Pouring Out My Oil: {Guest Post by Kerry Ann Todd}

{*Today’s post is written by my blogger/instagram friend Kerry. Sh is a woman of God, wife, mother, writer, and essential oils enthusiast and educator. I hope you enjoy her words here today, and if you do, head to her blog to read more or her Instagram to connect with a little bit of her day to day life. Be blessed, Alesha}

I’m selfish and ambitious all at the same time. I have ideas that keep me up at night and wake me up in the morning but then I’m scared to share those ideas because they might not be good enough. I’m scared to share them and voice them because it might be my last one. It might be my last good idea. Another one may never come. Such is the life of a creative, I’m learning.

  <img src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/55c38a57e4b00989028332c9/1563219491829-5WOS51CQDRCUYBYYP386/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kEpVg-ILAPna1wRh-xAJ9fRZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWQUxwkmyExglNqGp0IvTJZUJFbgE-7XRK3dMEBRBhUpwEv36x-EUL2-BSQ5feDhwGCbXuJBFqZ-erYzVouT8yOb9TwqchglLQOCYTRn7ZGxI/KerryToddGuestPost.jpg?format=original" alt=""/>

I have these ideas for essential oils classes, and gifts I want to send, and cards and letters I want to mail, meals I want to serve to my friends and neighbors, books and articles I want to write. And they come into my brain and then there is this mechanism in there, this program, that stops them.

The cycle usually goes like this:

The thought comes in. I think in words and so I just hear or see a bunch of words. I get really excited about it because I am easily excitable and ideas are my jam. I love hearing them, thinking about them and dreaming about them. I start thinking about the audience. I think of people in my real life who represent people everywhere and how this new idea could help them. I can literally think of nothing else at this moment. Because I love pictures, I start to think of graphics and pretty pictures to accompany the idea. I’m almost obsessing at this point, I’m sure if you took my blood pressure it would be elevated because I’m that excited. And this is where the enemy comes in. This is where the critical voice tells me that I’ve tried something similar before and never finished it. The critical voice tells me that I don’t have a huge enough audience. It reminds me of that IG superstar who did something similar months ago and how much of a success it was because of her huge following and her amazing graphic design skills. This is where my idea literally starts to wheeze but instead of saving it, instead of helping it to breathe by fanning some oxygen its way. Instead of taking its hand, I usually walk away because I’m scared.

I was listening to a youtube interview with Les Brown and he said this:

Imagine if you will being on your death bed- And standing around your bed- the ghosts of the ideas, the dreams, the abilities, the talents given to you by life. And that you for whatever reason, you never acted on those ideas, you never pursued that dream, you never used those talents, we never saw your leadership, you never used your voice, you never wrote that book. And there they are standing around your bed looking at you with large angry eyes saying we came to you, and only you could have given us life! Now we must die with you forever. The question is- if you die today what ideas, what dreams, what abilities, what talents, what gifts, would die with you?

This is not what I want for my life. These dreams, these talents, these abilities. They may not be the greatest, but they are mine. They are what I’ve been entrusted with. And this audience, these people in my life, they may not be the largest. But they are what I have been entrusted with. I’m reminded of the story of the widow in the Bible, who owed a lot of money. You can find it in 2 Kings 4:1-7. It’s a short story but it in the woman has to exercise great faith to listen to Elijah. She goes into more debt borrowing jars from her neighbors but obeys and pours out her little oil and miraculously fills up all of the jars she borrowed. Not one is left empty. Then she sells all the oil and pays off her debts and saves her sons. Her neighbors entrusted her with their jars and she went into her house, shut the door and filled them up with her little bit of oil.

I feel like that woman. I have all of these jars I’ve been entrusted with. I have these talents and these gifts and these passions. And I have a little bit of oil. A little bit of love and experience and desire. And Jesus is trusting me to pour it out. He is trusting me to take the ideas, the book ideas, the blog ideas and the business ideas and run with them. They may never be perfect but the obedience and the lessons from trying, from working something, from writing something, will be worth it.

So here I am, Lord. Here are these words and this space and these people you have given me the privilege of speaking to. Take it, use it, make something of it. Make something of me and of these stories. Make something of the pain and the beauty. It can’t be all about me. It has to be all about you.

You can connect with Kerry on her blog or on Instagram.

Yes and No: The Main Reason We Don’t Attain Our Goals

{Hello friends. A few days ago my husband, Travis, and I were talking. I was sharing my frustration with myself and my failure to follow through on some goals. The result of this conversation was this post. He wanted me to write it, but he said it so well that I told him to instead. I think you will be truly challenged, encouraged, and blessed by it.}

It’s the end of Feburary. Many of us have quit our new year resolutions, while others of us have drastically cut back on our ambitious goals. What is it that keeps us from fultfilling our well-intentioned plans?

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I’ve heard many good reasons in the past:

We don’t write them down…

We don’t create action steps…

We don’t have accountability…

We don’t set time to review…

And the list goes on.

But is there one thing we can do differently that would drastically increase our success rate? I believe there is.

Recently, Alesha and I were talking about the goals we set earlier in the year. Some of them are so far successful, while others are not. As we talked, Alesha said something very interesting:

“I know what I have to do. I need to stop going on social media in the morning before I do my morning routine. If I did that then most of my goals would be going great.”

When she said that, it made me think of a post I’d written last October on waking up earlier. In the post I talked about how I think that if you want to wake up earlier, the discipline you need isn’t so much in waking up at a specific time, but in choosing to go to bed earlier.

I think the same is true for goal-setting.

When we set goals, we tend to focus on what we need to do to fulfill them. I think…

We should spend just as much time choosing what not to do as we do choosing what to do.

Think about it this way:

You have 24 hours in a day. Currently, you are spending those 24 hours whichever way you want. Then comes a goal you want to achieve. You focus on adding a new habit, or rhythm into your life, but you never once think about the fact that you day is already full of 24 hours worth of activity.

In order for us to do anything new, we have to remove something else. It is literally impossible for us to add any new habit or goal into our lives without subtracting something else first.

Today is already filled with 24 hours of activity. For many of us, these activities will include things such as:


Meal prep


Meal clean-up





Social Media


Reading a blog (at least this one)

And much much more!

But not all these things are worthwhile. Some of them add value. But maybe even the ones that ”add value” don’t drive us in the direction we want our lives to go. We can’t fix that by simply setting new goals.

We need to choose what we will remove from our busy lives just as much as we need to choose what habits and goals we wish to add.

Otherwise, we’ll continue to fail.

We’ll continue to have unmet goals and ambitions.

So what goals have you set recently? Have you thought about what habits and things in your life have to be removed in order to add these new things in?

What will you quit doing, in order to start doing something else better?

And as the saying goes:

“Say NO to good things, so you can say YES to great things.”

May we all learn how to say “no”, so that we can begin to say “yes” more frequently.

{be blessed}

Messages From a Mountain: {Part 1}

 {This the first in a five part series that my husband, Travis, wrote for our church’s blog. I enjoyed the simple, clear message of these posts and wanted to share the first one with you. You can find links to the rest of the series at the end of this post.}

Matthew 6 is a chapter FULL of assumptions. By assumptions, I mean that when Jesus is teaching, He is not saying that giving, praying, fasting, spending, and living are optional. Far from it! He is assuming that you will do all of these things, and then He tells you how to do them well.

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The first of these assumptions is found in verses 1-4.

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Jesus ASSUMES that you will give. He assumes that you will give generously. He assumes that you will give to the church, to family, to friends, and to complete strangers. The question isn’t if you should, but HOW you should. Jesus starts with a summary of the problem:

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” -Matthew 6:1

Jesus does not condemn us for wanting a reward for our giving. However, He is saying that you only get a reward from either God or man, but not both.

So often people think that doing something for the reward or result is wrong, but Jesus doesn’t say that. When His disciples argued over who was the greatest, He didn’t rebuke them for desiring to be great. Far from it! He instead told them how to be great in God’s Kingdom. (Luke 22:24-30).

We see the same concept here: Jesus isn’t upset at our desire for reward, but He warns us that to gain a heavenly reward, we need to remove our desire for early ones.

When we give, we need to have the mindset of showing God’s love to others. When we give, we need the priority of doing God’s work on earth. When we give, we need a heart of gratitude for all that God has first given to us.

On the flip side, an extreme view of “giving in secret” can be damaging to many Christians. They take this passage to mean that if anyone finds out you gave, then all rewards from God are gone. This leads to people who are constantly in fear of their reward being stolen away and are trying to cover up their tracks in order to preserve their reward. Was this the kind of obsession Jesus meant to create?

I think not.

Jesus emphasized that the problem comes when people give in order that “they may be praised by others.” People in His day, and ours as well, would give with trumpets sounding before them and with other large demonstrations. This was all to gain the praise of men.

The issue isn’t if someone finds out, but what the motivation is. You could have a heart of desiring someone to catch you putting money in the tithe box, but then no one does. The Bible teaches that your reward in heaven can be taken away even if no one sees you give, because it’s a matter of the heart.

So what do we need to take away from this?

1) We are expected to give.

2) We only get a reward in heaven if our motives and desires reflect the heart of God.

3) With all of these expectations we are given by Jesus, we need to remember that they all require the power and working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Money is naturally a snare because it feeds our sinful hearts in whatever way we desire. Power. Pleasure. Security. Fame. Popularity. Etc. When reflecting on what God would desire you to do with the money He’s given you and how He would desire you to use it, make sure you leave time to pray and seek God’s wisdom, guidance, and power to act in a way that will glorify Him.

Part 2: As You Pray 

Part 3: As You Fast

Part 4: As You Spend 

Part 5: As You Live

 {I hope these posts encourage and challenge you as much as they did me.}

Be Blessed

Keeping it Real: {Is Realistic Really True?}

Pastor Steven Furtick wrote…“I tend to be one of those people who takes great pride in calling it like I see it. I say things like, ‘I’m not being grumpy or negative or pessimistic. I’m just keeping it real.’ …so what if, instead of calling it like we see it, we begin to call it like God says it?” – Crash the Chatterbox

I could have written that…at least the first half.
And the second half of this paragraph hit me full force.

“What if, instead of calling it like we see it, we begin to call it like God says it?”

What if we stopped preaching doom and gloom?
What if we stopped calling it all stress and crazy?
What if we stopped labeling life as too much and too hard and too busy and too exhausting and too difficult?

Because God says that He’ll never give us too much.
Because God says that this life will be hard, but not too hard.

And it may seem like just words, but words are powerful.

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and words have the power of God in them. Words have the power to literally breathe life — to literally reshape the atoms of real lives.”Ann Voskamp

Words have the power of life and death.
Words have the power to heal or destroy.

And if you’re speaking stress all you will see is stress and all you will create is stress.
And if you’re speaking grace you will be see grace and live grace and produce grace.
And if you’re speaking anxious you will feel anxious and be anxious and create anxious all around you.
And if you’re speaking praise you will feel joy and thanks and you’ll see the good hand of God working in every area of your life…because God is working. Because God is good. Because God is always there.

And the truth is….God is giving you good.
And the truth is….God is working in your life.
And the truth is….God is maturing and growing you.
And the truth is….God is give you grace and more grace.
And the truth is….God is looking at you with a smile of joy.
And the truth is….God is planning something far bigger than you can see.
And the truth is….God is pouring out daily blessings all around you whether you see them or not.

And what is true is what is really realistic.

And if you’re speaking the truth of God’s Word then you will see and believe the truth of God’s Word, but if you are speaking the lies of pessimism then they are all you will see.

Pessimism is a lie.
Because even in the darkest place God is there and God is good and God is with you and God is holding you and God is working in you and God is blessing you and God is healing you and God is guiding you and God is preparing you for eternity with Him.

“What if, instead of calling it like we see it, we begin to call it like God says it?”

Be blessed

Day 13: This Journey {Guest Post}

Sisters, today let me introduce you to a sweet, gentle hearted blogger that I’ve gotten to know the past year or so. You can’t read her blog without seeing how deeply and beautifully she loves God. I hope you are blessed by the words I’ve asked her to share today. So take a deep breath and let the truths of her heart ring true in yours.

I am so thankful to be sharing with you ladies here, to be part of the encouragement Alesha is doing so effectively. Its funny because the more I grow older and go through different seasons in life, the more I see how the Lord uses each of us in so many different ways. 

Our lives are often ministries themselves. 

Our struggles show how God was at work in us, how He was changing us.

I particularly love how blogging can relate to that.

Whether you are a mom who can relate well to other young moms, struggling with infertility, finding yourself in a difficult marriage, stressed out with small preschoolers, pulling all nighters to finish your college papers, a single young professional or a stay-at-home daughter…we all have so much to offer!

So many different people will understand and be encouraged there is someone else walking through the same thing.

I had a wise friend share with me these words,

‘Let your mess be your ministry.’

And a year later, I’m feeling like I finally understand what she meant.

At first it made no sense to share something that I wasn’t together about and use it to encourage others.
But slowly I have realised that when I am a mess, Christ is able to work through me.
When I surrender to Him, He is able to come out.
Sometimes it takes getting to the messy to see the grace.

The Lord has placed so many passions on my heart, areas I really would love to explore more. Things which stir something deep within my soul, stir me to action. In fact I have spent this month exploring just that in a series called 31 days of exploring the pieces. Because I feel like there are so many of these passions in my life and I can’t seem to see how they are all related, how they piece together to form a bigger picture.

How they fit into something that I can use to glorify Him. 

So these past 2 weeks, I have been writing through the mess. Exploring the confusion that these pieces have caused me, explaining why I am passionate about things….all to see how God is using them for a bigger purpose. Wrestling with them in the stillness to figure out the next course of action. Figure out which direction the Lord is leading me in.

The ministry he currently has me in is as a wife and a caregiver to 2 sweet little girls.

But there are so many more areas I hope to pursue and serve in.

I’m still in a process of growing and figuring out where I can most glorify Him.
So for now, that is what I will wholeheartedly do for Him, be the best wife & caregiver I can be.

As for what else I figure out on this journey, God knows. I don’t have any idea.
But I’m excited to see what He does & to find out.

Sisters, aren’t we all on this journey? Do these words resonate with your heart the way they do mine? Let’s breathe deeply of the freedom that He “knows” and we are simply to be obedient where He places us. Be sure to go read her series to hear more of her beautiful heart.

Be blessed

P.S. I am over on her blog today sharing my heart on serving in kids ministry.

{This post is part of my 31 day series called “Breathe” that I am linking up with The Nester for this October writing project}

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