Whenever I’m talking to people about motherhood, or homeschooling, and I’m trying to encourage them, I tell them about a friend I have that has 9 children. I let them know they can take on the marathon of motherhood and homeschooling their children, because I’ve seen it done gracefully by my friend who does it everyday with 9 children. People usually say Wow… OMG…How?!… Well, for my first interview of the year I decided to ask my friend Kelly How and a bunch of other questions!
Kelly and her husband Chris are college friends of my husband Thomas. Thomas would always tell me stories about his college life and his friends Chris and Kelly. Before Kelly was a mother, she was a Dean’s List student at Virginia Tech and earned a 4.0 at UNLV. She loved studying and learning new things and while she was a student, she would work minimum wage jobs. Kelly always loved to organize and clean and has such a great sense of humor that she says she inherited from her mother. While in college Thomas tells me he, Chris, and Kelly started to really develop in their walk with Christ. At the age of 19, Kelly was a new Christian learning to fully trust Christ for salvation. Kelly may not have know it then, but God had so many blessings getting ready to come her way!
I believe becoming a mother changes so many of us in various ways. When asked how motherhood changed her, Kelly stated, “Motherhood has given me a more humbling and forgiving outlook on life. I can see my kids do silly things and think to myself, "What were you thinking?" Then I am reminded that I have done foolish things just like them and have been given grace”. That is so true. Your kids really are daily reminders about God’s love and grace.
When I met Kelly she was a stay at home mother, but she tells me that wasn’t the original plan. It wasn’t until after their first baby that Kelly desired to be a stay at home mother. “I was diligently studying to obtain a degree in biology and wanted to work in some type of healthcare career. I remember leaving our newborn baby with my husband while I went off to class and yearned to not be separated from him. I remember leaking breast milk in the lecture hall and wanted to run out and never come back. I remember pulling up to our apartment building after class and hearing newborn cries from the parking lot. My heart was torn”.
After the semester ended and after quitting her job, Kelly began spending her studying time, studying God’s word. “I started to come across verses like Titus 2:5 where God calls his daughters to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home. 1 Timothy 5:14 says, "I will therefore that the younger women get married, bear children, guide the house, and give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully”.
Kelly told me she realized the reason she had such a desire to be with her baby at home, was due to it being a law of God written on the canvas of her heart even though she had never heard those scriptures preached before or had read them before. I believe that’s one of the gifts of motherhood. God will give vision and insight to mothers for plans and ideas needed for the home. That’s why wise men always say, “Listen to your wife”. Ha!
After reading the scriptures Kelly and her husband Chris came together to make a life changing decision. “At the time we were buried in student debt from my husband's degree, and didn't know if we would ever live a comfortable life on just one income, but we decided to trust God's word and I completely abandoned my career plans and vowed to be home with our babies no matter what financial cost may come because of it”.
When I met Kelly she was not only a stay at home mother, but a homeschooling mother as well. She became my inspiration to decide to homeschool or children before we ever had kids! Kelly says a couple in their old apartment complex is who introduced her to homeschooling. At first she, like many people hadn’t heard of it and thought it was illegal or for Amish style communities only. Listen, I cannot tell you how many people have looked at me with such confusion and concern when I tell them I homeschool our boys lol
After Kelly’s neighbors introduced her to the idea of homeschooling she sat and thought back on her experiences in school. She remembered, “…The perverted things students would joke about, the bullying, the fights, the sexual harassment, and the atheistic teachers pushing their beliefs”.
Once again Kelly and her husband came together to make a decision. “After studying the Bible on child rearing it was clear that parents are the ones God commands to teach their children. In Deuteronomy 6 we are given the command to be teaching our children all throughout the day, when thou risest up, when thou walkest by the way, when though sittest in thine house. How could we be teaching our kids all throughout the day if we were to send them off to a school? Although school was years away for us at that point we decided we would again follow God's word and homeschool our children”.
One of the big reasons I decided to homeschool our children after seeing how highly Kelly spoke about it is, I remembered what a preacher said one day during a sermon at church. He talked about the greatest influencers in a child’s life. The preacher discussed how teachers are one of the biggest influencers in a child’s life. I went home and thought about it..most children spend 7-8hrs, 5 days a week with their teachers. I thought to myself, those early years are so important to a child’s development, and I would love to spend those precious moments with my children. Not only teaching them the traditional education subjects, but lessons about Black history, Christianity, and how to navigate life and be a person who leads and makes wise decisions. I know homeschooling may not be what works for every family, I am just so grateful to be blessed to teach our children, and of course I always encourage: if you can, give it a try! Best moments ever!
Ok back to the interview tehehe…
I was sure being a stay at home mother and homeschool teacher of 9 children raised many eyebrows and started lots of side conversations. Kelly shared she has faced opposition from her decision to stay at home and homeschool her children and has experienced haters from all sides; family, friends, church members, and strangers. “Chris had some family warn him about me taking "the easy way out" and not finishing college and living off of him. Wonder if they still think this was the easy way out now that we have 9 children …lol. People always coming up with off the wall scenarios of the dangers of me not having a career like, "What if your husband turns out to be a serial killer, drug addict, lazy bum, womanizer, or psycho." My answer to that is God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind and I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor seen his seed begging bread. Then there are all the homeschool haters, questioning socialization, academics, and independence. We had a cashier at Walmart ask if we had a certificate to teach our kids *eyeroll*”.
I cannot tell you the countless stories Kelly has shared with me over the years of people being people and doing way too much lol
Now for the section you’ve all been waiting for! Just how does Kelly manage a household of 11 people and 2 dogs?! "Life managing our home is loud, expensive, and full of unpredictable events daily. I pretty much expect something to be damaged or totally destroyed at least once a week lol. I can't say I enjoy all the times things are broken, but I chalk it up to the cost of having a large family and our 9 children are worth more than 1,000 broken couches lol. The 2 dogs just add an extra element of crazy to our home, but I love it. Our home is also filled with laughter, imagination, love, and memories that will last a lifetime".
Fun Fact: Kelly’s goldendoodle Molly is our goldendoodle Everest’s mother!
Chris and Kelly’s children are all so well behaved, intelligent, and kind. Whenever we get to visit their home, it is always organized and clean, and smells like some type of fresh essential oil blend! Their home runs like a well oiled machine, and we always have such a great time. I wanted to know what a typical day looked liked for them, because I had to know how she does it!
“I get up about 9 am and let the dogs out to potty, and do any chores left from the night before. Kids start waking up slowly and will want cereal. Our 2 teens are independent and work a self paced curriculum alone. I'll gather all the younger kids together for Bible lesson, history and science. Then we break off and do math and language on grade level. We struggle through the day with many interruptions. The baby is fussy and wants to nurse to sleep, someone needs a snack, diaper changes, phone calls from hubby at work driving in his truck, laundry, dishes, trash, it's never ending. Eventually I'll make dinner and try to grade all the school work. At the end of the night I do most of my cleaning, and take a shower”.
Kelly shared her husband works a fluctuating schedule and often comes home from work late at night between 10pm and 12am. She says the family waits up for him and he plays games with the kids before sending them to bed.
With all that needs to be done on a typical weekday in the Logan household I wanted to know if Kelly ever experienced being overwhelmed and how she deals with those types of feelings. She told me everyday does have the daunting task of being accountable for keeping the home clean, kids clean, dogs clean, self clean and completing school lessons on top of that. "When I am very overwhelmed I usually will vent to my husband and he'll come home and help with housework and school work. Sometimes taking a nap and eating something healthy like carrots and hummus will re-energize me enough to push through”.
I’m glad she said carrots and hummus, because I definitely reach for chocolate! I will try it! I am also glad her husband Chris is able to be home more to lend help and comfort. It is so important that every mother has someone in their corner cheering them on and able to help when needed. Chris is retired from the military now and I remember hearing about his long deployments. I’m a mess when Thomas is gone for a week for work, and I could not fathom having your husband away for months at a time. I asked Kelly about being a military wife and if she had any advice for other military wives out there. She said the frequent deployments felt so unnatural to have the family separated from each other and being away from his family so much was one of the reasons Chris decided to retire out. The advice Kelly had for the military wives was, “I would suggest moving near family to make the deployment go by faster and have the kids enjoy family members they don't usually see at their home base”.
Many people know my husband and I always say we want 8 kids, and we’ve said that since our courtship days. Thomas mentioned to me back then that his friends Chris and Kelly wanted 10 kids. Kelly said she and her husband jokingly said they wanted 10 kids when they first met, 5 boys and 5 girls, but in reality she was planning a career path and after their first son she picked up birth control pills at her 6 week check up. Kelly shared that while she was reading scriptures that supported her transitioning from the career path to being a keeper of the home, she began to see scriptures about large families. “In the Bible children aren't looked at as a burden but an heritage of the Lord”. She said she even discovered a man named Onan was killed in the Bible for practicing a form of birth control. (Genesis 38:8-10) Kelly continued to learn about birth control. “I also learned that many birth control pills caused silent abortions by allowing conception to take place, but cause the uterine lining to not allow implantation thus flushing out the baby. I had only taken a few of the birth control pills before throwing them in the trash and we were blessed with the next baby 16 months later!”
Even though they jokingly said they wanted 10 children, they are close to having what they said! Ha, the power of words! I asked Kelly if they would like to have more children she said, “We are still trusting God with his blessings for more children, but if 9 is what He has given we are happy with that too!”
Chris and Kelly have 6 boys and 3 girls. Kelly has gone through the labor and birth process 9 times! I was curious to learn about her different birth experiences. Kelly has experienced hospital births, home births, and an unassisted home birth. She has had 7 hospital births and 2 home births. Kelly has also experienced placental abruption, preterm labor, and an emergency c section. She’s strong on all levels! Kelly first opted for a home birth after having 4 natural hospital births that had no medical interventions. The hospital births she encountered had unsanitary conditions, fear mongering tactics used to speed up her labors, pressures for Pitocin, and she faced ridicule for going against hospital birth medical procedure recommendations. Kelly said she loved their first midwife and home birth, but her last home birth experience made her go back to hospital births for their last 3 children.
“When we moved back to Virginia we hired a midwife team who ended up abandoning us due to a stalled labor and we went unassisted. Although it was unassisted on paper we did have a friend who retired from midwifery en route to our home during labor and checked everything out for us after the birth. I personally don't recommend going unassisted without the care of an experienced midwife. If you are healthy chances are everything will be fine, but birth can be unpredictable at times. Midwives are seen performing their roles in the Bible, most famously Shiphra and Puah in Exodus and God blessed them for their fear of Him”.
Kelly says she believes midwives are valuable, but plans to do hospital births for any future babies.
As a home birther myself you betta believe I was upset to learn they had a rough experience with their second home birth team! I am glad God’s protection was over them and their baby. Whether you desire hospital or home births in the future, having a great birth team is my prayer for Kelly and all of you.
When it comes to motherhood, no matter the amount of children you have, faith can be a source of strength and guidance. “My faith is the only reason I even am a mother. I never would have wanted children in my worldly mindset of feminism. I watched firsthand my dad's alcohol addiction and infidelity destroy our family and I said I would never want to ever be tied down to any man by having children only for him to be a deadbeat. Faith is everything to me in my role as a mother. It is of great comfort to me to know the will of God laid out clearly in the Bible for mothers and to walk in it”.
Being called mother is one of the greatest gifts God ever gave me. I’ve always wanted to be a mom and I feel so blessed to live out that dream everyday. As the interview draws near to the end, I asked Kelly about the rewarding things of motherhood. Kelly stated the most rewarding thing about motherhood for her was, “That magical moment when you first hold your new little one fresh from the womb. Nothing really compares to that moment for me, but a close second is when I see my children making the right biblical decisions”.
I enjoyed learning more about my friend and hearing about her life as a mother. We ended the interview with one last question. I believe every mother should not only have dreams for their marriage and children, but they should also take time to have personal dreams/goals for themselves. I asked Kelly what was a personal dream/goal she had, and what was something special she does for herself. “Some goals I have are to learn Spanish fluently, enjoy life, and be content. My most recent adventure outside of motherhood has been puppy breeding as you already know…lol”.
Here is a photo of Kelly’s beautiful family below! Also, if you are interested in goldendoodle puppies, Kelly is the absolute best breeder you will find! If you have any more questions for Kelly be sure to comment them below.
We all have heard the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up”. As I’ve gotten older and allowed myself to freely dream big, I realized something, the dreams I’m pursuing now, I could have pursued in my youth. You don’t have to wait until you’re 18, 21, or 30 to step out and pursue your passions. Nia Phillips, CEO of Ni’Abri Beauty is living proof of that. She is a 16 year old entrepreneur! What were we doing at 16? What were we doing yesterday?! Nia is showing youth and adults to not just dream, but make those dreams become your new reality.
Nia shared with me the important role her mother played in her pursuing being an entrepreneur. As a parent it was so refreshing to know that the lessons we try to teach our kids, they are listening. The influence we have on our children is one of great importance. We have to daily speak life into them and encourage them to be all that God has for them to be.
“My mother always taught my sister and I that there are many roads that lead to success. She taught us that we have options in life and being an entrepreneur was an option…”
Nia was able to take heed to the lessons her mother taught her and now holds the title of CEO of her own beauty company. I recently completed a leadership course that dealt with the need for more women to be in leadership positions. I am so glad to see a young woman learning early, that she can!
The Ni’Abri Beauty company aims to help women enhance their natural beauty. I just have to share with you what is on the website:
Ni'Abri Beauty believes that beauty products should compliment your natural beauty. Beauty starts within and cosmetics is only an addition to enhance your inner natural glow.
I thought it was so powerful that there was a company that teaches women you are already beautiful, we are here to simply highlight that beauty that shines from within you. As a teen I felt the pressure to look a certain way, but I was stubborn. While everyone was concerned about long straight hair and their weaves I cut my hair off and rocked afro puffs. I know so many young girls feel even more pressure “to be”. With the rise in social media and so many falling prey to their peers rating them (some kids have been bullied by others saying how good looking they are on a scale of 1-10). The media tells girls you have to look this way, dress like this, and speak like that in order to fit in, in order to grow a following, and for people to like you. Hogwash! Nia shared with me that she too felt society’s pressures.
“..Around 7th and 8th grade, I never felt beautiful. I constantly looked and talked down about myself”.
Nia stated that she doesn’t want others to go through life feeling the way she did. Her desire to help spread the message of self-love and confidence is what her brand represents, and I am here for it. As much as I loved being different and not letting others dictate how I looked, I still had those moments in life just like Nia. I think many women and men can relate. Nia then shared a lesson she learned with me, that little does she know, was just what 29 year old me needed to remember that day.
“……Trying to be like someone else is meaningless. Now I only want to be like myself and appreciate my unique traits”.
Y’all, this is coming from a 16 year old. Imagine if at 16, we all learned that lesson. There are so many people including myself, that fall into that comparison trap. It’s a fight to come out and stay out, but we must. God designed you to be just as you are, and before you start worrying about worth, and do you matter, you must know that you matter to God 1st! Peoples opinion of you change with the weather, but God constantly believes you are the flyest of them all. I always say, one day you just gotta know you’re dope!
Stepping out and starting a company is no easy task. Sometimes our own fears can get in our way, or even the naysayers can cause us to allow doubt in. Nia shared with me that when her company began although she had the support of her family, her peers were not all on board.
“Some of my so-called friends have belittled and doubted me simply because they think having a business is a dumb idea. They feel I should just get a job like everyone else. Jobs are great, but I have a bigger vision for myself”.
You better speak that lil sis! You cannot expect small minded people to understand big ideas. In the Black community it is so important for us to have bigger visions for ourselves as Nia does. We have to teach our children to not just get a job, but to create jobs. Teach them working for a great company is awesome, but man, owning your own is amazing. Let’s stop living for securing today, and look to create generational wealth. I want my children’s children to benefit from the decisions my husband and myself make today.
Nia says she always wanted to be an entrepreneur. Being a beauty brand owner wasn’t even on her list though. She had a conversation one day with her mother about selling lip gloss and the company evolved from there. After you read this article and share it of course; sit down and start conversations that provoke ideas, stir up gifts, and cause dreams to arise. I asked Nia what she would say to youth that question starting a business at such a young age.
“I would tell them that there is no need to wait. The sooner you start, the sooner you will be on the road to creating the path toward fulfilling your dreams…….Waiting in my opinion, would be one of the worst things you could do. Time waits for no one. The idea you have today, may be taken tomorrow by someone else. Do it now”.
Ms. Nia dropping gems left and right on us! She shared with me something so profound about why it is such a great idea for youth to be business owners. She stated that while you are young, you are full of passion, energy and creative ideas; and you do not yet have adult concerns weighing on you. Its reminds me of the Lord telling us to have child-like faith. Youth simply believe, and just like a baby learning to walk, they never give up. As parents we have to be their big supporters. Nia shared words of wisdom for parents as well.
“Do your best to support your child. As crazy as the idea may sound, don’t belittle an idea and say it's not possible. Anything is possible. A simple idea can end making your child millions. Be supportive”.
Nia began to share with me the that there are victorious moments in business and tough moments. She shared how wonderful it was when she had hit her 100th order and how tough it can be to manage time between school and running the business. She has been given the grace to operate at a great pace and has been learning the important lesson of time management. Nia has big plans for her company and I am so excited to watch it continue to grow and impact lives around the world. To not just have a great product, but to have a company that serves a great purpose is truly beautiful. Ni’Abri Beauty will become a household name and will be sold in stores everywhere. It will not just be sold nationwide, but will become a global brand, Nia declared, and I agree!
Nia’s company talks about shining within and she is living it out daily. Remember the name Nia Phillips, and support the company Ni’Abri Beauty. Nia is not just a CEO, she is also a math loving teen artist, who enjoys vegan sushi! Y’all can see why she’s my people, right?!
Here’s what I want you to do. Head over to her site and get your shopping on! Ni’Abri Beauty is not only known for their great lip gloss, but their bomb mink lashes as well. Nia told me the most popular glosses are Influencer and Modest. The top selling lashes are Havana.
Nia also has a blog on the site, so be sure to check out more of her gems of knowledge she drops all the time over there and company updates.
Thank you Ms. Nia Phillips for being brave enough to step out on faith, and bold enough to change the way the world views cosmetics. You shed so much light and are glowing proof of what it means to make dreams become a reality. What is in store for you is great things. It was an honor to interview such a game changer! Keep being beautiful you. Much Love.
Ni’Abri Beauty Website:
Ni’Abri Beauty Instagram:
Ni’Abri Beauty Facebook:
Ahhh fear, it’s such a wild child. I learned a few years back at church, that fear does not like to travel alone, well, because its afraid! Fear always brings a posse with it. Some of fear’s favorite friends are doubt, worry, and anxiety. The first blog I wrote on this site dealt with fear. Here we are mid year, and fear is still relevant! How many times did I write fear just now! (Go head count lol) I felt the pull to write on fear again and I knew the perfect person to interview for the subject; Priscilla Peete aka Fearless Black Girl! Priscilla has started an amazing show entitled, Fearless Black Girl. On the show she travels the world and goes on awesome adventures. Y’all she even jumped out of a plane on one episode! Priscilla and her show is unlike any other travel show you have seen, and her messages about fear, all need to learn.
In the pilot episode of Fearless Black Girl, Priscilla defined fear as false evidence appearing real. Read that sentence again! In our conversation Priscilla stated fear has the ability to torture you, it can be tormenting, and it can cripple you. She told me the role fear played in her life. She had an off again, on again relationship with fear. As a young girl she faced many fears including the fear of being raped.
“I used to walk home from school, so any type of car that just honked their horn, or if I saw a guy, that just…. I thought I was gonna get kidnapped, raped, or killed, and that would torture me. I use to fear, if my mom went out of town, or got on a flight, that the plane would crash. That would torture me. I use to always fear that she was gonna die. It was just fear”.
Priscilla shared that she learned how to overcome those fears. She began to speak over herself, making affirmations and declarations. She also spoke on how fear is not always a bad thing, and how it can serve a good purpose. Priscilla said that fear can also push you.
“You can fear something, but it could also be a challenge to actually overcome it……Fear has definitely played both a good and a bad role, because I’ve learned now, even though sometimes it still tries, I’ve learned now that, hey if you’re afraid to do it, do it afraid”.
I agreed with her, that after you do the thing that you were afraid to do, you get on the other side realizing it wasn’t that bad. Priscilla gave me a 99.999% guarantee. I can rock with that! She said she rather people do things afraid, then don’t do things at all.
“When you don’t do it at all. When you get on your death bed, you’ll be like, dang I wonder what would of happened if I would of did that”.
So many of us are on a journey to conquer our fears and Priscilla gave some great tips.
“First off, get quiet. Get quiet, close your eyes, take 10 deep breaths. I have to do that sometimes. You gotta take 10 deep breaths, because sometimes when fear comes, it comes with a lot of things. Fear can come with anxiety. Fear can come with depression, sadness, (acting out an example of an anxious moment) I just don’t know, what am I gonna do now..You start hyperventilating, you work yourself up. So I tell people, get quiet, get by yourself, take 10 deep breaths”.
Priscilla then proceeded to tell me what she does after taking some breaths. She shared to pray if you believe in prayer, or simply speak to yourself and do affirmations and declarations. Tell yourself that you can do it. Declare:
“I can do this. Fear will not overcome me. Fear will not overtake me. I am strong. I am talented. I will make it. I’m an overcomer”.
Some may find it strange or think there is no power in speaking to yourself, but we’re here to tell you, there is power in those self conversations.
“You’ve got to affirm yourself. You’ve got to be your number one motivator when nobody else is. You gotta encourage yourself when nobody else will”.
Priscilla stated after you get your mind and self right, you go out and do it! I’m telling you, we have got to do the things we are just sitting on.
“You take the steps to do it. You don’t have to try and do everything all at once. You work on that one step, then you do that step and you complete it, then you do another step. You do what you can do, and then everything else, whether you say God or the universe, everything else, it falls into place…..When you do your part, God does His part”.
Too often, according to Priscilla, people say they’re waiting on God and God is waiting on them. God is waiting on us fam, to do our part.
“You put your leg out there, God will say ok I see what you’re doing. Alright then I want you to do this. I’ll provide this, or I’ll provide the person that will help …… So, you don’t have a car, start walking.….When you start to face fear, things fall into place just for you, you begin to meet the right people”.
In the docu-series, Fearless Black Girl, Priscilla goes on adventures around the world. I was curious how the show began and what life events lead up to her embarking on such an intriguing journey. Since her youth, Priscilla has wanted to travel. Though it seemed impossible, in her head she continued to believe it was possible. In 2011 she wrote down her dream to travel the world. Towards the end of 2013 she began to think about what she was good at, and what career to pursue. She knew she was a people person and she desired to travel. She saw the career she wanted, applied, and began to prepare herself physically and mentally, and she became a flight attendant in 2014.
While traveling the world as a flight attendant, Priscilla saw the lack of black people on her flights, and the lack of people of color traveling and it bothered her. She admits she ignored it at first, but in 2017-2018 she was so full of questions.
“When I turned on channels like Travel channel and National Geographic, not many people of color were centered, if any, in the center of those shows. Many of the travel shows, many of the travel series, I couldn’t really find a person of color that was leading that travel series”.
Priscilla then called up a friend that had camera equipment. They heard her vision and got on board with the idea. They both had never done anything like it before, but they just grabbed their passports and stepped out and did it. Priscilla saw a need and decided to fill it! She did it afraid.
“I was fearful of being in front of the camera…… I was like oh, I can find a woman of color to be in this show, and I’ll just be behind the scenes. She (her friend) was just like no, it needs to be you. And I was like, but my skin, I have problematic skin, you know, um my weight, you know my arms are big, and you know I’m not really, skinny. So I had to overcome that fear of showing my insecurities in front of the camera”.
The wild thing is, I think she is so gorgeous. That’s how fear works sometimes, it can really mess with your vision. I’m so glad her friend encouraged her, and she put her leg out there! What we are struggling with, is the very thing God will use to help other people.
“The very thing that is your strength, is the thing that I believe the enemy tries to attack you with the most…….He takes what’s your strength and tries to use it against you. So me telling people about being fearless, he’s going to attack me, with fear. A fear in the areas that he knows that’s kind of like a button for me”.
Priscilla then shared how our strengths can be attacked not only by being turned into a fear, but turned into a weakness. She gave an example of a person who has a strength in speaking articulate and speaks well and they speak life over people, and they struggle with anger. A tactic the devil may use with this person is, causing them to be in situations that make their anger build up and they begin to speak death out of their mouth. We have to remember death and life are in the power of the tongue. (Read Proverbs 18:21)
Y’all, the girl is good! Ha!
We shifted gears and I wanted to know more about her family and those that have served as her supporters during her fearless journey. Priscilla says her mother is such a strong woman of God that has been a driving force in her life. She says her mother not only had them covered naturally growing up, but spiritually as well. She mentioned that her family is her village. It is such a blessing to have people who support your dreams. I know not everyone does, and I asked Priscilla what would she say to someone who’s support system was just them and the Lord and she said,
“They actually have an advantage. And this is why I say that they actually have an advantage: Because the spiritual realm is much more real than what we see in the natural. Yeah it does feel good to have people, typical people there that tell you, you can do it, you can do it, you can do it; but if you don’t believe it yourself, and if you don’t have that spiritual foundation, or spiritual driving force to do it, you’re still not gonna do it, and I’m a living proof of that”.
Priscilla was so honest and real with me. She told me that even she, still doesn’t do things that she knows she is supposed to do, but we have hope. Priscilla discussed how there is so much out there, waiting on you, and waiting to work with you to see your visions come to pass, and once you realize that, there is nothing that can stop you!
“You’re gonna have down times, you’re gonna have times when you feel like quitting……no, no, no, you’re gonna get up, you’re gonna dust yourself off, and you’re gonna continue and you’re gonna finish”.
Now, you may have stepped out, you may have had a support system in place, but they are no longer supportive. You think it’s so bad that it’s just you and the Lord, Priscilla had tips for you too.
“People will fail you too. Those very people that are rooting you on, some of those people are secretly wishing that you wouldn’t do better than them. So sometimes it’s good not to have people rooting you on. Sometimes, some of them same people are the ones that’s like, do good, do good, oh wait, hold on, they doing better than me, nevermind”!
Remember, if it’s just you and Jesus, you’re winning!
As the interview came to an end I asked Priscilla what can we expect to see with her, and the Fearless Black Girl docu-series in the upcoming future. The show will have a season 2 coming and Priscilla visions the show being on a television network or on digital streaming services. She also has merch ideas for the company that includes apparel and luggage. Even further she envisions a Fearless Black Girl store where all can come and learn about travel, architecture, and history. Priscilla also wants to start doing motivational speaking for youth, teaching them to face their fears.
“If children, especially more children of color were to take trips more, and take trips over seas a little bit more, with their families, their mindset wouldn’t be the same”.
Hannah, Priscilla’s teen sister has had a mind shift as a result of traveling the globe with her sister, and I think so many youth can benefit. My Bishop back in NC always told us, exposure expands expectations! Priscilla also shared with me her personal goals, and all I can say is, be on the lookout for the name Priscilla Peete! She is the positive voice that our community needs and I look forward to seeing all she does. Her last words during the interview were:
“I don’t wanna be successful within the world’s eyes, I wanna be successful in the eyes of God. I want to continue to grow in knowledge and wisdom before riches. Riches is loud, but wealth is silent. I wanna be wealthy within my peace, wealthy within my joy, wealthy within my family, and then of course wealthy within my finances, but also just growing within myself and using every talent that I’ve been gifted with”.
One Last Gem: After the interview we discussed how people desire to travel, but have the idea that it costs too much. Priscilla shared that her trips are not expensive. For example, her plane ticket to Columbia was $298. She told me that some trips with ticket costs and lodging, all costs under $500 total!
A little something extra: Priscilla is a woman of much wisdom and many talents. I actually first found out about her from her beautiful singing voice. A video she did back in 2018 with her little sister Hannah went viral this year and I knew I had to see who she was, because that video had me rollin! Her video not only went viral in February, but is still a viral video across multiple social platforms with over 4million views. Priscilla said her and her sister love seeing everyone’s responses and they are so thankful for all who have shared her video and commented. So get ready to get yo life and watch this video gold!
The Original Video
This Needs To Go Viral Too! Took Me and Hubby Out!
Below is The Fearless Black Girl docu-series, mission statement and I just had to share. Be sure to check Priscilla Peete out on all her socials and website. This woman of God is going to do great things and I want you to be a witness to it.
Our mission is "to ignite and excite more people of color to the thought of a traveling adventure." One of our main goals is to empower and educate more people in the African American communities on the long term benefits of travel and overcoming your fears.
We aim to transform the thinking of our viewers by the renewal of the mind with each episode watched by our viewers meaning we want them to say "Hey, she overcame her fear and I can too." Fearless Black Girl is dedicated to impacting the multitudes one person at a time. So we say, take yourself out of the box, unlock the power.
Fearless Black Girl Instagram
Fearless Black Girl Website
Fearless Black Girl YouTube
There I was, participating in my daily Instagram scroll, (seems all my interview ideas start this way) and I saw a video begin to play. I noticed the name of the uploader, and I was immediately intrigued. The video shows a woman speaking through pain while in depression. She looks frail and begins to cry. To some her words may seem to be random, or scrambling, but to me, it was just a regular Tuesday. I have recently began to share with people that I have battled depression and anxiety, and that day I saw myself in Jacqueline Horbrook, aka Jackie The Educator. She mentioned in her post that her counselor instructed her to create video diaries, and that she wanted people to see that who she is today is a testimony of a story. I reached out to Jackie, because I wanted to share with you all that on social media many see the results, but don't know the struggles, challenges, and steps behind it.
“We all experience lows and highs in our lives, most of our highs are caught on camera, while our lows are dealt with, or left unaddressed, in secret”. - Jackie The Educator’s Instagram Video Post
I came back to social media to be a light in people’s lives who were living through dark spaces, and feeling ashamed to share and reach out. I loved seeing Jackie’s transparency, it was her way of telling her following, I may inspire you, but you need to know I’m inspired by God, who is the lifter of my head, and He can lift yours too! She gave hope and encouragement that day. It was her second time posting the video and she mentioned it was much easier to share than the first time she posted it. This is what she had to say about the first time she posted the video:
“I was nervous to see others reaction to my story. I didn't want to be perceived as weak or inadequate. I actually posted it then took it down and then reposted it. Finally I just walked away from my phone and let whatever happened, happen.”
Jackie stated that seeing how many people were blessed by her vulnerability made her cry tears of joy. People, including myself, view Jackie The Educator as one who has it all together, and she said it was important to show people the road that brought her to today, and she was glad it served as an inspiration. Jackie said she learned a great lesson from her faith move.
“I realized that the enemy uses shame and guilt to stifle our testimonies. I believe God wanted me to see first hand that sharing my testimony didn't make me appear weaker, but stronger”.
I am honored Jackie was so open about her life and the things that helped shape her. She told me about the events that led up to her seeking counseling. Her ex-husband and her were beginning to drift apart. In marriage counseling they learned he was dealing with trauma from war, and it was affecting his ability to take on the role of a husband and father.
"As a medic in the Army for more than 18 years he had seen a lot of war. We came to find out that the war caused more trauma than we knew. After several hospitalizations we realized it would be better for him to live elsewhere for the well being of our children”.
Jackie then began to seek individual counseling where she realized the trauma her ex-husband had endured, inadvertently affected her as well. She began her journey to gaining a closer relationship with Christ and is a walking testimony before us.
“Today I am healed from that trauma, and have moved forward with my life. Although my ex-husband and I could not salvage a relationship, I am thankful that I lived to tell my story”.
Living life now as a single mother, Jackie is balancing mommy life and business life. She stated that she takes it one day at a time, and as moms we must be flexible and be able to respond to change quickly. Her daughters are so adorable, and they are one of Jackie’s main driving force.
“My daughters are my reason for pushing myself to new levels. They watch everything I do, and often try to imitate my actions. If I want them to be their greatest, I have to first show them the way”.
I was curious what young Jackie was like. She was often the kid wanting to organize and teach others. Jackie was the boss lady even as a child.
“I often found myself in leadership roles, I was even bold enough to run against a boy for student body president in 6th grade. I didn't win, but he eventually became my first boyfriend so in theory I kind of did”.
Boss moves! Ha! Jackie also informed me her first career choice as a child was journalism, and she wanted to become a news anchor. We would have so been childhood friends. I could see us getting the inside scoop on what was in school lunch and sharing with our peers. In high school Jackie was well known for being a State Championship Speech and Drama student. As time went on, her focus shifted to working behind the scenes.
“I let intimidation get the best of me and decided I wanted to be the creative genius behind TV commercials (I was inspired by Gina from the show Martin). I eventually landed in education where I found the satisfaction of everything I ever wanted to do”.
Jackie has a Masters in Counseling & College Student Development, with a Bachelors degree in Business & Marketing. She does wonderful programs and classes for our youth. I asked her what lessons she felt our youth of today are in need of beyond reading and mathematics, and she responded; critical thinking skills. With me being a homeschooling mother, I thought what she said next was such a gem:
“As a mom and teacher I focus less on learning techniques and more on developing strategies. At the end of the day they probably won't use the quadratic equation as much as they would need to know how to prioritize processes. It all boils down to the old parable; If we can teach our children how to fish vs. handing them the fish directly, they'll never go hungry”.
As a Black, Christian, Woman in Corporate America, Jackie has seen the reality of prejudices in the work place. She refuses to let it block or stumble her on her path to being one who ministers, teaches, and promotes change.
“At an early age I recognized that my color and faith were barriers to overcome. But having my womanhood as a barrier always frustrated me. I could be just as smart and gifted as a Male, but my sex would always be another barrier. I quickly learned to use it to my advantage, as most women in corporate America do”.
Jackie has founded Black Christian Influencers (BCI), Inc. It serves as not only a platform, but a community that supports those desiring to make a positive impact in their communities. Come on, you see why I had to talk with her, right?! This is the kind of kingdom business I enjoy and must support! Jackie also has a show on ArtSoul Radio called Higher Learning. While in search for ways to gather an audience for her show she created a web space that connected the people she set out to teach and learn from.
“I wanted to appeal to the Christian Intellectual, as well as the ministry focused leader. I started by connecting a few of my friends from different circles into a small Facebook group, and after a few weeks I noticed it was really becoming a hit, so I ran with it, and here we are. I would love to take credit but it's clearly a God ordained initiative”.
Along with being the founder of BCI, Jackie also has a plan to open a Counseling Cafe. Read that sentence again…. A Counseling Cafe. The cafe will be a safe space for individuals that need to seek mental health treatment. Are you smiling as hard as me right now? This is a project I am so excited for. The location will be in Chicago and Jackie shared with me that construction is projected to start within a few weeks!
“This is my ultimate pride and joy. I love being innovative and I think this space will be a game changer……I absolutely would love to open more locations, especially in the non traditional neighborhoods that could really use unique spaces like this as an outlet”.
I’m just gonna put in the atmosphere that her next two locations are DC and FL! It matters not that those just so happen to be the two places I call home… On the real, knowing these communities, it will be such a great addition and serve a grand purpose in so many lives.
As this posts comes to an end I want to say thank you to Jacqueline Horbrook aka Jackie The Educator, for taking time to share with me, not only more about who she is, but what she is about. She dropped knowledge and shared her truth. I want all my readers to go to her social pages and websites and learn more about the great impact she is having in our world. Jackie seeks to be a voice for the millennial Christian, and I must say she is a voice that all could learn from.
Jackie The Educator
Black Christian Influencers
One evening I saw a beautiful face trying on this weird looking eyebrow stencil. I had never seen such a device. I mean there was a head strap involved! As I continued to watch I found myself on giggle level 10 (the scale goes up to 9)! Right away I just had to learn who the woman was that made such comedic gold. Her name is Bella Yusuf. Her instagram is full of photos and videos on skincare, makeup, and style. Her bubbly personality will quickly brighten up your day. Seeing a woman of color, wearing a hijab, doing makeup tutorials and reviews was so amazingly beautiful to me.
Time went on and then the horrible crime happened in New Zealand. At mosque, a place of prayer, there was a mass shooting killing 50 lives, wounding another 50 lives, and affecting millions of lives around the world. It made me think of the reality of hate in our world, and the power of love that is needed. I wanted to speak to someone of Muslim faith and hear from them what life is like. Bella was on my mind and we had an insightful conversation. From being a young refugee, to taking a stand for her religious beliefs, going from sharing beauty with the world, to sharing pain with the world. Bella’s story is one of remaining positive when negativity is thrown your way.
Heads up this is a long one, because it was too good to cut short =]
Bella is the oldest of 10 children, 9 girls and 1 boy. Her family migrated from Somalia to Kenya, and from Kenya they came to America when she was 7 years old. At the age of 10 she began wearing her headscarf. Once she entered middle school, she decided to stop wearing her headscarf. After high school Bella began diving deeper into her spiritual growth and made the decision to wear her headscarf again.
“I felt comfortable because there was girls who were older than me, who still wore the headscarf. They’re working in these wonderful companies. They’re modeling for this top brand…I said hey, if they could do it, I could do it”.
In sharing her story, I realized Bella and I are around the same age. We both have stories of what happened in middle school after 9-11. I heard from my childhood Muslim friend, how people treated him and his family so terrible, and how he had to explain to them he was not from the same country as the terrorist. While I was hearing my friend tell his story, Bella was living hers. She experienced a great deal of bullying as well. Bella told me a story of what happened to her Muslim friend one day while they went into the locker room for their daily time of prayer. While the two were praying a girl kicked her friend and began to say harsh comments to them. When Bella spoke up for herself the girl began to push her.
“Nobody wanted to be my friend. I was only in 6th grade…Nobody wanted to sit with me. My teacher changed my assigned chair; all the way in the back, so nobody else would make fun of me or tease me. To even talk about this makes me shake. I was only a young kid…I was really bullied”.
Through the pain I saw in my friend’s eyes, and the pain I heard in Bella’s voice, they remained positive and did not return hate with hate. Bella stated that her parents taught her to love everybody no matter their background, race, or religion. As time went on, Bella gained more and more confidence and faith.
“If this is what I wanna do, and this is who I am, I’m going to wear my headscarf. Whether a person likes me or not…I’m gonna show everybody who I am, not what I have on. Even though the hijab and the scarf represents me, I am gonna show that I am not a monster”.
As much as Americans grew in having a better view of Muslims, many still needed to grow and be educated. As an adult, Bella faced discrimination when applying for jobs. She stated that sometimes the positions you want, you may not get all because of your scarf. Bella shared with me that even though you may be qualified for a position, you’ll get overlooked. For example, she was turned down by 5 nursing homes because of her headscarf.
Bella said that America is her home. Can you imagine not feeling welcomed in your own home? Bella was a young refugee girl when she came to America, and this is her home. We all want to feel safe in our homes.
“You come to this country where it’s wonderful, and then you have people who are hateful. You have people who are disgusted. You have people that hate you for no reason. They don’t understand you. And as a kid growing up in America, its like the norm for me”.
Through all the hate Bella has encountered, she makes the daily choice to put smiles on every face she meets. She sets out to educate all who will hear, about her religion and culture. Bella informed me that even though there are many Muslims around the world, not all have the same culture. At the core Islam is peace. I’ve learned, seen, and heard from Bella that Muslims are peaceful people, loving people, and caring people.
Bella went on to discuss with me a little more about the Muslim faith, her experiences as a Muslim woman, and Friday prayers; which is what was happening during the New Zealand shooting. Jumu’ah (Friday Congregational Prayer), is a holy prayer, and in the midst of this time of holiness, lives were taken.
“What happened to New Zealand was horrible, very horrible. Stuff like that scares me. I cannot go nowhere without somebody coming with me, especially a male figure. Stuff like that will happen in a gas station, at a store……Somebody will block you off, or you might just look at somebody and they will just probably shoot you, by just looking at you. I always have my guard, because you could just look at somebody and smile, and they would shoot you”.
To live your life, having to remain on guard is tough. I know many people of color feel that way or have felt that way at some point in their life. We must do better! Bella shared that she is thankful for all the people she has come across in America that are not like those fueled by ignorance and hate. She focuses on the positive in life and not the negative. She greets dirty looks with a smile and warm greeting. Bella hopes that, by her sharing love, that one day it will be just that small gesture of a smile, that will cause someone to turn their life around.
I want to share some things about the Muslim faith and culture I learned in our conversation: If ever you are invited to a Muslim household to share a meal, eat everything! They will treat you like royalty and out of love and respect, eat all that is before you. Muslims are very kind and helpful people. They are all about spreading love, peace, and positivity. Bella taught me about the 5 prayers a day Muslims pray. She also mentioned how she is not a stereotypical, quiet, Muslim woman, and has always been outspoken and bubbly. She was always the good kind of loud! Bella also taught me about Ramadan and all the wonderful good deeds Muslim people seek to do for others, and how it is a time of holiness for them.
As our conversation began to wrap up Bella began to share with me about life as a Muslim Beauty Influencer. She explained to me that some non-Muslims and some Muslims do not support her rocking her make-up, arched eyebrows, and how she wears her scarves. Bella believes theres no harm in playing with colorful makeup, and explained she understands where other Muslims are coming from, but she enjoys what she does. Bella said she does not wear makeup all the time, but loves it; and it washes away. She informed me that getting brand deals is difficult, because many companies don’t want to hire a black girl with a hijab to be a face of their makeup, and it pushes her to work ten times harder. Bella did give a shot out to Fenti, Urban Decay, Wunder2 Cosmetics, Beauty Bakerie, The Crayon Case, and Mented Cosmetics; all of which I will be looking into! She gravitates towards brands that cater to her skin color and are willing to have images of women in headscarves.
Bella spoke on how her faith also plays a role in what she is willing to wear and not wear. For example, she doesn’t wear tight clothes and would never show her cleavage, whereas I see many makeup artist glittering up their boobs to match their glowy makeup looks. I shared I’m guilty of rocking things short and or tight at times and many Christians would disagree with how I dress and rock makeup as well. I just told my mom today when discussing how she likes her shirts to run big, I said jokingly, “I want it tight, low at the top and high at the bottom!” Bella shops for clothes that are beautiful, comfortable, and stylish.
Bella Yusuf’s words spoke to my mind and my heart. I am grateful to her willingness to be transparent and teach this curious girl. In the end it all points to showing love, giving love, and spreading love. Now show some love on Bella’s Social Pages! Thank me later for introducing you to her =]
While doing my daily Instagram strolling I saw in bold letters, YOU CAN BE USED BY GOD AND GAY. It caused me to stop, pause, and think. In that moment I realized how many years I spent not acknowledging that, to be true. In that time of reflection I began to see how my thoughts and feelings about homosexuality had evolved, changed, and matured. The saying goes, When you know better, you do better. That same night I entered into dialogue with my husband about that subject matter, and for the first time in years, I heard a shift in his thinking as well. Later that night I began walking and speaking with God. We talked about the tug I was feeling in my heart to reach out to those in the LGBTQ+ community and learn how to show love, minister, and serve them. Clear as day God instructed me to reach out to the woman who posted the statement and request to interview her. I was so elated she responded with a yes, and I am excited to share with you our conversation.
SdotNoeL is a multitalented woman of God who started her life in the inner city of Los Angeles. She grew up in the COGIC Church, and when her family and peers learned she was lesbian, not everyone was accepting and ready to show her the love and support she needed. SdotNoeL states she was born gay and was always aware of who she was at a young age. She first expressed her feelings to her Aunt when she was 10 years old.
“I confided with my Aunt at the time; whom I felt really comfortable with….I came out to her, and she really became an advocate for me”.
Two years later her mother and other family members found out, and SdotNoeL was kicked out of her home at the age of 13.
“These ideas being put into my head about myself..I’d never be loved..God would never except me…These were coming out of my families mouth”.
SdotNoeL then entered into a time of depression. She continued to attend her Uncle’s mega church, experiencing being singled out from the pulpit. Even though many showed disapproval of her sexual orientation, she was still called upon to minister over the praise team.
“Having gone through all of that, but still being called on in church. Still being praise and worship leader. Still being used. Still being effective in peoples lives, because of what I’ve been through. Still being able to be a vessel”.
Faith is SdotNoeL’s driving force for everything she does, but there was a time she had a disconnect with God.
“I went through my cognitive dissonance. I went through the periods of time where I felt like I hated God because of what I had to go through…..but that was all a part of the purpose……God’s will for my life is to show people that through pain, and through judgment, does come a purpose”.
Although SdotNoeL’s family said many hurtful things in the past, they have had a turning point in their relationship with her. The relationship she has with her mother went from not speaking for about five years after she was kicked out, to now being able to call on her mother for strength and conversation.
“I can talk to her(Mother) about girlfriends…..The day I was getting a lot of church people come over(to her social media page), they were saying a lot of really harsh things. I just had to call her…I was like Mom, people are saying some really harsh things…She was just like, that’s unfortunate. You just keep doing what you’re doing, because God is using you”.
In our interview I also asked some personal questions I had about gay culture that I always wanted to hear answers to. One question that I was always curious about, was how a gay person interprets the scriptures that say homosexuality is an abomination unto God. SdotNoeL shared her personal views.
“I would never lay with a man the way I lay with a woman…..I’m not a heterosexual, so I don’t know what it takes to be in a heterosexual relationship…..I’m not redefining the relationship of male and female, by laying with a woman…..We’re not trying to become like heterosexual relationships…..So when I read that word, that doesn’t mean to me that I should not be laying with a woman period. That means to me, that I am not going to assume the role of a man…..That concept, that idea is so hard to sink through in the realm of Christianity”.
We both understood that change does not happen over night and what gets to you first is what you believe. I believe the word of God is infallible and I believe we all must search the scriptures and seek out truth. The amazing thing about being human is, truth looks different from the perspective and background of the viewer. While we talked scriptures, I agreed with many things SdotNoeL stated, some things I will be studying, and others I currently disagree. She talked about what its like for many gays to sit in church, and it hit my heart hard y’all. I want all people, from all walks of life to be able to freely worship in church, without fear, and in the presence of love.
“Which is why homosexuality in the confines of a church does not work for us. It’s degradation. I’m suffering If I’m staying in a church that does not understand my concept. That doesn’t understand my ideas and beliefs”.
SdotNoeL then made a great analogy likening gays and church people as warehouse workers who look the same, but in speaking find out they are different.
“You’ll have two choices. You can except them for their difference, or you can judge them for their difference. The moment that you start stepping over into judging them for their difference, you’re taking yourself out of the understanding game”.
As we began to talk about the misconceptions about gays in the Christian worldview we found that communication is key to understanding. SdotNoel said that no question was off limits before we started the interview, and spoke her truth throughout the interview; making me laugh and think throughout. I came to the interview with a list of questions, but as soon as we began to talk, the interview became a conversation of curiosity and courage.
We all must understand in life we may differ in thought in some areas, but we must all show kindness, respect, and love. I enjoyed our conversation so much and I know and hope it ruffles many feathers, because these conversations are simply not happening and they need to be!
Currently you can find SdotNoeL sharing her gifts with the world all to the glory of God. She is a singer, song writer, background vocalist, mixer, editor, actress, comedian, event host, and I’ll add, a missionary! I want to say thank you to SdotNoeL; Thank you for opening my eyes, pulling on my ears, shaking up my thoughts, and hearing my heart. God bless you!
For any young girls that are going through depression and anxiety, or contemplating coming out to their family about anything because of fear, I want to say know that God loves you, I love you, and I want you to read these words SdotNoeL stated she would say to her younger self that was going through depression and anxiety:
“….That is the beginning of the rose blossoming through the concrete….Those feelings of anxiety are showing you that there is room that needs to be made, on the other side of it, because any time that you feel anxiety young lady, on the other side of that is nothing but pure joy for you. And if you could just make it through the thoughts that are there in you, which are self-conscious beliefs; and if you could get a hold of those beliefs and turn them into something that you actually desire and actually want, you’ll be just fine”.
The conversation we had, was so good and necessary. There is so much more that we discussed and I want you and everyone you know to hear the full conversation so click the link below to hear the interview and share everywhere!