Thursday, October 30, 2014


Go here for more in this series 31 Days Brave

It is so awesome to be able to call someone friend. Someone you are able to walk through this world with and call upon in time of need. Especially when it is someone who really gets you! Ya know? It can be so comforting. To be honest a blessing from God. I believe God extends His own hands through the friendships we make this in life. We call it Jesus with skin on!

Sometimes in this life our friendships change. They shift or move in a different directions. I am actually walking through this myself. It has been emotional and raw. Mostly a roller coaster. My friend is in a place where she is unsure and often confused. I am often the supporter, encourager and even the challenger. I find some people do not enjoy or want to be around people who are giving you truth. I  believe this to be because it hurts so much. Right now she does not want to face the truth.  She is hurting right now! I love her dearly and consider her to be one of my closest friends.

So, how do you maintain a healthy relationship when your friend is suffering? 

First, look to the bible for guidance. The first story that comes to mind is that of Jonathan and David. I Samuel 18:3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. King Saul(Jonathan's father) is so jealous of David because the people love him so much and he is popular. So The King tries to kill him. Jonathan was trying to protect David from his spear throwing father. In 1 Samuel 20 Jonathan warns David of his father's intentions. They both make a covenant of friendship. The story continues through several chapters and we see in chapter 24 David is strengthen by Jonathan's friendship. 

I am personally encouraged by that last statement. When we choose to stand strong for our friend our strength is given to them and can empower them. Just like Jonathan did for David. They endured some tough stuff through their friendship. They had to face a crazy mad angry father and hide in many different places for protection. They were on the run! Jonathan had to go with what he believed to be right and true which was against his own father's belief! Very inspiring!

My strength only comes from the Heavenly Father. John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay one's life down for the other! I will be honest it would be so easy for me to walk away or say this is too hard. I could be selfish. After all doesn't our flesh want to be act upon? What would that accomplish? I can still be a source of strength for my friend and be there for her while setting healthy boundaries. I do believe in my heart of hearts those boundaries are not permanent. I know she will come to the place she needs to be. I may not know when but I do know it will happen. Especially since what she is going through is her own personal struggle. I will be standing on the other side waiting for her to come through that door when she makes that decision.

Second is LOVE! 1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.  I love this verse. No pun intended. When all else seems to be failing, just love them. It is hard sometimes to put our own needs aside or desires so that our friend's needs can be met. I know I am not giving much detail here but in this situation I could easily stomp my foot and demand for my feelings to be known. Very childish. Trust me my flesh is screaming at me to think of my feelings. That is just it, I can not trust feelings. I am not saying don't acknowledge your hurt but recognize the deeper underlying root of the why this person is striking out at you. You may be the one sounding board that they have in their life. When we look past our own limited vision then our eyes are able to see the picture fully. 

Third is to Serve. Job 16:5 But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief. Ask them what do you need from me? They may not know. Sure is nice to be asked though. Most times what they need is a word of encouragement or a note. Don't you love snail mail? I do! I love getting notes, cards and especially when it comes through my mail box! So exciting!

Lastly, Pray pray pray! Matthew 26:41 "watch and pray so that you may not fall into temptation. the spirit is willing, but the flesh is so weak." Pray for them, over them, with them and pray for God to guide you during this time.

Obviously, I do not have all the answers about this topic. This is just what I am experiencing and what God has shown me through this friendship. I know we will be closer and stronger for it.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually,.....

My brave today is sharing this with you and understanding friendships. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Go here for more in this series of 31 Days brave

just a side note....this post is for the norm situation not the extremes such as abuse or molestation. That would require much more than just a process! 

Forgiveness it is a powerful word of action. I believe it is an action that we do not give enough attention to in the church. I know the typical scriptures are quoted and the stories we have all heard before. For some reason I believed that forgiveness should come easy and be natural. After all we are Christians, right?

Let me back up a bit. I grew up in a very conservative church and background. I always thought forgiveness meant the offender says sorry and it is done, you forgive! Easy peasy! Then I would struggle with those hurt feeling still swirling around in my heart and head. Not good. So, I thought well I did not really forgive them! I am sinning! I need to fix this. Then I would wonder "where is the natural part in this process? Sure doesn't feel natural."  I thought the process of forgiving the person was completely on me! Such a wrong outlook. No body's fault in particular. They were teaching what they believed to be truth.

Fast forward many years later and a lot of experience, forgiveness looks different. More wisdom and understanding of the truth. Obviously more maturity on my part! God does call us to forge. In Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  We know from this scripture that we are to forgive since He forgave us. How do we forgive? I believe that is the pressing question concerning forgiveness. When we choose(key word) to verbally say to someone "I forgive you" we must trust that God will complete the work in our hearts. It really is not in our nature to forgive. It goes against it. So we rely on faith to forgive. We have faith that God will continue to work on our hearts and complete the circle of forgiveness. Did you catch that? It is a circle. Think about it. The person approaches you to make the wrong right. They ask for forgiveness. You give it. Then God continues to do the work in both your hearts so when you come back around again you are stronger. Stronger in your faith and relationship. God is the head and center of the circle. He reaches back to you, to them and to each other. All through Him. Is this resonating with you? 

There are many myriad's of forgiveness. Some situations are very cut and dry. It was simple mistake and now it is past. Others go much deeper. Depends on the offense. Take the sin gossip. Your friend gossips about you behind your back. You are able to forgive but your heart is still healing. After much time and prayer you discover that your trust as mended. Therefore the completion of forgiveness has occurred. You may not forget the situation but you don't dwell on the matter. That is when you know forgiveness has gone deeper. Take the offense of cheating. This situation entangles more hearts and will take longer to mend. The actual words "I forgive you" come out of your mouth and that starts the process of acknowledging your hurt. The part of forgiveness that needs to be worked on is the part of trust. Do you see that? Trust is part of that circle of completion. Why wouldn't be? Have you thought about it?

Stop for minute. Think about it like this:

an offense happens
the parities involve ask for forgiveness
you verbally forgive
through prayer you ask God to work on your heart
God goes deeper
Your trust starts to mend back to that person
You start to feel freedom in your heart(no anger, bitterness, resentment or hurt)
God again goes deeper
Trust is building more and more each day
You pray
God goes deeper again
You start to feel that you want to be around that person
Forgiveness in your heart grows

and so get the point. Look at it. Really look at it! It really isn't as simply saying "I forgive you" in most situations. There is a process. I often think of forgiveness like a cork screw. It twines, goes in a little, then a little more, maybe a long pause, it twines down deeper, then a little more, maybe a short pause and so on. Just because you have had a conversation with someone about the wrong doing does not mean the conversation is done or that you are done. Sometimes another conversation has to take place. Sometimes you have to let it breath. Often it is best to let it breath for  a bit. Pray, regroup, pray some more and ask God to show you. It is okay to tell that person "hey, I need to take a step back. Let me pray over this matter. I want to understand it fully. Can we put a pause on it?" Anyone who really loves and respects the friendship will do that for you and for themselves. When we do take a pause sometimes God reveals to us the underlying truth and that is when you can begin to understand why the offense happened in the first place. Obviously this is not the case for most. Most times it is easy as "I forgive you" and you heart is ready. Others require more work. That is okay too.

Another part to forgiveness is YOU. Yes, I mean you. It will set your heart and mind free when you choose to forgive that person. Philippians 1:6 states, And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day Christ Jesus returns. We are part of that completion of forgiveness. Forgiveness breaks the chains we hold and extends a bridge to the hearts that once were broken.

Today, Brave means learning to forgive but also recognizing it is a process. Some situations it may take a quick "I forgive you" and others need a little more tending to.

What has been your experience with forgiveness on both ends? 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Go here fore more in this series of 31 Days Brave

Setting healthy boundaries is necessary for maintaing a positive self concept. It protects us from being harmed by others who want to manipulate and shows we have self respect. It is hard sometimes to make the decision that this situation or relationship is no longer healthy for me. Some relationships or situations you are able to let go off easily. They may be the relationship you would only see by choice because you do not run into them on a daily basis. Others are more difficult to set boundaries since you see them in different circles more often than you would like. Being aware is one of the first steps or signs that you know change needs to happen. Following through what you believe needs to happen requires you to be Brave or have courage. 

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Am I allowing this person or relationship to define me?
2. Do you feel bad or guilty when you say no?
3. Are you quiet when you need to speak up?
4. Are you giving more for the sake of giving to please this person?
5. Are you going against personal beliefs for the sake of pleasing them?

If you find yourself saying yes to these questions then it may be time to reevaluate the relationship. By all means I am not the expert but I have learned through my own mistakes and experience. Sometimes we are the ones who are not healthy for that person. We become the one who is manipulating without knowing that we are harming them. It is hard one to swallow.

Which brings me to the point of realizing you need to act from a place of love and not fear. I say that with much conviction. For some relationships all it takes is a conversation or two to help them see what you have experienced. Be very careful to not go into "cut off" mode which sometimes is easy to do when we feel threaten or harmed. Please understand I am not talking about abuse here. I am referring to the norm here. We can harm someone or be harmed with words or actions without abuse being involved. We need to remember at times in our life we have been on both ends. Whether you want to admit or not. It is the truth. For that reason alone when we remember that and come from a place of love we are able to see and act more clearly.

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you want to continue the relationship?
2. Do you believe a conversation or two would solve the issue?
3. Is the person going through a difficult time? (does not excuse but helps understand)
4. How much time have you invested in this relationship and how much have they invested?

Taking time to reflect on those questions may bring you to your truth about that relationship. Again I am not the expert nor do I have all the processes in place to be able to make a complete picture for you. This is just what I have experienced and what has helped me. This is just a starting point or stepping stone.

Above all pray about it. 
Seek God's wisdom. 
He knows all! 

Today's Brave is asking yourself, do you need to set any boundaries in your life? and following through with what you believe God has revealed to you. 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Movie

Go here for more in this series 31 Days Brave 

I have been camping so I apologize for the late post. It is a quick thought but one worth pursuing. 

Brave the movie. Merida, the princess and all that great hair! love it! 

I thought the movie Brave was really just okay. Not my favorite movie but still had some good moments. My favorite is in this picture. Merida is defying an old age custom of her hand to be betroth in marriage by whomever shoots an arrow at the target. She has decided to make the best shot and she did! In this movie Merida wants to make her own path and this particular scene starts her down that road. 

Don't we all want to write our own story? Define the lines that have been written for us or determined for us? 

We have the opportunity to change it. To make it different. To ask for help. To reach out. To do what is hard even when you don't want to it or feel like it. To let God lead us. It is never too late. 

This post is more for me than anything else. I am challenging myself right now with my own questions in certain areas of my life. It is good. Maybe once God has shown me I will share it with you. 

Brave is just that writing your story....

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Today I am camping & well it is going. Why is it no matter how prepared I think I am, I'm not! Ever feel this way? So today I leave you with a poem. It is called It Takes Courage by anonymous!

It takes courage

To refrain from gossip
When others delight in it,
To stand up for the absent person
Who is being abused.

It takes courage

To live honestly
Within your means,
And not dishonestly
On the means of others.

It takes courage

To be a REAL man or a TRUE woman,
To hold fast to your ideals
When it causes you
To be looked upon
As strange and peculiar.

It takes courage

To be talked about,
And remain silent,
When a word would justify you
In the eyes of others,
But which you dare not speak
Because it would injure another.

It takes courage

To refuse to do something
That is wrong
Although everyone else
May be doing it
With attitudes as carefree
As a summer song.

It takes courage

To live according
To your own convictions,
To deny yourself
What you cannot afford.
To love your neighbor
As yourself!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Self Care

Go here for more in this series of 31 Days Brave

For me being Brave means self care. It is different than selfishness. Self care means to truly understand what you need to be able to fill up your tank or know what you need to say no to so YOU can be "filled up" and not always running on empty. Self Care is about taking care of you the whole person. Body, mind and soul. I think this one is a hard one for anyone. I believe as moms or women we really struggle in this department. I often can feel guilty if I know I need a break or need to be alone. I am so use to taking care of all those around me that I sometimes put myself on the bottom of the list. This is not good. 

Self Care starts with what you choose to fill yourself up with. The older I get and the longer I am a mom I realize how important it is to take time to fill up with scripture and prayer. To start my day with God at the top makes all the difference in my day as a mom, friend, wife and stranger. I am also aware that it does not have to be an hour-long-deep-meditating-bible-study in order to be effective. Though those type of bible studies are important too and have their place. Not all of us have that kind of time in the morning before our household begins to stir. I have discovered that 15 minutes in the word and time with God goes a long way in my day. Then when I have the time during the day throughout the week, I grab my deep intimate bible studies that challenge my thinking and encourage my spirit. I find I do better carving out time that is during the day than first thing in the morning. I know that can be opposite for most. My brain has to be fired up first along with my body. My early routine starts with a 5:30 am boot camp then by the time I get home the household is stirring. Of course I have to shower and eat breakfast along with answering the 1,000 questions that are aiming at me from my family. I love them so! I rely on simple quick devotionals first thing in the morning. I like Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. 

Self Care also means what you choose to do that is simply a pleasure to you or something you enjoy. I enjoy hanging out with my mommie friends. Stepping away for that short time fuels my soul. I am able to talk to other women who are in my season of life and also eat an uninterrupted meal. I find being able to sit at the table without little hands disrupting me a simple pleasure. I would not trade those little interruptions for nothing but to enjoy a meal like a real adult is awesome too. I enjoy a good book, a coffee house, a concert or trying something new like one of those painting with pals or wine or something. I will one day participate in Painting with a Twist! What do you enjoy?

Self Care can also means taking care of your outward appearance as well. Now before you get your knickers in a wade or all ruffled, hear me out! I am not talking about having the best body or being the prettiest or perfect in make up or the latest in fashion. I am talking about getting our hair styled because we have not done it in a year or two. Buying a new pair of yoga pants since the ones you have been wearing have another stitch sewn in them. I am referring to things you put off because you have not made the time. Sisters, there is a difference between being a stay at home mom and a homely mom. I say this with a lot of love. I am also speaking from experience. Trust me I am going tonight or first thing in the morning. I need new clothes. It has become embarrassing for myself. That is bad. I am not fashionista. I just want to be able to grab a pair of yoga pants or jeans without worrying if this is the pair that has the hole in a bad spot. Know what I mean? I just had my hair colored and cut so I am covered there. Trust me I am a no fuss muss kinda of mom. Simple and less is better. 

The other part of your body Self Care is physical fitness and healthy food. Are you attending to those needs as well? I am working on mine. Exercise I got down. The food I will always be learning about. 

I love this picture below! 

Isn't this what it is all about? Realizing you need to take care of yourself so you can take care of your family and others around you. 

I recently was on a air plane and was reminded of what is important. Of course the flight attendants have the usual speeches about the mechanics of the plane and what to do "if" something were to happen while in flight. Always always always they say "put your own oxygen mask on first then assist others!" Oxygen is an important element required to sustain life. So you could say Self Care is oxygen to ourselves. 

How are you sustaining? What are you doing to fuel your body, mind and soul? Be Brave & realize you need to do it and then ask for it! Speak up sister! You are so worth it! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014


Go here for more on this series 31 Days Brave. 

Do you find yourself doing things for your kids that maybe you wouldn't have before? I do. I am really stretching myself this time. I am taking my son camping. Me! No hubby! I like camping don't get me wrong. I have come to depend on hubby to pitch the tent, make the fire and all that manly stuff. My husband is taking our son first to a cub scout camp out Friday night and then it is my turn to take him to our boot camp family friendly camping trip. Yeah, both events fell no the same weekend. EEEKKKK! My hubby has a commitment Sunday morning where we attend church so that is one reason why the camping aspect is falling on my shoulders. Just part of the weekend anyway. I know we will be fine but I sure do love having a familiar man around that I trust for such outdoorsy stuff. Ya know? You can pray for me! Pray for our weekend. I am really excited to have mom and son time together. I will let you know how it goes. 

So, what is the gutsy thing you have ever done with your kids that was out of your comfort zone? 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

One Mouth Two Ears

Go here for more in this series of 31 Days Brave. 

Sometimes being Brave takes place in a very organic setting. Today, I was able to meet up with two very special friends. The only common demoinator was me. After we were finished with science lab today we decided to eat an early dinner. We all have boys so we picked an outdoor area so they could run free and maybe just maybe we could eat our meal. Ha! Anyway, as most met ups take place the conversation starts simple then sometimes can turn into something bigger. I saw that take place today before my eyes. Both of them have been through miscarriages or a loss of a child. I believe if the story is yours then it is yours to share. It is not my place to share your precious story. Today their stories came to light. It is interesting how God puts people in the same place at the right time so they can benefit from one another. I believe today was one of those times for these two moms. They could really "see" one another. Not just hear or share the story but have empathy for the other person. It was so beautiful to watch this unfold and to be able to witness God's handy work. My role was simple, to be quiet in the moment and I did.

Today's Brave for me was really understanding my role in this moment and to follow through with it. I do love a good conversation with my mom friends. It would've been so easy for to chime in and give my opinion. That is all it would've been an opinion. I have zero wisdom or experience in this department. I have not lost a child in death. My words would've had no foundation or worth. However, my actions mattered and took front row to anything else. Listening is an action!

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. ~Winston Churchill

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Home Schooling

Go here for more in this series of 31 Days Brave & here to see other 31 Dayers! 

I not going to lie or pretend that I have anything super interesting to write today. When God laid it on my heart to write about being Brave he did whisper in my ear about home schooling. I know it seems easy to talk about home schooling as a Brave topic but it really is a hard one for me. My husband several years ago before having children was a huge advocate for home schooling. Many reason I personally don't agree with and most I do. Who says we have to agree on everything? Right? Right! Anyway, it was not even on my radar when he brings up this crazy idea. Fast forward several years we have a son reaching the age of pre-k. During this time was also the season of our life where we were apart as a family for almost a year. Go here for more information on that. That time with my son and away from my husband God utltized that season to work on my heart as a mother. I personally saw up close everyday what temperament my child was born with, what makes him tick & how we work as a team. God began to work on my heart about stepping out in faith to home school our son. Believe me I would do anything for my child but I felt very inadequate as a teacher/mom to take on such a task. To be honest I still do and I am without The Heavenly Father to guide me. Everyday is different in home school land! I believe that to be true in any schooling situation. So, I began to really pray "Lord, show me what to do & put people in my life for wisdom." HE did show up and HE did provide those wonderful sources of people in my life. HE even showed me what curriculum to choose and HE still continues to guide me in that path. I(we) take it one year at a time. I have learned so much about myself these past two years and some things I could've done without knowing. Ha! It is a process. 

I also want to take this time to acknowledge whatever choice you made for your children's education, it is a Brave one. You may not feel that way but it is true. For private school moms/dads, you may have had to take up another job or give up some things because you believe in what you are doing for your family. For public school moms/dads, you realize this is the only choice for now but you choose to be involved at school functions, everyday homework assignments, sporting events and of course constantly planning meals. No to mention getting up early! For university model moms/dads, you want the best of both worlds...homeschool & school(2 days at school and 3 at home). You still have to make sacrifices, plan ahead for school days, implement the curriculum on non school days, go to sporting events and plan meals. It is not easy in any one of these worlds. Each one comes with challenges! Pros and Cons on any list. At the end of the day we are all moms and dads. Moms & dads wanting the best for our kids. We all want them to be happy and able to excel in the best environment for them. We are on the same team...Team Mom & Dad! It may look different in your neighbors or friends home but we are striving for the same. 

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Monday, October 20, 2014

For you the Single Parent

This picture captures that time in our life. 

I dedicate this post to single parents everywhere. Whether your spouse is in the military and that makes you like the single parent or the one whose spouse travels all the time so you are a single parent most of the time. Sometimes you can be married and still your spouse is not doing what they are suppose to or carrying their weight. Just because you are married does not guarantee you have someone helping you in the way it should be. 

This is a 31 day series that I am participating in even though I started late! Go here to see more 31 dayers. I encourage you to take the time to visit and find a blog that inspires you or teaches you something! Also, Go here for more post in this series of 31 days Brave. Then if you want to read the first 31 I participated in go here. 

Yesterday we were blessed to have late lunch plans with some wonderful friends. We were celebrating Jeff's birthday! Jeff & Tiffany are part of a group that we call our "first friends" that we made here in the Austin area. Such a blessing to see them again and celebrate Jeff.  The events made me think about all our "first friends" and everything that has taken place over the last few years.

Several years ago my husband lost his job. Among many others in our area where we lived at the time. He was without a job for 10 months. Our church, family and friends carried us during that difficult time. My husband was sought after from a head hunter to take a contact job here in the Austin area. It was not permanent. September 7, 2010 he was to report to his new job. I stayed behind since we knew it was not permanent. Obviously, it became permanent since we are all here now! I wanted to talk about that hard decision we had to make as a family that we were going to be apart for a long time. In the beginning, he did come home on the weekends but it was hard. He would leave on a friday night and leave again early monday mornings to get back to Austin. That is tough on anyone. You do what you have to for your family. Our son at the time was only 2 so he was in a mother's day out program and I had my little jobs plus keeping up with our house. It was tough. In October they quickly wanted to hire my husband for a permanent position. Since there were fees involved the earliest he could be hired officially was February 2011.

I brought you up to speed to let you take a peek into what would be one of the toughest seasons of life for our family. Maybe you already feel the feelings surrounding this situation or maybe you can relate to it because you are there now or have been there. Everyday I was a single mom Monday through Friday. In the beginning, my husband would come home every weekend but once he was put into the "on call" rotation that stopped. Plus, he was worn out during the week from making that trip back and forth between cities. I could not travel during the week to see him since I had my job. Part time only but it was still a commitment. The Lord really taught me a lot during this lonely time in my life. I had my son to keep me busy and he really brought joy to my life when I needed it the most. It is a hard thing to go to bed by yourself almost every night or come home to an empty house. Yes, I had my son but without your partner in life by your side it makes it tough. I did not have relief. If the yard needed to be mowed, I did it. Something needed to be fix, I fixed it or I would hire someone. Yes, I had friends I could call on and I did. I was very careful not to exhaust them. Laying my head down at night with no one to "talk" to about my day or to just be with was tough. I can not find another word to describe this season of my life. Tough pretty much sums it up. During that 10-11 months I was simply in what I call "go mode." If I couldn't do it then I had to find someone to do it. My mind was always racing. It is very humbling to ask for help or feel that you are in need all the time. It is also very freeing to find out you can do it or to discover you can learn how to do it successfully. 

A lot of lessons were gained during this season of my life. The one that I take to heart the most is getting a glimpse into the life of a single parent. It is tough stuff! My hats are off to you and you do not receive enough recognition or praise for all that you do. I only had to do it for 10-11 months. The real heroes are the ones in the trenches everyday not knowing when or if they will have relief any time soon. I can only imagine the parents who are raising multiple kids and all the challenges that they must face. You are truly Brave my friends. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

For Inspiration

Go here for more post in this series of 31 days

Today is Sunday which is our very busy day so I thought a little inspiration would be the best post! This is by Amena Brown Be You, Bravely. Look for the phase "superSHEro!" Enjoy! 

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

To be more like....31 days

Go here for more on this series of 31 days Brave

I believe I admire children the most in this crazy world. They have the ability to be authentic, care free and they are very much aware of themselves. Yes, I know at times too much. I have learned more about myself in these last 6 1/2 years with my son than I ever have in my life. He teaches me daily. Some  days I wish I didn't have to. Patience being one. Boy that is a topic! My son makes mistakes daily I mean daily. Of course he is still growing and finding his way in the is world. What amazes me is he wakes up without those mistakes weighing him down. Not sure if this is a male thing to forget or just a blessing. I long to be like that. I don't know about you but mommy guilt can weigh heavily on a lot of us. The mommy guilt thing I got a hold of a long time ago. I believe that is because my mom surrounds me with a lot of encouragement and from day one would tell me "you are the best mom for him." Such a comfort to have her in my life. 

Another thing I admire about children is their ability to truly be themselves. My son is a prime example of this in our life. He truly believes he can be a jedi so he shows it without a care in the world. He will dress up like one, act like one and even carry a lightsaber just to protect me from droids. He also believes he is smart and can accomplish most things set before him. Whether if it is math, gymnastics, swimming, art or creating the best play tent with momma's old sheets. Don't ya love that? I love that they see life and just go for it. Full force all the way go for it! This attribute or character quality of my son is one I admire the most! I want that don't-care-what-anyone-thinks-about-me-I-am-gonna-go-for-it-attitude. I have some of that but I mean all the way in my life. Especially when it comes to physical challenges. I sometimes get caught up in what if I look like a fool doing it or can't do it right. My mind can go in this vicious cycle sometimes. 

My son is also great at making goals and getting them accomplished. I am weak in this area of my life. Of course it depends on the goal. I have some goals in mind and well, sometimes when it is hard I have a tendency to let up. I am referring to my physical goals. A day or two goes by I think I will get back on that. It can build from there if I let it. My son he has a goal in mind, he focuses on it and won't let up until he gets it done. Bravo to him. 

My BRAVE for today is knowing my weakness and realizing it is okay that I am weak in this area of my life. It needs growth. A lot of growth. I am willing to admit it. Admitting it is great but I have to implement a plan or know the tools to make that weakness turn into a strength in my life. I am building my tool box. It is getting stronger. I am so grateful that my son gives me ideas and inspires me to add to my tool box. It reminds me of the verse 2 Corinthians 12:9 Each time he said, " My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That is so true! God's Glory will shine more when he works through someone's weakness. He takes that weakness, works on it in that person, turns it into something beautiful and shows others around "see with me, my power can provide what you need to get it accomplished."

How are you working on being brave in your weakness? 

Friday, October 17, 2014

MOMcon (31 Days)

Go here to catch up on the 31 day series...

If you are following along then you know I have stepped out in faith to start a MOMSnext group. If this is your first visit then go here to understand the full picture. Part of the MOPS organization is a wonderful conference called MOMcon. It is a wonderful opportunity to hear speakers, attend classes, receive encouragement, exchange ideas and see vendors of course. The support alone in this safe place is AH-mazing. I was honored to be asked by our coordinator from our Mops group to go with her to MOMcon. This year the MOMcon was in Louisville, Kentucky. Such a fun city by the way. Of course this year's topics were all around Be You, Bravely. Plus, you include moms from all over the world just for this event it makes it that much sweeter! The weekend was jammed packed full of mastery classes for those of us in leadership and key note speakers.

Our speakers for the weekend were:

Sherry Surrat-President & CEO of Mops 
Jennie Allen-Author, Speaker & Founder of IF:Gathering 
Melissa D'Arabian -Food Network Star, & Host of Ten Dollar Dinners & former Mops moms
Lisa Chan-Author & Co-founder of Cornerstone Community Church
Shauna Niequist- Author & Speaker  (highly recommend Cold Tangerines)
Angie Smith- Author & Speaker(married to Todd lead singer of group Selah)

For worship we had Meredith Andrews
For inspiration & poetry Amena Brown 
Of course Kendall Parkhurst for introducing speakers & inspirational videos-Mops coordinator

From the list above if you know any of them or have heard of them then you know it was a BIG event. That is just the keynote speakers. Then we had a list of women speaking on different topics in the split off time. Some of them have written for (in)courage and one particular writer Lisa-Jo Baker was there with her book Surprised By Motherhood. Which I am in the middle of reading. 

It was an amazing time and it gave me connections for building the MOMSnext ministry that I have started in our MOPS group. I felt encouraged and inspired. It was also an opportunity for me as a wife, mom, friend, sister and leader to grow. They definitely challenge you while you are there for the weekend.

So, where is the BRAVE in all of this for me? Many places! First, going to a place I have never been with someone I barely know and second the willingness to say "yes" I will commit! I love going to new places. I do! I prefer to experience them with people whom I am already familiar with and well, know my quirks. Don't you? You know the saying "if you really want to know a person then travel together!" I know my coordinator and love her but close friends we have not arrived there yet. That is okay. I knew every meal would probably be eaten together and all those questions that typically get asked were going to emerge and they did plus some. Where did you meet your husband? Where did you go to college? What career did you do before becoming a mom? and beyond that!  I don't mind answering questions. For me, it was being transparent and adding another person to my circle. Then add in rooming together. This is where my quirks appear. I like the fan on for noise and the temp to be cold(that is just two quirks!). I like snuggling under the covers but mostly my body temperature after having children is not the same! It is easier to room with someone who already knows this about you or is just like you in that sense. I know it probably sounds a little silly. For me, it is/was a stretch. Not wanting to be the only one who likes it that way or better yet freeze out my roomie! I did enjoy my time with her. She too loved it cold and the fan on. So no big deal! More importantly it was just fun getting to know her and experiencing the city together along with MOMScon! Second, committing to going to MOMScon made it real for me that I am stepping out in leadership! I was representing our group and the church associated with it. That is BIG! I wanted to use my time wisely since they could have sent anyone to go. I was able to connect with ladies who work for Mops International and talk about how to make MOMSnext better in our community and widespread. I believe this experience alone will continue to have an impact on me personally plus growing with our MOMSnext group. MOMScon was a great opportunity to tap into resources and grab all the knowledge that I could to bring back with me! I am so very grateful that I was able to go and was asked to go! Such a blessing!!!! 

I pray that I honor God during this MOmsnext adventure and that I will be used to the fullest. That is BRAVE! 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

ROC Race (31 Days)

Go here for intro of 31 days & other posts in this series...

Have you ever heard of something called a ROC Race? The Ridiculous Obstacle Course! If you haven't then think of that show wipe out. That is exactly what it amounts to! So, this year back in January I decided to join Camp Gladiator. Ever heard of that? It is basically outdoor fitness group or some call it a form of boot camp. Anyway, I fell in love with the people and the trainers. They made it so fun. Plus they really cheer you on to run an extra lap or lift heavier weights or do one more burpee. I have never ever considered myself the athletic type. I mean I am not built to do anything that requires a lot of running like soccer. Though I can kick. I say all that because my definition or what I believed to be an athlete has changed this past year. It has taken awhile to realize I do not have to be the fittest or smallest or thinnest or whatever to be an athlete. In my mind I always associated an athlete with the Olympics or some great sport such as European Soccer! You know people who received awards or medals of some kind for their hard work and were recognized for their talent. This was not me! 

*This is the definition of an athlete: :  a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.

Camp Gladiator or CG has given me this confidence to think and believe I can do things that are beyond me. Ya know, busting out 30 burpees or lifting 50-60 lb sand bags while throwing them across the parking lot. I know it probably sounds super crazy and may not even make sense to you. I understand that! It truly is something you have to try once to see. After awhile of doing many hard things you realize maybe I could do an obstacle course race and it kinda sounds fun. Then your battle buddies (that is what we call each other at cg) chime in "let's do it together!" You feel empowered! All of sudden you find yourself on a team! A team that believes in you and will help you when you think you can not do it! Sign me up. I can get on board with folks like that. Right? RIGHT! 

That is exactly what I did 6 months ago. I signed up with a team to test my skills mentally, physically and emotionally! Plus, for your first obstacle course race this ROC is perfect to test out to see if you would like that type of racing. It is fun and people dress up all kinds of crazy. Then add Austin in the mix it becomes super weird! We love that about Austin. Some obstacle courses are more serious and require a lot more training, such as Spartan!  

Race day is approaching and well I am not exactly where I want to be weight wise or physically in strength and agility. I mean they had a rope climb and monkey bars. Adult size monkey bars...eeeeekkkkk!!!!!!! So, I had fear around that. I also had fear and insecurity around being the biggest. I know what your thinking. Oh it doesn't matter!  Yes yes it does. I am here to tell you it does matter!!!!!! When you have to hoist yourself over a 6 foot wall with zero ridges in it for footing, it matters! Or Hold your body up and swing across monkey bars and land perfectly, it matters! I could go on and on. I am not here to argue about size and whether I feel that I fit in with a group of "fit" women. I am talking about extra weight on you is just that extra weight and it can  have an effect on your performance in such situations. It did mine. I am being honest. Okay? 

So, I did it. It was tough in some areas for me. The running for one. A few obstacles I could not accomplish. I could not do some due to being an overweight chick and others were just because I did not practice enough! I have to be really transparent here. It was even tough on how I felt about myself. Really. It played a huge role for me that day. Here were a few scenarios that played out that day for me. 

*I was the slowest in running which meant last to do whatever obstacle there was to do
*I would fall a lot! 
*I was the biggest chick there that day
*I could not hold myself up on the rope to do the Tarzan swing
*The team would often have to wait on me 

I will tell you my team was very supportive. It did not matter to them if I was last or I could not do an obstacle or if I failed the obstacle. Yes, they loved me right where I was and met me there. That is a beautiful lesson in itself. However, still I so wanted to do soooooo much better. I really wanted to feel that I have come far in my physical fitness. I have but not as far as I had hoped. That is okay for now. 

So, where is the Brave in all of this you ask? I am sure I could point it out in many places throughout this post. I believe there to be a myriad of them. For me the greatest was honestly doing the race and being at the race. I have never run a 5k before less alone an obstacle course one. Putting myself out there was a BIG step for me. It was a risk. People watching you do the course, people taking your pictures and well, you felt like every obstacle threw off your balance. That is a true statement. You are on big inflatable pieces of equipment and you are suppose to run across without getting hit! What?! At least it is in the books. It has also given me an opportunity to reevaluate some things in my life. That subject is another day or post. 

For now, Brave means embracing the athlete in you or maybe awaken her in my case and realizing you can go beyond what you believed about yourself. It also means dropping the perfection mask, allowing yourself to be transparent and yes sometimes uncomfortable. You will grow from it. It could change you. 

Go on my sisters awaken the athlete & see what she can do! 

If you are interested in trying CG let me know! I do not have to be in your home town to get credit. Yes, we are in a contest. Stamps for buddies that come and try! Seriously, it will help me win! 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Let it Go (31 Days)

Go here for introduction of 31 Days Brave!
Go here for 31 Days to Serve (2011)

Sometimes Brave looks very different in the Christian world of following Jesus. actually, I would say for the most part it is different! Something alarming happened to me last week while I was leaving the grocery store. I had my son with me who is 6 years old. It was not a busy day at the store. It was quiet. Needless to say we enjoyed our little outing and felt very accomplished practicing our math skills at the store! While heading to our car I see a "gentleman" in a nice suit about 3 cars down from ours rushing to get his stuff loaded in his car.  We were walking down the aisle paying close attention to drivers and such. Usually when I get in my car and I see someone in a cart ready to pass my car,  I wait. I wait for them to do just that. It is not worth causing an accident of any kind! This "gentleman" had no desire what-so-ever to wait for us. In fact he rushed so much that he almost ran us over. I have my son on one side of me and the driver on the other side of my cart. He pulled so close to my cart that he almost scratched his car. Rolled down his window to say "excuse me?!" More of a get-out-of-my-way kind of excuse me. I wish I was one of those clever people who knew exactly what to say when faced with verbal conflict. I mean clever in a way that is nice and yet gets them to be quiet. Then my mind races to one of my favorite movies  You've Got Mail. Meg Ryan's character is not good with zingers but Tom Hank's character is a pro. This is sometimes how I look when face to face with such a problem.

Anyway, I was trying really hard to keep my son from having to engage with this person. I looked at him and said "yes, excuse." Yeah, I was dumbfounded so real words were lost on me. Now, maybe I should have just kept my mouth shut. We will argue that another day. I truly believe that this "gentleman" already had a certain mind frame and no matter what I said or didn't say he had an agenda. His agenda was to "prove" something. I kept on walking down the aisle and he was shouting all sorts of ugly words at me. I could hear out of my left ear while I occupied my son with my words. My son had already began the conversation by commenting on how mean the guy was and that he didn't care. My son was correct. I began communicating to my son while that may be true we still need to do what is right. Sometimes that means walking away from a verbal fight.  I will tell you his words stung. I may be christian but I am not immune to hurt. I even told my husband how much it hurt. Of course hubby wants to know make of car, description of man and anything else I can remember. He wouldn't do anything but it is in their nature to want to protect and fight for us. Such a gentleman!

So, today's BRAVE for me was "just let it go"(is that song in your head?)! Not easy to do when my instincts are to at least fight back for myself. I have to remember this guy was wanting a fight so it would have been easy to get tangled in his trap. That is exactly what it was, a trap! I do think it takes a level of Bravery to walk away but more so to not let those words penetrate you. It did hurt but it did not make me think less of myself. That is really the BRAVE part. Believing in yourself even when others want to convince you otherwise. 

I will tell you this...he did not use cuss words but attacked my appearance. So, there were some words of truth. I do need to lose weight(working on it) but it was how he was using it to verbally attack me. Yes, along with what he said made it worst. Just grateful my son did not hear those words or how he using them to attack me. My son thinks I am beautiful so no need to let his vision be tainted by another. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

31 Days Brave INTRO (or what is left of it)

Other Post in the series 31 days

Day 2 Let it go 

Day 3 ROC Race 

Day 4 MOMScon

Day 5 To be more like...

Day 6 For Inspiration 

Day 7 For the Single Parent 

Day 8 Home Schooling 

Day 9 One Mouth Two Ears

Day 10 Camping 

Day 11 Self Care 

Day 12 Poem 

Day 13 The Movie 

Day 14 Boundaries 

Day 15 Forgiveness 

 31 Days of Serving (2011)

Be YOU, Bravely 

I was suppose to start this topic on Oct 1 but unfortunately my brain completely forgot the 31 day challenge had begun in October. I guess I kept thinking I had more time or maybe I was in denial that October was already in full swing. That is okay. I still start from here and continue to participate until day 31! You can go here for my first 31 Days from 2011. The experience was life changing for me. Here are the AH-mazing 31 Dayers! I encourage you to check them out. Plus you never know you might find another blog you love to read. 

The topic for this time or what is left if it is about Being You, Bravely. It is actually the MOPS theme for the year 2014-2015. I am on the steering committee for our MOPS group so we have known about the theme for awhile now. I say all that because I have been stepping out in a lot of areas of my life to Be Brave. So when the MOPS theme "just happen" to be parallel to my life it made sense to write about it.  No, this is not about climbing Mt. Everest or competing in some crazy around the world boat race or even swimming the Atlantic. Though those are very inspiring it is not the type of Brave that I am referring to. I am talking about Brave in my world. It looks different in everyone's world. 

Brave for me looks like this....

Last year(2013-2014) in MOPS(mother's of preschoolers) I was a DGL or discussion group leader. A DGL helps make connections, prays over one another, arranges outings and of course leads the discussion at the table in regards to the topic spoken that night. I loved it! It was an awesome experience for me. I learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses. The sad part came to me when I realized I could no longer be a DGL since MOPS only goes through Kindergarten age. My son was already in Kinder at that time. So, now what do I do? I knew GOD was not done with MOPS in my life. I also knew stepping up to be a mentor mom at one of the tables was not the right fit either. I did not believe it was my time to lead in that area. I need more experience or years and of course wisdom. What positions were left for me then? Really, nothing! I prayed about it and spoke to our coordinator concerning that the mentor position did not seem right neither did being a DGL for a MOPS table. We both agreed that it didn't seem it was my time to exit this precious community of women. 2 weeks later I receive a phone call from my coordinator. She was so excited about possibly the idea of starting a MOMS NEXT group for 2015-2016 and felt that the Lord was laying my name before her.  Just an fyi a MOMS NEXT group is for moms who no longer have kids in preschool or most of their children have moved on from that stage and so has she. It can range from moms with children in Elementary all the way to College! Such an awesome extension for MOPS! Anyway, I knew in my heart God had so much more for me to grow and learn. I also knew that MOMS NEXT needed to start now! This year 2014-2015! I immediately told my coordinator "we start now!" My excitement was so overwhelming that I almost cried. 
Scary? Yes. 
Exciting too? Yes. 
Not a freakin' clue what I am doing? 100% YES!!!! 
However, God sent me down this path and I knew without a shadow of doubt he would put me in front of the right people who had the tools I needed to gain the knowledge. 

That is my Brave. I said "YES" & I believed!  I will keep you posted how our year is going with MOMS NEXT. The blessing in all of this is my table has grown from a few to now 10 women. A typical table has 6 moms. Who knows we may have to start a second table! That would be awesome! We meet on Monday nights with the other Mops tables. The bonus is all our speakers/topics pertain to both groups. I am very excited for this journey. 

So, what about you? Have you thought about the Brave in your world?