Reflection

DESERT ADVENTURE

Over time I’ve learned that constant reflection is necessary to keep me grounded.  This morning, while preparing my children for school after a long fall break, I reflected on how far God has brought me and my family.  As I think back, He’s brought us a long way in all aspects of our lives.  I was overjoyed with simply knowing that alone.

It’s so easy for us, Christian or not, to get overwhelmed in the desires of our hearts or even desiring what others have.  We always want the next best thing, but don’t understand that sometimes God just hasn’t blessed us with it because we are simply not ready to receive it.  We must humble ourselves and realize that we are exactly where God needs us to be in this moment.  Nothing more, nothing less.  There is purpose in the things that He denies us or postpones.  We simply need to trust God and His timing.  Just remember that God’s blueprint for your life is much greater than any plan you may have created for yourself.

When I talk about reflecting, I’m not just speaking on material things.  I can still remember years ago and even last year dealing with depression, low self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts.  I’m elated to say that those things that had me bound no longer have rule over me.  I thank God for my peace of mind.

Take the time out to reflect on where you are right now, where you’ve been, and where you’re going as this year comes to its close.   Think back on where you were in life just one year ago at this time.  I bet you have a lot to thank God for.  Remember those things and keep them close to your heart.  Give God the glory, honor, and the praise for bringing you through.  I thank God for healing, restoration in my marriage, growth in my business, and I thank Him for giving me purpose in life.

Change your mindset and your outlook on life to believe that God is a provider.  You’ll soon find yourself worrying less and trusting Him more in every aspect of your life.  Any doubts in your mind should be removed and replaced with peace just knowing that He’s got your back and there is no way you can lose in a winning game.  Continue to reflect and remember the testimonies formed from each trial you’ve faced and remain faithful.  He’s brought you a mighty long way.

Investing your faith in God is like planting a seed that will soon grow into greatness.  Your mustard seed of faith being planted on His word can grant you so much fulfillment in life as long as you continue to water and soil it with love.  Trust and believe that this life is a growing process.  Reflect on your seed.

Advertisements

Mission Monday

Createher Stock Styled Desk With Tea 11

So, it’s Monday….most people’s least favorite day of the week.  At this point, you’re either laying in bed contemplating on what excuse to use in order to get out of work or you’re swallowing the huge pill labeled “ADULT” and proceeding to go about your day.  As you scroll your timeline, I’m more than sure you see a lot of “Motivation Monday” posts on Instagram and Facebook, but do they really motivate you?  Are you really going about your day with an extra boost of energy ready to conquer the world after reading it or is it just worth a quick double tap?

What’s your mission today?  What goals do you plan on crushing?  What giants do you plan on slaying today and everyday afterward?

 

I read the following in my devotional this morning:

“We should be on a mission and that mission is to be who God intended us to be as we live and work in His world for His glory.” -‘What is My Mission’ (via the Bible app)

Yes, to those of this world, Mondays can be a drag, but as God’s people, we must be joyous in each day that we are blessed to receive and do the work that God intended for us.  We have to have the intention that everything we do is for God and give everything nothing less than what He would approve of.

“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.” -Psalms 90:17

Start the week off the right way and be ready to be on a mission for God.  Get up.  Plant your feet on the ground and push through anything holding you back.  Devote yourself to God each morning and have a conversation with Him.  Dragging your feet is not an option anymore.  There are too many blessings to be had and souls to be fed for us as believers to continuously push the snooze button.  Just being present and allowing His works to shine through us can make a huge impact on others.

What’s your mission?

 

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!

 

IMG_1894

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.

IMG_1989

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Tuesday Topic- Uncomfortable Conversations: Depression

Tuesday Topic (2)

“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.

Chs Tamara South Sisterhood 4.png

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.

Createherstock Happy New Year Pack 5

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer

prayer challenge (1)

Prayer:  “A solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or an object of worship.” – Merriam Webster Dictionary

Prayer is the way we communicate with God.  He hears our prayers and He hears our cries. He also speaks to us through our prayers.  The bible talks about praying without ceasing. 

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Praying without ceasing does not mean that you must be on your knees with your eyes closed at all times speaking to God.  It simply means that you are constantly keeping your mind steadfast on Him.  Don’t look at prayer as such a strict or uptight form of speaking to our creator.  Talk to God in actual conversation as you would your father on earth. Involve Him in your everyday practices.  Speak to Him about your struggles, reveal to him your innermost thoughts.   Praying without ceasing should be compared to living and breathing.  The two go hand in hand. If ever worry or fear comes upon you, prayer should be the first thing that comes to mind.  When you are thankful, encouraged, or going through a storm, prayer should be constant.  Prayer can be a small “Thank you Lord,” to a full out session of prayer and praise, eyes closed and body bent. Prayer is a way to show that you put all of your trust in God at all times with all situations.  When you pray you are letting God know that you place your life in His hands and that all is well with Him.  When you start to pray less, you begin to put more trust in yourself which can lead you astray.

Prayer is not only a time to talk, but a time to listen as well. The Lord knows the desires of our hearts. He knows what our needs are.  We must take the time to sit in silence and listen for His voice.

“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”

-Matthew 6:7

Listening for God’s voice allows Him to reveal to you his vision and desires for you.  He begins to birth a purpose inside of you that you never could have imagined.  He uncovers the blueprint to reach higher heights and deeper depths in your life and the lives of others.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the father of lights, with whom there is no variation of shadow of turning.”

-James 1:17

 

Her-Story Spotlight: Flaunt Ya Faith

Her Story Spotlight- LaQuonda Rene
 “Purpose is never easy, but it’s doable.”

This month on the Her-Story Spotlight, we’re shining light on the beautiful Quonda Renee, founder of Flaunt Ya Faith.  Flaunt Ya Faith is an inspirational online jewelry shop for women.  Her shop includes items such as clutches, makeup bags, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and tote bags.  Quonda is originally from Connecticut, but currently resides in Riley, North Carolina.  This thirty-one-year-old entrepreneur on the rise has only been in business for four years and has seen tremendous growth in sales, but it wasn’t always this way.  As we got further into our interview, Quonda expresses more about her humble beginnings.

Why did you become an entrepreneur?

“I was laid off from my healthcare job.  It was unexpected.  I was not prepared financially and I lost everything and had to move back in with my parents.  At the time, I needed inspiration so I used the little unemployment money I had and started Flaunt Ya Faith.”

Quonda discussed how she was not financially prepared and looked for a job for almost a year.  After soul searching and spending time with God, He revealed to her the vision of Flaunt Ya Faith.  She created the jewelry for herself initially as a small reminder of her faith to push her through her current situation.  She saw that there was a lack in that industry when it comes to inspirational jewelry and felt that she would be able to fill that need and did just that.

Quonda mentioned that about 90 percent of the jewelry has inspirational message on them and that her bracelets are her top sellers.  Not everything is handmade because she is beginning to be a bit overwhelmed with production, which is a good thing.  She has been outsourcing with some private label designers so that she can focus more on the business end as Flaunt Ya Faith continually grows.

She believed she could so she did leather bracelet

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

“Faith is the only way I have made it this far.  It keeps me grounded.  I mean the name of my business is Flaunt Ya Faith.  It takes a whole lot of faith to start a business with an unemployment check.  Anyone who has been unemployed knows that’s not a lot of money, especially when you have other bills.”

Jewelry making was not the business that first came to mind.  “When I first decided I wanted to be an entrepreneur before I lost my job I was thinking about selling t-shirts.  The concept that I had at the time was so worldly that I would probably be a millionaire by now if I would have gone with that, but that wasn’t who I was.  I think purpose is more important than popularity.”  We discussed how it is sometimes harder for a faith based business to thrive and do well because it may not be as accepted compared to others.  “When you are operating in your purpose and in your gift, money will come.  God always provides” It’s not about the money.  It’s about the message.

The Tribe

I loved that Quonda called her followers her tribe in our interview.  It made me feel like they were so much more than customers or numbers on social media.  We discussed the necessity of being transparent in business during the interview and how it helps to build a better following.

“I think being transparent has definitely helped me with my business.  I consider Instagram my family.  There’s times you can go back on some of my posts and I’ll tell them like I’m going through this and I know someone going through this and people will DM me saying thank you for posting that or I needed that word of encouragement.  Social media has helped a lot because I’ve could reach and ship to people who don’t even live in America.  I don’t think my business would be where it is now without social media,” said Quonda.

One thing that I love that Quonda mentioned is that she doesn’t use her e-mail list solely to sell to her customers, but she tells them a story.  She gives transparency for situations that have happened along with resolutions.  “I’m not going to be something I’m not or pretend to be at a place where I’m not.  That builds a community with the people that you serve,” said Quonda.

 What are your goals for the future of your business?

“I definitely want to grow a little bit more.  I would love to hire people.  There are so many people that need jobs.  I’d like to do that before the end of the year.  I would at least like to have one part time person there all the time.  I would like to be in some stores like Macy’s or something like that. I Would love to have a brick and mortar because there aren’t very many stores you can walk in that are full of inspiration.  Quonda also mentioned her desire to vend at pop up shops in the mall. Her products are currently listed on Overstock and ASOS.

We discussed the necessity of taking a break from your business.  While owning your own business, you must be able to regroup and revamp so not to let yourself become overwhelmed with the ins and out of daily operation.   Quonda mentioned that it was necessary to take a break from her online shop for a few months to get things in order.  Her website is currently up and running now and ready for sales once again.

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

“Don’t try to be everything to everybody.  Find a niche or a tribe and connect with them,” said Quanda.  Often times newbies in business tend to follow the crowd and lack their own identity when starting out.  It’s important to be original and maintain your own identity in order to be successful.

It was a pleasure interviewing Quonda Renee.  I was so inspired by her journey in business and I am excited to see where God will take Flaunt Ya Faith.  Her original pieces are beautiful and so is she.  Quonda is proof that faith can bring you through any situation as long as you are fulfilling the purpose God has set before you.

You can follow Flaunt Ya Faith on:

Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest @Flauntyafaith

To purchase go to http://www.flauntyafaith.com