that serial entrepreneur

Today’s 5-Minute Devotional: “Spread too Thin – The Disappearing Act” (Ellen Miller)

I knew I was spread too thin far before I almost had a meltdown in the car. I had been fantasizing for months (maybe even years) about going on a sabbatical because I knew in my heart that I was burned out. And from that experience, I learned that what I need is to spend time “cocooning.”

What is “cocooning” you might ask…

Cocooning allows you to spend time work on your three “R’s”: resting, renewal, and rededication. My first challenge was relearning to rest!

Resting. I’m not very good at this. I’ll just put it out there from the jump! Even when I get one hour at home, alone, I start busying myself in the name of productivity. Am I bored? I highly doubt that. Or could I be fearful of time alone in my own thoughts? Hmmmm….

Quiet time is a requirement for renewing one’s mind, body, and soul. And I realized that I need to plan my rest just as I plan anything else that is important to me.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • When was the last time I had eight continuous hours of sleep?
  • Am I burned out due to lack of rest?

I learned that the lack of sleep is less about available sleeping hours and more about our willingness to make sleep more of a priority.

My Reflections:

Once rested, it’s amazing how my rewired mind can process information much more clearly. And it’s not just sleep that refreshes me; rest does too! All the while, when I’m cocooning, I also had to learn to rest from:

  • People – my social life
  • Problem-solving – The focus must be listening to God’s will for me, not trying to solve everyone else’s problems.
  • Spending – Shopping sprees are not part of the cocooning process! (Don’t look so disappointed!)

So meditate on this:

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalms 91:1

Things to consider:

  • Are you spread too thin? If so, why?
  • Before disappearing for good, you should consider a few days of cocooning.
  • If you have kids, consider hiding in the closet for 15 minutes while the kids are bouncing around the house (of course, be sure they are secure before you disappear, and don’t go too far). A break is a break!

*Inspired by “The One Year Book of Inspiration for Girlfriends” by Ellen Miller.

Today’s 5-Minute Devotional: “Spread too Thin – Positive Thoughts” (Ellen Miller)

Oftentimes – especially lately – I’ve found myself spread too thin. And it’s not only because of my to-do lists, demands from my family, and my academic workload, but it’s also because of sheer brain overload caused by the negative voices in my own head.

We don’t have to be schizophrenic to know that we deal with a barrage of negative voices and thought that sometimes spread us too thin. Things we literally make up, conclusions we jump to, and the “showdowns” we have to set the record straight! For me, it’s also been the articulate positioning, perfect timing, and well-thought-out rebuttal that I prepared in my mind for the person who wronged me. And let’s not forget the venting that happens over and over and over again, sometimes only in my own head.

I’ve found that spending time dwelling on hurts, mishaps, and wrongs is a waste of time! I thought about how many hours a week I may have squandered thinking about how I’ve been wronged and how I should defend myself. What if I had taken that same amount of time to do something useful like read my Bible, read a book, call someone to share a good laugh together, listen to music, or – best of all – PRAY?! Imagine the positivity I could have generated to stop my negative thoughts…..

My Reflections:

When I fixate on hurtful things that people have done/said (or hasn’t done/said), my spirit becomes drained. My loveliness, enthusiasm, and spunk are nowhere to be found. Even more, I realized that this lack of positive energy only hurts those who haven’t wronged me at all. How unfair is that?

So meditate on this:

The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.
Proverbs 17:14

All the while, when I get fixated on positive observations instead of those negative thoughts, I feel joyful; I’m at peace; I can only imagine that I’m a lot more fun and engaging to be around. So, to purposefully transform my thoughts, I have to first recognize that I’m in a negative state of mind; I have to acknowledge the fact and own in. And then I can take a few minutes to count just a few of my blessings to move out of my pity party. After all, God has been beyond good to me; I don’t deserve His goodness. And no, it’s not always easy. And it typically requires me to be conscious of my thoughts and diligent in my actions, but the effort is worth it!

Things to consider:

  • It’s time to make a conscious choice of whether you will think positively or negatively and to accept accountability for that choice.
  • Put a stop to those “showdown” thoughts of defending yourself and replace them with time with the Lord, meditation, a good book, a power walk, your favorite song, or even a good laugh.
  • Don’t waste another minute listening to those negative voices! After all, you’re spread too thin already.

*Inspired by “The One Year Book of Inspiration for Girlfriends” by Ellen Miller.

The Truth Behind Affirmations

If you believe the phrase ‘you are what you think,’ then life truly stems from your thoughts.  But we can’t rely solely on thoughts.  We must translate thoughts into words, and eventually into actions in order to manifest our intentions.  This means that we have to be very careful with our words; choosing to speak only those words that work towards our benefit and cultivate the good in and around us.

This is where “affirmations” come in!


af·firm·a·tion
afərˈmāSH(ə)n/
noun
plural noun: affirmations
  1. the action or process of affirming something or being affirmed.
    “he nodded in affirmation”
    synonyms:  declaration, statement, assertion, proclamation, pronouncement, attestation; oath, avowel, guarantee, pledge; formal averment, asserveration
    “an affirmation of faith”
  2. emotional support or encouragement.
    “the lack of one or both parents’ affirmation leaves some children emotionally crippled”

The word “affirmation” comes from the Latin affirmare, originally meaning “to make steady; strengthen.”  Affirmations help to “purify” our thoughts and restructure the dynamic of our brains so that we truly begin to think nothing is impossible.

mindsetAnd affirmations do indeed strengthen us by helping us to believe in the potential of something we desire to see come to fruition. When we verbally affirm our desires and ambitions, we are instantly empowered with a sense of reassurance that our spoken words will become reality.

Affirmations are also proven methods of self-improvement because of their ability to “rewire”
our brains.  A lot like exercise, they raise the level of ‘feel-good’ hormones and push our brains to form positive thoughts.  In the sequence of thought-speech-action, affirmations play an important role by breaking patterns of negative thoughts, negative speech, and, in turn, negative actions.

Can we take it a step further?

Let’s look at what the Bible says about affirmations:

As believers, our confession should be a lot more than just a “positive affirmation” or confession.  And while the Bible tells us to confess our sins, that is not the only confession we need to make.  We are also told to confess, or speak out loud, the promises of God, in faith, so that we can receive them!

First, we need to clarify the difference between the positive affirmations, or confessions, taught by the success propagators in the world and a “Bible confession.”

Many times, the motivational speakers’ confessions are directed solely toward “self,” not toward God’s Word.  Now while these positive confessions are wonderful personal motivators, we as believers cannot stop, nor FOCUS, there.  We have to be mindful that they are not founded on the Word of God.  Instead, they are based on what we desire for ourselves.

For example, you will probably never hear a typical motivational speaker confessing the following portion of God’s Word:

“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us.”  2 Timothy 2:12

We have to begin confessing what the Word of God has to say about our lives and circumstances instead of what those in the world may speak about the situation.

The Bible Says Confession Encourages God’s Desire to Bless Us

In confessing God’s Word, we must be careful not to only pick out the Scriptures we desire, but also the ones the Lord desires for us.  He surely desires to bless us, but He also desires to cleanse us.  So we must be as enthusiastic in our confessions to be cleansed from all that would offend the Lord as we are in confessing the physical blessings He has promised us.

We must also learn to set a guard on our mouths, as it’s very important to control our conversation.  After all, we will ultimately receive the things that we speak.  If we speak evil long enough, it will come to pass; likewise if we speak good.

“Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.”  Psalm 50:23

“A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  Proverbs 18:20-21

woman_handsraised_396x600We should not only claim God’s Word, but also learn to speak or confess His Word.  We also need to confess our faith in God’s Word.  We shouldn’t confess lack, as the Lord has given us everything we need.  We must not confess defeat, as God has made us more than conquerors.  We cannot confess doubt, as God has given us His faith.  We have to speak the things that the Word of God declares as truth.  We easily quote what men have to say on a subject, and many times we believe them despite what the Word of God has to say about it.  Yet we’re often hesitant to quote what God says because the devil tells us we would be lying. He causes us to look at our circumstances instead of the God’s Word.  But we must know that circumstances are subject to change!  And one of the things that can cause them to do so is the confession of God’s Word over a particular situation.  In fact, the Word of God tells us to confess, or talk, about the things we are believing God will do in our lives and He will bring it to pass!

“He (Abraham) staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.”  Romans 4:20-22

“(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.”  Romans 4:17

For instance, if we’re in need financially, the devil will try to get us to confess things like, “I guess we’ll just have to file bankruptcy since we can’t pay the bills,” or “I don’t know what we’ll do when we can’t make the house payment.”  Instead, we need to align our confession with the Word of God!

“My God shall supply all your (my) need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (me).”  Matthew 6:33

We should confess our faith and trust in the Lord by saying,”I don’t know how the Lord is going to help us meet this need, but I confess that He will because He cares for us and because He said He would!”

We bring evil and good things forth by what we speak.  Jesus referred to this in Matthew 12:34-37:

“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”  Matthew 12:34-37

As the people of God, we should never again confess any of the things that are against God’s Word!

Let me share with you my “Never Again List” taken from Don Gossett’s book, ‘What You Say Is What You Get’:

Never-again

  • Never again will I confess “I can’t” because “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)
  • Never again will I confess lack because “My God shall supply all of my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
  • Never again will I confess fear because “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
  • Never again will I confess doubt and lack of faith because “Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matthew 17:20) and because Jesus said “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (Mark 11:24)
  • Never again will I confess weakness because “The Lord is the strength of my life” (Psalm 27:1) and because “The people that know their God shall be strong and do exploits.” (Daniel 11:32)
  • Never again will I confess the supremacy of Satan over my life because “Greater is He that is within me than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
  • Never again will I confess defeat because “God always causeth me to triumph in Christ Jesus.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)
  • Never again will I confess lack of wisdom because “Christ Jesus is made unto me wisdom from God.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)
  • Never again will I confess sickness because “With His stripes I am healed” (Isaiah 53:5) and because Jesus “Himself took my infirmities and bare my sickness.” (Matthew 8:17)
  • Never again will I confess worries and frustrations because I am “Casting all my cares upon Him, who careth for me.” (1 Peter 5:7) so, in Christ, I am “care-free.”
  • Never again will I confess bondage because “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
  • Never again will I confess condemnation because “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1); I am in Christ, therefore, I am free from condemnation.
  • Never again will I confess loneliness because Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20) and “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)
  • Never again will I confess curses or “bad luck” because “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us…that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Galatians 3:13-14)
  • Never again will I confess discontentment because “I have learned, in whatsoever state (circumstances) I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)
  • Never again will I confess unworthiness because “He hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

NEVER AGAIN!!!!!!!!

So to everyone reading this post, don’t just stop at replacing negative thinking with positive affirmations.  But take it all the way and replace worldly thinking with scriptural thinking!

Understanding Seasons & Times

Key Verses:

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? 10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. 11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.”

Ecclesiates 3

 

Time can be looked at from both a long-term (days, years, decades, etc.) and a short-term view (seconds, minutes, hours, etc.).  It can also be broken down into seasons.  And seasons can be broken down into times.

Think about how time is broken into the 4 seasons (as in weather seasons):

SPRINGTIME

Often we think of perfect “in between” weather.  Springtime is what I call one of the “transitional seasons,” along with Fall/Autumn.  Many noticeable changes are happening; flowers and trees are blooming, insects and other bugs come out in swarms, smells are 6359516072445244531069085440_spring-06different, and the colors of nature pop out brightly.  Springtime also bring about the ‘rain season” when some of the worst thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and high winds happen!  But we cannot help but remember that these same rains are necessary for the growth of the beautifully sweet flowers that bloom during this time of year.  These rains are the key ingredient to unlocking the beauty of Springtime.

Ask yourself, better yet, ASK GOD, although I’m in my Spring season, what time is it in my life?  Am I in my “rain season” when I have to endure the tossing storms of life that are necessary for my spiritual and natural growth?  Or is it my time to enjoy all of the beauty and serenity of my Spring season?

SUMMER

When I thought of summertime, one of the first things that came to mind was that this is a season that warrants a change in the clothing that we wear.  This is a season where we much shed or “take off” things (in this case, layers of clothing).  We no longer need that light sweater or long sleeve blouse that may have been necessary during the cooler days of Spring.  Summer is also a time when we experience the extreme changes in outside temperatures.  It’s a time of heat, and oftentimes, EXTREME heat!

1399065.largeWhen we consider our “summer life season,” we must consider that this could be a time when GOD is allowing the heat to be turned up on us.  This may be a time for some of you when things have started to “go from bad to worse,” as we often hear others say.  Or maybe we’ve used those words ourselves.  If could be a time when we are experiencing what we feel are the greatest trials of our lives.  On the other hand, it may be a time when God is allowing us to bask in the rays of His “Sunshine.”  This is a time when we are experiencing the warmth of God’s overwhelming favor!  Either way, we know that the heat we are experiencing is making us, and that we are promised that we’ll come out as pure gold!

FALL/AUTUMN

Like in Spring, Fall/Autumn is a season where many noticeable changes happen around us.  The colors of nature are visibly changing.  Once bright, vibrant colors are transitioning to the earthy browns, oranges, and reds that the season change brings.  Also like in Spring, with this new season comes the crisper feels and smells of the air, and the flowers and trees are no longer boasting fresh blooms.  They’re replaced with crisp leaves and the sights of more branches and twigs.  And as mentioned above, I call Fall the second “transitional season.”

If we liken our lives to the Fall/Autumn season, we can consider that we could be coming out of a “fiery furnace” season, into the coolness of our lives.  We could be experiencing a leaves-autumn-sun-615365sense of relief from some of the tests we are in.  On the other hand, we could be transitioning into a colder season where our once booming lives are taking on a slower pace.  We could be experiencing a change in the livelihood of some relationships.  We may be beginning to lose friendships that once kept us full of life.  We could be feeling like our lives are dying slowly.  In either case, we must ASK GOD, are we “coming out of “or are we “going into” a new season???

WINTER

Winter, like the summer, is another season when we experience extreme temperature changes that warrant a clothing change.  It is a season when we must “put on” more layer in order to endure the cold temperatures.  It’s also a season when temperatures can get so extreme that we experience moderate to heavy snow storms.  We must endure icy precipitation and even road closures if conditions are bad enough.

Sunset in the wood in winter periodIf we’d apply these seasonal ideals to our lives, we might ASK GOD, are we in a time of isolation or are we in a time of “hibernation” or rest?  If we are in a time of isolation, we may be at a point in our lives where it seems everyone we depended on has abandoned us.  We could be feeling like the support system we once had has dissolved.  We may even be feeling like God has abandoned us.  You may feel that you are crying out to God but aren’t hearing, feeling, or seeing any response at all.  It’s almost like the heavens have been shut on you.  On the contrary, you may be experiencing a time where God has pulled you away from those things and people that are weighing you down.  Some you may not even realize are bogging you down.  But God may have pulled you away to Himself and is using this time to pour strength and peace back into you, without letting anything or anyone else pull from you.  You could liken this place to the “secret place of the Most High” the Bible speaks of where God allows us to “abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”  Either way, we must seek God to understand what time it is for us!

 

11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time:”

 

MAIN POINT:  We must seek God to understand, not only what season we’re in (we need to be properly “dressed”), but also to understand what time it is for us!

DON’T FEAR CHANGE!

That’s often the case when we are transitioning into new seasons. And it makes the move a more trying, confusing experience than it needs to be.  Typically, it’s not rebellion that keeps us from transitioning to the new place God wants to take us. It’s often just ignorance, immaturity, or fear of change.  But failing to move in God’s timing can bring unwanted consequences, such as strained relationships, financial loss, and stress.  We need to discern the times and seasons we’re in and move with the Holy Spirit!  After all, God promised us in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that He has made everything beautiful in His time!  Please note that the verse does NOT say that He WILL make everything beautiful, but rather it says, HE HATH MADE everything beautiful!  So that tells us, whatever we are in, IT’S ALREADY BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!

Carry on…

Good morning my dears!

Have you ever been in a situation where you knew that someone was speaking ill of you, whether you witnessed it yourself, or someone advised you of such?  If we would be honest with ourselves, no matter how unaffected we claim to be, it does hurt a little.  And it can be especially hurtful and disappointing when your “accuser” is someone close to you, or someone you just thought never would betray you in that way.  But, I have good news for you!  Be thankful that this has happened!  “What?!  Why?!”  Those are the questions that may have just popped  in your head.  And some of you may be thinking right now, “Yeah, this girl is trippin!”  But just hear me out for a second, ok?  I promise I haven’t lost some marbles…lol.

Give me a few minutes, and I will show you how slander ends up working in YOUR favor!  So, consider the following:

  • Focus on the road, not the wall.  Criticism and negativity from other people is like a wall.  If you find yourself focusing on it, you’ll end up running right into it every time.  You’ll get blocked by negative emotions, anger, and self-doubt.  And as a result, your mind will go where your attention is focused.  Criticism and negativity don’t prevent you from reaching the finish line, but they can definitely distract you from it.  BUT, if you focus on the road in front of you and on moving forward, then you can dodge and speed past “naysaying” in any form.  So remember, when someone dishes out a negative comment about you, take that as an opportunity to stop and reaffirm yourself.  Use that as a signal to recommit to your personal truth and your knowledge of who you are.   And, refocus on the road ahead of you. Some people are determined to take things personally and tear down the person they feel intimidated by.   Remember also, your life is too short to worry about pleasing those people.
  • Ignore it.  What is said about you behind your back always says more about the speaker than it does about you.  I’ve found that one very important thing that people who choose to slander others do not consider is that, while they are badmouthing another person, there’s a VERY good chance that, eventually, those they’re infecting with their negativity will step back and evaluate their character.  After a while, people will start to really think about what it is about that negative person that makes it so easy for them to bad mouth others.  And worst of all, people will soon realize that these same naysayers are not to be trusted and that they could become the object of the negativity next.  So, my point is, don’t even exert your energy toward the source of negativity in your life, because while they’re talking badly about you, they are destroying their own character.  They will self destruct after a while.
  • Guard your borders.  If a person, whether a  friend or common bystander, continues to damage your character with hurtful words, you may have no option but to limit your exposure to this toxic friendship or interaction.  In these cases, it’s all about protecting yourself by drawing up firm boundaries between you and this person.  If necessary, cease contact with this individual.  This guards your heart and mind against hearing the painful words this person is saying, and also reduces the ability for this person to know your life and therefore to talk about it.  All in all, consider that this negative person has also afforded you the opportunity to really stop and reevaluate your relationships with those around you.  Here lies an opportunity to do some “house cleaning”.
  • Rise above it all.  Finding healing and closure for your hurt feelings regarding a person’s negative comments requires both external and internal resolution.  External resolution involves sometimes having to confront that person and dealing with the conflict.  Sometimes it’s best to not confront the person and seek advice from someone you trust concerning the situation.  This is an area where it’s of the utmost importance to use wisdom.  Internal resolution is looking within yourself and finding the strength to rise above the situation.  People can’t make you feel certain things unless you give them emotional control to make you feel that way.  You are in control of how you react to situations and words.  Feel empowered to recognize that you can’t make everyone happy, including your friends or family who might bad talk you.  Recognize your strengths and the positive things in your life, and rise above the hurtful slander.

All in all, we have to recognize that when someone talks badly about another person, it’s a direct reflection of how they feel about themselves.  Insecurity, low self-esteem, feelings of intimidation, and jealousy are some of the main contributors to slander.  So, what does this mean?  It means that, if we really look at the concept of slander, we will see clearly that, it doesn’t even have anything to do with us at all!  Slander is a clear manifestation of another person’s inner struggle.  And guess what the best part of that is?!  The best part of that is that that struggle is not ours at all.  There is nothing we can do about it, and we have no responsibility for it.  All we can do is pray that that person is healed themselves, and we must stay focused!

So, although we may not escape from every negative situation brought upon us by other hateful people unaffected, we can always benefit from it.  So, the next time you get wind of someone slandering you, whether you hear it with your own ears or not, put a smile on your face, and let your actions scream these words in response to the negativity and keep it moving!

Let Go……Let God

LETGOD

Selfishness!

selfishness

…That’s maturity!

maturity

…in the strength of it’s silence

6998114-chicago-dark-streets

Today’s 5-Minute Devotional: Spread too Thin – “Time and Money” (Ellen Miller)

If there’s one thing we all have in common – regardless of age, income, and profession – it is that we all have been spread too thin at some point specifically when it comes to time and money. And I would even venture to say that this is especially true when it comes to investing our time into others and investing our money into supporting the efforts of those we care about the most.

You see, we women are “hardwired” to care deeply, and we are inspired to bring about change for our children and for future generations that will come behind us. The problem, though, comes when we take our passions and spread them too thin. And consequently, we end up making very little impact or difference to any one cause. Or worse, we fail to invest in the people and things we care about the most and/or that need us the most. And sadly, that sometimes means failing to invest in ourselves.

Not too long ago, I found myself in an impromptu conversation with a woman – an extremely wise woman, at that – whom I respect immensely (she knows who she is *wink*) and something she said to me was a real eye-opener. She told me that there is a drastic difference between giving of oneself to an “honored obligation” and give of oneself to a “passionate investment”. Ultimately, she helped me to realize that my honored obligations too often end up competing with my passions; sometimes they even contradicted my passions. And more often than not, those things I felt “required” to give won over the things I cared most deeply about.

So meditate on this:

20 Then all the Israelites went away from Moses. 
21 All the people who wanted to give came and brought a gift to the Lord. These gifts were used for making the Meeting Tent, everything in the Tent, and the special clothes. 
22 All the men and women who wanted to give brought gold jewelry of all kinds. They brought pins,[a] earrings, rings, and other jewelry. They all gave their jewelry as a special offering to the Lord.
23 Everyone who had fine linen and blue, purple, and red yarn brought it to the Lord. Anyone who had goat hair or ram skins dyed red or fine leather brought it to the Lord. 
24 Everyone who wanted to give silver or bronze brought that as a gift to the Lord. Everyone who had acacia wood came and gave it to the Lord. 
25 Every skilled woman made fine linen and blue, purple, and red yarn. 
26 And all the women who were skilled and wanted to help made cloth from the goat hair.
27 The leaders brought onyx stones and other jewels. These stones and jewels were put on the ephod and judgment pouch of the priest. 
28 The people also brought spices and olive oil. These things were used for the sweet-smelling incense, the anointing oil, and the oil for the lamps.
29 All the Israelites who wanted to help brought gifts to the Lord. They gave these gifts freely, because they wanted to. These gifts were used to make everything the Lord had commanded Moses and the people to make.
Exodus 35:20-29

My Reflections:

I realized that it was time to give as much consideration to why I am giving as to how much I am giving. In fact, it is essential if I want my gifts of time and money to matter, not just to others, but to myself as well.


*Inspired by “The One Year Book of Inspiration for Girlfriends” by Ellen Miller.

Today’s 5-Minute Devotional: “Spread too Thin – The Disappearing Act (Pt.3)” (Ellen Miller)

The “assessment” stage has only been one part of renewing my heart. And, for me, it became the absolute hardest part of preparing for my cocooning process. All the while, after resting, reading, and assessing, it’s finally time to get on to the next stage: dreaming!

But first….

A question to ask yourself:

  • What was your last dream?
  • — to graduate from college?
  • — to become a missionary and travel to foreign countries?
  • — to start a business?
  • — to land a new career?
  • — to start a non-profit organization?

That itch in your heart to live for something greater was put there for a reason. It isn’t to add more to your resumé. It isn’t to make your name famous or to accumulate wealth. And please know that it’s impossible to fulfill on your own. The big dreams we have in our heart were meant to point us to Christ and to magnify Him!

Here’s a reminder of this from Jesus:

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
John 15:5

So, apart from Jesus, we cannot fulfill our dreams and live abundantly. God created us with big dreams to teach us our need for Him, to show us that our life is all about Him, and to give us an opportunity to glorify Him when He makes them happen!

My Reflections:

As women, we often get so busy with the small details and nuances of life that we fail to be still and allow God to fill our minds and hearts with possibilities……better yet, PROMISES! That’s why I think that the part of cocooning God must really love is when we’re finally quiet enough to hear Him. See, when we pray for His guidance and wisdom, we will definitely find that our brilliant ideas and dreams came from God after all!

So meditate on this:

Trust in the Lord, and do good; and so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
Delight thyself also in the Lord; Trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.
Psalms 37:3-4

Things to consider:

You may be asking, how do I discover this/these dream(s)? How do I practically live this out every day? Planted deep in your heart is a God-sized dream. Like all plants, the seed must be watered, cultivated, and cared for in order for it to grow and produce fruit. In order to discover your God-sized dream, you first need to know who you are and WHOSE you are. Next, consider these key steps:

  • Write down your passions, what makes your heart beat fast, what breaks your heart, what moves your feet to action, and what you would do if you had no limitations!
  • Open your Bible, grab a pen, a journal, turn on worship music, or just sit in silence and seek the face of the Lord through the Word.
  • Write down promises of God that you see in Scripture. Ask Him to reveal to you what He has purposed for you to do. Psalm 138:8 says “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Remember these truths as you pursue your God-sized dreams!

*Inspired by “The One Year Book of Inspiration for Girlfriends” by Ellen Miller and “Dreaming Big for the Glory of God” by Well-Watered Women.

Today’s 5-Minute Devotional: “Spread too Thin – The Disappearing Act (Pt.2)” (Ellen Miller)

Rest is the mind-body-spirit stage of cocooning. During the first couple of weeks of cocooning, I needed to rest my mind from thinking and I had to begin filling it with new perspectives by reading my Bible, spiritual books, and other edifying materials. I also found that meditating on what I’d read and writing out my takeaways helped me to strengthen me and to settle me. As a matter of fact, it was during this stage that I created my very first prayer journal/binder; I use it daily and it has helped me tremendously to become more strategic and thorough in my devotional and prayer time.

(Stay tuned for a new blog and walk-through video about my prayer journal/binder).

Once my foggy state of mind began to clear and my hormones began to stabilize, I knew that it was time to move on to the more formal (and harder) process of cocooning. The “heart work” came next; it was time to RENEW!

The Renewal Stage

Quiet time is a requirement for renewing one’s mind, body, and soul. And I realized that I need to plan my rest just as I plan anything else that is important to me.

Renewal.  During the renewal stage, I began reflecting on what is working in my life vs. what is not. And after thinking back over the last 12 months, I began considering things that worked in my marriage, in my family, in my finances, and in my businesses; know I know what actions I want to repeat. I also found several areas that needed improvement in every aspect of my life. Ultimately, this assessment has allowed me to consider the things that didn’t work so that I can, with the help of the Lord, take the necessary steps to work toward correcting and strengthening those areas. Along the way, though, I’ve had to remind myself of the importance of owning up to the places I fall short and constantly rededicating myself to actually doing the work! Whatever is necessary to strengthening my life, I know that I cannot fear and I cannot allow pride to deceive me into believing that I’m not part of the problem or that I don’t need to make any changes. In a nutshell, you can probably dub this the “woman-up/man-up” stage of cocooning. It’s hard and uncomfortable, but IT IS NECESSARY!

During this stage in the cocooning process, I’ve also been given the opportunity to really consider the only two things I can control: my thoughts and my actions. And this part of the renewal process was especially hard because it caused me to realize that I don’t always live a life of grace. Sometimes, especially when I’m spread too thin, I become short-tempered and even judgemental.

When renewing my heart, I know that I cannot be too hard on myself, but I have to be completely honest with myself in order to make positive changes and in order to avoid repeating mistakes. Something as simple (the hardest simple thing ever) as acknowledging an unhealthy pattern or reaction can be a powerful tool in helping me not to repeat my mistakes.

My Reflections:

Life assessment is critical my (and your) intentionally living the life that God has called me (us) to live! When I’m so overwhelmed that I can no longer extend grace to others, it’s time to take a break and make some hard, but necessary, considerations!

So meditate on this:

And thinkest thou this, oh man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgement of God?  Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forebearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Romans 2:3-4

Things to consider:

  • Are you constantly disappointed by others? If so, why?
  • Are your expectations so high that, when people fail, you judge them harshly?
  • If you’re slow to forgive and move on, you might need to disappear for a few days to reflect on the grace that has been extended to YOU.
Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.
Matthew 5:7

*Inspired by “The One Year Book of Inspiration for Girlfriends” by Ellen Miller.

New Project Coming in 2019!

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A Lesson on Gratefulness

“What if today we were just grateful for everything?”

Wow! What an amazing quote, huh?

Super Easy & Delicious Spicy Shrimp Scampi Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Rice or pasta of your choice
  • 1 pound medium peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 6 tablespoons (unsalted) butter
  • ½ finely diced onion
  • 1 cup chopped green and red peppers
  • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4-5 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Spices of your choice (oregano/cayenne/paprika/thyme)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste

 

Cooking Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, mix salt, pepper, and olive oil to form a fine mixture.
  2. Next, add any of the spices of your choice (only a pinch) to this mixture.
  3. Add shrimp to this mixture and set aside for some time to marinate.
  4. In a skillet, add cooking oil and sauté garlic in it.
  5. Cook on low heat until the garlic is soft and slightly amber in color.
  6. Remove garlic from the oil, and add the marinated shrimp to the oil.
  7. Cook for 1 minute. Turn over each shrimp in the skillet and cook again for a minute.
  8. Cover the skillet and let the shrimp cook for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Turn off heat and let it sit for a few minutes.
  10. After the prescribed time, take the lid off to check. If the shrimp is pink and juicy, it is perfectly cooked. If you find it tough and not properly cooked, you can add 1 teaspoon of oil, cover the skillet and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  11. Lastly, add lemon juice and parsley and serve hot! This shrimp scampi can be used as topping for rice, pasta, as well as pizza.