T H E
P R E M I E R E
I S S U E
E L I S I A
M A G A Z I N E ElisiaMagazine.com
struggle where does the Christian woman go to â€˜turn up?â€™
what exactly does it take to gain control over your health & your BODY?
DECIDE. COMMIT. REPEAT
4 steps to turn RISK into REWARD
diverse women take on life, love and the everyday realities from the perspective of the the everyday Christian woman
T H E
P R E M I E R E
I S S U E
E L I S I A
M A G A Z I N E ElisiaMagazine.com
a place to place our struggle PASSIONS the
where does the Christian
Putting together this magazine was quite the pastor. You will always be able to open it and woman towill ‘turn up?’ sprint. Two months ago, I decided to ‘make a know that what you’rego reading feed your magazine.’ And, well, here we are. soul and propel you toward being the person God created you to become. I’ve always been a big fan of writing, but I didn’t want to limit the expression of just my You and I don’t anticipate enough out of this thoughts what exactly does take to towords gainon a screen on a personal life. We have been given the gift of breath I know&too many incredible people who and exploration, liberty and ambition, crecontrol over yourblog. health deserve to be seen and known, and whose ativity and discovery. We are extraordinary your BODY? use of the English language far exceeds my creatures gifted with the ability to spread own. light and share love. It is my hope and prayer that God will use the words He’s given to us So I asked some ladies to write. Naturally, to help your days to smile and your life to bethey said yes. I officially think they are as cra- come one that his reflective of the love of His zy as I am. But these are ladies who take life son. by the horns, challenge it, and expect it to deal back to them what they put into it. They challenge me to think beyond, express open- For you, ly and expect amazing. Ultimately, they exemplify what a woman of our day should be, not because they are perfect, but because they acknowledge their imperfections and diverse women take on press toward the direction of better. Prov. 22:1
DECIDE. COMMIT. REPEAT
4 steps to turn RISK into REWARD
life, love and the everyday realities from the perspective Elisia Magazine will always be something that the you’ll the never everyday be embarrassedChristian to read in of woman front of your husband or your child or your
i work for zoe.
Practical, creative business communications, from Z to A.
REFLECTIONS OF A NEW REALITY
6 ENTERTAINMENT THE STRUGGLE
8 FOOD & RECIPIES CHICKEN NOODLE CASSEROLE
10 LIFE COACHING 4 STEPS TO TURN RISK INTO REWARD
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12 DR. G SPEAKS IT’S OK NOT TO BE OK
14 HEALTH & FITNESS THE BIG PICTURE ON HEALTH
18 LIFE & FAMILY THE LOVE I CHOOSE
20 LIFE & FAMILY LETTER FROM A MARRIED MAN
22 LIFE & FAMILY CAUSE I’M ACTUALLY A ROCKSTAR
24 CORPORATE LIFE THE CORNER OFFICE
What is Elisia?
Being a Christian woman doesn't have to be a cliche. It is quite possible that a woman doesn't have to wear ankle length skirts and black stockings to be devoted to a life that reďŹ‚ects the cross. Today's modern Christian women are nothing less than the woman reďŹ‚ected in the notorious Proverbs 31. We are mothers, business women, politicians and homemakers. We are artists, entrepreneurs, writers, inspirers. We love the Lord. We value life and relationships. We are women who are intentional about loving God, pursuing purpose, and ďŹ nding joy in the lives we've been gifted. Elisia Magazine is a modern bi-monthly digital lifestyle publication for the far from cliche Christian woman of today. From music to politics, fashion to social injustices, food to entrepreneurship, Elisia readers will experience life from the voice of women who love God, love people, and have devoted their lives to sharing their stories.
ElisiaMagazine.com elisiamagazine.com| ELISIA
#YOLOSOLO #YOLOSOLO #YOLOSOLO
WHERE DOES THE CHRISTIAN WOMAN GO TO “TURN UP?”
s it me or is the art of entertainment
fleeting? I feel like everywhere I turn
(radio, and television to be specific) I’m
being told to “turn up!” or some song is
telling me what my body needs. Well, my body needs air, water, sunlight, food, and exercise, and I’d very much like the vol-
ume of said songs to actually “turn down.” Everything seems to appeal to the younger crowd. Coincidentally, I thought I was the younger crowd. Apparently, I’m
not. And nowadays, the definition of “a
true musician” is anyone that can dance and lip-synch to a track without getting caught. And entertainment means the
newest game app you’ve yet to figure out because you’re still stuck on level 119.
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So, here I am. A 2?-year old Christian,
re-singled woman looking for something fun to do on the weekend with my best gal pal. One evening she and I were
itching to get out, so I opened my laptop
and typed “What’s happening this weekend in Dallas?” in the Google search bar.
Almost immediately we were reduced to some pop teen sensation’s concert and a
host of after-parties and lounges. Audible
sighs. Close laptop. We fought a good fight. But our frustration was no match for the
kiddos. We were defeated. And thus began my search.
What do girls like us do for fun? Where
does the Christian woman go to “turn up?”
I noticed that I don’t have a go-to fun
And there it was. I’d found it. The answer
to a lot of restaurants and/or my gigs and
sponsored ad on Facebook. For deals,
thing. And, more importantly, I don’t get
out much. I noticed that my BFF and I go
then go home. Concert going is out of the question since small, standing room only venues have reduced the experience to a game of “Which Friend Can Last in Their Heels the Longest?”
I asked other friends of mine what their Guaranteed Fun Time was, and each of
them shared their favorite carb-friendly
restaurant. Meh. I can gain weight on my own juuuuuuuuust fine.
I even asked elder women of faith, and
the consensus seems to be that church
was the only place I need to be. Don’t get me wrong. Church is where I need to be.
But I also don’t think that living for Christ means extracting the fun gene out of life.
came like an annoying sponsored ad on Facebook. Actually, it was an annoying
shows, theater and ideas for things to do
in your city. So, luckily for you, you won’t have to suffer through the same ex-
hausting experience my friend and I had
because I have issues upon issues of Elisia Magazine to share with you the latest and greatest in art and entertainment.
In the meantime, I’d love to know what
tickles your fancy! Mosey on over to our
Facebook page: facebook.com /ElisiaMagazine and post some of your favorite things to do that we all can try. And use these hashtags to tweet the conversation.
getting the best out of life, even if it’s just
you and your Savior. Post fun activities to do by all yourself!
#WhereTwoOrThreeAreGathered – On
the other hand, fellowship is essential to
our emotional and spiritual health. Share your favorite group activities to do with
your best gal pals, or even fun date ideas! Who knows? Your favorite pastime just may appear in our next issue. And as
always, if you’ve had half as much fun
reading this, then I’ve had twice as much fun writing it.
#YOLOSOLO - You Only Live Once … Unless You Accept Jesus. Then You Live Forever.
And in that case, you can have a great time
shop our spring/summer 2014 collection
NOONDAYCOLLECTION.COM elisiamagazine.com| ELISIA
As women we wear multiple hats at the same time. For me, I work from home for my chef husband as his business manager. My two sons feel there should be a full course meal prepared for them when they get home, oftentimes calling ahead to see what will be waiting on the stove when they arrive. Working from home, sometimes the time just flies by, and before I know it, I only have about an hour or so to get something finished. Even within such a little window of time, I try to prepare hearty meals that all my boys will love. This recipe is a family favorite that will not have you in the kitchen all evening. I hope you and your family will love it as much as we do.
CHICKEN NOODLE CASSEROLE BY YOLANDA TUCK
WHAT YOUâ€™LL NEED: 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 16 ounces egg noodles 1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup 1 (10.75-ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup 1 (10-ounce) can Rotel mild diced tomatoes & green chilies 1/3 cup sour cream 8
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1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese Salt to taste 2 cups heavy whipping cream 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter 1 table spoon of parsley flakes 5 baked corn tortillas cut into strips Ground black pepper to taste
Poach chicken in a large pot of simmering water. Cook until no longer pink in center, about 12 minutes. Remove chicken and take out two cups of the cooking water. Set aside. Bring remaining water to a second boil and cook pasta in it. Drain. Cut chicken into small pieces and mix with noodles.
In a separate bowl, mix together mushroom soup, chicken soup, tomatoes, sour cream, unsalted butter, the remaining cooking water you had set aside, cream cheese and heavy whipping cream. Season with salt and pepper. Gently stir together cream soup mixture with the chicken mixture. Place in a greased, 2-quart baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until heated through. While baking the casserole, prepare the tortilla strips by lightly frying them until crispy. Once the casserole dish is heated through, pull it out of the oven and garnish it with parsley flakes and the tortilla strips. Enjoy! elisiamagazine.com| ELISIA
E CHANCE METHING REQUIRES |PECIALLY RESULTS RTAIN.
STEPS to turn RISK into REWARD RACHELPROCTOR
WITH EVERY CHANCE WE TAKE THERE IS A TRADE-OFF.
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ave you ever put off doing something because you felt it was too big of a risk? I’m
sure we’ve all done it at some
point in life. With every chance we take there is a trade-off. We have to lose some-
thing in order to gain something else. And because of this trade-off we shy away from losing. I mean, let’s be real. No one wants to lose, right?
While losing can be painful, we must
realize this truth: In order to live a fulfilled life and walk in our God-given purpose, we have to be willing to take risks! And no matter how hard we try, we can never fully avoid risk.
Taking the chance to do something different requires effort, especially when the results are uncertain.
tempting to believe that doing nothing the choice to launch my life coaching
business, I was terrified! I had so many questions running through my head.
take risks. So what steps can you take to get started?
RESEARCH Do your best to gather as much information
as possible. Making yourself knowledge-
able will take some of the fear out of your next big step. But set a time limit too. It’s
easy to get stuck in the research phase, and
doing so will land you right back where you started. Scared and unhappy.
TAKE ACTION Make the call. Buy the book. Write the “To
Do” list and cross off the first item. Action creates forward movement. Once you get going, it’s easier to keep going. And, as you
keep moving, your fear will start to fade away.
is the safer choice. When I first made
lize your potential by having the courage to
• What if I make a mistake?
ADJUST YOUR MINDSET
• What if I fail?
Taking a risk is a matter of perspective. If
TION: What risks have you
not the end.
avoiding these risks stopped
• What if I never get any customers? I definitely let negative self-talk get the best of me in the beginning. I was
you win, you will be stronger. If you lose,
you will be wiser. And even if you fail, it’s
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECbeen avoiding?
you from living a fulfilled life?
tempted to hold back because I was
staying where I was, I chose to get fo-
When you decide to take a step even when
best risks I ever took.
roughs puts it, “Leap and the net will ap-
put aside this week in order
is the highest act of faith, and I have person-
afraid that others just wouldn’t get it. But in a moment of truth, rather than
cused, trust God and move forward!
I can say today that it was one of the Fear of the unknown has stopped countless people – talented, intelli-
gent people full of potential – from ever making positive changes in their
lives. Don’t let yourself be one of those people. You can only discover and uti-
the outcome is uncertain, divine providence will move with you. Or as author John Burpear.” You must believe that what you need
will show up when you need it. This truth
How might your life be better if you could find the courage to act in spite of your fears? What limiting beliefs will you to act and set yourself up for
ally witnessed its power countless times in
my own life. 2 Corinthians 5:7 makes the point beautifully, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
it's ok not to be ok.
O.K || Dr. G Speaks
I would like to be real with you, ladies. Is that OK?
here have been times when people have asked how I was doing and I said, “Fine.” But I wasn’t. There
have been times in my life where I would hide the fact that I was going through some things. Well, 2013 was
an extremely difficult year, and I couldn’t hide anything, even if I wanted to. So, I leaned into it. I remember
being uncomfortable and telling family and friends that I wasn’t “good” at certain times, and they loved me just
ELISIA | elisiamagazine.com
the same. I remember telling my students that I wasn’t OK and that opened up great dialogue. I remember
sharing things that I felt were silly or “not big deals.” But they affected me. And, more importantly, it was all OK. Because I knew who was and is on the throne.
I see so many stressed, unhappy, healing, weary, overwhelmed people walking around like they have to put on a happy face. Well, guess what? If you are one of those people,
you are not alone.
Many of us act as if we are always doing great. As if we have it all together and don’t need help. We fake it. We fake it because we are afraid of others seeing that we
because we don’t want to be seen as weak.
But not only does faking it and suppressing things make it tougher to handle real issues later, it also keeps us
from something greater. 2 Cor 12:9 says, “But he said to
me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” Whose strength do you want?
Yours? Or Christ’s? Even on our best days, our strength alone doesn’t sustain us. Therefore, I will boast all the
more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
In reality, we all, yes, WE ALL need support. We all have hard days (weeks, months, years) and need to lean on
Jesus. As my friend Kev says, “We may be fractured but
we are functional.” And that means it’s OK to say things like:
“I know being single is supposed to be a blessing, but that’s not how I feel.” “I know I should be thankful to be in school, but I am overwhelmed.” “I know I should be grateful that I have a stable job that allows me to pay my bills, but I’m facing so many challenges at work.” “I know my loved one is in heaven and I should rejoice, but I miss them and I don’t understand.” Yes, the real you has moments of joy, happiness and triumph. But the real you also has moments of hurt, pain
and disappointment. Now, I’m not talking about wallow-
ing. Staying stuck in your mess is a choice I don’t condone. But it’s ok to give yourself permission to say to God, “I’m not so good right now. I need you.”
When I’m going through tough times, it helps me to ask
Remember, God is with us in the valleys, and His plans
are perfect. ”All things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his
purpose.” Rom 8:28 I wonder, how you might be able to use your storm, trial, uncomfortable moment or
challenging time for your development and the development of others? Pay attention to what God is revealing.
“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”-- Psalms 55:22
Many of us act as if we are always doing great. As if we have it all together and don’t need help. We fake it. We fake it because we are afraid of others seeing that we aren’t as together as we want them to think. We fake it because we don’t want to be seen as weak.
| DR. KRISTEN GUILLORY |
aren’t as together as we want them to think. We fake it
that the Lord guide me, and to get support from loved
ones. I do what I can, and I allow God to do what I can’t. And I maybe throw in a little comedy, a Zumba class or some boxing for fun.
the Big Picture ON HEALTH Iâ€™m a personal trainer. So, you may be wondering, what is my philosophy of health and fitness? Is it low fat, low carb, low glycemic, eat every two hours, intermittent fasting, eat carbs only in the morning (or after a workout), high protein, lots of supplements, no supplements, slow cardio, no cardio, lift light weights with lots of reps, lift heavy weights in small reps? Yes. To all of it.
|| JAMIE SNOW
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am reminded of the parable of seven blind men examining different parts of an elephant and then giving their report to one another. Leg: “It’s like a pillar.”
Tail: “It’s like a rope.” Trunk: “It’s like a tree branch.” Ear: “It’s like a hand fan.” Belly: “It’s like a wall.” Tusk: “It’s like a pipe.”
Not unlike those blind men, health and nutrition experts all seem to come up with research to support their own theories. Objectivity is elusive. To confuse things even more, hot bodied celebrities and fitness gurus sell books, e-books and supplements assuring you that if you follow their plan you will finally get the results you seek. Truth be told, you can probably find a diet for anything you want to support. (I once came across The Drinking Man’s Diet. No lie! I haven’t found The
THEBIGPICTURE YOUR MINDSET IS ALL IMPORTANT. The best fitness results come from seeking health first. Let the hot body be a nice side effect. In fact, there are some impressive studies indicating that weight loss motivated by health and lifestyle factors far exceeds dieting just to lose body fat for its own sake. THROW OUT THE SCALE. One of my favorite authors, Jason Seib, has aptly written that the number on the scale is just that: a number. It will show one thing on earth, another on the moon, another underwater. The scale is just a number. Rely on measurements, body fat analysis and how your clothes fit.
ACTIVELY DE-STRESS YOUR LIFE. Get enough sleep, and go to a doctor that can evaluate your hormonal health. Stress and its accompanying cortisol production hampers the loss of body fat.
Cheeseburgers and French Fries Diet yet, but it’s probably out there.) I have researched nutrition and fitness to a fanatical extent for years, and the following tips represent the best information available based on the latest research and the most cutting edge science of today.
FIND A FORM OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY YOU ENJOY. I have my opinions about optimal exercise, which I will share in future issues. But, in general, the best exercise you can do is one you like enough to stick with. For most people, group exercise is best. I have had few clients that can motivate themselves to stick to a gym workout on their own, but they are exceptions. If you can afford personal training, that will provide the accountability that most people need without having to sweat in front of a room full of strangers. GET SOME SUN EVERY DAY IF YOU CAN. Most Americans are vitamin D deficient which leads to a number of degenerative diseases. Supplementation has not been shown to be as effective as sunshine. BUY YOUR FOOD ON THE OUTSIDE AISLES AT THE GROCERY STORE. Don’t eat it unless is grows in the ground or has a mother. Avoid processed foods like the plague. Skip the fast foods too.
Now, is this everything there is to know about health and nutrition? Of course not. But if you stick around, I’ll help you see the whole elephant.
WHO KNEW THAT A DRIVE DOWN THE HIGHWAY COULD TURN INTO AN UNFORGETABLE NEW PURSUIT?
of a New Reality
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Feleceia Benton, 30 outside of her apartment in Dallas. Benton discovered that the discovery and pursuit of passion is by far the greatest joy any woman can experience.
This magazine was admittedly birthed from a place of man-frustration. Don’t look at me like you’ve never experienced it before. You know what I’m talking about.
One day, I was driving down the highway considering the details of my ever-so-conflicting relationship realities, when I found myself angry, confused and considering how in the world I kept repeating the same bizarre experiences over and over again. For the record, car relationship analysis is not generally something I advise. Intense words fly out of your mouth, some of which have no true relation to one another. People look at you funny from their side-view mirrors. And in my case, my four year old makes loud noises in an effort to drown out the sound of her rattling mother. But there I was, headed due south on I-35, incredibly loud, not depressed, strangely motivated. I am not normally of the “I am woman, hear me roar” breed, but on this day in my life history, I found myself in that place, reciting in my head … well, actually out loud in my car … every relationally confused chant that would come to mind. “What’s wrong with me?” “Why does this keep happening?” “Why, why, why?” “Blah, blah, blah.” Yet again, my complaining left me empowered. While in retrospect I wish my newfound self-respect inspired me to go to the gym and on a diet, it instead provoked me to do what any entrepreneurial ingénue would do – start a magazine. Thankfully, time has tamed my elevated emotions and evolved my efforts into a much more tampered journalistic attempt. Perhaps one more suitable to a diverse audience. Yay. Time.
betrothal. Listen, I want to be married as much as the next good-housekeeping Christian woman, but if I live my life day-to-day waiting for Mr. Man, given the shifting of our society, who’s to say how long I’ll be waiting? What’s more, my branded attempt at success is not always met with understanding, open arms. Men sometimes mistake my diligent efforts to provide a high quality of life for my four-year-old with the immense desire to be i-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t. Well, that’s just not true. Honestly, I want my child to be a trust fund baby, to work for the companies mommy started for her, and to enjoy and live life focused solely on who God designed her to be. Call it fantasy, but it’s my reality. Her life will not be spent trying to figure out how she’s going to pay the water bill or make $23 last 4 days. Mommy has to work very hard now to make that happen later, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have the desire to be taken care of. Don’t mistake my intentional diligence for desired independence.
And does my single-mommy-self-employed status make me any less of a Proverbs 31 woman by definition? I don’t think so. My relationship woes have driven me to a point of understanding in which I hope every Christian woman will arrive.
I want to be married as much as the next good-housekeeping Christian woman, but if I live my life day-to-day waiting for Mr. Man, given the shifting of our society, who’s to say how long I’ll be waiting?
And that is my confession. That’s why I started Elisa Magazine. I wish it was deeper or that I could tell you that I’ve always been passionate about exposing the silenced voice of the Christian woman. I’d be lying to you. The truth of the matter is that as atypical of a situation I think I’m living, I’m starting to realize that I might be more of the norm than the exception.
I happen to have things in my life that fill my heart with incredible joy. Every. Single. Day. I love my child, my family, my work, and the relationships of the few I call friend. And although current man situations still creep into my membranes every so often, when I began doing what I loved to do, my heart and my perspective took a shift for the better. As cliché as it sounds, I've found that I am living my passions, and that has made all of the difference.
For those of us who are not married, if the desire to marry is there, I don’t think it ever goes away. But how much easier is it to deal with the day-to-day when you’re doing what you really love?
It is my belief that time has tainted some of the beauty of tradition.
And for those of us who are married, how much easier is it to deal with the day-to-day when you are doing what you really love?
The point is the same, married or not, children or none.
My mom has been faithfully married to the same man for over four decades. Sickness, health, richer, poorer, life and death, Felton and Brenda Benton have lived their vows. It goes without saying that my mommy and daddy are the exception, not the norm. And while my plight is not to go into a lengthy diatribe about the forsaking of the marriage bed, I will use the Bentons to make my point. I love, cherish and respect the sanctity of my parents’ marriage. It is a rarity not enough celebrated. However, it seems as if as Christian women, we live in a bit of a parallel universe. One where the elders of our day only know how to school women in the ways of future
For the love of all that is good, find and enjoy what you love to do! This magazine celebrates women who are living their passions with great fervor. They are an inspiration to me, and I know that when you get to know them, you’ll fall in love with the direction of their lives just as much as I have. They will often share from places of depth and vulnerability, and hopefully they’ll find the strength to empower themselves, as they do you, along the way. It’s easy to feel empty when you don’t know what fills you. Today, I encourage you to find what fills, and pursue it with all you’ve got.
life & family
Love I CHOOSE the
RUSHING INTO A RELATIONSHIP MIGHT NOT BE THE BEST BET IF THIS SECRET LOVE DOESN’T DIE BEFORE YOU BEGIN.
“ I love me some me!” Many of us associate these words with the infamous and often obnoxious, Terrell Owens. While some berate, belittle, and criticize this former NFL player for his antics on and off the field, few of us are willing to own up to what he so easily admits. The truth is that most of us privately struggle with loving ourselves just a little too much. I’ve even heard someone refer to it as Secret Self Love. And we want it to be a secret. We don’t want others to know how much we really do think about just how special we are. Even when we’re considering getting married and raising children, men and women alike enter these obligations expecting to have someone to love them and take care of them. We want to be waited on hand and foot instead of being grateful for the opportunity to serve someone else. From the moment we wake up until the time we lay our heads down for rest, demands for our attention and time are never ending. Between work, dropping off the children, picking up the children, practice schedules,
tions, requests, and demands are placed in front of me, I constantly have to stop and think about what my response will be. I’ve worked all day, but one of my children needs assistance with their math homework. What is my response?
From the moment we wake up until the time we lay our heads down for rest, demands for our attention and time are never ending. after-school meetings, weekend activities, tournaments, games, family gatherings and second (or even third!) jobs, putting our own desires aside to be there for someone else yet again when we finally get home to relax isn’t always appealing. Haven’t I been working for somebody else all day? we think. Can I catch a break!? I’ve got news for you, honey. Life doesn’t come with breaks. But fortunately for us, there is a way to free ourselves from Secret Self Love in order to experience contentment, joy, and peace. And it’s as simple as changing your mind. Instead of thinking, “Oh, no. Who else do I have to do something for today?” we can stop and ask ourselves, “How can I look at this task as a way to deepen my daily walk with the Lord?”
I am a full time wife and mother. And when those expecta-
I just finished doing laundry, but now my spouse wants to go outside and clean out the garage. What’s my response? I originally scheduled a little “me time” after a very long week, but my son reminded me of a previously planned family engagement. How do I respond? I know it sounds exhausting, but think about it for a minute.
CREATED TO CONTRIBUTE
The Lord allowed us to be on this earth in order to make a contribution. We are His Creation and here to reflect His image. As wives and mothers, he’s already placed us in a position to serve and equipped us with the necessary skills to do so. The life we have been given is a privilege. One that can easily be revoked. Are you going to see it as the gift that it is, or is your life just a list of things to do that constantly get in the way of you appreciating what you’ve been given? elisiamagazine.com| ELISIA
LETTER MARRIED MAN what makes a man get married
PAST DRAMA AND THE FEAR OF FAILED RELATIONSHIPS COULDN’T STOP THIS MAN FROM GIVING LOVE ONE LAST TRY.
by Charles Bowman
focus on co-parenting my daughter and try to make some money.
That’s what I told people in my single years after my divorce. The truth is that I just didn’t know what I wanted. A female friend asked me what my current wife did diﬀerently from the other women I’ve dated. My answer is that she gave me a diﬀerent perspective. We had dated in high school, but when I went oﬀ to college I went a little wild and we broke it oﬀ. We didn't talk again for over 20 years. In that time I kissed a few girls, got married and divorced, and kissed a few more. My relationship with my ex-wife took a lot out of me. The constant arguing made me bitter, and I vowed to never get married again. Not because of anything she did. I knew when I said “I do” that I was making a mistake. I was not ready for that level of commitment and responsibility. But she was pregnant and we got along ... most of the time … so we got married. I tried hard in the beginning, but when the baby came I completely forgot to be a husband. The more I focused on being a father, the more my relationship whittled away into something unrecognizable. On my birthday, several years after my divorce, I received an email. It was my high school girlfriend. We talked via email and the occasional phone call for over a year. I didn't know it at the time but we were building the foundation of a good marriage one conversation at a time. One day, after a few more months of talking, she told me that she was an independent woman. I rolled my eyes. “Right until you need some help with your light bill,” I thought. Past experience had taught me not to believe that a woman could or would take care of herself without expecting anything from me. She would prove me wrong. She had two children, and it was a long time before I met them. (I was getting checked out. I couldn't meet the children until she was sure I would be around.) Her daughter had epilepsy and the medicine that controlled her seizures cost $1400 dollars a month. By the time I learned this information, we had been dating exclusively for a while, and once I knew the cost of her medical expenses, I oﬀered to help. Her answer forever changed my view of women. She simply said, “I don't want your money. The Lord will make a way. He always has.” I pushed, but she continued to refuse. For months I watched the woman I cared about struggle to buy medicine for her daughter and take care of her family. And even though money was tight for her, she still ﬁgured out a way to buy me a small gift when I came to visit and assured me that they had what they needed. As men, our willingness to share automatically shuts down when money gets scarce. My last is my last. But not her. She shared with me when she almost didn’t have it. She was never selﬁsh. I knew then that she was truly special.
Around this time I started having a recurring dream. A voice kept telling me, “You are going to get married on a Wednesday.” I laughed and told all my friends about it, but I bought a ring and rode around with it in the console of my car just in case. It was January when I bought the ring and “Wednesday” came in October. Over those nine months she completely changed my character as a man. I knew she didn't want my money. I knew she genuinely cared about my wellbeing, and she considered me a priority in her life. When she took away all of the things that made me want to protect myself out of fear, I was left with nothing to do but love and cherish her and our children.
me better. When I'm not with her, I am trying to ﬁgure out a way to get back to her soon as I can. In previous relationships when I heard, “I don't need a man for anything,” that said to me I don't need her either and I was free to keep a spare.
I hear women say all the time that that don't need a man, even when their man is in the room. Not my wife. She says, “I need my man. I don't need his money but I need him.” And that's how she treats me. Day in and day out she shows me that I am important to her, so I spend every free moment pouring all the love I have into her. Those four words – I need my man – make
Now, as I write this, I am sitting in my truck in front of her salon looking through the window and thinking about how much I love her. I don't have a spare or a backup plan. I'm all in. I believe that over his lifetime a man ﬁnds only one true love. And when he does, there is no compromising because that’s exactly what he needs to be whole. For me, she was it.
I hear women say all the time that that don't need a man, even when their man is in the room. Not my wife. She says, I need my man. I don't need his money but I need him.
I WILL NEVER GET MARRIED AGAIN. Women are crazy and the drama never ends. I am going to
mommy of boys
...cause’ I’m acutally a
all the corporate success in the world couldn’t replace what now motivates this mom
am daughter, a sister, a friend, a wife, an educator, an administrator, a child of God and mother of
two fabulous boys. I’ve gone to college and then to grad school. My first year of teaching, I was recog-
nized as teacher of the year. During my second year,
I was selected to participate in a program that would pay for me to get my master’s degree and fast track me in to an administrator role. When I graduated
with my master’s, I had a 3.9 GPA. Most people would say that things come quite easily for me. I would say
that I work hard. My life as a mom has been no differ-
ent. It is my role as mommy to two boys that humbles, challenges and excites me all at the same time.
Although my resume is an impressive read, there
have been many times in my professional career that I have walked in doubt, sat in confusion, stood by my beliefs and laid it all on the line. I have occupied the
greeting that awaits me at home is what allows me to survive the chaos that makes up my day.
Over the years, I’ve learned a valuable lesson. Regardless of how difficult my days may be, it is the end of the day when it all becomes clear. It is the cheer of
this crowd that reminds me of the important things
in my life. It is the smile on their faces that brings me greater joy than that corner office. It is the excite-
ment in their voices when I hear them say, “Mommy’s home!” that I am reminded of my importance. When I get home, my oldest child says to me, “Mommy,
with every step you take, the world gets brighter and brighter.” If you know of that joy, you too must be a
mother of boys. And if not, don’t hate me because I’m a Rock Star!
corner office with the picturesque view. I have man-
aged money better than others have, and I’ve worked hard to prepare myself for opportunities to come.
There have been times that I have felt as though my
workload, and sometimes even the of people I work with, would break me. However, it is the unfailing
love of my two boys that helps me to realize that it is
not a title, a salary, a corner office or reserved parking that define who I am. They do. My boys are simply what I do.
You see, no matter how difficult my days have been, there is nothing that compares to the roar of the
crowd, the cheers and the celebration that I experi-
ence when I arrive home and walk in the door every day. The chants can be heard throughout our home
as they applaud and rush to me for a hug as if I were
a rock star. Time after time, this greeting is what I’ve
I’M A ROCKSTAR
needed to put my day in perspective. Because of them I can get through a tumultuous day and come out
unscathed. No matter what gets thrown at me, there are two boys waiting for me at home that are truly
excited thatI have (finally) arrived. There is not a single day that I can recall where I was greeted that way at the office. The anticipation of the warm, heartfelt
For the past four years, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office
has been collecting dust on my book shelf. The highly intriguing title is an in your face guide on how to quit making “girly”
mistakes and take control of your professional pursuits. While
most of us already know that “apologizing” (#60) and “flirting” (#24) are basic do not do’s of the business world, Dr. Lois P.
Frankel hits home with a mistake that many of us unconsciously commit. Before I tell you what it is, let me take you on the journey of how I finally corrected my colossal mishap.
As a teen, I aspired to play in the WNBA and eventually transition into a career as a sideline reporter. All of you would have
been asking, “Pam who?” as I killed it with the best interviews ever. Fast forward to college when I wasn’t playing collegiate ball and the journalism dream began to fade. Too much em-
phasis on writing and not enough on talking! I took an interest in interpersonal communication, and my own manifestation
of Jeremiah 29:11 began to unfold. Now, everyone knows that when you graduate with a communications degree, you don’t really know what you’re going to do with it. I may not have known, but God did.
Eventually, I stumbled into a career of training and development, and I realized that I really dig helping people develop
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|| TRACY WILLIAMS
skills that will enable them to be successful. However, notice that I said “…stumbled into.” At the time, there seemed to be no structure to my career and the decisions I was making. I knew I liked helping people and I knew I liked to talk, but what was my pur-
pose? What intentionality was I putting behind these decisions? I had Failed to Define My Brand – Mistake #45.
The problem with failing to define your brand is that while you
may be doing great things, you are unable to fully realize the value of your contributions. Failing to define your brand limits your
decision making and ultimately inhibits your intentionality. With no brand, you’re allowing your career to happen to you. Worst of all, you haven’t intentionally thought about how your brand will help you fulfill God’s purpose for your life.
Well, recently I got with the program. I no longer go to work
aimlessly. Instead, my actions have purpose and my decisions are intentional. Best of all, they fulfill what I know God has called me to do:
“To live life fully and compassionately with an open mind and heart and with a certainty that my contributions will always leave circumstances better than they were before.”
In order to reach this point, I had to ask myself the following questions:
1. What impact do I want to have along my professional journey? 2. What qualities do I want my name to always be associated with?
refine your personal brand. Don’t wait – start pursuing your professional purpose now!
Cultivation and Empowerment Opportunity (CEO): Develop your personal brand statement and then try it on for
size. Say it out loud to five people in your trusted circle and allow them to give you feedback. Does it fit? Are you missing some-
thing that they see as important to your brand? And above all,
does it reflect God’s purpose and your personal journey? When it does, embrace it and begin living it! MEMO: Meet me here in The Corner Office as we continue to navigate the corporate life while fulfilling our spiritual purpose.
3. What are my core values? 4. What are my personal goals and how do they align with God’s purpose for me? Answering these questions for yourself will help you define and
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FELECEIA BENTON // editor-in-chief ARIAN AUGUSTUS // managing editor SYDNEY CORNELIUS // graphic designer ERICA EDWARDS // accounts manager