You do not demand attention because you are always watching. You are the one jumping in to respond like a parent because you feel the honorable weight of love, protection, and devotion toward your sibling with challenges.
We have to intentionally carve out time for you to be a child.
You have a hard time relaxing because you have trained yourself to always be on alert. This makes it hard to relate to kids your own age.
You are the helper. You help keep things on track. You learn to hold your tongue and wait for your moment to speak. Sometimes, you have to wait a long time. You don’t complain. You take up the responsibility without instruction and walk alongside your parents in unity. You have had to learn perseverance and patience in a way that would challenge even the most resolute individuals.
You have sat in on countless doctor and therapy appointments for your brother. You have seen firsthand how not one person can tell us the source of the issues, or help pave a path for the future. You not only feel, but carry, that weight.
You long for your time. You feel like you are backstage waiting for your entrance. You are counting the minutes until it is your time to shine.
But, my dear, you have been shining all along.
You shine brighter with each day that passes. To me, you are center stage right alongside your brother.
It is my privilege and pleasure watching God grow a leader who knows how to take charge, but just as importantly, show compassion. These tough years are your training ground for the grand mission God has for you.
Your life does not feel like you are already on stage, but you are. Others are watching, all the time- and they learn from you.
There’s a reason little ones are drawn to you. They sense kindness in you and feel safe with you. You know how to connect, guide, and protect. You anticipate needs and emotions and fill in the blanks gracefully.
To the untrained eye, this probably goes unnoticed, but not to me. I see it all.
I see you and honor you.
I pray you feel the warmth of God’s face on you as you continue to grow and step into the fullness of who you were created to be. When you are tempted to be overwhelmed with the weight of your path, remember Psalm 73:26:
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
A gifted teacher named Eddie Villa posed three questions in a talk I heard a while back. They are still with me.
What do you want?
Why does it matter?
What happens if I don’t do what is required to get what I want?
Can you answer those questions?
I have written before about how hard it is to answer what I want. My first instinct is to think about what I want in relation to others: my children to be safe and healthy, etc.
But, to answer that for myself, and me alone, took some time. After being in and out of the workforce and homeschooling my son and trying to keep all the things in the air, I realized I had lost touch with me.
How can I answer what I want if I am not even in touch with my original self? When your life becomes so centered around others that your intuition and the voice of God get muffled and then inaudible altogether, you are lost.
This past year, I have been on a journey to reconnect those very important elements.
I took a test and began studying.
Normally, things go in the opposite order. First, you study. Then, you take the test. Not in this case.
The test I took was Gallup StrengthsFinder. It was developed over decades to help people understand their unique and innate talent make-up. There is no preparatory work with this. You take the test and answer with your first gut instinct.
Once you have your report, the unraveling process of the doubts, hesitation, and fear that have railroaded your life can begin.
Would you believe the odds of someone having the same exact report as you is one in over 131 billion. That’s more people than have ever lived.
Do you believe that about yourself? Do you want to believe that about yourself?
Learning to better understand my God-given strengths was important before I could begin operating in them and shedding the years of negative belief patterns and lies I had accepted about myself- how I wasn’t good enough, or I was too much, or not enough.
This process is beyond liberating. It reconnects dots that have long since been disassociated and the best part is that you start to ring true to yourself- walking in purpose how God designed you, living out your purpose.
Once the shift begins to take place, what you want becomes pretty clear. It doesn’t feel selfish at all. It feels purposeful.
From there, you can ask yourself the following questions: Why does it matter? What happens if I don’t do what is required to get what I want?
Would you like to know your God-given strengths? Here is a link to take the test. It’s a $49 investment in yourself. It’s not a personality test. It is a talent assessment that points you in the direction to results in your personal and professional life.
Enough time has passed with us not living authentically as God designed. How much better would the world get along if we could recognize and respect our differences? What would it feel like to hear your intuition loud and clear knowing you are moving through the world on your one of a kind, God-given path? We only have so much time to fulfill our purpose, let’s make the most of it.
Consider this passage from Ephesians 5:16-17 as you consider the answers to those three questions:
“So then, be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”
The tree is looking sad, the needles fall when you look at them, and the lights are sagging.
As joyous as it is to decorate and enjoy the warmth and festive atmosphere of the holidays, it is exceedingly rewarding to pack everything away.
It’s a new day and new year. It’s time for something fresh. And isn’t it amazing how dust collects around all the decorations and behind the Christmas tree?
What a metaphor for life- finding things that have been hidden while trying to clear out and make room for something new.
It feels right to clean things away and make spaces clear and open.
The act of creating a clean space can bring on unintended, but necessary, work. Putting forth extra effort pays us back with a feeling of confidence that we can do the hard things- that we can push through and we are not stuck.
Are there things hanging around from last year that need to move along? I know I have some lingering dysfunctional belief patterns that I am attacking everyday with everything I have- like trying to get a stubborn stain from the carpet.
Scrub, scrub, scrub- lean back and examine. Lean back in and scrub, scrub, scrub.
Have you been there?
Are you ready to clean out the dust and dirt hanging around from last year? I know I am.
Isaiah 43:19 tells us, “Behold, I am going to do something new, Now it will spring up; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.”
God is always doing something new and making a way in impossible situations. Whatever you are feeling, you are not hopeless and you are not stuck. God offers a way for everyone, every day.
These words of promise and hope are what I carry with me as I continue the work of becoming who I was created to be.
Our world has seen upheaval of numerous variations since the beginning. This year added a new layer in the memory bank of humanity.
I have always found a certain strange peace in being past a big event and the reward of some breathing space.
Breathing space can begin the slow and easy unwinding of the vice grip of reality. Take a second… Sigh…
Our minds can open up to receive the light beginning to beam down through the clouds. Do you sense that, too?
The interruption of the steady and often frantic drumbeat of life is the longing of my heart. How about you?
Can you imagine an interruption going back generations that still calls to us today?Emmanuel, or Immanuel, appears in the Bible in both the New and Old Testaments. Both spellings mean the same thing- God with us.
Jesus came to interrupt the course of humanity and provide a new way to live, to think, to love, to forgive, to treat others, to know and experience God- basically, a new way for everything.
Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
It doesn’t say- clean the house, put your best face on, everyone pretend to like each other and act respectable, then He will come inside…
It says He knocks and whoever opens the door, He will come in and eat with them. He comes to all of us AS WE ARE and offers Himself in relationship to everyone- all the time.
Here is a thought- are we open to the change in our routine to even hear a knock at the door?
Are we willing to interrupt what we are doing to go open the door?
He is not asking for us to do the work so that we become acceptable to Him. He is coming to us and asking US to receive Him.
If we are open to something new and respond to his knocking at the door of our lives, be ready. Opening the door to Jesus changes everything and it begins the second the decision is made. There is acceptance, unconditional love, forgiveness and the opportunity for a new start.
Whether you are already a follower of Jesus or not, this invitation to start new awaits all of us each day and the good news is that Emmanuel’s offer is not just for Christmas or the new year. Emmanuel is always reaching out for connection, for restoration, and to set us on the path toward healing and being all that we are created to be.
What newness do you desire as 2020 begins to fade? Can you hear the knock on the door?
Life gets busy. Even when we think we will have extra time, it slips away. We do the day to day things, and before we know it, the day is gone. The next day, the cycle begins again.
We assume that how things are going is just how things go. Expanding our world and personal growth become an afterthought.
Several years ago, that cycle was interrupted for me. I had a realization that empowered me and created hope.
The awakening was two-fold:
What we are doing is not working
I think we can do better
At first, these principles spoke to me regarding my son’s developmental challenges. I decided to approach my son’s health from a different angle. We would no longer be re-actively trying to help what was already in motion- trying to catch a runaway train.
Have you lived like this? In the shadows of a tough day, there looms the larger shadow of what the next day might bring… It is exhausting and defeating.
I decided we would become proactive. Knowing my son’s daily challenges, we would provide resources to him for stabilization and support all throughout the day.
Guess what? This approach worked better. The empowerment from knowing I could actually have a hand in the quality of my son’s life where I once felt helpless energized me.
This is the proactive approach.
The funny thing about the word proactive is that it sounds like it’s work- like you will be doing something big and new- requiring extra effort.
We don’t walk out into traffic- proactively protecting ourselves from harm.
We drink water- proactively fighting dehydration.
We make sure we wake up at the right time- proactively fulfilling the day’s responsibilities.
See? It’s not that big of a deal. It’s a mindset and pattern of behavior to which you are already committed.
So, the question is, if we expand the circle to consider other areas in which we can be proactive, what would get included?
What pops to mind when you read that?
Eat better? Sleep more? More quality time with loved ones? More quiet time for yourself?
Once I saw the positive changes in my son’s functioning from everything to focus, calming of anxious thoughts and behaviors, to more sound and restful sleep, I wanted the same thing for myself. Like many of you, I am sure, I was so focused on the needs of my family, I was at the bottom of the list. SO, I had to be willing to expand my thinking to:
Acknowledge the need
Understand sacrificing my well-being takes away from my ability to be of service to others
Affirm the belief that I deserve a better quality of life
Once you can do those things, reclaiming mental territory for yourself becomes easier whether you are seeking to improve your mental, physical, or emotional health.
A paradigm shift often feels obvious when we look back on it in hindsight. “Why didn’t I realize this before?” “Why did this take me so long?” Be mindful to not beat yourself up over time that has passed. It served its purpose to lead you where you needed to be. Simple as that.
Once my son and I were both on a better road emotionally and physically, I was compelled to begin sharing our story to help others. Check that out here. If you are wanting physical and emotional support from natural products for yourself, it would be my pleasure to help. Read more on that here.
Psalm 36:9 tells us, “For the fountain of life is with You; in Your light we see light.” God is the giver of all good things. His light reveals that we are His creation- His children.
Stop feeling guilty for wanting to take care of yourself. That is a tool of the enemy that needs to be rejected.
Your well-being does not have to be a runaway train. If this is hard for you, pray for help to make yourself a priority. I am praying for everyone who reads this. Know that God hears us and will help you. He wants more for you and will help you believe that, too.
Does it feel selfish or greedy to want more from life? Would you be comfortable admitting this to others?
Until recently, I was not.
In hindsight, denying my desire to stretch myself for a larger experience was inauthentic to my true self- the person I was created to be.
What if great minds from centuries and centuries and centuries ago never wanted to understand the heavens or understand the human body?
Why are we any different?
Wanting more opens up space for creativity, drive, and innovation to flourish.
This is not a desire of which to be ashamed. If you have this inside you, consider it a reflection of the divine.
We can’t out dream God. And guess what? He has a dream for you.
Don’t you want to connect to it? I know I do.
Before I knew I wanted more for myself, I knew I wanted more for my son, I knew that desire and drive were from God leading me to what was next for him. I was not okay accepting his level of progress and complications from status quo options. I knew we could do better. I knew there was better quality of life for him physically and emotionally.
After we started using natural products to support my son’s health, I had the same awakening for myself. I wanted more for myself physically and emotionally. I knew I could do better. I wanted to feel better, sleep better, not be ruled by anxious and nervous thoughts… Once I began to find relief using natural products, my mind began to reconnect with the ability to dream.
Know what I learned? You can’t dream when you’re exhausted and just trying to get through the day.
This is why I have my own natural wellness business now. I know what it’s like to feel stuck physically and emotionally. Is this you? Let me help you.
Take care of yourself. Make yourself a priority. Invest in yourself. Don’t waste any more time.
This essay is not about me giving medical advice. This is not about me telling you what to do. You make that choice for yourself. You decide what you are looking for and you decide how to get there.
My desire is to help you give yourself permission to dream for yourself and tap into the inner stirrings calling you to your purpose.
Pray in faith and God will answer you. That is a promise.
James 1:5-8 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that person ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
Pray in faith, folks. Doubting God and doubting yourself is a dead end.
Is your spirit longing for more? Do you sense a purpose bigger than your current situation?
That’s a simple question. I was asked this several months ago in a class and I was not sure how to answer.
We all have the automatic answers, of course- for our children to be happy and safe, to be healthy, you know, the usual answers.
I was not allowed to answer like that. I was instructed that my answer must tie directly to my own desires, dreams, talents, and goals. It could not be concerning anyone other than me.
Could you answer that question?
It had been a long time since I considered what I actually wanted.
Once upon a time, I think I knew. I remember wanting to be a nurse as a child because I liked learning medical things and helping people. It seemed a natural marriage of interest, ability, and desire. I’m not a nurse, though. That got lost somewhere along the way.
Did your dream get lost, too?
We encourage children to think big and follow the interests of their hearts. So, what happens when we get older that it becomes selfish to claim things for yourself?
For instance, it seems self-centered or obnoxious to say, “I want to be a successful business woman”, “I want to teach a class to share the life lessons I have ‘earned’ through struggle and perseverance”, or “I want to make enough money so that I can always help people in need no matter what”.
Why should there be shame attached to any of these things?
Considering what you want for your life should not be considered a selfish endeavor.
It should not be based on what other people want or expect of you. It’s not a contest. It doesn’t matter if others are impressed or not. It’s YOUR life!
God created you to be you. The plans He has for you are for you. Let me encourage you not to measure yourself against others to determine your place and calling in life.
If God has placed a dream in your heart, don’t be ashamed of it. Don’t be afraid of it. It probably won’t come easily, but if you are walking on the path to which you are called, you are not alone. The Bible reminds us over and over of God’s faithfulness and that He is always with us.
Consider these two passages:
“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
“Let us hold unswervingly to the faith we profess for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
Most people want joy in their work. Most people want to bring value to the world. Most people want to be authentically themselves as they move through their lives. Most people want to know they are making a difference and not wasting their time. Most people want time freedom. Most people want out of trading hours for dollars. Most people want to create additional streams of income.
Do these things describe you?
They describe me.
I want all those things and needed those things to accommodate a son who needs to learn virtually, a husband with a full time job, AND a family food truck business.
Stop the negative internal dialogue that just began saying, “I’m not a salesperson. I could never do that. I’m not salesy. I have no idea what to do…”
Do you know how you can be successful with doTERRA avoiding all the things that have you shaking your head?
Doing things in a way that honors how you love to do things and what matters most to you.
What does that mean?
It means that no one in the world is like you, has your talent set, your story, or your voice. Doing things your way means you don’t copy me and I don’t copy you.
We learn from others and grow with experience, but you will always need to be you- all the time.
What happens when you are not authentically you?
Things get weird.
The energy changes and people retreat because they see something they don’t recognize, and therefore, cannot trust.
The real question is not, can I be successful with doTERRA, but rather, do I know what MY way is?
Someone had to help me discover my way and it freed me to walk into a world of possibility and opportunity where I was not worried about what others were thinking of me or overwhelmed by the newness. I became energized and my mind flooded with ideas, positivity, and the drive to move forward.
Believe it or not, the starting point of this mental process for me was an assessment that took decades to craft and research with over 2 million people. It shows that mathematically speaking, the chance of someone who has ever lived throughout history having the same exact results as anyone else is 1 out of more than 130 billion. That is more than the estimated number of people who have ever lived.
The concept of everyone being a unique creation of infinite worth just got real, right?
I am not paid by Gallup to talk about this assessment, by the way. It is awesome and life-changing and I want everyone to know.
Once you have your report, the real work begins of unlearning inauthentic patterns and reconnecting to your original self. Here is a very helpful audio book to get you started on this journey.
The assessment is significant in working with me because that is the basis upon which we base our efforts and communication.
Being on my team means that I honor your uniqueness and will help you grow into the fullness of what you want- however that looks to you.
Do like natural things? Do like helping people? Do you want time and financial freedom? If so, we need to talk.
Being a part of my team means we respect each other’s talents and work together. I can’t be you and you can’t be me. I want people who want to be themselves and want to do things their way. Our commonality is the desire to serve others by providing support and solutions for health goals and concerns.
Are you ready to create your own opportunity of time and financial freedom in a way that honors your innate strengths? Does this resonate with you?
Do you believe you are a unique creation of infinite worth?
It is not arrogant to say so.
I’m not talking about the current joke of being a snowflake- unique yet fragile.
Claiming your unique design and infinite worth is an act of strength and validation of what God says about you. It is an affirmation of faith that you are loved and have purpose. It gives you a foundation upon which to stand and to withstand the storms of life.
I believe we come into this world with specific gifts to fulfill specific purposes. No one else can do what I’m supposed to do. I cannot do what you’re supposed to do. We cannot compare ourselves to each other. It is the killer of joy and purpose.
Continuously focusing on where we fall short at every angle breaks the connection with our original self, our intuition, and what truly fuels us. The negative internal dialogue is condemnation from the enemy. Make no mistake about it.
Have you heard of Gallup? Yes, that Gallup.
They have an assessment called CliftonStrengths, named after the man instrumental in its research. It took decades to develop and they worked with over 2 million people during its formation. It’s not a personality, IQ, or aptitude test. It’s not a self-help program and it’s not a cult. It’s not Myers Briggs. It’s not the Enneagram.
It identifies 34 strengths, or innate talents, of humans in a specific order.
The genius of the assessment is that it does not identify weaknesses or areas needing improvement. It points to where humans are unique in their make-up based on their innate talents.
From this assessment, I know now that mathematically speaking, the chance of someone else having the same exact strengths report as me is 1 in over 130 billion people. That is more people than have been estimated to have ever been alive. Think about that…
This math is not unique to me. It is the story of every human.
For me, this could not be more faith affirming. I believe God has specifically gifted each of us with a purpose for this time and place in history. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” Jeremiah 1:5. These words are powerful.
Sadly, believers are often some of the most mentally and emotionally spent people. They have such an earnest desire to follow God and do the right thing that they are constantly focusing on where they fall short instead of walking WITH Him.
If you are not moving through the world doing everything in way that honors who you were created to be, the world is missing out on what you are supposed to offer.
Perhaps you are feeling that you are missing out, waiting, and not living the life you could be living, utilizing the gifts that will not just bring you joy and fulfillment, but bring value to the world and glory to God. I felt that way my whole life.
The assessment is just the starting point. Once completed, the choice is yours what you do with that information. It can become just another email to disregard or it can be the beginning of a new approach to life where the patterns of comparison and self sabotage no longer have power over you. Understanding thought patterns which become emotions which become actions is at the heart of it.
The order of strengths on your report is everything. Your top 10 are where you are most energized, creative, influential, and best able to connect with others. Your bottom 5 are the energy drain where you are the least energized, least creative, least influential, and least able to connect with others in a meaningful way. Your bottom 5 are where you go mentally and emotionally when you doubt who you are is going to work.
The assessment is $49. I am not compensated for you to take this assessment. I think it is amazing and I want everyone to know.
A word of advice: don’t read about this program or the strengths beforehand. Answer each question quickly with your first gut instinct. Don’t consider what you should say or what is the right answer. Don’t consider what you wish you were or were not. The questions will not make sense, so don’t try to rationalize them. If you do not answer right away, the question will disappear.
What I would give to have had this information about myself years ago… I would have understood what it is to trust my intuition. I would not have wasted so much time worrying about what others were doing and how I measured up to them. I could have identified when I had fallen into my bottom 5 where fear and hesitation take charge.
Are you ready to quit wasting time as well? I will share everything I have learned with you. You don’t have to do this alone.
Here is an audio book that is incredibly helpful. It is from a community I joined to help me better understand my report. It is called Unleash Your Strengths. The author (and narrator) is gifted in helping folks understand their original self and how to reconnect to it.
Come along on this journey with me. I can’t wait to hear about your report!
Consider this passage from Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
You are loved and you have purpose and you are not alone. Never doubt that.
Tis the season for some self-care and t-l-c for others. For many, the majority of our experiences this year were, and for the coming months, will be contained to the home. That doesn’t mean luxury should be lacking for you or anyone else.
There are countless choices for body care products many of which contain synthetic and toxic compounds, as well as, known endocrine disruptors. BUT, there is a better way. There are safe, natural, and effective products available from doTERRA.
DoTERRA products include not just certified pure, therapeutic grade essential oils, but lines of skincare, hair care, and all sorts of spa body products.
When it comes to treating yourself or your friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers, there are lovely gifts available at a number of price points.
Here are my favorite ways to gift natural, toxin-free personal care items at or just under $20.
Spa Hand and Body Lotion contains jojoba and macadamia nut oils, among other plant extracts, that absorb quickly and leave skin soft without a greasy or powdery feel. It is unscented which makes it the perfect item for folks sensitive to aromas or those wishing to customize their lotion with essential oils. The lotion is $15 individually or $38 for three.
The Spa Exfoliating Body Scrub has an amazing aroma from Wild Orange, Grapefruit, and Ginger essential oils. Also included are kukui, macadamia, and coconut oils which, along with natural sugar cane, smooth, polish, and moisturize the skin. It is a luxurious product! The scrub is $19.50.
The Rose Hand Lotion contains sunflower and macadamia seed oils, along with Bulgarian rose essential oil. The cream is moisturizing while not being greasy or leaving a powdery feel. It promotes smooth, beautiful skin and has a lovely, soothing aroma. A tube is $20.
Lip balms come in three varieties: spa original (peppermint and wild orange), tropical (clementine, lime, and ylang ylang), and herbal (spearmint, marjoram, and lemon verbena). The lip balms are all wonderfully moisturizing and long lasting without being greasy. Lip balms are $6.50 each or $15.00 for the trio.
For someone who loves natural products, this set of Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint essential oils provides them with an incredibly versatile wellness toolbox to support a number of issues from digestive to respiratory to skin to emotional calming to sleep, just to name a few! The set contains three 5mL bottles (80 drops each!) that can all be used topically (on the skin), internally, and aromatically (diffusing). They come in a decorative box for $20.