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The Habits of Wise People

You know what sort of person is wise?  Typically it’s someone who’s been foolish before and doesn’t want to continue down that path (that would be me).  Someone who’s fallen on their face more than a few times (me 🙁 ) but had the resilience to not stay there (me 🙂 ).   Seriously.  At some point in our lives we know we can and should do better.

The wise inherit honor,
but fools are put to shame!

So, wisdom does not come naturally, it has to be desired first and then pursued.  At some point we all say, enough is enough.  For me, that happened around my 40th birthday.  Instead of celebrating being “40 and Fierce” , I decided to change the direction of my spiritual life.   40 is significant in the Bible when it comes to durations, it seems to be a time of testing, trial and development.  When it comes to wisdom, the Bible says:

Fear of the lord is the foundation of wisdom.
Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.
Wisdom will multiply your days
and add years to your life.
If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit.
If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.

(Proverbs 9:10-12)

The use of the word “fear” here doesn’t mean being scared – it’s a reverent respect, awe and love of God.  So much so that you’re willing to live obediently and go about life His way.  Like I said, there’s sooo much thoughtful guidance in the Bible, here’s a link to a 31-Day Proverbs reading plan You can read it on your computer, your iPhone, your iPad so no excuses! 😉

God, through the Bible, has lots to say about wisdom.  Whenever people ask me how to get started with the Bible I tell them to turn to Psalms and Proverbs.  When it comes to wisdom specifically, Proverbs is your go to book, it’s ALL about wisdom.  A few verses to start your day is a good thing.  For me, the Bible isn’t just an old book, it’s nourishment for my spirit.

So here’s my practical take on how to become a wise person (based on my own missteps and God’s word):

Wise people are not rushed and are not rushed by others. Don’t be impulsive – you know the saying “fools rush in.”  God doesn’t put you in stressed-out situations where it’s now or never; don’t succumb to that sort of pressure.  You’ll know if it feels right or not.  That doesn’t mean things can’t happen fast or in an instant; the difference is you aren’t feeling pressured by ultimatums.   If something is meant to be, it will be; sooner or later.

Wise people consider potential consequences.  How will this decision, action, whatever it is you’re about to do play out in the future?  How’s it going to affect the people around you?  Are you moving in a good direction? You’re never going to know all of the answers or have all of the info you need; but, generally speaking you have an idea what the consequences will be.

Wise people realize that the impact of decisions accumulate over time.  Every decision you make sets your life in a direction.  Think about it.  Every decision counts, big and small.  It all adds up.  Three things you can truly control, your thoughts, your actions and your choices.  It’s not about being smart – it’s being wise.

Wise people reflect – often and with honesty.  This is just between you and you.  Take some time to think about your life, what you could’ve done better, where you went wrong, where you were fabulous, where do you want to go next? Either way, you have to own it.  Once that’s done – the key is to move on – please don’t wallow in regret.  It’s a waste of your precious energy.  Use your energy to make improvements and change the direction of your life.

Wise people have learned discernment and to listen to their gut.  This takes some practice as most of us are in the habit of rationalizing away what we know deep in our spirit.  Do you feel confused, unsure, unsettled?  That’s a HUGE cautionary sign (from yourself!) that things are not right.  Do you trust yourself yet?  Start now.  Don’t move forward, slow it down, or put a hold on things.  You don’t have to explain anything to anyone.  Do what you know in your heart honors your true self and honors God.  Good decisions will give you a sense of peace – that’s how you know.  Bad decisions, will stress you out and you may not even know why.  Quiet yourself, stop chatting up your situation with anyone who will listen and listen to your inner spirit.  That little voice is trying to whisper to you.  Pray on it.  Pray for discernment, clarity, pray for peace, pray for some guidance.  Look for the truth.  And then if you have to, just wait.  Here’s a video from InTouch on the Power of Discernment which is awesome; I strongly encourage you to watch/listen to it.

You also need to KNOW this:

God is not the author of confusion

Wise people are intentional.   You have to have some sort of vision for you life.  Just existing day to day and maintaining status quo is no different than going backwards.  Learn something new.  Do something challenging.  Develop a new skill.   Set a goal.  Don’t waste the time you’ve been given.  Time is your most precious resource, what are you doing with it.  The past is gone, the future is uncertain – so what are you doing NOW?

Wise people don’t hang around fools!  That may sound a little flippant but it’s so true.  Don’t waste your time hanging out or absorbing the energy of foolish people.  God has lots to say about that too.  So how do you define foolish people – that’s probably a personal choice but for me it’s toxic folks like whiners, complainers, critics, lazy people, shallow people, mean people, vindictive and bitter people, gossipers, impulsive people – you see where this is going.  With folks like this,  you can expect to go – no where!  In fact, folks like this may take you backwards.  If you see that in a friend or associate, my advice is to respectfully set some boundaries and limit your time with them.  Doesn’t mean you have to cut folks off; but you have to protect yourself.

Wise people understand and respect God’s law that you reap what you sow.   You must realize that any negativity you put out towards a person or the world, is coming back to you.  This is as real as the law of gravity.  I’ve seen it time and time again and it works both ways.  But we’re human so we’re not going to like everyone or what they do.  That’s our challenge, to bless them anyway and let them go on their way.

And when you get off course, and we ALL do…just change the direction.  It’s truly that simple and it’s only as hard or as complicated as you make it.  God loves us enough to give us a free will.  Sometimes we use that free will and make not so great choices.  As a result, we’re left with the consequences.  But, be assured that God is willing to help us pick up the pieces but only if we ask.  Since we can’t undo the past, the next best thing is to start making consistent choices (NOW) that put you where you want to be and put you in the middle of God’s will for your life.  It’s NEVER too late.  It’s only too late once your dead; so if you’re reading this you must still be living – so you still have a chance! 🙂

Hugs and Blessings!

Brenda Signature

In blog/ thoughts

Three Musts for 2015

hapy new year 2105Happy 2015 everyone!  Just a quick note to wish you a blessed 2015 and a few friendly reminders to add to your list of resolutions…

MY TOP THREE MUSTS FOR 2015

#1 Let go of any regrets.  What’s done is done.  It is what it is.  Live and learn.  Make better choices.  That’s all you can do.  More than anything else, forgive yourself.  I think I read this from Oprah “When you know better, you do better.”  We’ve ALL screw up; sometimes big, sometimes small.  Don’t fret yourself over something you can’t control or change.

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. – Philippians 3:13

#2 Get a vision for your life.   Be intentional with what you do, who you do it with and why.  Stop meandering through life and taking it as it comes.  You influence your destiny so don’t be passive.  Otherwise, you’ll experience life at the mercy of everyone else’s intention for you (for them.)  Ask God to help you with discover your purpose, submit to His will for your life and start living (meaning, don’t just exist day to day – you are destined for so much greater.)  For some great tips, watch this video and read these sermon notes from Charles Stanley on “God Will Show You His Will”.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭2‬

#3 Look forward to the future.  Get your hopes up.   Self-fulfilling prophecies are real so what are you prophesying over your own future?  Is it good or are you worrying yourself with negative thoughts?  Dismiss fear, doubt and any negative emotion.   DWELL on those things that make you smile, give you peace and bring joy. DO those things that fit who you are and bring about a sense of fulfillment.  You attract what you are, so being positive attracts positivity – that’s the truth! (This one realization really made me take a critical look at my own thoughts.)

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. – Philippians 4:8

That’s my simple list, it’s for me as much as it is for you.  Oh yeah, I’m going to start up a new Bible reading plan using the YouVersion app.  I read scripture on my iPad before I go to bed; sets my mind right before I go off to sleep.  I highly recommend adding even just a little scripture to your daily routine, it’s nourishment for your spirit.  Also, I finally read Paulo Coelho’s books “The Alchmemist” which was also good for my spirit.  Really opened up my way of thinking so I suggest that too. Well enough of me being bossy… 😉

But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. – Isaiah‬ ‭43‬:‭18-19‬

What do you think…what are your must do’s or resolutions this year?

In blog/ thoughts

Not a coincidence

No Such Thing as Coincidence

One definition of coincidence is:

a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.

From Merriam Webster it says:

the act or condition of coinciding (to happen at the same time as something else; to agree with something exactly : to be the same as something else)

or

 the occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection; also :  any of these occurrences

When some things happen, I know in my gut, in my heart, in my soul – it’s God telling me something.  I may not understand it, but I’ve learned to pay full attention and look for more.  When I turned 40, I decided I was going to stop living my life without intention and outside of God’s will for my life.  I wanted to live my life more fully, with God’s blessing – so I decided to work on my relationship with Him.  (That’s a long story in and of itself, I’ve been meaning to post about for some time….but won’t do that just yet.)

A coincidence is POWERFUL; don’t let one go by without examining the implications.  Think of all the “random” moments, actions, events that had to occur to create your coincidence – do you really think it was random?  If you’ve accepted that it’s not random, then what does that mean for you?  What could God be trying to tell you or guide you toward (or away from)?

This acceptance of divine guidance via “happenstance” is something new for me.  The interesting thing of note for any coincidence is the element of surprise.  You kinda stop and think…really?  what?  huh – well what do you know?  It’s that kind of moment but you have to ponder it and not dismiss it as chance.  I wonder how many hundreds of moments I’ve quickly dismissed just because I couldn’t figure it out.  As it says in scripture in Isaiah 55:8:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.”

The point is; don’t rack your brain too hard trying to figure out all the how’s and why’s.  Accept it for what it is; but consider it a nudge in a particular direction.

One strange coincidence (and they always seem strange right?) that happened to my daughter this week was during her PSSA test.  She came across a question that said something about Brenda selling soap samples.  Seriously!  How random is that?  Or maybe it’s not.  I discussed it with my daughters and we decided it was not a random coincidence.  Rather, it was God affirming my work with Bubs & Scrubs.   So, open your mind’s eye and take a now look at what my mom sometimes refers to as a “coinkydink”.

Hugs and Blessing!

Brenda

In blog/ thoughts

Merry Christmas to Me – a Rogue Squat Stand!

I’ve been going to the gym for the last 2-3 months or so which is great but I really don’t like the routine.  It’s a bit cumbersome.   I go in the morning so I have to pack all my clothes, toiletries, etc.  On more than one occasion I’ve forgotten one item I needed or another…shoes, coat, sweater, and worse.   This works well since it’s on my way into work.  But if I don’t go in the morning and instead go in the evening and on weekends,  it probably wastes a good 20 minutes just coming and going.   Three things I HATE wasting: my time, my money and my calories.

So I’ve been rethinking this routine and am finally building out my home gym.  I had a little universal for a while but I really didn’t like it.  I bought it from a neighbor and with the help of a friend resold it (for a profit) to someone else after only a couple months.  My basement is finished and 1/2 of it’s empty.  Here it is now:

Basement Gym Beginnings

I still have to clear out some items from the area but it’s basically ready.

Since I came across some extra funds I decided to treat myself to some real strength training equipment (BTW, I did tithe the first 10% before indulging myself.) – starting with a Rogue Squat Stand – yeah baby!!!  It’s apparently already been shipped so the following should arrive shortly:

Rogue Monster Lite Squat Stand

Additional items I ordered from Rogue are: the Monster Lite spotter arms, some plates to get me started, extra j-cups, pull-up bar cross-member, etc.

I really wanted a Monster Lite Rack but I didn’t want to have to bother bolting it to the floor and my ceiling height is only 92 inches.  This will do just fine for me.  Maybe later down the road if I really do go beast-mode I’ll strip out the carpet and add some additional pieces.  I do think I’m going to get this GHD machine sooner rather than later.

Rogue GHD

(Oh yeah, I got a straight curl bar too for hip thrusts so I don’t have to manuever around a long bar bell.)

So what in the world am I trying to accomplish?  Getting lean and strong basically with a focus on squats, deadlifts, hip thrusts and general lower body development.  I find body weight exercises really boring after a while so I like these.  Plus, what’s more convenient than going to your own basement and showering in your own bathroom.  So here’s the preview, will post more once the boxes arrive.

UPDATE Jan 24, 2014:

Here are the two units in my basement.  So far so good!  I really like using these in the privacy of my home.  I also prefer workign out in the evening now as I can take my time and not have to rush off for work.  I ordered an elliptical too that should be able to fit into the corner.  That should be here in a few weeks.  Gotta add mirrors, put my plates on the squat rack, add my pull-up/gymnist rings, add some motivational photos and generally do some more organizing.  I suppose I should move that yarn swift in the background.  I’m a woman of many interests….

Rogue Squat Rack and GHD

Rogue Squat Stand

Rogue Abram GHD

 

Strength Training Posters

 

 

In blog/ thoughts

What Love Looks Like…revisted

I'll always love you Last year, around the holidays I posted a similarly titled article.  My intention was to explore the topic but it ended going off in another direction.   Around the same time a friend of mine posted a sermon about what loving God looks like; so that was the gist of the post. Bottom line was obedience; in scripture Jesus makes that very clear; no grey areas. So, now I’d like to take this back to relationships as that was my original intent.  Almost a year later…Given the time lag I’ve had more time to read, reflect, listen to my own spirit and organize my thoughts.  So here goes my take on what love looks like inspired by scripture and my own experiences.  I’ve also sprinkled in some great content I’ve found.

Love is Acted Out: Love is something you can SEE.  It’s not just something you hear or feel; it’s not limited to an emotion, attraction or arousal.  It’s not words written on paper or sweet nothings whispered in your ear.  It’s what you see people do, consistently – on good days and bad days.  Sick days, mad days, sad days and you get on my last nerve days.  No matter the circumstance – you’ll be able to see love as caring in action. “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” (1 John 3:18 NLT)

Actions Matter

 

Part of recognizing what’s real, is recognizing what is not.  I came across “crazy” in two serious relationships and should’ve run.  It cost me time, money and tears but by the grace of God didn’t cost my life.  One was abusive – started being verbally and progressed.  The other was so depressed he became suicidal and you could tell his thoughts just weren’t right.  I became afraid he’d take himself out and me with him, so I left.

Love Gives:  This was actually a bit of a break-through for me personally.  I’m thankful for the insight but it saddened me quite a bit when I reflected on the dynamic of some of my relationships.  All the signs were there, I just ignored them.  And so, I accepted being taken for granted with the minimum (and sometimes nothing) given back in return.  On the far end of the spectrum I even tolerated abuse for a period of time as I mentioned above.

 

love gives

Love gives, lust takes.

Stop Being Played Check your relationships (and your own behavior too) and examine the giving and taking going on.  Your gut probably told you already, it’s time for your mind to catch up and give up trying to explain away what you don’t see.  Don’t continually make excuses for someone else.

love and giving

Love Sacrifices: Maybe someone gave you something – but what did it cost them (please know I’m not referring to dollars spent – it’s not about money here)?  It’s another take on giving but it’s telling.  Do they make tradeoffs or choices (ever?) that are in your favor?  Even though it may cost them something like time away from watching their favorite show, an inconvenience, money, the last bite of their favorite dish, someone else’s disapproval, sleep, pride, risk?  Real love will put the other person first; not necessarily all the time (we’re not looking for self-deprecating martyrs) but it’s an unselfishness that is undeniable and again consistent.  You’ll see inconvenient giving, not just the easy stuff that didn’t matter much to them anyway.

sacrificial love

 Love Serves:  Yet another take on giving.  I think acts of service are a great way to show love.  It could be making your sweetheart’s favorite cup of coffee, folding their clothes, running their errands, shoveling their car out of the snow, opening their door, being their chauffeur, picking up their favorite treat, starting their shower, ….the list is endless.  It’s thoughtfulness and consideration that you see in action.  The other element is the attitude of service to the other person.   It doesn’t necessarily mean you enjoy the drudgery of washing their dishes but that you do it with a good attitude and because you want your act to benefit them. acts of service Love Protects:  If you love someone you won’t put them in harm’s way; certainly not intentionally.  Harm could be actual danger, it could be putting them at risk financially, their reputation or more.  It also covers another’s shortcomings or faults.  It withstands difficulty and will motivate you to shield another from pain (emotional, physical or whatever).  If you are weak; they will seek to strengthen you.  If you are vulnerable, they will shield you.  “There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)

love protects2

Love Forgives:  We’re all going to screw up – majorly!  It’s okay to get mad, fuss or exchange words – we have to.  The bottom line though is, when push comes to shove we have to make the choice to suck it up and forgive.  Suck up our hurt, pride and need to be right.  Forgiveness can be one of the most challenging things to do.   It’s a decision to forgive, even when you’d rather scratch their eyes out.  If the person means that much to you, you’ll have to make the choice to forgive; and they’ll do the same for you.  It’s a gift. It doesn’t mean they deserve it (they may not even ask for it),  just that you value that relationship more than the need for justice, retribution, vengeance or even simply the need to be understood. One caveat, forgiveness doesn’t equal trust.  Forgiveness should come as quickly as possible; but trust may have to be restored and that does take time and effort.

forgiveness

Love Accepts:  Someone who loves you won’t try to change you, remake you or manipulate you into being something that you aren’t.  There’s nothing wrong with compromise but if there’s so much focus on what you aren’t or aren’t doing right – then maybe that person’s not for you.  Everyone wants to be loved for who they are; not what someone else wants them to become.

be real

Love is Patient and Kind:  This gets better with maturity.  I don’t like to say that I’m getting older, I say I’m getting “younger” (kinda like Benjamin Buttons – what a long weird movie – I didn’t really like it that much.)  Love will be willing to endure and tolerate.  I think this is said at probably every wedding ceremony with good reason. But, it’s not limited to marriage it extends to anyone we say we love.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT)

Love is Honest and Speaks the Truth:  Iron sharpens iron, a real friend will tell you the truth and they’ll do so in a way that’s not demeaning.  Love won’t live a lie and won’t let their loved one do so either.  Speaking the truth isn’t harsh criticism and it’s not an excuse to be judgemental.  But love will force an issue and will choose not to sugar coat what needs to be said.

Love Never Fails: No matter what, it’s always there; nuff said.  “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17 NIV)

love never fails

Love Pursues (Ladies Only!):  Ladies, this one is for you.  Never, ever, ever, ever pursue a man.  A man is wired to go after a woman.  Don’t get it twisted.  If a man is interested in you, he will show it.  If he didn’t call, it’s because he didn’t want to.  In this way, men are simple.  Call me sexist or whatever you want but I believe this with all my heart and always have.  And for me personally, if he doesn’t show enough interest, courage or effort; he’s not worth my affection anyway.  Plus, who wants a coward – I prefer men who are bold, courageous and willing to sacrifice their pride for me.  Don’t ever be too easy, too available or too needy.  For seriously, you have to value yourself that much. If your single, or in-between relationships – take some time to be alone. Get your head right, your heart right. Be the person you want to be with, and you’ll attract that sort of person into your life. I believe that with all my heart. I didn’t have this wisdom always but I’m thankful to have it now. Some people will never learn and repeat the same mistakes over and over. Don’t be that one.

don't chase men

Perfect love casts out fear. Where there is love there are no demands, no expectations, no dependency. I do not demand that you make me happy; my happiness does not lie in you. If you were to leave me, I will not feel sorry for myself; I enjoy your company immensely, but I do not cling. ~Anthony de Mello

So what’s a person to do.  Guard your heart.  Don’t be so quick to jump in with both feet.  Get to know the inner person.  Watch them closely and observe their character – over time.   I say this because I’ve done it too many times.

So guard your heart, be discerning, make wise choices, listen and consider the advice of others, pray on it, read God’s word and take your time.  nd above all else, listen to your gut. It’s not just a saying.  It’s your soul, your inner wisdom telling you through your emotions that either you’re moving in the right direction or your not.

 

your authentic self

Ignore your gut to your own detriment.   If you can’t trust yourself,  who can you trust? That’s for real.

You can’t control anyone around you, but you can control what YOU do, what YOU think, what YOU say.  Work on your inner self before worrying yourself over someone else.  If you don’t get yourself right first, you’ll keep making the wrong choices, using faulty criteria and wasting valuable time, emotion and energy.  So when the right one comes along; you may not be ready.  Or, you move to quickly into a relationship that was wrong from the start.   “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” (Proverbs 13:20 NIV)

And if all of the above isn’t sufficient and you’re still wondering…study Jesus.  He demonstrated it all and then some.

So why do I know so much….what makes me qualified?  Nothing really, only the fact that I’ve failed at this so much and have taken the time to reflect on me and my choices.  Someone mentioned to me once that I was the common denominator and that was correct.  I’ve been divorced and often felt guilty about it but I’ve released myself from that nonsense too.   I never consulted God as I entered a relationship so if it wasn’t from God, He’s of no obligation to make it work.  So, instead it cost me time, money, and plenty of emotions.  So, I’ve been single for some time and I’m good with that.  I’m putting the choice in God’s hands and am content to wait!

PS:  More than likely I’ll build on this post over time. If you lasted this long thanks – it was a doosie! 🙂 And if you still want more…here are some great quotes; ’cause everyone loves quotes.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”  ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-13

“Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, you owe me. Look what happens with a love like that, it lights the whole sky.” ~ Hafez

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ~ C.S. Lewis

“Real love is never perplexed, never qualifies, never rejects, never demands. It replenishes, by grace of restoring unlimited circulation. It burns, because it knows the true meaning of sacrifice. It is life illuminated.” – Henry Miller “There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” ~ John Lennon “Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.” ~ Viktor Frankl

In blog/ thoughts

Time for a Fall Road Trip

Fall’s in the air which means it time for me to start planning our family road trip to Vermont (as the leaves change color and before it gets too cold).  I try to go every year for at least a few days.  That’s really all it takes – you can cover a lot of area across the state and visit interesting touristy spots along the way.  Generally speaking, I’m not that spontaneous but I am when it comes to doing road trips.   This one I highly recommend! 🙂

Fall Foliage in Vermont

The Equinox – want to stay here one day.

There’s lot’s of sugar farms where you can sample and buy maple syrup, cider mills, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory, the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, Champlain Chocolates, Frog Hollow in Burlington, some of the BEST breakfast spots anywhere (Up for Breakfast is one of my faves) and of course the majestic green mountains.   You can hike the mountains for some amazing views or hang out in trendy Bennington.

From Pennsylvania it’s not a far trip so totally doable on a 3-day weekend.  Below I’ve included some photos from our 2011 trip.  If you live on in the Mid-Atlantic area, you owe it to yourself to visit Vermont in the Fall.  It’s the place where I first visited, and was inspired by a handmade soap shop (Thistle in Woodstock – I don’t think they’re in business anymore.)

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Here’s a photo from an earlier trip – look how young the girls were.  Time stands still for no one.

Visiting Vermont with my most favorite people in the whole wide world!

Visiting Vermont with my most favorite people in the whole wide world!

In blog/ humble beginnings/ thoughts

Don’t Call It A Comeback…

Don't Quit

 

As my kids know, I have a lyric for everything. 🙂  Even this past weekend, I said something (maybe with a little emphasis) and my 12-year old asked me, “Mommy, is that from a song?”.  I had to laugh, it was – they just ought to know me by now.  Anyway….the idea behind this post is actually two ideas:
1) I’ve had some downtime recently but am getting back on my grind.
2) I’m going back to basics

For the last few months I really backed off my precious Bubs and Scrubs.  I lost focus and I was losing my passion for what I had tirelessly and diligently worked against for the last three years.  I know it’s natural to experience doubt, question your ability and wonder if you’re really just wasting your time.  I’ve been having those thoughts recently and the truth of that matter is all of those negative thoughts are a lie.  The difference between those that succeed and fail is persistence.  I’ve decided to keep picking myself up, dusting off whatever nonsense is going on in my mind, around me or elsewhere and keep at it.

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

Not to sound arrogant BUT… I’ve been given both the talent and the discipline to do the hard work when it comes to this so I’m sticking with it.

Never Give Up Albert Einstein

I’m also getting back to the basics and pruning my offerings again.  The original concept of Bubs and Scrubs was exfoliating soaps.  I’m going to offer some new scrubby soaps and will eliminate sugar scrubs, massage oils and some other items.  I’m keeping the creams and will add a lighter lotion.  Most likely, I’ll also reduce the variety of soaps scents and focus on creating a number of unique/proprietary scents – something not easily replicated.  My business continues to evolve as I do personally – with the ultimate goal (on both fronts) being growth.   I wish you the same in any of your pursuits – don’t quit.  Take a rest if you need to, but don’t quit.

And so because I’m such a fan of old school hip hop – since I’m increasingly old school…here’s the song from the title of this post for your viewing pleasure. Turn up the volume to fully enjoy:

 

2 In blog/ thoughts

My Testimony On Tithing

Tithing

Just wanted to share my testimony re: tithing.  I started tithing when I started attending Princeton Alliance Church last year and continued to tithe my severance and even my unemployment checks after losing my job – pre-tax!  Don’t think this didn’t ’cause pain.  I was living off of my severance and then unemployment without any real prospects for any new income.  It was like watching sand empty through an hour-glass without any refills coming from the top.  I feel good about what my church is doing locally and across the world so I don’t have any hesitation giving them my tithe.  That’s key, you do need to be smart about where you put your money.  If you don’t go to a local church then pick a charity, an online ministry, something to honor God.  In Touch Ministries, Mercy Ministries and World Vision are other ministries I give to.  Tithing is one of God’s promises and God keeps his promises:

Malachi 3:10 says “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord  of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”

And so, this week I was able to get a new/better job than I had before.  You know what they say, faith in God includes faith in His timing.   Knowing that His timing is perfect even though we doubt, we can’t figure it out and the future seems anything but bright.  And as evidence to this truth…the week before this opportunity came my way (and it really did come a bit out off the blue) – everything I was counting on ran out on me: my severance pay, the meager unemployment checks and more.  Apart from God I had nothing and noone to rely on.  As a single mother with children depending on you, it’s a frightening place to be.  So as soon as I had nothing, God showed up with His provision. And it gets better…

I refinanced my house (getting out of a badly structured mortgage), today I pay off my car, in the next few weeks I’ll pay off my graduate school loan – the last of my student loans and I’m sure more blessings are to come.  This time last year I had NO way of coming up with this money.  In fact, just making ends meet monthly was a challenge. Keep in mind, our money, our “stuff” is all His anyway, so keeping your little 10% isn’t really depriving God, you’re depriving yourself.  Be faithful in the little things, that’s my lesson I’m sharing.

And here’s a bonus testimony…when my department was eliminated and I lost my job last fall I decided to do what Joel Osteen preached which was to Thank God in Advance.  Instead of worrying, making myself miserable and allowing myself to fall into despair – I focused my emotions on having faith in God’s provision and plan for my life.  And look, things are coming together better than if I had planned things myself and I give God all of the credit. 🙂

RESOURCES:

Here’s a sermon by Dr. Charles Stanley: Click here for the video: “A Financial Plan”    Click here for the sermon notes:  A Financial Plan And here’s a devotion I read just yesterday which inspired me to write this quick little post.  It’s off of You Version and is the Rick Warren daily devotional:

Giving Back to God

The purpose of tithing is to teach us to always put God first in our lives. God doesn’t need our money. He wants what it represents: our gratitude, our priorities and our faith.

Now look at these verses in Proverbs 3. Do you see where it says, “Honor the Lord by giving him the leftovers of all your income’. Now, you can see, that’s NOT what it says at all.

It says, “Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest “. We give to God first, before anyone else, right off the top of our income.

And here is the promise, “Then your barns will be completely filled, and your vats will overflow with new wine”. You and I are called to give back to God in gratitude, but also as a demonstration of our priorities. And, it is a demonstration of our faith in his promises.

In Malachi 3:10, God says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse “. That means the place where you worship. Then God says, “Put me to the test!” In a sense, “Test me and see how I will bless you for your obedience’.

God says he will provide all that you need. He doesn’t say he’ll provide all that we greed, but all that we need.

Only God Gives Financial Security

As you enter your Decade of Destiny, it is important that you trust God with your finances. If you want God to bless you financially, you must remain focused on the truth that he is the source of your finances and he is the one who supplies your needs.

What does that mean? It means I’m not looking to an employer for my security. I’m not looking to my savings for security. I’m not looking to anyone or anything other than God to supply my needs.

Let me illustrate it this way: When I turn on the water, I don’t really think the water comes from the faucet. I know that the water really comes from a reservoir. It just comes to me through the faucet.

In the same way, the income that God wants to give you may come through a job or through something else. But the source is God.

This means you don’t need to worry about which faucet he uses to supply your needs. In a sense he says, “If I turn off one faucet, I can just as easily turn on another. If you lose one job, I can give you another. I am your source, not your job. I am your source, not your bank account.’

 

 

In blog/ thoughts

What’s Love Look Like?

I thought it fitting today, the anniversary of Jesus’ birth to contemplate love.   The Bible has LOTS to say about love.  What it looks like, what to aspire to, how to behave towards one another.  Jesus’ birth, life and crucifixion for us was the ultimate gift and act of love for all of us.   Love is more than words, it’s more than feelings, it’s doing, it’s action – even when it’s not easy.  A good friend of mine, Jeff Cooper, gave a sermon on this topic “What Does Love Look Like” at his church that I’d like to share.  I’m very proud of him and hope you take the time to view his words – great job Jeff!

And to wrap it up nicely with a bow – one of my favorite Bible verses.  Be Blessed!

love-is-patient-Print1

So what do you say?  What does love look like?  Do actions speak louder than words?

In blog/ thoughts

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Blessings

 

Before all the shopping and sales madness ensues, I just wanted to wish you a wonderful, relaxing, loving, delicious and joy-filled Thanksgiving.  I also want you to know that I am personally very thankful for the support and loyalty you’ve shown Bubs and Scrubs.  I’m thankful that God inspired me one day to make soap and that I found my passion – and that passion can become my life’s work.

Today me and my family are cooking up some more dishes in preparation for the holiday.  This year we have the opportunity to serve the homeless a meal on the day of Thanksgiving so we’re cooking in advance and will eat our meal late Thursday evening.

Here’s to juicy turkeys, stuffed bellies and a week’s work of yummy left-overs!

Brenda

In blog/ thoughts

Shower Therapy

You know the saying…”when life gets tough – the tough get going”.    That’s great but for me, I take a shower!   I don’t know what it is, but there’s something distinctly therapeutic for me to take a nice hot shower.  It has a way of literally washing away (at least momentarily) any distress I may feel.  Is it just me?  I think there’s a few factors.Shower Therapy with Bubs and Scrubs

  1. It’s probably the only place in the house where I can be completely alone.
  2. The sound of moving water has always been one of my favorite white noise sounds.  I think it drowns out distractions.
  3. Hot water on my skin is just soothing.  Baths are nice too but I don’t have time to sit and soak.  Plus, it’s too quiet – again, I think the sound of the shower is a factor too.

It’s an escape and I usually emerge at least a little rejuvenated.  It certainly helps that I have a good stash of bath and body treats to pamper me just a bit.  So even though it doesn’t make all things new or wash away all of life’s problems – it’s a comforting ritual.

Is it just me?  Does anyone else escape to the shower?