Tuesday Topic: Self-Image

Tuesday Topic (4)

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.

 

 

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

craftsbymeesha1

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/

Self-Care- Invest In Yourself

 

The (1).jpg

 

Self-Care

As women, mothers, wives, business owners, and so much more, we tend to forget about ourselves as we continuously tend to the needs of others.  We work from sun up to sun down working for either ourselves or others just to make ends meet.  We are personal chefs as we prepare meals and pack lunches.   We are hair stylists on a daily in the salons of our kitchens.  We are accountants balancing our checkbooks and creating and maintaining monthly household budgets.  We are teachers, chauffeurs, and doctors all by trade.  You get where I’m going with this.  We are superwomen, or at least we think we are.  Even superheroes have weaknesses.  Although we feel as if we can conquer the world and then some, we have to realize that at some point we will weaken without taking care of ourselves.  As I’m writing this I’m sitting in my bed with a bad cold.  I hardly ever take off of work, but I decided that my health was much more important than a job that can replace me with a snap of a finger.  I’d rather take a day or two to rest up than to end up in an even worse condition because I didn’t take enough time for myself and my own health.

“There just aren’t enough hours in a day.” 

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who shared my same views and feelings when it comes the above statement.  There really just aren’t enough hours in a day.  We begin to slowly fall apart at the seams when we don’t take enough time for ourselves.  Our hair isn’t done, we forget to shave, I even forget to eat at times.  We continue to make doctor appointments for the kids while we push our own aside and just drink a glass of orange juice.  It just comes naturally to make sure that everyone and everything else is priority over ourselves.

Self-care is extremely necessary for the betterment and elongation of your life.  You have to treat yourself at all costs.  No, I don’t mean strictly money when I say” at all costs.”  There are so many different ways that we can allow ourselves self-care without spending a dime or even leaving the home.  Just know and understand that if you don’t take care yourself, you won’t be able to care for anyone else in the future.  By all costs, I mean that when you decide to take time for yourself, stand firm make and sure that you take that time no matter what is going on or how full your schedule may seem.

The advice that I gave my friend was this:

“You should schedule mandatory time for yourself, whether it’s an hour each day or one day each week.  Do something that makes you happy and don’t let anything or anyone come in between that time you set aside for yourself.  Set a day to get your hair done or nails.  You have got to treat yourself.  No one will do it as well as you would.”

 

Here are a few examples of the many things you can do to provide self-care:

 

Take a bubble bath:

This might seem really simple, but if your life is anywhere near as hectic as mine then you’ll understand that this is actually a luxury.  I can barely take a shower or use the restroom without little people calling my name or sticking their fingers under the door seal.  Sometimes I even open up the shower curtain to find my children sitting on the toilet seat or the bathroom floor just waiting patiently for me… (insert side eye emoji).  To actually be able to run bath water without toys floating in it or bubble gum scented bubbles is a major accomplishment.  So, yes, take a bubble bath ladies.  This is completely free and so relaxing.  You can pretend you’re at a spa in your own home.  Light up some candles, pour in your favorite oil, bath salt, and make a few bubbles.  Light a few candles and if you really want to get fancy, throw in some rose pedals and play some music.  You can thank me later.

Reading is fundamental:

If you are an avid reader like myself, then this would be a great way to relax yourself.  Pick a time each day where you stop everything and read a few chapters of your favorite book.  Maybe even make it a goal to read one book a month so that you make sure you are getting your reading time in.  For me, reading takes me to another place, whether fiction or non-fiction.  I can imagine myself in inside of world full of the words that my eyes are surrounded by and take a step out of the normal just for a little while.

Date Yourself:

Some people think that it may be embarrassing to go out to eat by yourself.  I use to feel that way.  Bring your headphones or your favorite book and date yourself.  Put on a cute outfit, fix your hair, and take yourself to your favorite restaurant when you actually make free time.  Go see a movie alone.  Bring a small blanket or comfy sweater and enjoy.  I think the best time is during the matinee hours when the tickets are cheap and plenty of seats are available.

We often waste time waiting on others to be able to go out, whether it’s a friend or friends, boyfriend, or husband.  There were plenty of times that I’ve made plans with others weeks ahead of time and something would come up that forced me to cancel.  Ladies, you know that we like to buy a new outfit and get our hair and nails done as we anticipate that one day where we finally get to step out of the house.  Being with company is great, but we also need to take time out to get to know ourselves by ourselves.

Make a nail/hair appointment

This does not have to be every week, but just often enough to be able to treat yourself and feel like a woman again. You don’t have to break the bank at all.  Even getting your ends trimmed or a simple polish change can make a pretty big difference in my opinion.  Most of the time I do my own hair and nails, so when I actually make an appointment, it’s a pretty big deal and I feel extra afterwards.  You can’t tell me a thing when I walk out of the nail shop.

Work out/Eat right:

Self-care is so much more than just taking care of our flesh.  We can always cover ourselves up with makeup, nail polish, a cute hair style, and a bomb outfit, but if we don’t work on ourselves internally, all of that will be for nothing.  Take the time out to make simple changes to your eating habits and add physical activity to your schedule.  Start small by doing simple exercises 20 to 30 minutes a day.  Make small changes in your eating by switching to healthier options like wheat bread instead of white and increasing your water intake.  It’s all possible with baby steps.

Spend Time on Prayer and Meditation:

While I’m on the topic of taking care of your inner person, let’s talk about prayer and meditation.  Prayer and meditation is most definitely essential.  If it’s the only thing you do, it would be beneficial to your life in the best way.  Wake up an hour earlier in the morning or stay up a little later after the kitchen is shut down and the kids are asleep.  The key here is to make time.  Take the time out to not only pray, but to listen for a response from God.  We spend a lot of time talking and not enough listening for answers from Him.  Use this time to release your burdens on the Lord, meditate on His goodness and mercy for all that He has done and is doing in your life.  Play some worship music and just praise His name.  You will find so much peace in this moment or the day that nothing or no one can take away your joy.  Command your day to be well despite what is to come and you will walk in perfect peace.  I promise you that this is nothing but the truth.  We spend so much time on everything else and can never seem to make time for God in our lives.  Put Him first and everything will follow.

 

This list can really go on for forever.  The main goal when it comes to self-care is doing something that you love or that you desire the most that benefit you.  This thing is something that would take you away from the usual tasks of your world just for a moment.  Taking time for yourself should allow you to relax, breathe, and think for once.  No longer let the worries of how the bills will get paid, or the car trouble, or even how you’re going to get that permanent marker out of the walls (seriously, suggestions are welcome).  Schedule your me time and stick to it. You can thank me later.  You deserve it!

 

What ways do you instill self-care in your life?  What are some things that you have always wanted to do but never can?  Leave a comment below.  Let’s talk about it.

 

Planning Made Easy: How To Get Your Life in Order in 5 Simple Steps

 

8ec2d-how2bto2bget2byour2blife2bin2border2bin2b52bsimple2bsteps

Hello Beautiful!

 

I know that life can be pretty tough and sometimes overwhelming. It seems like the work week can become a complete blur. Before you can even blink your eyes, somehow you’re back to the Monday morning woes slumped over in your cubicle looking for coffee and a donut.   It also seems like all the bills you just finished paying are coming right back around like a boomerang. The perks of being an adult right?

To help me get my life together last year, I decided I would do the adult thing and I purchased a planner. Yes, an old school planner. Nothing extravagant or out of the ordinary… Just pen and paper. I use to rely on my phone to keep up with all of the events in my life until I got lazy.  I kind of thought I had some kind of super power to be able to memorize numerous dates and times without ever writing them down…yea…so that obviously didn’t work out too well.
For some reason, actually taking the time to write things down and be able to overlook my year, month, and even my week in advance has made life so much easier. So I thought that with the new year beginning I’d share a few tips on planning that would be beneficial to you as well.
Tip #1
Get a Planner: That’s a Given
I got mine from Target, but you can find them practically anywhere like Hobby Lobby or Walmart or even the dollar store has some cute planners.  I find that when you pick one out that fits your personality and looks super cute, it makes you actually want to sit down and fill it out.  It becomes less of a chore to you that way.  You can buy cute pens, stickers, and washi tape to match as well.  I know it might sound childish like when we use to buy Lisa Frank everything (you know what I’m talking about) but trust me, you’ll get excited to accessorize over time.
Tip #2

Choose a time to plan:

I choose a special day each week just to plan in my planner.  I even write down my day to plan in my planner so I don’t forget to plan.  Yes, there’s levels to this.  Lately, that day for me has been on Sunday nights after the kids go to bed.  I choose this day because it’s most convenient for me, but whatever day you choose is fine as well.  I find that this day gives me a fresh start for the new week.  All of what needs to be done around the house is complete and I have no distractions.  I find it almost impossible to be productive if I’m distracted.
Tip# 3
Choose a place to plan and make yourself comfortable:
I like to sit down in my room with my tea while the only noise I hear is the sound of clothes tumbling in the dryer. I find so much joy in that sound. No kids screaming in my ear and the kitchen is finally closed. I find my room to be the best place for me right now until I get my office space completely set up. Just me and my planner and that’s the way I like it.  Get comfortable.  Play your favorite music, light a candle.  Just make sure you’re in a relaxing environment with no interruptions.  I feel that being in a relaxed state of mind really helps me to concentrate and focus on the task at hand.

 

Tip# 3
Break down what you want to plan:

 

Lay out all of your bills, appointments and tasks that need to get done.  I pretty much schedule my whole life.  I write down when to wash my daughters’ hair, when to oil their scalps during the week, meal ideas for the week, doctor and dental appoints, and when I’m going to work out.  Depending on the type of planner you have, you can write all of these things down in one place or you can have separate planners for separate tasks.  Do what makes you comfortable.  This may seem overwhelming, but if you’re forgetful like me, this is such a lifesaver.  Over time, this becomes so much easier and you’ll be grateful that you wrote it all down in once place.  I use to keep all of my notes on sticky notes and easily lose them in random places, so planning was a no brainer for me.
Tip #4

Form a relationship with your planner:

Get in the habit of checking your planner every morning with your coffee or at night before you go to bed to make sure everything is in order.  I like to make sure I’m not forgetting anything or I add little notes throughout the week.  Take it with you on the go so you never skip a beat.  As the day goes by, there are always tasks to write down like meetings, appointments, or that you need to buy some milk at the store.  I actually have two planners.  One is small and fits in my purse perfectly and the other is full sized that stays at home.  On my planning day, I make sure that both planners coincide with one another so that I can refer to either when needed.  This is not necessary for everyone, but I found that I would become forgetful and end up back with my multicolored sticky notes crumpled in my purse if I didn’t have a small planner with me.  I don’t know about you, but once anything ends up in my purse, that’s a wrap.  It’s like a bottomless pit.
Tip #5

Get Creative:
Now that you’ve gotten the hang of making use of your new planner, you can customize it to your liking.  There are so many ways you can make your planner look uniquely yours with stickers, bookmarks, and washi tape, and so much more.  You can find the cutest accessories at places like Etsy, Hobby Lobby, and Michael’s.  This just makes planning more fun and easier to do in my opinion.  I love to color code with pretty colored ink pens and highlighters and use stickers to associate different tasks of the day with.

I hope this helps you get your life together one day at a time as we proceed in 2017. Remember if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  Don’t knock it until you try it.  Trust me, I’m not the most organized person in the world and this has helped me so much!  Now, I have no excuse to say I forgot something.  It’s all written down and planned out.  I’m most grateful for the fact that I can see my bills in advance and plan accordingly when it comes to my finances.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!