I’m sitting here in my office drinking my coffee, thick with hazelnut creamer, an indulgence I have these days to replace my coke habit. Not coke as in crack, but Coca Cola™. I was addicted to it for years and in January I radically changed my lifestyle and finally quit drinking coke. I
This has truly been a year of pivot. Before the beginning of each new year, I take some time alone with God to pray about the coming year, asking for His protection, wisdom, and guidance for me, our family, loved ones, the U.S. and Israel.
Each year I pray and ask God for a “one word” and a Scripture for that year. This year (2015), God gave me two words: pivot and pivotal.
The definition of pivot is “the central point, shaft, or pin, on which something turns.”
Pivotal means “of crucial importance in relation to the success of something else.”
The Scripture He gave me is John 20:16, The Message: “Jesus said, “Mary.” Turning to face Him, she said, “Rabboni,” meaning ‘Teacher.'”
I still don’t know why this year is crucially important; I just know that God told me it is and that I needed to obey Him. That meant giving up cokes, eating healthier, and exercising daily (I wasn’t exercising at all and I ate a lot of fast food.) I had to pivot, to turn to face God.
I have to take care of my body because God says our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). I can’t fulfill my purpose, what God has called me to do and to be, without it.
There’s been lots of changes and things happening this new year:
My radical lifestyle change, resulting in me becoming more fit, healthy, and losing (and maintaining) 20 pounds. I still have 20 pounds to lose to reach my ideal weight for my height, so please keep praying for my self-discipline to be able to reach my goal!
Both our daughters got a car. Our oldest daughter Heather bought a 2014 SUV, and she gave our youngest daughter Leah her car, a blue Ford Escort (no payments, woot!). What a blessing for them both!
Ray and I went on 2 fun trips alone together to his college EMS program’s reunion in Longview, Texas, and on a trip to Jefferson City, MO, for a class for his work. While in Texas, we went through what seemed like the storm from hell.
I spoke at Aglow in Olathe, Kansas. My next speaking event is at Aglow in Grandview, MO, on August 26. If you need a speaker for your women’s conference or event, contact me here. I love encouraging God’s precious daughters to use their gifts for Him and fulfill their purpose and calling!
My stepdaughter Eden, our middle daughter, is pregnant. The baby is a little girl, Piper, and we can’t wait to meet her! I’m giving Eden a baby shower at the end of July. I LOVE Piper’s name and believe it is very prophetic. This will make grandchild #4, yay!
Now I have 3 more book ideas. Right now I’m writing my first ever fiction book, Storm Tossed. My husband Ray has been encouraging me,a non-fiction author, to write a fiction book for years. (He loves reading fiction and says people like to read stories.)
If you’d like to sign up for my exclusive beta reader community to read this ebook and my new, upcoming ebooks free (the Amazon pre-launch ebook version),go here.
Other than writing my books and my speaking engagement in August, I’m in another season of rest right now, waiting on God’s instructions for the next step.
It’s so hard for me to sit still, because I’m obsessed with accomplishing what’s on my daily to-do list. But sometimes God just wants us to be. “Be quiet and know that I am God.” – Psalm 46:10, NLV
Our youngest daughter Leah is babysitting Heather’s daughters Annabelle and Violet this summer. She pays her gas to drive to and from there, provides her food, and she pays Leah a little money. This saves Heather a lot of money on childcare costs and it teaches Leah more responsibility.
Recently Heather and Leah attended a Lindsey Stirling concert in Kansas City, MO. Lindsey is the one who inspired Leah to begin playing the violin. She’s amazing! They really had fun and said it was awesome.
I’m praying our family can take a vacation this year.(The ocean/beach are calling my name!) Do you have summer vacation or staycation plans? What has your year been like? Leave your comments below.
Today is National Running Day. I want to celebrate together with you. It’s held each year on the first Wednesday in June, when runners everywhere declare their passion for running.
I’m definitely not a fast runner, but I walk daily and jog (slowly), slowly building my endurance and stamina in hopes one day I can run fast! (Hey, don’t laugh!)
My goal is to walk/jog at least one 5K this year, hopefully more. Several years ago, I walked my first 5K’s and would love to do it again!
In January this year I radically changed my lifestyle, eating healthier, exercising, and drinking water instead of Coke. Weather permitting, I walk daily at the track in town, and recently our daughter Leah joined me.
The Bible says in Philippians 3:13-14, The Message: “I’m not saying that I have all this together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wonderously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong. By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal where God is beckoning us onward–to Jesus. I’m off and running and I’m not turning back.”
I love that, don’t you?
While I’m certainly no expert, either, I do have goals and today I want to share some tips for personal and business success, using the topic of running:
1. Who or what are you running from? God? Your past? Sins you’ve committed? If you are under shame and condemnation for something you’ve done wrong, bring it to the Cross. God will forgive you if you ask Him. (1 John 1:9)
The Bible says that God’s mercy is new every morning. Jesus died for your sins and if you have a relationship with Him as your savior, His forgiveness is complete.
Are you running from a relationship with your spouse, a child, a friend, or someone at work? Pray and ask God to help you love that person with His love and for His grace in dealing with him or her. You may not have the answer for how to resolve the problem, but God does.
2. Who or what are you running to? God? Are you running to your spouse-or someone who is not your spouse when you’re hurting? (which is dangerous) Your child? A friend? Sometimes we may go to a friend talking about all our problems, when instead we need to go to God or our spouse.
Are you running to drugs or alcohol? Food? Shopping? Money/wealth as your god? God is the only one who can fill up that black hole inside of you.
3. What are you running for? What is your purpose? When I began exercising in January 2015, it was for one purpose: for fitness and health. I can’t fulfill the purpose for which God created me (speaking, writing books, traveling/missions) if I don’t feel well or if I become sick.
Losing weight was a side benefit to my new routine. I now have an additional goal, which is to reach my idea weight (I have 20 pounds to go!).
I want to run this race of life well so that when I meet God face to face, I will hear from Him, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23) I want to accomplish the purpose for which God made me. What about you?
4. When will you start running? When will you do what God has called you to do? It’s time! Even though I knew I needed to eat healthy, drink water, and exercise regularly, I had so many excuses for why I didn’t. My extra weight was “baby fat.” Our daughter Leah is 20 years old now, so that was no longer an excuse!
I was “too tired” to exercise. Now that I eat healthy, drink water, and exercise, I have much more energy!
I didn’t know how to do webinars or to create videos, but I learned. Maybe it’s time for you to do them, too. (I’m very tech challenged, so if I can learn, you can!)
I had never written a book before, but that didn’t stop me. I’ve now written eight books and am writing three more. The one I’m working on now is my first fiction book. Maybe God has told you to write a book, too. Now is the time; this is the year!
What are your excuses? What hindrances or obstacles are in the way of your personal and business success? As Nike says, just do it!
5. Why are you running – from God, from relationships, from problems, from yourself, from your calling and purpose? Identify the root issue. Most likely, it’s fear. Fears keep you and me in a prison and from fulfilling our purpose. God doesn’t want you afraid but to “be strong and courageous.” (Joshua 1:9)
Perfectionism will trip you up. Sometimes it’s a self-worth issue. Or you may be trying to compete with others, comparing yourself with others and feeling jealous, envious, and “less than.” God doesn’t want you to feel this way. He made you unique, wonderfully and fearfully. (Psalm 139:14)
When I started walking/jogging in January this year, my reason was for fitness/health. A side (wonderful) benefit was losing weight.
Now I’ve set a new goal, to lose 20 more pounds to reach my ideal weight, and to walk/jog at least one 5K this year.
It’s important to have dreams and goals in your life and to achieve them. My motto is, “Dream big because we serve a big God.” More than anything, my desire is to do God’s will.
British athelete/runner Eric Liddell said in the movie Chariots of Fire, “When I run, I feel His pleasure.”
That’s why I want to run in this race of life, too–to feel God’s pleasure. To glorify Jesus Christ. Are you feeling God’s pleasure in what you’re doing right now? You can start today.
6. How are you running? Are you a tortoise or a hare? Are you running slow, lagging behind God–procrastinating, putting things off, blaming, being a perfectionist? Procrastination and perfectionism will trip you up and will keep you from fulfilling your purpose.
Or maybe like me, you’re like a racehorse, rarin’ to get out of the starting gate. You were BORN TO RUN FAST, like Secretariat the race horse. You are serious about the calling of God on your life and you know you have no time to waste. But sometimes, you run out ahead of God!
Maybe you’re busy, busy, busy. You stay busy, trying to fill up that empty hole inside of you. But staying busy doesn’t always mean being productive. Jesus said apart from Him, we can do nothing. (John 15:5)
We have to make sure that we’re in sync with God, flowing in rhythm with His heartbeat, as my friend Doreen Penner says.
When you first start walking or running, you have to pace yourself, not going too slow or too fast. You have to listen to your body. It will give you signals.
God does this, too. He speaks to you in His still, small voice. In prayer. Through His eternal word. From a spouse, child, or friend.
Little nudges and whispers. Dreams. Signs. Confirmations. Learn to listen carefully and obey God’s still, small voice and you’ll experience His blessings.
7. Finally, to walk and run, you need the right equipment. When I first started walking this year, I started out just with what I already had: t-shirts, yoga pants, and my aerobic shoes that I’d bought for walking and for our daughter Heather’s Zumba class.
I did buy some walking/running clothes earlier this year–a black, short sleeved walking shirt and some black running pants that are a little “stretchy” and very comfortable (both light weight, so I won’t get too hot). Changing into this outfit and my walking/running shoes gets me into the “mindset” of discipline for walking/jogging.
You don’t want to be uncomfortable while walking/running, and I highly recommend getting some good walking/running shoes. You can’t walk or run in boots or stilettos!
What “equipment” do you need to fulfill God’s calling and purpose for your life? Maybe you want to be a paid speaker. Try Toastmaster’s or other professional training. You might get coaching to learn how to write a book. (I offer coaching for beginner speakers, writers, and entrepreneurs.) Getting a college degree may help you advance in your field of study. If you aren’t sure about college, dip your little toe in the water and just enroll in one class. Attend webinars and telecalls. Continually read good books. I believe we are to be life-long learners. This will help you to become “equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:17)
Today, let’s celebrate National Running Day together. Use the hashtag #nationalrunningday on Twitter and social media. Get out there and walk, jog or run. (Or if you don’t enjoy that, swim, ride a bike, skate, dance, or do an exercise video).
You can download an app to track your miles to contribute to the charity you want. There’s resources and deals at the website, National Running Day.
Let’s also run this race of life well, reaching for the high prize of Jesus Christ. No more holding back. God and I are cheering you onto the finish line. You can do it!
I created a video blog (called a vlog) covering the same tips in this blog post with my web cam today. You can view it by clicking here.
I’ve made lots of mistakes in my life, have lots of regrets. Received an excellent education in “the school of hard knocks.” One of the places I’ve made mistakes is in my online biz as a speaker, author, and an entrepreneur. I’ve done lots of things that scared me: public speaking, webinars, telecalls, creating videos, and recently my first broadcast Google Hangout event. Sometimes you have to do the things that scare you to achieve your dreams and goals. But now I can pass these mistakes onto you to help you avoid them and to achieve your success easier and faster.
Here are my 10 tips I’ve learned since starting my online business.
1. God first. Listen to and obey Him. Jesus said apart from Him, we can do nothing. (John 15:5)
And I don’t want to try to do anything without God. Otherwise, it will fall flat and won’t be productive or fruitful. Conversely, when God is in what you’re doing, it will be a success.
2. Focus on your strengths; don’t operate from your weaknesses. When I first started my online biz, I was given very bad advice from my business coach/mentor in a class. She told me and others to basically do everything yourself: write your html sales pages, create your eBook graphics/ecovers, making your website, etc.
WRONG, WRONG, WRONG! I’m not a techy person, and this left me many nights in tears, totally overwhelmed, frustrated, and angry. God has anointed me to speak and write, and this is what I need to do.
A great resource to help you discover your strengths is the book, Strengths Finder 2.0 by New York Times Best Selling Author Tom Rath, available for sale at Amazon. It includes a test in it to assess your areas of strengths and talents.
You can take online tests to discover what your spiritual gifts are. I’ve included some links to these online tests and some resources here. Find out what your spiritual gifts, talents, and skills are, and do that. Outsource the rest.
3. Outsource. Hire people to help you.Fiverr, Elance, Odesk, and other places are great places to outsource work. Outsourcing allows you to use your gifts for God and walk in the anointing He has for you.
4. Be unique, beautiful you. Don’t compare yourself to others or feel envious/jealous of them. The Bible says in Proverbs 14:30 NIV, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
There is only one you. Be yourself. Stay in your lane and don’t worry about or look at others. Jealousy and envy will eat you alive, and will distract you from your God-Designed purpose. They also make you very unhappy and miserable, which keeps you from being successful or at peace!
No one else can do what God has called you to do and fulfill your purpose and mission on earth.
5. Balance. When I first started my online business, this was the one area where I really messed up. Don’t let your business consume and overtake your life like a monster. I would literally spend 10 to 12 hours a day working on my business, primarily my website.
I was obsessed with improving and tweaking it. This became a source of contention between Ray and me, and our daughter Leah and me. Since then, I’ve learned to balance my time between God, my family and friends, time alone, and my business. One of the things I really enjoy doing now is watching the red cardinals, doves, sparrows, and other birds at our bird feeders, with a cup of coffee in the morning and chai with a little creamer in the afternoon.
Sometimes I take a break from Facebook and other social media. I want to live a real life, not just a virtual one. I refuse to be a slave to social media! Social media is necessary for business and isn’t going away, but God intended us for relationships with Him and others in real life.
Also, remember to eat! It’s important to include self-care: eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, exercising, sufficient sleep and rest, fun. You only have one body that will enable you to fulfill your purpose. Without your good health, you can’t do what God is calling you to do and be.
As a speaker and author, it’s important to get your butt in the chair to work on your speaking presentations and books (or articles, blogs, video and webinar content, etc.).
But it’s also necessary to get your butt out of the chair to spend time with Jesus, your family, friends, and to refill yourself.
Set a timer on your computer or laptop, iPhone or other phone, or even a kitchen timer as a reminder to get up out of your chair and do other things. (Remember the Pomodoro technique for greater productivity! I’d love to get the little red tomato timer!)
6. Know yourself. Know your purpose, mission, gifts, yourself. What works for others who are successful may not work or be for you. You may see someone all over Facebook and Twitter, doing webinars, creating videos, teaching marketing classes, and being a social media queen. But maybe you’re supposed to speak at live events and write books intead. Be YOU.
Stay intentionally and laser focused on God’s calling for your life so that you aren’t wasting time looking at your friends’ Facebook vacation pics, surfing the net shopping for clothes, watching TV reality and entertainment shows, playing games, etc.
Be serious about the call of God on your life. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever have any fun (we need fun and to just pull away from our business sometimes to de-stress!). But manage your time wisely each day.
I always make a to-do list every night for the next day. I’m obsessed with to-do lists. I love the feeling of accomplishment as I check things off my list. What I do is pray at the beginning of each day and ask God what HE wants me to do that day~ His priority for me. Jesus only did what He saw the Father doing. (John 5:19)
I may have 8 to 10 things on my to-do list, but the top two or three may be the ones that I get done that day. Then I move onto the next tasks the following day.
7. Invest. Invest in yourself, your business, but watch the Shiny Object Syndrome. I believe we should be life-long learners, learning something new every day. You can learn new things by hiring a coach, reading good books (read mine!), attending trainings like webinars, telecalls, college classes, and talking with other people.
I love to read and read every day. I prefer holding and reading a physical (print) book, but also read a lot of books using Kindle for PC and the Kindle app for my iPhone. I usually read at night before I go to sleep.
My husband Ray has a Kindle Fire that I bought him for his birthday last year, and he has 100’s of books on it. I encourage you to read a lot, especially if you are a speaker or writer.
I also believe if you’re a speaker, author, or have an online biz, you need a coach. I have an amazing, very successful business/writing coach, Shelley Hitz, who has written over 35 books. The royalties from hers and her husband CJ’s Amazon books pay their basic bills most of the time! She has coached 1000’s all over the world to write their first book. I’m now enrolled in her course, Author Audience Academy. Through what I learned in her writers’ training course, my new eBook, The Cinderella Story: The Power of Shoes became an Amazon Best Seller for its category and sub-categories the first day, which is a first for me as an author..
Coaching is so important. I also offer coaching to beginner speakers, writers, and online entrepreneurs here.
8. Get out of the house! Have a dinner date with your husband. Eat out or do something fun withyour child(ren). Have coffee with a friend. Talk to people in real life. If you stay hidden behind your computer, laptop or iPad all the time, and not have relationships in real life, you’re going to get weird!
I see so many people today on their smart phones out in public when they’re with their spouse or kids, ignoring the people right in front of them to “connect” with others online. It’s sad and you will miss out on so much if you do this all the time.
Again, God created us for relationships. Go have fun with others. Spend time outdoors in the sunshine and fresh air. Travel to the beach (I am craving the ocean!), mountains, desert, a new town, city, state, or nation. Do something new and adventurous. This also gives you inspired content for your speaking and writing and your biz.
9. Follow your fun. Recently I was talking to my prayer/accountability partner, Doreen Penner, sharing how I enjoyed doing something. She encouraged me, “Follow your fun.” What wise words. I’ve thought about them a lot since she said it.
Follow your fun and your passion. Do what you love to do. I can’t imagine anything worse than being miserable, hating your job every day. Pursue your purpose and passion.
This may change and evolve over time. When I was a child, all I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a mom and a writer. God made those dreams come true. I’m the mom of 3 beautiful daughters, Heather, Eden, and Leah.
I never imagined I’d be a speaker, because I used to be very shy and was terrified of speaking in front of people publicly. God has a sense of humor. Several years ago, He opened the door for me to share my testimony about my 3 abortions at a Mennonite church women’s Bible study. I was physically shaking, my voice quivered, I sweat profusely, and I thought I’d faint. But God got me through it.
Since then, He has opened the door for me to speak, even in other nations like Haiti, Canada, the Bahamas, and Africa. I now love it and as my husband Ray recently wrote me in a letter, I now live to have a mic in my hands (and to travel!).
There are times when we enter a season of rest. I went through this the last part of 2014. God told me to rest.
It may seem like you’re “on the shelf” and God isn’t using you or has forgotten about you. He hasn’t; He’s simply preparing you for what is next! You’re in a season of preparation by God the Potter.
My purpose and my desires have changed and grown. Yours may, too. Fulfill your purpose. Follow your fun and passion, which are often closely tied to your purpose. I believe God puts these dreams and desires in our heart, when they align with His will.
10. Don’t give up and don’t quit. Dream big because we serve a big God! If you’ve been in the audience when I speak, attend my virtual events, or read my blog, you know this is my motto. I say it a lot.
God has definitely stretched me since I started my online business. He’s taken me way out of my comfort zones into some pretty scary places. He will do extraordinary things through ordinary lives.
But as I’ve leaned on Him and not my own understanding, and trusted Him, He’s done miraculous, amazing things in and through my life. It humbles me. I can only praise Him for all He’s done. God is so good!
God has good plans for you. (Jeremiah 29:11) He wants to use you in a great way for His glory (and it’s about Jesus, not us!). Make sure you are aligned with His will and purpose for your life. Follow Him.
When we try to do things in our flesh, they won’t work. There will be no fruit. Your life will feel barren. But when you are seeking God, there will be good fruit. You will not just be busy, but productive.
Most of all, keep praying. Seek God’s direction for your life. God is the one who opens doors of favor and opportunity.
I created a podcast sharing these tips. You can listen to it at Podbean by clicking here.
You can also subscribe to my podcast at Itunes by clicking here.
I broadcast my very first Google Hangout this week, sharing these things I’ve learned. You can watch it on video at YouTube here
Those are my 10 tips I’ve learned since starting my online biz. I hope they’ve encouraged you. What have you learned in your online biz? Share your comments below.