Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Being There...

Last week I had to fulfill one of the most difficult duties as First Lady. A young couple in our church lost their dad in a boating accident. Because of the weather we were experiencing from Hurricane Irma, it took the recovery team longer than expected to recover his body. It was heartbreaking to see the family cry out in agony.They were not only grieving the loss of their loved one, but suffering through the wait of locating his body. I felt helpless and I really didn't know what to do so I prayed silently to God asking him to please give me the words that could help this family in someway. The only thing he told me to do, was be there. 

Please keep in mind, my husband and I didn't know the entire family, we only knew the young couple. While we wanted to let them know we cared, we didn't want to seem intrusive. I was surprised when the mother of the family requested we come back to the site on day two of the search. My husband and I prayed with them. We spoke words of encouragement into their ears, brought them meals and hugged them when needed but still, it didn't feel like it was enough. 

We spent four of the five search and recovery days waiting with the family at the boating dock. Most of the time was spent waiting with family in silence as they watch the recovery team work tirelessly. After five days of searching, the authorities found the body of their missing father in the late afternoon. The discovery was met with mixed emotion. Happiness, because now the family could bring him home and sorrow because his death was now a confirmed reality. We met with the family at the hospital as they waited for the Coroner to complete paperwork. I thanked God for giving the family closure by bringing the search to an end but surprisingly, I found myself giving him thanks for an unexpected lesson that I learned. 

You see, just before we left the hospital, the mother of the young couple pulled me to the side, hugged me and whispered, "Thank you so much for being here. You don't know how much you've helped me." I was surprised by her words. As I said earlier, most of our time with the family were spent in silence at the boating dock. But then God spoke to me and said "It wasn't what you said, it was simply because you were there."  

Sometimes we abandon our friends and family in their time of need because we are afraid of saying or doing the wrong things. By instinct we search for the words that will dry tears and make everything better and when we don't know what to say, we stay away. That can be a huge mistake if the person(s) didn't request privacy. People need love and support. They don't always need words. 

Lesson from God learned....It's not always in what we say, sometimes hearts are comforted simply because we were there.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

When You Have A Praying Man

I can't tell you all how much this picture means to me. I am so thankful to God for giving me such a wonderful husband who has a heart completely sold out to Christ. As some of you may know, I've been writing and producing video blogs for years. I can't tell you how many times I thought about giving up. This picture was taken a couple of months ago. During prayer, my husband anointed my lips and encouraged me to "keep talking and spreading God's word in the way God had gifted me". 

You see, I worked for years to master the facade of a strong woman who didn't care about what others thought, when in actuality I was crumbling inside. The words from naysayers hurt because they were spoken from the lips of some of my family members, "friends" and fellow parishioners...I.E..the people I cared about the most.

The prayer you see in the picture gave me the strength I needed to be who God called me to be. In the past few months, I've watched my BMack fan page grow from 1500 followers to over 30,000. I am receiving messages from all over the world (Canada, the UK, Germany, Nigeria and the Islands). I am receiving testimonials from people who say where they were diminishing in faith but now they are encouraged to stay in the fight. While my fan base is majority female, the open dialogue on my page has encouraged the men to reach out to my husband for prayer and guidance. 

I  have begun a product line that is beginning to receive sales internationally. Doors of opportunity are opening for my family and I and we are excited about our walk into this new horizon. We give God praise!
God is blessing our "guest house" ministry. In the past two months and during prayer, two people have received Christ as their personal Saviour and four people have received the Holy Spirit. God is up to something big in the smallest of places.

No matter where you are in life (big or small), keep trusting God. His promises are always PROVEN!

First Lady BMack


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Five Things We Ask God For and Then Get Mad About

We are a spoiled nation. We pray and ask God to grant request after request only to complain once he blesses us with them. Yesterday, I was folding laundry when I found myself thinking "Ugh! When am I going to be done with this already!" Immediately, God put me in check by saying "You asked for them." I know we are human and subject to complacency and error from time to time, but it's important to remain thankful for all God has done for us. Why do we ask God for these things and then get mad about them later? That's kind of hypocritical, isn't it?

You Asked God for that Job
You've submitted your resume. You go to the interview. You leave the interview hoping they will call and say "Congratulations, you're hired!" You're nervous. You are anxious so in prayer you ask God for favor. You remind him of his word and beg him for the job. They call. You are hired and you jump for joy. A few months later, you hate Mondays because you don't want to go to work at the same job you asked God for. Why?

You Asked God for a Spouse
We ask God to send us the person that will be our forever and when he does it's a feeling like no other. Isn't it funny how when we first meet our mates we can't get enough of them? Everything they do is cute and adorable. You literally ache when you are not with them, and then we marry. All of a sudden, everything that was once cute and adorable is maddening and aggravating. Hmmmm...

You Asked God for Children
You find out that you are pregnant and you can't wait to tell the world. You try on maternity clothes. You decorate the nursery and celebrate with a baby shower. The baby arrives and you can't stop taking pictures. By the first year of the child's life, things are a little different. I don't know one parent (including myself) who hasn't said at least one of the following; "I can't wait for this child to get out of pampers. "I can't wait for this child to walk and start school. "I can wait for this child to get out of my house." Children are a handful (trust me I know) but they are a part of who we are. We bring them into this world and then we complain about their existence only to miss them heavily when they leave the nest.

You Asked God for a Home
You ask God for a home. You toss and turn in anticipation. Wondering "Will I be approved to buy that home or rent that apartment?" You beg "God, please. I need this for my family." And then God answers and you are overwhelmed with joy. You eagerly pack,  move and perhaps even celebrate with your family and friends at the housewarming....only to complain about having to clean your home a few months later.

You Asked God for Clothes
Whether you purchased them yourself or was blessed with them. One of the greatest ego boosters is a new outfit. How many times have you looked in your closet and said "I have don't have anything to wear?" How many times have you asked God to bless your finances so that you buy clothes for your child's first day of school, that job interview or special event? Now answer this. How many times has God granted your request only for you to gripe about having to wash the clothes YOU begged HIM for?....See what I mean?

We ask God for cars, then complain about gas and maintenance. We ask God for money to buy food but then complain about having to cook i. The list goes on and on...

It's important to remember what God says in I Thessalonians; In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  Be thankful now so that God won't mind blessing you later.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

How to Save up to $8000 a Year By Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is a goal many of us have but very few actually accomplish. Cleaning and organizing your home can save you lots of time and loads of money! I know..I know..The idea of de-cluttering and organizing your home can seem overwhelming (especially if you are severely unorganized)  but if you commit yourself to the process, you can do it and the results will be well worth it in the end. Listed below is the breakdown of how much you can save per room per year. Keep these tips in mind while spring cleaning and apply them to your household management plan. You will be amazed at how much your bank account increases while your stress level decreases!

THE KITCHEN: $4168 per year
Did you know that the average American family spends $225 eating out each month? This includes dinners eaten out, on the go snacks, and specialty coffees. Also, according to the USDA, the average US family of four wastes more than 2 million calories, which equates to $1,500 worth of food, every year. By cleaning, de-cluttering your kitchen, couponing and preplanning your meals, you can save your family budget approximately $4168.00 a year.

HOME OFFICE: $3000 yrly
Image from Coco+Kelley
A well organized home office can help you to avoid paying late fees and wasting gas. Money.USNews.Com reported…”If you habitually pay bills late and shrug off late fees as a cost of living and staying afloat, consider what a hefty price you're paying. As a general rule, most businesses charge anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the monthly bill for a late fee. If you pay, say, $2,500 a month in mortgage or rent, a car loan, electric and other utilities, you could easily be spending $2,750 with late fees but budgeting to spend $2,500.” That’s an additional $250 per month you could possibly save simply by getting organized!

I think it’s very important for every home to have a command center to help keep track of day to day activities, bills and important documents. “Creating a place for everything and remaining consistent in putting them back where they belong saves you a lot of time looking for lost items, plus it prevents you from spending money to replace items you can’t find.” {dailysavings.allyou.com}

When it comes to wasting gas, you can save both time and money by planning your day and errand runs. This will help prevent wasted trips back and forth.

Image from Closet Couture
The average profits from garage sales is between $500 to $700. De-clutter your space, throw a garage sale and earn some extra cash while enjoying a clutter free home!

A dirty lint screen can cause the dryer to use up to 30 percent more electricity ($25 per year), according to the Consumer Energy Center. Cleanalert.com reports you can save up to $270 per year by consistently changing your air filter when necessary.

Add it all up and that’s whooping of $8163!!! Springing Cleaning and Organization really does pay off!

Friday, April 1, 2016

How to Protect Your Work or Design Idea

People ask me all of the time what can they do to protect their literary work, design ideas or inventions. I found this "in a nutshell" info via entrepreneur.com and decided to share...

Josh Owen, who runs his eponymous design studio in New York and chairs the Industrial Design Department at Rochester Institute of Technology, says one key to defending designs against copycats is being first in the marketplace. He warns his students, "Don't hold your ideas so close that you become a paranoid troglodyte hiding in your basement holding onto these ideas. You have to strike a balance between being a steward of your ideas and finding partners who can help protect them."

Listed Below Are Your Legal Options on How to Protect Your Work
The options for legally protecting a design are complex, especially with changes to patent laws scheduled for this year. It is best to consult with an attorney to figure out the most cost-effective methods. "It's better to invest the money upfront and get the protection," says lawyer Marc Misthal of Gottlieb, Rackman & Reisman, "because it's often costlier to compete with and chase down knockoffs."
Here are various levels of protection available to designers. And one last piece of advice from Misthal: When licensing your work, make sure you try to maintain ownership of the rights (as opposed to handing them over to the person who's manufacturing and distributing your design).
  • Copyright protects artistic expression (i.e., not the idea itself, but the way it is expressed). A painting, movie, song or piece of writing can be copyrighted, but a functional item like a chair cannot. However, if the chair's form is unusual enough to qualify as sculpture, or if it features handcrafted scrollwork or other artistic elements, it might be eligible for copyright protection. The U.S. Copyright Office charges a $35 electronic filing fee; once granted, the copyright lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years.
  • Trademarks identify the product's source. A trademark protects any identifying feature (e.g., a product name, logo or signifier, such as Burberry plaid or the red soles on a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes). The government charges $275 to $375 per claim, and the acquisition process can take several years. Trademarks last forever.
  • A utility patent protects a mechanical innovation (e.g., a new way to fold a chair).
  • In legal terms this mechanism must be "novel" and "nonobvious," meaning that in the eyes of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office examiner, even someone skilled in that area would not have thought of it. This is the most expensive protection to obtain--about $7,000 to $10,000--and takes on average three to seven years to secure. It lasts 20 years.
  • A design patent protects the look of a product (anything from handbags to furniture).
  • As with a utility patent, the look must be novel and nonobvious. Typically these patents take 12 to 18 months to secure, cost an average of $2,500 to $3,500 and stay in effect for 14 years. "More people should take advantage of these," Misthal says. "They're very powerful--Apple beat Samsung on design patents." (Applications for design and utility patents must be filed within one year of the product being sold or shown publicly.)
Hope this helps!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Curtains Make Everything Better: My Tieback Solution

I bought these Martha Stewart Sheers after catching them on clearance at JCPenny.com for $6.97 a panel. I tried ironing one of the panels but my setting was high and well....that didn't go over so well. On my next trip to Wal-Mart, I will be shopping for a steam iron so don't judge me about the wrinkles. LOL

Now here is where my "Grow Your Own" motto comes into play. The panels didn't come with tiebacks so I used gold ribbon and three flowers from one of my centerpieces to make my own and it came out so Ka-Yute!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Why God Didn't Give It to You

When my husband and I first started preparing for our dream home, our initials plans were to build.
One of the first things we did was look for land.We found a quaint acre lot on the outskirts of town. It was perfectly nestled at the opening of the subdivision. I fell in love with the property. I could see our home and our family living there for many years. Needless to say, we weren't able to purchase the land and I was heartbroken. But God kept his word and blessed us with greater when we purchased our current home a year later.

The house we live in now is actually a few miles down the road from the property I once adored. In the recent months, we noticed improvements being made on the lot. The owner had it graded, removed trees and installed a driveway. The land sat vacant for a few months after that. I figured the owner was landscaping the property so that it would appeal to potential buyers.

Today as we drove past the land, we noticed ground stakes foot printing the shape of a house placed in the center of the property. There was an elderly gentlemen measuring the stakes while a woman (who I assume to be his wife) walked around the stakes clearing sticks. I smiled and said to my husband "Aww, they have to be the ones who are building the house." In my mind I imagined the excitement they were feeling  and I wondered "Was this their first home or retirement home?"

I remembered the excitement Travis and I felt when we built our first home years ago. We visited the building site daily, checking on progress and cleaning up any messes the construction workers left behind. I imagine this will also be the couple's daily routine until their home is complete. While I don't know them, I pray everything works out beautifully for them.

Seeing this was a tremendous blessing for me. Sometimes we get so caught up in what "God didn't give us". We ask "Why did God let the next person have the car, the house or the job and not me?" We forget, there are others who have prayers, goals and dreams as well.  What God has for US is for US but we also must remember What God has for THEM is for THEM. Today, I was blessed with the honor of seeing why God didn't give it to me and I give him praise; not only for the blessings in my life but for the blessings he has bestowed in the lives of others.

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