She Speaks Conference

Hey Friends, it's almost here!
Get out your calendars and save the date!
June 20-June 22, 2008
The Proverbs 31 Ministries
She Speaks Conference
is almost here!
If you're interested in attending a conference that will
Educate and Exhilarate
I call this conference
A Weekend of Inspirational Instruction
You will be treated to the best
in the Christian Community
on the subjects of
Growing A Deeper Spiritual Life
Log onto
and register
Invite your friends and your women's ministry leader to share in this unbelievable and uplifting experience.
If you are seeking a new and fresh wind to carry your spiritual life to new heights
This is the conference you've been waiting for!
I'd love to hear from those of you who have attended this conference in the past.
Encourage your sisters in Christ by posting your encouraging thoughts on my blog.
P.S. This years conference is being held at a brand new hotel
the hotel even has a spa.
I hope to check out the spa for you in next next few months.
I promise to report back to you after a relaxing massage.
Hmmmm... maybe I should check in one day early
in order to enjoy the full spa experience. HA!

Flat Stanley

My friend Tina is a third grade teacher in Baltimore, Maryland and she sent me Flat Stanley this week.
He is part of a project her class is doing .
I think this is the cutest idea and I just love saying
Flat Stanley

When you receive him you are supposed to take a picture of yourself and Flat Stanley in your hometown or any places you might visit and include a letter about his time with you.
After his vist, we're supposed to return him to the child that sent him.
Jazmine is the student that sent Flat Stanley to me and she writes that this is Flat Stanley's first trip out of Glen Burnie, Maryland.

Since the Panthers' season is over Tom, decided to let Flat Stanley "hold" his autographed Panther's football.
I thought Flat Stanley would enjoy being in the latest edtion of Carolina Bride's magazine.
This edition features our friends Alyse and Phillip Woodward.

All of this got me to thinking...

If someone sent you a Flat Stanley where would you take him?

We have a Winner
Let me begin by thanking each of you for posting your answers to the question "What is God asking me to give away in 2008?" Each response was touching and thought-provoking and I appreciate the honesty and openness you have shared. I was inspired by your responses and so was everyone who read them. It is my prayer that you will keep us posted on the spiritual growth that is taking place in your lives as a result of giving away the things you mentioned.

I had such fun as I took the opportunity to visit the blog’s posted and enjoyed getting to know you. It is a privilege to be your sister in Christ.

Now the moment you’re waiting for. Drum Roll please!

I drew the name Aimee as the winner of the pouchee. I hope you enjoy using it Aimee and find it helpful as you begin to open up your home as the "hostess who offers the mostest". Send me your contact information and I'll pop your pouchee in the mail. :-)

Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;” (NIV)
Sisters, the truth is that everything we have comes from the gracious hand of God and we are stewards not owners of anything. He waits patiently for us to “give away” what He has entrusted to us on this side of heaven. As we live our lives with the attitude of giving it ALL away to the Lord we receive blessings far greater than anything this world can offer. Psalm 24:5-6, “He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah” (NIV)
The One who gave the most continues to give us His best every day.
John 3:16, "For God so loved the world He gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life."

Oh Lord, we thank you for giving us your perfect and precious son. We bow before you in awe as YOU continue to provide in abundance. Enable us to be faithful stewards of all YOU have entrusted to us and may we live with an attitude of open hands. Remind us each day to “give away”ALL things back to You for our good and YOUR glory. Amen.

Balancing Act
Balancing Act
Zoë Elmore

“His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant!’” Matthew 25:21a (NIV)

I had the privilege of being a stay-at-home mom while our sons were growing up. I very much enjoyed volunteering at their school and in our community. Once our sons entered junior high school, I began working outside our home to help our family income. Now that they are both out of the house I have not one, but three part-time jobs. I spend four to five days a week as a receptionist for a doctors’ office, a counseling center and I spend many weekends traveling and speaking with Proverbs 31 Ministries. All three jobs are a rich-training ground for learning how to balance work, family and home responsibilities. This schedule has certainly given me a new appreciation of how easily my balance act can be disrupted.

There are days when the Lord and I keep things on track at work and at home, and then there are days when it seems to be one derailment after another. It’s in those days of derailment that I ask the Lord to show me ways to get back on track. Throughout this last year I’ve discovered three areas of intent that help keep my life balanced no matter what the day is like.

First things first… I must keep my daily appointment with the Lord. Some days it consists of my usual quiet time, and other days it’s reduced to prayer while driving (with open eyes of course). In either case, being intentional about spending time with the Lord keeps the attitude of working for the Lord utmost in my mind.

Keeping this attitude leads me to the next area of intent… Control my work. Working hard comes easily to me, but it’s the one place l can lose my balance when I allow my work to control me. Perhaps it’s my desire to do my work with excellence or maybe it’s the “disease to please.” Whatever the reason, when I allow the Holy Spirit to guide me in balancing my life's priorities, I’m reminded that my source of significance is Jesus Christ, not my work.

Another thing I’ve learned to do is ask for help. I’ve made an agreement with friends to be there from time to time when we need a helping hand. I’ve learned that it’s okay to admit that my life isn’t perfect (my friends already know that). I’ve also learned to get my family involved in everyday chores; this not only frees up time, but it is also a good way to build character and self-esteem in my children.

The last area of intent is the idea of intentional, godly fellowship. Our spiritual lives need the encouragement from other believers. When we neglect this area, we can lose our warm fuzzies (as I call them) and open the door to the cold and pricklies. Just like separating logs in a fireplace causes them to cool off faster, neglecting godly fellowship will cause us to lose the warmth of our spiritual lives.

If you’re struggling with the delicate balance of work and home, I want to encourage you to be intentional about asking the Lord to show you strategies for balancing your life. As women we are all pulled in many directions each day. Having good intentions simply isn’t enough. We must implement intentional behavior if we are going to master the balancing act of life.

Dear Lord, I thank You for the responsibilities You have placed before me because I know they are from Your sovereign hand. Show me practical ways to prioritize my life in order to obtain and maintain balance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
A Woman’s Secret to a Balanced Life by LysaTerKeurst and Sharon Jaynes

Zoe’s blog

Women Who Do Too Much by Patricia Sprinkle

Application Steps:
As you begin your work today, ask God to show you practical ways to balance your life.

Make a commitment to be intentional with the things God shows you.

Be willing to ask for help. Allow others the blessing of lending a hand. For instance, take turns cooking dinner. If your children are too small to cook have a “breakfast” night once a week and enjoy a bowl of your favorite cereal.

Have you pushed God aside in the pursuit of balance?

Are you wearing the “My life is perfect” mask? Remove it permanently and get real. Nobody’s life is perfect on this side of heaven.

Power Verses:
Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” (NIV)

Ephesians 6:7, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.” (NIV)

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

Give Away

I love reading your responses to the question
"What is God asking me to give away in 2008?
This is my "give away" to you for entering the drawing with your responses.
The Pouchee!
Stop wasting time emptying everything out of one purse and then putting it into another purse. Instead, organize your items into Pouchee one time only and then place Pouchee in the bag or purse of your choice!
When you need to change purses or bags, take your Pouchee out of one and simply place it in the other! Pouchees make a welcome and practical gift for any woman.
I know each of you is wonderful and I hope this will assist you in keeping your life organized.

Be sure to post your responses along with your e-mail or blog address.
The drawing ends Monday January 21, 2008.

What can I Give Away?
Okay, if you're a regular to the Proverbs 31 speaker blogs you will note that a number of the speakers are showing their love for you by offering some pretty neat "give aways". While I think it's a fabulous idea I couldn't help but ask myself what I might have that I could offer you as a give away to express my genuine care for you.

Let's see... I purchased a lot of copies of the January issue of the Proverbs monthly magazine (I'm on the cover); no that's not a good enough offer.

I have about 20 copies of the CD I recorded in 1999; no that's not a good enough offer either.

Let me think... maybe I have something in my "gift closet" (When I find fun or unique gifts I purchase them for gift giving).

Nope, nothing there; it's pretty empty post holidays.

Think, Zoe think, surely you have something someone would enjoy receiving.
But what would it be? After hours of racking my brain this is what I've come up with.

If you would like to receive my give away you need to answer the following question:

What is the Lord asking you to "give away" in 2008?

Submit your answers here on my blog.
Each submission enters you in a drawing for the give away.

I'll let you know what I'm giving away tomorrow

A Foundation of Joy
January 8, 2008

A Foundation of Joy
Zoë Elmore

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” James 1:2 (NIV)

I’ve struggled with dyslexia and ADD since childhood, and for the most part I don’t allow myself to dwell in the land of defeat and discouragement as I try to concentrate and focus on my home and work responsibilities. However, one day last week everything I attempted was either backward or forgotten about altogether. That may not seem too distressing, but with three part time jobs its imperative I stay on task and do things correctly. It was a day of total frustration and embarrassment; the kind of day you pray that the floor will open up and swallow you whole. I left my office discouraged and defeated, wanting nothing more than to put this day and myself to bed.
After dinner I put on my pajamas, slid under the covers, and settled in for a little bedtime reading. I came across the most interesting story on Thomas Edison, a story that helped put an end to my pity-party. It reminded me that trying times are a normal part of this life, and they present an opportunity to strengthen my foundation of joy.
Thomas Edison invented over one thousand things in addition to the phonograph he is famous for. As amazing as his inventions are, I was particularly interested to discover that this man of genius and invention struggled with dyslexia. Despite this, he found ways to learn from his failures.Did you know that in 1914 his laboratory caught fire and burned to the ground while eight fire companies watched helplessly? The next morning as he looked at the remaining rubble, Edison said, “There is great value in disaster. All our mistakes are burned up. Thank God we can start anew.” What an incredible attitude! This man was able to see beyond the disaster before his very eyes to the potential ahead.

His words pierced me like a knife, as I thought about my defeated and discouraged attitude of the day. Where I had lost one day’s work through a computer glitch, this man had lost a lifetime of inventions. Where I had chosen to see the remaining rubble of the day, this man chose to see the future that awaited him. When I longed to hide under the covers, this man took joy in the good that would come about from his loss. Thomas Edison’s statement sums up the truth about spiritual growth perfectly: trials are the foundation of joy for spiritual maturity. We grow spiritually only from and through the trials that arrive on our doorstep.

If you’re feeling frustrated, defeated and discouraged by the trials in your life today, I want to encourage you to look beyond the rubble to what lies ahead. It can be difficult to face our trials with the kind of spirit that sees great value in disaster, but that’s what the Lord expects from us if we are to be women who walk on their foundation of joy. Here is a poem that reflects this attitude so well. While the author is unknown, the poet obviously knows the formula for the foundation of joy.

It’s sometimes very difficultfor us to understandthe wisdom and the love behindthe things that God has planned.But we wouldn’t have the rainbowIf we didn’t have the rain;We wouldn’t know the pleasureIf we never tasted pain.We wouldn’t love the sunriseIf we hadn’t felt the night;And we wouldn’t know our weaknessIf we hadn’t sensed God’s might.We couldn’t have the springtimeor the yellow daffodilif we hadn’t experiencedthe winter’s frosty chill.And though the brilliant sunshineis something God has made.He knew too much could parch our soulsso He created shade.So God’s given us a balance:Enough joys to keep us glad,Enough tears to keep us humble,Enough good to balance bad.And if you’ll trust in Him you’ll seeThough yesterday brought sorrow,The clouds will part and dawn will bringA happier tomorrow.

Dear Lord, You are good and everything You bring into my life is for my good and Your glory. I thank You for burning away my mistakes and providing an opportunity to start anew each day, just as Your mercies are new each morning. Help me to see beyond the rubble and to You for the lessons necessary to grow my faith. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Do You Know Him?

Worship: Nearing the Heart of God by Brian T. Anderson & Glynnis Whitwer

Because, Worship CD by Gwen Smith

Zoe’s Blog

Application Steps:
Ask the Lord to reveal the lessons necessary to grow your faith. Write them in your journal.
Record your spiritual growth on a spiritual doorpost, just like you record your child’s physical growth on a physical doorpost.

What rubble is holding you back? What keeps you from displaying a mature spirit?

Why are you focused on the rubble and not the revelation the Lord longs to share with you?

Power Verses:
Lamentations 3:22-23, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (NIV)

Psalm 25:5, "Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day."(NAS)

Psalm 31:3, "For You are my rock and my fortress; for Your name's sake You will lead me and guide me."(NAS)

Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105

Taters Tea and a Tiara
Let me begin by thanking each of you for you precious prayers for comfort and peace.
The Lord has heard and answered with an abundance of both.

The funeral service for my sweet friend and mother-in-law was held yesterday afternoon and it was God centered, God honoring and a sweet tribute to the spiritual legacy Catherine leaves behind.

Both my husband Tom and our nephew Brad spoke at the service and reminded us of the many reasons why Catherine was such a blessing to all who knew her.
We can still smell the mountains of "taters" and angel biscuits as well as the oceans of "Special Sweet Tea" (recipe in Saturdays' post) that were made by her small and delicate hands.

Catherine always wore an apron while preparing and serving her family thousands of delicious meals. I find such comfort knowing that she now wears a tiara, is clothed in the righteousness of Christ as she dines
at the "Victory Dinner" served by our sweet Jesus.

We rejoice and celebrate the life and legacy that Catherine Moore Elmore leaves behind.

Oh Lord, may we be good stewards of what she planted in our hearts and lives, and help us to grow the legacy for YOUR glory. Amen.

I'd love to read your stories of spiritual legacy; please share them with us.

Proverbs 31 Magazine Article
Here it is!!!! My feature article in the Proverbs 31 Monthly Magazine. After you read it please scroll down to see the pictures of Pamela in her Hot Pink Pumps.

Finding Significance In The Insignificant by Zoe Elmore
For my birthday this year, my husband Tom gave me a beautiful black and white striped jacket with hot pink lining. It was just what I had been hoping for. Once I had the jacket, I just knew I needed the perfect pair of hot pink pumps to match its lining. I searched far and wide for three months to find the perfect pair of shoes that matched the jacket and my budget. I realize this seems like an insignificant detail, but our God loves details and often finds ways to make significant life changes through seemingly insignificant details. Such was the lesson I learned again from these shoes.Just before last year's She Speaks conference, I finally spotted a pair of hot pink pumps on a lonely shelf on the clearance rack for $12.99. You guessed it! They matched the jacket, my budget and were just my size.

One week later I packed the jacket and shoes in my suitcase and headed to the conference. The second day of the conference is always a long one, and as I slipped on my new jacket, I hesitated to wear my new shoes for the very first time.
The day is always jam-packed and a wardrobe change wouldn't work. Pondering my wardrobe predicament, I heard the Lord whisper to my heart, "Wear the new shoes." Being the obedient daughter I am (at least when it comes to fashion), I slipped on my new shoes and headed downstairs to begin the day.During the afternoon I was introduced to a lovely, petite woman wearing a hot pink outfit. Her name was Pamela and she told me about the testimony she had given the preceding evening in her speakers group. Her story includes living with cerebral palsy. As a woman, she loves beautiful shoes, but she can wear only one style of athletic shoe and one style of black boots. She giggled as she shared, "When I get to heaven God is going to have a pair of hot pink pumps waiting for me."When Pamela finished her story, I took her by the hand, sat her down in a nearby chair and removed her socks and shoes. I slipped off my shoes and put her tiny delicate feet into my hot pink pumps. The shoes have a four-inch high heel and they were at least three sizes too big for her petite frame, but I carefully maneuvered her toes and then her heels into the shoes.My friends Rachel and Wendy joined in on the fun, and we flanked Pamela's sides. Rachel and I gently lifted Pamela into a standing position. Wendy snapped a few pictures of Pamela in her hot pink pumps, then we sat her down and Pamela posed for a few glamour shots.

Sweet as this story is, the real significance was revealed that evening when Pamela heard the Lord whisper to her heart. God reminded Pamela to be as helpless before Him every day as she had been earlier that afternoon, when she was helpless to stand on her own in those hot pink pumps. Pamela later told me about God's message to her, and I was reminded of something Lysa TerKeurst said: "God paused for a moment in the scope of time to orchestrate an opportunity to encourage someone."
He didn't need me to encourage Pamela. He could have chosen hundreds of ways to do that, but God gave me the privilege of participating. How silly of me to think the Lord had provided those shoes just for my enjoyment. Before that day, I never would have guessed how He would use my shoes to make a significant difference in someone else's life.

A few weeks after the conference, I was shopping when I spotted a pair of hot pink pumps which "just happened" to be Pamela's size. I squealed out loud as I ran to scoop them up. A few days later I noticed a pair of hot pink bedroom slippers in her size. I mailed both pairs of shoes to Pamela. Although she is not able to walk in her hot pink pumps, Pamela told me she put them in her office as a reminder to stand helpless before the Lord every day. God created me with a love for fashion. Although it seems insignificant in the grand scheme of life, God chose to use my unique style to bring encouragement and a loving message to another. God is a Master at creating significance out of the insignificant. I'm reminded of 1 Peter 4:10: "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms" (NIV). This verse challenges me to look at all the gifts (spiritual and physical) in my life and consider how I am using them to bless others for God's glory.Hot pink shoes … who would have thought? What a wonderful and creative God we serve!

My beloved mother-in -law Catherine Elmore entered heaven Friday morning January 4, 2008. She took her final breath here on earth and then breathed heavenly air and received perfect and complete healing. She was reunited with family and friends who had gone on before and waited in anticipation for her arrival.

As I shared with you earlier she was much more than just a mother-in-law; she was my model of godliness, my mentor and my other "mom".

As the arrangements and details are being made and friends call and stop by I'm reminded how very blessed we are to be a part of the body of Christ. What a wonderful opportunity to see old friends and acquaintances and to share our stories of family gatherings around Catherine's table of delicious meals unique sweet tea (1 gallon of tea add 3 cups sugar, 1/2 grape juice and 1/4 cup Real Lemon lemon juice).

It's sad that I don't slow down long enough to reminisce about the good times we've had with family and friends and that it's taken the death of a loved one to cause me to pause long enough to do so.

I hope my experience will encourage you to slow down long enough to let the ones you love know just how very much they are loved and cared for. Also take the time to share a funny or heart warming story every day with your loved ones.

Time waits for no man or woman and you can never repeat today.

How do you Say Goodbye?
My mother-in law Catherine is in her last days this side of heaven and I'm on my way to spend the afternoon with her holding her hand, reading her favorite scripture and finding a way to "say goodbye".
How do you say goodbye to someone who means the world to you?
An interesting question to ponder isn't it? That leads me to the next question, why do some of us wait until life on this earth is almost over before we let our loved ones know just how much they mean to us?

I'm one of the few women I know who can actually say that I LOVE
my mother-in-law.
In fact Catherine has been one of my sweetest friends throughout the entire 28 years of our marriage. She is a petite woman in stature but a spiritual giant who has walked closely with the Lord almost all of her 96 years of life.
She has poured HIS life into mine and has been a living example of a godly wife and mother.
How do you say good-bye to your mentor, your model, your "mother"?

As I sit in her room today and hold her hand I will try to express my gratitude for everything she is and has been to me and the rest of her family. I will thank her for the time we shared as she progressed through cancer and a broken wrist. I will praise her for always keeping Christ first in her life and for pouring HIS life into mine and I will treasure the last few moments I have with her as we usher her into the waiting arms of our sweet Jesus and the beloved family members anticipating her arrival.

I read this years ago and have found it comforting.

Death is like standing on the shore watching a ship sail away with your loved one on board; while we are saddened about their departure there are those waiting on the opposite shore watching and waiting to catch a glimpse of that same ship, anticipating the arrival of their loved one.

Knowing that Catherine will receive "perfect healing" as she takes her first breath of heavenly air and will be reunited with the beloved family she's missed so much makes saying good-bye a little easier.

For those of you interested in seeing Pamela and Rachel from my article in this month's Proverbs 31 monthly magazine, here we are. Wendy is snapping the picture.
If you don't receive the Proverbs 31 monthly magazine log onto and enjoy the new site as well as my article entitled
Finding Significance in the Insignificant.

Cover Girl
Here's a sneak peek at the Proverbs 31 monthly magazine January issue. I've always wanted to be a cover girl; Tom calls me Miss January.

Well.. here we are again at the start of a brand new year and once again the slate has been wiped clean and I have another opportunity to start again. I'm excited to think about what the Lord will bring into our lives in 2008.

2007 was a year of transition for all four of us as well as our extended family. I took on my third part time job, was published in the book
God's Purpose for Every Woman, am on the cover and wrote the feature article in the January issue of the Proverbs 31 monthly magazine (I've always dreamed of being a cover girl). Tom took on teaching a graduate class last semester at UNCC in addition to his full time job.
Now that his teaching is complete for this semester he can settle into new work responsibilities and forget the nightmare of grading essays.
Our oldest son Josh moved back to the Charlotte area and will begin his new job in a few days. Our youngest son Joseph should receive his commercial pilot's licence in a few weeks and begin to apply for jobs with airlines while finishing his degree at Embry Riddle.

It was a busy year indeed, but I hope we've all been through transitions far greater than jobs and geography. I hope we've all transitioned into happier and healthier individuals (spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally) and that we each have a deeper hunger for Christ.
It will be interesting the watch and see how each of us reacts to the transitions of 2008 and where we are one year from today.

I may not know what my future holds but
I know that ONE who holds my future.
Do you know the ONE who holds your future in the palm of HIS hands?
If you're unsure of your answer read chapter 8 in the book of Romans.
I pray those 39 verses will open your heart and your eyes to the truths that will transofrm your life and transition you into a life of freedom!!!
I'd love to hear your stories of transition.

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