Faith as the Ultimate Optimism

“He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.” Psalm 112:7

 

Sometimes it’s hard to remain optimistic—at least for me. One of my heart’s desires has always been to have at least 4 kids. I’m an only child who grew up wishing there was a sibling around that could relate to what it was like growing up in my household; I wanted someone I could say “Mommy [or Daddy] is crazy” and they would understand exactly what I was talking about! Even though, it’s too late for me on the sibling front, I want my daughter to have siblings that she can grow up with. After having each pregnancy after my daughter ending in miscarriage or infant loss due to a rare birth defect, for no apparent health-related reason, I began to wonder if it’s worth it to continue hoping or trying for the vision that I’ve always had for my family. It’s hard to not be afraid of bad news when I even consider trying to have another baby and I imagine for anyone else who feels like God is rejecting or, at the very least, delaying your heart’s desire that it is hard for you too.

Whether it’s just a central topic of Christian thought or because it’s the Holy Spirit at work, probably both, it seems like every sermon I hear talks about how God uses suffering and challenging circumstances to develop and refine us into the people we are meant to be, using our pain and trials to make us more like Him. No matter how many times I hear this, I still need to hear it over and over again until this truth marinates inside of me and replaces my anxiety with peace.

I’ve come to realize that maintaining faith that God is good, that He desires a bright future for me, and that all things really do work together for good is the ultimate form of optimism–and this is the type of optimism I seek when doubts enter my mind. For anyone else of faith that finds it hard to consistently believe that good things are to come despite past disappointments, here are some of the verses that I lean on when I need a refill on faith-based optimism:

When I get stuck on, why did/is this happening?

 “And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” John 9:2-3

Is God still good? Does He still love me?

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” 1 Chronicles 16:34

What am I supposed to do with this pain?

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12

Will my feelings or circumstances always be this way?

 “Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.” Psalm 71:19-21

How do I find peace?

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

So…I’m definitely not a theologian and I’m a firm believer in doing your research on context when studying any Scripture, but the few above have helped me and continue to help me through many bleak moments and I hope they do the same for you. Selah.

 

On PoppedHomemade: Body Butter Goodness

So incredibly grateful for my new labor of love, Popped Handmade, to be featured by Shahidah from Properly Improper. I know that she and her family make their own handmade beauty concoctions every now and then so if my body butters get her approval, I feel like I’m doing something right here 🙂

Please check out her review and if you live in the Chicago area, join me tonight from 6:30-9:30pm at Zubar (8436 Brookfield Ave in Brookfield, IL) for a ladies’ Sip and Shop Holiday Shopping Extravaganza. I’ll have 3 different body butters on deck for you to sample and purchase: Minty Tangerine (orange mint), Cacao Curious (chocolate mint), and Chocolate Makes Me Calm (chocolate & lavender). Here’s the url to the Facebook event invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/1491585511147489/

As always, stay POPPED 😉

Properly Improper

wp-1450272445447.jpegI love a good body butter with a light scent that does not overpower and keeps my hands and body moisturized for more than a half hour. I was lucky to get two samples from the fabulous creations of Popped Handmade and am over the moon with her Minty Tangerine and Chocolate Mint.

Poppedhanmade is the creation of Carla Miles from Chicago. I did a blog feature on her several months ago. I was drawn to her positive and inspiring post.

She is a woman with a family not content with the status quo but empowered to create and establish her own business in homemade skin care products. I wish her much success in her endeavors and plan to continue to support her efforts because…sistah to sistah we have to roll like that.

Please visit her shop on Esty and follow her on Instagram and Facebook

popped homeade

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Actress Lisa Nicole Carson: “I Thought I Had It All Together”

Hey Popped People!

I was really glad to see this article featuring an essay by actress Lisa Nicole Carson. She talks about her struggles with bipolar disorder over the years.

I think it’s really important for black women to know that it is ok to admit that we struggle with mental health issues and that it’s ok to seek help. There’s no need to suffer in silence in order to keep up appearances of being the “strong, black woman.”

Let me know what you think of what Ms. Carson has to say! And keep it poppin’ as always 😉

My Very First Blogger Award! Yayyyy! (Versatile Blogger Award)

I’m beyond ecstatic to announce that I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award; my very first blogger award! Yayyyyy!!!! I was actually nominated last week by the extremely awesome Sabrina of the Queen of My World blog, but I was a bit preoccupied with enjoying the beautiful weather we had on Saturday in the Chi as well as putting together my latest Positively Optimistic & Powerful Woman feature. versatile-blogger-1

Sabrina from Queen of My World has been so positive and such a strong supporter of my blog. I’ve been blown away by how encouraging the blogging community is. Sabrina writes engaging posts that are full of personality so check her out when you get a moment.

Here are the rules for those that I nominate for the Versatile Blogger Award:

1) Thank the blogger that presented you with your award. (Hey, that’s me!)
2) Link to their blog. (Ummm, that would be this blog).
3) Select 15 blog/bloggers that you feel have fantabulous blogs–whether you’ve recently discovered them or you follow them regularly.
4) Nominate those 15 awesome bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award—you can link this page if you want.
5) Lastly, tell the person who nominated you, and everyone else, 7 things about yourself.

My Fab 15–Versatile Blogger Nominations

If you’ve received the award already, no worries, feel no need to accept the award again. Regardless of whether or not you’ve received the award before, there’s no obligation to accept the award. To everyone on this list, please know that I love reading your blog and connecting with you in the blogosphere. Keep up the amazing work and stay encouraged! I’m so grateful for having “met” you.

Properly Improper
Undomesticated Me Blog
Yesterday, I Was a Mom
An Introspection of Latoya
Think Out Loud
Frugal Fab Mommy
Mummy On My Mind
Dear Dumplin
Rookie Notes
Schmommy
Black Nerdy Diva
Phat Girl Fresh
Jeune Afrique
Everything Shaquana
Desert Rose in Bloom 

7 Things About Yours Truly

1. I’m an only child.

2. I’ve technically been out of the country 4 times, but I only really count 2 of them. I studied abroad for a summer in London, England and spent one of my Spring Beaks in Lima, Peru during college. I also crossed the U.S./Mexico and U.S./Canada borders very briefly.

3. Back to travelling, I absolutely love the energy of New York City! Being there makes me want to conquer the world!

4. I’m not super-into astrology and horoscopes, but I feel like the prototype of a Scorpio. Scorpio=Me.

5. I was an English Writing major in college and had absolutely no plans for what to do with my degree. Therefore, I ended up working in call centers my first few years out of college.

6. I have a serious weakness for desserts. I’ve changed my eating habits considerably over the past few months (rarely eating fried foods and drinking a green smoothie pretty much everyday), but my husband brought home 12 fancy cupcakes of varying flavors this weekend and I don’t know what to do with myself! I don’t want to eat them. I shouldn’t eat them. But I have to!

7. I don’t like shopping (most of the time). I like to get in and out of stores, or better yet, I prefer to shop online.

Now, your turn!