August 30, 2013

Love What You Do!

So, I've always been told that when you love what you do and work hard at it, the money will come to you. I've seen that happen many times in the past with many people I know. It would happen on occasion for me but I occasionally put effort into the things I truly love to do. Sad, right?
Most of the world does the same thing unfortunately. 

However, that's not what this post is about. So, I was coming up with ideas for blog content. I never really have a hard time doing that. I can come up with plenty of ideas with no problem. So, when I was coming up with the content, I started to think about ways to put more money into my ideas without breaking the bank. I have plenty of projects I want to work on and share but projects aren't free. I was thinking about how I wish I was making more with the writing career and how I'd love to freely spend now. But, I made up in my mind that I would make up a plan to get there and execute it.  THEN....I remembered I had an Adsense account. I started an Adsense account when I started this blog a few years ago. I must've created the account and forgot all about it because when I say I NEVER checked it, I'm not kidding! So I logged into the Adsense account this morning and lo and behold, I made some money over the past couple years!!! I couldn't believe it! Granted, it's not "let's retire and move to Maui" money but it's still exciting to see cash that I can use to make my blog better! 

So I guess it's true! When you do what you love and work hard at it, the money will come to you! 

Have a great weekend!!!

August 29, 2013

What To Do

One of my close sister friends and I try to pray once a week with one another. We started doing this at the beginning of the year and even though we may miss each other some weeks, we have tried to touch base and keep one another in prayer on a regular basis. This past week, I asked for prayer when it comes to my relationships with others. I was deeply in need of clarity. I felt mistreated by people in my life and usually I look within first to see if it was something I could've said or did to hurt them. If so, I would have to go and apologize.  If not, there's usually some confusion. Hence, why I needed prayer. It can be really hard when you confront people about any misperception or confusion and they deny it. But you know there's been a shift. I was needing prayer on how to move forward and so that was one of my main prayer requests.

The very next day, I received a text from a friend. 

I'm really grateful for this. It clicked in such a different way for me and it is self-explanatory. Now even though it is self-explanatory, there was still something in my heart that wondered what I need to do if people ask about why I'm this way and not that way or accuse me of being a bad person because of blah blah blah. The answer came back as clearly as the questions went out: 

Never try to change the minds of those who have already made up their mind about you. 

...and that is all :) 

August 28, 2013

What do Jesus and the Internet Have in Common?

As a entrepreneur, it's really important to brand and market yourself. Admittedly, it's been a pretty steep learning curve but I'm up for the challenge! 

I was recently listening to a marketing podcast. The podcast was comprised of a panel of experienced marketers. The podcast was filled with 2 hours worth of great content but there was one statement that never left me. 

What is "it"? Well, this marketer was talking about the internet. She was coming from the perspective of someone who consistently puts content on the internet. When you are trying to build a business online, sharing valuable content consistently is really important. In addition to creating and sharing valuable content, it's really important to make sure that the content can be found. This is why plenty of bloggers, writers or anyone with a website should have a marketing plan which includes tagging, hashtags, and search engine optimization. Once you have those components in place, it becomes easier for the internet to "work on your behalf" and get you to the first page of Google. Getting to the front page of Google isn't something that happens overnight and dedication and consistency on your part, but it can happen. The internet can work in your favor because technically, it never sleeps. 

Here's where it gets better. God never sleeps and He is always working on your behalf. There's nothing you can do to change that. He is God and He never changes. Neither do His promises. What's so encouraging is that no matter how much I may try to lay out a plan (works, faith, etc), my plan will never match His faithfulness. There's no amount of work that I can put in that will compensate for what He's done and going to do for me. All He asks is that we love Him and keep His commandments. Most of us (if not all) break those commandments on a regular basis. This isn't to discourage you from pressing in toward Christ and being holy as He is holy. However, the Christian life is one that cannot rely fully on ourselves. We need a high priest interceding for us. We need someone sitting at the right hand of the Father petitioning for us. 

Be thankful that no matter how hard you work at being a better Christian, there is a God who sits high and looks low. He is always working on your behalf! Praise God! 

I saw this picture and reposted it to my Instagram a little while back. The message is pretty appropriate for today!
Be Encouraged! :)

August 26, 2013

Visions & Blueprints

I love art, creativity and color. One of my favorite pasttimes is painting. I was recently painting at my sister's house and when I started to paint, I had no plan in mind. I was so anxious to get started that I didn't think about what I wanted to paint at all.

As I started mixing colors, ideas came to mind.

At one point, I figured I'd channel my inner Frida Kahlo and do a self-portrait.

I changed my mind and decided to do something abstract instead.

The abstract idea quickly became lame and I continued to be stumped about what to paint. 

I started to doodle. 

I started creating a small house with windows, a chimney and purple grass. 

It was quickly getting bizarre.

I looked up only to see my sister laughing. She saw me trying so hard to make sense of what was on my cardboard canvas but it was a lost cause. I started laughing because I had to step back from it. What started as a relaxing fun hobby with my sister turned into a situation of mass confusion. We joked about how this is how our lives can be sometimes but of course, it sparked a more serious conversation. 

In Habbakuk 2:2, the Bible says to write the vision and make it plain. It's so important to have a vision and clarity about how to make it happen. You can have a saw, hammer, nails, and a crew of people to help build. But if you don't know what you're building or what you would like the expected outcome to be, anything goes. When anything goes, mass confusion usually ensues. 

If you'd like to create a beautiful painting, figure out what you want to create first. Come up with a pencil sketch. Make sure you have the right equipment and then begin to paint!

If you'd like to be a better Christian, carve out time to spend in the Word and in prayer. Find a church home and get involved.  

If you'd like to be a better spouse, get in tune with your partner. Speak to them in their love language. Get advice from an older couple whose been happily married for many many years. 

If you'd like to be a better business owner, get a mentor. Set company goals and implement ways to achieve them. 

These are just suggestions but you get the idea. You must have an vision and an action plan or else anything goes. You don't want that outcome. Connect with God and ask Him to show you ways to improve and then operate in what He's told you to do.

Be proactive. You can do it!

August 23, 2013

Nothing Is Impossible For You

Can you believe it?! It's Friday already!!! I've had a blast back in the blogosphere this week! Thank you for joining me on my first week back! I have so much to share to keep checking in! You don't want to miss anything!!

A couple days ago, I shared that I joined a 21 day soul detox. When I signed up to join the challenge, I didn't realize that I was also signing up to join the contest! Two days ago, I got an email from Ashley saying that I was one of the winners!!! How exciting!!! I'm thrilled! I look forward to receiving my gifts and looking forward to see what God continues to do through this awesome 21 day journey! For more information, please check out Ashley's instructions and information here

As previously mentioned, I've been incorporating music into my devotionals as a part of the detox challenge. My theme song for the challenge is "Healer". I am mainly listening to the Kari Jobe version live. The words are so powerful. Some of my favorite lines are:

1. You walk with me through fire.
2. Nothing is impossible for you. 
3. You're more than enough for me!
4. Jesus you're all I need!

To some this may seem super elementary but I'd like to challenge you for a second!

Do you believe those words? 

It's one thing to say that you know God is with you but do you believe it? Or do you constantly feel a pang of  fear, loneliness, desperation and anxiety? God is love and his love is perfect. Perfect love casts away all fear. When we cast ALL our cares on Him, a sense of peace and calm should come. You can't surrender the burdens to God and then go back and pick them up because devotion time is over. A walk of faith is a moment by moment thing. Faith doesn't just show up when you're in church praising God or when you say your grace before you eat. Faith needs to be exercised constantly. I believe it's a discipline or a muscle that needs to be exercised and strength! Have faith and the strength to let it all go and rest in what He can do!

Believe God today! He can do the impossible!
God bless you!

August 22, 2013

Be Strong in the Lord

I've talked to quite a few friends who have been recently facing really challenging situations. Not only have these situations been extremely challenging, but they've also been leaving a lot of question marks. Have you ever been in a situation where you feel extremely weak and you're not sure what to do?
Well after reading Joshua 1, I think I've found the answer!

We open up the book of Joshua with the understanding that Moses has died. It is now Joshua's turn to step up as leader and take the children of Israel into the Promise Land. Before Joshua moves forward, God gives him a lot of instruction.

"Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:8 & 9, NIV.

1. Meditate on the Word of God day and night. 
You don't literally have to keep your Bible open at every second to meditate on the Word. That's where "hiding God's word in your heart" can come in. Whatever encouragement or command you need to be reminded of from the Lord, put it to memory and meditate on it. Also be sure to take time out to read and digest the Word!

2. Be careful to do everything written in it.
 It's easy to take in a lot of information. You can read devotionals, listen to sermon after sermon, and sing a million Kari Jobe songs but if you're not actually applying the Word to your life (literally), then you are wasting your time. In the video, I use the demonstration of using God's command to be strong and courageous with my experience with the treadmill. I don't particularly like the treadmill but I have to be strong and push through the fatigue because I want to be healthier and lose fat.

3. Then you will be prosperous and successful!
If I continue running through the fatigue, day after day, I'll become healthier and lose the fat! That sounds like success to me! It's the same thing for you and your journey! If you continue to meditate on God's word and apply it to your life, before you know it, that particular trial will be a thing of the past!

Just keep pushing! Keep believing! God has the best in store for His children! Just continue to pursue Him with your whole heart!
God bless you!!!

August 21, 2013

Who are YOU listening to?!

I'm so excited to be a part of an amazing 21 day soul detox. Ashley Joy is an incredible blogger that I recently found on Instagram. She's currently leading the soul detox. For more information, I'll have her link at the bottom of this post!

I usually try to make sure I get my time in with God on a daily basis but I usually have the following routine: 
1. Devotional Thought
2. Bible reading
3. Gratitude Journal
4. Prayer 
The End :)

However, with the detox plan, different suggestions are encouraged such as prayer walks and listening to music. So anyone who know me well KNOWS how much I love music. Oddly enough, I've never thought to actually incorporate it into my personal devotion time. So music has been the new addition to my devotion and when I say that it's so powerful, I'm not kidding. Music really does help to set the tone and bring me into a place of gratitude and humility while coming before the King. It's really been an humbling experience. 

I only listen to 1-2 songs before I start and so far, here's the few songs that have made the playlist for the week: 

1. Kari Jobe- O the Blood  (can easily bring me to tears. so powerful!)
2. Kari Jobe- Healer ( There's a Kari Jobe trend going on. can't help it though! I love her!)

I'm sure the list will grow as time goes on but that song "Healer" is obviously pretty crucial for me right now. Listen to songs that speak to your current situation and promises that you are desperate for God to keep. I'm grateful for this experience. Many thanks to Ashley Joy for leading this detox. I'm grateful for what it's already doing for me. God bless you sis!

Click here to check out her information and check out my vlog below! :) 

August 20, 2013

Embrace What God Has Given To YOU!!!!

Today, I'm sharing a story that I also shared on my church's blog about two weeks ago. It was definitely an unexpected lesson but still incredibly pertinent! Hope you enjoy it! :)

I’m always amazed at the object lessons Christ teaches me through my interaction with children.  This year, I had the opportunity to serve as a small group leader for our Vacation Bible School program.  I thoroughly enjoyed my vibrant troop of 6-9 year olds. I can’t tell you how many times I laughed till I cried at the comedy those children brought me every single day.  I’d like to share the lessons I learned from a short conversation I had with a little girl on the last day of VBS.

During the summer, I usually wear my hair slicked back into a bun. Buns are low-maintenance and keep my hair out of my way. At night, I usually take the bun out and braid up my hair in a couple plaits to make sure my curls stay moisturized. When I wake up in the morning, I could choose to wear my hair out in what’s called a “braid-out” (the braids are unraveled and let free) but I usually wear the simple bun. However, after taking the braids out on Friday morning, I decided to switch it up and wear my hair out for our last day in Athens.

As the day progressed, my hair got bigger. The bigger my hair gets, the more I like it. By the time I arrived at VBS that evening, my hair was just right. As soon as I walked into the doors and stepped into the registration line, I heard a gasp.
I turned and saw the cutest little girl looking at me in total shock. She couldn’t have been more than 5 years old.

Me: “Hi, sweetie!”
Little Girl: “Your hair!!!! It’s fuzzy!”
Me: “Furry?!”
Little Girl: “No! Fuzzy! Your hair is fuzzy! It was smooth all week and now it’s fuzzy!”
Me: “Oh!! Fuzzy! Well, yes this is what my hair does. It’s very…curly!”
Little Girl: “Yeah, It’s very fuzzy.” (Turns up nose and shakes head in disgust) “I like it smooth.”

There were two object lessons for me:  

1.     When the kids came into VBS, they spent the majority of their night with their tribe and their leader. This little girl was not in my tribe. I might have danced with her a couple times during the Praise & Worship section but our interaction was definitely limited.  What blew me away was the fact that she noticed such a simple change in hairstyle. She was paying attention. It reminded me of being a kid and how much I paid attention to the adult who told another adult to “shut up”. I couldn’t understand how that was okay when I wasn’t allowed to tell others to shut up. If she picked up on a simple change in hairstyle, what else is she picking up? You guessed it. Everything! If you’re like me, it’s so easy to get lost in your own world and think that no one is paying attention to you. Now, I’m not trying to instill a sense of paranoia. Don’t go around thinking that everyone is watching your every move. That will drive you crazy. Just be mindful. You never know who is watching you. You never know who may be admiring you. You never know who might be drawn closer to Christ as a result of the actions they see in you. Out of frustration, you might roll your eyes or suck your teeth. A little person may see that and thinks it’s cool and you’ve just passed on a not-so admirable habit. So be careful!

2.     As cute and sweet as the little girl was, she made it clear she didn’t like my “fuzzy” hair. I might have days where my hair is not doing what I really want it to, but one thing is for certain. No one can successfully convince me that my hair isn’t beautiful.  However, that wasn’t always the case. I used to be insecure about my hair. In elementary school, kids used to pull my hair and make fun of me because I didn’t have pretty Shirley Temple curls and a perm like the other girls. In those days, it wasn’t about embracing what God gave me. It was about embracing the fact that Mom wouldn’t let me get a perm so I had to deal with it. However, the less I fought what came naturally to me, the sooner I saw the beauty in it. If I truly embrace EVERYTHING that God has given me, inward and outward, the sooner I’ll see the beauty and any insecurities I have will fade away.

There may be a part of your story that you may struggle to truly embrace as a gift from God. Learn to embrace it. Cultivate it.  For example, ladies with natural hair usually go through a two-step process called moisturizing and sealing. The first step is to moisturize the hair with a water-based product to keep the hair from getting dry. Sealing is the second step when oil (preferably coconut oil) is placed on the strands to keep the moisture from getting out.  Just as natural hair needs water-based moisture daily, our spirits need the Living Water daily. Nurture the person who God has called you to be. Remind yourself of His promises. Affirm yourself in the Lord. Meditate on the FACT that you are fearfully and so wonderfully made!!! Then seal that in with love from God and believers who continue to validate, celebrate and affirm what He has created in you. This two-step process is a great way to help you continue to, beautifully and gracefully, grow in the Lord.

I really hope this message encourages and inspires you! 
Oh yeah and before I forget, #teamnatural!!!!

August 19, 2013

Immediate Obedience

Hello! Happy Monday!!! It's the beginning of a new work week and I'm so excited to continue my journey here on my blog! The video listed below is simply an account of how I learned the importance of immediate obedience.

1st Samuel 30 is a chapter that tells the story of David's conflict with the Amalekites. In short, David and his men set up shop in the city of Ziklag. On the 3rd day, they traveled and went outside the city. However, when they came back from the day's journey, they found that the Amalekites took their women, children and belongings. In addition to that, the Amalekites had the nerve to burn the city down. So David and his men were understandably upset. Their grief was so intense that at one point, the men were tempted to stone David since he was the leader. David took the time out to tap into God for strength and encouraged himself in the Lord. He consulted God and asked what he should do next. God told him to take up his men, go find the Amalekites and fight. God also told them that they would win the fight! There are so many lessons in this first part of the story but I'd like to hang out in the obedience concept for a second.

Nowhere in the text  does David hesitate to be obedient to what God told him to do. Oftentimes, God will give us a command and we will spend time worrying about the what ifs, whys and hows. If God told you to do something and the command goes right in line with who He is and what He can do, hesitation shows our lack of trust in the one who created us. It is a slap in the face to Him. Trust God. Believe His Word. He cannot lie. Listen and take action the first time around. Don't delay. Be obedient today!