You were made for such a time as THIS!

It had been several months since I saw her last. We bumped into each other while shopping, I asked her about the dream she told me God has placed on her heart at the beginning of the year. She crinkled her nose and sighed “I’m just so busy, maybe when things get back to normal and when I have more time I can really focus on it and move it forward.” Have you ever said that statement? “When I have…..” I know I have. Here is a story of a woman who also felt too busy and a little scared at one point to follow the calling God had placed in her life. This woman was living what some might call a fairy tale life. She resided in a lavish home with the best view ever. She had her own personal spa where she was pampered and made to feel luxurious. She ate mouth-watering chocolate covered strawberries and lots of other scrumptious goodies on a daily basis. I don’t know about you, but I could definitely dig that kind of lifestyle! Life was good, but then God placed it on her heart to help some people in need. At first she told herself it was too risky, because it would mean doing something that no one had ever done before.  (Ever stayed where you are at, because the next place was too scary?) Then she started to tell others she was just too busy. She had responsibilities, obligations and commitments that she had due to her roles in life. Her comments might have sounded something like “when I get...

Unleash Your Inner Warrior

This past weekend I watched the new “Wonder Woman” movie and I was in awe of this superhero. She is bold, badass, brave and beautiful. What woman doesn’t want to feel those four things, right? I know I do! What the movie so eloquently pointed out though is that those characteristics were with Wonder Woman all along. In the movie we see Diana, Amazon Princess, as a little five year old girl. She is full of spunk, tenacity and curiosity. Those characteristics help her to become the bold, badass, brave and beautiful warrior her soul was calling her to be. However Wonder Woman isn’t the only woman being called to become a bold, brave, badass and beautiful warrior, you are too! God gave you unique gifts so that you can make a difference in this world as a mighty warrior. Don’t believe me? Read what it says in Judges 6:12, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” I want to stop for a moment and have you reread that verse but this time put your name in it. For example I would say “The Lord is with you Dawn, mighty warrior.” Now you try “The Lord is with you ___________, mighty warrior.” Say it again. See just like Wonder Woman, you were created to be an unconquerable, mighty warrior. Realize the type of warrior I am talking about is a spiritual warrior, meaning someone who embraces a journey of self-discovery in order to change herself and this world and someone who is willing to step out of their comfort zone and into the God zone to follow their soul’s...

Worrier to Warrior

Sitting still does not come naturally to me, maybe you can relate. Even when I have taken the time to sit, I usually am either reading, zoning out on Netflix or perusing social media but these days I have been creating a habit of stillness in my life thanks to some amazing meditations and coaching that has helped me tune into my soul’s whispers. Here was a recent soul whisper: “What worries you today; soon you will laugh at in the future.” Let’s all hop in my DeLorean and go back in time. Let’s go back to when we were in late elementary/early junior high. I know not always the best of memories, but go with me here. What were you worried about in your tweens? For me when I go back and read my journals from that era I find I was primarily worried about boys, pimples and grades. Sadly, I discovered I went on a whole three page rant at one time about how my life was over because of a pimple I had on picture day. Now let’s set our time machine for our late teens/early twenties, what were you worried about then? Again looking back on my journals I was still worried about boys and grades, however my pimple worries now turned into plumpness worries. As I reread my journals from this time period, I now realize “Air Supply” might not have been the best choice of music to listen to in order to try and boost my mood. Shocker, right?? Now one more trip in our make believe DeLorean. What are you worrying about...

Wash Away Life’s Stresses by Soaking in Nature

In 1988 there was a commercial where a woman wearing a fluffy pink robe is chaotically running around her house and as the tensions rise, she utters the phrase “Calgon, take me away!” The next scene then shows her relaxing in a bathtub supposedly stress free. Maybe you remember that advertisement. For years I have been taking baths to try and wash away the stress in my life, but now I have recently discovered a new way of bathing that isn’t focused on cleaning your body but rather healing your body, mind and soul. It’s called Shinrin-yoku, which means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” It was created in the 1980’s in Japan and individuals who have implemented this practice have seen tremendous benefits. They have experienced reduced blood pressure and stress, improved mood and sleep and increased energy. All of which has helped them achieve deeper clarity, happiness and connections. Now who doesn’t want all that goodness? The idea for this practice is fairly simple, you visit a forest and walk around in a relaxed way, using your senses to pay attention to what you hear, see, feel and smell. You can do in this in small chunks of time or larger chunks of time. This past weekend at my Chicago RefresHer Retreat we (my retreat attendees and I) actually visited a 1,700 acre arboretum and spent 2 hours silently walking around and letting nature restore and rejuvenate us. We enjoyed strolling along the Joy path in this breathtaking arboretum and letting our senses come to life. Whether it was through seeing wildlife, hearing the rush...

Heal Your Hurts & Show Your Scars

On my left knee are two pea sized scars that I have from when I tore my ACL in high school trying to be cool as I did a lap up in gym class. It wasn’t so cool when the whole school saw me lying in pain on the gymnasium floor. On my right wrist is a scar that I have from when I tried to be a cool Auntie and teach my niece to roller skate. I definitely did not win the Cool Auntie of the Year award but I did create a memorable moment. Most days I don’t give any of these scars a second thought, but every once in a while people will see them and ask me about them. I have no problem sharing the stories of how they came to be because the truth is these hurts are healed. However there are hurts on my heart that are invisible to the human eye and have gone untreated for many years, maybe even decades. Maybe you have them too. Hurts from bad choices you have made. Hurts from people who have rejected you, spoken unkind words to you, or betrayed you. Hurts from difficult experiences in life that have created deep wounds inside of you. These are the hurts we don’t talk about because they are not healed, they are still open wounds.  Maybe you have tried to ignore them, numb them or distance yourself from them, but God wants to heal them.  He wants us to totally surrender our pain, our hurts, our heartaches and let His love, mercy and forgiveness be the remedy...

Attracting The Life You Desire With One Question

You wake up and your day is already in motion. You are perpetually speeding around from one experience to the next, from one job to the next, from one activity to another without much thought as to how these move you toward the life you desire. When decisions come your way throughout the day, you feel indecisive and worry that you might be letting others down or risk missing out on something better, so you opt to not participate at all by making no decision. You struggle to find happiness in your life and feel like there is no time to slow down and just breathe. You have checked out of life and are just simply going through the day to day routines, waiting for that magic “someday” to come when you can finally start to pursue the God-size dream in your heart. Does any of that sound like you? Know that you are not alone and that your life doesn’t have to stay that way. I too was once there. Now however I am living the life I desire. I am manifesting my goals and visions. I have space in my life for what matters most to me. How did I do it? Well before I tell you how I changed my life, I want you to ask yourself “are you really ready to live the life you have always wanted?” I ask you this because the secret I am about to share with you, requires daily practice. It’s not a magic wand or formula, rather it is a mindset that requires you to let go of the...

On the Edge of Greatness

As summer winded down and the air temperature began to cool off, our family typically headed to our remote cabin for a well needed vacation. This was a unique lake cabin as in that there was no electricity and no running water and this was the 1990’s. In order to get water for cooking or washing, we would cut across the yard to the water pump. My dad taught us that before water would start to flow from the pump we would need to prime it. It was at this early age that I began to learn about the “before principle.”  Life is made up of befores. There are climbs before mountaintops. There are battles before victories. There is practice before perfection. There are steps before your destination. There are struggles before transformation. Many times however we let the challenges of today stop us from seeing the miracles of tomorrow because we are not willing to step out in faith with the before principle. Over and over again God shows us how the before principle manifests miracles. No clearer example of that is when Joshua and the Israelites wanted to enter into the Promised Land, but the Jordan River stood in their way. BEFORE they could enter into the greatness promised to them, they had to do three things. Be Still & Wait: In Joshua 3:1, it says “Early the next morning Joshua and all the Israelites left Acacia Grove and arrived at the banks of the Jordan River, where they camped before crossing.” (NLT) It goes on to say they waited there for three days. These days no...

Calling Over Comfort

“Teacher, can people really walk on water?” That was what one of my students asked this week as we explored the story of Jesus walking on water and then calling Peter to do the same thing. I paused and thought about how to respond and eventually I told her that I haven’t seen anybody physically walk on water, other than when the lakes are frozen over here in Minnesota, but I said lots of people are called to step out in faith and do something bigger than ourselves. She politely let me move on to talk about other points in the lesson, but our conversation continued to play in my head throughout the day. I thought about how Jesus called Peter to step outside his comfort zone that day in order to follow him. It is interesting when we talk about being “called” most people only think of it in terms of being a pastor or missionary, but the truth is God is calling each one of us. He might be calling you to step out and be a chef, a mom, an entrepreneur, a care giver, a teacher, a designer, a leader, etc. In the Bible we see lots of people called to do great things. Abraham was called to be a father. Noah was called to be a boat builder. Joseph was called to be an administrator. Deborah was called to be a judge. Esther was called to be a queen. Ruth was called to be a friend. Peter was called to be a fisher of men. No matter the calling though there is a common theme…they...

Joy of Chocolate

Want a boost of joy this Valentine’s Day? Ditch the flowers and dive into some chocolate. Chocolate raises one’s levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that produces feelings of elation. It stimulates the happy making parts of our brains. So chocolate is an edible pick me up and joy stimulant. Now not all chocolates are created equal. To get the healthiest version for your mind and body choose a dark chocolate that has at least 65% or more cacao in it because milk chocolate is full of sugar and will tank your energy. Don’t want just plain chocolate? No problem, these days you can have nuts, orange peel, coconut, chili and my favorite sea salt added for an additional flavor. However avoid a whole lot of nougat or caramel fillings because they again add sugar and fats which erase many of the benefits you can get from eating chocolate. Have fun with your chocolate by hosting a chocolate party. You can provide a variety of chocolates for your guests to taste. Some of my favorite brands are Lindt, Radiantly Raw Chocolate, Abdallah, BT McElrath, Dove and Nestle. Feel free to stop at Vintage Point in Fargo, ND to find some of these amazing bites of delight. Remember it doesn’t take a whole bar of chocolate to add joy to your life. Instead shoot for a maximum of only one to two ounces a day. And if you notice yourself craving chocolate A LOT take a moment to reflect and ask yourself if what you really are desiring is more joy and less stress and then do something to make you...

Secret of Sustainable Joy: Part 2

 To last, that is one of our deepest desires. In my last blog post, I discussed how we can last by being consistent with our choices and our character, now let’s dive into a third key area we need to be consistent in, which is CONNECTION! Connection Matthew Lieberman, a social neuroscientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, conducted years of research to understand why connection is highly important to human beings. In the end he concluded that “our brains are wired for reaching out to and interacting with others. This social adaptation allows us to be the most successful species on earth.” However even though we are creatures of connection, there is an epidemic of disconnection and isolation sweeping our generation.  Through messages of needing to be independent and self-sufficient and the prevalence of social media and nomadic living we are losing our joy because we are no longer authentically connecting with one another. We have depleted our joy and are disrupting our success because we are no longer consistently connecting with others and that includes connecting with God. In Joshua 1:8, we are told “This set of instructions is not to cease being a part of your conversations. Meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to carry out everything that’s written in it, for then you’ll prosper and succeed” (ISV). We are to daily connect with God through his word in order to be prosperous and have sustainable joy. However if you were to ask individuals when is the last time you spent time in God’s Word or even when is...
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