So You Have a Past

Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message:

The New Testament begins with the book of Matthew and showcases more drama than a Hallmark movie. The book starts off with a genealogy trail that leads from Abraham to the birth of Jesus. This list of names might make you yawn, but it’s actually really important – and even exciting. (Yes. You read that right!) It’s fascinating because it gives evidence to a family line that shows Jesus was a descendent of both Abraham and King David, thus fulfilling what the Old Testament predicted about the lineage of the Messiah.

Scandal steps onto the page in verse three of Matthew chapter one when a woman’s name shows up. (Traditionally, only the names of men appeared in these family lineages.) But this wasn’t just any woman, it’s one from the shady side of the family tree … Tamar. She had a past, and any Jewish scholar worth their salt would know about it. She was used and abused by men that should’ve loved, protected, and provided for her. Once scorned, she schemed for revenge and ended up having twins to her father-in-law. One of the twins, Perez, is an ancestor to King David.

As the list goes on we see a few more eyebrow-raising names…

Rahab’s name is listed. Remember her? She was the prostitute who “turned good” when she helped Joshua and the Israelites capture Jericho. Bathsheba’s on the list too, but they don’t even mention her by name. She’s recorded this way, “David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife.” (Matthew 1:6) Nice. Archived as the woman who had an affair with King David while she was married to a soldier named Uriah.

All three of these women were known, but not necessarily for cleaned up good things. Seeing these women listed among the relatives of Jesus seems very… messy. It seems to me that historians would want to hide those names, not put them out there for everyone to see! But that’s not God’s way.

He doesn’t sweep things under the rug and pretend they aren’t there.

And strangely enough, I’m encouraged by the presence of these women in the lineage of Jesus.

Why?

Because they are powerful displays of His grace.

They are proof that God does not require perfection from us in order for His will to be done through us. The apostle Paul summed it up nicely in his second letter to the church of Corinth. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

So you have a past. So did Tamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba. I do too. Who doesn’t?

So you have a few people in your family with rusty reputations. So do I. So did Jesus.

So you have some shame or pain regarding things that were done to you… things that were or are beyond your control. You’re not alone.

God’s mercy reaches beyond the muck and mire of our pasts to recreate us in the grace and love of Jesus. He lifts fallen heads, purifies rebellious hearts, and places slippery feet on solid ground. Nothing about having a “past” or “complicated associations” can keep you from walking out the freedom and hope of Jesus.

God uses the broken to showcase His beauty.

Believe it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Are You Missing One of These in Your Business?

Thank you Christie Browning for today’s tips….

I love my business. If you know me, you know it!!!!  Whether it is my Thirty One business or my handcrafted angels, I love having my own business.  I love the flexibility. I love the freedom to take visions to fruition.  I love sharing my love with everyone.  Now, I will be the first to admit on any given day I miss out on opportunities.  On those days, I tend to be more focused on “making money” to pay bills, so I blow past some of the things I need to have a successful business.  Don’t get me wrong, making money (and paying bills) is what we work for.  The truth is, I can’t sustain my sales (neither can you) if your business isn’t built on a strong foundation.

#1 – Know where you’re going and why you want to get there

I know we have all answered (or at least tried to) the question of our why…. We need to know what it is to be successful, right?  I have talked about the emotional why many times – it is the real root of why you want to be in business.  It is the inner motivation which pushes you when your tired, you want to give up, you are out of your comfort zone, and to push past your fears. Why is being a success important to you?  What will you gain if you are successful?

I struggle with tapping into my emotional why. as a result of my MS.  The key to the emotional why is your ability to paint a vivid picture of what “success” looks like to you.  It isn’t the same for everyone!  By identifying what the finish line looks like, you will know when you cross it, so you can celebrate and know you’ve arrived!  Your finish line might be clearer as you get closer to it but you need a visual picture NOW. The visual should touch your heartstrings and drum up some emotions when you think of it.

Key #2 – It’s your business – make it so!

You are designing YOUR business so make it yours!  I know it sounds crazy BUT how many times have you tried to copy someone else’s business (especially in direct sales) because they have risen to the top of the company?  I have been there, done that and got the tee shirt.  It doesn’t work!  I am learning (yup, took me 7 years!) my business will be different and might probably come together in a different way because it is MINE!  Be sure to design your business around your strengths and passions. Structure it around your time and calendar whether it is a part time or a full time gig.  You get to call the shots.  The key is to be sure to be true to yourself .  Remember your customers buy because they trust you – stand out in a crowd for what you want your business to look like.

Key #3 – Put the right process in place to win

I don’t know about you BUT I LOVE vendor events and home parties.  I LOVE connecting with people face to face.  Some would say it is the glamorous side of our direct sales business.  The truth is, success is made behind the scenes, in the nitty-gritty facets of your business (the parts we may not like).  Just showing up at events or parties is not going to keep your business consistent nor is it going to guarantee you success.  So, what system do you use to keep track of all of the “other things” you HAVE to do?  Do you have set days for follow-up with customers?  Do you know your target market?  I use a tickler file and LOTS of notes on my planner to make sure I keep up with order follow-up, mailings, booking leads and so much more.

Key #4 – Making the noise to bring in the biz

For some, marketing is the fun stuff!  For others, it is a hodgepodge mess.  You need to know who you are as a business and who you are trying to serve.  Do you know what your brand is? Branding is simply something which when people see it they think of YOU (and the ripple effect is thinking of your business).  It is the tone and feel of your business – such as the colors, images, and graphics you use.  I ALWAYS say “Have a ThirtyOne-derful day” – my customers expect it.  LOL.  Angels have become a part of my marketing…. they are part of my team logo as well as the watermark I use in all of my graphics.   What do you want their experience to be like after they interacted with you and your company? I want my customers to know I am all about making a difference in their lives and the lives of others.  I want them to know I am a down to earth “take me as I am” kind of gal.  The key to great branding is to be true to you. Don’t try to be something your NOT because it won’t connect with or feel authentic to your customers. Your brand is an extension of YOU and should be reflected in all you do, say and show.

I know this sounds like A LOT so take it slow and easy.  Start with one and work your way through…. Which one will you start with?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Holy Hustle: Embrace A Work-Hard, Rest-Well Life

 

Best wishes for a blessed day!

Adopting a new attitude and outlook about hustle takes time. But when it comes to change and the new things God wants to do in our lives, we have two choices: retreat or pursue growth. I’m the first to admit that sometimes retreat sounds better until God shows me my motivation. When change feels scary, it’s because I’m relying on my strength to make it through. I assume it’s all up to me to make it work, to make sure it succeeds, to make sure I don’t look like a failure—again. When I choose to retreat it’s because I’m being reminded that on my own, in my striving, I won’t be able to make it all work out the way I want it to.

But then I stop striving and start pursuing, trusting that God is bringing a new thing because He has plans for me that are good, plans that will bring Him glory and expand His kingdom.

Will you lean into the new path He’s leading you on, one where holy hustle replaces striving? Or will you retreat, preferring the comfort of what is known to an uncomfortable season full of unknowns?

Here are three assurances we can take confidently into the future: God is not done with us yet, He’s ready to do a new thing, and He is there with us every step of the way.

Holy hustle gives us the freedom to work hard with all our might on the tasks God assigns to our soul. This is the heart work, the work that makes a difference in God’s kingdom. It gives us the freedom to recognize that the work others do is right for them, but not for us, not in this season. Holy hustle helps us to hear God over the roar of the bossy world, so we can say yes to the work God has prepared our hearts for and no to the work that will drain our souls.

The line between hustle and striving, rest and laziness, is a delicate place to live. When we lean too far one way, we find ourselves relying on our strength instead of abiding in God’s reminders that He is our strength. This version of hustle is not about finding more time in our day to do more, but discovering what God is calling us to do so we can serve more, give more, encourage more—in the right places and right ways.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

In Want or in Plenty: Real Ways to Create Contentment in Your Life

Thank you Kathi Lipp for today’s message…

On that sunny August day, I thought my life couldn’t get much worse.

Recently separated from my husband and with no support from him, I was teetering on the financial edge. My kids and I had just moved in with my parents, and I was desperately looking for a job to support my two middle schoolers.

I thought about our old life where the only thing I needed to get them ready for a new school year was a debit card and a couple trips to the mall. With school only a few weeks away, I didn’t know where I’d get the money to buy clothes and shoes or pay for annual physicals.

That was fifteen years ago.

Today, I do have enough, but the dread of not having what I need can still make me sick to my stomach.

We live in a tiny house, but one that is situated in the most expensive county in the US, with plenty of food, enough money to buy clothes we need and go out to dinner occasionally. Even take an occasional vacation.
This is the land of plenty. No doubt about it.

But what I’ve discovered? There are benefits and drawbacks to both.

When I was in want, we pulled together what we needed with the help of my parents, hand-me-downs from friends, Goodwill, and a small amount of surprise money that showed up in our mailbox. We didn’t have extra, but we had exactly what we needed.

Living in want is a scary place to be, whatever your want may be. But the other thing I discovered about living in want? It gives you plenty of room to see and experience God’s provision first hand, evidence of God’s care and provision for me and my kids.

Now, living in plenty? Whew! Finally, you can be relieved of the day-to-day worry about how you’re going to pay the rent, or the next car payment. But there is a drawback to living in plenty: You can forget to notice all the miracles around you.

We falsely believe we are making things happen—and that can even turn into thinking if only people were as ______________ (conscientious, hard-working, smart, etc.) as us, they would not be in want.

And suddenly we forget about the love, graciousness and strength only God can provide in both of these times.

So how do we stay content in a world that actively works to keep us discontent?

Limit your time around agents of discontent.

Where does your discontentment grow? For me, it’s looking at Pinterest or home decorating sites. I see all-white country chic homes and am transported into another world—until I have to come back to earth and see my stained carpets, saggy couches and 1970’s bathroom. Not only can I become dissatisfied, I can project that dissatisfaction onto my husband, who works hard to provide for me.

I’ve learned to limit myself when it comes to my house. Currently, we are replacing our carpets with flooring. Instead of spending months perusing different websites, I’m heading to Home Depot. No muss. No fuss.

Get radically, ridiculously grateful.

This is an exercise I do when I need to recalibrate my gratefulness. Notice how many things you have directly around you.

As I write this, within a foot of me are:

2 Bibles
A notebook and pen
A coffee cup with hot coffee in it
A banana peel from the banana I just ate
A tray a good friend gave me
A couch I’m sitting on
A quilt my mom made me
My dog cuddling with me
Just noticing the blessings in my immediate surroundings changes my perspective.

Here is what I know from reading God’s word: We need to set our hearts on God and not our circumstances. We must learn to live both in want and in plenty.

God will meet us, no matter our situation. Our ability to be content is not determined by our circumstances, but our connection to Him.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How To Make Today A Success

Happy  (almost) Friday!  The long holiday weekend is just around the corner, the kids are getting ready to go back to school and we are at month’s end….. so I wanted to talk about being a success.

Success means something different to everyone.  My definition has changed over the last 6 months both personally and professionally.  Yes, there are still days when I wonder if I am a success but most days I feel pretty successful, content where I am for the moment..  Being a self-employed success takes on a different meaning then it did when I was working for someone else.  I was blessed to have worked at various non-profit agencies where I felt like I was a success (at least 95% of the time).  As we hit the reset button and get back to a new routine for the Fall months, I want to make sure every day is successful.

Here are some tips which might help you:

#1 Start the day with 10 minutes of inspirational thoughts, readings, music, or meditations.  

I start my morning with several devotions and a few moments of silent contemplation.  I know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but for ME, if I don’t start my day with some inspirational words – it is all down hill from there.  Of course, I need some coffee along with the inspiration.  Quiet time allows my head to “de-fog” and to stomp out any nasty inner gremlins who want to ruin my day.

#2  Remind yourself of the deeper “why” of your work.

Your “why” should be front and center.  I have a vision board which helps me stay focused.  Does it work every day?  NO but on most days it is a great motivator when I am getting a little side tracked or spending too much time on Facebook.

#3 Put on a smile (even it you don’t feel it).  

When you smile at someone, don’t they usually smile back?  Some days this is tough for me.  Negative Nellie and Doubtful Debbie visit and the best way to get them to leave is to SMILE and gaze at my vision board.  Then I get back to work…

#4 Keep your conversation positive.  

What do you say when someone asks “How are you today?”  My grandfather always used to say “GREAT, no sense complaining”.  He was right, no one wants a play by play on how bad your day is.  My response, is either “Good and you” or “I’m blessed”.  Choose your words carefully in order to stay upbeat.  Remember negative thoughts bring negative into your Universe

#5  Do the most important things first. 

Prioritize your list of things to do.  Start with the one you are dreading the most.  Get it over with.  Then move to the next 1 or 2 things on your to-do list.  Keep your to do list to no more than 3 things.  IF you finish them and want to jump on something else, great.  I don’t know about you but I feel VERY successful when I can check off tasks from my to-do list.

elephant-balance-chiropractic#6  Maintain a good work/life balance.

WOW!  This is one of my biggest problems – I am not good at balancing my time.  We are multi-dimensional people and need to do more than just WORK!  Tough words for a “struggling, recovering addict/work-a-holic”.  Remember the saying “all work and no play makes Jane a dull girl”.  It is TRUE!

Making every day a success means you need to CHANGE your MINDSET to a more positive one.  How do you make every day successful?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!