Strengths, Talents and Gifts

     So, Monique strikes again :)  The DREAM BIG Series is inspiring me like cRaZy!!!  CLICK HERE to see how her previous posts have impacted me!!!

     Apparently, I need to be secure in myself and get to know myself…this is the only way I will really figure out my gifts, talents, strengths and DREAMS!  I DEFINITELY know my dreams, but need to continue to work on the other things!  How about you?  I need to do whatever it takes to remove my personal blind spots…get rid of those negative voices in my head, change my mind to think like a successful person and learn to BOUNCE BACK!  This is TOUGH STUFF…how are you doing in this area?  I need to trust my leaders…get wise counsel and be teachable.  People who have gone before me can help me make better  choices.  Do you have a mentor or a friend who is your sounding board?  And I need to rely on my experience…when I know something does work, do it again and again!…when I know it doesn't work, move on and never do it again!  Do you use your own experiences for smart decision making?

Our family
Our friends (even our pets)
Our health (I hate needles...I HAVE to stay healthy…not a joke)
Our home (security)
Living an adventure.
Making an impact on people's lives.

What's important to you?

When I get to spend all day every day with Nick.
When I get to travel.
When I spend time with people I love.
When I help people feel better.
When I am learning about clean living and using chemical free products and food.

When are you happiest?

     I have things that are important to me that may not be important to everyone else…that's OK!  I also have things that make me happy that may not make everyone else happy…that's OK too!  EVERYONE IS UNIQUE!!!  In order for me to live my dreams, I am going to have to say NO to some things and YES to others because I want to do well with what The LORD has given me (Matthew 25:23).  Remember, WE HAVE ALL BEEN GIVEN OUR STRENGTHS, TALENTS AND GIFTS FOR A REASON AND A PURPOSE!

When you discover 
what you were made for, YOUR HEART SINGS.  
It says, there's no place like this 
place, anywhere near this place, so 
this must be the place. -John Maxwell

     THE END


The Keys to Success...

So, here I am again…blogging about Monique McLean's blog.  I feel very unoriginal, but I CAN'T HELP MYSELF.  She already inspired me to blog about Dreaming and then to blog about Finding Your SWEET SPOT in Life…now she inspired me again with The Keys to Success!  What's a girl to do…um…blog of course!!!

Obviously, I want to be successful!  I don't just mean financially.  I mean AT LIFE…remember I have all those BIG DREAMS?!!?!!?  Well, I want to succeed so that I LIVE THOSE BIG DREAMS!  Let's review those: spend the rest of my life with Nick Stewart, write a book, pay off our home, travel the world, have/adopt children, hit Royal Crown Diamond, become an artist

Since these dreams DON'T just happen, I'll have 

Successful people:
-reject rejectionnot me…I go do the ugly cry alone in a corner (oh it's ugly).
-see failure as temporarynot me…I get all caught up in the "my life is over" mentality.
-see failure as an isolated eventnot me…if I fail in one thing, I assume I'm just a failure…period.
-see success as a processme…I know that success takes hard work…FINALLY, one point for me!
-are willing to try a new approachme…I whine a lot, but don't give up.
-bounce backhalf me…I dwell on the past mistakes and failures, but since I don't give up, I just keep on keeping on.

Ok…so I apparently have some work to do in this "Successful People" area!

Life is a Series of Outcomes.  
Sometimes the Outcome is WHAT YOU WANT.  Great.  
Figure out what you DID RIGHT.  
Sometimes the Outcome is WHAT YOU DON'T WANT.  Great.  Figure out what you DID WRONG.  
That's the KEY the Bouncing Back!  
-John Maxwell, Dare to Dream.

To achieve your dream:
-recruit other good thinkers to help you…every morning at 8am I walk with a friend and spill my guts for about an hour and when Nick gets home at night, I do it all over again, so I'm good in that area!
-see problems as opportunities…to FREAK OUT!!!  Ok ok…just kidding, but HELLO, I obviously need work in this area!
-give yourself time to think…does drooling in front of Netflix count?…Just kidding…I'm always doing doing doing and going going going…I need to CHILL OUT sometimes!
-find a place to be creative…I seriously can't think of anywhere better than Starbucks right now and I don't even know how that would help me to be creative anyway...
-challenge assumptions…I can think of LOTS of things that people have assumed about me and that I have assumed about myself…I'm challenging those right now :)
-force yourself to think…I LOVE to walk up to my parents house and sit on their porch and think, read, take naps, sit and stare at nothing…
-explore all options…I LOVE to explore…BRING IT ON!!!

Yet again, I apparently have some work to do in this "To Achieve Your Dream" area!

The McLean family motto is:
If you don't do it, you won't do it! 
My life motto has been "People are CrAzY".

Both are true…Monique's is more inspirational and nicer and more encouraging and more motivating...

So…I have a lot to think about here if I'm going to be successful!  Then, once I've thought about it, I need to actually DO SOMETHING about it!  Gosh, this is hard work!  SERIOUSLY…But, I am feeling motivated right now :) …

PS…The "Successful People" and "To Achieve Your Dream" come from Monique and John Maxwell…Just wanted to give credit where credit is due!!!!  Of course, the extra side notes and comments are mine :)



     I just had to blog again today…I'm LOVING Monique McLean's DREAM BIG Series.

Buddy the Bulldog has nothing to do with this post, but I just HAD to include him!!!
     So, yesterday I blogged about DreamingI was very excited and enjoyed thinking about my dreams.  And I already thought of another dream that I had forgotten---to (one day in the future) adopt a child who needs a family!  I have been dreaming that dream since I was 7 years old and living in Ethiopia.  Nick also wants to adopt one day, so that's convenient :)

My sisters and I were the Three Brown Mice, instead of the Three Blind Mice.
We won a Butterfinger for our musical talent and that was a HUGE treat in Ethiopia!

     Today, Monique talked about finding your sweet spot in life.  There are many things that I could have done and many directions that I could have taken, but I am confident that I am right where the LORD wants me right now.  Honestly, I have tried A LOT of different jobs.  The first job I ever remember was washing clothes for my uncle.  He would bring a basket of dirty clothes over and my mom and I would wash, dry and fold his laundry and I would make a dollar…I seriously thought I hit a jackpot and scored big.  That's around when I was 9 years old.  Since then, I have been a babysitter, I was a nanny, a private tutor, a second grade and kindergarden teacher, I cleaned an office, Nick and I were professional window washers (I'll just go ahead and say this was the worst job ever), I worked at summer camps, I was an office manager, I worked in finance, Nick and I worked in a warehouse with packing, unpacking and shipping books, we lived and worked on a ship for six months…I even worked in the Magic Kingdom and then MGM Studios for two summers (that's how Nick and I met).  Although all of these jobs were good jobs and usually decent pay, I was never content.  I knew that I HAD NOT found my sweet spot in life.

     For years, I kept telling Nick that my DREAM JOB would be a job that:

1. I DID NOT have to go back to school.
2. I could work from home.
3. was related to whole body health and living free of toxic, harmful chemicals.

     I KNEW that this was my sweet spot (I just didn't know how I would ever get there)!!!  Almost weekly FOR YEARS, Nick and I would go over my dream, talk over different possibilities or ways of doing it, but would always come to the same conclusion, "THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN"…we seriously couldn't see how I could achieve my dream. 

     But, you know what's cRaZy??!?!!??!!?  The LORD…THE ONE who created me, THE ONE who has good plans for me, THE ONE who put desires in my heart…HE KNEW all along.  Even a year ago, when I had no hope of finding my sweet spot in life, The LORD knew where I would be today:

1.  I DID NOT have to go back to school.
2. I am working from home (sitting on my couch now).
3. Essential Oils are related to whole body health and living free of toxic, harmful chemicals.

WOW…WOW…even when I couldn't see it and I was discouraged, the LORD had a good and perfect plan for me.  He cared about my little" impossible" dreams.  We were ALL designed by The Creator who LOVES EACH ONE OF US and put us here with talents and gifts so that we can impact others.  But, does it just come easily?…NO…You have to WORK at it.  I had to spend YEARS learning about myself, my gifts, my talents, my struggles, my strengths and I had to have LOTS of different jobs while I patiently waited on The LORD to bring me to where I am now.  I didn't even have a clue where "here" was, but The LORD knew all along!

Thanksgiving 2012-Exactly ONE year before I found my SWEET SPOT in life!
     So, in her post, Monique asks us a few questions…and they got me thinking:
Q: What do you think of yourself?
A: Not much, but Jesus Christ loved ME and gave himself up for ME!  I can now live in the freedom of His Grace FOREVER.

Q: Do you believe in yourself?
A: No, but I believe in Jesus Christ and IN HIM all things are possible.

Q:  Are you confident?
A:  No, but if GOD is for me, who can be against me?…Those who believe in Him will NEVER be put to shame!

     I'm sitting here smiling as I watch my puppy play with her chew-toy.  I love her and I gave her that toy as a gift for her to enjoy.  I think that God is the same way.  He smiles while He watches us living in our sweet spots.  He loves us and gave us those gifts and talents for us to enjoy.  

     So, ask yourself:
1.  What are 5 things that I am good at and that I enjoy doing?
2.  Am I using those gifts and talents?
3.  Am I using them in the correct areas?
4.  If so, am I using them to impact other peoples' lives?
5.  If not, what keeps me from being who I was created to be?

     We only get ONE life.  ONE chance.  Make it count!  Do I think that I am living in my sweet spot now? YES!!!  I LOVE having a flexible schedule and being in charge of my hours and working from home.  I LOVE spending time with people and teaching them about how they can care for themselves naturally.  I LOVE reading about anything that has to do with totally "clean" living.  I LOVE when someone lets me help them and they see positive results.  I LOVE coming up with new ideas to encourage my team or creative ways to teach others.  I LOVE all of the new friends that I have made since becoming a Lemon Dropper.  I LOVE organizing and spending most of my work hours on social media, like my Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.  There are SO MANY things that I LOVE about living in my sweet spot in life.  But mostly, I LOVE that The LORD created me to be ME, had this life planned for ME and knew exactly where my sweet spot in life was…because of that…I am living one of my dreams right now :)

     One dream down, MANY more to go!!!
     I just thought of this as I was getting ready to publish this post.  This job is ONE dream that I had.  But, at one point, I also thought my dream job would be something that would quench my travel fever.  I used to want to work for National Geographic (as a photographer), be a crew member on a ship or be an airline hostess…anything to get me traveling.  Do I think that GOD can combine my love for "clean living" and my love for travelingYES!!!  Do I think He will???…I will just have to wait and see what happens!

PS…remember yesterday when I said that I was going to edge my flower beds and write a chapter of my book?  Well, I begged my sister Maggie for help.  We tried carrying buckets of bricks, from the woods, and knew right away it was going to kill us.  So, we begged our neighbor Sherman to drive over the tractor.  The three of us did two loads of bricks.  Maggie and I lined the bricks around the flower beds in a beautiful design.  We were dripping sweat and blacking out from not drinking enough water.  So…I'm happy to say that I edged the beds, but sad to say that I was too worn out and didn't write a chapter…I guess working on one dream per day is a good start!!!

You may not see it, but back in the bushes, in between the tress, is the pile of old bricks.  To carry them from that pile to the edge of our house was A LOT of work!!!

And do you see our bricked edging?  It doesn't look like much in the photo (depressing), but it looks really neat in real life (AND IT WAS HARD WORK)!  And "I DOUGHT OF DAT!"…sorry, my dad and I were saying that this morning and trying to figure out what movie that came from…Madagascar?

So, that edging was just ONE step toward my dream of finishing our house!!!



SOOOOooooo……Dreaming…..We all dream, right?  Not the sleeping in 
your bed and counting sheep type dreaming.  I'm talking, BIG LIFE CHANGING DREAMS!  The type of dreams that you never think are possible…you might say they are just "wishful thinking" or "daydreams"…you might call them hopes, wishes, goals, desires, plans or 
something else, but right now, lets stick with "DREAMS".

     If you know Ironman and me (or follow our Blog), you know that we dReAm and save and plan and GO…and we do it as often as possible!!!  Since we have been married, we have visited 17 countries.  We have a Bucket List  and we are ALWAYS asking each other, "What's next?!".   Even though we LOVE traveling, we DO have other dreams too!!!  What?!  I know, crazy, right?!!?!

     A fellow Lemon Dropper and Blogger, has just started a series of her own…the DREAM BIG Series!!!  Obviously, I am already hooked.  Encouraged.  Excited.  Inspired.  I'm already a dreamer and she just made me a dreamer on steroids---I think I'm going to go edge my flower beds in old bricks stacked in my woods and write the next chapter in my never-finished book…don't laugh…I'm serious.  So, most of this is inspired from Monique's post, but I had to post about it myself because I was so pumped!

     If I could do anything, Anything, ANYTHING, what would it be?…spend the rest of my life with Nick Stewartwrite a bookpay off our housetravel the world…have children…hit Royal Crown Diamond…become an artist…I'm sure I'll think of more and have to come back to edit this post!

(Ok…already editing now---adopt a child who needs a family!)

     WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS?…No dream is too small or too big…if it is your dream, then it is significant!  Think for a minute and write down a few that come to mind.

     Dreams don't just happen…once we dream it, we have to DO IT!!!  Living your dreams requires hard work and never giving up.  You plan.  You save.  You plan. You save.  You plan.  You save.  And sometimes after YEARS of planning and saving (while you are still dreaming), you finally get 
to go DO IT!!!

     "Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat." -Theodore Roosevelt

     Is dreaming easy?…NO!  You will have failures along the way!  But, during that journey, you will learn and grow and change and mature.  Some people don't like to see others pursuing their dreams…YES…this is actually true and very sad!  People who aren't pursuing their own dreams are likely to criticize those who are!  YES…this actually happens!  This is why we have to be confident in who we are and what our purpose is…I know that I am a child of God and my purpose is to LOVE God and ENJOY Him FOREVER!!!

Psalm 139:13 says "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb"…WHAT A GIFT that the LORD created us each of us unique and different from one another and gave us each our own talents, our own gifts, our own strengths, our own weaknesses…

Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you, " declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future"…WHAT A GIFT that the LORD who created each of us also has a good and perfect plan for each of us…

Psalm 37:4 says, "Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart."…WHAT A GIFT that the LORD who created us and has perfect plans for us, also cares about our hearts desires, our DREAMS!  

Only YOU can live the life that was planned for YOU!  
You never know what kind of difference you are going to make in someone else's life.  So, pray that the LORD will show you what he wants for your life and start heading in that direction!  DREAM DREAMS, IMPACT LIVES, AND CHANGE THE WORLD. 

 It takes discipline and hard work...YES…BUT when I look back on my life, I want to see that I lived an aDvEnTuRe, I LOVED the Lord and ENJOYED Him, I impacted His kingdom, I served and loved others and I lived my DREAMS…I have BIG DREAMS, but I have a BIGGER GOD!!!  I want what God has planned for my life, even if it is different than my own dreams...but I think that He still enjoys when we dream!