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   and Founder:

   Dawn Wilson

 

Tuesday
Mar212017

5 File Folders Save the Day!

Marcia Ramsland, a highly-respected organizing coach for businesses and individuals, sees paper messes everywhere. Fortunately, she knows exactly what to do with those stacks of paper.

“Do you have a kitchen paper pile that won't go away? Is your refrigerator full of reminders? Then,” Marcia says, “it's time to simplify the paper "mess" with a system.”

I (Dawn) wondered for a moment whether Marcia took a sneaky peak at my office… or saw the papers all over my kitchen counter!

I am organized in so many ways. But that paper stuff? Ugh.

Marcia continues . . .

My 5 File Folder System will clean that right up for you just as it has for hundreds of women across the country!

5 Files Can Turn a Pile into an Attractive File!

Did you know an average of fifteen pieces of mail arrive in your mailbox? If you flip through first and deal with only ten of the fifteen pieces, you are left with five dangling pieces a day. 

That’s why stacks of mail can appear from out of nowhere—they're waiting for you to come back "later," which usually never happens.

At the rate of five pieces of mail per day, that means 150 pieces a month or 1,565 pieces a year—sixteen inches of guilt piled on your countertop, refrigerator or desk.

Let's clean that up right now!

Five File Folders will clean up any mail piles from scattering across your kitchen countertop.

A portable file holder is a key ingredient to set up a “Personal Organizing Center.”  Every home needs one to conquer paper piles.

These Five File Folders Handle Daily Paper:

  1. Calendar
  2. To Do
  3. To Decide
  4. To Pay
  5. Your Name (and their own file for each additional person)

File #1: "CALENDAR"

Put an item in the CALENDAR file only after putting it on your monthly calendar. This cleans up “refrigerator clutter” and includes invitations, schedules, & upcoming events.

File #2: "TO DO"

Write it on a Master List in front of you and then put it in this file.

If it would take less than 5 minutes to do, don't even write it on the list—do it now!

Calendar your Master List items to the 3 days you can most control: Today, Tomorrow or the next day.

File #3: "TO DECIDE"

Place items that you are thinking about doing, ordering or following up on in here.

Then when you decide to do it, you know right where to find it!

The last day of the month, toss the unused items for a fresh start next month.

File #4: "TO PAY"

If you don’t have one place by your checkbook to pay bills, keep them in a designated file folder so they don’t get lost. Important!

File #5: "PERSONAL"

Keep your papers—each person's papers—in their own file. Go through it daily yourself or on the weekend with each person.

If something needs immediate attention, don't file it! Show it to the person that day. This should take care of the visible paper clutter.

Regular filing should be in another room beyond the "Personal Organizing Center" portable file.

Can you do that? Of course you can!

It easily applies to organizing your office, too.

Proverbs 13:4 always inspires me to be diligent in organizing paperwork.

“The sluggish crave and have nothing,
but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied!”

This five-file system is so simple, but it works. TRY IT!

So... which pile of papers are you going to tackle first?

Marcia Ramsland is The Leading Online Organizing Coach for Business & Life Success and coaches busy women to maximize their time and minimize their stress. Her “21 Day Total Office Cleanup” gives women the confidence and control that their work, email, and paperwork is all in order with personal coaching. Details at www.OrganizingPro.com/OfficeCleanup.

Monday
Mar202017

Virtual Hugs and Vertical Help

With the explosion of social media, there are countless opportunities to encourage our friends and family. In this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, Dawn Wilson shares two: Virtual Hugs and Vertical Help.

While it's better to spend some face-time with our friends and family, don't discount the value of encouraging Facebook-time!

It's my goal to encourage someone every day in some way. That's hard to do when I spend most of my time at my computer with work, blog management and personal writing.

But here are two ways anyone can be an encourager on social media.

1. Virtual Hugs

The word "virtual," as it is related to computers, means not physically existing as such, but made to appear to be true. A virtual hug is a practical social media way to encourage others.

I hear about a hurting friend or family member and I want to rush to their side and offer a huge hug and word of encouragement. But we are often miles aparteven states away or around the world!

I can certainly pick up a telephone and call them, or shoot them a quick text; but for ongoing encouragement, I can offer a "virtual hug" often and in a number of ways online:

  • I can empathize, seeking to understand and share in others' feelings.
  • I can share an encouraging quotation, maybe in a specially-created meme.
  • I can ask questions to help people process and come to wise conclusions.
  • I can offer a scriptureby text or memethat speaks hope into their situation.
  • I can post an article that might encourage or challenge for guidance or growth.
  • (And sometimes, I can set up an appointment to "do lunch" or meet somewhere for an actual hug, because there are times face-to-face is the only way to go.)

While my motives and efforts are good, I know virtual hugs can only go so far. I might not understand the real or deepest needs. So . . .

I invite the Lord into the encouragement process.

2. Vertical Help

I've learned to turn my thoughts and conversations into prayers for my friends and family. I especially do so to enlist the Lord's help in sticky, tough and seemingly-impossible situations.

We can do much to help others "horizontally," but we also need to seek aid "vertically" too.

In other words:

Our help and encouragement can be good, but God's help is always better.

We might have an agenda to our prayers, but the Lord most certainly has purposes beyond us. His thoughts and ways are so unlike ours (Isaiah 55:8). It's always wise to seek His will as we pray for ourselves and others.

More than an "I'm praying for you" or an even quicker "Praying" (although there is nothing wrong with those responses), I especially love to pause a little longer and actually write my prayer to the Lord on Facebook so my friend can join in.

As my prayers fly upward to the Lord for my Facebook friends, I picture God's help flowing down to encourage, assist, and even transform.

  • The Lord is our refuge and strengtha safe place for usand He is ready to help whenever we need Him (Psalm 46:1; Hebrews 13:6);
  • He understands what we're going through (Hebrews 4:15);
  • and when we trust Him completely, seeking His purposes, He stands ready to guide us (Hebrews 4:16; Proverbs 3:5-6).

It's a privilege to pray for our friends and family members with these truths and promises in mind.

How are you combining virtual hugs and vertical help to encourage and support your friends and family?

Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator of three blogs: Heart Choices Today, LOL with God (with Pam Farrel), and Upgrade with Dawn. She is a contracted researcher/reviewer for Revive Our Hearts and a writer at Crosswalk.com. She and her husband Bob live in Southern California and have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.      

Tuesday
Mar142017

Marriage Madness and the 3-Man Weave

Morgan Farr is a mom, Bible teacher and physical trainer. In this clever Marriage UPGRADE, she encourages us to practice a "drill" during basketball's "March Madness" that can make our marriages stronger.

"It is basketball season and March Madness to boot," Morgan says. "Marriage and basketball have a lot of similarities, especially when it comes to the fundamentals."

Now I (Dawn) have been a basketball fan since high school and both of my boys played, but never once did I think of a parallel between basketball and marriage, so Morgan's words made me say, "Huh?"

Morgan continues. . .

I love basketball, and not in a "Oh, I will watch it if it is on kind of way." I love basketball in a "I love the stats, the dialogue about the game, and the replays " kind of way.

I love to watch the games, listen to them on the radio, and read about them online. I also really enjoy playing basketball with friends and family. There is nothing quite like the rush of adrenaline that you get with the ball in your hand during a full court press!

Basketball taught me some of my hardest learned lessons in life.

I learned things like:

  • People will be better, smarter, and faster than you are. 
  • You will get knocked down at some point, but you have to get back up and finish the game.
  • You can't win a game without your team, no matter how "good" you are.

The team lesson has been a good reminder in my marriage. I often think of my marriage as being a 3-Man Weave Drill.

In a 3-Man Weave Drill, the players start out at one end of the court and then sprint toward the other end—all the while interweaving each other (like a braid) while passing the ball to one another. If you haven't studied or practised the 3-Man Weave, then it can look really complicated and intimidating.

Early on in the drill it is not unusual to see athletes running the wrong way, bumping in to teammates, and stumbling. But when you watch athletes that are proficient complete the drill it a beautiful, almost fluid movement.

Here is a video illustrating the motion in this drill.

 

That is all great and wonderful, but what does the 3-Man Weave have to do with March Madness; and more importantly, what does it have to do with marriage?

Being a Christian is like being involved in a constant 3-Man Weave, but it is no drill.

The players are you, your spouse, and God. The three of you move together down the court (through life) interweaving and moving the ball—your family.

If at any point one or more of the players is removed from the court, the weave doesn't work. You can still move the ball down the court, with just two or even one player. But it isn't nearly as effective or easy to do it that way.

The Bible talks about this idea in Ecclesiastes 4:12:

"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken."

This is true in basketball and this is true in marriage.

With the madness that goes on in our world, it is important to keep our three players in communication and moving smoothly down the court.

Let me challenge you this March Madness season to fight the world's madness and focus on drawing close to your spouse and close to God.

What can you do to better run the 3 Man Weave in your marriage?

Morgan Farr is an Army wife currently stationed at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina, with her wonderful husband Brian and their two sons. She is a homemaker who dedicates her free time to ministering to other Army wives through Bible studies, one-on-one interactions and physical training. Morgan writes about her transition out of feminism and into biblical womanhood on her blog. You can find her training programs on her blog, FarrFunctionalFitness.blogspot.com.

Thursday
Mar092017

Daaa-Dum... Daaa-Dum... Daa-Dum... Daa-Dum.

Nothing surprises me when I read something from Kaley Faith Rhea or her mom, Rhonda. These two combine humor with wise insights every time. In this UPLIFT post, Kaley helps us combat worry.

"You know how a lot of times you’ll have your deepest, most philosophically significant thoughts in the solitude of the shower or bathtub?" Kaley asks. "Allow me to share an example of ... NOT that."

Didn't I (Dawn) tell you? Insights from a bathtub? Of course.

Kaley continues . . .

The other night I was tired. Not exhausted. Just that mid-week fatigue that crops up now and again.

Decided to take a bath. Because that sounds like pure heaven for a tired person.

My tired brain was, I suppose, off doing its own thing, and I nicked my knee while shaving my legs. Little bit of blood, no big deal; you know the drill.

In that moment, the thought that formed in my mind while watching that little bit of blood in the water was:

Uh, oh. I had better watch out for sharks.

Yes, go ahead and read that thought again as slowly and as condescendingly as you can. It’s fine.

Because I worried about sharks. While sitting in my bathtub.

      

If I could just take a moment here—I live in Missouri. Probably the most landlocked state in the United States. If TV and books and the internet weren’t around, I would not know an animal called a shark exists.

And none of that’s even relevant actually because sharks do not happen in bathtubs. At least not by accident. Brain, what were you doing?

Later, after the bath (because this is not a story of deep shower thoughts), it hit me how my mind is so programmed to worry.

I can worry in my sleep. Without breaking a sweat—without even noticing—I can worry about things that are irrelevant, implausible or imaginary.

That is where my mind, in its natural state, wants to live.

That is not a happy place to live. There are sharks there apparently.

Philippians 4, verse 6 reads, do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” I hear and see this verse quoted a lot. Maybe you do, too, and you’re like me and think Okay, easier said than done, Paul, thanks.

But have you noticed this verse does not begin with a capital letter? There is a run-up to this statement in verse 5 that causes it to make so much more sense. It says simply, “The Lord is at hand.”

“The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious…”

Let me tell you, something, friend. If I am at hand, you need to be anxious. If you are at hand, worry is the completely correct response. But the Lord is at hand. Jesus Christ, the Word of God who became flesh, the One through whom everything that is made has been made, the defeater of death, our champion, risen from the grave—He is at hand. Don’t worry.

Furthermore—and I love this—when the Lord is at hand, instead of worrying, I can pray. When the Lord is at hand, I can check my arrogance at the door. When the Lord is at hand, I can be thankful.

What?

I have a brain built here in a fallen world. It will tell me the appropriate response to every cut and scrape is to worry about sharks.

And you know what? Sometimes there really are sharks out there. But how wonderful to know my Lord knows this. He knit my brain together. And in his incomprehensible kindness, He’s already told me what to do when I feel worried. I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel so loved.

Final Words:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (Romans 12:2a).

A prayer when faced by our sharks, real or imagined:

Lord Jesus, thank You so much for being everything I need. For being bigger than my darkest fears and for loving me enough to allow me to draw close to You when I’m anxious. When I am tempted to give in to worry, renew my mind, Lord, by Your Spirit, and set it on you. AMEN!

Kaley Faith Rhea is the co-author of Turtles in the Road, a novel releasing in a few weeks. Along with writing and teaching at writers’ conferences, she co-hosts the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ in mid-Missouri. Kaley lives in the St. Louis area.

Tuesday
Mar072017

4 Ways to Turn Intentions into God-honoring Action

In this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, Dawn Wilson encourages action! Intentions are great, but they don't change the world.

"You can't build a reputation," Henry Ford said, "on what you are going to do."

That's not just true of a reputation; it's also true of anything important to us.

Whether it's in ministry, writing, a professional career, marriage, parenting, finances—whatever—intentions are only a starting point, not a means to build anything lasting or worthwhile.

Don't get me wrong. Plans and intentions are wonderful. They're necessary for success. But plans are, in and of themselves, fruitless. We have to move beyond intentions to action. 

Words are important, but ultimately, our lives are measured by what we do, not what we say.

So how do we turn our good intentions into actions that please the Lord?

I would suggest FOUR STEPS.

1. Examine Your Intentions

Good intentions aren't always good. Sometimes good intentions can be used to justify sin.

I laughed at a cartoon of a burglar before a judge. He told the judge, "Yes, I robbed the bank, but I had the best of intentions."

We see this justification of intentions in the life of Paul as he, thinking himself righteous, persecuted the church (Acts 23:1; 26:11-12). We also see misused intentions in the life of King Herod. He thought he was doing the Jews a favor—he had good political intentions—but he ended up imprisoning Peter (Acts 12:1-4). As Christians, we must examine our intentions before we move ahead.

Be sure your foundation for intentions is solid and biblical.

2. Count the Cost.

Jesus counseled His followers to "count the cost" before moving forward in a big project (Luke 14:28-30). On the surface, it appears He advocates careful decision-making.

But His counsel goes beyond our decisions to our discipleship. Masses of people followed the Lord for many reasons: free food, the miraculous healings and other miracles. But Jesus knew their hearts.

His counsel about counting the cost is part of a larger passage (14:26-33) that laid out what it meant to be His follower. While eternal life is free, discipleship "costs" us something.

It means recognizing He is Lord, and transfering the ownership of our lives and all we have to Him.

This changes the concept of our "intentions," doesn't it? "In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps" (Proverbs 16:9).

Surrender every good intention to the Lord and His plans.

3. Fight the Flesh

I recently read an article that addressed humans' "internal guidance system," claiming we have "two brains: primitive and intellectual." The primitive brain or guidance system, the author suggested, was not evolved and it worked against our intellectual brain. So, accordingly, we know what to do, but our actions don't always synchronize with our intentions, because sometimes we are controlled by the primitive brain.

I smiled, suddenly "hearing" Paul's words in Romans 7:19: "For I do not do the good I want to do. Instead, I keep on doing the evil I do not want to do."

Rather than a "primitive brain" and an evolved "intellectual brain," I think we are really battling sinful flesh. It is the sinful nature we inherited from Adam (Romans 5:12; 7:14-24; Psalm 51:5). With deceitful hearts, we struggle with the "deeds of the flesh" (Jeremiah 17:9; Galatians 5:19-21).

There are consequences to our sinfulness. One of the consequences is, the flesh can really sidetrack us in our best intentions!

Through God's grace and walking in the Spirit, we can overcome the flesh (Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:11; Galatians 5:16; Romans 13:14; Psalm 119:11).

We can starve out it's influences in our lives (1 Timothy 6:11; 1 Corinthians 9:27; Colossians 3:5; Galatians 5:24; Romans 6:6).

Fight the flesh to give your good intentions a fighting chance!

4. Check Your Obedience.

Many times we are sincere about our intentions, but we don't follow through.

At the Bema Seat of Christ, it will be our obedience that stands strong in the face of judgment—our good works after salvation, not our intentions (Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

I have often heard this passage preached:

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21)

We can have lots good intentions as Christians, but if we are not obedient disciples, committed to honoring God with righteous thoughts and behavior, we will not be seen as one who has borne fruit for the Kingdom. We will, in fact, suffer loss (1 Corinthians 3:9-15).

One of the deceiving things about intentions is they can tempt us to rest in a false sense of confidence and security. Sometimes we think because we have already "decided" to do something, we're moving forward.

Deciding is not doing.

In the parable of the two sons (Matthew 21:28-31a), Jesus taught about intentions versus obedience. When a father asked his first son to work in the vineyard, he refused, but later thought better and obeyed. When he asked the same question of the second son, the son said, "Sure, I'll go"—but he didn't follow through. He didn't obey.

The first son did the will of his father because he acted in response to the Father's will.

Many of us have heard clear instructions from our heavenly Father—perhaps during a time of prayer or Bible study, at church or in another gathering. Our hearts were moved. We may have intended to obey, but have we?

Determine to follow through on wise, biblical intentions... obey the Lord!

Good intentions, like New Year's resolutions, are only as good as the results.

In summary:

  1. Be sure your foundation for intentions is solid and biblical.
  2. Surrender every good intention to the Lord and His plans.
  3. Fight the flesh to give your good intentions a fighting chance.
  4. Determine to follow through on wise, biblical intentions ... obey the Lord!

We will not be perfect in our follow-through. We are still sinners. But sinners saved by God's transforming grace have the empowering Spirit to help us fight our battles and obey the Father.

The blessing to my heart is a wonderful truth: Our heavenly Father is "the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness"  (Exodus 34:6). When I am not faithful to my Lord, He is still faithful to me (Romans 3:3; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:3; Hebrews 10:23).

God sees the believer's heart and know every intention; and He is a compassionate and faithful Father. 

What are some good intentions you have that you have yet to act upon? Would any of these points help you follow through?

Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator of three blogs: Heart Choices Today, LOL with God (with Pam Farrel), and Upgrade with Dawn. She is a contracted researcher/reviewer for Revive Our Hearts and a writer at Crosswalk.com. She and her husband Bob live in Southern California and have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.