My girlfriends and I loaded up and headed to Waco, TX. We came from Austin, Arizona, Fort Worth, North Texas, and West Texas. Our itinerary was a retreat that started with brunch at Magnolia Table, followed by a visit to The Silos and Magnolia Market, capped off with a slumber party at Fixer Upper's Barndominium.
I have to be honest here. While I love decorating and shopping for home decorations, I was most excited about relaxing with my girlfriends and having girl talk. I was amongst the minority as one of the only that had not seen the episode of this renovation. If it's clean and has a comfortable bed, I'm happy. However, I was pleasantly surprised at what a great stay this provided. Not only was it absolutely adorable, it had all the creature amenities one might miss from home.
After winding your way ten miles from the silos, you arrive at the Barndominium set amongst an ideal location in a field of wildflowers alongside a lake . Sprawling patios welcome you with cushy patio furniture, a grill, mini fridge, and fire pits. Once inside, you'll find no attention to detail spared. There are five bedrooms with queen beds that can sleep up to 16 guests. The linens and pillows made for a peaceful nights sleep and did not leave me wanting. The downstairs holds a sitting room and large dining table with chairs for 12. Upstairs has the kitchen, breakfast nook, living area, and oversized balcony. The only downfalls were that there are only two bathrooms (one on each floor) and that there was not an inside area large enough to comfortably accommodate the group for lounging.
If you're considering what to bring, you seriously only need groceries and clothes. Aside from the standard amenities, there were also dishes, cooking and serving utensils, coffee maker, coffee cups, wine glasses, cork screw, ice bucket, microwave, washer and dryer, all soaps, cleaners, etc...
Time did not afford us the luxury, but there is also a 20 acre lake attached to the property where you can canoe, kayak, or fish.
We opted to bring all groceries with us rather than dine out. For dinner, we had door dash deliver pizza which took all the headache of cooking off of our little Mama shoulders. After dinner, we capped the night off with s'mores roasted over the fire pits.
If you're looking for a great property to host a girls' getaway, I highly recommended The Barn.
Dear Teen Son
I blinked and you are becoming a man.
A beautiful kindhearted Jesus loving man.
There is nothing I can do about it.
I can’t go back in time to you asking me to “put on a princess dress & come dance with you”
I can’t keep you from doing stupid things, falling in love, or getting hurt.
I can’t keep you from thinking I’m a moron or not taking my advice.
This is your journey to walk.
These are your decisions to make.
These are also your mistakes to learn from.
But, I can whisper truths that I pray you will always hear in the back of your mind.
You are loved beyond measure.
You are seen and known.
You are valuable.
You are not defined by the number of a test grade or a sports score.
Your character is not intertwined with athletic achievement or academic credit.
Your character is instilled within you and comprised of your moral values.
You are a child of God.
You are tenacious and do not give up.
You are resilient and get back up.
You are committed to your passions.
You love selflessly.
You empathize deeply.
You stand strong in your convictions.
There is nothing you can ever do to separate you from my love.
There is no mistake great enough for your Jesus to turn his back on you.
You will undoubtedly take the path least traveled as the Leader you are.
When it gets rocky and you stumble, remember that you don’t have to walk it alone.
So go now. Stand up tall. Grow into the Man God is calling you to be.
Go dance with the girls in princess dresses, remember that chivalry is not dead,
and, don’t forget to kiss your Mama!
There is no greater crime in all of society than that against a child.
Sex trafficking is the second most profitable illegal crime in the world, generating $32 Billion annually, topped only by narcotics. A child goes missing roughly every 44 seconds in the United States alone.
Today, on the Power Project, you’ll be hearing from my friend Jodie Webb of Colors of Hope. Jodie’s story is one of restoration and redemption. She has answered God’s call for her life and is fully living a life of purpose. By God’ s grace she has been able to transform childhood trauma into a lifelong mission that stretches across international borders to fully restore survivors and further prevent these atrocities.
Not only will you be inspired and empowered by Jodie’s mission but you’ll also hear about navigating the obstacles of starting a non-profit as well as balancing a family life while pursuing a purpose.
To learn more about Colors of Hope, go to www.colors-of-hope.org. Get involved with the newest campaign @ www.inittopreventit.org.
Follow Colors of Hope Equine Restoration on Facebook
and @colorsofhoperestored on Instagram.
If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, call now.
1-888-373-7888 or TEXT:233733
THE HOPELESS PLACE
This has been a crappy week. We lost our second girl at the aftercare house in a month. She was 2 weeks from graduating the 9 month program & left. This was her second time in the program & I didn’t doubt her success for a minute. I’ve been Her spirit and brilliance radiated. I couldn’t wait to see her share her testimony and minister to other women walking through the fire.
The other one that left was in my class. She was an eager student from the beginning. She had a heart for learning and a love of people. I knew that once she found her voice and confidence, God was going to do great works through her. And then, I showed up one day and she was gone. No clue where she is now.
And so, I sit. I sit and I ask God if this is all really worth it. Is the work that he is asking me to do worth it. How can I be following his will and purpose if these people keep turning from Him. How can he be leading me away from my kids, husband, and job to do work that is fruitless? How is this truly His plan? I feel helpless today. I feel empty. I feel hopeless. I feel like the literal life has been sucked out of me. Its one thing to see people struggle, but it’s another thing to wonder if even God can pull them out of the insane state of Hell that they’re living in. It’s this crazy cycle which is a direct result of their trauma. I don’t have a license in this department. I just see the aftermath & it sure is a difficult situation for those of us trying to speak life into it.
My only saving grace is that I have to focus on God’s grace for us. All I can think is that We, God’s children, disappoint him every day. We make poor decisions and leave him disappointed. Regardless of the extreme parameters, this is the same with the people I work with. There will inevitably be more bad days than good. We just must persevere & know that above all, He is God. He is mercy, grace, and love.
THE HOPE-FULL PLACE
Ms. D: The first time I met her was when I took dinner to the house. She was quiet and withdrawn but joined us at the table. She kept her head and eyes down and only glanced up occasionally when someone asked her a question or passed a dish. After finishing her meal, clearing her plate, and thanking me for dinner, she excused herself to her bedroom for the rest of the evening. I gave her space and didn't push. My only hope was that she could eventually see Jesus through me and feel loved, welcome, and safe. Over the course of the next few months, I was able to see her blossom like a flower. Each week, she became a little more open. And, then one day when I showed up, she was sitting outside in the sun, looking radiant, and smiling ear to ear. She hugged me and told me all about her new job and how great everything was going.
Ms. A: I came to the house one Wednesday afternoon excited and anxious to be meeting two new girls that I would begin a weekly class with. I came in and sat down in the living room ready to get to know the ladies. She sat there silently drawing in her binder and not looking up. I finally asked her to tell me what she thought about the book as well as the upcoming class. Her response was "I ain't ever had no boundaries, nobody never taught me no boundaries, and I don't need to read a book about boundaries." The following week, I returned to teach the class, and after just two chapters, had a completely different student sitting before me. As I walked in, she excitedly told me "Miss Brandi, I love this book! It's changed my life. I wish I would have had it fifteen years ago!" And, she carried that excitement throughout the rest of the book!
A PLACE OF HOPE
As time went on, I built a great relationship with both ladies and relished watching their journeys unfold as God truly restored them.
Then, last night, I was able to see the beauty of God's work in action. We, celebrated their graduation from the 9 month program. The church was filled with staff members, volunteers, fellow church members, advocates, and the ladies' families that traveled hundreds of miles to be there.
We listened to their accomplishments and kind words spoken about them. We saw them fully transformed as they shared what this journey meant to them. But, the most beautiful sight I may have ever witnessed was seeing them both with arms stretched high, worshipping a God that never gave up on them. With tears streaming down their face and music playing, they praised a God that loved them and chased them before they ever knew him.
There will inevitably be more times of hopelessness along this journey. There will be more days of heartache and feeling the pain of helplessness. But, in those times, I will cling to the image ingrained in my mind of those ladies, arms stretched high praising my God and I will HOPE.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."
Last year at my company's convention, I had the privilege of hearing Kristen Brown speak about The Happy Hour Effect. Since, then, we've been "friends" on social media and she was kind enough to let me interview her for the Power Project Podcast. We followed it up with an amazing meal of charbroiled oysters at Dragos and had a great evening in New Orleans.
You're going to be inspired and motivated by what she has to say. In this episode, we hear from Speaker Kristen Brown, author of The Happy Hour Effect. She is a self-proclaimed occasional know-it-all, sometimes workaholic, and frequent wine aficionado, but more importantly, my friend & mentor. Kristen uses her world-class industry expertise and research into human behavior to motivate exceptional business leaders to elevate their brand and skyrocket their performance for maximum impact on results even during change and stress. She has shared her expertise with clients around the U.S. such as Target, Women Presidents Organization, Live with Kelly, and many more. But, today, she's sharing with us her approach for overcoming obstacles, interrupting your thoughts, and taking action in your life.
You can follow her as your very own virtual accountability partner on:
Facebook: Kristen Brown Presents
For speaker coaching, podcast interviews, or speaking appearances, find her at www.kristenbrownpresents.com
At the Power Project, W stands for Wisdom. Wisdom is the intersection of knowledge and experience. We can have all the knowledge in the world, but it's not until until we put that knowledge to use and apply in order to gather experience that we gain Wisdom. Mattie will share with us how she organically built her community through trial and error. She not only possesses the knowledge of how to navigate You Tube and Instagram, but she also exhibits Wisdom well beyond her years.
Instead of sitting back and waiting for followers to come to her, she went out and built a community of devoted followers that engage with her. Wait... do you mean I have to go out and actively engage and build a community? You better believe it. But, Mattie can teach you just how to do that.
You can subscribe to Mattie's You Tube channel: jungshook jams
Follow Mattie on Instagram: @mattie.yt
Learn tips and tricks about studying a new language on Mattie's study gram: @shookstudying
As always, if you like what you've heard, do us a favor: follow along, subscribe to the podcast, write a review, and share on social media. Thanks so much! I'll love you forever Friend!
I launched The Power Project vlog March 8, 2018 on International Women’s Day with the sole purpose of having a platform to spotlight women living a purpose filled life. I wanted other women to be inspired and know that they can do whatever they put their minds to. I had been working on launching the blog & podcast for 2 months.
I had never heard of Rachel Hollis until a friend told me about Girl Wash Your Face. She told me I had to check it out because the girl reminded her of me & the title is so relevant to my business. *The one where I tell people wash their faces.*
I started listening to the audible the day I ordered the book & had finished it by the time GWYF came in. I was so excited that someone else out there “got me”. She said all the things that roll around in my head. We have the exact same views on most of life. We were both raised Pentecostal. Neither of us have degrees but are still successful business owners, and we both want women to know that they were made for more!
And then, it happened. The fear crept in. The realization that someone else was already doing exactly what I was working towards terrified me. And, she was doing it on a massive scale! She beat me to it. Cue the self-doubt.
And so, the Podcast & blog we’re both put on hold. I wrote & recorded but couldn’t bring myself to publish because someone else had already done it better than I could ever imagine doing it.
How could I *compete* with Rachel?
And then, I realized, there was only one ME. I will praise Him because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Only I can say what it is that HE wants me to say, and someone needs to hear what it is that I have to say.
There are more people in the world that need to be inspired and empowered than there are of us going out and sharing the message. The World needs More. More good. More empowerment. More inspiration. More purpose. More. Of. US.
So, whatever it is that you’re doubting yourself about, whomever you are comparing yourself with, whatever is holding you back.. SHUT IT DOWN! That is Satan's voice & that bastard is a liar!
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14.
You were Made for More!
I did it! I finally launched my podcast! And, I might just throw up now. Why on earth has this one simple goal been so hard for me to accomplish? I've poured over this EIGHT months!!!
First, I bought the microphone. Then, I created a podcasting account. I plugged the microphone in so excited to start this podcasting thing... I mean, after all, God gave me a voice and I might as well use it. Then, I could not for the life of me figure out how to play the audio back that I was recording. I decided that was okay, I could learn the technical side later.
I then decided I would set up my podcast page on the platform I had chosen. That should have been simple enough. I just had to write some descriptions and upload some pictures. I do that every day on social media. No big deal. But, I could not master the accurately portioned image for the cover. Don't even get me started on layout choices. And, I hadn't even began to get into the technical issues.
So, the microphone sat abandoned on my desktop...taunting me... daily. The podcast profile page stayed unvisited, the description was left wanting, and the cover image remained a distorted wide lens view of what would ordinarily have been a great profile pic.
For. Eight. Months. I've talked about this podcast with others. I've told them that I'm working on a podcast. However, the term working was used loosely to say the least. I've let myself be afraid of the actual act of launching a podcast.
What will I talk about?
What if I run out of things to say?
What if no one cares what I have to say?
What if I say the wrong thing?
And then, I'm reminded that His plan is so great, that not even I can screw it up!
Eph. 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably are than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
I knew that I was passionate about speaking into others and empowering others. I knew that I was supposed to be talking to others but didn’t know what He wanted me to talk about.
After praying and searching for several months, I was sitting in church one day, and our pastor said “You already have whatever it is that God needs you to have to do whatever it is that God needs you to do.”
That’s it. You have a talent, a special gift that is uniquely yours. You just have to tap into it, and that unique gift may not even look like a gift to you. Mine is my voice and I can’t stand the sound of my voice. I am well aware of the nasally rasp of my voice, thanks to a lifetime of allergies. I’ve also been told my entire life that I talk too much. I know this to be true. But you see, that was my power. That was the gift God gave me to share with others.
What are you “hating” that might be your gift?
Your shoulders? They may be the shoulders that someone needs to cry on.
Your sensitivity? That may be the tender heart that needs to share compassion with the world.
Your infertility? That may be the womb that mothers the orphans.
Your quietness in crowds or shyness? That may be the ear that needs to listen to others.
Your bull-headedness? That may be the strength that carries you through the fire and makes the impossible possible.
Where your passion and God’s will for your life intersect is where you will find your purpose.
To that Mama scrolling through Facebook today, seeing everyone's beautiful family pictures and celebrations, while struggling to find your own joy, I see you.
Last year, I was on the other side of the world, multiple time zones away from my kids. I had Mother's Day dinner in a restaurant surrounded by everyone else's family celebrations. I hadn't seen my kids in 13 days. My heart ached. I felt so incomplete and empty, and wanted nothing more than to hop a plane and go home to see their smiling faces and hug them. And, it made me think about those Mamas out there who struggle every Mother's Day. Those who can't scroll through social media today because it makes them feel so very empty and incomplete.
To those Mountain Moving Mamas out there fighting for your child's very life, I see you. To those Warrior Mamas who have suffered unthinkable tragedy and lost your children, I see you. To those Overcomer Mamas that have fought through Hell and back for both you and your children, I see you. To those Survivor Mamas whose womb has never been filled, I see you. To those Fighter Mamas who may not have a relationship with your children right now but won't give up until you do, I see you. To all the Mamas out there who can't look at the picture of my smiling family on Mother's Day without your heart breaking in two,
I SEE YOU.
I don't for one second take it for granted, nor do I post without considering how painful this day may be for each and everyone of you. I see you and I love you. I'm aware that tomorrow, those of us celebrating today will go back to life as we know it. We'll rush kids out the door and off to school, yell at our children to stop picking on their brother, and shuttle kids to baseball practice, gymnastics, cheer, etc... And you, will continue life as you know it, a life that none of us can imagine and pain that none of us have experienced. I wish there was more comfort I could offer you. But, for today, know this. I SEE YOU and I LOVE YOU!
"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all."
~2 Thessalonians 3:16
So, it’s a special day, dedicated to love, romance, and spoiling your sweetheart! You’ve gone out, picked up a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and a sweet card, possibly even a box of chocolates. You’ve made reservations at that fancy restaurant your boo has been hinting about and you’re looking forward to a special night out!
You pull up to your date’s house, walk up to the door, and are greeted by a dressed to the nine Valentine! “Tonight is going to be perfect! I’ve thought of everything” you think. But, wait... there may be a few things that you haven’t taken into consideration, so let me share them with you this today.
1. Most likely, you will not be seated at the exact time of your reservation. The wait staff and hostesses can not control how long a table “camps out”... and, they all tend to not be in a hurry on V-day. Be considerate.
2. If you do not have a reservation, prepare to wait! A very long time! Actually, you’re lucky if you get a table at all. Go to the bar, have a drink, relax, and enjoy each other’s company. Also, consider eating at the bar. Be patient.
3. There will most likely be a fixed menu offered for V-day. Choose that option. The kitchen will be busier than normal and this is your best hope of getting properly cooked food quickly. Be flexible.
4. If you order the fixed menu option, this will
most likely be a surf and turf option or something else more upscale than you would ordinarily order. Budget accordingly and TIP accordingly. Be generous.
5. Your server DOES NOT want to be at work on V-Day. They would rather be spending the day of Love with their loved ones and not yours. Your date will be more impressed with the kindness you show your server than the orders you bark out at them. Be kind.
6. While your server may be spending the day celebrating everyone else’s love, they may not have someone of their own to celebrate with. Show them a little love. Thank them for making your evening extra special. Tip them a little more. Be thoughtful.
7. While it is fully acceptable to pull your phone out to snap a selfie of the two of you or capture the beauty of the perfectly presented meal, otherwise keep your phone on silent and put away. Look into your date’s eyes and talk. Look at your server and respond when spoken to. Put the phone away. Be present.
8. While it is understood that you may not regularly go out to eat and dine at nice restaurants, keep in mind that the staff is there day in and day out. The kitchen knows how to best prepare your meal. The hostess knows where and how to seat you. The server knows how to best serve you. And, the bartender knows how to wet your whistle. Sit back and enjoy. Let the experts that do this everyday take care of you and your lovely date. Be thankful.
9. Even the best laid plans can go awry. Reservations can get lost. Restaurants may be full. Items may sell out. Steaks may be over cooked. If and when the plans change, Be Open.
10. And finally, if you’re going to propose on V-Day, while the staff is more than happy to help you pull off the big surprise, might I suggest that you choose to do this in private. Rather than put your love on the spot in front of a restaurant full of strangers with a ring delivered to her on a dessert platter, wait and pop the question when the two of you are alone. Pour words from your heart and let her cry and kiss you with just the two of you in attendance. Be in Love.
Happy Valentine’s and God bless the entire restaurant industry today! This day is a reminder of how thankful I am to no longer be doing what you do. I will peacefully be enjoying my steak and lobster at home, with no wait, in the comfort of my close friends and family, celebrating a day devoted to Love. Remember the love thing? Show some to each other today!
Hi! I'm, Brandi, founder of The Power Project and I'm so glad you're here! I've been speaking and writing all my life and find my greatest joy in helping others see themselves as God does while realizing their own POWER! I hope you find some inspiration, encouragement, and empowerment here.