It’s been some time since my last post, as I’ve struggled to find my creative voice on paper (…and on the laptop,) as of late. Part of the reason, is because I haven’t had as much free time, due to other obligations. However, a message that I heard today so convicted me that I felt compelled to listen closely to my inner voice- so that I could dig deep and write. So here goes.
Power by definition means, “the ability to act or produce an effect: capacity for being acted upon or undergoing an effect.” Merriam- Webster. These are just two of the many definitions that I came across, but something about “produce an effect,” really stood out. It made me think about the power of the Holy Spirit and the role that He plays in our day to day walk. Power can mean the difference between someone being freed from a life of bondage and someone remaining in a state of hopelessness. According to Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in all Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” NIV Bible. Great news friends, Jesus did not leave us powerless when He departed!!! He left us with an internal guide- the Holy Spirit, to help us not only navigate our way through this life, until His return, but also to help us NOT live a defeated life. Miracles, signs and wonders take place when this (Holy) P O W E R exists! People get delivered from unforgiveness, beat lifelong addictions, overcome hidden sins, and get loosed from sickness and disease. However, in order to receive this power, one must first have a relationship with the Son of God. Titus 3:6 says, “God poured out the Holy Spirit abundantly on us through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Do you want to live a life of power, rooted in great faith? If so, ask Jesus Christ to reveal Himself to you today, if you don’t already know Him. Confess with your mouth that He is Lord and believe it in your heart and you shall be saved- Romans 10:9!! Be blessed and walk in POWER!!!
This is what life with the Holy Spirit is like… Are you ready to experience this power and connect your passion and purpose?
There’s nothing better than a tall, cold glass of your favorite beverage, after a long and tiring journey. Something about it, just refreshes you, in such as way, that’s it’s hard to explain. It not only soothes your parched throat, but also re-energizes you, helping to usher new strength back into your very being.
Quenching a thirst can seem life changing, and even life-saving in some instances. For the individual who has just trekked across a remote desert land, making the discovery of a stream near the end of their journey, can be the difference between life and death. Some seasons test you in this capacity, in an effort to prepare you for what’s up ahead.
The purpose isn’t to completely deplete us of all energy and strength, but it is meant to push us beyond the barriers of our known limitations. “Is is worth it?” you ask, and the answer is yes. Not only is it worth it, but it’s necessary. We get weary, depending upon the length and depth of the expedition, and that’s to be expected. The important thing is that we don’t give up. Although we long to have our tired, aching minds, hearts, bodies and souls- refreshed, we must continue on until the mission is complete! Like an old pair of shoes, looking to get re-soled, we cry out for the Master to do the same with us. We hope and pray that He will mercifully build back up our worn out souls, and pour out in us a fresh anointing. Then we can stand tall, like a new pair of designer high-heeled shoes.
Thankfully, we serve a God who loves us and understands. He knew that this would be the case, so HE provided a solution for us in advance. God is always thinking ahead and up to something, so believe that He is equipping you for the next leg of the journey today. Isaiah 43:19 (NIV) tells us, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Thus, we can rest assured that our Maker, has already made provision for us. Psalm 23:2-3 (NIV) says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me besides quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.” Isn’t it great to know that we don’t have to walk the path of life alone? And isn’t it just wonderful to know that the Creator of the Universe has already prepared a way to quench our every thirst? It’s simply AMAZING and so refreshing to know!
I recently endured a 3 and a half year period of transition that certainly took its toll on me. The constant going, the endless hotel rooms and places, and most of all the many unknowns- just wore me down. Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling and enjoying new experiences-including people, places and things, but to do all of it, while God has you in a bit of a holding pattern (and limbo), is just not easy. However, I realized it was necessary, because it prepared me for today…and hopefully for tomorrow. I had to endure everything that I went through yesterday, in order to be fully equipped for the task at hand now. God wastes nothing. There is fruit to bear in every season, even in periods of transition and drought. If you find yourself in a season of uncertainty, coupled with countless questions and concerns today, take heart, and know that your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. As a matter of fact, He loves you so much that He has a master plan designed specifically for you! Look ahead! He is leading you to still waters and plush pastures that will recharge you. Dig deep and glean during this time, because it is getting you ready for something far greater than you could ever imagine! Happy Sunday and be blessed!
The journey to purpose is an interesting one. It includes lots of twists and sharp turns, as well as steep slopes and uphill climbs. It is one that will test the very core of who you are, and at times even have you questioning your own personal sanity. If you haven’t experienced this part yet, keep living because you will. I assure you that no path to “true” purpose is complete without challenges, but there is some good news!! There is a way to effectively balance the lows of life, amidst the backdrop of soaring gratitude. I’m unsure who it was that once stated, “When praises go up, blessings come down,” but it’s a true statement. Not only am I living proof, but scripture provides several examples, so let’s take a look.
In Joshua 6:20, the walls of Jericho came down after the people marched around it for 7 days, then shouted on the final trip around. And… don’t forget that David defeated Goliath in I Samuel 17:45, when he boldly proclaimed that he was “coming against him in the name of the Lord Almighty.” Similarly, Moses and Aaron told Pharaoh in Exodus 5:1 to “Let God’s people go so that they may hold a festival in His honor in the wilderness.” Despite God hardening his (Pharaoh’s) heart for a period of time before he actually let the people leave, we all know how the story ended- The Israelites crossed the Red Sea on dry ground, while the Egyptians were swallowed up by the sea. Additionally, there are countless other examples that we can discuss, but the most important point here, is that God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3.) Thus, if we lift up the name of the Lord on high, we can expect Him to move on our behalf. This is incredible news!!! We don’t have to fight life’s battles alone or even in our own strength. God loves to be praised! He loves it when we take a stand for Him against life’s giants. HE deserves to be praised and Psalm 149:4 reminds us that He delights in us… so why not Praise Him! Praise CAN change your circumstances!
Praise Him and watch what He’ll do! Praise God when it’s good, bad and ugly. Bless His name, testify to His goodness, don’t take His credit and trust Him in all that you do. Don’t mind me, but after all that I’ve witnessed in the last couple of weeks (…really throughout my whole life,) and for all that I’m expecting and believing Him to do, I’m going to take a Praise break right NOW!! Hallelujah to Your name!!! Bless YOU, Lord!! Thank You, Jesus!!! Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty! I’m full today and so grateful for everything!
Take heart in knowing that if we give God the glory, He will move on our behalf- to show Himself strong!
Remember, stay thankful all the way through!
Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Welcome back my friends, and Happy New Year to each and every one of you! I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas and holiday season. I won’t spend too much time today looking back over 2016, as my goal this time around, is to focus more on the future. However, I will start off by saying, “That I am grateful for so many wonderful opportunities last year.” It was filled with both highs and lows, and everything else in between. I had a pretty eventful schedule that took me to 7, really 8 (technically St. Maarten and St. Martin are separate,) different countries, not including my US travels. It was quite a ride. I also worked on a wide range of domestic and international projects that enabled me to explore various cultures and cities. I met many great people along the journey, and experienced God in some new and incredible ways. Additionally, I learned a lot about the Lord, myself and others. As a result, I have compiled some useful information below that I’d like to share with all of you- as you move forward.
I’ve listed eight things that I will take with me on the journey this year, and prayerfully all others to come. My hope is that this list will also inspire you along your path. .
Staying in Step
- I will continue to let my faith trump my fears.
- I will continue to be open to however God wants to do things.
- I will continue to give the majority of my time and energy to activities and relationships that are purposeful and positive.
- I will continue to believe John 10:10, which states, “…..I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
- I will continue to trust God’s leading, even when it doesn’t make sense to me- because I know that He sees what I am unable to see.
- I will continue to confess scripture over my problems, issues, setbacks and concerns, because they are far more powerful than my complaints.
- I will continue to pursue peace.
- I will continue to have a heart full of gratitude, because I understand that it is the seed to more. Psalm 22:3 says that God “inhabitest the praises…,” therefore our gratitude and worship invites God into our situations.
I pray that these 8 things have blessed and encouraged you!
I’ve also included a few pictures from my 2016 travels for you to enjoy. Behold the beauty of God’s creation all around, as you view them. God bless you and keep you this 2017 year. Remember- Forward movement for the win!
Nobel Peace Center- Oslo, Norway
What is wisdom? According to dictionary.com- wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise. Based upon this definition alone, answering the door when wisdom comes a knocking is well…uhm… wise. I’ve been thinking a lot lately, about life as well as my daily routine in general. I’ve also considered how my choices need to look moving forward, as well as which ones made in the past, led me to this point. I’ve endured 3 and a half years of pruning, stripping away, testing and intense faith building. Though not always the most pleasant of times, the spiritual outcome thus far, has been fruitful. I’ve developed a deeper intimacy in my relationship with God and a stronger faith overall. As a result, I now realize that this is a crucial part of the process, if I’m to truly connect my passion and purpose and be effective. Here are a few adjustments that I’ve made over these last few months.
- Protecting My Space
I’m doing a much better job of guarding my space. What I mean by this is that I’m balancing the negatives and the positives. I tend to be a sounding board for a number of people, and that can take a toll on anyone. I’m an introvert by nature, with some extrovert tendencies of course, so I naturally recharge away from people. With this being said, I’m setting new boundaries. I think this is part of the adjustments that God is calling me to make this season. Yes, I still plan to be here for people mentally, emotionally and most importantly spiritually, as much as I can, but with an understanding that there has to be some limitations in place. Otherwise, I can’t be “my” best. I was literally feeling drained by all the complaints, problems, issues and woes of everybody else, while trying to make sense of some of my own. It was energy sapping and was causing me to run the other way every time I heard my phone ring. I, myself, am in a place where I am faced with some challenges, so I’m clinging more towards words of encouragement, inspiration and messages that refuel. Right now, this is what “I” need, to successfully reach the next phase of my life. I’m learning that it’s okay to protect your space when you need to. There will be seasons where you are fully equipped to bare the weights of others, and then there will be times, where you yourself will require the weight baring. Embrace where you are in life, make the necessary adjustments and own it.Your energy and space are important!
- Seeking Peace
This whole message on peace first came up some months back in a book that I was reading. “Pathway to Purpose,” the book, became the catalyst in my own quest for a better understanding of peace. I discovered that I had to seek it, like Psalm 34:14 teaches us to- “Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.” The term kept popping up everywhere- online, in messages and even became the theme of my recent visit to Oslo, Norway. Thus, I knew there was something to it, so I took notice. Personal peace also ties into #1, regarding the protection of energy and space. Since Jesus is the Prince of Peace, when I keep my mind stayed on Him, I am in perfect peace. When I don’t…well, we know how that goes. We live in a chaotic world, with all sorts of things vying for our attention, so if we don’t get a grip on this, it can aid in the complete and utter breakdown of our peace. It’s okay to guard your heart and mind- and to protect your peace. Your sanity depends on it!
- Staying Alert
Keep your eyes and ears open. The Holy Spirit may speak to you differently in different seasons. Your senses may be more heightened at certain times, so be alert. For the past several months, I’ve personally experienced a keen sensitivity, spiritually. Truthfully, I started to notice a change a couple years ago, but as of late, it’s been on super high alert. It’s as if the Holy Spirit has been placing a sharp bulls eye on people and things. It’s caused me to closely observe motives, and to see clearly through smoke screens. I’ve been able to pick up on things that I otherwise might not have paid attention to previously. Thus, I have greater clarity, and the ear of my heart is wide open. I’ve gotten confirmation on messages released by way of scripture -which will be a constant throughout life, as well as through creation and nature, people, places and even through an elaborate tattoo on a man’s arm in Tampa. Never underestimate how God may choose to speak to you,so stay aware and alert at all times.
These 3 things have helped me to make wise adjustments in my current season. Since the theme of open and closed doors has also been a staple in recent times, when wisdom came knocking, I knew I just had to answer. Ask God what changes might be in order for you this season, then be ready to make them! Be blessed my friends. I bid you peace, love and happiness!
Have you ever set out to locate a certain item, only to come across a thousand other valuables in the process? Well, this was the case for me today. I was looking for a voucher that I’d safely (or so I thought) tucked away, but ended up “finding” everything, but what I was looking for. Don’t feel too badly for me though, because this story ends happily.
Earlier this week, I asked God some very specific questions, with the hope of getting some very precise answers in return. I am glad to say, that today was the day for answered prayer. He spoke clearly and in volumes. As I scoured through one of my old totes, searching for an envelope, I was met with my past, as well as some answers to future decisions. It was completely unexpected. The more I combed through the bag, the more it spoke to me. I’m not crazy. I’m referring to the ear of my heart…you know when the Holy Spirit speaks to you. Okay, I just wanted to clarify that. With each hand full, I was met with more puzzle pieces (figuratively) to connect. I was beyond thrilled to receive such clear and specific responses to some of my most poignant questions. A few of these issues have pained and drained me these past years, months and weeks, so to hear from God so clearly on them, was a huge relief for me. This bag was like a treasure chest, complete with tons of spoil and plunder that I’d gathered, from all across the globe. I re-discovered hotel keys with the words “Open Doors, You Never Knew Existed,” and “Opening Doors,” among several other things. There were maps of Paris, France and Bonaire Island and a guide for Aruba, an older copy of Global Living Magazine (where I wrote a piece on one of my colleagues,) 3 of my old business cards (from previous ventures,) along with several other business cards of others, including 3 different marketing and communications companies from Cleveland, Atlanta and Tampa. There was also an unopened CD titled, “Moving Forward,” by an artist named NERMA (I have no idea where I even got this from,) a journal with the Eiffel Tower on the front of it, and little sticky pad sheets with sermon notes and scriptures on them. In addition, there was a bright red ink pen from Orlando, a partially read book titled, “God A Good Father (which I’ll now finish,)” a pen that I had made for my consulting and coaching business 3 years ago, and a host of other fantastic items spanning from Rome, Italy (pink Iphone Power Bank) to Arlington, VA. Then, there was that one tube of hotel lotion that I uncovered deep down, inside one of the inner pockets… that really got me. It was a rich crème by TempleSpa, with the words, “Peace Be Still” on the front of it. Trust me, that said it all. I knew at that very moment- that I was supposed to go on a hunt in that bag today, and make the amazing discoveries that I made! Although I didn’t find what I was looking for, I found just what I needed and more.
He is God all by Himself. That is all that I can say. In the midst of what’s noted above and the rest of what I came across in that beige tote bag today (and believe me it was a lot of stuff) –it all had deep and incredibly personal meaning. It literally held the contents of much of what I’ve experienced over the coarse of the last 3 years, as well as provided glimpses into the future. Only God knows what I asked of Him, and only He knows how to answer me in such a specific and profound way.
My prayer is that you will seek God today and ask Him some very clear-cut questions for your life, as well. Don’t be afraid. Then, trust Him to answer you in some unique and amazing…and sometimes very simple ways. Who knew a tote full of answers, in the form of hidden treasure was just a bedroom away. Stay alert and anticipating my friends. God loves you! Peace and blessings to each and every one of you.
Some of Today’s Recovered Treasure
I just celebrated another year of life last Thursday, and I have been in deep thought ever since that day. These last few years I’ve been in the pruning process, and it has not felt good. This milestone birthday proved to be no different either. There was no big party with balloons, a cake or even lavish outfits for a month long celebration. Instead, it was filled with…well, a lot of thinking actually. Considering I spent it in my hometown with family and friends, it was still a real joy, especially since I got to love on our newest edition to the family, my 16 mos old great-niece, who is simply a blessing. When she laid her head on my shoulder on my actual birthday, I felt God’s love. As a matter of fact, every moment I get to spend time with her, I am reminded of the Lord’s magnificence and grace.
One of the other great presents that I received this year was a book titled, “Pathway to Purpose” by Katie Brazelton. It was given to me by someone who has become one of my trusted advisors and friend. This present was timely, because it has challenged me every step of the way. It has forced me to leave some things and people behind, as well as to examine my peace, my character and my space. I haven’t finished the book yet, but I am confident that by the time that I complete it, that more changes will be made. Part of me looks forward to that, and well… truthfully, part of me does not. Why you ask? Because “Pruning is uncomfortable.”
As mentioned in the last post, the pruning process is necessary though. We cannot expect to be all that God has created us to be, without shedding certain things at certain times. That list can include attitudes, behaviors, characteristics, people, places and “things.” Just fill in the blank as the journey continues. So as we walk the path that has been set before us, let us take heart in knowing that God has already “ordered our steps and that He delights in our way.” Psalm 37:23. Be encouraged and stay faithful to the call that has been placed on your life.
A lemon retrieved from the lemon tree, during the pruning process~
This Labor Day… I labored. When I thought about the term, I decided to look up the word “labor” on dictionary.com, and this is what I found: work, especially hard physical work. It also gave synonyms like- hard work, toil, exertion and drudgery, to name a few. While I didn’t toil physically yesterday, I certainly did so mentally. Does that count as labor? If it doesn’t, it should…because it sure felt like it. Upon further review of the word, I could definitely identify with the verb definition, which stated work hard; make a great effort. That is exactly what I did on Monday, and if I’m honest with myself, it’s what I have done many days this season. It seems as if I have a million thoughts a day and truthfully, a good portion of them feel like labor. I’m facing some unknowns right now, and when this happens, I have to make a conscious effort to chill out mentally. I told myself that yesterday should’ve been a day of rest and not work, but that’s not quite how it all “worked” out. In fact, I labored… a lot. Yes, I physically did some typing on my laptop, but more than anything, I experienced a number of rather intense and deep thoughts. They drained me to a degree, and here I sit now typing, yet again and thinking back-about the magnitude of them. However, I know what some of the problem is. It’s the controller in me, who has often struggled with relinquishing things. I toss and turn my thoughts over and over again like a fish out of water, trying to make reason of them. Why is it that I do this? For some reason, I still spend a great deal of time trying to just figure stuff out, even though God has proven time and time again -that He always works it out, and for my good. I need to just let go and let God. I’m sure you’ve heard that cliche tons of times, but there is real truth in it. I can’t understand why I continue to allow my thoughts to play out a million different ways, instead of just resting in Him and His power. Another part of it, is that I really appreciate knowing how the chapter will end. My life chapters that is. Let’s be clear, I don’t mean my entire book of life. I pray that extends well on until my 101st birthday, if at all possible, but I mean the chapters of life that are marked by seasons. It is the impatience in me that longs to know ahead of time how each current chapter ends. It can be incredibly frustrating not knowing (control freak,) and this is where the battle begins.
The second half of II Corinthians 10:5 comes to mind- “…..and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Why is this so important? It is because a war over our mind has been waged. Thus, it is imperative that we make each thought subject to the right Master. One of the best ways to gain control of roaming thoughts; ideas and concerns, is to read the Word of God. I find that it instantly causes me to re-shift and refocus when this happens. When I don’t take the time to do this, what happened yesterday, is exactly what happens. The overthinking goes on for hours and it goes haywire. I was happy that I finally submitted my thoughts before closing out my day, so I didn’t have a restless mind all night. I wrote in my journal and reviewed some previously noted scriptures before going to bed. This past Labor Day, I labored mentally, so I guess I’ll take a little time off in the holiday’s honor today.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
I remember the day I first read this phrase, “…do it scared,” in Holley Gerth’s, “You’re Made for a God-sized Dream.” Since that day, these words have stuck with me over the past 3 years. I have not only recalled them, but have been forced to live by them- in a number of instances. What I was reminded of, is that while it is challenging to try new things, it is always possible when I am willing. Being a “creative autonomous” at heart most of my life, I often got a taste of the fear factor because of my entrepreneurial dreams. Attempting business ventures requires a certain level of trust that is difficult to describe. It is a major faith walk. “Doing it scared” certainly doesn’t feel good, but it is a necessary part of the plan. In fact, it is a requirement if we are to advance, live and thrive. We just have to commit to the process and trust God for the rest. What is the worse that can happen? We can stumble, all out trip…or even worse.. fall! So what though- if that happens. It is not the end of the world. Once we get back up, we can just view it as a new beginning and keep stepping. Seeing it this way, helps put a positive spin on things. We make a decision, walk in it, run… or fall- and when we do, because we are going to hit the ground at times, we get back up and keep going. There is light at the end of the tunnel and fear is just another thing to keep us boxed in. We can’t be our best selves standing in the same position forever. Any successful entrepreneur, accomplished athlete or kid who learned to ride a bike without training wheels, will all agree that the joy on the other side of that fear brings victory. Take it from an introvert and serial entrepreneur, who was once a little girl crazy about her pink Huffy (bike.) Picture me rolling.
What are you scared of today? Don’t allow fear to keep you from your destiny. As Holley wrote- “Do it scared.” Start the business, run the marathon, volunteer overseas, write the book and open that non-profit to help troubled youth. The world needs your gifts and talents. Don’t deprive us of them just because fear is trying to cripple you. You’ll be so happy you did it- even though you were scared.I promise! Know that when I write, I am always talking to myself, too. It’s therapeutic and we are in this thing called life together!
We want to hear from you. Reach out and tell us all about how you refused to let fear win. Peace, blessings and most of all, courage to you. You already have the victory.
Photo of my first ebook- available for free at http://www.candacetravels.com
It’s been a long time since my last post. I’ve been so focused on developing my travel brand and all that accompanies that process, that I’ve neglected posting here. Now completely overwhelmed by the numerous branding strategies I’ve studied, webinars I’ve participated in and conversations I engaged in about expansion….I find myself running back to this place. It’s safe here. It requires much less energy. It’s raw, relate-able and unfiltered. Yes, it’s true that travel is most definitely part of my passion…and ultimately plays a role in my purpose, but there’s still within me this deep longing to make a real difference in the lives of others. For so long, I’ve pondered over just how to fuse my two primary brands together. No, I’m not wrong for wanting to have things aligned and reproducing. I mean we do have to live…but there are times that it can become overly consuming. Just a couple days ago, that quiet voice within me spoke- and challenged me to be still. I was led to Psalm 46:10. “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” For the last couple days, this is what I’ve been thinking about. There’s been so much activity and so much energy spent on business building, strategies, plans and concepts, that I haven’t really just sat…and been still….long enough to really hear. Yes, I start my day with prayer and quiet time (though probably not long enough some days) and even continue on with prayers throughout the day. However, my hours have been so filled with other “stuff” that at times it’s easy to get lost in the midst of the madness. So here I sit typing, just knowing that someone, somewhere out there will relate to this post. My hope is that you will now know- that you are not alone. I also hope that you realize that others in this world endure the same, very real struggles that you face. Thus, my prayer is that this message will calm you, soothe your soul and quiet your spirit all at the same time. Join me today, in being still and knowing that HE is God! Allow the Spirit to pour out blessings and fresh insight upon you today. Be encouraged!!
Quiet- early mornings in St. Maarten