Late in 2020, there was a lot of talk about praying for a new word or scripture of the year. It was so interesting to me to see what words and verses God laid on the hearts of friends as well as fellow writers and speakers.
Now that we are more than half way through the year (how is that possible??), I have been thinking a lot about this word and verse that God has woven into so much of what I have done and I’m curious – what was your word or scripture and how has it shaped your 2021?
If you’re looking for financial wisdom, that’s a topic for another day, my friends.
For three days, I am participating in She Speaks Online 2021, a ministry arm of Proverbs 31. This is my second year attending and it’s been crucial to my growth spiritually and in my ministry.
It is so important for us to invest in ourselves. I invested time, money and effort into the WW program and achieved my weight loss goal. I invested time and energy into an activity routine and I am stronger an more flexible than I have ever been.
Investing in my ministry takes time to study, pray and learn from experts. I won’t benefit from just plunking down a registration fee and expecting change to happen. I’m making notes, asking questions, connecting with other and praying for God’s leading.
Does this all sound selfish? I have thought that from time to time, but I have decided that these were not selfish investments. My physical, emotional and spiritual growth are amazing dividends. I see how I can serve God, my family, my church and my community more effectively as a result of these investments. The joy and satisfaction of these dividends encourages me to invest again and again.
My exercise goals are taking a back seat for the weekend as I sit for the better part of three days in the conference, but that’s ok. I’m balancing my goals and learning to be more flexible with myself. Emotional flexibility is important in getting those goals.
How can you invest in your future? Maybe it’s starting (or restarting) a healthy eating plan, lacing up those walking shoes or signing up for a Bible study. Post in the comments your next investment step. You are worth investing in!
Laughter. One of the best stress relievers around. No side effects. No dispensing fee. Sometimes the funniest things are the things you do yourself. Some might even say it is a sign of maturity to not take yourself so seriously.
Recently I started working in a physician’s office. There are many details to look after and so much to learn.
While tidying up the office at the end of a day filled with a mix of telephone tag, a wonky-acting fax machine and being hung up on after a 20-minute hold, I looked at the huge spider plant in the corner of the office. Oh no! I’d been working there for three weeks and I had forgotten numerous times to water the plant! The doctor had told me she had had the plant for years – I did not want to kill it!
I searched the office for something to put water in and ended up with my coffee mug. I filled it with water and went over to the plant. It still looked green, no dead leaves on the ground. Good sign. I reached my hand into the pot to feel how dry the soil was. There came the surprise – all I felt was Spanish moss and…plastic! This was the most realistic artificial plant I had ever seen.
I started to laugh at myself, for worrying about killing the plant and upsetting my new boss. The annoyance at the automated phone system dissipated. The frustration with the fax machine evaporated. Weariness and stress were lifted and I powered down the computer, turned off the lights and locked the doors behind, heading happily for home.
In the past stress was treated with high-calorie treats or tuning out on the couch, neither of which was beneficial for me, nor did they relieve the stress. They had their own “dispensing fees” and side effects – excess weight and poor sleep were just two.
I’ve learned a lot on my journey, and one of the big things is that emotional eating solves nothing and just spins the cycle of overeating, guilt and overeating again. I rely on prayer, praise, a healthy eating and activity plan and regular healthy doses of laughter.
My husband is always a great source of material for laughter on a daily basis. Our children, and most of my closest friends love to laugh. But more and more I realize that I have a source of laughter that goes everywhere I do and the more I let go of what other people think of me, the easier it becomes to laugh at myself.
The Bible tells us that God loves His children to laugh. I echo Sarah’s words in Genesis 21:6 (The Voice), ” God has graced me with the gift of laughter! To be sure, everyone who hears my story will laugh with me. When you see a realistic artificial plant, may you remember my story and laugh also.
In these days filled with stressors, I’m thankful to God that a treatment is readily available.
It’s Monday! How about a giveaway? Starting today until June 21 (my wedding anniversary) anyone who subscribes to download my FREE devotional resource “Jumpstart Your Journey” will be entered into a draw where three lucky subscribers will will some amazing tea from Tealish Modern Tea Boutique!! The folks at Tealish.com are friendly and make amazing tea for every taste. Flavoured teas are part of my success in working the Weight Watchers program and may just be the life hack you’re looking for. So jumpstart your journey to wellness with some delicious tea and my new FREE devotional.
Friends who have already downloaded their devotional since it launched last week will be entered in the draw as well.
I have created both the devotional and my blog posts to encourage women to thrive in this life by deepening their relationship with God and achieving health and wellness goals. I’d love to walk with you on this journey!
Surreal. It is the only way to explain it. This experience was completely unexpected. All those years of being morbidly overweight and I never, ever envisioned myself being photographed and featured in a popular international women’s magazine. In fact, I used to despise having my picture taken. But, in a few short days, I will be spotlighted in an article about my weight loss journey in Women’s World magazine in both the US and Canada.
I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my story with the journalist. We had several friendly and thought-provoking conversations. When it came time for the photoshoot – I was terrified! These were not just snapshots at a Christmas party or even family photos. Paul and Steve came with lots of equipment, expertise, and thankfully personalities that set me at ease. As the photoshoot progressed, I relaxed and laughed and did what I was told – enjoy the day. I really did. My smile was big, but not plastered on for the camera, but completely genuine. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see a cover girl – but on the inside I felt like one for a few hours!
Paul asked me who I had told about the article, and honestly I had not told many – very few family members and a couple of friends. It felt weird to me to bring it up. I imagined a conversation where I ask my friend: “Hey, what have you been up to lately?” They say, “Not much” (because these are Covid times and who is doing much of anything), “How about you?” Then I casually tell them, “Oh, not a lot, just being photographed for a magazine article.” It sounded like bragging, no matter how I tried to work it out in my mind.
Then I realized, this event was part of God’s plan for my life and my ministry to encourage women. How could I walk alongside others in their journey if I was never introduced to them? What better way to jumpstart the introductions than to have my story told? This is just another part of the work that God continues to do in my life. Yes, I portioned the food and did the exercise, but God taught me how to change my mindset. As changes came in my life, a dream was born. God gave me a passion to write and speak to women about thriving in life and how achieving a healthy body and mind promotes fulfillment of the purpose God has for each one of us. I have prayed for opportunities, so why keep it to myself once it has arrived? In actuality, I’m bragging on God, not myself. So now, I tell you, my friends – look what God has done!
I am doing something brand new, something unheard of. Even now it sprouts and grows and matures. Don’t you perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and open up flowing streamsin the desert. (Isaiah 43:19 TPT)
The magazine feature will be available for one week in stores from May 27 to June 2, 2021 in Women’s World magazine in Canada and the US. If you pick up a copy, or even just see it on the rack at the grocery store checkout – rejoice with me in this opportunity to inspire and motivate others. If you are desiring to live a healthier life, physically, emotionally or spiritually – reach out! I’d be honoured to journey with you.
I’m preparing a new way to reach out and encourage women, so stay tuned for a way to join me – and the chance to win some cool prizes too!
Did you know that it’s Mother’s Day this Sunday? You may roll your eyes (just the tiniest bit!) and think, “of course”. I have run across a few people this week who had not remembered that this special day would be marked so soon. Life is different now and for those of us in my part of Canada there will be no in person gatherings for most of us and as we can only purchase “essential items” currently, gift shopping is more challenging than ever.
But there are many who are wishing this day could just be struck off the calendar, at least for this year. Women struggling with infertility, miscarriage or stillbirth, single women longing for marriage and family, those estranged from mother or children and those whose mom has passed away.
Sometimes Mother’s Day is hard.
Last year, I made a short video on this topic and I considered that I was worthwhile to share it again for my new friends here, and for those of you having another challenging Mother’s Day week.
God sees you where you are and longs to comfort and restore you.
As always, I look forward to your comments. If you have a prayer need, I would consider it my privilege to lift your need to God.
I watched her walk into the airport until I couldn’t see her anymore. I touched my husband’s arm and said that we could go now. I’m glad he was driving as of course there were tears in my eyes. My daughter was spreading her wings and off to a new adventure.
Now, she has been living on her own in a huge city for about four years, and had gone away to university prior to that. Our nest, technically, had been empty for a while. Then, after almost a year working from home in a tiny bachelor apartment, she told us she was moving out of the apartment and traveling for a few months until she was called back to work in the office. The perfect time to decide what city she actually wanted to put her roots down in.
This girl was bitten by the travel bug at a wee age, asking her dad and I to take her to see the ocean at three years old. What did we do? We packed up and drove to New Jersey to show her the ocean and we had a wonderful time. I knew that she want to explore the world. The COVID-related shut down gave her time to plan, and drove prices way down for transportation and accommodation and she is actually saving money doing this and giving up her expensive downtown apartment. She is happy to self-quarantine in new surroundings after staring at the same walls for the last 365 days.
We moved her out and brought her belongings back to our house. We had her home for a whole week and it was busy, but such a treasure to my husband and I. She and I spent time playing a Nancy Drew game on the laptop with her head on my shoulder, just like we have done since she was very young. We cooked together, drank copious cups of tea and talked about big and little things. She sorted and packed and resorted and repacked until her carryon bag and backpack were filled to absolute capacity with all she would take with her.
Snowflakes swirled as we set off for the airport. We chatted and laughed and made the most of the last hour to be physically next to each other for a while. I am absolutely excited for her and think she is so brave and confident to pursue her dream so responsibly at her age. But I am still mom and will miss her.
All the thought and effort and planning that went into launching this trip got me thinking that if I want the dreams I have to come to pass that I need to be more intentional, more diligent and more sacrificing of my time to make them happen. The dream God has planted in me concerns encouraging women, especially those over 40, through the written and spoken word to thrive in this life. I need to plan meals ahead, shut of the TV, use social media and not let it be a time waster and carve out time for study, prayer, writing and preparing for speaking engagements.
My thoughts and words need to be sorted and packed and then resorted and repacked until they will answer the questions and meet the felt needs of the women I interact with. God does not usually just download a message into my heart in its finished state – I have my part to play. Any goal worth achieving takes time, effort, sacrifice and so many small decisions and choices.
As the airport doors shut behind my daughter, she walked into a new adventure and closer to her dreams. Now I sit in my office inspired, with plans to prepare for adventures of my own.
From one man, Adam, he made every man and woman and every race of humanity, and he spread us over all the earth. He sets the boundaries of people and nations, determining their appointed times in history. He has done this so that every person would long for God, feel their way to Him, and find Him – for He is the God who is easy to discover! Acts 17:26-27 TPT
Reading with rose-coloured glasses has on occasion brought me discontentment. I read the wonderous tales of Anne Shirley, Laura Ingalls Wilder or Nurse Jenny Lee and imagine how much better it would be to have lived in simpler times or a different place.
Yes, times were simpler in some ways, but what about those fancy modern conveniences, like accessibility to preventative and diagnostic medicine? Thinking back to health issues I dealt with in my younger years, it would have been highly unlikely that I would have lived to see the age of 30, even with medical care available in the times of Call the Midwives. Being an orphan certainly isn’t as romantic a notion as L.M. Montgomery painted it to be. After the “Snowmageddon” that many have experienced last week, the Long Winter Laura Ingalls described doesn’t seem so blissful when it was too cold for Pa to play the fiddle.
There is a reason that I am living now, here in Canada. It’s part of God’s great story that I be here right now. I have my appointed time in history. For what purpose? Well, that is not entirely clear to me yet, and perhaps won’t fully be clear in my lifetime.
The Apostle Paul tells us in Acts 17 that God has placed each person in their specific time and location for life so that we would long for God and find Him. The Passion Translation says we will “feel our way” – the way we navigate a dark room, by feeling for landmarks, signs of what is around us even when it’s hard to see with our natural sight.
God is always around us, whether we desire to look for Him, or consciously make an effort to seek Him out. As Paul says, God really is easy to discover. I find Him in His Word that speaks to me in the seasons of my life in a fresh way. I detect God’s love in the warm embrace of my husband who always points me back to God when I struggle. I experience God in a text message from a friend who says I was on her heart today and she prayed for me. Out of all the people in her life, she thought of me on a day I needed reassurance, and God was the only one aware. That is God saying to me, “I’m right here. I see you and I am working on this problem for you.” We see God revealed in nature, in dreams, or in a song of praise that you can’t get out of your head.
My friend, this is your appointed time in history. Each of us plays a role in God’s grand rescue story. These may not be the “simpler times” portrayed in literature, but this is your time and mine. While I will still enjoy those stories, I’m tucking the rose-coloured glasses into a drawer and viewing the times then and now for what they are. Time for each of us to acknowledge that longing in our souls is for God, to discover the beauty of a relationship with Him. No matter our age, none of us are too young or too old to fulfill our purpose in the lives of our families, our church, and our community. God has determined that in all of earth’s history, we are in the time and the place where we can shine brightest.