Enjoy This Moment

For most of my life, I carried a future perspective. I wanted to get so many things done and achieve greatness. I was never where I needed to be and believed that I had much ground to make up. You see I had to do it for so many generations who came before me and did not get the chances and opportunities that I had. But it never seemed I could make up the time lost and opportunities. Therefore, I burden myself with unnecessary loads of responsibilities that were not my own alone to carry. As a result, my capacity to enjoy the moment has been compromised.

It never occurred to me that I was playing God during those many years of my life. Even though I was a Christian, I was not living a God centered life. I was trying to do it all on my own. I was trying to save people that only God could save. I was giving people things that I did not have. I took the responsibility to care for adults who should have taken care of me.

I remember in college, I worked two jobs while maintaining an 18-21 credit hours of course schedules. Although, God blessed me with a four-year scholarship, my main mission was to finish a degree and make the big bucks, so I can continue to pay bills at home and provide for a slew of family members back in my home country, Haiti. I finish my four-year degree in two and a half years. The truth is I got the degree but I did not enjoy my college experience.

These were more than moments I failed enjoy—that was my life. That is why I make it priority to enjoy the life God has given me now. Here are a few ways I enjoy my life:

  1. I make God a priority. I know that He is in control of my life and my household. I read and study the word by myself and with my family. Since I have small children, things can get challenging at times, but I work on meditating on God’s word every chance I get because I desperately need to survive the days. I enjoy praying and studying with the children; they are hungry to hear about God.
  2. I listen attentively to my husband’s stories. I know I read the book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” In that book I learned that the women love to talk and tell the stories to their husbands. However, in my world my husband loves to tell me about the stories he experienced at work. I am the one who would rather put my feet up and watch the news while snacking on something delicious. It was not at all easy at first because there is always a child asking for something, dishes needing washing, or clothes needing folding. However, over time I have learned that it is important to him to tell me how his day went, so I learned to welcome his stories and have many great laughs in between.
  3. I play with my children. The children love tickle time. Although, they are seven, eight, and nine years old if I start tickling one; I have to tickle all of them. I have reading time with them where we each read a book and share stories. Often time they read to me and that is an activity we both enjoy. We play soccer together. My husband is a huge soccer fan and a very good soccer player. The kids love when we put our soccer gears on and play together. We also enjoy playing chess and they have a blast when mommy and daddy lose. In addition, I take every opportunity to snack or have a meal on the table together. Of course, we do not have time to do these activities every day but we make it a priority to do one or the other during long breaks and over the summer.

We become happy and enjoy our daily life when we choose to do so. It is guarantee that we will get bombarded with distractions attempting to still our happiness. But we don’t have to give in and be miserable. We can choose to be happy.

First Thing First

If we intend to have a life that matters, we need God and He is the foundation of anything worthwhile. Acts 17:28 teaches us that it is in God “we live and have our being”.

Our daily connection and communion with God allows us to express the fullness of who we are. Therefore, we can experience full contentment because it is He who lives through us.

As Christians when we gave our lives to Christ, we have in essence prayed the psalmist’s prayer “unto You, O Lord, do I bring my life” found in psalm 25:1.

When we surrender every aspect of our daily lives to our Lord, this will allow us to experience happiness because God is in control and He knows exactly what we need.

Putting God first means that we make God’s Word a priority and reality in our lives by living it out.

Being Bold

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.    Deuteronomy 31:6

Draw strength and boldness from the Lord.

With the Lord at your side as you walk through life you cannot fail. Whatever challenge or seemingly impossible task is sent your way you will always overcome it. Rejuvenated with the power of the Holy Spirit your resolve will not falter.

The more your seek wisdom from the scripture the more your boldness will grow. However do not let your boldness manifest itself in an  inappropriate way. You should seek to lead by example while never becoming to big for your boots nor begin to act in boastful way.

Boldness does not mean beating down the opinion of everyone in your path. True boldness is the inner confidence to speak quietly but with powerful words. The people around you will draw strength from your inner confidence and boldness. Let me them know how you arrived at this state and they too will want to follow the illuminated path towards Christ.

Being bold means living bravely as a Christian ever day, bold in the morning, afternoon and evening.

Shine Your Light on Fear

Fear is the mind-killer, fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. When fear overcomes us our rational senses are diminished, we become primal and feel the world has turned against us. Seen through the prism of fear life holds no joy, everywhere we turn threats seem to be in abundance.

Fear paralyses us, fear tells us how to feel. It takes anything good and turns it around into something warped. Of course fear is how Satan wants us to experience the world. We seek refuge from fear in base pleasures and easy vices. A fearful human lives in the darkness, unable to see the beauty and joy that exists in the world.

Fear appeals to our primal nature. The most ancient part of our brains is located in the center of our cortex. The amygdalae are almond shaped bundles of nuclei located deep within the temporal lobe of the brain. Their purpose is to alert us to danger and allow us to react with speed to avoid threats. As ancient components of the brain they can over ride our higher functions.

Is it any wonder that television and the popular media promote content high in levels of sex and violence? These images appeal to the amygdala and grab our attention. Satan knows that without guidance he can manipulate humans and keep them trapped in a circle of  non-virtuous behavior through a cycle of fear.

To overcome fear is to see the light in the world. It is like opening the curtains and casting light across a darkened room. The shadows disappear and we can see the world as it truly is. God is that light. Letting Jesus into the room will dissolve the murky bleakness and remove the shadows where fear can grow.

Illuminating your life with the light of the Lord can transform you into a beacon. Evil and fear no longer have a place to hide. Those around you will draw strength from your refusal to cower in the darkness. With your newfound security you can see the path the Lord intended you to take and illuminate it for others to follow.

To light up your life and follow the path is simple. Tools have been provided for you. Let scripture be your guide and by living by the Word of God let the light grow within you. Do it today and see how the light can enter your life.

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3

We need to claim this promise. God promises that he will give us perfect peace if we do two things according to this verse. First, we need to trust Him to be who He was, is, and always will be–that is God. Trusting God is believing that He will keep His promises and that He will do what He says He is going to do. God is never late. God is never early. He is always on time. Second, all our thoughts are to be fixed on Him. When we are distracted, we tend to get frustrated and worry ourselves unnecessarily. However, when our minds is stayed on God, He is sure to give us the peace we need to go through challenges, obstacles, and successes of every kind.

Six Dynamic Ways Parents Can Help Children Grow into Leaders

In my professional experience, I have had the opportunity to work with children in educational settings as well as in the criminal setting. Although these experiences provide a number of windows to parenting, I have learned that the majority of parents strive to do their best for their children. Through that experience I have learned many positive and negative parenting behaviors. As a mother of three, I have learned that all the love and comfort in the universe provides no immunity to unintentional bad parenting. We mean to do the best by our children. However, many times we hinder them from thriving, obtaining independence, and fulfilling their potentials as leaders.

The world is tough and at times unforgiving. Therefore, it is imperative that we give our children a dose of the real world empowering them to confront and resolve any situations that they may encounter as adults.

1.      Allow them to engage in genuine risk-taking

The world is a scary place. We are not safe in our homes. We are not safe in our schools. We are not safe online. Therefore, we have become so preoccupied about safety that we prevent our children from experience genuine risk-taking. There are many adverse effects as a result. For example, as adults these children may suffer from low self-esteem and the inability to cope when things seem out of control. So, it is important to allow our kids to problem solve according to their abilities. Do not rush to pick them up when they fall during a sport’s game. Do not rush to save them when they get in trouble at school. Allow them to take in the fullness of the experience. That entails that they will process the situation, take positive action, and accept the consequences.

2.      Allow them to solve their problems

As parents we have to resist the urge to save our children the moment they experience hardships.  I remember as a young mom feeding the children breakfast, lunch, and dinner wrecked my nerves. I had so much to do. The kids were taking forever to finish their meals. I had a bright idea. If I fed them, the task would be over quicker. Little did I know that I was developing a situation that would become problematic in the future. It is through difficult situations that we become who we are. So why wouldn’t we give our children the opportunity to navigate through unpleasant and sometimes painful situations? That is how they develop self-leadership skills that would be priceless in their future lives.

3.      Praise them when they deserve it

Have you ever heard of the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality? This mentality is rampant in little leagues everywhere. The kid may never show up to practice or help win a game, but he is a winner nevertheless. Well, that is what we do all across this country and this mentality comes with some negative consequences. We praise our kids too easily and for little effort. As a result, they are not grounded in reality. And when things get tough they will turn to unspeakable behaviors such as cheating, exaggerating, and lying just to get that pompous rave from you. Eventually, they will find that they cannot trust you as parents because no one else can see what you see.

4.      Don’t let them manipulate you with guilt

Some parents feel so guilty when their children experience disappointments, so they spoiled them with material things. “No” is a two-letter word they cannot bring themselves to say to their children. They can’t bear the fact that their children may not love them even if it is just for a moment. The problem with this type of parenting is that these spoiled children will grow up believing that they do not have to fight for what they value and need. This will serve as a negative weapon that they will continue to use with those who enter their lives. We must teach children that success is a direct reflection of their actions and decisions. The goal is to develop that intrinsic motivation which would allow them to achieve whatever they put their minds to.

5.      Share our pasts with them

Parents are responsible to help their children navigate through the many stages of development. One way we can do that is by sharing our own relevant and similar mistakes that we experienced during the same age. That will help them to learn some positives lessons from the people that they trust the most. We can share with them how we faced a certain situation such as a bully, the specific steps taken, and the lessons learned. This will allow our children to see us as “real people” whom they can come to for all the problems that they may be dealing with.

6.      Be a role model to them

We are our children’s first model. We are the ones to teach them how to make good choices and decisions. We model character, dependability, and accountability for them. We model every day what kind of leaders we are in our homes. Therefore, we must practice what we preach. We can’t sneak in a little white lie whenever it suits our needs. We can’t cut corners, and expect them not to learn that from us. We cannot say “bad words” and expect them not to follow suit. Quite a few times my children would come to me at ask, “Is it okay for adults to say bad words?” My answer has always been an emphatic “No.” I know that they will hear certain things from other adults that they are not supposed to hear. But, I want to make it clear that in our home, we do not talk this way.

Are You Mentally Strong?

Executives, entrepreneurs, and leaders from all businesses have been primarily concerned with physical health, but now they are learning that mental strength and health is even more important. As leaders we always encourage our people not to give up, to be optimistic, to tenaciously persevere until the desired result is reached. We can also identify mentally strong people by what they refuse to do. Following is a list of put together by a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist Amy Morin. I am sharing her list with you along with my thoughts on how you can apply them to your everyday reality.

  1. Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. Life is not fair. Bad things happen to good people. Mentally strong people have this keen sense of awareness concerning this very subject. Therefore, they do not spend their precious time throwing pity parties because their circumstances are not what it ought to be. Mentally strong people take responsibility for all that happens in their life without playing the blaming game. Most importantly, they don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves for they have dissected that experience, learned from it, and decided that they are stronger having been through it. Now, they have resources to help them when the next unpleasant situation comes their way.
  2. Give Away Their Power. Have you ever been told that you cannot do something when you know full well that you are more than capable? Did you give in or did you stand up for yourself? Mentally strong people are very aware of their power. They know that they are in the driver’s seat when it comes to others’ intent on making them feel inferior. They know that how they respond to certain situations is the key to keeping their power rather than giving it away to those who have less than good in mind.
  3. Shy Away from Change. So many work hard at escaping change and feel at home in their comfort zones. Not the mentally strong. They welcome change and all that comes with it. They thrive on change knowing that if they do not change then they are not growing. Change becomes a mental work out for the mentally strong providing opportunities for creative and challenging work and play.
  4. Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control. Have you ever been caught in a traffic jam? Have you ever had a flight cancelled? These things are out of our hands—they are out of our control. As a result, mentally strong people do not spend any of their valuable time throwing a fit about them. They acknowledge that the only thing that they can do is control how they respond to such situations.
  5. Worry About Pleasing Others. Many people struggle in this area. The people pleasers go out of their way to please others while being unpleasant to themselves. Mentally strong people behave differently. They treat people with respect, kindness, and fairness. They do not please others at their expense and they are not afraid to speak up. They understand how to navigate through difficult situations gracefully.
  6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks. What is life without risk? Risk makes everything interesting. The risk that is researched, studied, well-thought out are calculated risks. Mentally strong people welcome those risks, they know what they stand to benefit, and are ready to handle the worst-case scenario.
  7. Dwell on the Past. The best is yet to come. It does not matter if you had the best life. It does not matter if you had the worst life. What counts is today. Mentally strong people learn from the past and avoid getting stuck there. Instead of dwelling on the past, they spend their time and energy in creating the future that they desire.
  8. Makes the Same Mistakes Over and Over. If you do what you’ve always done, you will get what you’ve always gotten. We can’t expect to keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect to get a different result. That is insanity. Mentally strong people do not get caught up in these dire situations. They take responsibility for the past and learn as much as they can from it. Successful executives, entrepreneurs, and leaders reflect on their pasts to learn, grow, and become more productive.
  9. Resent Other People’s Success. Who makes up your circle of influence? People who are more successful than you or those that are less successful than you are? Mentally strong people admire those who are more successful than they are. They have no place for jealousy and resentment. However, they are ready to learn from their more successful peers lessons that will help them create their own success.
  10. Give Up After Failure. Failure is the gateway to success. We have to be willing to fail time and time again as long as these failures bridge that gap between where we are and where we want to be. Mentally strong people recognize the value in failing that is why they repeat it more often than not. They recognize that if they are failing that means they are proactively working to accomplish their goals.
  11. Fear Time Alone. Some people fear the thought of spending time alone. However, the mentally strong cherish such a time. It is a time to reflect on things that they have done right as well as thing they can improve on. It is a time to review their plans and make adjustments. It is a time to be creative and productive. The key is they are responsible for their own happiness. They welcome the company of others but they do not demand it.
  12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything. Executives, entrepreneurs, and employees everywhere have learned especially in this economy that the world does not owe them anything. They are certainly grateful to have a paycheck. Therefore, they know that they have to be thoroughly prepared to succeed in such a competitive market.
  13. Expect Immediate Results. Are you in it for the long haul? No matter what the goal is whether or not it is starting a new business, writing a book, or starting an exercise program, mentally strong people are in it until they have achieve the desired result. They understand that anything worthwhile takes time. Change is not easy; therefore, they practice their “staying power” to get the results that they expect.

Transforming Fear into Faith: How to Blossom and Thrive in Spite of Fear

For some people fear is a dirty four-letter word. It is seen as a negative word that is able to render us to paralysis. Fear seems to have let us down and limit us in so many ways. It limits us when we neglect opportunities for growth and development. Fear limits us when we fail to change knowing that doing the same thing over and over again will result in the same outcome. It limits us when we fail to make hard decisions, take smart risks, and remain in our comfort zone.

Yet, fear is a natural and useful part of life. Fear signals danger, vulnerabilities, and it informs us when and where we should be careful. It is important to know that fear is a companion that we will face whenever we decide to do something new and stick our neck out there.  Some of us allow fear to hinder us from achieving our goals and dreams. However, when we face fear head on, we give ourselves a chance to amass experiences and successes that can strengthen and uphold us when we are rejected, when we make mistakes, and when face difficulties.

Take Back Your Power

When we let fear stop us from starting a new project or taking a stand on a particular subject, we are entertaining the idea that we are not good enough. Our behavior indicates that what we have to offer is irrelevant and is of no value. We decide that if we reject ourselves first, we will not have to endure growing pains. We compare ourselves to those who have made it and place them on pedestals as a way to justify our claim that we are inferior and that we will never measure up.

Often times, we fail to recognize that we are responsible for our powerlessness. We have given our power to our inner critic and accepted negative thoughts as truth. We can break this cycle right now if we choose to feel the fear and go for our goals anyway. Let’s stop running away from fear. We must understand that fear is part of the process and we should not let it stop us from doing what we know we must do in our daily life. Acknowledge that fear exist and keep moving forward. That will enable us to create a bank of successes we can refer to when the next challenge comes around.

Start Now…You Are Good Enough

When fear settles in, the cycle of rejection continues to plaque us by trying to convince us that we are simply not good enough. We tell ourselves that we are not talented enough, we are not pretty enough, or we do not know enough. As a result, we remain stuck and unable to accomplish anything of significance. To blossom and thrive in spite of fear, we have to allow ourselves to do what is in our power to do. We must not make decisions for the world; we must make decisions for ourselves. For example, as a writer my business is to write to the best of my ability and to make my work available to readers. Then it is up to the readers to decide whether or not my work provides useful nuggets to help them improve their lives. So, don’t wait until everything is perfect; it will never be. Let’s do our part, start with what we know, and let the world decide if what we have to offer is good enough.

Keep a Victory Log

To blossom and thrive in spite of fear, we must count our successes even when our inner critic tells us that they are not good or big enough. Keeping a victory log comes in handy as a resource to kick back fear when we need courage to keep moving forward or when starting a new venture. To set the victory log into motion, it is important that we determine exactly what it is that we are afraid to do. So, make a list of things such as asking for a raise, starting a business, or leaving the kids with a babysitter. Then look at the list carefully and set a plan in motion to tackle each item on your list. If we are not doing what we are afraid to do; we will never know our fullest potential. As a result, we deny ourselves the biggest opportunity to grow and to live an effective life.

Therefore, if we are afraid of speaking; let us start speaking now. Then write down any and all progress—big or small. After a short time, it becomes clear that our fear is unfounded and that we create them by imagining a negative outcome rather than a positive one. The best way to get better at doing something is to practice. Celebrate the slightest of improvements and write it down in the victory log. That will allow us to create positive images and memories to carry us to our next endeavor.

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you. Psalm 56:3

Do you sometimes feel afraid? No matter what your reasons may be, you become afraid because you don’t feel that God is close enough. This is so far from the truth. God is always around to nurture, to support, and to comfort you–even when you cannot see, hear, or feel Him. Your feelings are not always reliable. That is precisely why faith is so important. David provides a good example, you need to make it a habit to trust in God when fear seems to be winning. He will give you the strength to punch fear in the face and move on to things that truly matter.

True contentent comes with the conscious decision to accept your lot, to do your best with it, and to leave the rest to God.