Category Archives: Motivation

God Equips the Called

I have been purposely staying away from social media. I’ve noticed that it tends to be an unwelcome distraction, putting me into “moods” that I can’t quite explain. I am happy, healthy, and very thankful for the life I have, yet scrolling through the pages and stories, we can all find ourselves getting wrapped up in the lives of those around us. We are in a vulnerable state these days, knowingly allowing ourselves to fall victim to the mentality that ordinary isn’t extraordinary. I’m on a journey to make it known that my ordinary IS extraordinary, which is why I’m back this morning.
 

Next week I will take the stage at church to speak to middle and high school students. First of all, I’m sure there are a few of you who have known me for years who will be surprised by this. I have been fearful for most of my life to be on stage. God made me a writer, NOT a speaker. When I want to convey my feelings or say something profound, I write it down. It’s why I started a blog several years ago and also why my home office is filled with dozens of journals. The very thought of standing in front of a crowd made me nervous. Aside from the times I stood on a small stage with a beer in my hand, singing karaoke, I would have never pictured myself being a part of a group on a stage, much less standing alone on one.

Six months or so ago, I joined the worship team at church. Two things I love stood a far better chance at helping me overcome my fear than any courage I could muster up on my own. God and music. That’s it.

A friend told me many years ago that God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called. So I guess you could say, God has been preparing me for this moment on stage for some time now. From all the decisions I made many years ago, to the countless hours of writing, from the times I used beer courage to step foot on stage, to the God confidence that calls me to sing there today, I FINALLY feel like the fear is gone. He has been equipping me all this time to do something I would never have been able to do in my own strength alone.

I guess what I’m trying to share this morning is that you can’t be continue to be held back by the things that scare you. What you’ve been fearful of for so long might just be what God is trying to build on in you now.

I saw a church sign last night that said this:

"Forget the mistake, remember the lesson."

For all those times you’ve struggled, take note. Who you are now isn’t who you were then. Use your lessons, take hold of your fears, and be who you were called to be.

Stumble, Don’t Fall

Why is it that when we stumble, we almost inherently fall?  Figuratively speaking, we tend to believe that the little hiccup we experienced along the way is it.  It’s the end all, be all point of no return.  This stumble just caused us to fall, why?  Because we gave up!

Our immediate reaction when we mess up in life is to just throw in the towel.  Rather than picking up the pieces and trying to start again, we beat ourselves up for the mistake, maybe do a little trash-talk in the mirror and just decide that again…this isn’t going to work.

What if I told you that it didn’t have to be that way?  What if I said that your mistakes, whether great or small, have the chance to transform you into a better human being.  That’s right folks, your mistakes, your stumbles along the way might just be the road to recovery for you in many, many ways.

Here me out on this one.  I’m not saying that once you make a mistake you should consider doing it over and over again because if you’ve ever heard the great Stephen Covey, you would know that Doing the same thing over and over again will not bring you different results.  You can, however, rest comfortably knowing that you have a chance to redeem yourself.  Your life, your goals, your challenges are not to be determined by the stumbling you do along the way.  It’s what you do after that counts.

Take eating for example (because this is a struggle many people face daily).  So you’re doing your thing, on your way to losing weight and feeling great, when suddenly you screw up on the plan.  You eat ice cream and since you’ve made that bad choice already, why not add insult to injury and go a step further and just have another snack later on?  Your first thought is how horrible you are.  I mean, it’s only the second day on your so-called “diet” yet you have managed to put yourself further behind than when you started.  The scale went up overnight and you just feel worthless.

Ah…but here’s the cool part.  You have a chance to start over RIGHT NOW!  You don’t have to let that bad decision define you or determine your next move.  What comes of the poor choice from last night?  A brighter start today.  You can feel awakened, refreshed, and ready to start anew.  No, it just doesn’t happen that easily.  First, you have to stop the trash talk.  Then, you have to decide that it’s okay to start over.  And most importantly, you have to realize that you’re worth more than any mistake you have or could have made.  It’s all in your mind.  This game that goes on day in and day out starts right there and it’s only us.  We are our own worst enemy, stripping ourselves down to almost nothing when we should be looking upward.

Romans 8:1 says

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

If that is true, than who are you to badmouth yourself?  Maybe it’s time to focus on what’s next and leave the past behind, even if it was just yesterday.  Time to look in the mirror and call yourself blessed, perfectly designed, and ready to take on the challenges you’ll face.  You will not be defined by a choice you’ve made.  You are greater than that because your God is greater, stronger, and able to conquer any demon you may be fighting.  Give it to Him and watch what happens next…

To Do List

It’s 3:19pm.  My intention after church was to put on my pjs and sit on the couch with a cup of tea and just let Pinterest have its way with me.  Well, I made it into my pajamas by 11am but the tea didn’t happen until 3:10pm.   And Pinterest, it just may be a thing that doesn’t get checked off my very short “to do” list today.

When I came home, I had to put together fruit salad for the week because, when I do, everyone seems to get their fill of fruit.  I can purchase the same fruit and 50% of it will remain in the fridge at the end of the week, untouched.  However, when I take the time to carefully select the ingredients and mix them with just the right amount of lime juice and honey, the bowl seems to have more appeal.

Then I remembered it was Sunday — and I needed to pack my husband’s lunch for tomorrow.  I also like to make chicken salad and put snacks in baggies for a quick grab throughout the week.  Lunches seem so much better when I take the time to put some things together in advance rather than throwing it together last minute.  I know if he were to pack his own lunch, he wouldn’t choose as healthy or put as much thought into it.

Ah, then there was the laundry.  Our household has managed quite well with each individual handling their own.  It was an unspoken thing that just happened one day.  No complaints here, except when it’s time for me to fold my own.  The daunting task causes me to sigh — every, single time.  But it’s quick and painless.  I washed a load and put 2 away today…yes, one was from a couple days ago that I hid in the closet for just this occasion — the day I was going to “rest”.

The dog threw up this morning so I made him boiled chicken and rice at 4:30am, reheating some about lunchtime to be sure he was getting some food in him.  Now he’s peacefully sleeping on the couch after his hefty helping, always a good company when you need him to be (and even when you don’t).

Had to catch up on the dishes from packing lunches and meal prepping for the week because who wants to start dinner with a full sink of dirty dishes?  Oh yeah…dinner…that’s on the list too.  Have to start that in about an hour…

So much for enjoying my tea while Pinteresting comfortably on the couch…

All these thoughts ran through my head as I finally sat down to enjoy a cup of tea.  Many moons ago, I might have been a little bitter about missing the “me” time and just not having things go as planned.  “To do” lists left undone used to cause me grief.  I would put too much stuff on the piece of paper, many things that a normal person couldn’t accomplish in several days, let alone in the few hours that I allowed myself in an afternoon.

I pondered my list of three things — pjs, tea, Pinterest — and actually felt guilty for even worrying about this incomplete list.  Looking at all I was able to accomplish, things that I need not put on the list, things I do because I’m a wife and a mom, things I do because I want to be an example, because I want to show my family I love them….these things are top priority and sometimes, just need to come before the list of countless other things I want to do for yours truly.

I think about the times I want things my way, which is almost all the time, and realized my way isn’t necessarily the only way.  In many situations, my way only seems like the best way.  Oh how I pray about this often…and I mean OFTEN!


It’s the next morning and I’ve been up since about 5:30a working on some projects for church, youth, and my family.  I had high hopes of working out first thing and finishing this blog in an entirely different way but God had other plans.

I’m sitting here with a cat curled up next to my leg, a dog as close to my armpit as he can be — snoring loudly — and Christian music blaring in my headphones.  The windows are open, although the air just turned on and I don’t care, I’m enjoying the crispness of it and of the candle I lit a couple hours ago.

My coffee went cold but that’s okay because I finished most of it over an hour ago.  My bed is full of highlighters, papers, a devotional, notebook, and a computer, which sits atop by lap.

Now that you have the full picture, you might also need to know that I’m in no way presentable but I’m in every way comfortable.  You see, the way things could have been had I had it my way would  have been much different.  I’ve reached out to God on several occasions for Him to lead my days and very rarely have I actually let Him.

Yesterday after church and this morning, He’s in the lead and I’m quite enjoying it. I’m not overwhelmed.  I haven’t forgotten anything [yet] and I am fully prepared to just roll with whatever comes next.

Does that mean I won’t have a freakout moment if something suddenly tries to take my joy?  Nope.  I just might.  But you know what?  My God is bigger, stronger, and IN CHARGE.  I’ll get through it.

So what are YOU going to do about it?  That thing that has been bugging you? That list that is never-ending?  That LIFE that doesn’t always leave room for the little things you’d like to do but always makes way for the things you need to do.


Let’s pretend you have nothing more than this day.  That a moment in time like this very one is all you’ll have to get you through to the next catastrophe.  You have this minute to summons God, allow Him into your day, breathe deeply, and set the tone for what is to come.

Try it.  Try relying on God through each and every moment of your day.  To do so you may need to get up a little early, adjust the music you’re listening to if it will help your mood, surround yourself with sights and smells that add to it all and just live.  You are in a position to do something right where you are in every single roll you’ve been fortunate to be put into.

How about taking this second to thank God for all those things that pull you away from you and just do YOU!

HAPPY MONDAY!!

I Find Myself Thinking

Here I go, thinking again.  I should know better but does that stop me?  No.  Never seems to.  Thoughts wander in and I allow them to take shape in my mind, moving about in the most private parts of my brain, interweaving with thoughts of what I have to do, what I should do, and how it’s all going to come together.

I wait for an interjection but no one says a word.  Quickly, loudly, the thoughts begin to fill every inch of space, taking with it all the air left in the room.  Pretty soon, I can’t think of anything else.  These thoughts have made my mind their home and I have not done a thing about it.  But what could I have done?  How could I have stopped them?  Is there any hope?

Ah! But yes there is!

Isaiah 26:3 says;

"You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."

In the midst of uncontrollable emotions and invading thoughts, what would happen if we turn our eyes elsewhere?  If we took our minds off of the things that have infiltrated our mind and set them on the only One who can give us peace.  A peace beyond all understanding topped with a breath of fresh air like we’ve never inhaled before.

I want you to stop for a moment.  Close your eyes and think of something peaceful — not a family member or a possession but maybe a place, a butterfly, a sound.  Fix yourself on that for a few moments, pushing all thoughts aside that are trying to creep in.  Imagine that you are stronger, you are energetic, you are happy, at peace and in a place where nothing can stand in your way.  Now pray like you haven’t in a long time.  Ask for peace beyond all understanding.  Ask for increased faith and trust in what is to come.  Ask that moments like these happen in the midst of the mayhem as much as the mundane.

Romans 12:2 reminds us that if we don’t conform to the pattern of this world, we might just be transformed by the renewing of our mind.  It goes on to say:

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

You’re looking for answers but they haven’t been there.  You’re waiting for things to happen but you’re at a standstill.  You feel lost but oh how you wish to be found.  You can have that perfect peace if you choose the thoughts you think on…if you don’t bother with the things that are out of your control…if you let go and just give to God what you cannot handle.  This moment, right here, is how you find your peace again.

Right On Time

I’m not the most punctual person.  I get it from my dad’s side of the family.  Most of them will admit it because, well, there’s no denying it when you’re always late.  My dad, on the other hand, would take it to the extremes some days.  Whether it was because he lost his keys, ran out of gas, or because he just got side-tracked, he always made it…eventually.

I vowed to myself that I would not run out of gas EVER and my plan is to stick to that.  Running out of gas more times that I can count as a kid and having to walk in not-so-good neighborhoods at night weren’t always the best memories.  However, I learned a thing or two in those times that I couldn’t have learned anywhere else.

I learned how to trust my dad that everything was going to be okay.

I learned how to believe we would get there, even if it wasn’t “on time”.

I learned that the most important thing isn’t necessarily that you arrive at a specific time.

However, we’re led to believe that timing is everything.    I might agree with that if I understand whose timing we were talking about.  There’s always our timingyour timing, and everyone else who thinks they have a handle on the right time.

There are birthday parties, dinner dates, flights, movies and other activities that you can’t argue…have a specific time.  But what about the rest of the things that seem timely?  We’re given the idea that it doesn’t matter what it is but if we want it, we can get it now.  We see messages like:

“No money down!”

“0% Financing!”

“Buy now, pay later!”

The thought instantly comes to mind, if I want it I can have it.

It’s not always about things that cost us in paper money either.  There are things that can cost us in other ways if we choose to go for them when it isn’t the right time or in the right way.  There’s a time, a place, a purpose for each and every single thing we do.  We’ve come so used to getting what we want when we want it that we don’t have the patience to wait for anything anymore.

What does that say about our future?  Are we handling things in our own time to suit our desires verses waiting until a time that might just be best for us?  What if we took a step back from the situation, wrote down pros and cons, wants vs. needs and truly assessed if whatever it is, needs to happen now or is just something our minds are trying to convince us is a necessity when in all actuality, it’s a want that can wait until a better time?

Often, if we wait patiently, opportunities will present themselves in such a way that we can see our movement would have been detrimental to the overall outcome.  It doesn’t give us the best result when we push to have something that could have been so much better had we waited.

What about that house…
That car…
The job…
The perfect man/woman…

It can be about the little things just as much as it’s about the big things.  It all adds us to be a sort of timing that will never be our own.  This doesn’t mean we sit complacent, never making a move.  But it does mean listening to that still, small voice and the urging inside that tells you to wait when everything in your head is telling you to GO! GO! GO!

That yearning inside makes us feel like we won’t be able to handle waiting any longer, but I promise you friends, our heart can handle the wait if we get control of our mind.  We have to step out of certain situations or away from what keeps our mind thinking thoughts of want vs need.  But in some cases, we are to learn patience by remaining right where we are until the opportunity presents itself.  You don’t have to jump.  You don’t have to be the first.  And I promise you’ll never be the last.

There’s something out there for you.  It’s pulling you in a direction that may seem wonderful but not quite right.  There’s a timing that’s better.  It’s a timing that has withstood all the tests.  It’s proof that things happen for a reason, at a time, in a season.  It’s why you’re here reading this and why I was led to write it.

You see, this purpose, this plan, it’s something that has been laid out for you.  The good, the bad, the confusing, the sad.  Each and every experience is leading to something greater, something stronger, and something longer-lasting than anything you could muster up yourself.

Trust in this timing.  It’s God’s timing.  Have you truly given it to Him and asked Him to lead you?  Have you asked for His guidance or walked in His confidence?  It doesn’t have to be a life-changing event but I promise, even the small things can be if done at the wrong time.  Before you take that medicine, before you buy that couch, before you reach out…look up!  Ask God what He thinks.  Give it to God and watch Him work.  He’ll guide you if you allow Him too.

I don’t know who this was for.  I don’t even know where it came from, but you know what? God does.  And it was in His timing that you were able to see it! Now believe it!

Love you all!

The Rise and Fall of Social Media

Admit it, at least those of you who use social media, you have a love-hate relationship with it all.  The whole concept is great…I mean, you can stay in touch with people far away, share pictures with family and friends, make announcements to large masses of people, advertise your business, and now even sell things in an online garage sale-style type of forum.

But then there’s the other side of the coin.  When you flip it, you see what’s on the back.  What’s there are things you don’t have.  Places you haven’t been.  Experiences you’ve never had.  Some days, the back side just leaves you longing for more.

Why?

Because it’s only a natural reflex to see someone having a good time and wishing you had been there or that your family could do those things, be in that place, see what they saw.  We notice if we’ve missed an invite, missed an opportunity, or missed a chance at doing something on a day you ended up doing nothing at all.

Come on now.  I know I’m talking to someone!

Here’s the funny thing.  Those things you’re wishing for…you find yourself getting lost in…that you feel like you’ve missed out on…they’re not meant for you!  Harsh reality is, if they were, you’d be experiencing them instead of someone else!  Take a second to think of the things you have to be thankful for so far this year…

It doesn’t have to be a long vacation, a party or anything of the sorts.  What about your family? friends? church? Have you started school? Got a new job? Moved to a new home?

We have to learn to be content with what we have.  Learn to make memories out of the mundane.   Be happy for others without forming a jealous thought.

What it boils down to is something we see making way for a thought that we tend to think on.  We think on that for so long, in such a way that we start to daydream.  We hope, we wish, we long for things that just aren’t ours.  Philippians 4:8 says,

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

We need to park our minds on things of this nature.  Things that we can be grateful for.  Reasons we’re blessed.  We need to park it there and stay there!  Those times will come when you see someone else having fun and you need to be happy for them.  Happy because they are enjoying their time but also happy because you’ve made your own memories too!

This past weekend, my family and I did a whole lot of nothing! My daughter went through her closet.  My husband practiced tying knots with extra rope he had since he was recovering from a back injury and needed to rest.  And I worked for many hours on my computer, preparing for a group I’m hosting in a couple months.  Those things seem a little boring but here’s the cool thing…

My daughter and I also went grocery shopping together.  It’s such a great time to catch up!  I took her and a friend on a little FREE morning trip downtown.  We BBQed twice! We woke up late, had a delicious breakfast, and even got in some time working out.  We watched movies together, went to church together and truly enjoyed just having a whole lot of nothing to do.

Yes, we missed out on some things.  Yes, we said no to a few.  We could’ve kept ourselves busy.  We could be upset because we weren’t invited by everyone to everything.  We could be nervous that this is life.  But guess what?  If it is life, then I think I’m quite happy with it!  I am blessed to have a home to live life in!  I am blessed to have a vehicle to take me to the park, or for a walk or out for the day.  I am blessed to have the opportunity make my own memories and do things my way.

You see, the rise and fall of social media isn’t that it’s going away.  It’s that it’s causing our emotions to do things that we shouldn’t allow it to do.  If you’re find yourself grazing for infinite amounts of time, or feeling down instead of happy for others, or just noticing a change in your mood once you dive in, then it’s time to bow out.  Not forever, unless that’s what you determine is best, but just for awhile.  Just until you can recount your blessings.

I know I’ve said this time and time again but here me folks — you CAN control the thoughts you think on.  You may not be able to control how they get into your mind but you can choose whether or not they stay there.

So it’s Monday.  Maybe you have to work, maybe you don’t.  Maybe you’re on vacation, maybe you’re not.  Maybe your situation isn’t so bright, maybe, just maybe…it’s how you look at it.

Choose your kind of happy today!

The Wingman

By definition, this word has a couple, different meanings.  I need you to get the urban dictionary connotation out of your mind for a few moments to hear this important message.

I often have words on my mind before I pray…before I even ask God for something to share.  More often than not, I will have just a couple words that end up turning into a chapter in what I hope will some day become a book.  This morning…

Wingman

This couldn’t be from God, or could it?  I mean, the God whose been a part of my life certainly has a sense of humor…maybe He’s just trying to make me laugh.  I had to humor him and sit down to my computer to find out what both the silly dictionaries and the reliable ones said about this word.

Wingman…Wingman…Wingman…

Over and over again. I pictured Aubrey.  What? Yes, I pictured my daughter.  I paused and opened a letter she had written to me for just this moment.  I wrote in my journal about how I loved my husband for loving her so much.  I reflected on the wonderful day the three of us just had yesterday, which I could re-live over and over again.

That’s when it hit me.  I’m a wingman! Not in the bar scene sense.  Not in the military sense.  But in the take the military definition and apply it to life sort of sense.  WOW!

I was on to something here.

By dictionary.com’s definition:

Wingman: a pilot in a plane that flies just outside and behind the right wing of the leading aircraft in a flight formation, in order to provide protective support.

Her whole life, I’ve been in the lead, hoping to set the right example, taking the right steps (and sometimes the wrong ones too), giving orders (sometimes a little too often), helping her to reflect on things, learn from situations, and essentially  see things my way in hopes that she gathers enough from our deep conversations to make informed decisions in life. 

As her mom and her best friend, I don’t want her to fail.  But I’m reasonable and know that sometimes that will happen.  I want her to have the strength, the confidence, and the skills to make it through those moments where the outcome isn’t favorable, even if it is just spending money on something that you realize later wasn’t worth it.  These moments could contain BIG things  or small ones but in each lies a lesson that she will eventually pass on to her child(ren).  In some delicate way (or not so delicate if she has “off” days like I sometimes do) she will share this very situation with the next generation, maybe even a few words of wisdom I’ve given her with the flare she’s added all on her own.  It’s a cycle that is often like the game “phone” where words are passed from person to person but instead of the final person sharing a message that sounds nothing like what started off, it’s going to be something profound, life-giving and meaningful.

Every day she opens a letter I’ve written for her so that the entire 25 days we’re apart, she’ll know how much I love her, even though I’m sure she already has a pretty good idea 😉

I didn’t want to be sentimental on every single one, but I found myself writing life lessons from Day 1.  It wasn’t my intention, but it happens.

It always happens.

Whether she asks for it or not, I give advice, I share my thoughts and, if I’ve been in a similar situation, maybe even tell her what I did.  If I’m lucky, she thinks I came out alright and takes my advice.  If I’m faithfilled, I know that what I’ve shared will be taken with a grain of salt and used to do with it what will work best for her.

Ah…then there were other letters…when I realized how grown she’d become.  She’s much like me in ways such as maturity, forward-thinking and independent.  She’s a free spirit too, one that I look at and thank GOD for giving her more of the good qualities of mine than the not-so-favorable.

Wingman

It’s been 15 days so far since she’s been gone and all I can think about is how proud I am, how blessed we are as a family, and how I know she’s going to be more than just fine.  You see, my job thus far has been so important.  As her mom, I was blessed with a role that would mold and shape her into someone who would more than handle anything.

She’s far surpassed that.  She’s taken what I’ve shared with her and ran with it, in such a way that she knows how to develop the right kind of relationships.  She has a faith that is strong, that she’s not afraid to share with anyone.  And for the most part, she doesn’t really care what people think of her.  Many of the lessons I’ve taught her, she’s put her own spin on to teach the teacher.  What an amazing experience!

I knew that there would be a step forward at some point, when I would realize it was time for her to take the lead.  I knew she’s been there for some time now but I failed to see that with her in the lead, there was now a new role for me…

Wingman

In order for her to lead the formation of her life, I had to let her be in the lead plane.  I had to slow down and take a secondary role where I would compliment her while still protecting her.  My part had to change so hers could grow stronger.

I read an excerpt from a blog posting about being a wingman and it was SO TRUTHFUL right in the midst of our very situation.

The writer says that there are three qualities that make up being a good wingman:

  • Mutual supportThe best leaders expect wingmen to be on the lookout for threats to the formation and empower wingmen to intervene and keep the formation safe. This isn’t always comfortable, but it is always the right thing to do and an expectation that should be created in everyone. Of course, to intervene and provide support to a teammate, it’s necessary to first sense a problem.
  • Situational awarenessnot just of one’s own situation, but that faced by teammates. From the day anyone in any walk of life joins a team, no action or inaction — positive or negative — is free of consequence  for  teammates.   This means every team member must know where s/he is in time, space, and circumstance, but also remain aware of the situations confronted by teammates, and how individual actions might impact group dynamics.
  • Individual reliabilityIf each individual meets expectations and is always in position, the formation will spend less energy on mutual support and more energy on making the enemy suffer. 

Although the writer was quite literally discussing qualities of a pilot, he hit the nail on the head, explaining who was now.  It’s time for me to take a position as part of her team, but no longer leading the formation.  I couldn’t have found a better way to explain the position I am now in as her mother, her friend, her wingman.

When I got to Individual reliability, I was floored.  In that moment, God brought it all together.  He used this analogy in such a way that by point three, I was realizing that my job wasn’t over — it never will be over.  In order to be a good wingman, I have to continually work on myself as well.  I can’t slow down or lag behind.  I have to be the example, even if I’m no longer in the lead.  And I have to help my team stay in formation by taking up a role that will make us stronger to fight the enemy that tries to attack us each and every day.

He comes in the form of thoughts in our minds…but he’s different to everyone.  We are attacked where we’re weakest and trust me, he’ll never stop trying to find the weak spot in your formation.

We have an armor of protection (Eph. 6: 10-18) that we need to clothe ourselves with daily but we also need to remain in formation.

So now what’s next?  That’s not up to me.  I know my role is just as important to her now as it ever was before.  But accountability is key; moreso than ever before.  Holding myself accountable to take the position as wingman seriously will do wonders for her when it’s time for her to do the same for her daughter/son.

Deep breathe.  Sigh.  Close my eyes.  Do it all over again.

I’m confident that this shift in formation was with perfect timing.

I’m comfortable with where she is in life.

I’m blessed beyond belief to have been a part of it all thusfar.

And I’m looking forward to all the years ahead.

Baby girl, you have no idea what’s in store.  When I say you’re going to do great things, I believe it to be true!

Continue to take it all in.  Keep doing what you’re doing.  Be you.  Be the best you.  Take notes.  Love big.  Love forever.  Love life. Live life.  Judge no one.  Stay true to your beliefs.  Honor God.  Honor your family.  Use your faith to battle your weaknesses.  And always, always, always, know that I love you so incredibly much.

Love,

Mom aka your wingman

Read the full wingman blog post HERE

Come To A Complete Stop

When you hear those 5 words, what do you think of? A stop sign, right? Maybe those of you teaching your teenager to drive are specifying what they should say or do to know how long is long enough to stop.
 
As adults, most of us don’t practice what we preach in that scenario. Coming to a complete stop has meant pulling up to the stop sign, looking both ways quickly while we gently roll through it. We’ve made our own definition of stopping and, so far, it’s worked quite well.
 
What if traffic was going so fast in the opposite direction and the stop sign only pertained to the way you were headed? You couldn’t just work your way into traffic going full speed in the opposite direction. Considering your limited number of options, you’re forced to stop.
 
Now let’s talk about life. How fast have you been going? Are you noticing what’s going on around you? Who needs what? Where are you headed? Do you even have a clear direction? Are you going so fast that you don’t even know yesterday from the last?
 
We’ve all done this. Some of you have been here before, others are there now. You’ve begun to roll through the signs telling you to STOP. Signs such as exhaustion, weight gain/loss, irritability, lack of sleep, lack of or over abundance of emotion, forgetfulness, sickness, and the list goes on and on. There are signs everywhere, telling us to slow down but eventually, we will come to a crossroad where we must stop.
 
Hear me out on this one folks…
 
There are some times that we need someone to tell us to STOP. We need to heed their advice for our safety as well as others out there on the road. If we’re not careful, we could injure ourselves or others along the way. Unintentionally, by not giving ourselves any time to stop, we are making the road more difficult to travel than it should be. Just because we ignore the stop signs, doesn’t mean we’re going to get there any faster — or at all if we keep up the pace we’re going.
 
Psalm 46:10a says, "Be still, and know that I am God;"
 
It’s a verse we can use in so many different ways but in this case, we need to stop and really hear those words.
 
Stop worrying if everyone has everything.
 
Stop trying to be everything to everyone.
 
Stop trying to be everywhere at the same time.
 
Stop trying to do everything.
 
Stop trying to be a part of everything that’s going on.
 
Stop worrying if you have enough and just know that you ARE enough!
 
God didn’t put you here on this earth to run yourself ragged. He didn’t intend for your purpose to be, “work yourself to death.” He also didn’t decide that you were the one that was going to do all of the things that could easily be done by several people. Look around. Do you enjoy what you see? Are you taking the time to truly enjoy what you see?
 
Take a look at this picture. My love for cows is the reason we came to a complete stop to take this photo. I love the warning that here, at this very spot, cows may be crossing. It’s a warning to all the drivers on this dirt road that they might just need to stop. Of all the things in the world, God cares about us so much that he gives warnings for us too. Sometimes he gives them to family, friends or coworkers to share with us and sometimes He just gives them to us. Often times, we have both but still fail to listen. That’s when we’re forced to stop.
 
Back to the picture. Take a look around at the scenery. What once was a beautiful ranch became a burnt mess back in October when a fire ravaged the area. I don’t know about you, but that is cause enough for me to stop immediately.
 
Some of you are there. The fire is roaring, you are forced to stop moving, and you just don’t know what to do next.
 
Read the scripture again: “Be still, and know that I am God;”
 
No one is going to get the best parts of you if you aren’t coming to a complete stop. You can’t give everything and think you’ll have something left. Your family will suffer, friendships, your job, your ministries and finally — you.
 
Don’t let that fire have a chance to start in your life.
 
Don’t miss all the warnings and continue to speed through life.
 
Don’t wish you hadn’t waited so long.
 
Life is too short and if you go too fast, you’ll miss it entirely.
 
I know this is for someone today. I’ll be praying for you. Love you all.

User Error

Do you realize that typically, we are the ones who set our own limitations? I say typically because there are certain physical limitations we cannot change and rules we must abide by but otherwise, we set our expectations high but often lower our limitations.
 
Why do you think that is? Low self-esteem? Lack of confidence? Situational setbacks? Those may all be true but for the most part, we have a tendency to be so proud of others for their accomplishments while verbalizing that we could never do that.
 
My question is, why not? If the opportunity is there, other than time and hard work, what is holding you back from going after whatever it is? If we are given a chance just by being who we are then who are we to hold ourselves back?
 
I understand stepping out of your comfort zone might be a little scary and setting the bar high for yourself often demanding, but if you can expect more out of others why not do the same for yourself?
 
Imagine you’re sitting there, wishing you could do something that you’ve never done — run a mile, do 20 push-ups, write a book, lead a group, meet new people, go for a promotion — and the list goes on and on. So you’re sitting there, thinking, wishing but never really believing in yourself enough to take that chance and do what you want to do.
 
I’m calling this your “User Error”.
 
Typically, you have a few tries before being locked out in situations like this, but fortunately and unfortunately for you, your opportunities are endless. You can want and wish for things for a long time and just never try. You are given chances time and time again, doors opening and closing before your eyes, little reminders of the dream you have, little nudges of movement but no actual push of the forward motion.
 
Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
 
If I adopt that scripture into my mind and believe it to be true, I know I have enough to at least try with all my might to get to where I want to go. I may not be there tomorrow. I may find out that what was at the end of the tunnel wasn’t for me. It may take a little longer than I would have wanted. But if I’m believing that God has given me all I need to be successful at all I’m called to be then I truly am the only thing holding myself back.
 
I don’t know who this message is for today, but I felt these words very strongly on my heart. I’m believing that soon, you will feel empowered. You will start to align yourself with the right people, the right sights and sounds, to just make that next step…then another…and another…until that limitation no longer exists. If you’ve used up all your “User Errors” simply because you’re afraid, now’s the time to try again.
 
Photo Credit: Aubrey Marie, Mexico 2016

Guacamole

I won’t apologize for making guacamole. I don’t need to justify that I’ve spent my time mashing avocados, squeezing limes and adding a dash of sugar. Those delicate little leaves of cilantro, so perfectly chosen will add the final touches.
 
Still reading? Good! Because Guacamole is Part II of Cilantro. For those of you thoroughly confused, I suggest you stop reading right now and go to yesterday’s post. It will all make sense then!
 
I felt I had to follow-up Cilantro with Guacamole because of one, very important reason. Those leaves are a part of something bigger. Each has their own flavor that they bring to the bigger project — Guac!
 
All metaphors aside, what is it that you and those you’ve chosen to be in your circle have done or are doing? As with you and your greater purpose, those you are aligned with will also serve one another as well as some outside of your carefully chosen few. When everyone comes together, adding their own distinct flare [your talents], with it comes a taste like no other. A few additional ingredients, such as your time/dedication, wisdom, and a dash of the sweetest gift from above and you have something to share!
 
Ah…but not everyone likes guacamole, maybe even some of you reading this post…but stay with me here! Even though you may come across those who don’t like what you’re throwing out, aren’t picking up what your dropping, or who just have a problem with what you’re saying, that doesn’t mean you need to stop.
 
HEAR ME ON THIS ONE…
 
You were NOT put on this earth to please everyone therefore, your mark on this world should not be dictated by those around you who are not part of your immediate circle. Even still, those within your bunch might disagree a time or two, but remember that you CHOSE them for a reason. Their gifting on your life might just be wisdom a time or two to bring you back to that walk with HUMBLE CONFIDENCE.
 
You see, we have an inner circle of carefully chosen individuals who will grow with us and make a difference by simply being together with us. There are other circles that are equally as important such as those who are a part of your church family, work family, and so on. Something has to be said about these groups as well because just as we have to purposefully choose who to allow into our immediate circle, we must do the same with the rest.
 
Face it, you are not going to go to every Bible study, be a part of every small group or go to lunch with everyone after church on Sundays. You may not even know what’s going on in each other’s lives until the very last minute. Same goes for work — you may not get invited to the after work gathering, you might not be on Joe Schmo’s wedding invite list and you just might not be on the attendee list for a meeting with the big shots. Want to know something cool?
 
IT’S OKAY!!
 
We shouldn’t put people into our circles because we’re afraid to miss out. That’s important so I’m going to say it again…
 
WE SHOULDN’T PUT PEOPLE INTO OUR INNER CIRCLES BECAUSE WE’RE AFRAID TO MISS OUT.
 
Why are we letting people into the inner workings of our lives simply because we need to add one more notch to our friends’ list? Or is it because we’re afraid something might happen and we wouldn’t have been a part of it?
 
We have to learn to say — WHO CARES!!
 
It’s not that we don’t care or that we’d rather stay in a bubble, but if we try to be everyone’s friend, to be everywhere, do everything, the only thing we’ll be missing out on is what COULD be happening in our own lives! Think of all the time you wasted just wondering why you weren’t on the guest list. What else are you missing out on because you’re somewhere else in your mind when you’re body is right here?
 
It’s time to work on that end result — that Guacamole — those other circles and see that, they too, matter to the greater purpose of your life. Not every ingredient will be added. Not everyone will like it. But one thing’s for sure, the right people will get what they need at the right time when YOU ARE ALIGNED THE WAY YOU SHOULD BE.
 
I can’t answer for you what changes it is that you need to make, but I can tell you this…some decisions will be hard. You will miss out on a few things. But as I said the other day, you can CHOOSE the thoughts you allow to stay in your mind. When the doubt, sadness or loneliness creeps in on you, as it will when you feel you’re “missing out”, get your head back in the game. Call on God and ask Him to take those thoughts out of your head and then — CHANGE THE SUBJECT! Busy yourself with works within YOUR CIRCLE and stop worrying about others.
 
Hope this reaches someone today. Love you all!