Blog

1
Jan

5 Benefits of Accountability to Support Your Growth

Can you believe it, the New Year is upon us?  With the new year, comes lots of reflections about family, finances, parenting, career, spirituality, relationships & fitness; what’s good, what needs tweaked, changed and supported.

Who doesn’t come into the new year with these grandiose thoughts of declaring their list of new year’s resolutions for personal and professional growth and wellness?  I would venture to say, most of us.  Though you might be like me and rebel against “declaring new years resolutions” but instead “set goals.”  Semantics, ya know!

Year after year, I see it happen.  I set goals for change and growth.  I am motivated and optimistic. My intentions are good, yet my follow through wanes about 3-4 weeks into the new year.  Why is that? What can help my follow through and yours, to actually accomplish our goals?

My experiences reveal that I do better when I have someone alongside.  That someone is an accountability partner.

An accountability partner is someone I turn to when I want to intentionally change and grow.

Accountability is what I need to get in place to support my why and my plan.  Accountability is for me. My accountability partner’s have been: friends, a mentor and a coach.

An accountability relationship offers many benefits that will support you each step of the way!

5 Benefits to Accountability:

  1. Accountability provides encouragement.  You will get cheers and applause to celebrate your steps, wins and accomplishments.
  2. Accountability offers support.  You will be listened to, while you process the thoughts and implement steps/a plan, which are essential to the process.
  3. Accountability promotes honesty and authenticity.  You will have space to identify your needs, fears, wants and obstacles.
  4. Accountability fosters follow through. You will be asked questions, set deadlines and share your progress.
  5. Accountability strengthens visioning.  You will be challenged to think outside the box to what could be.  This will foster growth and transformation.

Whether you are setting goals or declaring resolutions, an accountability partner (friend, mentor or coach) will be vital to your success in moving forward.

Action Steps:  Who will you ask?  Make a list.  When will you ask them?  Set a timeline.  What do you need them to do? Share it.  How often will you check in with them? Calendar and commit.

If you would like to have a coach for accountability, I am offering a “Coaching Accountability Special.”

Coaching Accountability Special:  $97 for 15 minutes of laser coaching per month for 2017.

Let’s get started today!  Grab this special for yourself and begin reaping the benefits!

Click here and in the subject line put “Coaching Accountability Special.” I will contact you and we will jump in!

Or make the call and get a friend or mentor on board.  It will make a huge difference!

Would love to hear from you!  Share any thoughts, tips or other benefits, in the comments section.

16
Sep

Rev Up, Recipe, and Resource

Hebrews 12:1-3 The Message (MSG)

Discipline in a Long-Distance Race

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

www.pixabay.comRev-up!!  Rev up?

So, thinking about what I wanted to share with you this month and here goes the “Tammy-trail of thinking”…

There was this dessert that Diann made for one of our Real Time groups.  Everyone raved about it (another “R” word). Many asked for the recipe and, at the end of the evening, she said, “I need to get that recipe, to you, so you can forward to the group.” I said, “Okay.” That may have been 2 months ago. Yesterday, while at my office, I was cleaning up some papers and found a sheet that said, “Diann’s dessert recipe.” Ooops, we forgot to share that with you. I texted Diann, got the link for the recipe and thought, Hmmm, I could share that in my Random Reflections mailing this month.

Kept wondering what else could I share. This morning I was reading emails and came across a newsletter/blog article from the “How We Love” team, on addictions. I’m like, “share this.”  Why?  The article caused me to stop and think…of myself, of friends, of family members and of those that I have coached. Take a minute and read it. Wonder if it will cause you to stop and think? Their blog is packed full of resources that point us toward healing and wholeness and to Jesus. Check. Sharing with my tribe.

So, that is Recipe and Resource. Where in the world did rev-up come from? Truth:  I needed a 3rd word for my heading and, by this point, I wanted the 3rd word to be an “R” word. (This same letter thing used to drive me crazy, now it makes me laugh and I use it.)

Still with me on the Tammy-thinking trail?  I was trying all kinds of words, and THEN the word Rev jumped in. It jumped in my head because I am revved up.  Revved up on steroids today. Not bad steroids that will make me bulk up, though I might like some of those kind of steroids…but doctor prescribed steroids (yesterday) for a skin ailment, that I have been doctoring myself, for the last 4 weeks. I know, I’m not a doctor and that was probably too long to wait, but I was in denial and thought it was getting better. It wasn’t and the month long itching finally drove me to the doctor. Just smile with me.

Back to where Rev-up came from. The steroids have seriously revved me up, which I don’t need on a normal day, but have to take this day. I thought, goodness I am revved up on these, and there birthed the 3rd word, rev up; yes, that’s the word and it’s what we need. We need to rev-up…and we need to help rev-up one another. I looked up the word. Yep, it’s in the dictionary.

Rev up:   to increase in strength.

Dear sweet sista-friends (don’t roll your eyes when I call you that—it’s endearing), what will increase your strength? What do you need to make that happen? Who do you have in your life that rev’s you up? And, where is Jesus in this revving up process in your life?

I believe it is time to rev up…and not on Rx steroids! We need to figure out what rev up means to us and how to rev up…spirit, soul and body. I need it. You need it. We need it. It will look different for all of us. We will all be at different places, spaces and time and running different paces, in the race, (wow, that all randomly rhymed-smile again please)  but let’s do are darnedest not compare and, whatever we do, let’s not stop. Can we please, embrace where we are and go at our own pace (with Jesus by our side and our friends on the sidelines)? Let’s partner together, as a tribe of friends and confidants, to encourage (and spur on) one another to keep running, to finish strong…keep running…through the finish line! Don’t stop. Cheer for one another. Be for one another. Rev up your brave souls!

I think we all long for the day to hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant…”

Oh girls, we know there are days when life is FULL and FUN and ABUNDANT and we cherish those days!  We also know that there are days when life isn’t easy, but hey, God never promised smooth sailing.  The Word tells us we will have mountaintop days and valley nights.  BUT God reminds and encourages us with this truth…

John 16:33Amplified Bible (AMP)

33 I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]

Rev up and be an over-comer…victory awaits!  Amen and Amen.


Please sign up to receive Infuse Coaching newsletter/tidbits: http://www.infusecoaching.com/

Want the recipe and the resource?

Recipe: http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/dessert/cake/chocolate-raspberry-creme-trifle.html

Resource: https://www.howwelove.com/blog/  (Addictions:  Do You Have One?)

17
Aug

Seasons: Sunshine, Sprinkles, Showers and Storms

rain

Check out Matthew 8:23-27: Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Truth is I love a good quote, slogan or motivational thought. I love them in front of me. I copy and paste them, print them off and put them in frames. If you have been in my home office, you know that I write them, and scriptures, on 3×5 cards, to stick and pin them so I can see them. My white board is covered with the same. I love to share them with others, in hopes that they will like them too! These things inspire me and help keep me positive and focused on truth.

In our little powder bathroom, I have 2 of those stick-on-the-wall clingy things.  One says:Beautiful wall cling 02

The one that gets the most attention is the one that talks about learning to dance in the rain. storms wall cling 02My daughter’s friend who is a boy (smile), has to face it each time, well almost each time, he visits our little powder room. Almost every time he comes out, he will declare with a big smile, “life isn’t about waiting for the storms to pass…” then he and my daughter will say in unison, “it’s about learning to dance in the rain!” We all laugh, then I roll my eyes and just smile.

Anyway, was sitting on my swing this morning and was thinking about life and the seasons I find myself. Thought about the seasons of the Midwest. Summer, Spring, Fall and Winter. I love the seasons of the Midwest. I love how they change and are different. I reflected on the positives and negatives in all of them…the Midwest seasons and then connected them to “My Life” seasons.

Who doesn’t love a bright sunshiny day? When I wake up and the sun is shining, I am like “yes, the sun is shining” which helps to put a smile on my face and helps my overall outlook. In the Midwest, the sunshine is necessary for so many things. One is growth. Growth is good.

When I wake up and there is some gloom in the air with sprinkles or showers, my mood seems to match the gloom and the smile is harder to find. Why is that? Sprinkles and showers are needed too…not just sunshine. Good things happen, in the Midwest, when sprinkles and showers come. The sprinkles and showers, are necessary for many things. One is growth. And, growth is good.

Have you every awakened in the middle of the night to thunder popping, lightening flashing, hail pounding storms? I have. These kinds of storms make things happen in my body…first my heart races, my breathing quickens, then I wake up, my eyes squint, my body tenses up, my fear-meter goes up and I then, I say to myself, “crap, is this storm going to make our electricity go off?” Then, once it’s storming for a while, I get ticked because I just want to go back to sleep but I am so focused on the storm that I can’t.

Storms. Some storms are short lived, yet others feel like they are eternal. What do you think? Do you think storms have purpose, in the Midwest (or wherever you live), like sunshine, sprinkles and showers? I pondered that this morning. At first, I thought, I’m not sure that I do. I feel like they are destructive, damaging and can leave a trail of mess behind. Therefore, I concluded that is not really purposeful in my book.

But wait…what if in the storm, there is growth? And since growth is good and necessary for abundance and fulfilled living, then why wouldn’t there be purpose in a storm? What if the growth that a storm produces isn’t like what is produced by the sunshine, sprinkles or showers? What if the necessary growth is only able to come about through a storm…whether short lived or raging? What if the storm has come (actually allowed by the hand of the Almighty God) for me…for me to grow…for me to learn to dance in it? That would be purpose. That would be good. That could be growth…which is necessary to get me where God needs me to be for HIS purposes for my life.

So many random thoughts and questions as I think about sunshine, showers, sprinkles and storms in relation to my life.

Why is it that in the beauty of the sunshine and the refreshment of the sprinkles I have a hopeful outlook? I feel like I can conquer the world, kick butt and take names haha, have peace and will live an abundant life doing more than I could ever think or imagine. But then, just like the seasons of the Midwest change, so the seasons of My Life do…the showers pop up, the storms begin and the gloom sets in. It’s here that I can quickly lose hope; my joy is sucked right out of me and I realize I don’t want “to play” anymore. I begin to doubt everything…I become like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed about. Unstable and insecure and heart racing…right where the enemy of my soul wants me to be and to stay. Hopelessness.

BUT GOD…but God…I find myself saying and reminding myself of these 2 power words in the storms and even in the showers. I find my hope (when I finally have a moment of clarity—smile) and a sense of motivation and inspiration in these 2 words…BUT GOD…

Ephesians 2:4-6: says: But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…

Then I am reminded of the many references to storms in the bible. My perspective is shifting as I write this. I think I believe My Life storms will always have purpose…when I look at it from God’s perspective. Storms can make me or break me…they will make me or break me. Storms can crush or drown me OR they can strengthen and grow me and my faith in the One who holds the world in his hands. And the HE who is stronger than he who is in this world that would like to destroy me.

So  what’s the point to this rambling? Guess I realize that whether I am experiencing sunshine, sprinkles, showers or storms, God is still God. He is really sovereign and I am powerless. He has plans and purposes for me and others and those won’t be hindered. He will be faithful to me, forgive me and forever love me. He will grow me, shape me and transform me…my job is to surrender and trust Him with my life. You know what, I may just want to thank Him while I’m waiting for the storm to pass…or maybe I might try to dance in it…truth is, I’m not ready to dance…BUT…I do trust Him and am OK knowing I will be dancing soon.

7
Jul

The Garden of My Heart

garden

Picture Courtesy Pixabay

God created the heaven’s and the earth and everything in them.  He created man in His own image. He saw everything He made and said, “it is very good!”

Darn Adam and Eve…why did they eat the apple?

Sin and brokenness entered the world. The world became less than what God intended, but he did give us free will/choice (because He wanted us to be able to choose Him). He created us in HIS image. The world has been jacked up since BUT let’s not lose heart.  We have HOPE because of the resurrection of Jesus. That same resurrection power is available to us…Yay God and thank you Jesus…anyway…

Fast forward to 1967…

That’s when God created me in my mother’s womb. He uniquely knit me together there in the comfort and safety of my momma’s belly. Protected and well taken care of. All by God’s special design. He created and shaped me, while having a plan and purpose in mind, for my life.

BAM…It was time to be born and out I popped, through the amazing process of childbirth. God smiled and I know He said “Ummm-hmmm, look at her! My cute, little, spunky redhead daughter. She is good! So very good!”

Life happened and my “shape” was drastically changed by my choices, behaviors and actions, as well as those of others. God’s special plan and purpose were not playing out how He intended. I was just like Eve and every other women of the human race.

Like you, my shape changed throughout the various chronological stages of life: childhood, teenage years, college life, young married, becoming a momma and then accepting Jesus.

However, from that accepting Jesus stage (back in 1996), I have been on a different journey. One of learning, growing and transforming; one of trying to “find” my God-designed purpose and created shape.

Yes, it’s been a journey…why did they have to eat that apple? Smile. The journey has been up and down because I (like you) am living in this imperfect, broken world as an imperfect, broken woman, a sinner saved by God’s amazing grace, trying to navigate and live more like Jesus. And, I (like you) am in relationships with people who are also broken and imperfect trying to navigate the best they can. Despite the ups and downs, there have been many blessings and thankful moments along the way. The shaping continues and what I love most is, that through the many seasons of my life, I have developed this sweet and real relationship with Jesus.

Reflecting back during a season of struggle, I was desperately praying, okay, I was begging God for clarity, discernment and wisdom. This jumped into my brain…

“Tammy, what are you trying to grow in your heart? Your heart is like a garden. What are you planting in your heart?”

Truth flooded me. I restated the question, “what am I trying to grow?” I jotted down: I am trying to grow love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. And, if I want to grow those things, am I planting the seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control?

The seeds I plant, water and tend-to will grow. What seeds am I planting?

I am praying. I am seeking God and God’s truth. I am filling my mind with the words of scripture. I am reading books that reinforce God’s way of living. I am serving where God leads me. I am being accountable to others. I am willing to change and grow. I am in community. I am trying to be self-aware. I desire to park my mind on things that are true, noble, honest, praiseworthy, etc..

So, what should someone see when they look at the harvest from my garden? Will the harvest produce?

IF I (we) plant seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…

THEN, the harvest will be abundant love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. To grow these things in the garden of my heart, I will need a humble spirit, a steadfast dependence on God, a hope that comes from relationship with Christ, to make wise decisions and good choices. To believe the best. Work toward reconciliation and restoration. Be a prayer warrior, teacher and friend. Handle conflict with grace and mercy. Speak truth in love. A willingness to acknowledge fault, hurt and give and receive forgiveness. Change and grow. Inner healing and transformation. Forgiveness. Be trustworthy and safe. Wise speaking…holding the tongue. Soft responses and rebukes. Supernatural wisdom and knowledge. An eternal perspective. A teachable spirit. Encouragement. Deep breath…What would you add?

This is what I desire the harvest to be from the garden of my heart.

We know that things end up in our gardens that we didn’t intentionally plant. Mainly, weeds!

What weeds might you encounter or see in my the garden of my heart?

Sin. Selfishness. Judgmental attitude. Critical Spirit. Anger. Transgressions. Pride. Self-Righteousness. Foul mouth. Harsh words. Sarcasm. Impatience. Negative thinking. Envy. Iniquity. Jealousy. Greed. Distrust. Unbelief. Strife. Disunity. Ugliness. What else would you add?

I believe God wants me to be a diligent gardener of my heart! If I am daily tending to my garden, I will recognize the plants and I will recognize the weeds. My job is to nurture and harvest the plants and rid my garden of the weeds…not just on the surface but to dig them out by the roots! Quickly.

And, think about this. Sometimes we have visitors to our garden. I believe they are able to quickly see a weed in my garden, that I may not have recognized, and point it out. I can deny it’s a weed or wisely be open to their find, and let them know it is that something I planted OR to say, “hmm, that’s a weed and I didn’t see!” And then work to get rid of it!

The sign that hangs above the Garden of My Heart says: Welcome to my garden! Together, we can have a great harvest! What does the sign above the Garden of Your Heart say?

22
Sep

[New Post] Dogs, Fear and My Styrofoam Shield or Was It A Sword?

swords_and_shields_4_by_doctor_g-d4ou2iw

This is my command, be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged.
For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9 NLT

A few weeks ago, my friend Diann and I went for an hour walk-n-talk in the country. Corn fields galore. The further we went, I had an “oh my gosh moment!” I had to go to the bathroom (can I just say pee?). I blurted out, “I have to pee.” OK. Alright. We looked around, she laughed and said something like “well, there is a cornfield. You good at squatting? Go a few rows back, no one will see you.”   I hesitated and said, “OK, hold my phone. I’m doing it.” So, I did.Me Peeing Corn

After exiting the corn field and resuming our walk, we were laughing and carrying on, when two huge, fierce, barking dogs at a house yards in front of us suddenly appeared. We stopped, debated, and decided to go another way. The other route lead us to another dog. Ugh…dogs everywhere! We were stuck at a crossroad, the clock was ticking, our husbands weren’t answering their phones and we discussed our views on hitchhiking…funny stuff. What seemed like an hour later, her hubby called back, picked us up and drove us past the house, not before slowing down to taunt and scold the dogs.  Once past, we jumped out to finish our walk-n-talk.

The other day, I set out on a bike ride. I chose a different route because it was windy and I wanted an easier ride. Confession, some days I like easy routes. My bike rides are my time with God and this day was no different. I asked God to “let me see what He wanted me to see and to help me not miss one thing.” Riding. Riding. Riding. Gulp. I realized I was coming up on the back side of that same road where those dogs live.

Do you ever have those moments when your mind thinks and processes more thoughts than humanly possible in a very short amount of time? Well, this was one of those time for me.

I quickly assessed how to get around it and realized it would take more time than I allotted…once again. Glad I peed before I took off. Then I was like I need a stick, a big stick to beat those dogs when they try to attack me. I went into begging mode, “God please give me a stick.” I am telling ya, I was frantically looking around for that big stick. Saying, don’t let me miss it! Nothin. No stick in sight and no quick path home. Well, I turned the corner and was on that road; and, yes, still looking for a stick. Dog house looming ¼ mile.

What did I spy with my little eye? Not a stick, but a piece of Styrofoam. Really God? A big piece of Styrofoam. I rode past it. My thoughts were again frantic. What to do? My peddling slowed substantially. I thought, “do I need that piece of Styrofoam to beat the dogs?”

IMG_5281I turned around and picked it up thankful it was big, and that it had a slit that miraculously fit over my handlebar. I could still steer and shift gears. I’m was like OK here is my big stick. Still peddling slowly, those quick thoughts came again…how would I beat those ferocious dogs with my new weapon? Or was it to be a shield? Either way, I realized I would inevitable be knocked off my bike and mauled by those 2 wild black beasts.

I started begging again, “God please let someone be home so that when I scream REALLY LOUD they will hear me and save me from those malicious dogs who are snarling and going to bite my leg off and that bite will give me rabies. I will have to get rabbi shots. I will get a major infection, end up with staph and in the hospital.” Whew…I’m telling ya all those thoughts in ¼ mile. The mind is a powerful thing.

Then, I had the most rational thought. The Styrofoam would act as my shield and protect me from the dogs’ deadly bites. It would scare them because it was big, white and flapping in the wind. And of course, I would be screaming because that’s what I do when a dog comes at me. This combination would be sure to ward off the attack.

Plan in place, I geared down or was it up…whatever, I was able to peddle fast but of course safe enough so I wouldn’t peddle myself right off my bike. Once past the cornfield (where I had peed with Diann), the house was in sight. I saw a neon green shirted man on a ladder working on the barn (no time for a pic here). Yes Sally, there is a God! I realized my shield or weapon AND my scream would suffice now. My scream would catch the man’s attention and the shield and weapon would protect me until the man could reign in his unruly dogs.

Deep breath. Peddling. The property line. My eyes darting every which way. My ears on high alert. My heart thumping. Hmm. No barking.  No beasts charging the road. No dogs. I was safe. I would not be mulled, infected or have to endure rabbi shots. I would not warm up my vocal cords or get to use my Styrofoam Shield or was it to be a weapon?

Smiling, I asked God, “What was that all about?”

Riding. Listening. Thoughts coming. Grabbing my iPhone, punching in my password, tapping iTalk, hitting “Record,” I started talking.

My 13 take-a-ways from my ride today:

  1. Barking dogs cause fear but get me focused.
  2. Obstacles pop up. It’s how I navigate them that matters.
  3. Faith triumphs fear. Do my part. Lean in to truth.
  4. Provision isn’t always what I think but its provision.
  5. Fear, courage and strength fight to co-exist in my circumstances.
  6. See things from different perspectives.
  7. Sometimes the only way out is through.
  8. Laugh, have fun and always be on the lookout.
  9. God goes with me wherever I am. I just have to join Him.
  10. The significance of the Armor of God.
  11. In every experience there is something to learn! Pause. Ponder. Learn.
  12. Share it.
  13. Swords and shields come in all shapes and sizes for a reason.

Some Questions to think about: 

What is your “barking dog?”  How is it helping you to focus? Or how is it distracting you? What fears stand in the way of your destination?  How will you navigate the journey?  What would a Styrofoam shield or sword do for you?

Share your comments and thoughts.  As always, I would love to hear from you!

Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.”  Dorothy Thompson

Visit me at www.infusecoaching.com

Follow me on Twitter @tdkresler

21
Jan

[New Post] The Power of Joy and Sorrow

Joy.  Sorrow.  Happiness.  Sadness.  Image

I have no doubt if I asked, “Would you rather experience growth through happiness or sadness?” 99% of you would say, without hesitation, “Happiness of course!”

Be assured I would say the same thing.

What if I changed the question and asked, “When do you experience the greatest growth, during happy or sad times?”  Not sure what the percentage would be but bet we are the same here too.  I have consistently experienced the greatest growth during times of great sorrow or sadness.

The times when all is well and I am “happy,” I tend to move through my days with ease.  I do what I need to do, some of what I don’t need or want to do and really enjoy doing, being and playing.  Living life…probably pretty selfishly.

During times when things are jacked up, messed up and chaotic; when things are treacherous and scary;  when people, things, or events wreak havoc on my life; when I find myself wallowing in a pit of despair and darkness; when I can’t get away from my thinking and the internal monologue keeps rolling; when true sorrow saps my energy and when sadness swallows my hope…I tend to want to hide, to run away and maybe even pretend that all is just fine and go back to old ways of thinking, being and doing.

But, I won’t.  I can’t.  I have come too far.  I know through sadness or sorrow (whichever you want to call it) there is an opportunity.  I can allow the circumstances to change me, grow me and teach me.  I can remind myself that the sadness will be momentary and that I will come out on the other side and experience the happiness I want most…just like times in my past.  The circumstance or thing may be different, but God is still the same.  He wants me to be better not bitter.  He wants me to fight through it…again!

I realize that during these times of sorrow and sadness, I slow down.  And honestly, it’s not a choice I make, “it” makes the choice for me…whatever “it” is.  All of the sudden, nothing else matters.  It becomes my focus.  It makes me move intentionally.  It makes me speak cautiously.  It makes me reflect internally.  It makes me want happiness.  It compels me to search.  It drives me to dig deep.  It creates a fire in my soul to fight for what I know is to be, should be or could be!

When I meet sorrow, I am immediately aware of me and my inability to understand so much.  Sorrow cuts to the depths of my soul. Experiencing deep sadness is part of my life. I’m sure yours too.  It’s a process that I want to avoid at all costs, but am learning that will never be possible.  You see, Christ suffered and since I am created in His image, I will suffer and so will you.

Today, I am not in the hopeless pit of despair.  I am coming out of it.  My hope has been revived and my soul has been renewed.  I believe that the sorrow and sadness I experience are times when God refines me…molds me to be more like He needs me to be.  I sure wish he would pick the “happiness path” to refine me, it’s definitely more fun and enjoyable!  But, I know that is not the plan for the transformation He hopes see.

So, I will choose to thank Him for the really hard days.  The days that caused me to be sad, hopeless, desperate and empty.  The days I had dig deep, be real and take risk.   What I know is those days, stretched, pushed and changed me.  This recent trek, with God and others, has helped me get to a joy-filled place today.  I see beauty, grace, love, forgiveness and faithfulness.  I see growth!  I see that sorrow doesn’t have to forever derail me.  I see that sorrow and sadness can supernaturally propel me.  Today, I will see and embrace the joy!

Questions:  What’s your story on joy and sorrow? How have you seen it derail you? What’s standing in the way of taking steps to allowing it to propel you?  

Share your comments and thoughts.  As always, I would love to hear from you!

“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.  author unknown

3
Sep

[New Post] The Power of Community & My 5 Take-Aways

Confession:   I am a morning person and do enjoy morning exercise time…please don’t be a hater haha!

On this August morning, it was cool, a little balmy and the sun was just popping over the trees.  Comfortable and beautiful.  Heading outside for my walk-jog mixer, I tapped my Pandora icon on my phone, waited for the music to start and shoved my phone in my sports bra.  (I know, I could buy one of those arm band thingys, but this works for me haha).  Anyway, after a few stretches, arm circles and neck twirls, I took off.  Quickly, found myself huffing and puffing and not really focused on the random contemporary Christian music coming from my chest.

Almost half way done, something happened. An old song came on and it immediately caught my attention.  My focus shifted.  The words. My thoughts, scrambling to remember the title.  The song connected with memories of a specific time in my life.   Has this ever happened to you?  It’s crazy!

The memories continued and then, the faces…oh my goosh, the faces of the people, vivid in my mind, those beautiful friends; then the places where we connected, in color.  This was a crucial time in my life.  I was a REAL mess.  This community became a physical lifeline.  They were real, loving, compassionate and a plethora of other adjectives.  This was a powerful community of people!Group2

Oh goosh! Focus had shifted back to my huffing and puffing, as I was obviously running too fast.  I knew I was to remember this song.  Stop.  I grabbed my sweat drenched phone from my sports bra (sick, I know), quickly pulled up a blank text message bubble and voice spoke the chorus words.  I would Google it when I got home.

The rest of the run, I thought about them…that Christian community…friends, seekers, believers, family-like people, supporters, fellow sinners saved by grace, not perfect but real, authentic, honest and loving.  Messed up just like me.  I felt like I belonged in this community.  I was one of them.  The next 10 years, I think, they taught & trained me up, sharpened & believed in me, spoke truth to me, and modeled real life for me.  They invested, supported and discipled.  They taught me how to serve, lead and love Jesus.  Pretty darn amazing group of people.  A powerful community!

Then I remembered this; they were the ones who were beside me, as I stepped forward to that alter of grace, (in that little country church in Selma), as I accepted Jesus as my Savior…at the young ole’ age of 27.  I saw their faces.  I could almost feel their touch. I remember their tears and their joyful smiles. Wow, the power of that community of real people!

The memories continued of many communities that had impacted my life.  Personal, professional, school, church & ministry.  Interestingly, the impact was healthy and positive OR unhealthy and negative.  Nonetheless, many of the powerful community experiences have been etched in my mind, heart and soul, and am forever grateful!DSC_0161

5 Take-Aways from my powerful community experiences:

  1. When I encountered real, authentic people, I was welcomed, loved and accepted. And, that continues to be a common theme today.
  2. Through these relationships, I was challenged, taught and sharpened; experienced frustration, struggles and hurt, but was motivated, loved and encouraged to persevere.  Again, consistent.
  3. I experienced change, growth and transformation, in the presence of loving relationships, with those who desired similar outcomes; and was loved unconditionally.  Unequivocally true now!
  4. Then and now, being actively engaged in these types of relationships and communities is necessary because they have invaluable purpose.
  5. Powerful communities will leave a mark and a memory.  Some will be worth re-visiting and some will be worth replicating!

PAUSE.     REFLECT.     ANSWER.

  • Define community.
  • Think about a community that was healthy and one that wasn’t.  What stands out?
  • What does your ideal community look like?
  • Reflect on powerful communities.  List any common denominators.
  • What is your greatest community need, at this point in your life?  Where will you find it?

Almost forgot, the profound song was “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever.”  Seems pretty irrelevant now, but didn’t want to leave you hangin! Smile.

I would be remiss if I didn’t say…THANK YOU…my SUMC family and community!  You served me well, taught me much and loved like Jesus.  You left a mark and a precious memory deep in my soul.  I am forever grateful to you!

Please share your thoughts, comments & take-aways!  Love, love hearing from you!

22
Jul

[New Post] The Power of Stories

Who doesn’t love a good story?

Storybooks have been around for generations.  Every one of us had a favorite childhood storybook. The pictures were vivid, the story was memorable and we would read it again and again and again.

Stories Blog pic DSC_0177What was your favorite storybook?  Mine was Curious George.  I loved Curious George.  I even had a stuffed Curious George that I took to college.  Yes, I know, I will address that in another post! haha

Stories captivate the attention of young and old alike.

Stories engage minds.  Stories connect hearts.  Stories transform lives.

Stories generate hope.  Stories inspire us.  Stories are powerful!

Jesus was the master storyteller. The stories he told did all those things and were so powerful.

Do you realize you have a story to share…it’s your life story?  The good, the bad and the ugly.  It’s yours.

Do you realize sharing your story could change the trajectory of someone else’s life?

I once heard, “Everyone has a story that someone needs to hear.”   I have been on both sides.  Powerful.

What’s your story?  Write it down.  Pray.  Be willing to share it…again and again and again.

Questions:  Have you shared your story?  What was the outcome?  If you haven’t, what’s standing in your way?   Share your comments and thoughts.  I would love to hear from you!

11
Jul

[New Post] Top 5 Reasons to Keep Fighting

Sometimes life is steady and smooth.  Sometimes life gets hard when obstacles come our way.  Sometimes life takes a drastic turn that flips our world upside down.  We long for steady and smooth.

Truth is, life is full of ebbs and flows, flips and twists.  Our job is to fight and persevere to reach the next plateau.  No matter where you find yourself today, keep fighting!tug-of-war2

Remember, life is to be lived and enjoyed.  Life is to be fulfilling and fun.  Life is for a purpose.  Fight through the ebbs and flows, the ups and downs, the twists and turns. It will be worth it.

As I think about my life, I realize I want my life experiences to catapult me forward.

Here are my top 5 reasons to keep fighting and persevere.

1.  Keep fighting because through it you will be stronger.

2.  Keep fighting because you will learn a lot about yourself and others.

3.  Keep fighting because growth is inevitable.

4.  Keep fighting because your perseverance will motivate and encourage others.

5.  Keep fighting because you will be refined and changed for the better.

James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Questions:  How do you respond to obstacles that come your way?  What are the reasons that keep you fighting for a desired outcome?  Share your comments.  I would love to hear.

18
Jun

“When you were …

“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life in such a manner that when you die the world cries and you rejoice.”

Reading the book, “20,000 Days and Counting” by Robert D. Smith.  WOW!  It is challenging me and my thinking.  The above quote is Native Proverb that he used and it really resonated with me…