Turning Detours into a Path of Purpose

detour signs

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Can a detour be a good thing? I believe it can.

Have you ever been thinking so deeply about a memory when you were driving and wake up and realize you missed the exit? Then, you spend extra time on a detour trying to get back on the original path.

Yep. We have all been there.

We have a few choices to consider at that point.

  1. Beat ourselves up for making a mistake and miss new opportunities
  2. Look at the detour as a learning experience and see where the road takes us

My mom always said I was the most positive person she knew, so you think I would pick the second choice. But that was not the case in every season of my life. There are many times that I have repeatedly got off track and struggled to find my way back.

At 16, my life changed forever. I lost my personality, my memories and my voice.

It took over twenty years to rediscover what was lost so many years ago.

I have not fully recovered all of my memories and have finally accepted the fact that some things are better left in the past.

These are the steps I took to rediscover the buried treasure of my authentic self, where I was comfortable in my own skin and found my voice again.

Use them, modify them, to help you find your true north, your way back home.

  • Spend quiet time in prayer

I cannot begin to describe how much this has impacted my life once I gave God my full attention. He helped me to remember the goals and dreams that he had placed deep inside my heart so many years ago. Prayer is the great multiplier. When we pray for others, it magnifies their prayers. It helps strengthen them as they wait for answers to their prayers.

  • Journal your thoughts

I have been  writing in a journal over the past ten years and have discovered that reflection on the entries have brought clarity and given me direction. Conversations with my Heavenly Father show up in here as well. I see His prompting and His will. I feel more like myself when I write.  It is the strongest way for me to communicate my thoughts and feelings that are inside my head and heart.

  • Find things that inspire and motivate you

When I listen to inspirational teachings and songs or attend workshops and conferences, I receive vision and it sparks a desire for me to grow and develop. About three years ago, I experienced a shift in my thinking. I started attending local conferences and started hanging out with authors, coaches, and entrepreneurs. The courage and confidence to tell my story came from surrounding myself with people who were speaking life into me. They spoke my language. I felt alive again on the inside. I started speaking positive declarations over my life, made vision boards and took action to achieve my goals and dreams.

  • Discover your talents, strengths and passions

A good way to find our strengths is to take personality tests and other types of assessments. Other ways include asking friends and networking. See what people are asking your opinion about and advice you are giving in reply to their request. Passions and talents show up when we try new things and give to others through our time and resources. It could be teaching someone your favorite hobby, volunteering or playing sports.

What things do you need to discover about yourself, your passions and purpose?

What part of your past could be used to show others the path that lead to victory?

Use the detours and details of your life as an example of triumph over struggle.  Use your talents and strengths to pave the way to your purpose and to bring hope into the world.

If you are interested in finding out more about the publishing and writing process, I would love to have you join my launch team.

Find me at https://www.facebook.com/groups/MABlaunchteam/

When you sign up, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a book titled: Writers on Writing: Top Christian Authors Share Their Secrets for Getting Published.

How have detours impacted your life?  Share in comments below.

The Bridge to Courage Part 2

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Photo by valor kopeny on Unsplash

Have you ever known exactly what you need to do, but did not take action to accomplish the task or take the necessary steps to reach a goal?

That is what happened to me.  It happens to the best of us.

I had been dancing around the idea of joining a Toastmasters’ club for over 9 years, before I actually made the decision to become a member.

Toastmasters is an international educational program that teaches leadership and communication skills. For more information, find a local chapter near you. https://www.toastmasters.org/

Fear stopped me right in my tracks.

I was scared and did not take any steps to reach my goal.

In this blog post, I will cover the third and fourth steps to overcome fear, specifically the fear of public speaking.  Last month, I covered steps 1 and 2.

I call it the ROAR method.

In order to cross the bridge from fear to courage we ROAR – Reflect, Own it, Act, Repeat.

The third step is A for Act.  Move forward and take action to conquer the fear.

In order to cross over to courage, we walk through fear.

The bridge to courage is the fear itself.

How do I do that? I open my mouth and speak.

I know that sounds easy, but it took 10 years for me to tell my husband that I did not like eating at a certain restaurant chain.

I joined Toastmaster’s last year, then I took these three action steps:

  • I speak positive affirmations out loud daily. For example, I say, “I am an effective communicator.  I speak clearly. I ask questions for clarity. My words inspire and motivate others.”
  • I practice what I am going to say. I do this over and over until I am comfortable with my pace, my words, my body language and message.
  • I also focus on the audience and try to not think about myself when speaking.

Over time, my words became clearer, my communication is more effective, and I begin to even like speaking, imagine that.

That leads us to the fourth step of the ROAR method.

R is for RepeatContinue to find ways to strengthen the skills you learned to conquer the fear.

Repeating the thing that you are afraid to do, will help you overcome the fear and cross over the bridge to courage.

About three years ago, there was a complete shift in my thinking regarding public speaking. I attended a women’s health and wellness conference in the fall of 2016.

As I heard each speaker, I felt a nudging on my heart. When the last speaker came up, I literary had to stop myself from running up on stage. I kept hearing in my head, not audibly, but a voice saying, “You can do that”.  I said, “Me? No, I could never do that.” Confirmation came back saying, “Yes, you can.”

My desire to speak grew.

I continue to find ways to speak at Toastmasters and other events, train new hires at work, attend conferences and spend time around people who inspire and motivate me.

I stand before you, a miracle in the room. If I can be a speaker and trainer, a person who used to be scared to death to open her mouth, so can you.

The world needs to hear what you have to say. The world needs to hear your voice. It can bring hope and healing to a broken world. Your words can be the answer to their heart’s cry.

Over the last two months, we learned about one of my greatest fears, the fear of public speaking. We covered the ROAR method: Reflect, Own it, Act and Repeat.

Find the source by reflecting and naming the fear. Own and tell it to go jump in the lake.  Take action to overcome the fear and repeat the process until it no longer has control over you.

The next time we are faced with fear and it roars at us like a lion, look at fear straight in the eye and ROAR back!

I hope you enjoyed a snippet of coming attractions from my nonfiction book that will be out by the end of the year.  If you would like to join my book launch group and get insider tips on what it takes to write, publish, launch, and market a book of your own, please go to my private Facebook page to request your spot:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/MABlaunchteam

I would love to hear how you overcame fear or any other comments you would like to share.

The Bridge to Courage Part 1

bridges part 1Photo by Ijaz Rafi on Unsplash

Have you ever been afraid to do something? Not just a little afraid, I mean knees shaking, heart pounding, deathly afraid, frozen, not able to move, kind of fear. We have all been there. We say to ourselves, “I can never do that”.

That is how I used to feel when I would see people on stage or imagine myself speaking in public or speaking at all.

In this blog, I will cover two out of the four steps to overcoming fear, specifically the fear of public speaking.

I call it the ROAR method.

In order to cross the bridge from fear to courage we ROAR – Reflect, Own it, Act, Repeat.

The first step in the ROAR method is Reflect.

Reflect back to a time when the fear first surfaced.

Find the source of the fear and name it.

Sometimes we are not even aware that we are afraid or being held back by fear.

For me, it started when I was a child. I can remember trying to make a phone call and the operator’s voice came on the other end of the phone. I threw the phone on the ground and cried.

I was afraid to talk to strangers, especially on the phone.

You may be thinking, “what if I don’t know when or where the fear originated?” The first step is still to reflect. What is going on inside of your body that indicates you are afraid? Sometimes it may be hard to breathe or your whole body may be tense.

Reflect on what you are thinking about and identify it. Make the connection and name the fear.

The second step in the ROAR method is Own it.

Own the fear, acknowledge that it is real.

According to Essay Basics, owning something implies a sense of full control over it. It also means being responsible for it and the consequences or damages it might cause.

If we own it, we have control over it.

For years, I did not think I could improve my communication skills or know that I could break through the fear of public speaking. I did not even realize that it was a problem until I married my husband who is strong in communicating and speaking his mind. He encourages me to speak up and voice my opinion. In some cases, I am a slow learner. We were married for 10 years before I let him know that I did not want to eat at a certain sandwich restaurant chain anymore.

It is selfish for me to be silent when I should speak up. I am sometimes afraid if I speak up, it will hurt someone’s feelings. Through reflection and owning that fear, I can look at things another way and see the consequences if I don’t speak up. What about not saying anything and then someone gets hurt because I saw the danger and did not speak up?

The bible talks about “iron sharpening iron” in Proverbs 27:17 KJV.

Sometimes we are sent into someone’s life to be a mirror of truth for them, the voice of reason, to wake them up. I am not saying that we should always voice our opinion, but we should ask people more questions and engage them in a conversation to make sure that they have thought through options before making final decisions that might not be best for their lives.

Even though speaking was not something I grew up doing naturally, knowing I could make it a habit and bridge the gap in my learning was one step closer to my goal of effective communication.

So far, in our path to overcoming fear, we have taken the following steps:  reflected on the fear and owned it. We know either where it originated or acknowledged that we are afraid. Then, we owned it and took full responsibility of it, and see the consequences if we choose to remain a prisoner to the fear and not cross the bridge to courage.

I hope you enjoyed a snippet of coming attractions from my nonfiction book that will be out by the end of the year.  If you would like to join my book launch group and get insider tips on what it takes to write, publish, launch, and market a book of your own, please go to my private launch page – Mirrors and Bridges and request your spot:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/MABlaunchteam

Stay tuned for next month’s blog post entitled The Bridge to Courage Part 2, where we cover the other two parts of the ROAR method.

I would love to hear your thoughts about how you are overcoming your fears.

 

Resurrecting Our Dreams Part 2

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Photo by rob walsh on Unsplash

In 2016, a colleague invited me to go to a Joyce Meyer conference. We found a great spot fifteen rows back from the center of the stage. I struck up a conversation with the usher and asked how she was able to be part of the crew. She said it was a volunteer role that she signed up for months before and one of the perks to volunteering is that Joyce visits their groups several times during their meeting and prayer time. She was able to see behind the scenes and even met Joyce in person. I thanked her for her time and thought nothing more about our conversation.

Later, the usher asked us if we would like to sit closer to the stage. We said sure and thanked her. As we were walking, I leaned over to my colleague and said “wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could sit on the front row?” And guess what happened? We were escorted to two reserved front row seats right in front of center stage.

God is truly amazing, isn’t He? He gave us the desire of our heart.

After the conference, I bought a couple of teaching cd’s and loaned them to my colleague. When we got to our cars, in return, she loaned me a cd and book called Imagine Big. She said that Joyce Meyer was a mentor for the author and motivational speaker Terri Savelle Foy and that her teachings really helped her see God’s vision for her life. Listening to Joyce and Terri’s teachings changed my life as well. I did not know how much until about 6 months later. The things I learned about vision and dreams from Terri, came pouring into my mind as I had to prepare to look for another job. I bought a book of my own, spent time in prayer and God’s word and wrote all the things that He put on my heart. I made a vision board, affirmation board, prayer board and took the necessary steps to reach my goals and dreams. This totally transformed my life!

Last month, I focused on 5 of the 10 keys that I learned from Terri Savelle Foy’s teachings. Here are five more keys that I hope will bless your life as you learn to apply them.

  1. God blesses your believing. Jesus saw people’s believing by their action. Like in the gospels, when friends of a paralyzed man tore off the roof and lowered him down in front of Jesus. He healed the man because of their believing action. Terri emphasizes that faith and fear are two choices. The bible said faith comes by hearing the word of God. Faith comes first, then fear leaves.
  2. Trust that God gave you the dream for a reason and don’t stop until you have reached your goal. It is not always easy. In fact, sometime it will require every ounce of strength and time that we have. God will bless our sacrifice. I got my present job by getting up and putting in a little more extra hours looking for permanent work while I was working a full-time temporary job.
  3. Thank God ahead of time before you ever goals and dreams in the physical realm. Offer praise and thanksgiving before it ever happens. This is a gate opener Terri says. God will work behind the scenes for what he is about to do. He is not a man that he should lie. Thank God for promotion, for great health, to finish the book, and for your family staying together.
  4. Speak about your dreams daily. Look at them and take action on them daily. Make it a habit by carving out time in your schedule and routine. Do it daily, every day. One of her favorite things to say is “The secret to your success is found in your daily routine.”
  5. Invest in your dreams. Sow a significant financial seed for every dream. Don’t expect a harvest unless you sow the seed. She gave to a church before she ever had a ministry. She gave to nonprofits who were taking care of teenage girls before she ever wrote a dream journal that is distributed throughout the world. She hosted baby showers for people before she ever had a child. If you need a significant breakthrough, name your seed, give and reap the harvest of your generosity.

Terri is starting to tour around the United States and in a couple of months, will be speaking at an event that I am helping to plan. Comment below or contact me if you would like to know more about the conference. If you would like to know more about Terri and see your dreams and goals manifest in your life, visit her website at: https://www.terri.com/

Resurrecting Our Dreams – Part 1

sharon-mccutcheon-659776-unsplash April 2019

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

April is here and we are already a quarter done with 2019. Wow. I can’t even wrap my head around that. I could swear that just last week it was Valentine’s Day and now Easter has already come and gone. And what about goals for the New Year? How can I resurrect the passion and desire that I had at the beginning of the year and continue my course until I accomplish all that God has put on my heart to do? How can I unbury those dreams that I keep putting off until “someday”?

One of my favorite speakers and author, Terri Savelle Foy, loves to remind us of something she learned from other motivational speakers: “someday” is not a day of the week. Our week does not go “Saturday, Someday, Monday”. In all of her books and podcasts, she continually talks about how she finally learned to accomplish the dreams that God has placed in her heart. That is why she is called the “cheerleader of dreams.”

I am devoting April and May blog posts to the 10 Keys that I learned from Terri’s books, podcasts and cd’s regarding how to resurrect the dreams and goals in our heart and live the life that we have always wanted. Here are a few keys that I learned from her over the past three years:

  1. Dream big now and take action now. The bible says faith without works is dead. It will never be the perfect time to start on our goals. In fact, I have found that when I start, it is always tough at the beginning because we are breaking an old habit to make room for the new one.
  2. Don’t put our dreams on hold. Procrastination is a thief and a liar. It says you can wait until tomorrow and you will have more time. That is a lie. We always have the same amount of time each day. It is what we chose to do with it that matters. It says that we will have more energy to do it tomorrow. Putting things off actually drains our energy because we mentally have to think about the things that are piling up not getting done. And now it has stolen two days and counting.
  3. Take the first step and God will show you the next. Terri learned French and then studied French in college way before her books ever were translated in the language or before she ever had the vision to bring her ministry there. She got the vision, got a map, wrote and translated a book, took a trip and spoke about it to anyone who would listen. Now her books and ministry are booming in France.
  4. Don’t ask how it will be done. Know that if God said he wants you to do it, His will be done! Terri harps a lot on not letting our minds get bogged down with asking God how it will be done. It is a day by day trust thing, depending on God the whole way through until we reach our goal.
  5. Act as though you have what you are dreaming for. Terri’s father preached in a spare bedroom in front of no one years before he preached in front of thousands. Pray over your message and get your sermon ready. God will reward us for our faithfulness and bless us in public for what we have done privately.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading the keys as much as I did putting them together. If you would like to get more wonderful keys about how to resurrect and live the life of your dreams, check back in May. Until then, check out Terri Savelle Foy’s website at https://www.terri.com/ to hear more faith building messages and get access to her life changing resources today. Let me know which one of her resources from her website you enjoyed in the comments listed below. I would love to hear how you are doing.

It’s Springtime: Let the Cleaning Begin

 

daiga-ellaby-699140-unsplash cleaning blog post March 2019 Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

Spring is in the air this time of year and I don’t know about you, but I am on a cleaning spree.   The title ‘queen of clean’ is taken by a wonderful author, so I will have to settle for princess of the dust bunnies.

About six months ago, I started looking for alternative products to use for cleaning after coughing uncontrollably while scrubbing the toilets in our apartment. I guess I had inhaled too much of the cleaning solution.

A few of my colleagues sell essential oils and said they use some of them as a more natural replacement for cleaning products. For the past few months, I went on a quest to find out all I could about them and find out which ones were the most useful to me. My goal is not to have you choose one over another and tell you all the reasons why you should exclusively buy from one company over the other. I am pretty much not exclusive to one. I believe in educating yourself to the point of making a decision based on as many facts as you can and what will work for you, your family, and your budget. I believe the same way regarding clothing, food, housewares, electronics, and beauty products. When I find a quality brand for a great price, I try it out. I pay a little extra for things like shoes because they support our whole body, but will skimp on other things like supermarket generic food items. We are all different and have different tastes in things and one product may not necessarily work the same for everyone else.

Disclaimer: I recommend consulting with your doctor prior to using essential oils. Some oils and other products can interfere with certain types of medication. I am not a medical provider nor am I recommending that you follow any advice provided in the books or blogposts listed below.

I found the following list of resources while researching essential oils and other natural cleaning products:

  1. Top 10 Essential oils of 2019 – blog post. https://www.essentialoilhaven.com/best-essential-oil-brands/

Alert: Some oils are meant to be diffused, others inhaled, some work better rubbing on the bottom of our feet, some are ok to use before going into the sun, others are not, some are not good to use around children, pets or pregnant women and some should never be taken internally. Learn the difference before trying any oils and treat them like medicine. Lock them up away from the sun, children, and pets.

  1. The Art of Natural Cleaning by Rebecca Sullivan – book https://rebeccasullivan.com.au/

Granny’s cleaning supplies recommended – only 5: baking soda, lemon, vinegar, salt and elbow grease. The author adds a few more to the mix: oranges, olive oil and essential oils, castile soap, distilled water, boiling water, sunshine and help from her family, of course. Checked it out of the library first and plan to purchase the book in the future.

  1. Going Green With a Bronner Mom – blog http://www.lisabronner.com/

Favorite tip from Bronner Mom: Don’t mix castile soap with any type of acid – citrus like lemon or vinegar, they cancel each other out and you won’t get the results you want from cleaning surfaces. She has many different kinds of useful information and cleaning tips on her blog. Her grandfather made natural cleaning products and they can be found in stores around the world. If time is a concern for making homemade products yourself, this is a good place to find them already made for you.

4.  Essential Oils for a Clean and Healthy Home – book by Kasey Schwartz https://www.allthingsmamma.com/

Caution: Even all natural can irritate our skin or throat, use them with care and gloves for cleaning. Wash your hands after handling any essential oil. I purchased this book and use the recipes for cleaning toilets and air freshener. I did find that I had to use less oil in the toilet as recommended and had to use double the oil in the recipes for deodorizing the room. Again, it is a personal preference. She also has some fun recipes for playdough and other kid friendly products.

Here are three blog posts from the medical field regarding essential oils that I thought were very educational, so I wanted to make sure I included them:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-are-essential-oils

https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/ss/slideshow-essential-oils

https://draxe.com/essential-oil-uses-benefits/

For now, I am only using the essential oils to clean with. I am enjoying learning about natural products and replacing the hand soaps and other cleaning supplies with more natural alternatives.

Princess of the dust bunnies is done with her spring cleaning reign for now and hanging up her crown.

If you have any books, websites, or blogposts regarding natural cleaning products, please share in the comments below. I would love to hear what brands you are using and what works best for you and your family.

#princessofthedustbunnies

 

 

How to Stop Racing Thoughts – Your Brain on God’s Word

love and light

Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash

It’s February, the month of love. How do we take care of our hearts?

We bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

When I was a teenager, my thoughts would jump from one topic to another and I never paid much attention to them. I certainly did not know that I could decide what to do with them, once I thought them. I would just go about my day and react to them as they came into my mind.

Most days were easier than others. When my day was full of activities, I did not think about what I was thinking. I just enjoyed life and others around me. But some days, it felt like the world was crashing in and I could never escape the pain of tormenting thoughts. They frightened me and made me sad and I could not get them out of my head. I am sure some of you reading this can relate to the recordings we play over and over in our heads. The messages we hear from others and the ones we tell ourselves, come back to take refuge in the depths of our hearts and minds. You know the ones I am talking about…the ones that hurt all the way to the core of who we are and break our hearts in the process.

After college, I became part of a biblical teaching and outreach worldwide ministry for over fifteen years. During that time, I learned how to listen to my thoughts and stop them from racing. As each thought came to my mind, I would slow down my mind and break down each word. I asked myself the following questions:

  1. Is this truth from the father or a lie that I was taught to believe?
  2. What truth from God’s word can I replace to defeat the lie?

This past year, a friend of mine loaned me a book to read called, Switch on Your Brain. It was written by neuroscientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf. She had the answers I have been searching for, all in one book. I did not know at the time that what I was doing was rewiring my brain. I had been taught scriptures about “renewing my mind”, but it was not until I read her books, that I really knew exactly how God healed me from depression. Now I had the missing piece of the puzzle, and now I knew exactly how and why it mattered so much. It proves that science can no longer deny spiritual things and not only was this process successful, but could be replicated and taught to others.

She said that our brains are wired for love and light and anything else is not from the father. If it is not from the father, then we should get it out of our heads before it reaches the depths of our hearts and becomes a toxic thought and habit. Read her ‘21 Day Detox’ part of her book to break thought habits.

Before we close, I want to drive home one concept of her book: Mind over matter

Our mind and the thoughts we think change matter in the physical world – this includes healing within our own bodies. Our mind affects our brain and our body. Our brain must yield to our mind.

Our mind is the boss of our brain and the thoughts we think and words we say affect our body and change our body.

To find more great tips regarding her research, go to her website: https://drleaf.com/

Use these top 10 scriptures from her book to replace negative thinking patterns.

Thoughts

  1. 2 Tim 1:7 – Sound Mind – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
  2. Rom 12:2 – Rewire our Brain – And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
  3. Prov 23:7 – For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.
  4. Phil 4:8 – Think these things – Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
  5. 1 Cor 2:16 – Mind of Christ – For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.
  6. Casting down thoughts – 2 Cor 10:5 – Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Words

  1. Gen 1:3 – Words Change Matter – And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
  2. 30:19 – I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
  3. 18:21 – Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof
  4. 34:7 – We affect our own life and up to 4 generations – Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.