Where Ya Headin?

Have you ever just wondered….what am I doing? Where should I be heading? Or How do I get there? Sometimes we all have those feelings and ponder those same questions. The answer isn’t really as deep as we make it. When you want to get somewhere typically you ask someone how to get there. You ask them the way. Well Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Jesus is how you get to your destiny. Jesus is how to get that place where you need to go to feel satisfied and full.
Usually when we want to get somewhere we stop and ask for directions. No worries. JESUS HAS YOU covered. He planned ahead…like He always does and laid out a path. Want the directions for your path?
1. Seek God daily and ask Him, “Lord what should I do, where do you want me to go?”
2. Spend time just absorbing His love and giving that love back to him by way of worship…quietly, without distraction, without multitasking.
3. Jot down what you feel Him telling you and then do it.
Don’t worry if your number three isn’t immediate. Just continue to repeat 1 and 2 and the rest will follow.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105

Be blessed!

Beauty in the Desert

Yesterday morning I took a lovely hike with my family. We like to try new experiences so this summer we landed in Arizona….the desert…so what better activity for our first full day than a morning hike through the #Sonoran Desert. We hear a lot about the desert; that dry, desolate place with little water, where nothing thrives. You hear a lot of similarity drawn between the desert and challenges in life but as we hiked there was so much beauty even in the dusty desert.

The desert is just a different type of environment where we sometimes have to learn to do things differently or acclimate to the different environment but a desert isn’t a barren wasteland.

I was amazed by the beautiful yellow flowers starting to bud and bloom amidst this dry, almost gray round prickly cactus. My sons were amazed at the beautiful green trees that were green from the base up through every branch and thin “leaves.” Not green from mold either….but from life. The trees seem to have adapted to the environment and learned to thrive where they are. Talk about blooming where you are planted.

Wow, so many nuggets, so much #wisdom, so many aha moments all from a morning hike through the desert.

My oldest son remarked that they make the desert seem so much more barren in movies than in reality. I think we also make the desert time of our lives seem so much more barren then it really is. There is usually beauty, blossoming and growth right there if we only allow ourselves to see it it. If we focus less on the dirt and allow ourselves to focus on another aspect of the desert we might find opportunity, a new perspective or a lesson learned that we need to harness before we leave the desert.

Maybe like the all-green tree, there is an adaptation that we need to learn that will strengthen our ability to survive in desert times and allow us to thrive when we really are in the right situation or environment. 

We found so much wondrous beauty in the desert — so many reasons to smile and marvel. Even in life, our desert times have wondrous beauty “sticking” out from different angles. While it may seem dry, hopefully we have stored up enough water to carry us through so that we can grow even in those times.

Take a few lessons from the desert. See the #beauty in your desert place. Thrive wherever you are planted. Find something beautiful in your wake. Adapt where you must and when you must but continue blooming, growing and becoming more beautiful even in that place. #growthmindset #Godapplied #graceinthemoment #christianblogger

Be encouraged. Be blessed. Keep moving.

Latoya

Releasing the Victor Within

God created each one of us beautiful, wonderful and unique. He created us to be great and do great things in the earth to fulfill His mission and goals. God created us to be on His team. If you know anything about God, He’s no slouch. He’s an MVP — in fact THE MVP and He selected each one of us to be on His team. If you have ever been on a team, you know that the strong team captains only pick valuable, strong players, that can add value to be on their teams. If you apply that logic, God must know that we are each valuable, strong players or He wouldn’t have selected us for His team. He knows you’re special — now you need to know it too.

You hear a lot about this imposter syndrome, but God didn’t give us this complex — the world did. Why? To keep each of us from our destinies. To keep us from being the value-add player on Christ’s team. To keep us from impacting the world. But we are not imposters, less than, or not good enough people — we are victors waiting to be awakened and released or rather unleashed on the world. In order to release and unleash your Victor within you need a few things.

Prayer. When someone wants us on their team, we need to hear it from them. We can’t just take someone’s word for it, so ask Him. Go to God in prayer and ask Him why He wanted you on His team. Ask Him what value are you, can you add to the kingdom. Ask Him to show you what and how. Ask him to give you the vision to see what He sees in you and the fortitude to build up and enhance all of gifts and talents within just waiting to be cultivated. Ask God to encourage you and remind you of who He made you to be. Ask Him to silence the background noise that comes to drown out His voice and love in your heart. Ask Him to be a fence – a hedge of protection for you, your beliefs, and your mind. Ask Him to illuminate your path and embolden your victor’s light to shine so that all can see.

Hype Tribe. Everyone needs a hype tribe. Get one. What’s a hype tribe? They are your cheerleaders (honest cheerleaders but cheerleaders none the less). They are your enthusiasts. They build you up. They celebrate you and your growth and accomplishments even when you don’t or don’t recognize them. They magnify the good that you are and they remind you of it constantly. They combat your negative thoughts and ideas with energetic love and encouragement. They are like living campaign posters cheering you on the road to victory. You don’t need an entourage — just a few good folks who are real with you, who build you up, and remind you to do the same. They become the people that you hear in your head and envision sitting on the left hand side of your shoulders helping you to combat the negative band of comments that sit over there to your right.

Reminders. You have already accomplished so much, overcome so much, conquered so much, yet you still don’t get it. You still don’t get that you are a victor. Why? We downplay or we just plain out forget. We forget all the times we crushed this or that. We forget all the progress that we made. This is why we need to remind ourselves of where we have been and where we are. Remind yourself of your victories. Write them down and frame them. Put them in a prominent place where you can see them and be reminded. Remind yourself that you can do it or that you are awesome. Get signs and spread them around. Recently my parents visited and my dad remarked at all the positive reminders around the house from the mud room to the upstairs playroom. In the mudroom when we hang out coats it says, “You can do anything,” in the kitchen draped over the oven doors, “Pray More Worry Less,” in my bathroom sits framed affirmations, and in my office there are signs like “Simply Blessed.” Even in our backyard, I have painted rocks with words like Blessed, Love, Peace, Victory. Remind yourself at every turn that you are the awesome person God created you to be, remind yourself of your wins, and remind yourself that He is there to help and will help.

Self-Belief. The most important thing to unleashing the victor within is to first have the belief within yourself that you are a victor, that you are victorious, and that you were created for a purpose and to go great things. I can tell you all day everyday, your parents, spouse, siblings, friends, etc. can tell you. They can remind you of your successes. They can be your hype tribe. They can sing your praises. But until you believe it within yourself and for yourself all of the pouring in will never matter. Your self-belief is like your foundation. I used to make pottery and when you build a cup, you start with the bottom of the cup as the foundation and then you add the slab or coils to create the cup. If I pour into a cup that has no bottom (or foundation), everything I pour in goes out; it gets wasted essentially. The encouragement, upliftment and motivation being poured in, rests on the foundation of your self-belief.

So, I hope you will use these nuggets and tell that old imposter to hush. (I think the real imposter is the devil — resist him [his thoughts placed in your head and his lies] and he will flee.) Tell your imposter within to fall back and usher in, awaken and unleash your victor within. Let me know how it goes. It’s a process for sure and I’m always here to listen and support.

Be blessed!

Latoya

Happy Father’s Day!

God created parents to be the walking, talking, embodiment of His love for his creations. Today we thank God for fathers.  I specifically thank God for my father who actually just visited us. But in the midst of all the Father’s day dinners, brunches and gifts, we can’t neglect to give thanks for the Father of us all. The ultimate Father – Jehovah God. The one who always does the right thing, always has the perfect advice, and is always available to us. Today I want to wish my spiritual father, you know…the “good good Father,” a happy Father’s Day. Thanks for all you kept me from and brought me too.

Happy Father’s Day to my Dad, your Dad, my husband, all the Father’s trying to set a good, Godly example to their children. An example of what’s good, right, loving, and kind. Be blessed!

7 Restorative Ways to Manage Your Busy and Maintain Your Balance

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

Keep unbusy – get quiet. Make time for you. Make time for God. Those are all great statements and statements that will impact your life; but how is the question. How do we “unbusy” in a hectic, overachieving, accomplishment-obsessed world? After last week’s post, I was thinking that could be a question that some of you might have had so I thought I would share my best practices for managing my “busy” and maintaining my #balance.

Twofers. Reading this, one might say, twofers is the opposite of getting unbusy. For me twofers (or essentially the act of getting two benefits out of one act) is a key to life balance. How else to manage your time and streamline activities. In doing so, I create additional time in my schedule for balance and restoration. For instance, sometimes I talk a walk (for exercise) and take my son with me to ride his scooter (mom & son time), or a walk with my friend (exercise and girl-time).

Saying “No.” No is not a bad word. No can be a good word. No can be a brave word and a life giving word. Yes, can be a word that holds you hostage to commitments you may not have wanted to make to do things that you didn’t want to do that serve purposes that are not aligned to yours or the ones God has for you. By being brave enough to say no, we manage our lives and schedules and not someone else. By all means, say yes when you want but know that you can say no as well.

5 Sense Immersion. You can’t always streamline the day, but you can create peaceful space in the midst of the busyness of the day. I find that creating peaceful space in the midst of your day or after your day, helps you to quiet your mind, relax your spirit and rejuvenate your soul. I can this 5-sense immersion. Create space that engages your senses. Diffuse lovely smelling oils while you work. Surround yourself with life-affirming words that remind you of the beauty of life and keep you relaxed in the midst. Play soft music that relaxes you. Have a few tasty treats to nibble on. It doesn’t have to be all at once but allow these things to relax you and at least provide the feeling of being less harried in the midst of your activities.

Calendar downtime. Have many of you have a #planner? These days likely 90% of those reading. We calendar and schedule time for meetings, plans with friends, the time we clean the house or run errands, personal appointments and family activities. So I ask, do you schedule time for you? Not time for your errands or appointments like hair appointments or lunch dates but time for you to be with you – no agenda, no to-do, no need, just you. Ladies, we particularly, struggle with making time for us to “just be.” It’s almost as if time for us to be with us is the non-priority that can be given away to other “pressing” things. Actually, friends, your time with yourself is a PRIORITY.

Journal. #Journaling is a great way to slow down and go within. As you quiet the noise and distractions, you will be in a better place to hear from God. The cool thing about journaling is that you are also prepared to write down what He is saying to you. (How quickly we can forget those words if we aren’t able to jot them down.) Sometimes I journal while listening to worship songs. It sets the tone and brings me to a meditative place. Not sure how to start journaling — try just capturing what you are grateful for each day. You can also journal out your prayers, your affirmations, and your dreams. Yes — it’s more than ok to dream, who do you think gave you dreams but that is another blog for another day.

Morning Ritual. Establish a quiet morning ritual where you can just sip some tea or coffee and hang out with God before the rush of the day – before family stirs and email alerts start pinging. Getting up before the rest of the world and using that time for you and God puts “first things first”. Hopefully you can not only chat with Him, but life is quiet enough that you can actually listen for the feedback. Consider using this time to seek His face, give thanks, inquire what He would like you to do or give to the world or quietly sit listening to worship music and let God work.

Bedtime Ritual. Similarly to a morning ritual, if you are a night person, you might try a good bedtime ritual in the calm quiet hours before you end the day. Maybe have some tea or hot #Tazo Tumeric milk at night). I tend to pass out at night after getting the kids settled so this isn’t my strength most nights; however, it is a great way to end the day; and end the day with your mind stayed on the right things. Those who are really good, like my sister, manage a little time with God on both ends — but she’s truly the real MVP.

Try one. Try a few. Share your best ways to unbusy. Be blessed!

Unbusy Yourself

 

Lately I have been feeling a bit uninspired.  In prior months, I was hearing so many cool things from God that I had to write memos in my phone and have been trying to connect Alexa to my voice memo so I could capture it all.  Then I got really busy.  An active life isn’t bad.  Busy in itself isn’t bad. These were great things to be busy with.  Client engagement, exciting projects, relationship building, family time, and reacclimating with friends are great things.  While they are great, they required more time and that time was taking from my quiet, meditative time – my time with myself and my time with God. 

When we are so busy and just on the go and moving and shaking it feels good but it could be too much busyness that we don’t have time to hear from God.  For the past few weeks, I wasn’t really hearing from God left and right like I had been.  Then it hit me why….I’m too busy…and while it feels nice in many respects, with that busyness came a loss of my balance.  Friends, I have realized that busy is the enemy of balance. When I am balanced, my creativity and inspiration flourish without much effort. The direction for my life is clear.

If you feel a little off balance, if you are a writer that is having an issue writing, a thinker that’s not really having interesting ideas, a Pastor that can’t prepare a good message or even a business owner that can’t really get a solid message about your product or service together, it could be because you are just too busy.  Get quiet.  Unbusy yourself a little.

Unbusy yourself enough to hear from God so he can direct you in how to best support His mission. When you unbusy yourself, it is the first step to making room for God. I often hear people say God doesn’t speak to them…maybe there is just no room for you to hear from Him. It’s like the busy signal that we used to get back-in-the-day (way back). When the line was busy, another call – no matter how important couldn’t get through. That’s what busyness does to us. It hinders the call of God from getting through. Yes, God is all powerful and can definitely break through but He wants us to make room. He wants us to want to hear from Him enough that we carve out the time – the thoughtful, open-hearted, unhurried, meditative time.

This week, I am feeling back on the horse.  Things are exciting and interesting and of course — it is time for summer fun, but I’m maintaining my balance and managing my “busy.” Hope you will too.

Be blessed!

 

Trampoline Discipleship

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

My parents bought our boys a trampoline for the backyard. They love it. They spend hours in the yard in it with a few select friends. Often times my husband and I look out the window and we can just see the kids jumping and talking. We wonder how much they could possibly have to talk about. We soon found out. One Sunday, our 6-year old mentioned that his friend has a crush. When we asked who, he said God. We were cool with that. He then shared that his friend (a 5-year old) told him that God’s wife is the church. On another occasion, he shared that his 8 and 10 year old friends know the words to “his” song (Goodness of God). We wondered how he knew this….then we realized, this is what they are talking about in the trampoline. They are singing God’s songs. They are talking about Him.

Most of us have been fairly limited in terms of engagement and activities. We may not be out and about too much. For that reason it’s easy to feel like you don’t have much opportunity to share God’s goodness with others, but regardless of where we are, even in our own backyard on our trampoline, there is an opportunity to share God. If Trampoline Discipleship and Trampoline Worship is a thing, maybe we just might have a few opportunities too. I love the simplicity of kids. They are the best disciples out there. They don’t look for perfect (they don’t even realize there is such a thing). They don’t gauge timing either. They are just being who God made them to be and happily sharing it with others.

Whether we are at work, on skype, in the gym, taking a walk with a neighbor, or whatever other day-to-day activities we have, think about the little kids jumping in the trampoline, literally stumbling upon their love of God and sharing it with each other. There may never be the perfect time or the perfect place but there is always an available time and an available place. What available times and places will you start to take advantage of to share a little bit of the goodness of God. Where’s your trampoline worship?

The Office Blessing

There was a phrase that the older people used to say, “Don’t make me loose my religion!” I can almost hear it in my head. There are a few places that make us feel like that but the #office, your workplace, is definitely one. It’s interesting how we separate God and work. It’s almost like we are unconsciously applying the separation of church and state ideology within our personal professional lives. The thing is that that is the last thing God wants us as Christians to do. We can’t separate the God in us from our work no more than you can separate the flour from a cake. He’s baked in and for good reason. (Remember #MaryMary’s song – It’s the God in Me!”). God wants us to take Him with us wherever we go so that He can touch others through us. That includes our work.

This has been a tough year for mental health. Especially workplace mental health. We have gone from looking for Work-Life Balance to ending up far right with more of an intrusive Work-Life Blend and most aren’t doing so well with it. God’s light in you is the can be the best untapped Employment Assistance Program (EAP) and mental health benefit available.

My friends, if you haven’t realized it yet, the Office Blessing is You! You are what your meetings, colleagues , and yes even sometimes your supervisor need. Yes, little ole amazing, calming, truth bringing, positive-light shedding, changing-the-tone-on-the-call you! Each morning you grab your laptop and your smart phone, but don’t forget to grab God’s light and bring it with you (even if you go no further than to your Zoom calls.) Shine it with every opportunity you can. Let it emanate from you like a gorgeous ray of sunlight hitting the window first thing in the morning.

Here are 5 Ways to Be God’s Light at Work

Be Positive. A cheerful heart is good medicine. Smile. It goes a long way…even when someone can’t see your face. Their interaction with you could be the only positive engagement they have that day.

Encourage and Support Your Team Mates. Sometimes you have to help others think on what is good, praiseworthy and of good report. Be considerate. Recognize them. Call them out – for the good things. Give them grace for the mistakes. Live out the fruit of the spirit with them. Be a living example of kindness, goodness, and patience. Be an example of love and inclusion.

Pray for the People and the Projects. Colleagues, partners and even clients need it. We all do. Make them a part of your morning prayer time. Pray for the ones that seem overwhelmed, down, and even the difficult ones. Pray for the all over the place, trying to figure it out clients. Pray for the partners that may be stellar or may be challenging every ounce of patience you still have. They need it. We all do. Don’t stop with the people, but also pray over the projects and performance. Not just those that you lead up either 🙂

Model honesty and #integrity. If we won’t, who will. An Executive once told me Quality is like Integrity – what does either actually mean anyway. Well, in the midst of everything, let’s strive to be a living reminder of what integrity is, a reminder of what it looks like to do the right thing because it’s right and suggest the right thing because it is right. Let’s be the one on the call that promotes honesty, goodness, self-control and fairness with customers, partners and within our teams.

Stay charged up. Being a blessing is beautiful but it can leave you empty if you are not continually recharging. The same way you charge your laptop or your phone, you have to charge your spirit. Nothing can work without power coursing through it. You need to make sure you have God’s power cell built up. Read God’s word daily. Pray and ask for His help spreading His love. Ask for His patience as you extend patience and grace to others. Pray that in the thick of the day, you won’t “lose your religion” but rather you will radiate the joy of it in all circumstances. Pray for a discerning heart that can pick up on the sighs of someone’s heart in the midst of the action actions.

I would love to hear others. Share in the comments! Which of these will you add into your work life. Remember, you are the office blessing. It is waiting on you and it desperately needs you. You are no small wheel in anyone’s cog. You are the quiet blessing that creates power and love in the atmosphere. You could be someone’s #GraceInTheMoment. #God_applied #intentionalliving #purposefullife #IntegrityInsights #Grace #Blessed #Blessing

Best Drawing Ever!

Sunday, I went to church – yes, the real church building – socially distanced of course. My 6-year old decided to draw during the service. He drew himself with both of his parents. Beneath the picture, I love you. You are my best friend forever (phonetically spelled of course). It was the most simple drawing with an imperfect caption but to me it was priceless. It literally brought tears to my eyes. It was my little son sharing his heart with me, sharing his heart for me. No pretense, no need, no want, just his heart.

In that moment, I couldn’t help but think about God’s heart as a parent. I couldn’t help but think that that is all He wants from us — our heart and more importantly our heart for Him. Not for any reason or cause, but just be-cause. Just be-cause like a little son adores his fallible parents, we adore our infallible God who is so much more than my husband and I could ever be as parents. I thought about the tears that it would bring to God if I thought or even just told him, I love you. You are my best friend forever.

As parents we give to our kids because we love them. We even give to them when they come to butter us up for something, because we love them. We know even before the buttering up comes, that it is coming but we still often meet their request — but goodness don’t we just love the humble heart that has no request attached, and is just pureness of heart. God isn’t that weird and our relationship with Him doesn’t have to be that complex. He is a loving parent that just wants the precious priceless doodles of our heart, our natural connection, our unpretentious love. Let’s give God our childlike love. Let’s start to see him through the eyes of a child that just adores his parents just because.

Good Morning!

Good morning Friends! I absolutely adore the morning. This is the time that we greet each day and all of its fresh possibilities.

The other morning my 6-year old went over to his Dad’s side of the bed and said, “Good morning Daddy.” It was quite early so Dad replied, “Good morning” and sent him back to his bedroom. The little bugger didn’t even come over to my side to say Good morning. Soon after I came down to find him on the couch watching cartoons and I said, “Good morning, son. I was waiting for you to come tell me good morning when you came to my room so I could give you a big hug like this” and scooped him up.

The bible says that God bestows new mercies on us each each day. (Lamentations 3:22-23.) He is the reason for our “Good morning” yet how many days do we wake up and not give Him the most basic courtesy of Good Morning. We say it to our spouses, our kids and even our coworkers, but far to often many of us (including me) don’t always greet the Lord with a smile and a warm good morning.

What if God is like me on the other side of the bed, hearing you say good morning to your spouse, your kids, your mom, whomever — and is waiting for the opportunity for you to engage with Him so that he can “scoop you up.” Talk about a missed opportunity. None of us want to miss out on any opportunity to feel God’s love. He’s waiting to hear from each of us. Before we pray, before we ask for covering or any of the petitions of our heart, I challenge us to just tell the Lord Good morning. Try it! Make it a habit! Let us know how it goes. #God_applied #goodmorning #grace #blessed #devotional #intentionalliving #purposefulliving #ApplyingGodin2021 #christianauthor.