Do Not Despise These Small Beginnings

What you sow today will manifest tomorrow. So be intentional about all you do; your health, family, relationships, career, and business opportunities must respond to the effort and labor you put in today. Create realistic goals and action plans that will encourage your success. Think big, start small.

Small beginnings

Nothing happens by accident
A compassionate, loving adult learned these virtues as a child. A vibrant, radiant soul is a product of a positively-nourished mind and spirit. Healthy hair and skin are manifestations of what we feed our bodies. You see, it’s important to take control of your life by implementing habits and routines that are consistent with the future you want to see for yourself.

What parenting taught me about seeking the future I want
My parenting experience has taught me that life is somewhat predictable. Children respond extremely well to structure and consistency, to the extent that you can predict their behavior. Kids thrive in loving and nurturing environments where they know it’s okay to play, fall, and push the boundaries. They also appreciate discipline, with the caveat that it’s consistent and modeled by unconditional acceptance. So don’t look at structure and consistency as being boring, they are gateways to success and predictable results. And who doesn’t like to see results?

Good habits are safety nets for success
I consider strong habits as “safety nets” for success. Good habits encourage predictable results. They allow you to explore your potential in a structured way. Decide today what you want your future to look like and begin forming habits and routines to materialize your goals. Don’t focus on lofty or grandiose goals. Start small. As you begin to see results, you’ll be inspired to push for bigger goals.

In all your getting, be kind and patient with yourself; do not despise these small beginnings … begin the work.

Because My Daddy Said So…

Ever had to contend with your kid’s reasoning:

Because my daddy (or mommy) said so?

As Princess Z continues to transition from toddler to “big girl” (because she’s no longer a “little girl”), her reasoning powers and surprisingly logical arguments keep me on my toes.

I find myself having to focus more on hearing and listening to what she says because tuning out the loudness doesn’t cut it anymore. When I don’t pay attention, I find myself in precarious situations having to explain a comment or promise I made while not listening—anything I say can and will be used against me!

In comes the “because my daddy said so” reasoning. Princess Z is fast realizing that she can pitch her arguments better when she uses daddy’s word as evidence to back up a need (because to her, everything is a need not a want).

So when she needs to watch TV, play iPad, go for a walk at bedtime, eat ice cream, not sleep…she’ll throw in “because my daddy said,” hoping that this justifies her need. And I can’t always say no; I have to choose my battles carefully, otherwise I’ll be constantly arguing; toddler kids are relentless!

All in all, this drives home the importance of being consistent as parents and keeping a united front. The kid is watching and listening and will use what we say against us!

Is your kid outsmarting you?

Stop, Think, and Act: Teaching Kids About Emotional Intelligence

It’s never too early to teach children how to manage their emotions. A large and growing body of research demonstrates that emotional intelligence is associated with positive outcomes in children beginning as early as preschool.

According to Daniel Goleman, author of the best-selling book Emotional Intelligence:

Emotional intelligence is a different way of being smart. It includes knowing what your feelings are and using your feelings to make good decisions in life. It’s being able to manage distressing moods well and control impulses. It’s being motivated and remaining hopeful and optimistic when you have setbacks in working toward goals. It’s empathy; knowing what the people around you are feeling. And it’s social skill—getting along well with other people, managing emotions in relationships, being able to persuade or lead others.

Increasing Emotional Literacy

A big aspect of emotional intelligence is teaching kids how to appropriately identify and label their emotions. By developing and expanding their emotional literacy (vocabulary), children can adequately focus on discovering and defending their true selves. And we know that confident children are less easily swayed by negative peer pressure influences.

With bullying and hate speech rampant in our society, we must teach our children how to nurture their inner voice. Identity is so crucial to a prosperous and healthy soul; personally, I don’t want society defining who or what my child is or will become.

The Stoplight Technique for Impulse Control

There are numerous techniques for cultivating a culture or environment of healthy emotional responses in children. One such technique called “The Stoplight” teaches kids about impulse control and how to respond when distressed, upset, or facing a problem.

The Stoplight offers children concrete steps for dealing with challenging situations:

Red light—Stop!
Calm down and think before you act

Yellow light—Think!
Say the problem and how you feel
Set a positive goal
Think of lots of solutions
Think ahead to the consequences

Green light—Act!
Go ahead and try the best plan

I’ll be sure to implement this strategy next time my daughter acts up or is in distress.

I Feel Way Up Blessed

My Princess Z gifted me with this gorgeous flower straight from her imagination. To some, it may appear simplistic; to me, it’s symbolic of her compassion and maturity.

She knows I love flowers, so this is her way of telling me she sees and values me. I feel blessed, wayyy up blessed.

Princess Flower

#Blessed #WayUpBlessed

365 Moments (D4): I’ve Never Been So Excited to See Poop!

Baby pooping

Don’t worry, I’ll spare you the actual poopy pile

The transition to solid foods hasn’t been easy for my Prince. He’s been plagued with constipation ever since beginning solids a few weeks ago. We’ve kept his nutrition pretty basic, offering fibre-rich veggies, fruit, and water, yet his digestive system remains somewhat sluggish.

Constipation sucks.

Especially in a frustrated lethargic infant. We’ve tried the usual tricks: leg raises, water, food holiday, but after 2.5 days, nothing.

Under doctor’s advisement, we gave our Prince diluted prune juice and waited for the tract-cleansing powers to kick in.

Hallelujah, after a few hours of stinky false-alarm farts, my baby boy pooped, a big ol healthy poo. You could immediately see the relief on his face followed by voracious hunger.

We accomplished sh!t today and it was a glorious.

This post is part of an ongoing series: Quick Tips for Creating a 365-day Motivation Guide

Does Your YES Mean Yes, and Your NO, No ?

Yes and No. They are two of the first words we learn, and boy are they misunderstood. Wisdom is knowing when to say yes and when to say no, even as a budding toddler.

Therefore, we must strive to be intentional with our word and hence time:

  • Don’t say yes to everything.
  • It takes courage to say no, even to seemingly good opportunities.
  • Closing the door to one opportunity could open gateways to others.

Integrity shines through when you let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no (Matthew 5:37).

Is your word bond?

365 Moments (D3): Keeping A Cool Head In A Hot Situation

Sometimes we’re put into challenging situations to test our mettle. Here’s my story about keeping a cool head in the midst of road rage.



Anyone who’s visited Montreal knows that the roads are a hot mess and constantly under construction; sadly, road ragers tend to proliferate in such environments.

I had just dropped my daughter off at daycare and was heading back home with baby, when trouble erupted. I was confronted by an angry elderly couple. You see the road I was driving on could only accommodate one car at a time. Thinking I was being the bigger person, I pulled my car to the side of the road to allow the driver to pass (and I didn’t have to since I had right of way). I guess I didn’t leave the driver enough space because what ensued was redonkulous! Dude inched near my car, rolled down his window, and began shouting like a rabid animal; ironic how age is not a predictor for good behavior.

As he was spewing his venom, I told myself, “Don’t engage, don’t engage.” I refused to make eye contact and kept my window firmly shut. All I know is that it was too early in the morning to get worked up by a road rager. I was not going to let this man’s disrespectful behavior set the tone for my day.

How many of you can testify that we should be slow to speak and slow to become angry?

A few thoughts on anger:

  • Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools (Ecclesiastes 7:9)
  • People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness (Proverbs 14:29)
  • Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm (Psalm 37:8)

I’m proud of myself for displaying a high level of emotional intelligence: I controlled my emotions, I was not easily provoked, I did not lose my temper, and I didn’t act a fool in front of my baby.

Source: Jed Rogers Design Studio

Source: Jed Rogers Design Studio

This post is part of an ongoing series under Quick Tips for Creating a 365-day Motivation Guide.

Tales From 2AM Feedings: Naps Are Overrated, Anyway

Sleeping Baby-2

There’s this sacred window of opportunity where I’m winning the battle of sleeps with my tired fussy baby.

I’ve fed him, changed him, shushed him, prayed over him; his droopy eyes and limbs seem to be cooperating.

As his body goes limp, I know it’s now or never. Delicately, I lay him to sleep, secretly rejoicing for this gift of solitude.

Success! I know he’s tired. He needs his sleep. I do the math and estimate about a 2-hour nap.

My heart races with joy thinking of all the things I can squeeze into 2 hours: reading, workout, writing, chilling, cooking, shower… excited, I brew some hot tea and open my laptop to maybe write or catch up on some reading.

Ahh, bliss.

“ahh-hek ahh-hek aaaa aaaa …” 

Annnnd the whimpering begins.

Quiet and faint at first, like a distant train. My ears must be playing tricks on me. He can’t be awake, I just put him to sleep 15 minutes ago.

The whimpering gains full steam and before you know it it’s full on wailing—the train has arrived.

“Wouaaa wouaaa wu wu wouaaaaaaaaaa WAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!”

As quickly as my dreams of mommy time formed, they fade away. The peace and quiet dissipate. Time to throw away that tea.

Naps are overrated anyway. I’ll dream again tomorrow.

365 Moments (D2): Writing Numbers is as Easy as 1-2-3


Princess Z learning to write numbers

It’s so lovely to watch Princess Z get excited about learning new things.

Whenever we learn—because learning is as much about her as it is about me—I try to create a fun, safe, and non confrontational environment. My daughter is super hard on herself, so I’m quick to reassure her that it’s okay to make mistakes.

Today we practiced writing numbers. I wasn’t sure how she’d respond to the challenge, but boy was I impressed by her willingness to learn. It took her about 30 minutes to confidently write 1-2-3-4. What a superstar! This was definitely a magic moment for both of us.

I was reminded once again that the minds of children are like “little sponges” that soak up knowledge. I have to be way more intentional about the time we spend together so that she effectively capitalizes on this beautiful season of rapid neuronal development. #ProudMama #MyDaughterIsAwesome

365 Moments (D1): How Does Parental Leave Rank in Your Nation?

Remember when I wrote about creating a 365-day motivation guide of magical moments? Well today’s gratitude or magical moment comes courtesy of the generous parental leave and “cheap” daycare options available in Quebec, Canada.

To date, one of my greatest joys has been the one-year maternity leave I’ve been able to spend with each of my kids, a notion that sounds foreign and breeds envy amongst many.

Granted the pay has not been spectacular, and hardly compares to the potential wages earned with full-time employment; still, the TIME spent is priceless! I get to enjoy motherhood without the stress of struggling for a pay cheque.

  • Aside: Paid maternity leave isn’t “free:” I earned it via hours worked and tax contributions.

With these family friendly policies in place, I have been able to spend the first year of my children’s lives exclusively at home—a privilege that many other nations are not yet afforded, including the U.S.

Take a look at the global maps below (courtesy of WORLD Policy Forum) to get a better indication of where your nation stands with regards to paid parental leave.