Talk Tuesday…A Series on Balance (Blog 3 – Balance or Greatness)

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Every Tuesday we engage in one big question, topic or idea. You are invited to write in with a suggestion you want to share. I surely do not have all the answers but know that together we can generate some great conversation and have fun in the process. (Feel free to post your topics, questions, and your great thoughts in the comments below!) Together, we will stay informed and equipped about topics that matter!

Balance or Greatness

Balance:  1 keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall. 2 stability, equilibrium, steadiness, footing.

We can spend our entire lives striving for balance. Our desire for balance is our desire for stability, for security, for equilibrium, for normal. It is our desire not to fall.


Greatness is not made within the walls of security. Greatness is created out of a spirit of faith, courage, determination and risk.

Jesus said: “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12 NIV).

What will you choose – balance or greatness?

Are your actions revealing your beliefs or your indifference?

Every person has the human right of dignity, freedom, and equality.

I know you agree.

But are your actions revealing your beliefs or your indifference.

Even if our beliefs are for a world of justice, freedom, and equality, it is our actions that will change the world.

What Seth Godin said in his blog today personally challenged me:

Taking action is a choice.

Speaking up is a choice.

And yes, standing on the sidelines is a choice.


In A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writing and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr., he wrote:

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

Look around. Does your business, your team, your community, your church represent a free and equal body of diverse people who are given the opportunity to share their lives at their fullest potential?

“And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

Talk Tuesday…A series on balance (Blog 2: Balance vs. Time)

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Every Tuesday we engage in one big question, topic or idea. You are invited to write in with a suggestion you want to share. I surely do not have all the answers but know that together we can generate some great conversation and have fun in the process. (Feel free to post your topics, questions, and your great thoughts in the comments below!) Together, we will stay informed and equipped about topics that matter!


Today’s Blog Contributor: 

Katie Rogers


My name is Katie Rogers. I live in Forks, Washington and currently work at Forks Hospital. I’m currently working on being credentialed through the Assemblies of God. I co-teach a Sunday school class and lead Women’s Bible study. I also serve on the Women’s Team for the Northwest Ministry Network as Leader for the Olympic Area.


Balance vs. Time

Word in: Get into God’s Word & let it get into you.
Work out: Even 5 minutes of moving is better than nothing.
Work plan: Write out the work plan. And then work the plan.

-Ann Voskamp

If you ask any woman what she would love more of, the answer would always be TIME! We live in a society where we are so busy, we can rarely find enough daylight to accomplish our long list of tasks. Yet this isn’t the way we are supposed to live, this isn’t what’s best for us. Balance vsAs women we live to serve others whether it is our kids, our job, our church or the millions of other people or tasks that surround us. We become so easily overloaded and overwhelmed that we often forfeit the most important events in our lives. “What would that be Katie?” You ask. Devotional time, prayer, and time with those we love the most.

How do we rectify this?
How do we begin to realize that if we started our day with devotions and prayer time that we’d be setting ourselves up for success all the day long?

John Wesley was a man who was busy from sun up to sun down. Yet the key to his success, his time management and his ability to do God’s will was this:

Wesley’s day started at 4am to 5am in private prayer, 5-7 Bible Study, 8-9 Group Prayer, Noon to 4pm Bible Study again, 4-5pm Public Prayer, 5-6 Private Prayer, 6-7 he shared his faith with those who did not know Christ, 8pm met for accountability and then journaled everything that happened that day. 10pm in the bed.

Do we need to mirror this day exactly? Absolutely not! But I think he has a few key ingredients that would be incredibly beneficial for us.

  1. He put himself to bed at a decent time. A time that would coordinate with his planned wake up time.
  2. No matter what his day held he started with prayer. He never deviated from this approach. If he didn’t have prayer and devotional time the rest of his day would be skewed. He also stopped at each top of the hour to spend a few minutes in prayer; to refocus and to hear God’s voice.

One way we can have great balance in our lives is to make sure we start our day with prayer. Find your dedicated place whether it be the “big brown comfy chair,” your kitchen table or your prayer closet. Make sure that is your first plan of action before you do anything else. Take that precious time and dedicate it to the Lord. Pray to Him, hear His voice and allow Him to prepare and plan your day.

Don’t miss out on lightening your load and having that sweet time with the Lord. It will radically impact your day and your schedule!

Are you hitting the mark with your team meetings and events?


Depending on what study or report you read, 75% of employees and managers find team meetings and events a waste of time. Personally, you may be thinking that number is low. I did when I read it. So I asked a classroom of leaders if they found meetings or team activities in their organization useful. Not one of them raised their hand.

As a leader of influence, your job is to bring value to the people and the organization you serve. I believe meeting times of collaboration provide the opportunity for shared vision, building trust and unity, creating an environment of innovation, and increased productivity with an outcome of employee longevity.

When team meetings and events hit the mark, employees and leaders are engaged and the organizational mission and vision are achieved.

Here are some tips for planning team meetings or event that will hit the bulls eye every time:

  1. Why. Most companies would improve productivity by canceling 50% of their meetings. Ask yourself: What is the purpose? Examine your personal agenda. Is their political or historical motivation? (i.e.We have always had a Monday meeting.)
  2. What. Meetings and events should build trust and cohesiveness. Have you considered the diversity of your team when planning your meetings or event agenda? Have you considered the ethical or moral implications of your choice of venue or activity? For example: If I think my team would be lucky to attend a late night planning meeting over a fancy meal with fine wines at a high end restaurant – have I considered any conflicts this might create for my team’s family activities, cultural, moral or religious beliefs? Another example: If I think shooting at a gun range would be a fun team building event, have I thought through the ethical or moral dilemmas that some of my team members may have holding a gun?
  3. When. Make a new team rule: energy vs. time. Parkinson’s law is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. Brain research also shows that we have limited cognitive or what they call “executive” resources for decision making. In fact, most adults do best when they can work 45 minutes and then have a 15 minute break. Not only does this rule work for effective meetings and events, encouraging your team to adopt the energy vs. time rule into their work day will save you money in turn-over costs and health insurance premiums while increasing productivity.

There is great reward in hitting the mark with your team meeting and events! If you are struggling in this area, please feel free to email me for more ideas. Also, you might consider hiring a leadership coach for ongoing support. Having a coach has changed my life and leadership. It may be just what you need in the New Year to reach your goals!


I’d Love Your Opinion on My New Book!

Pivot Leadership book cover Nov 7

Dear Friends and Leaders,

The first draft of my newest book is finished! I am looking for a few amazing people to read it and give their straightforward critique.  The book is titled, Pivot Leadership: Small Steps…Big Change. Pivot Leadership is about taking small steps in your thinking and actions that will have extraordinary impact on your influence in business and in your personal life. Think of it as a field guide for impactful leadership and team building.

The book is purposely short and meant to be a quick read. My goal is for it to be one of those books you keep on your shelf to reference back to time and again for inspiration, strategies, and tangible activities you can put into play today, tomorrow, and even next year.

If looking over a draft manuscript sounds interesting to you, please email me at: and simple reply in the subject line: “I want to review your new book.” I will send you an email with your free copy of Pivot Leadership: Small Steps…Big Change with some short instructions. If not, no problem. I look forward to sharing the published version with you soon.

Whatever you decide, I am thankful that you are part of my blog family and leadership community. Happy 2015 to all!

Angela Craig
A wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend, a writer, a coach, a minister, a social justice and non-profit junkie. Not necessarily always in that order.

PS: If you have a friend or colleague that would benefit from this information, please feel free to share it with them.   

Talk Tuesday…A series on balance (Blog 1: Hide and Seek)

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Every Tuesday we engage in one big question, topic or idea. You are invited to write in with a suggestion you want to share. I surely do not have all the answers but know that together we can generate some great conversation and have fun in the process. (Feel free to post your topics, questions, and your great thoughts in the comments below!) Together, we will stay informed and equipped about topics that matter!

In a 2014 survey, when women of the Northwest were asked what topic needed to be addressed most in 2015, they said: Balance.

Women are competent, creative, purposeful, intentional, compassionate, change-makers, resourceful, giving and so much more. They don’t fit in one box and they wear many hats. The idea of balance in life can seem illusive (I recommend a short blog series titled: The Illusion of Balance that goes more in-depth on this idea). For me, balance always boils down to two things:

Motive and Relationship

Think back to the beginning of our existence – Adam and Eve in the garden. When Adam and Eve ate the apple and God came looking for them, Adam and Eve, ran and hid. When God asked them why they were hiding, they said they were naked and ashamed.

Like Adam and Eve we hide behind a life of activity, volunteerism, titles, motherhood, work…to cover our nakedness of shame, our desire for acceptance, power, fame, knowledge, or our feelings of abandonment and fear of the unknown.

We hide but God seeks.


God seeks to be in relationship with us. To show us an unconditional love and acceptance an imperfect world cannot. To free us from the bondage of our nakedness. God seeks to give us a purpose and a destiny guided by His Holy Spirit –guided by our minute-by-minute communication with our Father.

It is only in intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father that we can have the correct motivation and direction for our to-do lists and our futures. When we live outside of Him, we are stuck in the same patterns as Adam and Eve – running and hiding.

Where ever you are today? I pray that together, we can find new perspective on the meaning of balance in our lives in the upcoming year.

Let’s talk about it:

  1. Can you name one healthy relationship in your life? What are the attributes of that relationship?
  2. Do you find yourself hiding in activity? What kind of activity? What are you trying to cover?
  3. Have you experienced the Lord seeking you? His pursuit of you? Can you describe the experience for others?

Happy New Year to you and your family! ~ Angela Craig

A New Year’s Prayer for you…

New Year’s Prayer

Reflecting on the New Year upon us, I pray these blessings over you.

May you know the power of love, gratitude and forgiveness.


May your life be transformed by the risk and perseverance you take to reach your goals and the courage it takes to get up when you fall.


May your life be made up of intentional moments of laughter, wonder, adventure, silence and solitude that fills you with joyous memories.


May you live your life for today, making spontaneity a door you open daily and enjoying the things you have saved for a special occasion.


May this year be the year that you learn a child’s anticipation for the blessings that God is dedicated to giving you.


May you have compassion and courage to stand for the justice of those that cannot stand for themselves.


May your heart be softened towards those people who trouble you, as God shows you the potential of who they were created to be.


May your goals align with the work at God’s hand.


May God bring you like-minded people and resources in your pursuit to change the world.

May this year be the year that you strive to know and understand others extending an accepting hand.


May you believe without a shadow of a doubt that God still answers prayers in miraculous ways even when the circumstances appear impossible.


May you experience the true gift of Love and never stop believing that Love conquers all.

Be blessed this New Year’s day!

Angela Craig

Talk Tuesday…A Series on Prayer (A Heartfelt Prayer – Week 10)

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Every Tuesday we engage in one big question, topic or idea. You are invited to write in with a suggestion you want to share. I surely do not have all the answers but know that together we can generate some great conversation and have fun in the process. (Feel free to post your topics, questions, and your great thoughts in the comments below!) Together, we will stay informed and equipped about topics that matter!

Today’s Blog Contributor: 

Merrilee Swanson

MerrileeMerrilee serves alongside her husband, Bruce as Senior Pastor of Montesano Assembly of God in Montesano, Washington. Merrilee oversees the Children’s and Women’s ministry there as well. She also serves on the Women’s team for the Northwest Ministry Network, planning events for women across Washington and Northern Idaho. Merrilee loves life. She loves to sing and entertain guests. Merrilee is a skilled administrator and a doer.


Today, Merrilee continues our blog series on prayer with, A Heartfelt Prayer. Enjoy!


A Heartfelt Prayer

Dear Lord,

You are a great big God, you have all the power. You created the planets and they are spinning today by your design.  Your forgiveness for our sins is complete and available to any who humble themselves to ask for it.  You love everyone on this earth, yet you are constantly caring about me, little me.

Since I am about to enter into the New Year, I want to thank you for some things and perhaps request a few blessings.

I am very grateful, God.  This past year has not always been easy for me but you have been right there with me.  Thank you for your constancy.  My family has faced many challenges of their own, and you have provided a way for each one.  Thank you for your caring.  Beauty, of your design, has greeted me at every season.  Thank you for these gifts that remind me of your artful love for me.

Heartfelt prayerThere are a few things that concern me as I look into this next year.  I would love to live a life that brings you glory, every day.  Please help me be more in tune with you that my every action would reflect your grace.  Worries keep me from you, and I desire to be ever aware of your presence.  Please help me this year to let go of the worry and give it to you before I even entertain it.  Subject to your perfect plan, grant me health and strength to be a woman of action.  May I never be afraid or too lazy to do the work you have called me to accomplish.

It is amazing how you allow me to intercede in prayer for the requests of others.  I am amazed to see you answer their needs in ways that only you can.  Grant me the opportunities again to pray on behalf of others.  It is a great privilege and joy.  Teach me to pray.

Through my life experiences I can report that you have always been powerful to meet my needs, always present in my trials and joys, always quick to forgive when I confess, and always calling me on to deeper and higher journeys with you.  What an amazing adventure I have in you.  I know that this next year will be just as blessed.  God, please grant me courage to run ahead, toward your goal for me, the upward call of God.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Philippians 3:13b-15
…but one thing I do:  forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (NASU)

Talk Tuesday…A Series on Prayer (Praying God’s Promises – Week 9)

Talk Tuesday logo 2Every Tuesday we engage in one big question, topic or idea. You are invited to write in with a suggestion you want to share. I surely do not have all the answers but know that together we can generate some great conversation and have fun in the process. (Feel free to post your topics, questions, and your great thoughts in the comments below!) Together, we will stay informed and equipped about topics that matter!

Today’s Blog Contributor: 

Kristin Clouse PicKristin Clouse Kristin is a licensed counselor who is passionate about seeing women find freedom, healing and restoration in their own lives. She is a writer, counselor, speaker, teacher, mentor and leader to women. She is a storyteller and uses allegorical examples to impart life, freedom, and healing to many. She speaks on a variety of topics including teachings from her writing Healing for Our Soul Garden, which is about the restoration and healing process from sexual abuse; as well as leading and teaching women to grow in a deeper relationship with God. She is available to share according to your needs at your focused retreat, conference or workshop. Find out more about Kristin on her blog at

Today, Kristin continues our blog series on prayer with, Praying God’s Promises in Our Lives. Enjoy!


Praying God’s Promises in Our Lives

As I contemplate on this topic of praying God’s promises, I am in awe of God’s timing for this to be on the same week that we celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus our Savior. Christmas is the story of God fulfilling His promise of a Messiah to His people, to us. Truly it’s the story of promise coming to us, for us, and to save all of us.

Last year when I was visiting a friend in Branson, Missouri, we attended the play the Miracle of Christmas. This beautiful play is performed during the Christmas season and presented by the professional Christian theatre company Sight & Sound. If you are ever in Branson I highly recommend attending one of their plays for truly you will be blessed by the experience.

As I watched the play, tears filled my eyes as a group of men and women were working and being treated unfairly by the government officials. Times were hard, difficult, and you could sense that they were on the verge of losing hope as they began to sing out, reminding God of the promise of their Messiah. Breakthrough was right around the corner for God’s people, however at the time they did not know this. All they knew was what they were experiencing at the time, in the here and now, and life was overwhelming for them. Hope was leaving and so they once again prayed to God reminding Him of His promises to His people.

Gods-promises - Kristin Graphic

Promises, God’s promises. Throughout scripture we see them, God has spoken them to us individually, and prophetically God’s promises have been given to us. When we get a promise from God, regardless of what form it comes in, the fulfillment of the promise has yet to come. This is the place where discouragement can come in and the enemy of our soul will do whatever he can to discourage us from believing all that God has for our life and circumstances. Thoughts of disbelief, doubt that we heard from God, and hopelessness all try to strangle our faith into dying away so that we will give up and not believe in what God has said to us.

Have you been there before? Have you felt that the promises that God has spoken to you and for your life, your finances, your family, your ministry, your marriage, your…. (fill in the blank), will never come to pass? Have you felt forgotten, cast aside or maybe that you will never see the promises in your lifetime? I have and I am here today to encourage you in the Lord to hold on for your breakthrough is truly right around the corner!

How did I begin the process of believing God’s promises for my life? I began to pray them over my life and when doubt came in and began to speak to me, I spoke to doubt of who and what God said I was. I focused on what God said to me about my life instead of listening to doubt. I told doubt who I was through God’s promises and no longer did doubt tell me who I was. Doubt no longer dictated my future. Remember doubt comes in to steal, kill, and destroy and is the fruit of Satan. It’s very subtle, it slithers in and slowly tells us things, distorts situations, takes half truths and twist them in such a way that all hope is sucked right out of us.

As I told doubt who I was through God’s promises, I became more confident. I began to pursue God’s promises, to believe them and it was seen through my prayers. As I did this, God’s promises were laid out before me as a guide, a blueprint, of God’s plans for me. Truly it was as if I became pregnant with God’s promise and I was doing my part to care for and protect that which God was birthing in me. Some of those promises came to fruition in a short amount of time, some longer, and yet some I am still waiting upon the fulfillment to come.

What are the promises that God has given you? How do I pray God’s promises over my life?

First, gather all the promises that God has given you. You know those scriptures that you have highlighted, with dates and notes written next to them? Those are promises. What about the prophetic words that others have given you or maybe those things that you have written in your journal that God spoke to your heart for your life? Those are all the promises. Gather all of them together.

Second, with some notepaper begin to write them out and put them all together in one place with the ones that have the same theme bunched together.

Next, once you have them all together, write out a prayer about those promises, using scriptures, and begin to pray that over your life, your circumstances on a regular basis.

Finally, trust Jesus and what He says about your life, your circumstances.  Begin to line your life up with the promises and pursue the promise. Live your life as if the promises from God have already been fulfilled.

I would like to share with you a brief story of one of the many promises that God has spoken over my life. As a young child I always had a love for books and for writing. As a young mother I created a series of stories that I would share with my daughter called The Adventures of Kaitlyn and Her Pet Skunk Charlie. This was her favorite time of the day when she would lay in bed and I would create a story that brought anticipation, joy and laughter to us both. I even went as far as sending one manuscript off to a publisher, but at the time my spirit did not understand the process of publishing and could not handle the rejection letters. I put that dream in a box on a shelf and walked away from it.

Years later God began to speak to me of this dream and He gave me a promise about it. Others began to speak prophetically over my life that God had called me to write. I was at a crossroads in my belief and I had to face many insecurities that I had within myself. I gathered those promises together and began to pray them over my life. I then went to workshops on how to organize and create a book. Life was beginning to take form in me.

Can you see that I was pregnant with the promise?

I continued to pray God’s promises, and I still do over my life daily. Recently I finished my first draft of my book Healing for Our Soul Garden and have sent it off to an editor. I am now working on a version of this book as a series of children’s book and have great anticipation on what God is doing.

In Jeremiah 29:11 we read, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

God has great plans for each of our lives.

Our role is to line ourselves up with God’s plans and we do that in part by standing on the promises He has spoken over us, actively praying about them in our lives, and lining our lives up with walking them out. Remember, our job is to be obedient and God’s job is to open the doors! Blessings and I pray God’s abundant blessings in each of your lives this coming year! I leave you with this prayer:

I’m asking God to give you a gift, His promises, from the wealth of his glory. I pray that he would give you inner strength and power through his Spirit to walk out the FULLNESS of who and what God created you to be. I pray that Christ will live in and through you through faith. I also pray that love may be the ground into which you sink your roots and on which you have your foundation. We thank you Lord that you truly know the plans that you have for us. Help us Lord to line our lives up with you, to hold on to the promises and to trust you in spite of what our circumstances look like. We ask that each of us be completely filled with You God and Your Glory presence. Glory belongs to God, whose power is at work in us. By this power he can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine and Lord we are expecting that, far beyond that which we can do within ourselves. In the wonderful and powerful Name that is above all other names, Jesus, Amen (Ephesians 3:16-20 & Jeremiah 29:11)

Bringing peace on a cold winter’s night…

Traffic JamIt was a cold winter’s night before Christmas. The wind wrestled with the trees as the rain beat the ground like the little drummer boy and his drum. I was on my way from my last appointment of the day to pick up my kids for their afternoon activities. Racing the clock to get the boys to their activities on time, I decided to avoid the Christmas shopper’s traffic and take the back highway home. Little did I know that the traffic lights were out for 12 miles on the highway causing a full on traffic jam. Unfortunately, once I had chosen that path, there was no going back. I was in it.

I tried to adjust my attitude as I waited that night in the blackout. This was a great opportunity to learn something…I hoped. I turned up the Christmas tunes and prayed that God would increase my patience, which I felt slipping away as traffic remained at a standstill and the minutes slipped by.

Finally, an hour later, on a route that would normally take 15 minutes, I came to the last light before I would be home free on the highway to my house. I stopped and as I took my turn to go through the light, the blackout ended and the power turned the stop lights back on. Everyone behind me got the green light to GO!

Although I knew God didn’t turn the lights out to teach me patience…I baulked at the coincidence of timing. Oh well, I was on my way now…very late but on my way.

UNTIL…I came up upon the car in front of me. They were driving 35 in a 55. I thought to myself, “Maybe they are getting ready to turn soon.” Or “Maybe they are looking for a street address.” Or “Maybe they don’t like to drive in the rain.” The longer they were in front of me, the more annoyed I became. I was thinking things I would be embarrassed to write in this blog. Then as quickly as I thought them, felt guilty for thinking such mean and insensitive things. But as the miles racked up and my blood pressure rose my annoyance trumped my guilt.

I thought I better ask for God’s intervention before I started flashing my bright headlights at the person in front of me… or worse! “God, help me to understand why this person is driving so slow?”

Just as I uttered that prayer, I noticed that my headlights seemed to be the only light on the road. The second thing God brought to my attention was the fact that the car in front of me did not have working windshield wipers. My heart sank. No wonder the driver was driving so slowly; they couldn’t see. At that point, I gave up trying to guess why they were driving a car that wasn’t safe. God gave me compassion instead of annoyance.

noelJesus came on a cold winter’s night to bring peace and joy to a broken world. He hand delivers that peace and joy through you and through me. Love, true love which brings peace and joy is anything but annoyed and judgmental.  We bring peace when we seek to know and understand each other. We can bring peace to others when we are patient, kind, humble, quick to forgive and forget, giving, supportive, loyal, hopeful, encouraging, and trustworthy (1 Corinthians 13). All of which are only possible through a life lived with Jesus.

This Christmas, may the treasure of Jesus bring peace and joy to your heart on a cold winter’s night.

Let’s Talk:

  1. Do you find yourself more easily annoyed and stressed with additional holiday preparation and parties?
  2. What is the first thing you sacrifice to make your home look beautiful, find the perfect gifts, and organize amazing holiday events?
  3. If anything, what would you like to do different today?



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