Balancing Family & Ministry Webcast + Everyday Confetti Giveaway!

This is it – our final webcast replay of the series!  Grab a big pile of laundry to fold and enjoy this 40 minute webcast featuring Karen Ehman as our keynote speaker and Darlene (TimeWarpWife.com) and Ruth (TheBetterMom.com) on the couch as we discuss balancing family and ministry.

Session 7b

(if you cannot see this video – click here)

Karen is giving away TWO copies of her newly released book titled Everyday Confetti (co-authored with Glynnis Whitwer)

Everday.Confetti.cover

Here’s what’s inside Everyday Confetti (isn’t the cover adorable!!!):

When a busy woman looks at her calendar and sees a birthday, holiday, or special occasion, she has the best intentions for bringing joy to her family and creating lasting memories. Then reality hits. Amidst demanding responsibilities and an overloaded schedule, when is she ever going to have time to plan the perfect celebration or find the creativity to make it special?

In this go-to guide, Karen Ehman and Glynnis Whitwer give women the ideas and the motivation they need to make such occasions less daunting. They provide creative ideas and menu plans for

· Holidays
· Birthdays
· Special Events
· Everyday Occasions

Readers will even find suggestions for reaching out to others throughout the year through celebrations that are simple, doable, and stress-free.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a wonderful weekend!

Walk with the King,

Courtney

**Winners will be posted here and will receive an email after the giveaway ends.

“Your Ministry” Webcast & Extra Resources

Week 2 webcast & resources

We have completed Part I of the book.

Next week, we will begin Part II on “Your Marriage.”  I’m super excited about that!!!

This book was written with our inner world in mind – but we MUST not forget that there is a hurting world outside of our home that we are called reach out to and love!

So, today we have a treat.  Many of you know and love our Wednesday recipe girl – Janelle from Comfy In The Kitchen.  She has a warm, inspiring message for you.  The first 20 minutes are Janelle sharing her heart and the last 22 is a couch discussion about “real life ministry” with the 4 of us pictured below.

session 6 group 1

{Me, Janelle (Comfyinthekitchen.com), Clare (Peak313.com), & Angela(GoodMorningGirls.org)}

(if you cannot view the video – click here)

Some other resources for you from Janelle’s Blog:

Janelle’s Top 13 Meal Ministry Meals

Lasagna for 50 – Cooking for a Crowd

An Amazing Banquet for the Little Girls of our Church (part 1)

{the blog post that has the links to all the food that was prepared for the above banquet}(part 2)

Wedding Vow Renewal Celebration Dinner

Care Package Ideas for Missionaries Overseas

Other posts I’ve written on this topic:

 An Epiphany I Had About My Life and Ministry – from last January

How to Discover Your Spiritual Gift

6 Essentials to a Thriving Women’s Bible Study Group

I hope something here encourages you.

Chime In: Do you have a ministry outside your home?  Tell us about it.  Do you have a favorite ministry resource or book.  Please share it with us in the comment section!

Walk with the King,

Courtney 

The Women Living Well Book Club – Chapter 5 {Never Walk Alone}

Book Club header week 2 chapter 5

Welcome back to the Women Living Well Book Club!

Chapter 5 Discussion

sally clarkson community

Image via Sally Clarkson

In Chapter 5, I list the 4 ways I have found community, accountability and friendship within the church.

1. Women’s Bible Studies – raise your hand if you have been in a women’s Bible study!

Women’s Bible Studies are not all created equally. Depending on the leader, the book choice and the group that attends – experiences can vary.  For me personally, this has been a huge piece of the puzzle of my spiritual growth and connection with other Christian women.  I LOVE Women’s Bible Studies and highly recommend you join one or start one in your home or at your church!

Hebrews 10:24 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”

2. Mentorship/Discipleship Ministry – When I was in 9th grade I was mentored/discipled for the very first time. I talk about this mentor named Holly in my book.  Holly and I met – one on one –  on a weekly basis for 2 years when I was in high school.  Holly was only 2 years older than me – but she had a huge influence in my life. She held me accountable for my daily Bible reading and walk with God and she listened, counseled and befriended me.  When she left my high school youth group, to attend the Moody Bible Institute – it wasn’t long until I followed in my mentors footsteps and joined her on her dorm floor as a student too!

Holly took the time to invest in me.  Who can you invest in? You are never too young!  And now she is a missionary in the Ukraine {she continues to inspire me through her life} and the last time she was home on furlough – our kids played together – here are some pictures below.

Holly Rist 2011

Holly's visit kids

3. Titus 2 Worshops – connecting with older women - If you are a young woman, the Bible says we NEED older women and if you are older- the Bible says you need to be with the younger women.  We need each other.  We need your wisdom, insight, leadership and example.  Young ones – if you don’t have an older woman to learn off of  - pray for one.

Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

4.  Good Morning Girls – (the background story) When I started the very first Good Morning Girls Group at my home church  (which was previously titled the ’6AM Club’) in 2007 – it was all about accountability.  I knew I needed accountability for my daily quiet times and that is just what Good Morning Girls provided for me.  This sweet group of 5 ladies emailed each other every.single.day for years and years.

first GMG group

But little did we know that our little group of 5 would one day in August of 2009 – turn into 120 Good Morning Girls here on Women Living Well!  These groups kept on multiplying and multiplying, to the point that I was at 600 women and I needed some on-line help to manage it all.

This winter, GMG enrolled 13,000 women in our on-line Bible Study – Praise God!

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Let’s Discuss:

Here’s a – very brief – 1 minute video of my closing thoughts on this section of the book – “Your Walk with God”.

(if you are reading this in the feed – click here to view the video)

1.)  Tell us about a Bible Study you have  been involved in or a mentor or a Titus 2 Woman in your life, that you have connected with on a spiritual level.  How did that affect your spiritual growth?

2.)  Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (posted above), how can you apply this in your life?

For Extra Discussion go to the Forum and click on the thread that says “Chapter 5″

Walk with the King,

Courtney

I Need Your Feedback

I need your feedback

 

I need feedback from – you – my faithful readers. Your comments and emails encourage me, teach me, comfort me, challenge me and bless me.

Last year was crazy full with the WLW Conference, Webcasts and book launch. I am looking forward to a much quieter year in 2014. I have turned down ALL speaking opportunities and am clearing my calendar for more reading, writing, you tubing ;) and for you!  I plan to attend a few conferences – not to speak – but to get filled up so I have more to offer here.

This blogging world has opened up a lot of different paths for me to pursue from — publishing a second book, to speaking opportunities, to guest posting on other blogs.  But let me be honest – I miss being home right here at Women Living Well with you all.  This is where I began and this is where I feel called.

So I’m turning over a new leaf in 2014.  I’ve cleared my calendar, I’ve cleared my head, I’ve said “no” to a boatload of paths I could have taken – I even quit contributing to some of my favorite sites – and I’m ready to serve you all right here.  This decision has brought me so much peace.  I have a journal that is starting to overflow with ideas of things I could do and write here…when previously my brain was so cluttered with lengthly ministry “to-do” lists I could barely put a sentence together for a blogpost!

But I need your help directing me a wee bit…cause I have a lot of different ideas of things I could write on…so would you give me 5 minutes of your time and answer a few questions below in the comment section.  I AM listening – I want to serve you better and while I can’t do everything you will recommend – I will be praying over it all.

1.) I will be kicking off the new year with an 8 week Book Club through the book Women Living Well – what would you like to see in a book club? If you read the book, what areas do you wish I had written more on or what was your favorite part?  What do you wish was in the book that was not?

2.) I will be kicking off the new year with a Tuesday video series called – Talk to Me Tuesday.  What topics would you like me to cover in my videos?  Do you have any specific questions I could answer in them – ask them.

3.) Do you like it when I have guest posters – and I don’t mean Janelle’s recipes – she is a staple here and not going anywhere ;) ? Do you want more or less guest posts from other bloggers?

4.) Do you like giveaways? Do you want more or less of those?

5.) Do you like book reviews?  Do you want more or less of those?  Would a quarterly, 4-week Book Club interest you or bore you?

6.)  Do you like the posts where I write about family stuff with family pictures and happenings in my real life – they aren’t spiritual – just “for fun” posts – do you want more or less of these?  I always feel a little narcissistic posting them…like it’s not the point of my blog – me…

7.) Regarding frequency, do you wish I had more blog posts in a week or less?

8.)  Do you want more posts dealing with cultural issues or theological issues regarding my core topics of marriage and family?  Any other thoughts – I’m listening…spill it! lol!

Thank you for your feedback.  I appreciate it! :)

Walk with the King,

Courtney

Balancing Family & Ministry & Launching a Book

balancing family ministry launching a book

I get asked all.the.time ,“How do you do it all?”

My answer – I don’t.

As a matter of fact, I have a feeling if we exchanged homes, husbands, kids and calendars there is NO way I could do all you do – you know why?  Because God gifted you to do what you do and me to do what I do and if we swapped…I could not fill your space like you fill your space!  God created you unique to do what you do and he uniquely pieced together your family with your husband and children to be with you.  Then he gave you your personality type and talents to serve him uniquely in the church.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.~ Ephesians 2:10

I believe that blogging is the good work God created in advance for me to do.  There’s no glory here for me to take.  I should not be lifted on a pedastal as some kind of super woman who does it all.  Because I don’t!

Like those of you who have a gift of singing or playing an instrument  or whipping up a fancy meal – it comes easy to you – it’s a joy.  Writing is like this for me - I can write a post in 25 minutes flat AND it’s a joy…it’s easy.

It’s the other stuff that is SO hard for me – like organizing – blak!

I don’t do it all.

To some that will disappoint you and to others it will be a huge relief!

But let me talk about balancing it all for a moment…lest I lead you all to think that I lead some extraordinary life that is balanced!

During the months of August, September and October – I was very focused on the conference, webcasts, and book launch.  If my life looked like the past 3 months on a regular basis my family would be in shambles and I’d be a train wreck.  Let me take this even one step further – my ministry would lose its integrity.  I could not write the words I write and live the life I have led for the last 3 months – and continue to write with integrity.  This is where the crazy train stops and I get off :) !

This was a special season where my family pulled together and supported me being lopsided for a season.  My husband picked up the slack at home and filled in my gaps.  He watched the kids and was there for whatever I needed.

DSC05900

My husband hanging the banner the day before the conference.

What I learned from being lopsided and stressed out – is that things in life I could normally handle turned into emergencies.  For example, my daughter chipped her tooth – and I freaked out – going to the dentist barely fit onto the calendar between interviews and on-line promotions:

 alexis tooth

My son was facing a lot of foot/ankle pain from football practice.  Everyday after practice for 8 weeks he soaked his feet in two buckets of ice water – which included stops at the gas station to get ice – which resulted in mulitple Dr. visits –  which resulted in me feeling like this was all a huge burden {sigh – mommy guilt}

 Alex the price of winning

Then there was my car wreck – my car was totalled – this was upsetting – who has time to deal with insurance companies and more Dr. appointments?  Blak!

car wreck

Did I mention that my husband was traveling out of state for work 13 days in October including the day/week of my actual book launch – OY!

So if you imagined a celebration dinner – on launch day – think again.  I woke up to my big launch day and had to get the kids ready for their “homeschool group” photos.  We were out the door by 8:45am and there was NO time for me to even look at all the the emails, tweets and Facebook  messages pouring in that day.  I sat in the back of the room at homeschool group – attempting to focus on the teacher who was teaching (mothers attend the classes with their children) but who was I kidding. I was dying to get out of there!  It was a very un-glamourous day. But the pictures came out great!

alex and alexis school pics

Then there was unexpected  death of my grandmother (my mom’s mother)  - just 1 week before my conference that surprised my entire family and threw me for an emotional loop…

DSC_0666

and…

I am sad to share that this past weekend we lost my other grandmother (my father’s mother) and we will be attending her funeral this Saturday.

Heartbreaking.

—-no words.

(those who have followed my blog for a while know that I lost a very close Aunt this past year to cancer – this has been an extremely hard year for my close knit family – I expect lots of tears this holiday season)

—-

So while I am rejoicing at the launch of my book – I have to admit – spiritual warfare is VERY real.  I have felt the words of these verses intensely:

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:7,8

Oh friends, I have felt hard pressed on every side!  If you see any joy in me – it’s from God’s all-surpassing power and not from me as 2 Corinthians 4 says.

But I am at the finish line of the book launch and I rejoice that we made it through – alive – for real!!!  When you attend 3 funerals in one year – and remember the cracking sound of the car wreck – you can’t help but to give God thanks for each breath you take!

Thursday night, November 7th the final webcast airs and ironically the topic is Balancing Your Family and Your Ministry.  We will be hearing from one of my ministry mentors – Karen Ehman of Proverbs 31 Ministries and joining me on the couch for one last time – will be Darlene the Time Warp Wife and Ruth from The Better Mom.

 

session 7

 

Don’t miss this last webcast!

It airs Thursday, November 7th at 9pmCT/10EST

at WomenLivingWell.tv

In closing, I truly love every minute of my on-line ministry.

But remember that when you click “follow” on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or Instagram or Youtube  –  you are simply following a flawed follower of Christ – nothing more.  If you need a friend to journey along side of you in your life long pursuit of following Jesus – I’m in.

And don’t try to do it all – I’m not.

Walk with the King,

3D wlwbook cover

 

The book, Women Living Well: Finding Your Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids and Your Home, is now available in most bookstores and on-line at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.

I’ve been Ruined!

 

 Last November, I sat back and assessed my life and determined – this blog –this “Women Living Well” thing, has changed my life…At first –it seemed to be changing it for the better.  It was so fulfilling to be able to connect with women and exchange encouragement.  But then it all morphed.

Numbers, stats, hate mail, drama, expectations, insults, stress, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and all sorts of other ugly things came along side this great joy in ministry.  And when I took a break in November I was thinking – What have I done to my life?

Then, over Christmas, I read in a book about D.L. Moody, the amazing Evangelist and founder of the college I attended, and how he said – once he met Jesus, he was “ruined”.  Everything changed for him.  He could no longer pursue the wordly things he once pursued. 

In Isaiah 6, Isaiah says he is “ruined”. What ruined him?

Isaiah’s Commission

1In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3And they were calling to one another:“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;the whole earth is full of his glory.”4At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.5“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”6Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”8Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

When Isaiah saw God the Almighty King– he cried out that he was ruined.  He was forever changed.  And when the Lord was looking for a man to send – Isaiah could not resist answering the call: “Here I am. Send me!”

Blogging has not ruined my life, but seeing God and knowing him intimately –has ruined me for this world’s purposes.  This realization explains for me some of my frustrations in life. It’s really my own selfish desires battling with God’s call on my life to write.

I cannot sit and sip coffee and read good books only for my own pleasure.  I cannot stare at the television every evening while precious minutes fly by.  Time is short.  I have seen God in his Word and I must pursue his will.  I cannot allow myself to be drawn into excessive sleeping and eating and exercise and pursue all my own whimiscal desires – because I know.  I know the love and power and grace of God and I must share it!

And that God, the one that Isaiah saw, who sits seated on a throne high and exalted with angels surrounding him…whose voice causes the doorposts to tremble…whose holiness no one can match.  That God speaks to me in his Word every morning and he woos me to answer the call, “Whom shall I send?” 

I’m reminded of the noble missionary Amy Carmichael – who gave up her comfortable life to go to the mission field.  I have written in my 2007 prayer journal this quote she penned:

The night I sailed for China, March 3, 1893 my life, on the human side, was broken, and it was never mended again.  but he has been enough.”

If you know Jesus personally – you’ve been ruined too my friend!

We can’t pursue our own selfish desires!  We must humbly surrender to the life he has called us to – no matter how uncomfortable it makes us at times.

Now the decision is up to us…how will we answer his call? 

Sorry God, I’m kind of tired and feel like sipping coffee and reading a good book.”

or

“Here I am, Send me!”

Are you in a tug of war these days between your flesh and obedience? Me too!

There’s only one way to win this battle – open God’s word and Behold,– the Glory of our God. 

Worthy is the Lamb.

Walk with the King,

 

 

Have You Lost Your Edge?

 

The end of 2012 was really hard for me.  In November, I had a little meltdown late one night as my husband and I talked about life.  I started crying and just couldn’t stop – which is very unlike me. I think I cried for over an hour.  I was simply exhausted and the idea of adding my Christmas to-do list to homeschooling and blogging and book edits – completely overwhelmed me.

Of course, it was all so clear for my husband that I should just put the blog on hold till after the book edits were complete (they were due January 2nd to Thomas Nelson) and until Christmas was over (seems reasonable right?)…but that was VERY hard for me to do.  I had tons of Christmas posts lined up in my mind!!!  And I wanted to share the holiday season with you all!

But I took my husband’s advice and abruptly went on a bloggy break

Once the noise of the on-line world was silenced…I could see a lot of things in my personal life that needed to be dealt with.  I needed to be praying more.  Period.  My 2012 prayer journal was pathetically empty…pages and pages and pages of my 5 Subject Notebook that is typically bursting full with life at the end of the year EMTPY!  What in the world?  I’ve been prayer journaling for nearly 20 years and never had I had such a pathetic year of prayer!

I needed to be exercising again.  I needed to be reading good books for my own soul – not just to review and promote on the blog.  I needed to be a better friend to my real-life friends.  Part of my evening of sobbing to my husband hinged on the fact that two of my dearest  long time friends had painfully difficult years this past year and I was not there for them.  I was so busy on-line that I did not take them a meal or write them encouragement notes.  I prayed for them and hugged them and listened to them.  But I in no way served them or was there for them.  I regret this…and fear gripped me as I realized if I keep living like I did in 2012, I will have no real-life friends!!! 

As January rolled around on the calendar, I realized…I had lost my edge.  My exhaustion sucked the life and passion out of me to do ministry.  All I wanted to do was play, eat, sleep, exercise and read good books.  Writing was the last thing on the list I wanted to do…and then I read 2 Kings 6.

It’s a strange story tucked right into 2nd Kings and it was wondrously applicable – I mean REVOLUTIONARY to me!  Some of you may remember that I wrote about my need to “sharpen my axe“.  I knew I was feeling dull but I was worse off than I thought…I wasn’t just dull – my edge was gone!

And I just wonder…have you lost your edge too?  Maybe it’s not from blogging…but maybe it’s from parenting a difficult teen or being up late at night with your babies or maybe you are a missionary on the mission field and ministry has sucked the life out of you too. 

Maybe you are in a church where very few serve and there’s a lot of takers and you are tired of giving. Maybe you are stressed out, your calendar is too full, your bank statement is depressing or you are trapped in a circumstance that frustrates you.  Your hope is gone and the spark you once had has fizzled. Maybe your heart for the lost or the poor or the sick or the needy has hardened or grown cold.  And you feel like you just can’t do it anymore.

Whatever it is that has caused you to lose your edge – listen to this story out of 2nd Kings!


 

(If you cannot see this video – click here)

If you’ve lost your edge, go into a room alone and close the door.  Get on your knees and ask the Lord to supernaturally bring it back.

I have been daily praying,

“Oh Lord, bring back my edge…”

I’m waiting. 

Walk with the King,

 

 Ps. I may have lost my edge – but Good Morning Girls is ON FIRE!!!  Our Bible study in the book of Luke is about to begin (the 8 week winter session begins Monday, Jan. 14th).  We have thousands of women enrolled and the FREE ebook and Bible reading plans have now been translated into EIGHT different languages!!!  Cue the confetti and cartwheels!  God is amazing!  He is doing an amazing work around the world over at GMG!  If your first language is Hungarian, Russian, Swedish, Dutch, German, Spanish, Croatian or French hop on over to GoodMorningGirls.org and get your materials in your OWN language FREE!!!!

Pics from the Webcast & Where to Watch the Replay!

 

 On Thursday morning I left my house for North Carolina at 6am!  I met the blogger Kelly Stamps (far right) in the airport and then we were off to lunch with Lysa Terkeurst and Renee Swope from Proverbs 31 Ministries!  Oh – I LOVE these women!

After some girl time together in the afternoon – we headed out to a Mexican dinner and then we were off to the set for the taping of the live Unglued Webcast!  Squeal! 

Here’s some pics from our evening:

Lysa with one of her amazing assistants!

Fun on the set!

Kelly in the green room!

Getting my mic and make-up on!

Me and Kelly with Dr. Tim Clinton - President of the nearly 50,000-member American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), the largest and most diverse Christian counseling association in the world!  He is one smart cookie – I really enjoyed our dinner discussion with him – he goes deep!

Live!

If you missed the Live Webcast you can watch the Replay Here through next Thursday – then join Lysa for her final Unglued Live Webcast next Thursday evening at 8pmEST at LysaTerkeurst.com!

Walk with the King,