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Our ultimate goal is to provide ongoing and transparent dialogue to support, enhance, and encourage women in every stage of their life.  Join us as we share our views of the world through faith, family and sisterhood.  

Gift
Lifestyle

At Home Christmas Gift Guide For Every Woman

  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Its a time for giving and receiving gifts so I am  joining in on the Gift Guide fun with an At-Home twist. I can’t believe that Christmas is almost here. What a year, right? We’ve experienced so much and the majority of us have been at home managing it all. Ladies we have been working hard all year long so as you begin shopping for others, use the following at-home Christmas Gift Guide for Every Woman to create your wish list. You deserve it! Treat yourself!     This Gift Guide is broken down into categories that Every Woman can relate to  and use right in the comfort of  home Rest And RelaxationSpa DayKitchenWellnessFitnessOrganizationTech Gadgets *All of the gift ideas are linked in this post and can be purchased at Amazon.   Click on each image for additional information:               I hope you found this post useful and that it will help you form your well-deserved wish list!   Interested in additional Christmas content, check out Felicia’s latest blog post:   45 Christmas traditions to do with your family  This post contains great ideas to help you refine, recreate, or adopt new Christmas Traditions.   Merry Christmas!     

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Fear of uncertainty
Faith

How to Let Go of the Fear of Uncertainty

  Hi, my name is Felicia and I am learning how to overcome the fear of uncertainty.  Over the past year, I have been on a journey of valleys, mountains, valleys, and did I mention valleys.  If there is one thing that I have learned it’s that life is full of uncertainties and moments in which you have no clue which way to turn.  Well friend I have learned a few lessons along the way that I hope will help you through life’s certain uncertainties.  I remember it was a Friday in March and I was called into my new boss’s office.  I was feeling pretty confident because I just knew that my work and reputation would speak for itself so my job was safe.  Well as the meeting concluded it finally dawned on me that they were not going to renew my contract.  My new boss wanted to start afresh which meant I was out the door.  I went back to my then office and just stood in the middle of the floor.  I was fired.  I felt helpless, numb and the fear of uncertainty gripped my heart.  This seemingly perfect world that I had built was now crashing and burning.  So I had no job and no clue what was next.  The only thing I knew to do was to call my husband. Prayer For the believer, prayer is a vital part of our relationship with the Father.  Prayer doesn’t have to be complicated or scripted.  My prayer that day was simply, “Lord help me”!  The fear of uncertainty had a grip on my heart, mind, and soul and I needed to be rescued. Remember prayer is simply communication between you and your Heavenly Father.  He wants to hear from you and we need to hear from Him.  As believers, we see that Jesus was always communicating with his Father.  He would sneak away from the disciples and crowds to receive instruction, encouragement, and to be filled up so that he can continue to care for others.  I imagine that they discussed everything!  That is so encouraging because our prayers should be about everything.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  I Peter 5:7 Pray continually.  I Thessalonians 5:17 I believe he tells us this because of l all the ups and downs that life brings.  So whenever a feeling a doubt, uneasiness, or fear tries to grip you get quiet and go directly to your Father.  He’s waiting.  Remove distractions I remember when I was fired from my job, I was so embarrassed and mortified.  I did not want to see anyone or speak to anyone.  That dynamic created an awesome opportunity to remove distractions.  Distractions such as social media, text messages, phone calls, group chats and did I say social media.  Now let me be clear I’m not saying shut yourself off from the world.  I am encouraging you to create space for praying, thinking, decompressing, and breathing.  The fear of the unknown can cloud your ability to make great, rational decisions.  Usually, if I am uncertain about something I want to rectify the situation as soon as possible.  Oftentimes we need to take a step back to reassess before we make a decision.  Many times we do not allow ourselves to do that because of distractions.  Those things vie for our attention when what we really need is laser-sharp wisdom and guidance.  The main thing that we need when facing uncertainty is wisdom from our Heavenly Father.  The only way that we can receive it is through intentional time spent in the Word and prayer.  Decide to put first things first!  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the in that so easily entangles.  Hebrews 12:1 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:5 Continue to dream and plan I remember feeling like my goals, dreams, and aspirations were destroyed when I got fired.  Fear of uncertainty can cause you to stop and feel stuck.  Why?  You are not sure what to do. There might be skepticism or anxiety swirling around your next steps.  Fear hinders forward progression, while faith causes us to move forward.  It was during those days of uncertainty that I had to choose to continue to keep going.  There were moments when I just wanted to hide under the covers but my faith in Christ kept me going.  Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1 I had to remind myself to revisit my aspirations.  I could not allow one setback combined with fear to prevent me from putting one foot in front of the other.  Dreaming, planning, creating are the antithesis of fear.  Friend if you feel stuck because you are unsure of your next move or fearful of what might happen…..grab a pen and paper.  I want to encourage you to get quiet, remove distractions, pray, and dream.  Dream big and write down where you want to go, who you want to be, and how you’re going to get there.  Don’t stop…keep moving! Put your trust in the Lord Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6   These words are so true and it is one of my life’s mottos.  I thought I was trusting the Lord but it wasn’t until I felt like I hit rock bottom that it was tested.  During those days I found myself questioning why this happened but immediately I was reminded that He was with me.  Christ never left me and because of that my trust and dependence on Him grew.  I had to trust that He had my next steps

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45 Christmas traditions
Lifestyle

45 Christmas traditions to do with your family

In our family, Christmas traditions are a big deal.  We love everything about Christmas and try to cherish every moment of the holiday season.  This is the time of year where spending time with loved ones and making memories become extra special.  We want to help you make this Christmas the best one yet by sharing some of our family’s favorite Christmas traditions. Throw a cookie party. I’m talking cookie cutters, sprinkles, icing, and chocolate chips. Watch all three reversions of the Grinch. Break out Elf on the Shelf!  Make sure you to put him in a Serve an awesome Christmas dinner with a fancy honey ham or roast. Visit a Christmas tree farm to cut down your own Christmas tree. Make homemade hot chocolate, don’t skimp on the marshmallows, whipped cream, and sprinkles. Make a big Christmas morning breakfast, be sure to include French toast casserole. Open one gift on Christmas Eve. Make popcorn and cranberry garland.  Try this it’s super easy: https://www.saltycanary.com/diy-old-fashioned-cranberry-popcorn-garland/ Adopt a family for Christmas and shower them with love. Take the kids to have their pictures taken with Santa Clause. Read the entire Christmas story in Luke. Take a family photo in matching pajamas. Keep a half-gallon of eggnog in the refrigerator. Have a movie night watching Christmas classics with plenty of snacks. Host a fancy Christmas party at your home with an awesome charcuterie tray. Learn about other cultural holidays such as Kwanza and Hanukkah. Watch Home Alone 1, 2, and 3. Find homes decorated with spectacular Christmas lights in your local area. Purchase a collectible ornament for each family member. Attend your city’s tree lighting ceremony. Only play Christmas music while at home, purchase a new album, or play your tried and true favorites. Decorate and put up your tree on December 1. String Christmas lights in your home.  We like to put up lights in the living room, along the fireplace and this year my goal is to put them in the kid’s room. Watch A Christmas Story at least two times during the 24-hour marathon on Christmas Eve. Pucker up under the mistletoe. Wait to wrap all the gifts on Christmas Eve then pass out at 2 am only wake up and open gifts at 6 am. Watch The Preachers Wife with Whitney Houston and sing all the songs out loud. Put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. Send Christmas cards to your family and friends. Make sure to have the kids sign their names. Visit your local Ángel tree to give the gift of love to a child in your community Visit a local senior living community and spread some Christmas cheer with the residents. Have a gingerbread decorating contest with your family. Purchase a ready-made kit and let your creative juices flow! Read an Advent devotional daily with your family.   The Bible app, You Version, has tons of advent devotionals that are free. Spend time doing a Christmas devotion filled with prayer, singing a Christmas carol, and reading the Christmas story prior to opening gifts on Christmas morning. Find a spot to go ice skating outdoors.  The keyword is outdoors because there is nothing better than bundling up to skate and then enjoying a mug of hot chocolate after a great day on the ice. Pack up and head to the grandparent’s house. Nobody does Christmas better than grandpa and grandma. Purchase at least one poinsettia to decorate your home.  Watch the classics, Miracle on 34th street and It’s a Wonderful Life as a family. Get crafty and make homemade snowflakes and paint ornaments then use them to decorate your house. Bake, bake, bake and then give your homemade bread, cookies, and pies as gifts. Get a tin of triple flavor popcorn. Mix the caramel and cheddar together. You will not be disappointed! Have at least one slice of fruitcake.  I know what you thinking but one slice will not hurt you. Light a candle every night for any loved ones that are no longer with us as a way to cherish their memory. Remember that Christmas is about giving and spending time with those that you love. Each day spend a bit more time with your loved ones. Let us know which Christmas traditions you will be sharing with your family this year.  Merry Christmas and have fun!!

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walk by faith

How to walk by faith when life gets tough

How to walk by faith when life gets tough   What does walking by faith mean?  If you have been chatting with me over the past year you know that faith, forgiveness, and moving forward have been the themes of my life. During the pandemic, I have been thinking and processing what it means to walk by faith.   I have been reading in scripture about men and women who walked by faith against great odds, disappointments, and setbacks. The more I think and ponder, the more I realize that they all had a few things in common. Do you see what this means – all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on?  It means we’d better get on with it.  Strip down, start running – and never quit!  No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.  Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.  Study how he did it.  Because he never lost sight of where he was headed that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever.  And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.    Hebrews 12:1-2 (Message) These four principles caught my eye: Start running Never quit Keep your eyes on Jesus Study how he did it I hope to break each of these phrases down in a way that is both applicable and encouraging. Start running Scripture uses phrases set as renew mind, set your mind, or think on things as it pertains to our way of thinking. In other words, it all starts with the right mindset. For the past 18 years, I have worked in college athletics and had the privilege of working with some phenomenal athletes. During my time I have noticed that while preparing your body and fine-tuning your skills are very important, the mind is what separates good athletes from the great athletes. I remember having a student-athlete who struggled with one of our conditioning tests, the three-mile run. This run was part of our preseason routine and every year she struggled. She would hit a mental block at the 2-mile marker and her body would follow suit. She would begin to slow down her pace from a jog to a shuffle. By then the allotted time to complete the run was over, however it was over when she THOUGHT that she couldn’t do it. Ready, set, go To start over and walk by faith, you must decide that this is what you are going to do. Walking by faith requires action which is rooted in knowing what scripture says about you and your purpose. Make the decision to not allow your past to dictate your future.  Read and apply the promises that he has spoken over your life. For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.  Proverbs 19:21 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.  Proverbs 16:3 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  Colossians 3:2 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  Hebrews 13:5b Friend, it doesn’t matter what you have been through or currently experiencing. Set your mind on Christ, immerse yourself in His Word, and begin to change your mindset from victim to victor. I want to encourage you to find a verse, write it down, place it on your bathroom mirror, and read it every day. Those words will begin to shape your thoughts which in turn guide your actions. Never quit Deciding to keep going even when life is hard is not easy and oftentimes you just want to quit.  I remember feeling as if the dreams and goals that I set for myself would never come to pass because of setbacks or personal miscues.  I wanted to give up but I knew that was not an option.  During my faith walk, I decided to study Joseph.  If you have never read his account in Genesis 37-50, I encourage you to do so.  His story is filled with hope, betrayal, loss, disappointments, and redemption.  As Joseph went from peaks to valleys, he never quit or lost sight of the dream that the Lord gave him.  I’m sure he had moments when he was discouraged and even angry but he kept going.  Friends….KEEP GOING! I believe that three things occurred during his valley moments:  He continued to work in excellence  Guarded his tongue  Trusted the Lord The Lord was preparing Joseph for his next assignment during those hard times.   That is why we must continue to keep going and never stop.  Now does keep going mean that we try to remove ourselves from the hard times.  No, it means that we continue to press through them, trusting the Lord the entire time.  We surrender our will and trust His plan. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:13-14 You see friend the ultimate prize isn’t things or wealth, its to be in the presence of the one He created us and knows us.  Jesus is our prize!  Let us never quit pursuing Him. Keep your eyes on Jesus Walking by faith means that we must keep our eyes on Jesus.  This world is filled with so many distractions and competing forces that can cause us to focus on everything but Jesus.  What is a practical

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clean products

How To Incorporate Clean Products Into Daily Routines

Fellow North Carolina Blogger, Courtney Johnson Lotz, shares why she made the decision to use clean products and how we can incorporate clean products in our daily routines. Before we jump in, here are a few fun facts about Courtney: I recently moved to Winston-Salem, NC. I was adopted from South Korea at four months old. I have been married to my sweetheart almost four years ago come November. I am a Dog mom to a 3-year-old border collie. I enjoy blogging on hopefilledintheeveryday. How did you develop a passion for clean and toxin free living? My blog posts are centered around my passion about Jesus and exploring the benefits of healthy living. God has placed on my heart to share my infertility journey to encourage others. I have been exploring the factors behind my infertility and learned a ton about my autoimmune disease. When I discovered that my health and wellness was more than just what I ate, I started quickly changing the products that I used every day. My infertility journey has been challenging because my monthly cycle was not starting on its own. It required me to take a hormone for my cycle to begin and to ovulate. This caused me to have bad anxiety to take both sets of hormones.  I felt like the doctors were just putting a band aid on my infertility and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). After changing to nontoxic cleaning and beauty products, my period started regulating without requiring me to take any hormones. God has used the oils and products that I have been using to help my body work naturally. Would you say that your health has been impacted as a result of this lifestyle choice? Yes, my health has hugely been impacted my lifestyle choice. I wouldn’t have made this change if I hadn’t been struggling with infertility and gut health issues. Our lifestyle has a huge impact on my health and wellness.   How do essential oils play a role in your daily lifestyle? I use essential oils daily.  I roll on oils morning and evening for immune support (thieves), seasonal support (combination of lavender, frankincense, lemon and peppermint), and two oils (endoflex and progessence) that help regulate your hormones naturally. Essential oils are in my skin care and my hair products.  My favorite way to use oils is diffuse them instead burning candles. What essential oils would you recommend for cleaning and sanitizing? We use Thieves household cleaner and the hand soap throughout our home. The thieves household cleaner is a staple for cleaning in our home and there are zillions of different ways to use it.  It smells lovely! It is nontoxic which is very important for your overall wellness. You can use one product for everything. Did I mention one bottle can last 45 spray bottles? It saves you money!  Thieves hand purifier kills 99.9 % of germs and is non-toxic. Just like any hand sanitizer, I recommend using the purifier several times before washing your hands with soap and water. We use thieves foaming soap and lemon luscious hand foaming soap in our kitchen and in our bathrooms   What other “must haves” would you recommend specifically for the cold/flu season? All Thieves Products: Hand Purifier,  Household Cleaner, Chest Rub, Cough Drops, and Oil. How can readers connect with you to learn more about your platform and the clean Young Living Products that you mentioned. You can contact me via Instagram, @hopefilledintheeveryday with any questions. I love helping people with their wellness. My blog also has some education on the dirty dozen chemicals that can be found in products you use daily. To purchase your kit: visit my website. select your starter kit, pick items for your next month’s wellness box (min of 50 pv=$50) which you can edit, skip or cancel anytime. Then, enter your shipping + payment information.

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practical tips to organize your home

Practical tips for organizing your home

Tips for organizing your home   Yes!  You can organize your home.  These tips for organizing your home are both practical and easy to apply.  As a working mom and wife, I am constantly trying to figure out how to keep my home clean and organized.  In a perfect world, I would hire someone to clean, organize, and repeat every two weeks but that is not my story. So I knew I had to come up with a system to organize my home that is both practical and functional. Like many of our readers we are working moms balancing home, marriage, motherhood, and COVID-19. Over the past eight months, I have spent more time in my home than I ever thought possible. During that time I was able to reassess how we do things in our home and how we can do things better. One of the areas that needed improvement was home organization! So I buckled down and took on the beast one day at a time. I must admit I still have a few more rooms to tackle but I am making progress. Hold on tight because I am going to share my tips on how to organize your home. Self-Assessment I believe that assessing one’s motivation and the why behind organizing their home is very important.  When deciding to declutter, clean and organize my home; my “why” is that I like order and disorder causes me great anxiety.  I was doing it because I wanted peace of mind and a clean home makes me smile.   When I am motivated to do something I am willing to work hard to get the task done.  I will press through even when I am tired to see the work done to completion.  Doing the work of organizing your home can be overwhelming and tedious but with the right motivation, tools and an understanding of  the “why” it can be done.  I encourage you to take a few moments to determine your why.   Organization Assessment The first step in organizing your home is to complete a home organization questionnaire. The questionnaire is broken down into the four categories that I believe most clutter falls into:  Clothes Toys Papers/Documents Small appliances/electronics Be sure to download the questionnaire because each category has specific questions that will help you determine what will stay and what will go.  Keep in mind the questionnaire is designed to address each article of clothing, piece of paper, or toy individually.  Each question will help you make a decision about your clutter before you even touch an item.  Let’s go into the organization process with a clear mindset and plan.  This is one small but very important part of the “why” behind organizing your home.  You will want to have the questionnaire nearby when you begin to declutter your home.  Again these questions are meant to be a guide as you go through the decluttering process.  Let’s begin!  Organize your clutter The first step is to declutter your home. A few weeks ago we discussed the three phases of decluttering. Here is a crash course in those three steps: Choose a room to declutter Choose a specific area within the room to declutter Create piles (keep, trash, and donate) In order to organize your home, you must get rid of all the extra stuff that creates clutter and disorder. We want our spaces to be functional and if there are piles of clutter hanging out in a corner it is not functional. In my home clutter either needed to be trashed, donated, or placed in a specific usable area. Once I was able to determine what needed to be done I could then move forward with organizing that space. This leads us to our next step. Create a functional space It’s amazing what happens when you declutter your room. Remember the process of decluttering a room is broken down into baby steps. As you go throughout the room decluttering a specific area you can then begin to determine the function for each space. For me, it’s like starting from a clean slate. Take, for instance, if you have decided to declutter a closet in your bedroom you can easily identify its function. Our closet is meant to store clothes and shoes only. To go a step further all the clothes will be hung up on hangers and the shoes will either be in a shoebox or on a shoe rack. Once you determine the function of the space anything that does not fit within those parameters will not be allowed in the closet.  You must set some ground rules for keeping the space organized once the specific space is decluttered and organized.  If not you will be repeating this same process in a year.  We will discuss how to develop an organizational system a bit later.   I use my kitchen drawers to store recipes whereas you might use those drawers to store school supplies.  It’s all about your things having a designated area where it makes sense functionally for your household. One of the benefits of knowing the function of a space is it creates personal accountability for you and your family.  My children know that the back stairs are we store our shoes.  When we get home from work and school they know to place their shoes on the back steps and not in the middle of the floor.  Create spaces that will be easy to maintain and declutter throughout the year.   Encourage your family to assist in the process because that will foster responsibility and a willingness to keep the area clean.  Tools to organize your home  We have already mentioned the questionnaire but now let’s talk about other items to get your home organized.   You have identified the items that you will keep and have an idea of how you want the space to function.  Now it’s time for us to place those items in a neat and organized manner.   Listed

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Faith is an action word

Faith is an action word: Let’s Work!

Faith is an action word Hi friends!  I’m sure you’re asking what do you mean faith is an action word.  Love is an action word but how is faith an action word.  As a believer in Christ, it has taken me some years to fully understand this concept.  You see for me I knew scriptures about faith but was I actively applying them in my life.  Faith had become a passive word that I barely acted upon because I had grown comfortable.  I was cruising through life and allowing the waves to carry me to whatever destination they saw fit.  It wasn’t until a drastic life change occurred that my eyes were opened and I had to make some adjustments.  I knew that my journey needed to be infused with Lord but was I willing to do the work?  Before we get down to business allow me to paint a visual of how faith is an action word.   Faith is a verb Growing up I remember watching the grammar edition of Schoolhouse Rock and falling in love with the video that talked about verbs.  The lead character was a black superhero dressed in a red super suit and sporting a pair of the coolest sunglasses.  This superhero was taking nouns such bat, boat, rake, and plow then turn them into verbs.  I learned that verbs are an action word and action is power.  Why else would a superhero be teaching this lesson?   As I grew older I  learned a saying courtesy of DC Talk….love is a verb.  I believe that we can all agree that love requires action, sacrifice and the Father shows this love towards us daily.  Now that I have grown in my walk with Christ I am beginning to understand that faith is an action word as well.  I’m sure many of you might be saying well “duh Felicia” but for me knowing about faith and acting in faith has been a journey that I continue to walk out on a daily basis.  We are familiar with one of the most famous scriptures on faith Hebrews 11:1.   Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1 I grew up memorizing that scripture but never really applying it to my life.  As life and being a believer in Christ would have it I eventually had to tackle this scripture head-on.  If you have been tracking with me over the past year, you know that my family and I  have experienced some tough times. However, it was during those times that my faith has grown tremendously and my understanding of who Christ is has solidified an unshakeable hope that keeps me going.   Faith and obedience Let’s look at the Message version of Hebrews 11:1-2. The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.  Hebrews 11:1-2 So how does this translate into faith being an action word?  Faith says I am going to trust God no matter what it looks like around me.  Choosing to trust the Lord is a daily decision.  By choosing to trust Him I am saying that my actions, thoughts, and tendencies will learn towards His leading in my life.  Our big brother, Jesus, gave us the blueprint on how to do this.   saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup [of divine wrath] from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.” Luke 22:42 AMP Jesus had to decide to submit his desires/will to his Father.  He did not want to go the cross and die a horrific death but he understood why it had to be done.  Jesus was sent to Earth to bridge the gap between his Holy Father and sinful man.  He understood that his death would allow us to be in a relationship with the Father and to have eternal life.   I could not imagine where I would be if He had not chosen to surrender his life for me.  I know I would be a mess!  Jesus showed us that the firm foundation of faith in God is what we need to make this life worth living.  Faith is obedience to His will for our lives.   Faith and hope What is hope and how is related to faith?  Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.  Faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something.  As believers, our complete trust is in Christ.  We trust that He is kind, compassionate, just, righteous, and faithful.  We trust that His word is true.  The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of your righteous ordinances is everlasting.  Psalm 199:160 So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11 Faith fuels our hope.  It keeps us expecting, waiting, and believing His word because we know that it is true.  I know what it’s like to feel hopeless and it feels as if everything around you is crumbling and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.  It was during those times when I felt that hope was lost that I had to cling to faith.  Why?  Christ is the only constant and consistent person who I can put my complete trust and confidence in every day, all day.   As I begin to remember who He is and how faithful he has been to me, I can start to fan the flames of hope.   Faith in action How can I write about faith being an action word with such conviction?  I have had to do everything that is written in this post.  I

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school

Parents: Prepare To Do Five Things This School Year

  Back To School is on everybody’s mind at this time. Parents and Educators alike are all wondering how best to navigate the current state of affairs. As a parent and an Educator, I am juggling both roles and coming to grips with the fact that there will be many things out of my control. I could offer my professional advice but no one asked for that so I have decided to offer what I hope will be some perspective to help us as parents and guardians as we begin a new school year. Show Compassion Now more than ever, kindness matters. As an Educator, I am often placed in a position to put the needs of other people’s children before my own. Parents/guardians should consider this and show compassion to Educators who are also dealing with the impact of this new normal. Consider that Educators have children too that they may very well be caring for while they are caring for your children whether remote or in-person. Extend this same compassion to your children and most importantly yourself. These are very challenging times. Considering the needs of others is critical.   Exercise Patience Many schools and school systems are still in the preparation phase for the upcoming year. Many existing structures were not designed to accommodate this major shift. Various factors have to be considered such as finance, staff allotment, health/safety measures, curriculum and instruction resources and availability of those resources, technology, and the list goes on. Exercising patience will be extremely important as Educators will likely be placed in positions to make final decisions and preparations at the 11th hour.  Again, extend this patience to your children and yourself.   Prioritize Flexibility Along the lines of exercising patience, we will need to prioritize being flexible. This is extremely important as many schools will begin the year in remote learning with plans to re-enter pending health and safety. Anytime technology is involved, roadblocks will occur. Even the best structures can have drawbacks and challenges. Do your best to avoid coming undone and provide an example of how to pivot for your children if unexpected changes occur.  If schools should return to normal function, parents should be prepared to help their children make the transition back as this will be a huge shift for them and a huge undertaking for schools.   Create Partnerships This is a great time for parents/guardians to partner with schools in authentic ways. Avoid the temptation to speak negatively in public forum such as social media about schools and school systems. If there is a concern, find an appropriate way to voice that concern and be prepared to offer solutions. Determine the best way to communicate with assigned staff and keep the lines of communication open. This is also a great time for parents/guardians to join together with others in your circle who are having similar experiences. Leverage expertise, consider sharing resources, and/or starting support groups to help each other navigate this situation.   Embrace Accountability This crisis has revealed the importance of parental involvement in the educational process. Parents/guardians play a critical role and it is important that as parents we hold ourselves accountable in word and in action. What does this look like? Create a learning environment that is suitable for the needs of your children and your household. Make sure that you are aware of the daily schedule and functioning of your child’s school(s). Ensure that your children are as engaged as possible in learning. Follow through on any assignments and requests from the school as it pertains to parents/guardians. Start with these suggestions and make adjustments/additions as needed.   Back To School for the 2020/2021 school year will be memorable for all. Best wishes to every Parent, Student, and Educator!    

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Declutter your home

Three tips to Declutter your Home

Hi moms! It is time to declutter your home.  A few weeks ago I talked about how we can declutter our lives.  We introduced three principles that I believe can be applied to decluttering your home.  I get it!  I am a mom of three, living through a pandemic, social unrest, and trying to decide on how to navigate my career with my child’s virtual classroom. Well, the system that I want to introduce will help you declutter your home at your pace and will help you stay organized.  Let’s get to work! As I mentioned, we talked about decluttering our lives…not our homes a few weeks back.  If you haven’t read that post be sure to check it out. I am a firm believer in working from the inside out because that is where sustainable change occurs.  Just to recap I believe that there is a correlation between a cluttered life and a cluttered home.  To address both, I outlined these three practical steps to help you get on the path to an organized life. Three practical steps for an organized life Prayer Intention Discipline Before we can be about the business of decluttering our home let’s make sure that our lives are free of clutter as well.  Psalm 51:10 says Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew the right spirit within me.  I would encourage you to look inward before looking outward.  If you can commit to the work and exercise discipline you can declutter your life and home.  Are you ready? Declutter your Home The first step to organizing your home is to declutter.  Another “d” word!  Yes, you must declutter your home and rid it of all unnecessary, unused, old, and worn items that are collecting dust and taking up space.  For some individuals, like my husband, he panics whenever I bring a big black trash bag because he knows that some stuff has to go!  On the other hand, I am a purging queen and will gladly throw away anything that appears to be junk/clutter.  It is important that if the decluttering project is a group effort that all voices are heard and valued.  I have had to learn the hard way that what appears to be junk to me might be a treasure to him.   When we declutter our home we use a three-step method: Choose a room Choose an area within the room Create piles One of the biggest mistakes that I see with friends who are trying to declutter their homes is that they try to do everything at the same time.  This leads to frustration, confusion, and oftentimes unfinished projects. It is important to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and your home did not become cluttered overnight.  Give yourself grace and space to complete the task.  Let’s learn to celebrate the small victories of decluttering your bathroom.  That small success can propel you to tackle your garage or the kid’s playroom.   Step one: Choose a room You have committed to the work so let’s get going!  The first step to declutter your home is to choose a room.  I believe that you should choose a small room such as a bathroom, laundry room, or even a child’s bedroom.  Now that you have chosen a room, commit to decluttering it completely before moving onto the next room.  As I stated earlier, starting small brings confidence and that sparks motivation to keep going.   So have you chosen a room?  If not I would like for you to do the following: Scan your home and decide right now what room you will tackle. Commit to doing the work of decluttering that room. WRITE down a day and time that you will begin the work Find an accountability partner and tell them you will start decluttering that room on the day that you set aside Move to step 2  Should there be a time certain time frame in which to clean the room?  While I believe it is important to complete the task in the quickest manner possible, I do not want to put time limits on individuals.  As we continue discussing the decluttering method I believe establishing time frames will make more sense. Step two: Choose an area within the room Now, this is where the fun begins!  When you enter the room choose a specific space that you will declutter.  What does this mean?  The objective is to clean one area at a time.  Once that area is clean then you will move on to the next area within the same room.  Again the key to this method of decluttering is that you start small then progress to larger areas.  Check out the specific areas listed below. Bathroom The cabinet underneath the sink Medicine cabinet Master Bedroom Dresser Underneath the bed Closet Sitting area Children’s bedroom Dresser Underneath the bed Closet Kitchen Pantry Cupboards/Cabinets Underneath the sink Drawers Family room Entertainment area Magazine basket Foyer Coat closet Playroom Arts and crafts area Toy chest/box Miscellaneous areas I hope these suggestions get you moving in the right direction! Step three: Create piles Now that you have chosen a room and space let’s tackle the stuff that has been occupying that space.  The best way to tackle all of that STUFF is to create piles. Three piles: Keep – the keep pile are items that will REMAIN in your house Trash – items placed in the trash pile will be REMOVED from your house Donate – these items will be GIVEN to your favorite charity As you begin to sort through your items please make sure that your piles are either marked or separated so that the piles do not mix into another pile.  Do you remember when we talked about time frames?  The objective when placing items in the pile is to make the decision relatively quickly.  I would spend only 2-3 minutes when trying to determine whether or not to keep, trash, or donate.  Also, I

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Hi friends!  I’m Danielle and I’m Felicia….but growing up we were just known as the Ford Girls.  Welcome to our corner of the blogging world.  We hope that you will join us as we journey through life as wives, moms, career woman and woman of faith.  We hope to inspire and encourage you to live in each stage of your life with intention, grace and love!

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