Great Families Inherit Work

It is another day and another laundry list of to-dos.

You wake up every single day and the list just gets longer. If I can be honest, I admit that at times I get upset when I start to think about how much there is to do each day. Recently though, I had a real “come to Jesus moment.” All my murmuring and complaining about work landed inside the ears of the wrong persons…my children. My daughter actually said that she didn’t desire to do the work that I do because “that is all Mommy does and she is always mad.” Wow, that really hurt. I realized that I was not being a good example of what it means “to work unto the Lord.” As a result, I could be shaping my heirs to desire little or no labor at all. Such desires will ruin their inheritance. Working is a part of their inheritance.

If you think of inheritance as only spiritual, financial, material, or physical then you are missing a very important aspect of the process of posterity. Endowments, good health, heirlooms, and integrity will certainly pass on to the next generation. Yet, you also need to know that the work involved to receive and preserve these items is also carried forward.  The children of families that desire for these benefits to continue will receive the mantle of MORE WORK. Think about the patriarchs of the Bible and the prominent families in your culture. King David. President John F. Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Princess Diana, and Rev. Billy Graham. Look at their offspring today. What are they doing? Working. Continue reading

Parenting the Stages of Life

It was over a decade ago that my oldest child changed our world. I remember leaving the hospital on that July afternoon in my brown, cotton sundress walking slowly towards the exit door as my husband carried our baby girl in her car seat. The reality of parenthood swept over me.  I recruited help.  First mom visited, then my mother-in-law, then some help from the sisters at church. Eventually, the help ran out. I had to face the fact that parenthood means you have the duty. And so began my mission to successfully accomplish milestones.

I don’t find it the least bit reassuring that the word milestone has a close similarity to its cousin millstone which means to have a heavy and inescapable responsibility. Did I ever use the word milestone before I became a parent? Parents never just look at the next step in development as a success, we are focusing two – three steps down the road. For that reason, I don’t think I ever celebrated her milestones.

Fast forward ten years, two boys added to our brood and many gray hairs in the front of my head, I am facing yet another milestone. She is now about to transition to her middle school years. I have been praying about this for months. I was having a conversation with my godmother when she said, “Jenesis only has seven years left before college.” Suddenly, I felt like I was behind the power curve. Stories of how middle school transforms our children began to create fear in my heart. Then one morning, the spirit of the Lord encouraged me to get excited about this time. Look at what she has accomplished in her decade of existence. I thought of her friends, teacher comments and many projects. I remembered when she cringed in fear at the Talent Show in 1st Grade. She held me in a death grip on the floor in front of the stage when her name was called to perform. My thoughts went from concentration on the elapsed time to focus on how I am the very best person for the job of facilitating her next move. Her life (as well as that of her brothers) has meant so much to my discovery of my purpose in this earth.

We, mothers and fathers, are given the responsibility of raising children to help bring about favorable outcomes for them. Call it what you will. As for me, parenting takes laborious effort. Yet, I am finding that intentional effort makes all the difference in whether your child reaches her milestones in due time. You should celebrate when they do.

It is graduation season and everyone is looking towards the future. What about the time in between the close of the last door and the opening of the next? Perhaps, you are not the parent of a graduate, but you are facing just as important a transition with your child. Maybe your daughter is having her first baby? Is your son about to start a new job? Here are some ways you can parent them through their passage to_________ (you fill in the blank).

Reflection is Good for the Soul Back in March, Victoria Beckham was deemed an “internet troller” for embarrassing her son, Brooklyn, in several photos posted to social media. Referencing the proud mother’s shameless gush over her son in post after post, Hollyscoop’s announcer @MADDISIONHILL93 stated, “Parents. How would anyone know about our accomplishments if we didn’t have them to brag about them for us?” I loved the truth in that statement. Brag on your child. We give parents a hard time because they brag. You should celebrate children. More importantly, brag to your child. Remind them of what they have done and retrace the road they have been on that has led them to the place they are today.

ACTION ITEM: Keep a large binder of their report cards, good grades, photos, writings and artwork. Sit down with them and flip through it. Afterward, have them write their own vision/purpose statement or draft a personal CV reflecting on their life experiences rather than on their held positions.

HOW IS THIS USEFUL? Children need to be directed to their life track. You want them to live their life. By showing them how they have lived to date, you are helping them re-center. This is also useful for your older children. You can’t imagine how thankful they will be that you helped them to remember the things they loved as children. It may just refocus their life’s purpose.

Model the Way It is a fact that we are our children’s first teachers. We influence their faith and their actions. Actions speak louder and resonate with children like no other message you give. Consistency with them is important. Stop with the sermons. (I am talking to myself here.) If you want them to practice good values for their lifetime, you have to model them before them. They will carry forward what you show them more than what you told them.

ACTION ITEM: Spend at least one period a month demonstrating something with your child like a new project or teaching a new skill such as how to make a certain dish. Memorize a Bible verse each week. In addition to reading a bedtime story, show them how to pray. Make a list of things that have been practiced at home (such as curfew). Practice consistency.

HOW IS THIS USEFUL? When your child does leave home, they will likely continue doing the things that they have practiced with you as well as what they have watched you do. Your rules at home will extend to their neck of the woods without your physical presence because your character presence before them has made an enduring impact.  

Be Village People As much as our children would like to think that they know how to pick friends, judge and listen to the right voices, they don’t. Parents, you have to introduce them to how to discern safe people and build community among like-minded supporters. You must encourage what my friend Natasha Robinson, author of “Mentor for Life: Finding Purpose Through Intentional Discipleship”, calls “village” experiences. You want your child to gravitate towards life partnerships that encourage them to be their authentic self, value their unique gifts and encourage individual goal achievement—–PARENT THEM.

ACTION ITEM: Help your child list the characteristics of a friend and a safe person. Introduce them to people who can serve as mentors in their lives such as a professional in their desired career field. Invite their friends over so that you get to know the people around them. Read together the book, Touching the Holy: Ordinances, Self-Esteem, and Friendship by Robert J. Wicks. Talk to them about creating safe boundaries and how to protect their environment.

HOW IS THIS USEFUL? God created us to be relational people. Even after your child leaves home, they will need people. They need to know how to build a village and protect their fort. This will benefit them in the long run. Your child must know what belonging looks like and be able to cultivate healthy relationships. Help them understand that peculiar (1Peter 2: 9) is extraordinary.

I pray that this helps you look forward to the next stage in your child’s life with peace and reassurance.

Prayer: Thank you, Heavenly Father, for life and the blessing of progression through life’s stages. In a time of transition, let us recall Ecclesiastes 7:8 that reminds us that the end of a thing opens the door to a future reward.

Congratulations to whom it is due and best wishes on your achievement of this momentous milestone!

CELEBRATION TIME, COME ON!!!

My Write Path: “It is Not Too Late for You (or Me)”-Episode 2

I said this is the last episode of My Write Path and it is worth repeating, people are often curious about progression.

Since I started this blog, I find myself reading the posts of other bloggers wondering about their “success path” and trying to follow their timeline.  But as I shared in the last episode, my sitting, reading and watching their work was hindering my own progress.  I am not pointing the finger at them.  I am very much to blame.  I was spending so much time on the sidelines that I wasn’t putting action to what I learned from dissecting their stories.  I read and I listened in on the webinars.  I admit, I kept wishing I had started a long time ago.  I found some old piece of my work in a journal and thought, where would I be if I had gotten off my tuff then?  Well, I am so glad that God heard my foolish thoughts and told Jeff Goins to send me this message, It’s Not too Late.

Why It’s Not TOO Late For Us To Become Writers

I am actually a subscriber to Jeff Goins’ emails but I missed this recent message from him about Sandy.  He was announcing that he would be releasing a 3-part interview he recorded with Sandy Kreps, a student of his who founded the popular blog modernsimplicity.org and recently became a published author.  I had not opened the email yet.  But then I saw two message from another influencer of mine, Jonathan Milligan, who mentioned these same videos with Sandy Kreps.  When Jon sent his message, it made me think, “you probably want to go back and take a look at this if Jon has mentioned it twice now.”  So I did.

jeff-goins-and-sandy-kreps

I actually downloaded the transcript for the first two videos before I watched them.  (Jeff really knows how to do it doesn’t he?)

After I watched them both, I went back and read the transcript of the first one specifically because I was intrigued by Sandy’s timeline on her way to becoming a professional writer.

So here is what I gathered:

  • Sandy, a full-time wife, and art director gave birth to her first child in 2005.  (That probably means we are about the same age.)
  • So in love with her first child, she dove into the world of mommy blogging in 2007.  Her first son ignited the “blog spark”.  But she only considered it a hobby.
  • She was laid off her job in 2010 and wanted to stay home with now two boys because her husband traveled a lot.  She still needed income.
  • The lay-off fanned the “blog spark” into a burning flame while unemployment checks provided a bit of kindling.
  • She signed up for the first Tribe Writers Course with Jeff Goins in 2012.  Meanwhile, hubby is not so sure about all the social media stuff that is going on.
  • She spent 2007-2012 teaching herself “the ways of a professional writer.”
  • With the support of the Tribe Community, she released her first ebook on Amazon called Fresh Start.  More book ideas followed and she just keeps writing.
  • She attended the Tribe Conference in 2015.  During the conference, her table talk manifest into a JUST DO IT challenge and she finished the book she had gotten stuck on in 90 days.  One month after finishing the book, Mommy Simplicity, it was published and on Amazon.  She went from stuck to a book published in print in 120 days.
  • Today, Sandy Kreps is a Lifestyle Business Writer full-time.  She has four books under her belt, 12000 email subscribers, blogging business and repeated writing income.

What the success of another person should mean to YOU

If you are able to read this post and look back on Sandy’s story like I did, guess what?  YOU ARE ALIVE!

The timeline was important to me because it spans eleven years from the time her son was born until today.   Which speaks to the beginning question that Jeff asked in this video series, “Can this still be done today?” It’s never too late.

I paid particular attention to the point Sandy made about the years from 2007-2012 that she spent “teaching herself”.  I think intelligent creatives really think we can “figure it out.”  I read something in Jonathan Milligan’s blog that made so much sense to me regarding our sensation with “gathering information.”  He says, “education without action is futile. I see it first-hand all of the time. People take courses, but never take action.”  When I think how relevant that statement is, it stings like a hornet.

In October 2015, I participated in Michael Hyatt’s virtual stream of his Influence and Impact Summit.  Since that week in OCT last year, I have listened to about 25-30 webinars from professional bloggers and creatives who are using the gift God gave them to get their message out to many.  I wish I started then.  I’m convicted of being a bystander.  However, I plead NOT GUILTY of sitting on my gift.  Not Anymore.  It’s Not Too Late for Me.  You Either.

I’m On My Write Path.

Q.Nikki

This post is dedicated to my loved one who have believed I can write and prayed for me to believe it too!

How the faith of children strengthens adult faith

Ten-year-old classmates, Simon and Jenesis lagged behind the rest of us as we approached the front doors of the school.  I looked back wondering what was taking them so long.  Simon had previously expressed that he didn’t want to go to school and his mother said that he had had a difficult morning.  I could relate to Simon because my early morning hadn’t been so great either.  I should have expected the unnecessary distractions.  I triumphed despite that.  It is #BringYourBibleToSchoolDay.  We pressed on.live-it

When Simon and Jenesis came around the corner to the school door, they both were showing each other how they were going to hold their Bibles in their hands as they went to class.  They barely seemed to notice their mothers standing by to wish them well on their day.  I watched as they disappeared through the double archway of the school hall heading toward their class.  Jenesis on the left and Simon on the right both nodding heads as if to say “let’s do this”.

MOTHERING IS A TOOL

Motherhood, for me, has up and down seasons.  There are days when I feel like I want to close myself up in a closet because I get so overwhelmed.  There are other days when I can pat myself on the back and say, “Girl, you done good.”  Today, I am a good girl.

When I told my children about the Focus on the Family campaign, neither of them declared that they wouldn’t do it.  I thought about the fact that in this day and time, my reality could have been that they were uncooperative.  Children today tell their parents what they are and are not going to do.  No, my children were eager to see who would participate in #BringYourBibleToSchoolDay.  And lucky for me, they were surrounded by classmates and friends of like faith.  No wonder Psalm 127:5 says “blessed is the man who has his quiver full of them.”  Children keep you sharp in your faith.children-and-religious-freedom

MY CHILDREN, YOUR CHILDREN, ALL CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE

Our nation should pay close attention, these warriors won’t back down from a challenge, campaign or conquest.  The future is theirs and you better know that they plan to LIVE IT WELL!  Today, they are shining their light in school hallways, tomorrow on Capital Hill.
margaret-mead

Did you know about #BringYourBibleToSchoolDay and did you and your family participate?  Share it with us in the comments.

Who do you choose to follow?

I have a new like.  It is not a love yet but I am beginning to like it very much.  I like Twitter.

You see I only joined Twitter a few months ago.  I joined the same time that I started this blog.  It seemed like the right thing to do at the time in order to build a following.  I am learning along the way.  Initially, I only had about a dozen individuals and organizations that I follow on Twitter.  And although I had chosen to follow them, I wasn’t really paying attention to their Twitter feeds.  Many of those I chose were selected because “I like them.”  Last week, I joined the Twitter following of a role model of mine and I was skimming her page when I discovered a mystery.  (Let’s see if you can figure out who I am talking about?)  She is one of my most beloved women in leadership.  Her Twitter profile description simply says “Just a girl…with a sword.”   She has over 229K followers on her personal Twitter account and goes beyond with additional followers on her ministry account.  Yet, she only has 60 people that she follows.  As I browsed the people and organizations in her list, it was a very telling experience.  I would assume (though I may be wrong) that she only chose to follow people closest to her for those people in the Covenant 60 listing are family members, like-minded leaders in ministry and her favorite influencers/artists.  I wanted to Tweet her right away and ask “Why only 60?”

Girl with a sword’s Twitter page reminded me of a teleseminar I attended a little while back with The Christian Mompreneur NetworkTheresa Ceniccola advised the participants of that seminar to narrow your focus.   She said, “if you are listening to too many influencers, delete or unsubscribe.”  That was a key point in her message that day on Promises, Prayers and Practical Steps: How to Build a Business While Raising a Family.  What really struck me is that she offered each listener to “drop her” as an influencer if you didn’t feel that she was resonating with you and who God was using to help.  That was a humble and significant action step I thought Theresa shared that day.  And while I didn’t stick with her advice of only three influencers, I did delete some people and subscriptions out of my inbox that week because I realized that there is truth to “having too many people in our ears.”  Theresa’s advice was so meaningful to me because it helped me realize the intent of following isn’t just about “liking” or “connecting” as it appears in social media.  Social media has made following more about how many tags or rather tag-a-longs we can collect.  We need to reorient the act of following back to its definition and that is to pursue after, come after what or someone who proceeds you; accept the guidance, command, or leadership of.  Following also means to be guided by and move along the path of something or someone gone ahead of you.  The word “pursuit” really speaks to me because I truly believe that you should pursue what you love.  With that in mind, I have adjusted my followership to people, organizations or causes that I love.

I have chosen to apply the Covenant 60 rule to my Twitter page.  I am currently about half-way there.  I invite you to visit my Twitter page today.  As you browse through this small list of people and organizations I follow, you would learn about the music I love, that I am a student of leadership, I am up to date on local news, I advocate and root for family, education and female role models in ministry and I have friends.

As you read this blog post, please know that I am NOT judging your management style or use of Twitter.  Rather, I want you to take to heart the art of your pursuit.  The celebrity world is changing our mindset about followership.  Followership is defined as the reciprocal social process of leadership.  But we need to rid ourselves of the idea that you have to work to grow the number of people in that circle of reciprocity.  It is a covenant ring and you should use wise judgement in who you choose to invite inside the circle.

Are there any tips you have to choosing who to follow?  Share it with us in the comments.