Encouragement, Faith, Goals, Lifestyle

F.E.A.R-Redefined

Hey Y’all!

As I have overcome a few roadblocks to my growth personally and as a professional (many self-inflicted), the word “fear” has risen up again and again. This is not a new phenomena in my life and I am sure some of you out there can relate. You get great ideas but the “fear” of failure halts you before you ever take action. The “fear” of rejection stops you from ever speaking up or out, even when everything inside of you is saying to do it. As humans, we have emotions and while fear doesn’t serve a realistic purpose, it can definitely have an effect on the way we choose to live our lives. Today, as I was pondering what comes next and  a big idea that is going to take time, effort, coordination and help from people in and outside of my tribe-I got, nervous. And as I sat in that feeling for a moment, rolling through the potential scenarios and outcomes, I was inundated with negative thoughts. I literally had to stop the inner turmoil in my brain by saying out loud, “Enough already!”

I reflected on a podcast I recently listened to by the urging of a dear friend. The interviewee made some powerful statements, that I honestly feel have helped me shift my focus going forward. The woman, a cancer survivor was telling the story of how she came to be in a position she holds within her church, even though, it was the last thing she ever wanted to do. During the interview, she said “…fear means God is about to do something awesome.” WOW! Let that sink in. Read it one more time, slowly. We aren’t fearful of waking up and going through our morning hygiene routine. We don’t get afraid to start out cars or head out to work/school. We become afraid when things are shifting and changing in ways we aren’t sure how to cope with or prepare for because they usually feel out of our control. That statement was not only a HUGE shakedown to take my eyes off of my own efforts and to-do lists but to also purposefully prepare myself when that stinging feeling of fear tries to close a grip around the change occurring in life.

As if I hadn’t heard enough empowering and encouraging things in that one podcast, the interviewee, then went on to explain that the moves we make in life that require us to use our gifts in obedience are more than just for us. That fear creeps in when we focus on ourselves, our capabilities and how we will be received. You ready? She topped all that off by saying, (and I paraphrase), that when we use our God given gifts, people see God-not us! WHAT!?!?! I never thought of it that way and what a sigh of relief! I (we) don’t have to measure up to society’s standards. Shoot, we don’t even have to do things the way others have to gain approval or success. Because when we work with and in the talents that God gave us, people see His glory. That my friends, is the sincerest power of influence there is in this world! It’s not about us or those feelings of fear. So I challenge you, when you start to feel doubt and fear creep in-whatever the situation at hand may be, stop and remember that means some great things are on the way if you push through.

To give myself a quick reference of what I want to do when fear tries to rise up in me, I remixed this acronym:

F.E.A.R-Faith Encourages Actionable Results!

Let those intense moments that may have led to quitting in the past push you to faith of what is on the other side of being diligent. What has fear kept you from pursuing or pushing through right now? We all have something but we don’t have to let fear continue or overcome us when it is signifies the awesome opportunities just up ahead!

Much Love,

Q

Encouragement, Lifestyle, Parenting

Our External Hard Drives

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Okay, so we may be like half a month into 2018 but never-the-less, it’s always nice to start out with a celebration, right? I think we can all agree that ending out the year is a mashup of emotion, contemplation, hectic schedules, cold weather and anticipation all rolled into our daily lives and obligations. Sounds like enough to make anyone anxious or driven to hide at home in a onesie with hidden snacks (or maybe that’s just what I did). I didn’t want to face the fact that 2017 was coming to a close because it didn’t seem like I had been able to truly enjoy it. It was as if the days were moving faster than I could grasp the concept of time and the seasons changed before I could become acclimated with the last. It was a year of great change in many ways and somehow I looked up and the reality that my newborn had become a tenth month-old crawler and my five year old could fluently read hit me like a ton of bricks. I cried, like ugly cried… a lot. Heck, I’m shedding a few tears just typing this. And according to a long-time sister-friend who is in counseling and allowing me to live vicariously through her sessions, this excessive amount of tear production is healthy and even good for me-so I let them pour out like water from a fireman’s hose.

As I have come (more like “am coming,” cause I’m walking this thing out day-to-day) to grips with the pace and change of life, little things happen to guide me along. I joined the launch group from a new book, “In Bloom” by Kayla Aimee. It felt like she was living my life in her words and it was a relief to know I wasn’t neurotic or alone in my struggles. But then one of the worst moments in technological advancements occurred as I was preparing for church this week…my cell phone, which had been acting funky since the latest update shut itself off. They need press releases to tell us to avoid the updates or make an update to fix the update, something! Any who, after it had reset itself, I was trapped with only one option…factory reset. I don’t remember exactly what the screen said because in my mind all I heard was “NNNNOOOOOOOOO!” And because I still had to finish getting myself ready and our girls to brave the cold and head to church I couldn’t dwell on the impending doom. It was at that moment I realized I hadn’t backed my phone up since I was like 32 years old! Granted, that was like three months ago, but still, you understand the gravity of what happens in that amount of time. I couldn’t focus on the pictures and memories that were being erased or the phone numbers for new acquaintances and references that I needed and barely could remember even existed let alone recall during a time of distress such as this. So I did what I am good at-I cried. Then I talked to myself to keep from going over the edge, by literally talking to myself.

Y’all, it must have sounded intense through the door because my sweet husband came in to check on me. I explained to him what had happened and right before I felt the flash of fire caused my complete frustration rise up, I stopped. I spoke out loud and with boldness rebuking the devil for trying to push me into fury or depression over things that can be replaced (like phone numbers and pictures). I bound every spirit and feeling of anger, depression and resentment because really, my phone doesn’t care how I feel about it and the reality is I am not going to get rid of it. I had to let this go or it would have consumed me quickly and completely. I made the decision to leave the girls warm and tucked into their beds and ventured out to church solo, for the first time in a long time.

That drive was like water to my burning soul. It quenched the blaze of angst in me and gave me the basis for this story/lesson. See, I was upset that my pictures were gone but I had the same beautiful muses of those pictures available to me still, live and in living color. And those contacts, yep, people I could still reach out and touch (or connect with through social media). So in that moment, what felt like a defeating and life-altering occurrence in that factory reset was really a reminder to focus on the tangible. I realized how much time I spent looking into my phone to record memories and may have missed the chance to live in them. That’s not to say we can’t both record and enjoy special times but how often in our technologically-driven society do we stop long enough to take it all in? To see our children play, practice a new skill or just be adorable without needing tangible evidence on our devise that it actually happened? Because then, when it fails us (as machines all do at some point), then what? What do we have to hold on to?

I miss the days when I had all of my friends phone numbers memorized and tucked away in the part of my brain that easily recalled them when some newsworthy situation happened or it was time to hang out. While phones and gadgets get smarter, we humans seem become more dependent and need I say…dumb lazy. I don’t want a life proven only by the full SD card in my phone or a cloud full of digital prints and videos. I want my mind’s eye to be the bank for which my greatest and most precious moments are stored. The more we harken to the pull of trusting our devices to hold what we consider precious, the more we outsource that part of our brain meant to keep those things we treasure safe. We’ve allowed technology to be the external hard drives in our lives and while we may not notice it, we create a vulnerability. While memories can fade, we were made to be active participants in our lives and not just so that we can tell others to swipe left or to post the best filtered optic from the eight or nine attempts to get it just right.

I encourage you, as I am walking through the process myself to be more aware of living in the moments instead of just trying to document them. An instant well lived is better than any full photo gallery or timeline scrolls!

Much Love,

Q

Correction, Encouragement, Faith, Goals, Lifestyle, Salvation

And Just Like That…

Have you ever felt like you just needed that one little push to help you get started, keep moving or finish well? We’ve all been there and if I’m being totally honest, some days it seems like I am in a constant state of “needing” that external motivation. So let me share with you a short true story from last week that had me going from “AHHH” to “AWE MAN to “OUCH” all in a span of about 15 minutes. Ready?

We all have people that we look up to as role models and such, even as adults, there are people we see in business or life that we gravitate towards. One of those people for me is a woman name Priscilla Shirer. She is a wife, mother and a woman whose heart is to please Christ. I’ve listened to her speak in person and was in awe of her power and knowledge of the word of God. So, last week as I dabbled with the idea of getting active on Instagram, she popped up as a suggested person to follow. Not really paying attention, I clicked follow and within two minutes received a DM (direct message) from her. Cue the “AHHH” moment. I immediately screenshot the message and sent it to one of my sisters in life and literally squealed with excitement. Then I had decided that this was clearly a sign from God (y’all, us Christians do that a lot but that a whole other story for another day) that I should link my blog to IG ad get busy finding stock photos and making catchy quotations so garner followers and what not. I mean, I had a whole social media strategy in like 3.78 minutes after one whole message from what in real life is a stranger even though we are practically like Auntie/niece in my mind.

So after preparing a proper reply, I decided to go the interested route and scope out her IG page for inspiration on what to say back. That’s when reality slapped me down like a game of slap-boxing gone wrong. See, the profile pictures were identical but the names were different, insert “AWE MAN.” I had followed an imposter page and received a message from goodness knows who, wanting God knows what. So I replied with a dry (I mean Mohave desert dry) “Hello.” I was then almost immediately sent another message from “Priscilla” and a tinge of anger started to rise up. How dare you person pretending to be the person I thought I was following. Why waste my time? So, I did what any normal person would do, I screenshot the info and sent a direct message to the authentic page resolved to just be like Elsa and let it go. But, here’s how my excitement was brought to conviction. Just. Like. That.

See, I have a great relationship with my blog (and y’all) as long as I don’t let life overwhelm my diligence. So that initial kick in the pants, “oh, this is a sign from Daddy God Himself” feeling was almost knocked out of me when I realized I was being Catfished (I think that’s what they call the trickery of online imposters). And just as I was ready to feel like I was wrong about the “sign from God,” the Holy Spirit reminded me that God is not a respecter of persons but I clearly was. I became so enthralled with the idea that this person of “celebrity” status would have the time to enquire about little ole me that it became an idol. The idea that The Creator of Heaven and Earth blessing me with the gift of words and messages to share was somehow not enough because it wasn’t backed the confirmation of followers or applauded by men. Can you feel the ouch now? Talk about a gut punch that brought me to my knees. I could do nothing but repent. I had done the exact opposite of scripture (these are the first two that hit me):

Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Colossians 3:23-34 Whatever you do, work from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as for the Lord and not for men, knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [greatest] reward. It is the Lord Christ whom you [actually] serve.”

It is the contradictory acts like this, that can hinder growth and create hypocritical testimonies. I don’t want it to be said that I do anything simply for the applause of people. Now, ya girl enjoys the benefits that monetary earning can provided and always appreciates a well-formed alliance but anything done for the mere gain of such things is pointless. It became clear that my platform here had moved from being about encouraging others and sharing Christ to making me sought after or seen. It’s hard to even type those words but you know what comes after pain? Healing. See, after seeing that side of myself in the mirror of my heart, I could be thankful for the correction and begin to lean on the understanding from The Word on how to correct it. Sure, I could have kept this story to myself. No one would’ve known and life will have moved on but let’s be honest, I am not alone.

We’ve all had those moments, in the secret places of our heart where what we profess and what we do are not congruent. As Believers, we are called to repent in those moments and move forward in obedience. That is not only the power of grace but the blessing of being children of God. It is through correction that we learn and mature. My hope is that whatever you may be wrestling with internally can be released so that you can move forward boldly. Now hear me, I am NOT, by any means saying confess your bad habits, personal business or failures to the world in an attempt to find solace or relief. You will probably find the opposite and whatever position you were in will most likely be made 1,000 times worse once it is debuted in the court of public opinion. I AM advocating self-reflection and submission.

To know better is to do better and just like that, I am back on the narrow path because I saw real quick how that wide path leads to destruction and this girl wants no parts of that! I appreciate the lovely example Priscilla Shirer gives through her teaching and lifestyle. And so that this note ends on a better note remember that DM I told you I sen her, what do ya know, she replied and thanked me for bringing the information to her awareness.

Much Love,

Q

If you don’t know Christ as Savior and the power of prayer to God in the name of Jesus,  or if you don’t know without a doubt if you will go to Heaven (meaning you never accepted Christ or not sure of your Salvation) believe in your heart and repeat after me:

Jesus, I believe that you are the son of God. I believe that you died for the forgiveness of sin and that you were raised from the dead on the third day. I ask, right now Jesus, that you forgive my sins and come into my heart as my Savior. Thank you for saving me. Amen

Encouragement, Goals, Lifestyle

More Doing & Less Thinking

Y’all, for real, I have been gone waaaaay too long. Between having a baby, moving, summer and prepping RyPie for kindergarten (which is a whole post on it’s own) somehow the June-August months seem to have dissipated into thin air. And in true Q fashion, I have spent so much time thinking about how to start, where to go, what to do that I literally though myself into stagnation. You ever been there? I mean the constant over and over of trying create the best “plan” when really action is the only real necessity. I have been on a personal journey that has shown me myself in some ways that I honestly didn’t expect and really didn’t want to accept. See, I am most comfortable as a perpetual thinker and professional doer of stuff. But when I have to buckle down and finish or gracious forbid if whatever the task is means a lot to me, I move at the pace of my five year old before bedtime…basically frozen. Still. Stuck.

None of us want to feel like we are doing anything “wrong” but the reality is this, the only wrong way to do a thing is to do nothing at all! There, I said it. I may seem like I am preaching to the choir but I am really ministered to myself with every letter that I type. We as humans innately desire to win and be great. We are all born with talents and gifts but fear will strangle them and desire to please the masses will murder a dream before it ever gets the chance to fully develop. So, how do we protect the small stirrings in the deepest parts of our soul that seem like intangible goals? WE ACT. Now, that doesn’t mean we talk to the whole neighborhood and the cousins down the street about it and then wait for someone else to push us into doing whatever our thing is. No sir (or ma’am)! There must be a drive in us that even on our worst days pushes us to do something.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I am not saying that we must fight Goliath on a daily basis but even David had daily activities and routines that prepared him for that faithful day. There were slow days of walking with the sheep, days of work having to care for them and tend to their needs and then there were days when we wore himself out slaying a bear and wolves and whatever else came against the precious flock that was entrusted to his care. We are no different. Some days there will be monumental wins and victories and others will be calm. There will be times of what feels like total calamity but in the end they all work together in preparation for the delivery of that thing that has been growing inside of you. Today for me is like the beginning of labor pains. The preparation to endure the delivery of the dream that I tucked away in the inner parts of my mind and have tried to hide from my heart.

Whatever it is from cleaning your house, finishing a project or stepping out to pursue a new adventure, Nike said it best, JUST DO IT. I know, I know easier said than done. But that my friends is why I am practicing in little ways. I am painting the books cases I have been talking about amongst friends since February. I bought the curtains and pillows to redecorate the living room. I asked my greatly organized friend tips on how to maximize storage AND implemented everything she suggested. Time is moving faster than the change of gas prices so hesitation and waiting are not options available to those of us who dare to dream and do. YOU CAN DO IT! Not for people, not for the praise but for you. I realize that the dreams deferred, if kept in that continued state mean that the legacy I wish to leave our girls will never materialize. That, y’all just won’t do. So, enough typing for now…ya girl has got some things to do!

Much Love,

Q

 

Encouragement, Lifestyle, Parenting

Never Say Never

Ya’ll…really, bare with me for a minute. This parenting stuff is HARD! In my mind before I became a mother I (thought) I knew all of the things I wanted to do, teach and show our children. I just knew what things my mother did and didn’t do that I would bestow upon the little people entrusted to me by God. And I was HARD SET on a few things like education, biblical instruction and concepts of work and earning in relation to money. No spoiled, uneducated brats over here. Nope, not having it!

Now, four almost five years and two kids into this adventure called parenting and I feel like I have betrayed myself and standard in so many ways. But before I go into that let me stop- for those who may be where I am or understand how this feels and say, parenting is NOT ABOUT US. Ugh, I loathed typing those words almost as much I struggle coping with them. Why? Because society has bred in us the idea that we are our children and our children are us. They reflect our level of parenting and thereby are the living examples of all of our handwork and dedication. Guess what, that’s a lie! The older Rylie gets the more I realize that she is her own person and while I can guide, teach and correct she is ultimately going to act on her own accord. That doesn’t mean I didn’t give clear instruction or warning as her mother, it just means she made a choice.

We cannot be so caught up on the “I would never” that we forget that parenting is about what is going to be best for the generation we are brining up and not what best suits us as parents. I would love to be the homeschool mom who plays with her children, prepares healthy meals during the week and who also maintains her two part-time jobs without crying or losing it by bedtime some days. Oh and who serves her husband and tries to make his life less stressful. Volunteers and works out faithfully. Teaches Sunday School. Gives to the homeless. Have lunch dates with girlfriends. Read a book or shoot, just enjoy a slew of crafting hobbies and ventures all while looking put together. That’s not my reality. I am coming to grips with the fact that for  me to make my priorities things I can do faithfully and with joy means changing.

It means some of my “nevers” are now more like “maybes” and “probablies” (I know that’s not a proper conjugate for probably but it has a flow I like so we’re going with it). Point is, parenting is like boot camp, very physical at times but always more mentally rigorous. And one day at a time we get through the battles to fight another day. But be willing to erase the nevers, which in turn seem to mostly eradicate the shoulda, coulda, wouldas that follow. What have you said you would never do as a parent and had to be flexible with later? I would love to hear how you overcame or are currently pushing through!

Much Love,

Q

Faith, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

I’ve Become My Parents

All of us (before we have children) make some reference to never begin like out parents when our chance comes to parent. I am no exception. My list of “won’t do’s” was every discipline tactic or tough love lesson my mother made me go through. And like most, I came out on the other side of those (in my teenage mind) horrible years and circumstances. Now, as a 32 year old mother of two, I can’t help but giggle sometimes. Truth is, we all tend to do what we know, be it right or wrong. And thankfully I had a mother who parented in a way that helped me gain endurance and personal accountability.  Where do the giggles come in you ask? Great question, hopefully you can relate.

When I think back (and I don’t have to go any further than yesterday or any given thirty minute period when the kid is awake) to the time that a completely prepared meal was on the table only to hear, “I don’t want that, may the plan should be I ear french fries and mustard for dinner,” I giggle. I definitely don’t giggle in the midst of the moment (well sometimes I do, internally at least) but after I hear the words come out of my mouth that sound strikingly similar to something my mother would have said, I can’t help it. I often tell my husband, we are turning into our parents. It’s most entertaining when we catch ourselves do it and look at each other. It’s surreal how the ideas we had as children about what we would be when we “grew up” is where we are in life right now. We are living our grown up lives and once you add parenting into that mix, it becomes a whole different creature.

I always imagines myself as the progressive parent who wouldn’t yell because I hated the noise of being yelled myself.News flash…I’m a yeller. I’m also a go-to-your-roomer. A what did you just say repeater? But the truth is, parenting is about repetition. We all learn by things we are exposed to and influenced by those things we see and hear most often. And when I look at the big picture, parenting as my parent did isn’t as bad as my younger self made it seem. I mean shoot, I have grown up to be a moderately well adjusted adult and law abiding citizen. So I giggle. And those giggles will move from utter laughter to speechless frustration but I wouldn’t trade any of it.We gotta enjoy the process because time is moving so fast that the little feet we love to kiss will soon be walking into their independence and promising themselves they won’t be like us as parents…funny right!

Much Love,

Q