Friday, August 31, 2012

What's Happening Now



Today I'm blogging at the Pastoring Partners Network on the subject, "Where Can A Lonely Pastor's Wife Go?" 

It's no secret, I'm a lih-tle crazzzzzy about pastors' wives, cause I am one, and I know the road they walk. It's my desire to be an encouragement and a blessing to those who serve. If you're among this fantastic group of human beings on the planet, check out my post there today.

Today is my day off and I'm taking it. There are so many projects on the burner right now, but I need this time to rest. Tomorrow's another day to JUGGLE!

Speaking of JUGGLE... (did you think you were going to get away with a post without me referencing JUGGLE?) remember that I'm giving a coaching package away. All you have to do is spread the word about JUGGLE -- a great resource to help you manage your time and change your life!

I'm humbled and amazed at how God is using JUGGLE to help others. It all happens by word of mouth. When I notice friends mentioning the book on their Facebook or Twitter, JUGGLE'S rank suddenly goes up on the Amazon best sellers. When things are a little quiet, the rank goes down. People get books based upon what their friends tell them. That's seriously how it works! Simple as that. A common response is, "I don't have a Kindle..." Please help me in spreading the word that although it's an Amazon Kindle book you DO NOT NEED A KINDLE TO READ IT! All you need is a computer! Or a mobile device like an iPad. By downloading this FREE Kindle app, you can be reading the book in seconds.  For real!

Thanks so much for helping me, help others! 

Have a great weekend everybody and happy juggling!

Much love,


Thursday, August 30, 2012

5 Miracles in 1 Week!


I got my miracle this morning! And I've made my decision!

I'll start at the beginning...as good a place as any to start. 

Last week JUGGLE launched. I was so excited. I've been busy keeping up with that, getting the word out and answering a lot of correspondence. I also have church ministry to keep up with full time as well as my coaching job part time. In the midst of all that I went to have my yearly physical.

I have been experiencing some troubling symptoms and as some of my regular readers might remember I sometimes struggle with elevated blood pressure. I've lost about 15 pounds the past 6 months but I need to lose more and am still working on it. Being that I'm in my 40's now, it comes off a looooooot slower. :)  Wednesday when meeting with my doctor, she was concerned about two things. First, she found a spot on my skin I hadn't even noticed before. She said it needed to be biopsied asap. She also checked my heart and said it didn't sound quite normal. She said, "we need to do a complete blood work, a biopsy, and have you back in here to discuss things with me next Thursday."  She said if things weren't normal on the re-check, she was sending me for further heart tests immediately. It was important to get it done this week not only for my own health but because my doctor leaves on a 30 day vacation tomorrow.

There was a huge obstacle in the way, though...

I had jury duty starting Monday. And I couldn't reschedule. I had already reschedued once because of ministry obligations I had on the calendar that I couldn't miss. I had to go for jury duty this time, no matter what. You are only allowed one reschedule. And if I did jury duty, I would not be able to have any of these doctor's appointments or tests this week. What about a doctor's note? I got one, however it was too late because all of this took place after the deadline to mail it in and get prior approval from the judge. I planned to show up to the courthouse on Monday with the note in hand and hope they would be sympathetic that I was having a biopsy on Tuesday and another heart check on Thursday. I prayed and prayed...Lord do a miracle.

Sunday night I called the courthouse number and to my surprise they said all jury duty was cancelled for the week due to Hurricane Isaac!!! I was completely free of jury duty!  I could have all of my medical tests this week.

Here's where it gets realllllllllllllly interesting. Monday afternoon I received a call. It is not wise at this time for me to share exactly who it was from or what company they work for. But, this was a call that has changed my life forever.

I have been working on a proposal for over a year and currently have it in consideration with one of the top publishers in the USA. This is what the call was about. If I dropped names here, anyone in the world would recognize it. You would scream with me and say, "OH. MY. GOSH!!!!!" Seriously, this is HUGE. If my project is accepted, it will serve as a tremendous resource to those who serve in ministry all over the world. I've been waiting for a breakthrough regarding this. It's the biggest dream I've ever had!

Well, it appears that breakthrough may be here. I received this call, requesting my presence. They let me know that it was important that I come three weeks from now......................ready for this.............................

TO CALIFORNIA.

Okay. Pick me up off the floor.

I was in shock.

Now, I need to get to California on my own financially, and I had to let them know by TODAY that I was or was not coming.

But meanwhile, I had no idea if it was wise to travel right now. I was having a biopsy on Tuesday, a heart check in 3 days, and...I certainly don't have a bunch of money laying around to take off and go to California on a whim. Especially to stay there for FOUR DAYS!!!!  (Yes, that's how long it will take to do what we're going to do out there - four days. That includes no sightseeing, nothing but business.)

Do I go?

Do I stay home until my health issues are resolved?

Do I just trust God that everything will be okay and make plans to go?

A decision was required TODAY.

Part of me felt, "I will die if I don't take this opportunity. I'll regret it for life."

I was feeling really scared to make this decision.

I talked to a few friends confidentially. Every one of them said, "are you kidding? You have to go, no matter how you feel!!"

My husband, felt a bit differently. Wanting to keep me around at least a little while longer, he said, "I'm totally for you going to CA, but only if the doctor clears it."

Ugh.


Yes, dear. Yes dear.

I know, I know...he loves me. He protects me. As for me, I was alright with waiting for four weeks to get further testing on my heart if it was required, and take a chance. This opportunity means that much to me!

So, then I had to consider, provision. It takes time to save for things like this. Most people don't just have money laying around or even sitting in the bank, especially in these days and times. Why not use money from sales of JUGGLE?  Well, I'd love to do that but Amazon pays authors every 60 days. So, that won't work. This whole thing will be over by the time I finally get paid. I needed it NOW.

 So, I thought, "I'll work more. I'll coach more. I'll do a bazillion resumes if that's what it takes."  I've always been able to work and accomplish anything I set my mind to do. A friend of mine heard I was doing that and said, "ARE YOU KIDDING? No!! Do you need one more thing to juggle? No, you do not. You work enough hours already, in fact you work too many. You're not doing this. There's a time to work, and you've done that! God will provide! Watch him!" And with that she gave me $100 and said, "this is just the start - God's getting ready to open the floodgates! Let Him!"

 Well, that's exactly what happened!! A few of my close friends and family who knew about the situation rose up and met the need. Out of the love in their hearts and their belief in what God has called me to do, provided what I need to get there.  All but just a little bit of what it's going to take to cover the whole trip came in by noon yesterday!  And I know the rest is on it's way!!!

Then late yesterday afternoon the doctor who did my biopsy called and said it showed no cancer!!  (Yes, this is an amazing place with a 24 hour turnaround time on biopsies! I highly recommend them. If you need a dermatologist in Tampa, let me know.)

Now all I needed was to have the heart check, and the doctor's clearance to go.

I asked you last night on my blog post to pray for a miracle.

I got one!!!!!!!

My heart was normal today. I know that still doesn't explain why I have all the symptoms I do. Symptoms the doctor has witnessed for herself. Fortunately, she had blood work beyond just routine. When it came back it indicated exactly what the issue was, and...how the problem can be easily treated. The answer was in the blood! (Both literally and figuratively!! lol)   It's an easy fix! Halleluiah!!!

She gave me permission to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

I came home, and was able to make my phone call giving my decision that YES, I am going to California for this meeting.

I ask all of you reading to please keep praying.

God moved regarding...
  1. Jury Duty
  2. A biopsy
  3. A possible heart issue
  4. Finances

And now for the 5th miracle, I can't help but believe that He's strategically positioned me to fulfill every last thing He's called me to do. This morning on my Facebook, my friend Joy Andrews Morey said, "You WILL fulfill your entire destiny!" That sentence stuck with me all the way while I was driving to the doctor's office this morning.


 I've never wanted to do anything more than I've wanted to write for His glory. And, God has given me a strategic message to share that will bring hope and healing to those who serve in vocational ministry.

God didn't move all these mountains out of the way for me to go to California for nothing.

Thank you for believing with me. I am going to be in prayer and fasting at an increased level, for this meeting. If God lays on your heart to join me in pressing in prayer for this, please do! 

I am so grateful for all of you who read here whether occasionally or every day. For those who comment or never do. For all of you from Tampa to Seattle to Singapore...THANK YOU.  The fact that you support me in reading and commenting here means A LOT. It is absolutely essential because  agents or publishers look at a writer's blog. So, just reading and commenting here has helped me move forward tremendously. You are all so appreciated!

Five miracles in a week! Not bad at all, God. Not bad at all! You're amazing!!!  No one compares to YOU!!!

The biggest meeting happens on Thursday, September 20. I'll keep you posted, my friends.  

I love all of you and thank you so much for your support...

 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I'm Ready for a Miracle

Is it easier for you to believe for miracles for others, rather than for yourself?

Yeah, me too.

Dang...why is that?

I've laid hands on people who were crippled from birth and seen them instantly healed and run around.  I've seen an amazing amount of supernatural things happen when I pray and believe for friends or strangers. Yet when I need something it's so hard to believe sometimes.

This week I have been in need of three specific, big miracles. Two have been granted. Boom, boom! Just like THAT. God took care of it.

I need another one on Thursday morning. This seems the most challenging of the three. I'm desperate.

I have been praying for wisdom as to a decision I have had to make. I must deliver that decision on Friday. But I can't make the decision without peace unless a miracle is first granted on Thursday morning. So much depends on this.

A lot of people who read my blog care even without all the details and I love you for that.


This is huge for me. Please join me in believing. 

Much love,

 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

When God Wants You to STOP


I've always been a worker. I'll attack any job with the tenacity of a bulldog. Here I am pictured above, holding a pig's head. What in tarnation am I doing with a pigs head? As you can see in the photo I'm wearing gloves. I was picking an entire roasted pig that was cooked for a church event, and then deboning it so people could eat it for our latin festival. I didn't mind this job at all. I've never been afraid of any kind of work. I'm as comfortable picking a pig as I am preaching and praying.


Some friends of mine used to tease that they think I came out of the womb with a briefcase in one hand and a microphone in the other. I'd say, add a dishrag or a mop to that and it might be about right. I work on cleaning my house or doing odd jobs at the church as much as anything else.

Being a worker bee to the 'nth degree, it's sometimes hard for me to not place all my trust in my ability to work, instead of looking to God. I'll be honest here that sometimes, I trust completely in myself.


One time I was sick and we didn't know what was wrong. Actually, unbeknownst to me I had a growth in my throat that was making me sick.  The moment I really knew I was sick and something had to be done, was when Larry and I were preaching a revival about 500 miles from home. At the last service he was preaching and I led worship. During his message, I went into the coat room of the church and laid down underneath the coat rack, to try to get some relief. I laid there real still listening for sounds from the sanctuary, silently praying. When I heard him winding the sermon down I got up and went to the keyboard and played through the altar call. I felt like I was going to fall over at any moment. At the close of the service he took one look at me and knew something was really wrong. He actually carried me out of the service to the car. We drove the 500 miles home, and went for medical help.  I was diagnosed and the doctors said it was a "rare thing that happened to some people"  and I would need surgery and be out of work for at least a month. Of course, at first,  I wondered, "why me?" I had the operation and a few months later after I went through recovery and therapy, things were back to normal. I was so thankful.

I have trust in myself because I  keep going even when I don't feel it.

I trust in myself because I know I'm not going to quit even if I'm laying under coat racks or being carried out of a service. Most people I know wouldn't do that, they'd just leave and say, "Sorry, I wasn't feeling well." 

If I need to work more to reach a goal, I just work more.


It doesn't make it any easier to trust less in yourself and more in God, when, once you become known as a "go to" person, people applaud you for it and seek you out. This is only common sense. People in authority LOVE responsible people. (I'll confess, I'm addicted to responsible and dependable people. They are the jelly on my biscuit. On the other hand, when I get around lazy people, I start to shake.)

All my life I've heard things like, "If you want something done, ask Deanna, she's your girl..." or "Give it to Deanna...she'll get it done," or "Deanna Shrodes is a whiz bang at getting junk done."  Of course that always made me feel like a million bucks. Everyone likes to hear, "job well done." Everyone likes to know their hard work is noticed and valued, myself included.

So what's the problem?      

Sometimes God doesn't want more of our working and our doing, He just wants our trust. Sometimes God wants us to quit placing our trust in the arm of the flesh and place it solely on Him. Not by might not by power, but by His spirit!

For worker bees, that is really a hard pill to digest, because we just want to analyze it, fix it, work on it, and make it happen. We're used to that and we're good at it but God is saying, "I don't need you to do that all the time. I need you to give me room to surprise you."

I am also realizing, if I can accomplish it all myself...IT'S NOT BIG ENOUGH.

For a while now God has continually reminded me of the story of Jehoshaphat when he faced the battle and said, "we don't know what to do but our eyes are on YOU."

I'm confessing here that I need to get my eyes off myself and what I can do and get them on God and what He can do.




p.s. Just a reminder...I'm GIVING AWAY a coaching package? Maybe you'll win it. Details here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Oops, did I miss a day of blogging?

No. I am blogging just a few hours late for Monday...

Some major things came up. Ever had a day like that?  Yeah, I know you understand.

Once 9 pm hit, I decided to let go of everything and watch a movie with Jordan. For years I've been begging him to watch Schindler's List with me. The answer's always been no, until today. He surprised me by getting the movie and asking. So today was THE day. We snuggled up with the dogs on the couch and watched it. Although it was intense, it was just the break I needed.

This week, a plethora of things have arisen...unbelievable things both great and terrible. I hardly know what to think sometimes about this crazy life I'm living.

All I can say right now is, I need God to show up.

Thanks for your prayers.

Oh, and...um...did you hear I'm giving away a coaching package?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weekend Potpourri:
Trusting Through the Storm...

Right now we're waiting on hurricane Isaac to get to Tampa. Reports keep conflicting one another and I'm not sure whether he's going to arrive tonight or tomorrow. Either way, I'm not worried. I've been through this before, and I have trust in the Lord. Even if the worst would happen, I still have trust in the Lord.

We have enough food to make it through the storm, and we've got the sandbags laid out, and we're prepared to be shut in for a while. Ultimately even with all that ~ I trust. 

I've been through so many storms in life.

Bad storms.

I've been through way worse emotional storms than tropical ones.

I am thinking compared to everything else I've weathered, Isaac should be a piece of cake.

And, we do appreciate your prayers.

By the way, JUGGLE is at #11 today in it's category on Amazon! This weekend it's fluctuated between 8 to 14. Thanks to my friends who are spreading the word and keeping it up there. I am still pinching myself that I have a book on the Amazon Business/Time Management BestSellers List!  Mercy!

I've been busy writing most of the weekend, working on our Celebration Church Christmas play. Yes, I'm writing it this year with the help of our team. (What was I thinking?!) We rehearse each week whatever number of pages I've written. I just show up with the latest copy of the script and we start practicing, tweaking it as we go along. It's working quite well. We're having a lot of fun if nothing else! The show is going to be December 14, 15 and 16. We started rehearsals in July. The show begins with that song, "I Love Those J-I-N-G-L-E Bells" and after rehearsing on Sundays I pretty much hum that song all week long. Yes, in August. Ha ha!!! In case you don't know what song I'm talking about, it's this one and it's contagious!!




In other news...Jordan got his scuba diving certification today! Here he is on his dive today...


And finally, if you haven't heard, I'm giving away a coaching package! If you want to enter, here's how. 

 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

How Do Ideas Spread?

How exactly do books become popular and make the best sellers list? 

It's so easy -- much easier than you might think. I want to show you the perfect example of how this works. The following is an example of someone who did this just this morning and is now entered into the JUGGLE job coaching drawing. 


Friends read books because friends recommend them. And then, they pass the recommendation on to others.

This is how it works!

 I need your help to make it possible for JUGGLE to help a lot of people, and in the process you might just win a coaching package! 


Thanks for your continued support, helping me to get the word out about 10 principles that, when followed, can greatly change people's lives.

Much love,

 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Win a Career Coaching Package!

Okay my friends, this is big!

I'm personally offering a prize of a coaching package which will include the following:

  • 1 Hour Career Direction Consultation
  • 1 Hour Resume Consultation/Rewrite 

This package is valued at $300. 

The winner can also choose to modify the package, making it a 2 hour career direction package, or a 2 hour resume package.

It can be used for you, or any friend/family member you choose. 

It is virtual, meaning I will be doing the consultation by phone and computer -- and this means ANYONE ANYWHERE CAN WIN!!

How do you enter?

Starting today, your name goes in the drawing EACH AND EVERY TIME  you announce JUGGLE (Manage Your Time, Change Your Life!) on Facebook, Twitter or your personal blog and encourage people to get the book. Along with each announcement/advertisement, you must include the address of the Juggle website, or the Juggle page on Amazon.

Each time you talk about JUGGLE in any one of these places, send me a private e-mail or a private message on Facebook to let me know.  I will go to your page and verify that you have indeed spread the word about Juggle, including adding the web address where they can find it. And, at that point, your name will be entered into the drawing for the package. And, it will be added EACH TIME YOU DO THIS BETWEEN NOW AND SEPTEMBER 7TH.

How cool is that?

This contest goes through Friday, September 7, and there is no expiration date of when the winner can redeem the package.

I will announce the winner of the contest here on the blog on Saturday, September 8.


Why does this package have value?  I'm a certified career coach who assists people all over the country in getting jobs. Great jobs! Jobs they love! Jobs they can't wait to wake up and go to! I have a proven track record as a coach, helping people land fantastic jobs.  Just last week one of my job seekers who was out of work for a year, and hard to place, received and accepted a job offer, the salary and benefits of which totaled more than $100,000! 

Someone you know is probably out of work, or under-employed and could use this package. Maybe I'll have the privilege of helping you or your loved one, next! But you've got to play to win.

So, start your fingers Facebooking and Tweeting and let the contest begin!!!   And may the odds be ever in your favor.  :)


Thursday, August 23, 2012

What Are You Waiting For?



We all have our dream... our version of the perfect life.
The perfect situation.
The perfect time.

Actually the place I ate lunch at today was pretty well close to perfection. It's pictured above in this photo I took with my phone. I was at a district women's leadership meeting all day and we were treated to lunch at this place called Lavender & Lace.

It was perfection but most things in life are not. And if I looked closely enough I'd probably find something out of place at Lavender and Lace. (Yeah, that sounded kind of Dr. Suess-ish)

Are you always waiting for the perfect time to do something?

Do you wait because things aren't "just so"? 

That's a shame because they never will be, until heaven.

If you struggle with perfectionist tendencies, it's hard for you to let go and just do whatever it is you're supposed to do.

But we need you to do what you're supposed to do!

When I'm writing something, it's never good enough. Even after I click publish I'm an incessant tweaker and at some point I just have to stop tweaking. I write articles for various publications and I'm sure editors are so frustrated with me at times. When they get an e-mail or phone call with my fifth revision because "this one flows so much better..." I'm sure they're thinking, "does this woman have anything to do but rearrange words all the time?"  

I second guess myself a lot, always striving to improve. It can be a good trait in that I'm always seeking to grow and learn, and be better. The dark side is that it can be about a quest for perfection instead of excellence. Remember, the spirit of perfection -- thinking one could be absolutely perfect -- is one reason Lucifer was tossed out of heaven into hell. Perfectionism is to be avoided but the spirit of excellence is a great core value.

If I'm not careful, I could talk myself out of doing anything until it's "absolutely perfect." Then I'd stall and do nothing. A lot of my job seekers that I'm coaching do this. They tell me their resume isn't good enough yet -- still has more work to go on it. Meanwhile they've worked on it for 7 weeks. Usually this is more about stalling and fear. At some point they have to start putting it out there or nothing will ever happen.

I finally gave myself a deadline that I had to press the publish button on JUGGLE, come what may. All the incessant tweaking had to be over and the day to step out was nigh. I'm so glad! A lot of people are being blessed by it, but that wouldn't be happening right now if I were still tweaking thinking it wasn't good enough.

What are you sitting on that you need to actually do something about?

The world needs you. Stop waiting for perfection.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How to Get on a Best Sellers List


You might be surprised.

What do I believe the main ingredient is?

[Wait for it...]

Have amazing friends.

I'm serious.

Okay, how? 

1) Reach out to people
2) Help them however you can
3) Care

(Those are just three ways that have worked for me in developing relationships both on/offline.)

In preparation to release JUGGLE, I put together a launch team.  Let it be known...these people are basically the best thing since sliced bread, sliced tomatoes, or well...anything sliced, diced, smothered, covered or chopped. Can you tell I'm hungry? I'm thinking about Waffle House. Seriously, these folks are awesomesauce.

JUGGLE is my original work (minus the quotes) yet I wasn't alone while I completed it. I did it with a team of friends. I asked 40 friends from different backgrounds and perspectives to help me with reviewing, editing and launching JUGGLE. I was amazed at the response.

“Absolutely!” they said. 

 “Anything for you!” they said.  

“Of course I’ll help you!” they said.

Every one one of them told me they were honored to be a part of the project. They gave detailed critiques and insightful feedback. (I loved this! I'm a feedback FREAK!) Some, out of the kindness of their hearts, reviewed the manuscript multiple times after corrections were made. Then, on launch day, they were prepared to go ballistic, telling everyone about JUGGLE. I think a few of them tweeted until their fingers fell off. 



I've heard it said that for someone to be successful, a lot of people have to want them to be. Without the help of my friends, and the help of some of you who read here every day that I don't even know...I wouldn't have made it to #3 on the Amazon best sellers list for JUGGLE'S category. (Business/Time Management). When all was said and done last night it climbed to the #3 spot for E-books and #7 spot for all both e-book/print in the business/time management category. Um...wow. I was just two spots behind Brian Tracy & Seth Godin  -- two of my heroes -- in the business/time management category!! I seriously thought I was going to pee my pants or be slain in the Holy Ghost!

I am humbled and grateful for the help of those who believe in me and the words I write under the leading of the Holy Spirit. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now my friends, will you please help me beat the heck out of everybody for the number one spot today? :)  Send your friends here and here, please! And, super important...they DO NOT need a Kindle in order to read the book. They can get it and read it on any computer or mobile device. Info on that can be found here.

You. Guys. Rock.  

Seriously.  

You are the jelly on my biscuit and the gravy on my mashed potatoes!  

 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

JUGGLE is here!
Manage Your Time...Change Your Life!

We have a book! And a website!

JUGGLE (Manage Your Time...Change Your Life!) is available NOW. 

To find out everything you could ever want to know about it, go here.  

And to cut to the chase and buy it this second if you just can't wait any longer, go here.

This is the next best thing to having me live in front of you giving you life coaching on time management.

 Don't just take my word for it.

A lot of people think you need to read this.  Many people have already experienced fantastic changes in their lives through reading it. I'm super excited about that!!  Look at the reviews already on Amazon (Fourteen 5 star reviews as of last night!) and read the endorsements that have already come in.

I believe JUGGLE will be a great blessing to you. That's why I wrote it.  More than anything, I want to help people, and JUGGLE is just one more opportunity to do that.

The book is available on Kindle, but you don't need a Kindle to read it. You can read it on any computer or mobile device. For more info about that, go here.

What a better time than to get serious about time management with school starting this week, all over the country? The best school year EV-er is just one short e-book away...

I'd be delighted if you would help to spread the word about JUGGLE. Together, we will help many.

Much love,

Monday, August 20, 2012

Miracles Evidently Take Time


It's going to take more time.

I thought two days was more than enough time to publish a book and website, both of which were thoroughly ready to go. Apparently I was really naive. 

Either I'm naive, or the enemy really hates me that much, Maybe it's a little of both.  All I know is that normally Sunday evenings are a quiet time when I can get a tremendous amount of work done in peace. Rarely do I have a stressful Sunday night, and I'm telling you, last night was one of the most distracting and difficult nights I've had in a long time. Stuff came out of left field that I never expected, but I think I know where it truly came from...

While fielding constant interruptions of the stressful kind, my husband and I stayed up almost all night, trying to upload and publish. I sent a prayer request on our church Facebook site after midnight for anyone who was still up, asking to pray for us. Our dear friend, John Torres, highly experienced in IT, took it upon himself to head over to our house at 1 am to help out. God bless his soul. I cried grateful tears.

The issues are still not resolved. I got about three hours sleep and woke up to work on things again today, amidst all my other responsibilities.

Thankfully I'm good at juggling a lot, even on little sleep. And if you read my book when it finally comes out, I can teach you how to do that too. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Weekend Potpourri
Only 2 More Days...



The e-book release is almost here.

And, Happy Sunday! 

I'm exhausted and it's just starting!  I'm not complaining, simply describing my state of body and mind.  I have been going non-stop getting things ready for the release of the e-book on Tuesday. Are you ready???  All you have to do is click a button and start reading. Me on the other hand...well, I've got a lot more than that to do right now. Maybe you're wondering, "what more can she possibly have to do?" And if so, you've probably never written a book. :)

My day today will be filled with rehearsals and services and loving on church folks and first time guests and all that good stuff...and then I'll come home to work on the book release again.

I'm also posting on Lost Daughters again today. Have you figured out yet that I love this? 

Much love,

 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

YES, This Can Be YOUR Reality!!!

What would your life be like if you managed your time so well you had the time to do what you really WANT to do, not just what you HAVE to do?

What would it be like rest well at night, without worrying about how you're going to get everything done the next day?

What would it be like to be free to enjoy your time off because your other tasks have already been taken care of well in advance?
 
What would it be like to have more time than just weekends to do something you want to do?  

What would it be like to actually have some time each day to do what you really want to do?

What would it be like to have all the information you need to accomplish this for less than the price of an average value meal at a fast food restaurant?

What would it be like to live in freedom, unafraid that things are slipping through the cracks? 

It’s possible.

This is exactly what my new e-book is about and it's set to release this Tuesday, August 21.  

The book is called JUGGLE (Manage Your Time...Change Your Life!)

Lots of people have already told me the principles of this book have absolutely changed their life. I believe it can change yours too. 

I have two requests...

1) I've been blogging here every single day since September 11, 2006. Before that I blogged for a year on MySpace. (Yeah, I know, what's Myspace?) Some of you used to read my blogs there. If you've been a regular reader, particularly through my seven years of public blogging, I'm asking you to support the book!  Be blessed by even more of what I'm offering in an effort to try and help people in practical ways. More than anything I want to help people, and I know the message contained in this book will do that.

2) If you've been blessed by anything I've said here, or in the book once you read it -- would you let your friends know about it? Facebook it, Tweet it, help  in getting the word out. On Tuesday, the book will be available on Amazon Kindle, although you don't need a Kindle to read it -- all you need is a computer or a mobile device. There will be a free sample chapter on the book's website as well as a Facebook page dedicated to the book. You can provide people with all these links to let them know that help is on the way for all of their time management woes.

This has the power to change your life...to change a lot of people's lives.

Being a "feedback freak" I very much look forward to your thoughts, and conversation.

Much love,

Friday, August 17, 2012

5 Ways to End Up Right Where You're At



1) Base everything you do on what you've seen so far. If you haven't seen it modeled by other people, it must not exist.

2) Don't read too much.  Be glad that your last reading assignment was in high school or college.

3) Resist feedback. It's uncomfortable. Whatever you do, don't go asking for it.

4) Value comfort above everything else.

5) Don't get quiet. Surround yourself with noise as much as possible, giving yourself little room for solitude or creativity.

Do these five things, my friends, for a 100% guarantee of stagnation!

One is enough to get you on a downward spiral but if you do all five combined it's a sure-fire recipe to get stuck and stay there.

 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Terrifying Words: "We Have Your Son..."


Just prior to last night's service at Celebration, my friend Candy Rivera received a phone call on her cell phone.  A man's voice, a stranger on the other end of the line, told her that her son, Eddie Jr. and our son Jordan (best friends) had been abducted. He told her that the boys would be killed unless a certain amount of money was immediately provided for ransom.

Candy frantically ran up to the church office building where my husband was and asked him, "where is Jordan?" Larry responded that Jordan was at scuba class. (Jordan rarely if ever misses church but last night was his mandatory test for scuba certification.)  They had assumed their son was getting ready to come over to the church. Candy and Eddie Sr. made calls to try to reach Eddie Jr. and my husband called to get ahold of Jordan.

They finally reached them. Both of the boys were fine. Jordan was at class taking his test and Eddie Jr. was on the way to the church service.  They asked both boys questions to  make sure they were not being held against their will.

They called the police. When the police came to the church to investigate they told them that this is also happening to other people and it's difficult to catch the culprits because they are more than likely using an app that masks the phone number they are calling from.

Criminals are trying to quickly get money from frantic parents before they discover that their children have not actually been abducted.

How sick is that?

Thank God this was a hoax!

Last night when researching the news, I discovered that this is taking place in many locations. Please be aware of this for your own information. Also, pray for wisdom for the police to catch these criminals and that no more parents have this experience, or give these men money.

 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

10 Reasons Why Dating Stinks for the Church



I begin this post by giving a disclaimer that it's not about anyone specific at the church where I serve as a pastor.  If you're among the many people at Celebration Church who have recently experienced a breakup, this isn't about you personally.  I could have waited to write this post until no one at Celebration is breaking up but the truth is, if that was the case I'd never write the post. Breakups happen in our church body all the time. I'm sure it happens at your church too.

So let's unpack this issue that all of us who are Christians and a part of a local church, face.

Dating stinks for the church. It's only a win if the people actually get married, and well...let me ask you...did you marry the one and only person you ever dated? A few of you will be able to say yes to this question. For most, the answer will be no. And in some cases, it's not a win for them or the church if they get married but aren't really right for each other but get married anyway. 

Why does dating stink for the local church?

Because rarely are two people mature enough to date, break up, and both stay with their church. Most of the time at least one of them moves on to another church, unless they drop out of church altogether.

Some of the time both people leave the church, in an effort to get away from anything that reminds them of the place both of them spent a lot of time at during their relationship, claiming that memories are hard to deal with.

In all the time I have been pastoring, I only know of one (count it, O-N-E!!) situation over 25 years time where the people dated, broke up and both remained. There are two individuals in our church, both of whom I have extremely high respect for. They dated very seriously, broke up, and both remain not only in our church but highly involved there. I will not single them out, pardon the pun. (Get it, "single" them  out?? Ha ha!) I'm not sharing their names, because they are both private people. But you know who you are -- and to both of you I say -- I am so proud of you. And I am so glad both of you are still at Celebration.

Most of the time when people break up, the person who has been there longest stays. The person who has attended the shortest time moves on. 

When dealing with teenage dating, I have found it amazing that even some parents will make the decision to transfer churches so their son or daughter doesn't have to face their ex! This hit home for our family personally. Years ago our son dated a girl in the church and broke up with her. The very week of the breakup her mother let us know they would be transferring churches, that it would be too hard for her daughter to stay in the same church with our son let alone see him ministering on the platform, playing his instrument, etc. She said she couldn't worship and have to stand to look at him on stage.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Seriously, out of a grown forty-something year old woman! So many things I wanted to say -- and so many things I restrained myself from saying. Stuff like, "How long has it been since you abdicated the leadership of your home to your daughter?" Kudos to parents who don't let their kids run away from awkward moments or situations but help them work through it with maturity and grace.

I called a few other pastors or pastors' wives to ask them if they ever encountered anything like this. Would you believe the first three pastors I called told me the exact scenario I shared was why they don't allow their teenage kids to date anyone in the church? They all said it creates the potential for too much drama, fallout, and possible transition. If their son/daughter dated, they had a family rule that it had to be someone they met from another church, church camp, or other pastors' kids, etc.

Wow.

Well, we prayed about that and felt that for our family, we didn't want to go that far. Larry and I didn't feel it was fair to forbid our kids to date anyone in the church.  What if a person in the church is the mate God has for them? Would we be standing in the way of God's will? We chose not to do that.

That's not to say that we didn't have a lot of talks about the possible damage that could occur and begged them to be careful. I have felt a bit of guilt as a parent about sitting down and having that kind of talk with my kids. Probably no one in the church except the pastor has sat down and had a talk with their teenage or young adult children pleading with them to be careful who they select to date because of the possibility of church conflict.  But we have. Just keepin' it real.

When sharing why dating stinks for the church with some Christians, here are the responses I've heard and my response to each:

1)  This is just life, Deanna. These kinds of things happen as people live, grow and change. It's a given. So just focus on helping them as a person and be a blessing to them as much as you can, while you have them.

I see that point. I agree we need to help them grow as a person. That is not even a question to me that we should do that. Yet as much as we can help them grow-- it still stinks for the church to have to say goodbye just because they broke up.

2) What's the big deal if they choose to go to another church?

Well, the bible doesn't say that those who hop to another church every time an awkward situation comes will flourish. It says those who are planted will flourish. If people uproot every time they are uncomfortable, I believe it stunts or prohibits their growth. How can you possibly be healthy as a Christian if you are breaking up with your church family all the time? Is there ever a reason for a person to leave a church? Yes there are appropriate times, but if people leave every time a dating relationship ends, some will switch churches many times. They might even transition many times within a year. That can't be healthy for people or for churches.

3) They are still in THE church, the body of Christ, so that's all that matters.

I realize that. They are not abandoning the faith by going to another church. Yet for the local church who will miss them, it stinks. 

4)  Why can't you just "sow" those people as a blessing to another church?

Well, we can. Absolutely we can. And we do. And...still that stinks for the church. Because they dated someone and then broke up, their local church now has to miss them. If we didn't miss them wouldn't there be something wrong with us? What an uncaring bunch we'd be if this didn't matter at all to us. We can sow people, but that doesn't mean it's not a grieving process at times. People aren't just objects to be thrown away or even "sown away". These are lives we're talking about.

5) But don't you understand when you sow them, you reap back even more people than you sowed?

Well, perhaps. And, probably. But are people really disposable? I don't think so. Again, do we care about these people, or are they just numbers?  By so glibly saying to sow them to another church it's like you're saying, "I'll trade you two dating rejects for 20 married people and I get a ten fold blessing!!" How ridiculous. I don't believe people are just numbers or disposable. When people leave, we miss them. Even if twice the amount of people come and take their place. As for the two leaders I mentioned in the beginning of this post, who pressed through and stayed in the church -- I can't imagine my daily life without either one of them and I don't want to.  They belong with us, even though it didn't work out with them, their relationship status with our church is unchanged. Just because your Facebook relationship status has changed doesn't mean your church should change!


6) Who cares if they leave the church -- if these people are that important to you, you can still hang out with them outside the church.

Yes, and that still stinks for the church. Because let's face it, rare is an abundance of spare time, for anyone. If church is important to you, you spend quality time with those in your church.  Hopefully never to the point of ignoring the rest of the world (that would defeat our purpose) but as Christians when it comes to hanging out with other Christians, we understandably do that a lot. The early church set a pattern for us. It's healthy. They modeled for us breaking bread, spending time together daily, hanging out. I do stuff like that with the people in our church and I love it. Once someone leaves, it's kind of hard for me to carve out that time to spend on a regular basis.  When people leave the church you don't see them as much anymore. So when they go - it's not impossible to spend time but it's much more rare. And, that stinks for the church.

7) Don't you think this is more of a maturity issue than a dating issue?

Perhaps. But whether it's one or the other -- it still stinks for the church.  

8) What about that person? Do you care about how it feels for them?

Yes. Yes I do. I care deeply, for each person. But this post isn't about them. It's about the church. And once more I just say...dating stinks for the church.

Dating means that the local church says goodbye to a lot of people.

People they don't want to say goodbye to.

People I'm convinced that in most cases they shouldn't have to say goodbye to.

When people in the church start dating, I inwardly cringe. Because I wonder how long it's going to be until I have to say goodbye to one or both of them.

It hurts. It aches because you love people, and you don't want to say goodbye.

9) But don't you realize that people, the church and society wouldn't produce married couples in the first place if no one dated?

Yes, to a degree. Perhaps courtship instead of dating makes more sense, not just for people but for the local church. There has to be something to stop the insanity of the cycle of breakups and transition. The problem is that on their way to marriage, the path is usually littered with a bazillion breakups. This hurts not only the person, but the church too. It's a lose-lose for both, in my opinion.

One more...

10)  Couldn't you have been more positive and written a post, "why dating is a blessing for the church?"

Yes, I could have. But I didn't.

There wasn't much if any information to draw from.

I am hard pressed to find any way at all that the local church is blessed by dating.

If you can think of all the manifold blessings the church receives by two people dating, please share them with me.  I'm all ears.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Do What You're Fearing



So I've been putting something off since December 1, 2011.

Because I fear it.

Plain and simple, I fear it.

So today I got sick of that, and took a major step toward what I fear.

Now you're going to think this is crazy, perhaps. And that's okay. But afterwards, I decided out of curiosity to immediately get up and go take my blood pressure. This was about an hour  after taking a step to do the thing I feared - that which I have been procrastinating about since December 1, 2011.

Amazingly it was significantly lower than before. Much lower.

So I'm thinking, how much better off would I have been to just take steps toward this dreaded thing nine months ago? How unwise was this to put this thing off? I'm not saying my blood pressure would be perfect or even normal every time just by doing that. But how has this dread of the unknown affected me?

Lesson learned. Glean from my mistake, my friends. Fearing and dreading the unknown is not good for us. God will help us to deal with that which we don't know yet. We're stronger than we think we are, especially when we have Him to walk beside us.

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do..." ~Eleanor Roosevelt

 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lost Daughters & Me



Last month I wrote my very first adoption related post here on my blog, and said it would probably be my first and last. I was aware of the controversy it would probably bring, as well as the hurtful feelings that would result if those who are not adoptees rose up to disagree. 

Although everyone wasn't totally happy, the positive response was overwhelming. I received a lot of private mail that was encouraging, and it outweighed the negative reactions. A few people literally begged me to write more. I wrote a follow up post here, about what I planned to do next.

After prayer and consideration, I know I am supposed to start a separate blog about adoption, in addition to writing here at deannashrodes.net.  I am working on this new blog (though it is not live yet), as well as launching a Tampa support group for adult adoptees. However, I believe the best way for me to get my feet wet as I start the blog and support group is to begin by joining others. I need to learn, grow and be a part of something bigger. It's important to broaden my horizons and take advantage of opportunities to collaborate with others. This will provide an atmosphere of support for me  as I delve into this controversial topic that also affects me so personally.

For quite a while now I've been a regular reader of Lost Daughters. It's provided a soft place for me to land.  Adult Adoptees understand in a way that others can't. Amanda, who leads Lost Daughters as well as writes The Declassified Adoptee, has been a huge blessing to me as well as many others. Actually, she's affecting millions with her work in adoptee rights. I recently became aware that adult adoptee women could apply to become guest posters or even part of the writing team at Lost Daughters.

Last month I applied to be on the writing team. Saturday night when I got back from vacation I received word  that I was accepted to be a part of the team. In addition to writing with this amazing team, I get the privilege of participating in a private discussion group with them, which is a place to get to know one another on a deeper level, connect and help each other. I had no idea that was part of the benefit when I applied to be a writer there but I'm almost more excited about that than I am about posting! What an incredible reservoir of understanding, and wisdom. I'm so blessed. With every connection, I think I heal a little more. I am learning a lot and becoming better prepared to facilitate a group in Tampa.

My first post as a writer for Lost Daughters is today.

Lost Daughters specifically speaks to adult adopteee women and those who read here  may not follow me there all the time. But, being this is a HUGE step for me, I thought you may want to at least take a peek at my debut there.

Thank you in advance for reading, for opening your mind and heart to what may be another viewpoint you may not have considered, and for loving me even if you don't agree.

Much love,


 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Weekend Mini-Potpourri

A friend of mine has been making a lot of these cards lately, for fun. I tried my hand at it last night and made a few. This one is one of my favorites. Enjoy it and feel free to use it. Some of my pw friends are finding it quite amusing.

I'm calling this a weekend mini potpourri as opposed to my standard weekend potpourri because sharing beyond this little cartoon probably isn't best at the moment.

I  have something special and fit for public consumption to share tomorrow, so be watching.

Much love,

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Thinking About Nothing and Random Restroom Graffiti

I didn't think about all that much this week.

That's major for me.

I'm a thinker. Always deeply introspective and running along to do something about whatever develops in my head. But this week, I said no. I didn't work on my upcoming book release. I didn't solve church problems. I didn't work on projects. I didn't do anything but float in the ocean or a pool, and zone out, humming along to Jimmy Buffet songs that played over loudspeakers. I also sat in the sand and read a fiction book that I thought had nothing to do with my life, but in the end I was wrong. 

 I also realized this week that other people have moments where they don't think. They just say or write the first random thing that comes to mind. And it's kinda fun. Today on the way home from vacation we stopped in Port Orange at Famous Philly's Sports Pub for lunch. (It was amazing!) My husband went into the men's room and while he was in there he noticed some graffiti on the wall. Evidently a guy felt the urge to use the men's room and serve as a movie critic at the same time:


So you're standing there peeing, and you just suddenly think, "I need to share my thoughts about Toy Story 2..."

Okkkkkaaaaaaay.

Hysterical!

We had a real laugh over that one while we ate our cheese steaks, which were nothing short of amazing! These guys live up to their name. The cheese steaks and cheese fries were just out of this world. It was the perfect stop to end an amazing trip.


My husband has many talents, one of which is finding great places to stay. He finds beautiful places and amazing deals. He searches, and coupons, and calls and e-mails and does all kinds of things to put together a plan to go away. I am so grateful for his diligence with this. Not putting him on the spot or anything (okay, I guess I am) but if you ever need advice on how to find great deals on a budget, he's your guy!  He arranged for us to go to two different places this week, the first of which was Legacy Resort in Palm Coast, and the second which was the Daytona Beach Resort. I absolutely loved both places.

I was in need of time to not have to think about anything of real consequence. I feel renewed! And, I came home to some great news. Can't wait to share it here in the next day or two.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Maybe Fiction Isn't a Waste After All...


I've often wondered why people read fiction.

I can count the number of fiction books I've read in my adult life on one hand. My reading appetite has always been a steady stream of non-fiction with a heavy emphasis on spirituality, self-help, biographies and cooking. Anything else has always felt like a waste of time -- something that wouldn't really apply to my life. Being the consummate time manager, my goals always center on something meaningful that I can use in everyday life.

Fiction to me, has always felt like an escape. My thought has been,"If I need to escape my life, I'll just read something that can help me get rid of whatever is so sucky it's making me want to escape my life..."

And that's pretty much how I lived until last year when my friend Rich Tatum was talking to me about reading fiction. He encouraged me very strongly that I needed to start reading it. Rich says that for me to go to the next level as a writer  I need to read more than non-fiction. So, I did what I always do when Rich tells me something...I do it. I'm sure his wife Jennifer would say, "oh my gosh -- SCARY!!" at this revelation that I do whatever Rich tells me to do.

Well, when it comes to writing, I trust him. He's taught me so much about writing and the industry. (Thanks, Rich!)

We've been on vacation since Sunday afternoon. Of course I brought plenty of reading material with me, including my Kindle. I've got so many books in the queue.  So many non-fiction titles, that is.
Inevitably I always seem to take non-fiction books and try to apply them toward my work life. So I decided at the last minute that on this vacation I was going to read absolutely no non-fiction except the Bible. This week I've been reading an older fiction book, The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan.

Today at Daytona Beach I went by myself with the book, and sat at the edge of the water, reading the book while the waves came up and washed over my toes. At one point in the book I found myself welling up with tears, relating to the experience of one of the characters. During another chapter I experienced an understanding of why I feel the way I do in one of my personal circumstances, seeing the same issue through the eyes of one the women in the book. Although the book is centered a lot on Chinese culture, and I am not Chinese, other aspects of the book have resonated with me.

Recently when reading The Hunger Games, after my kids begged me to, I came to the realization I loved the series most because one of the characters, Peeta, reminds me so much of my son Dustin.

I have discovered that people don't always read fiction as an escape. We can learn a lot about ourselves by observing the lives of fictional characters.

I am thinking it's probably best for some of us not to share what characters we relate to, in the books we read. :)


Thursday, August 09, 2012

What To Do When You're Not Moving Ahead


Maybe you’ve tried to accomplish something and months or years later, you find yourself at the same spot in life, with little progress. 

Today I’m going to give you some advice that sounds so simple.And it is, yet it’s a major key.
Listen to your “shoulds” -- not the ones other people tell you as in, you should do this and you should do that.  Those can be super dangerous. Listen to your own shoulds that come not from guilt but the desire of your heart.

Pick just ONE should.

Then let nothing stand in the way.

I have heard hundreds, maybe even thousands of people say, “You know, I should write a book.”     Rare is the person who ever follows through and does this.

This is because it’s not easy to write a book, even for people who love to write. 

This extends to anything, not just writing. 

“I should lose some weight...”
“I should look for another job…”
“I should go back to school…”   

These are all worthy goals. Yet most of the people who say they should do those things, don’t. 

A smaller percentage of people pick a certain thing, zero in on and let nothing stop them. 

Perhaps you've tried to do too many things at once.

Or, it might be that you talk about a lot of things but once you start them you see how hard they are and you lose interest. 

If you really, really, really want something -- let me encourage you to do three things.

1) Focus on one thing you've been telling yourself you should do.   

2)  Allow time for that one thing each and every day. Even if it's just fifteen minutes. Do it, no matter what. Do it when you're sick. Do it when you're tired. Do it when tragedy strikes. Do it on days when everything falls apart. (My family laughs at me when I gently wipe my computer with Clorox wipes to sanitize it when I'm sick. Nothing keeps me from writing. Not puking, not tragedies, not a thing in this world could pull me away from writing.)  

3)  Don't give up even if it seems insurmountable. I've had terrible days in writing. Days I've stood in the shower and sobbed after a rejection letter. I cry in the shower so it won't be so hard on my family to hear me/see me lose it to that degree. Yeah, rejection is a beast. A terrible, nasty beast. After being spent from wailing I get out and dry off, put my PJ's on, and sit back down at my computer and start writing again. 

By the way, my e-book is coming out later this month on Kindle. I can't wait to see how it's going to help people. I know there will be people who will be really glad I never gave up.

I hope you'll be reading.
 

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

What Do Billy Joel & Revival Have in Common?

 Honesty is such a lonely word.
Everyone is so untrue.
Honesty is hardly ever heard.
And mostly what I need from you.

I can always find someone

to say they sympathize.
If I wear my heart out on my sleeve.
But I don't want some pretty face
to tell me pretty lies.
All I want is someone to believe. 
~Billy Joel

What would happen if every Christian were committed to live in radical truth?

Truth when it hurts, truth.
Truth when you might lose the job, truth.
Truth when you might lose the contract, truth.
Truth when it's embarrassing truth.
Truth when you're uncomfortable truth.
Truth when you're point blank asked and truth is the last thing you want to give truth.

If we want the world to pay attention...maybe we should start by telling the truth.

Those who serve in ministry or have grown up in church have probably heard thousands of sermons. Many of them, we don't remember. A few we never forget.

Years ago on a Wednesday night, the church I was a part of had a guest speaker named Steve. He  scrapped the message he planned to preach in the car on the way to the service, because God burdened his heart with something else on the way there. It was simply titled, "Honesty."

Steve talked about how God convicted him for lying to people about basic things. He said he told hundreds, possibly thousands of people that he would pray for them...and then he never actually did.  "I'm praying for you" was just a glib answer he gave to people to momentarily comfort them when they shared their problems. But he almost never followed through.

He was broken. He confessed everyday things he lied about. Then he said he didn't know how he could ever expect to win the world if he couldn't tell the truth in practical everyday things.

That message really affected me. Steve stood at the altar weeping. I was weeping too. A lot of people were. I committed at the altar that night to pray for people as soon as I told them I would, so I'd never just glibly tell a person, "hey, I'm prayin' for ya" but never follow through. I also have a practice of making a list of everybody I'm praying for, so I don't forget. Even though forgetting is for many of us an honest mistake, I realized right then just how much I forgot and how unacceptable it was.

Some may see that as legalistic. Perhaps a bit, and at the same time I'd rather err on the side of caution so I'm not living in some land of meaningless cliches without really caring or helping anybody.

Steve's message burned into heart that night and I never forgot it. I still have the cassette tape from that service at home in a keepsake box.

At the reemployment company I work for part time, we have timesheets. It's been my practice from the beginning to round my time down, not up, if I'm not sure. Nobody asked me to do that, I just felt in my heart like it was the right thing to do.  I'd rather have my boss question me about not billing enough time rather than billing too much.

There are so many things that could get in the way of showing the world Jesus' light. I don't ever want dishonesty to be one of them. When I tell people who Jesus is, if they have to wade through my fibs first in order to get to Him, it might be kinda hard for them to receive Him when I'm trying to tell them how great He is.

Truth has value.  Even Billy Joel said, "All I want is someone to believe."

I believe everybody wants someone to believe.