Monday, May 28, 2012

So how are you doing?

By Elisa Morgan, Publisher, FullFill

It’s almost halfway through 2012. Well, it’s almost June and once we hit June, I figure we’re about halfway through.

Time to take stock.

How are you doing? With the resolutions you made January 1? With the diet? The budget? The new way to cook and exercise? The designated time with God?

Er...uh...sorry. I don’t want this to be a downer. Really. If you’re like me, there are several little items that you haven’t followed through on. It’s easy to focus on the “less than realities” and overlook the real progress in other areas. So let’s take a minute to do that: evaluate the real progress around us.

Quit scrolling for just a sec and think. In what area have you grown? Have you read more? Been healthier? Consumed less? Prayed more? Take note! And pat yourself on the back. Well done! Celebrate the moment.

For FullFill, we declared two BIG goals and one add-on goal as we entered 2012,

First: raise $20,000 to underwrite FullFill to go to Donate 20,000 women in 2012. (It only costs $1 per woman per year to provide FullFill for FREE to all!) We’re at just over $15,000. Good news!

Second: extend our reach from the 10,000 women we serve to 20,000 in 2012. Well, we’re still about 10,000. BUT we have new relationships with lots of folks that are promising to get the word out to their constituencies.

We had a third, add-on goal - and we’ve made it! For every $10,000 above the $20,000, we committed to publishing a new digizine issue. Between gifts and advertising, we made it and so - TA DA! - you’ve just received a Spring/Summer edition: Friend O Mine. Hope you’re enjoying it! And if you haven’t had a chance to check it out - CLICK HERE for GREAT articles by Tracey Bianchi, Margot Starbuck, Shayne Moore - and MORE!

That’s how we’re doing:
#1: $15,000 out of $20,000.
#2: 10,000 women out of 20,000 women.
#3: DONE and prepping for another $10,000 in order to release a Fall/Winter digizine issue.

Oh, plus hundreds of women attending our 10 webinars. Woo Hoo!

Today, we celebrate YOU. We celebrate your progress in 2012. And we celebrate your investment in FullFill, helping us move toward our goals to empower more women to live out their influence. If God leads you to do more, go for it!

Remember, it’s only when we are full ourselves that we can fill others. Live out your influence!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Next Generation Leaders

Cheryl Lee Davis

We leaders, you and I, always want to be learning. Learning about leading means learning about our next generation leaders. It’s been a joy for me to lead these young women and learn from them. It’s been a joy to learn more about their leadership styles. Leading always takes listening and learning. But for Millennial Leaders, this is their sweet spot—it should be ours as well!.

I encourage you to dive in and get to know the generations around you. Spend time listening and learning. Here are a few values that matter to our upcoming generations of leaders:
  1. Team - Millennial and GenXers aren't taught to go it alone. Collaboration and teamwork have been part of their schooling and experience. Other generations must bend. Bend toward the many who want influence and a seat at the table. Be genuine. Sincerely engage them. Listen to their ideas and observations. Then accept their input and support them as they implement. Scary? You bet. Your leadership world is about to change!
  2. Social - Young leaders today are connected socially at all times. They are on social networking sites by phone, through tablets and computers. These leaders are almost never, NEVER alone, yet they are not with people as much as you might think. When it comes to the workplace, the face to face connection is needed. It's desired. Yes, as a leader today, you are going to have the opportunity to influence your team by sitting with them. They want to know you and see how you operate in life and in your leadership. They want to watch you, your character, and your tenacity when facing life's challenges. So, get ready, they are watching and waiting to connect with you relationally.
  3. Real - Leaders today know you are not perfect, so leave your mask at home. Show yourself for who you are: good and bad, strong and weak victorious and bent to temptation. You will trust them with who you are and in turn they will trust you.
  4. Flexible -- Leaders today are not singularly focused on what they have been trained or educated to offer through a volunteer role or ministry position. You can (and should) open doors of flexibility in tasks, roles, in forming vision and in brainstorming solutions. Whatever is needed, consider how you might incorporate more flexible thinking and leadership that make room to hear the voices and ideas around you.
  5. Work Hard, Play Harder -- We all know a leader who gives up everything for her job. Motivated by job security and advancement, power and the corner office, she lives at the office. The corner office doesn't even exist anymore! Today, leaders don't expect that their job will bring decades-long security. They look for other benefits-more internal value and a job that allows them to live a full life. This includes fun. Today's leader is a hard worker, for sure. But, she also wants space and place to play.
  6. Family - Related to the above, family matters and having a job that allows for leaders to be present in family activities is important to Millennial Leaders. Many if not most of our younger leaders experience broken homes and they want to avoid the same. Encourage the leaders around you to spend time with their family. Everyone benefits.  
  7. Work Has Meaning -- Leaders today are invested in organizations where the time investment they make has a deeper and long lasting effect beyond the paycheck or job title. Intrinsically, people want to be part of something greater than themselves. This is true for leaders today -- there is a strong connection between the work they offer and their passion and desire to see their world become a better place because of them!
Leadership matters. Our young leaders matter. Your engagement and investment in those around you will have a lasting imprint on their life. Make a difference today.

Cheryl Lee Davis serves as Vice President of Ministry Development with Stonecroft Ministries. She and her family live in Kansas City, Missouri. For more information about how to engage in the lives of women around you, go to

Monday, May 7, 2012

Finding Strength in Our Weakness

By Jennifer Grant

One of my closest friends is a college theater professor. A few weeks ago, he told me about an acting exercise he uses with his students. It is a "clowning exercise," my friend Mark said. The lesson starts with students identifying a character trait - something specific that they either like or dislike about themselves - and thinking about how they could exaggerate it. That trait would become the focus of the exercise.

A student, for instance, who is overweight or brainy or known to be chatty could choose to embellish one of those traits. My friend tasks his students with writing a short narrative that shows their characters struggling with a now-outsized flaw and then, somehow, addressing it. Last, they present short, three-minute performances during which they must wear a red clown nose.

The talkative student might, for example, come onstage in that red nose prattling away. He then might eat a drippy triple-decker ice cream cone or catch marshmallows in his mouth to quiet himself.

The exercise isn't meant to humiliate or shame the students, but to free them from the firm grasp of their inhibitions and the way they ruthlessly judge themselves. Not only exposing, but also truly exaggerating and poking fun at their imperfections, frees students from the power that those flaws hold over them. They no longer fear others' judgment or being found out. They find strength in exposing their weaknesses.

When I look at my own life and what flaws have shamed me or held me back, my fears and failings as a mother flood my mind. I remember the countless times as a young mom when I had wildly unrealistic expectations for myself and for my children. The way I desperately hoped I'd somehow be able to raise my kids without ever letting them down. The fact that I believed that if I just focused on the fruits of the spirit hard enough, or if I were just spiritually-grounded enough, I'd never lose my temper or misunderstand my kids.

I used to conceal these secret longings to be a perfect mom as well as my shortcomings, but now they comprise the very stories that fill the pages of my books. I write about my parenting journey with its moments of doubt, insecurity, and imperfections. And, yes, sometimes I feel like one of those students on stage, battling embarrassment and inhibition as I clown my most dreaded or secret faults, exaggerating them, opening myself up to criticism or ridicule. At some moments, I am left feeling vulnerable and exposed.

But I'm the better for it.

Because I keep donning that proverbial red foam nose, I take myself less seriously. Increasingly, I look to God, and not to my readers or to other people, for acknowledgment and relationship.

Author Shane Claiborne says one of his favorite prayers is: "God, forgive me for thinking too highly of myself. God, forgive me for thinking too lowly of myself. God, forgive me for thinking of myself so stinkin' much." By exposing what is most flawed about myself, I think about myself less and take myself less seriously. And in exposing my weaknesses, I find strength from a God who loves me as I am.  

Jennifer Grant is the author of two books: Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter (2011) and the recently released MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family. Find her online at