Family, Uncategorized

Parenting Whoa’s: I Did NOT See This Coming

[dropcap style=”font-size: 50px; color: #9b9b9b;”] S[/dropcap]chool let out eleven days ago, and life with my children has been fast-forwarded. We’ve spent some time in karate class, at the gym, in the pool, and at home in front of Netflix. But other things are taking place. These jokers are growing at an alarming rate, and I can’t seem to keep up.

Here are the top three WHOA’S of my first 11 days with B&B and some of what you might be encountering with your children too.

 

They eat EVERYTHING including my healthy, mommy foods.

In one night after a dinner of BBQ chicken wings, boiled potatoes, and green beans, they knocked off some popcorn, milk, chocolate and strawberry syrups, a bag of grapes, bananas, and Doritos. They also finished off my imitation crab meat (left Old Bay sprinklings on the table) and giardinera. What six-year old likes to eat pickled cauliflower, carrots, and banana peppers?

Where did all these doggone toys come from and WHY are they mixed with clothes?

I’m not a cusser, but I feel a big, fat juicy one coming on when I ask them to put their clothes away, and drawers are left open with clothes seemingly vomited across the room. Then I take a step into the room and step on a Beyblade or a missing Barbie doll heel. Dagnabbit!!! Tomorrow we’re tackling the boy’s room. If I don’t post again in 24 hours, somebody come rescue me.

And the biggest WHOA of all… The first stages of puberty have emerged in one of the children.

I blame it on the hormones in our food (and genetics). But nothing prepared me for the conversation I had to have with my son today… God bless his dad for following up because some things I just can’t say. I figured as long as my son is still wearing his Thor helmet, cape, and carrying his mjolnir, all is well. (Thanks, Duana!) In the meantime, I’ll just hide all the pairs of scissors around my place to keep the kid from following through with his crazy idea. He’s truly my child because I remember thinking about snipping things away back then…

Shortly after we made this discovery, Brandon earned himself a popping on the arm. For a split second I felt like I’d popped a grown man, but when he looked at me with his baby eyes I was assured and comforted that he’s still my eight-year old baby. Oh the games our minds will play!

Somebody pass me a pamphlet and a box of Kleenex!

What unexpected surprises have you encountered with your children so far this summer? 

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your future,

 

Alana

Dating & Relationships, Family, Uncategorized

Love Your Kids: 10 Things You Do But May Not Know It

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] T [/dropcap]wo weeks ago I shared two posts, Love Your Husbands & Love Your Wives. Google Analytics tells me these are favorites among my readers. So thank you all for reading and sharing! If you haven’t read those posts, you DON’T want to miss them.

My original intent was to also write about loving your children, but with the hustle and bustle of work, I didn’t have time to think into the matter. But since summer break began last Friday and the children have been with me almost every waking moment, I’ve been able to come up with a few things.

  1. Be an example of what you want them to become. Children should see us reading our Bibles and hear us praying. If we’re married, they should see us caring for our spouse. If we’re single, they should see us having the utmost respect for ourselves by not allowing negative influences into our homes. Little people will mirror and imitate everything you do, so let us choose our actions carefully.
  2. Be accountable to them. My kids will poke my tummy ANY time they see it jiggle. If there’s an altar call at church to which they feel I should respond, they give me the eye. I don’t care too much for that part, but the point is that my kids take responsibility for who I am just as much as I do for them. When I was growing up, I could never question my parents as to why they were doing something I didn’t understand. I wasn’t trying to correct them even though they took it that way. How insecure must we be to feel challenged by our own children! Don’t miss teachable moments with your little ones because of your own pride.
  3. Cuddle with them. Studies show–*inserts reputable child-rearing source here*– that children who are shown affection make better choices as adults. Boys needs hugs and kisses just as much as girls do, so let us not neglect their emotional and physical needs trying to make them tough. Children need to be touched, held, and cuddled on a DAILY basis. I try to spend time with each kid to just give them the special attention they need. When I do, they’re much more respectful and easier to be around. I’d also add that the younger the child, the closer that child should be to you. When B & B were small, I kept them in the same room with me. Now that they’re older and we live in a small place, I’ll let them go into another room but my ears are always open. Be vigilant. Kids pick up things from others and you want to know what attitudes, words, and actions are creeping in that need to be uprooted.
  4. Smile when you see them coming. You love your little booger, don’t you? I know you’re shocked by the damage done to the hair and clothing at the end of a day at camp, but still… greet your child, and anyone else you love with a big ol’ grin and a warm “I’m so happy to see you!”
  5. Tell their little butts “NO!’ I’m bad at this… Well, I say no but then I have a tendency not to follow through. Children don’t need half of everything we give them. Our closets are busting at the seams with toys and clothes, and I am NOT a stuff person. Let them kick and scream… nah, don’t do that. Spank their bottoms if they kick and scream. Teach them to take “no” with dignity and self-control.
  6. Teach them to be responsible for their emotions. Some kids are born with it, and others are just… challenging. Depending on your child’s needs, you can teach this in a variety of ways. I have one kid who gets overly emotional when tired. So my goal is to teach that child to exercise self-control. Most adults can’t do this, but simply making a child aware and teaching them how is a step in the right direction. When you’re feeling bad inside, smile on the outside. When you’re mad because you didn’t get something you wanted, think about all the things you do have and yell them out!
  7. Give them chores. I’m appalled by the number of 15-year olds I teach that don’t know how to wipe down a table. If I can get my first grader to mop and my third grader to vacuum, certainly your teenager can handle some tasks. Not only is this good for the children, but it’s GREAT for you too! Starting tomorrow, my daughter will be washing out the pan I use to make her breakfast. My son will clean up EVERY mess he makes including the chocolate syrup spills, toast crumbs, dirty butter knife, etc.
  8. Guard their hearts. Not everything that is marketed for children is actually FOR them. It’s so easy to sit a child in front of Disney, Nickelodeon, Sprout, Poptropica… all that… and think they’re good to go. I ASSURE you… there is SOMETHING malevolently planted in some of these sites and television stations. When Brandon was in Kindergarten, he used to play games on Poptropica while I’d cook dinner, etc. Well a conversation bubble popped up and I heard his little stacatto reading voice chirp “Let us change our passwords so mom and dad don’t find out what we’re doing.” I went over to verify and sure enough!! When you see something or someone influencing your child the wrong way, cut it off! But you have to be around to see/hear it.
  9. Speak life to them. Old Black folk love to say kids are bad, grown, and mean. I know it’s part of our culture, but I hate it with a passion. My children are none of those things, nor do I want them to be. People become what you speak over them. Of course Man Man is cussing at two… all you do is cuss and call him bad. Whenever I find myself around small children, I be sure to say to them “You is smart. You is kind. You is impohtant.” You get the point. Really I just say “Jesus loves you” or “You’re a good boy/girl.”
  10. Validate them! Our kids have soooooo much to say, but we have to be tuned in so that we hear what matters. Though their feelings may be misguided, they are valid and easy to redirect if we first validate that the child is a person deserving of respect. Not to talk anyone down, but I was often told that my feelings didn’t matter and I went through life thinking that everyone else’s feelings mattered more than my own. What a cockeyed way to live life!!! Think of all the times you felt unloved and insecure. Don’t you DARE allow your child to navigate through those emotions alone. It is irresponsible and negligible for a parent to allow their child to suffer through rejection and shame without offering love and support regardless of what a child has done. When our kids become isolated, they are easy prey for the enemy. All types of evil things like hatred, sexual perversions, violence, self-hate, suicide creep in. Keep them close to you and remind them that they are loved unconditionally.

So many of you are great parents and could add so much more… so please please please share and comment!!!

In what ways do you and your children show love for each other?

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your family’s future,

 

Alana

Being Saved, Dating & Relationships, Family, For the Brothers, Uncategorized

Love Your Wives: We’re Not THAT Complicated

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The morning after I posted “Love Your Husbands” I received an email from one of my close writer friends. He commented that he was interested to see what I’d come up with for the men. I responded saying that the men’s list would be much shorter and simpler.

His actual reply…. “So women’s needs are less complex (looking outside to see if it’s snowing Smile)?

At the risk of folk laughing me off Twitter, Facebook, and my own website I’m going to say YES… and NO! Shoot… I don’t really know. I just had to sucker you in to reading this post.

What I can say with CERTAINTY is that most menfolk are not about to read and implement 21 different things to do for their women… It’s just not part of a man’s make up. And to be perfectly honest, if you can do a few simple things in addition to being a provider, protector, and priest of the home, we’re good to go.

If your heart is right towards your wife, then the actions will follow. Keep in mind that the Bible warns against menfolk mistreating their beloveds. God explicitly says He will not hear your prayers.

In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together.
She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life.
Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7

Selah.

Having said that , here are five things you can do to show your wife (or maybe wife-to-be) that you do really love her. Many women know they’re loved in word, but not so much in deed.

  1. Train your eyes to be only for her. I made the heavy-hitter number one on this list. Men, you’ve got to understand that no matter how strong and secure your woman is she will never be ok with you looking (and lusting) after another. That goes for real life, social media, television, websites, porn, MMS’s, Instagram, imaginative SMS’s. Some of the things that I see posted by married/engaged men are downright disrespectful. (But if your woman is cool with it, who am I to pretend like it’s not acceptable?) While you may go home to her, another woman’s image is in your head. And scripturally-speaking, that’s adultery (Matthew 5:28). Love your queen enough to divert your eyes when you see “trouble” from afar. And when she says to you “Did you see what that woman had on?” you can honestly reply “What woman?” There is a great reward for the man who can grasp and practice this concept.
  2. Respect her feelings. We know that you’re logical by nature, and we tend to be a little more feel-y. Despite what you may think, our feelings are just as relevant as your reasonings. Have you ever come home late after promising to be on time? You had the best, most logical response planned, but it just wasn’t enough to calm her. No? Man, please… you don’t have to lie to me! Let’s really be logical. If you know something you want to do will bother her, don’t do it. One thousand reasons isn’t enough to explain why you caused hurt when the situation could have been easily avoided. Honesty means next to nothing, and you’ll have to endure more than just a argument if you continue. The flip side to that is that you may feel you’re losing out and it’s unfair to you. But you promised to lay down your life, and again, there’s a reward for being considerate and kind to your bride.
  3. Try something new. I say this jokingly, but on a serious note, stop doing the same wrong thing over and over and over and over. Sorry doesn’t mean anything after the umpteenth time. If you’re going to slip up, please do so in a different and very minimal way, i.e. not replace the toilet paper roll.
  4. Unlock your phone. This right here could rival number 1. Trust is a major issue in relationships. If you are, in fact, living a life according to God’s statutes there is no reason for your phone and email to be kept private from your spouse. You’re trusting that person with your body and soul, and so it is their obligation and responsibility to cover you in those areas. If you can’t submit to that, then perhaps some fasting and separation is in order. I realize this requires a serious heart change for some, but truly, what do you have to hide? It’s going to come to light anyway.
  5. Clean her car, and make love to her. This is a two-fer. Something about a man taking care of domestic things that we ourselves are too busy to do ignites the passion in a woman. I have a friend who often comments on the reward her husband gets after taking care of the family’s dishes. Don’t complain about not getting enough if you aren’t willing to help out around the house or with the children. It really can be that simple.

So gentleman, might I suggest you choose any one item from this list and test it out. See what happens when your queen notices a change in you, and trust me, SHE WILL NOTICE!

Ladies, let me stress this to you!! Do NOT send this to your man in hopes of proving anything without first sending the “Love Your Husbands” article. Let him see that you are wiling to make some changes for his benefit before requesting he do the same for you. I might even suggest allowing him to pick a few items with which you can start. It’s alright to be transparent because none of these techniques work by magic. If he knows you’re overlooking a snide remark because you want better and not because you neeeeeed him… you can figure out the rest.

 

What does your wife need most?
Your time? Affection? A greater demonstration of your commitment to her?
Which of these items could you implement first? 

If this blog has helped you in any way, please subscribe via the form on the right hand column, SHARE this with a friend, and leave a comment. I LOVE to hear from my readers, even when you all disagree.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your marriage,

 

Alana

 

Photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Family, Uncategorized

Tough Cookies: Kids Who Need Spankings

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I love scanning through my FB News Feed and seeing the pictures of my friends’ beautiful little ones. I have one particular friend from high school who has THE most gorgeous little girl. This kid has cheeks for days, bright gray eyes and a smile that will melt anyone down to the ground. She is a baby doll… so it would seem.

I had no idea this kid was a tough cookie, so it surprised me when her “mild-mannered, sweet as pudding” momma emailed me to say “What the heck am I supposed to do with this kid? She’s whiny, manipulative, and strong-willed. I don’t know if spanking is right or wrong, but this kid is running my home. How do your kids behave?”

Welp… I have a lot to say about this— so much so that I will have to break the content down into two to three entries, but I’ll do my best to get it all published within a week’s time. But let’s address the first few objectives… why spanking is good and how to determine if your child is the kind that will need them often.

Why Spanking is Good for Your Child

Children do not have the reasoning ability that adults have, so we must guide and direct them. Here’s an example. Little Tyrone is riding his big wheel in the driveway. He starts to feel a little confident and wants to head out to the main road. You tell him to stop and to turn around. Now, depending on whether you’ve instilled an attitude of obedience in him (or not), he will respond.

Let’s say Little Tyrone disobeys and rides his bike out in the street. The unthinkable happens. And who’s responsible? You are! We must teach our children that they must respect us (liking is optional), that we discipline them because we love them, and that obedience is better than taking a chance and getting hurt and/or in trouble.

As unthinkable as the scenario above may be, it’s very realistic. How often do I children step to the line of danger and attempt to cross it not realizing what may lie ahead? The minimal amount of pain you give them as a response to disobedience cannot be compared to the danger that faces them in that moment. When you spank your child within the right context, you literally save their soul from future troubles and possibly even an eternity apart from God.

Another good reason… you don’t want a child running your home. As temperamental and stubborn as Brandon was at two and three years of age, I refused to let him dictate what would happen in my house. We would go grocery shopping and he’d run away from me to another aisle. I’d have to leave Briana behind (in her carrier) to catch him. I would whine and cry about the situation, but eventually I realized I’m the adult and he’s the kid. I started to teach him that if he ran from me when I called him, he’d get spanked right away. And when we were at home, I delivered on that promise. Next few times we went out shopping, I’d call him and he’d start to run, then stop and look at me, then look to run again… He was contemplating what to do! Eventually he brought his short self over and held on to the cart like I asked. He learned the lesson and lined up with my expectations. (I’m laughing as I write this, but it was very challenging at the time.)

There are far too many stories about children abusing their parents, and I will not be one of those casualties. Neither will you! Don’t let your children go so far that you have to call SuperNanny in to rescue you. Get them in line NOW!

Some kids need spankings. Some don’t.

Some kids need spankings as their main form of discipline while others can be disciplined via time outs, taking things away, or a good scolding. But if your kid has the following qualities, he or she will more than likely need a good swat to the thigh or backside on a daily basis until they really learn to respect and obey you.

  • Strong-willed and stubborn
  • Fearless and adventurous
  • Mean-spirited or angry
  • Moody and temperamental
  • Disrespectful

Parents must understand that a child’s personality is formed by the time he or she reaches 5 years. So you have fewer than 5 years to create an attitude of obedience and respect for authority. If you’re past that time, you’ve got to reinforce what you’ve already instilled or do damage control. Hopefully the former…

Age really isn’t a factor either. Of course no one should spank a baby… Use common sense. But there are ways to let babies know that what they’re doing is not acceptable. I used to tap Briana’s little legs when she decided to run her baby teeth across my baby-feeders. The first few times, she didn’t understand that I wanted her to stop. But around tap number 4, her big ol’ eyes widened, she grinned, and stopped nibbling on me.

I remember another time… indulge me here… she wanted something from the cabinets but she wasn’t talking yet. I thought she was pointing to her cup. So I passed her the cup and she threw it on the floor in anger. I picked it up, and handed it to her again. Again, she threw it on the floor. So I tapped her hand (not hard at all) and said “No no.” Third time giving her the cup (and still not realizing what she wanted), she looked at me with her frustrated baby face then bent down and placed the cup on the floor. I never did find out what she wanted, but I both learned a lesson that day. Young children (under 18 months) do understand discipline.

One more tiny piece before I end… life brings about changes, and often our kids misbehave because they are sad or grieving over something. In those situations, I stop and ask the Lord if I should spank or not. Usually, I get a yes. We don’t want our children to think it’s acceptable to be disobedient just because they’re tired or sad.

Whew… that’s only a small piece of what’s in my heart about this matter. I hope this helps those mild-mannered moms and pushover-dads out there. Take back your homes one bottom-swat at a time…

 

Does your child need spankings? If so, how often do they come begging you for one? 🙂

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your (and your children’s) future,

 

Alana

Photo credit:  Some rights reserved by Geomangio

 

Being Saved, Dating & Relationships, Family, Uncategorized

The Art of Forgiveness: One Step Solution

Thanks to those who contacted me regarding The Art of Forgivness: But Do I Have To?  The needs of my readers really drives what I write, so I must continue on this course. If there are any other concerns for matters of life that you have, please send me an email or leave a comment below. If I can help, I most certainly will!

Everything you need to know about forgiving someone is embedded inside of you. Your will controls every action and decision you make, so forgiving someone is a matter of will. Not emotion, not logic, not obligation… There truly is just one step.

 You must CHOOSE to forgive.

Now I know this is opposite of how we’ve been trained to live (i.e., let your feelings be your guide), but truly, forgiveness is a matter of choice. Here’s an example.

When I was married, I suspected my trust had been been betrayed, then the evidence came forward. I would be taking care of daily matters when the weight of the world would just fall on me. My chest would would cave in, and my head would spin. My heart would literally ache inside of my chest. Several times a day for months I’d go through this emotional and physical torment because I was reliving that moment of discovery. And my mind would wander into a thousand-and-one questions, suppositions, and what-if’s. Then, one day… I don’t even recall when it happened… all the bad feelings went away. Because at some point in time I decided that I would choose to forgive.

In Matthew 18:21-22, Peter asks Jesus how many times he must forgive his brother, then he offers an answer of “seven times”. In other words, Peter is saying “Look here, Jesus. John is driving me nuts. He keeps talking out of the side of his mouth, and I’m trying to be gracious, but I wanna let him know some things. This morning was the sixth time… He’s got one mo’ time to cross me. So yeah, seven times is good… right, Lord?”

Jesus then responds to Peter, revealing the content of his heart. He tells Peter that he must forgive “seventy times seven”. In other words, let’s not be so concerned by the details of what happened nor the number of times it happened nor how wrong they really were. Let’s just get in the practice of forgiving.

What I believe this “seventy times seven” really means (because none of us would really allow someone to wrong us this  many times, and rightfully so) is that every time the matter comes to mind we must choose to forgive.

Every time you think about her touching another man…

Every time you think about him hitting your child…

Every time you flip through his phone and find those outgoing texts….

Every time you’ve been cursed by someone who should have protected you….

Forgive… and to reiterate a point I made last blog, forgiveness does NOT mean forgetting what’s happened, nor does it always mean reconciliation. For now, you just worry about setting yourself free from being tormented. And IF that means, you must get away from the person who caused the hurt to allow forgiveness to flow, DO IT!!!

I speak peace, in Jesus’ name, over every one of you who is struggling with unforgiveness. I bind any demonic force that is controlling your will and I loose peace and love upon you now, in the name of Jesus Christ. Lord, let them find immediate joy and deep rest as they forgive every wrong that revisits them through bad memories, negative thoughts, and other daily triggers. No more torment, no more pain for these people, Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.

Will you set yourself free today??
CHOOSE to forgive, and the feelings will follow.

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for YOUR future,

Alana

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by C. G. P. Grey

Family, Uncategorized

Parenting Blog #2: Raising David

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My son just turned 8 two weeks ago. Since then, he’s been a little more disobedient and disrespectful than usual. I’ve noticed that every year at his birthday, he asserts the heck out of himself. Lately, I’ve had to respond with a strong hand (i.e. corporal punishment) to discourage him from acting dangerously and from harboring bad feelings in his heart. It’s not easy. Nevertheless, I discipline him because I love him, and he certainly loves me for it. Within ten minutes I have my sweet, charming little boy back with a repentant heart.

This four-foot tall eight-year old reminds me of a ruddy, dirt-loving kid in the Bible who cared for sheep, wrestled bears and lions, and played tunes of worship to the Most High. Brandon is a protector (sometimes of those who don’t care to be protected), wrestles with dangers both spiritual and natural, and sneaks off with my laptop to play his favorite worship songs on YouTube. When his guitar strings were in tact he’d pluck the heck out of them and sing something loudly to the Lord. The sounds of music…ehh, but the heart of worship is truly beautiful.

Brandon is like David.

Undoubtedly each of us believes our offspring are destined for greatness, but it is our responsibility to mold and shape them in a way that maximizes their potential, even as children, and minimizes their weaknesses. The best of us can take their weaknesses and harness them to make our children stronger.

Listed below are some of the major personalities we find in the Bible.
Which of these personalities do you find your in child, or maybe even yourself?
This list is, by no means, comprehensive…

 

[tabs slidertype=”top tabs”] [tabcontainer] [tabtext]JOSHUA[/tabtext] [tabtext]MOSES[/tabtext] [tabtext]JACOB[/tabtext] [tabtext]DEBORAH[/tabtext] [tabtext]MARY[/tabtext] [tabtext]ESTHER[/tabtext] [/tabcontainer] [tabcontent] [tab]Children like Joshua are strong leaders who may be stubborn and unyielding at times. They have incredible faith and humility (with maturity), and an uncanny willingness to serve and learn. Joshua’s are fighters which is NOT a bad thing if you can teach them how and when to fight. Our generation needs young ones who stand up for what’s right. Joshua dared to lead the children of Israel in a battle against Jericho tearing down impenetrable walls with only the shouts of the people! He dared to command the sun to remain fixed in the sky… and it did for three days. Could your little rambunctious, aggressive one be a Joshua? This kid is probably going to need a lot of spankings, but if you can teach them to channel their aggressiveness and fearlessness, just imagine what your child can do.[/tab] [tab]Moses was a meek and tender soul. I imagine he seldom spoke with his head upright until He encountered the Almighty in the mountain. We often view children like this as having low self-esteem, and they may have encounter rejection daily from their peers. This type of child will need strong reinforcement from their parents that they have significant value. Build them up daily and teach them how to encourage themselves. Lastly and most importantly, show them how to cultivate a relationship with the Lord. These type of children desire deep and intimate contact with someone, and only a true relationship with God will satisfy that need.[/tab] [tab]We all know that Jacob was a trickster. He was dishonest and a little weasel-y even in his conversation with the Lord. Yet, God thought him worthy to receive a mighty blessing. Despite the fact that he was a “plain and quiet man” God saw him as the one to birth out the 12 tribes of Israel through whom the entire world could be blessed. Could your sneaky, squirrel-y, prank-playing kid have generations of blessings in his or her loins? Develop this child by teaching him or her truth and honesty. Embrace the child’s preferences provided they are not sinful. Don’t reject your little Jacob because he or she doesn’t have same interests as you.[/tab] [tab]Deborah is the first woman we see in the Scripture with some real power. She was honored and respected by men and women in the community, and even a military general came to request her help. Some of our girls are FEARLESS! We want them to sit and be quiet, not speaking on what God has said, but the prophetess inside must mature and grow. Give these children a safe place to communicate. Teach them how to say things, and how to speak the truth in love. Fill their mouths with the word of the Lord, and watch them prophesy! Look at your child and ask “What’s God saying today?”[/tab] [tab]I was meditating on Mary this morning, and my pastor said the very thing that I had considered. Mary “kept all these things in her heart.” Children can have rich encounters with the Lord and not know how to handle them. We must teach these meek and quiet ones to commune with the Lord in their hearts and to hold on to the secrets He’s shared. As they grow, discuss those things but ensure that their encounters are not topics for open discussion amongst friends and family. I’ve had to nip this in the bud with my own children. Mary’s can hear from God very well and need little input from anyone else. We don’t want the purity of our children tainted by well-meaning but misguided individuals.[/tab] [tab]Esther was more than just a pretty face. She held the heart of the king in her hand and therefore changed the policies and politics of a nation that wasn’t even her own. Being pretty is not good enough. Succumbing to worldly influences won’t project our daughters forward. Purity, intelligence, wisdom, grace, and and strength will. Teach your daughter to wield her pretty face and ability to influence those around her for good. My daughter is an Esther. She doesn’t say a whole lot of spiritual things, but when she does… My Lord! Hearts get convicted. She knows how to be pretty, sweet, and kind, yet reminds us to do what’s right. [/tab] [/tabcontent] [/tabs]

What are your child’s strongest qualities and gifts?
What does he or she seem to be lacking?
And how can you as a parent lead them to becoming what God intended?

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for your–and your child’s– future,

 

Alana

 

Being Saved, Dating & Relationships, Family, Uncategorized

The Art of Submission: What You Won’t Do

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I grew up thinking men were the only people to ever do wrong in a relationship. By the time I was 25, I was fully convinced that men were incapable of loving a woman the way that a woman loved a man. I thought that men only felt a little something, maybe admiration, but nothing substantial or lasting.  I thought that those who were married were destined to cheat, leave or stay and cause unhappiness. I thought the only men who did right by their wives were those who were weak or motivated  by fear.

What a cock-eyed way to view the world… But don’t judge me. You’ve got some cock-eyed ways too. Nevertheless I can’t help you get the spot out of your eye with the beam in my own.

But that was my experience. My experience now isn’t totally different, but I definitely don’t think this of menfolk any longer.

After developing some genuine friendships with good men, I’ve come to learn that women also do HORRIBLE things to the men that love them. These stories, in some ways, were more shocking to me than the usual “girl-he-cheated-and-had-a-baby-by-another-woman” story. So at this point, I feel compelled to write to the ladies regarding what a submissive woman won’t do to her husband, or any man that she cares about.

Before I begin the customary list (if it ain’t broke…), I will say this. As women we have overcome tremendous challenges, and many of us are doing great things. We’re making six figures, running corporations, caring for babies, building businesses and ministries… We. Do. It. All. So as empowered as we are, why can’t we say and do as we please? Well, you want to keep your man, don’t you? Don’t you want him to be happy with the relationship? Or would you run him to the arms of another?

I know you answered “no” to that last question, because you’re still reading. These, ladies, are the things we must stop doing to our men… with a little anecdotal evidence of course.

  1. Harboring unforgiveness and anger in your heart. We are all guilty of this in some way. Any time two lives are shared with any degree of intimacy, feelings will become hurt. But just he as makes mistakes, you will make them also. An old wise man once said “Keep a short account with God and man. Quickly repent. Quickly forgive.” Holding on to unforgiveness will cause you to become bitter and resentful, and anger will eventually be displayed through one of the following actions and sickness in your body. Forgiveness TRULY is not about letting the other person off the hook. It is about keeping your eyes on the cross and allowing God to move you forward regardless of their actions. Forgiving is not easy, but it is simple. It starts by making a choice. I shall blog about this more at another time.
  2. Talking down to him. Even if a brotha needs a rebuke or to be tightened up a little there’s a way to do. Never attack his masculinity or refer to him as a child to make your point. You might address character flaws, but let a man have his pride. If you take that away, he is bound to get it elsewhere. And if you know the devil like I do, he’s already got the right one lined up to step in… If you’ve got a sharp tongue, ask the Lord to bridle it and deal with your heart issues. Over time you will be able to speak the truth in love. Until that happens, it’s best you keep quiet.
  3. Doing the opposite of what you’ve agreed to do. I’ve been on the business end of this, and it’s no fun. If we agree that we won’t visit the homes of our single friends without each other, then don’t do it. Your story as to why you thought I’d be ok with it is irrelevant. Every relationship has boundaries. Boundaries are good, healthy, beneficial. If you and your boo have agreed to do (or not do) certain things then ABIDE by it! If you’re calculating what you can get away with or predetermining what the “punishment” will be, then you’re immature and are unlikely to maintain a healthy marriage. A double-minded woman is unstable in all her ways. .
  4. Being selfish and ungrateful. I’ll admit. This is common among women. We’re programmed with the “take-care-of-me” gene and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if we love the man, and not what he has, then we must live within the means provided. A quick fix for ungratefulness is thankfulness. When my children start to complain, I have to shift their thinking. As we go through our day I ask them to think about the things they’re thankful for and yell them out. So wherever they are… grocery store, park, car, at home… they’re forced to think through a different filter. And there’s power in the spoken word. When you hear yourself say what you’re thankful for, a heart change begins to take place. So start saying “thank you” to the Lord aloud, and then to your husband. ‘Thank you” is truly something you can’t say too often.
  5. Denying him. I don’t understand why married women are still doing this. Unless he’s abusive, cheating, or degrading to you, it’s your duty to pop that… let me chill. If you’re smart about it, you can win an unwieldy man with your womanly charms. If he has a tendency to look at other women, then show him WHY his eyes should only be on you. Outside of sex, I think it’s important that a woman also meets the other needs of a man. For example, if he needs an ego stroke… “Oh, sweetie, your arms are so strong. Teehee!”… then DO IT!!! Get over yourself, and do it!! If he needs a hot meal, don’t hand the man a sandwich. You’ll quickly drive him home to mama for a meal and to the computer for a quick sexual fix. And while we’re on the topic of sex, BE FAITHFUL!!
  6. Talking bad about him to others. We all need to vent, but daaaannngggg! Some of ya’ll are telling so much I’m contemplating whether I ever want to get married again. Some of the stuff that happens in relationships needs to stay there. Other things you may want to discuss with a close friend, but be sure it’s someone who won’t judge you or tell your business. But I was bad about this, and I’ve learned. And the scriptures tell us that the power of life and death is in the tongue.  A wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with her own hands. You shall have what you say.
  7. Usurping his authority. We’ve all heard the sermon. God took woman out of man’s side to be his equal. But the concept of submission is that one must come under the other so that order can be established. You, woman, have been appointed the submittee… There is no shame in this role when you realize that you had to be equal to (or in some cases above) to be placed under him. So know who you are, and recognize who he is. Taking away your husband’s authority is the worst thing you can do to your family. Love, honor, and obey. Don’t talk about him or argue with him in front of the children. If he’s wrong (and they can be wrong about a lot of things), address it privately. Your children won’t remember the one time daddy made a mistake, but they will remember that you called him on it and added a few nasty names to it as well. Yikes… how often we forget to be kind to those closest to us. By the way… your pastor is not the priest of your home. Your mister is…

 

I sincerely hope the menfolk feel vindicated at this point. I don’t think one would argue that they are proud of our accomplishments, yet many wish their wives would come home and be just that. One more submission post may be in me, but we shall see. I have so much to share! And I pray you enjoyed reading…

 

If this post has incited you in any way, please comment below or send me and email for more personal items. Also… if I haven’t asked enough… please join my email list or subscribe to the RSS feed. I’d hate for you to miss any of the good stuff I’m going to write. And… oh…it’s juicy!

 

With love, sincerity, and hope for the future,

 

Alana

 

Photo Credit:

By Richard ‘Tenspeed’ Heaven

Being Saved, Family, Guest Posts, Uncategorized

Overcoming Loneliness by Demontae Edmonds

Blessing us this week is my beloved cousin, Demontae Edmonds. Demontae shares several mini-sermons via Facebook and email during a week’s time, so I decided (with his permission) to pass this post along because it is so relevant to the CTL mission. I pray this post blesses you. And as always, comments are welcome and wanted!!!

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.consideringthelily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/d.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Apostle Demontae Edmonds www.freeinva.com[/author_info] [/author]

 

Last night while in prayer God impressed upon me to write on the subject of “Overcoming Loneliness.” Often we hear Sunday messages on faith, salvation, tithing but there is a legitimate issue people wrestle with called loneliness.

 

First, being alone does not necessarily mean that one is lonely. Loneliness according to the dictionary is a condition where a person is “affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone.”

 

God does not want anyone to struggle with or be defeated by loneliness. Many people hate to have this feeling and place themselves prematurely in wrong relationships in an attempt to overcome these feelings. BIG MISTAKE!  Just because you are with someone in a relationship (even a marriage) does not mean that you may not still wrestle with loneliness.

 

A second definition I found for loneliness reads, “destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship, intercourse, or support.” Many have found out the hard way that even after marriage their spouse may fall short of their expectations. This is especially true if they married a person God has not intended for them or an immature spouse. If your spouse does not know how, try, or care about fulfilling emotional and physical needs for attention and companionship you may STILL suffer from loneliness. Even worse rejection, hurt, distrust, low self-esteem etc. may result from a broken relationship. Add these with loneliness and you have an emotional wreck.

 

To help you avoid falling into these traps and overcoming loneliness I prayed and asked God for some points to share:

 

#1 REALIZE THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE    

 

Our natural mind and the enemy (Satan) often try to trick us to believe we are alone and also the only person dealing with certain situations. This is certainly not true (see 1 Kings 19:14). Proverbs 18:24 tells us, “There is a friend who sticks CLOSER than a brother.” This refers to God Himself. He is always watching us, with us, and for us. We are often unaware of this and He is the last person we focus on. The more you recognize and “in all your ways acknowledge Him” (Proverbs 3:6), He will be that much more real to you.

 

James 4:8 says, “Draw close to me and I will draw close to you.” The more time, energy, and devotion you spend toward God in the Word, prayer, and casual conversation He will draw closer to you. This means He will reveal more of how ACTUALLY close He is. This may come through dreams, visions, discerning His presence, His taking away loneliness, grief, depression, etc.

 

Both of these acts require faith. When you first begin to confess “God is a friend  that sticks closer than a brother” you may feel nothing at first. But over time “by faith” the reality of this truth will become more apparent in your life. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit as a “Comforter”. Because God created your heart and mind He is the ONLY person who has the blueprint to them. He knows exactly when and how to comfort you and re-energize you even when you allow yourself to get beat down, defeated, discouraged, or wresting with loneliness.

 

#2 DISCERN YOUR GOD-SENT RELATIONSHIPS

We are admonished to be friendly & kind to everyone but not everyone can be our friend. There are specific people appointed by God for you to be in relationship (friendship) with. You cannot get to your destiny without them, and they cannot get to theirs with you. There is a mutual dependence. God specifically chose Prince Jonathan for King David. They loved each other like brothers. God specifically chose twelve disciples to accompany Jesus. We see this throughout the Bible.

 

Many times people struggle with loneliness but neglect to trust God that there are specific people He has already hand-picked for their lives. When you pray, trust God will send these people into your lives. Very often we miss them because they may not look, talk, or think like you. They may come from very different backgrounds and have different interests but there will be common ground that will serve for a higher purpose.

In the Book of Ruth, Ruth lost her husband and had a choice to start a new life or remain with her mother-in-law. Our minds would say leave and start over, Ruth. But she chose to “cleave to Naomi” her mother-in-law (Ruth 1:14). After losing a spouse or leaving a bad relationship a person is often vulnerable and sensitive. She chose to stay in friendship with someone who she had known and trusted through the years. Often there is security and comfort in familiarity. The story ends with Ruth marrying the right man at the right time, and he was gentleman and very WEALTHY! So it worked out for her.

Many miss friendships because of defensive walls that are up due to past hurts, fear of being rejected or judged, or simply they don’t know how to be a friend themselves.  Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man that has friends must show himself friendly.”  This means there are some things you need to do on your end to make and maintain friendships like not being jealous of others, not competing, showing humility, avoiding selfish actions, not being condescending, and not backbiting. Also, don’t wait on the other person to initiate friendship. You must, “show yourself friendly.”

 

#3 GET & STAY CONNECTED WITH THE BODY OF CHRIST     

 

Hebrews 10:25 commands us, “Forsake not the assembling together of yourselves.” Another version reads, “Don’t stop meeting together.”

 

What better place to make friends than a place with people with the common ground of Jesus Christ as God and that have the same belief systems? In theory anyway… lol. That is the way God ordained his earthly kingdom. Often God will use someone in the Body of Christ to comfort us or meet our needs of companionship, finances, inner or outer healing, etc. No one can grow into their full spiritual potential being disconnected from the Body of Christ.

 

#4 A GIFT FROM GOD

 

Being alone is not always negative. Often it is a gift of God. Only when we are alone can we discover our true identity. Moses discovered that He was to be deliverer of Israel from Egypt when he was ALONE on the backside of the desert and encountered the burning bush. Jesus spent 40 days ALONE in the wilderness when He begin to walk in the power of the Spirit and perform miracles. John the Baptist was “in the desert places [ALONE] until the day of his showing.”  Many others throughout history have discovered their potential, identity, strengths, weaknesses, life goals, and vision for the future while in their time of singleness or solitude. You can be alone but not be lonely. Enjoy your gift from God UNTIL……..

 

Apostle Demontae Edmonds
www.freeinva.com

 

Photo credit:

License Some rights reserved by Invisible Lens Photography

Dating & Relationships, Family, Uncategorized

The Art of Submission: Anecdotal Evidence

Last Sunday, I left you hanging…

On purpose.

I know it’s a cold thing to do, but there was a method behind my apparent madness. The teacher in me wanted you to draw your own conclusions before I placed further ideas into your head. It is my sincere hope that you, my cyber sister friend, have considered my last few points regarding your relationship. I hope that you’ve asked yourself if your significant other is really loving you the way God intended, if he is handling business as the leader of your home, and if he is one to whom you can submit.

So many “good, Christian girls” marry in hopes to actually be able to submit to a man of God only to realize he’s not half a man and has even less of God. And so we don’t know what to do because we think that in order to please God we must please our unplease-able husbands. But I laugh at the enemy… There is a solution to your problem.
At the risk of bearing too much of my past, I’d like to revisit my previous points and support them with anecdotal evidence, some of my own and some of someone else’s.
  1. He’s your husband, not God.  Yes, we must honor, love, and obey, but there must always be a place that you preserve for you and your God alone. Elevating anyone, children included, above the place of the Almighty will open you to heartache and disappointment. I remember being torn between my relationship with God and my relationship with my ex-husband. It seemed I couldn’t maintain my walk with Christ as long as I was trying to please the other. I would imagine Adam felt the same ambivalence when he watched his beloved taste the forbidden fruit. Imagine what he must have thought in that moment. She knows this is wrong. She knows this will separate her from God. So will it separate her from me too? But I LOVE her. Icannot live without her… But God loved me first, and I love Him! God or Woman? Woman or God? So he ate the fruit. He chose Woman over God, and as a result all of mankind fell. What if Adam had not eaten the fruit? Would God have allowed him to redeem the woman he loved so much keeping our heritage in Eden intact?Could God redeem your spouse as a response to your faithfulness to Him?Absolutely! Could things fall into place should you decide to focus solely on the other person? It’s possible, but not likely. I wish you well either way.
  2. If he doesn’t demonstrate Christ-like love for you, be careful about submitting. It could cost you more than you’re willing, or even able, to pay. The Bible says that a man must love his wife as he loves himself. So if he hates himself……………. Oh ok. A self-loathing person is bitter, self-destructive, angry, manipulative, and unforgiving. If these devices are demonstrated in your husband’s interactions with you, do what you can to keep order in the home, but anything that is detrimental to you and the family or feels out of sorts, you MUST stand your ground. I’ve known women who had unfaithful spouses that felt obligated to sleep with their husbands. Don’t lay yourself down under a man that you know (or even with legitimate reason, think) is being unfaithful to you. Don’t leave bills unpaid that could affect you in the long run because he’s “got it under control.” Do what you know is right to do when it’s time to do it. You’ll have pay later. I had to pay later when I could’ve stepped up and handled things when I knew he wouldn’t.
  3. If his life is out of order, he cannot be your head. Don’t allow someone who lacks self-control to control you.Two big points here… It seems this would be common sense, but how many of us chase behind brothers who lack any restraint in their personal lives? The purpose of a relationship is to build something. You cannot build with a person who chases thrills, emotional highs, or any other high for that matter… Strangely enough, folks who lack self-control attempt to control everything around them. Don’t be that kind of victim.I wish a brotha would ask to see my grocery store receipt to calculate my drivetime home. I have a Chemistry degree, and I know how to use it.
  4. Submission is mutual. He needs to submit to you as well. I laugh when I hear stories of young grooms demanding their brides to do as they say because the bride must submit. Submission,in its finest form, is mutual. He should think enough of you to discuss matters before making a decision. I can’t think of one woman in her right mind who wants to be the man and take full responsibility for a family, but I also can’t think of one who wants all the decisions made for her without consideration for her needs. The pendulum swings both ways, folks… both ways. Menfolk would do well to allow us to take the lead from time to time.
  5. If he is not submitted to God and your pastor, don’t expect him to submit to you. The strongest, wisest, most prosperous men on this planet answer to someone somewhere. If your boo-bah-dee-boo-boo claims to love God but won’t submit to a pastor, don’t expect him to submit to you. The concept of respecting authority eludes some people. So not only do these misguided fellas lose jobs and underperform at work, but they also fail to walkin the proper authority as the man, husband, and father. Men at their best when they are accountable to other men.
  6. You don’t have to agree or even take his advice for yourself. I looooove to wear make-up. Love love love! I don’t wear a lot, nor do I wear anything crazy, but I do like to highlight my features. Well, when I wasmarried it was strongly suggested that I stop wearing make-up. In fact, it became a source of tension between us, particularly if I was going out to the store without him though he neeever wanted to go along. That’s another matter altogether. But the tension remained until I made it clear that I wasn’t going to stop wearing it. Before long, he’d just stare at me while I put it on… in awe of my beauty of course. He learned to respect something small that mattered to me. See– *pulls out church lady glasses*—folks have the tendency to project their own insecurities on others. There is no need for me to feel unattractive because you have an issue. If I love you, make-up won’t make me cheat. If I don’t love you, nothing short of God’s hand will stop me. Ladies, you can comply if you so choose, but make sure you choose to do so for the right reasons.
  7. If he’s not pleased with you now, then he won’t be pleased with you after you do everything he claims he wants you to do. That’s not your issue…it’s his! Bigger boobs, longer hair, more/less make-up never changed an unfaithful heart. Ladies, some things we just cannot compete with. Some things we should not have to compete with. If he truly loves you, then he will learn over time to keep his eyes only for you. Don’t expect this to be an overnight process, but cover yourself in prayer as you fight the battle against insecurity and low self-esteem. But in the meantime, you don’t have to do,wear, or behave as some fantasy woman who has no emotion or need. You don’t have to bare it all like women on television. We don’t have to be overly outspoken to be heard, or wearing a nappy fro to be appropriately Black. (Oh gosh… did I type that? Yeah, I did. Team relaxer, baby!)  But let me qualify this… Some of us DO need to lose weight. Some of us DO need to grow our hair out. Some of us DO need to find out what it means to be feminine. Some of us DO need to learn how to cook and clean a house.
I think I’ve picked enough on the fellas, don’t you agree? I mean all the good menfolk are screeeeaming at me wondering why I’m talking about these bad dudes when there are bad women out there too. Don’t worry… that’s the next topic. So I’ll see you same time next week?? *raises eyebrows looking for your agreeable smile* I look forward to it.
I look forward to reading your comments. As always please tweet, post, share, email, SUBSCRIBE! Let me know you’re out there! I’ve made it to the other side of the planet a few times now, so send me a cyberwave if you please! Until next time…
With love, sincerity, and hope for the future, 
Alana
Photo Credit: By SidewaysSarah on Flickr
Being Saved, Dating & Relationships, Family, Uncategorized

The Art of Submission: Serving Two Masters

This entry is for the married ladies and those in serious relationships. For several reasons, I’ve neglected to write about my experience as a married woman. The Bible says a poor man’s wisdom is despised, so I thought no one would want to hear how you should or shouldn’t interact with your husband from a woman who doesn’t have one anymore. There’s no shame on my end, but certainly, people have said they didn’t want my opinion because I failed at it. 


But where I may have a void in your eyes, I’ve got a wealth of experience and understanding in my own. So take it or leave it… just read it, and decide later. 🙂


Life, for me, is better on this side. And some of you ladies are married to a man with the same or similar *ahem* demeanor as my ex-husband. You need to know how to handle him whether you choose to stay with him or not.


I’ve spent some time in my singleness wondering how this love thing is supposed to go. After applying the truth to my failed experience(s), this is what I believe.

A man and woman meet and become friends. Their friendship grows and neither person expects more from the other than they ought. They’re simply getting to know each other. Because they like what they find in each other, they decide to enter an exclusive romantic relationship where they can grow together with the future possibility of being one. As the couple becomes more committed to one another, the intimacy between them increases. They protect the relationship by never allowing the intimacy to exceed the level of commitment. In doing so, the man expresses his sincere, heartfelt, “I’ll die for you” type of love for the woman in constructive ways. Once she knows his love is real, she learns how to demonstrate her love for him. The couple marries, and the woman, as her expression of love to the man, willingly submits to him. She knows she is safe, that he won’t harm her, that he will always protect her because he has already demonstrated this WITHOUT marital benefits. So if he did it then, surely he will do it now. Woman says “I can trust this man, so I will love him and submit to him.”



Hindsight is 20/20. And you’se married nah….


Looking back to your courtship may help identify where things didn’t go quite the right way, but doesn’t tell you how to fix the situation you’re already in nor does it tell you how to change the future. You’ve exchanged those til-death-do-us-part’s and you meant them. But you may often feel that submitting to him just doesn’t feel right. You know you’re supposed to let him lead, but his leadership abilities may be in question. But first, let’s chat about what submission looks like.


Or better yet, what it doesn’t. Submission is not doing everything he says, being everything he wants you to be, giving when he demands that you give, and taking whatever he demands you take. It is not compliance, nor does it force one to become a doormat. You are an adult women with your own sensibilities, personality, and goals. Submission simply means you support his mission for building a life for your family. In submitting to your mate, you gladly defer to him and support him as the leader and protector of your home. 


At the risk of writing a blog that’s entirely too long, I will make the following statements and allow you to dissect them for yourself. 

  1. He’s your husband, not God.
  2. If he doesn’t demonstrate Christlike love for you, be careful about submitting. It could cost you more than you’re willing, or even able, to pay.
  3. If his life is out of order, he cannot be your head. Don’t allow someone who lacks self-control to control you.
  4. Submission is mutual. He needs to submit to you as well.
  5. If he is not submitted to God and your pastor, don’t expect him to submit to you.
  6. You don’t have to agree or even take his advice for yourself. (I’ve got a story for this, but I’ll save it.)
  7. If he’s not pleased with you now, then he won’t be pleased with you after you do everything he claims he wants you to do. That’s not your issue… it’s his! Bigger boobs, longer hair, more/less make-up never changed an unfaithful heart.
Final thought!

Churchfolk tend to get submission wrong. Don’t mind them… It’s what mama’nem were taught by some passa generations ago. Passa couldn’t read, so he had to take his passa’s word for it. But now it’s time to get these things in order. 

Submission is not the laying down of your life. It is an attitude of gratitude, a natural response, to one who has already laid down His, and his, life for you….

Selah.

And with that, I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please post, share, tweet, retweet, and email if this has helped you! I look forward to reading your comments below! Take some time to fish through my previous posts as well… I’m as nutty as I am serious. 

Happy Sunday to you all!


With love, sincerity, and hope for the future,


Alana 

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