When the Big Bad Bully Messes With You

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message

“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).

Being from North Carolina, I love the old black-and-white episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. (And no, we don’t all talk like that.) In one episode, the neighborhood bully is picking on Andy’s boy, Opie. This blond-headed newcomer taunts and makes fun of Opie until he feels like a total loser. He’s ashamed of his own cowardice and embarrassed in front of his friends. After Andy, the wise father, figures out what is disturbing his moping son, he gives him a little lesson in standing up to bullies. The next day, when the bully threatens Opie, the little freckle-faced boy looks his opponent in the eye and refuses to crumble under his threats.

“Do you want to fight?” the bully taunts.

Opie doesn’t say a word. He just puts up his fists.

“Oh yeah? Well, knock this rock off my shoulder and I’ll—”

Opie knocks the rock off his shoulder before the bully has time to finish his sentence.

“Oh yeah? Well, step into this circle,” the bully continues as he draws a circle around himself in the dirt.

Opie steps into the circle.

Suddenly, the bully grows nervous. “You better be glad I’ve got on my good pants,” the bully says as he backs away.

Opie never had to throw the first punch. All he did was stand his ground and the bully backed away. Bullies don’t like it when we stand our ground. Never have. Never will.

Notice how many times Paul admonishes us tostand in Ephesians 6:13-14. “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able tostand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then…” No one can stand for us. We must stand on our own two feet and stand up against the Enemy—and we stand onthe Word of Truth to do it.

In his book The Reason for God, Timothy Keller said this:

“If anything threatens your identity, you will not just be anxious but paralyzed with fear. If you lose your identity through the failings of someone else, you will not just be resentful but locked into bitterness. If you lose it through your own failings, you will hate or despise yourself as a failure as long as you live. Only if your identity is built on God and his love…can you have a self that can endure anything, face anything.”

We need to take our stand when the big bad bully tells us that we are no good losers who can’t do anything right, who will never change, who will always struggle with doubt, or who will never be free. He’s just messing with you. Don’t let him.

Paul said, “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).

Maybe you’ve been running from the bully for way too long. Go ahead and take your stand. He’ll probably slink away because he has his good pants on.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Don’t Miss The Beautiful

Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message….

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. ~ Hebrews 12:2a, NIV

A few years ago I was invited to speak and sing in Tennessee at a women’s event. To my delight, my daughter Kennedy was able to join me. The two of us are all about “mommy-daughter time” so we were all smiles as we started off on the three and a half hour drive.

Prior to the trip, I had given Kennedy permission to use my iPad to watch a movie. So once we hit the highway, she got cozy with her pillow, her headphones went on, and her attention became fixed on the rectangular screen in front of her. Random giggles floated from my little movie-watcher as I drove and prayed for the event we were heading to.

It was the first week of November, and in the Tar Heel state that’s primetime for fall tree color. Once we past the congested traffic and the hullaballoo of the suburbs, the splendor of God gripped me. Showcased through traces of red, yellow, orange, and brown, the leaves danced in the breeze under the backdrop of a brilliant blue Carolina sky. The trees continued to boast of more and more glory as I neared Virginia… and then the mountains joined in.

Oh, the mountains!

They puffed their chests with the majesty of color and power!

My heart was captured by the glory of it all.

And then I realized that Kennedy was missing it. Ugh!

I tapped her on the shoulder and pointed out the window. “Look around! Lift your eyes and soak in the wonder, sweetie! Don’t miss the beautiful…” I urged.

“Don’t miss the beautiful!”unnamed-2.jpg

She paused her movie and joined in on the beauty moment, totally agreeing that God was showing off with His fall art. Minutes later, she went back to watching her movie as I drove on undone. Wrung out by glory. Overwhelmed by the sacred sanctuary I’d stumbled upon. I stayed in the moment and celebrated the beautiful as the psalmist did in Psalm 96:

1 Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
4 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and glory are in his sanctuary.

Worship poured from my heart. Splendor and majesty were before both Him and me. I thanked God for the beauty show. And as praise and adoration continued to rise, a God-thought settled on my heart. Tell them, Gwen.

“Tell them what, Lord?” I wondered.

Tell the women what you told Kennedy. Tell them not to miss the beautiful.

Ahhhh, yes! I would tell them, and I would chew on that challenge for days to come. Convicted by questions like: How often do I drive right through the busyness of my days and miss the beautiful? How many moments of glory do I not even see because my eyes are on the mundane? Do I even look for it?

As we dance between the days of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years – as we decorate the doors and the hearths of our homes and communities – let’s be intentional to decorate the doors and the hearths of our hearts with ribbons of God’s grace.

Let’s live with eyes lifted to the Gift of gifts, Jesus Christ.

When we face the stresses of our lists, and our tasks, and our activities, and our heart burdens, let’s commit to remembering that the best present is His presence. He’s our Hope, our Peace, our Joy… our Beautiful.

Don’t miss the beautiful.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

On the Road AGAIN!!!!

WOOHOO!  Today is the day I am headed to North Carolina to see my kid!  Thank you Thirty One for the additional money (as a result of the cancelled cruise) so I could make this trip.  This is the first time in a few years I will actually get to spend Belinda’s birthday with her.  An afternoon flight on United will get to Asheville in just 2 hours.  I’m really excited.

No, this will not be me looking for my suitcase.  In the past, I would have traveled with a black one non-Thirty One bag but not this time.  I am traveling with a carry on and my purse.  Here is what I am taking:

 and    DoubleTake Tote

Yes, these are both hostess exclusives.  I usually pack way too many clothes so I wanted to see if I could consolidate everything for a 5 day trip.  Was it easy? NO!  It meant really thinking about what I wanted to wear.  Now hubby had a suggestion…. why not get some extra clothes to leave there this way I wouldn’t have to take so much when I fly down.  Interesting thought???

Here are some travel tips I am going to use this time around:

1. Make three copies of your itinerary & identification.

No matter where you are traveling to, make sure your emergency contacts (or next of kin) have a copy of your itinerary.  Pack one copy in your suitcase as well as the one in your purse.  Even though I am carrying everything on, you never know when the plane will be full and they will check your bag at the gate.  You can even take a picture of it with your phone, this way you will never lose it!

2. Ensure you have more than one source of funds.

Okay, so I am guilty of this!  It is suggested you don’t rely on a single credit card (or debit card).  If you begin charging things out of your normal pattern, you could very well be blocked because the bank will think the card has been stolen.  Another suggestion is to notify the bank you will be traveling so they are not surprised by unusual charges.

3. Consider your arrival time in a city you have not been to before

Will it be after dark? How far out of the city centre is the airport? Make sure you arrange an airport pickup through your hotel or a local contact whenever possible.  So excited because Belinda will actually be picking me up at the airport.

4. Pack an extra pair of glasses and medications.

This tip is perfect for someone who is traveling  longer than 2 weeks BUT not bad for anyone.   The truth is you should be prepared for emergencies when it comes to your health.  If you are carrying medications, keep a copy of your prescription with you and the generic names for the drugs. You never know when you will lose a bag or the airline will lose a bag.  Keep medicines in their original, labelled containers.  I tend to put them in a pill container to make travel easier when we are going for 1 week or less.  Any longer, I always carry the bottles.  It’s alway a good idea to take enough medication for the duration of your trip plus 7 days (for emergencies).  Wear prescription glasses or contacts, keep a copy of your script with you, you never know when you may need to get an emergency pair.

5. Take a photo of your luggage with your mobile phone camera

How often have you been at baggage claim only to find a zillion black suitcases.  Of course using a Thirty One week-ender could solve the problem BUT if it isn’t an option, take a picture of your luggage.  If it goes missing you can show the picture to the baggage desk staff at the airport, making it easier to find it for you.

What is your best travel tip?  Share it with us….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Happy Birthday Baby!

Belinda copyAt 7:57AM exactly 28 years ago my baby girl was born – Belinda Joan Heldreth Steinel.  I am sure she is cringing at me calling her my “baby” but she will always be my baby no matter how old she gets.

When I found out I was pregnant, there were a whirlwind of emotions. Belinda’s dad opted to leave us since he “wasn’t ready to be a dad”.  Was I ready to be a mom? Probably not.  This fun-loving, workaholic, partying women thought “I can do and have it all”.  Whatever “all is” right?  Reality quickly sunk in as I was banished to bed for most of my pregnancy.  I will admit I was a party girl – drugs, alcohol, late nights and not eating healthy all contributed to high blood pressure and being toxic during my pregnancy.

Life was a little, okay ALOT, crazy but I knew we would be okay.  I had family and friends who were there for me.  I searched high and low for a book on what a busy career woman could do when she became a single mom – YIKES!  There was no book, no script and most of my friends had never had a baby so tips were few and far between.

The morning Belinda arrived, I was due for a stress test because despite the doctor’s prediction, she was NOT early nor was she a preemie!  When I called the doctor to tell him I as in labor, he was like “I will see you for the stress test”. NO WAY!  Within an hour, the pain was unbearable so off Elsie and I went to the hospital.  We arrived at the hospital and admissions said “we need paperwork”. REALLY?  I was here and did it already.  I just want the pain to stop – NOW!  I was having contractions but the doctor said it was too early for pain meds.  By the time the doctor came back in it was too LATE for pain meds.  Yup, 100% natural labor along with a vow I would NEVER had another child.

belinda & me wedding

It was always “you and me kid”.  You were the reason I got clean during my addiction.  I picked and chose my battles while you were growing up.  Some things just weren’t worth it.  I was blessed.  You were basically a good kid.  A gymnast (thank you Edythe & Grams).  A field hockey player.  An All Star Cheerleader.  A hard working girl at the age of 16.  You always said “I never want to disappoint you” and I can say you never have.

Yes, I had tremendous support from my mom and the rest of the family.   But at the end of the day, it was “you and me kid” snuggled in our mobile home getting through life with the cats and Tinkerbell, the dog.

Do you remember the first time the realization hit you your “baby” was a grown up? Was it when they went to HS? How about when they got their first job? Or was it when they got their driver’s license?  Most will say, it was when they went off to college.  For me, the realization came as Rob and I walked her down the “aisle” to the waiting arms of her finance.  Yup.  It took that long – just one year ago.  I was not ready for the flood of emotion I would be hit with as we drove back to Jersey after the wedding.

2015-08-29 15.17.19

Belinda, you have grown into an amazing woman.  I have always been proud of you.  I love your giving heart.  I love your energy.  I love your self-confidence.  Yes, I even love your lack of tact when telling people how you “really” feel.  You have inspired others to reach for their dreams.  You have fought for those who could not fight for themselves. You have blazed a trail advocating as far as Capital Hill for the things you believe in.  You stand up for what you believe in even if it goes against the norm.

Our family has grown – Rob became your step-dad and Ashley your wife. And we are blessed to have them.  They love us for who we are – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Yes, mom is shedding a tear or two as I write this.  We are not physically together today but our hearts will be bound together forever.  I wish you a day filled with love and happiness.  I hope all of your dreams come true.   Happy Birthday Baby!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

What Do You Hope For?

hope-700x700

Throwback Thursday and I am reflecting on the changes in my life and where I want to be in 5 years or maybe even 2 years.  If I asked you “where would you like to be in 5 years, what would you say?”.

The truth is without hope and optimism, we tend to settle for far less than we are capable of.  As a result, we probably can’t even fathom where we want to be in 5 years. Fear and doubt has crept in and stole our dreams.   So we move one day at a time, never planning for a future, or dreaming of what we want.

Do you know it’s not too late to start dreaming again.  It’s not too late to start over. It’s not too late to move in a new direction – the right direction.images

What areas of your life do you need to rekindle your hope?  Where do you need to get rid of the negatives and embrace the positive?

How many of these statements apply to you?

  • I do not get discouraged easily.
  • Despite the disappointments I have suffered, I have hope my future will be satisfying.
  • I am inspired by others’ stories of success because they give me hope I can do it too.
  • There is nothing in my life I am settling for.
  • When I succeed, I do not downplay or dismiss the effort I put forth, saying things like “Oh, it was just a lucky break.”
  • I believe in myself.
  • I have a clear set of goals for my professional and personal life.
  • I have a clear vision of what I want my relationships to look like.
  • I have a clear set of financial goals and a plan to get there.
  • I have inspiring health and fitness goals compelling me to push forward.
  • I pray regularly.
  • I sense an inner voice, the voice of the Holy Spirit, which guides me in my life.
  • Even when things get tough, I do not give up hope.
  • I see challenges as temporary and expect to work through them.
  • I feel confident most of the time.
  • I get excited about my vision for my life and the future ahead.
  • If I wanted to make an unconventional change in my life, such as changing careers or deciding to become a parent later in life, I would give myself permission to go for it!
  • As a leader at home, work, or in the community, I am good at helping people see the vision for where we are headed.
  • I listen to my intuition and follow it, even when I feel fear.
  • I look for the good in every situation.

Okay, well I don’t know about you BUT maybe only a handful apply to me.  Fear and doubt has clouded my dreams.  My hope is diminished from inner gremlins who want me to believe I am less than.  The dreams I dream are unattainable….

lucid_dreaming_by_klontak-d4x5pa5

 

The truth is it is time to be optimistic.  Optimism is the fuel you need to dream big and gain the courage to take the next, right step.

For me, in 5 years, I would like to be living in North Carolina with my hubby. Relaxing in the mountains and enjoying life.  I want to be debt free.  I want my business to be consistent allowing me to give back to the community.  Is it a BIG DREAM?  YES!  Is is possible?  YES!  Does it scare me? YES! Do I want to run and hide sometimes? YES!

But the difference now then in the past, is I am embracing the dream. I am putting a plan in place to get where I want to be.  I am not giving up when fear and doubt creep in.  I am not letting the inner gremlins control my life.  I am fighting fear with optimism, won’t you join me?

So, I ask you again, where would you like to be in 5 years?  Give yourself permission to dream.  What would change in your life if you embraced optimism in the face of your most persistent doubts and fears?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!