Grateful For Balance

Grateful For Balance

Gratitude

          At this very moment I can say I’m Grateful for Balance. This has not always been the case (ie.- those years during med school, residency, first couple of years starting my medical practice) and will not always be the case, but…………….. for right now, it’s how I feel and I am grateful for it.

          We hear a lot about “work-life balance” and what that’s supposed to look like. I’m asked that question often when I’m out on various speaking engagements, especially by young professional women and college students. My best answer is for everyone, on a individual bases, figuring out what your activity limits are as it relates to pouring out too much of yourself into others without investing back into yourself.

          Instead of “Work-life balance”, I prefer to use the term “Life Integration” because to me that is more of a long time approach to this concept. Life occurs in stages so there will be times when we feel totally balanced like I do at this point in my life, but there are also times when things don’t feel balanced, and that’s OK too. As long as you are working to integrate work priorities with family obligations, community service, etc in a manner that works for you, no matter what it looks like for someone else, do THAT!

          Just up until about a year ago, I was THAT person who was on the go ALL the time! If I wasn’t in my office seeing patients and running the business side of my practice, I was at some meeting for one of the 3 Board of Directors I was on at the time, at a sorority meeting, doing community service with my sorority chapter or out blogging about something, somewhere! It was all cool and exciting until I just got tired. Point blank and THE period —-> I. Was. Tired.

          All that I was involved in looked really good on paper, but it wore me down and I felt that I had no time to myself. Even my Dinner With Nerds Food Blog, that I designed to be a creative outlet, began to get stressful. When I was doing full features on particular restaurants by interviewing the owners & chefs and coming in with my camera to photograph all the food, the owners and managers always wanted to know when I would be publishing the feature which then put me on a deadline, which then made it start to feel more like work and less like fun 😦

          My balance was off because I wasn’t integrating the various aspects of my life in a way that satisfied me. At the end of the day, if I’m not taking care of me……extensions of me begin to suffer (ie., my business, my health, my attitude toward things).

          When I began to say NO to some things, NO to people requesting my attention, rolled off a couple of the Board of Directors I was on and realized that my contributions to my community , to my work and to the people I love were already more than sufficient without having to add anything more, slowly but surely I began to feel more like myself again – less stressed and happier! I always feel honored when I’m approached to serve the community in some capacity or to offer my expertise in certain areas, but I have learned that I only have so much so give before I start feeling off-balanced. With time and age comes wisdom and with wisdom comes knowing your limits. I’ll choose this feeling over being over-committed and over-worked any day of the week!

Dr Carmen April Speaker              Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. She is a Law of Attraction Practitioner and an advocate for the power of positive thinking! Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

Grateful For Time Spent in My “Me” Place

Grateful For Time Spent in My “Me” Space

Gratitude

          I looooooove my “me” time, but I’ll be honest and say that it’s taken some practice for me to establish specific, set-aside time just for me to meditate and be with my happy thoughts! When I began carving out time to sit with my thoughts and mediate on the things in life that I’m grateful for, I began to notice a SHIFT in my way of thinking. My dominating thoughts have become those of GRATITUDE, love, faith, peace and of moving myself in the direction of “greater”!

          Spending alone time with God and my thoughts has allowed me to change the narrative of my life. I have a strong belief that, no matter what, life is on my side and is always pushing me to be a greater version of myself each and every day. I know that my dominating thoughts become my reality so I’m very intentional about concentrating on GRATITUDE, love, faith and expecting the best out of life! When I take the time daily to elevate my vibrations to a higher level of happiness, peace, love and GRATITUDE, all of those things return to me in immeasurable ways!

Here are a couple of things I do to get into my happy place during my “me” time:

  • Listen to calming spa-type music while laying awake in bed or on my couch and meditating
  • Tapping into one of my favorite iPhone apps, Calm,  that allows me to listen to sounds of the ocean and the beach while daydreaming about all that I appreciate, love and desire in life
  • Heading out to one of my favorite parks to walk/jog, listen to nature, and perform one of my walking meditation exercises where I thank God/Universe for all I see that is beautiful and makes me happy 🙂
  • Logging onto Instagram and following hashtags that lead me to awesome feeds of food, landscapes, beautiful homes, luxury hotels, luxury spas and inspirational quotes! I loooooove photography so seeing beautiful photos that raise my vibration into a happy place always do the trick and leave me feeling happy, at peace and serene 🙂

          Sometimes folks find it difficult to carve out “me” time, especially since we are in an age when the glorification of “busy” seems to be an “it” thing. However, I’ve learned that it’s detrimental not to do it. The “me” time does NOT have to be during the same time every day. Schedules vary, work and family demands vary and it’s ok to cut yourself some slack and be flexible with your personal time as well. Some days it may be better to spend time in the morning with this exercise and on other days the evenings may be better. Either way, we all owe it to ourselves to steal away and take some time to relax. Not only is it good for your psyche and mental health, but periods of relaxation and meditation have other health benefits such as lowering blood pressure & resting heart rate and lowering levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in our bodies.

          Lastly, as a Law of Attraction Practitioner, I encourage relaxation and meditation during “me” time as essential to elevating yourself to a higher vibration and attracting those things, experiences and opportunities into your life that you desire. Your dominating thoughts mixed with the positive emotions they create within you, bring them into your reality! It’s all about faith!

Dr Carmen April SpeakerDr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. She is a Law of Attraction Practitioner and an advocate for the power of positive thinking! Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

Grateful For The Little Things

Grateful For The Little Things

Gratitude

          I’m Grateful for the little things because the little things are actually the Big things! From the individual encouraging words I’ve always heard from my parents my entire life, to the way my sister and brother still look up to me as their big sister even though we’re all adults now, the sweet hugs and kisses from my nieces and them affectionately calling me “TT Carmen” a hundred times a day, to the countless times my wonderful husband tells me, “I love you baby and I thank God for you every day”

          I get so tickled when our Malti-poo fur-baby, Bella, literally spins around in circles of happiness because she’s so excited to see us come home from work every day

          I don’t take for granted the many luxuries I am blessed to enjoy every day and all the moving parts involved in making those things happen. I don’t have to go out and pick all of my fruits and vegetables from a garden or orchard because there are people who have done that for me and I’m GRATEFUL. I don’t have to go out and kill a chicken in order to have meat to eat.

          I’m so super serious about that chicken example. One of the amazing matriarchs of my family, at 93 years old, recently walked me through the steps she would take to slaughter a chicken and have it sitting on the dinner table a couple of hours later. Back in her younger days, if she or her husband didn’t kill a chicken themselves, there was no chicken to be had for dinner that night! I thank God I don’t have to grab a chicken, wring its neck, let it run around in a large barrel until it died, then put it in a pot of boiling water, pluck the feathers……you get the point! THAT is a true story and one I’m glad to have had passed down to me by oral history vs. actual experience lol!

          I don’t have to go out and draw water from a well to bathe, clean or drink because there are many other moving parts at play that allow me to have clean, running water coming straight into my home and for that I’m GRATEFUL. I don’t have to “foot-it” to work because I have a beautiful, safe vehicle to get me to work and back every day and for that I’m GRATEFUL! I don’t have to read by candlelight at home because I have lights and electricity that provide that luxury instead and I’m GRATEFUL. These are things that may seem like “basic necessities” and “expected” for us to have, but if you’ve ever known people who live without these basic necessities you will realize that they are in fact “luxuries”.

          The little moments matter and make up the spice of life. Don’t overlook them for the traditionally dramatic, shocking and spectacular. The little moments can be those things too…..just packaged a bit differently 🙂

Dr Carmen April SpeakerDr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. She is a Law of Attraction Practitioner and an advocate for the power of positive thinking! Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

My Gratitude Box

My Gratitude Box

Gratitude Box

          My Theme/Word for 2016 is GRATITUDE! I’m Grateful for Life, Love, following Christ and for living a life with more experiences, opportunities, and wonderful people than I deserve. Life is so very precious and I don’t, for a second, take that for granted. Every day that I wake up and step foot out of my bed with a sound mind, is another opportunity to be thankful and express my Gratitude for it all!

          A practice that I’ve been doing for a couple of years now involves using a Gratitude Box to hold my notes of Gratitude to God/Universe. Point blank……..you find less to complain about when you focus on all you have to be Grateful for!! That’s not to say that I don’t have my human moments throughout the day when things tick me off OR have a mini “spazz-out” session or two, because I do lol! However, when the dust settles, as the old gospel song we sing in church says, “And I think things over…..all of my good days, outweigh my bad days, and I won’t complain!” #Hallelujah!

          One of the reasons I use a Gratitude Box such as the one above more often than a Gratitude Journal is because I physically add small trinkets that represent things I’m grateful for to the box in addition to the notes and Gratitude cards I place there. Once that box that sits on my night stand is “full of Gratitude” (I Love how that sounds!!!), I empty it into a bigger box that sits in my closet and start filling up the smaller box on my nightstand again.

Thank You cardsGratitude Cards I fill out and add to my Gratitude Box on a regular basis

Interesting Note: These photos of me were taken last year before I was married…..or engaged for that matter….and it’s a bit “strange” to see my left hand without my engagement ring and wedding band on it lol! The interesting thing about my Gratitude practice is that one of the things I repeatedly wrote a Gratitude/Thank You note to God for was this ———> My Husband….BEFORE I ever had one OR even knew who he would be!!! I have plenty of Gratitude notes in my Gratitude Box thanking God IN ADVANCE for my husband! #TrueStory

Thank you cards

           I physically write out the things I’m grateful for in greeting/thank you cards then place them in my Gratitude Box because the Bible says “Write the Vision and Make it plain” (Habakukk 2:2) There is power in writing down your desires, requests, praise and words of GRATITUDE! P.S. = I kind of have a small obsession with all things paper and beautiful greeting cards so this method of using pretty cards and fancy letterhead to fill the box also feeds that obsession of mine 🙂

Gratitude Journal

          Gratitude Journal – Another way to perform this practice is to write your words of Gratitude directly into a Gratitude Journal. This works well because it keeps everything in one compact journal, keeps the entries in chronological order and can be taken with you when you travel, etc. Once again, you are activating that special power that comes from physically writing down the words!

Gratitude Journal

          My Gratitude Expressions include everything under the sun and the Heavens above  – Literally! I include expressions of Gratitude for the love I have for my family to an appreciation of my favorite color, green, simply because it makes me happy! I express Gratitude for the food that I am blessed to eat everyday and for the farmers who grew that food in their fields, to the truck drivers who delivered it to the grocery store and the cashier who rung it up for me when I bought it! There is an unlimited abundance of life experiences to be grateful if we just take the time to sit down and really concentrate on them 🙂

          Choose the method that works for you, but my all means…..DO IT! Express your Gratitude!! The more you express Gratitude to God/ The Universe for the things you are ALREADY blessed with, the more the Universe will open up it’s channels to pour out MORE blessings and MORE things and MORE opportunities and MORE experiences and the right people in your life to be Grateful for!

Dr Carmen April Speaker          Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. She is a Law of Attraction Practitioner and an advocate for the power of positive thinking! Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

Grateful to Be of Service

Grateful to Be of Service

 

Gratitude

          As I discussed in my first blog post for 2016, My Theme for the year is GRATITUDE! I am so grateful for all that I am and all that God allows me to be. I am grateful for beautiful things seen and things not seen in my life. I’m grateful for my peace of mind, my family, my husband and for the love and peace of God which surpasses all understanding.

Gratitude is an emotion that expresses appreciation for what one has as opposed to focusing on what one wants.

            Expressing gratitude is a great multiplier because the more we are GRATEFUL for what we already have, the more the Universe gives us to be GRATEFUL for! Expressing gratitude has been shown to increase happiness, optimism, and empathy. Gratitude can allow you to see the sunshine through the rain and can offer peace in the midst of a storm.

          This morning I visited Renewal House , a safe haven in Nashville for women working to overcome drug and alcohol addiction. I’ve visited Renewal House many times taking donations of clothes, housewares, food and snacks, etc. Two weeks ago I also visited Renewal House with my Sorority chapter for Martin Luther King Day of Service and spent the morning with the women who are going through the program. I gave a short presentation, “Secrets of Success” that apply to everyone, no matter where they are in life. I always feel a strong sense of gratitude every time I visit that I’m able to donate things that have brought me joy and share them with others. Last week I also enjoyed sharing that bit of motivation with the women

Renewal House volunteering

❒ This morning, however, in addition to feeling gratitude for all that I have, I also felt gratitude for the women and their children who have come to Renewal House to recover and keep their families together.

❒ I’m grateful that Renewal House exists to provide a safe haven and recovery program for women who really need it

❒ I’m grateful for everyone who works with these women and their families on a daily basis

❒ I’m grateful for the two caring souls who started Renewal House 20 yrs ago

❒ I’m grateful to those who give of their time and talents on the Board of Directors

❒ I’m grateful for the strong spirits of the women in the treatment program who desire a better life for themselves and their children

❒ I’m grateful that lives are being changed and restored through this program because of the love, generosity and dedication of individuals with big hearts!

❒ I’m grateful that the clothes, kitchen appliances, wall hangings and housewares that have brought me happiness in my home can now be used to bring happiness to other women

❒ I’m grateful that I’m able to offer what I have to give to help make another woman’s journey a bit sweeter 🙂

          So you see, this practice of GRATITUDE opened my eyes today to not only appreciate what I have to give, but also to be GRATEFUL for everyone else that my gifts will touch and for the program that is allowing them the opportunity to do that.

What are you GRATEFUL for today?

Dr Carmen April Speaker          Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

My Word for 2016

My Word For 2016……………

 

Word for 2016

Wow, we are here! We made it! It’s 2016!

            Does anyone else feel like 2015 just flew by?? Each year seems to pass by more swiftly than the last! Someone told me that’s what happens the older you get and it seems like they’re right lol! So much happened for me in 2015 – both highs and lows, roses and thorns.

          The Thorns – I lost the physical presence of some really precious family members in 2015 and it stung….really bad. My peace comes in knowing that they are all rejoicing with our Heavenly Father for all eternity.

          The Roses – I got married to my wonderful husband and experienced many “firsts” with him. We began dating, got engaged and married all in the same year! My youngest niece is now old enough to scream with excitement for me when I walk into a room and she gives the best hugs and baby kisses (those adorable kisses that babies give you with their mouths wide open so you can smell their precious baby breath lol!). I saw financial increase in my business and was able to pay off some debt I incurred during the start-up period of my business 5 years ago. Oh yeah…..speaking of my business, January of 2016 makes 5 full years that I’ve successfully owned the medical practice I started from the ground up! God is so good and I’m forever grateful because as Marvin Sapp’s famous gospel song says, “I never would have made it without [Him]!”

           For those who’ve been following my blog for some time, you know that I choose a word or phrase for the year and this word serves as a guide for me for the year. It’s a word that I meditate on daily, read about, pray about and apply to my life on a consistent basis. Whether you’ve been reading my blog for a while or this is your first time coming across one of my posts, I’m sharing with you my “Word for 2016” and invite you to choose a word for yourself! I’ve even included a jpeg image for you to print off, enter your own word and post it around your home, office, car, etc

❐ My Word/Phrase for 2014:  “Count On It”

❐ My Word/Phrase for 2015: Love & Faith

❐ My Word/Phrase for 2016:……………………………………..

Dr Carmen April

GRATITUDE

          Over the past two years, I’ve focused heavily on Faith, Love and Counting on the blessings of God. He has been so faithful to me in everything I’ve asked of Him. Even those desires/requests that were “delayed” according to my time-table, all made sense when God revealed to me His outcome for all the things I requested. I am forever GRATEFUL for each and every desire of my heart that God has bestowed upon me. I live every day with a GRATEFUL heart.

          GRATITUDE is a special, one-of-a-kind key that unlocks an overflow of blessings into our lives. The cool thing about GRATITUDE is that the more we are GRATEFUL for what we have, the more the Universe gives us to be GRATEFUL for!! I’ve seen it for myself and I know it to be true.

          When I stopped complaining about money, complaining about how much everything costs to run a business, complaining about how I needed more money to do the things I needed to do in the start-up phase of my business and started being GRATEFUL for what I DID have to get my business started, things started changing. Money started flowing in my direction when I became truly GRATEFUL for all that I had, even when the dollar amount is not exactly what I wanted it to be at the time. I even started being GRATEFUL for my bills! Yes, I started being GRATEFUL for my bills because having bills means that I’m the entrepreneur I’ve always dreamed of being. It means that my business is fully operational and in that business I’m making money that allows me to live the life I want to live.

         My practice of GRATITUDE has been life-changing and that’s why I’ve chosen it as my word for 2016.

I have a practice of going on Gratitude Walks. Here’s an example of what my GRATITUDE walks through the park look like. This is what it sounds like in my mind:

➤ “Thank you Lord for the grass

➤ Thanks for the green grass….green is my favorite color…..it makes me happy and makes me smile

➤Thanks for the air I breathe

➤ Thank you for the process of breathing clean air, air that oxygenates my body and allows me to live

➤ Speaking of air flowing into my body, thank you Lord for my heart that beats without me even thinking about it. This wonderful heart of mine has been pumping away for over 30+ years without missing a beat, even when I’m asleep at night and for that I’m GRATEFUL!

➤ Since I’m thinking about how GRATEFUL I am for my heart and lungs, let me say THANK YOU for the proper, perfect, healthy workings of all my body parts….all the moving parts that allow me to get up out of bed in the morning, go to sleep at night and wake up again the next morning, enjoy my life and all the people and things in it!

➤ {As I keep walking I see a cute little bunny rabbit hopping along into the wooded area along the walking trail}……………..

➤ Awwwwwww, look at that cute bunny! Thank you Lord for all you precious creatures here on earth

➤ Thank you for beautiful things! Beautiful things and people and experiences make me happy!

➤ Thank you God for happiness and for the feeling of Happiness………… “

          So you see, as I go on these GRATITUDE Walks I just let my thoughts flow and as the thoughts enter my mind I focus on what it is about them that makes me GRATEFUL and I express that GRATITUDE by saying and truly feeling appreciation for them all! A Gratitude Walk for me is a walking prayer :-). Each of these walks brings me such peace of mind, serenity, happiness and joy. I feel blessed for my health and my peace of mind. I don’t take either of these for granted because I encounter folks everyday who don’t have “peace” in their lives because of health issues, etc they are dealing with.

          So, this year you will see a lot from me focused on GRATITUDE. I’ve already printed out “My Word for 2016” and taped it to my bathroom mirror, fridge, and office wall. I encourage you to pick your word and do the same. You can even print out the jpeg image I have here below and fill in your word.

          Last year I received some awesome testimonials from individuals who chose a word according to this practice after reading my blog post and saw awesome results in their own lives. It works…..it really, really works lol! The reason it works it because those things we focus on the most on and give much energy to tend to be those things that manifest in our lives the strongest!

Thoughts become Things!

Our Dominant Thoughts become Things!

          What do you want to see manifest in your life this year? Meditate on what your heart most desires for your life right now and choose a word that reflects that feeling. I would love to hear what comes of this practice for you so if you are inclined, please feel free to leave me a message under this blog post or any of the ones in the future that resonate with you.

Below is a jpeg image to print out, fill out and post around your home, office, etc to keep you motivated and focused on your word throughout the year!

My Word For 2016 - Blank

Happy New Year 2016!

Dr Carmen April Speaker          Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader (NELA) Award Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

You can follow her daily #Leadership insights on Twitter @DrCarmenApril

Speak it Into Existence

Speak It Into Existence

Speak it into existence

Proverbs 18:21 says, “The Power of Life And Death is in the tongue”

Albert Einstein says “Everything is Energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you can not help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is no philosophy. This is Physics.”

I say 🙂 ,  “Your Happiness depends on the thoughts you think and the words you speak! Your words have POWER so choose to Speak Life over yourself, LIFE over your circumstances, LIFE over your finances, LIFE over your family! Those dreams and Desires that you are ready to Manifest are ready to burst through for you if you will really believe in them and Speak them into Existence!

            On a very personal level, this same power of intention and this practice of speaking my desires into existence attracted my husband into my life! Honest to goodness, this time last year (December 2014) the wonderful man who is, now, my husband was not even on my radar!!! #TrueStory

          However, as a good friend and I were recently discussing……. “It doesn’t take God long to work!”

            My husband and I have known OF each other for a while (we are both from Mississippi, both graduated from Mississippi State University, know people in common, etc), but had just one very brief, casual, in-passing introduction about 9 yrs ago. The funny part is that to this very day I honestly have no recollection of that introduction (Sorry babe lol)!!

No worries, his feelings aren’t hurt that I don’t remember that conversation!

           Last summer (summer 2014) I got really serious about my true desires for a husband. I had been praying for my husband (having no clue who he would be) since I was 20 years old, but decided to write down my desires and then start speaking them into existence!

           Everyday, before Lionel and I ever had our first REAL conversation in 2015 (at least the first one I can remember…Ha! ) I would repeat over and over to myself “I AM a Wonderful Wife”, “I AM a Wonderful Wife” and daydream about having a wonderful husband and being a Wonderful Wife!

           Writing down my desires and then declaring that “I AM a Wonderful Wife” everyday activated my Faith to another level!!

          I found a ring in my jewelry box one day during spring cleaning that I had purchased years ago and since it resembled an engagement ring, I placed it on my bedroom dresser (On his side, before I know who he would be!!). That ring served as a reminder for me to pray for my husband every day!

          I also took a bouquet of artificial flowers out of a vase I had purchased years ago, dusted them off and placed them next to the ring on the dresser in my bedroom.

          I literally filled my home with the word “LOVE”! I bought a pillow that says “LOVE” for my living room couch, bought a canvas with the word “LOVE” and placed it on the wall at the very entrance of my home. The word “LOVE” was taped to my fridge, my bathroom mirror, the wall in my office at work…..Everywhere lol!!!

         I chose my Themes for 2015 to be LOVE and FAITH!! Let me declare to you today that IT IS NO coincidence that 2015 has been the year that I chose LOVE and FAITH to be my 2 themes for the year – the themes I think about, pray about, meditate about day-in and day-out AND that 2015 has also been the year that my, now husband, and I had our first real conversation, started dating, got engaged and got married – ALL OF THIS IN 2015!!

          In the summer of 2014, I wrote down a list of 31 core desires I had for my husband. Once Lionel and I connected and began having marathon-long phone calls every day (one of our very first phone convos lasted almost 7 hours long!), I realized there was something very special about him. God actually spoke to me after our first multi-hour long conversation and told me that I had just had my first conversation with my husband. Seriously, clear as day, I heard God impart this into my spirit as I was climbing into bed that night. I chuckled and smiled and said out loud “Ok Lord, if I’m hearing what I think I’m hearing, please make this very obvious to me!”

          Now, back to the core desires list ——–> One by one, I started checking those desires off the list that Lionel met. I quickly realized that he was the physical manifestation of that list! There was no particular reason for having 31 items on that list. I actually initially stopped at 30 because it’s an even number and I kinda have a thing for even numbers (LOL), but then decided to throw in an extra one for kicks and giggles that says, “And oh yeah……he loves great music and loves to dance!” God definitely has a sense of humor because even though #31 wasn’t a deal breaker, He gave it to me anyways! Anyone who has ever hear my husband sing knows how great of a musical talent he is! We both love great music, love attending concerts together and dancing together!!

             I’ve always dreamed of a fairy-tale proposal……..one I would never forget and one that held significant meaning! In my many conversations to God about my husband over the past year and a half (when I really got serious about this thing!), I communicated to God that I did not want a physical relationship with any from that point on other than with the man who would be my husband! I was tired of dating as usual. I was tired of listening to what the “world” tells us we need to do to get and keep a man. I was tired of it because I knew that was not what God was imparting into my spirit!

          Well, once again, just a couple of weeks after our first marathon-long conversation, I received what I prayed for!

The VERY 1st time (my now husband) Lionel ever touched me was to put the engagement ring on my finger and ask me to marry him – The VERY 1st time!

Carmen and Lionel

Our Wedding Day in San Juan, Puerto Rico – August 2015

          Because I had prayed for Lionel for so long, when he presented into my life I immediately recognized him to be that person God sent to me! Lionel says the same. He surrendered to God and asked God to show him who he was supposed to be with instead of him trying to figure it out on his own.

          My husband is such a wonderful blessing and gift from God. He is the man I have prayed about for so long and is a manifestation of my core desires for a husband. In the natural, I never would have imagined this time last year that I would be very happily married right now. However, my Spirit told me differently! My Spirit constantly reminded me of one of my favorite verses in the Bible – Psalm 37:4 that says, “Delight yourself in The Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”. My Spirit also reminded me that the Word gives us authority, as believers, to “speak those things that are not as though they already were” (Romans 4:17)!! I also prayed for an Ephesians 3:20 husband – a husband who is exceedingly, abundantly above all I can ask or think, and guess what…..God delivered that to me as well!

          Words have real power!! Use them to speak life and love and blessings over your own life right now!! Your words activate your faith!! I hope my story encourages you to start speaking what’s important to you over your life every single day!

So, today, begin to say:

❐ I am AWESOME!

❐ I am BLESSED!

❐ I am RESOURCEFUL!

❐ I am STRONG!

❐ I am COURAGEOUS!

❐ I EXPECT things to work out in my favor!

❐ All Good things come to me today!

❐ My Dreams and Desires are coming true for me!

❐ I AM ______________________________ (Fill in the blank for what you desire)

Dr Carmen April Speaker          Dr. Carmen April is an entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2014 Nashville Emerging Leader Award (NELA) Winner, a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter.  Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership and Life Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.

You can follow her daily #Leadership insights on Twitter @DrCarmenApril