Loving Deep Through the Unknown

In the last couple of days I have found myself thinking a bit longer at night and waking up in the morning truly wondering what the day will bring. I am used to a bit more routine – not necessarily in my physical schedule, but mentally, internally. I find that one moment I am, “okay – we got this” and another moment, I am wondering, “what is happening? and how is what I am doing right now significant?”

Sometimes when there is so much unknown that is thrown at us in every direction, it seems as if everything else seems a bit obsolete and of no importance in the moment, but that headspace is not good to stay in. It is toxic and sadly, I think many of us are struggling with falling in and out of this space. We are having extreme highs and lows as we are all trying to navigate what is happening in the world. As we figure out new routines of being at home, distancing and just creating a new normal of balance – we still have a bit of uncertainty and this sense of loss in our souls.

We have lost independence, we have lost freedoms, we have lost the ease and convenience of minimal tasks, and we have lost a bit of our sanity and consistent structure. The truth is, that is probably the reality of most of you reading this, but I want to shed light on what is for the rest of the world.

The idea of distancing is nearly impossible when you have a family of ten and live in a slum where a curtain separates you from the next family. The idea of staying behind closed doors in the safety of your home is not ideal when if there is no work for that day then there is absolutely no food coming home to your family. Many communities around the world are actually not afraid of catching the virus itself, they are afraid of going hungry.

So, as I sat on my back steps last night, I overlooked the Indian ocean and for the first time in a long time watched the sun set over the horizon. I closed my eyes, took deep breaths and did what all I had strength to do – I prayed.

What do we do for our community in a situation like this? How do we come alongside the people we love so much? How do we love big, wide and deep in a situation that is beyond our knowledge, control or understanding?

I do not have those answers, but what I do know is that I will continue to show up, press in and speak up for those who are afraid to.

I will continue to advocate for what is needed and continue to love as deep as I can even when it is scary.

To all of you who feel insignificant or lost today, know you are not alone and truly, take it day by day.

We are in this together and together we are only stronger, so let us pick up our heads and walk forward being as fully present as we can.

Taking it day by day,

Also, if you made it this far.. I want to acknowledge the elephant in the room and be real with you. These are times unlike any we’ve ever seen before — which also gives us the opportunity to come alongside each other in powerful new ways, embracing one another from a far.

As the founder of Imani Collective, I know that I need you. Our collective needs you. And we are only better together.

I would love for you to watch the video below and see how you can be more involved with loving deep.
Know that by giving today, you are helping us walk with our artisans and their families and for that,
we are forever grateful.

Stay safe my friends. This time shall pass and when we get to the other side of this, I can’t wait to look back and stand in awe of the beautiful picture we created of coming together as a global community. We are in this together.

For more information on where to give to our COVID-19 Relief Fund, visit:
https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/covid-19-relief-for-106-artisans-in-kenya/

Surviving third-trimester pregnancy while chasing two kiddos around

This may be a shocker, but I am blogging about something other than the reality that surrounds us. In the midst of everything, life still goes on and for my “normal” reality, I am 33 weeks pregnant, daily getting more tired and still chasing around two kiddos. There is a lot that I am processing in regard to decisions that have to be made for Imani Collective and our staff, but more importantly, I am first a mother.

That brings me to the topic of the day, surviving being pregnant while still being a present mother to a soon to be four-year-old and toddler! That is right, while everyone is giving you survival tips of how to stock up properly, I am here to give you day to day mama survival tips.

1. Give yourself Grace.
This is probably what I have to daily work on the most is giving myself grace through every circumstance. Every day looks different and I know that as I get closer to meeting my third baby, I am more tired than normal. I desire to be able to keep up with my kiddos or sit down on the ground with them for long durations of time and at this point, my body is denying me all that. It is still strong, but it is increasingly tired and sore lately, so I have to remind myself to display grace, always.

2. Rest – nap when they do.
For all my mamas who are used to being workhorses and super productive (me!), this piece advice can be hard, but truly start to listen to your body and rest. There will come a time when baby comes, body heals, and energy is restored. Until then, rest when you can and play hard when your soul allows.

3. Get outside (or in this time – open a window).
Not sure where you are in the world during this time that this might be limited, so if you can’t get outside then open a window and let the breeze hit your face. Get some good vitamins from the sun and remember that sun was created for our enjoyment. See the beauty in the little things – sun, breeze, pitter patter of feet and laughter. Instead of seeing the clutter of toys, see the happiness of a house lived in well. Being pregnant, while still mothering littles can be hard, but do not forget to find the joy in their silliness, and little smiles.

4. Take it Easy.
You are literally growing another baby inside of you, so take it easy. Pregnancy is a lot. (I am preaching to myself right now) If there is laundry that needs attending to and you just do not have the energy, it is okay. If you decide to make grilled cheeses for dinner instead of a gourmet meal, guess what? It is okay, your kids actually might like it better (oops, did I say that?) Overall, do not be afraid to give yourself a break, aka “grace”, and take it easy mama.

5. Do not be afraid to ask for help.
We are in this together and as your body goes through changes, do not be afraid to ask for help. Whether that is watching the kids for a couple of hours to get some extra sleep or maybe it is picking the kids from school. There are people around you, in your community waiting to come alongside and step in. We just have to ask.

You got this mama. We all got this. Just take it one day at a time.

From the tired, swollen feet mama – sending love,