Focus and motivation


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“And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth.” (Colossians 3:2)

Focus is so important, especially when you are juggling more than one thing. Distractions are all around us, and they can keep us from fulfilling our dreams. The bible reminds us that we must keep our minds set on what is above, you may say, what does that mean? Well, for me it means a lot.

When I think about setting my thoughts on things above, I think of another scripture “For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them](Phil 4:8-9). I believe in order to stay focused on the things of God, and to ultimately be like God we have to think this way. It’s actually for our sanity.

Between Family, spouses, friends, co-workers, boyfriends, kids, and everything else, emotions can go from one place to another in no time flat. Being focused on acting Christlike and demonstrating his love for others is something we must practice everyday. Loving your neighbor as yourself can be difficult, but it’s a two-fold blessing; it blesses and demonstrates the love of God to someone, and it assists you in dying to your flesh.

We are all put on this earth to do something great! In order to accomplish that thing we must continue to focus on the things God has placed in our paths and work on them in excellence. Never be afraid to walk out what God has for you. It will truly be a blessing.

Today, make a decision in your heart that you are going to take the steps to become everything that God has called you to be. Take it day by day and work at it. Self-assess, and research. You can do anything you put your mind too, but you can be excellent, successful, wealthy, and have joy doing the thing God called you to do!

be blessed!

Dara Nichole

 

Do African American Women lack Empathy?


Definition of Empathy- The intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. The ability to understand and share the feelings of another. (Dictionary.com)

Now before you get all defensive on me, just hear me out. I first would like to say I am proud to be an African American Woman. I was born and Raised in Detroit, went to school with African Americans, raised by African Americans, and work with African Americans, so excuse me if I happen to believe I am a little experienced on discussing the lack of empathy sometimes displayed in the African American community. I would like to even say that I am an expert when it comes to this topic. Well, here we go.

As you can see, the definition of empathetic basically means to be understanding towards others when it comes to their shared experiences or feelings. Sometimes AA women can get labeled as “Angry” or “Attitudinal”, when in actuality, we may just be direct, or inquisitive about the subject we are discussing. There are no ways to totally wipe out stereotypes, especially with television shows depicting AA women to all be a certain way. However, we can take the steps to look within ourselves to be a little bit nicer. Don’t let your pride, and how you have been all your life stop you from evaluating yourself and being an even better you.  “Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin].” 1 Corinthians 10:12

For years AA women in the workplace have had to battle the “Angry black woman” stereotype. I totally believe a lot of the times people are misunderstood, but what are we doing on the flip end to bash this stereotype? Are we feeding into the comments and saying “Well, if they think I’m angry, they haven’t seen nothing yet!” Or are we simply staying away from the office gossip and in turn our seclusion is being looked at as rudeness?

What about on the home front? Are our men quick to call us attitudinal or a “Roof top woman” after they forget to wash the dishes for the third straight day, or wash your favorite dress in hot water causing it to shrink? Is it really us, or is it them?

Well, at the end of the day, we all have to be self aware. We must evaluate ourselves in all areas of our lives and see if we are really carrying this stereotype with us everyday. I know it’s hard to deal with everything as a woman, work, finances, kids, husbands, boyfriends, no boyfriend, family, friends, and any other extracurricular activity that you may have added on to the long list, however, your ending result will not be based on how other people treated you, but what you did and how you treated other people.

Your probably saying, Dara, the people at my job are crazy, this man is selfish, and I feel like I am doing the very best I can. There is always room for improvement. I totally empathize with you. I too, have a lot on my plate, but we have to remember, only what we do for God will last, which means us changing and evaluating ourselves for God will outlast any current issue or problem that we are dealing with. #truth

“Even the most honest person cannot see himself as others do, for which we should be thankful. Each person is blind to certain parts of his character even when he is most brutally honest with himself.” Source

Below are some scriptures about self evaluation, being loving, and love in general. study them, commit them to memory, and when that knuckle head boss/co-worker/friend comes your way speak it! Believe me it works!

Love you guys!

Loving:

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat,
and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,
for you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.

Proverbs 25:21-22

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

Romans 12:9-10

Little children, let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth (in practice and in sincerity). 1 John 3: 18

Pride:

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Ecclesiastes 7:8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4

 

Being obedient to the call…. it’s a necessity


11If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity and their years in pleasantness and joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You know, life can be hectic sometimes. Husbands, children, jobs, school, stress, and of course the project that God has you working on.  Why does it always seem to come last? We make excuses like, “Well, I don’t have the money to this” or “There just isn’t enough time in the day”. And for the most part, these excuses are valid, but yet and still, they are still excuses.

I know the things God wants me to accomplish, and nine times out of ten, you do too. Us being obedient to him will bring so much joy into our lives, and will probably set us up financially, but we still push it to the back burner.

This morning I was on my way to work praying and thanking God for waking me up, and I was reminded about his love for me.  Through all the mistakes, complacency, blatant disrespect, and wrong doings, God has loved me still. I am so grateful for the word of God. If I didn’t have it, I honestly don’t know where I would be right now. It has helped me through all those times when I didn’t think I could make it, when I wasn’t strong, and when I wanted to give up. I went further back and thanked God for the campus ministry I was a part of and how if it had not of been for my pastor being obedient to the will of God for his life, I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog telling you to be obedient!

Stop procrastinating. Start what God has told you to do. Don’t wait on anybody or anyone else to be obedient to what God has called YOU to do. You can make a difference. Just start where you are, and let God show you how many resources you have around you. It’s time for us to stop being so complacent with the things of God, and start working on the visions he has put on the inside of us.

You CAN do it. If God wants you to do it, he will provide. Believe, trust, know. God will never put something on the inside of you to complete if he didn’t equip you with the know how or the resources to get it done.  Hopefully this song will get you going this morning to take the first step in following your dreams!  You can win! Just take one step at a time.

 

The Urban girls guide to etiquette is FINALLY here!


Sometimes, when projects are laid on your heart to do, you just need to let God do his thing through you. I believe we are all called to a higher purpose, and this is at least a part of mine. I knew I was supposed to write this book for an extended period of time. I pushed it to the side, because I suddenly realized “I had no training in social etiquette, who would listen to me?” But then, my experience dealing with young women and girls, the student organizations I was involved in while living on a college campus, my college education, and my present Higher Ed. Position made me rethink my position on it. Throughout history, and especially in the bible, there have been people who weren’t necessarily the best at what they did, but they believed in themselves, and they believed God would give them the strength and grace to do it. Honestly, that is the space I am in currently, and it feels pretty good.

This book will tackle useful information that will impact your life forever. Knowing a little etiquette doesn’t make you stuck up, etiquette shows you ways to enforce the golden rule in different areas of your life. We always want to treat others with respect, and love, and thats what etiquette does.

I wanted to give you a glimpse of the book cover, and let you know that pre orders will be going on sale on February 28th!!! I will keep you posted. Enjoy your day, and be confident!

Love,

Dara

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Thinking like how God thinks about your spouse…


 So then,[a] my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.        James 1:19

After being married for almost three years, I believe this scripture speaks life to me every time I read it. Anyone knows that no matter how people try to portray it, nobody’s marriage is perfect. Marriage is a beautiful thing, but it takes prayer, effort, communication, and patience on both parts. I personally love being married, and I absolutely love who I am married too. Over the 5 years that I have known my husband though, God really had to reveal to me how to revere, respect and honor him.  I hope my testimony blesses you all!

When you are in close proximity to anyone all or a majority of the time, tempers can flare at any moment. Disagreements are going to happen, and things are not always going to go your way. When I first got married I understood the idea of Submission and reverence for your husband in theory, but not in practice. This was something that was going to have to take time for me to develop. We would have little spats, I wouldn’t follow through on things he asked me to do, and I would submit, but only to a certain extent. My husband, being the awesome man that he is, never waivered in his love for me despite my faults. He always still treated me with respect, loved on me, and treated me how he wanted to be treated.  I was never mean to him, I never witheld from him, and I never blatantly disrespected him, so I thought I was ok, until one day God spoke to me after a conversation that my husband and I had just had.

God showed me how even though I loved my husband, I didn’t totally reverence him.  Submission, in some cases was optional for me, and even though I wasnt a roof top wife, I needed to praise my husband more and honor him (Honor-to show a courteous regard for, to think highly of). And honestly in some cases I didn’t. As God really ministered to me about this, my heart started to change instantly. I started to see qualities of my husband that I had never seen before, I started to think the best of him in all situations, and I started to be more of a listener than a talker. God really showed up!

Being able to produce the righteousness in your marriage is a wonderful thing. When you are angry with your spouse, being able to hand that anger over to Christ and let him deal with it, is such a wonderful feeling. The bible says,

  “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light    – Matthew  11:28-30.

With so much on our plates, holding on to anger, contempt, or bitterness does nothing for us. We have to give it to Christ and let him handle it. All of our problems and issues he can fix if we just ask him to help us do it. I am a true believer that the word works in every situation and in every area of our lives.

We have to remember that even when our spouse doesn’t do everything we ask, or act Godly toward us, we still have to remember they are God’s child. When we weren’t obedient to the things God wanted us to do he didn’t turn his back on us, or treat us differently, he loved us in spite of, and in order to be more like him we have to emulate his behavior in our everyday lives.

Total submission to Christ, his word, and your husband is necessary to produce the fruits of the spirit in your marriage. 

22But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,23Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [[a]that can bring a charge]. Galatians 5:22-23.

 When we are not submitted to God and to our spouse, we prevent God from coming in and changing and rearranging things for the better. We have to always remember that no matter how our flesh feels we should respond to certain things. we have to follow the word and allow the word to take over so that God can be glorified in your marriage. Your life is a testimony, and whatever situation you may go through, God can make it better if you ask him to come in, listen to his word, and submit to it. Trust God, his word is the truth, and it will always produce peace in your life every time.

Love,

Dara

The Surreal life: Being a first time mom….whoa!


 “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward”

– Psalm 127

I am still in shock and awe… I can’t believe I am a mommy! There are really no words to say how happy I am to have a beautiful baby boy to cuddle and hold. Well, let me introduce him to you and give you a synopsis of how my beautiful son was brought into the world.

On June 27th 2011 at 4am, Mathieu Joel Walker was born. The first thing he did was look me right in the eyes, an he didnt cry at all. It was like he knew everything was going to be alright. Because we never found out the sex of the baby, the anticipation was driving us up a wall, but we were happy to bring Little Mathieu into the world.

When we got home, the real work began. A lot of women talk about how emotional they were. I think my emotions were about a 5.5 on a scale of 1 to 10. I had a little bit of experience with children from working in my church nursery, but this was different; this was my son, and I was responsible for him in every way. I think that was just an overwhelming thought. At any rate, my husband was a great help, and as friends came over, brought food and gifts, I started to fall into a groove. My husband cooked and cleaned while I took care of the baby and myself. I really believed this strengthened our marriage, we had to work as a team, and think about each other and the baby, not just ourselves.

Now two months later, I am enjoying my son more and more. His smile, his cooing, and even his cry. It just all makes me so full and grateful that God gave me the ability to have children. I truly thank God for that gift, and will spend the rest of my days raising Mathieu up and ministering to him about God’s goodness.

my journey being a wife, author, and soon-to-be mother… The balancing act


 25She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

As some of you may know, I am 9 months pregnant! I am officially due on Tuesday and very excited about what is to come. I wanted to write a blog about my journey and I wanted to encourage any women out there that You can do this! I’ve seen it done, and I know God will give us the grace to be excellent wives and mothers while also fulfilling the dreams God put on the inside of us.

On April 4th, 2009, I made one of the best decisions I could ever make by marrying my bestfriend. The whole day was beautiful and annointed by God. That year, spring was taking a little long to get to Michigan, but God made sure that April 4th had “Brilliant sunshine” as the weatherman put it. As I look back on my day, there is nothing I would change about it. God blessed me with an awesome man, and my intentions are to feel the same way I felt on April 4th when I said “I do”.

Since we’ve been married, we have traveled to various places, enjoying each others company…..

I would honestly say it’s one of our pastimes and we make sure we have a good time when we travel.

Last year, we were both in agreement for me to officially birth my first book. and honestly it was a success! God really blessed my event, I sold a lot of books, and have met so many people in my journey as a new Author!

God blessed us to be able to do all these things within two years, and now, it’s time to birth our first child!

Though I haven’t had our child yet, I can only imagine the balancing act a woman has to have in order to take care of her husband, her baby, keep her career in tact, and continue to pursue the things of God and the dreams that he put on the inside of us. What continues to keep me going is the fact that I know God will never give me anything that I cannot bear. And even though motherhood, marriage and walking in your purpose are all a blessing, it takes character, integrity, grace, and most of all prayer to continue to be prosperous and joyful in the Lord.

Before I got married I would always hear people say “I love my spouse even more than I did the first day I met them”, and at first I never understood what that meant. But as time progressed in my marriage I truly understand. I don’t necessarily love my husband for the things he buys me, but for his patience, his unconditional love, and his support. being married has it’s ups and downs, and you go through situations that you may not always know how to work out, but One thing I can say, is that since I have been married, I have leaned on the word of God, and on Godly counsel, and it has always seen me through.

So for anyone out there who is balancing being a mother, working full time, being a wife, and walking in your purpose, remember, the Lord will give you the grace to see you through to the end. He never said it would be easy, but the reward in the end is well worth it.

stay with God, trust God, and know, he is always by your side!

love,

Dara

Should I believe your Facebook page? Or is it all a front


   The other day I had some friends over, and we were talking about Facebook, and what it has become since our introduction to it almost 10 years ago. When Facebook first started, it was a place to connect with friends from College, then High School, and Elementary Schools. It even became a place to share photos of yourself, your family and friends, and even late nights of hanging with the girls, or your wedding etc.

I think what happens though, is that statuses turn into bragging, and your page turns into a facade of who you want people to think you are, which can become a little annoying to some of the readers. I don’t mind the statuses with links to websites or blogs, or even YouTube videos and things of that nature, but when it goes from saying how wonderful your day was, to bragging about how great your life is over and over, and over again, it gets a little agitating.

Please don’t think I’m hating on anyone, because that is not my intention, I just believe, we as people need to watch how much information we put on facebook, and just how it may affect the intended reader. Are you looking to impress your FB friends or are you looking to share some great news. We all know the difference, some people just play dumb :).

THE BIBLE even talks about bragging and boasting, and whether you believe it or not, we all have to check ourselves, whether it be in person or on Facebook or Twitter. Jeremiah 9:23 says;

 23Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise and skillful person glory and boast in his wisdom and skill; let not the mighty and powerful person glory and boast in his strength and power; let not the person who is rich [in physical gratification and earthly wealth] glory and boast in his [temporal satisfactions and earthly] riches;

24But let him who glories glory in this: that he understands and knows Me [personally and practically, directly discerning and recognizing My character], that I am the Lord, Who practices loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.(B

This week I posted a status that went a little something like this;

Your self confidence should not be wrapped up in how many ppl you know, or how much money you have, or what ppl do for you. Those intimate moments with our Lord should show you who you are, and how valuable you are to the kingdom. #walkinconfidence

I think this quote in someway summed up the scripture above it. We can’t rely on so many likes from FB friends to gain our confidence, or boast and brag about how wonderful our life is and put all of your business out for people to know you are blessed.

When you read about the Proverbs 31 woman it doesn’t say anything about her telling about all the great things that God has done for her. In fact it says that;

“Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied); and her husband boasts of and praises her…

Now the bible does say “And they have overcome (conquered) him by means of the blood of the Lamb and by the utterance of their testimony” (Rev 12:11) 

This is where our relationship with God comes in, and the discernment to say the right things will come into play. We have to remember that in the process of creating this falsified “brand new you” on Facebook, who are you depriving of seeing who you truly are, and appreciating you for the things you say, and the things you have gone through. Transparency is key.

All in All, I just want to say I love you guys, but we have to start developing a true relationship with God that fulfills us and our needs, then and only then will our Self confidence be based on God’s love for us and the purpose he has for our lives.

Love,

Dara Nichole

So you want to be a writer


Being a writer can lead you to so many different professions. Whether you would like to write movies, be a journalist, write books, or write professional speeches for Presidents and dignitaries, there are a few things you must focus on now:

  • Developing your writing skills

You can do this by starting or writing for a school newspaper. When I was in 5th grade, the students all got together and started a newspaper. We wrote about any and everything we could think of. It also gave us an idea of what it would be to write for a real paper.

  • Join Organizations or clubs that promote writing

Join clubs either online or in your area to motivate the writing process, or even start one of your own! Here are some websites you can visit below:

http://www.writing.com

http://www.motownwriters.blogspot.com

  • Blog, blog, blog

Blogging not only assists you in developing your writing skills, but you also can learn from other bloggers. Blogging is the art of posting entries on your personal site how often as you would like. If you have a Facebook page you can also connect your blogs to FB, and have people comment on whatever subject you decide to discuss. Here are some blogs (including mine) that you can refer to as examples.

http://jaylenlagrande.com/blog.html

http://www.walkinconfidence.com

http://inspirationista.blogspot.com/

http://galstanberrygirlz.com/

  • Find people in your field and ask them to mentor you

Whether it be though Facebook, a Google search, or through people you know, connect with adults in your area and have them connect you with writing resources. The opportunities are limited in what you can do, so meet people, step out of your comfort zone, and explore your options!

When you have the opportunity to throw in the towel… Don’t, and here is why!


So we have all heard most of the scriptures about not giving up, and we’re very aware that we need to continue the good fight of faith.

But when you are going through those tests and trials how easy is it for us to forget the very thing we confessed over ourselves that morning, that past Sunday at church, and at our prayer meeting the night before. Do we really understand the importance of the gifts on the inside of us?

Understanding the vision that God put on the inside of us to fulfill his purpose and plan for our lives is key to walking into that very thing. Sometimes when we don’t fully understand something, we don’t recognize the value or power it holds.

The bible says in Hosea 4:6 “My People are destroyed for a lack of knowledge..” When we truly seek God and understand the vision that he has for us, and stay in constant prayer and contact on what God would have us to do, then we get the revelation on that matter, and obedience becomes easier.

I truly believe that when we have an understanding on our vision and realize to an extent how people can be affected positively with the gifts on the inside of us, more confidence in walking in God’s will comes forward. I always think about if my pastor would have decided to be a doctor, or a lawyer, or even a school teacher and not walked into the calling of being a Bishop. How many lives have been changed through his ministry? How many people have been restored, renewed, refreshed, and given hope?

The bible says in Romans 5:20 “For just as by one man’s disobedience (failing to hear, heedlessness, and carelessness) the many were constituted sinners, so by one Man’s obedience the many will be constituted righteous (made acceptable to God, brought into right standing with Him.)” Now Jesus definitely was obedient and understood the calling on his life, he knew that he had to give his life for us. We are to be like Christ as well, and just like Jesus, God Will use us to bring people to him and bring them into right standing through our obedience to God and our selflessness.

See how important your gift and your obedience to walking in the will of God is important to the Kingdom!

Now as you are reading this, raise your hand if you have ever been in the process of accomplishing your goal and have been distracted, lied on, talked about, or even physically or mentally pushed off course. If you have it proves, how important your gift and obedience is to the body of Christ.

What I have learned is, in our process to becoming all what God wants us to be, we are being developed. We are being molded. While we go through the rumors, the jealousy, and the distractions we are able to use the word to develop and feed our faith. As we grow in faith, we are able to disciple people under us, and show them the way that leads to Christ. And the cycle of vision, obedience, and faith start again in someone else.