,

My Favorite Post: The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done

As I’m celebrating my 1st Blogiversary, I’ve spent this week reflecting.  I started the week with What I’ve Learned In A Year Of Blogging.  I’ve revisited the most popular post of the year, which was a surprise to me, I Have Faith Issues. So now I’d like to share with you my personal FAVORITE post of the year.  This is one that is extremely close to my heart.  It is the thing that has me in the trenches daily.  It is the thing that keeps me fiercely clinging to the Cross.  And before I stepped into that arena, I would have never imagined it would have been so challenging.

 

Parenting.

 

So here is a peek into my heart, my mama heart, as I candidly share on The Hardest Thing I’ve Ever Done.

 

Recently I got a phone call that took me by surprise.

Someone dear to me is pregnant, expecting her 1st baby. She’s experiencing many of the typical 1st trimester symptoms: fatigue, nausea, heightened emotions and the like. It was an honor for me to share words of wisdom from my personal experiences, having walked that road a few times now.

 

Kiss Baby

 

I am the mother of 5 fantastic children. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10. Yup those are their ages; every year for the last 11 years I’ve been pregnant or nursing a baby. 2014 was the year that broke my baby streak (actually I did have a baby in 2014, just not one from my body. On October 25th of this year, my business Inspired Life was born).

2014-01-23 11.55.39

Five children.

 

I never imagined I’d be the mother of 5. Kingsland Party of Five as my cousin calls them. When I was a child, I had typical childhood fantasies of having a fine husband, driving a nice car and living in a big house. My parents were never married and of the families in my neighborhood finding a MARRIED couple was like finding the mate to that sock you’ve been looking for, for 2 years now. My vision of this perfect family included 2 kids, a boy and a girl of course. I don’t even know where that boy/girl thing began and the fact that it still lingers today is even more ridiculous as well meaning family, friends, coworkers and even strangers commented after I had 1st a daughter, then a son, “Well you’ve got your girl and your boy, so you’re done right?” People say interesting things they don’t really ‘think’ about. They just repeat what they’ve heard.

 

While being a parent is proving to be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had, it is is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Siblings Reading

For some, work may prove to be one of the most difficult things they’ve ever faced. I feel like, with a clear set of performance expectations coupled with my talent, knowledge, skill and ability, I can meet and even exceed an employer’s expectation. Work, I can handle that.

 

For some marriage may prove to be one of the most difficult things they’ve ever had to face. Joining forces with a person who may have had a different upbringing, values, cares, likes, and interests can evoke trouble. Even something as simple as how your spouse squeezes up the toothpaste to hanging their towel (or lack thereof); differences in marriage are not always easy to navigate. My husband and I met when we were freshmen in college so essentially we’ve grown up together. Through constant communication we have been able to create a beautiful union and I look forward to growing old together. So in marriage, I feel like when the expectations are clearly defined and both parties have committed to executing their duties, marriage works.

 

For others it may be dealing with a relative, an overbearing mother or an absent father. These familial relationships can bring about their own drama causing one to feel like being a relative is the hardest thing they’ve ever done.

 

Employee. Wife. Relative. I feel like those roles I can execute with a pretty certain degree of success.

 

Parenting on the other hand…well, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

 

The role of a parent is vital to the health and success of our world. The parent is the child’s… Click To Tweet It is the parent’s responsibility to steer, direct and lead their children. In the infancy stages, though fraught with sleepless nights and sometimes unexplainable cries, meeting the needs of the baby are pretty straightforward: fed in a timely manner, kept warmed and comforted, nurtured, kept dry, and soothed, baby will generally be well.

Pond discovery

Parenting with purpose to raise children that are responsible for positively contributing to making this planet a better place to live is a tremendous undertaking. Then stir the pot mixing in different gender, personality, proclivities, likes, dislikes, and temperaments and the stew is then indeed a mixed bag. But just as my African Peanut Stew I had for dinner last night was a mélange of vegetables, spices, beans and more, it came together to create magic on the tongue, my children will stir up their gifts to make this nation a better place.

 

And it is in being purposeful and intentional in learning each individual child and ministering to the heart of the child that the hard work ensues. It is in discovering that my 3rd born needs words of affirmation and my 4th born physical touch in order for them to truly feel loved is where it gets hard because those things didn’t readily show themselves. They didn’t carry a banner or poster or verbally tell me “Mommy, this is what I need”. It took careful observation and listening to discover.

 

It’s the hardest thing when your child is rejected by peers at school and part of you wants to go to the school seeking vengeance saying to yourself “See, this is exactly why I always considered homeschooling”. Part of you may remember what it was like to be rejected as a child and you may even still be crippled by that thing and as a result unable to even help your child move through that issue.

 

It’s the hardest thing when you know you’ve consistently taught them values such as caring, respect and honor then a child who came out of your body acts in a way completely opposite of what you know you’ve taught. You may feel ashamed, embarrassed. It’s hard.

 

But in the midst of the hard stands tall and erect: TRUTH

 

And the truth says:

 

~Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
 
~For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
 
~These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9
 
~All your children shall be taught by the Lord, And great shall be the peace of your children. Isaiah 54:13

 

Mommy of 5

 

So be encouraged fellow parents. While it is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it is also the best decision I ever made. In my 1st pregnancy a male hairdresser shared a nugget of wisdom that has stuck with me all these years. He told me, when you give birth to a baby, you are giving birth to your authentic self.

 

It is through having my children and parenting with purpose that I’ve come face to face with myself. All of my strengths as well as my shortcomings have floated to the surface and must be addressed if I am to parent from a place of wholeness.

 

BTW, my childhood fantasy came true. I’ve got me a fine husband, a nice car (if you call a minivan with 220,000 miles on it a nice car) and a nice size house AND my girl and my boy plus another girl and another 2 boys. Blessed beyond measure and that makes the hardest thing I’ve ever done worth it.

 

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates. Psalm 127:3-5

 

P.S. When my future leaders grow up to take their rightful place in society, my husband and I will take the opportunity to fulfill some of the items on our bucket list: Bora Bora, Greece, Tahiti, San Tropez…Can you tell we like the beach? Maybe I should say I like the beach.

tracks

Praying you joy filled days of parenting with purpose.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

,

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

It’s that time of year.  Leaves changing, chill mornings and frost on the grass.  So it’s only fitting to bring on the pumpkin recipes.  These are a staple in our home.  Not to mention I always have the ingredients on hand.  Bring the smell of warmth, fall and the holidays into your home by whipping up a batch of these Vegan Pumpkin Muffins.

 

Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

 

2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

1 Tbsp. Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

1 cup Turbinado (or other unrefined sugar)

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Cinnamon

1/2 tsp. Nutmeg

1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger

1/1 tsp. Cloves

1 1/4 cups Puréed Pumpkin

1 chia egg*

1/2 cup Nondairy Milk (I use almond milk)

1/3 cup Neutral flavor Oil (I use Coconut)

2 Tbsp. Molasses

1/3 cup Golden Raisins (optional)

1/3 cup Chopped Walnuts (optional)

 

*chia egg=1 tsp ground chia seeds + 3 tbsp water whisked together

Preheat oven to 375°F and lightly grease a muffin pan.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, and spices. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, chia egg, milk, oil, and molasses. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix. Spoon the batter into the muffin pan, filling each cup to the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

(P.S. We ate the muffins so quickly I couldn’t even get a picture 🙂

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

I Have Faith Issues

Thank you for joining me this week as I celebrate 1 year of blogging.  The journey has been an interesting ride.  I thought I’d just be writing, an easy task since writing’s all I’ve every done consistently since childhood.  But it’s been so much more than that.  It’s been about me connecting hearts and mind with my readers.  It’s been about me growing in my relationship with Christ.  It’s been about me learning how to truly be authentic, transparent and vulnerable.  Before those were merely buzz words, now they are personal.

 

With that in mind, I’m reposting the TOP VIEWED post in my year of blogging.  I never imagined before I began that I’d let readers into such a raw space but given the views of this post, readers can identify with honesty.  While my faith has increased since the post, I’m still a work in progress.  Coming up this weekend I’m supposed to take another faith move but right now I’m quaking in my boots trying to find an escape route.

Lawd, help me!

 

Thank you for walking alongside me on the journey.  Be blessed.

 

Bold Faith? Nope.

Radical Faith? Uh-uh.

Mustard Seed Faith? Some days.

 

Ok, so I’ve got faith issues. Twice last week God gave me a vision of what He thinks I’m capable of. And twice last week I threw blankets of doubt over the visions, smoldering them with my limited thinking and lack of belief. I know I have faith issues.

 

I was watch a teaching and the man stated, “If you say things like ‘I just don’t see how’ or ‘I just can’t see that happening’, you have a faith issue. Yup, that’s me. I often rehearse statements like that in my head. But again God in his faithfulness led me right to His word to shed light. I opened my bible to read about His willingness to heal the lepers. Then He drew my eyes a couple verses over. He tells Simon to let down his nets. And Simon responds just as I would have done, with doubt and disbelief. “Lord, I don’t see how that’s gonna work”. I know I have faith issues.

 

This year my One Word 365 is courage. I am believing God to give me bold faith and the courage to move beyond fears so that I can carry out all He’s called me to do, uninhibited. A few weeks ago I was cleaning out a purse and found some notes from a Sunday service in October of 2014 where we had a visiting pastor. His message was from 1 Samuel 17 and was entitled “I Am A Giant Slayer”. Finding these notes was so timely as I have been engaged in spiritual warfare. It also confirmed for me my word for this year on having courage.   Then that Sunday my Pastor began a multipart teaching from the SAME text entitled Facing Your Giant! Our God is so loving and so timely that he uses others to be His mouthpiece to declare His truths so that we can be free!

 

God knows I believe but I’m scared. Scared of being let down. Scared of being hurt. Scared of being rejected. Scared of disappointment. But He is so faithful and loves me so much that He is confirming His word to me time and time again. And He loves you too and will communication His truth to you. Just have an open heart and an open mind to receive. Yes, I have faith issues, but He’s increasing my faith.

 

Jesus please don’t scold me as you did those standing around when you healed the mute boy. “Oh you faithless generation” you exclaimed. My cry Jesus is that of the boy’s father, “I believe but help my unbelief”.

 

The question is not IF GOD CAN, as the boy’s father asks. Jesus clarifies that for us in giving the man’s question back to him “If I can”. So I’ve shifted. I know you CAN God, but are you willing to do it for me?

 

And He’s already answered that for me too. He is willing. Just as He told the lepers in Luke 5:12-13, “I Am Willing”, He’s assuring us, not only is He ABLE but He is also WILLING. Click To Tweet

 

I thank God that He doesn’t leave us where we are but loves us so much that He sheds His light on every crevice, recess and crack in our hearts to expose them to His truth.

 

Oh God strengthen my microscopic faith. Magnify it Oh God. Have compassion on me. Take my mustard seed faith, plant it in nutrient rich soil and water it Lord so that it may grow radically.

 

Yes I have faith issues, but He’s strengthening my faith.

 

One commentary I read said if your faith could lay hold of His Omnipotence all is done. So Lord my faith lays hold of your limitless power. I believe you are able. I know that you love me. And I know that you are willing thus it is so.

 

Do I have issues with faith? Yes. But I am being transformed.

 

Mustard seed faith? Yup.

Bold faith? Walking toward it.

Radical faith? Right on the horizon.

 

I stretch forth, break forth and move forward in faith.

 

A few points to ponder:

 

Do you struggle with faith?

 

How have you increased your faith?

 

How had God been faithful to you?

 

For additional reading:

Matthew 9:28-29

Mark 9:14-29

Luke 5:4-11

Luke 5:12-13

Hebrews 11

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Photo Credit

 

,

Ten Things I’ve Learned In A Year of Blogging

The last year has been an adventurous ride since hopping aboard the blogging train. I’ve made some stumbles, met some friends and had a blast along the way. So come along for the ride as I share Ten Things I’ve Learned In A Year of Blogging. Here they are in no particular order.

 

Press The Button Already

 

Oh the angst of hitting the publish button. When I write a post, I let it freely flow from my heart out through my fingertips. I write exactly what the Lord tells me to write, even down to typing fragments, using slang and sharing difficult truths. The only thing I edit for is spelling. Otherwise, I leave the idea as is. And that can be frightening. Will people receive what I’m saying? Did I clearly communicate God’s message? Should I have used a different illustration? Did I offend anybody?

 

Yup, a wide range of emotions in publishing a piece of writing.   But ultimately, I hit the button and trust God to do the rest.

 

Community: Those I’ve Met Along The Way

 

This has been one of the best yet unexpected blessing along the blogging journey. I would have NEVER imagined I would have met and been joined in heart with so many other bloggers. These women write from the heart. Their transparency reminds me I’m not alone. Their love for Christ compels me to deepen my walk.

 

Here are a few writers that inspire and challenge me.

Ann Voskamp

Tai East

Deb Wolf

Kelly Balarie

Candace Creates

Susan Mead

Sue Detweiler

 

To the regular visitors and commenters on the blog, I am amazed by your openness and willingness to share via comments. I thank the readers for allowing Inspired Life to occupy space in their hearts and minds. I thank you for praying for me.

 

Vulnerability

 

Ugh! I shared on this in yesterday’s post. Click here to read more on my reflections on my 1st year of blogging. I usually let few into my “personal space” of sharing my deepest feelings and thoughts. But to truly connect with hearts and out of obedience to Christ, I’ve had to bare my soul. Not an easy task by far. But Revelation 12:11 tells us, And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.

 

The Life Of A Writer

 

You guys want in on a secret? I’ve been writing since I was a very young child. Until age 11 I was an only child living in tumultuous circumstances. One way of escape was reading and writing. I’ve kept journals for as long as I can remember. In middle school I recall complaining to my father that I had no talent. I wasn’t athletic or musically inclined. My father said to me, “you create with your pen”. I’m ever so grateful for his affirmation. I continued to write for my school newspaper and even have a degree in Journalism. Suffice it to say, I love writing!

 

OK, now real life. In a much as I love to write, I don’t always feel like writing. As a busy wife, mother and ministry leader, I don’t have long stretches of free time to write. And the windows of opportunity that I do have to write, are not when I’m at my peak. I roll full throttle between 6am-2pm. Oh how I wish I could write then. But that’s when I’m most consumed with other activities. When I can actually sit to write is after 9pm. By then I am drained, hence not always pumped to write. Nonetheless it’s my passion. I love to communicate through the written and spoken word.

 

So parents, if you’ve got a child that like to write, write and write some more; the child that practices their penmanship, the child that likes to doodle, make little books, give speeches, talk too much in class, talks, talks and talks some more, see the gifting for what it is and look for opportunities to cultivate it. That’s my story. That’s the story of my role model, best selling author and world-renowned speaker Priscilla Shirer.

 

Schedules, Calendars and Such

 

Because I am the consummate planner, I thought I’d follow I strict blogging calendar. Its one of the “pro” tips you read for those new to blogging. Well, that just didn’t work for me because I write what the Holy Spirit tells me to write when He tells me to write it. I’ve had something that I thought would be one post turn into a series. I’ve had a headline written and bullet points for which direction I’d take in a post to have it veer in a completely different direction. Thus I’ve been unable to stick to a strict blogging schedule and that’s actually been quite freeing contrary to what I originally believed.

 

The Comparison Trap

 

As a blogger, I come into contact with many other blogs. In visiting their pages, I am so inspired. But there is a fine line between encouragement and envy, between confidence and coveting. It’s easy to fall into the comparison trap. Oh some bloggers are such great photographers, some write such lyrical prose. I am so so grateful to the Holy Spirit for reassuring me early in the journey to stay true to my voice. He told me directly, “Tyra, I’ve attuned a remnant to hear ME coming through you.” Don’t change your voice. They will hear MY voice through your authentic voice. Click To Tweet Yes Lord, I will stay true to my voice, which is Your voice.

 

What The Expert Say versus Reality

 

More of the expert tips say to read many other posts and leave comments, to be active on mostly all the social media platforms so that you send readers back to your blog.  They say consider taking on sponsored posts and the list goes on and on. In the beginning, I considered trying all the expert advice. But you know what I found? Doing all that literally was a full time job. It is time consuming to post to social media all day every day, read a ton of blogs (to really read them), and to leave meaningful, heartfelt comments.

 

There are suggestions on how often to post, the length of the posts, writing catchy headlines, using the right keywords and on and on. Again this is where I just have to be true to my voice and write from the heart as opposed to writing content that’s marketable. My goal is to write that which inspires, encourages, and challenges while conveying timeless biblical truth. So while my strategy may not garner me a hundred thousand visitors, I know I am remaining true to myself and true to Christ.

 

What Matters Most

 

Award winning photography, catchy headlines and tweetable quotes. I can’t spend a great deal of time and brain space trying to craft those. I do like to take pictures. My dad is a photographer and I’ve had a camera in my hand since I was about 3. So I do enjoy pairing the posts with original pics that capture the essence of the message. There are times though I don’t have one on hand and I’ll use something from Flickr. But even in that experts say to always brand your pics to drive traffic back to your posts. When I’m ready to posts, juts can’t take another 15-30 minutes selecting a photo, editing it and adding a catchy phrase with stylish fonts. I’ve tried but I discovered it’s not the most effective use of my time and energy.

 

Kryptonite: Tech Issues

 

Oh my I completely come undone under the pressure of tech issues. It’s my kryptonite. Since I launched the blog, I’ve had tech issues. I’m so grateful most if the issues aren’t visible on the front end but on the back end I’ve got to do loops and hoops just to even publish one post. Somewhere along this journey I’ll be able to hire someone to help me fix the broken pieces. Until then, grace is carrying me through. I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!

 

Check The Stats

 

As a person whose secondary love language is words of affirmation, in the beginning, I would check the stats daily. BAD MOVE. Again the Lord swept in with His truth. “Your affirmation comes from ME, not from man”, He reminded. So I had to let that go. I will not be held hostage by stats. I would love for my posts to reach the masses and minister to a large segment of the population but looking at the numbers is not going to change that. I put my faith in the Lord that He will lead me and He will guide the readers to the site via His will, His way.

 

In every situation and circumstance there is something to be learned. I’m happy to share with you ten things I’ve learned in a year of blogging. This past year has stretched me tremendously and I’m grateful for the process. This past year has made me accountable to live by what I’m sharing. It’s enabled me to be more vulnerable. It’s shown me my faith is still growing and that Christ and Christ alone is my source of strength, not me.

 

Thank you friends for hopping aboard the Inspired Life train.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!
Happy to connect with others sharing the Good News Cheerleaders of FaithGrace&Truth, DanceWithJesus

,

A Year Long Journey

A year long journey. One year ago today, I celebrated the birth of my 6th child. Not a natural baby this time, but a spiritual birth…Inspired Life. And what an adventure it’s been.

 

This blog had been in gestation over 3 years. During that time, I read, researched, had lunch dates with experts, all in an effort to create a meaningful, engaging place where hearts could be inspired to live fully mind, body and spirit.

 

After having delivered 5 babies (4 of them with no pain relievers), this by far was the longest, hardest labor of all. The Braxton Hicks carried on for months. Then the active labor seemed to last for days. The weeks and days before the launch saw me up until 3:00am tinkering around with all the behind the scenes minute details. I am SO NOT a tech person. In fact, anything techie is my kryptonite. I think of myself as a strong person, capable of achieving many feats, but put a tech issue in front of me and I crumble. Looking back, I really don’t know how I made it through those tech issues. Actually I do know how I made it: prayer, 2 blogger friends replying to my endless questions via texts (thanks Nisha and Delise) and God’s faithfulness.

 

In hindsight, I see that I let the gestation go well beyond the due date. In my mind, I was waiting for God. I was waiting for His timetable, His go ahead. I was waiting for His gentle nudge to say, “NOW’s the time”. But He never quite said it that way. And why? Because He’d already given me the GO signal. He had long before given me the permission and made the provision for the blog to come forth. I was talking with a girlfriend who asked me when the blog was going to be ready and I told her I was waiting on the Lord. He spoke up loud and clear. He told me, “Don’t lie on me. You’re not waiting for me. I’m waiting for you.” OUCH! Indeed He was waiting for me.

 

Fear, insecurity and perfectionism kept the blog living over here in binders, journals and in my mind far too long. But God! He redeems the time. 40 days before I launched the blog, I went on a fast. For more information on The 40-Day Surrender Fast, visit Dr. Celeste Owens Ministries. While on the fast God revealed the root of many of my fears and insecurities. Then an accountability partner pinned me down to a date for the launch and the rest is history. Today we celebrate my 1st Year Blogiversary!

 

And an interesting year it’s been. I feel like its been one of the most challenging years I’ve had in a long time. Yet I also know that spiritually I’ve grown leaps and bounds. God has opened my eyes and ears to experience more of life in the spirit realm. He has illuminated His truth on some negative core beliefs I adopted as a child. And He has confirmed that as a disciple I am to live His Will, His Way not His Will My Way.

 

In addition to what I had to release before launching the blog, I also had to accept a new reality. I had intended to use the blog to disseminate information. I am an information girl. I like facts, figures, numbers, data, evidence and the like. I thought I’d write on topics like, What Stress Does to the Body, The Benefits of….., How to…..

But again, the Lord swept in and changed that direction. He said, “Tyra information is fine. But people don’t have an information problem. In fact, there is an overabundance of information.” He went on to ask, “Tyra, how do they overcome?”

To which I answered, “They overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of the testimony”. He said, “That’s right. You WILL have to share your testimony”.

 

Wait! Do what?! Tell people my personal business? Let my guard down? Be vulnerable? Um, no thank you. I don’t let people see me sweat. I have a brand to protect. I have an image to uphold. I don’t let people into that space.

 

Oh the Lord is so patient with us. He gently reminded me, “Pride comes before the fall and I resist the proud”.

 

Needless to say, in the sacred space, I’ve had to unmask. I’ve had to share my frustrations, insecurities and weaknesses. I’ve had to share how I’ve stumbled as a wife and mother. How I’ve had lack of faith and anger with God. I had to share how this health coach has battled with food. I’ve bared my soul. Out of obedience to Christ, I write exactly what He tells me to write and I only check for grammar and spelling. Once an idea hits the page I leave it because it is the Holy Spirit forming the words that flow from my fingertips. And no matter that I cringe just a little every time I hit the publish button, I just know that I’m doing what I’ve been called to do.

 

He has called me to inspire the hearts of women to live fully mind, body and spirit. He has given me the blueprint and with His blueprint we’ve built a space where YOU are inspired to live fully in your spirit by delightfully obeying Him, in your mind by embracing the now moment and in your body by honoring the temple through proper nourishment, rest and exercise.

 

So I thank you sweet friends for riding with me on this journey. I thank you for trusting me and opening to heart and mind to receive the words that flow from this space. I thank you for your comments, prayers, for visiting and for telling others about the site. I look forward to what God will continue to do in and through Inspired Life. I am praying for you. I pray each encounter you have with Inspired Life leaves a deposit and that the deposit will multiply bountifully.

 

Here’s to the 1st year.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!
Happy to connect with others sharing the Good News #WordsWithWinter #LifeGivingLinkup

,

It’s All In Your Mind

Thoughts running rampant,

Thoughts running free,

Headed for disaster,

Can’t catch me.

 

Thought

 

This is what my ego scream when it tosses toxic thoughts in the air of my mind. The thoughts catch wind and drift, sail, free fall and course freely through my stream of consciousness.

 

But God.

 

He calms the wind. He calms the seas. When our minds are staid on Him, He keeps us in perfect peace.

 

He teaches me to ARREST the thoughts on the spot. He reminds me that those imaginations must bow down to the Truth. He reminds me I have the power to take every thought captive and make it obey Him.

 

Minute by minute I must renew my mind. As the ego seeks to feed and preserve its selfish longings, I must continue to flex my spiritual muscle, strengthening the inner man. This is metanoia.

 

Metanoia μετάνοια, ας, ἡ

To change one’s heart and life by the renewing of the mind.   When used most frequently in the bible, it is translated as the word repentance. But its connotation runs much deeper. Not only does it mean to have sorrow and turn away from, even more so it means a conversion, a changing of the inner man.

 

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:1-2

 

Because I am a Believer, the mind that is in me is the mind of Christ (Phil 2:5).

 

Like the leaves that are now changing color here in the Northeast, the pigments of yellow, red, and orange have been there the whole time. But it takes changes in the environment to ignite changes in the leaves. The same can be said for the transformation of the mind. As a Believer who has the mind of Christ, His thoughts, His pure, true, lovely, praiseworthy thoughts are in my mind. But I must call them forward. And I do that by continuing to strengthen my inner man. I do that by reading and hearing the Word. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

 

So when my mind screams:

~You coach countless parents but your own children are acting up

~You’re doing all this working out. And for what? You’ve still got that roll on your back.

~Everyone around you is prospering and growing. What’s wrong with you?

~You can’t speak on that topic with authority because you don’t have the credentials.

~You’ve tried before in business and failed. This time won’t be any different.

~God why are you doing this to me right now? I can’t take another thing!

 

I must effect change like the leaves turning their vibrant hues and reply with:

~My children honor their parents for it is the first commandment with a promise.

~My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and I will glorify God in my body which is His.

~I rejoice with those that rejoice. I do not covet. His promises are Yes and Amen for what He has already reserve with my name on it.

~The Holy Spirit has come upon me and I have received power. Now I can go and be your witness in the sphere of influence You’ve given me.

~When I obey You shall make my way prosperous and I shall be a good success.

~Lord I thank you for equipping me for every good work.  Through it all you’ve never left nor forsaken me.

 

Like Jesus responding to temptation in the wilderness, I must stand on the Word. Click To Tweet

 

I see myself having been raised with Christ. I set my mind on things above and am not consumed by temporal things that soon fade away. I see the beauty of the kingdom of heaven here at hand. I put to death my selfish ambitions and seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

 

So join me in the sacred space of metanoia where the inner man is transformed by the renewing of the mind. It’s All In Your Mind. There is definitely a war being waged friends, and you know where that battle is taking place: The Battlefield of the Mind. But we are fully equipped in our armor and will stand steadfast on the Solid Rock.

 

I am victorious!

 

You are victorious!

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Photo Credit
Happy to connect with these friends sharing the Good News Grace&Truth, #DanceWithJesus

,

It’s Not Easy Being Green

“It’s not easy being green” is actually the thing that immediately jumps into my consciousness when I think of the word GREEN. Kermit The Frog sang that line. One of my fondest childhood memories is playing my Sesame Street album on my box record player. Oh the joys of childhood…But I digress.

 

sesame street record player

 

In my early teens my father took a painting class. He explained to me the different emotions color invokes. Green conjures feelings of balance, growth, stability, harmony, fertility, renewal and restoration Click To Tweet. He went on to show me company logos that used green and he pointed out how often green is used in hospitals to promote renewal and healing.

 

Just think of how much of our planet is covered in green. To me the color speaks LIFE. So when I embarked on a journey over a year ago to create the logo for my personal brand, I KNEW it had to be predominately green.

 

Inspired Life

 

Inspired Life

 

Where hearts are inspired to live fully spirit, mind and body, by delightfully obeying God, embracing the now moment and honoring the temple through proper nourishment, rest and exercise.

 

YES.

 

GREEN.

 

You shall live and not die

 

You shall have the abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10

 

You are fully of energy and vitality

 

You are a tree planted by rivers of living water whose leaf does not wither

 

You are at peace and in harmony with the universe

 

You are rooted and grounded in Him

 

You abide in God and bear much fruit

 

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Revelation 22:1-2

 

While the cares of the world craftily draw our attention away from green and all that in invokes, I encourage you today to embrace that it IS indeed easy being green. We just have to be intentional about being green, seeing green, embracing green.

 

Connect with your green today.

 

pond2

 

follow the path

 

Pence Pond 1

 

It is easy being green.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Delighted to connect with others sharing on the word GREEN @ #FiveMinuteFriday

Prayer: The Default Mode

When beginning a word a document, I defer to the settings already established. I rarely change the margins, spacing or font. I go right in and get to work! When I am confronted with any life situation or circumstance, I want my prayer life to mirror how I begin a document; I go in and get right to praying.

 

Instead of focusing on what’s not right about the situation or person, how I could change or fix it or complain about it, just get RIGHT to praying. And while that is my frequent mode of operating, it isn’t quite my DEFAULT mode yet, but I’m working on it.

 

The Lord crashed this into my consciousness the other day, as I was texting a friend about what someone had done to me. As the chain of texts grew in length, the Lord gentle whispered, “Have you talked to ME about the situation yet?”

 

Ah, I hadn’t. So it made me aware that my mode was to sort through my feelings then pray. That’s when the Lord said to me, Prayer: The Default Mode. I’ve heard my Pastor John K. Jenkins say many times, “You turn to other before you turn to God.” And when he says that, I nod my head in agreement, “Mmm-Hmm they sure do. Running to complain to someone else. Talk to God first”, is what I utter under my breath about THOSE people.

 

Well excuse me Miss; you would be one of those people too. Oh no, not Tyra. Well sorry to burst your bubble Little Miss, but yes, that would be you. No you don’t usually call to talk to someone about it but you do engage in dialogue in your head on how you’ll fix the person, what you’ll say to him or her and how you’ll say it. All before talking to God first.

 

But I’m recalibrating. I’m tweaking the settings. Now it will look like:

 

Prayer: The Default Mode

 

So how does one make prayer the default mode?

 

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2 Click To Tweet

 

By praying: praying in faith, praying with a clean heart, praying in alignment with His will, praying with thanksgiving and praying without ceasing.

 

Like Nike says, Just Do It!

 

For those who are recently establishing a consistent prayer life, there are recommended models of prayer to help get you into the habit and routine of praying. Years ago I was in a ministry meeting and we were told to pair up and pray. Well the person I was next to was uncomfortable with praying especially aloud as she had come from a Catholic background. So let’s take some of the mysticism out of prayer and make it accessible to all.

 

Jesus himself provides a perfect model of prayer in The Lord’s Prayer

 

In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come.

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts,

As we forgive our debtors.

And do not lead us into temptation,

But deliver us from the evil one.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Matthew 6:9-13

 

Here are two similar models.

 

PRAY

Praise

Repent

Ask

Yield

 

ACTS

Acknowledge

Confess

Thank

Supplication (ask for what is needed)

 

For those with a vibrant, fervent prayer life, keep the fire burning. Are you writing down your prayers? Are you recording the testimonies of answered prayers? Do you have a prayer partner? Are you praying without ceasing?

 

Pray without ceasing.

1 Thessalonians 5:17

 

And what I’m personally working on here lately is making my prayer more specific. For example a daily prayer of mine for my children is that they will continue to grow in wisdom and in stature, in favor with God and with man. Ok great, praying the scriptures over my children. But what does that look like real time? How can I make that even more specific? My specific prayer last week was, “Lord, I thank you for my first born. You’ve given her a spirit of discernment. Let her couple that with the wealth of information she easily retains and empower her to apply it as wisdom when in situations with her friends as school. Let her be a leader among her peers leading them in paths of righteousness for your namesake. Let her find favor among the teachers and administrators to be selected for special projects, tasks and programs in which she can shine bright for you. Thank you for ordering her steps as she walks out your plans for her future and hope.”

 

I also pray all throughout the day. It begins from the moment I awake. Every morning I awake with a song on my heart. I sing the song in my head, and then I pray specifically related to whatever the song was talking about. Then I read my morning devotions and pray and listen for what they Lord has to communicate with me that morning. Then as I’m driving I continue to pray. Mid-morning prayers, lunchtime prayers, homework time prayers (thank you Jesus for modeling patience) and evening prayers. Then one of my most special times of prayer, shower time prayers. The Lord just really seems to show up in the shower.

 

Indeed, praying without ceasing.

 

And they include all types of prayers. Prayers of thanksgiving, petition, supplication, intercession, pleas, repentance and more.

 

Two excellent new resources out now on prayer are:

 

The Battle Plan for Prayer

Fervent

 

As automatic as breathing is how I want my prayer life to be. To flow effortlessly from my heart… Click To Tweet

 

As you draw near to Him in prayer, He’ll continue to draw nearer to you.

 

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,

To all who call upon Him in truth.

Psalm 145:18

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Photo Credit
Happy to connect with others sharing the Good News Grace&Truth #DanceWithJesus

,

Good Health Is A Choice

Do you believe your current state of health is within your control?

 

There are those who would say no. Diabetes runs in my family. High blood pressure runs in my family. Cancer runs in my family.

 

There are those who straddle the fence and think well….hereditary and genetic factor do contribute to my health but maybe I can do a little something.

 

And finally there are those who know that their health is in their hands.

 

Possessing good health is a choice. It is God’s desire that you be in good health and prosper even as your soul prospers. And while we pray many prayers for healing, it is His desire to keep us from sickness and disease.

 

He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”

Exodus 15:26

 

But it is up to us to choose. We cannot serve two masters.

 

And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Joshua 24:15

 

And this includes choosing Him with our food choices. When it comes to food, will we serve the God of the Universe or the god of our taste buds? Click To Tweet

 

Every food choice we make either adds to or detracts from our health Click To Tweet; a deposit or withdrawal, an investment or a loss, an advancement of health or a reversal. There is no food neutral.

Honoring the temple is a choice. And when faced with options, we constantly have to weigh and choose.

 

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live Deuteronomy 30:19

 

Because my body is the temple where the Holy Spirit resides, I try to make choices that will honor my temple. But choosing well is not always easy. But the Lord is faithful. He’s given me a system that I can commit to and seems to work well for me. I have a smoothie for breakfast (sometimes I have oatmeal if I’m going to have an intense workout); I have salad for lunch and a well-balanced, nutrient dense dinner. But there are times when I don’t choose well. I’ve given myself a little wiggle room purely for indulgence. I follow the 85/15 rule. 85% of the time I attempt to eat clean, nourishing whole food and the other 15% well….And even in granting myself that grace, I try not to overdo it. I’ve also come to know the importance of identifying and heading off triggers for eating poorly. If I’m stressed, overwhelmed or haven’t eaten and go to a place where unhealthy food is being served I’m apt to slip. That’s why we have to be proactive in warding off the slips by knowing our triggers.

 

And guess what? Last night I slipped. I ate 3 chocolate chip cookies. That was a huge indulgence for me. And I know why I ate them. It was totally a case of emotional eating. I was tired, not feeling well and just wanted comfort. Oh friends, that I would turn to CHRIST not cookies for comfort the next time. We can do ALL things through Christ who gives us strength if we just look to Him.

 

Having the right information is just one step in helping you make better choices. Check out these posts for tips on choosing the right foods:

 

Healthy Eating On The Go

Get Them To Eat Right

10 Keys Eating Right

 

Coupled with the right information is then exercising our will and making the right choice.

 

“Every person has free choice. Free to obey or disobey the Natural Laws. Your choice determines the consequences. Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.”

~Alfred A. Montapert

 

I stand here in your RaRa section, cheering you on as you choose well. Good health is a choice.

 

As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

 

Photo Credit

Lift Up Your Head

As I was driving the other day, I saw a man walking with His head slung so low, he looked like the headless horseman. It immediately made me think, “LIFT UP YOUR HEAD!”

 

 

Lift up your heads, O you gates!

And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!

And the King of glory shall come in.

Psalm 24:7

 

Then I began thinking about various trials I have faced this year; things that could have caused me to hang my head low, things that could have caused me to believe that the King of Glory was nowhere in the vicinity.

 

But God! Through it all He was indeed the lifter of my head.

 

Lift up your heads, O you gates!

Lift up, you everlasting doors!

And the King of glory shall come in.

Psalm 24:9

 

Mentioned twice nearly back to back in this chapter so God wants you to get this. These verses were most likely sung by the choir as the ark was carried into the temple.

 

Let it be your song too friend. Do not be disheartened. Do not be dismayed. While the trials you face may be difficult, while we see our world being ravaged by darkness, death and destruction, be of good cheer. The kingdom of God is at hand. Lift up your head.

 

“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

Luke 21:25-28

 

Just as the gates were lifted and flung open to receive the King of Glory, lift your head, and open your heart to receive ALL that Jesus brings when he comes into your midst.

 

When Jesus comes into the atmosphere He brings:

 

Hope

Healing

Deliverance

Liberty

Favor

Blessing

Love

Joy

Peace

Security

 

Friends it is not enough to just welcome Him into the door of your home but you’ve also got to… Click To Tweet Allow Him to walk through every crack, crevice and recessed corner of your heart. Even the Pharisee welcomed Jesus into their home, but a true disciple welcomes Him into their heart.

 

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.

Revelation 3:20

 

So lift up your heads and open your hearts, for the King of Glory stands at the gate, ready to enter.

 

Will you receive Him today?

 

As always, I pray that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!