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Lina AbuJamra

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Twila Belk

Gail Bones

Harriet Bouchillon

Mary Carver

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Lisa Copen

Erin Davis

Diane Dean

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Kelly DeChant

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Melissa Edgington

Debbi Eggleston

Pat Ennis

Morgan Farr

Pam Farrel

Sally Ferguson

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Gail Goolsby

Sheila Gregoire

Kate Hagen

Doreen Hanna

Holly Hanson

Becky Harling

Debbie Harris

Nali Hilderman

Cathy Horning

Kathy Howard

Mary James

Priscilla Jenson

Lane P. Jordan

Rebecca Jordan

Ellie Kay

Maria Keckler

Sylvia Lange

Debby Lennick

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Kathi Lipp

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Kathi Macias

Paula Marsteller

Melissa Mashburn

Dianne Matthews

Cindi McMenamin

Elaine W. Miller

Kathy Collard Miller

Lynn Mosher

Karen O'Connor

Yvonne Ortega

Arlene Pellicane

Ava Pennington

Laura Petherbridge

Gail Purath

Marcia Ramsland

Kaley Rhea

Rhonda Rhea

Vonda Rhodes

Cynthia Ruchti

Julie Sanders

Judy Scharfenberg

Deedra Scherm

Laurel Shaler

Joanie Shawhan

Stephanie Shott

Poppy Smith

Susan K. Stewart

Stacie Stoelting

Letitia "Tish" Suk

Jill Swanson

Janet Thompson

Janice Thompson

Teri Thompson

Brittany Van Ryn

Elizabeth Van Tassel

Leslie Vernick

Laurie Wallin

Julie Watson

Joan C. Webb

Shonda Savage Whitworth

Cherri Williamson

Kathy C. Willis

Debbie W. Wilson

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Jamie Wood

And UPGRADE'S Founder

   Dawn Wilson

 

Saturday
Feb012014

Embrace Your Season!

A short Upgrade UPLIFT:

I want to encourage all of us to embrace the season we're in ... the season God prepared for us.

If need be, upgrade your attitude today.

Look for the blessings in this day ... this circumstance ... this season.

Determine to honor God in all your decisions.

In your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s or beyond? Live out godly priorities as the Lord makes them clear to you - no matter your age.

Look for ways to delight God's heart with your faith and obedience.

Whether you are in the sunrise of your faith, or nearing the sunset when you will see the Lord, your view of your "season" will determine how you respond to life's challenges, and whether you see the hand of God - even in the little things that others might miss.

The Bible says,

"He has made all things beautiful in its time" (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Including you!

That's the truth. Do you believe it? Do you embrace it? How does that truth cause you to want to act more like Jesus in this season of life?

Thursday
Jan302014

'Financial Language' - Are You an 'Avoider'?

Janice Thompson’s six “Financial Languages” help me understand how women relate differently to money matters.  In this, her fourth post on the topic, she describes "The Avoider" approach, beginning with this quote by a famous business consultant:

“What you have to do and the way you have to do it is incredibly simple. Whether you are willing to do it is another matter.” – Peter Drucker

That’s true of women in many arenas – marriage, parenting, ministry, housework and yes, finances. Janice shares a story to illustrate how avoiding financial decisions can be foolish

She continues

Megan came to see me in the fall of 2002. I can still remember the day we met. She was beautiful, talented and well-educated. But what struck me so deeply that day was that I would be invited into the heart of a woman devastated by the recent loss of her husband. Megan’s husband had paid the ultimate price with his life in service to our country, leaving a wife alone with just three months to go until the birth of their first child.

Here was a woman who had it all. In one tragic moment, she was stripped of everything that gave her significance and security. She was now facing the frightening prospect of having to navigate the complex world of financial matters on her own.

Because Megan’s husband had always taken care of things for her, she was overwhelmed by decisions and, at times, even paralyzed by small financial events. Her initial response was to try to bury her head in the sand, thus avoiding her new reality.

I don’t think I have wept more with anyone than I did in those first few months working with this dear woman. To say she was confused and terrified by the financial decisions she was facing would be an understatement. She could easily have filled her life with distractions to assuage the grief, but instead she purposefully determined to let God make her better.

Megan chose to be victorious, not a victim.

She is now a wise, savvy, and confident woman … Megan could easily have responded to life’s curve ball by being a Martha – filling her life with activity and things that masked the void rather than focusing on the important priorities that could fill the void—like sitting at Jesus’ feet [Luke 10:38-42]. Whether Martha was simply distracted by too much to do or just operating in her comfort zone, it is clear that Martha entertained a seed of the victim mentality.

Victims have a choice: they can either avoid their new reality and become bitter, or by God’s grace they can take the appropriate steps to become better.

Does this sound like you? Do you find yourself so overwhelmed by the responsibilities of life that worry consumes you? Do you feel as though you are spiraling downward in a vortex of confusion? Are you overwhelmed and intimidated by financial matters, and do you lack confidence to make wise decisions?

If so, take heart from Megan’s story.

Don’t bury your head in the sand. Seek wise advice.

Find non-threatening ways to become financially educated.

Don’t be embarrassed by the fact that you have a lot of questions. The only “stupid” question is the one you are too intimidated to ask.

You can’t avoid reality forever, so surround yourself with wise counsel that will encourage you not only to listen, but to take appropriate action at the appropriate time. As you do, you will begin to develop confidence in your decisions.

Read this scripture thoughtfully: “... God gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding. He’s a rich mine of Common Sense for those who live well, a personal bodyguard to the candid and sincere. He keeps his eye on all who live honestly, and pays special attention to his loyally committed ones” (Proverbs 2:6-8, The Message).

Is your financial language avoidance? Which of the bulleted points will you act on today?

Janice Thompson is founder and president of Strategic Financial Solutions, Inc., a comprehensive wealth management firm focused on biblically-wise financial solutions. Janice is a Certified Financial Planner® and serves on the Kingdom Advisors Board of Directors. She has two married children and just welcomed her first grandchild to the family.  She and her husband, Tom, live in San Diego.

Note: Material adapted from the book, Managing Your Money Maze by Janice Thompson (Revive Our Hearts, 2009).

Photo in Text: Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net – adapted.

Tuesday
Jan282014

Raising a Modern-Day Princess

Doreen Hanna, the founder and president of Treasured Celebrations Ministries and the co-author of Raising a Modern Day Princess, cares about little girls’ hearts.

“Upgrade your teen daughter or granddaughter’s life,” Doreen says. “Raise her to be a Modern Day Princess!”   

As “Grammy” to three little girls, I want them to grow up to be strong, confident young women of God. But something like that doesn’t just happen. Moms and grandmoms need to be intentional.

Doreen continues …

I can already hear a mom of teenage daughter saying “What? Another upgrade? She already wants to upgrade her cell phone, her clothes, her i-pod … maybe even her friends or a family member, if it were possible!” 

Whether in a device or our personal life, an upgrade will always require us or our girls to make an investment of time, patience and sometimes money to manage that new upgrade.

I’m sure as a mother, mentor or grandmother, most of us seek to upgrade our girls’ lives spiritually. We want to equip them to embrace who they in Christ. Desiring that they become a true Modern-Day Princess—a Daughter of the King.

We desire for them to know the benefits of such an upgrade in their spiritual life, like embracing the wealth of wisdom that lies within God’s Word—wisdom that can guide them throughout their future.   

You as a mother, mentor, or grandmother (and I, as the founder of Modern Day Princess Headquarters) face the reality of some of the downgrades (heartbreaking statistics) when we consider the girls in our own community, church or family. Consider this:

  • Fifty percent of all teen girls are bullied due to lack of self-confidence.
  • One in every three girls, ages 11-18, has been diagnosed with clinical depression.
  • One in every 12 girls will attempt suicide before the age of 18.

Ladies!  We have been empowered by God’s Word and His Holy Spirit to give our girls a Premium Upgrade! We do this by speaking life and truth into each young mind and heart and by living a trustworthy life before them. We have these two key “apps” that have eternal impact.

So let’s take some practical steps to evaluate some upgrades for your Princess:

Upgrade #1 - If it’s an upgrade of a material object, like a new device: (1) Consider together, what will be the initial investment? (2) Who is going to pay for any additional monthly costs? (3) Will it cause loss of time with her most important relationship, her family?

Upgrade #2 – If it is an upgrade about her—her clothes, a new hairstyle, room décor, etc.: (1) Be honest. Do you have the funds to provide this right now? (2) Is she willing to use some of her own money to contribute? (3) Is it truly a need, or just a want?

Upgrade #3 – If it is an upgrade regarding friends (one of the most challenging upgrades): (1) Is her friend seeking to live like Christ? (2) How does she show it? (3) If she is not a Christian, are you willing to set the example?

Upgrade #4 – If it is an upgrade regarding family (another challenging upgrade): (1) Are we willing to forgive? (2) Willing to set the example? (3) To give the respect that others deserve?

Pray together as you consider these steps that will equip your daughter or granddaughter  for life and encourage her to become a Modern-Day Princess for the Lord. It’s truly a priceless upgrade!

What upgrade does your daughter need the most at this time? Are you willing to invest the time and resources to encourage her and help her grow as a Daughter of the King?

Doreen Hanna is the founder and president of Treasured Celebrations Ministries and the co-author, with Pam Farrel of Raising a Modern Day Princess and the companion journal, Becoming a Modern-Day Princess. Her ministry empowers women to equip girls and give them an integrity-based rite-of-passage in today’s culture. Visit Doreen’s website for more information.

 

Thursday
Jan232014

Dear God, We Need Friends

Janet Thompson, founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry, shared a conversation she had about friendship. When I read it, I asked her to help us Upgrade our Friendships. She shares four ways she expanded her own friendship circles.

Janet wrote:

‘You sure do have a lot of friends!’ a friend exclaimed laughingly.

That’s what we prayed for,’ my husband, Dave, and I answered in unison.”

Have you ever prayed for friends? I prayed that same prayer about 10 years ago, and God has answered with an abundance of women I now cherish—valued companions in life and ministry.

Janet continues …

As newlyweds, we asked God to bless us with Christian “couple” friends. God answered that prayer beyond our expectations.

We knew it would be important for us to have a social life comprised of couples who shared our values and beliefs, so we intentionally prayed asking God to bring friends into our married life.

1. Looking For Friends Outside the Box!

Dave and I met in a small-group Bible study, so we had a head start on our quest for friends.

We were also willing to look outside our church home of Saddleback Church, so when I heard about a Marriage Builders class offered at another church, we decided this was perfect preparation for our upcoming marriage. We made more friends, and the pastor who taught Marriage Builders officiated at our wedding.

Then I heard a radio advertisement for a Caribbean cruise with Calvary Church. What a great way to spend our honeymoon—on a cruise with Christian couples. Again, it didn’t matter what church they attended. We were all in the family of God. We had fun being the “newlyweds” on the cruise and came home with a new group of friends.

Dave and I were also intentional about inviting other couples—people we met at the gym, at church, in the grocery store, friends of friends— to join our small-group Bible study. As the group expanded, so did our circle of friends.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).

2. Moving, an Opportunity for New Friends

We bought a mountain cabin, and even though we were “weekenders,” we attended the local church, had couples over for dinner and hosted game nights. Soon people were saying I should run for mayor, because I knew so many people in town.

Then two years ago, we made the major move from Southern California to the mountains of Idaho. I wondered how we would make new friends, but I didn’t wonder for long. Again, we joined the local community church where the members embraced and welcomed us. Soon we had invitations to potlucks, football parties, game nights and social events.

3. Vacation with the Family of God

We decided to celebrate our 20th anniversary like our honeymoon, with Christian couples on the “Love Song Couples Getaway.” In one week, we made friends from all over the country who have become near and dear to us.

4. Friendships Are Our Witness

As Christians, someone is always watching us and we never know what aspect of our lives is influencing them. In Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, I tell the story of my daughter, Kim, who was contemplating becoming a Christian and worrying that she might not have any friends.

“Well, you and Dave have so many friends,” she said, “and you’re always having a good time. I guess I don’t need those [unbelieving] friends who won’t accept me.”

Friends enjoying wholesome activities together is a testimony that Christians have fun and fellowship.

It’s important to also befriend nonbelievers, but those we share our lives with should share our morals and our values.

There are potential friends everywhere, so go out and make a new friend!

Where have you found your most cherished friend? Did Janet give you any ideas for where you might cultivate new friendships?

Janet Thompson is an international speaker and an award-winning author of  17 books, including: Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer and Dear God, He’s Home!-A Woman’s Guide to Her Stay-at-Home Man. Janet is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. Visit Janet at womantowomanmentoring.com and connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo in text, adapted. Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tuesday
Jan212014

Being a Happy Wife - Even When He Doesn't Make Me Feel Happy

Got 31 days? Arlene Pellicane will help you grow! In her most recent book, 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife, she talks about husbands who don’t live up to our expectations … but she gives us hope. Upgrading our marriage has more to do with choice than circumstances. She says,

“What if want your husband to make you smile, but he isn’t giving you much to work with?”

When I read that, I thought: Every marriage has disappointments, and yes, we need to learn how to deal with them so marriages can become a blessing, not a burden.

Arlene continues …

I remember a very busy Wednesday in our home. First I woke up at 5:30 a.m. for boot camp at the gym. James will tell you it was very unusual for me to get up that early (knowing my love for sleep). Then I headed to the kids’ elementary school to watch Ethan’s class participate in a folk dancing festival followed by refreshments in the classroom.  

I rushed home and had a radio interview and then needed to update my website which was being redesigned. Plus I had speaking engagements to prepare for the next few days. And we were having company stay at our house the following day so I needed to clean.

Have you ever had one of those days? 

I was feeling the need for some serious words of affirmation from James. But, of course, I didn’t articulate that in words. I dropped hints left and right, but he was not catching on.

I’m huffing and puffing, walking quickly around the house with cleaning supplies. I’m sighing and talking about how much I had to do. I’m waiting for a comforting word or a compliment. He continues working from his office in silence. Now I’m even more stressed out because I’ve added “I have an insensitive husband” to my list of grievances.

Then it hits me. I am just doing my job. Why am I trying to get extra attention? As a mother, author and speaker, these are the kinds of activities that are part of the package.

I don’t commend James every time he brings the kids to school, completes his business calls and texts back his clients. That’s all part of his job

That evening, I wrote this in my journal:  

I realized today that I need to do my part and not wait for the kudos. Instead of thinking James will meet all my needs for affirmation; I need to lean on the Lord more for validation. I want to stop waiting for him to say the magic words. The truth is he doesn’t even know he’s supposed to say them. 

There will be many times when your husband will do or say something that will bring a big smile to your face. But don’t count on your husband to be the main source of your smile. He simply can’t live up to that. And when you need those words of affirmation, ask for them. Remember your husband is not a mind reader.

Whenever you find yourself feeling down in your marriage, pray this and ask God to restore your joy:  

“Lord, you say that a merry heart is like medicine. Smiling is good for my health. Help me to smile more often. I give you my worries and concerns. I give my burdens to you because I know You care for me. I choose to smile because I know I am loved. Thank you for loving me.”

Do you struggle with expectations you have with your husband to make you “happy”? What, from Arlene’s journal thoughts, encourages you the most?

Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to a Becoming a Happy Wife and 31 Days to a Happy Husband.  She lives in San Diego with her husband James and three children.  You can learn more about her at www.ArlenePellicane.com

Text Graphic: from wahmresourcessite.com