5 Tips To Survive House Hopping On The Holidays

I love spending the holidays with both sides of our families but sometimes house hopping can be  a bit taxing. My husband and I were both raised to value family and we still get together with our family members to celebrate birthdays, promotions, new babies, anniversaries etc. Because we were both raised that way, I would feel horrible if we didn’t try to visit both of our families on the holidays, because I know it would mean so much to everyone to see us. I was thinking about tips that could help us and my readers this holiday season when it comes to house hopping. Here are a few things that I came up with.

 1. Get an early start

If possible, start your visiting in the early afternoon, whether the family you visit is prepared to eat or not. You can sit, fellowship and greet your extended family as they come in and get comfy. You could help finish the meal, take out the trash or set the table before you leave. If their’s time, stop back by this house later in the evening but if not, at least you made it by and showed the family some love.

2. Organize your locations

If you have several stops to make, make sure you organize each location to save time, gas and energy. If you have two houses on the eastside and one of the west, don’t go east, west then back east. Getting an early start and being organized with your house hopping strategy, will help you to enjoy the day and not feel as worn out.

3. Rotate whose mama’s house you eat dinner at and which you eat dessert at each year.

If your families serve their meals around the same time, you should rotate whose’s mama’s house you go to first each year. You want to make both mama’s feel important and try to make your holiday house hopping fair. Mama’s don’t like it when they feel like their children constantly pick their in-laws over them without trying to plan alterative times to visit. Try your best to show both families love; I know sometimes it’s hard. This leads me to my next tip.

4. Pick an alternate day to visit one of your families and have a holiday meal together.

Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter etc don’t have to be celebrated on their actual days. If house hopping is too taxing and several family members have multiple homes to visit, see if they would be willing to get together on another day (right before or shortly after the holiday) so everyone is less rushed. The holidays are more enjoyable when people have the time to sit down, eat and not have to continue to look at the clock.

5. Be grateful that you have family and friends to visit.

Unfortunately, many people are alone and/or hungry on the holidays and have no one to visit them or to go visit. Lets always give God thanks for providing us with loved ones, even if their crazy sometimes. It’s a blessing to have people to miss you when you’re not there and want to have you over as much as possible. Remember this when your trying to figure out a way to make multiple stops in one day, at least you’re loved.

HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY THANKSGIVNG!!!

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Thank Heaven For Our Little Girl

Yesterday at my doctor’s appointment, we found out that we were having a little girl. We were excited to know the sex and beginning preparing for our bundle of joy. I could hardly sleep the night before the appointment because three weeks earlier, we attempted to learn the sex but our princess was in the wrong position. We really wanted to know what we were having so we could properly prepare the nursery, pick a name, plan the shower and start gathering the needed items for our little one.

I am excited about having a daughter for many reasons but here are my top two:

1. I am a daddy’s girl 100%. My father was always there to protect me, teach me the word of God, discipline, support, encourage and compliment me. I knew I was his joy because he nicknamed me Joy. My dad has always spoiled me but also taught me good work ethic, how to carry myself as a lady and how to pick a good man to marry. My father has also been a great example to us regarding how a husband treats a wife. To this day, we have an awesome relationship.

I look forward to my husband having that same relationship with our daughter. My husband Eddie is very caring, giving, kind, loving, thoughtful, loyal, dedicated, hard-working and most importantly, he is a man of God, like my father. I can’t wait to watch Eddie love his daughter and show her what it means to be a great father and husband. He will also show our daughter how a real man of God lives his life. Our daughter is already blessed to have him.

2. I look forward to teaching our daughter how to be a virtuous, godly, strong, confident, classy, smart, sweet, thoughtful and successful woman. I can’t wait to teach her how to focus on her relationship with God and her studies and to not get caught up in peer pressure and boys. Our daughter will have goals, dreams and sweet spirit. I know raising children these days is tough BUT with God ALL things are possible!! We are anointed to be parents. God will give us the wisdom, patience and diligence needed to be godly hands on parents. Being parents will be the most fun and challenging thing we will ever have done but we are ready and excited for this new journey!!

If more women had had a father in their lives as young girls, I believe that they would not feel the need to dress half-naked to get attention, sale their bodies for money, have a bunch of babies outside of marriage, date married men, be angry, jealous, unproductive, immature or have low self-esteem. I’m not saying that every girl who does not grow up with a father will be like this but many women are negatively affected by being abandoned by their fathers. Every little girl needs a man who shows them respect, love, guidance, structure and direction. Every little girl deserves to be told that they are special, smart, pretty and loved.

For those who never had an active father in their life

If you’ve never had your father in your life or your children don’t have their father in their lives, you don’t have to worry. The Lord Jesus Christ loves you. He created you and He is ready and waiting to love on you and your children and make you all whole. We all have a Heavenly Father and His love is so great for us that he died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead on the third day. He knows are hurt, pain and disappointment. All we have to do is come to Him with open arms, give our lives to Him and watch Him clean us up and make us new!! Ask Jesus to come into your heart today, get hooked up a church home and I guarantee you that your life will never be the same!!

**Question for parents with daughter** What is the best part about raising girls and the most challenging?

This One’s Dedicated To My Friends

One of the marks of a good friend is how that friend inspires you and when they do, it inspires you to inspire them too. That’s what friends do. They inspire the best in each other~ Vicki Phipps

All week I’ve been thinking about how blessed I am to have such great friends in my life. Ever since I joined Word of Faith Church in 2002, I have been blessed with a large group of saved friends and to me those friendships are worth more than gold. Like the quote, my friends inspire me to be better and I spire them. It’s so important to have positive, productive and healthy people around you. If you hang around people who have no goals, no morals or values, you will look up and be a lonely sad bum, just like them. The best things my friends and I have in common is that we all love the Lord and are trying daily to walk according to His word. I believe that it is impossible to walk this Christian walk alone. We need to seek out the fellowship and friendship of other local believers and do life together.

I love that my friends and I can have a good, clean, fun time whenever we get together. No one is drinking, fighting or purposely trying to start drama! The other day my husband and I got together with three other couples for a potluck dinner and we had a great time. All the couples were married, Christians, one had just had a baby, another couple is having their baby this month and the other couple are newlyweds. We spent the evening laughing, talking and encouraging/loving on one another. I felt so proud to know these awesome men and women of God and I felt so blessed that God put them in my life. I feel this way about all of my friends, whether we go to the same church or not, they are a blessing to me because they add to my life and I add to theirs. Even though I don’t have a picture of all my friends posted, I still love and thank God for them all!!

Some people  in the world like to believe that young black people don’t go to college, they don’t get married, they aren’t sold out for God and they don’t know how to live healthy lives; well my friends and I are proving the world wrong! God has blessed me with friends who are SAVED AND SOLD OUT doctors, teachers, business owners, therapists, professional athletics, happy stay at home moms, social workers and the list goes on and on. My friends love God, they are getting married and THEN having babies in large numbers every year. I am godly proud of my friends for continually seeking God about their lives and their futures and making their dreams come true. Friends I love you, and this one’s dedicated to you!!!

 

Prayer for my friends

Dear Lord,

Thank you for my friends. Protect them today and always Lord God. Thank you that favor goes before them and prospers their way. Thank you Lord that they are anointed to do whatever you have called them to do. Help them Lord to have peace, patience and joy as they walk holy everyday before you. Continue to lead and guide them in all things. Lord send laborers their way to bless them with whatever they need. Show them how to be the best that they can be. Help them to feel your lovely presence and to desire to seek your face more Lord God. Thank you Lord for answering my prayer for friends. Help me to be the best friend that I can be to each of them, in your name AMEN!!

4 Reasons Why GLEE Is No Longer For Me

After I watched this week’s episode of Glee, I decided that this week was the final straw. I have been feeling uneasy about the show since the new season started and this week’s scenes helped me to remove the show from my DVR rotation. Glee used to be a fun young adult show about children in high school, enjoying the arts and going through teenage challenges. A few episodes into the new season, I decided to no longer support the show because:

1. Their pushing the homosexual agenda tough and I just don’t agree with that lifestyle at all. I don’t believe that people are born gay, I believe they were created in Christ’s imagine like the bible says. I don’t hate people who are gay, I just don’t support that lifestyle nor do I think showing gay or straight make out scenes repeatedly on a young adult show is appropriate. I would never let my children watch a show like GLEE. Which leads me to my second point.

2. The gay and straight make out scenes on GLEE have gotten completely out of hand!! Two female cheerleaders on top of each other in bed making out!? WTH!!  They constantly have episodes about the gay character Kurt and how everyone in the school hates him besides the GLEE kids. Just because someone does not agree with the gay lifestyle does not make them homophobic and it does not mean that they will participate in hate crimes against gays. I don’t love or hate Kurt’s character, I just don’t support his lifestyle. This week a male football player kissed Kurt on the mouth and is afraid to come out of the closet. The majority of the show was about homosexuality and how hard it is to be an out of the closet gay teen. I know these issues sadly are what a lot of our teens are going through and therefore they talk about it on this show BUT I don’t have to subject myself to the gay agenda, nor the young people around me.

3. GLEE is no longer a clean fun show for teens and families. I feel like they often show the teens in bed heavy petting and dry humping each other. The young man Marty in the wheel chair gave his virginity away to the “school slut,” and later felt major regret; that scene really disappointed me too. The fact that he showed regret was fine BUT WHY did that have to be written into the script in the first place? This isn’t 90210! The teens don’t have to sleep around with one another for the show to get ratings do they? In a day in age where teenage pregnancy, STDs and AIDS are ramped, WHY do we need to promote sexuality and promiscuity on young adult shows?

I know that sex sales but man has it gone to a whole other level. Sex isn’t everything and sex outside of marriage is hurtful, disappointing, lonely, confusing, drama filled and DANGEROUS. Sex outside of marriage is NOT glamorous and steamy, esp for teenagers, like the media tries to trick them into believing. There’s nothing glamorous about a dude taking your virginity, getting you pregnant and leaving you high and drive! I’m just saying this happens everyday.

4. The suggestive songs and dance routines continue to get more and more adult. The show takes place in a high school but it feels more like a college show. I know friends who no longer feel comfortable with their younger siblings (12-15) watching the show due to the heavy sexualized scenes and dance routines. I’m not saying the show has to be boring, or promote holiness, God forbid right? (yes I’m being sarcastic) I’m just saying there’s many types of music to sing and creative routines to do without having to constantly grind on each other and rub your bodies. It’s not cute GLEE!!!!

I erased the series recording of this show and a few others off my DVR last night. I’m learning to have boldness and obedience and no longer support things that grieve my spirit and that I know blatantly go against the word of God. If there is a gay character that’s appropriate on a show, that’s ok but when the shows push the gay agenda, repeatedly show gay and straight sex scenes and things get more wild by the episode, those shows will no longer have my support.

5 Months Pregnant & Daydreaming about Life, Love & Sex AFTER Baby

Being pregnant and able to carry a child is beautiful and honorable. My pregnancy continues to go smoothly and in a few days I will be 20 weeks, half way there! Time is moving fast but we are excited and getting prepared. As the days goes by and my belly grows, I continue picturing life as a mother. I imagine several feeds and diaper changes a day, less sleep and having to stay in the house for a few weeks until the baby and I are safe to go out. Also I imagine life without frequent sex with my hubby, less hanging out on late dates and less quiet moments in the house. In no way am I complaining, I am just being realistic about the things in life that will be different. I did not say no sleep, no sex (after the 6 weeks :-), no dates etc, I just said less. We planned this pregnancy and we were overjoyed when God granted us our request. Now its time to prepare for a baby not only physically and financially but mentally and emotionally.

The day I go into labor and deliver our healthy child (we haven’t found out the sex yet) life will never be the same. As I think about it though, life already will never be the same. I think about the baby always, when I get dressed, how I sleep and what I eat.  Here are a few adjustments that I have already had to make gladly for our little bundle of joy:

1. Frequent trips to the restroom.

2. Having to eat small meals every few hours or I will get a headache

3. The way I sleep at night and how much sleep I need.

4. Getting hormone headaches and not being able to take meds often.

5. Watching what I eat and basically changing my diet. No sushi, soft cheeses, hardly any coffee or pop, hardly any seafood or lunch meat, the list goes on about the food but I won’t bore you.

Last night at Word of Faith Southfield, we had a special service split. The men received a message just for them in the chapel and the women received a service just for them in the sanctuary. Our first lady, Min Deborah Butler, opened the floor for question and answer. One of the discussions was really helpful to me and the new season that I am approaching.

The question was from a woman who was newly married and had two young children. She was inquiring about how she could fit more sex into her marriage with two little ones running around all the time. Min Deborah gave her three helpful tips 1) get the children on a schedule so they get used to going to bed at a certain time every night. Train them to understand parents and children time and just parents time. Put them to bed and then you two go in your room, lock the door and get it on quietly. 2) Sex doesn’t only have to take place at night, have sex in the morning before they wake up or other alternate times of the day. 3) Find another couple with young children that you TRUST and take turns watching each other’s children so both couples can have some alone time together.

I found these suggestions helpful because sex is a big part of marriage and by the time the baby comes we will have been married for 3 years. That means 3 years of enjoying each other whenever we wanted (hey were all adults here! lol) As the baby gets older (2-3 months) and we start to adjust to parenthood, we will need to start going out on dates and caring for one another’s needs, just like we do the baby’s needs. Life is busy right now with work, church, family, friends, house work, cooking, taking care of each other etc; now with God’s grace and mercy, we will add a healthy happy little one to the mix. We serve an awesome and faithful God who will give us wisdom, mercy, grace and patience and we have a great support system full of family and friends. I am curious about what life will be like but I am excited, hopeful and confident that we will learn, grow and do just fine!

If you enjoyed this blog post, I encourage you to subscribe to receive emails regarding future post. The subscribe button is located at the top left corner of the blog. Once you enter your email and hit “sign me up,” you will have to open your email and confirm the subscription. Thank you in advance for your support. Also please email the blog link to other ladies https://joannawillis.wordpress.com

No Wedding No Womb Part 2: Clarity and What We Can Do To Help

Yesterday’s post on the No Wedding No Womb Campaign received a lot of hits. A few ladies posted some insightful thoughts on the campaign as well as what they thought about the message that was being promoted. I admit that I am new to the NWNW movement and can not profess to support something that I have not researched in detail. I changed the title of yesterdays post from “Why I support the NWNW Campaign” to “The NWNW Campaign.”

While the founder of NWNW is not coming from a Christian perspective, I still feel that she is promoting positivity in the black community and trying to raise awareness and help people to have standards when it comes to relationships, sex and parenting. I belive that just because an organization is not Christian based does not mean that Christians can’t receive little nuggets from the message the organization is promoting.

The campaign is not preaching abstinence and is not coming from a biblical perspective but at least NWNW is trying to educate and encourage the black community as well as assist in preventing unplanned pregnancy. The org is also promoting two parent homes and that is something that the black community is severely lacking. I was told by one single mother who follows the founder of NWNW on Twitter, that her message is negative and depressing to single mothers. I am not sure if this is true because I have only read a few articles on the NWNW website. What I do know is that we aren’t helping single parents by putting them down or passing judgement on them. It is only by God’s grace that all of us who have had sex outside of marriage, did not conceive children. All children are a blessing and a gift from God, no matter what circumstance brought them into this world.  Passing judgement, tearing people down or trying to scare teens into not having sex will not work as productive long-lasting preventative measures.

I do not believe that every couple who has a child together should get married but if people were selective in who they date and had a standard to require a wedding ring before giving up the goods, more children would be born into committed two parent homes. We as a people need to have self respect, standards with regards to relationships and concentrate more on our futures and purpose in life than we do our outward appearance, material possessions and whose hooking up with who. AIDS and STDs are real and they affect the black community more than any other population. Sex isn’t worth dying for. It is best to not have sex before marriage  (read 1 Cor 6:18-20) but if you can not wait, you MUST use protection.

 There are many different components that factor into when and why people start having sex and if those issues aren’t addressed, young people will continue to be sexually active, have children outside of marriage and possibly won’t be able to receive the No Wedding No Womb message.

  • What sexual messages teens are exposed to in their home, through the media and while their out with their friends (viewing pornography) will determine how they see themselves and how they value sex.
  • Many young people are surrounded by friends, family and others in their communities that aren’t married and have multiple children. Viewing this can make young people feel like having sex and babies outside of marriage is normal.
  • When young people have been abused sexually, physically or verbally, they can start to look for love in all the wrong places and find themselves pregnant or getting someone pregnant. They weren’t trying to have a baby, but in the midst of being sexually active, a baby was made.

The question becomes, are campaigns like NWNW affective in reaching these young people who have been exposed to so much and may have unhealthy views on sex, pregnancy, parenthood and marriage? The campaign maybe affective for some and not for others. 

Each of us can do the following to promote healthy holy living: single people can spread the news to others that is ok to be single and you can be healthy, happy and content in your singlehood. Single parents can continue to give their children their all and be dedicated examples. Single parents can admit that life with children and no partner is difficult and not ideal, and teach those around them how not to end up being single parents. Those that are married can promote stable, healthy, long lasting godly marriage because many people in our society never get to see that. Everyday each of us are walking billboards. Ask yourself, what are you promoting? Pray for those around you, witness to your family and friends, let them know that God loves them and wants whats best for them. Share your testimony of how God brought you out of difficult situations and made you whole again. This is my purpose in life, to spread the good news of Christ through sharing my testimony and lifestyle with others.

The No Wedding No Womb Campaign

I recently discovered the No Wedding No Womb Campaign and I have much respect for the message that Christelyn D Karazin is promoting to the black community. Ms. Karazin is the founder and organizer of No Wedding No Womb! (NWNW) an online initiative to address and find solutions for the 72 percent out-of-wedlock birthrate in the African American community.

As a social worker supervisor, daily I work with my staff to teach life skills and parenting skills to single mothers. Our clients are getting younger and younger and it saddens me to see a 21 year old woman with four children; the mom doesn’t have an education or a job, she doesn’t receive any child support from the fathers and limited family support. I believe that majority of women today do NOT know their value or their worth. If women knew that they were MORE than baby makers, they would have standards, take pride in their lifestyle and know that they deserve to be happy, healthy successful and loved, not hurt, angry and abandoned to raise babies on their own. The cycle must stop!!

I have a lot of respect for the NWNW campaign because their trying to educate the black community and break the cycle of black children continuing to be born into single parent homes. We must teach people about the importance of healthy relationships, monogamy, marriage and planning to have children. Gone needs to be the days of hooking up with people and shortly afterwards discovering that your pregnant. That behavior is dangerous, irresponsible and unfair to the children that continue to be born into broken homes. I am not saying that all children born into single parent homes are neglected, but studies show that children benefit from two parent homes. Every relationship/marriage doesn’t work out as planned but at least some people try to make those relationships work, even though they fail.

Here is a little information about NWNW:

  • What Is No Wedding No Womb?

No Wedding No Womb is a primary call directed to the black community to take action against the rampant births of children who are born without physical, financial and emotional protection.  It is a call for accountability for both MEN and WOMEN to be mindful of the huge responsibility and privilege they have when bringing a child into the world.

NWNW is a double entendre.  The phrase has two meanings.  The primary meaning of “wedding and wedded”, of course, is the marriage ceremony.  The secondary definition means “devotion.”  I chose “womb,” because that is the life source of children, it is the place that feeds, protects and nurtures the child.

  • Does No Wedding No Womb Seek to Bash Single Mothers?
  • Absolutely not.  NWNW calls for both MEN and WOMEN to put the needs of children first, and advocates that couples abstain from having children until they are emotionally, physically and financially able to care for them.
  • What gives you the right to do this?

I’m a baby mamma’ LISTEN TO MY MISSION: 65535 NO WEDDING NO WOMB-2.’  I do this for my daughter, and my daughter’s daughter, and all the children of our future.

To read more about NWNW and discover the answers to the questions below, please checkout the campaigns website

http://www.noweddingnowomb.com/

  • When you say, NWNW, are you saying that everyone should get married?
  • Is this just another abstinence program?
  • Are you bashing black men?
  • When you say, “No Wedding No Womb!” are you advocating that women get abortions?
  • Aren’t you being  judgmental?

**QUESTION** What do you think about the campaign? What do you agree of disagree with? Do you think the campaign will be affective?

If you enjoyed this blog post, I encourage you to subscribe to receive emails regarding future post. The subscribe button is located at the top left corner of the blog. Once you enter your email and hit “sign me up,” you will have to open your email and confirm the subscription. Thank you in advance for your support. Also please email the blog link to other ladies https://joannawillis.wordpress.com