Is It Time For A Cut? (Not your hair, and not your budget)

scissors

Imagine that you find yourself with a shortage of funds, not sure how you’re going to meet all your expenses. Your first thought might be, “How can I bring in more money?” In this scenario however, there’s another equally helpful option. Ask yourself this question: “How can I reduce my expenses?”

That seems so logical when we’re talking about finances, but what about your schedule? Do you typically over-schedule yourself? Is your daily mantra, “There’s never enough time in the day?” If so, why not ask yourself a similar question: “How can I reduce my commitments?”

The facts are simple: Everyone has 24 hours a day; there’s nothing any of us can do to get more time. However, the choice is yours as to how you use the time. You can waste time or use it wisely. If you find yourself not having enough time, maybe it’s time to cut some commitments from your calendar.

Keep in mind that this will involve saying no, which can be challenging for many women. When you say yes to one thing you’re inevitably saying no to something else; maybe something ultimately more important to you – like your health and happiness. As you review your schedule, you may see that your tendency to keep peace with others has produced a lack of peace with yourself.  Unfortunately, if you make that a habit it’ll cause resistance to living wholeheartedly.

If you’re truly overscheduled, the remedy is literally on the tip of your tongue: Just say no. Cut out some commitments so you find time for yourself.

Knowing what’s important to you and aligning your commitments with these priorities, results in a deep peace, confidence and joy. Who wouldn’t want that?

-Here’s to happy cutting!

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Which One Are You?

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When life gives you lemons how do you handle them? Do you often feel blindsided and react to the “bad cards you’ve been dealt?” Do you complain that what you really wanted was oranges? Do you spend months focusing on the “bad news” or do you find a way to make lemonade?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting that you should be happy when life deals you lemons. In fact, it’s critical to validate your feelings before doing anything else. However, after you’ve processed your feelings, what then? How quickly do you look for options in the midst of the challenges?

For example, imagine you’ve just been told that your job has been eliminated. How much time do you spend feeling angry and upset, complaining about how unfair it is? How long do you remain in that “victim” mindset? Although the news surprised or upset you, can you look for the hidden opportunity within the situation?

As you process this, where does prayer enter the picture? Do you try to figure things out on your own, or do you pray and ask God to direct your next steps – for Him to show you the doors waiting to be opened?

Over the past fifteen years I’ve heard a lot of women’s stories. Many are filled with tragedy. They talk about unhealthy marriages or job situations, loss of a spouse or a child and toxic relationships with food, their body, alcohol or other substances. However, I’ve seen two very different approaches to handling those situations. One road is that of a “victim.” These women react as if thy were still a child – one without resources or power to turn things around. The second approach is the road of a” victor.” These women fully embrace their reality and then look for options that can help them move forward. They take steps to move from where they are to where they believe God wants them to be.

My question is this: Which one are you? Take a look at your most recent setbacks or trials, and see how you handled them. My prayer is that you’ve discovered those trials were actually trails that led you to something better. If so, you’re well on your way to a victorious life – or what I call “living wholeheartedly.”  – Alicia

Have You Claimed Yours?

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Imagine having a very wealthy relative. One day you get the news this relative has passed away. The second part of the news is that you have a huge inheritance to claim – bigger and more valuable than you can even imagine.

So, now what? You claim it – right? What difference would that make in your every day life? Would you use it to make your life better? Or, would you continue to worry about even small expenses, refusing to enjoy the inheritance? How foolish would that be?

Although you may not have thought about it this way, that’s our reality in Christ. Let me explain.

Christ died and left us an inheritance (Colossians 3:24): an intimate relationship with God. The question, then, is have you claimed your inheritance?

In order to do so, you must get to know Him:  Spend quality time with Him, meet with Him as you read the Bible, and talk with Him (pray). Begin to look for Him in the beauty of nature, the smile of strangers, or new opportunities that come into your life.

Over time, as your relationship grows, you’ll become more trusting of Him and His direction for your life. Rather than trying to control things on your own, you can learn to trust that HE is in control. And that ability to trust Him brings peace, which is also part of your inheritance. In the same way that a child is confident when holding her Father’s hand, you can be confident as you put your hand in God’s.

Here’s to making 2015 the year you claim your inheritance!

– Alicia

www.wowwholehearted.com

Freshly Heartbroken

Hailey Mae on couch

Warning: This is without a doubt, the toughest and most gut-wrenching, heart-felt blog I’ve ever written…

I am saddened beyond belief, feeling truly heartbroken. Tuesday evening, my beloved dog, Hailey, was hit by a car and killed – right in front of my eyes. It happened in a split second and I feel like my heart will never be the same. This hurts – I mean really, REALLY hurts.

“Hailey Mae” was a Cavapoo (King Charles Cavalier mixed with a miniature Poodle). She was not yet 4 years old and still looked and acted very much like a puppy. She was my constant companion and her absence has left a huge hole in my heart. She literally followed me everywhere I went… I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without having her push her way in and sit at my feet.

Hailey had a HUGE, vibrant personality, with a lot of energy and enthusiasm… a lot like me, but there was one big difference. It took me years to appreciate and value my personality (and to drop the belief that being so enthusiastic and energetic was somehow bad). But not Hailey! She was completely okay with her BIG personality. She made no apologies for how she lived life… and she DID live a lot of life in just 4 years.

Every morning when I would shower she would lie under our window seat bench and patiently wait until I was ready for the day. And sometimes when I would return home, I would find her in our master bedroom closet – asleep, with her head on my fuzzy slippers, or, curled up in our master bed with her head literally on our pillows. I understand that originally, King Charles Cavalier’s were bred to be lap dogs for royalty. We used to laugh and say that Hailey certainly embraced that role.

Unlike our previous dog, who would only get up on the couch with a lot of coaxing from us, Hailey sprang right up on any piece of furniture she wanted – she would even get up on the leather couch and shove the 2 throw pillows out of her way onto the floor, so she could nestle in right where she wanted to be. Then she’d look at me with her big brown expressive eyes and her ADORABLE face, as if to say, “AHHHH… this feels good.”

She was without a doubt, the cutest dog we’ve ever had, and she literally filled this house with energy and love… nearly every day I would stop and think about how much joy she brought me.

Hailey was also the best example of unconditional love. I was often mindful of that fact, and would think about how that was probably a drop in the bucket compared to God’s love for each one of us.

Whenever I was sick and resting on the couch, she was right there beside me. Whenever I was sad and cried, she would lick the tears off my face.

When I would get my purse and prepare to leave for a bit, she would flop into her fur-lined dog bed, and then flop her front paws over the front. She’d hang her head low and look at me as if to say “Awwwww… do you have to leave?” Sometimes, she would even go to the door and sit right in front of it, putting on her most adorable face as if to say “I’m going with you, aren’t I?”

The best was when you came in the door after being gone even for a little bit. She welcomed you with such enthusiasm it was as if she was celebrating the arrival of a celebrity or someone famous. I guess she realized her biggest fan had just come back on the scene.  She knew that to me, she was much more than just a pet.  She had become an important member of our family and a huge presence in my daily life.

Everything wasn’t ALWAYS so great with Hailey… like whenever anyone would come to our house. She would jump up and whine and insist they pay attention to her wiggling little body. Or, when she would go ballistic when she was out in our back yard and saw our neighbor’s cat. She would bark – more like screech, as if to warn us “THERE’S A CAT IN OUR YARD!” Or, when she would go to our back door and ring the bells that were hanging there, to indicate she wanted out… then moments later she would bark to be let back in. Then she’d want back out, and back in, and back out.  There were also times like when we had a family dinner and realized Hailey was no longer sitting at my feet… we found her on top of the game table with her head in the bowl of guacamole!

Then there were the times where she would grab the downspout with her teeth and bang it against the house until a squiny would come scurrying out whereupon she would chase it and unfortunately… often times catch it. She was really fast and a MUCH better hunter than our previous Labrador or even our Beagle. Or, when late at night she’d go chase rabbits in our yard and make me wait for what seemed like HOURS, until she was good and ready to come back inside so we could go to bed.

Hailey and I had a very special bond. But in some ways it felt like she was an infant and I was the only one who could truly satisfy her needs… and sometimes that felt like a bit of a burden.

For all of Hailey’s great and not so great qualities, she had one that ultimately led to her demise – sometimes she had a mind of her own. You see she had the tendency to obey when she wanted to, and to disobey if she had something else in mind. – I’m reminded of my own disobedience and the fact that that always means pain and suffering, rather than enjoying God’s best.

So I pray… for God’s peace to return to my heart, and, for confirmation that Hailey is okay. My only solace is the belief that she is in Heaven, cuddled up next to my mom who would most certainly be scratching her belly and kissing her sweet face.

In my devotional this morning, God’s word says: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus so we do not grow weary and lose heart.” I also read that when God’s servant, Elijah, was tired and overwhelmed, God comforted him. So I pray that I can keep my focus on Jesus, and that He will comfort me. It just hurts so darn bad….

P.S. The high school kid who was driving recklessly and therefore killed Hailey, did one thing right… after initially driving off, he returned to the scene of the accident shortly after it happened. He had to face the police, the crowd of neighbors and me and my family. I understand he is a young man who is struggling with life. So more than anything else, I ask you to join me in praying for him – that this might be a wake up call to him… that it would lead him to the love of his heavenly Father, and that he would come to know the incredible man God created in him.

– Alicia