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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Are you that busy?



Mama’s I know some of you who were accustomed to reading my blogs weekly may feel some kind of way about my sporadic posts and that’s cool, but let me tell you why they’ve become so sporadic. On February 25, 2014 I started journaling and meditating/praying in the mornings at 5:30 a.m. I wanted to have a better prayer life and really be connected to my power source (Jesus Christ) so that I could really grow as a wife, mother, daughter and friend. For those who know me I am not a morning person so this was a big task for me. Did I wake up every morning at 5:30 a.m., nope, but I did not quit, get down on myself or give up on my journey. I stayed the course.

I know as Mama’s we become so consumed with our daily lives, being a wife, Mama, coworker, friend, etc. It is so important to take time out of your day to “plug in” to your power source. I don’t mean the “quickie” prayer that you say every morning, although some prayer is better than no prayer. I am talking about taking a small chunk of time to be still, no phone, TV, kids, husband, noise, NOTHING, but you and God. It amazes me how much lighter I feel and how I can really hear God speaking to me throughout the day, when I am interacting with my kids he gives me the right words. If my husband and I are having an issue he tells me how to handle it his way and not my way.

Mama’s I can’t tell you how to live your life, but trust me when I say you are not that busy. We make time for anything we “want” to do, shopping, trips, concerts, etc. But its strange how we can’t make the sacrifice to take time out to seek God’s will and plan for our life. I like writing so for me journaling was easy and it also allowed me to reflect on my growth, which is awesome. When it’s time for me to rise and shine I’m not all pansies and butterflies, but I know that this is a chance to “plug in” so I get the armor I need to handle my day.

Mama’s I started this blog to encourage mothers, like me who felt overwhelmed at times, who were frustrated with their husbands and kids at times and life in general. Please do not feel I have abandoned you by not posting weekly. I am now posting what I am led to post, not just posting to have something on my blog. I challenge you to start your day off by getting “plugged in”. You may have to start small, but that’s ok, the first step is always the hardest to make. I encourage you to start and stay the course; you’ll find the reward is so worth it. Happy Hump Day!


Don’t just live your life, Enjoy it!


                    Nicole

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What’s In Your Heart?



Mama’s as kids most of our families told us that we were pretty and how nice we looked. For the most part we believed them. Fast forward to adulthood, now you’re a Mama. You’ve had a child, or two, maybe 3 (well in my case 4) and you have the hips, belly bulge and tiger stripes (stretch marks) to prove it. Some of us look at our bodies and we do not recognize what it has become. Others of us take every precaution necessary to make sure we stay fit & trim. We obsess over our weight, our dress size and compare our bodies to others. Now I am all about taking care of your temple, but are you taking care of your heart? Mama’s I’m not talking about heart disease, but I’m talking about the spiritual contents of your heart.
While journaling this morning I came across 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV) “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” So I ask you what’s in your heart. Mama’s are you just as concerned with what you put in your body as what you allow into your heart? The bible tells us that God is not concerned with how fine you are, how much money is in your account, how many frequent flyer miles you’ve accumulated or your latest handbag purchase. He is concerned with your heart. Are you the Mama who has a pretty face, nice clothes, car and house, but you hold anger in your heart? Sit back and take a moment to assess the condition of your heart. What are you harboring, feelings of joy or jealousy, happiness or hurt? I don’t know your heart, but God does and he sees all and knows all. You may be able to fool people, but not God. So I encourage you to have a spiritually healthy heart, I guarantee you’ll feel a lot better when you do. It’s hard to claim joy every day and treat others kindly when you don’t have joy in your heart. Happy Hump Day Mama’s!

Don’t just live life, Enjoy it!

Nicole

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Best Fight is No Fight



Hi Mama’s I know some of you think I must’ve fallen off the map. Truth is I’ve been dealing with my own share of issues and I’ve been in a slump of sorts. I had a few issues where I felt like I was wronged and my immediate reaction was to get ready for a fight. I even started the fight (not physical of course). It’s been hard and it drains me every time I have to deal with this issue, but I refused to be defeated. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been there before, but let me share a few things with you…Since taking on this fight my spirit has been starving and I felt like all my days were running together. I felt like my joy was being stripped from me day after day. I was still encouraging to others, still being a listening ear, but I was becoming empty. I prayed daily and even joined in on a weekly book study for Christian Mom’s at my church, which has been awesome (Shout out to Litz Emmanuel at Potential Church).
Well a few days ago I decided to try something different because of insight I gained during the book study. I started a routine for going to bed and waking up. I now go to bed by 10:30 p.m. and wake up at 5:30 a.m. I have traded late night TV for devotion, meditation prayer and journaling. Mama’s let me just say that this journey so far has been absolutely amazing! I cannot believe that within a few days I can see and feel my life changing for the better. I claim my joy every morning and I hold onto it everyday. I remind myself of the prayers I’ve said and the promises I’ve gotten from God and I go about my business in a much more peaceful and calm way. So far I’ve learned that sometimes the best fight is no fight at all. You don’t have to win a battle to declare victory in your life. You don’t always have to show people what you’re made of…I hope these words will release someone from the spiritual or physical bondage they are in. Happy Hump Day Mama’s!

Don’t just live your life, Enjoy it!

           Nicole

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Broke Ballin'


Happy Hump Day Mama’s! I know this is the time of the year that some of us love to hate. Why you ask? Well… because we overspent for Christmas again (after we vowed we wouldn't) and we’re waiting on our W-2’s so we can get our income tax money. If you spend more than you make on non-necessities, use bill money for shopping money, have debt because of your chosen lifestyle, keep up with the Jones’, wear $500 hair but have $0 money in savings then this post may be for you.
Mama’s I used to live a lifestyle of “broke ballin’” so I am speaking from experience. I was fresh with new purses, shoes, hairstyles, accessories, credit card debt, but I was broke. I stayed in the check cashing store every pay period and when I would dig myself out of that rut, I’d rationalize buying something I couldn’t afford to take out yet another payday loan. I fooled myself into thinking I would use bonus money and even work over time to break the cycle and every time I would go back to my old habits. Lord knows I wanted to stop because I was tired of being broke and stressing over finances. I wasn’t willing to make the sacrifice of buying what I needed letting go of the things I could not afford.
It wasn’t until I got married that I finally stopped. My husband had no idea I was addicted to shopping and looking nice at any cost. My bank account was overdrawn so many times that when my check got deposited I already owed money to the bank. I kept telling myself that this was normal, but thank God my husband called me out on my “broke ballin”. We were closing out one of my accounts to deposit the money into our joint account when all hell broke loose. The money I told my husband I had, I really didn’t have because the check payday loan company deposited my check and it left me with about $25 after a pay day. Mama’s I was so ashamed and that is what finally got my attention and I stopped.
My outlook changed about money and material items. Now for some of you this is a way of life that you have become accustomed to. There are some Mama’s reading this post who make the money to spend, but what if you lost your job, would you have enough in savings to sustain you and your family’s way of life for at least 6 months or more? If not then you may need to re-think some things. If you look at your bank accounts how many months are you away from possibly being homeless if you lose your income? Just some things to think on.
Now you may be wondering how you can change your “broke ballin” lifestyle. Well here are some ways to get started:
  • Look at your bank statements/online banking and see where your money is going (eating out, clothes, online shopping, etc.) so you can find where you need to make changes.
  • Keep a check register, you know that little booklet they give you to manage your account…Use it to keep from overdrawing your account at $35 a pop.
  • Use cash when possible so you stick to your budget.
  • Use a charge card instead of a credit card. You have to pay charge cards off at the end of the billing cycle and no interest is calculated. Credit cards charge interest and you can roll the balance over from month to month.
  • Pay yourself first. You have to start somewhere and what better person to pay than yourself. Even if you start with $25/pay period. Keep this money in a separate financial institution, “out of sight, out of mind”. This will keep you from being tempted to spend your savings.

Mama’s I hope that if you are “broke ballin” this post will encourage you to take a look at your financial health and take charge. You can do it! The first step is always the hardest, but if you don’t take a step you cannot make progress.  Enlist a buddy so that you all can hold each other accountable. Good luck and start today!


Don’t just live your life, Enjoy it!

                        Nicole

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

One Flesh, One Wallet


          Happy New Year Mama’s! I hope 2014 will be awesome to you and your family. Ok so let’s dig right in...If you are married then you may remember the vows you took at the alter or justice of the peace. Shortly thereafter your Pastor or Officiating officer said something to the effect that “two become one”. This means money and everything. Yep, if you have separate accounts then this blog post is specifically for you. As a child growing up I remember many older people around me saying “You don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing”. I never knew what that mean until I got married. These women were saying that you always keep some money for you, just in case your husband starts trippin’.
When my husband and I got married we immediately converted all of our accounts into one joint checking and saving account. Yes, it took a lot for me to not have a “stash” of sorts, but it boiled down to trust. Did I truly trust my husband and vice versa? When we got married I was not very good with money, so it was in the best interest to allow my husband to manage our finances. To this day we may have multiple accounts but we are both on them and have equal access at all times. How can you live as one in everything except money? Now I’m not placing judgment at all. I am simply stating my opinion. How can you set financial goals when you are in a “his” and “her” money situation.? When you have one account the money is ours regardless of who is the breadwinner, you are both equals. The bills get paid from one account and the spending is set for tithes,  household bills,  clothing, grocery, entertainment, etc. These are decisions you both play a part in and can then hold each other accountable to.
Seriously Mama’s ask yourself why do you have separate accounts? Is it a trust issue? Money management issue? Or selfish issue? Are you hiding something? Roommates live together, have separate accounts and split the bills down the center. Does this sound like you and your husband? Do you need a separate account so that you can shop as much as you’d like without your husband being in “your” business? Does your spouse know what you spend money on? Do you ever wonder what they spend “their” money on? We all know that communication is key in a marriage and you have an area lacking if there is no transparency with the money. It’s very hard to be on the same page when you are separated by money. Did you know that the number 1 reason marriages end is because of MONEY? Now I’m not saying that your marriage is going to hell in a handbag because you have separate bank accounts, but I am saying that you should think about the real reason why you have separate accounts and be true to yourself. Do you have your “stash” so you’ll be ok in the even your spouse leaves you? If your answer is yes then you have a bigger issue that money. You have trust issues. If you find that you have trust issues with your spouse you need to address them. If you and your spouse cannot navigate through these issues alone then it may be best to seek out the advice of a therapist. Good luck on your journey to being truly one flesh with your spouse. Happy Wednesday Mama’s!

Don’t just live your life, Enjoy it!

                        Nicole