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  • Shawn and Jennifer


Online dating used to be considered an "embarrassing" pursuit. Women wouldn't admit to dating online in an effort to not appear desperate. I remember the first time I shared with another Christian woman that I met Shawn online and the look that she gave me. The look of shock followed by a comment stating "I wouldn't think you would have to go online to find a man." From there, I vowed to keep my "how I met Shawn story to myself." I felt so judged by her. Then I began to realize that this is an issue in the church among Christian women. I believe there are many Christian women who think that the church is the only place that you can meet a Christian man. I remember another sister sending me a dm saying "I always thought that we should be found. That's why I don't believe in online dating because we shouldn't be seeking." Whew chile, that type of bondage and twisting up scripture will have you single for a long time! There is nothing wrong with online dating. There is no shame in online dating. One-third of married couples in the US met online. Sure there are some concerns in terms of safety and how to navigate the online dating world. It's completely different from dating the "traditional" way so I compiled a list of some practical tips that can help if you are considering online dating.


1. Ask God for wisdom and permission. If you don't have peace or if at any point online dating becomes an obsession, stop.


2. Have a captivating profile picture. Make sure that you use a profile picture where the lighting is great and don't use any filters. Nobody wants to get catfished. Also don't use any professional headshots. After all this is not a flyer for your next speaking engagement. A lot of online dating platforms allow you to add other photos. Add photos that show off your personality. For example, if you love sports or outdoors, maybe a photo of you at a sports game or doing an outdoor activity. And please don't be like Shawn and wear sunglasses in your profile picture. He really won me over with the message he sent to me and how he answered some of the questions in his profile because I couldn't really tell what he looked like.


3. Be honest. One of the dangers of online dating is that it gives a person the ability to re-create themselves into whoever they want to be. Be authentic. You do not want a marriage built on lies or to have to keep up with a fake facade that you created for the rest of your life. That's an exhausting life with no peace!


4. Be God led not emotion led. You've seen all their pictures, you've read their words on their profile and through messages, so you start to imagine who this person is and in the process you have created a fantasy in your mind of who this person is. Don't let your imagination and emotions lead you. You are setting yourself up for failure if you do because now the person doesn't meet who you imagined them to be. Keep your imagination and emotions in check. The Holy Spirit will show you the red flags. Use discernment.


5. Be specific on what you want and the type of person you're looking for. That is going to determine who you are matched with. Now is actually the time to pull out your "list." With thousands of profiles on these dating apps, the goal isn't to attract everyone, just the One.


6. Be safe. Guard your personal information. They don't need to know your full name when you are still in the messaging stage. Establish trust before you start giving specific details. Use a profile name that is not related to your real name. Your real name can be revealed once you feel comfortable enough to share your phone number. Make sure you are spending time getting to the know the person by using communication through the app. Then once, you feel comfortable you can set up a Skype call or a regular phone call. If you still have peace, then set a date to meet. Do not have them pick you up at your house. Meet at a public place. Also make sure that you tell someone where you are going and give them their name. Before my first date with Shawn I told my co-worker where I was going and that I was meeting Shawn Spears for lunch. Just in case he tries to kidnap me or something, there is someone who knows where I was and who I was with.


Last tip, guard your heart. God calls us to be responsible for our heart and to guard it diligently. The first step in any relationship venture is to be emotionally, spiritually, and physically ready for whatever God has planned for you. So when a quality person is in front of you, you can recognize it. If you don't meet anyone at all, don't let that measure how worthy you are. I have heard many success stories and I've heard some crazy stories. Online dating isn't for everyone. Our hope in sharing this is to get some Christians out of their box and thinking that their spouse is going to miraculously appear. Sometimes you have to put yourself out there (use wisdom). If I never took the leap, I wouldn't have met Shawn. Choosing him as my husband is one of the best decisions that I've ever made.

  • Shawn and Jennifer

Before we moved into our home, I asked Cree what kind of room does she want and in true girly girl fashion, she says "A pink magical room." So we went to Sherwin Williams and picked out this gorgeous blush pink paint color called Malted Milk. Cree will be 5 next month so we didn't want to go with a soft pink or bubble gum pink. We also don't want to have to paint her room again 4 years from now when she decides that she want to redo the decor so the Malted Milk was the perfect choice because it's a more mature color.


I wasn't sure about the magical part so I hit up my good friend Shunta Johnson who did an amazing job on the decor for Cree's unicorn party last year. She gave me the idea to decorate Cree's room with a unicorn and rainbow theme. Cree loved the idea so Shunta went to work and helped me find most of the pieces that are in her room. She came up with the brilliant idea to take this Target book shelf and place it horizontally near her window. It serves as a place to store her toys and a sitting area.



My favorite part of Cree's room is her reading corner. It features this beautiful canopy, fun throw pillows, a rainbow rug, and these cute wall shelves full of black girl magic books! Cree spends a lot of time in this corner. She doesn't know how to read yet but she uses her imagination and pretends to read. It's the cutest thing! Representation is very important to us so although Cree has all sorts of books, we decided to only feature books by black authors on her wall in her reading corner. And these are actually some of her favorite books!




I found her Duvet comforter set at Bed Bath and Beyond. I didn't want something that had a ton of characters on it so this duvet set was perfect! I can see her using this set 7 years from now. And lets talk about Cree's big girl bed. This was actually her crib that converted to a toddler bed and now a full size bed. I highly recommend investing in convertible cribs for babies because you get your money's worth. Cree can sleep in this bed another 10 years and it won't look childish.


Here are more photos of her room.







Cree absolutely loves her room and it's her favorite place to play. I have all of the shopping links for pretty much everything that's in her room listed below. Let me know what you think about her room in the comments below.



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  • Shawn and Jennifer


Our kitchen renovation is finally finished! If you follow me on instagram (jenniferspears_), then you already know that we closed our new home in January. We fell in love with this house but knew that it needed some updates and a lot of love. Shawn is a contractor so that wasn't a problem at all. We completely renovated our first house when we bought it in 2014 because it was in bad shape but this house was no where near as bad as our first. We learned from our first home renovation that it's best to do one room at a time, especially if you are living through the renovations. Since the kitchen was the biggest task we decided to start there first.



The photo above is a before picture. There was honey oak everywhere!! We immediately knew that we needed to go with a lighter color on the cabinets to open and brighten the space. We could tell that they spent a lot of money on the cabinetry so instead of replacing them, we decided to paint the cabinets. We wanted a warm gray color to compliment the Sherwin Williams Incredible White paint color on our walls. We decided to go with Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray on the cabinets with gold hardware. Now painting cabinets can be tricky especially if you are not a professional. It's not the same as painting your walls. You want the cabinets to look like they were made that way. Again, Shawn is a contractor so he and his team already knew what to do. Stay tuned for a video that we will add to our Youtube channel that shows you the process.


You will also notice that we changed our floor color. We wanted to keep the hardwoods so instead of replacing it with pre-finished hardwood, we decided to stain the floors which saved a lot of money. We share the process on how to stain your floors on my instagram page in the highlight section title "New Home."




Now lets talk about the island which may be my favorite part of the renovation. Talk about total transformation. We love the navy cabinet trend that's really popular right now. We knew that we didn't want navy on all the cabinets so we decided to paint only the island in Sherwin Williams Naval and add gold hardware. The color is so gorgeous! We loved the color so much that we painted a built in shelf in our family room the same color (we'll be sharing that reveal soon).


I always wanted a big kitchen island. It opens up more eating, prepping, cooking, and entertaining room than you could ever imagine. So we knocked out the high bar and extended the island. We also added a huge slab of Calcutta Quartz countertops. I love the gray veins in the countertop. Can you say obsessed?!




In addition, we replaced the marble countertops with the same Calcutta Quartz. Since the countertops are sort of the"showpiece" in our kitchen we wanted to keep the backsplash simple. So we went with ivory subway tile with light gray grout. We also added a vent hood and 2 pendant lights over the island. The old kitchen had terrible lighting so we replaced all the lights with LED daytime lights. I'm shooting all my IG videos in the kitchen LOL!! The lighting is awesome!







I have to shout out my husband for giving me my dream kitchen! God has blessed his hands. Everything that he touches, he makes it amazing. I can't wait for him to tackle our next renovation project - the master bathroom.


I have a real life Pinterest kitchen! God is so good.


So what do you think?