Writer’s Workshop Dance

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Photo Credit: Alpha Source Promotions

Happy Thursday y’all! Today I am participating in Mama Kat’s writers workshop! Each week Mama Kat provides several blogging prompts to help bloggers keep de ‘ol writer’s block away! I chose the prompt: “Dance”.

I love to dance and I am my most authentic self when I am busting a move. My father was a great dancer. He knew how to shag, two-step, swing dance, you name it! I LOVED dancing with him. He got the party started at my wedding reception by leading everyone in doing the Electric Slide! You cannot possibly have a wedding reception WITHOUT dancing the Electric Slide!

I think what I like the most about dance is that it is real. Dance is one of those things that are hard to “fake” and just like anything in life worth having, you have to work hard sometimes to master certain steps.

Every week, I get the amazing opportunity to lead dance fitness classes to women of all shapes, sizes and colors. Ladies come to class with the weight of the world on their shoulders and they squat, punch, and salsa all over their problems. If only for a moment, they are able to dance away from “the drama”.

As we dance along through life, we all have moments of graceful footwork. Yet at other times we are tripping over every thing in our path. Sometimes we feel like Paula Abdul, taking two steps forward and two steps back.

Psalm 30:11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

Five Minute Fridays-REST

imageEvery Friday, Lisa Jo Baker hosts a blog link up called Five Minute Fridays. She provides a word prompt and then participants are to set their timers for five minutes and write until the timer goes off. The word for today is REST. Happy Friday Divas and here goes:

My life is really busy right now. Ok, who am I fooling? My life is always busy. With working, mommying, wifeying, blogging, and leading fitness classes, REST comes in small packages. However, as I step closer to the big 4-0, I am reminded that I am not as young as a used to be and my sleep calls me.

I am human, so I must answer the call of my sleep and slumber when necessary. Yet my true REST is not always physical sleep. I am able to REST assured (be confident in) my calling of inspiring women to be joyful with faith fitness and fun.

REST is trust.

Sometimes doing the thing we feel made, built, prepared to do – that is it’s own gift of REST. Lisa Jo Baker

Dear God,

I trust you with my calling. I praise you that I am able to REST my mind from trying to control the hows, whens, and who withs. Forgive me for not always choosing your REST over strategizing, organizing, planning and manipulating. Just doing the thing I feel made to do can be a form of REST if I can just remember to trust you.

Oh the joys of those who trust The Lord…. Psalm 40:4

Keep Showing Up-Pour Your Heart Out

I attended a conference for aspiring Christian women speakers and writers this past weekend. To say that I felt a great multitude of ways in just a few short days would be a HUGE understatement.  As I said in my post on the last night of the conference:  I dreamed, cried, pouted, wilted and lifted desperate “Lord help me prayers”.  I even texted my husband “I suck”.

I awakened on the last day much calmer than I had been the night before.  Psalm 30:5 is true, joy does come in the morning.  Although I had gotten off the emotional roller coaster, I still had my three minute video session to complete. (All of the women at the conference on the “speaker’s track” were supposed to shoot a 3 minute video that could be used on a website, for other marketing materials or simply just to assess your speaking skills.)

 I decided that I was not going to show up for my pre-arranged video session and several other ladies decided the same thing.  I am not sure of all of their reasons but my reason was simple, I did not have it all together.  What I thought was “together” before the conference was then ordinary AT BEST (in my opinion).  

Walgreens may be at the corner of healthy and happy but just giving up resides at “I am not good enough avenue”.

With quivering knees, I re-wrote my entire 3 mintue talk.  I practiced it.  I prayed, got focused and……I showed up. 

Divas I JUST showed up.

 Although my heart rate was RACING, my voice didn’t quiver.  God placed the most encouraging Godly woman (LuAnn Prater) in my video room who smiled at me and prayed for me the entire time. 

I showed up for my video session and God showed OUT!’

Was it perfect?  Probably not but, perfection was NOT the goal.

So what’s next?  I have not idea but I DO know I am gonna keep showing up.

Where do you need to keep showing up in your life? 

 “About 90% of life is about showing up, whether or not you feel inspired, prepared, brave, energized or motivated. Just show up and see what happens. Do your part and God will do His part. Your part: Just show up.” –Randy Siever

This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell @ Things I Can’t Say.

A Place to Put Your Feet Up-31 Days to Clean Day 4

Well happy Monday Divas!  It is a rainy dreary kind of day here:(  I had a chalked full weekend; crammed with all kinds of great eating in celebration of my 39th birthday!

It is truly HARD to believe that I am now 39 years old.  Twenty seems like just last week!

What is really crazy?…I thought I had a lot on my plate when I was twenty!  HA! HA!

Now on top of working, I have a hubby, two girls, meals to cook and a house to keep clean!

Speaking of a clean house, y’all know I did NOT do any major cleaning this weekend.  I did a basic put stuff back where it goes last night and that was IT!  Soooo, I am a few days behind on the challenge.

Breathe. Imperfect Progress.

So, since I did not challenge myself in the cleaning department over the weekend, we are on DAY 4 of the 31 Days to clean challenge.  See more about the challenge and how to download the book here.

After each day’s reading, the author, Sara Mae gives two challenges:

  • The Mary Challenge -Something you do that encourages/engages your heart
  • The Martha Challenge – Specific cleaning tasks

The short lesson for day four is entitled “A Place to Put Your Feet Up”.  In this lesson Sara said something that just made me smile:  “‘Cleaning isn’t just about scrubbing floors (THANK GOD), making Beds, and clearing our clutter….it’s also about creating an environment that encourages people to feel welcomed and loved.”

She also gave some really cute dos and don’ts of creating a welcoming environment.  My two favs were:

1.  Don’t have plastic coverings on your furniture!  The harvest gold couch in my parent’s living room was covered in plastic.  It was like a plastic slip cover.  A nice thigh sweat would begin if you sat on it too long with shorts on (ewww).

2.  Don’t make everything perfect.  Let others experience the “lived-in” feel!

Mary Challenge:  Invite over a friend and allow them to put their feet up without worrying about everything being just right.

Martha challenge:  Clean the oven and microwave

For the Martha challenge, I am lucky enough to have a fabulous mother-in-law who cleaned my oven for me last week! (Now I just need to keep it clean. I have asthma and cannot stand the oven cleaner fumes!)

We keep the microwave wiped out, so cleaning it was a breeze!  (YAAAY!)

For the Mary challenge, my girls had our neighboor’s children over for a play date.  It was raining cats and dogs on Saturday so they could not play outside.  I let them PLAY, I mean really play, all over the house.  They did waaaay more than put their feet up.  Listening to their made up games was hilarious! They had a blast.

You know there has been some good playing going on when it takes 10 minutes to find a little one’s sock so she can put her shoes on to leave!

What a blessing for my children’s friends to be able to come over to our home and feel welcomed and loved.  Although they yelled and stomped, it was quite peaceful.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NIV 1984)

 Now may the Lord of peacehimself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

 

 

 

Hugging the Porcupine-Pour Your Heart Out

I have always been a person who can pretty much get along with everyone.  I am sure there are people who just can’t stand me but up until now, I have been totally oblivious of their disdain for me.  Even more than that, I am just not a person who has tons of people I “don’t like”. 

I guess that is why my current situation has me so bummed.   I currently have a porcupine in my life and porcupines are hard to deal with.  Porcupines have  sharp quills that make it difficult to hold them, hug them, talk to them and and much as I would like to admit, LOVE them. 

I am struggling to love my porcupine.  She has cut me with her words and vindictive behaviors.  When I say hello to her, I get nothing but crickets!

Dr. Phil describes the porcupine personality type as:   “People who are determined to find fault with anything and everything going on around them. Porcupine personality types are PRICKLY!  As a result, people engage them, if at all, at arm’s length. The world recognizes that interacting with the porcupine is a lose-lose situation.”  (Right on Dr. Phil!)

Have you EVER had to deal with a porcupine?

I realized this week that I have gotten to the point that I try to avoid my porcupine.  When we HAVE to be in the same room, my heart rate elevates.  I go into survival fight or flight mode getting ready for the next attack.  After I come out of “fight or flight”, I go into drama mode where I dwell in my anger or frustration with her.  Talking to her about our “situation” whatever “it” is, seems logical but I have seen ‘ol girl in action and I KNOW it will only make things worse.

Since I haven’t felt like I could go to her woman to woman, I have talked to my friends to get confirmation on how unbelievebly EVIL she is! (Really grown up eh?) I even said that I would no longer even try to speak to her since she doesn’t speak to me! (Boy I sound like a five year old!)

How does Jesus instructs us to deal with porcupines?

Matthew 5:43-48 (CEV)

 43 You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” 44 But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you.

Really Jesus?  I am supposed to pray for her?

Yes because….

45-48 Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectorslove their friends.  If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about that? Don’t even unbelievers do that?  But you must always act like your Father in heaven.

Well God is perfect and I am not so why even bother?  Can’t I just continue with this tic for tac thing we have going on? 

No….

“Pursuing the standard of perfection does not mean we can never fail. It means that WHEN we fail, we deal with it.”  -John MacAuthur

Matthew 5:48 (The Message)  In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

Dear God,

Thank you for giving me your Word to teach me how to live.  Forgive me Father for not responding to my porcupine as I should. I pray for her Lord that you would comfort her and allow her to acknowledge and feel your love.  In my mind, I know that hurt people hurt people. Yet, I allowed my hurt feelings to dictate my behavior.  Help me to forgive my porcupine and show me where my responsibility lies in our conflict. 

I know that you love her just as much as you love me.  Lord, stretch my mind and emotions so I can embrace my porcupine with grace and continue to live my life joyfully.  You never said this life would be without troubles.  In fact, your Word says that WHEN troubles come they should be an opportunity for joy.  Help me live out my God-created identity and be a light to the world. Amen

This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell at Things I can’t Say.

Give Me Faith-Emily Watkins Guest Post

Happy Hump Day Divas!  Today, I am so honored to have a guest blogger, Emily Watkins.

I affectionately call her a blogger because Emily is just swirling around the idea of blogging.  However, after you read her words, you will agree with me when I say that she is an excellent writer and has a true calling of encouraging and edifying!  Emily is a regular attendee of my fitness classes.  I just love having her uplifting spirit in class.

When Emily told me that she wanted to write, I begged her to guest post for me! I am so happy she did.  Her post today is inspired by the song I Need You by Elevation Worship.  I LOVE this song.  My church youth group used to sing this song quite often…what a blessing to teach young people and to remind myself of the experience of joy that occurs when we trust what God says.

Here are Emily’s Words:

“Give me faith to trust what You say-That You’re good and Your love is great.I’m broken inside;
I give You my life.”

This song of supplication reveals my heart more often than I care to admit. And I suspect more often than you care to confess as well. From the book of Genesis to the pages of our own lives, we find ourselves face to face with the root of all of Satan’s schemes – the deception that God is NOT good and His love is NOT great.

Isn’t that at the core of our internal battles when things just don’t seem to go our way – that God is keeping something from us that we need or want? I know, I know. We don’t want to admit we think that way, particularly as hand-waving, scripture-quoting believers. The facts are what they are though.

Our bodies are sick. Finances are strained. Jobs are scarce. Loved ones are estranged. We’re broken. And in the midst of ALL of this, we’re supposed to boldly declare, “Lord, You are good and Your mercy endures forever.” We are to passionately proclaim, “You love us with an everlasting love.” But often times, internally, we are screaming, “if You’re so good and Your love is so great, then why is my life in such turmoil?”

I could easily suggests any number of scriptures of encouragement to refute our despair. And all would be appropriate and true. But again I’m drawn to the first line of the chorus of Give Me Faith – “Give me faith to trust what You say.” It reminds me of Mark 9:14-29 which recounts the story of a father whose son has been demon-possessed for years. When the disciples were unable to drive out the evil spirit from the boy, the father brings him to Jesus.

In response to the father’s plea for help, Jesus tells the troubled man, “Everything is possible for him who believes.” But look at the despondent father’s reply: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 NIV

Do you see it? Do you see the father’s internal battle – the wrestling within his soul for what he knows is supposed to be true about Jesus versus the distress of witnessing his child being abused by this evil spirit?

This is an honesty that Jesus not only understands but responds to. Jesus understands that our flesh dares our spirit to stand up against what we experience every day in this sin-inflicted world. Truth be told, the voice of the world is so incredibly loud that in our own strength it is impossible to stand against the schemes of the enemy. But it is not impossible in the strength of God’s Spirit.

The song lyrics are true. We do need faith to trust what God says, to trust that God is good and that His love is great. We do need faith to admit that we are broken and the only choice we have to be made whole is to release our lives into God’s care. As we acknowledge our need for more faith, seeking the One who Is and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, we can stand secure in knowing: “I may be weak, but Your Spirit’s strong in me. My flesh may fail, but My God, You never will.”

Thank you Emily for sharing your heart.  God has truly blessed my life with some awesome women!

How can you remember to trust God this week?

Consider Your Ways-Pour Your Heart Out

The school year has officially started. Both of the girls enjoyed their first few days of school and we have had uneventful mornings. For all intents and purposes, this “back to school” season has been a success.

Just before getting too excited, I began to think of the New School Year like the actual “New Year” that happens every January. In the “real” New Year, people make tons of resolutions and promises to change things. A great many of these resolutions are the same ones from one year to the next  (i.e. stop being late, get up earlier, lose weight). Unfortunately, most of those resolutions are long forgotten by February.

Most new school years in our home begin with the same resolve as an actual New Year: the girls go to bed on time, lunches are packed and night, clothes are picked out in advance and we make it to the on the bus stop on time sans Mommy yelling! I am not sure when the change happens but by the end of the school year, the resolved mornings have turned into teary battles.

Perhaps you don’t have children or your back -to- school days are over. Can you relate to resolving to make change only to end up dissolving into the day to day of life and things remain unchanged or worse?

In the short book of Haggai, God speaks to the Israelites about this very subject:

Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it….. This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord. You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.”

God had instructed the Israelites to rebuild the temple but they grew complacent and did not finish the work they started. In fact, sixteen years passed after they constructed the altar of the temple and left their work uncompleted. In those years, they turned their attention towards their own affairs instead of God’s. Although they busied themselves, their labor was never enough. In fact, they began to find that they were never satisfied and constantly frustrated. When God commanded the Israelites to give careful thought to their ways, he was essentially calling their priorities into question.

We stay up late, skip out on morning quiet times, grab food on the go, stop exercising, and all kinds of things in an effort to get more things done. Life, with all of its demands (work, school, children, marriage) beats down on us like a hail storm. Sometimes it seems easier to run quickly in the rain towards shelter instead of taking the time to open our umbrella of protection, God. We need to give careful thought to our ways.

Our biblical priorities are: God first, family second and career third.

I love the way Joyce Meyer summed this principle up.  She said:  “The key to having God’s “abundant life”—His love, peace and joy—is keeping Him in His rightful place in our priorities.”

The start of a new school year is a great time to realign our priorities.

Realigning our priorities sounds great but how do we even get started?  I would love for you to join me in a seven day challenge to make scripture the first thing that we read each day–(yes even before email, texts and facebook)!

Things I Can’t Say

Come and See

A couple of days ago when I was in the hustle and bustle of my morning, I noticed one of my tires looked low. Upon further investigation, it was actually about to be flat. We just purchased a new set of tires about 2 months ago and then a month before that we had a $1000 repair. Uggh. Just last week, there was a crazy knocking noise and the rpms went whacky to the tune of $300.00. Double Ughhh.

One look at that low tire and I almost went jelly-back ( if not literally at least internally). If you have no idea what jelly-back is, just picture a child on the playground whose parent announces that it is time to leave and then proceeds to take the child’s arm to lead them away. Perhaps not every child, but at least ONE of mine, would simply go limp–jelly back if you will–onto the ground. Then I would have to try to pick up their dead weight.

Here were my thoughts: “My car is ten years old. I have 185,000 miles on it. I know with it being old, repairs are to be expected but can a sista get a break? Every time I take my car to the shop, it costs me a lot of money. Can any good come from this”

Just before I jellied all the way down, I felt God say “Trust Me”.

In John chapter 1 verse 46, a dialogue takes place between Phillip and Nathanael. Before their conversation, Phillip was called by Jesus to be a disciple and he was so excited that he ran to tell his friend Nathanael about “the One who Moses wrote about Jesus of Nazareth” (v45).

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip.

Jewish people discounted Nazareth. It was a small agricultural town with nothing going for it. Nathanael allowed his prejudices about Nazareth to question whether Jesus was the Messiah.

A prejudice is a prejudgment: i.e. an assumption made about someone or something before having adequate knowledge to be able to do so with guaranteed accuracy.

I allowed my prejudices (i.e. my jelly back “this is the end of the world attitude”) to question whether God is who he says He is. For a split second, as I arched my back in true temper tantrum style, I prejudged that my tire was going to cost a lot of money and that it was going to be a huge hassle.

Then, I heard God say, Trust ME!

Come and see, trust ME.

I wish I could tell you that I am so spiritual that I boldly trusted God. No dear sisters, I was so exhausted from life’s every day hiccups I said “OK Lord, I trust you, out of shear desperation”. I was just too tired to even process another car repair bill or anything else.

So, I went to a local mom and pop shop (Engleberts in Kernersville, NC), and I explained that my tire was low. A very nice older gentleman said “Ok, we’ll take a look at it”. Ten minutes later, he poked his head into the waiting room and told me my car was ready. He also reported that I had a screw in my tire but that they were able to plug it.

Whew! “How much do I owe you” I asked.

He responded: “No charge”.

Come and see, trust ME.

Maybe you are not a jelly backer. Perhaps you make sarcastic comments or immediately think the worst when the little things of life buzz around you like pesty flies. How can you remember to “come and see”?

This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell over at Things I Can’t Say and a weekly blog link up at Women Living Well.


Princess Choices-Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop

Mama’s Losin’ It
Today, I am participating in Mama Kat’s writer’s workshop. One of the writing prompts for this week is to list some of the things that I would tell my teenage self. Since we haven’t mastered time travel yet, my list will be what I wish I knew then but can share with young girls NOW:

1. God loves you

1 John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

I don’t think I ever thought about or realized how much God loved me when I was a teenager. I sought all of my approval from friends, boyfriends, teachers, and accomplishments. Oh how I wish I knew then that God is a better friend to me and takes better care of me any man. Had I known about His love for me, perhaps I would have recognized my royal position as a true Princess, a daughter of the King of Kings.

No one talks to the King’s daughter all crazy! She is confident in who she is because of her father. She respects her Father enough to follow his commands even when she thinks they are lame because she understands how much he loves her.

In one of my favorite movies, Disney’s Princess Protection Program. Demi Lovato’s character says the following: “You think that being a princess is superficial. That it is about what you wear and how you look….. it is what you have to offer to the world and who you are inside.”

2. The decisions you make now are important.

Ephesians 5:15-17: Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Andy Stanley, lead pastor at NorthPoint Church says there is one question that, if we ask it each time we make a decision, it will bring clarity to the important questions, problems and dilemmas in our lives. He calls it the best question ever.
The best question ever is:

Is this the WISE THING to do?  Based on—my past experiences, my current circumstances and my future hopes and dreams.


All too often we ask ourselves the wrong question when making choices. We usually ask Can I do this? In today’s society we can pretty much rationalize any decision as something that we CAN do. Often, if we can’t rationalize or don’t even want to take the time to think through a decision, we just throw it in the YOLO (you-only-life-once) category and like Nike, “Just Do It”.

Andy Stanley explains that simply asking if we can do something or not or even asking if doing something is wrong leads us to ask: “How close I get to the line between right and wrong without actually doing something wrong?” Better put: “How far over the line can I go before I experience consequences?”

Unfortunately this method of decision making often leads us to ask: “How did I get myself into this mess?”

Then we learn the hard lesson that while we only live once, we may have to suffer the consequences of our decisions over and over.

“By three methods we may learn wisdom. First by reflection which is the noblest; Second by imitation which is easiest; and third by experience which is the bitterest”-Confucius

What advice would you give to teenage girls?

Back to School Already? Wal-Mart Gift Card Giveaway

Y’all know I keep it real so I gotta just say it, “I am so NOT looking forward to school starting!” I have really enjoyed letting the girls just BE without barking out marching orders to the next activity. Not having homework and projects has been fabulous. There have actually been a couple of evenings I was able to come home from work and kick my shoes off. Ahhhh.

Perhaps it is just me, but my eyes seem to roll on their own every time I see or hear the words “Back to School”.  In years past, I waited until the last minute to shop for back to school.  Since it was last minute, the lines were long and I ended up frazzled.

The frazzled feeling seemed to be a common theme for me last school year.  The crazy hurried mornings, the tearful commutes to work after losing it with the girls, the frantic evenings trying to throw something at the stove, make it to extracurriculars AND get in bed at a decent hour, are all great reminders of why  I LOVE summer.

I am overwhelmed by all the things that need to get done in preparation of  “Back to School”.  I did manage to get the school supplies but our hallway closets and both of the girls closets need to be purged and organized.  In an effort to corral all the the mail and papers that end up on my kitchen countertop, a kitchen command center would be awesome.

Just thinking about doing it ALL while balancing work, children, husband and everything else makes me feel lethargic and demotivated.

I am reading a book by New York Times Best Selling Author, Lysa Terkeurst, called Unglued (Making wise choices in the midst of raw emotions).   In the book, Lysa uses an amazing term called “imperfect progress”.  She defines imperfect progress as: “slow steps of changes wrapped in grace”. I just love the sound of that! (Vist the Unglued website to purchase the book and get freebies)

So, if I had to chose one thing to do as a small step of change, I really think a kitchen command center would give me the greatest bang for my time and money.

Here is my inspiration:

I just love the simplicity of this AND the flower notebook contains meals for the week and a cleaning checklist!  (Shut the front door!)  I found it over at Lovely Crafty Home.

Looking through the lense of imperfect progress, I am able to celebrate the fact that I did get the school supplies.  I am also able to clearly see the wisdom of making a plan to do what is reasonable considering my schedule demands.

Imperfect progress allows for inconsistency, mistakes, the need to apologize and start over.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (CEV) We often suffer, but we are never crushed. Even when we don’t know what to do, we never give up. 9In times of trouble, God is with us, and when we are knocked down, we get up again.

Imperfect progress is still progress.

Dear God, as we prepare for a new school year, keep us keenly aware that perfection is unattainable and unnecessary.  Help us to remember that you are our true power sourceIt is because of you that we CAN imperfectly progress.  When we fall down, we can get back up because of you.  Thank you for being our refuge and strength.

I will post pics of my version of the kitchen command center next week.  School starts here on August 27, 2012.

Have you done any back to school preparation?  How can you remember imperfect progress?

Would a $25 Wal-Mart gift card make your back to school process eaiser? If so enter my giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is part of a weekly meme hosted by Shell @ Things I Can’t Say and Women Living Well!