Seasons

It’s funny how we go through different seasons in our lives. I’m very grateful for this season in my life.  It’s been the worst of times and the best of times.  For a minute there we thought we were stuck in a place we knew was not the place of utmost living, but we are coming out and I must say we are doing better than ever.  Our family is stronger than ever and as we as individuals are also stronger & wiser than ever.

Earlier this year we were told that everything that could be shaken would be shaken in our lives and that only that which belonged to us would remain and boy have we felt that shaking.  The great thing is that as I look at what we’re left with, I can happily say, it was worth it.  The things we lost are only things, the people who left weren’t meant to be with us at this time and most importantly our faith has grown by leaps and bounds as well as the appreciation for what is truly important.  We learned valuable lessons that will help us be better people as we move into our destiny and take those experiences to help others.  We survived and we are moving forward! 

Take courage, whatever you are going through, it will pass and you will survive, just don’t give up!

A job, a career or your calling?

I’m still on the topic of purpose/passion.  I received so much feedback regarding the topic that I thought I’d share this one with you as well and see what you think.  I was recently confronted with the following question, “Do you consider what you do a job, a career or your calling (purpose)?

 I had to think about this one.  My first thought was, “aren’t they the same thing?”  After hearing a story about 3 men that laid bricks and were asked “what are you doing”; though they were all doing the same thing, their answers were different.  I don’t quite remember the exact words of their responses, but one answered it was his job, “I’m just laying bricks”, the second one said it was his career, “this is what I’m trained to do, laying bricks”, but the third one said “can’t you see, I’m building a beautiful temple”. Notice how the first two, simply answered regarding the task at hand, while the third spoke about the end result; to him it was more than the laying of bricks, he was passionate about it; he was already seeing the final outcome.  He might not be the one to build it in it’s entirety but his part was part of the whole picture.

I still had second thoughts about the analogy at least where job and career was concerned, so I decided to look them up.  Job is defined as a specific task done as part of a routine of one’s occupation or for an agreed price, it also said anything a person is expected or obligated to do.  Career is defined as an occupation or profession, one requiring special training.  Calling relates to purpose which is defined as the reason for which something exists, or is done, made, used, etc.  It started coming together and when I went to the visual thesaurus of each word it broke it down even better: job is a responsibility to do something, career is occupation for which you are trained and calling is what you do out of passion/purpose with it comes determination so that you won’t quit when things get tough or don’t go as planned. 

 I get it now and realize even more so the importance of knowing your purpose so that you don’t work aimlessly, but make every step we take and everything we do count. When I worked as a bookkeeper it was a job, it gave me a check every week; even though I did like it (I love numbers) but it was just that, a job.  Then I worked in Corporate America where I thought I’d develop my career and I upheld different positions but again nothing that really gave me a sense of purpose, a drive, or that lined up with my passion and purpose.   Don’t get me wrong, I also loved and enjoyed the years I was in this corporate world for I learned a lot and I was able to develop different skills and abilities and become the business woman I am today; however having a clear understanding of what really drives me and what my passion is as well of what my gifts are, I can conclude that it wasn’t going to produce the sense of satisfaction I feel now as an entrepreneur. 

 If I had to choose a career at this stage and season in my life, I’d rather it be in something that would give me the ability to reach out to women, share my story and empower them, such as my shoe boutique Big and Elegant which allows me the platform to reach out to women and make a difference in their lives.  What about you, do you consider what you do a job, a career or your calling?

 Amy “Your Shoe Lady”

What is your passion?

I was recently in a leadership meeting and those attending were challenged to define their passion.  I’ve always been goal oriented; however, they were set without considering my passion.  I knew I was passionate about my faith and my family but I hadn’t truly thought of what else I was passionate about.  I had to truly ponder, “What makes me passionate?” and being on bed rest due to a broken foot really gave me the time to do so.  One of the things that were shared was that when you lose your passion you lose your inspiration, motivation and drive; passion is your “why” in life.  If money were not an issue, what would you want to do more than anything in the world?   You see many times we don’t fulfill our passion because of fear (false evidence appearing real), insecurities, finances or any other excuse we can come up with.  The truth is, if we find our passion then we can find a way to make it produce money; then work would be done with ease and produce personal satisfaction versus getting a job for the sake of getting a paycheck.  We can set goals that will help us pursue our passion rather than being complacent at a job that has nothing to do with our passion or in a situation that doesn’t match up to our true expectations.  It may take a while to get to your destination, but at least you’d be doing something to get you there.

 As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m reading the book Strategic Acceleration by Tony Jeary and it’s been so helpful in helping me formulate my vision, set my goals and keep my focus.  Now my goals include my passion as well as my personal and family goals. I highly recommend you read it.  It’s an easy read with exercises that help you develop what he calls, “your blueprint”.   One of the things that Tony says that made me think a lot was that we must make sure that the things we do in life move us toward achieving our goals rather than pull us away and that is the question we should ask ourselves, “is what I’m about to do moving me towards my goal or away from it?”.  It’s all part of staying focused and not allowing distractions to take us off course and if you do get off course, then having that blueprint is going to be critical because you can always go back to it to get back on course.

So the question still is; what is my passion?  I wrote down my strengths and weaknesses, I also considered my personality type and then thought of the positions I’ve upheld and the level of satisfaction I felt in performing the tasks and after gathering all that information I outlined what would be the perfect job for me (notice that I didn’t consider my current situation).  I love office management, along with bookkeeping and inventory control, these are all a way to earn income but not my passion (it’s a way to a means as long as I don’t forget to keep my passion in front of me as the main goal).  I then concluded that my true passion is to share my experiences with other women; encourage them; help them to understand that they can have a great life regardless of their current circumstances or past experiences, that if life throws you lemons you can make lemonade.  I want to be able to make a difference one woman at a time, bring laughter to those I come in contact with, pull greatness out of women and help them see how great, strong and beautiful they are inside and out, this is what I truly love to do and produces the greatest level of accomplishment.  I then had to figure out how Big and Elegant fit into the picture; it gives me the platform to fulfill my passion and leave a legacy which is my ultimate goal.  It’s not just about the shoes; it’s about building relationships while I get you into a comfortable and fashionable pair of shoes.

 In these tough times, many of us are re-evaluating our priorities, our goals, our sense of purpose, our experiences (what we did and what we would not do again), etc.  I was recently reminded that our lives are about choices and we can live life at an almost level (I almost got that promotion, I almost lost the weight, I almost got organized), at a most level where we’re just another number in the masses or we can live at the level of utmost living which is the best life, being the best you, you can be.

 I challenge you to take an inventory of your life and figure out; what is your passion; set your goals and key action steps (develop your blueprint) and see how your life will change for the good, I know mine has.  I want to live life at the utmost level and so should you!

 Have a wonderful week!

 Amy “Your Shoe Lady”

What do you do when life throws you a curve ball?

Amy with cast2What do you do when you have things all planned out and life throws you a curve ball? How do you go from being an independent woman to having to depend on others? You know, having to ask to be driven around; get me this, get me that; help me with this or that, it’s not easy but there are times when you will find yourself in a situation that will end up being a humbling experience.

Well that’s where I’m at. This past week I fractured two bones of my foot and now have a cast on for the next six weeks. That means that for the next six weeks I’ll have to rely on others to help me and I’ll have to make adjustments to my plans. Talk about having to be flexible. This is definitely what I call a curve ball. I had so many things I wanted to do and this just changes things for me. I’m good when it comes to helping, but when it comes to asking for help or accepting it, I still struggle. I guess it’s time to pass the test, so I’ll leave pride to a side and learn to accept the help that others offer.

What about my plans? The predicament is do I make the changes or do I wallow in self pity or get aggravated because of my current circumstances or even get discouraged and upset? The answer is, I make the changes and move on. I know it won’t be easy but I need to be thankful that surgery was not required, that I still have my foot and the doctor’s report is that it should heal perfectly fine in addition to being thankful for the friends and family that I have to support me. Why go around feeling sorry for myself or losing my joy and peace? It’s not the end of the world and I’m neither the first nor the last that will have to face some type of limitation. The best way to deal with these situations is to look at the glass as half full, move on and make the best of it. So maybe it’ll take me longer to get to places, or I may have to postpone some things or change the way I do them, the bottom line is; it is what it is and if you can’t change it then don’t let it get the best of you. I will still have hope, joy and I won’t lose my praise.

I encourage you as always to live life to the fullest. Find someone to be a blessing to and always count your blessings.

Have a wonderful week.

Agent of Peace

 “I keep the telephone of my mind open to peace, harmony, health, love and abundance.  Then whenever doubt, anxiety or fear try to call me, they keep getting a busy signal and soon they’ll forget my number” Edith Armstrong.

 Peace, tough to have and maintain but regardless of how hard it may be, I’ve decided that I am going to be in peace and become an agent of peace.  Any time a situation arises that wants to take me down a path that will disturb my peace I simply say out loud, “I’m not going there”.  My niece asked me how I could maintain my peace in the midst of storms and I had to confess that my faith is critical in this process along with determination and self control. If I can’t change or control a situation, why let it get to me; best I let it go and move on and have faith that God will work things out on my behalf, after all if it’s not God sent, it will be God used.  Just yesterday my son was asking me why I was always trying to be a peace-maker.  I told him I had spent too much of my life in turmoil, upset, angry and getting aggravated over the little things (things I had no control over) and I had finally realized it wasn’t worth it. 

 Ever since I set my mind to walking and living in peace I can say that I am much happier.  I want to live in a peaceful and harmonious environment and I’ll do my part to keep it that way.  Don’t be fooled, this is not easy, especially when you have to humble yourself and ask for forgiveness (even when you weren’t at fault) or make that first step towards reconciliation; but once again your determination to stay in peace is what will get you through that moment and the reward is superb, or as my son would say, “sweet”.  Of course, the minute you decide to make this of the utmost importance, you know you will be provoked, but after a while it does get easier till it becomes a part of your lifestyle.  When you realize the benefits of walking in peace and harmony instead of chaos, fear, anxiety or distress you will put your best effort towards achieving your goal of walking in peace.

 Having peace within yourself, your home & your work place will allow you to be a better you and those around you will reap the benefits as well.  When you feel that your peace is being disturbed simply say like I do “I AM NOT GOING THERE” and make a choice to let it go before it gets you.  Will you join me in becoming an agent of peace? 

    I Like this quote I dislike this quote

Who And What Are You Listening To?

What a week!   It has been a very emotional week.  I’ve had some ups and some downs, but I love to focus on the ups.  I am so happy to say my son is back.  I surely missed him and his return offsets all the challenges I came across this week. 

Bill Winston said something this week that made me think and I hope it does the same for you; “The quality of your intake will determine the strength of your output”.  I have proved this to be so.  You don’t need neigh sayers or dream crushers in your life.  Not everyone can go along the journey you have to travel.  If we are not careful of what and who we listen to or what we watch we can easily be polluted, distracted, discouraged, misled and it opens the doors for negativity to come in.  Sometimes even the media can be a negative influence in our lives.  In the midst of all the chaos and uncertainty, stay encouraged no matter what you face and look for people that will help you stay encouraged.  Every new day is a day of possibilities and opportunities.  We must seize the moment and reach high not looking at where we are at but where we are going.  Joyce Meyers said it best, “We might not be where we need to be, but thank God we’re not where we used to be”.

Don’t forget our fashion show for full figured women at Ashley Stewart on Aug 29th at University Mall at 1:00 pm.  The event is free and we will be accepting business suits and apparel in sizes 14 and up for Dress for Success Tampa Bay.  Let your friends know that we can be found on facebook www.tinyurl.com/bigandelegant; on twitter www.twitter.com/bigandelegant and they can access our e-store on www.bigandelegant.cartfly.com.

  • "I decided to open a shoe store for women with big and/or wide feet where they could shop with pleasure, would not have to sacrifice fashion for comfort and walk out with their head held high."