Book Review: The Wait by Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin

Before I get into my thoughts about the book “The Wait”, I want to share the background on why I chose to read this book. For a few months… actually a few years now.. God has been dropping the subliminal hint that maybe I should consider celibacy in dating.

After numerous heartbreaks, I decided instead of dating society’s way, I might as well try it God’s way and see how I felt. Sure, why not?

So I pursued my personal relationship with God. It was a testing time, but it was rewarding. I learned a lot about myself. I learned about  my worth as a woman, my worth as a person. God’s love filled my heart. His love healed my past emotional wounds. It was empowering, to be in love with how God made you, and be content with what God gave you. 

Then God placed my boyfriend into my life. The ultimate test, because in a short amount of time we went through a lot of crap together. I met my boyfriend at a stage where he was coming back into his faith. God really pushed us away from each other because we weren’t ready, but we’re both so grateful for everything we went through. It makes you think some people are content with hurting you– you can say this hurts me and they won’t change. While others will acknowledge hurting you and make the effort to change– because a person’s heart is what’s most important. My boyfriend will say that I pushed him closer to God. But God did that, not me.

My boyfriend and I learned that we live on God’s time, not our time. We want it now. God says later. That’s why patience is important. Now that God brought us back together, we’re stronger than ever– with friendship and Godly love being the foundation of our relationship. My boyfriend and I are “waiting”– to respect and honor God, and respect and honor each other. We push each other towards God, and it’s really amazing.

I was really excited to read this book because celibacy is NOT easy, AT ALL, no,no,no, no, no, so I needed a testimony– I wanted to feel inspired by reading Megan Good and DeVon Franklin’s story.

I was definitely inspired in a lot of surprising ways!

 

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Book Review: The Wait

The Wait: A Powerful Practice for Finding the Love of Your Life and The Life You Love by Meagen Good and DeVon Franklin, gives readers so much more than I expected. The media of course focuses on the celibacy thing, and that’s a huge part of it and why it works. Yet there are more powerful messages in this book. The book is an easy read, I read it in a day. I appreciate how vulnerable the authors are, it is not all good times and happiness, but they talk about what they struggled with as well. The book is real and raw. I loved reading it! I even gave a copy for my boyfriend to read. He enjoyed it too!

Four things I love about this book:

  1. This book is not on about waiting for sex, but waiting in general. Patience. Something our generation lacks (me included). We are a generation of instant gratification. The book touches on patience with your career, with finances, and yes patience in dating. Our generation thinks love is instant, but it’s not, it takes a while for you to get to really know someone. So we shouldn’t rush it. We can rush it with the wrong person and be stuck. For life. Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce but the majority of marriages today are couples under the age of 25 and/or couples who get married after only dating for a few months. Many things fail because we rush into with without understanding it.
  2. Relationship advice. DeVon makes a claim that marriage fails because we don’t date the right way. The book offers a lot of great relationship advice. If your goal is to be married one day, it offers great guidance on how to know if you and the person you are dating are compatible enough for that next step. It offers insight on what exactly should we really be looking for in a life partner.
  3.  It has a guy’s perspective. I think men are criticized more for being celibate because society often defines a guy’s manhood on sex. This ideal that real men pursue sex constantly, how can they live without it? That’s kind of insulting to think that a man has no self-control? I digress. In the Wait, there is a whole section where DeVon speaks to the men. If women, money, power status makes you a man– you will fall as soon as one of those things falls. DeVon pokes at the insecurities of men in society today, and helps men overcome them and be more empowered. He gives a real definition of what it is to be a man. Clearly, a lot of men in my generation need to take notes.
  4. Empowered my decision on celibacy. Yes I am a Christian honoring my body for God, but the book made me feel very empowered in my decision and also very badass! If I can do this. I can do anything!

My grade: A-

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Book Review [A Book For Creatives]: “Show Your Work!” by Austin Kleon

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Show Your Work: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon is a quick read, you can probably sit down and read it in an hour. However, don’t let the size fool you, this book is filled with a lot of great informationfor creatives trying to make a living out of their art. Show Your Work gives tips for the “starving artist”; it also is a great guide for people who are passionate entrepreneurs. The book is inspirational, but without the fluff, it is very to the point. The chapters are two or three pages long, with drawings and photographs, which makes reading the book go by so much faster. Definitely a must-read for creatives, or anyone who is passionate about branding themselves and starting a business. It is not a necessarily a step-by-step road to success guide, somethings will apply to you and some may not. Yet, the book is like a great pep talk, Kleon gives 10 easy tips on why and how you should share your art with the world. Kleon really understands the struggle of creative artists, because he is one. Reading through the book, I often said to myself, “How did he know I was thinking that?!”.

I will definitely keep Show Your Work on my bookshelf and refer to it often as I try pursue my side passions. It is also a great book to give as a gift to a fellow creative!

My Grade: A+

 

Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

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Room by Emma Donoghue is a book that will capture your heart. You have to be soulless to not feel something after reading this book. It’s a story about a five-year-old boy named Jack and his mother “Ma”, who have been living in a small room with no contact to the outside world. His mother was kidnapped and has been living in this room for seven years long before Jack got there. In her captivity she finds purpose as Jack’s mother. The mother and son relationship is the basis of the book.

Donoghue decided to write the entire story from a five-year-old’s perspective, making the plot less tragic and more inspiring. There are thrilling moments in the story, which makes the book a page turner. However, it was Jack’s innocence and growth, as a character in his circumstance, that intrigued me as a reader.

I recently saw the movie and I loved it! Go Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay! The book does have more twists and turns than the movie though. I’m guessing for sake of time since the movie is two hours long. I would read the book before or after seeing the movie.

I give the film adaptation an A+.

I give the book an A++.

Book Review: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

 

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Bad Feminist is a collection of essays by Roxane Gay. Her essays are a combination of personal accounts and crafty critiques on our culture. Gay’s arguments are smart and witty. Although I do not agree with every point Gay made in her book, I still value her opinions. I couldn’t put the book down, I was so interested in what Gay had to say.

Gay’s humor in the book is a plus. It also makes her stories relatable. I lost count at how many “GIRL, I FEEL YOU” moments I had reading this book. Gay is a great writer. She engages the reader in her personal accounts to the point that you feel that you are right there with her. In her critiques, she highlights the great strides women have made in our culture while also seeing the opportunities the feminist movement misses. Gay writes these essays not only as a woman, but as a woman of color. That alone is refreshing.

Bad Feminist also made me put a lot of thought into the word feminist. A word that is both powerful and soft.  There is a need for the feminist movement in terms of equality, and reminding society how AMAZING women are, in a world that often puts women second. Yet the feminist movement often leaves out the injustices that occur with women of color. There is a lack of understanding and therefore a lack of effort for racial injusitce. Feminists should focus on race more. Inequality is inequality, don’t focus on one and dismiss the other injustices. A tech entrepreneur once told me, “Being a woman and being black is like a double unicorn. I have to push twice as hard for my breakthrough.” This is why I think Gay’s book is needed today. It’s a different kind of book–not only for women but for men also. It was more relatable to me than any episode of Girls on HBO could ever be.

I give the book a B+.

 

 

“Thank God for the Bad Ol’ Days!”

​”​Like a plant that starts up in showers and sunshine and does not know which has best helped it to grow, it is difficult to say whether the hard things or the pleasant things did me the most good.​”​ ​–​Lucy Larcom

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Have you ever heard someone say “thank God for this horrible day/week/month”?

Or someone refer to Monday as their favorite day of the week?

It’s in our nature as humans to complain.

It’s normal to not be grateful when something bad happens to us.

Yet, we can change our perception and the way we go through a bad time in our lives.

It’s beneficial to change one’s perspective on bad days because they are inevitable. So your mindset is the only thing that will limit bad days.

Here is my guide to turn “bad days” into “growth days”:

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1. FIND REAL “PEACE OF MIND” 

People think being at peace means a comfortable life with no worries. However, life never calls us to be comfortable. We are never promised a life with no hardships. Everyone has struggles or moments of discomfort. It is actually in that discomfort that change, growth and greatness happens. We are pushed to take risks and go outside of our “comfort zone” in order to be great.

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us –they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation.” – Romans 5:3-4

People often preach that they enjoy being pushed out their comfort zone, but do they really? We are pushed outside our comfort zone often, but people usually complain about it instead of embrace it. The truth is getting pushed outside of comfort zone is not that inspirational, it’s annoying, it disturbs our definition of peace, which is a stress-free life. Living “stress-free” is an illusion. But we can live a less stressful life–and that begins with YOU.

“Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.” – Francesca Reigler 

REAL PEACE OF MIND is trusting yourself, and trusting God, that everything will work out in your favor despite discomfort, despite your hardships and turmoil. When you build a better relationship with yourself and a better relationship with God, you start to take the right risks, you believe that the bad days will one day work in your favor.

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” – Unknown

2. EMRACE BEING OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Risks are uncomfortable. Taking the right risks are those which may not bring you peace at the moment, your intuition might even be in turmoil– but the right risks will bring your heart, mind, and soul peace in the long run.

“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

It is easier to take risks when we are young. The older we get, the more comfort we desire. We live our lives chasing comfort– the perfect job, dream house, and the perfect husband or wife, not realizing that life will throw you curve balls in order for you to grow. We never stop growing, therefore we will always have new challenges and obstacles.  Growth is essential for greatness. Growth is what brings a fulfilled and purposeful life.

“Life’s challenges aren’t supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”- Bernice Johnson Reagon

3. BE FEARLESS

You can’t fear. You can’t fear death. You can’t fear love. You can’t fear hurt. You can’t fear having a bad day. Because all these things are inevitable so why fear them? Fear only hinders you from living.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Hellen Keller

The day you become fearless (not YOLO kind of fearless but nothing can stop me from being great type of fearless) is the day you start to live a full life. 

“My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” – John 10:10

4. FIGHT THE FEELING OF SELF-PITY

Loathing in self-pity, makes you miss out on the good opportunities. When we drown in self-pity we block things like love and happiness, which makes us miss them when love and happiness do come along. Trusting that God is working in your life is like finding new self- confidence and strength.

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

5. HELP OTHER PEOPLE WHEN THEY’RE HAVING A BAD DAY

How can you make someone else’s life a little better?

It often makes us feel good when we do good to others. A lot of people suggest to volunteer when you’re having a bad time. Because GIVING makes you feel good. Put your heart in it. Positivity has this ripple effect that comes back to you.

“We rise by lifting others.” – Richard Ingersoll

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SO SMILE! YOU’RE HAVING A BAD DAY!

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Embracing the bad days does not necessarily mean be happy that you’re having a bad day, it’s having the peace of mind by knowing that your struggles will bring about something great. We can’t live life playing it safe. We can’t go through life numb. We have to experience life. Enjoy both the highs of life and the lows of life. Live passionately. Be humble. Be bold. Forgive those who hurt you. Learn from your bad days. And you’ll see that it is easy to be thankful for the bad days. Enjoy every. single. moment. of every. single. day. Life is teaching us many lessons. 

“Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

Asking the Question: “What Is My Purpose in Life?” + Giveaway

Six months ago, a friend from California sent me a Purpose key. She told me that someone gave it to her because she was searching for her purpose, but now she has found it she decided to pass it on to me, and suggested that once I’ve found my purpose I should pass it on to someone else.

I pinned the “purpose key” to my vision board, along with my goals, and didn’t think about it again.

Until today…

I recently glanced over at my vision board, saw the key, and knew that after numerous times asking myself, “what is my purpose in life?”, I finally knew. I finally knew the answer to that infamous question.

I had found my purpose a while ago, without even realizing it.

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THE “AHA” MOMENT

Every person I’ve talked to who has found their purpose has usually found it to be a “duh” or “aha” moment.

I read inspirational books. I spend lazy Sundays binge-watching Ted Talks. I also follow people like Deepak Chopra and Oprah on Twitter. All has helped guide me, but none have helped me answer the question “What is my purpose in life?”. Ultimately it was me who had to open my eyes to what my purpose was. I had a hard time finding my purpose because it’s not something that you go out and look for in a book or YouTube video, it’s something that you pray/ask/meditate for, and it finds you.

Because one’s PURPOSE is: 1. Simple and natural (nothing they had to learn how to do) 2. Tied to something greater than yourself (like helping others, standing for a cause, or sharing your talent in order to serve God, serve others, better the world.) 

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THREE THINGS TO REMEMBER IN SEARCH OF PURPOSE

Everyone is different, therefore everyone’s purpose is different. Yet on your journey to find your purpose remember these three things.

  1. No need to look anywhere else, just inside self. You were born with your purpose, it is already in you, you just have to discover it.
  2. Let God guide you. I know I’m speaking on a very spiritual level. Yet if you’re asking yourself questions like “What is My Purpose in Life?” you’re probably a more spiritual person than you think. That is a deep question. And it requires us to go deep within ourselves to look for the answer. Yes God helped me find my purpose and God is the only one who can help you find yours. Like an inventor who is the only one who really knows how his “invention” works and why it was created. God created you, and it was no accident, He created you for a purpose.
  3.  The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment. I used to tie it to selfish motives. I used to ask self-centered questions like “What are MY goals, MY dreams, MY wants?” Your purpose always involves something bigger than you. It’s not about you.

Because when you ask “what is my purpose in life?” what you are really asking is “what can I do with my time on earth that is important?” 

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WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO FIND PURPOSE?

Have you ever heard someone say they’re living a “purposeless” life? It usually means they’re feeling down and worthless. Knowing your purpose gives your life meaning. Knowing your purpose simplifies your life, you realize life was never complicated, everything happened to bring you to this moment. Knowing your purpose focuses your life so you won’t get distracted by minor issues. Knowing your purpose motivates your life.

It gives you a sense of peace and fulfillment.  It makes you stronger. It also helps build a relationship with God (which to me has been the most rewarding part!).

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P.S. Almost everything pinned on my vision board has come true and I’m eight months into 2015. So I think this key can definitely help you! I WANT TO GIVE AWAY MY PURPOSE KEY! So comment to be entered to win and let me know if you feel like you may need it. I would love to send it to a reader! 🙂

My Big Three: Best Teeth Whiteners

I debated whether to name this blogpost the “Best Natural Teeth Whiteners”, but I realized that these three products have whitened my teeth better than any product out on the oral hygiene market. I’ve tried everything–whitening strips, whitening mouthwash, and whitening toothpaste. All were effective for a couple of days, but the results were not mind-blowing. It is also so expensive to keep up with all of them that I would quit after I finished with the products and go back to my regular toothpaste.

Now with all these whitening products coming out on the market and taking over every celeb’s Instagram, I thought, there has to be a natural way to whiten your teeth. There is!

After some research I stumbled upon these three natural, effective, and inexpensive whitening methods. You may have one or two in your home already!

BIG THREE FOR WHITENING TEETH NATURALLY

  1. Coconut Oil – You may have heard of a method called “oil pulling” where you swish around coconut oil in your mouth for around 20 minutes before you brush your teeth. I tried it and it works! Coconut oil pulls all the toxins from your mouth and improves your overall oral health. Tip #1: Start from 5 minutes a day then work your way up. Tip #2: Do it at night. Tip #3: You can swish and do something around the house so the time can go by quicker. Tip#4: Do not gargle.
  2. Activated Black Charcoal – I use this on top of my toothpaste. This actually works best because of charcoal’s natural properties. It takes all the toxins from your mouth and whitens your teeth with its first use! Warning: This may get messy. Also: Make sure it is all natural. You can also mix with water to get rid of toxins in your digestive system– stomach bugs, food poisoning, etc.
  3. Pure Backing Soda – I use this on top of my toothpaste. It removes surface stains to make teeth appear whiter.

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I switch off using these three methods and products. Very easy and effective, and not burning a hole in my pocket.

Let me know of any whitening methods/products you use, I will add it to this post!

*Disclaimer: I don’t drink coffee everyday. I don’t drink red wine everyday (but I love red wine). This may or may not disrupt your whitening goals. You can think of alternatives to both; I drink coffee and red wine in moderation.*

Find YOURSELF, find your JOURNEY, find your PURPOSE… and fall in love with ALL of the above.