September 6, 2017

Win it: Sparkle While You Do it!✨

Posted in Devotional, true story tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:07 am by Broken & Brave

You don’t read a song, you sing it.
You don’t play and instrument, you touch it. Your heart and passion does the playing.

You don’t dream a dream,
you live it…

When I was a teen I fell in love with fitness and all things related to health and fitness. Magazines were still read back then and I wasn’t into the normal girly teen magazines so much as I was drawn to the fitness driven magazine. I remember watching the Olympia on television and being captivated. Not by the male competitors, but the women. I was completely attracted to the physique and finished edges of their chiseled frames.

I had a stationary bike in my bedroom at my parents house and I would put my old school Walkman to use as I did my own little personal spin class before spin classes were even marketed in gyms. I guess I had vision and innovation. Too bad I didn’t have the insight to realize that I had a few good ideas and could’ve marketed them to the general population! Even in college, while studying nutrition, I dreamed of nutrition and fitness counseling, not planning menus in a hospital or retirement home (which is what most people in my field of interest did with such a degree in the early 90’s).

Imagine how surprised I was when I began having literal dreams about competing in bodybuilding after birthing my FIFTH child! I kind of blew it off at first. But these dreams began to increase and persist. I began experiencing a series of events that all highlighted to me the possibility that God actually wanted me to begin to compete. Was He crazy? I mean, where was this idea when I was 25? God is so unique, He’d been planting His plans for my life all along, writing my song and singing it to my heart.

You know, Heaven is full of love songs written exclusively for you. Only God can correctly carry the tune and sing the melody of heart in just the right key to cause your heart to swell and the melody to swing. Then we sway in the direction He leads. At least, that’s how the Holy Spirit is with me.

After much prayer and discussion all of this with my husband (who was 100% ultra supportive of my venture despite the enormous commitment and sacrifice it would require from us all) I began to prepare for my first show.

I had no figure coach. My husband assisted me as we constructed a sports specific training program design and the nutrition, well, that’s my department.

I began to study everything I could on how to prep and pose and hold my presence. Bodybuilding is about presentation, head to toe. It’s not just the symmetry and clean lines. It’s the poise, the walk, the finesse. Stage Presence. All of which continues to prove to me that God has a sense of humor because I’ve never cared less to be under any spotlight of any stage. I don’t like it actually. Maybe that’s why He asked me…

From day one this figure competition thing has been 100% about Him and has very little to do with me. How can that be you ask? Because I am obeying the Lord. I have stepped into a world of fitness as fashion full of models. But when you spend time with these people, and most I’ve met are wonderful people, they are real and authentic and broken and hurting and inspiring and looking for things to fill their hearts void. What a Beautiful opportunity I have to build relationship in this community. And that’s what I have done. To me, what goes on back stage is just as important on “game day” as all the preparations made to prepare my physical appearance to step on that stage. Every single time I both hate it and love it. Every single time I agree with my Father to dig deep and continue to compete. The older my children get and more diverse their interests and time demands, the even harder it becomes. It’s hard enough as a Mom to take care of yourself when you’re taking care of everybody else. But all the meal prepping, measuring, calculating, training, training, TRAINING!!! It isn’t easy.

But here’s something beautiful. My first show I truly didn’t know what to expect or what I was doing. I was 300% out of my comfort zone. I swore I wouldn’t do it again…for about 5 minutes. Then I was daring myself to dig in and see what I could really do. So I immediately entered another show that was only another two weeks out. This second show was a much bigger show. 100+ competitors all top notch. Very intimidating crowd.

I loved that show.

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I didn’t place all that well in any of my classes. 4th across the board. I never go into a show feeling ready. No matter how I place. But this show was significant for other reasons.

I met a woman last summer who I was about to compete against in the same class same show. She was friendly and engaged me in conversation immediately as we waited for the dressing rooms to be ready for us to use. In a bodybuilding show they have to paper the walls and floors to protect the surface from all that awesome (sarcasm inserted here) fake tanning products. As we waited she said something to the effect, “You must win all your shows.” I was a bit floored. “Me?”

I see everything that I still need to work on, but she saw something else.

She proceeded to tell me she had seen me compete before. She saw me in that big show I just described to you. The one pictured above. She was there to support a friend I competed against that day (who I knew and remembered as well). She told me I was the reason, the inspiration, she lost weight got in shape and decided to compete. Me… floored again.

Why inspired by me? Why not the woman who won the whole darn thing?

Because of God!!!!

This is what I have always aspired to do! Not necessarily that fit looks like a competitor, but if I can achieve THIS despite all the potential “can’t” excuses, then maybe the woman who can’t get motivated to care for herself will begin to try and believe that she CAN!  To inspire people as a fitness model on all levels! Health and fitness and also spiritual emotional wellness and fitness!

 

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I won that day. I only did 3rd and 4th place on the stage in my two classes…but I won. I won because of those words she had to say. I was blessed beyond measure and realized on a deeper level how important it is to God we obey to do the unconventional methods He instructs in us. It possesses power to reach people in one way or another that doesn’t look like a traditional methodology. That is what I love.

This story is an example of true Joy. My educational background and society around me teaches that you can’t give what you don’t have so learn to love yourself then maybe you will be able to love others. My Bible and my life experience says, “Want Joy? Want happiness? Desire satisfaction and contentment of soul? Love others and you will find your gold.”

I have found by personal experience that when I focus my heart to loving and caring for others most…I have found myself, my Joy, my happiness as a by product. Loving others, serving others, has refined my focus and stoked and highlighted within my own heart the things that make me happy. The things that I feel passionate about. The things I was created to do. The person God created me to be. True Peace is in Jesus, not my form, not my name, not a picture of me with a trophy in a frame. True Joy is in giving ourselves fully to Jesus. It is not enough to camp out next to the River. We must get into the Water. We must fully submerse ourselves in Him. Joy is in serving and loving others while placing our own personal wants and desires last.

J-Jesus
O-Others
Y-Yourself

You’ve got something special within that sparkles bright. It catches the Light and magnifies it causing a glimmer in the eye of those who look upon you. Sparkle Bright. Your Shine has power to dispel the Night. Radiance is all about you.

Keep digging. You’re winning.

~Nicole

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

1 Cor. 9:24-27

 

 

 

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September 2, 2017

Build Yourself Up

Posted in true story tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:39 am by Broken & Brave

“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
Luke 6:40

Years ago I was blessed to receive some in depth instruction and training from some premier Doctors in the field of nutrition and preventative medicine. I soaked in and learned enormously from these two men. I was able to obtain my training on audio and would play it over and over in my car. The more I learned and grew, the more I began to sound like these two doctors, full of the knowledge and wisdom they had generously passed on. It was a very cool experience and a rich blessing as I have had a passion and interest in health, wellness and nutrition most of my life. I studied nutrition in depth in college and now I find myself surrounded by people who are highly successful in a field I am passionate about. God put these people in my life to help me grow and learn more and pursue my God given dream to help people build a lasting legacy of longevity, disease free with high functioning mobility.

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Whatever your life holds and whatever your journey entails, be mindful that God will give you exactly the instruction you need when you need it. If you are eager and ready He will bring the right resource to you to help you grow and learn what you need in order to achieve the dream, goal or desire. So don’t give up! Even if you make a lot of mistakes along the way, when you keep trying you will eventually deepen with understanding and get it right. Pay attention as God may bring people in your life who will add value, springing you forward and lifting you up. It is true, the only ones who fail are those who quit. Don’t quit! ~Nicole

August 11, 2017

Suit Up!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:38 am by Broken & Brave

People work, strive, plan, creating and attempting to create something every human soul craves…security.
We put money aside for retirement. We save. We budget and bargain shop stretching our dollars as far as they will go. We buy insurance for every imaginable detail of life.

But as long as you live you will need spiritual security. You will need your armor. Life is full of the unexpected. We don’t live expecting bad things or troubles to come, but we know we live in an imperfect world. We know better than to fantasize about a pseudo-eutopia. When we place our security in the right place, the correct Source, we know we are protected.

Wait for the Lord, behave honorably, never lose hope, maintain courage. To fear is to doubt God. Trust Him. Steadily offer your heart, mind, body, soul to the true and secure anchor for it all. Bonafide child of God. What are you so worried for anyway? Never give up! This is what it means to truly live by faith. You possess past grace, present grace and there is future grace for you as well. Grace is not just God’s favor and protection, it is also him causing good things to happen for you. He brings the blessings to you. So suit up soldier and relax in his Grace! He’s got you. ~Nicole

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God…”

Ephesians 6:10

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July 10, 2017

All of Me…

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 6:53 am by Broken & Brave

“Behold, I…will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth.”

Jeremiah 33:6

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True peace comes in the presence of a soul that is completely entangled about and revolves around the endless love of Heaven.

This is the word on my heart this morning. My soul paralleled in Hope. Dwelling…abiding…pleasing my soul with His Pleasure.

Do not be discouraged when you face trials of many kinds. It could just be God’s instrument to captivate you. The heart is big, very big, grand in capacity.

God wants all of it.

He wants all of your heart so He can move all of himself in. He wants to reside in your heart at the deepest levels.

Yield to His lead as He tugs at your need. He just wants all of you…

I find this thought incredibly lovely and full of God’s Grace and Comfort.

What does it mean to give all of ourselves  to God? It means He gets first place first prize. All our plans line up with his. We are full of truth. We speak truth and we walk it out in our day to day life. We hold nothing back for ourselves. God gets everything, the first fruits of ourselves. Then we let Him decide what abundance we receive in return. We allow God to decide how He provides no matter what the Provision looks like. We yield.

Most people don’t like yielding. Most people like to be in control. Sometimes consciously and often times unconsciously. They become fearful when they don’t have the handle on situations or outcomes.

This is a trust issue.

To have more in God’s economy each person must get to a place where they trust whole heartedly. If it breeds suspicion, it isn’t God. This doesn’t always mean we throw out God’s plans, but a deceiving spirit will try to cause suspicion to confuse God’s plans. Be wise. Suspicion is rooted in a Spirit of Fear. The Spirit of Fear has friends, it never likes to travel alone. It is frequently accompanied by confusion and doubt. Demonic principalities…when you study them…you will see they often congregate in groups of three. Fear is often present for any to begin. Fear is like the burglar who gets his toe in the crack of an open door to  keep you from shutting it tight and he rests there a while for when your guard is down and then invites his other friends to go in and do some damage.

The more we guard our heart, sweep it clean, the more we have room for God to reside at the greatest capacity.

How is your capacity to receive?

A fearful heart commonly shuts everything out, especially people. You may find it difficult to have long term relationships. The relationships you do have, for the most part, are only surface. You may have trouble allowing people into your heart for fear of being rejected, hurt, or abandoned…so you keep them out all together. This is not what the Lord means by a guarded heart.

Allow God to linger in your soul. Go ahead, open the door and let God in. He is the Way, the Truth, the Life. He will take the life you have and give it a new luster and shine, hope and joy, pleasure and peace. You will wonder why you didn’t let him in sooner. God is like a most faithful friend. In His admiration of your soul He doesn’t bend.

He is Advocate Almighty.

Nicole

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July 8, 2017

Bold Strength

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:34 am by Broken & Brave

If you don’t have strength it’s because you don’t need it. As the demands of the day require it- you gain it. You are not alone. God always comes on the scene like a freight train. He carries your relief and delivers what you need.

He comes on the scene like a fighter pilot who has surveyed the terrain ahead.

He comes on the scene like a steam ship towing your hope and keeping you afloat. He comes like a tidal wave and washes endless possibilities and love over you.

He comes like a hurricane with torrential rains that use pressure to wash away every ounce of debris, pain and suffering. He holds the master set of keys to everything and He is the anchor that holds anything He wants to hold.

So be bold with your life because He is caring for your life. Celebrate your weaknesses–when you are humble, you are Powerful! ~Nicole

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses; so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Cor. 12:9

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June 18, 2017

Heartbeat of a Winner

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:20 am by Broken & Brave

You are a Winner!

Champion does not mean first place-first prize.

A Champion is an ardent defender of purpose and people. God is your defender. He is ardent, unwavering, in his devotion to humanity. You count on him to do what only he can do and he will do it for you. You can trust him! Many times we SAY we trust him, but then we continue to take care of everything ourself. We believe he will bless our effort and that’s the extent of our trust. But what about trust that reaches beyond borders into unchartered waters and He alone is your compass or map? This is an entirely different trust zone.

You never go alone. You can count on him to help you win. Winning is about overcoming all that holds you back within so you can go out and help everyone around you. Glorious! ~Nicole

“When you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly answer.” Isaiah 58:9

December 18, 2016

Holy Cross

Posted in Devotional, true story tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:09 am by Broken & Brave

The high road is this way…

In my young married life–a season of the growth of my soul– I remember struggling with something and God helping me to learn to handle it. I remember having a dream of me carrying a cross just like Jesus did. Only I saw something in this dream that looked like a large hand reach down from the sky and gently pinch the large cross on my back as though it were only a stick and began to gently lift so the weight in my back gave some slack.

This is the beauty of God. We sometimes go through trials that aren’t necessarily because of poor choices. Sometimes things just happen. In those times remember that it is no shock to God. He will carry you through it. You may feel like you have to carry the burden, and endure some pain, but to God it’s only a stick and He carries it too. The cool thing about God is He can out lift you…He will always carry the heaviest end of your burden.

He has got you. No worries…Nicole

“Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’…”
Isaiah 30:21img_8218

November 11, 2016

Balanced Living

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 7:52 am by Broken & Brave

Everything we do in the physical also affects us in the spiritual. It is unavoidable. Our mind, body and soul are all tied together, work together and compliment each other. This is by Divine Design. So if Rest, Exercise and Diet are our gauges for wellness physically, the same can be true for our spiritual, emotional and mental health as well.

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REST in the Arms of the Almighty. At the end of the day you can rest when you know you’ve given your best and can trust God with the particulars of world order and personal progress and provision. Learn to say no to some things so you can say yes to others. There are demands for our time and attention everywhere. Be intentional about rest!

EXERCISE your freedom to choose to be kind, generous, and willing to discipline yourself in right living. Take up hobbies that refresh your soul. Do charitable work for others. It doesn’t have to be to a specific organization, non profit or population. Last night I spent two hours mentoring a young personal trainer who is just getting started in the business. You get the idea.

DIET. You need to feed your soul strength just as you feed your physical body for strength. What are you feeding on? Be careful about your conversations. Be thoughtful in what you select to read and watch. I encourage you to select a devotional or morning scriptures from the Bible. You will find yourself with greater Peace and ability to “manage” life when you’ve feasted on scripture. Pray. Time spent reflecting and speaking to the Creator also has cleansing and relaxing qualities. It’s like yoga for the soul. Take time to reflect. Journal. Write down dreams, ideas and aspirations. Set goals. It is a beautiful form of release and expression.

When you pay attention to your spiritual Rest-Exercise-Diet (my R.E.D. Flag’s of Wellness) you will notice you have greater balance and perspective in all of life. Refreshed and Blessed! ~Nicole

“..and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19