Christianity, Family, General

About Vision

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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?

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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! 

General, News and Current events

Why I Celebrate Kwanzaa

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When I was a child, there was a woman in my (predominantly Black) church named Mama J. At the end of every year, Mama J gathered all of the kids together and created short presentations to acknowledge Kwanzaa on the Sunday before the holiday. I used to get the feeling that the people in my church allowed her to create these presentations because she was part of the family and people loved her – but that they didn’t otherwise care or feel that Kwanzaa was important. I did not grow up celebrating Kwanzaa, and as far as I know, the overwhelming majority of Black people do not celebrate it, either.

Over the past five or six years, however, my interest in celebrating Kwanzaa has tremendously grown. There are a lot of misconceptions about what Kwanzaa is and is not, but I understand why Mama J was so adamant about celebrating it. She wanted to instill in us a sense of self-worth in a world that so often – and in so many ways – tells us that we are inferior and worthless.

During this time of the #blacklivesmatter movement, when Black people all around the country are realizing that we do not matter to those in power in our nation, it’s important that we begin to take more of an initiative in defining ourselves. We are not all poor, we are not lazy, we are not morally deficient, we are not criminals, we are not unintelligent, we are not ugly, and we are not dirty. There is nothing wrong with us, except that we have allowed others to define us in this way for too long.

For me, Kwanzaa represents an intentional move toward learning about, owning, and celebrating my heritage. It represents an opportunity to positively contribute to the Black community and change the narrative that says we are uneducated criminals whose only ability to fit into society or find success is through rap or sports. Last year, I posted a Facebook status for each day of Kwanzaa that explains the Kwanzaa principle of the day. This year, I will spend a little more time elaborating on these principles and what they mean for me and for my family.

I can’t wait to get started! Have a wonderful Christmas and a great start to Hanukkah, and after that I hope you’ll follow along!

 

Family, Uncategorized

Chocobo’s Sixth Month!

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This month was full of firsts! Chocobo began sitting up on his own, crawling, pulling up on things (and shakily standing while holding onto our ottoman, but standing none the less). He started eating – actually eating, not just sucking on – bananas and strawberries. He sat in a high chair for the first time, and can now sit in high chairs at restaurants. He swung in the baby swing at the playground, and got to dip his feet in our neighborhood pool. And he had his first … (drumroll) … temper tantrum!

Needless to say, it’s been an exciting month!

Chocobo’s personality, at this point, is what I would call reservedly active. When first meeting others, he is not a super friendly baby. You might get the occasional smile but for the most part he will cry and want to be held by someone with whom he is familiar. After a while, though, he will warm up if the person has enough perseverance to continue hanging out with him through his crying. Once he warms up, he shows his true colors. He starts babbling – lots of “dadadadada,” “bayayayayaya,” and “guguguguh.” He squeals and shrieks when he is excited – but also when he is upset. He sometimes opens his mouth and just holds a long tone of “aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa” with an exaggerated “DA!” and a smile at the end. His babbling leads to jumping (if you’re holding him). He loves to jump up and down and that will usually elicit a huge smile and maybe a few happy shrieks here and there. After jumping, he begins squirming in your arms – he wants you to put him down so that he can get to whatever it is on the floor that interests him. This is usually a cell phone, remote control, or set of keys. I’ve also caught him crawling toward our cat’s tail.

Speaking of the cat – our cat is doing much better with his jealousy and has not been mean to Chocobo lately. Chocobo has grown a serious interest in the cat, whenever he is around, Chocobo watches him intently and tries to follow him around the house. I don’t let them get too close to one another because sometimes our cat’s moods can be unpredictable. He might feel friendly and loving, and then suddenly decide he doesn’t want to be touched anymore. It’s easy for an adult to read the signs that our cat is getting tired of the attention, but Chocobo can’t do that and I obviously don’t want him getting scratched. However, I am still holding on to hope that Choco and our cat will have a warm, loving relationship in the future.

We still can’t believe that this amazing child belongs to us! We are enjoying every second.