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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Christmas in October

Last Friday night we hosted our very first Leading & Loving It North Central FL meeting and it was a HUGE SUCCESS!!

Thank you to Lori Wilhite and her team for the great leadership they provide through Leading and Loving It.  It is a great honor to be a part of encouraging, inspiring, and ministering to ladies who share the same calling of either working in ministry, supporting their husband/pastor, or both.  

Our theme was Christmas in October and the main point of the night was to prepare our hearts, minds, and spirits for the dazing days fastly approaching, also known as The Holidays.

I shared with all the ladies how we can face unafraid the plans we have made this yearI also shared how we can wake up on December 26th completely satisfied in Christ knowing we allowed Him to center us over the previous 25 days. 

Of course we began with a fun Christmas get-to-know-you game to which we found out not one lady there had ever made Figgy Pudding.  I guess it is just one of those things that we'd rather sing about than eat.

We followed that by a fabulous meal and one more fun game where 6 ladies paired up, and using only one of their hands had to wrap a Christmas present together.  The winning team received some Holiday Bath and Body Works products.  (Nothing says Christmas like Winter Candy Apple.  LOVE IT!!)

Next we ate some amazingly glorious desserts and mixed it up by moving to different tables based on everyone's name tag theme (snow flakes, candy canes, or Christmas trees) for a time of discussion.  This allowed the ladies to really get to know each other and hopefully make a few new friends.

During this time we discussed topics related to Christmas.  It was quite interesting to hear some of their favorite Christmas movies, holiday traditions, and what gets them in the Christmas spirit.

Then our topics for discussion got a little more serious as we shared how we can stay healthy, mentally and spiritually, while ministering to others.  What great wisdom and advice the ladies were able to impart and glean.  I know that many ladies lives will be forever changed as they continue their work in ministry with this new knowledge. EXCITING!!

As we closed the night out I asked my mother-in-law Pat Johns (who has been in ministry for almost 40 years!) to pray over every lady, their homes and their churches.  Not too many dry eyes after that. :)

A great time was had by all 16 ladies representing 6 churches in the North FL area and we can't wait until our next meeting on January 21st!!

If you would like more info about Leading & Loving It N Central FL just click here.

More great pics from the night...

Christmas 'Candy Bar'

Raspberry Tea and Flavored Water
Turkey Croissants w/ Cranberry Mayo,  Pasta, Broccoli, & Pistachio Salads and Pumpkin Muffins

Our accessories for pictures

THANK YOU Caley Porter and Maggie Lizotte for all your help!!!!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night,

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Letting Go

I've had multiple conversations lately with people who are going through some stressing times.  Nothing too tragic or life altering, just situations where they are unsure where to go and what to do. 

From today's reading of my Solo Devotional I posted this on Twitter and Facebook:
We will never complete by our own efforts what was begun by God. Let go, & let God do it. 
And I added this in my comments:
One thing I have learned over the years is that when I am trying to run and control it all, I end up stressed & frazzled and I delay the end result. But when I release the control, I have peace and I get to experience God's powerful love for me when He moves the mountains I would never even be able to climb. I have not perfectly mastered letting go... but I'm better at it then I was. :)
Trying not to get too consumed with the what if's in life is easier said than done.  But know this, whatever you are facing today, God will never let you walk this road alone.  Jesus died so you could live in peace free from all fear and anxiety.
The Bible instructs us to be transformed by the renewing your mind (Romans 12:2). So when those thoughts of fear and even death come in your mind, exchange them for God's life-giving truth.

Here are just some of the truths you can use to transform your mind and thoughts today:

Matt 6:25-27 & 34 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matt 11:28-30 Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.

Luke 12:25-28  Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can't even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don't fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?

John 14:27 I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Psalm 55:22 Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you.  He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

And here is my prayer for you today...
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 

Much love and many prayers for you today,

Monday, October 10, 2011

4 Dimensions of Leadership

Last week I shared this with our leaders at CCA and I wanted to pass it along to you.  Even if you don't lead a team, these 4 dimensions are things we all can apply in our everyday, influential lives.  Even if the only people you influence are your kids at home, this is for you!

I listened to a teaching last week that as soon as I heard it I knew I wanted to share it with you.  It was on the Four Dimensions of Leadership.   Most likely you and I are strong in one of these areas but to be the best leader we can be we will need to be effective in all.

The first one is Self Leadership- This starts and ends with you.  Self leadership means you take ownership and responsibility for your growth as a leader.  I am well aware that most of us are strapped for time each day, and investing hours to deepen our leadership learning just is not possible. So here is one book I try to read every day that gives me a short lesson on leadership allowing me to easily glean and grow, The Maxwell Daily Reader, 365 Days of Insight to Develop the Leader Within You and Influence Those Around You.  It takes me about 3 minutes to read each day's lesson.

Second is Managerial Leadership-  This kind of leadership is managing everything that is getting done.  This is one we are all probably good at and let me assure you managing is vital because if we are not overseeing and inspecting the job of our teams things can easily begin to unravel.  We need to consistently take a step back, review our processes, inspect the work being completed, and allow God to use us to see any tweaks that need to be done.

Thirdly, Visionary leadership- If this is your strength you naturally give hope and a picture of the future.  The visionary leader always gives the why behind the what when they lead their teams.  

Example:  Visionary leaders don’t just tell their people not to park in the grassy area by the cafeteria, they also explain to their teams why we no longer park in that area.  Here’s the why: Although it is convenient for us to park there, we are growing and we need that space for overflow for our guests and for our people who can’t walk the long distance from the parking lot each week. 

When your team understands the big picture they are more than happy to comply to requests being made and it makes them feel valued when you share details instead of just instructions. 

And our last one is Spiritual leadership-  We need to be praying and investing in how our teams are growing spiritually in their relationship with Christ.  You, as your team’s leader, are a spiritual influence to them.  A couple ways to care for your team is by sharing encouraging words and verses through email or on the days you lead and let them know you pray for them and if they need anything you are there to serve them in any way possible, not just on the days they serve the church.  This is called pastoring your people.  They will love you and appreciate you more when they know you are not just concerned about what they do, but who they are becoming.

So to recap, Self Leadership is modeling, Managerial Leadership is giving direction, Visionary Leadership is giving hope and big pictures, and Spiritual Leadership is giving care.  

And when we lead in these four dimensions we are well on our way to becoming the great leader God’s called us to be.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Wonder-Fall Food

As much as I LOVE Fall and love baking Fall goodies like these I have nev-ah ev-ah ventured into the wonderful world of the beloved Butternut Squash... until now.

So today with all this wonder-Fall weather I thought I'd try my hand at roasting this amazingly delish veggie to go with my favorite salad for this time of the year, The Scotto Family Autumn Salad with Apples.

So here is what I did... I just peeled the squash with a quite large potato peeler, then halved it, took out the seeds and diced it into about 3/4 inch cubes.  Mixed them with a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper and a little Brown Sugar and layered it all on a sheet pan and roasted at 375 degrees until done. 

Now let me just add a little disclaimer...  This is not a recipe I found, but one I have made up.  At the time of this posting the Butternut Squash was still in the oven.  So not even sure it's going to be good.. praying it is!  I'll come back and let you know the results.*

Now on to the salad.  Those who know me well know how much I LOVE salad.  I am not sure why, I just do.  When I saw the Scotto Family make this on TV one morning last year I just knew I had to add it to my recipe collection.  That very day I purchased the ingredients and made it.  Hope you like to too!


1/2 cup walnut halves

6 to 8 ounces crumbled gorgonzola cheese (I am using feta cause it's what's on hand)

2 packages baby spinach, washed and dried

2 heads bibb lettuce, separated into leaves, washed and dried

2 to 3 ripe apples (preferably Gala) skin on, halved, cored, cut into lengthwise 8-inch slices

1/4 cup sun dried cranberries

1 cup apple cider vinaigrette (Recipe Follows)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place walnuts on cookie sheet. Bake until lightly toasted, crisp and smell rich, about 10 to 14 minutes. 

Put baby spinach and bibb lettuce in a bowl. Lightly dress with vinaigrette so that everything is slightly coated.  Season salad with salt and pepper.  Plate it up and garnish with sliced apples and sun dried cranberries, nuts, and cheese; serve immediately.

For the apple cider vinaigrette:

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup excellent quality extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup opal basil leaves or regular basil, cut into thin ribbons

In a small bowl, add Dijon, honey, and apple cider vinegar. Mix together with whisk then stream in extra virgin olive oil whisking all together.  Add basil.

Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

I pray you all are enjoying this weekend.  Get out there and try some new Fall recipes... even if you have to make one up. 

Life's an adventure made for us to live to the Fallest!!  (I know, bad pun) Smiles

* The results are in... It was AMAZING!!