My Crazy Journey of Growing A Business While Growing A Family

Unexpected. That's the word to describe the last 90 days of our family life. Finding out I was pregnant was unexpected but very much so welcomed (our second miracle that I'll share more about later), getting crazy sick (first trimester sick) because I thought I was lactose intolerant and gluten intolerant while losing 10 lbs in one week at 10 weeks pregnant. Feeling like I was going to die because I literally have never felt so bad in my life (yea it was bad). That lasted 4 weeks. Finally went to the GI doctor and realized I could eat diary and didn't have Celiac disease but should probably stay away from gluten and sugar alcohols because of how it made me feel. Once I finally got over the life adjustment to eating a gluten free diet with very little sugar I get a really bad allergy cold. Okay...here we go! The DAY I start feeling better Olivia gets a 103.9 fever and my focus shifts to making sure she gets better. Thankfully my mom was flying down to visit and was able to take care of Olivia and help me get my life in order. Olivia gets better and the DAY she has no fever, I come down with ANOTHER virus resulting in vomiting (sorry TMI) and just a full blown cold again! I was like really! I felt like my body was attacking me and as we speak I'm still losing weight. Don't worry, the baby is fine. My doctors are not worried after a quick check up  as long as I'm taking my pre-natal vitamins and continuing to eat (there was one point I was afraid to eat because of how it made me feel). I also had room to lose weight...apparently 🤷🏽‍♀️. Now after all of that was going on, which is only a tip of the iceberg, (didn't want to gross you all out too much) you might be wondering how I was able to keep up with our businesses. Truthfully...I wasn't. 

I know my limits. I needed to rest and allow my body to go through whatever craziness it was taking me through while I was in the beginning stages of building a person! Gosh women are powerful beings! Boom! 💁🏽

So what is going on with my businesses? Here is where we are with the two main businesses that we promote on social media:  

1.) Olivia Sophia Stationery is available to order the products in stock. I'm taking it week by week in terms of new releases and products that I want to get out there for Christmas. The systems we have set up run themselves so we just fill orders as needed. I'll teach on this topic later.

2. Our latest course on "How to launch your own Stationery or Gifts Online Store" was in big demand that we decided to do it again. The date will probably be in November. 

3. Most don't know this but I don't do one-on-one coaching anymore. I stopped doing that back in May 2017. It started to get overwhelming with all my clients and truly I just saw an smarter way to teach. I realized I'd rather teach every month on topics that are commonly asked in my one-one-one programs which is what I do now as needed. 

4. I took off 2 months to pray about all my businesses and what God wanted to do with them. He finally gave me a solid plan a few weeks ago but I can only move forward when my body allows so that's on hold until my body catches up. I know my limits. Hopefully it won't be long. I have things to do! Lol. (That's the worker bee in me speaking)

I have learned that when you aren't in a race with anyone your free to rest, take time off and adjust as life happens and life will happen! That doesn't mean your a failure, your not focused or whatever else lie the enemy or the perfect good ole social media tries to feed you. You're okay right where you are. These are words I've had to encourage myself with over the last 90 days. Bridgette, it's going to be okay...your building a person!

 Let's pray: 

"God, I pray for the person reading this. They may be in a place of unknown or constantly having to react to life. Lord give them peace and let them know how much you are right there with them. God I pray for that mother that feels overwhelmed or that business owner that feels stuck. Lord...helps us to disconnect from the world and reconnect with you our source of peace, strength and direction. In Jesus Name...Amen!" 

Today...I feel a bit better. Who knows how tomorrow will be so I'm learning to capitalize off the "moments". I have burst of energy or moments of feeling good. Whatever I can get done in that moment...that's all there is. God has blessed me with an amazing supportive husband! He's picked up where I couldn't which is like a ton! Pregnancy and raising a toddler ain't no joke! (Excuse my grammar but that's how I felt it)

If you don't see me much online...know that I'm resting and I've decided to focus on my new profession of being a professional body builder! Lol. 🤰🏽

I can't wait to be a mom of two and grow our family! It really is the best time of my life and even with all the pains...I wouldn't trade it! There is some exciting things happening in our businesses and I can't wait to share when I get well! One thing we still do is our weekly marriage life group! Visit us on Instagram at @marriageandgrace and sign up to be apart of group! See you all around! 

When Your Passion Doesn't Equal Profit

We have heard this phrase many times before "Follow your passion and the profit will follow". I think many people embraced this concept but somewhere along the path, they began to feel frustration. If that is you then this blog is for you or someone you know. 

I have found a few issues with the phrase stated above:

1.) Sometimes what you are passionate about does not work in a "system". What people focus on is the passion creation and not the system creation. Those that find profit in their passions have figured out a way to create a "system" around their passions. It is not your passion that generates income it's the systems around your passion that you put in place in your business that run like a well-oiled machine. What I mean by systems is the process from acquiring a customers (marketing), them purchasing from you (internal operations #1), the customer receiving the service or product (internal operations #2), and the after purchase process (follow-up).  Knowing each part individually and inside and out and the data connected to them will help you create systems that work. 

2.) Passionate people want to do the "work". It's not work to them so they do what they love but the business will only ever grow beyond how much that one person can do. Which is why again, you must create a system. I think it is totally okay to start off with just yourself doing all the work. Find out the good and bad parts, tweak and then when you ready to scale you have the foundation in place. The second step is to create a document or video that will help your employees do what you do without giving away your "secret" sauce. Also leave a competitive edge by giving them what they need without giving away everything. That leads me to my next point. 

3.) Have something unique about your passion that sets you apart and makes it uniquely you. If your growing a brand, I always tell people to share the story behind the brand. No one can recreate your story because it is unique to you and your life. That is your fingerprint. If you have a product that you want to sell take your time, as much time as you need to figure out how to set your product apart from all the others out there. You may even want to look into getting it patented before you launch out. It will be your signature piece! 

4.) Don't be surprise if profiting takes a little bit of time. It DOES take time. This is not an overnight success type of thing. Your work will pay off if you keep on going. Tweak what doesn't work, remove the bad part, try something new but keep on going. Never allow your lack of profit to hinder you from learning the vital lessons about what is not working. Even when you are "failing" you are progressing as long as you see it as an opportunity to learn and not a set back. 

5.) As you know my blog is about faith, family and business. One of the TOP things I do in my own life and business when it comes to profit is ALWAYS tithe off of your gross sales. Tithing is when you give 10% back to God (local church). God doesn't need your money, He wants your heart and our money is often times connected to deep places in our hearts. He can do so much more with your 90% than you can with your 100%. I am a living witness! Tithing has been the single most powerful thing in my own life. I tithe monthly off of all my business sales. I make it a habit to do it when I am reconciling the month. I like to see the profit, expenses, and then how much I owe God. I take care of God first then everyone else comes second. Also, don't forget an offering. Tithing and offering go hand in hand. Ask your Pastor to learn more. 

I share with you all things that I personally have gone through. The reason I am able to share these 5 tips is because I was that entrepreneur going after her passion but was seeing very little profit. I was the person doing all the work and never realizing their was no systems in place. I was the person that didn't see the power in tithing and offering. I was also the person that failed enough to learn and make the correct changes. This is what I want for you. Until next time lovely.....let's go higher! 

When God Says "No"

Have you ever prayed for something and nothing seemed to happen? It almost feels like God was ignoring you. It was like you had this super strong desire and you knew that prayer was the answer. You connected your scripture to it and you stood by faith on the belief that GOD heard you. Yet nothing seemed to change.

Last night, I was up at 1:00am and God said to me, write a blog on this topic. I knew why he wanted me to write this. You see, there was a time in my life that I felt like God was torturing me. I prayed for things and it was not happening. It was like a flat line in the phone line and just nothing. I connected my scripture to it and I said Lord, this is the desires of my heart. Let me share with you why I needed to be delivered from that place....

1.) My motives were wrong. My prayers consisted of incredibly selfish things that were grounded in building up my ego. It was all about me. Even though I didn't see it at the time (we see what we want); my pride was blinding me from the fact that I had motives not founded in pure truth. 

2.) I desired the "thing" more than God. This was a HARD lesson for me to learn. God asked me one morning a few years ago "Do you REALLY love me?" It was right after my prayer list and request was given to Him. I was like "Of course God, I do. Did you hear me though" (Horrible, I know!! I feel SUPER bad about it). Then he responded, "Do you remember what it feels like to fall in love?" Being that I was a newly wed, falling in love was a familiar feeling. I responded, "Yes Lord, I do." He asked me "What do you do when you fall in love that you are not doing with me?" BOOM! That's when it hit me. I loved God....but my pursuit of God had fallen short. I began a new endeavor or falling in love with God all over again. I had to get real with myself and why I had stopped that strong pursuit. It was EYE-opening to say the least.

3.) He had other plans for me that brought more peace. You see, the bible states to us and promises us that the "Blessings of the Lord, maketh rich and addeth NO sorrow". Proverbs 10:22 The things I was praying for, I truly believe would have stressed me out because it was NOT in Gods will. His "NO" was Him protecting me from me. That was a HARD pill to swallow so when I got to a point through frustration in myself and decided to "SURRENDER" (Took a whole year). I began to see Him manifest in my life in ways I NEVER imagined and you know what, I HAD PEACE!

4.) God wants me to share with you that "His delay is not always His denial". There are things that you are praying for that is just not time for yet. I think of my daughter Olivia. As she has been growing her appetite has been growing. There was a time I said, she has enough teeth, I'm going to chop up these apples into small pieces and give them to her because SHE was going crazy over them. She just had to have them. Well, she started choking on a small piece because while she had a lot of teeth her molars had not come in yet which caused her not to be able to fully chew on the apple slices. Needless to say, even though she wants them I will NOT give them to her again until she has a FULL mouth of teeth. For a moment, I was scared. Never again. She wasn't ready no matter how much she wanted it. She had some growing to do. I hope you get my point. 

I want to pray with you. I know how it feels to go to the one that has the ability to give you what you desire but for whatever reason he hasn't. Can we fall in love with a God that doesn't gives us what we want all of the time? Can we find contentment with where we are instead of where we THINK we should be? I know it's not an easy thing to do, trust me...but contentment is a choice sis....choose peace in contentment and enjoy your life and the things YOU love. I also want you to continue asking questions to God...he's speaking so make sure you are open to hearing from in ANY way that he speaks. Let's pray....

God, I pray for the person reading this blog. You know what keeps them up at night. You know the lies the adversary is telling them about their situation. God help them to see YOUR truth. Help them to fall in love with YOU all over again. Lord, we need you more than ever in this day and time. We look forward to when you return. Help us set our affections on things above and NOT on thing of this world. Most importantly, helps us to fall head over heels in love with you over and over again. In Jesus name.....amen.

Let's go higher sis! 

The Danger of Mommy Comparison

When I became of mom in 2016, one of the least expectant things that hit me was how moms compare their abilities and their child's abilities. It hit me like a ton of bricks because obviously you want what's best for your child but today I want to explain why "mommy comparisons" is so dangerous.  (DISCLAIMER: Let's me say this.....this blog is NOT because I'm a pro at parenting. I'm a new parent right? This blog was inspired in prayer this morning and was heavy on my heart. With that being said...let's chat.)

First, ANY comparison is unhealthy if it's not rooted in truth. Comparison that is rooted in truth is based on looking at life and Gods word and seeing that you need to adjust some things. Comparison based on anything else is unhealthy and unfruitful. When a mother compares how she loves and is raising her child with another mom abilities, the enemy starts to grow a root of bitterness in her heart. It may not be visible at first but overtime it turns into competition instead focusing on what's best for your child. 

Second, if your not careful people will push their comparisons on you. I see this all time. I don't think people realize when they do it, so you just have to let it go and focus on what God is revealing to you about your child. 

Third, comparison robs the child of a free environment to grow and develop at their own pace. The parent feels the need to push their child to be at some great level that another is, when it may simply be that child is gifted scholarly. I believe every child has a gift/talent that comes natural. Our biased school systems unfortunately highlights those with scholastic abilities and rewards them. But don't be discouraged, your child has amazing abilities and I pray God reveals them to you sooner rather than later. It is those gifts that you want to encourage and promote no matter what the world feels or how your neighbors kids is doing.

I think about my own journey. I did really well in math and have always excelled in that area. The other areas were weird for me because only a few subjects I connected with but didn't excel. Writing is a good example. I was encouraged at a young age to write more, but only one person told me that after reading my writing. Everyone else encouraged a different route. I didn't do well in "school-based" or grammar focused writing but I could tell story that was crystal clear via writing. (Not trying to boast just sharing my story). I tried to follow the others suggested route but my gifts weren't in those areas. It wasn't until after college that I started focusing on my true natural gifts. That is when I realized I had been focusing on all the wrong things. Hindsight is super clear but I thank God that eventually I realized this fact. Everyone has a different path. Doesn't make one better than the other....just different. 

Let's look at Gods word and what it says about parenting:

"Train up a child in the way he should go; when he is old, he will never depart from it" Proverbs 22:6  

The main thing I gather from this is the responsibility on the parent to train the child. It never says "if you have the ability; train up your child." What I grasp is that every parent has the ability to train up their child in the way he/she should go. It's not based on your education, family background or income. It's based on knowing what is right and wrong in Gods eye. At the end of the day, our goal should be to make sure they seek to please God first and foremost. Our focus should be on getting their hearts directed towards the Lord. Let's look at another scripture:

 "And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Deuteronomy 6:6-7

What I take from this is that teaching starts at home. School should be the follow-up but parents should teach from home and I think that's God way is helping parent see the unique nature of each child from the parents perspective. Maybe God wants to show us how he created them rather than the school system telling us.  

I want to end with this because I sense mothers feeling anxious about this topic...so I leave you with this comforting, reassuring scripture to meditate on day and night. It's also happens to be one of my favorite scriptures:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6  

Truth is....we just need to do our best and let God do the rest. Since so many people compare....let's start a movement of moms encouraging each other rather than comparing. Are you with me?   

God....I pray for the mom reading this. Help her to know that you are right there with her walking with her, teaching her how to raise her child. God uproot any bitterness in her heart, and help her be free from comparison. Help her see those in her circle that may be unhealthy to her mom journey. Help her to guard her heart so that she may be the best mother to her precious children that you created her to be. God...heal our world from this vicious cycle of comparison. Help us to focus on you and be humble in our approach to parenting. We need you God. Lead us and help us to stay focused. In Jesus name....Amen.  

Let's go higher!