How to Pack Christmas Shoe Boxes and Where to Send Them

How to Pack Christmas Shoe Boxes

& Where to Send Them

 

It’s that time of the year again where we hunt for great deals and the perfect gifts for those we love! Christmas shopping has become a real art form, especially here in America. We run each other over by foot and cart to save $200 off of a flat screen TV that’s bigger than the one we got last year for our Birthdays. We run down the aisle of the nearest target to grab the last of the 10 Kitchen Aid mixers that are 50% off. We camp out on the sidewalk in front of Best Buy and miss the last half of Thanksgiving to get another cell phone that our faces will be glued to until next years Black Friday extravaganza!

I say we…but I really don’t do this. I’ve only participated twice in Black Friday shopping. The first time was with my family to see what the fuss was all about and the second time was with my siblings. That second time, we waited outside of our car with Starbucks in hand and watched, with much laughter, as people literally rushed, crammed, yelled, and knocked each other over to get into the suddenly open store. It was hilarious and disgusting all at the same time. We went to breakfast and then returned to Target once the madness had settled a bit and I bought a coffee maker for my mother. Then, after having at least 10 people push me or run into me – I had to leave. ASAP.

I tried so hard to explain to my friend Gens, while I was in Haiti last October, what Black Friday was. Thank God he is intelligent and compassionate and could not understand why people would leave their families, especially on a national holiday, to wait hours in line, sleep on the street in the cold, be incredibly rude and inconsiderate, all for a discount on material idols. He was amazed. I was embarrassed. I don’t even participate in Black Friday but as an American I was embarrassed to even have a “holiday” like this to tell someone about.

I’m not writing this to make anyone feel guilty. If you do, then it’s probably a conviction in your heart you should be intentional to think about. Don’t get me wrong.. I love a good deal. I like getting more for my money as well. I really enjoy shopping favor. Black Friday and the attitude and behavior behind it is beyond my convictions. It’s not worth it to me. I’d rather be with my family and pay a few more dollars for those gifts the following week. It’s really the heart behind it all. Anyways. My mini rant is over.

I love giving gifts! Love, love, love it. So I really enjoy Christmas. Even though it sneaks up on you and comes quicker and quicker every year. My favorite gifts to buy and wrap are my Christmas Shoe Boxes that i make and send to my BEAUTIFUL god-children in the Dominican Republic who I met during my 2010 internship there. (You can read about that here: Dominican Republic) If I can’t be there in person to deliver them presents then sending them in the mail is still a great option. I’ve done this three years in a row now and it never gets old.

I make boxes for my own kids and mail them off to Grace Covenant Ministry who then ships them to my friends and missionaries in the DR. They deliver the boxes and throw a big Christmas party for all the kids at the orphanage and Bread of Life Feeding Center. Here are some photos to show you what joy looks like.

These are my three god-children and one of the cutest sets of siblings you’ll ever see ;)

Danni, Leonidas, and Danielle

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Confession time: I love a little friendly competition. So every year I like to out-give myself and up the ante in comparison to the previous years Christmas shoe boxes. lol Christmas 2013 I increased the shoe box size to boot boxes. They were very large. After filling them FULL I had this picture of my kids struggling to carry their gifts home as they walk down that dirt road…. So I drove straight to Target and bought them large tote bags! Hopefully that helped some :)

I’m getting ready to pack three more shoe boxes FILLED with goodies for this Christmas. I thought I’d share a bit about this amazing way to bless children around the world with a simple and fun gift. It doesn’t take much to bless a child.

Below you will find ideas of things to put in your shoe boxes and a few places you can partner with to send them off. 

Have you ever made Christmas Shoe Boxes? Tell me about it.

What was your favorite part? What kind of things did you add to the boxes? Where did you send them, etc?

Can’t wait to hear!

Here are some photos from past Christmases at the “Pan Da Vida” Feeding Center in the Dominican Republic.

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What to Pack in The Shoe Boxes:

Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Hair brush or Comb, Wash Cloth, mild Bar Soap, Sunscreen, a small First Aid Kit, Band aids, etc.

T-Shirt, Tank Top, Flip Flops, Sandals, Socks, Hat.

Bible (in specific language), Journal, Note Book, Coloring Book, Appropriate Reading Books, Pens, Markers, Crayons, Pencils, Sharpeners, Erasers, Drawing Pads, Stickers, Ink Pad and Stamps, Solar Calculators, Small Dry Erase Boards with Markers, etc.

Jump Ropes, Jacks, Travel Checkers, Playing Cards, Small Cars, Balls, Dolls, Stuffed Animals, Harmonicas, Yo Yo’s, Hacky Sacks, Kazoos, Small Etch A Sketch,  etc.

Non Chocolate/melt-able candy, Lollipops, Gummies, Gum, Mints, Animal Cracker Boxes, kids healthy Protein Bars, kids Gummie Vitamins,

Hair Clips, Toy Jewelry, Flash Light with Batteries, Toy.Kid Watches, Chap stick, Small Travel Mirror, Tote Bag, etc.

A Card, Hello Letter…

The Possibilities are endless! 

Items You Should Not Include: Used, Damaged items, War-related items such as Toy Guns, Knives or Military Figures, Crosses, Chocolate or Food, Out of date Candy, Liquids, Breakable items such as Snow Globes or Glass Containers.

 

 

Who & Where to Partner with for Christmas Shoe Boxes:

(Click on the photos for ministry links)

As you saw above, I send my Christmas Shoe Boxes to my god-children in the Dominican Republic at the Pan Da Vida Feeding Center. Grace Covenant’s DR Missionaries are The Bernard’s and Humble’s who are all amazing at making sure my boxes get to my kids! They have done this year after year for hundreds of children. It’s beautiful.

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Another amazing opportunity that is made available to all is Operations Christmas Child hosted annually by Samaritan’s Purse. I’m sure most of you have heard of them and the OCC at some point or another. These Christmas Shoe Boxes go around the world every year. They will even send you pre-made boxes to wrap up your gifts in.

Maybe you’re supper busy with the holidays but you still have a heart to give this season, you can do so by designing and ordering a Christmas Shoe Box for a child through OCC online! They have a whole selection of items to choose from to include in your child’s box. All you do is pick an age range, pick from the available items, include a note and/or prayer, pay for the gifts/box and boom! You have just blessed and taken care of a child somewhere around the world with their very own gift box. You can do so here: Build A Shoe Box

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These are just a few ideas and resources I thought I’d share with you! I hope it inspires you and stirs your heart to give this season and every day of the year.

Blessings!

20 Things I’ve Learned In Twenty Years {Part One}

20 Things I’ve Learned In Twenty Years {Part One} 

I turned 20 a few months back and for some reason I still had not published this post. Well, here it is world. Here are 20 things I’ve learned in my 20 years of living. Thankfully I’ve learned much more than just these truths. But for now, here is part 1 of my “20 things list”. I hope at least one resonates with your heart as it does mine. I encourage you all to set aside some time to dwell and reflect on what you’ve learned through out your life time. Shine a light on some of the simple and profound truths. Maybe it’s 18 things, maybe 20, 30, 40, 50, and so on.  You wont regret it.

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1. We must acquire a lifestyle of love, honor, and humility.

2. Holiness is a sweet gift and privilege and one of the greatest ways of living our world will ever see.

3. People are more valuable then you’ll ever comprehend. Even the people we don’t like.

4. We’re not entitled to anything – no matter who we are or what we’ve done/do. In fact, we’re indebted for the life and breath we’ve been gifted by our Creator.

5. Grace is crucial.

6. Favor and promotion is a costly gift that is to be celebrated and stewarded well.

7. Getting your licenses and having your own car isn’t as glamour as we think it will be when we’re in Junior High. Just wait until you have to buy your first set of tires…. 

8. Love wins. Every time.

9. You’re never to young to accomplish and conquer much.

10. Peace isn’t about survival it’s about thriving.

Checks From Heaven and How I Reaped 10 Times What I Sowed

 Checks From Heaven and How I Reaped 10 Times What I sowed

Just in case you were curious what my Facebook status update was last Monday…Here it is.

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40 days ago I was sitting at the Wealthy Place Seminar that our church was hosting with Dave Williams (which i highly recommend) and within the first 5 minutes I saw a picture in my mind of myself writing out a check for a certain amount of money. I asked the Lord who that check was for and He told me. I had met this particular person at our Holy Spirit Conference and was able to pray and prophesy over their family and they just happened to be back in town for the seminar. The next day I put the check in a card and gave it to them. On October 1st I gave another check to another person after having seen an amount and who it was for. Today, exactly 14 days after I gave the second check…I was given three checks from one person for EXACTLY 10X the amount of those two checks that I had sown combined!

I have had some ideas/ministry projects on my heart lately to be able to make happen during our time in Haiti. These were above and beyond what I had previously budgeted for our mission trip already but I was sure that God would provide for them knowing that they were dear to my heart and would be great blessings to our friends there. Well this person, who wrote me these checks, had heard about those ideas and wanted to be the one to pay for them! (*insert big ol’ smile and “C’mon Jesus” right here*)

 

God always honors intentionalism and generosity. Whether you are the one writing $100,000 or $1,000 checks God honors each and every seed sown. Not just financial seeds…all other generous acts as well. I promise you, He is faithful to the dreams He has placed in your heart. This isn’t the first time I’ve had people hand me checks this big.

God had put on my heart two specific amounts to give to two specific people. Although they weren’t $250,000 checks like I would have loved for them to be – I was faithful with the amount that I felt like God put on my heart to give. And I gave with joy.

I’ve heard so many stories of people receiving checks for unbelievable amounts of money to simply bless them or to make some crazy God-dream come to pass and  I’ve always purposed in my heart that that will be me. As you know, there’s a process to becoming a person who can write $250,000 checks when you want to. So until then, I’m sowing what I can every chance I get! There was a small part of me that was embarrassed to give those two checks that I did because they weren’t the $100,000-$250,000 like I’d like. Against all awkwardness, I knew that this would be a great opportunity to make room in my heart/life for God to continue to grow a generous spirit within me that will last through out all of my days.

You continue to astound me in every area of life. Thank You Father for Your faithfulness and extravagant blessings! xoxoxo

Whoever can be trusted with small things can also be trusted with big things. Whoever is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in big things too.  -Luke 16:10 ERV

“Now, if you will be careful to obey the Lord your God and follow all his commands that I tell you today, the Lord your God will put you high above all the nations on earth.If you will obey the Lord your God, all these blessings will come to you and be yours:

The Lord will open his storehouse where he keeps his rich blessings. He will send rain at the right time for your land. He will bless everything you do. You will have money to lend to many nations. And you will not need to borrow anything from them. 13 The Lord will make you be like the head, not the tail. You will be on top, not on the bottom. This will happen if you listen to the commands of the Lord your God that I tell you today. You must carefully obey these commands.  -Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 12-13 ERV

Great blessings belong to those who live pure lives!
    They follow the Lord’s teachings.
Great blessings belong to those who follow his rules!
    They seek him with all their heart. I thought very carefully about my life,
    and I decided to follow your rules.  -
Psalms 119:1-2, 59 ERV

So don’t lose the courage that you had in the past. Your courage will be rewarded richly. 36 You must be patient. After you have done what God wants, you will get what he promised you.  -Hebrew 10:35-36 ERV

Why “Love Looks Like Sacrifice to Those Who Lack Passion”

Why “Love Looks Like Sacrifice to Those Who Lack Passion”

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“Love looks like sacrifice to those who lack passion.”

This is my absolute favorite quote. I stumbled upon this quote in something that I had read or heard (I honestly can’t recall) about four or so years ago and immediately wrote it down, in my bible, on a sticky note, and about ten other places. I don’t ever want to forget this truth.

There have been things in my life that I have steered clear of or have given up because I refuse to let those things interfere with my relationship with God. Contrary to what the world may suppose, there’s not an ounce in me (anymore) that wants those things. Now, I’ve said this while having conversations with people before and when I have I usually get this look that says “Yeah right, you know you wish you could be out there doing those things that the world says is fun and brings ‘joy’. You know you do.” I really don’t. Do you want to know the reason why I don’t long for those things? Do you want to know why those things I’ve purposed in my heart to stay away from don’t attract me or cause me to wonder “what if” like the world may suppose? Do you want to know why walking away from those things has been so easy that I almost don’t recognize what I’ve done?

 

Simply put… I’m in LOVE.

 

I am. It’s completely true. I am in love. I’m madly in love with God.

 

And when you’re in love, it’s said to be true that, you do silly things. It’s true. Since falling in love with God I’ve done some silly things like choose the path less chosen, the narrow road, etc. (Matthew 7:14(But that won’t always be the case because there is a generation rising that knows the faithfulness of God and who are willing to run after and seek His face knowing full well that what He promised He is also able to perform.) Apparently I’ve decided to live my life counter culture. I’d agree with that analysis but I recently heard that, “It’s not counter-culture if the culture isn’t heading in the right direction in the first place”.

Whatever they’d call it, let them. Whatever they’d assume, why waste time trying to stop them? Only one in love could understand this kind of passion.

A passion that drives you to do crazy things like walk away from all that the world says will make you ‘happy’ and ‘successful’. The best thing about walking away is you end up finding yourself a little ways down the road realizing that you were made for more and that was simply a poor knock-off failing to disguise itself as the real thing.

That’s when you start appreciating the power of your YES.

I’ve had a handful of people, while praying or prophesying over me, say things like, “God will honor your sacrifices” or “All the sacrifices you’ve made have not gone unnoticed” and so on. I totally agree and believe that these people were hearing from the Lord. For some reason there was always something inside of me that, when I’d hear those words, just turned. I can’t describe it. I was almost embarrassed really… That’s probably the best description of how it made me feel to hear those words. My immediate reaction was, “God! That was not why I did this and it’s not why I said yes!” As if God didn’t know my heart, I wanted badly to make sure He knew that I was not doing “this” and saying YES so that He’d repay me or tangibly honor my “sacrifices”.

I would find myself, after hearing those kinds of statements, going to God and just pouring out my heart before Him. I wanted Him to know that those things I walked away from didn’t feel like sacrifices to me. Those were simply radical acts of obedience out of love for my King. Those were defining moments where critical decisions were made and I saw His face as I chose which way to walk. Those have been the best decisions I’ve ever mad. I did this not because I wanted to be repaid but because of my love for Him and my trust in His faithful character. I can honestly say I never fully viewed those experiences as “making sacrifices”. Now, granted they are all technically sacrifices but only based on the dictionaries definition of the word itself. Not in my heart though. In my heart they were merely courageous acts of passion.

In all honesty, those decisions didn’t seem very courageous until now. Because I knew where I was going they weren’t hard decisions to make at all. (Psalms 16:11 & Proverbs 4:18 ERV) After a few years of having those words spoken over me I’ve had time to meditate on the concept and talk it over with God. It doesn’t bother me like it used to. I’ve come to a better understanding of what this love and sacrifice thing looks like between me and God.

Simply put, God will repay, honor, commend, etc., the sacrifices you’ve made in life to keep Him number 1 in your life…not because you sacrificed expecting “to be repaid” but because it’s His character as a Father to bless you and provide for you above and beyond what anyone or the world can offer. He can’t help but pour out His goodness on us. It’s one of things that attract us to Him – His faithful and extravagant Fathers heart.

 

For God is not unrighteous to forget or overlook your labor and the love which you have shown for His name’s sake in ministering to the needs of the saints (His own consecrated people), as you still do. Hebrews 6:10 (AMP)

 

Love doesn’t look or seem like sacrifice when you’re living with passion.

62407e7c6ca1c02471eed5cded2e1be1What does “love looks like sacrifice to those who lack passion” mean to you?

5 Simple Recipes to Start Off the Fall Season

I thought we would start off FALL with a recipe round-up here on the blog! Sorry, only one of these recipes is semi healthy! [The Paleo Pumpkin Cakes.] They are all worth it though. What things have you or are you planning to bake this fall? Let me know, I need some new ideas! 

Enjoy!

 

1. Owl Shortbread Cookies

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Owl Shortbread Cookies Recipe

2. Candy Corn Fudge

Candy Corn Fudge

3. Carmel Apple Pancake Cupcakes

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Carmel Apple Pancake Cupcakes

4. Moist Pumpkin Cake – 2 Ingredients

Moist Pumpkin Cake

5. Paleo Pumpkin Cake

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Paleo Pumpkin Cakes

What To Do When Politicians Disgust You

What To Do When Politicians Disgust You

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I’ve had a specific politician on my heart at various times over the past months. (No, it’s not President Obama.) Really, for no apparent reason. I hadn’t watched them on the news, seen photos of them anywhere, or even heard they’re name mentioned recently. A few weeks ago, while I was cleaning my kitchen, they came to mind again. I assumed that God was putting this person on my heart to pray for them. As I walked around the kitchen, cleaning and organizing, listening to worship, I began to pray.

I simply prayed what came to mind – everything the Holy Spirit put on my heart. Things like wisdom, clarity, restoration, peace, greatness, favor, angels to surround them, blessings over their marriage and family, etc. After a few minutes of praying, I had the idea to check and see if this person had a Facebook page. I was curious what was going on with them at the time. Was there something going on in their life or work that would be directed to me needing to pray for them? 5 seconds of browsing their page and I instantly felt disgust towards this person try to come into my heart.  You know those split second thoughts or feelings? It was just that. I saw all these posts, photos, projects, statements, etc. that just wrecked my heart.

I quickly shut that down and reminded myself of the words I had just spoken over their life. That’s how quick it was…just a few seconds and, had I partnered with that “feeling” of disgust, I could have countered-acted my own words of life and prayers for this person. I’m so glad that I didn’t! I made a quick decision to adhere to the wise words of Jonathan Edwards, “Oh Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs.” (Now, I know this statement is referring to something greater.. I’m using it in support of seeing others with His eye and their eternity in mind.) I had to make the decisions to tap into Heavens vision and Gods view of the person rather then my own. It’s not about what I saw, or felt, or what their Facebook page says about them. They are His child. Weather I agree with them or not. They are His love. 

You have permission to pray GREAT things over ones you don’t agree with. Do I agree with their politics? No. Do I agree with their view on moral and economic issues? No! Are they appointed by God as a governing authority in the US? Yes!

All of you must obey the government rulers. Everyone who rules was given the power to rule by God. And all those who rule now were given that power by God. So anyone who is against the government is really against something God has commanded. Those who are against the government bring punishment on themselves. People who do right don’t have to fear the rulers. But those who do wrong must fear them. Do you want to be free from fearing them? Then do only what is right, and they will praise you. Rulers are God’s servants to help you. || Romans 13 ERV 

Do I appreciate all of their hard work and sacrifice that it takes to be a politician? Yes. God appoints these ones as leaders in authority. What they do with their power, influence, authority, and position is at their free will. Our gossip, words of hate, laughter, unintentional word curses, etc. are only widening the gap and making it harder for them to be drawn towards their destiny in Christ. We have two options as citizens of Heaven, either we use the power of our tongue to speak death over their life and calling and make it that much easier for the enemy to stack the odds up against them and continue to steer them in the wrong direction…or, we humble ourselves, ask Him for wisdom and words of life to declare over them, and pray! 

The Bible is crystal clear on our part. Speak into their destiny and call out that God ordained greatness. It’s not gone or done away with, it’s simply hidden from their own eyes. God wants them more then they think they don’t want him. (If that makes sense. There’s probably a much more proper way of saying that.. But, hey!) It’s important for us to be aware…aware of what we do, say, think, and feel. In this type of situation and all areas of life. We must control our “feelings” and choose to call that which is not as though it were/will be. If we can’t speak life over the ones we disagree with then we need to ask God to soften our hearts towards them and, please, be quiet until He does.

 I’m writing all this to simply ask that we pay attention to how our actions, feelings, thoughts, comments, etc affect others. Seen and unseen, our actions and words are weighty arrows in the hands of one or two “camps”. You are either one Kingdoms representation or another. I’ve chosen His Kingdom and with that comes a lifestyle of honor. We must choose to honor God and others in all areas of life. Even with the words that flow from our hearts. You won’t always “feel like it” but it’s the Kingdom way and Jesus’ example. You will grow accustom to walking out your identity and becoming more and more like Him with every fiery and life filled word that comes from your mouth.

Love you all!
Sarah Grace
Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. || Isaiah 9:7
First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks. You should pray for rulers and for all who have authority. Pray for these leaders so that we can live quiet and peaceful lives—lives full of devotion to God and respect for him. This is good and pleases God our Savior. || 1 Timothy 2:1-3 ERV

What To Do When You’ve Prevailed Over Difficult Seasons in Life {Guest Post}

What To Do When You’ve Prevailed Over Difficult Seasons in Life

Guest Post

Not only do I love and adore the rich content of this post but the author is my absolute favorite person on the face of the Earth – my momma! Read what she has to say on the topic of victory and be inspired. Here she opens up about the season she has found herself in with the Lord. She is the real deal, folks. Be sure to leave her some love in that comment section and share this with others. Enjoy!

 

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It’s a great feeling looking back on a season and being able to think “wow, I made it through. I didn’t just survive. I thrived! I was actually able to thrive in this challenging season of life.” I’ve now found myself in a new season where it’s time to give away what God has given to me. What He has given me is wisdom, strength, peace, and incredible faith. This is the fruit that I’ve acquired by walking close to Him through the last decade of my life. I believe it’s a time for me to take this fruit and bless others with it. A harvest is always meant to be shared.

It reminds me of one of the times when Jesus fed a multitude. He had the food (“the fruit”) in His hands yet the power was in Him blessing it and giving it away. It is as if I’ve come into a harvest from a decade worth of seeds that have been planted in me. Now the time has come where my life is overflowing and rich with harvest. I feel compelled to take this harvest and in return pour it out on others – to share this “wealth”.

I have won a battle. I’m walking in victory and I want to celebrate this by helping others walk into their own triumph over the trials they’re going through. I want others to know how truly amazing God is and how He’s so incredibly faithful. He will help you. He really will. I feel compelled to release my testimony to show others how truly marvelous He is.

When God does things in our lives it’s partially to bless us. But I believe He finds an even greater measure of joy when we take the initiative, share the testimonies, and pass on that victory and blessings He’s released to us. It reminds me of when God told Abraham that He wanted to bless him to be a blessing. (Genesis 12) When God performs miracles or releases His blessing it’s accompanied with a ripple effect. God thinks generationally. There is always a bigger picture.  

 

Think of the children of Israel. (Exodus) God brought the children of Israel through incredible circumstances and lead them straight into victory. God brought them out of slavery. He delivered them, from their bewildering hardship. He brought them through the Red Sea and into freedom. They celebrated and danced in the sweet victory He gave. God wasn’t done with them yet. He had more for them. Even greater victory was in store – their promise land.

Did they make it? No, they camped in their victory. Forgetting that God is a holy and mighty God whose thoughts and ways are higher than ours, they took Him for granted. They missed out on the greater, the more. God thinks beyond victory. God thinks beyond survival. There is always more.

 

You got your victory? Great!

What now? What’s next? What is He showing you to do with this victory?

 Your victory isn’t just for you.

It’s for generations and nations.

 

If God has brought you full circle, or even half circle, to a place of victory in life where you’ve found your self on the other side of the sea, looking back to where he’s brought you from…Please don’t take that for granted. I believe that God hopes we would be mature and unselfish enough to bring others along with us by imparting to them what we’ve been given. To pass on the victory and triumph to those around us who are in desperate need of what we’ve been given.

I believe the key is to do it as if you are giving back to God. Look at it as a way of honoring God for all He’s done by taking others under your wing and bringing them up to a place where they can grasp His victory. I believe it honors God when we share about His faithfulness in every area of our lives.

Start a small group. Pray. Mentor someone. Find others who are going through what you’ve gone through, those who are walking through a sea you’ve been delivered from and bring them up higher and into victory. Ask God for connections and open doors. May this be your season of opportunity to encourage others and release the testimony of His victorious love and salvation.

My daily prayer for the last decade has been asking God for wisdom.

Wisdom.

And so I pray that over you, that God would give you wisdom and direction in how you may go about sharing your victorious triumph with others – with the broken and with those who are desperate. I pray God would give you His eyes to see people the way He does. That He would compel you to share of His goodness and His faithfulness.

May you walk into your promise land as you help others come full circle and walk into their victory and triumph with the Lord.

May you release the testimony of His goodness and faithfulness in your life to those around you and not keep it as just a hidden memory.

Blessings,
Michelle Walsh
 
 
 
 
 
→Focused on the Goal←
I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.
So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.
Philippians 3:12-16 MSG

Jesus Culture Leadership Podcast

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Words cannot describe the greatness that is the Jesus Culture Leadership Podcast. There has only been one other podcast that I’ve loved as much as I love JCLP and that would be Kris Vallotton’s. A little confession here: I am famous for binging on sermons, podcasts, worship sets, etc. I have my favorites that I press play and will listen to for hours on end, anywhere from 6 to 8+ hours at a time. The JC Leadership Podcast is definitely one of my most popular binges. One of the joys of owning your own business and working from home is being able to listen to whatever you want whenever you want while you work. So, in case you’ve wondered what my days look like as a small business owner, this is it: Jesus, coffee, business, sermons, reading, podcasts… Pure bliss. The idea of this post came to me just a few moments ago as I was listening to the JCLP “Ambition” episodes from 2013 for the 10th time. I’m listening to part 2 as I type!

From message clips to wisdom, interviews, books, music, blogs, sports, and more the podcast covers multiple areas of life and highlights ones who are leading well and representing the Kingdom in all realms of life. Whether you’re leading in large or small places, in the church or business, education or entertainment, in family or in the office I guarantee you will find inspiration in the reality and transparency that this group provides on the JC Podcast. The amazing full time podcast hosts include Banning, Zack, Becky, and Dean. Along with these greats are numerous other guest hosts each month. This JCLP team provides a constant well of resources to us leaders around the world. With segments such as  Banning’s Book Club, Becky’s Book Nook, In The GameThe Deans List,  and In The Spot Light, JCLP covers everyone’s favorite subjects.

→Follow them on Twitter←

JC Podcast – @jcpodcast
Banning Liebscher - @thebanning
Zack Curry - @asazcurry
Becky Johnson - @beckyfoxjohnson
Dean Deguara - @deandeguara
 

For those of you who are loyal JCLP listeners and fans you’ve heard of the e-book and physical book duel, the infamous Banning vs. Becky rival. I just have to say, as much as I love and respect Banning as a leader, I am ALL for Becky’s Book Nook! There is nothing better then having a physical book in your hands, the smell of the pages, the sound of every turn, margins to make notes in, lines to highlight, and so on. It is Heaven. E-books will never come close in comparison. Although, I sadly admit that I have downloaded a handful of e-books on my iPad…in the past. Most of which are books that are either out of print or I wasn’t willing to wait for an amazon order at the time. BUT, it’s been a long time since I’ve visited any of those e-books. Back to the important stuff, keep and eye out for Becky’s Book Nook on the JCLP podcast episodes. You won’t be sorry.

In the great debate: Are you an e-book or physical book reader? Do tell..

As you probably have noticed thus far, I love every aspect of the wonderful Jesus Culture Leadership Podcast. I must say though, one of my favorite segments is the one dedicated to writers. Introduced in episode #10  is the famous Dean’s List by the man himself, Dean Deguara. Dean is the Director of Resources for Jesus Culture, an inspiring leader, and a wonderful writer. To name a few. Dean has been writing his own leadership blog for years now, a blog that I regularly read and follow. As should you. (Another feature/post for another time, for sure.) As the author of The Backseat Leader Dean encourages leaders in all areas of life and ministry to live up to our full potential and callings, even when we are serving and leading from the backseat. As someone who’s lead a great blog himself Dean chooses leaders who are making a difference through writing and blogging and features them on the Dean’s List once a month.

I remember the day well. The day I received the direct message via twitter saying I would be featured on an upcoming episode of the JCLP as one of The Dean’s Lists featured bloggers. In my sincere attempts to not sound braggadocios….It is a pretty big deal! lol I felt, and still do, completely honored that a leader I look up to would choose me and my writings to share with the “10′s and 20′s” of JCLP listeners and leaders around the world. Not only that, but my name would be talked about on a podcast that I’ve faithfully followed and gleaned from for two years straight. In the podcast episode “Leading For Transformation Part 2Dean features my blog and I, as well as a Valentine article I wrote for Scarlet Heart Magazine’s February issue. It can be assumed that this episode would be my favorite. Let’s be real. Be sure to download it, give it a listen, and tell me what you think!

I said ALL of that to exhort and encourage you to head on over and check out the Jesus Culture Leadership Podcast. I hope, after reading this, you have more than enough reasons. Hit that subscribe button on iTunes and start from the beginning, episode #1 and onward. Dig into this well of wisdom and don’t miss out on yet another opportunity to grow as a leader. You will be glad you did. 

God is for your success! And so are the leaders pouring out through this podcast. 
Blessings!
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A Three Piece Blog Series on Starting a Small Business

 

A three Piece Blog Series on Starting a Small Business 

I’ve got a little somthin’ somethin’ for you. I just recently finished writing a blog series on the topic of small business. Have you read it? Wonderful! For those of you who haven’t, here it is. This series is a little piece of my business-loving heart. With my personal story, encouragement, some “do’s and don’ts”, a “100 things” checklist, and reading materials I hope you will find yourself being  inspired and encouraged to follow or continue-on in your dream of starting a business as you read.

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Part ONE // How I Started My First Two Businesses

Part TWO // Reading List for Business Owners

Part THREE //100 Things To Do When Starting a Small or Online Business

Enjoy your reading material above and feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts on the topic of business and these articles. Have a suggestion on post topics for the area of business? I’d love to hear what you’re interested in reading. What advice would you give to those stepping out in the world of business? I’m looking forward to connecting with you all and hearing your heart for business. Do tell.

And always remember…..

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100 Things To Do When Starting a Small or Online Business // Business Series Part 3

100 Things To Do When Starting a Small or Online Business

Business Series Part 3

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The Business Owners Check List  

  1. Think about it.
  2. Dream about it.
  3. Pray about it.
  4. Make lists.
  5. Write down your goals.
  6. Ask yourself questions, even the hard ones.
  7. Pray about it some more.
  8. Ask God to show you what your first step should be.
  9. Start saving money.
  10. Define your product/ service/ mission.
  11. Find ways to improve it, before you promote it.
  12. See that you’ll never be ready enough.
  13. You learn the most as you go.
  14. Find your potential customer/audience.
  15. Spend time getting to know what they’re looking for.
  16. Research the market place and culture you’re entering.
  17. Save some more money.
  18. Come up with a social media plan.
  19. Pick at least 2 or 3 social media outlets to engage.
  20. Start engaging.
  21. Make a business Facebook page.
  22. Sign up for a business Twitter account.
  23. Sign your business up with Instagram.
  24. Be social.
  25. Start a blog.
  26. Build your voice.
  27. Give them someone worth following.
  28. Don’t hide.
  29. Find simple ways to design.
  30. Or hire someone to create designs for you.
  31. Get a logo.
  32. Spend more time on your product.
  33. Don’t be afraid of new ideas.
  34. Put some money into branding.
  35. Plan out your packaging, if that applies.
  36. Make it epic & pretty.
  37. Think of ways to give freely.
  38. Decide to be generous as a business and owner.
  39. Order business cards.
  40. Good ones!
  41. Make an email account for your biz.
  42. Open an online shop.
  43. Make sure your shop matches your social corners.
  44. People should be able to recognize your business.
  45. Reach out to other people in your industry.
  46. Be epic.
  47. Ask for advice.
  48. Ask for prayer.
  49. Be encouraging.
  50. Decide upon boundaries.
  51. With yourself, customers, friends, family, etc.
  52. Don’t react to unhappy people.
  53. Be kind.
  54. Be loving.
  55. Don’t let people manipulate you.
  56. You’re a person too.
  57. Pray some more.
  58. Learn to say no.
  59. Manage your soul.
  60. Don’t forget yourself, God, and your family.
  61. Treat your business as a business.
  62. Treat yourself as a business owner.
  63. This isn’t your hobby anymore.
  64. You own a business!
  65. Repeat that if necessary.
  66. Stay teachable.
  67. Give honor.
  68. Be respectful.
  69. Take care of your customers.
  70. Make it personal.
  71. Write handwritten notes.
  72. Don’t just post ads and product.
  73. You have something to say, speak it.
  74. Embrace change.
  75. Constantly make updates for the better.
  76. Always do your best.
  77. Own the biz, don’t let it own you.
  78. Read books.
  79. Read magazines.
  80. Learn more about business.
  81. Post a lot!
  82. You can never post too much as a business.
  83. But don’t just post pictures.
  84. Post words. Lots.
  85. Write blog posts.
  86. Weekly/monthly.
  87. About life and business.
  88. Advice, etc.
  89. Give deals.
  90. Give gifts.
  91. Invent something new.
  92. Invest in others.
  93. Build someone up.
  94. Don’t be selfish with what you’ve learned.
  95. Build a community.
  96. Pray even more.
  97. Stay teachable, still.
  98. Make more lists.
  99. Be proud of your business and hard work.
  100. Thank God continually.

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