CULTIVATION

Welcome to this Month’s Word Focus – CULTIVATION.

Many may associate this word with farming or tilling land but this month, we will focus on Cultivating Ourselves. 

In simple terms, to cultivate means “PILE” and Friend, I do not mean a pile of laundry. To make it easier, I came up with an acrostic that corresponds with the definition of Cultivate.

P – Prepare 

I – Improve 

L – Labor

E – Educate 

I am not sure what it is that you would like to PREPARE for, IMPROVE on, LABOR at, or EDUCATE yourself on but whatever it is, just start.

Continue reading CULTIVATION

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4 Reasons for Taking Family Vacations

Believe it or not, the family is often attacked in our world. Instead of it becoming a priority, it becomes a burden. Everyone gets so busy making a living that they forget to actually live.

If you’re anything like me, you love Family Vacations. (I mean who doesn’t?!?)

I remember my first-ever “family vacation” was my honeymoon at Disneyworld (if that even counts).

The following year when we had our first girl, we went to Disneyland (LG was 3 months).

Next, we did a staycation and cleaned up our home and just went around  San Diego and the Zoo.

Last year, we went to Sea World because we had some free passes.

This year, we are still debating on whether we should go to Disneyland again or not. Our oldest is old enough to understand this place, which makes us pretty excited! And then we would like to explore around our hometown, San Diego (places we’ve never been to)  & go around Los Angeles.

If you can’t tell already, my husband and I don’t have extravagant lives or jobs. We are both in full-time Christian Ministry and we have been ever since we graduated college 5 years ago.

No doubt, our vacations are not “all-that” compared to others but the most important thing to us about this time is just getting away from the routine and mundane schedule of our lives.

Here are the top reasons why I believe Family Vacations are a MUST:

1. TO REST & RELAX

When was the last time you actually, truly relaxed?  Sleeping does not count! Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines relaxation as 1. The act of slackening or remitting tension; as a relaxation of the muscles, fibers or nerves; a relaxation of the whole system.

I don’t know about you but I am way overdue for a good, long massage! I don’t know how many times my husband has cracked my back or massaged my feet but definitely more than I can remember! (He’s pretty awesome!)

We all have busy lives, whether you’re a WAHM, SAHM, or Working Mom (Outside of home). If we’re honest, life does take a toll on us physically, mentally, and spiritually, which is why we need some time dedicated to just relaxing. This means that we shouldn’t even think about work, chores around the house, or future projects. We should focus on relaxing our bodies and minds so that we may recover from the past year’s or years’ worth of work.

2. TO RECUPERATE

To recuperate means to recover or regain. Believe it or not, working makes you lose some things. You lose time (time-wasted and time-used), which could mean time you could’ve had with your spouse or your children. You have probably lost hair and maybe some brain cells from all the stress you’ve had to deal with. 😬😂

Getting away with your family might not get that time that was wasted or used, back, but you can definitely make it up by doing fun, memorable things. No matter how long your vacation may be, it should always be a time that the whole family looks forward to.

3. TO RE-ENERGIZE

To Energize means 1) To give strength or force to; to give active vigor to.

We all have been energized throughout the year. We could’ve taken naps, slept in on some days, or slept early. Doing these things give us energy to go on for the next day or few days.

To Re-energize means more than just taking naps, sleeping in, or sleeping early. It means to fully devote yourself to a certain amount of time or days to just get your strength back & many times, all it takes is a few days of doing absolutely nothing related to your occupation.

In order to properly function, we need enough rest and strength. When we have these, we will be ready for the next round of work, chores, and responsibilities.

4.  TO REFRESH

Refresh is defined as the following: To give new strength to; to invigorate; to relieve after fatigue; as, to refresh the body. (Exodus 23:12)

Being around the same people all the time and doing the same things all the time can sometimes cause us to be complacent. Have you ever gone out with your family and thought or even prayed that you wouldn’t see anyone you knew?!? Yeah, I’m totally guilty!

I never used to be like this but as my family grew, I’ve learned to cherish every moment with them and sometimes, that means sacrificing time with my & my husband’s friends. We’ve had to say, “NO” on multiple occasions whenever we were asked to go out, mainly because we wanted to just have family time. There’s just something awesome about spending time with family.

Would you believe it that even Jesus rested; not because he was tired but so he could show forth an example for us to follow.

He rested after 6 days of creating the beautiful world we live in. (Genesis 2)

He napped after He boarded a ship with His disciples, but was woken up after a raging storm came their way and frightened the disciples. (Luke 8)

Rest is needed in order to have new strength or be refreshed for what lies ahead of you.

“RESTING is not the same as LAZINESS.” J.Cabal

Although Jesus rested, you’ll find that even right after a nap, he went straight into doing miracles and healing people; in other words, He was working!

If you haven’t taken family vacations, I urge you to do so! They aren’t just for memory-making moments, but also for your health.

It is difficult to function with little or no sleep; imagine trying to take on a whole year without a designated time for just rest? WE WOULD LOSE OUR MINDS!

So, take a family vacation, whether it’s with just your spouse or with your spouse and children!

Your mind, body, and soul need to be refreshed!

Believe me, you need it & you deserve it!

 

 

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Mom, You Matter!

Has anyone ever told you that you were unworthy, not enough, or that you didn’t matter?

I’m sure more often than not, you have been told either one of these; whether it be from a family member, a friend, or even a teacher. However, there is one person who whispers in our ears and if we aren’t careful, we listen to what he says and that is none other than the devil.

The devil would like nothing more for mothers than to see them fail at what they’ve been given. 

Moms have such a great influence whether they believe it to or not and whether they admit it or not. I mean, can you imagine a world without moms? I can’t, because that is impossible!

Mothers have a role that play a big part in the puzzle that we call Life. Without them, life would definitely be incomplete and be missing that one vital piece.

Now, there may be a few men reading this who play the role as both mother and father in the lives of their children. Please don’t shut me out.

From someone like me who was raised by a Father the majority of my life, I can honestly tell you that YOU MATTER! If you ever feel like you’re alone, remember that you are not. God is there to help you and guide you!

Psalm 16:11 says, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

Sure, you may not be able to meet the same needs as a Mother would, but if single-parenting is what God has put your way, all you can do is make the best with what you have.

Being raised by my dad for almost 20 years before my Mom came into the picture physically, did not result in the worst life ever for me. In fact, I am the person I am today because of the trials that God allowed me to face and the choices I made.

I admit that there were times when I questioned God because all my friends had a mom they could confide in, talk to whenever they were going through a girl-problem, or walk them down the aisle, Was it right for me to do that? NO. Was it human? YES.

And that is exactly what we are, Moms. 

WE ARE HUMAN. We make mistakes. We fail everyday and a lot of times, we become discontent with how we look. Now, don’t get me wrong. If you can better yourself, I’m all for you. But what I mean is, we tend to compare ourselves with other moms. We see how they seem to “have-it-all” together and here we are, barely “having it!”

“Although the pictures we see on Social Media can be worth a thousand words, many times, they don’t show ALL THE WORDS.” J.Cabal

A mom can have a smile on and the world can think she’s the happiest person but in reality, she can be struggling with something.

A mom can seem like she has the best job ever when in reality she’s barely making ends meet.

A mom can look like she has the “perfect life” with the “perfect family” but who are we kidding? There is no such thing!

We all have been given different lives but one thing we have in common is motherhood or parenthood.

The Bible says in Luke 12:48b, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required:” 

We can all agree that being a mom is a great blessing if not the greatest, which means that it is considered “MUCH.” And according to that verse, when much is given, much is required.

I don’t mean to put a lot of pressure but I’m just quoting the Bible.

GOD REQUIRES A LOT FROM US. You can take that as something to encourage you to be a better mom or you can ignore it and reap the results of YOUR PARENTING, without Biblical wisdom or guidance.

If God has given us such an important role, then that must mean one thing: WE MATTER!

MOMS, WE MATTER! We are more important than we sometimes believe. Your words matter and your actions matter! How you say something and when you say something matters! How you treat your spouse and how you talk to your spouse matters!

Your love, care, support, prayers, advice, and time matter! So…

Love unconditionally! 

Care Sincerely! 

Support Consistently! 

Pray Fervently! 

Advise when Necessary! 

And Give of your Time Willingly! 

I’ll end with this. God can easily do anything. He doesn’t NEED us but He wants to USE us for the sole purpose of bringing glory to His name! To be used of God is a privilege, not an obligation, which is why we have a choice. We can choose to let Him lead us or we can choose to be led by something or someone else. Whatever we choose, don’t forget, our choice will affect our children because WE MATTER and WHAT WE DO MATTERS!

***Featured Photo by London Scout on Unsplash!

“I Don’t Love You.”

I don’t love you. The words that I never thought I would hear from any of my children, especially at a young age.  Words have a way to lift you up or bring you down.

Unfortunately, today, these four simple words pierced a hole in my heart when they came out of my 3-year old daughter’s mouth and were directed towards me.

Lately, my husband and I have limited what she is allowed to watch due to the negative influence some videos or shows have had on her. Bad parenting? Some say “yes”, others say “no.” But you, as your child’s parent know what is best for YOUR CHILD.

She was whining about something and I tried explaining to her that when she whines, the more I will NOT be able to help her. It’s difficult to understand what someone is saying or wants when they are crying and the same goes for children; in fact, the more difficult it is with children .

She cried for a good 5 minutes. I let her cry because sometimes, that’s what you have to do as a parent – let them cry and wait until they are ready to talk. I took her to a separate room while she continued crying and just waited for her to finish. Then, she said those hurtful words – I DON’T LOVE YOU.

At that moment, I didn’t know if I heard her correctly so I kindly asked her, “What did you say?” and surely enough, she said, “I don’t love you.”

CRAZY, RIGHT?!?

I sat there just staring at her and finally, I told her how mean and hurtful those words were. I could’ve blown up at my daughter but the Lord reminded me how many times I “said” those words to Him; maybe not verbally, but with my actions.

She did eventually cry again, but this time to tell me she was sorry and that she “LOVED ME!” After a few minutes, I got up to brew some coffee and make myself a sandwich. I figured my daughter would want one so I asked her and she replied, “Yes, please.”

As I was making those peanut butter sandwiches, God reminded me, “But I still love you” and that’s exactly how I felt towards my daughter and I had an opportunity to display God’s love towards her by serving her in spite of what she said or how she hurt me. 

As children of God, we can be guilty of hurting our Heavenly Father and sometimes even saying those four words, “I don’t love you.”

But it’s in God’s nature to still love us, no matter what we do or say against Him. 

“When we realize how UNCONDITIONAL God’s love is towards us, we will remember how UNDESERVING we are of His Love.” – JudyLynn Cabal

I finished making the sandwiches and handed my daughter, hers, which she was grateful for. And just to make sure, I asked her if she loved me or didn’t love me.

She replied, “I love you, Mommy.” 

So the next time you hurt the Lord by saying or showing “You don’t love Him,” just remember, He’s saying, “But I still love you.” It is then we will quickly realize that an apology is the least we can do but is a great start to repairing the relationship.

1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Romans 5:8 – But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
1 John 4:7-8 –  Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
1 Corinthians 13:4  Charity suffereth long, and is kind;

 

***Featured photo by Ivan Jevtic Unsplash!

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“It’s not fair & neither is God.”

 

“It’s not fair!” That phrase is what has been coming out of my toddler’s mouth for the past few weeks. Both my husband and I have no clue who or where she learned it from.

She sometimes says it during the wrong times and I have concluded that she doesn’t really understand what she is saying.

She must have heard it from something she watched and is saying it just to say it… and sometimes with attitude.

Don’t we sometimes feel like that? Like life isn’t fair and specifically our lives? Maybe you’ve thought about what your life could’ve been like if you had just taken that certain job promotion or opportunity, married this person, or lived here or there.

It’s easy to listen to lies that the devil brings our way but it is much harder NOT to believe those lies. The devil wants us to doubt the place where we are in our lives. He wants us to believe that we deserve more. Many times, we expect to be treated better or held in high regard but the Bible says in James 4:10 – “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”1 Peter 5:6 – “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”

It is God who will lift you up or exalt you, not people. It is on God’s timing, not man’s.

James 4:6 says, “…God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”

Those that are proud or think they “know-it-all” are the ones that usually “fall.” They get so caught up in their own knowledge, wisdom, and understanding that they neglect to ask God for His wisdom, His Knowledge, or His Understanding.

You see, it is when we live our lives for ourselves that we will see that “Life isn’t fair” simply because we want “LIFE” to revolve around us and our agendas.

On the contrary, when we live our lives for something and Someone higher than us, we will realize that God isn’t fair, either. (I don’t say that in a bad way)

Friends, if God did what was fair, He would have given us what we deserve and that’s hell. In fact, I’ll be honest, with all the stuff that I’ve done in my life or the sins that I have committed, I am so grateful for a God who isn’t fair. He provided a way for all of us to not go to hell by sending His Son, Jesus to die on the cross for the sins of the whole world. BUT He didn’t stay dead, He rose the 3rd day! (Hallelujah!)

So let’s stop having pity-parties about how life isn’t treating us fairly… let’s rejoice in the fact that God isn’t fair and He proved that when he demonstrated His love for us, while we were yet sinners.

***Featured Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash!

A Spiritual Spring Cleaning

As humans, we’re all guilty of complaining or murmuring every once in a while. We even complain about not having anything to wear when we have a closet full of clothes. We murmur about how we can’t find anything to eat when our refrigerators and freezers are packed with food. We covet the new gadget our friend has because ours is an older version.

You see the real problem is not the complaining or murmuring; It’s a lack of gratitude towards God.

I remember when I was in the 1st or 2nd grade, my grandma was my main guardian since my dad was in the Navy and out at sea for 6 months. We lived in a 1-bedroom apartment, along with several other relatives. I don’t remember much, but I do remember lying to my grandma about a field trip I had. I knew that she would not allow me (or at least I assumed) to go on that trip (it was a swimming trip). So what I did was I packed my backpack with extra clothes. Every weekday, she would walk from our apartment to my school which was about 10 minutes. Since I knew that we would be arriving 20 minutes before school ended, I planned it out so I had enough time to change into the same clothes I wore when she dropped me off in the morning.

Nobody taught me to lie. It’s just in my sinful nature. In spite of my wrongdoing, I am grateful for a gracious and merciful God.

The Bible gives a list of things that God hates. Now, hate is not a “crime” if you are hating on things that break God’s heart. No doubt, as the Creator and Maker of this universe, He has the right to hate whatever would draw us away from Him.

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Spring is here and we all could do some spring cleaning. As much as we may need to clean out our homes, offices, or whatever else, we tend to forget or neglect a Spiritual Cleansing.

Rather than focusing on having clean homes,  let’s start having clean hearts. 

And here is how you can start today: Proverbs 6:16-19

  1. Get rid of your pride. We all have it and sometimes it can take its toll and make us into someone we will eventually regret being or cause us to do things that will disappoint. At the middle or center of the word PRIDE,  is the letter “i.” How incredible is it that the whole agenda of the the person with pride is centered around one thing – themselves? In addition, NOBODY likes or enjoys the company of those that are prideful. Proverbs 16:18, Psalm 101:5,
  2. Stop lying. Whether you’re a young adult or an older adult reading this, we all need to be reminded that there is no such thing as a little white lie. A lie is a lie and God hates lying. Proverbs 12:19, 22, Proverbs 19:9,
  3. Stop shedding innocent blood. I am against abortion, simply because the Bible says it’s murder. There could be reason after reason as to why someone would commit abortion but it does not mean it’s right.  “Wrong is wrong even if everyone else is doing it and right is right even if no one else is doing it.”  I could go on talking about this topic but I’ll just leave it at that. Exodus 20:13
  4. Stop planning wicked things. Whatsoever a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Before someone does something wicked, they think about something wicked. Actions are a result of a desire instilled in someone’s mind and heart. Proverbs 1:16, Psalm 36:4,
  5. Start being wise. King Solomon is the wisest man that ever lived. However, he still did some foolish things. Many of us jump into something, before getting counsel or taking deep consideration. We become so quick to run to mischief and end up hurting ourselves and sometimes, those closest to us. Proverbs 12:15, James 1:5, Proverbs 16:9
  6. Stop being a false witness, speaking lies. Many times, people twist the meaning of somethings. Some use the phrase, “Please pray for so & so… or Have you heard”
    only to open up a can of worms. In reality, we don’t mean well when we say this; rather we are wanting to start the game of Telephone. This game can start off by having two teams or groups. Each group forms a line. The leader then whispers a phrase to the first person in line and that person is to repeat whatever the he/she heard to the next person and so on… The only catch is you are only allowed to say “the phrase” one time. The first of last person in each group to say the correct phrase wins. The point of this game is what you hear is not always the truth and when stuff gets spread, it becomes gossip and what was mentioned in the beginning becomes twisted, many times, far from the truth. Proverbs 16:28, James 1:26, Proverbs 20:19, Exodus 23:1
  7. Stop sowing discord among brethren.  I have heard that the only army that shoots down itself is the Christian army. As sad as that sounds, there’s some truth to that. How often do Christians criticize, discourage, or gossip about other Christians? It happens way too much in Christian circles and it ought not to. How is the world, (the unsaved) supposed to want to have what we have if we don’t act & live what we “preach?” Romans 16:17-18, James 4:11

So whether you’re the person with the cleanest home or the the person that is constantly trying to clean your house but stuff shows up out of nowhere, we could all use a Spring Cleansing of our Hearts during this season and we can start by applying this list.

 

 

5 Phrases Your Child Says & What They Mean

If you didn’t already know, I have two daughters; one who will be three in April and the other who turned one last year in October. Lately, I’ve been thinking about Words and the importance of them.

As a parent, we could either use our words wisely or foolishly.

“Our words can be helpful or hurtful.”

I have been observing my first-born and have noticed several phrases that she says and if I’m not careful, they’re just sounds rather than words with meaning.

If you can relate to me, I’d appreciate it if you would share this post to remind other moms & dads the importance of our words.

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“MOMMY / DADDY, LOOK AT ME!”

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They need AND want your attention. Children need AND want to know that they are being noticed; that someone is watching them and realizing their accomplishments or milestones in life. I am so guilty of being on my phone, sometimes around my children; (whether it be for work or to be on social media). While those aren’t necessarily bad, I wonder what my toddler thinks when I’m on my phone rather than pay attention to her? Moms, let’s do better and be better for them. The phone can wait… but the time with your child cannot be taken back.

“I DID IT, MOMMY / DADDY!”

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I didn’t have my mom around, growing up. I left the Philippines to come to the US, along with my dad & older sibling when I was 5 and we left my mom and two younger siblings. I didn’t get to say the words, “I did it, Mommy” when I got an award or won something at school. My dad was in the Military and most of my elementary to Jr. high years, my dad wasn’t around either.  So I didn’t get the “Praise” or “Congratulations” that I longed for…

Now, that I have my own family and am raising my two wonderful daughters with my amazing husband, I am careful to constantly give praise, encouragement, or congratulations when I hear the words, “I did it, Mommy!” However, I know that there is always room for improvement.

Children long for you to praise them; to let them know that YOU SAW the great deed that they did. Whether it be obeying you, helping you do chores around the house, or sharing with others, children want to hear something from you when they do or say something right. They want affirmation. I read online recently that “the lack of both parents’ affirmation leaves some children emotionally crippled.”

While I was emotionally effected that I didn’t have both of parents’ affirmation, I am so thankful that my Almighty God did not forsake me. (Psalm 27:10) And it is only by God’s grace that I am what I am today.

Not only do children want you to praise them, but they want you to sincerely mean what you say. They`want to see on your face that whatever comes out of your mouth is genuine, not two-faced or double-standard, which leads us to our next phrase…

“THAT’S BAD-BAD, MOMMY/ DADDY!”

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           Whether you like it or not or whether you believe it or not, you are your child’s role model. They look up to you for most, if not everything. Whatever you say, whatever you like, whatever you listen to or watch, they want to have a part in that. They truly believe in their heart that their mom and dad are the best people in the world (unless of course, they are hypocrites – they say one thing but do the exact opposite). In the case of hypocrisy… well, that’s for another blog post!

Children are smarter than we think. They catch on to the littlest things we do or say. Not only do you make it difficult for your child to respect you, but it becomes difficult on the family as a whole when the parents act differently from what they say.

We are not against Technology. In fact, my husband and I love it and are so appreciative of it! My daughter uses our iPad to watch videos on Youtube. If there is a certain song or type of song or video that comes on and Mommy & Daddy don’t approve of it, she knows to change it… Sometimes, she needs to be reminded but if you start training your children early enough, they’ll catch on. If you have children that are already in school and you feel like it’s too late to start training them, then friend, let me tell you that it’s not. There’s always hope. It probably won’t be as easy as if you had done it sooner but it’s NEVER too late to start. AND DON’T FORGET TO BE CONSISTENT and don’t let them get away with anything!

“I’M SORRY, MOMMY/ DADDY.”

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       Kids will be kids. They do foolish things at times but that isn’t a reason for us parents to love them less. In fact, it’s for us to show them more love. When a child says, “I’m sorry,” they are demonstrating humility. They understand that what they did wasn’t acceptable. However, it should’t stop there. As parents, we should ask them (don’t tell them, unless they really, absolutely do not know why) if they know what they did wrong. After asking them, we should tell them that when they do something wrong, it doesn’t just affect them. It hurts Mommy, Daddy, Jesus, and whomever they hurt or offended.

Remember, no one is perfect. You and I both make mistakes. So let’s stop expecting our children to be something they aren’t. They are still learning just as we are as parents. No one has this “Parenting Thing” down and neither is any child an expert at being a child. In addition, each child is different. God made each person unique. Some learn quicker, others slower; Some need more attention than others. So let’s not expect or treat them like they’re perfect, because that will only make things worse.

“MOMMY / DADDY, PLEASE HELP ME.”

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One thing I love and sometimes “dislike” (just because I don’t want use the word, hate) about children is their dependency on us as parents. When I first became a mom in 2014, I loved that my child depended on me to carry her, comfort her, and adore her but there were times when I was so tired that all I wanted to do was sleep but she wanted to eat, play, get her diaper changed, or be carried.

As the years went by, my first-born learned to be a little less dependent on me and a little more dependent on herself. Now, she can feed herself, go to the potty (still with a little assistance getting onto the toilet), and play house with her toys. All this self-dependency comes in handy when I want to take a nap or get some chores done.

But when I hear those words, “Please help me,” my child is trying to get her message across to me that she needs assistance or maybe just a little boost (physically or mentally) to accomplish something. What I love about doing this is hearing her next words, “Thank you, Mommy!” They are dependent on you for some things but when you assist them, they learn how to appreciate you and the help you give them. You don’t have to always tell them,“When someone helps you or does something nice for you, say ‘Thank you’,  you can just show them in your everyday life and they will catch on and remember that.

There will be times when they ask for your help when you are busy; you either have to tell them to be patient and wait till Mommy /Daddy is done or stop whatever you are doing and help them. I am guilty of sometimes getting frustrated when my LG asks for help during the “wrong times” (at least in my book), but she sees that and she remembers it. It may even cause her to think that asking for help is a bad thing when it really isn’t. Then, when we ask them, “Why didn’t you ask for my help?” They are thinking to themselves, “Well, when I asked you for help last time, you were too busy” or “I thought it was wrong to ask you for help.”

So, the next time your child asks for your help, do it lovingly and joyfully.

In conclusion,

  • Our words can either HELP or HURT others.
  • Your children WANT and NEED your attention; make sure you are watching them and realizing their accomplishments and milestones in life.
  • A word of encouragement can go a long way; Build your children up; don’t tear them down.
  • Children are smarter than we think or care to admit. They learn a lot more by what they SEE, rather than what they HEAR. Be an example that they would be proud to follow.
  • Kids will be kids. They will do foolish things which is why God has placed PARENTS in their lives – to teach and train them.
  • The days may seem long at times but the years are short. Cherish the moments with your children. Don’t get frustrated when your children depend on you. You have the opportunity to show them the Greatest love of all, Christ’s love and how we also depend on Him as our Heavenly father.

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***Featured photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash!