The Willow

The Willow

So I decided to officially start my own wedding and event planning company in August of 2017. After moving to Maryland to begin my new chapter, I decided it was time to step out in faith and do something big. Planning had always been a passion of mine, so why not get paid to do it, I thought. The thing is, when I moved here, I was scared to step out. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Maryland Wedding Industry, it is supersaturated with Nigerian wedding planners. I didn’t want to become another Nigerian planner. I knew I wanted to do something different but I didn’t know how to separate myself.

I remember doing research on all the planners in Maryland and it just seemed like there were a million and one already here. How do I stand out, what makes me different, why would people want to work with someone with no website, no clients, no Instagram, no reviews and frankly no experience in Maryland? All these horrid thoughts crowded my head but I was sure that this is what God wanted me to do. I began looking for people to shadow and intern with hoping someone would want free help, at the end of the day I had 4 years experience planning and running weddings, so why would they say no? Fortunately for me, all I received was no after no after no. Why fortunately, well it was God’s way of telling me to be bold and courageous and not to be afraid. He was telling me that I didn’t have to hide under the covering of someone else’s business because He will support me and help me build mine.

Now it was time to create a business… what will the name be? I tried to come up with names but nothing seemed right. I even went as far as to recruit family and friends and bribe my little cousins with a share of a no-name business if they came up with great name. All those efforts yielded nothing….Nothing! I remember one day while praying, I knelt down on the floor in the room and said “God i will not leave this spot until you give me a name”, I guess it was my little version of Jacob wrestling with God. A few minutes later I heard very clearly “Willow“. I remember thinking… “huh, Willow…? Like Willow Smith? God what is a willow?” It sounded so weird but it was just perfect, well compared to my previous idea of Sashey’s Soirees , LOL.

So why Willow? Well, I googled Willow I found, “slender, graceful, resilient, determined, courageous and beautiful”. All words that I hoped to God defined me… well slender maybe if i keep going to the gym, but the rest just seemed so perfect. It was like God was encouraging me to become more like a Willow. The next day I spoke to my Aunt who said Willow… that’s perfect you can name your event center The Willow and I laughed because i knew this is a dream that God placed on my heart and I am excited to see it happen.

So where is Willow now and how is it going? In the 5 months The Willow has been alive, I have booked 4 weddings. Can somebody say GOD IS FAITHFUL!!! With no reviews, no brochures, no pictures, no MD experience, no nothing… God continues to show himself. He has shown me that all it takes is a little faith

Join me on my wedding journey… follow @thewillowevents

Lots of Love!

-MzB

 

For wedding planning inquiries…click here!

info@thewillowevents.com

240-389-3164.

 

Valentines Day…What’s that?

Valentines Day…What’s that?

Valentine’s day… what’s that? Not only have I never had a Valentine, in the many years that I have been alive, I have only celebrated Valentines day once.. thanks to my awesome college roomies in 2011.

You see in my home, Valentines day was not Valentines day that the world has grown to obsess over. It wasn’t a day I spent out with bae or being all romantical with a guy who claimed to love me. In actuality it took me a while to understand why people were acting so crazy when this day was not about them but it was actually about my parents. For the past 27 years, Valentines day has been my parents anniversary and that’s what I have always known it to be and celebrated. It is the day I get to celebrate the awesome marriage my parents have displayed in front of me my whole life. Not only do they showcase what a Godly happy marriage should be like on this day, they display it every single day. Don’t get me wrong, no marriage is perfect, but these two awesome people I get to call my parents have shown me what God wants marriage to look like. They have shown me how to forgive, how to be humble, how to serve, how to love and how to embody Christ in your marriage.

Until recently, I did not know how blessed I am to have parents who don’t fight in front of you, parents who pray for you, parents who want to ensure that the love  between each and every single member of the family is unbroken. I didn’t know that this was not the norm until I started talking to other people about growing up and how their parents were. You see for me, waking up everyday at 6 am for family devotion is normal. Talking to your parents about life and relationships is normal. Laughing and acting a damn fool in the house is normal. Little did I know that all these “normal” things are blessings from God and not to be taken for granted.

For many of us, the relationship we see between our parents has a huge impact on how we see and define relationships for ourselves in the future. The picture of love and marriage that my parents have chosen to paint for my siblings and I is one that has molded and shaped my thinking about what my future marriage should look like. It has helped me to be excited to have devotion with my children and husband and ensure there is always laughter in my home. It has given me a positive image of a happy marriage, one that I am grateful to God for.

So on this Valentines day.. aka my parents wedding anniversary, I say to married couples, be careful what picture you are painting for your children. Be the example of what a godly marriage should look like every single day and not just one day a year. Your children are always watching and most learned habits are unspoken. To single people, whatever you have been through is not your fault. Learn to forgive your parents; They can only pour out of what they were given.  Let God heal you by letting go of all your hurt. Your past hurts are not an indication of what your future will look like.

And finally to my parents…thank you mommy and daddy for showing me what love looks like everyday and not just on February 14th. 

Happy 31st Anniversary. I wish you many more!

Happy birthday to my baby bro, Valentine 😜!

-MzB

Whatchu thinking?

Whatchu thinking?

You are what you think. Ever notice a really positive person all of a sudden become very negative; or someone who used to be really carefree all of a sudden becomes extremely cautious. Well the reason is…. you can become what you spend your time thinking about. You become what you feed your mind. The things in our minds, thoughts, heart and soul are what come out of us. It’s all just a cycle… honestly.

For about 6 years or so, I have stopped listening to the radio and watching news and certain tv shows. I noticed that the type of music I listened to unconsciously molded my thought pattern. The songs I filled myself up with became my default thoughts every morning and all through out my day. I decided I didn’t want to fill myself up with these types of songs any longer so I changed the message I was sending my self. The more I listened to encouraging Christian songs, the more encouraged I felt.

Watching love and hip hop and shows that encouraged bad behavior skewed my thinking about certain things and desensitized me to things that would ordinarily vex my spirit. Not only were my thoughts and opinions affected negatively but it also impacted my morals. The news I watched was mostly negative. It was almost like reporting something positive was a crime. Filling yourself up with bad news all the time is terrible! Flee from all appearances of evil!

Fast forward 6 years, I have come to realize that we are more sensitive than we think. The things we see, the songs we hear, the people we surround ourselves with have more of an effect on us than we think. You only pour out what is inside of you. If you don’t like what is coming out of you… change what’s on the inside by changing what is going in. The Bible says out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. To change what flows out of you, change what you allow into you.

Instead of knocking and bucking, try some encouraging, soothing music. Read self help books instead of watching Criminal Minds for 5 hours at a time. Open up your Bible and read a verse a day instead of finding out what Trump did wrong. Scandal is supposed to be scandalous, hence the name. If it doesn’t feel o so scandalous to you any longer, something inside of you has changed or you have become desensitized to it.

The things inside your heart and mind are obviously also what you will think about. Instead of thinking about how horrible your life is and how far behind you are on your goals and achievements, think about all the good things you have going for you and how awesome you are as a person. Even if you aren’t, nobody is perfect boo. The more you dwell on the negative, the more negative you become. Your thoughts give birth to your actions, and most times our actions are a reflection of who we are.

Philippians 4:8 says “…my brothers and sisters, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honourable.”

Whatchu thinking about?

-MzB

Waiting Sucks!

Waiting Sucks!

Who do you talk to?? When you need advice, when you have doubts, when you feel really low or really down, who is that person in your life that makes it all feel better? Who encourages you, who scolds and checks you, who guides you in life? Who prays for you, keeps you accountable and challenges you? Who is your mentor?

Well, for the first 25.5 years of my life, I didn’t have a mentor. I didn’t have anyone that I felt accountable to. I walked through life making decisions based on how I felt and what I thought would benefit me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I was being selfish.. at least I hope I wasn’t, but I didn’t feel like my actions or decisions would let any one down… well besides God I guess. Having a mentor or some one to guide me and hold me accountable was something I had wanted for a while but it just didn’t happened.

After graduating from college, I moved back home with no job and no idea where my life was headed. It was difficult to be optimistic, but thank God for family and praying parents. After a few months at home, I eventually got a job. Throughout my 4 years of living at home and working, it seemed like God was teasing me with “mentors”. He would bring certain people into my life for the specific times and situations I was going through, but then they would either move or sort of fade away.  It was a bit strange but somehow God was always looking out for me.

At the beginning of every year I would ask God to bring me a mentor, but He just wouldn’t listen, lol… talk about frustrating but He was teaching me to be patient, little did I know that the worlds bestest mentor aka my Big Seester was right around the corner.

Not only is my mentor beyond amazing, she is everything I prayed for and more. I had always wondered what my relationship with my potential mentor would be like and what we would do or talk about. Would the person be old or young, male or female, Nigerian or not, tall or short, emotional, crazy, loud, friendly, shy, lover of God? Well not only did God exceed my expectations in every way, sometimes i feel like she loves me more than I love me.

Looking back on the last year, I can’t help but be extremely grateful to God. This past year with my mentor has taught me that God gives perfect Gifts and although the waiting period absolutely sucks sometimes, its most definitely worth it in the end. He gives gifts that add no sorrow. Because His ways are nothing like our ways, ideas or dreams, count on him to exceed your expectations always. Patience is a virtue because it is not easy to be patient, but after waiting for a while for something, you learn to appreciate it even more when you get it.

No, I don’t want to just brag about the awesomeness of my mentor, lol, I want to encourage you that although waiting on God or anything is not the easiest thing, what is on the other side of your wait will be more amazing than you can imagine. I know how long I prayed for a mentor and God responded at the perfect time with the perfect person. So don’t give up, don’t let go, just wait and be patient and I can say whole-heartedly that what you are waiting for will blow you away at the right time, if God is in it!

Also, no man is an island. Get yourself a mentor. Navigating life on your own with no one guiding you or keeping you accountable is not wise. Proverbs 20:18 says “Plans succeed with good counsel, don’t go to war without advice.”

Prayer of encouragement- “God keep me firm on faith during my wait”

Lots of Love

MzB

Let’s talk about Sex, baby ;)

Let’s talk about Sex, baby ;)

After watching a video series on Relationship Goals, my mind was literally blown. It was soooo blown that I just started screaming and yelling while driving home from Maryland to Philly. Part 7 in particular, rocked my world. It’s one thing to have something told to you all your life, its another thing to hear different perspectives on what people’s beliefs are and how God is convicting young Christians.

As a Christian, all my life I have heard sex before marriage is bad but for the life of me nobody ever said why. Nigerians painted the picture of not being able to wear white at your wedding, pregnancy as a consequence and the potential that you would catch an incurable disease and DIE. All of which fall under the scare you away from sex plan, but eventually the fire looks more and more tempting.

I enjoy having pre-marital sex conversations with young people because many of us seem to be very confused as to what we believe and why. I have  heard many different opinions, like the ones listed below, as to why people do what they do.

  • Why wouldn’t you test drive the car before you buy it?
  • What if you’re not sexually compatible?
  • What if he/she is horrible in bed?
  • Why save your virginity and eventually get disappointed?
  • If we know we’re getting married to each other eventually, why can’t we start now?
  • It’s just sex it doesn’t hurt anyone.

I’m not one to judge and I believe each person can decide what they feel based on their personal convictions, so i’m just going to drop this video and some scripture below. Please share your thoughts, confidentially or comment below.

Watch this video and drop your thoughts!!!!

Proverbs 5:15-17 ” Drink water from only one well- share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Never share it with strangers.”

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 “God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin… live in holiness and honor– not in lustful passion.”

1 Thessalonians 2-4 “… our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.”

1 Corinthians 6:12-20You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 13 You say, “Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food.” (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) But you can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. 15 Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! 16 And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.”17 But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.18 Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

Lots of love

-MzB

ALL things!

ALL things!

It’s only been 10 days of this year and already I have learned so much. God is constantly taking all the minute details in my life and making them work for my good. Sometimes we go through what we call irrelevant  or  even annoying experiences but let us be reminded that ALL things work together for our good.

Looking back on last year, there were many things I went through that I thought were merely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Some were annoying or difficult at the time, but in these first ten days of 2018, God has shown me that ALL things work together for my good.

Today while talking to my soul sister aka my bestie of life, Oynks, we both laughed about how awesome God is and how His ways are not our ways.  God continually shows us that we don’t have to see or understand what He is doing to know He is at work in our lives. Oynks is going through a situation that would ordinarily discourage or confuse anyone, but instead of being disappointment, she chooses to believe that ALL things, good or bad, work together for her good. Our conversation just encouraged me that no matter what I’m going through, whether it makes sense or not, good or bad, or even terrible, some way somehow, God will make it all work together for my good.

For the past 5 years, I’ve been planning wedding and events. Planning has always been my passion from as far back as I can remember and using my passion to celebrate with another person is a very rewarding feeling for me. This past year, I decided to launch my own wedding and event planning company, The Willow, after working with other companies.

In the beginning stages, frustration was my best friend. I was overwhelmed, afraid, nervous and all sort of mixed emotions. After reaching out to many people, I realized that I didn’t have faith in what I was doing. I didn’t trust that God who gave me this passion and desire would make the necessary arrangements to help me prosper. I was counting on my own ideas, strengths and knowledge instead of having faith that God would back me up. And just like that…. my source, my help, turned it all around. Not only has He been exceeding my expectations, He has reminded me that all my efforts, and all the little things I was doing to build my business were not in vein. All the “irrelevant, not important” things I did the past few years, God has caused them to matter now.

I say all this to say, that no matter what it looks like now, good or bad, small or big, important or irrelevant, ALL things will work together for your good. Not only will they work together for your good, but God will show you how they work together for your good. The tiniest details of your life are for a reason. Lessons learned are very important. Do not be defeated, do not give up, because you can’t see it doesn’t mean God isn’t working.

Happy New Year & I wish you an abundance of beautiful new beginnings this year!

-MzB

Intentional – Travis Greene

This song gets me every time!

follow my planning page on IG- @thewillowevents

REALationships

REALationships

Gone are the days when people were satisfied and committed in their relationships. As a single, young lady, the idea of being in a committed relationship would completely scare me if I was not saved and walking in God’s love. The fact that in 2017, 1 in every 2.7 relationships involves infidelity is just sad. Why are people not satisfied? What is causing all this cheating? What is the reason for this greed, yes greed?? Well I have heard a number of ideas, but here’s what I think.

1- Some people are just down right greedy/selfish.

The selfishness in this generation is just terrifying. Everyone is worried about numero uno. We are so self-centered that we care only about ourselves and no one else. Is that what this life has truly come to? What happened to caring about others and their feelings? These days people are so caught up in temporary pleasures that we completely forget about eternity. The Bible says love others as you do yourself, not  less than you love yourself. But then again, sooo many people obviously don’t love themselves. If they did, they wouldn’t be doing half of the daft things they do.

2- Family, peer pressure to settle down

For my single Nigerian ladies, this struggle is absolutely real. I never really felt it until this 2017! My parents aren’t even the ones pressuring me, it’s everyone else. “When are we going to eat jollof rice….?” My answer is “When you cook it”. I hate how much pressure our culture and society puts on single females. If we spent more time teaching people how to be successful and be good people, the world would be such a better place. Marriage is not the end all be all. Please free me jor! Don’t let anyone rush you into an unhappy marriage. I would rather be happily single than married and hating life.

3- Rushing into a relationship/marriage out of the shame associated with being single.

Why is being single such a horrible state to be in these days? Singleness is looked at like a disease. This idea of not wanting to be alone so we jump into a relationship with the next person that blinks in our direction is just pathetic. If you cannot love your own company, you will simply suck the life out of your partner trying to make them your entire life. This time of singleness is the time to grow, enjoy life, gain new skills, go on adventures, be whole. You cannot jump into a relationship with someone simply because you are bored or ashamed of your current season, that’s just sad! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being SINGLE. Enjoy this time, cuz let’s be real, when your spouse and kids come, all that personal time is out the window, so why rush it!!!

4- Lack of self-awareness & the type of person that would complement you.

In your time of singleness, the goal is to explore yourself. You are in a relationship with yourself with no distractions. This is the best time to learn everything that works for you as well as what doesn’t. Learn what you like and what you don’t like. This is the time you find your wholeness in God. If you spend time exploring and finding yourself, it is easy to figure out the type of person that would complement you.

5- Looking for somebody to “complete you”

There’s a bunch of broken halves walking around looking for their better half to complete them. I don’t know about you all, but I’m complete and whole all by myself. There is absolutely nobody in the world that completes me like God does. This idea of looking for somebody that makes you whole is crazy! The person you date/marry or whatever should complement the greatness that is already inside of you. That person is the butter to your bread. I mean bread is already great by itself but when you add butter to it, it complements the flavor of the bread. People are out here acting like they are half-baked dough. Honey, you are fully baked bread and you are popping all by yourself. You don’t need anyone to be greater than you already are. Stop acting broken and become who God has made you to be!

6-There is no God in your relationship

God cannot bless what HE is not a part of! Stop telling God to bless something after you make a decision about it. It should always be God first, then everything comes after. While listening to Uncle Steven Furtick this week, he said something that resonated with me “A process that doesn’t start with God will not be fruitful.” So please let’s make God the center of everything, after all He created it all right?

7- Being unequally yoked!

For my Christians out there, this is everyone’s go to relationship verse, but do we understand what it actually means? We all seem to be stuck on dating someone from another religion, but heloooo it’s much more than that. Two Christians can be unequally yoked with each other. Here’s my understanding.

yoke

If you are not working /walking towards the same thing, beliefs, morals, vision, etc, you are unequally yoked. Think about it, most Christians and Muslims have different beliefs, hence they are probably unequally yoked. At the same time, if I am a Christian who believes that sex before marriage is a no-no and you’re a Christian who believes that you need to test out the car before you drive it, then heloooo… unequally yoked. The moral of the story is if the foundation of your beliefs, morals, views, don’t line up completely, you are probably unequally yoked. Imagine two animals pulling a carriage. One is pulling to the left and the other is pulling to the right, or one is pulling and the other is pushing…… UNEQUALLY YOKED!

8- We focus entirely too much on the who we will marry and not the why?

Too many people focus on who they will marry and the wedding day and not why they are getting married. They are looking for perfection in a person. Sorry to burst your bubble, we are flawed human beings,no one is perfect, including me and you! Instead, have you ever thought about the things you would like to accomplish in your marriage? The type of children you would like to raise, or the type of marriage you would like to have. Maybe even the way you would like to reflect God in your marriage. Have you thought about your purpose and how you would complete it? Honestly, the reason for marriage is more important that who you marry. 6 foot, 6 figures and a 6 pack is all fun and great but does he help you achieve your destiny? Is he God’s will for your life? Guys, 36-28-38 sounds wonderful but does she push you to achieve your goals? Does she propel you to a place of greatness? I mean is she the Michelle to your Obama???? Let’s be real, Obamzy knows that woman is the best thing to ever happen to him 😜.

Seriously though… we are focusing on all the wrong things when it comes to relationships and marriage. We need to get our lives together before jumping into anything with anyone. Marriage doesn’t remove all your problems, it shines a big spotlight on them. You are literally extremely naked with this person. Life doesn’t get any more invasive than this. If you want to thrive in your relationships, focus on our foundation  before jumping into one! While working on who we are, the right person will show up…. easier said than done right. It’s a struggle and I’m right there with you!

Lots of Love!

-MzB

Feature Image – When Will you Marry?

For more about Uncle Steve, click here!