September 7, 2017

Honor of Men

Posted in true story tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:53 am by Broken & Brave

My daughter shared some thoughts from her religion teacher about how our culture has lost it’s compassion because of the feminist movement. Though controversial, I think I may on some level agree. Here’s what I see…

I think that we are loosing the beauty of each gender’s unique qualities. Women are wired to be nurturing and men are wired to be warriors. I think women can be strong and accomplish great things, but there is so much to be said for a man who knows how to be a man and stick up for, protect and provide for a woman. A man who knows how to lead and hold his position. One of the greatest draws, ok THE greatest draw, that pulled me to my husband was the absolute knowing that I felt safe. So much so I would have to say confidently that most people feel safe around my husband. He is definitely valiant to the core. That’s a big deal. When you feel safe you feel free.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Freedom on countless levels. If you don’t have freedom…it may not be God in it.

How refreshing to discover that chivalry and true gentlemen still exist…I know because of my husband and the four young men he is raising. He has taught all of our boys to always have their head on a swivel and watch out for and stick close to the significant female (in this case…me) and the weakest or smallest individual (in this case…our youngest son).

My boys have been reminded of this with consistency for several years now and I’ve experienced the fruit of it. One evening I was out in town with just the boys, my husband not with us, and had a questionable person (a man) loiter about our presence. My oldest two sons were on it! They assessed, saw and hemmed in close to me pulling the younger two boys in tight also. We then moved out of the building. SAFE! It was drawing close to closing time so there were next to no other people in the store. This person was both odd and suspicious, but that valor kicked in and my boys rose up. I felt both proud of them and protected by them all at the same time.

But it’s difficult for a man to lead and own his position in the family when the significant female or wife won’t let them.

I’ve counseled women for years who have complained to me about what to do in any number of scenarios with their spouses. Situations and circumstances where they don’t agree with their spouse on a decision to be made. Unless the issue is something that goes against the law, human dignity or Biblical mandate– I have always encouraged the woman to submit.
I tend to instruct her to give in to her husband’s decision and watch God honor her. She may still disagree with her husband, but God will either curve that decision around and change her husband’s heart or God will change hers.

God honors a wife who knows how to trust her husband as the leader of the family.

If he cares enough to ask your opinion on the decision and wants your support, then he cares what you think and values your partnership and opinion. Honor him by stepping back and elevating him and his heart desires. Nothing will empower a man more! I think sometimes men quit leading because they are simply afraid to. They feel disempowered by those they mean to lead.

“A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.”

Proverbs 31:10-13

 

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“The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.” Proverbs 14:1

Have you ever met someone who is always trying to fix something that isn’t broken? Doesn’t make sense does it, but when we think in terms of people not objects it happens all of the time. Why do women try to fix other people? Somehow the gift to nurture got tangled with the world and out came a discontent with letting people be themselves. It’s not always women who do this, there are men who are fixers. Just the same way not all women are “fixers”. Let’s honor our husbands by not fixing them… let’s just love them and let God decide what needs fixing.

“It is better to live in a corner of the roof Than in a house shared with a contentious woman” Proverbs 25:24

When you get fixing you have become the proverbs woman who is compared to a woman who is a constant dripping. You may find your husband avoiding you instead of wanting to spend time with you. Get back to encouraging and lifting him higher. Most men live for the praise of the ones they love the most. After all, you must have thought that he was pretty ok enough to marry him.

Honor him by honoring who he is today….

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July 29, 2017

Kids & Oars

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 6:46 am by Broken & Brave

Parenting is a bit like an oar. Study the oar, it is a plank of wood that has been sanded and softened, yet is durable, resilient and strong. The sanding is all over, but the edges are where it is best shown the curves and soft edges of its grooming. This is so when the oar is pulled through the water it cuts right in smoothly instead of choppy or hard. It makes the experience more enjoyable and comfortable for all who transport in the boat or canoe.

As a parent the first five years are for structure and foundation. Without a solid foundation trouble will be inevitable. Have firm and strong rules in place. Be consistent with their application. Be hands on and involved as much as possible. The middle childhood years it’s important to still do as the first five but boundaries are instilled by now and in place so less time is devoted to discipline though it is still present. Teen years we become coaches. Kids know what is expected and are given more freedom to explore who they are and what makes them happy. Direct them toward the discovery of purpose, dreams and aspirations.

When we need to be authority in their lives we need to be clear. But the soft edges, like the oar, come with delivery of truth and how we administer it. Is it coming from a place of love or is it our own need to be in charge? One of the best things my own Mother taught me was to say yes as much as I can so when I had to say no they knew I meant it.
Finally, as parents we can’t play favorites. Favoritism will bread jealousy and competition in family. It will tear unity apart. You may have a personality that gels best with one kid more than another-but every child needs to be your favorite. Hope this helps someone. I’m not an expert, but I’ve definitely had lots of practice getting it right. Your kids love you! ~Nicole

“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Prov. 22:6

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July 27, 2017

Wait a Minute!

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 6:52 am by Broken & Brave

Have you ever had to wait for something? Maybe you had to wait for someone? When I was a girl we went to church on Sunday. My Dad, being a very prompt and punctual fellow, would be ready well before my Mom. As she finished preparing herself for the morning my Father would sit in our living room and play records on the record player of various worship tunes. He would sit at the end of the couch and just softly sing.

Sometimes when we have to wait we become impatient or disinterested in what we were waiting for. We give up. We take a new road. But we can all learn from my Father who chose to wait patiently for the appointed time by singing a song of Worship and lifting his heart to Him.

God knows right where you are today. You may be facing a health crisis, financial crisis, waiting to hear about that job interview or just longing for a change in a dry season of life. Worship your way through. The King of Heaven has got you. ~Nicole

“Blessed are they that wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18

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May 22, 2017

“Look at me…”

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 6:39 am by Broken & Brave

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“Look at me. Look at me.” Said my 3 year old as I was distracted by something else when he clearly wanted my undivided attention. So, I stopped what I was doing and I looked right in his eyes. When I did, he said, “I love you.”

Isn’t this such a perfect analogy of how The Lord desires our hearts focus? We have a lot to do and many times plans fail or we just don’t know what to do…but God is ever true. He knows what to do every time. Every hill, valley and mountain top experience he knew about ahead of time. So if he knows everything, is surprised or caught of guard by NOTHING~then I think it’s safe to say he has a plan. Sometimes we just have to get our eyes off the distractions…look to his face and allow him to wrap himself around us and say, “I love you.”

He’s never going to let you go. Relax in his grip. I hear he is pretty strong.

Hold tight. Rest easy tonight. Absolutely everything is going to be alright. You’ll see…

~Nicole

May 15, 2017

Reason to Celebrate!

Posted in Devotional, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:09 am by Broken & Brave

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May is such a full month. It is for most families, but for my family it is especially true. I usually have to mentally gird myself and prepare for the intensity of the months schedule. Not only for last minute school projects to help children with, but also for the myriad of award nights, graduations, banquets for sports, and school performances. On top of it all we have several family birthdays, Mothers Day and my Anniversary. It is a lot!

Over the weekend my husband and I wanted to go out to dinner for our Anniversary which happened to fall on Mothers Day this time around. It would’ve been easy this year to say, let’s just do it another time, but we had made reservations and it was all set for the night before Moms Day, Saturday night. We chose a locally family owned and operated restaurant. I love supporting local businesses over chains. It is a great way to love your community, support the entrepreneur spirit and the customer service is always better. You always care for and work harder for something you are personally invested in. The owner of a local business is always fully committed, All In!

Back to my story…

It was an extraordinary night. The place was packed! It usually is busy, and I thought there would be early Mother’s Day celebration patrons…but I didn’t consider the local university graduation was that day and a local high school’s prom night. I’d say the place was a zoo, but it was to perfect a night to be a zoo. It was beautiful. The energy filled the place. Every single face had a smile fastened broadly in place. It was a night to celebrate. Everyone in the house was exuberant, animated and happy. As we waited to be seated I took it all in. This experience of watching those dining was a gift for me all in itself. One table, about 20 people full, appeared to be for college graduation I presume. The average age appeared to be 22-24 and a few parental figures mixed in. The Patriarch stood and made a length toast to a young man. I couldn’t hear his words, but I didn’t have to. Their faces and posture said it all. My thoughts drifted to my own family and how this would be my scenario next spring…I will have two graduates. One from high school and one from college. Oh the party we will have!

We saw many people we know, that’s what happens in the community and I love it. We enjoyed excellent food. I took the night in, and for the rest of the weekend the joy in that restaurant marinated in my soul and savored and sipped it all in. You don’t see so much happiness and joy in one room like that anymore. Maybe at a wedding or special occasion where everyone gathers together. But this was a restaurant filled to the capacity with all different people, all different reasons to celebrate, but all enormously happy. It was beautiful.

I have no special encouragement for this post. I just knew all weekend I wanted to put it to pen because of how it’s beauty impacted my soul. I wanted to share it with you…

Find beauty today, in everything you do. ~Nicole

May 13, 2017

Giving💜

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:01 am by Broken & Brave

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In Christian circles we always hear the term “give your first fruits”. We receive this as meaning to give God and His House the first blessing from our income. But what if it means more?

I know it means more and I know I’m not the first to write or speak of it. But why do we focus more on this aspect of giving over any other aspect of it? Shouldn’t we also be giving people the best of our attitude, the best of our kindness, the best of our gifts, talents, abilities and also our resources?

One of my biggest dilemmas when I clean out the kids or my clothes closet is deciding what’s worthy to give away and what should just be thrown away. Take a perfectly good pair of jeans that happen to have a rip in the knee. Other than the rip, the condition of the garment is outstanding. Give it? Chuck it? If I give it someone who has no pants may find them a priceless treasure or maybe someone can create a pair of shorts for their child from them. Give? On the other hand, would I buy them at the store like that? Chuck? This scenario may not be the best example since torn jeans are the style and even I am guilty of buying them that way! But you get the idea.

What about our treasures, our stuff? Are we generous with the bounty of belongings God has endowed to us? Was it all given so we could hoard the blessing or is it truly meant to be shared as God leads us into deeper levels of giving and generosity?

What of our time? Of course we need to give of our abilities! But what about just giving of ourselves? I admit, in the United States in present day America it is becoming tougher and tougher to give this way because the demands on our schedules are insane. As a Mom with a large family, my entire day is fully loaded. I have to purpose myself to sit down here and there just to maintain my stamina and get appropriate moments of rest. Otherwise I’d be on the clock nonstop. This isn’t my choice, it’s just the necessity of the season of life I’m in. My day has to be extremely organized because I’m being pulled in so many different directions as the governor of many lives. Not just my family, but also my clients customer satisfaction and my outside involvements. At the same time, so many people involved, I must be flexible and able to change course at a moments directive! Life happens and we have to adjust and go on the fly sometimes. Anyone relating to this?

So…with this being said, how shall we give and give from our best? I think this is a test of the heart God has for each individually. There is a general answer, but God has an individual answer pinned to your heart. Maybe it will stick in an area of giving that doesn’t come so naturally to you.

An area of giving that comes extremely natural to me is encouraging and giving my best to others in affirmation exhortation. I absolutely love making other people feel valuable and special. The day to day can bring discouragement and all sorts of feelings that can make people forget how precious and valued they are. Encouraging others is my drug of choice! I recently asked someone how I could encourage them. They were dumbfounded! They told me they had never had someone just ask to encourage them before. This was so sad to me!

Yesterday I needed to quickly run into a shop at the request of my husband for something he needed that morning. It wasn’t in my schedule and I had a time crunch. I easily could have allowed myself to get stressed about it and perturbed. Maybe I did a little when I realized how it might make me late to my first client. But then I pulled my heart right and prayed. I knew he needed this item and knew my client was very flexible. So I texted her to let her know I may be a few minutes late, she was ok with it. I proceeded to the store. I got in line to check out and the young gal right in front of me had in a unique looking sandal. I complimented her on how darling her shoes were. She said thanks and began to tell me she just purchased them and the deal, all that girl shop talk. Then I noticed her hair was dyed a deep burgundy. I told her that her hair was nice as well. I could visibly see her get a little taller. I ran into her again before leaving and she was super friendly and chatty with me. I could tell I gave her ease and made her comfy. Then she walked away and turned one more time to say, “I hope you have a really blessed day.”

Hmmm. This was interesting to me. Most people, except people of faith, don’t use the word “blessed”. For all I know she was my sister in Christ and had been struggling with her hair and her worth just that morning as she readied for her day and my simple gesture of uninvited kindness lifted her up. I will never know. But what I do know is it always feel better to give others our best in kindness even when we are in a bit of a hurry. I could’ve focused on the time I had to wait in line and how long will this take? Instead I took the time to notice the world around me.

Give the world your very best today. You have so much to offer. Others are lifted and comforted by your presence in their life. Be present. Cherish all of it. Your life a beautiful gift. One of God’s best…

~Nicole

“Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” Matthew 5:41

May 12, 2017

Fortified Goodness

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:16 am by Broken & Brave

Your True Identity is void of fear; hidden in the heart of God. His heart chambers are fortified with serenity and absolute protection.

You have dreams, hopes, aspirations all tucked inside of you. Hidden in the chambers of your heart, like a chest of treasure. Hold onto your hopes, protect them, they have incredible value and God will protect and bless it. Remain faithful, but even when you struggle, His Faithfulness will swoop you up and carry you in what seems to be effortless apparel to your destination- safely and on time.

God is both an incredible Warrior and a Beautiful Poet. He will slay your fears, wipe your tears and Comfort your soul with great affection. Place full confidence in Him.

No more wondering about what will happen? How will it happen? When will my prayers get answered? Instead, worship!

No more wonder, just worship!

Childlike Faith!
~Nicole

“But the hidden man of the heart in the incorruptibility of a quiet and a meek spirit, which is rich in the sight of God.”
1 Peter 3:4

April 21, 2017

My AdvoCare…

Posted in true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 9:26 pm by Broken & Brave

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I was 26 years old, married, no kids, when I met AdvoCare. I knew I was planning to start a family soon and at the time was working two part time jobs. I knew I wanted to stay home with my baby once I had one. My husband worked in Division 1 College Athletics and was rarely home due to the demands of his career. I had been praying for financial provision so I could walk away immediately from one job and then later the second. Here comes AdvoCare. I am a fitness enthusiast most of my life and had an educational background in nutrition. I had never seen anything like AdvoCare. Quality of ingredient, safety, sound and solid research. No magic pills or grandiose claims, just good nutrition. I felt fabulous and got results I’d been working hard for, but wasn’t getting in my own efforts. I lost 5% body fat, 4 dress sizes in 90 days, but only lost 6 pounds. I completely shifted my body composition. I ate better. I had more energy. I felt great. So, when I prayed for John to get a raise or promotion so I could quit, God had something else in mind. Each time I prayed I could discern His lead, “AdvoCare”. I ignored for a while. It wasn’t the plan I wanted. But after the third time I knew, “ADVOCARE!”. Since then I can say this little company has blessed my family in innumerable ways. It pays for all of my kids to receive a private education. This income got us debt free in 3 years and we’ve carried no debt outside a mortgage. Our health has longevity and the friendships are bar non. This company attracts the best of the best in servant hearts. My kind of people. Interested? I’d love to help you do what I’ve done and more. ~Nicole

Nextlevelcoach.com

March 18, 2017

Serenity

Posted in Devotional, true story tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:53 am by Broken & Brave

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“The Lord on high is Mightier than the noise of many waters, than the mighty waves of the sea.” Psalm 93:4

I have a large family. I did not come from a large family so this has been a new experience for me. I grew up in a quiet home where everything was always in order, tidy, organized. I tend to be a quiet, soft spoken person. I’m not loud. But when you have five children, four of which are boys, it can get kind of crazy. I think we are overall fairly organized people, but you learn to let somethings go, re-prioritize and maximize moments differently.

Getting time alone with God is my fundamental key to making it all work. Life can pull a Mom in a thousand different directions and so much noise can fill our day and our head. But securing a quiet space in time and place will be a spiritual encounter that will usher in serenity and sanity.

Find your quiet space today. Get in that place and speak your heart to God. He has some precious promises he’d like to speak to you, but first he must know where you are.

The Lord is full of promises. Because his heart is filled with Integrity, He will honor every last one.

He will shape your Faith Shatterproof! ~Nicole

May 27, 2016

Love ‘Em Right

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 5:50 am by Broken & Brave

Parenting is a bit like an oar. Study the oar, it is a plank of wood that has been sanded and softened, yet is durable, resilient and strong. The sanding is all over, but the edges are where it is best shown the curves and soft edges of its grooming. This is so when the oar is pulled through the water it cuts right in smoothly instead of choppy or hard. It makes the experience more enjoyable and comfortable for all who transport in the boat or canoe.

As a parent the first five years are for structure and foundation. Without a solid foundation trouble will be inevitable. Have firm and strong rules in place. Be consistent with their application. Be hands on and involved as much as possible. The middle childhood years it’s important to still do as the first five but boundaries are instilled by now and in place so less time is devoted to discipline though it is still present. Teen years we become coaches. Kids know what is expected and are given more freedom to explore who they are and what makes them happy. Direct them toward the discovery of purpose, dreams and aspirations.

When we need to be authority in their lives we need to be clear. But the soft edges, like the oar, come with delivery of truth and how we administer it. Is it coming from a place of love or is it our own need to be in charge? One of the best things my own Mother taught me was to say yes as much as I can so when I had to say no they knew I meant it.
Finally, as parents we can’t play favorites. Favoritism will bread jealousy and competition in family. It will tear unity apart. You may have a personality that jells best with one kid more than another-but every child needs to be your favorite. Hope this helps someone. I’m not an expert, but I’ve definitely had lots of practice getting it right. Your kids love you! ~Nicole

“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Prov. 22:6