Live Life Like Loo

'Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.' - Proverbs 4:23

My Dearest Mackynzie,

Our family dog is a beautiful chocolate lab. She only knows one speed... crazy. Several times a day we let her in the house and she bounces around with a big smile on her face, shaking her whole booty in happiness, leaving destruction in her path.

We got poor little ‘LaLaLoopsy' at an animal shelter. Someone tied her to a tree and left her. When we first looked into her big brown eyes behind those bars she was so skinny and stinky... but smiling. It’s amazing to me that she kept such a great spirit in a dreaded and miserable environment. That smile had us at first sight so we brought stinky Loo home and cleaned her up. Until we got Loo, I never noticed unconditional happiness.

There are so many things that make Loo happy. She loves food and will eat anything. We even caught her pulling a cucumber off the vine in our garden and her smiley face gobbled up the whole thing within seconds. A hose is like Disney Land to our Loo. Even when we are mad at her, she looks at us like she is so happy that someone notices her. 

Spending time with Loo makes me wonder. How can something be so happy? Is it possible for me to be like Loo. (Haha while writing that line I envisioned myself in the front yard jumping with joy while bitting at the hose.) For real though, is it possible to be a person-like version of Loo and fill my life with unconditional happiness?

I believe that happiness is a choice. I believe that at any given moment, no matter where we are or what we are doing, we can choose to be happy. Though it seems to come natural to Loo, I think that with a little practice we can welcome unconditional happiness into our lives as well. I’m not saying that it is going to be easy to smile when you spill coffee all over your clean shirt as you rush out of the door fifteen minutes late to a meeting. It might be tough to laugh when the bag of roaches you got for your family pet lizard busts open in the car while you are driving down the interstate (yes, this really happened). Think for a moment. What is the difference between getting mad or getting happy? What does getting mad actually accomplish? 'Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.' If your heart is grumpy and negative than your life will be grumpy and negative. 

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My loving advice to you. Take some advice from Loo. Next time something in your life takes a left turn when you were expecting a right, choose to be unconditionally happy about it. Ask yourself
1) Is this really a big deal and something to be mad about?
2) What good can come from this horrible situation? (Dig deep, there is ALWAYS something good). 
3) How can I make the best out of this? 
The most amazing thing about choosing to be happy instead of sad or mad is the ripple effect it has on others. A simple change of attitude can make a huge difference with everyone you come in contact with. 

My definition of unconditional happiness: Happiness that is not limited by conditions, circumstances or events. The choice to trust in God and find a positive perspective in every situation. 

My love to you and my prayer for an amazing life!  Live to inspire <3 to create!

The purpose of sharing this letter is to inspire you. Please ‘like’ if you found this article useful and please ‘share’ if you want to help inspire others. You never know who is watching ;)

Life Lives in Chapters

‘Now the lord said to Abram: Get out of your country, From your family and from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.’ - Genesis 12:1 

My Dearest Mackynzie,

The longer I live, the more I can see that life is broken up into several little stories.
Chapter 6 - High School (Worries about fitting in, boys and acting big). 
Chapter 7 - College (Halos, books and dreams. HA! Those stories will go in a different journal).

Years as a single adult are obviously much different than married years, or at least they should be.  I think the chapter I am in right now is titled 'Drowning in Laundry' or maybe that is just a reoccurring theme throughout the rest of my book. There once was a chapter when I could sleep in till 9am without waking up to two little smiling tornados that left a path of destruction in every room. But, there will come a day when I miss the morning snuggles and giggles. 

In Genesis, God spoke to Abram and told him to leave his home.. everything he knows.. to go live in an entirely new country. Could you imagine? This is the extreme of starting a new chapter in his life.  

Each chapter in your life will have a mini story line with its own set of priorities. The more I talk to others, the more I recognize the chapters of their lives unfold. My friend Evie lived in other countries, had the opportunity to photograph Sting and Beyonce, worked with costume jewelry and is now opening her own business... so many different worlds in one life. 

I think sometimes we get so caught up in the current chapter that we have a hard time remembering there are many more chapters left to read. We must be intentional about making the best out of every paragraph. Hard times will come and go. There are some parts of the book that we will love and some that will make us cry... but it will slowly change as you turn the pages. The bible says that God uses the tough chapters in our lives to create ones that are great. So If you are in a tough chapter, keep reading. 

In this chapter, I am the most unhealthy I've ever been. It is hard not to constantly focus on feeling like a blob. The truth is, that at this moment, I would rather spend time with you and your brother, volunteer to help others, and grow my business mind than spend hours running or at the gym. I can't do it all and there is nothing wrong with cutting things out. Hopefully the next chapter will be about getting a hot mom bod... but if not that's ok.. that just means there are other amazing things that I am conquering.

We recently watched The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy spends the first part of the movie wishing she was somewhere else, 'somewhere over the rainbow'. Then she spends the rest of the movie trying to find her way back home. Sometimes I catch myself doing the same thing, always wishing to be in a different place in life and not appreciating where I am and what I have. 

My loving advice to you. If you are entering into a new chapter in life, remember that God is with you and will not leave you. When you go through hard times, remember that they will most likely be temporary and the next chapter is just a couple of pages away. Set and embrace the different priorities you have throughout your book. The more you laugh and cry, the more interesting your book will be. 

My love to you and my prayer for an amazing life!  Live to inspire <3 to create!

The purpose of sharing this letter is to inspire you. Please ‘like’ if you found this article useful and please ‘share’ if you want to help inspire others. You never know who is watching ;)

** As a big advocate for healthy living, I am not saying this to give you an excuse for being unhealthy. I am still very active and eat good food (most of the time) and if you are struggling with health issues due to weight, this should definitely be a priority in your life. 

 

The Illusion of Perfection

'While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.' - Romans 5:8

My Dearest Mackenzie, 

This is such an important message for every young woman to understand. I believe that there is a huge difference in striving for perfection and striving for excellence. Perfection is an illusion like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. The faster you run towards it, the further it goes. Chasing perfection will only leave you broken hearted, tired and disappointed.

‘There is no circumstance that will satisfy you.’ - Peter Haas
This quote is so true. Every teenage girl stares in the mirror and dreams of the perfect life.. ‘if I only had ___ (straight hair, a smaller waist, that shirt, those parents, that house), my life would be perfect’. My little lady, I’ve got news for you. Straight hair will not make your life perfect. A beautiful house will not make your life perfect. Your attitude and appreciation towards the things you do have is what will create excellence in your life. 

We are human and we are sinners. We are not made to be perfect. It is the way we deal with our sin that builds our character. It is not bad that we are imperfect. In fact, I believe that we should embrace our imperfections and use them to shape our character. It is in our sin and mistakes that we can learn. This is how we are built, how we are meant to grow. From a baby we learn by making mistakes. Even as a parent. I remember looking into your little newborn eyes at the hospital. The nurse looked down at me and said that dreaded sentence ‘it looks like you are ready to go home’. My heart stopped and fear filled my chest. The fear continued when I realized that you didn’t come with a manual, it was all up to me and your daddy. I look around and see moms that seem to have the perfect life. Their house always looks like a picture from a magazine while mine looks like a scene from Twister... after the tornado came through. They glisten with freshly washed hair and perfect makeup. I am lucky to get a shower twice a week, and tweezing my eyebrows before they take over my face is something to celebrate. God made us different. The important thing is that we continue to strive for excellence every day. That we continue to learn and grow from our imperfections. That we do not dwell in them and let them bring us down, but instead use them to lift us up. 

My loving advice to you. You, my beautiful girl, will not be perfect. But you can be your own kind of excellent. You can live an excellent life by simply changing your attitude. Do not compare yourself to others or envy what they have. Embrace every imperfection and thank God every day that he created you unique and special. Learn from your mistakes and use your sinful nature to help grow and develop good character. Every sunset is beautiful because it was different from the last. 

My love to you and my prayer for an amazing life!  Live to inspire <3 to create!

The purpose of sharing this letter is to inspire you. Please ‘like’ if you found this article useful and please ‘share’ if you want to help inspire others. You never know who is watching ;)

Be Wise

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise. - Proverbs 12:15

My Dearest Mackynzie, 

There is something in us where deep down we always want to do things our own way. Sometimes it is over the silliest things, things that don’t even matter. Where does this come from? Why does the little voice inside of us keep grudging and nagging?  

I love the book of Proverbs. I am the kind of person that wants to know the answer without having to ride the marry-go-round.. give it to me straight, no reading between the lines. Proverbs lays it all out.
As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, So is the lazy man to those who send him.’ - Lazy people make others miserable.. got it. 
When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom’ - humble is good, pride is bad.. check! 
As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.’ - Keep my clothes on or I will look like a pig...no problem. 

Proverbs 12:15 says 'The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise’. There have been so many times in my life where I look back and wish I would have heeded counsel before making a decision. I am a little strong headed and like to do things my own way, just like you. There are also times where I look back and thank God for putting the right people in my life at the right time, and giving me the knowledge to listen to them. Without counsel I may not have gone to college, met your daddy or had you. I fell all over myself like a pretzel person trying to build a business my own way, wasting money and fixing messes with more mess. Finally I closed my mouth and started listening to people around me. I realized that there is counsel everywhere in podcasts, books and friends. There are so many people and resources out there for me to learn from. I realized that I didn’t always have to do it my way and alone. People have already scratched and scrambled to the surface and they are willing and eager to share their knowledge with me! From that moment on, I was able to use the knowledge of others to help grow and sell a successful business.

I will blink and you will be a teenager. You will think that I am dumb and you know all of the answers. Some people grow older but still keep the mentality of a teenager, scrambling and scratching to do things their own way and always be right. Proverbs tells us that this is not a wise way to live your life. I hope that you can follow this letter, let down your guard and surround yourself with counsel. 

Keep in mind that all counsel is not created equal. This is where you must use your heart and your brain. When you are doing something amazing, there will always be opposition. There will be people with their own agendas trying to control God’s creation through you. 

My loving advice to you. Be wise. You are a gift to the world and can do amazing things. Keep your mind and heart open for God to use other people to lead you and guide you. Surround yourself with people that will give you wise counsel and pray for God to show you the difference. We are not made to make miracles happen alone. 

My love to you and my prayer for an amazing life!  Live to inspire <3 to create!

The purpose of sharing this letter is to inspire you. Please ‘like’ if you found this article useful and please ‘share’ if you want to help inspire others. You never know who is watching ;)

Love Others Selfishly

‘Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.’ - 1 Corinthians 13:4-6

My Dearest MacKynzie, 

When you think about loving others, I am sure you think about close family and friends. But what about the person at work that is constantly negative, or the person that took advantage of you? How can you love all people and why should you love those that you feel are not worthy of your love? 

Have you ever had a really bad day? I bet at your worst, you are not exactly the most pleasant person to be around. Could you imagine what it would be like if everyone around you was still kind and loving toward you during this time? When you were two years old and your brother was only about two months, he had really bad ear infections and would cry for hours. We were having one of those days. There was a situation at work that needed to be handled and you were upset because you wanted cuddle time with mommy. I dropped a weight on my toe and lost my keys. For the next couple of hours, I was not a pleasant person to be around. Half way out the door with my hands full of crying babies, I got mad at one of our clients because of something silly. Instead of backfiring, she dropped what she was doing and took you two out of my arms to give me a five minute break in peace. I will never forget this. I remember asking myself how she could be so kind when I was so mean. 

We are all on our own journey. Our personalities are developed from past experiences and present circumstances, good and bad. Her ability to recognize that all I needed was a woman to step in an help improved my whole day.  I now realize that she helped me out because she understands that when you love God, you love God’s people no matter what. Love others because it makes you feel good, this is why I say love others selfishly. Love others because it makes you a better and happier person. 

My loving advice to you. We never know what someone is going through in their lives and what is creating the anger. When someone lashes out, try not to take it personal and love them anyway. You are not walking in their shoes and you may have the opportunity to completely change the path they are on. This does not mean to let others take advantage of you or to stay in a situation where you are abused. Remove yourself from the situation then love and forgive them like Jesus would do. Love endures all things and should be the first and the last thing you do. You are a loving, beautiful person and will not be transformed by the behaviors of others. 

My love to you and my prayer for an amazing life!  Live to inspire <3 to create!

The purpose of sharing this letter is to inspire you. Please ‘like’ if you found this article useful and please ‘share’ if you want to help inspire others. You never know who is watching ;)

 

Explore Life

‘God has planted greatness in you. Let today be the beginning of a great adventure as you step into the gifts he’s given you.’ - Joyce Meyer

My Dearest Mackynzie,

There is a whole big world out there. The way we do things in our little bubble is way different than many other places. Other cultures, countries and even states differ in diet, sleep patterns, mannerisms, religion, fashion, living space, time management, values, health, and much more. There are so many ways you could benefit from exploring and experiencing other places and people. Knowing other ways of doing things will (1) help you appreciate the way you grew up or (2) give you some options for how you want to live your life. We are so fortunate to live in a time where travel is so easy. It was only about 100 years ago when it took months to travel across the United States, now it only takes a couple of hours in an airplane. Exploring life will also help you discover your strengths and expose your weaknesses. The more you know about yourself, the easier it is to step into the gifts that God has given you and use them to make the world better.

As a mother, this is such bitter sweet advice. It is scary to see your little girl explore life. I’m sure there will be many nights filled with worry, but I believe that this is essential to guiding you in the direction of the best life you can have. It is my job to teach you how to be responsible and smart in difficult situations, how to make good choices and I have full confidence that you will. When you are young you are figuring out the world and how it works. The best way to learn is to experience life. 

My loving advice to you. Don’t be held back by fear and experience life. Learn what makes you cry with joy and how to avoid things that cause you pain. See the ocean and climb a mountain. Try food that you’ve never even heard of and learn another language. You can always come back. As time passes and you become more stable, take small adventures. Don’t get stuck in the rhythm of life and lose your enthusiasm for it. 

Mind Makeover

'If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you' - John 15:18

My Dearest MacKynzie,

The problem is that we are losing the desire to think for ourselves. We are getting our information from the wrong places, bombarded daily with thousands of commercials geared toward making us feel and think a certain way. Today, there is information everywhere.. television, social media, news, radio, youtube and billboards. Millions of dollars in research thrown in our faces casually like cancer slowly taking over our minds and bodies. We need to stop to ask ourselves questions and intentionally create a fruitful mindset.  Fruitful? You see, fruit at it’s best is sweet and beautiful. It contains all varieties flavors and colors with different ingredients for nourishing life. As children, we naturally have fruitful minds, we see beauty in the simplest things. We notice rainbows, birds and flowers. As we get older, our minds get damaged by experiences and negative people. Our fruitful minds get dropped and bruised over and over again until they become rotten and smelly. Unlike fruit, the great news is that you can choose to reverse the damage. Like anything else worth having (a great marriage, healthy body, good job), having a fruitful mind is not easy and requires work. A lot of us don’t make the decision to control our thoughts and actions. We don’t take the time and energy to radiate positivity no matter how dark the situation. We consume the gossip and blindly give in to the advertising, just because everyone else is doing it. It’t time for a mind makeover.

‘If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.’ My first thought while reading this passage is the saying ‘misery loves company’. The negative people in this world will love you for being negative with them. They will hate you ‘because you are not of the world’, not living with them in constant fear, anger and hatred toward worldly things.

My loving advice to you. Why worry so much about the things that you can not control? Stop worrying and start meditating and praying. You, my lovely lady, have such a beautiful and fruitful mind. You notice the rainbows, birds and flowers. You love others and you breathe life into everyone around you (except your brother lol). Do not worry if the world hates you, your mind does not need to belong to the world. You do not need to be the company of misery. You have been chosen to lead a gloreous life. 

My love to you and my prayer for an amazing life!  Live to inspire <3 to create!

The purpose of sharing this letter is to inspire you. Please ‘like’ if you found this article useful and please ‘share’ if you want to help inspire others. You never know who is watching ;)

Learn to Receive

‘But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.’ - Matthew 6:3-4

'In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’’ - Acts 20:35

My Dearest Mackynzie, 

I am writing this letter to you today because this is something I want to work on in my own life. I always gladly give time, money, complements and support. I give to my kids, husband, friends, church and strangers. But when someone tries to give to me I feel awkward and ashamed. There are two bible verses above. As I was thinking about this lesson and digging deeper into my own struggle to receive without guilt, I picked up my bible and read. I saw verse after verse about giving: 
‘But when you give to the needy’
'It is more blessed to give than to receive’
'
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered’

Receiving is uncomfortable and vulnerable. Of corse I like getting gifts and complements but how can I get better at receiving without feeling awkward and guilty? Sometimes it’s crazy how God works. You know how your attention is on something and all of a sudden you see it everywhere? My husband and I were looking to buy a jeep. The second we got the money I was seeing Jeeps for sale of all shapes, sizes and colors on the corner of every block. How did these all magically appear, I had never noticed them before. While I was thinking about this topic (receiving.. not jeeps lol) I turned on a podcast. One of my favorites is The Business Boutique. Christy Wright was talking about her struggle with receiving. I thought about a book I recently read called ’The Go Giver’. It talks about the five laws of stratospheric success.. guess what the last law is? The Law of Receptivity - The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.  I thought about my own giving and how amazing it is to give to someone that receives gratefully. No one likes to give to someone that does not receive with joy. Then I thought about others. I bet many others feel the same way I do. How can they feel the joy and get the benefits of giving without someone there to receive the gift? I realized that it’s a circle. In order to get the full benefits of giving, I must also learn to receive. Receiving isn’t only a blessing to you, it’s a blessing to the giver as well. It is a full circle of blessing... 2 for 1. Think about ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’. Receiving isn’t about me at all, it is about the giver. 

My loving advice to you. Do not feel guilty completing the circle. Celebrate the gift (complement or time) that has been given to you. By accepting the gift gratefully and without guilt, you are able to glorify the blessing that you’ve also given to them. 

My love to you and my prayer for an amazing life!  Live to inspire <3 to create!

The purpose of sharing this letter is to inspire you. Please ‘like’ if you found this article useful and please ‘share’ if you want to help inspire others. You never know who is watching ;)

 

Find Your Passion

'Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts in his exhortation; the one who contributes in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy with cheerfulness.'  

- Romans 12:6-8

My Dearest MacKynzie,

There is a saying ‘when you enjoy what you do, you will never work a day in your life’. I can tell you from experience that this is such a true statement. If we dig deep, we all have things that we are passionate about… I have about 104 lol. Do you love to help people transform their lives through fitness? Do you have a heart for animals that suffer? Do you want to help improve our country through politics? Are you worried about our planet? Would you like to feed the hungry? Start by finding something that sparks a flame in your heart and work towards developing a career around that passion. I don’t care if you read this when you are 84, It is never too late to start doing something that you are deeply passionate about. As you learn and grow your passion will mold into something else along the way. The amazing thing is that you can develop products and services that can service one passion while fueling another. Bombas Socks is a company I recently saw that is a great example. They create socks... so what, not exactly a reason to wake up in the morning excited about working. The twist is that they’ve made socks a part of their mission. They create a high quality sock and donate socks to the homeless. They are doing something every day that makes a difference in the lives of others. Talk about having a reason to wake up in the morning! There are many major companies that are able to provide a great service while fueling a passion. If you want to help people solve their problems by being a counselor and you provide a great service, you may make enough money to volunteer some hours or donate to a charity that you love. Knowing that everyday when you wake up, you are doing something to make the world better will have a huge impact on your outlook on working. Nothing is exciting or fulfilling about going to a job where you are counting the minutes to 5:00. That is no way to live life. 

My loving advice to you. Don’t be afraid to take some risks to find something you can be passionate about… your purpose in life. Especially while you are young, explore, be spontaneous and try new things. Take time to stop and reevaluate what you are doing and why you are doing it. Shoot for the moon my little lady. It may look impossible now but you will never hit it while staring at your toes. Fear is something that keeps us from living our purpose in life but fear is all in your head. It’s ok to be scared but don’t be frozen by it. 

My love to you and my prayer for an amazing life!  Live to inspire <3 to create!

The purpose of sharing this letter is to inspire you. Please ‘like’ if you found this article useful and please ‘share’ if you want to help inspire others. You never know who is watching ;)

Carry Your Own Weight

My Dearest MacKynzie-

I was fortunate to have a father that showed me how money works from an early age. He helped me make the connection between working and earning money. He taught me the importance of saving and delayed gratification by letting me learn hands on. I am thankful to my dad because I would probably be struggling like most of the world if it weren’t for him. Working is not only biblical, but essential for harmony. In my opinion, the lack of motivation to work and the absence of pride for acomplishment is one of our biggest downfalls. 

I’m sad to say we live in a time where a lot of people are looking for handouts. I really hope this changes before you are my age. There are many of us busting our booties every day. Then we are required to give a big portion to those that do not work or to things that we do not support. I see many people in my life that expect special treatment because of a situation that they have caused for themselves from bad decisions. Time passes and they do nothing to make their situation better because they are being fed with a silver spoon.  

Do not take this as advice to be greedy. From past letters you already know that kindness, compassion and generosity should be practiced in your life every day. There is an invisible line between enabling and being generous and sometimes it is hard to know where the line is.  Be careful not to get sucked dry emotionally, financially or spiritually by human mosquitos that don’t even think twice about the impact of their actions. None of us are perfect and there will be times where we all fall down. If you don’t fall then you aren’t living your life with enough passion and energy. I believe that we should help each other up when we fall on our butts. Some people are like toddlers trying to learn how to walk, up down up down up down. This is when we have to make sure that we are not enabling them by not letting them learn how to get up themselves and stand on their own two feet. 

It is up to us to create a whole new way of thinking. Could you imagine what this world would be like if everyone that was able worked hard to carry their own weight, plus some? What if everyone learned how to work and save and stand on their own two feet? There would be no more people swimming in debt, small businesses would thrive and there would be plenty to help those that genuinely need help.  I love the passage I quoted and want to share the whole thing. Even if you are not a follower of Jesus, this is powerful stuff.   

For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. As of you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have noting to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy but warn him as a brother.

Our culture is so backwards. We reward and encourage laziness with never-ending unemployment benefits, welfare, credit cards and bankruptcy. We look down upon the rich as leeches that have somehow done something wrong.  In my mind, things are quite the opposite. I can name several people in my life that do not work for what they receive, while as a small business owner I am working enough for three people. I get my money by providing a great service to our community and the company generates jobs and boosts our economy. Yet, I am the bad guy and must pay over and over again to leeches. As you can probably tell, I am very passionate about this topic. Things need to change. Another important part to point out in the passage above is to not regard those that are not willing to work as an enemy but warn them as a brother. This does not mean to rise in hatred or anger, but to offer tough love with firm feet. There were times not too long ago when it was looked down upon to be a leech. Kids movies have even been made about this, the ants working hard all summer to store food for winter and the grasshoppers coming to take it. Let’s all be ants and there will be plenty for everyone. 

My loving advice to you. Simple, Work = money. You are entitled to NOTHING that you don’t work for. If you want something, work for it. This includes toys, cars, college, retirement and even health insurance. Spend less than you make and learn how to be a good steward of your money. Do this no matter what everyone else around you is doing. Make sure when the time comes, you find a husband that lives this way too. I am so excited to see you thrive in this part of your life because it is such a great way to live and I know you can do it. Our world needs some great leaders. 

My love to you and my prayer for an amazing life!  Live to inspire <3 to create!

The purpose of sharing this letter is to inspire you. Please ‘like’ if you found this article useful and please ‘share’ if you want to help inspire others. You never know who is watching ;)

Let Good Words Lead Your Life

‘Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.’ - Ephesians 4:29

My Dearest MacKynzie,

I struggle with this everyday. It is so easy to indulge in the drama and negativity that surrounds us on social media, in social gatherings and on the news. Sometimes the negativity thrives because people encourage it, consume it and spread it. Politics, jealousy covered with nasty words, making fun of people that are different than us, and family drama. We all know at least one person that makes us want to fall asleep in a coffin after having a conversation with them...everything is a tragedy and the world is out to get them. If you don't know someone like that, then that person might be you. 

This may sound too easy, best way to keep the negativity out of your life is to watch what comes out of your mouth. It is not possible to be a content person with an unwholesome tongue. If you are having a rough time in life and everything seems to be going wrong, pay attention to what has been coming out of your mouth... what story you've been telling. 

We all go through challenging times in life. What you look and feel like when you come out of the other side has a lot to do with the words that were leading you through. If you are in a tunnel yelling at the top of your lungs about how dark and long and smelly the tunnel is then all you will see is a dark, long, smelly tunnel. Your perspective and attitude will be much different if you CHOOSE to focus on the beautiful flowers growing through the rocks while singing a happy song and listening to the beautiful echo. 

Almost everyone in this country has the potential to live a good, happy and healthy life. We all have unique abilities and talents. It is our responsibility to discover them and use them to make the world better. You will be much more fulfilled by finding the good in others and using your words to build them up... even if you feel like they don't deserve it. Building others up is not only about them, it is about you and your quest to be more like Jesus (WWJD). More of the passage from Ephesians says 'Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.'

Even if you are not a Christian, this message is for you. Not only is indulging in negativity effecting others, it is effecting our own dreams, passions and talents. It is effecting our lives by making us sick, depressed, angry and ungrateful. 

My loving advice to you. If you want to live a fulfilled life full of joy and gratitude, your first step is to watch what comes into your thoughts and out of your mouth. Use your words to build others up instead of tear them down. Walk away when negative talk surrounds you. Stick up for those that can not stick up for themselves, with positive encouragement and thoughtful actions. Express gratefulness for the wonderful things you have in your life, instead of longing for things that you don't. You will not be perfect, this advice is challenging. We are human. Follow your heart and be intentional about what and who you let into your life. Together we can make a small impact. 

My love to you and my prayer for an amazing life!  Live to inspire <3 to create!

The purpose of sharing this letter is to inspire you. Please ‘like’ if you found this article useful and please ‘share’ if you want to help inspire others. You never know who is watching ;)

Bless Others

‘Whoever brings blessing will be enriched and one who waters will himself be watered’ - Proverbs 11:25

My Dearest MacKynzie,
I can confidently tell you from experience that this is one of the most powerful messages I can leave with you. Your daddy and I have always been generous but it wasn’t until recently that I realized how rewarding blessing others can be. Compared to many families in our country, we would not be considered rich. About two years ago we decided to be very intentional about how we spend our money and our time. We started tithing to our church and put ourselves in a position where we can help others when we feel it is appropriate. Some would consider our lifestyle as sacrificing many ‘things’. ‘Things’ that our culture and commercials and friends tell us that we need to have in order to be happy. But sacrifice is not a word that I would use because I do not feel like any of these ‘things’ truly bring happiness. Yes, there are some ‘things’ that we would like in order to make life easier like a dependable car and a house in a good neighborhood. We want to be able to travel and have money to retire but my message to you is that you can do both. In the past, blessing others felt like such a stressful thing to do because when we gave, we did have to sacrifice. Giving meant that we would have less for groceries or that we wouldn’t be able to pay our own light bill. These last two years we have been able to experience giving and blessing others from a whole different perspective. Since we are being intentional about where we spend our time and money, we get to make a choice instead of a sacrifice. What do I mean by this? When you sit down at the beginning of the month and create a plan for your money and your time it becomes a whole different ballgame. So many people don’t have a plan and just spend aimlessly. They want to eat out so they go, they want a new car so they go into debt, they want to buy clothes and purses and shoes but they are not intentional about how they do it and they freak out at the end of the month because there is no money left for gas. This is not a good way to live your life and this does not put you in a position to bless others. My Pastor Mike told us a great story about the time I started being intentional. He talked about someone that he knew that went out and bought a bunch of polo shirts because they were on sale. A couple of days later someone came into his life that he really wanted to help but he couldn’t because he was wearing his blessing. When you are spending time and money on one thing, it takes away the opportunity to spend it somewhere else. We realized that some fancy clothes, shoes, nails, hairdos and ‘things’ that are important to others were not as important to us because those ’things' that we will not appreciate a week from now will soon be laying in a dumpster with nothing to show. Some of these ‘things’ that we do not really need in our lives were taking away the opportunity to save for our future.. our kids future.. or bless others. 

My loving advice to you. Be intentional about where you spend your time and money. Do not buy useless things to make you happy. Dave Ramsey says that happiness is like a bully in the schoolyard. He draws a line in the sand and once you step over he backs up and draws another line. That is what things will do for you in your life. You think this one thing will make you happy so you purchase it and two weeks later you want more. I chose the verse from Proverbs ‘Whoever brings blessing will be enriched and one who waters will himself be watered’ because I believe this is so true. The Kacie interpretation of this is if you bless others you will be enriched (which according to dictionary.com means to supply with abundance of anything desirable). What a great word. By blessing others, you in turn are blessed. If you water yourself, you will be watered. To me that means that what you buy becomes just that... if you buy shoes, you have shoes.. there is nothing spectacular or rewarding about that.

It is ok to reward yourself with nice things, but don’t expect those things to bring you happiness. In the long term, putting yourself in the position to bless others (big or small) is what will bring true happiness. Give it a shot and tell me if I’m wrong.  

My love to you and my prayer for an amazing life!  Live to inspire <3 to create!

The purpose of sharing this letter is to inspire you. Please ‘like’ if you found this article useful and please ‘share’ if you want to help inspire others. You never know who is watching ;)

Smart Choice

'Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.' - Proverbs12:11

My Dearest MacKynzie,

I am always looking for a way to create a better life for our family. I want to grow, accomplish and leave a legacy that we can be proud of. I went through a period where I felt silly always setting goals, reading books and reaching for the stars because I felt like no one else around me was doing it. I constantly got comments like 'I can't do that, I'm not smart like you' or 'how do you do so much all of the time?'. I felt weird and alone so I started looking for people more like me. I listened to podcasts of other people that set goals, read and reach. I searched to put other people in my life that do the same. Behind all of this, I discovered a little secret that I want to share with you. 

I was never the smart kid in school. I guess you would call me the jock.  I do believe that some people are naturally 'smarter' than other people because we are all made different. What I discovered is half of being smart is the effort you put into it... just like everything else. If you want to be rich, do what rich people do. If you want to be fit, do what fit people do. If you want to be smart....you got it. I am not any smarter than the people around me but I spend my time very differently. Instead of watching football on Sunday or playing on social media, I set goals, read and reach. It's not even really about being smart. It's about using your God given talents to make the world better than it was before you. Discovering your ability and potential takes time and effort. 

My loving advice to you. I am in NO way saying not to do things you enjoy. I'm saying to be intentional about what you spend your time doing. Make time to set goals, read non fiction books and dream big sister! Watching tv and playing on social media is not going to help you reach your goals, live your purpose or leave a legacy. Don't listen to others that call you silly for dreaming and working hard. They probably don't know this secret.. or they would be smart too ;) 

My love to you and my prayer for an amazing life!  Live to inspire <3 to create!

The purpose of sharing this letter is to inspire you. Please ‘like’ if you found this article useful and please ‘share’ if you want to help inspire others. You never know who is watching ;)

No Failures, Only Dead Ends

'For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again; but the wicked shall fall into mischief.' - Proverbs 24:16

My Dear MacKynzie-
Life is like a maze. You start at the beginning and choose a path. The only way to find out if that path will take you to the end is to take it. If you hit a dead end, retrace your steps and pick another path. So many people never live up to their true potential because they simply don't start walking. Many others reach one or two dead ends and give up. A dead end does not mean that you've failed.. it means that you've gained some experience so keep on going! Most people that achieve their goals, do so by running into many dead ends. 
My loving advice to you. You are special person with a great personality and I know that you will be able to live your true potential if you never give up! When you are feeling discouraged, think back on all that you have accomplished and always know that I am so proud. 

My love to you and my prayer for an amazing life!  Live to inspire <3 to create!

The purpose of sharing this letter is to inspire you. Please ‘like’ if you found this article useful and please ‘share’ if you want to help inspire others. You never know who is watching ;)

Always Be You

‘She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future’ - Proverbs 31:25

My Dear Mackynzie-

I see you as a child with such a great spirit. Your teacher told me today that you are always cheerful and happy. As you grow older, there are going to be people that will let you down, cause you pain and laugh at you for being different than they are. I want you to know that you are beautiful inside and out. Always dance, sing, laugh and play like no one is watching. In the end, what people think doesn't really matter. Your true friends will encourage your happy spirit.. your best friends will get up and dance with you. It's ok to be different, and it would be boring if we were all the same. 

My love to you and my prayer for an amazing life!  Live to inspire <3 to create! 

The purpose of sharing this letter is to inspire you. Please ‘like’ if you found this article useful and please ‘share’ if you want to help inspire others. You never know who is watching ;)

Live Healthy & Love Life

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones - Proverbs 17:22

My Dear MacKynzie-

I've spent the past 8 years of my life in the fitness industry. I've seen people from all different walks of life with many different outlooks, motivation and determination. I've helped people lose over 100 pounds, some kept it off and some gained it right back. Because of our culture, we've created this obsession with losing weight and looking a certain way. Many people make bad decisions day after day and wonder why they are unhealthy and unhappy. They blame others for their situation and look at healthy people as if they were given some magic skinny potion.

My loving advice to you. The magic skinny potion is a healthy diet and exercise.. surprise! It is a lifestyle and not just something you do when you feel like it. A healthy lifestyle means that you make exercise a part of your daily routine and you figure out a way to enjoy it! This does not mean that you have to give up cupcakes completely, or never eat a piece of pizza. This means that 80% of the time, you make good choices. We all get into ruts. When you do, here are some things that can help you get out:

- Completely cut soda from your diet. This stuff is poison. 

- Limit eating out to one meal per week (this includes fast food). In order to do this, you will have to plan your meals and think ahead. Make it part of your routine. 

- Find some motivating friends. Join that person that jogs around your neighborhood, go to a class at the gym or recruit someone to help hold you accountable.

- Think big (or little). Set a big goal and break it down into small achievable steps. Take one step at a time. 

- Keep a journal. This could be done by using a fitness bracelet or and old fashion journal. Write down your daily goals and progress. In my experience people were 100% likely to fail if they did not keep a journal. 

- Turn off the TV and go for a walk instead. 

You can do it! Reward yourself with your favorite happy face pancakes ;) 

My love to you and my prayer for an amazing life!  Live to inspire <3 to create! 

The purpose of sharing this letter is to inspire you. Please ‘like’ if you found this article useful and please ‘share’ if you want to help inspire others. You never know who is watching ;)

Friend Up

‘Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.’ - Proverbs 13:20

My Dear Mackynzie,

As you are growing up and going through school you will have friends that come and go. Some will lift you up and some will drag you down. This little piece of advice will save you so much frustration and I hope you are listening. 

You can pick who your friends are. Who you spend time with will help you develop your personality, give you strength to make it through tough times, and make you a better person within. There is a saying when someone gets married to someone out of their league, they 'married up'. Well, I want you to 'friend up'. If you surround yourself with people that are out of your league...smarter, more driven, more experienced, more loving and caring.. you will rise to meet them. 

My loving advice to you. Middle and high school will seem like a popularity contest but the time goes by fast and those will be some of the most important times in your life because it helps build your character. Never make fun of anyone or laugh with others that do. Stick up for others. Place yourself in groups where your friends are dreaming and creating and doing. If you fall into the pit of bad friends, no matter where you are in life, you can always change. Be bold and go outside of your comfort zone to find others that will lift you up! 

My love to you and my prayer for an amazing life!  Live to inspire <3 to create!

The purpose of sharing this letter is to inspire you. Please ‘like’ if you found this article useful and please ‘share’ if you want to help inspire others. You never know who is watching ;)

Take Time to Enjoy the Simple Things

‘I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil- this is God’s gift to man.’ Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

My Dear Mackynzie, 

I have always been a go-getter with a million things on my to-do list. I like to read, learn and accomplish. I don’t like to waste time doing things that are not productive. Over the years I’ve learned that sometimes it is ok to sit back and take a breath. Sometimes you accomplish more by accomplishing less. You and your brother remind me every day how beautiful the world is, from the smallest flower to the brightest sunset. Please do not lose your love for beautiful things and take time to appreciate all that life has given you. You are much more fortunate than most. You have parents that love you, a sharp brain to guide you and opportunity before you. 

My loving advice to you. Every day make a conscious effort to stop and take in a good moment. Keep your simple pleasure spirit, smell the flowers and look at the sunset. Life is much better when you take some time to enjoy it. 

My love to you and my prayer for an amazing life!  Live to inspire <3 to create!

The purpose of sharing this letter is to inspire you. Please ‘like’ if you found this article useful and please ‘share’ if you want to help inspire others. You never know who is watching ;)

The Borrower is Slave to the Lender

The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender. - Proverbs 22:7

My Dear MacKynzie-

It is hard to swim upstream. When everyone around you has credit cards, mortgages and car loans it is easy to jump in and go with the current. Spending more than you have is called getting into debt and that is bad! I hope that I can help you avoid debt and lead by example. 

Your daddy and I started our marriage with over $80,000 in medical bills. We were living paycheck to paycheck and struggled to pay our bills. We brought you into this world having no idea how we were going to afford it. Though you don’t remember, we all worked together to become completely debt free (except for the mortgage.. we are still working on that). We ate many macaroni dinners, purchased used clothes and rarely went out to eat. ‘Things’ became less important to all of us because we realized that we could be happy without them. Our friends all thought we were crazy and didn’t understand our strange lifestyle.

My loving advice to you. Create a budget and stick with it every month. Do not spend more than you make and save for things you want. The lifestyle you can live debt free is so much better. There is less waste, more joy in the simple things and no struggle to keep up with the family next door. You will be able to help others when they are in need, take vacations without the stress of the aftermath and help others learn to do the same. Dave Ramsey has some great tools to help you learn how to ‘live like no one else’. 

My love to you and my prayer for an amazing life!  Live to inspire <3 to create! 

The purpose of sharing this letter is to inspire you. Please ‘like’ if you found this article useful and please ‘share’ if you want to help inspire others. You never know who is watching ;)