My husband and I are quickly approaching our one year anniversary and I cannot believe it!!! It’s so beautiful to me when I talk to friends who desire to be married and have a beautiful sparkle in their eye, signifying their hope toward one day experiencing a covenant love all their own. It reminds me of when I was her and she was me.
I remember having a conversation with a married friend years ago (she has been married for over eight years and my now husband and I were dating for three at that point). I said to her “I can’t wait to experience the beauty of marriage!” Her response was simply a soft-spoken response, “It’s not what you think it will be.” I immediately thought this:
Wow. Why would she say that? What does that mean? Maybe experiences allowed her to become jaded, but I will not allow them to get me to that place. I will never speak that same words to a woman dreaming and hoping for her time and season of marriage.
Now, almost 5 years later… I am meeting my dear friend for lunch as a married woman, almost one year in— and I get it. I get her beautiful, honest, yet graceful response to my inexperienced perspective. Her words years ago prepared planted a seed of remembrance for me.
When I think of her statement now, I ask for forgiveness for the judgement; I pray for her continued strength as a wife and mother; I pray for myself, that I may grow into that level of grace within my own marriage; and I remind myself to be gracefully honest with the women I love so dearly who desire to follow the same path.
Marriage is absolutely beautiful. It also requires an act of selfless love that we’ve never experienced before. Parenthood is an agape love through nature and nurture. When dealing with two grown adults, the act of agape must be learned and developed over time. I’ve so thankful for her love toward me to tell me an open truth, and I want to encourage other beautiful women with the same level of advice.
As you dream of your upcoming marriage that you’ve prayed for fervently, also pray for grace to see His creation through His eyes, and not your own. Our vision is flawed but His is the view of beauty that we desire.
Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawaii was prompted in 1981 in response to the US Surgeon General’s conference concerning infant mortality. This Organization was a collaboration between: The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), The March of Dimes, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), The American Nurses Association (ANA), The National Congress of Parents and Teachers, and The US Public Health Service, to provide families with education for infant and prenatal care! Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawai’i (HMHB) is committed to bettering “Hawai’i’s maternal, child and family health through collaborative efforts in public education, advocacy and partner development.”
Lisa Kimura is the Executive Director of HMHB. She has actively been involved for a little more than 3 years now and sees many more years ahead of work with this organization. I met Lisa in the midst of Legislation season, which Lisa admitted is a very busy time for Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies, considering they actually lobby for certain bills and are very present at these meetings. Lisa expressed that, “Lobbying is actually really fun.” It’s a great way to effectively meet needs head-on and push for bills and issues that need to be addressed.
Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies is an organization that does a lot of work that the public sees, however, they match that public influence with work that is behind the scenes. One of these flourishing services they offer is their MothersCare Hotline. This is a hotline where women have access to questions concerning ANY of their maternal needs. This includes Breastfeeding (they can actually speak with a CLC), insurance questions, WIC questions, infant safety and care and more. They also have a service that is called Text4Baby. These are weekly developmental education texts concerning infant care. The texts update mothers on important milestones and give information on the stage in which their infant is at according to their age. Educating mothers is their most powerful way to empower mothers to thrive in their role. Providing this service is a multifaceted benefit to families! The United States has the highest infant and maternal mortality rate in the industrialized world, some of the lowest success rates of breastfeeding and breastfeed for significantly shorter periods of time. Why is this? There is absolutely no need for statistics to reflect on this subject so poorly. I believe that this is merely a lack of support and community when it comes to parenting, and I think many would agree. There are so many resources for parents and yet many are not aware of all of the support they could have, especially when wonderful organizations like HMHB are fighting to make these resources known, and accessible for every family regardless of their economic status.
Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies adapted to community needs as the years have progressed. The organization’s main prerogative is still rooted in preventing maternal and infant mortality. Lisa expressed that their mission is “Helping moms welcome babies, and get access to care so that everyone is healthy and happy.” This mission she feels is well accommodated by the multitude of expertise that each of the collaborating organizations has. “Successful breastfeeding underlies everything with HMHB.” Lisa says. The success of a mother is strongly tied to the community around her and the support that she is provided. With that said, breastfeeding also greatly reduces the likelihood of many of the health issues that they aim to prevent, so it is a huge driving force for them!
Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies works to make sure that even in the workplace women are getting the rights and support they need. They also help employers properly accommodate these women with all that they need as a nursing and working mother! A powerful force that is accessible to the women of Hawai’i!
herself is responsible for many things. Some of these things include overseeing all of the programs ran by HMHB, including Legislation, Programs, Media and Outreach efforts. She expressed that the organization is still fairly small and so they all work hard and wear multiple hats in order to fulfill the organization’s needs! There are currently only six people that work for the organization but each of them are “powerhouses” when it comes to effecting positive change in the community! One of the board members is a seasoned midwife as well, which as a birthing professional, really reveals to me the heart of the organization to support families with knowledgeable members. Almost all of them are parents, like Lisa, who is a mother of three. It’s refreshing to see parents wanting to see success and wellness in fellow parents. We are meant to parent and birth in communities, so please reach out to your local resources, there are always classes and people who are passionate about serving you and seeing your family flourish!
If you are in need of support or know of someone who could use these services please check out their website:
www.HMHB-Hawaii.org or contact them directly at
Phone: (808) 737-5805
When it comes to Valentine’s Day you either really hate it or you really love it, there is no in between. If you are like me, you could do without it. However, this year I have been trying to be a lot more positive, so I am going to give this lovely holiday my all. Instead of reveling in my singleness, I decided it would be better to focus on how loved I am. I mean that is what Valentine’s Day is about, L-O-V-E. So, here is how I plan to spend my Valentine’s Day.
- Spend time with Lord
- Here’s the thing, no one and I mean NO ONE can love you like the Lord can. And with Valentine’s Day being on Sunday this year that gives you an even better reason to spend time with the greatest love of all time.
- Enjoy you family
- Family is there when things hit the fan and they usually pick up the pieces. This Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to take time out of your busy schedule and spend it with your family. Everyone needs a little family time to feel better.
- Kick it with your friends
- As life takes over, careers start and change, people move and start families; it can be hard to keep up with your friends. So, take this time whether it is over the phone, video call, or in person, to check in with your friends. Because let’s face it at one point they were really important in your life, so don’t let time distance you too much.
Whether you are single or deeply in love, everyone can enjoy Valentine’s Day, because I guarantee that people love you. So it only makes sense to spend time with those people! Reminisce, laugh, eat, watch movies, do anything, but do it with those you love. Happy Valentine’s Day!
As women, and even people in general, it is easy to get caught up in the hype and lose yourself completely. So often we agree to do things with or for people because we don’t want to disappoint them. And when we do say no, it is a huge problem or at least we feel as if it is. But, what about you? Why should you always be the one to give in? Now, I am not saying never do anything for anyone ever again, but I am saying be intentional with who and how you spend your time.
In our world, being selfish has gotten a bad reputation and rightfully so. However, sometimes it is okay to be selfish, when it is the right kind of selfish. You can’t constantly give yourself without taking the time to re-energize. Now, this may be the introvert in me, but there is nothing better than taking a night to be completely by myself, doing whatever I WANT. Whether I take to time to write, read a book, take a relaxing bubble bath, drink a glass of wine, or just let my mind wander until I fall asleep, it is just nice to have that time be about me and only me. I love my friends, coworkers, and family, I really do, but I have learned to love myself a little more. I began to see a difference in the way I felt about myself and treated others after I started taking some time for me. And let me tell you it was much needed mood change. I used to feel bad for telling my friends I couldn’t go out with them or telling my boss that I couldn’t stay that extra hour, but I realize that it was best for my well-being that I do less when necessary and I encourage you to do the same thing!
This time alone doesn’t have to be boring, but it should be all about you and what you like. If you want to go to a museum, do it! A trip to a new city, do it! Wine tastings, do it! Sit in your house and do absolutely nothing but watch Netflix, do it! You deserve to treat yourself to a little me time at least monthly, I promise you won’t regret it. DON’T completely shun people out of your life or neglect your responsibilities, but BE the right kind of selfish. YOU ARE WORTH IT!
While I have not yet been blessed to be a Mom, which I know will come in the future, I have been fortunate enough to be a big sister to two young men and three young ladies. And as much as we fight and they certainly can get on my nerves, I would not be the person I am or be as happy as I am without them. So to express my love for them since siblings don’t usually do that, I wrote my young queens a little letter. (The one for my brothers is coming a tad bit later)
To my darling younger sisters,
Let me start by saying that each of you holds a special place in my heart.
You are spontaneous, caring, funny, loving, optimistic, intelligent, and beautiful.
DO NOT let one single soul, male or female, steal your joy or devalue you.
There will be naysayers and haters, because they are jealous of all the things that you can and will do.
NEVER doubt yourself, because anything that you think you can accomplish, you will.
KNOW and BELIEVE that your skin, body and hair are beautiful! I know you may not see many people that look like you, but you are perfect the way you are, no matter what anyone says.
Embrace the fact that you are different, because that is what makes you so special.
And most importantly, if you feel like you have no one, understand that I love you more than words can explain and that I am always here for you.
My life was a lot less fun before each of you entered my life and I am determined as your big sister to make sure that no one ever breaks you down, because the world and most definitely me needs each of you.
True Friends are worth making the effort for when life gets busy. As we challenge ourselves to live a life of intentional behavior, here are some ways to help us be more intentional with improving our friendships:
- Periodically Check-in
For some reason, many believe that effort must be equivalent to something grand, or extremely time consuming. This is not necessarily true! Effort could be as simple as a text to say hello (which can be scheduled within your phone, by the way), A kind message on through a social platform, or a brief 5 minute call. For me, life is busy! In the midst of a full time job, a full-time marriage, and full-time dreams– I am still expected to maintain my relationships to the best of my ability. Well- in Atlanta, I am not excluded from traffic! While in traffic (and using my bluetooth and voice command service in my car), that’s when I catch up with loved ones. Every Sunday as I plan for my week, I write down 2-3 names of friends and family in my planner and write down the best day to call. Writing this down helps me to remember, and it also make it just as important as all other things on my calendar. Random “thinking of you” notes are always great too!
- Learn their language of Love
We all have 5 core love languages but the rankings change for every individual! Many apply the love languages to their spouse or significant other but love languages apply to ALL relationships, including friendships. My love language is time for the majority of my relationships. However, a dear friend of mine has a love language of word of affirmation. As her friend, I choose to speak life into our brief conversations and she makes the effort to make time for us to catch up– even in the midst of her busy family life. By us taking the time to truly learn one another’s love languages, it removes any assumptions and helps us tap directly into showing appreciation for one another.
- Seek friendship God’s Way
The word “friend” is taken too lightly in many situations.True friendship takes time, tests, and success through the tests. In the Book, The Woman Code by Sophia Nelson, Ms. Nelson states the following:
“To be a “sister” is to be a friend. To be loyal. Tried-and-true. It is to give a smile, lend a hand, and practice friendship. it is to be forgiving. to be a covering, a balm, a helping hand, a fierce advocate and builder of other women. Being a “sister” means you value other woman as you value yourself.”
Being a true friend goes beyond a word and requires the act of love toward another person. Make it a point to seek God’s Word and guidance as it pertains to friendship. He will never fail you.
If you haven’t had a chance, please pick up a copy of 31 Days of Intentional Behavior, written by ours truly– STRONG Founder, Coupe Scott!!
Want to learn more about Sophia Nelson’s book, The Woman Code: 20 Powerful Keys to Unlock Your Life? Check out my recent book review and be inspired!