Friday, February 29, 2008
If you are visiting here today, indulge me and visit www.BeautifulP31.blogspot.com today. It's one of my other blogs and it is devoted to the one major stronghold and struggle of my life....weightloss and body image. If you've ever had this struggle or have any advice or encouragement, I'd really appreciate your input. We need each other to remind us that we are indeed beautiful. Too often the world makes us feel like we need to be a certain shape or size to be beautiful. It really differs from person to person....how you feel your best may be totally different from how I feel my best...and that's okay as long as we are honoring God with our lives. So, click on the link and visit me at my "I Am Beautiful" blog.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
3.See the smiling faces I get to be with every day? This is Barb and Holly.
7. Sweet Teri and Samantha (taking the picture) help me get back to my car. The cooler is not holding beer silly...it's holding ice which was pumped to my foot to keep it cool and icy during the day.
Thankful for my family. Thankful for my friends. Thankful for my surgeon. Thankful for my job and the incredible staff I work with. Thankful for my health. And thankful for all my bloggy friends who have been praying for me and checking up on me.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
I will be answering your questions dealing with Fear, Transparency, and Balance. I'll also tell you about my 1st She Speaks Conference and how attending this conference changed my life.
Questions are in black, answers are in red.
I have just begun teaching and speaking to women(something I never would have imagined I would do) and I really feel a passion for it. However, I am soooo lacking in confidence and skills. Am I ready for this type of conference, should I get more (local) training first? How do you get over the thought "no one really cares what I have to say"? How do you deal with rejection?
Great questions! I can relate to every fear you listed. I think most speakers and writers can. I am going to break your questions up so I can answer them all:
1. Lacking in Confidence and Skills....That's okay:) If you were super confident and highly skilled then you may not realize how much you need the Lord. Based on your confidence and skills you may not be ready, but God will equip those He calls. Have no doubt about it, if God has called you into speaking, He will equip and qualify you for each and every step. If this is your passion, do not let fear be what stops you. The enemy will use those fears to try and convince you that you are not good enough. That's not true. Pray daily and arm yourself for protection. Once you get started, your confidence will build and you will learn as you go along changes and improvements you may need to make. Just don't compare yourself to ANYONE else. Be yourself, don't try to be someone you are not. God made you. He called you. Allow Him to use you and trust Him. You probably are not as "lacking" as you think anyway. I still get nervous. I still question if I'm good enough. That's when I need to seek God the most and tune out everything else. As long as I keep it about Him and not me, then there is no way that I can fail.
2. How do you get over the thought "no one really cares what I have to say"?
When you figure this one out, would you let me know! Seriously, I still ask myself this because I just can't believe that something that I could say could be so interesting or important. But wait...it is. It is because I'm not just up there talking. I'm sharing life. I'm sharing the Lord. He has given me my message and He has been with me on my journey of life. It is His Word that I want my audiences to believe. I always tell them, "Don't take my word for it. Find out for yourself." If your passion and reason for speaking is because of what God has placed on your heart, then don't you worry one bit if anyone cares what you have to say. He cares. And almost always when I speak there is at least one woman who comes up to me and says, "this message was for me". I praise God right then and there. Even if everyone else was falling asleep, that's okay. God used it for His purpose for that person. Everytime before I speak I pray and ask God to determine every word that comes out of mouth. I pray that my audience would see and hear Him, not me.
3. How do you deal with rejection?
I pray and ask God what He thinks of me. Then I call my best girlfriend and cry and she sets me straight! Rejection and criticsm unfortunately come with the territory. It's just the way it is. Honestly some rejection and criticsm hurts more than others. It never feels good, but I've learned to keep it in perspective and try to learn from it. I keep reminding myself that my identity is in Christ. Most of the time when a church is considering me for an event, they are also considering others. From the moment I find out that I am being considered, I give it to God. I trust if He wants me there and if it is in His plan then He will work it out. I would never want to mess up God's plan, so if I'm not selected, then that's a good thing. On the other hand, if it's been months and months that I have not been invited to speak even though I've been sending out my bio and CD, then I have to ask myself some questions to determine if there are some changes I could make to be a more effective speaker and communicator. She Speaks addresses a lot of this.
4. Am I ready for this type of conference, should I get more (local) training first?
Yes, you are ready for this type of conference. You do not need any skills or "local training" to come to She Speaks. You need the desire to please God with your life. That's it. She Speaks is educational, professional, fun, encouraging, and God's Hand is all over it. Some have even said it was like a revival, a renewal of the heart. You are equipped with the tools needed to get started, but you are also given encouragement and feedback. We've all been there and so we have a heart for our attendees. Whether you want to be a better leader, teacher, speaker, writer, or just build your confidence to share your story, She Speaks is for you, no matter how much experience or training you've had.
1. How do you open your heart? I have so much baggage do people really want to hear my story? Can they really learn from it? If I thought one person could I would shout it from the roof top!!! or would I? I think my past could help alot of young people! No! I know my past could help alot of young people but where do I get started!
You better climb on that roof top and start shouting! Many people can learn from your story! If God took you through it then He can use it. How much you share is really up to you. I have found that for me, sharing my baggage has been a blessing to me and to others. I just make sure that my story is not about all the baggage, but what God did with and through the baggage, how I was transformed by Him. I share those parts of my life because I have hopes of showing that if God could use me, He could use anyone. I want them to find the freedom in their lives that I have found. People don't need all of the details to get the impact of the story and I don't share every detail. I try to use discretion in how much I share depending on the audience and the purpose of the event. I devote a lot of prayer in determining what I share and when.
I have found that my transparency is one thing my audiences really like about me. They are glad that the speaker isn't perfect. They don't want to hear from someone who appears perfect and has it all together. I not only share my baggage from the past, but I share the tough stuff in life right now if it is appropriate and could help someone. The most important gift you can give your audience is to be yourself. That's who God made you. Allow Him to shine through you...not you trying to be all put together. Open up your heart. Something I found helpful was to write out my entire testimony. It helped to see it in writing. As I experience more and add to it, I write some more. When I read over it I can easily decide what I want to leave out, if I've shared too many details, and how long it's going to take me. I hope this helps you a little bit.
I'm just going to jump right in on this topic. Isn't it every woman's stuggle? I am married and have 4 children ages 6-14. Our household is very busy. We have many appointments and after school activities weekly. I do not have a housekeeper, but if I could afford one, I would! Last October I went to work in the Proverbs 31 office as an Administrative Assistant. I work 5 days a week. Up until then I basically had been a stay at home mom for 12 years. It was hard to find balance when I was a stay at home mom and it's hard to find balance now that I work. Speaking began slowly for me. I taught classes and led Bible studies at church for years. When God called me to begin speaking, the first thing I did was talk to my husband about it. He was very supportive. I don't know how I'd do it if my family wasn't a part of it. It's not "my" ministry, it's "our" ministry. I couldn't do what I do without them. We have to work together so I can have time to plan and prepare for a message or an event. We have to work together so I can travel and be away without the family falling apart. Their support is key to keep a balance.
I also had to let a lot of other things go. I used to feel guilty for this, but I'm over it now. This is just me. I'm not saying everyone has to quit what I quit, but in order for me to keep my priorities straight and for balance to occur I had to make some changes. Some of them were very hard for me to make. I do not volunteer for PTA or committies at my kid's schools. I attend school functions, go to their parties, eat lunch with them occasionally, and attend all of their activities and events, but I don't volunteer anymore. I do not volunteer at the same level I used to at church anymore. It no longer works for me to lead Bible studies and teach classes. I'm very selective about the activities I choose to do. I don't volunteer to be Team Mom, Classroom Mom, or anything else that I would have to be in charge of. I don't volunteer to do class projects or help the teacher. I'll meet the teacher for coffee or visit her at school, but I just can't do all those other things. Oh, I felt so guilty about that. The PTA President has been asking me for years why I don't serve on a committee. I try to answer honestly. Some people just don't get it. They may think I'm not doing my part, but I know I am. God knows I am. My family knows I am. For me speaking and writing is my thing now. It is my way of serving God using His purpose for my life. If I thought for one second that my not doing any of things was hurtful in any way to my relationship with the Lord or hurt my family, I would do different, but I had to let these things go. Hear this: I'm not saying that you have to quit it all to be a speaker/writer. I can't handle a lot going on at one time. I get anxious. Chaos sends me over the edge when it is occurring daily. This is what has worked for me. You have the find the balance that works for you and your family:)
I cannot say enough good things about this conference. The women's ministry director at my church sent me to my first She Speaks Conference six years ago. I was blown away by the friendliness of the speakers and staff. I expected to gain insight and tools needed to improve as a leader, but what I didn't expect was all that God gave me that weekend. I thought I wanted to be a speaker, but I wasn't really sure. I was very insecure and like many of you thought, "why would anyone want to come and hear me speak?" I compared myself to Beth Moore and Lysa TerKeurst and that scared me because I knew I'd NEVER be that good. And I probably never will, but who cares? God didn't need another Beth or Lysa. He needed me. And He confirmed my calling to speak at the conference. She Speaks helped me to gain the confidence I needed not to believe in myself but to rely on God.
A year later I joined the Speaker Team at Proverbs. A short time after that, I began writing devotions. The Lord has used me and taken me places I never would have dreamed of. The one event I look forward to more than any other every year is She Speaks. When I see someone on the fence about going, I just want to say, "You have to go! It's awesome! It's amazing!" But really nothing I say can express how great it really is. You just have to experience for yourself. The conference is 100% about God and what He can do through you. It's just icing on the cake that you happen to walk away with some valuable information.
As if this is not enough, you also make many good new friends.
So, if you are one who is on the fence...pray about it first of course and if God gives you the go ahead...JUST DO IT! GO TO SHE SPEAKS!
I really hope that this information has been helpful to you. If you have any more questions about what I've written, let me know. Thank you for visiting my blog and please come back again soon!
Blessings to you as you seek God's will in ministry. I look forward to meeting many of you face to face at She Speaks!
I felt the Lord prompting me to start writing again in January, 2008. That's when I set up this blog, my "I Am Beautiful" blog (www.BeautifulP31.blogspot.com) and our family blog. I used these 3 as healthy outlets to begin sharing the different life changing lessons God had been showing me throughout 2007. I also used these blogs to reach out to others. 2007 was an extrememly difficult year. I pray God will use the hard times to help someone else. So I am sharing. A few have mentioned that there is no need for me to share the "dark places" in my life. I know better. God's Word says in Isaiah 45:3, "I will bring treasures in the darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name." Yes, that's right. There are treasures even in the darkest of places. Last year it was my marriage. It was in a deep pit. But my husband and I got through it, went to counseling, recommitted to each other, and now we are stronger than ever. Our marriage did not go back to how it used to be, it bumped up a level. Not only are Jeff and I rock solid today, but we want to help others and encourage people who feel hopeless. We know that with God, hopelessness does not exist. If we weren't willing to share the dark places of our lives, then God really can't bring purpose and treasures out of them. God call us by name. And I can hear Him calling me to #1 a radical commitment to Him, #2 a radical commitment to my husband and family, and #3 to write, speak, and share the work that He has done throughout my life....even in the darkest of times. He is calling me to write again. I started with blogging and now I'm ready to writed devotions again.
Yesterday I wrote and submitted two devotions to Proverbs 31. I think before the weekend is up, I may write two more. It's as if God is oozing out of my pores and I have to write about it. I can't just sit here anymore. I hear Him saying, "The wait is over. No longer do I want you to sit still. Do what I have called you to do."
******About my recovery. The past 3 days have been tough. I'm sick of sitting still in the same position. My body hurts. I'm having weird dreams. I'm still in a lot of pain. I want to go outside! I don't want to complain though. This surgery was a good thing and this is a very minor thing to go through considering the rewards will be great. I've been living with the pain of this bunion for a few years now. It's really selfish of me to complain when I have so many blessings, but I am down in the dumps. My friend Amy Woods brought me a great meal on Thursday and visited with me for a little while. I so enjoyed that. My friends and family have taken really good care of me and they have gone out of their way to care for me, Jeff, and the kids. I don't have any pictures to post today because I haven't taken any in the past few days.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Today I am still keeping my foot elevated. No real change from yesterday. Still hurts. Still hangin' out on the couch. I have a new caregiver today however. My mom is here. I'm thrilled to be able to spend so much time with her. She doesn't live that far away, but we rarely get to spend time together...especially this much time. She is staying here for 2 days. I may be 41 years old, but having my mommy here to take care of me takes me back. It's like I'm a little girl again. There is nothing quite like a mother's touch. I've already mentioned in a previous blog what a big baby I am, so having my mom here is just what I need! I'm her baby after all. The kids were so excited to have their Mamaw spend the night. She had the honor this afternoon of helping Hayley Grace with her homework. Aren't they so cute (in the picture)? I love my mama!
My good friend Angie stopped by this morning. She brought Lunchables. Yes, you know, Lunchables. She knew that many people brought us meals so she brought lunch for the kids. My kids do not buy school lunch, so this is a huge help! And they are going to be so excited when they find out that they get Lunchables for the next 2 days. She also stayed for a little while so we could visit. It lifted my spirits way up. I'm social and I miss being around people. Bless your sweet heart Angie! I needed some girlfriend time.
Girlfriends. I need them and I love them. My work girlfriends have called me 3 times today. Just to talk and be sweet. They knew I was sad, so they called. They heard I was in pain, so they prayed. They were having fun opening the mail at the office, so they called to share the fun. Oh I miss them!!!!!
As I reflect on Day 3, once again, I am reminded of my blessings. God's goodness has been so evident and clear. The physical pain is dull in comparison to the great blessings I have in my friends and family. Love really is the greatest gift of all. I pray that a day never passes that I don't realize just that.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Family and friends. When times are tough and I'm down and out, they are the ones who remind me that I'm valued and actually worth something...I forget that sometimes. As I lie here on my den couch and write, I realize that although the pain is great, my God is greater. And His gifts come in many different packages. Day 2 of my recovery is a gift.
Monday, February 18, 2008
1. Lab work. Needle in the arm.
I'll be out of it for a few days from what "they" tell me. Take care. I'll post my progress and some pictures in a few days.
Friday, February 15, 2008
I'm feeling pretty good after Climbing Mt. Laundry...except now it's ready to be loaded with dirty clothes again and start all over. I get to the top of Mt. Laundry, but I never stay there for very long! It's a mountain I'm getting pretty used to climbing regularly! And I don't like it.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Dylan's head has a scar on it. It is from a surgery he had as a baby. He usually doesn't think much about it because he can't see it. Yesterday someone reminded him that he wasn't perfect...that he had a visible flaw...that he was different. Words could not console my sweet child. Neither could hugs from his mom. Or homebaked cookies. All Dylan could hear were the lies in his head:
I'm not like everyone else.
What do people think about me? They probably think I look funny.
They don't like me. I'm ugly.
I don't fit in. I'm sad about how I look.
I don't like how I look. I wish I didn't have this stupid scar. What good am I?
Oh how I hate how words can sting even when they aren't really intended to hurt us. It's so easy to let the lying voice inside our head convince us that we are less or inferior. It broke my heart to hear Dylan cry and see his tears. He was broken and so was I. I would give just about anything to make him feel better.
Fortunately it was "Skate Night" last night. I told Dylan to call 2 of his best buds and we'd go skate the sadness away. And that's just what he did. I received loads of joy watching my sweet sensitive son skate, laugh, and play with his friends. His class even won a pizza party for having the most kids there!
As I was tucking Dylan in bed last night, we talked about the power of words. Then we talked about the Power of The Word...The Word of God. His Word says that in all things He works for the good of those who love Him(Romans 8:28)...and Dylan does very much. The biggest blessing in Dylan's life is his faith. He believes in the power of God and he believes God. In fact he's had such an impact on others because of his faith that his story is featured in Sharon Jaynes' book Your Scars Are Beautiful to God and he's only ten. That's what I tried to get through to him. What really matters is that he is terrific (from head to toe), in the eyes of the Lord. He is beautifully made (Psalm 139:14). To which he replied, "I know I am Mom, but it still hurts."
I hear ya Dylan...and I completely understand. It hurts me too.
Claiming Romans 8:28,
Monday, February 11, 2008
Congratulations to Robbie Ross and Darci Salisbury!!!!!
You are the winners of my first blog give away!
Robbie suggested that I give Jeff a Wii. Well, our kids got one for Christmas, but his suggestion made me think of something to go with the Wii. So, I got him "Guitar Hero" for Wii. Jeff plays guitar, although he actually hasn't played in a while. OMGsh! He had a blast playing with it all day! (So did I!) I gave it to him after he feasted on breakfast in bed...served by me and the kids.
Sunday night, Jeff took me to dinner. I had the most fabulous steak I have ever had in my entire life...no kidding! We had such a great time together. When we got home, we retreated to our room. That's when he gave me some DKNY Be Delicious (my fave perfume...drives him wild too) and I gave him Darci's suggestion (also shown below). Her gift idea, with a little help from her man, were certificates for certain things I could do to love him in his #1 love language. I gave him 3 and I'm choosing to keep those private. (I can't tell everything!) I also printed the first paragraph from the blog I wrote last week about him and framed it, surrounded by pictures of us. I then planted 18 kisses on it (one for each year) and signed
it. He loved it. You can kind get an idea of what is turned out like here.
Jeff was amazed at the suggestions and creativity of all who posted. Thank you guys SO MUCH! It really was a very special anniversary. Maybe even our best. Thanks for encouraging me to be creative. There are still lots of ideas left over for Valentine's Day and upcoming special occasions in the future.
Robbie and Darci each won a signed copy of Melanie Chitwood's book, What a Man Needs from His Wife. I'm sure Robbie will gladly pass it on to his beautiful bride, Ginny....especially since he'll benefit from her reading it:) Thank you both for such thoughtful, creative, and loving ideas to make my man feel special. Because that's exactly what he is!
If you didn't win this time, check back soon. I'll be doing another give away before February is over. And if you haven't already, go check out my other blog, http://www.beautifulp31.blogspot.com/. There will be some fun give aways coming up over there too.
Blessings! And thanks again!
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Yes, this wonderful man is my husband, Jeff. Sunday, February 10th is our 18th wedding anniversary. We are going out to celebrate. He's taking me to Sullivans (I love steak:) for dinner and live music (I love that too!). Then we'll come home, tell the kids to leave us alone or else, and have a little more fun;) (oh, don't act all shocked....you know you do it too!) There's only one problem....I haven't gotten him a gift yet and I don't know what to get him!!!! Help me!
This anniversary is very special to me. You see, last year was one of the toughest our marriage has had. We never fell out of love, but it was definitely tested. Our communication was at an all time low. We had extreme financial hardships. We were both in a pit and for the first time, it seemed our marriage was in trouble. In fact I just checked out and ignored my husband. It was one of the darkest times in my life ever. Thank the good Lord above He made this marriage to last. Jeff and I entered marriage counseling in the Summer of 2007. It's the best thing we have done for our marriage and ourselves. We reconnected, prayed for restoration, and we redefined our relationship. Neither of us ever wanted a divorce. We just couldn't figure out what had happened to the "us" we once knew. We were not going to give up. We worked hard and it was worth it.
Well, "we" are back and are stronger and more in love than ever! I am so appreciative of my sweet hubby and I want to show him that. That's why his gift is so important to me. He is so important to me. I love him so much.
Any and all suggestions for what to give to my Mr. Incredible would be so appreciated! In fact, if I select a gift that you suggest by posting to this blog, I'll send you a signed copy of my friend, Melanie Chitwood's book, What A Husband Needs From His Wife. It is a must have for every wife! Thanks friends! Hurry, this offer will expire on Saturday, February 9th!
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Monday, February 4, 2008
Friday, February 1, 2008
"I'll start my diet....tomorrow."
"I'll start my quiet time....tomorrow."
"I'll clean my house....tomorrow."
"I'll read to my daughter....tomorrow."
"I'll write a devotion....tomorrow." (so guilty here!)
"I'll call my friend....tomorrow."
"I'll go have lunch with my son....tomorrow."
"I'll take brownies to my neighbor....tomorrow."
"I'll spend some quality time with my husband....tomorrow"
"I'll __________________ tomorrow." (you fill in the blank)
A few years ago, we planned a trip to Walt Disney World. At the time Hayley Grace was 3 years old. I made the mistake of telling her when we booked the trip, which was months before we actually went. Each day she would ask, "Are we going to Disney World today?" I would say, "No Hayley Grace, we aren't going for 3 more months." Then "2 more months"...."1 more month"...."3 weeks, 2 weeks, 1 week". The night before we were leaving
I was tucking my sweet daughter in bed and I told her the news she had been waiting for. "Hayley Grace, we are going to Disney World....TOMORROW!" "Yeah, I get to meet Mickey Mouse and Cinderella!" She was so excited. The next morning she came running into my room before I was out of bed. The first words out of her mouth were, "Mommy, is today tomorrow?" And I proudly replied, "Yes! Today is tomorrow."
Let's make "today" our "tomorrow". Instead of waiting and wasting precious time, I want to look at what I've been putting off until tomorrow and put it in action today.
Is there anything you've been putting off that you know you really need to do or want to do? Are you waiting until you "feel" like doing it? I've learned that day may never come. Take a look at your current "to do" list and make it a "to day" list. Not only will you have a sense of accomplishment, but you'll also be making a difference today. And you will feel so good. It's a great way to not only reduce stress but also to love yourself.
Blessings! Today is Tomorrow,
*****For more on Loving Yourself, check out the I Am Beautiful blog at http://www.beautifulp31.blogspot.com/, February 1, 2008 post.