I hope to inspire and encourage others through my own life experiences and my faith ...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Inspiring Excellence Has Moved ...

You can now find Inspiring Excellence at inspiredbysarah.com ...

A preview of what you will find there ...
"I am so very excited to launch this wonderful new blog! God has always pressed upon my heart the desire to reach out and encourage others in their faith. I believe that this new adventure is one of the unique avenues in which He is enabling me to do so. My hope is that this blog inspires and encourages you in your daily walk. Enjoy devotionals, fun marriage & family focused posts and creative crafting and cooking projects. I am blessed to be joined by two amazing Christian women as regular contributors who I think you will really enjoy following!"

Visit me there today and from now on!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Tis A Season Of Change For Inspiring Excellence

Over the last few years I really struggled to find my purpose ... my own special thing that I could use in this world that was especially mine.  A way to reach others and make a difference.  I prayed and sought and prayed some more.  I knew that God had something amazing planned but I wasn't seeing where or when that plan would ever come forth and bear fruit in my life. 

Suddenly He began to rekindle a passion of mine ... writing and words.  I faithfully started blogging unaware if anyone other then my loyal Mother was reading.  Then out of the blue, after a couple of years of nothing, He began throwing opportunities in my path left and right.  He blessed me with wonderful opportunities to expose my writing to an entire new world of readers.  He brought the most unexpected, random people into my life to encourage me and give me the tools I needed to push my dreams even further then I could have ever imagined.  He also brought old friends back into my life who have had incredible weight in pushing me ahead.  It's been unreal! 

So, I am taking a leap of faith ... it might be too early, it might just be perfect timing ... regardless I am taking off!  I have a top secret project (tease!) that I am working on with one of those unexpected people that God brought back into my life ... a project that I am very excited about and will hopefully be able to share sometime in the fall or winter.  I am also very pleased to announce the coming of a new multi-faceted website for Christian women.  My hope is that this new blog/website inspires and encourages you all in your daily walk.  You will be able to enjoy devotionals, fun marriage & family focused posts and creative crafting and cooking projects.  I am exceptionally blessed to be joined by two amazing Christian woman as regular contributors who I think you will really enjoy following and getting to know!

So get ready ... Monday May 9 (next week!) my new venture will launch!!!  It will be a very fun week full of creative giveaways, introductions to my new fabulous contributors and more of your favorite inspirational devotionals.  Look for the new web address Monday morning and please stop by to check us out and tell us what you think.  *Inspiring Excellence on blogspot will no longer be in use after next Monday*

I am so blessed by the opportunities that God has given me and feel that this new chapter will be a great one!  I hope that you will follow me in this exciting move ... I think you will pleased with what you find!!! 

~Also, check me out at FancyLittleThings.com every Thursday this May under their Faith section.  Another wonderful blessing for me to take part in. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Take A Look At This Beautiful Give Away I Am Entering!

Visit FancyLittleThings.com today for a chance to win a spring-tastic give-away!  Follow this link ... Fancy Little Things

Blessings to you!

Challenge Part V: The Ultimate Challenge (at least for me!)

Grant Cochrane

"Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!"
Malachi 3:10

As I sat here today paying bills, getting frustrated because there wasn't quite enough this pay period to cover what needed to be covered I found myself wishing there was more. I wished that things could be easier and that finances wouldn't be such a struggle. Then I felt that old familiar tug reminding me of what He has been prompting me to do for the last couple of months- up my giving!  But how on earth can I up my giving when I am already short?!

Let's back it up a bit ... In Malachi God commands us to tithe, or bring our first ten percent, to Him ... Now, I want to know who of you readers gives a full ten percent?  Seriously, if you do it I want to hear from you!  Last year I was convicted to challenge our family to tithe every month for the year and so we did it.  We did not do a full ten percent because that seemed really scary but we did what we could in order to still be able to pay our other bills.  God did AMAZING things in our life financially.  He really came through for us in times of desperate need and every bill that we had last year was paid. 

However, this year He has really put it on my heart to bring forth our entire first ten percent... yikes!  When you look at it as He gets $1 and we get to keep $9, it seems easy.  Giving Him $10 and we keep $90, thats cool. But when you get into bigger numbers and start to look over all your monthly bills, family needs, etc. it can appear more and more daunting. So back to my present situation ... I find myself facing this scary request by God to up what I am already doing ... He is pushing me to do the full ten percent ... [deep breath]. 

Why do we have to even tithe? What do we actually get out of it? If we don't give our ten percent tithe are we cursed? Well, we aren't cursed but we don't get that extra blessing that He promises in Malachi 3:10. When we honor Him by giving Him our first fruits we are allowing Him to take control of our lives. When we give, God has the final word over all we have- all is blessed when His hand is on it.   When we do what He asks we experience the ultimate abundence of life through Him.  If the root is healthy so are the braches. I don't know about you but I want His blessings over everything in my life!  Ultimate abundance in my life sounds pretty appealing right now!

How many of you are scared about giving financially?  Do you give little bits here and there or do you give until it hurts?  I know that I do not give until it hurts.  I'm scared!  I am talking myself into this challenge as I type.  We (I) need to step out in faith and not let our (my) human mind talk us out of things He has called us (me) to do.  It is all about obedience.  When He presents you with a "you want me to do what?!" moment, embrace it!  We might not be able to see how it is all going work out but our God is not one who sets us up for failure.  With God ANYTHING is possible! 

Challenge: So!  I challenge you with what I am challenging myself to do ... give.  Give your entire first ten percent and see what happens.  Let's start by setting a three month time period.  Malachi 3:10 is the ONLY place in the Bible where God tells us to test Him ... so test Him.  Let's step out in faith together and see what happens in our lives when we let go of our control and let Him take over our finances!  It will be scary but I know He won't leave a single one of us out in the rain.  I am SO anxious to hear how this challenge plays out in your life- and if you already give that first ten percent and want to share how God has blessed you through that, please share your story with me!  Stay in touch over the next three months and after that time let's discuss together what we have experienced through this time.

Prayer:  LORD, I want to be obedient to you in all areas of my life.  I want to embrace your challenges rather than hide from them.  I know you have my best interest at heart and that you want to see me living abundantly through you.  Please give me the strength to answer this call.  Please convinct me when I get scared and start to back away.  LORD, I pray that you multiply my tithe so that it may reach many for your greater good .  Protect me, my family, our finances and guide us daily so that we make choices that honor you.  Thank you for the many blessings that you have bestowed upon me.  Amen.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Challenge Part IV- Journal It!

Journaling ... this is not detailed or deep but rather a simple way to open yourself up to Him ... Journal.  Journal everyday. What is the point?  Why do I need a diary?  Well, it isn't necessarily a diary.  It is simply a place to write anything that you want.  I encourage you to write a little something each day in a notebook, on the computer, however you prefer but get words out everyday.  I have been surprised at how much I can hear from God as my thoughts tumble onto paper.  He has various ways of speaking to us and through our own thoughts and words is one of those ways.  Sitting down in quiet to write is a great compliment to the quiet time you are already striving toward. 

I was recently surprised to hear that a close friend of ours had began writing. The person who we would have least expected to write is regularly writing their thoughts and feelings down in an amazing and beautiful way. They admitted that writing was healing and a way to move past prior hurt and pain. Writing can be so freeing!  Getting thoughts, frustrations and ideas out on paper really helps to calm and relax.  Sometimes venting on paper releases feelings that otherwise would bog you down.  Rather then lashing out at people you get it all out in a healthier way. 

Writing is refreshing and can inspire you further.  I have gone back various times and looked at things I have written in the past and found new inspirations and ideas that I had forgotten about.  Bottom line, journaling is good for the soul and might just help you in your relationship with Christ!

Challenge: I challenge you to write in a journal of some sort everyday for a week.  You don't need to write pages upon pages (unless you get started and just can't stop!), but even just a short paragraph would do you good.  Write anything from your pain, your joy, your inspirations, your ideas, your fears, your hopes and dreams ... just write!  Pray before you write that God would inspire you and speak to you through your own writing. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

How Are You Doing?

Have you taken any of my challenges?  If so how are they going?  Have you attempted giving more time to Christ? Have you taken the pride challenge? What about forgiveness? It's hard but I truly believe that by taking small steps such as these we will start to experience Christ in a more intimate way ... If we are faithful to Him in all we do and if we strive to move past our strongholds so that we can honor Him, incredible changes will start taking place in our lives!

It has been a challenge for me to wake up early, and if I am being totally honest, a couple times I didn't make it up early. Mmost days I did great, but a few I stumbled. The great thing is that last week when I woke up early and had that early morning alone time I was blessed with days filled with Him. Did I still face the challenges of everyday? Yes. Was I better equipped to handle what was thrown at me? Absolutely! I am not just saying that, I truly noticed small differences in my day as He led me instead of me trying to micro-manage and get through on my own! Throughout my day I would find little things happening in my favor and couldn't help but to smile and thank Him. I will go at it again tomorrow morning!

The pride challenge is definitely the hardest for me ... I am one of those that always wants to bring up my own experiences when someone is trying to tell me about themselves.  Controlling myself and ensuring that I just listen without bringing "me" into a conversation is hard, but wow have I noticed a change in my relationships when I do that.  It really is a good exercise and helps to make us more aware of putting others first.  Pride is awful but learning to overcome it in small steps makes the process less daunting!

How have you been challenged?  Have you taken these challenges or changed them to tailor fit you?  I would love to hear about what God is doing in your life as you surrender yourself and pursue intimacy with Him!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Featuring Sweet C's Designs & A Fun Give Away!

Good Monday morning to you all!  This week I am very excited to feature a good friend of mine who has been a true inspiration and encouragement to me as I have journeyed through the world of blogging ... Courtney at Sweet C's Designs!  Courtney is a master at unique projects and designs and I highly recommend you check her out today!

Courtney has graciously contributed an adorable Easter tote for a give away this morning.  To enter the drawing for her Easter tote please leave me a comment on Inspiring Excellence's facebook page about something that inspires you AND "like" Sweet C's Designs facebook page and leave her a comment about your favorite project on her blog.  The winner will be announced Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. mountain time ... Happy reading everyone!

After leaving a hectic and high profile career in politics, Courtney is now a recent stay at home mom to an adorable, independent and super-curious little boy and a rambunctious black lab.

She loves to create using her trusty sewing machine and cricut, and find simple ways to brighten up homemade gifts, decorate parties, and entertain friends. She is still involved in a lot of political events in her spare time, and consults for a few people on the side- but her new job as "mom" is the most rewarding thing she could ever do. She enjoys being able to take the time to share fun and inspiring projects with other moms and women like herself.

Courtney also loves taking pictures, and has recently become a photoshop fanatic. She has been working on a series of tutorials for newbies to DSLR photography to debut soon.

Courtney's work can be found at her newly created Etsy shop at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/sweetcs, on her blog at : http://www.sweetcsdesigns.blogspot.com/, or on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sweetcsdesigns.