Now that I have your attention…

Pastor Andrew Brown, assistant Pastor of Covenant Community Church, shared a revealing word this past Sunday that I will not soon forget.  His text for the sermon was from the well-known story of Moses and the burning bush in the book of Exodus.  “God will use what already has your attention to get your attention”, he said.  Pastor Brown shared how he had questions about the burning bush and how peculiar a choice this “attention grabber” was for God.  Surely, God could have chosen anything.  I thought, “if that already had the attention of Moses then how?”  Sitting among the congregation, I realized it wasn’t so much the bush as it was what had Moses’ attention. The bush just happened to be in the area of Moses’ attention.  Moses had consumed himself with the job of a sheep herder probably thinking he had avoided his past.  In fact, he was wandering carefree in the back of the desert when he stumbled upon this bush.  I would venture to say that God realized it was time to let Moses know he couldn’t avoid HIM any longer.  I believe God used the bush because Moses’ occupation had his attention.  I could relate to Moses in that moment Pastor Brown explained the choice of the bush.  I briefly took a job as a tax preparer when I left the U.S. Navy.  It was okay work.  My husband was deployed, our oldest child was less than two years old and I thought this was a good idea.  I found out that God didn’t think it was a good idea.  For three years in a row, something happened as a result of me taking that job.  It affected me and my family adversely.  The first year I was there, they got rid of all first year tax professionals within the first three weeks of the tax season.  I still went back the next year.  Then, co-workers had accidents that caused me to take longer shifts.  The kicker was when my young son of 8 months got sick at daycare and had to be hospitalized.  He had swallowed a coin and it had to be surgically removed.  I put him in home-based care after the ordeal and that didn’t work out either.  So, I finally left the job.  In my over-occupation with what was not the will of God for my life, my family suffered.  Looking back on it now, I assess that getting my attention wasn’t really my problem.  It was difficult to keep my attention because what I wanted become more important than what God wanted for me.

But God has a way of using things that will keep your attention.

I woke up yesterday morning to learn that the country had elected Donald J. Trump to the office of President and I knew immediately that the President-Elect is “the burning bush” but there is not the voice of God coming out of this one.  This burning bush represents the government of which we have taken such an extreme interest. It reminds me of the story of 1 Samuel 8 when the prophet Samuel went to God on the behalf of the people who asked for a king to rule over them.  Although Samuel had reminded them that, as God’s people, they had God and therefore no need for a king to fight for them.  The people had their eyes on the things of other nations and not the things of God.  They replaced God with worldly occupation.  God gave them exactly what they wanted but he used that very king to keep their attention.  I submit to you that since that day, government has represented the replacement of God with worldly occupation.  No matter how much we put IN GOD WE TRUST on our money or our courthouses.  History has repeatedly proven how people replace the things of God with the things of the world.  Our recent national history repeatedly shows how God uses that very thing you replaced Him with to keep your attention.  It will be with Donald J. Trump.  It has been with Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama.  I strongly believe it would have been no different with Al Gore, John McCain, or Mitt Romney.  And yes, it would have been no different with Hillary Clinton.  Sadly though, we haven’t realized it yet.  But thanks to Pastor Brown, I can say I see it now Lord.  I can say this now because I voted in every last one of these past elections and I couldn’t understand how in each one the decision became more and more difficult and less appealing.  But I do now.  You have my attention now God.  In fact, you have the attention of the whole world. The world is watching the United States of America.

Moses asks the question in Exodus 3:3 “How is it that this bush does not burn?”  Moses turned aside toward the bush and then God spoke to Him.  It is time to turn America.  There is a burning bush blazing in a great flame right now.  I recommend we give God our undivided attention.  What is important to God must become important to us.  Be careful that we are not consumed.

My Write Path: “It is Not Too Late for You (or Me)”-Episode 2

I said this is the last episode of My Write Path and it is worth repeating, people are often curious about progression.

Since I started this blog, I find myself reading the posts of other bloggers wondering about their “success path” and trying to follow their timeline.  But as I shared in the last episode, my sitting, reading and watching their work was hindering my own progress.  I am not pointing the finger at them.  I am very much to blame.  I was spending so much time on the sidelines that I wasn’t putting action to what I learned from dissecting their stories.  I read and I listened in on the webinars.  I admit, I kept wishing I had started a long time ago.  I found some old piece of my work in a journal and thought, where would I be if I had gotten off my tuff then?  Well, I am so glad that God heard my foolish thoughts and told Jeff Goins to send me this message, It’s Not too Late.

Why It’s Not TOO Late For Us To Become Writers

I am actually a subscriber to Jeff Goins’ emails but I missed this recent message from him about Sandy.  He was announcing that he would be releasing a 3-part interview he recorded with Sandy Kreps, a student of his who founded the popular blog modernsimplicity.org and recently became a published author.  I had not opened the email yet.  But then I saw two message from another influencer of mine, Jonathan Milligan, who mentioned these same videos with Sandy Kreps.  When Jon sent his message, it made me think, “you probably want to go back and take a look at this if Jon has mentioned it twice now.”  So I did.

jeff-goins-and-sandy-kreps

I actually downloaded the transcript for the first two videos before I watched them.  (Jeff really knows how to do it doesn’t he?)

After I watched them both, I went back and read the transcript of the first one specifically because I was intrigued by Sandy’s timeline on her way to becoming a professional writer.

So here is what I gathered:

  • Sandy, a full-time wife, and art director gave birth to her first child in 2005.  (That probably means we are about the same age.)
  • So in love with her first child, she dove into the world of mommy blogging in 2007.  Her first son ignited the “blog spark”.  But she only considered it a hobby.
  • She was laid off her job in 2010 and wanted to stay home with now two boys because her husband traveled a lot.  She still needed income.
  • The lay-off fanned the “blog spark” into a burning flame while unemployment checks provided a bit of kindling.
  • She signed up for the first Tribe Writers Course with Jeff Goins in 2012.  Meanwhile, hubby is not so sure about all the social media stuff that is going on.
  • She spent 2007-2012 teaching herself “the ways of a professional writer.”
  • With the support of the Tribe Community, she released her first ebook on Amazon called Fresh Start.  More book ideas followed and she just keeps writing.
  • She attended the Tribe Conference in 2015.  During the conference, her table talk manifest into a JUST DO IT challenge and she finished the book she had gotten stuck on in 90 days.  One month after finishing the book, Mommy Simplicity, it was published and on Amazon.  She went from stuck to a book published in print in 120 days.
  • Today, Sandy Kreps is a Lifestyle Business Writer full-time.  She has four books under her belt, 12000 email subscribers, blogging business and repeated writing income.

What the success of another person should mean to YOU

If you are able to read this post and look back on Sandy’s story like I did, guess what?  YOU ARE ALIVE!

The timeline was important to me because it spans eleven years from the time her son was born until today.   Which speaks to the beginning question that Jeff asked in this video series, “Can this still be done today?” It’s never too late.

I paid particular attention to the point Sandy made about the years from 2007-2012 that she spent “teaching herself”.  I think intelligent creatives really think we can “figure it out.”  I read something in Jonathan Milligan’s blog that made so much sense to me regarding our sensation with “gathering information.”  He says, “education without action is futile. I see it first-hand all of the time. People take courses, but never take action.”  When I think how relevant that statement is, it stings like a hornet.

In October 2015, I participated in Michael Hyatt’s virtual stream of his Influence and Impact Summit.  Since that week in OCT last year, I have listened to about 25-30 webinars from professional bloggers and creatives who are using the gift God gave them to get their message out to many.  I wish I started then.  I’m convicted of being a bystander.  However, I plead NOT GUILTY of sitting on my gift.  Not Anymore.  It’s Not Too Late for Me.  You Either.

I’m On My Write Path.

Q.Nikki

This post is dedicated to my loved one who have believed I can write and prayed for me to believe it too!

In the beginning God created…

STATUS: For months now, I have had the best intention of sitting down at this computer to search my inbox for an email message that is nearly six years old.  I thought I would know it when I saw it although I didn’t remember the subject but I knew the sender and the content.  You see, this email is so important because I am writing a story and I need this email to help tell the story well.  I thought the message chronicled the start of a journey to a status I am presently living that I had no idea at the time where I was going. But I was wrong.  I still don’t know where the journey is going to end up.  But I was wrong about the importance and the content of the email that was lost among the over ninety-five hundred unread messages in my Hotmail inbox.  It would have been easier to find had it been unread.

I thought the email was about a group of dynamic professionals that I affectionately refer to by the name of Leadership LINKS.  When I found the message from Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, Visionary and Chairperson of Leadership LINKS, it wasn’t what I was looking for.  Her letter wasn’t informing me about Leadership LINKS.  Her letter was informing me about me and who I am through her eyes.  Her letter was about our connection and the story inside that connection.  Natasha and I have a long and progressing herstory of a journey helping each other truly define who we are.  As I read the email that starts out Dear QuaWanna, I am overwhelmed that indeed we don’t know how full circle our God is when He shapes the world, even your world, in HIS hands.  He is indescribable.

How the faith of children strengthens adult faith

Ten-year-old classmates, Simon and Jenesis lagged behind the rest of us as we approached the front doors of the school.  I looked back wondering what was taking them so long.  Simon had previously expressed that he didn’t want to go to school and his mother said that he had had a difficult morning.  I could relate to Simon because my early morning hadn’t been so great either.  I should have expected the unnecessary distractions.  I triumphed despite that.  It is #BringYourBibleToSchoolDay.  We pressed on.live-it

When Simon and Jenesis came around the corner to the school door, they both were showing each other how they were going to hold their Bibles in their hands as they went to class.  They barely seemed to notice their mothers standing by to wish them well on their day.  I watched as they disappeared through the double archway of the school hall heading toward their class.  Jenesis on the left and Simon on the right both nodding heads as if to say “let’s do this”.

MOTHERING IS A TOOL

Motherhood, for me, has up and down seasons.  There are days when I feel like I want to close myself up in a closet because I get so overwhelmed.  There are other days when I can pat myself on the back and say, “Girl, you done good.”  Today, I am a good girl.

When I told my children about the Focus on the Family campaign, neither of them declared that they wouldn’t do it.  I thought about the fact that in this day and time, my reality could have been that they were uncooperative.  Children today tell their parents what they are and are not going to do.  No, my children were eager to see who would participate in #BringYourBibleToSchoolDay.  And lucky for me, they were surrounded by classmates and friends of like faith.  No wonder Psalm 127:5 says “blessed is the man who has his quiver full of them.”  Children keep you sharp in your faith.children-and-religious-freedom

MY CHILDREN, YOUR CHILDREN, ALL CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE

Our nation should pay close attention, these warriors won’t back down from a challenge, campaign or conquest.  The future is theirs and you better know that they plan to LIVE IT WELL!  Today, they are shining their light in school hallways, tomorrow on Capital Hill.
margaret-mead

Did you know about #BringYourBibleToSchoolDay and did you and your family participate?  Share it with us in the comments.

The Romance Between Follow and Love

 

In a land far away, a young ruler named Follow was living a good life.  He was popular and had great wealth.  He was strong and healthy, his family and servants cared for him well.  In Follow’s world, it seemed there was nothing more to want.  Follow was a good son, obedient to what his parents and advisers told him to do all his life.  As a young prince, he had been taught well the ways and traditions of the land.  He was intelligent and had reached each milestone expected of him according to his development as a wise man.  But Follow lacked one very important lesson in life.  Though his family were generous people and gave to many needful projects and causes, Follow was ignorant to social activism.  As the only heir to this Father’s throne, he was highly protected and confined.  Some of his friends spent days on great missions and returned to the land with trophies of accomplishment and high respect for their humanitarianism.  Follow longed for that level of human engagement.  He prayed and asked his father to bestow on him just one opportunity to travel beyond their land to distribute unto the poor.  His father saw the hunger in the young man’s eyes and could not deny him his petition and so he sent him on his quest.

For months, Follow led a life much different from the kingdom privilege that he had known.  It was difficult at first to adjust to the threatening livelihood of the people in the poor country.  But the more time Follow spent with them, the more he wanted to save them.  And he wasn’t at all anxious to leave.

One dfolloway in the country, a young lady was working in the river to catch fish and Follow took notice of her.  He laughed to himself as she fell repeatedly in the mud after dropping her slippery prey and diving to retrieve it.  Fishing was hard but she seemed not to mind.  She was engrossed in her day’s work.  She never took notice of Follow standing nearby on the riverbank gathering reeds.  Each day after, Follow returned to the same spot along the river in hopes to see her again.  He gathered the nerve to ask her if she would allow him to assist her in gathering the fish.  Shy and ashamed of her muddy appearance before the disguised prince, she agreed to accept his help and told him her name, Love.  Many days passed that Follow met the girl at the riverbed day after day after day.  She rarely said a word as he spoke of nature and how beautiful it was and how he so enjoyed the days in her country.  Some days it rained and they continued in their work never seeming to mind the downpour.  At the end of a work day, Follow turned to the lady and pulled the dangling, muddy strains of hair from her face and tucked them gently behind her ears.  He lifted her chin up to his gaze and gently whispered, “what shall a man do to spend life with you?”.  She looked squarely in his eyes and replied, “he needs to give all of himself to LOVE.”  She took his hand and place it on her heart and cupped it under her hand.  Follow smiled and took her hand and kissed the center of her palm.  Knowing his time was ending with the young lady and the people he had come to adore, he said to her, “I am going away and I am coming back to you. If you love Me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because my Father is greater than I.”  He left her there in the river. He knew what he needed to do.

Follow returned to his land and to his parents.  The countrymen were eager to know where the young prince had been and what he had done.  But Follow was eager to talk to his father.  He asked for a private meeting and told him of his journey.  When he finished his story of his time with the young lady, his Father had only one question. “What do you want to do son?”  Follow grabbed his father’s hands and cupped them in his own.  “Father,” he said, “I left my throne here in this kingdom and I found LOVE.  I denied myself for LOVE.  I have come to prepare a place for LOVE for where I am there she may be also.”

The young ruler’s time away was expected to mature him socially.  But this was astonishing news.  His Father was delighted that Follow didn’t return home disappointed and was overjoyed to hear Follow’s plans.  The ruler of the land understood that Follow could never be a leader of people without first giving himself to love.  Wonderful things happened in life because of Follow and Love.  Follow and Love married and had Flow.

As the rich young ruler learned in the Biblical parable of Luke 18, Follow discovered that he left the things of the kingdom for his own sake.  You leave not the things of the kingdom for kingdom’s sake, you leave your possessions for your own sake that you may possess more and life everlasting.  That’s LOVE!

Following is a faith thing.  Anything that requires faith, requires love to keep focus on the right things.

Follow.gif by Ben Stafford

What does love have to do with how and who you follow?  Share it with us in the comments.

Who do you choose to follow?

I have a new like.  It is not a love yet but I am beginning to like it very much.  I like Twitter.

You see I only joined Twitter a few months ago.  I joined the same time that I started this blog.  It seemed like the right thing to do at the time in order to build a following.  I am learning along the way.  Initially, I only had about a dozen individuals and organizations that I follow on Twitter.  And although I had chosen to follow them, I wasn’t really paying attention to their Twitter feeds.  Many of those I chose were selected because “I like them.”  Last week, I joined the Twitter following of a role model of mine and I was skimming her page when I discovered a mystery.  (Let’s see if you can figure out who I am talking about?)  She is one of my most beloved women in leadership.  Her Twitter profile description simply says “Just a girl…with a sword.”   She has over 229K followers on her personal Twitter account and goes beyond with additional followers on her ministry account.  Yet, she only has 60 people that she follows.  As I browsed the people and organizations in her list, it was a very telling experience.  I would assume (though I may be wrong) that she only chose to follow people closest to her for those people in the Covenant 60 listing are family members, like-minded leaders in ministry and her favorite influencers/artists.  I wanted to Tweet her right away and ask “Why only 60?”

Girl with a sword’s Twitter page reminded me of a teleseminar I attended a little while back with The Christian Mompreneur NetworkTheresa Ceniccola advised the participants of that seminar to narrow your focus.   She said, “if you are listening to too many influencers, delete or unsubscribe.”  That was a key point in her message that day on Promises, Prayers and Practical Steps: How to Build a Business While Raising a Family.  What really struck me is that she offered each listener to “drop her” as an influencer if you didn’t feel that she was resonating with you and who God was using to help.  That was a humble and significant action step I thought Theresa shared that day.  And while I didn’t stick with her advice of only three influencers, I did delete some people and subscriptions out of my inbox that week because I realized that there is truth to “having too many people in our ears.”  Theresa’s advice was so meaningful to me because it helped me realize the intent of following isn’t just about “liking” or “connecting” as it appears in social media.  Social media has made following more about how many tags or rather tag-a-longs we can collect.  We need to reorient the act of following back to its definition and that is to pursue after, come after what or someone who proceeds you; accept the guidance, command, or leadership of.  Following also means to be guided by and move along the path of something or someone gone ahead of you.  The word “pursuit” really speaks to me because I truly believe that you should pursue what you love.  With that in mind, I have adjusted my followership to people, organizations or causes that I love.

I have chosen to apply the Covenant 60 rule to my Twitter page.  I am currently about half-way there.  I invite you to visit my Twitter page today.  As you browse through this small list of people and organizations I follow, you would learn about the music I love, that I am a student of leadership, I am up to date on local news, I advocate and root for family, education and female role models in ministry and I have friends.

As you read this blog post, please know that I am NOT judging your management style or use of Twitter.  Rather, I want you to take to heart the art of your pursuit.  The celebrity world is changing our mindset about followership.  Followership is defined as the reciprocal social process of leadership.  But we need to rid ourselves of the idea that you have to work to grow the number of people in that circle of reciprocity.  It is a covenant ring and you should use wise judgement in who you choose to invite inside the circle.

Are there any tips you have to choosing who to follow?  Share it with us in the comments.