22 Ways to Say Thank You

 

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I couldn’t be more excited to plan for the big day.  Normally, I bypass Thanksgiving and go straight to Christmas but there comes a point when you realize just how short life really is and sadly, time is not always promised to everyone.  Now is the time to take in each day with gratitude and really make time for the ones you love.  Even the family members that you are still praying for, haha.  Can we be real?  Time isn’t promised tomorrow, but it is certainly promised today!  The options for expression are limitless.

 

1.  Write a personal handwritten thank you note, card or letter.  Include a cute photo and drop it in the mailbox.  It’s the little things that go a long way.

2.  Call your loved one and tell them how grateful you are for your relationship.

3.  Bake his or her favorite yummy dessert.  Boxed is fine if you aren’t a natural chef.  It’s the thought that counts.

4.  Pick up a little gift and carefully wrap it in pretty wrapping paper to hand deliver in person.

5.  Enjoy a quick lunch date and pick up the tab.

6.  Leave a little sticky note of appreciation in a hidden, yet obvious place where your loved one will be surprised and delighted.

7.  Send an unannounced bouquet of flowers to the job or house.

8.  Pick up a box of chocolate to gift as something sweet to enjoy throughout the week.

9.  Be a 20-minute massage therapist and offer a relaxing hand, foot, or neck massage.  Hire somebody else to do all three!

10.  Offer to cook a sweet dinner.  Set the table nicely and make them feel special.

11.  Surprise your loved ones with a gift card to their favorite restaurant or store.

12.  Offer to babysit.  Everyone deserves a break every now and then.

13.  Treat someone special to a movie.  The best opening weekends are always during the holidays.

14.  Bring back the best feelings of breakfast in bed and serve a tray full of buttermilk pancakes with overflowing syrup, crispy bacon on the side, a tall glass of orange juice, and a small cup of coffee with a pretty white design on top.

15.  Block out 2 hours of your day and just spend quality time together.  The best things in life are free.

16.  Offer a smile and compliment to the overlooked worker that you know deserves more than what he or she is being recognized for.

17.  Make a grocery run for an elder who has done so much for you.

18.  Have a Friendsgiving dinner.  Be festive and welcome everyone with a hug.

19.  Write your loved ones a list of all the things you are grateful for that they have done for you.

20.  Plan a weekend getaway for just the two of you.

21.  Create a diy inspired gift from Pinterest that suits his or her personality.

22.  Say thank you for what has been placed on your heart.  Keep it simple.

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Walking in the Spirit

His leading.  Your journey.

He’s always with me.  Speaking…   Sometimes through an inner prompting and often times in silence.  If you listen, he’s always engaging.  When is the last time you heard your heartbeat?  You feel it when you’re nervous and endowed with excitement.  Yet, what is the voice behind it telling you to do?  You have an inner knowing and as you step out to trust it, it will never fail you.  It’s deeper than your feelings and emotions.  Those things confirm real life experiences.  Yet, God wants you to move with intention and purpose through it all.

 

Walking in the Spirit is the assurance of Gods voice leading you into his calling.  This isn’t about a destination called destiny, this is about the journey along the way.  Our lives are a blank canvas with words being filled second by second.  It’s as if each stage in life is a marked chapter, but your obedience dictates exactly how your story is written.

 

To walk in the Spirit is to move in obedience.  I’ll be honest, I used to be afraid of this word until God showed me that he knows what’s best for me.  Try doing it your way long enough.  Obedience is God’s protection.  When we walk in the Spirit, there is a navigational system set in motion with promptings on when we are to turn or stop.  “Follow his last instruction.”  These are the words my father taught me growing up.  Often times he would ask, “what is the last thing God told you to do?”  Little did I know those words would give me the understanding to Gods plan for my life.

 

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.'” – Isaiah 30:21

 

We must walk out our faith.  It’s amazing to see how much confidence God has in his children.  Why do we humor him by asking him to do the work we can?  If he has instructed you, then he has given you the ability to walk it through by faith.

 

Learning to walk in the Spirit has taken so much pressure off of my life.  I have learned to navigate in his strength.  Those pressures of trying to make things happen on your own will soon subside when your eyes are on placed back on him.  It’s as if he is the set of training wheels drilled into your bike behind you. You’re stable, but you’re peddling.  As you continue to grow in him, he’s the proud parent behind you cheering you on when you are grounded in balance.

 

Walking in the Spirit is a life of company.  You’re never alone.  God understands exactly where we are and where he has called us to go.  The Holy Spirit guides us along the way.  Learning to walk in the Spirit is learning to discern his voice.  It’s so loving.  It’s assured.  It knows all.  Trust it.  Be confident walking in the Spirit.

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Creating a Morning and Evening Routine

It’s time for a new norm.

Do you find yourself starting each day with a huge question mark, rushing, or unfulfilled, often allowing your circumstances to dictate the kind of day you are going to have?  No person or thing should have that much power over you.  Life is meant to be lived intentionally.  We have been gifted with 24 hours in a given day.  We have a responsibility.  We’ve all heard it.  We have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce.  It’s true.  Welcome in change.

Good morning, beautiful.

It is time to start the day off bright and early.  Each day should be productive with well-intended plans to have something to look forward to.  Rather than walking into the day blindfolded and with open arms, we can make a conscious decision to live each day with meaning and purpose.  Set your mind before your feet hit the ground.  Though not easy, remaining focused and balanced is key.

 

Step 1: Begin an early meditation and devotion.

Around early morning, the alarm goes off.  Let’s all face it, we are bound to hit the snooze button.  Experts suggest to do otherwise, however, I am one to admit that I appreciate a fair warning before I rise.  Like, a good hour.  Regardless, we need to wake up early and allow ourselves enough time to get ready without having to rush.  This eliminates anxiety and so many careless mistakes.

 

Once rising from a common state of confusion, get a good stretch in.  How nice is it to open the blinds and crack the window open?  I love listening to the birds chirp in the morning and feeling the cool air brush against my face.  Disney got it right.  Shout out to Cinderella for understanding the value of this even when she knew she had a busy day ahead of her with people who test her nerves.  Focus.  Allowing ourselves time to ease into the day is important.  Open your day with prayer and gratitude.  Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you and count your blessings.  There are no rules for doing so.  Just give yourself that space for meditation and devotion.

 

Step 2: Nourish your temple.

Grab a cold bottle of water from the refrigerator and make yourself a fruit and veggie smoothie.  There’s no harm in an occasional cup of coffee.  Brush your teeth and glam up that face.  I like to play music in the morning to set the mood.  Whatever it is that feeds your spirit, do that!  Some enjoy an encouraging sermon.  If this is the case for you, then I strongly recommend listening to John Gray.  I promise you will get a good laugh in.

 

Step 3: Dress to handle your business.

Once fed physically and spiritually, prep your hair and slip into that complimentary outfit.  They say when you look good, you feel good and I concur.  Now that you are all prepped, grab your keys, work bag, lunch bag, cell phone, and charger to head off to work or to run those errands for the day.  While in route, make a conscious effort to do something good for somebody.  Rather than expecting from others, make a conscious decision to be the blessing for the day.  It gives you a mission.

 

Good night, gorgeous.

After a long day, we deserve to do something special for ourselves each and every day.  Do not place that responsibility on others.  Plus, why wait?  Sometimes we can fall into the temptation of making a big deal and over analyzing what it is that we can do for ourselves.  Make it simple.  What makes you laugh?  What brings you joy?  Consider the little things.  How nice would it be to come home to a hot bubble bath with burning woodwick candles?  Whatever it is that is meaningful to you, make time for it.  Devote a minimum of 20 minutes a day to yourself.  You should have something to look forward to when you get home.

 

Step 1: Release and unwind.

Around early evening, you pull into the driveway.  Walking into the house is a great opportunity to slip out of your heels, put down your keys, and get a quick work out in.  Release those endorphins.  Wash the day off and get in your most comfy pajamas.

 

Step 2: Nourish your temple.

Once refreshed, it is time to wind down, cook dinner and enjoy a good meal.  Whether you are cooking for one or your family, make it delicious and homemade.  Take ownership of what you are putting into your body.

 

Step 3: Maximize your downtime.

Sneak in a couple of your favorite shows while you prep your clothes and agenda for the next day.  Be sure to set aside some devotion time to renew your mind and spirit.  Now off to bed.  Be sure that you give all your cares to the Lord before you lay down.  We must be intentional about resting our mind, body, and emotions.  Sweet dreams.

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Line and Dine

With Captivating Eyes

It’s all in the lines.  I have never stood shy of a bold and enticing eye.  Anyone who knows me knows how much I love a clean, winged eye.  It’s captivating and all the more reason to master before stepping out on a nice date night.  Over the years I have dipped and delved into many eyeliners.  After all that is said and done, I still choose Revlon’s ColorStay liquid liner as my top favorite, especially Revlon’s Color Stay Skinny liquid liner.  It applies on so thin and gives me full control to shape my eye with ease.  The key to mastering the classic winged eye is to find an eyeliner that applies dark on the first glide.  Let your date see just how bold and confident you really are.

 

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31 Ways to Treat Yourself on Halloween Night

Not here for the tricks, only treats.

Welcome on in October.  Chilly fall nights call for warm nights in.  Candy?  Check.  Blanket?  Check.  Favorite movies and shows?  Check.  Come the 31st, I’m envisioning a cozy couch and remote this year.  You choose how you want to celebrate the 31st.  As a believer, I still don’t fully understand the whole scope of Halloween or how to feel about it.  To be honest, it really just falls back into getting in the Word and being led by the Spirit.  Let me clarify, the Holy Spirit!  Me, myself, and Jesus know that I enjoy laughing way more than being freaked out, okay.  I’m still here for makeup and playing dress up in something cute.  However, there are plenty of other options to enjoy yourself in festivity.  

31 treats to consider…

1.  Have a movie marathon while munching on your favorite snacks.  Who’s counting calories?

2.  Enjoy a hot bubble bath with scented candles.

3.  Give yourself a well-deserved mani and pedi in a gorgeous vampy color to brag.

4.  Cook an amaze-balls dinner and actually plate your food beautifully.

5.  Bake cookies, boxed or from scratch.  Be festive.

6.  Order your favorite meal on DoorDash.  There are too many little pedestrians to drive in comfort.  Not here for anxiety.

7.  Have a girls night in.

8.  Enjoy a fun date night with your man.  (My personal favorite.  I love you babe.)

9.  Start decorating for Christmas.  I like to think this is normal.

10.  Create a scrapbook or photo album.

11.  Plan Thanksgiving dinner, only if it makes you happy.

12.  Work on an art project.

13.  Get comfortable with the “add cart” button and order a couple of items.

14.  Relax in your most comfortable robe and slippers.

15.  Buy your own candy and go in!

16.  Get a jump start on preparing your holiday cards.

17.  Enjoy a good read.

18.  Journal.

19.  Binge on your favorite YouTube videos.

20.  Get a jump start on your Christmas list.

21.  Create a playlist with your favorite songs and enjoy dancing or singing along on shuffle.

22.  Surf the internet with a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate.   Marshmallows are a must.

23.  Complete an intense workout.  Let’s face it, we are going to gain a few pounds during the holidays.

24.  Create a bucket list.

25.  Crochet a much-needed scarf or blanket.

26.  Take a stroll down memory lane with old photo albums and homemade videos.

27.  Organize your closet or beauty room.

28.  Play with the little ones or your furry pet.

29.  List out your goals and create a vision board to get a head start on the new year.

30.  Decorate your home and create an oasis you love.  Come through fall decor!

31.  Pop a bag of popcorn, turn off the lights, and enjoy a good stand-up comedy special.

Cheers to a planned evening of relaxing.  Do you, boo.

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Standing Firm as a Warrior

What does it take to be a warrior?

A woman who knows who she is.  She knows that her roots, identity, and worth are in Christ.  God has equipped her with a supernatural strength that is attainable through Him.  She has the ability to fight through tears, the depths of her pain, and unconventional circumstances with her head bowed and arms lifted high.  Her praise is her weapon against the enemy.  She knows that there is nothing more powerful than her destiny.  Regardless of what is thrown her way, she can still stand and fight through prayer and full submission, with the assurance of knowing that she is not alone.

Strategy.

So often what is meant to break us, deprive us, shake our self-esteem, and strip us of any hope, are the very things that push us through doubt, obscurity, and a false perception of our limitations.  On the other side, lies greatness.  Life may throw you curve balls that are quick, unexpected, and hit hard to the point where you find yourself bruised and feeling defeated.  But God has clothed you with strength and dignity.  (Proverbs 31: 25)  His Word is the fuel that ignites our faith.  Without faith, it is impossible to please God.  (Hebrews 11:6)  A woman who is a warrior knows this.  So the enemy will try to disguise himself in the crevasses of our situations in efforts to shift our focus from him to people.  What he is really after is your joy, faith, and strength.  But a woman who knows she is a warrior knows to fully clothe herself in the armor of God.

 

Ephesians 6:11 – 17 states, “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

 

Step into victory.

The greater the attack, the greater the reward and all the more confirmation of a powerful calling.  “To whom much is given, much is required.”  (Luke 12:48)  Resiliency must reside in her.  The word of God teaches us that the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence and the violent take it by force.  (Matthew 11:12)  No more second-guessing, worrying, stressing or trying to take on too much for your heels to grasp alone.  Be decisive and intentional, fully entrusting the Holy Spirit to lead you.  This is a spiritual battle.  Trust it to him.  Stand your ground and live a life free of false bondages.  There is freedom given when you enter into the full submission of God.  Rise up and stand firm with the assurance of knowing that he is with you. You can handle a lot more than you think, baby girl.  The battle is his.

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Staying In Your Shopping Lane

Gucci Meets Target.

Not everyone has money to rock bloody shoes and  YSL bags, let alone, all in one outfit.  That’s okay!  Style has nothing to do with brands and absolutely everything to do with the proper assortment of personality pieces.  Can you coordinate?  So you crave Gucci, no judgment over here.  Personally, I love my Gucci bag that I received as a gift.  Yep, this was a gift.  Thanks, baby!  It is so important to stay within your means.  Regardless of what is on that price tag, everyone can afford to style themselves accordingly without having to swipe a credit card.  You can do you on a budget.  Gucci, meet Target.  I simply introduced her (Gucci bag) to Target (my new Andeawy heels).  Yep, these adorable heels were under $40.  I say they hit it off pretty well, for my taste at least.

Be Your Own Stylist

Instagram is a great platform for inspiration, but a terrible temptation to feel inadequate.  Check yourself.  Identify what you can afford.  See something you like?  Save up to purchase it!  Until then, be okay with knowing that there are so many affordable shopping solutions.  This is why I love Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Ross, and F21 (on a good day… pretty soon I will have to retire the store I adore for low-prices as I climb my 20s ladder).  You heard me correctly, Ross! I find the cutest dresses that I often pair with my Valentinos.  No shame!  Don’t let anyone tell you differently.  Let your closet be a representation of you and your good financial sense.  You can put on anything and make it cute.  Just remember, your clothes are the accessory to your personality and not the other way around.  Happy shopping!

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A Life Worth Living

Exposing depression.

It’s those dark lies that roam around in your head.  It’s a hovering weight that deceives you into believing that you are stuck in a hopeless pit filled with thoughts that drain every ounce of energy you have.  It fills the room.  Instead of looking at a dim light at the end of the tunnel, you steady look back into the dark cave that appears to have no out.  You feel alone in your thoughts.  Paralysis begins to seep in to the point where you no longer hear the ticking from the clock.  There’s no concept of time.  Though you wish it were true, you can’t even feel numb, you just feel stuck.  Sound familiar?  This is depression.

Deception.

I know this spirit all too well.  I took a look in the scriptures and began to see that those lies did not line up with the word of God.  If you have experienced depression, are battling it, or know someone who is struggling, there is hope.  You can’t fight pretty.  It will take blood, sweat, and tears to allow yourself to be pulled up from that pit.  Why the strangle?  Depression wants to rob you from a life of freedom that God intended for you to have.  This spirit is threatened by you.  It wants nothing more than to strip you of your destiny and distract you from living a productive and fulfilling life.  Some will say, why don’t you just snap out of it?  They don’t understand that every attempt to move out from the position you feel bound to is strenuous when trying to do it on your own.  It’s not that you don’t want to change, you feel as though you can’t.  But God.

And Jesus said, “the truth will set you free.”

Don’t allow depression to deceive you into believing that you have to tolerate living in this kind of misery.  You have a source and his name is Jesus.  1: Peter 5:7 states, “give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”  Jesus died on the cross and rose to give you a new life.  With him, you can have it.  Stay woke.  You have to fight with the word of God.  2 Corinthians 10:4 – 5 states, “the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  It’s time to load up.  

Scriptures for depression.  

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  – 2 Timothy 1:7

“The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”  – Romans 8:6

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  – Philippians 4:6-7

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.”  – Isaiah 26: 3

 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit,which is the word of God.”  – Ephesians 6:10 – 17

Light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s there.  You just may not see it at first, but you will.  As you spend time with the Lord, seek his wisdom and instruction.  He is the greatest physician and he knows exactly what you need.  Sometimes God’s way for deliverance varies.  Just focus on the promise and leave the details to him.  “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.”  – Psalm 40:1-3

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Releasing Baggage

What’s in your bag?

You may be dressed cute, but are you carrying baggage?  It is so easy to play dress up and put on a facade that everything pretty externally is reciprocated internally.  Much like the handbags that we carry, the image of perfection is only shown on the surface, but it is the weight within that determines how much we can hold on the inside before everything tears apart.  It’s only a matter of time.  The Holy Spirit is powerful and able to pierce through the thick leather layers we use to conceal all of our baggage within.  We need a cleansing.  God knows all of the junk we have built up and wants to release the weight so that we can move forward in life.

Empty your purse.

Have you ever had so much junk in your purse, to the point where it becomes uncomfortable?  This is prevalent when your arm and shoulder gets tired, your bruised skin forms red and purple indentations from the excess weight, and you can’t bear it any longer.  You try and set your purse down momentarily, only to pick it back up and rotate arms, but find yourself repeating the same cycle.  The same applies to our soul and spirit.  Our heavenly Father is extending his hands to release the weight and set us free.  The Word teaches us in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  It’s time to let go of the hurt, rejection, fear, pain, insecurity, grudge, and control.  There is a spiritual cleansing needed to grow and mature into the new life of freedom God has called you to.  “I removed the burden from their shoulders; their hands were set free from the basket.  In your distress, you called and I rescued you.”  Psalm 81:7-7.  You were never meant to carry it on your own.  Release it to Him.

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All Things Fall

My, how the seasons are changing.

There is something special about the fall season.  Could it be the beautiful leaves blowing past you as you walk down the street, the cozy scarves and blankets that we so eagerly want to wrap ourselves in, or the fact that Christmas is one day closer?  Yes, I skipped over Thanksgiving and have a Christmas obsession. Temperatures are quickly dropping and although it is still technically summer, department stores have given a clear indication that we might as well welcome in the new season now!

Cozy decor.

Have you ever considered playing dress up with your home?  This is where you reside and you deserve to walk into an inviting space that you can call your own.  I have found that playing seasonal dress up with accent pieces keeps the place I call home refreshing and festive.  Not sure where to begin?  One answer, HomeGoods.  HomeGoods is by far my favorite place to shop for decorative home and office pieces.  Keep your space breathing and create an environment that feels good to your soul.  There are so many options that cater to various styles.  This little pumpkin just made it home a few days ago and sets the perfect tone for a peaceful home filled with gratitude.  I am currently in love with minimalist and neutral decor.  What works for you?

Let’s talk fashion.

This is seriously why I live for fall.  It is all about scarves and boots.  I still recall finding these adorable booties on sale a few months ago for $10.81 and have been itching to wear them ever since!  Booties are a staple this time of the year and when you find a color, height, and texture that speaks to your core, you have found a winning pair.  As for me, I cannot seem to get enough of these Steve Madden Gaze booties in the color brown velvet.  If you have not done so already, treat yourself to a pair of boots that will keep you cozy.  Whether the boots have a heel or not, are leather, velvet, or are designed with fur, do not hold back from letting your personality shine through.  Mine can be complex at times, therefore I must have many pairs.  What’s your excuse?  Happy shopping and cheers to embracing all things fall!

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