Lead by Example

Hello Sunshines it’s been a while!

There has been so much going on as you know I completed my graduate program at Purdue University Global. In my absence I was able to walk in my commencement ceremony. But in doing this I’ve learned that someone is always watching you. I’m writing to encourage every mom or just anyone to always do your best because the children are watching. Or as I say to my husband the streets are watching!

Well, fast forward to the point, my son who was an eighth grader also graduated. He was able to finish his eighth grade year with straight A’s the entire year, giving him the highest gpa in his class. He was also inducted into the National Junior Honor Society. To top it all off, he was accepted into a dual degree/diploma early college program where he will be a freshman in high school while simultaneously being a freshman in college. He will complete high school with an associates degree in criminal justice from Vincennes University. This will jump start him on his path to law school, which will enable him to complete college early.

Of course I’m a proud mom but that isn’t the point. We talk to our children and want the best for them. Truth is adolescence is hard for them. My baby had a hard time when he transitioned into middle school. At the same time I was starting my graduate program. We had countless talks about his grades when he first started 6th grade, however he still struggled to find his footing. I prayed that God would make his way easy and that he’d have favor with his teachers. I learned in this experience there had to be a point where he wanted to succeed not I wanted him to succeed.

Sometimes we have to stop talking at our children and demonstrate what we mean. I taught my children how to put schoolwork first before going to that fun event. I taught my children that sometimes it pays to study for that extra hour or even late into the night. I taught my children that it was our responsibility to turn in our assignments on time not the teacher asking for us to turn it in. Of course I said these things in our countless conversations, but nothing showed them more than seeing me do the same.

That smile was big because I know his story, I know how he struggled and then came out on top! His future is so bright but as the grade, the scenery and environment changes and new challenges arise; he will need to carry what he learned into the next phase of his life. The lesson to me was he had to want it for himself but now he’ll have to continue that same drive. Another lesson was that people are hearing what you say but they are watching what you do! Which leads me to one of the most beautiful women in the world, my sister!

My sister is Awesome, period! We are polar opposites she is outgoing, people person, commands the room, outspoken, a beauty queen, hilarious and everyone loves her! She is the definition of an extrovert! For years she hadn’t went back to school and I always encouraged her to but she said she didn’t really want to. I had been praying God would show her something she’d love and guess what he did! My sister started at Illinois media school last year and she just completed her program in May as well! I’m so proud of her and I am glad she found something she loves! And let me tell you it’s so perfect for her. She’s beautiful and has a face for the camera with the gigantic personality to match.

2019 has turned out to be an epic year of transition for my family! This is just the beginning. So I’m writing to encourage you to continue to speak life to those you love and people you have influence over. Continue being your best self and practice what you preach because believe me others are watching you. Everything we do speaks volumes and I am glad that my journey is a path for others to take. To the moms that feel like they can’t go back to school, you can do it! Yes it was hard, but it turned out to be the best decision I ever made! Anytime my babies see a positive example in success and accomplishment it was well worth the stress. There is enough negative influences in life, I want to represent light 💡 for anyone I interact with!

Let your light so shine before men, that they see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matt. 5:16

So shine your light! ~yannasunshine~

You Were Created for This!

Hello Sunshine ☀️,

Have you ever got a feeling deep down in the pit of your stomach, when you have an idea, opportunity, dream, vision or new phase? That feeling can be confusing, exciting and a bit overwhelming at times. It will have you second guessing yourself or moving too quickly trying to escape from the feeling. I get that feeling when I’m supposed to speak as well. I don’t care if it’s a room full of children I still feel the same.

Originally, I thought the feeling was pure fear but as I get older I recognize that it’s excitement, a bit of anxiety, nervousness, a tad of doubt, but most of all it’s a fire, desire, ambition, and aspiration for greatness! Sometimes what we want to accomplish in life is soooo big we have these feelings. The next time you are offered an opportunity tell yourself “I Am created for this!” Chance and opportunity come to us all, believe in yourself then walk toward your destiny.

Rewind two years ago I was failing my Graduate program. I was stressed and overwhelmed and felt like I made a mistake registering for school. I pretty much received my third C was placed on academic probation and not sure how I could continue; if they didn’t expel me from my program themselves. I was working, moving, and caring for my family feeling overwhelmed. I had to decide on whether or not I would do some self care and take a leave of absence from school, just to get my life in order. I couldn’t find balance anywhere. Needless to say I took the leave of absence for two terms. It was much needed but it also was long enough to second guess myself. I began to think I wasn’t good enough to accomplish my Graduate degree. I let the enemy trick me into thinking I wouldn’t succeed.

After seeking God I took my courses after my absence. I started to place my relationship with God first which helped align my responsibilities in my life. I’m not say I didn’t fall off at times. I still had all nighters when I attended events and activities instead of doing homework. However, God gave me favor with my instructors and I started to plan out my daily activities. This is why I live by a daily planner now, it truly keeps me on track with things I need to accomplish. Implementing that practice and speaking with God showed me I was Created to accomplish greatness. I can accomplish all my goals and dreams. I just need to prioritize my life beginning with God and everything follows. Now the voice of fear and doubt are drowned out by the knowing that I can do All things. I was created for Greatness, I was created to create.

I accomplished my goal I have my graduate degree. Not only do I have the degree but I’m graduating with honors! I was failing but God! I accomplished what I felt like was the impossible. I know that you can too!

The next time you feel that feeling of fear and doubt drown it out, cast it out and replace it with a knowing that you can do all things. You were created for all the dreams, visions, goals, and desires God gave you. You are more than enough, qualified, wise, knowledgeable, articulate, intelligent and experienced to accomplish every goal you desire.

You are Created for This!

~Ayanna~

Natural Hairstyles for Kids on Easter!

Hello Sunshine!!

As a mother of two girls with thick long hair, I have to find creative and easy hairstyles that won’t take all day. As any nautural hair diva knows wash day take forever; now multiply by three and it’s a nightmare. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Due to a blended bloodline my two daughters have extremely different hair textures. One has what is considered 4c hair and the small one has like 3b/4a, I think! In addition, there is an age gap of 7 years, ages 10 and 3; naturally the older daughter wants to look cool and trendy. The small one gets what I give her but she is becoming more opinionated by the day! Funny how small children have so much personality!

As beautiful as this texture looks, it can be difficult to work with while dry. So washing, conditioning, and moisturizing first is key!

Both of my girls hair is as beautiful as they are! I just have to take different strategies for them. But as I said washing, conditioning & moisturizing is key.

First step is clean and conditioned hair! Next moisturize, moisturize, and moisturize again! I truly believe this is the most important step for dry hair. This includes for us, leave in conditioner, oil, greased scalp, and a cream moisturizer to lock it all in.

Styling is next, I like protective styles the most. I’m a busy mom so doing hair daily just doesn’t work for me. Also combing and brushing hair daily will cause damage to the hair and cause it to break off. Below are some of the hairstyles I’ve done on my girls hair thus far. There are plenty more but no pictures. All the ones below I feel work for holidays and school. I hope this gives some ideas and inspiration.

Two ponytails at the crown of head. Back half braided in six French braids hair crocheted in to ensure longer wear time. I could have done a braid out in the back but from experience she hasn’t learned to keep hair up good enough.


Three ponytails down middle of her head. Her hair loose from ponytails are twisted down into the next ponytail. I added hair yarn for elegance. This style was super quick!
Quick goddess braid across the front of head resembling a headband. Two ponytails in the back. I did blow dry and flat iron her hair for this style.

I want to add that I am no beautician and have no formal training on doing hair. I’m just a natural haired mommy with two girls who have heads full of thick curly hair. I have to comb it no matter if I was trained or not. Some styles won’t be perfect and some may have better methods to achieve the styles but I do my best. As long as they smile 😊 when they look in the mirror I’m happy!

This style actually has two additional ponytails in the back that are twisted with barrettes on the ends of each twist.
Multiple ponytails are great for smaller girls, barrettes can be coordinated with outfits!

Curls are a girl’s best friend, as she gets older this request comes more often. Yes, a blow dryer and flat iron are required for this style.

Add some sunshine to the little girls in your life faces! Think of styles age appropriate, trendy and easy for you to do! As the holiday approaches prepare for fresh ideas!

~Ayanna~

Organizing Your Time

Hello Sunshine!

What do you do to keep your time organized and scheduled?

I’ve learned that not everyone writes list or lives by a planner. However, without my two planners, two electronic calendars on phone and IPad, dry erase calendar, and the several calendars around my house; I would totally be lost. Furthermore, I schedule several reminders in my phone that alert me early for prayer, reading bible, doing devotionals, and taking vitamins. I literally plan out most of my day. To some that may be OCD to others it makes sense. For me it’s needed to keep all that I am in order.

This picture is still missing the second planner which is the powder pink book directly on shelf under desk calendar, phone, and two additional wall calendars.

Like clockwork, every month I sit down and write on my dry erase calendar and desk calendar to synchronize them to my two planners. Why so many you ask? I am a mother, wife and daughter that has to keep my family schedule in order from my mother, father in law, husband and kids to my appointments and activities. I use the other calendar and planner to coordinate ministry work, events, services, and rehearsals for Church. Then I have to schedule writing, work, blog, pictures, and classes. My general calendar will include bill due dates so I can be a good steward over what God gave me. This keeps me early instead of behind on bills. I have recently decided that I need to add a meal calendar to keep track of inventory and weekly menus. (Have not implanted meal calendar yet.) Team too much, but it keeps me organized! Again I ask, how do you stay organized?

I just wanted to hop on here today to suggest getting a monthly planner and a calendar. How are you tithing your time? The busiest and most successful people keep calendars, schedules, itineraries, and assistants monitoring their time. If we plan on getting the best out of life we should plan accordingly. Don’t forget to give God his time first! He will make that calendar work wonders for you!

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you ~Matthew 6:33

~Ayanna~

As Real as It Gets

This pic was taken in my home in all it’s imperfection.

Sometimes the sun shines on normal people! ~Ayanna~

Let me start by saying this is just an observation. I have read countless blogs about moms, family, lifestyle, and business. I see the perfectly groomed pictures and portrait of families. I truly love them all and all the wonderful bloggers that create them; I applaud you! I am just a normal person that wants my voice heard in some form or fashion. I have three children in different age brackets so it is hard to get them all in one picture. My family is so unorthodox I felt like I wouldn’t fit in the trend of bloggers and influencers because everyone looks so perfect. Well I stopped fear of looking different, unperfect, normal, confused, unorganized, and at times a full mess.

The little one’s face!!! LOL How most of our pictures turn out! Lol

I’m writing this for those who don’t fit in the mold everyone thinks you should be in. The cookie cutter lifestyle just isn’t for me. From childhood I never fit in. Now at 33 years old I know that, it is ok. I have read blogs of other bloggers that say you need to have it together. I have watched the webinars and videos. Now I am saying who cares, I am going for it. I have too much to say to be perfect. Social media will have you putting yourself down from comparison. I totally feel that all those perfect shots are made with a closet of mess pressing against the door, as the photo is being taken. So welcome to my unperfect little life, full of fun, family time, love, ministry, and motivation to reach my potential. No, I am not coming on here as the expert. I don’t know anything except what God gave me!!!!

I am suggesting that you grow with me, as we all make it to our dreams. Yes, I have two business degrees and went to school for fashion design, but I hate the question “what are you going to do with your degree now?” As if what I’m doing is not enough. The sad thing is I have watched people who have never walked out on faith judge me for being different. No, I don’t fit the mold, and I may never get the traditional job that my degree could get me. Unfortunately, I am realizing it may not be for me. And if I choose not to it’s my choice to make! I will get to my goals and dreams in the most random way possible. I was made unique or as the bible puts it, fearfully and wonderfully made! I believe that, do you? My gift will make room for me somewhere and I’d like to invite you to come for the ride. Hopefully we can work together and help your gift make room for you as well!!!!

Be the Sunshine in your life and someone else’s! ~Ayanna~

Big Dreamer Syndrome

Dreams are hard work but the end result will be well worth it! Don’t get frustrated with the process!

Hello Dreamers,

Let’s shine some light on flushing out those big dreams!

Your dreams are much like stories that haven’t manifested yet. — Ayanna Clark

Have you ever had a dream so real that when you woke up and looked around, you were in disbelief of your surroundings? For whatever reason, that is my life! I’m writing for the dreamers today, whomever you are, I want to encourage you to keep dreaming no matter how large the dream seems and how impossible it may seem.

Being a dreamer doesn’t mean you’re not satisfied with your life. For me it is the opposite, I love my life. I love it so much that I can see the entire thing play out differently in my mind. I must admit it causes much frustration at times because I am not seeing full manifestation. I have to constantly remind myself to celebrate the small victories and I’ve learned that is important in my development.

I know that you can have so many dreams that it is difficult to focus and concentrate on one thing. Being continuously plagued with dreams, ideas, and thoughts, can cause a feeling of disappointment and confusion. I want to offer some tips that I felt helped me along the way.

After graduating with my MBA I literally felt confused and unsure of what was next. When asked the dreaded question “what will you do now?” I’d literally cringe each time. I had no idea what to say, my ideas of what was next would change by the person and day of being asked. I felt disappointed, confused and honestly felt like a failure. Why? Why, feel like a failure after reaching a major accomplishment I should feel excited and proud? I can’t explain it. It was as if I was at the brink of a new chapter that I haven’t seen before and had no idea what to write on the page. This brings me here to you, I want to encourage you to follow that the feeling inside that pushes in a specific direction. I have fought myself about sharing my story on many occasions, there was an excuse for why it wasn’t a good time.

Let me tell you what has helped me over this hump of mixed feelings. My dreams and ideas! Yes, the literal things causing the confusion are helping me. I just needed to figure out how to follow them one by one.

1.  Journal Writing! Writing in my journal has been a large help for me. I can write everything down and it can come out as sporadic as I think of it. No one to judge it, just an avenue to get it down out of my mind. This was the best place fort me to start.

2. Read and Reflect! Once I had it all down, I had to commit to reading it! Yes take a look into you brain. Reflect on it. Pray about your thoughts. Let God guide the ideas written.

3. Map it Out! Then I created an idea map or better know as Mind Mapping. If you aren’t familiar there is a photo below. You can write your ideas on paper in no specific order but can connect the ideas, which helped me to kind of see how each idea, thought or dream was interconnected.

4. Write a List, This may be old school but it works for me! Good old to do list help check things off the list of must do’s. This helps me see a step by step course of action to completing a task at hand. I am pretty much consistent with this in anything I do; groceries, walmart, christmas shopping, business plans, sunday school lessons, homework, trip/vacation planning, packing, and home/family projects.

5. Research and ask questions. Start with number one and take your time. Don’t rush your steps, research each and do them thoroughly. If each step is done correctly you won’t have to return and complete something undone. This is important, please don’t skip this step. It is important to have well thought out plans. I appreciate an impromptu plan as much as the next person however, mistakes are made when you move hasty. I am speaking from experience, I have began and started many ventures. From businesses alone and with partners, you want to do your research. If you are partnering up with someone please, please, please, be able to carry the business alone if your partner decides to walk away. I’d advise not to get into business with someone just to push them into their dream. I know you’ll say that’s mean, let me explain. When you want someone to accomplish their dream more they do, it can be a recipe for disappointment! It just doesn’t work that way.

Hopefully, these tips will help in the ongoing fight between how you see things in your dreams and how it has played out so far. This should help put things into perspective and help draw out a plan. I too suffer from Big Dream Syndrome and I want you to help you write the vision and make it plain! 

Once you’ve set out your plan you’re ready to write that business plan or proposal!!! The possibilities are endless! Keep dreaming dreamers!!! 

~Ayanna~

 

Example of Mind Mapping Blog Ideas