September 25, 2013

Sowing Good Seed

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:10 pm by Broken & Brave

This is not my ordinary blog. I want to encourage you with an opportunity that has so richly blessed and encouraged me. I want to provide some possiblity thinking and possibility solution for those who are on their knees praying for a way where there seems to be none. I hope I bless, encourage and inspire and of course…help with practical application. Blessings…Nicole

“Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the way-side; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they ha no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. “ Matthew 13: 3-9

Whether you believe in the Bible or not does not discount the wisdom contained for all of life in this passage. Let me apply it specifically to your Advocare “business”. Whether you are a product user at the wholesale discount, a business “dabbler” or a business builder…there are nuggets you can apply to all of life about the importance of TIMING.

We plan, we cultivate, we itemize and detail our life to build toward moving forward. This could be a dream vacation, a new boat or summer cottage or maybe just a “nest egg” for the future. We plan for our retirement and relaxation. We plan our lives and if we don’t we spin into a deleterious tale spin of calamity. We buy insurance for our health, our homes, our assets and our life. We protect ourselves, our property and our family. Again, let us apply this to Advocare.

“Advocare” the name of this nutrition company, was birthed out of one man’s vision to be an Advocate for Caring. That is what we do each and every day, John and I. We want to help you “protect” yourself via this vehicle of Advocare. We want to help “insure” good health that has longevity. We want to help increase your quality of living through better health and increased finance. Advocare can be your Plan B income to supplement your full time career path. We can help you reach your goals faster. We can help you pay off debt using Advocare as a part time business and utilize the award winning Debt Buster program. The very program John and I used, with our Advocare income, to pay off over $35,000 in consumer debt, auto loans and college/graduate school student loans.  What if you were able to sleep stress free at night because you knew you had Advocare as a safety net?

Whatever your reason for involvement with Advocare at what ever level, we are here to help you. We know that timing is everything. Sometimes no is merely “not now”. Timing…just like those seeds. We are presently looking for those who want to take this to the Next Level and demolish all deleterious paths in your life. We believe we can help eliminate the scorching sun, the ravenous birds, the stony places and the thorny places. We can help you build an income that is thirty, sixty or a hundredfold increase to your present income. The lid is off, the timing in Advocare is ripe and it is yours for the picking! So, let me ask, if all things remain the same…

“Where do you see yourself five years from now?”

If you don’t like the projected image you just saw of your future…Contact us! We can help you take the next step! You are a Champion and we are here for you!

Contact Info:

http://www.AdvocareNextLevelTeam.com

It is always my desire to add value to every person I encounter at whatever level is needed. Be blessed on your path of choice and know that I am right there, encouraging you along your way. Champion that you are.

~Nicole

September 18, 2013

A Pleasing Aroma…

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:45 pm by Broken & Brave

“Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hand as the evening sacrifice.” Psalm 141:2

Have you ever noticed all of the aroma therapy products in the market place? I love it! I am a candle lover to begin with. I try to always have my home full of candles, at least one in each room (except the boys bedrooms, of course, that would be a disaster). I love the atmosphere a lit candle creates and I absolutely adore scented candles. I fill the house with the aroma of sage, or cinnamon, spices galore. It makes me smile inside of my heart and creates an invitation to my guests through their senses. Warm. Welcome. Comfort. Rest.

Did you know that God says our prayers are like a pleasing aroma, just like the pleasure I just described when I fill my home with illumination? In fact, when we pray it is like aroma-therapy. God is so good, so gracious, so gentle and kind that instead of savoring our prayers to himself he sends the blessing or the “therapeutic benefit” of the heavenly incense back to us. Really think about this for a moment.

Have you ever had a massage? The massage therapist uses special oils with savory scents to work out deep stress in our muscles. The effects are relaxation and reduced stress with long-term health benefits associated.  Our prayers, when “scent” up to the Father, produce in ourselves Peace in the mind, Body and Soul. Our spirit becomes relaxed, tensions released, worries diminished and in turn our entire body and state of being experiences positive benefits that last.

Prayer doesn’t have to be complex, wordy or long. It isn’t about a monologue to God, but rather about communion with God. He wants to hear from you. He delights to carry your cares for you…because He cares for you. He is not mad at you. You have no worries about approaching Him. Though He is due all honor, respect and humble submission…He is the King of Kings after all. Yet, He is like a best friend. Talk to him like you would your best friend. If you can’t be transparent with God then you probably won’t be able to be transparent with anyone. There is immense freedom, liberty and Beauty with vulnerability. At the foot of God, in all of His Amazing Grace, you can be completely open and comfortable to be exactly who you are, the wonderful person He designed you to be. He created you, after all, so He knows it all anyway!

Here are a few scriptures regarding prayer to get you on your way. I am only going to include the reference. I challenge you to look them up yourself. If you do not own a Bible then use the internet; you might as well because you use it for everything else!

  •  Philippians 4:6-7
  • Ephesians 6:18
  • Mark 11:24
  • Matthew 21:22
  • Matthew 7:7

The best prayers are from the heart, but the most powerful prayers come when we actively pray scriptures into our lives. There is power in declaration.

Allow the fragrance of worship, through the action of prayer, be a pleasing aroma to your soul. May it edify you head to toe. May it fill the void and illuminate every shadowy space in your heart. May it fill you to overflowing with His Heavenly Aroma and Light. Then your heart can smile from within as mine does. He is a most faithful friend. Believe it, then receive it. God’s got your back all day everyday.

Let the fragrance of His Worship fill your soul…

~Nicole

September 3, 2013

Australia

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:14 am by Broken & Brave

“Let my heart now resides where the tide will rise, I have made Australia my home.”

This is a quote from my own pen back in the year 2000. I’ve mentioned and posted on facebook a few times of our trip to Australia, my husband and myself. I was searching through my blog posts to see if I’d written about it. I hadn’t, so now I write for this beautiful country that stole my heart is on my heart…so now I write.

It was the trip of a lifetime. If you have never been to the Olympic games then you are missing out! I truly suggest you put it on your “to do list” or “bucket list”. The excitement was so thick in the air it was nearly intoxicating. But what made our trip particularly enchanting is how we got there.  It was the summer of 2000.  John had two, in his stable of athletes, who were Olympians for the summer games. One had already made the team (water polo) and the other was waiting for the Olympic trials to be held in Sacramento, just weeks before the Opening Ceremonies. Upon the official “win” and “qualifications” John’s Olympic discuss thrower was locked in, placing top three at trials and on the team. She is a dear friend to this day, but on that day, she told John she was going to pay his way to Sydney so that he could train her at the Olympic Training Center up until her venue, which was the third week of the games. This was such great and exciting news! One problem…John had just returned from a two week tour of Europe with a men’s basketball team (all expenses paid…which was great because he brought me home some Swedish crystal). We had two small children at the time and I had spent those two weeks home with babies. I wanted to go to Australia, too! So, on our knees we went….

My parents knew we were praying for me to go, but other than that, we hadn’t really said a thing to anyone.  I remember vividly, when I would seek the Lord in prayer on this very subject, how I lacked the faith to believe he would really do it for me. I mean…I had a lot of faith and belief for others, but for me…well, I just wasn’t that comfortable believing it for myself. For whatever reason, that required even more faith on my part that I didn’t really have. I did have enough faith to pray on it though. Each time I prayed, I could discern the Holy Spirit speak something like this, down into my depths,

“why do you have such belief for others but not yourself? I AM going to give you this trip and show you that I can do for you the same as anyone else!”

I heard this so clearly that I got a bit excited. Keep in mind, I am very confident with how I hear the Holy Spirit. VERY. This is not to my credit, but the Father’s and guess what? He used the miracle of this trip, in addition to countless others opportunities to obey, to show me how clear I DO hear him. I can believe him. I can trust him and I should never doubt him.

I told John what I just shared with you and do you know what he said? He said, “Then you better go get your passport before you have to get it express (we were only weeks out from the games). “WHAT?” More faith required! This was stretching me. Now, if you know anything about my husband, it won’t be hard for you to believe that every day of my life since I met him has stretched my comfort zone because his comfort zone is a zillion times bigger than mine. That’s one of the ways he is good for me:-) But if you know ME well at all, I am very conservative by nature in pretty much every area. I am not a huge spender, especially on myself. I was thinking $100 is a lot of money to waste on a passport if I wind up not going (can you discern my doubt creeping in?) When I verbalize thoughts like this, John gets upset with me and like a good leader of the wife, he tells me what to do! I don’t always like it, but I do.

First, I had to locate my birth certificate, which is necessary to purchase a passport. I call my Mom, convinced she has it. She did’nt. “What? Now what do I do?” I hadn’t a clue where to look because it wasn’t on file. I began to fret and get anxious. I walked through my house, each room, praying and asking God to help me find it. I figure, if I am to go He will direct me to it because it had to be here somewhere! Just as I entered into my bedroom miracle number one occurred. I have  a small bookcase in our room that John’s grandfather made. One book on the bottom shelf had slipped half off the shelf and half lying on edge on the floor. I am a bit of a neat freak, so by natural tendency, as I walked past the book I reached down and slid it back into its space on the shelf. When I slid it back to it’s position, the book right next to it fell completely off the bookcase and wide open onto the floor with a little something marking a page….let’s see what this is….MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE! When that happened, I did the happy dance, arms flinging around as I danced around my entire house singing, “I am going to Australia! I am going to Australia!” That whole episode was so strange and I knew I would have never looked through each book or  thought to do so…God truly was telling me he was sending me on that trip. So, I went and got my passport.

Next miracle needed…money. We can’t afford a plane ticket to Australia on just a few weeks notice during the Olympics. All prices are sky high for such an event. When we priced it out, round trip, one ticket, approx. $3,000.00. So we prayed.

Two weekends prior to John leaving for Australia to meet up with is athlete we had to go to a conference for our side business. Friday night, while visiting with the founder of the company, he asks John about the excitement of the trip. He was a very impressive man. The kind of man who commanded attention by his mere presence in a room. Powerful person of influence, personality and stellar leadership. He was a man who profoundly impacted my destiny and this day was one of them. He looked right down at me (he was a huge man) and asked if I was going also. We kind of shyly told him we were still praying on it, but were trying to make it happen.

Miracle number two.

Without a flinch he turns to his assistant who stood right beside him and told him to send us the required funds for me to accompany John on the trip. He turns and asks us how much that would be, we told him, he did it, then he looks back at me and says with all gentleness in his eyes, “because the wife should always be able to go with her husband.” What a true gentleman. He is since passed, but this giant of a man in ways far greater than stature, impacted my life forever….this was only just one way he did so.

So, we were on our way. John and I were not able to get on the same flight, but we did fly the same day out of the same airport. I had a direct flight to Sydney and he had to fly into Melbourne with another small connecting flight to Sydney. I would arrive approx. four hours ahead of John. The plan was to just sleep and relax in the airport until he arrived and we’d go from there….literally. This is where miracle number three is required. God provided to GET to Sydney, but we hadn’t a place to stay once IN Sydney. At least, not for the first four days. The second week of our 21 day stay was going to be with an athlete host family through the Samsung program. But the first four days and the last portion of trip we were homeless.

I arrived on schedule to Sydney. I had the funnest flight ever. My plane was nothing but media executives and athletes. When we weren’t sleeping, we were having so much fun socializing. However, here is one of the opportunities I had to grow in the confidence I now have in hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit. I was lounging on a sofa in the airport at Sydney, taking a little nap, but about an hour into it I began to feel very agitated in my spirit like something wasn’t right. I was a bit annoyed and tried to go back to sleep. I don’t sleep well on flights usually, so I was exhausted. But this agitation only seemed to grow stronger until I clearly heard a voice say, “go check on John’s flight.” So, I did. Come to find out, because his flight landed in Melbourne first before heading to Sydney, he was now technically coming in on a domestic flight and that was an entirely different airport on the other side of the the city. I had to go change my currency so I could catch a bus to the other airport and try to connect with John there. I decided to do it then and not wait because I could just as easily finish my nap at his gate. Good thing I made that choice because by the time I got there I only had to wait for him 15-20 minutes.

Prayer Break: Thank you, God, for taking care of me so well. 

Now for that much needed miracle number three…

John and I head to the Concierge desk at the airport and ask the clerk to please try and find us a hotel. She outright laughed at us very arrogantly saying, “You do know that this is the Olympics?” She reminded us that every hotel in Sydney has been booked for months and we weren’t going to find a hotel. We told her we understood all of that but could she try anyway. So, she did. The first call, she begins to jump up and down while she was on the phone (literally). She begins to squeal. She hangs up and very excitedly tells us that not only did they have a room (CBS had booked over 100 rooms and had just that morning cancelled for the first four nights), but it was at the finest hotel on the Darling Harbor at Circular Quay…right by the Opera House. After all the currency exchange rates and the drop in price for I don’t know why…we paid $25 American dollars a night! No sleeping on the beach! Thank God, because that was John’s Plan B (now do you see what I mean by he stretches my comfort zone..haha). This hotel was gorgeous and had a beautiful continental breakfast each morning, fit for a King! We had prime location to walk to any place we’d like to explore for the next few days before our host picked us up. Breath taking.

Praise Break: Thank you God for how you  take my breath away with goodness and love.

This entire trip was a complete dream.

On the fourth day of the trip we went to stay with a family host for coaches of athletes. Our family was delightful and the Father of our host was the Tom Landry of Australian Rugby…quite the celebrity in Australia we quickly realized. The Turner’s (our host family) lived in Crunulla and had their own private beach. Wednesday was sailing day…all the neighbors took their sail boats out on the peninsula. The Turners treated us like a king and queen. Beautiful family who helped us fall in love with this country. The Turners had a dog named Reggie. “Reg” was a bull mastiff who liked to open the gate himself and take walks down to the beach. Reg frequented the beach regularly so the cafe owner on the beach took to sending Reg home in a cab on numerous occasion. This is how we met Reg. Our first day at the Turners, as we sat for biscuits and tea, Reg arrived, delivered by the cab driver and a call from the cafe owner saying, “sent Reg home in the cab, wanted you to know he enjoyed several Magnum bars while at the beach.”  We had so much fun with this family. Many delightful stories, like pretending to run the Olympic torch (The “Tom Landry” named Jack) that Jack had carried in the Opening Ceremonies. But my two favorite were about Reggie and the Magnum bars, riding in a cab and one about a photo.

Jack was good friends with a famous American NFL football coach and they spent many holidays together. The Turners had a photo in their home with  Jack, the NFL Coach and  another celebrity from Australia. There was a fourth man in the photo and the host family asked us who he was because they couldn’t recall and he was a “famous American”, as they said. We asked to see the photo and of course we recognized him right away…Bob Hope!

The Turner’s were so hospitable to us it was humbling really. Such profound love and benevolence to strangers really. They not only hosted us for the allotted 7 days, but invited us to stay with them the rest of our stay in Australia.

Thanksgiving Break: God, how profound and excellent are you. You haven’t a resource problem in the world and you are ever generous and never stingy with your goodness. Blessed.

I returned from Australia, 21 days later, a transformed woman. Fullest of full was my faith tank. The experience was beyond anything God could have done to demonstrate his tremendous ability, favor and love to me. But He chose to go above and beyond into the realm of exceptional. What a disposition of grace has my Lord. Not to mention, more stories on the flight home with the Gold Medal winning baseball & softball teams, Track Icon Gayle Deavers (love her shoulders!) and a kiss from Tommy LaSorda, or did I kiss him (on the cheek people! Geesh!)? But that’s another story for another blog…GO DODGERS!

All of this to say…

God used this trip as a stepping stone of faith for me. Not all of my faith building stories were happy ones. Some of them made the hair on my body stand on edge and I lie awake at night with utter and complete void of faith as I faced some of the most ominous days of my life.  But through it all, I truly learned how to depend on His name, trust him, lean on him, abide in the internal compass he anointed me with and obey with a steadfastness that was deliberate and consistent. God wants his Bride to practice a new level of “deliberate” obedience. Though this story is all good and fun, obedience could save your life some day, or the life of another. Learn the steps to trust and obey. While in Australia the people frequently commented to us how in America we have so many choices. Choices galore on everything…perhaps that is one of the reasons it is so hard to obey? Distraction abounds and reasons and influences outside of what God is speaking to your heart. What God calls each of us to do and obey is between us and the Lord. We all have the same “guide book” that makes specific mandates, but we each have our own flavor and unique blend of gifted ability to offer this world as a source of light. Let us make sure it shines bright, we avoid the night, step into His pure radiant sunlight and recapture the light he first lit in us. God desires obedience. I hear it is greater than sacrifice.

Blessings! ~Nicole

“Shine your Light so that ALL might see it. That the whole world might believe it. Love has come to help you overcome.” ~David Crowder