4 Things I Have Learned From My Husband

Jon and Chelsi Bennett

One month ago today, I walked down the aisle and said "I Do" to the most incredible man I have ever met. Jonathan is truly an answer to my prayers. Here are 4 things I have learned from him:

1) Don't stop loving on each other when you disagree.

Have you ever experienced that moment when someone disagrees with you and you want some distant? Well, I have!! My dear husband and I have seen some situations totally different, and I have wanted some space after the discussion. BUT he has taught me that pulling away at every instance of us not being on the same page is not healthy for me or our marriage. He has taught me and showed me that we have to be able to literally love each other at all times and in all situations, including when we disagree. In the end, it has been such a blessing to me to put this principle into practice because his warm embrace after disagreements is more comforting than anything. And, I could not imagine how I would feel if he pulled away from me.

2) No driving on E!

I have this bad habit of waiting until I am almost out of gas to refill. Not the best, I know! Jon took responsibility for filling up my car. :D His one request was for me to let him know when I am at half tank. He told me that I never know when I am going to be stuck in traffic or have to jump in the car to go somewhere. I thought, "That sounds great!" As you can imagine this has been a tough one for me. Instead, I am normally almost on empty when I tell him and then have been left to get my own gas. Ehh! So I am quickly learning that I need to tell him at half tank so I don't have to pump gas. 

3) My worth as a wife isn't solely tied up in my work.

I am by nature type-A and I like things to be perfect. Well, moving to a new state, starting a brand new job, and joining a new church has been different, or you can say my life seems brand spanking new! I have never experience so much newness at once like this before. I mean I studied abroad, but I knew I was coming back home. With all that being said, we are still unwrapping gifts, have yet to start on Thank You notes :(, finding a place for everything in our new place, learning each other's patterns and habits, launching our young adult ministry next week... all on top of the everyday cleaning and cooking. Last week, I came home from a long day at work and I was cleaning, organizing, etc., and it was well past 9:30PM. Jon said, "Come over here and relax." And I quickly responded, "I am trying to get the house in order. I want to be a good wife." I went over and sat with him on the sofa and he reminded me that my worth is not solely tied up in the house being spotless every night. I could only take a deep breath and thank God for the reminder that my value as his wife and how he sees me is greater than a spotless house every night.

4) Being first was more than a statement.

I knew when I married Jon that I would be "sharing" him with the ministry. And, I knew it would be different and that the calling on his life would require sacrifices from both of us. However, what I did not know was that when Jon said he would keep me and our future family first, he meant it with everything he had. For example,  I was sick and he had to go to church to preach. He could have easily asked me to push it in my sickness and I would have said, "Yes!" Instead, he encouraged me to stay home to rest and reminded me that my role as a pastor's wife was not diminished because I stayed home to rest and get well. On a daily basis he does everything he can to protect our time. While his phone rings often and lights up even more with text messages, he has shown me that unless there is an emergency our time is our time. Of course, there have been those moments where our time was interrupted or we had plans and had to make a detour stop at a hospital or arrive to church earlier for counseling, yet when possible he protects our time.

Jon, thank you for making me better! We are just starting and you are impacting my life and pushing me closer to Christ. Thank you! 

To those who are married, I am praying for you. I understand the process of dying to self daily to allow Christ to be the center of your home.

To those engaged, I am praying for you. I pray you seek God for confirmation on your engagement and that you would trust Him to prepare you for your marriage -- it is amazing yet also hard work and you want to be in it for life with the person God has sent your way.

To those believing God to be married, I am praying for you. I pray you would allow God to mold and prepare you for the journey ahead -- in singleness and marriage. I pray you would enjoy this time of it just being you and God.

If you ever need prayer, share your request at AlwaysPraying.com. My prayer team and I would love to pray for you.

If you you're in the Richmond area, join Jon and I next Sunday, June 5th at 8:45AM for the launch our young adult ministry, The Return RVA. Stop me in the hallway and say, "Hi!"

~chb

Will You Be My Girlfriend?

Jon wasted no time in making arrangements to come hear me speak at the 2015 Annual Convention for the Florida Federation of Young Republicans. [Catch up on our story here.]

We were about two weeks away and the countdown had begun for Jon (I did not know at the time, obviously). Over the next two weeks, we talked more and more. I can still remember the calls that lasted for 3+ hours. Yes, our longest was about 5.5 hours-- it felt like we were two kids in high school.

Let me tell you where my head and heart was...

On the inside, I was nervous and giddy. I was nervous because he was someone I knew and so we were catching up versus "getting to know each other." I was also nervous because a few months prior I had ended a two-year relationship. I wanted to love again, I really wanted to but at times I was more afraid of the pain and heartache that can come from loving someone. I knew this, but learned from my previous relationship that love is risk that you decide to act upon. Love is a decision-- a decision to love during the good, bad, and the ugly. Was I ready for that? Was my heart healed? Was I over my past? 

Honestly, initially, I was not.

In my pain, I cried out to God. I told him about my hurts, disappointments, embarrassments, insecurities, heartaches, doubts, and fears. I was afraid to love again, and I was afraid that I would dive head first into work in order to ignore the pain (I am a recovering workaholic). Most of all, I was afraid I would be single again for a long time. See, I do not have much dating experience because guys would only want to be friends with me or found me intimidating or thought I dressed like an old lady or thought I could not let my "hair down." 

And, the scariest part about my timing with Jon was a word that God spoke to me a few months prior....

God told me that I would meet my husband during the summertime.

Now, if you are thinking like I was, you thought, "oh okay. Sure!" I kept the word to myself because I was not at a place to receive or accept that word fully. 

During the "single" months, I repeatedly did fasts because I found myself gravitating to people and things, and not God as much. I wanted to be healed, to be heard, to be loved, to be counseled... but I was looking for it in all the wrong places. Fasting remains one of the most powerful decisions I can make in the midst of challenges and need. Denying my body food or pleasure places my flesh and desires on the altar before God. And, allows me to hear His voice clearly.

Back to Jon...

He asked for my speaking schedule because he wanted to schedule some activities for us. All I could do was smile, right? Well, kind of, I still wanted to know everything. He would remind me over the next two weeks how excited he was to hang out again and to hear me speak in person for the first time. (One of the many, many things I love about Jon is how supportive he is-- he has taught me to slow down, smell the roses, and celebrate my accomplishments.) 

The Friday we would see each had arrived. I remember sitting at work SUPER NERVOUS. I was giving my heart a chance to love again and be loved again. Now, remember, Jon had the black and white conversation with me in DC and made it clear that in his thinking about "us" it was to date for marriage. 

Jon had arranged for our friend Lisa to drive from Jacksonville to Tallahassee to drive with me from Tallahassee to Orlando International Airport where we would be picking him up. He did not want me on the road by myself for four hours ;).  He also had her bring a "gift" that I could not open up until we got to the airport. Y'all, this little box bothered me the entire FOUR hours. I wanted hints... I offered bribes LOL... I just wanted to know what was in the box!!!

Lisa would not give me ANY details. She and I split up the drive. I started and she finished so I could get ready! Our Friday night agenda included a private steamboat ride at Downtown Disney's Boathouse. I finished my makeup, pulled my hair up, and was sporting my brand new dress selected by my friend Cynthia (if you know her you know she is always classy and stylish).  

I was ready!

As we got closer to the airport, I wanted to open the gift. I love gifts and surprises, but I also like to know about them. Yes, I know, I cannot want to know everything and still be surprised. Whatever! We get closer to the airport and she tells me I can open the box. I was like a kid in the candy store!!!

This is what was in the box:

A purple Sharpie. Before I could think it through we were pulling through the terminal

 

and...

 

THIS HAPPENED:

 

You saw it correctly:

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Jon asked me to be his girlfriend!! And, I checked, "YES." 

I still remember the feeling when I saw him standing outside the airport with the sign. I was overwhelmed. I was happy, surprised, and intentionally stepping out in faith.

Jon gets in the car and we head to Downtown Disney as planned. But first we needed to drop Lisa off to get her rental car. We pull up to a very shady place. Long story short, we wait for about 30 minutes for them to tell her some crazy rule and she was unable to get her rental car. We did not fret. She immediately called a friend in Orlando to come and pick up her from Downtown Disney.

In the midst of the wait at the rental car place and terrible traffic getting into Disney, we were running very late for our scheduled steamboat tour. We arrived at the boathouse and learned that all the captains had left for the night. Jon was super bummed. I reminded him it was okay. Turns out that the manager did not want us to have our first night as boyfriend/girlfriend ruined, so he gave us a treat better than what Jon could have paid for. He allowed us to sit on one of the steamboats for 2+ hours. As a treat, he brought us chocolate covered strawberries (a quick way to my heart:)). Here we are:

After talking it up for 2+ hours, we headed to Lakeland for the Convention. Jon drives, starts talking, and I fall asleep (which he will tell you he now knows is typical).

He drops me off at my hotel and heads to his hotel.

Saturday morning I was up bright and early to prepare for my speech. I was opening the Convention. I spoke about the state of youth and young adults in Florida and challenged the audience to do their part to make Florida a better place! I really enjoy speaking, motivating, inspiring, and educating others!

Here we are after the speech:

A few hours later, Jon had planned a picnic for us. We had our favorite Chick-fil-a!! And, tons of sweet tea. 

Then, to end the evening off, he and my mom, came to the Gala where I was the Mistress of Ceremonies. Thanks to Scott Jones (pictured here with his wife) for inviting me to speak!!

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To end our first weekend together off, we live streamed Alfred Street Baptist Church, and hung out in Orlando before Jon's flight back to Richmond. It was bittersweet.

xoxoo ~c

Next week... He Proposed!!

P.S. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @chelsiphenry

P.S.S. If you love reading or want to read more, join my book club. We are reading 16 books in 2016.

How I Met Jon

Let's go back six years...

It was August 2009 and I had just returned from a 6-month study abroad in Belgium and was finishing up my last semester of undergrad. My friend, Lisa, was hosting a ministry event and brought in this preacher from Richmond, Virginia named Jon. I met him. He was a good preacher. That was all... for me, at least. 

Over the next six years, we would stay in touch because of our mutual friend. We hung out, planned birthday parties, and prayed for each other. According to Jon and Lisa, there were many three-way conversations... I vaguely recall these chats. Based on a review of my text messages and Facebook messages, Jon was interested in me from when we first met. He would text/message me that he was praying for me or read an article I wrote or saw me on television (minus when he was dating someone). For me, these messages were not out of the ordinary-- people would send me similar messages often so I did not think much of it. Besides, those who know me know, I communicate best in black and white, and all his messages were left in my "gray box." 

Fast forward four years....

Jon reached out that he was going to be in Jacksonville to preach. I happened to be moving that weekend and he offered to help. I said, "Sure!" Who would turn down extra muscles, and since my parents were helping I was comfortable with him helping. Well, Jon did not help me move because he could not find a ride. He was immediately put on the "no" list. I could have been a little more understanding though, I mean he was in town to preach and was limited on time and resources. AND, when we talked about it later, he had actually called every person he knew in Jacksonville, and even a cab but it was crazy expensive because I was on the outskirts of Jacksonville. It is crazy thinking about how rigid I used to be.

Fast forward two years....

He and our mutual friend are graduating from Liberty University in Lynchburg. I am at graduation to support her because I actually did not know he was graduating too (my bad!!). Right after their graduation lunch, we ended up randomly riding to graduation together because I liked his new car. During the ride, we had a very deep chat about life over the last two years (I did most of the talking). I even had the honor of briefly meeting his dad while we were in standstill traffic. Our conversation was stopped before it was over and so there was always an intent to finish.

After graduation he reminds me that we have to finish chatting. I am thinking, 'When is this going to happen?'

Our entire group heads back to DC (where we were staying) for the rest of the graduation celebration. In my mind, I did not know if we would ever finish that chat, which I wanted to because it was his time to do some talking!! LOL!

The next day I was headed back to Tallahassee because I had an out-of-town tour scheduled for a project that I had been working on for months. I am sitting in DCA and my flight is delayed and then it is cancelled because of mechanical issues. (I wonder what Jon was praying for lol.. I know he Thanks Delta for reconnecting us). I am working with the gate agents to make it back to Tallahassee before my group leaves the next morning and it just was not possible. I am bummed!! I call my friend to pick me up right before the last group dinner (which I would have missed).

We head back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. I quickly throw on a blue dress and pull my hair back in bun. 

Guess who is sitting next to me at dinner? Jon!! Like really? So, at this point I really want to finish our conversation, and I picked up that he probably liked me ;). Then, comes another surprise, we have dinner for about 2 hours and he says maybe TEN words to me... Y'all can imagine I am confused and completely turned off. He was heading back the "no" list.

Of course, I then find out that he was suffering from a terrible migraine. Ooopppss!!! We all make it back to our hotel and I am headed to bed because I have the first flight out the next morning, and guess who texts me?? Jon!! :D We meet in the hotel lobby to chat. 

We talked for about 3 hours!! More importantly, he did MOST of the talking. In our talk, he plainly shared his interest in me, how he had kept up with my life over the last six years, how he had thought about us dating, the challenges of a long-distance relationship, what he admired and respected about me, and much more. For those who know me, know I sat, listened, and nodded and answered a few questions, and asked several more. It just had not fully clicked that we were having THE black and white conversation.

The next day I am sitting in the airport and I am analyzing the conversation. I realized that I did not provide him with any feedback or acknowledgement that I liked him, too. I just was nodding and saying , "Ok." Sooooooo, with ALL the guts I had in me, I texted him a simple yet more forward than I have EVER been with a guy in my life, that I enjoyed our chat, the feelings were mutual, and I hoped we would be able to chat again.

The next day at work, red roses and stargazer lilies were delivered. I was blushing the rest of the day.

Chelsi with Roses and Lilies

This was the beginning of a more intimate friendship.

He was a perfect gentlemen. When he called he would ask if I was busy. In every conversation, I could hear the excitement in his voice. He was inquisitive. He would text me in the morning and evening. It was (and still is) more than I could have imagined!!

My birthday was two weeks later and he was unable to make it to Florida. So, he planned a WEEKLONG VIRTUAL celebration. You read right!! A virtual celebration. Let me recap the week for you: 

---- Sunday evening I received the itinerary for the week (with blocks of time for surprises)

---- Monday morning was an amazing 'Good Morning, it is your birthday week' call.

----- Wednesday he surprised me with one of my favorite things at work!!

----- Friday evening we had our first official date... It was virtual. And, he had my favorite meal delivered to my house. The cool thing is that we share a favorite meal: chicken carbonara! We both ate the same meal as if we were in front of each other. We ended chatting for almost THREE hours.

----- Saturday morning I arrived at Chelsea Salon for a massage, manicure, pedicure, and lunch. While finishing up my manicure, I was surprised by my friend Lisa. She then took me to St. George Island for beach time and oysters (a birthday tradition).

Whew... It was PERFECT!!! And, on Sunday, my mom called and asked, "What's on the agenda for today??" I shared with her the birthday week had come to an end! :)

We continued talking and getting to know each other over the next week or so. In passing I mentioned that I was speaking at an event in Lakeland in early June. A few hours later, Jon had looked at flights, hotels, and requested time off from work. Next thing I know, he was coming to hear me speak!!

Chelsi Speaking in Lakeland

Xoxoo ~c

#ChelsiLovesJon

Coming Soon... Will You Be My Girlfriend?

My 1st Cooking Class

Last evening, I attended my first Cooking Class and I loved every moment of it. Thankfully, there were only four other ladies, and one was my friend who invited me.  

 

Here is menu and a few photos: 

- Roasted Squash with Quinoa Risotto and Grilled Chicken

- Roasted Broccoli Arrabbiata with Pan Seared Salmon

- Gluten Free Puttanesca

- Asian Persuasion Salad

- Lemongrass Macerated Berries with Grilled Pound cake

Chef Chelsi

Chef Chelsi

Dinner!! 

Dinner!! 

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If you haven't tried an Aprons Cooking Class, you should! Check your local Publix to see if they have a cooking school. And, you can even organize your own private class!! 

I will be trying out these new recipes on Jon and our future dinner party guests!

 Xoxoo ~c

3 Challenges I Faced in 2015

I am starting this blog at 11:10pm on December 31, 2015. I just finished entertaining family-- I cooked meatloaf, mashed potatoes, spinach, broccoli and cheese, apple pie, dinner rolls, and of course, had some sweet tea! 

Honestly, I have not made my list of goals/objectives/dreams for 2016. Why? Because today was a breakthrough moment for me of accepting what all has happened in my life the last 365 days. I am a better person, all around because of the challenges I faced and conquered. 

If you follow me, you may know I launched my book club, became a regular panelist on Newsmax, continued writing for Ebony.com and The Root, was recognized by a few publications, started the Republican Diversity Coalition... and a few other successes. BUT I take you back to some of my challenges.

Here are 3 challenges that allowed me to grow:

1)  Early in the year, I found myself in a writer's block. Yeah, I am a writer and I had writer's block. Really? There were many political and cultural things happening that caused my mind to race a million miles per hour yet not enough to produce a piece like I had before. I took it hard. I enjoy writing and sharing my stories to educate and inspire others. I just wasn't able to. 

As a person who strives daily not to get consumed in my work, I can now look back on that painful period and know I probably needed it. I needed to be reminded that one activity does not define me and my capabilities. That season forced me to explore, research, discuss, and pray about how I fit into the solutions needed for problems in America.

2) At the beginning of this year, I grieved the lost of a relationship. In May, I was dating the guy of my dreams. Now, you may be thinking, "Girl, what was your problem?" Well, honestly, I had this fear that I would mess it up! I am sure I am not the only one who felt that way before. The guy, who is now my fiancé, was and IS truly amazing. But, I was not sure I wanted to love again. 

Getting to know Jon, and trusting the peace on the inside of me to give him a chance reminded me that God's plans are ABOVE mine. Who could have convinced me that this guy I had met six years earlier would supersede "my list," treat me like a Queen, love me the same when I spoke the Word and I got snotty-- you could not have convinced me, but God proved it. 

I learned that just because you perceive you lost at something one time or two times before does not mean that is how the story will always end.

3) My move to Tallahassee in late 2013 placed me in some tough spots. I was new town, new to working in the state Capitol, and new to moving away from home for the first time. In other words, there was A LOT of newness. To be frank, I was not as open to change and growth at the rate the move required. BUT this year taught me I could stand, look around, and pout or jump in and be apart of the action. I am not sure that I can truly express how hard this was for me. It was HARD.

However, as I look back over the last few months, I have developed friendships with some amazing people in Tallahassee, I have grown to love the small town (I can literally walk to the Capitol from my downtown apartment), and I learned that even though I may not be achieving all my goals and dreams when I want to, I remain blessed.

Heading in 2016 for me is a blessing! I will write out goals in the day or so, but I am not rushing because I am still praising God for bringing me through 2015. I am praising God for allowing me to beat the odds and statistics that come with my background.

Friends, go forth in your lane, stop comparing yourself and your journey to others, and take time to smell the roses.

Happy New Year!

Xoxoo ~c

 

3 Reasons I FINALLY Started My Book Club

After three years of law school, I am back to my "normal" self of reading, or at least I think I am. I still remember having to read over a 100 pages a night, and sometimes falling asleep while reading. But let's be fair, it was not a 100 pages of fairytale reading, it was a 100 pages of in-depth rules and facts that I would need to know for class the next day. Here are the three reasons I FINALLY started my book club: 

1. EDUCATION

Part of my life's mission is to educate others, whether that is about politics, leadership, relationships, God, etc. I love teaching and helping others gain knowledge. Through my book club, club members will have the opportunity to learn and grow as an individual, and hopefully, be able to educate others around them on leadership principles, politics, government, and history.

2. ACCOUNTABILITY

Some of us have the desire to read and learn more, yet we fall short because of life's demands, boring books, not motivated, no one to discuss it with, etc. That is TOTALLY understandable. I have been there. And, then there are some people who do not have the desire to read but know that they should be. My book club is a safe place of accountability for reading. The truth is "Knowledge is Power." Reading books should be a priority in our lives. I hope club members will be enthused to discuss our books and will be motivated to be more creative with their free time. Whether it is reading during lunch, waking up 20 minutes early, decreasing TV time, or heading to bed a few minutes earlier, they will make the time to read. Our online community forums and monthly virtual dates will be a perfect combination for reading accountability.

3. ENGAGEMENT

Ever read something and wonder how others perceived the information? Or maybe you asked someone else and they thought the same thing you did? Our knowledge and experiences limit our understanding and frame our perceptions. While reading the same books, club members will be able to engage with other club members to hear different perspectives. When we read leadership books, club members will be able to engaged with other club members who are at different levels of leadership (I believe every person is a leader). When we read political books, club members we will be able to engage with people in different political parties and/or with people who share different political philosophies. And, lastly, when we read history books, club members will be able to engage with club members who are learning about the event for the first time, and others who were present during the historic event and can offer their perspective.

I am truly EXCITED about the book club!

For each person that joins the Book Club, whether for a month or two, or for its lifetime, I hope you are empowered, inspired, and educated to pursue your dreams with knowledge and understanding of the world's diversity.

~cph

If you have not already, please JOIN!  Our first virtual date will be September 15th. Our first book will be released on Friday, August 28, 2015. Sign-up to receive all the details.

The Preparation: Will You Survive?

*Originally posted June 17, 2014

Whew. It has been a tough season. A season of being broken before the Lord. Did I say it has been tough??

The beauty of this season has been learning more about the faithful, wonderful, loving, kind, amazing, awesome, healing, providing God I serve. There have many moments where I felt like, "God, where are you?".... Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt like God has deserted you and left you for the wolves?

It is a scary feeling. You ask yourself a ton of questions all wondering whether you did something wrong or if you are crazy to believe in God. Listen, some may say you are crazy because you have faith to believe in God. And, maybe you are! Yet, you are crazy enough to know that there is NOTHING this present life can offer you to fulfill the void you have in your life. We all have tried to make people or things our god and be god in our own lives. I miserably failed. And, I understand now it is because the void/longing we all have in our heart can only be filled by God, our Creator, our Father. 

Law school caused me to question everything I believed. And, I am SOO thankful. Like in school, as a student you find out how much you know and have retained by your test scores. What are your faith test scores saying about you? Do you only trust God when things are going your way?? 

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen. What are you believing God for? 

Philippians 1:6 is a constant motivator for someone like me, that strives for perfection. Yes, I know, no one is perfect. I am not perfect. You are not perfect. My friends are not perfect. My family is not perfect. I know. I, also know that as God has shown me more about life in this season, the struggles are all preparation. 

A while back, you could not have convinced me that I was in God's will. Why? I, also, had this notion that I missed God because I was suffering. 
WRONG! We miss God when we disobey Him. You may be in a tough season right now, but that does not mean you are outside the will of God. I know, I know- someone somewhere in some pulpit told you that you're only in the will of God if everything is going right. Next time you hear that, ask them for the scripture. 

Yes, God has promised us amazing blessings. He also made it clear that we would endure suffering. Let's think for a minute. Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He suffered. Was it outside the will of God? I THINK NOT!!!! He was right dab smack in it. He was beaten. He was lied on. He was lied to. He was betrayed. All while in the perfect will of God. 

In the wilderness of your Christian walk, you are being prepared. The bigger question is: Will you survive? Not just survive physically, but spiritually. Will you trust God when the tears are flowing down your eyes profusely? Will you trust Him when chaos seems to overtake every area of your life? Will you trust Him to be God in every area, every situation, every inch of your heart.

I know there is a part of you that does not want to suffer. I get that. I do. Yet, I also have learned avoiding pain and suffering only places me in a place of disobedience to God. Not only do I miss God but I also have to go through the process later. 

My friend, He is with and for you. Though you cannot comprehend or explain it all, you have to have faith in the King of Kings. He loves you. He allowed His Son to suffer an excruciating and painful death to save your soul. Will you survive in faith? Will you allow Him to prepare you?

I am praying your strength. I know how it feels to be prepared for the great work of the Lord. 


praying for you always,
cph 


If you have specific prayer requests, visit: AlwaysPraying.com



 

5 Steps to Organize Your Weekly Tasks

People ask me all the time, "How do you do it all?" Many times I am unsure of what they mean. Are they referring to my prayer ministry or political activities or online boutique or nonprofit or legal work? Whew, that was a lot just to type. I wish I could provide a magic formula, but I do not have one. Being organized has been my backbone in juggling numerous projects over the past 12 years.

Here are 5 Steps to Organize Your Weekly Tasks

1) TAKE A DEEP BREATH

Yes, you must take a deep breath! Your list may seem overwhelming and filled with tasks that you have been putting off because just do not want to do them or do not feel equipped to do them. I have those feelings- every week I have tasks that are boring or seem extremely difficult, but they must be done. 

I remind yourself that I can complete the tasks that before me this week. I recommend you find an inspirational quote or scripture that motivates you and repeat it throughout the week. When I first decided that I was going to be organized on purpose, I was a teenager. One of the first things I had to do was overcome the fear that I would fail at being organized. Of course, there have been weeks where I was extremely unorganized. But there have been more weeks that I have been organized and fruitful in my efforts. The truth is that you cannot do it all in one week, but with planning and discipline you can complete every task before you over time.

Now, that you are confident in yourself...

2) WRITE DOWN ALL THE TASKS THAT COME TO MIND

Take a blank piece of paper or back of envelope and write down EVERY task that comes to your mind. It can be to take out the trash or send an email to your mom or go back to school or pick up the toys behind your dog or start your restaurant, whatever comes to mind, write it down. There is no task too small or too big for you to write down.

3) DECIDE WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT FOR THE WEEK AHEAD

What is most important for the week ahead? Everything on your list cannot be accomplished this week. I mean, I am sure you just wrote half a book of things to do over the course of your entire lifetime. This is your first moment of truth.  Decide what tasks needs to happen this week and put a star or asterisk next to those particular tasks. 

Now, for your second moment of truth...

4) DIVIDE YOUR TASKS INTO TWO LISTS 

Based on tasks that you put a star next to in #3, put those tasks into two categories: 1) This Week and 2) This Month. The method you use to stay organize is a personal choice. I am very old-fashioned, and have to use pen and paper. I write down everything, literally.  I have tried doing it all electronically yet it just isn't the same for me. You know yourself, use whatever method is easy and comfortable for you. If you like to keep your lists electronically, try Evernote.

5) DO WHAT YOU CAN

You know your limits. You know your goals. Organizing your weekly tasks does not mean you can do it all that week. There will be challenges and unscheduled mishaps that pop up throughout the week. That is just life! Do what you can!

Being successful is subjective to your current situation and your desired outcome. Don't compare yourself to others. Start where you are, and in a few weeks, months or years, you will look up and see that you have made tremendous progress towards your life goals.

I have learned that when I am organized, I can quickly adapt to the unplanned events. And, sometimes that means just moving a task to the next day or maybe to the next week or the week after. Being organized helps to reduce the stress of the unplanned events controlling your life. 

More importantly, remind yourself that Rome was not built in a day or week, and neither will your dreams and goals. 

Happy Organizing!

Xoxoo ~Chelsi

Time to Come Together

charleston

My heart continues to break for my community, the black community.

Being black is not something that you can turn on or off in a moment of convenience.

In recent news, Rachel Dolezal tried to glamorize the struggle and triumphs of blacks. Yes, I know she has been advocating for blacks as a member of the NAACP, BUT it must be clear that at any moment she can return to being white and no longer identify or endure struggles that many blacks still face in America each and every day.

Though I am outraged by last night's shooting, I also ask that each of us begin to acknowledge and accept that we must forgive Dylann Roof. Because if we solely act with good intentions, the bitter root of bigotry and hatred will take hold. We must continue to work to unite communities of all stripes and act out of a deep passion for racial healing and justice in America.

To be clear, you and I must make a decision to continuously forgive those who commit crimes against us, those who follow us for unjust cause, exercise undue force, and kill us with impunity. 

Walter Scott, the 4 little girls in Alabama (1963), Eric Gardner in New York, the kids in Texas, Tamir Rice in Ohio, the list is too long.

This is not a republican or democratic issue... this is a peoples issue, an American issue, and one that only by coming together can we tackle and surmount. The change that must happen will not happen from a podium in DC, the halls of congress or the desks of presidents. This change will be from a local grassroots movement that starts within our community. We must examine our own actions that disenfranchise other blacks and cease those actions. We command the most respect when we respect ourselves and each other.

And, yes, we see that the media can be distorted in their coverage. Michael Brown was labeled as being "no angel" yet Roof is described "as quiet and soft-spoken, an introvert." Roof was more than troubled. He was filled with hatred and rage. He was determined to committ a hate crime. He is a murderer.

I am a woman of faith, and so I will continue to pray for America. BUT I will also act and speak up. It should be clear that we have all the right to protect ourselves and must exercise our 2nd Amendment rights. The issue we have before us is not a gun problem, it is a people problem. We should want to protect ourselves, families, and communities. 

Families are broken from one man's actions, a sense of hope and peace in our churches is shattered, a state is broken and a nation weeps. 


May these murders bring us closer together and focused on the racial healing and justice that America deeply needs-- from education to criminal justice reform to jobs to simply understanding that we are all Americans and should respect each other.

Let's move forward together, as one country.

Xoxoo ~cph