Type 2 Diabetes

Hey you all, today I want to talk about type II diabetes. I currently work in healthcare, and I have seen firsthand how diabetes has affected people. I have seen patients admitted into the hospital with diabetes type 2, leading to a host of other health issues. Whether you know someone personally or not, it is never easy to watch as they lose one limb at a time and eventually their life when there is so much that can be done to manage, prevent or reduce the risk of having diabetes. Consequently, I chose to use this platform as one way of raising awareness.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Type 2 Diabetes is “an impairment in how the body regulates and uses sugar (glucose) as a fuel.” When we eat food, complex carbohydrate is broken down into simple sugar most of which is glucose or blood sugar. It then enters the bloodstream. The body requires glucose for energy, and any excess amount is stored in the liver and muscles. Our pancreas produces insulin responsible for ushering glucose from the blood in the cells to be stored as energy. When someone has diabetes type 2, it fails to do its work, resulting in excess built-up of glucose in the bloodstream. Diabetes is a long-term chronic condition that results when there is too much sugar circulating in the bloodstream. Disrupted glucose metabolism can lead to other long-term health risks such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, amputation, dental disease, and death. This type of disease is becoming very prevalent and is the most common type of diabetes. Consequently, more awareness needs for them to know just how important prevention is, especially if they are at increased risk.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that a person is at risk of getting Type II Diabetes if:

You are overweight
You are 45 years or older. Our risk increases as we get older. However, more and more children, adolescents, and young adults are getting diabetes.
Have a family member with diabetes (parent, brother, sister)
Not physically active
You had gestational diabetes while pregnant
Have prediabetes (impaired fasting glucose)

Diabetes is said to be more common among African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian, or Alaska Native. Some Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are also at higher risk.

A person with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease may also be at risk for type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease, and ALL lifestyle diseases are reversible. I once heard a man said that if he wished any disease upon humanity, it would be type 2 diabetes because it is easy to reverse. Making a few lifestyle changes can prevent or reduce the risk of having type 2 diabetes. For example eating more healthfully; a diet rich in whole food, fruits, and vegetables will reduce the risk of getting diabetes). Becoming physically active by exercising for at least three days. Thirty (30) minutes of moderate activity like brisk walking can make a big difference. If overweight, losing a few pounds can be beneficial. If you are overweight and plan to get pregnant, losing some weight will help prevent gestational diabetes.


Type 2 diabetes does not have to be a death sentence. We should not accept that because it has been in our families for generations, it is something that we cannot avoid. All it takes is getting informed (know the facts), make a few lifestyle changes, and better choices for you and your family.


Let us change the course of our lives today because together, we can do so much.


Blessings.

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels.com

Foods That Help Fight Cancer

Cancer is one of the most feared and dreaded diseases among humanity. According to the National Cancer Institute, Cancer is a disease caused when cells divide uncontrollably and spread into surrounding tissues. It has no respect for class, color, age, gender, etc.; and it affects all of us directly or indirectly. It is like that enemy that we cannot see because it is so silent and crepes upon us without us knowing. For this reason, every one of us must make every effort to do our regular physicals at least once a year, know our bodies and do whatever we can to prevent the spread of this disease.

One way in which we can fight against cancer is by the way we eat. Nutrition plays a critical role in our fight against cancer. There are many foods that we can eat that contain cancer-fighting properties. Countless dietary studies confirmed that regularly consuming fruits and vegetables provides significant protection against cancer. For example, eating carrots and dark green leafy vegetables can provide substantial protection against lung cancer. Certain cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower protect against colon cancer. Regular consumption of tomatoes can also help to protect against prostate cancer.

The National Cancer Institute has identified several plant foods that contain cancer-protective properties. These foods and herbs include garlic, soybeans, cabbage, ginger, licorice root, and umbelliferous vegetables (carrots, celery, coriander, parsley, and parsnips). Other foods such as onions, flax, citrus, turmeric, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower), tomatoes, sweet peppers, brown rice, oats, barley, mint, rosemary thyme, oregano, sage, basil, cucumber, cantaloupe, and berries are said to contain modest amounts of cancer-protective properties.

Food is our medicine, so go ahead and color your life by eating a variety of whole foods and vegetables that will nourish your body, build your immune system and help to kick cancer butt. Eat well, live well because itz holistically wholesome.

Much Blessing.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

The Power Of Psalms

The Holy bible is really a great source of inspiration. One of the books that I love reading is Psalms. It is uplifting to the soul and gives me just what I need to lift my spirit and move forward. I also found David to be a relatable and interesting character, and I love that he is always quick to acknowledge his wrongs and go before God in repentance.

If you have not read Psalms before, below is a beautiful scripture from Psalms 139 for you to read. I hope that this will encourage you to grab your bible and read some more.

Also, let me know what your favorite scripture(s) are as well in the comment section.

139 O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.

Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.

Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.

12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.

20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.

21 Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?

22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Photo by Thomas Shockey on Pexels.com

Bible Scripture to strengthen Your Faith in God

If you read my introduction, then you know that I am a Christian. I have also expressed how much I love the Lord and wanted to talk about him on this platform. Let me pause here to say that you are welcome here irrespective of your belief as I hope to build a respectful community in which we can all learn and share in a meaningful way.

I wish that I could say that I am the best at serving the Lord, but I am not. I suck at it most days. I have so many struggles and bad habits that only God could put up with me. I do not know why he loves me the way he does, but I am thankful because, at times, I cannot even stand myself. There are times when my faith grows cold, and I mean no light, dim. I struggle with this considerably, and during this period, I have to be more intentional about ensuring that I read my bible, pray, and spend time with God because I feel so numb. Even though I think I live a rather busy life trying to balance being a mom, wife, full-time student, and full-time employee, I always have time for God, so I have no excuse. Yet, somehow I get to a state of nothingness that I cannot find the zeal to spend time with God. This struggle causes me to be very hard on myself because of the expectations that I have set. I want to be a good and faithful follower of Christ, and it pains my heart much when I cannot seem to measure up.

God has been way too good to me to be so casual with him, he deserves the best of me, and with all my heart, I want to serve him and do so consistently. What I do also is to find ways to keep myself on track. Thankfully, I can take many steps to help me with my dark moments like praying, talking to my brother and sisters in Christ, Watching Sermons, fasting, and reading my bible. All this encourages me to keep pressing on. However, going to the scriptures help me the most. I believe that the bible has scriptures and verses to empower and strengthen in every situation we face, and for that reason, I want to share these bible verses that will pick you up, strengthen you, restore and grow your faith in God.

Ps. Please take the time to study these verses and even learn more on your own. Also, please leave one of your favorite verse or scripture in the comment section.

Blessings.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And he shall direct your path Proverbs 3:5,6.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope Jeremiah 29:11.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind 2 Timothy 1:7.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you Matthew 6:33.

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand Isaiah 41:10.

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you Deuteronomy 31:6.

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble Psalms 46:1.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength Deuteronomy 6:5.

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of your heart.Psalms 37:4.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

5 Extra Reasons to Love Houseplants

I love plants, both indoor and outdoor. I also enjoy planting them, caring for them, and watching them grow. I am a lover of nature; I guess that is because I was born and raised in the country. I can always remember myself as a child planting something. I remember going to my neighbor as a child to get pieces of her potted plant, which I took home to produce myself. I still can feel the joy that I felt  watching them grow from a small thing into a beautiful flourishing plant. I hope to one day have a beautiful country home to grow and collect endless plants. While I have not achieved that dream yet, I decided to make the best of what space I have. I was a bit disappointed that our current home, which we purchased four years ago in the suburbs, did not have that huge space that I envisioned, but I was very thankful for the small deck and large window sill in the front.  I plan to convert this window into a beautiful bay window to showcase my lovely houseplants and have more space. If you are not a plant lover or never considered having houseplants, I want to share a few extra reasons to love houseplants and why you should consider having them in your home. 

I have recently moved most of my plants to the window sill in the front because I find that they look a bit sad and thirsty during the cold season.  I think it is because the house gets too warm sometimes. They tend to look more vibrant and thrive a lot more because it is the temperature there is colder. Now and then, I crack the windows to allow them to get a bit of the chilly winter air, which does wonder not just to the plant but also airing out the house.

  1. Houseplants are therapeutic – I find that whenever I feel a little stressed, just tending to my plant or spending a few minutes to look at them makes me feel better and lifts my mood. It relaxes me when I sit on that green chair right next to my window and enjoy the freshness that comes from them. I have also read that plants’ can reduce physiological and psychological stress because they suppress our sympathetic nervous system’s activities and promote a comfortable, relaxed, and natural feel.
  2. They Help to purify the air – Houseplants are natural air purifiers. They can help detoxify the air in your living spaces, leaving your home with a clean, fresh scent. They produce extra oxygen, which we all could use, especially with our families indoors most of the time.
  3. Add a beautiful touch to your home – Not only are houseplants lovely to look at, but they make beautiful décor.  You could place them anywhere in your home that you feel needs a nice natural touch, and it will transform the overall look. Putting a plant next to your work area or desk will help to increase productivity.
  4. It gives a mini garden – No matter how you decide to do it, houseplants help bring the outdoors’ freshness inside and give you a mini garden you can tend to all year round.
  5. Keeps you in touch with nature – Houseplants are an excellent way to stay close to nature, especially throughout the cold season. Just being able to touch and watch them reminds me that life has many beautiful things. It also draws me closer to God, who has indeed made all things well. 

Don’t overthink it; You’ve Probably Eaten Plant-based Before

Everybody rope and come in, follow me. Please just rope and come in subscribe. Welcome back to my blog; I want you to know how much I appreciate you taking the time to share in this experience. Today, you are all in for a treat because I am about to talk about plant-based food, and we love food, right? One of the things that I find most fascinating is the fact that whenever someone learns that I lead a plant-based vegan lifestyle, their first question is always, “what do you eat?” To be honest, I am starting to think that it’s just an involuntary reaction. Just one of those things we say without giving much thought to it. Many of us tend to overthink plant-based diets, but I am here to tell you that it is really simple and practical. Sure it requires a little more planning to ensure that we are getting all the needed nutrients, but besides that, it is relatively easy to do.

 What if I tell you that most if not all of us have eaten plant-based or vegan meals before? Yep, you probably did not even realize it. Eating plant-based or vegan means having foods that are free from meat and its by-products. So if you have ever eaten a meal that does not contain meat, fish, milk, eggs, or cheese, you have eaten plant-based or vegan food before; Woot! And if you are considering switching to a 100% plant-based diet, now is the right time to do it. Yassss, because it is so much easier than when I transitioned. You got this!!

So much has changed since I started my journey nearly eight years ago. I can remember how much of a task it was to find something other than fruits and vegetables to eat when I was away from home. There are times that I had to go for hours without food because I just could not find a restaurant that offers vegan meals. I remember attending functions and could only watch as others wine and dine. Those days the most common places to get our food was Trader Joe’s or whole foods. And if I found something vegan, for example, vegan cheese or substitute ‘meat,’ some of them tasted horrendous. 

Today,  Veganism and plant-based living have taken the world by storm. People are becoming more health-conscious and are taking steps to ensure that they are in the best health. A plant-based whole foods diet can do just that. The rapid increase among the vegan/plant-based population opened many doors, especially in products and services. Information is more readily available to curious minds, and people are more knowledgeable about this lifestyle. Companies have begun to produce various foods specific to our needs. Hence, major supermarkets and stores are now stocked with various products bearing the label plant-based and or vegan. Can I tell you how scrumptious most of these foods are?  Yummy, yummy in my tummy! Many fast-food restaurants have incorporated plant-based or vegan options in their menus. I have also seen a tremendous increase in the number of vegan restaurants and health food stores. You can even find some of what you need in the corner stores, and I must add that quite a few of these stores sell only vegan food. Eating out has never been easier for my plant, animal and environment loving vegans. But let me tell you that while these vegan process foods are delicious and serve as a helpful means for transitioning, we must exercise temperance in how much you consume because it is still processed. The aim must be to live a whole food plant-based lifestyle.

Now let us turn our attention towards home. This is where I get excited because I am a homebody. I love to be in my kitchen because this is the place where I can positively or negatively influence my family’s overall health. I choose positively healthy, how about you?  There is so much you can do in your kitchen. Whether you want to be creative and try new things or you want to just keep things simple; this is the place for you. The interesting thing about eating plant-based is that you can use your natural foods to make various tasty, colorful, and healthy dishes, and it does not have to cost you too much. Do not be afraid to experiment with what you have because from personal experience, the result may blow your mind and leave your family licking their ten fingers. Also,  there are so many recipes available on the internet that you can try, so be bold, be intentional and be creative. I was raised in the Caribbean, Jamaica to be exact. Eating good and tasty food was the thing but they were not all plant-based—no need to worry because you do not have to ditch your traditional meals totally. What I do is make my favorite meals vegan by substituting a few things. For example, I love ackee which is generally cooked with saltfish(codfish). Since I no longer eat fish, I used vegan Italian sausage, minced trunks, or lots of fresh seasoning to make it plant-based and enjoyable; and oh boy, it became a hit in my household. Hear what? Keep your tradition alive by just making it vegan, Zeen!

To give you a start, below is a must-try recipe. How much of each ingredient you chose to use is dependent upon your family size.

Curried Chickpeas with minced soy chunks

Ingredients

Boiled chickpeas

White potatoes diced

Chopped carrots

Soy chunks ( I used the minced ones for this dish)

Sea salt (Himalayan /Celtic preferred)

All-purpose seasoning

Fresh garlic (Optional, the powder can be used)

Fresh onions(Optional, the powder can be used)

Scallion

Thyme

 Pepper (optional I like it with a mild spicy taste)

Small piece of ginger

Coconut milk

water

Preparation:

  1. If you do not have pre-cooked chickpeas or Garbanzo peas then go ahead and wash and boil. Soaking your chickpeas in water overnight makes cooking time shorter as these may take a while to cook. Canned chickpeas may be used as well. Once boiled drain and set aside.
  2. Also, soak soy chunks in hot water for about ten minutes, then drain and set aside.
  3. Wash and chopped onions, garlic, thyme, and scallion; set aside.
  4. Wash, peel and cut potatoes and carrots in small pieces; set aside.
  5. Place skillet on the stove with about 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil. Once heated, add curry powder, a piece of ginger, and allow to burn slightly. (I was taught to do this in order to prevent stomach ache).
  6. Add garlic and onion to skillet and allow to cook for about 1-2 minutes—low heat.
  7. Add chunks, chickpeas, carrots, potatoes, salt, and powdered seasoning to the skillet stir, and cover for about 5 minutes to allow it to marinate. Remove lid and add water to the skillet (maybe a cup or two). This is dependent on how much sauce you want. I love it saucy!!!
  8. Allow simmering for 15-20 minutes then add coconut milk (about 1/2 cup), scallion, thyme, and hot pepper. Stir gently and allow to simmer until potatoes and carrots is soft and also until you reach your desired amount of sauce. I also recommend that you taste as you go and if a little more seasoning/salt is needed, add to suit your taste. The finished product must be a bit thick, so if watery, allow simmering a bit longer.
  9. Serve with your favorite side. I prefer rice, yams, roti, potatoes or fresh salads. 
curried chickpeas with minced soy chunks
Curried Chickpeas with minced soy chunks with side roti
Curried Chickpeas with minced soy chunks served with roasted sweet potato and raw salad

Eight Laws of Health

What does being in good health mean to you? It means everything; it is the gateway to a healthier and happier life. I am impressed that more and more of us have realized that we must take our health into our own hands, especially with everything around us. As with many other famous things, there is also a health craze that comes with healthy living. Many companies and marketers try to tap into the market to maximize product sales and widen profit margins by offering endless products and services to help us in our quest for good health. Suddenly everyone knows the secret to excellent health and long life. Unfortunately, the market is so saturated that, at times, we do not know what is fake from what is real.
On top of that, they offer quick and instant results, which many of us are looking for because we are anxious to get it done fast. Consequently, our eagerness causes us to become quickly enticed into spending our hard-earned money to find that miracle product specific to our needs, one that will give us the results in the shortest time possible without much effort. This fad worked in some cases, and we got the desired result. Reaching our goals makes us feel happy, confident, and great about ourselves, but this is short-lived. After a time, we are back to square one; we begin to regain the weight we have lost and piled on even more. Although one’s pre-existing lifestyle disease may have even improved due to the weight loss, it returns to what it was before or even worse. Very few managed to keep it off. As a result, the thrill and confidence dissipate while frustration and a feeling of failure set in. Some of us even become severely depressed and resolved in our minds that achieving that desirable state of good health, and ideal body weight is just not in the cards. Consequently, we give up and continue with life as we know it.

What if I tell you that we can achieve optimal health by following eight principles of health, that it is cost-effective, so you do not have to worry about wasting your money? And what if I tell you that the results will be long-lasting? There is a catch, though, but WAIT. I can see you rolling your eyes and saying what a waste of time. Please do not stop reading; I promise this is not a fad. The catch is that it will require a change in mindset. It is not a quick fix; you can do it with patience, consistency, and deliberate effort. As you embark upon this incredible journey, you will begin to break bad habits, form new ones, and adopt a lifestyle that will benefit you. I hope I have gained your attention by now and you are still reading; I got you! This sister is about to give you some vital information.

Years ago, I learned about several health principles that I considered proper remedies to healthful living, known as “The Eight Laws of Health” by Ellen G. White, and by following these principles, one would benefit greatly. I was intrigued and decided I wanted to know more, so I read a few of her books and various writings. At that point in my life, I was open to new information and knowledge that could improve my life in a holistically wholesome way. I felt that it was rather timely and efficient, as well. Friends, since then, I have been trying my best to uphold these principles as much as possible. I cannot begin to tell you how beneficial this has been to me, and I am convinced that it would have been more valuable if I could follow them consistently, but as you know, life gets in the way. Today, I want to share these eight health laws with you, hoping that you may feel convinced enough and even begin to apply them to your everyday life. 

The Eight Laws of Health: Ellen G. White

  1. Nutrition – We must choose the most nutritious foods for our bodies; fruits, nuts, grains, and vegetables. Prepare healthy and simple meals for you and your family. God told us what we ought to eat from the beginning for optimal health. Get back to it. He told us in Genesis 1:29, “I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of the earth, and every tree whose fruits yield seed; to you, it shall be for food.” A diet of natural fruits, nuts, grains, and vegetables will keep you in good health and reverse certain lifestyle diseases.
Photo by Any Lane on Pexels.com

2. Exercise – exercise is essential. It helps to control your weight, reduce your risk of heart disease, helps to manage blood sugar and insulin levels, improve your skin, and so much more. Outdoor exercise is best; simply walking 30 minutes daily will be impactful. Exercising in the open air will give excellent and vigorous circulation as well.

Photo by Gabby K on Pexels.com

3. Water – We all heard the saying, “water is life.” This holds very true. Our body is made up of nearly 60 percent water. A person’s chances of surviving without water are less than if they had no food.  Water nourishes the body, eliminates waste and toxins, regulates body temperature, and dissolves minerals and nutrients. It is said that we must drink half our body weight in water. Let’s say that you are 100 pounds; to find your recommended daily intake you divide your total body weight by 2 (100/2=50). Hence, you should drink 50 ounces of water daily if you weigh 100 pounds.

Photo by Charlotte May on Pexels.com

4. Sunlight – Sunlight is helpful to us; as much as possible, we are to let sunlight into our homes. It supplies the body with vitamin D and helps in personal health. This may be difficult for many of us living in colder climates. However, aim for at least three days a week for 30 minutes a day. Persons with darker complexion will require more.

Photo by Jennifer Moore on Pexels.com

5. Temperance – We must exercise self-control in all that we do. Do everything in moderation, as too much of anything can harm us. I know there is so much exciting food, drinks, delicious treats, and entertainment around us; yet we must exercise control; our health depends on it.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

6. Air – Breathing in the fresh air will fill the body with oxygen and purify the blood. As much as possible, we must ventilate our home by opening our windows and doors to let in the fresh air. Nothing unclean should be kept around our homes. This will make or air impure.

Photo by Gabby K on Pexels.com

7. Rest – Rest is vital to the body. It allows it to replenish and rejuvenate. It’s recommended that we sleep 8 hours daily, which seems unachievable for most of us. I must admit that this is one of my greatest struggles. However, as much as possible, try to get enough rest. Resting is not just sleeping but resting in God by putting away this life’s cares and burdens. 

Photo by u0410u043bu0435u043au0441u0430u043du0434u0430u0440 u0426u0432u0435u0442u0430u043du043eu0432u0438u045b on Pexels.com

8. Trust in divine power – This is very important. As we embark upon these laws, we need divine ability to help us because we simply cannot do it alone. Since these are God’s health laws, he will supply us with all we need to make this much-needed lifestyle change. He plans to prosper and keep us in good health and promises to be with us every step. Without divine power, reforming our health will be a tedious and impossible task. Trust God; He is faithful.

Photo by nappy on Pexels.com

Lost Innocence: Save Our Children

I have witnessed quite a few things in my lifetime. I have tried to keep at the forefront of my mind at all times the need to “always expect the unexpected.” Even in doing so, life sometimes throws me curveballs that knock me flat on my face and takes away my very breath. From my experiences, I know all too well that what is considered normal to us can change at any time. A perfect example is the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic that changed everything as we knew it and continues to affect us even today. Yet never in my wildest or scariest dream would I have ever imagined that our kid’s chances of having a normal childhood would be hanging in the balance. Our young children’s innocence and purity have been marred by matters that should not be their concern so early in life. They are fully aware of how vulnerable they are to sickness, diseases, and even death. I cannot remember any moment in my life as a young child growing up in which I was aware or concerned about matters of such a severe nature. I didn’t even know that they existed; there was just beauty and perfection all around in my young eyes. A lot has certainly changed over the years.

Sometime this week, I took my son with me to run a few errands. My first stop was at the car wash. As I pulled into the complex, I began to gather all the things that I needed to remove from my car before I handed over the key to the attendant. My son, seated in the back, noticed that I was about to get out of the car without him. I also had my mask on because I try to ensure that I exercise precaution when coming in close contact with others. I went to the side of the car, opened the door, and asked my son to come out. What he did next shattered my heart into a million pieces. My son outrightly refused to come out of the car unless I put his mask on. These were his exact words, “Mommy, mommy, please put my mask on now because I do not want to get sick.” I quickly placed the mask on his face and only then did he get out of the car. He was in a complete state of panic and I could tell that he was scared. At that moment, I could not help but think about how cruel life could be. A few weeks before this incident, my son, hubby, and I entered a food establishment. As soon as he became aware  that he was not wearing his mask, he began to tug at my dress with much urgency while shouting, “mommy we have to leave quickly, I am not wearing my mask.” He further said, “let’s go now, hurry before I get sick.” I had no choice but to go back to the car to get him a mask. I am just saddened by everything that is taking place in our world today. A three-year-old child should not have to worry about these things. He should not have to cover his face to walk around outside. He should not have to deal with the ugly side of life so soon. His only care should be playing, having fun, and annoying the heck out of us. Unfortunately, this is not so and I can’t help but to wish that I could protect him from it all, and to be honest, I feel helpless at times.

Before these two incidents took place, I never really considered to what extent has the pandemic (COVID-19) affected and continues to affect our children. We have gotten so caught up in the nightmare that we can’t seem to wake up from and how much we have been affected that we inadvertently forget to consider what our children must be going through. Certainly, they too had to make a few adjustments like staying from school and daycare.  I now realized how much of a big change that must be. For this reason, we have to be vigilant as parents and guardians because younger children may not be able to explain well how they are feeling but through careful observation of their behaviors and actions and interacting with them we can know what is going on.

It unsettles my spirit greatly that my toddler cannot venture outdoors as freely as he desires. It hurts my spirit that he cannot attend school, social gatherings, play with his friends, or even run wild and free at the park. Instead, he has been forced into a way of life that restricts almost everything that a child should do. Before Corona hit, I have always valued modern technology as a great advancement in human civilization. It has undoubtedly made life so much more convenient.  However, we have allowed it to invade our children’s lives a bit too much. Our children have become way too exposed to countless things that they have no business learning at such a vulnerable age. It has become their friends, playtime and for some of them their parents sad to say. Our children are being robbed of their innocence, purity, and everything that makes them so corny and cute. 

Many children today tend to act more like grown-ups; it’s like they do not know how to be a child. Some are even made to dress and carry themselves like adults and interestingly enough, we allow this. When it comes to socialization, forget it. They have zero clues about how to socialize with their friends without a cell phone. I am always so taken aback when I observe my daughter with her friends, it is the strangest thing to me as hanging out means she is on her phone doing something and her friends are on their phones doing something completely different. Mind you, this is normal to them.  

What happened to getting together with friends and talking as if they have not seen each other in years? What happened to the cute little dresses, bonnets, ribbons, baby dolls for our girls and the little knee-high shorts, toy fire trucks, and police cars for our boys? Why have we allowed this to change for the most part? And I say we because I am holding myself accountable as well.  Nowadays, as a baby exits its mother’s womb, a technological device is placed in front of them. They struggle with interacting face-to-face or playing together and sharing. Their idea of playing together means both sitting within proximity of each other and watching their tablet or cell phones. They no longer play with little toys, scribble on furniture/walls (even though we could all do without that part). Where are the cute little paintings and drawings that crowded the refrigerator from the week’s activities at home?  What happened to the many loose pieces of paper with artwork? The cards for special occasions done in school that were so much they drove us crazy because we did not know where to put them? When did being outside become such a chore for most kids who have grown so accustomed to spending hours indoors in front of screens? And most importantly, who is to blame? 

My three-year-old toddler would often complain of being bored. As I write this piece I can hear his sweet little voice saying,  “Mommy, I am so bored.” What does he know about boredom? And how is it that he cannot find anything interesting to do when there are countless toys, books, and games all around him? Where did we go wrong as parents that our kids do not know what to do if not holding a phone or tablet?  However, when my son said, “mommy, I am tired of this, I need friends,” regarding the quarantine,  I understood exactly what he meant and that is exactly how he should feel as a child. His comment assured me that all hope is not lost. My little sister got married a few weeks ago hence we visited the lovely island. While there I was having a conversation with my other sister about our year-old daughter when she told me that her daughter said that “Auntie Jes will soon have a baby now because she is married.” Even though I was dumbfounded upon hearing this, we had a good laugh. Not that she is inappropriate for saying this but it is a perfect example of how much they know.  I feel like we are caring for and raising  “adult toddlers” because there is just nothing kiddie in these kids sometimes, especially when they open their mouths to speak.

Our children are being robbed of their childhood, their youth. Their innocence is stolen.  Where do we go from here and how can we fix it? How do we safeguard our children during this unpredictable and frightening time and still foster an environment where they can be kids?

Here are a few suggestions of what we could very well do:

  1. We have to be intentional as parents. Our children are our responsibility and we must protect and guide them mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  And I said spirituality because the powers that be may want us to believe otherwise but children need to know about God. Technology cannot replace our roles and functions. Only we can do it and do it right.
  2. Allow children to enjoy the simple pleasures of life such as being wild and free, making messes, saying the strangest things that cause us to laugh our heads off.
  3. Limit the amount of time spent on tablets, cell phones, & video games. Monitor their activities, especially when using these devices. They need friends not just gadgets to learn how to socialize with their peers.
  4. Expose them to age-appropriate content and situations. Shield them from the behaviors and actions of a graphic nature. Do not corrupt their beautiful minds.
  5.  Teach them to be active and productive. Encourage their talents and abilities in the old fashion way, nothing is wrong with it. Create daily activities for them to do such as painting, drawing, writing, reading from books. 
  6. They are never too young to learn healthy lifestyle habits, for example, diet and exercise. Sitting all day eating and not doing much movement is no good for them. 
  7. Re-introduce them to the great outdoors; there is so much to learn and explore in nature and the world around them in general. They should be in settings that encourage them to use their imagination.
  8. Most importantly, be the example that they can follow. Remember, “children live what they learn.”
Kids being kids
Kids sharing love and learning how to care and socialize with each other

Five Practical Steps To Eternal life

I believe that it is safe to say that we all want to remain young and live longer lives, and if possible we wish that we could live forever. The reality of death scares many of us and we cannot bear the thought of leaving those we love so much behind or them leaving us. It is no wonder that many of us have committed ourselves to find useful ways to enhance our lives whether by using anti-aging products, through lifestyle changes, cosmetic surgery, among many other things. Some have even concocted magical portions or gone in search of that fountain of youth and everlasting life without much success. As for me, I desire to live for a very long time and I want to remain young and healthy while doing so. I would love to be around to watch my children grow as well as spend more time with those I love so dearly. Consequently, I adopted lifestyle practices that encourage me to eat well and exercise and live well.  However, not for a second do I believe that this is achievable without God.

Recently, I came across a video from one of my favorite preachers, Doug Bachelor. What made this video stand out to me, is the fact that he was talking about something that many of us desire and that is eternal life.  His message was entitled “Five Practical Steps that one can take to place the Key of Eternal Life within your Reach.” Before he began, he was sure to let us know that what we choose to do with the information given was entirely up to us.  It is my belief that these steps were indeed practical and applicable and would somehow enhance my life. Hence, I did not hesitate to add them to my daily life. Today, I chose to share them with you and hope that they will be meaningful to you as well.

Pastor Doug Bachelor’s Five Practical Steps that you can take to place the Key of Eternal Life within your Reach

Step 1: We must recognize that there is a problem. God did not create us so that we can endure so much painful and heartbreaking situations such as death, disease, terrorism, pain. This was not God’s plan. There is a spiritual battle that has been raging between Life and death, good and evil, and right and wrong. This he explained started eons ago in heaven when one of God’s highest creations Lucifer known to us as Satan a beautiful and powerful angel devised jealousy within his heart. He was envious of God and wanted to be like him. As a result, he began to pursue his selfish agenda by speaking ill of God and ultimately persuaded a third of the angels. An all-out rebellion was held against the Creator, Satan and his angels were defeated and cast out of heaven Rev 12: 7-9. Next, he deceived the first humans (Adam and Eve) into disobeying God and unintentionally surrendering planet earth over to him and his forces. The result, a world filled with their spirit and selfishness. God had seen our demise and had made plans for our redemption. He sent his only begotten son, Jesus Christ as a propitiation for our sin. Whether we want to admit it we have all sin but through Jesus, we all can be forgiven.

Step 2:  Believe that you can be saved. Sir Bachelor as I like to call him refers to this as the “good news of Salvation.” To be saved you must believe in Jesus Christ and who he is which is the Son of God and Savior of the world. He implores us to trust Christ with our lives as he led a perfect and sinless life. By faith, he never broke a commandment of God. He is offering to take our sinful record in exchange for his sinless life by dying in our place so that we can live a peaceful life in a paradise without sin. All we have to do is believe and accept John 3:36.

Step 3: Confess and Repent of your Sin. He encourages us to tell God that we are sorry as the bible says that “he who covers his sins will not prosper but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” Proverbs 28:13. Jesus also says unless you repent you will all likewise perish. When we repent it means that we have made a decision to turn away from sin and trust God to help us do it. See Isaiah 55:7. A person who repents is genuinely sorry for what they have done and is willing to turn their heart towards God. The Lord then promises to give them the transforming power of the Holy Spirit; he will place within us a new heart and a new mind. All we need to do is to humbly come to Him and confess that we have done wrong. When this is done we are promised his forgiveness John 1:9.

Step 4: Willingly Receive Jesus as your Personal Savior. Christ is always at the door of our hearts waiting for our invitation to come in that he can spend time with us to guide and teach us Revelation 3:20. We receive Christ by praying and inviting him into our hearts. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life John 3:16. To receive Christ is to trust him and allow his guidance in our life.  What was more impressive about this step is that Pastor Bachelor also gave a prayer for us to say in our decision to receive Jesus as our personal savior.

Prayer

I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life,

to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward.

 Please send your Holy Spirit to help me to obey you and do your will for the rest of my life. 

And I pray these things in Jesus’ name. 

Amen.

Step 5: Confess Jesus as you Lord. According to Doug Bachelor, eternal life is more than just receiving. It is about giving as well. To keep our faith we need to share it with others by words and by example. Let me say trust how true I have proven this to be. I have discovered that the more I confess and do God’s work the stronger I feel like a Christian. Not only that but in sharing the word of God, I am committing his laws to my heart and I have seen just how much it has shaped my life and made me a better person.  The bible states, If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved Romans 10:9. To confess Jesus Christ means to deny oneself and follow him daily Mark 8:34. He stated that following Jesus is an ongoing walk, a love relationship. He encourages us to not be discouraged if we stumble and fall along the way because God has promised to never leave or forsake us. All we have to do is get up. God loves us so much, he sent Jesus who willingly took on the burden of our sins. He died so that you and I can live and we are to let him free us from our bondage and give us everlasting peace.

Five Practical Steps To Eternal life

Life is not about perfection but it is about capturing the best moments. Got this shot of my son “reading the bible.”

Forget that New Year’s Resolution

How many of us stick to our new year’s resolutions? Certainly not me. As 2020 culminates, subconsciously I kept reminding myself that I needed to make my new year’s resolution. I guess that after doing this for so many years, my mind knows just when that time comes around. Well, this year I am changing things up a bit because I will not be making any new resolution for 2021. It just does not work for me. Consequently, I have decided that it is time to forsake that tradition and find another way of ensuring that I do what is needed to be done and most importantly stick to it.

I refuse to subject myself to a list. All too often, I get pumped up and create this list of things that I hope to change/improve/achieve then January comes around and I am in high gears, immediately moving things ahead and it feels great. Then a few months pass and the newness of the new year begins to fade away and so does most of what I planned on doing. Before I knew it, there was no thought or mention of my “twelve months resolution” until the time came to make a new one. Forget that! I am tired of feeling like I have failed myself in some way because I did not stick to my list. I then chastise myself for not being able to follow through on anything when there are so many great and awesome things that I have done and goals that I have achieved throughout the year that was not written on a stupid list.

You know what? Life happens and I refuse to beat myself up over it. Do not get me wrong, it is okay to make plans, set goals but only in certain regards, and for God’s sake be realistic. Importantly, there is absolutely no guarantee that anything will happen according to how we want it to. Whether we chose to admit it or not, we do not really remain the same, we are constantly growing and changing.  Everything will happen in its due season, that’s just how it is. What matters is how we chose to be and what we hope to achieve for ourselves and those who we care about.

This year, I am rolling with the tides. I am going to take life one day at a time and deal with each situation as they come. I am going to be intentional about every situation and use it as a way to improve myself. After all, I cannot know how I am going to deal with something until it happens. For example, I may have acted out of character when provoked but it does not mean that I will do the same next time around. There are many factors that could have led to that behavior such as stress, exhaustion or I was just in a bad mood. Whatever the case, this does not mean that I will react that same way in a similar situation. So for 2021, I am going to take the needed action or actions at that moment based on my response to a particular stimulus.  I will self assess to see where I could have acted differently if not better. I should not have to wait a whole year to decide to change something about me.  That way I can see and measure my maturity and growth throughout the year and be happy about my achievements.