When Resolutions Fail

It’s only ten days into the new year and we planners, those of us who resolve to do all sorts of good things may already be feeling a bit off. I’m a planner. I make goals and lists and I am pretty good at following through. But, that’s not what I want to talk about. Resolution makers (like me) often get a false sense of reality, as if we can control the circumstances just because we wrote something in our planner or tacked a sticky note on the wall. We can’t.

I’m a firm believer in making plans. We can’t be a vague, thoughtless or foolish with our time. But, sometimes our plans don’t work out because of things out of our control. How we respond to things we can’t control matter. Honestly, my track record with reactions isn’t that great. I tend to respond with anxiety and questions. I doubt my call to do whatever it is. Guess what, that’s not a God honoring reaction. God said we would have trials and troubles. Resistance and calamity don’t negate your call. They solidify it. It’s your proof of purchase. It’s your reminder that someone doesn’t want you to complete the mission. That someone is not Jesus or your friend or husband. Jesus said to take heart ❤️, He has overcome the world!Every worthy endeavor has obstacles

Whether your resolution was to be a more organized Mom, workout four times a week or finish a manuscript for a book, there are going to be circumstances that come against you. Some of the circumstances may be God-driven and ordained, such as caring for a sick child or helping a friend or relative. In those instances, we play the people are more important than things card. When we see interruptions as a sign that we shouldn’t pursue fulfilling our resolutions, we’re reading the signs wrong.

Resistance is a sign that we are doing things right. When lifting weights or working out, we count on resistance to make us stronger. Without resistance, we’re just beating the air and not getting any results. The same is true with our resolutions, our God-sized dreams, our desire to make positive changes in our lives. We encounter resistance and it makes us stronger, if we let it, if we don’t just drop the ball and give up.

Instead of letting circumstances deter us, let them ensure us.  Let us see them as a sign that we are on the right path. Every worthy endeavor has obstacles. If your resolve is to be organized in your homeschooling and home and you end up taking your sister’s kids while one of her’s is in the hospital (true story), then don’t beat yourself up because your house is a wreck. Don’t say,  “I quit”. Say, “That was a God-opportunity to do the right thing.” Rest. Recover and start again.

The problem is when we make the resolutions the god and not a desired goal. We can’t control the universe. What we can do is persevere and continue to sow good seeds even when circumstances send a storm our way.

What circumstances have blown your way?

While you’re here, make sure you check out The Whole House Podcast,  Episode 2 is live- Human Trafficking Awareness Day. If you haven’t listened yet, start with our Introductions. Are you ready?

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Apple Picking at the Guire Shire


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Yesterday was a perfect day for apple picking. I’ve been a bit under the weather since my vacation trip to SC, too much doing and not enough being. I struggle with this. I want to get ‘er all done, only half the time, I spread my efforts so thin that I don’t accomplish much of anything. Or worse, I fail to be obedient to the call of God on my life that I live in a desert of a dry soul. Then I wake up one morning with a fever and achy joints and ask God, “What am I doing wrong?” Do you hear me dear one? Do you struggle with this too?

Apple picking day was a day of harvest in more ways than one. Those grandkids are a harvest, a joyful bunch. A tangible amazing gift from the Lord. Time with family is a blessing, not something to be fit into the margins of my life. Something high on the priority list. You can’t have family relationships without an investment of time. See how Cecilia lets go of the ladder and reaches up for the apple? That is trust. Trust isn’t free. It costs. The pay out for trust that real is time. Not just time, but connected time. Reading together, talking together, eating together, all the things that God desires to do with us. He desires to spend time with us and in turn we spend time with family, building relationships.

Lyndon coffee Shop

Aren’t you glad that God’s arms are long? He can reach you wherever you are. I don’t know about you, but I often believe the lie that God doesn’t hear me or that I am out of His reach. Not true. He is here, waiting, longing for you and me to reach out for Him. He hears our prayers. He knows what we need before we even ask, but He wants us to ask. He longs for us to wait on Him. To converse with Him. Talk to Him today. He hears you.

I spent some time yesterday asking a close friend and family members about my life. My God-sized dream. I had to send out some texts saying, ” I can’t do __________.” My desire is to do everything and help everyone. I can’t. When I try, not only is it disobedience to the call on my life, it produces shriveled rotten fruit. Poor health. Cranky attitudes. Frustration that I can’t do what I know I need to do.I rush out of the stall like a leaping calf and then I hit the wall. How about you?

I spent the evening going through an old journal that I wrote at the beginning of the year full of goals and scriptures. The Lord renewed my mind in the way He designed me, the God-sized dream he gave me. How about you? Are you on the fringe of your true God-sized dream because you are afraid? Afraid of disappearing because you aren’t doing what everyone else is? Before you get on someone else’s bandwagon, consider the harvest you want to have. You can’t get apples from an orange tree. You can’t grow fruit if you don’t plant a seed and then cultivate it.

A few questions that I had to ask myself:

  • Is this activity in line with God’s will for my life? (Not, is it a good thing?)
  • Am I making my God-sized dream a priority or is it on the back burner?
  • What am I spending the bulk of my time and energy on? (Hint- it should be your God-sized dream).

When I homeschooled for twenty-one years, it was my God-sized dream for a season, I didn’t have to think about what I was going to spend the bulk of my time on. Now that I am moving into a new season, I’m stumble like a toddler. I get it. I’m there. Together, let’s wait on the Lord, believe He hears your prayer. Write down your God-sized dream, along with some Holy Spirit inspired measurable goals.

From my journal and for you:

I have chosen you, actually picked you out before the foundation of the world. I gave you a purpose. The forces against you are not flesh and blood, but principalities, powers, mights and dominions. They are just using people. Don’t be pushed around or dissuaded from pursuing your purpose. Remember the battle plan.



My Typewriter Journey

I sat at my desk waiting, while the  little circle on the computer turn around and around. The words seemed to be on a two minute delay. I shut the laptop and went on to something else, frustrated and at a loss. I had been working on two, no three writing projects. That moment, I was working on revisions on my second book, a series of articles on adoption issues. I am writing my first novel for teens.(More info on upcoming books in a later post!) Number three is my website. I write articles on adoption, childrearing, organization, family and also type up my workshops or notes for speaking engagements. That’s a plethora of words to say that I rely heavily on technology every day.

After that particularly frustrating moment, I had an idea. Why not get a typewriter?  Hubby Jerry was  outside working on some yard work and I went out on the deck and yelled, “hey, do you mind if I order a typewriter?”

“Sounds like a great idea!” I ran back up to my office with visions of Jessica Fletcher (Murder She Wrote) floating in my head. I couldn’t wait to start typing on a typewriter!  I ordered a manual. I didn’t want to be dependent on electricity or the internet in order to write. I just wanted to write. I had reverted to pen and paper going through yellow legal pads like my toddler grandchildren go through wipes.

My typewriter arrived (thank you Amazon Prime) and I did some practice sentences to warm up and realized my hands needed some more muscles. It didn’t take me long to get the hang of it and I pulled out the latest chapter I had written and typed it up. No distractions. I couldn’t pop open another tab or do some last minute research. I couldn’t tweet, fiddle with Pandora or check Facebook. Just type. It’s been one of the best disciplines for me. I make note when I need to look something up. I don’t look it up then.

The truth is, several people have tried to help me get back on technology. My daughter lent me her Mac. I brought it home and plugged it in, the cord popped, smoked and fried. Are you trying to tell me something, Lord? Then my son’s girlfriend loaned me a hot pink computer that I am typing on right now. Interesting thing, I did not touch the computer for a week or so. My website has been pretty silent and all I keep hearing in my head is WRITE, WRITE, WRITE. So, I have been, plunking away, chapter after chapter. Only three left to write (and two of those are outlined).

This portion of Scripture kept coming to mind:

If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.– Matthew 18:8-10

Sometimes things happen in my life and I view them as punishment, when they are actually discipline. I needed to step back from my technology habit and cut it off for awhile, it was causing me to stumble in my daily walk. I wasn’t viewing porn or watching R rated movies, I was just wasting time. And wasting time can be a sin. The Word says that we should not be vague, thoughtless or foolish, we should instead be diligent.

Therefore see that you walk carefully [living life with honor, purpose, and courage; shunning those who tolerate and enable evil], not as the unwise, but as wise [sensible, intelligent, discerning people], 16 [b]making the very most of your time [on earth, recognizing and taking advantage of each opportunity and using it with wisdom and diligence], because the days are [filled with] evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish and thoughtless, but understand and firmly grasp what the will of the Lord is.- Ephesians 5:15-17

I was deceiving myself into believing that flitting around through social media and other people’s blogs was sensible and diligent, when in fact it was robbing me of the true will of the Lord which was and is WRITE, WRITE, WRITE.

Maybe you seen the handwriting on the wall clearly and aren’t as hard headed as me, if that is true, than God bless you, sister. This article isn’t about the evils of technology, it’s about letting anything get in the way of what God has placed in your heart to do. He has given each of us a God-sized dream and a measure of the talent we need to complete it. It our job to walk carefully, making the most of our time and increasing our talent through thought, study and discipline.

I pray that my mini lesson has helped you in some way. Although my webpage has been on pause for awhile, I know it is a season. I will come back to it when the time is right. Don’t be afraid of seasons. They are natural and normal. Don’t look at what everyone is doing to measure yourself by, use the ruler of the Word and you won’t be led astray. If you need to, cut some things out. Re-evaluate. Write down your mission statement and your goals and pray over them. Study. Pray. Don’t be surprised if the Holy Spirit directs you to do something that no one else is doing!

Joining Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday!  Join us!



Vi Bella Jewelry- A God-sized Dream

I met Amy Breitmann at the Winsome Retreat, she is the Vice President of Marketing of Vi Bella Jewelry. Vi Bella is an amazing ministry! I’m honored to have her share today! Read and be inspired!

Winsome jewelry

There are a couple of responses that we can have when we see injustice, poverty, and despair. We can be afraid, humbled, saddened, dismayed and do nothing. Or we can get on our knees and pray that God will use us. Little, seemingly small, ill-equipped us.

I am glad that world-changers choose the latter.

Julie Hulstein is one person who chose to be used to make a dream a reality. And it was a God-sized dream. An undertaking and calling that would stretch her and eventually many others to impact poverty in tangible, life-changing ways.

After traveling from Iowa to Haiti in 2010, Julie’s heart was grieved by the extreme poverty and the destruction caused by the earthquake. The people of Haiti had lived with overwhelming lack for generations and this weighed heavily on her. As she returned to her home in Iowa, something stirred. The face of one woman who had hosted her in her small tent haunted her. But more so, her words stayed with her. The words lacked hope. The name that this young woman had given her: “Mama Julie,” began to define a calling.

One thing that Julie knew for certain was that in a country where there were more aid workers on the ground than any other place in the world, handouts were not the answer. Employment was. She thought about her own daughter, who was about the same age as the young Haitian girl. This young girl was immersed in bleak circumstances. Julie couldn’t imagine leaving her daughter in such conditions. She prayed. There had to be a way to help. A plan was birthed out of this prayer.

And so the concept for Vi Bella Jewelry began in 2011. The word “Vi Bella” means “beautiful life,” and this became the goal of everything that sprung from this ministry~ to create beautiful lives for women and families. The idea was to design jewelry and hire women from Simonette, a small village outside Port Au Prince to be the artisans.

From the very beginning, Vi Bella used materials that were part of the landscape of Haiti. Plastic bottles that littered the beaches and streets were gathered, sanitized, molded and painted to make bottle beads. Strung together they told a story of making broken things beautiful. In much the same way, newspaper was recycled into making paper beads: rolled, glued, painted and finished to tell a story of redemption.

What began as a small call to respond, has grown into an organization that now employs more than thirty artisans. Expanding from one original center in Simonette, Haiti, to four centers- two in Haiti, one in Croc, Mexico, and a home office in Sioux Center, Iowa. All employ artisans who earn an above-average daily wage and are given the opportunity to attend bible studies. In addition, artisan’s children are sponsored to have the opportunity to attend school, and Vi Bella gives back to the communities where they operate.

Each day artisans, their families, and communities are made more beautiful.

All of us here at Vi Bella are so glad Julie answered a call and invited others to be world-changers.

And you can be part of the ongoing beautiful story. By becoming a Beautiful Life Ambassador, hosting a beautiful life gathering, or purchasing Vi Bella jewelry, you contribute to the God-sized dream that is still unfolding in these lives and communities.

Amy Breitmann
Vice President of Marketing, Vi Bella Jewelry