Sunday, November 19, 2017

Season Of Gratitude

Thanksgiving is here and that means the 2017 holiday season is in full swing. The level of activity increases for most people. Holiday parties, gifts to buy, recipes to try, family dinners and cards to mail add to our level of stress this time of year.

There is a way to change your mental health during this stressful time of year. Today my Pastor spoke from I Thessalonians 5:16-18 and it has the perfect prescription for success.

Always be joyful.
Keep on praying.
No matter what happens, always be thankful...

Shifting our thoughts to gratitude helps us focus on what is here versus what is missing. It grounds us to truly understand the real reason for the holiday season. Although someone else might win that coveted parking spot at the mall, or skip you in line at the grocery store always be joyful, keep on praying and always be thankful.

This Thanksgiving, can you find at least three reasons to be thankful? 

Well here is my list:

  1. Family
  2. Friendship
  3. Protection
It's that simple. 

What is on your thankful list this holiday

Once you compile it, keep pondering it in your heart. Every morning and night recite at least three things you are thankful for. Sometimes, we can feel we are in a horrible situation only because our focus is solely on the negative circumstance happening. But remember, there is always a reason to give thanks. 

I listened to Pastor Frank that leads First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. He preached a week after a massacre that took 26 of his parishioners, including his 14 year old daughter. His words gave me a newfound belief that gratitude in the midst of hurt and pain DOES exist

He told his congregation one week after the tragic church massacre to "stand, clap and praise the Lord." What incredible spiritual maturity! He understands that in all circumstances to keep on praying, always be joyful and always be thankful. 

From our family to yours, Renee and I wish you a Thanksgiving filled with laughter and gratitude. For those of you experiencing deep loss and sadness we are praying with you for comfort during this tough time of the year. (Posted by Roslyn)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

In God we Trust. Really?

U. S. Flag

Everyday we are bombarded with images of division and evil in our country. Sometimes you walk away from the television wondering, are we really one nation under God? Why does it seem like we are moving further and further away from God? I now realize, from my own personal journey,  one important fact.

To be healed from your past, you must confront the painful areas that are buried deep. 

That's true in my life, your life and it's true for our country. The journey to uncover and deal with your past can be dark, often hurts and maybe full of tears. However, it's all necessary to adequately complete the healing process.

Three years ago I found myself in a broken place. During a women's conference I attended, God brought me to my knees. It was sudden and unexpected. There was a broken area of my life that I never confronted. My way of coping was to bury my feelings and not deal. God had a different plan.

In that moment during the conference, the memory of it all came flooding back and I knew a season of brokenness was on the horizon. 

To give myself the time needed to heal, I stepped down from church responsibilities and allowed God's gentle whispers to restore my soul, piece by piece. If you find yourself in a dark place with images of your past invading your mental space, remember that God is your healer and He wants nothing more than your FREEDOM!

My situation relates to what we see happening in our country today. The darkness, pain, division and confusion that we witness each and everyday is a reflection of an unpleasant and nasty history that is now bubbling to the surface so that we can confront, deal and heal.

Racism, bigotry, and hate is not new.

It's been here and if you haven't been a victim of it, count yourself blessed. Could it be, we're going through the uncovering and unmasking of these ills in our society because there's restoration on the way? That's what I believe. Don't worry or fret about what you see in the world today. God is in control and He doesn't waste any experience to be used for His glory. Be mindful that He is not the author of evil. It was inevitable when sin entered this world. God is merciful and loving and desires that none should perish. Not even you!

Remember, you cannot heal what you won't confront.

Our country will only grow stronger in unity once we return to our foundation in God and focus on brighter days. Colossians 4:2 commands us to continue praying, keeping alert and always thanking God. As you trust Him with every fiber of your being, He will make changes in this nation. Remember, in God we trust! (Posted by Renee)

Sunday, October 8, 2017

I am for ME!

Isn't it easy in our world to ONLY be focused on ME - my plans, my agenda, my preferences, my reputation, my kids, etc. At this point you can have anything customized to your taste, from the food you eat in a restaurant, the temperature in your home, smartphone screen and even the firmness of your mattress. It's all designed to fit your taste.

How can I NOT be focused on myself when everyone else is?

Magazines, billboards, gyms, and commercials plead with you to take time for yourself. But it really will mean more revenue for them if you spend money on their products that they highly suggest you need in your life.

It is easy for me to look around and associate with only those that look, talk and agree with my way of thinking. But is that helping the greater good of humanity?

How can WE be positive and light in a dark world, if we didn't expand our own borders to include those that are different from us?

There will always be those in the world that don't agree with you. Don't distance yourself from them. Your treatment of them in a loving and kind way, EVEN when they don't agree, shows them an alternative way to be treated.

You can't change them! You can only change your response to them.

Sometimes we have to just agree to disagree.

I realized I was isolating myself from those that were different. I was pro ME, pro my religion, pro my race, pro my political party, etc. I fell into the trap like so many Americans. We are all different and that is the beauty that makes us unique.

Choose not to isolate yourself from those that have a different political party, different race, different religion or different views of life.

Embrace Diversity

My yoga buddies

Diversity adds to our uniqueness

Now more than ever we have to wrap our head, heart and minds around understanding our differences. I've found when you do, guess what, you start to realize you are more alike than you are different.

Find the common ground you have with others. It could be love of scrapbooking, photography, running, yoga, fishing, reading, sports, gaming, etc. Let that lead your conversations NOT what you don't like about each others view on life. (Roslyn)

When I am with those who are oppressed, I share their oppression so that I might bring them to Christ. Yes, I try to find COMMON GROUND with everyone so that I might bring them to Christ. I do all this to spread the Good News, and in doing so I enjoy its blessings. ~I Corinthians 9:22-23

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Stop What You're Doing!

When was the last time you rested? Not just a few hours of sleep in the evening or even an afternoon nap.

I mean, taking an entire day to REST.

Our world is so full of  activities, work, sports, cleaning, cooking, caring for kids and so many other distractions that we often lose sight of the commandment that God gave us in the 20th chapter of Exodus.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

This is one of the longest commandments given as part of the Ten Commandments shared with Moses on Mount Sinai. We often find it easy to abide by the commandments where we are told  not to murder, lie, or commit adultery, but when we are commanded to take a day of rest, we often shrug it off.

Push it aside or not pay attention to it at all.

The Ten Commandments aren't answers to a multiple choice question where you pick a few to obey and then decide whether or not you will follow the others. ALL of them are important and serve a purpose in our lives. 

There should be at least one day of the week that you set apart for rest and worship with your Heavenly Father. Sabbath rest is vital to refresh your body and soul.

Not only are we supposed to rest, so should our children, employees, and even our visitors. God thought so much of this commandment that He demonstrated an example of Sabbath rest when He formed the world. Now let's be honest, God didn't need the rest. He did however want to lead by example. Let's read the scripture again from another translation:

 Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.

I now understand why my mom didn't cook or clean on Sunday when we were growing up. Our Sunday's started with church and concluded with rest. We watched very little television on Sunday's especially before church. It all makes sense now.  This time of quiet provided a time of reflection before a time of worship. I hope you will find the ability to trust God and give your body the rest it needs. Trust me, whatever you need to get finished, it can wait. He's got you covered! (Posted by Renee)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Hurricane Irma Wreaks Havoc

What a difference a week makes. 

Radar of Hurricane Irma

Last week I sat in the aftermath of the strongest storm in history, Hurricane Irma. Power loss, boil water ordinance, friends and family in distress, low water pressure, long gas lines, debris cleanup and grocery stores with empty shelves appeared as an apocalyptic movie scene.

Local Grocery Store - Empty Shelves

Grocery Store struggle to fill shelves
I remember walking out of my home for the first time to see what Irma left behind. Thankfully, nothing but minor inconveniences compared to so many in Key West, Naples, Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Caribbean islands.

I think like many Floridians, I've been so humbled by the many comforts of home that I take for granted. The ability to make that hot cup of coffee, take a hot shower or turn on a light and have electricity in the home. Having it all taken away humbled me to realize every community is only one disaster away from total devastation.

Floridians over the next weeks and months will continue to recover from Hurricane Irma. We will also have our eyes and ears keenly aware of any other tropical waves or disturbances in the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Ocean.

Renee and I want to thank YOU for your prayers and well wishes as we weathered the storm. We both have sought ways in our community and beyond to give back and help those who are most vulnerable. To every first responder, emergency management official, meterologist and electrical workers that left their family to ensure our families were safe and informed, we thank you.

Our attitude of gratitude will continue. Will you join us? 

Can you start each day thankful for the little comforts of home you easily take for granted? Can you find someone or organization that might need your hands or financial donation? I truly believe we have so much to be a blessing to someone else. Can you continue to pray for Houston where 20,000 are still in shelters and transitional housing.

Our small acts of kindness make a BIG difference. Communities helping communities. The human race and American spirit seem to always rise in the midst of storms, crisis and adversity. God bless America. (Posted by Roslyn)

Prayers for Florida, Houston and so many others!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

We're Being Hit by Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma

At the time of this post, Roslyn and I both live in a state being pounded by Hurricane Irma. Millions of people are in the path of the storm causing it to be a historic event. Schools, churches, and even Walmart are closed for the next few days until the storm passes. All week it's been nearly impossible to purchase the basic hurricane necessities like gas, water, bread and batteries.

I knew my area was in the path of the storm to some degree, but with the shift in Irma's track, the eyewall will come within miles of my home. Since it was nearly impossible to find plywood for our windows, we will hunker down in our safe room where there's no windows or exterior doors.

The sobering reality that nearly 100 mph winds will soon change the atmosphere caused me to take years of memories off my walls. 

This entire experience is humbling. Matter of fact, downright frightening. 

Hurricanes are common this time of year. I've weathered many storms but there's something about Irma that leaves even the strongest of believers  a bit nervous. I KNOW that my faith is in God and not plywood or shutters. 

Even in my fears, I'm fully confident in an amazing and sovereign God! 

During the preparation for the storm, God constantly reminded me that He's my resource. When parts of me wanted to panic because I couldn't find water or batteries for our flashlights, God used neighbors and friends to call out of nowhere to offer these supplies to us. 

Even though our house isn't boarded up and we don't have shutters, it's well built and God continues to whisper, "if you needed those items, I would've sent them your way." 

I choose to trust Him!

There's a few things that God is demonstrating with this event.

  • The opportunity for "Sabbath Rest"

On a typical Sunday most people will find themselves worshiping at churches all over this state. Thousands of church employees and even volunteers work hard to prepare beautiful atmospheres of worship.

Not today. 

Most churches in the state are closed and it's a time when we will all enjoy "Sabbath rest". It's one of the ten commandments that we often read about but never follow. In a world full of distractions, the command from Exodus 20 gets easily overlooked.

8-11 Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God,your God. Don’t do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.
  • God is our source

I'm sure that for some pastors, church being closed today is a scary thought. For churches of all sizes that depend on the tithes and offerings of its members each week for various budget items or to the employee of the numerous restaurants, retail stores and gas stations that can't work today and won't get paid as a result, God is providing yet another opportunity to trust Him in a deeper way. Here's His word: 

Philippians 4:19And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

  • God owns it all
For those concerned about their homes, churches or businesses being damaged, understand that it all belongs to him. He allowed you to acquire it, He will help to sustain it.

Even if you have to rebuild.

I Chronicles 29:16 God, our God, all these materials—these piles of stuff for building a house of worship for you, honoring your Holy Name—it all came from you! It was all yours in the first place! 

  • God is our protector
These scriptures give the greatest encouragement in scary times...

Psalm 32:7You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

(Posted by Renee)

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Through Her Eyes

Summer is quickly evaporating. We all wait with baited breath to see the solar eclipse that happens on Monday, Aug. 21st. Children and parents are hurriedly returning to a new pace with the school year starting and for some school is already in full swing. Young adults are excited about their new college life. Before we blink, it will be Christmas.

I am one of those parents with a teenager starting his senior year of high school and youngest son entering 7th grade.

Where did the time go?

That is the question that most of us are asking ourselves. I've been blessed to have a refreshing Summer that came with a ton of travel.  Puerto Rico, Dallas, River Ranch Florida, Palm Beach, Melbourne, Naples, Atlanta, Cincinnati, New York, Toronto, Valdosta Georgia it seems that I was away more than I was home. Country living, beaches and metropolis cities I've experience so much in three months with my boys. My suitcase is still packed by the foot of my bed.

Roslyn at River Ranch, Florida watching buffalo

My Summer vacation capped off with traveling with the two of the four living matriarchs of our family to Cincinnati. We have an annual family reunion that usually is hosted in Florida. For 45 years we gather, eat and reminisce about earlier days when many more of our family members were alive. This year, after about two decades, we made the trek to Ohio. The weather was 58 degrees, low humidity and a refreshing break from the hot temperatures in Florida.

The ability to see the friendly skies with my aunt was priceless. I often take air travel for granted since I do it so frequently. My aunt sat by the window in awe of the large aircraft that held her. The clouds, the skyline, the ocean all of it kept her captivated and smiling by her window seat in 10C.

Aunt enjoying the view in seat 10C

As we start a new year, let's see life through the eyes of those that are much wiser than we are. Life for them moves at a slower pace. No agenda, no rushing, no where to be just enjoying the amazing world that surrounds them. Although not perfect, it's the one that God has provided for us. I hope the following verse encourages you in whatever season of life you find yourself. (Posted by Roslyn)

"Don't be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me." ~John 14:1

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Update on Jordan

What a difference a few days make. A few weeks ago I shared a testimony about God's grace in a very difficult situation. No worries if you missed it. Read it here.

I'm overwhelmed by the number of calls, texts, emails, prayers and well wishes we've received. I fully realize why God never intended for us to do life alone. We needed a village around us and we got it.

Almost everyday there's someone asking about Jordan which is wonderful. That means that he's still thought of and prayed for. I wanted to provide an update because I realize that not everyone is connected to our Facebook page.

Walking in with bandages.
We followed up with the burn center on Wednesday. Fortunately he was able to have all of his bandages removed! This is what we prayed for. Now that the bandages are gone, we can focus on his total and complete healing.

Beyond the physical pain of the experience, the hardest part for Jordan is the limitations on his outdoor time. Since his damaged skin is susceptible to sun damage, he has to minimize his time outside. If he's outside, we must slather him in sunscreen along with him wearing a hat and a mask to cover his burns.

He LOVES the outdoors and this is the biggest adjustment moving forward. For a few weeks he had to give up bike riding, baseball and he's still unable to swim even though we are a month past the incident. Fortunately we live in the South and we can spend most of our days outside, after he's cleared by the doctor's, because of the warmer weather. In comparison to what could be, we are blessed beyond measure that he didn't have more damage to his incredibly soft and kissable skin.

No bandages after visit to burn center!

Jordan enjoying a sunset (UV rays are low)

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
I Thessalonians 5:17-19

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Tragedy Found Me!

I don't care how much you may try to avoid a tragedy, it might just find you. Few of us go through life without experiencing some type of tragic event or loss.

It comes out of nowhere.

It's never expected.

It has a way of finding you whether you open the door, answer the phone or say hello to it.

Recently I returned home from a 10 day vacation. Our family time away started in West Palm Beach with us cheering on our youngest in his rookie baseball state tournament. We were on such a high because the boys dominated and won their district championship that allowed them to advance to the state competition. Unfortunately our state appearance ended quickly. Oh well. Despite the sweltering heat and game losses, we had a blast!

Accidental country girls!
We then traveled from the Palm Beach area to our yearly vacation with my sister and her family. Just two hours north we would find the wide open fields of ranch living. Beaches, city lights, and a vibrant night life gave way to roaming bison, energetic billy goats, and nightly line dancing in an authentic western saloon.

Everything around the ranch moved at a slower pace. I had time to hear and ponder my thoughts, listen to God's gentle whispers and relax my body. I could finally catch up on my reading. My mornings started with peaceful walks and ended watching the sunset off in the distance. What could be more enjoyable?

Life was beyond great UNTIL.........

Tragedy struck.

This particular night we would sit out by the open fire in front of the saloon and make s'mores with the kids.

In an INSTANT my life was different.

One minute a flaming hot marshmallow is on the end of my stick and in the next second, my son is on the ground kicking around in the mulch screaming that he's on fire. Everything happened so fast that I can't even remember the details of the event. As I sit here on my computer at 1:00 in the morning, the memory of seeing my son still torments me. Not nearly as much as it did the night of the incident.

His screams pierced my ears.
My babies. (Post surgery)

I run with him into the saloon to try and find mustard and ice. (Mustard is great with burns. Don't believe me, google it.) He tries desperately to fight the tears because the saltiness of them cause his facial burns to hurt even more.

His flesh is burned. It's a sight that no mom should have to see. What in the heck happened? Lord, please help me!

I don't remember much else, except, we leave the saloon and rush my son to ER. Since we're in the middle of nowhere, it takes what seems like a lifetime to get him there. My sister is driving while my son is sitting between my 17 year old nephew and 15 year old daughter. Roslyn is driving 90 mph to try and get us there. My sweet baby boy is screaming to the top of his lungs. I've NEVER heard him scream like this. I can't even begin to imagine the intense pain he's feeling. It overwhelms me and I BREAK DOWN! I can't stop the tears. I briefly remember my sister's hand on my knee as she tries to drive and console me at the same time.

And then, out of the chaos, my teenage daughter begins to PRAY!

Wait, what?

Within minutes of her prayer ending, the ear piercing screams from my son are SILENCED! Jordan fell asleep.

Crap, I hadn't even thought to pray. I only cried out. Praying any type of audible prayer was so far from my mind. In that moment, I wasn't an inspirational blogger, Bible study teacher, small group leader or any other role. I was a teary-eyed, privately hysterical mom in desperate need for her son's pain to stop.

I knew God would use this experience as a testimony in some way, I just didn't know how. Read these beautiful words from the Psalms...

Psalms 8:2 (TLB)

You have taught the little children to praise you perfectly. May their example shame and silence your enemies!

Enjoying God's beauty!
All the prayers we'd prayed together, she listened. When she didn't always want to pray, she recognized it's power. In a moment of tragedy, crisis and chaos, she knew what to do!

My deepest and most fervent prayer for my children is that they may know Christ for themselves. On that night, Hannah clearly demonstrated, she does! (Posted by Renee)

Isaiah 43:1-3 (NIV)

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Almost Dad Day - Who cares?

In his footsteps!
There is so much love during Mother's day. Everyone knows that most kitchens are closed that day because mom is taking a much needed break.

I remind my kids constantly about the MOMENTOUS occasion called, "Mother's Day". I tell them not to ask me ANY questions that day, especially this question:

Mom - What are we eating for dinner?

I find a way to solve and answer that question most nights. But on Mother's day, I want someone else in the house to figure out what's for dinner.

Now the tables are turned as we march towards Father's day. I wonder at times, does anyone care? The stores are a bit slower. Restaurants and churches aren't as noticeably busy, as we find it on Mom day.

WHY are dads overlooked?

That might appear as a loaded question. Well, I CARE that Father's day is on Sunday. I am pleased to celebrate the many men that are in my life and are respectfully phenomenal fathers. It truly takes a village to raise children (I say that often). I know so many incredibly talented fathers that sacrifice just as much as any mother.

Happy Father's Day Tyjuan!

This Father's day, spoil him. Maybe he is the father of your children, a teacher, mentor, coach or crossing guard. Find out what interest him. Find a great gift or create a new memory. Give him the same appreciation that was given to mom. The road of parenting is not easy. Our world is changing faster than the sun rise and sets. Our children are more exposed to peer pressure than other generations.

Appreciating that awesome father in your life speaks volumes of your priorities. Tomorrow isn't promised, he might not always be with you. While he is still here, shout out LOUD how much he matters. To those grieving their dad like me, you are in my prayers. (Posted by Roslyn)

Fathers, do not be too hard on your children so they will become angry. Teach them in their growing years with Christian teaching. ~Ephesians 6:4

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Purposeful Pause

Happy Friday! The weekend is here and we are already into the month of June. Many kids are graduating whether it is pre-K or college. It's been fun to see and read about all the senior / grad activities.

I've had the pleasure of reading, "Finding The Space To Lead" by Janice Marturano. I quickly learned that many people are going through life fractured. They just push through due to the demand of the day.

She states, "We often simply do not have the space, breathing room, necessary to be clear and focused, and to listen deeply to ourselves and to others."

I have learned how to take purposeful pauses each day. It's as simple as setting aside 5 - 10 minutes daily just to breath and focus your attention. I know this seems easy, but it really isn't. My mind runs away with thoughts of what to cook for dinner or what I need to cross of my "to-do" list.


I can't find 5-10 minutes a day just to breath. Well, if I don't, think of the long term impact on my health putting so many needs ahead of my own. I now stop and pause each day. Somedays, I realize that I'm tired and I take a 10 minute nap (yes, I set an alarm).

Well the FUN thing today, during my purposeful pause, I realized that I wanted ice cream. I've been on a weight loss journey for over a year. What used to be a nightly habit is now just an occasional reward.

Afternoon Treat!

What will your Purposeful Pause tell you to do?

#happyalmostsummer (Posted by Roslyn)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

20 Years & Counting

Last month, Alton and I celebrated 20 years of marriage!  It was an exciting time in our house.  We pulled out our wedding album and the kids couldn’t believe how young we looked when we got married (we were also both a lot smaller).


Wedding Day
In 1997 we both walked down the aisle having no clue what the future held.  Neither one of us fully understood two simple yet complex words, “I do”. I’m happy to say that I’m still madly in love with him. I don’t just tolerate him. We’re not just roommates staying together to raise kids.


We make each other smile and laugh at our corny “inside” jokes.

Now, with that being said, we’re not a perfect couple by any means.  Does he get on my nerves? Yes!  Does he make me want to scream at times? Yes!  Do I get on his nerves?  No! 

Just kidding.  Of course I do. 

Despite those facts, he’s the one for me and I’m thankful to God for him.

20 years = 2 decades. 240 months. 7300 days.

To prepare for this blog, I wanted to get some advice from friends and family that have successfully made it beyond the 20 year mark together.  Here’s their tips for all of us to learn from:

  1. Have lots of understanding with each other.  Give to get.
  2. Don’t go to bed angry with each other
  3. Laugh often
  4. Be friends first
  5. Put God first and please Him first before each other.
  6. Don’t have too many expectations of your spouse.
  7. Accept each other’s strengths and faults.
  8. Communicate
  9. Be intentional about having fun together.
  10. Have lots of good sex! (Love this advice)

Recent trip to Busch Gardens!

Our advice for couples is to make a CHOICE to love each other.  It’s that simple.  Beyond all adversity, choose to love each other through it.  Keep your home a place of serenity and peace.  Read I Corinthians 13 for a robust understanding of the depth of LOVE needed to withstand the test of time (see an excerpt below).


Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end. (Posted by Renee)

Monday, March 27, 2017

When Was The Last Time You Did Something For The First Time?

This is my favorite question to ask, especially in a group setting. It never gets old. Now, it's time for me to ask you:

When was the last time YOU did something for the first time?

Ahh, are you still thinking? If you think about this question more than two minutes, that means you need to GO out there and have a new experience. Sometimes we just get stuck. We are on the wheel of life going around and around. Only doing the mundane and routine events every day. That can get boring fast.

The wheel never stops. Where can we get off? How do we make it stop? What's going to be the NEXT thing that knocks us off our feet?

Instead of expecting tumultuous times ahead, try experiencing something NEW. It can be as simple as flying to a new city, trying a new restaurant or taking a new route to work. I challenged my husband to take a new way home from work. GUESS what - it took him less time. The old way isn't always the best way.

NEW hair for our 90's party!
Renee and I recently went to a party excited about a 90's DJ. We both love to dance, so this just seemed like the perfect event. Well, when we arrived, what we didn't know was that it was an all Jewish party...yikes! I guess we should have read more about it before attending.

The morale to this story, we had the time of our life. We experienced new people, new food and new ideas. In the midst of all our differences, was the familiar music we all loved. In the world we live in, it's easy to only look at our differences. But what I've found is that we are more alike than we ever are different.

So I ask you again - When was the last time you did something for the first time? 

God created a majestic world. Hopefully in a few days you will have a new experience and quickly be able to answer that question. (Posted by Roslyn)


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Saying GOOD-BYE is hard!

At some point in our life, we will have to say good-bye. It might be to a relationship, career, marriage, school, or even an old way of thinking. Realizing that everything does not last forever is sometimes the hardest part.

The only constant in our life is CHANGE.  

Our country went through transition of power on Inauguration day, saying good bye to an old administration and welcoming in a new vision.

In my own personal life, I had to say good bye to a special friend.  Many miles and ocean water now separate us. Moving away from our comfort zones causes us to sometimes proceed with caution. When you say that final good bye you feel sad and devastated inside. You move forward, but not always really sure how.

My friend name is Kanoon, and she was my nail technician for over a decade. She's seen me through some of the toughest and greatest celebrations of my life. She helped me welcome in a new baby, prepared my nails for my 40th birthday shoot, encouraged me through surgeries and always made sure I wore the best color of the season.

No matter how tough the week, she always had a smile waiting for me.

Over time we developed a loving and authentic relationship. We spent time together, talked about our cultural and religious differences. She's Buddhist and I am a Christian. We have such a loving respect because we are ALIKE more than we are different.

My morning tradition of drinking warm water and lemon came from her, Kanoon has inspired me on so many levels. She has helped lead me on a path of health and wholeness. BUT that season of my life has abruptly come to an end. On December 31, it was the last day that these nails and hands held her. It's hard to imagine being so attached to someone.

We miss you Kanoon!
Some of you are saying good-bye in your own life. Don't be devastated or selfish with your feelings. Allow yourself not to become guarded, but open to new opportunities and new ways of thinking. This is the year for all of us to shift our thinking. The world as we know it is changing right before our eyes. If you are feeling unsettled politically, politically rejoicing, or just unsure of the future remember this:

People are with you for a SEASON, a REASON, or a LIFETIME.

Although Kanoon is miles away from me, she is with me and my family for a lifetime. I allow this scripture to comfort me in times of uncertainty:

SET your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. ~Colossians 3:2

Choose to let heaven fill your thoughts. The life that we know here on earth will soon pass away. Our love from God is eternal. (Posted by Roslyn)


Monday, January 9, 2017

I Love Raising a Teenager!

Parenting is probably one of the biggest challenges in my life. There are days that I win as a parent and days that I fail big time. Every day it's a different twist and turn. I have a teenage daughter and an 8 year old son. They have different personalities, likes and dislikes. Most days they don't agree but on the days that they do, it's a wonderful blessing to see them together.

My kids when they were younger!
Photo credit: Delana Brooks

When I share with some people that I'm absolutely loving the teenage years, most look at me like I'm crazy. Especially raising a teenage girl that's full of emotion and attitude. It's not easy BUT I'm just resolved to enjoy every phase and stage of my children's lives. Those were words of wisdom given to me by a colleague years ago and I've never forgotten it.  Before I know it, she will be an adult and living on her own.

If I CHOOSE not to enjoy these years, I WILL MISS OUT!

I recognized early on that in her short life span, she doesn't have this world figured out. Heck, I'm more than twice her age and I don't have it all figured out.  I'm here to support her and help her navigate life. God entrusted my husband and I with her and I vow to do my best to love, encourage and support her through good and bad times.

Here's a few lessons I've learned about teenagers:

  • They need you to be their parents NOT their friends.  I'm not her equal and I'm not going to try to be.  She needs boundaries, discipline, and guidance. NOT friendship from her mother.

  • Teenagers want you to listen to them on their schedule.  There are times when my daughter will wait until the most awkward times to want to talk through a situation.  I'm normally ready to go to bed, in the middle of cooking or headed out the door.  Those are the moments when I have to take a step back and listen.

  • As hard as it is, they have to learn from their mistakes.  They need to understand that choices have consequences.

  • The teenage years are when you HAVE to move from directing every facet of their lives to consulting/coaching them through the rough spots. God is writing their story. Let Him do it! This is when they will learn to resolve conflicts, find their voice and fight their own battles. They need to learn how to interact with adults, teachers, coaches, etc.  I can't be her mouth piece in every situation.  She has to learn to make decisions for herself. 

I recently asked (on my Facebook page) the keys to success when raising teenagers.  Here's just a sampling of the many comments shared.....
  1. Pray for them & pray with them!
  2. Patience & open communication
  3. Being supportive
  4. Prayer!
  5. Intentionally develop a "village" of trusted adults for your child.
  6. Meet them where they are.  Avoid trying to make them who you want them to be.
  7. Sometimes you have to steer them into the pain to help them learn valuable lessons while they are still in the "nest".
  8. Prayer!
  9. Give them room to make mistakes.
  10. Listen without interruption.
  11. Lead them by your great examples.
  12. Use wisdom, have faith and watch God do the rest!!

I leave you with a familiar passage of scripture from Proverbs 22:6...

Train up a child in the way he should go; when he is old, he will not depart from it. (KJV)

Point your kids in the right direction, when they're old they won't be lost. (MSG)

What's your parenting advice for parents of teenagers?

(Posted by Renee)