2020 Optimal Living Magazine Winter Issue


Tis the season to count our blessings and salute the selfless work of Allison James-Frison, Founder of Girls; Live, Love, Laugh! You will also gain valuable homeschooling tips to thrive in this pandemic through "I Have Three Daughters, Inc" founders. Plus, we are excited to share the opportunity to give generously to children for the holiday season through our new monthly planners and homeschool planner products! Don't miss your chance to be inspired and uplifted through our new Live, Love, Laugh Challenge! Stay Safe, Wear Your Mask & Be Grateful in all things! Enjoy!

Diamond Life

Virtual Tea &

Ebook products

How I Met &

Married My

Man of God

How One Power

Couple Mastered the

Art of Homeschooling

3 Amazing Daughters

Join the

30 Day Live,

Love, Laugh,


5 Lessons Learned From










Our Staff


Tanisha H. Shaw

Associate Editor

Mark McDonald


Mishell Ellis

Pat Evans

Madinah James

Christoph Jenkins

Candace Thornley

Alana Stephens

Table of Contents

05 Publisher’s Perspective

06 Diamond Life Reflection

08 If I Could Write a Note to My

Younger Self

10 We Salute Allison James - Frison

11 I Have Three Daughters

Homeschooling Tips

13 How I Met & Married My Man of God

15 Chastity Life & Style

18 Keep It Simple Home Dêcor

19 Spices of Life Recipes

22 A Time of Intercession

Optimal-LivingMagazine.com contains information, photographs, graphics, and other material

(collectively, “the Content”) that are protected by copyright, trademark, or other proprietary

rights of Optimal Living Magazine LLC. (“OLM”) or third parties. All Content in this

publication is copyrighted as a collective work of OLM pursuant to applicable copyright law.

Users of the Service may use the Content only for their personal, noncommercial use.

Copyright © 2020 by Optimal Living Magazine


Subscribe to Optimal Living Magazine: www.optimal-livingmagazine.com


Our lives are shaped

by the choices we make

every single day...


hen I was 5 years old, I looked up at the sky and had my first

conversation with God. At the time, I was not pleased with my

living conditions, and it made me determined to work hard to

create a better life for myself. I simply said, “God this isn’t for me.

When I grow up I’m going to be somebody great. I am not meant

to live in lack.” From that point on, I worked hard and made

choices based on where I wanted my life to go.

If I wanted to get out of poverty, I had to stay away from the wrong crowd,

study hard, open myself up to different academic experiences, get my

education and not get pregnant before my time. This meant that I had to

say “no” to anything or anybody that was going to keep me from living the

“diamond” life of my dreams.

In spite of it all, we rise, fall, live and we learn. I started Optimal Living Magazine

at the point of my own personal recession. Producing Optimal Living has been

a source of personal healing, growth and revelation on many levels. I’ve shared

life changing principles and stories that have propelled myself and thousands

our precious readers forward, since 2008. Along the way, I realized some things

I would do differently financially, in relationships and in business, if I would

have known what I know today. Now, I am taking the gifts, talents, resources

and life lessons God has given me to launch my first podcast, “Diamond Life

Producers”. Starting November 14th, tune in every Saturday at 3pm to discover

new ways to create the diamond life of your dreams and how to protect it

through the ups and downs of life @ bit.ly/diamondlifepodcast.

Build it, Bless

Others, Use

Wisdom &

Protect It.

Then, I cordially invite you to our “Diamond Life Virtual Tea”. . I am SUPER

excited to bless you with all the phenomenal events planned. Enjoy a free

digital magazine and check out our new Diamond Life Monthly Planner,

Homeschool Planners and Prayer Journal Ebooks to get your mind right and

prepared for the year ahead. And be sure to visit our website to find out how to

give 30% of your ebook purchase to the organization of your choice.

Loving you always,

Tanisha H. Shaw



Walk in His Peace!

Follow Me on @Olmagazine

Follow Me on optimallivingmag

Follow Me on optimallivingpublisher

Subscribe to Optimal Living Magazine: www.optimal-livingmagazine.com 5







By Tanisha H. Shaw

If you only had 4 years left to live,

where would you go, what would

you do, what message would you

leave the world about your God, your

cause and your legacy? Chadwick

Boseman didn’t pass in vain for me.

I’m going to live this life like it’s golden.

I’m going to get back into the presence

of God daily, and discover “ALL” He has

for me and my family. I’m going to try

my best to love ❤ more people, even

when their own brokenness makes

it impossible. I’m going to find ways

to be more present each day that I

live. I’m not doing anything that isn’t

authentic, or against my personal

manifesto. I’m going to put so much

“funk”, confidence, humility, prayer,

love, faith and greatness into my

child that generations to come will be

grateful they had an opportunity to

meet her, and know she came from

good stock. I’m going to show my

love, respect and appreciation to my

husband for giving me time, space

and freedom to express my gifts and

talents in any way I feel led. Finally, I’m

not leaving this world without being

empty; nah, not going to be able to do

it, and neither should you.

Tanisha H. Shaw

Editor. Publisher. Diamond Life Producer

“Build it, Bless Others & Protect It.”


Subscribe to Optimal Living Magazine: www.optimal-livingmagazine.com

If I Could Write a Note To


By Madinah N. James

If I could write a note to my younger self,

there are so many different things that I

would tell her!! I would definitely tell her

to focus on being true to herself and her core

beliefs, not compromising in any capacity

and following her instincts. I would advise her

to spend more time cultivating her gifts and

talents at an earlier age and not deviating

from her ordained path because she second

guessed herself, or because life got rough. I

would tell her to trust herself more and not

always listen to other people’s opinions,

perspectives or viewpoints.

At the end of the day, we are all human and

everyone goes through real life challenges

and experiences from various perspectives,

and what works for everyone else doesn’t

necessarily work for you.

You need to have the capacity necessary to

effectively navigate through YOUR own journey

and do what you feel works best for YOU.

I definitely wish that I had a more in-tune

relationship with God and the Holy Spirit

when I was younger. Having that close bond

and dialogue really allows you to have

better discernment, clarity and insight while

navigating through the journey of life.

When you’re able to decipher that guiding

voice, you are able to make better decisions

effectively from a spiritual perspective vs. a

carnal perspective, thus saving yourself a lot of

trouble, aggravation and potential

heartbreak. There are definitely some personal

and professional relationships that I would have

never gotten involved in, due to all of those

factors alone.

I think as young ladies mature and evolve, they

experience insecurity and not fully believing

in themselves, which is normal to some extent

as they grow throughout different life stages

and cycles. They may tend to shrink and not

walk completely in the fullness of themselves

because a lot of times society and life

experiences dictate otherwise. However, I would

say to them, “stay true to yourself always.”

YOU know who YOU are and although you may

not be fully aware of your purpose yet, you

know that God has an ordained destiny for you

and has deposited some precious gems and

jewels inside of you. No matter what happens,

or what life may throw your way, always listen

to that still, inner voice, it will never guide you


Madinah N. James

Media Consultant

CEO of MNJ Media Consulting

Madinah is a professional media connoisseur with extensive experience

in television, production and print media. Madinah has worked with

renowned domestic/international outlets and organizations such as

CNN, MSNBC, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, The Huffington Post, Thrive

Global, Mercedes-Benz, New York Fashion Week, The United Nations,

etc. Madinah is the CEO of MNJ Media Consulting Corporation, a fullservice

media relations company and can be reached via her website

at: http://linktr.ee/madinahnjames


Subscribe to Optimal Living Magazine: www.optimal-livingmagazine.com

Subscribe to Optimal Living Magazine: www.optimal-livingmagazine.com 9

We Salute Allison James-Frison, Founder of Girls; Live, Love, Laugh, Inc.,




By Tanisha H. Shaw

Allison James- Frison is the Founder of

Girls; Live, Love, Laugh Inc., a 501(c)3

nonprofit mentoring program for

girls from the inner city of Newark, NJ, and

neighboring communities, ages 6-15 years

old. Her organization was established on

September 16, 2009 with an objective to

create a culture for girls to live, love and

laugh out loud, while in their pursuit of

excellence, in the Newark NJ metropolitan


“I was inspired to start Girls; Live, Love,

Laugh Inc, because of the personal

adversities I had endured as a young

girl, born and raised in Newark Housing

Authority, of the Stella Wright Projects.

I experienced a great deal of trauma,

which commenced at nine years old.

I am a survivor of child sexual abuse,

homelessness, gun violence and domestic

violence. My father died when I was

seventeen years old. He was a victim of

domestic violence by his girlfriend at

the time. He and my mom had parted

ways. My mom lost a long-time battle of

diabetes, when I was twenty-four years

old, and my former fiance was shot and

killed, when I was thirty years old, due

to street violence. In 2005, one of my

siblings was shot in the head, which left

him paralyzed on one side and blind in

one eye.”

“Because of my experiences in life, I

wanted to help girls overcome obstacles

that they may encounter. When I was

at the lowest point in my life, I spoke to

God and he spoke back to me. He placed

it on my heart to create a community

organization, which would be centered

around girls living in the inner city of

Newark. The mission was simply to help

girls overcome obstacles they may endure.

It is embedded in my soul to not allow girls

to hurt alone. or silence their voices, nor

to let life get the best of them. We want

them to be the best version of themselves.

Therefore, Girls, Live, Love, Laugh, Inc, is

available to help them navigate their way

through life’s trials and tribulations. “

Girls; Live, Love, Laugh Inc, offers

impactful workshops to assist girls in

becoming tomorrow’s leaders in the areas

of career exploration, academic success,

socialization skills and healthy behavior.

The organization also offers social media

branding and they are committed to civic


Allison James-Frasier says, “As a civic

leader, the most challenging thing that I

must face in regard to trying to keep the

girls and parents uplifted and inspired

is, keeping the girls focused on their

academics. With so many distractions

around them, they could easily become

a victim of the negativity in society. We

create new ideas to capture their interest,

which encourages them to put down their

cellphones and participate in lesson plans

we scheduled for Saturdays. As for the

parents, it’s keeping them motivated to

want more and a better way of life for their

daughters. It’s really good to know, the

parents trust me with their girls to travel

wherever this journey takes us and to

believe in the mission or the organization.

The world is an oyster and the challenges

are what to do next for them, better than

the last adventure. We thrive on the hopes

of our girls never growing out of it.

My prayer for every girl I meet is,

Proverbs 22: 6:

“Train up a child in the way he should

go; and when he is old, he will not depart

from it.” My prayer is that whatever they

discovered from this organization, it will

never depart from them.

For more information about this life

changing community organization, visit:

www.girlslivelovelaugh.org .


Subscribe to Optimal Living Magazine: www.optimal-livingmagazine.com

How One Power Couple Mastered the Art of

Homeschooling 3

Amazing Daughters

By Christoph Jenkins

Who would have thought that

March 2020 would end our

everyday “normal” due to

COVID-19. Navigating our new normal

has not been without its challenges. We

have three small girls, 5 and under, if

that is not a challenge in and of itself,

let’s also throw a pandemic on top of it.

When we pulled the girls from school in

March 2020, we had already made the

decision that they would be home with

us indefinitely. Homeschooling our girls

was a conversation we had not too long

before. While we are grateful that our

children are young enough that they

were not impacted by the shift to virtual

learning, as a result of being in daycare,

we still understand that these years are

the stepping stones to laying a solid

educational foundation.

Managing the day to day of homeschool

for our girls has been difficult, as we

both work full-time jobs. Thankfully,

both of our positions are fully remote

(non-pandemic related).

To balance the many daily

responsibilities, we’ve created a

routine. As an example, we are adamant

about cultivating a healthy relationship

Subscribe to Optimal Living Magazine: www.optimal-livingmagazine.com 11

with reading. It’s been difficult trying

to fit in reading lessons for all three

girls because they are all on different

reading levels. So, we came up with

a fun way to get them excited about

reading and to complement our daily

work schedules.

“Wake up and read” is our family

campaign where our girls literally wake

up, grab a book and read! Our oldest,

5, reads a book. Our middle child, 4,

practices her flashcards with Daddy.

Our youngest, 2, plays with her letters

and practices their sounds. Without

getting too deep into the science of brain

activity, it has been said that your first

20 minutes upon waking up can set you

up for success for that day. We choose

to use that time to fill our girls with new

words, sounds and images.

We believe it’s important to create

family values. We also believe that it’s

important to know your family has value.

Through the pandemic, we’ve taken the

opportunity to create a family business

surrounding our three daughters

called “I Have Three Daughters”. We

use the business as a means to teach

our girls about entrepreneurship and

building something from the ground up.

Additionally, we want to instill in them

that no matter their age, no dream or

idea is too small to accomplish.

I Have Three Daughters, LLC, focuses on

designing, developing and delivering

high quality reviews on children’s books,

toys and products. We wanted to create

a business that the kids could not only

be a part of, but have fun with as well.

What more could a kid ask for as they

are playing with toys, reading books and

testing out cool products. They have

a great time with the reviews, while

learning how a business operates and

appreciating the hard work that goes

into it.

Overall, we are enjoying our time

together as a family. We feel blessed

to be in a position to share these

experiences with our girls and we are

embracing the new changes in our

lives with gratitude. To follow us on our

journey, as we navigate life as parents

and entrepreneurs, you can find us on

Instagram @ IHaveThreeDaughters, or



Subscribe to Optimal Living Magazine: www.optimal-livingmagazine.com

How I Met & Married

My Man Of God

He Found Me Lost in My Father’s Word


first met my husband Octave in 1994,

when we were both 15 years old. At the

time, we were both in high school, and

I was only interested in being his friend.

I just thought he was a “nice and smart”

guy. Every time he would look at me, he

would look at me in such a way that clearly

showed me that he was interested in being

more than friends; but, our relationship

never developed into anything more.

Our conversations on the phone in our

teen years tended to range from what we

wanted to be when we became adults,

to the dangers of eating pork (that

I totally didn’t buy at the

By Mrs. Mishell Ellis

time, but later saw he was right). His

conversations were quite intellectual. He

was different...even then. The following

year I transferred to another high school

and I never saw or spoke to him again.

Nevertheless, I always wondered what

happened to him.

So much took place over the 20 years we

had not seen or spoken to each other. I

made mistakes in my personal life, though

one was a blessing,

having my

daughter. I firmly believe that all of my

steps prepared me for being reunited with

him. I had to realize that it was not just

me in this life, it was my daughter too. She

deserves the best role model there is, in

my eyes, she can look up to and know how

a man should treat a woman.

There comes a time when a person has

to say enough is enough and needs to

take a step back and evaluate one’s self.

My “aha” moment happened in 2014. I let

go of what was slowly draining me and

focused more on pleasing God and

not myself. I went to church and

it felt so good! A load had been

Subscribe to Optimal Living Magazine: www.optimal-livingmagazine.com 13

lifted and I felt free. I felt like it was time

to make a change. I could not afford to be

lukewarm with my walk with Him. When

the chance came to go back to where God

delivered me from almost one and a half

years earlier, His angels came and saved

me from making possibly the biggest

mistake of my life, just like He said He

would in Psalm 91:11.

A Woman’s Heart Should Be So

Lost in God That a Man Should

Go Through Him to Find Her…

In March 2015, Octave and I reconnected

and have been growing together

ever since. By this time, I had grown

spiritually and my discernment had

grown considerably too. From our first

conversation, I made it clear to him my

do’s and dont’s in a relationship. I spoke

with him about my faith in God and was

waiting for him to tell me how noble I was

and that he thinks what I am doing is cool

and that’s it. However, that night Octave

prayed with me. That night he shared that

he loves God just as much as I! I told him I

had a daughter, a few weeks later he sent

her a gift that she and I could work on

together. I cried tears of joy.

There are still men of God in the world and

there is actually one who cares about me

and my daughter. He made me an even

better person. He strengthened my faith

in God and encouraged me to get into His

Word more. I must admit, it did take me

awhile to trust that he was really genuine;

but, it was not long before he showed me

that his intentions were real.

How could this man with no children,

never been married, with a Master’s

Degree from Tulane School of Public

Health and Tropical Medicine and the

University of Arkansas Clinton School of

Public Service, and is close to earning a

PhD in Psychology want to be with me?

Granted, I have a Master’s of Science in

Nursing from Georgetown University, but

I have what some would call “baggage”.

Then I said to myself, I am a child of The

Most High, the Daughter of a King. Why


We ladies pray to meet a good man, but

very seldom do we acknowledge him until

our spiritual eyes are opened by God who

allows for trials to take place that cut

and shape you into a precious diamond.

They say what doesn’t kill you, makes you

stronger, but it also changes you...in my

case for the better. It is at that point, He








is ready to present you to His child that

he has had for you all along. His ways are

certainly not ours, but in the end what

God has planned can’t anyone take away,

no matter how many years it takes to

happen... and no matter what God allows

to take place to prepare you for what He

has for you.

I am so grateful to God for allowing

Octave to come into my (our) lives. He

has shown me what it looks like when a

man allows God to order his steps. He is a

great leader, a wonderful role model and

a loving man. He goes above and beyond

to show his love for me. He is a shining

reflection of God’s love for me. He gives

me peace. And, he deserves the best

version of me. Octave found me restored

and in the same condition I was in when

he initially went looking for me, lost in

the Word of God.


Subscribe to Optimal Living Magazine: www.optimal-livingmagazine.com

Subscribe to Optimal Living Magazine: www.optimal-livingmagazine.com 15


Subscribe to Optimal Living Magazine: www.optimal-livingmagazine.com

Subscribe to Optimal Living Magazine: www.optimal-livingmagazine.com 17



Decluttering Tools Can Take Your Home Workspace

In a chaotic world, nothing says “I can do

this” like a clutter free home and office

space. Here are a few tips and tools

to take your life and productivity to the

next level!

Productivity To the Next Level

By Pat Evans

• Use Google Calendar. Even in the midst

of the pandemic, we must keep up

with our schedules. A good app to use is

the Google Calendar. Within minutes of

using this app, you will be able to record

events. With the Google Calendar,

you can also create multiple folders in

which you can color code for easy

viewing and tracking. Google also offers

a host of other worthwhile apps for free.

• Use a Desk Organizer. Do you have

bills lingering throughout your home?

Invest in a desk organizer with multiple

dividers which will allow you to have

multiple items contained in one place.

By purchasing a 3-divider organizer,

you can store your bills along with

other things you use, such as writing

instruments and even file folders for

your everyday/weekly use. This is great

for small spaces.

• Scan All Items of Importance. If

you accumulate lots of paper in your

working space, now is the perfect

time to sort and scan anything of

importance. Sort the mail immediately,

as it comes. If you’re still receiving

paper correspondence through the

mail, start requesting to receive all bills

electronically. This will cut down on the

paper clutter and you can save to your

portable device for future reference.

• Use an Acrylic Makeup Organizer

for paperclips, post-its and other

miscellaneous items. Not only are these

trays stylish, but it’s the perfect look

for a well organized desk. This will help

keep your space organized and tidy.

• Organize for the Next Day. At the end

of the night before you turn in, make

sure you put things away for the next

day. This will allow you to feel refreshed

and ready to start your day.

Pat is the Owner & Founder of Pat’s World

Staging & Redesign, in Chester, Virginia.

She is a Certified Professional Home

Stager and Re-designer specializing in

Home Staging & Interior Decorating. Visit

her website for more home decor ideas @



Subscribe to Optimal Living Magazine: www.optimal-livingmagazine.com




Prep Time: 10 minutes • Cook Time: 65 minutes • Total Time: 75 minutes


• 12 large sweet potatoes

• 3

/ 4

cup (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter

• 3

/ 4

cup light brown sugar

• 3

/ 4

cup all-purpose flour

• ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

• ¼ teaspoon salt

• 1 cup toasted pecan pieces

• 1 cup miniature marshmallows


• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

• Wash the sweet potatoes, scrubbing them well to remove any dirt.

With a fork, prick the sweet potatoes in a couple of spots and place

them on a sheet pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a knife

inserted in the center goes in easily.

• In a large bowl, mix the butter, brown sugar, and flour together

until it’s crumbly-looking. Add the cinnamon, salt, pecans, and

marshmallows; fold the streusel topping together to combine.

• Slice the sweet potatoes lengthwise down the center and push the

ends towards the middle so it opens up. Stuff the sweet potatoes

generously with the streusel topping and return to the oven. Bake for

another 20 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and brown.

Subscribe to Optimal Living Magazine: www.optimal-livingmagazine.com 19




• 2 teaspoons olive oil

• 1 yellow onion, chopped

• 3 garlic cloves, minced

• 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

• 1 pound extra lean ground turkey or chicken (99%)

• 4 tablespoons chili powder* (I used McCormick chili powder)

• 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon dried oregano

• 4 slices of jalapeño pepper

• ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

• 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes

• 1 ¼ cups chicken broth

• 1(15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

• 1 (15 oz) can sweet corn, rinsed and drained

• 1 teaspoon of Onion & garlic Mrs.Dash

• 2 tablespoons of Agave nectar For topping: cilantro, sour cream


Cook turkey ground meat in a saucepan, and drain any excess water.

Combine all prepared ingredients below into a pot with the drained

turkey meat. Let everything cook for 40 minutes, then serve with sour

cream and chives dip. Add mild cheddar cheese, if desired.



As much as we love the classic, we can’t help but get creative with

our recipes sometimes. So without further ado, here’s an incredibly

delicious new way to add a little kick to your Queso using River City

Flame Sauce and ground beef.


• 1 – 16 oz. package


• 1 – 12 oz. jar of Salsa

• ¼ cup Chilli Richmond


• 4 ounces cream cheese

• ¼ cup green onions,


• ½ jalapeno, seeded and


• ½ pound ground beef

• Tortilla Chips


Chop Velveeta into half-inch cubes and

place into a crock pot turned to high.

Add Salsa and cream cheese, heat until

smooth and creamy, stirring every

15 minutes. (Tip: No crock pot? No

problem. You can hack this recipe using

the microwave. Just heat Velveeta and

cream cheese on high for 2 minutes,

stir, then heat for an additional 30

seconds before stirring again. Repeat

this 30-second process until your cheese

is fully melted. Just be sure not to burn

it!) Add remaining ingredients. In a pan,

cook ground beef until done. Drain and

add to the Queso mixture. Enjoy it warm

or room temperature with Tortilla Chips!


Subscribe to Optimal Living Magazine: www.optimal-livingmagazine.com

Subscribe to Optimal Living Magazine: www.optimal-livingmagazine.com 21

A Time Of


Father God in the name Jesus, we come to you

thanking you for this day. We lift Your name on

high and come humbly before Your throne of

grace with thanksgiving in our hearts. We ask that

you bless, protect, and pour Your favor upon our

families, children, spouses, and friends.

Father, we pray for divine intervention in all areas

of our lives. Where there is sickness, we pray for

wellness; where there is brokenness, we pray for

wholeness; where there is grief, we pray for Your

comfort; where there is loss, we pray for restoration.

We pray that Your loving kindness will be felt

throughout this land. We pray that lost souls would

be restored to You from the east, west, north, and


We pray for pastors, teachers, transit workers,

nurses, doctors, and other public servants working

tirelessly, often without adequate protection:

God, give them strength and wisdom every day.

Keep them from falling ill to Covid-19, or any other


Father, we trust You with everything concerning us

and thank You that as we speak Your Word, it will

not return void. We thank You that wherever we go

and whatever we do, Your blessing, protection and

favor goes with us. The effectual fervent prayer of a

righteous person avails much. Therefore, we believe

we receive what we pray for right now. In Jesus’

name, Amen!


Subscribe to Optimal Living Magazine: www.optimal-livingmagazine.com

More magazines by this user