Merry Christmas Black Family

A Christmas Note For You

Merry Christmas, friends!

I hope this greeting finds you full of health, joy, and prosperity. I just want to hop on this blog quickly to wish you well. And since it’d be awkward to write a two-sentence post, I’ll share what we’ve been up to.

Yesterday, we enjoyed a relaxing day with our family. I was able to just be because I’d already completed my Christmas shopping before December and did most of my wrapping this weekend. I also organized and got rid of a ton of stuff via donation.

Family Christmas 2018

It was a great day here in Middle Georgia. It was an unusually warm winter day. All we needed was a light jacket and a smile. The sun was blindingly beautiful and very much welcomed after a couple days of gloomy weather. My boys took full advantage and rode their bikes up and down the street with their friend next door.

Later, we had a gift card to Chick-fil-a so it only made sense to bypass cooking and have a tasty drive-through dinner at our favorite fast food joint. Their spicy chicken deluxe sandwich is my fav! I love how our local Chick-fil-a decorates during this time of year. The giant cone tree filled with sparkling lights. The bedazzled manicured bushes. The fairy-light trimmings adorning the building. It’s so fun and festive!

FYI: My meal didn’t survive the drive home.

That night, we let the boys open one gift. When I was a child, my mother always allowed us to open one present on Christmas Eve, so we kept up this tradition with our children. The boys ended up opening their gifts to each other. I love to take my boys on individual shopping trips to pick out gifts for one another. It encourages them to be thoughtful and strengthens their bond.

Since my little-one loves stuffed animals, his brother got him a plush horse. It walks. It’s loud. It’s annoying. But little brother LOVED it. Although judging from the disapproving look on my husband’s face, I think Munchie will have a mysterious disappearance soon. And, yes, Munchie is the horse’s name.

For older brother, my little-one picked out a Perler bead kit. My eldest son had asked for this kit (and many other things!) during one of our shopping trips to Hobby Lobby. But it was NOT on the list, so I said no. No worries, though, little bro had his big brother’s back and gifted him the kit full of thousands of beads that’ll probably end up in the vacuum. Big brother loved it and the entire family had an impromptu crafting session.

4BF00C95-49A0-4FB3-9368-B9381A6763F4.jpeg

During our crafting session, I asked the boys what they thought Christmas was all about. We’ve had this conversation last Christmas, but I was curious as to what they’ve extracted from it. I love hearing things from a child’s perspective. My eldest son said it best, “It’s about celebrating Christ being born and saving us from our sins.” Oh, how this celebration should take place every single day of our lives!

After watching Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas on Netflix and sipping some hot cocoa, the boys were fast asleep. Soon, the presents rolled out of the closet and made their way underneath the Christmas tree. Join me on Instagram to get a glimpse of my Christmas Eve winddown on Instastory.

When it’s all said and done, I’m truly thankful for the life God has given me.

I want to end this post by saying this Christmas, please take the time to pick up the phone and call someone who could use it right now. Some people have a difficult time during the holidays. I, myself, have a friend who’s entire family literally just fell apart after her husband walked out on them. Today will be tough for her and her children.

And if you’re the one going through the holiday blues right now. Take heart. I empathize with you. I know there’s very little I can say to ease your pain. But just know that nothing lasts forever. Your pain won’t last forever. May you experience comfort during your season of grief, sadness, depression—or whatever you’re going through. May your suffering not be in vain. May you smile for the first time in days. Weeks. Months. May you make it through this difficult time stronger and more resilient.

Peace be with you, my friend.

Until next time…

0980FD6E-802A-42F3-A315-58A5FE41E486.jpeg

 

 

 

Stay at Home Mom

So You Want to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom

First off, I commend you. Making the decision to be a stay-at-home mom isn’t easy. There are a series of what-ifs coupled with conviction and excitement. I’ve been there.

The moment God placed it on my heart to become a stay-at-home mom wrapped me in a swirl of emotions. I never saw myself as the soccer-mom type, but suddenly there I was, knowing for certain that staying home was the best thing for my family—yet still struggling with doubt that triggered from the what-ifs. What if we can’t afford it? What if my husband loses his job? What if I hate staying home?

Let me tell you. All of these things happened and more! But God’s grace is always sufficient and, with His help, we are fulfilling our call to be the parents He destined us to be. Eight years in, and two kids later, I’ve learned some things I’d like to share with you. So without further ado, here are eight things to consider as you journey into becoming a stay-at-home-mom. 

1.    God is with you. When God told Joshua to lead the Israelites into the promised land, God’s exact words were “Do not be afraid; Do not be dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Whenever God gives us a task that initially scares us out of our wits, we can rest assured that He is with us. With that said, being a stay-at-home mom is not easy. There’ll be sacrifices, tough moments, and unwarranted opinions that’ll tempt you to give up. Trust that God will never leave you or your family hanging. Yes, it WILL be tough at times, but it is in those moments that we strengthen our character and persevere. 

2.    You should consider the cost. Going from a corporate job to a stay-at-home mom can be quite the adjustment. You may be accustomed to contributing to your household and, perhaps, having that extra income to splurge on the things you desire. Please, place your desires into perspective and consider the cost of being a stay-at-home mom. Your household budget will likely tighten, but it is set in place to help you afford the opportunity to stay at home with your children. Remember, “Don’t begin until you count the cost” (Luke 14:28). For our family, that meant no cable television, one cell phone and car between us, and many other sacrifices, like dropping my husband off at work early in the morning (6am!) so that I could have the car for the day. 

3.    You may hate it at times. Even people who absolutely love their job have off days, maybe even an off week. Please don’t let a bad day or a bad week convince you that you’re not cut out for the job. At the end of the year, you’ll see that those bad days don’t even matter in the grand scheme of things. Trust me, you’ll have more good days than bad. Remember, “do not grow weary in doing what is good. For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9). And what is that harvest? All the good things that result from investing time into your family!

4.    Your husband may lose his job. Yes, this happened to us. I want to stress how important it is to have multiple streams of income. The word of God tells us to “invest in seven ventures, yes in eight; for you do not know what disasters will come upon the land” (Ecclesiastes 11:2).   Therefore, consider investing your money elsewhere, whether in stocks, bonds, a startup company, or other ventures God may have for you. Not only will this grant you peace of mind, but you’ll have a cushion to fall on should your husband lose his primary job. 

5.    You can still work. I know that may sound like a longshot when you’re chasing down your toddler, but consider that there’s a time for everything. Of course, when I was a new mom, my main priority was caring for my babies, especially since I nursed them around the clock. But as my children grew older, more independent, and I started getting enough rest, I seized the opportunity to invest in my own ventures to help add more passive income to our household. Proverbs 31 tells us about the virtuous woman who managed to run her home while contributing to household finances. It can be done!

6.    You may lose yourself. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the needs of your children, husband, and home. But you must take care of yourself, first. This doesn’t just mean physically, but also mentally and spiritually. Feed your mind by continuing to invest in the things that interest you. But, most importantly, feed your spirit. When Martha opened her home to Jesus, she became easily distracted by all the preparations she had to do. But her sister, Mary, ignored the preparations and sat at Jesus’ feet to listen to his teachings. What did Jesus tell Martha? “Mary has chosen what is better” (Luke 10:38-42). The lesson? It’s great to serve the ones we love, but never place it before spending time with God. 

7.    The grass will look greener in the corporate office. There will be times when you envy working mothers. Not only do they get regular breaks from their children, but they also get monetary recognition for their work ethic and achievement. Take heart and know that God sees and values all of the work that you do. Remember when David worked as a shepherd boy? It seemed no one noticed when he fought off lions and bears to protect his sheep. But God did! God gave David (who later became king!) an opportunity to shine before men (1 Samuel 16). Remember, what’s done in secret will be rewarded openly (Matthew 6:4).  

8.    This is your calling. Being a stay-at-home mom is not for everyone. It is a calling. Therefore, resist judging mothers who are not called to stay at home with their children. God has a different path for them. It’s easy to believe EVERYONE should be doing what we’re doing when we feel so passionately about something. However, when we don’t consider that every woman has a different walk, we place God inside a box and put ourselves on a pedestal as “the only way to do it.” Even worse? We stifle other women’s passions and pursuits by forcing our own on them. Stay on your own course and fulfill your calling with a joyful heart. “For the gifts and callings of the Lord are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). 


There’s so much more I want to share, but those topics deserve a post of their own! For now, I’ll leave you with the first eight things God placed on my heart to share with you. Whatever path you’re on, remember not to compare your journey to others. Comparison will always be the thief of joy.  

Join me this month for my new series called “The Better Mom” Tuesdays! Every Tuesday of this month I’ll be sharing some nuggets of truth I’ve learned from being a young wife and mother. You don’t want to miss it! 

 

5 Ways You're Sabotaging Your Homeschool

5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Homeschool Success

When I stumbled across the book, Don’t Limit God, by Andrew Wommack, I found myself unable to put it down. Let me confess that I don’t watch television and am unfamiliar with Mr. Wommack’s ministry, so I don’t know much about him. What I do know is that God spoke to my heart through his book.

Earlier this week, I posted a photo on Instagram with Wommack’s book pictured. A friend of mine inquired of the book by asking how it resonated with me. Instead of replying with a long-winded comment, I decided to write a post about it.

Now this book focuses on taking limits off God to expand our potential for success. Obviously, it resonated with me business-wise, but I felt led to share how the book resonated with me when it came to my homeschool journey. As a disclaimer, these points are directed at me also, so I am not pointing fingers. And, of course, this post is from the perspective of Faith.

Here goes…


5 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Homeschool Success


1. You Don’t Believe You Can. This is a common concern amongst homeschool parents—they just don’t think they’re cut-out for the job! I shared this sentiment, despite the fact that I studied curriculum development and earned a Master’s degree in Education. There were several “buts” that I begged God to consider. “But I’m not smart enough.” “But I’m not patient enough.” “But I don’t have enough money.” The list seemed infinite.

Still, God said, “With me, you are enough.”

If God had a limited mind like us, He would’ve never called Sarah to bear the promised son even though she was past child-bearing age. He would’ve never called Moses to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land even though he had a speech impediment. And, He most certainly wouldn’t have called Christ to take our place on the cross even though we didn’t deserve such grace.

So, you see, it may not make much sense to you but God certainly knows why He called you. In fact, God has a history of choosing unqualified candidates to carry out His purpose. The Word says, “Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise” (I Cor. 1:26-27). Why does God choose unqualified candidates? “So that your faith may not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor. 2:5).

With God, you are enough!

2. You compare yourself to others. It’s dangerous to measure the success of your homeschool by the standards of other homeschool families. Yes, I’ve had a few noses turned up at me when I confessed to building my own curriculum rather than purchasing a boxed one. Yes, sometimes I subscribed to the belief that our homeschool would be more successful if we had money to do things like “that other family.” But in those moments, I limit God…and you will, too.

God wants us to discover that there is more than one cookie-cutter way to run a successful homeschool. Don’t miss out on some beautiful discoveries by trying to be like that other family. Those “beautiful discoveries” may minister to struggling homeschool parents one day.

Instead, we must adopt apostle Paul’s attitude when he says, “I do not think I am the least inferior to those ‘super-apostles.’ I may indeed be untrained as a speaker, but I do have knowledge” (2 Cor. 11:5-6). Here, Apostle Paul admits to not being a great speaker like the other apostles, but he doesn’t allow comparison to make him feel inferior. Instead, he focuses on what he does have and trusts that God will compensate for the rest as he carries out God’s purpose.

There is something that you have to offer your homeschool family and community that no one else can. Ask God to reveal to you what that “something” is, so that when you find yourself feeling inferior to other homeschool parents, you can quickly remind yourself that you also have what it takes.

3. You don’t aim high enough. Guess what? You’re called to raise the bar, not submit to it. Deuteronomy 28:13 says this, “The Lord will make you the head, not the tail…you will always be at the top, never the bottom.” This is God’s vision for those who obey Him.

Let me paint a picture for you; last year, I read numerous resources about homeschool and subscribed to some really “average” ideologies. For instance, it’s become a culture to boast of laziness, expect bad days, and count an impromptu day at the beach as a “field-trip.” Let me just say, there is grace in these practices, but we should never set them as our standard. We limit God when we try to be like everyone else.

Instead, aim for excellence in your homeschool. Boast of productive days, set high expectations, and call an impromptu day at the beach what it truly is…a day at the beach!

4. You’re too busy. In order for our homeschool to reach its potential, we must take enough time out of our busy schedule to just be still, hear God, and receive instruction. God speaks to us in many ways, but the Word reminds us that sometimes God’s voice is but a gentle whisper that can only be heard when we quiet our lives (1 Kings 19: 11-12).

Some of us make our lifestyle unconducive to having a growing relationship with God. There are never-ending house chores, a morning full of school work, an afternoon full of extracurricular activities, and an evening full of scrambling to catch up on work that was missed. And then we go to bed with all the cares of this world dominating our thoughts, infiltrating our hearts and spirit.

I’m here to tell you that if you are not still enough to receive God’s instruction for your homeschool, you are treading dangerous waters. But don’t just take my word for it, remember that it is God who lights our path (Psalm 119:105).

5. You fear failure. This has by far been a primary concern amidst homeschool parents— the fear of failing to properly educate our children. In fact, this fear has been strong enough to drive many parents to quit. What a way to limit God and your homeschool potential!

Why focus on the worst case scenario when you can focus on all the wonderful things that could go right? “As a man thinks within himself, so he is” (Prov. 23:7). That means, if you’re not careful, what you believe will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Fear cancels out faith. And without faith, there is no hope. Therefore, you must visualize your child’s success. See them holding that college degree, succeeding in their dream career, purchasing their first home—whatever hopes you have for their future, meditate on it (Hebrews 11:1).

Lastly, I want to remind you that God did not give us the spirit of fear, but the power, love and self-discipline to carry out His purpose for our lives (2 Tim. 1:7).


Homeschooling is challenging enough, don’t do it without God’s help! If you are reading this and have not accepted Christ into your life, but want to, simply repeat this prayer:

“Dear heavenly Father, I know that I’m a sinner and I need your help. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ, died for my sins, was buried, and rose from the dead to fulfill your Word. I accept Christ into my life and into my heart as my personal lord and savior. Thank you, Lord, for forgiving me. I now rejoice because I am free from condemnation! In Jesus name, Amen.”

If you said that prayer and believed it with your whole heart, CONGRATULATIONS! You are officially born again! Drop me a line at nikemanderson@gmail.com and let me know how I can help you!