Sunday, October 27, 2013

One Way to Measure Your Leadership Skills in Your Home.

Once a year, my mom and I plan a mother-daughter get away. It is one of my favorite times of the year.  For the past two years, we have been going to see Christian bible teacher, Beth Moore.  Now, I know this might not sound like a good time but don’t knock something unless you have tried it yourself.  By this time ever year, I’m ready for a little adventure with my God and my mom.  It rejuvenates me so I can continue to be a better wife, mother and friend to the people around me.  Also, encourages me to continue working on my ministry. 


Before the conference began, my mom signed me up for some leadership classes.  I know this might sound weird, but I LOVE WORSKHOPS.  I love learning and meeting new people.  As I sat in these classes, much emphasis was talked about building your team.  Of course the emphasis was placed on ministry but it applies to your own business or workplace. 


What was not talked about was taking these same principals and applying them to your own home.  Maybe they do at different events not just at this particular one.  Before we take leadership principals out into the world or even the church, we should look at our own home life first.  How are we as women leading our children?  Are we allowing our husbands to lead our families?  I understand this is a hard question to swallow for many because you might look at your husband as a total slacker. (If you do, don’t worry you are not alone. I had good reason though I thought until God slapped me around.  This is another talk for another time.) If you are a follower of Christ, this is important.  If you don’t believe in Him, you can still take these same principals and apply it to your marriage, if you want your relationship to thrive. 

How do you know if you are being a leader in your home?  Can your husband and kids function while you are gone?  Have you taught your children and allowed them to take on responsibilities inside the home?  Do you have to leave a detailed note before leaving and call and check on them every hour? Now, I’m not saying you don’t leave any directions or call and say goodnight, I love you or just to see how their day is going because you care.  My husband does not stay at home with the kids full time like I do.  He needed a little help with what to do in school, kids schedule and what was on the list to make for dinner.  However, we have the same goals for our family.  We talk all the time and he is actively involved in the lives of his children.    I only needed to leave a few notes to help not because I didn’t trust him or wanted to nag him to death or expect him to do everything the way I like it. Guess what,   He didn’t do everything according to my plan either.  He had a blast with the kids and bottom line is that is all that really matters.

Here is when you know all your hard work during the year is paying off.  My husband was just amazed how the kids are self sufficient.   Marcia and Marie because they are younger need more help with school but the kids even knew what to do in the house.  He said the kids were awesome.  They helped their dad too. The best part for me, I walked in and the house was cleaned and looked even better than when I left. 

They were able to function without me.  I know many times moms want to have the control, feel needed and take care of everything.  This is not a true leader.  I’m not saying I’m all that and a bag of chips, because I’m not. I’m not saying our husband and children don’t need us because they do.  Moms are the heartbeat of a family.    What I am saying is we need to be leading in our homes in a way that they know what to do not just when you are with them but when you are away or not looking.  Isn't that what we want for our children.  To one day leave our home and have the skills to live successfully on their own.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Should these be the conversations parents have with their children and each other?

Over the years, some of the conversations I’ve heard among parents have baffled my mind. The conversations seem to be centered on education--what college the kids will go to, and what they hope will be their future career. Of course, there isn’t anything wrong with these conversations. We want the same for our children. We want to equip our children with the skills it takes to go out into this world and be successful. However, it all depends on what you define as success.

Our definition of success looks just a little different. Scholastic education is important to us, but it is not our top priority. Grades, classes, and colleges don’t impress us. What does impress us is character, and when children know how to respect authority, each other, and themselves. Our focus doesn’t revolve just around books. This might sound like an old school mindset to you, but on top of character building, we are training up our children to be wives and a husband.  We want them to have the skills they need to excel in their marriages.  They need to know what it takes to have a healthy marriage, raise a family, and be wise with money. They need to have good people skills, and respect for parents.  They need to know how to have goals and dreams, and know what it takes to make all of them a reality.  We want them to know how to build healthy relationships, and most importantly, we want them to know the living and one true God.   Everything else tour children will pursue will stem from these principles.

I know many people long for the same for their children.  Maybe they are afraid to have these conversations or don't know how to go about it.  Anyone can get another career or education, but think how hard it will be for your child if they don’t know what to look for in a spouse or how to be a good one.  My husband and I struggled in the beginning of our relationship and brought so much baggage into our marriage. I don’t write this blog because I think we are perfect.  It is written because of the heartache, shed tears, and lessons we have learned along the way.  If we had continued living the way the world expected us to, we would be on the road to divorce.  

Think about this, being in a broken marriage is more devastating than it is to be at a job you don’t like.  A job you can change.  It really doesn’t affect anyone but you.  Yes, financially it may hurt, or you might have to move your family, but those are temporary problems.  More money can be made and people adapt to new places. However, a dying marriage not only affects you, but everyone in your family. Yes, people do survive through divorce.  And please know that this post is not intended to make anyone feel guilty or bad if you have had to make those choices.  But don’t we want more for our children?  Don’t we want something different for them?   

I understand one of the reasons these conversations don’t happen is because the majority of people don’t know how to rescue themselves or their marriage. They were never taught.  Instead society has made a joke out of the union between a man and women, when it was designed for so much more.  

So, if we want more for our children, what do we need to do?  We need to become a people who are not afraid to be open, honest, and real. We need to heal our relationships and ourselves, and teach our children that though we live in this world, we don't have to be of this world. That means that we don't have to go along with the crowd, we can stand out and be different. I understand that these are scary thoughts, to have to move from surface-level conversations to getting real.  However, it is worth facing the fear, or else history will repeat itself.  Our eyes must be open, and we must do something different.  These are the conversations we as parents need and should be having with our children.

Grades, universities, and careers may sound great right now, but I’m sure you know many smart people who lack character.  They lack the skills it takes to build a strong family.  They may have the dream job, but are still living a life they regret, married to a wife they hate, and have kids they don’t even know. Don’t you want more for your kids?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Walking Zombies

People.  We are complicated.  We are all uniquely made, yet at the very core of our being we are the same.  We are filled with dreams, aspirations, and excitement. Many have a spirit longing to live an adventurous life or dare to try something new and risky.  You know these people.  Maybe, it's you.  The room changes as people like this walk in the room.  The spark found in their eyes twinkles as if it will never go out.
And yet, somewhere on the journey of life, that spark begins to flicker.  The person who was once filled with ideas has slowly been filled with disappointment, hurt and loss.  When you see this once vibrant person walking down the street, his or her step has lost that bounce.  The voice has become dull and lifeless.

You cry, "Why?”  Maybe it’s you, or maybe your heart breaks for what was lost.  The person you once were has disappeared, even though you are physically still here. You have found yourself numb.   You find yourself searching, asking how did this happen?   Maybe it's not you, but you see this person walking aimlessly in your neighborhood, at the grocery store, on vacation, or in your church. This once hopeful person resembles a walking zombie, going through the motions, but completely lifeless.  Many people, even Christians, build their life like a house of cards.  At some point that house will fold, and it will all come crashing down.   

Here is what I've learned. Don't build your life on people.   Marriages can break, children will leave your home, people die, rejections laughs in your face, dreams fail, and friends may hurt you.  Some people suck, for lack of a better word, and so can life, if you do not build your life on Christ.  
Disappointment will eventually happen, and death will one day knock on your door.  Living a life among the walking dead does not need to be your reality.  Life can still be full--dreams met, families healed, friendships mended, failure turn into success--if we learn this one simple lesson:  build your life on Christ.

“These are the ones along the path where the word is sown:  when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word sown in them.  And these are the ones sown on rocky ground:  when they hear the word, immediately they receive it with joy.  But they have no root in themselves; they are short-lived.  When pressure or persecution comes because of the word, they immediately stumble.  Others are sown among thorns; these are the one, who hear the word, but the worries of this age, the seduction of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.  But the ones sown on good ground are those who hear the word welcome it, and produce a crop: 30, 60, and 100 times what was sown.   Mark 4: 15-20

Is your life built upon good ground?

Friday, October 18, 2013

A few reminders for moms or anyone who feels a little stressed out at times.

Over the years, I've had many women, mainly moms, say the following things to me:

1.        Do you ever get stressed out, especially since you homeschool and now have four kids?

2.       You must be so patient because I could never do what you do.

3.       Must be nice to have a perfect life.

4.       If you homeschool your kids, you must be really smart!

5.       How do you do it? 

First of all, those questions or comments are not true.  To be honest, it makes me laugh inside, and sometimes, right in someone’s face!!  Remember, I’ve been married for 15 years, and I homeschool 4 kids!! To be honest, having a healthy marriage takes work.  In my opinion, it is much harder being a wife than it is being a mother, which is another topic all together.
There are times I get stressed out and lose my cool.  My life is not perfect.  I’m definitely not some super smart person. However, I love God and my family.  This is the fuel that keeps me going.  I know my role in this family is to support my husband, and to guide and train our children to find their purpose and live it out loud.  Knowing this keeps me focused and excited, and I try not to focus on the things we can’t control.  I can list all kinds of things I can’t do, but why spend time focusing on those things when, really, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me? (Phil 4:13).   

Here are a few reminders on how to have a “successful” life.  It is simple, but not easy.  I realize you may already know the answers.  Maybe you just need a little reminder.   These are just a few examples on how I live my life. 

1.     I put God first, and I've learned that His voice is all that matters.  When I follow Him, everything else falls in place.  When I begin to feel a little stressed, I realize I’m depending on my strength and not on God. 

2.       I work on myself, learning new skills, and I surround myself with the right kind of people. 

3.       I keep my mindset in check: what you think and speak about is what you create in your life.  This doesn’t mean you won’t have hard times. However, you can’t let your circumstances control you.

4.       I focus on the moment while keeping the bigger picture in mind. 

5.       I keep my priorities straight, and I know what my purpose and plans are as a daughter of God, a wife, and a mother. And I am able to say NO!

The bottom line is this: if you have been given the gift of motherhood, it’s the biggest blessing you could ever receive.  I know we say this, but at times it can get lost if we don’t realize that what we do every single day when nobody is looking matters.  One day, all your hard work will pay off.  If you keep your eyes and heart open, you will see it already has. The biggest blessing for me is watching my children fall in love with Christ, and not be ashamed of their faith.  Seeing them want to worship Jesus in everything they do, not because of what I say, but because they know Him and have developed their own relationship with Him.  

Maybe you don't believe in God. There are so many other examples that could apply to you.  How about when your kids wake up, or kiss you goodnight, and say they love you?  When your kids make the right choice, without you being with them?  When you see them reach their dreams, or have a healthy marriage because of your influence in their life?  Or when you experience the birth of your grandchildren?  The list can go on and on.   

Yes, the world wants you to think you don’t matter and that you are missing out on something when you choose to put family first.   I’m not saying you can’t have dreams, or want to do more with your life.  I will tell you this--there isn’t much more that you can ask for than being a mom.  This season in life will go fast. It is over before we know it.  Trust me, the laundry, noise, constant reminders, disciplining, driving, whatever it may be, you will miss. 

If you find that you are not enjoying being a mom, or you are extremely stressed out, reach out to someone and ask for help.   Don’t just go through the motions.  Learn how to become the mom you have always wanted to be. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Being Free to be you

The hope for this blog, facebook, and twitter page is HOPE for anyone who needs support.  It is for anyone who needs to know that he or she is never alone.  My hope is to be real and honest, and to keep my messages simple about the life lessons God has taught me. If you don't believe in God, I want you to feel safe coming to this place, and I hope that you learn a few principals to help you along in life. (Yes, that is right.  I love Jesus, but I don't judge you if you don't.  I love you anyways.  You are free to be you without condemnation on my part.) 

Even though from the outside everything in my life looked hunky dory, I was once a hot mess. Nobody knew, and when I did begin to share my heart, I felt attacked or even judged.   When I needed to talk, most of the time I knew the answer, I just needed a place to be real. Besides my mom, I really didn't have anyone. (There are times you need people just to listen and then there are times you need to be smacked in the face. It's important to know the difference between the two.)  The more I tried, the worse off my life seemed to get.  But you know what? God is so good, and he knows exactly what to do to bring someone closer to him.  It doesn't always look the way we think. He brought some amazing people in my life and took me pretty much around the world in order for me to open up to him.

I would get advice from others like, if you would just believe in God everything would be ok. Are you kidding me?  I did believe in God, and my life was a hot mess.  God doesn't say anywhere in His word that life will be easy.  As a matter of fact, he says the complete opposite, especially when you decide to follow him.  However, He does promise to be with you every step of the way.  Believing in Christ is everything, but it drives me crazy when Christians offer this advice, especially when you look at their life and there is absolutely no fruit! Now, I know that is judgmental, because I'm sure God has changed this person to some degree.  But, you know what I mean.  They are miserable and there is nothing about their life that I would even want!  I remember thinking, God, I don't want to be like those people.  I love you, but their life sucks.  I want more.  I'm not underestimating Christ.  Don't get me wrong, believing in Jesus IS everything.  It literally is a choice between life and death.  However, many people who accept Christ as their Lord and Savior may be able to quote every bible verse you can think of, but they have never fully allowed him to heal them and take their spirituality to the next level.  They don't allow Christ to move them from point A to point B.  It breaks my heart when I see people who love Jesus, but are stuck because of religion, or because of the walls that they have built in their lives.  They refuse to let Christ knock the walls down because the pain is so great. 

I don't pretend to know all the answers.  I can only offer what God has taught, and continues to teach, my husband and me.  We are living proof of what Christ can do. I can teach you biblical skills that I've learned and applied to my life from people that God has used to transform my life.  I can offer encouragement and support.  But what I want the most is for you to know that you are not being judged.  This is a safe place. I write about marriage and strongly believe in the covenant between a man and a woman.  However, I don't live in your shoes, and will never know what goes on behind closed doors.  Even if one day you say it's enough, I just can't do it anymore. You will still be loved.  People can offer all kinds of words of wisdom, but at the end of the day your life and decisions are between you and God, not you and everyone you know.  At the end of your life, you will be the only one besides Christ facing God. You will have to answer to him.  As long as you continue to love him with all your heart, no matter what mistakes or choices you may have made, and ask to be forgiven, he will accept, love and welcome you with open arms.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”" Deuteronomy 31:6

No matter how much I write, please know this:  I hear you and sometimes the best advice is to say absolutely nothing.  To remember no matter what decisions in life you make, "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friend." John 15:13  We must love our God with all our hearts, and love our neighbors as ourselves.    You can be real, and if you take everything I've written and throw it out the window, you still are loved by me, but most importantly by the God who created YOU and the universe!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Do you ever feel like you are dying on the inside?

I've grown up always believing in Jesus.  However, I wasn't always living for him nor did I know him like I do today.  I hope in another year from now, I know him even deeper than I do at this very moment.   When my husband and I decided to get married we both wanted God to be in our life. However, it was under our rules.  We wanted to tell God when and where we wanted him.  This, my friend, is a major problem!!

I remember sitting in church in the beginning of our marriage.  We were young and having the time of our lives, though we thought.  Half the time we showed up for church we were hung over from a party the night before.  I would be lying if I told you we were not having fun because we were having a blast.  However, sin works like that.  In the beginning it looks like all fun and games.  Slowly, it begins to tear you apart and taking everything you have with it. 

I would sit there, and every few weeks, Matthew 16:24 would be talked about. "Then Jesus said to his disciples, "if any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross and follow me."  I remember talking to God and saying not just yet God. I love you but I'm not ready to give up everything.  Little did I know what I thought I would be giving up would be nothing compared to what I would be gaining. 

Fast forward 10 years later, when God finally grabbed on to my heart and showed me what life would be like fully devoted to him.  He showed me how the life I was living was not what he intended for me.  As my husband and I both gave our hearts fully and rededicated our lives to Christ, we were finally set free.  I experienced a freedom I never had before.  However, within a few years, I was wrapped up once again in bondage.  I felt like I couldn't breath.  The person God redeemed was slowly dying on the inside. 

Why?  Because I was trying to please people, especially Christians.  God forgave me, made me new, but yet I was still begging him to make me different.  I desperately wanted to be the quiet wife that said nothing.  God isn't about pleasing people, religion, or man-made rules.  It's not about saying the right Christian words, dressing a certain way, or becoming someone that God never intended you to be. It's not about volunteering and being so busy inside the church that your home life is then neglected.  It’s not about being legalistic and not being able to enjoy a glass of wine with your spouse or friends.  It's not about trying to be perfect.   It's about knowing who you are in Christ.  If you can relate to this blog, just know this: keep your eyes fixed on God.  He is the creator of the Universe.  He is much bigger than the four walls of a church building.  Get in the Word of God, and allow the Holy Spirit to transform you the way God wants, not allowing people and their opinions to become your master. 

I've had to learn the hard way.  Yes, I'm going to mess up, and people are not going to agree with me at times or maybe even like me.  I'm ok with that because my God loves me.  And He and loves you!  He will make our crooked paths straight. He will take our mess and use it for HIS glory.  He will protect us and never leave us.  He will be the only one that will give you the peace, purpose, joy and FREEDOM your heart is searching for.  God is much bigger than anybody's opinion of you. He has a bigger purpose for you and me. Time is ticking.  What are you waiting for? 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

When Sex is the last thing you want to do, try SEXERSIZE!!!

My husband is a genius.  The reason I say this is because the other night I was exhausted and sex was the furthest thought from my mind!  Unfortunately, it was on the top of my husband’s list.  How do I know this?   For one, he is breathing and awake.  Second, all he had to do what look at me and I knew what he was thinking.  Before I could wiggle out of it and look for any excuse I could find or hurry up and fall asleep before he came to bed, he said, “let’s sexersize!” 

Now, someone reading this might think how stupid!  Before you do, you better check yourself, as my husband would also say, before you wreck yourself!  Yes, I know we are dorks!!  The person making fun probably has a lame sex life. 

Anyway, he knows I really HATE (and I don’t use this word much) working out.  I do it so to stay healthy and its fun to do with my husband.  If I can find something else to do and burn calories without going to the gym, well, I’m all ears!!

Men, I don’t mean to burst your bubble.  The majority of the time we are just having sex to make you happy. I know you want to believe that your wife just can’t stop thinking about you and finds you so irresistible that she can’t hold herself back from you.  If this is you, stop living in a fantasy world!! Don’t get me wrong.  I love my husband.  I think he is sexy and I still have the hots for him!   There are days when I’m just taking one for the team!!  

Mark has found that on the days I want nothing to do with sex, but just inhaled ice cream and a few cookies, sexersize doesn’t sound so bad!!  You can please your husband and get a workout all at the same time without having to leave the comforts of your home! 

If you don’t believe me, Google it.  Here are some of the health benefits.  I’m all about healthy living, even though I just talked about eating cookies and ice cream!  Everything in moderation!!

·         Sex lowers blood pressure and stress

·         Sex boosts Immunity

·         Sex burns calories- 30 min. of sex burn 85 calories or more depending on what you are doing, or how hot and heavy you make it.  Even if you do nothing, you are still doing something!!!

·         Sex improves heart health

For all my married friends, the next time your husband gives you that look, or won’t leave you alone, think about all the snacks you may have had during the day, or the gym membership you just haven’t bought or used yet, and remember SEXERSIZE!  You lose weight and have a healthy marriage all at the same time!!!

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