all to you, Father. Past, present, and future. I entrust them all in Your hands, and ask that You would appropriate each one. I am free to do Your will and mine, and I do not have to apologize or feel bad for doing either one, which are truly the same. I love You, and I thank You for bringing this up. Thank You for allowing me to come to the end of myself and recognize the err in my ways and my need of You, My Savior.

I thank You for these important life changes, and I ask that You would help me to set appropriate boundaries and help all who are affected by them to adjust accordingly . Snip my puppet strings! I remove the pressure off of myself to be someone that I am not, and I embrace imperfect me, and choose to love her. *sigh* Thank You for Your burden that is light, and Your yoke that is easy. You are such a Good Father. I ask that You would continue to do what You do, and help me to follow in Your way. In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

 

#Life, #Love, & #Heaven on #Earth

Hello loves! It’s been a while, I know, but good news…I’ve been growing tons and have a bit of it to share.  Since my last post, I’ve raised my standard of living quite a bit with attention to a couple of key areas that I’ve outlined. Now, let’s see if I remember how to write ha.

I feel the need to share this because I think people frequently admire or develop a bit of hate towards a person based on what we do not know. We covet another’s physical and spiritual gifts and blessings, without fully understanding why they have what they have or what they did to get where they are.  Few are ready and willing to make the necessary changes to come higher.  Noses get turned up at those with high standards, while bitterness festers in their heart as if salvation isn’t free. Friends, you have to know and embrace this as truth: You can have as much of your inheritance that you tap into. To whom much is given, much is required (Luke 12:48).  This is simply how I carry my cross, today.  Carry yours as you see fit.

music_notes“…Day and night they never stop saying:
‘Holy, holy, holy,

is the Lord God Almighty,’ 
who was, and is, and is to come.”

~ Revelation 4:8b (NIV) ~

MUSIC…

For years one type of fast that I have partaken of is a fast from secular music where for a period of time: days, weeks, month(s) progressively, I would replace all secular music I habitually listened to with worship music honorable unto the Lord (i.e. Contemporary Christian, Gospel, Christian Rap, etc.). As these fasts became easier, I noticed during them, that I also became stronger. I saw clearer. I heard better. I was further from the world and I was closer to heaven. That’s the goal, right?

This may come to a shock to some of you, but the angels in heaven are focused on eternal things that matter. They aren’t bumpin’ your favorite Kanye, Jay Z, or Beyonce jams. The fallen “angels” on earth however, are producing them (but that’s another post).

Media comes at us with junk whether we want to consume it or not. At some point we have to take responsibility for what we choose to filter.

Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.

~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (AMP) ~

So, in raising my standard of living and finding a new expression of love for My Abba, aside from minimizing television watching and narrowing selections, I have chosen to toss out all of my secular music that does not honor God or heaven. Now this doesn’t mean I don’t sing a random hook that’s already been downloaded in my spirit or bop my head while shopping, but hopefully one day, I will be able to be a bit more “not of this world”. I’m a work in progress. For now, I am proud of me. The praises of God are considerably outweighing any other sound in my life. He is worthy.

Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.

~ 2 Corinthians 4:8 (AMP)~

CAREER/EDUCATION…

I work in the legal industry, and recently, I was accepted into an outstanding paralegal program at a well approved university. Exciting, right? Yoddler_359_LargeYes, God is so kind.  God is kind because he honors our requests even when they are not necessarily best. The very day that I received acceptance, I was up late sharing intimate time with my Beloved, studying His word, and embracing His love. I suddenly became overwhelmingly saddened by the thought that in a few months, the bible I was holding would soon be replaced with a textbook. It would only be a year, but I couldn’t help but wonder in anguish how many souls that meant. In fact, I was praying fervently for a precious one that night!  If but one was lost, my heart would hurt forever.  The financial debt for career advancement was worth it, but the spiritual debt for potential hell advancement of God’s people? That is not.  One soul is too many.

 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

~ Matthew 16:26 (NIV) ~

I made the best destiny decision of my life that night. I decided to seek first, the kingdom of God, and trust God to add unto me the rest (Matt. 6:33). My heart is still smiling at this decision and the idea of my Heavenly Father receiving maximum glory for all of “my” accomplishments. I’m just striving to get more names written in the book of life.  I’m going hard before I go home.

“LOVE LIFE”…

I am mentioning this because my “love life” for lack of a more fitting description, seems to always be an amusing blog segment and I dare not let ya down haha. I am happy to say that I am currently single and open to being pursued. Last year, I was crushing, but not open, and I requested in hopes of not limiting God, just one solid year to just establish myself all-around. He has granted my request. He’s so sweet like that.

loveDelight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

~ Psalm 37:4 (ESV) ~

All conceit aside, I am the strongest and most beautiful that I have ever been. The more I learn of my God, I learn of myself, and love me. I don’t hold the hands of time, but now seems like a pretty good one. In Christ I am assured that there is no need to rush on my end, for there is no delay on His; love is patient.

 [He said] I charge you, O you daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or by the hinds of the field [which are free to follow their own instincts] that you not try to stir up or awaken [my] love until it pleases.

~ Song of Solomon 2:7 (AMP) ~

Naturally Me. #NaturalHair #TeamNatural

Over the years I’ve been asked so many inquisitive questions about my hair and natural way of living. People want to know when it all started, why it all started, and how I keep it going.  For too long I’ve thought that with all of these naturals sprouting up my story isn’t needed, but I realize that there’s only one me that someone can identify with and that me, is the only one who can tell my story appropriately. Let be start by saying this…

For years African-American women have had complexes about their hair. At young ages we began relaxing (or “perming” — a culturally misused synonymic) our hair to make it more manageable or presentable (whatever that means) to our counterparts. Straight was deemed as better. Hang time a bonus. I began thinking about my hair and realizing that I knew nothing about its natural state. I was the girl constantly relaxing my hair and making appointments to relax everybody elses smh.

While studying Business at SDSU (Woot! Woot!), I took an Africana Studies course to fulfill a prerequisite and quickly fell in love with the subject.  Every day I went to class I felt like I was learning something new about me, and low-key upset with the timing (but it’s all good).  You can imagine how easy it was for that 1 course to turn into 2, 3, 4, 5…and before I knew it, I was minoring in Africana Studies. I developed a strong sense of pride for my heritage, but more importantly, a strong understanding and appreciation for all who have gone before me.  I was disturbed with an overflow of facts.  I was a free-spirit learning the depth of my people’s bondage; my bondage.  I was disturbed that they couldn’t freely be themselves in allll fashions and realized the area of hair was still one lingering.  I wanted to express my freedom and love me, inside and out.  I wanted to know how Nu’s hair looked.  I wanted to know if Nu needed that creamy crack (aka relaxer).  I wanted to show other races who has been in their presence all along, and who’s not leaving.  And so, in 2005, I decided to “go natural”. I didn’t big chop, I just transitioned, straightened, rocked braids, etc…and the struggle was reaaaaal! 😉

I battled the doubts, the dandruff, the tangles, the breakage all by my lonesome. Then 4 years later, there were others like me, learning their hair and calling it naturally beautiful. I was excited for us all.  But shoot, it’s about time y’all showed up! haha

Most naturals you meet will tell you that once you become serious about your “natural hair journey”, as many will call it, the journey at some point no longer becomes about hair, but about your health.  That same energy is transferred throughout all parts of your life.  If you can stay up late and twist, invest in products to maintain, then maybe you can stay up late and work out that issue with your spouse too.  But I’m just saying!

So yea, that’s pretty much it.  Today, I still can’t braid, I still don’t know it all, and I’m still learning as I go, but I’m free, and enjoying every minute of it, naturally…me.

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