Christianity, Family, General

About Vision

IMG_20170708_165430_488

I’ve been working on  a few different projects over the past several months,  and as I research more about these projects – and about entrepreneurship in general – one of the common threads I am finding is that I am often being asked to define the vision that I have for my life and my business pursuits. The reason for this is pretty simple. If you don’t know where you want to go, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll ever get there.

One of my favorite Bible verses comes from Proverbs 29, in which we are told, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” – Proverbs 29:18.

From a Biblical standpoint, I think that “vision” probably refers more to the big picture of putting God and others first in our lives. But it’s also true that not having vision causes us to wander along in life – sometimes ending up in great circumstances and sometimes not.

So I thought I’d spend a few minutes typing out my vision.

Firstly, I want whatever I do with my life to be God-glorifying. Since childhood, it’s been on my heart to please God and although I don’t always make the right decisions or do the right things – the intention is always there. I’ve always been a person with various ideas, ambitions, and interests, but I think I am starting to understand which of my ambitions and interests God wants me to use to serve others.

Secondly, I am a huge family person. It’s always been a dream of mine to be a stay/work at home mom. It took us a long time to get pregnant and finally make my dream of becoming a mom come true, and now I am working on the “stay at home” part. In fact, I’d love it if both my husband and I could work from home and be with our son and any other children we have, full time. As someone with a background in education, I know I would enjoy homeschooling and have been looking into starting a homeschool co-op. I’m sure that many people have the desire to work from home – it’s a very appealing thought!

If I were able to work from home and be on my own time, I’d love to get involved in various volunteer activities. I’d like to work with CASA, an organization that helps to advocate for foster children. I’d like to become a foster parent and have the time to spend with the children I am fostering. I’d love to spend time in hospitals with babies who need simply to be held and cuddled. If you can’t tell, I love children!

The final part of my vision is all about location. For years, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of living on a beach. I’m not sure yet about which beach – I’d love to explore the West Coast and certain islands – but I am always watching HGTV’s Beachfront Bargain Hunt, Island Life, Caribbean Life, and Mexico Life, because I love envisioning what it could be like to live near the water. The ocean is my happy place and I don’t think I could survive without it!

As I’ve thought through the things I’d really like in life, I’ve found that I am not as interested in wealth as I am in time freedom. Sure, it’s necessary to have money, but I only want to have as much as is needed to gain the freedom of my time. If I love what I do and where I live, I don’t even mind not retiring.

There’ve been a lot of things that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and when 2017 started I told myself that this would be the year that I’d lay the foundation for those things. I’m really proud of myself for keeping my word, it is so easy for me to get sidetracked and the execution of my ideas is something I have always struggled with. I am hoping that the work I am putting in now will help me to be able to live into my vision in the future.

What’s your vision?

Advertisements
Family

An Update on Chocobo!

IMG_20170622_135112_310

It’s been a while since I’ve done any sort of update on Baby Chocobo! The last time I posted about him was when he was nine months! He’s nineteen months now, has grown a lot, and we are so proud of him. Here’s what he’s been up to lately:

Social/Emotional

His temperament is relatively relaxed. He throws maybe one tantrum per day, but he’s always quick to get over it. He loves music and dancing, and he loves to make noise! This boy will bang any two things together as he screams in delight! He’s pretty easy to amuse and he loves going to school and seeing his friends each day – there’s one friend in particular that he talks about all the time at home! He’s pretty observant, so it can be hard to sneak things past him, and he’s always getting into things on account of his curiosity.

Language

We can tell that he understands a lot of what we are saying to him. His receptive language is pretty good. His expressive language is also developing well. He’s saying about 45 words now that he uses consistently. He also loves to imitate different animals – his favorites are dogs, cats, monkeys, bears, birds, and lions.

Motor Skills

Our son is really strong. I’ve seen him carry things like textbooks and full bottles of laundry detergent clear across the room. He can move certain pieces of furniture and when he is thrashing about in one of those temper tantrums I mentioned earlier, it almost takes two people to restrain him! He started walking at nine months and really took off from there. He is running, climbing, jumping, throwing, kicking, dancing, and enjoys “wrestling” with his daddy. I think it’s safe to say that he’ll probably be involved in some sort of physical extracurricular activities as he gets older.

What’s Up Next…

Since birth, our son has slept in our bed. Now that he is getting closer to two years old, I am starting to slowly transition him to sleeping in his own room. He’s got his toddler bed (a crib turned day-bed) set up and I’ve started putting him in there for naps. Another big change on the horizon will be weaning.

I still nurse our boy (mostly at night) and although I’m not rushing him to quit, I know that it’ll soon be time to end this stage of his care. I enjoy nursing, and although I’m looking forward to having my body back, I know I’m going to miss it! It’s hard to believe he’s getting so old!

All told, I love being a mom. Despite our struggle with infertility, I was never able to imagine a life without children, and I’m so grateful that I get to experience these things.

Family, Holidays

Habari Gani? Imani!

It’s the seventh and final day of Kwanzaa, and I’d like to take a moment to be proud of myself for actually finishing this series. 

Today is about faith. Kwanzaa emphasizes having faith in our families, teachers, communities, and in ourselves to overcome any struggles or adversity that we may face as we experience life in brown skin. There are many of us who feel that we cannot reach beyond certain heights, but we can – and we will do it together. That is the concluding message of Kwanzaa, which ends on a day where many are making new year’s resolutions. 

The seven Kwanzaa principles are meant to be lived all throughout the year. There is so much that I didn’t cover in this series, but if you are curious to learn more I encourage you to do so! 

How can we celebrate the concept of faith, today? 

Write yourself a letter of things you want to accomplish by next year, and open it next year to see if you’ve gotten those things done! 

-spend time listening to stories of people you know who, despite adversity, accomplished something important to them. 

Many families celebrate the last day of Kwanzaa with a special meal! If you plan on doing that today, enjoy it! 

And happy new year! 

Family, Holidays

Habari Gani? Kuumba!

My mom always used to tell me to leave things nicer than when I’d found (or borrowed) them. She always modeled this by offering to help clean when we were at others’ homes for dinner or meetings, or by sprucing up a borrowed item so that she returned it in better condition than when she’d borrowed it. I try to follow in her footsteps, but I’m sure I am not half as good at it as she is. 

The idea of Kuumba isn’t just creativity for creativity’s sake, but creativity in aesthecially bettering our communities. Wherever an environment is visually appealing, it always seems that morale is higher as well. We need to feel good about our surroundings because it goes a long way in helping to fight off negativity and depression. 

What if all our neighborhoods, no matter the income levels, were beautiful? What if all our neighborhoods were clean? What if we used our creativity to make this happen, regardless of how much money we do or do not have? I think it would make a huge difference in lifting the mood of a community’s residents. And when you feel better in life, you do better in life. 

It’s really pretty simple. 

So what kinds of things can you do this Kwanzaa to help express the principle of Kuumba?

Redecorate your home or get some early spring cleaning done! 

Help pick up trash in the neighborhood!

Find out if you can volunteer to beautify any public spaces in your community. 

We’re almost through! Tomorrow is the last day of Kwanzaa, and the New Year! We’ll be wrapping up this Kwanzaa series and hopefully employing the seven principles of Kwanzaa throughout 2017! 

 

Family, Holidays

Habari Gani? Nia!

“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” -Proverbs 29:18

The fifth day of Kwanzaa is all about purpose. The official Kwanzaa statement on purpose has a lot to do with finding out how one can use his or her strengths and abilities to contribute to his or her community and to the world at large. It is a good idea to take stock of what you are passionate about, good at, and enjoy doing. When you use your skills and interests to help solve community issues, you are stepping into your “purpose,” in terms of being a productive and proactive member of society. 

There is another layer of purpose that moves from the individual and toward Black people in the United States as a whole. What is our purpose here? Are we – as a group – fulfilling that purpose? This layer can be tricky, as it is totally up to opinion and interpretation and can be muddled with all sorts of different experiences and ideas of what it means to be Black in America. I don’t know that various people groups have “vision statements,” but I often think it would be interesting to see what the world would be like if every group of people in it strived for a particular ideal. And if that were the case, what would the Black ideal be?

Dr. Karenga, the creator of Kwanzaa, is an atheist and the celebration of Kwanzaa is/can be totally free of religion if that’s what the celebrants prefer. But Kwanzaa can also be personalized so, because my family are followers of Christ, there is another layer to the issue of purpose. 

It’s fine to have our individual and national/ethnic purposes, as long as they don’t override our ultimate purpose which, I believe, is the glorification of Jesus Christ. As I consider the principle of purpose in the context of Kwanzaa, I also have to ask myself whether I am fulfilling my first and most important purpose – becoming more and more like Jesus. 

So what kinds of activities can we participate in on this fifth day of Kwanzaa? 

Talk with family and friends about purpose! What does it mean in your context? What can you be doing to fulfill it? What can you be doing to help others fulfill their purposes?

Create/update your goals! Try to include family and community building activities as goals, also. 

Create a new prayer rule! Orthodox Christians have a practice of creating prayer rules (specific prayers that they pray at specific times). Your prayer rule can be anything, as long as it helps you to focus on your spiritual growth/purposes. 

 Stay tuned for day 6 of Kwanzaa tomorrow! 

Family, Holidays

Habari Gani? Ujamaa!

I went to an HBCU from 2003-2006, and while I attended that school, there was a Black owned bookstore down the road that I frequented every now and again. I really loved looking around the bookstore, but never really had enough money to actually “shop” there. One day, I had the choice to purchase a book I needed from that bookstore, or from my campus bookstore. Although I felt, in my gut, that I should support the bookstore down the street, I ended up purchasing from my campus bookstore instead. 

A few weeks later, I learned that the little bookstore on the corner was being shut down because there wasn’t enough patronage. 

I  remember feeling so guilty, and so sad for the owner – whom I’d met a few times. Not that my one little purchase would have saved the shop, but it really struck me as ridiculous that in a predominantly black neighborhood, near an HBCU full of educated black students – a black owned bookstore had failed. More than just a bookstore failing, a black business owner lost his livelihood because he was not being supported by black people in his own community. 

I’m not saying that Black people should never make purchases from business owners of other races – but we should also invest in our own communities. We should help one another to get ahead by patronizing our own businesses whenever possible. 

And there’s an added benefit to this: when our children see us buying from Black business owners or using Black doctors, dentists, and lawyers – it sends the message that they can do more than sell records or play sports. It gives them professionals to look up to, so that when they are inevitably told that they can’t, they’ll know they can.

What are some ways that you can make cooperative economics a part of your life this season? 

Purchase gifts, books, and other small items from Black owned businesses whenever possible. 

Volunteer your time in a black owned business that may need the extra help. 

If there aren’t any black businesses near you, there are plenty online! 

We’re almost to the end of the Kwanzaa holiday! See you tomorrow for Kwanzaa’s fifth principle!

Family, Holidays, Uncategorized

Habari Gani? Ujima!

wp-1482598294576.jpg

Collective work and responsibility is a two-fold idea. The first is collective work. We can work together to make the necessary improvements to our communities. The second idea is collective responsibility. When something is wrong within our community, it is the responsibility of all of us to continue working to make that thing better. I want to use the example of food deserts.

A food desert is an urban area where it is difficult to purchase quality, fresh foods. There might not be many quality grocery stores within a specific community, but in that same community you might find several fast food chains. Because of this, people in those communities are unable to eat well – or have to travel too far to do so.

Collective work would be if Black people around the US got together and committed to making quality food available in these neighborhoods. And this “work” would not only be done by the people in the neighborhoods, but also by people who are outside of them. Affluent Black families would have just as much of a part in making quality food available in lower income areas as families with lower incomes do. Collective responsibility would mean that until there are no more food deserts in the United States – we are all responsible for their eradication.

Collective work and responsibility takes unity a step further, because in addition to simply saying that we are united for a specific purpose – we also commit to doing the work together to accomplish that purpose.

What can you do to make collective work and responsibility a part of your life?

-Get together with some friends and decide on something you’re passionate about changing – then make a plan to help change it!

-Donate to a charity that works for a cause that you are passionate about.

-Commit to building an understanding of the issues that affect your community.

Use this third day of Kwanzaa as the catalyst for the changes that you want to see in your community!