Coming into focus…

Today my sweet friend from Anavista came over to help me understand my A6000 a bit better. Meaning she started from scratch and went over photography 101. You know… important basics like aperture, shutter speed and ISO! She took me through all of the various settings on my camera and just did an overview on […]

Launching changes…

Today via FB live shared the vision of The Encouraging Voice and the changes coming this year. There’s still an incredible amount of details that need to be determined and yet I’m ready to continue getting this going one step at a time.

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it’s coming into focus…

And that’s how life goes, right?

There’s so many things that are “pending,” or “in progress” and yet we still have to keep moving in one way or another. The most important things in life seem to escape us if we don’t put intentional time and effort into them. So here we go!

The Encouraging Voice is going to be launching website changes, process changes, and all sorts of things. I want to connect with you the way that’s best for you and start planning the various aspects of this thing better.

Encouragements. Testimonials. Merch. Social Media. Events. Community Impact.

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the messy office of dreams!

I want this to be interactive and just as much about YOU as it is about me and my steps. It has to be really. This thing has to be about you and me being whatever God has called us to be and do. Stepping up to be faithful and obedient. He’ll take care of all the rest. Whatever we need, however He’ll lead us. By his strength, might and wisdom.

Let me know your reactions and opinions. What’s helpful? What’s not so helpful? What are you doing to follow the dreams God’s put in you?

For now subscribe so you can be a part of these changes and see this come alive in a whole new way. The next steps are planning the changes, details and setting up the launch dates for everything to start happening!

Thank you friend.

Be brave. Be great. Be YOU.

 

The Process in Moving Along…

Between the three cups of coffee at Panera yesterday evening and great conversations on life over the past three years I could hardly get to sleep last night.

Grateful.

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Just so full of gratefulness with all that God has done in us and through us these past three years and the people in our lives that have invested and risked so much. They didn’t owe us a single thing and yet gave of themselves past such a point that now on this end of it I just can’t imagine my life without what’s happened.

So here I am doing videos now and writing and sharing my life with you. Last year was the launch of this website and blog along with the Facebook page. This year it’s been putting myself out there even farther and making encouraging videos and throwing them up on YouTube and Facebook for all to see.

Guys, I can’t edit and don’t know anything about cameras and lighting and all that jazz. However, I seem to have an abundance of amazing friends that do, and one determined hubby that went for broke and bought me all sorts of goodies and then has been on me every week to see where I’m at.

This January rolled around and I was determined to do this and learn. I tell everyone to “Be Brave!” and go for that thing that God’s put on your heart! So I should follow suit. And you get the privilege of seeing my progress and growth as this thing goes on. I’ve had tears and fits already trying to get this equipment to work (no operator errors of course) and along came February when every one in my fam had a week of sickness and here comes March already. fullsizeoutput_e.jpeg

My friend JD reminded me to just keep making the content. Just keep doing it. You’ll get better as you go along. I know that. All the growth books say that. All the great leaders say that. It’s just hard.

Pastor Jim taught today on pushing through your walls. You never know what you’re truly capable of until you push through and at the end of myself I find my Heavenly Father’s infinite power and grace every time. I want it to be by his power and strength anyhow… not my own.

So it’s coming along. Slowly, but surely, it’s coming. It’ll be fun to look back in another three years I bet. I just can’t even imagine. I would’ve never believed you had you told me this was all coming. So normal and great all twined together. Motherhood. Marriage. Challenges. Grief. Friendships. Business. New Adventures. Missions. Community.

I love how God does exceedingly more than we could ever imagine.

So let’s get going. We can’t outrun God.

But let’s chase after his beautiful glory.

2017 is Tricky so Far.

I still turn around and surprise myself all the time. Time and again I realize that I have this assumption that I’m going to get to a point where I’ve got this ‘life’ thing all figured out. It’s both comical, annoying and not really surprising.

I figure things out, God shows me something new, I learn something about myself and so then I’m like; “Okay, I got this!,” only to turn around and realize I lost it again. Life just gets so tricky. Each new year or season comes with its new level or different type of responsibilities, challenges, and situations. And I didn’t really lose it, it’s just a lot of moving targets. We have a lot on our plates and a lot of areas of our life that we’re growing in (hopefully).

That’s why I know his word says in Matthew, Chapter 6;

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendorwas dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

We lose the focus. We forget that it’s about our relationship with our Heavenly Father instead of just running around trying to accomplish all these tasks. Yes, we have some incredibly awesome things to get done. We have been commissioned to do a great many, amazing things! But if doesn’t start with the Father’s Heart, then it’s all for nothing. If we start from the wrong place we’ll get proud, greedy, jealous, all sorts of ugly things will start growing in the garden of our hearts. If we allow ourselves the proximity of being in his heart, then when things don’t settle right or we begin to have the wrong focus we’ll discern it.

So I have some big things I want to accomplish this year. 2017 is supposed to be a year of release! Get launched out into those big beautiful dreams and soar! Except not really. Kind of. He put it on my heart in December that he’s established us here in this new home, freed us of our debts and burdens, to settle us here and be founded. In order to build a truly authentic and impactful business, ministry or whatever it may be, there has to be a strong foundation. 14650477_910032716763_8228108285412353503_n

So what is my foundation? What’s your foundation on?

Jesus. Seek first his kingdom. 

My aunt sent me a book this past fall before all this titled More. It’s about finding your calling and purpose. I’m all excited! Yes! I’m going to finally get this all figured out. I don’t have any more financial excuses anymore. I can run after this thing! Only to read the first half of the book and it’s all about starting with Jesus. Your relationship with Jesus. Honestly, I started getting a little annoyed after the third chapter of this. I’m like, I know, I know, I know. But the Lord was asking me, but do you really?

I’m like my kids. I start giving them directions to do something and they run off before they even hear everything I had to say! Here I am running off excitedly to do these great things and then I get annoyed and surprised that they’re not working. Like, what am I doing wrong? I know how to do this.

It was never about going at it alone. That’s what we try to do. Tell God, I got this. In truth, this was all about you getting to know your incredible Heavenly Father, and in doing so finding yourself. The entire journey is simply the arena that we get to experience all of the vast and infinite measures of his character of who he is. Where we get to grow and become who we were destined to be. It’s a beautiful, hard race.

Lord. Father, keep reminding me of what this is all about. Let me always seek your heart in all that I do. That your name and glory would be known. I can’t save the world. I can’t heal their hearts. But you can. Keep molding me and directing my steps. 

I Can Adult: Encouraging the Millenials

I had the privilege of participating in the first ever I Can Adult, initiated by Fenton Challenge and held at Flint’s own Cafe Rhema. I’m going to share with you my experience of it all and what I took away. It’s not meant to be a review of any sort or an all encompassing critique on how successful or impactful this event was. I believe that everyone there took something incredible away from today, something they needed, or some way that God spoke to their identity and destiny. I’m giving you what I feel I’m responsible for to take away, process, and carry forward.

Today was gorgeous and beautiful which matched the joyful smiles at the door and everyone was genuinely excited for the event. Well organized, well greeted, well manned. Two younger business owners shared their experiences, expertise and wisdom and in amazing leadership-type fashion they were humbled to be there and share what they had to give. It was awesome. It was so fun hearing their hearts. Then there were specific topics in the afternoon covering common “adulting” issues. Before our eyes this beautiful and personal thing was unfolding around us. The group interacted and responded to the speakers and I was so proud of how everything went and unfolded.

But let me explain to you something about myself. In things like this where folks are coming in not knowing everyone, or some might feel socially out of place, I’m quick to help them acclimate. I start the small talk, introduce them to someone, help them find where they’re going. Honestly, today there weren’t many “new” people. I know it was intentionally a small group hosted in the back intimate room of Cafe Rhema, but why is it so hard to connect with the folks we’re trying to reach? How do we get more folks that need this stuff into events like this? I really believe that events like this spark those creative and motivating moments to change and move. But intentional relationships are where you’ll find wisdom and support through all of the challenges that come your way and find the strength to continue fighting towards those goals and dreams.

Honestly, guys, I’m facing this same issue with my business. I do financial coaching. So like, who wants me to be all in their face with their finances? How many folks out there have read my stuff on budgeting and got all giddy about it? I’ve spent hours with folk going over their information and our education stuff only to have them drop off for whatever reasons. And yet, I see so many folks that sincerely and earnestly want to reach out and mentor others. I see so many folks that are desperately looking for a mentor who will pour into them. Why can’t we connect these two together? What am I missing?

The hardest thing about my job – about life for that matter – is the people part. I guess I’ll throw part of this on our human nature and our sin issue. But I’m reading the books, trying to build the business, trying to push back the push back. Seriously guys. I want to impact. I want to love and pour into and build you up. I’m trying and maybe I’m doing it all wrong. There’s some of you out there I’ve spent hours with… would you be honest enough to tell me if I was messing it up? Are we really too busy for it? Are we really too scared to get that close?

All I know is that to some level, like all relationships, we have to pursue each other. And as someone who’s working to grow as a mentor, I’ll even take the responsibility to initiate. Because that’s what God did for us. So let’s follow in His example. Let’s love others and seek them out before they think they need to come begging for our time. You have my word that I am intentionally engaging in pursuing others. If you want my time, let’s schedule it. If I can encourage you in any way, pray with you, or connect you with someone please don’t hesitate to start that conversation with me. I welcome it and have been praying for it. There are too many incredibly amazing people that I have the privilege of calling my friends. All from different generations, up-bringings, experiences, races, and positions. You ALL have just incredible things God is equipping you for. I believe in you and I believe in the body of Christ, to be unified.

So please, PLEASE! I’m literally begging for your input right now. Please give me ANY input you have on…

  • Why don’t more mentorship relationships happen?
  • How do we get more of this awesome growth or adulting stuff to the folks that need it?
  • How could this simple dreamer, be a better mentor?
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I Can Adult – 08.06.16 – Cafe Rhema, Flint, MI

Be Willing; Adulting.

If you and I were to hang out for coffee we could find common ground in about 2 minutes. That would be all it would take to find one of many things we could relate with each other on and this is true because no matter who you are there’s two basic things we all do;

  1. We look back and would change things in our past if we could.
  2. We look forward and hope and dream that things in our future will turn out a certain way (or maybe hope that somethings won’t repeat or happen again)

We might wish we had better opportunities growing up, that someone took the time to invest in us, or that we hadn’t made some poor decisions that made a mess of things. Maybe you’ve been through hell because of the decisions someone else made and you’re dealing with repercussions or trauma from it. Then there’s also the stuff we hope comes our way; the better job, getting ahead or being able to go on that sweet adventure some day. Maybe you’re still waiting on that special someone to start the next chapter of your life with. It can be fun to dream and get excited for what’s coming but it can also get discouraging when you don’t see your efforts pan out yet or feel like you’re losing time.  growthovertime.jpg

After that I’ve found that folks kinda hang out in one of two camps; either they are striving to grow and work towards those future goals and dreams, or they’re fearful, complacent, or ignorant of any of that stupid growing nonsense and are just fine hanging out where they are. This could be out of immaturity and selfishness, it could be out of fear or trauma, or it could be someone who’s just been beat up so much in life that they’ve just laid down and stopped trying to get back up again.

What does the Bible say about God’s promises and plans for us? Well, that link is a starting point. God has some incredible things to say about you and your future. Trust him and lay all of your plans before him. He’s going to do amazing things in your heart and your life. Babe, all you need to do is to be willing. God can do amazing things through a person that’s willing. If you’ve read any account in the Bible of someone used by God you’ll realize pretty quickly they were far from perfect (except Jesus, of course!) I think most of us, if we’re honest, can look at our life and see ourselves doing adult things and having adult responsibilities, but most of us don’t feel all grown up yet. We still feel like we’re getting there, but not quite there yet.

It is a journey and you don’t have to have it all figured out yet. Just be open to what God’s going to bring your way and the great wisdom you’ll find in seeking his heart. He loves you dearly and calls you his child. Be willing to grow. Be willing to face your fears, knowing God is bigger than anything you’ve faced or ever will face. He will never leave you. Adulting really comes down to being willing to grow and taking responsibility for what you have control of. It can and does get overwhelming, but if you let it, it’ll all work together to be a part of your testimony. Then you get to be that amazing person that invests in that young punk, stubborn kid, that just needed someone to care and see past the shenanigans…

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Collective Worship, 2015

The 6 letter “B” word…

It’s so funny. In my short few years of coaching and teaching people personal finance it’s amazing the patterns and issues you start noticing (quickly) over and over. I can give you the numbers, show you the statistics, tell you the countless stories I’ve witnessed already, and share with you my own testimony… but I still get the responses and excuses as if I don’t know anything.

Our life is just really crazy right now… we’ll get to it when things slow down.
He’s starting a new job so we want to wait until that happens because it’s going to change. 
I don’t make much, so it doesn’t really make sense to do a budget. 

I get it. Trust me, I totally get it. Look back at my testimony or come grab me and lets have coffee for a few hours. It’s frustrating, hard, discouraging and devastating to go through controlyourmoney.pngsome of the things life throws at you or that you bring on yourself. But at some point you have to realize that you can’t throw out excuses for your lack of discipline or self-control. God blatantly has biblical principles and rules for handling money and if you don’t follow them you can’t get yourself off the hook by saying, “Oh, well, I don’t make much,” or “I’m not good at keeping a budget.” It’s not funny, it’s not cute… it’s simply disobedience.

The more we write it off as not that important the more we allow money to control us. You have to fight for this and get this stuff in order so that we can move on and focus on our callings. Think of all the stress you wouldn’t have if you didn’t have to worry about your bills or debt payments. Think of all of the amazing things you could do if you could spend that money on your dreams, on helping others, on working towards your future? I think of the many times I’ve finally started getting back to exercising and sleeping better only to realize how much better I felt! Gees, how could I forget how good it felt to keep it up? And man, how crummy it really feels to be so tired and sluggish all of the time. It’s the same with finances. You do the work ahead and it smooths so many of the issues out.

This life is too short to fool around dear-heart. Let’s move up in maturity, wisdom, and grace. God will lead you in all these things, we just need to be willing. shhh-carousel.jpgSo that 6 letter word that’s so awful? Budget. It’s not so scary, and it’s not too silly for anyone. Everyone needs to be intentional about what they do with their money.

Father God, I pray you would stir hearts towards the best you have for them. You have so many incredible dreams waiting for us and I pray that you would grow the faith, trust, steadfastness and all of the fruits of the Spirit in us. According to your will and word I pray a strong foundation to be built in our minds and hearts. Spirit lead us and speak to us. Let us steward all that’s been given to us to be a tool for the kingdom and a blessing to us that flows out to others. Let us be a light that reflects your glory to the world. Amen!

This is my Life.

When you think of adulting unfortunately you often think of all of the responsibilities that weigh you down from being able to do the things we’d rather be doing. I have to get up and go to work in the morning. I have to get that paper done by Tuesday. I have to do my laundry. I have to pay rent. We really look forward to ‘Friday’ and those times we get to let lose and enjoy those days off or going on that vacation.

What if your life was all about everything you just loved doing? What if adulting was more about getting to where you get to do things just because you can now, not because you have to anymore? Like yeah, I’m going to go visit my cousin for a week and help her with her new baby just because I can. Or, yeah I’m going to go host that financial workshop out of state next year just because I can. Doesn’t that sound amazing? Well, it’s all true. All legit things that I get to do now just because I can. bestisyettocome.jpg

And you know what, there’s still legitimate adulting that needs to happen in that other sense. The laundry still has to get done, the house still needs to get cleaned, and the bills yes, still need to get paid. Sometimes you take the job you don’t like, so that you can get the job you really want. Sometimes you have to sow and invest so that you can do the other cool things. It’s so different now and it feels way better. The responsibility is definitely more on me now to have self discipline and be a woman of my word because I’m self-employed. If I say I’m going to do something, I better do it. If I’m going to be a mom and a wife, well I better live my vows and honor these guys. I may not have a boss expecting me to show up at 8am and get that task list done by 5, but I definitely have people that count on me every day both personally and professionally.

This is my life. I’m going to be doing a lot more things just because I can. Just because it would be an incredible investment. Just because that person just needs a little bit of someone’s time to encourage them. Just because it’s who I am.

And that feels like true adulting. 

A Pat on the Back.

I think I had it in my head that all anyone out there needed was just a little, “You can do it, champ!” and all of the world’s problems would start going away around here. That people around me would start believing the dream too and get all excited. That they would start believing their full worth and the dreams that are inside of them.

But that’s not what’s happened. It all goes so much deeper than that. Honestly, some days it’s felt like I’m being ignored or that no one really has time for these silly grandiose ideas. Even with my financial coaching work, everyone completely agrees that they need to fix things financially, but not a lot of folks are willing to make the tough changes. They don’t think they can do it. It’s too hard. I’m never gonna get there. It seems like no one needs one more little Instagram-perfect pic to repost on their wall about how we can overcome anything and reach our dreams. No one wants to watch one more video of some amateur lady vlogging to the world. But you know what, I’m not concerned about those folks. I care dig-deep-run-hard-teal-blue-535x535.jpgabout that one person out there that needs to know the truth. I care about the people that God’s going to put in my path and that need to hear what He’s put inside of me. God has put a fire in me for those that feel forgotten. Those that feel powerless and helpless. Those that need someone to believe in them and for them until they can get back up again.

Unfortunately, I’m seeing more and more that it’s not on me when they don’t make the decisions I wanted them to. With all of my might all I can ever do is lead you to the place where you can see both sides and then it’s on you to make the decision. I’ve experienced both and it’s way more fun on this side guys. You have got to decide you’ve had enough of doing the same old things, just to get the same old results. If you feel like you’re going around and around the same old mountain, there’s something you’re missing, something God’s got for you that you need to see. There’s a piece of your foundation that he’s working to put into place.

Hebrews 12:1-2; “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

I urge you to go for it. I beg you to not waste your life and look back regretting that you weren’t brave enough to take that step, hope in that dream, or take that chance.

What’s the risk? What’s the potential reward? So much is waiting for you.