Black History Month Decor

February is here! I love celebrating Black history all year long but there is something special about acknowledging the work and progress of our people during the month of February. One of my goals this year has been to make the outside of my home look more appealing and inviting. So I started creating deco mesh wreaths. My Christmas wreaths certainly brought an additional flair of festivity to my home.

Why not keep the celebrations going? Here is my Black History Month wreath which I will proudly display all month long. Who am I kidding I will definitely display it throughout the year as well!

Want to add something exquisite to your door? Order one today.

For more information email me at StayGoldNaturals@gmail.com.

Visit my ETSY shop

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From Bitterness to Blessings

I began to feel sorry for myself as the never-ending housework engulfed me. I realized the only time I’d “relaxed” that day was while I ate dinner. After cooking and cleaning the kitchen I had gone back into clean up mode once the baby was asleep. With each stroke of the broom I let bitterness creep into my heart.

Swish…Why didn’t he at least offer to help me with the evening household chores?

Swish…Hmph. He could have at least taken the diaper pail bag outside to the trash can.

Swish…I wish he would have loaded these clothes in the car for me.

Swish…I do everything around here. (Not true but I sure thought it.)

Swish…I’ve been cleaning for hours! I sure wish I had some help!

Meanwhile, my husband was upstairs peacefully playing worship music on his keyboard.

Does this story sound familiar? (Luke 10:38-42)

As I lamented one of my favorite scriptures popped into my head, Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord… It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24) My sweeping began to feel a little lighter and I smiled. I started thinking about people on my prayer list and I said a quick prayer for them. Then I had the thought, “I am preparing my home for Jesus.” I got excited. Making sure the floor was clean and papers were organized now seemed like an honor. I started to think about what household tasks lay ahead for the next day and I actually felt a sense of delight as I contemplated finishing those projects as well.

Let me note that this has never happened to me. I have read stories about women who are so submitted to God that they cook and clean and feel the glory of the Lord as the lemony scent of disinfectant swirls around their home. That is not my story. But on this day I actually felt a glimmer of that contentment.

My work load did not change. My perspective changed.

A change in perspective can turn a jaded spirit into a joyful song, a mundane moment into a moment of opportunity and bitterness into blessings.

Dare I say I have had a break through?  

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A Vision for the New Year

I love New Year Resolutions. Each year I optimistically make a list of goals. My goals are usually very specific and follow the “S.M.A.R.T.” template. “I will lose 20 pounds by eating healthy and working out 5 times a week for at least 30 minutes a day by June 1, 20XX.” I am a big fan of S.M.A.R.T. Goals but this year I decided to go for a more relaxed approach.

I designed my first vision board. My board included general goals for 5 major areas of my life: Spirituality & Faith, Emotional & Mental Health, Physical Health, Relationships, and Career & Community.

Making broad goals is not something I would typically recommend but for a person like me who often struggles with flexibility and plans obsessively, a looser format can be therapeutic. Although my goals are not measurable in the traditional sense, I am taking note of my progress and have already done a mid-month evaluation. See, I told you I plan obsessively. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

2017 Vision and Resolutions

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My 2017 Vision Board

Spirituality & Faith

  • Read through the entire Bible
  • Pray
  • Memorize Scripture

Mental & Emotional Health

  • Post affirmations
  • Memorize Scripture (yes, it goes here too!)
  • Clean out the basement
  • Travel

Physical Health

  • Make and drink green smoothies
  • Exercise regularly 

Relationships

  • Listen more
  • Affirm more
  • Give more

Career & Community

  • Professional Development 
  • Create business plan
  • Save money

 

Have you ever made a vision board? Did you make any resolutions for 2017? How are they going? We are only 3 weeks into the new year. Don’t give up!

 

Year One. Check!

I was presented with a gorgeous scrapbook at my son’s birth. Each page was expertly embellished by my sorority sister. The colors and patterns chosen just so to fit the first year of my little prince’s life.

I remember feeling the joy, excitement, and anticipation as I turned each 12×12 page. What would this book look like upon completion? I couldn’t even fathom all the  experiences it would take to create the memories necessary to fill the book.

Yet here I am 12 months later looking at the scrapbook and choosing between 4000 photos. How do I decide between smiles? And why did I take so many photos of my child sleeping? This first scrapbook is nearing completion. The final selections will be photos from his “Winter ONEderland” first birthday party.

I can only wonder in amazement as I think on this past year…what will year 2 hold for our family?

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Nursing Photoshoot – A Must Do

One of the best things I have done during my first year as a mommy was to participate in a nursing photoshoot for Missouri moms. My son was 8 months old when we did the shoot. We are now 11 months in with no end in sight. We have plenty of “brelfies” but these photos by Allison Nichole Photography are a treasure. They capture the incredible bond I share with my son.

Have you done a nursing photoshoot? If not…book one soon! No stigma, no shame, all love.

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Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to my personal life, I prefer no questions. I don’t mind questions from a friend. I usually can handle questions during a conversation with an acquaintance. My husband, who loves questions, had to teach me how to accept them as a part of normal conversation. I used to feel put off by people who just met me and asked a ton of questions. Now, I try to go with the flow and I ask a few questions myself. Its probably because I dislike small talk that I dislike questions so much.

As a parent, though,question-mark-fractal I have been introduced to a whole new line of questioning. And I abhor it.

What is he doing?

Can he talk?

What does he say?

Is he walking?

No? followed by…Gasp!

What does he eat?

Are you going to have a girl next?

Is he sleeping through the night?

When are you going back to work?

When are you going to stop breastfeeding?

How will he be socialized if you stay home? Does he go on play dates?

So I have a few questions too:

Why do you think ALL babies walk by 10 months?

Is it so hard to believe that my child eats a robust variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meat and still breastfeeds?

Did you know that the X chromosome to make a girl comes from a man and that we actually have no say in what the gender of our next child will be?

How is staying home to raise my child not work but if I put him in daycare the child care providers are working?

Are you socialized? Do you go on play dates?

Or better yet, lets talk about some adult milestones:

Did you pay your rent on time this month?

When was the last time you stayed gainfully employed with the same employer for over 2 years?

Do you own your home?

Is your car paid off?

How much money do you have saved for retirement?

Are you still on your momma’s cell phone plan?

Did you vote?

 

I don’t mean to stymie well meaning people who love my son and are curious about his growth. I just want to let my child grow at his own pace. Bombarding new parents with questions about milestones is a partner to the great evil of child/parenting comparisons. No one wins at that game. I’d rather just enjoy my son and each stage of his development. `

 

The Misadventures of Travel

road-trip

“Are you going to sit in the backseat with him?”

“No,” I confidently responded.

“What if he needs to be soothed?” my father-in-law wisely asked.

“He’s been doing well sitting in the back by himself,” I said with all the naivety of a new mom.

I should have known then that the last leg of a 2 week, 2,000+ mile trip would go wrong.

Each time we travelled I carefully packed a bag with plenty of wipes, diapers, food, snacks, and a change of clothes for baby and me. I always kept this bag within arm’s reach.  But after 2 successful plane rides and many more hours in the car, I got lax. For the return trip home, I carelessly threw items in the bag. I realized I was running low on wipes and I didn’t refill the case. Nothing was neat and it certainly wasn’t easy to find supplies in the dark.

Before we got into the car, my son spilled water all over his clothes and soaked his shirt and undershirt. The luggage was already packed so I changed his shirt using the spare set of clothes I kept in my bag. Big mistake.

2 hours into the drive and the baby starts screaming. I mean  giving his lungs a real workout. I reach around to find out what is wrong and I feel something damp on his carseat. Coupled with a stench in the air, I knew it was a blowout diaper. Of course we were literally passing a rest stop as I made this discovery. We rode for a few miles before we spotted a gas station.

At the gas station, I remembered — there were not enough wipes for this job, I did not have another change of clothes for baby and I did not have a change of pants for myself. Only 2 hours away from home and I was stuck with a blowout diaper. Using a cup of warm water, soap, and a cloth diaper I washed him up on my lap. I did not make it out unscathed.

I wrapped my naked son in a blanket for a while until we found some clothes in the luggage. I used Lysol wipes to clean the carseat. Went inside the gas station to wash my hands thoroughly. Nursed my child then we continued our trip…with me in the backseat of the car still wearing boo boo pants because I forgot that I needed to change clothes too.

We are not going anywhere for a while but when we do, I’ll be sure to stock my bag appropriately.

 

Essential items to pack in your travel diaper bag:

  • Diapers (pack enough for at least 1 full day and then add some more)
  • Wipes (galore)
  • Cloth diaper or a wash cloth
  • Travel size soap and lotion
  • Travel size diaper cream
  • Snacks
  • Food pouches (so much easier and less mess!)
  • Plastic bib that can easily be wiped off
  • Small toys (pack options that don’t make noise)
  • Blanket
  • Extra onesies
  • Change of clothes for baby (eh make that 2)
  • Change of clothes for mommy
  • Plastic bag for soiled clothes or diapers (I like to have a stack of gallon storage bags just in case of …whatever)

*Tip: Place everything in individual gallon storage bags so you can reach in and grab what you need quickly.