Begin Again!

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Good morning friends!

What a joy it is to sit and write to you all. I have missed you dearly. It has been an entire month since the last time I published on Courage From Within. I have had several followers reach out to check on me. Thank you for your continous love and support. I want you all to know that I am doing well. July was a really challening month for me. During the month of July, I experienced loss, wrestled deeply with the racial tension in our nation, doubted my ability to write and experienced a major transtion at home with my husband returning to work full-time (huge praise!).

I have learned that when challening situations or difficult transitions occur in my life, I tend to just STOP. I stop living and doing what I enjoy most; like writing, spending quality time with friends, and connecting deeply with people. I run and hide like a turtle tucked in it’s shell. But today, I chose to begin again! This is not just a commitment to start writing and publishing again, but a commitment to connect, to be present, to live out my dreams with freedom and passion, despite the blows life throws.

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10 Things To Make The New Parent’s Life Easier

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Good Morning Friends!

My dear friend gave birth to a beautiful baby girl just a couple of weeks ago. She has quickly learned that there are things that make the new parent’s life easier and wants to share with all of you. This post was extremely enlightening for me and I hope that you will find it helpful as well. Read Anna’s post down below.

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Trying to figure out what you need as a new parent can be a daunting task. Do I really need a wipes warmer? What is a “Boppy” and why does everyone keep saying I need one? Aren’t all these “baby essentials” posts and articles just trying to sell me stuff? (No you don’t, yes you do, and yes, they usually are). If you’re like me, you don’t want to waste money on things that don’t work, or that you don’t actually need. With that in mind, the following are items I’ve realized are very useful in making a new parent’s life easier:

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Healed And Restored: Finding Love After Loss (Part Two)

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Yesterday, we had the privilege of hearing Part 1 of Ashlie’s story about pain and loss. Today, she is sharing how her past experiences have taught her about the power of Christ.

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Over the course of the next few years, as I ventured more and more out into the world, becoming a professional club-head and developing a seared conscious to my reckless lifestyle choices, I realized I was running from God. I was trying to run my own life. I finally was brought to a place where I had to make the choice to stop running and surrender to God. I did just that. I was tired of the way I was living life. I was tired of being broken. I was tired of trying to numb my pain with dysfunctional behavior. I was tired of giving myself to men with false hope of them reciprocating what I felt I needed. I was tired of ruining my life with bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, selfishness, pain, rejection and a host of other identity killers. I dedicated my life to Christ (for real) and have never looked back. God has saved, delivered, healed, and transformed me in ways that only He can!

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Healed And Restored: Finding Love After Loss (Part One)

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I am so honored to share my friend’s story  with you today. I admire her courage and transparency.  It’s hard to share stories, but today she has chosen to share her story with the hope of encouraging other women who may be experiencing a similar situation.

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At 20 years old, I was hardly living the life I imagined I would be living as a little girl. It wasn’t the life I imagined upon graduating high school two years prior with national honors, scholarships, and opportunities to study practically wherever I wanted. Based on my goals and serious dedication to academic excellence, I imagined myself at some prestigious college miles away from home. I imagined myself working my way up the political ladder, as my goal straight out of high school was to become the first African-American female president of the United States. However, that wasn’t the case. At 20 years old I was not at some prestigious college away from home, nor was I climbing up a political ladder. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t in anyone’s college; I was actually spiraling downward into a dark, empty pit that I lived in for a few years to follow. There came a point when I found myself in a 1 bedroom subsidized apartment, unemployed, nearly 3 months pregnant, depressed, and counting down the days to my abortion appointment because the guy I was pregnant by wanted nothing to do with me or our unborn child.

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What I know about guns.

Just the other day, my family and I witnessed something that would shake up any family. There were two shootings on our block within 24 hours. The shots were so loud and so close, I literally jumped off my dining room chair and hit the floor. Later we found out that one guy was shot in the foot, but was in stable condition.

The gun problem in Chicago is becoming worse and we need to do something about it. I am so afraid that one day I will walk out my front door and become an innocent victim of gun violence. Please stop the shooting! Please enforce gun laws that will protect families and inner-city neighborhoods.

My friend wrote a post about guns and I highly recommend reading it. I reblogged it below and hope that it will open our eyes to how bad the gun problem is in Chicago. I hope this post leads us to action. We have to come together as a community to get guns off our streets. We have to become more involved politically and socially to influence change in our communities.

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Here is what I know and have come to learn about guns.

This is maybe a more raw, unpolished, but perhaps more honest view of my three years of living in Chicago.

I know that I hear gun shots several times a week from my home in North Lawndale. And I have learned that in the summer I will hear them more.

I know the feeling of shock and fear that rushes over you when a text or call comes in letting you know that a kid you love has been shot.

I know what a gunshot wound’s entrance and exit looks like on the back of a 16 year old’s head.

I know the look of insufficient care when the same 16 year old was discharged from the ED with dried blood still on his face and neck and with no painkillers, just a recommendation to grab some ibuprofen at…

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The Birthday Twins Are Celebrating All Week!

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Hello friends! This week I have had the privilege of celebrating another year of life with my twin brother. The festivities and birthday celebrations started on Tuesday and will not end until Sunday, which is why I’ve been away from blogging most of the week.

I miss you all dearly and look forward to interacting more next week! Thank you for the out-pour of love and generosity this week. Thank you for all the beautiful birthday messages. You all love so well and our hearts are full of gratitude!

Check out the birthday pics below! Enjoy!

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The 30-Day Husband Encouragement Challenge: Days 26-30

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We have made it to the final week of the challenge! How does it feel? In what ways have you been challenged? In what ways do you feel your marriage has grown? I know this was not the easiest challenge. It took a lot of discipline and selflessness. My hope is that the investment was worth the growth you’ve seen in your marriage over the course of this past month. Thank you for participating and allowing Jesus to be the center of your marriage. Enjoy the last 5 days of the challenge below.

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