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ptimal Living M A G A Z I N E

What Is Your Life Strategy? 5 SMART Ways To Become Unstuck in Life! Featuring Author & Speaker, Hasani Pettiford

What If I Marry The Wrong Person? e Wifey 101 Series True Confessions of a Saved Man e Spices of Life Recipes + Much More!

2013 November/December Issue

In this photo:

Hasani Pettiford

Award-Winning Author and Speaker

Feature article:

5 S.M.A.R.T Ways To Become Unstuck in Life: Turning Dead Situations Into Victories!


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e Publisher’s Perspective What Is Your Life Strategy?


Purpose Driven Living Tips Preparing For The Unexpected


True Confessions of a Saved Man What If I Marry The Wrong Person?

Feature Story


e Wifey 101 Series Career & Leadership Insight



Lifestyles Poetic Moments


10 17

e Spices of Life Recipes A Time of Intercession



PUBLISHER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Tanisha R. Hopson EDITORS LaKeta Lewis Mark McDonald GRAPHIC MEDIA DESIGN Kevin J. Hadden OUR CONTRIBUTORS Alana B. DeLonda Adams Marsha Carroll Rhonda Feimster Hasani Pettiford Rosemarie Phipps Alana B. Rhonda York Michelle Wilson

Optimal Living Magazine is published six times per year with a mission to encourage our readers to live the most abundant life possible, as it relates to their spirituality, purpose, finances, health/wellness and relationships. Advertisers who offer products, services and events in support of our mission are encouraged to contact our Advertisement Sales Department at: 1-888-876-1722 or Copyright 2008 – 2013. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form, including photocopying, electronic retrieval of publication without written permission of the Publisher.


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Optimal Living Magazine & î ˘e Writing Authority present:

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Introducing the Pastor's Corner! This dynamic & unique section is exclusively for pastors, and pastor’s wives! Spread the word about your ministry, special events or words of encouragement: 250 words for only $250/issue! For more information: Contact us:

Reverend Dr. Howard-John Wesley Celebrates 5 Dynamic Years as Pastor at Alfred Street Baptist Church! Reverend Dr. Howard- John Wesley is best known as the power-house preacher that has created quite a stir in Alexandria, Virginia since his installation in 2008 as pastor of Alfred Street Baptist Church. On any given Sunday, the congregation has no problem getting a little bit closer on their pews or anywhere in the building where a seat can be found to hear this anointed pastor preach the Word of God with an intense passion that always seems to be just what the doctor ordered for their souls. Pastor Wesley's disciplined prayer life, study habits and listening to his congregation through everyday conversations and counseling sessions really helps him to deliver life changing sermons every Sunday. As the people speak to him, he hears God and discerns the kinds of messages that the congregation needs to hear. One statement that he says oen is, “I feel that I am doing my job when I make the congregation not need me by encouraging them to develop their own prayer life and study of God's word.” is year, Pastor Wesley celebrates his 5th year anniversary at the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church! e anniversary weekend will be September 21 – 22, 2013 and the guest preacher will be Reverend Dr. Marcus Cosby. For more details, visit:


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e Publishers Perspective WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STRATEGY? Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers. - 3 John 1:2


n life, sometimes stuff just happens!! Can I get an Amen?? However, in order to maintain your peace, joy and well-being, you must have a life strategy. I say this because there are far too many people living below God's best for their lives, due to a lack of understanding concerning how to navigate life's issues. Jeremiah 29:11 says, For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” As we patiently wait for God's plan to unravel, He gives us the Holy Spirit to discover His strategy and wisdom to deal with things that are spiraling out of our control. is strategy helps us to think things through on a higher level, as we learn to accept cumbersome situations, and difficult people in our lives. As you consider the worst

people forget that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Prayer is always the key in working through a life strategy, because the Holy Spirit will always lead and guide you into all things for your life, making all things work out for your good. and best things that can possibly happen; the next step is to apply a concrete, divine strategy to deal with all types of circumstances. For instance, years ago I would have panic attacks whenever I was bombarded with too much, such as: issues with work, people, personal relationships, school, family, etc. I was a people pleaser, always wanting everyone to be happy. Yikes!! en, one day – I got a clue. I realized that God can work all these things out in due time. I started to understand that I needed to please God,

not people. All that I needed to do is work His plan, His “divine” life strategy for me. Well, aer I got this clue and got over the disappointment of things I couldn't control; it was easier to let the chips fall where they needed to fall. It was easier to let go and let God have his way, with a smile. As 3 John 1:2 infers, God wants us to prosper in all things concerning every aspect of who we are. He wants us to prosper and be whole in our minds, bodies and spirits. Oen times,

Today, I pray that you will stop, pray and work out your own life strategy with the help of the Holy Spirit. May you have a blessed winter, lled with new insight about how to handle life's ups and downs. May you stay in His peace, love and joy – no matter what is going on! With Warm Regards,

Tanisha R. Hopson Tanisha R. Hopson Editor-In-Chief, Publisher Optimal Living Magazine

Ms. Hopson is available for speaking engagements! Follow her on FB @OptimalLivingMagazine and on Twitter @ Olmagazine Optimal Living Magazine


True Confessions of a Saved Man by Jason Ottley

What if I Marry the Wrong Person? Modern society has enchanted our thinking to suggest that choosing the right mate is so essential that if we end up choosing the wrong one – then the rest of our lives are doomed. Because we are human, our decision making does not always work out in our favor. Which is why I'm glad the bible says, “Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. ey are new every morning!” Isn't it amazing that despite our erroneous decisions, God can simply make a miracle out of our mess? ere is only one time in scripture where God created one speci c man for one speci c woman – the book of Genesis outlines the love story of Adam and Eve. Our own thinking, that God has ONE right person for us, has caused many people to remain single hoping, wishing, and waiting for that RIGHT person. And for others, we have married, divorced, married again, divorced again, and then re-married in search of the RIGHT one. I certainly believe there are times where God allows two purposeful people to cross the same paths and those two people get it the rst time. Certainly He will lead us to make wiser choices and pro table decisions, including that of a mate. But, what about everyone else – the not so fortunate ones? Is their destiny destructively altered if they don't mature fast

enough to select the right one? Certainly not! In the words of Michael Pearl, “marriage is the boot camp of life where men and women discover their strengths and weaknesses, and have opportunity to adjust their characters”. When we discover things about ourselves that we don't like, we are quick to put the blame on someone else. Whether it is our upbringing, neglected teen-age years, rejection from a college crush, or even a failed marriage – we tend to point the nger at others instead of taking responsibility for what we did. It is in the selfdiscovery of the things that you dislike that can cause you to abandon ship. And most times those things are demands – silent demands that you have placed on other people. We have to be careful that we don't place demands on people because like Michael Pearl said, “we need the opportunity to adjust our characters”. And if you married the wrong person, could it be that you didn't give yourself time to adjust your character? Or, perhaps you haven't given yourself time to love your spouse enough to be patient while they adjust his or her character?

your best, marriage is not for you. It is for those who seek to be better and seek to make the lives of their spouse better. It is humbling and not self-seeking. It will turn your good into great! Today's Challenge: Everyone has a checklist. A checklist of what they are looking for in a spouse. Create a list of your personal strengths and list of your personal weaknesses. Be honest! Keep this list and when you are dating/courting someone you are beginning to have strong feelings for, show them your list and wait on their response. Both of you should know exactly what you are walking into. is is a good start! Jason Ottley

About the Writer

Marriage is challenging. And if you are searching for a perfect person, your search will lead you to your grave. In marriage, two imperfect people come together to make each other better. If you are thinking you are already at Optimal Living Magazine


5 S.M.A.R.T. Ways To Become Unstuck in Life:


Are you stuck in a dead end job or relationship? Is your money looking funny? Do you walk around with an empty feeling inside of you? If so, there are ve things you must do to walk in God's perfect will.

Develop A Workaholic Mentality If someone offered you a tremendous sum of money, perhaps billions of dollars, but the exact amount would be determined by how well you could learn to speak French in two months time. You would embark on the most intense crash-course program of learning in your life! You would study from morning to night, burn the midnight oil, listen to language tapes, carry ash cards wherever you went, and seek out uent French speakers, so you could practice with them.

Dream Big Dreams People who take charge of their own lives are known for being visionaries. ese people have an uncanny ability to see well beyond their present day circumstances into their future. ey are always thinking two, ten or even twenty years down the road. Imagine yourself sitting before a large motion picture screen. You are on the screen. e important thing you see in these pictures is a vivid and detailed image of the person you want to become and things you want to accomplish. What do you see? Imagine ten years have passed and you are living your ideal life. What kind of person have you become? What are you doing, ideally? What do you have? When you dream big dreams, it puts you on a path that will bring you closer to God's intended purpose for your life. Set Goals No success can be achieved unless there is rst a goal to carry one into the threshold of accomplishment. And yet the great bulk of people continue to dri through life with no goals at all, or with only vague dreams, hopes and wishes. I once read about a Korean billionaire who gets up early every morning and spends an hour writing his goals 10

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over and over. Successful people who have gotten unstuck with the issues of life have always had clear, focused goals that have guided them to greatness. However, not all goals are equal. To ensure your success you must have SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for the following:

During those two months, no one could drag you near a time wasting television program. You would probably allow nothing to interfere with your progress other than the necessar y physical activities to sustain life itself. All for money! It's amazing what people will do once they are motivated. Once you nd your motivation in life and apply the same type of work ethic, it will be the key to take you places that you never imagined of going.

Speci c: states exactly what will be accomplished. Measurable: a milestone event with speci c dates given. Action-Oriented: sets up things to be done. Realistic: goals that can be achieved within geographic and other constraints. Timely: time allowed that is reasonable, but not too long.

Embrace Life's Failures Successful people who have managed to overcome their obstacles in life have experienced all types of setbacks, difficulties and undesirable results in life. e average person would view this as failure. And failing is something most people dread. But people who are unstuck view failure as an opportunity to grow and learn. How do you view failure?

Once you have SMART goals, success is almost guaranteed.

One of the key attributes of accomplished people is never

5 S.M.A.R.T Ways To Become Unstuck in Life: Turning Dead Situations Into Victories! (cont.) describing undesirable results as failure. Failure contains the seed of victory and of success. Failure teaches you what works and what doesn't. When you study the reasons for your failure and learn from it, you'll nd the key to your success. In L eadership Magazine, J. Wallace Hamilton states, “e increase of suicides, alcoholics, and even some forms of nervous breakdowns is evidence that many people are training for success when they should be training for failure.” When you take the time to train for failure, it teaches you not to quit when opposition or undesirable results occur. It teaches that success is on the other side of failure. So embrace failure and learn how to turn it into success.

Be Persistent e last way to become unstuck with the issues of life is to be persistent. Persistence is the ability to face defeat again and again and again without giving up. Persistent people are stubborn. ey refuse to take no for an answer. ey believe that winning isn't everything, it's the only thing. ey refuse to surrender, refuse to relent, give up, cave in and quit.

Hasani Pettiford About the Writer

Persistent people develop a dogged determination to follow through their plans regardless of obstacles, criticisms or circumstances. You can have anything you want in life if you are willing to pay the price of persistence. If these 5 steps are diligently pursued, you will become unstoppable and begin to move into God's perfect will for your life!

THE WRITING AUTHORITY “Where Excellence is in the Details”

1-888-876-1722 ces i v r e S g n i d a e r f o o r • Editorial/P s l a i r o t u T g n i t i r •W g n i t i r W s n o i s s i • Academic Adm letter writing r e v o C & e m u s e •R Write us at: Optimal Living Magazine


e Wifey 101 Series: The Awesome Power of Speaking Blessings Over Your Husband and Children She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. – Proverbs 31:26 s wives we should consider it a privilege to speak blessings over our husbands and children. Do you know that you are in a spiritual war for your family? ere are demonic principalities that are operating each day to make a mockery out of God's church. Satan does this by attacking foremost our marriages and then our children. is does not have to be proved to you. Just look around at the divorce rates, men that are not rising up in their spiritual positions in the home, and children going every which way but right. ere are only two kinds of power and they are that which comes from God and other from Satan. When I began to take a deeper walk in my prayer life I was able to see clearly many of the cunning attacks of the enemy. God started to show me how to strategically pray and speak over my husband and children. If you are tired of seeing your family hit from every angle, then you must begin to speak blessings on purpose over not only yourself but your husband and children. e word tells us that: Death and life are in the powerof the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit

By DeLonda Adams



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thereof. (Proverbs 18:21) I am sure you have read this verse many times, but how many of us are really good at taming our tongue? In the book of James, it tells us that no man can tame it and from it we speak blessings and curse men who were made in the image of God (Read James 3). Our husbands and children need different things in each season of their lives and we must be discerning over what we should be speaking over them. When you begin to consistently do this you will see fruit that remains.. I have seen rsthand the changes that take place when I submit to God, resist the devil and speak good things over my husband and children. is may look like it is easier said than done. However,

speaking words that edify only comes from a woman that has submitted herself to Christ and has a transformed mind. What are you putting in? If you are looking at junk and listening to junk, then nothing but double junk will ow from your spring. e word of God tells us clearly that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. e mandate that God has given wives to care for their families does not only include cooking, cleaning, and having sex. But one of the most important things is watching over the ways of our households which includes spiritual warfare by speaking over our husbands and children and shaking the gates of hell. No one is going to do it for you. e world is against the church, the sanctity of marriage and the devil is aer our children. Will


Guess what? ere are no secret habits! Organized people simply have rules in place to help save time. Quick tip: Don't try to organize everything at once. Set aside a small amount of time each day for organizing (i.e., 15-20 minutes). You'll be surprised how much you can accomplish in a short amount of time. Start with the rst rule, and work your way down the list: 1. Reduce/eliminate before you organize. Remove everything

from the closet, drawer, or other container; clean it out, and only keep the items you love and really use on a consistent basis. If you can't bear to part with something, put it in a box marked “maybe” and store it away. On the label, describe the contents and the current date. If haven't used any of the items within six months, let it go! 2.Designate a place for everything. Every item must have an assigned place. For example: You should have one place for car/house keys (next to

By Rhonda Feimster

the door is best) and you'll never lose them again. Put a key holder on the wall right inside the door and hang your keys there as soon as you get in the house or you can use the purseket to keep your keys and things organized in your purse/handbag: 3. Put things back. It's simple; aer you use an item, put it back where it belongs, right away. Most people have the intention of "putting it away later". is habit will save you a lot of cleaning, sorting, and organizing later. Optimal Living Magazine


Lifestyles: Seven Secret Habits of Organized People (cont.)

4. Write things down/don't procrastinate. Organized people keep lists, notes, and tasks in one consistent place such as a planner, or calendar. ey reference their lists and notes on a daily basis. Carry a small pocket notebook wherever you go so you can write things down immediately. en transfer the tasks or notes into your day planner, online calendar or to-do list, so you don't forget. Set goals and assign deadlines to get things done. 5. Don't allow papers to pile up. Place an inbox in a central location in the kitchen or on a small table in the entranceway for all incoming mail, notes from school, etc. en, once a day, or weekly, review your mail over a recycle container or shredder so

papers don't have a chance to multiply. Take action right away: read, shred, toss, delegate, le, add to your to-do list (if the action needed is on a future date), or do it now. Don't defer these decisions for later. 6. Clean as you go. It's much easier to clean things as you work than to let them pile up into a big cleaning session later. It's easier to do it things in smaller increments. 7. Staying organized. Only keep w h a t y o u u s e a n d e n j o y. Organized people believe in simplicity. Don't let anything take up space that doesn't have a useful or pleasurable purpose in your life. If aer a little while, things tend to start to get disorganized again, don't worry, you can go

back to step one and start over. Finally Organized, Finally Free for the Home is an amazing collection of 2,175 organizing tips, ideas and techniques to help you organize your home, your office and your life: Once you have systems in place, enlist the entire family to keep them going, and then things will stay uncluttered and organized. Rhonda Feimster About the Writer Rhonda Feimster is Owner of “An Eye 4 Order” Professional Organizing & Consulting Services

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Poetic Moments "Who Can Stand in His Presence Without Being Changed" by Tanisha Hopson

As I lay across God's threshing oor, Jesus deposits more of Him and I walk away with less of me. I cry out to God for answers to life challenges; and he blesses me with insight and an anointing that surpasses my understanding. Who can stand in his presence without being changed? As I lay there silently, faced down, arms stretched wide; His mysteries are welcomed and spoken freely into my spirit. His love is like a gentle breath of fresh air; Covering me and keeping me, even in my darkest hour. î ˘e King's love is pure, everlasting, and holy! Who can stand in his presence without being changed? In His presence confession is a catalyst to my healing, For he searches the heart and digs up even the most hidden secrets with me. Yes, he brings forth all hidden motives and gives opportunity to bring it to the altar for a fresh start- never to be remembered again.. Who can stand in His presence without being changed? 18

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e Spices of Life Recipes: Maple-Glazed Yams with Pecan Topping Recipe - Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce - Cornbread Stuffing

Ingredients: · 3 lbs of yams (red-skinned sweet potatoes), peeled, cut into 1/4 inch rounds · 1/2 cup maple syrup · Salt · 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional) · 6 Tbsp chilled butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces · 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed · 1 1/2 cups pecans Preparation: 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Heat a large pot of salted water (add a tablespoon of salt for every two quarts of water) until boiling. Add the yam rounds. Cook the yams until the water starts to simmer again, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, then rinse in cold water. 2. Butter a baking dish. Arrange the yam rounds

in the baking dish, overlapping the pieces, layering the yam rounds to ll up the dish. Sprinkle each layer liberally with salt. Sprinkle the yam rounds with orange zest if using. Pour maple syrup over yams. Dot with 2 Tbsp of the butter. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until yams are almost tender, about 20 minutes. 3. Put 3/4 cup pecans in a blender or spice grinder and grind into a coarse meal. Coarsely chop the other 3/4 cup of pecans. 4. Mix the ground pecans and brown sugar together in a medium bowl. Using your ngers, mix in the remaining 4 Tbsp of butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Mix in the chopped pecans. 5. Sprinkle the pecan mixture over the yams. Bake the yams, uncovered, until the topping browns, about 15 minutes. Optimal Living Magazine


e Spices of Life Recipes: Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce (cont.)

Ingredients: ·1 bunch of asparagus (about 1 lb) ·10 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick plus 2 Tbsp) ·3 egg yolks ·1 Tbsp lemon juice ·1/2 teaspoon salt (skip if using salted butter) Pinch of cayenne Preparation: 1. Prep the asparagus. Break off the tough ends with your ngers. Bend the asparagus spears near the end and they will break naturally where the spear is no longer tough. For an elegant presentation of the spears, use a vegetable peeler to peel off a very thin layer of the outer skin of the lower two to three inches of the asparagus spears. Prepare a large, shallow pan (with a cover) with a half inch of water and a steamer rack. 2. Prepare the Hollandaise sauce. Melt the butter 20

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in a small pot. Put the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt and cayenne into a blender. Blend the eggs for 2030 seconds at medium to medium high speed until lighter in color. Turn blender down to lowest setting and slowly drizzle in the hot melted butter while the blender is going. Continue to blend for a few seconds aer all of the butter is incorporated. Taste the sauce and add more salt or lemon juice if needed. Keep warm while you are steaming the asparagus. 3. Bring the water in your steaming pan to a boil. Place the asparagus on the steaming rack. Cover. Steam for 3 to 5 minutes, until tender, but still a little crisp, de nitely not mushy. e timing depends on how thick the asparagus spears are. Plate the asparagus. Pour Hollandaise sauce over them.

e Spices of Life Recipes: Cornbread Stuffing (cont.)

Preparation Time: 20 min

Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cooking Time: 50 min

1. Cook bacon in a heavy skillet until crisp. Turn heat down and add onions and celery; saute until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the thyme and sage and saute until fragrant. Stir in pecans.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings Ingredients: 3/4 pounds bacon, cut into chunks 2 large onions, chopped 4 ribs celery, chopped 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage 2 cups chopped pecans 2 (16-ounce) bags dried corn bread stuffing mix 4 cups chicken broth 1/2 stick butter

2. In a large bowl, add the cornbread mix, bacon and vegetables, and stir in the chicken broth. Add to a 13 by 9 by 2-inch casserole dish. Add butter slices to the top of the casserole and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes then remove foil and cook until top is crisp, about 15 more minutes.

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A Time of Intercession

Dear Heavenly Father: I give your name praise and honor just for one more day!!! We are all truly blessed beyond measure because we get another opportunity to dwell in your presence, and simply say “thank you”. Father, I want to thank you for each and every Optimal Living Magazine reader today. ank you for all the gis, talents and the unique qualities that make each and every person special to you Heavenly Father. Where there is strife, let there be your peace that passes all understanding. Where there is confusion, let wisdom show up and preserve her. Where there is sickness and lack, let your Word of healing/provision make them well and nancially established. Father, I pray that you would give my brothers and sisters in Christ wisdom, strength, and the fortitude to ght the good ght of faith today according to your Word. Be with us today. Be our joy, be our peace and let your love dwell in each and every one of us, so that others may know that we belong to you and seek a deeper relationship with you. We glorify you and bless you forever more Lord! You are worthy to be praised... Happy anksgiving and Merry Christmas!! May it be well with you and your family. In Jesus' name. Amen.


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Optimal Living Magazine 2013 Winter Preview Issue  

Do You Have a Life Strategy? Our Winter Issue is all about managing your life with the help of the Holy Spirit! Purchase our Winter Issue fo...

Optimal Living Magazine 2013 Winter Preview Issue  

Do You Have a Life Strategy? Our Winter Issue is all about managing your life with the help of the Holy Spirit! Purchase our Winter Issue fo...