If I could teach them anything…

My girls are my most prized possessions………………………….. next to Jesus. And, it’s my God given responsibility to teach them to be responsible, productive, God fearing little ladies. There are sooo many things I’ve done horribly wrong, some things have gone better than expected, and some things have gone really right. The good and bad of life can’t always be controlled, but they are dependent on our choices and how we view ourselves. Good choices and a strong, positive mindset will determine their quality of life…

Our quality of our lives depend on the quality of our choices.

Most people don’t come into the world making good choices and operating awesome habits. It has to be taught. Like many of us, I haven’t always made good choices. I’ve done some reflecting and there are quite a few common themes that I believe have impacted my choices. While there are many things I want to intentionally teach my babes, these six lessons are at the top of the list. (and, yes, I’m still learning myself.)

If I could teach my girls anything, I would teach them to be bold and assertive yet kind.
It’s a balance that some will forever have difficulty finding (my name is at the tippy top of that list) because hard conversations are tough and we, as women specifically, are somewhere, somehow taught that it’s not nice to be vocal and say hard things. But, I believe this is an important lesson to learn because I don’t want them controlled by another person’s feelings when communicating their expectations or desires, but cognizant of them at the same time. Be gentle and caring.

If I could teach my girls anything, I want to teach them to be dreamers. 
How silly is it for me to teach them that with God all things are possible and with him we can do mighty things, if I’m going to put a lid on what can be? There is a great big world with so much beauty and opportunity. They have a God given imagination and heart desires that are there for his glory. I want them to dream big and believe that they can do anything they set their mind to! Lack of dreaming comes from a low belief in what we can do… it comes from not being able to see what is possible. If I can instill big belief in my girls, they will more than dream large, vivid, and audacious dreams!

If I could teach my girls anything, I want to teach them to be go getters.
Go after what you want… with passion, determination, fearlessness, and drive. Make a plan and execute, reflect and adjust, then keep going. Listen for wisdom and guidance, and ignore the naysayers and those that speak negativity and limitations. No one can limit you but you. No one can discourage you without your permission. You hear and see what you focus on, so focus on what the Lord has given you and do everything you can to accomplish what you set out to do. The noise can sometimes be so loud, drowning out the quiet voice that says, “Yes you can.”

If I could give my girls anything, I want to give them the freedom of living out their dreams. 
I can already see my girls bent towards certain things. One loves to sing and picks up on music very easily. She is also a little fashionista in the making. The other loves to flip, is incredibly athletic, and loves to take pictures. And, I want to put them in cheer and I’d love for them to cheer though college… along with whatever else they want to do! That’s my dream for them!  My girls will know that their dreams don’t have to be mine… there is no pressure to be me. They don’t have to be Plexus ambassadors (although the opportunity for financial freedom is a no brainer), they don’t have to want to be mamas (even though I’d love some grandbabies in about 25 years), and they don’t have to want to do what I’d love for them to do. They can’t do what they are called to do if they’re pushed to do what I want them to do. My goal is to shape them to be who God created them to be and watch them to big things! Giving them the freedom and support to follow their own dreams will help build their confidence knowing that they matter, that what they think, and what they want are important.

If I could teach my girls anything, I would to teach them that it’s okay to “not be strong”. 
What’s it’s not okay is to whine and do nothing to fix the situation. I want them to be strong, self sufficient, and capable of handling life’s struggles.  Faking strong isn’t strong. Not communicating, not seeking help, suffering for the sake of appearances,  struggling silently, stuffing emotions is not healthy, nor is it strong. You can be, you are,  strong when you cry and find help to sort through the hurts and hardships of life. You’re not weak because you prioritized yourself over someone else, you didn’t fail just because things didn’t work out the way you wanted and expected them to. You’re strong when you do what’s right no matter what else another person is doing, you’re strong when you walk away from pain inflicting people and situations, you’re strong when you know when to be quiet and when to apologize (and actually do it!)… strength isn’t ugly or hard or unforgiving. Breaking down, ice cream accompanied nights of tears, and shutting life down for a day doesn’t make you weak. It makes you human. A strong one.

If I could teach my girls anything, I would teach them to listen to wisdom and make good choices based on facts more than feelings. 
Now, their mama is a feeeeeeeler, which means it can be difficult for me to make choices based on what is versus unfulfilled potential and what is yet to be. So, we’re all gonna have to work on that because this is where life quality is established. When we base choices on short sighted wants versus the long term benefits, we likely won’t end up in good situations later on. I’m totally a feeler, so it takes MUCH effort, time, and self control to make choices based on facts and feet (action) versus potential and hopes. lol. Still at 34.  It’s so important to have a support system of people who have your best interests at heart. Ones who’ve walked though life a little bit longer than you have, who have strengths in different areas than you, and who you trust to help you learn to make better choices. Decision making can be tough… some decisions being harder to make than others. When you consider how much better your life could be because of one choice you made, it motivates you to choose smarter.

I want to teach my girls to be happy and confident people who love others well and follow their dreams. I want them to be happy more than anything. Life is hard and it’s such a blessing for them to have each other to do life with. There’s nothing greater than having people in your corner that are pushing you to be your greatest self who challenges you and holds you accountable. Lots of lessons learned, lots of weaknesses strengthened, lots of strengths sharpened and smoothed out. Thankful for growth and the opportunity to better my babies’ lives because of what I’ve learned!

 

 

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Hey y’all!!

I’m not sure if you’ve ever read the About Me page ….. so, I’m going to give you a quick snippet. (It’s relevant I promise!)

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I’m a middle child introvert but Myers-Briggs says I’m an ENFJ… which basically means I’m an “Extrovert” (high energy, easily distracted, likes to do lots of things at one time, acts then thinks kinda gal. read: passionate!), iNtuitive (big picture thinker who notices new things, trust her gut, and likes to figure things out on my own! Read: self-reliant!) , a Feeler (decides based on and is convinced by feelings, values harmony, motivated by appreciation. Read: emotional!), and Judger (likes things settled, very responsible, prefers finished products, serious, rule lover, who finds comfort in schedules. Read: planner! & it’s Dead on!)!!
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That’s me all day. So, I’m tried learning to wing things a bit but that really doesn’t work well for me. Yet, while I like a plan, toooo many details stress me out. Give me a general direction of where we’re heading and we can make semi-planned, spontaneous stops along the way!

Me being who I am, surprise surprise to know that I’ve already begun asking myself and a couple of my close friends where we want to be come Dec. 31 of this year. Professionally, relationally, financially, etc. This convo is pretty exciting and necessary for me because I believe it helps usto make better choices about what we need to do in order to move towards what we really want. Granted things change, but again… I need a plan, general direction & a goal. It’s fun!!! It gives me something to look forward to, something to work towards, and a way to build & have accountability with likeminded people.

Plans are pretty much equivalent to the scent of the air changing as cupcakes are baking in the oven.  

As a teacher, I do this weekly, every 9 weeks, every semester, & every year. My students have to be at a certain place at each of those points in order for us to end the year prepared to achieve on state tests and advance to the next grade. Planning helps me to set a pace as their teacher/leader and also lets me know if I need to speed up, slow to a cruise, or make a U-turn and start all over again. My students’ educational history and ability also have be considered if I want them to go with me. They have to be more important than my goal, or we all lose come May, right? Regular check ins and evaluations are necessary to know exactly where we are and what needs to be adjusted!

The end of calendar years are typically re-sets for many of us. Times to reflect and adjust. I like to do that daily, weekly, or whenever things feel a bit off or things need to change.

“A man plans his ways but the Lord directs his path.”
Proverbs 16:9

As we are officially nearly a month into the second half of the year, how do you handle your plans? Do you go revisit your resolutions or go back to the prayers you set before the Lord at the beginning of the year and compare them to what is happening right now? Are you further ahead or a few steps behind? Maybe right on track?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that we have to be intentional about our lives. We can’t just “wing it” and hope it turns out okay. We have to be so focused on what we’re doing and ensuring that each decision is pushing us towards our goals and it holding us back or diverting our attention. Remember, I’m emotional….. not a robot. So this can be pretty hard for me but the planner in me won’t allow me to get too of course. That planner ruling my life also won’t allow me to deal with too many distractions. Too many commitments on my plate fills me with anxiety!!

There’s also nothing more disappointing than to wake up in a new year with the exact same debt, savings account balance, health issue, personal/emotional baggage, & professsional drama that you went to sleep with the year before.

So! If the first half of the year didn’t end too hot, now is the time to adjust a few things and ensure that the year ends before than the first half of the end did!

How can you do that?

1. Dream big & decide what you want! Figure out where you want to be, what you want to accomplish within the next 5 months! Ask the Lord exactly what he wants you to do for the next few months! This question could literally change the direction of your life, but wouldn’t that be amazing?!

2. Make a plan to get there! Work your fanny off to get where you want to be! Start at the end, and work your way backwards! Ask the Lord to show you exactly how he wants you to accomplish what you’re asking him for!! Another life changing question, but one that could yield some pretty incredible results!

3. Discipline yourself! Being able to control ourselves is the only way we will be able to cover ground and continue progressing! Put whatever necessary boundaries and “rules” in place  to make sure you are successful! Whew! Ask the Lord to teach you discipline, to remind you of tasks, and to keep your goals at the forefront of your mind! I promise he will do it!

4. Commit & persist! Commit to your plan, commit to your boundaries. And, recommit every difficult moment and at the start of each new day! Commitment & consistency are the only ways you’re going to end the year better than it started! Ask the Lord to place people around you that will encourage you and support you in going after your dreams! Ask them to hold you accountable!

5. Find an accountability partner! There’s no better way to make sure you’re moving in the right direction than giving someone permission to help you stay on track! Let that person know what your goals are and what you’re struggling with! Then, allow them to walk with you. It’s scary, you’ll have to be vulnerable, but you will also have someone helping you make hard choices and someone to lean on when you need a shoulder. Nothing keeps you moving in the right direction than having to look someone in the eye and answer for moves made that you said you didn’t want to make and that you agreed you wouldn’t! There is no wiggling from underneath that!

6. Celebrate your wins! Big wins deserve big celebrations, but the smaller wins do, too! I mean, without the smaller wins, there wouldn’t be any big ones anyway, right?! Thank the Lord for his guidance, & get ready to start again at number 1 when you smash every single goal that you’ve met!!

I’m so exited about the end of the year and I hope you are, too!! Jotting down my goals and praying deeply for the what, how, &  who!! I don’t know the Lord’s plan, but I do know he’s there already… I know he’s with me now.. and I know everything from now until then will work out for my good and glory!

Today is July 31st……. where will you be on December 31st? Time to revist our goals and adjust our plans to make sure we accomplish those things we dreamed about at the beginning of the year!

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biggest blessing, deepest frustration

I love music. I learn lyrics very quickly and can listen to the same song on repeat for days. Music hits me to my core; not sure if it’s my two years of middle school cello and violin (which I adored), but it stirs my soul.

One of my favorite songs is “Find Rest” by Dara Maclean. It’s a insanely beautiful song (from chords to lyrics) that remind us that in the chaos of life, we are not only capable of fighting (with the Word of God), not only are we protected by our God, but we can also find rest in our God.  One of my favorite lines (I thought) said “…our dreams are yours”, but actually says “the victory is yours”. Anyone else completely destroy lyrics?! lol. Needless to say, we even have victory in Christ. Which actually belongs to him and let me tell it, our dreams (and children) do, too!

When I ‘heard’ our dreams are yours, tears began to fall as I started worshipping in my shower. My very firm belief is that the Lord plants hopes, dreams, goals, and plans in our hearts. We may not fully understand them, we may be afraid of what we are led to do with them, or even mishandle them…but I ultimately believe that those things he gives us are our ‘work’ to do. He gives us a task that will serve others, build up the body, mature our faith, and allow us to encourage one another as we bear each other’s burdens. So for me, when I think of my goals and the things I’d love to accomplish I recognize that they aren’t for me. Reaching those goals and winning those victories would be to the glory of God and the edification, in some way, of his people.

….that sounds great, right? It is. It’s beautiful.

thing is this….. it is so easy for my biggest blessings, joys, and gifts to become my deepest frustrations and sore places! I get so fixated on our goals and plans, the details and ‘need to do’s’, that serving and loving is overshadowed with stress and pride! I forget that the victory is Christ’s, not mine. That when I honor the Lord with my effort, when I work as unto him, and do everything within my power to accomplish what he has given me, all things work together for my good and his glory. YES!!!!! the Lord said he would give us the desires of our hearts (and he will!) and that we are overcomers (we really are!) and that we will receive victory (yeeeesssss!!!) that it’s not actually us who wins! Because of that truth, we can find peace in the Lord and rest in the shadow of his wings. Rest for our broken hearts, for our weary spirits, and new life for our dreams we may have given up on.

We don’t have to be frustrated, worn out, weary, angry, disappointed, envious, or and hopeless because things aren’t going the way we want them to go or people aren’t doing what we want them to do. We forgot that this isn’t our circus. These aren’t our monkeys. This isn’t our plan and our will to be done. We are doing more running than resting. More monitoring that submitting. More dividing than gathering. More complaining than praising because of our perspectives.

We are so consumed with the what than the how
and inn those moments we  are not longer honoring the Lord.

But, it’s so easy, right?!
Becoming frustrated while preparing dinner and attempting to put a decent meal on the table while every single child in your house seems to have completely lost it. for the love, it is easy.
Becoming short tempered and feeling anxious when you’re experiencing complete overwhelm is fathomable when no one seems to appreciate you or even see you.
Acting and speaking in anger when we’ve been hurt deeply. Consistently.

It’s easy and understandable to focus on what is happening, but that’s not where the fight is.

We become irritable, impatient, and so (do you give me permission to  say it?) so self focused that we are missing the Lord working right in front of us, we miss moments how the Lord is putting things together for us. We’re missing moments that are worthy of so much gratitude and praise, we’re missing moments to soften our hearts and really be with our people. We’re missing moments to share the heart and love of Jesus to those who need it most.

I am guilty, guilty, guilty of all of this but I am so thankful that I am forgiven and freed in Christ. That I am called righteous and holy. And, that the Lord continuous to refine me. So grateful for the grace that holds me close, presses me up against him, and urges me to abide so deeply within him. {Blameless by Dara Maclean}

Because I believe that I am a child of God and that his heart is for me, that he cares deeply for every concern that burdens my heart, and that he will provide every single need I have…..

I can rest. I can have peace. I can live joyfully, serve well,
be forgiving, look to the future with hope and joy,
and love all people as Christ loves me.
Because he loves me.

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