Stretched to the Limit

I don’t know how many of you have had to move very often, but transition stress is serious business. I’ve been handling everything pretty well for the last couple of weeks, but today I feel like I’m about to snap!

Two weeks ago we started the packing process, then came the long drive from California to Texas. Bill flew in early for business meetings, while the rest of us traveled the same highways, separately and on different schedules…

William took the lead driving the U-haul, Mimi with my daughter-in-law, Linda (9 mo pregnant), 3 year old grand daughter, Anna and my Lady dog; then our youngest son John in his car with Abby dog. We all made it to Plano, TX safely in 4 days; the other company execs in California will follow soon with their families.

After only one week in an Extended Stay Hotel, Will and Linda have already secured a rent house. Bill, John and I haven’t had that same success. We decided today to get a furnished apartment while we look for a home to purchase. It’s a buyer’s market now and we want to take advantage of the low interest rates and foreclosures. Hopefully, we can get our stuff out of storage in California before Christmas!

My challenges today are no different than what I’ve dealt with during our many moves over the years. But today fatigue, waiting and the ongoing uncertainty are taking their toll. With each move comes a new community… learning your way around, finding a home, church, doctors, your favorite grocery and trying to make new friends.

I sit here remembering all the precious friends I’ve made along the way…  from Odessa, to Dallas, to Houston, to New Orleans, back to Houston, back to Dallas, to Sacramento, to San Jose and now back to Dallas again. God has been faithful to lead us to fine churches, always providing for our needs.

Rereading my devotional for today reminds me to honor God, obey Him and as I walk with Him to expect favor from God and man everywhere I go.

In times like these, it helps me to look back and see the favor, to see God’s grace and mercy following me.

It strengthens me for the journey ahead.

Changes in the Air

As the earth tilts on its axis and the lighting changes angles, we can see and feel Fall gently strolling in.

I don’t know if it’s fond memories of starting a new school year or the cooler air, but this is my favorite time of the year.

Somehow life today seems fresher.

With this new season, God is bringing about some big changes for us and our family. As He often does, it has come suddenly but without surprise.

While spending most of our summer in Dallas raising investor funds, an incredible chain of events began. After much prayer and council from respected advisers, Bill, as CEO, and the Board of Directors have decided to move our new company’s corporate headquarters from San Jose to Dallas.

We now begin the process of leaving one hotel for another to quickly find us all homes.

Starting Sunday I’ll be driving my daughter-in-law, Linda (8 mo. pregnant) along with 3 year old, Anna, and my dog, Lady, to Texas.  Bill, Will, Johnny, Abby dog and Lategra (the snake) will follow shortly after. We hope to all be settled in a real home before William Ernest Mapp V makes his debut in October.

As many of you know, this will be our 7th move in four years. Needless to say, we should have the process down by now!

When we arrived nearly two years ago, I was so homesick for Texas, my heart ached for months. Though not really home, because we’ve spent the bulk of our time in a hotel; I’ve fallen in love with the West Coast and will leave a piece of my heart in California.

With each move there’s a grieving process… first anger and confusion followed by a deep sadness which turns to excitement for what’s to come.

When our moving adventures began in 2006 this process took me weeks and sometimes months to get through. With each move it got a little easier to say good bye to the comfortable present and embrace the unknown future.

The decision to leave California was just made over the Labor Day holiday, but today I can happily say I’ve worked my way through all the emotions and am truly excited to see what God has in store for our family and the incredible business opportunity He has given us! 

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. – Isaiah 43:18-19

Life Without Parole!

This last Sunday morning, Bill and I were privileged to worship with some dear friends at Christ Church in Plano, TX; an Anglican church, it was a sweet reminder of my childhood, growing up in the Episcopal Church.

Worship was beautiful with the huge pipe organ and the choir’s soprano voices resounding through the sunlit sanctuary. Because this week is the one year anniversary of my mother’s passing, I wept through most of the service missing my momma and daddy.

Father David Roseberry’s sermon titled, Living Without Parole struck a deep cord with me. Having spent some time in jail; more importantly having lived a great portion of my life imprisoned by addictions, this message was very close to my heart.

The Scripture text Fr. David chose was:

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. – Romans 8:1

Stating that this verse is the backbone of the entire Bible, the purpose of all Scripture and the reason God came to earth as Christ, Fr. David asks… 

Do you have a now moment in your life?

A moment when your past is put behind you? 

A time when your BC (Before Christ) became AD (Anno Domini- The Year of The Lord)? 

I quickly jotted in my notes: Yes! December 26, 2004!

Father David went on to remind us that after we’ve had that now moment, God isn’t watching and waiting like a parole officer for us to make a mistake so He can punish us or lock us up for good.

Because He loved us so much God Himself allowed Christ, the Father’s only son, to die, to pay our debt, to take all our punishment; so that we can live our life without having to be on parole.

We haven’t been released based on a condition of our own behavior or merit. There’s no fear of being returned to our prisons, whatever they may be.

Praise God! We’ve been set free!

But are we walking in the full freedom that has been given to us?

The most important statement I heard in Sunday’s message: To the extent that you continue to carry burdens from your past, it is to that same extent that you are not free in Christ.

Take another look at the photo I chose for today’s column.
What do you see? 
Is the woman behind the prison bars or in front of them?

Do you know there are people behind bars who are more free than some of us who are allowed to walk on the street today? 

Where are you standing? 

Did you put yourself back in the prison God has set you free from?

Are you looking at the outside world through prison bars you’ve created for yourself?

Do you, like me, tend to pick up an old set of baggage and start dragging it along with you?

Let’s give up our burdens.

Let’s walk together in the freedom Christ has provided for us!

So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free. -John 8:36 AMP

Summer Update…

A quick note about what’s going on this summer…
 
My husband, Bill’s been on the road for the last month gathering investors for our new company’s second round of funding. 

Needless to say, it’s been tough on us with him going back and forth between Texas and California every 2-3 days.

So…
 
For these next few weeks, I’m traveling along to help support him and be available for dinner meetings with board members, advisers and investors.
 
It’s a bit grueling and I sure miss our kids and dogs back in San Jose; but I’m thankful for this incredible business opportunity, the investors that are coming on board and that we’re able to do this together!

I hope to get an actual blog column written in the next day or so.

Blessings… T

What Are You Creating With Your Words?

Considering all the problems in the world today it’s easy to get caught in a negative attitude with a complaining mouth.

One thing God continues to show me over and over again…

WE have the power to create reality with the words that come out of our mouths!

Back in 2004 when I was bound by my addictions; my husband, for my own safety, put strict limitations on my access to money, car, cell phone, etc…

I thought he was trying to control me and continually said, “I’m being treated like a prisoner.”

It wasn’t long until I actually was a prisoner in the County Jail.

My words had become my reality.

Proverbs 18:21 says: 

The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

If we insist on allowing negative words to flow out of our mouths, we will continue to have negative consequences.

God has given us dominion over the earth and with that our words have the power to create or destroy our lives. 

Rather than swim around in our emotions, dwelling only on what we feel and see around us; we can choose instead to see with our eyes of faith and use faith-filled words to create the life we know God wants us to have.

As long as we continue to speak what we see; we will continue to see those things.

What do you see today?

What do you want to see tomorrow?

Make a decision to speak what you see with your eyes of faith and watch it come to pass!


Who’s Protecting You?

In response to last week’s question:  
What hurt would you like to see discussed?

My longtime friend and school mate, Ren, suggested: 
“What about relapse? It’s going around.”

Before getting Ren’s suggestion, I had already been led to write about the recovery principle ~Self-Protection.  I was excited to get her suggestion because Relapse and Self-Protection go hand in hand… If we aren’t protecting our self, we will definitely be on the road to a quick relapse!

Long gone are the days when people had the same physician for their entire life. Someone you could trust, who knew your history, had a personal relationship with you and your family, who actually watched out for your health concerns. Gone are the days when we felt safe in our community and country. When we could trust our neighbors; leaving our homes and cars unlocked. 
The principles of Self-Protection can be applied across the board to all areas of our life:
  • Physical-nutrition & exercise
  • Relationships-marriage, friends & family
  • Lifestyle-work & recreation

Today if we are to be protected, we pretty much have to do it our self. We must read and research to be aware of potential risks and know what boundaries to put in place for our own protection.

For myself, as a recovering sex addict, it has been critical for the last 5 years to have clearly defined boundaries on the influences in my life: TV, Internet, music, movies, magazines, friends, environment, etc…

With my new health concerns, Insulin Resistance; I must be just as diligent with boundaries to avoid possible temptations.

Let’s look at some specific guidelines that can help us stay protected:

  1. Be Steadfast in Convictions: Know and understand why.
  2. Seek Good Counsel: Bible, minister, counselor, doctor.
  3. Share with a Friend: Get accountability partner.
  4. Create New Habits: Remove old patterns.
  5. Do The Next Right Thing: Be wise; stay on track.
  6. Stay Rested: Be good to your body.

There’s a familiar recovery acronym: H.A.L.T. that reminds us times of temptation come when we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. I’ve taken the liberty to build on this and add a spiritual aspect to further our protection.

H. A. L. T. E. D. 
When:
Hungry — physical desires of any kind take over. 
Angry — annoyed with life’s frustrations 
Lonely — lonesome and fearful 
Tired — troubled and depressed 
I will:  
Exercise — calming prayer. 
Do — good and expect a reward.

In order to become everything God has created us to be; we must have a deep resolve. We must look for God’s escape out of each temptation and run for it. We serve a faithful God who is always beside us, working for our good and leading us in paths of victory and strength.

We can overcome any obstacle, any challenge, any temptation in Jesus’ name!

If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall… remember the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it. 
                               ~1 Corinthians 10:12-13 New Living Translation

Getting a New Grip!

After sharing my recent health struggles last week, I received several encouraging email from special friends. 
One, in particular, had a deep and resounding impact on my spirit. So much that it has given me a fresh vision and purpose for my ministry.
My dearest friend, Whitney, who I met in 2006 during our stay in Louisiana, forwarded me a devotional she receives. It spoke of “Good Afflictions” and how God uses trials to strengthen and grow us into the person He knows we can be in Christ. 
One of the verses referred to in Whitney’s email was a scripture I’ve leaned on many times:

For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in His holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening-it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained by it.~ Hebrews 12:10-11

If you’ve been reading the Bible for any time at all, you’ve probably experienced what’s known as a Rhema Word.  This happened as I was reading the above passage and came to the next verse. [One that had not been previously marked in my Life Recovery Bible–something I do regularly for verses that have spoken to me personally.]
I continued to read…

So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand on your shaky legs. Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.~Hebrews 12:12-13 

This was a Rhema Word to me!
It’s an incredible experience when a scripture jumps off the page. When God speaks loud and clear to you – there’s great power and no mistaking it’s Almighty God. You know, without a shadow of a doubt, that God has reached out and touched your life personally in a way that no one else can. 
For the last few weeks I’ve thought about changing the name of the ministry to simply–Reaching Women– then it would match my Twitter handle. God hasn’t released me to do it. 
Then after reading the above verse, I had a revelation about my ministry. 

After living a life of addiction, I felt that my ministry focus needed to be towards that… To reach women struggling with all kinds of addictions.  

But God has shown me that women are hurting in so many other ways, the least of which is our health! 
As I said last week, I want to share what I’m learning about nutrition and health in general. But also, going forward, I want to address specific hurts that we as women encounter in our daily lives.
I’m excited to see how God will continue to use this humble ministry to help women. Even me.
QUESTION: What are some areas of hurt you would like to see discussed?  

Overwhelmed with Life

Friends, I have to apologize for my long silence.

It’s been almost a month since I’ve written a blog and even today, I’m pushing myself.

The first week in May I was diagnosed with insulin resistance or pre-diabetic.

Needless to say, after being a Curves Manager and Trainer for 2 years in Houston, I was shocked!

It seems I had let my diet slip more than I realized.

I’ve been overwhelmed and depressed; adjusting to the new diet has been extremely difficult.

All is not lost, my blood glucose isn’t out of the park-high, so that’s a good thing. If I follow the regimen I should get my numbers back down to a healthy level before too long.

My biggest challenge has been keeping my faith up and watching the words I’m confessing over myself.

For a time I’ve put aside ministry studies and research to focus on health and nutrition. One of my personal rules is: “If you have something good-share it.” So in the coming weeks I’ll be writing about the new things I’m learning.

I appreciate your prayers as I persevere back to good health.

What Designer Label Are You Wearing?

Growing up in a lower-middle class family, with one income didn’t provide for many luxuries. We rarely ate at restaurants. We’d buy the Colonel’s chicken but mother would cook everything else. We vacationed in a tent or camper; never staying in motels. And when it came time to purchase groceries my mother was never taken in by brand names. My sister or I would ask for a brand name cereal, shampoo that we’d seen on a television commercial; but mother would buy the ‘store’ brand and say, “It all comes out of the same barrel.”
In the 70’s there were a few designer brands here and there, not like now! It seems in today’s culture women and men are all about the designer labels… 
Burberry, Gucci, Armani, Calvin Klein, Versace, Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana, Ralph Lauren, Prada, Chanel… ad infinitum… 
There’s designer everything from shoes, purses, clothes, watches, cars, dishes, food, furniture, even dogs.
A person can go designer crazy!
 
According to Wikipedia the term designer label refers to clothing and other personal accessory items sold under an often prestigious marque which is commonly named after a designer. The term is most often only applied to luxury items. While members of the upper-middle class, or the mass affluent, are perhaps the most commonly targeted customers of these designer labels, some marquees—such as Cartier—tend to a wealthier customer base.
The world may be all about designer labels but what about the label we’re wearing on our life?
The Apostle Paul in the third chapter of Colossians writes:
So, if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides.
That means killing off everything connected with the way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing what ever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy.

That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God.
Your done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.

And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. – The Message Bible

What designer label are you wearing today? A worldly label or The Master Creator’s label?

The best news of all: God’s designer label isn’t targeted to any one class of people.

God is a respecter of all persons.

If you haven’t yet, take this opportunity to try His brand…You won’t be sorry!

PRAYER:
Lord, help me to live the resurrection life with Christ. Help me to take off the old fashions and put on the new wardrobe you have for me. Help me to walk in Your love today.

Let’s Get Real About Porn!

thepornevent.com

From May 23-28, LifeChurch.tv and XXXChurch.com present ThePornEvent.com, a 25-minute interactive experience focused on the real-life effects of pornography.

ThePornEvent.com has two segments, one for men and one for women; more details and the schedule can be found at ThePornEvent.com.

During ThePornEvent.com we will examine the effect porn has on our lives and relationships, and look at next steps for those who are struggling.

Expect a non-threatening environment featuring stories, helpful answers, and an open conversation with people whoʼve traveled a similar path. ThePornEvent.com is for anyone who is interested in what it looks like to live a life beyond pornography.

Men’s Segment

During the men’s segment of
ThePornEvent.com, we’ll take an honest look
at how porn affects us as men, fathers, and
husbands. Through stories, answers to
common questions, and open conversation
we will talk about the hope men can find in
life beyond pornography.

Women’s Segment

During the women’s segment of
ThePornEvent.com, we will talk about how
porn affects us as women, mothers, and
wives. Through stories, answers to common
questions, and open conversation we will talk
about the hope found beyond our personal
struggles with porn and also how to support
and care for family members that are dealing
with sexual addiction.

If you or someone you know struggles with porn, please set aside some time to join us at ThePornEvent.com during one of the many sessions that will be available between May 23-28.