Encouragement, Faith, Goals, Lifestyle, Parenting

Peace Is Possible

Peace takes on so many different forms once you become a parent that sometimes we forget what it means in its truest essence. In the dictionary, peace is defined as “freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.” And we hold on to that description until we feel as if we are about to emotionally and mentally explode because that is what we have come to believe to be true. It is what the world has told us defines peace and how we determine the level of peacefulness we are currently experiencing. But let. Me. Tell. You! Peace as a parent has nothing to do with the external situations happening around you. Talk about a hard pill I am still trying to swallow!

If we Moms waited for peace as determined by the editors of Webster’s, we would be insane from the moment we brought those precious sweet babies home until Jesus called us up to Heaven. Listen, peace in the biblical sense is described as a gift from God, the Creator of Heaven and earth that surpasses all understanding. See, the peace that God gives us is not dependent upon how we feel, interpret or even deal with the external forces and happenings of our everyday lives. There is complete and utter peace in the chaos of sick children, overworked spouses, sleepless nights, financially strapped pay periods and fatigue. When we surrender to the biblical truths about our roles and our position, not only as parents but as individuals, it is easier to rest in the peace of God.

The reality is that the supernatural type of peace God has promised us is always under attack. Whether we recognize it or not, there are so many things that can hinder and halt that blissful sensation that can sometimes feel like our own personal miracles. I’ve been there and low-key have days (and hours) that feel like I’m revisiting that upheaval and unrest. Having a serenity within that fuels our spirit, mind and body and allow us to smile genuinely and sleep soundly regardless of what has happened during the course of our days is a gift like no other. We all have experienced the heaviness and burden of adulthood obligations. Between marital struggles, parenting, balancing familial relationships, financial woes and then just being yourself …I don’t know about you but I have to be very intentional about maintaining inner peace so that I can pour out for my family. As children of the Living God, His peace is available to us all, we just have to choose to accept it. That doesn’t mean merely saying we have “unspeakable joy” but to give our burdens over that we can be open to recognize the literal joy of the Lord so strong in our hearts that the demands of today and disappointments of yesterday don’t command a second thought. When that happens, we can trust that He has filled all gaps, exceeded every need and rendered us victorious!

Our children need to see that this is how we live our lives to learn what contentment, joy and peace are in their own childlike way. If we are always huffing and puffing and constantly on the run attempting to create an atmosphere or lifestyle that seems peaceful, (notice I said “seems”) but that lacks true peace, that same insanity we bestow upon ourselves we transfer to our Littles. They don’t know how to describe it or what is happening but they see that the people we are and the things we do sometimes don’t make sense. And thus begins the building blocks for unrest in their small spirits. I am guilty of over-exerting myself. I have been the serial “yes, I can do that” person even though that was one more commitment stretching thin the very fabric of my being in that moment. As I look back, I see how those behaviors not only slowly deconstructed my peace but upset our household until there were short tempers and disconnection for us as a familial unit.

We all need the opportunity to exhale the doubt, worry and stress that we absorb through the day. I have found there is no better place to find rest than in the arms and laps of our Father. Just as our children run to us when they are scared, hurt or tired burying their heads into our chests and laps to find safety, so should we to the one Jesus cried out to as Abba Father, Daddy God. He is waiting to lift us up, take us in and allow us the opportunity to bask in the security of His embrace; not just for that moment but for as long as we keep our eyes and hearts on Him. If your peace is fading or non-existent… or if you can’t remember a time you ever had any true indescribable joy-it may be time to seek out the only one who can give and restore it…God. He is the best parent to ever do the job and knows us intimately so He already has just the thing we need, if we ask. Take a moment to share your heart with Him, even if you only have a few minutes in the shower or while hiding in your closet devouring a snack before small feet follow the sounds of rustling wrappers (don’t judge me…or do, but it works). It may be the moment of renewal and intention you needed!

Much Love,

Q

Encouragement, Faith, Goals, Lifestyle, Parenting

Not A Mini-Me, Rather, A Little Her

Happy New Year Y’all!

Like most people, the holidays and end of the year bring about a season of self-reflection. My season lasted most of the fall and winter of 2018 and at times was absolutely brutal. I mean, if you ever ask God to show you the true you. The weaknesses, shortcomings, and truths of what makes you who you are…be ready to see a not-so-perfect picture. As I tip-toes into the traumas and truths of my childhood and young adulthood, I was swamped with thoughts about how to pick up the pieces and start fresh even though I have a husband and daughters who need me (so checking out or running away aren’t viable options). And while I am still sorting through a lot of that (story for another day), I did have a lightbulb moment in relation to how I parent.

Now, don’t get me wrong here, children inherent their looks and some personality traits through genetics but what I am talking about is the nurturing of our children. Not those things which are out of our control, but rather, the things that are tangible. One of these areas was the idea that our oldest, my Sug, was a “Mini-Me.” I had heard family, friends and acquaintance say it so much that I started to believe it myself. Here is the problem that ensued, I began to respond and reactive to our six year old as if she were just that, a miniature version of myself. At her age, life was different for me than it is for her and the experiences that I traversed in childhood shaped the person I am today. But she has not known the loss, lessons or hardships. She has not witnessed some of the things that I have, both positive and negative. And her perspective of the world around her is different if for no other reason than she is growing up in a time, region and space where things are different. So to treat her as a “Mini-Me” has been a detriment to my parenting.

I was holding her to standards she couldn’t meet and expectations based on what I felt was appropriate because of what I was able to do at her age/stage and the reality was I have been missing out on learning who she is because all I saw was my “Mini-Me.” Friends, parenting at easy nor is it for the faint of heart. I quit in my head a few times a day and when the truth of this revelation hit me it felt like a ton of bricks. I felt like I had failed her, like I had failed as a mother and like I had failed to glorify the God who blessed us with this healthy child. You see, He has trusted us to care and raise this amazing Little Person to become a warrior to do His will but I got caught up in creating an attitude in her that served my will instead.

So while dressing alike and cute social media posts brag about mothers and their “Mini-Me’s,” I have had to take a step back. I am thoroughly flawed and in a perpetual state of self-awareness and personal growth. I want to raise daughters who aren’t seen as small versions of myself (be it in their clothing, attitude or personality) but instead are recognized as individuals in their own right. Not trying to measure themselves to meet the standard set before them by anyone (self-included) but striking out in their God-given talents with boldness to be comfortable and free in being themselves. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is acceptance and unconditional love for who  they are and were created to be by their Heavenly Father.

Much Love,

Q

Encouragement, Goals, Lifestyle

Who Would Have Thunk It?

Hey Y’all!

I know all of us over the age of 30 can relate to living through our 20s feeling smarter and wiser, while still young and hip and looking forward to who we will be when we “grow up.” It’s like being a kid in Toys R Us (R.I.P) and seeing all of the amazing boxes and endlessly play possibilities. Blinded by the lights and magnificent displays that capture our attention, we daydream about all that we would do with just one new toy let alone the potential multiple picks create. And then, almost immediately, one day you grow up and realize it takes money to buy said desired bobbles and that money comes by way or work (which usually is the least interesting thing we want to involve ourselves in) and slowly the daydreams are swept away and reality feels stale compared to what it once was. Now, that may have been an over exaggeration but that is kind of what it felt like when I realized I am about to hit my “mid-thirties.” [Insert gasp here]

The initial shock felt like I was pushed off a cliff and when I came to my senses it was more like I had trip off the last stair. Wile scary and jolting, not nearly as life-altering as it seemed in the moment. And if we are honest with ourselves, we all dreamed a manifest destiny of sorts that isn’t exactly playing out the way we pictured. After a few years in the role of adult and parent, I have come to confidently accept that that my friends is perfectly okay. Seriously, when I talk to my longtime friends (and I mean like 19 and 22 year friendships) one of the common questions when something new happens is, who would have thunk it? Who knew that this would be the life I lived at this point in adulthood.

Now, I don’t know about you but for a while, that was a hard pill to swallow. I was “just” a few roles I had assumed and the life of over-achievement I had been groomed for wasn’t exactly reality. I wasn’t a world-renowned writer, a famous therapist, a millionaire entrepreneur…Chile, I was a barely a thousand-aire and still using Google in place of sound advice. Admit it, you can relate! But over the past two to three years (’cause my evolution of personal growth is constant and I am no where near “arriving”) I have made up in my mind that the roles I fulfill, the legacy I work to establish for my family and my faith is enough. I. AM. ENOUGH. And guess what, so are you!

It doesn’t matter where we thought we would be or where we are on that path to getting there. Sometimes, we have to change direction altogether or scrap the initial plan and try again. No, that doesn’t feel productive or comfortable but life happens. I have yet to meet anyone in my age cohort (1980-84 put your hands up) say they are exactly where they thought they would be by this point in life. The beauty is learning to love the process and appreciate every new day we get to move closer to who we want (and were created to be). So, whether you thunk it or not, doesn’t matter…half the adventure is thinking up what’s next anyway!

Much Love,

Q

Encouragement, Faith, Goals, Lifestyle

F.E.A.R-Redefined

Hey Y’all!

As I have overcome a few roadblocks to my growth personally and as a professional (many self-inflicted), the word “fear” has risen up again and again. This is not a new phenomena in my life and I am sure some of you out there can relate. You get great ideas but the “fear” of failure halts you before you ever take action. The “fear” of rejection stops you from ever speaking up or out, even when everything inside of you is saying to do it. As humans, we have emotions and while fear doesn’t serve a realistic purpose, it can definitely have an effect on the way we choose to live our lives. Today, as I was pondering what comes next and  a big idea that is going to take time, effort, coordination and help from people in and outside of my tribe-I got, nervous. And as I sat in that feeling for a moment, rolling through the potential scenarios and outcomes, I was inundated with negative thoughts. I literally had to stop the inner turmoil in my brain by saying out loud, “Enough already!”

I reflected on a podcast I recently listened to by the urging of a dear friend. The interviewee made some powerful statements, that I honestly feel have helped me shift my focus going forward. The woman, a cancer survivor was telling the story of how she came to be in a position she holds within her church, even though, it was the last thing she ever wanted to do. During the interview, she said “…fear means God is about to do something awesome.” WOW! Let that sink in. Read it one more time, slowly. We aren’t fearful of waking up and going through our morning hygiene routine. We don’t get afraid to start out cars or head out to work/school. We become afraid when things are shifting and changing in ways we aren’t sure how to cope with or prepare for because they usually feel out of our control. That statement was not only a HUGE shakedown to take my eyes off of my own efforts and to-do lists but to also purposefully prepare myself when that stinging feeling of fear tries to close a grip around the change occurring in life.

As if I hadn’t heard enough empowering and encouraging things in that one podcast, the interviewee, then went on to explain that the moves we make in life that require us to use our gifts in obedience are more than just for us. That fear creeps in when we focus on ourselves, our capabilities and how we will be received. You ready? She topped all that off by saying, (and I paraphrase), that when we use our God given gifts, people see God-not us! WHAT!?!?! I never thought of it that way and what a sigh of relief! I (we) don’t have to measure up to society’s standards. Shoot, we don’t even have to do things the way others have to gain approval or success. Because when we work with and in the talents that God gave us, people see His glory. That my friends, is the sincerest power of influence there is in this world! It’s not about us or those feelings of fear. So I challenge you, when you start to feel doubt and fear creep in-whatever the situation at hand may be, stop and remember that means some great things are on the way if you push through.

To give myself a quick reference of what I want to do when fear tries to rise up in me, I remixed this acronym:

F.E.A.R-Faith Encourages Actionable Results!

Let those intense moments that may have led to quitting in the past push you to faith of what is on the other side of being diligent. What has fear kept you from pursuing or pushing through right now? We all have something but we don’t have to let fear continue or overcome us when it is signifies the awesome opportunities just up ahead!

Much Love,

Q

Encouragement, Faith, Goals

It’s Never Too Late to Dream

Hey Y’all! So it’s the day after my 33rd birthday and I still feel just as excited about life as I did yesterday. So often, we get down about the concept of aging  but the reality is the alternative to getting older is to die (sounds harsh-but it’s truth). I’d rather experience all that my 30s, 40s and all other decades that pass until Jesus returns instead of giving up the ghost and going to Glory early. That said though, I have realized that the quality of a few things changes over time. I mean sure, gravity and childbirth have changed some of the features of my body and the specks of gray hairs that peak through my blonde wash-and-go styles are peaking through but there’s no more tragic loss I see becoming more prevalent. Y’all, we are getting older and losing our…IMAGINATION! Duh, duh, duh

giphy

 

Who’d have thunk that we would so easily let slip away that which navigated just about our every move during our early stages of life. Reality has a way of sucking the fun and mystique out of life that usually opens up the doorway to a vivid imagination. I don’t know about you, but I want to dream BIG dreams and set goals so large they seem unattainable to the average person (which might be because they are one of many who are imaginationless, we are making that a word today). Being down trodden by student loan debt, fulfilling careers, toxic or unfruitful relationships, false friendships formed and based solely on social media without true interaction and a plethora of other issues that plague daily life and the time and space to let our minds wander is like a vapor blown in the wind.

I encourage us to look at our children or the happy children around us for inspiration. Sadly, there are many little people just as heavy in life as us adults unable to see beyond what is tangible because of circumstance. When we allow ourselves the freedom to imagine it is a renewal. Like being whisked away into a great book, feeling yourself set within the pages as a character or a favorite movie that we are able to place ourselves in the favored scenes-dreaming gives us a temporary escape. The more we exercise the ability to think beyond what is ordinarily possible in the moment, the better we are able to challenge ourselves to greater heights. I was once told by a mentor that he and his wife don’t set any goals, personally, financially or otherwise that aren’t big enough to make them nervous when they write them down. That if it didn’t make them uncomfortable to think them up, then they didn’t have to get uncomfortable to attain them and that is essential to moving forward.

For real, something made us believe we could be astronaut-ballerina-superstar singers, pilot that paints before he arrives to court to put bad guys away, professional athletes or carpenters who could build the “most biggest” building ever. It takes practice to enter the realm of visualization reserved for the bravest imagineers. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself better to tap into that magical part of the brain reserved for the purest thoughts:

  • If you were given $100,000 to spend in one week or return, what would you do with it?
  • If you became a millionaire and had to leave your legacy to charity, how would you divide it?
  • What five places in the world do you want to visit before you die?
  • What is the most expensive trip or purchase you have ever made and how would that change if your income tripled over the next year?
  • What is one thing you have seen on tv, social media or in a movie that you want to try or experience?
  • If you were offered 24 hours on a private jet, where would you go?

Not everything will be based on having more money but when resources become unlimited, so are the options. What you will find is that the more you allow yourself the freedom to dream, your personal goals will begin to grow and if you desire to have that which you have now opened yourself up to-you can take the steps to be creative in how to achieve them. I’d love to hear what your imagination conjured up or what goals you make be pursuing that may seem unrealistic to the masses. I don’t want to be the only person who goes from car notes to private jets (cause the day is coming) so let’s get to making these dream boards and putting in the work!

Much Love,

Q

*Gif courtesy of imgflip.com/found on giphy.com
Correction, Encouragement, Faith, Goals, Lifestyle, Salvation

And Just Like That…

Have you ever felt like you just needed that one little push to help you get started, keep moving or finish well? We’ve all been there and if I’m being totally honest, some days it seems like I am in a constant state of “needing” that external motivation. So let me share with you a short true story from last week that had me going from “AHHH” to “AWE MAN to “OUCH” all in a span of about 15 minutes. Ready?

We all have people that we look up to as role models and such, even as adults, there are people we see in business or life that we gravitate towards. One of those people for me is a woman name Priscilla Shirer. She is a wife, mother and a woman whose heart is to please Christ. I’ve listened to her speak in person and was in awe of her power and knowledge of the word of God. So, last week as I dabbled with the idea of getting active on Instagram, she popped up as a suggested person to follow. Not really paying attention, I clicked follow and within two minutes received a DM (direct message) from her. Cue the “AHHH” moment. I immediately screenshot the message and sent it to one of my sisters in life and literally squealed with excitement. Then I had decided that this was clearly a sign from God (y’all, us Christians do that a lot but that a whole other story for another day) that I should link my blog to IG ad get busy finding stock photos and making catchy quotations so garner followers and what not. I mean, I had a whole social media strategy in like 3.78 minutes after one whole message from what in real life is a stranger even though we are practically like Auntie/niece in my mind.

So after preparing a proper reply, I decided to go the interested route and scope out her IG page for inspiration on what to say back. That’s when reality slapped me down like a game of slap-boxing gone wrong. See, the profile pictures were identical but the names were different, insert “AWE MAN.” I had followed an imposter page and received a message from goodness knows who, wanting God knows what. So I replied with a dry (I mean Mohave desert dry) “Hello.” I was then almost immediately sent another message from “Priscilla” and a tinge of anger started to rise up. How dare you person pretending to be the person I thought I was following. Why waste my time? So, I did what any normal person would do, I screenshot the info and sent a direct message to the authentic page resolved to just be like Elsa and let it go. But, here’s how my excitement was brought to conviction. Just. Like. That.

See, I have a great relationship with my blog (and y’all) as long as I don’t let life overwhelm my diligence. So that initial kick in the pants, “oh, this is a sign from Daddy God Himself” feeling was almost knocked out of me when I realized I was being Catfished (I think that’s what they call the trickery of online imposters). And just as I was ready to feel like I was wrong about the “sign from God,” the Holy Spirit reminded me that God is not a respecter of persons but I clearly was. I became so enthralled with the idea that this person of “celebrity” status would have the time to enquire about little ole me that it became an idol. The idea that The Creator of Heaven and Earth blessing me with the gift of words and messages to share was somehow not enough because it wasn’t backed the confirmation of followers or applauded by men. Can you feel the ouch now? Talk about a gut punch that brought me to my knees. I could do nothing but repent. I had done the exact opposite of scripture (these are the first two that hit me):

Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Colossians 3:23-34 Whatever you do, work from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as for the Lord and not for men, knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [greatest] reward. It is the Lord Christ whom you [actually] serve.”

It is the contradictory acts like this, that can hinder growth and create hypocritical testimonies. I don’t want it to be said that I do anything simply for the applause of people. Now, ya girl enjoys the benefits that monetary earning can provided and always appreciates a well-formed alliance but anything done for the mere gain of such things is pointless. It became clear that my platform here had moved from being about encouraging others and sharing Christ to making me sought after or seen. It’s hard to even type those words but you know what comes after pain? Healing. See, after seeing that side of myself in the mirror of my heart, I could be thankful for the correction and begin to lean on the understanding from The Word on how to correct it. Sure, I could have kept this story to myself. No one would’ve known and life will have moved on but let’s be honest, I am not alone.

We’ve all had those moments, in the secret places of our heart where what we profess and what we do are not congruent. As Believers, we are called to repent in those moments and move forward in obedience. That is not only the power of grace but the blessing of being children of God. It is through correction that we learn and mature. My hope is that whatever you may be wrestling with internally can be released so that you can move forward boldly. Now hear me, I am NOT, by any means saying confess your bad habits, personal business or failures to the world in an attempt to find solace or relief. You will probably find the opposite and whatever position you were in will most likely be made 1,000 times worse once it is debuted in the court of public opinion. I AM advocating self-reflection and submission.

To know better is to do better and just like that, I am back on the narrow path because I saw real quick how that wide path leads to destruction and this girl wants no parts of that! I appreciate the lovely example Priscilla Shirer gives through her teaching and lifestyle. And so that this note ends on a better note remember that DM I told you I sen her, what do ya know, she replied and thanked me for bringing the information to her awareness.

Much Love,

Q

If you don’t know Christ as Savior and the power of prayer to God in the name of Jesus,  or if you don’t know without a doubt if you will go to Heaven (meaning you never accepted Christ or not sure of your Salvation) believe in your heart and repeat after me:

Jesus, I believe that you are the son of God. I believe that you died for the forgiveness of sin and that you were raised from the dead on the third day. I ask, right now Jesus, that you forgive my sins and come into my heart as my Savior. Thank you for saving me. Amen