Friday, February 27, 2015

Drink Greens: Send Us to Ethiopia

What in the world does drinking greens have to do with us going to Ethiopia?

How is it even possible that YOU drinking greens or using lip and eye cream or wrapping or taking vitamins or eating a chew or treating yourself to a facial could help Lawrence and me train teachers at an orphanage in Africa?

Why am I so passionate about my It Works business and "always" asking you to try our producs or join me on this adventure?

As a little girl, I dreamed of going to the deep, dark jungles of Africa as a missionary doctor.  When I realized how many years of school were required to become a doctor, I quickly changed my plans - and decided to become a teacher (somewhat ironic really).

I did fulfill my dream of teaching, and even got to do so overseas.  My 2 years in Haiti completey changed my life, my way of looking at people, my perspective on the word "starving," my view onluxurious houses, and so much more.

When I returned to the United States, adjusting to a new normal took some time.  My prayer as a 5th grade teacher in a small private school in Missouri was to help my students expand their understanding of the role they could play in God's kingdom.  Whether they grew up to be missionaries to far away lands or stayed here in the Heartland, I wanted them to realize God had created them with specific talents and abilities they were to use for His glory.  I longed for them to develop a passion for sharing His love and telling everyone they possibly could about the opportunity to have a personal relationship with Him.  I prayed for them to live their lives with purpose, zeal, intensity.  I hoped to pass on my sense of urgency in reaching the lost, wherever they may be.  Most importantly, I wanted them to understand that process started NOW - not when they graduated from high school or college or grew up and got married or whatever.  But NOW.

I only taught for 2 years before becoming a mother and made the decision to stay home with my baby girl.  Fast forward 5 years, and I have 3 precious princesses.  And the desire of my heart to is help my girls see that they are daughters of the KING and they too have a calling in life - a divine purpose for which they have been placed on this earth.  The BEST way I can teach them how to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength is to MODEL to them how to live all out for Jesus, to make the most of every single day.  Hence, I strive to live with passion and a sense of urgency.  I squeeze as much as possible into every day I am given, wanting to make the biggest impact, influence as many lives as I can, and in turn be a reckoning force in changing the WORLD.  As my 3 young girls watch me, I pray they see a sparkle in my eyes, joy radiating from my face, and a sense of PURPOSE in all that I do.  I long for them to join me on this incredible journey, even now as they are young (ages 1, 3, and 5).  I tell them DAILY that God made them special and loves them and has BIG plans for them.  I encourage them to DREAM BIG and remind them that they can do anything God calls them to do, be anything God invites them to be.

So, when our friends invited us to come with them to Ethiopia, I immediately wanted to go.  Our girls won't be going with us THIS TIME, but they will know all the details of the trip and why we are going and how we are living out the plans and purposes God has for us.  They will know that if God calls you do to something, He will provide a way.  They will see Him at work.  They will hear stories and look at pictures.  They will be amazed.  They will marvel at His power and love and grace.  They will be filled with a passion for reaching the lost.  And some day, they will go with us to Africa.  Hopefully to adopt some little brothers (and/or sisters)...

Now, back to the role YOU play in all of this.

Yesterday, Lawrence met with Mark Sharp, the husband of the couple who invited us on this crazy adventure in the first place.  Mark asked where we were at in our plans for Ethiopia.  Lawrence assured him we want to go and are saving money to make that happen.  Mark asked if we had considered doing any fundraising.  Yes, yes we have.

However, my ideas are probably not your run-of-the-mill fundraising techniques.  You see, I have been praying for God to use It Works to provide for our trip (and future adoptions as well).  Lawrence and I have the opportunity to earn $50,000 or more in bonuses by March 31.  That would MORE than pay for our way!  That would allow us to not only go to Ethiopia this summer and train the teachers but also to start setting aside money for an adoption fund.  Our week in Africa would certainly make an impact and change lives.  BUT, think about what adopting a little boy (or two) would do!!!  Tears are forming in my eyes right now as I type...

Adoption has always been on my heart.  And the thought of fulfilling that dream is almost too much to consider.  To be able to share the love of God and display His grace and mercy to a child in much the same way that He CHOSE me to be part of His family and make me His daughter... WOW!

Ooops, I got carried away.
Back to YOU and the role YOU can play in this!

We could ask you to donate $25, $50, $100 or whatever God laid on your heart.  And I am sure that we would be able to raise the nearly $6,000 needed to travel to Ethiopia come June.  That would be amazing.  We would be ever so thankful.

BUT, I have a different plan in mind.
I want you to consider using the greens or wraps or defining gel or vitamins or skin care line or ANY of the It Works natural health and wellness products.  By spending as little as $23 a month to invest in your personal health, you would be helping us earn a $20,000 and $30,000 bonus.  That money would go towards our trip this summer and then towards an adoption fun.  $50,000 can go A LOT further and change MANY more lives than a mere $6,000.

Think about it.
Pray about it.

What would God have you do?

If you would like to play a part in sending us to Ethiopia, please be in contact with Lawrence or me.  We would love to share more with you about our trip, what we will be doing, and why we feel like God has called us to do this at this time in our lives.  God has been stirring up some passions and desires in our hearts, and we are excited to see where all they will take us.  We would be delighted to tell you more and equally thrilled to invite you on this adventure with us - as prayer warriors, as loyal customers, or in any other way God may lay on YOUR hearts!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Enough Already

Today has been somewhat of a rough go for me.
I woke up somewhat in a funk.
My husband and I have been doing Insanity together in the mornings - EARLY.  Shaun T. pushes us, HARD.  We are dripping sweat and breathing heavy, and that's just after the first part of the WARM UP.  I told Lawrence this morning that when the STRETCHING portion feels like a killer work-out, you know the actual exercise part is insane.  Hence, the name of the program!

Anyway, I expected after 5 weeks into the program, I would have seen visible results.  I was hoping to LOOK different in the mirror - more definition in the abs, a smaller waistline, toned upper legs, arms with actual biceps. I haven't noticed ANY of these things, except maybe slightly more enhanced biceps.

I see other people's before and after pictures, and I compare myself to them.  I feel defeated when MY transformation isn't as noticable or as significant as theirs.  I get discouraged when I don't meet my goals.  I want to quit.  I mean what's the point of getting up at 5 am and busting my butt if I don't have anything to show for all my hard, sweaty work?!

Well, there is the CERTAINITY that I am doing my body good.
And the REALITY that I feel good and haven't been sick and have energy to last all day.
Not to mention the CONFIDENCE I gain in knowing that I am physically capable of doing these hard-core workouts, that my body is in shape and that I am strong enough and healthy enough to do them.

But none of that seems to matter.
Because I get caught on what I see - or DON'T see - in the mirror.
It's not even about the number on the scale.  I honestly don't remember the last time I weighed myself.  I am more concerned about how I FEEL when I look at my reflection in the mirror.

And my feeling down about the results I was expecting and hoping for but haven't seen yet affected my attitude about life in general.
So, I had a choice to make.

Listen to the lies from the ENEMY that I'm not enough
Listen the the TRUTH from my Creator and Savior that He created me, designed me with special gifts and abilities, has a plan and purpose for my life, believes in me, loves me, and is DELIGHTED with me today.

Not only did I choose the later, but I am here to help YOU do the same.
I am here to FIGHT with you, and for you.
You are my sister, my brother.
We are fellow soldiers, waging war, battling it out as the enemy comes after us time and time and time again, always seeking to tear us down and ultimately destroy us.

Well, I for one am NOT going to let him.
NOT today.

Instead, I am going to stand firm.
I am going to arm myself with the TRUTH.

Sometimes we need a reminder, though, don't we?
Let's remember together, shall we?

You ARE enough.
In fact, you are MORE than enough.

You have a purpose.

God loves you, dearly.
He RANSOMED you, freeing you from bondage and slavery, giving you new life and hope.
He paid a GREAT PRICE for you - the blood of His one and only Son.
If He loved you so much to DIE for you, will He not be with you NOW and provide for you all that you need to LIVE for Him today?

God will NEVER give up on you.
He will ALWAYS believe in you.

He will ALWAYS be with you, guiding you each and every step of the way.
He will ALWAYS be a rock and fortress for you, a shelter in the storms of life.
He will ALWAYS care about you, love you, and CHERISH you.
He will NEVER change.

I don't know what LIES the enemy is trying to get you to believe today.
I don't know how exactly he is attacking you.
But I know he is.
Don't listen to him.
Shut out his voice.  Plug your ears.
Open your heart only to the ONE who truly matters, to the ONE who has your best in mind, the ONE who gave His life for you, the ONE who LOVES you...

Do listen to Him.
He is whispering.  Lean in close.  Don't miss what HE has to say.

YOU are enough.
Yes, YOU.

So, my friend, GO and dream big!
Take risks.
BELIEVE in the impossible.
Remember, life is meant to be an ADVENTURE.  Take that first step...

The world NEEDS you.
Yes, YOU.

Enough already with the excuses.
Enough already with believing the LIES.
Enough already not doing what you were called to do and being who you were created to be.

This has got to STOP.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Calling It Fowl

One thing I have learned over the past 2 years is that people all too often don't say what they really mean.  Sadly, we hide behind excuses.  Myself included.

I for one HATE conflict and confrontation.  I don't like to step on anyone's toes or make someone uncomfortable.  I prefer peace, keeping everyone happy and smiling.

BUT, here's the deal.
In doing so, I am being FAKE and allowing others to put up similar facades.

In my attempt to keep my life SAFE and neatly packed in a little box where I understand everything and can control all that's going on - or at least convince myself I can, I am actually MISSING OUT on so much!!  I am sitting on the sidelines, watching others enjoy all sorts of adventures.  Adventures I would love to be a part of, but haven't seemed to find the time to get around to doing any of them or the money to afford them or the courage to step outside of my "secure zone" so that I could even start to put a plan into motion to checking things off my bucketlist and fulfilling life-long dreams.

So, this morning, I am calling it FOWL.
We're all being CHICKENS.
Remember, I am talking to myself too.
As I type, I am figuratively looking in the mirror and pointing my finger at the woman I see there.

I have decided I am TIRED of being safe.
I am DONE walking on egg shells, trying to avoid conflict or worrying about hurting someone's feelings.  Because I care too much to let us go on being fake.  I care too much to let us miss out on all that life has to offer, on all that GOD has called us to do and BE.

One of the most common reasons (aka EXCUSES) I get for not being able to join me on this crazy It Works journey I finally started (after a YEAR of saying no) is that people are TOO BUSY.

I posted a fairly sarcastic "comment" on Facebook yesterday about how people must think I am the only NON-busy person on the planet with chores that do themselves and a house that cleans and organizes itself and meals that fix themselves and children that pick up their toys without being told.  Ha!!!  Wouldn't that be nice?!!

Reality is - I AM busy.  I have 3 young girls - ages 1, 3, and 5.  My husband works full time, so I don't have help during the day with my children or the household chores (though my hubs is amazing and DOES help fold laundry and clean toilets and put away dishes and more).  We are involved in our church and have a weekly Bible study at our house each week as well.  I have a thriving childbirth and doula business.  We exercise.  We like to spend time with family and friends.  We don't have a butler, maid, lawn care team, personal chef, or anyone else to help us with all our responsibilities.  We are BUSY.

Like everyone else.
I would like to meet a non-busy person.  Shake their hand.  Ask them their secret.

Actually, I know a secret.
Kami Dempsey, our top earner at It Works shared this golden nugget with us last year at conference, "You can do anything, but you can't do everything."

Her words rang true as I listened to someone from Proverbs 31 Ministries reveal another similar truth on K-Love yesterday.  "To say YES to one thing, you have to say NO to another."

And that right there is what this all boils down to.
But we just hide behind the excuse, "I'm too busy."

What we are AFRAID to say is NO.  So we make a reason why we can't.  Once again though, I am calling this FOWL.  We have to STOP being chicken.

If you're scared of what people will think of you - like I was 2 years ago - tell me that.
If you're worried that you're fail - like I was 2 years ago - tell me that.
If you're skeptical about the products - like I was 2 years ago - tell me that.
If you're doubtful you have 4 friends who trust you and who would want to support you as you start your business and help you earn $120 in free products, tell me that.
If you're unsure you know at least 3 people who could use additional income, tell me that.
If you're afraid you won't make any money with this investment, tell me that.
If you believe this is a pyramid scheme, tell me that.
If you've been burned by a MLM or direct sales company before and don't want to get hurt again, tell me that.
If you don't think you're outgoing enough or don't have the right personality to be successful, tell me that.

Whatever you tell me, DO NOT tell me you are too busy.
I won't listen.

I don't believe you.

Because I have seen FAR TOO MANY other busy people do extremely well in this business.

Because I know YOU can do the same thing.
Because I care about you and want to help you push fear aside and believe in yourself and fulfill your dreams and leave a legacy for your children and their children.

If Shauntel Lyons can say yes to this opportunity when she was working FULL time AND going to GRAD school AND being a wife and mom, then you're not too busy.

If Jen Keller can say yes to this opportunity when she was HOMESCHOOLING SEVEN KIDS and lived in the middle of nowhere in a town of 100 (with the closest Target an hour away) and her husband was gone 2 weeks at a time for his job, then you're not too busy.

If Stephanie Doss can yes to this opportunity when she was working full time - 80 hours a week - as an attorney and had 2 small babies at home, then you're not too busy.

If Lori Conway can yes to this opportunity when she was a stay-at-home-mom with 4 kids and her husband worked at least 60 hours a week, then you're not too busy.

If Kami Dempsey can yes to this opportunity when she was teaching and coaching and had a brand new baby, then you're not too busy.

If Shelby Bowman can yes to this opportunity as a teen mom with a brand new baby and her hubby serving our country overseas, then you're not too busy.

If Makenzie Schultz can say yes to this opportunity while running a photography studio and her hubby managed a restaurant and they had twin boys, then you're not too busy.

If Liz Barton can say yes to this opportunity while teaching full time and being a mom to 2 young boys, then you're not too busy.

If Melissa Schellinger can say yes to this opportunity while working full time as a RN and her hubby working 70+ hours a week at their nutrition store and 2 young girls at home, then you're not too busy.

If Rachel Williamson can yes to this opportunity while helping her husband plant a church and take care of their 3 young children, then you're not too busy.

If Nikki Clutter can say yes to this opportunity while being a mom to 4 kids of her own and 4 additional foster kiddos, then you're not too busy.

If Ashleigh Smith can yes to this opportunity while running an inhome daycare and taking care of her 2 young girls, then you're not too busy.

Need I go on?  Those are all women I PERSONALLY know (well, I don't really know Kami all that well, but I respect her to the nines, and I do and talk with all the other women on a regular basis, many of them living within a 30 mile radius of me).

Oh, so that takes out another reason - the business is too saturated.  It's NOT.  I meet people daily who have NEVER heard of It Works, let alone uses any of our products.

Back to the BUSY excuse, though.
Yes, you ARE busy.
I am NOT saying you aren't.
Please hear that.

I am drawing attention to the reality that if we don't change anything, if we stay busy doing whatever it is we are doing, then we will never have time to fulfill our dreams, to live out the passions God is laying on our hearts.

You have a choice.
You can look at others living out an adventure, checking things off their bucket lists, traveling, retiring from their jobs, giving back, and so much can assume they were lucky or had more time or more money or whatever than you OR you can say, "If they can do it, so can I."

MANY of those women I mentioned were on food stamps or going into debt or or selling things on Craig's List or had to borrow the money to get their starter kit.  If there is a will there is a way.

ALL of these women were busy.  If there is a will there is a way.

ALL of these women are now top leaders in the company.  Many of them have retired from their jobs AND brougth their husbands home too.  They have MORE time NOW.  They have paid of debt.  They have put money in savings.  They are able to travel and do things they never thought possible before - when they were too busy to dream.  They are able to give back and help more people and make a huge impact in so many ways and are changing lives all over the world.

I'm glad they weren't too busy to miss out on this opportunity.
I'm glad they said yes.
Because they said yes, I was given the opportunity to say yes as well.

And now I offer the same opportunity to you...

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Special Edition

If you have ever tried to read through the Bible in a year, then you have most certainly gotten to that chapter in Genesis 5 where you see a long list of names.  Hard-to-pronounce names.  Names that seem strange to us today.  Names that don't really mean anything to use now.  BUT, those names have purpose and meaning.  Those names represent people - men and women God created for a specific reason and used for a specific purpose to accomplish a specific part of His amazing plan.  

If you're like me, and most people I know, you probably skim through the names without much thought (unless you're pregnant and searching for a name for your baby, but most likley find more to cross off your list than to add to it).  At best, you might skim through the names as fast as possible, just so you can give yourself credit for reading the chapter and feel good about checking the box on your reading schedule.

This morning at church, however, our pastor took time to pause and have us understand why a list of names in Ezra was so significant and revealed a profound truth for us to hold onto all these thousands of years later.  If you want to check out all the 42,360 people mentioned in Ezra 2, feel free to check it out for yourself.  The point wasn't really in the names themselves so much as in what we learn from the fact that God included their names in His divinely inspired Word.  

Our pastor actually highlighted 3 principles for us to remember, and I'm going to share the first 2 with you today.  Even more importantly, though, is getting these truths from our head to our heart, truly believing them and then living them out CONFIDENTLY in our daily lives.

1. You are important to God.  He loves you, no matter your status.

You are formed with INTENT.
You are NOT a mistake.
You are NOT a surprise.
You were made on purpose, for a purpose.

Which leads us to the next principle...

2. Each person has a role to play, a unique calling for which God has created him/her.

You are God's workmanship.  He took His time to craft and shape and mold you exactly the way He wanted.  He has given you talents and abilities, gifts and interests, a personality and character traits that ONLY YOU have.  NO ONE ELSE is like you.  And that is a GOOD thing.  We are each needed.  Every single one of us.  We each have a role to play, and without all of us working together, doing our special part, NONE of us can be who we are truly called and created to be. We NEED each other.  

We need to STOP COMPARING ourselves to others.
We need to STOP thinking someone else is better, prettier, smarter, faster, more talented, or whatever other ways we try to measure up to the people we know.
We need to STOP letting fear and worry and doubt keep us from being who God has made us to be.

Instead, we need to ACCEPT who we are and appreciate how God made us, realizing we are special and unique on purpose.  Then, we need to be CONFIDENT in the way we have been created, boldly living out the calling God has for us.  As we do, we fulfill the good works God prepared for us before the world even began.  We help others become who God made them to be. We celebrate with each other.  We support and encourage one another.  We build each other up. We grow and learn together.   And as we do, we make the world a better place. 

Here's the deal, you may not recognize at the time how God is using you.  You may not understand what He's doing.  You may not see how in the world He is going to take what is happening in your life right now to make a difference, to impact someone's life, to change the world.  BUT, I assure you, He IS using you.  He DOES have a plan.  He DOES have a purpose.  And it's CERTAINLY for YOUR good and HIS glory!

Maybe you are feeling like the Israelites were when God spoke this amazing promise to the prophet Jeremiah.  They were in the midst of a 70 YEAR exile.  They had been taken from their homes and transported to Babylon.  Everything they knew was gone.  They were scared and confused.  Probably a bit upset too.  I know I would have been...

YET, God has NOT abandoned them or forsaken them.
He has NOT forgotten His promise.
He IS with them and working everything out for their good (see Romans 8 for more on that).

This morning we sang a song about Jesus being a thief on Friday, crucified, DEAD and buried.  
You would think all hope was lost.
Our supposed Savior was proven false.  
Our Messiah didn't come through, but gave up His Spirit.
How can a dead man save anyone?!

Even the disciples, who walked and talked and lived with Jesus day in and day out for THREE YEARS seemed to have forgotten His promise to rise on the third day.  

I fear we too have made the same mistake all these thousands of years later.  
We let Satan blind us to the truth.
We let sin paralyze us.
We forget Jesus didn't stay in the tomb.
We focus on Friday afternoon instead of celebrating Sunday morning.

The song goes on to tell us Jesus was a King on Sunday, for up from the grave He arose.

And as followers of Jesus, that same power is at work in and through us today.
Sin has NO POWER over us.  NONE.  
Unless we let it...

Which is exactly what we do when we doubt we are important, when we compare ourselves to others and feel we come up short, when we fear what others think, when we stay quiet or play it safe instead of stepping out and rising up and doing what God has called us to do and being who God has created us to be.

May we look back at Paul's letter to the Romans and focus on his message in chapter 6:

We are FREE!!!!
And we have been set free to live for God.
To carry out the good works He prepared in advance for us to do.

I don't know what those good ideas and acts are that God is placing on your heart.
I don't know where you are at in life today - in exile, in the wilderness, or on the edge of the Promised Land.  

I DO know God is at work.
I believe with all my heart God loves you.
I promise you He has a plan and purpose for your life.
And I am confident that if you TRUST Him and follow the path He sets before you, He will guide you every step of the way (usually one step at a time).  He WILL provide ALL you need to do His will, to fulfill the plans He has for you, and to use you to change the world.

Let's take one last look back at the names in Ezra 2.  If you're like me, you probably missed what our pastor pointed out today.  Zerubabbel...

He was there leading the Israelites back to their homeland to rebuild the temple.  As he collected materials and helped lay bricks, Zerubabbel didn't realize that his role was MUCH bigger in building the kingdom of God.  Little did he know, he would one day be a great great great great great great... grandfather to JESUS.

But there he is...

Our pastor's main point - you never know how God will use you, or your kids, or your grandkids.

The same is definitely true for women who change diapers! :)

Your life DOES matter.
HOW you live matters too.

You ARE part of God's plan.
You are a SPECIAL EDITION, one of a kind.

If you have never read this book, read it today!!!  Seriously...

CONFIDENTLY live this out.
Starting NOW...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Rejected, Rescued, Redeemed

How you ever felt left out? Picked over?  Excluded?

You're in good company, then.
You're in the same boat as the Creator of the Universe.

Say what?!

Yep, Jesus Himself was REJECTED.
Wrongly accused.

I read yesterday in 1 Peter 2 of my Savior's REJECTION.  You would have thought I was left feeling forlorne and devastated; instead, I was greatly encouraged.  Relieved really.

If Jesus was REJECTED, then I should only expect the same in my life.
As a follower of Jesus, I am promised this rejection.  For if the world did not understand or accept my Lord, why would the world all of a sudden receive me with open arms if I identify myself with Jesus?

They don't.
And so I too am REJECTED.
Best part, this is truly GOOD NEWS!!!

Before you think I've lost my mind, hear me out.
Well, actually, let's hear PETER out, since the letter he wrote explains things so much better than I ever could...

"You are coming to Christ, who is the LIVING Cornerstone of God's temple.  He was REJECTED by people, but He was CHOSEN by God for GREAT HONOR."

Jesus' fellow man may not have accepted Him or understood His message or realized Who He was or believed in Him, BUT His Father always had a plan for His Son.

And for US.
For me.
For YOU.

Only in Christ's rejection are we able to be RESCUED and then ultimately REDEEMED.

You see, Jesus took our sin upon Himself, bearing the burden of our punishment on Himself.  He embraced the rejection that we might be accepted, forgiven, transformed.

This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.  ~Colossians 1:21-22

In His death, we come to life!!!

Again, Peter describes our situation well...

"But you are not like that, for you are a CHOSEN people.  You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own POSSESSION.  As a result, you can show others the GOODNESS of God, for He CALLED you out of darkness into His WONDERFUL LIGHT.  

Once you had NO IDENTITY as a people;
now you are GOD'S PEOPLE.
Once you had received no mercy;
now you have received God's mercy."

As we are in the midst of Valentine's week, I can't think of a better definition of love than that right there.  In deed, while we were still sinners - His enemies - God loved us and gave up His Son for us.  He made a way.  He invited us - wretches and filthy - into His glorious, majestic presence to enjoy a personal relationship with Him.  He washes us clean with Jesus' blood and sees our sin no more.  We are forgiven completely, our debt paid in full!!!  We have been set FREE!

We may be rejected by men.
Wrongly accused.
Left out.
Picked over.
And possibly even killed.

BUT, we are not forgotten.
We are CHOSEN by God.
And dearly, dearly loved.

So, then, my brothers and sisters, how then should we live?

 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.   ~Colossians 3:12-17
Having been set free, I want to go and free others, as many as I possibly can!  I want to share the Good News of God's love with them, inviting them to join me on the marvelous journey to know Jesus and daily become more like Him.  

Even if that means being rejected by men.
My identity is in Christ alone.
Nothing, no one, can change that.

I may be rejected.  But I am also RESCUED and REDEEMED.  
And that is all that truly matters!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

And Now You Know the Rest of the Story

If you have ever listened to radio, you might be familiar with Paul Harvey and his famous, "and now you know the rest of the story."

Well, I am here this morning to share my version, It Works style.

You see, there is this crazy wrap thing...

that supposedly tightens, tones, and firms in only 45 minutes.

Yeah, right!
Quick fix.

At least that's what I USED to think.
Now, I know the truth...

That would be MY belly.
4 weeks after baby #3.
The top picture is BEFORE I used any wraps (had to wait 11 months before I finally got to personally use a product I had been endorsing and putting on so many of my friends and watching them get their own great results) and the bottom picture is 45 MINUTES later!!!

Um, I'd say it works!!!
And that the results last.  Because here I am over a year later, wearing NEW smaller jeans - back to my high school and college size - way before any babies!

Well, I guess I'm technically in a dress, but the size SMALL felt great and fit great, with room to spare.  And my hubby looks pretty darn good too - he's down 15 pounds since he started using our products DAILY in December and working out with me.

And in case you were wondering, he wraps too!
This would be his very first wrap (had to use him as a guniea pig since I couldn't wrap myself when we started this adventure)...

Again, that was ONE wrap!
Yep, still think they DO work!

But, here's the deal.  Our crazy wrap business really isn't about the wrap at all.
Not when it comes down to the HEART of the matter, the WHY behind us saying YES to this crazy business and the NUMEROUS ways it has blessed us since we did.

This is where things get good.
The "rest of the story" is the best part!

Two years ago, when I was contemplating whether It Works would work for our family, I was running an in-home daycare.  I was delighted to be home with my girls (2 of them at the time).  However, I was not happy.  Sure, I put a smile on my face everyday, but inside I was DYING.  I had no passion for life, no zeal.  Instead, I felt overwhelmed with the responsibilities of caring for SIX kiddos ages 3 and under!  I felt isolated as I NEVER left the house, except for a quick grocery run or to go to church.  I felt ALONE, not really talking with any other adults besides my husband (whom I love and consider my best friend, but I needed interaction with other women and moms on a regular basis, for more than 5 minutes in passing here and there).  I was HEARTBROKEN that I wasn't able to do all the mom things I had always dreamed of doing with my girls - playing at the park, marveling at animals at the zoo, reading books at story time, exploring in the back yard, baking cookies, making fun holiday themed crafts.  I was crumbling and devastated and DYING inside...

Yet, I didn't think there was any way out of my current situation.  I wanted to stay home with my "babies," but reality was I NEEDED to work and contribute to our family income.  So, I did the only thing I thought I could do - run an in-home daycare.  Best of both worlds, right?!


At our Conference in 2015, Ashley Sinclair shared a story about ducks who forgot they could fly.
May we remember we CAN fly!
So stop waddling and start FLYING today!
I had been watching my friend Ashleigh post about It Works on Facebook for about a year.  She had asked me to join her.  I thought her email had been hacked.  She told me again how much fun she was having and how her life was changed.  I rolled my eyes and went on with my life, trying to make the most of my circumstances.  Then, one day, my dear friend Melissa shared how the wraps were GOOD for you.  I had to do a double take.  Did my most health-conscious, naturally-minded mama friend really just endorse these crazy wraps?  I immediately sent her a message to see if she had gone crazy herself.  Nope, after a YEAR of research, my RN "granola" friend was a believer and ready to change things for her family as well (they have a pretty amazing story - food stamps and going in debt nearly $500 a month to earning over $60,000 in bonuses and paying off $40,000 in debt and retiring from their jobs to be a stay at home FAMILY who will be volunteering to help those who are rescued from the human trafficking industry).  I trusted Melissa with my life, and so I decided to at least PRAY about this crazy wrap business.

After getting a green light from the Lord, I became a distributor.
February 9, 2013.

Fast forward to today.
I have retired from my in-home daycare.
I am "homeschooling" my 3 girls (ages 1, 3, and 5).  We get to go on a new adventure each day.  Story time at the library.  Play dates at the park.  Zoo visit.  Nature centers.  Wellness Wednesday snacks at the grocery store.  Baking treats for our neighbors.  Visiting family in the middle of the week.  And so many other "little" things that are going to be such precious memories to look back on years from now.

I have passion again.
I actually ENJOY life.
I feel like I have purpose.

And that purpose is in itself the "rest of the story."
Once more, it's really not about the wrap at all.
I think we've established that (or at least I hope we have).
Since we know what it's NOT about, I want to share what it IS about:

*HOPE - giving people something to look forward to, a reason to live, knowing that they do have a FUTURE that is GOOD, not clouded with debt and doubt

*PEACE - financial freedom means not having to worry about how to pay bills or put food on the table or if the car is going to get reposed or the house foreclosed

*JOY - seeing people feel good about themselves and regaining that lost confidence fills me with such great delight; seeing people be able to check things off their bucket list because of the income It Works has provided them makes me so very happy; making memories with my girls and having more time with my family certainly makes my heart overflow with joy

*FRIENDSHIPS - I have met some of the most amazing people whom I never would have known if not for It Works; I have reconnected with old friends from high school and college, going deeper in our relationships than ever before

*FREEDOM - not only can I go on adventures with my girls every day, but our family is able to go on vacations and buy the groceries we want and pay extra on our mortgage (hoping to have our house paid off in the next 5 years for sure) and so much more

*DREAMING - this business has helped me realize that it's GOOD to dream and to dream big, to pursue the passions and desires God has laid on my heart so that I can accomplish the good works He has planned in advance for me to do and bring Him MASSIVE amounts of glory in the process

*INSPIRATION - I pray my life inspires others to dream, to believe in themselves, to have hope, to live by faith and step out and try new things, to realize they have purpose and can make a huge impact on the lives of those around them and all over the world

*CONFIDENCE - I still struggle with fear and worrying about what other people think, but not nearly as much as I used to.  I am learning to be who God made me to be, to pursue the dreams He has given me, to live and love out loud, to NOT tame down my excitement and zeal for life.  I am praying others will see the beauty within themselves and the gifts and talents they have been given and be bold and courageous to use them and to stand up for what they believe in and to live the lives they have been called to live.

Maybe this confidence starts with the wrap and helping someone get their body back or get a body they have never had before or never thought they could have, but then it quickly goes beyond that to helping them see they were already strong and beautiful on the inside!

*HEALTH - our products have helped our family be illness free for the past TWO YEARS.  I personally have more energy than ever before and don't struggle with fatigue or other health issues I was having prior to It Works.  My husband tells me he notices when he doesn't take his vitamins and is making smoothies (with greens and proFIT protein powder) on his own for lunch or asking me if I have the Fat Fighters on hand if we are going out with friends and might not eat the best.  My girls BEG for the greens chews everyday and happily drink their greens smoothies every morning.  They pray for me to sell more wraps and get more team mates so we can go to Disney World and meet the princesses :)  I guess it's gone beyond health in our family too as my girls are learning to dream big and enjoy making new friends and helping others live life to the fullest as well.

*FAMILY - kind of speaks for itself.   We are actually dreaming of being a "Stay at Home Family" some day in the near future. We probably won't stay home much though, as we feel God might be leading us to travel and visit our friends all around the world as they serve in various capacities in different countries (and continents).  We are sensing a tug on our heart strings to possibly adopt - going to Ethiopia this summer will probably help that process!  We are dreaming together as a family.

*CHANGING LIVES - this is really what it all boils down to!  Be it helping someone have more energy, feel better about the way they look, get relief from headaches or chronic pain, pay bills, go on a vacation, cut up a credit card, or anything else this crazy wrap business can do for people, It Works is ultimately about changing lives.  Melissa's family wants to do that by helping those freed from human trafficking.  We want to adopt a child (or 2), help others foster and adopt, and support our friends as they carry out the ministries God has laid on their hearts.  We want to inspire and instill hope.  We want to build up people's confidence, encourage them in their faith, and celebrate with them as they fulfill the dreams God has stirred up within them.

So, there you have it.
The "rest of the story."
I told you it was pretty good.

I mean, I may be biased, but I would say those are all amazing things.
Maybe you can connect with one or more of them.
If so, perhaps you should consider joining us on this incredible journey.

And then YOU can have your own "rest of the story" to tell!

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