Distracted.

Distracted BLOGWe began the new year with 21 days of prayer and fasting with our church family. Daily I sat at the feet of Jesus with an open heart & open Bible longing for Him to speak. During those few weeks something changed in me. I could feel it, like a fire was lit from deep within. There is something about fasting that provides tremendous clarity and purpose. Years from now we’ll remember with awe and wonder how God transformed our lives during the prayer and fasting of 2020.

One of the areas God continually addressed throughout the fast was how distracted I have been. Distracted by the “good” but not the “best.” Distracted by the constant noise of a busy life. Distracted by my to-do list that I had consistently put as a priority over Jesus.

In the quiet of the fast, God spoke.

With great intention I began my days with 2 hours of silence, stillness, prayer, bible study, journaling, and reading. I kept my cell phone on the other side of the house determined to not let anything distract this sacred space. The adjustment to being without my phone was both brutal and revealing, wow I had given it so much power over me.

Halfway through the fast we traveled to Ohio for a family visit and attended Oasis Church in Norwalk. Pastor Vince Cooper spoke a timely word titled “It is Possible to have Clarity” about Mary & Martha in Luke chapter 10. Let’s take a look at the story…

“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 ESV

I can relate to Martha, can’t you? She was focused on caring for her VIP guests, stressing over hospitality, while missing the opportunity to sit at Jesus’ feet. She was allowing her to-do list to rob her of the privilege of intimacy with the Master.

Here are some insights that Pastor Vince shared that were so powerful!

“Details are important, but they are not the most important.”

“Distraction disables relationship.”

“Martha not only missed what Jesus was saying, she was also trying to get others distracted.”

“Don’t be distracted & don’t be distracting.”

“You will always have distraction. You have to choose; will you be divided by the distractions or will you put them away?”

“What are you going to do when Jesus says, nope?”

Pastor Vince Quote BLOGY’all I’m all about the details, if you need details, I’m your girl! But my, oh my! I am learning that details are not more important than Jesus. If you’re a recovering Martha like me, let’s say that out loud together: details are NOT more important than Jesus.

I am learning that living a distracted life will disable my relationship with Him. I am learning to not live in such frantic constant movement that I am unable to hear His still small voice. I am convicted by the countless times I have been not only distracted but distracting to others. Oh Lord let this be a lesson that transforms my life forever.

One thing is necessary friends, one thing. Let’s sit at the feet of Jesus and not allow distraction to rob us from His very best.

Questions for reflection, prayer, & journaling
– When was the last time you sat quiet & alone at the feet of Jesus?
– What one distraction is God calling you to surrender today?
– How have you been both distracted & distracting?

Friends if my brief notes from this message ministered to you, I highly recommend checking out the replay from Oasis Church Facebook live at this LINK. Thank you to Pastor Vince Cooper for permission to share my take-aways from his message.

10 Gratitudes, 10 Fears, 10 Truths

Last Fall was one of the most difficult seasons we have ever been through as a family, yet in the middle of it God gave us this incredible tool that I want to share with you today. My prayer is that this tool will be something you can use to draw closer to the Lord, to process deep emotions in a healthy way, and to walk in gratitude and truth with renewed hope.

But first, let me give you a little background. Y’all last Fall was rough! We had some pretty hard things at work, my husband is a Pastor, and potential changes at church were causing division and heartache. At the same time we got the call that I had a tumor in my right breast that needed to be surgically removed to determine if it was cancer (spoiler alert by the grace of God it was not cancer, more details on that here: Holding onto Him). All of this stress was affecting our marriage, our eating habits, our ability to be intimate, and especially my husband’s sleep. Insomnia plagued Adrian night after night, which in turn caused me to awaken often in concern for him, so neither of us were well rested.

One night I had enough of it. I was literally angry at the insomnia and the emotional turmoil we were feeling and knew we needed God to intervene. Before bed that night we prayed together and I felt God leading us to praise God and acknowledge 10 things we were grateful for. The number 10 stood out to me so vividly and I think the quantity was significant because it caused us to put in the work emotionally. We can easily share two or three things we are grateful for, but 10 made us really dig deep. We each praised God and acknowledged 10 gratitudes while lying there in bed before drifting off to sleep.

Around 2am Adrian woke up and was rolling around in frustration, which of course woke me up. Instantly I felt God leading us to surrender 10 fears. I had no idea where that idea came from except the Holy Spirit. The phrase “surrender 10 fears” was imprinted on my heart so vividly in that moment. I was barely awake myself and was most certainly not in the mindset of working through an exercise like that. However, we were both so defeated by this insomnia that we would do anything. ANYTHING! So I shared with Adrian that I felt God leading us to surrender 10 fears and my deeply sleep deprived husband obliged. Adrian shared as many as he could but only got to 5 or 6, then I took a turn. Y’all surrendering 10 fears in the middle of the night when you haven’t slept well in weeks is very VERY hard. I was lying in bed with tears dripping down my cheeks onto my pillow. We surrendered fears to God that night that we had never acknowledged and certainly never shared out loud.

As soon as we finished surrendering our fears I felt God leading us to declare 10 truths. 10 truths we could hold onto. 10 truths that would carry us through that moment. 10 truths that would combat every lie of the enemy, every crippling thought, and every fear. In bed that night we dug deep and pulled from scriptures that we have memorized. We believe God’s word, the Bible, is the ultimate source of truth. We also drew truths from knowledge & life experience. Again the number 10 was so significant because it pushed us. We weren’t just throwing a single Bible verse or rational fact at the problem, we were going to war!

There is so much power in gratitude, in surrender, and in declaration. SO. MUCH. POWER.

We are emotional, spiritual, and physical beings and each of those areas are interconnected & interdependent. If you think for a minute that issues you are having emotionally are not affecting you physically or spiritually you are sorely mistaken. This crippling insomnia was deeply rooted in not only the physical but the emotional & spiritual. After working through this exercise Adrian was able to fall back to sleep for the first time in weeks.

In the weeks that followed I couldn’t get that experience out of my mind. I began to regularly work through what I titled my 10/10/10 Exercise. This exercise made such an impact on me that I began to use it often during my morning devotions or times of journaling. After using this exercise for several months my husband and I decided to use it with a group of couples we were speaking to during a workshop on Spiritual Intimacy at a local conference center. Wow! I fought back tears watching couples sitting knee to knee and digging deep, working through painful fears and walking in gratitude and truth.

I wanted to share this simple tool with you because it has made SUCH a huge impact on our lives. You can walk through this exercise mentally or out loud as you’re going through daily tasks or lying in bed like we did. OR write them down, create 3 columns on a blank piece of paper or print out this pdf form I created to walk through the exercise 10 10 10 printable.

TIP: I highly recommend going through each column completely before moving on. For example acknowledge all 10 gratitudes before moving onto fears, surrender all 10 fears before moving onto truths.

Step 1: Acknowledge 10 Gratitudes
I like to work through my gratitudes like a prayer “Lord I thank you for…” or if you are not a Christian you might say “Today I’m grateful for…” Think of everything you are grateful for big or small. It could be as simple as being grateful for warm socks, or money to pay bills, or for your family, etc.

Step 2: Surrender 10 Fears
I also like to surrender my fears in prayer “Lord I surrender my fear of …” I believe that as we surrender these fears to the Lord it releases the power they have over us. Our fears once surrendered now reside in the capable and mighty hands of God.

Step 3: Declare 10 Truths
As I declare 10 truths on the go, I will draw from scripture I have memorized or rational facts. It’s beautiful how God will bring certain truths to my heart exactly when I need them. But my favorite way to declare truths is when I make the time to dig deep into God’s word and actually write the verses down. Often I will sit with my bible and look for scriptures that combat the fears I’ve surrendered. The truths you declare don’t necessarily have to be associated with the fears you’ve surrendered but I’ve often found myself drawn to ones that do. Don’t be afraid to Google key words or use Bible Gateway to search for verses.

TIP: It is very powerful to not only write down the fears I am surrendering & truths as I’m declaring them but to actually read them out loud. Romans 10:17 says that “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Reading it out loud engages our faith in the process in a powerful way.

GOING DEEPER: Working through this simple 10/10/10 Exercise with your spouse or together as a family (parents & children) provides a powerful outlet for communication, understanding, intimacy, and discipleship. I highly recommend it!

As you work through this exercise please let me know if it was helpful and what you are learning. Your feedback is invaluable! I pray that God will use this simple 10/10/10 Exercise to breakdown the stronghold of fear and release you to walk in truth & renewed hope!

Fear Not

Fear Not blog (1)Last year I shared our journey through a particularly difficult season + a tool the Lord gave us to navigate that season. It was one of the most popular posts I’ve ever shared, if you missed it, check it out here. Throughout the journey and still today, fear often shows its ugly head in our lives. Don’t you wish these lessons were one and done? Anyone else find themselves circling the same mountains over & over again?

Apparently, I’m not alone as evidence by many popular worship songs, Spotify playlists, and books dedicated to the theme of overcoming fear. My favorite is the song “Fear Is A Liar” by Zach Williams. These lyrics absolutely nail the subtle, sneaky depth where fear takes hold, then battles those lies with bold truth. Fear IS a liar! Check out the chorus below…

“Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar”

I recently walked through the 10/10/10 Exercise and journaled my 10 gratitudes, fears, and truths. It was interesting that my fears were a spectrum of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It was so life giving & revealing to take pen to paper and write out my fears. I actually had to laugh out loud. Wow! The enemy had me walking in fear and believing all kinds of lies. If you’re feeling that way, you’re not alone!

The phrase “fear not” appears in the Bible 158 times (ESV, Bible Gateway). It is most often used by God (or angels) to console those being addressed and encourage them to trust in God’s plan no matter their current circumstances. Many times, this phrase is accompanied by humans falling on their faces in holy reverence before God or angels, which seems perfectly appropriate. Fear has often had me on my face before God.

“Fear not” is used three times as Jesus instructs his Apostles about ministry in Matthew 10: 26-31. Check out these verses:

“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10: 26-31

Fear Not Quote blog revDr. Tony Evans makes these observations on this passage, “What motivation does Jesus offer to enable them to become fearless? First, there is nothing hidden that won’t be made known (10:26). No persecution of God’s people, then, will remain secret forever. God will turn the tables. Second, there’s no need to fear those who have temporary power in history; believers rightly fear the one who has limitless power in eternity (10:28). Third, God the Father has great love for his children. He’s sovereign over the events of your life. Nothing comes to you that hasn’t first passed through his fingers. His children are valuable to Him (10:29-31).” (The Tony Evans Bible Commentary, page 882-883, emphasis added)

Let’s say that again: NOTHING comes to you that hasn’t first passed through his fingers. You & I are valuable to Him.

I am encouraged through this text to fear not: in the complex and in the daily grind of life. God cares. He sees all, knows all, and is in control of all. He cares so much about the details that He has given a number to each of the hairs on my (& your) head. He is a good, good Father and He is trustworthy. As I combat fear with truth I hold on to these verses for life.

Questions for reflection, prayer, & journaling
– What are your 10 gratitudes, 10 fears, & 10 truths?
– How does Matthew 10 encourage your walk of faith?
– What truths sustain you in difficult seasons?

Keeping Our Eyes On Jesus

Keeping our eyes on Jesus blogI have been studying the life & leadership of Jesus since the new year with a renewed sense of awe and wonder. Matthew chapter 14 particularly hit me as throughout several experiences Jesus models both perfect humanity and all-powerful deity.

As the chapter begins, we learn about the brutal, vicious, and horrific murder of John the Baptist. Jesus finds out what happened and is notably affected by this devastating loss. John the Baptist was not only His cousin but shared a significant space in God’s story (HIStory) with Jesus. John was God’s chosen messenger, preparing the way for Jesus (Matthew 11:10). Jesus desired to get away and be alone, so he departed by boat.

As always, people were in need all around Him, following Him by foot from town to town. So, his alone time was put on pause while He selflessly and compassionately heals all the sick. After abundantly providing lunch for 5K men (plus women and children) and simultaneously teaching his disciples an incredible leadership lesson, He still needs that time away. No doubt the loss of John the Baptist was heavy on His heart and the long days of ministry were exhausting. So, He puts His disciples on a boat, dismisses the well-fed crowd, and spends the night alone in prayer. Even the perfect Son of God required regular connection to the Father and self care.

Meanwhile a storm is brewing…

As we pick up the story in Matthew 14: 24 I love the response of the disciples! Keep in mind they have been with Jesus for quite awhile and have seen incredible miracles, but their minds are utterly blown when they see Jesus walking on water!! Like whattttt!!! Of course, Peter wants in on the action and is the first to jump at the chance to walk on water.

“And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those in the boat worshiped him and said, “Truly you are the Son of God.”” Matthew 14: 29b-33 CSB

When Peter takes his eyes off Jesus and looks at the wind, fear settles in his heart. He took steps forward and was doing fine, but as soon as he takes his gaze off Jesus and sees the strength of the wind Peter starts to sink. Isn’t that just like you & I? When we take our eyes off Jesus, focusing on the storms, stress, & struggles in our lives, we begin to sink too.

Peter was a fisherman with lots of experience in powerful storms. His experience no doubt informed his fear. Many times, in his past he witnessed the powerful destructive capabilities of wind, rain, & storms. In that moment he relied on his experience rather than his faith in Jesus.

Faith water blogFaith will take us out of the familiar every time.

It doesn’t matter how powerful the storm, or what our past experiences, abilities, or limitations are trying to take us under. God controls the storm! God can do anything, far beyond what we can even ask or think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). Nothing is impossible to our God if we will keep our eyes on Him. (Luke 1:37)

I don’t know about you but verse 31 ministers so much grace to me. Even when Peter failed to keep his eyes on Jesus, Jesus still caught him. Thank you, Father, for being the type of loving, compassionate, and merciful Father than catches us when we fall.
Wherever you are today and whatever you are facing. Keep your eyes on Jesus! If you’ve fallen, reach for His hand and He will catch you. Nothing is impossible because He controls the storm.

Questions for reflection, prayer, & journaling
– Are the storms that you are facing more impossible than walking on water? (Hint: nope they’re not)
-What is Jesus calling you to in this season?
-How can you rely on His voice and step out in faith in this storm?

Trusting God in the Storm

I vividly remember responding to an alter call at Summer camp when I was about 10 years old. I stood among my peers, hands held high belting with all my heart these words as a promise and declaration of devotion to the Lord…

“I surrender all
I surrender all
All to Thee my blessed Savior
I surrender all”

To surrender means to “abandon oneself entirely.” It’s an act of submission to the authority and will of God wherein we cease resisting and hand over control of our will, our plan, and ultimately our lives. If we have never met in person, let me tell you a little bit about myself. Hello, my name is Jen and I’m a control freak! Plans are a safety net where I abide and thrive. Surrender does not come easily for any of us, especially a Type A, Enneagram 8w7, commanding personality like me.

Little 10-year-old Jen had no idea what surrender meant. My beautifully naive heart must have imagined the call of God as a “tip toe through the tulips” as my husband loves to say. But there have been many storms. Each storm has been used by God to produce life, character, & endurance in me. In hindsight I wouldn’t change a thing, but that doesn’t mean it comes easy. I’m learning to trust the authority and will of God as I navigate the storms of life.

Recently I added a daily chapter of Psalms and Proverbs to my morning time with Jesus. The striking imagery in Psalm 29 has captivated my heart this week, especially as it relates to trusting God in the storms. In this chapter David demonstrates the power, authority, and strength of God over water, nature, trees, mountains, fire, & flood. His symbolism culminates in verses 10 and 11 which read…

“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned, King forever.
The Lord gives his people strength;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.” Psalm 29: 10-11 CSB

No matter what you and I are facing in life at this very moment we can be encouraged that we serve a God who sits enthroned over our storms. There is nothing in heaven or on earth with the power to circumvent His ultimate authority and power. He is King forever and He is trustworthy!

The promise David relays so eloquently in verse 11 is that the Lord gives strength and peace to His people in the storm. As we abandon ourselves entirely to His perfect will and authority (aka. surrender), we can rest confidently that our God is in control. He hasn’t abandoned us or been surprised by our circumstances. He is allowing the storms in our lives to produce endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope (Romans 5: 3b-4).

As you navigate the storm you are facing, rest in the strength and peace that God provides and trust Him. Abide in His presence for He is faithful to restore, heal, and equip. Memorize these verses and remind yourself that He who is King forever has all authority, dominion, and power over all circumstances. He is trustworthy!

Questions for reflection, prayer, & journaling
-What does surrender look like in your life in this season?
-As you meditate on Psalm 29, what encourages you the most?
-How do you see God moving in your storm?

MY FAVORITE THINGS – ESSENTIAL OIL TOOLS

I did it y’all!! I finally compiled a complete list of all of my favorite essential oil tools. I have links for everything from DIY supplies, storage solutions, reference books, & more. I hope this is a blessing to you on your journey and makes life super simple!

ESSENTIAL OIL BOOKS

Most of these books listed below are available at www.discoverlsp.com or you can use the Amazon links referenced below. *All Amazon links are affiliate links

Essential Oil Pocket Reference – https://amzn.to/34VLpLO

Essential Oil Desk Reference – https://amzn.to/2Xfn9lq

Supplements Desk Reference by Jen O’Sullivan – https://31oils.com/supplements/ or https://amzn.to/34REZxp

Animal Desk Reference – https://amzn.to/32CMrL7

Gentle Babies: Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infants and Young Children (10th Anniversary Edition) – https://amzn.to/2pdgA6h

Betsy Bosom’s Baby Book: A Girlfriend’s Guide to Using Essential Oils from Bellies to Babies (Lucy Libido) – https://amzn.to/2qQvgbG

Lucy Libido Says…..There’s an Oil for THAT: A Girlfriend’s Guide to Using Essential Oils Between the Sheets (Volume 1) – https://amzn.to/2X8OYLV

Essentials: 50 Answers to Common Questions about Essential Oils by Lindsey Elmore – https://amzn.to/2NFxwMa

Essentials: 75 Answers to Common Questions About Essential Oils and Supplements by Lindsey Elmore – https://amzn.to/32CTIe9

Healing Oils of the Bible – https://amzn.to/373irvE

Essential Parfumerie by Melissa Poepping – https://www.essentialparfumerie.com/

Pure Male Cologne Book by Melissa Poepping – https://melissapoepping.com/

Essential Oil Make & Takes by Jen O’Sullivan – https://31oils.com/make-takes/ or https://amzn.to/2NEBG6M

The Art of Blending with Essential Oils Booklet – https://amzn.to/2O4YjR0

ESSENTIAL OIL BAGS
Modern Makerie – https://www.modernmakerie.com/

Honey Hive Five – https://www.etsy.com/shop/HoneyHiveFive

Baggage and CO – https://www.etsy.com/shop/BaggageandCO

Cowgrl Creations – https://www.etsy.com/shop/Cowgrlcreations

Amanda Fair Designs – https://www.etsy.com/shop/AmandaFairDesigns

ESSENTIAL OIL SHELVES
Tucker Design Co. – https://www.etsy.com/shop/TuckerDesignCompany

Chipped with Charm – https://www.etsy.com/shop/ChippedWithCharm

His Hers Woodworking – https://www.etsy.com/shop/HisHersWoodworking

Essentially Curated – https://www.essentiallycurated.com/

Tree of Life Oil Shelf – https://amzn.to/2NZomc4

Oily Hounds – https://www.etsy.com/shop/OilyHounds

Essential Racks – https://essentialracks.com/

DIFFUSER JEWELRY (*best choices)

*Ashley Madrigal – https://www.etsy.com/shop/AshleyMadrigal

*Put On Love Designs – https://www.putonlovedesigns.com/

*Lava Essentials – https://www.lavaessentials.com/

Aroma Dream Jewelry – https://www.etsy.com/shop/AromaDreamJewelry

Leaved Gates – https://www.etsy.com/shop/LeavedGates

Ashleyy’s Finds – https://www.etsy.com/shop/AshleyysFinds

Joy Plus Jewels – https://www.etsy.com/shop/JOYplusJEWELS

Halle’s Jewels – https://hallesjewels.com/

CARRIER OILS

YL V-6 Carrier Oil: http://bit.ly/204kDHA

Coconut Oil Unrefined – https://amzn.to/2NEP4bf (#1 choice)

Coconut Oil Refined – https://amzn.to/2X5IaPg (some use in beauty products)

Coconut Oil Fractionated – https://amzn.to/2XcAavV (good for rollers)

Sweet Almond Oil – https://amzn.to/2NIrDxT

Jojoba Oil – https://amzn.to/2KfDDo6

Argan Oil – https://amzn.to/2qOY5Wk

Vitamin E – https://amzn.to/2Kg4Wi8

DIY SUPPLIES

Shea Butter – https://amzn.to/2KgcOjG

Cocoa Butter Wafers – https://amzn.to/32DV203

Bees Wax – https://amzn.to/2rGdJDT

Epsom Salts (8lbs unscented) – https://amzn.to/2qO9JQW

Dr. Bronners Liquid Castile Soap (32 oz unscented) – https://amzn.to/36YqQQT

Witch Hazel (8oz) – https://amzn.to/2CzzJ5t

Aloe Vera Gel (12 oz) – https://amzn.to/2X9wP0x

ESSENTIAL OIL ROLLER BOTTLES

*I recommend re-purposing your empty essential oils bottles then make a roller by adding an Aroma Glide Fitments from YL. These fit both 5ml & 15ml bottles bit.ly/1RQ8W3t

Whimsy & Wellness –  https://www.whimsyandwellness.com/

Wood and Oils – https://www.etsy.com/shop/WoodAndOils

The Root & Petal – http://www.therootandpetal.com/

10ml roller sets on Amazon

6 amber with black cap – https://amzn.to/2KfzXTg

8 colorful frosted – https://amzn.to/2O5roeX

12 amber with gold cap – https://amzn.to/2CGGbr6

12 colorful with gold cap – https://amzn.to/2KiUWVA

OTHER DIY CONTAINERS

8oz Glass Spray Bottles • for diluting Thieves Household Cleaner:

6 pack assorted colors – https://amzn.to/2KfEO6Z

6 pack amber – https://amzn.to/36Wi45Q

2oz Glass Spray Bottles • perfect for linen, room, or outdoor sprays:

4 pack blue – https://amzn.to/2O2JfTU

6 pack amber – https://amzn.to/34WGKt7

2oz Dropper Bottles • for face serums, holding carrier oils, etc.

2 pack blue – https://amzn.to/2rwstF1

2 pack amber – https://amzn.to/2pVqwBP

Foaming Hand Soap Dispensers (3 pack) – https://amzn.to/34SYHZA

Empty Veggie Capsules • for taking vitality oils internally – https://www.youngliving.com/en_US/products/clear-vegetable-capsules

4 oz Mason Jars (set of 4) – https://amzn.to/2O47dOA

8 oz Mason Jars (set of 6) – https://amzn.to/2QeCKjw

MORE FAVORITE ESSENTIAL OIL SUPPLIES

Essential Oil Bottle Labels – https://www.youngliving.com/en_US/products/essential-oil-bottle-labels

Essential Oils 25 pack 2ml Sample Bottles – https://www.youngliving.com/en_US/products/essential-oil-sample-bottles

Essential Oil Spray Tops For 5, 10, 15 to 100 ml Bottles (rainbow) – https://amzn.to/356JdRX

Smelly Faces – stuffed animals – https://www.etsy.com/shop/SmellyFaces

The Cheeky Doormat – essential oil doormat – https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheCheekyDoormat

6 pack of stainless steel lids and straws for wide mouth mason jars – https://amzn.to/2q5GGIE

4 pack stainless steel straws – https://amzn.to/2O1yhOw

Essential Oil Inhalers (great tools for those interested in quitting smoking!) – https://www.breathefum.com/

YL BUSINESS BOOKS

Propel: Your Guidebook to Freedom by Niccole Perez – https://inspiredsharing.com/  Or https://amzn.to/32Dju1B

Gameplan: The Complete Strategy Guide to go from Starter Kit to Silver by Sarah Harnisch – https://amzn.to/2QcmW0Q

Unstuck: How To Talk To Humans & Get Them To Respond To You by Sarah Harnisch – https://amzn.to/2O8RRrZ

Getting Noticed: A No-Nonsense Guide to Standing Out and Selling More for Momtrepreneurs Who Ain’t Got Time for That by Lindsay Teague Moreno – https://amzn.to/36VKtsK

Boss Up!: This Ain’t Your Mama’s Business Book by Lindsay Teague Moreno – https://amzn.to/33Jr0cW

The Four Year Career, Young Living Edition by Richard B. Brooke – https://amzn.to/34VXVuK

25 To Life: Jailbreak Your 9-5 & Escape to Financial Freedom by Adam Green – https://amzn.to/2qaa5Bs

YL BUSINESS RESOURCES

Young Living – https://www.youngliving.com/

Young Living Blog – https://www.youngliving.com/blog/

Young Living Seed to Seal – http://seedtoseal.com/en

Young Living Foundation – https://younglivingfoundation.org/

Young Living Farm Tours – http://younglivingfarmtours.com/v2/

Nature’s Ultra – https://naturesultra.com/

Life Science Publishing – https://www.discoverlsp.com/

GROworkspace – https://www.groworkspace.com/

Oil Revolution Designs – https://oilrevolutiondesigns.com/

Oil Supply Store – https://oilsupplystore.com/

31 Oils – https://31oils.com/

The Social Oiler – https://thesocialoiler.bigcartel.com/

Melissa Poepping – https://melissapoepping.com/

Essential Oil Transformation – https://essentialoilstransformation.com/

The Oil Posse – https://theoilposse.com/

Inspired Sharing – https://inspiredsharing.com/

Bethany Shipley (Diamond Workbook) – https://bethanyshipley.com/

Oil Ability Team – https://oilabilityteam.com/

Growing Healthy Homes – https://growinghealthyhomes.com/

*All Amazon links are affiliate links

Transformation Tuesday featuring Monica Simpson

TT Monica BLOG

How many of you have been inspired and blessed by these amazing personal journey’s of transformation? I know I have!! Today’s Transformation Tuesday is featuring a beautiful friend of mine, Monica Simpson. Monica and I first met during our counseling internship many years ago. In this post she shares her incredible transformation journey to becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor. Enjoy!

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My Journey to Becoming an LPC – Inspiration to Motivate and Give Hope

by Monica Simpson

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin

I never saw myself as a risk taker. I never dreamed of running my own business. Speaking in front of people or even confidently helping people through their difficulties was not on my radar. In fact, I’ve played it safe for most of life; I followed the rules and did what others expected of me.

When I began college, I had a deep desire to break out of my self-imposed box and blossom into the person I felt God wanted me to be. Looking back, I can confidently say that this was the beginning of my journey. I didn’t know it would take me another 30 plus years before I truly felt that I was walking in my purpose…in my truth.

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In those formative years I had glimpses of the woman inside of me waiting to blossom-a tight bud on the verge of blooming. After college graduation, and before international travel became mainstream, I worked in several different countries as a single woman, I started a small bookkeeping business, had two wonderfully strong and resilient daughters, and people came to me with their problems seeking advice or just a supportive ear.

But there were also years when I lost track of myself; I became pregnant while in college. I got married because I was afraid of being a single parent but became a single parent anyway for 17 years after our divorce. I stayed in unfulfilling jobs – too scared to leave for financial reasons, but also too unfulfilled to shine and progress in my field as an accountant.

I was discouraged and I knew God desired more of me, but I didn’t know what that looked like or what I was supposed to do. Four years after my divorce I took a leap of faith and decided to make a career change, which I knew would entail returning to school. My daughters were 5 and 15 – one ready to begin kindergarten and the other one entering high school.

I felt I had a natural talent of helping people – many of friends sought my insight. I returned to school to become a counselor with the vague idea of working for a company that helps people. Sounds good, right? I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had a business undergraduate degree. The only psych class I had taken was Psychology 101. Now I was surrounded by concepts that I had not been exposed to before. My learning curve was steep, but I was both confident and determined that I could be successful in all the arenas of my life: single-parent, full-time employee and master’s degree student.

Just when I felt I had it all figured out I was thrown a major curve ball. As part of the master’s program, students were required to complete 500 counseling hours prior to graduation. Where was I going to find time in my already stretched-thin schedule? How could I possibly do it all? I couldn’t see a way and knew that God would have to provide because I was all out of ideas. He blessed me in a way I never saw coming – I was laid off from my job, with full pay and benefits for 6 months. In one fell swoop, He afforded me the time and money to complete my degree. God was gracious and I had never felt more encouraged to finish the task before me.

I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Southern Christian University (now Regents University), the same year my daughter graduated from high school. Pride welled up inside of me thinking of us, together, on the brink to our futures. I believed that all my career desires were at my fingertips. And I was reminded, once again, that God’s plans were way bigger than mine.

In order to become a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas, applicants are required to complete 3,000 supervised counseling hours. I was back to working full-time and as a single mom with a family to support I could not imagine taking a drastic pay cut in order to complete my hours. I was overwhelmed with the weight of discouragement. I added hours to my full time job and began seeing clients in the evenings after work and on weekends. I prayed for God’s intervention, but once again I was wanting God to follow my plan: I’ll get married, my husband would support me, and I could quit my day job or at the very least work part-time. I know now that I was leaning on my own understanding and ability and not God’s. I had learned, again, that His way is so much better than my way.

I didn’t get married. I didn’t quit my full-time job. I prayed and relied on God to show me how this obstacle would be overcome. I became discouraged as I saw some of my fellow interns complete their hours in as little as 20 months while I was still slogging through my journey with no foreseeable end in sight. I held on to the belief that God would not have brought me on this journey just for me to abandon my calling. The longer my journey lasted, the more convinced I became that something bigger was happening. My journey could not just be for my benefit.

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Five years, 70 months, later I finally completed 3,000 hours. Finally. During that time, while I worked feverishly to meet the deadline set before me, my prayer life and full surrender to God was the strongest it had ever been. That was 4 ½ years ago. Last year, I stepped out on faith and left my full-time corporate job to work in my very own private practice full-time. What a beautiful, perfectly packaged gift God has cushioned and prepared each step that I have taken. I thank Him for each new client that calls my office because I know this is the client that God has for me. I’m often amazed and grateful for all that He has done for me, the opportunities that have come my way.

I believe that had I not stepped out in faith and courage; I would not be where I am now. I’m living in my purpose, in my truth: to strengthen families by helping, exhorting, and encouraging individuals and couples.

Above all else, seek Him always.

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Wow! Monica’s story is one of perseverance and hope. It encouraged me to never give up, keep holding onto Jesus, trust in His plan, and to not compare my journey to others. Thank you Monica for sharing your story with us today. Your transformation is truly inspiring!

Share in the comments what encouraged or challenged you the most for your own journey? How would trusting in God’s plan for your life change your current outlook or circumstances? What is holding you back from blossoming?

Anyone else struggle with selfcare? Join me next week as I share some powerful insights that have transformed my life!

I Can’t Do This

I can't do this blog revI can’t do this.

I can’t achieve this goal.

I can’t conquer this addiction.

I can’t forgive this person.

I can’t overcome this hurt, pain, & loss.

Maybe you’re like me and you have a similar phrase that cycles through your thoughts at times. This self-defeating monologue visits most often when I am weary, overwhelmed, and physically and/or emotionally exhausted. It’s a punishing unwelcomed guest that produces nothing but hopelessness and frustration. Ughhh! Have you been there too?

Let’s be honest, we ALL have these toxic momentary thoughts from time to time. Some of us have them more often than others but at some point in your life you will have an, I can’t do this thought/feeling/moment. It’s the kind of moment where you want to throw in the towel and give up, maybe not on life, but definitely on whatever stressor is beating you up that day. The kind of moment that taunts you to quit before you even start. The kind of moment that causes you to crawl back into bed and cover your head with blankets readied to hide from the world. Oh my friend, I’ve been there and done that! Life is hard and no matter how capable, or accomplished, or strong you are…we all have I can’t do this moments from time to time.

A few months ago as I was sitting across the kitchen table from my beloved husband having a meltdown about an upcoming event I am responsible to lead.  As I uttered the familiar defeated phrase “I can’t do this” aloud to my husband I had a major AH HA revelation! My thoughts immediately shifted as if God whispered into my heart – you’re exactly right, YOU can’t do this, but I can!

You see the benefit of hiding God’s word in your heart (aka. memorizing scripture) is that it is available to swiftly draw upon like a sword when you’re in the heat of battle mentally. Over the last year I have been captivated by the truths in John chapter 15 and have studied it several times. Since then, verse 5 has been playing like a record over and over again in my mind,   “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”

I can't do this blog 2In this verse our responsibility as branches is very clear: to abide in Him. We are called to remain in, join with, and stay connected to Jesus. When we do that, He handles everything else. My whole job as a Christian at any given moment is to wait on, pursue, and listen to Jesus. His job is to produce the fruit, manage the plan, create the outcome…and so much more.

I don’t know about you but WOW that is so liberating for me. You see I like to bear fruit, fruitfulness is kind of my thing. In fact if I’d let it, my entire existence and self-worth would be centered on how much fruit I am bearing. When I think about bearing fruit I think about being productive, accomplishing something meaningful and tangible, and contributing to my family and ministry. None of those are bad things, however many of us, myself included, struggle with centering our identity on how fruitful we are, rather than how well we are abiding with Jesus.

The Message paraphrase gives us another look at this verse, “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.” Our relationship with Jesus is to be so intimate and organic that the only results possible are abundant fruit. It’s the only outcome available when we are joined to Jesus. HE is just that good!

In that weary moment my focus was on my own lack rather than connecting to Jesus and relying on Him to produce the fruit. The lesson I am learning through all this is that when those, I can’t do this moments come – because we are all human and they will come, to press into Jesus and fully rely on His ability and strength rather than my own. The phrase > I < can’t do this is completely 100% accurate! In my own strength and abilities I can’t, but I am NOT alone and together with Jesus ALL things are possible (Matthew 19:26)

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My She Reads Truth Bible has a devotional titled “Walk in Them” (page 1990) that begins with this powerful thought: “Maybe the secret to doing big things for the kingdom is in making peace with the sentence “I can’t do this!”” Making peace with the fact that apart from Him and in our own strength we are incapable, incomplete, and imperfect.

It’s a beautiful thing when God can teach you a powerful lesson from a thought that was formerly toxic and defeating. Among my morning affirmations I have now included the phrase “I can’t do this” referencing John 15:5. It is my daily reminder that apart from Him I can do nothing. A reminder that the responsibility of my life is to remain in a beautifully intimate and deeply rooted relationship with Jesus. Everything else is up to Him! I choose to begin my day not by focusing on myself, my plan, and my agenda but rather by connecting to Jesus and all that He wills to accomplish in and through me.

If you are in an “I can’t do this” moment or season in your life right now I want to encourage you that you are not alone. In humility and gentleness I want to encourage you to connect with Jesus acknowledging your need for Him in your circumstance. Apart from Him – in your own strength, ability, & might – you can do nothing. But in John 15:7 Jesus tells us that, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.” Together with Jesus all things are possible my friend. In the comments share how we can pray for you in this season.

I pray this glimpse into my journey has been an encouragement to you today! Next week I’m going to share a post titled “Change Starts with You” looking at how to produce meaningful change in relationships (marriage, family, work, friends). Have a blessed week!