Two brothers began rehearsing their acrobatic act. They jumped, and one landed on the head of another. They jumped again, and the one below now landed on the other’s head. They jumped another time, did a high-five in the air, and landed on the ground with a pose. Then they practiced their tightrope routine, balancing and even jumping, then landing on the rope flawlessly. What an amazing feat!
Prior to that, the main performer practiced his magic tricks. He had lots of tricks to wow the crowd, one of which was turning a yellow blanket into a Golden Labrador dog. The magician’s name was Thelé. He was an elephant.
These scenes were part of our playtime a few days ago. My son and I play a whole lot, especially with stuffed toys, and the theme that day turned out to be “circus.” The playtime included rehearsals, the actual circus show, and a meeting of the circus producers with a couple of business partners who wanted to bring the circus show to five places — Hong Kong, China, Japan, India and Russia. They struck an agreement with a handshake and a photo, and talked about logistics and how to make it happen. (The “circus producers” were two Grover stuffed toys, and the “business partners” were a dog and a bear.)
That was the end of that playtime, and it looked like this was “To Be Continued.” True enough, yesterday’s playtime was the continuation. We went from contacting the travel agency to acquire passports and to secure visas at the Japanese embassy (including singing and rapping while stuck in traffic in an “Uber” bus), packing and preparing stuff for the trip, checking in at the airport, and boarding the first flight. Whew! It was a whole lot of fun!
I was reflecting on this yesterday, and what came to me was FOCUS.
I admit, I can easily get distracted by so many things. But I decided years ago, that when I’d have playtime with my kid, I’d be ALL IN. I’d be fully PRESENT — whether it was just 15 minutes or one-and-a-half hours (like yesterday). There were no leaks in terms of attention, no distractions (read: no gadgets!), just pure enjoyment!
Merriam-Webster has these definitions for “focus”:
- a center of activity, attraction, or attention
- a point of concentration
- directed attention
Focus is like having this box or block of condensed energy with one purpose — it’s full, complete. It’s got clarity because one’s vision is sharpened. In my playtime example, my son and I had fun because we were both into it. Our purpose was to play. I didn’t have anything else at the back of my mind, shifting my attention and saying, “You gotta do this or that.” It was 100% in.
This goes for other things, too. I realized that when I eliminate unnecessary distractions, I get a whole lot more done with more joy and less stress. There’s a certain flow. Others call it being “in the zone.” The Bible calls it being “wholehearted.” I’m beginning to realize that it also has to do with excellence and giving our best for God. Check out these different versions of the same Bible verses:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV)
Whatever you do [whatever your task may be], work from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as [something done] for the Lord and not for men. (Colossians 3:23, AMP)
Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work. (Colossians 3:22-25, MSG)
When I learned more about how to focus, I realized it was possible to accomplish those things I had been procrastinating about. Of course, reaching the finish line was such sweet victory, but even gaining momentum and the process itself boosted my happiness!
So I encourage, dear friend, to FOCUS. It’s still the first month of the year, and you can decide. What are the main things you will focus on and improve? Your health? Your relationships? Your walk with God? Then take the necessary, intentional steps. You’ll be surprised at your progress!
If you want personalized support to help you focus and follow through on your resolutions, then I invite you to sign up for “Get Your Happy into Action!” — a 4-week one-on-one coaching program that will help you gain momentum towards your goals. Check out the video and poster below:
I also invite you to my free Facebook group where I’ve shared a free video training to go with a free “Moving Forward” chart. I also share other goodies in there. Request to join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/198924290681352/
Hope to see you there, and blessings on your week!
Mich Nicolas 🙂
>> By the way, my son has a YouTube channel where he posts videos he’s made (of course, I have to approve them first!). Here’s one that he did showcasing some “magic tricks” by the elephant.
Blessed New Year!
It’s a new year, a fresh start, a clean slate. There are blank pages waiting to be filled. Ah yes, we can begin again.
I’m truly grateful that the new year brings new blessings and new opportunities. I mean, who doesn’t like something new?! And the great thing about it is God Himself proclaims:
“See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:19, NABRE)
This is a wonderful season to be in. So to help us become more intentional in having a fresh start, here are three ways to welcome the new in 2018:
- Start with God’s Word.
Let me share with you a practice that we’ve been doing in our community every year. Many of us do this minutes after the clock strikes midnight of the New Year. Others do it later in the day of January 1, or any time in January.
So what we do is we pray for God’s message for us for the year. With Bible in hand, we say a prayer for God to lead us to the page or pages where His message is for us, to lead our eyes and finger as we open the Bible. As we sense God’s peace in our hearts, we prayerfully open the Bible and point to a page. Then we begin to read the words. And if something strikes us or touches us, we stop and reflect.
Sometimes, the message is an instruction to be obeyed. Other times, it is a promise to claim and receive. At still other times, it might even be a warning of what to avoid. But always it is an encouragement and assurance that God actually cares to communicate with us.
More often than not, understanding it will not come in one go; it is a process of discovering more and more the treasures that are in that particular passage. Go ahead and try it out!
To declutter means to “remove things you do not need in a place, in order to make it more pleasant and more useful” (Cambridge Dictionary). It’s to remove what’s unnecessary or doesn’t serve a purpose anymore.
I propose we declutter, not just externally, but also internally.
Externally has to do with physical spaces. So I started decluttering our room some days ago, and it felt so good! Such happiness to finally see more areas without stuff! It’s like there was more room to breathe. I am not done decluttering, but just starting and seeing some progress already helps in welcoming new possibilities!
As for internal decluttering, this has to do with letting go of such things as mental baggage and negative attitudes. I remember sometime ago when I was tempted to replay some negative memories in my mind, I would tell myself, “Don’t go there.” Because I knew that if I did, it would only stir up the same negative feelings, and possibly I could begin to think bad of others. So that’s never a good idea. Best is to cut off all that negative weight to have a fresh start.
When we declutter, a sense of peace and order ensue. There is a calm. And a clearer mind. And the decluttering also makes room for greater fruitfulness, as it says in John 15:2 (NLT):
“He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”
- Set goals.
A goal is something that you aim for. It is your target. It is your destination. An interesting definition from the Merriam Webster Dictionary says that a goal is “the end toward which effort is directed.”
Ergo, a goal gives us direction, so that we don’t allow life to “just happen.” Consequently, goals help us become intentional. Of course, it also implies that effort has to be exerted. And that’s how goals position us for growth. The painstaking process of going from point A to point B is a victory. Each little step forward is a win in itself.
So go ahead and welcome all things new, and position yourself for an exciting year!
You might also want to watch the replay of a short video I did entitled, “Designed for newness — some thoughts on Isaiah 43:19, “See, I am doing a new thing!” Click here to watch it.
If you’re a busy mom who needs positive support in your life when it comes to achieving your goals, then read on…
Many people start the new year with “New Year’s Resolutions,” and it’s all good. It shows that people want to live better lives. Unfortunately, many are not able to follow through. After a few weeks, they either give up or forget about their resolutions altogether.
I know for us busy moms, we, too, like a fresh start. We might already have our goals in place, or maybe we’re still in the process of formulating them. But I’m sure we’d all want some support to help us follow through on these resolutions and goals.
Which is why I’d like to help you at the start of this year to help you gain momentum so you can follow through, and not just set goals, but to actually achieve them.
So I’m opening a few spots for my 1-on-1 Coaching Program called —
GET YOUR HAPPY into ACTION!: Gain momentum to achieve your goals in 2018
Get Your Happy into Action! is a 4-week 1:1 coaching program for moms who need support in following through on their goals. The aim is not just to set goals, but to position oneself to actually achieve them.
This 1-on-1 coaching program will help you:
- Identify and address the obstacles in achieving your goals
- Reduce overwhelm by gaining clarity in knowing what to do next
- Focus and take action on your most important goals
- Gain momentum (win after win) so you become unstoppable in achieving your goals for the rest of the year
In this program, you will receive
- 4 one-hour coaching calls with me (once a week)
- Email accessibility during the 4 weeks
- Worksheets (with guide questions)
- Power Verses (depending on your goals or circumstances)
- Option 1: One-time payment of P5,000
- Option 2: Two payments of P2,500 (one before the first session; another before the third session)
So if you’d like to be one of those who get personalized support from me with regard to taking action on your most important goals at the start of this year, then I invite you to sign up for this program. The investment in yourself will truly be worth it. And I would love to serve you and help you on your journey.
If you’re ready to take up your “mission challenge” to finally believe what’s possible and take action towards the goals God has put in your heart at the start of this year, then click here to avail of the one-time payment.
If you’d rather do the 2-payment option, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can give you further details on the payment process. Feel free to email me if you have any questions or concerns as well.
I look forward to working with you and helping you gain momentum towards achieving your goals!
To new and exciting things this 2018!
Mich Nicolas 🙂
Hey, hey, hey…the holidays are here! Yes, Christmas is in full swing…do you feel it in the air?
Or maybe not. Maybe your focus right now is on all the things you need to do and attend to, and just thinking about them makes you feel stressed and overwhelmed.
I absolutely can relate — that feeling of being stopped in my tracks, stumped, frozen…like what do I even do next with so much on my to-do list? It’s like my brain is hanging, much like a computer.
But wait…isn’t this supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year”? Yes! I so love Christmas, but there have been times when I was tempted to surrender to the stress. Thankfully, I’ve learned some valuable lessons on how to have a (nearly) stress-free Christmas to focus on what truly matters this season. Here are a few:
Take time to pause and reflect. Ask yourself: What is this season all about? Why am I doing all these things? Is this essential?
It’s important to take stock of your life at this point so that you don’t allow all the busyness to get to you that before you know it, it’s all over.
If you can’t afford a prolonged period of time, then just spend a few minutes in solitude. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. So you may be going through a lot right now and things aren’t perfect. Stop to think of the ONE THING that would make your Christmas truly meaningful.
Observe the things around you. The lights, the gifts, the food, family and friends. See Christmas through the eyes of a child. Activate that gift of wonder. Savor. Notice all that is good. And always, always be grateful.
The world shouts with so much noise, which is why it’s so important to intentionally quiet yourself and listen. Listen to what God is telling you in your heart. Perhaps He has a special message just for you — something that will cheer you up and strengthen you.
Listen to the ones around you as well. Be sensitive to their needs. Are they in need of some encouragement, some kindness, some love? Go ahead and reach out.
These are just a few ways, but I pray that they may help you to have more peace and joy during this holiday season. Ultimately, to have a stress-free Christmas means to find rest in Jesus, our Savior.
Have the most joyous and blessed Christmas ever! 🙂
This post is based on “Stress-free Christmas: a mini-course for busy moms.” (Now on sale.) This is perfect if you want to have your own personal Advent retreat. To purchase your copy, click here.
Hi there, fellow mom!
I’d like to invite you to a free online Advent retreat that I’m hosting on my FB page. It’s being held in a Facebook group and will be up at least until the end of the year. It’s called “CHRIST IS HERE,” and will be a place for busy moms like you where:
• You can pray and reflect
• You can find room to breathe amid the busyness
• There is no pressure to perform or to be perfect or to have it all together during this season
• You can journey with other moms through this season and to find Christ in each other
• You can prepare to have a more meaningful, peaceful and joyful Christmas
Consider this a peace zone instead of a pressure zone; a place of slowing down instead of hurrying up; a place to relax, and chill, and savor, and hope, and enjoy the wonder of a God who delights in you…the real you.
You can come in and out as you like, just like the way we come in and out of a chapel — with a few minutes of prayer and reflection, or for longer periods for a more immersive experience. Whatever the case, may it be a time you truly encounter Christ.
I will be sharing insights and reflections, prayers and printables, music and other resources along the way to help us all focus on the Reason for the season. You can pick whatever you think you might need…again, no pressure.
If you feel this is for you, or sense God telling you to be part of it, then I encourage you to join the group. It’s totally FREE. Click on this link so I can add you along with other fellow moms. Hope to see you there!
Journeying with you,
“I’ll make my heart a Bethlehem….” So goes a chorus of one song I learned many years ago. It talks about preparing one’s heart to receive Jesus again at Christmas.
I was thinking about this song recently. And usually what comes to my mind is having the home of my heart all spic-and-span. But this time, something else came to mind. And it wasn’t a magical or majestic picture, one we so often see in holiday greeting cards.
It was about stink. And mess. And not being ready…sort of.
(Obviously, these are not the top-of-mind words when we hear “Advent” or “Christmas.” Let me explain.)
Stink (read: animals)
Mess — I don’t think this stable would be featured in a home magazine under the “Organization” category…and imagine all that dust and dirt…
Not being ready — Perhaps the stable was caught off guard… What?! The Messiah is going to be born here?! Um…er…I don’t even have a bed! Oh wait…here’s a manger…
Doesn’t that make you wonder why God chose such a place for royalty to be born?
Could it be that He’s telling us that we don’t have to have it all together for Him to be born anew in our hearts? That He comes to us in the messiness and imperfection of our lives? That even if we’re not 100% ready, He surprises us by accepting whatever little we have to make Him feel at home, and makes us realize that His presence is enough to bring that holy warmth to our souls?
Of course, this doesn’t mean that we don’t make any effort to prepare the best way we can. But it reminds us that even with imperfect preparations and less than ideal circumstances, Christ can still be there. Christ in Christmas — that’s what it’s all about.
Need some room to breathe and encounter Christ amid all the busyness of the season? Then I invite you to a free online Advent Retreat that I’m hosting on my FB page. Click here and request to join so I can add you. 🙂
If you’d rather do your own mini-retreat, then check out my “Stress-free Christmas mini-course” which is on sale now. Click here for the details. Blessings!
Linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee here.