He Can Handle It

As I am sitting here thinking about all my lists for our next girls camp Worth It! I so easily get wrapped up in my own insecurities. Each time I hear of a girl that wants to come who might need extra attention, fear starts to creep in. What if my content is not relevant? What if something happens where I can not handle it? What if everyone sees that I am soo underqualified. This morning as I lifting up all my worries to God I clearly Hear him quite my doubts. “RELAX in the knowledge that the One who controls your life is totally trustworthy. Come to Me with a confident expectation. There is nothing you need that I cannot provide” (Jesus Calling, May 5th).

Whenever I embark on these camps that feel so far outside my comfort zone, but I also see God show up. Though my weakness He is made strong. He uses the unqualified as long as I surrender it to Him. I mean the truth is, God is just waiting for me to lean into Him and truly trust Him. When I do that, He reminds me:

“Cheree, I am the one who gave you the inspiration for this camp. I am the one who inspires the theme, the messages, the content. Each one of these girls are mine. I know them by name and know exactly what they need. I will provide the right people to come alongside you to help. Remember, I Got THIS. I love you and these girls more then you can even comprehend. Trust Me and you will see the fruits of your obedience.”

“God, help me to trust you! Thank you for the provisions and promises you give freely, openly and abundantly, whenever I need them. Thank you that you are always the friend and father that I need when I feel insecure. Keep reminding me that I am not alone in this, that with You I can enjoy the process and TRUST that you will take care of every detail. I love you Lord, Thank you for choosing me. Amen”

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…

Best Way To Prepare for the Day

As I am sitting in my quiet time, I usually start with a range of emotions. Tired, foggy, a list of things on my mind for the day. As I start to listen to worship and nestle into my chair I feel the walls start to fall down as I start asking for the Holy Spirit to come in and renew my mind. The pressures of the day ahead of me start to fade as I ask God to go before me and prepare the day.

It is crazy how we need to do this daily. It is like the reset we need each morning. Sitting and spending time with God in His presence is the most productive practice we can do. It seems almost counterproductive that being “Still” is productive? However, if we come to God with our day, asking Him to be a part of it, to help us moment by moment to see the world in His perspective and have Him take charge, the weight is lifted off our shoulders. No longer do we have to have all the answers, no longer to we need to have the will-power to get it all done and plan everything perfectly. We are free knowing that God has gone before us and will give us all the tools we need to be victorious, even in the mundane.

“Thank you Lord that I can take the weight of my worries off my shoulders and lay it before your feet each morning. To ask for your perspective and live today in a carefree, trusting way. Holy Spirit, fill me before the day even starts so I can see your perspective. Show me where to put my energy and attention. Let me see how you have prepared the way for me and like only you can do. Help me stay in the right perspective and keep me tapped into your presence all day long. Moment by moment, day by day, God keep me close to you! Thank you for this gift. Amen”

Thriving as a Working Mom: Intentional Time

Something I think sets apart surviving from thriving is some who is intentional. If you were to look at my calendar right now you would find a lot of intentional ear-marked time.  Work time, family time, date night, time with mom, monthly business meeting, mentor talks, rest time, vacation time to name a few. Haha, some peoples heads are already spinning, but stay with me, because intentional has been one of my biggest factors in sustaining my values and goals as a busy working mom. To have the life you want and go after your dreams there has to be a plan.  There has to be hard work. There has to be the intention. It doesn’t just magically happen. You have to make it happen.

My husband always makes fun of me that I like to have our whole lives planned out. I basically divvy out what time I have to the areas I want to put the most intention. If I want a stronger marriage I put a weekly connect time on the calendar. A good marriage doesn’t just happen. It is not just serendipitous chemistry that just comes “easy” to some people. It takes work! It takes planning date nights even though your tired. It is putting your phones down to talk nightly.  It is choosing to forgive and ask for help when needed. These acts that create a strong marriage which takes intention.

If I want to grow our business I mark off time to research or attend a class on business growth. There are also monthly/yearly staples like monthly mentor time, family business meetings, and vision casting retreat.

Planning these items are crucial for personal and business growth when you have such a busy schedule. If I don’t carve them out on the calendar, you would be surprised how often these things go overlooked. You blink and 3 months has already passed by! One of the biggest areas I devote time to is my family. Sound pretty sad that it does not just come naturally for me, but often times it is the first things to go out the window. If I don’t resolve early on that each night is ear-marked for family, I find I fill that space with catching up on emails, scrolling thought facebook, or zoning out on tv.

For me it has helped to make each night a theme: Monday – Game Night, Tuesday – Learning Night, Wednesday – Church, Thursday – Date night (Either with Marcos or kids), Friday – Movie Night, Weekend- Camps.

We all honestly look forward to our time together knowing something fun is coming. Do we always stick to the plan, No. Sometimes things come up but just having a plan in place helps us not waste our nights on frivolous things.

As a busy working mom, trying to grow a business, and be a great wife and mom this format seems to be working. I think it is because we are being intentional with our time.  It is not just about saying no to a bunch of things and making “white-space”. For me, it is about creating the life I want to have and having my calendar reflect my goals and values. As you can tell I have a lot of goals I am working towards!

If you find that you don’t have enough time for the things that matter to you, I encourage you to be more intentional with your time. It is worth trying to figure out what you need out of life and then be committed to it. I would love to hear how you are intentional with your time and what areas you wish you had more time for.

Next blog I will go into more detail of how to block off intentional time  and how to create a buffer for when things don’t go according to plan!

Hello Again…

It has been a while since I have written a blog post.  We are going into our slow season at the camp and I have been feeling God start to say it is time to rest. For the last two months, I have been cutting out commitments and saying no to any new projects with this gut feeling I need to clear my plate. As many of you know, it is very hard for me to say no, especially to things I enjoy, but I just knew God was saying “It is time to slow down.”

It has been very hard for me these last two months not really knowing why God wants me in this season. I have been struggling with what it means to further my career. Do I want to start learning how to be a better speaker? Start more projects at the camp? Or become more invested in the business world furthering my career? I keep asking myself, “How do all these big-name people do it? How do they go after their goals and still be a good mom and wife?” I am almost certain it is NOT slowing down their career at any point.

Well, what I have come to realize in my crossroads is that there are many sacrifices that come with having a big career. Your family, your time, your mental and emotional energy.  Not that I am unwilling to put in the work, I always enjoy a good hussle and even thrive off it! It comes down to asking what God wants for me. At this point, I hear Him clearly say, “Now is not the time. Slow down, and start taking things off your plate.” Ughh, not what you want to hear when you have a fire in your belly to make your goals happen.

A few months ago I had no idea why I felt God saying slow down but now fast-forward to today and I have absolutely seen what God was making space for.  This last month I was able to step in where there was a real need and I feel so incredibly blessed to watch God’s sovereignty. If I had been over-committed or chasing after my own dreams,  I would have not been able to help in the way that was needed. Thank you God for using me to be your vessel. Your timing is so perfect. I am so humbled by your love for your people.

I may never get to be the super “successful” BIG name career woman I envision for myself.  I am always going to have a FOMO but I have to make peace with that. If I am going to live a life that trusts Him, I need to walk faithfully that He knows best. If I am following God doing His work and loving His people (even if it feels like it is on a small scale) that is enough. This is the life I want to live, a life guided by Him.

STRONGER BRAVER 2019 – Update and Vision

Video Image.JPG

It has been 3 weeks since our STRONGER BRAVER 2019 camp and I wanted to say thank you to everyone for their support and prayers. We had 20 campers with 15 staff in attendance. Each year we seem to be growing in numbers, support, and overall vision!

This year we focused our theme on “Finding Your Own Path” which explored finding our spark, how to organize our goals and find the grit to overcome obstacles. We had speakers from all walks of life (a Baker, Pilot, Ph.D. Student, Entrepreneur, and Musician) share their journey of finding their own unique path. We ended camp with a live concert by our musician which was a highlight of the weekend!  I closed camp with a letter to the campers that pretty much sums up camp. Read it here: A Letter To My Campers!

I honestly can’t wait for next year’s camp as I already have a FLOOD of new ideas on how to make this camp more impactful. Thank you to an amazing staff that gave honest and helpful feedback that helped narrow down the focus for 2020.

I learned that most high schoolers are in the “discovery” stage if life. For 2020 my goal is to help them explore their sparks further and dabble in new experiences. Most of our teens have not had much exposure and find it hard to think outside their box of what they know. So with that said, I will be on the hunt for more volunteers who want to share their profession and expertise.

I have a vision for 4-5 stations around the camp with groups of 5 campers spending individual time asking questions to our volunteers about their skills. Then partnering this with a hands-on activity to see if they like that trade or profession. For example, a carpenter can come and share about their apprenticeship or how they started their own company. After a small group discussion time,  they will then get to help build a picnic bench and even learn how to use some power tools. I think it would be neat if each group made a piece of this bench and at the end of camp we would have a finished table the kids can all sign!

Experiences that are meaningful and hand-on will really make for a more impactful camp.  Exposing our campers to a wide variety of people and skills could be the spark they need to change their life trajectory! So with that said, if you feel like you would be a good candidate to share your journey or talents, I would love for you to fill out a speaker application form by clicking here. Please also share if you know of anyone who could be a good candidate.

I still can’t believe it has only been a year and a half since running our first passion project camp! My confidence is growing with each one and that is a large part of the support and prayers I feel from all of you! THANK YOU for riding this amazing journey with me and helping it grow into something beyond what I could have even imagined!

CLICK HERE for our 2019 STRONGER BRAVER Camp Video

IMG_1974                              * For privacy reasons, campers faces will not be shown*

How do I HEAR from GOD?

As I am sitting in my quiet time I had this overwhelming inspiration to write about how I hear from God. I am going to do my best to put it into words.

It is about clearing your mind. Sitting and waiting on Him. It is quieting all the yuck, the doubt, the hurt, the negative self-talk.

It is making space to think outside your own circumstances and situation.

It is stopping. It is getting away from all the distractions. Kids, phones, people, thoughts, emails, to-do lists, laundry. You are not trying to fill up the space with your own agenda.

It is coming with a humble and open heart as if you know nothing, that you can’t help but look up and lay your heart in His hands.

It is coming with a heart filled with gratefulness for what He has done and is going to do.

It is about truly being in a posture of reception. An alignment to be filled up. That’s when I hear from God.

He says it in a notion, He speaks in a whisper, He gives me a Word, I remember a Verse, He gives me a feeling of joy, peace, or contentment. He put in me the Boldness to go after the unknown.

It is when I do these things that I truly receive the fullness of God.

Thrive as a Working Mom: How To Incorporate Quiet Time

Since we just talked about Quiet Time and how important it is, I thought I might talk about what quite times looks like for me. With kids and an already PACKED schedule, I want to show how I practically navigate making time and space for spending time with God on a consistent basis.

Truth is I would love to say that every day I spend quiet time with God. I have seasons where I do, typically in wintertime when we don’t have groups every day during the summer. There are also times I am so desperate for God’s help that I find myself running to Him daily to help me through the struggles of life. However, I have worked hard not to just run to Him in need or when it perfectly fits my work schedule during our off-season. It takes time and effort to carve out time for Him and it is not always easy, but I do it because I know I need it!

When my kids were young (infant-preschool) this was the HARDEST time to have quiet-time. I was so determined to make time for God though cause let’s be real, my mental sanity needed God to come in and rescue me. How do you do it with needy children saying, “Mom, mom, mom…mmmmooommmm!” Well, two routes you can go. Get up early before they are awake. This backfired on me because of A.) I have a hard time getting up early and B.) My kids would just smell that I was awake at 6am and get up with me.

So my next option was to just do “quiet time” WITH them. Sometimes I would take them in the backyard and set up an activity while I brought my speaker and bible study outside. Other times, I would give them a “journal” and have them have quiet time with me. It may have only lasted 15 minutes, but God would ALWAYS give me a nugget of truth to inspire me. My kids also got into a routeen that when mommy was journaling that it was to be respected and they tried their best not to distract me. If all else failed, I would put on a show for them and put my headphones on to journal.

These seasons call for being creative and flexible. Never get down on yourself for trying to make time but then it ends in frustration because it did not look or feel the way you hoped. Ha, reminds me of when we all try to get to church, we are all running late, my husband is mad and we’re all in a BAD mood when we get to church. But hey, we tried and I really feel like God honors or efforts. Never stop trying!

Now that my kids are in preschool, it is a little easier to have actual “quiet” time. However, I laugh because even though they are in school 3-days a week, I still struggle to find time for God. I remember thinking, as soon as my kids are in school that’s when I will get so much done! I’ll have consistent quiet time and my laundry will never pile up. Jokes on me!!! No matter what stage of life, something will always distract me and steal my time if I let it.

So with that said, we have to fight to make time for God. Block off a chunk of time in the mornings even if it is 15 minutes. Grab a quick bible study book that you can manage to do before work in the car. Make it a priority to listen to worship while driving. My husband likes audio CDs and finds that is the best way for him to get into the word. For me, I like to put on worship, sit on my couch and write in my journal. I thank God for all He has done and then start to list my worries for the day. I ask Him to help me and try to release my cares to Him. I will lift up anyone I know that is struggling and also bring any major life events or camps and ask Him to cover them. I usually end with reading in Jesus Calling or another short devotional.

Another HUGE component to having a great Quiet Time is the worship I listen to. If I am looking to have a meaningful connection with Him I put on my favorite worship list (click here). These are songs that I have collected through the years that have made an impact on my life. I also have a few playlists with just background music (click here) I can play while writing or blogging cause sometimes words can be too much for me to hear my own thoughts. I want to share both with you here on this blog if you need a starting point. Find your style though. Find the songs and devotionals that speak to you.

There is always the debate on if Quiet Time needs to be done in the morning. I know for me, it does have a powerful impact on the rest of my day when I choose to spend time with Him the morning. It is normally after the kids go to school, my husband is at work, and the house is empty. Then I can have true quiet and not as many things on my mind like, “Pack the lunch, get the clothes, etc.” Also, I don’t feel like I can be as vulnerable if I have the fear of someone walking in seeing me cry or sing off tune. Whenever that safe space is for you, FIND IT. It may be in your car or at a bench in a secluded park. Some people also like quiet a time at night where they can focus and reflect on the day. Either way, find your time/space to spend with Him. No matter what, it won’t be wasted and God will honor your effort.

Sometimes my Quiet Time is 15 minutes, sometimes for 2 hours! Today I was not planning on spending much time in prayer but I was so compelled to write these last few blogs, I couldn’t help but sit in His presences and feel him inspire these words. That’s how God works though. We have these plans and schedules and after spending time with Him we are refocused on what really matters.  Just by stopping and asking for His wisdom you never know how the trajectory of your day might change. Maybe this blog will inspire someone today because I took the time to ask God for His direction.

This is how I want to live my life,  in constant communication with Him, feeling Him directing my steps and seeing through His guidance that lives will be changed. The biggest component of hearing His direction is my quiet time with Him.

I would love to hear how your quiet time looks and what inspirations you look too! Next blog I will write about how it takes intentional blocks of time to focus on what I want as a priority in my life. Another HUGE tool I use to Thrive as a Working Mom!


Thrive as a Working Mom: Essential Quiet Time

Of all of my topics as thriving as a working mom this has to be the most essential part of my day; my Quiet Time with God. Besides keeping a “Day of Rest” one day a week, taking time each morning to spend with God is by far the hardest principle I have had to fight to keep consistent in my life. Of course, this is the most transformative time too.

My quiet time is where I connect to God and am able to feel Him, hear Him, and gain my confidence. I am able to cry my tears of hurt, get peace from my worries, where I pour out my heart and really FEEL His presence. Where He makes me new and changes my perspective. I receive my greatest ideas during this time and also find the courage to walk paths I would never think possible. Major breakthroughs and epiphanies happen in this reflective space.

There is such power in making time for Him and I truly believe that is where we are able to take this life to the next level. It is by walking hand in hand with God. His ways are higher than our ways and it takes time to sit and listen to what He is trying to say. Only with Him can we conquer our fears and hurts and accomplish unimaginable things.

Why is it that so quickly cut quiet time with God from my priority list? I think it is one of the biggest ways the enemy works against us. If we’re not connected to God hearing from Him, we can only stand for so long before the world comes crashing down on us. We were not made to handle this life by ourselves. We were created to walk with Him. I truly feel He only gives us bite-size pieces of his presences so that we will keep having to go back to Him to be filled up. Every day He wants us to come to Him! Seems like such a commitment but that is how he designed us. To be in constant communication with Him.

It seems almost the most unproductive thing I can do, just sitting and writing in my journal listening to worship. However, time and time again it is proven the MOST PRODUCTIVE time in my day.  God has a way of working things out, changing our perspective to handle situations better, or even helping me focus on what really matters. Being filled up by Him first can change the whole trajectory of my day.

So if your spinning your wheels, asking yourself “What am I missing?  I am trying to do the right thing but life is still not working out”. Maybe you need to make space for quiet time with Him. To be able to lay it all down before His feet, make room for Him to come and fill your spirit, and really connect to His presence. I promise you, God will honor that and you will see your life change in unexplainable ways.

Next week I will talk about how I practically incorporate quiet time and what exactly it looks like for me.

Jesus Calling, December 14th:

“Rest in Me, My Child, forgetting about the worries of the world. Focus on Me- Immanuel- and let My living Presence envelop you in Peace. Tune in to My eternal security, for I am the same yesterday, today, and forever. If you live on the surface of life by focusing on the ever-changing phenomena, you will find yourself echoing the words of Solomon: Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything meaningless!

Living in collaboration with Me is the way to instill meaning into your days. Begin each day alone with Me so that you can spend time with Me so that you can experience the reality of My Presence. As you spend time with Me, the way before you opens up step by step. Arise from the stillness of our communion, and gradually begin your journey through the day. Hold My hand in deliberate dependence on Me, and I will smooth out the path before you.”

Feeling Inspired

I have been having a hard time getting excited about our next STRONGER BRAVER camp and was starting to get nervous because I just did not feel motivated to get planning. It is less than 4 months away and summer is practically here. Well instead of freaking out and thinking, “I only have so much time!!!!” I decided to wait and pray. I told God, “Ok Lord, I got nothing! If you want this camp to be successful I need you to bring something to the table”.   Well last night, I had a huge inspiration.

The theme of “Trail Blazer” was an idea my mom had already came up with a few months ago. I liked it and had been toying with the idea, but it didn’t really strike me until I started reading the book “Girls Stop Apologizing”, by Rachel Hollis. I am only a few chapters in and I am hooked! It talks a lot about goal setting and the work it takes to get “THERE”. After reading the chapter “It’s Been Done Before”, my mind TOOK OFF and I could not stop writing ideas:

What if you found a goal you were super passionate about, that you dared to dream, and were inspired to chase? What if we can debunk your fears and teach you how to get there?

What if we had different people come in and speak about how they “Trail Blazed” their way to an interesting job or dream they pursued? What Struggles did it take? How much Grit did it take? How did they just “know” this is what they wanted to do?

With a world telling these youth your not good enough, your family will never support you, your dream is too far outside the box, or you don’t have the resources, I felt compelled to send a different message! That is what the camp will be about. Teaching them to be their own lives “Trail Blazer” and really harness the confidence to go for it and to be inspired by others who have done it before.  I want to start teaching our youth to dream, try, and learn along the journey.

So with that said, If you know if anyone who might want to come and share their interesting story, profession, or passion please send them my email director@dreammountaincc.com. Or if you are just PUMPED about our topic and want to come help as a counselor, check out our webpage (click here) to apply to be a chaperone!

Ok, sorry, I got off on a track with my original thought for this blog. My main point was to say inspiration will come when it is supposed to come. I am just so thankful that instead of freaking out and pushing for something I was not passionate about, I chose to wait on God to see what HE would inspire. Ha, and boy did He inspire. Last night I had a flood of ideas come filling up multiple pages! My heart is filled with so much excitement and humbleness right now that I can’t help but stop and thank God:

“Thank you Lord for your perfect timing and inspiration. Thank you for choosing me to ride this wild ride of YOUR journey. I can’t believe I am so lucky that you would give me a piece of your mission for the world. Lord, there is still more work to be done making this camp come together so I pray you will bring the right people, the right help, and the right support to make this successful. Let the camp be a place of refuge and peace for our youth. That change will happen right here at Dream Mountain that we can change lives for your kingdom. Thank you again Lord for choosing me to help do your amazing work.”

NOTE: I realize that I was in the middle of a series “Thriving as a Working Mom” and I will be jumping back into that for my next blog. I just can’t help when I am inspired on a topic and didn’t want to wait to post it!

Thriving as a Working Mom: Time = Energy

I don’t know about you but taking care of my family feels like it uses up 90% of my time and energy. In reality, it is probably only 50% and the other 50% goes to work but I swear after a long day with kids, with no naps, and tantrums over snacks, I feel like I’m running on fumes by noon.  Raising kids is the hardest job in the whole world…CAN I GET A AMEN?!?!? As a working mom, raising young kids, sometimes I feel like all I am doing is surviving. This week I want to talk about how it is soooo important to guard your time and energy if you ever want to get past feeling like your running on fumes!

As I wrote last week, I had a mental shift when I became a mom. A big part of this was recognizing that I have very minimal energy to waste and accepting that raising young kids takes a majority of it! I hardly have anything left to give at the end of the day. In this season, I think that is very normal, but why do we try to push ourselves to be more then what our bodies and minds can handle?

Time and time again I have pushed myself to try and “do it all” and I always end up in a bad place, good to no one, and BURNT OUT. Then starts the uphill journey of putting the pieces back again. So much healing has come from giving myself the freedom and grace to realize that raising kids is the hardest job in the whole world.  That if I only have so much energy and I keep depleting it then I will not be giving my family the best parts of me. That is not who I want to be nor the life I want to live. I want to be joyful, playful, happy, and thriving for my family.

So, how do I save energy when there are only minimal amounts? I huge component is guarding my time. I have learned that energy = time and I have had to scale down tremendously. I have tried to be more realistic about the amount I can give and defensively guard the rest. It is saying no to a lot of events or volunteer opportunities, and actually marking off weekly days of REST! Whaaaaaaaattttt! I know! It has been so hard!!!!!

Do I feel like this minimal me is disappointing people? YES, and I hate it! One of the biggest things that gets me down is not being able to make people happy. I am a servant by nature and when I can’t meet people needs or disappoint them because I have to put myself, family or business first, I feel like such a Scrooge!  It must be so frustrating when a friend comes to me and says hey, let’s plan something and I already know already that my schedule is full. They must be thinking, “Really  Cheree, you can’t find ONE weekend to do something?”. The truth is I probably could squeeze something in, but I would be putting myself at risk for burn out.

I just keep reminding myself I have run on empty for too long. I need to stop repeating old habits and running myself to the bone. I need to start making space and guarding my energy so that I can be healthy and thriving. This area that has and will be one of my biggest challenges but I honestly feel like has made the most impact on my mental health. I am no longer at the end of my rope every day. Only some days now ;-). Progress right?!?!

But really, can anyone relate? And please share the ways or insights on how you are able to guard your time and energy to help you thrive!