Press On

(UPDATE: For those who tried to read this early today…it sure does help when the picture is readable, huh? *insert eye roll! Sorry about that!!)

I saw this quote the other day, and I just loved it! It says so much!

In life, there are always going to be trials, challenges, and hurdles that we must overcome. If we come to the obstacle in the road, and never go over it, around it, or through it, then, we simply will never grow. If we constantly back away because of fear, intimidation or even laziness, we will never become who we were meant to be.

It doesn’t mean it will be an easy journey. Growing is hard. Changing is difficult. Sometimes, breaking an old habit or making a new one might feel as if it’s going to break us before we “break” it!

However, if you can persevere, if you can push through the hard, the victory will be unbelievable! The success will feel far better than the defeat! So, whatever you are facing today, press through.

Don’t give up! Don’t back down! Don’t turn around! Keep going, and I promise you, when that goal is achieved, you will breathe a sigh of relief, and the victory dance will be so sweet!

The flower is ever changing, growing, pushing through to be more, and when it has broken through the ground, and the bloom has burst forth, it’s beauty is there for all to see. What is more, the fragrance will fill the space and even change the atmosphere.

Press on.

Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

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Perspective Can Make or Break You

I saw this the other day, and I thought, “Yep. Isn’t that the dang truth?” If ever forget where you came from OR you lose sight of where you are going, it’s no better than if you drop your compass in the middle of a rain forest and wonder why you can’t find your way back home.

If I ever forget where I came from, then, my perspective becomes skewed either out of arrogance or out of self-abasement. If arrogance, I begin to somehow believe I am better than I am. I trust in my own wisdom, and I rely on myself for everything I need, forgetting that the achievements and victories I’ve achieved have not only come by my own strength and resilience, but also, by every friend, family, and sometimes even total strangers, who encouraged and cheered me on along the way. If self-abasement is the angle, it is the same road of sorrow and self-focus, only it has more hidden objectives and behaviors. It’s still an arrogant approach, because self-abasement comes from a place of self-loathing to the point you cannot receive wisdom, strength or even encouragement from anyone, and you live your life in a perpetual rejection of and rebellion against any ounce of truth.

If I lose sight of where I am going, then, my perspective for the future is skewed, because I have no focus, no direction and no purpose for days ahead. Ultimately, I die in the embalming of my yesterdays, because I have no hope for my tomorrows.

Our past molds and shapes us for our present being, and our future gives us hope for which to grow and reach beyond our today…

Knowing you and Embracing you

Becoming a person of authenticity and purpose isn’t easy to do, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes hard work, deliberate effort and patience…lots of patience. To become a person of purpose, it’s almost like you’re training for the run of your life or for the fight of a lifetime.

Purpose follows persistence and persistence follows passion.

PASSION –> PERSISTENCE –> PURPOSE

Sometime, you will walk along life’s path and not really have a clue as to what your purpose is, and if you’re seeking that answer, this season of unknowing can be incredibly frustrating!! But, just as I’ve heard Pastor T.D. Jakes preach,

You’ve got to figure out what your passions are. When you figure that out, you’re half way there to finding your purpose! Just continue in that passion. Fine tune your strengths. Figure out your weaknesses and work to improve those areas needed. Get a coach who can challenge you and “get in your grill,” someone who will cheer you and not take “No” or “I quit” as answers. Keep pushing forward until you realize you’re working in your purpose.

Just as a boxer finally knocks out his opponent when he stays persistent in the fight, always looking for the weakness of his foe, and just as a runner finally crosses the finish line when she stays persistent even when her legs scream “just quit,” you will become an authentic person of purpose when you keep on keepin’ on!! 😉

Find You. Know YOU. Embrace you. Become who you were meant to be! You can do this! I believe in you!! 💕

Like a Bomb or a Flower?

I saw this photo the other day, and it made me think about its meaning…

A flower is…

Beautiful. Delicate. Created by the Master Designer. Needs water, soil and sunlight to grow and survive. Some grow perfectly on the windowsill while others flourish in a great garden. Some attract bees, insects and spiders, but most all invite a gentle touch, a sweet smile and a deep inhale and exhale of stress relief. Some open up with beauty in the early morning hours and close up to shield their fragility as the sun sets. Some can weather the worst of storms and then be crushed by the tiniest of hands.

Flowers can represent friendship, love, jealousy and celebration. They can bring healing with their fragrance and comfort with their beauty. They can bring joy to brighten a home and peace to a grieving soul. They have even been known to bring healing to an ailing body and peace to a tearful spirit.

A bomb is…

Intense. Intriguing. Resilient and steadfast for the moment. Needs human hands to be created, moved or altered. Needs nothing to remain as it is, only a man’s touch to flip the switch. Once set, it is just as fragile as a flower under a combat boot. Some are extremely complex. Some are too simple to be described. Some are designed by madmen, while others are constructed by a genius of authority. Some are made to bring harm, while others are invented to protect the innocent and defend the weak.

Bombs can represent danger, fear, desolation and destruction. They can also present honor, courage and perseverance through the darkest of nights. They can’t bring healing, but the when used properly, they can bring deliverance from fierce enemies. They can’t bring love, but when executed with precision, they can bring guardianship against terror. They can’t bring peace, but when stored and presented with life, liberty and pursuit of happiness in the forefront, they can create almost a holy hush that no one dare to unravel.

As a woman, I will choose to be both, a flower and a bomb. Yet, the only way to be perfected in each of these is to be submitted to and placed within the hands of Almighty God. For, He is the only entity who controls the air I breathe and protects the ground on which I walk. He is the only Deity who can bring gentle restoration to the bones and a fierce security to the mind, all in the same nanosecond. Within my own strength, I can be too breakable and too dangerous for anyone’s well being; yet, with His divine wisdom, I, and all those around me, are safe within His grasp, because of His eternal love, grace and justice.

The Sweet Perfume

Over the last month or so, I’ve been trying to get consistent with walking daily through my neighborhood. I’m not crazy consistent, but I’ve definitely done better than before I started. Ha!

Our neighborhood is beautiful, and it has plenty of curves and hills; so, I feel I’m getting quite the workout, and the whole thing, all cul-de-sacs (5) included, is just shy of 1.5 miles. So, I try to make 2 loops, which gives me right at 3 miles. Woohoo!

The weather was absolutely perfect today. The humidity was extremely low, and the temp was maybe in the high seventies by the time I stepped out my front door, right at sunset, to try and get in a full 2 loops of walking before it was too dark. I asked my youngest son to go with me; so, I wouldn’t be by myself, and he wouldn’t be left home alone. So, he rode his bike alongside, while I walked. Well, to be more accurate, he rode past me and waited at the top of the hill before crossing the main road while I tried to speed walk to catch up! Lol! 😂

We crossed the road and proceeded to the other side of the neighborhood and down the hill. The sun was shining; the birds were singing, and the breeze was blowing just a bit; so, it felt glorious as I tried my best to catch up to my son who had coasted and proceeded to fly, down the moderate incline to the next cul-de-sac.

As I reached the cul-de-sac, the most beautiful fragrance reached my nose, I closed my eyes, and it was as if I was transported right back to my 5th grade year and my 10 year old self. I was standing in my front yard taking in the beautiful fragrance of the giant magnolia tree standing 100 feet tall (or at least, that’s what my 10 year old, little girl mind believed). I remember standing beside that tree, climbing way up in it’s branches and, sometimes, just staring up at it for hours, believing I was just as big and strong as that lovely green giant.

When it bloomed, we would take down one bloom at a time, bring it in the house, set it in a small bowl of water, and place the bowl on the dining room table, letting the fragrance fill the house. We would repeat this everyday, as the former flower would begin to wither, until the tree had no more blooms to share. It was glorious.

As I made my loops through the neighborhood today, I would pause beside that big lush tree each time, savoring the wonderful aroma, while cherishing those sweet childhood memories, and then I’d continue on my way to finish the tiring, but rewarding, three miles before dark. I even had my son go by and savor the beauty, hoping he would make a little memory, too.

As I finished my walk, I was reminded, again, of the sweet perfume of the beautiful magnolia tree, and I thought of several sweet friends who are walking through a tough journey right now. Their journey is hard and painful, and it even seems to grow a little darker at the moment; yet, they hold on tight to their faith, and we all hold onto the Hope, believing a brighter day is just around the corner for them.

That Hope is sweet perfume in the midst of struggle. That faith is the sweet fragrance of the magnolia tree in the midst of the sweaty, tiresome walk they are walking at this very moment. And I know, as they hold onto their faith and that blessed Hope, one day soon, this journey is going to be but a memory, with those sweet fragrances of the magnolia tree, to remind them of His grace and love in the midst of their storm. 💗

Be encourage, sweet friends. Enjoy the fragrance of beauty along this most difficult journey, and know I am here praying for you, and believing for your brighter tomorrows!

When the Struggle Comes

What do you do with struggle? What do you do with change? How do you handle life when it just doesn’t work out the way you planned, or when it throws you a curveball or a great big surprise?

Do you stop in your tracks? Do you back up? Do you turn around and retreat? Or do you throw a fit and let everyone know it’s not as you expected? Or do you press onward, keeping the end goal in sight, never wavering or giving up?

What do you do? What is your reaction? I would love to hear from you, my friends.

It’s an interesting journey when change comes. Everyone reacts differently, and no one can prepare you for many of those surprises along the way, and some tragedies will knock you to your knees, and you’ll wonder if you’ll ever be able to stand again.

How you handle change, and how you react in the struggle and in the tragedies of life will often determine whether you’re a leader or whether you’re a quitter. Your response in the hardest moments of life will determine who you lead and who you turn away. It may sound like a harsh judgment, but it’s true.

Everyone will encounter struggle, hardship and tragedies throughout life. If you haven’t yet, well, keep on living and count your blessings for the moment. But talk to an older person, spend some time with someone who has weathered the storms of life. You’ll find that in those darkest moments, character is chiseled and destinies are designed. Friendships are forged and lifetime relationships are created or crumbled. And often, each are determined by the words we chose and the attitudes we allow.

So, I ask you again, what do you do? How do you react? Think about, and choose today what your words and your actions will be. It doesn’t matter that the struggle or tragedy isn’t on you at this moment. Being prepared mentally, emotionally and spiritually is half the battle. If you wait for the moment of crisis, then you wait for knee-jerk reactions of the heart, and no matter how good you believe your heart is, it can never be trusted.

Set your foundations on solid ground. Set your thoughts on higher ways. Then, when those struggle of life gets difficult, and when the tragedies hit that you’d never expect, your heart an mind will be ready. Doesn’t mean it’ll be easy, but it does mean you will survive through it!

Matthew 7:24-27, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

The Struggle is Real

Somedays, the confidence in who I have become is almost mesmerizing…to myself. Other days, the struggle is real…so very real. Does anyone else go through this?

Often, I wonder if anyone else actually goes through the struggles of purpose, pertinence, and passion. I walk through life with a limp and wonder if I’m just simply destined to embrace these struggles for eternity, never really getting beyond them, just settling for a toleration, a sort of cease-fire, until the moment of intimidation or fear of rejection creeps back into view. I watch as many of my friends seem to have it all together, or at the least, are so comfortable in their own skin, in their own calling and in their own life choices that they don’t seem to battle the same mind games and moments of hesitation.

Then, I see from whence I’ve come, and I see those who have gone before who are still struggling for this place of significance and value. I see those who have won the battles and those who are still wallowing in their demise. This is the moment my determination and fight, and solidarity with Scripture, comes into clear focus. I realize in this moment, there is no turning back. Retreat is not an option. Failure can not be part of the equation.

Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the goal for this the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

The struggles we face aren’t only given to us for our own learning, our own character-building and our personal faith-strengthening. The victories on the other side of those struggles are not only for us and our own celebrations. These are to be a witness to those coming behind us. These are to become testimonies which help someone else to achieve more than we ever imagined. These are to stand as pillars, mile markers and ancient boundary stones to mark the way for those coming behind, to help them find their way through similar struggles, and to enable them to achieve more victories than we ever thought possible!

So resist that urge to quit! Keep up the struggle for as long as it takes, and win that fight toward your destiny! Clear the path, and strategically change those battle lines to victory, and set those boundaries in place that scream to the world you have won! So then, all who encounter these will know, “There is hope! You can fight and win, too!”

Motherhood Would Be Easy If Not For This

This. If you are a mother who still has children at home, you need to read this. Especially if you have littles in your home, this is a must read. I promise, you will feel strength once you’re done. Jennifer Batchelor, the author, has an amazing way of bringing grace right to our hearts.

My favorite quote is, “I’ve yet to find a hack for parenting, though. There is only the slow, long, daily work of getting to know each child as an individual, and then tailoring your methods to meet them where they are.” She is so very right. When we get to tailor our lives to some other mother, or create in our child the responses we see another child has, we are destined for failure. We must find grace for the moment and remember, we all go through seasons in this life. We just have to learn to thrive in them rather than just survive.

What she shared is so very true. We must learn to lean into our hard. Reading her post led me back to a blog I’ve read so many times. This person has taught me the art of leaning so well; although, I’ve never met her in person, and now, she has simply left a beautiful legacy for us to read and remember. Kara Tippetts shared her heart time and again through this blog as she braved the struggles of cancer that wracked her body with pain, fear and doubt; yet, she came forth triumphant and victorious. She opened her heart through her writings so honestly and with such vulnerability that I stand in amazement time and again. I encourage you to read, Braving Broken to start. Her story still challenges me to find that grace everyday and live it to the fullest. 💗

Stand Tall

Remember…

You can do this hard thing that opposes you! You can persevere! So, stand a little taller. Hold your sword a little higher, and fight! Fight to win!

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

Why wait?

So, what will you do in the new year of 2018?

Don’t wait for tomorrow, for none is guaranteed tomorrow. We are not guaranteed our next breath. Make your decision. Make you plan. Make your choice. Get moving, and start today. You can do this thing! Just believe!

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13