Category Archives: Financial

How would you spend it?

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I am fortunate to work in an organization that honors the privilege of sharing weekly devotions.  Wednesdays are the day we, as a building, take 20 minutes to hear from the hearts of people who love to share the gospel, an encouraging word, or my personal preference, a great book.

This week was exceptional in that the devotions were presented by someone who works in the youth department for our division.  He & I share a kindred spirit of entrepreneurship.  You can tell this is intricately woven in his work ethic  &  leadership roles.  It is refreshing to have someone in the 95% realm who reinforces 5% thinking at every level.

I will use an excerpt from his devotion time that adds a twist on a question we routinely ask.  Business as well as our J.O.B.’s require strategic management of our time & resources.  There are so many great books demonstrating  how to organize your time.  “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” enlightened my senses of how time is wasted.  When I served as the Singles Director of our church there was a story that I have never forgotten.  I’m certain it came from a book I used during a Sunday School semester.  The story was told of a man who met an older gentleman still zealous about his life goals.  The older gentleman, I’ll call “Sam,” approached the man, I’ll call “Jake,”  & begin to ask questions about some of his own goals.  Sam told Jake he developed his life goals & wrote them down on an index card. Sam proceeded to pull a tattered, faded, index card out of his wallet. I can remember a few of his goals.  One was to travel the world & to date, Sam had visited several continents & his places of interest many times.  Another was to be financially independent in which Sam had been debt free for years having quite a nice nest egg.  Still another was his health.  Sam asked Jake to guess his age.  I personally suck at this, so I avoid this question at all costs!    Jake guessed a number placing Sam over 20 years younger than his actual age.  Jake was intrigued at Sam’s specific intent in accomplishing his goals & inquired how he did it.  Sam told Jake his system.  Sam takes the index card containing his life goals out daily.  He then looks at his schedule for the day & if one thing doesn’t involve accomplishing his goals, he avoids it.  This discipline, over time, (slight edge!)  has produced the results Sam ventured to gain many, many years before.  At the time of reading that story I had just started my journey as a business owner & that completely blew me away.  I had a crammed, jammed, filled schedule commanding my attention in 14 different areas.  (My number of exaggeration is always 14!! ) Between work, parenting, ministry, business, & an anorexic social life, I was stretched.  Since then, I have learned things will either move you closer to or further away from your goals.  You have the choice.  As Viktor Frankl concluded during his time as a hostage in the concentration camp, between stimulus & response is choice.

What I gather from Sam’s story is that if something doesn’t serve your dreams or goals, don’t entertain it.  I have mentioned this before & it bears repeating…..this even includes toxic relationships.  Please don’t get me wrong or read anything into this.  As humans, these people are valuable in the sight of God.  I respect them as that, love them where they are at, but refuse to allow their influence to infiltrate my life in any way.  I will never be rude or disrespectful, but I will not devote my quality time in their midst.  I have an inner circle of coaches, mentors & leaders who have full reign, while others are peripheral.  I have been a people person all my life, but somehow, this has always been a standard practice for me.


The devotional excerpt I want to conclude with is this:

Everyone has 86,400 seconds in a single day to do what they please.  We know almost a third of that time is taken away for rest during the night, leaving us with 57,600 seconds to spend & like it or not, we are going to spend it.  Sometimes it really helps or motivates us to put things into perspective.  Let me show you what I mean by that.   If these seconds were pennies, & these pennies were given to us each week, you would have $576 dollars per week given to you extra.  If the only rule was that you had to spend those pennies every week, & it didn’t matter how, just as long as you spent them, I’m sure most of use would find a way to do that wouldn’t we?  Everyone knows that you can’t get this time back, in fact, we all know that, but why don’t we seem to care?

Suggestions:

  1. Make a to-do list at the end of each day for tomorrow

    Bryce Canyon National Park

  2. From that list, set your priorities
  3. Question everything. Ask yourself: “Is doing this really important?”
  4. Avoid clutter.  Put things in their proper place.  Keep it simple
  5. Do things with excellence, but avoid perfectionism
  6. Use a calendar. Helps you see the bigger picture
  7. Think about your long-term goals: How does each thing fit with your purpose?
Funny how these coincide with the conversation between “Sam” & “Jake” right?  One of my fav quotes is, “It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is what are we busy about.”-Henry David Thoreau.   We should never confuse activity with productivity.

I can’t speak for you, but Sam’s story resonates within my being these days.  Maybe entering the empty nester phase has spurred me to truly live my dash! There has been too high a price paid for our freedom….the Cross of Calvary, the courage of our founding fathers &  daily defense from our military to continue skirting around accomplishing our purpose.

Blessings,
g

Ephesians 5:15-17 (The Message)

  11-16Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.
Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!

17Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.


Should’ve, Could’ve, Would’ve or Live a L.I.F.E. of Zero Regrets!

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For all my girlfriends who will celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend & for those who are surrounded by people they love,(well… this should totally cover everyone right? ) this post is dedicated to you!

We live busy lives & should never equate busyness to productivity.  When I divorced, I used to work 3 jobs in order to support my kids & I missed quite a bit during the years between 1994-2004.   I was labeled as a “survivor” & knew no other way of doing things.  In all honesty, was it really worth it?  What did I accomplish? Who benefited from it?  The choices I made forced me into doing what I did.  I didn’t have a mentor who could advise me otherwise.  I can’t use that excuse either, because there are plenty of books I could’ve read leading me to making better choices.  The funny thing was that when I decided to move from Louisiana to Texas, I left that mindset behind. I worked 1 job, become heavily involved in ministry & enjoyed my time with Bryce, who was still at home.  I attempted to spend as much time with Summer & her family during the year as well.  My life at this point was busier than ever, but I was doing the things I loved.

change & leave the old behind

What changed?  One little book.  Seriously. All my life, in the depths of my being, I longed for more.  I knew I would never be satisfied with status quo.  I was a dreamer from as far back as I remember.  The vehicle I thought would magically make those dreams come true, nursing, was not it.  I was hungry for more.  During the worst trial of my life, (well…one of the worst trials), a friend gave me one book.  Not money, not another job, not a pat on the head promising prayer, although I knew they would pray with/for me.  The book was “Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.” It revolutionized my life.  I won’t elaborate on the path it lead me to, but let’s just say I became a hungry student & changed some things in my life.

We can prioritize our lives or live our priorities.  I truly believe in living a life of Zero Regrets!  My BFF, Glenda, sent this post from Erma Bombeck in an email & I’m sure it’s been read plenty of times.  The strange thing about the human psyche is that we can read something over & over before it resonates with us. When my other BFF, Joy, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 42, it made me realize again that while we can’t  know what our future holds, we can know the one who holds our future.

“When I was a child my mom used to tell me, “Someday”  we will take that trip, do this or that, etc.  I went to our calendar & asked her where the day “Someday” was because I couldn’t find it.” – Tina Rasmussen 

“Somedays”  do not come printed on our calendars.  We have to write them in ourselves.  Don’t be so busy making a living that you forget to make a life or make a difference in the lives of others.

Enjoy the words below & maybe do what I had to do…..evaluate your life. No…that is not a typo!  You can’t re-evaluate your life until you have evaluated it first right?   I can only pray that when the day comes & finds you reminiscent of your past, you will smile knowing you changed what you needed to change, discarded toxic relationships, forgave quickly, loved deeply & now welcome eternity.  

Blessings in L.I.F.E. = Living Intentionally For Excellence!

g

IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER – by Erma Bombeck 
(written after she found out she was dying from cancer)

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day. 

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage. 

I would have talked less and listened more. 

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded. 

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’  living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace. 

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth. 

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband. 

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed. 

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains. 

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life. 

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime. 

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle…

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later… Now go and get washed for dinner.” There would have been more, “I love you’s” &  More “I’m sorry’s.”

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it .. Live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!

Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what.
Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us… 

Preparation + Opportunity=Successful Singles

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        Out of curiosity I typed the word, “Singles” in my browser & came back with about 244,000,000 results relating to the word.  Guess what the majority of the sites were?  Dating!  There is a saying, ” Success = Preparation + Opportunity.”  This post will not address dating, but being a successful single business owner.  I want to discuss that in-between time!  I have found this is the greatest season to seize the opportunity  to prepare in every area of life.

         If you are single building a home based biz by yourself, I commend you more than you could ever imagine.  While I am in business for myself, I have never, ever felt like I’m in business by myself.  I have been blessed from the beginning to be surrounded by the most incredible, dedicated & devoted mentors, life coaches & best friends one could ever dream of.  I have an equation;  1 x 0 = 16  + 1000’s.  This is my support system as a single adult in a professional networking business.

 “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecc.4:12

  

The worst excuse anyone could  possibly  allow themselves to believe is that this profession is only successful for married couples.  I approach it as being enrolled in the most prestigious university ever established!  My degree upon graduation? A changed life – MINE!  Let’s explore some areas of life that you, like myself,  have the potential of expanding.  How does this profession prepare you for life in general or even potentially being married?  Being immersed in a world-class, ongoing educational training system has allowed me the opportunity to expand my thinking in the following areas:

  1. Relationships / Marriage:  Learn about how marriage should be.  This is such a blessing to observe couples who make their marriage a priority.  During my season of being a singles director, I studied & taught on relationships. Had I actually practiced this during marriage……Uh… never-mind!    Being deluged in a culture passionate about changing the rate of divorce in our nation, has forced me to take this study to an entirely different level.  Knowing communication is a huge factor in marriage, I am continually learning how to develop excellent communicative skills.  The four personality types + five love /apology languages = how you respond to  accepting, approving & appreciating people for who they are & who they can become.  I have always loved to talk & loved people.  This is totally different! Did you know that listening is an integral facet of communication?  Yea, it really is!  
  2. Wealth thinking:  Knowing  that divorce can occur because of financial stress caused from our inabilities to live below our means, not practicing delayed gratification & having  the absence of long term vision, I am getting a well-rounded education on finances.  See it’s not merely teaching someone how to make money, but how to keep it & make it work for you that creates wealth.  How reassuring will it be to a potential mate knowing I already know how to manage my finances, set & reach goals for rewards & invest wisely.  Have you noticed the prices of silver & gold lately?  Are you aware of what happened historically when this occurred? Did I ever care before?  No!  Knowing the pieces of the puzzle conventional education never taught me allows me to feel empowered.  
  3. Politically:  The thought of what is happening in our nation politically is not just something I can join a group & picket against.  When you are financially stable, independently wealthy, surrounded by a million-strong, like-minded, forward thinking culture of people,  you will naturally make a difference.  This is often done without voicing your opinion, but letting your light shine before man in living by example.  I love the saying, “What you do speaks so loudly, what you say I can’t hear.”  Leadership is influence.  I am no longer straddling the fence on what I believe politically.  I am interested in what is transpiring on every level & am willing to do my part which, by the way, is more than casting a vote during election time.  Don’t get me wrong, I sincerely thank everyone for doing that, but freedom ensures a voice not limited to electoral seasons.  Do you think a potential mate would feel honored to have a someone who is not oblivious to this scene?

        There are so many other areas of potential growth that can take place during your season of singleness.  This is the greatest time &  opportunity to practice edification & promotion because you are constantly doing so with your mentors.  Remember the principle of sowing & reaping? Partnering with a mentor offers a tremendous accountability & leverage system.  Everything you partake of during this time, do so with all your heart, for you will reap an abundant harvest!  “If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.”- Isaac Newton

        I believe building a business as a single adult will be a catalyst for married couples.  It will help them be even more determined when they see your success!  You will instill hope to an entire generation of single adults, not limited to age or economic status related groups.  This season of your life exemplifies community–common unity–because you are continually forced to practice interdependence. I know this is totally opposite of what corporate America teaches, but the results will be totally opposite as well!  

        I have 3 “IT” factors that I stand by daily while building as a single woman. It was originally reserved for stage, but since all the world is my stage…I will share! 

  1. Subm”IT” to a mentor. Not just any mentor!  Find one that has the fruit on the tree, operates with the principles of character & integrity holding the bar high for you.  Finding a mentor who will not only love you where you are, but also love you into YOUR future is priceless.  Etch goals in stone, write plans in sand & PDCA with them on a regular basis.  
  2. Perm”IT” that mentor to speak into your life.  If your mentor is anything like mine, you will have more positive spoken over you than any point in time.  Who couldn’t use this? The more you understand the position your mentor assumes in your life, your family, your dream, while it may seem they are strong with their advice, you will embrace it.   Remember….the uniform of a leader is thick skin & a soft heart.  Permitting your mentor to offer strategies that pattern interrupt the things that are holding you back is vital to your success.  
  3. Comm”IT” to your dreams.    “Nothing happens unless first a dream” – C. Sandburg –  If you don’t have a cause bigger than your applause, you will never build a biz.  If your purpose isn’t bigger than your  paycheck, you will never build a biz. Setting a goal to make enough money to pay your house or car note is not big enough.  That can be accomplished by working OT or acquiring a second job.  Your dream has to be so big, the only way it can be accomplished is to work with others to reach it.  Search your heart & find what makes you almost cry when you think about it.  This is a great start in locating your passion. Guess what happens?  Once you learn the dreams of others & become so determined in helping them accomplish theirs, you wake up only to  realize….your dreams have been fulfilled too!!  I’ll never forget when that switch was made in my heart.   It changed my life.  Big dreams are imperative, but it’s extremely important to set dreams incrementally in order to build trust within yourself.  Once you accomplish a dream or goal, reward yourself & raise the bar.  People quit in life & in business all the time &  >90% of the time it is because they’ve never located a dream that was big enough to drive them out of their comfort zone. Complacency will always welcome them home to mediocrity.   A great piece of advice….“Build your dream, not your business.” – Laurie Woodward 
        I believe in you & I believe our nation is waiting for us to rise up & show them what we are made of!  One of my recent fav quotes: Caterpillars to butterflies; sand to pearls; coal to diamonds….It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish that counts!”  I love that each of these examples overcame adversity, enormous pressure, & irritating obstacles in becoming brilliant, beautiful, priceless, sought after works of art!!  You are such a piece of art masterfully created by God Himself to accomplish a purpose & destiny only you can fulfill. 

Blessings,
g

I bid you STAND!

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Had to work late tonight & miss one of the most important days of the week to me–Tuesday night at the office.  A night where we gather together with one vision & in one accord to declare freedom to the captives of the industrial age or the 45 yr. plan!   Some may think this is a waste of time.  You don’t know what you don’t know, right?  They are the ones that have accepted the way of philosophy where we went to school, made good grades, got a secure job & worked for someone else’s dream.  I, somehow, have always thought this was the most absurd thought anyone could ever hold over me.  From a child I had “Dreams” of greatness.   I would sit for hours & “dream” with my sister.  I must admit, they were mostly about Donny Osmond, but….nevertheless….I never saw myself as “normal.”  The town I grew up in  had what I describe as “city limit mentality.”  Generations lived & died in the same house.  Some never left the state of Louisiana. Serious!   Somehow God blessed me & I never developed that mentality.  I have not only traveled out of the state of Louisiana, but many amazing places!

From the time I can remember, I said the same prayer every night while gazing toward the heavens. “God I thank you for who I was, who I am, & who I’m going to be.”  Years I prayed this never knowing the power of this one prayer.  How could I thank God for who I was?  A simple country girl, baby of the family, who possessed the power of a dream?  How could I thank God for who I am?  A popular student in high school, who had the boldness & tenacity to stand up to any opposition?  How could I thank God for who I was going to be?  A statistic? Pregnant in high school, married, divorced, married, divorced & a single mom for now 17 yrs?  Or….How could I thank God for who I was going to be?  A successful entrepreneur who longs to give hope to millions?  How could I?  The same way I have lived daily! With the KNOWING of who I am, & whose I am.  The person with an insatiable dream!

You may feel like you are simply going through the motion of every day life, but my friend, I have great news for you!!!  Your life  doesn’t have to be this way.  You see, I made a choice at a very early age.  My choice, unbeknown to me,  was to  never  accept what I saw others do as a way I should live my life.  I left a safe, secure, career to discover what God had for me.  Was it scary?  I have to admit, YES!  It was in those times, I reached further for my Father’s hand & listened ever more intently to His guiding voice.

There are seeds of greatness in all of us.  Seeds, that once watered, could be the inspiration to spread to someone less fortunate.  Seeds, that once watered, could be like the mighty oak.  Once a tiny acorn, now giving shade to generations of humans, animal life, & nutrients  to  an underground ecosystem existence we never see.

I felt drawn for some strange reason to watch an all time fav movie of mine.  One I fought for years to accept, but now can quote it.  Lord of the Ring, Return of the King.  I won’t go into the detail of what this movie series means to me, but understand, I love it for the right reasons.

There are a few scenes that I inspires me every time I watch it.  One is when the King of Rohan tells his warriors how to attack the “Elophants.”  As he shouts, “Bring it down, bring it down, bring it down!” I can’t help but think of what enemies we face on a daily basis that can be brought down by our strategic attack.  NOT a physical attack, but completely by the Spirit of  the Living God.  Then….my favorite part of the trilogy is when King Aragorn is addressing the troops at the Black Gate.  His speech is so totally inspirational to me.

Here it is: “Hold your ground!”  “I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.  A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends & break all bonds of fellowship, but it is NOT this day.  An hour of wolves & shattered shields, when the Age of Men comes crashing down, but it is NOT this day.” This day we FIGHT!” By all you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you STAND….”


There is something so powerful about that speech.  They are facing the last of the enemy, knowing they could very well be defeated.  Until the very end, he, Aragorn the King, as a leader,  empowers his people.

Of course, those that know the trilogy, knows Frodo Baggins  & Samwise Gamgi destroys the ring.   Let me ask you a question?  What enemy are you facing that is just accepted?  Hidden? Who are you bowing to that you have absolutely no  reason to bow?   Never bow to man, only bow the King of Kings!

The “King” has given you power over all the enemy.  Again, bow to no one!  All power & authority has been given to you, so STAND!  Express total humility, extend a hand of hope & courage, & together…face the enemy.

Somehow, this part of the trilogy has an entirely different meaning.  I have watched the eyes, the true attack, the victory!   Fifteen months passed & to their friends & family they were merely neighbors.  To the outside world,  they were heroes.  Sound familiar?  If not….my friend, you are not in the battle for anyone.  I can only feel sad for you now.

I walk daily with men & women who endeavor to make this their quest.  I applaud them, encourage them & bid them…..STAND!!!  Leaders who stand up, stare into the face of  their Goliaths & declare, “NOT THIS DAY!”

“How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand, there is no going back?”   I ask this question all the time.  The answer?  I have nowhere to go.  I don’t EVER  want to go back!  Those years of staring into the heavens in prayerful thought forever changed the course of my life.  Not only changed the course of my life, but challenge me daily to help others alter the course of theirs.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going”  or “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything” are all too familiar quotes. I know this may have seemed like a silly movie adventure, but…..it goes much deeper.  There are people waiting for you to exercise bravery & courage.  They are praying for an answer & the answer could be YOU!

 


Write your own story, illustrate it well, but don’t forget to include others in your journey.

“The last pages are left blank for you to write your own story.”  What are you waiting on?

Enjoy the journey,

Blessings,

g

The Theory of Forced Associations

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During a meeting this week my mentor mentioned something that got me to thinking.  He explained that while he was in Jr. High School, lockers were assigned alphabetically.  The names P-S were in his group. To date, he is still friends with those guys & best friends with one of them.  They were forced to associate because of random locker assignments.  Did it end with just a mere friendship over unlocking a lock?  There were kindred spirits at play as well.  Both guys, Kirk Porter & Raffaele Recchia were entrepreneurs.  From buying candy in bulk & selling it at school,  to buying old cars that would be used in movies, they were always looking at alternative income sources.  Both were from Michigan & if I’m not mistaken, Kirk’s dad was transferred to the General Motors plant in Arlington, Texas.  Does the theory of forced associations end in Jr. High?  The cool part is that it actually affected my life.

Kirk marries a Texan girl, Nicole.  They start a family, build a house in Ovilla, Tx,  & attend The Oaks Fellowship in Red Oak.  In 2004, I moved from Louisiana to Texas.  At the time of my move, I knew one family  in Texas. One. In an attempt to find an awesome youth group for my son, Bryce, we began attending The Oaks.  There were three classes suggested that all newcomers, who are interested in leadership positions at The Oaks, attend.  One was a 13 week course, Discovering Your Purpose.  Time progressed,  & during the course of attending church on Sunday & Wednesday, my sphere of knowing only one family increased & I had made several friends.  Who do you think was taking that same class?  Kirk & Nicole Porter.  To this day, I remember our last class.  An assignment was given to us to stand up in front of the class, read our spiritual gifts test results, match it to our passion & explain how the intertwining of each would place us in a ministry.  I still have that paperwork & love to read over it again & again as a reminder of how far my journey has evolved.  Many people spoke of teaching Sunday School, being involved in Missions, & various other awesome ministries.

I will never forget the look on the faces of people as I stated mine.  My bold & confident speech went  like this, “My spiritual gifts are administration & discernment. Prophecy & prayer are also among the highest scores.  My passion is for single parents.  If you were to cut my heart open, you would find that each beat would be beating for a single parent.  My determined purpose is to fill stadiums of single adults, both nationally and internationally, instructing, equipping & empowering  them  how to survive as a single adult.”  By this time, jaws dropped & stares intensified!  I continued, “I want single adults to know they are not alone & do not have to feel alienated in what could be the greatest season of their lives.”  I thanked everyone &  sat down.

Kirk presented for he & Nicole.  He mentioned that they were interested in missions, street evangelism, church planting. Because of his background, he wanted to be the best dad & husband he could be.  It was emotional for him, & became emotional for us as well.  Thirteen weeks of forced associations, learning together, created a bond.  We wanted what everyone wanted.  We encouraged & supported each other to be the best at where their passion would lead them.

Did the theory of forced associations end at a required class?  Well, no!  Kirk & Nicole became Small Group Directors & I became the Singles Director.  Because of our church leadership structure & the fact that I taught a Small Group…we were “forced” to interact on a regular basis.  Mutual respect was established, as well as friendship.  In 2006 Raffaele entered the scene again.  I love him for being the faithful friend he is & I am forever grateful for forced associations!  Raffaele had discussed with the Porters’ about this internet business he was doing.  He sent info to them in the form of audio recordings.  He then came from Michigan to Texas for a visit. On the last day of this visit, being pressed by Kirk, he explained the business to them.  Being the ambitious people they are, Kirk & Nicole soared immediately!  Shortly after becoming biz partners with Raffaele, they exposed me to the opportunity.  We have been partners since September 2006 & my life has forever changed. You see…I moved from Louisiana because I was looking for something different.  In 2003 I had been given the book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, by the one and only person I knew in Texas.   Imagine that! See…..success occurs when preparation & opportunity meet. Lease Purchase Real Estate was the catalyst for me, a single mom, to forever leave behind my Louisiana family & life-long friends, walk away from a lifetime nursing career & move to a state knowing only one family.  God knew all along that the theory of forced associations would come into play.  I call it divine appointments, divine connections & supernatural relationships!

Bible scholars see thin, scarlet threads intricately woven throughout the Bible.  Read how a harlot saving a disciple is mentioned in the Hebrews “Hero Hall of Faith.”  How a widow clinging to her mother in law,  gleaning wheat of a prominent man, led the lineage of Jesus.  Joseph who being sold into slavery, put into prison, & interpreting dreams of a King, led to saving his family & the nation.  Many times forced associations aren’t pleasant, but the reward is beyond description.

At this point, I encourage you to look deeply at the associations in your life.  Are they helping you move closer to or further away from your passion & purpose? In the past several years, I have shed lots of weight. Weight in the form of associations with people who do not contribute to my purpose in life.  People, who if allowed, would have sucked the life out of me.  Does this sound cruel to you?  It may, but my heart continues to beat for single adults & there are stadiums to fill.  Because of other professional associations I have submitted to,  I can show them how they can not just merely survive, but thrive in a community as a single adult, while paying the gift of life forward .  My life purpose is to hear amazing words from my Father, not hang my head in regrets because I neglected to embrace the thin scarlet threads He has woven in my life.

I am eternally grateful for Kirk & Nicole Porter.  I have watched Kirk, not only be an amazing dad & husband, but be a mentor to men across the globe, encouraging them to do the same.  Nicole is a beautiful, amazing women of strength & influence.  They are my best friends, yet I continually allow them to be my mentors. Who knew alpha-assigning lockers would lead to associating with world leaders, building successful  communities, transforming so many lives, creating so many friendships & embracing so many dreams?  Only Jehovah God Almighty! In February 2007, during a Leadership Convention held in the St. Louis Ram Stadium, Nicole turned to me & said, “Here’s your stadium!”  To this moment, it brings tears to my eyes knowing at any moment I could have missed this opportunity.

Let me ask you a question? Who in your life could have such an impact? Life is precious & I urge you not to waste another second until you find them.  But … I will push one step further & encourage YOU to be that person to someone!

Blessings,

g

Thrift store, book club & Déjà Vu

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This weekend was a whirlwind, but very productive.  Not really anything significant. I didn’t jet set across the planet or anything spectacular except that life is just amazing to me & I love to share it!

Saturday after attempting to sleep past 6am., I managed to quickly catch up on email, FB, Twitter, etc.  My goal was to shop for furniture, go to the TEAM Maximus Ladies book club event, tour multi-million dollar mansions in Southlake & find my new farmers market.  Sunday would hold its own as the primary focus was driving to church in Red Oak from Dallas for the first time!

I live in the very prestigious design district of Dallas.  Shops align the streets with antiques, house furnishings & art.  I needed practical, functional, & frugal.  I recently visited a hotel liquidation center in Lancaster, TX.  I remember meeting the woman helping us out.  We met at Zulas, a small, quaint cafe in Waxahachie for open mic nite months ago.  As I mentioned to her I was moving to downtown Dallas, she insisted I visit their location in the design district.  She almost refused to let me look at anything there.  I had ventured throughout the entire warehouse prior to talking to her.  I had to constantly remind myself to breath in an attempt not to hyperventilate b/c of all the clutter.  Floor to ceiling things were stacked.  My perfectionism & what few suppressed traits of melancholy I have immediately envisioned organizing the entire warehouse.  I took my friend’s advice & their downtown location was where I went. It is even conveniently located a couple of blocks from my loft.  Sweet!  Sherry was right.  The better stuff is there, it is more organized & not dusty at all.  The great thing is that she promised I would get the other warehouse pricing, even though it was their prime location.  I searched intently for what I needed for my small loft space. I found a sleeper sofa, an occasional chair, a green marble top dining table, two ornate black dining chairs & four silk throw pillows.  I have very eclectic taste to begin with, & wanted something that would fit the loft.  Everything I selected was purchased from The Mansion, an elite Dallas hotel.   It wasn’t my red leather couch, but I got everything I needed for the price of that one leather couch!  Delayed gratification won again!

The book club was next. We met in the Tea Room of the Decorators Warehouse, in Arlington, TX.  Knowing my addiction to Christmas decorations, this was a huge challenge in itself just meeting there!  The book we discussed nationwide throughout our team was, What To Say When You Talk To Yourself.  If you have not read this book, you simply must & re-read it yearly.  For years we have heard how life & death, blessing & cursing is in the power of the tongue.  This book takes it on a more personal, practical level & is beyond necessary.  It is just something about studying a book, discussing it with a group of phenomenal women & knowing we are growing together.  I left the Warehouse without a single decoration.  This was a miracle!

Casa Montecito

We then convoyed to Southlake to tour the Kaleidoscope of Homes.  It was the twentieth year of hosting such amazing works of art.  I say art b/c I respect & admire the builders, designers, video systems crews, landscapers, etc. for every ounce of contribution they had in these homes.  Of course I squealed quite a bit!  While the last house, Casa Montecito, was my favorite,

Villa Siena

the second house we toured, Villa Siena, took the cake when it came to interior design.  Every square inch was decorated in fleur-de-lis, Tuscan & even some Parisian touches.  Even the dog house was fleur-de-lis bling.  I didn’t want to leave!  While walking upstairs in the hall the strangest thing happened.  I looked at a nook that appeared to be a study or just a private area & was instantly taken back to a dream I had in 1997 or 1998.  It was a Deja Vu moment in time.

The house in my dream was preternatural  & I still remember it very vividly.  Since it occurred, I think of it often as I had just done this past week.  It is definitely an “elephant snack” on a regular basis.  The dream began with the winding drive way leading curvaceously uphill, extremely landscaped & beautiful.  The entry was indescribable.  I adore portico entrances & the house was an exquisite four-story estate.  I had prominent guests staying with me & I had specifically prepared the fourth floor suite just for them.  As I was walking them to the elevator, I passed through an almost secret room where I prayed, studied & spent quite a bit of quiet time.  The room was amazing!  It was flooded with light from a wall of windows.  The room was filled with plants & life, such as birds & aquariums of beautifully colored fish.  My bible & journal were open on a table.  As I walked through the room in my dream, in my mind I said, ” This is my room? This is such a beautiful space. Just for me? How amazing this room is!”   I took my guests to the entry of the elevator.  They were awestruck at the house too!

Years later, I am touring a home in Southlake, TX & that scene was as if it were just happening.  The room wasn’t exactly like the one in the dream, but in my spirit, I felt that same feeling. You see,  for more years than I would like to admit,  I have dreamed of the unbelievable & impossible.  I didn’t know how it would happen, all I knew was that it would come to existence.  I sincerely believe dreams are the language of the spirit & that dream in particular, has never left my memory.  It will become a reality & I believe now more than ever.  When I dreamt it I was working three jobs in nursing & clearly didn’t have the vehicle to make it come to pass short of marrying a prince!  I have the vehicle to make it happen–with or without the prince!

Next time I bring my own bags!

After leaving such an incredible tour I drove back to Dallas to find my new farmers market.  I had one hour to familiarize myself with the store & get what I needed.  It is wonderful!  Upon leaving, the security guard was very conversive.  I even noticed a Fiesta grocery store across the street.  I LOVE Fiesta, but since I am more organic, I am satisfied with the Newflower Farmers Market on Henderson Street.

Today Pastor Scott was beyond anointed in his message concerning Peace-vs-Fear.  I highly encourage to stream this message as soon as it is available, as will I.  It was like a blast from my past with the “In Christ” message, but oh so powerful.  His cousin, Matt Wilson sang his song, Press On, recorded & birthed from a time when he needed the message desperately.  I wished each of you could have heard that song live!  Listen to the song on his radio spot.  In the moment, it was moving.

Lunch was in the Dallas Farmers Market Shed 2!  Home to unpack even more.

Why do I even bother share these petty happenings of a weekend?  Sometimes when you are in the muck & mire of life, you need to be reminded it is the simple things that bring most joy.  Life is happening all around you.  Please don’t be so caught up in the routine ruts that soon will find you buried in mediocrity.  Explore, change your decor, join a book club, tour million dollar mansions, but most of all….DREAM BIG!

One important thing happened today.  During the beginning

Praying for the 'Hachie Indians

of service, Scott asked us to turn to our neighbor & confess our greatest fear.  I turned to mine & said, “my greatest fear is failing.” He was taken by surprise & didn’t know how to even comprehend it. I said what I feared most was not becoming the woman God purposed me to become.  Scott mentioned the fear of failure a few minutes later therefore validating my mention.

Some of the greatest quotes are:

1.  Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life.-Bertolt Brecht.

2. Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather fear that is shall never have a beginning.- John Henry Cardinal Newman.

3. Our greatest fear should not be failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.

4. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.-Nelson Mandela

What is your greatest fear, biggest dream, deepest desire? Overcome the fear with the peace of God, cultivate your biggest dreams, pursue your deepest desire & allow it to grow!

Blessings,

g





















The “bag” that bites you in the butt! Or…does it?

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Wow!  That is the extent of my vocabulary today!  I know that is hard to conceive right?  Grab your cup of tea & enjoy my recap of the last 7 days of my life.

It appears I have fallen off the face of the earth in just one week!  My baby, my only son, Bryce got married one week ago today!  The normal activities that surround a wedding are enough in itself.  This,however, wasn’t enough for me.  Let’s explore!

Approximately a yr. & a half  ago I decided I HAD to move to downtown Dallas.  I have been in love with the city line since moving to Texas in ’04, but something triggered a desire to live right smack dab in the middle of the mecca. I started “courting” the dream by scoping out apartment complexes I liked.  I narrowed it to loft living & focused there.  Commuting via DART bus lines allowed me the ability to ride around the downtown streets observing normal daily activities at their finest.  I loved the city!

The past seven days have proved to be most grueling, yet I know the grace & mercy of God has encapsulated me.  Goodness surely followed me!  In my quest of finding said loft, I began the search in March ’10.  Bryce proposed to Sara thereafter & thus begun their wedding plans.  I have no clue why each of my past moves have been down to the wire, but….I will change that the next time!

Knowing I was moving to Dallas, we purposed Bryce would be out in Sept. giving him at least a month to get set up before his wedding.  Circumstances such as working in one city & going to church in another were factors to consider.  Finding an apartment within a budget located in a safe zone were others.  It made sense to me to live in the place you worked in 5 dys a week & commute to church.  This of course became their choice.  Their apartment was secured the Monday prior to their wedding on Saturday.  Whew…

William, Bryce’s best man & BFF since 3rd. grade decided to move to Texas from Louisiana.  His search began a few months ago.  His apartment was secured the Tuesday after the wedding.  Both guys now had their own place.

This left me!  Let’s backtrack a minute. A few yrs. ago I decided to purchase a historic home in downtown Waxahachie.  She was a beautiful 104 yrs. old lady listed on the Historic Register.  The problem occurred when the owner stopped making payments to Country Wide Finance the month I moved in. I paid $1300/mon. thinking it was going to the finance company in hopes it would be considered a “down payment” when I secured financing.  When I found out my payments were not going to said finance company, they suggested, since they had never received payments for almost an entire year, that I stop making payments to owner, & look elsewhere.  I did.  I stayed in the house for a few months longer in an attempt to recoup some of my loss, searched for a new place, &  plotted revenge.   We all know  vengeance  belongs to God, so….just let him take care of it!  In the meantime, the owner secured an attorney & charged me with eviction. Since he was prominent in our community, I had actually exposed his antics to his employer so…it was more to shut me up than kick me out!  I confess…I am not perfect & need to practice conflict resolution regularly! Eviction court was the time I should have defended myself, but never having been evicted before, I just left him holding the bag.  The only problem was the “bag” would later bite me in the butt!

When I narrowed my 7 month search for lofts down to the one community  I “had”  to live in, I wasn’t approved!  What?  How is this possible?   I resorted to my second  fav.  I was again honest, put on my app I was asked to move & yes….it happened again.  This time I found out why.  The eviction reared its head!  I then asked for a referral to someone who could help me & voila…I am writing from my new loft!  Glad I know how to ask for referrals right?

The referral led me to a locator who just needed the facts.  I gave them & she would begin working.   How embarrassing & shame ridden right?  Wrong!  You have to know that what Satan uses to destroy you, God will ultimately use it for your good!  Remember Goodness who was following me?  During the wedding weekend,  I spoke to the  locater assigned to help me  & told her exactly what I wanted.  Just because the facts changed, my dream was the same & I was not willing to compromise.  Monday after the wedding, Summer, Russell, Lilli, Kaelleb & I visited the Dallas World Aquarium & the locater called me with 3 properties to consider.  One property I had completely overlooked until literally just 2 wks. ago when I accidentally saw it from the interstate.  After noticing it, I drove to it after work the same day & then searched their site on the web.  I was very familiar with it when she asked if I knew anything about it.  Coincidence?  Never!  While in downtown on Monday, after pics with the cows, I attempted to show Summer & Russell the 3 choices of properties.  Russell cracked me up over his description of one of them!  They both liked the “overlooked” one. Tuesday, Summer left for home & I met the locator, viewed the loft, & secured it all in the same day.  Did this happen in one day?  No….you see, remember I had been searching since March?  I knew lofts by then & knew what I wanted. Was it because I was desperate? No…I could have stayed in Waxahachie.  I wasn’t homeless!  This was the result of effort exerted over time coming to fruition or Slight Edge mentality!

This is the sweet part of grace!  Due to the timing of my move, & favor with my landlord, I only paid half a month at my old place. The new loft cost me all of $322 to move in as compared to $1100 + that the first 2 would have.   They completely waived the deposit as opposed to $245-$500,or higher b/c of my “history.”  I get $200 off my first months rent (which I chose Nov). They  re-adjusted the rent down $20/month b/c the closet lay out was weird, but will double rack my shelving.  I have free water & trash,  free WiFi , free parking (unless I want covered),  live in a gated community where people work & live in some of the lofts.  They are located in the Design District, which may be a problem for me due to the number of antique stores!  The savings are terrific.  The loft manager said mine was the smoothest transaction he had ever witnessed.  Imagine that? God completely worked in my favor.  I was a victim of someones greed.  God’s grace is bigger than any accusations or eviction. What appeared hopeless, turned into a miracle.

On yet another note…when God gives you friends with a discerning spirit…trust them.  Without knowing I wasn’t approved for the first loft, my BFF, Glenda, was thinking of me living in & coming to visit me in Dallas.  Suddenly she felt concerned for my safety living near Deep Ellum.  Coincidence?  Again…never.  She told me this after I mentioned not being approved.

Where are we?  Oh…the  movers came on Thurs which was another scenario in itself.  Thank God for people skills!  See… I have graduated from using friends to help me move. I was saving time & frustration this time by hiring a moving company rather than employing day labor & getting the blessed Penske truck.  In the end…it worked out to…..yes my favor!  When you have 40 boxes over,  plus extra furniture not listed in the contract…. negotiation skills are a must!  And….he, the mover, happened to leave a dolly which allowed me to unload my car with ease after my final trip.  He also wants to take me out to eat seafood….we will see about that one!

I hired a make-ready crew to clean my old place.  That in itself was worth the price. Yes, I live a very frugal lifestyle & practice delayed gratification daily, but when you understand the value of your time, you make decisions based on that.

In summary….for me the past seven days have been completely overwhelming.  Not the wedding or the visit from my babies of course!  This is the first move ever without assistance from my son, his buddies & a host of friends.  I am, as usual, indebted to Joy & Jadalynn for their support.  Let me clarify so no one reading this thinks I was abandoned!  Bryce was on his honeymoon & in an attempt to save money, I moved during the week on a Thurs while my friends were at work.  I put my big girl panties on & dealt with it! I am super glad I did….it is storming outside today.  Again….never a coincidence!

Never let the circumstances of your past paralyze the dreams of your future.  I wanted downtown Dallas.  I did it!  I am here!  Not in the center, which is probably the best choice ever, but across the interstate from it, actually walking distance from the AAC!

When you put your trust in an unseen God, walk by faith & not by sight, you will be amazed at what will unfold before your very eyes.  I am blessed beyond measure! My first night in my new home I ate Fuel City Tacos with the downtown city scape as my view.  I did it!

Those that know me, know the scripture below is the one I stand on daily!

Blessings,

g

Is. 61: 7 Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, & instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; & so they will inherit a double portion in their land,
& everlasting joy will be theirs.

Blonde antics @ laundromat or mission field? You decide!

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How many times have you been somewhere that wasn’t so pleasant at the time, but in end, you realize it was an ordained, divine connection?  Pastor Scott commissioned us Sunday to pray for divine appointments.  For what seems like an eternity, I have prayed simply for God to daily provide me with divine appointments, divine connections & supernatural relationships.  Eons or eternity…which ever one is longer, this has been my prayer. Why? I don’t know…maybe there is someone I can connect with that just needs a word of encouragement, assistance in decision making, a creative thought assessment, or just a friend.

My Sunday evening was nothing glamorous as I had put off going to the laundromat long enough.  This is sad to confess, but I ran out of underwear, bought more & ran out of those so I had to go.  You see, my washer & dryer died & knowing I was moving into a loft that included one, I wasn’t spending money to repair or purchase a new one.  They have both served me well so…it is probably time to retire them to the W/D graveyard.  RIP!

This particular trip made me not only look like a total blonde, but a klutz as well.  I wagged in  3 huge baskets containing my feather bed, comforter, clothes, towels, etc.,  in preparation for my move.  Well…& clean underwear!  Bryce had my card so I walk to the attendant to purchase another one.  She said she would use hers since I actually had one.  I was trying those new detergent sheets that had everything in them, but being anal with my fabric softener, I brought extra.  Knowing I wanted to bleach my feather (down) bed, I purchased color safe liquid bleach too.  After lining up the mondo size front loaders and 2 of the other front loaders, I began loading them up.  Good so far.  I read the instructions for pouring the liquids in compartments A,B,C,& D as I have done EVERY single time I have used them before.  After filling up the 2nd. mondo one, I realized I had poured bleach in the fabric softener and fabric softener in the detergent one.  There was no “D” compartment!  I go back to the attendant to see if she had a step stool so I can scoop the liquid out.  In the meantime, a fella was washing his clothes & we began to chat.  I mentioned I was moving to downtown Dallas since I had wanted to for a few years now.  He mentioned he was raised there, but now lives in Red Oak, TX. We talked Louisiana, Cajun food, broken washing machines, jobs, Cowboys, what he was grilling for supper, etc.  He helped me in my attempt to scoop out the mixed liquids.  Just a laundromat chat right?  If you never pray for divine appointments, that is just what you get.

As this fella was leaving, I walked to his vehicle to thank him for helping me. I shook his hand, formally introduced myself &  informed him that our church, The Oaks Fellowship, has committed specifically to pray over Red Oak, TX. this next week.  Since he lived there, he would be indirectly prayed for. I mentioned we were praying for people who needed jobs, marriages to be restored, relationships to be mended, healing for the sick, etc.   He had a shocked, yet speechless look on his face.  I turned & walked away.  His name is Adam.  Adam is on my list to pray for this week.

I went inside to wash my hands & fill my water bottle, locked the door behind me & have no clue if they had a key.  A few minutes later I could hear someone knocking in an attempt to find out if someone was in there.  I sank on the couch….

Next…..55 minutes later, it was time to “rotate” the laundry as my friend Kayline calls it.  I loaded my dryers & there was yet another attendant.  I told her our deal & somehow we began to converse.  EB is a widow after being married for 42 yrs. She is entering the work field after many years of just doing part-time employment at the laundromat.  Her husband died of cancer, she is a powerful woman of faith & believes in holistic medicine & natural cures.  She is still grieving, but knows Jesus is with her.  I quoted my fav scripture about the Lord, my maker, being my husband now for 17 years.  She showed me how she teaches children the 10 Commandments, how she has obtained her commercial license so she can drive a bus for under privileged senior citizens & how the laundromat is her mission field.  She exuded Christ.  She witnesses to people in the check out lanes at Wal-Mart, prays for kids to receive Jesus while their parents are doing laundry & told me how she prayed for the paramedic as he took her to the hospital in the ambulance.  He was in his 30’s & no one had ever asked him if he was saved.  Can you imagine? No one? When he asked her why she was concerned for him as she was on her way to the emergency room, her reply was, “One more soul for the Lord.”  We then discussed the movie “Schindler’s List.”  My 30 minute dryer time was precious.  If you pray for divine appointments, that is what you get.  You see…her son is an officer in my small town & he attends The Oaks. Pastor Scott encouraged us to let our light so shine to represent Jesus, & to offer people a place to come.  What would it have looked like if I just overlooked that?  Now she sees why her son loves The Oaks!

As we talked, she mentioned she takes handfuls of supplements for her blood pressure.  She also mentioned she has a passive, residual income from an energy company.  I simply mentioned if she ever looks for anything else, I would leave my phone #.  She immediately said, “I’m looking!”  I edified her in having the qualities of people we look for in the biz.  I gave her a bottle of my product that is targeted for high blood pressure & high cholesterol, a pack of information, & some brochures both  in Spanish & English.  As I finished loading my car & paying my “tab” she said her daughter got very excited when she saw the box.  Obviously there was someone at her work place that sold the energy product, but  the lady moved.  I mentioned our weight loss division.  EB lit up.  She told me a lady that worked at the laundromat sold diet pills & people flooded to purchase them the day her shipment arrived.  EB made her names list right there.  As I edified my mentors & leaders of this organization she knew it wasn’t an ordinary business.  You see…I know my business envelopes & embraces the 8F’s of life.  Faith, Family, Finances, Friends, Fun, Fitness, Freedom & Following (leadership). We are armor bearers in developing one million leaders to change our nation back to the nation God intended it to be.  I am not ashamed of the gospel, nor am I ashamed to offer a business system that is rapidly changing lives in a nation of uncertainty.

As I left….I dropped my bottle of liquid fabric softener, the lid cracked & stuff went everywhere.  Some would have been distraught over my “blonde antics.”  I had the glorious opportunity of encouraging someone & making friends.  Divine appointments are real. My life was enriched by that visit.  Who are you praying for this week?  Are you praying for God to bring people across your path? If He does, will you be prepared to be His laborer?  Do you have something to offer someone or are you so wrapped up in yourself, you can’t look beyond it?

I am forever grateful for the cross.  I am not who I could be, but thank God, I am not who I used to be. Because of your courage, others will be able to say the same thing!

“A man with an experience will never be at the mercy of an man with an argument.” Unk/Scott Wilson

Blessings,

g

Are you a relational clutter bug?

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The saga continues……the moving saga that is!  As I begin collecting boxes to begin my packing regime,  I realize yet another thing I am thankful for.  I am not a clutter bug! This made me think of how widespread this phenomenon can transfer into every area of our lives.

For instance:

Relationships – many people have the tendency to acquire friends who clutter their lives & create a negative influence.  I have a huge percentage of the sanguine personality trait & genuinely love people.  This, however, is not a fault.  I have learned to filter the people I actually include in my inner circle.  Being influenced by someone is more seductive than you imagine, therefore you must be careful of whom you associate with.  While serving in the single adult ministry, I recognized cyclic behavior patterns that are almost embraced.  This is primarily traced back to the root of low self-esteem & lack of self-confidence, but never the less….people become involved with people they can either control or feel worthy to be accepted by.  This is something that quickly causes me to utilize emo intel (emotional intelligence! ) because if not….I become angry.  Angry to think we settle, retreat, or compromise.  We clutter our lives or futures with people who will never help us rise to our fullest potential.  This may be harsh, but even some of our family members will conflict our future.

When I became a network marketing professional I attended my first leadership seminar &  it changed my life.  This may sound cliché, but it is what it is.  While listening to a very successful couple, Mark & Jenn Paul, share their story of dreams, struggles, &  apparent  victories, I heard the sweet, still voice of the Holy Spirit.  To many, this suggestion was not of God. I received ridicule and rebuttal from many of my closest friends, but to me, it was the clear, precise, &  clear-cut direction I needed to hear.  I heard, “You need to lay aside the singles ministry.”  Then, I didn’t realize the impact this one command would now make on my life.  I didn’t merely attend a singles Sunday school class or small group, I was the Singles Director.  My primary focus had been on developing leaders within the singles ministry & creating a community consortium with 9 other area singles ministries in a bi-county perimeter.  Why was this the right decision to make?  Why did it look like a demotion to some & a promotion to me?  Simple.  I learned I would be more effective as a mentor, leader, coach to singles nationwide in business.  My sphere of influence greatly expanded. Relationship requirements & personal growth & development expectations increased.  I had to determine what was more important.  Was it mentoring with successful entrepreneurs who would impart wisdom, skills, knowledge & challenge me to grow far beyond my current level of leadership capabilities or continue planning the monthly social calendar?  I had to un-clutter my relationships. Does that mean I stopped liking those people? Absolutely not! I just withdrew giving permission for certain people to influence my schedule,  decisions, & life.   There is a mantra  by a man I respect in business.  It is a check point & balance each time I read it. “I release those things which  no longer serve me.”- Randy Gage. To some this may sound cold or insensitive because I am referencing relationships.  To me, it is imperative if you wish to develop the potential God has ordained that you to walk in.  Let’s face it…..the Bible even tells us Jesus was not taken seriously in his own home town.  While he served the multitudes, he kept company with 12. He instructs us not to cast the pearls of our wisdom before the swine.  Even further it is said for us to shake the dust off our sandals & move on.  Why then do we insist on holding onto relationships even God himself would not support?  If I read correctly, this wasn’t just one or two people, but entire towns.

Clutter in any area of our lives can be detrimental to our success, but relational clutter can be deadly to dreams–your dreams & the dreams of others.  While being the singles director I enforced frequent self evaluations.  I didn’t know the meaning of P.D.C.A.– plan, do, check & adjust– but I did understand we have to frequently look inside out to see if we are progressing or digressing.  Don’t enter another relationship with “junk in your trunk.”  I challenge you to read this quote & apply it to your sphere of relationships. “Most people stay the same person and attract the very things they want to repel” – Claude Hamilton. I will not be like most people.

The second & last category of clutter I wish to discuss is in your thinking.  You may have thought this was going to be a blog on crammed junk drawers, closets overflowing with memorabilia you need to trash, or clothes from 3 sizes ago you will never wear again.  It is.  The way you think is directly related to all those things.  I recently read the brain can’t entertain more than one dominant thought at a time.  Why then do we insist on those dominant thoughts being negative ones?  Why do we keep those clothes that are either out of style or no longer fit?  Why do you see people you haven’t seen in years & they have never changed their hairstyle? Why do you visit friends & leave feeling like you want to go home & throw away everything?  Do you ever ride with someone else & it leaves you wanting to take your car to be detailed?  We hoard for many reasons.  There are great discussions on this subject & I will not attempt to discuss them.  What I will discuss is simply this.  A trip to the mirror of your choice will answer many of the reasons for the behavior listed above.  You are not happy with yourself.  You do not believe in yourself.  You have listened to the wrong people saying the wrong things about you instead of listening to what your creator says.  I think the Bible says you are the apple of His eye. You are fearfully & wonderfully made.  He records the conversations you have about Him & He collects your tears.  If he has engraved your name on the palm of His hand, why would you ever believe you are not worthy?  This goes way beyond someone having a tattoo of your name on their bicep!  You clutter your mind with way to many, “What if’s?” rather than asking, “Why not?”

I have never understood the state of depression.  I firmly believe it is a choice.  Chemical, schmemical!  I’m not talking about bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, etc., but depression. Many times it is a cry for help, but mainly a selfish excuse to prevent dealing with what requires your attention.  I realize there are lapses of momentary depression related to certain situations we face, however the length of that stage is a choice.  Depression creates clutter & diagnosis your inability to be honest with yourself.  Not dealing with certain things whether  relationally, physically, financially or materially can be traced back to our thinking.  Check your motivation & chances are if you are not running for a cause, serving others, chasing a dream or running from a dread, you are stuck in Sluggsville.  Change your thinking & change your results!

I have a love hate relationship when it comes to moving.  I have a mantra when it comes to whether or not you need something.  “If in doubt, toss it out.”  If you have things boxed that you haven’t used since the last time you moved, chances are, they will just occupy space.  I had to come to terms with my need to own power tools.  I am such a do-it-yourself, tool-belt-diva.  I recently realized that stage of my life is dormant & I do not need to pack every gadget I have collected.  One day I will own the beautiful historically registered Victorian Pink Lady,  the sprawling Tuscan Villa Estate, the cottage at Martha’s Vineyard, the 1br/1ba Craftsman near my babies,  &  the beach front villa on some exotic island, & when I do, I may or may not invest in what I need.  As for now….having maintenance on speed dial serves me.  All I require is my cute,  tiny, purple, floral hammer, my small electric drill/screwdriver, my small Dremel, a small assortment of screws, nails, both white & super glue.  I won’t even own duct tape.  I know that is like the anti-Christ of homeowners, but seriously….I left that behind when I moved from La!  Everything I “need” will fit in one drawer of my cute utility room storage unit.

Simplistic pleasures

Maybe I am becoming a decor minimalist as one of my ER docs touted he was.  At that time, I could never saw myself as this.  Now…I am content.  I challenge you to inventory your life in the areas of clutter. It may be painful at first, but I promise it becomes easier.  Act as though you are moving.  You are…moving on.

Blessings,

g

What did you just say?

Standard

I belong to several blog sites & receive emails from popular, well-known activist groups.  I have never considered myself an activist until a few years ago.  Here’s some background for you. In high school I was the “mouth” or the voice of support for the groups I belonged to.  I had no problem speaking my mind or letting those in charge know my opinion.  As a cheerleader, I was not only vocal for my basketball team, but vocal for the cheerleaders.  Once the head coach, Coach Leggett,  told me we couldn’t join the team on a particular trip because it was very far away.  Being the games were during the week, coach didn’t want us to travel and  be exhausted for school the next day. What did he just say?  We, THE cheerleaders couldn’t go?  No! That did not fly at all.   I pranced to the principals office, of whom I was the pet, and complained.  Well…we did go and I promised we would not complain at all about the trip or the next day at school.  Numerous occasions like this occurred.  God forbid if I was ever absent when there was a meeting involving common interests because I would catch flack from my fellow students, none of which would ever speak up.

Then, what I felt at the time, the most devastating day of my life happened.  My beloved principal was being accused of embezzlement charges.  I was mortified.  My parents had to take me to the school board parish wide meeting as a community “trial.”  Well, let me rephrase that…they didn’t have to, but I insisted on being there.  I stood my ground in the midst of every adult there.  They knew exactly what I thought about this ridiculous accusation.  I loved my principal.  He made sure the guys treated us girls like ladies.  He demanded respect and was fair.  The vote ruled against him and I was crushed.  The day our “new” principal arrived at school, guess who was in the parking lot to meet him?  Yea, me!  He pulls up, gets out of his car and I am there. No staff, no one else, but moi!  These were my words (with an attitude to match!),  “My name is Geneva Herring.  You are not welcome here. My principal is Mr. Rooks and he will always be my principal.  I do not like you now, & I will never like you.  And don’t think you will make any changes to my schedule or as far as changes go, don’t think we will do anything you say at all.”  I turned and stomped off to class.  Wow! I really knew how to win friends and influence people didn’t I?  Serious…those words ring in my ears as if I just left the scene.  We didn’t “bond,” per se, but we learned to tolerate each other. Funny how life happens.  He was an artist, a sculptor &  I am now very fond of his work.  I grew up!

I took a blast to my past in reference to what I am noticing in society today.  I wasn’t just talk then.  My words carried corresponding actions.  I will be the first to admit, they weren’t always the greatest actions, but no one ever said of me, I didn’t carry through. I am white-hot about what I am passionate about.

Forward ho!  I’m noticing a plethora of  large organizations requesting funds to support their cause for liberty.  I completely understand the war we are against when it comes to our rights as Americans.  I also realize insurmountable  costs when it comes to advertising, forums, etc.  Since I can’t actively serve on as many as I believe in, I do support them financially.    Here’s a novel thought! I believe we should raise the standard.  Instead of jockeying for our rights, we should courageously rally for our responsibilities or our duties.  We can show people how to become so financially free & independent  that their contributions alone to the government in the form of  taxes we pay (after expenses! ), community charitable contributions, foundations, philanthropy, etc., turn the tide for FREEDOM.  I have been enlightened to the economic dealings by listening to great audios such as “Creature from Jekyll Island,” reading book after book explaining the history of our nation and what we must do to secure our precious freedoms.

Imagine a nation consisting of free enterprise business owners who set the bar for liberty.  There are multiple millionaires, billionaires & etc. & according to Paul Z. Pilzer, there are even more in the making.  The standard should be to actively pursue freedom & liberty in such a way that our contribution to society alone will change the course of history.  At this point, I would like to interject that while I quickly recognize I am not the brightest bulb in the pack when it comes to economics, socio-economic, value of the dollar, yen, gold standards, FICA, etc., I can quickly recognize I am bright enough to surround myself with & surrender myself to a learning organization. These leaders are recognized on such a level in their brilliant knowledge of such subjects, I can almost feel my brain getting smarter when I listen to them!   That is where it starts.  You must be hungry enough for change, yet  brave enough to execute change.  I am attracted to intelligence, courage, humility & integrity.  I refuse to live my dash, 1959 (-) ?? never contributing to restoring the legacy of our forefathers.  If my own legacy doesn’t include recognizable names & faces of individuals, as well as families, whose lives were changed because I chose to act on my beliefs, I have lived in vain.

In my experience, as I have been involved in church for many years, the thing I glean the most is not giving people fish for a day, but teaching them to fish for a lifetime.  Working in singles ministry for 17 yrs. & in the non-profit sector, I have seen first hand how the “fish for the day” approach doesn’t work.  When I took the spiritual gifts test for selecting where I belong in ministry at The Oaks Fellowship, my score on mercy wasn’t high.  What did it say? I was shocked until I realized I didn’t show mercy as readily as I showed solutions.  While I will never receive the title of “Drama Queen” I realized I can listen to an individual & immediately move from drama to resolve before the conversation is ended. I didn’t confess I wasn’t a listener. I merely claim, while I am seeking to understand, I also seek to empower interdependence instead of co-dependence.   I guess I have counseled numerous single adults where co-dependence  & cyclic behavior is their nature.  Or maybe this is because of many, many years of critical care thinking in medicine, but….whatever the reason, I begin the conversation with the end in mind!  Many times my suggestions or resolutions present themselves simply in the form of compassion.

One of my favorite quotes is: “Your actions speak so loud, I can’t hear what you say.”  May we,  a nation of  free enterprise independent business owners, thrive in our endeavors to secure our most precious possessions,  Freedom & Liberty for all!  We are not looking for a hand out, but a hand up.  Let us embrace the commission in raising up leaders with common unity, not bearing arms, but bearing each other in hot pursuit of the joy in knowing  we will make a difference. We will stop fighting each other & fight together for a noble cause.  Find your why, ignore what “they” say, and live life on purpose.  Stop following the herd of mediocrity & develop goals –planned attack on the status quo.

Michelangelo (1475 – 1564)

There is a multitude of hosts who have fought before, & an even greater cloud of witnesses that are cheering you on every second.

Blessings,

g