Giving Tuesday 2020

The backbone of our society has always been our nonprofit organizations. These organizations selflessly have always made our communities better while empowering their volunteers and the groups of people that they help. These organizations have become even more vital during this unprecedented year. As someone who has been a regular volunteer for years, I am thankful for the opportunity to help someone else while God has changed my life and perspective in the process. Today is #Giving Tuesday. Please donate to your favorite nonprofit today. I have listed some the organizations that are closest to my heart. Please add your favorite nonprofits in the comments below. To every nonprofit and volunteer, thank you for your service to our world.

10:12 Sports

10/91 Foundation

53 Families Foundation Inc.

Alex’s Lemonade Foundation

American Breast Cancer Foundation

American Heart Association of Baltimore

American Red Cross of the Greater Chesapeake Region

Baltimore Child Abuse Center

BCRF

Blue Water Baltimore

Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation

Cancer Fears ME

CASA of Baltimore

Cool Kids Campaign

Ed Reed Foundation

FACEAfrica

Feeding America

Habitat for Humanity of Chesapeake

HOPE Africa

HWHN Inc.

Kennedy Krieger

Koman of Maryland

Luke’s Wings

Maryland Science Center

Muse 360

No Kid Hungry

One Love Foundation

Oxfam America

Power52

Ravens Foundation

Robert Griffin III Foundation

SAI, LLC

Servant Forge

St Francis Center

The Baltimore Station

The Brigance Brigade

The Clinton Ron Walker Foundation

The Living Classrooms Foundation

The National Aquarium

The Steve Smith Foundation

LEVEL82

The United Way of Central Maryland

The Warford Foundation

Unicef USA

Psalm 91:God is Our Lifetime Protector!

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During this unprecedented time, I have made a decision to fill myself up with God’s word. On Saturday, I was having a wilderness moment. I decided to push through and God met me in a special way. I have loved and adored God’s word for long time however in this oppressive time, I have had my moments of being human. I have cried tears of disappointment, sorrow, fear and heartbreak. I want to encourage you to feast on God’s word. His word will meet you in a special way. God will heal, redeem, encourage and do whatever you need done in his time. Today, I want to encourage you to mediate on Psalm 91. Allow the words to wash over your soul. May God bless you and keep you today and always.

Psalm 91

The Protection of the Most High

The one who lives under the protection of the Most High
dwells in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say[a] concerning the Lord, who is my refuge and my fortress,
my God in whom I trust:
He himself will rescue you from the bird trap,
from the destructive plague.
He will cover you with his feathers;
you will take refuge under his wings.
His faithfulness will be a protective shield.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
the arrow that flies by day,
the plague that stalks in darkness,
or the pestilence that ravages at noon.
Though a thousand fall at your side
and ten thousand at your right hand,
the pestilence will not reach you.
You will only see it with your eyes
and witness the punishment of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord—my refuge,
the Most High—your dwelling place,
10 no harm will come to you;
no plague will come near your tent.
11 For he will give his angels orders concerning you,
to protect you in all your ways.
12 They will support you with their hands
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the young lion and the serpent.

14 Because he has his heart set on me,
I will deliver him;
I will protect him because he knows my name.
15 When he calls out to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble.
I will rescue him and give him honor.
16 I will satisfy him with a long life
and show him my salvation.

Black Friday 2020: Post Thanksgiving Self-Care

Happy Black Friday! Today is traditionally a day focused on scoring a great sale. I want you encourage to do something different. If you feel like shopping, please do so. I also think you should use today to have intentional self-care. My self-care is working out and doing absolutely nothing. What do you like to do for self-care? Whatever you decide to do, invest some time into yourself. Do you need some ideas? I am glad you asked. I have placed some ideas below. Please feel free to add your own ideas in the comments. You can follow up with me on IG by clicking here.

Sleep: Who knew the most important thing we could do to refresh ourselves is sleep? Sleep is essential to refueling your body and allowing your body to metabolize itself. There has been a lot of stress and anxiety swirling around us. You can commit to taking a nap during this holiday weekend. Whatever you decide to do, your body will thank you for it.

Unplug: There is nothing wrong with unplugging for an hour or for a longer period of time. We are bombarded with so much information throughout the day. It doesn’t help that social media can be a toxic place. Make a decision to check your heart and mind when you are scrolling through social media or texting others. Sometimes, you may need to put down your phone and step away from the screen for some self-care.

Plug in: Do you feel isolated or lonely? This is a great time to fuel yourself with the conversations of other people. You can do video calls, texts, phone calls or social distant face to face events. I know I am someone who thrives in social settlings. Although it is not safe to meet with people face to face, I enjoy catching up with my tribe through electronic means. So plug in to the people the closest to you.

Go Outside: Sometimes, we need to take a moment to smell the roses. You should go outside. There is something about fresh air that renews my mind You can go for a walk, support your favorite local or national business, look at the leaves and trees. You can even sit down and just look around. Whatever you decide to do, take a moment to enjoy nature.

Plan an escape: Are you craving a massage? Maybe you need dessert from your favorite spot? Whatever you decide to do, make a plan. It will not only save you time and money but it will give something to look forward to one day down the road. So take a moment and plan your next escape. The picture below is an idea of my idea of an escape.

Photo by Ishan @seefromthesky on Unsplash

Thanksgiving Prayer

“Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.”-Psalm 136:26

Good Morning Heavenly Father,

Thank you for another day. I am awake today is because of you and your continued mercy and love for me. My next breath and heartbeat are in your glorious hands. When you made me, you took intimate and intentional time. Thank you for loving me more than I can comprehend. God, today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. This year had been full of tears, disappointment, heartbreak as well as moments of joy, peace and love. Thank you for keeping and hearing me as well as for listening to me. Thank you for the many priceless gifts that you have entrusted to me. I am amazed in the midst of a pandemic how you can redeem, renew, restore and heal in your own perfect way and timing. I cannot say thank you enough.

I pray for anyone who is grieving the loss of loved one or friend. I pray for your peace and comfort while you come near to them in the midnight hour. Help them to know they are loved by you even in the midst of their tears. I pray for those who have unspeakable heartache today. It could because they are weary from this year, cannot celebrate with loved ones or friends because of COVID-19., fighting for their life or facing an unexpected life moment. Thank you for everyone who is a first responder or on the front lines. I pray in the name of Jesus that God you provide peace where there is anxiety and give strength where there is weaknesses or weariness. I pray right now you would continue to show yourself to be true even in this valley moment.

I pray that you would pour out your healing power. Our world needs every aspect of COVID-19 to be removed. I pray in the name of Jesus that your healing power would manifest itself against every plot of the enemy. Help us as human beings to peacefully work together and as a team to wear a mask, socially distance, avoid large gatherings and wash our hands frequently. Right now, we appear to be losing but God we place our faith and trust in you. We ask that every sin that has been committed by mankind be forgiven by you.

1 Peter 5:6-7 says, ” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” We not only ask for forgiveness but we repent on behalf of the entire world. Help us to be humble and not full of pride. We love you God. We thank you for your continued faithfulness. We know that you will show yourself sooner than we can imagine. We thank you in advance. Romans 12:1 says “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.”

In the name of Jesus, I pray.

Amen!

Anchored in the Storm: Unwavering Thanksgiving Despite Heartache

“18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” -1 Thessalonians 5:18

As I write this devotional, my heart is full of many mixed emotions. My soul is weary from what has been a year of division, an escalating COVID-19 infection rate, racial reckoning and a polarizing election cycle. In a time when we need to gather with the people we love the most face to face or just want to hug or see someone’s face without a mask, we cannot or we risk becoming ill. I desire a time to gather with other people to celebrate a milestone, eat a meal at a restaurant or watch a movie in a movie theater. 

On Thursday, we will pause to celebrate Thanksgiving. On this day, we usually gather with our families and friends to eat and express gratitude. This year because of the raising COVID-19 cases, we cannot gather with anyone outside of our immediate household to celebrate Thanksgiving. Right now, there is a lot of heartbreak, sadness, disappointment and more because we cannot be with the people we love the most.  As a Christian, it is okay for you to be honest with where you are today. You can admit how you really feel about how you are feeling today. I would encourage you to reach out to your trusted community virtually or socially distant in person.

A couple weeks ago, I was preparing to eat a delicious salad for dinner. I took the salad out of my fridge and dropped it on my kitchen floor. I was not having a great day and this amplified it. I was ready to cry when God reminded me I have so many other meals in my fridge to eat and also had the ability to order another meal. I began to think of the person who had no food or has not had any food for a long time. I began to think of the fact that I had shelter, a job, food, people who love me and who I love, clothes and so much more which many people are lacking. The salad on the ground was not taking my gratitude.

Prayer is our connection to God. Sometimes the best prayer we can say is “HELP ME GOD!” What do you do when you have been praying since March for our lives to be back to normal? What do you do when you are tired of being quarantined? What do you do when you are grieving the loss of a loved one to death? What do you do when you or a loved one is on a first responder or on the front lines?  My encouragement to you is to keep praying and stay in a posture of thanksgiving. Continue to pray through your tears ,despite your heartache and feelings of anxiety and hopelessness. Psalms 37:4 says, “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. ”God’s timing is always perfect. He is never late and he is never too early.

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for allowing us to see the 11th month of 2020 which has been an unprecedented year. It is a miracle to be standing in November.  This year has been full of many tears, disappointments, questions, sleepless nights and much more. I want to take a moment to say thank you. As it says in Psalm 23:1, “The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need.”  As our shepherd, we have everything that we need in you. Where we appear to lack hope, faith, strength, peace and much more, we have more than what we need in you. Open our spiritual eyes, heart and souls to see what we have in you. Thank you for your unconditional love which is available to us every moment of our life. 

Please stir up our hearts of gratitude. Help us to thank you for the things we take for granted such as our heartbeat and our next breath. Thank you for being the author and finisher of our lives. Help all us as we pause to celebrate Thanksgiving in a new way to be honest. Comfort us in our grief and sorrow. Help us to submit our worries and anxieties to you. Help us to reach out to our beloved community for unconditional love and support. We pray against the invisible enemy of COVID-19. We pray right now for your healing hand to touch our world. Be with our first responders and front line workers as they are your hands and feet of healing. God, we praise you in advance for the wonderful miracles you will do to astound and surprise us. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen. 

Thanksgiving Reflection: Psalm 100

Happy Thanksgiving Week! This year, Thanksgiving will be different due to COVID-19. This week, I will focus my blog on gratitude and turning our eyes back to God. When we are in the valley, this is the time for us to hold on to God’s hand tighter and depend on our tribe virtually. Right now, we have a lot of tears, disappointment and fear at this time. It is great to acknowledge how you are feeling right now. God can handle it and he created us to be honest with him.  Let us lean on one another virtually as we turn our eyes toward God. As you read and meditate over Psalm 100, begin to think of the people, places and things that you are thankful for and begin to praise God. Take it a step further and reach out to people and say thank you. May God bless you!

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Post Election Day Self-care

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Happy Post Election Day! Every vote has been cast and now the 2020 election cycle is over. I don’t know about you but I need to detox from this season. Yesterday, I refused to watch the election coverage. I decided I wanted to start some self care for myself. I will continue with more self-care post Election Day. I would recommend you take a moment to pause and find time to collect yourself. I am thankful for our democracy but this election season was rough. Please feel free to add your suggestion in the comments or on IG.

Have a Spa Day: A little relaxation never hurt nobody and it won’t hurt you. You can do a mani/pedi, massage, facial, get your hair done or do something at home like soak in a tub or take a nap. Whatever you decide to do, enjoy yourself. Thanks to Groupon, you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy yourself. You don’t want to leave your house, that is fine. You can schedule a day for your spa outing. I will have a future spa day but I plan to take a nap this week.

Disconnect (TV and Social Media): I know during this year, I have had to disconnect completely or limit my consumption of tv and social media. I noticed I was starting to stress out and lose sleep. I would recommend evaluating your consumption of television and social media. You can filter what you consume to ensure your television viewing or social media time is peaceful. You can stay informed without being overloaded with information. I plan to filter my time on social media this week.

Virtual Gathering: It is always fun to gather with the people we love the most. We can do that with a virtual gathering. You an do a video call, watch a movie together, play a game or anything that makes your group bond. Despite differing opinions and view points, it is great to spend time with our loved ones. Also, this would be a great time to discuss a future face to face outing. I planning to be on the phone with my tribe this week.

Nice Meal: Why not treat yourself to a nice meal? Is there something you have been craving? Is there a new restaurant that you want to support? This is a great time to support your local establishment while savoring a nice meal. I am eating leftovers from my meal of homemade meatballs and sweet potato pumpkin soup. I plan to treat myself to a nice desert this weekend. You will hear more about that in a future post.

Sleep: There is nothing that can beat a good night’s sleep. I am a huge fan of naps. Rest is the best way to allow our body to heal and metabolize. We do not have to lose sleep because of this election or anything else. Please make sure you rest and take care of yourself. I am praying for you as always. We will get through this election cycle and 2020.

Election Day Prayer

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Heavenly Father,

Thank you for allowing us to see the 11th month of 2020. This has been a year full of many ups and downs as well as in between moments. Thank you for being with us on the mountaintops and in the valley as well as in between. God, despite the many tears that have been shed, the questions that have not been answered as well as uncertainty of the final weeks of 2020, we say thank you. As King David said in Psalm 9:1, “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”

Thank you for our heartbeats and the air we breathe. Thank you for the people we call family and friends. Thank you for the jobs you have given us. Thank you for the money in our bank accounts. God, we thank you for the food, shelter, cars, clothes, clean water and countless things you do for us daily we take for granted. We repent and ask you to forgive each and every one of us of our sins. Show us where we need to come up higher and whatever or whoever does not line up with our path, reveal that to us in the name of Jesus.  Psalm 51: 10 says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

I come right now on behalf of the United States of America. Our general election is taking place. I pray that every aspect of the election will be peaceful. I pray that no matter the result, there will be peace. May your Holy Spirit envelope every aspect of the election. May every ballot casted on time be counted. Anything that would be a hindrance to someone exercising their right to vote, I ask you would remove it right now in the name of Jesus.  Where there is division, hatred, confusion and unrest, I pray you would remove it and replace it with your fruits of the Spirit such as love, peace, joy and righteousness. I pray right now you would heal the American church. Help us to unite as your children and show our light collectively as your body. May our relationship with you never be secondary to anything else in our lives.

We pray against COVID-19 which continues to devastate our nation and world. Give all decision makers wisdom and may we work in unity to remove this disease from our land.  Matthew 7:7 says, “”Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Thank you for being a God who is powerful and mighty. Thank you for Jesus’ resurrection power which redeemed us from hell and gave us an inheritance of abundant life. Thank you for your Holy Spirit who is a helper and is always with us. I thank you for hearing and answering this prayer. I praise you in advance for your faithfulness. We love you, God. In the name of our matchless and undefeated risen savior, Jesus Christ, Amen!

10 Alternatives to Election Day Coverage

Happy Election Day Eve! I am very relieved that tomorrow is Election Day. This has been a tough election cycle. I don’t know about you but I will not be watching Election Day coverage. In fact, I have decided to keep myself occupied for the majority of the night. I have listed some ideas as alternatives to Election Day coverage. Please feel free to add your suggestions in the comments or meet me on IG by clicking here. I hope you will relax and take a moment to decompress. I am praying for you. As you read this post, you will get an idea of what my Alternative Election Night will look like. 

Read a Book: I am a proofreader for a living. I read for a living but there is nothing like reading a book. I read my bible and devotionals daily but I want to focus on a book. I also like podcasts because I don’t have to look at a screen as I do all day at work.  I like reading because it is a way to enrich your mind and also you can escape to a new place in a book. I have quite a few books that I have purchased but I will start one tonight. I would recommend looking into electronic options through your library, a Kindle, Audible and many more. Let me know what you decide to read.

Cook a new recipe:  What a great time to cook a new recipe. I have recently become the master of making soup. This week during the Election Night coverage, I am making some meatballs. I usually feast off store bought ones or someone’s creation. I plan to make my own from scratch. I will share a recipe. Are you planning to make a dish? Share your dish in the comments or on IG. If you need some inspiration for recipes try any of the following: Food Network, Southern Living, Delish, AllRecipes, Taste of Home, Epicurious and Yummly.  If you have certain dietary restrictions, please Google your favorite recipe and add the restriction. I have found a lot of gluten free recipes that way.

Play a game: You can play a game. I would recommend using a device that has not alerts or turning off your alerts so you are not distracted. You can download a game or start a game with people you know. If you live with other people, there is nothing wrong with playing a card or board game. My favorite card games are Spades and Uno. My favorite game in a box is Taboo. I can play on my phone (on do not disturb) or with other people. A game is a great escape.

Solve a puzzle: A puzzle is a great way to escape. It will give you a goal to work toward and you can also work in teams. I did a puzzle this summer and it took a few weeks but it was fun when it was complete. You can still order a puzzle through Amazon Prime or drive up with your favorite store.

Watch a movie: I love watching movies. You can watch a movie online or on demand. You can even rewatch a movie. I get lost in the story of an excellent movie. You can even do a virtual  movie watching party with your friends. Whatever movie you decide to watch, I hope it is a good one. I am a romantic so I will be watching some Hallmark and Lifetime movies.

Binge Watch a Show: Is there a new show you want to catch up on or maybe you are behind on a show?  You can watch a few episodes and escape for a moment. There are so many sources to watch your favorite show. Some shows have resumed and more will resume in November. Some of my favorite Shows are This is Us, Press Your Luck (I remember the original show in the 1980s), Judge Judy, People’s Court, Judge Mathis and much more.  

Learn a New Hobby: You can use Election Night to find a new hobby. You may not master your new hobby overnight but you can at least start doing some research. What is something you have always wanted to do? I have always wanted to learn how to crochet. You can use this time to find a new hobby and launch yourself into 2021 with a new hobby. I am already excited thinking about it.  

Connect with people (virtually): Election Night would be a great time to call and text other people. You can find out how other people are doing and have a conversation about all things minus the election. I plan to reach out to some of my friends and family who I have not talked to in awhile. I also plan to respond to some overdue emails. There is nothing like a human connection.

Workout: What about doing a workout? There is nothing like a great workout. Your workout should be something you like to do and it will incorporate fun. You should consult your doctor and take it easy before you start a fitness program.  My favorite workouts these days include boxing, fitness walking and Zumba. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you go at your own pace. 

Sleep: You have the option to get some rest and go to sleep early. The investment of allowing your body to rest would be great. You can listen to guided meditation and wind down before bed. You can find out about what unfolded another time. I would recommend for the sake of your mental health to consider going to bed early.

God Captures Every Tear

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Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those mourn-Romans 12:15

A couple months ago, I sat in my prayer chair for my morning devotional time which includes a time of prayer and reading scriptures and devotionals. I was starting to pray when I was overwhelmed with sorrow and allowed my tears to fall. This entire year has been tough. The previous few weeks have been difficult. I noticed that I had tried to put aside my emotions and pray through it. That morning, I remembered I was in the presence of my heavenly father who not only created me but loves me unconditionally I cried. I allowed myself to cry and feel all my feelings of sorrow, disappointment, anger, confusion, sadness and more. It felt great just to sit and cry. I am a person who believes it is healthy to express your emotions and I am not ashamed of my tears. As a Nigerian-American woman, I had felt weary all year and it was great to have an honest moment.

All of us have feelings that are mixed right now. Our feelings are for many reasons. Whatever the reason, I want to encourage you to allow yourself to cry and be honest. This quarantined reality does not mean that we are no longer human beings who do not have feelings. Yes, we may have more time but our lives are sanitized. We can no longer shake hands and cry together. We cannot gather with people outside our homes. We must stay masked up and socially distant in a time when we need one another the most for our health safety. I am thankful for technology that allows us to connect using video, texts and phone calls. Social media is awesome because we can connect with people around the world. At the end of the day, we can be honest and cry.

May God cover and bless you as you lament, cry and do what you need to have an intimate and special moment with God.

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