Life’s best lessons can be discovered tucked away in the stories that grace the pages of the Old Testament.
With the recent turmoil dividing our nation, it is within these pages we witness a solution.
Amos who was “neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but was a shepherd . . ..” was shown by God two visions of what He was preparing for the Israelites because of their behavior. After seeing the vision of locusts and “judgment by fire” Amos cried out “Sovereign Lord, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” (Amos 7: 1-4)
So the Lord relented saying “This will not happen.”
Yes! One man’s prayer altered the entire course of a nation!
One person who held no seminary degree, never taught a Sunday school class or attended a small group pleaded on behalf of his beloved country to his Creator for mercy and forgiveness with a simple, effective, faith-backed prayer. God relented. A nation was spared.
With all the social unrest happening around America it is easy to believe that one individual’s prayer could hardly make a difference. It is even easier to vent rather than pray. I am guilty yes.
However, Amos reveals the incredible power of choosing to cry out to the One who has the power to forgive, heal and restore a nation instead of complaining, criticizing and condemning actions and events to anyone within earshot.
Amos called upon the Lord in faith being absolutely convinced that “Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing.” (Joel 2:14)
If you too are feeling frustrated, overwhelmed or powerless when you read the headlines, scroll through social media posts or listen to the news, please remember like Amos YOUR one simple, heartfelt, prayer backed with unshakeable faith WILL positively impact this great country and yes even make a difference.
James 5:16 says in part “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Indeed!
Soccer mom or secretary your prayer could be the deciding factor in the future of our nation! Will you be the One?
Elevate – Chic Inspired Living
“No” is seldom heard from most women. Raised to believe that saying “yes” to every request, big or small, deems us kind and compassionate while saying “no” screams selfishness we exhaust ourselves remembering the adage “it is better to give than to receive.”
Saying “yes” is admirable and honorable . . . until it isn’t.
Matthew 25 tells the familiar parable of the ten virgins – five wise women gathered with five foolish women dressed in their finest apparel with lamps in hand waiting patiently for the bridegroom to arrive and begin a highly anticipated celebration.
What distinquishes these women is preparation should the bridegroom be late arriving. The five wise women bring extra oil. The five foolish women do not.
At midnight a cry penetrating the darkness announces the bridegroom’s arrival. It is here we learn that preparation and priority separate the wise from the foolish.
Because the five foolish women failed to bring additional oil their lamps began to dim. Panicked and fearful they asked the five wise women to share their oil.
“No” they replied, “there may not be enough for both of us” and kindly suggested they go buy more oil and return.
Reading this recently the word “no” stood out. They said “no.”
Scripture encourages us to share and rightly so. However, here we see when sharing can be costly and saying “no” is not only allowed but required.
Had they said “yes” they too could have missed out on the moment they had anticipated and prepared for. “Yes” could have cost them their goal of lifetime fellowship with the bridegroom.
Their “no” was not a reflection of selfishness but instead it was a form of of self preservation.
By refusing to say “no” when necessary we are exhausted, overwhelmed and overworked as well as consumed with guilt, resentment, self condemnation and frustration.
Inside we are screaming “no” yet with every request no matter how costly to our well-being we smile politely and say “yes.”
When saying “yes” cost us our goals and dreams because we lack the energy to pursue them, rob us of time with Christ our bridegroom, keep us from enjoying life because we are resentful, steal all the joy of giving and leave us unprepared for our future it is time to add “no” back into our vocabulary.
Five wise women in Matthew would affirm that saying “no” changed their lives forever. Had they said “yes” out of guilt, obligation or duty, all their hopes and preparation would have ended in that moment.
I encourage you today to give yourself permission to say “no” when necessary without guilt or condemnation.
Because “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the sun” (Ecc 3:1) there is a time to say yes and a time to say no.
Elevate – Chic Inspired Living
In my work I have witnessed a troubling phenomenon among women. Our internal dialogue is rife with criticism, cruelty and judgment. We speak to ourselves in ways we would never imagine speaking to others – friend or stranger.
Yes, we criticize our bodies, curse our fine lines and berate our backsides. We absolutely refuse to show ourselves an ounce of grace when we fail lording our flaws and mistakes over us like a cruel dictator.
Unknowingly, we are quietly condemning ourselves to a miserable existence cheating ourselves of joy, achievement, confidence and peace.
Should someone we love experience heartache, failure, loss or low self-worth we rush to encourage them with love and support but in our darkest moments refuse to speak even one kind word to ourselves believing we “should have known better,” throwing labels of “failure” “stupid” “fat” or “ugly” at ourselves like fiery darts. Harsh. Hurtful. Heartless.
Yes, immediately upon seeing this quote I was overwhelmed with guilt.
Guilty of actively cultivating friendships with others while ignoring my own achievements and worth. Acting as my own judge, jury and worst enemy. Guilty of verbally vomiting all over myself at every opportunity over every failure or mistake.
My inner dialogue reflected just how little self-esteem I possessed. My cruel words and criticisms denied me the joy of a beautiful friendship.
Friends, we would never dream of bullying others so why are bullying ourselves?
Confidence begins with our inner dialogue as does self-esteem.
The Message translation of Proverbs 18:21 says “Words kill, words give life; they are either poison or fruit – you choose.” Will your inner voice fill you with deadly poison or nourish you with life-giving fruit?
Today is the day to begin speaking life and love to yourself as your internal dialogue will always be reflected in your external world.
You see, the best friend you will ever have is the woman looking back in the mirror.
Be kind to her. She bears the scars of hard fought battles life forced her to fight. She has overcome the impossible, endured unimaginable cruelty, conquered inner demons, scaled emotional mountains and given generously often receiving nothing in return. She is your hero!
Our internal dialogue determines whether we are living life on a battlefield or a playground. So, if you wouldn’t say it to someone else, please don’t say it to yourself.
I have a confession to make.
I have held a lifelong fascination with all things French always seeking to possess that “je ne sais quo” (an indefinable, elusive, pleasing quality).
Over the years I have studied their lifestyle and learned five lessons worth sharing.
1. The French woman values quality over quantity.
Like her choice of foods and the relationships she pursues, her closet too is filled with quality over quantity. This quality over quantity mindset allows her to create a timeless wardrobe that can be easily updated with accessories while always remaining true to her authentic style.
She understands fabulous style is not dependent upon price or labels and couture doesn’t always mean quality she thoroughly inspects each item before purchasing whether it be Chanel or H&M.
2. She builds her wardrobe around a neutral color palette.
Choosing basic pieces in neutral colors such as black, tan, white, cream, gray or navy, when paired with colorful, interesting accessories, she can create multiple looks.
From a statement necklace to her grandmothers’s delicate pearls, a pair of oxblood red pumps or over-the-knee boots she well knows accessories complete the outfit.
3. She avoids fads and trends only and unless they blend with her style.
If the current trend leaves her feeling frumpy, she simply refuses to participate knowing her fashion dollars are best invested elsewhere.
4. She cares little what others think and unapologetically wears what she feels fabulous in needing validation from no one.
Having no interest in the opinion of others she knows if she feels amazing in an outfit it will show so she only wears what she loves.
5. She is willing to let go of an item when it no longer reflects who she is regardless of its cost or size.
Because many Parisian closets are small with limited storage space, clothing that no longer fits, is seldom worn or is in poor condition regardless of its cost or size must go.
Refusing to hold on to any piece simply because of its price tag or size she only keeps pieces she adores knowing she is gorgeous at any size.
If you want to live a chic Parisian inspired life your closet is an excellent place to begin.
Hopefully these simple suggestions will inspire you to cultivate a timeless wardrobe, create an elegant, organized dressing space and eliminate the frustration that accompanies an overflowing closet containing nothing to wear.
Not sure of your style?
Pinterest is an excellent inspirational source because by pinning outfits you love you will see a pattern emerge that will assist you in defining your style.
After doing that, I discovered I loved blazers or loose tees paired with jeans and fabulous pumps or knockout boots finished with a statement necklace then began incorporating these pieces into my wardrobe.
And, when your closet reflects your tastes whether it is tailored, bohemian, sporty, rocker chic or casual, getting dressed each morning becomes an experiment in style instead of stress.
(photo courtesy of Pinterest)
A woman’s life is punctuated with moments of sheer joy but also deep heartache.
She was no different.
She awakened that morning feeling the familiar stabbing pains of overwhelm, isolation and rejection. Though outwardly her life appeared full, inside she was emotionally and physically exhausted. She often felt judged, used and cast aside by others. Her smile hid her truth.
Oh, she had tried various remedies only to be left feeling broken, disappointed and discarded. Would today be different?
She had heard of His reputation for healing. Yet by the religious standards of her day she was not allowed to be there. Her history and circumstances screamed “you don’t belong here,” “you are not worthy,” “you are not qualified,” “you are not enough.”
He didn’t care. Religion did not interest Him. Relationships did.
Hoping to slip in then quietly depart she believed “if I could just touch his clothes, I would be healed.” (Mark 5:28)
Touching the soft folds of his hem, she felt power come in. He felt power depart. A shared moment between this Master and His daughter and her life was forever altered.
His touch said “you have not been forgotten, you matter, you are valued and you are worthy.”
He said “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5:34)
She came to him mustering the last bits of faith and left overflowing with peace and freedom.
He never asked her to fill out a form, confess her sins, reveal her age or weight, list her achievements or explain each failure ever made. He simply saw a daughter who needed restoration, healing and reminding of her value and worth from her Father.
Yes, He sees when the relationship we prayed for ends, the friend we trusted betrays us, the career that once defined us now drains us, the marriage we invested years in collapses, the people we sought to please have now departed, and the life we thought would bring happiness leaves us empty.
We don’t know if this woman was also a mom, an aunt, a sister, co-worker or friend. We do know that she is you and she is me.
When we too determine to press through the crowd of anger, overwhelm, hurt and heartache to move into His presence, with His one touch our hopelessness becomes sweet peace, our fears become lasting freedom.
Here He reminds us that we are His. We are loved unconditionally, we matter and we have not been overlooked. Here the religious rules are thrown aside so a beautiful relationship between a Father and His little girl can thrive.
My encouragement for you today is simply to inspire you to get into His presence and allow Him to remind you of WHO you are in Him and that you are cherished, important and worthy of His time, His love, His grace, His presence and His touch. Because you are.
Elevate – Chic Inspired Living
Swimming is her passion, her love and in the summer her life. Participating in a local swimteam, she has learned the importance of teamwork, excellence and commitment.
Recently, in a two lap relay, as she dove in her goggles slipped around her neck. Yet instead of stopping to adjust them, knowing time was clearly of the essence she simply pushed on.
Her eyes burning, stinging and red from chlorine and losing her sense of direction on the final lap forcing her off the lane delaying her time completion she refused to quit and pressed on. And while she didn’t win the race, she emerged from that pool in my mind a true champion.
Funny what you can learn from a nine year old.
You see, when you clearly know WHO you want to be and are committed to becoming her whether you are nine or ninety you will find a way to push on.
When others’ words and actions sting leaving your eyes red from crying, determined you refuse to stop, listen, run or hide.
When you can’t see a way to win or even if you are on the right path, you keep going.
Because when your commitment is strong, your “WHY” clear and you have absolute clarity on what you want you will find the determination to press on even when life’s unexpected roadblocks happen.
Somedays will be better than others. But as John Maxwell says “Sometimes you win. Sometimes you learn. You never lose.” You keep going. You keep moving forward. And you keep becoming “that” woman you know you want to BE!
Elegance Seeker/Inspirational Instructor
I used to _____. Every woman can complete that sentence.
I used to battle deep depression and experience severe anxiety and overwhelming insecurity. I used to believe I had accumulated so many unforgivable mistakes, poor choices and epic failures God could never forgive me. I used to embrace self loathing like a close friend believing I was worth little. My long list of “I used to’s” could continue.
God loves a Used To story. Our before and afters attest to His great mercy, grace, love and patience.
Like the lame man in Acts 3 who used to be crippled, one encounter changed all that. “When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful.” (3:10) His chance meeting with an anointed Peter gave him his own “Used To” story!
The woman caught in adultery used to seek love where no lasting love could be found. The woman healed from the issue of blood used to live with debilitating sickness daily. The woman at the well used to believe she was as only as worthy as her current relationship.
My “used to” has been replaced with “now I am.” One encounter with Christ will do that. Now I am secure, at peace, and worthy because He deemed me so. Now I am excited about my future knowing my past has been forgiven.
Just like the lame man I am recognized by many as “the same” but I know I am not. No longer paralyzed by life’s sorrows I too “am walking and praising God.”
Your anxieties, fears and past that have crippled you can be transformed into your testimony and your own “Used To” story if you simply ask. A story that is begging to be completed and told!
Yes! Yes I will volunteer. Yes I will attend. Yes I will ask. Yes I will go. Inside I am screaming “Absolutely No” but instead I say “Yes!”
Why say “Yes” when I feel “No?” A book of course. One that challenged, inspired and catapulted me from my cozy familiarity into the wild unknown.
That book is “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes. Here is the book on Amazon.
Opportunities to live an adventurous life came often yet the author never accepted. She was too shy, too scared, too busy, too tired. Her sister told her “Shonda, you never say yes to anything.” Knowing her sister was right and her exciting looking life was actually incredibly lonely she decided to spend one year saying “Yes!”
Inspired, I committed to spend 2017 saying “Yes!” to my life. Already I have experienced exhilarating, palm sweating, heart pounding, fear inducing moments of sheer joy mixed with gigantic waves of panic!
I quickly realized it is in the unpredictable, risky world of “Yes” that inspiration, confidence and growth live. Where memories are made, fears faced, comfort zones crushed and priorities and purpose discovered.
No I don’t know what the future holds but Yes I intend to find out.
So far, saying “Yes” introduced me to wonderful ladies I had never before met at a lovely luncheon thus overcoming my shyness.
Saying “Yes” empowered me to slay the giant that is fear of rejection by boldly sharing the restorative benefits of LIMU like my limitless energy, crystal clear focus and trimmed waistline with others longing for the same.
“Yes” encouraged me to be open and authentic in an incredible group of inspiring women as together we walk with Beth Moore through 2 Timothy.
“Yes” has me tossing my rigid agenda for unplanned trips with my sister reminding me that often the grandest adventures and favorite memories are created in the spontaneous.
Yes, I have wandered far from my comfortable world into a place where I have forged lasting friendships, developed new skills, traveled to new places, conquered lifelong fears, discovered confidence, found my voice and cultivated a lasting love of myself, my life and others. Scary? Yes! Worth it? Yes!
“Yes” will open up your world. “No” will leave you in the world you are in. Will you say “Yes?”
He is here. She invited him to dine with her and her family. He said yes. The opportunity that others could only dream of has now become her reality. Dinner with the Teacher.
Martha should have been overjoyed but instead she was overwhelmed. In her anxiety and self-imposed obligations, duties, needs and distractions she missed the purpose of His presence – time to sit, listen and learn.
It is easy to criticize Martha. She invited Him. She offered her home and volunteered her services. Why didn’t she plan beforehand having everything prepared and in order so she too could relish in His presence?
Yes, over coffee the next day I could scold then pity Martha for missing out on the greatest moment of her life, though no doubt her intentions were beautifully noble.
Until I look at her startled to see my own face looking back at me.
I tell the Lord often I need more of Him, more of His time, His wisdom and His words. I sense His excitement at my request as He too longs for my undivided attention and affections, eager to share all He has with me.
Yet often when the time comes for me to actually take that time with Him, I find myself distracted by a sink full of dishes, a mountain of laundry, emails to respond to, work to do, social media enticing me, commitments and obligations to fulfill, and people to please.
And like Martha I become frustrated and angry questioning why others are allowed to enjoy His company and I am not. The answer is simple.
Because, like Mary, they made a conscious decision. Mary too had “many things,” (Luke 10:41) in life similar to Martha perhaps. We all do. But she knew she could either allow them to overwhelm her or she could spend time wth the only One who could meet those needs and calm her fears. She chose to sit still. Life would simply have to wait.
But like Martha so often I miss my moment. Fortunately, His invitation is always standing and His door is always open.
So, leaving the worry and anxiety behind, I must choose to find a place along side my spiritual sisters at His feet and allow my soul to breath deep then release the overwhelm and anxieties of life and inhale peace, power and calm.
Time with Him changes us as I am certain it did Mary. It infuses us with much needed hope, a renewed sense of priorities and purpose and a chance to slow down and remember who we are and whose we are.
Yes, life can wait because He is waiting for you and me. Will we choose to set aside the mess to hear His message? To disengage from life and engage with Him?
“Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling. Calling for you and for me.”
Recently, I picked up a book entitled “Uninvited” by Lysa TerKeurst, a book I simply could not put down until completed. Here is a link to the book.
In the book, the author discusses various topics women face such as fears of rejection and failure but she also talks about love.
As women we all want to love and be loved. But, after reading this book, I realized perhaps we are, like the country song says, “looking for love in all the wrong places.”
Sustaining love will never be found in others approval or acceptance, in a bottle or a bar, lovers or labels, accolades or achievements or perfect conditions or circumstances. Lasting love cannot be measured by the number on the scale or the number of likes on social media. It cannot be bought, traded or bartered for.
Genuine love begins with God, is placed within the woman, is excavated by Christ and cultivated daily through grace.
Col 3:14 tells us that “And above all these things, put on love.” Why? Because when we are wearing love, and are “rooted and grounded in love.” (Eph 3:17) we are then equipped to handle life’s storms and disappointments. We don’t fall apart when lovers leave, friends walk away, failures haunt us and labels fade.
We are loved by a Father who doesn’t make His love circumstantial, has no weight requirements, demands no achievements be made or accolades be won, finds us gorgeous when we are made up and stunning when the makeup comes off. He loves us when we don’t feel loveworthy or when others treat us as unloveable.
My encouragement for you today is that you step into His love. Breathe it in, luxuriate in it, and simply accept it. We sing a song at my church that says “Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never walks out on me.” That is the love that will sustain you through sleepless nights, lonely days and discouraging times. Embrace the love and embrace Him. Then simply be yourself knowing you are loved and loveworthy.
In response to a friend asking “What is the Chic Creative?”
Feeling suffocated by the useless excess, emotional garbage, limiting beliefs, self imposed insecurities and a lack of defined desires one day I simply broke. It was time to fully accept responsibility for where I was and commit to making necessary adjustments to changing it.
Change begins by asking the right questions and that day my questions were “WHO do I want to be, WHAT do I want, WHY do I want it and HOW can I obtain it?” My initial answer was “I don’t know” but determined to excavate the truth, I kept digging until the answers finally emerged. Knowing these answers changed EVERYTHING.
Being a list-lover, I wrote down those answers then a list of tasks necessary to get what I longed for which was and is to infuse my everyday with inspiration, adventure/travel, elegance, simplicity and joy because that is what my heart craves. (I silently referred to this list as “Operation Comeback”).
When others noticed my “Comeback” their question was “How?”
And from sharing my struggle, my story and my faith with them, a deep desire to pursue a life intent on inspiring you to satisfy your heart’s cravings was born.
From this blog to sharing with ladies groups as well as coaching women individually, my ultimate goal is to provide you the motivation, encouragement and support needed to experience life on your terms.
And that is how The Chic Creative came to be.
Thank you for being here! As always your comments are welcome below and you are welcome to share this post.
It started with a 40 Day Prayer Challenge at church. Diving in I was ready to see God answer all my prayers. And He is – in His way not mine.
While prayer has alway been included in my morning time it had become less passionate and more perfunctory. Now, being guided by the book “Draw the Circle”, my prayers were forced from the repetitive to praying with authenticity, honesty and a call to surrender completely to Him, something I had never fully done. I regularly and freely offered God suggestions as to how He could and should answer my prayers.
Yet one morning the frustrations became too much, the formality fell away and out came the truth, all of it pouring forth like a rushing river that could not be stopped.
And God listened.
I vented and complained about my disappointments, cried many tears, asked “why” repeatedly, admitted truths about myself I self-righteously ignored, utterly fell to my knees in surrender then pleaded for grace.
It was raw and it was real. Then it was quiet.
What had I done? Had I alienated or angered Him? Now what?
Then He was there softly speaking His word through Isa 64:8 “…You are our Father, We are the clay and You our potter” and Gen 1:1 “… God created the heaven and the earth.” Could I trust Him the Creator in every area of my life?
After years forcing God from His rightful place behind the potter’s wheel and in frustration grabbing the paint brush from His hand all I had to show was a useless lump of clay and a blank canvas.
I wasted tears and years trying to be the Painter and the Potter and out of sheer desperation was ready to finally accept my rightful place as the canvas and the clay.
To watch, wait and seek His will instead of forcing my own then blaming Him when it failed.
In letting go I found what I thought having control could give me – Peace. He is capable, He cares and I now know that surrender comes before success.
This canvas and clay owes her all to the Painter and the Potter.