I’m Pregnant!!!

I am Pregnant with the promises of GOD!  He told me so.  He redistributed by focus from the natural child I desire to have, to the life that is already growing inside of me in many forms.  I’m pregnant with businesses, a nonprofit organization, a novel and I’m sure that I will conceive many more babies in the future.

I am reminded that God’s timing is always perfect.  He knows what he is doing in my life and in him I will always put my trust.

Although I desire a child of my own,  my time has not yet come.  A Delay however, is not a Denial.  My father quietly said to me, “What about the other babies I’ve given you? Don’t forsake those children! You must be a mother and nurture those ideas I’ve put deep inside  your belly as well… so that you will be ready at the appointed time to give birth!!”

I am pregnant with a the promises of God.  EDD (Estimated Date of Delivery) to be determined…

But this is what I do know:

“Behold, he will do something in “me” at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle.”  1 Samuel 3:11

WHAT ARE YOU CARRYING INSIDE OF YOU!?!

No Fear, No Limits: Living a Life Without Regrets!!

Is there something that you’ve always wanted to do but never got around to it? Maybe you just haven’t built up the courage or nerve to try it yet.  Is it a new business? Would you like to travel to an exotic destination?  Buy your first home? Maybe you dream of parasailing or even skydiving?  Let me ask you a question…What’s holding you back? Is it Fear, Money, Time?

Let me encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and turn those possibilities into something real.  Into something that’s tangible gratifying and satisfying.  Hey, don’t just spend your life sitting on the sidelines of “I Wish I Could Avenue.”   I know you’ve all heard this saying before, but life is really too short not to live out your dreams and ambitions. As the good book so eloquently puts it: “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John10:10 NLT).

 

Here are some simple steps that can help you conquer your fears, live out your dreams and start putting some check marks on that bucket list of yours.  I hope this helps someone.

  1. Forget the “Naysayers”

You don’t need anyone’s permission to do what God has placed on your heart. In fact, the sooner you realize that you all are called to do something that is unique and specific to who you are as an individual, the better off you will be.  Never look for another person to validate what’s on your mind, in your heart and soul. After the all, the vision was given to you, so don’t seek the answers from naysayers, go to the source.

  1. Do something…Anything

Make the first step today.  Grab a notebook, do some brainstorming, conduct some research, read various books on the topic and by all means, decrease your social media and TV time.  Note, that none of the actions mentioned here requires any money, but is does require focus and dedicated time.  It’s important to know that no step is too small.  Each action you take gets you one step closer to achieving your goal.  Hey, you have to start somewhere!

  1. Don’t share your dreams with everyone

In other words: “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you (Matthew 7:6, NLT). Do I need to explain any further? If you can’t help me fulfill it, provide me with valuable resources, or some encouragement; Nope, I’m not sharing an ounce of anything with you.  I hate Destiny Distractors.  Those people who are in your life who really have no value, but to tell you how you can’t, how expensive it is, and how crazy your idea maybe.  Please, don’t cast your pearls upon swine!  They don’t know what to do with such precious things.

  1. Find an accountability partner

Unlike the Destiny Distractor, this is the person who you know is going to encourage and support you.  In other words, if God said it, this friend will trust, agree and believe with you hands down!  Their genuinely happy to see good things happen to and for you. You’ll recognize this person as they are the ones sending you articles and connects to help you get that business started.  He/she is the friend that is going to hold you accountable. They will stop you from buying that Channel bag or fellas that expensive watch.  He/ she is the friend that is going to pick you up when you hear the many NO’s.  Your accountability partner is always going to stand by you with words of encouragement but also give you the truth as well.

  1. Look around you

Now that you have an Accountability Partner, and you got rid of your Naysayers and Destiny Distractors, you need to do a little more inventory. Who’s surrounding you?  If you can look around and everyone in your circle is doing what you’re doing, it may be time for some upgrades.  The people in our lives should challenge us, inspire us, and stretch us. You don’t have to get rid of your friends, but there is a saying that says: “Make new friends, but keep the old ones.  One is Silver and the other is Gold.”  Look at the change in your purse, are they all Silver?  You have to mix it up in order to get a new perspectives on life and its possibilities.

  1. Get your finances in order

Whatever it is you desire to do, whether it is to start a new business, or to travel; I’m sure it’s going to take some coins. Therefore, take some time and get your finances in order.  For instance, repair your credit, put yourself on a budget, or start a travel fund.  Honestly, I live by my budget.  I literally have a budget for everything I spend money on (I’ll do a blog on finances pretty soon). People often want to know how I travel as often as I do…simple, I budget. I know where my money is going before it even comes to me.  So, start budgeting and saving.

  1. Last, don’t be afraid to FAIL!

I took a leadership class with GE last year and I learned a valuable lesson.  FAIL equals: First Attempt In Learning! That little acronym set me free…. for real.  Don’t be afraid to FAIL guys.  There’s a learning curve to everything.  Fear is a crippling thing that can keep you down and on the sidelines.  Be a risk taker.  It’s better to first weigh your options and take the risk than to live in a constant state of mind of “I wonder what if.”  So, just go for it!

I hope this encourages someone to step out on Faith.

No Fear, No Limits: Living a Life Without Regrets,

TKD (The Kings Daughter)

 

Seven Things I Like About Living in the Middle East

So often when I come back home to the US the number one question people ask is “how do you like living over there?” My response is always, “I really like it!”  Which I really do.  Like any place on earth, there will be pros and cons, but for the most part, I’m pretty content with my life here in the Middle East.  Reflecting on this has prompted me to write and share the things I like most about living in the Middle East.  Now, there are many more things I could add to this list, but these are just a few I thought I would share with you.  See my top seven reasons below.  Enjoy!

Not Having to Pump my own Gas

Here in the Doha, we do not pump our own gas…at all…ever…never!  We simply pull up to the gas station and wait in line.  All gas stations have attendants that will pump the gas for you.  Now, this can get tricky when I come home to the US, as sometimes I forget I’m not in the desert anymore. Needless to say, there have been several times that I’ve waited at the pump in the US for the little man to come and serve me…SMH.

 Working with Other Expats

Living in the Middle East where 80 % of the population are expats means that the majority of people I work with are from different countries.  I literally work with people from every continent.  As I learn more and more about my fellow expats and their languages, there is really never a dull moment when we get together.  Learning new slang words and differentiating an Australian accent from an Irish accent use to be so difficult when I first moved here.  Now, I rarely have to ask someone “where are you from? Or to repeat themselves or ask what does that mean.  I find that the more we spend time together, the more we begin to understand our unique languages and cultures.  I often find myself using those terms when I’m communicating with some of my colleagues.  For instance: Elevator=Lift, Vacation=Holiday, “is this your lot? = “are you paying for this?” and Cheers=goodbye.  Yes, the British influence in my life here in Qatar is represented well, LOL!

 Car Wash Attendants at the Mall

Ok, this maybe weird, but I believe the US should adopt this one.  Here in Doha, you can go to just about any mall, park your car and get an attendant to wash your car for 15 Riyals ($4USD).  Yep, just look for the man in the red and black jump suit who’s waving at you.  Don’t be alarmed, he’s just letting you know there’s an empty parking spot on his row; and while your shopping he’ll wash your car as well.  Yep, it’s just that easy.

Food

There is a variety of food here in the Middle East and I must say my palate has grown. One of my favorite things to eat would be lamb chops and shawarma.  To me, lamb chops here in the Middle East taste nothing like they do in the US.  The Middle Eastern seasoning are so good and the lamb has a milder taste.  Shawarma, I can best describe as shaved meat.  It could be lamb, beef, or chicken.  It literally rolls around on a rotisserie and they use a knife to shave it off.  The meat is moist and I love it with Basmati rice.  I’ve also grown to love Thai and Indian food as well.  From Chicken Tikka, Butter Chicken, Mutton, Curries with naan or roti and Biriyani.  I find that after almost 3 years of living here, I have craving for some of these dishes from time to time.

 Travel

The Middle East is the perfect spot to travel from to get to just about anywhere and I have a personal goal to visit each continent before I leave Qatar (I have 3 more to go before I reach this goal).  You can get to Europe, Asia and Africa within 6-8 hours from here.  Therefore, these places are closer and way cheaper for me to visit than if I flew from the US.  As expats, when we get bored, we travel, travel, travel.  Which brings me to my next favorite thing…. the religious holidays.

Religious Holidays

Ramadan and Eid Holidays are perks as well.  During Ramadan, we work 6 hours instead of 8.  Although it can be challenging, having to go into to work late and having shorter work days for 30 days is a plus.  We also have two Eid holidays in addition to Ramadan.  Many expats take their vacations during this time as the Eid holidays guarantee us at least a week off with pay from work.  Now, just to be clear, the purpose of these holidays is not solely to be off from work.  Being off with pay is just an added benefit.

Experiencing a New Culture

The last thing I would like to mention is that living in Qatar allows me the opportunity to experience different cultures here and in other countries close by.  I believe having the opportunity to experience a different way of life allows us to see the world from a different lens.  I can’t express how important this is especially in today’s world to be able to relate and connect with one another.  For instance, not everyone eats eggs and grits for breakfast.  Yes, I know what you’re thinking southerners, but it’s true.  Some people have never even heard of grits.   In some countries women get a year of paid maternity leave, in others, health care and college is free.  We are all living, but experiencing life in very different ways.  At the same time, we are very similar as well.  No matter where I go and who I meet, everyone is hustling for a better life.  Some are paying college tuition for their children, others are working on a college degree, maybe starting a business, or planning that next family vacation.  Most of us worship some type of higher power and seek strength from it during despair. Hey, no matter where I go, everybody’s momma is the best cook around, the single women want to be married, and the men want to provide the best for their families.  These are the common threads that bind us no matter what continent you live on, what color you are or whether your female or male.   I strongly believe that as a human race, we must realize that the world is so much bigger than our own neighborhoods, cities, states and country. I challenge you.  Leap over the barriers and enlighten yourselves.

 

MY TRIP TO INDIA (PART II)

Dhobi Ghat

While in Mumbai, I also had an opportunity to visit Dhobi Ghat, the world’s largest outdoor laundry. It was very intriguing to watch the men as they worked in this outdoor laundry. As I scanned over the railway platform, I could see men beside concrete wash pens full of water flogging wet clothes over stones; literally beating the dirt out of each piece of clothing by hand. It reminded me so much of the times when I was young and would watch my granny outside, scrubbing clothes clean in a round tin tub using a washing board. All items that were washed in this outdoor laundry were later hung or laid on the roof tops to dry. As I continued to scan across Dhobi Ghat, I could see school uniforms and everyday clothing swinging on the lines to dry. The white shirts, towels and sheets were scrubbed white as snow as if brand new and had never been used or worn before.

I believe the most intriguing thing about Dhobi Ghat is that they service the residential homes, hotels and hospitals of Mumbai. They can come to your home or place of business and pick up your dirty laundry and delivery it to you once its complete. I was told they never mix up an order as well, how remarkable is that? As more and more people in Mumbai are purchasing washing machines and choosing to do their laundry at home, these men have seen a decrease in their business. However, it hasn’t stopped their dedication and they take pride in offering this service to the people of Mumbai. It is a family owned business and the goal is to pass this art and business on to their children. I think that’s an admirable thing.

The Taj Mahal

The second part of my trip began with a flight to Delhi and a four-hour drive to see the long-awaited Taj Mahal. First, let me say that in living abroad, I spend a considerable amount of time in airports. I can truly say that the airport in Mumbai has some of the best artwork I have seen thus far (see pics below).   As I traveled through the airport I was so excited to see a Burger King and a Pizza Hut, but the excitement quickly faded when I realized that neither served beef. Yep, you heard me right…No Beef! As 67% of the people living in Mumbai are Hindu, beef is not an option that is readily available. Therefore, I opted for chicken Tikka and garlic naan instead and on my way back a Mutton burger.  After my lunch settled, I decided on a relaxing head and foot massage while I waited for my flight to Delhi to depart.

Once I landed in Delhi, Rahil arranged for a driver to pick me up from the airport who also drove me to my hotel in Agra. The drive to Agra was beautiful. It reminded me so much of my hometown in the US. As we drove, I could see fields for miles, just open country as we rode the highway, away from the hustle and bustle. As the sun began to set, so did my eyes and before I knew it, I woke up and had made it to my hotel. The next day, my driver purchased my tickets, gave me my shoe covers and I boarded a golf cart that brought me to the Taj Mahal.

 

To help preserve the site, only battery-operated vehicles can be within close proximity to the site of the Taj Mahal. Some people walk from their hotels, some take a horse ride, and others use the battery-operated shuttles or golf carts that went back and forth. As I entered the gate to the site I was so elated that I had finally made it and was filled with anticipation. However, nothing could prepare me for what I saw as I entered through the entry way and got my first glimpse of the Taj Mahal. I was in complete awe of the beauty of it. As I put on my shoe covers to begin to explore the inside of this masterpiece, I couldn’t help but think about how long it took to build this mausoleum (approximately 20 years) and about the hands that had created such beautiful work. By the way, it is rumored that some of the architects were killed or had their hands severed off so they could never duplicate it anything like it ever again.

After taking my pictures of the Taj Mahal and with a few people who I didn’t even know LOL (this happens when I travel abroad from time to time as a Black American) I shared a bench in front of the Taj Mahal for about an hour with a young lady who was a solo traveler (Anna). As I sat in front of the Taj Mahal, I took the time to truly reflect on my trip to India and the beauty of the art that sat in front of me.

What I appreciated most about my trip to India is this: A little brown girl from John’s Island, South Carolina turned what she saw on a page in a history book into her reality. I made it to India!

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“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love them.” 1Corinthians 2:9

My Trip to India (Part I)

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Departing from Hamad International Airport

 

Recently I had an opportunity to visit India on a short holiday. I ‘ve always dreamed of seeing the Taj Mahal in person.  I can remember in school learning about the Taj Mahal and it’s architecture, wondering how deeply a man must truly love a woman to honor her in such way.  Needless to say I was very excited to see it and decided to save that part of my trip for the end. As you read my highlights from my trip to India below, let me tell you that India surprised me in many ways.  While I would recommend you visit India,  I would say 4 days was more than enough for me and satisfied my curiosity about the country.

Preparation

The preparation for my trip to India was very simple. I used a travel agency referred to me by a friend (“World of Bollywood Tours and Travel”) and the owner Rahil Kahn planned my trip to include booking my hotel accomadations and all of my internal flights. Next,  I quiered all my friends who had visited the country before on ways I could  prevent the infamous  “Dheli Belly.”  Now,  I will tell you that I have yet to meet many people who have visited India and did not get sick while there.  So, in knowing that I have the weakest digestive system ever, I started taking probiotics a week prior to my trip.  On the referrals from my friends, I packed medications for diarrhea and vomititing as well as insect pray, plenty of hand sanitizer and alohol based wipes. All packed, I was ready for my 3hr flight Mumbai.  Oh, I escaped the Dheli Belly Thank God!

 Mumbai

My trip to India began with Mumbai.   To say Mumbai is a busy city is an understatement.  Once I landed in Mumbai and began to navigate the city in my taxi, I was amazed at how much traffic there was. I am told that 25 million people live in Mumbai and out of that 25million, 5 million of them own cars.   Needless to say, I believe I met all 5 million of those people on the streets of Mumbai.  Taking in the sites on the way to my first hotel, I noticed instantly the streets of Mumbai was totally saturated with people and cars.   I would equate this to the 405 in LA, but I believe the traffic in Mumbai moves much faster than LA traffic; if you can imagine that.  The people of Mumabi are friendly and very sociable.  They work during the day, but I promise you they make up for it at night when the sun goes down.  Even after 12am I saw many people and little children walking about and enjoying the night life.

Dharavi Slums

The Dharavi Slums was definitley one of the highlights of my trip to India.  Yes…you heard me right lol, I said visiting the slums was one of the hightlights of this trip. This was a last minute addition to my itenary that was recommedned by a friend and I’m so glad I added Dharavi to this trip . The tour was 2 hours in total.  I was greeted by a young graduate student by the name of Oves who was my tour guide.  Oves began by laying out the do’s and dont’s for me. Where I could and could not take picutres, not to make faces at various smells (so I wouldn’t offend people) and most of all not to forget his name, LOL!

Pictured above: Oves and I at the entrance into the Dharavi Slums

At first sight the Dharavi slums looks like a trash dump site…and in actuality it is in a sense; but if you keep moving, you’ll see something much deeper than that. I say a dump site because most of the cities trash is brought to the Dharavi slums.   In the Dharavi slums alone it is estimated that at least 1 billion USD is generated every year. 1 billion you say…How?  Through recylcing.  The Dharavi slums is an industrial work hourse.  Just about everything and I mean “everything” is recyled there.  Plastic, paint cans, car bumpers, alluminum, leather….in the words of Shirley Ceasar, “you name it.”  I had the privilige to walk through the slums and see the men and women at work recyling all of the above.  I also was able to see men preparing leather to make purses and wallets, making suitcases, and sewing various garments. I even bought a couple of leather bags that were made in the Dharvi slums.

Pictured above:  Leather bag made in the slums, View of the Dharavi slums, washing of plastic pieces, recycling of leather pieces, melting pit for aluminum and aluminum molds.

For about 1 million people, the Dharavi slums is home. Honestly, after my tour,  I was both amazed and ashamed.  Why? because I  had let the images of “Slum Dog Millionaire” and the media define the slums for me as poverty, uneducated, poor and a place of suffering.  However, looks can truly be deceiving.  The Dharavi slums is a community, its a home.  No, its not my neighborhood and it maybe not be yours, but it is theirs, and it is something the people should be proud of.   The people of the Dharavi slums are not begging for money and they don’t considered themselves to be suffering . Their hard workers who work and earn paychecks like the rest of us.  As you navigate  through the slums it feels like an industrial plant: one person cuts the plastics, another separates it by color, another then washes it and another person puts it out to dry.  As you move toward the residential side, it feels more like a community.  The streets are filled with men, women and children just like any other community.  You can see the familiar routine of the husbands at work, the children at school and the wives tending to their homes.  There are markets, movie houses, temples of worship and schools for the children, all there in their community.

If you still dont believe anything good can come out of the slums, then take Oves as an example.  Oves is a graduate student working on his masters and works to pay for school. He is a very smart and intelligent youngn man.  Sounds much like an average person right?  Well Oves was born, raised and currently lives in the slums. This reminds me of Nathanael’s question in John 1:46…”Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” I say Absolutely!

More pics from India: Victorious Terminus railway station (3 million people use this per day), Gateway of India, Haji Ali Dargah (Mosque on the water), Antilia (most expensive house in the world), Rajabai Clock Tower (Big Ben), In front of the Taj Hotel with my friend and guide, Rahil.

If you enjoyed this post, stay tune for part II of my trip to India where I will share the highlights from my visit to Agra to see the Taj Mahal and the outdoor Laundry Mat in Mumbai.

 

Did You Do Something to Your Face? How I Make My Own “BB” (Beauty Cream)

I am not what you may call an early riser.  Each morning I wake up just in  enough time to shower, do my hair and get dressed for work.  Therefore, I do not have enough time to “BEAT” my face in the morning. With that being said, I found the perfect solution for adding a little “something something” to my face.  I use my own BB cream.

BB or CC cream is basically a tinted moisturizer that can be used alone or underneath powder. In searching for the perfect BB cream, I noticed that the shades were very limited and I could never seem to find the perfect shade for me.  So after months of experimenting, I decided I would try and make my own.  I finally found a combination I love and I call it my “BC ” or blemish cream.   I basically use this cream to cover up acne scars and various areas on my face.  The purpose of this cream is not to look made up, but to have more of a natural look.  Hence the title of this post: Did You Do Something to Your Face?  Often, when I wear my BC cream, I’m always asked if I’m wearing makeup or if I did something different to my face, or  I hear “your face looks different.”  The look I get is so natural, its hard at times to tell if my skin is just flawless or if I’m wearing make up.  So, if your not a morning person or lack the skills of  a makeup guru (totally me), checkout my recipe below and feel free to ask any questions you may have; keeping in mind this combination is what works for me. Pinterest has various recipes that you can experiment with.

Ingredients and supplies needed:

(1)    Plastic container with lid

(1)    Spoon (to mix)

(1/2 Tsp.) Liquid foundation (I use Makeup Forever)

(1/2 Tsp.) Moisturizer of your choice with or w/o SPF  (I use Simple Moisturizer with “one” pump of CeraVe moisturizer just for the SPF)

(1/4 Tsp.) Primer (Prime Time by bare minerals)

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Measure and mix well all ingredients into the plastic container and it should look like the picture below with a slightly thick consistency.

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How I use this cream:

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In the mornings I do my normal facial routine.  For me, applying my moisturizer is normally the last step before I apply my blemish cream.  However, because my blemish cream has my moisturizer in it, I normally skip this step. So after using my facial toner,  I apply a little primer to minimize the pores on my face (by Smashbox). Next  I use a brush to apply my cream. I lightly dab my brush in the cream and dot it over my entire face just one time and then blend it; this is a very thin layer. Once blended, I set my face with a little powder (I use a dime size or the equivalent to the tip of my pinky finger of my Bare Minerals).  Last, I spray my face with a setting spray (Urban Decay de-slick) and I’m done.  This process takes me 5 minutes.  As you can see, I am not a loyalist to any brand.  I mix and match as I use what works best for me.

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FAQ:

How did I choose my products? Researching Pinterest and through trial and error. Most importantly I use the products that work best for me and my skin type. 

To moisturize or not to moisturize?  When summer comes, I will use moisturizer with SPF or add SPF to my Blemish cream to protect my face from the sun (temperatures get well above 110 degrees were I live) .  Whether I moisturize my face prior to using my blemish cream also depends on how much coverage I need and whether my face needs extra moisturizing. For instance,  if I need full coverage, I wont moisturize prior to applying it or my face will be greasy. If I’m going through a dry spell, I will add a little moisturizer to my face (normally in t-zone area) prior to applying the cream.

How long does it last?  Approximately 8 hours especially if you set it with a setting spray.

How long will this recipe last me?  It depends on the coverage you need. With light coverage this recipe will last me 2 weeks.  Double the recipe for a months worth.

Do I need to set the cream with powder?

No, often I will use a little to moisturize my face and off I go.  No primer or powder at all.

If this post was helpful to you or you decide to try your own blemish cream please like, share, and comment.

 

 

Highlights from 2016

My 2016 began with me graduating from grad school, getting a job promotion and with marriage.  On February 12th, I married my most trusted confidant.  We celebrated our union last September with our family and friends in Orlando, Florida. This was one of the best days in my life.  It was a humbling experience to be in a room with my closest friends and family members who were genuinely happy for us.  Our circle is so small, but Its true, it’s not the quantity but the quality of people you allow to have a front row seat in your life.

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The Second highlight of 2016 would be some of  the trips I took around the world.  In 2016 I visited Dubai and two continents: South Asia and South Africa. Living in the Middle East has allowed my dreams of traveling not only to become a reality, but to also expand my horizons as I’m so close to places I never ever dreamed of visiting . 

Sri Lanka was very relaxing and very hot and humid.  The food was great and to my surprise I did not get sick ( I have a very weak stomach). In Sri Lanka, my husband and I took the time to learn about the culture and to meet some of the native people there as well.  Our accommodations were beautiful and we enjoyed the hospitality and the kindness of the people.  While I enjoyed our trip there and would recommend you visit; I must admit that having been to both Sri Lanka and Thailand, Thailand would be my first choice.   If you are interested in South Asia, look for my post about it Sri Lanka and Thailand where I will share pictures and talk about the places we visited.

 My 2016 ended with a trip to South Africa.  Let me say that South Africa was amazingly beautiful.  Although I didn’t get to sightsee much as I was there on business, I would definitely travel there again and take my time to visit various landmarks and to learn more about the people and culture. One Word to describe South Africa is Amazing!  Cape Town in particular blew me away with its beauty. See some of  my pictures below of the Cape and Johannesburg.

In 2017, I’m looking forward to more Traveling, Increase, Favor and Grace! I had a wonderful 2016 and I know my 2017 will be even better.

Pearls of Wisdom

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