Do you need help restoring a relationship?

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Saturday was my birthday and I spent it at a Polished Volunteer training. It took me back to when I worked at TWU in their Office of Intercultural Studies. Jurrita Williams Louie was the guest speaker and taught about Cultural Intelligence. Learning how to close the cultural gap between sisters in Christ… becoming stronger as the body of Christ… reaching more people for Christ… there is no better way that I could have spent my birthday!!! 

Do you want help restoring relationships? This is for you too! It’s not just about understanding cultural differences, it’s about working with people that are different than you. (Hence the title of the discussion, “What to do with our differences”.)

 Where do you start? Let me break down some points that Jurrita made.

DRIVE: 

Show interest, confidence, and drive to adapt cross-culturally. Ask God for help with this. He’s the ultimate cultural interpreter. He can guide you to function effectively in cultural diverse settings.

KNOWLEDGE:

Do your research on intercultural issues. Understand how cultures are similar and different.

STRATEGY:

After your research, write out a plan. Make sense of culturally diverse experiences and plan accordingly. Find out what topic your target audience wants to talk about. What’s important to them? What drives them? Who drives them? What causes do they love?

ACTION:

Be adaptable. May your behavior (verbal and and nonverbal actions) be appropriate when relating in multicultural contexts.  

What does this boil down to? Let’s be proactive!

I want to leave you with some quotes from our training. These quotes summarize perfectly who we are in Polished! Hopefully you will come join us for lunch one day or even better, join our leadership team! 

“Polished is a safe space. As we are working to learn about cultural intelligence and be more competent outside and inside of the work place, what we have right now is one another. We are all sisters and have permission to be awkward with one another.” -Feleceia Benton

“Sometimes when we feel uncomfortable we forget that we are good at loving people. You are so good at loving people!!! That’s why you are a Polished leader! And love changes the world. It changes the way we view people.” -Kat Armstrong 


Special thanks to Pastor John Durham and the congregation of Highland Baptist Church for hosting our Polished Regional Training.

What shined the most at Mustard Seed Studio?

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Last Thursday some friends from Polished and I went shopping at the Mustard Seed Studio. Marcie is the owner and designs the beautiful Mustard Seed jewelry. She’s beautiful, creative, gives back, makes a yummy cheese board… the list goes on and on. But I want to talk about what makes her shine.

She radiates a peace, assurance and a kindness that comes from her direct relationship with God. I thought, I can’t do it. I don’t think I will be able to hear God as clearly as she does. But she was so sweet to encourage me to dedicating time each day to slow down, be quiet and listen.

You spent time with your friends, right? That is how your build your friendship. Well it’s the same with God. Slow down and spend time with Him. The more time you spend with Him, the deeper your relationship will grow.

For her, she enjoys sitting on her patio with a cup of coffee as she spends time with God. I’m going to do the same! How will you slow down and try to listen to God? Will it be while you are laying at the pool, or driving to work? I encourage you to spend some quiet time trying to hear from God. Even if you only dedicate one minute of silence.

What To Do When Grieving?

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Sometimes in life we are given tough times to walk through. We may never know why we had to live through those difficult moments. But it’s what we do with our brokenness that can propel us forward or leave us stagnate. My friend Peyton created something beautiful! She started, Gathering Hope. They provide a community and resources to women after pregnancy and infant loss.

It was an honor to capture these moments for them! I felt two things when I saw my friend leading this beautiful group of women. I was so stinkin proud of how she had gathered so many women to help embrace, comfort and lead!!! And I was equally thrown back because of all the grief shared in one room from losing a precious baby.

Only God can restore a wound and provide joy & peace where there was once so much grief. What should you do when grieving? Seek hope. Seeking God. All the other things will follow after you seek Him.

“Praise the name of the Lord our God, O praise His name forever more. For endless days we will sing your praise. Oh Lord, Oh Lord our God.” (Lyris from Hillsongs song: O Praise the Name)


Father's Day Gift Ideas

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Are you looking for ideas for a Father’s Day present? Here are some ideas!

-Book a special Father’s Day Photo Session!

-Make a craft including your favorite picture of Dad with kiddos.

-In the past I’ve ordered things from personalcreations.com My husband , Joey enjoyed his personalized hammer that says, building memories with Dad!

-Some customized socks with pictures of kids or fur babies from divvyupsocks.com

-A gift card or take him out to eat a good steak!



Great Wolf Lodge

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Last week my family celebrated Julieta’s birthday at Great Wolf lodge!  She is turning four later this month but we celebrated early.  We saw a great deal on Groupon and decided the timing was perfect!  We picked a date close to Halloween and I’m so excited that we did!!!  I’m sure they always have a fun filled schedule of activities, but going during Halloween was special.  Everything was decorated spooky, from their stage to a HUGE hanging spider!  (I bet they do a great job decorating for Christmas too!) 

I almost felt like we were on a cruise (minus the constant swaying of water). There was always something to do; story time, costume parade, dance party,  trick-o-treating, video arcade, a spa for little girls, and of course the indoor swimming park!  My girls are five and three (almost four) and they enjoyed all the activities.  The only thing we didn’t do was the MagiQuest, it was catered for older kids (my girls were scared of it).

The rooms were a good size for a family of four.  It would have been nice to stay for two nights because there was so much to do.  But if we were to stay for two nights, we’d leave the Lodge to eat in the surrounding restaurants. 

During this stay we dined at, Lodge Wood Fire Grill and enjoyed the food.  We wished we would have gotten breakfast at their Starbucks, but we gave into their Character Breakfast.  Only two out of the six characters showed up.  There wasn’t anything special from the breakfast spread, and it was ridiculously overpriced!  Later in the day we took a break from swimming to eat some pizza in a small restaurant near the pool, then we jumped back into swimming.   

My whole family loves swimming!  Chlorine is basically our perfume :) Thankfully  before we arrived my friend warned me about the strong smell of chlorine in their indoor swimming park. I’m glad she warned us about it.  We were prepared with Jade’s nasal spray, in case the long expose to pool irritated her (people that suffer with Asthma are sensitive to over exposure to chlorine). None of us were bothered by the smell of the pool but I thought I’d mention it, in case someone was sensitive to it.  We greatly enjoyed and maxed out our time at the pool!  My hubby and I even had some fun adult time and went down the big water slides (while my family watched our girls). 

All in all, we had a great time!!!  The girls keep talking about it and want to know when we are going back again.  They are anxious to do all their birthday celebrations there! 

My Little Pumpkin

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It was the love of capturing precious moments with Jade that helped my business bloom.  This season and Facebook memories really help me relive those moments.  Four years ago, I bought Jade lots of costumes to play with.  (Dress up is still one of her favorite activities!)  I wanted Jade’s creativity to soar!!! So naturally, I had to capture these moments!  Daily, I took Jade to a pumpkin patch and she was my model!  Of course, I bumbared Facebook with pictures of my little Jade.  What I didn’t realize was that people were watching.  A loving support group was forming on my social media.  I was learning a set of tools that in the next few days was going to bring our family some financial support.  I was about to enter a season of pain. In the next days I was going to learn that my pregnancy with Julieta was going to be labeled as a high risk pregnancy.   The grief, pain and financial implications were devastating.   But God in His goodness, grace, mercy and faithfulness was setting up a path for me!!! 

The Mother of John & Charles Wesley

I was sitting in a small group when a mom told me that I was selfish for having my daughters fourteen months apart.  She continued to say that I should have planned it better so that each child could have experienced quality time with me.  It took everything in me to bite my tongue and not go off on her.  But when I got home, I burst into tears.  I told my husband what this lady had told me.  In my sleep, shower and Bible deprived state; her comment had gotten to me.  When you are tired and have not spent time in the word of God, it’s easy for people’s comments to become toxic thoughts that run wild in your mind. (lol, I’m not going to go into the shower deprived part.)

As a Mom (or a mentor) you want the best for your children.  The more I pray and seek wisdom from God in raising my daughters; He constantly draws me closer to Him.  He guides me to resources to help me be a better parent.  God casually leads me to truths that help strengthen me.  I heard an anecdote of Charles or John Wesley (I can’t remember which brother) wrote about a time in which he was going through a difficult time.  He said, “Oh what I would do to have an evening to discuss this matter with my Mom.”

John Wesley is considered to be the father of Methodism. His brother, Charles, composed more than 6,500 hymns.  How incredibly proud would you have been to be their Mom, Susanna Wesley?!?   Susanna had nineteen children.  Nine of them died in infancy.  With so many children, she valued the importance of quality time with each one.  She would meet with one child for an hour before bed, rotating through her children every night of the week.   

When I heard of her story I was very impressed!  I started praying many blessings over my children so that they may make a huge positive impact for the Kingdom of God!  I wanted to know more about Susanna.  While reading her biography I realized that Susanna was like me, flawed.  It was refreshing to know that she wasn’t perfect.  God uses imperfect people to carry out his agenda.  She did not have a lot of resources but did the best with what she was given. She was amazing at homeschooling her children! 

I don’t know what I should have told that Mom that was so quick to judge me for having my children closely together.  (Don’t ask Joey and I for advice for scheduling pregnancies, lol!) But I know that God orchestrates everything for a purpose (I guess I should have said that!).  And even though my girls are close in age, I can follow Susanna’s example and prioritize time with each one!  I love that my girls are close in age!  Is it hard?  YES!  But I wouldn’t have it any other way. :)