Thursday, August 03, 2017

Trades of Hope Five Years In!

I just returned from spending a weekend in Nashville with some amazing Trades of Hope sisters at our annual retreat for training, inspiration and encouragement. It was a great weekend, reconnecting with Compassionate Entrepreneur sisters from around the country that I only get to see once a year, and making new CE friends. And it came at the perfect time, because I joined Trades of Hope 5 years ago last week. FIVE YEARS! I can't believe it. When I joined there were only 150 Compassionate Entrepreneurs in the company, and we just hit 5000! So exciting! To honor these five years, I thought I would give you the top ten wonderful things about being a part of TOH. So in no particular order (because I could never say one was more important than another) here are my top ten!

10. I have grown so much in my social skills and getting out of my comfort zone. I've never been good at speaking to strangers and this has really helped as I've met women at parties, other CEs, and new hostesses. I have traveled to a foreign country, overcoming so many fears in that process. I'm still growing in this area as I learn how to do "live" Facebook videos! Way out of my comfort zone!

9. It gives me a purpose outside of being a mom and wife. I love being those things, and I've had other jobs along the way, but this gives me something that is "mine", it becomes what I put into it. It gives me a reason to get out of the house and travel, and in a house full of boys, I can be girly!

8. Becoming more fashionable! I have never cared a great deal about what I wear, and yet, never felt like I was dressed very cute. But when you have beautiful accessories that you want to wear, it helps you to up your fashion skills! I just started wearing a kimono and I love it! Who knew?

7. I have made extra money that has helped my family. Its been used to go on vacations, pay bills, school fees and pay for lots of baseball! But I've also used it to treat myself.

6. I have learned so much about poverty and trafficking. These aren't topics that people may want to know about, but they are important! These are things that are not ok with my heavenly Father, and He wants His people to step in and help end them!

5.I have gained confidence in myself, the good kind, when you are proud because you set a goal, go after it, and reach it, and where you think you can't do something, but you do! I have had moments when I compared myself to others, I felt that I was failing. But when God taught me to not compare myself to anyone, and to be content with where I was and who I was in Him, it brought such peace and confidence in myself.

4. I have grown in my faith. There have been many conversations with my Father about my business, the struggles, the successes, the questions, the frustrations. And when I ask Him for a boost, He gives it to me! He wants me to help the widows and orphans and the poor, and when I give effort, even if it seems small, He will bless it.

3. I have been inspired by the founders of our company. Joining so early when I did, I have gotten to know the four ladies who founded our company in a way that would never happen if I had joined a larger direct sales company. They are brave, powerful, awe inspiring women, and each year when I see them, and they know my name and hug me, I feel known. And then they speak about what they envision for our company, and I am thankful to follow after them.

2.I have grown in my leadership skills. I have a great team under me, and sometimes I can give more to them than other times, but I know God uses my team to build my leadership skills that I can use in other areas of my life too.

1. I have met amazing, beautiful women from all over the country! I have life long friends that can only come from being in a foreign country together. And I have met so many ladies as hostesses, party goers and other CE's that I would have never met otherwise. I have great ladies that have joined my team over the five years that I can now call friends.

There are probably ten more things I could list, like organizational skills, goal setting, budgeting, etc. But really, the bottom line is, that it has empowered me! I have become a better person because of this journey! And that's what Trades of Hope is all about. We are empowering our artisans around the world by marketing their products, but it empowers us too! I am so thankful that five years ago, I saw a blog post about Trades of Hope, and I took a big step of faith!  I've never wanted to sell anything, but when I held my first products, it was a powerful moment. I don't know how long God will keep me with TOH, but I am so thankful for this part of my life journey!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The rest of the story...

I started a new job a few weeks ago. I know, it was fast. God was so sweet to give me some summer at home with my kiddos. But one day after I had been home for a few weeks I got an email from a friend about a job that had just opened up. And a few weeks later, I accepted the position. Its a full time job, which I have never had with kids before, so it will be a change for our family. I have been so blessed to work part time since our kids entered the world, and they were always with me at the preschools that I worked for. But this is the perfect time for me to enter the full time working world and I am super excited.

The night before I was expecting the offer, I was laying in bed praying, and telling God I needed a loud and quick "No" if this wasn't was I was supposed to do. I rolled over, and my baby (who isn't a baby anymore) was asleep in his daddy's place in the bed. I told God "I just want to be a good momma. Can I be a good momma, the kind of momma I want to be, and work full time?"  And I felt like God told me, "All those mommas who will drop off their babies to you just want to be good mommas too, and they want a safe place for their babies to go while they are at work." And He reminded me of all of the places in the community that those mommas and daddies go to each day, and how by caring for their children, I am in a way touching all those places too. Its a huge and overwhelming honor.

That next Sunday, guess what we sang at church? We sang "Lord our God." God giving me another piece of confirmation that He was in this and His plan is big.

I'm in my third week now. It's been hard, and exciting, and exhilarating and exhausting. My first night I must have had adrenaline because I cooked dinner and did laundry and went to a baseball game. The second night I crashed on the couch and ordered pizza. Balance right? I have been so welcomed by teachers and kiddos, and I can't wait to get to know them all better and see all that God is going to do.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Obey and Trust and Wait

After three years as Director of Childcare and Mother's Morning Out at Pinelake Church, I have resigned my position. Its been an amazing three years. So why did I resign? Lots of small reasons. But the biggest reason is simply because God told me to.

Back in March, I gave all of my teachers a letter of intent to fill out for next school year, and I gave them a very inspirational speech where I told them to pray about what God would have for them. Pray and ask God if he still has you here, or if there is somewhere else He is leading you. We all have seasons, and sometimes God asks us to do something else. Are you still called to be here? As I was saying all that to them, God nudged my spirit that I needed to pray about that for myself too.

As I began that process of praying and seeking him, we started a new series at church called "Making Room". The first sermon was about our vision. Chip asked if God was asking us to make room in our vision for our lives for what He might have for us. Do we need to make room in our lives for something else that will further his kingdom.  And the response song was "Lord Our God". (Promise maker, Promise Keeper, You finish what you begin. Our provision through the desert, You see it through to the end. We won't move without you). That's my song. That's the song God has used many times in my life, especially transition times. Ok God, I hear you. I need some confirmation please. And boy did He give it to me.

I wish you could see my journal over the last few months. You know how sometimes God tells you the same thing a number of different times and ways until you get the point? Usually in my life its just a few times, over a week or so. But this time, well, its May and its still coming. Day after day after day. Devotionals, scripture, songs, people, sermons, books. Thoughts about trusting God, stepping out in faith, God has great plans for you, obedience, leaving the known for the unknown, releasing what you have to prepare for what is coming... day after day after day. If anyone has been following me on Facebook you can read most of them. I swear Christine Caine and Lysa Terkeurst know what's going on in my life and are speaking directly to me! But even on days when I would do our church's reading plan, God would use it!

The sermon series was four weeks, and over those four weeks, I slowly surrendered my plan, and agreed to obey. After the final sermon, we were asked to sign a commitment card about what we were making room for. I couldn't write on the card what I was doing, but that was my commitment. Again, the response song was "Lord my God". (In the silence, in the waiting, Still we can know You are good, All Your plans are for Your glory, Yes, we can know You are good). So now I'm waiting. I don't know what God has for me. I have the perfect plan in my head, directing a preschool during school hours for lots of money! Wouldn't that be great! But I'm waiting for his perfect plan, whatever that might be. I have moments of doubt. What did I just do? But I know what I did. I obeyed. And now I trust. And on the scary days where I wonder how this will turn out, He continues to speak truth to me about his goodness and faithfulness. Just today this was on Facebook. "God's got you. He who promised is faithful. He will never leave nor forsake you." 

I've been saying goodbye this week to many children, parents and teachers. I have a few weeks left, but I'm treasuring every goodbye. The good part is, I'll still see many of them at church. And, many of my teachers I have considered friends, but its hard to be a friend and a boss. So now I can just be a friend! God has been so good, so sweet, so faithful to me over the past three years. And I'm excited to see what the next step will be.