GIFTS – An acronym for the joy you carry

Taken from my e-book “Finding Joy During the Holidays When You’re in Your Thirties & Feel Broke” the following excerpt is still relevant all times of the year. We all experience brokenness in this life. It can look like feeling broken over painful world events, financial brokenness, relational brokenness, brokenness within our goals and dreams that don’t seem to be panning out and we’re already at an age where it seems like “will it ever change”, loss of loved ones, and feeling physically broken with illness pain.

When I wrote the short e-book, it was with a specific season, “The Holiday” season, in mind. With the holidays, it seems like everything should be pleasant and joyful! It’s the holidays! So there is an added level of buzz around our feelings when they really don’t align with the season. But the truth is that brokenness and the pain of the here and now seem to follow us when we don’t have the strength and power of joy.

And with that, I hope the following excerpt brings a sense of joy to you. (To get the full context- download your copy now.)

I’ve come up with an acronym to help you remember all that you truly have at your disposal this Holiday season that can help you tap into true joy (historical definition: calm delight and inner gladness). GIFTS stands for Giving, Inspiration, Forgiveness, Thankfulness, and Spark. The GIFTS acronym will help to reassure you that joy is attainable, it doesn’t have to live far away from who you are and what you carry, and you have more gifts in you this Holiday season than you may realize.

Giving

Though it may not seem like you have extra to spare, you can still still choose to give. Giving is one way to choose joy. Some examples of giving during times of (financial) struggle are to give of your time (volunteer, babysit for free); give of your talent (if you’re a photographer, you can take photos of a friend or co-worker as a gift); give of your home (like inviting a neighbor over for dinner one night).

Inspiration

Joy is inspirational, and so are YOU. You can choose joy by inspiring others with kind words and actions. These don’t have to cost anything. Sending your supervisor an appreciative email or helping someone with their groceries next time you see someone with a loaded cart at the store are examples of how you can inspire others.

Forgiveness

Joy can’t thrive if you have bitterness in your heart against others; it’s time to forgive. Are you holding onto anything that you need to let go of that’s hurting you? Joy will immediately start to flow in and through you when you let go of that which no longer serves you or is yours to carry. It’s time to forgive and let the past be in the past. Joy lives right on the heels of forgiveness.

Thankfulness

It’s almost impossible to not feel joy when you are truly thankful! Keeping a list of people, events, and things you are thankful for nearby, especially in the midst of troubles can bring that inner calm that we talked about before. Thankfulness is a value that joy is partnered with. Despite problems around you, recognizing what do have and are thankful for will initiate joy.

Spark

Lastly, joy sometimes starts as a little spark that can turn into a sustainable fire. We all have a spark in us. We all can tap into that place that no one else can and see joy. Think about the spark that you alone have and can spread. By choosing to seize the unique, beautiful gifts and personality traits that you have intrinsically, joy can arise out of what you see as ashes and fan into something big, warm, and sustainable. Joy is the spark that sustains us through the bad, even when [we feel broken down when we see devastating world events.] Once again, joy lets us face our circumstances with strength.

I will add that though joy is strength and does bring a sense of calm when things in the world and our personal lives go wrong, it’s okay to NOT be strong. It’s okay when joy seems illusive to the circumstances of our lives and things we are going through. It’s okay to feel devastated when we hear devastating news. It’s okay to allow others to help you carry the burdens of life that you can’t carry alone. Joy is one of many dynamic lenses we put on (with or without trying) to view the world around us.

GIFTS speak to the joy that we can choose. The joy we can tap into. The joy that gives us strength and can help us keep going. And GIFTS is a way to get there WHEN WE ARE READY. In the meantime, allow yourself to feel grief, sadness, anger and the whole spectrum of emotions during trying, upsetting, broken times.

Get READY To Receive

Have you ever been in a waiting period for dreams that you wish for, plan for, and work for to come to fruition? Have you ever wondered “BUT WHEN?!” And then had to get back to a place of expectation and contentedness with your life right now in the waiting?

I have! And it’s a hard place to be sometimes, but then I got a word from a dear friend recently. He said, “Position yourself to receive. Get ready.”

This caught me off guard for a second. I AM ready though. I’ve got all I need! And then I got thinking… If the things I want to happen are about to come, am I really ready for them? What do I need to do to get ready? What steps do I need to take so that I can transact easily with people and get ready to press the “GO” button on the next steps in my business and life?

I have emails to prepare, files to get ready, software to understand better, and scripts I need to write.

Be ready to receive the things that you’re praying to have and want to happen in your life.

There is a lot I can do to get ready! And then I realized how important seasons of preparation are.

When a woman is pregnant there is a whole time period of waiting for the baby to be born, 9-10 months. And in that time, she (and daddy) needs to get ready. There are things that she must do, act on, and prepare for in order for that baby to come and be set up properly in its first stage of life. Whether it’s collecting clothes, setting up a room, buying herself new clothes because of the process her own body is about to go through, and having a name picked out… there is a whole list of items that need to be in place BEFORE the baby takes its first breath on earth.

When it comes to my business, my baby right now, I have been praying and praying for the breakthrough of “birth” as I sell my first products, but I realized I need more in place. Scripts I want to have to be able to quickly respond to messages, pitches for new products and foreseeable investors, speeches to say thank you to specific people for their guidance, payment plans and systems… there are VERY specific things that I need to get ready because when people are knocking at my online door and online store, I need to BE READY with more than just my products.

If I’m not ready—if I’m not prepared NOW, I could land in a whirlwind of overwhelm. Once that baby is here and the breakthrough comes with clients and what I’m prepared to offer and give the world with my digital media and brand strategy coaching services I better be ready with things in place. It will be too overwhelming to step into the next phase and season if I’m not ready for it.

Dear friends reading this now: Do you have something you have been praying for, hoping, wanting, desiring and are you ready for it when it comes?

A new house, moving to a new city, a new job, a new marriage or relationship, a new season of life with new responsibility and new expectations that you have?

Whatever your desire is: be ready. Take the important steps to prepare as much as possible NOW because when that new thing gets here, you want to set yourself and your “baby project” up for success. Posture yourself to receive what you’ve been wanting and then get ready!

You will reduce overwhelm and have more fun when you take the necessary steps to prepare in advance. Press into this season or preparation as much as possible. GET READY to receive.

Drop a comment below: What are your desires and are you ready to receive them? If not, what do you need to do to be prepared for the next season?

Balance During the Holidays When You Own A Business

Life is all about balance, we’ve heard it applied to many, many situations in life. This time of the year, with Holidays upon us is the balance of work and business. But how do we create balance in a way that friends, family, employees, and customers all get the best of you during this incredibly important time of the year?

This article touches on three key points to finding balance during the holidays. As a solopreneur, it’s easy to get out of balance, but it’s also entirely possible to live life well. These steps are things that I’ve done to live life well during these busier than usual days.

1. Stay organized

Lists, times, planning. It matters for work, it matters for home, now it matters even more for work and home during this time of the year. I make lists from when I workout to what needs to be done during the day. I respond, connect, send emails, do what I need to at home and work, and CROSS THINGS OFF MY LIST as I do them.

Making lists and crossing things off matters because I not only feel productive that way, but I stay super organized in a way I wouldn’t otherwise. This also keeps me balanced during the holidays. I can clearly see what is work related and what is home/holiday life that I’m putting my energy into.

2. Keeping my start and stop times

Start and stop times with work, exercise, time give to friends and family, and time shopping or doing at home holiday activities must be kept. There isn’t a better way that I’ve ever experienced with keeping boundaries than to follow my own start and stop times. Not going past those times is key to staying on track. It also will help other around you, especially family, to know when you are available and when you are not, And this matters even more if you are like me and work from home. Work and not work can become convoluted, so stay on track with your start and stop times.

I CAN get distracted. But I try not to. And one easy way is to keep my start and stop times for this busy holiday season flowing with ease and actually following them. Times help create balance during the holidays!

3. Relax

Lastly, but most importantly – RELAX! It’s easier said than done sometimes, but by staying relaxed in the process of all there is to do, you will have a better holiday season. Know your boundaries, stick to them, get organized, and then relax into the process. Without the ability to relax, you’ll soon see the entire holiday season get away from you and you will be worse off for it. Take the next couple of weeks in stride and you will come out the other side alive and well!

To Wrap Up

There are three simple steps you can find balance during the holidays. Make lists, stick to the allotted times for work and outside-of-work activities, and relax into the process and the season that’s upon us. By following these three steps you will have a better, healthier holiday season that you are excited about, rather than stressed out about.

What else can you add to the list that help bring balance during the holidays? Drop a comment!

Time is Short: Let’s Live in the Moment This Holiday Season

We are RIGHT in the middle of the biggest holiday season of the year, and I wanted to share something new that is on my heart and mind this year more than others.

TIME IS SHORT.

It seems to fly by these days. But one major way I see it, is that my parents are getting older. I still rely on my parents for advice and wisdom. I trust them more than anyone else on planet earth (aside from my spouse).

But. They are still getting older and time is short.

It wasn’t that long ago that as a little girl I was SO excited to make cookies for Santa and would dress up in my best dress for our church’s candlelight service on Christmas Eve.

And here I am at thirty years old recognizing the brevity of the life we have.

The holidays, from Halloween to New Years, is magical. But it’s also painful for so many people.

Pain from loss, pain from finances, pain from health problems, pain from change, pain from not being where you imagined you would be at this stage of life.

But in that pain, time is short. We can hold onto the hope of seasons passing and changing and still press into the good things that offset the painful ones in the season we find ourselves.

My “exhortation” (a very old school word in some ways) is to:

  • Live in the moment.
  • Don’t take anything good in your life now for granted.
  • Be good to your family and friends and sensitive to those who are struggling now.
  • Write down good memories in your journal and take lots of photos of your family and friends.

Time is short, but we can seize the good things and good parts of our day and lives, letting go of the bad. And time is short, so if we are in a painful season, we know it won’t last and we will be able to breathe again soon.

Red Cardinal Life: Why We Are Made to Stand Out

He didn’t know how beautiful he was. The red cardinal bounced from branch to branch, twittering, and looking around himself as I stared at him. His bright red took over the green leaves of the trees. He looked both regal and vulnerable; his color screamed, “Look at me!” while he seemed tiny in comparison to the tree he was perched.

I refused to look away. Birds never stay still for long. I didn’t want to lose him. His color was riveting, and he had my full attention, for just those few moments.

And he didn’t even know it.

He didn’t even know I stood there gazing, caught by his beauty. That I ignored my morning coffee in my hand, steam rising as I hoped he would bounce closer.

I realized then, isn’t he like me? Aren’t we all like him? Beautiful in our own way. One of a kind, stand out from the crowd type of people, yet we don’t even know it. We don’t realize how amazing we are. We don’t realize how special and unique our vision, our gifts/talents, our personalities, our passions make us in comparison to everyone around us.

Not a single person on earth is made to blend in. We were all made to stand out. In our humanity, we don’t have defense mechanisms like some birds, insects, reptiles, mammals, and sea creatures that make us blend in to our surroundings. We were born with thoughts and feelings that make us unique compared to everyone… even our siblings who may have had all the same inputs as us.

Our bodies, minds, and emotions are uniquely ours- uniquely created. We have influence over our families, friends, and coworkers around us that nobody else does. I look up to some women in my life who look down on themselves and the same may be true for me as it’s easy to get caught up comparing.

“I’m not like her.”

“What do I have to give?”

“I’m plain compared to that person.”

Going back to the birds all around me on the porch that morning, besides just not realizing all the time that we are each uniquely crafted with inherent beauty, it’s the differences that make the world so much better. I thought of how a woodpecker is different than a cardinal. They don’t compare. They just live. And both are beautiful and unique.

If we were to drop our defenses, stop trying to blend in, and just live beautiful in our own right, how would the world look different? Maybe we’d spend more time talking to people around us rather than scrolling on our phones. Maybe we’d go for that promotion at work, rather than talk ourselves out of it with negativity. Maybe we’d apply for a business license, taking our side gigs to a new level of work.

Unlike the cardinal who might never realize his beauty, let’s step into the fullness of all we are meant to be and able to do. Let’s let confidence over fear carry us to the next “thing” in life. Let’s stop trying to blend in and recognize how intrinsically valuable we really are, owning our gifts and capabilities in the process.

Let’s be okay with standing out. We were made to!