Are you happy at the moment?
I am at a great place in my life and I feel whole spiritually, physically, emotionally and mentally. I am truly thankful to God for reminding me to enjoy the blessing that is today and be a blessing to others in return. I am learning to be grateful for who I am, who I have, where I am, and what I have.
If you could go back and say anything to your 16 year old self now – what would it be?
I am proud of you for being an individual who didn’t care what others thought but instead you chose to stand up for what you believed. This helped you to grow into the leader you are today. However, I wish you had been more vulnerable and loving toward those who cared. True friends love you for who you are with the good, the bad, and the ugly: that is the beauty of being yourself and accepting others for who they are.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?
One important lesson I learned this year is that as much as you will make friends throughout your lifetime, you have to carefully choose the ones that will be in your inner circle and treasure them. The lesson brought me to reflect on my relationships and how crucial it is to surround myself with people who not only love me for who I am but are not afraid to be real with me. I need people who understand where I am going and keep me accountable about the choices I make to get there. I need people who will see me through storms with love, prayer, encouragement, and understanding. This lesson has taught to me to invest the same in those friendships because true friends are rare gifts.
What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?
I want to live my faith in love and truth. I also want to write more and publish books. It would be nice to get to the gym often and control my intake of sweets. I want to love my husband and children more in actions and not just in words. I want to celebrate the wonderful friends I have. I want to travel back to Ivory Coast, West Africa and also visit the beautiful island of Barbados with my family.
What’s your secret to happiness?
My secret to happiness is to remember that I serve a loving and powerful God. He is with me through the good and the bad times. He promises to provide for all of my needs. And no matter what comes my way, He will work every circumstance out for my good.
What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?
My faith in Christ keeps me grounded. I understand now what it is to be still and know that He is God. In life I will face adversities beyond my control and I am not exempt from any of them. He is the difference maker through it all and I thank Him for being my foundation.
What’s your biggest regret?
My biggest regret is that in the past I had set the standard very high for myself and others to the point that I missed out on great relationships. I recognize the value of people in my life now and I do not want them to doubt one moment how much I love them, flaws and all.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?
My husband and I have taught our children to be true to themselves, to be content with what they have, and trust God for the small things and the big things. Being true to themselves is the key to owning up to their successes and failures. We want them to make choices based on their own and not on peer pressure. Being content with what they have saves them from keeping up with others. Finally, trusting God for all things let them know that there is nothing too small or too big for God.
What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?
One bad habit I am struggling with is that I like telling people what to do, whether asked or not. I am a problem solver so when I am approached by someone with an issue or when I see an issue, I assume that’s my cue to come to the rescue and save the day. I am realizing now that sometimes people may only need a listening ear or some things are better left alone. I have to love people enough to let them find answers for themselves. I need to give them room to make mistakes and let them grow in the process. I am also learning now to be slow to speak and to be quick to listen.
Aside from motherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?
I am the most proud of the woman I have become. I am choosing to enjoy life and celebrate the woman in me. A couple of years ago, I decided to wear my hair natural. For the longest time I didn’t feel beautiful unless my hair was in braids or weave. I had forgotten what the natural me looks like. After I had my first child, I took the leap and cut my damaged hair, pretty much all of it. Now I love my hair and the new me in the process. I realized now it was more than the hair. I embraced who I am. I am glad and proud of my decision because celebrating who we are as individuals is winning half the battles in life.
When were you happiest?
The day I met my husband, I was the happiest. That day I met a new best friend who is my biggest cheerleader and confident. His love for me makes me a better woman, wife, and mother. I thank God for putting my husband on my path and for opening my heart to receive the gift that he is.
What ten words best describe you?
Wife, Mother, Friend, Teacher, Motivator, Advisor, Mentor, Confident, Classy, and Wise.
Nathalie O’Donald is originally from the Ivory Coast in West Africa. She is currently a stay-at-home mom who enjoys writing and spending time with her family. Her passion is to motivate women to live their best in their faith, family, and finances.