Hair Does Not Define Me

My Strands Do Not Define Me

With the coming of fall, which is my favorite season of the year by the way, I decided to grow out my fade and let my curls pop again.  My main reason for chopping my hair off for the umpteenth time was because of hair loss associated with symptoms of Type One Diabetes.  I had bald spots galore and my hair literally fell out in clumps.  Rather than sulk over lost strands, I decided to embrace being without hair and I became even more confident with myself.  It was a bold move to go completely bald, but I loved every minute of it. I learned to love myself for who I am and not my hair.  Being a “Baldie” was fun and so much easier as far as maintenance is concerned.  It has been so liberating and I felt the most confident with no hair at all.  I have so much respect and love for those that for medical reasons do not have the option to just grow their back.   I got a chance to walk in another woman’s shoes.  I was able to get an understanding of how it feels to get those awkward looks and stares from people who have no idea what my hair journey was and to look them in the face with a smile.  Now, I’m ready to take the plunge again and enter yet another hair growth journey.

So, for the past few weeks I have been dodging making my usual appointment to the beloved barber shop and opted to wear wigs to work and a hat or head wrap over the weekends.  I’ll be honest with you and tell you that I did text my barber once to see if I could get a cut, BUT he was booked, so needless to say I did not get that haircut.  I purchased my very first straight-haired wig to change things up to avoid going through that “awkward” stage, you know, that point when your hair just looks unwearable…when it’s growing in 100 different lengths and you look like who did it and ran away.  Yea that stage.

When I debuted the new look, I received an overflow of comments with my “drastic” change of appearance, which was to be expected, but some of them kind of upset me. The way society and people in general are when it comes to the standards of women’s beauty is wrong on so many levels, especially as a woman of color.  I actually had a male co-worker give me a compliment on the new wig and then follow up with stating that I no longer looked like I stuck my finger in a socket, referring to a curly wig I wore previously.  The amount of anger and frustration I had when I received that comment was indescribable.  As the days went on, I received more and more compliments from men and women alike on how good I looked and that they preferred me with long straight hair.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to receive the occasional compliment, but when I realized how much more acceptable my appearance was with straight hair, opposed to curly hair or none at all, it upset me.  It’s sad to say that even now, when natural hair is becoming more accepted, there is still an underlying stigma of unacceptance for what naturally grows from our scalp.  Some days I just wanted to rip the wig off and rock my one month of hair growth with no lining and thin edges.  That awkward stage is no joke y’all lol. There were days when I would walk confidently with my picked out fro or voluminous twist out and get the side eye as if my hair was untamed or unkept. There were days of me being completely bald and I would be asked if I had some type of cancer or asked why I would cut off my beautiful hair.  I’ve stated in previous blog posts that I am not my hair.  My hair does not define who I am or what I believe.  My hair does not define how I feel about myself.  This natural hair journey is so much more than hair.  It has taught me a lot about who I am, flaws and all and I’ve gained so much confidence in my own inner beauty that I refuse to allow others to determine what beauty looks like for me.

Regardless of what people think, I love to change up my hair and I’ll continue to do so.  It’s fun and it allows me to express myself freely.  I’ll definitely keep you updated on my growth journey as time goes on.  What are your favorite protective styles or ways to promote growth?  Have you experienced any type of backlash for your choice in hairstyles in the workplace or in general? Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments.

 

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Back to school tips for the mom on a mission

Tips for the Hustling Mom

So, by now the school year is well on its way for many. We’ve depleted our bank accounts on school supplies, uniforms, shoes, and accessories.  We’ve spent late nights washing and styling kinks and curls, laying edges, and early mornings at the barber shop for that perfect lining.  We’ve cried our tears of either happiness of lower grocery and light bills or the sadness of seeing our babies head into another year of growing and learning. So now what? How do we maintain our sanity and structure during this school year without losing our cool?

I’m going to be honest and tell you that when it comes to being organized and maintaining structure during the school year, I’m not the one.   My girls are heading into the second month of school and I can tell you that it has not been easy at all from the long nights of homework and chores and the early mornings of…well, just early mornings (I’m not a morning person at all).  This past month has definitely been a struggle for this mamma.  Don’t get me started on the dreaded carpool line or pushing a smile through to greet teachers when all I want to do is crawl back into my warm bed.  I’ve been a one woman show lately with a recent change in my husband’s work schedule and here are just a few things that have helped me along the way for the last few weeks.

Pray Consistently

First and foremost, prayer is essential not only during the school year, but every day, all day.  We as parents have got to ensure that our children are covered continuously.  Too much is going on in the world these days that praying is a must.  Instill in them that no matter who is watching, they should always pray.  Instead of being embarrassed, they should be a light unto others and may even influence someone else at the lunch table.  I pray with my girls before we leave out in the morning and make sure we say our prayers before bed.  They never let me forget to make sure we pray before the night is over.  We pray for grace and favor with good grades in school, good behavior, and that we all come home safely.  Of course, we pray for dad and travelling mercies as he’s on the road during the late nights and early mornings.  Consistent prayer is the true key to keeping things afloat.

Make preparations ahead of time

This may sound cliche and I’m sure many of you already do this, but not all of us are “Susie homemakers.”  This is a task that I’ve only just gotten into the habit of doing not only for my children, but for myself as well.  Making preparations for pretty much everything ahead of time has turned out to be pretty beneficial and narrowed down our time getting ready in the morning.

Select the week’s worth of outfits and uniforms and iron them ahead of time.  The simple task of picking out what to wear can sometimes become time consuming in the morning when you can’t find that matching sock or you notice that your favorite blouse is wrinkled.  Make sure that all of the essentials are laid out with each outfit for yourself and the kids, including jewelry and even hair bows.  I’m telling you from experience that having to hunt down even the smallest of items can take up a large amount of time.  Every second counts!

 

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Pack lunch the night before.  I allow my oldest daughter to pack her own lunch.  It gives her a sense of responsibility and she chooses what she puts in her lunch bag, so I know she’ll eat everything.  I also meal prep my lunches for the week.  This saves me a lot of money verses eating out everyday.  I may create a post specifically geared toward meal prepping in the future.

Meal preparation is essential for my household for both lunch and dinner.  I choose to take advantage of my weekends off and throw some food in a crock pot and in the oven for the week. Sometimes I’ll prepare more than one meal and even freeze some of the food for another time.  I also buy pre-seasoned meats, and packaged sides sometimes to make things a little easier on myself.  Now, this does not happen every week.  As much as I love to eat, I’m not a fan of cooking and sometimes I just don’t have the time.  I keep hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and lunch meat handy for those nights when I need to fill little bellies quick like when there is bible study or a parent/teacher conference.  Sometimes I even make breakfast for dinner like grits and eggs or even pancakes.  As long as they eat and are satisfied, I’m happy.

Unwind Before the Grind

I allow my children a chance to calm down and relax a little before starting up homework.  My girls are in school for eight hours, so when we get home, I let them have a small snack and play for a while to unwind.  I find this helps when it comes time to do homework and they’re not as frustrated with completing the task of getting those motor skills going.  It also allows me to unwind from my work day and be able to move forward with “mommy mode.”  During that time, I usually start on warming up dinner and I check my e-mails.

Don’t stress the small stuff

I remember running around like a mad woman years ago when my oldest first started school.  I use to stay up until the middle of the night mopping floors and scrubbing toilets just to maintain the household.  Yes my house was spotless, but I lost out on sleep and time with my children.  So now, I don’t stress over things that can be done the following day.  The goal in the end is to make sure that my children are fed and bathed, hair combed, homework is complete, and they have clean clothes to wear.  I make sure that I put time aside to just sit with them and talk about their day.  I learn about their new friends at school or any concerns they may have and let them know that I’m available and I’m listening.  I never want my daughters to feel as though they were put on the back burner.

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The amount of time and love you invest in your children will yield so many great things in the future.  Keep pushing for an amazing school year and continue to speak life to yourselves and your children and they make steps to becoming scholars.  It won’t be easy, but it is always worth it.  Leave a comment below and let me know what tips and tricks you use to the ball rolling during the school year.

 

 

Her-Story Spotlight: Wendy Magee

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This month on the Her-Story Spotlight, we are featuring author and speaker Wendy Magee.  Wendy is the author of the book “And She Called Him Lord,” a road map to making sound and Godly choices in marriage.  Wendy also recently launched her ministry entitled “Speak UP” with the purpose to lift up marriages through edification and empowerment through the goal of establishing divorce proof marriages.  Wendy Magee was born and raised in Port Arthur, TX and moved to New Orleans in 2007 through the now 10-year marriage to husband David Magee, Jr.  and is the mother of two children, Kaleb and Kyrie.  As Wendy and I sat down, we delved into what God’s purpose for her ministry is and how it all got started.

 Why did you become an entrepreneur?

“God gave me the revelation about the order of family and I wrote my first book. I didn’t intend to start a ministry, but I believe it’s a need that has to be filled. “

How long have you been in business? 

I’ve been in business since January of 2016.

What inspired you write the book “And She Called Him Lord?”

“Going to Franklin Avenue Baptist church marriage ministry, there was a couple there that did a poem and at the end of the poem, the wife told her husband she would call him Lord.  Initially, my husband asked me would I call him Lord and I told him no, but then not even a month later the Lord began to reveal to me the purpose of family, the purpose of what it meant when Sarah called her husband lord, and it brought me to an understanding of how God ordered the family.”

When you wrote the “And She Called Him Lord,” what were your initial intentions for it?

“My intentions were and still are to create an atmosphere where people that are married or desire to be married can create this divorce proof marriage.  Even people in the church are getting divorced and they are not understanding that if you have the order and your foundation is solid, that God will sustain you in anything. When that order is lost and the woman thinks she is the foundation or roles are reversed, then it leads to cracked foundations, which in essence leads to divorces.  So, that’s my intention to really just give people the revelation of what God has given me.  Not necessary to become this famous author.  You know, if happens by way of that, great…exciting, but it’s really to get the message out and to restore marriages.”

How long did it take you to write your book?

“My book took actually 4 months to write and publishing took 6 months.”

What assisted you in writing the book and what fed you to keep writing?

“The book is not long.  It’s 7 chapters and 77 pages.  I journaled a lot.  I kept my journal with me all the time for when I heard a word or someone speak about marriage. I did a lot of research. I used a lot of my own testimony, my own life experience about my marriage.  I was very open to allow people to see that I was married this long and hey, I didn’t get it right.  I also used people that I knew like friends and family who actually would read every chapter and they were my sounding board.  They would tell me if I needed to research or change something so that really helped as well.”

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How did the ministry “Speak Up” come about?

“In wiring the book, this year God really put into me a ministry.  That’s where Speak Up came from, which is lifting up marriages through edification and empowerment.  It’s just really going around speaking to not only people in the church, but women, men, single people, just giving the essence of the foundation and that’s really the whole essence of speak up.  Creating this understanding where people are like ‘No, commitment is commitment.  We’re in it.  Were married. We are committed to each other.’  Even through dating, you’re practicing divorce by dating a bunch of people rather than courting. Your intentions are to get married and it starts from the beginning.”

What made you decide to re-brand yourself this year?

“Right now, a lot of people don’t like to read and I know that.  To get people to get more interested, I think creating interesting shirts and re-branding the whole look would help.  I think if they hear a little about what the book is about they may be more interested in what the entire message.  Reading has been lost. It’s just something about that written word.   I’d like to get people back to reading. It’s something about writing things down. I’d like for people to discover why the subject of submission bothers them and get down to the root of it. Something creative to get people back to reading.”

 What makes your brand different?

“When I do research, and look around, I don’t see anyone teaching on submission.  The heart of what god gave me is submission.  God commanded us to be submissive, not only to your husband but to Him.  People don’t want to talk about submission.  Submission is not a bad word.”

What are your goals for your business?

“I see me really just going and doing conferences, speaking engagements, panels, and going around teaching the workbook that’s coming up.  Eventually God has put in me some different books and it’s all driven around family and really focusing on family and never losing sight of what God initially gave to me about the family because it was the first order that God set up and I don’t want that to be lost.  So, in the future I do see more books and some creative t-shirts, continue to write blogs about marriage and relationships and guiding people on how to have proper relationships.”

What mistakes have you made while being in business that you wish you could take back?

“Moving too fast and not really researching the people who I get involved with.  God has really been pumping into me to slow down with making decisions and do my research before I enter in a contract with anybody.  I think that’s the biggest thing for me.  I’ve really lost out on money and God will redeem it.  I knew I was ignorant in that and people were trying to get over, so I knew that God would never allow me to lose out when I was trying.  I would just tell people that even if they have messed up, to go back and look at what happened and slow down, research the people.  Ask other people that have dealt with them about these people first. Get their honest feedback before signing a contract and make sure you read the contract from top to bottom and get an understanding before you enter it.  That is my biggest mistake.”

What piece of advice would you have given yourself prior to starting your business?

“Do a lot of research before launching to make sure you have the right tools, connections, and knowledge.”

How has your faith attributed to your journey as an entrepreneur?

“Faith in God’s direction and wisdom continue to guide me. God is the one who gave me the revelation so I continue to see him out for direction.”

It was a pleasure sitting down with Wendy to hear her story about her ministry and to be able to follow her as her business grows to reach the masses.  If you are in the New Orleans area, you can catch Wendy as a key note speaker and even purchase a book or t-shirt at the Women Mean Business Expo today, August 6th located at the Algiers Auditorium from 1 p. m.- 5 p. m.

Follow Wendy and her ministry:

Wendymagee.org

Facebook: authorwendymagee

Twitter: wendymagee

Instagram: wlmagee07

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Tuesday Topic: Self-Image

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Someone told me I was beautiful today.  She said there was something about my smile and the way that I articulated myself when I spoke.  She told me I am bold and full of confidence. She told me that I was enough because God was enough.  She told me that I was created in God’s image and that the likeness of Him that I carried seemed to light up the room.   She told me that my freckles danced with every smile.  I smiled on the outside, but on the inside, my head hung down in disbelief because I did not feel like those words held any truth.  As I looked to the eyes staring back at me in my broken mirror, all I could do was smile at the girl who handed out compliments in the form of bright yellow and hot pink sticky notes.  I put on my red lipstick, filled in my untamed brows and walked with her words whistling in my ears.  With each step, I became that person she spoke so highly of.

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” – Genesis 1:27

This month on the “Tuesday Topic,” we’re discussing self-image.  A lot of us walk around like we are so full of confidence, but on the inside we see an image of a person we do not want identify with.  So many women are in competition with one another to the point that they are actually tearing themselves down.  They cover up behind pounds of makeup, extensions, and fancy clothes and create this outer shell of manufactured self-acceptance.

Sticky Notes

At one point in my life, I literally depended on sticky notes to get me through the day.  I posted these notes with scriptures, affirmations, and words of encouragement all over my house, my car, and my purse.  I would find these notes stuck to my children and crumpled up or torn in random places.  I’d dust each one off, unfold them and place them back in their designated place.

Yep, I was broken.  So much so, that I felt that a few sticky notes would literally keep me together.  I truly broke out of that place in my life one day when I realized that my encouragement was within.  God did not create me in broken pieces but he created me as this whole person with a whole purpose.  He created me in the likeness of His own image which is an honor.  I got tired of piecing myself together and acting as if everything was fine while not really dealing with how I felt about myself.

You are okay!

I’m saying all of this to say that we must be able to get to this place in our lives as women where our smile is purely a smile and the words “I’m okay” are just that, not two words masking an inner scream.  When we look ourselves in the mirror, we must be able to look at ourselves the way that God sees us.  In love, grace, and compassion.  It took me to fall a few times and literally lose some hair to realize that I absolutely love this woman I see in the mirror.    I realized that I was hand crafted by my created and what I might have seen as a flaw was His imperfect perfection.   I’ve literally just gotten to the point where I can go out in public without filling in my eyebrows.  Yes, that is a true accomplishment for me.  I’ve learned to embrace my insecurities over time and turn them into what I love the most about myself.  Many women deal with issues of self-image on a regular basis and it’s not an easy hill to climb.

“Before I knew you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you.  I ordained you a prophet to nations.” – Jeremiah 1:5

While dealing with my own issues on how I saw myself, I realized that I needed to make sure that my daughters did not have the slightest opportunity to feel the same way I did.  I’ve learned to not only speak life over myself, but over them and to them as well.  This world outside of our household can be an ugly place and we must make sure that our daughters are equipped for what’s out there.  My daughters know that they are beautiful both inside and out and that they are intelligent and loved.  We write each other love notes and whisper compliments in each other’s ears.  We play dress up and makeup artist and have a “girl’s night out” every weekend.  They know that they are the most beautiful girls in my world.  They know that they are capable of doing all things.

My shadows saved me

I watch how my oldest wants to be like me.  She dresses like me and follows my every step.  These girls are part of the reason why I love myself so much more.  They see me in a light that I would not normally see myself in.  They are my shadows and follow my every move.  They encourage me and find beauty in my flaws whether I’m “dolled up” or dressed down.  Who knew a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old could teach me so much about myself?

What do you see when you look at your reflection in the mirror.  What is your perception of yourself.  How can you change that perception? What do you do to encourage yourself each day?   Let’s talk about it in the comments.

 

 

Tuesday Topic- Uncomfortable Conversations: Depression

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“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance. …For You are the God of my strength…”

-Psalm 42:5, 43:2

This month on the “Tuesday Topic” we’re discussing depression.  Depression is definitely a topic that leads to uncomfortable conversations in today’s society.  I’ve been seeing this topic slowly come to surface more and more on social media, which is a good thing.  It needs to be discussed.  There are more people dealing with depression than you’ll ever know.  Some don’t even know they are dealing with it themselves. It could be your best friend, co-worker, or even your spouse.  Depression is something that needs to be understood and dealt with carefully in order to fully see healing in that area of a person’s life.

For most people, depression is one of those things that they just don’t deal with.  It can be perceived almost as an invisible creature that doesn’t really exist, as if it were the “Boogie Man.”  It’s constantly brushed under the rug along with other happenings that often occur in the household that are left on the hush, such as eating disorders or molestation.  We’re told to close our closet doors and cover up our truths with our security blankets in the hopes that it would somehow just go away with the rise of daylight.  Depression is a silent monster that seeps its way into spirits without a trace of its entry.  It is a spirit that is not of God.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, depression is defined as follows:

a state of feeling sad :  dejection anger, anxiety, and depression (2) :  a mood disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies bouts of depression suffering from clinical depression

Depression can occur in any woman at any time for several different reasons.  It can be caused by abuse, medications, conflict, death of a loved one, genetics, major events, personal problems, illness, and substance abuse.  So basically, it can be caused by almost anything in life at the drop of a dime.  Some are more susceptible to depression than others and it can take a toll on all aspects of one’s life.  According to an article from Mental Health America entitled Depression in Women,  “approximately 12 million women in the United States experience clinical depression each year and about one in every eight women can expect to develop clinical depression during their lifetime (2017).”  Depression is NOT a normal part of life and it must be dealt with, but delicately.

In my own personal experience, depression can feel like drowning in a river while tied down with cement blocks.  I’ve felt immovable and lifeless during the state of depression.  It feels like intense pain inside disguised as comfort.  It feels like being sucked into quicksand and falling into an unknown sunken place of darkness filled with doubt, anger, sadness, and low self-esteem.  Depression is a constant battle that I’ve fought continuously in my life and I still do at times.  It’s something that hurts my soul and somehow leaves me breathless.  Sometimes, as I find myself crawling out of my “sunken place,” I slowly slip back down with my arms stretched out helplessly, but I find that others don’t quite understand.  I’ve only recently expressed this to my husband, but there is still a disconnect when it comes to explaining the feeling.  It’s like I’m yelling at the top of my lungs, but only the sound of silence reaches the tip of my tongue.  It’s hard to fully describe or explain what the feeling is to someone who has never felt it.  To someone else, it may be just a phase that can be cured with a little prayer.  Yes prayer works indefinitely, but I would often find myself hiding away from my faith in the comfort of my depression when things got tough or just hard to deal with.  I would see myself at a standstill as the world around me is continuously spinning uncontrollably.  My faith during these times was tested immensely.

So how do we overcome depression?  How do we assist others that we are close with that feel like they are battling depression alone? Support from others is key whether it’s by giving a person space or being by their side every step of the way.  Either way, you are supporting that person by respecting their wishes within reason.  Do not ignore signs of depression and do not sweep it under the rug.  So many take this topic lightly and don’t realize that depression can easily lead to suicidal thoughts.  “Over 90% of people who die by suicide have clinical depression or another diagnosable mental disorder (WebMD, 2016)”.

For some people, alone time and space is necessary for healing. It allows them to sort through their thoughts and emotions to enable them to push through the process.  Sometimes they just don’t want to be bothered.  They know what they need to do and how, but it just takes time to get out of that dark fog.  Some prefer to just be alone in their bubble, so allow them that time for healing whether it’s in the course of days, weeks, or even months.

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Others may be seeking support and understanding from loved ones.  They may need someone to be a listening ear to let out any pain or frustrations they may be dealing with while in their depressed state.  A pillar of utmost support is needed without judgement. Hold that person’s hand every step of the way and be present.  Understand that it will not be easy.  What is not needed, is negative energy, or being told that it’s a phase or to just get over it.  You see, depression is not so simple for those who are in the midst of it.  Coming out of depression is truly a process and staying out is even more of a task.  Being depressed can really mess with a person’s mental and spiritual state.  The state of depression can have a person off track in their spiritual walk with God in a major way.  Each day that they fall deeper, they can find themselves further away from Him.

Between  molestation during my childhood, a time of separation in my marriage, diagnose of a disease, stress, doubt, and low self-esteem, I felt completely broken to a point where only God could put my pieces back together again and He is… one by one, piece by piece.  While finding my way out, I’ve made bad decisions that led to even worse mistakes.  I remember nights of sleeplessness to the point of insomnia because of deep depression.  There were days when I just could not function at all.  I felt incapable.  I felt worthless.  I was to the point where I felt as if my presence was no longer needed on this earth.  Through many trials, I had to realize that my life did have a purpose and I was needed.  I had to pull through the pain, hurt and frustration in my life and turn it into something I can use.  I realized that all I was going through was a test and I needed to pass in order to see a true breakthrough in my life.

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Of course the ultimate cure for depression is God.  He is always the answer and the cure.  During my times dealing with this, God and His word were the furthest things from my mind.  I found it easier to just sit and sulk rather than to push through and lean on His word.  I would feel the spirit tugging on me to get on my knees and pray or dust off my bible and see what the Lord had to say about my situation and I would turn a deaf ear to it all.  Now, I’m not at all saying that breaking out of a depressed state is easy, but what I am saying is that with God there is ease.  His word is the complete handbook for the ins and outs of our life’s daily struggles.  I find so much release and relief in His word.  Daily, I would make baby steps to find my way back on track.  I would immerse myself in song, journaling, and devotion to keep my mind steadfast.  I’ve used sticky notes around the house with positive reminders and scriptures to get me through the day.  I constantly reminded myself that the storm I was going through was temporary and that God would pull me through as long as I had faith in Him.  I wouldn’t allow the devil the satisfaction of using my soul as his playground.  I smiled through my rough days and encouraged others as I encouraged myself.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be 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. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things”

-Philippians 4:4-8

Don’t think for a second that you are alone in this.  Regardless of your situation, God is available.  He is listening to your prayers and requests.  He hears your cries.  Be encouraged and keep pushing through, whether it be a loss of a loved one, difficulties in the marriage, or issues in health, He is the only way out.  It may seem like it’s hard right now, but just know that this is only for a season.  Jeremiah 29 verses 11 and 12 states, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”  God’s plan for your life does not end here in this moment.  If you have fallen in depression because of fear or guilt, please know that God is not mad at you.  Your mistakes are not who you are.  They are your testimony of where you have come from, not where you’re going.  He created you for a purpose whether you see it now or not.  You are needed.  You are loved.  You have purpose.  You are capable.  You are enough. Trust, believe, and know these things.

“We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed… Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

-2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 16-18

Have you ever dealt with depression? If so, how did you deal with it? 

 

Merrium Webster: Definition of Depression Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/depression

Recognize the Warning Signs of Suicide. (2016)  Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/recognizing-suicidal-behavior

Depression in Women (2017) Retrieved from http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/depression-women

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her-Story Spotlight: Kemi Oshimokun

 

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Kemi Oshimokun- Khonsu Travel  www.khonsutravel.com

 

This month on the Her-Story Spotlight, we are featuring Oluwakemi “Kemi” Oshimokun.  Kemi is the owner of Khonsu Travel, a full-service travel agency and tour company.  This 22-year-old, Chicago native went head first into the travel world and never looked back.  She started her business when she was 19 years old and decided to use social media to build her business and form relationships rather than catching up on the latest gossip.  This young lady is a go getter in her field and her main focus is to allow people the option to affordably travel abroad without breaking the bank.  She offers reasonable payment plans for group trips to locations such as Ghana, Cuba, and Benin, just to name a few.  If you are not looking to travel abroad just yet, Kemi can also help you find the most affordable rates for local trips across the country for you and the family.  Keep reading to find out more about Kemi’s journey to beginning Khonsu Travel.

 Where did the name Khonsu Travel come from?

When I was thinking of the name of my business, I had just come back from studying abroad and I went to Egypt while I was there.  Khonsu means the Egyptian God of travel.  The Khonsu guided night travelers on their journeys.  I liked the concept and decided to name my business Khonsu travel.

Why did you become an entrepreneur?

I became an entrepreneur by accident!  I studied biology with a minor in Arabic and Middle Eastern studies in college. I wanted to work in global public health and tackle the many issues underserved communities around the world experienced. But studying abroad in Morocco changed my perspective forever. Living in Morocco was such a liberating and eye-opening experience that it altered my outlook on life. In particular, one night changed what I wanted to do with my life and career. While traveling with my new friends I made in Morocco, we took a long walk one night that landed us in a new area in the city we were living in. Somehow, we got on the conservation of what we will do when we go back home. My friend, Paloma, said she would love to get paid to travel the world and photograph her experience. We all nodded our heads in agreement and talked about how amazing it will be to have a career in travel. We all laughed at the end and walked back to our college campus.

That conversation resonated with me throughout my duration abroad and when I came back to Chicago, but I was unsure on how I was going to have a career in travel. So, I put it in the back of the mind. One day while scrolling through Facebook, I saw a post regarding becoming a travel agent and I was in disbelief that travel agents even existed with websites like Expedia, Hotwire, and such, but I wanted to learn more about how I can start a career in travel.

The following Monday, I took a one hour bus ride to an information meeting. I was so shocked to see all the African Americans who travel agents were making great profits in the industry and helping others travel more. I loved the energy in the room and I felt this was something I had to do. I encountered many people after I studied abroad who wanted to travel more, but fear, lack of funds, and misconceptions held them back from experiencing the beauty of life. By becoming a travel agent, I could take them by the hand and help them from being skeptical and nervous to becoming confident and having the experience of a lifetime. That night I started my travel business, Khonsu Travel. Six months ago, I launched Khonsu Tours and we will be taking our first group trip to Ghana in October 2017.
What piece of advice would you have given yourself prior to starting your business?

If I could tell my 19-year-old self anything, I would say a couple of things:

  1. Do not wait for your friends and family to support your business.

The gold mine is in the strangers who will not have any issue working with you. One of the first frustrations I encountered in my business was that many of my friends and family did not book their vacations with me. This disappointment paralyzed me for almost a year. My mentors told me that strangers will happily support my business, but I didn’t listen to them. I wish I would have listen to them. I would have made a lot of money that year.

  1. Do not be afraid of your greatness.

I am type of person that embraces my ADHD because it works in my favor as an entrepreneur (sometimes lol). There are times where I am super focused on a task and I can finish it through. But there are times that I cannot and my mind races with brilliant ideas that I can use to enhance my business. I use to be scared of the ideas I had because I felt like they could not come true and doubted myself. For example, I’ve had the idea of starting a tour company for over a year, but I was afraid it would fail. One day, I took a leap of faith to start my tour company and we sold out our first tour!

  1. Surround yourself with eagles and not crabs.

When I first started my business, I surrounded myself with a lot crabs who told me my business would not work and I should quit. Crabs like to bring people to their level. I was not born to a crab. I am an eagle! I started to surround myself with people in my business who making money and I became a sponge. I wanted to know everything they knew and how they worked their business. They pushed me to be creative and ambitious. Eagles soar with other eagles while crabs hold each other back in the bucket.

How has your faith attributed to your journey as an entrepreneur?

My faith kept me in business this long. It was times I wanted to quit because no one booked trips with me and I was not making any money. Also, I had crabs in my ear who told me that I should quit. It came to a point where I had to look at myself and see how I was contributing to my lack of success. Once I look at myself in the mirror and realized it was me that was holding my business back, my mindset changed. I increased my belief in what my business can produce, I sought out help, and I became creative in my marketing strategy. Also, I started practicing the Law of Attraction and being more grateful with what I had. I’ve been doing that ever since and my business has been overflowing with new clients, great partnerships, and many vacations booked.

Speaking with Kemi was truly inspiring to hear so much ambition and drive come from someone so young.  I learned so much from her in the few conversations that we’ve had and she has inspired me in so many ways. Although she has pursued a career in travel, Kemi has decided to travel less and save more as she prepares to purchase realestate.  She calls this current time her “building season.”   Kemi makes travel look easy and so accessible for everyone.  If you’re looking for some assistance on your next weekend getaway or want to take a tour outside of the border, contact Kemi for all your traveling needs.

www.khonsutravel.com

IG: @khonsutravel

FB: @khonsutravel

 

Father’s Day Buying Guide

Father's DayBuyers Guide (2)

Father’s Day is less than a week away and your sitting here still at your computer wondering what to get that special guy in your life.  No worries.  I’ve got you covered.  I’ve come across some awesome small businesses created by some  amazing women that can take care of that issue for you.  Guess what?  These gifts won’t break the bank and you’ll be coming back for more.  Let’s take the time out this year to support those in our community that don’t get the recognition they deserve when it comes to the phenomenal work they put in behind the scenes each day.  Below are a few of my favs that are offering some pretty dope products for Father’s Day.  Check them out and let me know what you think.

  1. Mess In A Bottle- Dad Mug, Dad Shirt  www.messinabottle.com

 

  1. Silksations Creations Regal for Men Body Butta & Body Scrub

www.etsy.com/shop/silksationscreations

Regal Scrub

  1. Crafts By Meesha- The Dad Box https://www.facebook.com/craftsbymeesha

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4. Fleurty Wick Candle- Hand poured soy candles “Man Cave Collection” www.fleurtywick.com


5. Koils By Nature- Natural Men’s Care Products

http://koilsbynature.shopgate.com

6. Keys of Beauty- BeardTiFULL Beard Oil

www.keysofbeauty.com

7. Monnie and Me

 t-shirts, Mugs, & aprons

http://www.monnieandme.com/