There are a ton of Black Friday-Cyber Monday sales each year, but this year, I’ve been searching for ways to not just add stuff to my life (or the lives of people I love), but to make investments in things that can help us become the type of people and live the type of lives we truly want to live.
So, I’ve created a list of 8 resources (and some bonus FREE ONES) that have helped me to fill my soul this year. This isn’t your normal list, there are ONLY things I believe could be a blessing to you or someone you love, and are items I’ve personally used or have given as gifts myself. These things have helped me live a fuller life this year in the midst of a pandemic, so I want to share them with you.
- The Melanin Village: Calling all homeschool families!!! If you don’t homeschool and aren’t interested in starting, skip to #2– This is a special community designed by my sister-friend Breanna Fairchild just for black and brown homeschool families. It provides not just community, but a safe place to ask questions and to help your kids make connections with other black homeschool families across the nation. Full of wisdom, I wish I had it when I began homeschooling. They have a video library full of various trainings, and you can ask any question and be met with tangible support, or just search the group. There are also LIVE homeschool training sessions twice a month led by education trained moms, and veteran homeschoolers with 20+ years of experience who have successfully matriculated multiple kids through college on scholarships. Those sessions aren’t just great for learning, but always a fun night of connecting with others in community. It doesn’t just address academics though, but even social-emotional health, interests, and we are always laughing end encouraging each other through the tough moments we have to navigate as people of color. Use this link to sign up and right now, membership is 50% off for the first month! So give it a try. I did my test drive for a week and I knew I couldn’t continue to homeschool without it. Did I mention they also just dropped academic benchmark testing so you can identify where your kids are and get a road map to set up their education in a way that works for you without creating gaps? (Which is every homeschool parent’s greatest fear.) Give it a try. Trust me. You won’t regret it. If this sounds like something for you, you have to act fast- it’s only open for the rest of today (Nov 28th), and after that, it won’t reopen until 2021! Interested? Check it out here- The Melanin Village
- Invest in community. At the beginning of the year, I began a ministry of connecting women to each other. These are women who want to follow God wholeheartedly, not halfway, but with every fiber of their being. Walking a road of devotion to Christ in today’s world often feels uncomfortable and can be isolating, so I provide a community for women seeking the Savior to connect across the globe. On December 10th I’m hosting an online Christmas party to connect us to each other, Jesus, and of course just to have a ton of fun! There will be games, giveaways, food, crafts, and more! It’s going to be a fun night curated just for our Seated Sisterhood community. There are only limited seats available, but you can grab a special VIP discounted ticket by using the code ChristmasVIP. Snag a ticket for you and your friends right here- bit.ly/SeatedChristmas
- 28 days of prayer– This book by Chrystal Evans Hurst was birthed out of a desperate need to improve her own prayer life. She just started it with some friends, then gave copies to a few more, and now, well, we can join in on it too. Her passion is helping women to begin living the life they’ve always wanted- to wake up to their life in Christ. This book helps you to set up a simple framework for prayer and gives you guides for each day. Questions to ask yourself and things to take to God. There are more than 28 days left in the year, so if you grab it today, you’ll still have time to begin the practice of prayer now, with some extra days budgeted in for grace before the New Year kicks in. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a greater communion with God now? No need to wait for a new year’s resolution, grab this book and begin your journey today! One week in and I was changed, and I didn’t even think I needed help to pray more, but man was I wrong! I’d recommend this book to anyone who just wants greater intimacy with God, and let me tell you, we leave so much on the table when we aren’t people of prayer. There’s a study guide too if you want it! Check out her book here: 28 Days of Prayer by Chrystal Evans Hurst
Like the book idea? Here are a few more that have changed my life this year-
- Present over Perfect: A beautiful Christ-centered narrative about a woman who learns to walk away from the hustle and striving by doing some deep and intentional work in her soul. She learns to embrace what really matters- family, faith, real relationships instead of everything “success” seems to offer alone. I love it. Check it out here: Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequest
- The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: This book was the most impactful for me this year. Written to help us find Jesus in a world that offers more and faster, it helps us to identify ways to slow down and connect with Jesus. Can you see a pattern in my books this year? LOL. Either way, check it out here- The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer
- Rhythms of Renewal: This book and its new companion journal have a similar theme to the ones above, but this one helps you not just identify how to rest, but also how to set up systems and rhythms that refuel you on a regular basis. She is an amazing writer, very down to earth, and provides tangible steps to shift your life closer to what you want to embrace, over the rush of life. I’m working through this book right now. Check it out here- Rhythms of Renewal by Rebekah Lyons
- You’re the Girl for the Job- This book is a great read (or listen- I got the audiobook) and is for those women who feel like they aren’t enough for the roles they are called to embrace. Jess Connolly takes a deep look at her own testimony and scripture to help us all connect with the truth that we are the Girl for the Jobs Christ has assigned us not because we are perfect, but because we are who He chose. It has done a great deal for helping me to embrace my “jobs” of mother, wife, homeschool mom, and minister especially in a season where I’ve felt inadequate and out of control. I couldn’t recommend this book more to anyone who is feeling insecure, unsure, or just need a reminder of why we all can trust God to know what’s best for us. Check it out here- You’re the Girl for the Job by Jess Connolly
- Learn Something New– I’ve been on a mission this year to become a full disciple of Jesus- not just of His words, but of His ways. This frantic pace of life that seems to pick up around the holidays was wearing me thin. Hustle culture was eating me alive, and I knew I needed something different. So if you feel like you’re constantly in a rat race, and want out, or if you feel like you e tried resting before and it’s never stuck, consider joining me for my online Bible study all about Rest- Sabbath and Sanctuary. In it, I dig into some reasons we struggle with resting or struggle to maintain it, and I provide some practical tools to overcome it and stick with it for the long haul- all rooting in the truth of scripture and the ways of Jesus. So, if you would love a little breathing room this Christmas or in the New Year without sacrificing living your life on mission, this is the course for you. It will be released soon, so join the mailing list for first notifications and discounts here- Sabbath and Sanctuary Course
- Purchase Scents! I don’t know about you, but a good candle can shift the mood in any room. 🙌🏽 I gave up candles a while ago due to the cancer-inducing toxins that can be found in most beauty and home products. I’ve missed having them around (though I love my diffuser), so enter my sweet sister friend Candice and her amazing soy handmade candles! They are divine and I’ve already given them away as gifts! She’s having a 25% off sale right now (use the code shopsweet). I highly recommend you snag one for your office, bathroom, or for that someone special. Sometimes just the right scent is all we need to help us unwind at the end of the day, or get into the Christmas Spirit. Check them out on her website here- Sweet Space Shop!
- Study God’s Word– Know someone who is looking to move forward in the new year? Have some goals left on the table? Consider investing not just in vision, but in making sure that your identity is rooted in truth too. As a part of the becoming more summit, together with some of my closest friends we wrote a devotional journal that not online inspires but provides space for you to engage with scripture, write and study the word of God, and it provides guided questions to help you keep God at the center and discover His plans for you as you move forward. This is a 14-day study, so it’s a quick read but packs a ton of punch! Snag one for yourself and a few friends and gather together! Grab it here- 14 Day Momentum Devotional
- Try Food! – Invest in local bakeries and businesses. My family loves the treats from Sweet Hello Cake run by my friend Marika Cannon. She makes theeee best treats and loves to serve your vision. She’s made almost every holiday or celebration in our home a little sweeter. Check out some of her sweet stuff here- Sweet Hello Cake. In a similar fashion, once a week we order from my sister Raffinee’smeal prep business ChefsKIDchen. It saves me one night a week of meal prep for the family, and the hubby and I have used it to have a variety of food for in-home date nights during this pandemic. Check her out here ChefsKIDchen. Both of these culinary geniuses will be featured during our Seated Christmas event!
7. Free resources- We don’t always have to spend money to invest in ourselves. There are several FREE things going on this Christmas season that will feed and fuel your soul. As a gift, pick out a study and invite a few friends to join in with you as you grow together. Check out these Free Studies & Resources out-
- Teach His Truth- Advent Study: I get the pleasure of sharing on this YouTube Live Advent Themed Bible Study this upcoming Tuesday at 8pm CT! I’d love for you to join us as we kick off this of the Psalms of Advent, beginning with Psalm 2. It’s an interactive study, and if you can’t make it live, they’re all saved online for you to watch later. You can find the study right here- Teach His Truth Advent Study
- My dear friend Jenn Roth is launching a 4 part study called Uplifting Advent! This is also a YouTube Live Study with four of her friends every Monday at 6:30CT. Check out the preview here- Uplifting Advent
- My best friend runs a ministry called Faith Mamas, and they have Bible Studies EVERY MONTH! They sometimes come with a devotional guide but there is always both a community and live study component. Find out more about her current Bible Study Here- Faith Mama’s Bible Studies There is a suggested donation, but if you are truly unable to donate, there is a way to still be involved for absolutely free.
- Check out podcasts- Podcasts are a great way to fuel your soul continually. Grab a few friends and create a podcast club where you discuss new episodes, or just listen on your own for continual growth all season long. My favorites are:
- Mission Uplift with Jenn Roth
- Faith Mamas Podcast (App available too!)
- Socialies Podcast
- Don’t Mom Alone with Heather McFadden
- Refreshed Moms Podcast (App available called the Prayer Room, but it does have a cost)
- Go and Tell Gals Podcast
- Havillah Cunningham
- Chrystal Evans Hurst Podcast
- Verity Podcast with Phylicia Masonheimer
We’ll that’s it! I hope these resources are a blessing to you and help fuel your soul this holiday season! Drop a note below, what’s your favorite nontraditional gift item to give or receive?
** Full disclosure- some of them are affiliate links, which means I’ll get a small commission at no additional cost to you. Buying by using our links helps us to keep serving women well. Thank you for supporting my ministry efforts! 🥰 **