Many of us are searching for something, but we keep coming up empty. We may be searching for validation but yet we remain unvalidated. We may be searching for someone to love us, but yet we keep ending up unloved. Pastor Michael Todd preached a sermon called “Thirst Trap: Searching for a Feeling” that addresses how to receive the things that we’ve been searching for and asks you to dig deep to answer the two questions 1) What are you searching for? and 2) Where do you go to find fulfillment?
Jennifer Lopez is known for having an amazing body and living a healthy lifestyle to maintain it. In January of 2019, she posted on Instagram that she was giving up carbs and sugar for 10 days. Reportedly, she also gave up dairy and alcohol. The challenge gain popularity as Today Show host, Hoda Kotb, joined on the bandwagon after seeing a picture of J. Lo on Day 9 of the diet.
Join the #NoCarbNoSugar Challenge with Jennifer Lopez by adhering to the guidelines below for 10 days! If you can’t do this for 10 days, feel free to do it for whatever amount of time you see fit!
No Carbs, No Sugar Challenge
Although you will notice that the diet is not completely free of sugar or carbs, it only contains healthy carbs and foods with no added sugar.
What You CAN Eat
- Non-starchy vegetables (including kale, spinach, celery, broccoli, lettuce, cucumbers, cauliflower, bell peppers, and zucchini)
- Unsweetened teas and seltzers
- Spices and seasonings
- Nuts and sugar-free nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, and soy butter) and seeds
- Meat and poultry (beef, pork, chicken, and turkey)
- Healthy Oils: Olive oil
- Blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries (limit these foods)
What You CANNOT Eat
- Starchy vegetables—this includes potatoes, beets, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and winter squash
- Bread, cakes, cookies, crackers, etc.
- High-Sugar Fruits
- Grains (such as wheat, corn, and rice), beans (such as black, kidney, and pinto), and legumes (such as chickpeas and lentils)
- Condiments with sugar (ketchup, bbq sauce, etc.)
- Sweeteners (even artificial sweeteners)
There is a reluctance and outdated stigma when it comes to going to therapy or receiving mental health treatment but reaching out for help doesn’t mean you are weak. Reaching out for help means you are wise! If you have anxiety, depression, or just need someone to talk to through life and relationships, the best decision you can make is to seek counseling.
Luckily, there is a rise of alternative ways to receive emotional support through a variety of online platforms that are free and affordable, depending on your needs. These platforms give you the opportunity to chat with real people for free that are trained to guide you through the challenges of life. These platforms also offer paid upgrades that come with a personal board-certified therapist that are there to offer you the emotional support that you need through message chat and even video chat. Check out our favorite online therapy platforms below!
iPrevail is unique in the fact that it includes an entire therapy program that is FREE, anonymous and confidential through their website and app. The wellness program assesses your health through a series of questions and gives you Trained Peer Counselors that you can talk to and set goals that they will keep you accountable for meeting. It also entails self-paced interactive lessons and progress assessments so you can monitor your growth. Although the program with Trained Peer Counselors is free, if you find that you need a licensed therapist there is a paid option for $9.99 per month.
7 Cups of Tea provides FREE 24/7 on-demand online emotional support and therapy through their website and app. They connect you with trained “Listeners” based on your specific concern so that you can take part in free, anonymous, and confidential discussions about your hardships and struggles. If you ever feel that no one hears you, no one is there to help you, or if you’re feeling lonely, 7 Cups is a great resource for you. Another great aspect of 7 Cups is that they offer certified therapists if you find that you need a higher level of emotional assistance that comes with a 3-day free trial before charging you $150 per month.
Talkspace is the leading online therapy option that connects you with a licensed professional. They have Matching Agents that will ask you a few questions first so that they can match you with a therapist according to your preferences and one that is specific to your needs. The unique part about Talkspace is that offer individual, couples and teens counseling. Although Talkspace does not offer a free option, they do offer a variety of subscription plans starting at $49 per week with text, video, and audio messaging availability. You can even receive $45 off of your first month with the promo code APPLY45.
We will never experience peace of mind until we take back every piece of our mind.” – Bianca Baymon, Founder/Senior Editor of Silhöuette Magazine
What if I told you that your thoughts were not your thoughts? What if I told you that everything that you think about yourself and about the world was once an external idea that entered into your mind and became an internal thought?
The biological structure of every human being is composed of entrance-only or exit-only gates. Your eyes and ears are gates that only allow ideas and beliefs to enter, which is why you have to be careful what you see and hear. Your mouth is a gate that only allows ideas and beliefs to exit, which is why you have to be careful what you say. Every single thing that you see and hear becomes what you think and eventually what you speak…unless you have a filtering system on the powerhouse we call “the mind.”
There are two minds. One is the subconscious mind and the other is the conscious mind. The subconscious mind is more powerful than the conscious mind because ideas and beliefs can enter without your active consent. When listening to a song, scrolling on social media, and watching a television show, most people are operating in their subconscious mind. Rarely does someone take the time to realize that every scene in the television show, every post they scroll past, and every line in that song is downloading itself into the mind. The biggest winner of that scenario is the marketing industry.
Marketers utilize tactics that take advantage of the natural vulnerability of the subconscious mind. The most successful companies are not the ones that have the best business plan or even the companies that have the best products. The most successful companies are the ones that are highly effective at creating a desire for a product or service in the subconscious mind of as many consumers as possible.
Take a moment and reflect. How many things do you need that were not always needs? Nobody knew they needed an iPhone until Apple’s marketing department convinced the majority of the world that they did. They were effective at creating a desire in the mind of many consumers and now they are one of the world’s most successful companies. They mastered the art of influencing the subconscious mind like many other companies, which is proof that the many forces we encounter every day are battling to enter our minds when our guards are down and our conscious minds have taken a backseat.
We can no longer allow external forces to affect our internal thoughts, beliefs, and desires. It is our turn to become masters of our own mind if we want peace of mind.
We will never experience peace of mind until we take back every piece of our mind that we’ve allowed social media, television shows, music, conversations, and societal structures to steal. We have to become more aware of the things, words, and people that we expose our minds to.
Don’t allow the subconscious mind to drive the direction of your thoughts and beliefs. Get in the driver’s seat and direct your thoughts. Direct your desires. Direct your beliefs. Direct your life! The moment you get out of bed every morning, you step into a mental battle. Are you prepared to fight?
7-DAY MENTAL AWARENESS CHALLENGE: Before you open your social media apps, play your favorite album, or watch your weekly television shows, I challenge you to check with your mind and your heart. Ask your mind and heart what condition it is in. If it isn’t at its optimal level of strength, then I challenge you to find something positive to expose your mind to. Protect your mind like your life depends on it…because it does.
“Go with your heart”. This is the infamous response when someone is uncertain about a specific decision. I’ve always thought that was a reasonable response but God told me differently. I received a promise from God a year ago and to this day the promise has not been manifested in my life and I can’t say the road has been easy but it has supplied me with the wisdom of hope and complete trust in God. The moment I received God’s word, the promise that He told me was mine drew further away from me and my reality completely conflicted with His word. There have been many times over this year where I’ve wanted to psych myself out and convince myself that I didn’t really hear God just so I can forego the desire of this promise and find something easier. Something less challenging. Something less painful. Something less gray. Something more black and white. Something that would have been outside of the will of God, but that is somewhere I don’t want to be.
If I would have followed my heart, I would have been on the feeder road of my promise after exiting too soon because the highway was too hard. And each time I would get over into my far right-lane to attempt to exit, God would steer me back with Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” The definition of deceitful is “intended to deceive; misleading; fraudulent.” Since the Word of God itself is telling me that my heart is intended to deceive me, will mislead me, and its feelings are fraudulent, then I would be making a huge mistake if I went with my heart. The reason why The Bible tells us the heart is deceiving is because the heart is where emotions root from and emotions are an immediate byproduct of current circumstances. That is why making a decision by following my heart results in a high possibility of regret because I don’t know if my emotions concerning this decision will stay the same once my circumstances change. So, I had a conversation with God where he told me not to follow my heart, but to follow my soul.
The soul is where the mind and the heart congregate with the guidance of The Holy Spirit. If I have The Holy Spirit, which provides divine guidance, congregating with my mind and my heart then I am bound to make the right decision for my life. Going with my soul furthermore means that even when my heart is telling me something and my mind is telling me something, it must congregate with The Holy Spirit before a decision is made, which will align my mind and my heart with God’s will for my life. That is why when people feel strongly about something they will say, “I feel this deep down to my soul”, because the soul goes beyond the surface outlook and provides concrete God-given truth on the matter at hand.
The reason why God didn’t say to go with my mind either is because the mind is constructed of past experiences and I can’t trust a building that was built in the past to hold my future. ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD” (Isaiah 55:8). His thoughts and ways are based on getting us to the things which he has predestined for our lives because he knows what lies ahead but we only know what lies behind. That is why I can’t lie to you and say that I know why my promise and my reality contradict each other because I don’t. My ways are not God’s ways and my thoughts are not God’s thoughts. I may not understand God’s way of bringing my promise to fruition, but I do understand that if God gave me a Word then it shall come to pass. That is why every time my mind and heart wants to forego the promise, my soul overpowers the voice of fear and uplifts the promises of God.
Father God, we come to you enlightened because the word has been a lamp unto our feet and a light onto our path. Thank you for guiding us with your Word. God, we come to you today praying for divine intervention and discernment when decision making. We declare today that we will no longer make decisions with our deceitful heart just because it feels right, but we will congregate our minds and hearts with The Holy Spirit because it is the guiding light. I pray that even when we feel outside the realm of our promise, remind us that your Word will never return void so if you said it we can believe that it shall come to pass. Father, we surrender to your will. Whatever you want us to do we will do. Wherever you want us to go we will go. However long you want us to wait, we will wait. Thank you for the power of The Holy Spirit to align our hearts and our minds with your will in the depths of our soul. The Bible says that a cord of three strands is not easily broken, so God will you be our third strand? Wrap our minds and our hearts in the power of The Holy Spirit and strengthen every weak mind, strengthen every weak heart, and enlighten every soul. In Jesus name, we pray this prayer of enlightenment and alignment. Amen.
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A few days ago, Kehlani released her new mixtape While We Wait, and I’ve had it on replay ever since. Her mixtape features 9 soulful songs with special appearances from Musiq Soulchild, Dom Kennedy, Ty Dolla $ign and 6lack. Listen to While We Wait on Spotify below!
In honor of Black History Month, check out these body and skincare brands that were created by black people for black people!
In honor of Black History Month, check out these body and skincare brands that were created by black people for black people!
1: Nyakio (Neh-kay-oh)
Nyakio Kamoche Grieco founded Nyakio, which is a skin and bodycare line she created by using her Kenyan family heritage’s beauty secrets and travel experiences. Her products are made by hand with “cold-pressed oils in small batches,” and include everything from a Kenyan Coffee Body Scrub, Marula & Neroli Brightening Oil, and an African Black Soap Purifying Mud Mask. Click here to check out her products exclusively available at Ulta!
America’s Next Top Model first runner-up, Tatiana Price, was inspired to create skinBUTTR after developing products to treat her skin problems. The mission of skinBUTTR is to “simplify, educate, build confidence, and promote healthy skin.” Price’s products include body butters, moisturizers, cleansers, exfoliators, masks, and toners. Click here to shop skinBUTTR!
3: The Honey Pot Company
The Honey Pot is “the first complete feminine care system that cleanses, protects, and balances your vagina.” The company was founded by Bea Feliu-Espada after a dream she had where an ancestor gave her a vision of how to heal herself from vaginal issues she was experiencing. The Honey Pot’s products are 100% natural and include everything from cleanses, menstrual care, refreshing spray, and lubricants. Click here to check out her products!
Unsun is an all-natural skin protectant line specifically formulated for people of “beige to dark chocolate tones.” Katonya Breaux was inspired to create Unsun after growing tired of “white film” that sunscreen left on her face. Her products include Tinted Mineral Sunscreen, hand cream with SPF 15, lip tint with SPF 18, and so much more. Click here to check out Unsun Cosmetics!
Talima Davis and Allison created the personal care brand, Limegreen, after Talima’s best friend was diagnosed with cancer. Limegreen aims to “provide a safe and nontoxic alternative in a personal care industry littered with unsafe chemicals.” Their products include multi-oils, multi-washes, multi-sprays, and multi-candles. Click here to shop Limegreen!
The longer you are silent about your experiences, the more you are costing your future. Give your experiences a voice and forfeit the cost of your silence.
“What happens in the house, stays in the house.” We may have moved out of our parents’ house, but many of us have subconsciously U-Hauled those same words we were told during our childhood throughout the rest of our lives. A lot of us have been carrying those words so long that we don’t even notice how it has infiltrated every area in our lives. “What happens in my heart, stays in my heart. What happened in my finances, stays in my finances. What happened to me as a child, stays in my childhood home”.
We’ve been raised to believe that we should only speak on thoughts and experiences that paint the façade of us having it all together and a picture-perfect life. I noticed at the age of 13, shortly after my parent’s divorce, that I had been using the same paintbrush to paint my picture. It wasn’t until almost 10 years later, that I chose to put my paintbrush down and pick up the voice that I lost along the way.
When I say ‘voice’, I’m not only talking about refusing to be silent about the circumstances of your life. I’m also talking about refusing to deny your feelings a voice and to tear down the perfect picture that you thought you had to maintain.
Some of us have even been guilty of attempting to turn the volume high enough on our accomplishments and social media pages in hopes that nobody notices the pain behind our pictures. What many people have failed to notice is that silence has a sound that is louder than anything you may attempt to overpower it with.
When you choose to give your life a voice, you choose freedom. The very thing that you are hiding in your silence could be the avenue to your breakthrough. God isn’t going to allow you to continue into your destiny with a muted view of life, so he needs you to find the strength to find your voice in the midst of the silence you’ve been so accustomed to.
The longer you are silent about your experiences, the more you are costing your future. In economics, inflation is defined as the rate at which the price level is rising. That means that as the inflation rate increases, the purchasing power of your currency is falling. The same dollar that bought you a gallon of milk last year, may only be able to buy you a pint next year. As the price level of something increases, it costs you more for the same amount of money and you’ll receive less in return the longer you hold off.
That is what your silence is doing to your destiny. It is costing you more and more each day. The longer you remain silent, the less valuable your voice will be when you find the courage to speak.
Your silence is an expensive price to pay. What is the price of your silence? Have you lost the ability to communicate in your relationships because you’ve held on to your silence for so long? Have you missed out on opportunities because you were scared to voice your desires? What is it costing you? How much are you willing to pay?
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