Greetings! It has been a while…Busy with work, the launch of the new music single and life in general; but as it is finally December, feels different from previous years, but I’m still thankful to be approaching the end of the year 2020.
We all know what 2020 has represented, however in the midst of it all, there are still so many significant highlights to this year. Launching the new music single Direction, and hearing the feedback has been a blessing and I worked collectively with many professionals for all aspects of the release.
To complete the single front cover design, I utilised the fantastic skills of hair and makeup beautician Ruth Joyce Akinmoladun the founder of J.R GLOW and my interview with her features in this beauty blog today!
Welcome to the Sound Freedom Blog Ruth! Pleasure to have you as a feature…please do tell the readers about yourself…
My name is Ruth, I am 33 years old. I am a mother of 3. I’m a Christian by faith and I love everything I do. I also love the God-given gifts I have. Artistry in hair, make up and arts; like painting, photography, singing, writing etc. The list is quite long, lol.
My weakness is I am a perfectionist. I am a self-taught makeup artist and a qualified hairstylist in colour and styling which includes cuts also for both women and men.
Wow, that is a healthy resume! The beauty industry is a vast and multi-layered global business. From Modelling, to magazines, fashion, TV, cosmetic stores; the industry continues to experience growth and space for fresh new businesses like yours, especially due to the popular use of social media. How would you define beauty in the age of social media?
Beauty is the skin we live in. The hair on our head. The nature we look at. Things in its natural state. What I do with hair and makeup, is show you a variant of what your beauty can do when applied with colour and different mediums, just like an artist with paint.
I can definitely identify with what you are saying. Having worked with you on the shoot, you were able to listen to the ideas I had, but provided a beautiful interpretation of what I needed. So, When did you realise you had a passion to work in the beauty and hair industry?
When I had my daughter, I wanted my daughter to see that beauty to the world is constructed by a distorted perception of what beauty is. God first gave us light, then colour, then each other. Now, what we do with it is up to us. However, some of these creative sources were inspired by God. This is just a few of the things, I’ve chosen to do with it, using light, colour, shapes all the resources and the God given skin we live in.
Yes. I think it is evident for a long time there was a pressure for women especially, to conform to a particular western beauty standard. However, God as the master artist who has created so much varieties of one flower did so on purpose. What are some of the challenges you have or are experiencing?
Building Clientele is hard during a pandemic. Trying to build trust with clients is key.
Yes, it really has a been a difficult time for many businesses. I noticed however, that you took the time to ensure you responded to the pandemic, by upskilling and gaining your certificate in Covid health and safety, so clients can be fully assured that you are up to date with all the protocols required to work during the pandemic. On that note, tell us what your stand out highlight was for 2020?
Being able to see things come together for me and my family this year!
Wonderful…and a random question what’s your favourite food?
Pad thai with broccoli
Oh yummy! What can we expect to see from you in 2021?
Hopefully a new website, more content on social media and a few surprises.
Yes! Loving your content and looking forward to that. Please tell the readers how they can book, connect or engage with you for the coming year 2021?
Instagram @jrglow2 for Beauty
@j.r_glow for Hair
Now, this was just a taster of getting to know Ruth, however I know you will not be disappointed when you check out her content. Ruth is an example of a woman who is using her gifts uniquely. Her life’s testimony from being homeless, to now raising three children and running her own hair and beauty service, is truly an inspiration to any one who feels that they cannot overcome a bad experience.
So as we approach the end of 2020 remember that beauty is to fully embrace how we are created and never forgetting that a beautiful spirit far outweighs what we could apply to our bodies externally. It starts from within. Ruth truly has a beautiful spirit and I look forward to seeing her blossom and grow dynamically in the future! On that note have a listen to this beautiful song by Carl Beckles in this season of celebration which reminds us that we are beautiful ultimately because we were created by an awesome God!
Thank you for reading and supporting!! Check out some discounts and links to the beauty and body products that I love and have discovered this year!! Perfect for a beauty bag revamp, Christmas prezzies or hamper fillers!! (nb limited time frame on discount links).
My last EP released in 2017, included 3 songs; Love for Me, Glory Cloud and King of kings. I worked alongside fabulous producer and co writers – Ian Copeland Green, Marcus Johnson and Cal-I-Jonel to share musically what I feel was a special moment in my spiritual, song writing and artistic journey.
There were two visuals released for the Ep. Each video represented a different theme, message and style expression. For the Glory Cloudvisual, I collaborated with Father 2 Father, to highlight social issues of youth violence, absentee fathers, racism and the persecution of Christians trying to practice their faith. The song itself with vibe and style is intended to remind listeners that no matter what state the world is in, God has demonstrated that He will never cease to guide and protect those who put their trust in Him.
TheLove For Me video, was shot in Ghana and creative direction was arranged my husband, the very month that we got engaged. I was excited and thankful to God, not only about the fact that Love For Me was a celebration and reminder of God’s love for those who honour Him; but bringing together our creative gifts for the visual, also had the celebratory undertone of two cultures coming together and a celebration of our pending marital love. I had a great opportunity to perform at landmark locations in Ghana with vibrancy, colours, and young ladies who shine with fun and boldness for God.
The chorus toKing of Kingswas first written as an “add on” to a well known Christmas hymn I was asked to perform for a Premier Radio Christmas special. A friend heard the recording and contacted me to say how inspired he was hearing the chorus. His feedback in turn inspired me to write a full length song. Once recorded, a lyric video was released and this for me was a satisfactory completion of this project.
With personal life changes, I actually experienced within a two year period something I can only describe as a “writer’s drought”. A period were song writing attempts felt more like a desert than a stream. I accepted that maybe this was God wanting me to focus on other things.
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift ofGod, which is in you through the laying on of my hands,” – 2 Timothy 1:6
But then I felt reassured, that there was no pressure to make more music if it was not authentic. As a writer I need to continue living life and let that and my daily walk with Christ inspire the writing. Song writing to me is not only a gift, but part of the road to an unfolding purpose. I felt at peace. That is what happened, as I lived life, observed, listened and prayed, I heard melodies and put pen to paper. This is the beginning or should I say the conception of the creative process – for me. Once I get into the studio with the producer, the raw accapella and lyrics will grow into a finished song. Some songs I have started remain unfinished, but one that cascaded on to my blank canvas, was my new single – Direction.
There is no doubt that practicing Christians understand the joy and gratitude of receiving and experiencing spiritual renewal. Yet, the Bible does not hide the fact that even with Christ in our lives, our human life experiences are not absent of some deeply challenging seasons. Some believers and even the cynics my consider your trials and ponder; “surely because God is good, a believers life when committed to Him, will be “good” and smooth sailing?” Well, God matures us somewhat from such thinking and gives us the example of Jesus travelling in the boat with the disciples and on their voyage their boat is in the middle of a storm. The storm did not suddenly cease because of Christ’s presence. Rather, Jesus asked that they add faith and trust in Him to the circumstance. And equally, life storms can help mature our faith in God. Those very storms can somehow serve the purpose of helping us mature and gain a deeper revelation of who God really is.
And He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” – Exodus 33:14
I’m sure that all who are reading this blog have experienced a life situation that was difficult, traumatic or even tragic. What we face is one thing but how we respond is another. Is it depression, lack of hope or allowing the situation to take us down the road of engaging in things that may provide temporary alleviation of pain, but add to the long term distress?
I wrote the song Direction so that listeners can hear a respectfully honest dialogue with God. In the Bible we see this quite often between God and people like Moses, David, Hannah, Mary, Jeremiah and Abraham to name a few. So I felt I was in good company. For my generation, and for those who know nothing about God, I wanted to demonstrate that God does not despise a heart posture of being real and vulnerable. In fact, that is the safest place, where we can be assured that He can be trusted to respond appropriately, in His time with pure, unbiased truth and love.
From verse 1, there is honesty to affirmation and then faith to assurance that God has a purpose in the seasons that seem dark. Reminding us that He is the light that leads us out of darkness and He is the One we need to acknowledge when we are making our life decisions because He fully knows the purpose for why He created us.
I uploaded the lyric video for Direction on 30.10.2020. I am so happy that in the year 2020, I have been afforded another opportunity to share new music…just before the beginning of another 4 week lockdown. Based on the feedback so far, this feels like the right time and season for the song’s release. Would love to hear your feedback.
Thank you once again for reading my first full music blog! Stay tuned for the music video too! Don’t forget to comment, share and subscribe for alerts and updates on my Youtube channel platform.
A special blog to celebrate our wedding anniversary 🎉
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” – Ecclesiastes 3: 11
This time three years ago we celebrated our marriage, love and covenant before God with friends, family and loved ones!
This year felt so special. Growing in love takes work and intention, patience and kindness, prayer and commitment. But even before you get to that stage, for many finding the spouse that you decide to covenant with can be a journey in itself!
As a single woman, although I know of happy couples who have found love and marriage via the online dating route, I was not quite comfortable with meeting potentials in that way. I didn’t mind however, events that were designed for singles to socialise and get to know new people. But even in these spaces, some of the experiences I share with the friends who have attended such events, were quite frankly hilarious. To detail each one I think I’d need a vlog not a blog, but I’ll mentioned one that has me giggling and cringing at the memory all at the same time.
About four of us attended a “Christian” speed dating event on one occasion. The goal from what I understand, is to rotate the conversations so that all the ladies have a chance to speak to all the men at the event. I recall having about five minutes or so to speak to each guy in attendance. Once the organiser started her timer, the speed dating commenced! The time allotted did not give room for conversation deeper than the pleasantries. But what I did not expect was to have a man sit in front of me overtly intoxicated with alcohol, with glazed eye balls talking about he is speed dating? Safe to say I had decided, No thank you. Not for me.
“For My Thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”– Isaiah 55: 8,9
In life we change, we grow, we mature, and we realise that there is often no set formula to how we meet our spouses. Every couple is different. I was introduced to my husband by a mutual friend at a time when I really wasn’t expecting to be in a relationship. I had experienced dating and due to unmet expectations when I was told about Mark I was sceptical and reserved.
Even with that thinking, I still did not expect that 6 months from the beginning of my conversations with Mark, we would be engaged. 2016 surely took me by surprise. That is what I love about God. His ways are a mystery, and he was teaching me about the process. All my past heartbreaks and disappointments prepared me for the moment I would connect with Mark.
To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” – Psalm 30: 12
There were definitely standards and similarities that for me were primary essentials in us moving forward as a couple, such as; our Christian faith. Yet we share many differences, like our cultural background (Ghanaian/Jamaican/British) and personality traits (Ambiverted/ Introverted) that cement, balance, add spice to our union and help us to enjoy each others world and perspective. For example, I don’t like heights, but Mark seems to?? I first knew this when I asked him to arrange a video shoot for one of my songs in Ghana. I thought I was going to shoot a simple performance shot with a nice scenic location, not knowing that Mark has a vision for me to be at the top of a lighthouse in James Town, Ghana. Due to how heights make feel giddy, I would never think to do this. But he held my hand and I did.
So fast forward to our anniversary 2020, I asked Mark what he was thinking for us to do, and he mentioned The SHARD in London. Heights again??? Yes. In his artistic mind, we should not be afraid to go higher because when we do, our perspective changes. And truly when you stand in The Shard and look over London, you see the vastness of the city in a different way.
Annually around this time of year I browse the Virgin Experience Day website to see if there are any deals and yes there was one that included a visit to The Shard! Not only do I like this page for anniversary days out, but they do a variety of different experience day packages like spa, dinner dates and tourist attractions that could have you saving on the pounds you would otherwise spend. Mark and I have utilised quite a few. If you want to have a browse and get a discount here is a code
Travelling to The Shard was quite easy, about two minutes away from London Bridge station. Before that visit, we went for a light lunch at Gaucho Restaurant. This was part of the package.
The lunch that we had was definitely light. So if you were accustomed to the usual Gaucho menu, this was not offered on the experience package. A separate lunch was offered based on a different menu. The flagship Restaurant in Piccadilly is not far from The Shard on the Jubilee line. We enjoyed the decor, friendly service and chilled environment. The dessert of sticky toffee pudding and caramel amaretto ice cream was the star of the three courses in my view.
It was nice to experience panoramic views of London city whilst you order drinks, cocktails, coffees or cakes from the bars. Seating is limited on a first come first serve basis however. But there are also offices and restaurants that you can explore.
In the busy-ness of life, spending special moments and quality time with your spouse celebrates love, builds memories and revives passion. Three years ago, two days after the wedding, we were off on our honeymoon in Dubai. The friend’s that sung for me as I walked down the isle, are the friends that advised me to make sure that in all the wedding planning, we keep our honeymoon budget as a priority. They told me that after all the wedding stress, as newlyweds you just need to jump on the plane and go! Leave everything and everyone behind and get the rest, relaxation and focus that you need. They were so right! I was thinking Barbados, but Mark suggested Dubai. Sunshine, beach and lavish surroundings. Perfect. We did a holiday break to Rome for one anniversary which was great, but in this current pandemic year, I’m less confident about travelling abroad with restrictions changing from week to week. This year we took the tube into London. The sun shone, we had a lovely day but most importantly we were together for another year.
We are excited and thankful for our journey so far. when we first got married we had no idea what we would have experienced and we do not know what is to come. But we centre our focus on God and how we can honour and glorify Christ through our union. Thank you once again for taking the time to read! Feel free to like, comment and share your dating, wedding and anniversary story. Would love to hear it. Here are some highlights from our white wedding!
Since sharing my last post – Unearthing Fibroids – Part 1, I took the time to process the very honest, moving responses and personal journeys that a number of women shared with me on and offline. A deep confirmation, that our experiences on so many levels although unique are not uncommon. I am proud and applaud the courage of the women who continue to support each other, bring truth, insight and hope to other women in their sphere of influence. My own faith has been strengthened and my insight widened. In my time alone with God I prayed for you. I prayed for us and will continue to do so.
I started 2019 at a New Years Eve celebration in church. I was 85% in recovery and I actually sang at this service. It was a powerful time in God’s presence. I was at this point excited about the new year after all that had taken place in 2018. I had time to rest and now wanted to work on some goals with my husband. One of them was starting a new work contract. A definite answer to prayer. I also wanted to lose some of the pounds I had gained and just adjust to a new work life balance.
At around 5 months into the year, Nearly mid way through the year, I found that at the time of the month, on more than one occasion, there was a tense sharp pain in my side. Very strange as it was not a feeling of menstrual cramps, but a lingering prodding pain that wouldn’t budge. I got in contact with the surgeon who performed the myomectomy and he said that they would proceed to carry out some reviews. I returned to the BMI hospital and had a scan and internal examination.
Some weeks later I called my GP for the results. The GP on duty who I spoke to was horrid. Her tone and manner was dismissive? I asked her about my results and she started to ask me questions that were not relevant. Eventually, as she began to read the results she said “It looks like a fibroid…or something.” Or something? This conversation was raising my stress levels and I just wanted to end this phone call. I went back to my gynaecologist and he actually said that there does not seem to be anything of concern from the scan but he would refer me to another hospital.
I then met gynaecologist number 4. Although it is positive that I was being seen, it’s possible that the process can impact emotional wellbeing. It is important to remain positive in perspective and prayer. Losing weight at this time was enjoyable. A little personal goal that motivated me to explore new ways of healthy cooking and exercise routines. Little by little I reached my target and lost two stones.
During the meeting with the new gynaecologist, he said that he could see there was a polyp in the lining of my uterus. No idea what that is, or what that means! The gynaecologist drew a picture of this polyp on a piece of paper. I cannot even remember my reaction. I think by this time, I was a little numb. He then said that he would need my consent to refer me for a hysteroscopy.
My hospital admission was booked. My husband and I felt ok. We were in God’s hands and recognised the wonderful things happening in our lives. In addition, I was writing my heart in songs and back in the studio. Settling into a new church fellowship and embracing a new chapter.
On the day of the hysteroscopy, my husband and I were welcomed by a lovely student doctor. Positively, I would not need to stay in hospital this time, although I would have to take some time of work. I met another female gynaecologist (number 5) who would carry out the procedure. She explained that the hysteroscopy would enable me to watch the procedure on the screen as the long tube they insert has a light and camera on the end.
During the procedure, she encouraged me to look at the screen. They searched my uterus for this polyp and eventually when she found it I saw this mushroom looking invader, get snipped away as the blood spilled out slightly and she removed it. As I prepared to leave the hospital her closing comments to me were “Your Womb is fine. We will send what we have removed to the lab for tests “. I was advised to go back to my GP once I get the results.
When my results came back it was December, and this medical letter was clear. No signs of cancer detected. God be praised.
After a year of having the myomectomy, I was now aware of something else, Polyps. Something in women’s health I knew nothing about and could also be worth investigating if you or any woman experience the following symptoms:
Bleeding in between periods
Vaginal bleeding after menopause
In all of this, I understand that there are overlaps, complexities and barriers to how promptly we can access treatment or investigation. For example, what symptoms do you have? How do you manage these symptoms? Do they interfere with daily life, work life, social life and mental health? Are you of child bearing age and are you in a relationship or not? It can be overwhelming navigating through all this. I am not trained in any medical capacity, yet I am of the view that if something can be done, doing nothing should not be an option.
Whilst in the process of completing this blog post, I heard yesterday a quote that there is purpose in our pain. Then in the very same weekend I woke up to the hear about the death of Chadwick Boseman. I understand that he was dealing with colon cancer for four years. In those years he produced amazing art, inspired a generation and left a legacy. His poise stood out and he seemed to go about his positive business with such excellence and humility.
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, ad could say, ‘I used everything You gave me.” – Chadwick Boseman.
What struck me is that he knew his diagnoses but chose to keep it between he, his God and the selected ones that needed to know. Every single day of his life was a gift not to be taken for granted. It’s the fruit of his life that defines him, not that dreaded disease. His life, also serves to inspire us that even when uninvited circumstances arise, this does not mean that there is no hope for us fulfilling our purpose and to live each day fully in pursuit of our God given destiny.
In all experiences, I see that the sacredness of our womanhood is embedded in the way in which we were uniquely designed by God ON purpose and FOR purpose. Even when we are confronted with health challenges.
Consider a man called Job. A family man, a business man, a praying man, a godly man. He was that guy. His life was seemingly good all round. But suddenly health issues rocked his body. His marriage broke down under the pressure. He lost his children, his business and even God was not happy with the friends who being negative, added nothing to help his situation. Job’s wife, also lost it. How can this man be sick and lose everything and still worship God? The reality of dealing with a real life issue shook their foundations.
“Teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom” – Psalm 90:12
I was not expecting to experience anything like this. Especially not so early on in my marriage. But I’m here and thankful. I felt convicted to do my part, to share and encourage. We are living in interesting times and I know that there may be much anxiety and frustration for many women, especially if they are dealing with gynaecological matters in the midst of a pandemic. But I pray you will not give up. My faith in Jesus Christ spurred me on, that no matter what happens there is hope and purpose to fulfil.
Once again, thank YOU for taking the time to read Two Parts of my story. Regarding my health now? I am well, thankful, joyful and encouraged! Always working to improve in all areas of my life.
Moving forward, any beneficial and credible information regarding treatment, diet, nutrition that I can share will be updated in the links. I also plan to share in a future blog some of the health prayer and declarations I’ve prayed during this time. Feel free to like, comment and share!
Stay tuned for my wedding anniversary blog post COMING SOON!! x
Welcome to my first full page product review on the SoundFreedomBlog! Although this year has been challenging, it has definitely highlighted the resourcefulness, resilience and determination of many.
In the past couple of months, these were some of the items I purchased from black owned businesses. I think they are fab, wanted to spread the lurrve and highlight these to the readers of this blog. Enjoy!
I purchased two pairs of these beautiful colourful socks from Afrisocks.
“Bringing Africa’s colourful prints to your sock draw. Designed in Ghana. Made with love.”
Soft and comfortable, they definitely bring colour and vibrancy to your draws and your outfit. This item speaks of boldness and an identity that stands out as a unique brand. If you want to step out with style, these are the socks for you!
Those who understand the cultural uniqueness and history of these designs, will in my view appreciate this trendy and fashionable sockwear range. I definitely do!
Sunmo Plantain Crisps
“Sunmo means to bring people together.”
Are you in the plan-tin or plan-tayne camp lol? Whichever way you pronounce it, plantain crisps are available in a quite a few different brands and Sunmo is definitely a tasty option. I first heard about the brand watching an interview, where the founder of the company; Nigerian entrepreneur Vivi Diamonds, discussed the journey of building the business.
Her journey is inspiring. From registering the company in 2017, she went on to sell her SUNMO plaintain crisps at food stalls. Due to demand and popularity, she received an investment to develop the brand and the packaging. Her business is growing and stockists range from Selfridges, Amazon, Cafe Nero and Holland & Barratt. I ordered my box from Amazon and my favourite from the four flavours is smoked chilli and naturally sweet! If you love snacks and want to support a growing black owned business, why not try Sunmo snacks.
Shea Moisture with Mankua honey & Mafura Oil
“Sofi Tucker started selling Shea Nuts at the village market in Bonthe, Sierra Leone in 1912. By age 19, the widowed mother of four was selling Shea Butter, African Black Soap and her homemade hair and skin preparations all over the countryside. Sofi Tucker was our Grandmother and SheaMoisture is her legacy.“
Over the years, I have tried a number of different shampoos that can provide moisture, detangling and nutritional benefits for my natural hair. I recall some years ago when a hair dresser was washing my hair, there was this sweet aroma I could smell and when I asked her for the name of it she introduced me to Shea Moisture. That particular shampoo was enriched with Jamaican black castor oil and I used it religiously. Recently, I fancied a change so I looked through their range for another product that could provide hydration for my hair.
The smell and the bounce in my curls is pleasing. I am not a fan of conditioners that you have to rinse out, so I am always on the hunt for a good leave-in conditioner. Mankua honey is known for its healing properties and mafura oil for its abilty to nourish dull hair.
I have added these sulfate free products to my hair care routine as I am satisfied with the way my hair and scalp feels after using them!
Cocoa Girl Magazine
“The UK’s first Black Girls’ magazine. Cocoa Girl Magazineis filled with inspiring and empowering content for young Black Girls aged 7-14 years old.”
To talk about an issue is good, but to positively address an issue to me is even better. Serlina Boyd did just that. Her 6 year old daughter was experiencing difficulties at school because of her skin colour, so to empower her daughter and black girls around the world, she designed and published Cocoa Girl magazine. A magazine that celebrates the beauty, culture and diversity of God given shades of brown skin. Rather than wait for others to bring the change (could be waiting a while), Serlina created the change she wants to see NOW.
I purchased the magazine and page after page was filled with positive, affirming, inspiring content. The magazine is bright, bold and interactive. The content also stimulates thinking and encourages healthy eating, good hair care routines, colouring in and writing. The tone is upbeat and although this is a children’s magazine, there are loving references to different generations. For example, learning how to bake “Grandma’s Banana Cake”, learning about the life of Mary Seacole and current millennial influencers who are building careers in writing, journalism, fashion and media. Issue 1, was highly engaging and well worth the purchase. Look out for Issue 2 and would love to hear your feedback.
“Art is therapeutic and relaxing and I truly enjoy it.” – Cassie Manning aka NubianRockChick
I tried to remember how I first became acquainted with the work of this artist. What I can remember is that whenever her artwork would show up on my instagram feed, I could relate to this artwork which highlighted the multifaceted aspects of our lives as women. This is an artist who creates, understands and motivates us through her art. I was in the process of writing a blog and when I asked NRC if I could feature her artwork in my blog, she permitted me to do so, for which I am still so thankful ( You can read that blog here: Reflect and CHILL Featured Post).
She not only has a social media presence, but has translated her art into a number of items that you can purchase from her online store. As I’m partial to a bit of writing, I purchased the notepad to add to my stationary collection.
An chic A5 notepad with flavour, as each leaf has the trendy afro haired sista sitting at the corner of the page. This notepad, is strong, sturdy and of good quality and the packaging for postage was equally as durable and proficient. Check out her beautiful items on her online store!
“A creative company which employs art as a visual communication tool. The company prides itself in its ability to provide clients with unique works of art. ARMSMAC does this by transforming ordinary ideas into timeless and sophisticated visual works.“
No matter how many artists there are in the world, every artist provides a powerful, unique message through their work. I have learned this even more having been acquainted with the visual art created by Armsmac designs. To know the artist, is to also know and understand the passion, the time it takes to intricately complete each work and the vision for why that art was created. I love this design so I opted to purchase this on a mug, mask and t-shirt.
Armsmac art encompasses many different styles of contemporary fine art and genres which aim to interpret and portray socio-economic, familial, political challenges and rich traditions. Not only are there original pieces of art available but they are also transferred on a number of different merchandise such as clothing, stationary, accessories and home interior decor. For art lovers everywhere, there is much to choose from, enjoy whilst you explore!
So that’s my first Black owned business Review edition! So very proud of all the businesses and the achievements that are being made. Thank you for reading and feel free to like, follow and comment about the review. Stay Blessed!
“Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” – Martha, John 11:21
These are the words of a grieving sister mourning the loss of her brother Lazarus. Crushed by bereavement, she believes that circumstances could have been different. I know Martha usually gets a bad rap in many sermons for her busy, excessive temperament; but sometimes like Martha, depending on the circumstance, our real life experiences that cause grief and pain, can cause us to respond by wondering, asking or considering, how situations could or should have been different.
Growing up, I never really had much issues that would cause me to be hospitalised. As a female, I learned from a young age that monthly menstrual cramps were perfectly normal and pretty bearable, until my teenage years. The pain was quite disabling at times until I discovered Nurofen. I still wasn’t able to side-line the bloating, backache and headaches, but at least I could keep active if absolutely necessary. As life moved on nurofen was not even enough. I sought help from GPs and they offered stronger tablet form medications but no further investigations.
“Many women are unaware they have fibroids because they don’t have any symptoms. Women who do have symptoms (around 1 in 3) may experienceheavy periods or painful periods” – NHS
The world wide web is an interesting place. I’ve heard arguments for and against the idea of painful periods being “normal”. For me, I believe that an incessant, crippling pain is usually a sign that you may need more thorough exploration of how your body is functioning.
In July 2017 when I was totally hunched over unable to move, I was admitted to hospital. Two months before my white wedding and I am on a hospital bed in the corridor of an overcrowded patient ward. I was given medication and a few hours later, the doctor tells me that it looks like I had a kidney stone, but x ray showed that there was nothing of concern so it was ok to be discharged. I’m given a discharge sheet and in tiny writing at the bottom of the paper is a reference to ‘Fibroids’.
“Fibroids are common, with around 1 in 3 women developing them at some point in their life. They most often occur in women aged 30 to 50. Fibroids are thought to develop more frequently in women of African-Caribbean origin.” – NHS
Skip forward to my wedding day, a beautiful day, fabulous honeymoon, and new chapter of my life and marital journey. Not long after, a letter from the hospital I had attended for the kidney stone, was asking me to return to the hospital for a scans and review. Meanwhile, for the remainder of the year terrible monthly menstrual pain, heavy menstrual flow continued. I again went back to my local GP, more medication but no further exploration.
I attended the hospital appointments, and my Kidney’s were fine, Urethra fine, but loads of fibroids? This Doctor did not explain much but just started to speak about hysterectomy? I was slightly distressed and I just wanted to leave!
I chose to blog about this issue, with the encouragement of my husband, because, although this was my personal experience, the more I spoke about it, shared my journey with others, the more I was gaining a new understanding. I had friends who shared their own personal experiences of discovering fibroids were in their womb. Some found out because of the usual symptoms, others due to difficult pregnancies.
I discovered that July is Fibroid Awareness month in some American states. Women all over the world, sharing our stories to raise awareness, which helps to provide deeper understanding about the mysteries of the female body. As a black woman of Afro-Caribbean descent, some studies and suggestions highlight the increased frequency of fibroids developing in women of this heritage. So do these studies suggest that if we are experiencing certain symptoms, there should be further investigations made at an earlier stage with recurrent visits to the GP about this issue?
Subsequent to my hospital appointments I was referred to a gynaecologist. He told me “if your periods are manageable we won’t do anything’ and then persisted to tell me about the bureaucratic referral processes in place to address this issue. When speaking to certain medical professionals during this process, I often felt excluded and helpless. Letters were sent to me with medical jargon to explain the scans I had but I did not have medical understanding to understand the gravity of what the scans revealed. Telephone calls, further appointments, re-referrals, going around in circles with no discussion on treatment. Am I supposed to sit here as these invaders take over my body!! I recall speaking to a family nurse and she told me quite frankly, “do not allow them to leave you like this.”
Being in this situation, helped me to realise that I can not put my future in the hands of infallible human beings. I had to keep trusting God for wisdom, direction and intervention. A year later, I received a letter to see another gynaecologist – July 2018. My husband as usual was with me at this appointment. He asked us a few questions and said “Ok, lets removed them.” Oh wow. Okay. This felt like a relief and a divine answer to prayer. It was whole year and I was tired. But this felt like a well needed breakthrough.
September 2018, after celebrations in Rome for birthday and anniversary, I came home, had an assessment and was booked into have the myomectomy that week. I was admitted to the BMI Hospital and I felt such peace, my husband praying over me, the staff warm, friendly, professional and making me giggle. At this moment in my life all that mattered was addressing this issue. Everything else like work, ministry and the busy-ness of life can wait.
I woke up from the surgery heavily sedated, sore. It was pre-covid days, so no social distancing measures in place and I woke up to see my husband, family and friends around me. Thank You Lord.
These staple like stitches held my wound together, tube for blood drainage in my side, urinary catheter….well, this is different lol. After a good first night, the following day I was assisted by great nurses, very pleasant care and even physio. I can’t laugh or cough and I feel so tender. The surgeon came to see me and provided feedback on how he felt the surgery had gone. I was shown a picture of these ugly fibroid invaders that were removed and also that he had treated endometriosis. Another condition that could also explain my previous pain and heavy menstrual flow.
My recovery required me to engage in no heavy lifting, do nothing strenuous and don’t drive. The day after my operation the nurse encouraged me to engage in the physio. Physio already? Yes ma’am, one tiny step at a time. The surgeon was very surprised to hear that I was booked for physio already, as his other patients were not. All glory to God for the swift beginning of healing and being mobile again.
Once home, the walk up three flights of stairs took longer than usual. But once home and indoors I was able to get comfortable. I love to sleep on my stomach but now I have to learn to sleep on my back for three months with my legs resting on a cushion. Thank God for my hubby, my carer who would make sure I was ok in the morning, leave for work and then come home cook our dinner and do everything that needed to be done at home.
I had to take the injections that prevent blood clots daily and I chose to take paracetamol rather than nurofen if I experienced any pain. The first week after the operation, I had terrible bloating, but I was warned by the nurse that this would happen. This was alleviated once I threw up, which felt like every clip in my stomach was being ripped from the inside. Ouch! Of course, I am fully aware that every woman is different and will heal and recover differently.
I had a personal lockdown. Time to reflect. I believe this chapter of my life unfolded to provide more than just insight into my own health, but I gained something to share with my sisters….
Any ongoing, unusual, chronic pain should never be ignored. It maybe nothing, it may be something, but why not check it out?
All women can be affected by fibroids and endometriosis, yet studies suggest that those of African-Caribbean origin are “thought” to be more prone to developing fibroids.
Obesity can be a key factor that is identified as causing the development of fibroids so research into nutrition and overall health and fitness is a great benefit. As with everything there are arguments for and against most things. But I became focused on getting my weight down with a method that was beneficial and enjoyable. I’ll blog about my weight loss journey soon, but for now I encourage you to stick to the most healthiest option for you!
Fortunately, the resources and information on fibroids and endometriosis are very accessible via difference sources. We can learn objectively, whilst listening to our bodies and knowing how the information may relate to our personal circumstance.
From the point of seeing “fibroids” written on my discharge sheet, to having the myomectomy, was a year and two months. I have no idea what the NHS waiting times are now due to covid-19? Wherever you are in the world, your access to healthcare will differ. Whether you invest in private consultation or public provisions, if you have concerns, make them known to medical professions. The cost of not addressing this issue early could offer more health issues in the long run.
This is a deeply emotive and personal area for so many women, couples and families. I am so grateful that I had people that my husband and I could trust and who were able to respond to our situation with love, sensitivity and prayer. It’s not a right for everyone to know all the ins and outs of what is happening to you especially, if you feel you need time to process these matters in your life, that’s ok. Don t feel pressured. But don’t feel ashamed either. Your journey and your story is unique, but not uncommon.
I had a myomectomy, but there are a number of different surgeries depending on the severity of your circumstances that can and will be offered. These are not menial issues and the gravity of the impact should not be minimised. I have heard many experiences. Some women require a hysterectomy which is womb removal, some experience miscarriages, one friend had a serious dilemma after childbirth due to fibroid related issues. Wombs matter regardless what age we are! So I really believe that raising awareness early can maybe assist to recognise early symptoms and gain early intervention if necessary rather than endure discomfort and/or irreversible outcomes.
With all I have read, heard and experienced, I am happy to encourage so many with the message of hope. I understand that I was graced to have this testimony. My recovery was steady and I took the time to evaluate my whole life. I had a successful operation and my monthly pain is no where near as intense as it was before the op. My recovery was not just physical, but emotional and spiritual. 2019 was a very positive and dynamic year. Taking steps of faith, making changes and embracing a new season.
Half way through the year of 2019, I was experiencing some sharp pains in my side. I return to the gynaecologist and I find out something else! The journey continues and will be reflected in Part 2 of my story.
When Lazarus died, Martha in general terms was asking Jesus “where were you in our situation?” Jesus then demonstrated powerfully, that even when a situation seems bleak, God has an unfolding purpose that can bring hope to our souls and glory to His name! By faith, I’m still learning and growing in this truth, and the purpose in this blog is to encourage the readers, experiencing difficulties directly or indirectly that you are not alone, and that in Christ, there is a purpose in our difficulties even when we can’t see it.
Thank you for reading and feel free to Like, comment, follow and subscribe for future post alerts.
…It’s been a busy, but productive one! Posting a little update and saying Hi! A huge relief that now, thanks to Power4laptops and my hubby, my laptop is healed..for now.
Working on new logo, new learning, new discoveries, new music and new fitness routine, has keeping me well and truly busy.
Sweets and Treats
Working from home has it’s benefits but it can literally feel like you never stop working. Hence why it’s important to treat yourself, gift yourself and others with some niceness. I missed out on the sale purchase of the Hotel Chocolat summer box selection as it sold out quickly! But I settled for their popular gift box selection, plus my favourite pop corn kernels are back in store!
Chilled mulled wine in the fridge, I think that’s enough treats for this weekend.
I also noticed that two of my fragrance perfumes were running low. So, this does not count as a treat, but an ‘essential’ reason to check out what new fragrances are available this summer! I’m in the ‘sweet fragrance’ camp in terms of smells I prefer. But for the fresh and floral lovers, if you have any popping recommendations I’m open to break with my usual sweet smelling preferences. Change is good!
Flying Tiger has a nice half price sale going on, purchased a strong firm wooden handled whisker for my cake mixing which I can’t wait to use! I gave the cake baking a break and replaced with fruit pastries but I I have a Mark’s and Sparks raspberry coulis in the fridge just waiting to be drizzled over a home made vanilla cake with ice cream. I’m done! Lol
The family is growing. Two of my sister-friends had their babies born on the exact same day this month. Imagine. Not by chance, but truly the wisdom of an all-knowing God. Thankful that they are well, especially carrying their children during the lockdown season. Conception, pregnancy and childbirth is truly a miracle every single time.
“Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from Him.” – Psalm 127:3 (NLT)
From the beginning of this month until now, with all that is happening in the world socially and politically, I’ve focused on what it means to invest wisely in all areas of life; spiritually, mentally, educationally and physically. My daily prayer and meditations are centered and inspired from the Biblical book of Proverbs. Line upon line of heavenly wisdom for practical, daily and godly living is serving me with wholesome information and guidance.
“To acquire wisdom is to love yourself; people who cherish understanding will prosper” – Proverbs 19:8 (NLT).
Thanks to TRULIFE promotions my music video will be aired on SKY TV and the TRUMIX YouTube Channel. A truly supportive and inspirational platform.
New blog post is scheduled for next week, and I’m featuring as guest on the ChristNChill platform.
I’m looking forward to a scheduled interview on my music journey to date. Godwilling, I’ll also be writing a review on some fabulous items I’ve purchased from black owned businesses.
I want to also say a huge THANK YOU to all those who have liked, messaged and followed the SoundFreedomBlog Page since its launch! I’ve really enjoyed the journey so far and have more content coming! Like, share, comment and stay connected.
I remember in my childhood, growing up by the seasoned women in my life, there was usually a healthy stock of capsuled and bottled vitamins at the ready such as Ferrol, Cod Liver Oil, Sanatogen Tonic and oh my goodness Liquid of Life! My mother ensured I took my daily vitamin cordial, and had the full support of grandmother and aunt who with jovial Jamaican bantor, routinely assured me that additional vitamins would serve to “mek you strong an healthy”.
Fast forward to the present, my grandmother is no longer with us, but I have vitamin cupboard that I’m sure would have her stamp of approval. I can’t help but smile at the fact that I now routinely remind myself to take my daily dose of iron, probiotics and vitamin D. But nothing beats the blessed levels of vitamin D that my body has received from the beautiful sunshine that is always welcome when you live in the UK. During the month of June 2020, shining on my melanin, I’m grateful for the those days where rays of heat reminded me of how seasons change. Six months on, mid year, already! Easing out of lockdown, into something different?
“For everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven…He has made everything beautiful in its time.” -Ecclesiastes 3:1,11
For some this point of the year may mark nothing more than the same old routine, stress, contentment? I know it varies, but for some, approaching a new month especially in a year like 2020 can mark specific changes, challenges and vital life choices to be made that impact family, friendships, health, wellbeing and career.
For the past three months, I have embraced the extra hours that were usually soaked up by the necessary travel to and fro across the M25. More moments to reflect. Chores, errands and busyness can at times leave us with just enough room to engage with the matters of the heart on a superficial level. But reflection right now has become more thought provoking and self examining. It is deliberate and focused. Purposeful and engaging. A necessary process that helps to identify the strengths and weaknesses, failures and progress. Sifting through sources of influence; myths and truths, lies and logic and everything in between.
2019 New Year’s Eve, I was ready for 2020 in how I thought it would transpire. Six months on, reflective analysis question 1. Did I grow in my faith? I had to. Trusting God, seeking and learning to be patient in the things I don’t control. In addition, this seasoned fine tuned my connection and relationship to healthy minded individuals, encouragers, loved ones family.
Appreciative, that I am accountable to love. God’s love. This compels me, to walk freely in His wonderful provision and who He created me to be individually and as a member of His huge family! Blessed to be a blessing, even in circumstances that we cannot control, by faith, God kept my focus on His promise that He still has a plan and that will never change. Life is filled with change. Change for the better, the bad and the good. 6 months on, has life changed the way you thought it would?
Balance. This is a key principle in my life.
“Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple. Passion alone will destroy it’s walls.” – Maya Angelou
The rat race, the donkey race, the dog eat dog race. There are more than one kind of race taking place in peoples lives. The financial race, the get to the top race. Ever heard someone say that their mind is racing? That’s because even when the body is stationary the mental race with thoughts and plans, is still whizzing, still working, still processing. It’s okay to take a moment.
Rest is the due service to our bodies that promote and sustain our general health. Rest is refreshing in the world of non stop activity. As we enter a new phase, whatever your race on your busiest days, make time to serve your body and mind with the rest it deserves.
I knew we were in a technological world before the pandemic, but lock down took it to the next level. So much so, my laptop battery jack socket recently just gave up. I hear that on a lock down Sunday morning, as the saints went logging in, even zoom decided he was all zoomed out and crashed!
When our tech devices do work, they carry to our minds like a river to a stream, floods of social media content, videos, lives, discussions and zoom meetings. But does it refill us to serve our purpose? Do you notice the message on the printer when the ink has depleted and you add a new cartridge. The message then tells you how it feels about the refill. Whether it was the genuine brand or something else. The printer manufacturer is reminding the user that in order for the printer to perform at its best, the quality of the refill should not be ignored. Neither should we. We too benefit when we serve our lives with quality refill.
The choice of spiritual, educational and mental fuel is so vast from a plethora of platforms. Bibles, books, music, podcasts. One particular podcast I’d like to shout out is Christ n Chill Two sisters in Christ bringing you unapologetic conversation…’ It’s lively, thought provoking, edifying and uplifting! My kind of audio, on the days when I feel like a sister chat of positive vibes and content! What’s your favourite podcast at the moment?
My husband is a visual artist, (@Armsmac) so I see colourful creativity daily. He had an exhibition planned, but Corona meant the initial date was prosponed. Yet, reviewing his options in lockdown confinement, he recognised his creativity can still be shared and celebrated with the world via online store. He did it and while setting his creative mind free, he never failed to encourage me to step out and share my gifting in new ways. I did too.
Nervous at times. But when I did, defeat the fear, I learned something new about myself, and how to move take bigger strides with confidence and courage.
Maybe as you review your goals you’ll see how consistent you are, what you learned, what you gained, what you now want to work towards, and the steps needed to make positive change.
The exciting movement that ignite your passion and sets the focus. Daily, active steps and assignments completed sustains the momentum. On the journey to our destination, although it sounds simple, it really does require persistence to complete one consistent task a time.
A lot can still happen in the next 6 months. When thinking of the future there is always uncertainty, definitely challenges, even some barriers. But when graciously gifted with life for a new day…
“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” -Matthew 6:34
Stay focused and stay blessed.
*Special thanks to @Nubianrockchick for the feature of the beautiful, inspirational artwork owned by Cassie Manning. *Use of images have been authorised by owner for this post. Not available for redistribution*
*As mentioned in this post, you can listen to the Christ N Chill Podcast https://www.christnchill.com/on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Stitcher, Christnchill.com, Googleplay. We are working on a lil’ collaboration too…whoop!
We plan, but who decides? When I tell you that Corona Virus did not come play with 2020. A leap year that at times I wished we could just leap right out of!
The beginning of March is a beloved time. I get to be thankful, treat myself, and celebrate another year of my life on earth. This year, I was slightly busy leading up to it and left invites to the birthday socials a little late, but hey! I was still going to get my party on, get my pamper on, my relaxation on, come on now!
Travelling into Central London this time around meant that I had to carry some added essentials; plastic gloves, ginger and plenty of hand sanitiser. The atmosphere in various social settings was still buzzing’. So, Friday kickoff with the ladies and I, Nando’s and Karaoke. Saturday, spa day treatment (I love me a good facial) followed by swanky restaurant in the evening and cheeky stop on the way home to the Candy store for delightful sweeties galore. Sunday treat with Hubby, dining at the “First Dates” Restaurant. It all ends on Monday with a lunch time catch-up at WagaMama’s with the friend who appreciates exploring the world of limited edition flavoured ice cream (especially when they are on sale). It’s okay, wash your hands repeatedly, sanitise and keep it moving. A lovely weekend indeed, but in the background a growing sense of societal concern about a disease they say began in Wuhan, China and was now about to sweep though the UK. And so it begins…Lockdown.
Two weeks later, lockdown is official. Well, this is different. Working from home, retail stores shut, restaurants, schools, church, businesses and so on and so on. Toilet paper, pasta and flour shortages? Still have access to the essential stores, but we now adhere to this new benchmark for contact, called social distancing.
Mask wearing. Can’t see family, can’t see friends. Daily updates. Death tolls. Fear. Anxiety. World Leaders, Scientists, Governments, how do they deal with this pandemic? Every family finds their own way. We navigate week by week, focusing on that which is most important. Everything that can be shaken is shaken. But you know this, you feel this, because the whole world is in this.