Prayer Time

What does prayer really mean? Why do I have to talk to God? How do I pray the right way? Is there a right way??

One thing I am certain of is that my prayers are unique, private conversations between me and God, its our special relationship. There are endless suggestions on how to pray but, there is no wrong way to talk with God, you simply need a willing heart.

Each of us were designed with such intricate detail, why wouldn't our relationship with God be unique? Our prayer time is conversation with a King and that can be intimidating yet, that King, he is incredibly approachable. He delights in hearing from us. Let that sink in a sec, he delights in you – the King of Kings - Maker of the entire spinning world, he delights in you.

Spending time in conversation with God is a discipline that takes time to develop. From quick prayers like, "Jesus, please open up a parking spot near the front door." To those times when you are quiet before Him. When you ignore your phone, chores, work, and family and take a few moments to talk with God. That is your time to connect your heart to God. The more you do it, the more natural it feels.

I recently wrapped up my A to Z Prayer Challenge where I was joined by others to pray through the alphabet. Somewhere mid-alphabet, I had a heart switch. There were a few letters that I didn't have anyone to pray for and kind of just sat before God and said, "Well, I don't know anyone to pray for sooooo, if you know of someone, then I lift them up to you." I can't remember what letter it was (its really not important) but, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper something so profound...

"Pray for God."

Can you imagine sitting down with a friend over coffee and spilling your beans all over the table and never returning the favor? In the words of Stephanie Tanner, "How rude!"

That's kind of what this light bulb moment felt like for me. I began to pray for God, for His kingdom, for all of his amazing-ness. It stopped being about me and was all about Him. It was such a simple switch in my brain, to pray for God not just to him. It was pretty incredible.

I really enjoyed praying for my friends and family during the A to Z Prayer Challenge. Did you participate in the challenge? I would love to hear in the comments what you learned or if it had an impact on you in anyway.


Go.

I am writing to you today to share a couple of things that have been happening with me and ink & mouse. Most of you know that over the past year, I have felt God calling me to write a book or develop a tool to encourage women in their prayer time with God. I have spent this last year seeking out, praying and researching what that means for me and my business.

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the IF:Gathering conference and was completely wowed (is that a real word???) by what God spoke to my heart. One of the whispers I heard was to stop telling myself that I can’t do stuff. You see, in my head I have been listening to these annoying voices telling me that I can’t make this project happen, that I can’t speak in public, that I don’t have what it takes to pull it all together. I was totally believing the lies and I wanted them to stop. You know what I did? I took a big ole spotlight and pointed it at the darkness. I’m over it, ya know, living in a state of fear and uncertainty. I was so encouraged by the women who spoke at the conference, they were beaming with humility and boldness.

I believe this is the time to launch what has been brewing in my soul for years but, especially the past few months. I feel like I’m ready to burst! I am so excited and trying desperately not to let that fear sneak in because darkness is a jerk face. I still have some things to line up before formally launching the new product and this is where I need you. I will be selecting an exclusive group of Ladies to be a part of helping me develop and promote my products. I would like you to meet the Brand Ambassador Program for true lovely good.

This will be a new process for me but, I can not launch all the things God has placed on my heart alone. I need willing hearts to pray along with me, to test the products and to provide honest feedback. The program will grow and develop as time presses on but, I must start somewhere.

If you are interested in partnering with me, here are a few traits I am looking for with this exclusive group of Ladies:

Transparency. I need women willing to be honest in their relationship with God. A Brand Ambassador will be testing products that help you grow in a deeper relationship with God. I can't see us discussing the products without digging in to what you are learning and how you are growing.

Seasons. No matter the season of life you find yourself in, we could all use a little more time on our knees talking with God. I would love to see a variety of ages, stages and depth of women to apply.

Reach. We are all called to make disciples. That looks so different for every woman. Introverts and Extroverts are welcome. Single? 15 kids? Business woman? Blogger? Entrepreneur? Retired Empty-Nester? Your family, neighborhood, community, workplace, ministry or interwebs... you're reach matters.

Time. I understand the hustle of life and I will not require much of your time. This is something you can do from the comfort of your own home. My hope is that you will be able to help me shape the products to fit into your day seamlessly.

Interested in applying? Read more about my heart and expectations for the Brand Ambassador Program on the true lovely good introduction page of my website or go ahead and submit your application here:

BRAND AMBASSADOR PROGRAM APPLICATION

You guys, even if you are not in a place to jump into this program, your prayers and encouragement are priceless. Thank you for all of the support you have been given me through conversation, texts, emails and phone calls. You are lovely. Let's GO.

A-Z Prayer Challenge

One of my desires for 2016 is get to know God better. My plan for that is to talk to him more often. I am really excited to launch a prayer challenge for some intentional prayer time! One of the ways I've learned to pray is by using the alphabet. This idea came from my dear Aunt & Uncle. When my Aunt shared her process of prayer time, I fell in love with the idea and I hope you will too. Every day, she prays through the alphabet lifting up specific people by name. (I'm telling you, it is a unique and precious gift to have others praying over you daily.)


SO, FIRST AND FOREMOST, I URGE GOD'S PEOPLE TO PRAY.
THEY SHOULD MAKE THEIR REQUESTS, PETITIONS,
AND THANKSGIVINGS ON BEHALF OF ALL HUMANITY.
1 Timothy 2:1 Voice


I would love for you to join me and others as we take a few moments out of our day to be intentional with our prayers. Let's pray through the alphabet together! On February 1st, we will begin with the letter A and continue each day with a new letter. I will post the letter prompt along with scripture and inspiration on my ink and mouse Facebook page (click over to like my page so you don't miss anything!). I would love to see our social media feeds flooded with prayer warriors taking on this challenge. Will you join me?
 

Ways to participate:

  1. MARK YOUR CALENDAR. If you visit my EVENTS page, click on the A-Z Prayer Challenge. You can set up the event in your calendar by clicking Google Calendar or ICS.
  2. LIKE the ink and mouse Facebook page where I will post the daily prompts. CLICK HERE.
  3. SHARE the letter of the day on your facebook, instagram, twitter or any social media of your choice.
  4. INVITE friends to join you in prayer.
  5. COMMENT with your prayers on social media to encourage others with things they can lift up in prayer.
  6. PRINT the A-Z Prayer Challenge list in the free printable section. You can begin to fill-in your alphabet prayer list and start praying over your alphabet daily or take one letter a day.

I admit I am a tad nervous because I have never hosted a challenge like this before! Even as I type this post, I feel the doubt, fears, and insecurities creeping in. My excitement to see how God will grow our hearts in connection with him, far outweighs my fears about stepping into a prayer challenge. I really want to meet God on a deeper level this year and the accountability of this challenge will be so good. Have a wonderful weekend and I'll see you on Monday to begin our A-Z prayers!

Goals

A page from my Happiness Planner.

A page from my Happiness Planner.

I've been working my tail off to set myself up for success in 2016. I want to be ready when God reveals His plan, I see little seeds of where He is taking me and I have been working toward the dream. I have been soaking up business knowledge and resources like a Bounty paper towel.
And, I still feel a bit clueless, lost, and frustrated. I know in my heart this will be a year of growth and change for my business, yet I am unsure of exactly what the future holds. Is that completely strange to be working so hard for an unknown target?

WHAT YOU GET BY ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS IS NOT AS IMPORTANT AS
WHAT YOU BECOME BY ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS.
-ZIG ZIGLAR -

In my last blog post, I mentioned that I would share some of my progress with goal-setting,  resources and tools I've been working with to get my business ready for 2016. Here we go...

- SETTING GOALS -

1. SCHEDULE. I have found extreme value in making time to plan. I've chosen a specific plan/dream time for myself (Monday evenings while my daughter is at volleyball practice). When my days are set-up with a plan, I am much more likely to accomplish tasks. I also take a few minutes to review the steps I've made toward my goals. This process usually takes me about 10-15 minutes. What a huge difference it has made in my daily progress!

2. WRITE IT DOWN. My days have always been directed by the alarms on my smartphone. This is no way for a human to live, friends, technology is not the boss of me. I invested in the Happiness Planner for this year. I seriously love it. I haven't let go of my smartphone because that would be ludicrous; I use my phone with the planner. The planner allows me to see the bigger picture of my day and plan ahead for the week and month. I can coordinate personal with business in a simple and achievable manner. Bonus alert, crossing things off a checklist is the most gratifying experience ever. Smartphones are joy-stealers when it comes to marking off items of a checklist.

I don't see it as coincidence that I experienced a momentary break from pursuing my dream the other night, it was a Divine intervention. It is so easy to get emotionally derailed from a plan. I simply came across an instagram post that crushed me. I allowed comparison to bully me into a corner. Someone else had my same vision and they were miles ahead of me. I allowed myself to be pulled down by negative thoughts. You guys, within in an hour of seeing that post, I was going to give up on my dream just because someone else was already living it. That is ridiculousness and that is why establishing and writing down goals is so important. Because it took me 5 minutes to look at my goals and realize, God has me on a special journey, I can't walk away from that!


Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.
-Unknown-


3. GOALS vs. TASKS vs. TO DOs. I'm forty+ and have never even realized there was a difference between goals, tasks and to do lists. Welcome to adulting, Carrie. I am learning the art of breaking it all down into bite size pieces. In a nutshell, it looks like this,

  • Goals are the big picture, the prize, the end result.
  • Tasks are the action steps to moving toward your goal.
  • To Do items are the tangible things we do to accomplish the tasks.

Here is an example of a goal I set up for this year and how I've written it out:

Goal= Create a Brand Ambassador Program by April 1st.
Task= Establish Invitation, Facebook Group and Expectation Guidelines.
To Do= Write guidelines, set-up facebook group, invite members.

I don't have this whole goal setting thing mastered yet but, breaking it down like this really helps me manage the day-to-day. Writing out my goals keeps me focused on my priorities, it protects me from getting completely side tracked by emotions. Let's face it, I'm a girl and emotions are a big part of who I am. With goal setting, I can feel the feels and stay on course. Here are some of the goals I've been dreaming up:

  • Establish a solid business plan. (happy to say, I am close to completing this goal!)
  • Continue writing my Prayer Planner.
  • Create and design a line of inspirational stationery products.

- TOOLS I'M USING LIKE CRAZY RIGHT NOW -

1. MY KNEES. I'm talking to God a lot because I know when things are cool between us, everything else will fall into place. He is my b-e-s-t advice giver.

2. FREE WEBINARS. I have been taking advantage of the free webinars that experts are sharing. In the last week I have participated in two free webinars, one on goal setting and one about writing. These provide such valuable wisdom from those that have gone before me. I also love the boost of inspiration and motivation I get from webinars.

3. BLOG PLANNER. I discovered the best planner for blogging. I have been lacking on my organization for writing and when I discovered this planner, the light bulb came on. If you are a blogger (or wannabe, like me) you have to check out this free tool "The Ultimate Blog Planner" by Designer Blogs (they make beautiful blog templates too!)

4. PINTEREST. Duh, right? This platform is mega useful for finding articles, blogs, visual candy and more. Feel free to follow me there, I pin everything from fonts to tattoo inspiration: My Pinterest

5. GROUPS. I have connected to other like-minded women through utilizing the wonderful group pages on Facebook. Each group I am a part of pours into my heart, mind and soul in different ways. I am a part of a writers group, a Sisterhood entrepreneur group, the Happiness Planner group (a perk with purchasing the planner!), and a group hosted by a darling Life Coach. Each group allows me to find support and education as I grow my heart and business. I highly encourage you to find your tribe(s) and plug-in.

Sorry this post got a little long but, its tough for me to summarize all of the things I've been learning, applying and accomplishing! It has been a very productive start to 2016! It is my hope that you will be inspired to revive your dreams, resolutions, goals, vision... whatever you are chasing, go for it!