Category Archives: Single adults

Seasons

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything & I realized just how much I miss writing!  In my real world, I’m a grant writer, so writing is overwhelming sometimes.  This is different. There’s just something about sharing your passion, goals & dreams while encouraging others to do the same, that soothes the soul.

For many, many years I’ve dreamed of helping single parents navigate through difficult areas of this season in their lives.  Having been a single parent, now empty-nester, I’ve made so many mistakes, I couldn’t even list them. Helping others learn how to not make those same mistakes has become my platform. I was a Singles Director at my church for many years & this was one of the most rewarding seasons ever.  We walked through several painful experiences together while continually encouraging & supporting each other.

I’ve always wanted to have investment property or a business of some sort & in 2006 I got an idea that soon became a burning desire.  I wanted to develop a single parent community providing affordable housing, which is generally one of the most important factors of a family’s survival. This community would feature a daycare, which is yet another dire need. Onsite resource services such as case management; community referrals; job skills training; & education would also be components within the community. What seemed like a lifetime ago is coming into focus.  In 2015 I moved from Dallas to San Antonio.  I fell in love with SA during my early years from 2006-2009 of being a Corporate Trainer.  When I traveled here, I seriously felt home.  I loved everything about the City & spent all my spare time exploring its culture. When I decided to move from Dallas, I cast a very wide net for a Grant Writer position.  This would be a new learning curve for me.  I was a grants analyst & had only corrected or helped re-write grant applications for 6 years.  But…. in my past,  I was never a Corporate Trainer  either.  I had been a nurse since 1979, so…. when I wanted change, I learned, adapted, & changed.   As an empty nester,  I could’ve moved anywhere in the US, but kinda wanted a place on the beach!  None of those doors opened, so…. I searched for my next favorite thing…. culture. I applied for a position in with the BGC in NY.  NY!  Then…. I happened to search one more time within my organization & state to discover there was a job in San Antonio.  What? From being a divisional employee for 10 years,  first as a Corporate Trainer, then Grants/Program Analyst, I was familiar with all their programs; knew some of the staff; was familiar with the area & I had my fav restaurants already!  LOL!  Once I accepted the position, I began looking for a place to live. Other than those people from work, I knew a total of 3 people in SA. I put the word out to network with them toward finding a place to live. I was currently in a lease that still had 7 months left, so my tiny budget & with paying 2 leases was going to allow me to practically live in a closet!  Through a friend of a friend, I located a small duplex.  The only information I had to go by were a few pics sent from the landlord & a direct message from said friend of fei8end verifying my landlords were truly genuine people. Talk about stepping out in faith!  This was a giant, blind leap! As I packed for the move, I purged things that had moved with me since my divorce in 1994.  I know that was a painful confession, but…. we all have things we hang on to.  I despise clutter & loathe the thought of hoarding anything. While I was no where near that status, this was my chance to truly embrace the minimalist season I now wanted. Why would I pack up my cheering suit from the 70’s again?  My move would be in 2 phases, as I wanted to leave some things for my daughter to use until our lease was up.  I had my tiny U-Haul truck loaded up, put my car on a tow dolly & headed, sight unseen, toward my new destination. I’ll never forget my first day as a new resident driving into San Antonio. As I rounded the corner of the interstate, & when seeing the entire downtown view, I cried. I’m seriously very emotional right now even recapturing that feeling. I had that reaction about the Dallas Downtown Skyline sometimes, but this was very different. This was a completely new season in my life & except for staying within the same organization for my job, the slate was clean.

My very small place was 5 minutes from my new job & I quickly fell in love with my neighborhood. I began to realize I had common visions with many of them. This past year one of my very talented, brilliantly amazing, single parent neighbors wanted to have brunch to discuss some of her goals.  As I sat across the table from her listening to her plans, I had a surreal moment.  Every word she described were the exact words that had been spoken by myself years before regarding single parent communities.  Down to the life skills classes.  It was almost as if I zoned out of the conversation & heard myself explain these things during past conversations.  I immediately knew what it was. At that moment in time, God was reminding me that even though nothing in the natural had materialized regarding my goals/dreams, He knew they were still much alive.  I was reminded of this scripture:

2 Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.

 3 This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.

If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place.

It will not be delayed. – Habakkuk 2:2-3

 I left that brunch in awe of what happened.  My neighbor’s words completely resonated within my heart.  I finally understood…. this season, right now,  was the future time. 17426391_10212265805710847_7975877978584076201_nWhat seems like years in the making is unfolding. That’s always the case, right? Fast forward…. During a County meeting we were discussing landlord incentives & because of my questions, I was encouraged by my local Continuum of Care to apply for funding that assists with property acquisition; rehab; & some tax abatement. My dream of having properties for single parents; senior citizens; homeless students; Veterans & those who need a hand up is happening.  I’ve had the privilege of talking to our Mayor, Councilman & other City/County department staff that want the same thing.  I’m working with a bright, energetic, knowledgeable, sassy Realtor who shares a passion for housing female parolees re-entering society.  Who knew?  I’m locating income properties that offer multiple units for long term rentals (LTR-1) & short term rental (STR-1) unit I’ll host through AirBnB. I’ve found the perfect location that offers at least 3 LTR units; 1 STR unit; & living space for me!  Score!  My intent is to offer properties to the very same organizations I work with on a regular basis. I will be a solution rather than a sounding board. My season from always living on the edge of possibly requiring assistance to providing it was happening.

If I can give one piece of advice it would be to never lose sight of the dream that burns your soul. From my Bible School days, the definition of soul includes your mind, will & emotions. Does your dream encompass these? My dream consumes them all. Here’s a constant thought process I have going on all the time. In my driving time or when I’m going to sleep, I’m purposely thinking about my home ownership & upcoming rehab venture! Using green glue & possibly cork panels as soundproofing materials for walls & this cool Iso-Step® rubber floor underlayment for soundproofing 2nd story floors. I can use Indow Window Inserts to preserve energy & provide sound barriers for my windows. What’s the best color of neutral paint to use? Do I want half brick flooring in the kitchens or use it as an accent wall behind the stove? Unless wood flooring is available, what color ceramic plank tiles do I use throughout the rest of the house? How will I enclose a patio to make a master bedroom & convert the laundry room as my new master bathroom because it already has a huge closet? What will my exterior paint & trim choices be? Should I develop a signature color palette to use throughout the City? Metal roof is my ultimate choice! Out of the apartment space available, do I construct 3 efficiency loft style apartments & 1 true apartment style units or 5 efficiencies? Is it R-4 or R-6 zoning for this property? To avoid purchasing separate laundry equipment for each unit, I’ll be relocating the current large shed to the other end of the apartment unit to serve as a common laundry room space.  Also by moving that shed, I will have either additional parking space or more back yard space for my pups. How can I incorporate earthen construction in my rehab process? Between the 2, which spare bedroom will be the living room for the AirBnB?  I’ll create a mini-kitchenette from an existing clothes closet so there’s only the need to remove the closet door & design the space. Done! It’s already drawn out!  I can rehab the bathroom using cool subway & black/white mosaic or that amazing vintage fleur-de-lis type tile. Then comes the entire conversation regarding the yard!  Landscaping is my thing, so…. the new style of using non-climb farm animal fencing panels are my fav now! The panels must be the smallest diameter as not to allow my tiny Chi-Chi to escape through them. Creating a food-not-lawns type concept is a must, so which property strip is the best for my fruit trees? I have Meyer Lemon; Mission Fig; Avocado; & some type of citrus tree.  I planted the seeds in a pot at work & can’t remember if it’s grapefruit or mandarin!  I only follow xeriscaping guidelines, so I can go crazy with my drought resistant plants & get vouchers from our water provider for doing so. Do I think the City would allow me to use part of their utility access land as a spot for my movable chicken coop?  As you can see this one property has my thoughts & minds captive! Then I research additional investment properties & the rehab conversation for them begins.  My determined will forces me to knock on enough funding doors that someone will grasp the depth of what I’m referring to & see how it fits into all the neighborhood stabilization/revitalization plans. Emotionally…. I can’t tell you how excited I get envisioning myself driving in the driveway of my newly rehabbed complex knowing how many people this will help & how much this contributes to the affordable housing dilemma.  More so, the realization of how my decision to transfer to a new job allowed me to bring all the puzzle pieces of my dream together. The vision was plain. Submitting to & watching God orchestrate this plan, in His time, has been an amazing experience.

Why list all these crazy thoughts? Any dream requires many layers of trial & error.  Hours of decisions; changes; planning; disappointment; tears; setbacks; delays; & starting over.  It’s completely worth it. Anything worth having is worth fighting for. Cliche, but true. One of my favorite sayings is, ”I never promised you it would be easy. I do promise you it will be worth it.” Always remember…. Goals in stone.  Plans in sand.

You know what’s funny?  A week after I accepted the job in SA, the NY BGC contacted me & offered me the position. They were willing to offer relocation incentives & wanted to know when I could start!  One week. Timing is everything.  My destiny was set & the new season of my life was unfolding.  And what about the beach? Padre Island South Beach is only 2 hrs away & I love weekend trips there!  Who knows…. maybe a vacation property is in my future!

I attempt to practice being a student & read articles daily to provide insight, wisdom, instruction & guidance.  #3 of this article validates my plan is right on course.

What dream stirs your soul?  What season of life are you preparing for? I pray you find solace & encouragement in knowing it is possible, regardless of what you see in front of you right now. God will either give you a dream or give you to a dream, so determine which it is & act on it. I can’t wait to hear about your success!

Blessings,

g

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Seasons

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During the time of being the Singles Director, I taught a lesson on recognizing the need to change seasons in our life.  This was learned many years ago during Bible College. One of my favorite evangelists mentioned that not changing seasons when God clearly positions you to do so can be dangerous.  It’s as detrimental to your life purpose as doing your own thing.  In fact, that is exactly what you’re doing.  This caught my attention.  At the time, I wanted to teach adults.  Up to that point, for several years, I had the most amazing honor of teaching kids.  This was extremely fulfilling, yet there was a tug that it was time to lengthen my cords & strengthen my stakes.  In other words….. I had to step out of my comfort zone into a place that required me to learn & grow.  Hearing this man speak that sentence was a defining moment &  so much so, that over 20 years later I still remember where I was sitting in church when I heard it.

It reminds me of this verse, Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.

What are some things you feel a “tug” about doing?  It can be a number of things.  Ministry? Career? Business? Relational?  I have felt a stirring for the past several  months in several areas of my life.  I have learned all too well this requires prayer & seeking the heart of my Daddy God.  I feel at peace about some things, while others are clouded from my knowing.  I constantly hear the scripture….to everything there is a season…..

Around the same time period in my life of hearing about the seasons, I heard this quote:

People change when:
a.they hurt enough that they have to–hurts, disappointments, failures, abuse
b.learn enough that they want to–mentors, educational programs, life skills
c.receive enough that they are able to–validation, benefits, incentive programs, rewards
–John Maxwell

Again, this was such a revelation, I remember hearing it & tears immediately filled my eyes.  I quickly realized I wanted to be obedient to change as necessary, be flexible & adaptable to the call or “tugs” of God.    I can’t possibly know what you may be facing concerning changes that need to occur in your life.  I can understand the turmoil it brings when you don’t obey.  I pray the peace of God that passes all understanding guards your heart & your mind in Christ Jesus as you make decisions involving current & future seasons of your life.

Always remember…..you are never alone in this journey & each season of life brings beauty, strength, courage & ability to reach for the next. You are also planting & empowering someone else to make changes.   I encourage you to take time & perform an intense self-evaluation & prepare to embrace change.

Make this your quest in every area of life.

Blessings,

g

Voice of Truth

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This weekend was spectacular!  My best friends / biz mentors reached & were recognized for achieving a very prestigious business goal.  We also introduced our Team name, Spartacus, to the world. This in itself was epic, but our amazing mentors came from St. Louis as hosts for the combined statewide business seminar.  Along with them a New York Times & Wall Street Journal best-selling author, #12 World Leadership Guru, co-founder of our business & mentor came as a guest speaker.  As you can tell, we were stoked!

I have been in business with my friends since Sept. 2006 & have seen the challenges they have faced, sacrifices made & changes they have welcomed.  They deserved this & much more.  This moment was surreal.  Since I have been in business that long, I too qualified for recognition.  Our business is the #1 community building organization & has been for over 10 years.  College textbooks are now aware of the power of community building & has featured our organization as being the one you can trust. It is totally awesome!  Being recognized for something no one else qualified for at this weekend seminar is a sanguine’s dream right? That was true until the voices began to battle over the moment.

We all have them don’t we?  Voices– negative, positive, indifferent, etc.  We have to choose at the moment which voice to believe.  I have had much practice in this area.  In 2004 I moved from Louisiana to Texas being totally obedient to God.   I knew one family in the Dallas area.  I moved with a 15 yr. old son, 2 Jack Russell Terriers, 1 aquarium of fish, & a cockatiel named Sweety Petey!  I left everything & everyone near & dear to me behind.  I gave up a 25+ yr. career in nursing to pursue lease purchase real estate.  One day, on my way to work, I was having a very loud, yet silent conversation with the “voices.”  I will never forget the place.  I lived in Lancaster, TX at the time & was at the TX-342 & I-20 intersection right at McDonald’s.  At this “intersection” the negative voice was screaming & winning big time!   As I crossed the overpass I will never forget what  happened.  Listening to the radio, KLTY played “Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns.  I listened to the words, with tears streaming down my face, I knew I made the right decision.  After all…..to obey is better than to sacrifice right?

This past Saturday pre-seminar the news of reaching Team 100 should have been tremendous.  I was having the battle again.  Let me break down the conversations.  To help you understand, Neg=Negative (of course) VOT= Voice of Truth

Neg: Anybody can be recognized as a Team # whatever. That is nothing special.

VOT: The way we build our community, Team Approach focuses on building depth.  According to the new L.I.F.E. Compensation Plan, I’m in a perfect position for increase.

Neg: If you’ve been in so long, why are the Porter’s being recognized as new Round Table Members & you’re just a Team 100?  Turbo 10?

VOT: Look around! I don’t see any of the faces that started when I did! Go ahead!  Not only in my business, but many other businesses as well.  Most of the Policy Council, major leaders & groups talk about how many times they went back to zero.  They also talk about endurance & perseverance.  People quit.  They quit in business, quit in marriages, quit college, quit on their dreams, quit on life.  Being a Team 100 proves I’m not a quitter!  I’m still here!

Neg: You’re single & this is a couples biz.  Give up now because you will never make it any further.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            VOT: Really?  Au contraire!  This is a perfect season for me to build a business.  I am an empty nester without babysitting challenges, without kids schedules, without spousal schedules or anything that others face. Oh…I see! It was OK for me to be a single mother of 17 yrs, work 3 jobs, take care of cars, houses, bills, schedules, & everything else required. I worked in an industry that would have NEVER allowed me to become financially independent.  Why is this not the perfect chance for me to become who I am destined to become?  I addressed this very topic in an older blog.  I can answer why it is OK for the negative voice to attempt to try this on me.  Society says so.  I am not concerned about what society says.  I kissed status quo goodbye many, many years ago. If I’ve succeeded since 1994 raising kids, going to bible school, working, buying houses, etc., how much more can I succeed in an industry with a proven system guided by the most amazing mentors on the  planet!  Besides…..I don’t have to share my money with anyone!  There!  That is an awesome reason to build this single right?

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

I’m not sure what voices you are listening to these days.  Many of you hear the same voices on a regular basis.  I implore you to consider shutting the negative voice out by inputting  more positive  information.  It is a choice.  You can make this choice, even if it’s incrementally at first.  By applying slight edge principles, these choices becomes easier.  The voice of truth will overpower the negative & you will feel stronger, more deserving.  Besides….others will become empowered by your choices & God will receive the Glory.  After all…it’s all about Him!

 

One song read my mail, shut the negative voice out & allowed me to have a fresh, new look on my Texas adventure.  Oh…later that year, in 2004, I met Kirk & Nicole Porter at church.  We were in the 13 wk. “Discovering Your Purpose” class together, worked as directors in ministries &  formed a friendship, later becoming the foundation for being in an amazing business together.  See how thin threads weave destinies?  What if I had listened to that negative voice?  I don’t want to begin to imagine that path!

Listen carefully, mentor wisely & seek the voice of God to direct your path.

Blessings,

g

Comfortably Numb

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This morning, for some strange reason, the words, “Comfortably Numb” came to mind.  While this was clearly a song referencing the drug scene, I feel like this is what Americans have excepted with their debt. We have received a steady  infusion of mediocrity & complacency creating an apathetic numbness. Funny, but some of the lyrics say this:

When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown the dream is gone
I have become comfortably numb

I talk to people daily whose response is, “I’m doing alright” & it saddens me to think they’ve compromised the dream of doing something great or even significant with their lives.  Doing alright is clearly a matter of opinion.  Christine Aguilera has a line in the movie, Burlesque, that hit a chord within me the second I heard her say it. When Jack asked Ali why she left her hometown, she says, “I looked around at everyone I knew & there wasn’t one life I wanted.”  I have to admit, there were people whom I admired because it appeared they had it all together until I realized appearances aren’t always what they seem.  It wasn’t the type of togetherness I ever wanted to settle for.  I still respect them as humans, but would never covet their lifestyle.  Some of these were doctors, lawyers, prestigious business men/women, executives, & etc.  Once you see beyond the norm into the realm of possibilities, it completely warps your brain!  Thank God!

The words from the Lennon song, Imagine, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one” resonate deep within my soul.  I was a nurse at age 4.  Everyone knew it, especially the dogs who were usually my patients!  Later, after fulfilling that career dream, the stirring of being more & doing more kept nagging at me.  In 2003, through a desperate set of circumstances, a friend gave me the book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”  by Robert Kiyosaki.  It provided the answers I knew existed.

In 2004 I left my hometown in Louisiana & moved to Texas with the sole purpose of discovering my destiny & fulfilling my purpose.  I have never had a problem with dreaming BIG!  I only had the problem of having the vehicle of making those dreams come true.  I realized working  as many hours per week as possible in 3 jobs  never provided that.  I have seen the effects of people who just accept this is a way of life for them.  You see it too. The glimmer of hope is erased from their eyes; their smiles are forced; relationships mirror the results & conversations locate their heart.   I am grieved, because as I have discovered, there is so much more.  I’ve never felt the numbness of giving up on my dream, only the anxiety of not getting it fast enough & there is certainly nothing comfortable about my lifestyle either!

I encourage you to inventory the parts of your life that perhaps you have buried.  Search your soul, which is your mind, will & emotions, to discover what really drives you.  What subject, when mentioned, excites you to the point of even bringing tears to your eyes?  What dream have you stuffed so far down in your psyche, only a soul search will unfold?  Once you determine this, believe me, there is a vehicle to provide the resources to accomplish it.  I know, it has changed my life to the point of never looking back in regret for making the choice.

 

There are many enemies out to steal your dream.  They come in the form of promotions, titles, pride, self-sabotage, friends, family, material things, etc.   The biggest enemy is, “I’m doing good” because good is the enemy of great.  If your dreams have been shattered, it’s time to dream again, only dream bigger than ever before.  The “Dream Giver” made sure you were born with seeds of greatness in you.  Break up the fallow ground, sow into the lives of others & receive a rich harvest in a life only imaginable in your dreams.

All our dreams come true if we have the courage to  pursue them –Walt Disney

Blessings,      

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Being broke is never a money prob$em, but a thinking prob$em!

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I talk to people on a daily basis about the benefits of owning a home based biz.  I have been involved in a home based biz since September 2006 & can honestly say, from experience, that it is the greatest position in the universe.  Reading books such as “The Next Millionaires by Paul Zane Pilzer” clearly defines four specific areas in which to invest your time & resources with the greatest ROI.  Not only return, but HUGE return.  His prediction of having ten million new millionaires by the year 2016 is right on target.  He says if you have a business in just one of the four categories, you are guaranteed to become one of those predicted millionaires.  The categories are:

  • Home based business
  • Internet
  • Health / Wellness
  • Intellectual Distribution

My business embraces all four so you can see why I am so psyched all the time.  When you read the book “The Business of the 21st. Century by Robert Kiyosaki”  you will know even more of why I am psyched!  He states to have a successful business you need two things:

  • A Duplicateable System
  • Leadership

Yes!  Not only does my business have both, but it has both with excellence!  When I sit down with a potential business partner, I have nothing to hide, will not apologize for having pride in what I stand for & certainly know the benefits of being involved with this business model. I edify my mentors with assurance of knowing they lead with character, integrity & honor.  I have noticed many ways people attempt to justify not becoming a part of a home based biz.  It is easy to find blame or use excuses when honestly they don’t have the courage to step out on their own.  They also don’t have belief in themselves & listen to others who are cowards.  That may be strong, but everything I do is a step of faith.  As a single woman, I had to exercise courage to become a business owner.  I also had to get over myself by overcoming fear, rejection, intimidation, past failures, past successes, insecurities & self-sabotage.  I have become a better person in many ways because of this.  I love this scripture & apply it in every facet of life.

Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists.~ Heb.11:1

I find some of the “reasons” people use as to why they can’t start their own business interesting.  It is real to them, but to me, it is just a sad assortment of selling themselves & their family short of  their highest potential.  I can recognize it because I used it too!  My observation is that when people say they can’t afford to invest in their future, they don’t realize the things they invest in on a daily basis moves them further away from freedom.  I used to partake of temporary satisfaction or self-entitlement.  I had a problem with compulsive shopping causing me to work even more hours away from my kids. Thanks to a world-class financial training system, I  have learned long-term vision & delayed gratification.  I haven’t “arrived,”  but I am totally not the same person.  It is amazing how I define my wants -vs-needs & discipline myself to them.

I often hear people say they can’t “afford”  their own biz as I watch them eat out every day for lunch & even several times a week for dinner; use the vending machines at work numerous times a day;  hit the restaurants & movies on weekends or other entertainment sources;  then there could the smoking habit or yes, even ***$$$ coffee; (Gals)ALWAYS have nails / toes / hair done, & sport the latest fashions; (Guys) ALWAYS have leagues/card games/hobbies/fantasy sports game pools. Some of these expenses are daily, weekly, bi-weekly & monthly, but if they ever calculated the cost per year, they would be surprised at the discretionary funds they could have.  I can honestly say I had to do this when I moved to Texas.  Budget?  What on earth was that?  I NEVER kept a budget & yes, it showed in my finances.  When I actually had to keep receipts & report to someone bi-weekly to explain why I purchased what I did, I gained control & exercised discipline.  I  vividly remember the first trip to Sam’s Club after beginning this program.  I loaded my cart in the usual fashion, strolled around the store & then realized, “How am I going to explain this to Blah-Blah?”  I immediately unloaded the things from the cart in their respectful place & never did it again. Seriously now I only visit Sam’s maybe once or twice yearly.  I gained control thus changing my thinking.  This was the precursor for what I would begin to learn 2 years later in my own biz.

I believe the saddest thing I hear  is to use their kids as excuses when they should be the reason.  My kid has ______practice, or belong to ______team or is going on ______trip.  Short term sacrifice for your kids could result in you being the parent who has a motor-coach or bus & is able to take the entire team to playoffs because you are time & financially free.  You would be the coolest parent in the community & a hero to your kids. Or…what about actually taking them to every point of history in our nation instead of letting a conveyor-belt school system teach them?  When school starts, you could buy supplies for your children & adopt kids for each of them to assist with supplies?  What about telling your wife to go shopping & there is no monetary limit to her spending because you now make more in a week than you did in a year from your J.O.B.?  Hey it’s summertime & kids camps are in progress all over the nation.  Could you sponsor ten kids who wouldn’t otherwise be able to go?  Camps literally change lives & this is an investment worth making.  How about seeing the Angel Tree in your church at Christmas & adopting every single parent & their kids?    Maybe you want to help an aging parent?  Write a check to pay off their house not just a house payment here & there.

Here’s a novel idea!  How about practicing what I did with my daughter, son-in-law & grands did last year for Christmas?  We gave the gift of “presence” instead of “presents.”  We started small because we had recently had the expense of my son’s wedding in October so we limited our budget.  My son-in-law chose Chicago.  I live in Dallas & they live in the outskirts of St. Louis.  I drove to St. Louis where we went via Amtrak from St. Louis to Chicago.  We stayed near the Magnificent Mile & spent  time there exploring things that will forever be etched in our memories. We love aquariums & have added Shedd Aquarium on our list of ones visited.  Trains, aquarium, Giordano’s deep-dish Chicago style, pan pizza, shaved  Portillo’s roast beef subs, snow, American Girl, Lego Store, & etc. You know the greatest part of the entire trip for me?  Was it spending time with my grands & watching them as they explored the things they couldn’t wait to see?  Was it seeing my grands faces as they watched dolphins for the first time in their lives perform a Christmas play?  Should have been, but it was to hear my son-in-law talk to friends / family on the phone while we were there telling them they have to try this!  Priceless!    The possibilities are endless & are only limited by your imagination.

What I have learned is that people will always have money for what matters to them.  The mentality that you will always be in debt is a lie handed down for generations.  Our forefathers were entrepreneurs.  They networked within their communities.  They used the cash system.  Many first generation millionaires used the principles written about in the book, “The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason.”   Timeless principles that have endured generation after generation of millionaires.  How about the book, “The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko.”  This book is one of my favorites to resort to when I feel when the pressure of  “fitting in”  or “self-entitlement”  starts to creep in.   I keep it at my office!

Our future matters!  More than this, the future of our children matter.  Our ancestors & their families fled the tyranny of an evil government to what they pictured as freedom in a new world.  They had nothing but hope & a dream. Somewhere down the chain, we have marred that determination & have turned dreams into nightmares.   You see, debt isn’t the American Dream, it’s the American Way.

I admonish the people who have the courage to defend the rights of freedom globally by stepping out of their comfort zones, getting past two knobs — the TV remote & the door — and defending their family.  My favorite book & the greatest of all eternity, the Bible,  has sound, financial scriptures I will paraphrase:  “Be a lender to many nations & never borrow,”  “A good man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren,”  “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another.”  Regardless of your faith, these are amazing principles, yet we would rather follow in the footsteps of our neighbors, friends, & even family members by being in debt living paycheck to paycheck.   At your hearts discretion, not your bank account, choose to be a blessing to many.  Reading the inspiring book  “L.I.F.E. = Living Intentionally For Excellence by Chris Brady & Orrin Woodward” gives tremendous examples of how to live a life that truly counts.

Think about what you would do if you knew you couldn’t lose.  Being broke is never a money problem, but having broke thinking.  This is something easily changed.  Another of my favorite books, “The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson” has made a tremendous difference in my life & in the lives of millions.  The simple phrase, “It’s easy to do and it’s easy not to do” captures my attention when I have to make decisions daily toward the disciplines I have set.  Get a mani/pedi bi-weekly or learn from millionaires every day?  Easy!  Pay a salon to color my hair or do it myself so I can attend a convention? Easy!   Slight edge discipline in every area of our lives can change the course of history for our family.   Be the person others write about in ancestral searches as the Rascal who made the difference.

Change your thinking, change your results. Build trust in yourself once again & fulfill the destiny you were created to fulfill. On the journey, help someone else fulfill theirs.  Pay it forward & dream BIG!!!

Blessings,

g

Chivalry

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Quick note to share the love!  Today I had lunch with my out-of-town OK friends at Sam’s cafe.  He is awesome & has amazing HITW food.  He went to the freezer & brought me some fresh-picked-from-his-yard raspberry jam that he made  me a couple of months ago.  Besides ordering the special, he made me a special side dish, which of course I shared.   He then packed enough food for me to eat the rest of the week!   I also got a card of for cabbie he trusts that I can use for EARLY flights!  I have learned to ask the right people questions! 

My OK friends come to work monthly with our  legal department.  Something to do with mineral rights from donated property, etc.  Over the past several months they have been adopted by the other employees & are included in special breaks, celebrations, etc.  Intelligent, sweet, southern gentlemen, father & son combo.  We had great conversation, delicious food & they now know another facet of my life. HITW joints! 

 When it came time to pay, Sam again, refused to let me pay.  He said I was his friend!  Then… there was a tip war!  He wouldn’t take theirs! They said I was their friend & wanted to cover the tip!  This was quite interesting to watch!  Hand shakes & a hug completed the brief mid-day experience.  

Doors opened, pulling up to the curb to let me out, free food, special to-go food!  Just the thing a lady needs to make her day!  

 Last night I had a great conversation with God on the way home from Open.  I am blessed  & convinced today happened for a reason!         

Chivalry is not dead with my transplanted Texan or my OK friends! 

g

***IF you are in Dallas & want authentic Mediterranean/ Persian food, from scratch, highest quality meats /  veggies, visit Samad’s Cafe on Manor Way.  Go hungry, ask questions & enjoy the company!  He serves one item per day & it is all delicious!  Be sure & ask for his  delicious home-made Tzatziki yogurt dip. 

 

Humbled by paperclips

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A short note this evening about an “ah-ha” moment I had today.  In processing grants there are usually several trees worth of paper involved on a daily basis.  Certain funders have persnickety requirements such as font size, margin width, word counts, no staples, page numbers, no page numbers, number of pages, double-sided pages & yada-yada!  Whew!  I’m tired just thinking of what I actually read through on a daily basis!

I am organized, sometimes to a fault!  When positioning several documents for mailing, I usually align clips in that they don’t bunch up at the same place when bundled together.  I know….anal comes to mind doesn’t it?  Anyway….I have discovered the wonderful assortment of paper clips.  I am now raising my right hand repeating, “I will not become a “clip-aholic” like I was a “pen-aholic” in nursing!!!”  There are some that just stand out in front of the rest. Sturdy, slick, heavy-duty & I always use them first.  Then there are the square ones I reserve for my files only.  And I have this cute one that is my symbol for my biz.  I never use it because I don’t want it lost.  Hey, it’s my symbol! My latest fav are the vinyl coated ones.  Colorful, clean, secure & colorful!  Yes…that’s my personality! I have found we have some regular paperclips that leave ugly marks on my pages.  God forbid!  Today allowed me the time to dig through my space & sort the ones I don’t care for.  In doing this completely worthless, time-consuming task I had my “ah-ha”  moment.  When I send documents out, I always send my semi-favorite clips leaving the ugly, distasteful ones to accumulate.  Why not send the ugly ones out instead & get rid of them?  Eureka!  I know… I actually wasted brain cells on that thought?

The gist of the story is that in my eyes they are ugly, useless & in my way.  To someone else they could be useful & welcomed.  I realize it is just a stinking paper clip, but bear with me here!  At that moment, I couldn’t help but think about the gifts & talents God has given to us.  We allow insecurities, poor self-talk, the opinions of others, fear, intimidation, or complacency sabotage  us to shuffle the gifts back in the proverbial drawer of life becoming useful to no one.  In our society we have a growing number of “given-ups”  instead of grown-ups.  We may possess an uncanny ability of drawing the best out in people, yet we shrink because if we fail, we will leave a mark on our soul or reputation.  To someone else, we could add value & display the hope, faith, trust & courage  they need to take another step.  Our smile, positive words, kindness in action, affirmation, & belief in who they can become should never be reserved, but freely offered. Who are we to hold them back because of our tarnished self-perception?

My drawer is sorted, not neatly, but sorted, (see! I’m not THAT anal! ) I purpose to send all the clips out that were once held back in hopes that when returned, they will be newer & shinier!  No! It’s not selfish! I’m recycling!   In L.I.F.E., I purpose to use the gifts & talents God has entrusted to me in hopes to help humanity.  The return will be better because I have already gained valuable insight! Who knew?

Humbled again in such a simple lesson. In-tune to learn more & more of the nature of the One who sent His best so that I may be picked from the crowd as useful.

Blessings,

g

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.-Jim Elliot

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