Guilty to Live?

There are times I am so afraid to live! Have you felt that same way before? After a loss, we often lose touch of what life should be about; we question what the essence of life is after all. We ask questions of why certain things have to happen to good people. The Life we have has been given as a gift to us from God; just paramount to us alone. Our life is not hinged to another man’s life though we are all connected, we are wired and created differently and separately for different purposes.

naassom-azevedo-179985

When the death of a spouse comes knocking, it is not a pass for us giving up on our lives even though that is all we wish to do. How often do you feel guilty to live that life you had always wanted; how often do you feel guilty to start that business or how often do you feel guilty to start that project or are you guilty of loving and caring for those around you?. Seriously, I have felt guilty to live normally again because I feel am leaving someone out of it “my late spouse”. We do things together, plan together and look toward the future together. Now that he is no more, I have always felt I need his permission to live again, and his consent to actualize my dreams. It is actually a hard decision to make, especially when your number one cheerleader and fan is no more around to cheer you up or give you that encouragement and support you’ve always enjoyed.

photo-1475938476802-32a7e851dad1

Success in itself is pushing through life against all odds and pursuing our aspirations despite the absence of a cheerleader. It is doing things irrespective of oppositions in form of grief and sorrow that most times overwhelm our lives.

We have to stand up on our feet and know that the world is waiting to see how we handle what life has thrown at us. Are you actually giving up on life? are you seeing the world as senseless? are you seeing yourself as though nothing else matters anymore?. How long are you going to allow the guilty of life tie you down from achieving those great things, God has placed inside of you.

Destinies of thousands are tied to us, we have to keep running in our race and not give up along the way. We cannot afford to park here (where you are at the moment); the journey is still on and the train is still moving. We need to take our place and never stop living.

“It’s okay to grief, just never forget to LIVE”. –Vivian Okojie

 

Guest Post by:

Kehinde Daramola 

Visit her blog

Grieving and coping with the loss of your newborn baby

Life most often is filled with contradictions. These contradictions for nursing mothers who grieve the loss of their newborn babies after birth are always too much to bear. Counselors describe the emotional pains and moments of grieve for mothers who lost their babies after birth as more traumatizing to bear than physical pains. 

So how do you deal with the pain of losing a child after birth?

Psychologists are also of the opinion that mothers who lost their babies after birth have to cope with great grief and a mixture of emotions, as well as the physical aspects of losing the baby. The grief for most of these mothers is based on the fact that 48 weeks of anticipation for a child and the antagonizing pains of labor are reduced to nothing with no baby to gaze and cuddle

According to research, many mothers who lost their babies after birth described the moment after losing the baby as more terrifying. This often leaves them in a state of indecision with a weak and blur memory. The experience also leaves the mother’s helpless who in most cases would want to still hold on to a lifeless baby for too long without wanting to let go.

For centuries, scientific research is yet to fully explain and comprehend the bond between a mother and the newly born baby especially after delivery. Such bond suddenly wipes off the pains common during childbirth. The bond according to counselors is what often heightens the pains and anguish of a mother who grieve the loss of the newly born baby after birth.

In addition, research has also suggested that most mothers find it very painful to explain to families and friends the loss of a baby they have proudly announced to the world during the weeks and months of pregnancy. According to the research, most mothers finds it very terrifying to announce the loss of the baby to people who knew about their pregnancy and are unaware of their lost after birth. Such a memory is similar to walking around with open wound with flies perching on it.

annie-spratt-210644For other grieving mothers, the loss of the baby after delivery goes with a feeling of failure and disappointment of how they have failed in allowing such a loss to occur. Counselors are however of the opinion that all the feelings associated with the loss of babies after birth by mothers are psychologically and socio-culturally normal. All these are due to the unexplainable bond between mothers and newly born babies alongside the joy and feelings the delivery of a child is often considered in the society.

To deal with such phase in life, several methods of support and comfort for the grieving mothers are often suggested by counselors.  For instance, to cope with such a moment, in the first few days of the loss, the mother should be made to understand what resulted in the loss of the baby. Such explanations would help the mothers avoid the game of self-blame which often lead to guilt and a long period of resentments and regrets by the mother. Here, the roles of medical personnel are considered essential. 

Also, mothers going through this phase should also be allowed to have their wishes granted. Some mothers would wish to spend time cuddling the lifeless baby. This would help such mothers come to terms with the reality before them.

benjamin-combs-28896

Similarly, the services of counselors and support of close relatives are also of paramount importance to the mothers. The services of a counselor are to talk such grieving mothers out of the emotional pains and psychological trauma by accepting that life itself is filled with moments of joy and pains. While the support of close family members especially the presence of the husband will be a means of reassurance which would suggest to the grieving mother that she is not going through the loss alone. Such support from the spouse should also include that the bereaved mother would have mood swings and nagging issues as it relates to issues with her partner including sex even months after the loss.

Having recently experienced the loss of my first baby few hours after birth did go through and still going through a high level of pain and depression. I have spent months replaying the event in my mind, I have been riddled with nightmares of my baby being taken away from me. As a young woman, the experience has changed me for life.

According Katherine, a mother who lost her first baby few days after birth said, “you never get over the death of a child, you just learn to live with your grieve,” however mothers who grieve the loss of their child after birth should be accompanied and supported all through the way of their grieve and sorrow not minding how long it takes. 

          

Guest post by:

Folashade Sholotan

Follow her on Social Media

Launch Already

When in the process of creating a new business. Do not be held back by the need for perfection.
Sometimes we get trapped by the need to make everything just perfect before placing our products and services in front of the consumer.
I’m guilty of this as well! Pushing your Launch months ahead to get your system or product just right, can cause a delay and ultimately be the death of your business.

In product development, there is something we term MVP which is your Minimum Viable Product…
Putting out your MVP is less expensive, reduces your risks in case the product fails, and cuts down on time.
I understand the need to get your Branding just right, your website fully optimized, and your packaging just perfect. However, don’t waste time worrying about those things. Start your business and build up as it grows.

Yes Boss: Peter Lentini on Brand, Fashion, and Entrepreneurship

Peter Lentini Efezokhae is the Founder and Creative Director of Ankara Festival Los Angeles (AFLA), created in 2010 with the intention to create a social landscape for cultural pride in the U.S., increase the visibility of African culture and foster entrepreneurship through fashion, arts, music, dance, and food. He began the initiative while managing Naija Entertainment, a company he launched in 2004 that has been a staple in the party scene in Los Angeles and across the nation for over 10 years providing Afrobeat DJ services, event production for corporate, wedding and private events and producing music concerts featuring world-renowned African artists.

Through his years of service to the African community in Los Angeles, Lentini has proven himself a staunch advocate for entrepreneurship, cultural pride and volunteerism. He has helped create jobs and various business opportunities, promoted African cultural preservation and forged a framework to effectively build partnerships through a powerful and sustaining network of influential individuals.

He has taken an active role in improving the lives of underprivileged communities through various charitable work such as feeding the homeless every year with PATH in Los Angeles and donating a percentage of AFLA ticket sales to benefit a non-profit organization dedicated to health issues, poverty alleviation, disease eradication, education, and research. Aligned with his commitment of benevolence, Lentini travels around the world through the TOMS “One-for-One” initiative giving shoes to children in need. The program also gives the gift of sight by providing free access to medical treatment, sight-saving surgery and prescription glasses to people living in disadvantaged areas.

lin5

Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Peter Lentini was already a hustler in the entertainment industry from a young age as an event promoter, organizing street carnivals and concerts. As a little boy, he struggled as he balanced focusing on his studies and supporting his siblings raised by a single mother by peddling in the busy streets of Lagos selling water and snacks. As such, he has become the epitome of the American Dream since his move to the US in 2000 as an immigrant creating his own success through hard work and determination. With his commitment to be a positive social impact to everyone he encounters, Peter Lentini has been an inspiration and a mentor to a diverse youth group hoping to follow in his footsteps as he accomplishes various achievements never forgetting his humble beginnings.

africa-red

http://www.yesbossclothing.com

On his thirst for education, Peter Lentini has made it his mission to continuously learn from his personal experiences and challenges that has shaped his spiritual growth. He also set himself as an outlier with a plethora of degrees from various Universities including an Ordinary National Degree (OND) in Mass Communication from Ibadan Polytechnic, Nigeria; a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria; an Associates Degree in International Studies from Mission College, a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from San Jose State University; and a Masters of Arts in International Relations from California State University, Northridge.  During his studies in the Bay Area, Lentini successfully produced African Student Union Cultural Shows and other events.

Peter Lentini has received numerous awards and distinctions including profiles by the Life and Times Magazine as a Youth Leadership Award recipient, Outstanding Work Award from TOMS and was also featured in the YES BOSS Campaign as an Influential and Inspiring Entrepreneur.

As a thought leader in his industry, Peter Lentini has been invited numerous times to speak at corporate meetings such as the Global Sales Conference for TOMS and at prestigious universities including Yale and Stanford University addressing students, professors, and marketing executives.

With his love, passion, and pride for his culture and his dedication in raising two young sons, Peter Lentini is inspired to purposely and intentionally create possibilities of empowering and supporting a thriving community in Los Angeles that can celebrate its astounding diversity through exposure to the African heritage and legacy.

 

What does it mean to live a Designed Life?: For me, Living a designed life is all about loving what you do, and deriving joy in doing it. Living a life with a purpose, touching and changing lives with what you do and most importantly putting family first in all you do.

Favorite Quote: You must be the change you wish to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi

 

To learn more about Peter Lentini and his brand visit 

https://www.peterlentini.com/bio

 

And She Called Him Lord: Eliminating the Fear of Submission

In the world of the independent woman, being submissive to your husband is a taboo topic. Many modern day women wouldn’t consider taking on the submissive role in their relationship. Many men consider the lack of submissiveness in women the reason for the breakdown of the family. Yet, the truth of the matter is, neither of the sexes truly understand the role submissiveness is supposed to play in a marriage. Wendy Magee’s book And She Called Him Lord: Eliminating the Fear of Submission”, tackles the role of submissiveness in a godly marriage.

“A woman has to understand her role as a single woman and then married,” Wendy said, “and a man has to understand his role as a single man and then married.”

Wendy was hit with the inspiration for her book at a marriage retreat with Franklin Avenue Baptist Church when the wife of a couple told her husband ‘and I will call you Lord’. When her husband asked if she would call him Lord, she responded with a resounding ‘no’. Shortly after being introduced to the concept, she started to truly understand what it really meant through her studying of the scripture, in particular, 1Peter 3:5-6, which says “For in this way in former times the holy women, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands and adapting themselves to them; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you have become her daughters if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.” “When Sarah called Abraham Lord, it was out of respect and honor,” Wendy said. “My book breaks down what the Bible is talking about in 1 Peter 3. About the woman submitting to her husband, the man honoring his wife, and how they are heirs together.” “It wasn’t something that I never thought I would do. Once I got the revelation my husband said ‘I think you should write a book on it.’” Wendy said. “I was never a poet or anything like that. I’m a go-getter. So, when he challenged me to write a book, I did a lot of research and I just started writing.”

 

ben-white-152182

Wendy, who is originally from Port Arthur, TX, obtained her Bachelor’s at Wiley College in Criminal Justice. She also has a Master’s Degree in Human Services from Lubbock Christian University. She works as the Director of Operations for CASA Jefferson, an organization that helps children that are removed from their homes and placed in foster care situations due to instances of reported abuse or neglect. “It kind of just fell into my lap. I was in criminal justice and I wanted to work with young people,” Wendy explained how she got started with CASA Jefferson. “When I moved here to New Orleans, I got acquainted with the non-profit. I started as a supervisor and worked my way up to Director of Operations.”

Wendy attends Mount Carmel Ministry. She is also an Ordained Minister under the leadership of Apostle Arthal Thomas Sr., and she works, alongside her husband, with youth and young adults in the ministry. Wendy said, “Me and my husband minister to couples.” And She Called Him Lord is her contribution to help married couples make godly choices in their marriage. This book uses bible passages, starting with 1 Peter 3 (AMP), to understand how God truly wanted the role of submission to play in a marriage for both the husband and wife. By using examples of biblical couples such as Sarah and Abraham, she breaks down the meaning of being a virtuous woman, why a husband should be honoring his wife, as well as many other concepts that are normally left out of the conversation when speaking about submissiveness. There is something for both wives and husbands to learn from And She Called Him Lord. “I didn’t want to tailor it too much to a woman, or for it to be one-sided,” Wendy said, “because, in order for a marriage to work, it has to be both parties.”

william-stitt-173882

Wendy wrote And She Called Him Lord within four months. Her goal was to create a book that would give her readers the tools to overcome their fear of submission, as well as strengthen godly marriages so that couples may “experience the love of God that will enhance intimacy.” The book gives the reader a chance to answer questions in order to get an in-depth look at how the topics and themes affect them personally. “My hope is to restore broken marriages,” said Wendy.

She has been married to her husband, David Magee, Jr. for ten years. They have two beautiful children, Kaleb and Kyrie. “When I got the revelation myself, it changed the way my husband and I interacted. It changed the way we interacted around our children. And that’s what I want to see because there are too many broken marriages.” And She Called Him Lord recently won the Henri Award in the Christian Living Category for the Christian Literary Awards presented by Joy & Company in December of 2016. “I have really been led listening to the voice of the God,” Wendy said. “It really was divinely inspired.”

 

Wendy plans to expand the series with a study guide as well as making the current book available in other languages, such as Spanish. She is also in the writing stage for a study guide. She hopes to continue to write book series that focus on bettering couples through scripture. For now, though, she is focusing on spreading the word about And She Called Him Lord through her new ministry “Speak Up”, in hopes of reaching the people who truly need to hear the messages and lessons written within its pages. Speak Up is a ministry dedicated “Lifting up marriages and relationships through edification and empowerment.” It comes from the scripture Ephesians 4:2-3 “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

“I’m not looking to get rich or become a millionaire,” Wendy said. “I just hope that people’s marriages are restored and that this book continues to get passed on to different people.” And She Called Him Lord: Eliminating the Fear of Submission is available at Gospel Bookstore in Gretna, LA, Amazon, and on Wendy’s website www.wendymagee.org. It is also available in audio form at audible.com and on iTunes.

9780692594803-3

Author’s Showcase with Wendy Magee

Designed Life caught up with Author, Wife, and Minister, Wendy Magee about her book and the importance of submission in marriage.

Tell DL Readers a Little more about your book:

It begins with my husband and I attending our third marriage retreat where a couple read a poem, and the wife ended with her calling her husband Lord. My first reaction was that I didn’t believe he needed to be called Lord, but after watching the movie War Room God begin to show me through my journaling how calling my husband Lord was an act of respect of position.

If you are married or desire to be married, this book will give you the tools to overcome the fear of submission, how to have a marriage without arguments, and experience the love of God that will enhance intimacy. This book will be your roadmap to making sound and Godly choices in your marriage. My prayer is that by the end of this book you will allow the peace of God to rule your heart and your home. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear….1 John 4:18.

9780692594803-3

 

What is the inspiration behind the book:

Wendy self-published her first book titled And She Called Him Lord on January 8, 2016. She believes when people begin to understand God’s purpose for marriage, it will provoke them to live an UNbelievable life that will compel people to investigate the power of God for a divorce-proof marriage. In December, her book was the recipient of the Henri Award for Christian Living. She was also featured in the Nov/Dec edition of Break Thru Magazine.

63-5x7-3

 

Key Lessons: 

This book is my journey of how God revealed to me the order of the family in 1 Peter 3 (AMP). Understanding how God commands submission of both the husband and wife, winning without words, learning what true beauty means, understanding why Sarah obeyed Abraham, why a husband should honor his wife, how a husband and wife are heirs together, and concluding with the breakdown of being a virtuous woman.

 

Favorite Quote:

All power is hidden in humility.

 

17352813_1673637515996052_1246748345_n

 

 

Purchase the book:

You can purchase my book through her website www.wendymagee.org

Amazon, ITunes, or Audible

Vegan Baking Made Simple

When it comes to vegan baking, recipes can seem overwhelming (Have you ever wondered what a chia egg is and where it could possibly come from? (Keep reading!).  Most recipes can easily be made vegan with a few simple ingredient changes.  If you plan on having a vegan friend over for dessert or are delving into vegan baking for you (or simply just ran out of eggs), keep reading.

Veg baked goods require a bit more finesse and creativity than traditional baked goods, but the results are worth it.  Often vegan baked goods are more flavorful, filling and leave you feeling better than in you inhale a cake with day, bloat-inducing dairy or the jittery roller coaster of a refined sugar dessert.

 

Vegan Tips:

  1.  Swap part of the butter for mashed fruit, such as applesauce or banana, which is not a strong flavor but will lend moistness and provide natural sweetener. You can also use ½ a mashed banana to substitute an egg in most baked goods, or a small amount of mashed yam.
  2. In place of honey, you can use maple syrup in any recipe.
  3.  Use a mixture of apple cider vinegar and nondairy milk in lieu of buttermilk (1 cup of nondairy milk plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar for every cup of buttermilk.)
  4. Use ground chia seeds with water as an egg substitute. For chia “eggs”, the ratio of water to chia is 3 to 1, and you’ll want to set aside the water/chia egg to thicken and gel (about 3-5 minutes) before using in the recipe.

Healthy Baking tips:

  1. Most baked goods: muffins, sweet bread, and cakes, can be made healthier by reducing the sugar by 1/4 to 1/2 cup less than what it calls for. You can also sub maple syrup with less than the sugar (2/3 cup of maple syrup for every 1 cup of sugar. You just have to reduce the liquid in the recipe by ¼ cup and reduce the baking temperature by 25 degrees).
  1.  Sub some of the regular or gluten-free flour with almond meal, or better yet, what I will dub “power flour”: half almond meal, a fourth quinoa or sweet potato flour and a fourth ground chia or flax.

zucch-3-3

In this Zucchini Brownie recipe, maple syrup is used in place of refined sugar, and coconut milk and apple cider vinegar replaces traditional buttermilk for a fluffy, delicious texture.

This is a pretty moist brownie (sorry, I know everyone hates the word “moist,” but I really don’t know what else to call it). It’s a melt-in-your-mouth, richly chocolate dessert.  If you prefer a drier crumbly texture, or more like a traditional brownie, use only one cup of zucchini, and 1-1/2 cups of gluten-free flour. 

 

 

Cacao Zucchini Brownies

cacao-zucch-brownies-1

Ingredients:

1-1/3 cup gluten-free flour (I used coconut flour, garbanzo bean flour, brown rice flour and potato).

Feel free to use your favorite mix or flour of choice.
1/4 cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder (corn-free of course)
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
A sprinkling of sea salt
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1-1/3 cup zucchini
optional: 1/3 cup nondairy chocolate chips

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 and line pan with a silpat or parchment paper and spritz with coconut oil or oil of choice.  I used a 9×13″ pan and the brownies were pretty thin.  For a thicker brownie, reduce the zucchini a little and use a smaller pan.
2.  Pour coconut milk and apple cider vinegar in a glass or bowl, stir and set aside to curdle and thicken.
3.  Shred zucchini and pat with a paper towel to remove some of the moisture. 
4.  Whisk dry ingredients.
5.  Stir together wet ingredients, and add dry to wet, folding in chips last.
6.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
7.  Let cool on a wire rack then enjoy!  It’s great warm and fresh from the oven or cool as leftovers (if you have any!)

 

 

Mariah Miller

Instagram: @runninggirlhealth

www.RunningGirlHealth.com

Do you really know what you want?

Are you weighing some options?

Sometimes life throws you a bunch of options, and you get confused on what to do.
Either in business or in life, there are options and decisions to make.

In times of great decisions I focus on 4 keys:

Key # 1 Information gathering: Always gather accurate information to decide which one of the options you have makes sense.

Key # 2 Prioritizing your options from the most important to the least, helps with decision making.
Key # 3 Getting wise counsel can also help with getting another perspective. We tend to look at things differently, so engaging others can help with decision making.
Key # 4 Praying for direction is a sure way to get answers. 

Whichever way, always, always make sure you are comfortable with whatever decisions you make. 

 

The Reality of Dreams

Sometimes pursuing your goals can be exhaustive. I had spent hours planning a photo shoot for my new product, only to be let down by the colors of my labels, the lighting, and the sunlight. I was disappointed and got very emotional.

Dreams are sometimes like that, they are never as expected. We plan things out perfectly in our heads but reality gives us a check and we must adjust accordingly. There are several ways to combat the funk that comes up when things don’t work out as planned.

#1: Let it flow

Sometimes what we focus so much on perfecting isn’t always necessary. In the case of my photoshoot, I focused on the positives, adjusted a few things and went along with the process.

#2: Don’t get funky:

It’s easy to get upset, discouraged, and downright funky because you didn’t have your way. You have to keep one thing in mind (nothing good comes easy). Always remember that when next you hit a block on your way to greatness. In my case, I focused only on the positive and put a spin on the photo shoot.

The truth is your dreams have a life of their own. They may not always take the intended course but be rest assured that they will come true.

Who are you granting access to?

I love driving to River oaks and through multimillion dollar residential areas in Houston, just to dream up a little. One day I drove towards an area with the most amazing homes but to my greatest surprise there was a gate, there was no access.

Five things came to mind:

  • Valuable assets have less access.
  • Exclusive things are usually inaccessible.
  • I found out quickly that things of value aren’t accessible to everyone.
  • Not everyone can pay the price to gain access.
  • Not everyone can appreciate the exclusivity it presents.

I began to apply that to my life

You have to become increasingly inaccessible to command value. In economics, the law of demand and supply holds true even in our personal and professional life. You have to determine how much of yourself you are willing to give out and how much are you willing to make inaccessible.
Have you ever wondered why those who have the most access to your life, tend to hurt you the most? Or the drama that follows those with too many access.
I pick and choose who I spend time with, who I visit or allow into my home or life, with whom I share my journey with. There is an understanding that if you are given the key or access into my space then you use that privilege wisely and be respectful of the opportunity.
This month I hope you become clear on who you grant access to. Most importantly always use the law of demand and supply to your advantage. Have a great day!!!