A Braver, Smarter and Stronger You

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Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message…

One of the most lovable and charming characters in the history of cartoon animation has to be Winnie the Pooh. He simply oozes adorableness and positivity.

In the movie, Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin, Pooh and Christopher Robin, who are the closest of friends, have a moving conversation high in a tree where strength and love flow heart-to-heart.

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN: “Oh, Pooh. If ever there’s a tomorrow when we’re not together, there’s something you must remember.”

POOH: “And what might that be, Christopher Robin?”

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN: “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

POOH: “Oh, that’s easy. We’re braver than a bee, and, uh, longer than a tree, and taller than a goose . . . or, uh, was that a moose?”

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN: “No, silly, old bear! You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is even if we’re apart; I’ll always be with you. I’ll always be with you. I’ll always be with you.”

This conversation reminds me of the conversation Jesus has with His disciples after His resurrection. He gave them new marching orders and assured them that though He had to leave, they would never be alone.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God; trust also in me.” (John 14:1)

“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (John 14:12-14)

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15-17)

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:26-27)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing… If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:5, 7-8)

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19- 20)

May these last words of Jesus serve as a reminder to you today that you are not alone or ill-equipped in your life. Because of this truth, you are enabled through Christ to be a woman of great courage and faith! Live like it. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think because the Spirit of God is at work within you to embolden, strengthen, and guide you.

Above all, remember this: God is with you. Always.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

When You Feel You’re Not Enough


Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message……

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

When I was six years old, I skipped off to school with a new box of crayons, a Swiss-polka-dotted dress, and fresh hope that I would be smart. But first grade only confirmed my greatest fear. I was “not enough.”

As soon as my first-grade teacher held up that initial spelling flashcard, I knew I was in trouble. We lined up our miniature wooden chairs in a row like a choo-choo train. The teacher held up a spelling flashcard for us to identify the word. If we missed the word, we had to go to the caboose. I spent most of the first grade in the caboose. I just couldn’t spell to save my life. For some reason, I especially had trouble with the word the.

I’ll help her, my teacher must have thought. She made me a nametag that read

t-h-e, and I had to wear it for two weeks. Students came up to me and asked, “Why are you wearing that tag?” “Is your name ‘The’?” “You must be stupid.” “What’s wrong with you?”

Well, I learned how to spell the word the, but that’s not all I learned. I learned I wasn’t as smart as everybody else, and once again, not enough. And even though I ended up doing well in school, many times I’ve still felt like that little girl in the caboose of the spelling train.

Moses was a man who felt he wasn’t good enough. When God spoke to him through a burning bush and called him to lead His people out of Egyptian bondage, he had a big case of the “not good enoughs.”

That’s when he had a one-sided argument with God. Moses told God he was the wrong man for the job. He wasn’t brave enough, strong enough, smart enough, eloquent enough, charismatic enough, or confident enough.

At one point, Moses said, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:13-15).

Moses was 80 years old when he had his argument with God at the burning bush. But even the weakest knees in the hands of I AM can become a mighty force to be reckoned with.

I’ll go out on a limb and say that you too, at one time or another, will struggle with feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy just like Moses did. And the underlying statement feeding the sense of worthlessness is “I’m not __________ enough.” You can fill that blank in with any number of qualities.

But here’s what we need to remember: Whatever we feel we are not, God is. He is the God who fills in our gaps; He is I AM who fills in our blanks.

When we say, “I’m not strong enough,” God says, “I AM.”
When we say, “I’m not wise enough,” God says, “I AM.”
When we say, “I’m not bold enough,” God says, “I AM.”
When we say, “I’m not smart enough,” God says, “I AM.”
When we say, “I’m not good enough,” God says, “I AM.”

Once we let go of the lies that we are not enough and take hold of the truth that we are more than enough because of Jesus’s presence and power in us, then we will be set free from paralyzing insecurity and be on our way to experiencing courageous confidence to do everything He calls us to do. It’s time get out of the caboose and sit up front with the Chief Engineer.

You want to know something amazing? One of my greatest weakness as a child was spelling words. And now that is what God has called me to do today…write with words. I stand with Paul who lamented about his weakness: “But he [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

That’s what happens when we allow God to fill in our blanks. He turns what we perceive as our greatest weakness into our greatest strengths.

What is God calling you to do today? In what areas do you feel that you’re not enough? Oh friend, because of Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross, and His power in you, you are more than enough! Don’t forget it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

NOTE:  Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

Want to Get to the Next Level?

Do you know how to get to the next level?  No, I am not talking about an online or video game.  I mean if you are striving to reach another level in your business or in life…. Can you guess what it is?

If you said “tell yourself the truth“, you are right!  The funny thing is, most people don’t take the first step.  Why?  Because it is hard.  But the truth is the only thing which will empower you to breakthrough to your highest potential.  Whether the truth is about a bad habit, or the truth about a relationship, or the truth about your circumstances, acknowledging it is freeing.

The next step after facing the truth takes Courage.

I want you to think about the last time you said the phrase

I hate to admit, but _________________________.

We have all said it at some point.  Perhaps you are okay in your career or business, but there is a nagging feeling it is time for a change.  Been there, done that!  Maybe a relationship looks great from the outside, but you know something isn’t quite right.  Or maybe someone has pointed out a problem with your child, and you are defensive because you did your best to teach them,  but if you’re honest, you’ve noticed the same problem.

The reality is this little a phrase allows you to notice the smallest grain of truth just might be surrounded by many positives. It is time to embrace the truth.  It is a chance to address what needs to be addressed.  It is the chance to be open enough to ask for help, find a creative solution, and let go of perfectionism in favor of true happiness.  Remember it is progress NOT perfection we are aiming for.

In order for us to move to the next level, we have to be willing to face the challenges before us instead of ignoring them.  We need to step out of our comfort zone so we can stretch and grow. In the process, we will develop courage and wisdom which will take you to a new a new level.

So what is the grain of truth holding you back in an area where you want to thrive and grow?

For me, it is the lack of confidence combined with the brain fog which keeps me from stepping out of my comfort zone.  For me, the sentence would be:

I hate to admit it, but I still play the comparison game.

UGH!  An ugly truth but I am so ready to take the step to change it.  So, how did you complete the sentence?  Once, you have stated the truth, have the courage to ask yourself these questions:

  1. What next step could you take to address this challenge?
  2. How can you be the bravest version of yourself today in your creative work and life?

For me, it is to stop doing what everyone else is doing and do what works for me.

Maybe for you, it’s showing up to your laptop, sitting down, doing work, and sticking with it even when it feels scary and tough.

Maybe for you, it’s saying no to distracting things which keep you from building the impactful, fulfilling, and sustainable life you’re yearning for.

Maybe for you, it’s finally getting started on a new project, podcast, book, or product but you’ve been too afraid to pursue.  For me it is putting myself out there with videos.

Maybe for you, it’s replying to an email, returning a phone call, or saying yes to a coffee date which may lead to an exciting new opportunity.

Maybe for you, it’s reaching out to a friend, coach, or mentor, asking them for help, giving yourself permission to not walk this journey alone anymore.

Fear!  It isn’t going to disappear overnight. Fear will always be part of the journey.  The challenge (one of the biggest for me) isn’t to become fearless.  The challenge is to live taking action towards our goals even when fear is along for the ride.  It is stomping on those inner gremlins letting them know who is boss.

I challenge you to join me, in asking yourself every morning how you can be the bravest version of yourself today?   And when the “day” seems to overwhelming and fear, and self-doubt, creep in ask yourself – how can you be the bravest version of yourself in this moment? What small courageous step can you take in the direction of the work and life you are longing for?

Share your “statement” with us.  I would love to celebrate and encourage you along the way!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Never Forget

  It is Monday morning and we should be heading to Royal Carribean’s Majesty of the Sea for 5 glorious days of my pink bubble. Irma has had other plans and I am home reflecting on so many things…

It is a morning filled with lots of emotion…as a nation, we honor those who were lost on 9-11.  We continue to struggle with the evil which plaques our nation.  We mourn for those lost and honor those whose lives have forever been changed.   This day is one of few memories which I can clearly remember…  I remember as if it were yesterday.  I was working at Mia’s Christmas Shop in Ocean City, NJ.  We had just opened when I was called into the office by Charlie, the owner, who had the television on showing the attacks.  Charlie immediately started to collect money for those whose lives would be changed as a result of this horrific event.  I got to share the events of the morning with many people who were on vacation and CLUELESS about what was happening.  Those days were filled with words like: Hero, Compassion, Love, Kindness, and Bravery.

Edythe

September 11th took on a new meaning in 2011 when Heaven gained another Weston angel – Edythe, my aunt, my friend  and my mom’s middle sister.  Growing up, I spent ALOT of time with Edythe (and Elsie). When I was younger, they were my babysitters.  As the years went on, they were a BIG part of my support system.  Edythe (along with the rest of my family) helped to raise Belinda. As Belinda grew up, lives changed – the world moved a little faster and we lost touch with the exception of holidays.

The words describing those involved in the September 11th attacks and recovery efforts could now relate to Edythe: Hero, Compassion, Love, Kindness, and Bravery.

Life seems to be full of moments which ask us to let go when we long to hold on.  I don’t know what you face right now, what season of life you’re in, but my prayer for you is simple and from the heart. May you know the comfort and strength of the One whose love will never fail you, and whose mercies are new every single morning!

As we reflect on this day, hug the ones you love, forgive the ones who you believe have done you wrong and enjoy the moment with those you love.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Memories of September 11th

Edythe

Today is in honor of September 11th.   Do you remember where you were on September 11th?

I remember that day as if it was yesterday.  I was working at Mia’s Christmas Shop in Ocean City, NJ. We had just opened when I was called into the office by Charlie, the owner, who had the television on showing the attacks. Charlie immediately started to collect money for those whose families and lives would be changed as a result of this horrific event.  I got to share the events of the morning with many people who were on vacation and CLUELESS about what was happening on that day.  Those days were filled with words like: Hero, Compassion, Love, Kindness, and Bravery.

In 2011, September 11th took on a new meaning in our family.  Heaven gained another Weston angel – Edythe, my aunt, my friend and my mom’s middle sister.  Growing up, I  Edythe (and Elsie) were my babysitters. As the years went on, they were a BIG part of my support system.  Edythe (along with the rest of my family) helped to raise Belinda. Lives changed – the world moved a little faster and we lost touch with the exception of holidays.

In July, 2010, a call from a family friend caught me by surprise.  Edythe had gone to the ER for what she thought was pneumonia only to find out that she had cancer.  As tough as it was to take those first steps, stuff the years of negative feelings – I headed to the hospital, unsure of what to expect.  Awkward moments followed but over the next year or more, we would come to peace with the feelings of abandonment and of losing a friend. Edythe had a tumor adjacent to her kidney. Kidney cancer that moved to her lungs and her brain. No pain, no symptoms so through God’s grace a simple case of the flu took her to the ER. The next year plus would be filled with chemo, multiple doctor visits as well as long stints in Centra State Hospital.

On May 21st, 2011, Edythe attended our wedding after a brief stay in the hospital. She was DETERMINED to be there and she was – thankfully. The days leading up to September 11th were filled with many emotions. Edythe had been doing well and talked about going home. With a blink of an eye, things changed – the pain intensified until the only relief made her sick and almost comatose. She decided that this was not quality of life. Within  36 hours of asking for Hospice, Edythe was called home to join the rest of the Weston clan – Mom-mom, Pop-pop and Elsie on September 11th.

The words that described those involved in the September 11th attack and recovery efforts describe Edythe:

1. Hero who continued to fight despite the pain. Edythe still remained active in Eastern Star and Rainbow.  She gave her time to encourage and inspire others.  She was a beautician (I know I am showing my age now) who bought Tempo Hairdressers in Ocean Grove where she worked for many years. I was always in awe of the way that she managed money. Not making a lot by today’s standards, she managed to be debt free, have a home (rental property with a mortgage), a thriving business and live life to the fullest. I wish that some of that money management had of rubbed of on me!  Edythe was a HERO!

2. Compassion, Love, Kindness – all have different meanings but are so intertwined. Edythe never had an unkind word for anyone. She would give you the shirt off her back, if you needed it.  A trait that we all learned from my grandfather – thank you Pop-pop.  This is my mission with my business.  Showing compassion, kindness and love to those who are struggling to help them smile!

3. Bravery – Edythe was brave in many areas of her life long before the cancer hit. Some see it as business savvy.   She stepped out of the box to create the life she wanted, against all odds.  Her strength in those final weeks were beyond belief.

As we reflect on this day, hug the ones you love, forgive the ones who you believe have done you wrong and enjoy the moment with those you love.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!