No Looking Back

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Early one morning last week I went into our dry cleaner’s and sitting on a whiteboard was a quote from C.S. Lewis, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending. ” As I waited for my clothes to come from the back, I meditated on that for a bit. I feel like I am always looking back on something I did, didn’t do, said or didn’t say. I tend to “overprocess” as one of my aunts say. It’s natural I think, but all habits can be changed. In this moment of waiting for my clothes, I thought about Lot’s wife. God was taking Lot and his family to a new place to do a new thing for them and Lot’s wife didn’t keep her eyes gazed on what was in front of her, but looked back at the past. At that point, she turned to a pillar of salt. As I thought about it, I thought of her as stuck. We have all made choices and mistakes in life, but we can’t be held captive by our pasts, what we didn’t do, did do or should have done, but each day, we get the new opportunity to start again. If we don’t move past the old (yesterday, last year, or even 10 years ago) we run the risk of getting / staying stuck kind of like Lot’s wife.

Lord thank you for new mercies each day. Thank you that while we can’t change the past, we can walk confidently into the new day, week or era with an ability to start fresh. We don’t have to re-do the past because the past helps to create who we are now. We are who we are for the things we have experienced, mistakes we have made and the lessons learned. We can take all of that into a new day that can be shared to not only make us better, but hopefully blesses someone else along the way. C.S was once an atheist, yet went on to be a prolific Christian writer. What if he couldn’t get past the regret of his time as an atheist that he didn’t allow God to use his story, his testimony and even his gift of writing to share with the world. Our pasts are not just for us but for those that we can effect with the tomorrow of our lives. By leaving yesterday, we can become a blessing tomorrow. #GodApplied #blessing #grace #ApplyingGodin2021

If you are stuck in the past, today, choose with me to keep moving forward.

Vaccine

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The other day I saw a news article pass by my feed that there has been some enlarged mammograms in those that had taken the Covid-19 vaccine. Not reading the entire article just yet, I was immediately a bit worked up. The question to vaccinate or not vaccinate is a decision that everyone has to make for themselves. There is so much information to weigh and from my initial vantage point, here was another potential risk. As someone planning to vaccinate, I became concerned. Do I risk one thing for the sake of protecting against another? What is more dangerous, what is more likely? These were all things that I asked myself. I was overwhelmed within the span of 10 minutes. (Seemingly rather unnecessarily.)

In that moment, I thought to myself at the end of the day, the truest vaccine, the truest protection is prayer. We can’t plan for all the what ifs or what if nots, but we can ask the Lord to protect us, to protect our families and the world around us. You may not receive the call for vaccination for months but you can call on God daily to protect your family, to provide his covering over your life and your home, to shield your respiratory from the germs that abound and to help you to do what is best for yourself and your family. Since the beginning of this pandemic, I have been asking for God’s protection and covering. Whether you decide to vaccinate or not is a personal decision, but regardless of which you do, the only vaccine that can provide ultimate protection of covid-19, of any effects of the covid-19 vaccine is the word of God. So, I will likely continue down my path to vaccination but I will never stop relying on the power and strength of the truest vaccine, the truest protection that there is against this virus and everything else that plagues the world, effective and fervent prayer. I will continue to pray his words daily and continue to inject the daily dose of the vaccine of all vaccines (prayer). I just wanted to remind you all to join me and continue to do the same.

Be well. Be safe. Be blessed!

Who Are We Beholden To?

Two weeks ago I admitted the areas where I was not really on track with in terms of my goals. I felt a bit weird sharing that my couple prayer time was not on track with my goals nor my 1 on 1 dates with each kid. I overthought about sharing that. What will they think? Will they think that my husband and I aren’t connected or aren’t spiritually aligned? Will they think that I’m a bad parent? Essentially, I was concerned about the perception of those reading. Should I go back and explain myself in the post? Should I clarify? I didn’t, the post remained and I was actually glad for another opportunity to grow in my own transparency (after about an hour of self-talk).

As I went about the week, I noticed a similar pattern where people were explaining themselves, their lives and their decisions on social media. We don’t owe explanations of our actions or clarification of each aspect of our lives to the world. Their validation, comprehension, permission, and approval are not required.

But why do we have such a preoccupation with the perception of others? Are we as concerned about God’s perception of us as much as the public perception of our followers, friends, family and network? Do we rush to explain to Him or clarify? Do we care what He thinks about our actions? At that end of the day, the opinion that matters most is of our Lord and Savior. So, together, let’s try to go about the day, the week, the year trying to impress Him, explaining our actions or inaction to Him, and seeking His approval not the worlds. #GodApplied #Christianwoman #grace #blessed #ApplyingGodin2021 #encouragement.

Colossians 3:23 – And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.

Declutter

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A few years ago I feel like decluttering was the hot topic. Decluttering is simply about simplifying your life, but it is usually used in association with your space – whether it be a certain room in your home, closets, etc. Not sure if any of you watched Marie Kwondo's show or read her book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, ” but she talked a lot about keeping things in your life that Spark Joy. Well, last night, I thought of this very thing. I was scrolling through my Facebook page and our county’s public school parent page came up. While it has about 4.5K followers, there must be the same circle of posters that post to this page. This should be an informative page where we can share, stay up-to-date with what is going on, etc., especially in this physically disconnected environment, but my goodness it is one of the most venomous sites on my timeline. As I read the latest post, I literally thought, I gotta stop reading the discussions on this page. It reads like arguing children at recess, not responsible, respectful parents — let alone adults. I want to stay connected on the slim chance that helpful information is posted, but I decided it was time to leave this page. Thanks to Marie for helping me decide. I thought about Marie Kwondo’s approach to decluttering and asked myself, is this bringing me joy or anything positive or is it just adding angst to my timeline and my mind when I read it.

There are a lot of things in life that we hold onto on the hope that maybe it will add something positive. It could be a relationship, a job, to-dos that you really don’t need to do, activities, and even social media pages and groups. The things that are negative, fussy, and angry that don’t add any joy to our lives are just taking up space. They are cluttering our life, our mind, and our hearts. Sometimes we all need to just take stock and assess what types of energy we are allowing into our life. If something isn’t adding value or joy, we just might need to let it go and make room for things that will add joy, knowledge, comfort and peace. Sometimes the things that need to be decluttered aren’t the rooms in our homes or the shelves in our pantry, but rather the space of our lives and our spirits.

God wants us to be surrounded by things that pure, lovely, noble. 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.” What we keep in our life become the things that we allow into our thoughts. What things are bringing you joy and what things might you consider putting in the throw away pile? It’s time to declutter.

Celebrate the Wins

I can’t believe we just wrapped up the second month of the year. We all started with goals in terms of our outcomes and hopefully our habits. This weekend, I thought about some of the positive strides that I made toward my goals. Yes, I have a long way to go to get where I want to be at the end of the year, but I have moved the bar to the right and for that I am proud. I looked at my vision board, applauded the wins (with a smile to myself) and also took stock of the areas where I have fallen short.

With my current client, we are pretty sales driven so each month there is a big month end process where we assess the planned objectives vs. our actuals. We look at the gaps and determine the plan forward. It used to be a pretty big deal with celebratory dinner and donuts each month (regardless of the outcomes) pre-Covid. The bible reminds us that without a plan the people perish. A plan is not just something that you write once and hope for the best. It is something that you plan, revisit and replan. A good plan is a living plan. I hope you had a good first two months moving in the direction of your plans. I hope you continue to invite God into your plans and make him the head of the consulting board on your decisions. I pray that you continue to speak to the mountains inhibiting your progress. I pray that you remove any doubt and maintain your faith. I pray that your plans are fruitful and blessed. Whatever didn’t happen last month, I encourage you to not look back in regret, but rather look forward with new energy and new perspective. Total honesty, I thrived in some areas but my goal of couple prayer time was lacking and I missed some 30-min dates with my kids. I could feel bad but instead I’m choosing to do something about them. Instead I literally created calendar invites to prioritize the time. (Hopefully you won’t judge me — remember I’m working to be more transparent). I also thrive with accountability so congrats, you have been drafted to keep me accountable :). Anyway, whatever your misses were, just keep moving forward. I pray you have continued success this year and specifically in this new month! Be blessed!

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Self-Care Not Optional

I think I have mentioned in the past that some people actually don’t like the woman in Prov. 31. True – I have heard it with my own ears. I think some find her to be hard to live up to. I mean she does so much and seems so selfless. As I read of her, I see her as balanced. Someone who gets up early to make time for herself. Someone who works in her garden (which can be relaxing and allows time for pensiveness). Someone who uses her hands to create and explores her creative side. Someone who spends time with God. See, while she worked hard, I also envision her making time to nurture her own spirit and interests. I see her as a woman in touch with her need for self-care.

The bible talks a lot of about self-care. Scriptures like the ones below from Mark and Matthew remind us that God wants us to care for ourselves. He wants us to take time for ourselves. Only then can we be awesome for those around us.

Mark 6:31 “And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.”

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

How can we love our neighbors as ourselves, if we aren’t practicing love for ourselves. Self-care is not selfish, but one of the most loving things we can do for ourselves.

So, what are you doing today or this week to renew your soul and spirit? How do you practice regular self-care? …And on the 7th day, He rested, maybe you should follow his cue.

Lord, help us to disavow the lie that we must always be busy. Help us to embrace the concept and importance of self-care. Lord help us to make room for the person who probably needs us the most right now and gets the least from us – ourselves. Show us what brings us peace and joy. Remind us of our gifts and talents. Lord show us how to make room for our renewal and recognize the blessing that it is not only for ourselves but also for others. Amen!

Remembering

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This week seems to have been all about getting through and believing in your awesomeness. This week I just wanted to remind myself, my friends and you all to take life one day at a time, deal with tomorrows stress tomorrow; and to punch that lie of not being enough in the gut because you are. Today, want to sum up the week with another reminder. Remember all the battles you have won. Remember all the strides you have made. Remember all the seemingly small feats that you have made. Remember that you have made it this far. Sometimes it is so easy to become stuck in the right now, that we forget to look back and smile. We forget to look back and appreciate. Sometimes when we look back and remember, it actually replenishes our emotional and spiritual fortitude to look ahead and BELIEVE. Believe that you are strong enough for this journey and that you with the help of God have proven that time and time again.

More than Enough

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Recently a friend mentioned struggling about not feeling that they were enough — enough to meet the needs of those around them, enough to live out God’s purpose for their life, and enough to accomplish their dreams. As I tried to encourage her, I heard me giving her the same advice that I give myself. (Positive self-talk and affirmations daily are so key.) I heard other friends chime in saying that they too have the same feelings. In this time of additional stresses, it is so easy to suffer from feelings of not being enough – Enough at home, enough at work, enough in your marriage, enough with your kids, and enough to accomplish your dreams.

Being enough is about belief and actions. Believe that you are and do the work. Doing the work means doing the things that physically get us to where we are trying to go and doing the work of including God in the journey. Faith + Works. If you are doing that and have been doing that, know that you are enough. Read it, say it, be it and believe it. God said in his word that you are more than enough.

He said you are more than a conqueror. (Romans 8:37)

He said you are wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

He said you were created to do his God work. (Ephesians 2:10)

He said you can do all things with His help. (Philippians 4:13)

He said you are blessed because you believe that He will fulfill his promises to you. (Luke 1:4-5)

God hears you. I know it doesn’t feel like he always does and things are lining up but they are. We just gotta keep going. Keep taking and appreciating those incremental gains. Just keep taking your steps and God will keep being the tailwinds. You are more than enough. Don’t grow weary. Don’t give up. Speak life over your life and over your dreams. Take it one day at a time. Looking further ahead can be overwhelming sometimes. Even when you don’t believe it. Just say it and keep saying it. Today I just wanted to encourage everyone that you are enough! In fact, you are more than enough. We often say she believed she could and she did, but I also want to add she believed she already was and she became. Keep going! Keep believing. Keep becoming.

Be blessed!

One Day at A Time

Stresssed Mom

This year everyone has been stretched and challenged in the most dynamic ways. Many of us has had to do more with less — less time, less structure, less childcare, less help, or less money. I remember the excitement just last month or so over the new year but many of us have found that we have much of the same hurdles from last year in this year. I saw a card in Marshalls a few weeks ago that read, “Alexa, fast forward to 2021.” Well, that Alexa command clearly served no value and the card was sitting on the clearance rack.

Unfortunately or maybe fortunately, we can’t just fast forward to a new time or a better time. We don’t know what that will look like or when that time will come. We just gotta keep moving forward through the challenges — but it is hard. It is hard to not become overwhelmed when we look at everything before us, everything we need to do and having coming at us, so don’t. Don’t look a week ahead, or a month ahead, just take it one day at a time. In Matthew 6:34 the scripture says don’t worry about tomorrow, today has enough worries. (Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.)

About two weeks ago, a colleague sent an after hours email (because well we all work after hours these days right 🙂 ) and her tone was full of stress. She spoke of all the emails that just came out and how they will affect our team and asked if we had seen then. Because I tend to peek at email after hours, I saw her email. My reply after the stressful day was that today has had enough of its own anxieties, I will deal with this anxiety tomorrow.  The team laughed and said good point. God has all the good points. All we need to do is follow them. His advice is timeless, boundless and applicable to all eras and situations. So, let’s take take life one day at a time and deal with issues of each day as they come. To do it any over way, puts too much of the burden on ourselves. Cast your cares on the Lord and He will help you. Each day, just ask him, Lord help me to get through this day, provide me enough strength for this day and make it your daily prayer. Try it this week. Share the advice with a friend or maybe even a stressed out co-worker.

Be blessed!

Heart Health

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The Bible says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” God is warning us to protect our hearts and keep it healthy. So this month, with February being Heart Health month, I wanted to ask, “How do you keep your heart healthy?”

Here are 5 quick ways the God tells us to protect our hearts. Hope you will share others.

1. Be honest, speak uplifting words and be someone of Integrity.
Don’t only ensure you do these things, but keep people who don’t follow these life rules far from you. Stay away from drama and lips that cause and enjoy drama.
(Prov. 4:24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you.)


2.  Live in the now, don’t look back in regret of the past.

You can’t change the past. All you can do is repent if applicable, take the learned lessons and move forward.
(Prov. 4:25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you.)

3. Renew Your Mind.
Stay connected to God– pray, talk to Him, read your Bible.
(Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.)

4. Love the Lord with Everything in You.
(Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.)

5. Speak God’s Affirming Words and Truth.
I do this by writing some affirmations that speak to my current life situations and start each day speaking those affirmations over my life.

(Psalms 19:14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.)

What do you do to keep your heart healthy?