A Spring in Your Step : Managing Seasons of Life

Don’t let the smile fool ya…It’s been a tough week. Anyone else have one of those days, you aren't sure if it's your hormones, an attitude, an emotion trapped, them, or you?!? I felt weighted all week, until today. I got dressed for church (without much color / joy to be honest) and as I grabbed my sweet new Church Note Journal, it made me smile. 

These sweet spring flowers glowed against my blah. It reminded me that God makes all things new, and Spring is just that reminder. You know that feeling when you see a new puppy?!? Like that! Instant joy. 
(It’s also a reminder how important sleep is too😜)

There is a season for everything and we too, can spring forward!!! 

I think sometimes we hibernate in the winter so comfortably that when the sun begins to shine, we feel a little nervous about the new energy we see sprouting and we’ve gotten really comfortable in our snuggle up winter clothes and fluffy blankets, it’s hard to get up and outside. We’ve also lost a little “muscle” in our winter. 

His mercies are new every day!! They are not seasonal as the enemy would like you to think.

So, with a deep breath, I went back in to my closet and found something Springy to wear. 
I literally felt the lyrics, It is well, with my soul. It is well. 

My heart uttered, Lord, let this little Light of mine shine for You today. Bring me into Spring and show me what’s new today. Let Your Light in. 

Time Springs forward and so can we. 

The clock is gonna keep ticking and the seasons consistently rolling through, and yes, each season has its own kind of storms…and we know this. It’s just those transition days that are the hardest. 

Something as silly and simple as wearing a brighter color or choosing a favorite accessory, is and easy transition choice, in the the process of choosing different, choosing to spring up, pick up, be up vs down. It’s not the clothes….its not the hype music…it’s not a double cup of caffeine….

It’s being clothed and covered in God’s hope and joy in every season. 
It’s keeping in step with His seasons, understanding the uniqueness of each one and not only preparing for them, but walking with anticipation in to the newness of them.

So, if you’re still trying to transition out of a Winter Coat, here’s your challenge to go back in to your “closet” and find a Springy something to put on! (Col 3:12-17, Phil 4:8-9)

The sweet thing is, through you, you become someone else’s Spring encounter. 

His mercies are NEW!!!! Grace upon Grace!!!

Lamentations 3:21-26

If you are looking for a journal to help you stay focused and put a little Spiring Step in your church going moments, take a look at this one and see if it makes you smile too! 

If today's encouragement hugged your HEART today, let me know in the comments or meet me over
 in my Facebook Sisterhood Community! Feel free to share this blog with a friend who needs a heart hug too!
This is how YOU get to hug my HEART back!

Heart Hugs and Blessings,

Breaking Free from Overthinking: 3 Steps to Getting Started

In the fast-paced world we live in, full of shiny objects and options, it's easy for the mind to become a battleground of overthinking, anxiety, and fear. For Christian women, it's so important be aware of the tendency to overanalyze situations, anticipate problems, and dwell on negative outcomes so we don't give the enemy a foothold. Let's create a space for grace with these three practical steps that can help break the chains of overthinking...

Step 1: Let Go and Surrender
The foundation of overcoming overthinking lies in surrendering to faith. As a Christian woman, you are called to cast your anxieties on the Lord, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Embrace the truth that God is in control, and His plans are greater than any anxious thought. Begin each day with prayer, committing your worries to Him and seeking His guidance. Create a sacred space for quiet reflection, allowing God's peace to fill your heart and mind.

Step 2: Replace Negative Thoughts with God's Word
The power of Scripture can transform our thoughts and renewing our minds. Memorize and meditate on the scriptures, allowing them to replace negative thoughts with the promises of God. Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Step 3: Practice Mindfulness and Gratitude
When you feel yourself tempted to overthink, ground yourself in the present moment. Pat attention to your thoughts and where they begin shifting into a negative space. Take deep breaths and focus on the beauty of the present moment, engaging al the senses. 
Sit in gratitude. Give thanks for the blessings in your life. A heart filled with gratitude cannot be consumed by overthinking. As the Apostle Paul encourages in Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

The enemy would love for you to be consumed with overthinking and keep your mind swirling! BUT GOD!!!! He is not the God of chaos!

As a Christian woman, you have the armor to guard your heart and mind, God's Word, and gratitude to overcome it. By surrendering your over abundance and swirly thoughts to God, replacing negative thoughts with His promises, and practicing mindfulness and gratitude, you will break free from the shackles of overthinking and experience the peace that surpasses all understanding. 

Embrace the present moments, making the wisest decision you know how to and release it to The Lord, walking confidently in the assurance that you are held in His loving hands.

If today's encouragement hugged your HEART today, let me know in the comments or meet me over
 in my Facebook Sisterhood Community! Feel free to share this blog with a friend who needs a heart hug too!
This is how YOU get to hug my HEART back!

Heart Hugs and Blessings,

How to Stop Being Shy as a Christian Introvert

Hey Shy Introvert Sister!!! I want you to know I see you and understand you! It's so weird that while we may feel especially shy in some areas of our life, we aren't in other areas. I've been thinking about it a lot lately asking myself WHY do I feel so shy but not always...I am looking more into this "shyness" and bringing it to the Lord...As it feels right now, here are some of the fears you may have. 

Do any of these sound familiar? 

  1. Fear of Judgment:
    • Worrying about how others will perceive you and fearing potential criticism or negative judgment
  2. Fear of Rejection:
    • Concerns about being excluded, ignored, or not accepted by others
  3. Social Anxiety:
    • Feeling anxious or uncomfortable in social situations, especially when interacting with new people or groups (this is why I love the buddy system!)
  4. Fear of Making Mistakes:
    • Perfectionist tendencies may contribute to a fear of making mistakes or not meeting self-imposed high standards
  5. Fear of Failure:
    • Anxiety about not succeeding or meeting expectations, leading to a fear of failure and its potential consequences when a mistake happens
  6. Fear of Being the Center of Attention:
    • Shy introverts may feel uneasy about being in the spotlight or drawing attention to themselves
  7. Overthinking:
    • Tendency to overanalyze situations, anticipate potential problems, and dwell on negative outcomes, which can contribute to anxiety (yep!!!!)
  8. Lack of Confidence:
    • Low self-confidence and self-esteem can lead to fears of not being capable or competent in the new endeavor
  9. Fear of Unfamiliar Environments:
    • Anxiety about navigating new or unfamiliar environments, interacting with new people, or dealing with unknown situations
  10. Fear of Being Misunderstood:
    • Fear saying the wrong thing and feeling discounted; freezing/overwhlem and not being able to think straight
  11. Concerns about Exhaustion:
    • Worrying about the potential drain on energy from social interactions or new experiences, which can be especially taxing for introverts
  12. Fear of Commitment:
    • Apprehension about committing to something new, whether it's a project, relationship, or social event, due to concerns about not being able to perfectly handle the associated responsibilities and expectations
  13. Fear of Loss of Control:
    • Anxiety about not having control over a situation, especially when faced with uncertainty or unpredictability
  14. Fear of Disapproval from Authority Figures:
    • Shy introverts may fear disapproval or criticism from authority figures, such as supervisors or mentors, which can hinder their willingness to take on new challenges
While some of these things would be true for every heart centered person who genuinely cares about the things they do, being shy brings a level of misconnection when our shyness keeps us in these spaces.

When we can begin to recognize ourselves thinking and behaving this way, it's then we can begin to choose courage instead. I've learned a lot about neuroplasticity the past few years and the importance of personal development, growing in emotional intelligence and confidence. 

As a Christ Follower, we are strengthened not only in walking in faith but God gave us each other, to sharpen each other's armor, carry each other's corner of the mat and walk through a split sea with! 

Grab a friend and walk out this shyness by stretching your comfort zone.

One of the first things I began doing was looking up when I walked into a room and not look down at the floor. I also made the habit of saying Hi to every person my path crossed in public, church, wherever! Not only did I want to push my comfort zone, I wanted the other person to feel seen, in a good way, not in a weird way...but in the way I wish I was seen.

You are more than a conqueror and just remember, no one is asking you to be someone you're not. God gives all of us different personalities and learning styles. We each have. special role in The Body, in The World to serve and do out part. Whoever you are created to be...be HER!! Unafraid!!! Bold & Brave!! Not loud....loving!!!

Your Big Sister Michele 

If today's encouragement hugged your HEART today, let me know in the comments or meet me over
 in my Facebook Sisterhood Community! Feel free to share this blog with a friend who needs a heart hug too!
This is how YOU get to hug my HEART back!

Heart Hugs and Blessings,

How I Faced a Fear I have had since 2008 and WON! Testimony Time

At first, I thought it was possible altitude sickness or claustrophobia...

January 2008: 
I struggled on one of our SCUBA dives in Belize which had a strong current that day

May 2008
We were taking the kids to the Caverns outside Austin, Texas and half way though, I couldn't breathe in the humid air, saw one way out was through a small carved out hallway to finish the tour, the other was back up where I knew the path. Josh felt fine and finished the tour with the kids.

December 2008: 
Toured the Hoover Dam in Vegas and from the moment we stepped on the crammed in like sardines elevator and into the cave below, it was overcome with not being able to breath and left the tour with some Angels unaware. A story for another time.

From that moment on, the breaths never returned to normal. A flip had been switched on inside me. It would be waves upon waves...eventually, we received the diagnosis "panic attacks."

ME?!? NOT EVEN POSSIBLE” I thought....

Did I struggle with fear most of my life? Insecurity? Trust? Well, yes….

I am the most passive, peaceful and calm person you'll ever know. He replied, "For most people that's exactly true for them too."

This is the Silent Crisis Season where my tests created a new testimony of faith for me. It was in this season, I found God's Heart. 

I just have to say, while the healing has come, PRAISE GOD ALMIGHTY, HE gets ALL THE GLORY in my story, I have not been able to consider caverns since that weekend in 2008. I didn't want to trigger something old.
I had some of the same fears about cruising and God recently broke off those chains, story for another time. I knew GRACE and trust. I knew scary surrender. BUT GOD! It was beautiful! 

Last week, I found myself 164 ft below ground in Virginia Caverns. WOW WOW WOW. I did it....no, GOD did it but I trusted His hold!! 

Was it hard, sure. Healing is such a funny thing. Courage is such a complex thing. 

I am FLAT OUT Grateful & Humble. His grace is sufficient. Trust me, oh have I pleaded over many things, many times. I have begged for less of me and more of Him. He has been so faithful.

This is Livin' Where Faith Is.

I am thankful for this season of writing to bring me back to hard seasons so I can stand in great awe of where He has brought me. I pray HE is glorified, seen and pleased. How I pray I serve Him well. My heart is all His as His is all mine.

Friend, God Loves You.
He sees you.
He hears you.
He is near.
He knooooooowssssss.......grace upon grace.

Here's me, somewhere 164 ft deep in gratitude in the Smoky Blue Ridge Mountains.....more videos to come, and an actual blog, likely an entire book! heehee

Glory to God in the Highest!!! The Great I Am, Healer and Protector of our Hearts.

What can YOU choose to face today? This week?!? Something you want to, but have been afraid to? Another one of mine is walking bridges...another is hiking...another is heights...being interviewed...hosting an event...publishing my book...even holding a chicken! Yep, I said it! 

What about YOU!?! Get your worship joy ON!!!! Let's Go!!!!!

If today's encouragement hugged your HEART today, let me know in the comments or meet me over
 in my Facebook Sisterhood Community! Feel free to share this blog with a friend who needs a heart hug too!
This is how YOU get to hug my HEART back!

Heart Hugs and Blessings,

4 Steps for Getting Started and Not Stuck in Personal Development as a Christian (and a Mom)

Congratulations on your decision to embark on a journey of personal growth and development! This is a significant achievement, especially for those who have struggled with anxiety and insecurity. By trusting in yourself and in God, you are bravely setting aside your fears and pride to say, "Help Me Grow."

Starting off on this path may feel overwhelming and scary, but it is a normal part of the process. However, it's important to note that personal development is different from simply solving problems. It's about growth and learning, and sometimes this may be unfamiliar territory, especially if you are a stay-at-home mom. You may have approached learning as a means to fix things, but now it's about developing new skill sets and becoming a leader, even within your own home.

As you begin your personal development journey, it's common to feel both excited about the possibilities and humbled by how much you still have to learn. Unfortunately, this vulnerability can become a trigger for anxiety. The enemy will try to highlight your weaknesses and discourage you from growing closer to God. Insecurity may tell you that you're not ready or capable of leading, but remember that faith tells you that you are capable of doing all things with God by your side. Courage isn't the absence of fear, but the willingness to act despite it.

To navigate this journey, here are a few steps you can take: First, acknowledge that feeling nervous is a natural part of growth. Trust that God will provide what you need, whether it's building up or tearing down. Second, surrender control and understand that it's okay to be scared. Cast your cares on God and ask for His strength and guidance. Third, surround yourself with like-minded individuals who can offer support and accountability. Lastly, evaluate your environment and be mindful of the influences around you, as what you listen to can impact your personal development.

Remember that personal growth is a continuous process, and there will always be new challenges as you continue to learn and develop. Embrace the grace in the hard times and avoid getting swept away by doubts and insecurities. Take one step at a time and don't let fear hinder your progress. Trust that God is with you every step of the way and allow Him to prune, cleanse, and lead you. This is an adventure worth embarking on, and God's heart is for you as you grow and shine your light.
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