February 28, 2017

Grow Yourself…

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:00 am by Broken & Brave

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Over the years I have been extraordinarily blessed with amazing leadership and field training via my home business of AdvoCare. God brought this little Dallas based company into our lives when it was merely 3 years old. We fell in love with the products–we are believers in proper supplementation (always have been) and have used many products and read much research over the years. John and I both have a background laced with nutrition science education. This is our niche. So when we experienced AdvoCare for the first time it was a perfect fit.

Not only did we receive hands on training from John C. Maxwell himself (who conducted a personalized version of his book 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership for our business), we’ve had summit training from Maxwell and sat under his instruction more than a dozen times. We received field training from our leadership so we could have understanding of our product, we even received audio and video tutorials and in depth nutrition/product training from the scientists themselves. So trained were we in our speciality after a time we began to sound just like our teachers.

Now apply this to your Christian life. Are you investing in yourself? What could you do to dig in and develop yourself into the man or woman God created you to be? Are you reading? Are you studying your Bible? Are you in a Bible study either in person or an online study? Seek wise counsel to glean and instruct your soul. Are you caring for God’s Temple–your body? You are not your own…you are Redeemed. That makes you God’s property. Once you’ve encountered God in a personal way, He wants you to activate your Faith, but He also wants us to grow, learn, expand. God does His part, but we must do ours. A mature and seasoned veteran of the faith will talk, walk and sound like their Master Teacher. They will think like He thinks for they are dead to the flesh and their mind is renewed. It is never to early or too late to begin. God can accelerate your growth or He can take His time and go slow. It all depends on your desire and The timing of His plans for you. So let’s get started! -Nicole

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”

John 14:26

February 27, 2017

More Than A Canteloupe…

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:07 am by Broken & Brave

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Many, MANY, years ago I was involved in a women’s group at my church. On one occasion I was asked to help prepare a meal for a small event this group was hosting. Each lady had something she was to bring and then someone specific was preparing all the chicken for the entrees. I was asked, in addition to several other ladies, to bring two peeled and sliced cantaloupe melons. I agreed, and as I sliced I was very careful to sure to do it right.

I had been raised with great particularity about how things were to be done-so I was maybe a little nervous as to please the ladies who had called on me for help. I was too nervous. I had never stepped out and joined a group like this, so even though it wasn’t much, to me it was a big step of faith in stepping out.

I went to the event where we prepared and served each plate. Low and behold the woman in charge grew critical of how I had sliced my fruit. So, they “fixed” it. I felt awful. Once again I seemed to fall short of people’s expectations of me and how I did things. I was young and didn’t yet know who I was in Christ. I had no confidence in my own ability…even melon slicing. I even heard gossip about it the very next day. I felt even worse.

Fast forward: what I know now, but didn’t know then, was there was nothing wrong with how I had sliced that melon. In fact, I had brought a more generous contribution and this was the real issue. My melon was larger and there was more of it. The other melons were very small and yielded very little fruit. So there wasn’t enough for the luncheon we were serving. So instead of just saying, “Hey, these over here are big, let’s just cut them and thank goodness it will be enough”
–the ladies allowed their own insecure thoughts and feelings to take over and chose to point a finger instead. See how sneaky the Enemy of our soul is? He will prey on individual insecurities and put them against each other to cause division.

Criticism cuts people down just like that melon. I had forgotten all about this story. The Lord brought it to my attention this a.m., asking me to write about it. I write about it to encourage you.

Our life is meant to produce fruit. The Bible says we will know a tree by its fruit, and it’s ok to inspect the purity of fruit, but God doesn’t want us to criticize the fruit of others lives or even compare the quality or quantity of our fruit to others. We each have a Divine Contribution to make. When I purchased those cantaloupe melons I noticed they were large. This is all the selection offered. It was the provision I was given, so that’s what I brought.

God has provided you with a specific capacity and ability, gifts, talents and virtues that are specifically designed, created and provided for you. No one else can bear fruit like you! It will have its own unique content, flavor, sweetness, vibrancy and color. It will be as unique as you! Let’s be careful to not compare fruit. I think this is a good reminder for all of us. Instead, together we can make a bountiful fruit salad! Get in the mix! -Nicole

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”
Luke 12:48

February 25, 2017

Precious As Pearls…

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:04 am by Broken & Brave

When something has a unique kiss of heaven on it, you know. It will stir you, move you and help you-
heart and soul-
like nothing ever has before.
God is for you…

YOU are His Pearl of Great Price.

May your day be full of Heaven’s Dew! Have a Blessed Day!

~Nicoleđź’›

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February 23, 2017

Strength By Design

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:36 am by Broken & Brave

As women, we juggle a lot. We are the balance to our home and family. If something is out of balance, it is our position to use our wisdom and strength and kindness to redirect, encourage and set the coarse for our families. The garment of the Proverbs 31 woman is costly. It is adorned in virtue, humility, hard work, and it is heavy for it requires complete sacrifice of self.

Several years ago I had a woman apologize for asking me, but proceeded to ask me why I had so many children. She told me I had great kids, BUT when you have a large family you have to serve more…

you can’t be selfish.

I was a bit surprised by what she said, but what she said was true. When you have a large family it is a deliberate, delicate and purposeful balance of caring for children and making sure they have quality time with you and also putting the husband first and meeting his needs physically, emotionally, intellectually and socially. How much more the demands in single mothers! What this woman saw as a burden I saw as a great blessing.

You women carry a lot! So, when your feeling frazzled by all the needs placed upon you remember…God trusts you! That’s right…He trusts you.
~Nicole

“Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness.” Proverbs 31:25-26img_4833

February 22, 2017

Blessed Assurance…

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:15 am by Broken & Brave

Rest…

Do you ever read my posts and wonder why I am so hinged on God? I haven’t always been so…I’ve always believed in Him and felt his presence to a degree no matter what my life endured, but something happened in my life and I experienced Him so fully that I am no longer the same.

I don’t care who you are, how you live, what you’ve done or are currently doing. There is no shame in His Grace. Do you want to feel love like never before the kind of Love that makes your heart want to explode? Do you want rest in your mind, body and soul? Do you crave peace and freedom from anxiety or fear? Then listen and I pray you here.

Offer God a sacrifice of praise.

What does that mean? It is different for everyone. Simply talk to God like you would another person. Don’t feel dumb or weird. Step out… Tell him what you want. Tell him you want to know He is real, you are willing to believe and receive. Ask Him into your life like inviting a guest to your house. All the cares of life may be like barriers keeping you from Him. So it may help to begin by offering His praise. If you like to sing or play instruments, play to Him. He sees your heart it doesn’t matter what the music is. If you paint, paint something for him. Dance for him. For me, writing and encouraging is always the most powerful key to enter into God’s presence. It will be personal-He is a very personal God.

This post may be just for you. God leaned on my pen hard this a.m. to write this very thought. He cares for you that much. ~Nicole

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” James 4:8

February 17, 2017

Grammy & Granddad

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:46 pm by Broken & Brave

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This is a photo from 1973 of some of my family. They were on a day trip to Catalina Island in the San Pedro bay…my birthplace and home from long ago.

The couple to the left are my cousins- third deep. The woman, my grandfathers niece. It was this couple on the left that took me in at the age of eight and let me live with them while my parents took a huge step of faith–packed up our Southern California life and moved 400+ miles away to a little town called Lodi. It all happened in less than a forte night. A True and Sovereign move of God.

The couple to the right are my grandparents. All of my best childhood memories have them included. They were an enormous influence and blessing on my early years. I adored them as a kid immensely and loved being with them. I sometimes still dream about them and their home in San Pedro. I miss them so. I just received this photo today. As soon as I lay eyes on it I became overwhelmed with gratitude and love. I don’t think I have a single photo with both my Grammy and my Granddad in it.

They’ve both been gone for quite some time…

There is absolutely nothing more precious to me in the universe than family. I am loyal to the bone.

Cherish your family. Make fond memories. Enthralling is the heart full of beautiful Legacy.

My Granddad was quite amazing. He had such a zest for life. At the age of 80 he was on a waiting list to go to Antarctica. I thought he was crazy, but he was quite certain he desired to go. He was full of faith and confidence he would.

Granddad and my Grammy travelled a lot. They were full of exploration and adventure. My daughter is much the same–I like to think she inherited it from them.

My Grandmother was afraid to fly. So they had an RV and they would go anywhere you could drive. Absolutely anywhere…and they did.

She passed when I was 18.

It was very hard for me. She had been ill for many years and I watched her slowly deteriorate before passing, over ten years time. After she died, just before their 50th wedding Anniversary, I began to worry for my Granddad. He had been with my Grandmother since they were kids in Arkansas. Rich in everything that matter was their life together. They inspired me to the quick …even as a kid. I’m such a student of people. I watch. I observe. I see. What I saw in them created a sound foundation in me.

My Granddad is one of the most resilient people I’ve ever known. I didn’t realize it as a child, but he was such a living breathing example of what a stoic zest for life looked like. After he mourned he bounced back. He used to come visit me at college and all my friends loved him. Of course they did, he was so funny and had a charm and charisma that captivated the heart. Instead of shutting down and giving in, this is when a new exciting chapter of his life would begin. It was when he was 70 years old he began to go and travel and see all the world he never could with my grandmother because of her dread of flight. He loved her with loyalty and stayed by her side despite her self imposed limitation, but God in all His goodness, blessed this man with what captivated his heart…a desire to see and experience the world. He travelled to Asia, all parts, South America too. He’d send gifts and greeting from places like Thailand and the Amazon. He was so darling, he sent me a t-shirt from Thailand that had some Thai girls in traditional costume on it, but I guess they were topless so he used a sharpie pen and colored for them bikini tops before sending it to me.

I love memories like these.

They make me laugh…they make me smile…they warm me from deep within.

He took classes at the college to learn all about computers and how to use them. He was so progressive! He loved life and he never stopped learning.

I so want to be just like him!

When he passed, at the age of 86, he was on a waiting list to go to Antarctica. He literally wanted to explore every area of the globe. What an amazing man he was. Even on his deathbed (I was there), his mind sharp as a tack, it was his heart that grew weak and had lack, but he fought to live to the end. He tried convincing the doctors that there was a heart transplant for him. Extreme in optimism and a “can do” Spirit.

I want to be just like that.

Never stop lusting for the adventures of a lifetime. Cherish your health and enjoy every breath. Your Joy, Adventure and spontaneous happiness may be secretly inspiring others around you who want the same things.

Cherish your Legacy, the history of your family. If the immediate wasn’t a blessing, go back some more, there is always a generational blessing. If you can’t find it, create it. You are a Legacy all your own.

Thanks for reading as I ramble a bit, and love on and honor my family with the use of my pen.

Life is a Grand Adventure….live fully.
Just like Granddad did.

~Nicole

February 12, 2017

Secret Ingredient for Momentum

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:53 am by Broken & Brave

When I was a young woman, deeply growing in my Faith, my heart was so saturated with the Love of God…the Friendship with God…I was overwhelmed. I had grown up going to church because my parents met the Lord when I was but four years old maybe? I was really young when the Holy Spirit invited himself into our lives and swept through both sides of my family. We went from being a crew of non believers to Holy Ghost empowered giants overnight! Only God can do that. But growing up in church was full of going through the motions. We did church, but looking back now, did we truly experience God? Many may have, but I sure didn’t. It wasn’t until I was a young married woman just starting my family that I discovered the Glory of a Friendship I’d been craving my whole life. It wasn’t found in a person, but it was found in HIS Presence. I gave all and never looked back.

I had no idea what I was in for, truly. I trusted Him like a little child and pursued big and daring acts of faith. It was extraordinary to watch God’s hand step in and magnify my little offerings. I felt addicted! I never craved a sign, wonder or miracle more than God. It was more like I craved deeper knowledge of Him, His company was my passion. I never wanted to let Him go. It felt like young lovers who can’t leave each other’s side. That’s how it was with the Eternal Lover of my soul. I never wanted the honeymoon to end or turn into “going through the motions”.

As my confidence in Him grew–so did the requests He placed upon me. The sacrifices got bigger and even stung a little. Still, I complied. I was always very transparent in my prayers. I would openly tell the Lord in prayer that I didn’t want to do what He was asking, but because of my deep love for Him and desire to please Him, I was going to obey.

We obey God’s Voice because we love Him.

What happens when He starts asking really big and painful things of us? As my faith grew and my foundation was firm, God began to allow a lot of very unfair and uncontrobale things to happen to myself and my family. I have enough testimony to fill a book of bazaar happenings and circumstances. Things breaking and costing exorbitant amounts of money and had to be cared for not delayed. Things like  practically new refrigerator and it needing to be replaced one day out of warranty. Unfair. Being robbed. Unfair. Simple things that could happen to anyone for no known reason, but they came in abundant portion like an overwhelming flood.

Why should God allow such a thing? I remember I would cry from the pain and pressure, but I’d never turn away from God. Instead I turned into Him more deeply. My circumstances became so dreary and bazaar I began to lose friends. They either couldn’t watch so it was easier to pull away or they began to doubt me all together. That was painful. I still persevered and stuck with God, He had been my favorite friend of all anyway. On top of all this drain of my bank balance, all remained healthy, God’s Grace for me. But then in my deepest season of lack I could discern God begin to ask me to sacrificially give to others. I was thinking, “what? Shouldn’t you be telling others to help me instead?” But I complied and stuck to His side–obedience my faithful key to longevity. There is so much more I could share, for it didn’t stop there, I was in so thick with Jesus I couldn’t turn back even if I wanted to.

So why share all this? How could this testimony encourage anyone’s faith? I dare to tell you it can. I have been through so much ridiculously impossible situations and watched the hand of God smooth it out that very little shocks me anymore. I’m not saying I can’t be shocked, I’m saying God used it all to deeply season my faith. My faith is quite stoic and built on an enormous Foundation of Hope. I see many people around me right now really going through tough battles. I see people going through little versions of the unfair I endured. It not only gives me a deep empathy I would not of otherwise had, I am able to encourage folks and make their heart once again glad.

Just this week I had someone share their version of impossible and all that had to transpire in just a few months time. I told them it was nothing. If God was in it, the timing was all His. He is the Master of timing. Then I told her a story of how God planned my entire wedding in less than 3 months because He was in it. People take more than a year usually to plan a wedding. Mine had at least 250 people in attendence and I got the most in demand florist in town, highly in demand venue and my Pastor had made a mistake in his scheduling. He shouldn’t have been able to do it, but because he agreed he kept his word to me and God blessed him to reschedule the conference he was meant to attend instead. It all worked out smooth and beautiful…that’s my God. This encouraged my friend and they realized their job is to trust and obey and God’s job is the rest! That’s how life works best.

So if your feeling frazzled and like nothing is goin right, God is still there…He still cares. He is merely seasoning your heart, mind, will and tenacity to be the kind of mountain moving, faith walking believer He created you to be.

You’ve already got the Victory.

When you walk with God willingly you may have reservation because you don’t know what He will ask of you next. But Trust and obey for He holds you in His hands and has a Masterful Plan. There is always Glory in His midst.

Life is never meant to be about going through the motions. Make every moment matter. Create a wave of intention so powerful others can draft in your momentum. ~Nicole

“I have set the Lord always before me; because He is my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore, my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh will rest in Hope.”
Psalm 16:8-9

February 11, 2017

Ruth & Naomi Kind of Love

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:41 am by Broken & Brave

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” 1 Peter 1:22 (NIV)

I love studying the relationship between Naomi and Ruth in the Bible. Naomi lost her men–both husband and sons–and became so bitter she changed her name to bitter! Her two daughter-in-laws were all she had left and she even tried to sabotage those relationships by sending the girls away. Misery usually loves company and a miserable person usually can’t help but make everyone around them miserable as well. I imagine Orpah couldn’t get out of their fast enough.

But not Ruth.

Dear Ruth loved Naomi with a relentless love and devotion not common to man. Her unwavering kindness and Faithfulness eventually won Naomi’s favor and God used Ruth to absolutely save Naomi’s good name as she became the ancestor in the line of King David.

Has God asked you to love someone who maybe doesn’t want your love or kindness? Have you spent much time around a bitter person? Though you may want to stay as far away as possible, maybe God would rather you tuck your tail and sit a while and just show yourself faithful to people who are used to having everyone quit on them?

Be the one who loves greater. Nothing has the Power to heal the hurting, the broken, the bitter like unconditional and faith-filled love and kindness. Be the Tree that bears lasting Fruit–Peace, Joy, Love. But the greatest of these is Love.đź’—

February 10, 2017

The Fire That Does Not Sleep

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:56 am by Broken & Brave

ANYTHING becomes possible when you realize He’s a God of infinite possibility and He has woven endless supply of possibility within each of us. His soul burns with fire and He desires to take you higher than ever before.

He is an uncommon God who looks at you as an individual and sees you are anything but common. You’re built for the Extraordinary. You may not think you make a difference. You may feel you blow it. You may feel you just aren’t getting the break through. But God’s timing in everything is what matters for you. He never sleeps…HIS FIRE NEVER SLEEPS! He is looking out for you, working out your situations 24 hours a day seven days a week. So keep going! You’re on a path specifically designed for you!

Never lose your fire! ~Nicole

“And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.” Acts 2:3-4

February 8, 2017

“It’s A Miracle!”

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:18 am by Broken & Brave

 

img_8932“Kid Humor” flashback:

My son is quite the character. Yesterday morning he was complaining his neck hurt. Picture him, neck bent right. He gets off to school fussing and holding his neck. About an hour later I get a call to go get him. All day he milked it. Today, same thing. So John tells him that if he stays home another day he will have to go to the Dr. and they may draw blood. He decides to try school. Apparently, when I picked him up he testified of his ‘miraculous healing’.

The only way to acquire tenacity, fortitude and gratitude is to go through it. It is often said that God won’t give you more than you can handle. I’m not sure that’s a true statement or in the Bible. But the Bible does say He will not exasperate you. He knows exactly what you need and what you can handle and how much help to offer to help you handle whatever it is you face. What you can do is trust him.

Despite the cuteness of my son’s little story, you understand that God is always in it for your trust, character development and His own Glory. He knows He can handle the credit better than we humans can. So press on…you may have your miraculous healing or provision right around the corner waiting at the end of the day. He’s got you and you will quit before He ever does. So don’t give up! ~Nicoleđź’ž

(Matthew 10:24-39)

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