Be The Change Devotional Week 26: Be Alive

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Sounds like a no brainer right? Be alive. But seriously, being alive takes some skill. We can sit through life with a regular routine that never challenges us. Or, we can live lives that make us feel alive.

This past week, I went to Montana for a family vacation. This trip got me pondering what it means to be alive. We drove on “Going to the sun road” through Glacier National Park and I was swept away with the grand majesty of our nation’s land. We also spent time on a boat in Whitefish Lake and I was impacted by the world around me. (FYI -I have a weird fear of deep water; I say, weird because I don’t know where it came from, and I haven’t yet worked it out-I say this because fear is definitely related to this post!)

I came to realize this about fear and the wonderful feeling of being alive. They go hand in hand. At the moment our lives are threatened, we look for ways to survive and we live more vigorously. At the greatest heights of Glacier National park I was in awe of how incredible the view was. But when I looked down, I was terrified. On the lake, when I looked around I was exhilarated by the views of the glassy waters, and surrounding land, but on imagining the depths of my surroundings -below me, around me, and above -I was terrified.

I think we all have these moments where panic and exhilaration combine. Usually, fear takes over and we hate these moments. But I wanted so badly to get over my fear of water, that I chose to experience it as my life at the most vulnerable and sublime moment. I think these powerful moments are here to bless us with raw feelings of being alive.

You can apply this concept to all your fears. Whether they are of public speaking, being around massive amounts of people, fear of heights, water, etc. there is a surreal and raw sweetness from which to learn.

I wish I had more moments like that I can learn from in ways that only fear can initiate. It’s that incredible feeling of being alive, surviving something awesome, thrilling, terrifying, and beautiful.

This week I am going to see life through that lens -sensitive, raw, terrifying, thrilling, and beautiful. My everyday life definitely doesn’t have me going to Glacier National Park, but perhaps this feeling of being alive can be magnified. Because the feeling of fear can be mysterious, coming and going at a moments notice. This week I will seek to be this change: Be thrilled, be terrified, be beautifully alive.

Be Alive.

Be The Change Devotional Week 25: Be Brave

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It takes guts to live life on this planet. It takes guts to speak out! You got to have courage to stand up for yourself and your rights! Now is the time to live boldly, and courageously! We must learn how to never quit in the face of difficulty, danger, and pain.

I used to think this is what it meant to be brave. And it is. A big part. But there is another part of bravery that I’m discovering along the way. Being brave can be exhibited by being meek and quiet in the midst of fear. Being brave is holding your ground even if it’s shaky. Being brave is not stammering about in the middle of a typhoon shouting do your worst! Bravery is keeping your feet on the ground, your mind steady, your thoughts collected, and your hands diligent.

I’ve realized that it takes more guts to be silent in the face of challenging foes, events, or circumstance. I’ve also learned that if I try to be brave, I usually end up coward. Guess what? It takes more guts to quietly chip away at the changes to make within ourselves, rather than fight to remain the same. Are you getting me?

Sure, there are times where we all should have the valiant courage to make the right choice. Peer pressure is everywhere no matter what age you are. However, we need to pay more attention to the moments in our lives that require the quiet courage too. You decide what type of courage best fits…quiet or valiant.

Courage when it counts:

1) When you don’t want to do something others are doing. Being courageous counts when you want to enjoy personal preferences (when you are courageous in this context, you experience the essence of true freedom). By which, your character can be refined if you have the courage to make confident choices regardless of the social pressures in the way. Have you gone against your own convictions or personal preferences because of social pressure? Be free. Be brave.

2) When its illegal. The law is black and white. (Although, some would say that’s debatable.) In the workforce (and anywhere really), you may be witness to or experiencing illegal stuff. Being courageous counts when illegal activity affects the world you and I live in. Is there something you have seen or heard that affects you in the workplace, your neighborhood? Be brave.

3) When you want change. Being courageous counts when you want to change your life so badly that you won’t let the pain, danger, or difficulty stop you.  This is the trickiest of all because this type of bravery is the silent kind. This bravery builds quiet momentum until your entire life has changed by one courageous action after another.

Consider the following examples for developing your own quiet bravery:

Hot temper? It takes a brave soul to sit quietly, not fight back, and seek resolution with a whole new approach. Constant courage will change your entire communication system.

Weight issues? It takes courage to make every single healthy choice consistently when the numbers on the scale don’t go down and you don’t see any change. It takes courage to keep going in the midst of difficulty.

Low self-esteem? Bravery works its magic when you have the courage to dig quietly like Edmond Dantes in Count of Monte Cristo while he was in Chatteau D’if. There is a time to shine, the time may not be now, but keep doing the hard work it takes to be great even alongside great pain.

Last words to you. Your wits and intelligence are too valuable to be flushed into the vortex of fear. There are times to be brave where you take a stand and speak out -personal preference and illegal activity. But the REAL COURAGE is the quiet type – the type of courage heroes have – quiet & relentless. This courage requires perseverance and confident resolve. The quiet brave soul surrenders itself through the storms in order to gain the strength, peace, and genuine virtue.

This week, know the difference. See the difference. Live the difference. Surrender yourself through the storm in order to gain the strength, peace, and genuine virtue by being courageous. Sometimes we have to be our own hero because the ones in comics don’t really exist.

Be Brave.

 

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Be the Change Devotional Week 24: Be Prepared

Be Prepared

I remember when I was young my mother always told me, If you don’t plan, you plan to fail. Preparation is the key to success. Every person in leadership ought to be prepared. There will always be variables that you can’t control, but you’d be amazed at how much you can actually control and dictate.

People who over prepare think a lot about murphy’s law -What can go wrong, will go wrong. So to remedy the case of the “what-ifs,” they look at their predicament through a thousand different angles and plan accordingly. Is this overboard? Not if you can prevent a disaster, or a minor delay in order to stay on track with your goals. You never know when that one detail can change the course of your life or goals.

For me, I prepare. I don’t over prepare really. But I prepare for basic, normal life. (I want to be an over-preparer!) How about you? Are you preparing for murphy’s law to happen everyday? Or are you a average preparer? We can also think about the neurotic, anxious, and obsessive worriers. Are you like that? Staying up at night worrying? Begin preparing!

photoI’m a believer that the more obsessive and anxious the people are, the more amazing and brilliant they can be! Once you put the worry and pressures of your task, goal,or whatever in the light of preparation you will be successful. Don’t be afraid to take preparation to an obsessive level. think about what filmmaker, David Fincher says, “My idea of professionalism is probably a lot of people’s idea of obsessive.”

Week 24 is about being prepared. Take the time to think ahead and plan it out. Consider how everything will be affected by what you say, think, wear, whether or not you eat, etc. For example when we eat out with friends whether or not you eat at home first will affect your time, your money, your words, and your impression. This of course, is a basic preparation -the average.

But what if you took your preparedness to new heights? How then would you really be able to affect the world and people around you? You would be able to deliver the impression you intend. You would be more successful at loving your friends and family. You would be able to anticipate awkward or pretentious moments and thus, respond intentionally. Think, plan, anticipate, and act in line with what outcome you want. And when those uncontrolled variables start popping up, you will be one step ahead.

Be Prepared

 

My Husband’s Movie Opens In Over 700 Theaters Nationwide in 10 Days

I’m really proud of my husband for ALL the hard work he has done on his movie, “Persecuted.” He wrote the film. He directed the film. And produced it.

During the first year we were married, he woke up in the middle of the night with the whole story in his head. He worked tenaciously, draft after draft. Along the way, he met a handful of people who helped, most of which didn’t have the staying power to see it through to this present day.

He has fought tooth-and-nail and sacrificed more than anyone could ever guess to get this movie into the hands of the audience. And I have never seen anyone care about a vision more than my husband has for this movie.

PERSECUTED OPENS JULY 18th

WATCH the trailer here: Persecuted Trailer

BECOME A FAN on Facebook? Persecuted Facebook Page

SHARE it from Youtube? YouTube Persecuted Trailer

BUY TICKETS on fandango? Persecuted on Fandango

Thank you for checking out the trailer, sharing it, becoming a fan, buying your tickets…whatever you decide to do.

Elle

 

 

Be The Change Devotional Week 23: Be Real

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What does “be real” even mean? Whether I put on a facade or am transparent, I am a living person behaving in a very real way, right? So being “real” can mean different things to different people. Therefore, I know this may seem a bit pretentious. But as I seek to “Be The Change, I am discovering a more personal meaning for being real.

Have you ever been in the presence of a person who doesn’t fake who they are? It’s refreshing and lovely. They are who they are. They are funny, brash, witty, charming, intense -you get the picture. When I meet them, they seem to sparkle in a way that is so unique and brilliant. They clap for awesome moments, some cry, some squeal with joy and some do nothing at all. Most notably, they have mastered the art of putting attention on the moment and enjoying every bit of it. They do not draw attention for themselves, but for others.

Being real is beautiful to me for this one reason. Inside each of us is a unique perspective and a satisfying twist in the way we enjoy every moment. If we are not careful, we can lose the radiant, unique beauty expressed in all of us.

A friend of mine in college once spoke very slowly as if it was difficult for her to think and speak. It was hard to talk with her and “get” her. She was nice, beautiful, intelligent but her speech distracted me. One day, I came into class and spoke with a completely different woman. I asked her, what is different?

She said, “I used to care so much about how I came across to others. One morning I told myself -that’s enough, I’m not going to do that anymore. And I changed.” 

Just like that? I asked. “Yeah!” She radiated beauty, presence, awareness; And sparkled in a new, refreshing way.

Every one of us can be fake, or awkward. We focus more on our impression rather than the who we really are. Losing the precious moments while thinking about how to impress others.

I want to meet more people that are themselves, People who are not preoccupied with what others think, so I gotta be like that too.

I want to meet people whose confidence is rooted in the simplicity of being found alive. I want to add to those numbers.

What about you? Would you like to see more real people? Become one yourself.

Be The Change Devotional Week 23 is about being real. No more fake smiles, laughs, forced speech, and awkward clothing. Discover this week, what it’s like to be present and in the moment. Tell yourself no more to all of it. You have one life to live…and whether you are or aren’t, you are real either way.

Be Real

 

 

Be The Change Devotional Week 22: Be Positive

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There are seasons in our lives where we can get busy and stress seems to consume us like a Tsunami. Under the stress we can lose our cool. We can complain and speak out negatively about the storms, our lives, and people. But we forget that storms come to reveal to us who and what we cherish.

Along with working on the Be Cool techniques from Week 21, you can learn to Be Positive no matter what the outward situation looks like for the moment. Be positive to master the storms in your life with grace and depth of character.

How well do you steer your ship in the storms? Is it an example others should follow? What are ways that you remain positive? Do you have a good sense of protecting those you love?

I have had a habit of grumbling when things are less than smooth sailing. With a slight breeze, I can get cranky. When someone or something rocks my boat, the negative, grumbling complaints begin. Complaining and being negative isn’t productive any way and usually makes things more uncomfortable than they already are.

To learn about how to make a sticky situation more comfortable, I like to think about great leadership. All notable leaders remain positive. They seek to discover something good within all situations, and lead their thoughts and others in a direction that preserves the good stuff.

For a long time, I would tell myself that the storms of life are good. I disagree with that now. Although, they bring opportunities to grow, most of the time they just difficult to handle. So I’ve conlcuded that storms are not to be praised for their difficulty; but for the power they have to reveal to me what I love most in life.

Caution: If we are not careful, the storms have the power to wipe out the people and things we value most. Therefore, the life we live needs to be preserved and protected. Being positive facilitates preservation.

Week 22 is about you being positive. When you hear your mind, thoughts and words begin to turn sour and negative, be positive. Discover what is good and what is delicate. Speak positive things that reflect what you value. Don’t let your ship go down in the waves of life, don’t give your treasures to the sharks. (Life never stops moving with ups and downs). Learn to preserve and protect who and what you cherish most by remaining positive.

Be Positive.

Breakfast in Bagdhad

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Nights fill with terror, and echoes of genocide are heard from around the world. How did we get to this point? Friends against friends, brothers against brothers, families against families, people against people.

Amidst war and among terrified hearts, I hear choirs of angels ministering to the ones crying out. Oceans of voices unified in song engulf my soul. Enraptured, I listen. The beauty of their sound soothes this weary heart.

I chase the song like a hummingbird chases after her breakfast, while the noise of a world offended fades. And soon, I find myself having breakfast in presence of angels and perfect peace. The hummingbird has caught her breakfast -A meditation within heaven’s gates.

Resolve. The days get darker, my soul gets lighter. The confusion rises, but my clarity anchors. People gamble with hope, I preserve my vision. As egos take their thrones, I remove my crown.

I am thankful there will be a day where I will surrender this kingdom and this body, to gain one I will never lose. And I will no longer eat my breakfast in Bagdhad.

 

Be The Change Devotional Week 21: Be Cool

photo-10When I was younger, my older sister created a “Cool Lady Club.” Pitching me on being cool, she convinced me to join. I wanted what she had -coolness. Over a few weeks she showed me how to ‘be cool’ -like her. She showed me new ways to scrunch my socks, how to do my hair, and how to walk and talk.

But through all the cool lessons, the one lesson learned is that it is wrong to be someone else’s idea of cool. Every time I went out in public, it just felt weird trying to be someone I wasn’t. I was awkward. What I needed was my own cool.

Have you joined a “cool club” that really isn’t you? Do you need to whistle your own tune? Then read on to discover…

Four things I am discovering about the true meaning of coolness:

1) Being cool is to down play. Have you seen those moments in movies where the new graduate gets her dream job. Shephoto 1 squeals, then restrains the excitement. Then squabbles out a self-controlled, thank you? After the excitement passes, there must be self-control to allow the coolness to take over. It is her self-restraint that gives her the sustainability to keep up with her colleagues.

2) Being cool is to allow others to express themselves. When you give someone a gift, don’t be more excited than the other person. When you are sharing a heartfelt or dramatic story, share it without the passionate speech. Have you been in that position where either you or your friend start to cry in the middle of conversation? It gets awkward. Hold it back.

Keep your cool. If you moderate your own emotional expression, you give others a chance to discover their own feelings and thoughts about it.

3) Being cool is to know your value. What are you bringing to the table with your friendships, family, work, and social life? Know your value and position and be confident. You don’t have to pour out your value to solicit cheap compliments. If you’re truly confidently cool, you won’t be reaching. Hold your value back and wait.

When I come across a cool person, they rarely point out their own value. If it comes up: Let your value be understated. Don’t even mention it, or refer to #1: Downplay. Confident coolness is noted by others when you don’t bite the bait. 

4) Being cool is to develop good timing. Timing is everything. Without good timing all coolness goes out the window. Practice restraint in telling a joke, a story, venting, anything at all. Wait. Consider the proper person and moment to share or have a conversation. 

Tip for jokes: Don’t laugh at your own jokes. Refer back to #2: Restrain and allow others to express themselves. 

photo-9Be the Change Devotional Week 21 is all about being cool. If you realize you aren’t being you, it’s a good sign you aren’t being cool. I dare you to be yourself. It could be the hardest challenge you have this week, but don’t sacrifice your value, self-worth, and all your coolness for someone else’s idea of cool (including mine, irony). Be yourself because everyone else is already taken.

If you become emotional, passionate, or overbearing, dial it down. Discover the cool you. When you are alone, look for your cool. And find new ways to work it into your social life. How cool can you be this week? How calmly can you express excitement, satisfaction, or new ideas? 

Be confident, self-restrained, and independent.

Be Cool. 

Elle

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Baby Girl Quilt: Chevron Design

Yes! Here I go again. After the first quilt, I had to say, ‘yes’ to a second quilt! Out of seven grand children, we finally have a girl! Over a span of ten years all we had were boys. So when I got the news my sister was having a baby girl…I fell off the boy (clothes) wagon and found myself buying all sorts of cute frilly outfits with ice cream cones and sea horses. Next, the fabric store…

photo 2 photo 3 photo 4So here it is. Not finished, but almost. I found  a quilt on pinterest that I liked but wanted to personalize. Here is the progress.

Update: Finished it! Photos follow. I loved completing this one! It was my second chevron design and I adore the border around the zig-zags. I will re-make this quilt in the future. Even though I don’t have proper cutting tools, this one turned out great. There was a learning curve for how to tweak the imperfections to make it look decent.

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I stitched the ditch to sew the batting in place. I added the green border. (I did NOT iron anything at this point. With synthetic batting it is not a good idea.) I started the binding on the back and folded over to the top for a clean finish. Here is my finished baby girl chevron quilt compared to the one I liked online.
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A Simple Thank You

photo-8There are days when I work harder than usual to serve others and desire their good above my own. It’s a fine balance to enjoy others while enjoying myself. Generally, we all want to be treated with respect, fairness, and recognition of who we are.

Sometimes when I express myself too much, I can eclipse my friends and family and not treat them the way they desire or should be treated. No one can enjoy this. These are the days when I realize that I have a lot to learn; and I am humbled.

The past couple of days have been like this…So when I signed on this morning to write a review, checked my notifications, and found some awesome stats! I was instantly encouraged!

  • 14 people had liked my recent post -which is the most I have ever gotten in a day. You can read the post here.
  • I received my wordpress medal for having 100 followers! Woot! Woot!
  • Paulette Motzko, a fellow blogger, http://totallyinspiredpc.wordpress.com reblogged my recent post.

Upon being instantly encouraged, I wanted to write a simple thank you:

Thank you for those of you who subscribe and follow Grace For Elle, visit and read my blog, like my posts, share it with others, and are changed by my words. You are an encouragement and inspiration to me.

Elle