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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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Quick and easy fruit salad

Quick and Easy Fruit Salad Recipe

Quick and Easy Fruit Salad Recipe This quick and easy fruit salad recipe is sure to be a hit in your home.  No summer is complete without a delicious fruit salad!  During our time at home, we have been cooking more and trying out new recipes.  One Sunday while I was preparing breakfast I decided to throw some ripen fruit into a bowl and serve it alongside our pancakes, eggs, and sausage.  The fruit is inherently sweet but I wanted to add a hint of tang to the fruit salad.  I decided to add a dash of lemon juice and the rest is history. Over the past few months, I have perfected this salad and I thought I would share it with you.  Please note that as a mom of three young children I understand the dilemma of a picky eater but the beauty of this fruit salad is that it appeals to even the pickiest of eaters.  I made sure to include kid-friendly, sweet fruit and for my son Ethan, he just picks out the blueberries. Three-step Fruit Salad Making a fruit salad should not be complicated!  For me, I have broken it down into three simple steps. Choose your fruit For this fruit salad, I chose strawberries, blueberries, and grapes.  Each fruit provides a different layer of texture and taste. Strawberries: When choosing strawberries you want to make sure that they are bright in color and this includes the hull and stem.  Avoid strawberries that have any dark, grey, or fuzzy white spots and they should be firm but give a little when squeezed. Blueberries: I’m a fan of smaller, plump blueberries because the taste of blueberry in this fruit salad is more complimentary.  The darker in color and plumper the blueberry the sweeter they will be. Grapes: the darker the berry the sweeter the juice!  Again make sure that your grapes are firm and not mushy. Prepare the fruit When preparing your fruit salad make sure to rinse off the fruit to rid it of any pesticides, dirt, or other environmental irritants.  The easiest way to do this is to place the fruit in a strainer, rinse with cool water and shake off any excess water.  It is ok to have some water remain on the fruit but it should not be drenched in water.  The small amount of water left on the fruit will help make your simple syrup.  We will talk about that shortly! Now that your fruit is clean, it can all be combined in your mixing bowl or if you’re like me it goes straight into the serving bowl.  The only fruit that will need to be cut is the strawberries.  You will remove the stem and hull (the top green part) and then cut it into fourths.  Once you have all the fruit in the bowl give it a quick stir to combine.  Once that is done you are now ready for the final step. Make “salad” dressing The last step in preparing this easy fruit salad is the “salad dressing”.  This simple dressing is a combination of your simple sugar and lemon juice.  The simple sugar is made from the small amount of water left on the fruit and added white sugar.  The last ingredient is lemon juice.  You can use fresh or bottled lemon juice.  The lemon juice adds a tartness that is both refreshing and unexpected.  I promise you will love it! Once you have dressed your salad cover with aluminum foil and let it cool in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours.  The cooling will allow the flavors to blend, the simple sugar will thicken and the cooled fruit will be a delicious treat perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Additional tips The beauty of a fruit salad is that you can add whatever fruit best suits your tastes.  Always purchase fruit that is in season because it will help minimize the cost and the fruit will be sweeter and juicer. Should you have any leftovers,  cover with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.  My husband loves to take the fruit salad and add it to his yogurt with a handful of granola for breakfast. This fruit salad is made with fresh fruit.  I would avoid frozen fruit because once the fruit is thawed it will be very mushy and watery.  This will take away from the flavor and texture of the fruit salad. Enjoy! This recipe combines fresh strawberries, blueberries and grapes for a delicious addition to any meal.

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fibroid story

How Fibroids Changed My Life: A Story of Hope

July is Fibroid Awareness Month which I didn’t know until recently. As a women who live with the life altering effects of fibroid tumors, I greatly appreciate the public efforts being made by experts in the field and organizations such as The White Dress Project  to bring awareness to this  issue that many women face. Suffering in silence is no longer an option so I decided to share my Fibroid story so that it will help other women find hope for what may seem like a hopeless situation. This is How Fibroids Changed My Life.   2011 May– I went in for a routine physical and found out that there was concern about the shape and size of my uterus. My uterus was also “slightly stiff” according to my doctor so she referred me to a gynecologist for an ultrasound. I was one month away from my wedding so I decided to schedule the ultrasound after my honeymoon. July-I went in for the ultrasound and was informed that I had three fibroids, one the size of a golf ball, with steady growth. I was also informed by the gynecologist that I was referred to who happened to be a Black male, that I needed to consider other options for becoming a mom because the likelihood of me getting pregnant and/or carrying a pregnancy to term would be slim. The treatment options prescribed were long term progesterone usage and/or hysterectomy. August -I settled in with a Black Female Gynecologists based on a recommendation from a friend at the same practice. She suggested a “watch and see” approach because at that time I wasn’t experiencing any of the extreme symptoms aside from irregular cycles here and there. She also took the time to review other options without making me feel pressured into choosing one approach over another. I definitely felt more comfortable with her because she would take the time to listen before diagnosing or prescribing a course of action. October -The Gynecologist that I was seeing went out on indefinite medical leave. My file was transferred to another doctor who was a God-send that I still see to-date. She introduced me to alternative methods for treatment which primarily center around diet, physical activity, and supplements to discourage fibroid growth.   2012 February– I began having heavy bleeding so my Doctor ordered another ultrasound. The ultrasound revealed growth in the largest fibroid but it also showed that one of the smaller fibroids had grown into the lining of my uterus. This, according to my doctor, was the cause of the heavy bleeding. I continued the recommended lifestyle changes but I was also given the option to begin a medication to help alleviate some of the bleeding. By the end of this year I had experienced time out of work, I increased my inventory of dark clothing specifically undergarments and pants, I destroyed furniture, mattresses, you name it, and literally carried a care bag with me wherever I went during “that time of the month.” I would avoid going places and isolate myself during that time because of my fear of having an “accident.” And remember, I was still a newlywed so physical intimacy was nonexistent at times. I decided to start the medication to decrease the bleeding.   2013 February– The largest fibroid continued to grow. My doctor referred me to a Minimally Invasive Gynecology surgeon in the area. As with most referrals, I had about a month’s wait but fortunately the medication helped to increase my quality of life. I was informed that the medication was a temporary solution so I knew that I needed to explore other options including surgery to bring relief. April– My appointment with the surgeon ended with me scheduling a Laproscopic Myomectomy at the end of that year. It was determined that I was a candidate for this outpatient procedure. This procedure was ideal for me because I wanted minimal scarring, a quicker recovery period, and I wanted to protect my uterus and other reproductive organs as much as possible. August -I had my first hemorrhaging episode due to the presence of fibroids that landed me in the ER. I will spare you the details but I knew in that moment that surgery was my only option. December– I went in for the laproscopic myomectomy and it went well but it took a major turn. The surgeon was unable to proceed as planned because we all went in with the understanding that there were four fibroid tumors to remove. There were 14 fibroids! The largest tumor which had grown to the size of a grapefruit obstructed the view of every ultrasound that I had leading up to surgery. Per the surgeon, they were forced to do a bikini incision and fish out each fibroid one at a time. What should have taken three hours took close to 8 to complete. I was admitted to the hospital in preparation for a challenging recovery. The angels of the Lord were definitely encamped around me!   Fast forward to 2015 January– I found out that I was 7 weeks pregnant at a routine visit. This visit was a prerequisite per my Gynecologist to determine if I should start trying to conceive. We weren’t trying but look at God!   2020 Like many women with fibroids, I have experienced reoccurrence. I have been given the option to undergo a second minor procedure but due to the pandemic, I haven’t had the opportunity to continue conversations around this option. The impact this time around is not comparable to my pre-surgery experience which I attribute to God’s grace and competent health care professionals. As I mentioned, I hope that me sharing my experience will help someone else to know that they are not alone and that there is hope. I would also like to offer the following personal advice which should not be used as a replacement for medical advice from my experience:    Get an annual physical and establish a

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family mission statement

How to Create a Family Mission Statement

How to Create a Family Mission Statement One of the goals for our family this year is to be more intentional about our thoughts, habits, and behaviors.  In doing so we decided to develop the Tucker family mission statement.  At first, it seemed like a daunting task but we broke it down into bite-sized pieces that we hope you can apply to your family’s mission statement.  I believe that during these times we have a great opportunity to examine every facet of our family, make adjustments, and find ways to grow and build a foundation for a legacy that will last for years and years.  Let’s dive in and get to work! What is a family mission statement? To write a family mission statement, you must first understand the purpose of a mission statement. A mission statement is a written declaration of an organization’s core purpose and focus that normally remains unchanged over time.  Your family mission statement will speak to how your family will operate and what goals you will accomplish as a family.  This is important because within your family each member plays an important role and they are valued members of your “organization”.  It is important to not only consider your spouse but your children as well. While developing your family mission statement I recommend that you include your children in these conversations. Everyone should be able to voice their ideas, dreams, and hopes for their family.  It is during those conversations that we discover our values and non-negotiables as a family.  These things will help shape our mission statement. I have found that during these conversations my 7-year old has some very clear thoughts and ideas of how he would like to see our household operate. Also, we want him to know that we value his opinion and we want to create an environment where he feels safe in expressing his thoughts. What are your core values? I briefly mentioned core values in the last paragraph but let’s discuss them a bit more.  I was first introduced to core values during my first job interview when I graduated from grad school.  My former boss asked me what they were and I wasn’t fully prepared to answer that question but I did have an idea of what I valued. Faith. Family. Friends. So what are core values?  Core values are guiding principles that determine our decisions and govern how we navigate through life. Over the years those core values have changed a bit now that I am a wife, mom, and have experienced life. That’s ok!  My foundation of faith and family will always remain the same but the emphasis on friends has phased out.  As we grow and mature and grow older the things that we value will change. If you are unsure of where to start there are tons of resources and core values lists that will help you think through and determine your core values. I believe that the sweet spot is 3-5 core values. Check out the link listed above as it provides a comprehensive list and activity for you to complete to help determine your core values. What are your family’s core values? Now that we have identified our core values let’s determine our family core values.  I believe there will be a crossover from your core values into your family’s core values.  For my husband and me, faith is the foundation from which we live and we are instilling those values into our children as well.  Therefore, faith is one of our family’s core values. For your family, it could be a passion for adventure, diversity, or knowledge.  Whatever your family loves to do or it is at the core of how you live will help you establish your core values.  These are a few conversations starters to get you moving in the right direction: Discuss your core values Share experiences and life lessons that have shaped your identity Talk about memorable family experiences Discuss your passions and personal interests Your family core values are the foundation from which you will build your mission statement.  Get the conversation going! What are your family’s goals? I believe that this is the meat and potatoes of a family mission statement.  While our core values will shape our actions; our goals will help move us towards fulfilling our mission. As individuals, we all have goals that we want to accomplish but in a family unit, we have overarching goals as well.  An example would be to provide my children with life experiences outside of the classroom so that they can see the world through a globally diverse lens.  This falls in line with diversity being one of our family’s core values.  Think big when discussing your goals and never minimize someone’s contribution to your family’s goals. During this process, I have found that I have learned so much about my 7-year old and how he is wired. In turn, this has helped me to be more intentional about choosing his extra-curricular activities. Also, the conversations have turned to how we can support him in his passions versus pushing him towards what we think he should pursue.  That is just one example but I want to encourage you to start discussing your family goals. There are various goal-setting techniques that you can use to help you and your family develop goals. Feel free to do your research and see which one best suits your needs. Remember these goals will act as road markers on your journey to accomplishing your family mission statement. Putting the pieces together Ok, let’s go! Here are your action steps. Decide that you will commit to the process of developing a family mission statement Identify your core values Identify your family core values Discuss family goals that will lead you toward fulfilling your family mission statement Have fun!!!! Once you have written your family mission statement be sure to type it up, maybe frame it, and place it in a

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systemic racism

Understanding Systemic Racism in America

Dismantling systemic racism in America is ongoing work.  There are many systems in place that work together to perpetuate the overt and sometimes covert acts of racism that Black people face on a daily basis. Having an awareness of these structures and the role that they continually play is important. We want to share a few resources with you that have left on mark on us individually. Each resource helps to shed additional light on systemic racism in America, it’s impact on the Black community, and the direct linkage to social injustice. Click on each title for additional information.   Felicia The Intersection of Race, Student Athletes, and College Athletics In America “ Our Black and African-African American student-athletes and staff have now been thrust into conversations about diversity and inclusion. I find this quite interesting because these are ongoing conversations within our communities.  In response to everything going on, we are now the experts and people are listening. This conversation is real! The conversation among these industry leaders in sports was thought-provoking and filled with solutions for real change in the world of college athletics.   Danielle The Kalief Browder Story “This documentary caused me to shutter as I thought about the countless young Black and Brown young men that I’ve worked with as an Educator in the public school system. This documentary sheds lights on the criminal justice system, the Black family, underserved Black communities, policing, corruption within Correctional Facilities, mass incarceration, mental health in the Black community, healthcare disparities, implicit bias, poverty, employment, and I could add to this list. The theme that resonated with me the most was that of Black Motherhood. Venida Browder literally fought to her death for her son. As a mother, this hit at my very core. This documentary is not easy to watch but it is highly recommended.   Chloe The Color of Compromise “ I highly recommend this books as it notes the complicity of the church in regards to race. Not only is the book strikingly honest with the historical context of race in America as its foundation, but poignant in how the American church has played a role in staying complicit on the injustices of its Black and Brown brothers and sisters in Christ. Jemar Tisby does a great job of highlighting the moments of clear failure while equally sharing the many ways in which the church can rectify its past shortcomings in present and future.”   Racial Unity Dismantling Systemic Racism is not only hard work, its HEART work. Racial reconciliation is not easy to talk about or frankly to swallow during times of social unrest but the Word of God commands us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:39). As Christians, we have to examine ourselves and fully come to grips with what this scripture means. Let’s be clear that this does not diminish the work that must be done but it helps us to position ourselves and our hearts to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Please see the Resources on Racial Unity from Dr. Tony Evans for additional study.   Additional Resource Recommendations: What is Systemic Racism?  –Dr. Tony Evans Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together In The Cafeteria –Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum 13th  –Ava DuVernay Uncomfortable Conversations With A Black Man –Emmanuel Acho Examining Sense of Belonging Among First-Year Undergraduates From Different Racial/Ethnic Groups  -Dr. Dawn Johnson   Interested in related blog post? See below Four Ways To Successfully Navigate The Workplace As A Black Woman  

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Declutter your life

How to Declutter your Life…not your home!

Declutter your life   I know what you’re thinking….what exactly does it mean to declutter your life?  Especially because as a mom I am constantly thinking about how I can declutter and clean my home.  Also, I am caring for the needs of my family which oftentimes leaves very little time for myself.  During this time of social unrest, a global pandemic, and social distancing I have done a lot of introspection.  While stealing a rare moment of quiet I realized the similarities between a cluttered home and life. For this article, a cluttered life is frazzled, all over the place, stressed, and in search of peace.  Listen to me family….I have been there and it requires work to declutter your life but it can be done!  So let’s get to work. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I understand (but sometimes forget) that He is the ultimate giver of joy and peace.  In my house whenever I see clutter or if the mail starts to pile up I get anxious and antsy because to me that represents disorder.  The same is true in my personal life. If it is hard for me to concentrate or something is weighing heavy on my heart I feel very uneasy.  As a result, I find it difficult to sleep, my joy tank takes a hit and I can find myself in a slump.  The only way out is to go back to the beginning and that starts with my relationship with Christ. Prayer   The first step to decluttering your life is spending time with the one who loves you and knows you better than anyone else….your Heavenly Father.  Prayer is simply communication with the Lord.  Remember communication is a two-way street where both listening and speaking are important.  Prayer allows you to focus on your creator and not your circumstances.  Many times a cluttered life is the result of us holding onto excess baggage, meaning worries, fears, unmet expectations, and regret.  1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Get rid of the things that are stealing your joy and focus on the one who cares for every part of your life.  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26 Let that sink in!    But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 What are things?  Oftentimes we deduce things down to material things only, however; peace of mind, the ability to sleep, and confidence that He is faithful to His word are promises that far outweigh any material gain.  Isaiah 26:3 says You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. Mamas….be encouraged he has you, your family, your circumstances in his hand.  Let’s exchange our worries for his peace and the cares of this world for his promises.  Spend time reading your Bible find scripture that speaks about the greatness and goodness of our God.  Take those scriptures and meditate on them and use them as personal prayers.  Let’s be free!   Be intentional    If you want to declutter your life it doesn’t occur by chance it’s intentional.  Intentional means deliberate or with a purpose.  As moms, we must be intentional about our peace of mind just as we are intentional about keeping a clean home.  We have all heard about the importance of self-care but let’s dive a bit deeper because this goes beyond a manicure and pedicure.  How do we become intentional about ridding our personal lives of clutter?  I believe it requires two simple actions: prioritizing and learning the art of saying “no”.  My priorities happen to align with my two of my core values: faith and family.  As a result, I prioritize my quiet time (prayer and reading my Word), the well-being of my family, my health, and personal development.  I challenge you to sit down and think about your priorities.  Once you have them outlined, make decisions about what you can keep on your plate and what you can release.  Now that you have identified your priorities we can complete the following steps: Practical steps for intentional living: Identify your priorities Designate a specific time to complete the tasks associated with your priorities Develop a plan with action steps to complete your outlined priorities   Repeat Practical example: I prioritize my health.  I know that I am at my best in the morning so I set my alarm to complete my 30-45 minute workout for early in the morning.  I make sure that I designate 4 days/week to exercise.  My workout plan is structured by an exercise app.   The next component of being intentional is the ability to say “no”.  For me to stay focused on what matters most I must be willing to say “no” to things that are secondary or not as important.  As moms and women, we are wired to be people pleasers.  We tend to take on additional responsibilities, spread ourselves thin, and become irritable due to self-imposed stress.  It is ok to say “no” to that do not align with your priorities, especially if they create stress or are done out of obligation not joy.  It is time to focus on what matters most with great intention. When we do we can declutter our lives and live free! Be Disciplined   Yup…..the the dreaded “d” word….discipline.   Discipline means to train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way.  To declutter your life, you must be disciplined.  We can implement the two steps listed above but if they are not coupled with consistent action then you will be spinning your wheels.  I am speaking from experience!!  I always knew that I needed to spend time in prayer and the Word daily but I would

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tackling tough conversations with children

How To Tackle Tough Conversations With Children

  Being in the house with Madison over the last few months has literally forced me into a few things including having to tackle tough conversations with her about things such as racism and COVID-19. Never would I have imagined talking with my four year old about World News. Now she isn’t your average 4-year old because to hear her tell it, David Muir is the best! Truthfully I had to begin limiting what she took in by limiting our consumption of the news but the fact that she was actually paying attention lead her to formulate questions that I could no longer avoid.  So in response to her curiosity I had to do the following: Stop avoiding the conversation(s) This is difficult and it’s almost like ripping a bandage off of a sore but eventually it has to be done. So if you’ve found yourself beating around the bush, go ahead and put on your big girl/boy panties and begin the conversation. Beginning the conversation means that it will likely be ongoing but at least your children will know that you are there to talk with them both now and in the future. Do some research For me, this involved determining how best to have an age-appropriate conversation with a four year old. Even Elmo’s Daddy had to talk with him about Racism and I was able to take my cues from watching the Town Hall that Sesame Street held in addition to looking into resources from parenting and child psychology experts. It’s ok to not know how to approach a topic with your child but the failure is in using the lack of knowledge as a crutch. Be prepared to listen as much as you talk I think that at times we don’t give our children the credit that they deserve. Personally I have been in denial about what Madison actually knows or I may fail to acknowledge her feelings. While having tough conversations with her, I try to make sure that I allow her to speak and ask questions. She is prone to asking tons of questions but by allowing her to do so and doing my best to respond, I believe that I am teaching her how to have effective two-way communication. Lean Into Your Morals and Values As a Christian mother, I want to make sure that Madison knows that we are called to live in a way that pleases the Lord in all things despite what may be going on around us. I also don’t want her living in a bubble so having these tough conversations gives me the opportunity to teach her the importance of prayer and searching the scripture when we are faced with challenging situations that may feel beyond our control. I am her first example in how to respond during difficult times. I have consistently done these four things when tackling tough conversations with Madison over the past few months. Do I always feel confident or accomplished? Absolutely not! So I also want to offer a few additional quick tips: Pray Don’t put too much pressure on yourself Be honest with your children Create a relaxing environment to have conversations Seek out Godly counsel if you need direction on how to approach a topic Follow up with your children     If you are interested in reading on a related topic, see the following article: How to give yourself grace as a mom  

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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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