Everyone is a Winner!

My son's baseball team finished their last game of the season. As we gathered outside to hear the final game analysis from the coach, one of the players piped in.  "Where are our trophies?", He asked. The coach explained trophies are given to the first and second place team only. Our hardworking little team was in last place so there would be no trophy. With confused and disappointed looks on their faces, it was obvious to me these kids had become accustomed to participation trophies. In a society where everyone wants to be a winner, this got me thinking.  "Where in the world can we honestly say, EVERYONE is a winner?"   
And just as quickly as the question came, the answer came. JESUS!  With Jesus, everyone wins! Jesus loves and accepts the poor, needy, tired, broken, sick, hurting, lonely, addicted, abandoned, orphaned, last place people in the world. When the world looks at these people and says we don't want you, Jesus says "come to me." When we come to him, we win a prize bigger, brighter and better than any trophy made by man. In fact, the prize we win is salvation. Since Jesus does not discriminate, salvation is freely given to anyone who sincerely wants it. Salvation in Christ guarantees us a place with our heavenly father when our earthly bodies fade away. Imagine a perfect, sinless place with no evil, pain, sorrow, suffering or sickness . Imagine a place where there is only abundant love, joy and peace with riches aplenty.  Behold heaven, the land of milk and honey with streets of gold, a far more glorious place than we could ever imagine here on earth! The best part of heaven is that your soul will live there for eternity with your maker.  If this was your guarantee, why would you not take it?  


Your Insightful Life
Is heaven your destination? If you are unsure, take a leap of faith today and "win the prize which Christ Jesus has called us heavenward" Phil 3:14. By turning to Christ in faith and trusting in Jesus alone for your salvation, God's promise is yours, "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life" John 3:36. 


Prayer
Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins. I ask forgiveness for my sins and receive you as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for giving me the gift of eternal life. I want to turn and live a new life with you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Jesus. Amen
 

Redefining Mother's Day

In a recent discussion, a question to Moms (of school-age children) came up. "What do you most want for Mother's Day?" Answers varied from gardening, catching up on sleep, watching a marathon of shows, staying in bed, going to a hotel solo, and having a housekeeper for a day. There were a variety of responses, but none of them said they desired to be with extended family, go to a buffet, be in a frenzy of activity all day, or even get flowers. Most of what I heard was, "For one day, I want some time to myself."  

A friend of mine in my small group bible study encouraged me last year. She said her Mom told her "Mother's Day is for you, spend it any way you want. You have earned it." Her mother graciously conveyed, we can celebrate Mother's Day on a different day. My mind was blown. You see, I have an old program in my mind telling me I have to do Mother's Day the same way year after year. Well, guess what? I have officially deleted that program and have installed a new one! Welcome Mother's Day version 2.0, which offers mamas choices and options! Whoo hoo, go ahead and celebrate ladies as you too can get this FREE upgrade on your special day! 

After much prayer and counsel, I realized it's okay for me to celebrate Mother's Day anyway I choose. I will lovingly honor the various "mothers" in my life on another day. I have learned over the years that anytime I go to do something (to give my time or talents), it needs to be for fun and for free. Meaning, I can't give to anyone or anything if it's laced with resentment. That is not being true to who I am. Like all of us, sometimes I feel my life is flying by 100 miles an hour. I need a day that permits me to spend it authentically. For me, that is slowing down and letting myself soak up all the beauty of life, whatever that looks like from year to year. I feel confident as my young children age, my idea of what Mother's Day looks like will change as well. For now, a simple day with my hubby and kids in conjunction with time set aside to be my own company sounds perfect!
Psalm 37:4 "Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart."
Your Insightful Life:
What type of Mother's Day do you truly desire? Can you be true to yourself and lovingly honor your family members as well? Take time to pray, write and reflect on where you are at this stage in your life as a mom.  Then practice setting an intention to do things differently the next holiday.  
Prayer:
God, thank you for making me a mother!  I appreciate the immense responsibility, time and effort it requires to care for and love my children well.  They are a blessing!  I pray that I may also take time to nurture my desires and take care of myself.  I pray that I may take a day to fill my cup with your love, wisdom, rest and a few simple pleasures. In Jesus name, Amen. 
 

The Desires of Your Heart

Two years ago I heard a sermon at church about art. My pastor said God reveals himself through creation with the use of art. This really struck a chord with me. In 2008, I made a decision to only teach Yoga and Pilates and forego my life as a dancer. Leaving this world behind has been good in many ways, but I realized I felt a longing of some sort . I began to pray regularly about the feelings I had. If this was God's plan for me to get connected to an artistic community, I needed Him to make it clear. 

One  month later, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art contacted me about creating a new program called Itty bitty Art: Yoga. We scheduled a time to meet and discuss details.  I met with three lovely ladies who were a part of the education department. There were several ideas and thoughts bouncing from one person to the next. I learned the purpose of my teaching would be to integrate an overall thematic from the artwork and weave it into a yoga practice for parents and babies. So when she nonchalantly said I was able to select a gallery of choice, (one that inspired me), I knew this was an answer to prayer. With my heart racing, I visualized myself teaching yoga surrounded by beautiful, authentic artwork.  I also learned I could promote my classes/teachings from PerfectFit to anyone who attended my classes at Amon Carter.  FYI- this is rare in the world I work in. Usually, cross promotion of your business is not aloud, so the potential of new students and exposure in the art community was a huge bonus! When I thought it couldn't get any better, we decided to do a photo shoot to create educational materials for the attendees of my classes. I silently squealed as photo shoots are something I LOVE to do. We finished the meeting with the proposed salary. I must have responded with a jaw drop, as it's the most I've been paid per class by another business! With a huge smile on my face, feeling humble and grateful, I gladly accepted this job!

God will meet the desires of your heart but it takes prayer, faithfulness and obediently walking with Him. He answered my prayer above and beyond what I was able to imagine, gifting me in ways I never expected. We are his children and as our Heavenly Father, He lavishes his love upon us freely. Only God could have orchestrated this dream to come true for me!

Your Insightful Life

Scripture tells us in Psalm 20:4, "May he grant your heart's desires and make all your plans succeed." Reflect. Do you believe God wants to meet the desires of your heart? What are some ways you have seen your plans succeed because of his great love and faithfulness towards you?

Prayer

Dear Lord, You answer prayer as you see fit. I pray that I can align myself to your will so I can do the things you set before me. Although I may not be granted all my heart's desires, I trust you will bless me with the ones that put me on a path to success for your kingdom causes.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Navigating Life with Difficult People

Do you ever wish the difficult people in your life would magically disappear? I know I have. Let's face it; relationships can be challenging at best. Whether its family, co-workers, neighbors, (whoever comes to mind) there is a way to maintain inner peace and not let them get the best of you. Did you know challenging people are often our greatest spiritual teachers? So let's take an opportunity to learn from them and positively respond. 
As Christians, there are three virtues to bind to our hearts when dealing with difficult people, Grace, forgiveness, and love. I remember learning this in a biblical counseling class years ago.  Although it was challenging to implement at first (I was sure my difficult person(s) were a unique case), extending grace, forgiveness, and love was life-changing for me!  Let's take a closer look. 
•    Grace- Let's look at grace as getting what we don't deserve or unmerited favor. God extends grace to all followers of Christ regardless of their sin. With this example, we can do the same for others. Grace means you can look beyond the mistakes and wrongdoing of others by acknowledging they are a sinner who needs Christ. Just like we all do. In fact, the greatest biblical example of grace is the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. (John 1:14).
•    Forgiveness- We forgive because the Lord forgave us. (Col. 3:13). Even if the person whom you believe was in the wrong never makes direct amends, you can still forgive. Having a spirit of forgiveness is a personal choice, releasing the bondage of anger, bitterness, and resentment. It's important to realize we do it for us, not for the other person. We find freedom mentally, spiritually and emotionally when choose to forgive. Try praying this daily, "Bless ________(person's name) and change my heart Lord," for 30 days.  Watch what happens!
•    Love- When dealing with difficult people, it may seem natural to want to withdraw your love and affection. The bible is clear we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. (Leviticus 19:18). Detaching with love is a simple tool to remove yourself from a difficult person or situation. With healthy boundaries set in place, you can have a relationship without having to sever it. Detaching with love may look like sending a card to someone on their birthday rather than going to their home for celebratory dinner. The gesture is warm and kind, without physically putting yourself in proximity to the challenging person. Technology is terrific for practicing detachment with love.  Some simple ideas include sending texts with scripture, sending photos of a recent milestone, or posting an interesting article on someone's social media page. The point is to keep it short, positive and uplifting, without having to physically engage.  
Practicing grace, forgiveness, and love may not come quickly. With practice, it can be an automatic response to difficult people in your life. Pray for the courage, willingness, and strength to apply. Difficult people will always be present in your life; it is up to you to develop a new way of dealing with them.  
Your Insightful Life
Is there a challenging relationship in your life? Pray and ask God to help your manifest grace, forgiveness, and love towards them. Prayerfully, do this for two weeks and see if your heart towards them softens.  
Prayer
Father God, we know you created us for relationships, from the simple to the challenging. Help us to see difficult relationships as an opportunity to be more like you Jesus.  As we extend grace, forgiveness, and love, may it become a natural response to our spirits. Thank you for always extending these virtues to us as we walk with you daily.  
 

Speak the Truth in Love

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One of the most profound spiritual experiences I've had related to the way I spoke to my husband. Years ago, our marriage was in a deep, dark pit. I was extremely angry and felt the whole mess we were in was his fault. Typical of this time, a heated argument fired up. I began an enraged rant, pointing the finger and criticizing. After my tantrum, I shut myself off in our bedroom. I put on my crown of martyrdom while sobbing and pleading "Lord help me."  Within moments, I heard the continual chiming of a bell. Dumbfounded, I looked at my four-legged friend with his pricked ears, and head cocked. I realized my dog heard the chime too, so it wasn't my imagination. I looked around the room and spotted my bible on the nightstand and grabbed it. As the chiming continued, I felt lead to finding a passage relating to bells. I came upon the word "gong," in the passage 1 Corinthians 13:1. "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." As soon as I read the passage, the chiming stopped. I felt as if I had been hit by a ton of bricks as my eyes opened to my sin. The words I spoke to my husband were anything but loving, more like venom. As the scripture says, words without love come off as a "clanging cymbal," falling on deaf ears. I realized for my words to be heard, I needed heart change and repentance. Since that time, I discovered the bible is full of scripture regarding our speech. God cares about what comes out of our mouths. In fact, scripture tells us "out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45). Proverbs 16:24 says "Kind words are like honey-sweet to the soul and healthy for the body." For me, I imagine my words spoken in a calm and gentle voice as being sweet to my husband's soul and healthy for our marriage.  
Friends, this lesson goes beyond our spouses. It applies to our children, family members, and relationships. Our words have the power to build up or tear down. They can bless or curse. Have you ever listened to your tone of voice when speaking to your spouse or loved ones? Does it come from a place of loving kindness or gentleness? Or rather a place of anger, self-righteousness, or condemnation?  Do you speak with restraint or say everything that comes to mind? If any of this resonates, it is time to exam your heart and implement change.  


Your Insightful Life
Take time this week to hear yourself speak in regards to your spouse, children or any loved ones you encounter. What message does your tone, pitch, and body language convey? Become aware of your ability to lift up and encourage with your speech. Envision your words as being sweet, healthy gifts to bestow upon a loved one.  


Prayer
Dear Jesus,  thank you that your word reminds us the importance of speaking with love. Forgive me when I am speaking in anger or self-righteousness. I pray that I may employ opportunities to speak to those I care about with a gentle, kind and loving tone.  I pray that when I do, my words would be sweet to the ears that hear it.  In your name, Amen.
 

Your Body is a Temple-Part 2 of MInd/Body Health

Insightful Life- Mind, Body, Spirit

In my last blog, I revealed the truth about my health in my early 20's. During this time, I had two life-changing events. First, and most importantly, I gave my life to Christ. This opened the door to insurmountable hope, unconditional love, everlasting peace and boundless joy. Second, I discovered Yoga. Yoga opened my mind to receiving various healing therapies. Slowly (this is key), I began to implement life change.  I intended to be the healthiest version of myself possible. The journey has been challenging, hard, and often painful.  However, I see God has a better plan for my life, motivating me to move forward. Hear this truth; There is a better plan and path for each of us.  Jeremiah 28:11 validates this. "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."

I've had extensive training/certifications in yoga, Pilates, meditation, trauma/healing in movement therapy, mentoring and leadership, Christ-centered recovery, biblical lay counseling, and utilize a naturopathic approach to wellness. I believe true health is achieved in the realm of Mind, body, and spirit. Be mindful; this is not a comprehensive list but an excellent starting point. All of the suggestions below are with the assumption you're currently getting adequate rest and eating a healthy diet. 

Let's dive in and take a look!

Mind

·        Are you aware of your thinking? Awareness is the first step to making lasting changes in our thoughts. Guard against criticism, negativity, and judgment of yourself or others. Gratitude is the antidote to habitual negative thinking. Make a daily list of 5 things for which are grateful.

·        Affirm your life, health, and speak truth over your mind. Create statements that say "I am ____, or I have____ " Fill in the blank with peace, joy, love, health. The bible is full of scriptures that help us win the battle of the mind. Here are some of my favorites: 2 Timothy 1:7, 1 Corinthians 2:16, Romans 12:2. Tape them up where you can see them, carry them on note cards and memorize them. 

Body

·        Move your body for what season of life you are in now. There is a type of movement for everyone at every age and stage of our life. Group classes are great for accountability and community. Personal training helps with specific physical results, out-door power walks are great for nature lovers, and workout videos can be helpful for those with time constraints. Once you find what works for you, commit and stay consistent. There are no excuses not to move; in fact, we were divinely created to do so.

·        Practice Yoga. Those who consistently practice Yoga are doing their body a favor. There are dozens of types of yoga so find one that suits you. Regular Yoga practitioners age better, have fewer injuries, have decreased aging issues (i.e., arthritis or dementia), greater flexibility, better balance, less stress, sharper focus and memory, and sleep well. Yogis also have elevated self-awareness and are mindful, making it easier to encompass a mind, body, spirit approach to living.

Spirit

·        Pray- Be at one with God in Prayer. Prayers are the most powerful tool we have to connect ourselves to God.  You can pray anytime and as often as you like. Sometimes a prayer as simple as "help me God" or "thank you God " is sufficient.  If you are new to prayer, here are a few of my favorites.  The Serenity Prayer, St. Francis Prayer, The Lord's Prayer

·        Meditate- Prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening to God. God is in the still, quiet moments. There are a variety of ways to meditate. You can use scripture, affirmations (Philippians 4:8) , breathing, or moving meditations like walking in silence. This is a practice, so take time to explore it daily.  Start with a minimal amount of time (5 minutes) and gradually increase.  Setting a timer can be helpful so you can focus on the meditation. 

Finally, it's essential to remember lasting change happens gradually. I suggest you take one to two ideas off of this list (the ones that resonate with you most) and begin to implement them consistently.  Once you are regularly practicing your top two picks, then add another. Continue until you are working each of the above daily. Focus on progress, not perfection.  Do what you can and celebrate the victories.  Often, one small change leads to another.  Before you know it, you are building momentum and moving forward.   

Your Insightful Life

Now it is time to take action! Where are you going to dive in and start? Write down what tool you plan to pick up and implement.  Chart your progress as you go along, highlighting the successes. 

Prayer

Dear Lord, I am ready to make lasting change in my life.  I am prepared to look at my health regarding mind, body, and spirit. Please give me the willingness, strength, and courage to be successful in this new journey.  I want to take care of the temple you gave me.  In your name, I pray, Amen.  

 

 

Your Body is a Temple- Part 1 of Mind, Body, Health

Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? 1 CO 6:19

I haven't always treated my body with love, respect, and kindness. I haven't always spoken words of affirmation to myself, ate healthily, rested enough, or taken time to meditate and pray.  I haven't always exercised in a balanced way. Honestly, there was a time in my life when I abused the body God gave me. 

Let's start off with how I ate.  I had no boundaries with food. There were periods of time when I ate too much and purged or I restricted myself and ate hardly anything. Occasionally, I took diet pills and drank diet shakes instead of having a meal. I regularly ate processed, junk and fast food. I drank diet sodas and alcohol often and sometimes excessively. In essence, the things I put into my body were damaging. On top of that, my exercise regimen was extreme. I chose movement as a profession, so I worked out for hours at a time.  I was a dance instructor, taught fitness, and worked out at a gym. As a result, I felt as if I was running on fumes most days. 

Sadly, my mental state was not any better. I had little to no awareness of my thoughts. I was constantly berating myself with criticism, doubt and unkind words. I would not say to another person the things I used to say to myself. Looking back I see the irony of it all. My insides did not match my outsides. Meaning, what you saw in my appearance was a far cry from what was going on inside. I was the master of illusion and painstakingly wanted you to believe I had my life together. I was a 5 3' and weighed 105 lbs. I wore a size zero, was tan, blonde, dressed to impress, and always smiling. Only in this way, could I comfortably hide behind the mask of perfectionism.  

As for spirituality and a connection to God, I had none. The extent of my spirituality was reading a horoscope.  In all reality, I was an agnostic. I was not raised with any religious beliefs and I often sneered and made fun of those that had a belief system...especially Christians. For years, God tugged at my heart but I refused. Deep down inside I was often lonely even though I was in a relationship and had countless friends. Deep down inside there was a continuous longing for something more. I often wondered "Is this all there is to life?"

Fast forward two decades. Today, one of my greatest passions is guiding women to honor, love and respect the body God gave them. This takes a lot of courage, effort and focus on the individuals part. It takes awareness of the choices you are making and willingness to change and do things differently. I believe it is important to look at health and wellness in the terms of mind, body, spirit. A new year is a great time to focus on our health. I believe if we address health mentally, physically and spiritually then we can set ourselves up to thrive and do well. We can make and implement change that will last.   

I look forward to sharing a two-part series in January on Mind, Body and Spiritual health. This will be a simple, applicable "how to" in regards to honoring and loving the body and mind God gave you. Just thinking about this gets me super excited and hopeful! There is a better way to approaching health and wellness. All you need is a willing spirit and some new tools to put in your tool belt. I look forward to meeting up with you again and getting started on our first step to the BEST relationship you will ever have! The one with you! 

Seeking God First

Seeking God First

In 2010, I planned a wonderful vacation to Rosemary Beach in Florida, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. At the time, I had a 14-month-old son whom from the moment of his birth was very difficult. The everyday woes of motherhood were absolutely exhausting and way more demanding than I had ever expected.