Motivation for Mondays

Motivation for Mondays and Anything That Feels Like One

Life Preserver of Grace and Blanket of Love

A sinner. Lost. Tossed in the sea of life and waves are trying to overtake you. Relentless waves continually crashing on your head. Gasping for air and Only getting a breath every other wave. Struggling to survive. Desperately searching for something solid to stand on, something to cling to, something to rescue you. Arms and legs flailing attempting to keep your head above water.  The storms of life have taken their toll. Feelings of desperation and not being enough have hung on for so long, it leaves you with no hope of that ever changing. All hope seems too far out of reach.

Then enters Jesus. Not as a passerby that decided to reach out a hand and help, but as a force to be reckoned with that has the full capacity to rescue that rushes to your side. Fully equipped, fully able, and never too far away….nothing short of a hero in cape to swoop in and save the day.  He doesn’t look down at you, ask you how you got in this situation, and proceed to judge you for being there, He simply extends Grace as a floatation device in your sea of turmoil. “Grab Hold” He says, “and I’ll pull you to safety”. He gets you on solid ground and covers you with a blanket of His love. It engulfs you, surrounds you, and makes you even question how this strong of love can even exist. He laid His own life down for you, a sinner, He continually came after you regardless of how many times you pushed Him away, there has never been a time you called His name that He wasn’t there. That’s Love….That’s my Jesus.

You get in the life saving boat, take a minute to catch your breath, so happy to just be alive. You look around and take in this Savior that has so miraculously saved you from the depths of a sea you would have never been able to escape from alone. His strength, His care, His willingness to reach for you are all so overwhelming. Being here does a couple different things to you. One, it makes you thankful. How could I ever repay such an act of bravery? How can I ever thank Him enough? How could He love me so much? So. Very. Thankful.  Two, it creates in  you compassion. When you glance over the side of the boat and see others with their heads bobbing just above water, tossed from here to there, lost, desperately searching, it creates a compassion in you to yell out, to scream, to jump up and down with your arms waving in the air in hopes of getting their attention: “there’s a life saving boat near you”, “Grab hold of the life preserver that have the letters G_R_A_C_E printed on it’s side”, and “Let this Savior, let this Hero pull you to safety”, “bet He’ll even wrap you in a blanket”.


The Love of God….

The Love of God…

The love of God has been portrayed as a gentle love. Kinda always pictured God as this man who loved me, and was waiting at an alter with His arms open waiting on me to come to Him. I pictured Him patiently sitting there, hoping I would happen to come His way. In all my years of hearing preaching and stories of His love, it came across to me as passive. He would take me and love me if I came to Him, but I was sort of taught I had to initiate the relationship. NOTHING could be further from the truth.

The Love of God pursues….

As much as I believe He enjoys dwelling in church services with His own, He doesn’t stay there. His love pursues, it reaches, it searches, it comes after you with a vengeance. It meets you where you are and cares enough not to leave you there. It speaks to you while you are sitting on bar stools, or in the darkest of pits, or lost with no sense of where to turn. It longs for you and sends out the search parties for you when you are stuck in the ditch, stuck in life, or stuck in depression. It yearns to have you by it’s side, and will stop and nothing to make that happen. It doesn’t sit passively by with a one hand barely stretched out and a shrug of a shoulder with an attitude of “if they come to me, they come to me”. No, it runs rampant after you with arms swinging, and legs like lighting, and feet pounding the ground beneath it. It pursues with a purpose and with a no-holds barred attitude. It is desperate for you.

The Love of God is violent…..

I understand that when He captures you, His love in gentle and caring. However, to get to you, His love is violent tackling every obstacle in it’s way. It will break down walls to come after you. It will climb the highest of mountains to come after you. It will light up the dark and expose the lies of the enemy to show you how it cares for you. Just as a firefighter with an axe in hand will go to the greatest of lengths to rescue someone from a burning building, God’s love is relentless and does what it takes to rescue you from your own personal torment. It will NEVER give up on you.

The Love of God is “All-In”….

He is not concerned with how foolish it may make Him look to whole heartedly pursue you, He does it anyway. The love of God is selfless to it’s very core. With no regard to the great possibility of rejection, or the fact that you could never love Him back with the same intensity He loves you; He, with no hesitation,  pours His affections out on you. Never are His feelings, His emotions, or the way He is treated effect the way His love is directed or given. He doesn’t ration His love out a piece here and a piece there. Rather He lavishly, fully covers you to the point you are dripping in His love.

You see, when I was preached to about the “Do’s” and the “Do-not’s” of religion, I could easily walk away. When I was told about rules and regulations, I had no interest in pursuing a relationship with Him. When I felt like I needed to get my act together and felt as though I needed to be perfect before He would love and accept me, it felt too overwhelming to even get started, and down right impossible do. BUT….when I was face to face with His LOVE….it was something I couldn’t resist. Knowing that not only did He say He would die for me, but He proved that by being beaten, bruised, and tormented in my place. That got my attention and stirred my heart. All the times He has reached out for me at the lowest points in my life and embraced me, all the times His love rescued me, and all the times relentlessly pursued me….that was something I couldn’t resist.  Knowing that He knows all my faults, all my sins, all my short comings, and all the times I’ve failed….and He STILL chooses to loves me with no hesitation and lavishly give His love way; that I couldn’t ignore. Never has He held His love from me. Never has He even made me question His love for me. Never have I reached for Him and not found Him. After all, God IS love.

Side note….if you get the chance look up the song “Reckless love of God” by Cory Asbury. ITS AMAZING!

I can’t help but think…

As I gaze up at the stars and ponder the magnitude of the universe…. I can help but think, how majestic my God is.

As I replay His promises in my head and begin to count them as I see them play out in my life. When He promised to never leave me or forsake me …I can’t help but think, how faithful my God is.

As I remember that He is the beginning and the  end, the First and the Last, the creator and then sustainer…I can’t help but think how uncomparable my God is.

As I consider how many times I have failed him and lost my way, I can’t help but think how unconditional my God is.

As I think about my sins, how I have done wrong, I can’t help but think how forgiving my God is.

As I consider my next steps in life, feel uncertain about all that life can give, and worried about the direction in which I need to take, I can’t help but think how full of wisdom my God is.

As I take in the breathtaking sunset with all its colors and wonder, I can’t help but think how creative my God is.

As I sit in His presence, I can’t help but think how loving my God is.

As I look ahead at my needs, I can’t help but think of how wonderful of a provider my God is.

As I remember being lost and not having a relationship with Him, I can’t help but think how pationate of a Savior my God is.

As I recall how He reached out for me, continuously, relentlessly, even when I pushed Him away, I can’t help but think how persistent my God is.

As I see a world that is ever changing, unstable, and I question “what’s next”, I can’t help but think of how unwavering  my God is.

As I look at the faces of my children and take notice of all the little miracles we all get to witness from time to time, I can’t help but think how awesome my God is.

As I see His hand in the smallest of details in my life, I can’t help but think how caring my God is.

As one day I will stand before Him face to face, in awe of His glory, overwhelmed by His power. Seeing Him for the first time, yet feeling  as if I am looking upon my life long friend. I can’t help but think how good my God is.








Practice makes Perfect…

When my children have started out on a  new venture, whether it be learning to ride a bike, conquering a new math skill, or trying to make the team of the sport they are interested in; I have always preached the old saying “Practice makes Perfect”. My son is somewhat of a perfectionist. He wants to be the very best and gets discouraged easily and quickly when he is trying something new and can’t do it well. I tell him, he was not born knowing how to do this….no one was…and the ones that are good at this have spent some significant time doing it over and over. When they were tired of it…. they kept doing it, when they were sick of it…they kept doing it, when they never wanted to see it again….they kept doing it. As a result, they are great and accomplished at what they do. That is how professionals are made. That’s how experts are made. Professional athletes have spent countless hours investing in their skills. They have faced and over came many failures and obstacle and have stuck it out.

Nothing in this life is given freely. When I first got my Real Estate license, I remember having to convince myself I was a Realtor. I know that may sound silly, but I remember telling myself over and over, I am a Realtor and selling houses is what I do. Convincing myself I was, that I could do it, and that I would do it. I remember getting to the point where I didn’t really care if I made a whole career out of it, but I was determined to sale a house, just ONE house. If I could get my first house closed, I could prove to myself I could it.  That was my first real estate goal. I have since raised my goals and am now the top producing agent in my office and among the top producers in my area. Becoming a successful Realtor didn’t come without it’s share of frustration, anger at times, disappointment, MORE disappointment, wondering if I had what it takes to become one of the best, deals falling apart at the last minute, being cussed out a few times by unhappy clients, lots of nights and weekends spent working instead of playing, sacrifice, and plenty of times of wanting to quit along the way. But,  it did happen.

So you get my point, practice makes perfect. When we pursue something enough it goes from being what we do to being who we are, what we are known for. It becomes a part of us.  When you think of a basketball legend, I probably don’t come to mind, however Michael Jordan may. When you think of the greatest in golf, you probably don’t say….hey that girl that blogs…I bet she’s good a golf. No, you would think of Tiger Woods or Phil Michelson. Michael Jordan will always be known as a great basketball player and Tiger Woods a great golfer because they pursued something that became a part of who they are.

In this same way of practicing or pursuing to become better, we can apply the same principles to our own character. Have you ever thought about practicing being happy? Sounds silly, again…right? Well, when you decide to be a happier person the world doesn’t magically change to never give you a reason to be unhappy. You simply have to determine to be happy no matter what. You practice happiness, and sometimes you fail at it. Nothing comes without some sort of opposition. The more you practice being happier the better at it you become.

What about forgiveness, patience, being kinder, loving more, trusting others, giving where you see a need,  smiling, doing random acts of kindness, making someone’s day better, growing in your faith, and being an all together better person? We don’t always look at these character traits as something we can practice, but they are.  We fall prey to the thoughts of “this is just who I am” without considering the option that we can  change and becoming better.

As my kids jump out of the car in the mornings heading into the school building, I don’t just say, “be kind today” or “be nice today” or “work hard today”. Instead of some general statement where it is kind of vague of what to do, I give them goals and an idea or two of how do be kind, nice, or work hard.  Such as, compliment 3 people today and tell me how many smile back at you. Make sure you tell you teacher you think she’s doing a good job today. If you see someone all alone on the playground or at a lunch table, go sit with them and introduce yourself. Give a high five to four people and say “you’re awesome”. Tell a joke and make someone laugh. They started looking forward to making sure they meet these goals, it was the first thing they talked about when I picked them up in the afternoons.  They starting coming up with ideas of their own of how to be better or make someone else’s day better. I am teaching them to practice niceness, kindness, etc, or at least attempting to.  Even took the challenges myself, and it sure does make my day better.

What you practice, grows. If you do something repeatedly you get better at it. Goes for the good and the bad. You practice patience, you get better at being patient. You practice anger, you get better at being angry and you’ll perfect it to the point that the least little thing will push you into anger. You practice showing love, you get to where your first response to anything will be in love. Truth is we may have tendencies or personalities that lean toward one character trait than another, but when it all boils down to it, we choose who we are. We choose what we are good at. We choose what we practice.

Practice makes perfect, practice the good things.





Let me always be thankful…

This week has seemed to bring nothing but bad news, sad news, and downright scary news. Woke up Monday to hear about the Las Vegas shootings. I had a client whose father passed away. Another client lost his job. I have some family members that are facing some hard times and having to make some tough decisions. I saw a young boy with the prettiest blue eyes I’ve ever seen in the store the other day who had lost his hair and was wearing a face mask due to what I can only guess is cancer. Just all seems so unfair.

Doesn’t sound like an intro to a great motivational speech, does it?

Although my heart gets heavy with concern during times like this, it also puts my life in perspective. Maybe it makes me less ungrateful and maybe I realize just how thankful I should be. I get busy in the rat race of life just like everyone else. I get focused on my goals and how I am going to accomplish them. I get busy being a mom…making sure home work is done, making sure everyone gets to where they are going, making sure they are happy and healthy, making sure I have food to pack for lunches…the mom list never ends. I get busy with my schedule and the to-do list. I get busy checking on everyone in my circle and making sure life is good with them. I get busy dealing with random adult things such as shopping for better rates on insurance and keeping up maintenance on my house and car. In short, I get busy and don’t always stop long enough to be thankful. So that is what I have decided to do today….just be thankful.

Let me always be thankful that when I lay my head down at night I have a comfortable bed and pillow. Not everyone has that.

Let me always be thankful for every night all the members of my family are safe and under one roof. Not everyone can say the same.

Let me always be thankful for the chore of packing lunches for my kids everyday. Not everyone’s pantry is full of food.

Let me always be thankful for family dinners at the table where I get to hear about everyone’s day. Not everyone has family to love and to be loved by.

Let me always be thankful for laughter and precious memories with friends. Not everyone has close knit circle of crazies like me.

Let me always be thankful for a job that is hectic and demanding to say the least. Not everyone is able to provide for themselves and their families.

Let me always be thankful that I have someone to love me, just for me. Not everyone has that support, love, and caring that I have been fortunate enough to find.

Let me always be thankful that I have a deep rooted love for God and His word, and I know His unconditional love in my life.   Not everyone has met my wonderful Savior and knows Him to be a friend.

Let me always be thankful for phone that seems to continually ring. Not everyone feels needed.

Let me always be thankful for struggle to find what I want to wear for the day. Not everyone has a choice of clothing options.

Let me always be thankful that bulky coat that isn’t real cute and is missing a button. Not everyone has what they need to stay warm.

Let me always be thankful for the chore of cleaning out the fridge of things that have gone bad. Not everyone has ate all three meals today, maybe not even one.

We all, at some points in our lives, face some really hard times. Some days it’s all you can do to keep your head above water. But even in times like that and in the middle of a day that doesn’t seem to have an ending…there are things to be thankful for. I choose to be thankful today and hopefully all the days to come for every little blessing.

One of the greatest quotes I have learned from my Dad is this: If you have more than others, it doesn’t make you better, it makes you a debtor. Meaning if you have more, you should do what you can to help others and lend a hand where you can.

My Prayer:

Let me forever be thankful for everything in my life. Let my eyes be quick to see the needs around me. Let me not be so caught up in the daily routines, that I cannot see the places where I can be a help or the people I can encourage. Let my heart be thankful for what I have and let me be willing to share what I have with others.

Make today a thankful day….




There has Never Been Day…

In all my years of sitting on a church pew and even when reading articles about keeping a positive outlook, I have learned this: When you are in a dark place, facing something that looks overwhelming or even impossible….rehearse all the time that God has seen you through all the other dark times in your life. All the times He has encouraged you, gave you strength to face the situation, and has saw you through it. In the midst of replaying past victories, you somehow realize that He has never left your side, and that if He has seen you through that much already, He certainly won’t leave you now. Here are a few thoughts I meditate on when facing hard times:

There has never been a day that He has left my side.

There has never been a day when I would whisper His name and not immediately feel His presence.

There has never been a day that I have had to go without His love.

There has never been a day that His strength wouldn’t make up for my lack of strength.

There has never been a day that He hasn’t encouraged me.

There has never been a day that He hasn’t made me look better than I really am.

There has never been a day His grace hasn’t just covered me, but engulfed me, fully, and without hesitation.

There has never been a day that I have had to face completely alone.

There has never been a day that His mercies were not extended toward me.

There has never been a day that I was confronted with a cold shoulder from Him, instead I have always been accepted with arms wide open in love toward me.

There has never been a day that His provision hasn’t supplied my needs.

There has never been a day that my decision to take a right or a left on my life’s path has caught Him by surprise and He didn’t have a plan for me.

There has never been a day that I have had to search for something to be thankful for.

There has never been a day that He has made me feel like I am not enough, instead He makes me feel capable, empowered, and strong.

There has never been a day that He has left me in fear without a hand stretched out in reach for me.

There has never been a time I was confused and had no idea what to do that He didn’t have an answer on it’s way to me.

There has never been a time I have been completely and utterly without hope. He is full of  hope of a better tomorrow.

There has never been a time I have been rejected by Him.

There has never been a day that He has talked bad about me or made me to feel lesser of person, instead I am reminded who I am and WHOSE I am.

There has never been a day that being in His presence didn’t leave me longing to be with Him even more, knowing Him even more.

There has never been a day that didn’t end and I was given a fresh new day to begin.

No….not one single day…


Today my hope is that you know you are not alone, you are loved unconditionally, and that there is a God that thinks very highly of you. Bet He even carries your picture in His wallet.



Giving Yourself Grace

Do you ever feel under pressure? Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Do you ever feel like you are not enough? Well, this post is for you, or maybe just me venting!

In this day and age we have pressure from every angle; to be successful in a career, to be a phenomenal parent, to volunteer in our communities, to make time for our friends and families, to  make sure that we are fit and in shape, to be a good partner to those we love, and the list just continues to grow.  It gets a little old trying to keep up with it all, trying to keep all the balls in the air and not let one drop, and trying to be the best at everything.

Do you ever feel judged, no matter what you choose to do?

You are a stay at home Mom, so you must not have any ambition. You choose to have a career,  so you don’t care about spending all the time you can raising your kids.

You have a little bit of a pudgy belly, so you must not go to the gym or care about your health. You go to the gym regularly, so you must be vein.

You don’t wear make up or fix up much, so you must have low self esteem. You do wear make up and fix up, so you must attention-seeking.

Get my point?  (Insert eye roll here)

I am not perfect. I fail daily, some days even hourly. All my ducks aren’t in a single file line and in an orderly row, some days I don’t even know where all my ducks are! Life gets chaotic. It gets messy. It don’t go as planned. There are times it feels like it won’t ever change and things will always be the same way, then life turns on a dime and leave you wonder what to do next. Every person on Earth experiences these things, no one gets an exemption.

I have practiced and made it a priority (a goal, you could say) to practice extending grace to others. Forgive people of shortcomings, understand that I may not know the whole story and they are probably doing the best they can, not to judge, and to love people in spite of their mistakes. This has become a habit, per say. A habit of extending Grace. Now I am not perfect in this what so ever, but I do consider it one of my better attributes. Before you think I am bragging….I want to say,  I would not be able to extend grace without having it first extending to me. Knowing I have a wonderful Savior that loves me unconditionally and feeling/experiencing that love has absolutely changed my life. If such grace could be extended to me and He could love me in spite of a laundry list of mistakes, then I should be able to follow suite and extend grace to others.

Now, I am ALL ABOUT setting goals in every area of life and striving to meet those goals. I have goals that I work on daily. There is no reason for us not to continually grow as get go through this thing called life. But as I take this whole grace things a step further, I am learning, to give myself a little grace when things aren’t perfect. I am guilty of not giving myself grace and of holding myself to a higher standard than I do others. This is not an arrogance thing, but where I could easily forgive someone else for something, I would beat myself up for doing the exact same thing. I wouldn’t as  easily forgive myself when I could, almost immediately and out of a habit I’ve created, forgive someone else almost without effort. I’m my own worst critic. I’m learning to be happy in the middle of judgement, in the middle of chaos, and in the middle of a to do list that does not have one thing neatly crossed off of it, and in the middle of searching for my ducks!  I’m learning to focus my attention on what I got right today instead of that one pesky place where I missed the mark, and it sure makes for a happier day, that turns into a happier life.

There are times that the feelings of being overwhelmed and under pressure come from not giving yourself grace. So why put more pressure on yourself when everything else in this ole world does a pretty good job of that already? Grace has been extended to your by God, you should attempt at extending it toward others, and learn to do the same for yourself. You are worth your own grace.


-Rachel Ray






Ministering on Purpose…

I’ve been making it a goal of mine to look for opportunities to minister on purpose. We have all, at some point, become so consumed with our own day and agendas that we become tunnel-versioned  in making to the end of our days with our to-do list all neatly checked off.  I’ve grown up on a church pew, so “ministry” used to mean preaching from the pulpit, leading worship service, teaching a class, etc. Those are all wonderful works, but being a minister of His love and grace is so much more broad than that.

Ministering HIS love and grace has nothing to do with holding a position that you can note on a resume, and everything to do with being an asset to all that surrounds you. This scripture comes to mind:

Acts 10:38 (KJV)
38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

The “WENT ABOUT DOING GOOD” sure suck out like a sore thumb to me; not the fact that He stood in front of the masses proclaiming the gospel, or that He worked numerous signs and miracles, or the fact that He is the Creator…..but the fact that as He went about His day, He did good and healed all that were oppressed. He put smiles on people’s faces, He held the door open, I bet He even cracked some jokes. So, as we are all looking to be more like Him, I decided to do the same thing I began going about my day, checking off my to-do list and being more aware of those around me and coming up with ways I can make some ones day brighter, better, or easier.

I went on a vacation recently with my family. We were going to be visiting a water park and as we sat them down to go over the rules of how we would stay in pairs, adhere to the park rules of safety, etc, and yes, I know I’m a super cool Mom who can always deliver a speech so that I get eye rolls back from the kids!! I challenged them to minister on purpose. I told them they could have all the fun they wanted, but at some point during the day they had to make someone’s day better. They could be creative in coming up with their own ideas, but had to help someone somehow. I expected another eye roll here, but instead I got a little excitement, maybe mixed with a little nervousness, but is wasn’t an eye roll!! Every one of the kids (4 total) came running up to me at different times throughout the day saying, “I’ve already got mine done for the day” and would tell me who and how they helped someone out. Simple things like a float was falling down the stairs and they caught it and gave it back, how they decided to smile at everyone they passed for the day, how they let someone cut in line in front of them, how they made a new friend and hung out for a while. My heart smiled to see my babies ministering on purpose and enjoying it.

I have personally found that if I am feeling down, depressed, in a funk, or just can’t see the bright side of things…..I need to see if I have been ministering on purpose. There is a happiness and a fulfillment that only comes from giving and being a service to others. It’s amazing to me how being of service to others automatically makes US feel better!?!?! You would think giving would leave you with less and serving would drain your energy, but quite the opposite it true. “Give and it shall be given unto you….”

I will leave you with this:

1 Corinthians 13:1-7  (MSG)

13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t have love, I’m nothing.
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.


Let Love lead you.

Let Love guide you.

Let Love Speak.

Let Love Minister.

1 John 4:8 “…… God is love”

Go about doing good.




Hello Goliath, today you can call me David..

Most are familiar with the age old story of David and Goliath. The small, humble David that faced the well trained, well experienced, giant in battle and was the victor. David fought without armor and a sling and rock was his weapon of choice. Goliath had full armor and carried a sword that was as big as David.

I am not sure what kept David so calm and collected, what would give him the idea to fight a giant in the first place, and what kind of confidence he must have had.

This is what I know about David….and the God we serve. This was not David’s first fight. He had killed a lion and a bear with his own hands while he was protecting and tending to the herds of sheep. God had prepared him for the battle. David may not have had some long resume filled with battles he had won or shiny trophies to show off, but he did have a God that had trained him even if it was in a field far away from any spectators. God hasn’t changed a bit, he still conditions us, speaks to us, equips us, molds and shape us, makes us deal with things in our hearts, and allows us grow in PRIVATE.  A daily watering of His Word, little by little, the stronger we grow.

David did not hold confidence in his own abilities. He remembered how God was with him though the previous fights. How God had allowed a boldness, a confidence to well up on inside of him that he couldn’t muster up himself if he tried. It was a confidence that only comes from God. The kind of confidence that makes you forget how small you are, how big your opponent is,  makes you not look at the odds of winning or loosing, and makes you single focused at the battle ahead. The kind of confidence that makes you think that even though you are a small skinny boy with a rock, that you can fight a giant trained for battle, in full armor, with a massive sword and track record that was impressive, to say the least. CRAZY CONFIDENCE!

No matter what Goliath you are facing today, know that God has your back. Scripture tells us “He goes before us and prepares the way” and “He will never leave us or forsake us”. Know that you do not have to have confidence ONLY in what you can do and your abilities, but you have a God that will well up on the inside of you and cause you to conquer. The battles are not always easy, and we make take some hard hits, but God has given us the promise to “work ALL things to OUR good”. Good can come out of any situation.

Go take your rock even if it is with a shaking hand, let God do His thing,  defeat your giant, do a victory dance that would rival the best of running backs that just scored the game winning touch down, and know that WITH GOD all things really are possible.




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