How have you changed in 2021?

When we spend quality time with our spouse, fiancée or boyfriend/girlfriend, we learn more about ourselves and about each other. Sometimes we are amazed by our own discoveries.

In a relationship with God it is no different. As we sit and communicate with Him, mediate on His words and just tune our ear to listen to His voice, we are enlightened about His character and about ourselves. We are then able to clearly see the undeniable attitudes or behaviours that must change.

As I thought about 2021 and the fact that it is almost over, I reflected on me, asking myself, “How did I grow in 2021?”, “How am I different?” “How did I change?”. It is an introspection that would continue as I dig deeper for evidence that God is still working on me.

I choose to embrace these discoveries as gifts.

Happy Monday to all and may you be inspired to always allow God to align your character to His and don’t be hesitant to look for those changes. We all need to grow?

How have you grown in 2021?

Be strong in mind

There are some endeavours that would require a lot more grit than others. Some dreams take you on a lonely journey because many times those closest to you do not support your vision. You can also find yourself along a road that is steep and rugged, filled with unexpected risks; it is the reality of perseverance.

We must not however forget the positive side; the opportunities that would more than likely present themselves as we experience new territories or new pathways. Just think about the people you would meet and the rich relationships to be developed. The lessons to be learnt and the rewards to be enjoyed as a result of your sacrifices and hard work.

Critics would come but be of a strong mind and train yourself to quickly analyse what is being said casting aside words that have no bearing on your mission. Some criticisms are emerging from a place of fear, failure, jealousy and scorn. Watch out and stand clear! Do not fool yourself to think that your mind is strong enough to bear it. Run from the very appearance of evil, don’t even consider slowing down. Your mind is vulnerable and the god of this world (Satan), knows it too well.

Let the positive vibes rise, let your faith soar. Remember, faith without works is dead. Don’t talk about having faith and have nothing to show for it. Reach for the unreachable if you know the God of the impossible.

Ephesians 6:11-18 is so fitting for this article. It reminds us that we are provided with the necessary protection to win, to achieve and to conquer new territory.

“Put on the whole Armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole Armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand; stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

For the believer, there is no area of our lives exempted from spiritual warfare. None, 100% Zero. Whether you are called to be a Pastor or a Bishop or you are called to be a market vendor, you need to walk garbed in the Armour of God to experience success. Wake up and stop living a life of defeat and blaming the Devil for it. Let your hands and feet follow your preaching.

Remember, the Armour of God exists for our benefit. The one who lives in you is greater. In other words, the battles of the mind, when coming to achieving your purpose, can be won. Walk in your true identity towards your destiny!

Just a little word

As you seek to live life meaningfully, it may require you cutting out some monthly and annual subscriptions. These days it seems like everything requires a subscription. If we want to manage our finances well, we must carefully review our subscriptions asking ourselves the following:

Do they add value to my life?

Am I gaining useful knowledge that would make me more marketable?

It is a worthwhile investment, would it bring me returns?

Wants can easily be confused as needs when the truth is you can easily live without them. Try imagining life without some of the things you currently think you are desperately in need of.

Be wise! There is always someone with a product or service ready to convince you that you are in need of it. Their goal is to sell! Your goas should be to purchase ONLY when it would add value to your life or to the life of your family or those you are seeking to influence.

Life is simple

This is a statement many may disagree with. Because of all the difficulties and challenges we face as we journey through our lives, we are often left scarred, weary, worn and beaten to the point where we feel like there is no more energy to fight. Many times the circumstances and factors contributing to your battles are from external sources, situations completely out of our control. Some battles we lose others we win. As a result of experiencing some battles we develop mistrust, bitterness and many times we damn the bridges we once crossed and may need to cross again.

We struggle with poverty, disappointments, rejections and setbacks. We go through serious tough times, right, we see hell.

But, just stop a minute, doesn’t the first two paragraphs also sound like the story of the “VICTIM”, groaning and moaning, hopeless and destitute? There is the flip side to all this, the flip side that life is not as complicated as it may seem. This truth is realised when we choose to respond to our problems with a winning, “I can” mindset.

First of all, there are consequences to our actions, so don’t think you can make poor decision and live to rejoice about it. The reality is you would experience negative consequences as a result. If you decide not to save or invest your money, in hard times you will be begging. If you decide not to choose your friends wisely, your support system would be one that drags you lower or keeps you stagnant. If you choose to rebel against godly principles, you obviously would be of poor character and seriously lack values.

In other words, let’s own-up where it is necessary. Where we have lapsed, failed, or simply played the fool, let’s admit it. It is critical if we must grow up. Educate yourself on the principles necessary for success and follow through so you can reap those benefits later. Embrace challenges with a grateful heart and watch yourself glow as you are tried by fire to become gold.

Here as some quick tips to keeping life simple:

  1. Be sure to save monthly and do not touch it unless it is totally necessary.
  2. Invest long-term by purchasing shares or buying insurance that could benefit you while you live and your family when you die.
  3. Treat every individual you encounter with dignity, many times they are the ones to bless you later in life when it is really needed.
  4. Focus on the positives, do not waste time on empty arguments and conflicts that would not lead to growth.
  5. Ensure you invest more into your family relationships than any other relationship.
  6. Be honest; be sincere.
  7. Treat others kindly at all times, the way you would like to be treated.
  8. Be careful with how you use your time. You should be able to look back and be pleased with yourself.
  9. Stay humble and keep learning something new.
  10. Take care of your body.
  11. Embrace every challenge with a grateful heart.

Don’t you see how life could be simple?

Sweet meditation

Psalm 143:8 was the perfect verse for me this morning. I searched for “Our daily bread” online and noticed it was identified as the verse for today. I instantly felt God was speaking to me in the most caring and intimate way. I read the verse over and over, slowly chewing every word so I can thoroughly absorb its juices.

I thought to myself this verse is too good not to share with others and what better way to share than to convert it into a memorable poster.

This poster reminds me of my desperate desire to keep connected with God and to pursue only the pathway he has prepared for me. Oh how I desire not to stray, not to wander off to my own devices. What I desire is for my heart beat to be regulated in sync with the heart of God.

I do hope this poster inspires you to know God at an intimate level.

Cherishing the moments

I am extremely grateful to be at a juncture in my life where I can choose how I wish to spend the precious hours of the day as God permits. It is a new season and it feels like freedom. With this new blessing comes the opportunity to cherish the moments or rather “THE” moments. In other words, the opportunity to cherish the moments that really matters is now here.

I have too many memories of times when I was too busy, too tired, too distracted and too stressed to direct the required energy and time towards my children’s emotional and social development. While I can probably give myself a fair rating for my parental skills, I know in my earlier days of motherhood, my job and my involvement in church activities were given priority too often.

Today, it is different, I am now in a wonderful space of independence. This space allows me to make decisions that would promote a work-life balance. This space allows me to have control of my calendar and my clock, as God permits of course. This wonderful space allows me to slow down and become a better listener. This valuable space presents opportunities to nourish and support my family in every way possible. This valuable space presents opportunities to practice better self care and to invest into the lives of others.

I fully anticipate the working of the Holy Spirit during this season because I know he has a plan and I know his plan for me is perfect.

Today, I inspire you to work towards creating that lifestyle of balance. You may not be able to achieve it in one or two months, it may take a year, but it is worth your efforts to try and create boundaries.

Here are some possible boundaries you can create to keep you in check:

Avoid working on weekends unless it is totally necessary in which case do not work two weekends in a row.

Take a lunch break and seek to have lunch the same time every day.

Plan a family outing or outdoor adventure at least every other month.

Go out on dates with your spouse.

Have mother-daughter days or father-son days, etc.

Create realistic time slots during the day for every task and be disciplined about keeping the time limits.

Invest in programmes or projects geared towards helping others to develop.

These are just some suggestions for maintaining a lifestyle of balance. Feel free to share your tips as well in our comments section.

Delayed gratification

Robert T. Kiyosaki, well known Author and Financial coach, teaches about delayed gratification. The principle here is that as one seeks to grow financially there is a process that must be understood. It’s the process whereby we learn to resist the temptation of an immediate reward in preference for a larger or more enduring reward later.

For example; a young man graduates from University with his first degree. He lands a job as a Project Co-ordinator at a Civil Engineering Company. He lives in New York where public transportation can be easily accessed. He can choose to purchase a vehicle immediately through a bank loan or he can choose to save his money. If he is currently servicing a student loan it means that he will be further extending his debt once he pursues a second loan to obtain a car. He assesses his options and realizes that he can only afford a second hand vehicle. He also realises if he waits another four years he should be able to buy a new vehicle without a bank loan. He decides to discipline himself and he waits, saving consistently as he does. This young man has delayed his opportunity to enjoy the comfort, privacy and convenience of owning his own vehicle now so later it would be easier to obtain and he would be able to afford a better quality car.

As I pondered on the term, I thought to myself, so many of us have delayed gratification simply because we had no choice. We were poor; seriously in lack of basic needs, and had to learn how to be content, how to do without and how to wait. We learnt how to appreciate the little that we had. For others, our parents were wise enough to explain to us that because of our co-operation as kids, when we became adults we would experience a better life. We were then taught how to take a little and “stretch” it, how to maximise the available resources around us and avoid spending and the importance of saving a penny.

This term can be extended to so many aspects of our lives, relationship and sex, a job promotion, our own house, improved health and the list goes on. As we seek to pursue God’s purpose for our lives, let’s keep in mind the importance of practicing restraint, contentment, patience, gratefulness, giving, and faith.

Almighty God, Creator of all things, admonishes us to stay away from all the attitudes and behaviours that can draw us away from the principles of delayed gratification and the degrading qualities mentioned hereunder. He warns us against greed, filthy lucre, reveling, wastage, fornication, robbing others, envy, covetousness, and anxiety.

We are encouraged 100% to invest and to seek to grow our wealth. We are encouraged to be good stewards with what we have been given. However, it is paramount for us to understand that pure success comes when it is obtained through the application of godly principles. May we be disciplined enough, may our faith be strong enough to pursue success only in alignment with God’s will. In God’s will and in his timing, the waiting is always worth it.

Family Power

The term Family Power came to me out of no where. I knew I was not the first to think about such a term and that it may have other meanings apart from the one I was thinking of. With that in view I decided to do a quick search on the internet and I found out that “Family Power” was an Indian reality family game show. My understanding is that this game show was aired from November 2017 to April 2018 and was produced by Pixel Pictures Private Limited. Funds raised in the final episode were used on cochlear implant for children suffering from hearing loss. I went further and found one of the recorded shows on YouTube and sure enough the evidence of team work and co-operation was evident on the stage. As to why that show was named “Family power”, I am sure it is not farfetched to imagine that it had something to do with teamwork.

I also found out that there is a group called “Movement for Family Power”. Their goal is to fight to end the Foster System’s policing and punishment of families and to create a world where the dignity and integrity of all families is valued and supported. Their aim is to shrink the Foster care system. Then there is another movement called “Family Power” On their Website it states “Together we want to bring about a change. A change to care for vulnerable children in their own family and community.  I became interested in this movement and wanted to explore their website.

As one continues to search I am sure more will be discovered regarding the use of the term “Family Power”. I also found a definition which states “the ability of one individual to change the behavior of the other family members“.  Immediately after reading this I found my thoughts migrating to a negative perspective as the words “abuse” and “bribery” came to light. But I quickly nudged myself back to objectivity and continued my free thinking on the term. “Family Power” is not necessarily used negatively, right?

During my search I also found an article called “Sharing Power in Families” posted on the Website “Keep Connected”. I loved their discussion on “sharing power in families”. There were two statements that jumped out at me. The first states:- “Sharing power is the way we influence, learn from, and work with each other in our family relationships. Sharing power with kids helps prepare them to be responsible adults. The second statement nicely complimented the first ” Families grow stronger when they become intentional in how they share power and influence each other.”

Isn’t it amazing how much time we invest in exploring ideas and theories in an effort to ensure our lives are effective? We can find studies and discussions on practically any topic; we are never short of information. I didn’t know that this two-word phrase had already received so much attention. Feel free to further explore the phrase “Family Power”.

When I first thought about the term “Family Power”, I envisaged its meaning as the positive influence, support and encouragement that comes from one’s family that acts as a motivational force driving family members to dream, to embrace failure with growth in mind and to relentlessly pursue their goals. This was a result of my brainstorming. I was thinking of a unit that has the potential to produce powerful and influential people through unconditional care and support.

My brainstorming adventure lead me to think of “Family Power” as the force responsible for minority citizens achieving big things, for single parent moms raising NBA stars and for families having a taste for what miracles and impossibilities look like.

When I thought about family power, I thought about families surviving poverty, abuse, racism, teenage pregnancy, imprisonment, drugs and a world of crime. I remembered the life story of Serena and Venus Williams depicting a daring fearless dad who fought for the success of his girls.

Is my interpretation of “Family Power” any different from what I saw through the Indian game show and those social movements? I think the meanings are more alike than different. Whether it is a game show, a movement or a layman noting her thoughts, we may all agree that that the bottom line of these activities is to make families stronger.

The question is what are you doing today to make your family more resilient, richer, closer and more influential? Do you positively impact each other, are you uplifted by each other and motivated to excel or does your family constantly remind you of your failures and all the things that are impossible to do. As parents it is our duty to provide a home environment that promotes individuality, room for discovery and growth, sharing, co-operation and support and most of all unconditional love. When your family’s culture is healthy, every member can soar, every member can breathe through their challenges and finally experience success. This too is Family power!

Here are some ideas for strengthening your family:

  • Establish family values. You can start off by having a discussion on what members of your family think your family values should be. Make sure to involve them in the process.
  • Try to include educational activities a part of your family time, not just strictly fun activities. For example: Look at a video that speaks about “the long-term effects of insufficient sleep” or a documentary about “animals going extinct”.
  • Be involved in each other’s projects and lives. For example your son has an assignment to complete, you can offer to review the assignment before it is submitted or your daughter was invited to a beach picnic, be sure to be available to pick her up and drop her off or your parents have decided to start a garden, get on board by volunteering to wet the plants. These are all powerful ways to say “I am with you”, “I got you”. Psychologically and emotionally, this is power.
  • Commend your family when progress is made or when growth or improvement is achieved. Be careful not to praise them in a manner that encourages them to think that only 100% is acceptable. This is not a realistic view. Instead consistently encourage them to work towards their best.
  • Avoid highlighting failures and blunders negatively. Refer to failures for teaching purposes only. Remember words are extremely powerful. Speak success only!

As we experience this gift called “Life”, may we be always intentional with our words and actions. May we be constantly seeking to uplift others. The power of influence is real and effective whether within the ambits of the family or the community.

Be blessed.

Motivational strategies and tools

I woke up early this morning and found myself thinking about what is necessary for success. The thought of motivational strategies and tools is what came to mind. I woke up about 5:00 a.m. with the intention of writing and posting to my blog. Guess what, because there are so many tiny projects on my mind, I got distracted hopped over to canva and continued working on a promotional poster. After that I then hopped over to youtube to conduct research on “choosing a website domain”. Did I achieve my goal of writing a new article and posting? Well, I fell asleep on the chair first with the laptop on my lap and lost about two hours.

Motivational strategies and tools are essential for me in order for me to fulfill my daily goals. There are some tasks or projects that I would easily migrate to, while they are others I have to will myself to do. What is interesting is when I carefully study my behavioral patterns I can see the strategies and tools that are applied to motivate myself. This is what I like about introspection; you can learn from your behaviours and identify what works and what does not. Additionally, I love listening to others share stories about their journey through life because I am further enriched.

So here are some simple everyday strategies, tools, techniques (whatever you want to call them) to keep you moving towards your goals.

Identify the time of the day when you are most productive and try scheduling tasks that require more focus during that period. For me that time is anywhere between 4:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m.

Plan weekly using the calendar on your mobile phone since it is more than likely the one thing you would always have with you.

As you plan or rather before you confirm your plans share them with your household to ensure there are no clashes and you are prioritizing well.

Whenever you feel the temptation to procrastinate, try to imagine what the outcome would be like if you do procrastinate and then if you don’t. I am telling you this one works like a boss for me.

Look and listen to videos, podcasts etc. that are geared towards motivating others towards success.

Start a journal with the purpose of tracking your journey, ensure to record your achievements as well as your pitfalls, your challenges, the key lessons you learnt along the way, the bible verses or quotes that kept you on your toes. Record all the significant events and activities along your journey. Be sure to go back and review your journal notes weekly or fortnightly and identify the trends that have propelled or slowed down your journey.

Finally, engage in exercises where you are constantly setting or updating your goals and sub goals. Let me explain; now that I have more flexibility with my time, My goal is to achieve 3000 views monthly on my blog, my sub goal is to post articles daily. Later on I would most likely need to revise the sub goal to posting articles twice weekly. The aim here is to intensify activity upfront then phase out my posting to a lesser frequency that still allows for consistency but at a manageable rate pace.

I hope the above tips were useful to you as they are to me. Feel free to comment on your favourite or to share one of your strategies, tools or techniques.

Have an awesome day.

When the realisation of your dream is closer than ever stay humble

The beauty about persevering and pursuing a dream is that moment when you realise that it is closer than ever. Excitement springs at you from every angle. You can feel the skip in your step. Life suddenly has renewed purpose and everything seems possible. It is a wonderful moment to live in, to embrace and to value. If you are there now or when you get to that place, please remember to slow down and ensure you are carefully approaching each step. On the other hand it is important not to let fear and doubt to sneak up on you. Many times when we are about to launch that initiative or plan we experience “cold feet”. Be aware that it can happen and be ready to keep those feet protected. Remind yourself that the only direction you will be taken is forward.

As the dream unfolds and takes root, be careful not to become prideful, remain humble, submitting yourself to learning. As the dream unfolds, be careful to document every stage, every milestone and every set back. Put pen to paper and right your story as you go along the way. These insignificant notes may later become a bestseller, the book that makes you proud. As the dream unfolds it is quite o.k. to feel the need to pinch yourself; maybe that’s the reason our most valuable goals are called dreams. When the dream becomes a reality we often wonder if we are dreaming.

As the dream unfolds remember to inspire others along the way and remain focused on sound spiritual principles. Almighty God loves when our dreams open doors for others, He loves when our dreams are that intentional. So keep dreaming within a heavenly context, ensuring your aspirations are inline with biblical principles. If your context is healthy your success is sure.

Enjoy the journey and remain grateful every step of the way. A grateful attitude would help you to ride over the humps and bumps easily. Finally, keep in view Proverbs 3:5 & 6 which says “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”

Feel free to inspire our readers by sharing your experience achieving your dreams.