Book Review: From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

BOOK INFORMATION

Publication Date: January 14, 2020

Genre: Family, Mystery, Realistic Fiction

Age Category: Middle Grade (MG)

Pages: 304

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

SYNOPSIS

Zoe Washington isn’t sure what to write. What does a girl say to the father she’s never met, hadn’t heard from until his letter arrived on her twelfth birthday, and who’s been in prison for a terrible crime?

A crime he says he never committed.

Could Marcus really be innocent? Zoe is determined to uncover the truth. Even if it means hiding his letters and her investigation from the rest of her family. Everyone else thinks Zoe’s worrying about doing a good job at her bakery internship and proving to her parents that she’s worthy of auditioning for Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge.

But with bakery confections on one part of her mind, and Marcus’s conviction weighing heavily on the other, this is one recipe Zoe doesn’t know how to balance.

MY TAKEAWAYS

I’m a huge fan of baking shows on the Food Network, and while I wouldn’t consider baking one of my main hobbies, I do like to get in the kitchen every once in a while. Therefore, I really enjoyed how the protagonist, Zoe, had an interest in baking and entering a kids baking competition as a sub-plot of the novel. But in reality, this realistic fiction story was about much more than baking.

The main conflict was when Zoe found a letter in the mail on her twelfth birthday . . . and it was from her father, Marcus, who she’s never met due to him going to prison when she was a baby. Although she’s skeptical about writing back to her father at first, she begins to build a relationship with Marcus through their back and fourth written conversations. He even gave Zoe a new R&B song for her to listen to in each of his letters, which Zoe dubbed “Little’s Tomato’s Playlist” after Marcus’ nickname for her. Cute, right?

I truly enjoyed Zoe and Marcus’ relationship throughout the entire novel, and it was really refreshing to have a book that contains representation of the many fatherless daughters (and sons) that are around the world, specifically so among members of the Black community.

Other topics like systemic racism, the Black Lives Matter movement, and other examples of racial inequality were addressed in a conversation between Zoe and her grandmother. But I admire Janae Marks’ ability to address these topics which can be hard to swallow in a tasteful yet informative way, making this book a great option for kids of all races to learn about the ins and outs of racism and its effect on people of color.

Throughout the story, Zoe had to keep her letters a secret from most of her family–except for her grandmother, whom she has a very close relationship with, and her best friend Trevor–in order to continue to get to know her father. I was rooting for Zoe throughout the entire novel to prove her father innocent of his crime. And while her actions of sneaking out to do so ended up coming back to bite her towards the end, when both her and her blended family’s secrets are revealed, the revolution of this inspiring tale was like the icing on the cake.

Overall, if you’re looking for a book that will tear your heart into pieces and glue it back together again, From the Desk of Zoe Washington is the perfect middle-grade novel for you. From the likeable characters, to the well-delivered hard topics, to the African-American author and protagonist, this heartwarming novel is an appetizing choice that most kids in their pre-teens and teens will happily relate to, while learning important lessons along the way!

Rating: ★★★★✯ (4.5/5 stars)

Recommended Age: for readers 11/12+


Although this novel happened to be a book that I stumbled upon during a trip to a book store, I’m so thankful to God that I gave it a chance! If anyone else has added this to their TBR list, or is contemplating doing so, I highly recommend that you give this novel a try, as well. But if you have already read this literature masterpiece, please tell me some of your thoughts on it–or some other book recommendations–down below!

Have a beautiful and blessed day everyone! God bless you all and I’ll catch you later! Bye, for now! ♡

Graphic Novel Review: Guts by Raina Telgemeier

BOOK INFORMATION

Publication Date: September 17, 2019

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Category: Middle Grade (MG)

Pages: 224

Publisher: Graphix

SYNOPSIS

A true story from Raina Telgemeier, the #1 New York Times bestselling, multiple Eisner Award-winning author of SmileSistersDrama, and Ghosts!

Raina wakes up one night with a terrible upset stomach. Her mom has one, too, so it’s probably just a bug. Raina eventually returns to school, where she’s dealing with the usual highs and lows: friends, not-friends, and classmates who think the school year is just one long gross-out session. It soon becomes clear that Raina’s tummy trouble isn’t going away… and it coincides with her worries about food, school, and changing friendships. What’s going on? Raina Telgemeier once again brings us a thoughtful, charming, and funny true story about growing up and gathering the courage to face — and conquer — her fears.

MY TAKEAWAYS

I remember the moment I got the first two editions of this triology, Smile and Sisters, when I was nine years old. To make a long story short, I fell in love immediately, and I still re-read them every now and then to this day. On a recent trip to Barnes & Nobles, I finally got my hands on Guts, a highly-anticipated graphic novel for all of Telgemeier’s loyal fans–and let me tell you, it was all worth the wait! Guts is an absolute masterpiece!

At the beginning of this gem for tweens and teens, Raina (who is the author when she was in 4th grade), catches the stomach flu that had been spreading in her family. And when her stomach problems continue, she develops the fear of getting sick and throwing up (emetophobia) to the point where she is worried about catching something from her family and classmates. Eventually, her family signs her up to see a children’a therapist, and she progresses throughout the story learning how to face her fear while making new friends along the way.

Raina is such a quirky, fun, and relatable protagonist, so its not hard to take a liking to her character within the first few pages of the story. She seems like someone that I would’ve liked to be around back in elementary school. And believe me, having the protagonist be someone who I actually like as a person is critical to me when I read a novel for the first time.

While I thank God that I’m not a victim of anxiety, there are so many young people who struggle with their mental health, even if they fear something small like the dark or going to the doctor. Stories like Guts are not only relatable to a large range of audiences, but they also teach us that while fear is a normal feeling, we shouldn’t let the things that scare us take over our lives. And like any trial, fears can be conquered.

Like always, the vibrant illustrations on each page of this masterpiece illuminated the story, making it that much more entertaining for readers of all ages. Even though the topic of mental health among youth was discussed throughout the course of this story, the funny, light-hearted moments within the book didn’t fail to put a smile on my face.

Overall, Guts is a must-read for bookworms–and even non-bookworms–of all ages! I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it!

Rating: ★★★★✯ (4.5/5 stars, 5 being the best of the best)

Recommended Age: for readers 9+


I’ve got to admit that I am very pleased with Guts. It was one of the three books that I got for my birthday, earlier this week, and I’ve got to admit that I made some pretty good choices. Be on the look out for the book reviews for the other two novels of my choice; they’re coming soon!

If you haven’t read this book already, I hope my opinion will encourage you to give it a try! However, if you already have this book in your collection, tell me your thoughts on it in the comments!

Have a wonderful rest of your day/night, everybody! God bless you all and I’ll catch you later! Peace in! ♡

Imagine A World Without Music – Words of Wisdom #22

Psalm 150: 1-6 -- New International Version (NIV)

1 Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
    praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
    praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.

6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Could you imagine a world without music? That means no instruments. No melodies to listen to when you get home from school or work. None of your favorite singers or musicians. No singing in the shower.

For most people, music is a part of everyday life. In fact, many people use music as a way to get through the hardest of moments in their lifetime. And considering that many of us consider the blessing of music a part of life, it’s really difficult to imagine what life would be like without it.

In today’s episode of Words of Wisdom, I will be touching on the subject of music, the reason why God gifted us with music, and what life would be like without music for followers of Christ. Let’s get started!

Why Did God Give Us Music?

I can’t necessarily give a direct reason as to why God blessed us with music–although I’m eternally grateful either way–but I can share a little bit of how I feel when I listen to music, and how it influences me on a regular basis.

When I listen to music, I feel an indescribable happiness and sense of peace; as if in that moment, all the bad things in the world have faded away. I often use music to relax after a long day or worship the Lord, and I believe that gospel music is an outlet for us to build a closer relationship with God. Songs such as “Because of Who You Are” let us discover more about who God is and what He says in His Word; this means that we can learn a lot about the Bible by listening to godly music. Awesome right? (But remember, reading God’s Word is still important.)

Further more, have you ever been in a tough spot in your life, and then all of a sudden a song came on that tells you exactly what you need to hear? Almost as if God himself is speaking to you through a melody, telling you that it’s all going to be alright? It’s always been amazing to me how a simple melody can carry 1,000 words. And I think how music can be one of God’s ways of communicating with us makes it that much more powerful.

What Would Life Be Like (for Believers) Without Music?

As followers of Christ, music is a huge part of our faith. I mean, one of the best parts of church every Sunday is the music during praise and worship. But, how would our lives change if music never existed? This is a solid question to ask because of how much music is involved in the celebration of our salvation in Christ.

But the truth is, whether or not music is involved in our worship, we can still praise the Lord. Just think about it: music is only one way that we can worship as followers of Christ. Praying, reading the Bible, loving our neighbors as ourselves, giving, fellowshipping, and being obedient to God are all ways that we can worship the Lord. Music is like the icing on the cake when it comes to giving God the glory . . . but it’s far from the only way to do so.

In fact, I think that’s one of my favorite things about being God’s daughter; there are so many ways to express the love that I have for my Heavenly Father.


As Christians, the first thing that may come to mind when we hear the word “worship” is singing our favorite gospel hymns on Sunday morning. And it is true that music is a great way that we can deepen our faith; after all, God himself loves music and named the instruments for us to praise Him with. But worship comes in more forms than one. And that is something that could never change: even in a world without music.

Have a beautiful and blessed day, everyone! God bless you all, and I will catch you next time! ♡

6 Things I Love to Do on the Weekends [REPOST]

A/N~Hey y’all! It’s Q’Zion! My goodness, was this Friday busy for me. But thank God that I have a three-day weekend since the 5th of September is Labor Day! Anyway, because tonight is the start of the weekend for me, I though I’d repost this list of things that I like to do to make the most of the end of each week. I hope you all enjoy it! ♡

Let’s face it–we all sigh with relief when we go home and/or get finished with work on a Friday. We have a whole 2 days ahead of us to relax and enjoy our weekend. Personally, I’m a HUGE FAN of my weekends, and I do as much work as I can throughout the week to make the most of every Saturday and Sunday. And since the weekend is coming up, I thought it’d be a cool idea to share some of the ways that I like to spend my short vacations. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get into it! 

⒈ Go to a Library ♡

Okay, so this one may be a little obvious since most of my followers know how much I love to read. However, reading is one of my favorite activities to do on a weekend. I have a whole 48 hours to start a new book or maybe even finish one that I’ve been procrastinating, for some time. Don’t you just love that feeling when you sat down and finished a book that you haven’t picked up in a while? I sure do!

 Binge My Favorite TV Show 

Throughout the week, it’s easy to forget about some of my favorite TV shows, or simply replace watching them with schoolwork, family time, and the occasional naps. When the weekend comes along, I usually spend a couple hours catching up on the new seasons of the shows that I love. And if a new movie just came out on Disney+, it’s not a surprise if we have a family movie night, too.

⒊ Go to Church ♡

One of the perfect ways to start my week and be refreshed before school starts on Monday is fellowshipping and learning the Word in the House of God. Praise and worship, seeing my family and friends, and socializing with other believers is always a blessing and one of the best parts of my week. It makes me feel happier and closer to God when I listen to His Word.

 Fun in the Sun at the Beach or Pool 

Due to COVID-19, it seriously has been a while since I’ve went to the beach or the pool. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that I love changing into my bathing suit and having some fun in the sun. Since spring is here, and summer is not too far from now, it’s the perfect time of year to hit the beach and go for a swim.

 Bake a New Recipe ♡

Although I don’t get in the kitchen often (at least not to cook or bake) Friday nights and weekends are the perfect opportunity to learn a new recipe and spend time with Goodmommy. For me, cooking can be so relaxing and satisfying. The fact that you can whip up some ingredients, place it in the oven, and take it out to see a masterpiece is always super rewarding. Especially when you get to eat your creation, when your all done.

 Have a Picnic ♡

Is it just me, or does this remind you of that one scene from Tom and Jerry? LOL 🍓🍉🌭🥤

Honestly, I’ve only been to a picnic once in my life, as far as I can recall. But I must say that I love to eat in nice weather, especially in a screened-in patio or on a balcony. You get to admire the sunshine while eating your lunch. Picnicking seems to be pretty similar and great for spring time. Especially on a weekend!


Weekends are a time for us to take a break from work and school and focus on family and the hobbies that we love the most. Therefore, we might as well make the most of every second. Hopefully, this list gave you some inspiration for how you can spend your short vacation.

What are some of your favorite ways to spend the weekends? Feel free to comment down below.

Have a beautiful weekend, everybody! God bless you all, and I will catch you next time! Peace in! ♡

Paperback vs. Hardcover Books: Where Do I Stand? ♡

What’s up, my fabulous followers! This is Princess Q (a.k.a. Q’Zion) and welcome to my blog! ♡

Now, to all of my fellow book fanatics, there’s really no such thing as a bad way to read a good book. From audiobooks, to hardcovers, there are so many different ways to read! And while all bookworms love a good story, we each have our own preferences for how we like to read. One of the largest debates among the bookworm community is the simple question: Are paperback or hardcover books better?

Although it may seem silly to most people, a majority of bookworms have a preference between the two. Honestly, I have both paperback and hardcover books in my collection, and as long as I have a book that I can hold, I’m a happy camper! But I thought it’d be cool if I had a little discussion about what I like about each, and whether or not I have a true preference between the two. Let’s go!

Paperbacks

I think we can all agree that paperbacks are probably the most convenient when compared to hardcovers. They’re cheaper, lighter, easier to transport while traveling, and they take up less space, which is super helpful for those of us who have hundreds of books in our collection.

I have to admit that if I put a book in my purse to take with me while I go out, it’s most likely going to be a paperback. They just have this classic “homey” feeling when holding them in my hands; and since I love to read while getting comfy in my bead or on the couch, that is a huge bonus!

Hardcovers

Whenever I get a hardcover book, the one thing that I can think is “fancy.” If you’re someone who highly values the aesthetic of your bookshelf, these are probably the way to go. Hardcover books last longer, are harder to stain due to dust jackets–or those little thick wrappers that wrap around the cover–and make for a much more luxurious reading experience.

It would be a lie for me to say that I don’t love all of my hardcover books. Not only is the cover art absolutely gorgeous, but they are also so nice to look at on a shelf. Although, when I’m reading them they are a lot heavier to hold, which isn’t the best as someone who likes to be comfortable while reading. And even though I adore dust jackets for their function and how they look, I almost always end up setting them to the side while I read. Despite these few drawbacks, I can’t deny that the fact that hardcover books are so gorgeous makes up for them.


Okay, so I know that you guys are still waiting for me to answer the question. Which type of book do I like the most: paperbacks or hardcovers? But to be honest with you, I’d have to say neither. At the end of the day, they both have their pros and cons. As long as it’s a good book–and preferably one that I can physically hold–I couldn’t be happier.

Well, I’ve already told you all where I stand in the paperback vs. hardcover debate. But what about you? Do you prefer paperbacks, hardcover, eBooks, or audiobooks? In fact, do you have a preference at all? I would love to hear from all my fellow bookworms in the comments!

Have an awesome rest of your week, everybody! God bless you all, and I will catch you later! Peace in! ♡

Run With Me // a summer day at the park

Hey, y’all! It’s Q’Zion, here and welcome back to The Joys and Trials of a Christian Teen! I hope you all are enjoying the beginning of the brand new school year; I know I definitely am!

Speaking of school, one of my electives that I’m taking right now is Health Opportunities Through Physical Education, also known as HOPE: in short, it’s like P.E., except it goes a bit more in depth with how we can set goals to benefit our physical, mental, social, and academic health.

This week, we have to submit this fitness assessment, where we do a variety of exercises to test our physical endurance, strength, and stamina. One of the largest parts of the assessment was the 1 mile walk/run. Me and Goodmommy decided to get the job done by visiting a local park for the first time.

I’ve got to admit that before I began taking the HOPE course, it had been a long time since I’ve actually went outside and had a good run; probably too long, in fact. But what I love about the course is it allows you to look at your overall health as is, and use the information that you gather from workouts like this to set goals for future improvement.

Our Apple Watches were a huge help in keeping track of our distance and heart rate, while we ran—and took walking breaks, in between. Seriously though; a fitness watch is truly a necessity for anyone who wants to keep track of their physical activity.

Everyone needs to get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. And while it might take a little extra effort—there’s nothing like taking a walk in the summer breeze.

Walking in nature is such a different feeling then working out in your home. Not only is there much more space to move around, but it’s pretty hard to resist not taking a photo here and there. But can you really blame me? I’ve got to give it to Goodmommy, she found a beautiful park!

And I think one of the things that I love most about this particular location is that it has a lot of statues and other structures that can help you learn about the history of our country, such as past wars and victories. The historical aspect of the park almost makes it feel like an outdoor art museum.

This eagle statue on a podium was probably my favorite of them all. It looks so realistic; I can’t imagine how long it took to make. Plus, can we just talk about how perfect the landscaping is? Now that’s what I call ✨gorgeous ✨!

Overall, me and Goodmommy had such an awesome time together. From now on, we plan on going outside to get some fresh air a lot more often. Next time I’ll be sure to take pictures of us in action. I can already see both me and Goodmommy reaching our fitness goals pretty soon! And I can’t wait to continue to document our journey!

What’s your favorite way to exercise? Also, do you prefer to work out inside or outside? I would love to hear from you all down below in the comments!

Hav a great rest of your day or night, y’all! God bless you all, and I’ll see you next time! Laters! ✨

It’s National Photography Day | Here’s what I did to celebrate ♡

A/N~Every photograph that is present in (and on top of) this blog post, was taken by me, and therefore each of these photos are my property. Please do not redistribute or use any of my photographs for any reason. Thank you, and enjoy the post! ~ Q’Zion ✨

Guess what, y’all: today is Friday. Hallelujah! I hope you all have had an amazing week! You know, there’s something that I realized earlier today: it’s been a while since I’ve practiced my photography. And by that I mean have an entire photoshoot, like I usually do on the rare occasions that I go out of the house. But then I found out that today is both World Photo Day and National Photography Day!

And since most of you know that I have fell in love with photography ever since studying it in my Visual Art class, last year, I decided to take a few photos outside to celebrate. What can I say? It was absolutely gorgeous outside, this afternoon. Anyway, here are a few of my favorite shots that I took today. Enjoy!

What’s funny is that I took a majority of these photos whilst Goodmommy—my grandmother and guardian—was driving. So although the diagonal line in this photo wasn’t intentional, I have to admit that I don’t really mind it.

Landscapes in nature are some of my favorite things to photograph. I think that when it comes to the outdoors, there’s so much variety when it comes to lines, shape, and color. There’s literally an opportunity to take a great photo at every corner. It just takes a little patience and the speed to snap your shot at the perfect moment. I thank God that in half a year, I’m already seeing some improvement.

I’ve got to admit that I’m absolutely in love with this one! The clouds and sky have been so pretty lately. Plus, the color from the flowers are just right to add a little brightness to the photo! God definitely had everything arranged perfectly for me, today! Thank you, Jesus!

Me and Goodmommy like to change the wreath on our front door every season or upcoming holiday. I’ve got to admit that this one is one of my favorites. Although, purple, pink and blue are my favorite colors—especially when they’re all together—so I may be a little biased.

Although the shot of these bushes are probably the most simple out of all of these photos, I really like it for some reason; the way that the leaves are two colors gives a really cool effect! I guess that just goes to show that sometimes, the most simple things in life can be the most beautiful of them all.


Alrighty, so those were some of my favorite photos that I took in celebration of National Photography Day and World Photo Day of 2022, and I have to admit that I’m super happy with the results! Hopefully, you guys liked them, too!

Which one of my photographs in this post did you like the most? What’s your favorite thing to take pictures of? Also, what did you do to celebrate National Photography Day—if you knew about it before now? I would love to read your responses in the comments!

Have an amazing weekend, everyone! God bless you all and I will catch you later! Peace in!

15 Ways to Say Goodbye to Boredom

Can y’all believe it? For many of us, half of summer break is already over. ♡

Now that the 2022-2023 school year is getting closer than ever before, it’s important that we take advantage of every moment that we have left of our vacation. And since July is National Anti-Boredom Month, why not celebrate by doing things to keep us engaged?

If it feels like time is dragging on forever, here are 15 fun ways to say goodbye to boredom! With this jam-packed list of fun things to do, it will be a long while before you’ll ever feel bored, again. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

1. Learn a new language

I mean, who doesn’t want to be able to communicate with more people. From YouTube videos to mobile apps to online courses, there are more than enough ways to learn a language from a culture that you admire. Who knows; your new language skills may even inspire you to travel the world!

2. Try to draw or write with your non-dominant hand.

About only 1% of the population is ambidextrous, meaning they are both left and right handed. A great way to stimulate your brain is by drawing with your non-dominant hand. At first, your handwriting might look a little rough, but over time, you could learn how to write decently with both of your hands.

3. Write down what you would do if you won 1 million dollars.

Most people would absolutely love to be a millionaire–if only winning the lottery was more common. Even if you didn’t just hit the motherload, write a plan for what you would do if you just won 1 million dollars. The boredom is sure to melt away when you use your imagination.

4. Organize the apps on your phone.

I don’t know about you, but for perfectionists like myself, there aren’t many things that give you more satisfaction than organizing things. The pages of apps in your cell phone is a really good option.

5. Paint your nails.

So maybe you’re bored, but you also don’t feel like going to the nail salon. In that case, why not paint your own nails? You could even have a mani-pedi party and paint the nails of your friends while they paint yours. And why not have a sleepover, while you’re at it?

6. Purchase a book on your TBR (to be read) list.

To all my fellow bookworms out there; do you have any books on your TBR list that were just released? If you do, why not purchase them and spend some time reading? And considering that the weather is so pleasant in many parts of the world, consider changing the scenery and reading in a spot outside.

7. Play an instrument.

Learning how to play a new instrument is a great new skill that many people want to acquire. With summer break placing a buttload of free time on our hands, now is the best time to learn how to play the piano, guitar, saxophone or whatever other instrument you’ve taken an interest in.

8. Paint a self portrait.

Have you ever tried to replicate yourself in art form? If not, all you need is one or two reference photos, some paints, and appropriate paper, and you’ve got everything you need to make a self-portrait masterpiece!

9. Look at your baby photographs.

A road down memory lane is the perfect way to bring some old memories back to life–and it’s even more fun when you do so with your family.

10. Build a pillow fort.

You and you’re siblings–if you have any–could have you’re very own slumber party by making you’re own pillow fort. With some popcorn, cushions for pillow fights, and fun board games, a pillow fort could serve as hours of entertainment.

11. Make a summer daily routine.

Considering that we don’t have to wake up for school during summer break, it becomes a lot easier to sleep in. To revaluate the structure in your daily life, consider creating a routine from morning to midnight to serve as your guide throughout the rest of the summer.

12. Go star gazing

A silent night underneath the night sky is sure to put a little pep in your step. Not only will it likely destroy your boredom and provide a beautiful sight, but it can also help you learn more about the constellations and types of stars, which kind of makes this a double activity.

13. Clean your room

When you have nothing else to do, why not get a load off your shoulders and give your bedroom a deep cleaning. Not only will it get your gears moving, but your parents should be pretty happy, too.

14. Make a fruit smoothie.

Sometimes, the best way to conquer boredom is by refreshing our pallet. A strawberry, banana, mango, or pineapple smoothie is the perfect mix of sweet and savory to indulge in this summer.

15. Learn calligraphy.

Have you every wanted to learn how to write fancier than ever before? When it’s time to send out this year’s Christmas cards, you’ll be thankful that you learned calligraphy. You’ll never have to purchase a pre-written greeting card, again.


Although boredom can hit us all at one point or another, it’s so easy to think of things to do when you look at your surroundings. In other words, possibilities to be productive are everywhere. All we have to do is use a little creativity. And I hope this list will help you do just that.

LET’S CHAT~Which tip on this list do you like the most? Are there any other things you like to do when you’re bored?

Have a beautiful and blessed day, everybody! God bless you all, and I will you next time! ♡

It’s the 4th of July

In America and a number of other countries–Australia and Ireland, just to name a couple–people are celebrating the 4th of July, also known as Independence Day. According to American history, the National holiday is celebrated as a tribute to the place we call home and the journey that our ancestors made to make our countries independent nations.

Many Americans are spending the Fourth by marching in parades, watching fireworks at the fair, having family cookouts, and hosting trivia games. However, me and my family just stayed home, cooked a hearty meal–mac and cheese, peas, chicken, and salmon–and had a peaceful day inside. That is, with the booming sound of fireworks in the background, close enough for us to peek at them through our window.

Me and my family aren’t big party-goers when it comes to days like New Year’s and Independence Day for multiple reasons. First, we are natural homebodies and prefer to stay home except for errands, occasional family outings and other special occasions. Secondly, with all the local shootings that have been happening in the United States lately–one of which just occurred in Chicago at a parade earlier today–we tend to rest in solidarity as a family, instead.

Celebrating our country is always a blessing from God, but we always have to remember to do so in a way that is safe, both for us and our families.

Our country still has a long way to go in the direction of fairness, equality, and humanity, but as time keeps ticking, we pray that we will continue to make progress little by little. I am grateful for this beautiful day that the Lord has made, and I hope that it is a step forward to making this world a better place than it was yesterday.

LET’S CHAT~Do you celebrate the Fourth of July? If so, what do you do to spend July Fourth?

Have a beautiful and blessed day, everybody! See you next time! ♡

7 Helpful Hacks for Holding Yourself Accountable

Have you ever set a goal for yourself, and then bailed on it at the last minute? The hard truth is, most people have done just that at least once in their life. And while sometimes things come up in our lives that are out of our control, other times there is simply a lack in accountability.

Today I have made a go-to guide specifically for anyone who is looking to hold themselves more accountable. Even if we do consider ourselves responsible people, there is always room to grow in terms of following through with those tasks on our to-do lists that we’ve set aside for the future.

What are we waiting for? Let’s get started! ♡

1. Keep an “I can do it” mindset.

Before we get into the real work to reach our goal, we need to make sure that we have the correct mindset. Procrastination can come from a lack of willpower or a fear of the unknown. In order to face the fear of failure, try to maintain the mental belief that you can and will achieve your goal. When we are mentally in check, we are setting ourselves up for success on our journey.

2. Tell someone who you trust about your goals.

Okay, so maybe you want to loose 10 pounds in a month. But if nobody knows about it, it’s perfectly fine if you don’t hit it? Right? While whether or not others are aware of our goal should not hinder our drive to succeed, it’s a lot harder to bail on an aspiration when someone who we trust knows exactly what we want to do and our deadline to do so. Not only is a good support system motivation, but they also are a source for people who are willing to hold you accountable for your actions.

3. Write down your goals.

Through the process of reaching our goals, it can be easy to forget exactly what we wanted to accomplish, in the first place. As your affirmation to yourself of what you will achieve, write each of your goals down and store the note in a place where you spend the majority of your time.

4. Review your progress

While some goals may be reachable within a day or even a week, others can be more long-term. In these scenarios, it is a good idea to review what you have been doing to reach your goal once a week. A technique such as this can help prevent you from becoming discouraged as you notice yourself inching towards your goal between each review.

5. Constantly remind yourself your “why”

Just as we should keep in mind what our goals are, we also want to remember why we want to achieve them. Every productive goal should be set for a reason; a desire to grow, change, or do something new. Whatever the purpose is behind your goal needs to stay consistent as you work to accomplish it in order to serve as your drive towards success. During the planning process, make sure that your “why” is a point that you address to avoid any confusion later on.

6. Remember; progress is a process

The truth is, there are some goals that simply cannot be reached overnight. Sometimes there are little things in life that force us to take a break. And others times, the goals that we set require months or even years of work to achieve. As long as we never stop working towards where we want to go in life, we are still making progress; and that’s what matters most.

7. Celebrate every victory–the large and small.

One of the largest mistakes that many people make is that they are too hard on themselves. While we should be accountable towards reaching our goals, we mustn’t forget to give ourselves a pat on the back as we take small steps to victory. After all, a journey isn’t complete without its destinations.


Accountability is a superpower that we can all obtain; all we need is use appropriate planning, determination, faith, and confidence, and we can do whatever we set our minds to. So never forget to keep that winning positive mindset. Because the truth is, sometimes the only one who stops us from reaching our goals is our “me, myself, and I.”

LET’S CHAT~What are some of the methods you use to hold yourself accountable?

Have a fantabulous rest of your day or night! See you later! ♡