As a Stay At Home Mom God’s Grace is My Super Power

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2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

As a stay at home mom (SAHM) of three children four and under, God’s grace is definitely my super power. The scripture above is one of my favorites because when I’m feeling overwhelmed and tired, I quote this verse and keep it moving. I know Jesus is my help. He blessed us with our babies and He has given us the grace needed to care for them.

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Our four year old, Elyssa, is a super energetic, happy, inquisitive,creative, helpful and talkative girl. She keeps me on my toes for sure.

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Our 22 month old, Elaina, is a nurturer, she’s also sensitive, observant, affectionate and a joyful girl.

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Our soon to be 9 month old son, Eddie VI, is busy speed crawling and discovering the world around him. He’s active, inquisitive and loving.

Eddie is doing a great job nursing, he has since the day he was born. He’s always latched great and my supply has always been high. I’m grateful to God that I had successful nursing relationships with all of my children.

As a SAHM, I where many hats and my job is never done. Some days are happy and productive. Other days are draining and completely unproductive. Some days the children are cooperative and happy and other days they struggle to listen, fight over every toy and whine about everything. My relationship with God keeps me going on the good and bad days. I can talk to him, mediate on his word, play some praise and worship music and know that He is with me and His grace is sufficient for me. I was created to be a great mom, not of my own strenth but of His!! It’s a great feeling to know that my Heavenly Daddy has my back. Hes leading and guiding my husband and I as we raise godly children. My husband and I are a great team and he’s a awesome hands on father.

So be encouraged mommies!!! You’re doing an awesome job. No one is perfect and no child is perfect but we serve a perfect, all knowing God, who promised to never leave us or forsake us. Rest in His peace and His promises!! And the next time the children do things to drive you up the wall, take a second to thank God that he blessed you with your children and ask him for a extra dose of His grace!! He’s faithful, he will give it to you!!!

The Lord WILL Renew Your Strength

Isaiah 40:28-31 NIV

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.   He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.   Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;   but those who hope in the Lord  will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

This post is for everyone currently believing God for something, whether big or small, know that God has NOT forgotten you!!

Sometimes when we feel like we’ve been waiting, standing and trusting for a while without seeing results, we start to doubt and grow weary. But we must remember that our time is not His time and He has a plan. He sees us, He hears us and He loves us. His word says NO good thing will he with hold from us.

Keep the faith. No matter what it looks like, feels like, what folks saying, what the enemy is whispering in your ear. If it ain’t the word of God, cast it down and keep it moving.

Our hope is in Christ alone. He WILL renew our strength if we keep trusting in Him. No matter how weak you feel, no matter how bad it looks, God is by you’re side cheering you on. My Pastor, Andre Butler, preached a awesome series titled, God’s Cheering For You.Imagine Jesus walking next to you, fist pumping in the air, chanting your name. JOANNA JOANNA JOANNA!!!

Lord, please renew our strength. Help us to keep going even when we feel faint. Thank you for making us to be like eagles. Thank you for your word and the promises of God which are true. We love you Lord and praise you in advance!!

A Mother’s Fear of Raising A Brown Boy in America

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My husband and I have the privilege and burden of raising a beautiful brown boy in today’s society. Our son is only four months old but I already cast down anxiety at the thought of raising him in a world that fears and hates him because of the color of his skin.

How do you tell your kind, intelligent and loving brown boy that some will fear him just because his skin is a different color than theirs. How do I tell him that no matter what he wears or how intelligent he speaks, some will pre judge him and see him as a threat.

How do we raise our brown boy to be cautious and aware but not afraid, angry or bitter? How do we teach him to love those who don’t value his life and are just looking for a reason to take it?
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How do we resist the urge to shelter him completely in a attempt to keep him safe? How do we ignore the fear that will try to creep up when he leaves to walk to the corner store or a local park to meet his friends? How do we build him up in a society that only wants to break him down?

While these are tough questions, in Jesus we must find our hope and peace. As believers, we are to pray over our children daily. We need to plead the blood of Jesus over them. We teach them that the word of God is true. We need to teach them how to be men of God. We teach them how to carry themselves in public and how to interact with those in authority in hopes that their lives can be spared. We educate them and teach them about God’s love, mercy, protection and forgiveness.

We teach them to be leaders and not followers. We provide them with peaceful, godly, respectful homes so that they won’t grow up to be angry, rude and worldly. We teach them that violence isn’t the answer. We tell them that not all cops are bad and that they are to respect authority.

Lord bless our brown boys. Lord comfort the Brown family. Lord bring peace and restoration to Ferguson.

My 2nd VBAC Birth Story

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This time last year my husband and I discovered that I was pregnant with our third child. Our youngest was only four months old so imagine the multiple emotions that all hit me at once like a mack truck when the test said POSITIVE!! YIKES!! My hubby started grinning and gave me a reassuring pep talk about how everything was going to be ok and he was right! My pregnancy was smooth sailing. My growing girl Elaina continued to nurse like a champ despite people continuing to say that she would refuse my milk since I was pregnant.

Now let me fast forward to the good part, the delivery🙂 I got induced just like I had with my other two birthes, I guess my body just doesn’t like going into labor on it’s own. My doula was in a accelerated graduate program and temporarily unable to take clients. My mom, who had also one of my labor coaches, staid home to care for our girls who were three and one at the time. It was just my husband and I in the hospital, patiently waiting our son’s arrival.

My first daughter Elyssa, was born via emergency csection due to her being in distress because the cord was wrapped around her neck. My second daughter Elaina was my first vaginal birth after a csection (VBAC) and I was planning for my second VBAC with my son. I signed the VBAC consent form and began my journey. My OB is awesome and very supportive so I wasn’t concerned about being pressured into having a unnecessary csection.

Things were peaceful in the hospital. My husband and I walked the halls some but we mostly watched movies and rested while we waited for the strong contractions to come. Thankfully I did not have back labor like I did with Elaina. Back labor was so uncomfortable and the epidural provided no relief for my back. My doc let me take a break from the induction meds so we could eat dinner and we really appreciated that. Nothing worst then being hungry and not being in active labor. It feels like things are moving so slow with no end in sight.

The next morning my OB broke my water and oh boy is that the craziest feeling. Your in bed with hot fluid continually gushing out of you. The contractions started and I got my epidural but then had a bad reaction to it and needed some quick simple medical intervention to stabilize my blood pressure. At around 3:45pm the contractions got really strong and I started dialating quickly. My husband teases me saying he knows it’s almost time to push when I start humming and singing during my contractions. I make a low sound while trying to breathe, focus and stay in control during the pain and pressure. Hey at least I don’t yell and curse during them right! I can’t believe that I’ve  actually never cried during labor. It’s like I have my war clothes on and I can’t afford to lose it.

My dad was home so he staid with the girls and my mom rushed up to the hospital right before it was time to push. My birth photographer made it on time as well and it was time to get the show on the road!! I was about to get my second VBAC and I was overjoyed!!

I delivered our son in six intense minutes!! There was a time when I thought I may not get to experience vaginal birth but I prayed, had determination and a awesome doctor and support system and God granted my request!! It was a awesome feeling to have everyone encouraging me and cheering me on as I brought my son, Eddie IV, into the world. We were all blown away when we disovered that he weighed 10.3lbs!!! My big healthy boy!! Thank you Jesus!!

I had a scary moment of unexpected blood clot issues but the doctors moved fast and quickly got me stable. I’m so glad my husband and mom were there with me during that ordeal. Everything with my son and I checked out great and I insisted on going home 24hrs later. I’m still so grateful to God for my granting me with another beautiful baby and the birth of my choice. Birth without fear!!

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As you can imagine I’ve been very busy being a stay at home mom of three children under four. I will be writing about my motherhood journey alot!! I love being a wife and mom!! My husband Eddie is a awesome husband and hands on dad, we make a great team!! In between jungling the kids, housework, time with hubby, time for myself, my family, friends, church and photography business, I want to write in my blog more. I love writing and thank you to those who read and share my post!!!

A Little Scandal Never Hurt Nobody

Shonda Rhimes is the brilliant writer and creator of several hit TV shows including Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder. I first became familiar with her work back in the day when I used to be big fans of Private Practice and Grey’s Anatomy. Those shows, I will admit, had their share of typical TV love scenes and drama but Shonda’s new shows have taken TV to a new level of raciness.

Shonda is an amazing writer and she has awesome casts so of course her shows are major hits. I love Kerry Washington, the star of Scandal. I think she’s smart, pretty, bubbly and talented. What blows my mind is that behind all the interesting suspenseful storylines and super cool cast members, are plots full of pornographic scenes glorifying infidelity, fornication and homosexuality, and yet it seems like everyone, saints included, are obsessed with these shows.

I was once a Scandal fan. I watched the first season and I was all in. I enjoyed watching Olivia Pope be the stylish fixer. I tried to ignore the infidelity aspect, though that was the heart beat of the show. Finally after continually having to fast forward through gay and straight sex scenes just to get through episodes, my spiritual convictions caused me to stop watching it all together.

How To Get Away With Murder is her latest show and the amount of graphic sex scenes and infidelity  just blows my mind. Again the plot, writing and acting had me pulled in but I had to continually look away because my saved grown married eyes could not handle the pornography that was being shown. It wasn’t long before I dropped that show too. Another one bites the dust!

I understand that most prime time TV shows have mild sex scenes and have gay characters and I need to figure out what’s benefitual for me to watch and what isn’t. What I’ve been doing lately is searching for wholesome entertainment and cutting the TV off more to read books and write. What I will not allow writers like Shonda Rhimes to do is desensitize me into thinking that infidelity is sexy, fornication is harmless fun and homosexuality is an acceptable way of life because my bible and beliefs tell me otherwise. I will no longer support TV shows that don’t support my beliefs and lifestyle.

I’d be devastated if my life was full of scandals and I found out my husband had cheated on me. I don’t want that life so why would I enjoy watching someone else have it? Infidelity isn’t entertaining, sexy or justifiable. Why do married couples enjoy watching this show together? And as followers of the gospel, aren’t we called to be holy and set apart? Watching this stuff isn’t helping us to be holy or set apart, if anything it’s giving us a blue print of how to mess up ourlives and get out of the will of God.

In a nut shell what I’m saying is, as Christians we must guard our eyes, ears and heart. We can’t let sin become entertaining and acceptable just because Hollywood wraps it up in a bright shiny box. We’re each accountable to God for our own actions so I challenge you to seek God regarding your entertainment (TV, movies and music) ask Him to show you what you should and shouldn’t be consuming. If you decide that you need to let go of somethings, be brave enough to be set apart despite what’s trending on FB or Twitter. We must fashion ourselves after the Word NOT the world.

Breastfeeding, Pregnancy and Housework OH MY! My SAHM Update

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I’ve had the privilege of staying at home with my girls full time for the last four months. While life has been busy, it truly has been rewarding and lots of fun. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to have my family and home be my main focus and responsibility. Many people believe the myth that being a SAHM means you get to lounge around all day, talk on the phone and eat snacks; where anyone would get such a ridiculous idea I have no clue!! For me being a SAHM means serving my husband and my children and taking care of home full time without the responsibility of full time outside work. Being a SAHM is work that I LOVE and ADORE doing most of the time but don’t get it twisted, it IS WORK.

Our girls are 2 1/2 and 8 months and it’s so cool to watch them grow and learn new things right before my eyes. Of course there is the constant challenge of learning to balance time with my husband, playing, teaching and disciplining the girls and getting things done around the house. Some days the laundry or the dishes don’t get done and I have to learn to be okay with that.

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To ensure that I get rest and stay sane, I wake my girls up early so that they can be tired at a decent time for a nap and have an early bed time. There’s lots of cooking, cleaning, bathing, playing, disciplining, teaching, cuddling, bathing, tickling, reading and arts and crafts going on throughout the day. I start my day running and by the end of some days I haven’t eaten much, my hair never left my scarf and my body is aching but I go to bed still grateful for the chance to be at home and not in the work force.

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Last November, my husband and I were surprised and overjoyed to find out that we were expecting another baby. Our youngest daughter was four months at that time. In the midst of my shock and mixed emotions, my awesome husband was happy and very encouraging. My husband reminded me that God was with us, we were a great team and everything would be fine. Now I am almost five months pregnant and everything with baby and I has been great. This week we found out that we’re expecting a baby boy!! We’re over the moon excited to welcome our son into our family this July.

To many people’s surprise, Elaina and I still have a great nursing relationship. It IS possible to nurse while pregnant. For me, nursing while pregnant hasn’t been any different from when I nursed my oldest daughter Elyssa. Many people, including one doctor, told that me that my milk would dry up soon after pregnancy and Elaina would refuse my milk but so far neither of those things have happened thank God. I believe that God will give me peace about when to wean her. My prayer is that she and I will both be okay with weaning when the time comes and it will be a smooth transition before our son is born.

The everyday challenges of being a SAHM plus being pregnant, nursing a baby and chasing a toddler makes for some very interesting, tiring days. But I most say that it hasn’t been as challenging as I thought it would be and I give all glory to God for that. God continues to give me the grace, energy, joy and wisdom needed to care for the girls and stay rested and healthy for myself and my son. The days that I have energy I pick different projects to do like cooking multiple meals, clean the house, do laundry etc, and the days that I don’t have energy, I care for the girls and make sure we’re all feed and safe lol. My husband is a great cook and has lots of patience so when I’m tired and short tempered, he steps in, cooks and cares for the girls while I rest. It’s a HUGE blessing to have a spouse who is helpful and selfless with a kind heart. I love you Eddie Willis III and I thank God for you!!!!!

As moms we go through different seasons in life, sometimes we work inside the home and sometimes we work outside the home; there isn’t a right or a wrong regarding this in my opinion. Being a SAHM is not for everyone and I would never say that all women should stay home with their children. Being at home full time requires a certain amount of grace and patience that I believe only God can give and it’s not for everyone! I have my Masters in Counseling and I know that my career days are not over. I love counseling others, helping them overcome obstacles and reach their goals. Let me just say that I loved my job. I was a Social Worker for nine years and I believed in the work that we did to help our community. The last year that I was working, I felt that the time was drawing near for me to close that chapter of my life for a period and start a new one. Now instead of heading to meetings and conducting sessions with families, I’m watching the clock to keep my girls on their schedule, helping them grow, learn and conducting playdates and I LOVE IT!

I’m finding that I have more time and energy for my husband which is awesome. On his off days, we spend time together with our children and without them. As I mentioned earlier, my hubby is a hands on husband and dad and he makes sure he helps around the house and with the girls. (He’s always fixing something to save us money. It pays to have a husband whose good with his hands!) He also pushes me to go out and take some “me time” or hang out with my girlfriends often. As you can imagine with me not having to deal with the stress and politics that come with working outside the home and him helping around the house, things have been pretty hott in the bedroom!!! That’s evident by our current bun in the oven! We’re a young happily married couple and we make time to enjoy one another! We’re determined not to get caught up in work and children and never take time to talk, laugh or love on one another. I desire him and he desires me. Team Willis all the way baby!!

I love photography and this past December I started my own business called J. Victoria Photography. I’ve worked with some amazing people and children and I’m having lots of fun! I’m still developing my skill and learning the business but I’m enjoying the process! I created a studio inside my home so I get to work from home doing a few sessions a week and it’s something I love doing so that’s really cool! I want my clients to have a great experience and receive good quality pictures at an affordable price. I’d love for my readers to “like” my J. Victoria Photography Facebook page and if you’re in Michigan, message me about our promotions and packages, please visit https://www.facebook.com/Jvictoriaphotography

If you’re a stay at home mom please be encouraged. I know some days you may not feel appreciated, hubby may not say thank you and the children may behave like wild animals, but tomorrow will be better. We must continue to seek our Heavenly Father and thank Him for providing us the chance to be home for this season and ask Him to continue to equipt us with everything we need while we are in it. Remember, you ARE a great mom and you ARE doing an awesome job!!!

Marriage, Motherhood and The Bedroom

I was watching The View and they were talking about how allegedly Tori Spelling’s experiencing marital challenges. Reportedly, Tori’s husband made a statement that black-couple-cuddlingthey were having marital problems because they weren’t having frequent sex now that they have four children. One of the ladies on The View stated that they’ve had four children in six years and it was odd that the husband did not think that having many children close in age would affect their sex life. This issue made me think about intimacy after parenthood. Often times it becomes challenging to find the time and energy to come together, but as married couples we must find a way to stay connected and pleasing to one another!

1 Corinthians 7:2-6 (Message Bible) tells us God’s desire for the marriage bed.

2-6 Certainly—but only within a certain context. It’s good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality—the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting—but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I’m not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence—only providing my best counsel if you should choose them.

My husband and I waited until three years into marriage to have our first child. We enjoyed getting to know one another and adjusting to married life before we added any little ones to the equation. We weren’t sexually active before marriage, therefore we wanted plenty of time to come together and love on one another without the responsibilities of children. Now we have two daughters who will be 3 and 1 this year. While our lives are forever changed for the better now that we are parents, our desire to remain intimate frequently isn’t as easy to accomplish with a baby and toddler running around.

My husband is always ready for the lovin to begin but I am often tired and focused on so many things that it takes me a moment to whined down and get ready. When I allow myself to be present and focus on our love, we always have aN amazing time of passion. For me it’s making the decision to give my husband my all and when I do I’m always glad that I did!! After 5 1/2 years we still got it!!

After speaking to several mommy friends, I’ve discovered that many of them feel the same way. But one thing none of us want to do is make our husband’s feel like we don’t desire them or have time for them. Husbands and wives need to feel adored and desired. No one wants to feel like they always have to beg for attention or that their spouse is often too tired.

With this being said, I developed a short list of ways for wives to communicate their needs to their husbands and ensure that they find ways to come together frequently despite the hustle and bustle of life and parenthood. Check them out and let me know what you think. Before we review the list I wanted to share that wives have high sex drives too and we want to please and be pleased. Husbands and wives both have a part to play in meeting each others needs. Husbands need to make sure they aren’t too busy or too tired for their wives emotionally and physically as well.

1. Communicate your need for rest, affection, sex, help around the house and with the kids etc. Often times as women, once we feel understood, appreciated and supported, we’re better able to relax and feel more comfortable in the bedroom.

2. Consider scheduling your lovin to ensure that you get it in. I know it may sound boring, but it maybe helpful if you and your husband are both busy with a lot on your plate. You want to make time for one another so that too many days or weeks don’t go by before you come together again. Sometimes for women, when we know tonight is the night, we can get mentally and emotionally prepared throughout the day. We can save energy and think sexy thoughts so that we’re geared up and ready when the time comes. Try it and see if it works for you.

3. Nap time is a great time. Times when you and your husband are both home when the children are sleeping, try to take advantage of the quiet house and sneak away to enjoy one another. It’s very helpful to try to get your smaller children on the same nap and night time schedule so that you’re able to get rest, have some me time and we time! Of course this is easier said then done, but with consistency and patience, it will work out with time. Sometimes you’ll have to send the children to their rooms and put on a movie. After everyone’s safe and secure, you two go in your room, lock the door and focus on pleasing one another.

4. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your extremely long to do list, talk to your husband about helping you in the areas of his choice. Example: Honey I’d love to be more available to you sexually, but by the time the children are in bed I’m so tired that all I want to do is pass out. Do you think you’re able to help me by taking a few things off my list during the week to give me some relief? You could pick a few things from the following list and it would be very helpful to me: cook a meal or two a week, help with the dishes, laundry, the kids bath time or homework. Continue to explain that if you two work together as a team and get things done, you will have more time available to focus on pleasing him and being pleased yourself.

5. Learn to turn off your “mommy mind” and relax. Yes there are bills that need to be paid, dishes and laundry that need to be washed and children that need bathes. This will ALWAYS be the case. The job of a wife and mother is NEVER done and that’s ok. We have to have peace knowing that everything won’t be perfect. Sometimes my husband seeks me out for lovin and I feel frustrated inside thinking “doesn’t he know how much work there is to be done,” or “he knows I’m tired,” but when I really think about it, what do those things have to do with us coming together? When we have needs of any kind, we are to try our best to fulfill those needs for one another without excuses and attitudes. My husband shows me affection and tries to help me relax. I desire him but sometimes sex is not on my mind so I say a silent prayer and I ask God to help me clear my mind and to give me energy. We must do whatever we need to in order to rock his world and allow him to rock ours! Our husband’s should never be last on our list; they need us and we need them. Sex is good and pleasing in God’s sight! So talk to your husband, figure out what works best for you two and GO GET IT ON!! LOL