Tuesday, March 5, 2013

You have value because...

Value- noun: worth, merit or importance.
          verb: to consider with respect to worth, excellence, usefulness, importance

Over the last few months, I've been learning what it means to have value. My friend Kelly and I talk of it often. We both have such a desire in our hearts to serve the people around us and feel as if it is a calling in our lives. We do this in different ways, but the purpose remains the same. To speak value into their lives so they walk away from our interactions encouraged and uplifted.

A little back story:
Kelly and I came to know each other through our Scentsy businesses, but through God's divine nature, have come to a place of unique and precious friendship. In fact, if someone were to listen to our phone calls and the 90 mile a minute, talk over but still understand each other, completely random conversations, they'd need a nap and be convinced we needed serious help. :) But that's what I love about our friendship. Even though we live states apart, we're the best of friends with an understanding of the other's level of crazy and we don't judge each other for it. We can agree to disagree and love each other when it's needed most. While we talk of many things including family and business, we tend to somehow always come back to learning and talking of new ways we can be lights in the lives of those around us. This is how the conversations of value began.

Learning what Value means:
The idea of value and what it means for my life came full circle just a couple short weeks ago. I'd been asked to speak at a Scensty event in Little Rock in front of close to 800 people. I was terrified. Kelly and I talked so many times about what we'd talk about and how we'd like to come across as she was also speaking at an event in Ohio. She was also terrified. We wanted what we spoke about not only to be useful in the businesses of those we were speaking to, but we also both desired to instill value in some way.
After the event, I had such immense pride for conquering such a huge fear and it's amazing what power can fill one's spirit when that happens. When I came home, we talked about our experiences and once again, the conversation came back to value. I desire so much to be of value in other's lives and have been spending much time in prayer about what that truly means.
It was during that conversation that I heard God speak to my  heart and tell me what being of true value means and that's really what I want to share with you in this post. This is what He said...

We are people born in His image. Every single one of us. We are born sinful, but through His grace, we have life. In ourselves, we have no value, but it is through our relationship and love for our Heavenly Father that our value is found. You see, He fills us with value the moment we seek His place in our lives. Here's the important part, so pay attention! :)
We are not filled with value so that WE can be awesome. It is not for us to show the world how great WE are. I am not filled with value so that I can be great. We are filled with value so that THROUGH us, God can be awesome. We are filled with value so that THROUGH us, God can show how great HE is. How incredible is this? 

The fact is, in ourselves, we often feel like we're not good enough. We may not feel smart enough, brave enough or capable enough. Some times, our past tries to define who we are and tell us that we aren't valuable and we have nothing to give. In ourselves, we don't have anything to offer, but it is through our amazing Savior, that every single one of us have immense value and the purpose of that value is to give it away.

YOU, yes YOU, are valuable! You have value because you are filled with value to be spoken or shown into the people around you. Not to hold inside. Not to make yourself great, not so you can be awesome, but to give it away in that doing so, God can show just how awesome He is.

So I challenge us today to pray about the value we hold. To learn to desire to use our value to be a light into the people we come into contact with every single day. Your value may be different from mine, but if we both decide to let our awesome God show His glory THROUGH our value, my my, how much better would this world be?


Saturday, February 9, 2013

A recipe for your sweet tooth...

A very creative friend who is quite the master in the kitchen posted a recipe for a  no-bake chocolate oatmeal ball today that looked oh so tasty! ( you can find her beautiful blog here)
 I had decided that they would be my afternoon craft for the day when I realized that I didn't have one of the ingredients she had listed in her recipe. Stinkers!
It didn't detour me long, however, because I couldn't get them off my mind. My husband was on a run, the girls were happily playing with play doh and I had nothing else to do, so off to the kitchen I went.
Below you'll find the recipe born from the need for something chocolaty. It is the perfect mix of chocolate and coffee which brings about a super yummy mocha flavor. Simple and tasty. Doesn't get much better! Thank you Amy for the inspiration!

Mocha Oat Balls with white Velata Drizzle:

1 stick of butter (softened)
1.5 cups of powdered sugar
1 Tbls. Vanilla
4 Tbls. Cocoa Powder
1.5 cups oats
2 Tbls. Strong coffee
1 pkg. of Velata in white chocolate

Mix butter, sugar and vanilla until well blended and creamy.
Stir in cocoa powder. Once combined, add in oats and coffee.
Mix well and form into balls and place onto wax paper. Place in freezer for 10 min. to set.
Once set, place Velata in microwave for 30 second increments until melted.
Unscrew cap and drizzle chocolate over the top of the balls and place back in the freezer and let chocolate set.
Then, try not to eat them all :)

I think next time we'll be trying Velata in dark chocolate for our drizzle and may just throw in a handful of mini chips for an added level of texture.
You could also roll the balls in powdered sugar or coconut before placing in the freezer if it tickled you. :)
If you try this recipe, please let me know! I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

So I started to vent...

Over the last month or so, I've been 'chewing' on something that I've been hesitant to share. The more I chewed, the more I saw it happening around me, the more comfortable I became with just keeping the thought to myself. More in an effort not to hurt feelings than anything else.
After talking to a sweet friend today, she encouraged me to share it and maybe in a moment of 'oh what the heck', here I am. :)
Saying that, let me preface this blog with a note saying that it's contents are not directed towards any one certain person. If it's for anyone, it's for me.
In late December, I found myself becoming overwhelmed with everything going on around me. The holidays, my leadership responsibilities, my family responsibilities and so on. If you knew me personally, you would know that I tend to be a high stress person but you won't necessarily see it's affects on me unless you live in my house. When anxiety hits, it's runs my life.
I think we can all agree that when we feel overwhelming feelings such as these, it can feel so good to vent. We pick a person to lay everything on the table with and just pour out every gripe, complaint, or frustration we have about the person or situation.
 It was in one of these moments of pure 'GRRRRR'' that I started to type a text to my best friend and 'vent' about a certain something. I started to vent and express my grievance and something suddenly struck me."What in heaven's name are you doing?" I asked myself. (I'm going with God on this one. Seems like something He would trying to get my attention on) ;)
Now, I've vented many times before. I would probably say I'm a semi-pro, but I've never been really stopped and thought  about what it was I was actually doing. The more and more I thought about it, the more I realized that maybe this venting thing isn't all it's cracked up to be.
First let's look at our victims (aka the people we're venting to). When we start sharing our thoughts so forcefully on them, we are putting them in 1 of 2 positions. Either the agree with us and we still like them or they disagree and we are now mad at them for not agreeing with us. Fair to do to someone who was probably just eating a bowl a cereal and mistakenly answered our phone call? Probably not.
Next let's look at ourselves. We are also putting ourselves in 1 or 2 positions. Either they agree with us and 'further our cause' really only making us more upset about the situation because we now feel justified or they disagree and again, now we're frustrated about something else.
Don't get me wrong. I definitely think there is a time and place when sharing frustrations can be the right thing to do, especially is we are seeking resolution. But I would also say 9 times out of 10, we just want to be miserable and want to invite others to our pity party.
What good is actually coming from this thing called the 'vent'? Is our problem being solved? Are we open to advice that we'd actually take? Or are we just using this moment to speak ill of someone when truly, our words are meant for building up?
I see this each and every day and especially on social networking sites. Those who feel they have a right to displace their anger or frustration on anyone willing to listen which again, only turns out one of the 2 ways listed above. Who are we to do that to other people and ourselves?

So this is my challenge to you and to myself.  Next time we find ourselves picking up the phone to call or text, logging on to Facebook or as our spouse walks through the door, ready to 'vent', let's just not.
Let's take a step back, really look at what we're about to say or do and decide whether it is something that will add value to either our lives or the person who's getting ready to have a rain of frustration poured all over them. Are we doing ourselves justice? Are we doing them justice? Are we doing the person were venting about justice? If we don't have anything nice to say, let's just not say it at all.
 Let's choose to find constructive ways to channel these feelings that will actually solve our problems instead of creating new ones. Let's find ourselves saying, " So I started to vent....and I just stopped."

 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. Colossians 3:12-14