Bible Study | Why Do We Give Thanks?

Bible Study, Lifestyle

Psalm 28:7

Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my [impenetrable] shield; My heart trusts [with unwavering confidence] in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I shall thank Him and praise Him.

Flashback to summer 2018, I started working as a preschool teacher with the most vibrant and fiery group of toddlers I’ve ever met. It was my first job after graduating college and I was definitely looking forward to becoming the best teacher ever! Apart from teaching the kids the days of the week or the months and seasons of the year, the head teacher insisted on making it a priority to teach the kids manners. Obviously I could see why that would be an important lesson among others. However, when it came to manners, she would literally stop the entire class for a learning moment to emphasize the importance of a please and thank you.

One evening while supervising a small group of two year olds, one of the other teachers brought in some snacks to share with the kids. They all gathered around the table as she gave each child a cookie and some chips but no one said thank you at first, until she gave the last child his cookie and chips. Finally, someone said thank you and then of course they all chimed in saying “Thank You Miss Lisa” except for one. Since he was known for being defiant and rebellious, initially I didn’t want to force him to say thank you so I asked him, “Aren’t you going to tell Miss Lisa thank you?” He looked at me while nibbling on his cookie and asked “Why?” Keep in mind, this was still during my first month working there and this was a child who didn’t really know me that well either. Apparently he felt comfortable enough to question me, staring right back at me with his big blue eyes.

To be honest with you, that caught me a little off guard so I asked the other kids “Why do we say ‘please’ and ‘thank you?’” They all looked at me puzzled, one kid eventually said “because Miss Gina said so!” I interrupted him by trying to explain that we say ‘thank you’ to show gratitude but then I thought to myself, they’re two, maybe I should make it simpler. I explained to them that Miss Lisa didn’t have to share her snacks and we should be grateful that she thought of us and wanted to share with us. I also asked about how they felt when they randomly got cookies and chips late in the evening, which was quite unusual for their after school routine. One kid said “Happy” another said “Excited” and Henry, staring at me with his big blue eyes said that he felt like singing and dancing!

Have you ever really took into consideration all that God does for us and the role He plays in our lives? Have you ever thought about why we should glorify God, give thanks and sing praises to His name? Of course it’s easy to give thanks when God shows up in our time of need and obviously we’d want to sing and dance like Henry did when God blesses us with our hearts desires. Although, understanding the ultimate reason why we should give thanks to God would definitely strengthen our relationship with Him and give purpose to living a life that glorifies His name. We shouldn’t just give thanks to God because the pastor said so or Mom said so or because that’s what we’ve been conditioned to do. Here in Psalm 28:7, David explains that God gives His people strength, protection and help to persevere and that we can all trust that God will always be there for us. I’m certainly guilty of forgetting why and when we should give thanks to God. In the past, I used to only give thanks to God when I’d see His work materialize in my life. But is that truly honoring Him and thanking Him for who He is? Or am I only being thankful because I know what He can do for me? Isn’t it interesting that this scripture says “The Lord IS my strength and my shield” instead of ‘gives me strength’ and ‘gives me a shield?’ As my relationship with God grows, I pray that I learn to appreciate Him more and more and thank Him fervently everyday just because of who He is. That, to me, is the real reason why we should give thanks.

Bible Study | The Little Voice in My Head

Bible Study, Lifestyle

Jeremiah 17:10

Jeremiah 17:10 I, the Lord, search and examine the mind, I test the heart, To give each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.

For the past few years or so, ever since graduating Secondary school, I would often have dreams where a random little voice in my head would try to compensate my lack of spiritual dedication by commending me for my worldly accomplishments. From getting good CXC grades to getting a scholarship to getting degrees! And sometimes this little voice would even try to compliment me on how incredible I was for being independent and doing it all on my own; as if isolation and loneliness was some sort of prize.

Throughout my spiritual struggle, I would sometimes find myself having to wrestle away my worldly desires. Anytime I’d fall short, the little voice would always pop up in an attempt to reassure me that God knows my heart, trying to convince me to pretend that despite my actions that were unpleasing to God, everything would be okay. I hate to admit it, but sometimes I used to agree with that voice. After all I’m sure God would be proud of how smart and responsible I’ve become. However, soon enough, this little voice became less of a motivator and more of an enabler.

This little voice, which I now consider a pest, was only good for making excuses. I wish I had recognized sooner how those useless compliments inhibited my walk with God. Lately, during my interactions with God, while examining my life, I’ve noticed that I barely have anything to show when it comes to fruits of the spirit. Have I really made it anywhere in my spiritual journey if my fruits of the spirit are still little seedlings hanging on for dear life? I am grateful for all the strides and successes I’ve been blessed to achieve in my life thus far but I honestly have a burning desire to grow spiritually as well. As I continue my walk with God I pray that the results of my spiritual journey would be indicative of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Lifestyle | Let Go & Let Music

Lifestyle

Struggling through wanting someone that isn’t for you is surely a “Sweet Addiction” Now streaming on all platforms 👅🍭

A year ago I started taking my passion for music seriously writing songs about love, heartbreak, depression, success, failure and self love but I wasn’t too confident in my vocal ability so I’d just record them on GarageBand and share them on what’s app or IG (then take it down) Since then, I think I’ve found my voice and I’m so excited to share my creativity with the world! I’m not particularly interested in performing or becoming a recording artist myself, but it would be a dream come true if I could write songs for tv, film and theatre.

Lifestyle | Lauren and Cameron’s “Love is Blind” Spin Off

Film, Lifestyle, Relationships

Lauren and Cameron’s whirlwind romance was a true favorite among the couples on Netflix’s three week event Love is Blind. Lauren and Cameron hit it off instantly, getting in to some deep conversations, opening up their eyes to emotions they didn’t even know they had. Their personalities and desire to find true love matched and after five short days of laughter and even some tears, Cameron proposed to Lauren. But here’s the kicker, they hadn’t even seen each other in person yet. 

After a quick getaway trip to mexico and some time in a new apartment, coordinating their lives to see what it could be like living together as husband and wife, the couple tied the knot. 

The series has been number 1 on Netflix for the past week with fans all over the world however Lauren and Cameron’s experience was definitely a crowd favorite especially among black viewers. 

Actress, singer and social media babe @thejessiewoo was rooting for Lauren and Cameron’s union.

Some fans like @shadesofsoso even went all out getting dressed up and ready for the Love is Blind wedding.

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Instagram and Twitter fans are already calling for a Lauren and Cameron show! Who wouldn’t want to see this right? The couple is practically the American Meghan and Harry! 

As Lauren so rightly said in her Instagram live stream, “America’s audiences needed this.” We needed to see unfiltered, unscripted real life footage of how beautiful love can be without all the over the top drama. With most reality shows about love and relationships portraying black women as angry, aggressive or just plain gold diggers, Netflix did a wonderful job with this series making it feel the most authentic and relatable reality series yet. Now all Netflix needs to do is to start filming Lauren and Cameron’s spin off! 

 

Hello Spring | Feelin the Warm Sun

Culture, Education, Lifestyle, Poetry, Travel

It’s May 1st

Can you believe it’s already May 1st! Time is going by so quickly, but I don’t mind at all because spring is here and I am totally loving the weather and beautiful blossoms! I tend to appreciate my campus most during this beautiful time of year. The grasses are always plush and bright, the flowers are blooming and the sunshine just adds life and freshness to the landscape. I loved today’s weather so much that I just had to lay out under the trees enjoying the warm sun and cool breeze. 

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Graduation is Coming Up

The countdown is definitely on for Queens College 2018! I’ve bought my cap and gown, I’ve RSVP to my department graduation and I’m ready to celebrate my achievement. It’s been quite a journey adulting, living life and doing my thing, but I have endured and enjoyed the good times and the bad times. 

During the past four years of college I didn’t have much of a social life because I was so focused on working and going to school. Being goal oriented is all well and good, but I do wish that I would have spent more interest in building connections and exploring life outside school and work. Knowing that I’m nearing the end of another chapter in my life has afforded me the opportunity to finally stop and smell the blossoms! These past few bright spring days has really been God’s reminder to me that no matter how hard things could get, “this too shall pass” Come May 31st, this too shall pass, as I embark on another journey into the world of work! 

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Interviews Galore

I am lucky enough to have scheduled at least two interviews per week for the next couple months and I am really looking forward to them all. I’ve been applying for jobs like crazy since last September to no avail and I was a bit worried, but I am so grateful that things seem to be panning out quite nicely.  

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More Fun to Come

I know I haven’t been blogging as consistently as I should be, but bear with me, I’m really trying my best not to get too distracted from my final assignments. Nonetheless I have great plans for a fantastic and exciting summer so stick it out with me guys because there’s more fun to come! 

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Blogger Feature | Diva Named Dom

Culture, Education, Fashion, Lifestyle
All Black Everything

Miss Diva Named Dom is always slayed to the Gods! I just had to feature her again, not only because of her awesome photos and fashion sense but she has that Naomi Campbell confidence that every woman should always aim to exude!

Diva Named Dom

All this talk of Beyonce at Coachella made me wanna step my shit on up and step on out on the scene.

Because I don’t have Coachella ticket money but I’m obsessed with Coachella fashion, I decided to mix it up a bit. Check out this gorgeous Black Lace Dress I got from Forever 21. I know I need to stop shopping here, but my wallet is holding on to the relationship for dear life. Besides, they’re adding a contemporary line for women like me that literally wanna stay Forever 21 25.

Thigh high boots are a hot commodity for thick’ems like myself. Imagine how elated I was to find a pair that actually went up my size 12 thighs?! You can grab the same pair here.

I paired it with a bold red lip and a lace choker (also Forever 21). I purchased this one quite a…

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Travel | Islandlife in Sweet Tobago

Culture, Food, Lifestyle, Travel

A trip to Trinidad isn’t complete without paying a visit to its sister isle Tobago. I was fortunate enough to enjoy a scenic stay in Pembroke in the countryside. Although it was about 20 minutes drive away from Crown Point, the hub of Tobago’s nightlife I really got the opportunity to appreciate the islands greenery and sea views. The drive between Crown Point and Pembroke runs along the island’s coastline which conveniently allowed me to capture some amazing landscape memories of this trip.

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It may seem like I didn’t do much, however my two-day stay in Pembroke was still quite satisfying and enjoyable, not only because I enjoyed taking beautiful landscape photos, but I also appreciated immersing myself into Tobago’s country life giving me a rare opportunity to unplug and detach myself from my hectic life.

I have to say though, the best part of my island getaway was my trip to the calm and relaxing waters at Store Bay in Crown Point.

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20180409_104625The convenient and probably the best thing about Store Bay is that it is just a stone throw away from Crown Point’s nightlife. The ANR Airport, the bars, lounges, nightclubs and multiple resorts are all within a few minutes of each other surrounding Store Bay. In Crown Point you can surely have it all, there’s the serenity of Store Bay complimented by the pizzaz of the nightlife.

DSC_0752One thing you’d find most interesting about Tobago is that the locals are so warm and welcoming. Dawn Cape, owner of Sips WIne & Cocktail Bar was the perfect host and so willing to pose for all my photos that I just had to feature him in this blog. 

sips barLast but certainly not least, another highlight from my visit to Tobago was the food. Long before I had even arrived in Trinidad, I had been fantasizing about eating Tobago’s infamous crab and dumpling. crab dumpling1.jpgCooking is a social tradition that the family I stayed with enjoys doing outdoors in their backyard. The Sunday norm is to invite friends over and together they’ll cook up a storm over drinks, laughter and good conversation. 

All in all I genuinely enjoyed living the country girl, island life for a couple days. It was stimulating and refreshing, I would definitely recommend taking a visit to Trinidad and Tobago. Hopefully, I’d be able to enjoy another Caribbean getaway this summer, so look forward to more travel and adventure blogs from me here on hellomirabelle.com 

 

Food & Drink | Trini Mom Shares Pastele Pie Recipe

Culture, Food, Lifestyle, Travel

Traveling and exploring different cultures definitely affords the opportunity to taste the world and while on vacation in Trinidad you just can’t avoid indulging in all the local and traditional foods.

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Local mom, hairstylist and aspiring entrepreneur, Sigournie La Foucade, was so kind to open up her kitchen to my curiosity sharing her tips and tricks to making the perfect pastele pie. This quick and simple recipe transforms Trinidad and Tobago’s most famous Christmas dish, pastele, into a year round favorite. Combining the ingredients used to make pastele with the technique used to make shepherd’s pie, Sigournie effortlessly whips up two pastele pies while giving me the exclusive on her recipe secrets.

Ingredients 

Minced Meat Filling

  • 1 lb minced meat
  • 1/2 cup raisins 
  • 1/2 cup capers
  • 1/2 cup olives
  • 2 small onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 pimentos
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 4 stalks cilantro

Pastele Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp maggie all purpose seasoning

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Bon Appétit! Follow Sigournie on instagram at authenticme_whitney_ to see more of her life as a mom and stylist.

 

 

 

 

Travel | Hello Trinidad & Tobago

Food, Lifestyle, Travel
It Feels Good to be Home

Although I left Trinidad for New York to pursue a college education and career opportunities, I can’t help but stress the idea that there’s no place like home. Ugh, I hate clichés but it’s so true. There’s nothing like the feeling of nostalgia when you’re back home hearing the rustling of the leaves or the crowing of the rooster in the morning. It might seem so corny but I enjoyed listening to the chirps of the crickets that I used to find so annoying when I was younger. DSC_0631I don’t really have to go too far but a few steps into my yard to enjoy some chill vibes. I never gave it much thought about how much I missed my home until I kicked my feet up and soaked up some good Santa Cruz evening sun.

It’s been about five years since I’ve been in Trinidad and it feels good to be home. It may seem like a short time, but so many things have changed since I’ve been here. Nonetheless, the one thing that has remained the same, is the relaxing and captivating floral and fauna around our yard.DSC_0639

DSC_0647Coming on this trip I was definitely looking forward to the mangoes, the oranges, the papaya but most of all I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on a coconut! A real coconut! Picked fresh from a tree in our backyard. Coconut tree

DSC_0533I probably had about three coconuts. The coconut water was so sweet, nothing like that force ripe artificial flavor in the coconut water from the grocery store. And the jelly, not too soft, not too hard, it was the perfect consistency!

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While my dreams, ambitions and potential may be greater now than I had ever imagined, I will always cherish and appreciate my small town Trinidadian roots. Once an island girl, always an island girl! 

I will do my best to take as much pictures as I can on this trip so stay tuned for more about my visit to beautiful Trinidad and Tobago.

In case you were wondering where in the world is Trinidad and Tobago, here’s a little perspective for ya. 

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Fashion | Project Runway All Star Launches New Clothing Line

Culture, Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel

Project Runway All Star Anya Ayoung Chee proudly launches her new clothing line Anya Ayoung Chee – Limited Edition

Anya’s rise to fashion stardom began when she graced the 2008 Miss Universe Pageant in Japan representing her country Trinidad and Tobago. Then, in 2011, the United Nations Association of Trinidad & Tobago (UNATT) spokeswoman auditioned for Project Runway Season 9 where she easily became a fan favorite. Anya’s creative designs always captivated a tropical island aesthetic, bringing something fresh and inspiring to the table which won her the Project Runway Season 9 title.

Fast forward seven years later, Anya has appeared on Project Runway All Stars and guest starred on a reality show with Tim Gunn where she mentored aspiring designers. Anya has never lost interest in her roots designing costumes for Tribe, Bliss and she has even designed her own line of fete and Carnival Monday wear, cANYAval. 

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Earlier this year, crowned in a carnival inspired headpiece, the designer tied the knot with photographer Wyatt Gallery at their small beachfront wedding in Blanchisseuse, Trinidad. Wyatt posted this photo on his instagram account saying, “In a small, intimate, family ceremony yesterday, I married my soulmate and my love @anyaayoungchee while overlooking the coastline of Blanchisseuse, Trinidad, a place that has been a part of my soul since 1999. It was a magical dream come true (finally!)”

After her extended break from designing for the rack, Anya is back with her new clothing line Anya Ayoung Chee – Limited Edition which aims to provide exclusive, small quantities of each design she creates.

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