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The Gift of Grace, Entrepreneurship and a Messy Creative Christmas 

This is the season for gifts, and the frenzy is in full force to purchase, decorate, dress up, and run hither and thither as the days get closer and closer to Christmas.

I am doing Christmas in my own way.

  • I am making creative gifts that are very low-cost and high in the “love factor.”
  • My Christmas tree is a giant canvas that I painted (as pictured here).
  • Zander is running amok as a cat should.
  • And I am heading to California to see my family in a few days!

More important to me than all of the hoopla and the tinsel is the reason for the season, my faith, and my Lord Jesus.  I can’t help to view that through the eyes of my business.  I speak often of the fact that I believe that my business is a gift.  This is one of the core messages that I “preach” to my clients and members of the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs.

I wholeheartedly believe that God has given me the business that I have, the clients I serve, the people on my team, and the platform I hold to share my gifts. I feel that it is my duty and my blessing to accept this gift and use it. I intend to use it, learn from it, honor it, and cherish it.  Whenever I think of doing otherwise, I feel like I would not only be dishonoring my Father but also dismissing the people He has given me. I am NOT willing to do that.

I AM willing to love my gift and show it off to the world.

I AM willing to do all that I can and give it everything that I have.

I AM willing to invest my full heart, mind, and intentions.

I AM willing to accept this gift from God.

This past week, I was sent a Grinch-like message, and it made me pause. I had to check my motives. I had to stop to reflect and pray.  I felt afraid to keep sharing my message for a little while, but I am back.

Today, I choose to continue to be me and pray for those who attack me. I am a mess. I am NOT perfect. I know you aren't, either. That is the miracle of the season. We have the gift of GRACE.

I will celebrate my business this season. I will look back on where I have been over the past year and take inventory. I am looking at my future plans, and I'm excited about the thought of opening the box that says "2015" on it.  I hope you choose to do the same with your gift of a business and the gift of this life.

Be BRAVE my friends!

 

Diane Cunningham | Founder of NACWEDiane Cunningham is the Founder and President of the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs. She is a “business therapist,” plane crash survivor, author, consultant, speaker, marathon runner, and fun friend. Find out more about NACWE and why 165 women joined in the first year at www.NACWE.org. Connect with Diane at www.facebook.com/DianeCunningham for fun updates, silly videos, and lively conversation.

The Gift of Being Present

 

Christmas_bauble_black_and_whiteI used to love the Holidays!

I remember when my husband and I first got married, we shopped very carefully and specifically for the decorations we put in our home. I even remember feeling a little sad that our tree was decorated with store-bought ornaments instead of the handmade treasures that hung on my family tree. I looked forward to future Christmases when our future children would hang their treasured gifts made at school and church.

Flash forward MANY years. . .These days, it seems there’s barely time to put the tree up, let alone sit in front of a roaring fire making family memories like those I see in the faded Polaroids of my childhood. It seems I run from one event to the next—a choir concert here, a band concert there. The Advent activities of our church calendar are penciled in between shopping, preparing, and juggling an assortment of activities that flash by in a frenzy, only to collapse in a heap on New Year’s Day wondering where the time went and promising myself, “Next Year. . .”

Have you found yourself feeling the same?

Give yourself the gift of being present for the things that matter most. Don’t just survive the holidays this year! Enjoy them!

Be determined to slow down and not over-extend yourself. Give the gift of time and joyful experiences together. Choose to do the things that truly matter and release the rest.

Yes, there will be concerts and chaos. But this year, release the “should’s” and “have to’s”. In order to be fully present, we must let go of busyness and only do the things that truly matter.

What activities or routines can you release this year so that you too have the gift of presence?

  • Ask your family what their most favorite traditions are, and only include those. You might be surprised at the things they identify as unimportant that you believed were critical to their happiness!
  • Include your family in the activities you have selected to do—shopping, wrapping, decorating, etc. Don’t do it by yourself in an effort to get more done, quicker.
  • Let things go! Create a schedule that is balanced and not overcrowded! Stop living in the margins of your life, and embrace the true blessings of this amazing season and the true gifts of Christ’s abundance through His birth.

Repeat after me: “This year, I promise to be fully present in the allotted 24 hours a day I’ve been given. Being fully present is the gift I’m giving to myself and to those I love. I will spend time with God in gratitude and Thanksgiving for all that He has brought into my life, and, through the overflow of His Holy Spirit, I will choose the true gifts of Love and Time for my family and friends as we make memories together. I choose to give myself permission to do only the things that matter the most—not what we ‘have always done’ or ‘what we should do.’”

My prayer is that you truly experience the joy of the holidays and the true meaning of Christmas in ways you never believed possible.

 

Shannon Marketing photo 2Shannon Spencer is the Founder and CEO of The Savvy Woman Business Network, Executive Coach, Joy Strategist and Marketplace Minister. A life-long entrepreneur who is passionate about shining the light of Christ through all she does, she has a strong background in retail management and specialized in Mental Health and Wellness. Shannon lives in the wine country of Kennewick, Washington with her amazing husband and talented teenagers, where she teaches and empowers Christian Mom-preneurs to fulfill their missions at home and through their work with joy. Kingdom living is her passion. Find out more about Shannon—and her newest program, Cultivating a CEO Mindset for Savvy Mom-preneurs—at www.TheSavvyWoman.org.