Books and Business and Other Things I’ve Been Up To

Why hello there!!

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The big reveal: It’s me and my ruffle scarf creation. 🙂

It has  been six months since I’ve written on the blog. Six months!! I can’t believe it has been that long! I’ve had to take a hiatus from blogging to work on my other projects. I launched my craft business in December and since then I’ve been crocheting like a madwoman. Haha!! I’m just totally obsessed with yarn! Also, I’ve been working on setting up a website for the business along with getting all the legal junk squared away for my life coaching business.

During all this I became part of another book launch back in…oh, gosh! When was it? April or March. Another great experience! I was selected to help Leanna Tankersley with launching her now released book, Brazen: The Courage to Find the You That’s Been Hiding.

Ladies, if you don’t read anything else this year, read this book!! I will write a review soon so you can get a sneak peek!

The other thing keeping me busy is physical therapy. I think I might’ve mentioned before, but if not, I’ll explain. I get headaches and some awful headaches that stick around for days. Usually, about three days and it goes away, thanks to God’s mercy! I had a vertebrae in my neck, two to be exact, that were crooked. It would cause me severe pain if I moved my head around in any direction too much. All I had to do to keep away the headaches was to keep my head straight. (Right. Like that’s easy to do.) By the mercy and grace of God, the vertebrae straightened out but now my problem is with the muscles that got so used to the vertebrae being crooked so that it conformed to the deformity.  I have been to three different chiropractors over the last decade and they were only able to relieve the pain for a short while. So, I decided to try physical therapy. It has been a tremendous help, but only if I stick with going.  All through February I went for my sessions, sometimes twice a week, and then I ended the sessions because I felt better.

A few months went by and the headaches came back again. Once I had a headache for three days, I decided that was enough; time to schedule another appointment with the physical therapist. Through half of June and most of July, I went every week to therapy. This time around was a bit more of a struggle. The pain seemed to get worse before it got better. But then one night, I slept on my back with my head turned most of the night. I woke up with no pain, whereas, in times past if I did that, I would wake up with a headache. Praise God! So I ended my therapy sessions and I continue doing the exercises the therapists taught me. It’s been over a week now and the headaches have returned already. Ugh. I’ve had three days this week where my neck hurt and caused a headache.

With therapy sessions over, I’ve been trying to focus more on preparing to launch my life coaching business. So much to do  and so much to learn!!! So yeah!! It’s been an incredibly busy year.

I’m seeking the Lord’s guidance with the businesses and all He has for me, and praying for help to keep myself on track so I can continue writing. Did I mention I’m in the process of launching a website for my craft business? Did I mention it’s been a busy year? 🙂

I don’t know what the future holds, but I expect God to do great things. As far as this blog is  concerned, I plan on keeping up with it for the next few months and then just seeing how things go once I get my website up and running.

To my readers, I apologize for the long hiatus and for not giving a heads up to the long hiatus. I really didn’t plan on the hiatus, to be honest. Thanks to all those who have been reading and hopefully, waiting for the next blog post.

Blessings!

Greg-Rakozy (1)

photo credits: Greg Rakozy

Goal-Setting Newbie

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The New Year always inspires us. We feel optimistic. We set resolutions and start believing the best is yet to come.

 

I am one of those people that tried setting resolutions every New Year but always seemed to fail to reach them. My solution to this problem? Give up. Stop making resolutions because they don’t seem to work for me.

 

However, last year I tried something different and by the end of the year I looked back and saw how I made progress. What did I do different other than writing down resolutions? I actually cut out pictures representing my goals and put them on something I could see…a poster board.

 

Granted, the poster board was not put in a place where it was easily seen. I tried to find a good spot for it but I could only manage to prop it up behind my cedar chest where it would fold down. So, yeah. Not a good spot if I want to just turn my head and see it.

 

Despite the bad location, the images of what I pasted to the board burned into my memory, and somehow, that helped me focus on my goals. I guess it makes sense for me that it helped since my learning style is mostly visual. In other words, I learn best by what I see rather than in what I hear. So, I’m happy to report that a majority of what I pasted on my vision board I fulfilled by the end of 2015!

 

Now, onto 2016…

 

For 2016, I wrote down some goals that I will paste onto a new poster board and prop up somewhere, if not once again, behind my cedar chest. *sigh* I need to organize my office and find some space. Not much space to be had in a eight by twelve in a half feet room, but surely I can find some. Note to self: Write down goal for 2016 to organize office.

 

Here are my goals for this year:

  • Start life coaching.
  • Research small business management
  • Organize office
    • Remove cedar chest and place in the shed.
    • Arrange filing cabinets
    • Get a new desk that is functional for my needs.
    • Sell old desk.
  • Start Pinterest board for craft business
  • Get a Bible reading plan that I can use
  • Grow closer to Jesus
  • Make reading goals for this year and put in a journal.

 

I might add to this later, but for now, this is what will get pasted onto a poster board.

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The key goal on my list is growing closer to Jesus. A related goal also important that I need to put on my list, now that I’m thinking of it, is growing the important relationships with others in my life. Intimacy with Jesus and intimacy with others is the key to a fulfilling life. I have the tendency to focus too much on tasks and forget relationships until I start feeling lonely and then I’m reminded, “Oh yeah! I am a human being in need of relationships.” Duh. How silly of me to forget!

 

Through all this planning, I pray for the Lord to lead me. I pray that He will be glorified through everything I do. My struggle in all this planning is remembering that it is for His glory not mine. I need to remember that every success comes from Him. When I give into the temptation to make accomplishing my goals my priority or success my priority, I fail. When I make success my goal, I begin to feel frustrated and restless. I feel the weight of my world on my shoulders. But when I let go of pursuing success and make glorifying the Lord my ultimate goal, the burden is lighter. My frustration disappears. After all, the Lord is the one in complete control. He is the one that gives the ability to create wealth and makes success possible (1 Chronicles 29:12). I like what Gary Wilkerson said in the newsletter dated January 4th, for World Challenge,

“The only plans that will succeed are the plans God gives you.”

Seek first the kingdom of God, right?

 

At the end of this year, may I look back and see that I kept my eyes on Him, remembered that relationships are more important than tasks, and give Him all the glory!

 

Uh oh! Just thought of another one: Set budget goals for each month.

 

“Now, may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him.” Romans 15:13a

Got any goals for this year you want to share? Please do!

Detour

600 mm by 300 mm (24 in by 12 in) emergency pl...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hate detours. It’s such a pain in the butt to have to redirect my path to my destination because often it is time consuming, and I’m in a hurry to get where I’m going. Sometimes it appears like you are moving in the opposite direction of your destination.

As your driving along, you see the detour sign because of construction on the road ahead, or maybe there was a serious accident, and the sign instructs you to follow a road going in the opposite direction. You curse the timing because you have some where to be, and you’re running late. Now, you’re going to be even later.

Curses.

You’re plans are foiled!

It happens in all areas of life.

You had plans. They were good plans and plans you were sure were part of God’s desire for you. The plans didn’t fall into place like you wanted. Life happened and threw a detour into your plans. You wonder if you really heard from God.

I had plans.

I was going to be married at the age of twenty-six and start having children. My plan was to be a wife and a mother.

I’m not sure if I took a detour and I’m just taking a longer road to Marriedville or if I’m on a different road altogether that leads to a different destination.

Twenty-six was over a decade ago so I am definitely on some sort of detour.

I know marriage is a good thing. God made marriage and children are a gift from Him so why am I not married with children? To answer that question I have to shrug my shoulders and say I don’t know.

I had plans to become a counselor. I went to school for a few years of training and then decided to take a break and figure out if this was really for me.

While trying to figure that out, I thought I’d go to ministry school and see if ministry was for me. I felt sure God was calling me to the ministry somewhere but wasn’t sure where. Then I left my internship after a few months into it and decided this wasn’t for me.

I didn’t plan on getting sick and dealing with health issues either. Another detour in my life that I would at times also call a roadblock!

Detour after detour after detour.

In Hannah Hurnard’s classic book, “Hinds’ Feet on High Places” the main character Much-Afraid is led by the Good Shepherd’s guides for her journey to the High Places, symbolism for heaven. One day she turns a corner in her path only to find herself going in the direction of a desert place below away from the mountainous tops. Fear and anxiety grips her heart and she cries out in protest to her guides,

“I can’t go down there! He can never mean that–never! He called me up to the High Places, and this is an absolute contradiction of all that he promised.”

But the guides do not relent and continue to point to the undesirable path.

Finally, Much-Afraid cries for the Shepherd and pleads her case. The Shepherd comes to her and responds with tenderness,

“No, it is not a contradiction, only postponement for the best to become possible.”

When you’ve prayed and you’re sure of God’s promises to you and His plans, oftentimes, it appears our Guide leads us away from the promises. We cry out to Him in protest and He assures our hearts with these words, “It is not a contradiction of My promise to you, only postponement for the best to become possible.”

Through all the detours of my own life, I’ve learned to trust in the Lord’s character which means I trust that He is good and can only do good. If God can only do good, then whatever bad turns or detours I perceive as bad are not bad to Him, for His ways are not my ways, nor are His thoughts my thoughts. Furthermore, the clarity of my sight is a little near sighted and foggy. I can’t see the big picture like He can.

I am trusting that in hindsight I will see better how God’s plans worked through all the detours to bring me to His promises…the High Places.

Wherever you are, if you’ve circled around a detour or maybe you’ve reached that promise God has for you and are looking ahead to others, know this, Beloved of God, that He is good and His plans for you are all good. He isn’t going to steer you away forever from whatever promise you are seeking to see fulfilled. He is preparing you so that the best may become possible!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

 

 

 

 

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I Remember…

I remember happiness when I was a child. I was happiest when playing outside in the summer sun on my swing set, swinging in the swings or sliding down the little slide into a pool at the end. I remember having contests with the neighborhood kids to see who could get closer to the sky as we lifted off in flight while in mid-swing. I remember the beauty of the day all golden with sunshine with a few cotton clouds in the sky.

A girl on a garden swing. Original caption: : ...

A girl on a garden swing. Original caption: : Bincadeira de criança : eu também me acabei nesse balanço… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remember…

I remember tears falling. I remember sorrow entering my heart. A wound tearing into my flesh as my family was torn apart. I remember fear of the future. Then more wounds, more tearing as I grew into adolescence, and happiness replaced by fear.

Remember.

Bring to mind. To think of again.

I remember…

I remember a cross. I remember God’s Son given. The Son whose flesh was torn and nails pierced through skin. All for me. All for me.

Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Romans 8:32

Proof that we can trust the Father for all things, to provide all we need because He didn’t spare even His Son. For us all. For us all.

The bad memories poke and sting threatening to open old wounds that have begun to heal in the presence of the Son. I take hold of the memories and bring them to Him. He is Lord over these too. He receives them and points me to the cross. His cross.

“The counting of all blessings is ultimately summed up in One. All gratitude is ultimately gratitude for Christ, all remembering a remembrance of Him. For in Him all things were created, are sustained, have their being. Thus Christ is all there is to give thanks for; Christ is all there is to remember. To know how we can count on God, we count graces, but ultimately there is only One…it’s all in Christ. Every moment, every event, every happening. It’s all in Christ and in Christ we are always safe…” ~ Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

And so I can remember and give thanks. Not that bad things happened to me, but that Christ is all that matters. And when I lift Him up above the bad and look upon Him, He heals the wounds just as Moses did with the serpent in the desert (Numbers 21:9). Remembering and giving thanks opens my eyes to see Him.

Cross & Clouds

Cross & Clouds (Photo credit: John H Wright Photo)

I remember and the bad memories pale in comparison to Him.

I remember and lift my eyes up to Him who alone can heal.

This is an invitation to remember. A call to bring back to mind Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. Think of Him again. And again. And again. Fix your eyes on Him not on the bad of what has been done to you or the bad which you did. He who did not spare His own Son is safe to trust and faithful to heal.

And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. John 3:14-15

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You Already Won {Coffee for Your Heart}

Hey, ya’ll! I’m sorry I haven’t posted the latest Coffee for Your Heart til now.

You’ve ever had those weeks where you feel like your efforts are in vain? Nothing you do is right. You tried to get everything on your to-do list done, yet find yourself not accomplishing all what you set out to do. They say men struggle with the fear of failure, but I think women do too. I know I do!

Knight by sincerelyhiten

photo by sincerelyhiten.

I set out to write a blog to post on Wednesday. I started out Monday working on my finances and before I knew it, time went flying by, and the window of opportunity closed. After that I vowed to work on the blog the next day, but then something else came up. I was asked to teach on Wednesday so I worked on that instead of writing Tuesday night. Since then, no time became available to me to work on writing til now.

Besides that, I had moment after moment this week where I failed at something or perceived to have failed. My failures seemed to pile up high in a heap. I picked apart my deliverance of the lesson from Wednesday and thought of how horrible I was.

What’s a girl to do?

I don’t know how I ended up with this man-related weakness, but my self-worth seems to be tied to what I do. I know it’s not supposed to, but at times I find that it is.

It’s that need for the applause of men. A pat on the back for a job well done or a word of praise, a little affirmation to let you know you are right on. Instead, you get nothing. All you hear is the sound of crickets in the background.

At one point you were certain you were doing the will of God and then next, you’re questioning whether you and God are on the same page.

From there my mind flashes forward into the future and predicts this is the way it is always going to be. I will never get it right and never measure up. I will never be able to do enough and be enough. I will always fail.

These self-defeating thoughts keeps me from experiencing the victory God has already won for me.

I know these thoughts are definitely not from God. They are from the enemy of my soul who seeks to devour my faith in Christ.

Beloved, I am standing here before you (metaphorically speaking), in my own vulnerability to let you know today, if this is your struggle, we can stand on the promises of God.

Put away those thoughts that come to you to tell you are defeated.

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

How do I know?

Because the Word of God promises us that we are more than conquerors because of Christ’s work on the cross (my paraphrase, Romans 8:37).

Are you facing tough battles today that seem to be overwhelming you? Know this, my friend, you have already won!

I am telling myself this and now I am telling you, mighty warrior of God: Pick up your sword with your battled-weary hand and keep at it til you see the victory manifested. He will provide all the strength you need.

“For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” 2 Cor. 10:4

“For I hold you by your right hand–I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid, I am here to help you.'” Isaiah 43:13

In Christ, you have already won!

You are reading Coffee for Your Heart which comes to you from Holley Gerth’s place, www.holleygerth.com. If you would like to join in the weekly encouraging writing prompts, get yourself on over there and sign up to receive her email. This day’s writing prompt is from the theme “No matter what happens, you’re going to be ok because…”

Coffee for Your Heart with Holley Gerth

With Holley Gerth

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Merry Christmas, WordPress Family!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Merry Christmas to my WordPress family!

I haven’t been with WordPress for even a year yet, but I am so blessed to have the privilege of connecting and getting to know some of you all out there in WordPress land.

I pray the Light of Christ shine on and through you to lighten the dark world around you.

I look forward to the New Year with hope and anticipation of the things the Lord will do. Not only the things He will do but the things He will reveal. The most important revelation to be Christ in you!

Amen??! Amen!

God bless you all in 2014!

“Child of God! …

Cover of "Andrew Murray (Men of Faith)"

Cover of Andrew Murray (Men of Faith)

“Child of God! Listen to your Teacher! He tells you that when you go to private prayer your first thought must be that the Father is waiting for you there in secret. Don’t let a cold and prayerless heart keep you from the presence of the loving Father. The Lord is concerned about you the way a father is concerned about his children. Do not think about how little you have to give to God, but about how much He wants to give to you. Just place yourself before His face and look into it. Think of His wonderful, tender, concerned loved. Tell Him how sinful, cold, and dark everything is. The Father’s loving heart will give light and warmth to yours. Do what Jesus says. Just shut the door and pray to the Father in secret. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to go alone to the infinite God? Just look up and say, ‘My Father!'”  ~ Andrew Murray, With Christ In The School Of Prayer

The Price Of Pursuit

bed

Another night of tossing and turning and running to the bathroom, and I was put out. Put out as in frustrated beyond my limits. This has been my thorn in the flesh for the past six years. I’ve tried just about everything to help me sleep. Every non-habiting forming, natural sleep-aid that didn’t cost an arm and a leg, I have tried and found them wanting. There are some nights that it helps, but they don’t always help.

It’s bad enough that my colon wakes me up to go potty in the middle of the night, but when my spirit is restless it makes sleep my elusive friend that I just can’t seem to get in touch with. I call and she doesn’t answer. What is a girl to do to get some sleep around here?

In the midst of my search for sleep, I’ve been on a fast, seeking God for direction to my next step. Just prior to starting a Bible study at my church, I felt the Lord direct me into a different path and so I canceled it. Ok, now what?

In one of my moments of prayer I felt the Lord asking me, What price are you willing to pay to know Me?

What a thought!

What a question!

Paul said,

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of knowing Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Phillipians 3:7-8a

Paul gave up a lot to know Christ. He gave up his position as a respected Pharisee. He gave up his reputation within the Jewish religious elite to know Christ.

There is nothing we do to earn salvation, but there is a price to pursuing Christ and knowing Him. Jesus posed this same decision before the disciples. The original disciples had the choice to give up their own reputations and livelihood as fishermen, to follow Jesus. He posed the same decision before the rich young ruler, who sadly, walked away from Him, not willing to give up what he had.

We can look at what we lose to follow Christ or we can look at what we gain. We gain the surpassing worth of knowing Christ. Knowing Jesus is worth far more than anything we can gain on this earth. You name the riches and knowing Christ is worth far more!

Luxury Gold Ring Designs for Golden Jewelry

Luxury Gold Ring Designs for Golden Jewelry (Photo credit: epSos.de)

I put on the altar my precious sleep. My prayer has been, “Lord, I give you my sleep time. Whatever you want to do with it, help me to know You. If You want me to pray, then lead me.”

It’s a tough prayer to pray, I admit. And I can’t say that every time I’ve tossed and turned I got up to pray instead. Most of the time I am still too asleep to even be conscience enough to pray. I’m asleep enough to dream but semi-awake enough to know I’m in bed asleep.

My desire is to be devoted to pursuing Christ. I want to pursue Christ to know Him. And as Paul finishes out this thought he says,

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Phil. 3:10-11

By any means possible.

Wow!

I’d say Paul was pretty serious about knowing Christ to say “by any means possible”. But the goal Paul had in his sight was knowing Christ and being acquainted with the power of the resurrection.

My teacher in school used to say, “Every one wants resurrection power, but no one wants to die to get it.”

Do we really believe in the surpassing worth of knowing Christ? If we do, we will count every thing else as worthless and pursue Christ with a reckless abandon. No price too high.

And Beloved, I suspect that He is worth it. Pursue Him! You will gain so much more than what this world can offer.

Satisfied?

I know what it means to be hungry. It’s really a long story that should be saved for another day, so without going into too much detail, I will tell you the reason why I was hungry. I was sick. In the year of 2006, I had lost a total of 30 pounds, and not on purpose, mind you. I was not purposely starving myself. Food had become my mortal enemy, for whenever I put food in my mouth, my abdomen screamed with pain. The moment I put food on my tongue I had to jump and run to the bathroom. This went on for months til I decided I was not going to eat anymore. Instead, I regressed back to the eating habits of infants. Yes. I ate baby food for two months.

While I wrote off food as my mortal enemy, I still dreamed of it. I longed for food. Real food. Not the baby food I was eating. I dreamed of hamburgers. I’m not even exaggerating to make a point. I really dreamed of hamburgers. I dreamed of hamburgers, tacos, and donuts. Powdered donuts. The baby food did not satisfy!

A hamburger with a rim of lettuce sitting on a...

The word “satisfy” is translated from the Hebrew word “saba”, pronounced sa-vah’, and means “filled to satisfaction; have enough”.

No, I certainly was not getting enough nourishment from the baby food. Hence, the reason why I was losing weight.

There are other things in this world that I have learned are not enough. My job does not satisfy. Relationships with others do not satisfy, though they are helpful. Material possessions do not satisfy. Wealth and good health for an active lifestyle do not satisfy.

I might long for these things. I do long for these things. I got to be honest. It would be nice to be surrounded by friends that love me and to have a doting husband. It would be great if I had the money to buy all the things I’ve ever wanted and to never be touched with an illness.

At one point in my life I had at least part of these things and then had them removed from my life. I have found these things to be a distraction that kept me from discovering the true longing of my heart. Once removed, I realized a deeper longing–that longing for God.

Jesus, after feeding the five thousand, spoke to the crowd that remained the next day about the bread of heaven. He said,

“For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” ~ John 6:33

Did you catch that? He said, “For the bread of God is he”. He didn’t use the personal pronoun “it”. No, instead, Jesus used the personal pronoun “he” in describing the bread of heaven.

The disciples then pleaded with him to give them that bread still thinking of their stomachs. They didn’t get what Jesus was saying just then so Jesus went a little further to make it plain.

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” ~ John 6:35

I know it sounds a little morbid to say, but how do we feast upon Jesus? Not literally of course, but how does Jesus satisfy?

Jesus

Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I always seem to find a song to reference to make my point, but here I go again. 🙂 Toby Mac‘s song, “Made To Love”. He was right when he sings, “I was made to love You…Made to adore You. I was made to love and be loved by You…”

There is something about worship that connects us to God. Something about praise. Something about prayer that brings us into the same room as God where we can reach out and touch Him. I don’t fully understand it; I just know that it does.

Psalm 63 reveals this mystery of communion between God and ourselves. The psalmist describes his hunger after God and knows only the Lord can satisfy. “My soul will be satisfied with fat and rich food (a.k.a. a great steak dinner…yum) and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed and meditate on you in the night watches.” (Ps. 63:5)

It is true.

We find a picture of a table that God wants to set up before us in Psalm 23 and also in Song of Solomon. The Lord wants to bring us to His banqueting table and feed us. The table is spread out with rich foods. Like a buffet at a restaurant, we can indulge and gorge all we want. This food will make us fat but good fat that we can pass on to someone else that needs it. Sorry, I know that’s a crude analogy. Who wants someone else’s fat? Well, I believe me, I did when I lost all that weight!

Christmas Banquet Table -- Longwood Gardens Co...

Christmas Banquet Table — Longwood Gardens Conservatory (PA) December 2012 (Photo credit: Ron Cogswell)

Jesus has food that satisfies. He is that food. He invites us to His banqueting table to eat. All we have to do is pull up a chair and dig in. We can’t expect to get full if we have someone else go in our stead. No! I tried that. I asked my family to eat for me since I couldn’t but I was not satisfied. We can’t do that in the physical realm, so why do we expect that to work in the spiritual?

Even in the times like a few nights ago when I went to God pouring out my complaint to Him and telling Him how I hurt and how scared I am, I find myself leaving the table surprisingly satisfied. In the exchange of releasing my pain, He gave me Himself to fill.

Amazing.

Beloved, wherever you are today, know that Jesus has a table spread out for you with a chair and a placard with your name on it. If you are hungry, come. Eat. Dig in. Pour out your heart to Him and let Him fill you with the richness of who He is.

“In Your presence, God, I am completely satisfied.” ~ Phil Wickham, Divine Romance