I really miscalculated this challenge. I thought it would be knocked out in a few days. 3 weeks later and it's almost complete, BUT I leave for a family vacation tmw followed by a youth retreat as soon as I get back... so it will be another week before I actually move in. So close, yet so far away! ;)
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Thursday, May 17, 2018
The essence of life is a fight for ongoing true freedom. To fight to gain it, sustain it, maintain it, or in many instances in life - to regain the freedom you've surrendered or lost. The enemy relentlessly schemes on how to lure you into recklessly using your freedom to make choices that enslave you. To have you underestimate the addictive qualities of sin and to overestimate your ability to resist the temptation to sin (Hint: You don't resist temptation. You run from it!). Like a fish chasing fake bait, the enemy wants to hook you. To take the large ocean you freely & joyfully enjoyed and reduce your life down to being hooked on a line in an isolated area as he reels you in to your suffocated demise. You can surrender and become tomorrows chum OR you can come to your senses and go all in to fight to retake your freedom. But to do that you have to realize 3 truths about freedom: (1) Full freedom includes limitations, wise boundaries, & safe guardrails because freedom can be lost and surrendered. Many people think that full freedom means that you can do what you want, when you want and how you want. That's not freedom; that's recklessness! That's what I call "fool freedom" or "freedumb". That's exactly what the enemy wants you to think so you will make naive, foolish, and reckless decisions that will "hook you" to some sort of sin and forfeit your freedom. (2) Freedom isn't a destination. It's a PERSON. One of the most foolish thoughts you can ever buy into is that following God means you're going to be missing out on life and freedom. That only happens when you turn your relationship with God into a legalistic obligation. God didn't create freedom - HE IS FREEDOM. And His passion and heart's desire is for you to live in a constant state of freedom. He created you to be free. He calls you to be free. He died to set you free. If you're not free you are missing out... missing out on the essence of the fullness of life... missing out on the pleasure of not being controlled by your temptations, inclinations, and misguided passions... missing out on a life without regrets, a good conscience, a good night's sleep, an absence of worry, a daily celebration, your full potential, closeness to your Creator. Enslavements rob you of this and so much more. Jesus equals freedom. The closer you get to Him the more freedom you experience! (3) God has delegated your freedom into your hands. You can keep it, you can squander it, you can let it be stolen, and you can even take it back if you've given it up. God supplies you with the framework and capability to have full freedom whenever you're ready. But freedom isn't cheap. It will cost you. Like a vigilant soldier you will have to gain wisdom, discipline, and the fight of a warrior in order to avoid the things that rob you of your freedom - including your own inclinations, temptations, and blind spots (nativity). Freedom takes effort, but it's so worth the fight. Nothing compares to it. If you're lacking freedom don't blame God. You chose your way into captivity. And the great news is that you can choose your way out. Consider what God has to say about freedom in the verses below. Fight tooth and nail for the full freedom God has already gained for you!! FREEDOM!!!!!
STRiVE to THRiVE!
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." - Galatians 5:1
"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." - John 8:36
"Jesus said, 'If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” - John 8:31-32
"Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life." - John 14:6 (Jesus = Truth. Truth = Freedom. Jesus = Freedom)
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." - 2 Corinthians 3:17
(There are a ton more versus about freedom and overcoming enslavement in the Bible. God wants you to be FREE and He has drawn you a road map.)
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Huge thanks to these faithful friends (the young guns!) from First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks for using their Tuesday accountability group time to help me move a ton of heavy items including this 250 lbs elliptical machine down a flight of narrow stairs, into 3 trucks, and 5 miles away to the new place!
Thank you Tom, Todd, Juan, & Austin for being the ATP (Answer To Prayer) that converted able bodies into energized bodies!
And special thanks to Traci, Laurie, Carson, and my Dad for all their help and hard work yesterday! ... it takes a village =)
Teamwork makes the dream work!
"Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." - 1 Corinthians 12:27
Saturday, May 12, 2018
WHEN I WAS GROWING UP I ALWAYS WANTED TO GET INTO BOXING... THIS ISN'T EXACTLY WHAT I HAD IN MIND ;)
This will be the LAMEST photo album you'll ever see!! This is my weekly progress report. In-between preparing for our summer camps, tackling my admin responsibilities, and maintaining my daily disciplines I've been "boxing" up everything at the GTD office (where I'm still currently living for a few more days) and taking things to the new place as I get time. Surprisingly I've only been over to the new place one day this past week... lots of other work to tend to. Conveniently, my only other full-time employee is on a 10 day vacation in upstate NY (brilliant planning on her part LOL!! ...but I forgive her hahaha! ... just more fitness training for me haha!). Everything is coming together and all of next week is set aside for moving and "phase one" of initially getting settled-in before starting the next year of renovations. I'm beyond thrilled! It's a big undertaking and I have no illusions or delusions that it's not going to be easy or quick, but I'm ALL IN and ready to roll with whatever crazy unanticipated things pop up along the way. I may not know all the specific answers to the many unexpected problems and issues that lie ahead, but I have a framework, faith, attitude, and resourcefulness that will help navigate me through each uppercut, body shot, and low blow (hey, maybe this is the type of boxing I had in mind after all!). With my heavenly Coach in my corner directing my gameplan I'm looking forward to the God-awesome battles ahead. Praising God for whatever lies ahead. He's not just a resource; He's THE SOURCE!
PS: If you live in the Pinellas County / Tampa Bay area and would like to help out on the "GTD Boxing Team" (boxing, loading, unloading, cleaning, etc) next week Tuesday thru Saturday then let me know. I could really use a few strong "boxers" on Tuesday specifically to help me move the bigger items to the new place. Just comment below, private message me, text me, call me, shoot a flare, or send me a smoke signal... however you want to contact me, let me know if you're able to help us on Tuesday or any other day next week.
PSS: The "GTD Boxing Team" includes free snacks, meals, hydration, and a bottomless cup of lame jokes!!
STRiVE to THRiVE!
Saturday, May 5, 2018
I've hardly had time to come up for air. There is so much going on. We finished up a great IGNITE retreat last weekend that I look fwd to posting about soon. I'm still savoring and rejoicing over the new home purchase!! Surprisingly I've only been able to get over to the new place a couple of times last week (I still haven't met most of my neighbors). We are heading into our peak GTD season so there are several contracts and trip preparations for summer camps that need to be finalized. It's all coming together even with a sudden list of new home projects. I'm developing a strategy to try to manage everything within the 168 hours in a week without disrupting my daily disciplines and recently developed (& cherished) healthy sleeping habits (I hate going to sleep haha!! I love pursuing my passions and goals. But I've found that I'm more productive and healthy if I get to bed by midnight at least 5 nights per week... so I'm dedicated to doing that.). Anyways, the game plan is coming together and I hope to have my strategy in place by next Friday. I'm in the process of moving out of the old place, moving into the new place, starting renovations, transferring everything over (new drivers license, utility bills, updating address to each account and mailing, etc, etc, etc - lots of small updates), and continuing to run the ministry... so keeping very busy. It took about 4 hours, but I was able to rip up all the old carpet and remove it. It's been in the house for well over 20 years and judging by all the strains on the underside I think there were about 10 fatalities in the house LOL! I still need to pull up all the old linoleum throughout the house next. I was happy to find the hardwood floors in pretty good shape in the bedrooms and the subflooring in the attic in PERFECT condition. The living room had small stick-um tiles under the carpet so that looks like it may be a pretty big task to get down to the hardwood and see if it's usable. It's looking like I will get to put 20-35 hours of work each week into the new place for the next month so I'm hoping to make some decent progress. Thank you all for the encouragement and support! I can't wait to move fwd with each project (and hopefully move in next week so I get more done). AND, I had my first visitor! My awesome sister & brother-in-law!! Looking fwd to more visitors and guests!!
Fighting for things worth fighting for!
STRiVE to THRiVE!
Friday, April 27, 2018
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Praise God, today I closed on a little 63 year old fixer upper dream (to me) home! It's a 1955 Bungalow on 1/2 acre in Pinellas Park, FL. It's 1750 sq ft (including nearly 500 sq ft of a somewhat finished attic conversion). It also has an 850 sq ft workshop / garage. Basically it has all the ingredients for all my needs. Of all the 30+ homes I visited this was the only 1 that my heart leaped at. As my awesome Real Estate Agent, Debbie Schmidt, said, "Your heart finds the home then after that it becomes a business decision." I loved that gold nugget of advice!
This has been a wonderful learning experience and spiritual journey. Every time I prayed about this house God kept telling me to keep moving fwd regardless of any legitimate concerns. I've been at total peace about whatever happens. If I get it - GREAT! If I don't - GREAT! I personally loved the house. I personally wanted the house. But more than any of that I want to be wherever God is at... even if that's without the house... or in the house with termites... or whatever =). It has been such an awesome journey. I'd move fwd then come to a stop sign. I would pray about it and God would say, "It's only a STOP sign. It isn't a ROAD CLOSED sign. Stop at the STOP signs, acquire knowledge and wisdom, seek wise counsel, inquire of Me, use discernment, wait for the traffic to clear, then proceed fwd." It has been such a wonderful spiritual journey. Each STOP sign ended up reducing the price more and getting needed things done or scheduled. I started to like the STOP signs hahaha!!
In the end, after a few series of negotiations, I got the house for $224k. It's surrounded by a new housing development of $400k homes. Everything about it says wise investment to me. And the feedback that I've received from experts was unanimously and overwhelmingly affirming. This appears to be a wise investment. I think Chip & Joanna Gaines as well as Dave Ramsey would give me 2 thumbs up on it =)
I've made a very humble salary for many years so it looked like I was going to need my Dad & Mom as a co-signer in order to qualify for anything larger than a refrigerator box. My parents didn't hesitate when I talked to them about it, but I didn't want to go that route and expose them to any kind of risk. And at 47 years old I really wanted to take on this responsibility without a co-signer. I have a humble salary, but I have very few bills. Thankfully, in the end my AMAZING Lenders - Adam & Heather Zima of Champions Mortgage (BEST Lenders EVER!!) - worked and worked and worked with me so that I could qualify for this loan on my own. I've known them for many years and I was beyond blessed to work with them on a professional level. I can't begin to explain how great they are at what they do. They literally make dreams come true!
I have so many people to thank who have patiently taught me so much about the complex process of buying a house... the single largest purchase in most people's life. I especially want to thank my brilliant cousin, Dana Ward, who coached me through the whole process and helped save me thousands of dollars (as well as a few mistakes).
From the moment I received the news 6 months ago that I had to move from my current location I was filled with an inner confidence and anticipation that this was a God thing. I was eager for this challenge. I wanted this fight. I wanted to contend against all the hurdles that were in front of me as well as overcome past personal limitations such as a small history of hasty decisions, reluctance to ask for wise counsel, a tendency to lose balance by becoming too absorbed with the mission (I never missed a workout or a Sabbath with my mom or strayed from my nutrition plan or overworked or turned down an opportunity to take my Dad to the Dr's). This journey was so much more than buying a house. It was a hundred different challenges within the time consuming process of finding a home. I wanted all of these challenges... every last one of them... and if the closing fell through today I was ready to rejoice for the next round in this heavyweight fight and return back to the drawing board. But, glory to God, it appears that I will be heading on to the next phase of this awesome contest... the renovations!!
Thank you to my friends and family who have cared and asked about and prayed for this home search and me! I'm forever grateful!!
Now it's time to get on to the renovations!! I'm eager for the next contenders, obstacles, and battles!! I simply love to contend =)
THANK YOU JESUS! THIS IS YOUR HOUSE! I'M JUST THE DOORKEEPER =)
"Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain." - Psalm 127:1
"Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked." - Psalm 84:10
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Well, I guess it's not actually an unveiling... my possible new house included some free termites hahaha! I knew about it a month ago and part of my mortgage lender's requirements was to have the house treated by the seller before closing. So the house has been fumigated, and Lord willing, tomorrow morning I'm scheduled to close on the house. Stay tuned for updates. I'm beyond thrilled!
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
There are very few easy victories in life. No matter what your honorable pursuit is it will be met with fierce opposition - whether the opposition is from your own avoidance of pain or self sabotaging emotions or an undisciplined mindset or a lifestyle of foolishness - whether it's from an environment surrounding you of low standards, mediocrity, and complaining attitudes - whether it's the devil himself and his minions of dark spiritual forces scheming for your discouragement, depression, and destruction - whether it's a history of poor choices, major setbacks, or inherited generational sins - whether it's Murphy's Law, a malfunctioning alarm clock, or an unexpected health ailment - the reality is that EVERYDAY opposition attempts to rob you of your future by defeating your present. So what do you do? Roll over in your bed? Hide under the covers? Drift with the current? No! You FIGHT! You anticipate daily oppositions from every direction and even the enemy within and you develop a WARRIOR'S mentality. You learn to love to FIGHT! You live for the FIGHT! You run to the FIGHT! Every night is FIGHT NIGHT! You FIGHT for every inch of progress. As you train yourself to become a 24/7 vigilant fighter something amazing begins to happen. You stop losing and you start winning. The wins start mounting. You stay humble knowing you are just one foolish decision away from being defeated. And fight after fight after fight you become who God made you to be. You become more than a conqueror. And you keep running back into the arena for the next opponent, the next fight. Does it ever get easy? NEVER! But FIGHTERS don't want it easy!! You have to have a mentality that matches reality. Life is a NON-STOP FIGHT. You FIGHT or you die. For too many people life is just a long drawn out dying process. Don't tap out! Answer the bell! Your alarm clock is the bell! Rise & FIGHT!!!
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." - Ephesians 6:10-13
"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." - 1 Timothy 6:12
STRiVE to THRiVE!
Saturday, April 21, 2018
It was a full day of adventure as we paddled with the mother & sons of Relevant Church through an obstacle course of downed trees, spectating alligators, and raw Florida beauty on 4 miles of the Hillsborough River in Tampa, FL. It was a really good day!
Friday, April 20, 2018
Cost = $35/person (2 days / 2 nights; includes all meals & equipment)
Click here for Details & Registration
I'm 6 days away from closing on my first house / new GTD office... there are no guarantees... it could all fall through in the last minute or soar through with flying colors... either way, it has been an awesome journey that has already enriched my life in many ways. Sometimes it's easy to miss the enjoyment of the process in a rush to get to the destination. Not this time. Not for me. So much of this was about the journey as well as aiming for the right & best destination. 7 days from now I will either own a home, be seeking a different home, or had some sort of delay in the process. Whichever it is, it will have been prayed through thoroughly, and I will continue to rejoice in the moment knowing that it's all working out to my good and God's glory! Win! Win! Win!
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Our website link is nearing completion for our inaugural GTD DestiNATION Trip to the tri-state area of Kentucky, Indiana, & Ohio as we visit:
- The ARK Encounter
- The Creation Museum
- Versailles State Park (kayaking & swimming)
- Great American Ball Park (optional)
Come join us for an outdoor & educational adventure of a lifetime as we journey to the largest timber frame structure in the world (510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high) - a full-size Noah's Ark!!
In-between our daily adventures we will be staying in 5000 sq ft private colonial style mini-mansion!
You don't want to miss this NEW GTD Event!
- DATE: June 6-10, 2018 (Wed-Sun)
- START / END POINT: Cincinnati (CVG) Airport
- DURATION: 5 Days / 4 Nights
- COST: $399/person (or 2 for $748)... Minisitry Partner Discount = $299/person!!
- Optional (add $25/person)...
<> Cincinnati Reds Major League Baseball Game at the Great American Ball Park -or-
<> Self Tour of Newport Aquarium
Completed website almost done (comment below or message me to reserve your spot).
Cost = $35/person (2 days / 2 nights; includes all meals & equipment)
Details & Registration
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
JOIN US JULY 11-15, 2018 .....TAKE THE PLUNGE!
Location: Tellico Plains, TN
Date: July 11-15, 2018 (Wed - Sun)
Cost: $199 (plus rafting, if selected)
Activities: Waterfall Slide, Cliff Jumping, Bridge Jumping, Rock Climbing, Rappelling, White Water Rafting (optional: add $40), Camping, Daily Devotionals, Campfires, and more!
SIGN-UP TODAY FOR THIS GOD-AWESOME ADVENTURE!
Click Here for Details & Registration
Monday, April 16, 2018
Cost = $35/person (includes FREE blows to the face during Dodgeball games!!)
Details & Registration