Thankfulness is a beautiful fruit to bear. For most of us, we all know what it means to be thankful but have you ever considered how the concept was introduced to you? Low and behold parenting to introduce another lesson imperative to our baby’s spirits—the lesson of thankfulness. Don’t you love the lessons parenting bestows on us!
In our home, we started teaching thankfulness as soon as our babies were born. From encouraging them to thank us for common occurrences like meals or gifts to encouraging them to thank each other for sharing, we really wanted our children to know that no one is entitled to anything. And we should be thankful for everything, even the things we assume we’re entitled to.
Despite my husband and I never allowing our children to go without the bare necessities, we make them thank us for basic things to teach them that everyone isn’t in their position. In fact, we explain to them that in our city there’s a child wishing they had what our kids have and for that, we explain to them why they should never take anything for granted.
Because most children learn from example, we grant our babies opportunities to display their gratefulness and thankfulness by sharing some of their blessings with others.
Here are few ways you can mold a grateful heart in your babies.
We pray with our children daily and I make it a point to welcome them into intimate parts of my conversations with God. This means they see mama cry and cry out to Jesus! Including them in prayer has really enhanced their perspectives!
Paying it forward
More recently, my four year old has been more observant about recognizing people in need. In addition to explaining that everyone isn’t as fortunate as others, we encourage him to share his blessing. This means allowing him to bless the homeless with money, food, and when we don’t have physically things, prayer and smiles. This means blessing neighbors with some of his old toys. Doing these things on a regular basis has positioned Liam’s heart to always be ready to give!
Respecting their things, selves, and others
Respect coincides with thankfulness more than you think. We teach the kids that respecting themselves, others, and their things not only shows God a grateful heart but it shows Him that if they can cherish what they have now, they’re ready to be promoted to something bigger and better.
Holiday season can be a dark time for many living without, especially this year. Remember to be thankful for everything and everyone you have in your life. And to those in fortunate positions, share some extra kindness this year!
Covid-19 might have postponed a lot of things, but I refused to let it stop the Halloween celebrations! Despite me encouraging my children to be whatever they want to be every day of the year, Halloween feels like the one day of year that even adults can join in on the optimism!
I grew up extremely sheltered and Christian so Halloween was celebrated sparingly. With my children, my husband and I vowed to still withhold our faith’s beliefs but still allow the kids to have fun!
This year I decided to crank up the celebration by making some scary treats! Cook with me!
Disclaimer: I am not a professional chef or baker.
This treat is super easy to make! I figured, we couldn’t have a scary food night without a main course shocker!
•blood, I mean ketchup!
-cut nail shape out at the top of the hotdog
-boil hotdogs for 4-5 minutes
-serve in bun with lots of ketchup!
This treat was the scariest one of all! My four year old was slightly freaked out when he saw the finished product, but he got over his fear after he tasted his first bite!
•cinnamon roll dough
I’d recommend using some red food coloring to enhance the red color! Mine came out pink!
-unroll cinnamon rolls to look like intestines
-bake cinnamon rolls as instructed on packaging
-mix frosted glaze with strawberry jelly
-frost your fresh intestines and serve!
This recipe is so cute! My kids loved how they turned out and this recipe only took 10 minutes!
•crescent roll dough
•shredded cheddar cheese
-on a baking pan, spread dough out until flat
-sprinkle shredded cheese on the dough
-roll hotdog in dough
-bake at 350 for 10 minutes
-with water, base and add candy eyes
Tada! You’re all done! You’re officially the coolest mom ever! You’re welcome! Happy Halloween
While baking with my oldest, I couldn’t help but observe how every ingredient in the dessert we were baking served as the perfect analogy for parenting. The fruits of the spirit are as pertinent to our parenting as each ingredient my son and I tossed in our mixing bowl. Every ingredient serves a special and divine purpose. Despite their different flavors, when combined they make the sweetest combination. Motherhood entails that we nurture our trees to ensure our fruits (our babies) roaming the Earth continue to plant other decent trees (their children and so forth.)
Becoming a mom is hands down the most beautiful thing to happen to me. I can remember the day I found I was pregnant with both kids like it was yesterday. With Liam, he was unexpected, so my excitement took a while to brew. Zora, she was planned, but we didn’t expect to get pregnant with her so soon, especially since our doctor hypothesized it taking us a year to conceive. Nevertheless, each one of my babies blessed my life in different ways and for that, I’m forever grateful. Yet, even with all the beautiful moments that parenthood brings, I can’t negate the hard days. The truth is, everyday of parenthood isn’t rewarding—at least it doesn’t feel that way. Some days I question God’s plan. I question my abilities. I even question my children.
Besides having an incredible group of mothers that I lean on for advice and assurance, I lean mostly on Jesus. But, my first few years of parenting I didn’t know how to lean on Jesus, or what to even ask of Him. If I’m being honest, sometimes I felt selfish for asking any more of Him than I already had—I mean there I was vexed with motherhood when so many women wanted the life I had.
So, I took some time to walk with Jesus. On that walk He lead me to some impactful Bible lessons that just seemed to say all the right words when I needed to read them. Since seeking the godly way from Jesus, I’ve noticed a change within my children and me. I learned that instead of praying for my children, I needed to first pray for me. Ask God in what ways do you need to be fulfilled, redirected, or even reshaped. Instead of asking God why my child was giving me a hard time, instead, I’d ask God what did my child’s outburst mean? Changing my perspective in those minor ways, helped me to gain hold of the bigger picture.
I know many of us don’t look at motherhood as an opportunity to serve, but tantamount to your marriage or any other God appointed position, parenthood is another opportunity to be selfless—another opportunity to share God’s love.
Below I’ll share my favorite Bible verses that keep me encouraged when satan tries to mask my blessings as burdens.
Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
Ask God to order your steps. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to get our children to be like us that we forget to teach them to be like Jesus!
2 Corinthians 5:7
For we live by faith, not by sight.
Satan likes to plant evil seeds in our mind. Whether you’re wary of how your kids will turn out, down about your abilities as a mother, or just unsure how to be the best parent, BE STILL! Remember that faith is believing in the things we can’t see! All you can do is cast your fears on to Jesus and continue to sow good seeds—hope and believe all will be well and it will.
The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
How often are you breathing life into your children? It’s easy to get caught up in shelling out demands. Remember to affirm your children. Build up your house!
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.
No matter how hard your day was, thank God for blessing you with your children. Children are a reward from God! If you have them, you’ve must been doing something right! Give yourself grace. Give your babies grace too!
You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.
Don’t let satan make you think your kids are too much to handle. Even on the days when both kids are bickering, the youngest is throwing a tantrum, and you’re at your wits end, God didn’t enlist you for an unreasonable task! On these hard days, remember to change your perspective!
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
God gives us peace, peace that can only be obtained through Him. Use that peace to maintain it within your home—your children. It’s already yours! Claim it!
Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.
God moves through people! Surround yourself with other godly parents and lean on each-other!
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Keep your joy, in fact share it with your little ones! The hard days of parenting aren’t bad days! They’re days you need a little more Jesus and guess what? There’s no such thing as too much Jesus, so indulge in Him!
Parenting never gets easier, because everyday we’re faced with new obstacles. Although that might frighten you, remember that you don’t have to do it alone. Do it with Jesus!
It’s not that police brutality or the mistreatment of African Americans in America is new; it’s that before, I didn’t feel the same urgency to consider and protect, until I became a wife to a black man and a mother to black children. I’ve been black all my life yet I didn’t become vocal about black rights—human rights until I became pregnant with my son. It was in 2015 when I was welcoming new a life while many black parents like the parents of Sandra Bland were saying goodbye to a life.
Though pregnant, I hadn’t really comprehended what it meant to mother while black. I remember reading about Sandra Bland and acknowledging that her treatment was unjust, but still being unsure of the possible truth behind the evil accusations made against the police department. I couldn’t fathom such cruelty in modern times. I just couldn’t.
It wasn’t until I experienced the first disregard to my little black baby’s life that I realized, white society doesn’t feel the same urgency to respect or nurture black lives.
“It’s no big deal,” the nurse said to me rolling her eyes as I nervously ask her what was next. With little regard, the nurse pointed to the hospital gown I was to get dressed in and exited out the room. I dressed in my hospital gown to deliver my baby boy prematurely. Although Liam was full term, he was induced 3 days early due to lack of amniotic fluid.
“No big deal,” I thought. If it was no big deal, why was I being wheeled across the hospital and being told to remain calm? Why did my baby need to be born today if this was in fact, “no big deal.” It was in that moment when my body was consumed with fear, my mind monopolized by hypotheticals, and my family still 2 hours away from comfort that I realized, I, the black mother of this black baby had to advocate for his life—our life. The nurse with her biases treated me and my unborn child as nuisances. In those moments I quickly grasped the meaning of what mothering while black would entail.
That interaction shaped how I parent and love my son. It shaped how I maneuver in life. In that same hospital days after my son’s birth I remember a doctor’s astonishment that my son had a present father in his life. “Oh, he has his father’s last name,” the doctor asked with a raised brow. Liam, my sweet baby boy hadn’t even settled in this world, yet somehow society had already written his story.
So when I hear of stories about sweet brown baby boys now black men like Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, my heart doesn’t just break, it shatters. These men’s mother’s looked at their babies the same way I look at mine. The bond between mother and child is well established before the child enters the world and being a black mother to a black child enhances that bond times 10. Everything leading up to birth has been calculated, well thought out, and understood. For instance, black mothers know that the maternal rate for them is abnormally high. So a lot of consideration goes into choosing the best hospital to deliver. Black mothers understand that schools aren’t picked based solely on zoning. The school your child goes to has to be racially diverse enough to empathize with black plight, but white and wealthy enough to offer better opportunities. Black mothers understand that although they bring life into the world, they too have to acknowledge that there’s a possibility that at anytime life might be stolen from them by the hands of authority.
I’m scared to let my babies grow up, “as if I have a choice.”
I’m scared to let my babies “just be a kids,” “as if they have that choice.”
I’m scared to send them out into the world, “as if I have a choice.”
I’m scared for white society to be scared of them because of the color of their skin, “as if they have a choice.”
Times like this I question God. I do. Why? Why is this happening? Why is this still happening? Why is it happening to people of color?
My son matters. My husband matter. My daughter matters. I matter.
Today I have no powerful words or insight to share, because the truth is, I’m just scared.
Augusta, Georgia is mostly known for the Masters, but what if I told you there was something else just as exciting to do in Augusta? Many people don’t think of food when they think about visiting Augusta, but they should! Augusta cuisine is upcoming with a vast diversity that still screams southernness. Indulging in Augusta cuisine isn’t just something to do, it’s a must have experience!
For my film class, I got to create and shoot a promotional video in collaboration with my city’s informational hub, Augusta&Co. My partner and I visited some of Augusta’s hottest spots and I must warn you, the viewing of the video below may bring forth major salivation! You’ve been warned!
Each restaurant is family run and locally owned! Support locally owned businesses! Remember, every successful chain restaurant started off as a local restaurant, and some of the most famous corporations started off as mom and pops!
Visit these spots and tell them that The Christian Way sent you!