Autumn, Breast Cancer and the Need for Prayer

 We have colorful, wonderful times of life. We have tough, tragic times in life. For me October represents both beauty and tragedy with lots of memories tucked in my heart.

In the past number of months there has been an untold number of individuals and cities and families and countries touched by tragedy from hurricanes and earthquakes, floods, a shooting massacre in Las Vegas, terrorist attacks and now fires with untold damage and destruction to lives and loss of life.

And as life journeys go … we as individuals over the years find ourselves battered by challenges in relationships, health, finances, careers and more. We find ourselves needing support and prayer.

Well, on a personal note … we need prayer. Our precious Moms both have health challenges. My Mom-in-love (Mother-in-law 🙂 has been dealing with  a bad case of painful shingles.  And my Mom has joined a community none of us chooses … one that breaks my heart but I am part of. My Mom has this week been diagnosed with breast cancer.  We ask you to pray for both our Moms and for my dear father-in-love as he cares for and loves his wife of 65 years.

 

October …  is a month that is known for being a Breast Cancer Awareness month urging women (and men) to get potentially life-saving mammograms. Yes, a mammogram saved my life once. Have you had yours this year?

October brings  the glimmers of autumn.  The colors begin to explode in golds, yellows, oranges and reds.  The cool breezes and crisp cool air kisses my cheeks when I walk my little Morkie in the evenings now … I delight in the rich scents of Fall!

Memories are SUCH an important piece of our lives on this side of heaven!

Good memories as well as hard memories are part of our stories.

Memories of Autumn often drift back to me at this time of year. Memories of the family drives as a young girl to Monument Lake “to see the Fall colors” and have a picnic. Memories of hearing the elk bugling in the Rocky Mountains, or the geese honking overhead as I walked to Fall classes at Colorado State University or football games as part of the CSU “Flag Team.” Memories of cheering at hundreds of Fall soccer games as a Mom for our boys, or our Leaf-Peeping Tour in the North East through 10 states with family or seeing the Alaskan autumn from a cruise ship.

I am alll about “all things Pumpkin” and our local Harvest Festival at Underwood Farms is now one of my favorite traditions with our family. Watching our little grandsons  experience their “country roots” in the delight of the theme of Harvest Festival (with zero Halloween influence) is a DELIGHT to this Granma! This year was no exception! We listened to country music as we ate Carne Asada tacos at wooden tables with  gingham picnic table cloths. We giggled through a maze in a field of corn stalks (and got “Corn-fused”), we cheered at the pig races (for the pig in red scarf :), we watched the boys drive the pint-sized green tractors around and around a dirt corral, ate cool and welcomed flavored shaved ice, shot corn cobs out of air cannons and played pumpkin bowling. There was much more to do that we didn’t do this year but we DID tuck lots of great memories away … again!

October also brings reminders of other memories in my life .. and for millions of other women … not so pleasant memories. October is breast cancer awareness month.  Having had the battle with cancer 4 times now all the pink color and support in many ways raises memories for me that are tough.  I’ve had surgeries, I’ve had radiation, I’ve had chemo. I have scars.   I have memories.

Yes, I have memories. Tough ones. Scary ones.

Some were terrifying.

I also have memories that surprised me. Memories of sweet miracles gifted me from God. Memories of delightful friends that I met who were also battling cancer. Memories of kindness from family and friends in my neighborhood and church and our circle of business friends and  from our kids schools … the flood of love was overwhelming. Memories of committed and kind and highly competent medical folks.  Memories of walking in 2 Avon Walks Against Cancer  for a total of 78.6 miles in the Santa Barbara area with hundreds and hundreds of women … a pink RIVER of walkers … and then being celebrated as a survivor by a battalion of other cancer warriors and  a few  of my precious family.

.

During some of the TOUGHEST times in my personal life I had both tough and tender memories. Isn’t that the way that it is with those days or weeks of tragic and hard times in our lives … God shows up and reminds us that we have much to be grateful for as well.

And (COACHING MOMENT) … we get to choose on what to focus.  We need to discipline our minds … The “D” word.  Yes, discipline. Focus. It is work. It is important work.

My take aways from being a cancer warrior and survivor:

  • I can choose to focus on how ugly the scars are OR I can choose to focus on the scars as PROOF  POSITIVE that the Lord allowed me to survive yet another battle.
  • I can choose to focus on the fear and the tough memories OR I can choose to focus on the BEAUTY the Lord showed me within what was a personal hurricanes and firestorms in my life.
  • I can choose to focus on what I lost OR I can choose to focus on how I can use this (whatever situation) for His glory in some way and give thanks!

 I get to choose. You get to choose.

Yes, we  do need to allow ourselves the time to grieve through  and learn from  our history … even the painful parts. But then … we need to look forward and choose to focus on how we CAN live forward because with the Lord we certainly CAN live forward!  (Great resource! https://livingforwardbook.com)

 

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”ESV

 

THREE  RESOURCES for you to consider to help you or those you love move forward through cancer or other tragic life events (they apply!):

1) From http://www.joniandfriends.org/store/product/diagnosed-breast-cancer

Cancer warrior and survivor,   Joni Eareckson Tada in her booklet Diagnosed with Breast Cancer: Life After Shock reminds us that, “Cancer is a word that can curdle the blood. For years it was labeled a terminal disease. But the good news is that thanks to improvements in treatment and early detection, millions of women survive breast cancer today. . . . Yes, it is a battle. You are in the battle of your life (for your life), but there is hope. . . . Even though you may feel as I once did—overwhelmed and fainthearted—you can find courage. It’s possible. I discovered wonderful anchors for my soul that buoyed my spirits during the rough days and beyond. With Jesus Christ, there is always hope.”

Joni’s website has a number of helps for grief and pain and challenges of all sorts.  An excellent set of pamphlets which cover many challenges is http://www.joniandfriends.org/store/product/encouragement-pamphlet-assortment

2) From http://www.musicforthesoul.org/resources/more-beautiful     

More Beautiful

(I was invited to write their Discussion Guide / Bible study to be used with the DVD and was honored to do so on a Pro Bono Basis)

  • Music for the Soul Ministry is “a Christian ministry using the power of songs and stories as a bridge to hope and healing for those facing life’s most difficult issues.” (Please check out their many helpful resources for many of life’s difficult times.)
  • About More Beautiful “Created from the real life stories of breast cancer survivors this DVD and CD set is support and encouragement for the woman going through breast cancer and provides understanding for the husband and family who love her. NEW! A Discussion Guide is now available! Written by Kathleen Brooks, Master Certified Christian Life Coach; A unique resource for women’s groups, small groups, families, counselors; includes a section for men and caregivers, and a section for young women battling cancer. The DVD includes interviews with breast cancer survivors, ‘Wildest Ride on Earth’ music video, and other behind-the-scenes footage. The CD includes songs, poetry, and an affirmation.”
In summary,  we get to choose some things in life, right? We can choose to focus on memories that help us and that help others and prayerfully ask the Lord to use us as a blessing to others that are hurting.  Let’s do so!  Doing something takes courage … and the Lord will give us the courage  we need to reach out and “DO” what He calls us to.

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” NIV

  • It occurred to me how GRATEFUL I now am that I have gone through both shingles and breast cancer. At minimum I have an inkling of what our Moms are feeling … and regarding cancer … I have MUCH more education than I ever wanted. Who knew it would be necessary “for such a time as this”?
  •  Looking back now I am SO GRATEFUL that I have gone through this journey so that I can help more women that I love!  “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” Genesis 50:20 NASB

PS … please remember to pray for our Moms and Dad … and the many others who are hurting for so many reasons. I join you.

 

 

Blessings,

Coach Kathleen

Master Certified Christian Life Coach

(Specialty Certifications include Joy Restoration and Grief Coaching, Wellness Coaching and Stress Relief Coaching)

www.PersonalRetreatCoaching.com

Posted in Autumn, Be Happy, Beyond Suffering Bible, Bible, breast cancer, Cancer, Care Deeply, Christian Life Coaching, Christian Life coaching, Courage, Discipline, Do Something, Fall, fear, Focus, Gentle Nudgings, Grateful, harvest, Joni and Friends International Disability Ministry, Life Coaching, life-storms, live forward, LIVE JOYFULLY, Living Forward, Margaret Feinberg, memories, Michael Hyatt, pain, Pray Faithfully, pray for America, Pray for Las Vegas, Prayer, Self discipline, shingles, Thankfulness, Trust God, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another tragic day in history. How do we respond?

October 2, 2017

I am mourning with you as yet again we have another horrific tragic day in history in our world and … specifically in our country. We have had back to back to back reasons to take our prayer to the Lord in support of many people around the world and in our country and yes … in our families and close friends. In the past few months we have seen multiple terrorist attacks around the world, multiple Class 3-5 hurricanes on and off our shores bringing unprecedented flooding and devastation, deadly earthquakes, huge political unrest, threats of nuclear war, raging fires, etc.

And today we heard again ….  more grief and mourning. Horror in Las Vegas. Shock of  yet another massacre.

Last night was the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history killing 59 and over 525 + injured at a Country Western Music Festival Event.  I love country music … I grew up on a ranch and still have family raising kids and cattle there on the ranch as we have for generations. My husband and I had briefly looked into attending this festival event ourselves.

Did you know anyone there?

I did … both personally and indirectly.

Those I know personally are forever impacted but physically okay.  I praise God that they are okay.

Both of my daughter-in-laws had people important in their lives at the concert. One had a dear, life-long friend attending the concert  and our other daughter-in-law had an extended family-member-by-marriage in the concert. We had a nephew and his sweet wife in a casino in Las Vegas that was evacuated just down the road.

As a follower-of-Christ, a Christian Life Coach and a passionate Irish-heritage woman I want to share two  important issues  which I have been praying about and studying on in the Word:

  •  ENOUGH already. Enemy containment! The enemy of God is pressing in on many sides … working through the evil actions of some depraved and wicked people.  How do we impact this CHAOS?  Simply … we need to PRAY.  Yes, that IS something we can and should do! Together! In Ephesians 6: 10-19 the Holy Spirit reminds us of the Lord’s directive to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”(verse 11)  and in verse 18 and 19 He tells us “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petitions for all the saints,  and pray.” Check out my BLOG on prayer (June 10, 2016) on prayer for ideas and resources which can be useful! Prayer can and does matter as we come together to the Father at the Throne.

We need to FIGHT the enemy of God together daily by praying for Revival in America! Instead of being haphazard in our prayer lives let’s commit together to be laser focused and disciplined!

“If we fight the Lord’s battles merely by duplicating the way the world does its work, we are like little boys playing with wooden sword pretending they are in the battle while their big brothers are away in some distant bloody land.”    Francis Schaeffer

Country Music Star John Rich, from Big and Rich, who had just performed prior to the last singer Jason Aldean said today “People say ‘our thoughts and prayers are with you.’ You ACTUALLY need to pray. You ACTUALLY need to speak to the Lord and ask Him to bring comfort …”

  •  We need PEACE. God’s peace. Is it available in all this chaos? Absolutely. Even when we are mourning, grieving, hurting, angry, in fear, confused. Peace is not something we can conjure up. It is a gift from God Himself.

John 14: 27  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The peace of God which passes all understanding is given to us as we pray, as we give thanks for His blessings which reminds us … and  communicates to the Lord … that we trust Him (even when we don’t “understand” what is happening around us).  Let’s stay in His Word sweet Sister …

Those who love Your law have great peace,
And nothing causes them to stumble.  Psalm 119:165

Coaching Moment!

  • In today’s chaos we are so focused on the chaos … sometimes I think the enemy steals our peace by keeping us focused on the chaos INSTEAD of praying, giving thanks and re-focusing our thoughts on the sovereignty of the Lord and appreciating that we can go to the Holy One of Israel, the Lord God, with our requests.  We need to take our eyes off the chaos  … and turn them towards our Heavenly Father in PRAYER.

James 5:16 “16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Coaching Moment:

  • Let’s commit to PRAY. Proactively. Disciplined. Daily.
  • Let’s focus on His Word and on giving the Lord glory as we use our gifts.
  • Let’s share the HOPE we have because of of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and His work in our lives.
  • Let’s share that PEACE is available when you know the Lord and surrender to Him in prayer, with thanksgiving.   

DOSES OF COURAGE from real- life-heroes

Along with you I have been wowed and impressed by the stories of selfless heroism and compassion by the average person and first responders which we have seen in so many of these tragedies and natural disasters.

On our ABC7 News tonight in an interview with Elex Michaelson a gentleman from Temecula,CA  who had been at the concert with his family, Frank Lechuga calmly said with tears in his eyes, “People talk about division in this country … the amount of people who came through yesterday of all races and types of people got together. We’re all one people. Everybody was there to take care of everybody. It was really cool to see.”

Their courage has given me courage.

Courage to DO SOMETHING. Let’s start with prayer and … then let’s DO SOMETHING.

* What is the Lord laying on your heart “TO DO?” (Want to share it with me?)

Quote to Consider:  “A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. If we were what we profess to be and what we should be, we would be pictures of Christ. We are to imitate Him so closely that the world will have no doubt we have been with Jesus.”      Charles Spurgeon

Praying with you for all the victims and their loved ones … of this horrific event  in Las Vegas … as well as all the others over the last months.

Let’s stay in His Word, keeping our feet on Him as our foundation so that WHEN the storms come (and they will) that the TRUTH of God’s Word will be buried so deeply in our hearts that it helps us weather the storm … and helps us help others weather the storms they encounter as well.

Isaiah 41:10 “fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Blessings … and love,

Coach Kathleen

Master Certified Christian Life Coach

www.PersonalRetreatCoaching.com

 

Posted in Bible, Big and Rich Country Music, Care Deeply, Christian Life Coaching, Christian Life coaching, Courage, Do Something, fear, Gentle Nudgings, Hope, Jesus, John Rich, Leadership, Life Coaching, life-storms, Love God! Love Others! Love Yourself!, pain, Peace of God, Persevere, Pray Faithfully, pray for America, Pray for Las Vegas, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another tragic day in history. How do we respond?

I am mourning with you as yet again we have another horrific tragic day in history in our world and … specifically in our country. We have had back to back to back reasons to take our prayer to the Lord in support of many people around the world and in our country and yes … in our families and close friends. In the past few months we have seen multiple terrorist attacks around the world, multiple Class 3-5 hurricanes on and off our shores bringing unprecedented flooding and devastation, deadly earthquakes, huge political unrest, threats of nuclear war, raging fires, etc.

And today we heard again ….  more grief and mourning. Horror in Las Vegas. Shock of  yet another massacre.

Last night was the worst mass shooting in our nation’s history killing 59 and over 525 + injured at a Country Western Music Festival Event.  I love country music … I grew up on a ranch and still have family raising kids and cattle there on the ranch as we have for generations. My husband and I had briefly looked into attending this festival event ourselves.

Did you know anyone there?

I did … both personally and indirectly.

Those I know personally are forever impacted but physically okay.  I praise God that they are okay.

Both of my daughter-in-laws had people important in their lives at the concert. One had a dear, life-long friend attending the concert  and our other daughter-in-law had an extended family-member-by-marriage in the concert (and her friends). We had a precious nephew and his sweet wife in a casino in Las Vegas that was evacuated just down the road.

As a follower-of-Christ, a Christian Life Coach and a passionate Irish-heritage woman I want to share two  important issues  which I have been praying about and studying on in the Word:

  •  ENOUGH already. Enemy containment! The enemy of God is pressing in on many sides … working through the evil actions of some depraved and wicked people.  How do we impact this CHAOS?  Simply … we need to PRAY.  Yes, that IS something we can and should do! Together! In Ephesians 6: 10-19 the Holy Spirit reminds us of the Lord’s directive to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”(verse 11)  and in verse 18 and 19 He tells us “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petitions for all the saints,  and pray.” Check out my BLOG on prayer (June 10, 2016) on prayer for ideas and resources which can be useful! Prayer can and does matter as we come together to the Father at the Throne.

We need to FIGHT the enemy of God together daily by praying for Revival in America! Instead of being haphazard in our prayer lives let’s commit together to be laser focused and disciplined!

“If we fight the Lord’s battles merely by duplicating the way the world does its work, we are like little boys playing with wooden sword pretending they are in the battle while their big brothers are away in some distant bloody land.” Francis Schaeffer

Country Music Star John Rich, from Big and Rich, who had just performed prior to the last singer Jason Aldean said today “People say ‘our thoughts and prayers are with you.’ You ACTUALLY need to pray. You ACTUALLY need to speak to the Lord and ask Him to bring comfort …”

  •  We need PEACE. God’s peace. Is it available in all this chaos? Absolutely. Even when we are mourning, grieving, hurting, angry, in fear, confused. Peace is not something we can conjure up. It is a gift from God Himself.

John 14: 27  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The peace of God which passes all understanding is given to us as we pray, as we give thanks for His blessings which reminds us … and  communicates to the Lord … that we trust Him (even when we don’t “understand” what is happening around us).  Let’s stay in His Word sweet Sister …

Those who love Your law have great peace,
And nothing causes them to stumble.  Psalm 119:165

Coaching Moment!

  • In today’s chaos we are so focused on the chaos … sometimes I think the enemy steals our peace by keeping us focused on the chaos INSTEAD of praying, giving thanks and re-focusing our thoughts on the sovereignty of the Lord and appreciating that we can go to the Holy One of Israel, the Lord God, with our requests.  We need to take our eyes off the chaos  … and turn them towards our Heavenly Father in PRAYER.

James 5:16 “16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Coaching Moment!

  • Let’s commit to PRAY. Proactively. Disciplined. Daily.
  • Let’s focus on His Word and on giving the Lord glory as we use our gifts.
  • Let’s share the HOPE we have because of of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus and His work in our lives.
  • Let’s share that PEACE is available when you know the Lord and surrender to Him in prayer, with thanksgiving.   

DOSES OF COURAGE from real- life-heroes:

Along with you I have been wowed and impressed by the stories of selfless heroism and compassion by the average person and first responders which we have seen in so many of these tragedies and natural disasters.

On our ABC7 News tonight in an interview with Elex Michaelson a gentleman from Temecula,CA  who had been at the concert with his family, Frank Lechuga calmly said with tears in his eyes, “People talk about division in this country … the amount of people who came through yesterday of all races and types of people got together. We’re all one people. Everybody was there to take care of everybody. It was really cool to see.”

Their courage has given me courage.

Courage to DO SOMETHING. Let’s start with prayer and … then let’s DO SOMETHING.

* What is the Lord laying on your heart “TO DO?” (Want to share it with me?)

Quote to Consider:  “A Christian should be a striking likeness of Jesus Christ. If we were what we profess to be and what we should be, we would be pictures of Christ. We are to imitate Him so closely that the world will have no doubt we have been with Jesus.”      Charles Spurgeon

Praying with you for all the victims and their loved ones … of this horrific event  in Las Vegas … as well as all the others over the last months.

Let’s stay in His Word, keeping our feet on Him as our foundation so that WHEN the storms come (and they will) that the TRUTH of God’s Word will be buried so deeply in our hearts that it helps us weather the storm … and helps us help others weather the storms they encounter as well.

Isaiah 41:10 “fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Blessings … and love,

Coach Kathleen

Master Certified Christian Life Coach

www.PersonalRetreatCoaching.com

Posted in Big and Rich Country Music, Care Deeply, Christian Life Coaching, Christian Life coaching, Courage, Courage to Lead, Do Something, fear, Gentle Nudgings, Give Generously, Grateful, John Rich, Life Coaching, life-storms, Love God, Love God! Love Others! Love Yourself!, pain, Peace of God, Pray Faithfully, pray for America, Pray for Las Vegas, Trust God, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Easter. Wrapping our arms around life here and with Jesus!

Gentle Nudgings from Personal Retreat Coaching April, 2017

YOU matter. Yes, you … to Jesus and to me! We all yearn to know that, right? It is innate.  It’s built into our DNA.

Jesus SHOWED us we matter  because we have Good Friday and Easter!

As our precious two year old grandson Zane would say with arms raised as high as his little arms will go … “TADA!!” 

I am writing to you from my favorite writing chair enjoying the sunshine pouring through the window, wind chimes gently tinkling in the back ground. Spring is here and after some 30 inches of rain the grass is Ireland green, the hills have a blanket of yellow wild mustard blossoms and the dwarf orange tree is covered with sweet yummy fragrant blossoms. Some amazing blessings have occurred since I last shared on Gentle Nudgings and some really hard losses have happened.

I have watched God move in many more ways than can be shared here today through dance-and-skip-with-Me-see-I-told-you-I’m-still-alive    God-moments and pain-beyond-what-you-think-you-might-bear events with others I care deeply for and for my own heart.

How is it that we can hold things in such tension with our hearts full of joy and pain simultaneously?

How can we hold things in Juxtapositions in life or just in our hearts?

For example: Celebrating the  amazing BLESSING of being a granma to another sweet teensy baby boy this Spring! (see the photo below I promised!)

New grandson!

And the  deep heart pain of grieving the loss of my dear cousin Judy two short weeks ago to an extremely rare and hard-fought cancer.

Such conflicting emotions … yet I can both love and celebrate our darling little Mason’s arrival and mourn the passing of an amazing, graceful woman I loved and admired.  We can do both … and I am.

Another juxtaposition this weekend:

  • How can we reflect on the depth of our own personal sin and the COST of that sin today on Good Friday and  what it means regarding how MUCH He, Jesus Christ, loved YOU and loved me in order to die for us … not mentioning how He died.
  • Then comes EASTER! And He broke the bonds of death so that YOU and I,  as His followers, could LIVE! WOW. He walked OUT of the grave and “TADA (!!)” He had RISEN FROM THE DEAD!  The stone was rolled away from a tomb and it was empty! (Matthew 28:1-4)

Apologist Jonathon Morrow (jonathanmorrow.org) said on a recent interview on I watched on CBN.com “So when it comes to the Resurrection, we say ‘Well, how do we know Jesus existed?’ Some people even doubt that.  The fact is, we have far more sources for Jesus of Nazareth than we do for many historical figures in the first century.  We have at least 18. Twelve of those are non-Christian sources. There’s more evidence Jesus existed than Julius Caesar. Anyone doubt Caesar existed?” “Jesus appeared to hundreds of people after His death and resurrection in numerous places for over seven weeks after His crucifixion.” And … lives were changed … remember the cowards who would not admit to being His disciples? They were filled with the Holy Spirit after Jesus ascended to Heaven and they were given boldness and power to accompany the free gift of the Holy Spirit! They were then willing with boldness to “proclaim a risen Messiah they were willing to be tortured and die for.”

So … today as we try and get our heads and hearts around what Jesus was willing to do for us in dying an unimaginably cruel death … we can and should also eagerly look forward to celebrating EASTER  in two days and Him rising from the dead so that we can have eternal life!  When we do grieve (and we all will) we don’t grieve as if “we have no hope.” This promise is ONLY because of Jesus … His life, His death and His resurrection. We have much to be grateful for!

John 16:14 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ESV

1 Thessalonians 4:12-14 “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” ESV

We all have the opportunity to know that great promise and to have the certainty of eternal life it gives us. 

See! “Tada!” YOU matter!

Yes, I matter too … may I share a precious example and personal story from this week?

As I babysat our grandsons on Wednesday our oldest grandson, just now 5 years old, after a long discussion filled with questions about his Uncle Nathan (our first son who went to be with Jesus at 1.5 years old) said,

“Granma! You’re old … older than me … so you’ll probably die before me. Right?” To which I answered “Yes … but I’ll save a place in Heaven and I’ll be watching  and waiting for you!” Then my precious little  Jayden answered “Well Granma … I’m going to miss you when you’re dead!” And he scampered off to play! My heart swelled with love and my eyes filled with tears as I called after him “I’ll miss you too!”

I guess since I’ve experienced cancer four times now … those tender words from one of our grandsons all of which I can honestly tell you I’d give my life for … delivered a much needed kiss-to-my-heart. Wow. My life mattered. Wow. Someone would miss me.

Wow … we have the ability to know FOR SURE that we (yes, Jayden and I and YOU and I)  will see each other again and live forever because we MATTER to God the Father, to Jesus Christ His Son and to the Holy Spirit … His free gift given to us as Believers in Him. WOW.  Isn’t that something? Wow!       

With that in mind as you think about Good Friday and the crucifixion of Christ for you and for me … and celebrate the RESURRECTION of Jesus on Easter Sunday  …. please know that I join you in that celebration!  I look forward to seeing you both on this side of Heaven AND the other side!

Hey sweet Sister if I go before you … I’ll be watching for you! 🙂

Have a blessed Easter! YOU matter … to Jesus and to me!

Coach Kathleen

Master Certified Christian and Professional Life Coach

www.PersonalRetreatCoaching.com

The Cross

Posted in Ask questions, Bible, Cancer, Children make you smile!, Christian Life Coaching, Courage, Courage to Lead, Easter, Gentle Nudgings, Grateful, Gratitude, Hope, Jesus, Jesus was a man of JOY, Jonathan Morrow, Joy in the Lord!, Life Coaching, Love God, Mentoring women, pain, Persevere, Resurrection, Thankfulness, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Merry Christmas! Simply Grateful!

May I be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas!  What an amazing gift we have given to us by God Himself … His Son Jesus! I join you in being Simply Grateful!

Tonight we enjoyed  our Christmas Eve candlelight service at church, caroling with friends at friends’ home who are shut in with health challenges, a yummy Stonefire Grill Keen Green salad with my sweet husband … and I sit here snuggling with my little dog Ber watching a show on “European Christmas.”  I am gearing up to wrap a couple presents and decorate our small living tree. Hmmm.  California Christmas at our home is “cold” (I know … relative, right? Not evening freezing but we can see our breath and it’s nippy! 🙂   It rained 2.5 inches last night … and this evening I listened to Country Christmas music as I delivered a few of my late Christmas greeting cards to the post office (more to go!).  

Albeit I am enjoying some family and familiar traditions this year … it is not the same as some years. But isn’t that the way life is?  Seasons change, traditions may change … times change. People change. Life is about change.

Some change is wonderful right? We could all list examples of changes that we are overjoyed to receive.

Some change is tragic and heartbreaking it hurts and it’s hard.

If we are honest  with ourselves we have all experienced both. And … there are people in our lives … right here at Christmas time that are experiencing both.

Resounding Joy … or … Deafening Pain.  

Let’s pay close attention to those around us this season … part of the blessing of this season is the distinct tradition and reminder to focus on Others. We buy presents for others. We visit others. We make the call, text or send a card to others.  Let’s pay close attention to watching and listening and waiting for others to share how they really are and then show them we care.  This is truly a GIFT to pay attention to the hearts of those around us.

Let’s pray for discernment. Let’s pray to have ears to hear and eyes to see … and then the willingness to DO something.  

Romans 12:15 says “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

And remember …. Jesus is our hope! He came to bring us the HOPE of eternity! We can receive that gift given to us by a loving Heavenly Father!  He is the truly the ONLY thing that doesn’t change. Isn’t that a fabulous gift! Let’s spend time this Christmas Season giving this time, thought and thankfulness.

When we are hurting let’s remember … He will never leave us or forsake us.

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 

And let us remember that He came to give us life abundant!

John 10:10  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Merry Christmas precious Sister! May you have a tender, blessed and focused Christmas! Focus on Jesus … the gift He is and all the blessings He has given to us. Count them. Savor them.

Simply Grateful with you!

Blessings,

Coach Kathleen

Master Certified Christian and Professional Life Coach

www.PersonalRetreatCoaching.com

Posted in Blessings Journal, Care Deeply, Choose JOY, Christian Life coaching, Christmas, Do Something, Gentle Nudgings, Give Generously, Give Love, Give Time, Grateful, Gratitude, Gratitude Journal, Hope, Jesus, Jesus was a man of JOY, Joy in the Lord!, Life Coaching, Listen Carefully, Listen to God, Listen to people, pain, Pray Faithfully, Prayer, Thankfulness, Trust God, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

“There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.”

Have  I told you lately how grateful I am for you in my life? It is true! I am grateful for you!

Ephesians 1:16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is nearly Thanksgiving and each one of us, whether or not we are around a table full of people or sitting alone with the Lord,  have much to be thankful for. Here are a couple of thoughts I have had the last few days as I prepare for Thanksgiving in my spirit, my heart and yes … buying the turkey :).

  • Some things in life, people in life, events in life, etc are SO easy to be thankful for!
  • On the other hand … there is TENSION sometimes when the Lord tells me (via His Word or the gentle nudgings of the Holy Spirit) to be thankful for things, people, events, etc in life which in our own nature …  are not so easy to be thankful for.  

Something I find myself reminding myself as well as clients I coach individually or in groups, women in the Bible studies I teach and host or women to whom I speak at retreats …  that our “comfort zone”  honestly … has absolutely nothing to do with it.  🙂

Please stay with me here … let me explain …

When the Lord calls us to love and be thankful for ALL things He expects us to obey Him whether or not it makes sense or is comfortable. In fact, in God’s economy, sometimes (many times?) we are called to obey the Lord in ways that may be opposite to our human reasoning. One of these things that He asks of us is to “give thanks.”  Giving Thanks In ALL Circumstances is perhaps and at times uncomfortable or nonsensical. Why then should we obey Him? Maybe it shows the Lord we trust Him. He alone knows what is “down the road” and He has told us He will work all things together for our good (Romans 8:29-29). He promises this.  Our reasoning is not His, our thoughts are not His thoughts. He is God. We are not.   He calls us to a child-like faith.     Give some time to that thought … 

In just a few of the many scriptures in the Old and New Testament which speak to us being thankful:

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you
  • Colossians 3:15-17 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
  • Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
  • Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your  minds in Christ Jesus.

Keeping our focus and our minds on what we are grateful  and thankful for and being watchful and eager for how God is working even (especially) during tough times is essential to keep fear and worry in check.  We offer our concerns to the Lord in prayer “which leads us into deeper spiritual territory where God can transform us.” pp 1358  Beyond Suffering Bible … Where  Struggles Seem Endless, God’s Hope is Infinite

Always something to be thankful for!

In times that you may be struggling with fear or worry or anxiety for one of many reasons …  I encourage you to be disciplined. Be mentally tough. Control your thoughts. Give your your worries, cares and concerns to the Lord in prayer. Listen to and read His Word. Listen to the Holy Spirit as He gently nudges you. Be determined to GIVE THANKS in prayer, in worship, in music!  Move forward. Be courageous … you can do this! Lead and influence those in your circle using the gifts He has built into you … for His glory in a hurting world.

Coaching Moment:  Gratitude is an everyday healthy habit … and is choosing to be obedient to the Word!  

Ideas: Write down 3 things Daily in a BLESSINGS or GRATITUDE JOURNAL which you are thankful for. IE A person or relationship, something simple in your life or that made you smile yesterday, something you earned or were given,  a treasured memory, etc. (Be creative!)   

  • Let’s be thankful together!  Thank God in prayer daily.  Say thank you to someone unexpected in your life. Be known for being a grateful, thankful, gracious person. Model thankfulness!
  • Rest.  As my Mom says ….  Take time to “recharge your batteries” this Thanksgiving.
  • Do something to bless and encourage someone else within your reach. BE part of the solution. Who can you serve this Thanksgiving?
  • Trust God … live out your faith! As my friend Judy says “Your life may be the only Bible some people ever ‘read.’ ”  May others see us all as the “‘body” of  Believers as being “thankful.”

Thankful!

Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!

Coach Kathleen

Master Certified Christian and Professional Life Coach

www.PersonalRetreatCoaching.com

Posted in Be Happy, Beyond Suffering Bible, Blessings Journal, Christian Life Coaching, Christian Life coaching, Courage, Courage to Lead, Do Something, Gentle Nudgings, Give Generously, Give Love, Give Time, Gratitude, Gratitude Journal, Healthy habits, Hope, Joni and Friends International Disability Ministry, Joy in the Lord!, Leadership, Life Coaching, Listen Carefully, Listen to God, Listen to people, LIVE JOYFULLY, Love God, Mother Teresa, Prayer, Thankfulness, Thanksgiving, Trust God, Uncategorized

Is Life Swinging Wildly This Autumn? Resources to Help!

Gentle Nudgings Coaching E-letter

November 2016                    

Happy Autumn! This season is truly my favorite time of year … hands down! The days are cooler, the air crisper … we have a few changing leaves here in So Cal, cinnamon brooms delight the senses and pumpkin-is-pumpkin everywhere! Yum!

  • Before I jump into the content today … a quick reminder that my Fall Special Coaching Package ends November 30.  If you are interested in the details please contact me asap!

Do you write?

I have had such a remarkable swing of emotions, activities and events this Autumn. I have been quiet but not because of lack of material to write about, to ponder, to study His Word about, to laugh about … to cry about. WHAT a crazy swing we have … maybe you have … been on.  I have been writing … but I haven’t been publishing on my BLOG. Just when I was on the edge-of-my-seat ready to send … the SWING picked up speed again! 

Can you grab a cup of coffee or tea? Sit down for a minute with me? 

I want to share with you a story … this is about a little blonde girl who loved swings.  She grew up on a cattle ranch in a very rural area of southern Colorado, northern New Mexico. Her small rural red-brick school housed children from Kindergarten through twelfth grade. Everything happened in that red brick school house from plays to classes to basketball and volleyball games. The play yard had the typical teeter-totters, merry-go-rounds, slides … and yes, swings. Everyone would race to the swing sets at recess or before / after school for the coveted swings. Once on the swing … THE goal was to swing wildly but rhythmically and go HIGH enough to see over the bars! Can you feel the wind in your hair yet? Are you giggling? Terrified? Elated? If you are thinking about who that little girl might have been … you’ve probably guessed that it is indeed me. Or maybe … it was you on your playground?

Our grandsons were staying with us for a few days recently and our oldest grandson, who is four and a half 🙂 is much like his Granma wanting to go higher and faster when he was swinging in our local park.  Watching him smile and giggle as he flew through the air brought back many memories of hours spent doing the same as a little girl.

Where as I loved those days as a care-free child … swinging (other than the Country-Western Swing dancing) is not really my first choice these busy-adult days but … this Autumn it has felt in many ways like I have been on a crazy swing! Are you tracking with me?

  • Besides the politics of the day here in the U.S.A. … (see below for a couple of helpful resources I found helpful as a Believer … if you’re interested) …  here is a quick calendar of my wild but rhythmic life-swinging this Autumn to quickly catch you up to speed.

September went from the sweet HIGH SWINGS of family times and launching a bi-weekly Bible study using ENTRUSTED by Beth Moore on 2 Timothy and the Courageous Leadership Boot Camp. to the  yet again gripping and tearful day of “9-11” where I watched the “Timeline of Terror.” I know it may seem crazy but I do not want to forget what happened and I do want to be reminded of the amazing hero stories and COURAGE that was seen tucked into that day that changed our country … and many lives and families … forever. I wrote you that day but I did not send it. My emotions were swinging pretty high and low. 

October began with the SWING going HIGH(!) … up into the Rockies with a beautiful autumn drive  to Breckenridge, Colorado with my sweet sister and mother-in-laws for a women’s retreat where God met us in tender ways in the amazing beauty of golden Aspens! We also had supper with my husband, my father and brother-in-laws. This was followed by a wonderful visit with two of my cousins in Denver and my college roomie and her family.  Then I headed south to the Ranch to spend a couple days with Mom, seeing some of my side of the family and then my Mom, sister and I head to the International Balloon Festival in Albuquerque. Wow … talk about swinging HIGH!  Beautiful!

SWING LOW … Breast cancer awareness month always reminds me of some of the most difficult times in my life battling breast cancer. Hey, did you get your Mammogram? A mammogram saved my life once … I recommend it if you haven’t already done so this year! Check out the Bible study and discussion guide I wrote to compliment the amazing DVD / CD MORE BEAUTIFUL by http://www.musicforthesoul.org/resources/more-beautiful  The focus of the More Beautiful Bible study / discussion guide is to come beside people going through the valley of cancer, with special emphasis on breast cancer. I pray it is of benefit to you or someone you love! 

While you’re there please check out their website www.MusicfortheSoul.org  Wow. Quite a ministry! Music for the Soul has a plethora of healing songs for the wounded heart on so many issues which could benefit you when you are struggling on your journey of life. On their website here is a quote I love “We all build walls to shield ourselves from deep pain, guilt, and shame. Music has a way of seeping through the cracks in those walls and opening up the heart. Then a message of hope and healing can be placed in the opened heart.” 

They have a new project for those dealing with the wounded hearts from abortion.  If you are interested in donating and more information please check it out at http://www.musicforthesoul.org/updates/new-projects/    I urge you to listen to one of the three demo songs Hope Will Rise Again.  WOW.  Powerful! Let me know if you have questions I can answer.

SWING HIGH: In October more coaching, group coaching, Bible studies, women’s ministry and babysitting our grandsons and family time with our oldest son and daughter-in-law (including a visit to the famous Underwood Family Farms Harvest Festival). The grand finale of October was a trip north to the Bay area to stay with our youngest son and daughter-in-law where we got go to their church plant and enjoy time and activities with them.

All of those events felt much like  fun swinging on the playground back-in-the-day! 

But … in among the highs are also those lows … swinging and life includes both. Why is it in life we think we should only feel the euphoria of the high? Hmmm. We are interesting creatures to be sure. Remember that the valleys are where the rivers of life run and the trees and grass grow … it does not mean the valleys are easy. 

As you know I really love to give to you food for thought … coaching ideas … and resources! This month let’s talk about having COURAGE when fear and pain (swinging low) is a very real part of life! There has been much angst and fear during these final months, weeks and days of our political season here in the U.S.A.  as well in many personal lives, families, church communities, neighborhoods, etc. for many untold reasons .

What do I recommend you consider during these turbulent times?

I recommend you:

A)  Dig deep in the Word of God … it is only there we find our hope as the Holy Spirit teaches us how to stand … on what to stand.  KNOW the GOSPEL. Know the TRUTH … God’s Word. You cannot discern counterfeit dollars if you aren’t really experienced with the real dollars. You cannot discern counterfeit truth unless you know God’s Word which is THE Truth. It couldn’t be more important for you know God’s Word than it is right now.   

B) Surround your heart and mind with great courageous influencers. Read.  Listen. Study. Run with / learn about the courageous leaders currently and historically. They don’t have to be famous or well-known … most often they are tucked-into-every day life -heros. (IE People who love the Lord  and that have lives and character that would please Him) These are people of mentor-influencer ability.  I urge you to be around people of HOPE and “YES you can” attitudes! I urge you to work at being a mentor to someone else and disciple the younger generation in God’s Word! Use your gift, whatever it is,  to glorify God and take the Gospel to the next generation!    

Special Resources as you DIG DEEP:

  • As God would have it we are working our way through the ENTRUSTED Bible study by Beth Moore “for such a time as this!” I highly recommend it! Two great quotes to whet your appetite to pick this study up and dig deep (1) “God has a plan for you. He has entrusted you with the gospel message and has gifted you to carry it to the furthest reaches of this planet. He’s calling you to be His mighty servant, willing to face whatever difficulty you encounter as you carry out His mission.” (2) “(the) titanic goal for this series (ENTRUSTED) is to become mighty servants of God loosed on the globe with the gospel (using our gifts). To do so, we need to be educated and equipped… Read 1 Peter 4:12-16″  I couldn’t agree more!   Check it out!
  • BEYOND SUFFERING Bible by Joni Eareckson Tada. Wow!  Newly released … PERFECT timing! From the book bio on ChristianBooks.com “There is hardly a person who doesn’t know someone dealing with a disability, disease, chronic illness, or other form of personal suffering. The Beyond Suffering Bible is the first study Bible to directly address those who suffer and the people who love and care for them. From bestselling author, singer, and radio host Joni Eareckson Tada and the experts at Joni and Friends Christian Institute on Disability, the Beyond Suffering Bible is filled with thousands of notes and features that invite you into a conversation about suffering and its place in your life. Each feature has been carefully created to provide you with valuable information, meaningful encouragement, and challenging applications as you encounter God’s Word.”  Website: www.JoniandFriends.org or other book sellers.

 As crazy as these times are … the SWINGS are wildly going HIGH and dangerously LOW … Christian Sister it is time to “get your game face on!” It is time to dig DEEPLY into the Word of God to be EQUIPPED and EDUCATED to bring hope to a frightened world: family, friends, neighbors.  It is difficult to be that peculiar person … to be different in this world of folks that are fearful, hurting, lonely, marginalized and yes, even hostile at times. But we have the Gospel which is the HOPE we can share with this world!  Are there things we can and should do as we see people around us hurting, marginalized, isolated? Yes. Today is THAT day.

Be courageous! Be a leader! Share your story of how His story and your story intersected and your life changed! Use your gifts for His glory! Simple, right? Yes, not easy … but indeed it is simple to share THAT joy! Write it down! Get “your game face on” and get ready for the delights of the SWING!  Sometimes high and sometimes low … He will be with you either way! I promise!

Remember: 

1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light;

 Now … speaking of the CRAZY wild swinging that’s been happening in our country … what can you do before TUESDAY , November 8th if you live in the USA?

A. PRAY! Pray and pray some more! Pray about your vote. Pray for our country and states as we go to the polls.

B. VOTE on Tuesday, November 8th. Please remember that the BIBLE needs to inform our vote.  The Truth is established only by God in His Word.  In my opinion, as a citizen, it is not only our privilege but our responsibility to vote.  I do understand that the situation is difficult and the choices are tough but … I urge you to vote.   I have already voted.

C. Be educated: As we work to become informed value voters we look for resources to help inform us from a Scriptural viewpoint. 

Some resources I have personally found valuable this political season are below. I am simply sharing resources which have been helpful to me.  The choice and your vote is your own. 

Today’s podcast on November 4th was informational for sure.

This electoral guide has some great articles. You may or may not agree but I found them helpful.

So as you SWING HIGH or SWING LOW please be reminded in 2 Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” ESV.  Our hope and the hope for all people is in the completed work of Jesus. Our hope is not in the powers of the government. Our hope is in the Lord. We need to be ready to share our Joy with others!

From Beyond Suffering Bible … Where Struggles Seem Endless,God’s Hope is Infinite “Courage and faithfulness. The true servant of Christ has the courage to do what is right and needed rather than what is convenient or acceptable. Paul’s challenge (to Timothy) was to hold fast to the  Word of Truth and trust in the One who said he would never fail or abandon us. (Heb. 13:5). pp. 1385

Stand firm. Enjoy the swinging … maybe it is time to go find a park and just be a kid again for a few minutes! Smile, enjoy the breeze, remember that “He has you.”

Blessings,

Coach Kathleen

Master Certified Christian and Professional Life Coach

www.PersonalRetreatCoaching.com 

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Play Adventurously … Do You Think I Can Be an Olympic Athlete?

Gentle Nudgings                                                                     August  2016

Play Adventurously … Do You Think I Can Be an Olympic Athlete?

It is August and I cannot believe it!  Summer is nearly over … wow. Have you Played Adventurously this summer?  And  … to answer the looming question ….yes, I have been toying with what I could do to become an Olympic Athlete (See story below :).

Before you take in that story about my preparation for the 2020 Olympics J … :

  • I have not forgotten you! I recognize that I am a month late in my Gentle Nudgings this summer but not because I haven’t been writing. Oh, I’ve been writing and writing and writing but I’ve also been waiting and waiting and waiting on the Holy Spirit on what I should send you! I have SO much on my heart and stirring in my soul! More than you probably may want to hear!
  • I was asked by one of my clients to speak into and give ideas on what and how to pray during this crazy time in global history. I have written my thoughts per her request (plus a few more) and the link to the FREE download on my website in my STORE as a “Free Resource of Encouragement” for this fresh-off-the- press article Hug Tightly and Persevere with Courage! There IS Hope! Even in Crazy Times. Sorry to make you click on a link to find it but it is a bit long for a Coaching E-letter. Don’t let that scare you off! I truly DO think there ARE things one can DO during this time of CRAZINESS. Please read it and see if it gives you food for thought!
  • I am offering a Summer / Fall Coaching Package Special and I have a few coaching slots which just opened up! If you are interested in checking that out for yourself or someone you know please contact me directly! My coaching session package price will be increasing on November 10th so call / email right away if you are interested! Price for individual sessions will be the same until January 1, 2017.
  • I am currently working 3 Group opportunities. If you are interested in any of these please indicate by emailing me. A) Courage in Leadership Coaching            One –Day Retreat (if you have already contacted me please know you are on my list!)       B)  Courage in Leadership Meet Up  C) Courage in Leadership Bootcamp (This will be an on- going, long term commitment … read on at the end of this Gentle Nudgings E-letter)

All Courage in Leadership Events will be driven by the FACTS that:

  1. We are in Spiritual Warfare … the battle is not only for your life but for those you love and serve. It is necessary to take a STAND for the Lord God!
  2. Integrity and Character: Integrity and character is necessary but in today’s cultures, in our country and yours, do we stand for these virtues or not? I say YES.
  3. We need to have the Courage to be the Leader we are called to be and use our gifts accordingly. If we are alive … we are leaders! Let’s lead our children with courage, lead others in our families, friends, neighborhoods, churches and communities … anywhere in our sphere of influence … with godly leadership. We need to have the courage to follow godly examples and leaders. Our ultimate leader is Jesus and we must follow in the very “dust of the Rabbi.”
  4. Be obedient to God … LIVE out what we say we believe and follow Jesus. Be willing to be different. Be righteous and strive toward holiness as He calls us to in Scripture. (1 Peter 1:16 and Leviticus 20:26 and 11:44)
  5. Study His Word: Know the difference between obedience (right) and sin (wrong) and know how discern the difference. Be able to listen to the Holy Spirit and Trust God (whether or not you understand it).
  6. Rely on the Lord. The fight is big … our logic, the culture, the enemy of God will tell us we cannot win. But if we are obeying God and truly trust Him … He will protect us as we fight and He will get all the glory.
  7. Be equipped for spiritual warfare but we don’t war as the world does. Be a woman of peace. Be Still. Be an Uncommon Woman … your “ordinary life” can be extraordinary for Him!
  8. Be Willing to step into uncharted territory and train like never before.

Play Adventurously …. … Do You Think I Can Be an Olympic Athlete?

I DO love watching the Olympics and especially the stories of overcoming which they share! The one-liners are powerful! It was such a welcome relief from all the craziness of the news cycles! Wonderful competition in the name of sport and unity in athletic excellence as each athlete does their personal best! Love it! It always encourages me to HAVE Courage as I watch them adventurously play (and work both hard and disciplined) at sports they love and excel in!

So … as my husband of 38 years and I have enjoyed the Olympic Games together these days … from the Opening Ceremonies  to the Closing Ceremonies  … we high-five, we laugh, I cry (he’s not big on crying J), we re-wind and watch complex athletic feats, we celebrate!

In amongst all the fun as we have together been watching these amazing folks … somehow we came up with a challenge about me (yes … me) becoming an Olympic athlete. WOW. What do you think? So … as I play adventurously with this crazy idea in my mind … as comical as this thought is … I am mentally playing with what sport  I could compete in and what would it take for me to do that. It is exciting to think about!

Hmmm.  High diving? Nope … I do not swim and no, I don’t jump off 3 stories up from anything  … on purpose.

Hmmm. Track and field? Well, I did run track back in the day especially loving the 800 meters … although not very fast. Hurdles? Naw … I fell right over those hurdles and I’m not into the pain. And it is pretty funny thinking about me trying the high jump … all 5 foot 2 inches of me … I did try this years ago  albeit not successfully. I ended up in a giggling heap!

Hmmm.  Gymnastics? I was a cheerleader for years and did some gymnastics but I am no Simone the Olympic Champion! I loved it though! I can still do a cartwheel but forget aerial anything!

Is there distance walking? I’ve trained for and completed 2 AVON walks against breast cancer (39.3 miles twice) and also a local, nationally known half-marathon.  I could do distance walking, right?  (Hope your smiling or even laughing with me by now!)

Hmmm. Shooting sports? Maybe that has possibility as I’m not sure my body could be beaten into the submission necessary of any other sports available. Although, who knows? I’ll keep playing with the idea. J  Ahhh! Maybe horse sports!

Okay … so maybe I’m landing on “shooting” sports. What you say? Well, I think that Lisa Bevere in Lioness Arising hits on some major nerves I’m feeling … including the fact that a Lioness “hunts in the dark.”

I am a hunter at heart  … that’s how I shop  😉 … and  as I tell you in my latest article (LINK) that in my prayer life and in my heart I have declared WAR on the enemy. The battlefield is at hand. It IS time to get serious and to show up as Hannahs and Esthers … “for such a time as this.”  I am HUNTING the enemy of God and the dark is where he lives.

Numbers 23:24 says, “These people rise up like a lioness; like a majestic lion they stand.”

There is something inside of me these days … and likely inside of you … which feels like a lioness arising right now with all going on! The IRISH in me is STIRRING in a BIG way! It is TIME to arise, to STAND up in His strength, kneel before Him and go forth into this warfare! (Romans 15:2)

If there was ever a time we need to pray and stand for Jesus … together … it is NOW.

I am BEYOND tired of what I am seeing going on all around us in my country and in yours as the readers of Gentle Nudgings are on almost every continent.  (Download and read Hug Tightly and Persevere with Courage! There IS Hope! Even in Crazy Times …” for the full story)

Together I believe, through the grace of the Lord, we as followers of Jesus can be as Lisa says in Lioness Arising, a “stunning representation of strength, fiercely protecting our young, lending our voice to the silenced, living in the light and hunting in the dark and … raising a collective roar of prayer that changes everything. Jesus, after all, is the lion of the Tribe of Judah.”

  • DO YOU WANT to be part of developing courage and the strength to lead in these uncertain times?
  • Are you in a place of influence through which you could lead people into a deeper relationship with Jesus in discipleship?
  • Do you have family or women around you that are eager to find a strong woman of faith to walk with and you’d like to step up but don’t know quite how that would look or what you can do to train and prepare during this time of spiritual warfare in our world?
  • Do you have an Olympic athlete inside of you just eager to work hard, be (or become) disciplined and show up for Jesus?  Are you ready to Do Something and be part of the solution instead of the problem? To get up off the “bench” and into the game changing your part of the world?

As we have seen by the example of the Olympic athletes if we but Persevere with Courage in our lives and in our walks with the Lord by 1). Digging Deep 2) Praying and 3) Standing in the Gap and Doing Something (see the article on my website) … don’t you think we’d collectively make a difference? I have FULL confidence that we would!

A couple of my favorite quotes from the Olympics: (I don’t whose quotes to give them credit, sorry)

  • “Success is because of adversity not despite it.”
  • Storms make trees make deeper roots.
  • The hard days are the days that make champions!”

Olympians are admired for their self-discipline and their commitment. Each follower of Jesus is called to the same if not at greater levels of those values and … we are given everything we need to accomplish the challenge we have been given!

1 Corinthians 9:24- (ESV) Biblegateway.com “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.  Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”

Do you want to join me in learning to “Hunt in the Dark” for the enemy of God?

Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord living more courageously and joyfully in the light of and with the Lord?

Do you want to pray as a Hannah and make a bold stand like an Esther?

ARE YOU  INTERESTED in joining the Courage in Leadership Coaching events, group coaching (online and live), personal coaching, local meet ups … and joining me in prayer for our country and your country September 11, 2016? Would you like to join us for a beautiful Retreat Get Away?

If so …please take the initiative to contact me, raise up your hand and join us in collectively taking a Courageous STAND! If you are interested contact me and I’ll  get you the details that would be involved in this commitment.

This will be the beginning of the Personal Retreat Coaching Ranch.  A place (live and virtual) which you can become part of a Bootcamp specifically designed to encourage you to grow as a leader to have courage for the spiritual warfare we are and will experience.

And finally out of John Maxwell’s book:  The Maxwell Daily Reader: 365 Days of Insight to Develop the Leader Within You and Influence Those Around You   (pp 212)

Courageous Leadership

“When I began my leadership career … I fell short of my expectations. How did I turn things around? By making small decisions that were difficult. With each one, I gained more confidence and more courage, and I began to change. The process took me four years. At the end of that time, I had learned many valuable lessons, and I wrote the following to help me cement what I had learned.

Courageous Leadership Simply Means I’ve Developed:

  1. Convictions that are stronger than my fears.
  2. Vision that is clearer than my doubts
  3. Spiritual sensitivity that is louder than popular opinion.
  4. Self-esteem that is deeper than self-protection
  5. Appreciation for discipline that is greater than my desire for leisure
  6. Dissatisfaction that is more forceful than the status  quo
  7. Poise that is more unshakeable than panic
  8. Risk taking that is stronger than safety seeking
  9. Right actions that are more robust than rationalization.
  10. A desire to see potential reached more than to see people appeased.

You don’t have to be great to become a person of courage. You just need to want to reach your potential and to be willing to trade what seems good in the moment for what’s best for your potential. That’s something you can do regardless of your level of natural talent.”

— Talent is Never Enough

“Make a small decision today that will increase your confidence and leadership courage.”

Are you willing to “Play Adventurously” and challenge the Olympic Athlete in you? Join us! I can guarantee one thing … it will be exciting! “Jesus take the wheel!” Here we go!

Oh … but before you go … please check out this YouTube by Keith and Kristyn Getty with their song “O Church Arise”! A Clarion Call of sorts! Absolutely AWESOME! And … exactly what we’re talking about!  (Copy and paste into your search bar) https://youtu.be/x63cVewXAeg

Blessings,

Coach Kathleen

Master Certified Christian and Professional Life Coach www.PersonalRetreatCoaching.com

Posted in Bible, Courage, Courage to Lead, Do Something, Gentle Nudgings, God's Language of prayer, Hope, Hug Tightly, Hunting, Leadership, Life Coaching, Listen to people, Love God, Love God! Love Others! Love Yourself!, Olympic Athlete, Olympics, Persevere, Play Adventurously, Pray Faithfully, pray for America, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Forgive Freely

This week’s topic on forgiving freely always resonates closely to our hearts … doesn’t it?  What is “forgiveness?”  One definition is giving up the right to punish someone else for hurting you, essentially setting them free. It doesn’t necessarily mean forgetting it or pretending the offense or hurt didn’t happen … it is just making a conscious decision to release it … and them.  In reality it also releases the person offering forgiveness.    

  • Have you ever felt as though the hurt was so very deep that it was difficult to forgive someone? I have.
  • Have you ever asked someone for forgiveness for something you said or did that brought pain to their lives … whether or not you meant to or knew it? I have.
  • Have you needed to ask for God’s help in forgiving someone or knowing how to ask for forgiveness? I have.
  • Do we daily ask God for forgiveness for grieving Him by not obeying Him and surrendering to Him? My goal  … not 100% though!

Forgiveness is given to us by God through His Jesus. Forgiveness for others is required by God. (See the Lord’s Prayer)  We’ll start and end there. It isn’t a suggestion for us as Believers. It is a commandment which we need to work proactively at obeying. We need to ask for forgiveness for our sins from our Father (most important point of needed forgiveness!) … of those sins we know and don’t know … being open to the Holy Spirit to show us areas we may not even be aware of.    We need to move past our mistakes and sins … not living in our past, true. Some would say this is forgiving ourselves and personally I don’t have a problem with identifying this process in this way. We are free to do be forgiving of ourselves having asked and been forgiven by the Lord and others. 

I know … this all may seem a bit complicated and difficult … but it is truly simple (even if hard) and given to us at the end-of-the-day by God for our blessing. 

Whether or not asking forgiveness from God and keeping “short accounts” with others is our “strong suit” and is easy for us … it does not matter. Again … it does not matter. We are to do so anyway.    To be a “clean conduit” for God’s love and grace to work through us we need keep these “short accounts” with both God and people asking forgiveness freely.  

As you know, as a Coach, I love to point you toward resources which you can seek out and add to your tool box to equip you to move forward, excel in life and to help you mature as a Christian.  A great ministry that I follow and have for years is Family Life Today, a department of CRU. (Campus Crusade for Christ).  An article on their website regarding Forgiveness, “4 Steps to Experiencing One of the Most Powerful Marriage-Builders of All Time: Forgiveness” cited the following:

‘Forgiveness says, ‘I refuse to dwell on my anger and hurt.’ It is an essential step to healing and restoring oneness. Christ’s death on the cross—His forgiveness—restored our relationship to God. Trust that God can use your forgiveness to restore your relationship and change you both for the better. Here are 4 steps that will help you express and experience forgiveness:

  1. Do it privately: Go to God in prayer and say, “God, I forgive _________ for hurting me. I choose to give up the right to punish __________.”
  2. Do it publicly and specifically: Go to the person and be specific, “I forgive you for ________.”
  3. Do it graciously: Keep the bigger goal in mind, which is restoring your relationship and rebuilding trust. That means giving up your right to punish!
  4. Do it generously: Acknowledge your own failings to maintain balance; not one of us is perfect! And once you’ve forgiven, refuse to bring up the matter again in a hurtful way.”

   Another resource which is excellent is the book “Choosing Forgiveness: Your Journey to Freedom” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss which reminds us about the healing power of forgiveness. I recommend this book to help you process your wounded heart! She says “there are no magic words or secret formulas but there are biblical principles that can help you break free from the bitterness and pain of unforgiveness.”

There are over a 100 references to forgive and forgiveness that I could find in the Old and the New Testaments. God’s forgiveness toward us for our sin, our forgiveness towards others and the need to seek forgiveness from others are sprinkled from the beginning to the end of His Word to us! We are freely forgiven through Christ paying for our sins on the cross … thus, we are to forgive others which not only sets them free but it sets us free as well!

Just a few scriptural references:

  • Psalm 32:1 (ESV) “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,whose sin is covered.”
  • Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
  • Colossians 3:13(NIV)Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
  • Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

 We are created by God in incredible ways aren’t we? We are truly “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Our bodies are not meant to harbor the ill effects of unforgiveness. It actually is not just a spiritual condition but it impacts us physically, emotionally and mentally as well. Check out the news story on CBN.com “The Deadly Consequences of Unforgiveness” by Lorie Johnson. She says in that story that medical books classify unforgiveness as a disease because it makes people sick and keeps them that way.

With that in mind, forgiveness therapy is now being used to help treat diseases, such as cancer.

“It’s important to treat emotional wounds or disorders because they really can hinder someone’s reactions to the treatments, even someone’s willingness to pursue treatment,” Standiford explained.

Of all cancer patients, 61 percent have forgiveness issues, and of those, more than half are severe, according to research by Dr. Michael Barry, a pastor at Cancer Treatment Centers of America and the author of the book, The Forgiveness Project.”

“Unforgiveness is like drinking poison yourself and waiting for the other person to die.” Marianne Williamson

Will you Forgive Freely and perfectly 100% of the time? No, not on this side of Heaven … but … we press in and continue to go for the goal of … forgiving freely and keeping “short accounts” with the Lord and with people!

Coaching Questions:  I encourage you to journal your answers!

  1. Do you have to work at forgiving and asking for forgiveness or does it feel natural for you? Why?
  2. Are you able to trust God when something bad occurs in your life (or around you) and let Him be the judge? Can you release it to Him?
  3. Jesus forgave us and paid the price for our sin with His life. How has Jesus’ forgiveness on the cross impacted your life?
  4. Is there anyone that the Lord has laid on your heart which you know you need to forgive? Is there anyone you need to ask forgiveness from?
  5. Is there anything that you need to ask the Lord for forgiveness for?

I will ask you to “sit” with this in prayer, journaling and reflection for a couple weeks. We’ll chat again via Gentle Nudgings in July!

This reflection on forgiveness gives us a great jumping off point to where I believe the Lord would have for us as we pray for this wonderful, yet dramatically changing, country we live in… America. My heart grieves for what I see going on in so many ways. But the Lord has given us His wisdom in His Word, the Bible, on where to go with these concerns and what we CAN and SHOULD do as followers of Christ:  

 2 Chronicles 7:14 “… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways (seek forgiveness), then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

 May we do so! May it be so! May God Bless and protect America!

 Blessings!

Coach Kathleen

Master Certified Christian and Professional Life Coach

www.PersonalRetreatCoaching.com

Posted in Courage, Forgive freely, Forgiveness, Forgiveness and cancer, forgiveness and health, pray for America, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Listen Carefully

My Gentle Nudgings blog weekly this week is reflections on Listening Carefully … last week was on praying faithfully. I would say this week … both praying and listening certainly applies to our lives in a large way.  There has been much to pray about this week nationally and internationally as yet again we have experienced terrorism in tragic ways that have impacted so many in Florida … and we have prayed. There are many news stories which rip at our hearts and end up being carried to the Throne in our prayers. And … in our own lives and those we love we have and know of countless stories of heartache that take us to our very knees with the only (and best) way to help … is to pray to our Father in Heaven.   Praying is the “language of God” as we talked about last week according to David Ireland in The Weapon of Prayer  … we talk to God in prayer. 

This week we’ll talk about “Listening Carefully.

What is listening?  According to Dictionary.com “listening” is “to concentrate on hearing something or to take heed; pay attention.

Today … I want us to think on several angles regarding Listening Carefully:

  • We are to Listen Carefully to the Lord
  • We are to Listen Carefully to the people He has in our lives to show our value and love for them, in Christ.
  • We are to be careful to whom we Listen Carefully to
  • S. God listens to us (hundreds of Scriptures telling us!) (* Prayer!)

Shall we start with Listening Closely to people He has in our lives? How do we listen to people?

  • Let’s lean in and listen with our full attention. I can point out examples of women I respect in leadership who have taught me much in observation of this gift in them. My friend and sister in Christ Nancy Dornan is so embedded when you are in a conversation with her that you would think you are THE only one in the room. In truth, there is more than likely always literally a line of people waiting to visit with Nancy but you would never know that by her attentiveness. She is a master at leaning in, listening carefully, caring deeply and looking through your eyes into your heart to know how to pray for you!  A very good reason to be attentive in listening!
  • Yes, listen carefully to the words of people but also listen to their body language. Listen carefully to their hearts … listen to their pain … listen to their joys. There is far more to listen to than their words. Sometimes words leave a woeful hole in communication.
  • Listen carefully when someone is sharing … without thinking of our own response in our minds while they’re speaking. Focus! Focus! Focus! Showing careful listening to other people shows them they are valued by us.

Story time ! I’ll never forget the time that one of our boys was little, between 4 and 6 years old, and they were telling me a looooong story about something important in their little world. I was hearing but maybe not listening (certainly not “carefully!”).  My little guy took my face in his little pudgy hands and said “Mommy! Listen to me!” Bless his wee heart, at long last I stopped what I was doing in my kitchen, sat down, gave him the eye-contact he so deserved … and I listened carefully to this precious little man!

I often think of that time when I am racing around working on something while someone either in person or on the phone is talking with me. It stops me in my tracks and reminds me to be “fully present”!

This is also why when I am doing life-coaching with women clients on the phone I may ask them to be “fully present” by giving me their complete attention. … no multi-tasking! It is such a temptation as women to multi-task as both sides of our brains are “firing” and we can get many things done at once. However, we need to think of what we risk losing if we are not giving our full attention to listening to the people God has graciously given to us in our lives. 

  • Is listening carefully a “lost art” as some believe? It takes time to not only hear someone but … to listen. Give your time generously to listening … the R.O.I. is huge!

The old saying is surely true … “People do not care what you know if they don’t know that you care!” And … I propose that people do not know that you care unless and until … you listen.  Listen Carefully.

  • Ask questions as you listen … it will help you to engage in the conversation and it is a sign to the person to whom you’re talking with that they do have your attention and that you are interested in them! My cousin Cindy Owen and Aunt Dee, both now with the Lord, were two amazing listeners who spent most conversations I had with them asking questions. I felt fully loved! And it was always a challenge to get my questions in for them … and one which I relished!

James 1:19 Amplified Bible “Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving];” NIV “[ Listening and Doing ] My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,”

 Listen Carefully to the Lord … but how you ask?

  • Primary Source: Read His Word, the Bible! He says to listen to His Son Jesus in multiple ways and places … I urge you to read the Bible daily as it is our lessons on Life! Reading His Word and listening carefully to Him shapes us, transforms us, changes us to follow Him and give glory to Him on this earth.  See Romans 12:2

James 1:22 Amplified Bible: “But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth].”NIV “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

Be Careful Who You Listen To!

In this day and age there are sources of information and opinion from every angle of culture. The Lord, in His Word, reminds us in a number of scriptures to be careful to whom we listen! We are to listen to Him and know His Truth, which is in the Bible, so that we can compare all other information with the Truth to know what is counterfeit, lies, incorrect, etc. The “world” does not have Truth, nor does it believe there IS absolute Truth that applies to everyone. Certainly our enemy satan is a distorter of Truth and wants you to listen to him or the world … thus disbelieving the absolute Truth of God. 

I urge you as a Sister in Christ and a coach … be discerning WHO you listen to and what you allow into your heart and mind! The old saying is true! “Garbage in. Garbage out!”  Who and what influences you … can and does change you. Proactively pursue listening to the Lord through people after His own heart … and information that is true. Being careful always of the “source” of what information you “ingest” into your mind, heart and soul.   

We are to be “in the world” but not “of the world” as Christians. We are called to think, love and live differently because of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in our lives …having “listened” to Him.  We are called to be radically different for Him!

I urge you Sisters … be careful and wise about “who” you listen carefully to!

2 Timothy 4:4 ESV “and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”

2 Timothy 3:7 Amplified Bible “always learning and listening to anybody who will teach them, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

Coaching Moment: 

  • To whom do you need to Listen more Closely to today? This week?
  • How can you Listen more Closely to the Lord today learning more Truth from His Word? This week?
  • How will you plan to protect yourself from listening to input which is not honoring to the Lord?

Just some things to think about …

I’m listening … may I pray for you?

Many Blessings!

Coach Kathleen

Master Certified Christian and Professional Life Coach

www.PersonalRetreatCoaching.com

Posted in Absolute Truth, Ask questions, Bible, Care Deeply, careful listening, Give Time, Leadership, Listen Carefully, Listen to God, Listen to people, Love God, Love God! Love Others! Love Yourself!, Pray Faithfully, Prayer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment