Tuesday, December 25, 2012 0 comments

Perfect Love

     By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.  And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?  My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.  And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.  For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than out heart, and knows all things.  Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.  And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandments: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.  (1 John 3:16-23)

     Today is Christmas.  A time for families to get together and celebrate time together.  Swap presents.  And depending on religious beliefs, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.  For everyone that keeps that focus - congratulations!

     Since this is my personal blog, I have something personal to share.  It's been a rough time for me this year.  I tend to get the "holiday blues" anyway.  This year has been escalated.  I've not been able to give gifts for three years now.  My financial state is now where I want it to be.  I've been VERY successful starting two new businesses within that time.  First lesson to any future start-ups...have some capital to live on while you build the business!  I'll be posting a Year In Review soon.

     This morning while trying to get out of a "bummed" mood, I kept hearing the phrase "perfect love" in my head.  I looked up 1 John 4:18, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment."  Yep, I've been in an emotional torment.  Then I read more of 1 John and found the gem I posted upfront.  In these sentences, John talks about confidence.  I have lacked confidence lately.  And whatever we ask we receive from Him - because we keep His commandments and do what is pleasing in his sight. If I only looked at the Ten Commandments - I have failed miserably over the years. And I have not always done things that are pleasing to God.  Every time I speak at curse word - God sighs.  But read on.

     His commandments:  we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another.  

    This is not my fix-it for my mood.  That will take a process today.  But this will be the Truth I stand on.  I cannot love perfectly.  I cannot give wrapped presents, I do not have the "world's goods" to share right now.  But I certainly believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior.  And I love others by showing it with my time and effort, my compassion (yes, it's in there), my vision and ability to help others accomplish great things, and my amazing resourcefulness.  That will be my focus.  Not the lack of money to buy Christmas presents.

    Showing love is not always about giving gifts in the form of wrapped presents under the tree.  Nor does it happen only once a year.  It's a lifestyle of believing and sharing ourselves to help each other.  I have been shown great love.  I will always show love in the ways I can.

Thanks bunches for reading and I hope you and yours are having a Joyous Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012 0 comments

Time for Reflection

It's that time of year when I take advantage of a little downtime to review the past year.  I've been involved with a great many things this past year.  My measurement of success is not based on the amount of money I've earned, but lives I've enriched in some way and businesses that I've affected positively.  I'm looking forward to getting back to blogging regularly and growing my self and business.  I will post results - so stay tuned!
Sunday, October 28, 2012 0 comments

700-Year Plan

Do you have a 700-year plan?  Most people don't even have plans for lunch, let alone what they want to have an impact for 700 years from now.  Grandmaster Jung Hwang, founder/owner of Hwang's Martial Arts and 1984 Olympic Silver Medalist, has a 700-year plan. I got to hear one piece of it last night. Grandmaster will build a school in Bolivia, one of the poorest countries in the world. He is on his way to making that happen.  What he is doing is preparing his legacy to live on in others.

When I woke this morning I was still thinking about the 700-year plan.  What could I do that could leave an impact on this world? I don't have children like many of you reading this.  I have been blessed to be a part of ministries and charity organizations that have amazing purpose.  I have traveled as part of missionary teams.  I have helped one-on-one when someone has just needed a non-judgmental ear and encouraging word.  All these are just natural things I do, but if I could do more with intentionality - what kind of impact could that have?

An idea came to me - divine inspiration.  Part of my business plan for my jewelry business is to use it to fund non-profits, mission trips, and philanthropic ventures.  I'm going to take that bigger and create a foundation that supports great causes all over the world.  How that's going to look officially or what the name will be, I don't know.  But I do know God will move others to join me.

What would your 700-year plan include?

Monday, September 3, 2012 0 comments

FOCUS During Transition

This image is a good representation of my life on a daily basis. Although, that blank section where the pieces are pulled apart a little?  That is transition. And those transitions can be rough, especially if you are going through more than one at a time.  Which is what I'm doing lately.  Lots of transitions.  And I haven't really had time to enjoy the neutral zone.  Until this weekend.

I should really be writing more for my first book release, "The No Rules Way,"  or entering all the business receipts into a spreadsheet, or cleaning the truck, or any number of good productive things.  This weekend; however, has allowed me the space to just "be."  My body has been able to rest, and so has my mind.  I've spent some time reading outside in the swing under a shade.  I've spent some time sleeping a couple extra hours.  I've enjoyed some time with friends and family.  The things I haven't had the opportunity to do much of lately. At first I felt like I was being lazy, but I let that feeling go quickly.  It's healthy to recharge.  Even slowing down to "smell the roses" can give you a recharge.

I thought again of my word for this year - FOCUS.  What have I been focusing on lately?  Things that don't help me get any closer to my goals, that's for sure.  I get so bogged down in the details of trying to stretch dimes into twenty dollar bills that I lose sight of all the things that are already taken care of.  I get lonely and feel like I'm not pretty enough or too fat to be asked out.  I get caught up in trying to make current situations work that I lose the vision of an end result.  I've been focusing on surviving the transitions instead of enjoying the adventure that is life.  I'm sure you've never done that...

Sunday, June 3, 2012 0 comments

Bold Request For Romania

Ok, blog readers, friends, family, business associates...I am putting out a bold request.  

Each month the Romania Forget-Me-Not Ministries mission team meets to plan for the next trip over to Tinca, Romania.  I've posted about the trip last year when I went. Here is a brief synopsis and update:
  • Forget-Me-Not Ministries was founded by Indiana-native, Rachel Ross, to essentially love and educate the Roma (gypsy) culture in Romania.  Her heart was moved at a young age by the orphanage atrocities she saw on TV and started her journey with her own mission trip simply to love on babies that didn't get any human touch.  That ministry has grown into a full-time life in Tinca, Romania where she shelters, trains, feeds, and basically loves a group of kids from the gypsy village.  Her heart's mission is to change this high addiction, abusive, oppressed culture - one child, one generation at a time.
  • Teams like ours (we're the favorite since we have a Mexican dinner night - Rach's favorite  :-)  ), come to alleviate some pressure for the full-timers.  We help around the center as well as go into the village to continue to build relationships and provide some basic needs like food, clothing, and soap.  Imagine your local homeless shelter packed to the brim with folks who have nothing...only the gypsy's have no means of charitable support.  The Romanians consider them less than dogs.  Rachel's heart and consistency in the area is starting to soften some hearts that are in her local church in Oreada.
  • Just in the two years I have been involved, the kids at the center have grown dramatically!  Alex, for example, was brought to Rachel when he was 2-3 years old. He has down syndrome, and couldn't even roll over by himself at first.  With Rachel and the care of others that have hearts to care, Alex can not only roll over, sit up, stand...he WALKED AND CLIMBED up to slide down the slide!!!!  Without his leg braces!!!  Abel, 10 years old now, has learned a LOT of English and is learning what "trades" are so that he can be marketable when he is of age to get an official job.  
  • Not just the kids - but Rachel is bringing in some of the women from the village to learn skills that can afford them to sell handmade items.  This allows them to help take care of family needs when the husband disappears or she needs to leave with the kids in an emergency.  Rachel pays them in tangible goods like food so the husband won't try to resell for alcohol.  

These are just a few things about what I am involved in with Forget-Me-Not ministries.  Now, for those who are not supportive of international ministries and would rather work local - YEAH!!  I know a few fantastic ministries who are looking for support and helping hands...and yes, I've worked with some of the locals too.  But my Romania ministry - that's like family over there for me.  And to see these kids grow up - even the ones I only get to see in the village during our VBS or food deliveries - that's a big deal when they remember you.

So.  My bold request.  This year because of financial transitions and time constraints, I do not have the money to go on the trip.  And I've waited till last minute to ask for help, I know.  However, if you'd like to help out here are the best ways:
  1. PRAY...prayer is strong and extremely important.  Pray for good health and guidance and open doors, and full bags of supplies.
  2. DONATE...items.  We need all kinds of stuff like mini soaps, toothbrushes, toothpaste, band aids.  The plan is to include a lesson on hygiene and a life skill each day, and of course enough money to get all the supplies there in baggage fees.  AND...this is crucial...we need BOY costumes.  Poor Samuel last year got suckered into dressing like Dolly Parton in all the princess dresses the girls got as presents from sponsors.  PLEASE, I'm begging on this one...superhero costumes!  Samuel will make a great Batman!  He already knows the theme song (wonder who taught him that...lol).
  3. SPONSOR...me for the trip or a child regularly.  Since I have nothing set aside, I am starting from scratch.  The trip total would be $2,400 - two week trip, Euro is currency, food and lodging is included, etc. Please contact me directly:  christy.ww.smallwood@gmail.com.  To sponsor a child regularly, like Alex, just go to Forget-Me-Not Ministries site.  

 That's my bold request.  Thank you for reading all the way to here!

Grace & Peace y'all!


Sunday, May 20, 2012 0 comments

A REAL Relationship

     So many pastors and preachers teach through great sermons every week.  This morning's teaching is no exception from my pastor, Michael.  He's been doing a series on being "Remade" through Christ.  Total TRUTH in that.  And part of the calling for any pastor is to talk about the gospel of Christ - and how to believe, how to accept Him, and how to live out the life we're all called to - and what separates us from God is sin apart from Jesus.  Makes sense, sin is not holy and God does not allow anything unclean in His presence.  Jesus, however, ate with sinners.  He touched them.  He loved them.  He died for them. He remade them.

     I wanted to share how this relationship with Jesus is REAL for me.  We shared at a recent Work-Life Networking lunch about how some look at God like a father figure.  That didn't work for me simply because my earth-bound father relationship was non-existent.  And for me to accept that God was real in my life, I couldn't allow myself to fall in the trap of seeing Him in my realm.  Enter in Jesus.  Big brother Jesus.  The one who adopted me into the family - regardless of ME - my sin and all - I am in the family.  So, even sin no longer separates me from God.  Let me share.

     Jesus adopted me in the family.  NOTHING can separate me from God's love (Romans 8:38-39).  I can come before Him with confidence knowing He will show me grace, not condemnation (Hebrews 4:16, Romans 8:1).  He uses even my own rebellious sin for good (Romans 8:28).  Now, the apostle Paul writes to the Romans about grace and asks the question, "Should we go on sinning?"  Knowing that God forgives, God loves, God works it ALL out for good.  Well, to be a recognizable follower of Jesus - we should choose what is good...to not sin...and pray for help from the Holy Spirit to see that through.  But what happens when we DO sin?  We all fall short.  Everyday.  Do you give up?  Throw blame on circumstances or people?

     For me...that's when I go back to that foundation of Jesus' love, acceptance, and grace for me.  I may not immediately stop the sin that is causing grief and guilt.  But He still loves me, because He just does.  And when I confront that sin, confidently before the throne of grace, I feel like the image in this post - arms wrapped around me in a love so big it's indescribable.  And I am truly alive, living out a REAL relationship with the God of the Universe who created me for a purpose, a Big Brother who has saved me and brought me into a HUGE eternal family, and the Holy Spirit who breathes new life into me daily. I can come to Him for ANYTHING - good or bad, big deals or small frustrations, attitude issues, joyful dances, hurts and hopes, my desires or devastations - He's always there for me.  He listens, He guides, He saves my sanity and my heart. If you don't have a relationship like that, I'd be happy to share!
Thursday, May 10, 2012 0 comments

Video Tour of Great Real Estate for Sale....Mine :-)

The video tour of my house that's for sale through Schuler Bauer Real Estate.  The link for technical info is:  http://www.schulerbauer.com/property-search/detail/4/201200777/4640-west-cole-rd-salem-in-47167/
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 0 comments

The Internet Is A Tempting Arena to "Spill It."

Ok.  Here's the situation in a no-detail nutshell.  I have SOMEONE who has made a request of me that I feel is completely uncalled for and none of their business.  This request was to take down one of my videos about a dog and his first fireworks.  Who could possibly want to deny the world the pleasure of watching a dog share his excitement about his first fireworks.  The video was completely about the DOG and HIS FIRST FIREWORKS - NOTHING to do with any ancillary people that happened to be in the video.  I LOVE this video - it's MINE.  It's purely entertaining because of the DOG. Hopefully, that's been clarified.


This is the part where it is so tempting to "spill it" on the internet.  Of course there's a backstory to this video request.  One I won't be sharing here simply because this whole thing is ridiculous and really does NOT INVOLVE ME.  But because I've received this request - along with a litany of other pointless syllables - it is really tempting to just tell the whole world how I feel about it.  And the internet provides the perfect venue.  But that would not be the wise thing to do.  Oh, there will be follow-up, but offline and in my usual way. 

What is a wise response when emotions run high?  What about when someone just simply offends you because of their views?  Do you ignore it?  Do you put a nasty comment on their status?  Do you message a litany of useless syllables hoping to gain a response in your favor? 

Why am I writing all this anyway?  Well, first to use the platform to make it clear that what I post is MINE and not meant to cause harm but enrichment to others' lives.  If it has offended - sorry, but I'm not retracting.  Second, to gently remind us all to take a pause before reacting online.  Breathe, think it through, then respond if necessary.  You may find that it's not necessary to jump into someone else's "drama party."
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 0 comments

Mobile Lifestyle = Plans For The Future

No, that's not my cat.  However, that's exactly what my cat does on a regular basis nowadays.  See, I'm living a pretty mobile life lately.  My house is up for sale (check it out here & pass the word), and I am trying to transition to my friends' house.  Part of a master plan. In the meantime, I am using my suitcase a lot.  I already pack up my office every day to go out and make a difference. I have LOTS of tote bags and big purses that hold my laptop and notepads. 

During this transition, I am internet-challenged.  It's not set-up at home.  So I try to utilize all the wi-fi spots I can, and there are BUNCHES available.  Everything I do has to be done two ways: paper AND digital.  I use Google stuff, so it syncs with my phone.  And I double it on paper so if I can't get internet usage for a couple of days, I revert to paper, then update the digital. Redundant, maybe; stressful, definitely.  I'm just trying to make sure I don't miss anything.

Yesterday I had that magical hour open to sit on the swing and converse with God for a bit.  It was so refreshing to just sit and "be" with God.  I take full advantage of having God's ear and simply lay my heart out there.  I am pretty blunt and totally honest, helps to hear from Him in a genuine way.

So when I laid it out that I was feeling a little overwhelmed trying to deal with this "in-limbo" mobile state and actually be productive with my businesses, I received some interesting insight.  Think about it.  I know how to do business (2 of them) effectively from anywhere.  I know how to manage life from a suitcase.  I can adapt to different surroundings.  More consistent travel is in my future.  Arkham Executive is going national within five years!  And my Premier Jewelry business won't be far behind. Woohooo!!!  Now to work out the flexible plan...
Sunday, March 18, 2012 0 comments

I'm In The Summer Season

Spring has more than sprung around here - it pretty much feels like Summer out there today!  I did take advantage of it, all the windows open in the house, took a walk around the "lake," managed to NOT mow the yard - no gas for the push mower.  Now settling-in to THRIVE at GCC for the evening, checking my facebook updates and got this from one of our Premier Designs Jewelry Senior Leaders:

... From "An Enemy Called Average" by John Mason. By the way, go to Amazon and order the book. You will love it.

Here is what John says, "God is a God of seasons. 'To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven' Ecclesiastes 3:1. Distinctly different things happen in differe...
nt seasons. There is a wintertime in God. It is a season of preparation, revelation and direction. It is also the time when roots grow. God wants to establish the right foundation in you during this season. But there is no harvest right now.

There is springtime in God. It is a time of planting, hoeing, and nurturing. In other words, hard work. God wants you to work your plan. But there is no harvest in springtime.

There is summertime in God. Summer is a time of great growth. Now is the time when activity, interest and people begin to surround your God-given idea. For all the activity of summer, there is only a minimal harvest. But then comes autumn.

This is God's harvest time. It is during this season that the harvest is reaped in much greater proportion than the work, activity or idea expended. But most people never make it to the fall. Often, they end up quitting along the way because they don't know what season they are in.

When you understand that God is a God of seasons, it prepares you to do the right thing at the right time. It inspires you to persevere to the Fall. God's Word is true when it says, 'Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up' Gal. 6:9 NIV)."
Friday, March 16, 2012 0 comments

Getting More Done With FOCUS

Ok, ok...I haven't kept-up my personal blog very well lately. I have a few logistical challenges, but I have a way around those now. So here I am!

I wrote a posting for our Arkham Executive blog about calendar control (part one). This is something I have been a student of for more years than I care to admit.  There's always so much to fit into a day, like networking for business.

Yesterday was a great networking day.  Had a wonderful meeting in the morning over smoothies, then off to the Jtown Business Expo where I hung around the silent auction area guiding people to the things they really wanted to win.  I met a few new people, connected with others I knew, and caught up with those I hadn't seen in awhile.  For my business partner it was like coming home.  Then after that event, we still had No Rules Networking to host - during the March MADNESS.  Fox & Hound was PACKED with red, then blue depending on gametime.

Here's the kicker.  One businessman hovered around for a few minutes during the expo.  He waved, I smiled - then looked around cause I didn't think he was waving at me, I didn't recognize him.  Then he told he compatriot "I know that girl." I looked around again.  Nope, noone behind me.  "Hmmmmm, how does he know me?" I wondered.  Then he approached me, "Do you recognize me?"  "I'm assuming I should, help me remember from where."  So we started that timeline of events to see what matched up.  Turns out, we worked together 'back in the day' at WVEZ and WSFR radio in Louisville.  Roughly 19 years ago!!!!  Not exactly 20, no.  But close enough to make me feel old.

We'll be catching up over lunch sometime, and potentially doing business.  But that was a really cool moment to have someone recognize me and want to reconnect after so long.  It actually fed my ego a bit - I still look young  :-) .  And like sands in the hourglass...so are the days of our lives...(can you hear the music?) 
Sunday, January 1, 2012 1 comments

2012 Word For The Year

This time of year it's "the thing to do" to set a New Year's resolution.  Well, I quit doing that simply because it was the same ones over and over: lose weight, make more money, be a better person.  When my relationship with God went to a new level a few years ago, I adopted a new idea - Word for the Year.

The year I used "Flexible," I was given the opportunity to do something other than my corporate job.  Year after that was "Preparation." I received training to be an official Executive Coach.  Last year - "Simplify." Wow - lots of lessons learned with that one.  This year, my word is FOCUS.

Focusing on one thing at-a-time will make a huge difference in my life. I will focus on growing my businesses - the planning, the action of it, the relationship-building. I will focus on training new ministry team members.  I will focus on being fully engaged in my relationships - family, friends, and potential suitors (there might be one out there). I will focus on myself - my health, my look, my mind. Most importantly, I will FOCUS on God.  Seeking first His Kingdom, and all the rest will fall into place.