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Re-alignment: 5 ways to stay motivated and back on track

shoes on sand

Shoes on sand
Image source: Unsplash

Losing motivation? It happens to all of us at times. But there are ways to keep moving forward, which means taking a hard look at your priorities this year. With the 3 P’s–prayer, preparation and planning–you can stay motivated all the way through whatever goal you’ve started, whether it’s getting fit and healthy, becoming debt-free, or traveling to a new country.

How?

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Blog, Faith, Marriage, prayer, Spiritual Gifts, Travel, Writing

Of Things Not Seen

Pumpkin scented candles - Pinterest

Pumpkin scented candles
Pinterest

Pumpkin spice scented candles. Soft sweaters. Brightly colored scarves. Boots, oh boots of every length and color!

Leaves in glorious shades of orange, yellow, red, and brown. Fall is here, and we love and welcome it like a best friend who moved far away and is visiting, her stay much too short.

We’re teased in stores with the promise of Christmas around the corner: smiling snowmen, snow globes, shiny red and purple gift bags, this year’s cute Christmas tree decorations, fun toys and techy gadgets for the kids and teens, Silent Night or Carol of the Bells playing and our hearts sing and worship along in adoration of Jesus, the King of Kings.

But while so many are getting ready for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, I prepare for Africa.

Purple journal

Purple journal

I journal in my new, oversized, purple diary about things on my heart. The excitement of this great adventure, a dream I’ve had for years and have been praying about.

The drums of Africa beat in my heart and blood. And at night, I’ve dreamed of Africa, even though I’ve never been there before. The dreams have been so real, like I was really there.

I’m reminded of the line in the movie Out of Africa, when Karen Blixen (played by my favorite actress, Meryl Streep) said, “I stayed in the room where I was born in Rungstedland and tried to remember the colors of Africa.”

I long to see the colors of Africa.

Africa

Africa

I also journal the fears. Ridiculous fears. And some that are warranted. Africa may not be “The Dark Continent” as many describe it, but there is some darkness there to respect.

I make lists. What to bring like my passport, driver’s license, and yellow fever immunization paper. What not to bring, like a hair dryer.

What to buy like dresses, skirts and blouses on sale for the warm climate and chocolates for the orphans. What to take here from home, like our daughter’s soccer ball, for children there to play with and keep.

Only a few more weeks until pastor Rose’s annual women’s conference in Bungoma, Africa. When she first invited me to speak there, I prayed and believe God told me to do this. Then I talked to my husband Ray, whose fleece was “if God provides.”

While Ray and I may disagree on how exactly God has accomplished that [he has wanted money to just fall out of the sky and I believe God provided through my July car wreck settlement, but Ray didn’t agree], this past week we were able to finally purchase Ray’s round trip plane tickets through some of his hard overtime work! (The website booking buddy has some great deals.) This is so exciting!

Initially we were going to buy my tickets first, but Ray was concerned about being “left behind” and me being alone and in possible danger in Africa, so we bought his first. If something were to happen to where I can’t go, then pastor Rose would still have a speaker for her conference. Ray is an amazing preacher and teacher!

Several weeks ago, a few donations came in from my friend Rochelle Valasek’s fundraiser webinar and my jewelry artist friend Jennifer Whiddon’s Dream BIG bracelet and I was able to get my yellow fever immunization!

This weekend some sweet friends made a donation and I was able to purchase my round trip tickets from Nairobi, Kenya to Kisimu Airport, Kenya, and then the return flight from Kisimu to Nairobi. Praise God!!!

Now Ray and I and my intercessors are praying in the money for my round trip tickets to Africa: for the long (expensive!) flight from Kansas City, MO, to Nairobi and then the return flight from Nairobi to Kansas City.

Beth Jonees, International Speaker/Author

Beth Jones, International Speaker/Author

I have faith that God will provide the money so I can go.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” – Hebrews 11:1, KJV

The evidence of things not seen. I don’t see it yet ~ in the natural. But I see it by faith.

Will you join me in this great adventure to encourage God’s daughters in Kenya, Africa?

To learn more, click here.

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Blog, Faith, prayer, Travel

Canada Trip, Part 5: The “Angel” and the To Do List

After I spoke at Doreen Penner‘s women’s conference, I rode the Canadian Via Train and the U.S. Amtrak train to come home. This man dressed in scraggly clothes and a camouflage hat was on all of my train rides, who I wondered if he was an angel in disguise. This is part 5 of my Canada Blog Series. You can read Part 4 here.

to do lists

Canada Trip, Part 5: The “Angel” and the To Do List

The To Do List

One morning this man got out some papers and a pen from his duffel bag, and I noticed at the top of the paper the words written in bold, black letters, TO DO LIST.

At this point, I almost LOST it, laughing. EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE, I create a to-do list. It was almost too much. This was not a coincidence. God knows I love to do lists! This had to be a God thing!

Shaking my head at the irony of this, I asked incredulously, “You write to do lists?” Do angels write to do lists?

He got that little smile on his face that he often had when I would ask questions or say something, as if he already knew what I was going to say. Yeah, it was freaky, but in a good way. He answered,”Yes, I do. I write one every day. Do you?”

Somehow I had a feeling that he knew the answer anyway. “Yes. I love to do lists.”

He was still smiling and then he asked, “And do you PRIORITIZE your to do list?” He then began to talk to me about priorities.

The biggest priority was doing what God says every day, to not lose our reward. Being faithful.

I really don’t know if this was a man or an angel. Only God knows.

I do believe with all my heart that God sovereignly put him on all the trains I rode on to get home, to help me during this trip and to speak truth into my life. Meeting him changed my perspective on not judging others by their appearance, viewing the poor and the homeless differently, recognizing the shortness of time we have left here until Jesus comes, and not losing our reward.

I noticed that when I walked around with him at the train station in Seattle, that people would look suspiciously at him or with disdain because of his unkempt, scraggly clothes and unshaven face. They would then look over at me with a puzzled look, as if to say, “Why are YOU with him?” (Because I didn’t look homeless or scraggly.)

I mused that probably very few people I knew, ESPECIALLY successful women online, would be SEEN walking around with him. Maybe some of them won’t even associate with me now because this whole thing is just a little too “out there” for them. They would be too ashamed or embarrassed to be seen with someone who looked homeless- yet his heart was good as gold and God was using him to speak His words of life to my heart.

One business man in a nice suit looked him up and down with an openly contemptuous look on his face. It made me angry. Then I realized that initially I had looked at him with distrust and judgment, too, based on his appearance, and was convicted to change.

I don’t think I will be the same after this trip. I hope not.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

Lord, take judgments out of my heart.

When I went to say goodbye to him and thank him before I stepped off the train at Kansas City (he was going on to Los Angeles, which means “the angels,” by the way), I went to hit his hand with my fist, gangster-style, because he’d done that earlier to me. Instead, he reached out and hugged me. 🙂 He told me he had enjoyed traveling with me and our conversations.

Stay tuned for Part 6 of my Canada Blog Series, where I share about the writer.

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