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I’ve prayed and I’ve cried

I have been making a conscious effort to work on my relationship with Christ. I have been in the church my whole life, but have not done my best on working on my personal relationship with God. Chase Rice has a song called Jack Daniels and Jesus, in the song he says, “I’ve opened more bottles than I ever have my Bible.” I can say with all certainty that I have opened my Bible more than I ever have any bottles, but I can think of a lot of things I have done more than read and study God’s word.

I have been having a lot of conversations about God, the Sabbath, and what God wants for our lives. These discussions have made me realize that I have not been studying and reading God’s word enough. God desires us to study, read His word and come to him in prayer. We can’t leave our relationship with God in the pastor’s hands or just get what we need once a week at church. I know that God desires us to have a deeper connection with him and we do this by reading and studying His word.

If you are like me you have a tendency to neglect your relationship with God when things are going right, but call on him and cry out his name when your world is crumbling. While working on my relationship with God I’ve been able to gain clarity and find peace with many situations in my life. These past few months I’ve done a lot of soul searching and a lot of asking God why. I feel like I’ve prayed and cried more than I have in a long time and I’m coming to terms with decisions I’ve made in my life as well as how I will move forward.

Whatever you need to do, do it! Pray, cry, scream, take a vacation, but always keep God at the center.

John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

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Coping with Stress

I read a quote recently that said, “It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” This is true in so many ways. Many of us do not know how to effectively cope with stress; I know I’m in that boat. Some of the negative ways we cope with stress is through Compulsive Spending, Emotional Eating, Self-Harm, Drugs, Alcohol, and Caffeine.

Compulsive Spending and Emotional Eating or in my case not eating are probably two of the negative ways I cope with stress the most. I like to shop whether I’m sad or happy so I definitely have a problem, but I do notice that when I am stressed, or sad or upset I’ll go buy myself a little something. I typically will buy candles, shoes, or a bag or two. I’ve recognized this behavior and tried to invest in stocks or do some research on stocks to counter this behavior.

Emotional Eating or not eating in my case is something that I struggle with. People will look at me and be like, “Oh you lost weight you must be exercising.” The reality of it is I’m probably not eating. When I’m stressed, sad, upset, or angry I lose my appetite and the thought of food just makes me want to throw up. This is probably one of the worst habits I’ve developed when it comes to coping with stress. It pains me to say this but I have recently found myself throwing up or dry heaving, which is something I never use to do. This is also the habit that I feel I have the least control over. I have tried to counter this by making sure if I do not eat I have a smoothie with some type of protein and nutrients. I also make myself snack on fruits and nuts to help get me through the day. I feel like throwing up or dry heaving is typically associated with some type of anxiety attack so I’ve started deep breathing. It might sound like something simple but it helps my mind focus on something else and has helped calm my nerves tremendously.

Self-Harm is probably the first negative coping mechanism that comes to mind for most people. For many people self-harm helps to release emotional pain or stress. Self-harm in my mind is more than causing visible physical injuries to your body. Self-harm can be using sex or pornography in a way that can hurt you or your partner. Self-harm can be not eating or over-eating, or pushing your body beyond its physical limits. I have coped with stress through self-harm and I know that might sound alarming, but it has not been in a way most people would think of. I will go out and exercise and push my body to its limits even though I haven’t eaten anything of substance in two days. When I push my body to its limits it seems like one of the few times that I have any type of relief from the hamster wheel my brain is on. Please don’t be like me. This is not something I recommend anyone do. I just want you to know where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going. I recognize what my issues are and I’m addressing them; I wish nothing but the same for you.

Drugs, alcohol, and caffeine can also be harmful coping mechanisms. I know some of you may be surprised to see caffeine in the same category as drugs and alcohol, but I feel like it just provides a more acceptable “high”. I also had a run in with caffeine that made me feel as if I was on drugs. Caffeine stimulates your nervous system and can improve your concentration as well as lessen fatigue, but these benefits are only temporary. I’ve always felt that too much of something can have a negative impact on your overall health. Caffeine is used as a crutch, it’s addictive and when you don’t have it the effects vanish causing you to want more. I’m obviously not an advocate of alcohol and drugs, but nor am I an advocate of caffeine. I’d just be leery of using caffeine to cope with stress or fatigue.

I don’t want anyone to feel pity for me. I share this information to let you know that you are not alone. God has equipped you with everything you need; read his word, pray, and practice effective coping mechanism and I have no doubt He will show up in your life in a mighty way. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your children, spouse, and other loved ones. You can’t pour into anyone from an empty glass.

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No one is coming!

I have been working on my blog for three years now and the one thing I have struggle with is consistency. Over 20 post are saved in my draft. The content below has been in the draft for the past year because I’ve struggled with knowing when I’m sharing too much. I have been struggling with controlling my emotions since becoming a mother and dealing with Post Partum Depression (PPD). This blog is my passion project and I have always wanted it to be a safe place for me to bear my soul. If you are dealing with anxiety, depression, or any form of mental or emotional instability I want you to know you are not alone. I also want you to know that no one is coming to save you. You have to put in the work to heal.

I wrote the words italicized below almost a year ago. One thing I realized is that I have not done enough since I wrote those words to make sure I was in a better place. Recently a friend helped me realize that I have been looking for someone to save me, and the reality of life is that no one is coming. Yes, people can help you along the way and you should have a support system, but at the end of the day you put yourself in a better position by working on YOU daily.

When I was recently asked why I needed to go to therapy, resentment was one of the first words that came to mind. Now that I’m thinking more clearly I can better articulate what caused some of the anxiety attacks, pain in my chest, heart palpitations and ultimately what added to the negative space I was in. I’m still grasping for all the right words and all the emotions I felt but let’s start with resentment.

I resented a few people and held hate in my heart. I’m not exactly sure at what point I got there but once I arrived I didn’t know what to do with those feelings. I didn’t come to terms with any of my feelings prior to Scarlett’s birth. Therefore, when she got here and my hormones were fluctuating and those negative feelings and intrusive thoughts came back I struggled. It happened for me around the six or seven month mark. I can remember because that’s also when my hair started falling out. I felt alone. I was angry at the world, and uninterested in work.

I edited some of the post as to not over share, but almost a year later I’m in the same place. In many ways I know I am doing a lot better. I have come to terms with a lot of things, but I have not done the work I needed to do daily to really pull myself out of a negative mindset. My biggest take away is that instead of dealing with these emotions and coming to terms with them I looked for other outlets to mask what I was feeling. I’ve wanted someone to come into my life and make me happy. I have been waiting on someone to come in and fix me and everything going on around me. Writing it down and saying it out loud really makes it sound foolish, but that is where I was at for a long time. Putting your happiness into someone else and giving someone that much control over your life is only going to lead to pain and heartbreak. Friends, family, a partner can only do so much. A lot of times people don’t truly understand what you are going through and don’t know how to help. If you’ve been like me please stop looking for someone to save you. Your life is not a Hallmark Movie Special. Develop good habits; mediated, do yoga, exercise, work on your relationship with God, work on your relationship with yourself, watch how you talk to yourself. Your mindset and inner thoughts affect your day to day emotions.

I’d like to end this post by sharing two of my favorite Bible verses:

Matthew 6:25-34: Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

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

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Diseases of Despair

So many of us are struggling and suffering. Even before the Pandemic many of us were struggling. I recently read a report that said drug and alcohol misuse were up and so were suicides and suicidal behavior. Researchers call these conditions “diseases of despair.” The interesting thing to note with these diseases is that they are not strictly medical.

Many of us were initially thrilled to be working from home and have our lives slow down, but after a while people began to miss the day to day contact. More and more people began to get laid off, wages didn’t rise with inflation, community ties were cut, churches were closed, and people were forced to spend more time with each other; all of these factors can be linked to diseases of despair.

People have turned to drugs and alcohol to deal with feeling disconnected from family and friends, to deal with other forms of loneliness, health conditions, and mental health concerns. A pass time that many people have enjoyed has turned into a crutch in our society. I have always felt that if I needed to drink or smoke or do any drugs to escape from my reality than I needed to change my reality. I do not have the answers that will help people cope with diseases of despair but I do know it can’t be found at the bottom of a bottle or with any drug.

Benjamin Miller said, “Diseases of despair are driven by a multitude of factors, some of which our health care system can address, some they can’t. But our systems are ill-prepared for documenting, following-up and treating diseases of despair.” This is one of the many reasons I believe it is important to have a community around you to support you and be there for you while you are struggling. Hold on to relationships where you are valued, loved, and supported.

I want to encourage you to find healthy ways to cope. Alcohol and drugs are never and will never be effective coping mechanisms. Get outside, enjoy nature, exercise, eat healthy, and focus on the things you can control. In the state of mind I have been in over the past few years I knew that alcohol wouldn’t help and drugs never do. Find ways to address the underlying issues. Some of us may have no idea what those underlying issues are, or we may be in denial about what they are and that is why I encourage you to seek professional help.

Sources: US News, Diseases of Despair’ Skyrocket in America, 2020, https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2020-11-10/diseases-of-despair-skyrocket-in-america. Accessed 24 October 2020.

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Mental Health

I wrote the following in December of 2020.

I’m finally back with another Mental Health Monday! These past few months have been mentally and emotionally draining, and I know many of you feel the same way. I just pray that you have been taking care of your needs first. As someone who has struggled with Post Partum Depression I can’t stress enough the need to take care of yourself! I know when I’m not in a good place and/or my energy is off it creates tension in the house.

Selfcare these past few months has been a lot more than just a bubble bath and alone time. I’ve had to find ways to relieve stress and tension in my body. I’ve tried to be more consistent with working out, but I’ve failed miserably. As my therapist has helped me realize it’s okay to fall off the wagon as long as you keep getting up. I’m still a work in progress and probably will be for years to come.

It’s hard to believe that 10 months later I feel as if my emotional capacity has shrunk! Who knew that was even possible? I decided to stop going to my therapist because I felt as if she was no longer helping and I’d find another one. Fast forward to October of 2021 and I haven’t seen a therapist in about a year and I definitely feel like I need to. I have a horrible habit of bottling up my feelings until they explode. If nothing else therapy helped me with that. It was my weekly cry session and if I’m honest I always left feeling better.

If you are reading this I want you to know that you are not alone. A lot of people are struggling with their mental and emotional health. Just put your best foot forward on a daily basis. Developing daily habits and shifting your mindset can go a long way!

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Wardrobe Staples

Just like a little black dress is a wardrobe staple, so is a black purse. My current favorite is the Coach Pillow Tabby! This bag is a literal dream. It feels so comfortable worn as a shoulder bag and looks good worn as a crossbody as well. I like to add a nice touch to my bags with cute bag charms. Coach not only has beautiful bags but make the cutes charms as well. If you’re looking to add accessories to your bags you have to check them out.

I’m a small bag kind of girl so the bags below are for all my mini bag lovers. I love a cute simple bag with just a casual outfit for everyday. Smaller bags also keep you from carrying a ton of junk you don’t need! Ladies, I know we’re all guilty of it.

The Coach top handle tote bag is so cute. It features a magnetic closure clasp and the Coach cherry bag charm adds a perfect touch. I’ll take the Michael Kors bag when I’m off for a date and just need something small to carry gloss and my phone.

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Holiday Gift Guide: Code Word Cozy

Most of us are lounging around the house these days in pajamas, loungewear, and cozy sweats with a blanket nearby. That’s what makes a cozy gift a great idea. Blankets, throws, sweaters, and pajamas are gifts that are used year around. I’ve linked some cozy blankets from Target, Amazon , Kohl’s, and Tj Maxx. Ross, Marshall’s, Walmart, and HomeGoods also have some lovely last minute cozy gifts.

This time of year is also a time for all things flannel and plaid. Hollister has some great options in this department. I love the Plaid Flannel Shirt, Boyfriend Fit Oversided Flannel (I purchased one for myself and love it), Oversided Flannel Shirt. I also recommend checking out their Reversible Sherpa Hoodie, Full-Zip Sherpa Hoodie, and the Half-Zip Sherpa Hoodie. Hollister also has really good sweatshirts and sweatpants that I’d recommend. They’re on the pricey side but they’ve held up longer than sweatsuits I’ve purchased from Walmart.

The last thing I’d recommend are denim jackets. Walmart has a few beautiful denim jackets that I can personally vouch for, I’ve also purchased good ones from Target. Outerwear like Jackets and Cardigans are always a safe cozy bet for the holidays.

The countdown begins, 3 days to go!

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Holiday Gift Guide: Missguided

Missguided is one of my favorite online brands. You get fashionable pieces at a good price. The links below are to items I love and would recommend for the fashionista in the family.

I love a good all white look. I feel like you look put together and fresh, plus they are easy to accessorize. The White Diamanté Corset Dress would be the perfect gift. It gives bad and bougie vibes and would be a perfect dress for New Years. The White Tulle Corset Dress would be a great New Years dress as well. To stay on the theme of white dresses I’d also recommend checking out the White Lace Up Side Dress and the White Tie Sleeve Skater Dress.

The Sean John Collection was a drop that I loved and it was something that made me nostalgic. I love the sweatshirts and matching items in this collection. If you need a coat or want to purchase one for someone special in your life I recommend the Tan Long Coat and the Cord Oversided Utility Shacket.

Please note all orders must be placed by 2pm Monday the 21st to be received by Christmas Day.

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Let’s Talk Therapy

Mental health directly affects your quality of life. I once had a supervisor tell me that poor mental health was the leading cause of low work performance. He then went on to tell me how it was important for me to have some activity outside of work that I really enjoyed because that was what would made work more enjoyable. Now that a few years have passed I would say I wholeheartedly agree with that. When I’m working on my blog, making time to pamper myself, and taking trips it truly makes work more bearable.

I know we have all heard of the mind body connection, but I do not think we truly grasp the importance of that connection. I have personally seen how that disconnect has affected me and the people around me. Your diet affects your mental health, let me say that again YOUR DIET AFFECTS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH. Having a proper diet affects your mental, physical, and emotional health. I know changing your diet may feel ominous but try it. I don’t mean eat healthy one day, I mean give it a real try. I recommend incorporating more healthy foods into your diet like; berries, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and bright colored fruits and vegetables. I’d also recommend monitoring the amount of salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats you intake. By changing your diet alone you will feel better and start to look better.

When you deal with mental health issues you often feel like your energy levels are low, and have problems focusing. Exercise is what I have found helps the most. Exercising not only helps boost your energy levels but can also help you sleep better, improve memory, and have a positive impact on your mental health. A walk, bike ride, or light jog can help release endorphins which help to relieve stress and tension, and boost your overall feeling. I can personally attest to this! When I have been at my lowest points exercise is one of the things that has helped me out the most. Instead of crying it out or stressing out, I’d work it out. I encourage you to join a gym, find a workout online or group classes you enjoy.

A somewhat taboo topic, particularly in the black community – therapy. You do not have to be crazy to need therapy, there is nothing wrong with going to therapy or getting help;you are not weak because you need therapy. It’s so disheartening to me when I think about some of the things I’ve heard when people cry out for help or say they need therapy. Please do not expect everyone to understand you or where you are coming from. Sometimes you have to do things for yourself! Find a therapist, psychiatrist, or counselor that you feel comfortable with. As many of you know I have been going to therapy for a little over a year. I initially started going due to Postpartum Depression, and I continue to go because I’m not where I’d like to be.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns feel free to send me an email or leave me a comment. Please share any post you’ve found helpful.

With Love, Amanda

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Self-care During the Holidays

Self-care during the holidays is particularly important as we often get lost trying to do for others. The most important thing that you can do for yourself and others is to show up and give 100%. In order to do that we sometimes have to dial back. For some that may look like a spa day, a day of no household chores, or simply being instead of doing.

Self-care can help alleviate stress and allow you to tackle everyday obstacles with more vigor. You will feel happier and be able to focus on task easier. As someone who has struggled coping with stress I can attest to the importance of self-care.

In the past I thought self-care meant painting, taking time to have a bubble bath, or just spending a few hours away from my little one. While those things are important and critical for peace, self-care is so much more.

I had to realize that self care was allowing myself to be vulnerable and feel free expressing my emotion. It took me going to therapy to feel comfortable doing so. I had to learn to practice self-compassion and did daily positive affirmations. I’ve used a guided journal for a few months now and have had to answer questions that really shouldn’t be that tough. One that really got me was, “What do you love about yourself? I encourage you to take the time to love on yourself and practice self-compassion and answer this question, “What do you love about yourself?”

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Creating New Holiday Traditions

Holiday traditions have always been big for me. I may not remember any of the gifts I received as a child but I do remember the family traditions and memories that were created.

Holidays, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas in a state where it’s hot most of the year can be hard. As a young girl I remember going up North and visiting my grandparents. The train around the tree every year is one of my favorite holiday memories.

This year I decided to create my own holiday traditions with my toddler. I decided on wreath decorating and though it would be something easy to do with her every year. She may not be able to talk put she does point and say a few numbers. I let her choose the ornaments, and flower colors. She was more excited about throwing the ornaments or as she calls them balls. As the years go on I pray we create some amazing memories.

Cheers to creating new traditions!

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Gift Guide for Naturals

If you’re natural like myself you probably have a ton of natural hair care products. Some of them worked and were amazing and others you used once and should have tossed but for whatever reason you’re still holding on to them. Whether you are newly natural or you’ve been in the game a while I have the perfect gift guide for naturals.

It’s important to know your hair type and what your hair can take. All the women in my immediate family are natural, but we all have different hair types and our hair does not react to the same products the same way. I know that my hair is thin and cannot take a lot of tension, particularly around my edges. I also have type 4c hair that craves hydration.

Now that I’ve stressed the importance of knowing your hair type here are some products that I recommend across the board:

  • Eco Style Gel (Olive Oil) – This is my holy grail product. I do not travel without this product and I keep back ups of it. I love this product for slicking down my hair and laying my edges. It’s not drying and pairs well with the correct products. One thing I do not use this product for is wash and go’s, it always flakes on me.
  • Pattern Beauty – I recommend this brand as a whole. My favorite products are the brush, spray bottle (amazing), conditioner, and hydration spray. This brand has products for different hair types and texture so they are bound to have something that works for you.
  • Jason’s Vitamin E Oil – I just love this stuff for my whole body. I use it as a moisturizer everywhere and it does not break my skin out. One thing about certain hair care products is that they may have a tendency to cause break outs, particularly on your forehead.
  • Urban Hydration – This brand is a newer brand to me, but nonetheless has products I love. The Honey Leave-On Detangling Spray is amazing. It makes it easier to detangle and leaves my hair feeling moisturized, it’s a must in my Pattern Beauty Spray Bottle. The Honey Laid and Slayed Pro Gel is another product that I’ve been loving. I do not use it as a gel to slick back my hair but I love it for wash and go’s, and finger coiling.
  • Cantu Shea Butter Maximum Hold Strengthening Gel – This gel holds the number two spot for me when it comes to creating a slick ponytail. I love that it doesn’t get rock hard, nor does it flake. This product will give you a nice smooth and moisturized ponytail.
  • White Rain – I’ve been using these products since my high school days. I love to add the Volumizing Mousse to my ponytails and I seal the deal with the Hair Spray.
  • Dove Amplifies Texture Leave-in Conditioner – This stuff is the truth. It has my dry hair feeling loved and looking juicy. I recommend this product to all naturals.

A gift basket would be the perfect holiday gift for the naturals in your life. I guarantee that they will love the majority of the products recommended.

Stay tuned for the next nine days of 12 Days of Blogmas.

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Postpartum Depression

There have been a few blog post that I have done that I’ve been extremely nervous about; this is one of them. Postpartum depression is something one in seven women experience. I want women who are dealing with it to know you are not alone and there are resources that are available. Please don’t be afraid to ask for help. Many jobs have some type of Employee Assistance Programs that offer free and confidential counseling sessions, there are also a ton of programs offered in the community.

According to the website postpartumdepression.org: Postpartum depression (PPD) is a serious mood disorder. Women who develop PPD have feelings of intense sadness, worry and exhaustion following childbirth. PPD is extremely common. Approximately one in seven women can expect to experience depression in the year following childbirth.

The first thing I think I should mention is that I did not start experiencing any symptoms until my cycle returned around the 7 month mark. I have always been an emotional person when I’m on my cycle, but these emotions were magnified to the point where I felt like I could not function. I realized that I was emotionally unstable and could not cope with the stress of having an infant, sick father (he’s better now), and still having to function as a human. I would literally be at work sitting at my desk and start crying. I couldn’t pinpoint one thing that was wrong with me that made me feel all the emotions, but I knew something was wrong.

Here are some of the symptoms I experienced:

  • One of the main things I experienced was sheer exhaustion. It didn’t matter how much I slept I was always tired. It was hard for me to get out of bed in the morning and I cried a lot because I felt physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.
  • The worst thing I experienced was the rush of emotions and heart palpitations. In the time that I have been dealing with this I have experienced extreme emotional instability. I would get intense waves of emotions and have panic attacks.

One of the worse things about dealing with postpartum depression is the feelings of inadequacy. I felt like I could not take care of my child the way she deserved and I felt like it was affecting her. That made me feel pressured to get better, but I did not have the tools or proper coping mechanics to do it on my own.

I reached out to the people around me for help first. It has to be said that you can’t expect someone to give you something that they are incapable of providing. I think a lot of times we look for what we are missing in things or people that can’t provide it or don’t know how to. I would encourage anyone who is dealing with any type of emotional or mental instability to strengthen their relationship with God and seek help.

My sister and a close friend encourage me to go to counseling. They were consistent with checking in on me and making sure I was taking the steps to become emotionally healthy. I was sent Bible verses that were uplifting and empowering and one of the most important things is that they listened. Emotional support has been one of the things that has helped me the most. I needed someone that I could talk to and that I trusted, thankfully I entered counseling and had a friend step up.

I encourage you to speak with your OBGYN and be open and honest about what you are feeling in some cases they may want to put you on birth control to balance your hormones, they can also refer you to a counselor. Whatever you are feeling there is no need to be afraid, you are not alone and there are people and organizations that can help.

With Love,

Amanda

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Jesus is the Reason for the Season

How many of us have found ourselves caught up in Christmas shopping and decorating that we forget the reason for the season? I’ll be the first one to say that I have. I had to be reminded of the reason for the season by a complete stranger while out Christmas shopping with Scarlett. I was given the book The Purpose of Christmas by Rick Warren. The older gentleman encouraged me to make sure I took the time to read the book with all the children in my house.

After reading the book I spoke with my nephew and asked him the purpose of this season and why this time of year is significant. His response, “To get gifts and because it snows.” I have to admit I was a bit disheartening by his response. Had we as a family been so caught up in the Holiday madness that we hadn’t stress the importance of the season.

I had to explain to him that Jesus is the reason for the season and I made sure I took the time to read the book with him. I’d like to encourage everyone to remember why this time of year is significant. Don’t get so caught up in the madness that we don’t teach our kids the importance of giving to others, our communities, and most importantly giving our hearts and minds to God.

With Love Amanda

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DIY Projects

This is the first DIY Project I’ve done in a while and I love how it turned out. I took a simple vase I had around the house and spray painted it and added some new flowers all for $20. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to add special touches to your house. As I revamp my house I’m excited to share all the special projects along the way.

DIY Project: Vase Revamp
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Mental Health

Today I found myself Google searching how long PPD last. I have been having a rough day and found myself with a lump in my throat, a pain in my chest, and tears streaming down my face. What triggered all this you ask? Being stuck with no car!

I’m currently in Maryland spending time with my child’s father and his family and I’m stuck at his families house with no car. I have to say being without a car is one of my pet peeves. I wanted to go get a mouse for my laptop so I could work without struggling to use the built in mouse. There were a lot of files I needed to have open and I needed to be able to easily swipe back and forth without the screen size shrinking and expanding! Unfortunately, when I finally made up my mind to get a mouse I realized nothing was within walking distance. Somehow all of that triggered what felt like a midlife crisis.

I found myself blowing up my mom and sisters phone to vent. I was upset that I was stuck, hungry, aggravated, cold, and emotional. I felt like my child’s father didn’t appreciate what I did on a daily basis or the discomfort I had to deal with to stay here for a week while I had to work. I was so distraught that I had to take the rest of the day off.

I eventually calmed down, but these extreme highs and lows aren’t something I experience before the baby. I realize that a lot of my problem is that I like to be in control but after the baby I felt like I was no longer in control. I now realize how important it is for me to go with the flow. It’s important that I realize that it’s okay if plans change, it’s okay if I can’t control every little aspect of my life. The important this is that I’m healthy and on my healing journey and that I have a happy and healthy baby.

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Big Lot’s Holiday Décor

I have literally been sleeping on Big Lot’s but baby let me tell you. I went recently and now Big Lot’s is one of my absolute favorite stores for home décor. They have a lot of home décor needs. I purchased my bedding, pillows, and some holiday décor and I could not be happier. The price was right and the pieces look beautiful in my house. I can’t wait to share more of my favorites with you.

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To My Best Friend: 10 Things I Want You to Know

  1. As you start your new life please know I’m still down for whatever. If at any time anything goes wrong I’m only a phone call away.
  2. I hope he fulfills your dreams and spoils you! Hopefully he does the cooking. “I don’t cook I don’t clean but let me show you how I got this ring!”

3. I hope you remember the moment you walked down the isle forever and I hope you remember the moment he told you how beautiful you were. May you always feel that beautiful! (It made me cry like a baby!)

4. I pray he listens to you when your down and does everything he can to put a smile on your face.

Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.

— Mark 10:9

5. I pray he understand what the bible says about love and makes you the happiest women in the world because you deserve it. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

6. I hope he reminds you everyday how beautiful you are and I hope he shows you with daily acts of kindness and love. May he always be patient, loving, and understanding. (If he doesn’t I’m a phone call away! Don’t worry I know the address I dropped a pin while I was there.)

7. I hope he supports your dreams and pushes you to reach new heights.

8. I hope he loves your flaws and imperfections and embraces them.

9. I hate to be replaced but I pray he becomes your best friend, your shoulder to lean on and cry on. I hope he supports you in the good and the bad times and never lets go of your hand.

10. Most importantly I hope he understands I’m not going anywhere. I hope he knows that if he ever hurts you that you have an army prepared to go to war for you, with you, or about you.

I am beyond proud of you Dr. Conley and I pray God blesses your marriage and every aspect of your life. From undergrad school to careers, babies, and marriages I plan to be by your side through it all.

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Debt Free 2020: March Update

I hope everyone on this get out of debt journey with me is doing well. I’m not doing as well as I would like but by the end of March I will have paid off roughly $6,000 in debt. I’ve managed to save an additional $2,000 that stays in my savings account. I do have other savings and investment accounts that I recommend you do as well. One way I have been keeping track of my payment history is by using an excel worksheet like the one below. I also have a calendar that list every payment that needs to be made until the end of the year. I find this extremely helpful. I have automatic payments set up for all my bills but now make every payment as soon as I get paid. This has just been what works for me. I encourage you to experiment and figure out what works for you.

Excel Payment Tracker

The good news is that so far I have paid off one credit card. One thing I wish I would have done is followed Dave Ramsey’s advice and used the debt snowball method. The debt snowball method in a nutshell is when you list all your debt in order from smallest to largest and commit to paying it off in that order. As you pay off the smaller debt the money freed up then goes toward paying those larger debts. Typically with the debt snowball method you pay the minimum amount on all debt and put any extra money you have toward paying off the smallest debt. If I would have used that method I would be done paying off three credit cards instead of one.

The route I chose is someone like the debt snowball method. I committed to paying off the smallest debt first, but I also tried to get as much as my debt as possible below half the credit limit. I’m not sure if that was the smartest thing to do, but that’s what I did. I recommend doing some research and speaking with a financial advisor.

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Debt Free 2020

One of my personal goals for 2020 is to be completely debt free. Please keep in mind I am not including my student loans in this. I know for those of us who have student loans they can be a huge burden. I recommend tackling any other debt you have first and then addressing your student loans. Typically the interest rate on your student loans is significantly lower than any credit card(s) you have. If you address the credit card(s) or other loan debt first it will be easier to tackle student loans at a later date. Please note when I say later date I DO NOT mean do not pay on them now. If it is in your budget make sure you’re on some type of payment plan or pay the interest every month so you’re not shooting yourself in the foot.

I’ve always enjoyed writing out a budget but I’ve never stuck to them. The first time I saved more than 5k is while I was pregnant with my little one. Something about having a kid motivates you to get it together. Yes, at almost 30 I finally became somewhat financially savvy. I say somewhat because I have a long way to go as I’m sure many of us do. But I digress, lately I’ve been using the budget below to help me get it together.

Monthly Budgeting Tool – 1
Click the link above

This budget is simple and easy! Click on the link provided and you can fill in all your expenses and change it from month to month. What I like about this budget is that it easily shows you your income, expenses, and what you have left over. Don’t panic if your expenses are more than your income. Look at the budget again and cut some expenses. Be realistic! Eating out may not be in your budget, nor may entertainment, clothing, shoes, or beauty expenses. One thing Dave Ramsey always says that has stuck with me is, “You don’t need to see the inside of a restaurant unless you work there.” Those small purchases really add up so keep track of every dollar you spend. The draft budget I filled out includes some red boxes that help me customize the budget to my needs or remind me of certain things. Please do the same with yours.


One of the next things I did was start reading books and listening to podcasts. I would also recommend finding sites on Instagram or Facebook that encourage you to stay on course. Having a community that holds you accountable is extremely helpful. Leave a comment or send an email if you would like me to create a community where we check in on each other’s progress and hold each other accountable.

The internet can be a beautiful thing if used correctly. One person that has helped me out a lot is Dave Ramsey. I’m sure most of us have heard of him, but may have never paid any real attention to his methods. I encourage you to read some of his books. Here are a few of his books that may be helpful: Financial Peace Revisited, Smart Money Smart Kids, The Money Answer Book, Complete Guide to Money, The Total Money Makeover Workbook. Please also take advantage of his YouTube channel. He is giving out FREE advise and it just might help you!

Disclaimer: I feel like this has to be said I am in no way a financial advisor, I’m just sharing what I’m doing in hopes to help someone else. Please do your research and do what feels comfortable to you. Food, water, and shelter are things that you cannot live without make sure your basic needs are met and credit cards are not tools to live on! I hope some of my journey and some of what I’m sharing can help you or motivate you to take control of your finances in 2020.

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A Tribute to My Father

A Message to My Baby’s Father

I cannot stress enough the importance of having a father in your child’s life. I often feel like I hear people say a women can’t raise a man, or boys need their fathers. In many ways there is truth to that but I’d argue that fathers are equally as important in their daughters lives. My Father is the first man I ever loved and was the first man to love me. My Father loved me long before I even loved myself or could comprehend what love was. My Father showed me how a man is suppose to treat a woman; and I don’t mean wining and dinning a woman. What my Father showed me is far more important then that. He showed me how a man is suppose to respect a woman, love a woman, provide for a woman and their children. My Father made sure we had what we needed, not wanted. I have few memories of him being ideal or allowing the weight/stress of family life to lie solely on my Mother’s shoulders. At an early age he ingrained in me values, skills, and principles that I carry with me until this day.

I wouldn’t say a woman chooses a man based on the type of man her Father was/is, but he definitely plays a part.

I’ve never met a man with my Fathers even temperament, work ethic, knowledge, and genuine love and respect for the people around him. My Father is by no means super affectionate, but he’s there when you need a shoulder to cry on, when your boyfriends been cheating with Keisha from around the corner, or when the weight of the world seems to be tearing you down. In my life seeing how my Father treats me and responds to me has made me more aware of how my Heavenly Father feels about us, loves us, and wants to see us prosper.

I say all that to say Fathers never stop loving your daughters! Even if they marry the man you said was no good, or have a baby with the man you told them would break their heart. As a parent I don’t think you ever really know the impact you have on your child’s life, but I have to say love and emotional support help your child be able to face all of life’s obstacles. I can distinctively remember one particular time in my life where my Father came through in a major way. Not to get too personal there was a time in my life (really one of many-once you learn to love yourself they decrease) when I made some bad decisions. I felt alone, depressed, suicidal, and a plethora of other emotions. By the time I took it to my parents I was at my wits end.

Moms are so in tune with their children that my mom knew right away what was going on and when I finally broke down gave me an emotional response. (As child I don’t think we realize that the decisions we make often affect our parents. I recommend reading Stormie Omartian book, “The Power or Praying for Your Adult Children. That book really gives you some insight into what parents go through.) I’m not sure what my mom said to my Father or what his first words were but I do remember him holding me and letting me cry and telling me everything was going to be all right. That is a moment that has really stood out to me. There was no judgement, no harsh words, just unconditional love.

Thank God for both my parents because they balance each other. What I get from my Father my Mother could never give and vice versus.

I say all that to say to my unborn child’s Father, you are going to play the biggest role in your little girls life. She’s going to see how a man should treat a women through you. You will be the first man she loves and you will be the first man to show her unconditional love. That is a huge task, a task I feel comes naturally to most women, but something a man has to work towards daily and has to pray to God to help him perform right. She’s going to look at you and want to imitate you! She’s going to pick up on your words, your actions, and your speech. May God give you the strength and wisdom you need! ♥️

Deuteronomy 6:6-9

6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart

7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.