It’s been quite some time since I sat down to pour out my spirit upon this blog. And oh how I’ve missed it! My current responsibilities consume a great deal of my time and quite honestly, I am often exhausted of all energy by the close of each week. However, something about this morning was different.
As I listen to the sound of the rain, I am all the more reminded how intimate our loving God is! I have witnessed so much (miraculous) activity this past year, as I’ve been set apart for current and future use in the kingdom. I have experienced crystal clear signs and wonders that would marvel the greatest of men. I believe that this was only possible because of intense prayer, fasting and quiet, still moments at the foot of the Creator’s throne. This year has been like nothing I have ever witnessed before. And actually, it started late summer, early fall of 2016- and carried over into this 2017, year of jubilee and manifestation. Though, I still await with enormous expectation for other things to come to pass, I cannot deny what I have witnessed take place thus far. Not only have I seen prayers unfold before my eyes, but I have also received clear visions and signs – for things to come. As a result, I’d like to share a few points with all of you today.
Join God’s Activity
If you are actively praying and seeking God for answers, be watchful for His response. If you are not alert, you may miss the very answer to a request that you have laid at the Father’s feet. It is also important because there are opportunities for us to join God’s activity. If you are praying to be a blessing to others and you continue to walk past those in need each day, you may be completely disregarding your opportunity to join God in the answer to your prayer request. If you are in the position to speak an encouraging word or better yet, to meet a hunger or financial need, then you are missing out on being that blessing that you desire to be. Stay on guard- eyes and ears open!
Prepare for Rain
If you are praying for rain, then why would you not have your umbrella open and your waders on?? God meets us at our point of faith. If you are believing God for something, then expect Him to answer! Luke 12:32 tells us, …”it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Do we really believe this? Take God at His word. Stand on his promises and believe that when you pray, God has heard and will answer. It may not look like you envisioned it, but nonetheless, God will deliver in His own mighty way. So on that note, get your goggles and wet suit out, since we’re believing God for oceans of rain!
Walk in It Before & After
When God delivers on your prayers and His promises, embrace them with open arms and give Him praise! As a matter of fact, thank Him even before you see the full manifestation of them, as an act of faith. Remember, Hebrews 11:6 tells us, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Pre-manifestation behavior, as I like to call it, helps to set the tone for the blessing. So, when your prayers finally give birth, you can fully walk into them with the assurance of the Mighty Hand of God! Don’t just stand there bare feet and all. Get ready. Put your shoes on and prepare to walk…. run if you need to- into your destiny!
If you are believing God for something today, I encourage you to spend as much time as possible with Him. Get in His Word and in His presence and allow Him to lead you. His “word is a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path.” Psalm 119:105. Pray, fast and steal away as much as possible, to hear clearly from God. Miracles happen when we enter into His Holy presence- and that’s when we see The Mighty Hand of God! Love, peace and blessings, friends!
It’s been some time since my last post, as I’ve struggled to find my creative voice on paper (…and on the laptop,) as of late. Part of the reason, is because I haven’t had as much free time, due to other obligations. However, a message that I heard today so convicted me that I felt compelled to listen closely to my inner voice- so that I could dig deep and write. So here goes.
Power by definition means, “the ability to act or produce an effect: capacity for being acted upon or undergoing an effect.” Merriam- Webster. These are just two of the many definitions that I came across, but something about “produce an effect,” really stood out. It made me think about the power of the Holy Spirit and the role that He plays in our day to day walk. Power can mean the difference between someone being freed from a life of bondage and someone remaining in a state of hopelessness. According to Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in all Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” NIV Bible. Great news friends, Jesus did not leave us powerless when He departed!!! He left us with an internal guide- the Holy Spirit, to help us not only navigate our way through this life, until His return, but also to help us NOT live a defeated life. Miracles, signs and wonders take place when this (Holy) P O W E R exists! People get delivered from unforgiveness, beat lifelong addictions, overcome hidden sins, and get loosed from sickness and disease. However, in order to receive this power, one must first have a relationship with the Son of God. Titus 3:6 says, “God poured out the Holy Spirit abundantly on us through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Do you want to live a life of power, rooted in great faith? If so, ask Jesus Christ to reveal Himself to you today, if you don’t already know Him. Confess with your mouth that He is Lord and believe it in your heart and you shall be saved- Romans 10:9!! Be blessed and walk in POWER!!!
This is what life with the Holy Spirit is like… Are you ready to experience this power and connect your passion and purpose?
There’s nothing better than a tall, cold glass of your favorite beverage, after a long and tiring journey. Something about it, just refreshes you, in such as way, that’s it’s hard to explain. It not only soothes your parched throat, but also re-energizes you, helping to usher new strength back into your very being.
Quenching a thirst can seem life changing, and even life-saving in some instances. For the individual who has just trekked across a remote desert land, making the discovery of a stream near the end of their journey, can be the difference between life and death. Some seasons test you in this capacity, in an effort to prepare you for what’s up ahead.
The purpose isn’t to completely deplete us of all energy and strength, but it is meant to push us beyond the barriers of our known limitations. “Is is worth it?” you ask, and the answer is yes. Not only is it worth it, but it’s necessary. We get weary, depending upon the length and depth of the expedition, and that’s to be expected. The important thing is that we don’t give up. Although we long to have our tired, aching minds, hearts, bodies and souls- refreshed, we must continue on until the mission is complete! Like an old pair of shoes, looking to get re-soled, we cry out for the Master to do the same with us. We hope and pray that He will mercifully build back up our worn out souls, and pour out in us a fresh anointing. Then we can stand tall, like a new pair of designer high-heeled shoes.
Thankfully, we serve a God who loves us and understands. He knew that this would be the case, so HE provided a solution for us in advance. God is always thinking ahead and up to something, so believe that He is equipping you for the next leg of the journey today. Isaiah 43:19 (NIV) tells us, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Thus, we can rest assured that our Maker, has already made provision for us. Psalm 23:2-3 (NIV) says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me besides quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.” Isn’t it great to know that we don’t have to walk the path of life alone? And isn’t it just wonderful to know that the Creator of the Universe has already prepared a way to quench our every thirst? It’s simply AMAZING and so refreshing to know!
I recently endured a 3 and a half year period of transition that certainly took its toll on me. The constant going, the endless hotel rooms and places, and most of all the many unknowns- just wore me down. Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling and enjoying new experiences-including people, places and things, but to do all of it, while God has you in a bit of a holding pattern (and limbo), is just not easy. However, I realized it was necessary, because it prepared me for today…and hopefully for tomorrow. I had to endure everything that I went through yesterday, in order to be fully equipped for the task at hand now. God wastes nothing. There is fruit to bear in every season, even in periods of transition and drought. If you find yourself in a season of uncertainty, coupled with countless questions and concerns today, take heart, and know that your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. As a matter of fact, He loves you so much that He has a master plan designed specifically for you! Look ahead! He is leading you to still waters and plush pastures that will recharge you. Dig deep and glean during this time, because it is getting you ready for something far greater than you could ever imagine! Happy Sunday and be blessed!
The journey to purpose is an interesting one. It includes lots of twists and sharp turns, as well as steep slopes and uphill climbs. It is one that will test the very core of who you are, and at times even have you questioning your own personal sanity. If you haven’t experienced this part yet, keep living because you will. I assure you that no path to “true” purpose is complete without challenges, but there is some good news!! There is a way to effectively balance the lows of life, amidst the backdrop of soaring gratitude. I’m unsure who it was that once stated, “When praises go up, blessings come down,” but it’s a true statement. Not only am I living proof, but scripture provides several examples, so let’s take a look.
In Joshua 6:20, the walls of Jericho came down after the people marched around it for 7 days, then shouted on the final trip around. And… don’t forget that David defeated Goliath in I Samuel 17:45, when he boldly proclaimed that he was “coming against him in the name of the Lord Almighty.” Similarly, Moses and Aaron told Pharaoh in Exodus 5:1 to “Let God’s people go so that they may hold a festival in His honor in the wilderness.” Despite God hardening his (Pharaoh’s) heart for a period of time before he actually let the people leave, we all know how the story ended- The Israelites crossed the Red Sea on dry ground, while the Egyptians were swallowed up by the sea. Additionally, there are countless other examples that we can discuss, but the most important point here, is that God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3.) Thus, if we lift up the name of the Lord on high, we can expect Him to move on our behalf. This is incredible news!!! We don’t have to fight life’s battles alone or even in our own strength. God loves to be praised! He loves it when we take a stand for Him against life’s giants. HE deserves to be praised and Psalm 149:4 reminds us that He delights in us… so why not Praise Him! Praise CAN change your circumstances!
Praise Him and watch what He’ll do! Praise God when it’s good, bad and ugly. Bless His name, testify to His goodness, don’t take His credit and trust Him in all that you do. Don’t mind me, but after all that I’ve witnessed in the last couple of weeks (…really throughout my whole life,) and for all that I’m expecting and believing Him to do, I’m going to take a Praise break right NOW!! Hallelujah to Your name!!! Bless YOU, Lord!! Thank You, Jesus!!! Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty! I’m full today and so grateful for everything!
Take heart in knowing that if we give God the glory, He will move on our behalf- to show Himself strong!
Remember, stay thankful all the way through!
Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Welcome back my friends, and Happy New Year to each and every one of you! I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and holiday season. I won’t spend too much time today looking back over 2016, as my goal this time around, is to focus more on the future. However, I will start off by saying, “That I am grateful for so many wonderful opportunities last year.” It was filled with both highs and lows, and everything else in between. I had a pretty eventful schedule that took me to 7, really 8 (technically St. Maarten and St. Martin are separate,) different countries, not including my US travels. It was quite a ride. I also worked on a wide range of domestic and international projects that enabled me to explore various cultures and cities. I met many great people along the journey, and experienced God in some new and incredible ways. Additionally, I learned a lot about the Lord, myself and others. As a result, I have compiled some useful information below that I’d like to share with all of you- as you move forward.
I’ve listed eight things that I will take with me on the journey this year, and prayerfully all others to come. My hope is that this list will also inspire you along your path. .
Staying in Step
- I will continue to let my faith trump my fears.
- I will continue to be open to however God wants to do things.
- I will continue to give the majority of my time and energy to activities and relationships that are purposeful and positive.
- I will continue to believe John 10:10, which states, “…..I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
- I will continue to trust God’s leading, even when it doesn’t make sense to me- because I know that He sees what I am unable to see.
- I will continue to confess scripture over my problems, issues, setbacks and concerns, because they are far more powerful than my complaints.
- I will continue to pursue peace.
- I will continue to have a heart full of gratitude, because I understand that it is the seed to more. Psalm 22:3 says that God “inhabitest the praises…,” therefore our gratitude and worship invites God into our situations.
I pray that these 8 things have blessed and encouraged you!
I’ve also included a few pictures from my 2016 travels for you to enjoy. Behold the beauty of God’s creation all around, as you view them. God bless you and keep you this 2017 year. Remember- Forward movement for the win!
Nobel Peace Center- Oslo, Norway
What is wisdom? According to dictionary.com- wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise. Based upon this definition alone, answering the door when wisdom comes a knocking is well…uhm… wise. I’ve been thinking a lot lately, about life as well as my daily routine in general. I’ve also considered how my choices need to look moving forward, as well as which ones made in the past, led me to this point. I’ve endured 3 and a half years of pruning, stripping away, testing and intense faith building. Though not always the most pleasant of times, the spiritual outcome thus far, has been fruitful. I’ve developed a deeper intimacy in my relationship with God and a stronger faith overall. As a result, I now realize that this is a crucial part of the process, if I’m to truly connect my passion and purpose and be effective. Here are a few adjustments that I’ve made over these last few months.
- Protecting My Space
I’m doing a much better job of guarding my space. What I mean by this is that I’m balancing the negatives and the positives. I tend to be a sounding board for a number of people, and that can take a toll on anyone. I’m an introvert by nature, with some extrovert tendencies of course, so I naturally recharge away from people. With this being said, I’m setting new boundaries. I think this is part of the adjustments that God is calling me to make this season. Yes, I still plan to be here for people mentally, emotionally and most importantly spiritually, as much as I can, but with an understanding that there has to be some limitations in place. Otherwise, I can’t be “my” best. I was literally feeling drained by all the complaints, problems, issues and woes of everybody else, while trying to make sense of some of my own. It was energy sapping and was causing me to run the other way every time I heard my phone ring. I, myself, am in a place where I am faced with some challenges, so I’m clinging more towards words of encouragement, inspiration and messages that refuel. Right now, this is what “I” need, to successfully reach the next phase of my life. I’m learning that it’s okay to protect your space when you need to. There will be seasons where you are fully equipped to bare the weights of others, and then there will be times, where you yourself will require the weight baring. Embrace where you are in life, make the necessary adjustments and own it.Your energy and space are important!
- Seeking Peace
This whole message on peace first came up some months back in a book that I was reading. “Pathway to Purpose,” the book, became the catalyst in my own quest for a better understanding of peace. I discovered that I had to seek it, like Psalm 34:14 teaches us to- “Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.” The term kept popping up everywhere- online, in messages and even became the theme of my recent visit to Oslo, Norway. Thus, I knew there was something to it, so I took notice. Personal peace also ties into #1, regarding the protection of energy and space. Since Jesus is the Prince of Peace, when I keep my mind stayed on Him, I am in perfect peace. When I don’t…well, we know how that goes. We live in a chaotic world, with all sorts of things vying for our attention, so if we don’t get a grip on this, it can aid in the complete and utter breakdown of our peace. It’s okay to guard your heart and mind- and to protect your peace. Your sanity depends on it!
- Staying Alert
Keep your eyes and ears open. The Holy Spirit may speak to you differently in different seasons. Your senses may be more heightened at certain times, so be alert. For the past several months, I’ve personally experienced a keen sensitivity, spiritually. Truthfully, I started to notice a change a couple years ago, but as of late, it’s been on super high alert. It’s as if the Holy Spirit has been placing a sharp bulls eye on people and things. It’s caused me to closely observe motives, and to see clearly through smoke screens. I’ve been able to pick up on things that I otherwise might not have paid attention to previously. Thus, I have greater clarity, and the ear of my heart is wide open. I’ve gotten confirmation on messages released by way of scripture -which will be a constant throughout life, as well as through creation and nature, people, places and even through an elaborate tattoo on a man’s arm in Tampa. Never underestimate how God may choose to speak to you,so stay aware and alert at all times.
These 3 things have helped me to make wise adjustments in my current season. Since the theme of open and closed doors has also been a staple in recent times, when wisdom came knocking, I knew I just had to answer. Ask God what changes might be in order for you this season, then be ready to make them! Be blessed my friends. I bid you peace, love and happiness!
Have you ever set out to locate a certain item, only to come across a thousand other valuables in the process? Well, this was the case for me today. I was looking for a voucher that I’d safely (or so I thought) tucked away, but ended up “finding” everything, but what I was looking for. Don’t feel too badly for me though, because this story ends happily.
Earlier this week, I asked God some very specific questions, with the hope of getting some very precise answers in return. I am glad to say, that today was the day for answered prayer. He spoke clearly and in volumes. As I scoured through one of my old totes, searching for an envelope, I was met with my past, as well as some answers to future decisions. It was completely unexpected. The more I combed through the bag, the more it spoke to me. I’m not crazy. I’m referring to the ear of my heart…you know when the Holy Spirit speaks to you. Okay, I just wanted to clarify that. With each hand full, I was met with more puzzle pieces (figuratively) to connect. I was beyond thrilled to receive such clear and specific responses to some of my most poignant questions. A few of these issues have pained and drained me these past years, months and weeks, so to hear from God so clearly on them, was a huge relief for me. This bag was like a treasure chest, complete with tons of spoil and plunder that I’d gathered, from all across the globe. I re-discovered hotel keys with the words “Open Doors, You Never Knew Existed,” and “Opening Doors,” among several other things. There were maps of Paris, France and Bonaire Island and a guide for Aruba, an older copy of Global Living Magazine (where I wrote a piece on one of my colleagues,) 3 of my old business cards (from previous ventures,) along with several other business cards of others, including 3 different marketing and communications companies from Cleveland, Atlanta and Tampa. There was also an unopened CD titled, “Moving Forward,” by an artist named NERMA (I have no idea where I even got this from,) a journal with the Eiffel Tower on the front of it, and little sticky pad sheets with sermon notes and scriptures on them. In addition, there was a bright red ink pen from Orlando, a partially read book titled, “God A Good Father (which I’ll now finish,)” a pen that I had made for my consulting and coaching business 3 years ago, and a host of other fantastic items spanning from Rome, Italy (pink Iphone Power Bank) to Arlington, VA. Then, there was that one tube of hotel lotion that I uncovered deep down, inside one of the inner pockets… that really got me. It was a rich crème by TempleSpa, with the words, “Peace Be Still” on the front of it. Trust me, that said it all. I knew at that very moment- that I was supposed to go on a hunt in that bag today, and make the amazing discoveries that I made! Although I didn’t find what I was looking for, I found just what I needed and more.
He is God all by Himself. That is all that I can say. In the midst of what’s noted above and the rest of what I came across in that beige tote bag today (and believe me it was a lot of stuff) –it all had deep and incredibly personal meaning. It literally held the contents of much of what I’ve experienced over the coarse of the last 3 years, as well as provided glimpses into the future. Only God knows what I asked of Him, and only He knows how to answer me in such a specific and profound way.
My prayer is that you will seek God today and ask Him some very clear-cut questions for your life, as well. Don’t be afraid. Then, trust Him to answer you in some unique and amazing…and sometimes very simple ways. Who knew a tote full of answers, in the form of hidden treasure was just a bedroom away. Stay alert and anticipating my friends. God loves you! Peace and blessings to each and every one of you.
Some of Today’s Recovered Treasure
I just celebrated another year of life last Thursday, and I have been in deep thought ever since that day. These last few years I’ve been in the pruning process, and it has not felt good. This milestone birthday proved to be no different either. There was no big party with balloons, a cake or even lavish outfits for a month long celebration. Instead, it was filled with…well, a lot of thinking actually. Considering I spent it in my hometown with family and friends, it was still a real joy, especially since I got to love on our newest edition to the family, my 16 mos old great-niece, who is simply a blessing. When she laid her head on my shoulder on my actual birthday, I felt God’s love. As a matter of fact, every moment I get to spend time with her, I am reminded of the Lord’s magnificence and grace.
One of the other great presents that I received this year was a book titled, “Pathway to Purpose” by Katie Brazelton. It was given to me by someone who has become one of my trusted advisors and friend. This present was timely, because it has challenged me every step of the way. It has forced me to leave some things and people behind, as well as to examine my peace, my character and my space. I haven’t finished the book yet, but I am confident that by the time that I complete it, that more changes will be made. Part of me looks forward to that, and well… truthfully, part of me does not. Why you ask? Because “Pruning is uncomfortable.”
As mentioned in the last post, the pruning process is necessary though. We cannot expect to be all that God has created us to be, without shedding certain things at certain times. That list can include attitudes, behaviors, characteristics, people, places and “things.” Just fill in the blank as the journey continues. So as we walk the path that has been set before us, let us take heart in knowing that God has already “ordered our steps and that He delights in our way.” Psalm 37:23. Be encouraged and stay faithful to the call that has been placed on your life.
A lemon retrieved from the lemon tree, during the pruning process~
This Labor Day… I labored. When I thought about the term, I decided to look up the word “labor” on dictionary.com, and this is what I found: work, especially hard physical work. It also gave synonyms like- hard work, toil, exertion and drudgery, to name a few. While I didn’t toil physically yesterday, I certainly did so mentally. Does that count as labor? If it doesn’t, it should…because it sure felt like it. Upon further review of the word, I could definitely identify with the verb definition, which stated work hard; make a great effort. That is exactly what I did on Monday, and if I’m honest with myself, it’s what I have done many days this season. It seems as if I have a million thoughts a day and truthfully, a good portion of them feel like labor. I’m facing some unknowns right now, and when this happens, I have to make a conscious effort to chill out mentally. I told myself that yesterday should’ve been a day of rest and not work, but that’s not quite how it all “worked” out. In fact, I labored… a lot. Yes, I physically did some typing on my laptop, but more than anything, I experienced a number of rather intense and deep thoughts. They drained me to a degree, and here I sit now typing, yet again and thinking back-about the magnitude of them. However, I know what some of the problem is. It’s the controller in me, who has often struggled with relinquishing things. I toss and turn my thoughts over and over again like a fish out of water, trying to make reason of them. Why is it that I do this? For some reason, I still spend a great deal of time trying to just figure stuff out, even though God has proven time and time again -that He always works it out, and for my good. I need to just let go and let God. I’m sure you’ve heard that cliche tons of times, but there is real truth in it. I can’t understand why I continue to allow my thoughts to play out a million different ways, instead of just resting in Him and His power. Another part of it, is that I really appreciate knowing how the chapter will end. My life chapters that is. Let’s be clear, I don’t mean my entire book of life. I pray that extends well on until my 101st birthday, if at all possible, but I mean the chapters of life that are marked by seasons. It is the impatience in me that longs to know ahead of time how each current chapter ends. It can be incredibly frustrating not knowing (control freak,) and this is where the battle begins.
The second half of II Corinthians 10:5 comes to mind- “…..and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Why is this so important? It is because a war over our mind has been waged. Thus, it is imperative that we make each thought subject to the right Master. One of the best ways to gain control of roaming thoughts; ideas and concerns, is to read the Word of God. I find that it instantly causes me to re-shift and refocus when this happens. When I don’t take the time to do this, what happened yesterday, is exactly what happens. The overthinking goes on for hours and it goes haywire. I was happy that I finally submitted my thoughts before closing out my day, so I didn’t have a restless mind all night. I wrote in my journal and reviewed some previously noted scriptures before going to bed. This past Labor Day, I labored mentally, so I guess I’ll take a little time off in the holiday’s honor today.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
I remember the day I first read this phrase, “…do it scared,” in Holley Gerth’s, “You’re Made for a God-sized Dream.” Since that day, these words have stuck with me over the past 3 years. I have not only recalled them, but have been forced to live by them- in a number of instances. What I was reminded of, is that while it is challenging to try new things, it is always possible when I am willing. Being a “creative autonomous” at heart most of my life, I often got a taste of the fear factor because of my entrepreneurial dreams. Attempting business ventures requires a certain level of trust that is difficult to describe. It is a major faith walk. “Doing it scared” certainly doesn’t feel good, but it is a necessary part of the plan. In fact, it is a requirement if we are to advance, live and thrive. We just have to commit to the process and trust God for the rest. What is the worse that can happen? We can stumble, all out trip…or even worse.. fall! So what though- if that happens. It is not the end of the world. Once we get back up, we can just view it as a new beginning and keep stepping. Seeing it this way, helps put a positive spin on things. We make a decision, walk in it, run… or fall- and when we do, because we are going to hit the ground at times, we get back up and keep going. There is light at the end of the tunnel and fear is just another thing to keep us boxed in. We can’t be our best selves standing in the same position forever. Any successful entrepreneur, accomplished athlete or kid who learned to ride a bike without training wheels, will all agree that the joy on the other side of that fear brings victory. Take it from an introvert and serial entrepreneur, who was once a little girl crazy about her pink Huffy (bike.) Picture me rolling.
What are you scared of today? Don’t allow fear to keep you from your destiny. As Holley wrote- “Do it scared.” Start the business, run the marathon, volunteer overseas, write the book and open that non-profit to help troubled youth. The world needs your gifts and talents. Don’t deprive us of them just because fear is trying to cripple you. You’ll be so happy you did it- even though you were scared.I promise! Know that when I write, I am always talking to myself, too. It’s therapeutic and we are in this thing called life together!
We want to hear from you. Reach out and tell us all about how you refused to let fear win. Peace, blessings and most of all, courage to you. You already have the victory.
Photo of my first ebook- available for free at http://www.candacetravels.com
Greetings friends! It’s been quite some time since my last post. I thought about it many times over the last month, but for some reason, couldn’t manage to put the necessary words together. Although I primarily write for a living and one would just expect the words to flow for every post, I do experience writer’s block from time to time- and when I get it, I get it. Despite the brain fog, I was forced to push through various work assignments to complete them, but admit that it took me longer than normal to wrap them up. I attribute some of this to the “process of acquiring patience” that I’m enduring.
I’m awaiting God’s timing in several other areas of my life, and I think at times the weight of the “wait,” impacts my creativity. This is why I’ve come to realize the importance of self-care. A wise, spiritual father in the faith, recently stressed this to me. He reminded me that while I “actively” wait on the Lord, to be sure I’m being good to myself; resting, rejuvenating and keeping refreshed.
The Process of Acquiring Patience can be a trying one- especially for patience-challenged persons like myself. When you’re programmed to do and then expect results…immediately, or at least somewhat shortly thereafter, being patient can be an absolutely grueling and difficult feat to accomplish. The process is gritty, painful, lonely and often longer than most of us would like. It requires us to stretch, to step outside of comfort zones, to trust God at greater levels, despite having as much info as we would like, and to also press into Him like never before. Though not the prettiest of processes, I liken it to that which caterpillars must undergo. Thus, if we use this metamorphosis as a parallel for what’s to come, then we can confidently rejoice over our upcoming finished product, in the (hopefully near) future- like that of the beautiful butterflies!!! We must stay the course, because we’ll be taking flight in 5-4-3-2-1!
Butterfly Farm Aruba
It’s been a long time since my last post. I’ve been so focused on developing my travel brand and all that accompanies that process, that I’ve neglected posting here. Now completely overwhelmed by the numerous branding strategies I’ve studied, webinars I’ve participated in and conversations I engaged in about expansion….I find myself running back to this place. It’s safe here. It requires much less energy. It’s raw, relate-able and unfiltered. Yes, it’s true that travel is most definitely part of my passion…and ultimately plays a role in my purpose, but there’s still within me this deep longing to make a real difference in the lives of others. For so long, I’ve pondered over just how to fuse my two primary brands together. No, I’m not wrong for wanting to have things aligned and reproducing. I mean we do have to live…but there are times that it can become overly consuming. Just a couple days ago, that quiet voice within me spoke- and challenged me to be still. I was led to Psalm 46:10. “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” For the last couple days, this is what I’ve been thinking about. There’s been so much activity and so much energy spent on business building, strategies, plans and concepts, that I haven’t really just sat…and been still….long enough to really hear. Yes, I start my day with prayer and quiet time (though probably not long enough some days) and even continue on with prayers throughout the day. However, my hours have been so filled with other “stuff” that at times it’s easy to get lost in the midst of the madness. So here I sit typing, just knowing that someone, somewhere out there will relate to this post. My hope is that you will now know- that you are not alone. I also hope that you realize that others in this world endure the same, very real struggles that you face. Thus, my prayer is that this message will calm you, soothe your soul and quiet your spirit all at the same time. Join me today, in being still and knowing that HE is God! Allow the Spirit to pour out blessings and fresh insight upon you today. Be encouraged!!
Quiet- early mornings in St. Maarten
Two pieces of advice were given to me some years ago by different people. One was a person of great faith- a minister, and the other was a highly successful business man. The first thing I was told was, “If you’re not ready to be misunderstood, then you’re not ready to be used by God” and the other was, for me to “Be prepared to lose people and things.” So far, both have proved true in my life. I’ve been judged and have lost many things…and even some people. You may ask how one should feel about this and my response would be, “You should feel just fine if you’re fulfilling the mission and plan for your life.” It may seem harsh at first to seem okay with adversity and loss, but the truth is, it just comes with the territory. No great thing has ever been accomplished without battles. Instead of viewing this as a negative, let’s take a deeper look at the beauty in this. We grow through trials and we shed unnecessary people and things. Most things in life are seasonal anyway. Look at nature, who clearly presents this truth annually. At some point in the year, if you are located in a certain part of the world, the green leaves will turn colors and then will eventually fall off and disappear. Then months later, a new set of buds will surface. It’s part of life. Like Nehemiah, (chapter 4) who set out to rebuild the wall in Jerusalem, was met with opposition, so will you. We can learn from him, in that he didn’t allow it to stop him from completing the mission. He had already made up in his mind that he was going to accomplish the task before he set out to. It’s also important to note that he connected himself to others who were faithful and willing to stand in the gap with him- to protect the vision. When we make a decision to do something before the project begins, then we’re fully invested in the success of the outcome. Likewise, when we link up to other great warriors in the faith, we have the covering and backing that is needed to win.
I’m not sure what path you’ve been called to walk today, but I’m here to strengthen and encourage you. No matter what you face, don’t let it distract you from the task at hand. No matter who objects, walks away or what you lose, purpose in your heart to stay the course and finish strong! Be encouraged and be blessed! You already WON.
Natural Bridge Remains, Aruba
It’s a new month…again. I say that with a spirit of gratitude, realizing that there are many who were denied the privilege of turning the page on the calendar yesterday. I’m certain that we can all think of someone who was here last February that didn’t make it to this point (2016.) In that thought alone, there is much to be thankful for. This leads me to further ponder my next question. How truly committed are we, as humans, to fulfilling the purpose for which we have been created? I ask myself this question often, considering my journey appears at times to have been a lengthy one thus far. Lengthy not so much as number of days, but in the sense of one that’s been packed with a plethora of intense experiences, filled with twists and turns. I always jokingly say, “It’s been a good one, but a wild one to date.” I’m grateful though, because I realize that each day is a gift. Viewing each day as such, takes some of the sting out of the tough days, as well as makes the best days that much more pleasurable. I spend a great deal of my time on the road and juggling, what seems like a million different projects at a time…but if I really think about it, this is exactly what I prayed for, hoped for and labored for, for quite some time. No, everything hasn’t fallen perfectly into place like I envisioned in my mind, but there is so much beauty to behold in each day. As I witness the unfolding of my dreams and the manifestation of all that God has promised me, I am humbled and in awe. Yes, the climb is rather steep at certain points…BUT…the blessings that accompany the ascension are difficult to describe. They’re unbelievable, incredible and often times leave me speechless. Would I consider trading in some of the challenges for more mountaintops? Yes, of course. However, I know that it is impossible to have one without the other. This is both a faith journey and a fight. In order to fulfill the mission that’s been assigned, we will have to give it our all at times.
As you walk the path this new month, remember that life is a gift and should be treated as such. A new level of faith is required for each new leg of the journey. Stay the course and faint not! God has a specific plan and purpose for your life and He desires for you to fulfill it. Enjoy where you are, as well as all the blessings that have been afforded to you!!! I know it’s hard sometimes, but it will not overtake you. You will have the victory. I know that I’m personally looking forward to many, many, more spectacular, faith- filled days – hopefully retiring somewhere around the ripe old age of 101. 🙂
One word describes 2015… and that word is grateful! When I look back over the past 12 months, I am reminded of just how good God has been. What an incredible journey, filled with both trials and adventure. Yes, it has NOT been easy, but I would have to say that it’s been worth it. I had so many new experiences and met so many wonderful people, and though I saw my gifts make room for me, I was most definitely subject to digging deeper -than I ever have before.
This past year I assisted a variety of professionals in a number of ways. I published new work and reviewed all sorts of incredible products and services. I was also blessed to travel…alot! I experienced everything from viewing the sunset upon the Mediterranean Sea, to trekking across the island of Capri in my Converse. I also wandered throughout the streets of Cannes and stood upon the upper deck of a ship gazing at the magnificence of Barcelona. I took in the beauty of Palma de Mallorca, inhaled the splendor of St. Maarten and danced my way through the airport in Paris. I also ripped the highways and airports up between various parts of Ohio, Florida, Georgia and New York- with several points around and in between. However, though many of the preceding lines are a plus, it certainly wasn’t all peachy clean. I lost people and things. I got stranded, slept in the airport twice, busted my luggage, had my IPhone stolen overseas, worked on the road for weeks and even months at a time, while watching the seasons change- and had to trust God for many basic things. I worked harder than I ever had to, sacrificed in ways I didn’t think I’d need to….and considered giving into my fatigue on a number of occasions. Even more troubling, is that some of the people who started the journey with me a year ago didn’t make it to this day. Yet somehow (God,) I managed to keep going…to keep pushing and pursing my dream. Through it all, God sustained me and as a result I saw HIM more clearly- in some new and exciting ways! He opened doors that I could not have opened on my own, miraculously met needs in ways that are beyond explanation and still took time to paint the most breathtaking skies for me throughout my travels. God extended His protection and favor, and for this I am grateful!
Now what? We’re on the brink of a new year. 2016 is just around the corner, so what’s in store? The truth is, I have no idea what the future holds, but I do plan to keep moving forward. I have purposed in my heart to stay focused with my eye on the prize! I wrote my plans down in pencil, submitted them to God and I wait (actively) with great expectation. What I do know, is that He had a specific plan in mind when He created me… and I intend to fulfill it.
God bless you all and Happy New Year!!!
When I think about the phrase, “still waters,” peace immediately comes to mind. As I sit at my make-shift desk today typing, I am also gazing out the window -at the soothing waterfall adjacent to my building. At this very moment, I am thankful. No, I’m not content because all in life is well, but I am grateful at this very moment in time, because I am choosing to focus on the blessings that are before me, as opposed to the negatives. It’s true- I have a ton of work to complete and even some phone calls that I desperately need to make, but for this second…right now… I’m taking a moment out to simply smile and say thank you. See, I realize that I could be subject to a completely different set of circumstances, so I’m making a conscious effort to appreciate the moment. Life is full of waterfalls and valleys, so it’s important to embrace the periods of rest and peace when they are ushered in.
For this snapshot in time, I am thankful for still waters.
Take a moment out today, even if only for a few seconds to breathe and be grateful for whatever good things are before you. If you can’t think of anything, remember you’re alive to read this post!
My office today outside Savannah, GA
I read a pretty amazing quote yesterday. “During the growth process you will experience events that help you soar to new heights.” As I read those words, I thought to myself about my most recent trip to St. Maarten. While there, I got the opportunity to visit Maho Beach. If you haven’t heard or experienced what it’s like at this particular beach, I am pleased to fill you in. At first sight it appears relatively normal; there’s sand, the ocean, people sprawled across the beach and tons of activity in and around the area, but it’s what happens next, that will amaze you the most. Located just steps away from Princess Juliana International Airport, beach goers get the chance to complete what feels like a physical inspection to the undercarriage of incoming airplanes. Yep, they fly just above your head! It’s incredible.
While scrolling through my images from last week, I thought back to the above noted quote. I remembered how it was a chore, trying to capture just the “right” angle. I found myself performing a balancing act upon the edge of the concrete road, which outlines the beach. The scary part was that while doing so, incoming vehicles many of which hugged the curve rather closely, were speeding hastily towards…me, in route to the airport. However, it was the elevation of the curb that enabled me to get the shot.
Life is like this. In order to reach the peaks of mountains, you have to ascend. Of course it’s beautiful below, but ahh that feeling of gazing down upon a city or massive body of water is completely different from up above. I’m sure we’d all agree that none of this can be accomplished without some hurdles. Whether you’re trekking up the side of a mountain, or trying to balance yourself upon a steep curb for a picture, it will require some work and discipline on your part. I’d like to think that my 8 years of ballet kicked in, but some of it was utter determination. We must realize there’s no way to reach the peak without making the climb. Yes, you could technically take a helicopter ride, but think of all that you’d miss on the climb up???
If you find yourself in a difficult place today, remember that the current events are merely part of the process. They’re training and equipping you for the new view to come. There is purpose in preparation that readies you to soar! Stick to it and enjoy the journey up. You’ll find some pretty amazing views along the way to the top.
My view from the curb…Maho Beach, St. Maarten
My elevated view from atop…St. Maarten
It was the late, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who once stated, “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” As I ponder over this quote, I am confident that there is so much truth in it. Why? ….Because I’ve found that life often calls us to move before we “see” the next set of steps. Though this concept is frightening, it actually aids in our development; by stretching us and helping us to increase our faith. We can’t allow fear and disobedience to hold us back. Since standing still isn’t the answer, what do we do? “Do it scared.” I once read this phrase and something about these words have stuck with me ever since. Doing it scared doesn’t mean we rid ourselves of the fear, but rather that we’ve made a decision to not allow the fright to indefinitely detain us. Thus, we take the leap of faith, knowing that if God has called us to do it, He’s already provided the parachute. Trust God and trust the process. In the book of James, chapter 2, we are told that “Faith without works is dead.” Therefore, we must put our faith into action, having full assurance that God has already worked everything out for our good.
If you are facing a crosswords today, obey the voice of the Lord and know that He Who has called you is faithful, and will do exactly what is needed- to fulfill the plan and purpose that He has for your life. Stepping out is just the move that’s needed to get you to your next place! Obey every detail of the matter and watch what happens next. Have faith!!!
Taking the first step…next leg of the journey continues!
I just celebrated another birthday a couple days ago. However, this one was quite different from most of the previous ones. Unlike the three preceding years in particular, where there was so much activity each day, this one involved little to none at all this 9th month. Typically, my September days are filled with endless festivities throughout the entire month, ranging from dining and boating, to rooftop soirees and flights… so this has been completely out of the norm for me. Instead of a month long celebration, my days have been filled with quiet time; 6am prayer and studying, followed by long days, full of assignments to be completed from a plethora of directions. Am I complaining?…”No, not at all.” Although “different” from my usual birthday routine, I realize that change is to be expected as any new journey approaches. I can’t assume that “things” will always be the same each year. Seasons vary, and so does life. However, for me, the down time has proved to be a positive addition this year. I’ve gained some insight, become more disciplined in my studies, and have decompressed, too. Transition and constant movement takes its toll, so I understand just how important rest is these days. Now another year older, I hope to be another year wiser, also. With wisdom comes….change. I mean real constructive heart change, and that’s to be appreciated! Let’s be clear, I’m not stating a complete revamp of my future birth month and days, but I am saying that I welcomed the solitude, prayer and rest these past two weeks. As for the rest of this month, well, that is to be determined. Since I feel anew and so refreshed, a birthing event just might be in order! The world awaits…so stay tuned.
Thanking God for another year!!!
My oh -so- delicious GF and vegan birthday cake!
Thanks to Vegan Sweet Tooth in Woodmere, OH
How do you spend most of your days? What activities and/or persons take up most of your time? How different could your life be if you dedicated set amounts of time to the ventures and/or individuals most important to you? Let’s take a closer look at these questions.
If you have a goal in mind, then I’m sure you’d agree that specific steps are necessary to accomplish it. This can of course vary, depending upon the season that you’re in. A goal for one may be to get their little one potty-trained by a set date, while for another, it may be to obtain a promotion before the conclusion of this calendar year. In either case, action is required on the individual’s part if it’s going to transpire. For the person looking to climb the ranks, if your intended goal is to reach the next level within your organization, then you can’t spend your days on frivolous activities when you have down time at the office. Likewise, if this is indeed the desire of your heart, you must also give some thought to the persons who get the bulk of your time. If your days are spent with those who give you all the reasons why you can’t get promoted, then perhaps it’s time you limit your interaction with them. Think about this- What if you spent most of your time on constructive activities, in the presence of those who empower and uplift you? How different would your life be? Certainly you may not be able to change who your manager is presently, or even who you share a work space with, but you can control how you spend the rest of your time!
If you make the decision to organize your days, they will become more purposeful and fulfilling. Additionally, you will find that your activities will become less draining. Imagine that!!! Yes, you will have some days while in pursuit of your dreams that seem tiring, but they will in no way compare to the level of fatigue experienced – when you waste crucial time on meaningless things, with negative people. Establishing order upon the onset of each day can make a noticeable difference. Here are 3 simple steps to help you!
1. Create a set schedule, but be sure to leave gaps for what I like to call, “Life Happenings,” because they are sure to come. These are distractions, problems and issues that arise to take you off course. Learn to manage them, without giving them the power to ruin your day. Deal with them accordingly, adjust, and immediately get back on track- picking up from where you left off.
2. Devise steps to help you get closer to your goals. Make a concerted effort to write them down, and post them where you can see them, or place them where you will come in contact with them daily. Seeing is believing, so be sure to keep them within reach and visible at all times. If this means making them your screen saver on your computer or phone, do just that.
3. Execute! This is always the most important step. Your plans are of no use if you don’t act on them. Get a partner to help hold you accountable, and keep a checklist to follow.
Once you’ve created a plan, considered those who can in some way help bring your dreams to fruition- then you are ready to press the green light. Spend dedicated time with the Lord today, and inquire of Him how you should be spending your days, and with whom. Then, be purposeful in your dealings, so that you can give each day your best!
You decide “who” gets a seat at your table! Choose wisely~
Life is comprised of a series of seasons. Some are great, some are moderate, while others… are full of lessons. Regardless of where you find yourself today, it’s important to respect the season that you’re in. What do I mean by this? It’s actually a really simple concept. If you’re a young entrepreneur, or even an experienced one with a new venture in the works, it may not be the best season to dine “out ” on a regular basis. This particular season that you find yourself in, may require some sacrifice. That may look like- cooking all of your meals each week for a few months to reduce your spending. It just depends, but one of biggest mistakes we can make in life, is not respecting where we are. It’s going to vary from person to person, and even from season to season, so we must take note. Here are a few quick steps to ensure we stay on track.
- Take inventory. What goal/goals are set before you?
- What will it take for you to reach it/them (goal/goals?) Make a list of specific steps, tools, etc. needed.
- Discipline yourself! Sacrifice will be required on your part to attain it/them.
- Example #1- This could include a set budget. If so, you might have to identify ways to create an additional stream of income to boost monthly earnings, find ways to cut back on weekly spending to beef up savings, or you may have to allocate a certain amount of funds you currently have to go towards the execution of the project.
- Example #2- If you’re training for a competition, your diet and workout will be more intense. It may require you to cut back to one “cheat” day a month with your meal plan, as well as call for double duty at the gym.
- Example #3- It may be a time of standing still, and waiting for next steps. Standing still doesn’t literally mean no movement in this case. It actually may require you to fast and pray, seek out a mentor/coaching, and/or gain new information in your field, or study a new trade altogether. This course of action just means you’re moving while you’re “waiting” for things to fall into place. Certain times in some seasons will call for us to do this.
Operating within the appropriate season is crucial. Let’s take me for example. Right now I’m called to different places, so it wouldn’t behoove me to try and lug around all of my belongings from place to place. It’s a season of scaling back, so I’m learning that I should only pack what’s needed. Thus, it forces me to maximize the minimal, be disciplined in my on- the- road habits, and to think creatively. There are numerous other examples that can be used here. Just replace with your current set of circumstances and proceed. Review the scenario, create a useful plan of action, and execute. Watch your dreams come to fruition. It’s going to take some work. At times ALOT of it…but it’ll be so worth it!
It’s a “season” on the move for me…
I’ve recently read a number of articles that discussed the act of “pressing,” with regards to persevering that is. I thought rather intensely about the term, and what it actually means, so I decided to do some research. When I looked up the definition, I was met with phrases like- exerting continuous physical force, and applying pressure.” I said to myself upon reviewing this, “How true.”
What happens when you’re in a situation that requires you to exert continuous force? What happens when you have to dig deep in order to reach your intended goal, and you feel as though you have nothing left inside of you to give? What do you do?
REFUEL. We must not only find ways to re-energize, so we can keep going, but we must also keep the end goal in mind. It’s called a “press” because that’s exactly what it is. It’s not easy or quick, and it could care less about our time table. It requires much of us, and then some. However, if we focus on the vision, it will help us better manage the process in between start to fruition. In the interim, it’s tough though. It’s grueling, trying and wearisome, BUT necessary. We learn so much during these times. God uses them to develop us and remove the dross. It’s also a period of preparation for what’s to come. Therefore, while it may not be pretty, it is necessary to successfully fulfill our purpose and plan. Trust His timing and the challenges that arise- to get you exactly where you need to go. Keep climbing…the view from up the side of the mountain is incredibly beautiful!
Up the side of the mountain- Isle of Capri, Italy
There will be times in life when you will be led to make decisions- that may not make sense to anyone else but you, but you still have to make them. These can be some of the most challenging of days, because you will feel as if you are on an island all by yourself. When this occurs, remain steadfast to the assignment ahead of you. Very often in life, the road less traveled is most certainly not the easy one. As a matter of fact, quite often it’d be much safer to do the exact opposite…the one that everyone else would expect you to do. It makes more sense to them, and sometimes even you, yet it’s not what you’ve been called to do. Though the “easier” path seems simple, and pleases everyone else because it requires less of their energy (at times) and yours, it will ultimately not fulfill you. If you’ve been given a mandate, and feel strongly that you are to accomplish a particular purpose in this life, then you have to continue on courageously in pursuit. It may take all that you have sometimes, and even that will feel like it’s not enough, BUT…you have to press on. Going against the grain is tough. You may find yourself wanting to defend your reasons, your actions and your thoughts to others who simply just don’t understand. Remember, it’s okay because they’re not supposed to. It’s your vision, your purpose, and the path that God has laid for you. If and when He desires for portions of His will to be revealed to specific individuals around you, He will speak a word to them. In the interim, make sure that you have heard clearly from HIM on the matter, and that you are not basing your decisions solely on “your” own will, wants and desires. If God has released a word to you, He will reconfirm it.
Don’t worry about others, and you don’t have to keep trying to defend. Preserve your energy for the real battles because you will need it. Don’t allow others’ limited view of your life to cause you to question what you know you’ve heard God call you to do. When you reach this crosswords- don’t be alarmed. Be comfortable with the fact that you will sometimes have to stand alone. If no one else in the world understands, God does. It is HE who put the desire deep within your heart for a particular assignment, so rest assure that He will get you through.
Though you may feel like you are on an island all alone at times, He is with you, guiding your every step of the way~
We all have a part to play in this life. Some were destined to be great physicians, and others, loving stay-at-home moms to future philanthropists. Regardless the task assigned to you, work hard to accomplish it. Don’t let anyone, or anything deter you from reaching your goal. I’ve come to learn that it’s okay if others don’t agree with, or understand the call that’s been placed upon your life. It’s not their mission, it’s yours. Therefore, it’s not their job to “get it.” However, it is still your responsibility to walk the path that God’s assigned to you, despite any backlash or questioning that you may receive.Don’t fret or be discouraged! Just keep moving. Those who are meant to have a role in your destiny will support you and encourage you to fulfill your call. They will want you to be, “exactly who you were created to be.” They won’t want to change you, or force you to walk a different path.
Remember, God is best glorified through your life, when you work hard to be your best self, and not someone else. The world doesn’t need another replica. It needs you!!!