Categories
Spiritual Growth & Development

Call Forth Your Samuel #SermonNotes

On Sunday, as part of Sundays with Zemi, I released this word to the Hannah’s. These are my notes. I pray this word blesses you.

Call forth your Samuel; Samuel meaning your answered prayer.

During FOCUSFAST, as some of you may recall, I asked for all of the Ann’s to speak up. The Lord dropped the name Ann in my spirit so I requested everyone with a derivative of the name Ann to speak: DeAndra, Joanna, etc. I thought it ended there. As days passed the Holy Spirit revealed to me that just as we were talking about Jael and Deborah for the 2021 FOCUSFAST, we would be talking about Prophetess Anna in 2022.

In Luke 2, we read that Anna, in her old age, saw the Messiah and declared to all how He would redeem Jerusalem. I therefore titled the year “The Year of Anna” and declared the theme for the 2022 FOCUSFAST, “Witnessing the Promise.”

Jesus is God’s promise fulfilled.

We will spend a lot of time in Luke 2 in December so today I want to tell you what God has been saying to the Hannahs.

The Year Of Anna

The Biblical meaning of Anna is ‘gracious; one who gives’.

Anna is also the Latin version of the Hebrew name Hannah.

Anna we encounter in the New Testament, and Hannah we encounter in the Old Testament.

Hannah stems from the Hebrew name Channah (shout out to our Singles Team Lead who has the same name) and it means: ‘favor; grace’.

Together: one who gives favor and grace.

We declared 2022 as The Year of Anna – the year to witness the promise -so, by extension, it is also The Year of Hannah – the year of the answered prayer.

We declared 2022 as The Year of Anna: the year to witness the promise. So, by extension, it is also The Year of Hannah: the year of the answered prayer.

Hannah’s Story

We encounter Hannah in 1 Samuel. We know that Hannah was barren and married to a man with two wives, the second wife being Peninnah who taunted Hannah for being unable to conceive.

Hannah was so overcome with grief and despair that she wept and refused to eat. She was in deep anguish – so much so that when she went to the temple to pray, she couldn’t even get the worlds out fully. Eli, the priest, thought she was drunk.

“Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard.”

1 Samuel 1:13

After Hannah explained herself to Eli, he said to her, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him.”

She replied, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.”

Afterwards, she went home, ate and no longer looked downcast. She worshipped the next day, went home to Ramah and made love to her husband. In the course of time, she became pregnant with Samuel.

Step 1: Lift Up Your Countenance

This past week as I was praying for someone who was approaching 40 without a child, the Lord gave an instruction, “Lift up your countenance!” As I recited it I could literally feel my chest lift and back straighten as I adjusted my posture.

It wasn’t until FOCUSFAST 2021 that I learned how much God cares about our posture and our countenance. These are outward manifestations of our emotions. Our posture and facial expressions express to others what our emotional state is.

Our posture and facial expressions express to others what our emotional state is.

When you are sad, you may hunch over, be sullen, frown.

When you are embarrassed, you blush, you may duck or hide your face.

When you are scared, it shows in your face, you may cower or look shocked and afraid.

Posture and countenance – the look of our face – say a lot about our emotional state.

…God cares about your posture and your facial expressions. He cares about them because He cares about your heart and your mind and your soul.

And I want you to know that God cares about your posture and your facial expressions. He cares about them because He cares about your heart and your mind and your soul.

Psalms 42:5, Psalms 42:11 and Psalms 43:5 are similar: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.” 

Proverbs 15:13: “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.”

When we are fasting we are told to wash our faces and anoint our heads so that we don’t appear outwardly to be fasting but so that the Lord who sees in secret will take record. Countenance matters to God because it is an outward expression of the heart.

In Nehemiah 2:2, the King was able to tell Nehemiah was sad because of his countenance. In Genesis 4:5 Cain saw that his offering was rejected and his countenance fell, because he was ashamed/embarrassed.

Now back to Hannah. In 1 Samuel 1:18 it reads, “So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.”

The very same thing that first changed for Hannah must be the first thing that changes for you: your countenance. Lift up your countenance Hannah! Be no longer downcast. Be no longer disquieted / disturbed in your soul. Lift up your countenance!

Bahamians will get this right away because our national anthem says, “Lift up your head to the rising sun.” Lift up your head my sisters.

Numbers 6:26 says, “ The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” Lifting up your countenance is a sign of favor. Hannah’s name means what? Favor.

It’s time to lift up your head.

A hymnist writes,  

“Lift up your countenance

All ye saints of God

Lift up your countenance

for the victory is won

Lift up your countenance

Ang give the glory to the Holy one”

We don’t do it much anymore – though we should – but people would literally bow and lay on their faces in the presence of God. (Genesis 17:3: “Abram fell on his face and God talked with him.”) Again I say, posture matters to God.

Lift up your countenance, change your facial expression and adjust your posture.

Victory is won.

Step 2: Call Them Forth

Later during the week, I was praying for another woman and the Lord said to call the children forth. I am also in the wait for children and I have never done this myself, but the Lord’s instruction was to call the children forth. Petition for the release of your promise.

Hannah petitioned the Lord and just as Eli said to her I say it to you, “Go in peace and may God grant you what you have asked of Him.”

Go in peace and may God grant you what you have asked of Him.

May the Lord remember you.

1 Samuel 1:19-20: “And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her. Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.”

Genesis 30: 22-23: “And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach”

In the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying “Because I asked the Lord for him.”

Samuel means GOD HAS HEARD. Call your children forth. Call, that God may hear you.

Step 3: Prepare for the Promise

As God has confirmed the promise is on the way, get ready. Take your prenatal vitamins – not all make you feel sick,  find one that works for you. Get your finances together. If you don’t have healthcare, seek out an insurance plan. Watch your diet. Discuss parenting styles with your husband. Prepare. 

Now you may not be in the wait for a baby but this message still applies to you. No matter what you may be in the wait for: lift up your head, adjust your countenance, call it forth in prayer, trust that God has heard you and prepare for your promise.

No matter what you may be in the wait for: lift up your head, adjust your countenance, call it forth in prayer, trust that God has heard you and prepare for your promise.

God bless you,

Zemi

Categories
Love & Relationships

Why We Decided to Pop Up Married

Ever since I eloped two years ago, people have been asking me, “What made you do it?” There have also been tons of women that said they wished they’d done the same. I’ve been amazed at how ‘popping up married’ has inspired such awe in conversations with other women. When I was asked to write about this topic, I began to wonder what it was about popping up married that appeals to so many women and, at the same time, what makes so many do the exact opposite instead. The only word that I could think of that answers both questions is Guilt.

All brides-to-be deal with guilt. I was no different. Let me give you a snapshot of what that looked like for me.

Initially, I entertained a small wedding service. My husband and I both have large families. We gave ourselves about 50 people each to invite to the wedding. I couldn’t even narrow my family down to 50 people. So that meant either all family, no friends or big family problems. Eventually, that small list began to expand. I began pulling names from my past of people that I felt should be at the wedding. I was convincing myself that they would be upset if they weren’t invited. I’m sure they weren’t even remotely concerned, but this is the trap I was falling into.

It got to a place where the more I thought about the wedding the more anxious I became. Having a mother who plans weddings as her career of choice was not easy to deal with either! There were so many things to consider: colour scheme, seating arrangements, location, accommodations, transportation, décor, bridal party selection, guest list finalization, and the list goes on! It was just all ballooning way out of hand.

When I looked up, there was a price tag that I could not afford. At this point, my mother was willing to pay for the reception. I wasn’t willing to let her. Eventually, I told myself I wasn’t going to let guilt have me go searching for money I didn’t have to spend.

This thought is the thought that sparked it all. It became my mantra: “I’m not gonna let Guilt make me!” I said that sentence to myself in many different ways: “I am not going to let the guilt of someone’s entitlement to be in this moment with me define how this moment will look for me.” This was another one of the sentences I repeated.

I am not going to let the guilt of someone’s entitlement to be in this moment with me define how this moment will look for me.


Guilt wasn’t enough to get me to change my mind. That tagline was my saving grace.


But what’s yours?

If you’re a bride-to-be that wants to pop up married do not allow yourself to be bullied and guilted into a wedding you nor your future husband desires.

Yasmin Glinton Poitier


If you’re a bride-to-be that wants to pop up married do not allow yourself to be bullied and guilted into a wedding you nor your future husband desires. Putting your feet in the solid ground of eloping or popping up married is not hard, but it does take resolve. Once I stopped the back and forth with the idea of having a small wedding, and committed to the decision of Me + Hubby + 2 Witnesses it was smooth sailing.

Once I stopped the back and forth with the idea of having a small wedding and committed to the decision of Me + Hubby + 2 Witnesses it was smooth sailing.


We were able to set ourselves up financially for the first two years of our marriage without a hassle. That was huge for both of us. We knew we didn’t want to spend much on our wedding, but we did want to make sure the home we were making for ourselves was one where our marriage could thrive.

Popping up married was one of the best decisions we made for ourselves. And guess what? No one was upset. They may have been surprised, but there was no one weeping over not seeing us at the altar or dancing all night. Instead, there were tons of joyful phone calls and intimate dinners where people prayed over us, advised us, celebrated us, and poured out love into our marriage.


For those of you thinking about popping up married my advice is let go of the guilt of how other people will feel. Guilt is not a reason compelling enough to have a wedding you don’t want.

Send out a wedding announcement instead.

Guilt is not a reason compelling enough to have a wedding you don’t want. Send out a wedding announcement instead.


Light & Love
Yasmin Glinton Poitier
Married May 2020

Categories
Love & Relationships

What I Learned Dating During A Pandemic

How did you meet?

It’s been 3 years since we met. We both work in the same area, so we’d been watching each other for a while. He’d probably give you a slightly different story, but I saw him watching me, too! He’s a tall guy, well-dressed, and real easy on the eyes, so he’s hard to miss. I had seen him a couple times in passing and he always had a very serious face. I think that’s what initially intrigued me about him – I was curious about what was under the stony exterior.


So, I did what any single woman would do, right?! I prayed about him. I said God, “I don’t know why I’m so captivated by this stranger, but I’m telling You about him. If he means me no good, let him keep it
pushing.”

Two weeks later, as I’m sitting in my car getting ready to leave work for the day, he walks straight up to my window, serious face and all, and asks me how I’m doing, and if he could get my number to talk a little more. For as much as I liked to admire this man from afar, and had already prayed about him, this encounter caught me way off guard! In that moment, I had already stopped breathing, so it was only by the Grace of God that words audibly uttered from my lips!

After a brief few minutes, I finally knew his name and exactly where he worked. To top it off, he smiled! And it was such a nice smile!

The next day, we had our very first date, and we’ve been dating ever since.

What stood out about him that makes him different?

Well, initially, his physical appearance is what stood out. He’s really hard to miss and will stand out in just about any crowd, but after getting to know him a bit and dating for as long as we have, it’s his love for family, commitment to always bettering himself in some way, and his consistency that stands out.

He’s a family guy, and that’s one of my favorite things about him. It’s a plus that he’s gelled so well with my (huge) family from the very beginning – admittedly a little shy and reserved at first, but everybody is great with him now.

I have never had someone be so consistent in their love and stick around when it wasn’t easy or didn’t feel good.

From Day 1, he has been consistent with the way he’s treated me. We have definitely had disagreements along the way, and have had to express our likes and dislikes, but I have never had someone be so consistent in their love and stick around when it wasn’t easy or didn’t feel good.

Very early on in our relationship, some things happened in my life that could have very well been mere coincidence, but for one situation in particular, I chose to believe for years that this one thing that I struggled so badly to complete, would change when the right person came into my life. Sure enough, only months after this man came along, my situation turned around and I was finally able to close that chapter. Little does he know, a lot of it had to do with a simple declaration he unknowingly spoke over me.

I don’t necessarily believe in luck, but I absolutely believe in divine purpose, and I knew he came into my life with a special purpose. He challenges me in ways that make me better and forces me to introspect every day of my life just by being the person he is.

I think a lot of women imagine a perfect guy in their minds and assume once you get the right one, a smooth relationship is inevitable…but that’s definitely not how it works.

If I’m being completely honest, he didn’t turn out to be the fairytale I managed to concoct in the beginning. I think a lot of women imagine a perfect guy in their minds and assume once you get the right one, a smooth relationship is inevitable (especially after having so many “situationships” end badly), but that is definitely not how it works. It takes work. Every meaningful relationship requires time and effort from both parties. He’s not exactly what I imagined he’d be but he’s what I needed, and I thank him always for loving me the way he does.

What personality traits are important in a man and to you specifically?

Someone who believes in God, is morally grounded and kind-hearted, family oriented, and has vision/direction.

In the beginning of our relationship, I’ll admit that I wasn’t entirely sold on the latter point. I am the textbook definition of “independent woman” and had been on my own and completely self-sufficient for a long time, so I was used to things being organized, well planned out and moving at my pace – on time. My boyfriend, however, is quite the opposite – he’s not a planner, he’s very relaxed when it comes to timeframes for a lot of things and is more of a ‘go with the flow’ kind of person.

As I’m sure you can imagine, we have had our share of clashes because of this, but we’re learning ways to work together. This isn’t just my show, so when I remove my need to have things go my way and simply be the help or extra push he needs, I can see that he is, in fact, a great leader and I trust that he will do an excellent job at heading our family one day. This also means that if I’m in charge of planning any event we’re attending, I know to give him the start time at least 30 minutes to an hour ahead, along with constant reminders leading up to the date in order to maintain my sanity and avoid ruining the entire day because I’m completely annoyed. It’s all a work in progress.

How has the relationship changed you / is changing you?

This relationship has certainly been a mirror for me, and to tell you the truth, I don’t always like the reflection I see because it very clearly highlights areas of my life that I still need to work on. It gets
uncomfortable at times, but it’s necessary. He challenges me every single day – to the point where I’m sometimes annoyed – but I’m grateful for all of it.

What have you learned through the dating process?

Our relationship has been tested a couple times – one time in particular, was during this pandemic. Because of the industry I work in, and nature of my company, my job has been notably impacted since the onset of COVID-19. More specifically, I’ve only been getting a portion of my salary for the past 14 months. Listen to me, never in all my 33 years of life could I have imagined being in such a situation… for so long! It’s been frustrating, depressing, and irritating to say the least, but this man has stuck with me through it all, buying me groceries and anything else I fell short on, dealing with my mood swings, and supporting every business idea that I created to make extra cash.

At one point, we decided it would be nice to stay together since we were locked down for so long, so I invited him over. Listen, the fact that our relationship still stands is a testament to the goodness of God! Sure, we’d already been dating for about 2 years, but this was absolutely next level!

Again, I had this fairytale of what it would be like – pure bliss and cuddles all day and night. Because why not, right?! LOL, sisssss, did I get my bubble burst! First of all, let me just say that I’m a professional chef at this point, because I’ve seriously never cooked so much in all my life! Secondly, he brought his PlayStation. For the ladies that know, this point needs no elaboration, I’m sure.

The biggest lesson we learned was that communication is key! I know how cliché this sounds, but it has neverrrrr been more real to us than during our time together during lockdown.

Communication is key!

Things I assumed: I’d have all his attention and he’d absolutely love love loooovveee being stuck in the house, cuddling with me all day; he’d automatically do everything the way I wanted and did things in my house; he knew my financial situation so he automatically knew that I needed stuff and some of his money should have been prioritized for my needs.

Reality: He still had to leave to go to work and get extra work done at
home some days; he still had a family that was of equal priority to him; I’m naturally a homebody, he’s not, so being cooped up all day sometimes was a lottttt to adjust to (even with the one you love); I said it was okay to bring the PlayStation so I had to expect that he’d actually play it sometimes; he had every right to spend his money how he saw fit; he has his own way of doing things that doesn’t make them wrong; he literally won’t know exactly what I need or how I’m feeling unless I open my mouth and say it… and well, it wasn’t all about me.

Whew! No one told me serious relationships would be this ghettoooooo!

I had to accept that as much as we love each other, we are not the same person! We do things very differently, but that doesn’t make either of our preferences right or wrong. I’ve had to learn to tone my controlling habits all the way down, to communicate when and why I’m bothered, what I need, what I expect, and accept that he won’t agree to all of my ‘rules’ because (as he likes to tell me) he’s not a robot.

Tips for dating during the pandemic

  • Communicate: You literally cannot hear this enough times. Being locked down in a pandemic has brought on lots of emotions and new experiences, so be open to communicating how you feel and what you need to and from your significant other… and while you’re doing that, bear in mind that your tone and body language matters!
  • Do what you love: As restrictions are easing, get back to doing things you loved doing together before. You can even create new traditions! Getting out of the house and enjoying safe environments is necessary for your sanity.
  • Be gentle: Be gentle with yourself and your significant other. Navigating this new normal can be challenging, so give each other the grace needed to adjust.
  • Pray together: My boyfriend isn’t a super spiritual/religious person (for reference, he’s Catholic and I grew up Methodist/Non-Denominational), but the first time he initiated a prayer together I blushed so hard! It was by far one of the most impressive things he’d ever done, and I still blush a little every time he does it.
  • Have devotions: During the lockdown, we started doing devotions together. I’ll admit that I was a little hesitant to suggest it at first because I wasn’t sure how it would be received, but he agreed, and although we have moments where we get busy and fall off the routine, it’s something we’ve been doing ever since. It gives both of us a chance to understand each other’s individual interpretations of scripture, and leads to necessary discussions about how we intend to use God’s word to prepare for life together.

This blog post was submitted anonymously. If you have a story you’d like to share, please email us at wifeherministry@gmail.com.

Categories
Home & Garden

Building Your Home With Your Kids in Mind

Building a home is an exciting experience that many couples dream of. As children arrive and a family grows, many aspects of life change, including your home needs. Since building a home is an expensive (and stressful!) endeavor, avoid dissatisfaction and rework down the line by considering family needs upfront.

Consider Your Children

If you have or plan to have children, you need to consider them in the entire process from property location to interior and exterior home design.

Potential considerations may be:

  • Is the neighborhood safe and child-friendly (e.g. playground close by, low-traffic street)?
  • Is the property close to great schools?
  • Are we close to their playmates and/or family? (Think babysitters and socialization opportunities.)
  • Will we designate a place for them to do homework quietly?
  • Is there an area of the home designated for play and/or toy storage?
  • Will the home office or bedroom be located sufficiently close or away from the kids area?
  • Will we have a pool? How will we protect our young children from wondering near the pool?
  • Will the children share rooms or have separate rooms?
  • Are there sufficient bathrooms? Will the kids share a bathroom?
anonymous kid in helmet riding run bike on pavement in countryside
Neighborhood safety is an important consideration for a growing family. Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

Consider Life Once Your Children Move Out

I know it may seem like 18 (or 20 or 30!) years is a long time, but you will also find that it flies by in a blink! The rooms in your home, once designated for your toddlers, then teens, will be vacated as children move out or go off to college. What will you do?

Designer Lyndira Fowler suggests repurposing those rooms. For example, turn a vacant bedroom into a home office, home gym and so on. She also suggests these considerations be made up front so that parents aren’t caught off guard when they become empty nesters. That is, do we really need a room for each child or can they share?

Make It Child-Friendly

Imagine this. You spend thousands on high-end wallpaper and relish in its beauty each time you pass by. One day, you notice a little person admiring the wallpaper with a marker in hand. Your beautiful, expensive wallpaper is now the canvas for your toddler’s art. Wooooo sahhh!

girl painting cardboard house
To safeguard against children painting on the walls, provide them with a kid-friendly area to explore their inner Amos Ferguson. Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

Kid friendly design elements include:

  • Washable sofa covers (or darker colored sofas)
  • Vinyl flooring or carpet tiles
  • Semi-gloss paint (marker, crayon and chalk wash off easily)
  • Rounded furniture (to avoid bumps and bruises)
  • Closed storage areas (to hide toys away)
  • Kids’ counters (for home work or crafts)
  • Smudge-proof stainless steel appliances

Related Content: Marriage or mortgage?

Remember to keep glass elements out of reach and to secure large items such as televisions, large mirrors and dressers. These can be potentially hazardous for children.

focused mother working on laptop near disturbing daughter
Purchase furniture with children in mind. Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Consider Your Lifestyle

Do you enjoy watching movies together as a family? If so, you may want to prioritize a large living room with sight lines to the kitchen. Do your children love to chat with you as you cook? Consider a large kitchen island with stools. Is an open concept floor plan better suited to your family style or do you prefer compartmentalized?

One of our recent panelists, Dr. Sentra Johnson-Jordan shared on a recent Wife HER! Live that one of the mistakes she made was failing to put a door on her home office given she is working from home and has a teenager who loves to play music and video games. She cautioned home builders to think about their daily lifestyle and family structure and design with this in mind.

Be Practical

Purchase furniture that can work in both child and adult spaces and high quality pieces that can last for generations or at least a few years.

Note: If you think your children are going to destroy the furniture in a couple of years regardless of the price or quality, opt for inexpensive furniture. You know your family better than anyone!

Purchase furniture that will grow with your child like this convertible crib by Pottery Barn Kids. Image credit Pottery Barn Kids

We hope that you enjoy your home ownership journey and that you create a sanctuary for your family that will be filled with love, laughter and happy memories for years to come.

Wife HER! Live panelist Dr. Senetra Johnson-Jordan and her family on the site of their new home. Image credit Dr. Senetra Johnson-Jordan

The #Homeownership Video Series:

Categories
Branding & Social Media

How to Leverage the Clubhouse App as an Entrepreneur or Small Business Owner

First of all, you may be wondering, “What is the Clubhouse app and why do people keep talking about it?!” Clubhouse is social media app that is audio-only. It allows people to listen to or actively participate in live discussions, similar to an actual teleconference with people from all walks of life all over the world.

Nothing is recorded on Clubhouse. When the room ends, that conversion is gone forever. Some users liken it to a never ending, free conference or masterclass and keep their notebook and pen handy.

If you’re not on #clubhouse you need to join. The exposure and access to great minds here at home & from around the…

Posted by Earlene Camielle on Monday, January 11, 2021

A few days ago, we sat down with Clubhouse etiquette expert Desiree Mondesir and discussed the features of Clubhouse, why it’s worth the hype and how it can be leveraged by entrepreneurs, influencers and small business owners. Desiree compared Clubhouse (often shortened to CH or “the club”) to a Country Club or dinner party where you have the opportunity to rub shoulders with the higher echelons of society. She noted that connections matter, and that it is important to put your best foot forward on the app starting with a professional photo and detailed bio.

The Importance of Your Bio

Desiree noted that your bio should clearly articulate the following:

  • Who are you?
  • What have you done?
  • What do you do?
  • What is your purpose for using Clubhouse?
  • How are you [re]presenting yourself on Clubhouse?

We love this example by serial entrepreneur Courtney Adeleye below.

With bio in hand, you can begin to leverage Clubhouse in various ways from marketing and insights to dating and mentorship, but first here are a few tips Desiree provided to position yourself for success on the app:

  1. Strategically follow.
  2. Strategically choose your rooms.
  3. Learn the lingo.
  4. Be a listener and a speaker.

Clubhouse is the only app where you gain followers by being a good listener.

Desiree Mondesir

We asked Desiree to provide tips on how to leverage Clubhouse as an entrepreneur or business owner from the following perspectives:

  •  the gleaner – gaining business insights
  • audience builder – growing your following
  • marketer – marketing your business, products or services and
  • direct monetization / cultivating your niche – e.g. charging to edit bios or to moderate a room.

The Gleaner

With so many rooms and experts to choose from, Clubhouse is a literal free university, free masterclass or free coaching session. As you move from room to room, Desiree suggests the following:

  1. Go where you want to glean.
  2. Listen well.
  3. Add value to the room.
  4. Connect professionally.
  5. Properly steward connections.

The Audience Builder

Desiree explained that you can speak in a room or moderate a room on Clubhouse and literally gain hundreds of followers across your linked platforms (e.g. Instagram or Twitter) overnight. She provided the below tips for those seeking to expand their reach using Clubhouse:

  1. Be intentional about the rooms you visit.
  2. Be strategic about the rooms you create.
  3. Govern your room well.

How do I govern the room well?

Desiree provided the following tips for effective room management:

  • Set the room. Note that once you start a Clubhouse room, you can’t edit or change the room’s title or description so be considerate of that as you are setting up the room.
  • Reset/refresh the room in the event the room goes off topic.
  • Lead and pay attention to the direction of the conversation.
  • Be selective about co-moderators:
    • Don’t accept every invite to moderate a room. Be intentional.
    • Don’t invite just anyone to co-moderate a room. Make it make sense.
    • Sometimes good speakers should be upgraded to moderators.
    • If it’s not your room, don’t lean into your moderator position unless you’re asked to.
  • Everyone doesn’t have to speak.
  • Just because they raise their hand doesn’t mean they have a right to speak.
    • How long have they been in the room?
    • Are they a good addition?
    • Are they a troublemaker?
  • End your own room.
    • Unless it’s just a fun, chill room, it is most professional to end your own room unless you hand things over to a trusted co-moderator.
    • Sometimes you have to end your room to end the drama.

The Marketer

Have a business, products, services or resources that you really want people to benefit from? Market on Clubhouse! Desiree provides the following tips to do so:

  1. Be consistent about the theme of the rooms you create.
  2. Create/apply for a club.
  3. Host rooms with titles similar to your club name.
  4. Always title your rooms.
  5. Moderate rooms that align with your brand and what you’re marketing.
  6. Create healthy room collaborations.
  7. Be consistent!

Direct Monetization on Clubhouse

Desiree suggests that you seek opportunities to monetize Clubhouse based on offerings, skills or talents you already have. Have a course? Launch one on Clubhouse. Host events? Be a paid Clubhouse moderator. Have books? Talk about them on Clubhouse or host book launches or live readings on the app! Here are Desiree’s other tips:

  1. Books
  2. Workshops
  3. Courses & Schools
  4. Mentorships
  5. Free consultations
  6. Paid consultations
  7. Closed room conferences
  8. Hybrid conferences
  9. Paid collaborations
  10. Paid moderating

Desiree also highlighted the personal benefits of participating on the Clubhouse app which deeply resonated with many of our listeners. She explained that you can leverage Clubhouse to showcase sides of yourself that don’t come across well on other apps, to speak out on topics you aren’t normally able to (e.g. Desiree is known for religious topics but has relished the opportunity to speak on relationships in Clubhouse) and even to reinvent yourself in ways that would be difficult given the expectations of your following on other apps. So what are you waiting for?! Join Clubhouse today (by asking an actual personal friend of yours for an invite) and follow Desiree when you get on.

Want to learn more about Clubhouse but missed the IG Live? You can listen to our full conversation here:

Want to learn more about Desiree? Follow her on Instagram here. We’ve also linked one of her books below.

Don’t miss our next event! Up next is this live YouTube session with Teneisha Grimes:

Categories
Pregnancy & Parenting

Keys to the Healthy Development of Parent/Child Relationships

Believe it or not, most of the challenges that impact youth of today are not a secret or a surprise to adults. Perhaps, some of the intricacies of these challenges may have changed overtime, but developmental struggles remain relatively the same over the years. According to Erkison’s stages of Psychosocial development, ages 6 – 12, children are going through a stage of industry versus inferiority. Children begin to compare themselves to their peers and if they don’t feel they measure up, then feelings of inferiority begin to be realized. For children ages 12 -18, Erikson highlights the stage of identity versus role confusion. Again a sense of self for
adolescents needs to be realized or they struggle with figuring out the role they should occupy in society.

cheerful girls having fun during pe class
Between the ages of 6 – 12 children begin to compare themselves to their peers and if they don’t feel they measure up, then feelings of inferiority begin to be realized

Self-esteem, confidence, sense of identity and belonging, building relationships and establishing early goals for the future are common areas of struggle for youth. Moreover, the expecations that adults place on their children or teachers on students further amplify the daily developmental challenges of youth. Why do we force our kids to determine what they want to do before they even discover who they are? Why is there a persistent focus on material learning without first emphasizing character development and how to foster healthy relationships?


This leads to one of the paramount dilemmas families have – unhealthy relationships or weak ties and connections with each other. Children and adolescents often feel disconnected from parents or the adults in their life. Communication is often disjointed and limited, especially as children develop to adolescents. Children often have unrealistic expectations of their parents and teachers and parents and teachers have unrealistic expectations of their children and students. The humor is that rarely does either party articulate their expectations of the other. Only when frank and open communication occurs between both children and adults in their life, does holistic growth occur, of not only future generations, but adults begin to heal from past hurt, trauma and current fears for their offspring (further discussion on this for another time).

Children often have unrealistic expectations of their parents and teachers and parents and teachers have unrealistic expectations of their children and students. The humor is that rarely does either party articulate their expectations of the other.

– Kandra Knowles, LMSW


In my experience as a mental health provider and a social emotional support to children and adolescents, I have learned that when adults model vulnerability children and adolescents feel more connected to that adult. When trust is built, communication is easier and healthy and successful young adults are formed. Yet, as we know it is not as easy as it sounds. In a society built on fear and relationships fostered are predicated on position or status, it is a challenge for genuine connections to exist.

[When] adults model vulnerability children and adolescents feel more connected to that adult. When trust is built, communication is easier and healthy and successful young adults are formed.

– Kandra Knowles, LMSW


My belief is that the first step is to break the idea that a child should only “listen” to an adult because of their age. If effective communication is not modelled by adults, it is no wonder why our children and teens do not “talk” or share as they were trained to “be quiet”. Parents and teachers much practice listening to understand, not just to react or respond.

There is definitely not a one solution that fits all, but based on experience and study, the journey to supporting the holistic development of children and adolescents starts with adults modeling vulnerability and effective communication – listening to understand, not respond.

Will you practice the art of active listening, beginning today? What are your thoughts on building relationships with children? Let us know in the comments below!

Guest writer, Kandra Knowles is currently pursuing a Doctorate degree from Fordham University in Social Work and partners with the Urban Assembly in NYC for research on social emotional learning in New York Public Schools. She obtained an undergraduate degree from Bard College in Annandale-on- Hudson in Psychology and Latin American and Iberian Studies, and pursued her Masters in Social Work from New York University. She is a former school counselor in The Bahamas and has been a Licensed Social Worker in the State of New York for
the past six years.

Categories
Wealth, Money & Finances

Why We Plan to Save $10,000 in 2021

A financial plan is an essential component of an adult life. In fact, some may say you’re not effectively adulting without one. According to Nerd Wallet, “A financial plan is a comprehensive picture of your current finances, your financial goals and any strategies you’ve set to achieve those goals. Good financial planning should include details about your cash flow, savings, debt, investments, insurance and any other elements of your financial life.”

During the month of March, we will focus on Personal Finances: saving, investing, wise borrowing, estate planning, etc. However, well ahead of then, I released our corporate savings goal for the year 2021: $10,000.

Why do you ask? Because I wanted you to have time to consider what you were committing to in light of your current income, goals and debts, as well as to formulate an action plan to accomplish the goal of $10K saved at the end of 2021.

Tonight, on a live Instagram session (reposted below), Life Coach Katherine Coakley shared on Gold Setting, and essentially proposed that the goal is not enough. Instead, we must attach each goal to a why or a cause. For example, saving a dollar amount is okay on it’s own, but it is golden when we consider that saving can strengthen our discipline, get us closer to a home down payment and, for some, may be a way of telling the enemy we are tackling and eradicating “poverty mindset” from our bloodline.

To help you develop your why, I wanted to propose a few reasons for saving this amount that you may likely need to cling to in order to stay inspired throughout the year. But before we jump into the why, note that $10K is $833.33 per month or $192.31 per week. This is an aggressive goal for many of us so it will require budgeting and, for most, foregoing certain items and/or experiences.

Our Why

  1. Emergency Buffer – Saving $10K will strengthen your emergency fund and allow you to withstand what could otherwise be a financial disaster: a broken down car, home repairs, injury, loss of a job, etc.
  2. Short-term Expense – You may desire to purchase a car out-of-pocket or work towards a down payment for a home or property. I know some women who are saving towards IVF or for the birth of their child. Each of these are important whys that will keep you focused.
  3. Retirement – Retirement is an abstract concept to many of us as we may be at the very start of our careers or a little over a decade in; still, the reality that one day we will no longer be working is just that, a reality. Saving towards retirement is a great goal and one your older, future self will thank you for.
  4. Reducing A Large Debt – The money that you save this year can be applied to a large debt such as a home mortgage or high interest debt such as credit card payments. Reducing your debt burden will bring you more peace and is definitely a great goal to work towards.
  5. Peace of Mind – Imagine a life where the end of the month is approaching and you have enough to both live and take care of bills; a life where you are no longer living paycheck to paycheck. Saving can put you in this position. It allows you to adequately plan ahead as opposed to being a step or more behind.
  6. Eradicating Poverty Mindset – Poverty mindset is the belief that you will never have enough money. It is driven by fear, childhood experiences and often, but not always, poor financial literacy. Saving money can help you to take action to overcome this mindset. It will help you get used to seeing greater than 10s or 100s (or negatives, if we’re real) in your bank account and make seeing 1000s and even 10,000s a more common reality. We will talk more about this in later blogs because the fear that led to poverty mindset could cause you to make poor financial decisions in terms of how you or if you invest.
  7. Obtaining Abundance Mindset – The opposite of poverty mindset is an abundance mindset. An abundance mindset is a belief that there’s plenty of everything for everyone and lots of time to get it. There is enough money in this world for the Joneses to be rich and for you to be rich too! Scarcity mindset will keep you in the hamster wheel while abundance mindset will help you break out of the cage! To make saving a permanent part of our lives, we have to shift our mindset.
  8. Building Discipline – In order to succeed with this goal discipline is required. In fact, you will find that discipline is a free byproduct of almost any goal that forces us outside of our comfort zone: working out, eating healthily, etc. As you practice delayed or deferred gratification (i.e. saying no to lavish trips, impulse purchases, and unnecessary wants) you will undoubtedly strengthen your self control and discipline.

$10,000 is a significant goal. It is attainable but may require significant lifestyle adjustments. That said, if you’d feel more comfortable with a smaller goal like $1,000 or $5,000 then start there. No matter what dollar value you choose, develop a game plan, approach or strategy and determine your why. We’re gold setting after all.

What is your savings goal for 2021 and what is your why? We’d love to hear in the comments below!

P.S. Our goal for 2021 is 1000 subscribers to our YouTube channel. Please subscribe if you haven’t already and take a browse of our great content. We’ve got great plans like the upcoming event below!

I love you all and I’m always rooting and praying for you!

Love,

Zemi Stewart, Founder of Wife HER!

Categories
Pregnancy & Parenting

Preparing to Be a Mom: Mind, Body & Marriage

Tamika Taylor is a wife, worship leader, former elementary school teacher and mother to a lovely ten year-old girl named Tarua. The title of mother is one that Tamika cherishes greatly and prepared for long before her daughter’s arrival. In fact, even during her season of singleness she was preparing to be the best mother that she could be. Tamika was mindful of various decisions she made within her personal life because she knew that each of those decisions would affect her parenting skills to some degree. Through observing the lives of her former students and those around her she took note of what she should and shouldn’t do as a parent and today she and her husband Trevante are proud to steward the life of their daughter. Here are Tamika’s top tips on preparing for motherhood.

Tip #1 Be intentional.

Before conceiving, Tamika and her husband desired to be intentional about preparing to start a family. She shared that she wanted to “show God that I can be a good steward in another area by preparing myself.” Tamika embarked on this new journey by equipping herself with knowledge. She began following a variety of social media pages that shared content about parenting skills, she read various books surrounding the topic on parenting such as Conception, Pregnancy, & Birth by Dr. Miriam Stoppard and What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel and prepared her body through diet choices.

During this season, a useful resource she came across was babycenter.org, a website that guides you through the process of preparing for a baby physiologically, so it discusses topics such as fertility and ovulation. It also describes to you how a normal baby would develop each month after conception.

Tamika ensured that she was getting enough rest and improved her eating habits. Moreover, she believed that it was important for her and her husband to plan when a baby would be added to their family, and decided not to cave-in to outside pressures that suggested having a child early on in their marriage. They believed that it was best to be properly prepared for the arrival of a baby.

Tip #2 Have hard conversations with your spouse about how your child will be reared.

You and your spouse should discuss things like the type of disciplinary methods you both would like to use, the type of home environment you both would like to develop, and the type of relationship you both would like to display within the household. All of these areas will determine if your home has a loving atmosphere where the child is able to flourish and is free to be his or herself.  You and your spouse should also determine the values, principles and skills that you wish to be instilled in your child. For example, Tamika and her husband discussed that they wanted their daughter to be kind, honest, obedient, a critical thinker, loving, respectful, well-exposed to a variety of experiences including travel and the arts, along with having a heart for God.

Tip #3 Plan what you’re going to do to help the child excel.

Now that you have both determined the kind of values, principles, and skills you would like your child to have, you should now devise various plans to build your child in each area. Tamika also knew that she wanted her daughter to be bright, so she started reading to her very early on. Tamika also started her daughter on “My Baby Can Read” at the age of six months. This allowed Tarua’s verbal skills to develop so well that she was able to speak words and short sentences at the age of ten months.

In the area of exposure, Tamika and Trevante knew they wanted their daughter to be well-exposed so they ensured that she travelled and attended events such as musicals and cultural festivities. You can devise a budget to determine how much money you may be able to allocate for travel and entertainment.

Tamika was also very big on ensuring that her daughter was well-mannered so she frequently encouraged her to use words like “yes ma’am“, “no ma’am“, “please“, and “thank you“.

To develop her daughter spiritually Tamika taught her daughter Bible verses, she also condensed them to make it easier for the toddler to learn. For example one of her daughter’s first memory verses was Acts 5:29 which states “Peter and the other apostles replied: we must obey God rather than human beings”. This verse was simply condensed to “obey God” to make it easier for the two year-old to recite.

Tamika further advised that as a parent you should capitalize on teachable moments. Teachable moments are moments where you can instill specific principles or concepts into a child because of something that has occurred. Capitalizing on these moments is extremely important to Tamika because she wants to equip her daughter with the necessary skills and tools that will be needed when the time comes for her daughter to make decisions on her own.

Tamika also suggested that as you guide and develop your child, be careful not to suppress their identity as an individual. You should also affirm your children, congratulate them when they excel or when they’re doing a good job, and try to develop an environment where they feel free to discuss anything.

Happy Parenting!

For more inspiration from Tamika, follow her on Instagram @tamikataylor.

Which one of Tamika’s tips stood out to you?

Let us know in the comments!

Categories
Love & Relationships

Life Lessons from Basketball

One day God and I were talking about my marriage and God told me that I need to pray offensively. My mind immediately went to basketball and the fact that I never quite understood the difference between offense and defense. This thought came to mind because in that moment, I wasn’t sure what God meant by pray offensively.


So, I decided to do some basketball research. And then I had a basketball chat with my husband to make sure what I gleaned from my research was accurate. What follows is a valuable lesson God provided through basketball. I should confess that I am not a sport enthusiast and I’ve only watched basketball to hang out with a cute guy or check out the cute guys on the court.

Basketball and the Christian Life

Offense would be a team’s attempt to score in any way, whether through passing, dribbling, or shooting. Defense, however, would be a team’s attempt to stop the other team from scoring (e.g. standing in front of player with ball, contesting shots, forcing turnovers). Simply put, the team with possession of the ball is always on offense.

Christians have the ball – Father, Son, Holy Spirit – and the opportunity to score – win souls for the Kingdom.

Satan is always playing defense because he never has the ball. His mission is to steal the ball (our direct connection to God) from us. Two of his tactics are to:

  1. convince us that we don’t have the ball and the win in the bag
  2. distract us from the ball and our purpose for being on the court i.e. alive

Applying Basketball to Kingdom Life

Team – Kingdom of God
Ball – Triune God
Passing – Kingdom collaboration
Dribbling – standing in the gap, journeying with believers and nonbelievers
Shooting – direct evangelism/invitation to salvation
Score – win soul(s) for the Kingdom

It is a FIXED GAME. Salvation gives us the ball. Sanctification ensures continuous scoring. Focusing on the target – more team members having access to the ball – ensures we achieve team success.

When we marry, husbands and wives are meant to be on the same team. For Believers, the mini husband-wife team is also on the bigger Team together. Therefore, we do not allow division between us.

The primary goal of a Kingdom marriage is to work together to advance God’s Kingdom (Team). The husband helps the wife score souls for the Team. The wife helps the husband score souls for the Team. No matter who is at play (working, ministering, tending to household needs) at any given moment, the team wins. Thus, there should be no competition. When one scores, i.e. advances the Kingdom, the Team wins. If one gives up the ball, i.e. turns away from God, it affects the Team.

Therefore, each should cover the other against attacks from the opposing team (satan).

Protecting Your Team

Offensive prayers are based on the Truth that victory is assured. So, we pray in agreement with God’s already established successful outcome. This means speaking and praying for the positive that is already promised or encouraged in the Word. This should be our approach to praying for ourselves, our husbands, our marriages, and everyone and everything connected to us.

Below are some verses to guide us in our offensive prayers. I like to take a verse and personalize it by using “I”/”we” or my/our name(s) wherever possible.

Isaiah 32:17
Matthew 6:33
1 Corinthians 10:13
1 Corinthians 13
1 Corinthians 15:33
2 Corinthians 12:9
Ephesians 1:17-19
Philippians 1:9-11
Philippians 4:7-8
Colossians 1:9-12
Colossians 3:13
Colossians 4:6
3 John 2

Did you enjoy this blog? Let us know in the comments below.

© Carol G. Griffiths 06/14/2020

Categories
Love & Relationships

Takeaways from the Watts Family Murders

If you watched the Netflix documentary “American Murder: The Family Next Door”, images of the Watts family may be triggering for you.

Shannan and Chris Watts with daughters Celeste and Bella.

Back in August 2018, Chris Watts, then 33, murdered his pregnant wife Shannan and two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, and discarded their bodies at his oil work site. The murders were premeditated and linked (we think!) to his desire to restart life afresh with his mistress.

The term for family annihilation is “familicide”. According to studies, it typically takes place in August, by white fathers in their 30s often with no criminal background. Family annihilators are usually triggered by: sudden loss of access to their children (remember Chris said Shannan said “You’ll never see your children again!” — though it appears he considered the murders well before she made this statement); financial stress; shame surrounding financial failure; belief that they are committing “mercy killings”; the desire to extricate themselves from a family life that they can’t tolerate or inspiration to kill by psychotic delusion or hallucination. Though the family filed for bankruptcy 3 years earlier, researchers feel Chris’ primary motivator was his desire to rid himself of his family and spend time with his mistress. Many feel the evidence points to Chris being a narcissist.

See: Chris Watts Killed His Family After Weeks of Planning. Does That Make Him a Typical Family Annihilator? and Family Annihilators: The Psychology Behind Familicide

As October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month #DVAM, I wanted to share some points that stood out to me as I watched the documentary.

1. Don’t date when you’re vulnerable.

Shannan let Chris in at what she described as being one of the lowest points in her life: “Because of my health challenges, because I got so sick [with Lupus] I let him in. He knew me at my worst and accepted me.”

Many victims of abuse met their abusers when they were vulnerable: lonely, depressed, sick, disabled, elderly, etc. It is important to be aware of your vulnerability for abuse and to not seek or allow romantic partnerships during low points. And if you do, do so with wisdom, prayer and wise counsel.

2. Do not ignore your intuition.

Shannan knew that something was off in her relationship. Chris was not as affectionate, he did not seek to call her or initiate sex with her, all of which appeared out of character. If you have a feeling that something is off, it probably is.

Now how could knowing this have saved her life? We’re not sure. Knowing someone is cheating on you is entirely different from knowing someone is about to harm you or take your life, but if you sense or see red flags do not ignore them.

3. Persistence isn’t always a good thing.

Shannan stated, “I’m so grateful to you for hanging around after pushing you away in the beginning.”

Facebook post by Shannan Watts

That may have seemed cute in the beginning, but Chris’ behavior could also have demonstrated that he did not respect boundaries. According to the blog Narc Wise:

“Using your boundaries through love bombing and hoovering, are how the pathological narcissist entraps you.

Your initial addiction to them is created by delivering on all your needs, wants and desires, and mindfully avoiding the opposite.

This is how they open the door and get you to step into their world of make-believe.”

(Narc Wise, 2018)

Perhaps Chris persistence more so linked to his characterization as a narcissist.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence could include violence between a husband and a wife, a girlfriend and boyfriend, or gay or lesbian partners. It could be violence between parents and children, adult children and elderly parents, or we could meet it between siblings (Rakavec-Felser, 2014).

The abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, verbal or financial, and although women between age 16-24 are more vulnerable, abuse can impact anyone (Swanson, 2019).

According to Swanson (2019), early signs of an abusive partner include:

  • Controlling / manipulative
  • Guilt trips
  • Threats
  • Intimidation
  • Isolation
  • Jealousy
  • Name-calling
  • Explosive temper
  • Mood swings
  • Throwing objects
  • Checking phone or email without permission

If you are considering leaving an abusive relationship, it is suggested that you end the relationship at a distance. While the abuser is at work or travelling, leave the premises and break up via text or email. Continue to maintain distance between you both as much as possible. If you do break up in person, do it in a public place. Have a trusted friend or family member wait nearby and bring a cell phone with you if you can. For more details on how to break up with an abuser, click here.

Sources

Narc Wise (2018): Narcissists Love Boundaries: Exposing the Truth

Swanson, S. (2019): Chris Watts confesses to killing daughters for first time: ‘I didn’t want to do this, but I did it’

Rakovec-Felser Z. (2014). Domestic Violence and Abuse in Intimate Relationship from Public Health Perspective. Health psychology research2(3), 1821. https://doi.org/10.4081/hpr.2014.1821