Psalm 139:13-14 – For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful; know that full well.

Luke 18:27 – ““What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

As an ode to Black History, I would be remissed if I didn’t mention some of the real challenges we face within the black community that is perpetuated by self, family, media, environment, etc. Some of it is subtle while other aspects are overt. It’s real. It’s here. First, let’s look at a general overview of Desirability Politics. What is it?

I recently learned this term from an episode I watched of VICE: MINORITIES DISCUSS COLORISM. Desirability politics are the stories we have written about beauty, intelligence, kindness, etc., that function in our daily lives.

“Narratives about beauty, intelligence, and kindness have mostly been centralized on white people. Psychological experiments like The Doll Test have shown that from a young age, most people of all races are programmed to favor light skin. People of color, people with disabilities, size, economic status, and people with a myriad of other culturally oppressed identities have all been historically underrepresented in the media, which has worked to construct these identities as inferior. These are the politics of desirability.”
~ What are the politics of Desirability, Tristan

This episode of Vice gave some interesting discussion of how desirability politics influence our lived experiences. Here are some quotes to consider as we consider diversity, change, and personal experiences.

Quotes from “Minorities Debate Skin Bleaching and Colorism

  1. “Desirability Politics. Who you desire is political…because who you deem as “pretty” goes into all these other characteristics…who you deem as “ugly” has all these other NEGATIVE characteristics. Who you desire goes beyond romantic relationships and shows up im platonic relationships as well…co-workers, all relationships in your life. Colorism goes so much deeper than that. Think about…how do you treat the dark-skinned people in your life? What do you think about them? How many dark skin people are in your life or in your friend group?”
  2. Why is diversity a “trend”? On set, what’s the crew giving? What are the CEOs to beauty companies giving? Trends are NOT lasting, and restructuring of ideas and resources.
  3. “..when it comes to skin bleaching, I’m much less interested in personal experiences than WHY is this a multi-billion dollar industry? Why is DOVE something they sell in the U.S. here, but in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean…let’s talk about how this is a capitalist ENTERPRISE invested in people lightening their’s important to talk about WHO benefits from people lightening their skin…that’s where the conversation needs to begin…on class and capitalism.”
  4. “…why is it societally that being lighter skinned has very clear material advantages of both beauty, desirability, socio-economic opportunties…This. Is. Real.”
  5. [from a chocolate brown woman] – the world is internalizing the idea that being lighter-skinned is prettier, and I get why..I’m privy to the societal pressures that would drive one to skin bleach..I understand there are so many pressures…but I also understand that subtly you have internalized anti-blackness.”
  6. [from a chocolate brown woman] – “…one thing I remember my mother saying to me growing up is ‘you don’t need to marry anyone your shade or darker otherwise, your kids are going to come out too dark…I always thought something was WRONG with me because I heard that a lot growing up.”
  7. [from an olive-colored Middle Eastern young woman] – “…my mom would tell me to tell people I was Russian because a closer proximity to whiteness would keep me safe…I’m usually more palatable for white men..when other middle-eastern men approach me, they assume I’m white and say, ‘oh, you’re pretty for a middle-eastern woman.”
  8. [from a mixed-race “passing” woman] – “…for me, it wasn’t as much about skin color in my house growing up as it was hair. When I was younger, my hair was straight, and then puberty hit, and it grew curly. My mom decided to make an executive decision, straightening my hair. As I grew older, I internalized that as…you’re almost there…the one thing that would give you away is your hair.”
  9. [from a dark-skinned young woman] – “growing up, my siblings are lighter than me, and I was the darkest. Clearly, I could see that there were certain benefits toward my siblings in society, but my biggest takeaway was how femininity was ascribed to lighter skin and masculinity ascribed to darker skin. That said, dark skin could not be beautiful unless they were men. I internalized that but later learned that it has nothing to do with me; instead, it has everything to do with how society conditions people to think about beauty.”
  10. [from a young 20s black woman who has lightened her skin 2 shades] – “…my mom always tells me I’m beautiful even when I was darker. I just got influenced by the media, honestly.”
  11. [light-skinned Latino male w/ long red locs] – “ mom always appreciated and encouraged my natural beauty…but I remember watching the Disney channel growing up and always asking…why can’t my hair be straight and look like that.”
  12. [light-skinned Latina girl] – “..what’s important for me is accessibility. I grew up in the Bronx, and people are around other people that look like them for most of their lives. It’s so embedded in that way. They stay in the projects forever. I decided to leave and get an education somewhere else. I attended school in a place where few people look like me, and I would go home and have these conversations about how different the world is…I learned that it’s challenging for people to be aware of racism in a homogenous environment. Once they get out and see the differences in the world, in an environment of diversity, their experience becomes different.”
  13. [from a dark-skinned woman..on beauty] – “…right now there is an influx of mixed raced woman as a representation of blackness. I mean, you have Lupita, who is gorgeous, and media recognizes her as gorgeous…but it’s not fair that we have to wait for representation before dark is accepted as beautiful.”
  14. “’s not honest to deny that your experiences, media, family familiarity, etc. it influences your phenotypical desire. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that many people date lighter-skinned/white people. Who you date says a lot about who you advocate for…who you trust…who you believe deserves support…who you show up for.”

This is an ancient problem that we can see is ingrained into family, self, and society. There are solutions that may not be a global effort but can make a dent in how we internalize and respond to this issue. “With God, all things are possible.” The Bible teaches us a method by which to operate and execute an impartial attitude toward the physical and focus more on the spiritual. Accepting that each person is a soul helps us identify with our humanity. Next, our parents must be a conduit for change. For years families of color have subtly experienced colorism at home. Whether in comments, gestures, or approval, it is taught in non-verbal cues and passed on to our children. Intentionally teaching our children that “different is just different and not bad” must be exhibited in how we speak, behave, and interact in our relationships.” Then we must accept ourselves as beautiful without mistake. God has crafted each of us uniquely different in our own distinctiveness. He finds that valuable, and we must learn to do the same.

There are some things that are out of our individual influence. The media must have more representation, so the beauty standards change. We have to remove ourselves from our own echo chambers, get out and see the world in all its unique beauty. Lastly, believe that change IS possible, especially on an individual level. Work to improve your personal experiences and watch how impactful it becomes!


Our Lives are but a Vapor

How does death change your perspective?

James 4:14 ERV – “You don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Your life is like a fog. You can see it for a short time, but then it goes away.”

There is a transformation that happens when death knocks at our door. We learn that life is precious and not promised to anyone. It doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care what race or gender you are nor what age or body type you possess. It hits the “beautiful,”the “common,” the celebrity and the social influencer alike. It doesn’t care how rich or poor you are, how “normal” or emotionally challenged you become! Death randomly chooses the educated or ignorant, the hero or the victim, the murderers and the pedi files. It is a finality we all will face. A common event that binds humanity together! How will we choose to live knowing that?

How humbling?! Praise be to God, 2022 marked my 50th year of life. As we grow older, we see more and more the reality of death. It’s real. It will be realized by everyone. We will all face it.

Still in the trenches of raising a family, I think it’s become more evident how this reality impacts LIFE. As a believer in the Word of God, I trust when God writes everyone has a purpose to fear Him and keep His commandments (Eccl 12:13-14). I also trust that His love for us is BIGGER than anything we could ever imagine…including death (Rom 8:38). When we allow our heart and mind to be lead by the fear of death (to us personally, or anyone we love) then it’s like I’m carrying this 100lb weight on our backs while actually trying to live our lives! That sounds crazy, right? We would never intentionally do that, but it’s what happens when we allow the fear of ANYTHING cripple us from stepping into the purpose God has for us. Life was meant to be lived loving God first, and then loving self and others (Luke 10:27). Knowing that eternity is the other side of life may challenge our minds to pívot in adjusting to this general purpose for our lives. As we grow in that purpose our sphere of influence is impacted with the light only God can give rather than the fear that darkens our hearts and minds. Death is the end…a separation, but life has new beginnings…daily!!

What we do on this side of life is the legacy we get to write! How we allow death to impact that, is our clincher to expand…choose the joy that only God can give…even in and through death’s grief and grip.



Demonstrating Responsibility through Accountability in the Homeschool Journey

As a parent of four magnificent children, this is something I wish I would have known when I began our homeschool journey some 10+ years ago. The thought of using accountability to create responsibility may be something we naturally do as parents, but we can have a greater impact with intentional goal-setting in this area. According to the Bible, everyone is accountable to God and some sub-structure here on Earth: children to parents, wives to husbands, employees to employers, students to teachers, etc. Have we ever thought about how accountability can set the parameters for our lives? Accountability builds intention and demonstrates responsibility, and through consistent feedback, we sharpen our responsibility in all said areas.

It’s no different with our children! The hearts of our children need shaping and accountability is the tool that will produce responsibility. The Bible puts it this way,

“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” ~ Prov 4:23

One thing that I love about homeschooling, is the privilege to speak to their hearts consistently through reasoning, life examples, quiet conversations, and more. I am able to speak to their souls when I ask questions about their decision-making and the possibilities for better insights in the future. As God continues to show me both the letter and heart of His ways, I have devised 7 goals for accountability in my homeschool this year.

  1. Lead by example and hold yourself accountable first.
    As a parent, our children watch EVERYTHING we do. If we want to build accountability and responsibility in the hearts of our children, how are we the lead learner in this endeavor? Are we being intentional about the way we are first accountable to the commitment to homeschool in the effort and preparation? For me, it took a few years to figure out my rhythm and what I was willing and not willing to do. I am not an artsy mom, so any curriculum that involved arts and crafts with ubers of supplies and planning was not for me. Once I figured that out, I was no longer in denial about it; but owned it and moved forward with curriculums that suited my strengths as a teacher. Customizing the type of curriculum to my children was a breeze then.
  2. Set goals. (spiritual, emotional, social, and physical).
    About 5 years ago, this was a game-changer for me as a Christian, wife, mom, and educator. When there are not goals in place, there is no vision, and
    “where there is no vision, the people perish.” ~ Proverbs 29:18
    So now I loosely set goals for each part of the child. I often journal areas that need sharpening so I can look for life opportunities to teach and reflect.
  3. Consistently give feedback.
    Don’t we all do better when we know the areas that need strengthening? I have found that one of our jewels has a real hard time with accepting feedback; but thanks be to God, where I lack, God gives abundant grace (2 Cor 12:9). Now that I am aware, I can take frequent opportunities to gently give feedback.
  4. Create a culture of two-way feedback.
    This has been a pretty new phenomenon in our homeschool. I think I have been of the “old school” philosophy of “do what I say because I said so.” There are few occasions where that still holds true, because children should always respect the authority of their parents (Eph 6:1) but training our kids classically, as they increase in wisdom and wonder, I have found that it is much more valuable for them to respectfully interject ideas, questions, and reasoning into the discussion. This has fostered better practice in critical thinking for them and me. Instead of shutting down questions and supposed disrespect, try using questions to foster conversation, allowing them an opportunity to discover truth, beauty, and respectful communication. It’s a consistent work in progress and intention. Patience and persistence is key for teaching the beauty of logic, the ability to reason well.
  5. Make accountability a habit.
    Accountability can be defined as an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions. There must be a heart of willingness to accept that responsibility. Our children demonstrate that responsibility through consistent practice. At times they are rewarded, and other times they must accept good for goodness sake. If we take away the consistency, we confuse them and perhaps teach a conditional reward system versus a biblical one that pleases God.
  6. Keep track of your commitments and hold each other accountable.
    One would agree that it is irresponsible to make a commitment and not keep it. This is far different than not accepting a commitment because of too many prior commitments. Time management is an essential element so that teachers and students alike can understand the abilities and constraints. This is a trait that we must execute well as adults, and we see its beginnings reared in childhood. When we are not able to keep our commitments, other obstacles like tardiness and procrastination arise. As parents and lead learners in the homeschool journey, we must model proficient time management, consistently aligning our motives and actions with this verse:

    “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” ~ Colossians 3:23-24
  7. Use accountability as your structure for life lessons.
    Accountability is everything to our homeschool. God continues to teach me this lesson as I humbly submit to His will and His ways for my life. Our children learn as they humbly submit to my authority as a Christian, mom, and educator. They will forever be accountable to someone, and it’s a truth we must all get used to and accept. Pride has a funny way of showing up when we don’t accept this truth.

    **Bonus: hold others accountable by supporting and encouraging one another
    This is the bonus rule for our homeschool. As mom submits to Christ, the kids submit to mom through Christ, therefore encouraging and supporting one another. The more Bible we all learn and practice, the more our hearts are shaped through action, thought, and deed. It’s a constant sharpening, a fluid grace, and forward-thinking that helps us as teachers and students through this magnificent journey.

    Be encouraged as you lay your victories and worries at His feet and move through knowing for certain,

    “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

To God be the Glory

Welcome to my new blog: Growing Sunflowers

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.” ~ Brene Brown

For a long time, it’s been suggested and I have finally made the time to do it! I mean…why not? I’m taking a break from directing other’s kids this year, so I can dedicate some much-needed time to my four sunflowers and other endeavors. One of those endeavors is this longing I have to write…not necessarily for anyone, any specific topic, or for financial means, but to write as healing and strength for myself and encouragement for others.

Jamia E.
Christian. Wife. Mother. Educator. Model. Actress.

Lord, give me the wisdom to navigate through this life all to your glory. 

James 3:13-18