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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.

 

What You Want: How Your Desires Reveal Your Purpose

tumblr_ml44l0ON7i1qj1vbho1_500Today, I want to share with you my PASSION! God created us in this time and in this place for a REASON—to impact His Kingdom. We know from Genesis that He placed Adam in the Garden of Eden to WORK, so our WORK is as important to God as every other aspect of our lives. I am a huge Max Lucado fan and love how God connects with me through Max’s words, so I will share from his Devotional Bible:


 

God is speaking through Psalm 37:1-40
Situation: David used a number of expressions to contrast the righteous and the wicked. David said that good consequences are a result of good behavior.

Observation: God’s people will receive “what they want” as they trust God, commit their lives to him, and delight in serving the Lord.

Inspiration: What are my longings? This question may surprise you. Perhaps you thought your longings had nothing to do with keeping your life on track. I couldn’t disagree more. Your heart is crucial. Psalm 37:4 says, “Enjoy serving the Lord, and he will give you what you want.” When we submit to God’s plans, we can trust our desires. Our assignment is found at the intersection of God’s plan and our pleasures. (Sounds too good to be true, right?!) What do you love to do? What brings you joy? What gives you a sense of satisfaction?

Some long to feed the poor. Others enjoy leading the church. Others relish singing or teaching or holding the hands of the sick or counseling the confused. Each of us has been made to serve God in a unique way.

“God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing” (Ephesians 2:10).

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body, and knit them together in my mother’s womb…Your workmanship is marvelous…You were there while I was being formed…You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe” (Psalm 139:13-16, TLB).

You are a custom design; you are tailor-made. God prescribed your birth. Regardless of the circumstances that surrounded your arrival, you were not an accident. God planned you before you were born.

The longings of your heart, then, are not incidental; they are critical messages. The desires of your heart are not to be ignored; they are to be consulted. As the wind turns the weather vane, so God uses your passions to turn your life. God is too gracious to ask you to do something you hate. (from Just Like Jesus by Max Lucado)


 

APPLICATION What is God calling you to do? Spend some time in prayer asking God to speak truth to you from each of the various activities you are currently doing, especially your work!

What do you enjoy about what you’re doing?

How is it serving the people God brings into your life?

Where do you see God in what you’re doing both FOR you and WITH you?

What connections do you see?

If you want to be more purposeful about embracing what God may be calling you to but aren’t sure how, ask your pastor and your friends for advice. They probably have a great perspective about how God is using and will use you when you seek Him with a willing heart. If you would like more assistance, please contact me for a complimentary 30-minute heart to heart. I am passionate about connecting women’s longings with their passions and their Lord!

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.

 

Lazy vs. Busy

 

10678664_832972266720785_8468406001767063149_nThis morning, I woke up at 6 a.m. and helped my two kids fix breakfast, lunch, and, for one, an after-school snack. Then, I drove them to their separate schools and returned home at 8:15 a.m. to start my own daily routine. As I walked by the TV on my way to shower, the perky-and-perfect morning show host on the TV announced their next segment, “How to Stop Being Lazy and Be More Productive.” For a moment, I was completely stopped in my tracks. As I showered, I thought about the busy day ahead and the clients I work with. This past month has been focused on helping people identify their priorities and create more productivity in their lives. (This is especially important this month as the kids have returned to school, and we Mom-preneurs feel like we should finally be able to “get more done.” Being lazy is definitely not one of our problems.)

I don’t think anyone I know is lazy. I doubt many sitting down to watch that morning show are actually lazy. Overwhelmed, exhausted, over-worked, and under-rested are the descriptors many of my friends and clients would agree they relate to. There is so much on our never ending To-Do lists that they have become I Wish I Could Do It ALL Lists.

Lazy doesn’t seem to be the problem. Busy seems to be the problem. And by busy, I mean busy-work—not the highest priority tasks but all of the little things that make us feel productive. We’re able to check off lots of quick easy tasks that we’ve accomplished, but as fast as we cross them off, we add two or three more. Especially now that school is back in session and we have PTA meetings, Booster club meetings, sports, and music activities, there never seems to be enough time in the day! Social media, with its cute animal videos and connecting with our equally “busy” friends, has taken over where talk shows and soap operas used to offer us solace. But is spending time on our personal devices and watching a little television actually being lazy?

Our society demands we pay attention to all kinds of entertainment through a variety of media devices. We’re told we need to focus on self-care, and we need to save the planet by not using convenient forms of plastic, and we should stop eating processed food and return to making healthy food from scratch, and we need to. . .

I say, stop!

If we want to be more productive, then we need to do what matters the most to us. We need to prioritize and do the things that provide the highest value.

SAVVY TIP: If you find that you routinely avoid doing certain tasks, answer the following questions:

  • Do I know how?
  • Is there no way?
  • Do I have no desire?

As women, we are the controllers of our environments. We are the Helpers and don’t often ask for help for ourselves, but we should! We cannot possibly “do it all.” We weren’t meant to. God is a communal God, and He created us as communal beings. He knit us in our mother’s womb with a variety of gifts, skill, talents, and passions, but not all of them. Research shows we are the most productive and happy when we spend 80% of our time doing things we are good at. In fact, we are the most joy-filled when we are doing the things we excel at! If we don’t know how to do something or we have no vision or desire for it, it keeps getting kicked to the bottom of the list.

  • If we don’t know how, we need to reach out to our support system and learn how.
  • If we don’t see a way to do something, we need to reach out to our support system to identify what we are missing. If we’ve thought about it, then there must be a way to get it done.
  • If we have no desire to do it, then face it, ladies. We will never do it, unless it’s the only thing that will get our kids or our husbands to stop complaining. If this is the case—delegate! Find the person who loves to scrub the bathroom or create the newsletter or do the filing.

We need to prioritize rest and joy so we have the energy to do the things that have the highest impact in our lives. As Christians, we need to prioritize our time with God so He can supply us with the energy and the focus we need.

Instead of continuing to run through our days doing as many things as we possibly can as quickly as we possibly can and avoiding the rest, we need to stop and create a new plan: A plan that gets things done and actually allows us to be “lazy” and not feel guilty about it.

The steps to identifying your priorities include:

  1. Identify your Values—know what’s important to you.
  2. Understand how you’re “wired” (your personality, strengths, and talents)—do those things that honor yourself. Delegate the rest.
  3. Develop your personal vision—know why you do the things you do.

If tasks or requests for your time match your clearly defined priorities, then go ahead and schedule them. If not, delegate them to someone who truly values them as a priority.

If you would like help identifying your genuine priorities and creating an action plan that will allow you to get the important things done and all the rest of the list, too, please contact me! I would love to share with you how working with me to develop your Joy Strategy will change your I Wish I Could Do It ALL List to your DONE list. I love to work with clients one-on-one, but I also have a Mastermind Group starting very soon that will also address these issues.

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.

 

A Leader Stops the Bus at Crazy Town!

 

She’s willing to confront issues and recognize mistakes.

She knows if she has lost her way because her Vision is there to guide her.

When “in action,” she takes time to come up for air—she takes a breath, gets her bearings, and corrects her course as necessary.

She takes breaks, walks away, asks for help.


These thoughts came pouring out in a rush of clarity as I struggled to work on my new coaching program, "Cultivating a Savvy CEO Mindset." Things were just not coming together. All morning, I felt hugely disconnected. Frustrated, I researched more ideas and found myself following a new path of Googled Thought Leaders who seemed to have the answers. I found myself on a sales page that took me down a very familiar road. That road where the signs read: “You’re Not Good Enough!” “You Don’t Know Enough!” “You’re Not Qualified!”

I found myself becoming anxious, doubtful, and ready to hit the Purchase button so I could learn from this “expert” who would finally teach me how to become what I most desired. Suddenly, I was directed out of my reverie by the obnoxious clamoring of the buzzer on my dryer. It broke me out of my stupor and into the awareness of where I found myself. It allowed me the time to take a break and walk away from the glamorous testimonials that seemed to be decrying my lack of worth.

As I folded the laundry, I told the voices plaguing me to STOP! The words at the top of this page shouted in my head, forced me to grab a piece of paper, and write them down to consider their meaning.

Dryer and Inspiration blog post

In that moment, I stopped the bus at Crazy Town…and so can you!

I confronted the insidious Voice inside my head who was distracting me. I prayed for help—and God spoke.

Writing a blog post on Leadership was on my “Must-Do” list today, to share with you that, for a short while, I lost my way and arrived in Crazy Town.

I made a mistake by looking for new information rather than focusing on what I know is true for me and what I have to share with others.

I recognized this because my Vision and Purpose is to share what’s true for me as a Mom-preneur, to allow myself to be my most authentic self and to create a community for women who want the same. My Vision doesn’t allow me to run in the circles of double-mindedness and doubt, but to live in the Divine Favor and Protection of Christ who is Love. His words of love can be convicting but never negative or mean-spirited. His words build us up, not break us down.

Crazy Town is that place where your mind swirls with negativity and hopelessness. It says, “I’m not enough.” Christ tells me I can do all things through Him—He is my strength. He’s not the mayor of Crazy Town. When I need help, I just call out His name.

Being in action, I focused on my goal. By setting a timer, I was able to literally come up for air and assess my mental whereabouts—I was waaaay off course in the swirling ocean current of Not Good Enough.

Walking away from the computer and getting out of my brain and the pain I was in by performing a simple, menial task like folding laundry allowed me to stop, assess, ask for help, course correct, and recognize God’s Divine hand holding me and pointing in the right direction.

I hope you will take time to do the same!

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.