Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Preggo Update

I figured I would do a little post over on this blog regarding my pregnancy. Since not everyone tunes in to my strictly preggo blog. For more info click here

So Here I am 28 weeks pregnant and starting my third trimester... I figured I would share my highlights in a preggo tag style.

How Far Along: 28 weeks....sheesh that went quick

Size of baby: 16.5 inches and 3 lbs.

Total Weight Gain: 25 whopping lbs...lol
Pretty normal so far! But hard to swallow. Figure I will gain 35 in total

Gender: Boy oh Boy!

Movement: He was extremely active for the first 25 weeks.  Now he seems much calmer! I have been praying for a calm son...lol

Sleep:  Finding it difficult to get to sleep.  Having crazy dreams.  The other night i had a dream about worms and maggots. It still gives me the heebie jeebies thinking about it! 

What I miss: Not much...preggohood has been filled with perks! I am sure once its over I will most look forward to my prepreg body!  Pencil skirts here I come!!

Cravings: Salty,spicy. Or fruity candy!

Belly Button: Well popped now...Phil'sbury doe girl in the house!

Symptoms: Not too many to date...experiencing some swelling now.

Best Moment(s):Gender reveal party! so hilarious!  Daddy's first felt kicks as well as my daughters!

Worst Moment: Week 6 & 25 scares.  One was a threatened miscarriage, the other was preterm labor scare.  All is well now!:)

So there you have it. 28 weeks down...12 to go!
Something's I am looking forward to:
Going away with my hubby mid may
My Baby Shower
Setting up the nursery
And my PW friend and her daughter coming to visit!

Virtuous Woman

Being virtuous is something every Christian woman in her right mind strives for.  We all desire to be like Ms P31

She can even be a little intimidating at times...but a hero to women through and through. It has been said she wasn't even a real woman but a collection of women.  Either way we all admire her or consider her our nemesis!

This past weekend we has a bridal shower at church honoring a dear friend and sister in my church.  Everything about this sister screams virtuous!
And it got my thinking how virtuous is my life? How much of Mrs P31 can I see in myself? How much of her can you see in yourself?

Granted she is not there to become a carbon copy of...as some of her tasks are a bit dated now.  But the essence of who she is needs to radiate from every christian woman, young and old.

I found this modern day version of the Proverbs 31 woman by Darell Cresswell. Enjoy!

I have written a modern-day translation of the Proverbs 31 woman. What makes a woman special is her relationship with the Lord. It matters not if the Proverbs 31 woman is a wife or a single mom, a godly woman serves her family because she serves God first. Her strength from God lies in the devotion to her family. She is the epitome of virtue as grace is her foundation and her strength.

It is hard to find the perfect wife
She is worth far more TV, sports or an I-pad.

A husband depends on his wife.
With her by his side, he will never be poor.

She cares for her him all her life.
She never causes him pain and heartache.

Her duties are both inside and outside the home,
She is a wife, mother, and business woman.

She shops for the best bargains even outside her neighborhood,
She delights in saving money for her family.

She wakes up early in the morning,
She makes breakfast for her family and takes care of the pets.

She is sensible with her money, and contributes financially, if needed.
She invests in her family’s future spiritually.

She works very hard to be an example of godliness.
She is strong in character and able to do all that is required of her.

She is industrious, finishing what she starts ensuring
That all the needs of her household are taken care of.

She is kind and giving to those less fortunate than herself,
She reaches out to help those in need.

 The seasons may change, but she does not
She always provides for the physical needs of her family.

 Her inner strength from God brings her respect,
She trusts in God for her future.

Her words are filled with insight,
Her compassion moves others in kindness.

Her home is where her heart is,
She dutifully cares for it.

Her children voice their appreciation,
Her husband praises her, saying
“There are many good women,
But there is none like you.”

Beauty can fool the eyes,
But a woman who respects the Lord is to be praised.
Her beauty comes from her relationship with God,
The world will see God’s work of grace in her, and she will be honored.

* Hope this inspired you like it did me!
Below are some photos of the Virtuous Shower  we held in honor of Miss Arietha

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Heal my Deepest Need!

A couple weeks back I was reading one of my devotional reading plans.  It was all about healing, which for me is a HUGE topic of study as I suffer from pretty bad eczema.

One of the devotionals began to discuss that physical healing isn't always the healing we need to be praying for.  That we can be wounded in other ways and don't even know that could be affecting our lives greatly. The devotional greatly inspired me and caused me to switch my prayer request from constant "heal my skin" do "Jesus please heal my greatest need" whatever that may be.

As I began to pray this prayer a variety of other needs more pressing than my skin issues began to fill my mind.  Things that I didn't even realize were greater needs for me to be healed from than my skin.
Now I don't always believe every sickness is linked to some sort of spiritual curse...at the end of the day we live in a fallen world with fallen sinful bodies...we can't really expect perfection.

However I  have bound and rebuked every possible curse to mankind over my body...prayed countless prayers and never got one drop of healing to my skin.  But since I began to pray this prayer of "healing my deepest need" my skin issues seem to be non-existant.  Albeit they are still there and as bad as usual but my perspective has changed making my physical ailments much more cope-able.

I do pray that one day I do experience physical healing, but firstly I want Jesus to heal me of what I need healing from the most! :D

Whats your deepest need? I encourage you to ask God what you need healing from!

Christian Lies

3 of the most common lies told by Christians in church:

Nice to see you...
I'm good...
I'll be praying for you...

When I first heard this in a stand up  comedy act,  I laughed and laughed.  Sadly I think we have all told one or all of these little lies...intentionally or not in church.  The one that struck the strongest chord with me was "I'll be praying for you".

One of my favorite quotes states "the kindest thing you could ever do for me is pray for me"
So to think that the majority of Christians take praying for others lightly is very sad to me.

When I first became a christian I would go over to this couples house for "Intercessory Prayer" on Thursday nights.  A group of us would get together and lift up the needs of people and our church.  It always left an impression on my heart and inspired me to be an intercessory prayer warrior.  I wanted to be that person that people knew would pray for them should they ask.  I wanted to see God move on behalf of my prayers.

I recently got the revelation that God created us  to carry each others burdens not our own.  There are things I have prayed for myself for, for what seems like forever with no response...but my prayers for others always seem to be fruitful!

On the contrary, there have  been dark times in my life where my prayer life was next to nothing...yet I still had peace, joy and somehow was able to get through.  Those times I know I was being lifted by someone else's prayers...not my own!

I challenge you this week to let 90% of your prayer list be about others.  When people express needs to you immediately write them  down in your prayer journals.  I have an prayer app on my phone and the second I say "I'll pray for you" I go to that app and add the prayer so I don't forget.  I even make a point of looking for things to pray for people for.

Praying for others is a powerful experience as well as a rich one.  I pray for people I don't even know, and even people that wouldn't even think I am praying for them.  When I see them blessed it puts a smile on my face knowing my prayers had a small part to play in that!

If we are going to be telling any 'christian lies...let it not be I'll pray for you! Lets really pray for one another!!

I dedicate this post to The Ogungi Family.  Who inspired me to pray and believe God for people as a new Christian.  10 years later they are still the most prayerful people I know!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Mirror mirror on the Wall!

We all do it.  Stand in front of our mirrors and do the mental critique of our bodies from head to toe.

Nails... Check

    As women, we are on endless pursuits to stay young looking, slim, trim and as beautiful as we possibly can! Who can blame us with the media pushing these gorgeous (fake)chicks down our throats?  And as easy as it is to say...don't worry how you look...just do you boo....it's easier said than done. 

   Why? Because that gosh darn mirror is everywhere... And if worst comes to worst we have forward facing cameras on our phones for those mirror deprived environments. So instead of a post on how to stop caring about all those things(been there, wrote about that)...here's some practical tips to looking the fairest of them all! (Had to tie the line in somewhere...being my title is Mirror mirror on the wall! Lol)

Insecurity #1-Weight-too thin or too heavy
Solution- Sugar free diet...which can be read about at my blog here... But sometimes that's just too extreme and too tough... Then what?  Well you start small.  If you are over weight take it one day at a time.  Cut out things slowly. Over a week or two.  Work out for 5 minutes each day...then 10 minutes.
For all the thin gals who can't put on a pound (we all hate you BTW) it's all in how you dress.  Wear clothing that fits your body.  A nice pencil skirt with a ruffled dress shirt tucked in can make you appeared well shaped, hides the bones but doesn't look like your swimming in your clothing.  Wear lighter colors and patterns.  Blazers are also helpful for the petites out there.

Insecurity # 2-Aging
Solution- if you have a very sunken in, thin face you may want to gain some weight. The thinner you are the older you look. True story! I notice since being pregnant I actually look younger :D
Use a good overnight cream and drink plenty of water. The face begins to crack because it's dry.  The older you get the dryer your skin gets.  Skip on powder or foundations that have a powder finish. You want a dewy finish to give you a youthful glow :D

Insecurity # 3-The Hair
And all my colored sisters said 'amen'. Lol Hair issues really aren't limited to 'black girls' I just know the struggles real!  Haha
But hair that's too thin, limp, overly thick, frizzy, won't grow long enough are all issues women face across the races.
Solution- first of all you have to work with what you have and accept it.  You can't change the texture of your hair but you can change the quality.  For years I had breaking, thin, annoying hair.  I set out to take really good care of my hair and while it's still on the thin side, the quality is way nicer.  It's way longer, even, healthy and my curls are more defined.
But this wasn't easy to come by

Some tips to having great hair regardless of culture
1) stop dying your hair...dye damages all hair types. Some can withstand it more than others but if you have stressed locks its time to go au natural

2) Minimal to no heat...hard times I know!
But I after 6 months you will thank me.  There are many heat free styles out there... YouTube and pinterest will help you!

3)Find your 'go to style'. A style that has minimal manipulation but still makes you feel pretty. When all else fails with hair go to that style.  For me, my go to hair style is all down and curly with a head band or slicked back in a roped pony tail.

Insecurity #3-Body Shape
Not all of us have figures like Jlo, Beyonce or Halle Berry. The reality is if you don't got it ,you don't got it.  If your booty is flat as a pancake 500 squats aren't gonna do much for you.  You can't make your hips bigger or smaller...they are bones lol(well pregnancy does widen your hips a little, but thats not really an option for everyone lol).  So you have to learn to dress for your body

Solution- learn what body type you are and look for clothing that suits that.  If you are self conscious about having big boobs a tiny graphic tee might not be your best clothing option.  Take the time to sift through your wardrobe and throw away clothes that make you feel ugly.
Google is your best friend...you are not the only person in the world with your particular body type.  Play up your best features.  I have seen people that maybe aren't the best looking nor do they have the best bodies but they have rocking wardrobes... It completely distracts you from all the other things.

While these tips can only get you so far, beauty is only skin deep.  Remember smiling makes you look younger.  Having a cheerful happy disposition makes you look for attractive.  When you aren't smiling your face should still be relaxed and pleasant. Don't allow your lips to naturally frown or frow your eyebrows.  Being a woman is tough stuff...but if we implement a few of these things into our lives we will feel hotter than celebrities.

When I was younger I felt very insecure and that was my so called 'prime'.  But it's because I didn't know how to dress, how to do my hair or how to play up my best features. Now that I am older I think and feel way better than I did 10 years ago...and I am  almost 7 months pregnant with bad eczema. Lol go figure. Hahah

At the end of the day confidence is key. If you don't have it you will just have to fake it till you do.  Hold that head high and know you are fearfully and wonderfully made! I hate to end with this cliche but at the end of the day it's INSIDE that really counts:)

Friday, April 10, 2015

How to be a Great Hostess as an Introvert

A few weeks ago, I went to another PW friends for dinner and we were talking about hospitality and how to host a fellowship.  One thing her and I both have in common is that we are both INTROVERTS.  We don't like people...I mean! lol Hahah Of course we love people, but only in small doses!
But being a PW we don't always get to have those "tiny fellowships with our closest friends".  We are often stretched and challenged to have people in our homes that we don't know....and plenty of them!
Which is a blessing but a challenge for us at the same time! So here's how I host a fellowship as an intro-wife!

1) Meal Planning-this can be super intimidating if you aren't a Martha Stewart in the kitchen.  And even if you are, you still can get a little bit nervous about cooking for a larger group of people.

Solution: When all else fails order in or make a tried tested and true meal.  This is not a time to be experimenting with something new.  You really don't need the added stress.  Italian is an easy go to for me personally, pasta, garlic bread and salad! Everybody loves it and it's hard to get wrong. My dear friend made Sausage and Rice casserole for us. It's a family staple in her house and something she was very comfortable making.  If cooking isn't your thing order pizza, or get and oven roasted chicken with some salads from the cooked section of your grocery store.  Having people over should be fun and exciting...not stressful. SO whatever ways you can skimp on the stress DO IT!

2) Cleaning the day before- If your house is a disaster the day you have people coming over your emotions are most likely going to be riding on high.  A clean house gives a peaceful atmosphere and a peaceful you.

Solution: Begin cleaning the main areas of your home the day before.  Your powder room, front door closet, kitchen and living room are all areas of focus. You will feel much more at ease knowing that under your bathroom sink is organized when your guest use your bathroom.  Or your closet doesn't have a cascade of items falling out of it as you attempt to hang your guests coat(been there:0). If your house is in quite a funk, start a few days in advance room by room.

3) Have it all ready to go- When your guests arrive, to avoid awkward silence have everything ready to go.  So whether there are snacks on  the coffee table, drinks out for them to help themselves to, make sure it's all ready to go so no one is sort of standing there waiting to be served.  Depending on your crowd having a game out is a great icebreaker.

4)If you can't take the heat...HEAD to the KITCHEN-this is my FAV tip and where I spend A LOT of my time during a fellowship.  Too many people can overwhelm me and sometimes I just don't know what to say! Small talk and me just don't go very well.  So I resort to my kitchen and begin to clean when I have those moments I just don't know what to do with myself!  Being in the kitchen cleaning is socially acceptable and often someone will often come and begin to help(a perfect way to bond...over dishes).  It gives the appearance of me still being social but allows me to re-energize and re-group my escalating emotions!

The older I get and the more my church grows the more apparent my introversion has become.  A good post on this was written by a dear friend of mine about being an introvert pastors wife. Click here to read.
Being and introvert as a christian at times can seem counter productive and challenging.  We need to reach out to others and be a blessing, yet our personality traits seems to often get in the way.  Don't allow that to stop you from reaching out to others...find ways to do it on your terms in a way that is comfortable for you. There will be times it won't happen that way and all I can say is HEAD TO THE KITCHEN.

Funny story, even when I go to other peoples homes for a fellowship where there are lots of people I head to the kitchen when I get overwhelmed.  I just start helping them clean and I look like the "sweetest thing".  Ha little do they know...well now my secrets out!

Happy Fellow-shipping!!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

God will Build His Church!

When we first started our church, it was perfect for my husband and I.  Just the right amount of people.  Just what we needed at that particular season  of our church and ministry.

I recall praying earnestly for the church to grow grow grow! The Good Lord silently whispered to me 'Are you ready for the church to grow Victoria?'  Ready? The reality of what I was asking hit me and in panic I  answered 'no' and continued to work with what we had. Maybe I wasn't ready.

Each time I prayed for growth from that moment on, I really thought about what I was asking for!  What church growth was going to require from me, my family and husband. 

There is a price tag that comes with church growth.  As our church has grown...so have I.
My attitudes towards people, ministry and even my marriage have all grown and changed for the better.  Not saying when I first started I was this sinister person... Nor am I claiming to have arrived...but I take much peace in the fact of knowing God gives nothing before its appointed time.

He knows exactly what he's doing as he builds the church!  I have been hoping for us to reach 100 people for about 2 years...and wondered why it was taking so long?
Now that we are around that amount, I can see what having a church of 100 can entail! It possibly could have redirected me right back to my mother church in stress, had that happened happened too early in our ministry.

With every precious member added to our congregations attacks have come against our life and family.  There is a spiritual attack as the church grows. Particularly against the dear PW.  My health, safety and peace of mind have all been attacked and tested over the years, in ways I would have NEVER imagined.  Each year that passes I must admit the trials grow harder... had I encountered them from the jump, I may have just jumped off a balcony! 

But with each year, I have grown and been able to with stand the attacks from the enemy.  Instead of them being instruments to crush me and cause the church's revival to fall, they have made me stronger and continued to allow revival to be facilitated.

I don't share this to brag on my strength.  I am not very strong at all. But it's a testimony of how God works in us and makes strengths out of our weakness. Have you ever read about martyrs or other christian hero's from the bible and thought "wow they are just so amazing, I could never be like them?'  Well guess what...yes you can! They aren't special at all...it's the God they serve that's special and has allowed them to be victorious and live such inspirational lives!

So any pastors wife out there that is struggling over the size of her church...the growth of the church or the people...know God has it in control.  Be thankful for the stage...ask God what he wants to teach you during this season of your life!?
Even when it seems like the church isn't growing... You are :)  You will look back and be thankful that it's God who builds his church...not us :D
Us in our new side of the building! God is doing great things!