Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Overcoming Ministry Burnout





Do you ever feel like ministry has become a job instead of a joy?


Does the term "burnt out" ever slip across your lips when you are thinking about all the things you have to do, even if you are doing them for the glory of God?

Let's face it - sometimes serving in any ministry capacity can be stressful!  But there are things we can do to avoid reaching the point where we are ready to throw in the towel.

On Wednesday, September 19th, I will be featured over at WomensMinistry.net, sharing a One Minute video on How To Avoid Ministry Burnout, including a free handout with 10 Keys To Avoiding Ministry Burnout. 

There will also be 3 chances to win a copy of my new book Stressed-Less Living.

So hop over there and check it out!! 

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Stress Detox Day 10 Daily Giveaway

Wow - I cannot  believe how quickly time flies and that the first ever 10 Day Stress Detox is coming to a close.

I have been so immensely blessed by your participation, the vulnerability and transparency of your comments, and your willingness to share with others. But most of all, I have been blessed by your courage and faith to embark on this journey to becoming less-stressed. I have read every single comment, some of which made me laugh and some made me cry, but each one was special.

I am feeling revitalized by the excitement and encouragement from all of you,and I pray that you are feeling recharged in your faith, and re-energized in your heart!

But let's be honest. No matter how enthusiastic, peaceful, or less-stressed, we may feel right now - guess what? Life will happen. Stress will rage in out of nowhere, or bubble up gradually until it explodes like a volcano. IF we let that happen.

God is our only hope for keeping our heads afloat in this crazy, unpredictable sea called life. Yet, if we consciously make an effort to stay less stressed, by relying on the tips from this challenge and God's Word, then a stressed-less life can be a reality for us all.

I pray that you have been challenged to make God a priority in your life and that you now see more clearly that He is the answer to stress.

Our last giveaway is upon us, so I threw in an extra special goody just for fun (think Peppermint Mocha Latte, skim milk, no whip, extra hot ).

I am so excited about all of you entering to win today's giveaway, because the more you pass the news, the more people will know how to automatically receive seven great freebies, including you!

Thank you for joining me in this adventure, and for helping spread the less-stress message of hope!

Today's Giveaway: 

A signed copy of Stressed-Less Living
Mango Mandarin Triple Moisturizing Body Lotion
A Pillsbury Apple Turnover scented candle
A $5 Starbucks gift card


How to enter to win: 
Share this exciting news today!

During the week of October 2nd through October 7th, I will be offering a special promotion!!

For anyone who purchases a copy of Stressed-Less Living during that week, they will automatically receive 7 FREE GIFTS! All 7 Gifts are outlined on the Stressed-Less Living website 7 FREE GIFTS page, which include a video series, an MP3 session and a Stressed-Less Living Companion Journal.


So to enter today's giveaway -  just Tweet and Facebook about this fun promo announcement! Let's make this idea of being less-stressed through Christ go viral today! 

You can copy and paste the below tweets and posts, or write your own (but be sure to include my twitter address and #stressless, and my name in your Facebook post so I'll know you entered!)

Twitter:

@traciewmiles of P31 will send u 7 FREE GIFTS if you purchase her new book Stressed-Less Living! Details at http://tinyurl.com/9v4tgww #stressless


Want 7 FREE GIFTS to help overcome stress? Just purchase 1 copy of Stressed-Less Living! http://tinyurl.com/9v4tgww @traciewmiles #stressless

7 FREE GIFTS to tackle stress could be yours! Find out how to claim these great gifts at http://tinyurl.com/9v4tgww @traciewmiles  #stressless

Don't be the only one without @traciewmiles new book! And find out how to get her 7 FREE GIFTS! Details at http://tinyurl.com/9v4tgww #stressless

Facebook:

Who doesn't want 7 FREE GIFTS, especially if they help fight the battle of stress?! Check out Tracie Miles' site to learn how you can receive 7 great free gifts with one single purchase of her new book Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace In Your Chaotic World!  Click here for all the details and act before October 7: http://www.stressedlessliving.com/#!7-free-gifts/c7qv  

Could you use some great tools and resources to help you deal with the stress in your life? Tracie Miles of Proverbs 31 Ministries is offering 7 FREE GIFTS to do just that! Check out the Stressed-Less Living FREE GIFTS page  before October 7 for all the details.

Also - if you have a great idea/suggestion for how to further spread the word about these free gifts in your sphere of influence outside of social media, feel free to send me an email!
___________________________________________________________________________
Note: 

If you do not have Facebook and Twitter, share the news on either one. 

If you have neither FB or Twitter, then leave a comment on my blog stating how you can share the news about the free gifts promo in your sphere of influence! If you want me to get in touch with you about your idea, just state that in your comment!


Thank you all so much for participating in the Stressed-Less Journey!!

Due to a website conversion which is scheduled for this week, the 10 daily giveaway winners will be announced on Monday, September 24th (instead of the 19th). So stay tuned!

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Stress Detox Day 9 Daily Giveaway

I once heard a preacher say:  "We cannot control if a bird flies over our head. But we can control whether or not we let that bird build a nest in our hair".

Kind of a funny quote, yet holds a profound meaning.

The world is harsh. The news is packed with daily negativity.  Bad stuff happens. And society teaches us to have an "it's all about me" mentality. To make matters worse, the devil constantly tries to fill our heads with the wrong kind of thoughts. Thoughts that make us feel discouraged, depressed, distressed, less-than, and distanced from God.

If we aren't careful, that tangled up mess of negativity and pessimism can gradually build a nest in our hearts.

If we desire to be an optimist, even in the face of pessimism, and want to avoid any nest building taking place, we must consciously choose to focus on the joy we have in Christ, even when everything in life is not falling into the joyful category.


The fact is, our world thrives on negativity and optimism. But just as God instructs us to remember in Romans 12:2, we do not have to conform to the world's patterns of thinking. We can live in the world, but not of it  - but we must consciously choose to set ourselves apart even when it comes to attitude. There is a lot of negativity flying around, but we don't have to let it settle within us.

God provides streams in the desert even when life seems dry and negative, just as the giveaway book today refers to. How amazing to know that we can swim in that stream of God's goodness and optimism any time we choose.

Today's Giveaway: 
A signed copy of Stressed-Less Living
A Spa Pouf
Streams In The Desert Daily Devotional, by L.B. Cowman
Apple Body Spray

How to enter to win: 

Visit my Facebook page and answer the questions posted on my Wall today, so that your friends can also have an opportunity to ponder the question when they see it on your wall.

Sometimes when we take time to think about what we can do to make changes in our life, change begins to happen.



For those of you who are not on Facebook,  leave a comment to answer this question below:

What one change (possibly based on the suggestions in the 10 Day Stress Detox or your own idea) can you implement right now in your life to take control of your stress, instead of letting your stress control you?


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Friday, September 14, 2012

Stress Detox Day 8 Daily Giveaway


When stress feels like it's casting a dark shadow over our entire life,  we can begin to feel hopeless, confused, and unsure if God's light can still reach us, as far down as we have sunk.  It is exactly that moment when we need to choose to stop focusing on our circumstances, and begin focusing on God.

In good times and bad, we have to choose to pay attention and focus on the message He wants to get through to us.

There have been so many Sunday worship services when I walked into the sanctuary feeling stressed and hopeless, but left the sanctuary with great vision and great hope. Sometimes I get so engrossed in taking notes from the sermons I listen to, that I have to study them afterwards to make sure that I didn't just write words, but that I let them sink into my heart and change me.

You might think that's strange, but I'm just an obsessive-note-taking kind of girl; my teachers used to love me.

But isn't it so easy to sit through a worship service, going through the motions, while letting the message of a sermon go in one ear and out the other, in less time than it takes to get into the car and head to lunch?  Today's giveaway includes a sermon notes journal, so you can make sure to pay attention to God's messages, focusing on the direction and peace found within, and tuck them into your heart to lean on when life gets stressfull.

Today's Giveaway: 
A signed copy of Stressed-Less Living

A pink Sermon Notes Journal

A Mini pedicure set and buffing block

How to enter to win: 

Do you have a special scripture verse about stress or peace that is meaningful to you?

Do you have a notable quote about stress that helps you keep life in perspective, or brings you a chuckle when life gets crazy?

Post either a peace-full verse, or a notable quote about peace and stress (with the author's name if you know it) and you'll be all entered to win!

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Stress Detox Day 7 Daily Giveaway

Forgiveness.  Yuck.

They don't deserve forgiveness. They hurt me.  I tried to forgive, but I can't get past it.

If we can't get past it, we haven't really forgiven. That's a hard truth to swallow, but a truth nonetheless.

I've often said that unforgiveness is like ingesting a toxic poison, then waiting for someone else (the person whom you are not forgiving) to die.

But instead, that poison courses through our veins, not theirs, and keeps us from really experiencing God's grace, goodness, joy... and peace. Unforgiveness ushers in an onslaught of its own stress.

Sometimes it helps to write out our feelings - a letter to our transgressor - just to get those emotions off our chest and release them from our mind.  In private writing, we can vent all of our feelings and pent up emotions, and say everything we want to say, without causing damage to someone else's heart.

But instead of giving the letter to our transgressor, we give it to God, and surrender those hurts over to Him.

Then we crumple up those words into a paper ball, and toss them into the trash where they belong, so that God can replace them with love and the divine ability to forgive. 

Just a simple exercise, which can often bring release, freedom and peace.

So today's giveaway offers a tool for letting go of the hurt, and letting God fill the gaps, so that your heart can be cleansed of the poison that might be taking more of a toll on you than you realize.

Of course, these notecards can be used for sweet love letters and notes of encouragement too. And you can definitely put those in the mail.

Today's Giveaway: 

A signed copy of Stressed-Less Living

A green and pink Paisley set of 20 notecards and envelopes, tied up with a pretty pink ribbon

A spa Pouf


How to enter to win: 

Isn't it always a great feeling to share one of God's truths that could change a life?  :)

Forward the Day 7 Stress Detox article, that you received in email today, to a friend or group of friends in your contacts list.



For me to know who has entered:   You can either copy me on your forwarded email, or come back and leave a blog comment stating how many people you forwarded the email to.

My email: traciewmiles@carolina.rr.com

(I will NEVER reply or send to any emails, this is only to keep track of giveaway entries!)


* If you are not receiving the stress detox emails this go round, then feel free to forward your friend(s) today's blog post, or the below link to one of my past blog post which focuses on this hard subject of forgiveness. Then copy me, or hop back over and leave your comment about who you shared with!

http://www.traciewmiles.com/2010/07/did-i-really-forgive.html





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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Stress Detox Day 6 Daily Giveaway


Years ago when I was a church pew dweller, but not a true Jesus lover, I didn't understand the term "experiencing God". I thought God was Someone to worship, and out of reach, not Someone to have a relationship with, who could reach out and touch me in divine ways.

And then my husband and I went through a bible study called Experiencing God, and my view of this term was changed. I realized that going to church does not make us experience God. Although it does provide a tool for opening our hearts so that we can learn how to experience Him,  ultimately it's up to us to make that relationship happen. 

Encounters with God are the biggest privilege we can experience in our Christian lives, and today's giveaway will hopefully help someone who needs to know God loves them and wants to get to know them personally, have an experience of His love that they cannot deny.

Today's Giveaway: 
A signed copy of Stressed-Less living
Experiencing God Day by Day Devotional, by Henry T. and Richard Blackaby
A Pillsbury Cinnamon Roll scented candle

How to enter to win: 
My prayer is that for those of you who are going through this stress detox with me have experienced God in a special way over the past week, and that the daily Detox Challenges have really given you something to think about.

For those of you who are not signed up for the detox, I pray God has spoken to your heart through the snippets I am posting on these giveaway days.  If so, be sure to watch for when signups begin in mid-September for the next Stress Detox so you can read the full posts and implement the daily challenges into your life.

Friends, to enter today's giveaway, I just want to hear from your heart. Leave a comment telling me which of the 6 Stress Detox posts so far have been your favorite, and how God may have used it to create an experience with you.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stress Detox day 5 Daily Giveaway

The other day I posted a quote on the Stressed-Less Living book fan page that simply said "Is everything as urgent as your stress would imply?"

If we are honest with ourselves, our answer would probably be NO! Yet even knowing that, we still race through life, often without taking time to stop and smell the roses, or the Sweet Pea.

Sometimes we just need to pause and take time to rest. Physically, and spiritually.  We know that the Bible encourages us to be still and focus on God, in our hearts and in our actions, but this is especially hard when life is going one hundred miles an hour.

Today I want to encourage you to stop and rest, no matter how much chaos and busyness calls for your attention. Take a breather. Set aside time for Jesus. Slow down the pace. And maybe even pamper yourself a little bit. Rest in every form is good for the soul. So just be still.

And since it is the anniversary of 9/11, during your 'still' time today, be sure to pause and pray for all the families that were affected, and for God to cover our country with protection and provision. 

Today's Giveaway: 
A signed copy of Stressed-Less Living
Sweet Pea Body Lotion
A Spa Pouf
A Mini Manicure set
A Worship CD

How to enter to win:
Click here to visit the Stressed-Less Living Facbook page, and "LIKE" it.    Then recommend the page to your Facebook friends!  Once you have done both of those things, hop back over here to my blog and leave a comment saying "I LIKED it and shared it!"

Isn't this fun!?   :) 

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Stress Detox Day 4 Daily Giveaway

I had so much fun, and even got teared up a few times, while reading all the fragrant memories that were posted on Friday''s giveaway entries! Special thanks to all who participated!

I've always heard people rave about journaling and how important it is, especially when it comes to a spiritual walk with Jesus. But to be perfectly honest, I never really felt it was for me, or that I had time to do it.

And who even uses a pencil anymore?  Once when I tried to fill out a form for my daughter at school, I felt like I had forgotten how to write?!  Because we spend so much time on computers and smart phones,  our fingers feel foreign with a writing utensil clutched in them.

But despite my rustiness in using a pencil at that time, I have since learned that journaling can bring great stress relief.

A couple years ago I kept a journal every single day for 365 days while I read through the Chronological Bible. Not only did it provide an outlet for me to express my feelings and write out my burdens, stressors and prayers, but it also allowed for treasured encounters with God that I may not have had otherwise.

That journal is now a precious keepsake. I can look back and remember what I was thinking, feeling, experiencing, and praying, and how God worked in those situations and brought me through them. It's also neat to have a glimpse into the past, and not just from looking at a still photograph.

Today's giveaway is meant to help you kick off the habit of journaling in the hopes that it can become something that you enjoy and treasure. After all, we all need to pick up a pencil every now and then, just for old times sake. And the spiritual benefits are pretty incredible.

Today's Giveaway: 
A signed copy of Stressed-Less Living

John 3:16 Writing Journal

Sweet Lavender Scented Candle

How to enter to win: 

Introduce your Twitter friends to the Stressed-Less Living website by sending a tweet today!

To make it quick and easy, I've crafted a few pre-made tweets below, or you are welcome to write your own (just be sure to include @traciewmiles and  #stressless in your tweet so I can keep track of entries!)


Ready-to-go Tweets: 

Is there relief for stress that you may be overlooking? Visit this new website for more info. http://tinyurl.com/8th4bmu @traciewmiles #stressless

Are you tired of feeling frazzled and burnt out? Need stress relief that lasts? Check out @traciewmiles   http://tinyurl.com/8th4bmu #stressless

If you are drowning in stress and desperate for change,visit @traciewmiles Stressed-Less Living website http://tinyurl.com/8th4bmu #stressless


Note: If you are not a Twitter user, leave a comment about your thoughts on journaling and how it might be a beneficial tool in your spiritual walk.


** If you are interested in reading through the Chronological Bible or simply making a commitment to do daily Bible reading to help keep your stress at bay, click HERE for a previous post that explains further about the journal I kept that year, and how to make one of your own.



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Friday, September 7, 2012

Stress Detox Day 3 Daily Giveaway

Sometimes life, or people in life, can make us feel like we've been beat up, run over and left in a pit.

Hurtful words, criticism, the weight of stress and the shame of failure can build up in our hearts over time, causing us to see ourselves through tainted lens.

Many times I have felt so beaten down, that I wondered if I had the strength to climb out of the pit - a pit filled with self-doubt, insecurities, and a lack of self confidence. Ye somehow, every time, God gave me the strength climb back up by reminding me that my value lies in who He is, not in who I am, and certainly not based on the opinions of others.

Sometimes when we are feeling discouraged, although God is the only true spirit lifter,  sweet fragrances can calm our spirit and make us smile.  In fact, since our sense of smell is closely linked to the emotional center of our brains, just one whiff of a sweet or aromatic fragrance can bring a feeling of calmness, and even conjure up a host of pleasant memories.

Hopefully today's giveaway can offer an emotional lift through your senses, while God's message of hope over our stress offers a spiritual lift.

Today's Giveaway:
A signed copy of Stressed-Less Living

A Bodycology lotion set including fragrances of Vanilla Sugar, Cherry Blossom and White Gardenia

A Spa Loofah

How To Enter To Win: 

Close your eyes and think of a scent or smell that brings back pleasant memories and warms your heart. 

Leave a comment about what your special fragrant memory is and how it helps take you back mentally to a place of serenity and brings a smile to your face.


(For example, an aroma that is tucked away in my memory bank is chocolate fudge cooking on the stove. When I breathe in the sweet chocolatey smell, my mind is taken back to going to my grandmother's house as a child, and the feeling of peace, comfort and familiarity that would melt into my heart as soon as I walked in. I also love the smell of evergreen scented candles and toasted almonds, because they remind me of Christmas, my favorite time of year.)


** The Stress Detox will continue next week! The Day 4 Stress Detox challenge will be posted on Monday, September 10th. Over the weekend, consider praying over the ways God may have spoken to your heart this week, and ask Him for enthusiasm, motivation and an open, willing heart to participate in all of next week's challenges and giveaways!**





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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Stress Detox Day 2 Daily Giveaway


Before I tell you about today's giveaway, I felt compelled to share how moved I was yesterday at not only the incredible response to the Day 1 stress detox, but also at all the stressors and heartaches that so many of you are facing. Over 260 comments were posted, but the reality is that the real number of stressors mentioned, and those unmentioned, are infinite. 

There were countless unique challenges mentioned, and many common stressors that we all share, but each one made me pause and pray. My heart sunk upon reading some of your concerns and felt burdened for the stress running rampant in everyone's life. I have read and prayed over all these comments, and will be seeking God's guidance about addressing them more closely in the coming weeks. But in the meantime, please know that prayers are being lifted up for all of you. 


Today's stress detox message talks about the real picture of peace, versus our distorted views of peace in today's world.

Reading and listening to worship music is an excellent way to not only settle down after a long stressful day, but also opens our hearts to hear from God and let His peace sink in. So it seems only appropriate to give some incentive to do just that with today's giveaway.  These  giveaway items, along with your own personal Bible, are perfect to set the mood for some soul searching, heart cleansing, and gentle quiet time with Jesus.

Today's Giveaway items include: 

A signed copy of Stressed-Less Living

A soothing worship CD

A pink Taskbright mini-book lamp so you can read in any quiet area of your choice


How to enter to win today's giveaway: 

Simply share the link to the Stressed-Less Living book website on your Facebook page, with a brief comment about it to your friends. Be sure to 'tag' me in your post so I can keep track of everyone who enters to win.  (If we aren't friends yet, feel free to send me a request!)

Here is the link to the website: www.stressedlessliving.com

Happy posting and good luck!

** If you are not a Facebook user and want to enter the giveaway, just leave a quick comment saying "Me too!", and you're name will still be entered into the drawing.  Smiles. :-) Good 'ol word of mouth is awesome as well! 

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I Just Couldn't Help Myself..... & Stress Detox Day 1 Giveaway

If you are visiting my blog today after receiving the Kickoff, and the Stress Detox Day One email, then I'm so glad you are here! I pray that your enthusiasm is peaked after kicking off your stress-less journey, and I look forward to your coming back every day to enter to win the giveaways and stay plugged into our sweet sisterhood. (If you are not currently signed up for the Stress Detox, be sure to visit my blog after September 18th so you can get signed up for the next detox journey!)

As I stated last week, my plan was that only those who signed up for the Detox would be eligible for the prizes.

But..but...I have a confession to make - I'm a softie. 

You see, I got so excited about the thought of officially kicking off the 10 Day Stress Detox, and giving away all the fluffy goodie bags, that I just didn't want to leave anyone out. My softie traits emerged, and I couldn't help myself. :)

So for all of you who procrastinated about signing up for the Stress Detox, or who simply feel you are not stressed out and don't need a detox right now, I have a surprise for you!

I want to give everyone an opportunity to participate (because who doesn't like to win free stuff?!).

Each day during the detox I will be posting the instructions here on my blog for what you can do to enter to win the daily giveaways.  Giveaway instructions will be posted every week day between September 4th - September 18th ( no weekends ).

All 10 Winners will be announced on Wednesday, September 19th, so if you enter to win any of the daily giveaways but you aren't subscribed to my blog already, be sure to check back on that day to see if you won!  Or subscribe today to be sure you don't miss out on any pertinent announcements.

So, drum roll please......  Here are your instructions for how to enter the Stress Detox Day 1 giveaway - the very first giveaway of the 10 daily prizes: 

Today's Giveaway: 
 A personalized, signed copy of Stressed-Less Living, hot off the press!  (Personalized for you, or for a friend) 

A wonderful devotional bookm titled 31 Days of Praise by Ruth & Warren Meyers

A spa loofah.
To Enter To Win:
Leave a comment here on my blog stating what the biggest stressor is in your life right now, and commit to surrendering that situation to God from this day forward. Your comment can be as short or as long as you wish. 



* Please note: If you are posting as "anonymous", remember to state your first name and your city/state along with your comment., so you can be easily identified if your name is drawn. 

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

10 Fluffy Reasons To Sign Up for The Stress Detox

The very first 10 Day Stress Detox will kickoff on Tuesday, September 4th! Are you signed up?

Once this original challenge is complete, there will be other opportunities to sign up for the Detox journey, however, this initial challenge is the only time that lots of great freebies, in addition to 10 copies of my new book, will be given away every single day for ten straight days!

Below is a picture of all the fun (and fluffy!) prizes, ready to be won next week!  Giveaways will include 10 personalized signed copies of my new book, Stressed-Less Living, in addition to other motivational books, various spa items, worship CD's, scented lotions and candles, Starbucks gift cards, and more!



So if you have been hesitating about subscribing, get signed up by 10:00pm on September 3rd. After all, you have nothing to lose, and less stress to gain.


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Friday, August 31, 2012

You're Invited to Join Tracie's Troop!


UPDATE: 9/4/12 - What an awesome response for participation in this special group!  Unfortunately all spots are filled now, but keep checking back for more opportunities to get involved! 

Hi friends - as I'm sure you've heard (because I talk about it all the time!), my new book is being released in four short weeks!

I thought it would be so much fun to have a special team of women walking along side me to help spread the excitement and create social buzz about this new book to as many people as possible. My goal is not to promote me , but to promote God's message that hope and deliverance from stress is possible when we learn to rely on His peace at all times. I want to help people discover that God is the cure for the stress epidemic!

When I was pondering the thought of forming this special group, I started praying about what to call it, and  suddenly God brought the word "troop" to mind. After looking up the exact definition, I decided that was perfect! Go God! :) 

The word "troop" simply means  a great number or multitude; a body of soldiers; people who flock or march together. 

And that is exactly what my desire for Tracie's Troop is -  a body of God's girls (aka soldiers) marching forward together in confidence to spread the word about the joy and peace that can be found in Christ. 

So why would you want to consider joining Tracie's Troop?

By being of member of Tracie's Troop, you will receive the following benefits: 
* A free electronic version of my new book Stressed-Less Living before the release date (which can be uploaded to your Nook or Kindle, if desired).
* Access to a private Facebook group where we can chat together.
* Invited to participate in a private group conference call with me at the end of September.
* Be the first to know about any new or exciting P31 news, Stressed-Less Living updates, special giveaways, etc.
* Be a part of a close sisterhood who all have one goal in mind - to glorify God!
* Automatically entered into a special Troop drawing to win a Stress Less Gift Pack, which includes two copies of my new book hot off the press, and some special spa items to help you relax.

As a member of the Troop, I would kindly ask for the following: 
* Pray for God to bless this message about stress, and reach His intended readers. 
* Have an active sphere of influence  and be willing to communicate through social media (through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, a personal blog, ministry organization or women's ministry, or large bible study).
* For those who have an active blog, chat with me about being a potential guest post.
* Get involved in some group brainstorming and fun discussions about how to best promote this message.
* Agree to write a brief review of the book and post it on Amazon before October 1st.

In a nutshell - members will be asked to pray, socialize, communicate and recommend. Easy enough, right?! My utmost prayer is that members will be blessed by the benefits they will receive by being a part of this fun initiative. So, if you have a strong social media presence and enjoy 'socializing' with others, then I promise you will enjoy the Troop!

What do you think? Are you interested in becoming a member of Tracie's Troop? 

If so - simply copy and paste the below information list into an email, answer the questions, and forward the email to me.  I can only accept 40 women into the Troop at this time, so if you're interested, don't delay!  Group communication will begin in September!

1. Copy and Paste Below List Into An Email  (put Tracie's Troop as the subject)
2. Fill in Answers 
3. Email to Tracie: 

Name: 
Email address: 
Phone number:
Name and city of your home church: 

Your Blog or Website Address (if applicable): 
# Blog subscribers

Twitter Handle: 
# Twitter followers:

Facebook Address 
# Facebook friends:

Pinterest Address
# Pinterest Followers:

1. Why would you like to be a part of Tracie’s Troop? 

2. What special ways could  you personally or uniquely help spread the word about Stressed-Less Living?

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mom Alert: The One Thing You Might Be Missing


Today I am featuring my friend and P31 sister, Lynn Cowell, to help get the word out about her awesome new devotional book for teen girls releasing next week, called Devotions For A Revolutionary Year. This is an accompanying devotional book to her recent book for teens, called His Revolutionary Love, which I loved and have two copies of. 

This is a must have for anyone who plays a role in developing a young girls heart, especially if she lives in your own home. Read below for more info:

A MESSAGE FROM LYNN: 

Do you ever worry that in all of your efforts to raise your kids right, to invest in the young people in your church or influence the teens in your family you might be missing something…something really important? 

I discovered that really important thing.

Although I said that it was important for my kids to know God’s word, my life didn’t reflect it was important. My life said was softball, piano, homework, voice lessons, youth group and school were important. In the craziness of the way we live life today, one thing was missing: reading my kids God’s word.

The problem was when. I had one child in high school, one in middle and another in elementary. With one driving, one acting like she could and another a long way off, it didn’t seem feasible that we could find a time to read God’s word together. I looked at the crowded schedule and came up with one conclusion: breakfast. If I would adjust the morning routine so we would all land at the breakfast table at the same time. I would read to them while they ate.

That was over four years ago. My son is now long gone to college, my middle child a senior and my baby a sophomore. School started on Monday and so did our routine of breakfast together before school.

Do my kids know every story in the Bible? No. In fact, I’m sure you could find some holes in their faith that I still need to fill. But I do find peace that each morning I am intentionally filling their heart with God’s truth before they hit the halls of their high school.

Do you need some help filling those holes too? I've got just the tool to help! Check out my 7 Day Faith Builder, which offers seven days of devotions straight from my new book Devotions for a Revolutionary Year which can be sent directly to your inbox. These devotions are designed to speak to the issues that girls face each day; especially as school is back in full swing.

Maybe you’re looking for a resource to last longer than seven days? “Devotions for a Revolutionary Year; 365 Days of Jesus’ Radical Love for You” is written specifically for girls ages 13 – 17, each day addressing issues close to a young girl’s heart such as body image, crushes, performance, and social media. “Devotions for a Revolutionary Year” fills a girl’s heart with the truth that only Jesus’ can fill the love gap in her heart. Seeing God does have something to say about the important things in her world, she can establish a history with God and a pattern to last a lifetime. 

 In “Devotions for a Revolutionary Year” I help young women to: 

* Begin each day with truth from Jesus
* Develop the habit of spending time daily with Jesus
* Apply God's wisdom to the choices she makes each day
* Find positive self-worth in Jesus' perfect love
* Make decisions that honor God & not follow her feelings 
* Empower her heart to choose relationships that are beneficial, not painful 

So stop by Lynn's website today at www.lynncowell.com where is she is giving a Faith Builder pack, which includes a carry bag, a "Jesus" t-shirt, a copy of her book His Revolutionary Love and a "sweatshirt" journal!

Mom Alert: The One Thing You Might Be MissingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Monday, August 27, 2012

Who Do You Think You Are?

The other night I was working diligently on the final proofread of my manuscript for my upcoming book, Stressed-Less Living, and as I progressed through the pages, reading words that I had written months ago, I began to feel very inadequate.

An onslaught of insecurities and doubts began to flood my thoughts, and I seemed to lose my ability to focus on the content of the pages. Questions began to swirl through my mind like debris caught in a tornado, clouding my ability to focus. 

Questions like....... Who do you think you are?  You're not a bible scholar, an ordained preacher, a doctor, or even possess any of the qualifications that might make someone qualified to write a book. You are not worthy. And you are certainly not always stress free. Remember just last week when you were so stressed your head was spinning? You are not equipped. In fact, why would you even think God called you to do this? Maybe you misunderstood? Seems a little presumptuous that God would call you to do anything, considering all your flaws. Maybe you should quit.

I suddenly felt paralyzed by feelings of inferiority, unworthiness, and fear of failure. But thankfully, within moments, I sensed God whispering to my spirit, gently overriding the other voice I was listening to, and reminding me that the enemy was up to his tactics again. Tactics that cause discouragement, doubt, self condemnation and fear. Tactics that lead to quitting when we feel unworthy, and when the path seems unknown.

You see, many times in the past, I have fallen prey to these tactics. On countless occasions, I have experienced this flood of insecurities raging into my heart and mind, like a knife plunging into my self confidence, causing me to doubt myself, my willingness to obey God, and even teeter with the idea of quitting.

So when the devil began to fill my head with these same types of insecurities again, I was prepared to fight back. I stopped what I was doing, closed my eyes, and prayed, asking God to reassure me of what He had called me to do. Asking Him for courage and strength and confidence., while seeking confirmation that I was following His will, and not my own.

The very next morning I opened my Jesus Calling devotion, and tears came to my eyes. God's Words washed over my spirit with sweet, unexpected reassurance.

The daily post that I read said this :

"Wait with me for a while. I have much to tell you. You are walking along the path I have chosen for you. It is both a privileged and a perilous way: experiencing My glorious Presence and heralding that reality to others. Sometimes you feel presumptuous to be carrying out such as assignment. Do not worry about what other people think of you. The work I am doing in you is hidden at first. But eventually blossoms will burst forth, and abundant fruit will be borne. Stay on the path of Life with Me. Trust me wholeheartedly, letting My Spirit fill you with Joy and Peace." 

As I allowed this divine message to sink into my heart, I was refueled by witnessing the reality that God heard my prayer for reassurance, and answered. Excitement coursed through my veins as I read that He has much to tell me; that I am on the right path, even though it feels unsure; and that although I feel unworthy and unqualified, He has a plan, though it may be hidden from me right now. A reminder to trust Him, even when I am feeling unworthy.

As I thought back about all those swirling questions that caught my focus that night, I realized they all had one thing in common.  They were all focused on what I am not - instead of what I am.

I am a child of God. I am imperfect, but made whole in Christ. I am blessed with a Savior. I am privileged to serve God, despite myself and my sin.  I am His child, His beloved, His chosen.

And so are you.
 
The devil's job is to discourage us from pursuing the assignments that God lays on our hearts, by reminding us of all the ways we don't measure up. We all sin and fall short of God's glory, but those shortcomings do not prevent us from being used by Him for good things. And those shortcomings definitely do not change who we are in Christ.

Have you ever stopped doing something that you felt God had laid on your heart, because the enemy fed you a heaping portion of insecurity and doubt? Have you felt presumptuous in assuming that God wanted to use you to glorify Him in some way?

Have you walked off the path you felt called to, because you felt paralyzed by your own limitations or flawed opinion of your self worth?

If so, take a moment today and pray for God to reassure you of His love, your value in Him, and His call on your life. Be aware of whose voice you are listening to, and ask yourself whether or not the things you have been believing about yourself can be backed up by God's Word.

Most importantly, make a conscious choice through prayer to stop focusing on all the things 'you are not'.  And instead, remember all the things you are, simply because of Whose you are.

Who Do You Think You Are?SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, August 24, 2012

5 Tips for Abiding in Christ

TIME IS RUNNING OUT TO SIGN UP FOR MY FREE 10 DAY STRESS DETOX BEGINNING SEPTEMBER 4TH!!    SUBSCRIBE BY ENTERING YOUR INFORMATION IN THE BOX TO THE RIGHT. 
(Note:  The Detox Challenge will not be sent out to regular subscribers right now, so if you're interested in participating and jump starting your journey to less stress, get signed up today!)

If you're hopping over here from my Proverbs 31 devotion today, then welcome!  For all my regular bloggy friends, happy Friday!

The message of today's Proverbs 31 devotion, Can't Do It Alone, was that although we think we are capable of handling life, and circumstances, on our own, we simply are not. Despite all the experience, training, skills or maturity we may possess,  we will constantly be faced with frustration and discouragement if we try to have authority over our lives, instead of surrendering to God's authority and recognizing our need for His intervention and help. 

The word "abide" means 'to remain, continue, or dwell in; to continue in a particular condition, attitude or relationship".  I think sometimes we make the thought of 'abiding in Christ' harder than it needs to be. Our minds envision someone 'abiding in Christ' as a person who is super spiritual all the time, quoting scripture, preaching on stage, or meditating for hours on end. Although those things are good, they are not requirements for abiding in Christ.

Let's look at it this way - the opposite of the word abide is 'to leave, quit or refuse'. So to abide in Christ means to live in Him and allow Him to live in you - the opposite of refusing Him, leaving Him, or ceasing to believe. 

Abiding in Christ is simply a commitment to be in a relationship with Him, and our commitment will compel us to carry out the behaviors that bear fruit in our lives.  Below are 5 tips for abiding in Christ to help you in your daily quest to stay connected to the Vine as we are encouraged to do in John 15:5.

1. Recognize your need for God. 
    John 6:35  Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again.     Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."

2. Believe that He is capable of handling your life, and the problems within. 
    2 Corinthians 9:8  "And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have               everything you need and plenty left over to share with others."

3. Remember you are chosen by God, and He wants to be in an intimate relationship with you.
   1 Peter 2:9 "......  for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own       possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the             darkness into his wonderful light."

4. Communicate with God as you go about your day and enjoy conversation with Him.
    1 Thessalonians 5:17  "Never stop praying."

5. Obey His Word. Allow His instructions to guide your behaviors and actions.
    1 John 3:24 "Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with            them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us."

Abiding in Christ does not determine our eternal security - only our faith in Him does that. Yet, His call to abide in Him is intended for our own good. He knows that when we dwell in Him, and experience His presence in our lives, we will be filled with peace, comfort and assurance of His sovereignty and unconditional love.  We will be equipped to handle stressful situations when they flood into our lives. We will be capable of surviving the storms of life, because we dwell in Him.

When we experience His love, we will live out our lives as an expression of His love, and that is a true sign of really abiding.

* My 10 Day Stress Detox would be a great tool to help you really focus on making abiding in Christ a priority in your faith walk and in your life! Sign up soon if you are interested!




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