Liam & Zora’s Christening And Why We Waited So Long To Dedicate Liam

Romans 12:21

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

This is the Bible verse I chose to dedicate the children to. I chose this scripture because, one day, the kids won’t live under my roof and when they no longer do, I want them to understand that although they’ll come in contact with evil, their GOOD—God’s GOOD will always conquer that evil. I want them to stand firm in this truth.

With Liam, everything was trial and error. As years passed of his life, I felt like we had forgot to do something major. It all became clear when we welcomed his sister, Zora.

Haha, my husband and I had forgotten to dedicate Liam to Jesus. No worries. Rest assured. We were told that it wasn’t too late, and that we weren’t the only parents that dedicated older children.

We learned that the most common misconception is that baby dedications are just about the child and have to be done when the child is an infant. Dedications are more so about the parents and their willingness and commitment to surrender their children to the Lord and His perfect ways. Any child too young for baptism with eager parents wanting to dedicate them is eligible for dedication. Don’t be intimated to bring forth your toddlers! It’s not too late! During the ceremony, the parents confess publicly that they are dedicating their children to Christ. It’s such a special moment.

So, with this new knowledge, I didn’t feel too bad about forgetting to dedicate Liam sooner. Frankly, dedicating both kids at once made the moment even more beautiful.

Both kids were dedicated March 1st and we are elated!

Both outfits are from Amazon and eligible for Amazon prime!

The scariest part of parenting is knowing that one day, you have to send your babies out into this evil world. Cover them! Cover them with Christ! Don’t no blanket cover you like the blanket of Jesus!

Xoxo,

Christian

How A Nikki Giovanni Quote Gave Me The Confidence I’d Been Longing For

Putting your art out for the world to critique is hard. It’s one of the most vulnerable things I’ve done in life. I always knew that I wanted to explore and nurture my artistic side, but I allowed my low self esteem to dictate my vision.

Time and time, I would map out these life plans and dreams just to find every excuse in the book not to follow through. I became a first class quitter. I mastered quitting and I had grown comfortable in defeat. This was all until I learned the definition of defeat. Defeat means to overthrow. All along I had been allowing negative thoughts to OVERTHROW my purpose.

Taken from lifechrome.com

On one of purposeless days , I came across an old video of Nikki Giovanni interviewing James Baldwin. The video had resurfaced online.

I’d always been a Nikki Giovani fan, but I’d never watched or listened to her interviews. In the video clip I watched, she was beautiful and confident. There she was interviewing a legend, she a legend too, and she conducted herself with so much boldness. Seeing this made me fall in love with her even more. Giovanni dominated that interview, but not in a negative way. She asked questions and received the answers, but she never gave the impression of demure.

Sometimes, when in the presence of a powerful man, we women feel the need to stifle ourselves or hold back out of reference. It’s been ingrained in us since birth to always let the man lead. This is ok sometimes, but never ok ALL the time. In the interview, Giovanni didn’t do that. She conducted herself like she knew she deserved to be there, and she did! Nikki didn’t let James Baldwin or his status intimidate her and that…

That’s what I wanted for myself.

Afterward, filled with newfound excited, I searched for a Nikki Giovanni quote to post on my daily agenda. I’m really into beautifying quotes thanks to my favorite fictional journalist, Mary Jane Paul from the series, Being Mary Jane. In the series, every episode starts off with a profound quote.

One of the first quotes I found of Nikki Giovanni was, “I am so hip even my errors are correct.” The quote is so simple, but to me, it represents everything Nikki Giovanni is to me and taught me to be—unapologetically fierce! She taught me with that one sentence to embrace my flaws—failures, because owning them makes me who I am.

There’s no better time than now to pursue your dreams! Write! Love! Do whatever it is that you’ve been putting off!

You’ll never live the life you want if you dwell in defeat.

Xoxo,

Christian

My Husband Wasn’t My Type. Well, I Thought He Wasn’t

As a young girl, I spent countless hours dreaming of my wedding, future family, and spouse. I still have some of my dream wedding gown sketches from 6th grade. I was young and my thoughts about marriage were pretty shallow. It didn’t help that my parents were divorced and couldn’t stand to be in the same room with each other. I didn’t have the best examples of what a healthy marriage looked like, so I dreamt of what I wanted my my ideal marriage to look like—be like.

When I met my husband for the first time, it was a weird encounter. He wasn’t my type. He was socially awkward, and we had nothing in common. (I thought we had nothing in common.) It’s safe to say that we both shared relief when the date finally ended.

It wasn’t until I needed a roommate that I reached out to him. He had room and he was never home. Perfect, I thought. We tried our hardest to dislike each other and remain at a distance, but the intimacy of living together forced us to learn a lot about each other. We saw each other’s dates, saw each other sad, angry, smelled each other’s poops, and saw each other drool in our sleep. Living together made having our guards up impossible to do.

One day out of the blue, my husband told me that he was deploying to Afghanistan. He was really causal about it, but he wanted me to prepare to find a new roommate. I don’t know what shifted, but in that moment, we both felt the need to protect each other. It was apparent that we both really cared about what happened to each other next. I had been saving for a car and hadn’t reached my goal. “I’ll add $1000 to your car fund,” he offered. “Where are you going to go,” he asked. “I’ll write you everyday,” I promised him.

Before he left for Afghanistan, I visited him in Virginia. Did you know that Virginia is called the love state?

We spent a weekend together, holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes. It felt right. We’d never behaved like this before, but for some reason we fell into this flow.

On the way back home, my friends and family checked in. “Did you tell him?” “Tell him what?” “That you love him…”

It took a deployment for us to realize that we were in love and had been for a very long time. I prayed for a safe deployment, but God had other plans. My husband ended up not deploying.

He came back to me and the rest is history.

You don’t make love. You grow it.

Xoxo,

Christian

My Son’s Thirst For Christ Lead Us To A New Church Home

I’ve only been a member of 2 churches as an adult. Similar to finding you’re forever spouse, searching for a church home is just as a special process. I was a member of my last church home for about 7 years, and after marrying my husband, he joined my church too. Our young love grew, so did our family, and our love for Christ grew deeper, but something changed.

Last year, my son began to ask a lot of questions about Christ. His thirst to know and understand Him brought forth my own feelings of harsh realities. I hadn’t been honest with myself. Deep down inside I knew that I had outgrown my current church home, but feelings of disloyalty filled my heart. This church had been apart of my life for so long and I felt guilty for waning to venture out. My son’s newfound interest in Christ held me accountable for how I introduced Him to my child. When your enter that sacred spiritual space with God, you have to make sure to neglect all outside distractions to ensure that you really open your heart to Him.

You see, I had been battling with many conflicted feelings at my old church. I wanted a media accessible church. Living a busy life with my phone always in hand, I wanted to be able to feel connected to my church at all times, even when I was out of town. My old church didn’t have those amenities. I also dealt with feelings of alienation. My husband and I were one of a handful of young married couples. Sometimes, well a lot of times, I felt out of place. Although no one intentionally set out to make us feel “too young or out of the loop,” we did feel that way. Lastly, a scholarly children’s church and nursery was important to me. My old church didn’t have a nursery, and sometimes mommying my little ones took away from mommy’s praise and worship.

Although I love my old church and everyone in it, with the new seasons of my life, my spirit became weary. It needed to be fed a different way and my son saw this–he felt this. I knew that his first intimate introduction to Christ was a monumental moment. I didn’t want my son to think that he had to stay in one place of worship if it wasn’t where he wanted to be–where he needed to be.

So, like a mother duck leading her little ducklings, I decided to ventured out for a new church home. The decision wasn’t easy. In fact, I went back and forth. I felt guilty for leaving the church that reared and shaped me, but I couldn’t dwell in my unhappiness.

Pharisees get back, I had conversation with my old pastor. I expressed my reasoning for leaving his church and like the wonderful man of God he is, he smiled and gave me his blessing. (I love you PG & First Lady!)

So, back to my little spiritual child Liam. We got lucky and found our new church home on the first visit! What solidified my choice was Liam’s excitement to go! He yearned for his new teachers, friends, and Bible lessons! The kid came home reciting Bible verses and wanting to reenact Bible stories. This made my heart so happy!

Another plus was that my little Zora had her own friends and class too! Our new church also has an app, YouTube page, and a plethora of ministries to get involved in. The other exciting part is, I know a lot of my church members from school, which means, I don’t feel so socially awkward! (Yay millennials!)

Our new church fulfilled everything I wanted–needed. My husband and I were finally able to really focus on getting fed the word! After a couple of Sundays, I noticed a change within my house. We were all so full–full of Christ!

There’s a church for everyone! If you don’t have a church home, visit some of your local churches and find your home!

Xoxo,

Christian 

Proof That All Parents Have A Favorite Child

My second baby, Zora just celebrated her first birthday, and although we’re all head over heels with excitement and awe, I noticed that my husband and I didn’t make the same big deal about our daughters first year around the sun like we did for our son.

Maybe it’s because she’s our second baby and subconsciously we’ve unknowingly adopted the , “been there done that,” persona. Maybe it’s because we’re exhausted. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I noticed that her birthday celebration in comparison to our sons was um, lackluster–she was loved on, we sang happy birthday, but she didn’t get the same hoopla her big brother got on his first born day. Why is that?

With your first baby, you spend so much time perfecting everything. You ignorantly promise to yourself and baby to be this perfect mom and to provide this “perfect life.” No fast food, no television, and only the best organic cotton clothes; you actually hold yourself to these ridiculous standards until one day you realize, they’re stupid standards.

So, second baby comes along and you’re excited–not as excited as you were with the first baby, because you made it through your first pregnancy and you know now that ain’t nothing sweet about swollen feet, nausea, and crowning! Nevertheless, you’re excited to meet the sweet baby growing inside of you. Paired with your excitement is understanding, you understand that there’s no such thing as a perfect mom or baby! You do away with your crazy perfect mommy ways and celebrate each day you and the kids make it another day alive! You dwell in the messiness of motherhood and overall, you have fun! The kids are happy! Mom is happy! It’s a happy happy life!

So, here’s the proof in the pudding that all parents have a favorite child, every kid after the first kid will never get the same attention or preparation as your first child. No matter how hard parents try to fight this reality, it’s the truth. After the first baby, and all your attempts at perfection, you’re exhausted before the other babies arrive. There’s no doubt that you love all your babies and would do anything for them, but unfortunately, the other kids will never know what it’s like to wear organic cotton.

Happy first birthday Zora! Mommy loves you! I’m sorry that I forgot to pick up your birthday cake before your birthday party!

Luckily, her party was the weekend before her actual birthday so, I had time to make things right.

It’s ok mamas, motherhood is a beautiful hot mess!

Xoxo,

Christian

My 4 Year Old Asked Me For More Privacy

The other day when getting out the shower with his dad, Liam asked daddy to shut the door. He said, “I don’t want mommy and Zora to see me naked.” I think my husband was taken aback by Liam’s request, because Liam co-bathes with both of us. In fact, after every bath, the kid gets a 5 star rubdown with coconut oil at his request.

I’m aware that my little curious 4 year old is understanding that mommy and sister have different body parts than him and daddy. I get it. He’s observing and claiming his newfound independence and pride.

My husband asked me what did I think of Liam’s request and I told him that I felt like we should honor it. I want the kids to know that they have rights over their bodies. I don’t make them hug people if they don’t want and I don’t stifle their ideas or thoughts. I’m really big on empowering their voice.

In many cases of child molestation, the child feels powerless over their own body out of reference for the perpetrating adult. I never want my kids to be afraid to speak up in an uncomfortable situation. So, to answer Liam’s request, we obliged him. I shut the door out of respect for his privacy.

It’s so important to empower your child’s voice, especially when they’re young. If not, you risk them not understanding the rights they have over their bodies, space and mind.

Empower your babies!

Xoxo,

Christian

Graduating On Time Or Early Isn’t Necessarily A Good Thing

The most talked about thing in college is graduation. It’s like people bypass the college experience and immediately jump to post grad life. The problem with that is, many college students don’t take full advantage of what their institution offers. So yeah, you graduated on time or early just to be struggling to find a job after graduation. How crazy is that?

Taken from Pinterest

Every major has an academic track. A vast majority of students go for the easier track meaning they take the bare minimum, and some others end up taking classes irrelevant to their post graduation goals. Why? Sometimes our parents heavily influence what academic route we take. Sometimes we feel pressured to follow in mom and dad’s footsteps and we get all the way to finish line and realize that this isn’t what we want to do. I know it’s uncomfortable, but you have to remember, the only person that can live your life is you.

Taken from Pinterest

Class selection and experience is key. Take classes that are beneficial to you. Also, gain as much experience undergrad as you can. For example, I’m an aspiring journalist so to gain journalistic experience, I’m working for my university’s magazine. Prior to landing that job, I wrote for my university’s newspaper.

Because I have a blog and brand that I hope to expand, I’m taking marketing classes as well. Marketing classes aren’t mandatory for my major, but I’m choosing to take advantage of classes that will help me in the future.

I know it’s easy to become obsessed with the idea of graduation. After a challenging semester, it’s almost all you want to think about. These obsessive thoughts cause you to be unrealistic about what you’ll do after graduation, because now you’re driven by frustration instead of progression. The workforce is competitive and one must be able to stand against the toughest competitors!

Taken from Pinterest

Another thing we sometimes forget to do as college academics is networking! I’m huge on networking. I always speak when I enter a room. You never know who’s in the room! I also make sure to surround myself with likeminded people. Having a circle like that pushes me to strive to be better. For example, I ended up making friends with my now boss on the magazine, all because I talked to her on the first day of class the semester prior. I didn’t know who she was. I just sparked up conversation.

Since I’m not a traditional student (remember, I’m a wife and mom) I don’t over exert myself on frivolous play. I understand that I don’t have the leisure to do so, but that doesn’t stop me from showing my face and making my presence known when I need it to be. I know that sometimes it’s hard to muster up extra motivation to get involved with things on campus, but remember, networking is key. Many universities have guest speakers. Check out those events! Network! Network! Network!

Taken from Pinterest

Internships are another way to gain experience and land jobs post grad! Most universities have specific places their majors intern, but I’d recommend venturing out to other places. Interning places outside your school’s connects makes pitching yourself a little easier. I know a few people that ventured out and are now working their dream jobs! Think about what you really want to do. Put yourself out there and see if the company you’re interesting in has interning opportunities. Also, use your professors as tools! A lot of your professors know people that can connect you to where you want to go, your professor might even be one of those connects. Reach out to your professors!

Sometimes I get caught up on my graduation date, but I have to remind myself that by doing everything I listed above, I’ll be more than prepared for the workforce!

Not taking full advantage of college life happens to a lot of people. Some people don’t take full advantage of the college experience and then they end up having to return back to college for another degree. Those people blame the degree when in actuality, it was the lack of work they put in to be successful before they graduated. It’s sounds harsh, but it’s the truth.

I think we as people have this idea that if we graduate with a degree, jobs should fall at our feet. This is partially society’s fault. We’ve all heard, “you can’t do anything without a degree.” Someone somewhere always rebuttals, “they’re successful people that don’t have degrees all over.” That someone is true! Those successful people are successful, because they took advantage of the space they were in. We college students have to do the same! Take advantage of college just like SallyMae takes advantage of interest applied to our loans! Woosah and laugh.

At the end of the day, you’re paying for college. Some of us are even in debt for it, my philosophy is to take everything college is willing to give you! Then take some more! Make college work for you!

Good luck!

Xoxo,

Christian

Sharing Your Goals With Others Won’t Hinder Your Success. So, Stop Saying That!

We’ve all seen the meme or heard people say, “move in silence.” I get it, the right hand doesn’t always need to know what the left hand is doing, but it seems that people believe that verbally manifesting their desires jinxes their success. That’s the dumbest theory in the world. Ok, maybe not in the world, but it’s dumb. The Bible teaches us that words have power. So, speak it! If what you want is meant for you, sharing that desire to others won’t prohibit your success. Believe in your power–the power in the tongue. 

I find that speaking my goals out loud hold me accountable. People may act like they don’t listen, but they do, especially your haters. Often times, our haters believe in us more than we do. Most of the time we stand in our own way, blocking our own blessings. The only people that don’t want to hear your goals are the people that believe you can achieve them. When you verbally speak over your life the things you want and don’t succeed, it’s not because you jinxed yourself by sharing. It’s most likely because you shared it, someone heard you, and they didn’t support you. They may have said something to discourage you. So guess what? You quit before you even started. News flash! The only thing that stopped your success was you and what you think others think of you!

Don’t enter 2020 with the plancrastinator syndrome. Don’t make goals with no intent to crush them! Speak it! Write it. Crush it! Own it!Speak it again!

I’m not saying you have to share your plans with the world, but share them with someone. Someone you know could be standing between you, and a great opportunity. Kill the idea that everyone is remotely bad and rooting against you. The first part of manifestation is to speak it, the second part is to act on it!

Happy New Year! By the way, when do you think it’s appropriate to stop saying happy new year? I say until the first week of February.

Xoxo,

Christian

Are Kids Allowed? If Not, I Can’t Come…

As a young mom, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel like I was missing out on certain aspects of my life when I can’t go to certain events because of the kids. Any mom that says motherhood is ALWAYS rewarding, or that it’s a walk in the park has either A) not been a parent long enough or B) is afraid to be honest.

Sis, it’s ok. You’re safe here. Sometimes motherhood sucks. Calm down, I said sometimes.

Taken from memeologist.com

It’s those days when your kid is being a complete butthole, or “you just can’t get it right,” that further fuels your feelings of failure as a mom. These moments make you question if you were really made for parenthood. We’ve all passed a mom having one of those days. She’s usually in the grocery store. Her kid is belting at their top of their lungs. We pass her with an encouraging smile while secretly thanking God that it’s not our own kid. The mom is usually visibly tired and overwhelmed, and although this lady is a complete stranger, you feel like you’ve known her your whole life. Why? Because, she’s you, we’ve all experienced one of these days.

taken from fempositivity.com

When I see my peers partying or traveling carefree, I can’t help but to wonder if I started my journey of motherhood too soon, or wonder if I wasted my youth. I usually snap back to reality and remember that even when I had the leisure to do the things my peers do now, I never did.

Why? Because it wasn’t me–it’s not me. God knew I was meant for wifehood and motherhood before I did.

So, I love being a mom. It’s a title–job, that I take seriously, and conduct with so much pride! It helps that my kids are super cute, and know how to win over mommy’s heart when they lock eyes with mine too! I’m a sucker for those big brown eyes, and they know that.

Even still, I’ve found myself flustered with balancing mommy time and mommy’s free time. I’ve gotten so wrapped up in motherhood that I forget that a lot of my friends aren’t moms yet. Although they love my kids, they’re not always down to censor their language, change location, babysit, or change plans for me and the kids. They don’t say it outright, but I can tell. So, what do I do? Don’t say, “find new friends.” That’s not logical.

What I’ve chosen to do is, sit some events out. It sucks sometimes, especially when it’s career related, or when mommy just needs a break, but I understand that motherhood comes before everything.

So, to any mama that’s feeling what I’m feeling, I don’t have the answers yet. Although, you love being a mommy, the feeling of feeling like you’re missing out won’t lessen, and it’s not fair to bypass those feelings. They’re real.

The truth is, you will feel like you’re missing out on things, and guess what, sometime you literally will miss things. It’s ok. You just have to know that no other job compares to motherhood! It’s the hug at your knees that your toddler gives you after a day you thought would never end. It’s the smile your baby does when she’s sleeping on your chest at 5:00am, because she’s refusing to sleep through the night. It’s on those hard days when you feel like you’re failing the kids that you overhear your kid telling someone that you’re a superhero.

It’s those moments that are priceless! It’s in those moments you realize you’re only “missing” out on superficial things. Your true meaning in life calls you mom.

So in conclusion, if the kids can’t come, neither can this mama.

Xoxo,

Christian

DIY Christmas Card Photos Like A Professional |Easy Tips|

I love photography, specifically smart phone photography! I have the iPhone XR Max, and I specifically purchased this phone for the camera! I’ve captured some really beautiful moments with my iPhone, and some would say, the photos look super professional!

I love saving a buck or two, and one way that I do that a lot is by taking my own photos! I usually already have a vision in mind. I get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest. I usually scout locations, color coordinate outfits, pose my family, and get to snapping! I’ve taken maternity photos, wedding photos, and Christmas photos all on my smartphone!

Sure, a professional photographer is a professional not just because they have an expensive camera, but because they’ve received some education in photography making them proficient in photography, editing, photoshop, and they usually have their own studio. 

You don’t have that experience and most likely you don’t have the camera or equipment, but that doesn’t have to stop you from capturing professional like photos!

Step 1:

Clean your lens! A dirty lens can be the one thing standing between you and a bomb photo!

Step 2:

Find your vision! If you don’t have a vision for your shoot, search online. You can recreate photos or find inspiration!

Step 3:

Scout your location! You may envision your photos one way, and may have to quickly change your vision, because of the location. Maybe the location is too dark or too crowded. Whatever it is, scout the location before you bring your models.

Step 4:

Check the weather! If you’re doing an outdoor shoot, the worst thing that could happen is getting caught in the rain! If you’re shooting someone outside of your family, they may not be as forgiving after getting caught in the rain.

Step 5:

Have fun and go with the flow! Not being a professional photographer should take the pressure off! Have fun with your shoots and models! Since my kids serve as my models majority of the time, they don’t always cooperate with mommy and that’s ok!

Step 6:

Portrait Mode is your friend! Taking photos in portrait mode makes your photos looks super professional! Portrait mode focuses on the subject, and blurs the surroundings out!

Step 7:

Download editing apps! Your phone has filters built in, I use them often depending on the look I want. The App Store has a plethora of editing apps! Download some and play around!

Step 8:

Use props! Props can really tie your vision together, and make your photos pop even more! You can use things around the house!

Step 9:

Invest in a ring light and tripod! Ring lights provide additional lighting and tripods allow you to shoot from different angles! Using a tripod also means you can jump in the photo with your family! Amazon has affordable tripods!

Congratulations, you’ve just become a professional amateur photographer!

Here are my family’s latest Christmas card photos! Happy holidays!(I forgot to turn the Christmas tree lights on, but the pictures still came out super cute!)

The first step to becoming a professional photographer is picking up a camera!

Xoxo,

Christian