Fireside Lessons

Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message:

I have learned many lessons from my husband about how to do ministry. Dan is a people person and views strangers as friends he simply hasn’t met yet. But his heart beats for the lost man who seems to be running from God with every ounce of energy he has. Dan’s passion gave birth to the Fireside Ministry.

Every Sunday night men from all walks of life gather in our driveway around a fire pit to share what God is doing in their lives as well as the struggles they are experiencing. They ask for help. They pray for each other. Fireside time is a holy time where God shows up and works in amazing ways.

One Sunday night I slipped into the garage to grab something out of the refrigerator we keep there. When I heard Dan talking about the spaces we have to create in our lives, I stopped and listened.

For months, I had been brutally examining my life. I was very busy doing good things, but were those things ordained by God or tasks simply assigned by my own need to be seen and heard? I was tired and discouraged – ready to give up.

I sat down on the garage steps and listened as a master teacher laid out a life-changing truth for me.

Dan said, “I give Scott a hard time about his fire-building technique. But there is a truth here for all of us about the spaces we need to have in our lives. Scott cannot stand to see space in a fire. The minute one of the logs burns through, Scott jumps up and replaces it with two logs … and the fire always struggles to keep burning. Here’s why. A fire has to have space to burn its brightest. There has to be room for air to get through and fan the flames. If there are no spaces, the fire will soon die out because it can’t breathe.”

“Mary, you need space in your life … for Me,” the Father whispered to my heart.

I immediately knew what I had to do. I had to lay down every commitment, every ministry, and every log in my life at the feet of Jesus. I was smothering the power of God because there were too many logs on my fire and no space for Him to fan the flames of His plans for me.

I’ve repeatedly tried to defy my God-given need for rest, thinking that I’m somehow above both the occurrence and consequences of exhaustion. Some urgent task will always call my name, as will that person whose life will absolutely disintegrate before my eyes if I don’t do something right now. My ego loves those deadly toxic strokes that are from the pit and smell like smoke.

Stress shouts, “Get busy! There is so much to do!” Stress applauds and dances with delight as I keep on “doing” instead of “being.”

Life is so daily and often filled with uncertainty, a reality that can make me very nervous. I want to know what the plan is and how that plan is going to be implemented. Details! I need details! Instead, God calls me to rest.

I don’t want to rest.

When I rest, I feel guilty. I have places to go, people to see, and important things to do. I hear the quiet whisper of the One who knows me best and loves me most, “Mary, it is time to rest.”

In Psalm 23:2 the psalmist writes, “He lets me rest.” Don’t let that gentle statement fool you. The Revised Standard Version of the Bible says it this way, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.” I can personally testify to the fact that the word “makes” holds a world of possibilities in the hands of our creative God.

Throughout the years God has gently grabbed my attention with an illness that drove me to bed or a crisis that drove me to my knees. He is a persistent loving Father and well aware of just how much rest we need and when we need it.

We will rest – one way or another. The logs will come off and space will be created for our good and His glory. God’s love will see to it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

You’ve Got the Gear for Great Things!

Sunday’s have been a time when I shared messages from others but today, this touched my heart and I felt as if I wanted to share personally with you.  The post I read started like this:

Pretend with me for a moment. Let’s say you are on an island in the Pacific. Pick an island, any island, but make it a tropical, lush, and beautiful one. You walk out onto the porch and see some equipment laid out just for you. You know what it is, and you know what it’s for. You’re excited! You’ve always wanted to do this, but never had the right gear.

You slip into a black sleek wet suit, zip up the front closure, and most likely marvel at the way it holds everything in. Then you squeeze your feet into squeaky black flippers. I know they’re tight, but go ahead and wiggle your feet in. Next, you strap a heavy oxygen tank on your back. One arm. Now the other. Finally, you slip a facemask over you nose and eyes, and place a mouthpiece between your lips.

But rather than heading out to the ocean to explore the marvelous coral reef, vibrant fish, and swaying flora, you turn around, go back into the house, fill up the bathtub, and settle in.

I know it sounds silly but think about how many times you may have done the same thing. God has blessed us with many gifts and talents yet how many times do we run from the abundant life to stay in our comfort zone – living in mediocre faith.

I have done it many times.  Always being behind the scenes, not wanting to step out in faith.  Letting fear and doubt keep me from experiencing all God has planned for me.  The truth is, we all have the gear we need, it is just up to us to jump in.  Experiencing our pre-ordained opportunity (destiny).

How many time have you had the argument with God, telling him the many reasons you are not the right one for the job (or the opportunity or the calling)?  I know I have.  Lately, my argument surrounds my memory issues and how I am “not good enough”.  Yet, when I stop and embrace the challenges (actually blessings), I am amazed at the abundance in my life.  I need to take time with God each morning, not just talking (praying and asking) but listening to what he has to say.  The message may not always be clear (brain fog has me struggling) but God’s message will come through one way or another.

I let fear keep me from God’s abundance.  I let the comparison game keep me from stepping out of my comfort zone.  I let the inner gremlins dance in my head and question my faith and my ability to know what God wants me to do.

Many are suited for great things and didn’t even know it.  As a result, they live a life never experiencing the many blessings God has for them.

Here’s my question for you today: What will you say to God when He calls your name or taps you on the shoulder and says, “Now’s the time?”

Perhaps today is the day.  Will you JUMP in, walking in faith or will you retreat within your comfort zone?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

What is YOUR Brand?

A few weeks ago I walked into a vendor event to hear “are you the angel lady that sells Thirty One?”.  It took me a minute but then I said “yes”.  I was totally surprised by the question but grateful the two things were linked together.

Obviously you know I am a Thirty One consultant BUT I also love to make and share my angels.

I have found the perfect way to combine my two loves to make a difference in the lives of others.  My traveling angel pins allow individuals to buy an angel and send one to a person who needs some encouragement.  Know someone who is struggling?  Let me know and I will send them a pin.

Where is all of this leading?  I have (accidentally) branded myself as “the Thirty One angel lady”.  Is it a bad thing? No! But I am grateful to have created my own niche of making a difference.

1. Realize branding does apply to you.

No matter what you do, branding can take your career or business to the next level.  Your brand reflects your reputation — what you’re known for (or would like to be known for). What was once called a reputation is now called a brand.  Don’t we all want to be know for something?

2. State who and what you are (not what you’re not).

Remember positive brings positive into your Universe.  Your branding should be consistent from beginning to the end.  Showcase your accomplishments and expertise but don’t overinflate to the point you can’t follow through.  Authenticity is the key.  I am all about giving back.  Hubby says my tagline should be “I will never be Rockefeller (rich with money)” because I am all about giving to others.

3. Honestly, ask yourself what is your value.

When was the last time you wrote down your core strengths. Prepare a list. Ask yourself what your top 5 accomplishments have been in the past 5, 10, 15 years. Which ones stand out as the most value to your business or your company?

Branding is all about impressing others not ourselves, right?  So, why not ask others what they see as your most positive attributes (family, friends, or colleagues). I know this can be scary BUT you may be surprised to find out how others perceive you. You may actually be surprised to see what things come to the forefront as your areas of expertise.

4. Understand developing a brand takes time.

This is HUGE!  I have been with Thirty One for 6 years.  I have done many things to try and “brand myself” but with the help of Desiree Wolfe, I found my niche.  

What does it mean? Every day, I share things which bring my brand (Thirty One and angels) into the spotlight.  I want to make a difference and I try to do it every day in some small way with everyone I meet.  Remember developing a brand is about adding value which results in you being seen and heard. It’s about distinguishing you from your competitors.

5. Create a blog and write what you know.

I hear the groans of those who say “I can’t write”.  How often are you asked the same question by almost all of your customers?  Maybe it is about a situation or a product or a service.  Guess what?  You answer the question a million times, why not write about it and share the answer.  It’s simple – choose a hot question in your field and just start writing by answering it in an article or blog post.  You have now proven you know what you’re talking about.

6. Interact more than less.

I’m still getting the hang of this.  I don’t want to be spammy or pushy or salesy. I do want to gain attention to me (as the brand) then my products and services which leads to more sales.  I may blog daily but I don’t consistently post comments on Facebook groups or on other blog posts.  You need to decide what works with your schedule and time ability.

Your online identity is a priority in today’s busy digital world. I heard “your online branding as a #digitaltattoo which is so true.  Once it is out there – it stays out there. Wonder where you stand right now?  Google yourself, your brand, or your product/service.  See what comes up.  The biggest compliment I have received is when someone I know as an acquanitence tells me they Googled a subject and I came up.

My angels help me stand out with my Thirty One customers.  The angels help them to remember me!  What is your brand?  Share it with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Grow Your Confidence – Part 2

Last week, I talked about growing your self confidence and I received a lot of feedback.  I won’t say i am surprised because despite all of the overwhelmingly positive posts on Facebook and Instagram, there are people who struggle. They struggle with standing tall and proud letting their sparkle shine through.

So here are a few more things which might help you boost your confidence…

1. Take some time for personal care.   I will admit, I am the worst at this.  When I am feeling yuk, all I want to do is lay around in my sweats.  The truth is, we should really nudge ourselves to do something for us.  Now, I don’t mean spend a fortune. How about pulling out your favorite shaving cream and shaving those legs? The warmer weather is coming.  How about deep conditioning your hair? Or even soaking in a bubble bath?  Pamper yourself with something you enjoy doing for you. Give yourself permission to enjoy life. Giving yourself permission to relax and even PLAY, will pay you back ten fold.  You will gradually change your mindset so the fun times come more naturally.

2. Visualize and Reframe.  This is going to sound a little crazy since I always talk about how important positive thinking is BUT believe me it works.  Take a few minutes to reflect on the problems you are facing in your life. Feel the feelings associated with the problem.  Do you naturally assume the worst – let’s REFRAME the problem and the solution!  Nothing is hopeless but when you believe it is, all you will feel is unhappiness and that you are a failure.

So, I want you to pick one problem and look at it in a new light by recreating a positive outcome.  I know it can be tough but you can do it.  Imagine a positive solution and really feel the feeling of the new positive ending to your story. Now, make the new ending happen!

3. Make a List of Your Positive Attributes.  Yes you do have them.  We all do even if we don’t always see them.  For many years, I heard “you are your own worst enemy” and I know I am not alone.  It is time to make a list of your positive gifts (physical and mental). We need to find an inner love for ourselves, instead of looking to others for approval.  I struggled with this exercise for years and then with the help of a friend, I reached out to several close friends and asked for their help.  I asked them to describe me in just 3 words.  I was blown away by the response. Once I wrote them all together, I put them into positive mantras I could repeat until I really started to believe them…

4. Fake it till you make it.   I know this sounds easy and hard to believe it actually works, but trust me it is easy and it does work. Remember those negative thoughts like:”This day sucks”, “I feel ugly” or “I am not good enough” guess what? Those thoughts radiate and everyone knows how you are feeling.  You need to keep your thoughts in check, so when the negative self talk creeps back up- proclaim the opposite. This will help you to build your self worth cause the negative inner gremlins can get pretty sneaky.

5. Get enough sleep.   I know as busy women, who has time for a good’s night sleep, right?  What is the definition of a good night’s sleep?  Is it 5 hours or maybe less?  Maybe it means a night when the kids aren’t climbing in your bed.  When you are tired and your body is run down, it’s difficult to feel good about yourself. Your body is dragging, and the negative inner gremlins are ready to rear their ugly heads. As much as you may hate to hear it, your body needs a solid 6-8 hours of sleep – peaceful uninterrupted sleep. I used to live on about 5 hours then age creeped in and health struggles.  I am grateful my hubby got me into a routine of at least 7 hours of sleep.  There are days when I get less but I can tell because my sparkle dulls just a little.  I know it is not always easy but find a happy medium for you so you have the energy to fight off those nasty gremlins.

I would love to hear from you and know what you do to boost your confidence on those tough days.  

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Happy Easter 2017

“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.”

As the sun begins to rise on Easter morning, I think of Easter’s past…

Growing up, I went to my grandparents while my parents and aunts went to sunrise service on the beach. Then home to get ready for church. New outfits for church. Sometimes even a trip to the Boardwalk for the Easter Parade in Asbury Park. Then back to my grandparents for a traditional Easter dinner with the whole family. Easter baskets overflowing with candy from the “Carmel Shop” and “Old Monmouth”.

As the years passed, life seemed to get in the way – no more fancy Easter outfits, no more Easter baskets combined with a feeling of not belonging. Then I was blessed with my daughter, Belinda. Childhood memories and traditions came back to life starting with Belinda’s first Easter. Four generations – Grams, Mom, me and Belinda.4 generations Easter

Easter was different. Easter baskets were filled with toys and games because Belinda didn’t like chocolate – I know SHOCKING, right? It was a treasure hunt to find the basket with clues left in Easter eggs throughout the house. I can still remember the squeals of excitement as she found the basket. I even remember making her Easter outfits and heading to Atlantic City for the traditional Easter parade. That is my cutie in one of those outfits!

Dinners were a little smaller but family was still together. The family was smaller – Edythe, Elsie, Grams, Mom, Belinda and I but we were blessed with 4 generations at dinner for several years.

This year is just a little different…. the miles stretch between us, as we each celebrate Easter with extended family. Hubby and I will have dinner with his family.  Gone are the Easter baskets filled with candy. Our loved ones in heaven will be celebrating together while those of us left behind will struggle with making new traditions.  This year is even tougher since heaven gained an angel this week – my Dad.  This is one of my favorite songs…

Blessings from Laura Story:

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering

All the while You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough

And all the while You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

And what if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It’s not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
This world can’t satisfy?

And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise?

I am blessed. I have a loving, supportive family, and a devoted husband. I have a faith which at times is as small as a mustard seed but is enough to get me through the toughest days. For I know even the trials are blessings from God.

Share your Easter stories and pictures with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful Easter!