46 THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MY LIFE!

Have you ever had one of those years when nothing seemed to go as planned, but the outcome still turned out for your good? TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY which is a BIG DEAL! I believe that everyone's birthday is a BIG-TO-DO, don't you think? Your birthday it's THE day God released you into the earth . . . and to me . . . that day should always be celebrated!
 

Today, I turn 46!!!

I remember when 46 used to be a long ways away! Now, what I used to think was "old," is ummm ...not so old anymore! :-) But, I can't help but acknowledge how quickly time is passing by! There are so many goals, dreams and expectations that I thought I would have achieved and mastered by now . . . some I have and some I haven't.

Every year for my birthday, I love doing some thing fun, creative and fabulous! But this year, something felt different. Normally, I have a plan, idea or . . . something?! But, this year . . . nothing! No grand plan or vision, not even a creative idea for how I wanted to celebrate my special day!

Today is the day! . . . and the time to plan has expired. It wasn't until a few hours ago, right before the clock struck 12am, that I realized that this year wasn't about making it thru to another year, but about celebrating my birthday differently! For me, this year is all about celebrating life and enjoying the journey along the way!

But . . . can I be real with y'all? I don't always love the journey!! In fact, sometimes the journey sucks! While I LOVE and adore my life, the daily ups and downs along the journey can definitely take their toll; and I am not one for giving any space, time or energy to negative thoughts! Life's too short!

So, I decided to celebrate my birthday today, a little differently! Here is my personal list of 46 things that I adore most in LIFE!! These are things that make me the happiest and grow me the most!

I LOVE & APPRECIATE . . .

  1. Standing ovations
  2. The smell of bleach and warm dryer sheets
  3. When my husband and I are in perfect sync
  4. When my house is completely silent
  5. Worship
  6. Pay Day
  7. When God uses me to prepare a marriage or save a marriage
  8. Smoothies!! Any kind . . . anytime!
  9. Sibling love between my kids
  10. Power naps
  11. MASSAGES!!!!
  12. Adrian's compliments
  13. Packing for vacation!
  14. Immediate obedience from my kids
  15. Family Reunions
  16. Breakthroughs and AH-HA Moments
  17. DATE NIGHT!!!!
  18. Movies
  19. DO-OVERS
  20. Surprises
  21. Bright colored toenails
  22. My Origins Skin Care
  23. Questions from my kids
  24. Lip gloss and Mascara
  25. Accessories, accessories, accessories!!
  26. Watching people laugh uncontrollably!
  27. Feeling strong in my skin
  28. Thriving in my lane
  29. Unwavering support
  30. My World Ventures Family
  31. Healthy parents
  32. Testimonies
  33. Adrian's hugs
  34. My kids kisses
  35. Zumba
  36. Girlfriend Getaways
  37. Walking on the beach
  38. Posh Couture
  39. No drama, no stress
  40. When God shows up in the final hour
  41. My prayer warriors
  42. God's love, grace and mercy
  43. Shopping!
  44. FAVOR
  45. Living in the DMV
  46. Health and Wholeness

 

 

THE BATTLE OF THE SPOUSES

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I can't tell you how many times I have told soon-to-be wives, "ummm...you know you will need to have sex with your husband, even when you don't feel like it, right?" They all say with eagerness, enthusiasm and a big smile, "OKAY!" Then, before you know it, we're having a conversation about how they really don't like having sex and they are okay with their husbands..."taking care of it themselves."

WHAT!?!?!? I DON'T THINK SO!

Let me tell you what apparently seems to be a secret these days..when you get married, guess what? You have been createdto SERVE, PROTECT AND COVER YOUR SPOUSE!!! And God's strategy is that when each of you serves the other, then everything will works out according to his plan! But, just like the dating scene has changed drastically for many of my single friends, so has the married game!

Marriage is NOT designed to feed your ego, have children and fit your spouse in, when you can get him or her in. No, the idea is that you both are to make each other a priority, like you did BEFORE you got married! 

A few weeks ago, I asked my husband why he doesn't pursue me like he did before we got married? You know what he said, "because it's a lot of work!" I looked at him like he had lost his mind!! But then I thought, "well at least he was honest." I KNOW there are a lot of husbands out there who really feel that way, but never say it!

And there are probably many more wives who feel like I do and are thinking, "what in the world? What happened to the wooing and pursuing!"

I am completely convinced that God designed marriage to be wonderful, but most couples often get derailed and need a mini intervention, helping them get back on track to experiencing more fun, friendship and friskiness in their marriage!

From personal experience, here are the top 3 ways Adrian and I have gotten our wheels back on the rails! So, here's your mini intervention!!

1. GO OUT ON A DATE...ASAP!

Usually, married couples get off track because "LIFE" has taken over and the importance of making each other a priority has slipped onto the "back burner." In order to get your wheels back on the rails, schedule, plan and go out on a date night immediately!  Push yourself away from your desk at work, cancel your tee time and spend quality time with your spouse RIGHT NOW! Do this within the next 24 hours!

2. MAKE LOVE

The number #1 reason married couples get derailed is because they aren't having SEX! I have coached busy married couples who haven't had sex for months and some even years!!!! This behavior or mindset can NEVER be a regular practice in your marriage! NO ONE IS THAT BUSY!!

Sex is the most intimate form of communication you can have with your spouse! It is the one thing that they share with YOU and no one else! I don't know any marriage that can survive not having regular intimacy with their spouse. Intimacy includes more than just sex, it encompasses spiritual, mental and emotional connection as well. So, stop making excuses! Stop being selfish and holding out on your spouse! The two of you need to just go get busy! Do this within the next 24 hours.

3. STAY ENGAGED

Have you ever read the book "Men are like Waffles and Women are Like Spaghetti" by Bill and Pam Farrell? It addresses the different communication styles of men and women and how men communicate via headlines and women give all of the details and how funny and frustrating it can be. Click on the link above and check out the book in my Amazon store!

Nevertheless, husbands! While your wife may want to tell you about EVERYTHING in her day and you may have used your quota of words before you even hit the door, press through your threshold on this one and give your wife 100% of your attention, enthusiasm and engagement!

Wives, when your husband fills your emotional love tank, don't just enjoy being on "FULL" all by yourself! Share and express your gratitude towards your husband in the way he feels "FULL" back! Whether it's spending time with him watching TV, playing 9 holes with him on the golf course or initiating intimate couple time...JUST DO IT! Don't think about it, don't procrastinate and tell yourself...you'll do it later, DO IT NOW and see how quickly what seemed like a total derailment in your marriage can be repaired, restored and back to being up and running...full steam ahead!


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Image by imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

THE GOOD GIRL SYNDROME

I'm a good girl.

I follow the rules, I respect authority and I don't shake up the status quo . . . until now. Change can be scary, intimidating and sometimes paralyzing! Although change isn't always fun, how many of you would agree that sometimes . . . change can be good? It's so easy to get caught up in the "rat-race" and end up living a life that is comfortable, safe and flat. What I mean by flat is a life that is low-risk, calculated and pretty much BORING!! That used to be me. Risk taking was not a thrilling past time for me. I thrived in action that was very thought out, researched and planned. I liked knowing what to expect and I liked knowing what I was "IN" for. Can I get an, "amen?" 

Don't we all want to live a "safe" life? I've always heard that after 40 you see life differently, but "HONEY!?!?" I never expected it to look like this!!! Yes, it's wonderful being wiser, more authentic and confident, no doubt, but can I just tell you that living a "safe" life that is boring and flat is NOT the life God has planned for you. Let me say it in another way, you are not supposed to live your life in the SAFE ZONE!

You are created for a specific purpose, full of abundance, prosperity, faith, adventure, love and joy. Life isn't supposed to be calculated . . . there are too many variables. Life was designed to teach you, grow you and mature you into the MAGNIFICENT woman that you already are on the inside. And until you know and believe that BRILLIANT is who you are, you will remain in your box...playing it safe.

Well, I have good news! It's time to move from the safe zone into the faith zone! I am here to stretch you and push out of your comfort zone. Be honest! Do you really want to be in the exact same place 2 years from now? Doing the same thing? Seeing and experiencing life the exact same way? I hope not! You were not created to remain stagnant! Get out of God's way and let Him do His thing with your life!

Here are your first steps:

1. TAKE INVENTORY

Are you a calculated risk taker? If your answer is YES, then this is a classic sign that you are afraid of failure, making a wrong decision or subconsciously, you really don't believe that you can do it. But consciously, you hope it works out in your favor and quite frankly you would probably be shocked if it did! Don't feel bad, I totally understand!

This approach to life is really is a negative mindset.

FAITH ZONE ACTION: The first step is recognizing that you are trying to manage your risk taking activities, and whenever you do that, you can NEVER GO ALL IN! Did you know that when you give less than 100% in anything, you will NEVER fully experience what God has waiting for you on the other side? So, you must make a decision that requires intentional action! You must decide to press through the FEAR of making a mistake. You must decide that being criticized and uncomfortable in your skin is only a temporary feeling, on your way to discovering your AMAZING! So decide today to take action...take inventory of what you really believe and make the decision to move into the faith zone! I promise...the more you practice taking risks the more fear disappears.

2. STOP COMPARING

This is a big one! When you start comparing your "good girl" nature to other people's reckless abandons, it keeps you "stuck" in your safe zone. When you compare your life to other people's lives, it keeps you playing small and increases the fear of failure on multiple levels.

FAITH ZONE ACTION: Comparison is the result of a conditioned mindset. Comparison is bred out of an "I'm not good enough" experience. Well, let me stop your thinking right there and say,  "YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH! YOU WERE BORN GOOD ENOUGH!!" And you know why you continue to believe that you aren't? Because you have learned to give your power away! You have learned to value what other people say and think over what YOU say and think! So now what? You have to learn how to STOP giving your power away and learn how to take it back! Re-framing your thinking about what you believe takes time, but YOU CAN DO IT! Step one is to keep your focus on YOU! Stay in your lane and concentrate on the things that you do WELL! Learn to celebrate you and how you thrive! Then, STAY IN YOUR LANE and coast!

3. TAKE THE RISK

What have you always wanted to do or say, but were too afraid of the perceived outcome? Of course, this isn't an authorization to be mean, nasty or inconsiderate towards others, but more so permission to take the risk and express yourself authentically! The core of who you are isn't life threatening, it's divinely designed. In fact, taking the risk to be authentically YOU, is the perfect prescription for getting to know yourself on a deeper level!

FAITH ZONE ACTION: Life is too short to play small! Wonderful opportunities are waiting on you, people you are called to influence are looking for you and purpose is counting on you! No more delaying. To begin the process, you have to take responsibility for your actions or inactions, take ownership for your situation and CHOOSE to do something different! You can no longer allow your feelings and emotions to determine what you will and will not do! Your feelings will keep you "stuck" in the safe zone! You will never FEEL like taking the risk to move beyond what's safe! You MUST decide! Choose to experience more, commit to making the change and take a running leap out of the SAFE ZONE into the FAITH ZONE!

CELEBRATE YOUR SPARKLE!

It’s taken me decades to believe in MY SPARKLE, but the journey of self-discovery was sooooo worth it! If you don't mind, I would like to share a little of my story, in hopes it will inspire you to begin your own personal journey, leading you to experience the SELF-LOVE your soul craves.

It started when I was about 13 years old. I grew up around people who looked nothing like me. My closest friends were size 0's and less than 100 pounds. I was 120 pounds and a size 6! I constantly compared myself to my friends, celebrities and whatever society defined as "beautiful" . . . I never thought I measured up! I woke up morning after morning feeling uncomfortable, insecure and unattractive in my skin!

Rejection and inadequacy invaded my daily thoughts, fear took residence in my heart and lies settled in!

Inadequacy became my new daily mantra and not-good-enough was the tune of my soul. The lies seeded in my heart from other people's words, judgements and jealousies searched frantically for validation and confirmation. Truth was their enemy. The closer I got to TRUTH, the louder the lies screamed.

The lies dominated and created a peoplepleaser. I was desperate for approval. The desire for approval clouded my inner knowing, understanding and the very essence of who I was created to be.

Rejection and judgement as a "chubby, dark-skinned" girl took over my identity; God's truth within my DNA had been corrupted. Or so I thought.

The pain of rejection and brokenness in my heart reminded me daily of the lies I believed.  I spent years searching for proof that I was pretty enough, worthy enough and good enough, but the lies always trumped God's truth.

Jumping through hoops to gain approval and validation became a daily practice. People pleasing had become a part of me.

After years of being an approval addict, exhaustion set in. My soul was tired of hiding. I longed to be free . . . to be me!

Then, my journey began . . .

I jumped in heart first and started confronting the pain from my past. I opened the door and exposed the lies, I forced myself to study THE TRUTH! I fought against the pull to slip back into the comfort of the lies I believed. I began doing the “hard work;” the work that promises to give the results everyone wants, but few commit to putting in the work to receive!

I stayed in the trenches and continued to go deeper. I hit the bottom of brokenness and just laid there . . . completely still.

God met me!

I peered into the depths of my heart, and pulled back layer after layer of hurt, disappointment and fear.

God met me in my brokenness and I encountered REAL LOVE - His Love. A love that had been there all along, deeply rooted, steady and strong, imbedded in my DNA -- a seed of love that He placed in my heart, mind and soul before I was born. My thoughts began to change, my mind was renewed . . . I was reborn. 

During my journey, I discovered boldness! I studied God's standard and embraced my TRUE identity. I acknowledged His permission to trust more, to love harder, to give greater, to ask for more and to stand for TRUTH!

My life altering experience and encounter with God swelled into an even stronger desire to help women like me begin her own personal journey. To jump head first into the depths of her heart, uncovering the truth of who she is and who God created her to be . . . encountering LOVE without limits! 

I have met, coached and walked with many women along her journey of self-discovery. I have gotten in the trenches with women who have allowed fear to keep her small. I have linked arms with others who trusted me as her personal guide, leading her out of the shadows cast by lies.

Who do you know is ready to fall madly in love with who God created her to be? Who do you know who wants to walk boldly in her purpose, giving herself permission to empower her authentic voice. Who do you know is ready to experience life fully with a grace and confidence that brings her soul peace. Who do you know?

Sister...take my hand and let me introduce you to the amazing woman within.

Click here to join Simply Sisterhood

Click here to join Simply Sisterhood

CREATING SISTERHOOD!

SIMPLY SISTERHOOD LAUNCHES MONDAY, JUNE 20, 2016!

SIMPLY SISTERHOOD LAUNCHES MONDAY, JUNE 20, 2016!

Can you imagine having women in your life who support, encourage and cheer for you from the front row! You trust them with your inner most secrets, they hold up your arms when you don't have the energy to fight, and they create a place where you feel safe to be completely authentic and vulnerable without hesitation. They are "your" band of sisters and they make life GRAND!

Who wants friendship like this? ME! ME! I do...I do! And most women would.

So. . . why are so many women doing life ALONE?

Well, in my research and experience, I have found that . . .

Some women feel really awkward in social situations and have a hard time reading other people's social cues.

Some women have written off female friendships because of bad past experience.

Some women have NO idea how to begin a NEW friendship as an adult, and

Some women really don't know HOW to be a GOOD friend!

Quality friendships are a wonderful way of creating SISTERHOOD. Strong, valuable female friendships are important to women and play a very significant role in her life. They make her feel loved, supported and celebrated; helping her develop into her very best self!

I am one of the fortunate ones! I have several female friends in my life who have become my "sisters." I have women in my front row who have been there for over 20 years and they have been there through the good, the bad and the amazing! Over the years, I have come to understand the importance of giving a selective few VIP seats! These are the friends that I am most vulnerable with, most authentic with, and most expressive with.  Without them, I am on the battlefield by myself and lacking in the necessary support to be incredibly successful. I am so grateful God knew who I needed!

So, what makes quality friendships and how do you start creating one.

First, it takes time. You can't build a BFF friendship in a week! LOL Quality friendship that help you thrive require 3 essential ingredients: TIME, TRUST and TESTING!

Healthy friendships among women require TIME and investment.

It's important that you make building relationship with other women a priority. Because we live in a virtual age, when you make a sincere effort to connect face to face . . . she will definitely take notice!

SISTER SUGGESTION: Be consistent in your efforts to pursue a quality relationship that mutually supports one another.

Creating sisterhood requires TRUST.

When you meet someone new, you often give her the benefit of the doubt, yes? Then over time, she slowly shows you who she REALLY is, right? So . . . when you call her to help you move, does she show up with boxes, tape and a Sharpie? Or does she blow you off and avoid your calls for the next few weeks?

SISTER SUGGESTION: Identify and establish your personal standard for your budding friendship. (Ex: Are you always making the effort and taking the initiative? Is she's just along for the ride? Or are you both mutually giving 100% to developing this new friendship? What's YOUR standard?) Friendship seem unbalanced? Start the conversation and commit to having difficult dialogue with your new friend. Speak openly and honestly and stay in the conversation. Don't retreat! Having minor disagreements and working through them together creates TRUST.

Front row friendships are always TESTED!

"Front row" means they have immediate access to your HEART! They are strategically positioned to help guard your heart from "squatters" (other women who want access to your inner circle and bogart their way in without invitation). Because front row friends are in your inner circle, they have access to easily offend.

SISTER SUGGESTION: When you place women in your front row, you are giving them an ALL-ACCESS PASS to your heart! This is your vulnerable place and it is important that you spend TIME and build TRUST BEFORE giving her a seat in your VIP section! Placing a friend on your front row is a privilege and it's important that YOU know that they value it and won't abuse it!

SPREAD THE NEWS!!

WE ARE CREATING SISTERHOOD AND WANT YOU TO JOIN US! We are launching a weekly broadcast called, SIMPLY SISTERHOOD on Monday, June 20th LIVE on Periscope! Don't worry, if you miss us LIVE, you will be able to catch us on the replay on Periscope or head on over to our YOU TUBE CHANNEL!

BUT FIRST,  JOIN OUR SISTERHOOD COMMUNITY AND GET YOUR ALL-ACCESS V.I.P PASS FOR OUR UPCOMING LAUNCH! CLICK FOR MORE INFO>>>

CLICK FOR MORE INFO

CLICK FOR MORE INFO

HELP! I CAN'T CHANGE MY HUSBAND!

I would be a millionaire, if I had a $1 for every wife I met, coached or told me, "I thought he would change after we got married!" It's like we all have this secret theory before we get married, that assures us that when our husbands really see how we "throw-down" in the kitchen, keep a sparkling-clean house or rock his world between the sheets, he will then . . . POOF!

INSTANTLY CHANGE all of those things we weren't fond of before we married him!

This theory states that after marriage, we will finally be rid of our husband's annoying, drive-you-crazy habits and quirks! Soon after we say, "I DO!", our husbands will quickly morph into the man we have painted in our minds! The one who takes out ALL of the trash without you having to tell him AND puts the liner back in the trash can immediately. He washes and folds the clothes, when he sees the laundry basket overflowing. He loads and unloads the dishwasher without being asked. He asks you about your day with zeal, enthusiasm and genuine interest. He loves spending hours with you at your favorite department store, holding your bags and watching you try on every single outfit. He stimulates you emotionally and engages with you for hours on end as you take him through a recap of your day. He shows up with flowers every Friday and strives to impress you with highly creative weekly date nights. He initiates quality bonding time with the kids daily from infancy into adulthood. And finally, he eagerly jumps into bed at night to cuddle with you, and you both drift off to sleep in complete bliss!

GIRL... WAKE UP!!! 

About a month ago, I posted a blog titled, "20 things I wish I knew before "I DO!" It hit home with women of all ages, backgrounds and statuses...single, married and divorced. I received such amazing feedback that I had to respond. I felt led to take you on a deeper dive into each of the areas addressed.

This week's deep dive: YOU CANNOT CHANGE YOUR HUSBAND!

I know to some of you newlyweds out there, this news may come as a shock or maybe even bum you out! But, don't despair!

As a relationship coach for 13 years, working with women, engaged and married couples, I have studied the behavior of women and men for years and one thing I can say is, "there is nothing new under the sun." What I mean by that is, the issues I have helped women and couples through are common among all ethnicities, ages, backgrounds and social economic factors.

Well, let's just get right to the point, shall we?

Ultimately . . . we want to control our life, situations, circumstances and ummm...our husbands! Life would be so much easier, if he just did what I told him to do and did everything exactly the way I do things! Right? Right. I feel you! I felt the same way and on occasion, I have to catch myself from going there . . . wanting to control the whole world and everyone in it! LOL

So to my fellow wives and wives-to-be, here are a few of my favorite nuggets in hopes they bless you, encourage you, free you and release you from the personal pressure of attempting the impossible. 

1. YOU ARE NOT IN CONTROL

I know this may be hard to hear. It was hard for me to swallow at first too.  I avoided this realization as long as possible.  I ran from it, ducked it and ignored knowing this truth until it ran me down and made me confront it! Without manipulation, control or intimidation, you cannot control your husband's behavior, actions, choices, decisions or free will.  While you may not be able to control him, the good news is that you ARE in control of YOU! So, when you feel the urge to want to control your spouse, look within and assess what behavior, choice, action or decision can be changed within YOU to create the experience you desire.

2. YOUR WAY IS ONE WAY, NOT THE ONLY WAY

Whew! This was a hard one, especially when my babies were younger. I would have them on a great sleeping schedule, eating homemade meals -- you know the drill. They thrived in their routine. With 3 babies in 3 years, I often complained of desperately needing some ME time! Adrian would come to the rescue and take over! The kids would eat at McDonalds, drink soda, go to bed an hour later and forget to brush their teeth! Aaakkk!!! I came home feeling more stressed than before!

But here is what I learned: my husband is not going to do some thing to hurt our children. Yes, I am never a fan of drinking soda and McDonalds is not my restaurant of choice, but at the end of the day, I needed every minute of that break for my mind, body and soul to recover, replenish and rejuvenate. A few hours or a couple of days here and there will not completely break down any routine, habit or practice that I worked so hard to establish for our children.  Just get back into routine and be grateful for his help! Husbands need space to establish his own way of parenting HIS children! Show your support!

3. YOU ARE AN INFLUENCER, NOT THE CREATOR. 

God created your husband perfectly . . . perfectly for Him! I remember when I had my "a-ha" moment on this one. I realized that I had a lot of nerve wanting to "UN-DO" what God DID by creating my husband to be who He is. Hmmm...that's deep, right? God created your husband to be the way he his for a reason.  I spent years asking God to show me the inner working and secret places of my husband's heart. Those places that made God love my husband so much!

I politely got out of God's lane as creator and moved over into my lane as influencer. As a wife, you are an influencer. God has gifted you with the power to influence your husband through your words, actions, behavior and example.  So, anytime you see something in your husband that you don't quite like, be the example you want to see in him! 

4. YOU MUST LEARN TO FOLLOW

I know, I know. Submission is a bad word to many wives, in fact, it makes some cringe! But, relax, it's really not that bad.  I know you are used to doing everything! But, guess what? You aren't designed to.  It's okay to relax and let your man lead! 

It's a weird phenomenon for a lot of wives because they don't know how to follow. They don't know how to relinquish control and trust God with the process.  Some wives deep down really wish they trusted their husband's leadership, but, it's uncomfortable and a little scary to feel exposed and vulnerable like that. But, ladies, that's the way God designed it.

What I've learned: Following your husband's leadership is an act of trust, love, honor and service. When you follow his decisions for your family, it validates him, encourages him and elevates him to a place of greater self-confidence within himself. Ladies, help him know that HE CAN DO IT!

5. CHOOSE TO TRUST

Did you know your husband was grown? LOL  I have had to remind myself of this fact on many occasion.  Adrian would remind me lovingly and sometimes not so lovingly (LOL) that I was not his mother! I admit sometimes that I would forget that he WAS thriving and surviving before me!  . . . well maybe not thriving! haha 

Your husband is very capable!! If he wasn't you wouldn't have married him, right? It is time to make the decision to TRUST GOD above your own knowledge! Trust God with your husband and with your marriage. Trust God with YOUR process, while allowing Him to grow you both . . . together. Trusting is . . . creating a safe place for your husband to be himself!

While some of these nuggets may deeply resonate with you and some may not, I hope you had a few laughs because . . . you KNOW what I'm talking about! ;-)

I would love to hear about your own personal nuggets regarding marriage. Please leave a comment below or shoot me an email at hello@mrschristyjones.com. Happy Living! XOXO

 

PEOPLE PLEASING Rx

I spent most of my young adult life guessing who people wanted me to be, what they wanted me to say and what they wanted me to do...I WAS A PEOPLE PLEASER!

As a people pleaser, I would laugh at jokes that I didn't think were funny and even would pretend I liked something that I couldn't stand, just to be "liked" and accepted. 

I wrestled within my own mind and heart with concepts and ideas that I wanted to say and share with my family and friends, but I often didn't feel safe enough to open up and really express how I felt. When friends would ask me to do things or go places, I would dismiss my own desire, abandon my choice and quietly agree, following along with eagerness, hoping they would love me greater and approve of me more!

It wasn't until around my 35th birthday that I woke up one morning...TOTALLY EXHAUSTED!!! Exhausted from pretending, exhausted from faking it! I was worn down and wore out from trying to fit into everyone's expectation of me, as I tried desperately to hold on to some false sense of acceptance, love and validation. 

I know I don't stand-alone when I say that I desire deeply to be loved, accepted, and appreciated for being authentically ME! I still desire those things; the difference is, I no longer feel pressured to fit into other people's expectation of me. Why? ...because I have discovered who I AM.

You and I were born with unique skills, talents and gifts that come naturally. They make us special. So why do we always COMPARE ourselves to others? Why don't we like what we have or who we are? Why do we strive to obtain anything and everything that we don't already have? 

For many years of my life, I tried to overcompensate for aspects of who I am that I WILL NEVER BE ABLE to change! Like my skin color, my body type, the size and spacing of my features, my hair texture and even my height! So many of us people please our way throughout life in an effort to fit-in and be accepted. 

Well, I'm here to tell you! God made you to look and perform EXACTLY the way you do for a reason! He is the ONLY global expert on beauty and acceptance and He created you to look like Him! In order for us to fully embrace who God has called us to be here on earth, we have to take off the MASK and discover who we truly are.

Masking who you are to do something that you DON'T even like doing, just for the sake of being accepted isn't pretty. Compromising your values, morals and standards, just because you're afraid of rejection is NOT a good look. Looking at yourself in the mirror and saying OR THINKING mean, and hurtful things about yourself is just plain WRONG! But I, like so many others . . . didn't know any better and maybe you don't either.

So, I want to invite you to take off your mask TODAY! I want to invite you to start walking in the confidence of your unique beauty, your God given talents and your amazing gifts. The time has come, to take off your mask! 

1. CONFIDENCE TAKES PRACTICE!

Start practicing being confident with people who love you and support you no matter what! Dare to be authentic and really express how YOU feel.  When your loved ones don't pull their love away, but stay and love you anyway, your confidence for living as your true self, will emerge!

2. SPEAK YOUR TRUTH IN LOVE!

It's challenging to speak authentically after "faking" it for so many years. People who knew you with the mask may be taken by surprise by the new expression of YOU, but stay consistent and keep honoring your truth. They will adjust.

3. DECIDE THAT YOU ARE VALUABLE!

You are valuable...your thoughts, your ideas and your opinions are all important and valuable because they make you, YOU! It may be uncomfortable for you and for others as you begin to share your most authentic self, but don't worry! It's all part of the breakthrough and rebuilding process. So don't ever shrink back!

4. GIVE YOURSELF GRACE

Becoming a BOLD, CONFIDENT and SELF-ASSURED woman takes time, especially if you are a current or former people pleaser! Situations may arise when you may want to shrink back into your former people pleasing behavior or when "survival" kicks in and you want to retreat into your safe place of shrinking...RESIST!!!!!!

5. RENEW YOUR MIND

In order to rebuild confidence, you have to understand TRUTH and reapply the standard of truth created for your life...God's Word! In order to reprogram our negative thoughts, actions and behaviors, we must write over them with the TRUTH! Find a scripture and read it over and over; day after day, until your heart starts to believe it! SAY IT OUT LOUD everyday...all the time. "I praise you for I am beautifully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well." Psalm 139:14

Please leave a comment below:

What is one thing you WILL do, say or think about today that makes you feel more confident? 

 

 

 

TRAINING FOR WHAT'S NEXT!

Yesterday, at the gym, I was in my zone. I was listening to my pump-me-up music when my thoughts took me back to my first marathon.  I started training 6 months before the race.  My coach had won the Marine Corp Marathon the year before in the women's division for her age. If I was going to do this and do this well, I wanted to be trained by the best. Not only did she schedule long runs on Saturdays, but we had track training on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the HOT Washington D.C. Summer!

I remember the pain of our track workouts. The nausea that came after sprinting and jogging, lap after lap. On our long Saturday runs, I remember what it felt like to be at mile 21 knowing that I had 2 more miles to go before my training was finished for the day. UGH! The blisters, sore muscles and aching bones. It was almost too much to bear...

Finally...it was race day. I was as prepared as I was going to be. I had my family and closest friends near by to cheer me along the way, I had my energy packs and water for fuel and I was ready...it was game time!  The butterflies in my stomach were in place, as I was about to embark on something that I had never done before. With a chill in the air, standing in a crowd of hundreds, the gun went off...BANG!

What has God been training YOU for?

Nothing you do is every wasted! However, you can't stay in training mode forever! It's time to stop procrastinating and start pursuing! It's GAME TIME! In order to activate your faith, you have to JUMP! 

Here are a few of my favorite tips designed to get you RACE READY!

1. MAKE THE DECISION! Go for it!! When you only commit 99%, distractions and delays take you off course and delay you from receiving your win. When you commit to your decision 100%, your heart, mind, soul and body all align and agree to work together to get you the results! What are you waiting for?  . . . GREATNESS is waiting on you!

2. Get a COACH! A coach is designed to stretch you to reach your capacity quicker! We all need accountability and support to help us achieve our specific goals. Don't be afraid to ask for what you need. Success cannot always be achieved alone. There is more power in team!

3. DON'T FIGHT THE PROCESS! The aches, pains and agony of achieving your goals and dreams are all part of the process. You cannot circumvent them, so you might as well get your ice packs, Biofreeze and massage therapist ready!

4. BUTTERFLIES ARE A GOOD SIGN! New challenges can be scary, but REMEMBER YOU WERE BORN TO DO THIS OR ELSE THE DESIRE WOULDN'T BE WITHIN YOU. YOU'VE GOT THIS!

5. RECRUIT YOUR FRONT ROW!! Get clear on the kind of support you need, and the people you want along for the journey. Everyone cannot take this journey with you! Be selective and only invite people along for the ride, who you are confident have your back!

6. FUEL YOURSELF DAILY! Spend time with God, read the bible, journal, meditate, listen to an inspirational message or music. Fuel yourself properly for the journey ahead. It is mandatory to maintain strength and endurance.

 7. PREPARE, PREPARE, PREPARE! Don't wait to get ready the day of the race. Get prepared NOW! . . . So when the gun goes off, you're READY TO RUN FULL SPEED!

SOMETIMES...BEING MARRIED GETS ON MY NERVES!

Marriage is God's idea and anything that God says is good, there is always an enemy lurking, plotting, planning and scheming to steal it...kill it...divide it and destroy it! This week, the enemy was deep in my camp, trying to steal my joy, my peace and my tolerance!

After 15 years of marriage and 13 years working with couples, I have come to know a few things as true. One, marriage is good...why? because everything God made is good. Two, marriage has seasons where it's hard, complicated and unnecessarily messy because of the ENEMY in our camp.

What a week! Have you ever had one of those weeks when...the dryer broke, work was way too overwhelming, your kids were acting up and you and your spouse were constantly arguing over stupid stuff? Yes! One of those weeks where running away to a tropical island...for the rest of the year...sounded really good!

Marriage is wonderful and I love being married, but sometimes...being married REALLY gets on my nerves! I have a  list of things I love about being married -- I LOVE when Adrian holds me at night when I'm cold and I can't seem to get warm. I love knowing that he is thinking about me throughout the day. And I love having a partner to fight life's battles with and celebrate life's victories.

But, what really gets on my nerves about being married is...having to apologize when I'm not wrong! Having to sacrifice "anything and everything," when I really don't feel like it and then having sex when the last thing I want him to do is touch me! But, the real reason that being married sometimes gets on my nerves is because...

I CAN'T BE SELFISH!!!!!

Some of you may say, "well, why can't you be selfish? Why do YOU have to give up what you want? You don't have to apologize, when it's not your fault. You don't have to sacrifice, he needs to sacrifice, he's the man! And, if you don't feel like having sex . . . then, don't!"

Well, I wish it was that easy, but...

When you don’t understand the purpose of something, abuse is inevitable.
— Dr. Myles Monroe

Marriage was created as God's system to develop intimacy with Him, eliminate selfishness, practice sacrifice and discover yourself at the core! Couples who get married without fully understanding God's purpose for marriage are in some ways "set up" to fail, because they think marriage is all about fulfilling their own needs, desires and wishes. They think marriage should always make THEM happy without any sacrifice or discomfort on their part! When in reality, marriage is the roller coaster ride of their lives, and unfortunately all too often, that ride ends up in the divorce courts! The lack of understanding regarding the purpose of marriage is one of the preliminary strategies from the enemy to destroy the joy, peace and prosperity God designed marriage to be.

There are so many things that happen along the journey of marriage that to thrive, you must become aware that...

1. There is an enemy in your camp seeking to steal, kill and destroy your marriage. You can't afford to throw in the towel before the fight is over. Your legacy depends on you winning the battle!

2. Offense is fuel for the enemy to keep you away from joy, peace, prosperity and happily ever after! Don't fall for the okey-doke! Reconcile quickly and don't hold grudges.

3. Everything that happens in your marriage is designed to build, strengthen and fortify the bond between you, your spouse and God. Don't miss these opportunities to connect on a deeper level.

4. Self-ish is a 4-letter word and should NOT be applied...if you want to experience the true purpose of marriage and all of its benefits.

5. Recognize the enemy's strategies in your marriage and when he shows up, you'll be ready for war!

6. Train for battle by pursuing God daily. Spend time in worship, prayer, meditation and bible study. Always apply what you learn!

MARRIAGE TAKES WORK!!!! A LOT OF WORK!! You will have to do a ton of things that you don't want to do and don't feel like doing, but...in the end...the "WORK" will be worth it!

There are times when I would rather not apologize and be right or sometimes I wish I could pout and have a tantrum because I didn't get my way; but I am certain that every time I put my feelings aside and choose PERFECT LOVE, WE ALWAYS WIN!!!

I love my husband and I love being married! He increases my capacity to love...on the regular. LOL! I will continue to learn, grow and sacrifice in my marriage and there may be days ahead that Adrian will get on my nerves; but I am so grateful that I serve an awesome God who provides, protects and positions me to be loved by a man who loves me perfectly...til' death do us part!

The Journey of an Entrepreneur

In 1999, I entered into the world of entrepreneurship for the first time. Little did I know what I was really in for. 

As a recent Master's degree graduate, I started on my quest to change lives and impact the world in Health Care.  I was a health coach for specialty populations that included women, seniors and children.  I loved giving people hope and sharing the possibility of a better quality of life. Some grabbed on to faith and hope showed up and some stayed put, safe and comfortable with their fear. 

Then, almost seamlessly, my journey turned towards supporting mommies, by helping them understand the influence they have been given with their children. Through a Mommy in Training conference, and the labor of many people who believed in family, we shared the message of mommy privilege and the call on a mother's life to parent with love, guidance and intention. God showed up in ways that to this day, still make me say, "Wow!"

A few years later, my journey took another turn and I started working with couples preparing for marriage. I was positioned to help them know what to expect after, "I do!" We would share the good, the bad and the real deal about marriage, while preparing couples to withstand the storms.  To this day, many couples had no idea the storms could be so violent.

Then after being on my journey for a decade, God shifted my entrepreneurial path again to encourage married couples in crisis. I equip couples to fight for their marriage, by walking closely with them during times of heart brokenness, despair and great discouragement.

There have been many twists and turns, ups and downs, ins and outs in my journey and there are many things I have learned and grown from along the way.

I have learned that entrepreneurship is a long journey, it is a major process. It's often a vehicle used by God to show you your true identity. I have come to realize that not everyone understands or will understand YOUR personal journey, nor are they meant to. I have come to know that even your family and closest friends will doubt you, judge you and not support you. From the people I trusted the most, I experienced the most judgement. 

"You have your hands in too many things."

"I never know what you're doing."

"You're all over the place, you need to focus!"

"What now? Make up your mind."

Not only do I hear their judgement, but I feel the jab in my heart and soul, and it hurts; it stings. It makes me want to shut down and immediately revoke their VIP access card to my heart. But, somehow, I always still share, open up or trust them, even when they respond the same way over and over.

As a former people-pleaser, overcoming my response to the judgment from family and friends has been a steep climb along my journey, but it has made me stronger, wiser and keenly aware. I have learned to embrace my personal journey and stop needing validation for it.

While some people may judge it, critique it or criticize it, I am on my path; I am on my journey. I have realized that it tends to be very easy to criticize and judge while watching from the grass on the side of the road. But, it's not until you have walked along a similar road can you truly appreciate, respect and bear witness to another person's hills and valleys along their journey. Other entrepreneurs have given me great support, mutual respect, encouragement and insight. From many coaches along my journey, I have been poured into, stretched and held accountable to walking in my gifts, something never to be taken lightly. 

Many do not or can ever understand that the journey of an entrepreneur includes discovering your divine identity and peeling back the layers to reveal what's really at your core. The journey of an entrepreneur is a constant evolution, a process, a never ending commitment to always showing up at your best; giving 100% and going all out!

For those of you who have gotten tired, weary or discouraged along your journey, keep evolving, keep trying new things, keep taking new risks and keep saying YES! to new adventures. Keep walking through new doors of opportunity and keep climbing. Sometimes, the journey can be lonely, but remember you are never alone. Greatness is within you, so don't let others define how great you are.  And enjoy your journey, it is YOURS! It is only when you are moving forward, that you are moving closer to truly living as God created you to be! 

 

 

 

 

Posted on April 19, 2016 .