Transformed Warrior

Transformed Warrior

All these were descendants of Asher—heads of families, choice men, brave warriors and outstanding leaders. 1 Chronicles 7:40

I saw an interesting question from a friend on Facebook today and it had me thinking of the perspective of everything I read. The question was: 

“Men, what are your thoughts about reading books by women? 

There was more to her question but that one sentence stopped me to think when was the last time I heard a man recommend a book written by a female author. 

Then I started asking myself what perspective do I read the books from? Whether I am reading a self-improvement book, Christian living, leadership or the bible, how I identify with the author can dictate how much I buy into the ability for me to have the transformation promised in the book. 

Early on in my married life I would read Danielle Steele novels, I was hooked, I would sit and read a complete book in one sitting. This did absolutely nothing for the upkeep of my home. I began to feel guilty after arguing with my husband over why the house was so trashed. So I would barter with myself, I can read a chapter after I clean up the breakfast dishes, I can read another chapter after I start a load of laundry and dust, I can start another chapter after I clean the bathrooms. The house was getting cleaned my husband was not happy but a little more satisfied. I was miserable, being jerked back to the reality of snotty noses, baby diapers, fixing dinner, and cleaning…. None of the characters in the stories I read had to put up with this. Why couldn’t my husband be like the romantic love interest in the story I was reading?

See, when you read a book, any book it has the ability to transform you and transport you to another place and time, but when you stop reading you are still right back where you were when you started unless you are moved to action. 

Why did those Danielle Steele novels speak to me? Because she was a woman writing about the things many women long for, but very seldom talk about. However, I cannot tell you one man I know of that has read a Danielle Steele novel. There are very few that will admit they have read Emily Dickens or Maya Angelou. 

All my life I have been told that the Bible is THE LIVING BREATHING WORD of GOD, as much as I believe that today when my friend asked that question I began to think there are some ways that I feel the Bible does NOT apply to me as a woman. I was feeling a little uninspired as I began flipping through the Bible reading about Warriors and I came across 1 Chronicles 7:40 All these were descendants of Asher—heads of families, choice men, brave warriors and outstanding leaders. 

When you read that as a woman, first thing I notice it says is “Choice Men”. I was about to be dismissive of the verse and go on searching for something more along the lines of what I wanted to read about. 

Please tell me I am not the only one who does this? 

But anyway as I began to move on I felt God tell me to wait. 

Asking me how could there be so many descendants of Asher without women? 

It said these men were heads of families, that means they had women who handled everything while they were away at war. 

It said they were choice men, choice men only associated with choice women. 

Brave warriors you know what I am going to come back to this point….

Outstanding leaders, one thing I know for sure is outstanding leaders raise everyone around them to be outstanding as well. 

Going back to Brave Warriors, as a veteran, who is married to a veteran, I will tell you it is very difficult to serve during a time of war, I would never minimize the warrior mentality of a service member in the field. However, as a mom of a service member, and daughter of a police officer I also know that it takes a warrior mindset for those of us at home while our loved ones are serving on the battlefield. 

Yet when I read this scripture there was even more that He whispered to me. That there are many women, maybe you are one of them who are standing strong as the head of their home. Women who are Choice women, and brave warriors and outstanding leaders. 

In a verse that has over a dozen words, I was letting one small word disqualify the whole sentence and how it applied to me. What if instead I stopped and asked God to reveal to me how He wants me to see His word, and even more how He wants me to apply his word.

Funny thing, when I was done reading the Bible today, I was not snapped back to the reality I started with, like when I read those empty romance novels. Instead I was transformed with a new warrior mindset by a God that loves me and knows me more intimately than any author could ever write about. 

Let’s be mindful of what we are feeding our minds, our bodies and our souls so that we can be transformed from the inside out by our heavenly father. 

Questions to Ponder:

  1. What are you reading?
  2. How is it moving you closer to or further away from your purpose? 
  3. Do you have a Warrior Mindset? 

Participate, Don’t Anticipate!

Participate, Don’t Anticipate!

“If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can do is to be present in the present. Gratefully.”  ~ Maya Angelou

As human beings, we all tend to forget about the present moment, because we are too busy trying to control everything. And why do we do this? Some of us do it because we have stored away fears from things that happened in the past. Others constantly try to anticipate what the future holds, and we believe that if we control and plan everything, then what lies ahead will be better that what we left behind.

In truth, this kind of thinking is not all our fault. We have been conditioned from early childhood to anticipate – We look forward to our birthdays. We anticipate Santa Claus coming for months as kids. We can’t wait to get our driver’s licenses as teens. We want to hurry up and graduate from high school. We can’t wait to be all grown up. We are so engaged with thinking about what comes next that we don’t participate in the “NOW.”

As wives and mothers, we are driven to look ahead. We don’t want our children to make the same mistakes we made. We want our husbands to succeed. We dream about the future our kids will have. We ignore the blessings of the present. We dwell on the bad things that can or did happen. We have expectations of how we perceive things ought to be and when they’re not, we are disappointed.

If we are always unavailable to the present moment, then we will most definitely miss out on all of the opportunities offered to us today. Of course, living in the moment is easier said than done. Our human frailties cause us to want to plan! We want to control the whole kit and caboodle that we call life! We think we can anticipate the good, the bad and the ugly. We are by nature, organizers!

However, in reality, God is the one true controller of our lives. No amount of worry, planning, organizing, wishing or hoping will change what God has planned for us. Our walk toward Heaven should be the only focus of anticipation that we have. His miracle for us in the here and now is to live in the moment. To enjoy our children and grandchildren. To love to the fullest. To eat that cake! To dance in the rain! To laugh out loud!

A million missed moments can never be reclaimed. Give yourself permission to be grateful for the harmony and splendor that surrounds you today and every day. These are God’s gifts. He brings us hope in the dark, and He grants us a new opportunity to become a happier version of ourselves each morning.

“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.” ~ Earl Nightingale

To discover more about how to participate in life, tune in to Warrior Divas Episode 18 now available at www.divasimpact.com/podcast.

Pumpkin Torte Cake

Pumpkin Torte Cake

We all love fall and we love all things PUMPKIN! So this is a recipe a friend gave to me many years ago, and it’s easy and delicious.

PUMPKIN TORTE CAKE
1 can pumpkin                                                                
1 can evaporated milk
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
¾ tsp Pumpkin Spice  
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon                                                       
1 cup walnuts                                                 
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick butter

Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar and spices together. Pour into 9×13 pan sprayed with non-stick veg. oil. Sprinkle cake mix over top and crumble walnuts over top. Melt butter and pour over top. Bake at 325 for about one hour. Check with toothpick or knife. If it comes out clean, it is done. If not, cook about 15 more minutes or so. Serve with whipped cream. Delicious!

What Are You Hiding?

What Are You Hiding?

Most of us have “stuff” in our past that we keep tucked away, because we are afraid of what others will think of us. We create different masks for different situations in order to hide things from people that we don’t want them to know about us. Why do we do this? For protection. For acceptance. To avoid being judged.

We all have those past memories that need to be expunged and healed. In short, we need to learn how to deal with and forgive whatever or whoever hurt us. Henry Ward Beecher wrote, “I will forgive, but I will not forget” is just another way of saying, “I don’t want to forgive”. Ask yourself if this is what you have been doing? Distasteful and troubling memories can take hold of your soul and hamper your ability to move forward to become your best self.

How many times have you said “I’m fine or it’s fine” when someone asks you what’s wrong? I’ve done it a million times over the years. But that is a mask – a lie really. A mask to cover up my real feelings, because in truth, I don’t like conflict. I think this is something I started doing as a kid. My brother was always getting into to trouble and in my mind, making my dad sad. I decided I needed to be the “Good Kid” and just do everything right. I had his teachers after him, so I had to prove to them that I wasn’t like my brother, because they always pre-judged me since I was his sister. That was a heavy load to carry for a little kid, and it carried on through high school.

Looking back now, I understand that a great deal of my brother’s behavior stemmed from the fact that my mother left my father when I was just three and he was barely five. I imagine both of us never forgave her for that, and we sure didn’t understand why she left. And through the years, our dad never said a bad word about her. It wasn’t until my dad’s death, and my grandmother’s death that I found letters that explained why they divorced. And it made it even harder for me to forgive her.

What an impact that had on our lives! I missed having a “normal” family and often felt inferior because my parents were divorced. Still, the lesson I learned was that family is everything. My children and my grandchildren mean the world to me. But that doesn’t lessen the damage to my own self-worth. That doesn’t negate the fact that I have constructed masks to protect myself. I grew up feeling inferior because I did not have a complete family.

We all want to feel like we have value. We want to feel like we are important. We want people to pay attention to us. And, we want to help others. We have an innate desire for love and association with our peers. If you find yourself in the dark, look to the Lord for hope and inspiration. Shed your mask and be honest with yourself and others. You might discover that there are others who feel exactly like you Maybe they have had the same experiences as you. Maybe they are wearing the same mask as you!

To learn more about the masks you might be hiding behind, tune into Warrior Divas Episode 17 available at www.divasimpact.com/podcast.

Summer is Over!

Summer is Over!

With the end of summer, comes the start of the school year. For most families, that means juggling work and school with sports and cheer and scouts and church, dental appointments and music lessons, along with all the extra-curricular activities that come with raising a family and maintaining a job. Gosh, I’m already tired after writing all of that!

My children are grown now with families of their own, but looking back, I sometimes wonder how I managed to get everything done, get everybody where they needed to be on time, maintain my house and my job, and still make time for my marriage and our friends. I listen to my kids now and wonder how they manage to balance all of the day to day demands on their busy lives. And it seems to me that they are much busier today than I ever was. They have play dates and STEM Camps and after-school activities and swimming and choir and on and on.

Don’t misunderstand, I am a firm believer in keeping kids busy. Busy, happy kids don’t have time to get into trouble. My kids were busy with after-school activities, year book, newspaper, dance team, football, and whatever else they decided to do. And once they had cars, they had to have jobs through the summer to pay for their own gas. I think we instilled the value of work and the value of a dollar into them, and I believe they felt good about themselves and their accomplishments.

Before my children were in school, I was lucky enough to be a stay-at-home mom. I felt it was important for me to be there for all of their firsts, to bond with them, to teach them, to love them. And I do not, for one second, regret giving up my job working at an airline. I knew I couldn’t devote my time to that job and to them. I knew my husband was busy trying to make it in the corporate world. I knew they needed a stable environment to learn and grow.

But, times change and there came a day when I needed to get back to work to help out with the family expenses. We wanted the kids to have “everything” they wanted, and we wanted to buy a home for them to grow up in and bring their friends to. And we did. We did it all, but it was not easy. Along the way, we made mistakes − we were too busy, too tired, too emotional, and sometimes, even resentful.

My husband and I had to learn how to manage that “OH NO” moment. We had to learn how to delegate responsibilities to the kids. In doing so, they learned how to do laundry, do dishes, and even clean their rooms! They learned to pick up after themselves and take pride in their home. My husband and I also needed to learn how to rely on one another. If he worked late, I took over. If I worked late, he took over.

Balancing work, school and family – it can be difficult. There are a myriad of moments when you just feel out of control. You feel like your life is running you instead of you running your life. Sometimes you just have to stop, take a deep breath and relax. Remember that you are more than a parent. You are also a wife and both of you need a social life together. Reward yourself and have some fun!

I always made sure that we had dinner together. That was steadfast and unbreakable. Boy if that table could talk! There were absolutely no subjects considered off-limits. That table was where we engaged, laughed, cried and loved one another. Those moments were priceless! And I wouldn’t trade them for all the money in the world. Rule number one – the television was off so we could all talk about the day. This was a moment in time to relax, exhale and just enjoy one another. Balance if you will!

You don’t have to be perfect. You can and should ask for help if you need it. Learn how to say no when you need to. Make time for fun. And above all else, remember that you are only human and sometimes, we don’t always get it right. But even with all of our flaws, if we instill the right values and family traditions into our kids, they will be OKAY and so will you! And if you have handled the hustle and bustle of everyday living (the work, life, school balance) half way right, your children will likely carry those same traditions on with their own kids.

To learn more about Planning and Executing Work, School and Life Flow tune into Warrior Divas Episode 16 available Online at www.divasimpact.com/podcast.

Follow Your Dreams

Follow Your Dreams

As humans, we all have dreams. We dream of all the things we want to accomplish; we dream about the men we will marry and the perfect lives we’ll build together. The perfect house, the perfect kids, the perfect dog, the perfect job … and on and on. And we have a nagging dream of something we really want to accomplish.

But we don’t always have the same idea or plan that God has for us. Jeremiah 29:11 NLT says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” So what does that mean for you? It means that along the way, you think you have all the answers, but you really don’t. The twists and turns of your life are really in God’s hands.

As wives and mothers, we tend to put our lives on hold for our husband’s career and our children. We forget about our own hopes and dreams. I remember when I first got married, and I was just going to be the “Little woman in an apron,” and then become a stay-at-home mom. But that became old really quick, because as much as I loved my husband and my kids, I needed something more to really fulfill my life.

How could I be an inspiration to myself, my husband or my children? So my husband joined the Jaycees, and I joined the Jaycee Wives. And before I knew it, I became the President of the Jaycee Wives and the head of the Rose Arts Queen’s Pageant in our town of Norwich, Connecticut. We got involved with our community. I got involved with the school system and set up programs for kids with special needs. We got involved with Head Start for disadvantaged children. I was happy! I felt like I was making a difference.

But, as we all know, God has different ideas than we do. We had to move for my husband’s job. Wow! Everything I had accomplished just went out the window. I’d like to think that some of the programs I set up there continued on, but I really have no idea. So now, it was time for me to get back into the moment of family first. But, I knew there were still more dreams, more wants, another comeback for me somewhere down the road.

I’m sure many of you have been in that place. In a season of needing to take care of your family first, but still feeling like you needed to accomplish something more. You know the saying, “Patience is a virtue?” And trust me, it is! But this is the time when we have to trust in God’s plan, take baby steps toward what we want to accomplish and have faith that one day, we will walk in our purpose.

Ask yourself today what is your purpose? What comeback is God walking you toward? Do you have a true mission for your life? Are you running on knee jerk reactions or actually working with uniform, planned out strategies for where you want to go?

For me, I ended up owning and operating an advertising agency in Dallas doing what I loved. I had a plan, I found a way to make it happen, and I had many years of loving what I was purposed to do. I showed my kids that their dreams could come true too. I took a leap of faith, I listened to God’s plan, and I had my comeback.

But, as life and luck would have it, that would not be the end of my story. And it isn’t the end to your story either. To understand more about making your comeback and living your dreams, tune into Warrior Divas, Real Talk for Real Women, Episode 15 at www.divasimpact.com/podcast.