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Love Yourself: How to Defeat Self Criticism

Posted by on Feb 13, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Love Yourself: How to Defeat Self Criticism

Happy Valentines Day 2017 to all. One of the first people we have to love before we can ever love someone else is ourselves. For some of us, it’s hard to do. If we’re in the public spotlight we can’t avoid critics comments. But for most of us, we don’t need an outside critic, we hear one loud and clear in our brains. Professionals know they have to squelch the internal criticism if they’re going to succeed. Tennis player Serena Williams said, “I’ve had to deal with a lot of labels: too sexy, too focused on tennis, too mean… too strong?’ What does that mean?  I don’t know.  Just means I’m stronger than you.” Research tells us that women, unlike their male counterparts, are their own worst critics. In fact, self-criticism is really self-sabotage. Our self-worth suffers as we blame ourselves for failures, or attribute our success to other people or circumstances. It’s a key reason women are the last ones to ask for help or even a raise at work. When you stay focused on everything that’s wrong with yourself confidence decreases and you build fear rather than confidence. When you doubt yourself your resilience diminishes and you are less likely to learn from your failures. Stop beating yourself up. Here’s four ideas to help you change your thinking: Stop talking negatively to yourself.  Watch what’s coming out of your mouth – I’m so stupid – I’m an idiot! Change it to, “Ok – I had a stumble… no big deal, it could’ve happened to anyone.” Write a note to yourself.  Harness your emotions for a second and unleash it in a note rather than on yourself. Send yourself an apology – why you made the wrong decision and how you won’t let it happen again. Getting it on paper takes the air out of the balloon. Be a friend to yourself and not a critic. Studies have shown that when we write down our emotions we actually learn how to control them. Create a line or even a Bible verse that resonates and soothes your soul. Recognize there is a wound that has to be medicated. “Oops!, I did it again”, “the sun will come out tomorrow” are iconic ones. I like scripture verses that bring truth and soul soothing bandages. One of my favorites is, Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you”. Keep a gratitude list.  What are the things you are truly thankful for in your life? It sounds simple but when depression and self-doubt hit, remembering how God has blessed you brings perspective and balance. Happiness is a choice so choose to surround yourself with the joy and goodness of God. I also like to listen to music that lifts my soul and allows me to put my eyes on Jesus and His grace and forgiveness. It banishes those self-critics in my head and brings hope and...

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The Warmth of Influence

Posted by on Feb 7, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

The Warmth of Influence

Remember the story of the rain, wind, and sun? They challenged each other to see who was the most powerful by trying to get a man to take off his coat. The Rain went first with thunderous pellets, but the man held tight to his coat. The Wind thought he had it in the bag by blowing a hurricane and trying to rip the coat off his back but the man clung tighter than ever. The Sun stepped in and with a warm glow smiled down as they all watched the human disrobe. In our home and office cultures today we forget that a quiet gentle glow can cut through tough walls, difficult personalities, and hardened ways. Our social media sites are constantly screaming at us to check in or be out of the loop or make a statement – the louder the better. Perhaps a little warmth would make a greater impact. Influence is about caring which can only be truly accomplished by physically showing up. Personal caring is rapidly disappearing from our lives through the distractions of technology and the cluttered culture and distraction of media. We don’t have the time for personal encounters and the warmth of the personal touch. Here are some thoughts on showing up and caring that might just cause someone else to stop and care: Care about the unnoticed. Yes, you have to be nice to the boss, co-worker, and mother in law, but what about the janitor, receptionist, or the grocery clerk? Simple caring questions like, how was your weekend or vacation? – how’s the kids or parents? – why are you limping or holding your head? These simple acts of observation show people you see them in places where they thought they were unnoticed – the heart. They’re given a chance to see that they have worth – the kind God sees in us with endless grace. Care how you communicate. Is that email really appropriate? Are you giving those fiery messages and social media postings a second glance before you push the send button? What about that questionable joke? Are you willing to take the time to encourage others with a real conversation face to face, or verbally on the phone? What’s your tone of voice like when communicating to others? Is it demeaning, arrogant, dismissive? I’m so guilty of this. My French ancestry blood pumps and before I know it my tone and volume erupt with fury. I have to ask for grace regularly. Care how you confront someone. I hate confronting people. It’s a struggle every time on every level, but as a leader, it’s something I’ve had to learn to do. Being liked is not always the right approach but doing the right thing is. Jesus was a master. He confronted with questions and short answers but always with truth and love. Confronting will never be easy but choosing the right path with integrity, grace, and Godly prayer, wisdom and above all, forgiveness will always result in dignity for all. Care enough to admit your faults and forgive them of theirs. Mistakes will be made. Be part of the solution that builds a culture of forgiveness but not necessarily of escaping consequences. God always forgives but many times we have to pay the consequences of our choices....

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Paint A Lasting Picture of Overcoming Fear and Insecurity

Posted by on Jan 17, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Paint A Lasting Picture of Overcoming Fear and Insecurity

Recently at a Museum of The Bible weekend event in Washington DC, I was invited to participate in a painting class. When I first saw the class being offered on the schedule I was a bit hesitant if not intimidated. I hadn’t painted anything since the 3rd grade. I consider myself a fairly creative person having worked as an actress in Hollywood and producing media projects for many years with Cooke Pictures. The thought of being exposed as an inept artistic painter was petrifying. Nevertheless, I forced myself to go, inevitably knowing, that I would embarrass myself. In my experience, insecurity and fear keep people from achieving greatness more than anything else. It robs us of God’s joy in allowing Himself to be exposed in us in new ways. When we step into the fear, we step away from areas that we’ve built around us as safety zones. By staying in those safe places we rob ourselves of freedom and purpose that God wants to bring into our lives. New environments and situations that we have to depend on Him for to accomplish. God made us each uniquely creative. He introduced Himself to us as a creator in the first chapter of the Bible – Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created…” The direction we go with a project may often be completely different from that of our peers. That can be scary.  The projects we produce or the business choices we choose can be painted with many colors and with many different kinds of strokes.  We see images differently, so why do we expect that the way we approach a project has to be the way it’s always done?  God wants to take our unique colors and paint brushes and create something that’s never been seen before. When we do, we expose the beauty of walking in God’s creativity.  We must, however, fight off fear and the insecurity of being different.  These courageous choices will lead to new levels of trust in Him and influence others for the Kingdom of God. I was surprised as I painted how peaceful I felt. The angst I had about attempting the class melted away. The joy and fun of expressing myself and creating something that was a challenge for me brought fulfillment – a higher lesson. It was a renewed lesson on overcoming fear and exposing myself – being vulnerable. Finding out that in my inadequacies God was working and creating a new level of understanding of who He was in my life. His pleasure working in me brought new found joy. He’s placed that same creativity in you and He wants you to walk in joy – fearless and secure. As I participated in the class that day and watched fellow classmates follow the encouraging instructor, everyone’s cherry blossom painting (the image we’d been instructed to paint) began to take on a different and unique shape. Some were different colors, shapes, and sizes but all had a beauty and individual perspective. At the end of the class, we held up our paintings for a class picture. It was incredible to see how diverse they were – each with a special creative eye and no two alike. I came to the class unschooled with bad memories of producing paintings and drawings as a child...

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Somewhere It’s Snowing

Posted by on Jan 12, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Somewhere It’s Snowing

Snow is interesting. It covers the drab outside environment with a layer of clean white beauty, it brings silence to the environment as it muzzles sound, and despite it’s inconvenience and sometimes over abundance, it can bring lots of fun outdoor sporting activities – pure joy. I had the privilege to attend collage with, David Stearman, writer of, Somewhere It’s Snowing. The words of the song always touches my heart and brings me a renewed understanding of God’s grace, especially in winter. Listen to the words: I once read a poem, When snow covers the earth, That it hides the worlds scars, And gives nature new birth, And they say when a man turns from sin to the Lord That forgiveness, like snow, covers him evermore! Chorus: And somewhere it’s snowing- See the soft drifting down As the snowflakes surrender To the hardening ground. Like the good grace of Jesus That covers our sin, In the kingdom of Heaven It’s snowing again. Now, I’ve heard that the angels Lift their hearts and rejoice, When one traveler turns homeward From his ways, to the Lord. If somewhere someone’s turning, he’s giving his all, And God’s grace, like snow, is beginning to fall! Chorus Repeats. It’s snowing, thank God today for His constant grace – He’s got you covered. Psalm 32:1 NIV … Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are...

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Jump Off The Wall

Posted by on Jan 4, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Jump Off The Wall

When I was a little girl in the back of my house there was a wall about 5 ft. tall that had been build around our property line to separate the homes. I had devised a way to climb up and sit on it, but the only way down was to jump – something that took courage. I’d invite other little girls and sometimes boys to my house to play. One of the ways I decided if I wanted to play with them again was whether or not they’d climb the wall and then be brave enough to jump off. As a woman working in business world and one that has a deep faith, approaching tough situations like contract negotiations, employee conflicts, and financial stress is always a challenge. It requires often “jumping off the wall” courage – Godly courage. It means I have to be willing to place myself into difficult situations and the unknown. Life is full of high walls but God’s given you a spirit of power, love and self-discipline – jumping off the wall courage. You aren’t alone so take a leap of faith with Him. II Timothy 1:7 says, “ For the Spirit that God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. Start 2017 jumping off a wall. Is there someone in your life that can pray with you about that wall of fear you’re sitting on? Invite a friend over and see if they need prayer about a wall their sitting on. THEN… jump with the joy of...

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Don’t Shipwreck Your Holidays

Posted by on Dec 25, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Don’t Shipwreck Your Holidays

Tied in their beds. The story I was reading gripped me since I was about to dive that morning to see the wreckage of the historic RMS Rhone, a UK Royal Mail ship embedded since 1867 in the depths of the Caribbean Ocean. The site of the Rhone, now a National Park, is considered one of the most popular diving destinations in the world. But what fascinated me was the tragic loss of life that resulted from long-held traditions based on “what’s always done” during a hurricane. In this case, it was tying people to their beds during the storm to keep them from being tossed about on the ship. But as the boat sunk, what was done for “protection” became their doom. As a result, only one passenger survived the wreck of the Rhone. Holidays are full of traditions – the way we always do it – but these traditions in our changing culture can often cause disasters. In today’s blended and disconnected families, holiday chaos occurs because traditions become misunderstood. Created out of a sense of love, identity, unity – even a need for security, what was meant to bring joy and love sometimes brings strife. Holiday traditions are tightly wrapped up in our spiritual and personal identity. We’re tied to them – like the passengers on the RMS Rhone. Conflict is the last thing one wants to happen during what is supposed to be a joyful holiday. One of my constant struggles in life is to untie myself and trust God to bring new understanding of who He is into my life – to see things as He sees them. To relinquish what I want or think is important and follow His will and wisdom. One of the reasons I resist is that it requires me to make choices that might bring unwanted financial decisions, disconnection with loved ones, and the probability of pain – living in a raging storm for a time. When is it OK to break these tried and true rules and traditions? How can we stay true to traditions that bring spiritual meaning and joy but embrace new traditions in our diverse and changing cultures? Will embracing new ideas bring havoc, bigger storms, or loss of spiritual significance? Here’s three thoughts to consider that might help bring peace in the midst of a challenging holiday storm: 1. Write down your personal story. It sounds crazy, but most of us really haven’t taken the time to write our personal story (what’s been traditionally called our testimony) down. Include why the holiday traditions have such special meaning for you. Sometimes family traditions that began as acts of love lost their significance simply because the meaning of the story wasn’t passed to the next generation. Re-tell the story so that loved ones can connect with them and understand their meaning. That might also reveal where some of those traditions are placing undue burdens on family members and unneeded stress. Jesus taught us the importance of traditions when he broke bread at the last supper and said “do this in remembrance of me”. But if the story behind significant holiday events become lost they become meaningless rhetoric. So leave a lasting gift this holiday season by writing down the cherished story of your faith. 2. Examine...

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Your Story: The Lasting Christmas Gift

Posted by on Dec 9, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Your Story: The Lasting Christmas Gift

As a kid growing up in the 60’s – the age of free love and flower power, my generation – Hippies – didn’t want to pressure our children to follow anyone’s beliefs or to follow anything except what felt good. No one was going to tell us what to do or how to live so we wanted our kids to be free thinkers and explorers with no boundaries. My generation didn’t think much about the importance of faith and attending church wasn’t even considered. Church was the establishment. For the most part, Hippie’s kids grew up not believing in anything and were mostly left to fend for themselves when it came to spiritual issues. As a result, they grew up to become wanderers with no moral or religious compass. Consequently, wherever the wind blows and whatever feels good, seems groovy, or is trending, that’s what they follow – at least for the moment. Sadly today, we’re not living in a post Christian world but a pre-Christian world. One that denies the truth of Christianity. Finding spiritual truth can’t compete with the media clutter they are immersed in. Today’s culture knows little to nothing about God and most of what they’ve heard is negative. They’ve learn about God on weekends at the local movie theater. TV series and sitcoms historically have portrayed Christianity as archaic and out of touch with culture. Consequently, they have no desire to pursue what a real relationship with God is all about. So the question becomes: How can we get the culture’s attention to give God a try? How can we cut through the distractions, clutter, and competing media messages? This Christmas you can give them a gift. You can share a compass that gives true direction, purpose, and hope. You can give them your written story of faith. When it comes from a trusted friend or loved one, it can be an incredibly meaningful gift for that generation. Jesus captured people’s attention because authentic stories reach into the heart and bring hope. They bring a glimpse of heaven and the peace that the world cries out for at Christmas. In this media distracted culture today Hippie kids don’t know the difference between the “story” of Harry Potter or Hunger Games from the Biblical stories of Noah, Moses, Esther or Jesus. Today’s audiences lump them all into one category – myths and legends. And that is why your personal story is more important than ever. As a significant person in their life – friend, son, daughter, parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle who cares deeply for them, you’re a tangible person who has lived life. Lived through pain, suffering, failures and challenges and have proven the truth of Jesus to be real. You’re the living proof, right in front of them, that God is real and personally wants to know them. If your story lies dormant because you haven’t told it then for them, the legacy of God’s truth will die with you. Here’s five suggestions to get you started: Keep it short. Making it too long and overly detailed for this fast paced distracted culture today will get ignored. Keep it short and make them want to seek you out to find out more. Write it and let it sit for a day and then...

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The Waiting Game

Posted by on Sep 14, 2016 in Blog | 2 comments

The Waiting Game

Working in the media business located in one of the most competitive cities for the industry – Hollywood – I’ve seen the heartbreak of talented individuals struggling to find work. I watch their constant striving for survival and how they deal with disappointments over projects that seem to be a sure thing or a job or role that was green lit only to see it evaporate into thin air. The constant wait for success is excruciating. I know one Christian woman working at a major movie studio who went through 10 interviews before she finally got hired. I prayed with her through her tears as she waited not knowing if it would ever happen. For her the final outcome was positive but for most, it’s not. The industry reeks with “I’ll give you a call next week” and “We’re waiting for just one more thing before we can make a decision”. Our team at Cooke Pictures has been victim to some of these same empty promises, struggles, and disappointments. It’s part of the business – hurry up and wait – have it ready and finished and then… wait. This past year, my husband Phil was honored to have been one of the executive producers of the Hillsong Movie – “Let Hope Rise” (opening nationwide September 16). Like all movies, it’s been a struggle and we’ve had to live through the usual changes and delays that are typical in the industry. But in the end, I believe it will be God’s perfect timing for the film’s release. God has His perfect timing if we don’t try and manipulate it or quit. I’ve learned to pray outside of my current frustrations and circumstances knowing that God will never meet a temporary desire if it destroys his future plans. The story of Ruth and Naomi in the Bible is all about the wait. Ruth had to say no. She chose not to go back to her country and her family. She chose to stick with a mother-in-law, Naomi, who frankly was pretty bitter over her situation. Ruth chose to wait with her. She chose to trust in her new faith and the God of her deceased husband for her future. Ruth’s choices would eventually bring her a great grandson, David – King David. Out of her genealogy, Jesus would be born who was the biggest wait the world had ever hoped for. Today, we continue to wait for the second biggest wait – that of Jesus’s promised return. Waiting tables in Hollywood is not where talented and gifted media and entertainment individuals want to be but the Bible assures us that, “Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint”. Isaiah 40:31 (NLT) Are you staying ready for what God has for you? Keep your running shoes on.  Your wait may soon be...

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Turning off the Yes Faucet: Doing What He Really Wants For You

Posted by on Sep 6, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Turning off the Yes Faucet: Doing What He Really Wants For You

I’ll do it. Yep, that was me again volunteering to do another job that no one else wanted. Somehow I‘m a sucker for Yes every time.  I know, I know, I know about all those lessons on saying No, and that my No is really saying Yes to me and what’s best for me.  But there had to be a way of stopping the tugging in my gut I felt knowing that someone does have to do all those jobs that no one wants.  Someone has to sacrifice. Right? As I walked out of the meeting I didn’t want to feel resentful. I wanted to do whatever that was needed for God with joy, but I couldn’t help looking up to Heaven and screaming – why me? Why was I always the one doing the stuff that no one wanted to do? Where did my joy go? Then it hit me. I heard this small whisper inside of me say, “Maybe you’re asking Me the wrong question. I don’t want you to do anything for me. You’re the one that said Yes.”  It’s not about doing it’s about being with me and our relationship. What? God whispered it to me again in my soul, “it’s not about doing something important or significant for Me – it’s about what I want to do for you.” More than anything else, God us to be with Him – to fellowship with Him. When our doing for Him gets in the way of being in His presence and spending time with Him we’re not where He wants us in our relationship. We’re doing too much and not basking in His presence, and that intimate relationship He really wants for us. We can be in the most horrific of circumstances and if that is where He is, there is joy and contentment. I am always amazed when I hear stories of men and women who are put into excruciating situations and environments, but where God’s joy is always so pervasive. One recent story was of a woman arrested in the Middle East and thrown into prison for sharing the story of Jesus in a Muslim country. She went through months of not knowing if she would be killed, pulled worms growing in her stomach from her throat one night, and scratched her head raw from the constant biting of head lice. Through the entire ordeal, she was constantly relating how the joy and presence of God sustained her. She came to see that God wanted her in that prison, hadn’t abandoned her, and was using her to reach a group of people that could have only been reached by her being there as a prisoner. My zealous doing for Him was one of the most important lessons I had to learn in my enthusiasm to serve Him. I learned I needed to be son-bathing more. I needed to be taking in the grace of Jesus and to stop and ask God what He wanted for me, not what I could do for Him. I challenge you to ask Him for yourself. I think you’ll find it to be an interesting answer.  God wants anything and everything that will draw us closer to Him.  That requires that we’re to “be still” – stop doing. We...

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Contented : How to Have Enough

Posted by on Aug 23, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

Contented : How to Have Enough

Statistics tell us one of the top desires of most Christians is to grow closer to God. But in a recent Barna poll, 65% of us admitted that we were moving away from Him rather than toward Him. We’re losing the battle. We’re losing the battle to “enough.” We never have enough. Not enough money, not enough time, not enough of anything. Can we ever feel contentment in our lives? Does it always have to be a struggle? Where’s the peace that God promises us? In Philippians 4:11 Paul writes, “I have learned to be contented in whatever the circumstances.” Paul was in prison, walked thousands of miles, rode donkeys and camels, and sat in leaking boats (I complain about the size of an airline seat). He learned to be contented. How did he do that? We might think about rewording that verse this way, “I have been educated by my experience to be contained”. He educated himself to be contented and then contained his fretting. He found joy. Contentment is the result of the resources contained in our heart. In other words… if my heart is filled with Jesus, He will be my contentment. But if I fill my heart and mind with what I think will satisfy me, or what I think I need, (stuff) I will be constantly striving and never be contented – never find joy. Happiness is about things – stuff. Joy comes into our lives when we focus our heart and minds on the abundant grace of God. Joy is a Godly attribute and joy is what Christ wants us to have because happiness is the worldly substitute. We’re told in Hebrews 12:1-2 “…let us throw off every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run the endurance the race set out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross.” Jesus saw the joy. So why can’t we find that level of joy in our lives? It’s about the relationship. Contentment comes when we have immersed ourselves so completely in trusting Him that disastrous situations become challenges and don’t defeat us. Recently this summer, one of the victims of the devastating Sand Canyon Fire that swept through the Santa Clarita Valley just outside LA came to the platform at the church I attend and told her story of her home of many years burning into ashes and losing everything. She had to evacuate with only a moments notice. She was joyous. The fire might have consumed her stuff but it couldn’t consume her joy and contentment. She told the mesmerized audience Sunday that God had reminded her of the scripture in Revelation 25:5 (NIV) “…I am making everything new… Write it down, for these words are trustworthy and true”. I challenge you to write it down…. Write down His blessings in your life and choose to live in contentment and...

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