I took this picture earlier in the summer. Initially it was the butterfly that caught my attention but after using my photo app, the color stood out. The yellow of the butterfly, the pink and orange of the flowers, the green background, and the clarity of the white.
I saved this edit and remember staring for awhile. It captivated me, and still does. It's the simplicity and pop of color. In life we tend to over complicate things. It is getting more common for people to see the differences rather than the beauty of the differences. If we were to look at this unedited, it's just a pot of flowers yet with the color pop edit, we are able to see how the variety of colors are very different and it's this difference that creates a breathtaking flower pot arrangement.
In addition to the colors, the sun spots shining and reflecting create a sense of the unnatural. It's like the edit captures God's touch on His creation but when we are too busy to slow down, or to pause for an edit, we miss it. What if we slowed down in all areas of our life and looked with a pop of color app? What color arrangements in your life, and your circle of influence, are creating beauty, individualism, and encouragement for you? How will you share this with others?
I planted this arrangement and chose reds, pinks, and oranges because these are the colors that brighten my mood the most. The backdrop of green trees enhance the beauty but until I took away the green of distraction, I didn't appreciate their ability to brighten not only my mood but my spirit and faith. My hope is to have open eyes to see the magnitude, variety, and splendor of all the colors around me. My favorites will probably remain the pinks and oranges but this photo reminds me that I need to eliminate some of the other colors to truly appreciate the individual color.
What is your favorite color and why?
Attitude is everything!
Current Series you
can find on the podcast:
Leave a comment and share you favorite podcast
and why you enjoy it so much.
If you are one my listeners,
what is your favorite thing about my podcast?
I'm glad you asked. If we let the busyness of life and the piles left in their wake, we allow ourselves to become overwhelmed, exhausted, irritable, moody, depressed, and these are only a few. Today, instead of focusing on your lists, piles, laundry, and preparing for the next week...take some time to read, relax, pray, and absorb some quiet. If you pray, ask God to speak to your heart.
What am I avoiding? What is missing? Why do I work so hard to stay busy? What motivates my busyness? God, when you look at me, what do you see is missing? Help me Lord to fill in the missing piece with the person, thing, or time YOU desire. May I accept its okay, and healthy to not have a busy plate. Amen.
Now the most important part, LISTEN to what God is showing you then ask Him to guide you and give you the strengthen you as you fill in the space. When you remove the busyness ad hustle with peace and prayer. You will be amazed, blessed, and encouraged as your missing pieces are filled with an Eternal peace, grace, and mercy. Good luck and enjoy the weekend!
I can do all things through him who strengthens me."
Philippians 4:13 ESV
How can a change in your mindset fill in this piece?
Are you ready to overcome crises with God's help?
If you like to doodle, journal, draw, and color then this is must buy. Their stories will draw you closer to God, connect with people of the Bible, and strengthen your relationship with God and your prayer life. Their gift of writing, sharing, encouraging, and uplifting others is only surpassed by their bubbly and lovely personalities.
I hope you'll take time to listen to their interview on today's podcast, it's embedded above for your convenience in case you land on this blog after September 3, 2020. I appreciate all of you and I promise this interview will make you laugh and you'll feel like you've known Beth and Jeannette for year. The laughter, honest sharing, and sharing tidbits about their newest release will leave you wanting more. Happy Listening and remember to share it on your social media feeds. Tag Jeannette Levellie, Beth Gormong, and myself when you share so we can say hello.
What crises do you hope to overcome?
This book is the encouragement and hope you need...
Their first book, Hello Beautiful! released last year ad I had the honor to have both of them guest on my podcast. We laughed, cried, and enjoyed sharing their writing lives, fun personalities, and their first devotional as a duo.
Last year we attended the same Christian Writers' Conference and I was there when they signed for their newest release, Yes, You Can!. It was exciting and there was a lot of joy shared during the conference, prior to the hard work of writing, editing, and meeting deadlines. I'm grateful to know both of these women and to celebrate and share their newest release with all of you. In addition to this spotlight on my blog, Jeanette and Beth will be guests on an upcoming podcast too. I look forward to visiting and laughing with these two ladies. They are role models and encouragers!
I haven't started mine yet, it only arrived yesterday but know this, it's the next one on my reading list. If you are looking for a new devotional, check this one out! These ladies don't disappoint ad I'm sure there will be much laughter, tears, reflection, and growth through reading this book. For now, I just want to share and congratulate them. Your life will be blessed through both these books. Be sure to click on their names and pictures for direct links to their personal websites and blogs. Sign up to follow them and learn about their other writing endeavors too.
Their newest release, Yes, You Can! Overcome Crisis with God's Help released this past week. I am so excited for them and their readers. If you haven't checked out their first devotional, Hello Beautiful! Finally Love Yourself Just as You Are, click on the title ad you can order both copies. You will not be disappointed.
to their websites to learn more about each of them,
their writing, and sign up to follow their blogs!
Congratulations Beth and Jeanette!
To my readers: leave Beth and Jeanette
encouraging words as they start
book signing and speaking tours!
I created a goal journal and set a few things in motion: 1) Word goals for my first devotional
2) Publication goals for this same devotional
3) Organized household details
4) Weekly writing goals
5) Reading for fun
6) Reading to learn
The biggest goal achieved was submitting my devotional to the editor by the end of June. I celebrated this and started my next writing project. This project is a women's Bible study and my goal is to have my first draft complete by September 2, 2020. This is going to be a challenge but I like a challenge. I have a third book I hope to start outlining when I complete this draft so I need to stay on target and focused on the goals. One goal flows into the other.
In addition to my writing, I started a new venture to help fund my passion. I signed up as an Epicure Independent Consultant. Not only is this fun, it offers healthy alternatives benefiting my family and friends. When I signed up, my hope was to enjoy the health benefits and pay for my kit. I didn't expect to fall in love with sharing the products with others and having as much fun as I am hosting and doing cooking shows. It is a blast and to know I"m sharing health and wellness tips, foods, and products with others is a bonus. This is a win-win.
As I move forward not only do I see the opportunity for this to help fund my writing and publishing, I see it expanding my network of readers and empowering my confidence to share my writing, speaking, blogging, and podcasting a similar confidence and ease as I do the Epicure products and joy of hosting a cooking class. My dad, hubby, and aunt were concerned I was doing to much by adding Epicure to my plate but it honestly isn't one more thing...Epicure compliments my busy schedule by offering me more time and freedom. With Epicure, you can create a meal from raw to ready in twenty minutes or less! And it works. Check it out by clicking here!
What are you doing to challenge & support yourself?
Last month I joined Epicure as an Independent Consultant, it's a risk yet the possibilities are endless for growth within the company, if this is something God prompts me to pursue. For the most part, this venture is one for health and wellness, and to share with others. While my plate is full, it's not crazy or chaotic.
Have you ever set sail on an adventure or venture and felt overwhelmed? Have you signed up or volunteered for something and a week later the regret overtakes you? Why do you think your feeling this way? Over the years and many moments, months, or years of exhaustion, I think I figured it out. I've told you before I'm a slow study. This is my realization and thought: If God is leading the way and we keep our eyes, heart, and mind focused on Him ~ I feel rested, energized, and things fall into place. If God has a different plan for me then the exhaustion, stress, and cranks creep in.
What needs to change in your life
so your ship can sail?
My writing, edits, and changes concluded in June, five months after starting. It was sent to the proofreader/editor for and she worked her editorial gifting, not once, but twice. She returned it to me and I went back to work making changes, playing with words, and omitting. I returned the rewrite and I received the final copy over the weekend. Only a few more changes BUT I learned so much. She was amazing! The editor went above and beyond, explaining why some of the changes were made, triple checked my Scripture verses, and explained some Biblical misunderstandings I had, or was conveying by the way I worded things. Phew...
I'm so thankful God gifted people who are PUGS Super Heroes! What are PUGS you ask - PUGS are my nemesis but this is why I hire an editor because I like to write and know my weaknesses.
You might think it's time to relax and wait for January BUT this is only the beginning of the next step. Now it's time to format the books, add the nuts and bolts that turn an author's writing into a book. This is the fun part for me. Some authors procrastinate and dislike formatting because it's not the most creative part of the process yet I enjoy it because I start to see how my sticky notes and scrap papers are transformed into a book.
I'm sharing the video I made in June when the first set of proofs arrived. Since then, I have received two more and can't wait to finish the formatting so I can receive the fourth, and hopefully final, proof before it goes into publication. I'll be looking for people to join my pre-release and book promotion later this early and into the New Year. If this is something you are interested, stay tuned and I'll let you know when it's time and how you can help. Have a great day!
My first book in my new series to release in 2021!
Who is ready for their new Easter devotional?
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ,
the new creation has come:
The old has gone,
the new is here!"
2 Corinthians 5:17 VOICE
I was at school the day this miracle bust from its safety to fly around in the container. Mom had my Dad call me at school. It was the first time in days she spoke with joy and excitement. It was muffled but I understood, there was now a butterfly. Her happiness was as evident hours later when I arrived as she tried to tell me about it. She felt bad it was trapped in the jar (it had air). She and Dad released it and watched it flutter and fly around the room, then after some time, opened the window to let it go free.
The day my Mom passed, Dad opened the window. Like the butterfly, her spirit left and soared with a freedom none of us have experienced yet. Now, when I see a butterfly, these are the moments I'm reminded of. I had a few tough days this past week and this butterfly was a reminder of hope and love from Heaven. A reminder to keep the faith and have hope because God is in charge and has my back.
I share this with so that when you have a bad day, a challenging situation, or tough time...look back and find a time in your life when you can smile. Remember the moment of pure hope and joy and focus on this. You are strong and God is there to hold you up. He places people and butterflies in our life to uplift us in the moments we need it. What will lift you up today?
I tell you the truth: only someone who experiences birth for a second time can hope to see the kingdom of God." John 3:3 VOICE
When you see a butterfly,
what is the first thing, or person, you think of?
A few weeks ago I signed up as an Independent Consultant for Epicure.
Epicure is a "...a community that unites and inspires each other to rally around healthy eating. Epicure is dedicated to sharing delicious meal solutions that use only real, whole ingredients you can trust, while never ever compromising on taste. Epicure educates and inspires their community with a three-course solution—for ourselves, our children, and our planet. Our mission is to take back our health and change the course of our next generation's wellness and relationship with food." To learn more, click here!
But today's blog is not about Epicure, it's about being creative, so let's keep moving.
Currently COVID is keeping us at home and doing virtual cooking classes BUT I'm hopeful to do home parties in the future. Once I take my cooking classes on the road and into the home of others, I wanted something to transport my cutting boards to prevent them from getting damaged or scratched. As I stared at them I had an idea, off to the sewing room I went.
My goal was to do an eggplant or at least a purple but couldn't find one but I had this scrap left from curtains I made in our front room, fabric my mom and I picked out years ago. The batting is left over from a t-shirt quilt I made my Auntie using her Relay for Life t-shirts, and the flannel on the inside is scraps from jammies I made my daughter when she was a toddler. Without realizing it at the time, I not only created a padded slip cover for my Epicure cutting boards and cutting sheets...I created a visual remembrance of some of the most influential women in my life.
I love the way God works. I set out to create a quick clip cover and ended up creating a generational remembrance. Have you ever started to create something with one intention but when you finish you realize it has a deeper meaning and purpose than you initially planned? I like these moments, they are God-stops. I hope you'll share yours with us in a comment here and if you share on Facebook, share a pic too. Share your creativity with the world. You are gifted and talented, let others know. If you feel brave, share the meaning behind the creation.
Share the last thing you created in a comment below, if you are commenting on Facebook - share a pic too!
Of course he mentioned I have arthritis in both my knees (this was new information) and this is why the healing was taking longer than normal. Note: My x-rays were done at the hospital close to me and it took almost two months for the orthopedic to get a copy they could access, otherwise he would have known this in May when I saw him the first time. My outlook might have been more positive if I knew this also, it's the arthritis that slowed my healing down and maintained the intense swelling. Fun fact, ay!?
The next few days were spent driving 7 hours and moving our daughter into her new apartment for Grad School. There were no elevators and we tripled our daily step goals due to parking and unloading locations. I traveled with ice packs, essential oils, and my Cool Azul to ensure the weekend and the 7 hour trip home were a success. I brought exercise equipment so as not to miss daily knee exercises. Due to my self-quarantine, I've been continuing my home PT exercises and guess what...the knee is feeling better!
Woo hoo! It's not 100% but it's moving in the right direction. Between exercising and God answering prayers, I'm believing the doctor is right. Of course Arthur is evident and some of the ache may not go away and will be a new visitor but I guess I have my own weather predictors now. Tee Hee! Since the pain is much less and the swelling is better, it's time to start incorporating a daily exercise routine. Next week I'm off self-quarantine so I hope my schedule allows me to go to the YMCA for some of the outside classes. Things are moving forward...thanks for praying.
What are you thankful for this Thursday?
I am writing, revising, and striving to reach my deadlines for three manuscripts at the same time. They are all at different phases and if I'm to have them all release in 2020, 2021, and 2022, then I need to be mindful of the calendar. It feels good to spend time each day writing, reading, and listening. If we want to succeed in life, we need to be focused and intentional. Goal setting is a great way to do this. My deadline's are written down and posted in my writing cottage and in a notebook so I can visually see them.
I'm excited (and nervous) to receive the manuscript back from my editor but if A Journey to Easter is to release in February, then I need to stay on track. I started a new entrepreneurship venture with Epicure, so this will require me to be hyper vigilant with my goal setting and time management. One thing I'm aware of is in order to remain emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy, I need to be conscious of my time management and maintain healthy habits. If you think of me during your prayer time, please ask God to help me as I move forward writing for Him and sharing healthy and wellness with others.
What goals and deadlines have you set for yourself?
How can we pray for you today?
Thank you for praying for me, and each other!
Many things impressed me at the start:
1) Raw to ready in 20 minutes or less
2) Directions are easy to read
3) Gluten Free
4) Nut Free
4) 90% GMO Free
5) Sugar and Sodium Conscious
6) Free of artificial colors, sweeteners, and preservatives
7) Free of corn syrup and hydrogenated fat
Would you like a meal you can prepare in less than half an hour, toss it into a glass 4-cup or 1-cup prep bowl, with lid, and head to practice?
How does knowing you can do this in less than half an hour, and serve something healthy to your family sound? My husband is unsure of the nutritional aspect yet he looks forward to more time sitting in the same room. He's one of my best supporters. Personally, this sounds great. I don't have the hustle and bustle of transporting a child around anymore yet as an empty-nester, time continues to be a precious commodity. I look forward to the school year starting and having a healthy alternative to a fast food stop.
If this isn't enough, check out the foundation of this company. It started with a mother's love for her children and built into the amazing company it is today.
In the same time you could drive thru for a high calorie, high fat, and greasy bag of food, you could drive past and into your own driveway. You'll have time to prep and cook a healthy, gluten free, low sugar and low sodium meal, and take the dog out. If you need to eat on the go, Epicure has 1 cup (for just you) or 4 cup (for the kids) glass prep bowls to toss your warm and nutritious meal in. You'll be back on the road in less than a half an hour, got in some extra steps, and filled your water bottle. Not only will you avoid extra calories and fats, you spent time with the people and pets you love.
To follow my Epic cooking adventure on Facebook:
Keeping it Real Cooking with Lisa
If you'd like to book an virtual party, you can contact me through my Epicure website.
What have you done that requires,
or required, a step of faith on your part?
Who encouraged you in the process?
The past weeks have been fun and the conversations ranged from goofy to serious. Case scenarios have been reviewed. Textbooks ordered. Classes secured. Boxes, boxes, and more boxes packed. Today starts the loading and puzzle piecing to load the vehicles in our caravan to make the move out of state.
Upon my return I have the luxury of quarantining for fourteen days. Usually I'd have a list prepared so I could hit the ground running and move mountains within these walls but this time, I'm taking time to process and absorb the amount of change we're experiencing. I'm sure this nervous energy will produce excess energy and my list will be written on Monday morning but for now...I'm enjoying the time and memory making. I think this makes us official empty nesters. I look forward to how we all grow, change, and adapt in the weeks to come.
What are you up to this week?
You'd think an author sits back to relax while they wait to get their manuscript back but this isn't the case. In addition to starting my next writing project, I'm working on the formatting and details for the book's release early next year. There are a couple reasons for this, first, it's unnerving to wait for your "baby" to come back from the editor because there is always more work, edits, and changes to be done. Second, if you start your next writing project, you keep the creative juices working and utilize the nervous energy in a positive way.
I contemplated getting proof copies pre-edit or to wait but decided I wanted to check my formatting and the visual appeal of the layout I've chosen. This second round of proofs arrived and as always, I was bouncing up and down and squealing like a child when I saw the box on the bench. I took a deep breath and opened the box while recording a video. There is something so exhilarating about seeing your book in print, even the proof copy. It's a Christmas-morning-kind-of-joy! It never gets old and is just as uplifting each time.
Thank you for your prayers and encouragement. Check out the video and learn more about my first devotional and new series, to release in February 2021!
Are you as excited as I am? I hope so!
My mom is smiling in Heaven...
After interviews about my sister's kidnapping case I usually take time to reflect and calm my thoughts and mind. The emotional drain following an interview overwhelms me. I scheduled this interview before heading to the pantry for food distribution because I knew the interviewer and was relaxed. I didn't anticipate the tears or drain. I wanted to call and cancel but I don't like to cancel when others expect me. Plus, it is uplifting to help others and give back. Life isn't supposed to be a self-pity-party, we are called to be ambassadors, receiving an internal joy for being there for others.
I knew boxes were stacked there and I had worked around them for an hour but in one instance I forgot and my foot caught the corner and off I flew then landed. My hands and arms were scratched but my knees took the hit, literally. The left was sore but my right knee swelled immediately and thanks to COVID-19, it took three days to get into to actually see the doctor.
I called the doctor that night, it was a Friday, and if it wasn't better I was to call the office on Monday. I saw my primary for a consult and x-rays on Monday. X-rays showed no breaks, just fluid and swelling so he'd follow up later in the week. By Wednesday the pain was so bad I called the orthopedic I saw two years ago and scheduled an appointment. They didn't have an opening until the following week due to COVID-19 guidelines. Ugh, I think the world hasn't forgotten that other medical needs happen and require attention in a timely manner. I don't blame the doctors, as they are following guidelines, but goodness, those making decisions need to remember some people need medical treatment unrelated to the current pandemic. (Rant done)
At physical therapy today, I was quite down as the exercises I did last week with ease were a challenge today, and one I couldn't even do. I had to lower weights and half the time on the bicycle. I shed tears of frustration (felt like a fool) and tears from the discomfort. Ugh...talk about mental defeat. My physical therapist and his assistant were both wonderful, and encouraging.
Long story short, the increased pain and discomfort could be due to the heat increasing the inflammation or it could be there was more damage on the interior of the knee and as it heals, new injuries surface. The good news, this past Sunday I walked 3.25 miles. It was NOT my best walk but I did it with little discomfort. I planned to celebrate my slow walk, instead of 14-17 minute miles like I was doing prior to my injury, it was slow going: Mile 1 - 36 minutes, Mile 2 - 40 minutes, and Mile 3 - 46 minutes.
I share this because we need to find the good in whatever situation we face. Rather than focus on the turtle pace I'm focusing on the ability to walk the distance. Instead of focusing on the back-step with pain and swelling, I celebrate the bruising is better and I'm moving and doing more. We will face many challenges in life, from mental exhaustion to physical malfunctions BUT if we keep a positive, hope-filled, and encouraging attitude...success is closer than we know. We can't dwell in the negative, we MUST take the first step and move forward.
What is the First step You Need to Take Today?
In January, I was still working on the hand stitching of the letters. Eventually, thanks to COVID, I finished this step and everything was stored in a air-tight bin to kill any germs, just in case. Mind you, no one in our house was infected but you can't be too cautious, right? Okay, here's my true confession. The container was covered with "stuff", yeah, we'll call it stuff, not clutter and piles of the "I'll-do-it-later". It became a joke that she'd be in school, or graduating high school before I'd finish the blocks. I was starting to think this was true myself.
I moved the stuff off the bin and got to work, finishing the blocks. To keep with social distancing I didn't deliver the blocks in person but I've received so many pictures of her playing with them that I feel like I'm there with her. This week I'm grateful for finishing the blocks and the joy of family. As much as I'd like to be there with her, I'm happier knowing we honored the social distancing and I can enjoy her enjoyment from a distance. The thing I'm most grateful for...I finished them before she graduated from college, tee hee.
What are you grateful for this week?
Oh my goodness, I'm glad Shawn and his publisher developed the description to his newest book, These Nameless Things, because I was at a loss for words as I wrote this blog. Don't misunderstand the challenge. It wasn't because I didn't have good things to say but the complete opposite, I'm wasn't sure where to begin or what to share without giving away the story.
Once I started, I had a couple sleepless nights because I read until I couldn't keep my eyes open. I should have waited for a weekend when I could read all day. While working during the day I felt Dan's character calling me to come and finish reading. The relationships between the characters, the backstory, and the ending (wow, and double wow for the endig) left me wanting to read more of Shawn's writing. I've since purchased two more of his books and have them in my summer reading pile. It's been awhile since I read a book and felt the need to purchase the author's other books at the completion.
I'm thankful for the opportunity to have met Shawn prior to being a part of his book launch team the past few weeks.
Teaser from goodreads:
Before Dan opened his door to find a wounded woman who had escaped from the tormentors in the mountain, his life had become rather quiet. He and the eight other people in the mostly abandoned town had become friends. They spent peaceful evenings around the campfire and even made vague plans to journey east one day and leave the ominous mountain behind.
But the woman’s arrival changes everything.
Who is she? How does she know so much about Dan’s brother, who is still held captive in the mountain? Why are long-forgotten memories rising to the surface? And why does Dan feel so compelled to keep her presence in his house a secret?
Visionary writer Shawn Smucker is back with an unsettling story that invites us to consider two challenging questions: To what lengths will we go to assuage our own guilt? and Is there a limit to the things we will do for the people we love?
Enter goodread Giveaway TODAY
Shawn encouraged me to read fictional stories I'd already read but to read them as a writer, not a reader. This was great advice. I spent time reading some of my favorite fictional authors and after hours of writing, outlining, and sharing my writing with someone else I came to a wonderful realization...I'm NOT a fictional writer and don't enjoy it. I enjoy reading a well written fictional piece of art. I enjoy reading Shawn Smucker's writing and encourage you to do the same. Not only will he encourage the dreamer, he'll encourage you as you walk alongside Dan in his newest book, These Nameless Things, that releases TODAY!
Anyone willing to sit through a torturous fiction disaster like mine then welcome me to join his book launch team is as genuine as they come. His wonderful personality is only surpassed by his gift to write and create on his own, and with his wife, Maile Silva. Check out their podcast by clicking here. Visit Shawn's blog by clicking here, and most importantly, order his book and leave reality behind as you delve into #TheseNamelessThings, with Revell Books. You can also find him on Facebook, Shawn Smucker, Writer, on Twitter - @shawnsmucker, or on Instagram - Shawn Smucker. I hope you'll visit all the links and the photos also have links, the photo of Shawn has a link to his photographer's Facebook page.
What are you waiting for? Order this book!
If you've already read it...
I dare you to try and write a 1-sentence recommendation in the comments below.
Thank you in advance for sharing this blog, Shawn's book and helping to promote this great read!
How are you spending your day?
Did you get outside to absorb some natural Vitamin D?
Anyway, today's blog isn't to review an amazing book on list-making, it's to share changes to my podcast. As with most things in life, change and modifications happen. Up until this week, Friday was known as "Faith Filled Friday". More people listened on Friday than any other day of the week. Since COVID-19, it's been a challenge to get the blogs done. I thought it was because I was working from home and this was cramping my creative style.
There may be some truth in this but after having a few days off and not staring at the computer all day, I've realized a few things:
1) Exhaustion leads to burnout
2) Change is necessary to keep the creative juices flowing
3) Reflection opens our eyes to things missed or overlooked
4) Prayer brings clarity and healing
The combination of all theses things has transformed the podcast. For the summer I'm piloting a weekly series. This past week focused on waiting and next week is on renewal. Mark your calendars and be sure to listen on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week.
My podcast, One Sister's Journey: Keeping it Real is available on 12 podcast apps:
What is your favorite podcast app to listen with?
Have you written a review for my podcast yet?
Thank you in advance for sharing your feedback and review...this helps to share the podcast with new listeners.
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