Did You Ask God?

A little over a month ago, I had an opportunity to be a vendor at a local women’s conference. This was definitely new for me, but I remembered God’s words about being “fearless” in 2017 (in case you missed it, read last week’s post). I knew the year was going to present new opportunities that would be outside my comfort zone, but I was ready! 

The conference, Beauty For Ashes, was amazing! The women seemed to love my new tshirts. I sold almost every tshirt I had! But as a believing, budding entrepreneur, something even greater happened…

I got a word from God!

Her name was Wendi. That’s all I remember and I don’t know what her entire message was about but her energy energized me! Her spirit connected with mine. And when she said these words, I knew she was talking to me. “You don’t have to ask God to bless what He has told you to do.”

That was my word! That was my message! If I had only sold one tshirt, I would have still left the venue on an indescribable high! I knew those words were for me. 

In the days following, I received additional opportunities to sell my Sharing My Heart tees at other events. Some I accepted, some I couldn’t. But there was one event, in particular, that I accepted without hesitation. The shear number of women in attendance peaked my interest more than anything. So I began to prepare. Ordered shirts. Ordered bags. Inventoried everything. Business cards…check. Prayer cards…check. Hubby, mom, and dad available for set up, selling, and break down…check! And we were ready! 

But this time, things didn’t happen like before. 

No sales, no word, no nothing! I wondered what I missed. What did I do last time that I did not do this time? Well, I couldn’t put my finger on it so we simply packed up and went home (well, my mom went to Old Time Pottery 🙂). I wasn’t bothered, but in all honesty, I did wonder. 

I had not given the event much thought since that day, until my mom and I were talking a week or so later. Before we hung up, she asked me, “The event we went to last week…Did you ask God?” I hesitated. “What do you mean?” “Of all the opportunities you’ve been given this year, the recurring theme in our conversations has been ‘God said’ or ‘I knew it was Him when…’ or ‘I had just prayed about it, then…'”

And she was right.

When I received the information about the event, the minimal vendor fee and the ability to reach hundreds of women sparked my interest more than gaining His insight. My mom reminded me of Wendi’s words. “You don’t have to ask God to bless what He has told you to do.”

Today, I’m sharing my heart because so often we make decisions based on what we see, what has worked for others, what fits into our budget, or what makes sense to our finite minds. I would never say don’t study and learn from others but it is most important that we follow “the plan” (Jeremiah 29:11) that He has for us. We must allow the Spirit of truth to lead us into all truth (John 16:13).

Before You Go….

Don’t forget to check out my new Sharing My Heart tees at iamsharingmyheart.com or click SHOP at the top of the site!

Until Next Time….❤️

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A Window of Opportunity

If your daily activities were unknowingly being monitored, what would others see? Would they see an unprecedented level of productivity or would they assume you to be a telemarketer due to the many hours you spend on the phone each day? Would they see your ability to multitask and willingness to help others or would they think you were Mark Zuckerberg’s employee of the month?

Some years ago, a dear friend of mine was unknowingly being watched (in a good way). Here’s her story…

She worked for a small business. Because of the values her parent’s instilled in her, there was nothing she was unwilling to do. Her humble spirit led her to do many things others deemed beneath them. She arrived early and willingly stayed late. She was qualified to handle financial matters, but would make coffee and answer phones with just as much passion. Her employer appreciated her and respected her decision to go back to school after working with them for about five years.

Since that day, more than three years have passed.

My friend recently received a phone call. The voice on the other end asked, “Is this ______?” She positively responded. The caller went on to say, “You don’t know me but more than seven years ago, you worked in a building across the street from my office. I often saw you opening the office in the mornings and leaving late in the evenings. There were days I watched you do things that many in my office would have never done. Your demeanor always seemed pleasant. Years ago, I told my boss, ‘We need to hire her. We need people like that at our company. Well today, I am the boss.'” There was silence. My friend asked, “How do you know all these things? How did you see me?” The caller told my friend from one of the windows in his building, he could see directly into the area where she once worked. The call ended with an interview being scheduled to determine if my friend would be a good fit for one of their current openings.

After making sure this person was not stalking my friend, I stood in awe of her story. A window of opportunity. My friend shared a lot of memories from her previous workplace. I marveled at the fact that although every day was not “a bed of roses,” my friend remained focused and sought to be “light” even if she had to shine alone.

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Often we respond to life according to the manner in which it treats us. But my friend’s example of operating in excellence at all times is a great lesson for us all. She never knew anyone was watching, but her dedication created a window of opportunity that she never saw coming.

In the days, week, and months ahead, remember 2 Chronicles 15:7, “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”

We never know when it will come, but make sure the view through your window of opportunity is deserving of a reward.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT VISION NOWRegistration ends this Friday!

Ladies,
If you are anything like me, you grew up watching your parents work hard doing the same job for 20 or 30+ years, whether they enjoyed it or not. They then retired (in their 60’s), breathed a sigh of relief, and said, “Now it’s time to enjoy life.”

But I don’t think that was ever God’s intention when He created us.

One of the reasons I am hosting VISION NOW is because I believe NOW is the time to enjoy life. NOW is the time to do what we have been called to do. NOW is not at the beginning of the year. NOW is not when the kids graduate.

NOW IS NOW!

Registration for VISION NOW ends this Friday. Go to visionnow.eventbrite.com and get your tickets NOW!

Looking forward to seeing you on October 1st!

 

 

Is “Excellence” the Road Less Traveled?

I was recently asked to speak during a business women’s luncheon at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. As I prayed about what God would have me say, my attention was continuously drawn to one specific word…excellence. One day as I was preparing, my life flashed before my eyes. In that moment, I began to assess my actions and efforts, past and present, which led me to ask a couple of questions…

  • What does it truly mean to be excellent?
  • Is excellence today’s standard or is it overshadowed by success?
  • Are excellence and success comparable?

The online dictionary’s definitions explain excellence as the very best, possessing good qualities in high degree, a higher standard than set by culture or the world, giving your best. But forty-two years of life (and a little research) has taught me more about excellence than Webster ever could.

Here are 10 things I’ve realized about excellence:

  1. Excellence and perfection are not synonymous. Excellence is doing all you have with what you have in a particular season of life.
  2. Excellence and success are not interchangeable. Culturally, success is measured by title, prestige, and status. But while success, by the world’s standards, is only available to a few, excellence can be achieved by all. Excellence can lead to success, but success does not always equate to excellence.
  3. Excellence knows when to say no. Excellence does not attempt to be all things to all people all the time. (which leads to #4…)
  4. Excellence does not over promise and under deliver.
  5. Excellence goes beyond that which it feels like doing. It is fueled by will not want (see last week’s post!). Excellence goes the extra mile.
  6. Excellence understands that its only competitor is itself.
  7. Excellence does not live in the past, but moves forward unrestricted by yesterday.
  8. Excellence is the measure used to evaluate decisions and actions based on the highest quality you have to offer.
  9. Excellence is a process and is intentional. Pat Riley, one of the greatest NBA coaches of all times once said, “Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.”
  10. Unlike success, excellence does not always make the headlines, but is most often noticed when it is no longer there.

My discussion with the ladies during the luncheon began with one of my favorite poems but today, I think I’ll close with an excerpt. The final stanza of The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost says this…

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Ahead of each of us are various roads. Much like the poet, we too must make a decision as to which path we will choose. The road of excellence. The road to success. The road that gains the approval of others. The road of dormancy due to indecisiveness. And although all roads are not mutually exclusive, I must ask…

In today’s society, is excellence the road less traveled?

Now, share your heart with me. Looking forward to your perspective on excellence.

CAST YOUR CARES!

A couple of weeks ago, I took a break from writing my blog. Well, it was actually in April and was only suppose to last a couple of weeks, but instead, my 30-day productive sabbatical turned into multiple weeks where I allowed frustration to overrule productivity. I told God during my break, “I am tired! I can’t do everything!” You see, being a wife, mother of 2 small children, working full time, and blogging part time is a lot, especially when excellence is the goal. Then recently, God presented an opportunity for me to be a Contributing Writer for one of the oldest, most well-respected newspapers in the southeast, The Birmingham Times. I was grateful for the opportunity, but as I looked at my plate, to say it was already full was an understatement. So I did what the ‘ole folks use to do back in the day. I decided to have a little talk with Jesus!

Just as the writer of the old hymn said, “And He will answer by and by”…guess what? He did. I don’t know the time frame as it relates to “by and by,” but He answered me pretty quickly. God simply told me to cast my cares. I knew the scripture “cast your cares on Me, because I care for you” and I felt I was doing just that. After all, I made sure God knew how I felt about each and everything on my plate. And being the perfect gentleman that He is, He let me ramble on and on and on….

As I wrapped up telling God what I could not possibly handle, I sensed that He agreed with me. At that moment, God so gently reminded me of a fond childhood memory. It was fishing with my dad. I remembered standing on the shore and casting my fishing line as far as I could into the water. As I reminisced, God said, “I need you to do the same thing with everything that concerns you. Don’t just tell me about it. Give it to me. Cast it.” God continued. “My child, the reason you think you are tired is because you are trying to do everything in your own power, in your own strength. Apart from Me, you can do nothing, but with Me, all things are possible. Trust Me with your cares. Give Me all your worries. I really do care for you.”

As I thought back to those days of casting my fishing line into the water, my thoughts were dominated by the serenity of the environment. Even in the waiting, my dad and I knew if we were patient, what we were waiting for would come to us, almost effortlessly. The key was to relinquish control.

Today, I challenge you to “cast your cares on Him.” I did and believe it or not, God sent people to help me…some I knew, some I didn’t know. The things I once thought were burdensome and impossible, seemingly overnight, were resolved. Now, I chuckle when things are thrown my way. The tension is significantly lessened when the solution seems nonexistent. With each occurrence, I simply respond by saying, “God, here you go! I’m casting my cares!”

Now It’s Your Turn:
1 Peter 5:7 says, “Let him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.” If you are willing to trust God and give Him your anxieties, worries, and concerns, type here in the comments or on social media, CASTING MY CARES!

“A” is for Across

For those of you who started this blogging journey with me, if you remember, our journey began with the vowels. Well, as another year begins, I am compelled to go back to the beginning. Even though I still consider myself a virgin blogger (been blogging for a little less than a year), I think the vowels will be my annual blogging tradition.

So here we go!

I believe this year is the beginning of promotion, elevation, increase, and supernatural favor for those who are willing to go after it! Last year was a year of preparation for many. We chartered into territory that was new and for some, unexpected. Others went through unforeseen struggles, publicly and privately, but I believe each struggle made us stronger and wiser and was just to get us ready for what’s to come. So I began asking (as always), “What’s next God” and He took me back to my post on October 28, 2015, Ready To Get Your Feet Wet. Knowing the first blog of the year would begin with the vowel “A”, I pondered over what God was saying. I read Ready To Get Your Feet Wet again and again and I re-read every response posted on the blog, social media, even those sent via text, and finally, I heard God say…

 “A” is for ACROSS

Although a very familiar and elementary word, I went straight to dictionary.com. I understood across to signify movement from one place to another, but I was curious to see if there was something else I was missing and as always, there was more. Not only did the term mean on or to the other side of, it also yielded these meanings: (1) into a desired or successful state and (2) beyond.

To say I got excited is truly an understatement!

So I went back to the book of Joshua where the Israelites made the decision to get their feet wet and God showed me three things. There was a plan, a promise, and then promotion.

THE PLAN

Joshua 3:6 (NLT), “Lift up the Ark of the Covenant and lead the people across the river!”

The Israelite officers laid out a plan (verses 2-4). Joshua’s words, here, were in response to the plan. As I read chapter 3, I could feel their excitement. There was no hesitation. It was almost as if they knew without a doubt the victory was guaranteed.

THE PROMISE

Joshua 3: 9, 11 (NLT), “So Joshua told the Israelites, ‘Come and listen to what the Lord your God says.'” “Look, the Ark of the Covenant, who is the Lord of the whole earth, will lead you across the river.”

The plan was solidified by a promise from God himself. God spoke these words to Joshua who in turn used them to encourage the Israelites.

THE PROMOTION

Joshua 4:1 (TLB), “When all the people were safely across, the Lord said to Joshua…..”

The priest led the way carrying the Ark while the others followed. The result of their obedience was promotion. Finally, the Promised Land! They made it safely to the land flowing with milk and honey which had been promised over 40 years before.

I believe, today, God is ready to take us across. Many of us have a plan and a promise, but promotion will only come once we are willing to follow God, even if it means getting our feet wet. And there’s no need to worry. Our victory is guaranteed just like the Israelites. “How do I know,” you may ask? Just as God told me “A” is for across, He also reminded me that our victory was secured over 2000 years ago on A CROSS.

I hope you are running and shouting with me!!! I believe this year will be one of the best we have ever had! I’m ready to go across and I believe you are too! If you know someone who needs to activate their plan and stand on His promise in order to receive the promotion, please share. Let’s go across together!

OK, even though I am still running and shouting, I’m ready for the vowel “E”, but let’s have some fun. What do you think “E” will stand for? What about I, O, U, and Y? I think I know what “E” is, but I am always listening for His still, small voice.

Next week, same time, same place!