What To Expect at NAIAS

**This post is sponsored by The Detroit Auto Show, Hyundai, and Steel Matters Development Institute (SDMI) but as always, all opinions are my own.** 

 

While we're all experiencing our own shades of winter, some of you may know that Michigan has some of the coolest temps this side of the U.S. - and currently dropping. And every January, we experience a warmup from the NAIAS - The North American International Auto Show.

 

Being my first time at the auto show, my expectations of all things lavish and luxurious were spot on from day one. Some of the most prestigious automobiles worldwide, I had the pleasure of photographing and testing for myself. This event was the winter-blues-bust I needed and NAIAS brought it's A-game.

So, which cars were my top picks, you might ask? If you are car-shopping like me, you really cannot go wrong with a showroom packed with car experts.

Below are my top picks as far as cost, mileage and family-friendly:

Top Left Clockwise: Hyundai Santa Fe, GMC Yukon XL, Chrysler Pacifica, and the Chevy Traverse

Top Left Clockwise: Hyundai Santa Fe, GMC Yukon XL, Chrysler Pacifica, and the Chevy Traverse

 

Santa Fe: fully-loaded and awarded for it's safety features in 2016-17, including Top 10 Best Engines and High Initial Quality by J.D. Power & Associates.

Yukon: luxury on wheels. Period. Extra room, comfort and an overall pleasant ride. 

Pacifica: Google's Waymo announced Pacifica as the world's first autonomous driving vehicle and will soon be accessible to passengers as soon as early summer 2017! The van was also awarded The 2017 North American Utility Vehicle!  Extra room, excellent mileage and exceptional ratings across the board.

Traverse: first drawn to it's sleek body style and pleasantly surprised by it's holding capacity, and also awarded for it's tremendous safety features which includes the underbody light for safe foot-kick assistance!

HONORABLE MENTION*

Top Left Clockwise: Hyundai Genesis G80, Hyundai Tucson, and GMC Terrain 

Top Left Clockwise: Hyundai Genesis G80, Hyundai Tucson, and GMC Terrain 

**Honorable mentions were ranked by several factors: size/capacity, price, and mileage.

 

Genesis: you name it, this car has it (well, besides a kitchen sink.) 365-degree cameras, HUD (Heads-up) display, built-in connect system, proximity detection, and overall focused on the driver's quality of life. With every purchase, a portion will go to Hyundai's charity, Hope on Wheels for pediatric cancer. The Genesis has your best interest to ensure your commute is more relaxed and less stress. 

**Buyer will also receive a 12-month Amazon prime membership.

Tucsona more compact version of the Santa Fe and also awarded for it's safety. The ideal ride for those with a smaller family, single or couples. 

Terrain: I've always had my eye on this versatile ride. The exterior has been revamped as well as the interior, similar to an Acadia with plenty of room for those outstanding road trips. 

 

 

Another highlight at NAIAS was the Cars 3 Movie: the reveal of the new characters, alongside the newly-renovated Lightning McQueen. 

 

With a whirlwind of a weekend, I had an overall enjoyable first-time experience and for those interested in attending NAIAS, here are 4 beneficial tips:

  • Parking. I was able to park at Greektown Casino (free but some had to validate inside the casino) and take the people mover to Cobo. (Cobo parking is untouchable because of the media) so pay the 75 cents and enjoy the Detroit/Windsor scenery. Also, arrive as early as possible.
  • Comfortable shoes. You walk EVERYWHERE. This is a must. Coat check is also available for $3.00
  • Games. I also noticed the family-friendly activities scattered throughout the auto show: video games, racer driving, gift shops, a fresh-food market, local shoppe booths, and so much more. The kids will love this experience.
  • Ask Questions. I've said it before, asking questions is a must here. The experts are top of the line and so friendly. I didn't walk away once with a question left unanswered.

 

I hope you enjoy the Auto Show as much I as did in Detroit. The Auto Industry is an extremely competitive field with the driver and passengers' overall riding/driving experience as top priority. I look forward to many more reveals in the near future! 

 

 

**A special thank you to SheBuysCars for the opportunity to experience such an exquisite event. To Hyundai, for a remarkable luncheon and tour. 

What I Will NOT Do in 2017

We are coming to a close on the first week of 2017 and, I enjoyed reading everyone's goals for the new year! For me, I finally jotted down my aspirations for a fuller, healthier, and happier 2017!

And as we know, with a new year comes change: better health, more organization, making wiser choices, etc...

I've never been one to make a new year's resolution. I believe in goal setting and if I'm dissatisfied with my lifestyle, I simply won't wait until the new year to make necessary changes.

Having said that, I've created a list featuring what I know I will NOT do in 2017:

 

  • DIET. I believe in being more aware of a healthier lifestyle: mind, body and soul - healthy eating habits, A fitness routine, and taking a mini-hiatus. Food is meant for healing and MAINTAINING our health - all in moderation. 

  • DRAMA. There is enough hurt, sadness, depression, and disease daily around the world. I would much rather spend time resolving those issues that will make the world a little brighter, versus contributing to those matters that develop a lingering dark cloud. Choose to focus on a resolution rather than conflict.

  • WORRY. For the past several years, I have fallen victim to this trap. Worrying about my marriage, being a great mother, our finances...it is a thief of joy! It has diminished my faith as well as my emotional and physical self. The Lord asks, "why do you have little faith..."

Matthew 6:31-33
So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?' These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (NLT)

MY FAVORITE VERSE FOR 2017

  • COMPARE. Another thief of joy. Whether its my lifestyle, my children, or my relationship with the Lord, others' opinions shouldn't affect me nor should i reciprocate with judgement. No one story is identical to another. Keep in mind that we must guard our hearts, for with comparing comes envy, selfishness and jealousy. Embrace all you possess and give thanks to Him!

  • BE STILL. Although I have three active boys (husband included), I will continue to have my still moments with God- That will never change. I'm speaking in regards to exploring and remaining active with my family, sightseeing and experiencing all that will create invaluable memories. 

 

There is so much to look forward to with 2016 behind us and a year ahead filled with opportunities, and endless goals. I cannot wait to witness what the Lord has planned for your 2017!

Stay encouraged, ladies :) 

3 Easy Ways to Implement Square Cash Today

**This post is sponsored by Square Cash but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.**

 

It's officially crunch time for holiday shopping! Two weeks away and many of us are left with hefty holiday dues and/or undecided gifts for loved ones.  

Well, I have found in the previous years that teaming up with my siblings for gift-giving allows for more brainstorming and less headaches. Am I right?

This year I was "in-charge" of money pooling and purchasing the parents' gifts. The pooling process can be cumbersome, especially with family being out of state and schedules overpacked with little to no wiggle room. I get it. 

 

Thankfully, I was introduced to Square Cash which makes holiday-shopping more simple and less chaotic when it comes to paying dues. It has freed up time for the holidays and energy; because I need EVERY ounce for my little firecrackers. 

Square Cash is essentially the easiest way to send a quick gift or a swift payment, but what about after the holiday season? Well, let me tell you that once you download it here I have a few greats ways Square Cash will free up your time as it has mine:

 

When I first used Square Cash, my first concern was security. Because the app connects to my bank, credit card and phone contacts, I wanted a peace of mind. Thankfully, Square Cash has a security lock that requires a passcode to be entered before a transfer is executed. 

 

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As a SC user, I can choose to request or pay the recipient by Name, Cashtag (personal Square Cash profile name), Email, or SMS (texting) through my personal contacts with a tag line like:

Mom's gift

Babysitter

Rent.

 

Bottom line is Square Cash has made this mama's life a little easier now that I can send payments to whomever I choose and whenever free of fees and hassles. It's efficient and one less task I have to worry about this holiday season! 

 

 

Listen Love Repeat - Part 2

Listen, Love, Repeat has officially been released! Purchase it here!

 

OR WIN A COPY! See Giveaway details below...

It has been an incredible past few months filled with love, laughter, and loads of fun! I couldn't be more proud to share this thought-provoking, energizing and uplifting book with you!

So, let's get started :)

In case you missed Part 1 of Listen Love Repeat, click here to get caught up ;) 

Karen shares so many inspiring tips, personal stories, scripture and simple ways to show kindness throughout your community. Here are a few ways to live more intentionally and kind right where you are:

  • Practice hospitality. There was a point made in the book that said, "we can lead with our hearts and bless with our homes." Last month, I had hosted a small gathering (thrown together last-minute) and invited our neighbors. It was a wonderful time. A couple days later, my neighbor had seen, stopped and thanked me for having our get together. Turns out, he had been having a tough week with work and needed a breather. Our possessions, our homes are meant to be utilized for ministry and at times, a haven for someone when we least expect. 
  • Connect with the lonely and unloved. What better time to be reminded of this than with the holiday season quickly approaching.  Adopt the concept of "living with an open door policy." We should be ministering to those who society dismisses. We were created to live for community and for each other. Turn on your feeling barometer and reach out!
  • Love the unloveable. You know who I'm referring to and someone had to of popped into your mind. Think about it, Jesus continued to love those who betrayed, slandered, mocked, and despised him. Only love and kindness can melt the icy heart. Seek out someone today who would least expect a kind word or an act of gratitude. Remember, slow and steady.
  • Embrace family. I have written on a sticky note next to my nightstand, "If you aren't praying for your family, then who is?" Accept and embrace every flaw, every imperfection of the people who loved you from day one and continue to do so. My most cherished and vivid memories growing up were with family. The love of family is the closest form of endearment to God's love we will ever feel on Earth; because they are a gift from above. Celebrate those dear to you not just on special occasions but every day
  • Scatter kindness. If your loved ones could describe you in one word, what would it be? Beautiful? Caring? Sweet? Funny? Although I fall short at times, I strive to be kind. I couldn't tell you what I have said or done for someone, but I can remember exactly how they felt. When we scatter kindness where ever we go, the blessing comes back ten fold. Our job is to show others God's grace through kindness. Once we have done our job, the rest is in God's hands. 

 

My prayer for you is that these words will resonate with you as they have with me. Not too often do books like Listen Love Repeat change the way I think or influence me to take action.  SOOOO...      

 

GIVEAWAY TIME!

 

I will be hosting TWO giveaways! One on Facebook and the other on Instagram!

Two loyal followers will receive a copy of the Listen, Love, Repeat book!!

Head over to my Facebook page and/or my Instagram to enter!

Giveaway will start 11/15 - 11/20 at 7 p.m. EST

 

 

 

**I was selected as a book launch team member for Listen, Love Repeat. All views and opinions are my own.**

How Putting my Husband First Saved Our Marriage

Becoming a wife and mother are filled daily with self-sacrifical choices for women. To place another's needs before your known is an absolute display of love and devotion. 

My remarkable friend, Ana from She Found Grace discusses more about the importance of placing your spouse above all other needs. Ana is a wife and mother who longs to fulfill God's will in her life and to share His message with others. Her desire is to display characteristics of a godly woman and to utilize her platform as a wife and mother to connect with women who are also seeking God's Glory.

 

 

"I don't think we should stay together, it's just not working out", those words to this day give me shivers and I was the one who said them to my husband after only 4 years of marriage. 

 

Growing up I was told, "your children come first because they will never leave you but a man can come and go." This was so heavily installed in my mind and growing up, I was always first before my father. If my parents were talking and I interrupted, my father was hushed. There was also no such thing as a date night in my household growing up; because, it was a waste of time and only selfish mothers wanted to be away from their kids...right?

As our family grew, my mother's priorities were her three little girls and at the end of the day when she was tired and had nothing left to give, she slept with us. My mother was only ever trying to be the mother she never had and I love her for it; but growing up, there was a lot of tension from the lack of time with my father. I could hear my father's plea for time but, my mother was convinced that as a Christian mother, her children were her ministry and not her husband. 

 

When my time came for marriage, naturally my mind was made up... Chris (my husband ) was not to be to important because, he could just up and leave and I had wasted my time; but my daughters, OH my precious daughters, they were to be my mini-idols as all my time and energy was to go to only to them. And God forbid I left them to go on a date.

Maybe it's a cultural chain or maybe our motherly instincts that can and WILL cross healthy boundaries created by God. Regardless of the root, my marriage suffered severely, far more than that of my parent's marriage, at least from what I knew. I refused to spend time with my husband and when we did I was uninterested and I let it be known.

 

To me, I was being a GREAT mother but what I missed was God's order and the lack of that order was causing anger and separation in our home. 

 

When I was 20 years old, I remember our marriage breaking apart quickly and finally after four short years, we had decided we just were never meant to be and he shared with me, "you never spend time with me and I needed your help and love too", but in my mind I saw nothing wrong with that what I was doing. 

As I returned to Christ that year, my husband came to Christ through this change. But even as a Christian woman, I refused to believe God's order; until one day in the midst of this chaos, a very close friend and I talked about my marriage (since I admired her so much and her marriage was so giving - it was beautiful.) And since we knew them so intimately, I knew the arguments and chatter they had never destroyed them the way it was doing to ours.  

She shared with me God's order in a family and as hard as it was for me to agree, I had to believe God created this design in his infinite wisdom and that it's meant to work and so far my order was causing heart-break. I dove into the word of God and every time it mentioned families, it would say husband's are first after God. After God it was my husband, myself and THEN my children. It was so hard for me to believe that God really wanted this as the order. I had to trust that He is far wiser than me and that my marriage was where it was partly, because of the order it was in. 

 

So I am sure you are wondering were in scripture it says this. Well, I will share just a few that I had to memorize as I asked God to transform me and renew my mind to His will.

 

Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” All of one’s heart, soul, and strength is to be committed to loving God, making Him the first priority.

 

If married, your spouse comes next. A married man is to love his wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians5:25). Christ’s first priority—after obeying and glorifying the Father—was the church. Here is an example a husband should follow: God first, then his wife. In the same way, wives are to submit to their husbands “as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). The principle is that a woman’s husband is second only to God in her priorities.

 

If husbands and wives are second only to God in our priorities, and since a husband and wife are one flesh (Ephesians 5:31), it stands to reason that the result of the marriage relationship—children—should be the next priority. Parents are to raise godly children who will be the next generation of those who love the Lord with all their hearts (Proverbs 22:6Ephesians 6:4), showing once again that God comes first. All other family relationships should reflect that. credit to: Gotquestion.com

 

When I finally gave my whole heart to God on this matter, I quickly saw the change in my marriage. So much so, that my own mother wanted to know what happened in our marriage. So much so that almost a decade, later my husband and I are firm in the Lord and give Him the Glory for our marriage. 

 

I learned that yes, our daughters are so important and they are my ministry; but, my husband and I need to be together stronger for our daughters and that our marriage wasn't neglected - as I was led to believe all my life. 

Our daughters needed to see what works in a marriage and that it only works in God's order. They need to see that mommy loves daddy so much that she take the time to be alone with him and that we are a team and not two strangers constantly fighting against each other. They need to feel stability coming from both of us as their parents and what it looks like to glorify God in a marriage. We had to set standards, so when they get married, they know the difference between a godly marriage and the marriage we had prior to God's order. We want to save them the experience of going through what we did to understand God's order of marriage. 

 

To maintain a godly marriage you first need to put God in it; then obey His order.

 

You can't have a godly marriage without God in it. A godly marriage will still have issues, because we are two sinners in need of grace; but when we have Jesus, we know who to run to. We know His order and what we can do to let go of our pride and make marriage work. 

My husband and I had to learn to be together in a room without children and talk about our marriage, repent and fix what we had done. We had to pray and still do for God's Spirit to guide us as a team. We found ways to laugh and play together as our daughters laughed along with us. We are terrible at date nights; but still, I must admit that we know the importance of them.

Now, when we leave for a few hours, our daughter's smile as I get ready and yell with joy to "HAVE FUN love birds!" 

 

I see such a difference in our marriage and how putting my husband first is truly God's design.

 

If you are wondering about my parents, they have come to realize the importance of this matter. And even though they no longer have small children at home, they are hardly ever alone and are always going on the dates they missed out on in their young marriage.

Now we have two generations following God's design and my daughters make a point to share with me that they can't wait to go on dates and love their husbands. 

 

 

 

CONNECT WITH ANA!

 

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