Shine, Brave One. But Not On Your Own.

22 12 2009

Sometimes we’re asked to do some very brave things, things that we would never choose to do on our own but because of circumstances we are called to step out of our comfort zone for a greater good.

Have you been in a situation, perhaps recently, where your capacity for coping has been stretched to the max?  We reach a point where we collapse and ask God how we can possibly have the strength to continue.  What is the point of this trial, this suffering?  Why can’t things be easier, why must this time or situation or problem be so extremely difficult?  Whether its troubled teenagers, a hospitalized spouse, financial uncertainty, a strained marriage, or depression -life can be overwhelming.

Ladies, I cannot help thinking of Mary.   She graciously accepted one of the most challenging things ever asked of a woman.  Then again, the peace of God must have rested in her heart as she moved forward with the responsibility of being the mother of God’s son.  Despite the ridicule and shame of being an unwed mother, I imagine that she had a quiet confidence as she carried Jesus in her womb.  With her belly swelling in the passing months, perhaps she had unshakable faith that ,as part of God’s will, everything would be fine in the end.  Personally I would have been rather freaked out knowing that I was responsible for God’s son.  But Mary, I think she was made of firmer stuff, even at such a young age.

The lesson I take away from how Mary responded to God’s request of her, being the mother of Jesus, is that I need to have faith that these brave things we are called to go through are ones we are not meant to face as Lone Rangers.  We are not left alone and abandoned -not by God- when Goliaths or floods or affliction or challenges come.  I know Mary did lots of leaning during her time as a mother, leaning on God’s promises and his character.  She realized that, especially as a parent, she had her responsibility and God had his -and unlike how I often act- she wasn’t going to try to take over God’s job or tell him how he ought to be doing things.  She just trusted.

Mary was brave, not just when she carried the Son of God as an unwed mother, but all through raising him and on through his brutal crucifixion.  Hers was a life of faith.  She was constantly called to be brave, to trust God’s plan, to hold on to his promises when she saw her baby ridiculed, hated and mocked -even tortured.  Her reward?  Seeing her son raised from the dead, resplendent in glory, and receiving the gift of eternal life.

I want to be like Mary.  A woman who shines through adversity, one who trusts and leans on God during heartbreaking and patience-exhausting times.  God knew that Mary could handle this awesome task -but not alone.  He stuck by her even more than she stuck by him.  Can’t you just imagine Mary leaning into God, asking, “How can I do this?”  Wrapping love around her, he tells her to rest.  He’ll give her the strength, he says.

He tells the same thing to each of us.  In this heartbreaking or exhausting time, my dear sisters, you are called to be brave, but -more importantly- you are called to rest and be refilled.  May God shine through you during this time as you release your worries, your need for control, and most importantly  your fear as you let God be God and you his daughter.

Merry Christmas, all of you  Uncommon Women.

With Much Love,

Kelly





Christmas Cards for Soldiers

25 11 2009

A dear friend of mine and former military wife just sent a notice out about a fabulous, easy thing each of us can do this year to bless our service members!

When doing your Christmas cards this year, make sure you send one to the following address:

Holiday Mail For Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

I encourage you to pass this along and plan on sending some love and thanks to our military service members fighting to ensure our freedom.

Many blessings, and thanks Cherie Shirey for this great info!





Grateful

8 11 2009

A truly Uncommon Women, Crystal King,  mother of 6 and pastor’s wife in Southern California shares about family, homeschooling and her epiphany of gratefulness.  It’s inspiring, hilarious and encouraging.  Plus there are some really cute kids in the pictures.  Read on!

“Homeschooling has challenged me as a mother and simply as an individual.  Not much of a planner and usually rebellious against structure I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to follow the curriculum.  But like I learned on the Prism weight loss program, structure and committment are keys to accomplishing our goals….”  Click here for more!

 





Better in Business

4 11 2009

I ran across this short, light and highly informative article on Single Minded Women’s website.  It was exactly what I needed to hear today and I wanted to share it with you!  Don’t sabotage yourself -avoid this 4 traps we women fall into in business!

Here’s the article.





Balancing Priorities

25 10 2009

According to Webster, a priority is “something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives.”  When it comes to balancing priorities, we must first identify what our values are so we may order our priorities correctly.

This requires a bit of work, but -please- take a few extra minutes and do this with me. Grab your journal or even a scratch piece of paper and write these things out.  This is for you (and for me, too -I’m doing it along with you) and a mental list simply won’t cut it.  If you want to balance priorities in your life, you’ve got to put some effort into to.  Starting now.

Important: marked by or indicative of significant worth or consequence : valuable in content or relationship

Here’s our first assignment:  List the top 10 things that are important in your life.  (ie: goals, people, jobs, values, etc.) What is of greatest value to you?

What did you come up with? Were you surprised by your answers?  I always am.  Here’s my list; the first three are tops, but the rest are in no particular order.

-Family (husband, children)

-Relationship with God

-Fulfilling my purpose in Christ

-Being responsible with what I’ve been given

-Fun

-Creating

-Good physical health/exercise

-Rest -time for myself

-Relationships -extended family and friends

-Creating a peaceful environment and homelife, nurturing

Looking at your list, does your daily life reflect these things? If you’re like me (and I’m betting most of you are) you’ll already see there’s a contradiction between our values and how we ration our time.  Yep, I can already see several things that I need to rearrange in my life.  On to the next step.

Step 2: Pick the top 5 most important items in your list and write down how you can begin to integrate them into your daily life in order to bring greater balance and satisfaction to you. You might pick one or two that stand out on your list as things you’ve been meaning to work on, such as physical wellness or rebuilding relationships.

Relationship with God Daily quiet time, get in a community-based bible study for fellowship and accountability.

Family Stop working when Brian gets home until Wilder goes down to bed.  Focus on my family during that time.  Make nice dinners we can enjoy as a family and/or couple.

Fulfilling my purpose in Christ Prayerfully consider directions with Uncommon Women, seek guidance from godly women, focus on being the best mom and wife I can be.

-Relationships (cringe) Write more letters and start remembering people’s birthdays and special occasions.

Rest Create a sabbath, a time of rest.  Spend time each day surrendering to Christ and working on it as an attitude.  Focus each day on my little girl growing inside me, praying for her and connecting.  I need to rest so I can have the energy and focus for the other wonderful people and things in my life.

Oh, I feel better already!  Do you?  Hm… for those of you who said, “No” consider this:  What is blocking you from making these things top priorities? What is keeping you from truly LIVING what is important to you?

Think about that.  WRITE IT DOWN.  Really communicate with yourself and write out what’s going on.  Too many activities, not enough time? It’s time to start simplifying in order  to increase your quality of life, and the quality of life for your family.  Hey, I’m in that same boat, ladies, and I understand the struggle.  Having a 2 year old, anticipating a new little one, starting up new businesses and organizations, running a household, literally working from dawn to practically dawn -it’s tough!  And it’s so easy to lose focus on what is truly important to you.

Sometimes we aren’t living our top priorities because we’re trapped in fear, not believing that we can do or be more or afraid of what others will think.  DO NOT let fear stop you from living you passions or your dreams. Yes, we need to be wise and cautious, not jumping into things without thinking, but we need to live the lives we’ve been created to lead -and those are lives of victory, great fulfillment, and abundant joy.

Order your life to fit your priorities, don’t let The Urgent make those decisions for you.  My dear friend and mentor, Gina Murrow, coached me on The Tyranny of the Urgent versus The Important.  Just hearing that concept changes how you think, doesn’t it?

I have started keeping a mid-sized white board by my computer that I update daily.  I have a list of The Important and The Urgent, as well as a list of to-dos for the week.  I check things off, I write new things down – it’s a way for me to keep perspective on my day.  When I get sidetracked by something on the computer that fritters away my time, I am learning to stop and get back on course.  I’m also learning to say “no” to email addiction.  You know what I’m talking about -that impulse to check email every 10 minutes so you can stay on top of the latest communication.  It all comes down to being purposeful and intentional with our time. I am choosing to stop my work to spend time with Wilder while he’s playing so I don’t miss out on those precious moments.  I am choosing to allot several minutes to electronic communication and conquering my to-do list during nap time instead of browsing folks and companies on Twitter (oh, so tempting…) I am choosing to plan dinner ahead of time so I can provide a peaceful and enjoyable evening for my husband after his 14 hour work days.

Live your priorities, not The Urgent. We live in a day of urgency, which gives no rest, no peace, no deeper fulfillment and we must choose to stop. Take control of how your life is lived and reflect on these verses with me.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6-7

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:13

That means the strength to stop.  The strength to take care of yourself.  The strength to live your priorities, not the world’s expectation of you.

Peace be with you as you begin to live in greater fullness.





Beauty Bootcamp!

14 10 2009

Beauty Bootcamp

Beauty Bootcamps Start the weekend of November 14th.  Saturday and Sunday classes available for girls, teens and women.

Time Commitment: 4 days over the course of 4 weeks.  2 1/2 hour sessions.

Fee: $175  (includes materials)

Graduation ceremony and professional portrait for all who successfully complete.

Give yourself or your daughter the skills to become a true woman of beauty, to be a cut above, and have true confidence.  Enroll today.

Uncommon Women

(512) 639-6908

UncommonWomenGroup@gmail.com





Press Your Reset Button

21 09 2009

Sometimes we just don’t know when to stop, do we? Ambition, enthusiasm, guilt, responsibilities -all these things push us to keep going and take on more “to dos.”  Think about where you are right now.  Is your plate overflowing and your stress level ridiculously high?

I recently found myself in this all-too familiar boat.  Actually I think I’m still in it, but last night I had a peaceful breakthrough that I hope by sharing will help you to get a grasp on any runaway trains you have in your life.

My enthusiasm often gets me into trouble. So many fun ideas, relationships and ventures but not enough time.  Between starting up Uncommon Women, my photography business, becoming a rep for BeautiControl (which I LOVE!) plus being 5 months pregnant and the mother of a 2 year old, I found myself hyperventilating last night. “What have I done?!  I can’t handle all this -but I really want too!  I love it all!”  My spiritual life was suffering from lack of quiet time, my brain was constantly on high gear and my to-do list had so many imperative items that needed to be accomplished, say, yesterday.  But then I realized something:

I am in control.

I am in control of what’s on my to-do list.  I dictate what’s mandatory and what demands my attention. A perspective shift was occurring and I found my breath and heart rate slowing, and my stress level dropping.  I do have lots of exciting things going on in my life right now, and with 4 months to go before my world comes to a halt for a few months (after baby #2 arrives) I want to get as much done as possible.  But I get to decide what commands my schedule, what crowds my brain, what my priorities are.

Today my priorities are to spend some extra play time with my son.  To connect with a few family members and friends.  To have some quality time with God and seek his perspective for my life and these new, exciting opportunities.  I am going to breathe today and focus on what is truly important.

Press that reset button with me today and reorder your priorities so you may live in peace and in the fullness of life.  God bless your day and your journey.