The Surrendered Giver


Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message…..

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us (2 Corinthians 8:1-5, NIV).

My husband is a surrendered giver. I struggle with giving. I tend to blame my reluctance to give on the fact that I grew up in a shack on the edge of town. My mother often worked two and three jobs a day just to put food on the table. My husband, on the other hand, grew up in a middle-class family, lived in a very nice house in a beautiful neighborhood, and never had to worry about having his needs met. You can see where my rationalizations took me. Yep – to a place of sin.

God wants us to surrender everything we have to Him because the reality is that giving is the antidote to selfishness. I can choose to be selfish or selfless. But I need to live in a way that searches for opportunities to be generous. Over the years, Dan has taught me so much about what it means to be a surrendered giver.

We are to give as much as we are able to give. Two years ago, we downsized so that we would have more money to give away. We both drive older used cars. There is nothing wrong with buying a new car or a bigger house – unless it affects our ability to give.

The church in Macedonia saw giving as a privilege. We need to do the same.

We need to look for opportunities to give. Love gives. For God so loved the church that He … gave! A surrendered giver gives out of gratitude for what God has done in his life and is willing to stretch and develop a generosity reflex when presented with a need.

Jesus measures what we give by what we have left. Do you tithe the ten percent we are challenged to give? How would you respond if Jesus asked you to double your tithe? Whoa! That is a lot to ask – right?

We have a friend who attended a conference where the speaker challenged each attendee to double their tithes and see what God would do in their lives. Our friend accepted the challenge and has seen his business mushroom into a huge success. Today, he not only gives a double tithe, but he also gives to meet the needs of many in our community. He is also one of the most humble and unassuming people I have ever met.

Another friend has a great way to look for opportunities to give. He has two accounts. One for his living expenses and then there is his God account. He is a Day Trader. Each morning he gets up and says, “Where are we going to give today, Lord?” I know this attitude absolutely delights the Father who is the ultimate surrendered giver.

The reality is that if my checkbook does not reflect my faith, I have an immature faith. God does not need my money. He wants me to give so He can bless me!

How about you? What kind of giver are you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How to Stretch Yourself

When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?  Be honest!  I don’t mean putting your toe out, finding it was too hard and giving up.  I mean really stretched yourself?

Honestly, I can’t remember when I last did.  To do it, I would have to BELIEVE in myself.  Hmm, I don’t know about you but I struggle with it.  On the outside many see a CEO of her own business who lives life on her terms.  The truth is most days I struggle to believe in myself!  Okay it is out there and I can’t take it back……

I always find when I stretch myself beyond my comfort zone, I am surprised it really isn’t as uncomfortable as I thought it would be.  As I stay in the “new zone”, I get more and more comfortable.

The last 60 days have been filled with lots of changes for me – personally and in my business.  All good things but things which needed to be done.  Clearing out the clutter to make way for more blessings!  One of the first things I wanted to do was create a list of goals.  I’m great for lists.  When we step out of our comfort zone, too many BIG goals can be so scary we retreat.  So I am working on being inspired.  I know vague, right?  Definitely not a SMART goal but I am working on one.  I am going to set a goal which stretches me and as a result will excite me enough to move into action.  I have been told a “stretch goal” will develop your character by tapping into your strengths.

Since MS seems to have wrecked havoc on my memory and my thought process, I struggle with figuring these kinds of things our.  I know the answers are all in my head, it is just getting them out and on paper.  Thank you Valerie Burton for these questions to help me (and you) find your stretch goal.  Answering these questions will help you (and me) find the inspiration to forge ahead and stick to the goal.  Who is ready to join me?

1. What vision feels just beyond your reach?

Are you great at helping others see their vision but you can’t see it for yourself even if you want it?  Yup, I’ve been there.  Do you want to double or triple your income?  Maybe you want to  explore your romantic streak or event your fun side. Do you dream of eating healthy, exercising and being at goal weight? The purpose of this goal is to not choose something realistic, but to choose something which feels beyond your reach — the one you think is as not really possible.  The truth is “it is possible”.  Do you have the faith to believe it? A stretch goal forces you to reach higher than you think you can. If you don’t have to stretch for it, it’s not big enough for this exercise.

2. What specific, measurable, and time-sensitive goal would bring you closer to that vision?

Now for the fun part where we get specific about the goal. Make it vivid. Describe it in a way you can measure your progress so you know when you have reached the finish line. And most importantly, give yourself a deadline. You know what happens when there’s no deadline, right? It’s always something you’ll start tomorrow. Before you know it, a year has passed and you set the same goal again!   Sort of like those New Year’s Resolutions.  We make them at the beginning of the year with no specific time frame in mind.  A year is a long time when you don’t have a plan.  Here is an example: “I’m going to have more fun and truly enjoy my life rather than treating every activity like a burden” is a great vision (not mine). You could break it down by saying, “I am going to travel for pleasure more. Once every three months I am going to take a fun trip, even if it’s just a weekend road trip somewhere adventurous. And my first trip will be four weeks from now.”

3. Who will you tell?

Make yourself accountable.  Don’t keep your vision and goal to yourself. Tell somebody. Actually,  tell EVERYONE who is a supportive person in your life. Negative people may throw water on your passion and excitement: “Are you sure?” “That sounds hard.” “You’ve never done that before!” You don’t need doubters to fill your head with negativity.  Find someone encouraging, they might even want to join you. Chances are if you keep it to yourself, you will  quietly drop the goal if you don’t achieve it. Commit to it. Declare it out loud. When we  share our plans with others, it is far more likely you’ll actually carry it out.

So, are you going to stop playing it safe?  Are you going to STRETCH????  Share your goal with us, so we can celebrate and encourage you along the way.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Will You Make a Difference? Join our Back to School Campaign

I know you are thinking it is only July, right? The kids have just started enjoying the summer with no thoughts of going back to school.  For many, they are already thinking of the struggles of going back to school – how to afford those back to school clothes and supplies.  I want to help and I need you to join me in this effort….

Let me squirrel for a moment….People start businesses for many reasons.  Some say it is to make money or to have a flexible schedule.  While others have a passion not tied to money.  I know it may sound crazy BUT the truth is my motivation in my business goes far deeper than being able to pay bills.  It is all about what the money can do…. don’t get me wrong, I definitely do need to pay bills BUT…..

My passion has always been to make a difference in the lives of others.  I am blessed to be able to use my business to make that difference with YOUR HELP!

Over the last five years, many of you have been a part of my “give back” programs.  Chemo comfort bags,  and USA HERO zipper pouches for our Vets.  We have raised money for Smiles for Trevor and Relay for Life, Suicide Awareness and have helped families with medical expenses.  Each of you are helping me to make a difference in the lives of others every day letting them know someone cares!

We are kicking off this year’s “Back to School” campaign by provide children with thermal totes filled with school supplies and some snacks.  This program is a joint effort to help each child start the school year on the right foot.

This is our THIRD year, and with your help we have provided over 100 children with THERMAL LUNCH TOTES filled with goodies.

We are doing this AGAIN this year.  For $20, you can sponsor a thermal tote filled with goodies for a child in need. If you want to help BUT you don’t have $20, donate what you can – $1, $2, $5, or $10. Maybe finances are tight BUT you know a business that may want to help, GREAT! Let me know or forward this information to them. I will supply a list of business sponsors in every thermal tote along with blogging about them – FREE advertising for helping out a great cause. Where else could they get FREE advertising for $20 or $40?

Won’t you help to make a difference today?  You can fill out the form below or contact me directly. I will be happy to invoice you. Let’s bring a smile to the face of as many children as we can this school year.  The deadline is July 9th!

Won’t you help to make a difference today? You can fill out the form below or contact me directly. I will be happy to invoice you.  Let’s bring a smile to the face of as many children as we can this school year. The deadline is July 14th!

Have ThirtyOne-derful day!

Sometimes I Struggle with Anger

Thank you Wendy Speake for today’s message.

There are plenty of things, little things and big things, everyday ordinary things, that can set me off and cause me to lose my temper. I know it’s not Godly. And I’d like to keep quiet rather than blab about it publically here on the internet, but then who’s going to start this conversation? Perhaps you’ve been waiting for an invitation to talk it through, one weary heart to another.

I’ll go first: I wasn’t raised in an angry home, maybe you were. I’d never even been yelled at once. But then I gave birth to my third child, and it was as though every calm, kind place deep within me suddenly broke. Snap. The baby didn’t do anything wrong. He didn’t deserve my frustrated tears. And his two big brothers were just busy being toddlers. It wasn’t their fault that I lost my footing each time they lost their shoes. I was simply overwhelmed and exhausted, with a messy house and a husband who traveled for work.

My anger surprised me.

Thankfully, almost immediately, from the pit of my postpartum haze, Bible verses that I never needed before, but were hidden in my heart just the same, came to mind and challenged my emotional behavior. Proverbs 29:11, likely memorized in Sunday School when I was just a child, reminded me that “Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.”I realized that God didn’t tell me I wasn’t allowed to feel all my emotions, as my hormones shifted, and my husband traveled for work. But He did tell me what to do with my exasperated feelings — I was to quietly hold them back.

Shoving them down to fester into bitterness, or simmer like lava just beneath the surface, didn’t help me either. I had to learn to process my feelings prayerfully, as I held them back wisely. Psalm 4:4 in the English Standard Version of the Bible instructed me, “Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah.” Pondering, meditating, and pausing to consider my feelings, became a Spiritual discipline for me. Crying and confessing each time the Lord convicted me, wasn’t enough. Change wasn’t happening just because I felt bad about my anger. I had to actually sit myself down (in a mommy time-out) and get silent. I had to listen. I had to “Selah.”

Selah is the poetic Greek word used in the Psalms to denote a holy pause. Selah instructs the reader to “stop and consider.” God was telling me to stop, in the quiet of my private bedroom, there upon my bed, and consider wise and calm, loving and gentle ways that I wanted to talk to my children, my neighbors, my husband, and my Mother-in-law… even when I was tired and spread too thin. And the more I considered my feelings and my life, the wiser I got. I learned to say no to volunteering in the nursery at church on Sunday mornings, for this busy season. I learned to take my social media apps off of my phone, because they distracted me and didn’t help my emotional stability. I also learned, again, how desperately I needed to abide in God’s Word, so that His Word would continue to abide in me.

All this, and so much more, I learned when I held back my anger and got real quiet upon my bed. God didn’t tell me that I couldn’t feel angry, but He did say I wasn’t to vent my anger. Slowly, gently, He’s transforming my heart and home.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Shining the Light On Mental Health

Thank you Thirty One for making a difference in the lives of others!  This blog is a repost from Thirty One

Mental and behavioral health are not always talked about openly, but millions of children in the U.S.need someone to start speaking up: In the U.S., half of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14.  While an estimated 1.2 million children and youth are affected by mental illness, fewer than 20 percent will receive the proper treatment.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Thirty-One is proud to recognize the research being done with our support at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the U.S.. Thirty-One Gifts Consultants are spreading the word about ways you can help destigmatize mental health issues and help fund groundbreaking research benefiting youth across the U.S.

 

We’re are proud to partner with America’s largest children’s hospital, Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

At Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Dr. Nancy Cunningham says funding from Thirty-One Gives is supporting two research projects. One has a focus of enhancing girls’ eHealth literacy, helping them to improve how they find and evaluate health information. The second uses neuroimaging to identify girls who could be at risk for anxiety, depression, drug use and behavioral challenges.

Thirty-One Consultants are making a difference, Cunningham says.  The Thirty-One network of Consultants, Customers and leadership who champion these issues is “remarkable,” Cunningham says.

“Together we can discover new knowledge and strategies to support girls and young women, and together spread the word through our unique relationships and areas of influence,” she says.

Learn more: Read Sarah’s story to hear from one of the many young people helped by this type of research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Raising funds, raising awareness…  You can do so much to support the Gives mission in May!
  • Through the Gives Round Up! initiative, Customers in the U.S. have the option to support the important mental health research being done by our partners by rounding up their purchase (after tax and shipping) to the nearest dollar, or any amount. This May, funds raised in the U.S. will go to Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
  • You also can host a party to share more about Mental Health Awareness Month. The cause is represented by the color green, so incorporate it into your party! Serve green food or drinks. Enter every Customer who wears green into a drawing. Then discuss Thirty-One Gives’ partnerships during the party and share how they are making a difference in your community.
  • Another way to spread the word and reduce the stigma of mental health issues is as close as your smartphone or laptop. Use the #StartTheConvo and #31Gives hashtags on social media to discuss mental and behavioral health issues, and to invite others to join the conversation.

You can also make a difference by purchasing an Awareness Angel from me for $5.  The proceeds will be donated to Gives this month and support Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!